INDIEchouette


BEFORE MARCH ENDS

I think this one is easier on the ears.

1.  Sea Legs | The Shins
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The beginning to this song, before any melody or lyrics, sort of reminds me of something Switchfoot would do, and I loved Switchfoot when I was maybe fourteen.  I have since moved on, but you could say that I am comforted by familiar things.  Everyone is.  In addition to reminding me of Switchfoot, the Shins will always remind me of some scene from Garden State, even if only two of their songs were in the movie.  “Sea Legs” is a darker Shins piece, but it’s not unpleasant.  In its boldness, it is pleasant.  It is assertive.  It is an evening piece.  The evening is my favourite time of day.  That’s why I put this on my March mix, because it’s starting to get warmer, it’s spring, and the evenings are beginning to grow more and more enjoyable.

2.  Unforgettable Season | Cut Copy
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Sometimes, when I have a clear head, blank slate, and I don’t already have a song in mind, I’ll allow my iPod to shuffle around songs that I don’t listen to very often.  That’s how I grew to like “Unforgettable Season.”  The reason I allowed myself to listen instead of switching the song is that it’s encouraging and atmospheric, like most summer songs.  It’s not summer, but it’s close enough.

3.  Can’t Stop Now | Keane
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As I said before, familiarity is comforting.  Keane is familiar.  Also, Keane and piano rock in general both give me this weird romantic-comedy feelings.  It’s probably because Keane always has this pained, broken-hearted sound that captures the feeling that someone is lonely and trying very hard to be happy in order to get over something dreadful.  I’m not going to lie (and really, why would I lie), I love that sound and I love that feeling.  Emotion keeps my heart running.

4.  Take Me Anywhere | Tegan & Sara
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I think Tegan & Sara’s short songs are the best ones because they pack the most feeling into the smallest packages.  For example, listen to “Soil, Soil.”  That’s one of my favourites.  Also, the short ones tend to be the catchier ones.

5.  Jedi | melpo mene
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I have a newfound love for Star Wars.  And I have a relatively newfound love for the style of elevator music that Melpo Mene produces.  But my love for gentle, delicate voices is not newfound.  It may be because of “I Adore You” or maybe because of the all-around sound that their albums produce, but I find that Melpo Mene is the epitome of a cloud-band.  Also, for some reason, maybe because his voice is just so delicate and his songs just so tender, Erik Mattiasson somehow reminds me of a Swedish version of Gael García Bernal’s character in The Science of Sleep, which is endearing.  It makes me want to tuck him in and make him breakfast.

6.  Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car | Iron & Wine
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Ali pointed out to me that Sam Beam looks like Jesus.  I already somehow realized this, but having her point it out so bluntly is only a little bit of a setback, because I generally love hairy people.  I really don’t care that he has taken up the typically unattractive Christ-look because of his delicate, smooth, and intimate voice, which is revealing but still manages to retain a great amount of dignity.  I love Sam Beam’s work.

7.  Let It Fall | Lykke Li
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I uploaded this song only a few days ago, but here!  I’m giving you another chance to introduce yourself to Lykke Li!  Every time I listen to this song, I want to hopskotch, jumprope, draw with chalk, and play outdoors kids’ games.  Do not ask why.  Probably because of the sing-songness, syncopation, and “so happy-ee-ee-ee!” Maybe I’ll make a mix of new childhood nostalgia songs for the summer.

8.  Soul Meets Body | Death Cab For Cutie
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I also uploaded this song recently, but I don’t think I ever explained just why.  I went on a bike-trip for dinner to Carytown with Virginia and Bryan, neither of whom have websites that I can link to.  We ate dinner at Nacho Mama’s and then left to gather up our bikes and as we drove past Nacho Mama’s again, we heard this song emanating from the outdoor speakers.  When I hear a song that I already love playing in a public place, I will be hooked on it for a while.  This one’s for the good biking weather!

9.  Coat Check Dream Song | Bright Eyes
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Cassadaga wasn’t as awesome as Conor Oberst’s older material.  We all know that.  The warbly voice was gone, the drugs were absent.  There were, however, some winners, such as this one, which features some woman as a guest–who is it?  Is there more than one woman?  Is one of those women Maria Taylor?  I think that the woman in this song really makes it.

10.  Dance Dance Dance | Lykke Li
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I searched Lykke Li on Youtube.  I found this video.  A dancer all alone.  This song could make you feel so alone in a crowd.  The percussion.  Her lonely voice.  The lonely lyrics.  I became ecstatic and fell in love with the song.  What I love is that there is not really any buildup and it never becomes a huge fanfare, though it gradually becomes a little more lively, a little more happy until there is a chorus of women and maybe one man.  Also, it’s probably the only song in the world written and performed by a self-proclaimed shy person.  I love that.

11.  Wedding March | Erin Tobey
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I don’t like the idea of marriage, but I love the idea of a female acoustic artist.  In fact, I love the idea of acoustic artists in general.  Or acoustic artists that are purely instrumental.  Or purely instrumental artists.  Lyrics sometimes get in the way.  That doesn’t happen with Erin Tobey.  Erin Tobey’s voice is so gentle, anyway, that it just combines with the guitar and absolutely floats as it ascends to meet Melpo Mene in the clouds.  Listen to the lyrics, though.  They are how I feel.

12.  Avignon | Pinback
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This was my first taste of Pinback years ago.  So when I was asked by Ke at the beginning of last semester if I had ever heard of Pinback, yes, I had, but I didn’t know it until I checked out my Last.fm charts from forever ago.  My first taste of Pinback was via Last.fm and I was probably sixteen.  I must add here that it was a faster verion and that I officially love songs with pet names.  In this case, they’re sad pet names.  In other cases, you get pet names like Baby Girl, which is basically my cat’s name.  Babygirl.  Babyqirl.

Avignon (Full Band Version) | Pinback
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This is the faster version.

13.  Hanging High | Lykke Li
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Supposing I have children, I want them to grow up listening to this serene tune.  That’s the first thing I thought when I first heard these bittersweet sounds.  She has a delicate but distinct voice, so sweet and dignified, so bold, and so young.  She’s so young.  It all shows here.

14.  Effigy | Andrew Bird
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You can tell that Andrew Bird definitely loops the beginning, which is a magical procedure to witness live.  He has to be so precise!  Anyway, I heard this one at Cherry Alley, which was another case of falling in love with a song I know and then hear in a public place.  I recognized Andrew Bird’s distinct voice immediately and felt calm.  As far as I’ve noticed, he rarely uses guests, but when he does, they’re incredible females.  Ali put it so simply:  It’s such a beautiful song.  Even if it’s about death.  Well really, those can be the most beautiful because they’re loneliest.

15.  House By The Sea | Iron & Wine
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I feel that I need to show you a picture of Sam Beam’s Jesus-ness in order for you to understand.

Not Sam Beam.  Actually Jesus.

Not Sam Beam. Actually Jesus.

The reason I love this song so much is that it talks about two jealous sisters waiting in a house, basically just prepping, doing nothing, waiting for something terrible.  I picture an abandoned house where my sister is making angels in the dust on the wooden floors and I am walking around, loving her, trying to take care of her, trying to change the locks on the door, trying to keep her safe even though we can’t be safe anywhere and we will have to leave soon.  There is a lot of imagery, and it reminds me of myself and my sister, Rachael.  Or what we could be if we were terrible people who had to get along because we had nobody else.  Also, I love raspberries.  And I love the way Sam Beam sings about raspberry leaves.  And I love the guitar riffs.  This is currently my favourite Iron & Wine song.

16.  Underground | Sentinel
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Even if the guitar parts make little sense to me, it’s my favourite part.  I like this song because it has potential.  It succeeds in being atmospheric and a definite travelling song, which is all I really ask of it.  My favourite part is either the beginning or the last ~30 seconds.  If you like it, then I advise that you check out “Avalanche” by Sentinel.

17.  2 O’Clock | Kaki King
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Kaki King is playing a childish game with us.  Her voice is like Erin Tobey’s in that it floats up in the clouds.  I’m guessing that this song is about someone who is taking care of a very injured person who doesn’t love her. the pain is the reason I love this song.  And the sing-songness she uses when she gets to the built-up part.  I generally love Kaki King’s ability to capture any melancholy emotion, though.  In a sense, it’s a shame she doesn’t sing more, since her voice is tinged with pleasantness, but then, I’d be afraid that her voice or lyrics would get in the way of her music, which would be unfortunate.  Also,  you need to listen to Kaki King’s retaliation at the end of the track.  Don’t stop when she stops singing.  Keep going.

18.  Out On The Weekend | Neil Young
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Listening to the original really stresses just how well Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes can cover Neil Young.  Or how much Neil Young influenced Bright Eyes.  I wish I had good taste when I was younger.  Don’t fret that it’s a really quiet track, either; my dad converted all of his records into mp3 format and that’s why.  “She’s so fine/She’s in my mind/I hear her callin'”  Yeah.  Favourite part in any version.

19.  Resurrection Fern | Iron & Wine
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My attention was called to this piece because it was on a mix that someone close to Jaimie had made for her.  It shows how close.  Whenever I hear, “Like stubborn boys across the road we’ll keep everything,” I think of Charles, Coleton, Phelan, Travis, and Torey and how close we were the summer of 2007 on North 11th Street under Charles’ tree.  Every day!  Every night!  Circle Meetings!  We were a family, along with my real family, Rachael, Alexa, and Shannon.  I loved them all.  I still love them all.  I miss being lonely, underage, and terribly sad.  I think that it’s harder to be lonely and of age.  I really do.

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LE CULTURE DE FRANCE ET LE CULTURE D’INDIE

Got sick yesterday, recovered by laying around after school and watching Paris, Je t’aime.  Incroyable.  Indescribable.  I went into French class this morning all ready to use my nasal “r” sound, and then I remembered that it is just high school French and even my teacher does not have it in him.  And we are American.  Pennsylvanian at that.  We are allowed to use these German accents to speak German, but we cannot risk the embarrassment of sounding really, truly French.  How patriotic would that be, in conservative central Pennsylvania, where the French are pansy fags?  Mais j’aime le culture de France.  Even if no one else does.  Just like I love Rilo Kiley in all of its indie rock, folk-tinged glory, even if no one else does because it is too “country.”

This segment reminded me a ton of Garden State.

The overall feeling of the film was nostalgia.  Little stories about love.  I laughed, I cried, I thought about my own love, my own life.  Each part was delicate.  Just five minutes long.  But each had something in it for me.  It was like peeking into all of these different lives and just seeing that they’re all somehow alike, despite socioeconomic status, despite gender or marital status or exact situation.  Precise location.  And it’s because of love.  It made me sad that I mostly had to read subtitles because my savvy for listening comprehension does not extend far beyond the tapes in French class or my teacher and peers, aided with textual references and G-rated vocabulary.  But it makes me that much more motivated to start listening to RFI every day and to download more good French artists.  Maybe not more squeaky clean Lorie.  I know that there must be French indie.  I just don’t know where to find something cent pour cent French.  Because a lot of it (like the Arcade Fire or Charlotte Gainsbourg) is interspersed with English.

Anyway, tomorrow, I am going to New York City for the first time to see Young Frankenstein.  Although I am excited, I am also extremely nervous and intimidated and I really can’t see myself going there.  It’s a cruel city, but I imagine it is also beautiful.  But how do you not look like a tourist when you are enchanted?  I guess it’s not such a bad thing being a tourist; loads of people are tourists in New York City.  But I see it as bad.  I mean, I get so acquainted with the bands I listen to so that I am not a n00b.  So wouldn’t it make sense to do the same with cities I want to visit?

I am less nervous for going to DC on Friday with art.  I have been to DC a million times.  We talk about DC every day in AP Gov.  It’s just going to be another trip there.  I am comfortable with DC.  I mean, it’s halfway home.

I went downtown with Brent to Cherry Alley Café today.  Got a hot chocolate.  And while we were sitting around talking, the oh-so-cute “Anyone Else But You” came on the stereo system.  By now, you should know it by heart.  By the Moldy Peaches.  I mentioned that it is a shame: Everyone is now calling dibbs on all these grand indie bands like they own them, “I heard them first,” hoarding them, sticking them in their Facebook profiles.  Because they have one popular song that the masses like.  And it’s so fucking cute.  And it’s about ugly people loving each other.  How cute is that?

But before their exposure from Juno, no one had heard of the Moldy Peaches.  Nothing wrong with Juno.  I, for one, loved the film.  I could relate to the protagonist.  A sarcastic high schooler who keeps getting caught in romantic waters way over her head, kind of quirky or “off,” in love with her best male friend and unwilling to admit it for a long time.  Very into music.  Quite the fan of hoodies.  Guys at school are not interested, for the most part.  Then you could go into superficial things.  Drives mom’s minivan.  Lives in a small town.  Then you could get more superficial.  Short compared to everyone else.  Brown hair.  Whatever.

But the masses fell in love with Juno because she is not your typical teen protagonist.  That’s just it–she is different.  She fits into the indie subculture.  That stereotype.  And so all of these uneducated, normal teenagers go to the movies and they see Juno, and they see a part of themselves in her.  Just like whenever I go to the movies and walk out thinking that maybe a small part of me looks just like Keira Knightley because she is gorgeous and spunky.  But I look nothing like Keira Knightley.  Many of these kids are nothing like Juno.

So they jump on the bandwagon late, try to become weird by trying to fit in with people like you and me.  The really, truly, incurably weird ones.  The ones who are in love with music and don’t give a shit about looking like a character.  And am I looking for street cred?  No.  No, because I have always been like this.  Introverted, introspective, and “off.”  And no movie is ever going to make me look like a character.  I will always, always be like this.  It is a natural progression from who I was as a sophomore/junior.  Music took over my life.  My priority is not to look as credible as I can.  I have other things to worry about.  I love French, I love several bands wholeheartedly, and I love to write.

But here’s where it gets weird.  Here’s where my story disappoints.  The kids who will change in light of Juno and other movies promoting the indie stereotype, they do not see my peers and I as any cooler for being this way naturally.  They will not try to befriend us and talk to us about how awesome our hobbies and plain clothes are.  How they always secretly wished they were like this, wasting life, and how free it feels to look natural.  Normal.  Because I am pretty average-looking.  They will just try to change their friends to be like them.  So that our little underground thing goes public and then we just look like everyone else again.  And the only way to tell us apart?  Talk to us.  Their personalities won’t change.  They probably still won’t have interesting things to say.  Oh, and they still won’t be able to spell.

I think that hanging out with Brent brings out the cynic in me.  He is, after all, the one who pointed this out, that Juno really stereotyped the indie subculture and that kids just find it intriguing.

Well, music.  I guess we can give them those popular songs.  Make them feel like they can get something genuine out of life because that’s the only genuine thing they’ll ever get out of life.  And for those of you who will continue to stick with the subculture when the hype’s all over?  Good for you.  Because Juno really is a great movie, and if you stuck it out after you fell in love with it, then more power to you.

For some time, I’ve been lovin’ on Sam Beam.  You know, Iron & Wine.  I downloaded this song as per my cousin’s request and shoved it aside for a while, but I recently unearthed it and fell in love.  It’s like a long evening of driving towards the sunset.  I love the handclaps.  While Sam Beam’s eyebrows may only get one star (he has some, does he not?!), the song gets all five.

Boy With A Coin | Iron & Wine
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P.S.  I love that my blog has the 26th most popular song on the Hype Machine today, but I also hate it because it was such a fuck-up.  Give me a spot for something I actually deserve, goddamnit.  Whatever, though.  Again, Charlatantric deserves your hits.  Go to his blog and discover truly underrated music.



LA NOURRITURE!

The last time we went to the grocery store, my mother told me that I should lay off of pre-packaged and frozen special-made vegetarian and vegan foods because they are too expensive and I need to be more resourceful. After all, when I am in college, I will need to learn to cook. By the by, just typing about college makes me get butterflies in my stomach. I am so excited.

Anyway, I bitched and moaned about “OMGZ, Mom, I’m vegetarian! You can eat anything I can eat, but I can’t eat everything that you can eat! Make a Venn Diagram! UGHGHGhghghghhh!” I think that I was so irritated because of two reasons. One, my period was on its way. Two, I have wanted to cook for myself from scratch for a long time (because it would give me more of an opportunity to slip into going vegan), but I have always figured that my mother would be pissed about it. The fact that she was not even remotely pissed somehow set me off.

So I ate my boxed couscous and pondered on gathering recipes.

I am the sort of person who always needs a project. I rarely finish my projects, but what I get done is grand. So in order to aid my attempt at veganism/learning to cook, I decided that I must gather recipes. And in order to organize that, I should gather them in a cookbook of sorts. Since I love composition notebooks, I grabbed one from my drawer.

The question was then where I should gather them from. Well, a while back, I found this website featuring a Jenny Lewis interview–and at the bottom of the page, it had her recipe for vegan “chicken” and then Mike Mogis’ recipe for vegan gravy and this recipe for vegan Worcestershire sauce. Although I had bookmarked it, I lost all of my bookmarks once in a Firefox update sesh, but FORTUNATELY, I had preserved my bookmarks on my LiveJournal in anticipation for the move. And let me tell you, this modest site has changed so much.

The site is actually called Cooking With Rockstars, a…I want to say subsidiary…of Jenville. Cooking With Rockstars chronicles a bunch of interviews conducted by the lovely Jennifer Robbins with various stars in the musical mainstream. But I don’t want to say mainstream. I almost want to call it the indie mainstream. You know, the artists you know and love. Probably. I mean, considering you’re on this blog. Rufus Wainwright, Ben Gibbard, Sam Beam, Britt Daniel, Annie Clark. I mean, just to name a few. And the artists contribute recipes, and Ms. Robbins publishes them on her site. I actually think that she is Mrs. Robbins, because she has an official “Wedding Site.” And also, she is a charming interviewer.

Fortunately for vegans, there are many vegan recipes on there (mainly salads, but I should think that Jenny Lewis’ “chicken” should be grand), as well as several vegetarian recipes where you’d only need to alter one or two minor ingredients (like swap butter for vegan margarine). While there are a few non-vegetarian recipes on there, eh, I took eighteen edible ones away (and those were just some of the ones that were to my taste).

Anyway, I guess as I begin the transition and learn to cook, I shall chronicle my adventures. You know, what tastes good, where I got my recipes from. Yeah.

On a completely different note, I am the creepiest creepster with Facebook. Every time I see that someone has a new album, I’m all over it. Like, holy shit yes. I’d like to think that it is all about my obsession with aesthetically pleasing things. But maybe I am just a lurker.

Now. All weekend, I sat on my ass, collecting music to offer to you-all. My first noteworthy find is “Wake The Sun” by the Matches. It’s quite a catchy, cheerful tune, like 10/10, almost sure to start off a good day. It is necessary, kind of like coffee or OJ. In retrospect, I now realize that I heard it once in art class when someone plugged in his (probably his, maybe her) iPod to the art room speakers. Actually, that day, someone was playing spectacular music that I did not recognize. It was one of those rare days.

Wake The Sun | The Matches
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The next song is a Vampire Weekend, equally impeccable and equally catchy. Automatic love right here. Plus, the lyrics are familiar in a good way. Maybe I’ve never been in a situation like that before personally, but it sounds like something that happens all the time.

Campus | Vampire Weekend
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This last track is actually my mother’s finding. While she was at the Matt Nathanson concert with her friend, she texted me and told me that I would like the band that opened for him. Of course, the text was in like teeny bopper talk, with “u” for you and “r” for are. That’s not important. I looked up the opening act, since she omitted the name, and came up with the name Honeyhoney. There was also like Jason Reeves or something, but I figured she was talking about the band. I checked for them on the Hype Machine and failed. Then I iTunes’d them and came up with five tracks–apparently they have recently released an EP. I laughed at the clips I heard. They sucked. This is an example, though, of iTunes sucking at picking out 30-second clips. Gaddamn.

This morning, my mother slipped into my room and sat on my bed and started unwrapping this CD case. She gave me the CD and told me I would probably like them because they were an “off” band. I kind of cringed, but loaded it on my computer anyway. And then I gave them a second shot.

While I didn’t love the first two songs, the last three were slower and more my style, and they really allowed Suzanne Santo’s voice to shine. I basically loved the last three tracks. Thus, I am jealous of my mother.

My madre was sort of concerned about the parental advisory on the CD, and then she asked me if I ever buy CDs with that. I was thinking, “You should hear some of the music I listen to,” but instead, I just affirmed that I do, indeed. Well, I did not hear any explicit lyrics in the first three songs, so I was wondering why there was a warning (maybe because the first song is about a gun?). That is, until the third song came on. It’s raunchy and sexy, but mellow at the same time. Thus, I shall present you the reason for the parental advisory.

Thursday Night | Honeyhoney
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Also, while I’m at it, I might as well say that I love being a senior in Pennsylvania and getting to sleep in again tomorrow because underclassmen have to take the Terra Novas and PSSAs. LOVE IT.

*By the by, I have revised my host site so that mp3s show up on the Hype Machine.  You now have a variety of options for downloading them.  I really recommend MediaFire or the direct link because there is no waiting time, but if you’re more familiar with YouSendIt, just click on the title.  Or if you’re more familiar with zShare, click on that link.  Anyway, I am not sure how long I am going to keep this three-host thing up because it will get old fast.  I guess I am just transitioning.  Also, I am in debt to the Hype Machine help staff.  They’re so nice and easy to work with.  Plus, they responded to me right away.  No guarantee that they will always do that, but I was impressed.