Despite the varying musical choices I make, I always seem to return to the same few bands.
(disregard that this includes scenes from a movie… it’s the most decent vid I could find)
I’m not normally a sad person, but I like to listen to songs that are sorrowful. Here’s one of my favorites:
The finished piece that will be appearing in Blanket Magazine in June. The project was about astrological signs. I did Libra, since I am a Libra. I could do whatever I wanted for this project, and it was definitely a lot of fun, especially using those warm colors.
Last week I saw two shows – Yeasayer and Beach House (in that order). Loved them both. Yeasayer was just plain fun and Beach House was beautiful- in both sound and venue. The concert was in an old church – 2640 St. John’s Church and put on by a Baltimore co-op coffee house – Red Emma’s.
Beach House, with their hand-made spinning confetti props on stage. Went perfectly with the music – very moody and somewhat haunting, like Victoria Legrand’s voice.
Not dead, but extremely busy. Between working full time, training for a triathlon part-time and hangin’ out in my spare time, I don’t get a lot of sleep.
So… highlights? For brevity’s sake, three updates and a picture.
1. Brown Paper Bag is doing well, and the response is better than I expected. Blogging is hard work! I’m constantly trying to keep it fresh and think of new stuff. Connecting with people across the world is cool too.
2. One of my best buddies, Laura, came to visit me in Baltimore last week. We spent four days hanging out and on Saturday night saw Hot Chip. One of the best concert’s I’d seen in a while. This starts a crazy amount of shows I’m seeing in May/June. In order (after Hot Chip): Yeasayer, Beach House, Wye Oak, The National, The New Pornographers/the Dodos.
3. I got accepted to an artist residency in Vermont. In September, I’m going to spend a couple of weeks in rural Vermont and make some art, listen to artists and writers and generally do arty stuff. Yoga studio on campus. Very exciting. A little concerned about getting all my stuff on a plane, but I’ll figure it out.
And finally, the photograph. What I’m working on. Due May 10. A race against time.
It will be up on God Bless the Tiger’s website soon.
The end of the year is creeping up on us all, so I thought that I’d take a little time and share my ten favorite albums of 2009. I think that this year was a particularly good year for me with music – Neko Case had a new album out and I found some new bands that I really fell in love with. (These aren’t really in any particular order, although Neko Case’s album was my favorite of this year).
1. Neko Case – Middle Cyclone – Neko Case has long been a favorite of mine, and this was the first album she had released since I had started listening to her. The buzz around it was exciting to follow and listen to her interviews while making the album. Although probably not my favorite album of hers writing wise, it is definitely the most interesting for me to listen to. Favorite track: Middle Cyclone
2. The Dodos – Time to Die – The Dodos were a band introduced to me through my ex-boyfriend. Once I started raving about them, it turns out that some of my friends already knew about them – including my friend who went to school with one of the musicians in the band! Steph and I did a band poster for the Dodos (which I have neglected to post). Favorite track: Fables
3. Bowerbirds – Upper Air – Also a new band, but one that I have quickly fallen in love with. I really enjoy their whole package – sweet lyrics with a certain amount of quiet and introspect to them. Favorite track: Northern Lights
4. Wilco – Wilco (the album) – Before this album, I had never really listened to Wilco. I had heard so many great things about them, but never gave it a listen. I finally got around to listening to this album and don’t regret it. Favorite track: You and I
5. Animal Collective – Merriweather Post Pavilion – The art school kid in me (and the Baltimorean) started listening to Animal Collective a couple of years ago. This album was a real refinement to what they had been doing previously, which I think turned some listeners off (like their tendency to scream). Favorite track: Summertime Clothes
6. Passion Pit – Manners – I avoided Passion Pit for a long time this year, even though I liked every single that I heard. After finally getting the album, I wondered what took me so long! This album is the perfect album for a party. Sleepyhead is one of my jams of the year. What a fun album. Favorite track: Sleepyhead
7. Lady Gaga – Fame Monster – If you’ve read this blog from the beginning, you know I’m not shy about my love for Lady Gaga. I think she is so interesting and such a well-informed pop artist. This album is another feel-good album for me. Favorite track: Telephone (feat. Beyonce)
8. Phoenix – Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix – Another band I sort of avoided for quite some time. My roommate and other friends were really into them, but somehow I just didn’t see it. It took a few singles to get me listening to the entire album but eventually it found its place with me. Favorite track: Rome
9. St. Vincent – Actor – Also known as Annie Clark, I instantly fell in love with her beautiful voice and experimentation on this album. It’s no surprise that I became fond of her – she’s worked with Sufjan Stevens. Favorite track: Actor Out of Work
10. Dirty Projectors – Bitte Orca – I saw the Dirty Projectors this fall in concert, which was a lot of fun. I love the use of the voice as an instrument, and how it’s projected on this album. Favorite track: Stillness is the Move
What am I missing? Is there something I should have listened to?
This past weekend was Halloween, as most of you were aware. As previously mentioned, I went as the Utz Girl. I was pretty happy with how my costume turned out, but I failed to take any pictures of it (or anyone else’s for that matter). I am hoping that someone, somewhere, snapped a picture of me. It was definitly one of my better Halloween costumes but certainly not one of my better nights.
This past weekend was a 3 day weekend for me and a pretty low-key one at that. I’ll just say that nothing makes me more happy than going to the farmer’s market on Saturdays. I grab a cup of coffee and a croissant and walk around with the yuppies/hippies/hipsters. It’s nice.
I finished my part of the Dodo’s piece. It will be sent off to Steph this week. I also worked a bit with some of the frames I bought last week. Hoping to launch an etsy store before the holiday rush. Anyone use Etsy and have any tips for me?
Okay, so Baltimore isn’t New York (which sometimes I’m really glad about), but I only live a 4 hour bus ride away. One of my best friends (who is obsessed with the New Yorker) alerted me that Neko Case was to be appearing at the New Yorker Festival on October 17, so that coupled with my dear friend’s arrival in New York City was enough for me to go.
I really like Neko Case. More than just a casual fan and listener, her music really speaks to me. Her whole attitude and the way she handles herself and her art are something I look up to and aspire to be.
The talk started out a bit shakey for me, as Neko and Sasha Frere Jones (the interviewer and host) sort of figured out what to talk about. The beginning of it was a bit specific- talking about a concert in New York that I hadn’t attended, and some show that she played with Elvis Costello that I hadn’t seen. Eventually, they got the meat and potatoes of the whole thing, and it was pretty interesting. I didn’t realize that although booked as a solo act, Neko Case has as much as a band as anyone else – they just don’t want to be in the spotlight. The members are very much a pack that write together and help to shape the songs. Neko said that she liked that whole group dynamic – when someone isn’t feeling themselves one day, the others can pick up the slack. It’s nice to work with people you believe in that much.
Another topic that was heavily discussed was the idea of filming and the role that social media and YouTube take on in music today. For example, minutes after a concert, videos can be uploaded to YouTube, you can tweet about the concert and share your experience. Her point was that it makes the concert less special when you do that and share with the world. Being a fan of social media, I relish the fact that others can share concerts and what they are doing but that doesn’t mean it’s without consequences. Her point is well taken, especially with the idea that something like filming is more focused on getting the shot rather than the feeling of the music at that time.
She and her band ended up playing 5 songs – Maybe Sparrow, People Got Alotta Nerve, Middle Cyclone, Margaret and Pauline and Vengeance is Sleeping. (Not in that order.) Middle Cyclone is an all-time favorite, so I was pleased with that selection.
Overall, I really enjoyed the talk. I wish that the meaning behind the songs (which I suppose is secondary in a lot of ways), or the inspiration to write certain songs. I guess it’s because I have such a reverence for her lyrics that I wanted the inside scoop on them. I could have asked her a question about it in the Q&A, but I couldn’t form a question that didn’t sound too loaded or too long winded. I was hoping to see her after she finished the talk, but she didn’t linger. Saddness.
Alas, I have already failed myself and have not posted an entry every weekday as I promised to myself. Yesterday was a very busy day at work and then I was not by my computer’s side all Friday evening. So, I’ve tried to make myself feel better and have downloaded the wordpress app for my iPhone, and am now blogging on my way to New York City. Tonight I am attending an event at the New Yorker festival. Neko Case will be having a conversation (with music!) with the New Yorker’s Sasha Frere-Jones. I’ll write about that on Monday.
In the meantime, I woke up to an email from Steph, my collaborater with the Dodos poster. I am excited for how it’s looking so far, so I’ll show it off:
The start of a new piece with Stephanie Leung. Another music poster. This one will the for the Dodos. Excellent band if you haven’t listened to them. Complex, layered sounds, quiet yet powerful. I am seeing them on October 10th!
I started the last piece for M. Ward, and this one is starting out very similarly to that one.
In terms of colors and papers used. This will most certainly change though once Steph gets her hands on it. It’s always interesting to see each person’s interpretations of the music and how the other reacts to what we have done with the piece at that point.
Here’s the beginning of M. Ward:
And, just for kicks, the current state of my desk (and sorry excuse for a studio. I’ve considered renting space and expanding).