Twin Sister and more good times

 

That title is a little misleading. It suggests I am having good times. I am having… okay times. But one area of my life where I am having a great time is music.

The current track I am jamming to is Bad Street by Twin Sister

It basically rocks. I wont have it any other way.

My music setup currently involves a pair of v-moda m100’s and m80’s. Both are great headphones. I really pick one up based on how mobile I want to be. At home, I have definitive technology’s incline speakers that are a standard 2 channel affair, but include a DSP and can pump out some amazing bass. So, yes, I am curating my musical experience carefully.

And there is nothing better than putting together a playlist and tearing up in joy, or sorrow, based on the mood. When music is this good, I start to understand why music has the power to unite. A concert filled with hundreds of thousands of people just swaying to an anthemic track. Or maybe an intimate live track that reminds you of the garage band you wanted to start. Maybe you had a go at the electric guitar once and felt that if only you possessed a little bit of skill you could become a God. It’s great that even as a passive listener, music lets us participate in the event, and remember with all its texture intact.

The past few months have been more that just discovering great music. I hate to admit it, but I have been a bit of a recluse- and yet, I have had a good time. I think on balance, this is the best I have felt in a great long while. A part of it is maybe the halo effect of the job- which I still love and have a great time every day. But it is more than that. There is peace of mind. Not having to worry about a hundred different things and instead spending time with myself, building my personal space in a way I find fit. All that’s missing is a cat and I would be certifiably depressed- or worse, a hipster. Good thing that I can’t really stand cats. Dogs though- maybe a cute puppy that can pull in the ladies…. that’s a joke.

Sorry this post has been a bit scatter brained. I haven’t tried to really organize my thoughts, simply typed along to the music. But hey… enjoy the music, yeah?

On Music, and discovering a new band…

I discovered a band.

I say that like it means a lot a lot to me. And really, it does. At different times in my life I have discovered a new band to crush on, to follow, to worship, to *like*… but while a band like daft punk may have a few songs I think have a good rhythm, they don’t completely invade my mind or have a lasting effect. For all the Carly Rae Jepsen’s of the world (I’ve never really heard her song. Its more like a bieber reference I am throwing in to sound cool…), Anyway, like I was saying,there are only a select few bands I admire and *LOVE*
I just found a band I love.

Joining the ranks with The Shins, Belle and Sebastian, God Help the Girl, Allo Darlin, Fleetwood Mac, The Smiths and Pink Floyd are one of my new favs… Camera Obscura

What matters really for bands is not the music- its the words. Thats what we remember, or mis-remember years later and those are the songs we imagine we are living. With Camera Obscura, I have found music and words that resonate with me perfectly. Its magical. Allo Darlin is a similar band- songs that are light, set to a decent melody and have a timeless quality to it. All these bands I like, they could have been from the 70’s or the 80’s. They are a bit retro… That some of them are making music in the same word where Lorde wins best rock album befuddles me. But most of popular music and the culture around it is crazy anyway. No offence to Lorde- she is cool. I actually like her music. But she could really write better. What’s with the queen bee, green pea whatever… references like that take me out of the music.

Songs need to mean something. They need to matter. After all, songs are an outlet for us non creatives to feel and experience what the artist is saying. No, feeling. A good writer is able to tell us a little something about them in the song. Some are able to narrate an experience- without having to shove in a pointless cryptic video. Oh and I hate the fact that MTV figured out that they don’t need to play good music. They just need to show pretty people. Unfortunately the democracy that is YouTube only convinces me that to the populous out there, it is not the music that matters, but the celebrity. Well, we have better taste.

Camera Obscura, a scottish band, fantastic lead singer. She sounds like Maria Taylor, only more retro. And I LOVE Maria Taylor. In some ways, this music is trapped in time. Like it were playing from a stereo. Remember those?

I recommend The Sweetest Thing. This is a crowd pleaser. It has a chorus you can’t help but sing to – see if you can spot the Fleetwood Mac joke in the start. It’s ‘rumored’ haha…

[the words]

But, the real song by this band that I *LOVE*, where the words matter more than the music is ‘New Years Resolution’..

[the words]

Perfect.

I’ve been cool with you
The sooner you admit it I will too

Anyway, later.

Hippie, Wes Anderson-y, VHS, Retro, Technicolor awesome

A look at my spotify playlists would lead most people to start recommending the nearest therapist and sharing their most personal, insightful remedies to forget the past and be happy.

Little do they know- sometimes, it feels good to be listen to some calm yet dreary sad music. It helps me focus on what I am working. But there are other times when I am really looking for a nice way to unwind and put a smile on my face. And in such seredipicious moments, like today, it was this song that rescued me.

Right, this movie will likely be okay to watch, but that’s not what caught my eye here. Its the cinematography, the color, the peppy, 50ish soundtrack. It does sound exactly likeBelle and Sebastian and its easy to tell why when you work out the origins of the band.

And here is the full song:

From a below average day, this song propelled my mood to aha! wonderful! The power of music eh?

And my remedy dear reader is not rainbows and butterflies. Although that does help. I would much rather picture summer days, snapping away pictures of tourists having a good time. Maybe being a teenager and care free at a fair, trying out the rides and spinning around until I’m dizzy. All these scenes of course would not be out of place in a Wes Anderson flick. And that would be awesome. That is after all my ideal vacation. Fantasy, but in real life. Or rather, my inflated sense of self importance where my story is narrated. And has chapters. And is just under 90 mins. I really have work to do, the break should be short and sweet.

Maybe its a good thing I’m not always in my happy mood. I seem to be getting some strange ideas when I am there.

Ultraviolence – and other beautiful things.

There is no denying that the sound, the lyrics, the excess behind Lana Del Rey’s music is an experiment. There is the ‘cinematic’ rich sound which is grounded in 1960’s americana and it manages to conjure up some really instagram-ified pictures. And this is the whole package. The music and the videos go together. You cannot listen to a Lana Del Rey song anymore without thinking about those retro video’s and color burn effects. Or for that matter tigers and a crown and a woman who conveys no emotions from her face. Stuck in the 60’s or not, Ms. Rey has carved a niche for herself. With her new album ‘Ultraviolence’, she veers into more melancholy. But that is all good. We never expected  Lana Del Rey to be a peppy pop princess. She created a brand for herself when she gave her self an excotic name. Shedding behind the image of Lizzy Grant, she has experimented with the vintage lifestyle- which has too often been about the excesses involved.

lana-del-rey_zpsda6b42f0

Don’t get me wrong. I like her music a lot. But the excess that was Born to Die, (i refer to the tigers again) is quite jarring in my world. I find Lorde’s music more relatable even if she is a little weird as well. When Lorde says, ‘We will never be royals’ – I get it. I am not proud of my address either. My choice of music is a little alternative. I listen to ‘Yeah Yeah Yeah’s’, ‘Sara Bareilles’, ‘Paramore’, ‘Katie Melua’, ‘The Clash’ ,’The Shins’, ‘She and Him’ – sometimes all in the same playlist. Maybe I have no idea what good music is… But it isnt me avoiding popular music. I would enjoy the next Katy Perry track just as much as you. But I would also grow weary of it pretty soon. There are a few artists whose music however is ephemeral in my books. I have discovered them sometimes by accident – ‘The Magic Numbers’ and fallen in love with them

With Lizzy Grant a.k.a ‘Lana Del Rey’, I dont even know what is the hook. With most musicians its a single track and then you continue to listen to them because they used to be good (i’m looking at you Coldplay) The best way to describe Lana Del Rey’s music is what it reminds me of- and it has always been old beautiful things. An old Mercedes driving off in the sunset. Women with big hats. Retro cameras and phones with physical dialers. Yet, all those things define her and not me. And this is why sticking to the brand is okay. With Coldplay changing their look and sound with each album I have lost track of what they started out as… atleast with Ms. Rey I have some consistency.

Her music is unique because she fills it with things she has read, likes and wants to talk about. If you will forgive me a transgression here, I am quickly going to compare her, a pop singer to the masters of progressive rock- Pink Floyd. Listening to Lana Del Rey is an experience quite similar to Floyd. And here is why…

These albums are constructions. They are not simply thoughts put together, but crafted to adhere to a vision. They have different purposes however… while Roger Waters wrote about war and loss and politics, Ms. Rey seems to confine her music to love and pretty things. Vintage is her brand. In both cases we are only passengers in what the artist wanted us to experience. We listen, we observe, we cheer and we praise how creative they are,

Maybe all it takes to make a lana del rey video is to type ‘vintage’ in google image search and pick the most beautiful images you find… here, like this-

france-nice-paris-photography-vintage-Favim.com-250587443_2images2images4

No. You see, there is no consistency. Maybe I need more time with this stuff but clearly there is more art in this process. You maybe have to live with the idea that you can make something special, and then develop your own unique style. After all, isn’t the music derived from these tastes?

With Born to Die, I saw glimpses of true genius. ‘Video Games’, ‘Blue Jeans’, ‘Radio’ are signature tracks. There is nothing to compare the sound or the visual images they can conjure up. In fact, with Radio, I always pictured excess like one of Gatsby’s parties. So it was really apt that Ms. Rey contributed one of her the most haunting tracks ‘Young and Beautiful’ to the movie.

What followed was a hiccup in the journey. ‘Ride’ was artistic vision going a bit overboard. It made me regret liking her music. Here was a 15 minute ‘movie’ where she talked about her struggles? It was pretentious. Let’s not talk about this again.

With her new album Ultraviolence, I am hooked again. Clearly there is more coherence in her music. It is… sadder. It is still rich and cinematic. The videos still promote her as some sort of artist stuck in the 60’s. Ultraviolence has fewer ‘pop’ songs and this is good. It fits my mood and makes me want to tear some paper and throw things around. ‘Sad Girl’ could be the soundtrack of nervous breakdown. ‘Brooklyn Baby’ is the perfect song if you are driving down the road, leaving a city behind- imagining all the people you are leaving behind. And yes, the imagery I conjure up is always vast open landscapes and long drives. Maybe this is what Ms. Rey wanted to convey. Sooner or later there will be a video that will show us what she really wanted to capture. And then we will again be tourists of the past- where the fashion was a little better, the cars more prettier and the life a whole lot simpler. Until then, we are free to imagine.

Ultraviolence is a good album. An improvement over Born to Die and I am looking forward to those videos Ms Rey.

Damn You Red Wedding.

The Red Wedding. It is worse when you know its coming. (Spoiler Alert)
Here is the playlist I’m listening to so I may recover.

There is something strange about the way I unwind these days. I either am endlessly reading the Game of Thrones series or I am listening to the same tracks over and over again. The music helps me recover from all that is going on in this world. And while I listen, I mull over the next thing I really want to do. That is either a trip to some nicer place or a staycation (stay at home vacation) where I lose myself in either a different city or a different world (book) Yes, another book because as much as I like it, Game of Thrones, if I have to resort to listening to happier songs to recover then something is really not right! It is getting a little frustratingly dark and miserable in Westeros. The cast of characters are so great and I absolutely love the books, but I’d much rather be reading a more uplifting happier tale.

When you kill of important characters, whose deaths impact my favourite characters then I am not impressed. Arya  Stark is my favourite character and Tyrion is a close second. I like Arya because she is vengeful and on the road. She is the underdog and I feel only darkness and death awaits her. She is like the little boy from the game Limbo. Her fate cannot be a happy one. But as she grows harder and less like her former self, I feel I am seeing a transformation from innocent, playful girl to a cold assassin. Will she kill Cersei? Or the Jaimie? Both? Petry? All of them? Or will she be denied even that?

I prefer stories that have a sense of hope. Some of the best books I’ve read have not been kind to me however. Gatsby, Gone With the Wind, The Thorn Birds, The Dark Tower, Atonement have all ended leaving me unhappy and GoT for all its fantasy, politics, scheming and wonder is, I fear, heading the same direction. 

A fine way to fill my free time eh?

And so I listen to the Smiths, Paramore and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s to try and lift those spirits right back up. And then maybe I can start obsessing about something else. Maybe work. Haha. All this music is to remedy the murder. There has been enough bloodshed for today, So here is a happy unhappy track to help me forget.

It is 12:44 AM on the night of 25th may 2014. I have a warm coffee mug and am thinking happy thoughts. All is well. And sorry Arya, you are an orphan.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Modern Romance.

Been listening to this all day. I don’t want to try explaining the meaning of the linked video. It isn’t official and so its interpretation of the song is up for questioning. I like it- that is all. The song… the song is a different matter though. I adore it!
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are not exactly known for songs like this. Sung in a slightly breaking voice, this is a song about heartbreak and the idea of moving on. Expertly crafted and a true gem on the B-Sides of the album ‘Fever to Tell’, this song should be heard over and over again when seeking solace and comfort doing some light reading or simply sipping coffee waiting for the sun to set. Things you do alone. Things that you must do alone…
That actually is a great visual metaphor for this song… the sun setting, time… time is gone. I was wrong, it never lasts… this is no, there is no modern romance.
She is sitting on a beach sipping a drink with an umbrella on it. She is a brunette, late 20’s or early 30’s. She is reading a novel, she wears a hat that she tips her hat to the passing family. She returns to the book, we see a few images from the past… the camera pans out behind her. As the song ends, her dog who was playing on the beach runs up to her, she hugs him, packs up ready to leave.
That’s it. I am applying for ‘Music Video – Director job next. Hey Yeah Yeah Yeahs!! Call me.

Goodbye to love – The Carpenters

I’m leaving on a jet plane…. well, all packed, ready to leave and just waiting on my cab.

I needed an emotional release.
So here is what I am listening to. On repeat.