Posts Tagged ‘music’


I just remembered that O told me that Vampire Weekend are coming to London in March, a concert I’m super excited to go to, and that someone else told me they have a new album coming out soon. In fact, it comes out in six days.

So I decided to use my Barnes & Noble gift card to order the cd. After noticing that they also sell the LPs, I also remembered that Yeasayer is awesome and decided to look for their album on vinyl as well.

THEY HAVE A NEW ALBUM COMING OUT! Right, I should have known that because I’ve been watching Ambling Alp for weeks now.

NSFW due to nudity.

*clutching claw fingers of doom* It’s not out until February 9th!!!!

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Colleen; Katya Mihailova and Colin Jacobsen; Beirut
Wordless Music
September 24, 2007
In this concert recorded live at the New York Society for Ethical Culture, French musician Colleen performs her naturalistic electro-acoustic mix; Piano/Violin duo Katya Mihailova and Colin Jacobsen take on Chopin, Scriabin, Arvo Pärt, and Bela Bartok, while indie band Beirut makes an encore appearance with selections from some of their recent albums. Hosted by Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad.

Here is the concert, about halfway down the page.

This was the first of the concerts in the Wordless Music series that I was able to see. I had no idea what to expect, I just knew that I was about to see Beirut. The Arvo Pärt piece played by Colin Jaconbsen pretty much transfixed me, and Coleen blew me so far away that i have since gone out and bought many of her albums. Please take the time to listen to this concert and be thankful, with me, that WNYC has made the series available for listening.

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Americans will remember the Alka Seltzer commercial where the dude wails that out but in this case, it is not I, in bed at night with heartburn but in the chair, in the afternoon, surprised that I have consumed an entire tub of Kozy Shack chocolate pudding. I have been on a mission to eat as many American delicacies (read that as “junk food”) as possible before I head back to an island nearly entirely devoid of such wonders as the aforementioned pudding, Little Debbie Snacks, decent peanut butter, Moonpies (oh! moonpies! Mom bought me a whole case of them to take back), Steak N Shake’s chocolate shakes, Checkers cheeseburgers, seasoned fries and milkshakes (inferior to those at SnS), Chick-O-Sticks, Miller High Life beer, and various other items. My hit count is pretty high, at present, and I’m sure that other things will spring to mind in the next three weeks.

Yeah! Three weeks left ’til I return to Ol’ Blighty! And then a month until my wedding! OMG, I finally understand why people say that weddings are stressful, but ours is less because of guest list/seating snafus than it is due to having roughly two months to plan it while both participants are out of the country. The boyfriend (neither of us likes the term “fiance/e” but both are happy with husband/wife) is on a 20 day tour with The Raveonettes as backline technician! Apparently this means setting up amps, tuning guitars, and if someone breaks a string on stage, handing them a new guitar and then quickly restringing & tuning the first one. I was really hoping to be back in England by the beginning of next week but who could deny their love the chance to tour with a rock & roll band? They are in Denmark right now. As soon as he begins posting on his tour blog I’ll be sure to add the link to my blogroll. One thing that I think is wicked cool is that some of my friends are going to be at the show in London on the 18th! Crazy, but then they head to Barcelona before finishing on the 20th and heading back to England.

Florida is expecting some crazy weather soon, especially the Tampa Bay region, which is lovely, considering that the temperature is expected to plunge (oh darn) and give me rain through Saturday, the day of my wedding celebration party. At least we have a decent-sized area inside, there may be no need for the screened-in porch to be made use of.

I made totally delirsh stuffed green bell peppers last night, who wants the recipe? Not for vegetarians or vegans.

Alright, time to get hand sewing on a wedding dress. I have a lot to do before 22nd December!

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Lately I’m whining about how hot it is, I feel like I’m melting and it’s one third of the way through November. I know I’m just being a wimp, especially after weathering supra-106 F temperatures in northern California. You want to know what it’s like to be cooked, that’s where you’ll find out. NYC and FL have nothing on those temperatures!

I didn’t manage to get more than about 15 stitches done on my cowl out west so this afternoon my grandma and I are going to this big house where a lady has offered space free of charge for people to complete craft projects. I hear tell there will be knitters present and I will be attempting to learn a different technique, in order that I may at least finish this first project and think towards the likelihood of starting a second. I suspect that I will finish this row (knit, slip, knit, slip, … swap!) and then switch to one plain old stitch so I don’t have to count. It’s too much for my brain at this early stage.

Mom and I have been making…well, let’s take a step back. A lot has changed, again. Two and a half months ago I thought I was back Stateside for good but just didn’t give the situation long enough to play out. At the end of this week I send in my visa application to the British Consulate in Chicago. I have a vintage pattern for a wedding dress, I have beautiful blue silk taffeta for a wedding dress, and my mom and I are sewing up a storm.

For those uninitiated into the ways of vintage patterns (*holds up hand*) they are MUCH more detailed than modern ones. I have never seen so many pressings, so many measurings, so many ripping-outs of details than I have with this dress. Which is why I’m glad Mom was too scared to cut into silk without first doing a mock up. Then, there is the why of my conviction, every time I get near a sewing machine, that clothes will just come spewing out of it wholly made. We have a number of items of clothing to complete. I’m only sure we’ll finish the mock-up and wedding dress but desperately want to finish at least one of the skirts as well before I am allowed to return to England (please, please let me come back!) and everything else will be finished and posted within months.

Kept hearing this song out in CA, thought it sounded like Metric, heard it on the radio here and looked it up to verify. It is. Guess they’ve really made it now.

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I took the boyfriend to see Comet Gain, The Bats and Crystal Stilts tonight, meeting O & K at the NE corner of St. James Park first to chitty chat and sip a beer (in public!) across the street. Around 8 p.m. we went in, did the paying thing, amused ourselves with postcards and then meandered back. The venue is mid-sized and I must say it produced some of the best sound of any venue I’ve been to in recent times, but I get ahead of myself.

Comet Gain, who could garner a win for Most Unlikely-Looking Band Members, opened their set tonight with a few awkward tunes and some awkward banter. Then 3, maybe 4 songs in, the band suddenly exploded, tightening up and producing amazing sound. I couldn’t figure out whether the band had gotten it together or the sound guys had gotten it together, or what. O & K both concurred that a pretty drastic change had occurred. I almost forgot, at the end of the last song, the guitarist went off into this sort of guitar rant and the rhythm guitarist and bassist were sort of staring at him, then everyone was looking at him, sort of laughing, then the rhythm guitarist took off his guitar, stood there a bit, then went off stage! I was like, “Whoa, guess someone’s done playing!” They had played a really long set for the opening band, 7 songs. Good thing we all had fun rocking out to them.

The Bats, from AustraliaNZ (I was right!), were a great band (“Hey, they’re all old farts!” exclaimed the Old Fart AKA the boyfriend), they got us all rockin’, some a little more than others, with tunes described by O as “like a great band from the 80s, people don’t play that kind of music any more. They’re twangy and boppy and good”, or thereabouts.

Crystal Stilts underwhelmed 3 out of the 4 of us, with a dicky attitude from the lead singer (as well as kind of crap singing) and by just being slightly less tight than the opening two bands. I don’t know if I’d see them again. And usually I think it’s impossible for the drummer to look cool but this chick had class. It was the keyboardist who took over the epileptic slave-to-the-beat duties, but he was a sweet kid, doing all the talking when things broke down between songs, enjoying being heckled, smoothing over the Prima Donna’s attitude with the sound guys. Strangely enough, the boyfriend had worked at the same record store, the now defunct Rocks In Your Head, as three of the band members.

I realized I’d misspelled “awkward”, noticed it had awk at the front, and thought about auks and whether or not they are extinct. Turns out they are not. Only the great auk is. Apparently there is such a thing as a parakeet auklet and boy, do they have wicked strange eyes!

O wants to keep looking for shows to see, I’m all for it. Up until Crystal Stilts this had been the most all-around satisfying concert experience in some time for me, so I’m looking forward to matching or beating it. I think there will be lots of chances this summer.

Tomorrow: nothing buying coffee. Sunday: Herne Hill velodrome where I’ll pick up a 20t cog being lent for the week. The boyfriend might race, there might be a bike jumble. I could handle that. Monday: WeLo Polo BBQ? It’s a bank holiday so the hordes will be out and we may not be able to get a court for polo. We’ll still try.

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Can you believe it’s raining again? Oh wait, no, the sky is a beautiful blue. Wait, no, it’s cloudy again. Were it not a complete and utter shock every single time the weather did its highly-varied dance of confusion, I wouldn’t post about it so often. I swear, it happened all within about 20 minutes yesterday.

Yesterday we biked about 20 minutes to The Worst Car Boot Sale In London. At least it was after 8 a.m. and we got in for 60p total. And I did get two cds: Goldfrapp’s Felt Mountain and The Dandy Warhols’ 13 Tales From Urban Bohemia at £2 each (high price for a boot sale, I’ve lost my head for bargaining). Too bad Goldfrapp is boring and I already had a copy of 13 Tales. FYI: Courtney Taylor-Taylor is gorgeous in a slightly frightening way. Maybe it’s the no-bangs thing in that video. Other than that, I got a 15mm spanner (what we in America would call “a wrench”) for a quid and two glass plates suitable for placing under plants in pots for 10p each. Worth the entrance fee, I suppose, just to see the woman selling dying houseplants and to poke through large bins of tools, not to mention the van selling good-smelling yet disgusting roadside food that is, without fail, at every car boot sale.

I’ve decided to post some photos of coffee because I’m happy to be drinking some but also because I want to show to you in still photo form what I go through every morning.

Hand-ground coffee isn’t as sexy as it sounds.

Aaand, perc’ing. I think this is technically a percolator. Finally Flickr decides to work properly!

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I went looking for the newest Beirut album online, to download not to buy; I wanted to test it out before I purchased it because I had found the last one somewhat ho-hum. Among the three full-length albums, I also found several EPs and a compilation. Dark Was the Night is its title and it is among the offerings of the Red Hot Organization, an amazing group dedicated to raising awareness and funds for HIV/AIDS research, which I first heard of in high school. On this compilation are 31 tracks of the sublime, the joyous, and a few surprises. Another highly recommended compilation is Rough Trade’s Counter Culture ’08. Two CDs, two different moods, the whole thing grows on you.

These compilations together represent the best introduction to some of the newer indie bands out there (I’m differentiating between 90s indie and…gag with me on this designation…Noughties indie) that I’ve run across. The opening track by Department of Eagles is a highlight. And I had not heard Yeasayer yet. It was exciting to be introduced to Crystal Stilts and Vivian Girls. I wasn’t strongly in the know regarding Bon Iver. It took some digging to discover that Aarron and Bryce Dessner form one half of The National, a band for which I already harbor friendly feelings. I had forgotten how perfectly amazing Feist’s voice is. And how transcendent is Antony’s.

As with any compilation, the greatest joy is in having so many different voices in one place. Go buy them. Really. Most of the links take you directly to Other Music, a site where, if you live in the United States, you can purchase DRM-free tracks and albums at 320 kbps, the absolute minimum acceptable quality for mp3s.

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