Category Archives: Music

“You’re pretentious, this club sucks, I have beef, let’s do it.”

It’s time for a “come to Jesus” talk…

Do you know what I love about a good show?  Getting lost in it.  A good concert can be a respite from a hectic work week and daily stresses.  A great show seems to solve all your problems for you!  Having boyfriend drama, lonely, unsure about your place in this ever expanding universe, feeling overwhelmed at work?  Get thee to a concert!!

We Are Scientists/Paws came through town last week and I had been really excited about the show in the weeks leading up to it, but when the day came I found myself trying to talk myself out of it.  I was tired, I had to be at work early the next day, whatever.  (An inner monologue I find my 30-year old self having a lot these days).  Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and I quickly found myself forgetting why I had whined about going out in the first place.

I had been hearing a lot of good things about opener Paws for a while.  A low-fi, melodic, garage punk band from Scotland and these 3 gents did NOT disappoint.

Paws was exactly what I needed to pull myself out of the mid week-funk I had fallen into.  All youth and chaos, kinetic energy and frantic guitars.  How do you stand still and check facebook with the likes of these kids careening around the stage urging you to FEEL something?!! But as I looked around all I saw was the soft glow of cell phone screens illuminating the uninterested faces of this under attended show.  The band is relegated to asking the crowd to move closer/to move at all/to show some signs of life!  I feel bad for the guys, they are working so hard for the thankless Dallas crowd, and this is where my beef begins.

It’s been said (many times, many ways) we are all too addicted to screens, we no longer understand empathy or remember how to interact with other humans.  We are all too worried that we are missing out on something, worried that if we don’t check in to wherever we are people won’t know how fun and exciting our lives are.

So here goes… Dear America, set down your cell phones, turn off your worries and cares and lay your problems down at the feet of the music. (Don’t worry, you can have them back at the end of the show).  Don’t think about trying to look cool or impress strangers.  Don’t worry about your dancing being less than impressive.  Don’t think about how you’d better “like” those pictures of your friend’s baby before she gets mad at you.

Lay it down.  Let go.  Have some fun.

Going to shows used to be a community event, hanging out in a room with a bunch of people who share at least one common interest.  Now-a-days even the fans of the bands are critics, looking for any misstep to harp on and debate about after the show.  Whatever happened to being fans, to liking something just for the sheer joy it brought you?

Can we all make a pact?  Can we all promise to at lest try? Try to be present, try to look for the good, try to dust off the negative and accentuate the positive, try to be fans first instead of critics?  Life is hard and there’s barely any rest from your problems.  Let the music take care of that for you!


…This show ended up being so fun that we followed the bands to Austin the next night.  In the wake of these two shows I’ve taken upon a little personal quest.  There’s so many things we can find wrong with the world and our situations, let’s try our darndest to find what’s right.  Seek out moments of happiness and don’t let them go.  So I’m working on finding ways of not letting the monotony of everyday life pull me down, ways to let the music take over and have sone fun!


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music for life

I feel like I’ve had this conversation a few times lately.  I’m just bored.  I’ve been listening to the same couple of albums for months now.  I’ve felt like I’ve been waiting for something new/something different to get me excited about music again… I think I’ve been mistaken

You don’t always need ground breaking, you don’t always need unprecedented… What I needed was simple songs steeped in history.  What I needed was a moment of quiet joy… What I needed was Josh Ritter.

A couple of weeks back I headed down to Austin for my first show of the new year, Josh Ritter and Gregory Alan Isakov.  I’d seen Ritter twice before and he’s always incredible but I wasn’t prepared for the way I felt during that show.  Gregory Alan Isakov opened the show and after wanting to see him live for years, he did not disappoint.  He closed his set with the unreleased song Liars and it nearly had me in tears, its such an affecting and stirring song.  With only himself, a cellist and a violinist on stage he filled the Moody theater with sound and emotion and at that the audience fell silent, quite the fete.

Next up was Josh Ritter, I don’t know how he does it but every time you see him he makes his songs sound new.  His background in folklore (studying American History through narrative folk music at Oberlin College before moving to Scotland to study at the school of Scottish folk stories) make him quite the prolific story-teller.  Whether its a story about a mummy coming back to life and falling in love with the archeologist who freed him from his tomb, or the story of an explorer and his ship (the Annabel Lee) as they set off in search of another new world, each story is weaved with glistening prose and witty wordplay.

Now these songs and stories are wonderful but what really makes Ritter stand out in a sea of singer song writers is his live show.  I’m not sure how he does it but Ritter infuses so much joy into each and every set and it never feels forced or disingenuous.  His music and show to me is like a deep breath, it’s like the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had.  It’s restorative, it’s peaceful, it’s invigorating, it’s a refuge.  As I sat through the show I was reminded why I love music so much and I realized how glad I was to be alive in a world where Ritter (and countless others) write these songs.

This got me thinking (and mixtaping) so I compiled a list of songs that make me glad to be alive.  These songs have quelled the boredom I felt in music.  These songs remind me of the power of music and why my life is made infinitely more joyful through it.

((for the record, this playlist was made in an afternoon and using only songs I could find on spotify, so there are some huge omissions, but this is what I have for now))

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These are my obsessions…

robsheffRob Sheffield is one of the few people who I can confidently say loves music more than I do.  (I wasn’t even aware that was possible).  Turn Around Bright Eyes is the third semi-autobiographical book from Rolling Stone writer Sheffield.  I fell in love with Sheffield and his writing after reading his first book “Love is a Mixtape” (and rereading it and rereading it.  It might be the most underlined book I own).  Rob has a way of telling stories of loss, love, and family through the music he listens to whether it’s through the mixtapes he and his wife made each other or through the karaoke songs he loves.  I honestly can’t wait to read this book again (and write a longer blog post about his books because you seriously need to read all of them).

insidelllllInside Llewyn Davis is one of my favorite movies of 2013 and includes such an incredible soundtrack and cast.  The Cohen brothers created a world that seems to have stepped right out of a Bob Dylan album cover.  The story is beautiful and sad, the cast is incredible (even you Justin Timberlake) and the music… the music MAKES this movie.  T.Bone Burnett has done it again and created a perfect album of old folk standards that sound familiar even if you’ve never heard them.  Fare Thee Well (Dink’s Song) is a standout and has lived in my headphones and has been harmonized along with for weeks now.   Also… that cat… oh the cat storyline killed me.  Go see this movie!


SHERLOCK: We have waited for TWO YEARS for answers.  Last season ended with Sherlock jumping to his death, we know he faked it but how??  The internet has been flooded with theories (and super weird fanfiction) and now the wait is over… and we still don’t know!!  The first two episodes of season 3 have been perfect and unusually funny (I don’t know the last time I laughed out loud that hard at a t.v. show).  I won’t spoil anything for you but just know that this season has been the best by far!! Sherlock airs in the US starting January 19th on PBS, or for the internet savvy whenever you want!  The final episode “His Last Vow” airs in the UK this Sunday 1/12 and gauging by the way this season has unfolded it will rip our hearts out… Stephen Moffat isn’t happy unless someone you love is dying.


This past year I decided to start sending letters.  I have loved picking out stationery (this doctor who themed set above is on my wish list… look at it!!!) and finding interesting stamps (Johnny Cash and Harry Potter being among my faves).  Mostly, I’ve enjoyed corresponding with my friends in a different way! Shout out to Kelley who CONSTANTLY schools me with her drawings, homemade stickers and confetti that she adds to her cards. She wins hands down!  I recently started corresponding with my cousin’s 6 yr old twins and seriously look forward to getting their cards in the mail.

Arctic Monkeys: AM   This might be my most played song of 2013, this whole album is great!  The Arctic Monkeys have been around for a while but their latest album has quickly become my favorite.  They’ve grown up and embraced a darker grittier sound and we are all the better for it.

What books/movies/songs have you found yourself going back to again and again this past year?  Anything I should be reading/listening to?  Let me know 🙂

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let’s begin again

2014…  “This will be our year, took a long time to come”

I think I lost direction, I think I got bored, I think I got busy, I think I lost inspiration.  That being said, let’s begin again.  Let’s usher this new year in with open arms and open hearts.  Let’s prepare ourselves for all the new and exciting opportunities that await us.  Let’s be diligent with our time and talents.  Let’s be aware of the beauty and inspiration around us.  Let’s be grateful for this incredible life.  Let’s focus on the good.  Let’s look for new interesting ways to express ourselves.  Let’s collaborate.   Let’s get lost in the music.

I’m excited to see where 2014 takes us.  I’ve already booked my first 2 shows of the year, Josh Ritter (he makes everything better guys) and Neko Case (a dream, she is my spirit animal).  So let’s get this thing started!

I’ve compiled a mix of songs I loved this year.  Some are new, some aren’t, some carried over from 2012, some I reconnected with.  Hopefully you’ll find something that resonates with you, find a song that wakes you up and gets you excited again.  To quote Josh Ritter, “Don’t let me into this year with an empty heart.”  Happy New Year

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