Lazy summer songs

I've always lived in fairly warm places. This has sometimes made summers unbearable, but summer is generally my favorite season. I currently live in a place with a fairly mild climate year-round. Winters aren't too cold, summers aren't too hot, and spring and autumn are nearly perfect. There are three things I love about summer and I'm working on mixes for all of them. The first is the laziness and quietude the season brings. Everything slows down. People go on picnics, frequent parks in the afternoons, and take long naps.

So here is my ode to lazy summers. In the spirit of laziness, I'm not uploading any mp3s, but I might eventually put them all into a zip file one of these days. When I get around to it.

Lazy Summer Songs

1. Beat Happening: Indian Summer (from Jamboree)
2. Belle & Sebastian: A Summer Wasting (from Boy with the Arab Strap)
3. The Decembrists: Summersong (from The Crane Wife)
4. Devendra Banhart: When the Sun Shone on Vetiver (from Rejoicing in the Hands)
5. The Good Life: [june] Under a Honeymoon (from Album of the Year)
6. Grandaddy: Summer Here Kids (from Under the Western Freeway)
7. Hope Sandoval: Butterfly Mornings (from Bavarian Fruit Bread)
8. Iron & Wine: Passing Afternoon (from Our Endless Numbered Days)
9. The Magnetic Fields: Parades Go By (from 69 Love Songs v. 1)
10. The Magnetic Fields: The Village in the Morning (from Holiday)
11. Matty Popchart: The Sun Lights Strong (from Good Old Water)
12. Neutral Milk Hotel: Oh Comely (from In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
13. Nina Nastasia: Bird of Cuzco (from On Leaving)
14. Regina Spektor: Summer in the City (from Begin to Hope)
15. Rise Against: Swing Life Away (from Siren Song of the Counter Culture)
16. Saturday Looks Good to Me: All our Summer Songs (from All Our Summer Songs)
17. Yo La Tengo: The Summer (from Fakebook)
18. Kings of Convenience: Gold in the Air of Summer (from Riot on an Empty Street)
19. The Flaming Lips: It's Summertime (Throbbing Orange Pallbearers) (from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots)

The next two mixes will be about summer love and summer fun. Enjoy.


married to my only love and music is my wife

I got this idea in my head that I needed a shirt that said "Music is my girlfriend" on it, so I went searching for one. What I found was much better. Music is my girlfriend is a really cute and little record label that has only existed since 2005, but has some really adorable and awesome bands.

Some highlights:

Annemarie is a sweeter version of the All-Girl Summer Fun Band and a poppier version of the Cocteau Twins. They're from the best city in Indonesia (Java, duh!).
-Bubblegum I See
-The Living Model

Fireflies is a guy named Lisle. His music me so much of Espers that it hurts. He has 3 albums, none of which I can find anywhere. You can hear him on his myspace.

Stars in Coma is very DIY but also reminds me of something very old. Listen and you will understand why.
-I saw my heart passing by

Purchase albums here.

In other news, this week I finally finished the last two episodes of Alias, watched the first season of Heroes, and decided to learn enough French to read texts by December.


do you remember what the music meant?

I've spent quite a bit of time at The EARL lately, with two shows in a row and possibly another next week. Despite sometimes having egregious sound problems, its probably my second-favorite venue in the city, after the Drunken Unicorn. Both are roughly the size of someone's master bedroom, with the vestigages of thousands of punk rock shows over the years. Both have also more recently morphed into venues for hip hop and indie shows.

The first show I saw this week was Pretty Girls Make Graves' final tour. PGMG is one of my all-time favorite bands. Not because they are from Seattle or because they have two women, though both make them extra special to me. As a band, they are so consistent, across all 3 albums. Everything is so sharp and put together, despite all of the distortion and heavy bass.

It was probably the most emotional show I've ever been to. It was Andrea Zollo's birthday, and after the audience sang her "Happy Birthday," she left the stage and cried for awhile. Later, the encore almost didn't happen because a few of the band members were crying. The whole thing was just really sad, like visiting an old friend for the last time. There was definitely an atmosphere of mourning surrounding everything. Despite all of that, PGMG's performance totally rocked. I missed the first two songs, but they mostly played songs from The New Romance and Elan Vital. When the pre-encore part of the show was over I was kind of sad because I thought I'd missed "Speakers Push the Air," which is obviously their best song. Fortunately, the encore was even better than the show itself. They played "The Getaway," "This is Our Emergency," and "Speakers Push the Air" with so much energy that I thought the floor was going to fall out from under me. "Speakers Push the Air" was such an appropriate song with which to end the set, given that the band is on their final tour. It might be the best song about loving music ever written. For now, I will choose to believe that it is. Awesome. Just awesome. RIP, Pretty Girls Make Graves.

Pretty Girls Make Graves: Speakers Push the Air

The next night, I saw Laura Veirs . She's a good example of a musician who seemed aesthetically out of place in the venue but ended up being awesome. I credit Charles and Peel for turning me onto her--Charles for posting "Don't Lose Yourself" a few months ago, and Peel for adding it to a playlist of songs I listen to a lot.

I'm so drawn to Laura Veirs' voice--it reminds me of a younger Susan Anway (think the Magnetic Fields' "The Saddest Story Ever Told," on The Wayward Bus). She produces a really strong sound, with tiny hints of ambivalence and a natural airyness that imprints itself on my mind for hours after I listen to her. I tend to enjoy female vocalists because they pull off these elements really well. LV was especially good live in this respect, perhaps because the size of the room was really conducive to hearing the delicacy of her voice. She was a bit unrefined live vs. recorded, but given my love of anti-folk, I'm not complaining. I'd definitely see her again.

You can get the whole show at Cable and Tweed.


falling out

I've spent the last week in denial about entering the real world. I have no desire to write anymore, especially not after completing/defending my thesis, graduating, and having no responsibilities for a few months. What will I do? Where will I go? Who will I befriend along the way, and who will stay with me? Everything is so uncertain that I can't stand it. I have this weird yearning for spontaneity and travel, but only if everything here stays the same. Nothing is the same. Nothing is going to stay the same. Everything is going to change and I'm literally going to have to start over all of my relationships and friendships. I don't even know who I am anymore. I am no longer any of the things I once was. Work starts soon so I can't just get up and leave, but I at least have a good couple of weeks planned for myself:

This week I'll be seeing:

-Pretty Girls Make Graves (final tour, one of my all-time favorite bands)
-Laura Veirs (on Nonesuch)
-Against Me! (can you believe they used to be on plan-it-x?)/Cursive (probably favorite saddlecreek band)/Mastadon (who I really don't like that much but they're along for the ride)

Next week:
-Dan Deacon (hilarious. can you hear the aquabats influence?)

Next month:
-Treephort (local nerdcore. totally awesome. reunion tour)

I don't have anything intelligent to say about anything that's been going on in my musical universe lately. Hopefully tomorrow after PGMG.


but you don't really care for music, do you

The last few weeks have been really stressful, with a number of life changing events occuring in a row, and more to come over the weekend. I don't deal with finality very well, even when it leads to changes in my life that should make me happier or leave me feeling fulfilled. I don't feel fulfilled. I feel sad and empty. It isn't as if I feel like a disaster is impending. There haven't been many major trainwrecks in my life, but the comfort and protection I once felt is gone and it makes me feel so alone. Leaving friends is always the worst--who knows when our paths will cross again? Who knows what life will be like without them?

Wallowing can be okay sometimes. It can slow everything down, make it blurry, and bring much needed emotional rest. I'm not a depressed person. In fact, I only wallow when I feel like the world's beauty is leaving me and I haven't had enough of it. I wallow when I feel the need to mourn loss, when loss becomes creative and I need to make art, listen to music, and deal with change. I think a lot of people turn to Leonard Cohen when they feel the way I do. If they don't, they should. No one mourns better than Leonard Cohen. No one transformes mourning into closure the way Leonard Cohen does. I know everyone really likes the Rufus Wainwright cover of "Hallelujah," but there are two others that have been ipod favorites while I've been trying to get through the last few weeks:

Brandi Carlisle: "Hallelujah"
Jeff Buckley: "Hallelujah

You're depressed now, you say? This youtube clip of Leonard himself performing the song with what appears to be an awkwardly swaying children's choir is quite hilarious (and not sad at all):