26 December, 2010

24 December, 2010

"Sleepyhead Jam" - Francisco Yglesia

"Babelogue" by Patti Smith

I haven't fucked much with the past, but I've fucked plenty with the future.
Over the skin of silk are scars from the splinters of stations and walls I've caressed.
A stage is like each bolt of wood, like a log of Helen, is my pleasure.
I would measure the success of a night by the way by the way by the amount of piss and seed I could exude over the columns that
nestled the P.A.
Some nights I'd surprise everybody by skipping off with a skirt of green net sewed over with flat metallic circles which dazzled and
The lights were violet and white. I had an ornamental veil, but I couldn't bear to use it.
When my hair was cropped, I craved covering, but now my hair itself is a veil, and the scalp inside is a scalp of a crazy and sleepy
Comanche lies beneath this netting of the skin.
I wake up. I am lying peacefully I am lying peacefully and my knees are open to the sun.
I desire him, and he is absolutely ready to seize me. In heart I am a Moslem; in heart I am an American;
In heart I am Moslem, in heart I'm an American artist, and I have no guilt.
I seek pleasure. I seek the nerves under your skin.
The narrow archway; the layers; the scroll of ancient lettuce.
We worship the flaw, the belly, the belly, the mole on the belly of an exquisite whore.
He spared the child and spoiled the rod. I have not sold myself to God.

21 November, 2010

Great quote

“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”

— John Waters

20 November, 2010

Rules for living with people

Pulled from Amanda Palmer's blog along with the majority of my inspiration recently, this is great:

How to Tour in a Band or Whatever
1. Don’t Complain. Bitching, moaning, whining is tour cancer. If something is wrong, fix it or shut the fuck up you fucking dick. Goddamn.
2. If you fart, claim it.
3. Don’t Lose shit. Everybody loses shit. Don’t fucking do it. Asshole.
4. Don’t fuck anyone in the band. There are tons of people to fuck who are not in this band. Dumbass.
5. If you feel like shit all the time, drink less beer at the gig. You will play better & feel better. What are you…..a child? Some have the endurance for self abuse. Most don’t.
6. Remember the soundman’s name. He will do a better job.
7. Eat oranges. Cures constipation & prevents colds.
8. Masturbate, duh… Where & when? Be creative. You’re an artist right?
9. If YOU cant carry your suitcase 3 blocks, it’s too goddamn big.
10. Respect public space in the van. Don’t clutter, you Fuck.
11. If you borrow something, return it. Not Fucked Up.
12. Do Not let the promoter dick you or talk you out of the guarantee. If there were not enough people there, it’s their fault.
13. Driver picks the music.
14. One navigator only (usually sitting shotgun). Everyone else, shut the fuck up.
15. Soundcheck is for checking sounds. Shut the fuck up while everyone else is checking.
16. Don’t wander off. Let someone know where you are.
17. Clean up after yourself. What are you…a goddamn toddler?
18. Touring makes everyone bi-polar. Ride the waves as best you can, and remember, moods pass, so don’t make any snap decisions or declarations when you are drunk or insane.
19. Fast food is Poison.
20. The guestlist is for friends, family & people you might want to fuck. Everyone else can pay. They have day jobs.
21. Don't evaluate your whole life while you’re sitting in a janitor closet waiting to go on. You think you’re above having shitty days at work? Shut up & do your goddamn job.

This list was written under the influence of lots of esspresso & anti-depressants while on tour w/ such greats as Shearwater, Swans, Smog, Lisa Germano, Angels of Light, Bill Callahan, & many more. I hope this list will help you get along w/ your co-workers whatever your job is. Contributions to the list by Jordan Geiger, Kimberly Burke, Brian Orloff, Brian Phillips Celebrity Gang Bang, Kevin Schneider, Jonathan Meiburg, Michael Gira and some other folks.

I would add: Don't steal your housmate's food. Geez. Leaving 1/3 of a container of rice where there was once an entire container of green curry is not a subtle gesture, it is an overt and intentional asshole move. #Justsayin' If you need food, ask. I'm big on sharing.

06 November, 2010

I'm just a girl

I started to build a playlist about an hour ago that is meant to encapsulate the next couple of weeks that I will spend in Sydney (I cannot type the words "last couple of weeks that I will spend in Sydney," because I already know that I am coming back).

It has been a trip. Mentally, physically, emotionally, academically, musically, socially, philosophically. A trip. I have made playlists to chronicle the experience and to understand it in someone else's words. Looking at my playlists, the ones which I can discern at a glace (e.g. through their transparent titles) are from my time here in Australia number nine – including the mix that I am in the process of making.

Nine playlists for 19 weeks is close to a playlist every fortnight. Realize also that I spent a good month listening primarily to The Last Five Years Soundtrack, and probably another month listening to the Temper Trap album. I have been bouncing from radio station to music venue, and craving music that I have not listened to since I was fifteen alongside music that you couldn't have forced me to listen to three months ago (even some noise rock has filtered in there). I have worked on an intensive project that required me to take stock of my own impressions and relations to musical events, alongside those of other people.

Music therapy is my therapy, and mixing is my way of looking at the world and ordering it for myself so that I can grasp it in some way.

So here I am, attempting to order the future – to settle the next few weeks of my journey in musical parameters.

I find myself picking strong acts that champion women and offer heroines, over and over: Le Tigre, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Regina Spektor, Amanda Palmer, the Dresden Dolls, 4 Non Blondes, the White Stripes.

The music itself has a lot of variety, but there are some strong themes. With only nine songs so far, I am ordering them based on energy/tempo as well as trying to space out overlapping artists.

There is a strong theme of tongue in cheek frivolity, which is my current favorite M.O. Glitter and glam rock are attractive genres that provide similarly attractive philosophies, and perhaps I am taking some of this penchant for dark humor/glamor from Australian life as well.

Here are the tracks and my reasons for choosing them (at least the ones which I will consciously acknowledge):

1. "Oasis" by Amanda Palmer
This track is a throw by throw account of a teenage girl who is raped at a party and has an abortion. It was produced by Ben Folds. It has a "ba ba ba, ooh ooh ooh" chorus and jangly piano. The video shows the glittery Amanda getting a coathanger abortion, surrounded by fundamentalist Christians. Amanda wrote a really wonderful blog post about this track, and why exactly it is important to her. But here is why it is important to me: it speaks to the dark truth that rape and abortion are common aspects of female (yes, teenage female) life, and as with any of the darkest aspects of life, they are things that you can deal with through laughter and wit. Importantly, humor is akin and shares a bed with strength. It doesn't mean that people can't deal with dark aspects of their life in many ways, but it does mean that humor is and should be as valid as any other.

2. "Heads Will Roll" by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I heard this in a nightclub in Sydney, and I always find Karen O's post-mortem rock lyrics hilarious. The music is insanely catchy and easy to dance to, but how many people listen to this account of death by glitter and think about it as such? Karen O channels her brand of female sexuality in an interesting way, and I find myself more and more drawn to her work as a more financially/personally empowered incarnation of the Runaways that explores an open collaboration between male and female musicians. That is the thought behind it, but in terms of my enjoyment of the song...well, that is all wound up in that subtle alchemy of songwriting.

3. "Your Honor" by Regina Spektor
This has been one of my favorite Regina songs for awhile. It strikes me as amusing lyrically and aesthetically. I love the harshness of the song, until the small section which is just piano and soft/sweet vocals. Then she bangs it out again, and makes her point with a cutting line: "Mary had a little lamb, her fleece was white as snow. You've got me and I'm just a common 'ho. But I know what I am and I know what I ain't. And don't get cut, 'cause I still won't be no saint."

4. "Hotel Yorba" by the White Stripes
Female instrumentalists are often looked, but on this song Meg White is where it's at. Without her maniacal drumming, this song would not be hard-hitting in any way. Her percussion is the exclamatory punctuation for Jack's rather tender lyrics. The combination is snarky and sweet, and I am hooked.

5. "They want us to make a song out of the sound of women swallowing their own tongues" by Le Tigre
This is a mash-up of recorded sounds of women stumbling over themselves, and I will forever remember it as an introduction to feminism that is a commentary on female self-empowerment and representation as much as on what other people should be doing for women. Just the other day my Dad said to me: "Remember that you were inspired by Le Tigre and the Donnas." And I was, that is true. But more than anything, I think I started to see a little of myself and what I was thinking in other women. That has continued, and been most obvious in the music I love. It probably started somewhere close to hearing this song.

6. "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes
The vocals on this song are shattering...I just love them. They are soulful and shredding. The lyrics are strong. Also, Linda Perry is from Springfield, MA (represent the Pioneer Valley!). Continuing the Carol King tradition of powerful female songwriters and producers, Linda Perry knows what's up. I can't forgive her for James Blunt, but this song makes some headway.

7. "My Alcoholic Friends" by the Dresden Dolls
Per my former comment on Le Tigre, I have recently begun to wish that I had been more open to the Dresden Dolls when I was around that age. I knew about them, I even owned and loved "Coin-operated Boy". But, despite my best attempts, I didn't really get it. Perhaps it took a period of coming to terms with my own darkness, in order to be able to face and laugh at and enjoy theirs. The humor and the heaviness are united so fully in the music, and the wordplay is tops. I can't get this song out of my head.

8. "I Want To Sing" by Regina Spektor
The lyrics are perfect. I cannot get enough of this song. It should be crooned in late-night bars like the one in Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. "This too shall pass, this too shall pass."

05 November, 2010

"It must be like catching lightning in a jar."

I am fascinated by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer individually – they both make amazing art. But I am also fascinated by them as a couple, and this article just crystallized that fascination for me. Maybe I am enamored with them because they are a "power couple" who seem to work things in their favor, and assume a balance between their intense bond and their self-reliance.

Neil Gaiman on Amanda Palmer & the Dresden Dolls

When it comes to life, I try to choose unconventional role models. I am starting to think that this is part of why I am so fascinated by Neil and Amanda.

24 October, 2010

Changing the rules

For anyone who has been following this blog for any time, it is clear to see that it has lost steam despite my best attempts to keep it running as a music blog. Things change, and I have come to the point where I am not inspired to *JUST* write about music in a limited space, but instead to write about a lot of things including, adjacent and parallel to music in my life. Or perhaps, to better phrase this, write about my life with a soundtrack.

Tonight, I am listening to Air's album Walkie Talkie, and I have this Douglas Adams quote running through my head: "It's no coincidence that in no known language does the phrase 'As pretty as an airport' appear.” That's been running through my head since my morning/afternoon in the Sydney Opera House, when someone made the somewhat unsettling comment that they felt like we were in an airport. What was funny was that they were absolutely correct, and yet there were moments when all I could feel was this intense certainty that I had shuffled into a gigantic musical instrument and been swallowed within its walls – and something about that was calming. Air would soundtrack this day in my life, and they have since I got home late this afternoon.

In other news, I love this article deeply, and also think the point made is completely valid. Sex education should be more than just planning for the "catastrophe" of sex. Why does it have to be defined catastrophically? I will never understand this as anything but another way that people try to rule the world through fear, either consciously or unconsciously (and probably through a bit of both).

Here's the article: "Why Didn't We Learn About UTIs in Sex Ed?. I was lucky enough to have a mom who told me about UTIs long before I needed to really worry about them, and also told me secrets for dealing with them. But honestly, I found it horrifying that this adult woman writing the article just put up with the effects of UTIs for years, because she had never learned about them or felt like they were worth mentioning to doctors or sexual partners. That is a problem! Anyway, interesting article, and I love Jezebel so that is an added bonus.

07 September, 2010

"Thunder Road" - Bruce Springsteen

The screen door slams
Mary's dress waves
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison singing for the lonely
Hey that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again
Don't run back inside
darling you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, but hey you're alright
Oh and that's alright with me

You can hide 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lovers
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well now I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer, girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow back your hair
Well the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting DOWN ON the tracks
Oh oh come take my hand
Riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh oh Thunder Road, oh Thunder Road
oh Thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road, sit tight take hold
Thunder Road

Well I got this guitar
And I learned how to make it talk
And my car's out back
If you're ready to take that long walk
From your front porch to my front seat
The door's open but the ride it ain't free
And I know you're lonely
For words that I ain't spoken
But tonight we'll be free
All the promises'll be broken
There were ghosts in the eyes
Of all the boys you sent away
They haunt this dusty beach road
In the skeleton frames of burned out Chevrolets

They scream your name at night in the street
Your graduation gown lies in rags at their feet
And in the lonely cool before dawn
You hear their engines roaring on
But when you get to the porch they're gone
On the wind, so Mary climb in
It's a town full of losers
And I'm pulling out of here to win

05 September, 2010

"All I Wanna Do" - Sheryl Crow

Hit it!
This ain't no disco
It ain't no country club either
This is LA!

"All I wanna do is have a little fun before I die,"
Says the man next to me out of nowhere
It's apropos of nothing
He says his name's William but I'm sure
He's Bill or Billy or Mac or Buddy
And he's plain ugly to me
And I wonder if he's ever had a day of fun in his whole life
We are drinking beer at noon on Tuesday
In a bar that faces a giant car wash
The good people of the world are washing their cars
On their lunch break, hosing and scrubbing
As best they can in skirts in suits
They drive their shiny Datsuns and Buicks
Back to the phone company, the record store too
Well, they're nothing like Billy and me, cause

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

I like a good beer buzz early in the morning
And Billy likes to peel the labels
From his bottles of Bud
He shreds them on the bar
Then he lights every match in an oversized pack
Letting each one burn down to his thick fingers
Before blowing and cursing them out
And he's watching the bottles of Bud as they spin on the floor
And a happy couple enters the bar
Dangerously close to one another
The bartender looks up from his want ads but

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

Otherwise the bar is ours,
The day and the night and the car wash too
The matches and the Buds and the clean and dirty cars
The sun and the moon but

All I wanna do is have some fun
I got a feeling I'm not the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
I've got a feeling the party has just begun
All I wanna do is have some fun
I won't tell you that you're the only one
All I wanna do is have some fun
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard
Until the sun comes up over Santa Monica Boulevard

31 August, 2010

From time to time I read Feministing

I agree with some of it, not all of it, but that's the way I feel about most things I read.

Today I found a link to a really superb blog post about women in music, women in art, and women making anything in general. It was written by Amy who plays guitar for the New York band Titus Andronicus. I have never listened to Titus Andronicus, although I have heard the name before, but this article has given me the impetus to look 'em up.

Here's a short quote (you should really go read the whole article):

"This is not an article about Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone is not guilty of anything, except of being complicit in a larger system that governs the way our country exists. But Rolling Stone, at its purest form, was meant to be about rock and roll, and rock and roll is about rebellion, and if we let that spirit die, than we are missing out on everything the genre has to offer. Are we going to patrol the borders of American culture so as to admit only straight, white males? Or are we going to open our culture up to challenge oppressive systems of race and class, and privilege, and gender, and sexual orientation? This is what rock and roll was meant for, and what the spirit that captures the collective imagination of youth can accomplish, if it is funneled constructively into the future. How many things can you get young people excited about these days, besides music? What else breaks the apathy of large crowds and causes them to dance together, and sing the same words, and not want to fight everyone who’s different from them, for once? If our culture’s “rebellion” actually belongs to those in power, and continues to belong to them, then it’s not a real rebellion at all anymore, and therefore rock and roll is dead."

27 August, 2010

"The Longest Time" by Billy Joel

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest

If you said goodbye to me tonight
There would still be music left to write
What else could I do
I'm so inspired by you
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Once I thought my innocence was gone
Now I know that happiness goes on
That's where you found me
When you put your arms around me
I haven't been there for the longest time

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest

I'm that voice you're hearing in the hall
And the greatest miracle of all
Is how I need you
And how you needed me too
That hasn't happened for the longest time

Maybe this won't last very long
But you feel so right
And I could be wrong
Maybe I've been hoping too hard
But I've gone this far
And it's more than I hoped for

Who knows how much further we'll go on
Maybe I'll be sorry when you're gone
I'll take my chances
I forgot how nice romance is
I haven't been there for the longest time

I had second thoughts at the start
I said to myself
Hold on to your heart
Now I know the woman that you are
You're wonderful so far
And it's more than I hoped for

I don't care what consequence it brings
I have been a fool for lesser things
I want you so bad
I think you ought to know that
I intend to hold you for the longest time

Woa, oh, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh,oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh
For the longest time
Woa, oh, oh,
For the longest time

26 August, 2010

Excerpt: "A Summer In Ohio"

I could shove an ice pick in my eye,
I could eat some fish from last July,
But it wouldn't be as awful as a summer in Ohio
Without cable, hot water, Vietnamese food, or you...

21 August, 2010

"I Want To Sing" - Regina Spektor

I want to sing to you my love
My only love and happiness
don't be so blue so blue my love
take off your shoes take off my dress
I want to sing to you my love
My only love and happiness
don't be so blue so blue my love
this too shall pass this too shall pass

but tell me, what have I done to deserve you?
must have done something cause that's how it works
must have been kind to kittens and birds,
in a previous life must have thought happy thoughts...

'cause there, you were there right beside me
then somehow inside me while inside myself
books on the shelf thoughts on the shelf
hands to myself, i should definitely keep my hands to myself

Love is a dangerous pastime
caught between madness and gladness of flight
nothing is wrong and nothing is right
falling asleep in your arms every night

But Love's such a strange situation
full of frustration and anger and fear
Everything's tears
nobody hears
nobody's here, and nobody hears...

I want to sing to you my love
my only love and happiness
don't be so blue so blue my love
take off your shoes take off my dress
I want to sing to you my love
my only love and happiness
don't be so blue so blue my love
This too shall pass, this too shall pass...

Hold on, one more time with feeling.

I don't know if this is true for most people, but I tend not to have an instant visceral connection to most of the albums I listen to – at least not in full. There will generally be one or two songs that I absolutely love upon the first few listens, I'll come back to these songs again and again, but not listen to the rest of an album. This is what happens with 99% of artists that are either new to me, or that I only enjoy on certain occasions. That other 1% is all of the artists that I adore, and whose albums I listen to over and over.

But there is an exception to this rule, and her name is Regina Spektor. I love her music, and count her in my top ten favorite artists at the moment, but I can rarely take in an entire album by her when it is first released. I will listen and love a few songs, enjoy the rest of the album but find it not quite the right fit at the time. However, when I return in a month or two a few more songs will be a perfect fit. This pattern usually repeats over the next year or two, so that even when Far was released, I was still coming to terms with some of the songs on Begin to Hope. I find this refreshing and challenging. I feel as if I grow with every album that she releases, and grow into the albums over time and with changes in mood and emotion. The beauty of every song is not immediately accessible, or easy to understand and grasp. Not everything is revealed with a hook and a clever line.

At the beginning of this summer, I was enamored with "Dance Anthem of the '80s," "The Calculation," and "Folding Chair". I liked the rest of the album, but my disposition was too undeniably sunny to quite grab ahold of "Blue Lips" and "Genius Next Door," and a lot of the rest of the album. "Wallet" was too mundane, "Two Birds" was too cynical, "Machine" was too post-apocalyptic, even "Eet" and "Laughing With" – two songs I had enjoyed quite a bit as singles – were a bit too dark. The shading on the album was just blue enough that it sent chills through my May and June self, and I wanted to ignore those chills until I could fully appreciate them.

Well here I am, a month into a trip across the world, and the album is hitting me hard and close to my heart. It is a testament to how much has changed in my life since May that now "Wallet" is an intensely poetic investigation of the perceived distance between individuals that can be spanned, for moments at a time with a little imagination, by the objects that inhabit our lives. "Machine" is a humorous play on that post-apocalyptic feeling that is so often evoked without any heart. But it is saved by a genuine critique of the coldness and distance that can come from unthinkingly accepting technology into your life and person. "Human of The Year" is a commentary on how people are praised after they have died, and held as golden standards when they were really just people. "Genius Next Door" has a melancholy tone and tells a narrative that is, well, water-logged. It has the weight of a classic Tchaikovsky score, and is full of little vignettes of a town surrounding a lake. I think my favorite of my new favorites is "One More Time With Feeling," which just encapsulates a feeling of being stuck and trying so hard, but not feeling like you're moving anywhere. It is wonderfully written and exactly what I am feeling right now.

15 August, 2010

Why I love Twitter (despite the "hateration" that surrounds it)

The following is all quoting ThatKevinSmith (verified as Kevin Smith on Twitter):

"Bad movies have existed since human beings have existed. Movies are a SUBJECTIVE experience. EVERY movie is good to some, bad to others.

So bad movies, like the poor, will be with us always... unless YOU do something about it. THAT is how we replenish the world of cinema.

Case in point: eons ago, I was desperate to see films in which I could recognize MYSELF (aside from the Jabba scenes in RETURN OF THE JEDI).

None existed. Lament or fill a perceived hole? Commentate or create? Easy choice: it's always more fun & fulfilling to play God than Man.

So I started making flicks I knew I'd love if I was in the audience. They weren't better or worse than the same-old-shit; just different.

And on the back of different, I built a career. And as part of that career, 20 years in, I made a plain-old movie. Was fun for me & a smart

career move (those who'd argue differently a) have no fucking clue, b) have no fucking life, arguing about shit that doesn't effect them).

But let's be honest: it wasn't DIFFERENT. Different enough, within the parameters, but the flick was familiar. Someone else coulda made it.

And we all know there were very loud folks who let us know how much they didn't like #CopOut . But change never comes from that sector.

No, where change comes from is that moment someone can't take the crushing sameness anymore/wants to see THEMSELVES reflected on the screen.

Change doesn't churn out 1000 words only 10 people will ever read & absolutely nobody will remember; change writes a script & goes to work.

So I accept my ironic role in all of this: movies LIKE #CopOut made me wanna make CLERKS. And years later, I wanted to make #CopOut.

But just as Willis sees his adult fate at the end of 12 MONKEYS, I live in a constant loop of my own: CLERKS begets COP begets CLERKS, etc.

We're on the verge of the next golden age of creativity. People are tired of the same ol' shit & they've got LOTS to say. Once they stop using energy to emo-bitch about how it should be done differently instead of just DOING it differently themselves? Might see some cool shit."

This was awesome to read, and very true, I think. There has been a lot of this sentiment in the conversations I have been having recently, and it's opening me up to seeing more possibilities for things that I can create.

13 August, 2010

Boston Street Talent

Amanda Palmer just had this guy on live-streaming video playing piano in her house:


He is very talented, and the music on his MySpace is definitely worth a listen. (Thanks Max for notifying me about all of this!)

From comic book to one of the top soundtracks of 2010

In my humble music-loving opinion, Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World has rocked my world in a few ways, some quite literal.

I saw the movie yesterday, and refrained from listening to the full soundtrack until after I watched the film. First of all, I cannot say enough wonderful things about this movie. I went alone to an afternoon showing, because I couldn't convince any of my friends to come along. This sounds sad, but it was actually kind of awesome to go to the movie by myself and be completely engaged. The movie/video game style was campy and funny, the ironic and sardonic tones of the characters completely engaged and amused me (and stylistically stayed true to the comics), and the soundtrack didn't inhibit the story in anyway, but was a powerful driver for the dynamic of the movie. Way to go Beck who wrote the original songs by the fictional band Sex Bob-Omb and also the song "Ramona" which he takes full credit for (and should) on the soundtrack.

But I don't want to get ahead of myself. Here's the breakdown:

The soundtrack starts off with a song by Sex Bob-Omb (the band that Michael Cera's character belongs to in the movie). There are four of these songs on the album: "We Are Sex Bob-Omb,""Garbage Truck,""Threshold" and "Summertime". All of these songs are gems...albeit of the hard rock kind, rather than the shiny, shimmery diamond kind. "Garbage Truck" is probably my favorite, both because of its in-film placement, and because the lyrics completely parallel the sound (or vice versa). Basically, Sex Bob-Omb are a garage rock band that I could see riding on a garbage truck. Perfect.

Crash and the Boys have two songs (written by Broken Social Scene), both of which are short and far from sweet. They are fun! "I'm So Sad, So Very, Very, Sad" is completely it's title along with some squelching, smashing, crunching guitar. "We Hate You Please Die" lasts for almost an entire minute longer, and has some noise and garage influences with plenty of reverb.

"Ramona [Acoustic]" and "Ramona" by Beck are probably the highlights of the original music on the album. The first is an acoustic preview of the second, but both are unabashed love songs that are also very well written. I did not feel myself even slightly revolted by either song. They are not cutesy or emotionally overstated, and the fact that Beck delivers them in his signature mumble makes them even more touching in the same way that the movie is touching and awkward and true.

In terms of the not so original stuff, there's a great medley that perfectly references the movie in the best music nerd ways. "Scott Pilgrim" by Plumtree was written in the 1990's and (according to Wikipedia, not the best source - I know) inspired the Scott Pilgrim books by Bryan Lee O'Malley. "I Heard Ramona Sing" by Frank Black sounds like a mainstream Pixies song (understandably), but with it's jangly guitar and titular character it fits perfectly on the soundtrack. "By Your Side" by Beachwood Sparks and "Oh Katrina!" by the Black Lips are both alt-rock tunes that channel the same late (latent) teenage energy that courses through the movie. "Teenage Dream" by T. Rex and "Sleazy Bed Track" by the Bluetones both have a blues heavy depth and drag mixed with melodicism that make them great slow-dance/make-out numbers. "It's Getting Boring By The Sea" by Blood Red Shoes amps up the pace after "Sleazy Bed Track," and the frenetic pacing runs over a grooving bass line. "Black Sheep" by Metric is used very creatively in the movie, as the big song of Scott Pilgrim's evil ex-girlfriend's band. It sounds convoluted, but it works very well. The song is spacey, heavy and dark sounding, but it shapeshifts into a catchy synth-heavy pop song. "Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl" by Broken Social Scene obviously references the Knives Chau character in the comics and the movie, but also brings some lush and tender strings and harmonies into play. I have to make a point of commenting on the use of "Under My Thumb" by the Rolling Stones as a kind of theme song for the relationship between Jason Schwartzman's character and the Ramona character. It has a perfect sleazy, sexy quality that defines that bit of the movie, and made the internal music nerd a very happy one indeed. Finally, Brian LeBarton's "Threshold [8 bit]" brings you back to full cartoon-o-vision and video game style. Pow!

This is definitely the best soundtrack of the summer, and potentially the best of 2010.

Back from the Land Down Under

Like music, I return to this blog out of a craving for comfort and expression. Hopefully I'll be able to make something cool in the process.

24 June, 2010


This is great, and this is why I started this blog in 2005. Because I love music, and I love pointing out what I love about music:

"I Like Music" cartoon by Stuart McMillen

I now Blip.fm...

Soon, I will be back to posting. Probably within the next few days. I am overflowing with the need to write and record again. It waxes and wanes, but now it's waxing and I am trying to wax poetic and failing miserably.

The point is, check it out: Blip.fm

24 May, 2010

"Folding Chair" - Regina Spektor

Come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there's a breeze
There's a shadow
You can't see my eyes
And the sea is just a wetter version of the skies

Let's get a silver bullet trailer and have a baby boy,
I'll safety pin his clothes all cool and you'll graffiti up his toys
I've got a perfect body, but sometimes I forget
I've got a perfect body, 'cause my eyelashes catch my sweat
yes they do
They do

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh-ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Now I've been sitting on this abandoned beach for years
Waiting for the salty water to cover up my ears
But every time the tide come in to take me home
I get scared
I get scared NOW I'm sitting here alone
Dreaming of the dolphin song

Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh-ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

Maybe one day you'll understand
That I want nothing from you but to sweetly hold your hand
Till that day just please don't be so down
Don't make frowns, you silly clown

Just come and open up your folding chair next to me
My feet are buried in the sand and there's a breeze
There's a shadow
You can't see my eyes
And the waves are just a frothier version of the skies

There's a shadow, you can't see my eyes
There's a shadow, you can't see my eyes

15 April, 2010

"Do You Swear...," new Amanda Palmer song

<a href="http://amandapalmer.bandcamp.com/album/do-you-swear">Do You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass by Amanda Palmer</a>

when i was six years old my sister alyson
asked for a stove for her birthday
a miniature one you could actually cook with
and my mom was nice and she bought one

alyson needed a reason to bake something
barged in my room and she grabbed me
she said:
"i made a cake and we're going next door
to sam weinstein's and you're getting married"

the cake was burned
it tasted gross
she made me kiss him
on the mouth

now i am 33
unmarried happily
no plans in life and i'm planning to keep it that way
i do kissing with only one mission
do you like to kiss? then you have my permission

and i have already spent too much time
doing things i didn't want to
so if i just want to make out all the time
you can bet your black ass that i'm going to

when i was nine i was kind of a loser
the kids in my class didn't like me
melanie chow was the meanest of all
and my mom made me go to her party

nobody talked to me i sat there quietly
drawing with crayons on a napkin
a picture of melanie skewered with a pitchfork
her legs getting eaten by lions

the cake was good
i took some home
i had a party
in my room

now i have friends and i'm not such a loser
but i go to bars all alone and i sit there
and order red wine and i write and i like being alone around people
yes that's how i like it

and i've already spent too much time
doing things i didn't want to
so if i wanna sit here and write and drink wine
you can bet your black ass that i'm going to

yes i come here often
sure i'll have another one
yes i come here often
sure i'll have another one
but i don't have to talk to you

when i was 17 i was a blowjob queen
picking up tips from the masters
i was so busy perfecting my art i was clueless to what they were after
now i'm still a blowjob queen (far more selectively)
i don't make love now to make people love me
but i don't mind sharing my gift with the planet
we're all gonna die and a blowjob's fantastic


when i was 25 i was a rock star
but it didn't pay too well i had to strip on the side
of the road to get ready for shows and the cars driving by
baby they'd never know
what a bargain they'd gotten
and if i'm forgotten
i'm perfectly happy with all that has happened
and i still get laughed at but it doesn't bother me
i'm just so glad to hear laughter around me

and i've already spent too much time
doing things i didn't want to

so if i want to drink alone dressed like a pirate
or look like a dyke
or wear high heels and lipstick
or hide in a convent
or try to be mayor
or marry a writer
smoke crack and slash tires
make jokes you don't like
or paint ducks and retire


18 March, 2010

Stefani Germanotta ("Captivated" and "Electric Kiss")

Yes, that is Lady Gaga. Err, well, it's the same person making very different music.

Just dance.

13 March, 2010

A Boston Globe Video on the Bohlen-Pierce Scale

Next summer I'm going west

This is the place... they say

People come from far, far, far away to find their dreams
Chasin' down these meteors and comets
(chasin' 'em, chasin' 'em, chasin' 'em down)
Called dreams, in the sky of life
(chasin' 'em, chasin' 'em, chasin' 'em down
chasin' 'em, chasin' 'em) There certain hot spots
Where these meteors and stars have tendency to fall
And legend has it that California is one of those spots
I believe that to be true

They say this is the place stars are born
They say this is the place (place) legends are made
They say this is the place where angels come again, ay ay
They say that this is the place where it all can happen for you
(for you, for you, for you)
California knows how to make dreams seem so sweet
California knows how to-
Whisper in your ear and tell ya you're a star
You're a star, you're a star, you're a star, you're a star (star)
You're a star and you keep on shinin'
(you're a star, you're a star, you're a star, you're a star)
Pretty girls by the oceanside (side)
Stars that refuse to shine (shine, shine)
This is on your mind (i-i-i-ind-i)
California knows how to party (indeed)
In the city of L.A. (ay ay ay ay ay ay ay)
They say that angels come again
In the city, city of Compton (Compton, Compton, Compton, Compton)
Black people all over the "other side"
In the city of good ol' Watts (Watts, Watts, Watts, Watts, Watts)
Make them stop, make them stop
In the city, California don't stop (don't stop)
All the way from L.A. to the Bay (indeed)
Stars fall down here, that's what they say (indeed)
All the way from L.A. to the Bay (indeed)
Stars fall down here, that's what they say (indeed)
It's everything they say, it's everything they say
Distant lights from across the Bay
California! It's the C-A-L-I-F-O-R-N-I-A
California knows how to make me smile sometime
Yes they do (woo) yes they do
California-hey-ay knows how to do what they do
When they do what they do
When they do what they do to me and you too, hey-ay
California-how-hey-ay-ay (phenomenon, phenomenon)
Worldwide original style (indeed)
Mos Def on the profile (indeed)
Adamsville droppin' you so very well
Worlwide original style (indeed)
Mos Def on the profile (indeed)
Adamsville rockin' you so very well
Worldwide original style (indeed)
Mos Def on the profile (indeed)
Adamsville rockin' you so very well (indeed)
Worldwide original style (indeed)
Mos Def on the profile (indeed)
Adamsville rockin' you so very well (woo)
In the city of L.A. (ay ay ay ay ay ay ay)
It's everything they say, it's everything they say
It's everything they say, it's everything they say
It's everything they say

10 March, 2010

This deserves its own post.

If anyone can figure out who this quote is from, that would be greatly appreciated.

So, I really love those magnets and mugs with quotes on them.

I guess I am just a big fan of the ways other people express the things that run through my mind. I stole all of these from my neighbor (thanks Jhane):

09 March, 2010

Sometimes I feel like this:

"(F)lannigan's Ball" - Dropkick Murphys

and other times I feel like this:

"Sledgehammer" - Peter Gabriel

14 January, 2010

Haiti & Wyclef

Gone 'til November by Wyclef Jean

If you can, help Haiti:

The Nation: Helping Haiti

Thank you!

13 January, 2010

Social Commentary via Ralph Lauren?

Vampire Weekend's second album, Contra, was released yesterday to mixed reviews. Big surprise, right? Vampire Weekend are always given the shaft in one way or another. They are considered too preppy, too lyrically obtuse, too Ivy League, not "authentic" enough, too much like Paul Simon (I fail to see how that is a negative attribute), and really just too much for most music reviewers to take. But I found myself in this funny little wrinkle of synchronicity where I felt the need to re-watch season one of Hugh Laurie's and Stephen Fry's Jeeves and Wooster based on the novels by P.G. Wodehouse, on the same day that I needed to do a complete stock-taking of my current feeling for Vampire Weekend's first album.

I came to some fresh conclusions upon a fresh listen, in light of P.G. Wodehouse, and this blog entry from just about two years ago by Elif Batuman: My Life and Thoughts: Beautiful Shirts

All of these things really made me think about social commentary in music and art in general, and what spaces are authentic, and what spaces are contrived, and what makes for a thoughtful comment, and then I thought about Rudyard Kipling and I thought about Ernest Hemingway. And largely, my thoughts got away from me - as they have a tendency to do. But one thing I realized is that if Vampire Weekend had the ability to spark all of this discussion and controversy, then isn't that a good thing in and of itself? I mean, at least it means that people are taking these ideas into account, and feel like they are being challenged in some way. So how is that wrong?

On the musical commentary side, I find myself enjoying both Vampire Weekend and Contra. My first thought with Contra was that VW had pulled an M.I.A. M.I.A.'s first album had a lot of world music influence, and it all sounded fairly rough in terms of its application of computerized sounds. It wasn't streamlined to the point where it sounded like something futuristic. But Kala hit home with a world music sound that pushed the boundaries in terms of computer music. The synthesized sections were clear and common. This is true on Contra. The album is streamlined, it sounds cleaner and slightly more contemporary. It's a sound that you cannot easily tie to Paul Simon, and I find it rather entertaining.

08 January, 2010

Flamenco in many forms

My friend turned me onto this video for "Boy with a Coin" by Iron & Wine:

I think it is beautiful.

I also came across this photographer in the New Yorker:

The Flamenco Women of Spain - Ruven Afanador profile in More magazine

Ruven Afanador just released this book of photography, Mil Besos, which is a compilation of pictures of "the flamenco women of Spain."

I swear, sometimes things just follow me around!

05 January, 2010

...and in music the salvation of the world

So I knew I was being hyperbolic when I entitled this post only to write about the Green Day musical. Bear with me. Hopefully you won't be disappointed.

Here's the thing, I didn't realize that the American Idiot musical was the brainchild of not only Green Day, but also Michael Mayer who worked on Spring Awakening, and that the incredible John Gallagher Jr. played the main character "Johnny" in the San Francisco run. Or, that the cast would sound as exceptional as they do on the newly re-released "21 Guns." The repetition of the line "you're in ruins" makes my heart palpitate. While the choral repetition of the chorus feels like gospel music, and only intensifies the feeling of regret and resignation that is so encapsulated in the original song.

I wasn't a big fan of 21st Century Breakdown, but this song in particular struck a chord with me, and I am pleased to see it re-vamped in such a fulfilling way.

If it is any indication of what lies in store for those who see the musical, I cannot wait to get my hands on some tickets.

03 January, 2010

Happy New Year Playlist (The Clean Slate Decade)

2010: a new year and a new decade, and many people seem to be grasping hold of this "beginning" in the face of multiple levels of crisis. To me, the new year is all about symbolism, and its ability to channel growth and positive energy all across the world. With this in mind, I've created a 2010 playlist. 12 songs that address some of my own positive and negative attributes. I suppose they are resolutions of a sort, but not anything really clearly defined. For now, they are the background music to my life. It's like tattooing "love" and "hope" on your wrists; they're there to jumpstart you into action, not to create something from nothing.


I am going to start with a song that has been playing over and over recently on my radio, and not of my own choosing! It's a song about putting yourself out there, and maybe getting hurt, but trying nonetheless because you can't do anything but try.

"Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" by The Police.

"I resolve to call her up a thousand times a day,
and ask her if she'll marry me in some old fashioned way.
But my silent fears have gripped me,
long before I reach the phone,
long before my tongue has tripped me,
Must I always be alone?"


This next song has also been following me around, and I love Elvis Costello so I really cannot ignore it. Oh, synchronicity.

"Everyday I Write the Book" by Elvis Costello.

"...Don't tell me you don't know the difference
Between a lover and a fighter..."


I rediscovered So Much For The Afterglow when I was thinking about my two musical decades and focusing on the '90s. I relate to this song in too many ways.

"Everything to Everyone" by Everclear.

"You do what you do,
you say what you say,
you always try to be everything to everyone..."


I was at a Boxing Day party and this song came on shuffle, and I had to stop walking and talking, and just listen for a minute. Spoon has had this effect on me ever since I saw the movie Stranger than Fiction, which I found really brilliant.

"The Underdog" by Spoon.

"I wanna forget how convention fits
but can I get out from under it?
Can I get it out of me?
It can't all be wedding cake
It can't all be boiled away
I try but I can't let go of it
Can't let go of it,
Cause you don't talk to the water boy,
and there's so much you could learn but you don't want to know,
You will not back up an inch ever,
that's why you will not survive..."


I found this band back in the early 2000s, and I have followed them since. They don't always take me where I think I want to go, but once I get there it's usually right.

"Goodnight" by ZOX.

"Sometimes I,
stand between the sidewalk and the sky,
and stare into the clouds as they pass by,
you have to leave the ground to learn to fly."


This song never ever fails to make me smile. In fact, it almost always makes me dance. Stevie Wonder's music can be a spiritual experiment, and this is a religious song.

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" by Stevie Wonder.

"Seen a lot of things in this old world,
When I touched them they did nothing, girl,
Ooh baby, here I am, signed, sealed delivered, I'm yours!"


The Grateful Dead have been a staple in my musical experience since I was in the womb, and I find myself regularly drawn back into their orbit. This song has been in heavy rotation over the last few months, and I find it comforting in many ways.

"Scarlet Begonias" by the Grateful Dead.

"Well, I ain't always right, but I've never been wrong,
seldom turns out the way it does in a song.
Once in awhile you get shown the light,
in the strangest of places if you look at it right."


Otis Redding is another kind of comfort food. This song makes me feel intensely calm. It is meditative, and it puts me in a contemplative mood. I feel myself growing every time I listen.

"Sitting On The Dock of the Bay" by Otis Redding.

"Looks like nothing's gonna change,
Everything still remains the same,
I can't do what ten people tell me to do,
So I guess I'll remain the same, yes!"


Positivity can be embodied so thoroughly in music, and in so many shades. I love it! This song is multifaceted. It has edges and curves, and more than a little sunshine. It makes me want to travel and see the world. It is so much greater than it appears to me now.

"Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes" by Paul Simon.

"And she said honey take me dancing,
but they ended up by sleeping in a doorway,
by the bodegas and the lights on Upper Broadway,
Wearing diamonds on the soles of their shoes..."


Riding that vibe, you always need an upbeat, cheerleader song. You need people to cheer you on!

"Doing It Right" by The Go! Team.

"We have the right combination, we got everything.
And to strike faster than lightning, we raise what we bring.
We have the right combination,
It ain't time to crawl.
Give it all!
Give it all!
Give it all!
Give it all!"


Everything about Peter Gabriel makes me feel ready to take on the world. How can one person create that feeling? It is something I am striving for – for myself, and for the people around me. If I can inspire, I will be happy.

"Solsbury Hill" by Peter Gabriel.

"So I went from day to day,
Oh, my life was in a rut,
'Til I thought of what I'd say,
Which connection I should cut.

I was feeling part of the scenery,
I'd walk right out of the machinery.
My heart going boom-boom-boom
Hey, he said, grab your things I've come to take you home
Eh, back home..."


If I have learned one thing this year, it is that "be yourself" is a loaded proclamation. More appropriate, I think, is "pattern yourself intentionally." So I've been listening to Mika... It's a work in progress.

"Grace Kelly" by Mika.

"I could be brown, I could be blue,
I could be violet sky,
I could be hurtful, I could be purple,
I could be anything you like.

Gotta be green, gotta be mean,
Gotta be everything more,
Why don't you like me?
Why don't you like me?
Walk out the door!"


Happy 2010 lovely readers.