Tag Archives: obsessions

Yeasayer? Why yes, I did see them on my birthday.

Because of course it’s late. In my defense, there was no way I could have made time for anything resembling a blog post at the end of last quarter. Just….no. These past two weeks of not writing? That one’s on me. My bad! I am not, however, passing up an opportunity to gush about Yeasayer. Gushing about Yeasayer has become a sacred duty for me. I must sing their praises to the skies or die in shame. In case that last paragraph didn’t give it away, I really, really enjoyed my birthday show. Kendal Fong is like the best roommate ever, or something, and I hope she enjoyed our adventure despite her erm, possessions mishap. Possessions mishaps are not fun.

After some time spent searching for the possessions that were mishapped, we acquired dolmas sandwiches at Falafel of Santa Cruz, which I am so, so addicted to (I had one today when I was moving out the remains of my stuff. You should be jealous. If you are not jealous, I am afraid for you), and set off for San Francisco. The traffic on the way up wasn’t too crazy, and we got super cheap parking, and only had to call my dad like four times and make him look up directions when we were walking from the parking to the Fillmore (which is such, such a good venue.) Only.

We were able to immediately secure really awesome spots, and since we’d taken so long to actually find the damn venue (Yeasayer’s bus was blocking it so you could not see it from across the street, okay!), we did not have to wait long at all for the first opener. The first opener was… …. …. Words, they fail me. An extremely skinny and  bearded hipster dancing like Ian Curtis one of the times he was actually having a seizure on stage and words that could make professional writers of erotica flinch to some beats on his ipod? Here is his website : http://www.hushhushhush.com/. There is a music video. I am afraid to watch it, but hopefully it can do a better job expressing him than I can. Let’s just say I’m pretty sure Yeasayer’s plan was to make sure the indie kids had no choice but to dance by putting a human being that had never even heard of the concept of self-consciousness on stage first. Awkwarding everyone into being incapable of coolness? A valid stratagem?

The second opener was Smith Westerns, and I thought they were pretty adorable at first, but their set felt samey after a while and I wanted Yeasayer, dammit. And then the glorious moment came. I was really hoping they would open with either of their album openers, because I think those are so well-selected. And lo and behold, they opened with the intro of “The Children” and then went into “Sunrise,” effectively opening with both their album openers, and blowing my brain out (though that might have also been their ridiculous, awesome lightshow.) Beyond that, they played pretty much every song I wanted to hear live, with the exception of “Love Me Girl,” and the rest of “The Children” (which, I cannot really blame them for not bringing a fan on stage. I don’t really know how that one would work, tbh.) The crowd was awesome, particularly during “O.N.E.” and “Ambling Alp,” and the band was super high-energy and drinking steadily from cups of some manner of amber-colored hard alcohol, and therefore adorably drunk.

They did “2080” as an encore, which was glorious and beautiful and magical. That song is the first Yeasayer song I ever heard/fell madly in love with, so…It has a place. A place lodged inside of my skull and somewhere under my breast-bone…They also played new songs (!!!), which I loved, especially “Henrietta,” which is super 80s vibey, and fantasastic. I went on an epic search of the youtubes for the best live recording of this one, because everyone should experience it. In the end, picking one was hard.

This one shows off their killer live show (and Chris Keating’s well-dressed hotness) the best:

And this one has really nice sound-quality, but is shot from a distance:

I guess which one you prioritize is up to you!

At any rate, everyone ever who doesn’t already should listen to Yeasayer, and everyone should see them live. Way, way too absurdly awesome.


25th Post!

Finally, an anniversary type post! Why yes, it has taken me this long to get to 25 posts. That’s why this anniversary post is all special and shit–next one’s not coming for another 500 years. So, I figured I’d save the most special of songs, all-time favorites and such, for anniversary posts. Are you excited yet?

Good! Let’s take that excitement, and draw it out until the point of death with a long rant about music. I think saying that I love music would be stating the beyond obvious. There is music that is emblematic of every significant moment in my life; the right song  keeps me sane when I’m losing my mind, the right song that makes me happy when I’m sad. There’s this piece on piano that I have poured about every bit of negative emotion I’ve had since I’ve learned how to play it into. I don’t think I even have words for what music means to me, and I am full of the words!

The first time I listened to this album was the day I first toured Santa Cruz, and I played it non-stop for the scary, thrilling months that followed. It, along with the rest of this artist’s stuff, never fails to make me happy. The artist in question? He is one of my top five favorites in the world ever, not to mention the source of my raging obsession with Australian music. I’ve posted a song of his before, but this time, I’m whipping out what might be my very favorite one. It’s Josh Pyke time (which is the best time)!

Josh Pyke is Australian-accented, sunshine-dosed, beautifully-arranged, joy-saturated singer-songwriter wonderfullness. I have been obsessed since I bought his 2007 album, Memories & Dust–which I did not find out about until 2009, thanks to the very lovely fact that none of his albums so far have been out in the States. The next one, which is coming out in August, which I am way, way, way too excited about, might actually be out here. In which case he might actually tour here. In which case I might get to see him live, and die of happiness.

The song I have selected for your aural pleasure is a fantastic in every possible sense of the word–first off, it’s a waltz, which is something I love to pieces. But then again, there is nothing I don’t love about the damn thing. I love the piano part; I love the tone of the guitar, the absolutely fucking elegant arrangement. I love the warmth of his voice, and the fact that he sings with an accent–the pretty lyrics, and the flawless song-structure; love the verses (they do that thing where each successive verse intensifies), chorus, bridge (seriously, the bridge). Basically, this Josh Pyke can do no wrong, and this song has never even heard of wrong. I could hit repeat for days.

Here is “Covers Are Thrown.” Listen to it and feel joy.

And I kick them off,
In the night when we’re sleeping.
So we wake from our warm dreams,
To find ourselves freezing.

See you in another twelve years, motherfuckers.


This band….

Every once in a while, when listening to an album, I’ll think about how it found its way into my life. There’s lots of different paths that music takes into my collection—a veritable cornucopia of online radio stations, favorite playlists, and random occurrences. The way I came to know this particular band is probably the most interesting story out of the bunch. Now, I am really, really shit at taking music recommendations. “Listen to this band,” someone will say, and I won’t mean anything by it, but I will have forgotten all about it fifteen minutes later. I need to hear music to care enough to commit it to memory.

This band was recommended to me by a very interesting person I once met and knew briefly. And um, the only way I can cope with some of the memories of that particular acquaintance (when they come to mind) is by telling myself that outbreaks of skull-crushing awkwardness are an essential part of every teenaged life. Man, thinking about myself at sixteen makes me feel old…That being said, that first meeting definitely numbers among the most interesting first meetings I’ve had, and it was during that first meeting that I was recommended Nightmare of You. (Just ‘cause a story’s interesting, doesn’t mean I’m actually telling it. :P)

I wound up actually listening to this damn band, of all the bands anyone has ever told me to listen to. And man, I am really, really glad. They are so cool, you guys. Their lead singer, one Brandon Reilly, previously of The Movielife and even more previously of The Rookie Lot, a band that contained most of the people that would go on to form Brand New, is a pint-sized collection of cynicism, sweaters, awesomeness, and really good quotes. Their music is some combination of upbeat, 80s-via-Smiths-and-Cure melodies and riffs and fabulous, vitriolic, clever lyrics. It’s everything anyone could ever want. You and everyone you know should love them.

The song I have for your consideration today, from their self-titled, while one of the best songs on the album and anywhere, is not usually my “let’s pimp Nightmare of You out to everyone I know!” song of choice. Granted, that is because that album has a song called “In the Bathroom Is Where I Want You” and a song with a music video that involves a clone of Brandon Reilly being beaten to death by the band. However, I am really feeling it today, and shouldn’t a song that can beat out those other, ridiculously awesome things get your attention? The song in question is upbeat as fuck with a really fun riff, and some brutal, accusatory lyrics. There are horns and synth and a catchy chorus driven by a strong beat. There is what is possibly one of my favorite bridges in any song ever. There is Brandon Reilly’s awesome voice. This song is so good. So, so, so good. “Why Am I Always Right?” by Nightmare of You. Listen to it. Listen to it now.

Stick a fork in a socket
Do what you like
Just make sure that I’m far out of your life
Take an axe to your fingers
Carve your eyes
Cut out your tongue and we’ll call this a tie
Cut out your lying tongue and we’ll call this a tie


A cute thing, in honor of the day

There are so, so many songs I could have used for this. Just ask Kendal Fong–any time I am listening to music, some song or another will come on, and I will declare it “THE CUTEST SONG EVER.” And I mean it every damn time.  After some thought, I decided I should go with someone not everyone’s heard, but who everyone in the world should definitely hear. Someone who I have been obsessed with since I first bought an album…

This post is like, a massive amount of self-serving, and not just because Josh Pyke is like…half of what I love in this world. I need more people in the US to listen to him so he’ll come here. He’s really, really well-known in Australia, where he is from, but his albums are literally not out in the US–only the UK and Australia. And those are the places he tours. The things I would do to see that man live…and yet, I can’t even buy merch, because shipping makes a canvas bag cost over $40.

At any rate, Josh Pyke is really my only possible choice for cute songs. I would have that man’s babies without asking too many questions, that’s how fucking perfect his music is. He’s got a great voice, an Australian accent, mad song-writing and arranging skills, and just…whether you’re happily in love, alone and longing, pining for someone, cautiously hopeful, bitter and heartbroken…if you are anything at all, he will have a song that voices that sentiment more gorgeously and more eloquently than anyone should ever have the ability to do…and can you tell I’m just stalling because I have absolutely no idea which of his songs to choose?

Sorry about that, anyone who saw that little glitch. 🙂 I was bound to try and write about a song that isn’t up on youtube eventually. I reeeaaally ought to check in advance. Fun facts: Australian quite possible exists juuust to make my life hard. So, I uh, had to use OTHER DEVIOUS METHODS to deliver you sweet Aussie goodness.  Hopefully they work.

So, uh, as someone who group up listening to a lot of what you would call emo, having a song written about you is…not the most desirable thing in the world. There are, however, some songs that remind me that it is not all bad. Like this one. Once upon a time, listening to this song, I found myself thinking “Yeah, having something like this written about me wouldn’t be so bad…” The perfect balance of sweet-but-not-sappy, this song means I might not whip out the cross and garlic if I get hit on by a musician-type again. Also, it has banjo. I don’t think I can over-state my love for banjo.

One of the less sweepingly orchestral songs on Josh Pyke’s first full-length, Memories & Dust, this song is simple and sweet. It’s got a perfect melody, some fantastic harmonies, what I think might be xylophone, and have I mentioned that banjo? That banjo is a damn good banjo. The chorus is a chorus you can run around the house singing (or is that just me?). Basically, this song had me at awesome banjo and awesome chorus and awesome harmonies. The sparkling-sweet lyrics are just a nice touch. 🙂 Cuddle up with someone nice to listen to this, if a someone-nice is available.

\”Monkey With a Drum\” by Josh Pyke

I’ve got some money put away
For a great escape
And I could run for a girl like you

(Please tell me the fucking link works.)


Obsessions

There are some songs I listen to over and over and over during certain periods of my life. Historically speaking, the times when I’ve obsessed with songs have not typically been the best times. I’m always surprised that I can use a three-or-so-minute piece of music as an ink blotter for my issues and still love it to bits and pieces–because I always do. I guess knowing how much a song has done for you makes it better, not worse. This is definitely one of those songs.

I got into Fiona Apple during a shitty time, while I was making shitty decisions, but hey, at least I made good decisions of the musical variety. I kind of adore Fiona Apple, a lot. Piano is one of my favorite things in the world, and she’s got this incredible voice, and just the right influences to utilize that voice to its full potential.

“Paper Bag” is my favorite Fiona Apple song by a fairly large margin. I love her voice, love the lyrics, love the jazzy (there’s a horn section!)–especially the jazz piano. She was a piano prodigy, you know? Basically, just…listen to this song. I know I have…like, eighty badjillion times.

Hunger hurts, and I want him so bad, oh it kills
‘Cause I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up