January 25, 2009

“it moves already in eternity, like a fountain” :: Rilke & Bono

This is worth a mention because I’m reading Rilke right now and, well… I always love Bono. Plus it’s a cool scarf. Have at it, hipsters.


With all its eyes the natural world looks out into the Open. Only our eyes are turned backward, and surround plant, animal, child like traps, as they emerge into their freedom.

We know what is really out there only from the animal’s gaze; for we take the very young child and force it around, so that it sees objects–not the Open, which is so deep in animals’ faces. Free from death.

We, only, can see death; the free animal has its decline in back of it, forever, and God in front, and when it moves, it moves already in eternity, like a fountain.

Rilke-print scarf, via Edun (“increasing employment and trade for developing regions, especially Sub-Saharan Africa.”)


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June 4, 2007

Monday Music Roundup

Happy Monday folks. I forgot to announce the Brushfire Records contest winner on Friday because I was up in Boulder, but in a random drawing (seriously; I made up 46 little pieces of paper and numbered them in the name of fairness) reader Kevin Cornwell wins the sampler packs of albums from the Brushfire lineup and a t-shirt. Yay Kevin! Please email me with your address.

I was kinda hoping that the winner would be the one dude with the joke about the muffins. SO ridiculous that it made me laugh out loud.

Here are the tunes I am listening to this week:

If You Wear That Velvet Dress
Jools Holland and Bono
The friend who sent me this song admits to skipping “If You Wear That Velvet Dress” when he listens to Pop, but for me the original is a smoldering hymn to clandestine longing that rarely gets passed over. This 2002 big-band swing version from (Squeeze founder) Jools Holland’s More Friends: Small World Big Band, Vol. 2 album takes a slightly different tack. The whispered aching and subtlety of the original turns into something almost brash — more breathy jazz singers lounging on pianos than smoky velvet dresses. Still, totally worth having – the album also features duets with folks like Stereophonics, Badly Drawn Boy, Tom Jones, and Huey of Fun Lovin’ Criminals.

Today (Smashing Pumpkins cover)
Ben Kweller

When I first read about this compilation album of Smashing Pumpkins covers from the good folks at SPIN (speaking of which, I’m almost finished reading my first Klosterman book) and MySpace, I wanted to stab my eye out with a black eyeliner pencil. This Ben Kweller contribution was the only one that sounded mildly interesting to me out of the lineup (if a bit unnecessary?). I love Ben, and here Ben sounds a bit bored, even though he does pretty up the singing (85% less angst) and do a real nice intro. HOWEVER. The appreciated facet of this song is that now for the first time I can understand many of these lyrics, and can sing them without mumbling through those parts (“I want to tmmmhmm you mmmmmm….I want to mmm dmmmmm hmmmmm….”). The CD is packaged with the July issue of SPIN.

Lose Myself
Lauryn Hill

Where oh where is Lauryn and why does she just tease us with an astounding album like The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill and then vanish for coming up on 10 years (okay, except for the Unplugged thing)? I love that album and I have missed her talent. This track is a contribution to an upcoming kids movie (Surf’s Up) and, sure, sounds a little soundtracky, but I have to admit I find the skittery stop-start beat in particular to be irresistible. Oh yeah, and the soundtrack also features Pearl Jam. No – for real.

In The Words Of The Governor
Sufjan Stevens

Wait, so we’re sure this is the same Sufjan who plucks the banjo gently, sings in a breathy lovely voice, and makes me cry with finely wrought songs like Casimir Pulaski Day? In this new track from the Believer Magazine 2007 compilation album he wails and chants and channels the Beatles at their most psychedelic. Wha? Way to show us another side, Soof. [via]

Will You Return?
The Avett Brothers

Speaking of the Beatles, what would it sound like if they’d been raised deep in the heart of Appalachia? Maybe a little bit like the plucky fusion of North Carolina’s Avett Brothers. I am hearing these raves for their newest release Emotionalism, and this song makes me smile from the opening count-off. You can hear the smile in his voice. The album is raw and joyful if you can acclimate to the twang that smacks you in the face. But kinda in a good way.

April 16, 2006

I’ll stand before the Lord of Song with nothing on my lips but Hallelujah

Perhaps this is some form of sacrilege to post this on Easter, but if you aren’t going to church today, maybe you can spend some time with Bono as he ruminates about Hallelujah (with the help of Leonard Cohen, of course).

I recently came across this most excellent cover that Bono contributed to the Tower of Song: The Songs of Leonard Cohen compilation in 1995.

At this moment in the evolution of U2 we were right smack-dab between Zooropa and Pop. While it is hard for me to nail down one era of U2 that is my “favorite,” I really liked both of those albums, as well as the pop-modernism of Achtung Baby (ok, that’s actually probably my favorite).

This song is a hybrid of the swanky falsetto of “Numb” and the smoooooth spoken word portions of “If You Wear That Velvet Dress.” It’s awesome.

Take a close listen and tell me how come it sounds soooo dirty the way he enunciates the last word of this line: “And from your lips she drew the hallelujah.” Makes me kind of guffaw and say “Ha haaaa!” in that delighted naughty way. Also, you practically have to wear your wraparound Bono shades when you listen to this. It’s THAT cool.

Hallelujah – Bono

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April 2, 2006

Moves like a shadow across my skin

So everytime I have a U2 question, I turn to c, who runs the awesome (and funny) Scatter O’ Light blog. She always knows the answer, it’s uncanny. So I approached her last week with this lovely little U2 gem “Slow Dancing” that a friend added to my musical rotation last year, but that I didn’t know the provenance of. She encyclopedically informed me that U2 wrote the song for Willie Nelson, and that there are a couple of versions floating around:

  • A studio version with Willie Nelson singing
  • A studio version with Bono singing from 1993 (Zooropa b-side)
  • An acoustic version of Bono singing it on an Australian radio show (“and it is just so very hot,” she adds)

I sent her the one I have for diagnostics (and it is option b). In return she sent me back the other versions I didn’t have, including this really lovely one (option a, with Willie Nelson on lead vocals). It is rustic and smoky, Willie singing lead with Bono in the background, gently reverberating guitars and a late-coming lonely harmonica.

Slow Dancing – Willie Nelson (with Bono)

C also put together the other versions on her blog today; it’s a concerted effort on our part to thoroughly cover all facets of the topic. Check her stuff out.

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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