Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I managed to catch the tail end of the Obama-mercial last night and I have to say it got me thinking. I have been hesitant to throw myself into this election because I was so involved in politics in college and so crushed when Bush won (plus I have a million and one things going on in life) so I have let what little my little donations be my voice. Perhaps the sense of urgency that compelled me to act in college was placated by the overwhelming number of people of all walks of life, social status, profession, education and culture who have volunteered, registered, demonstrated and ACTED to make the change they want to see. Witnessing and participating in this wave of revolution has energized me and fanned the wee flame of hope that had dimmed to pilot light status during the last seven wretched years.

While that flame is currently burning bright there is still a tinge of worry about Tuesday and I couldn't really put my finger on the exact reason until last night when I heard Obama speak. He is an incredible person and there exists true potential in the vision and hope he has for the future of this country however he was absolutely right in turning the focus back to the people, US.

Voting is just the first step in creating change. Even when Obama is elected you must not forget that change is constant and to keep this revolution moving your actions, efforts and voice will still matter more than ever AFTER you drop your ballot in the box. Barack Obama the man represents a new horizon however the journey to that end is one we each must take responsibility for. So, before I get too preachy here I will leave you with the words of the man I am one hundred percent certain would have been the VP nominee had he not passed far before his time:

Politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for and what we dare to imagine- Paul Wellstone Yes We Can


Ben Sollee A Change Is Gonna Come

Saturday, October 25, 2008

You may enjoy...

These are a few bands that are new to me (and with the exception of Stars probably new to you) and while not entirely tight packages they all do have a few tunes that are worth a listen.


I can't remember where I found Derby. It could have been when I started my eMusic account and spent an entire day tripping through links to "other bands like this" and poking around random music lists. But it doesn't really matter cause I found em.From what I have found of their stuff and by listening to their MySpace posting they are still developing their sound but If Ever There's A Reason demonstrates good use of hand clapping (look for a post on this oft overlooked percussive addition soon) and simple guitar.

If Ever There's A Reason

Hello Saferide

I will admit I haven't done an exhaustive search into Hello Saferide but I can tell you they are one of the many Indie Pop groups bustin out of Sweden as of late. I'm not sure whats in the water over there but the music talent per capita is astonishingly high. Hello Saferide is not the best they have to offer but their songs are good and their lyrics intriguing. Their music ranges from v. perky pop tending towards a Twee sound to fairly standard indie sweet wit. I'd point you towards Anna, Get Sick Soon and If I Don't Write This Song, Someone I Love Will Die.



Recently there has been a trend in my concert going, perhaps due to my growing familiarity with up-and-coming music, but I have been going to more shows to see the opening acts rather than the headliners. In this case I was going to see Bell X1 a newer band from Ireland who were opening for Stars at the Trocadero. Stars totally won out over Bell X1 who still needs to work on their live show. Stars got big last year with the release of their album In Our Bedroom After The War. I had heard a few tracks but nothing had really grabbed me. But let me tell you seeing them live changed that. They opened the show with The Night Starts Here which got the crowd going then laid out their set with character and spunk. I liked a lot of what I heard, most of it their older stuff like Elevator Love Letter and My Favorite Book. Live they really bring their great lyrics to life a spark they don't seem to capture on recording. Reunion is the track I find myself listening to most since that night.


The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans are no more but they ruled the Canadian music scene in the mid nineties. I know, that doesn't really imply much talent, but hey Canada has given us some undeniable talent; Ryan Gosling, Bare Naked Ladies um I'm blanking on other right now but I digress. I found them when I picked up the story behind their Cat songs. The band wrote two songs from the perspective of one of the member's cat. Plea from a Cat Named Virtue and the follow up Virtute the Cat Explains Her Departure are strangely sincere and drew me in. And I recommend you seek out some of their nonfeline related music, the Reunion Tour stuff to start. Left and Leaving is a well phrased end of the line relationship song.

Left and Leaving

Esperanza Spalding

And finally Miss Esperanza Spalding. I saw her at the First Annual Root Picnic on Festival Pier this summer. The day was freakishly hot (topped out at 102) but my concert going crew were hardcore and we hung in there for the majority of the day. The line up was great DJ Jazzy Jeff (who is SO MUCH MORE than a reoccurring character on Fresh Prince of Bel Aire and if you don't know why do some readin about the history of hip hop/DJ's in Philly NOW), Gnarls Barkley, Deerhoof, Cool Kids and of course the Roots. But Esperanza Spalding stole my heart.

There was a time when I had lofty aspirations to make the stand up bass sexy while legitimately funky. I quickly realized that I was not going to be the person to carry that message to the masses but when I saw Esperanza's set I knew she was just that person. She played that bass like it was her dance partner and sang like she was channeling some late greats. She is the exception to this list in that her entire album is excellent from her Spanish take on Body & Soul to the strong lady ballad Precious. See her if you get the opportunity but for now enjoy...


Esperanza Spalding

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Momentary Musical Mantras

I find that some moments, occasionally entire days, require a bit of a mantra to get me through. Considering that there are rarely time when I am not listening to music mantras tend to come in song form. As of late these are a few tunes that have popped into my head during those times.

Stability is a truly admirable goal but one that I unhitched my cart from long ago. And I don't think that's a bad thing at all. The adventures and experiences I have had in its absence have taught me many things. Ms. Schwartz sums one of those lessons up quite nicely.

Lucy Schwartz
I Don't Know A Thing

Its catchy and witty so it tucks neatly into my thoughts many times a day.

Eff That Ess

I frequently find myself in totally curious situations with interesting characters in strange places. More often than not it leads to some new friends or great fodder for later conversation but there have been a couple of nights were this song is spinning tween my ears on my bike ride home.

Team Genius
Take Me Home

I'm wired for busy. I thrive off of having a variety of projects and tasks to divide up my day. I like to think I do a pretty good job harnessing my ADD and channeling it towards productive ends. But I do admit that there are moments when I feel like I can't slow down. Yarn [a fabulous little bluegrassy/ countryish group out of Brooklyn, of course] gets it.

Can't Slow Down

The chorus of this one says it all cause, dagnabbit, I will make it through this year alive! Right?

The Mountain Goats
This Year (live)

Want more of these artists...

Lucy Schwartz
Team Genius
The Mountain Goats

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Frightened Rabbit Show Review

I saw Frightened Rabbit on Friday night at the First Unitarian Church. They were opening for Spinto Band for whom the night was serving as their official CD release but I tell you, most of the people there had come out to see this threesome from Scotland.

As I am newish to formally reviewing shows I'm not sure if I can capture how spectacular this show was. So I'll just start from the beginning. The sound was a little wonky to start, it is the basement of a church after all*, but after they got that balanced the boys glistened.

Their post punk influence is much more apparent when you see them live and can really feel the driving bass drum and see the way these fellas rock out together. I can't tell you how much a true connection and balance of talent/musical understanding contributes to a live show. They played stuff off of their new album The Midnight Organ Fight as well as their freshly released live album Liver! Lung! FR! both of which should be purchased by you all post haste. Highlights were

•The Modern Leper which is probably the best song written with references to Leperosy and when played live have an energy the isn't on the album (but is still a valid tune)when the rhythm is pumped up a bit more you really feel the drive of this song.

The Modern Leper

•Old Old Fashioned which is the kind of tune you wish your friends who are in band would have written so if anything you had one reason to go to their shows. The lyrics to this song are grand and made for a good sing along with the crowd.

Old Old Fashioned

• They closed with Keep Yourself Warm which is the song that first grabbed my attention months ago. It is a gem of an honest relationship song and really tied things up very nicely. There is something about the singing "It takes more than fucking someone to keep yourself warm" in a room with a bunch a strangers in the mess hall of a church that has a delicious irony.

Keep Yourself Warm

If they had played Backwards Walk it might have been too good to be true and now I have real motive for seeking them out when they come back through the East as headliners this winter. The crowd wanted more after they left the stage and stood around makin noise for a while but FR didn't return to the stage. I was standing by the sound board at this point and their manager came back to let the guy know they weren't coming back out (despite the fact that EVERYONE there was bowled over by them and wanting to see what else they could put out there) because, he said, they (FR) didn't want to steal Spinto's glory at their release show a far more endearing end than any encore could have provided. Well played guys.

It would be well worth your money to see Frightened Rabbit when/if they come through your town.

* One of the reasons I so love this city they have some fabulously unique venues. Besides First Unitarian Johnny Brenda's is an old dance hall and the Trocadero is an old Chinese theater.

Frighten Rabbit on Myspace

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My nibble my nosh

I put some thought into what I wanted my first play list to be. Should I go epic with tunes I consider essential? Should I go with a theme? Should I grab bits from shows I have seen in the last few months?

Well the spinner landed on songs that are new to me with lyrics that just get me. So, without further nonesense...

Frightened Rabbit is one of my favorite discoveries of the last few months. I went through an Irish musician phase a few months back (a combined reaction to the movie Once and emusic's regional search capability)and these fellas came out of the shake. They are just getting rumblings in the US and I am beyond excited to see them at the First Unitarian Church on Friday. Their album A Midnight Organ Fight is spectacular and backwards walk has become my favorite track. Lyrically its very simple but well crafted. "I'm working hard on walking out. Shoes keep sticking to the ground. My clothes won't let me close the door. The trousers seem to love your floor."

Backwards Walk

The lead singer for The National could sing the yellopages and I'd hang on every syllable so the fact that their lyrics are actually really great makes it that much easier to adore them. While I find Star A War to be a solid track its Slow Show that is, in my mind, a complete package. The music builds and carries you through the song and feeling of just wanting to get through a day to hurry home to someone to "crack them up"ie. be silly is one that I completely identify with.

Slow Show

Los Campesinos make me smile. They are pure simple smart fun pop music. I thoroughly enjoy when a song has a catchy tune and intelligent words to propel it along. I sure hope these kids continue to the do these things in flats.

...And We Exhale And Roll Our Eyes In Unison

Bruce Springsteen is a GOD this is something I have only recently fully realized and that is due in large part to discovering Matthew Nathanson's cover of Thunder Road. Springsteen crafts a story so sweet and true you can see the scenes play out in your head. "What else can we do now Cept roll down the window and let the wind blow back your hair well the nights busted open these two lanes will take us anywhere."This is the kind of song I'm pretty sure my Mom would have listened to on a hot summer in the big yellow house in Kalispell.

Nathanson is an artist who does a lot of covers (Atlantic City,another Springsteen must listen) and does them well. His own stuff ain't half bad either. It would be worth your time to track some of it down.

Thunder Road

This song could be the anthem for my life the last couple of weeks. Breaking it down to celebrating the "irony everything is going wrong but we're so happy" encapsulates my approach to survival. The fantabulous driving guitars and bass drum keep you bopping your head and singing it on the most challenging of days.

Lets Dance To Joy Division

As I culled these from my list of frequently played I realized this may have to be an on going series. But for now enjoy them for what they are and if you like 'em go buy em.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Consider the toe dipped

Whew what a week. I had hoped to get this done earlier but insanity prevailed and I was tucked away in my little world of work and well work. The good news is that I made my deadline but today has been a hazy one speckled with clutzyness and exhaustion.

But I have managed to figure out how to post some songs. Which I actually wasn't expecting to accomplish so I don't even have a great playlist lined up. Instead of forcing it I'm going to keep it simple and start at the beginning.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

And here I go

For as long as I can remember my life has had a soundtrack. Dire Straights playing whenever we drove Going To The Sun road in Glacier, singing Let The Rest Of The World Go By with the whole fam piled in bed together at Gundersons on Lake Superior, making up dances to NKTOB with my sisters, the hepcat phase listening to ska and watching Empire Records, phollowing Phish phor a long time, playing the 1812 Overature while trying to keep my fellow bassists from fucking around, doing the electric slide on the deck in Spooner, dancing to PYT at Wilde House, rockin out to Queen and Tribe Called Quest at 3am during the bake off in my pastry chef days, the mix my mom made for me to listen to when I drove to Philly to explore what life had to offer here. This list could go on forever, seriously. Which bring me to why I have decided to try my hand at this music blog thing.

In the past I have made mixes of what I have been listening to both new and old during the year and distributing them to friends and family. Often the music carries a tinge of the events of the year and for those that know me (ie anyone reading this blog at this point) the events of the last few years have been crazy, intense at times fabulously silly at others, and changing all the time. I have learned to embrace inconsistancy and make the most of what life has to offer me and what I have to it. And true to form the music I have been listening to is intense at times and fabulously silly at others. I find myself wanting to share what I am listening to more than just once a year and with anyone who tosses interest my way. So in the spirit of journaling via soundtrack The World In A Paper Cup is born.

Today's mission was to write the first entry. Tomorrow.... I will try to figure out how to embed an mp3 player.