Countdown to the best day ever

(in recent memory anyway)

The Magnetic Fields will release their new album, Distortion on January 15, 2008. It has been entirely too long, but there are only 77 more days to go!


It’s just a life story, so there’s no climax

Falling in love makes you feel like the proverbial "love songs on the radio" are all about you. Something must have happened in the last four years, though, because now I feel like I can't get away from breakup songs. Maybe its a genre thing, or maybe I'm just getting here late in the game, but I can't believe I didn't notice it before, all that sadness and heartache. Perhaps because I thought that those things were necessary parts of love.

Currently, I just feel like I'm trapped in a bad tv show script. Watching as much television as I do (for cultural literacy, of course) makes me have these moments when I suddenly realize that the story is not going according to the script. It really is too bad that we wrote the narrative according to what we thought other people would want to see and hear, because now the whole thing is just a disaster. In fact, it is exactly like this:

Okkervil River: Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe


"We are stars and so are you; we are stars and so are you"

Stars were magnificent. They had more energy than I thought they would, with cute little Amy Millan bouncing around the stage and/or crowd surfing, and the equally adorable Torquil Campbell showing off all of his 80's dance moves. Compared to the hundred or so other bands I've seen in the last five years, Stars were sooo excited to be there and amazed that they had such a packed house.

I've heard a lot of people complain about In Our Bedroom After the War and I was probably one of them. Hearing most of the songs performed live has probably moved it up a few ranks in my best of '07 list. There is so much energy lost in production, which is saying a lot because production is one of the things I think the album definitely got right. And the Variety Playhouse kind of had a not-so-good soundperson tonight. But that is neither here nor there. They started and ended strongly. I was hoping they'd start with a slower song but "Take Me to the Riot" was the obvious choice for a starter. The flashing lights nearly gave me a seizure (in a good way). "Window Bird" was probably the best song of the night; it was almost too light and ethereal to handle. All in all, there was a lot of dancing and awesomeness that made me want to take them home with me. I was lucky enough to catch one of the flowers they hurled into the audience. Who knew a carnation could make a girl so happy?

Magnet, the opener, is a beautiful Norwegian man who looks like Russell Crowe, and plays a sad guitar while telling beautiful stories. His website describes him as a trabadour, and that he is-the dark, mysterious kind you fall in love with.

Magnet: Little Miss More or Less (from his website)

p.s. the trumpet is officially the best instrument ever invented.


Your so-called friend doesn't need you

I seriously think my mood is tied to the weather, because I was really sad the last two days when it was raining but today (sunny, 65, totally awesome) I'm in a much better mood, despite everything that has happened.

It still sucks being reminded all the time but its much better when there are no spontaneous tears and whatnot. I guess it helped a little bit that the GRE went well this morning. I've had a lot of time alone to reflect on who I am lately, and I'm really glad to have had it. I've been so focused on work and relationship stuff that I haven't been focusing on myself at all.

Okkervil River: Song of Our So-Called Friend

Also, I finally saw The Darjeeling Limited, which totally rocked my socks off and has a killer soundtrack. The whole thing is just begging to have a paper written about it but that will have to wait until another time.

Finally, in what may be the coolest music-related news of the whole year, the soundtrack for the movie, Juno, is composed almost entirely of songs from Kimya Dawson, The Moldy Peaches, and Antsy Pants. !!!!!! And the movie looks good too.


Just because someone doesn't love you the way you want them to...

...doesn't mean they don't love you with all they have.

The Magnetic Fields: Its a Crime
Nirvana: All You Need is Love (live in Tacoma, 1990)

This is what heartbreak sounds like

...when you let grief happen and wash over you and help you feel real again

The Good Life: Album of the Year


My four year relationship just ended.

Not to be too emo or anything.

Bright Eyes: If Winter Ends


And the sun-smudged peach moon still hung loose

This is my favorite time of year. It has been about 70 degrees and sunny for a few weeks, the leaves are starting to change colors, I can wear sweaters and corduroy pants and argyle socks, and all of my favorite fruits and veggies are in season. I spent half my day wandering around my favorite farmer's market, admiring squash and quince and all kinds of things I only get to cook with for a few months a year.

The leaves are definitely the best part of the autumn, though. There was this awesome tree in my front yard as a child that had really dark wood and leaves that turned bright yellow. It was probably the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, until now anyway. The ivy that covers the back of the house is even starting to change colors a little bit. All of the cute houses on my street are starting to put pumpkins outside, and the air is getting cold, and it all just makes me really really happy.

So here are some autumn songs that will hopefully make you happy too:
Islands: Swans (Life After Death)
Yo La Tengo: Autumn Sweater
Teenage Fanclub: Fallen Leaves
Jack Rose: Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground


La Blogotheque: Take Away Shows

The idea behind the Take Away Shows is to produce music videos on the street, in people's houses, in "natural" environments with natural sound and everyday-life-noises and no light enhancement or anything at all. These are the most visually interesting videos I have ever seen, because they make me feel like I am following people who make nice music through the streets of Paris and Brooklyn and wherever else the videos were shot.

The St. Vincent videos are excellent, as are the Beirut ones (there is one for every song on Flying Cup Club). I could watch them for hours, and I hope you will at least take a peek and appreciate them.

Subscribe to the iTunes podcasts here.


Band of Horses @ the Park Tavern

One of the greatest things about living in this city is that there are constantly free events all over the place, especially in Piedmont Park. Piedmont Park is kind of like Central Park, except that it isn't surrounded by high rises and big city grossness, but instead by a really beautiful city that constantly has gorgeous weather and basically totally rocks. In the summers, Screen on the Green draws several hundred people every week, and on Sundays, the local "alternative" radio station (albeit kinda ew) hosts free shows at a tavern on the southern edge of the park. These shows usually suck. In fact, tonight's was the first I actually wanted to go to in a few years, but it was pretty awesome and totally made up for the fact that the other show I really wanted to see was cancelled earlier in the week.

Awesome because not a lot of people showed up. Awesome because there were no children. Awesome because most of the hipsters stayed home. Awesome because I got to see one of my favorite bands rock out as if they were a country band from South Carolina (because I guess they thought Georgians would be into that?). It was maybe a little bit not awesome getting stepped on quiet so much by the frat boy bros with popped collars, but everything else seriously made up for it.

They played about half of the songs from Everything All the Time and about 75% of Cease to Begin. I'm still deciding how I feel about the latter, because its so much more positive/upbeat than the former. Hearing songs like "Is there a Ghost," "Ode to LRC," and "Marry Song" played live may have tipped the balance a little bit, though I'll always have a soft spot in my heart for the sad drama of Everything All the Time. I was a little bit sad that they didn't play "St. Augustine" (and because they didn't play an encore) but hearing "Monsters" live was probably the best part of my whole night. Sigh. I wish I had taken my camera because I was so close to the front.

This dude, Tyler Ramsey is touring with them. He's pretty okay, in a super folksy kinda way. And he played with the band which was cool because they were all so bearded and flanneled.


You paint yourself while I feel all the noise

The last time I was really into Radiohead, I was an angry 15 year old, dead to the world, yet feeling as invincible as ever, and recently "over" my Smashing Pumpkins phase. Oh yeah, I was really cool. No longer relating to that self that once was, I really didn't think I'd get into In Rainbows. I was kind of right. It wasn't even that I was underwhelmed, which I was. It was more that it wasn't a sound I could really relate to anymore.

All of the elements I usually like are there: synth, slow dreamy emotional vocals, a couple of good build ups, but I really have no desire to listen to someone whose voice sounds like a muted banshee. I guess I understand why there is so much hype surrounding the album, but I don't ever really want to listen to it again. It isn't even that it is hauntingly unpleasant like its predecessors. I'm actually glad that Radiohead has shed some of their creepiness. The main reason I'm just not feeling In Rainbows is that its so boring. It feigns maturity by speeding things up a bit, combining more guitar and jazzy riffs with slower piano tracks, but its ultimately not very refined. It does not move me the way I want to be moved. It makes me feel stuck in a moment in which I do not want to be suspended.

Waste of money? Probably not, since you essentially set your own price. But I really don't get what all the hype is about. At all.


you'll never get nothing of mine

Everyone says this Zach Condon fellow sounds very European. This is partially true, but only because I can imagine Flying Cub Club as an alternative soundtrack to Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. Aside from that, I think everything but the trumpets sounds much more Islamic than Jacques Brel-esque. Seriously, have you ever heard chanted Islamic prayers? They have that same sort of streaming, pained, barely pronounced quality. I realize that makes Beirut seem markedly less pretentious but that can only be a good thing. Nothing so sullen should sound so pretentious.

Luckily, Flying Cup Club is much less pretentious than Gulag Orkestar, doesn't try so hard to be In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, and actually reminds me quite a bit of Stephin Merritt's early work (which, coming from me, is a huge compliment). The richness of that voice, the delicate use of synth, the carnivalesque accordian, the quietness and sadness mingle to produce something that I can't quite put my finger on, but that makes me feel like I did the first time I heard the Magnetic Fields on a mix tape in the seventh grade. My friend Eli says listening to Beirut makes him feel really good. It doesn't make me feel good at all, just very real and grounded, which I suppose is ironic given how dreamy Condon's voice and general style are.

Anyways, back to work. I can't believe how busy I am these days.



Happy World Vegetarian Day, everyone!