January 30, 2014

just a perfect day / drank sangria in the park

I have been waiting since the end of October to see and hear this again; Phosphorescent played a gorgeously stripped-down set in their eTown taping with Laura Marling, and I placed myself front and center and pretty much wept on and off throughout.

The setting was the converted church on Spruce Street in Boulder that eTown has taken over, and the timing was that it was the day after Lou Reed died. This was their last song.

Perfect Day (Lou Reed) – Phosphorescent w/ eTown band

An interesting story that I learned on this evening: eTown host Nick Forster was running into local planning regulations that hindered eTown from buying the church for their radio show, so he became ordained. The first couple he married was Lou Reed and Laurie Anderson in a Boulder backyard in May of 2008.

I keep reading this wonderful farewell that Laurie penned to Lou in Rolling Stone. I printed it out, because I love love love the way she describes their life together, and the difficult and wonderful work of ever trying to pair with anyone.

“Lou and I played music together, became best friends and then soul mates, traveled, listened to and criticized each other’s work, studied things together (butterfly hunting, meditation, kayaking). We made up ridiculous jokes; stopped smoking 20 times; fought; learned to hold our breath underwater; went to Africa; sang opera in elevators; made friends with unlikely people; followed each other on tour when we could; got a sweet piano-playing dog; shared a house that was separate from our own places; protected and loved each other.

…Like many couples, we each constructed ways to be – strategies, and sometimes compromises, that would enable us to be part of a pair. Sometimes we lost a bit more than we were able to give, or gave up way too much, or felt abandoned. Sometimes we got really angry. But even when I was mad, I was never bored. We learned to forgive each other. And somehow, for 21 years, we tangled our minds and hearts together.”


Read the whole thing here. Cracks the most heartbreak-jaded heart.

What a night, what a show.

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[photo by the wonderful Ty Hyten, for Listen Up Denver]

September 30, 2008

Monday Music Roundup, Tuesday edition

People, I tell you — this month is going to be the death of me. I can’t manage much banter, but I can offer you music.

No One’s Better Sake
Little Joy

I love songs where something is a little off-kilter – syncopated or otherwise, just to keep you a bit ajar. Little Joy is the new sideband of Fabrizio Moretti (perhaps my favorite Stroke because of his divine percussive gifts), and the beginning of this song sounds a bit like your car radio has been jarred loose from its dashboard moorings. In Puerto Rico. In 1967. The eponymous Little Joy debut is out November 4th on Rough Trade.

Caroline Says, Part II
Lou Reed
I also love songs that bring you into them mid-thought, mid-scene. Songs are so ephemeral and short by nature that there’s usually no way you can tell a cohesive story, as you would in a novel (well, unless you’re maybe Josh Ritter but not many are). Lou Reed starts this song with Caroline getting up off the floor and finishing her sentence. She’s angry, and I would be too because she apparently wants him to stop hitting her. Fair enough, and a bit heartbreaking. This snapshot comes from the live re-recording of the entire 1973 album Berlin: Live At St. Ann’s Warehouse is out November 4th on Matador. When Berlin was first released, Rolling Stone reviewed it as one of “certain records so patently offensive that one wishes to take some kind of physical vengeance on the artists that perpetrate them…a distorted and degenerate demimonde of paranoia, schizophrenia, degradation, pill-induced violence and suicide.” Thirty years later, the magazine named it one of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

Either/Or
Wild Sweet Orange

Their band name sounds like Celestial Seasonings, but this song from Birmingham’s Wild Sweet Orange is a lot more vibrant than a cup of tea. I think I first listened to this album upon reading ace-eared Bruce write that lead singer Preston Lovinggood –yes, that’s his real name– had a voice that was “just earnest enough to satisfy the needs of Grey’s Anatomyrock fans (listen to “Aretha’s Gold”) but also disaffected and lethargically-not caring enough for you indie-rockers (listen to the Malkmus-like “House of Regret”). We Have Cause To Be Uneasy is out now on Canvasback Music, and was produced by Mike McCarthy (Spoon). WSO is on tour with Counting Crows and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s in the coming months.

Talk About
Dear And The Headlights
This tune from Arizona band Dear And The Headlights is about our differences, those foibles that drive the ones who love us crazy. It starts with lines about being warm and naked, come to save each other, and (like it goes for many of us) the song progresses from well-thought out guitar chords to a sort of jangly angry cacophony with yelled lyrics like “I said oh God damn it, you’re so mean” by the end. The mood of the song is so perfect to soundtrack their argument, and the way he yells when he gets truly frustrated echoes the cracks in Conor Oberst’s vocals. Their album is called Drunk Like Bible Times (stream it here) with song titles fitting the album moniker, like “I’m Not Crying. You’re Not Crying, Are You?” That sounds about correct. Their next album is going to be called, And Verily Adam Lay With Eve, And The Lord Saw That It Was Good.

Done With Love
Whispertown 2000
I missed the Jenny Lewis/Whispertown2000 show in Denver last week, but my friend Jake made it out to see the fair Rilo Kileyan and her new favorite band. He spent most of his time going jelly-kneed over Jenny (what can you expect from a blog called I’d Leave My Girlfriend For Jenny Lewis?), but he also enjoyed the “Cat Power vibe” and eighties-tastic denim shorts of these ladies, Morgan Nagler and Vanesa Corbala of Whispertown2000 (who also appear on Lewis’s new record). I saw WT2k open for She & Him at the Noise Pop fest in San Francisco in March, and they’ve got an alt-country vibe mixed with those doo-wop girl group harmonies. Their sophomore album Swim is due out October 21 on Acony Records.

March 10, 2008

Jesse Malin takes a walk on the somewhat wild but mostly acoustic side

Well heck. Here it is Monday night. In addition to the time change creeping up on me, apparently I am also going to forget what day it is and therefore not put the finishing touches on the Monday Music Roundup. Which is now looking like a Tuesday Music Roundup. Terrific!

Jesse Malin‘s cover of the Lou Reed classic “Walk On The Wild Side” surfaced over on the Times UK site today for free download. It’s from his upcoming album of covers, On Your Sleeve, due April 7th on One Little Indian Records.

Walk On The Wild Side – Jesse Malin

It begs for comparison with some of the other other notable covers of this ode to transvestitism, back room darlings, and really smooth bass lines that sound what I would imagine heroin feels like.

Walk On The Wild Side – Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch
Oh the horror, this was my first exposure to this song. I bought this cassingle from The Wherehouse at Vallco Fashion Park mall, probably with babysitting money. I know all the lyrics; to this day, Annie’s cautionary tale is probably the reason I’ve never done hits that make heartbeats accelerate. She wanted to be a chemical engineer, makin 50 to 55 thousand a year. She took a hit, breathed two short breaths. One for life the last for death. Thanks Marky.

Walk On The Wild Side (live) – The Strokes
Julian Casablancas always sounds like he is singing half-reclined on his counch and can’t be arsed to get up, and I think he comes closest to channeling the delivery of Lou Reed. I love the way the moment in this cover when he hits the line about Jackie juuuuuust speeding away, and then of course that pretty rad guitar solo that Nick Valensi throws on at the end.

Imagine/Walk On The Wild Side – George W. Bush
Dubya gets his thang on, courtesy of some fancy editing from the fantastically entertaining thepartyparty site. Who knew?!

Walk On The Wild Side – Lou Reed
The original, the grandaddy of cool.

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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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