Thursday, May 26, 2011

What I'm Listening To; Week of May 22nd

For this week's music post, I thought I'd share a couple of the songs that I've listened to heavily the past week or so. This will probably be the normal format for the weekly music post because I don't have an entire new album to write about that often. Normally, there are 2 to 3 songs that are getting heavy play on the old mp3 player. Below are the stand outs from this past week.

"Wake and Be Fine" by Okkervil River: This band is new to me. They released an album recently and I've given it a listen. To be honest, I am not completely sold on rest of the album. I don't hate it at all but am not head over heels. I will give it more listens because I love this one song so much. Maybe the rest will grow on me. Also, the singer has a good beard going on, which is something I appreciate. I prefer my musicians bearded.

"Calgary" by Bon Iver: Seriously, Bon Iver is so, so good. He's releasing a new album next month and "Calgary" is the first song I've heard from it. I can't wait to hear the rest. And, unless he's shaved, he also has a great beard. No video has been made for this one yet.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Perfectly Small Kitchen

I have seen this photo several times across the internet and I think it's incredible. It's proof that a kitchen doesn't have to be huge to be amazing. The colors are serene, the light fixtures are modern, and the floors are dreamy. All that being said, when I see a kitchen with beautiful white cabinets and counters, I always picture them covered with spaghetti splotches.
(via thesweetestoccasion)

Friday, May 20, 2011

I saw this photo today on Design Sponge and had to share it. There is so much I love about this room, the windows, the paint job, the quilt, the light, and that perfect gray sofa. When I decorate my dream living room, it will have the perfect, gray, modern sofa just like the one in this photo. I'm not crazy about the rug in this room but everything else is great. This is the perfect mix of old (the windows and quilt) and new (that wonderfully modern sofa)
(via DesignSponge)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

What I'm Listening To: The Antlers- Burst Apart

One thing I've learned since starting this blog is that, although I may not be all that good at it, I really love writing about music. Since I've completed the 30 Day Song Challenge, I want to continue writing about music, so I am going to do a, hopefully weekly, post about the music that is currently getting the most play on my mp3 player.

This week it's The Antlers new album, Burst Apart. I mentioned their last album, Hospice, during the song challenge. Hospice is an album that affected me in a way no other has. The story told on that album is so painful and the lyrics are so sorrowful that I cried the first time I heard it from start to finish. It was gut-wrenching. I thought it was incredible but I wouldn't describe it as an enjoyable experience. The songs from that album are often skipped when I'm listening to my mp3 player on shuffle. This is not because I don't love them. It's just that I am not usually in the mood for such dark music and a lot of the songs leave me feeling emotionally drained. 

The Antlers new album, Burst Apart, while still deeply emotional at times, feels much lighter and is easier to listen to than Hospice.  I agree with people that have said it is clearly influenced by Radiohead but I don't think that's a bad thing. The music is at times atmospheric and Peter Silberman sings in falsetto frequently which are both characteristics that remind me of Radiohead. While the album does have an upbeat feel, it can't be described as happy. There is still that gloom and heartbreak that the band does so well.  It still has it's rip your heart out moments, especially the song "Putting the Dog to Sleep." The album has been out for a little over a week and I've listened to it several times already and the more I listen, the more I like it. My current favorites are "Every Night My Teeth Are Falling Out," "No Widows," and the before mentioned "Putting the Dog to Sleep."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Keith Morrison, I Love You

If you have spent any time on YouTube, you may have come across a video like this. Some teenage girl creates a photo montage of their favorite male celebrity while a cute love song plays. Often, they've included little sayings or quotes in between the photos to express their undying devotion to that celebrity. These types of videos typically feature some dreamy heart throb actor, like Robert Pattinson or the one that plays the werewolf.

My normal reaction when I come across one of these videos is to quickly stop playback, click away from the page, and consider what incorrect choice I might have made to bring me to that particular web page. Today, however, I came across such a video that caused a very different reaction.

I was watching the news with Jason's sister, Juli, and we got into a conversation about news correspondents. I brought up Keith Morrison and tried to describe the apparent glee he has while interviewing people, regardless of how horrific their story is. She was not familiar so I pulled out my laptop and searched his name in YouTube. That is how I came across the video below.

I realize that this video was probably made to make fun of all the other videos of this type but, deep down, I hope that it is actually sincere. I hope there is some girl with a crush on Keith Morrison that is so intense, she just had to create this video and share her love with the world. Whatever the case may be, I am glad that this video was created. The choice of music is brilliant.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Day 30 - Looking Over the Past 30 Days, a Song I Would Replace

"We Will Become Silhouettes" by The Shins (The Postal Service cover)-I've looked over the past 30 days of the challenge and if I would change one of my selections, it would Day 07- Favorite Cover Song. Somehow, I managed to go the whole challenge without using more than one song by The Shins which is notable considering that I could have done nothing but Shins songs.

When I was writing about my favorite cover song, I forgot about The Shins cover of "We Will Become Silhouettes" by The Postal Service. This is my favorite cover song by far. This is an upbeat, happy song about the end of the world. I love both versions of the song but I prefer The Shins version because they put their "shinny" take on it. Below are both versions.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Yesterday, I had a little bit of free time, which is something that has been scarce lately. I also had a few ideas for blog posts. I planned to sit at my computer and write a few posts, including the probably not at all thrilling thrilling conclusion to my 30 Day Song Challenge. As you can see, this did not happen. The reason? Blogger was down ALL STINKING DAY. So instead, I surfed the web and logged some  Pinterest, Google Reader, Youtube, and StumbleUpon time. It was enjoyable but completely unproductive. Sure, I could have written the posts offline and posted them Blogger was back up and running, but that's not my style. Unfortunately, I won't have time to post anything in the next couple of days. I hope to finish the challenge and write a few post in a couple of days. Your patience is appreciated (I like to pretend I have thousands of readers when I actually have about 3.7.)

Until I can catch up, here is something I saw yesterday while surfing around. That lamp is calling my name.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Day 29 - A Song That Reminds My Why I Love Music

"14 Forever" by Stars - This song makes me think of all the music I love. The lyrics seem to describe a relationship between the band or singer and their fans. It reminds me of how a song can feel like it's written specifically for you.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Day 28 - A Song By the Last Band You Saw in Concert

"The Stars Just Blink for Us" by Say Hi - I am playing catch up on the 30 day challenge which is why there's 2 posts today. I think today should actually be Day 29 but it's ok. I will just change the name to the 30 Day (or so) Song Challenge. I haven't followed any other rules of the challenge, why start now.

I used another song by Say Hi in an earlier post and mentioned that I saw them live recently. Strangely, I went to this show with the same person who took me to my first concert, my brother Ben. This is strange because, before the Say Hi show, I don't think I'd been to a show with Ben since we went to see No Doubt when I was 14 or 15.

The show itself was pretty good. It was in the back room of the Black Cat in DC which is very small. My sister-in-law told me before the show that they don't play fan favorites and, for the most part, stick with their most recent album. This turned out to be true and was a little disappointing because, while I enjoy the album released earlier this year, there are lots of songs from earlier albums that I would have loved to hear live. That being said, I still really enjoyed the show and would love to see them again some time. The opening band, Yellow Ostrich, was also quite good.

Here's one of my favorites that, unfortunately, they didn't play at the show. I really wish there was an actual video to post and not just cover art with song lyrics.

Day 27- A Song By the First Band I Saw In Concert

"Istanbul" by They Might Be Giants - Technically, I went to my first concert at three years old when my family went to see The Beach Boys on the National Mall. Since I have no memory of this, I am going with the first concert I can remember, They Might Be Giants. My brother, Ben, has been a TMBG fan for a long time and I remember borrowing his tape and listening to it over and over. When I was 13, he took my brother Kevin and I with a few of his friends to see them at Wolf Trap. I remember very little about the show but I do remember there was a guy wearing a Pink Freud shirt and Ben finding it amusing. I didn't get it at the time.

Below is the Tiny Toons video for "Istanbul" which I haven't watched since I was a kid. I really loved Tiny Toons and TMBG so this makes me very nostalgic.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Day 26 - A Song With a Great Video

"True Loves" by Hooray for Earth- I just heard this song and heard this video on and had to share it here. Dooce frequently features music on her blog and usually, the songs she features are gems. I had never heard of Hooray for Earth before reading her post about this song but I will now be grabbing their album when it comes out in June. Both the song and the video are incredible.

Hooray For Earth - True Loves from Dovecote Records on Vimeo.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

There's a recent trend I've noticed on Pinterest and other design sites, art prints with little sayings or slogans. I don't really care for this trend. Normally, the saying is over the top cutesy or inspirational, which isn't really my thing. They sort o remind me of the "Hang in There, Baby" cat poster. This trend seems to have spawned from the very popular "Keep Calm and Carry On" and "For Like Ever" posters. Even though, I am not a fan of this trend, I found a couple of exceptions. I would be happy to hang either of these on my wall.

Day 25 - Something Slow, Soft, and Pretty

"Skinny Love" by Bon Iver- I haven't felt very well today. I'm a little under the weather and a little down in the dumps. If I were feeling well, I might post something happy and upbeat but I only seem to be in the mood for low-key, acoustic songs. That's where Bon Iver comes in. This music is perfect for my current mood. This morning, all I wanted to do was pull the covers back over my head, put in some headphones, and listen this album.

I should mention that I first hear Bon Iver on an episode of Chuck, which is a surprisingly good source to hear new music.

Day 24 - A Song For When Your Feeling Melodramatic

"The District Sleeps Alone" by The Postal Service - Even though this song has nothing to do with hockey, it feels appropriate in a melodramatic way. Maybe next year, Caps.

It's Only A Game

Tonight, I intended to catch up on the song challenge and maybe write another post about something or another but I am too depressed. The Washington Capitals season was ended tonight in a pathetic way. They were swept in the series against the Tampa Bay Lightning. They might as well not have shown up with the way they played.

I should start off by saying how ridiculous it is that I allow myself to get so wrapped up in a sports game. I realize that it is pointless to get emotionally invested in something that is, one, trivial in the scheme of things and, two, something that I have no control over. That being said, I do get emotionally invested. I watch the games. I learn about the players. I learn all I can about the game. I root for the team. I get excited when they win and I get down when they lose. And when they lose miserably in a game that ends their season, I get really down.

You might think that I would learn from my experiences as a fan of the Redskins. In recent years, I've come to expect that the Redskins will not do well. They haven't been very good in a long time and it would be a surprise if they ever had a season that ended in a playoff run. But when it comes to the Capitals, they are expected to do better. They are also expected to make the playoffs and make it far in the post season. In recent years, at the start of every season, there is real hope that they could make it the Stanley Cup Finals and maybe even win it all. So when they fall flat in the second round of the playoffs, without a single win, it is stunning and painful. This series against Tampa Bay was a huge disappointment. The team was barely recognizable. In each game, I kept hoping that they would wake up, show some intensity, and turn it around, but they seemed defeated from game one. I only saw a few glimpses of the team I know and love.

I don't know what's going to happen this off season. I have an idea or two, but I won't speculate. Right now, I feel like giving up on sports all together but I know that when the season starts, I will be right back, rooting for the team with high expectations. Hopefully, I will be able to write a very different post in a year.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Room of the Day

I realize that I don't actually have a series called "Room of the Day" but maybe I should. I came across a photo of this room earlier and just had to share it. I love everything about this room, from the little orange elephant to that spectacular entertainment wall. It's the home of the writer of YellowBrickHome, a blog that was added to my Google Reader feed shortly after I first saw this photo.

Day 23 - A Song That References Another Song

"Gimme Sympathy" by Metric- I may be grasping with this day's theme but I had to find an excuse to write about this song. Also, when my version of the challenge becomes the internet sensation that it is destined to be, I think this will be one of the more challenging days.

I've had Metric on my mp3 player but only recently heard this song when Amazon offered it for free, which they are still doing. I love a band with a good female lead and Emily Haines is one of my favorites. Of course, the song being referenced is "Here Comes The Sun" by The Beatles. Since I bashed "Hey Jude" earlier in the challenge, I'm glad to mention a Beatles song that I really love. I've included that below, too.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Excuses, Excuses

The last few days have been extremely busy for me at work and I have had very little time for anything else. As a result, I've neglected this blog and my other internet related activities. I thought I would have the chance to sit and write a post tonight while watching the Caps game tonight but it's only 3 minutes in and I realize that I won't be able to look away from my tv screen for the next couple of hours. It's game three of their series against Tampa Bay and we're down two games already. Hopefully, I will have the chance to catch up on the song challenge after the game but until then, I will be on the edge of my seat, biting my nails. Let's go CAPS!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Day 22 - The Last Song You Acquired Without Purchasing

"Civilian" by Wye Oak- No, I didn't steal it. Amazon often offers free downloads of what they call "up and coming" artists. Recently, this song was one of the songs they had for free. I don't know that I would have purchased the song but I like it enough to download it for free.