Category Archives: Uncategorized

I’m Trying

I loved the Strokes when I was thirteen because they were a band of exceedingly handsome men. And their music was pleasant enough to listen to.

I suppose being thirteen does not lend itself to listening intently to anything.

I listened to this song today, for the first time in a long time. And realized this song is not really posing a question at all. It is an update on a certaing state of apathy and listlessness that I finally seem to understand.

Between adult-like posturing and grad-school pondering. These endless amounts of depressing reading for a college degree that is without a certain degree of consequence.

I finally understand this complaint that accompanies my early-20s. Not much has truly changed in the last 10 years. I need to revisit this band of handsome men. That much remains the same.

Found a Lonely Sound

Tonight, for the first time ever, I am going to see Interpol.

I bought their first album in ’03 and distinctly remember the first time I heard Turn on the Bright Lights, sitting in my living room with my little boom box, reading the liner notes.

I remember having a dream before they released their follow-up Antics. I invented new songs that were echoed when I fnally bought the album.

This band is how I impressed my first boyfriend and contributed perhaps second only the Smiths into making me a high-school sad bastard.

I remember figuring out what the lyrics to “PDA” and “Stella Was a Diver” were really about and being both shocked and proud of myself. I remain confounded by the words to other songs.

I will never forget waking up with the melody to “The New” in my head and not resting ’til I could get home after school and listen to it over and over. Catapulting it into my shortlist of all-time favorite songs.

I recall being super excited that my second boyfriend kind of looked like Paul Banks.

I have loved this band for more than seven years and tonight I finally get to see them. I am so excited.

There will be no Carlos D on bass, but I think I can live with that.

A couple songs to demonstrate my undying love.

(I will always consider “Obstacle 1” the ultimate make-out song, an opinion I came to after first watching the video on MTV’s “Subterranean”. I still don’t really understand myself on that one.)

Count Two Two Three

My little brother and sister came up a week ago. I am trying to work up a tradition of taking the two of them to shows with me (Starfucker in ’09, Pains of Being Pure at Heart ’10) so we went to see the Thermals. It was my third outing and Grace’s second. Solomon was new to them completely.

What a treat.

Openers White Fang were off the wall, hilarious and fantastic. Their tall and chubby bassist came out with the set-list written in marker over his shirtless belly. He promptly took off his pants. There was intense metal shredding from a long-haired redhead who looked better suited to being in a basement playing D and D (which is not an insult.) Their drummer looked like Bill Haverchuck from Freaks and Geeks and their singer wore a tweety shirt. They sang songs about getting stoned and hating Portland and sang perched atop each other’s shoulders. I was smitten.

The second opener was Unnatural Helpers, a local band that I will be certain to check out again in the future. Very short punk songs about girls played by adorable hipsters. With a drummer singer! My favorite. You can’t really go wrong. Particularly when your bond is chock-full of really, really cute guys. I turned to my siblings at one point to point out the cute derriere of the guitarist. They beat me to it.

And then there was the main act. The crowd rushed in a while before they started and my sister and I were separated a few feet apart in the front row. My brother, however, was nowhere to be found. They started, and The Thermals bassist Kathy was right in front of us (I have had the biggest lady crush on her for the longest time).

This time, I convinced my boyfriend to come out with us, so I finally had the opportunity to serenade him at a show. Singing bits of “How We Know”, “Stare Like Yours” and “Never Listen to Me” made it all the sweeter.

A few songs in, I looked behind me to see my six-foot-tall baby brother dancing and swinging around in the small, but enthusiastic, mosh pit. He looked exhausted, but once I caught his eye, he gave me the biggest grin I’d ever seen on his face. He later confessed to throwing some guy’s hat onto the stage. I asked him why and he told me “He was being a jerk. What did he expect in the mosh pit.” Fantastic.

The Seattle crowd loves this band like none other and it was nice to be surrounded by people who clearly dig this band as much as I do.

(I love them forever not just because of their music but because my review for their second album “F****** A” was the first thing I ever had published in “Unleashed”. Whoo!)

Towards the end, I was shouting the words to “A Pillar of Salt” into the air and opened my eyes (because of course I had my eyes closed) to see a video camera in my face. I really hope that moment does not come back to haunt me.

All in all, though, it was one of the better shows I’d been to elevated by the gleefully grinning faces of my siblings. Not to mention the hairdye that had melted onto my brother’s now-purpleblue face by the end of the show. The Thermals never, ever dissapoint.

It’s Dischord and Rhyme

I read “Love is a Mixtape” three years ago and fell in love with a nerdy guy old enough to be my dad. In all fairness, I fell in love with the younger version of him immortalized in his own writing.

Rob Sheffield writes about music, and exactly what it can mean to the people that take it seriously without actually having the capacity to make it. He writes of music lovingly and honestly. His vision of the world as filtered through the music that the he thrives upon is sweet and sometimes achingly sad.

“Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” is about growing up with no discernible talent aside from the ability to put strange thoughts and ideas compellingly to paper. I understand this. I also understand the problem with meeting boys (girls) and the struggle to not live life vicariously through pop music. I do not understand Duran Duran. Yet.

The way that Rob Sheffield writes about music is beyond affecting. Even when describing his possibly inexplicable love for a one-hit wonder called Haysi Fantayzee, I felt compelled to look them up and listen to their awful music (I did.)

When he finally gets to the end of his 80s saga of longing and listening, we meet the woman that occupied almost all of his first book. It’s worth reading the entire delight of a book to reach the end where he expresses the burgeoning feelings of finally having a girl that likes him back through early 90s lady rap. It’s a surprise to read him write about the woman he loves now through the sound of Duran Duran.

Who Will Survive

I am always tempted to hate Kanye West. He gives very few reasons to genuinely like him, and I know plenty of people that have sworn off listening to him purely on the basis of his public persona of unending jackassery.

But, and this is a huge but, his music is often beyond incredible.

A few weeks ago, while out perusing shirts with a friend, I heard a song off of Kanye’s latest album.

The song begins with an auto-tuned rendition of Bon Iver’s “Lost in the Woods”. I turned to my friend with a grave expression and said, “I just don’t know what  I think of this..”

Justin Vernon’s voice is joined by Kanye’s, cooing “Lost in the world.” My opinion started to shift, erasing concern completely as the music rushed in a tangle of drums and different voices. The song becomes more elaborate from there. Dare I say, the song becomes beautiful.

For a while, Kanye contemplates a subject immediately relatable. About the dual-nature of a home, of a city. Most anyone would hear this song and understand the commentary. Recognize the abhorence of falsity (kind of funny coming from West) and understand the competing love and hate for an overwhelming place.

Midway through the song, there is a clip of Gil Scott-Heron (a spoken-word artist) asking “Who will survive in America?” as the song, a cacophony, plays behind him.

As far as I’m concerned, this song is certainly Kanye’s triumph. It’s a grandiose, if simple, statement. And it ends with voices stopping short, leaving me wanting more. That’s a certain success.

Turn on the Light

New Year’s Eve, and the subsequent morning, was a complete and total mess. Needless to say, the evening succumbed to the very same vices expected of college in the third year. Lots of yelling and laughing and feeling very sick and calling my boyfriend outside of San Francisco to tell him what I bought him for Christmas.

And in the morning, far too early in the morning, I woke up in strange pajamas that I could not recall digging out from the bottom of my dresser. I roped my remaining companions into going to breakfast, walking out into a Seattle that felt like a ghost-town, riddled with empty Four Loko cans that had sprouted during the evening from every street corner. We ate magnificent omelets.

And when they left, I remained in a dirty apartment with a friend’s forgotten iPod.

It was paused in the middle of playing this song:

(Something forgotten.)

And so I sat around, and cleaned up, and listened to the rest of the album.

I do not know how I have managed to evade LCD Soundsystem for so long, but it was a glorious discovery on that all-too quiet morning.

Particularly one certain song. A song that sounded like a mid-eighties, John Hughes soundtrack, Oingo Boingo-esque masterpiece.

It was a song that would have made me cry when I was sixteen. A song I would have put on mixes for high school boyfriends without fully realizing the irony. And so I listened to that song over and over, because my physical and emotional state allowed for pretty good imagining of being a younger version of myself. The things that change in four years feel entirely too immense.

But, in any case, it is a beautiful song. From one of the very first lines, I was utterly sold on that.

Dance with me until I feel alright

It would have been the perfect song for any occasion, but on that particular morning, it just made my head spin even more.

La Ultima Parte

Seeing as the last time I wrote was in November of 2009, there are a collection of things to clarify and add and expand upon:

-My current academic profile establishes me as a English Literature and Spanish double-major (I prefer “Spanglish”) with a minor in Film Studies. This is the feeling of blissful uselessness. I want to go to school forever.

-I have a permanent Seattle address. It is in a tiny apartment in a lovely brick building with a very handsome roommate. I frequently wake up to the sounds of drunk people arguing outside on the street.

-After years of longing, I bought my pair of Daria-esque Doc Marten boots. In the sort-of year of absence from blogging, I have destroyed those boots and bought new ones. I have never loved anything I put on my feet more.

-Mexico. Terrible homesickness and the occasional awfulness of forced cohabitation and strange social interactions with other English-speakers. A city that felt like home and a wonderful family with a sweet little boy and a truly fantastic new friend. Art and music and food and sights and a fleeting sense of connection that I hope to recapture.

-Concerts abroad! Calle 13, Hello, Seahorse!, Julieta Venegas, Empire of the Sun.

-Concerts at home! Broken Social Scene, Gogol Bordello, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Starf***er, (perhaps some other things I am not quite yet remembering).

-Listening to songs in Spanish and understanding almost every word. Realizing that the simplicity of love songs carries over across different tongues. Sometimes, the only thing that ever needs to be said is simple. “If you had never left, I would be so much happier.”

-It is impossible to write crappy love poems when you love someone and they love you back and there are minimal obstructions. I think this is a very good thing.

-And this:

Because certain things just do not change.