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I miss text messages. The 140 characters that convey wit, joy, interest, and a little bit of longing. I miss sending them, too. Coming up with whimsical replies that would awe and conquer the receiver. I’m still witty, and joyous, and interesting, and filled with a little bit (okay, sometimes a lot) of longing, but there is no-one to see. It’s the whole ‘if a tree falls’-conundrum. Am I less special now that there’s nobody here to notice?

I enjoy being on my own, and being able to make my own decisions. I like that I can go anywhere and do everything and only have to check my bank balance and my remaining holiday hours to do so. I am free to decide what time I go to bed, whether it’s at one or at nine-thirty. I can snooze guilt-free; I can do or not do all my single-self grooming in the privacy of my own delightful sanctuary of a bathroom. I am – for all purposes – completely free to decide how I live my life. I no longer have to struggle between my best self and my true self, I only have to figure out  the self I want to be.

But still, I miss text messages. Those tiny little reminders that I am more special than anyone to one specific person. The little stutter that my heart makes when my phone beeps and the exciting thrill of imagining his reaction to my reply.

I can’t think of any song that can convey the missing of text messages. Just one about the huge dichotomy between loving being single and loving being in love:

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Wes Anderson’s vision on the world is so humane in its absurdity. Its highly stylized imagery and acting at once hide and reveal all the qualities we have that make us who we are; love, understanding, fear. I adored Moonrise Kingdom because of the fearless way the main characters fall in – and pursue love. It seems to me that this fearlessness is something inherent to being a teenager, but I’ve never felt it. I’ve always been worried about the consequences of my actions, thinking three if not fifteen steps ahead and not bothering because I wouldn’t be able to deal with the amount of trouble I‘d get into. And I would care.

This hasn’t meant that I haven’t made some questionable decisions in my life (dropping out of Uni would be one of them, even if at the time it felt like the best choice I had ever made), but most of my wonky decisions have had disagreeable financial consequences, not necessarily the life-long regrets that I would sometimes be worried about.

I’m still not a big risk-taker. I don’t jump off high things or take leaps of faith (although having broken both my legs at some point might have something to do with that), I don’t make rash decisions or say things without having thought them through. I wish I had a greater sense of daring and more faith in the ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’-adage rather than ‘So It Goes’.

Maybe it’s time for me to start stepping out of my own skin, and to widen my comfort zones. To start a new adventure while I still can.

‘In August Away!

I Must…’

Usually when I listen to music I want to feel something. I don’t have to immediately love what I’m listening to but I need to be able to react to it. The music becomes a give and take between me and the artist; you give me a beat, and I’ll dance to it. Sing me a melody and I will screech along.

But sometimes someone comes along who reaches down into your soul and tears you up from the inside out. For example, I’ve always said that if someone can make me feel the way In A Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane does, I will marry him. José James’ Little Bird’ reminds me that I was once touched by a love as strong as a thousand suns and I came crashing into the sea.

Nadine Shah angrily rids you of your demons. Or does she summon them?

It doesn’t really seem to matter if she cleanses your soul through fire or lets her passion burn you to dust; it feels damn good to be this close to the fire.

 

I tried to come up with a few good ways to introduce Childish Gambino’s new song ‘Centipede’.

I tried the ‘Community’ angle. That I was sad that we would see less of Troy on the upcoming season because Donald Glover (not related) decided to spend more time making music, but not very sad because ‘Centipede’ is a pretty good promise of cool things to come.

I briefly attempted the approach where I tried to understand Gambino’s point of view on growing up in middle class Black America that he described on his 2012 album Camp through the stories of some of my friends. But I thankfully and very quickly realised that I would never be able to describe their experiences in a satisfactory fashion. Not because I was not paying attention, but because I don’t think I would be able to describe the subtleties of growing up as an educated Black man and would sound racist and / or priggish. I would not be able to do these fantastic, amazing men justice.

So then there’s always the gushing approach. I could tell you how much I love Gambino’s flow, which is oddly syncopated and rough and shouty and seems to be a wall around his fragile, much-bullied, ignored and fractured ego. I could talk about his amazing sense of humour that shines through on every line. I could say he’s the coolest thing in Hip Hop right now, but that might be a tad hyperbolic.

Or I could take the uber-cool approach and just say something like ‘Yo, this is dope, check it out’. But that seems too lazy, and not something I want to be doing at all. Plus, it defies the purpose of writing a blog post. Then all I would have to do is post a youtube clip or soundlcoud link and move on to other things for the rest of the day. MY WordPress would have to be replaced with a tumblr.

So how about I just let you take your own view on what Childish Gambino is. Because he is beyond description to me:

via Tiny Little Rockets

Am I bored with new music? Am I bored with life in general? For the last few months there haven’t been many ‘Ooooooh, I’m so excited!!!’ experiences. Which is okay, because after a certain age you really shouldn’t be too surprised about life anymore. But I am wondering whether I should or shouldn’t be disappointed that a certain magical something has been missing lately.
It has been good to take life a day at a time, though. To be able to sit and quietly contemplate whether what I’m doing and where I’m going is right or whether a large overhaul is needed. Maybe I should start with small overhauls. Like actually writing something every day, and doing yoga every two days, and quit smoking and eat healthy good foods. Or maybe I should really sit still and figure out where I want to go and what makes me happy and pursue that.

What all this really has to do with the new Washed Out, I can’t tell you. Only that it seems to fit my mood; not melancholy, not happy, but floating somewhere in the middle, thinking about Life, the Universe and Everything. Everything is all right.
Well, maybe not everything, but as close to everything as you can get as a 32-year old single woman in a permanent slight financial squeeze who’s living on the wrong side of healthy in today’s day and age.

It’s only two more weeks till their new album comes out. I hope it’ll be dreamy…

via Tiny Little Rockets

About two months ago I decided to buy a ukelele and take it with me to Oerol, a theatre festival on Terschelling, one of the islands in the north of The Netherlands. I had recently gone through a break-up and it seemed better to get away for a bit and learn a new instrument rather than get an ill-advised haircut. And the uke seemed to have an inherent sense of humour that could balance out my more melancholy moods. I had daydreams of how I would play cute quirky songs while sitting around a campfire on the beach and drink wine and be admired by all. Of course it turned out I barely had any time to play anything, as the shifts for the work I came to do were long and on one of my days off I had to take my car to the garage. So ‘Tonight You Belong To Me’ became the one and only song I can play. Well, kind of.

It sounds so sweet it’ll crack your teeth, but ultimately it’s about cheating, or at least encouraging cheating in someone else. And while this is something I would never encourage in real life, I love the naughtiness. It’s more mischievous than anything, and something that I wish I had the balls to say to someone one day. But then my principles kick in and I realise that adultery is bad. Very very bad.

There are a number of versions of this song floating around, but this one by Eddie Vedder and Cat Power is my favourite. Just a note of warning: this song will nestle itself in between your ears and never ever leave. So unless you want to spend the rest of the week humming about moonshine and sitting by streams with somebody else’s lover, I’d step away from the play button:

via The Jumping Flea Market

When Gilles Peterson, my musical hero whose radio show I don’t listen to enough, tipped this Australian group last year and it was one of the few times I was actually paying attention, I ran over to their bandcamp page and pressed play. And when the album was finished, I pressed play again and started to look for a vinyl version of their debut ‘Tawk Tomahawk’. I couldn’t find one, or a CD version for that matter, but in the meantime I warned all my friends who is anyone in the music business that they should be on this like a sumo wrestler on a cheesecake with extra cheese. So I was a little disappointed to find out that they already knew this exceptional group, and that I was late to the party. But not very sorry, because even though I can be snobbish about my music tastes and pat myself on the back every time I hear something before everybody else does, I was simply happy to hear something that moved me in the way that ‘Nakamarra’ does. Or ‘Malika’, for that matter.

I was at North Sea Festival on the 12th, where I missed Larry Graham and Prince and skipped Santana to go and watch Hiatus. And I loved them. They were amazingly fresh and chaotic and together and free.

I think that’s what gets me about their sound; it sounds like ultimate freedom. Freedom from the constraints of the 4/4, musical influences, critics and labels. Free from conventions and the past.

All they seem to hold on to is their dreams. And it makes them soar.

via my hero.

Granted, this song was released last year. And yes, I played it on repeat while on holiday in Italy and drove my then-boyfriend to near distraction, but I couldn’t help myself. There’s something infinitely catchy about this track. I think it helps that it’s as near to an a-capella song as it can get, with just minimal percussion and a smidgen of piano on the chorus.

As all teenaged angst-ridden girls are supposed to be, I’ve been a fan of Fiona since I was seventeen. I’ve never waxed lyrical about her, though, even if I can still sing along to every song on her album ‘When The Pawn…‘ And there is something about her, or maybe about her fandom, that puts her slightly on the other side of what is supposedly cool. Does that mean that liking her is ironic? I can never keep up with these damn hipsters…

Anyway, her former boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson of Boogie Nights, There Will Be Blood and The Master fame finally managed to finish the video for the ultimate fetchy song. And it’s almost boring. But I love it anyway: 

via Pitchfork

I’ve had this song scheduled, or at least stuck in draft mode, for almost a year. And it really deserves better than that.
I think it was my friend M. who first tipped me on this one, and I fully understand what drove her to this song.

All women of all ages can identify with the lyrics about unattainable love (or lust), even if some take the idea to heart a little bit more than they should. At some time in life we’ve all been completely infatuated with that guy that won’t give us the time of day. And no, I don’t encourage men to use this tactic as a way to get chicks, but there is something crazily attractive about men who don’t pay us any attention, no matter how hard we flip our hair back and forth or twerk on the bathroom sink.

I think that’s what makes this song so great; Giselle’s lazy vocals emulate the attention she’s not getting. She’s taking the uber-nonchalant approach even though she’s burning up inside. A tactic that all women like to deploy but utterly fail at. Giselle shows us how it’s done like a pro. So I guess if you ever have that megacrush on the unobtainable guy on the dance floor, this is the song to request from the dj while you give him the slightest of nods.

Let’s hope he’s not a douche and shimmies over to you, no questions asked.

You might have noticed my liking for artists such as Cold Specks and James Blake and Flying Lotus. While Tree, a collective of artists from the California Bay Area (whose motto is ‘WE’RE HERE TO MAKE SHIT’) don’t necesarily have the ethereal qualities of Blake or the beatmaking ridiculousness of a Flying Lotus, or even Cold Specks’ gloomy demeanour, they do have their dark.
Because boy, is ‘Demons’ depressingly beautiful. It sounds like a love baby from the loins of Tricky and Bajka who’s been raised in a foster home by Martina Topley Bird.

The ‘Demons’ Ep will be released by Apollo in August, both digitally and on Vinyl. Take a listen via their soundcloud, and then check out their tumblr for their design- and artwork.

via Noisey.com

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