Readers’ Choice 2020
  • Joni Miller has long had a thing for skinny chicks playing strong lead guitar like Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde
  • Compatriots and Victoria residents Ted Lane and Jim Thomson feel differently about music in the time of COVID. Lane’s unimpressed while Thomson has done a deep dive into “gear head land” and his musical archives unearthing interesting and disparate gems.
  • THE READER’S CHOICE 2020 PLAYLIST is on YouTube and Spotify. It samples a selection of the songs recommended in this year’s 10-part series.
Kurated is a music sharing project.
This is the third annual Readers’ Choice January series featuring subscribers’ top listens of the past year.
Stay tuned and enjoy,
Kris Sig Plastic V3

24 January 2021

Joni Miller
Vancouver BC


Private Life

Private Life by Chrissie Hynde and Pretenders from the debut album released in 1980.

This piece gives me butterflies, and I recommend listening to it with a good pair of headphones so you can catch every nuance. I love the way this song is so carefully constructed. It starts with a great bass line, then the drums drop in at exactly the right time. The guitar is spare, and the vocals intersect with precision syncopation. Plus, you don’t want to mess with Chrissie, because she is going to tell it like it is.

About Joni: In the time before this Joni Miller was a local songwriter / musician, playing bass in several bands at restaurants and bars, pubs, the occasional outdoor gig. She remembers it fondly. Now she mostly plays to her cats.

Ted Lane
Victoria BC

David Byrne’s American Utopia was both an album – released in 2018 – and a Broadway stage show mounted in 2019

Not a lot that excited me this year. Found myself listening to familiar stuff.

I did find David Byrne’s American Utopia interesting and original along with a good message.

Really missing live music.

There were a few things, mostly from the Kurated series including Yola and Frazey Ford who I’ve enjoyed for a long time.

About Ted: I love most genres of music. Currently I am heavily into the blues including Tedeschi/Trucks band, Joe Bonamassa, Girls with Guitars, Teresa James to name just a few. 

Jim Thomson
Victoria BC

J.J. Cale’s sound was subtle and understated with a twang that could knock you out of your chair says Jim Thomson. Singer-songwriter Cale is best known for authoring After Midnight and Cocaine, two songs made famous by Eric Clapton.

Air A Danser: Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Live at Town Hall: Nina Simone
No Deal: Melanie de Basio
Money Talks: J.J. Cale
Firebird: Antal Doráti and Detroit Symphony Orchestra

It’s early and I am sitting here listening to Penguin Cafe Orchestra. It’s storming, the windows are flexing and the penguin players are exploring undiscovered corners at the cafe. What’s this? Then they dive into a new wave and there, there is a school of shiny fish to chase. 

So much to explore.  

I have really descended into gear head land with a community of serious audiophiles this year. It’s been a year for tweaking and building. Drawn by the phantom, the illusion, really the delusion of acoustic spaces. With the dearth of live music it has been a year of mining my old LPs for overlooked gems. A real classic last night. Kind of Blue. On blue vinyl. I had become tired of it and, after some months, found again the magic. 

When you asked what interesting stuff I’d like to share I realized that I have been in a loop. Which is crazy because I have streaming services Tidal and Qobuz. They are fun but haven’t inoculated any great obsessions. Then there is the question of where did I hear that? No point in reflecting what I got from Kurated. Like Nina Simone’s My Sweet Lord which I listened to again on Qobuz. And then a side of Live at Town Hall. She has such a delicate touch then ambushes you with a few thundering chords

A friend pointed me to Melanie de Basio. It was not love a first note but I keep cruising by and being drawn in

Oh, I know where I had a little obsession! JJ Cale! Crazy Mama, Cocaine, Money Talks. I fell in love with his twang. A twang obsession! It lasted a couple of weeks, as I tweaked phono gear to really get into that distortion. Without creating too much of my own. New head shell, brass fittings, three point contact to drain spurious and muddying vibrations. Screaming guitar twang.   Dynamics to knock me outta my chair. I may have lost some hearing doing that. How do musicians expose themselves to that?

I made an upgrade to one of my turntables the other day. I wasn’t sure it was worth it, then I played The Firebird / Dorati on Mercury. I couldn’t get up. Into the music.  

About Jim Thomson: I transplanted to the kinder, gentler environs of Victoria to be more in nature, dig the great live music venues and mess about with motorcycles and hifi gear. Still enjoying the music!  And there is still a strong link to Vancouver where I spent my first 60+ years and where my grandsons still delight.