Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sad song wrapped in loud dissonance

I am particularly taken with the Vines today, in part because the lead singer, Craig Nicholls, has Asperger's Syndrome and intrigues me. His behavior, on stage and off, has apparently been erratic, strange and unpredictable over the years... but he sure can sing and write songs. You wouldn't know it, necessarily, from this song, but he has a truly lovely voice. This song, dissonant and loud, is especially therapeutic for me.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

So, Sally

This is a song I would like to play and sing: "Don't Look Back in Anger". It's a sing-along-in-the-shower kind of tune.

Oasis melodies are so bright and satisfying, the Beatles echo a very creamy, buttery icing on the cake.

Heavy dirigible

Here's an irony for you.

When I was married, I sometimes felt like I was drowning in silvery CDrs. They were everywhere. Many of them were unlabeled, but some were labeled. Labeled or unlabeled, I thought they were going to suffocate me during my sleep.

One estimate is that at least 47% of those CDrs were from various Led Zeppelin albums, live performances, studio outtakes or Plant/Page reunion gigs. I cannot overstate the number of Led Zeppelin recordings that lived in my bedroom.

So I was surrounded by Led Zeppelin music and at times, it got on my nerves, mostly when I slipped on one of the discs and hurt myself. (Yes, that happened. More than once.)

Now ... on my own ... who do I often turn to for a pick me up? Those same British boys, indeed.

Just now, in my van, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, wondering what it means to be happy, to be satisfied, jumping down (to use one friend's term) the lonely hole, just a little. So ... I put in this song, a combo of "White Summer/Black Mountainside." Behold the brilliance of Jimmy Page.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A real classic

Ray Chen.
Saint Saens' Rondo Capriccioso.
What a voice.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ms. Hill

Just a matter of time before this lovely funky tune got included.

Talib Kweli is a smart MC + he articulates while rapping, and I like that. (He was in Black Star with Mos Def, and has a reputation for being a savvy, pop culture-oriented hip hop artist. That's my take, anyway.)

This song is actually about Lauryn Hill, but hey ... it's my name too.

Hooked on the Classics: scary scary scorn song

Oh Polly Jean Harvey, whaddya say? Be my friend? My unbalanced, edgy friend, who, when I confess heartbreak at the hands of some insensitive brute, suggests that we light his car on fire?

This song takes me back to college. But I've listened to the album many times since then.

I am trying to learn "Rid of Me", but will admit that its impact is somewhat lost when a) played on an acoustic guitar b) by ME!

Hooked on the Classics: Dusty!

Inside of each of us is a playlist of foundational and/or favorite tunes that have stayed with us through the years... tunes that when heard on the radio on a random Saturday afternoon ignite our tears or toe taps or whatever.

Personal classics.

I'm going to share some of mine, starting with this one ... cause I LOVE to sing it. At that big karaoke party I want to host come 2012 (pre-fulfillment of Mayan prophesies of destruction), this will be one of the first songs I sing.

I've not yet decided whether to go with Dusty's bangs or not ...

No, not the movie with a young Christian Bale

That movie is the best, truly. Young Christian Bale's performance is astounding.

But this is the band Empire of the Sun. And this is their catchy song called "Walking on a Dream".

Just a little techno + outlandish eye makeup + pan-Asian icon sampler for a Monday morning.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Well, since you asked

Fine, fine, the outpouring of interest indicates that y'all really want to see "Small Stakes" too. Can't just mention a Spoon gem like that without an accompanying clip. No, no, don't mention it. I'm glad to share this one. (Again, take the Stripes diss with a grain of sea salt.)

This clip is the video the band made for this hugely memorable song showcasing its intoxicating simplicity. (Hey, I like that phrase.)

And oh, what a song. This song got me through November and December 2007, two months that changed the shape of my life. Some days I would come home from teaching and instead of collapsing onto my bed, would press play on Kill the Moonlight, listen to this track, the first one on that album, and find the strength to fold a load of laundry.

Mr. Daniel, from the bottom of my heart, thanks.

What can I say?
Great video.
Great song.
Great album.
Great band.

I don't know that I think of myself as a lucky lady. I'm not rushing off to buy lottery tickets or anything, but I feel deeply confident that I picked long-term winners with these guys. You already know I love them. But I know that they're going to be one of the bands that goes the distance. Are these just the delusional rantings of a crazed fan? Not at all. You can bet on it. Bet on them.

from Icky Thump

I'm new to The White Stripes. New, but enthusiastic. I've been listening to them on a mix CD and on Pandora, the terrific aural buffet.

Don't you love that album name, Icky Thump?

Admission: I used to think I *knew* that Meg White was a poor drummer, and somehow, my arrogant dismissal of her kept me from the band. What a loser. Me, not her. Her, I like.  Even Mr. Britt Daniel changed his mind. In "Small Stakes", the amazing single off of Kill the Moonlight, he dismissed the band in favor of Har Mar Superstar (talk about an, ahem, unusual look), but later confessed in more than one interview that he actually really likes the White Stripes and their aesthetic. Good thing, since both Gimme Fiction and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga have the red/white/black look going on too.

Coming to this band kinda reminds of me when I started reading the Harry Potter series right after Goblet of Fire was published. Lucky me, I had three books ahead of me when I finished the first one. Didn't have to wait for years ... at least not then. I certainly put in my time waiting for The Half-Blood Prince and The Deathly Hallows though.

With the White Stripes, there are lots of albums to learn and love. Lots of red, black and white pictures to enjoy. Goodness gracious, Mr. White has already moved on to two other bands - the Raconteurs and Dead Weather. Both Mr. White and Ms. White have married other people. Mr. White's new wife has released an album with Ms. White's husband as the drummer. Anyone up for a game of Clue?

Coming to this band also kinda reminds me of the Blinn College motto, sometimes mocked by my students: Proven.

The White Stripes are proven. So it's a good time to dig in.

This particular song is so clever, so satisfying, so yes yes yes.
We can all relate, I think, whether in romantic relationships or friendships or whatever ... I borrow expressions, gestures, vocal tics, ideas and much more from the people into my life. I get this.

Lyrics? Most certainly! Verse 2 is brilliant!

I'm slowly turning into you
But you don't know this
Tell the truth
You say I'm lying and I never really tell you the truth
But your face is getting older
So put your head on my shoulder
Yeah, put your head on my shoulder

Yesterday it hit me that I do all the little things
That you do
Except the same little things that you do are annoying
They're annoying as hell in fact
It kinda struck a little bell in fact
I like to keep my little shell intact

And I'm slowly turning into you (2x)

Then something else came to mind
That was the mirror
It made everything clearer
That you're more beautiful compelling and stronger
It didn't take much longer

Just for me to realize I love all the little things
And the beauty that they're gonna bring
I dig your little laugh and I'm lovin' your quick wit
I even love it when you're faking it
And it might sound a little strange for me to say to you
But I'm proud to be you

And I'm slowly turning into you (4x)

No such thing

... as a guilty pleasure.

If ya like it, like it big and proud.

Still, when I told a friend about Glee (that I like it) & shared a few clips, his response was something along these lines: "I can't believe they make a show like this. Wait, you watch it?!??!" (Extra punctuation added by me to indicate his incredulous response.)

They do, and I do.

I love the bombastic singing, the frothy emotions, the ratcheted-up intensity of the characters' mini-dramas. Not only do I enjoy listening to this singing, I would LOVE to sing on the show. I adore this kind of over-emoted cheese-fest, especially when I am the one doing it! One of these years, I want to have a giant karaoke party with all of the people I love in attendance. Location/logistics might be a problem, but I have two years til 40 to figure that out ...

Anyhoo ... here is an example of one of the super powers of Glee: the mash up! In this case, they've mashed two Madonna songs, and in so doing, helped me realize that "Open Your Heart" is a really pretty tune.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Britt Daniel kinda pulls a Prince in this song, I think. "Who Makes Your Money" is funky, heavy on the falsetto in places, a little sexy (can I say that?), et al.  The thing I LOVE, however, is the bass/guitar solo about halfway through. I cannot tell you how much I dig these lines.The drums join in a third of the way into the solo, and it's subtle perfection to me. It's funny, isn't it?, that my favorite Spoon stuff today doesn't feature BD's vocals, even though I do like them, always.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

me myself

Hard day. Hard week. Hard month. Great year though. Truly. Figuring BIG stuff out.

This morning I only had the strength to listen to Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog" loud on the way to work. It is a song to pump me up. No sadness in it, only powerful drumming, powerful rhythms. I had to hold it together to give a final exam. "Black Dog" (already listed on this blog, I think) is great for that.

The final exam has been given, however, and this song recommendation was waiting in my inbox courtesy of Elizabeth. Oh these Indigo Girls. Their harmonies are so sweet and good, so pleasing.  Their lyrics too. In fact, I think they are super lyricists. Lucky you, this clip shares the lyrics via a nifty font-on-purple-background.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The name of a drink, I think

I have no idea of the who/what/why/huh in this video clip. It ain't the studio sponsored video for Feist's "Brandy Alexander," I'm pretty sure, but you can hear the song, and that's what I'm going for.

I love Feist's voice. Sweet, plaintive, a tiny bit quirky and a lot bit pretty.

I love this song too. Found out it was co-written by Ron Sexsmith, a Canadian songwriter I admire.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


I have to give Becca props for introducing me to Vampire Weekend, and then need to extend props to my friend Derall for telling me about the drink horchata, a kind of cinnamon rice milk (wiki-definition, of course).  I thought of both of 'em as I put in Vampire Weekend's Contra (their 2nd album) today. I purchased it six weeks ago, and then ... didn't get around to it.

... but now, I'm back in the Vampire Weekend business. These fellas are fun.

My children listened a couple of times, and then Annie said, "I have no idea what they're saying."

"Oh, me neither," I told her.