Posts Tagged ‘Music’

A Top 5 List

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Top five bands I wish I could go back in time to see live:

  1. Knapsack
  2. The Wrens
  3. Pavement
  4. Sleater-Kinney
  5. Elliott Smith

I’m not so in to reunion tours though…

Addendum: The truth is that it would have been possible to see many, if not all, of these bands in my lifetime. However, due to other, external circumstances, including but not limited to age, transportation (or lack thereof), and lack of awareness, I missed out. Lame.

Influences

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I’d like to take this opportunity to “highlight” one of the blogs on my “blogroll”; Monitor Mix. Monitor Mix is written by a member of Sleater-Kinney, one of the greatest bands out there (on an “indefinite haitus”), and is probably one of the motivations for my beginning to write a blog. Sleater-Kinney and the like, riot bands are another post for another day. But everyone should check out Monitor Mix. She writes about subjects beyond music, too! And it’s hosted by NPR, so how could you possibly go wrong (ha…).The author writes very well about pop culture phenomenon and today, she blogged about trying to find the common roots for rock music – you really have to see what she wrote to understand. This is something I think about a lot but I don’t quite have the extensive knowledge to allow me to come to any conclusions. I can play the “it sounds like” game, but my capabilities only extend so far. Just something to think about…

What I’ve Been Up To

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

Mom, can you help me get this to allow me to create paragraphs in the second half? It keeps running it all together and I don’t know how to fix it. I know, I know. I’ve been quite the errant poster. Similarly, in fact, to my wonderful cousin. I’ve been busy. Took a trip to LA last weekend and have been working and taking care of other such things since then. Got some pictures to post that my dad will enjoy =)Some observations on LA/California:

  • LA is much better engineered for driving than is the Bay. I’m not sure why. I think there is more space on the roads, and things are designed in a fashion so that if you get off track, it’s easy to get back to where you wanted to be. Up here, if you stray off course it’s essentially impossible to become un-lost.
  • There are diners everywhere. This is a definite positive in my eyes. It might be the only thing I like better about SoCal than NorCal Diners a la the Fleetwood, and all playing oldies! Wow! It’s like being a kid in Michigan again!
  • At said diners, it is possible to order a grilled cheese that is simply a grilled cheese. Not a grilled cheese on artisan bread baked around the corner, with three different types of cheese (you get to choose from a list of 15 or so, including vegan options), and with innumerable other toppings. And it can come with french fries! Wow! I love the food in Northern California, but sometimes it gets a little bourgie for my tastes.
  • They can deal with weather even less than in Northern California! When I left LA, there were reports of snow in the mountain pass just north of LA. I literally sat on the I-5 N with the engine off reading a book for a good 15 minutes, plus a bunch of stop and go type activity. By the time I got to the top of the mountain, it essentially seemed dry to me. It was the kind of snowfall that crazies in Michigan see and react to with “Oh boy, this looks fun! Let’s go do some donuts in the local elementary school parking lot!”
  • I also noticed that when I told people I was driving south for the weekend their first comment was usually “Isn’t it supposed to rain this tomorrow?” My usual response tends to be something like “Ummm… I don’t know… I’m going anyway…” Obviously extreme weather will stop me from driving somewhere but if you know how to be careful with a car, some rain isn’t usually quite in that category. Anyway, this is mostly an observation on the difference in attitudes from the Midwest to the West Coast.

In conclusion, I’m a big fan of visiting my friends in LA but wouldn’t want to live there myself, ever. As my friend Steph and I rode the bus back to her apartment at about 8:30 on a Saturday night, this old man told us that we looked young enough that he could be our Grandpa, that if he was our Grandpa he’d be worried to know that we were out “so late,” and then told us to be careful of predators as we disembarked from the bus. I think he was fairly drunk.

I made coconut macaroons yesterday. Pretty tasty! Friday night I made a casserole from the Moosewood Cookbook. It contained brown rice, peppers, feta cheese and cottage cheese, and was topped with tomato slices, garlic slices, and olives. It turned out to be pretty good! I was a little skeptical as it was entitled “Bulgarian Pepper Casserole.”

My dear roommate and myself went to a bar in Oakland and saw some local bands play… The first two were great (The Generals and Good City Lie Still – I’ll add links later). The third band was so bad we left, but my thoughts on that might be a full post for a later date. I think I need to do some research first.

Today, I’m going to pick up a mattress (almost new) I’m buying from a friend’s roommate. I’ve been sleeping on a futon since I moved here and I’m pretty tired of it. It’s not very comfortable. Then I badly need to wash my car and check her fluids, etc. Poor Maggie…

Anyone reading yet?

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

The current title, “How are things on the West Coast?” theoretically won’t last, but in the meantime I should give credit where it’s due. I recently got the newest Interpol album Our Love To Admire, and that’s a line that stuck out to me for obvious reasons. I’m enjoying the album, despite middling to “suck” reviews from friends.

I went to a good show last Friday. Some Bay Area bands played a house show in Berkeley. We saw the Botticellis, Trainwreck Riders (second time this fall), and Kapowski (friends of a friend). All around it was a pretty great show, and it had been a while since I’d been to a traditional basement-centric house party, so that was fun and… nostalgic? However, that basement was way too nice (read: clean and dry) to compare to the ones in Kalamazoo. If basement parties are a phenomenon unfamiliar to you (bp3g?), feel free to ask and I can elaborate… Really, people-watching might be one of the best parts of going to shows.

I promise every post won’t be this music oriented, although it’s going to keep going that way this time. But keep reading, it might still be interesting since it’s not about a specific sound or band.

I was hopping around the iTunes music store after work today, in an attempt to check out some music I’ve been thinking and or hearing about lately. Suddenly, I realized that iTunes does something that really gets on my nerves. Have you noticed the “iTunes Essentials” and other pre-fabbed collections on the music store? If you haven’t, I’m sure one will pop up on any search you run. The one that triggered my annoyance today was titled “’00 Indie Rock”.

First of all, the aughts aren’t over yet, so aren’t you jumping the gun on that one just a little, iTunes?

Second of all, half the bands included aren’t terribly indie in the sense of being underground at this point. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite bands are on there.

And third, here’s what most irritates me about the pre-fab music ed phenomenon. Whatever happened to discovering music for yourself? Why do we need iTunes to teach us about worthwhile music? Maybe I’m too old, relatively speaking, but I think what made me fall in love with music was the sense of being the first person to hear a song every time I discovered a new band. Even though I knew this wasn’t the case. All those bands and songs I either discovered on my own or on a friend’s stereo. I’m happy for the artists who grow to be well known on their own merit, and I certainly don’t want to shut people out of a music scene for sake of keeping it in the family, but it’s a lot different to be bombarded with 37 “Essential songs” from a genre that’s still developing. You don’t actually get to know an artist that way.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, iTunes has de-DIYed the DIY indie ethic to a pretty extreme degree by taking away the DIY experience of educating yourself about music. And some poor teenagers somewhere might be missing out on a defining experience of teenager-hood.