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October 25, 2009

Do You Know What's Great?

Finally making the right decision.



And, what's even better? Feeling like you might be able to enjoy that right decision. Maybe. Someday.

May 04, 2009

Blue October's Foiled for the Last Time

So, this morning I was writing and listening to Blue October (don't judge me. No one has taste during Finals week.) And, this song called "Calling You" came on.


Now, I got into Blue October in a fit of all things Twilight last year (there are many reasons why I wasn't sleeping so well last April; this is my excuse. Stephenie Meyer put a lot of Blue October and Muse on her "Twilight playlists". Follow the twilight link above; they're probably still up.) They're from Houston, Tx, apparently. Its sort of dirty hippie music. But, not like Phish. Dirty hippie, drunk college kid, if Dave Matthews only ever wrote love songs music. The sort of shit you'd expect Edward to sing/write for Bella the rest of incredibly boring and super-creepyweird, immortally long lives. The sort of music that's filled with hope and naivety, and descriptions of proto-codependent behavior.

And, you're asking me, "Kate? Why would you listen to that? Or, you know, read Twilight?" I don't know. I'm just like that. Sometimes, I want things I don't really like. For example, when I eat cheesecake. I'm not a fan, but every now and then, I think, "Ya, I'll have a piece of that."

I was listening to "Calling You". And its just...God. Its just so creepy. I know its meant to be sweet and romantic and...its...oh. Creepy.

You can find the lyrics here.

I'm sure that its sweet to be told that someone is going to tell you that they love you another thousand times. I'm sure its nice to have someone calling to just see if you're okay and asking you if you love them...and...

Look, scratch the surface of this cynic and I really want to believe in love and puppies and people keeping promises and taking care of each other. Mostly, though, I don't think those things actually correlate all that often with creepy codependent behavior like asking someone if they love you repeatedly (even if you do just love the way it sounds.)

And, seriously? The Chorus? I'm just calling you to see/if you're sleeping, are you dreaming/if you're dreaming, are you dreaming of me. I'm imagining that conversation would go like this:

Caller: Hi! Just calling to see how you are!
Callee: Its 3 o'clock in the morning.
Caller: Were you sleeping?
Callee: Yes.
Caller: Were you dreaming?
Callee: Yup.
Caller: Of me? *sounds hopeful*.
Callee: I'm hanging up now.

(Unless of course the callee is me, and its actually 3 AM. Just to let you know, if you call me then and you're not on fire, dead or in jail, the string of words that will come out of my mouth directed at you will make a sailor blush. It will also probably make you cry.)

Obviously, I'm not the demographic a song like this (or really, a book like Twilight). Still, I don't think this is what you should shoot for. I don't think people should glorify relationships like Bella and Edward have. He's controlling and creepy and she's selfish and constantly in need of "looking after (in his mind and then in her mind because she practically ends up with Stockholm Syndrome)" because her boyfriend is frequently putting her in situations that are dangerous for her. Why is that okay? Your boyfriend puts you in danger and you cleave to him because only he can save you? I don't know a lot about healthy, but I'm pretty sure that doesn't count.

February 16, 2009

Some songs for Monday Morning

  1. Country House-Blur
  2. Existentialism on Prom Night-Straylight Run
  3. (I Just Wanna Be) Your Steve McQueen-Eytan Mirsky
  4. Hey There, Delilah-Plain White T's
  5. Take Off-Wakefield
  6. Geography-Kathryn Musilek
  7. Galileo-Indigo Girls
  8. Good Night's Sleep-The Starting Line
  9. The Model-Belle and Sebastian
  10. I'd Kiss Him if He Were You-Aaron McMullan
  11. Forty-six and Two-Tool
  12. Our Favorite Song-Reasons for Leaving
  13. Divorce Song-Liz Phair
  14. Buildings and Bridges-Ani DiFranco
  15. Pennies in My Pocket-Mandy Moore
  16. El Sorcho-Weezer
  17. Code Monkey-Jonathan Coulton
  18. Catch a Tail by the Tiger-Fraggle Rock
  19. Out of Habit-Ani DiFranco
  20. Tiger Woods-Dan Bern
  21. Just Like Jesse James-Cher
  22. I Finally Decided to Give Myself a Reason-I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody's Business
  23. Letters to a John-Ani DiFranco
  24. Violet-Hole
  25. We Belong-Pat Benatar
  26. Freak Scene-Dinosaur Jr

  27. I fair amount of Ani, and a fair amount of repeat from other lists, but each of these songs had something in them that spoke to me this weekend, so I put them together to give them a listen.

December 09, 2006

Review: Brother, Sister by MewithoutYou

This review has been a long time in the making. I should have written in a long time ago, but for some reason have been loath to put my thoughts on the subject down on the page. This is not a reflection on the album. Or, if it is, it is a reflection of how staggeringly good I found the disc to be. For some reason, I’ve always found it easy to slate a band. Writing about a disc I thoroughly enjoyed is a somewhat harder task. Presumably, this is because I do not want to be one of those bloggers that gushes like a little school girl about bands that I like. (Having once been a little school girl, I assure that there are moments in my past that involve enormous amounts of gushing. However, I am older now and although I am still in school I’d like for the past not to repeat itself.)
MEWITHOUTYOU is one of those gems of a band that's music has grown along with the musicians. While their first album is full of screaming and anger and more towards the hardcore end of things, their most recent offering, Brother,Sister, is introspective and full of things that make indie rock good.
Brother, Sister is an album that is built as if it were one unit. In this regard, listening to it reminded me a bit of The Mars Volta. But, unlike the Mars Volta this album is focused and well-done art rock. (I would describe The Mars Volta as a clever synthesis of a myriad of influences, but that is another story.)
MEWITHOUTYOU is a christian band on Tooth and Nail, but while the influence of religion here, will noticeable wasn’t in your face or annoying. Instead, it came across like music made by people exploring and discovering things about themselves and their faith. The lyrics are sung in such a way that is in places almost like speaking. An oversimplification of this would be that front man Aaron Weiss is going a little hip hop. More appropriately, the lyrics are delivered with such earnestness that they preclude one from singing in a conventional sense. Their full force is felt in the delivery, which makes them powerful. Given the amount of overproduced pop on the airwaves, this in itself is a reason to sit up and take notice. There was not a song on this album that didn’t fit with the rest, that’s how finely crafted it is. And, there wasn’t a song that I disliked, which is rare.
Brother, Sister is an album with frenetic guitars and crazy clapping and desperation and joy. It was an honest pleasure to listen to it. The themes in the album are internal and introspective, but also include a fair bit of social commentary with such lyrics as, “We’re like children dressing in our parents clothes” from “The Glass Can Only Spill what It Contains”. I wholeheartedly recommend this Brother, Sister whether you are a fan of the band, or just a fan of good, exploring and expanding tunes. Yes.

October 17, 2006

Playlist: Faffing About

Freak Scene Dinosaur Jr
In An Operetta The Magnetic Fields
32 Flavors Ani DiFranco
Ain't Misbehavin' Duke Ellington
When You're Around Motion City Soundtrack
There's Gotta Be A Change Jonny Lang
No Missing Link Dan Bern
Fragments. Shades. Sketches. 3:09 Aaron McMullan
All I Want To Know The Magnetic Fields
Silly Goofball Pomes Juliana Hatfield
Truth Hits Everybody Motion City Soundtrack
10:45 Amsterdam Conversations Funeral For A Friend
Tiger Woods Dan Bern
Abstract Truth DJ Abandon T
What Do You Do With A B.A. In English/It Sucks To Be Me Avenue Q
Gone (Live) M83
The Modern Things Björk
Cassandra Geminni: C. Faminepulse The Mars Volta
Forty Six & 2 Tool


This one is still in test drive mode. A friend of mine's birthday was earlier this month, and I've been trying to tweak it to be perfect for her, and it just seems like its missing something. It has a double dose of both Dan Bern (whom you just have to love) and the Magnetic Fields, although I'm thinking about replacing one of the Magnetic Fields songs with a Gothic Archies tune (iffin' I can get ahold of them). It has the current requisite dose of Welsh with Funeral for a Friend I am also thinking about tossing in some New York Room (as I am currently obsessed with them.)
I know I've already said this, but its missing something. A theme? Some kind of dialogue? Maybe it just needs better sequencing...Obviously, I will have to figure this out.

September 05, 2006

Playlist: Just Gotta Get Some Work Done

Come As You Are -- Nirvana
In Spite of Everything -- The New York Room
No Shelter [Live]-- Rage Against The Machine
I Dreamed of the Caucasus-- Damon and Naomi
Lines In The Suit-- Spoon
In Front Of Me-- theBetween
I Wanna Know-- Infinite Monkey Theorem
Take It Back-- Loquat
Perfect Weapon-- Communiqué
Come On Closer-- Jem
Make Believe-- The Dog & Everything
At Her Open Door-- Dead Meadow
Make you believe-- Three of Twelve
So I May Have Changed-- theBetween
So I Finally Decided To Give Myself A Reason-- I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business
Take Your Carriage Clock And Shove It-- Belle & Sebastian
When You're Around-- Motion City Soundtrack
A Goodnight's Sleep-- The Starting Line
Bratcore-- VCR
Blue Dahlia-- The New York Room


I really should be better about not putting the same band on the playlist. I mean, did I not learn anything from making mix tapes growing up? Clearly not. I'm obsessed with The New York Room. I think they are amazing. They have this nice, surreal quality that seems to be combined with this lounge lizard quality. I'm not being very expressive, but I really recommend you check them out.

September 03, 2006

Playlist: Cowboys and Thesalonikians

Firefly dialogue from episode 1       Joss Whedon    
Tiger Woods        Dan Bern    
Hang 'Em High        My Chemical Romance            
I Am Mine        Pearl Jam    
Pachuca Sunrise        Minus The Bear        
Phrase That Pays (Nashville Version)        The Academy Is...    
WE WROTE THE WORLD        Aunt Bee Overdrive    
Should Have Known        Bleed The Dream    
Where's The Devil...When You Need Him?        Th' Legendary Shack Shakers    
Voodoo Man        Voodoo Organist    
Well Well Well        Ben Harper & The Blind Boys Of Alabama    
Workin' Man Blues        Merle Haggard    
Skips On The Record       At The Drive-In    
Today Is The Day        Apollo Sunshine    
I Do Believe You Are The Devil        Aaron McMullan    
That Was My Veil        John Parish And Polly Jean Harvey    
Shy       Ani DiFranco        
I Got My Mojo Working        Muddy Waters    
Toybox       The Geraldine Fibbers    
My Assassin        The Bled    
Killbot 2000        Murder By Death        
When you're Dead        The Blackfoot Brothers   

 

The original thought behind this playlist was, well, to create some sort of cowboy themed mix for my mate Georgia's birthday (who is from Thesaloniki, hence the title.)  It descended rather quickly into a bluegrass-y, alt.country-y mix.  I've found it to be enjoyable; I haven't gotten to speak to Georgia yet so I don't know what she thinks of it.  I'm pretty much in hermitville working on my thesis at the moment. 

August 29, 2006

Signs of the Apocalypse (Or Things From Today that I Found to be Disturbing)

1.  Fall Out Boy and others to cover the songs of The Nightmare before Christmas.

 Yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen.  Not only is The Nightmare before Christmas getting another theatrical release (this I have no problem with) and is now complete with 3-D effects but the soundtrack will be available as a double disc.  The first disc will contain the original Danny Elfman music and the second disc will have covers of the Elfman tunes done by such bands as Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Marilyn Manson, She Wants Revenge and Fiona Apple.  Now, this could be interesting or it could be sheer and utter crap.  I'm leaning towards crap. 

2.  Elton John thinks he is going to record a hip-hop album

 More crap.  More utter crap.  I'm okay with people changing and growing and branching out to do different things.  But, do it first in the privacy of your own recording studio. (Especially, if this is an option because you have your own recording studio.) Stop subjecting the world to your half-baked notions of what could be interesting or your lame attempts at sticking with the zeitgeist and being all hip and fresh.  Actually, This applies to Madonna as well. Hey lady, with your limber disco dancing and continuing to draw the ire of the world's religions. Hey!  You're stretchy!  But you're music sucks, so stop "reinventing" yourself and, I don't know, have some tea. 

3. My thesis is going in to be bound in two weeks

 I spent about two hours today sifting through recordings to make sure I had notes on all of my "discourse markers" which included, I kid you not, more than sixty occurences of the phrase "you know".  As is common with such things, once you've heard one you've more or less heard them all.  Of these more than sixty occurences, well over half of them have the exact same phonological output, which is just fancy talk for I listened to the same thing over and over and over again.  I wish this would mean that I was thousands of words closer to my word limit.  It does not.  I still have a long way to go.

 

 4. The U.S. detained a man who could barely walk or hear at Guantanamo Bay

Although he was recently released, we held an Afghani man who needed a walker to leave the prison without charging him with a crime or even telling him why he was there.  Apparently, the captive whose name is Haji Nasrat Khan is at least 71, although that's just an estimate because he himself didn't even know his exact age.  I know that old people tend to be the last bastion of old school hatred and hellfire religion, but its my experience that what they do with that hatred and religion is sit around and make their kids and grandkids uncomfortable and angry by constantly nosing in on what they're doing and then telling them they're wrong and they'll burn for it.  They are, in general, not the sort of people you find making explosives in airplane lavatories.  Given that, I wonder what sort of intelligence value the man had for the military that they felt the need to keep him captive.  To quote the recently released Khan, "How could I be an enemy combatant if I was not able to stand up?" 

 

Well, that's it.  I'm going back to listen to more formulaic sequences and to hopefully nibble away at my word count.  

August 25, 2006

Playlist: Brewing

Love--Mos Def

Hell Yeah--Ani DiFranco 

Young and Aspiring--UnderOath

Rumors--Waking Ashland

Swan Dive--AniDifranco

Skeptics and True Believers--The Academy is...

Perfect Weapon--Communique

If these bullets could talk--the number twelve looks like you

I turn on my camera on--Spoon

I'd Kiss him if he were you--Aaron Mcmullan 

The Flashing Lights--Nolan

Your Song--Ewan McGregor and Allesandro Safina

Sing Along Forever--Bouncing Souls

 Inspired by the $--The Starting Line

I Do believe you are the devil--Aaron McMullan

Shameless--Ani DiFranco.

 

I'm surprised by the amount of Ani on this playlist.  Truly, I am.  It was found in one of my journals from last summer.   

 

 

May 26, 2006

The Autumn Offering's Revelations of the Unsung

    The Autumn Offering is a metal band from Daytona, Florida and Revelations of the Unsung was their debut album reissued by Victory back in January.  Yes, that’s right.  I’ve had this CD since January and I’m just now getting around to reviewing it.  Shameful, I know.  The CD is ten tracks of intense metal.  What has caught my attention over and over again in my many aborted attempts to write this review have been the guitar solos.  They are many and they are wicked.  My favorite is in the middle of “Beginning’s End”, the last track of the CD.  Which is the perfect ending to this raging CD.  But, I’m getting ahead of myself talking about the ending first.


    The CD starts like an approaching train with the “Great Escape”, the sound of the approaching menace that precedes the uncoming freight train of sound.  This sets the tone for the rest of the album and is almost a prelude at a little more than 2 minutes.  This track features harsh vocals and menacing guitar. 


    Track 2, Revelation, has some softer moments that are reminscent of the ballads of arena rock, but I don’t mean that in a bad way.  I mean it in a “these guys know their music history” sort of way.  I mean it in a, “ I can see this song filling and rocking a huge venue” sort of way.


    Much of this CD is full of intense raging.  Its what you expect from metal, and its not disappointing.  To go along with the amazing guitar solos are some proper, driving drumming that makes you want to get up and dance (and by that I mean, dance all kung-fu like a kohl-eyelined hardcore kid). 


    I think my favorite track of the whole CD was track 9, “Shadow of Betrayals” which begins with moody drums and melodic guitar before breaking into intense speed metal.  Quality.  The combination between that and the wicked guitar solo previously mentioned in the last track, you could say that The Autumn Offering save the best for last.  Hopefully, these tracks are an indication of what is to come from this band. 


    The Autumn Offering's Revelations of the Unsung is available on Victory Records, as is their more recently released album Embrace the Gutter.

May 16, 2006

Nathan Asher and The Infantry

Ladies and Gentlemen, boy and girls, I start this review by apologizing for the dearth of reviews I've written in the past six months and to state, because of this my reviewing skills may have atrophied.  And in a way, to provide in excuse, in advance, for the possible unusefulness of the information I am about to pass on.  I have spent the better part of the last 3 weeks working on three essays and a presentation. 

Nathan Asher and the Infantry are a band that, at first seemed to follow in the footsteps of Bob Dylan.  In fact, halfway through the first track I said, "Wow, this is Dylan-esque".  (Exact quote).  To which my friend Anne-Marie said, "Oh, just wait... it gets more so."  The good news is, unleike the revered folk singer, Nathan Asher is easy to understand. 

The tunes were  mellow, more or less being written in the same time signature, contributing to the overall folkiness of the tracks.  I'll be honest and say that during tracks 3 and 4 I was attempting to read an article* so I zoned out enough that when I read the tracklist I remembered hearing a tune that repeated the lyrics "sex without love", but I can't tell you much else about it.

When track five came around, I was compelled to put down what I was reading.  "You cannot quit smoking" with its plodding, lyrical trudge through a list of reasons why you can not quit smoking caught my attention with its melacholy lyrics juxtaposed with the almost uptempo feel of the tune.  It reminded me a little of Bright Eyes from the Fevers and Mirrors days. 

 Tracks 6&7 features a lot more piano than the previous tracks (at least in my academia addled recollection).  They also had more of a pop feel than what had come before.  "No More Colleges" (track 8) featured raw vocals (lke you'd expect from anyone I just compared to Bright Eyes) and impressive piano and guitar solos. 

All in all Nathan Asher and the Infantry was an enjoyable listen, providing the easy digestibility of pop with the rawness and a selection of topics of folk and indie rock.  I say give Nathan Asher and The Infantry a listen.  Yes. 

More can be found on Nathan Asher and the Infantry at their website and their Myspace.

May 06, 2006

I don't know why I was thinking of this....

John, I want to say when he was 12 or 13, was hit in the head with a brick.  I don't remember the details of what he told me happened, exactly (and actually, now that I think about it he probably doesn't remember them either).  Apparently, he and his friends were messing around and some how this brick-hitting happened.  His friends thought he was dead, but he wasn't and they took him to the hospital and when people asked him what happened he said he fell.  Now, the truth is, one of his mates was responsible for the brick-hitting.  John said that when people asked him about what had happened he thought about his friend's parents and how good they had been to him.  He didn't want to see them hurt by anything bad happening to their son, so he said he fell. 

 

Now, for some reason, the truth of the situation came out, as it always does in big situations like this, and his mate's parents made his mate go and apologize for all the trouble he had caused.  John's parents had only heard John's story so when his mate turned up to apologize to them for hurting their son they were perplexed.  If I remember correctly, John then got into trouble for lying.  

 

I was thinking about this while I was walking home today.  You know how random stuff just pops into your head.  I was listening to  The Barenaked Ladies If I had $1,000,000 and singing along while I walked down the street.  Its weird how stuff can just pop into your head sometimes.  So, I texted John a line from the song, "If I had $1,000,000, I would buy you a monkey".  When I see him later, I'm going to ask him if he knows where its from.  Then, if he doesn't, I'm going to play it for him.