INDIEchouette


TUMBLR[WAS]’S DOWN

Here’s why I decided to reclaim my glorious WordPress: I was just starting to get good at it when I stopped blogging.

Another thing: Upon perusing my iPod, which has a different music selection from my external hard drive, I came across the song “Sharks” by Bear Colony, and it hit my belly in an entirely nostalgic way.  I remembered the way that this blog tracked my growth from adolescence to adulthood.  Although I am still rather immature, you readers have watched me grow up, have grown up with me, given me support, and I want to give something back to you.  Hence, rebooting the blog.

Tumblr’s great n all but I like the long format of WordPress better.  Plus, I feel that while I use my Tumblr for pretty things and activism, I still have much to say about music, and Tumblr doesn’t give me the forum to do that.

I’m going to start new things, possibly beginning with one secret surprise, which I will work on this weekend.  I plan to bring in a wider variety of music, hopefully to cater to a wider audience of music tastes.  This will definitely be influenced by my friends and readers, who have introduced me to new genres where my mind was so narrow before.  In fact, if you ever hear something amazing that you want me to hear, either leave me a comment, message me (even anonymously) on Tumblr, shoot me something on Facebook, or send me an email!  In addition to concerts I attend in the future, I also plan to write about local Richmond bands, noise, hip-hop, and (sigh) pop music.  Why pop music?  Have I finally sold out?  Well, number one, I don’t even really know what that means.  Number two, I have realized that pop music presents a wonderful opportunity for…critique.

Of course, I’ll also continue to post the occasional cringeworthy personal post, and, you know…books/movies/tv/whatever.

And for a second before I get started, just to crack my knuckles, I’d like to give a shout-out to Divya, who seriously commented on my most recent post within milliseconds, as well as one to deShion, who I’m about to message back on Last.fm.

I’m going to do this list-style.  In fact, if any of you are enthusiastic enough, just to celebrate this long-awaited post (by me if by nobody else), you readers can answer the questions I’m about to pose to myself in the comments, and I shall respond with commentary.

1.  Wut r ur top 3 5 fav bands records rite naow?

In no particular order, I am currently really into:

    And…don’t be too shocked at how different they are…:

    • Kamehameha by Ponytail (2006)
    • Teen Dream by Beach House (2010)
    • Have One On Me by Joanna Newsom (2010)
    • Halcyon Digest by Deerhunter (2010)
    • Ducktails III: Arcade Dynamics by Ducktails (2011)

    2.  What’ve you been reading lately?

    • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, which is amazing
    • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (all of it)
    • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, just the first installment so far, on the toilet
    • rose by Inga Muscio
    • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

    3.  How have ewe changed since you last posted?

    I have more energy due to a very recent change in medz.
    My hair is prettier; I got an undercut inspired by Victoria Legrand’s hair.
    I live with a kitty named Roxy.  She is a buff tabby, 1 1/2 years old, and extremely agile.
    I’m closer to my sisters and I hang out with my friends more.
    I’ve become more body positive and politically aware/correct.  If this bothers you, then you.  can.  get out, I guess.

    4.  Movie recommendations purr-lease?

    Okay.  You get four, mainly because I can’t think of another one at the moment.

    • Ponyo
    • Paprika
    • But I’m a Cheerleader
    • Heima
    • Margaret Cho comedy of any kind.  That’s not a movie, but…worth it.

    5.  Grrrl role models lately

    • Victoria Legrand of the band Beach House
    • Molly Siegel of the band Ponytail (huge secret crush)
    • Girl Cave the only all-girl cycling team in the Tour de Force scavenger hunt last weekend (Adrienne and Nicole)
    • Genderbitch even though I was a total poohead the first time I communicated with her
    • You know, all my friends and Tumblr-crushes.  Okay, so Tumblr has taken over my life.

    So sometime this weekend, expect a secret surprise and a new post including music, mostly probably raving about the albums that I listed above, with listening opportunities of course.

    That is, unless my computer re-breaks

    which it totally did

    like two weeks ago

    but then yesterday

    it started working again

    what gives

    I’m going to play the Sims 3, I think.



    I GIVE MYSELF VERY GOOD ADVICE BUT I VERY SELDOM FOLLOW IT

    This day marks the beginning of sophomore year spring break.  What have I done so far?

    This morning, Alex y yo went to Diversity Thrift on Sherwood.  I’d never been there before (sin); I’d only ever seen the truck and the rainbow building.  I did not know that it’s completely within biking distance from me.  Or that it’s awesome.  I lifted seven books for a buck each and a fucking saweeeeet Spectra System Polaroid camera for three fucking dollars (yes, three fucking dollars).  It was rather dusty (both the camera and everything in Diversity, really) when I bought it but I cleaned it off with a Clorox wipe and I have plans to make a new strap for it because the included hand strap was grody and just actually fucking gross, and maybe to jazz it up with stickers or awesome.  Really, though, it’s a Polaroid, so how much jazzing up could it need?  Here is a video to demonstrate awesome.

    Oh, oops, that’s not a demonstration of awesome.  That’s Rachael.  Here.  HAVE FUN WITH MY STUPID OLD PHOTOBUCKET ACCOUNT, lawl.  All of the video/monologues are to Ali, not to me.

    Okay, lame sibling rivalry aside, I’m excited about having my own Polaroid, except for the fact that film is ridiculously expensive.  I bought a 2-pack (20 photos) for 30 bucks on ebay.  Didn’t Polaroid film used to be kind of…cheaper?  Oh yeah, it did, but it’s not being produced anymore.  Who made that decision?!  So I guess now I have two amazing cameras that take awesome photos with the price of expensive fucking fillllmmmmmm.

    Fortunately, collectives like The Impossible Project, Save Polaroid, and Polanoid exist.  The Impossible Project is a newsy site with a shop for Polaroid products.  It kind of prepares us all for the Polaroid Apocalypse, or maybe even for the wider-sweeping Apocalypse of Analog Photography As We Know It.  Save Polaroid is sort of a grassroots effort to bring it the fuck back, and Polanoid : Polaroid :: Urban Nomad : Lomography.  Right now, my greatest material desire is probably Lomography’s Diana Instant Back +, which turns out Polaroid-like instant pixxxx.  Someday I will have you, my pretty…

    On to the music.

    I been listening nonstop to White Hinterland’s Kairos.  It all started when Stereogum offered “Icarus” as a free download.  The rest of the album was neither immediately nor easily adored, but it’s been a definite grower, growin’ on me like ivy.  There’s something to be said for Casey Dienel’s silky smooth, slithery voice, but I can’t say I love Luniculaire or Phylactery Facotry even nearly as much as I’m digging Kairos (though Luniculaire comes close).  It’s difficult to decide just which tracks to present here because they’re all worthy, just in different manners.  I’m not going to give you “Icarus” because you can so easily download that for free at Stereogum or Pitchfork.  By the way, if you’re going to take my recommendation, I recommend Stereogum more highly because that page also includes White Hinterland’s cover of Arthur Russell’s “Lucky Cloud”, which you cannot afford to miss.

    First, I have to include “Cataract” because it’s a stunning display of what Casey Dienel can do.  This is White Hinterland’s most soulful oeuvre.

    Cataract | White Hinterland
    [mf] [buy]

    Second, “Huron” because it is a heartbeat, and it feels life-changing.  I am also fond of [what I can make out of] the lyrics.

    Huron | White Hinterland
    [mf] [buy]

    Third, “Moon Jam” because of the title.  It also feels so futuristic to me, and Casey plows forward in a manner that almost reminds me of Alice “Kingsley” from Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland which I saw yesterday in 3-D.  It unexpectedly captivated me.

    Moon Jam | White Hinterland
    [mf] [buy]

    It’s kind of strange how my musical tastes have transformed from oldies to power pop to pop punk to suck to mellow-ass indie all day, all night, every day, every night.  But Surfer Blood sort of justifies this change, almost pulling at each of my former favourite genres.  I mean, I know their influences are way more legitimate than say, The Click 5 (or probably any of said band’s influences), but I’d venture to say that I could have enjoyed me some Surfer Blood at any age.  In a really fucked-up way, they remind me of Weezer, only better.

    Floating Vibes | Surfer Blood
    [mf] [buy]

    I also downloaded Gigi’s Maintenant, just digging the French title and the Pitchfork review’s reference to Camera Obscura.  I was pleasantly surprised by the album’s listenability and 60s nostalgia.  The guests are obscure, even for someone who delves into bands with both hands, but I still managed to find favourite tracks.  I’m going to put my two favourite female vocals out here.

    Mirah has an irresistible voice, and it’s put to good use in this girly pop song.

    Won’t Someone Tell Me (with Mirah) | Gigi
    [mf] [buy]

    I love a good, strong, slightly scratchy voice, and Katie Eastburn satiates my desire.

    The Marquee (with Katie Eastburn) | Gigi
    [mf] [buy]

    It’s difficult to cope with my newfound love for Joanna Newsom, especially since her songs are so lengthy and layered.  It is mandatory to sit down with the lyrics in front of you, reading along, the first two or three times you listen to one of her songs, which are often epic-length.  But it was interesting, or maybe intriguing, or maybe just inspiring, to see her perform on Jimmy Fallon.  The morning I watched this video, I had “lawlessness, law-less-ness” stuck in my head all day.  It gave my day a sense of mission.

    It’s also important to note this girl’s perfect posture and unrelenting confidence.  It seems that seeing her live would so greatly trump all of her recordings.

    Soft As Chalk | Joanna Newsom
    [mf] [buy]

    Beach House has also pleased my ears lately.  I’m intrigued by Victoria Legrand’s voice.  It’s such a rare find, such a richly textured and deep female voice.  I watched Pitchfork’s segment with four Beach House songs, and was thoroughly captivated.  Plus, here’s a woman who is so perfectly…graceful?  Graceful.  Elegant, even.  Here are two songs from Teen Dream that were included in that sesh.

    Zebra | Beach House
    [mf] [buy]

    Walk In The Park | Beach House
    [mf] [buy]

    I don’t write about movies very often, and by that, I mean that I don’t do it nearly often enough.  Films are rich and satiate much of my hunger for life.

    Mermaid deeply affected me.  Made in 2007, it’s been described as the Russian Amélie.  On some level, I could agree with that, thematically, maybe.  If you loved Amélie, you’ll probably at least enjoy Mermaid.  But Mermaid extends beyond Amélie into the real world.  It’s awkward, charming, even cringeworthy at times.  It doesn’t extend hope to the rest of us, and maybe that’s why I prefer it.  Mermaid is realistic, even with all of Alissa’s miracles and reveries.  Compared to Mermaid, Amélie is surely a fairy tale; a simple dream.  Maybe the two are best set apart.  So you’re best off ignoring Amélie while watching Mermaid.

    As for Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland, don’t go into the theatre expecting loyalty to the book.  Instead, Alice is nineteen years old and everyone seems to think she has returned to Wonderland, despite the fact that she has no recollection of ever having been there at all.  This particular take on Alice is a sort of clusterfuck mashup of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-glass, and that same seven-year-old heroine’s future.  A lot of moviegoers will complain about how that’s not the story of Alice and how Tim Burton has manipulated things and blah blah blah, but for what it is–that is, an artistic take on two classic novels–this version is magnificent, captivating, morbid…and then it has a weird spin on the end:  feminism.  Since when did Disney give a fuck about feminism?  Just look at all the Disney princesses, most of whom can’t do jack shit for themselves (exception: Mulan, but she gets married in the end so she did “need” a man after all…but is Mulan even a princess, technically speaking?).  Disney’s appeal for feminism appeased me, but I just wonder how far they’re going to take it, or if it’s going to carry into any of their future movies.  Probably not.  I also wanted to point out that while uplifting, the ending is entirely unrealistic.  Back in those days, Alice would have had to get married, would not have been taken seriously as a businesswoman…why pretend otherwise?

    Instead of presenting you with the trailer, here’s a sweet music video made using fragments of the 1951 version if Alice in Wonderland.

    You can download this track, “Alice” by Pogo, for free on Last.fm.



    L’AMOUR PEUT NAÎTRE D’UNE SEULE METAPHOR

    I tried on Deerhunter for size because I have tickets to see them with Spoon and Strange Boys in March, and they fit.  This trying-on also caused me to intensely long for the ability to take Bradford Cox into my arms and carry him everywhere.  Here’s why I fell in love with Deerhunter: Alex showed me this video on Pitchfork, which follows Bradford Cox around 2008’s Pitchfork Festival.  Guest stars include King Khan, High Places, Britt Daniel, and the late Jay Reatard.  It’s seriously the most hilarious and uplifting video I’ve seen since Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.  I know that you want me to be joking, but I’m seriously not.  If there is one useful fact to know about me, it is that I actually adore that film.

    Anyway, here’s my favourite track by Deerhunter, “Agoraphobia”.  It’s actually one of the few songs penned by Lockett Pundt and not by Bradford Cox, and it therefore retains a far different, more mellow, more spaced-out feel, but it’s a great introduction to Deerhunter for those who have only heard stray tracks.  To give you a more typical Deerhunter sound, I’m also going to throw in the album’s title track, “Microcastle”, because it completely changes by the end and really, how can you not love the transition in the middle?

    Agoraphobia | Deerhunter
    [mf] [buy]

    Microcastle | Deerhunter
    [mf] [buy]

    I just managed to cover my glasses with accidental glitter for two reasons.  One, I am wearing one sparkly-ass skirt and two, I just returned from a Valentine-making sesh.  Here is the front of one of the few sweet-ass valentines I made.  Um, plus my face?  You might have noticed, too, that over the past four or whatever years that I’ve been maintaining INDIEchouette, I’ve omitted my face.  You can click links to get to my Facebook, MySpace, whatever <<< that way somewhere, but I’ve kept my face out of it.  I recently realized, however, that this keeping-my-face-out-of-things has rendered certain years of my life more graceful but completely undocumented in photographs.  Upon sifting through my Photobucket for photos of my olde “emo” self (harhar), I realized that I couldn’t really find many.  This might be for the better, but I remembered that when I took the ones that I did find, I felt extremely ugly in one hundred percent of them.  Looking four, five, six years into the past, I realize that youth is fleeting.  I thought I looked ugly then, but I’ve got to give myself some credit.  I looked young, and even though I didn’t look the way I wanted to, I still wasn’t unattractive.  Just uncomfortable.  Now, however…

    I suspect that the cycle will continue so that by the time I have gained a mere thirty years of age, I will simply begin to wear a bag over my head.  And maybe I’m wrong.

    Speaking of thirty years, let’s talk about the thirty-some-year hiatus Vashti Bunyan took from the music industry!  I am late to catch on to things, but when I found out that Feist and Ben Gibbard’s “Train Song” was a Vashti cover from long, long ago, I was kind of impressed and excited, because I love to hear covers.  I immersed myself in Vashti Bunyan and in the work she did with Animal Collective, and from three of her most renowned works, I surfaced with three favourites.

    First of all, you have to love “Train Song” from Some Things Just Stick In Your Mind.  Lyrically, there is this sense of anxiousness for the singer to finally see her lover (if this person would still accept the title of lover) after an incredibly long time, and you can’t help but grasp some of that anxiousness too.  But if you didn’t listen to the lyrics, it would be a chill and slightly melancholy piece.  Feist’s proud voice and Ben Gibbard’s lullaby croon make the cover a real keepsake.  Vashti’s got a voice like cotton candy clouds, which washes over the song with an air of effortlessness.

    Train Song | Vashti Bunyan
    [mf] [buy]

    From her work with Animal Collective, I prefer “Prospect Hummer”, the title song from the Prospect Hummer EP.  According to ReynoldsRetro, Vashti says of her work on the EP, “My daughter says she can hear me smiling on the title track […] and I was. I loved having the freedom to sing as I wanted. I was still finding my voice after burying it for years.”  That’s why I love this song.

    Prospect Hummer | Animal Collective & Vashti Bunyan
    [mf] [buy]

    And of course, on 2005’s Lookaftering, the track that stands out most is “If I Were”, featuring the harp stylings of sweet, sweet Joanna Newsom.

    If I Were | Vashti Bunyan
    [mf] [buy]

    But I haven’t even told you that I’ve developed a huge crush on Joanna Newsom’s Appalachian voice!  Agh.  Right now, my favourite is “Bridges and Balloons”.  It makes me feel cool and floaty, possibly because somewhere in all that seriousness is a bit of whimsical crazy.  In case you’ve been living under a rock, she has a new album due out on the twenty-third of this month, entitled Have One On Me, which sounds strangely drinky and down-to-earth for the country fairy tale girl who wrote Ys.

    Bridges and Balloons | Joanna Newsom
    [mf] [buy]

    Some day, I will take music reviews more seriously, but for now, I will just write from the heart.  I like these songs.  They make me happy.  That’s all you need to know.

    Also, if you get bored, you might as well hit me up with questions on formspring.me/almostness, where I am trying to figure out whether or not life has meaning.  I am kind of kidding, but I know that truth box-esque formats like this can tend to lead to many interesting escapades.  If you have a formspring ID, tell me so that I can pose you some questions.  Since I now have a Twitter, a Tumblr, and a Formspring.me, I’m starting to think that I’m almost too tech-savvy.  Something is bound to go wrong!

    It will snow this weekend in Richmond after last weekend’s humongous catastrophe of a blizzard, and I will not be prepared.