INDIEchouette


MUZAK AND SUCH

The weather was perfect.

We rode squished in the back seat of Carol’s car to the park.  Not that the park is not within walking distance.  Just, it would be convenient to bring Carol’s car and have a ride.  You know.  We played frisbee.  By the time we were all panting from trying to catch and throw with a perfect wrist snap, every last one of us was thirsty.  And there were seven of us.

Zelda’s was right there, but Katie pointed out that Zelda’s also has new employees “every day.”  This is actually true.  Plus, Zelda’s is inferior to Cherry Alley.  It’s simple.  We walked the extra blocks to the clearly superior café, and those of us without money ordered cups of water.  For some reason, don’t ask me why, I always feel guilty when I order water from a café or restaurant, especially if I’m not ordering anything else.  I should just wear a sign around my neck whenever I plan on eating somewhere.  “Hi, I’m a cheap bastard.”  But I really do love Cherry Alley.  I really do spend most of my time and money there.  And they really do play superior music.  They are superior.

We sweated it out at a table meant for four, and trekked back to the park for more frisbee.  Aulden went home and we continued to play frisbee.  Paige and Tim left, and we played more frisbee.  And then Carol drove the remaining three of us home.

The rest of the evening was humble.  I worked out for a fairly long time.  I watched television, made pasta, and here I am.  Simple.

Here is one thing that bothers me.

I constantly tell you that I listened to Bright Eyes because Erika urged me.  I will remember that day for the rest of my life.  The first album I listened to.  The first song, even.  The sun in my room.  That red plastic swivel chair from Ikea.  It was a profound experience that allowed me to branch out my musical tastes.  It started with other artists on Saddle Creek.  Then I used Amazon as my tool to new artists.  I found the Arcade Fire there and fell in love from the first time I listened to “Neighborhood #1.”  And when I say love, I mean love.  Erika gave me the hint about Rilo Kiley with the Saddle Creek 50 album, and I remember becoming addicted.  I added the two Rilo Kiley songs, “With Arms Outstretched” and “Jenny You’re Barely Alive,” to my poserpod.  And I was in the car with my mother on a sunny afternoon.  We were on our way back home from the Food Lion in Goochland.  I listened to those two songs in succession, and it made the afternoon seem infinite.  There is no better way to describe something epic.  Infinite.

Jared and Jordan noticed that I have a story about every song or artist or album I have ever been intimately connected with.  I even have stories about Motion City Soundtrack and Relient K and Switchfoot.  Avril Lavigne.  Yes, I loved them.  I don’t anymore, but whenever I find people who like them, I just think…there’s hope in this world.  They might branch out like I did.  Maybe they will have a friend with the decency to introduce them to Bright Eyes.  That friend will give them the right album, and they will listen to the right song first.  Maybe.

So you get it now.  I’m in love with music.

I’ve offered a million times to make Rachael a mix CD.  She hears my music loud and clear in the house every day.  My experiments.  New songs.  I told her years ago to borrow my Sufjan Stevens albums and become acquainted.  She would like them.  “Chicago” is pretty mainstream, especially because of Little Miss Sunshine.  Of course, she doesn’t listen.  But then she gets a whole slew of new friends who are casual listeners.  And she gets an iPod.  And she wants to fit in.  So she abuses the privilege.  And now what do I hear pouring out of her iPod?  Two Sufjan Stevens songs.  One M.I.A. song.  Three Shins songs.  ONE Arcade Fire song.  Two Eisley songs.  Maybe five Beatles songs tops.  Oh, and you can’t forget Tegan and Sara because she has three of their songs.

It’s okay that she listens to good music now.  In fact, it’s great.  But if it’s so casual that she won’t explore any songs that aren’t “popular,” ones that her friends won’t listen to by chance–so casual that she won’t be compelled to look into the artists and similar artists and other songs and new genres–what’s the point?!  It defeats the entire purpose of enjoying music and thinking for your goddamn self.  In fact, her friends get their music from boys.  Boys who get their music from probably skate videos and good movies.  So even her friends who encourage her to branch out a little aren’t original.  It’s all passed down.  But don’t you think it would be fun to be the trendsetter for a change?

And granted, I find my music with the help of lovely blogs and lovely friends and movies and such.  But that doesn’t mean I don’t branch out on my own sometimes using the resources I’m given like Amazon and Last.fm.  I guess we all have to piggyback a little, but when someone doesn’t appreciate what they’re given or takes it for granted or turns her nose up at it until it is popular, I get extremely pissed.

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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.



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.