Saturday, November 21, 2009


Bought a bunch of these old-fashioned thingies called CDs. Woo! Can't wait to dig in.

• Brandi Carlile, Give Up the Ghost: Previewed this on her site after hearing her interview with Jian and it pulled strongly. It's on now and I'm digging it. More songs in the vein of The Story but with new inflections and sounds. I enjoy her register — she's an alto who's not afraid to use the upper range — and the humanness of her singing. Heart-on-sleeve really works for me.

• Metric, Fantasies: Actually a gift from Allia, who calls it one of the best of 2009; other reviews are similarly enthusiastic. I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Metric, so I'm looking forward to hearing this one.

• Imogen Heap, Ellipse: Previewed this on iTunes after watching a video demonstrating Heap's recording process. I love her sound! I enjoyed her previous disc, although it did tend to fade into the background after a few listens. This new one was really yummy in preview — super electronica! Looking forward to this one, too.

• Modest Mouse, Good News for People Who Love Bad News: Hooked by the single "Float On", which always makes me smile. MM has a fanatical following. Perhaps I'm about to become part of it.

• Green Day, 21st Century Breakdown: The first single, "21 Guns", caught my ear and has been on my iPod regularly for the last few months. So few mainstream artists are making anything resembling political music these days. I have hope for this disc — and have deliberately not read any reviews. I want to hear this one fresh.

• MGMT, Oracular Spectacular: Not new — this one came out last year, and I dislike the lead single "Time to Pretend". (That's a great endorsement, right?) But I adore the follow-up singles "Kids" and "Electric Feel", so this one should be OK on balance. Again, Allia strongly recommended this disc, and I have developed faith in her recommendations.

Noe Venable, "The World Is Bound by Secret Knots", "The Summer Storm Journals" and "Down Easy" (as the Noe Venable Trio): On Ecto, the mailing list I am still subbed to after more than a decade, Noe Venable is regularly hailed as an emerging goddess. Her sound is girlish — a high voice, sometimes quite thin and soft, with sensitive lyrics and emotional delivery. Not poppy in any way. These discs have been in the changer for the last three weeks and are growing on me, although I can't say Ms Venable grabbed me instantly. Pleasant, but a little background-y.

Lately I've been into a little more drama in music, a la Marina and the Diamonds. Marina's iTunes singles have been on my iPod almost daily for the last three weeks. I wish I could get the disc in Canada!

I've also been listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' new disc It's Blitz! frequently, although I've had it for a few months. Still have to dive into Grizzly Bear and White Lies, both of which I've also had for a while. But time, you know? Well. These can go into the changer next.

There are few things in this world I cannot resist. Two of them are books and music. And since I'll be pounding the books pretty hard for the next two weeks, I'm glad to have some music to go with them.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Just supposin' I'm proposin'

And the thought for today is this:

"... it's hardly surprising that most citizens should increasingly withdraw from public life: why should the practice of citizenship seem worthwhile when politicians and corporations alike seek to infantilize the people, reducing them to consumers confronted with the most trivial of choices?" — Alex Callinicos (The Resources of Critique, p. 253)


Friday, November 06, 2009

The vault of lost lyrics, chapter 9

Such a wry and melancholy song.


"The Dangling Conversation" (as recorded by Simon & Garfunkel)

It's a still-life water color
Of a now-late afternoon
As the sun shines through the curtained lace
And shadows wash the room
And we sit and drink our coffee
Couched in our indifference
Like shells upon the shore
You can hear the ocean roar
In the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
The borders of our lives

And you read your Emily Dickinson
And I my Robert Frost
And we note our place with book markers
That measure what we've lost
Like a poem poorly written
We are verses out of rhythm
Couplets out of rhyme
In syncopated time
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
Are the borders of our lives

Yes, we speak of things that matter
With words that must be said
"Can analysis be worthwhile?"
"Is the theater really dead?"
And how the room is softly faded
And I only kiss your shadow
I cannot feel your hand
You're a stranger now unto me
Lost in the dangling conversation
And the superficial sighs
In the borders of our lives