Archive for the 'music' Category

Just because it’s awesome – Citizen Cope

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I’ve been slightly obsessed with Citizen Cope (Clarence Greenwood) lately. I’ve really liked the few songs I’ve had of his and earlier in the week I bought several albums. Today I bought another. Gorgeous stuff – layered, slow, a beat which makes my head and shoulders move and what a voice!


Citizen Cope – A Father’s Son

Look look what you’ve done
Not to become your Father’s Son
Before that day, day, day is done
You’ll get your day, day, day in the sun

and


Citizen Cope – Off The Ground

When you and I
Were so far
We were so far
Away from here
All my life been gambling times
Been evading mines
Away from here

Just because it’s awesome (Parov Stelar)

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

I tripped across the music of Parov Stelar yesterday


Caterpillar Butterfly


Love by Parov Stelar

Just because it’s awesome (Portishead)

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

I rarely listen to iTunes on shuffle but today on a whim was listening to some random stuff and was reminded how gorgeous Portishead’s “Roads” is. It’s layered, simple and achingly sad:

I remember in 2008 when Third came out being absolutely mesmerized by “Machine Gun”. I must have listened to it 20 times in a row on the day I first heard it. It makes my heart race slightly andI find it both disturbing and beautiful which is kind of a rare thing in music.

Also worth checking out is “Chase the tear” which they did for Amnesty International.


update 6 March 2010

Yves brought up another fantastic Portishead song and video: We Carry On. He very correctly described the song as hypnotic, loud and sad. The video is uniquely beautiful and almost distressingly dark.

Mandela and Biko (music and social justice)

Friday, February 19th, 2010

Last week was the 20th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela and so I found myself listening to the Special AKA song “Free Nelson Mandela” from 1984 quite a few times.


(Unfortunately I can’t find an embeddable version of the fantastic original video).

While that song is buoyant and energetic and new listens contain the additional joy of knowing Mandela was eventually freed and went on to have a strong and positive influence in South Africa it always makes me think of its mournful, (both in tone and in the story it tells), counterpart: Peter Gabriel’s “Biko” from 1980.


(some of the images in the above video are from the 1987 movie “Cry Freedom” with Denzel Washington. This video has the audio from the movie clips over the song. I recommend watching it as it gives an idea of how powerfully moving the movie was).

Steven Biko was a contemporary of Mandela’s and though both worked for the freedom of their country and the dignity of their people Biko supported non-violent measures of protest while Mandela supported an armed struggle (though Mandela was an advocate for peace and reconciliation after his release). Biko more the Martin Luther King to Mandela’s Malcolm X in a way. I remember watching “Cry Freedom” on TV and being stunned by Steven Biko’s story, his bravery and the realization that such conditions continued to exist at that time. I remember around that same time too the song “Sun City” by musicians who refused to play in apartheid South Africa. I know I owe a lot of my introduction to contemporary social justice to music and, oddly, MTV. I think it was a time of real social awakening for me, the realization that the struggle for justice and political action were ongoing, contemporary, active issues and not just a part of history like stories of Harriet Tubman, WWII or the American Civil Rights movement (how sheltered/ignorant was I, eh?).

Just because it’s awesome (Gotan Project – tango)

Monday, February 1st, 2010

This video inspired me to take tango lessons (with a well-matched partner such fun, fun, fun!)

The song is fantastic and the video is graphically beautiful and additionally awesome for having M/M and F/F as well as the more traditional F/M couples. Such a beautiful and sexy dance.

Things I heard today (Jacqueline Du Pré -Elgar Cello Concerto)

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Someone whose taste in classical music I admire mentioned Jacqueline Du Pré via twitter and since it was through him I first heard Glenn Gould, I decided it was worth looking into.

I found, Elgar Cello Concerto 1st mov:

It’s lovely – somber and beautiful (and trivia: the woman is the basis for the movie Hilary and Jackie). Also via twitter, Thomas recommended another version (w/ a different conductor). I need a few more listens to try to understand the difference.

And since I mentioned it, here is Glenn Gould, Goldberg Variations:

I’ve listened to these for hours, night after night. I don’t know much about classical music but even I can hear the subtlety, the mastery he brings. I’ve listened to other versions to compare and the difference is appreciable – something in the timing, the smoothness, what I’ve heard described as the importance of the space between the notes. I’d read about these ideas before but it wasn’t until I heard them that I actually understood.

Just because it’s awesome (The National – you know I dreamed about you)

Saturday, December 5th, 2009


I am a huge fan of the band The National. I’m consistently moved by the music, the lyrics and especially the vulnerability and deep, soothing voice of lead singer Matt Berninger.

Baby We’ll Be Fine:

He paints such a picture: “I put on an argyle sweater and put on a smile. I don’t know how to do this” and “I pull off your jeans, and you spill jack and coke in my collar. I melt like a witch and scream”. I love the line: “All we’ve got to do is be brave and be kind” (possibly less of a plan than a plaintive hope?), shining out amongst cascading repititions of: “I’m so sorry for everything”.

Green Gloves (audio only):

Lovely harmonies, lovely singing, soft and deep. In a song about friends (“I have arms for them”), I love the whimsy of: “Cinderella through the room. I glide and swan cause I’m the best slow dancer, in the universe” (check out how good the song is live, too, starting around 0:58).

maybe my favorite of their songs, Slow Show:
.
I see my own inner worries in the line: “God, I’m very, very frightening. I’ll overdo it” But it is the beautiful and haunting refrain at the end: “You know I dreamed about you for 29 years before I saw you. You know I dreamed about you. I missed you for 29 years” that can make my heart ache, still, after listening to the song for years.

Just because it’s awesome (Arctic Monkeys – I bet you look good on the dancefloor)

Friday, October 16th, 2009

It’s *snowing* in October in Boston. It’s dark and cold and the thing this day really, really needed – I noticed when walking down the street with my shoulders hunched against the wind and rain – the thing which really reformed the morning was Arctic Monkeys: ‘I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor’.

So starting a new theme: just because it’s awesome….


Arctic Monkeys at Glastonbury, 2007, lyrics

Things I saw/heard today (“I got words for this and the way it fits: It’s all about the light and the sound around it.”)

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I tripped across Emily Wells (via somerequired)

The music is beautiful and unique and her husky voice contains just the right ache and elan for perfect accompaniment.

The lyrics are great too:

Fair thee well and the requiem mix
I got a loan shark and a quick fix,
For those I left behind,
In a suitcase of fire flies,
Find ya, I wanna treat you right,
Never leave you beggin and cryin.
Coming down the mountain in a wet carriage,
Full speed like a spent marriage.
I got more than enough to keep me whole.
For once I’m not slightly out of control.
Got crazy dreams when it breaks morning,
Everyday, a requiem.
These morning dreams are just like memories:
Late night, starring through the trees.
I got words for this and the way it fits:
It’s all about the light and the sound around it.
Fair thee well and the requiem mix I
Got a feather bed and a couple of tricks,
For those I left behind.

Things I saw today (music by birds)

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

Another lovely little ‘mental health break’ video via Andrew Sullivan:

Birds on the Wires from Jarbas Agnelli on Vimeo.

I realize birds on wires is something of a recurring theme for me on my tumblr feed as well (I love tumblr but wish there was a way to tag things)