Monday, July 21, 2014

Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire- Tea and Thorazine

This would be one of my top five songs that uses the name of a pharmaceutical in the title, along with Jolie Holland’s Old Fashioned Morphine and Nirvana’s Lithium.  Suggestions welcome.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

King Cole Trio- Nature Boy

Admittedly, this is one of the more simple numbers he played, musically.  It’s a wonderful vocal performance, though, and there’s something to be said for how tight the trio was.  There was no leeway back then— perfection was expected.  No beats dropped, no false notes.  And Nat and his guys never miss.

The School of Rock- The School of Rock (live 10-year reunion)

I loved this movie.  You could tell that the kids in the band weren’t actors, and that they were genuinely having a blast hanging out and playing with Jack Black.  

That same feeling comes through here.  Sometimes it’s the best thing in the world to get the band back together for a night.

Monday, June 23, 2014
Wild roses.

Wild roses.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sera Cahoone- Only As The Day Is Long (live on KEXP)

This is from last summer, part of the celebration of Subpop’s 25th anniversary.  I’m amazed they were able to sound this good on top of the Space Needle.  Usually these kinds of things are all wind noise, hair in the face, and guitars going out of tune in 10 seconds.

Monday, June 16, 2014
Sunday, June 15, 2014

Sufjan Stevens- In the Devil’s Territory

On Father’s Day, I got to thinking about a film I saw a few years ago at BAM, a documentary about a man tracking down his estranged vagabond father, Beyond This Place.  It’s a powerful film, and the score was composed and performed by Sufjan Stevens and Ray Raposa (aka Castanets).  This song was featured prominently, which makes sense when you listen.  In a way, fatherhood is always about reunion.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Swell Season -Two-Headed Boy (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)

Remember when everybody in the world noticed that Glen Hansard was awesome?  And then they moved on to other things.  But he’s still awesome, as is Marketa.

Monday, June 9, 2014
natgeofound:

National Geographic Magazine editor, Gilbert H. Grosvenor at work at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C., 1914.Photograph by Leet Brothers, National Geographic Creative

Finally someone with a reason to have a free-standing globe in his enormous office, other than megalomania.

natgeofound:

National Geographic Magazine editor, Gilbert H. Grosvenor at work at the National Geographic Headquarters in Washington D.C., 1914.Photograph by Leet Brothers, National Geographic Creative

Finally someone with a reason to have a free-standing globe in his enormous office, other than megalomania.

I finally made time to see The Grand Budapest Hotel last night.  It had me up late, wondering if Wes Anderson saw any of himself in the character of Gustave M.  In his own way, Anderson creates the illusion that a long-dead sophistication has not left the world.  His movies are filled with characters inhabiting haunted ruins of a past prosperity, finding a way to live well in the faded glamor of their lives.  But in Gustave, we have a character who works furiously and gracefully to sustain that gilded memory, even though, as Zero admits, the world he protected may have been dead long before he entered it.
It’s not difficult to see parallels between Gustave’s ambitions and the Anderson films.  People look at his intense set design and costuming, or at his idiosyncratic and persistent camera work, and they think, isn’t it all a bit much?
The answer, of course, is that no, it is not too much.  All of those things are there because they are important, and the camera lingers to allow us to absorb them, before lunging hastily away to the next scene.  This brick-a-brack is the detail that sustains human existence.  The decor, the clothing, the music: they are chosen with care and treated with respect.  Their importance is an illusion, to be certain, but it is an illusion that illuminates a clear and potent truth:
While we cannot control the larger forces in our universe, the minute features of our daily lives allow us a grace and a dignity that we could not otherwise possess.
Gustave’s work and passion are in service of this ideal, in the maintenance of the illusion that we aren’t all ghastly and vulgar creatures, even if we most likely are.

I finally made time to see The Grand Budapest Hotel last night.  It had me up late, wondering if Wes Anderson saw any of himself in the character of Gustave M.  In his own way, Anderson creates the illusion that a long-dead sophistication has not left the world.  His movies are filled with characters inhabiting haunted ruins of a past prosperity, finding a way to live well in the faded glamor of their lives.  But in Gustave, we have a character who works furiously and gracefully to sustain that gilded memory, even though, as Zero admits, the world he protected may have been dead long before he entered it.

It’s not difficult to see parallels between Gustave’s ambitions and the Anderson films.  People look at his intense set design and costuming, or at his idiosyncratic and persistent camera work, and they think, isn’t it all a bit much?

The answer, of course, is that no, it is not too much.  All of those things are there because they are important, and the camera lingers to allow us to absorb them, before lunging hastily away to the next scene.  This brick-a-brack is the detail that sustains human existence.  The decor, the clothing, the music: they are chosen with care and treated with respect.  Their importance is an illusion, to be certain, but it is an illusion that illuminates a clear and potent truth:

While we cannot control the larger forces in our universe, the minute features of our daily lives allow us a grace and a dignity that we could not otherwise possess.

Gustave’s work and passion are in service of this ideal, in the maintenance of the illusion that we aren’t all ghastly and vulgar creatures, even if we most likely are.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

South San Gabriel- Saint Augustine

Sunday, June 1, 2014
I’m not normally one for gifs.  But this…

I’m not normally one for gifs.  But this…

(Source: ForGIFs.com)

Oscar Isaac- Hang Me, Oh Hang Me

There’s so much good to be said about Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis, and really about the film itself.  He and the Coens captured a moment in time that’s often forgotten, the space in the American popular tradition that existed between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.  Burl Ives wasn’t yet an animated snowman, and old songs breathed new life when freed from the minstrel halls and movie studios.  The singing and playing were amateurish, but then the latin root of that particular word means “love”.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sometimes I wish I liked Josh Groban’s music, because he’s such a funny guy.

(Source: birdsphere)

Everything is perfect here, even the shag carpet.

Everything is perfect here, even the shag carpet.