Two Sails

I didn't even realize that today was New Year's Eve. So here's another year brought in by internet, television (Family Guy on my laptop and a Jackie Chan marathon going on for my mom) and standing by the microwave waiting for my dinner to finish -- mm, water, salt, half-cooked rice and something called "pork fu". Which isn't so bad, since that's how every year passes by; my family doesn't really have much of a new year's tradition, and we aren't allowed to go out at night. One thing to look forward to is hanging out with my friend Jessie, which will be a first since last summer. She attends RISD and came back for the holidays, though unfortunately we didn't have time to see each other until 2010. And then there will be my sister's birthday, the last day of my vacation, and then back out into the world on January 4th.

So how did I spend my day?  Of course with the 365 day project. I managed to finish writing down all 185 albums that are definitely going to be on my list, and I also wrote down a lot of runners up -- 168 of them. I'm still trying to figure out the last 65 albums for my list, which is much harder than you'd think. I'm quite biased, to be honest, and I'm tempted to add albums that may be good, but not necessarily the top 250 of the past decade.

Rest assured, as soon as the list is finished it will be shared here.


Dig A Pony

I think that I might actually be solar powered; as soon as the sun goes, I feel as if I'm finished doing anything at all...like right now. Is it because I'm born in August? Unfortunately I'm also turning into a total, horrible grump.

Right now I am watching Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs; it's pretty straightforward in terms of plot, but the thing that makes the movie more interesting is that it has a sort of lack of reservation in terms of jokes, which just makes it fun, even if the storyline is predictable.

It will be sincerely good to stop being on winter vacation. I just realized that I'm really going to miss winter, as soon as it is over. Somehow the severe cold, short days and clear, crispness of the air is my type of weather. I'm not sure how I feel about the foggy, moistness that is spring. One good thing to look forward to is the return of green to Washington. So I am aware that it's a little contradictory to be solar powered and prefer cold, dark weather, but what can I say, it's possible in Washington.

Lately I've been feeling more connected to the Smiths. Who wouldn't connect to "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want"? I shouldn't need to remind anyone about the lyrics, but here it is:
Good times for a change
see, the luck I've had
can make a good man
turn bad

So please please please
let me, let me, let me
let me get what I want
this time

Haven't had a dream in a long time
see, the life I've had
can make a good man bad

So for once in my life
let me get what I want
Lord knows it would be the first time
Lord knows it would be the first time

What marvels me is that when I first heard the Smiths, I hated them. They were a necessary evil that I had to listen to in order to understand all the millions of bands that sprouted because of the Smiths. I deleted them from my hard drive and thought, "Good riddance"; but listening to "There is a Light" again (courtesy of 500 Days of Summer, of course) required a second listen to the Smiths. What really tipped the scales for me was Hatful of Hollow, a collection of songs that I've never loved more.

Here is just a quick list of songs as reasons why we should all love the Smiths:
Reel Around the Fountain: "I dreamt about you last night/and I fell out of bed twice"

Girl Afraid: has to have one of the most perfect lyrics I've seen in a while.
Accept Yourself: "I am sick and I am dull/and I am plain/how dearly I'd love to get carried away/oh but dreams have a knack of just not coming true".

I could keep going, but I think that I'm gushing too much already. 

This shut -in needs to publish this post before it isn't today anymore.


Cry For a Shadow

For the last couple of weeks I've been a complete shut-in, partially voluntary and mostly because I am much too lazy to want to go out. Is there a better time than this, then, to start working on my music list for next year?

As inspiration, or just fellow commiseration, I am watching Julie & Julia (I don't care if it's a girly movie). I decided to curb the advancement of my insanity by making a list of 250 best albums from the past decade, and listening to each. It's really not much of a daunting task, though, I'll admit. But it's good busy work, finding ratings, reviews, interviews, etc. Honestly, who needs an excuse to listen to good music? I certainly don't; but I do need a reason to do things at all.

I've so far collected about 185 albums, and I only need sixty five more to complete my list. I'm pretty sure I will have all of the necessary albums by January 3rd, but until then I will be scouring the internet.

Here's another snag: some of these albums that I have on my list I can't find anywhere. Most are easy to find, but I have a feeling a few of them, such as William Basinki's The Disintegration Loops, will be harder to obtain. It would be lovely to treat it like a scavenger hunt, but who has the time?

Finally, may I say how fantastic it would be to have Julia Child's temperament? To not worry about mistakes, to always be smiling and laughing, and thriving on difficulty. I'm the exact opposite: usually moody, becoming completely disheartened by every mistake I make, no matter how small, and feeling completely overwhelmed and powerless when things get the best of me. In some ways, Julia Child reminds me of my own mom, except for the fact that she has a wonderful temperament, usually. So yes, I am much more like Julie Powell, minus the having a book published, turned into a movie and being portrayed by Amy Adams. I'm in serious danger of deluding myself with this project though; it would be wonderful to do something interesting and inspiring to others, but I doubt it. I'm not a real writer, and I'm highly unoriginal.

Well, we can all hope, right?


Best Albums of 2009

Yes, so this happened much later than I originally expected. I should say that though the list is numbered, it doesn't necessarily reflect how I really prioritize each album. All these albums were picked because I actually listened to them this year, not because they were hyped up or because they're musically superior.

  1. Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
  2. Animal Collective - Fall Be Kind EP
  3. The Antlers - Hospice
  4. Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca
  5. Passion Pit - Manners
  6. Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
  7. Various Artists - Dark was the Night
  8. Atlas Sound - Logos
  9. Yo La Tengo - Popular Songs
  10. Fever Ray - Fever Ray
  11. jj - jj n° 2
  12. Karen O and the Kids - Where the Wild Things Are
  13. Girls - Album
  14. Bear in Heaven - Beast Rest Forth Mouth
  15. Deerhunter - Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP
  16. Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
  17. Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away
  18. Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms
  19. Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
  20. Memory Tapes - Seek Magic
  21. Discovery - LP
  22. The xx - xx
  23. The Very Best - Warm Heart of Africa
  24. Matt & Kim - Grand
  25. Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career
  26. The Drums - Summertime EP
  27. Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
  28. Delorean - Ayrton Senna EP
  29. Wild Beasts - Two Dancers
  30. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz



Did anyone else notice there were only five more days left until Christmas? Because I certainly didn't.

I mean to finally put up my best of 2009 list, but I'm finding less and less time between now and the end of my break to complete it.


Honourable Mentions of 2009

I am up to my neck in a post-baking apocalyptic-level mess. Which I will clean just as soon as I finish my honorable mentions list of 2009. All of these albums ended up on this list not because they weren't good, but simply because aside from a few outstanding tracks (which I will post here), they didn't really excite me much. 
  1. Flaming Lips - Embryonic
    Tracks: "I Can Be A Frog (ft. Karen O)", "Worm Mountain (ft. MGMT)", "The Sparrow Looks Up At the Machine"
  2. Monsters of Folk - Monsters of Folk
    Tracks: "Dear God (sincerely M.O.F.)"
  3. M. Ward - Hold Time
    Tracks: "Hold Time", "Rave On (ft. Zooey Deschanel)"
  4. Washed Out - Life of Leisure
    Tracks: "Feel It All Around", "New Theory"
  5. St. Vincent - Actor
    Tracks: "Actor out of Work"
  6. Antony and the Johnsons - The Crying Light
    Tracks: "Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground", "Aeon", "One Dove"
  7. Volcano Choir - Unmap
    Tracks: "Husks and Shells", "Seeplymouth"
  8. Wavves - Wavvves
    Tracks: "So Bored"
  9. The Dodos - Time to Die
    Tracks: "Longform"
  10. CFCF - Continent
    Tracks: "Raining Patterns"



Unfortunately I'm having a terrible day today, so I feel that it would be better if I could just postpone it to tomorrow.


And the Cold Continues

I was really hoping to have kicked this cold by the time Monday came around (about three days to recover seems pretty reasonable) but no such luck. And I really thought that half mile I ran until I almost fainted would really help...Even OD-ing on herbal pills to the point that my stomach starts twitching; 'twas all to no avail. This cold officially is the biggest jerk ever.

Tomorrow is supposed to be the end of my not-until-finals-are-over ban on life, as well as the start of the Best of 2009 list. I don't think I'm that late for it, considering the fact that Pitchfork is revealing their list this week too (yeah, that's right. I'm competing with Pitchfork). They've already published half of their Top 100 Tracks of 2009. Yeah, I'm confused by Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" (placed 83) and Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me" (placed at 69), but overall the tracks are pretty good. And at the very least they defend them pretty well.

Maybe it's not a very noticeable difference from what I normally write, but I feel like I'm completely frazzled and it's coming out in my blog posts. I even went so far as to go back and revise them myself, though it's hardly an improvement. 

I went out and bought a book by Milan Kundera, Laughable Loves, which is supposedly a collection of seven short stories of sexual comedies. Aside from the somewhat offputting cover, the stories themselves are fairly standard Kundera; stories told on both sides, philosophical meanderings and general tragic-comedies. I honestly find them more tragic than comedic. I am planning on reinventing the cover art in the days to come, as well.


Your Tongue is Sharp

I woke up this morning to the news that Flight of the Conchords don't actually plan on returning for a third season. Which makes sense, since season 2 ended somewhat definitively for the show, Bret, Jemaine and Murray having been deported back to New Zealand. It was an enjoyable show, but I have to give kudos to them for knowing when to stop. And besides, "the real Bret and Jemaine will continue to exist".

Also, the artwork for Yeasayer's new album Odd Blood was released. Definitely a weird one, folks. And I have a feeling that my anticipation for this release will not be in vain; if the album artwork, "Ambling Alp" and its music video are any indicators, this album is going to be one of my early favorites of 2010. Let's not forget, Yeasayer's All Hour Cymbals was listed as one of the best albums of the past decade. I'm listening to it again now, and I definitely have to retract my earlier statement that it was overhyped.

And if we'd all like to sit back and rewind to 1989, you'll be hearing the tracks "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and "Wave of Mutilation" from the Pixies off of the Doolittle album. I recently decided to go back and listen to the Pixies, and make no mistake, twenty years later and Doolittle hits just as hard as ever.


Up Against The Wall

Sadly, last night I was betrayed. I dreamt about one horrible 80s pop song music video after the other, and ended on Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". That's right. I got Rick Roll'd by my own brain.

I mentioned yesterday my secret project of going through every album that has been deemed worthy of listening to by review sites and various respectable blogs. You could call it a year spent in musical hermitage, I suppose, in which I spend 365 days listening to a list totaling 250 albums released in the last decade. I decided to exclude hip hop albums and hardcore rock, simply because those are two genres I will never understand. Nothing against either genre -- I simply think it would be a waste of time for everyone involved if I tried to wrap my head around a genre that I simply cannot comprehend. The music project won't actually start until after January 3rd, giving me some time to get prepared for everything. I chose to limit my list to only 250 albums (which technically means I will have about 115 days of slacking off), because realistically an album can't be totally understood in a single day, even if you think your first impression is right. Also, I do happen to have a life, despite what this blog and my last.fm account tell you.

And yes, the results of it all will be here. Perhaps this is a bit The Julie/Julia Project-esque, but I hope that it isn't exactly like that. Though it would be cool to have a following of readers, I don't think that the music culture lends itself to such a personal and supporting culture as do foodies. Maybe I'm wrong (I hope I'm wrong!).

As for music, today's choice has to be Peter Bjorn and John's 2006 album Writer's Block. I don't think I'm the only person here that does this, but I tend to hate most of the albums I listen to, and rarely do I like something right away (unless I hear about them from a very reliable source). When I actually heard Writer's Block the very first time, I hated it. It's been three years, and I finally decided to go back and listen to it. Songs like "Amsterdam" and "Young Folks" are obviously fun to listen to, but two songs that personally stood out were "The Chills" and particularly "Up Against the Wall". I have to say that I'm now completely reformed.

And because I'm nice, I'll throw in "Let's Call It Off (Girls Talk remix)".


Everyone Is Guilty

I woke up this morning with probably the worst cold I've had in two years. My throat feels like someone sandpapered it while I was sleeping. Actually, I'm pretty sure that's what happened, because I was never sick enough in the days leading up to this to warrant such a horrible-feeling throat.

Unfortunately I still have one more final to finish before my life can stop being on hold. I'm not even allowed to do anything for my mom's birthday until after my final! I plan on baking her a two layer sponge cake with pastry cream filling in between the two layers of cake, and a layer of sliced bananas on top of the pastry cream. I think it sounds good, but who knows. Sponge cake and pastry cream aren't very hard to do, just so long as you know a couple of tricks. I do plan on sharing the recipe, but only after I've actually made it.

I haven't really been engaging in listening to my music, at least not the last two days. Sometimes it all feels a little bit too much; I now have 10,164 songs in my iTunes library. I read the interview Ed Droste did on Pitchfork (I know that I'm really lazy, don't rub it in!) where he comments on this "download culture", where every album and artist is pretty much all replaceable.

Pitchfork: The record leaked online before its release. Was that a disappointment?
ED: Well, it happened, literally, maybe five days after we mastered it. That was a really huge shock because it came from a really sort of shady-- no one ever confessed to it, but something sketchy happened. It was a really huge bummer that it happened so soon. We knew it was gonna leak and we were prepared for that, but really, the biggest bummer for us was that we spent a lot of time and put a lot of effort into making sure that it's a really rich recording-- recording it to tape and doing all these nice sonic details-- and then it leaked and I remember listening to it and it sounded like an underwater YouTube stream or something. It was really, really bad. And so it's just a bummer to think of everyone's first impressions of this album being this horribly compressed, terrible-quality version of the album.
But that said, the excitement behind it and everyone's reaction was really encouraging and exciting for us to see. I think people find their own way of showing support, whether it be through an album sale or coming to a concert or even just telling some friends about it. Obviously, the leak didn't hurt us because we debuted in the Top 10. You've gotta be sort of Zen about it. I would never be angry at someone for downloading the album. Sometimes people just wanna listen to it first to see if they like it and that's totally fair. I'm as guilty of that as anyone else. The only thing I find a little strange about the download culture now is that people have so much music at their fingertips that it's really easy to dismiss an album quickly. I'm speaking from my own experience, where I've caught myself downloading a bunch of albums and then I sort of listen to one and I'm like, "Eh." And I wasn't really giving it my all or listening to it in the right order. I caught myself one day where I was like, "What am I doing? This is so not how this artist intended it to be."
Pitchfork: It's definitely not the way I listened to music when I was a teenager-- I memorized every album I bought, whether I liked it or not.
ED: Remember that feeling of buying an album? And you didn't have a lot of money so you bought one album and you had that album for like, two months or something until you bought another album? This really cool thing that would happen where you would be forced to only have that album because you couldn't just download a million more, and you may not have liked every song on it, but then as you started listening to it more and more you'd be like, "Oh wait, I do like track nine." You lived with an album, and that doesn't happen as much anymore. I'm sure some people do have that experience still, but it's a little bit harder to get to that place because you can easily just switch gears and go off to something else if it's not tickling your fancy at that moment.
I haven't had that kind of experience with an album for awhile, either. And I sort of miss it-- that feeling of not necessarily settling for an album but just of having an album and having your initial favorites, then listening to it and listening to it and discovering new things and being like, "Whoa, I really like this part now." Just the feeling of "This is what I have for the next six weeks or so until I can buy another album."
Pitchfork: There was time to develop that relationship. Now I feel like it's so hard to develop a relationship with anything because music moves so fast.
ED: There are so many more releases that people have access to. I don't know, maybe there were this many releases when I was growing up and I just didn't know where to look for them. That's probably very much the case. But it just feels like there are a billion [new records] every year. A lot of people are curious and excited about stuff, and one of the great things about the Internet is that people are excited about music and wanna hear a random album from a band somewhere in Romania or something, and to listen to all sorts of stuff from around the world. They have access to new stuff that they would have never had access to [before]. But sometimes I feel like it's a total overload. Where you're like, "I can't even focus anymore." You know?
Pitchfork: Sure. Everything feels disposable.
ED: It is definitely much easier to feel that an album is disposable-- to dismiss an album or delete the tracks you don't like or to just throw it into shuffle or whatever. But that being said, it's a case-by-case situation and that's the way it is and there's nothing we can do about it. People digest and process music differently, and I'm sure that was the case even when I was a kid. I'm not critiquing the general public, I'm speaking from my own experience of being guilty of deleting a track that I didn't like. Then I'm like, "Wait a second, that's not fair. Why am I doing that?"
Pitchfork: We all do it. I do it all the time. Do you read reviews?
ED: When we were smaller we read much more than we do now. We get updates from the label or from our manager but I think reading too much of that stuff can be a little bit unhealthy. You just sort of have to go with it and be like, "If people like it, they like it and if they don't, they don't." I remember thinking, like I was talking about the situation with everyone being able to stand 100% behind every song, I remember being like, "Well, I can stand behind this album. If someone hates it, I can stand behind it and be like, 'Well, I'm proud of it and I love it and sorry that you don't like it.'"

So I think that might actually be what's going on here. I'm definitely not tired of music, but I am feeling a little bit spread thin. My Best of 2009 is going to happen in about four days, and there were so many fantastic albums to come out this year that it's kind of hard to think about. I don't think that a year is enough time to really explore every album, and though I am looking forward to 2010, I honestly wish for a little pocket of time so I can fully explore every album I like. But that's simply not possible. 

The worst part is that you have to acknowledge that there are good albums basically every year since we started recording them; there are albums that are truly worth listening to. My secret project of 2010 (I refuse to call it a resolution, because it isn't one) is to go through all the albums worth listening to (all the albums that people have been hyping up for the past few years on their blogs) and actually understand why they're so great. It's a grand undertaking, but fortunately I have a pretty good starting point; most people have been putting lists of best albums for the past decade. I don't know what I'm hoping to get out of it, but it won't hurt anyone -- at least my project isn't listening to the last decades' worst albums ever. Who knows, maybe I'll document the entire project.


Every Time You Try

Uhh...guess who didn't layer at all today, even though it was freezing out? On the bright side, I reached a level of equilibrium with the weather, so though I am now a human popsicle at least I'll never be cold again.

Oh, and while we're playing "Guess Who?", GUESS WHO ISN'T GOING TO SEE MEW TONIGHT. Ha...

I'll just sit here quietly sulking while listening to No More Stories Are Told Today I'm Sorry They Washed Away No More Stories The World Is Grey I'm Tired Let's Wash Away. Boy isn't that a mouthful?

Mew - "Introducing Palace Players"

Aaaand...Kid Cudi - "Cudder is Back" and "Pursuit of Happiness".
Yeah, so he raps over Vampire Weekend and he has a music video. Woop! Light up the blogs.

(*Grumble grumble* Can you tell that I'm in a grumbly sort of mood?)

Finally, GUESS WHO'S TAKING A NAP NOW. Yeahhh...best, most eloquently written blog ever. Thanks.


This House Is Sad

Is anyone else looking forward to the Geminid Meteor shower on the 13th (which also happens to be my mom's birthday)? I know that the Leonids made their impression last month, which unfortunately came and went for me, despite being looked forward to for a while. We'll see if I remember this one. Personally, though I do think it gets too dark too fast, one benefit is that you can see the stars that much sooner. So maybe I'm lazy and I don't want to wait until eleven at night to see the stars. It's nice to walk home and look up at the stars while listening to "Leaf House" by Animal Collective (and even more fun when you crank it up and try to sing along to all the 'ah ah ah ah's).

I was planning on wearing my earmuffs and earbuds, but then I thought, you know what's a lot like earmuffs and earbuds? Over the ear headphones. That's right. I brought my actual headphones with me to school, and if they didn't provide warmth at the very least they were better quality than the ipod earbuds. I personally kind of want to get another pair of over the ear headphones, just so I can take them with me when I'm going out. The ones I have now are pretty nice, but the cord is about six feet long, and it's frustrating to jam that all in your pocket inconspicuously.

You know what else is inconspicuous? Leaving through the window.


Just a Second More in My Bed

I'm only just discovering the bliss of Pepperidge Farm cookies and hot cocoa. The weather might be exceedingly cold, but I think I still prefer the cold to the heat. The only thing I have to say is that, sadly, none of my clothes seem to protect me from anything. I was literally bundled all the way up to my eyes, and my entire body was frozen solid (and did not thaw out at all for the few hours I was in the library studying).

The only other reflection I would like to add is that there is a very simple and fundamental joy and freedom in walking. Maybe in just motion itself, but particularly the slow and calm natural rhythms that occur as you walk. I'm sure that the phenomenon that you naturally adjust your walking rhythm to the music you listen to is not new. Or the seeming coincidence when you listen to a song and find that someone is walking exactly to the beat of your music. Walking is deceptively rhythmic and infinitely soothing. Sometimes the happiest parts of my day are the parts where I'm walking by myself.

If you need some walking music, then let me please suggest these four tracks:
Animal Collective - "Summertime Clothes", "Daily Routines", "Bluish" and "Daily Routines (Phaseone Remix)".

And yes, I'll concede that there has been a recent influx of Animal Collective fanaticism. But come on! How can you help it? Have you revisited Merriweather Post Pavilion yet?

Fine. If you want something other than Animal Collective, then here's Flaming Lips "I Can Be A Frog (ft. Karen O)". (Happy now?!) It's interesting that though "I Can Be A Frog" is a far cry from "She Don't Use Jelly" musically, I feel like the theme of both songs are generally consistent. The image in both are of a girl who does whatever she wants (a crude simplification of both songs). Personally I find that "I Can Be A Frog" is better, but I guess it is also a fun reflection on the progression of musical ingenuity, not only of the Flaming Lips themselves but also just music as a whole.



Alright, well today was an utter failure. But I'm looking on the bright side, which is a new thing for me. I am doing a double post today, simply because I felt that it was unfair not to post some music.

I feel that it might be a fun opportunity to go through some specific songs that I personally really like. So, be prepared for good music and not so good analyses of it!

Animal Collective - "Bluish"
It seems only suitable to start off with an Animal Collective song. Every time I think, "Maybe
Merriweather Post Pavilion was just overhyped; maybe it really isn't the best Animal Collective album to date", I listen to it again and I realize that yes, it just is that good.
"Bluish" in particular I like, mainly because it's such a sweet song. One of my favorite lines include: "Back to the time when we were green/I know we have changed/But I still grin 'cause I can't wait to see you".

The Antlers - "Thirteen" and "Wake"
Okay, I'm going to cheat a little here and put two tracks, simply because "Thirteen" is very short. But honestly, the vocals on that song are just haunting and beautiful. And "Wake" has affected me a lot, the line "It was easier to lock the doors and kill the phone than to show my skin" resonates with me.

Atlas Sound - "Quick Canal" and "Walkabout"
Well these two tracks have already been talked about a great deal; Bradford Cox collaborated with people, and they're both two of the better tracks on the album (though I'll hesitate to use the words "best" or "only good ones"). "Quick Canal" I find really beautiful, with lines like "I thought saints were born saints/so indeed we didn't stand a chance", but turning it around at the end, singing "I thought saints were born saints/I looked in the dirt/and found that wisdom is learnt/through a costly process/of success and failure". And you simply have to love "Walkabout", if not because of Noah Lennox then because it's simply one of the happiest songs I've heard in a while. And it's not just the sound; the lyrics are pretty fantastic too: "Through looking back you may go blind", as well as the repeat of "What did you want to see/What did you want to be when you grew up?".

Dirty Projectors - "Two Doves"
So I get that a lot of people have heard "Stillness is the Move", if not by the Dirty Projectors themselves then by Solange. It may or may not be the best song you heard on the album, whatever. Personally, I still can't get over the lyrics in "Two Doves" -- lines like, "Our bed is like a failure". Maybe it's just me, but the command "Kiss me with your mouth open" is something that feels truly honest.

The Drums - "Down By the Water" and Atlas Sound - "Shelia"
Okay, I am aware that I already put two Atlas Sound songs, but bear with me for a second. I was reading an interview Bradford Cox did on Pitchfork, where he described "Shelia" as an asexual song, and after reading his description of it (where it's not so much a "heterosexual song" but a song that just describes not wanting to die alone, and wishing for the type of relationship that is intimate but not necessarily sexual), and it transformed "Down By the Water" for me as well. Though they do sing about being with someone forever, they sing it sincerely, and lines like "If they stop loving you/I won't stop loving you/If they stop needing you/I'll still need you" could be sung to a best friend, or anyone that matters to you. Of course, if "asexual songs" aren't your cup of tea, these are still easily two romantic songs.

Girls - "Morning Light"
Okay, these lyrics are short enough that I can just put them here and let them speak for themselves: "meet me in the morning light/we know it won't last forever/wear it out while it feels right/we know that it's now or never/meet me in the sky tonight/we could fly away together/maybe if we try it right/we could make our love forever."

And now, I feel that I should be getting ready for bed.


I have a feeling that this whole "no computers" thing will be much more difficult than I'd like to admit; I won't be surprised if I literally go through withdrawals. Sadly, me laying down on the floor being a spazz is something most people are used to and expect from me, so I guess it really won't be too different from any other day.

I've definitely been becoming much more attentive to the music that I have, now. It's weird, but I feel like for a really long time my musical tastes were based on intuition -- I didn't pay much to lyrics, vocals, instruments, nothing. Most of my music functions as a background noise -- I guess it's been a really long time since I listened to music as music, not just an escape from myself.

Last summer I read Milan Kundera's book, Slowness, which basically talks about the relationship between speed and forgetting. It mainly is a reflection on people today; that we're all speeding through our lives, forgetting or simply just not seeing things along the way. He goes into a short description about traffic: a man and a woman in the car behind him are impatient and looking for an opportunity to pass him. He points out that neither the man or the woman are thinking about the scenery, nor are they thinking of each other -- they could easily reach out and hold each other's hands, but they don't. I realize now that I've been using music mainly as a way of forgetting, as it drowns out my thoughts and everything in the background that I don't want to hear. Recently, however, I think I may have discovered slowness in music.

I feel confident to say that the Best Albums of 2009 list will be much more comprehensive and honest. In the past, I generally regurgitated things I read on the internet, or just said something very generic and moved on. I definitely feel that this year the music and my review of it will be much better.


Heart Like a Stone

I decided yesterday that I would swear off computers for about two weeks until my finals are over, because otherwise I'd never actually study ever. The only loophole is that I plan to keep updating Hipsteradio, simply for the sake of continuity.

I changed my layout again, only because I am perpetually restless. I am considering getting an official Hipsteradio layout, one that I will have to stick with. Above all I actually wish that I could have my own domain; not that Blogger isn't great, but it would be cool to actually have much more discretion with my own site material. Maybe that will work itself out in the days to come.

As for the music, all I have to offer is The Raveonettes' "Oh I Buried You Today".

I did actually manage to grab Meco's Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars Christmas Album, and I'm not really sure what to say. The majority of the songs are of C-3PO singing to R2-D2 (some explaining what bells are, others teaching R2-D2 how to sing), and a lot of the lyrics have to do with what to get a wookie for Christmas if they already have a comb (later on in the album a robot tells you that they've calculated the best present for a wookie who already has a comb is to get them a brush...clever, guys). Sadly, the best track on the entire album is "R2-D2 We Wish You a Merry Christmas" which apparently is also the first professional recording of Jon Bon Jovi. Overall it's a pretty terrible album, but most Christmas albums tend to be that way. (Sorry, Bob Dylan)


Don't Be a Jerk, Johnny

I might be suffering from a last bout of summer wistfulness, and have been struck by summer-sounding songs. What better than an album titled "Summertime!"? 

(It's that damn sun, I tell you. Why can't it just let me move on?! I'm with winter now...)

The Drums - "Down by the Water"
The Drums - "Let's Go Surfing"

Myspace | Band Website


Your Lows Will Have Their Complements of Highs

I noticed last night that Last.fm has just put up their Best of 2009 list, week one of three. I actually chequed it out, and trust me, unless you are mentally prepared for how ridiculous the list is, don't click on it. Of course, the list is based on how much people have listened to an artist that released an album between October 1st of 2008 or November 16th of 2009, excluding compilations, EPs, live albums and best of collections, giving information on which songs have been most popular, showing a graph of the amount of scrobbles on a time scale (also including your scrobbles of that particular artist, if you have any). Additional information includes where the majority of people have seen the artist live (festivals vs. gigs), and a "hype-o-meter" which measures how quickly an artist rose in popularity in 2009.

I may have taken AP Statistics, but I don't need it to see the obvious problems with this list.

First off, one thing you'll notice is that many of the musicians on the list are bands that have been around for a while, like U2 and Depeche Mode, where obviously they've had a very steady following for years that would probably listen to these bands in the bathroom if it was recorded on an album. Secondly, other artists, such as Eminem and All American Rejects, artists that obviously are very prevalent in mainstream media, rank highly not because they released an amazing album this year, but just because they're popular. My third problem is that the list doesn't actually have anything to do with the real quality of the album; musicians like Regina Spektor and Metric are on this list, though the albums they released this year are mediocre at best. Actual albums worth listening to, such as Passion Pit's Manners or Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest are ranked fairly lowly, and in some cases are beaten out by artists like A Day to Remember.

Am I the only one who has a problem with this? Because I better not be.

I don't mean to verbally beat up people who actually enjoy the music of All American Rejects and the like, but you have to be honest here, they did not release one of the top 40 best albums of the year.

And now, to end the abuse and show you something worth listening to:

Wild Beasts - "Hooting & Howling"


She Moves She

I guess that I'm suffering from some severe body aches and slow internet. Despite the inch thick frost that we had last night, I still felt like this morning was epicly beautiful, what with the pink tinged sky and the setting full moon. I don't really understand why so many people aren't morning people. Especially when you're living in Washington, what with the trees and the mountains and lakes.

Yesterday I went down to Pike Place Market in Seattle. It was a great experience, partly because I learned a lot more about the history of the place, and also because it was the first time I'd been brought to someplace new in a very long time. Pike Place Market is actually the world's largest public market that is still open, and apparently a lot of the businesses and alleys near the market used to be stables or places where people sent children infected with the Spanish Influenza to die. Fun factz. We also ended up checking out the Chewing Gum Wall, which I guess began because the movie theater there asked people to spit their gum out before they came into the theater, and so it sort of began in a very punk-rock way. The place has actually been pressure-washed twice, so what you see today isn't everything that was there. And of course, we should all be very proud that we have the world's second most unsanitary tourist attraction, just behind Ireland's Blarney Stone.

I have never been an overexcited Yeasayer fan (I honestly thought that All Hour Cymbals was overhyped), but I still cannot get over this song, "Ambling Alp". I find myself actually looking forward to their upcoming stuff, if it will be in the same general vein as this song.

And, just for your benefit, I'll include "Ambling Alp (Memory Tapes remix)" for you all.


I Think I Can

So I guess my prediction that yesterday would be one of the last sunny and crisp days was wrong; today was another beautiful clear sunny day. Maybe I'm the only one, but the only time I like sunlight is when it's freezing cold out. Probably because it makes me appreciate it more.

I suppose this is a bad thing, but I'll admit that I'm struggling here, to finish this post. Why? Because it's too dark out. I had a wonderful day exploring Seattle, partially because of the beautiful weather and the wonderful company, but also because it was the first time in a while where I went out for myself, without much expectations. Spontaneity is good for the soul (as Nietzsche would say, "You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star").

In terms of music, all I can offer is Quarta 330's "Bleeps from Outer Space". Which reminds me of Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, an album released in the seventies by this guy who called himself Meco. It's amusing to look at Meco's other albums, which include Meco Plays the Wizard of Oz and Christmas in the Stars: Star Wars' Christmas Album. To be honest I am hoping to get my hands on some of these albums, but I don't know where on earth I'll be able to find them.


Some Machines are Dropped From Great Heights Lovingly

Despite being horribly chilly (at least for me, since apparently hearing 42 degrees doesn't register in my mind as "cold"), today was probably one of the last sunny and crisp days of this entire year. And what better suits such weather than Joanna Newsom on The Milk-Eyed Mender (2004)? Particularly pleasant was waking up to "Clam, Crab, Cockle, Cowrie" and hearing "your skin is something I stir into my tea" for the first time again.

But in other news, we also have some magnificent covers to uncover.

Memoryhouse - Foreground
Grizzly Bear - Foreground

Dirty Projectors - Stillness is the Move

JL Stiles - No More Runnin
Animal Collective - No More Runnin

Anya Marina - Whatever You Like

Yes, we are ending on a classy note.