wedding songs

I'm not one of those girls who started planning her wedding at age 12, but music is important to me, and I do think a lot about what my wedding song will be. Now you may be thinking that this one should be a gimme because my favorite band released a whole album of love songs. And you are right. The problem, though, is that all of those songs are either too tongue-in-cheek about love, too much about unrequited love and divorce, or about gay men. They're all catchy as hell, but I just don't see a slow dance to "Busby Berkley Dreams" going over too well with the parents (or the boyfriend).

Well, I have come up with two usable songs so far.

Mike Park: On That Stage

Karim once called this "THE Mike Park song." This isn't because its the best, or that his others are mediocre. They're all very good, but there is something about this one. You can really tell he loves this girl. He wants to grow old with her ("with every gray I'm more in love with you"). He loves that she loves him. They are best friends ("dear friend, the greatest friend, the thought of breathing here so close to you"). I really love this song because it remindes me of the period of my life when I had first fallen in love. I used to listen to it on repeat for hours. Beyond that, it has this purity that makes it really beautiful.

Bright Eyes: First Day of My Life

This one has wedding song written all over it. It's beautiful and the lyrics are perfect. The only problem with it is that it's about a couple getting back together after a breakup. It does, however, convey a perfect sense of love changing one's life, changing your perception of reality, etc.


thank you for taking ecstasy with me

I saw Thank You For Smoking tonight, and while I won't review it here, it has for some reason made me want to listen to !!!'s cover of The Magnetic Fields' Take Ecstasy With Me on repeat. Why? I do not know. It actually has nothing to do with the movie.

I started collecting covers years ago. I had over 1000 of them at one point, and they've mostly gotten lost in all of the reformattings, but I have managed to hold onto the best ones. It has something to do with interpretation and re-interpretation, storytelling and re-telling, all of which are academic interests of mine. The Magnetic Fields have a sound that is difficult to replicate, but it is nice when a band that was clearly influenced by them pays homage to their roots.

I liked the original, but I won't say it is one of my absolute favorites. So it is safe to say that this one is as good, if not better.

The cover

The original


round and round and round it goes

Last year at about this time, I decided to slow down. Maybe it was the heat that made everything feel so slow, but I really just wanted to slow down and calm down and de-stress. Exams, etc. were overwhelming and so I turned to old things to facilitate my newfound slowness. This corresponded with me wanting a few albums that were cheaper or only available on vinyl. So I bought a portable turntable on ebay that took forever to get here, and started collecting vinyl records. I made rules for my record player--only I could use it, I couldn't do anything on the computer while I played music on it, I could sew or paint or knit or cook, but not do real work, etc. I also chose my music carefully--a lot of old folk from the 60's and newer stuff inspired by that stuff. For a few months, my room was a perfect folk and vinyl paradise. I was totally chill and the summer was nice and everything was slow and dreamy.

Then Karim got me a bunch of records from Asian Man with ska and punk bands I like, and my record player became a means to the end of my one-woman dance parties. After that I got a bunch of This Bike is a Pipe Bomb records and now pretty much everything I listen to on my turntable is a bit more upbeat.

When I do want to slow down, though, I listen to Espers. It started out as one of those, "If you like Vashti Bunyan and Devendra Banhart, you'll like them" kind of things--but I will be honest and say that Espers is entirely different and much more enjoyable to listen to than both. They have this dreamy quality that is so proverbially last summer (for me) that I calm down immediately when I listen to them. I have a feeling my parents, who are huge Seals and Crofts fans, would, as well. Espers is a lot more modern--there are definitely electric guitars in some songs, but there are generally a lot of ooooohing and acoustic instruments and hazy voices.

Because I'm stressed out today and trying to slow down, I am listening to Espers, and so should you:
Espers-Flowery Noontide


red leotards and crucifixes

So Cat Power has a new album. It isn't bad, but I have a few minor annoyances with it that really have nothing to do with the music:
1. It is called "The Greatest" but for some reason anywhere in which those words exist in a text about Chan Marshall, there has to be a clarifyer ("not a greatest hits album"). It may be me--but I wasn't even thinking that. I mean, she could certainly have one if the wanted to, but I doubt she ever will.
2. The video for living proof. I have NO IDEA what is going on there. The entire thing is in slow motion, which is okay except that it begins with what appears to be 2 rappers with baby bottles. Then it goes to some stereotypical Islamic women who are covered head to toe. Chan shows up in a red leotard, tied to a cross, and then, they decide they're going to have a track meet. Keep in mind that this is all slow. Chan is running with a white cross on her back and the other women are running with yards of fabric on them. She ends up in second place and finally bothers to put a hoodie on over her leotard. The whole time her rapper friend is standing on the sidelines with one of those fizzy firecracker stick things.

And the music is just all wrong. The whole slow motion thing makes you think maybe the song was intended to be faster, but it certainly cannot be. I will admit, the video itself was somewhat hilarious, or at least got me to wrinkle my brow a bit in disbelief, but it was too much of a distraction from the music (which you could barely hear anyway).

I did see another video today that I thought was excellent, though.
All Time Quarterback's Plans Get Complex.


and i find, it gets harder every time

Last night I finished putting the last of my music back on my computer from after the last reformatting. There is a lot of stuff I keep because of sentimental value, but will probably never listen to. Kind of like keeping baby clothes you clearly can never wear again, but you still like to keep as a relic of what you once were. This includes a bunch of compilations, rare Nirvana live albums, and a number of other things. A band I had definitely not listened to in awhile (but does not necessarily fall into this category) is the Bandits of the Acoustic Revolution. You know, Tomas Kalnoky, Catch-22, Streetlight Manifesto, etc. I have all sorts of weird connections to this band--Karim listened to them a lot our freshman year, Joe bought a computer from TK, etc. Beyond that, though, I can talk really fast and I like it when other people can talk or sing really fast and I can understand everything they say clearly. There's also just a lot of energy any time when horns are involved, and BOTAR uses them most excellently.

My favorite song is probably their cover of Catch-22's Dear Sergio. Here it is, for your listening pleasure.

Okay well that file doesn't work. I'll try to fix that. This has been a day of things not working. I am, however, watching Everwood for the first time in years, and the Submarines were just on. I really thought it was my itunes, but apparently not.


I used to get Jessica Simpson mixed up with Lisa Simpson, too.

Anyone who has known me for the better part of the last decade knows that Stephin Merritt's work has driven and influenced my sorrows, happiness, life choices, musical choices, and other things to the extent that sometimes I hear a sound byte and I'm suddenly transported back into The Desperate Things You Made Me Do or Busby Berkley Dreams. There is a lot of emotional baggage associated with all of Stephin's music, mostly because it guided me through my post-Nirvana teen angst into what I suppose you could call adulthood. I still go months without listening to the Magnetic Fields or the 6ths sometimes, but I still identify Stephin's work as my overwhelming "favorite."

I can say that I don't have the same emotional attachments to Sufjan Stevens, but I can say that my interest in him certainly came from the musical consciousness that grew from listening to Stephin. Other than that, he is interestingly (thematically) creative. So today, I came across this super cute interview the two of them did together with New York magazine.

man is a man which manhandles mankind

I don't listen to a lot of hip hop, but about a year ago I went to see Sage Francis with Karim and some of his friends from out of town, and we saw the Sol iLLaquists of Sound open for him (along with Jared Paul). This was about the same time that I started getting into anti-folk, so it was a weird contrast and I didn't know if I'd like it, but I seriously had as much, if not more fun than I'd had at any punk shows until that point. There was this clarity and eloquence in hip hop that was very much lacking in a lot of what I had been listening to, and I will admit that I was swept away. I guess we all have a lot of stereotypes about what hip hop is. I know I did, despite having studied it academically and politically. Hip hop doesn't have to be about misogyny or money. It could be incredibly pure and beautiful and inspire strength and solidarity.

Karim saw the Sol iLLaquists again while I was at the NDT, and came home raving about their new song, which he claimed to be the most perfect song in existence. I've listened to it a lot since then, and I'm not sure if it is the most perfect song in existence, I think it does express what is at the heart of my new perception of hip hop. Besides having a ton of energy, talking crazy fast, and having a really unique sound, they have something else: a perfect harmony between very rich female and male voices. Aside from that, this song is ideologically committed to that idea. I'll let you listen to the lyrics yourself, but I will say that if there was ever meant to be an anthem of equality of the sexes, this is it.

Sol iLLaquists of Sound: Your Turn


where in the world is diana spitzers?

i haven't kept one of these in awhile, mostly because livejournal is my online journal of choice, but there are things that I can't really write about there, so here I am. this blog will be sort of a mix of a place for me to rant and a music blog. for the past year or so i've listened to a lot of plan-it-x bands. not sure why, other than the rawness and politics appeal to me, but beyond that i guess i sort of idealize these folks for really living, really just giving jobs and work and capitalism the finger and making music because they want to. it's hard to say what my favorite plan-it-x band is. my audioscrobbler stopped working a long time ago, but if it still did, i have a feeling that it would still be a tie between Pretty Hot and Ghost Mice. the former because i like bands with female leads, and Pretty Hot has this energy that even Pretty Girls Make Graves doesn't have. the latter because there is probably nothing better than acoustic folk punk that is meant to be accessible, easy to play, and completely genuine. and it is. lucky for me, they just released a split together. unlucky for me, i can't figure out how to put money in my paypal account so that i can get it. :(

Two songs for your listening pleasure:
Ghost Mice: Boy Meets Girl
Pretty Hot: Carlisle