July 19, 2011


Hello and good Tuesday to you. It seems like we all survived the great 405 shutdown of 2011. I spent the weekend mixing bizness with wedding planning, as I so often do these days. Six weeks and counting…wish me luck.

Ethan was playing me this new tUnE-YarDs record when he was here visiting a few months ago. I was liking it, but didn't get hooked in a way that made me want to seek it out immediately. In these situations, I usually add the band name to the list of band names I keep in my actual day planner book (because I am an actual dinosaur).

FF to now. This video's been popping up on various feeds (the face, the plus). And honestly, it's amazing. It's a really beautiful video that adds a lot to the song. It's almost like I couldn't fully listen to tUnE-YarDs until I saw this video, which is a weird thing to say, I know, because shouldn't the music stand on its own? The thing is, it totally does. It's just that, in this case, for me, it needed a little kickstart or something.

The sound sets are good. The bass line delivers. The build is a well-crafted mix of Animal Collective and Afrobeat. The lyrics are great. But what's the best? Merrill Garbus's voice, which is sometimes growling (ala Yaz's Alison Moyet), sometimes howling, sometimes pretty and always SO for real. Girl means it. We feel it. And isn't that the point?

tYs hits LA on 11/2. I will be there.

Here are two videos of the song, one official, one live:


What's the business, yeah?
Don't take my life away.
Don't take my life away.

July 13, 2011

Amadou & Mariam//Ce N'est Pas Bon

Continuing in yesterday's tradition of bands with ampersands, I've been hearing about Amadou & Mariam for a while now. Although the duo's been performing since the 70s, this is really the first song I've heard from them that truly grabbed me. The song's obviously got a political bent, which does a lot to give it some serious soul (from my now-limited understanding of the French language, I would say the song is focused on corrupt political leadership). That said, it's the use of varied soundscapes that really grabbed my attention.

Amadou & Mariam met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind, married, and have been playing music, often described as "afro-blues" or "Malian blues," ever since. They've also supported acts as (weirdly) diverse as Blur, Scissor Sisters, U2 and Coldplay.

This jam is from their 2008 album Welcome to Mali.

Ce N'est Pas Bon.mp3

Dictators in politics:
It is not good, it is not good
For the people.

July 12, 2011

Iron & Wine//Sodom, S. Georgia; Naked As We Came; Walking Far From Home

Have you ever noticed how many Iron & Wine songs are about death? I mean, honestly guys, it's a lot. Here are three of my favorites. The first two are from the fantastic album Our Endless Numbered Days (even the title is about death) and the last one (which is maybe only about death in the abstract) is from the new(ish) Walking Far From Home single (thanks, Tash).

Some artists just write songs that are so inherently emotional. The drama of the music and the sentimental nature of the lyrics in all three of these songs can bring me to tears. And I'm not always sure why it is that I'm crying. Maybe it's just because even though our days can feel endless, we know deep down that they are numbered. We are mortal. We are fragile. We are vulnerable. Samuel Beam is just reminding us.

Sodom, South Georgia.mp3

Naked As We Came.mp3

Walking Far From Home.mp3

She says, if I leave before you, darlin,
Don't you waste me in the ground.
I'll lay smiling like our sleeping children.
One of us will die inside these arms,
Eyes wide open,
Naked as we came.
One will spread our ashes round the yard.