Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Welcome Back, Kirby

After a six-year hiatus, I'm back to blogging some occasional music & book reviews, around-the-house projects, and general silliness. I've tried to freshen up the look of things from the dark "cyber" vibe that was going on that isn't exactly reflective of my personal taste. So what's been going on since I last posted in 2009? Well, here's a timeline in photos:

 I got married:

We bought a house (Yes, it snows here sometimes.):

I ran a mildly successful earring shop on Etsy for almost two years. 544 sales later, I shut it down for lack of time and the monotony of making hundreds of Justin Timberlake earrings.

Most importantly,  I saw 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' on opening weekend with this bozo:

So, pretty much all major life events with the exception of children. Well... actually, we did adopt one! Our sweet Daisy - Boston Terrier extraordinaire. She is the first mostly white Boston I've seen and I was instantly in love. We added her to our family in 2012:

P.S. Our wedding and family photos are from a dear friend who also happens to be a talented photographer - Lori Allen. Find her here: http://loriallenphotography.com/

I'll post about our DIY backyard wedding another time. Until then, I'll be humming the tune to Welcome Back, Kotter and reminiscing of the days before John Travolta went all Scientologist on us.

Monday, December 28, 2009


Let's just say School of Seven Bells made one of my favorite albums of all time last year (Alpinisms). I am beyond ready for them to release something new. Until that time, I will be content with their tour updates and photos, and the occasional video that should come my way. I double-dog-dare you to watch this full screen, although you just may toss mad cookies.

School of Seven Bells - "My Cabal" from Ghostly International on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for upcoming adventures, including my head-first dive into old-school photography. Hope to have some major blogging time after the new year. Stay safe and happy on this December 31st!

Ciao, peeps.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What time is it, you ask?

It's time for my top 25 albums of 2009! This is a list of 25 albums I can listen to start to finish, over and over. And have. And will continue to do so! Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Year, if I don't make it back before then.

Every one of the albums featured here also has a song somewhere on my top songs list, so for the sake of saving time, scroll down and click any artist you like from the songs list, and it'll take you straight to their page.

25. Karen O and the Kids Where The Wild Things Are
24. beat radio safe inside the sound
23. Metric Fantasies
22. Mayer Hawthorne A Strange Arrangement
21. Wilco Wilco (The Album)
20. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson Breakup
19. Dirty Projectors Bitte Orca
18. jj jj n.2
17. Liechtenstein Survival Strategies in a Modern World
16. Mew No More Stories...
15. Bat for Lashes bat for lashes
14. Faunts Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
13. The Very Best Warm Heart of Africa
12. Pains of Being Pure at Heart Pains of Being Pure at Heart
11. Camera Obscura My Maudlin Career
10. The Dodos Time to Die
9. Gliss Devotion Implosion
8. The Big Pink A Brief History of Love
7. Beirut March of the Zapotec and Realpeople Holland
6. Fruit Bats The Ruminent Band
5. Andrew Bird Noble Beast
4. The Boxer Rebellion Union
3. Great Lake Swimmers Lost Channels
2. Grizzly Bear Veckatimest
1. Neko Case Middle Cyclone

Monday, December 7, 2009

90 favorites of 09

So here’s my long-awaited Fave Songs of 2009 list. I have to say, I lost a little of my enthusiasm about my list once I saw how many of the same songs my significant other had. But like he said, we are together so much that many of our musical tastes overlap. We didn’t talk too much about which songs were on our lists prior to this week, so it’s a testament to good music that we have many of the same top songs. It’s funny though, that we’d love the same albums, but different songs. My North Carolina roots make me lean a little more towards folk and bluegrass sounds in some instances, and although I detest “radio-country”, I love the sound of a fast-picked banjo (playing in the background while I enjoy collards, sweet potatoes, and Aunt Hazel’s handmade biscuits).

I hope you enjoy my list as much as I’ve enjoyed compiling it. E-mail me your address and I’ll send you a copy. Don’t miss Brad’s fabulous 2009 list, *(click here)* and let me know if you’d like a copy of his and I’ll send both!

You’ll see many of my selections that were random free downloads from blogs. I’ll try to provide links for those I remember. Some of my frequented blogs (music and otherwise) are listed in the left column. Also, Insound will send you free mp3’s of the week when you sign up on their site. A great way to sample new upcoming music.

*Link to KEXP*

Each artist name is a link to their music, so if you want a taste of what each sounds like, click away…

90. Sondre Lerche / “Good Luck” / Heartbeat Radio
I discovered Sondre Lerche in a package download of multiple Canadian artists.

89. Yppah / “Gumball Machine Weekend” / They Know What Ghost Know
The Morning Show on KEXP. John Richards and Cheryl Waters fill my workdays with musical goodness.

88. Drummer / “Feel Good Together” / Feel Good Together
Just got this album from Brad. Haven’t had much time to listen to the whole thing yet, but this title track caught my attention right away.

87. Gui Boratto / “No Turning Back” / Take My Breath Away
Entirely electronic, mostly instrumental, and over 7 minutes long, this song would have never been discovered had I not taken a long mountain bike ride with my iPod on shuffle. Trying to fiddle with an iPod while dodging pine trees on singletrack is impossible, leaving me no choice but to listen to the entire thing. I’m glad I did!

86. Florence and the Machine / “Rabbit Heart [Raise it Up]” / Lungs
The chorus is intense and gave me chills the first time I heard it. Her voice can sound a little like Sarah MacLaughlin when she sings high notes, which can be a great or terrible thing depending on your musical preferences, HOWEVER the electronic aspect gives her a completely modern and non-Lilith Fair sound.

85. Jay-Z [Ft. Alicia Keys] / “Empire State of Mind” / The Blueprint 3
Not the biggest Jay-Z fan in the world, but I do love Alicia Keys… her chorus and her piano made this song a must for my list this year.

84. The Horrors / “Who Can Say” / Primary Colours
My favorite breakup song of the year. There’s a hilarious part at the end that makes me laugh out loud every time: “And when I told her I didn’t love her anymore, she cried. And when I told her, her kisses were not like before, she cried. And when I told her about the girl that caught my eye, she cried. And then I kissed her with a kiss that could only mean goodbye.”

83. The Whitest Boy Alive / “High on the Heels” / Rules
Sounds as if it could have been recorded on my 1988 Casio keyboard, with the standard melody on a loop. So simple and poppy. Love it.

82. The xx / “Heart Skipped a Beat” / xx
It took me a while to get into this album, but I love this stripped-down song.

81. Pomegranates / “Everybody, Come Outside!” / Everybody, Come Outside!
Get past the beginning hollering, and it’s wonderful. I heard Pomegranates first on KEXP this spring.

80. Jeremy Enigk / “Late of Camera” / OK Bear
Brad shared this album with me. Takes me back to my flannel shirt-wearing Eddie Vedder-obsessed middle school days. I like how there’s some softness (ie piano and strings) in between heavy guitar riffs. Because let’s face it folks, we’re not flannel shirt-wearing middle schoolers anymore. I do still looooove Eddie Vedder though.

79. YACHT / “The Afterlife” / See Mystery Lights
Read a really good review on a music blog, and love this fun song. If anyone can figure out why the chorus sounds so familiar please let me know – it’s been bothering Brad for months.

78. Iran / “Evil Summer” / Dissolver
Heard Iran for the first time on KEXP. Kyp Malone from TV on the Radio formed Iran this year and this was a great summer song for me to blast in the car, windows down, sans air conditioning, because VW’s are so expensive to fix. A true meaning of “evil summer.”

77. DOOM / “Gazzillion Ear” / Born Like This
DOOM reminds me of old-school Wu. Or Gravediggaz, if you want to take it back even further. A beat, a rap, and no fancy stuff. Makes me want to get “ODB LIVZ” on my license plate.

76. Dan Deacon / “Padding Ghost” / Bromst
Pure fun. Makes me want to drink 3 Red Bulls and dance the night away. The chipmunk-esque vocals are golden.

75. Julian Plenti / “No Chance Survival” / Julian Plenty is… Skyscraper
Although I’m a fan of Interpol, I had a hard time getting into this album. This song is undeniably pretty, and although it makes me somewhat forlorn, it deserves a spot.

74. BLK JKS / “Skeleton” / After Robots
One regret about my list this year is the lack of reggae music, one of the staples in my life. I had a hard time finding quality reggae this year with the exception of SOJA and local favorite The Prisoners. This song has some nice reggae roots, but don’t let the first half fool you, there is some serious rockin’ at the end.

73. The BPA / “Seattle feat. Emmy the Great” / I Think We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
The chorus of this song is infectious. And although I’m pretty much always politically apathetic, the upbeat lyrics and message makes me feel a little hope for the US of A.

72. beat radio / “sleepwalking” / safe inside the sound
I recently downloaded this album based upon a blog recommendation. Haven’t been able to devote too much time to it yet, but I really dig this song.

71. Phosphorescent / “Reasons to Quit” / To Willie
I heard this song on KEXP and downloaded the album immediately. I haven’t been able to wiki the album title meaning yet but I assume (and hope) it’s “to” Willie Nelson. Such a good, sobering song.

70. Elvis Perkins in Dearland / “Shampoo” / Elvis Perkins in Dearland
Another KEXP-provided epiphany. I looked for months for this album and finally found it in the spring. I’ve listened to it all year and still love it. “Black is the color of a strangled rainbow.” A great folk song, complete with harmonica solo.

69. Neon Indian / “Terminally Chill” / Psychic Chasms
Downloaded this album based on Pitchfork’s recommendation. This song immediately stood out for me, as it reminds me of Paul McCartney’s “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime”, which happens to be my favorite Christmas song of all time. This song will make me happy year-round.

68. Viva Voce / “Midnight Sun” / Rose City
Harmonies on this song are beautiful. Viva Voce rocks.

67. M. Ward / “Jailbird” / Hold Time
This whole album is great – it was hard to choose just one song. M. Ward doesn’t disappoint.

66. The Bird & The Bee / “meteor” / Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future
I have to admit that B&tB would’ve been much higher on my list had the album come out later in the year, as I wore it out by the end of the summer. The entire album is very good.

65. malajube / “dragon de glace” / labyrinthes
A French-Canadian group, I downloaded this album along with Coeur de Pirate. Although I don’t speak French, I love the music, and the “a-ha’s” throughout the song, which I can happily sing along with. Shoutout to my cousin Sarah who kicked ass in French immersion camp this summer – I’ll be sending all these albums to you for interpretation.

64. Matt & Kim / “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare” / Grand
I may be the only person on the earth that’s not a huge fan of Matt & Kim, so I was skeptical when Brad told me how good it was. I gave it a listen and this song had me singing along right away. Still not my absolute favorite band, but this song rules.

63. Annie / “Songs Remind Me of You” / Don’t Stop
Heard this on the Morning Show on KEXP. Apparently John Richards is a fan, and any band that’s alright with John Richards is alright with me. I’m not generally into club music, but this song is contagious.

62. A.C. Newman / “Like a Hitman Like a Dancer” / Get Guilty
Another album that I played to death this year. Good start to finish.

61. Islands / “Vapours” / Vapours
This song has a retro feel for me. The guitar riffs seem Dick Dale inspired to me. Happy and beachy.

60. Wild Beasts / “We Still Got the Taste Dancing on Our Tongues / Two Dancers
When I first heard “Hooting and Howling” (see Brad’s list) I laughed. Until I found myself singing it the next day. And the next. Although I can’t make it through most of the songs on this album, this track makes me wiggle in my seat.

59. Passion Pit / “The Reeling” / Manners
I downloaded Passion Pit’s EP Chunk of Change last year, and eagerly awaited this year’s release. Manners doesn’t disappoint.

58. Yeah Yeah Yeahs / “Soft Shock” / It’s Blitz!
One of the best albums of the year for me. Karen O is pretty much the coolest, most outrageous rock female since Bjork’s days of swan dresses.

57. Black Moth Super Rainbow / “Twin of Myself” / Eating Us
Brad got me into this album, it’s a great listen when in need of a nice long daydream or spell of relaxation. I like to listen to it at work where I daydream. Just kidding.

56. Gliss / “Morning Light” / Devotion Implosion
One of my most-played albums of 2009, I’m devastated that I missed them when they came to the Boot this summer. *Frown*

55. Mew / “Repeater Beater” / No More Stories Are Told
Pitchfork recommended this album, and although the album is not entirely my speed, this song rocks my face off.

54. Say Hi / “One, Two … One” / Oohs & Aahs
I first fell in love with the single “November was White, December was Gray” on KEXP this spring. After listening to the entire album, I find I enjoy listening to this upbeat track even better. The consistent peppy beat and keyboard notes in the background are what I love most.

53. Akron Family / “River” / Set Em Wild Set Em Free
Kind of like Okkervil River with the singer from They Might be Giants. Just my take on their sound, which is grrrrreat!

52. Peter Bjorn and John / “Nothing to Worry About” / Living Thing
Although this album isn’t as strong as Writer’s Block, there are a few solid singles, including this poppy track, complete with children singing background in the chorus. As you will see in some other songs on my list this year, I pretty much heart hearing little kids sing. Better than I do, I might add.

51. Bell / “Magic Tape” / Magic Tape b/w Housefire 2.0
This track may be a little hard for some to get into, but Olga Bell has one of the best voices I’ve heard. She should be coming out with a full length album in 2010, and I’ll pretty much travel to the ends of the earth to see her live at some point. I downloaded her EP last year for $5 and can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

50. Doves / “Kingdom of Rust” / Kingdom of Rust
This title track has a little bit of a line-dancing style beat throughout the song, and Andy Williams’ voice in the chorus is heavenly. Still gives me chills.

49. Emmy the Great / “Dylan” / First Love
One of my favorite folk singers, I will be listening to this album for a long, long time. This song is one of the most upbeat on the album.

48. Telepathe / “So Fine” / Dance Mother
The first time I heard this song I thought “this may end up on my favorite songs list.” That was approximately 75 listens ago, and it climbed higher on the list every time. Absolutely infectious.

47. Taken by Trees / “My Boys” / East of Eden
A female spin on Animal Collective’s “My Girls,” this track is light and whimsical. Guaranteed to make you want to run right out and build adobe slabs for your boys.

46. Karen O and the Kids / “All is Love” / Where the Wild Things Are
I cannot get through this soundtrack without tearing up. It fits the movie perfectly, and even though many people may disagree, the movie fit the book perfectly as well. See previous blog about the movie. Guaranteed to be my favorite soundtrack of all time.

45. Alela Diane / “White As Diamonds” / To Be Still
A true bluegrass and folk artist, Alela Diane’s voice is magical to me. I do have to say that I prefer the stripped down sound of last year’s Pirate’s Gospel, but To Be Still is a true gem.

44. The Veils / “The House She Lived In” / Sun Gangs
I haven’t listened to the album much, but this song come up on a shuffle and I was instantly a fan. Must’ve been a Brad download…

43. BROWN RECLUSE / “Rainy Saturday” / The Soft Skin – EP
Here is another fantastic new group. Hope to hear more from them in 2010.

42. Starlight Mints / “Natural” / Change Remains
The chorus gets me amped every time. An overall snazzy song to jam out to.

41. Wilco / “You Never Know” / Wilco (The Album)
Although “You and I” was my early favorite, I played it out early on. Not to mention Feist’s voice wore on my nerves after a while. “You Never Know” emerged as my top song with light piano sounds in the background. This album is one of my faves of the year.

40. White Rabbits / “Percussion Gun” / It’s Frightening
How can you not love a song with such killer drumming in the beginning?

39. Monsters of Folk / “Baby Boomer” / Monsters of Folk
This track is my favorite from MOF with it’s upbeat melody. Combining M. Ward, Conor Oberst, and Jim James is a surefire way to create a killer album.

38. Girls / “Lust for Life” / Album
This song grows on me with every listen. If I’d gotten it earlier in the year it would’ve definitely been much higher on my list. Favorite line: “I wish I had a suntan, I wish I had a pizza and a bottle of wine. I wish I had a beach house, then we could make a big fire every night.” I absolutely can’t wait to sing along (loudly) with this in my car next summer: windows rolled down and beach bound.

37. Papercuts / “Dictator’s Lament” / You Can Have What You Want
This hazy lo-fi track makes me VERY sad that I missed them live when they opened for Camera Obscura last month. I will be eagerly awaiting their return to VA.

36. The Temper Trap / “Sweet Disposition” / Conditions
I recently downloaded this album after hearing them on, you guessed it, KEXP. Hopefully they will be touring extensively in the near future, as I’d love to see them live.

35. Bibio / “Ambivalence Avenue” / Ambivalence Avenue
The layering of instruments in this song is subtle, and it’s amazing that when you listen intensely you can only hear guitar, piano, and a single drum. And heavenly voices of course.

34. Great Lake Swimmers / “The Chorus in the Underground” / Lost Channels
Although the rest of the album has much less direct bluegrass sound, this song stood out for me because of the beautiful banjo/fiddle combination. Amazing.

33. Fitz and the Tantrums / “Winds of Change” / Songs for a Breakup, Volume 1
This is a great EP, and I am excited to see old-school bluesy R&B making a comeback in a big way.

32. Metric / “Help I’m Alive” / Fantasies
I heard this single on KEXP last year, and eagerly awaited the release of the album early this year. One of the best albums I have to listen to while running, the intense electronic beats combined with Emily Haines’ voice is unstoppable. Although I’ve listened to it a million times, I cannot sit still while this song is playing. I have a mega girl crush on Emily Haines. The track “Gold, Girls, Guns” was a close second to this favorite.

31. The Big Pink / “Velvet” / A Brief History of Love
It was really hard to choose one song from this album. One of the best albums of 2009 for sure.

30. John Vanderslice / “C&O Canal” / Romanian Names
I’ve been fond of John Vanderslice since seeing him in the Beulah documentary A Good Band is Easy to Kill. He’s just so nice. Don’t let the light poppy melodies of this track fool you however. It’s a song about sweet revenge, sang to an ex-lover who broke the news in a Dear John letter. “I tracked down your friend, won her heart over slowly, then, I walked away. Hope it gets back to you some day. La-la, la-la-la-la.”

29. Thao with the Get Down, Stay Down / “Know Better Learn Faster” / Know Better Learn Faster
Strings, finger-picking, and Thao’s distinct voice is a winning combination. It was very hard to choose one song from this album.

28. Yeasayer / “Tightrope” / Dark Was the Night
I think everything Yeasayer touches turns to gold. Including the Dark Was the Night soundtrack.

27. Point Juncture, WA / “Sick on Sugar” / Heart to Elk
I bought this album directly from the band the end of 2008 after hearing it on KEXP. I was ecstatic to find out the album was formally released in 2009, so as to share it with you. They are available on iTunes now, and you should proceed to your internets and buy it. I hope they end up in VA at some point, because rest assured, I will be there. If not, a trip to the west coast is just as appealing.

26. Dead Man’s Bones / “Pa Pa Power” / Dead Man’s Bones
I don’t generally fall for hot actors who start bands (ie 30 Seconds to Mars and Dogstar). BUT, Ryan Gosling is a talented musician who happens to be a hot actor. This entire album features a chorus of children, and is hauntingly incredible. Again, children singing makes me happy, even on dark albums.

25. Loney, Dear / “Summers” / Dear John
Every time I listen to this song I find myself turning it up louder and louder. The lyrics speak of the end of summers and growing up and moving on from people you used to know. It could easily be melancholy given the lyrics, but the accompanying music renders it hopeful instead.

24. K-Os / “I Wish I Knew Natalie Portman” / Yes!
Piano sound familiar on this track? That’s because it’s the song “California” feature on the OC many years ago. This album came to me this summer in that same Canadian artist bundle with Sondre Lerche and BROWN RECLUSE. It seems destined for radio success, and although I hate seeing punks at Patrick Henry Mall pumping music they think they discovered, it’s nice to see talented artists get recognition for good music.

23. Mayer Hawthorne / “Maybe So, Maybe No” / A Strange Arrangement
Another album destined for mass popularity, I searched high and low for this album for weeks after reading a random blog recommendation. It is nice that despite having the probability of becoming a major lady-killer (just listen to his voice….like honey) he created a fun, silly video for this single, including none other than hilarious Rob Drydek skateboarding around southern Cali. Check out Brad’s list for a video of him performing live on KEXP. That man’s got talent, ya’ll.

22. Delorean / “Deli” / Ayrton Senna EP
This track is a little less repetitive than “Seasun,” but a great EP all the way around. “Like the time I spent with you girl – with you girl.” Infectious.

21. The Dodos / “The Strums” / Time to Die
This album is my 2009 Fleet Foxes. I love every song, and such wonderful lyrics throughout! The little dings of the xylophone top it off quite nicely.

20. Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson / “Search Your Heart” / Breakup
Recommended by my friend Diana from college, and this album restored my faith in Pete Yorn and made me like Scarlett Johansson even more.

19. The Boxer Rebellion / “Soviets” / Union
One of my favorite albums of the year, this track is pretty mellow, but his voice is amazing.

18. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart / “Come Saturday” / The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
The opening guitars of this song get me amped every time. Every song on this album is great.

17. St. Vincent / “Marrow” / Actor
I just dare you to get through the pretty strings at the beginning. The beat in the background should be a hint of what’s coming. Such a buildup, and then St. Vincent wails. Girl power at it’s greatest. She performed this live on Austin City Limits and I was in awe of her.

16. Bat for Lashes / “pearl’s dream” / bat for lashes
After watching Natasha Kahn’s (aka Bat for Lashes) documentary a month or so ago, this song has climbed steadily up my list. I don’t get tired of hearing it. See previous blog for video and more.

15. Dirty Projectors / “Stillness is the Move” / Bitte Orca
A couple of months ago I posted a blog with a video of the ladies of Dirty Projectors on the Jimmy Fallon show, and since then I can’t get enough of them. Their harmonies are unlike anything I’ve ever heard. Seriously, not even a middle school chorus can touch them.

14. Camera Obscura / “Swans” / My Maudlin Career
I have to admit that I played this album to death earlier this year. I had a 6-disc IN THE TRUNK cd player in my car, so I listened to this over and over. I got pretty tired of the album. Until I saw them live. I now have fond memories of Collin and I dancing in the aisle while Molly, Brad, and Catherine pretended they didn’t know us. I don’t know that I’ve seen a band perform exactly the way the album sounds. It was magical.

13. Julian Casablancas / “11th Dimension” / Phrazes for the Young
This list made my top 20 pretty much on the first listen. This song makes me dance around in my car like the idiot you like to hate on at traffic lights. Hater.

12. The Very Best / “Warm Heart of Africa [feat Ezra Koenig]” / Warm Heart of Africa
I searched high and low for this before finally buying it on iTunes. This whole album is rich with authentic musical traits of Africa and reminds me much of the music I studied in my college music class. Every year I have a tradition of listening to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole while wrapping Christmas presents, however this year The Very Best may take over.

11. Beirut / “My Night With the Prostitute from Marsaille” / Realpeople Holland
What can I say about Beirut other than incredible? Oh yeah, fantastic, wonderful, fabulous…you get the idea. When I first heard this on KEXP I almost died it’s so good. His voice over a club beat and all the layers of sound typical of his style really took it to a new level for me, audibly speaking.

10. Liechtenstein / “Roses in the Park” / Survival Strategies in a Modern World
An all-girl Swedish pop group – they are great! Very retro feel.

9. Animal Collective / “Summertime Clothes” / Merriweather Post Pavilion
It’s a little surprising this is only #9, but I think this is another one I overplayed early on. The album is sure to be one of the most critically successful albums of 2009, as it should be.

8. The National / “So Far Around the Bend” / Dark Was The Night
I love The National. I love this song. Favorite line: “You’ve been humming in a daze forever, praying for Pavement to get back together...” This was obviously written before the announcement of Pavement’s reunion concerts next year in NYC. Did I mention I’ll be there? Even more reason to like this song.

7. Mos Def / “Auditiorium Ft. Slick Rick” / The Ecstatic
Mos Def is great, but to me, Slick Rick is one of the all-time best hip hop artists ever. All you rap experts can say what you will, but Slick Rick’s voice is one of a kind. The subject of a soldier in Iraq being told “get the f*ck out my county” is a touchy topic, but Mos Def gets his point across without being preachy or abrasive.

6. Neko Case / “This Tornado Loves You” / Middle Cyclone
I can already tell you this is my #1 album of 2009. I’m madly in love with Neko Case, in a purely platonic way of course. Don’t know that I’ve heard better imagery in another song, likening a woman in love to a raging tornado. An amazing song.

5. jj / “things will never be the same again” / jj no. 2
If you don’t get happy listening to this song you have no soul.

4. Fruit Bats / “Beautiful Morning Light” / The Ruminent Band
One of the most romantic songs I’ve ever heard. I get a warm fuzzy feeling every time I hear it.

3. Andrew Bird / “Oh No” / Noble Beast
I cannot say enough good things about Andrew Bird. Don’t know that there is a more talented individual out there. Saw him on Austin City Limits and seeing him play a loop, record it, play it back while picking up a second (then third, and fourth) instrument and layering the sound as a one man band was phenomenal. Not to mention his whistling is top notch. I hope hope hope I see him live one day.

2. Faunts / “Feel.Love.Thinking.Of” / Feel.Love.Thinking.Of.
Don’t know that I’ve ever been more addicted to a song than this. I think I’ll still be listening to this when I’m 80. I can’t get over the 80’s keys layered with their soft voices.

1. Grizzly Bear / “Two Weeks” / Veckatimest
Before seeing GB live in October, I may have chosen a different song for my list. “Southern Point”, “Cheerleader”, and “All We Ask” were big contenders, as I’m a fan of their more slow songs. BUT, after seeing GB play “Two Weeks” live with Victoria LeGrand from Beach House singing backup (as she does on the album), this song became my #1 with no competition. I wish they featured Ed Drost's voice more often. I strongly suggest you see them live.

That’s my list! If you’d like a copy, send me an e-mail at amber.macarthur.05@gmail.com with your address and I’ll send a cd along with some fairy dust and unicorn tears. Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Coming soon...

My 2009 Favorite Songs list!

I'm just finishing the list and sorting according to how much I love each one. Here's a sneak peek at some of the folks making my list:

-Great Lake Swimmers
-Alela Diane
-Taken by Trees
-White Rabbit
-The Big Pink
-Akron Family
-Temper Trap
-Brown Recluse

If you'd like a copy of the list when it comes out, e-mail your address to me. There will be 100 songs on my list to provide hours of entertainment for you and friends, should you choose to share it. I hope to have a complete playlist posted by the end of the weekend. Unfortunately there is a lot of good music being released these last few weeks of the year, so I'm making last-minute additions.

Hope you all have a great day - I'm off to participate in my company's physical fitness challenge. I just wish an Aggro Crag were involved.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Updates, Galore!

Hello peeps,

I wanted to post a bit about what I'm doing these days, as well as some of my most recent musical explorations, so here we go.

Halloween - The Halloween costumes came out perfect. All of the sewing injuries were worth the final product. Here's a picture of BK and I in them:

Future appearances of the shark - You will undoubtedly see the shark costume again, as I have signed up for 2009's Polar Plunge to benefit Virginia Special Olympics, and plan to wear the shark costume when I submerge myself in the frigid Atlantic Ocean next February. Care to donate to this great cause? Click here :)

Volunteerism - I am still with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and have been assigned a new "Little" named Julia. She is adorable and we've had lots of fun so far. I hope to form a lasting friendship with her. I have also joined the Kiwanis Club of York. Many people ask, "what is Kiwanis?"...well, do you remember the Key Club in high school (or Keyettes for the ladies), or Circle K in college? Well, these are divisions of Kiwanis for younger folks. My grandparents have been members of Kiwanis for years, and it's a good way for me to spend some time with them and do some good things in the community as well. I'm excited and inspired to be associated with such a caring group of people! If you're interested in joining, click the link above or send me an e-mail for more deets. Meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month.

MUSIC!!! - So there are many new albums that I've downloaded recently, and I'll give you a brief summary of a few:

Liechtenstein ~ an indie-pop girl-group from Sweden, these ladies harmonize very well and their music is upbeat and happy. (album Survival Strategies in a Modern World released May 2009)

Mayer Hawthorne ~ an old-school Motown-style R&B singer, Mayer Hawthorne is my new John Legend. (album A Strange Arrangement released October 2009)

The Very Best ~ reggae, world, and pop all mushed into one sound. This album is fantastic and will keep me feeling warm and fuzzy all winter long. (album Warm Heart of Africa released September 2009)

If you're interested in hearing more from any of these amazing musicians, let me know, or request a copy of my Top Songs of 2009 List, coming soon. BK talked me into making a 'top songs list' for this year, and I've decided to do 100 songs instead of 40, basically because I'm an overachiever in every sense of the word. ;)

Concerts - So as I previously mentioned, I will be attending Camera Obscura's show this Saturday in Norfolk. Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings will be coming to The National in RVA in December, and I'll be there as well. And although it's a long, long, ways away, I'll be seeing Pavement's reunion concert in Central Park next September. Not sure what I'm more excited about: Pavement, or the fake Prada bags I'm destined to buy in NYC. (j/k, j/k!)

I have a few topics in mind to blog (rant) about in the coming days (weeks?), so I'll try to be back soon, so as not to keep you on the edge of your seats for too long.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's Time to Bat Your Lashes

Meet Natasha Khan, aka Bat for Lashes. I watched her 48-minute documentary this afternoon, and she is pretty much the bees knees. You can watch a documentary of the making of her 2009 album Two Suns for free on Pitchfork for *one week only*, so click here to watch it before it's gone!

Here's the video for "Pearl's Dream", which will undoubtedly be in my top songs of 2009 list (if the vid below doesn't play click here to go to you tube).

Back to work on the Halloween costumes! I swear, I've had more injuries from making these costumes than 4 years of field hockey (sans broken nose). I have poked myself with many a needle while sewing, gotten numerous papercuts while putting together BK's Eagle Lord headpiece, and burned myself with countless globs of hot glue (hotter than hell's hot tub ya'll). I will need a mini-vacay after these masterpieces are complete - good thing yet another bogus federal holiday is coming up in November!

Hope you enjoyed the Bat for Lashes video. Natasha Khan is my second-favorite saucy indie chick (next to Emily Haines).

Have a spook-tacular Halloween! Sorry, had to say it...