Friday, March 05, 2010

For a Girl Like Me, This Qualifies as Porn

There's tired, and then there's tired.

I am the sort of tired that, upon venturing out of the office for a coffee this afternoon, my lovely friend behind the counter said 'oh, are you ok?' the minute I walked in. Grumpy, verge of teary, crumbling facade tired.

What can I say ... I feel pretty constantly driven to use my non-day job hours getting all the crafty awesomeness, not to mention social awesomeness, out of my system. Clearly I need to find a way to make that shit profitable, so I can skip the office job and make my monies doing all the fun stuff that, right now, cuts into my beauty sleep. Seriously, I remember going to bed really early, and actually waking up feeling sort of refreshed. It was great. It was also between Christmas and New Year's.

My plans tonight were kiboshed by a band cancellation. As much as I was looking forward to a little Team Kiwi time, I'm also sort of relieved to not have to plaster on the undereye concealer and make it a go. So here it is, 9pm, and I've already spent several hours spooning with my fat ginger bastard, rocking my unsexiest Old Navy flannel jammies, and I'm fully ready to go make sweet, sweet sleepy love to my bed.

I've been lulled into a sort of pre-coma by Jim James (technically Yim Yames, since it was the Tribute album), and thought that, since I'm such a nice girl, I'd share. Seriously, this man is my Morgan Freeman. So g'head. Have a listen.


And also, because I love Jim extra special lots for being able to rock a cape like it's nobody's business, here's My Morning Jacket doing the Black Cab Session. Clearly he didn't get the memo that I'd requested The Bear, but whatever, I still love my boo.

How sick would it be if Monsters of Folk did a Black Cab Session? Hello, seat liner. 

If you don't know the Black Cab Sessions I highly recommend checking them out here. Final Fantasy, Woodpigeon, Doves, Calexico, Bon Iver, Grizzly Bear, Beach House, Death Cab (am I an asshole for thinking it would have been sort of ironically, in the Alanis sense, awesome if they'd been in an accident?), The National, Cave Singers, Sunset Rubdown, Daniel Johnston .... pretty much an inventory of my favorite bands, just killing it in the back of a taxi.

Sort of like Taxi Cab Confessions, but for music nerds.

Have a good sleep, internets.

xo ~ m

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Gone, Baby, Gone

One of my dearest friends is leaving tomorrow for a multi-month jaunt through South America. I am going to miss her something fierce.

What was supposed to be an after work drink at our local pub with a few friends turned into eight of us battling the hockey crowd for enough air to maintain a conversation, so, ever practical me suggested taking it the 20 paces down the street to my apartment. A sushi and liquor run later we had a nice little sit-in going in my living room. Double nice as my days here are numbered, and there won't be many more of these impromptu shindigs here.

And, might I say, there was a general air of bemusement when I walked in and hit play on the Pink Floyd and, mothero'god, a turntable started moving! Kids these days ... records are such a novelty.

Once again when everyone left I found myself staring down an unruly and eclectic pile of records. Some of them were still out from my frantic Cinderella frenzy last night trying to clean up for the viewings, but there was defs some overlap. As ever, what other people pull out to play charms and amuses me.

Aretha Franklin - Aretha's Greatest Hits
Japandroids - Post Nothing
Rolling Stones - Goats Head Soup
Otis Redding / Jimi Hendrix Experience - Monterey International Pop Festival
Lou Reed - City Lights

Pink FLoyd - Wish You Were Here
Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
Van Morrison - Moondance
Peter Gabriel - So
Michael Jackson - Thriller
Crowded House - Crowded House
Sunset Rubdown -Introducing Moonface
Beach House - Teen Dream
The Cure - The Head on the Door

Finally, Moondance gets some respect.

And I should probably include The Best of the Doors, which is dusting up the needle as I type this. Oh, Jim Morrison, Love Me Two Times, indeed. And can I get a yes please

So, not much to say, just sort of an addendum to the podcast post. Please come over and mess around with my music. And tell your friends to rent this damned apartment, so I can stop being so anal about tidying up.

Oh, and also, Helen, keep safe. I love you and I'll miss you.

xo ~ m

Monday, March 01, 2010

Mixtape #8: The Soundtracks of Our Lives

I’ve picked up a new habit. Not up the up-the-nose variety, but rather the natural progression of my music/pop-culture geekatude. I’ve been making an effort, when with friends, to keep track of the music we listen to, the films, books and art that are discussed. It saves on the hey dude, was was that song by that guy that did that thing that we listened to last night texts. This is a habit I started a few years ago when I was spending a lot of time with a highly music nerdy couple. I was forever finding old receipts and crumpled napkins with vague wine stained notes about something I absolutely had to check out. 
The habit faded along with the friendship, and I’ve just recently picked it back up. I’m actually trying to keep track in my day planner. Yes, I still use a plain ‘ol book-form day planner. How quaint. It’s a nice reminder of where I was, and with whom, and what we geeked about. Plus, ticket stubs and wine labels paste in tidily.

The nice thing about having these nights in your own home is that you don’t have to take notes. You just stumble to the living room, check the recently played track list and and sift through the mountains of unsheathed records covering the floor.

Oh, quick aside. My aunt came up to my apartment the other day. The place was still a bit of a mess from the night before, so I pre-apologized and muttered something about vinyl littering the living room. She looked a little surprised and then gave me the  ‘ol “TMI!”. It took a sec for it to click that she thought I meant vinyl fabric. Like some sort of gimp mask bondage fetish-wear or something. I should be so lucky. I think she was pretty relieved to see it was nothing more disturbing than Bob Dylan and Beach House.

Anyhow ... one of my favorite things is how someone else can sort of reintroduce you to your own collection. Seeing what people pull out, the songs they favour that aren’t  necessarily where you tend to drop the needle. The ones you have the little ‘sigh, me too’ moments about. Oh, geekheart.

I was told (again) yesterday that I tend to listen to a lot of Old Sad Bastard music. I acknowledge and accept this. Dammit, I like an anthemic heart-heavy shoegaze as much as the next former SSRI fangirl. So there’s a bit of that going on here (possibly even a repeat or two), but it’s not all on me. This bad-boy is a collaboration strung together from the next-morning iPod list and vinyl pile that was largely established by my guest, who was also so kind as to come armed not just with wine, but with enough new music to keep me engaged in discovery for a good while. I might just have met my music geek equal. My geequal, if you will.

So, here’s Mixtape #8. The soundtrack to the best night I’ve had in a long time. Songs that were played, and ones that I have a hazy, wine fogged memory of discussing. And a few others, just because they seemed to fit. I hope you enjoy it. As ever, where possible band names link to their website/MySpace. Notes on the individual tracks follow.

To add to podcasts: if you are already subscribed hit refresh. If not, in iTunes go to Advanced, Subscribe to Podcast, and paste in this: You can also click on the post title to link to a downloadable file.

Mixtape #8 - The Soundtracks of Our Lives

1) In the Summertime - The Rural Alberta Advantage
2) Going To Acapulco - Jim James & Calexico   
3) If I Go, I'm Goin -  Gregory Alan Isakov   
4) Girl from the North Country - Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash       
5) My Old Ghosts - The Wooden Sky
6) Coconut - Fever Ray   
7) Falling  - Julee Cruise   
8) You Came to Me - Beach House   
9) Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings - Sunset Rubdown   
10) Sweet Thing  - Van Morrison   
11) Let's Get It On - Marvin Gaye   
12) Colorado Girl  - Townes Van Zandt    
13) To Ohio (Reprise) - The Low Anthem
14) After the Gold Rush (Neil Young Cover) - Thom Yorke
15) Long Time Running - Tragically Hip   
16) Oh! Sweet Nuthin' -  The Velvet Underground   
* bonus track - It's a Surprise!

1) In the Summertime - I saw Rural Alberta Advantage with another relatively new friend a few weeks ago. We went after the opening of Big Tiny Smalls’ Nude Dudes exhibit at Dale’s Gallery, which you should check out if you are in the Victoria area. Yes, there is penis. They are, after all, nude dudes.

2) Going To Acapulco - Still my favorite scene in I’m Not There, despite the Richard Gereness.  Jim James’ voice is my aural happy place, and it’s been well established that I like a good horn section. Counting down to My Morning Jacket at Sasquatch, for sure. And check out his solo work (as Yim Yames) I painfully want the limited edition George Harrison tribute vinyl. Hint hint, world. Who am I kidding, I'll be ordering that myself from the kind folks at Ditch.

3) If I Go, I'm Goin’ - One of my best new discoveries last year. And he’s a total peach - I faxed a note to a bar he was playing in San Francisco asking him to dedicate a song to some friends that were there, and he totally did. Big ups, Gregory. Big ups. 

4) Girl from the North Country - Can’t go wrong with Bob Dylan or Johnny Cash. Put them together, got nothing to complain about for three minutes and forty four seconds. If you disagree, I probably can’t be your friend.     

5) My Old Ghosts - We went to Wooden Sky after dinner. I wish I could say it was an amazing show, but I was (shudder, shame) a little to drunk/distracted to remember much about the specifics. They did sound good, and I had a fantastic time though, so still a total win. 

6) Coconut - This one might be a repeat from a mix last year. Whatev’s, I love this song. Sad Old Bastard be damned. And Karin Dreijer-Andersson could teach Lady Gaga a thing or two about true costume/media freakadonk.    

7) Falling - The Theme Song from Twin Peaks (with lyrics). Sort of an inside joke, but also actually a song a listen to a fair amount, and have since I was about thirteen. David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti are pretty legendary pairing, and add Julee Cruise’s voice to the mix and you have me swooning in all my ninth grade glory. 

8) You Came to Me - I tend to cook to Billie Holiday, but I backed it up in the Bs a little. Semi-successful - dinner was a little on the overcooked side. Sigh. 

9) Shut Up I Am Dreaming of Places Where Lovers Have Wings - Technically it was Coming to At Dawn that played, but I only have a 7”, so I’m subbing this in to represent for Sunset Rubdown. Sort of long, but I sort of love it, so whatever. 

10) Sweet Thing - This was the second time that a record-mining guest has declared the superiority of Astral Weeks over Moondance. I have to agree. Mine is so old you can stick your arm through the sleeve, but it still plays like a hot damn. 

11) Let's Get It On - Could a song be more of a classic? Even if it always brings to mind Jack Black as Barry Jive and the Uptown Five at the end of High Fidelity. 

12) Colorado Girl - In the last few weeks I’ve watched both Heartworn Highways and Be There to Love Me, and find myself shamed at how many Townes Van Zandt songs I’m only familiar with as covers. I aim to rectify this post-haste. 

13) To Ohio (Reprise) - Another band I’m all gaaahahhhhh about seeing at Squantch. I like both versions of this song, but the Reprise is just so darn pretty. 

14) After the Gold Rush - I went to a Neil Young tribute a few weeks ago. Newfound respect for Elvis Costello. I say goddamn. Since it was all covers I’m representing Neil here with one of my favorite covers, from Thom Yorke’s near legendary Live at Bridge School recording. If you need to sub in a falsetto, could it get any better than Thom Yorke? Without castrating a choir boy, that is.

15) Long Time Running -  For no other reason than, despite being well out of my Tragically Hip phase, I still love this song. I want to dance with a whiskey-breathed stranger in a smokey, sawdust strewn roadhouse to this.

16) Oh! Sweet Nuthin' - Lou Reed also played the Neil Young tribute. Sort of a let down to be honest. He was the MOST geriatric. Like a hockey player without his stick, Old Lou looked as if he couldn’t stand independently without his guitar strapped on. Also, if anyone knows the whereabouts of my vinyl (Berlin live, I think), let a sister know. Or my black hi-tops for that matter. Shit is going missing around here.

* Bonus Track - because I had a flashback to how prevalent and pleasantly surprising bonus tracks were back when CDs were really taking off. And I burned out to the source of this a few days ago, and this song kills me. Kills me. So hard.

So there you have it. Mixtape #8. Signed. Sealed Delivered. I hope you enjoy. I’m going to spend a good hour in the shower trying to undo the shoulder knot this typing has caused. Such a martyr. I know. 

~ m

Every Feeling You Feel Is ...

This isn't the post I was planning to write. I've been downright negligent the past few months - partially due to a relentless shoulder issue that makes typing sort of agony, and partially due to a weighty case of the blogging blahs. Between the two blogs I have probably a dozen posts started, but haven't has the chutzpah to get 'em done. So I was actually planning to get back on the pony by riding a podcast through the gate, but my account was being a little douche, so it's on the back burner for a bit. 

I took the new podcast for the old headphone test this morning. I just gave my notice at my apartment, and thought I should squeeze in a few more park / waterfront ambles while it still takes zero effort to get there. It was one of those almost garishly beautiful Victoria days that sort of makes me feel bad for 90% of the country and their stereotypically Canadian weather. And since 90% of the country was glued to their TVs watching Canada go for gold, I didn't have much company, which was quite nice. After thirtysomething years it still makes me smile to see peacocks in the park.  I didn't see 'Ol Whitey, the albino peacock, which actually concerned me a little. Small aside - I saw the most amazing albino Asian man in Chinatown yesterday. I mean really. How often do you see that? I was like walking into the Benetton ad I covered my Grade 9 science book with. 

But I digress. 

Most of the benches along the waterfront were occupied by elderly couples soaking up the sun like contented old grey-muzzled dogs. Sorta cute. There's a bench on Dallas Road that's sort of special to my Mom and sisters. It's where we scattered my stepdad's ashes a few months ago. I haven't been up that way since, so I thought I'd take five and spend a little time with him, as it wasn't currently occupied by a grey-hair. As I approached it I realized it was covered with graffiti. Mailing labels. I think Avery 5160 (that's the admin nerd in me talking). Some messily coloured blue, most semi peeled off. My first reaction was 'oh, nice, of all the benches to fuck with ...'. And then I started reading them. And I know it was probably just some bored kids feeling sort of Post Secret, but, honestly, it sort of took the wind out of me. 

Here's the thing. Though I'd known my stepdad since probably my early teens he didn't come into my life in a permanent way until I was semi-adult, away at university, actually. And it was a little rocky at the start, and such things tend to be. He was a pretty lovely man, and loved my mom, so of course things sorted themselves out, but I lived in Vancouver for years, and even when I moved back to Victoria I wasn't around much, and didn't really realize how much I'd missed in not having a closer relationship with him until he was gone. I knew it as he was dying, and I was blistered by it a year later when we scattered the ashes. My Mom, stepsister and two sisters all had such personal words to say, and all I really had was 'I loved him, I know he loved me, but I didn't really know him. And that makes me so incredibly sad'.

I mean, how do you apologize to someone who's dead for not taking the time to know them better in life?

The only thing I can think is you do it by not making that mistake again. By nutting up and taking chances. By not holding people at arms length and counting on having the time to pull them closer. By not hardening yourself to all the awkward, inconvenient, maybe embarrassing thoughts and feelings that make us so achingly human. By using your voice to remind people of these things.

Mike, I hear you, loud and clear.

I am still finding my voice, but I promise you, it will be strong.

xo ~ m
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