INDIEchouette


SAD ROBOT
Why I use the internet.

Why I use the internet.

I’ll say, stretching is underrated.  Stretch your arms way above your head, arch your back, twist around a bit.  You’ll see what I mean.  You might also yawn after, and then you will have to thank me.

Do you realize how profound a mother’s influence can be?  I was just reminded of a couple of girls (three, actually) I knew back in early high school whose moms got on their backs about their need to lose weight, to look a certain way, to wear certain clothes, to never forget makeup, and to retain certain ladylike hobbies.  All three of these girls are still pretty young, still in high school, but they’ve turned out to be Christian conservative girls with good posture.  They are beauty pageant daughters.  They don’t really enter beauty pageants, but I would not be surprised if they all attended Cotillion in middle school.  White, upper-middle class Southern belle dancing.  But in my humble opinion, these girls look fine the way they are.

Ma mère influenced me a good deal, too, and still attempts to reform my no-makeup, bad-posture ways.  And she can make me feel so self-conscious when she comments on my clothes or my hair or my skin or my eyebrows.  Sometimes it makes me not want to leave the house.  And she says that I absolutely cannot get piercings, except my ears if I want them, which I don’t.  But she allowed me certain liberties while growing up, maybe because I wasn’t an only child or even an only daughter, but one of three.  I was allowed to do whatever I wanted within reason, no sports, no girly activities like Cotillion, probably because it was too expensive and we were from the north.  My childhood consisted of making art, reading religiously, biking, playing outside, and writing.

The summer before I turned twelve, I spent all day reading every day for several weeks, and my mother grew concerned after a while.  She prohibited me from reading so much, but that’s the only time I can really recall that she stepped in.  I don’t remember how successful she was at that one.  Also, she hates the Shins because they remind her too much of the Beach Boys and doesn’t let me listen to them when she’s in earshot.  And she always used to say that she hoped that I did not listen to music about kids killing their parents.  Like I would.

Oh, “Jack Killed Mom” um…shit.  That doesn’t count!

Looking back, I’m glad she allowed me those liberties because even if I would look so much better if she were so strict about my appearance, she allowed me to develop into my own person, if somewhat reluctantly.  My mom let go of me at a certain point and allowed me to take control of everything from my hair to my eyebrows to my clothing to my music to my hobbies.  The only thing she will not let me control is body hair that is normally shaved.  The thing is that she doesn’t ever see my nether region, so she doesn’t know what’s going on.

Speaking of, here is one of the greatest scenes from one of the greatest chapters in all of the books I have read.   It is Everything Is Illuminated.  I guess I will only put some of it.

My grandfather and the Gypsy girl knew none of this as they made love for the last time, as he touched her face and fingered the soft underside of her chin, as he paid her the attention received by a sculptor’s wife.  Like this? he asked.  She brushed her eyelashes against his chest.  She moved her butterfly kiss across his torso and up his neck to where his left earlobe connected to his jaw.  Like this? she asked.  He pulled her blue blouse over her head, he undid her bead necklaces, he licked her smooth and sweaty armpits and ran his finger from her neck to her navel.  He drew circles around her caramel areolas with his tongue.  Like this? he asked.  She nodded and craned her head back.  He flicked her nipples with his tongue, and knew that it was all so completely wrong, everything, from the moment of his birth to this, everything was coming out the wrong way–not the opposite, but worse: close.

I can’t tell you how much of a funk I was in when I finished that book.  Right now, I feel out-typed, like I have been silkscreening my thoughts onto the internet for too long.  I can’t quite think straight.  I think that I just need vast amounts of sleep.

Between now and when I go to sleep, you should listen to some Stars.  I only obtained Sad Robots EP a few months ago, but ever since then, I am constantly listening to those six songs, minus “Going, Going, Gone [Live]” because it generally gives me a headache and reminds me of an alarm clock.

Undertow | Stars
[mediafire] [buy]
“Undertow” is a warm blanket on a cold night, an umbrella on a rainy day, and a bicycle on a sunny afternoon.  It is my crutch.  My favourite aspect of this song is that everything that is in the background is quiet.  So it’s really a tranquil song.  The breakdown near the end comes in at a close second place.

14 Forever | Stars
[mediafire] [buy]
Not like I’d like to be fourteen forever for real because I seriously hated being fourteen, but the feeling is so good.  You have to understand.  You know the tenderness that comes along with a first relationship, a first love.  I guess I don’t want to be left alone.

While we’re talking about being a teenager (“14 Forever”), I would like to mention the Hardee’s commercial which uses blatant meat pornography.  This is pretty much a double blow to me because while I could maybe handle some gorgeous woman sucking off a cucumber, it’s just disgusting to see her eating out a huge burger.  It’s not even the meat that really gets me, though.  It’s the pornography.

I’m a reasonable girl.  I can handle sex.  But I don’t think it’s appropriate.  I can’t quite wrap my mind around backup information as to why I can’t watch this commercial without thinking about a high-definition, high-budget porno.  You watch it, and it’s self-evident and shocking.  But it’s also advertising something that is despicable.  And the most interesting thing about this whole deal is that Padma Lakshmi, the model, used to be a vegetarian.  This is flipping a huge bird to the cause.

I don’t know.  You watch it and tell me what you think.

Just, I guess my probelm his that it’s sexual, sure, but it’s not sexy.  And it’s not doing anything to help the feminist front or the animal rights front.  It’s attacking both in one go.

Also, I just realized just how much I miss my mom, and how even if I was seventeen and had a nightmare and woke up screaming and sweaty because of a thunderstorm, she would let me sleep in her bed.  Even though I was just home recently, in March, I feel like I’m going nowhere.  I’m also so frustrated that I’m letting my grades suffer because of some inner crisis.  I also miss Lewisburg as a whole.  I miss Babygirl so much it hurts sometimes.  I miss Ali and Carol kidnapping me.  I miss Shannon coming into our house and eating our food and making up characters and gossipping.  I miss Aunt Peggy coming in and getting ice from the icemaker.  I miss making friendship bracelets without shoes on.  I miss biking around the neighborhood at eleven at night and crying so hard because I was so frustrated and I felt so helpless and alone, and then sitting in the back yard feeling dead, empty, and far from hungry and looking up at the stars.



COME TO THE LEWISBURG ARTS FESTIVAL, PLEASE

So.  I’m completely grounded.

This is exceptionally rare for me.  Even when I am semi-grounded, I normally have some freedom to roam about the neighbourhood, but this time, I am confined to home, which basically means that I need to take up Colonial girl hobbies.

One of my semi-Colonial hobbies is writing pieces for my senior project, that zine I mentioned a while ago.  It’s coming along.  Actually, that’s the reason I am grounded–my senior project is not finished yet.  But I’m about halfway there, if you exclude distribution and the final paper.  I’m trying to go out of my way to make it nice and different from your typical zine.  I’m veering away from words and photos that look clipped out of magazines, though I did find this HILARIOUS photograph of a bunch of baby hawks in a 1974 issue of National Geographic that I must use.  They’re Coopers hawks.

I guess the cover is giving me the most trouble.  I want to draw something, but I need a title first.  I don’t want to rely too heavily on music, either, because then people will get it right away.  That’s one problem with a lot of my artwork, actually–I make art inspired by the music I listen to, so when other people look at it, it lacks the sentimental value that it has for me.  I want a title that will test my potential readers and draw them in.  Then again, I guess if I dig deep enough in my music library, I can find some obscure line that will lure in the lovers and the uninformed.  I kind of want to go French on them.

Speaking of art, if you live anywhere near Lewisburg, even remotely, you ought to come to the Lewisburg Arts Festival.  I recommend coming on Friday or Saturday, I think, because that’s when the high school is selling artwork, I think, and I’ll be selling a bag or two that I am making in hyperspeed this week.  In keeping with my Colonial hobbies, I’ve also been making friendship bracelets for the festival; in fact, kids all over Lewisburg have been working hard at bracelet making.  The bracelets will be fifty cents each and profits will go to help people in Darfur.  It may seem like very little money, but even fifty cents can buy food for a few days.  Allegedly.  I mean, it’ll help, it’ll help.  Also, after finishing two bracelets, let me tell you, they’re no easy feat.  It takes hours of concentration–even a medium-sized (widthwise) bracelet takes about 500 knots, give or take a few.  Not that I counted, but there are ways to figure it out using a calculator.

Oh, but as for the bag sales, you’re probably wondering why I’m selling those.  After all, they’re one-of-a-kind, handmade, they take forever to design and create, and they hold tons of sentimental value.  Well, here’s the thing.  I only really need one bag for myself.  Selling these bags will help the situation in Darfur.  Currently, I am debating donating 10% or 100% of the profits, because I want to help, but seriously, girl needs to save for college.  That’s selfish, I know, but I hate asking my parents for money constantly, just like I hate asking them for rides so I walk where I can.  10% would be decent, but 100% would kick some ass.  I guess it depends on how much I sell the bags for.  Another part of my internal debate is that if I donate the full profits of these ones, it would be like…you know, some limited edition thing available to the public that you can pay for.  And that would be AWESOME.  But what if I start selling them more frequently if and when I buy a sewing machine of my own?

If you’re going to the festival (which I advise), I’m making one bag inspired by Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins and one bag inspired by some other artist–I’m considering Stars, Andrew Bird, or Final Fantasy.  I don’t know yet, though.  I almost feel like people won’t buy if I make bags themed around the music, but at the same time, that’s sort of my “thing.”  Whatever.

In other reports, today, I was writing notes in English, hunched over my desk, and I realized that my hair was resting on my arm.  This is not a huge deal for most people, but I’ve gone for the past two years with chin-length hair.  And now, when I am sitting straight, it skims the clip part of my bra, on my back.  It serves several purposes.  One, I am more able to emulate Jenny Lewis than ever before, because I am certain that this is the longest my hair has ever been.  Two, it is heavy, dark, and appreciated.  Whenever I had my hair long before, I hated it.  I couldn’t do anything with it.  But I think having bangs helps.  Three, I’m well on my way to donating it to Locks of Love.

My paternal grandmother always brags about how she has two granddaughters (out of many) and one daughter (out of four) who have donated their hair.  She sneaks up behind teenage girls at church who have their hair hanging down to their waists and taunts them–“That would make a beautiful wig for some child who needs it.”  She’s hardcore, but her campaigning has made me strongly consider it.  I just need to wait and keep it healthy in the meantime.

In honour of spending this past weekend with people I have missed and having a comfortable time, I have some mp3s.  For the record, I have never been able to bring myself to sing comfortably in front of anyone else–too much pressure, too much criticism.  But I was so at ease.

This one was my favourite one to sing, and apparently the only song Phelan enjoyed from Across the Universe.  And it reminds me of that TV show, The Wonder Years.

With A Little Help From My Friends | Joe Anderson and Jim Sturgess
[zshare] [mediafire]
[buy] [mp3 direct link]

“Silver Lining” summons memories of moving here, wanting to play Ragnarok all day, feeling sexy without the aid of makeup or a hair straightener for the first time in my life, getting along with Rachael again, missing Richmond perpetually, and spending all day outside but retaining my pale skin because of the religious application of sunscreen.  SPF 50 or so.  I felt so helpless sometimes, but I was free.  Gold.  New.

Silver Lining | Rilo Kiley
[zshare] [mediafire]
[buy] [mp3 direct link]
Rilo Kiley’s Website
Rilo Kiley’s MySpace



SO MANY THINGS

Brent and I broke up a week ago. Two days ago was Derek’s seventeenth birthday. Today is my half birthday. Tomorrow is why it is Leap Year. In April, I’ll get word back about VCU. In August, I’ll head to college. A week or so later, I’ll turn eighteen. Crazy.

I have news for you.

A few posts ago, I mentioned good old Final Fantasy and his remix of Stars’ “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead.” Como se dice, “COMPLETELY UNDERRATED?!”

Owen Pallett

The song starts out with, “When there’s nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.” But it’s said by several different people. My favourite is the last one, when this little kid yells, “Nothing left to burn! Set yourself on fire!”  It’s hilarious. Then the mood breaks into total ballroom waltzing. If that’s possible? Ballroom dancing. You’ve got this gorgeous, extremely formal piano. I want to say it’s cordial. Like, Victorian era, a couple dancing, but there was no PDA in that era, so they kind of have to keep things on the DL while they’re in a public ballroom. That’s exactly what it feels like. There’s a disruptive violin, and it’s resolved a few measures later. Instead of a chorus, you get the familiar piano, washing memories over you like waves at the Victorian beach where I guess all the water got to touch was your feet. And then when you have someone singing, the violin makes a little commentary on the side. And then the piano’s like a hug from an old friend. It’s comforting. The song finishes so tenderly. It’s so Howl’s Moving Castle. Listen to it after you’ve seen the movie and try to tell me it doesn’t belong.

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead (Final Fantasy Remix) | Stars

Andrew Bird

Recently, I stumbled across an Andrew Bird song from Armchair Apocrapha; since I don’t have that album, I had to stumble across it. “Plasticities.” There are all the whistles and violins that are Andrew Bird staples, but then it’s a cheerful, incredibly enjoyable song, even (I think) for the masses. As always, the vocabulary is just pretentious and intelligent, but I love the lyrics. Andrew Bird satisfies my needs.

Plasticities | Andrew Bird

The Album Leaf

This time, think no lyrics.  I mean, do it for a few minutes.  Just instruments.  Layers, movement, development.  I’d certainly call this a sunny song, just because it’s most meaningful when the sun is out, as it sounds like it should be the sound the sun makes when it shines on things.  Or it is for me.  Sweet progress.

Drawing Mountains | The Album Leaf

Kaki King

Also, talk about an underappreciated instrumental song, Kaki King’s “Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers.”  Pretty intense title if you think about it.  Anyway, I love the bass, the movement and the progression of this song, and for me, Kaki King’s skillz express lots of built-up angst.  I guess it’s the angst that comes from oppression.

Gay Sons of Lesbian Mothers | Kaki King

+/- Plus/Minus

I found this next song a long, long time ago, and I’m not sure where I found it exactly, but it stuck with me.  It’s not because I’ve ever had an abusive boyfriend or that anyone in my family is abusive.  I enjoy the alternating piano and guitar sort of pulling for power and the lyrics that don’t tell all but tell you enough to get the story.

Summer Dress 2 [Iodine] | +/-

Rilo Kiley

Rilo Kiley is arguably my favourite band.  Really, try me.  Most of their gems originated in the mid-2000s, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing good to be said of their oldest material.  In fact, some of their most meaningful songs are from The Initial Friend EP, released (I guess) in 2000.  You’ve got gems like “Papillon,” “Gravity,” “Glendora,” and then, of course, the slower jam, “85.”  It’s a confessional that almost seems like the predecessor to one of my little old favourites, “A Man/Me/Then Jim,” in the storytelling style.  It’s also incredibly reminiscent of Jenny Lewis’ act with the Watson Twins.

85 | Rilo Kiley

Joe Anderson needs more Glamour Shots

This is another one from Across the Universe.  Yes, I’m still stuck on that movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you go out to the movie store right now and rent it.  In fact, you might as well buy it.  You’ll want to.  It’ll trip you out a little, but it’s such a feat!  Such a feat.  A life-changing feat, at that.  Anyway, this is tied for my favourite song and I have to listen to it at least once daily.  I need my fix.

Happiness Is a Warm Gun | Joe Anderson feat. Salma Hayek

Cherry Alley

Oh, also, if you are ever in town, Lewisburg, whatever, go to Cherry Alley Café.  I know, I know, blatant advertising, but I like the hot chocolate there, plus, they’re constantly playing excellent music.  I mean, Neutral Milk Hotel is on quite a lot, but you’ve also got a good dose of Sufjan Stevens (they played “The Henney Buggy Band” and I almost died because Derek made me adore that song), a dash of Bright Eyes, some Death Cab over thurr, and Mates of State.  Absolute props.



TUESDAY, I SWEAR

It’s rare, so fucking rare for me to meet people I enjoy being around, who honestly interest me.  People who don’t mind any awkwardness.  Over the past month, though, I’ve been engulfed by the most captivating and genuine group of people.  And the group keeps growing in size and interestingness.  Even this week.

Before I say anything crazy, I’ll just give you a track that has been sitting patiently on my computer for a while.  That’s not to say it’s unlistened to, but a new friend reintroduced me to it via the music video, which reminds me vaguely of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is a grand movie.  I would, by the by, give you the Final Fantasy remix, but I think that’s good for another day.  Like, when I’m not fucking tired out of my MIND like you don’t even know.  Yeeeah.  It would also be a good idea to post the video.  Shruggity shrug shrug shrug.  Oh well.

Your Ex-Lover Is Dead | Stars

Fine, fuck you and your guilt trips.  Here’s the video.



THE HOPEFUL MIX

Broken Heart by Hotel Lyric on Flickr

Pretty dramatic. Haha, I hate being dramatic.

Since my love life has been screwed over as of last night, my insides have been pretty cold all day. TOTAL FUCKING KARMA. I deserve it. Thus, today deserves a not-love song. However, I feel that posting a not-love song would be jinxing it. So instead of posting a not-love song, I’m going to post some of my favourite songs for “rough times.” We’ll call it the “Hopeful Mix.” Or something. Kinda corny.

Hopeful Mix | zip file

1. A Better Son/Daughter | Rilo Kiley [buy]
And sometimes when you’re on/You’re really fuckin’ on/And your friends they sing along and they love you/But the lows are so extreme/That the good seems fuckin’ cheap/And it teases you for weeks in its absence
Basically, this is why I love Rilo Kiley so much. I mean, they’re kickin’ and screamin’ and marchin’ for happiness. That’s what this song almost feels like–a march. And it reminds you of everyone who loves you, and it put Jenny Lewis in the ranks of people who’ve got your back. She knows what you’re going through, and you’ll survive. Look how awesome she turned out.

2. Crown of Love | The Arcade Fire [buy]
If you still want me/Please forgive me/Because the spark/Is not within me
“Crown of Love” is definitely a winter song by The Arcade Fire, which is definitely a winter band. The violin says it all. My favourite part is the end, which you could almost dance to.

3. All The Young Dudes | Mott the Hoople [buy]
And my brother’s back at home with his Beatles and his Stones/We never got it off on that Revolution stuff/What a drag too many snags
This track’s in the trailer for Juno. The lyrics aren’t particularly hopeful or anything. Just, the use in the trailer makes it out to be a hopeful song, so that’s how I’ll always see it.

4. Hold Me Now (Radio Edit) | The Polyphonic Spree [buy]
You’re still miles away
What a fanfare. But seriously, the Polyphonic Spree can grant hope any day. It’s just the whole orchestra vibe they’ve got goin’ on.

5. Hey Jude | The Beatles [buy]
Take a sad song and make it better/Remember to let her under your skin/Before you begin to make it better
My reasoning? The transition from softer to louder. Also, fuckin’ revolution. I want to see Across the Universe.

6. Your Heart Is An Empty Room | Death Cab for Cutie [buy]
All you see/Is where else you could be when you’re at home
This is one of my favourite songs of all time, and I just wish I could convey the extent to which I love it, but I just can’t. I wish I had a pal like Ben Gibbard.

7. Cleanse Song | Bright Eyes [buy]
And if life seems absurd/What you need is some laughter/And a season to sleep/And a place to get clean/Maybe Los Angeles/Somewhere no one’s expecting
Erika brought me to Bright Eyes with Lifted. “Coat Check Dream Song sounds nothing like my first tastes of indie, but it’s so irresistibly beachy clean. Although I’ve not yet completely accepted Cassadaga, maybe just because Conor Oberst was clean in making it, I do like this song. It’s really light.

8. Hey, You In The Pants | The Underquotes
The Underquotes broke up earlier in 2007 after releasing a few pretty tight songs. None of their songs have lyrics, and this one especially may be a bit raw, but just listen. It’s not a sad song, that’s for sure. To me, it just speaks for itself.

9. The Henney Buggy Band | Sufjan Stevens [buy]
Oh Father John, you cannot tell me/What’s right and wrong/You cannot tell me
This song was introduced to me as the favourite Sufjan Stevens song of someone very close to me. It wasn’t until recently, though, that I actually picked it up and started listening avidly. “The Henney Buggy Band” seems happy. But it seems that way because it’s nostalgic. And I dunno about you, but nostalgia makes me feel good sometimes.

10. Look Up | Stars [buy]
So far keeping it together’s been enough/But look up rain is falling/Looks like love
The reason I started listening to this song in the first place is that it was mentioned in the book Miss Misery. David wants to give Cat a mix tape, and he puts this on it. He notes that it’s hopeful, and there’s hope for them to be together. Of course, in the end, he doesn’t give her the CD after seeing her immense collection of them and learning of her immense dislike for them. Well, I’m not saying there’s hope for me to be with someone, but I am saying that it’s possible to be as happy again.

11. Kissing the Lipless | The Shins [buy]
But you’ve/Got too much to wear on your sleeves/It has too much to do with me/And secretly/I want bury in the yard/The grey remains/Of a friendship scarred
The Shins make me happy.

12. Teenage Love Song | Rilo Kiley
I still love you/And always will/All those motel rooms/Ya footed the bill
LAWLZ. So much angerrrr! I’m not mad myself, but ah, her situation makes mine seem fairly minuscule.