Sometimes, when I lean my head the prescribed amount,
and give you what my older brother told me was the right amount of tongue,
I scrunch my eyes and imagine I’m absorbing every compliment you’ve ever received.
It’s for when your legs get tired of jumping into snow banks after me,
and the bags under your eyes swell shut waiting up for me,
I can take custody of every good thing said about you.
I’d only keep them on weekends, but I’d claim them as my own,
and hope no one could ever see,
the only reason I value myself,
is from you kissing me.
I know it must appear I only come here to spill my graceless thoughts every few months or so, but I guess that’s been the case for every journal I’ve ever kept. I’ve never been one to write every single day or keep a workout regime for more than 3 weeks or past an injury or two. I’m hoping what matters is that I show up when I have something to say, not forcing words upon you and wasting both our time.
Here’s a chunk of a short story I just wrote tonight. I probably should edit it down more, but hey…this is my blog, so I decide if I want to irrational post things after a long and unexcused absence!
Also, I have a music Tumblr blog now and I’ve been in the beginnings of working on some spoken word pieces accompanied by music. Now you can’t say I’ve been slacking off by not posting on here, ya jerks.
I’d Go Amish For You: A (Rough Draft of an) Essay
Please give thoughts. Be brutal. It’s a super rough draft that needs polishing, after all. And, for those who don’t like reading for a while, the short version of this is basically the sentence, “I really don’t like texting and such” over and over.
Costume Party (Excerpt)
But this girl on the balcony put her phone away as she continued gazing in my direction and I wondered if she was thinking the same thing. I wondered if she bought into the same lie as I had walking into this costume party, believing that charming love was something of a bygone era and we had a one night only pass back if we dressed the part. I realized the truth is we were all lying tonight. We all were sleeping with two other people, living another life even beyond these elaborate Victorian skins. In fact, we were free to lie as much as we so desired. And tonight, for the first time all night, I wanted to buy two more drinks and have the night to last a couple hours longer. I began walking towards the balcony in her direction.
The last paragraph from my daily draft I write on 750 Words (I only link it because it’s an amazing site if you want to throw yourself into writing daily) I feel like this kind of topic’s been written before many of times, but just felt like sharing something new with you all.
The Best Albums of 2012…So Far :: Part 6 of 6 (in no specific order, by the way)
Beach House - Bloom
Pros: Beach House, as their name suggests, is a band that’s just set in my mind as the ideal dreamy soundtrack to an American teenager’s summer, wasting away on lazy bike rides, sweating the July and August months out in a deckchair beside a pool, and the pursuit of happiness if it comes without a sunburn. Bloom, however, is duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s grandest, darkest, and most cinematic record to date, swinging for a brooding teen drama’s soundtrack while not coloring too far outside the lines of their dreamy poppy image. “Myth” kicks the record off swooning over surrendering love…or something like that. “Help me to make it”, Legrand begs after declaring ”you say just what you need and, in between, it’s never as it seems”. Clarity never seems to come as the track fades into “Wild”, the closest thing Beach House has come to an anthem for escape and not ending up like one’s parents. Then, out of nowhere, “Lazuli”. After a brief keyboard-heavy intro, the song bursts open with “ahh ahh’s” chanting and immediately secures its place as an essential song for summer mixes as well as an essential song in Beach House’s career. The first half of the album in general is some of the best music I’ve heard from the band and the album is an easy fit for essential listening this summer for the emotionally charged, ‘hopeless romantic’ types out there.
Cons: As is what occasionally happens on Beach House albums, the songs begin to bleed together in the second half of the record. It happens much, much less on Bloom than any of their other three records, but the effect is certainly there on first listen. Beyond those initial listens though is an album that is truly remarkable start to finish and already a shoe-in for best indie release of the year. Also, I’m really bad at writing “cons” section. These albums featured are all fantastic. Listen to them.
Recommended Tracks: “Lazuli” (playing above), “Other People”, and “Myth”.
The Best Albums of 2012…So Far :: Part 5 of 6 (in no specific order, by the way)
Chairlift - Something
Pros: It began somewhere in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I was young and impressionable with a bag full of cassettes, a couple of boy band CDs, and a new CD walkman. In our house, the 1980s seemed to have enjoyed their stay an extra decade with my dad’s dedication to the gods Styx, Journey, and Peter Cetera and the synth rock seed was planted in me very quickly. I didn’t discover synth rock; synth-rock discovered, kidnapped, and forced its love onto me.
Flash forward roughly ten years and the devotion to all things drum machine and keyboard related have come back in full force. m83’s double album last year is a continued ode to the 1980s, resulting in international chart success for the first time in his career. Gotye sounds almost dead on like Sting and you can’t deny it. And Chairlift have concocted the year’s most over the top tribute to the decade with the aptly-titled Something. Case in point: “I Belong In Your Arms”. I’ve reblogged it about five times without shame, posted it on too many friends’ walls, blared it from my car to drown out my karaoke-on-a-good-day voice, and have allowed it to take over my life. It’s a would-be perfect single for 1982 and now 2012 and it’s everything I love about this album: stunning vocals by lead singer Caroline Polachek (who, on an unrelated note, absolutely fills my girl-in-a-band crush after Alexandra Lawn left Ra Ra Riot this past Spring), complete commitment to sounding as much as an ’80s pop band as possible, and the overwhelming amount of fun apparent in the music. Unlike so many other artists following this throwback craze, Chairlift concoct a mostly sincere effort at honoring their keytaring forefathers (more on that in the “Cons” section though) “Met Before” is the embodiment of getting lost in a city swarming with people, the double shot of “Ghost Tonight” and “Cool As A Fire” are both easy entries for your next brooding mixtape’s slow song, and the song and video for “Amanaemonesia” are such an even mix of what-the-fuckery, sexy, and awesome, it seems only logical to bust out some Bruce Springsteen circa “Dancing In The Dark”-era moves and fall in love.
Cons: To be quite honest, this album was on the line for me even though I enjoy it so much. The band is obviously talented, Polachek’s vocals alone are some of the best I’ve heard all year, and it’s a fun album for the summer. But where does genuine ’80s worship end and throwbacks for the sake of being trendy begin? The album only has some spots of going into the deep end with cheesiness (“Take It Out On Me”), but the stylistic choices (it plays a very small role in my liking of the album, but the album artwork is cringe-inducingly bad), the videos, and the overall feel of the album is so set on honoring the 1980s, it becomes a little unclear at times whether the admiration is true or on some level of sarcastic irony. This one’s definitely an odd pop record that will either be absolutely loved or hated, but undoubtedly has breakout potential in this new world of bands like Gotye succeeding and the ’80s rising once more.
Recommended Tracks: “Sidewalk Safari” (playing above), “I Belong In Your Arms”, “Cool As A Fire”.
The Best Albums of 2012…So Far :: Part 4 of 6 (in no specific order, by the way)
Sigur Ros - Valtari
Pros: It’s Sigur Ros. If you honestly need any coercing beyond that, Valtari takes the band’s trademark formula of otherworldly ambience, string sections on top of already-beautiful instrumentation, and Jonsi’s magnificent falsetto fluttering in between Icelandic mumblings and the language of aliens…and somehow makes it better. Case in point: “Varúð” is the meeting of the band’s louder, more straightforward material with pure ecstasy at the hands of Jonsi and a children’s choir. Then there’s the triple shot of “Rembihnútur” (playing above), “Dauðalogn”, and “Varðeldur”, which is easily three of Sigur Ros’ finest works and the best listening experience I’ve had so far this year. Jonsi’s vocals soar into new levels of “how is that falsetto even possible?”, the band’s careful attention to atmosphere and making cacophony sound gorgeous is at its strongest, and it’s all the indication I need to know this is one of the hardest working and most game-changing bands in the popular music world today.
Cons: After a two year break, Valtari is a much more subdued affair than the band’s previous album, the upbeat Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. Some will call this album out for Sigur Ros doing what they do best without evolving their formula too much. To me, I really have no issue with that because this band’s sound is refreshingly different from most post-rock/ambient music, never mind popular music in general. For old Sigur Ros fans, this album feels like an old friend coming home again, albeit one that leaves almost too soon regardless of the album’s plenty-lengthy 55 minutes. For new fans though, this is a perfect example of the sound of Sigur Ros and one of the best post-rock/ambient albums that will come out this year. If you like what Sigur Ros has done in the past, you’ll likely enjoy this album. If you’ve never found the band to be all that accessible, this album won’t do you any favors. It’s Sigur Ros though…you really have to try and hate this band.
Recommended Tracks:If I have to pick, the aforementioned “Rembihnútur”, “Dauðalogn”, and “Varðeldur”. If I have to be honest, find a free hour and listen to this album in full as it deserves to be heard.
The Best Albums of 2012…So Far :: Part 3 of 6 (in no specific order, by the way)
Perfume Genius - Put Your Back N 2 It
Pros - Beyond the somewhat-ridiculous, ’90s hip hop album name, Put Your Back N 2 It is a lesson in passion amidst a cold, electronic world. Mike Hadreas, Perfume Genius’s sole member on record, redefines the limits of a love song today through minimalistic use of the piano, his wavering voice, and haunting lyrics. The album opener, “AWOL Marine”, draws a very basic outline of an amateur porno Hadreas once saw of a man admitting on camera to starring in a few porn films just to pay for his wife’s medicine. From there, the album runs deep into the human condition, detailing depression all the way down to his mother’s abusive relationship with her father, all the while painting hope as a somewhat realistic outline on the canvas. What sends this album from a straightforward soul-bearer to one of the most heartbreaking albums I’ve heard in a long while though is its absolute commitment to emotion, making Hadreas’ trembling vocal delivery into the album’s most winning feature. Hadreas has said in most press releases and interviews that “17” is essentially a gay man’s suicide letter, but when he moans, “Take everything away; this gnarled, weird face; this ripe, swollen shape”, the common ground seems to fit any image-conscious person on the planet. The one-two punch of “Dark Parts” and “All Waters” could break anyone with a sense of humanity, turning a simple line like, “I will take the dark part of your heart into my heart” into Death Cab circa Transatlanticism-style tearjerker through repetition. The latter (playing above) is a call for acceptance of same-sex marriage and arguably the album’s most political statement, but as the song fades out to Hadreas pleading his lover to “hold my hand”, the desire for connection and love seems to supersede the desire for acceptance in society. And, in that, we’re faced with the truth that Perfume Genius have written of a love so pure and passionate, it defies gender or reservation completely.
Cons - If you couldn’t gather from the above paragraph, I am just about ready to write a thesis on this album. This album is one of the most beautifully written and performed albums of the year thus far and the last record that gave me a feeling close to this was Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago. Time will tell if it will have as much lasting power as Emma has had on me, but I know it’ll definitely remain a favorite throughout the year. For anyone that doesn’t like slower, more emotive songs, this isn’t your cup of tea. Just give this album an honest, front-to-back listen since it deserves that at the least.
Recommended tracks - The whole album really, but “Hood”, “Take Me Home”, and “Dark Parts” are standouts.
The Best Albums of 2012…So Far :: Part 2 of 6 (in no specific order, by the way)
fun. - Some Nights
Pros: I’m a sucker for success stories, friends. If you told me in 2010 than the band fun. would be a chart topping name in two year’s time, I would’ve excitedly called bullshit without a beat, hoping to be proven wrong. And, at the time, fun. weren’t on a likely rise to stardom, releasing their quirky
imagining of what the third Format album would sound like debut record, Aim & Ignite, with minimal fanfare. Basically, fun. is where they are now because Some Nights just shows the band as being so much more comfortable on so many levels. Regardless of whether you’d like to admit it or not, the trio of songwriting master Nate Ruess, the incredibly talented guitarist Jack Antonoff, and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost have managed to find the sweet spot between pop gold for the radio audiences and pure gratification for the fans that fell for the band’s theatrical rock in the first place. The title track is the perfect meeting place between the two camps, combining harmonizing choirs with infectious “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” as Nate continues his career-long mission of finding what he stands for in life. Some may argue that the band has officially staked their claim as a corporate band with Nights, selling their souls to Chevy and MTV once and for all. I find such an accusation strange with masterfully odd tracks like the musical-theater-worshipping “Why Am I The One?” or horn-heavy “One Foot”. If anything, Some Nights is fun. having their cake and eating it too. They’ve culminated their careers into writing a truly great, memorable pop album and they’re just simply getting the chart success as a bonus.
Cons: As much as I love fun’s newfound direction, some moments veer too far off into messy, trying-too-hard-to-be-a-hit territory. Basically, if “It Gets Better” were replaced by b-side “Out On The Town”, this would be a flawless pop album. Other than that, a lot of people seemed to be against Nate using Autotune/vocoders as a texture on his voice. Honestly, I liked the usage of it, but it definitely divides some from really enjoying this album as a whole.
Recommended Tracks: “Some Nights” (above), “All Alone”, and “Why Am I The One?”.