Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered."

My beautiful husky-lab puppies, Sookie and Lolla, were spayed six days ago. Lolla took it like a champ, but my poor Sookie didn't do so well. She was really spooked and nervous for days after her surgery. Her incision has been healing poorly, a stitch busted loose, and she chewed out a large lump (from where the stitches were tied off in a knot) beside her incision. She wasn't able to sit or lay down on the carpet without her incision snagging, so she quit trying. She was too scared to jump onto the couch and lay down because she accidentally hurt herself the when she tried the first time, so she quit trying. The poor thing just walked around sulking, hanging her head low and whining. She even fell asleep standing up a few times.



I've spent the past week taking care of my Sookie. I haven't been able to do much else than turn on some tunes and love on the dogs. Here's some of what I've been listening to.

The Lumineers, "Ho Hey"

Freelance Whales, "Spitting Image"

Stars, "Backlines"

Florence + The Machine, "Breath of Life"

Youngblood Hawke, "We Come Running"

Sookie is doing much better now. Two days ago, I took her back to the vet to get more pain meds and check out her progress. Since yesterday, she's back to being a normal Sook-Pup - she's smiling, prancing around, cuddling with me on the couch, and licking Lolla's face. 

Sookie finally gets to lay down and nap with Lolla.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Albums

From now through November, there are more new albums coming out than I can handle! Between all the new music and Fall TV starting up, I'm going to be very busy! Here are newer albums that have been in my rotation.

Passion Pit, Gossamer

I love Passion Pit. When I first heard them a few years back, Michael's crazy voice kind of surprised me. Now, I'm not sure how I could have ever not loved them. Every time I listen to Gossamer, I like it more. I'd be surprised at this point if you haven't heard their new single "Take A Walk", but if you haven't...

Other highlights include: "I'll Be Alright", "Constant Conversations", "Carried Away".

Mumford & Sons, Babel

The new Mumford & Sons album is out today! Luckily, I was able to find a leaked copy online last week. And, as to be expected, I already love and know most of it. If you keep track of Mumford at all, then you've probably already heard half of their new songs. They've been playing select new songs live for almost two years now -- (I heard about 4 or 5 of them back at Bonnaroo in 2011). But, if you haven't heard any of them yet, then today is Christmas for you. Go get the album.

I posted the video for their new single "I Will Wait" a few days ago, so here is one of my other new favorites:

"Lover of the Light" - kind of sounds like Dave Matthews Band at times, doesn't it?

Other highlights include: "Babel", "Hopeless Wanderer", "Below My Feet".

Silversun Pickups, Neck Of The Woods

I don't know why more people don't love the Silversun Pickups. Brian, the lead singer, has one of the coolest voices I've ever heard. It sounds so raspy and whispered. My first impression of Neck Of The Woods wasn't the best, but I changed my tune quickly. I'm surprised I wasn't crazy about it before because I quite like it now. 

"The Pit"

Other highlights include: "Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings)", "Dots and Dashes (Enough Already)", "Mean Spirits".

The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter

I don't know anyone that does not have a soft spot for The Avett Brothers. Instead, I know people who have seen The Avett Brothers over a half a dozen times. I've gotten to see them twice now - Bonnaroo this Summer and at Virginia Tech last fall. I feel like I'd probably need to see them 10 times just to finally hear all of the songs I'd want to hear! At any rate, The Carpenter is out now. Before I say anything else, let me just say that I'm not crazy about country music. I think that, at times, certain songs on the new album sound just a bit too much country for my tastes - like the first song, "The Once And Future Carpenter". I mean, it's pretty. His voice is pretty. The music is pretty. Just a little too country for me. I can't quite relate with lyrics like "Once I was a carpenter, man my hands were calloused. I could swing a metal mallet sure and straight". But you know, it is what it is. 

"Live And Die"

I do hope that the album grows on me more over time because it would make me very sad to not like it. 

Other highlights include: "February Seven", "Down With The Shine", "I Never Knew You"

The xx, Coexist

Admittedly, The xx is an acquired taste, but if you are a fan of The xx then you will like Coexist. The xx always gets flack for being too slow, too drab, too quiet, yadda yadda. I think that they are brilliant. With The xx, it's not about how many instruments you have, it's what you do with the ones you've got. They're a band of both simplicity and detail. Their voices go together so well. If you like them, you'll probably love them. If you don't like them, you'll probably hate them.


Other highlights include: "Angels", "Fiction", "Sunset".

Regina Spektor, What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

I just love Regina Spektor, although I don't know many girls around my age that don't. Her new album sounds more produced to me than her prior albums, but in a mostly good way. I think this one might take just a little while to grow on me a bit more, but let's be real - I know I'll like anything Regina ever does.


Other highlights include: "All Of The Rowboats", "Ballad Of A Politician", "Small Town Moon".

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Quick Sunday Pick-Me-Up

Electric Guest - "This Head I Hold"

Capital Cities - "Safe And Sound"

Wolf Gang - "The King And All Of His Men"

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday morning tunes

Chappo - "Come Home". One of my favorite songs of the Summer.

Atlas Genius - "Trojans". Is his voice not pretty?

A Fine Frenzy - "Now Is The Start". Alison Sudol is precious.

DIIV - "Doused". It seriously makes me want to go for a jog.

Naturally, there are two other songs I wanted to post this morning but there aren't any good videos on YouTube yet. If you have Spotify, go check out Freelance Whales - "Spitting Image" and Opus Orange - "The Exploding Boy".

Friday, September 21, 2012

Too much of a good thing

When I first heard "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye, I really liked it - just like everyone else. However, that song has been out for over a year. The music video has over 320 million views. I think we've all heard it as much as we want to. Unfortunately, when I'm at work, I'm subjected to listening to Q99 on the radio non-stop. It's the weirdest radio station. They play different kinds of music, both good and bad, but they play the SAME songs every day. I kid you not - I hear that damn Gotye song probably 5 times every day on that station. Come on. Enough is enough.

Having said that, I do sometimes forget that I once liked that song a lot. I mean, it is good and the music video is pretty cool as well.  Now, I'd really just rather not hear it at all. Just about the only time I'll willingly listen to it is when I find another parody on YouTube. Even though some of the parodies are good, I'm even getting tired of those. But hey, if you've never seen any of them, give it a shot. As you're about to find out, there are plenty.

"Some Music That I Used To Love" - the best one.

"The Obama That I Used To Know"

"The Star Wars That I Used To Know", my personal favorite.

"Some Study That I Used To Know"

"Somebody Who Used To Be My Bro"

Gotye Dog Parody. When is enough enough?!

A muppet version - good grief.

If you somehow haven't had enough, there's plenty more on YouTube. Trust me. And as you can imagine, there are some pretty good Gotye memes out there as well:




My favorite.

Well, that was fun while it lasted. We've had our fill with the song, the parodies and endless memes. Now it's time to say our goodbyes to Gotye. Oh, and one more thing...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My favorite new band of 2012

Of Monsters and Men

Normally, picking a favorite new band from an entire year would be a tough endeavor for me. But I think I can say that I would definitely pick Of Monsters and Men for this year. I know I raved about Arcade Fire in my first post, but perhaps a little honesty is in order. I do love Arcade fire, but only like 50% of their music. I think about half of it is completely bad ass, while the other half is a little experimental and not fitting for every day or every mood. Of Monsters and Men's album My Head Is An Animal is good through and through without exception. Granted, a couple of songs took me a few listens to fully appreciate ("Your Bones", "Sloom"), but that's only a couple. I learned to love them quickly. 

Of Monsters and Men are from Iceland. In 2010, they won a famous battle of the bands competition and were signed a year later. I'm not sure if that means I was just asleep in 2011 or if they hadn't hit the US yet, but I came to know of them at the beginning of this year and I'm pretty sure that I listen to at least one of their songs every day.

If you haven't heard of them yet, watch the video below. If you've only heard of this song, get your ass on Spotify.

Go ahead and say it..."Megan was right."

If you didn't like "Little Talks", then I doubt that you and I will agree on very much. Not liking this song would be like voting for Mitt Romney - it lacks all reason. (Don't worry, I vow to keep this from being a political blog!)

But seriously, how pretty are their voices? The guy has such a surprisingly sweet voice and the girl's is so pretty and unique! (Notice the lack of name-dropping? He's Ragnar and she's Nanna. Their last names look like a pile of scrabble letters and the rest of the band's names are way out of my league!) The drummer looks so steampunk and cool. I'd want to have a beer with him. And come on, if you know anything about me at all, you know I love trumpets. Just a couple of days ago I found the sheet music online for "Little Talks". Unfortunately, I live in an apartment and can't exactly blast on my trumpet, but I did blow air and play along with it -- just with no actual sound other than me pressing the keys and hollow-sounding airflow. Haha, wow, now that I'm reading that in black and white that kind of sounds a little pitiful. I need to move in to a house, enough of this goddamn no-trumpet-playing-in-apartments shit. But I digress.

Go ahead and skip to 1:30; there's an obnoxiously long intro at the beginning of this concert.

That song was "Dirty Paws". And yes, it's from the same concert as the first video. It's from a show this past Spring in New York City. It was the first live footage I watched of them, so if my first impressions of the band were that good, hopefully yours will be too. 

"Mountain Sound"

Now that I think about it, it's kind of funny how the order of my first three posts have gone. Arcade Fire, Mumford & Sons, Of Monsters and Men. I was just saying the other day that I think Of Monsters and Men is a perfect blend of the other two -- they have that awesome, epic, arena-ready, crowd participation feel just like Arcade Fire (who doesn't like yelling "hey!" or "ahhhhh oooooohhhh" or clapping at concerts?), but they have the look, talent, sound and overall consistence of Mumford & Sons. 

If these three songs kept your boat afloat, then step to it with getting the album. Listening to it makes me really wish I could be in a band like this. Come on, I can play trumpet, I can do auxillary percussion stuff, I wanna play for thousands of people!

Also, I don't know if anyone has noticed Nanna's interesting haircut...

Who walks into a salon and says "Hey...shave the side of my head, please"?

Does it remind you of anyone?

Think about it.

I'm convinced he was probably a raging nerdy kid in high school.



I'm baffled why there aren't better live versions of this on YouTube...

That one, "Lakehouse", is my current drug. I've been listening to that one a lot. Including this morning, on the way to work, windows down, smelling the beginning of Autumn, singing "la la la la" at the end of the song. Try it out sometime.

At this point, they are only making select appearances in the US. They have some festival appearances (Sasquatch! in Seattle, Outsidelands in San Francisco, Austin City Limits Music Festival in Texas), and a few concerts pop up here and there, but for the most part they are way too elusive to be as good as they are. I've noticed them in the Billboard Top 20 Album's on the back page of my last several Rolling Stone magazines, so they're obviously getting up there. They need a big ass tour. They are at their best live.

Having said that, a few days ago I did my weekly stalking around various music venues close by and guess what I found? They're doing a show at The National in Richmond, VA at the end of November. Somehow, by the grace of God, I happened to look at the website the day that the tickets went on sale. Go figure. I've never felt so good about spending $25.

Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"

I challenge you to find someone who doesn't like Mumford & Sons. Eh, that's a bold claim, but it's true with the exception of hardcore rap fans or metal fans. I really can't imagine anyone else not liking at least one Mumford song. Personally, I thought that their entire first album, Sigh No More, was perfect from beginning to end. They have such a great sound - and Marcus's voice is one of the prettiest I may have ever heard.

Plus, they're just so precious.

Their new album, Babel, will be released on September 24th. I found a leaked copy online yesterday - thank you internet. It's exactly what I expected it to sound like - poetic lyrics, pretty slow parts, awesome jam sessions, good through and through. It will probably end up being one of the main highlights of my Fall soundtrack - which is somehow very fitting. It's good Autumn music.

Have you heard their new song? If you haven't, hop to it.

The video was filmed at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado, Mumford's favorite show from their last tour.

I really liked it - and how cute was the video? I love watching a really good crowd - it makes everything more fun. I'm glad that their new song is a faster one. Don't get me wrong, I love their slow stuff (um, hi, "White Blank Page" made me tear up when I heard it live), but I've been so pumped about their new album that something slow would almost be a bummer! 

Guess who else was at Bonnaroo 2011? Yep, I saw Mumford & Sons there. I remember watching the sun starting to set during "The Cave" and thinking about how perfect it was. 

From about 2:20 to the end is why I love Mumford & Sons.

I'm going to go ahead and put my money down on the table and bet that they will be at Bonnaroo 2013. They were there in 2010 and 2011, but this time they have a new album that they'll be touring to promote, they are perfect for the hippies and hipsters of Bonnaroo, and this time they'd be on the main stage. I hope I'm right. If I am, I'd recommend popping your Bonnaroo cherry.

PS: I found someone talking about a song in the comments under the "I Will Wait" video called "Fear Walks With You" by a band called Young Believers. I'd never heard of them before, and they're nothing at all like Mumford & Sons, but give it a listen. I'm glad I did!

.....well everyone else has a blog.

In the past few weeks, I've found myself swamped with a plethora of new music (or, in some cases, music I had never gotten around to listening to). I like to think of myself as someone with a respectable, eclectic taste in music. Eclecticism, for me, is a bit of a double-edged sword. I listen to everything I can get my hands on. Now, more than usual, I've got more new things to listen to than I have hours in the day. At the same time, friends are asking me for new music recommendations. Alas, I give you my music blog -- or in other words, a better outlet than Facebook. At least this way I can post more music.

I think perhaps the most fitting song to use in my first post is "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire. More specifically, their performance at Bonnaroo 2011. Before 'Roo, I had never been to a music festival before. I made the 6-hour road trip to Manchester, Tennessee with my friends Stephanie, Alison and Mike. For those of you who may not know much about Bonnaroo, it's a bit hard to explain if you've never experienced it. Yes, it's a music festival -- four days and five nights of music from 11am or so through the wee hours of the morning. Have you ever heard of Manchester, Tennessee? Probably not. That would be because it's in the middle of nowhere. Bonnaroo has been on a huge farm for 11 years now. Don't let the fact that it's a farm fool you -- trees are a rare sight. It's Tennesee, it's June, very little shade -- it's hot. That doesn't exactly make for the most desirable climate to camp in from Wednesday night through Sunday morning. Around 100,000 or so people go every year - so as you can imagine, the campgrounds aren't just hot and dirty -they are very crowded. So far, my description doesn't sound all that appealing. And it's not to a lot of people - not when there are cleaner, non-camping festivals like Lollapalooza. But, for those who can grit their teeth and endure the agony of inadequate camp showers, buckets of sweat, elusive and expensive water, no electricity and most likely a dead cell phone, endless thirst, constant heat, the constant smell of marijuana and cigarette smoke in the air, and insanely long lines....Bonnaroo makes for an epic, unforgettable and massively enjoyable experience. Everyone shares the same misery, the same music, and feels an awesome sense of community. People there are unlike people at any other festival.

Good marketing tactic. I did buy a hot dog.

Having said that, the main headliner for my first year at Roo was Arcade Fire. Do you know who they are? If not, shame on you. Watch this video. Read the rest of my post. Then understand why I made you watch this:

After they won the Grammy for Album of the Year in 2011, a lot of people didn't even know who they were, leading to this hilarious video and a Tumblr all about not knowing who they are.

I'm pretty sure that for the entire car ride to Manchester that I was always thinking about how good Arcade Fire was going to be. They are a large band, comprised of dozens of instruments, that are masters at writing songs made for huge arenas. Of course they had to kill it at Bonnaroo!

"Wake Up" is probably their most popular song. If you've never heard it then what is wrong with you? Haven't you seen Where The Wild Things Are? But I digress. The first 19 notes they sing in that song were the original reason that I decided to go to Bonnaroo that year. I really like this video because it's from the view of the band and you can hear exactly how loud the crowd roars those 19 notes.

I should invest in a Where's Waldo costume...

They headlined Friday night, the third night of the Festival. Remember how hot it is at Bonnaroo? By Friday, we were seriously fading and getting fed up with being so hot. I read once that 2011 was the hottest year Bonnaroo had to date. It was terrible. Over 100 degrees every day. Humid as hell. When we were hanging out at the campsite, my friends and I played drinking games with water just to make sure to stay hydrated. And we did a great job with hydration - eating was a different issue. I didn't particularly feel hungry that day - I was hot and didn't have an appetite. For breakfast I had one pop-tart. Around 4pm or so, after jumping around to Matt & Kim's set, I crashed hard and quick. Mike, Alison and I were walking to the next stage and as we passed one of the rare trees there, I pretty much gave up and sat under the shade of the tree. Mike and Al were sweet and they bought a sandwich for me. I knew that I was plenty hydrated, but not eating enough gave me a pretty bad case of hyperthermia. I felt a little better after I ate, so we went on with the day. But of course, around 8pm or so, right after I saw Florence + The Machine, I couldn't do it anymore. I barely made the 30-minute walk back to the campsite before I couldn't walk anymore. It was still 90-something degrees, but I had chill bumps! I layed down in our tent (which under the Tennessee sun transforms into a human oven), put on three shirts, and layed in the sleeping bag. I slept through most My Morning Jacket, but I could hear them sometimes in the distance. I didn't feel great after the nap, but I wasn't cold anymore and I was going to be damned if I missed Arcade Fire at 11pm.

To make an already long story short, I made it there in time. I don't know how many people went to their set, but they were the headliner and it was the biggest stage - so probably around 60 or 70 thousand people. Mike, Alison and I were able to get respectably close enough to the stage...or at least close enough to not have to solely rely on watching the big screen just to see the show. I'd guess that we were about 3 or 5 thousand people in front of us (it's really not bad). Where was Stephanie, you ask? She was hardcore that day. She stood in the very front row, pressed up against the metal barriers, from something like 10am all the way through the end of Arcade Fire all to make sure she was up front. I'm not sure how she survived, given the experience that I had in the heat that day, but she was more than happy to have been in the front row.

After the first few songs, I was so happy to be there that I started to feel much better. I felt good enough to sing my lungs out with the awesome hippies waving glowsticks in the air beside us. Then, we finally got to hear "Wake Up" during their encore. And it was exactly how we had pictured in our minds.

In the following months after Bonnaroo 2011, I spent a lot of time thinking about how much fun it was. I read a lot of articles about the festival. Did you know that the dusty farm fields were so bad that dirt and dust hovered over 30 feet above our heads? Anyway, I suppose that reading about Bonnaroo at various music blogs led to me reading about album and concert reviews, yadda yadda yadda, now I'm finding more music than I can even remember. I'll more than likely end up posting my flavor of the day or something that I've been listening to a lot lately. I hope that most of you like what you find - among those things, you'll be finding much shorter posts!

Stephanie, me, Alison and Mike looking very dirty and gross at McDonald's after leaving Bonnaroo