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Another easy one for Sunday. I remember picking up Sarah Harmer's You Were Here album on a whim my freshman year at University. At the time I was really starting to get into folk music in a big way and she fit perfectly. She's become my go-to Canadian artist; I like that she has a quirkier sound and I've always thought that her songs feel more like short stories than musical exercises.

Her latest album, OH Little Fire, dropped this past summer and I still don't know it that well as I've only done one straight listen through. It's definitely different from 2005's I'm a Mountain which was a journey into more the more bluegrassy side of folk. In Oh Little Fire, Harmer returns to her pop-ier folk sound, and on first listen-through I'd say that the album sounds more youthful than her others. I couldn't decide which song to upload, so you get two that happen to sound pretty similar.

"Captive" by Sarah Harmer (I like to dance around my room to this one)
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"One Match" by Sarah Harmer
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The Amazing Race )
debs: (Music is my boyfriend)
[personal profile] dissonant_dream talked today about having watched one of my favorite films from two years ago, Into the Wild, so I thought I'd talk about the music from that film tonight.

One of my favorite things that happened after the movie came out a few years ago was that people would come up to me while I was working behind the music counter at GRoots and say "I really love Eddie Vedder's work on the Into the Wild soundtrack; he's done other stuff right? Can you point me towards that?" My gut reaction was to say something along the lines of "Sure, c'mon, lemme play you 'Satan's Bed' or 'Do the Evolution.' You'll love it." These were not Pearl Jam listeners but most would not be dissuaded, so I'd special order them Ten or Vs or Yield and send them on their way.

No, Vedder's work on the soundtrack is not really anything like Pearl Jam, but that doesn't mean I love it any less. I think this was an inspired choice by Sean Penn as Vedder really tapped into the story and created a soundtrack that so easily captured the feel of both Krakauer's book and Penn's film. It was Vedder's music that brought me to tears during teh final sequences of the film and without it, the visual interpretation of the story wouldn't have been as powerful as it was.

I'm posting two of my favorite Vedder songs from the soundtrack because I love the theme of "Society" and the raw intensity of "The Wolf."

The thing that bums me out a little bit about the soundtrack is that they don't include any of the other great songs that appear in the film, so I'm also going to include Kaki King's "Doing the Wrong Thing", because I love that one, too.

"Society" by Eddie Vedder
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"The Wolf" by Eddie Vedder
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"Doing the Wrong Thing" by Kaki King
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debs: (Texas hold'um on hotel room floors [gen])
A little atmospheric cowboy music for your Supernatural Friday night. I, like a lot of folks, was introduced to Ryan Bingham through the film Crazy Heart (he wrote the Oscar winning theme song, "The Weary Kind"). I remember taking a gander at his first album, Mescalito, when it dropped in 2007 but at the time the twang of it wasn't quite my style. However, I'm really enjoying this year's Junky Star so I might have to give his older stuff another try. His voice has this wonderful dusty quality somewhat reminiscent of Tom Petty and I love me some good old fashioned country desperation songs. LOL, iTunes says that his songs "convey the same sort of grim fatalism and smoldering romance that pervades the novels of Cormac McCarthy." How can you not love it? ;) Seems appropriate for the night ahead.

"Hard Worn Trail" by Ryan Bingham & The Dead Horses (the guitar in this one is great)
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I was not a big fan of A Fine Frenzy's first album, One Cell in the Sea. There was nothing in it that set it apart for me; certainly not offensive but it was never a disc that I put on by choice. Understandably I was then hesitant this year to give Bomb in a Birdcage a try, but oh I'm glad that I did. This album is quirkier and significantly more interesting than its predecessor. I like nearly every song on it and it has become my "going out" music. I couldn't decide between my two favorites, so I'm putting them both up tonight.

"Electric Twist" by A Fine Frenzy (I put this one on repeat when I'm getting ready to leave the house; I love the beat and the skippy vocals)
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"Swan Song" by A Fine Frenzy (This one aches; I love the fragility of the melody in the chorus)
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debs: (Falling in love with each second song)
The past few years have seen a surge of what I term "weather" bands. I call them thus because it is the only accurate way I've found to describe the enormity of their music. I'm really drawn the controlled chaos of the sounds these types of bands create; they sound like being alive and they take me out of myself for a short while. Bands that come to mind that fit this description are Okkervil River, (to an extent) Arcade Fire, Shearwater, Sigur Rós, etc. And tonight's OSaD choice, Frightened Rabbit. They've been around since the early 2000s, I guess, but I only started listening to them with the release of this year's The Winter of Mixed Drinks. Weirdly, I associate them with Rainn Wilson because I think he tweeted about them a lot for awhile. I think Josh Ritter was listening to them a lot while orchestrating So Runs the World Away.

I chose this particular song because I really enjoy the build of it, like a inevitable storm overhead.

"Not Miserable" by Frightened Rabbit
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debs: (A boy like will give you sorrow [GC])
Last night I talked about West Side Story and I'm going to elaborate more this evening. I think I was seven years old the first time I saw the film, but I honestly don't remember much beyond the music and the colors. It wasn't until the high schools performed it when I was ten that I really understood the story or the characters. To this day that is the only live production of the play I've seen, and I would like it to remain so.

I've seen the film countless times since then and the music never fails to blow me away. Leonard Bernstein & Stephen Sondheim: does it get any better than that? Add in choreographer Jerome Robbins and you've got the perfect musical.

I chose the prologue because the opening scenes for the film comprise one of my favorite cinematic sequences of all time. This is my childhood and my adolescence; everything you need to know about me you can discover in this music. So much love. ♥

"West Side Story Prologue" music by Leonard Bernstein, conducted by Johnny Green

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debs: (Music is my boyfriend)
My song choice tonight is in honor of National Coming Out Day (stateside, I think the Brits get it tomorrow). I've only experienced one true coming out moment in my life--the high school friend I mentioned in an earlier post--everyone else in my life who is gay always just...was. In terms of my uncle, some of the cousins, and my sister, there was never a big announcement, it was just understood. Part of this stemmed, I think, from location as both of my parents were born and raised in the midwest. I don't think my uncle has ever taken his partner of 25+ years back to Iowa. Otherwise, with classmates and friends and such it was something felt instinctively or mentioned in an off-hand way--"Did you hear that Jay came out?"--that sort of thing.

I've had fantasies about coming out as bisexual to my office because most of the people I work with need a swift kick in the balls when it comes to talking about/dealing with non-heteros. What's stopping me is that it feels a bit dishonest; while I find both men and women sexually attractive and have harbored crushes on both sexes, I hesitate to label myself concretely. I think sexuality and affection are nebulous and everyone has their own level of ambiguity, or sway, if you will. Wouldn't it be nice if someday in the future we could just stop obsessing about these labels and just let love be love?

Anyway, the song I chose for tonight is the Catie Curtis' "Radical." This particular version comes from the Kink Live Five CD. I think Kink FM stopped making these live discs, which is a damn shame because they were really something else.

"Radical" by Catie Curtis
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debs: (But I can't leave this world behind)
About the only things that me and the guys in back at work agree on are 1). The Zombie Apocalypse is a distinct possibility, and 2). John Prine is awesome. Earlier this year I picked up the Prine tribute album, Broken Hearts & Dirty Windows because Josh Ritter covered "Mexican Home" but it was The Avett Brothers' cover of "Spanish Pipedream" that really did it for me. I love that song in general and their down-home sound fits it perfectly. Makes me feel like it's springtime even though it's cold and dreary outside.

The thing about John Prine's music is that I think it could be used as a blueprint for Life, particularly this song.

"Spanish Pipedream" John Prine cover by The Avett Brothers
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Also, I wanted to wish [personal profile] ames1010 a very happy birthday! I hope Chicago was all you wanted it to be. :)
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As narcissistic as it sounds, sometimes I feel like Brandi Carlile is singing specifically to me. It's as if she's reached right inside my head and yanked out everything I'm thinking and feeling and is belting it back at me with her incredible, emotive voice. In this age of auto-tuned pop groups and inane lyrics, she's a strong, visceral artist. I feel like we're lucky just to be allowed to listen to her music.

This is the opening track from her most recent album, Give up the Ghost. It means a lot to me right now.

"Looking Out" by Brandi Carlile
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debs: (If the darkness takes you [SPN])
It's Supernatural night once again, so I will put up another one of my SPN songs.

I talked about The Mountain Goats last year and while I usually try not to repeat artists (Josh Ritter always excluded), this particular song embodies what I wanted for season six. It's from their latest album, The Life of the World to Come. A lot of people don't like concept albums. I am not one of those people. The theme of this album is on the surface very clear-- they've named all of their songs after verses from the bible--but the different interpretations of these short passages are each stark and illuminating in their own ways. The passage from which this song took it's name & inspiration reads as follows:

He pulled me out of a dangerous pit, out of the deadly quicksand. He set me safely on a rock and made me secure.

The sound/feel of this song is what I wished for our current season. So far these wishes have gone unfulfilled. I hold out hope.

"Psalm 40:2" by The Mountain Goats
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debs: (Light of my soul after victory won)
From the age of nine until I graduated from college, I sang in one choir or another. I had a particularly good high school choral experience the unfortunately ruined me for everything that came after. My collegiate choir was pretty meh, a fact I was reminded of this past weekend while listening to recordings from my four year stint in their ranks, and I haven't sung in an organized group since. One of the questions people who haven't seen me in a while ask these days is "Are you singing anywhere?" No, I'm not, and this past weekend I think I realized why that is. It's not just that I'm uninterested in the local choirs available to me here, it's also that I'm no longer a soprano. Soprano is not only the section in which I feel most comfortable and secure, it's also the harmonic bit of classical music I enjoy the most. Additionally, I'm not musically gifted enough to sing alto.

So I will just have to appease my inner choral groupie by listening to classical choral music performed by others. Last year I think I talked a bit about Stile Antico and their album Song of Songs and so that's who I choose to offer today. This is a rendition of Song of Songs chapter 7, verses 11-12 composed by Orlande de Lassus and performed by the mixed chorus known as Stile Antico.

"Veni, dilecte mi" by Stile Antico
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Additionally, thank you [personal profile] dissonant_dream for the yorkie. ♥
debs: (Quickdraw Southpaw's Last Hurrah)
It's been quite awhile since I've been charmed by an album, but that's the best way I can describe how I felt when I stuck Hayes Carll's Trouble in Mind in my CD player on the way to work this morning. Carll is a singer-songwriter from The Woodlands, Texas--most evocative town name ever--who's garnered comparisons to Dylan and Townes Van Sant, but I think he sounds most like Todd Snider. He's got a rockabilly alt-country thing going for him, and this album "sounds" Texas more than anything else I've heard in awhile. It makes me want to go barefoot out in the fields and throw on an old pair of jeans to go drinking at the closest thing we have to dive bar in this town.

I'm sharing "Girl Downtown" because it brings a smile to my face (and I want my romantic life to turn out like that) and "Faulkner Street" because it's my favorite song on the album.

"Girl Downtown" by Hayes Carll
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"Faulkner Street" by Hayes Carll
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debs: (Mr & Mrs Spock need to mind meld [MC])
Dar Williams was a huge part of my college experience. I listened to her both obsessively and often exclusively for about four years and even though it's now been about two years (still doing the alphabetical listening schtick) since I've listened to any of her albums in their entirety, I still know all of her songs. Green World may be my favorite of the albums, and I chose this particular song in honor of the newly arrived West Collins (I really hope this is his name and that Misha isn't just making junk up again, because it's adorable), because it reminds me of his daddy. ♥

"What Do You Love More than Love?" by Dar Williams
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debs: (Texas hold'um on hotel room floors [gen])
I've never been a big fan of the Drive-By Truckers, but they were hiding a diamond in Jason Isbell who went solo a few years ago and released his second album, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit last year. If you enjoy the sound of neuvo-soul/alt-country rock (think Martin Sexton, the band Dawes, or Steve Carlson) but grow weary of listening to albums consisting of mostly rehashed love songs, check out Isbell; he's a surprising and intuitive lyricist. I love this one in particular.

"Seven-Mile Island" by Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit
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It's the birthday of one of my best friends from high school, so I gave him a call. We talked for about fifteen minutes and he seemed really pleased to hear from me. So someone explain why now I feel like crying again. Sigh. This continual fluctuation between numbness and self-pitying sorrow is starting to wear.

On the days when I feel overwhelming numbness, I often try to use music to jolt myself out of it. Often I have to use music I can't listen to on "normal" days because it usually makes me feel too much; I require that sort of overboard response just to get back to something resembling a normal emotive footing.

I also have music that I associate with days of the week. For example, I chose Jolie Holland for todays OSaD pick because she feels "Sunday" to me. I only own one album, but I'd like to pick up the one that this particular song resides on because this song hits me in my heart whenever I hear it. It's the melody and the imagery; I think this one is more accessible than some of her others but it's still unique and affecting.

I also think my above-mentioned friend would enjoy her. :)

"Mexico City" by Jolie Holland
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debs: (Falling in love with each second song)
Once upon a time, I asked Keram Malicki-Sanchez for music recommendations. He sent me back a list and at the very top of that list was the Canadian band, STARS, specifically their debut album, Nightsongs. This is one of the many bands that KMS introduced me to that I now love, and while our association ended on a less than satisfactory note, I will always be grateful for his musical guidance.

STARS has what is best described as an electro-pop sound, but the intricacies of their melodies, the poetry of Torquil Campbell's lyrics and the exquisite fragility of the vocals save them from being lumped in with the likes of Gaga and her less intellectual cohorts. This is smart pop and I rate the band up with Sigur Rós in terms of creativity and listenability.

I have many favorite STARS songs, but I chose this one from their most recent release, The Five Ghosts, because it best expresses how I'm feeling these days.

"Dead Hearts" by STARS
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I wasn't even sure I was going to do this this year, mostly because I'm not sure anyone finds this interesting but me. But here we are I suppose. Since we're kicking off on Supernatural night, I'll put up my Dean/Lisa song. Dave Carter, god rest his soul, is one of my very favorite lyricists and his voice reminds me of better days. I wish I had been able to see him and Tracy Grammer perform together.

"Lancelot" by Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer
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debs: (Even I'm getting tired [Jen])
I feel like I don't even need to say this, but please, no reposting of anything that appears on this journal to facebook or twitter. Honestly, LJ, what were you thinking? It's like those folks who live by their Apple products; I in no way want everything connected. Never have, never will. Blah.

I am also annoyed that they've removed "/" from the tag function. LAME. Now I can't use my victory tag anymore. \o/ Sad.
debs: (True Story [HIMYM])
Last week I received yet another wedding invitation addressed to "Blah Blah and Guest." *sigh* Obviously there's still some schooling that needs to be done.

So for those of you getting married, now or in the future, lemme drop a little knowledge on you care of [profile] tasty_bread who is my etiquette guru.

[profile] tasty_bread: Mastering envelope etiquette is, I'll admit, one of the biggest challenges of wedding planning, so I'm inclined to forgive in some cases, but "& Guest" is for people who are currently dating someone for under a year. Single people do not get "& Guest", they get carefully placed at tables with mutual friends of theirs, cool people who share their interests, and/or other singles to ease any possible social anxiety and possibly get them laid.

We all clear now? I won't be receiving any more of these awkward & shaming invitations? Great. Thanks.
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An hour and a half before the ball drops here on the West Coast, but I'm heading to bed. New Year's always leaves me more than a little depressed, although plowing through four episodes of first season Leverage with Bergie definitely helped. For the most part, 2009 was good to me and I hope that I can make 2010 even better.

I'll leave you with two renditions of my two favorite New Year's Eve songs. :)

"Auld Lang Syne"
Artist: John Fahey
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Artists: Sara Mareilles, Jim Bianco, Cary Brothers, Buddy, Holy Conlan, Marie Digby, Katie Herzig, Jesca Hoop, Laura Jansen, Tim Jones, Greg Laswell, Lenka, Anya Marina, Jonah Matranga, INgrid Michaelson, Meiko, Joshua Radin and Butch Walker
(this rendition makes me cry)
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"What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?"

Artist: Diana Krall
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Artist: Rufus Wainwright
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