Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Kids are funny

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

I told the kids to put on their bathing suits, get their goggles and towels, and get in the car. “we’re going down to meet your dad at a studio, going by Goodwill, then going straight to the pool,” I said. So, that’s how I found myself on 85South, all three of us singing along at the top of our lungs to Tokyo Police Club, and i looked back in the rear view and both kids already had their goggles on down over their eyes, riding down 85, and I smiled at the image of what we must look like to people in cars around us.

Fireside Epiphanies

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Ribs, Beer, and Smores are awesome together. Sonic Youth is perfect fire-gazing music. Firegaze, if you will. And, on a sad note, I have become that dude who says, “If you don’t eat your meat, you can’t have any pudding! How can you have any pudding, if you don’t eat your meat.” on Another Brick in the Wall.


New Music Suggestions

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

So, i mentioned on Facebook that I needed new music recommendations, and boy did the folks come out in droves. Thought I would share the wealth, and point Dogwood readers over there, so you can benefit also.

And of course, more music recommendations welcome in the comments.

The Decemberists Blew Me Away

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

We went to see The Decemberists last night at the Tabernacle. Todd and I are both big fans, and have been wearing their albums out around the house. I have listened to the latest album, Hazards of Love, so much in the car that Tiller goes around humming the melodies. That being said, Todd and I have both agreed that we don’t like the latest album as much as the others, so when he heard that they have been playing the album in its entirety during shows this tour, i was a little bummed. I was hoping to hear more songs from other albums.

But Hazards of Love is one of those big theatrical, concept albums, a story told through songs that blur one into the next, so that you don’t know where one song ends and the next starts, so it seemed logical that the best way to hear it live is to hear it in its entirety – It is definitely a case of the whole being more than the sum of its parts. Or whatever that saying is. . . there are two or three standout songs on it, but it is much more powerful as a folk tale album than as a bunch of singles. And who in our modern day of ITunes, and Shuffles and downloadable singles hasn’t missed the joy of listening to albums? I certainly lament the fall of the album as a work of art.

So, never having seen them before, but having them on my list of bands I really, really want to see, i was excited, but wondering how this whole album thing would go over.


Best show i have seen in years. Natalie will surely argue me on this one, as she is a huge Pogues fan and thinks that show back in March was better. I loved the M. Ward show I saw in Chicago. But this, this show was beautiful, theatrical, sounded absolutely fucking awesome. It went on forever, and I actually wanted it to. Colin Meloy’s voice is like magic, weaving his beautiful stories in a way that somehow (and don’t ask me how) just don’t come off as hokey. I mean, this is some serious drama geek stuff here; they had on period costumes, for god’s sake, except the Queen, whose hair was just like Tiller’s, but black and who was wearing a magical silver-sequined dress. Their songs are actually like reading a good story: About men changing to animals and a fearsome and vengeful forest queen, maidens in distress, a rake boasting of murdering his own children, the crossing of a mighty river, and the lovers final rest in a watery grave. I just couldn’t believe that they could pull it off in a live show, but they did, and they did it perfectly.

The album rises to a climax in a few spots, and then brings you back down, then rises again, and those moments in a live setting were almost electric. The end of the song, “A Bower Scene,” for example, gets heavy with guitar, and I mean heavy. The sound of that guitar in the Tabernacle, with all these lit-rock nerds standing around banging their heads. . . well, I just wouldn’t have imagined it. And then they bring you back out of the sludge and you rest in their sweet and melancholy melodies. Then they bring you the Queen. Dear God, that woman (singer from My Brightest Diamond) was commanding. Not tall in stature, just average, but when the guitar goes heavy again, and she comes out to sing her part of “The Wanting Comes in Waves/Repaid,” the crowd was completely in thrall to her deep and powerful voice. The stage almost seemed empty when she stepped back from the front.

But then Colin steps back up to do “The Rake’s Song.” This song is one of the harder ones that definitely stands on its own, but which I still don’t quite understand how it fits into the larger concept of the album. It doesn’t matter; The Rake is an unapologetic child murderer, bragging of his conquests over his own offspring, and his story thrills and chills.

“Charlotte I buried after feeding her foxglove; Dawn was easy, she was drowned in the bath. Isaiah fought, but was easily bested, burned his body for incurring my wrath.”

(Ironically, Tiller and Rollie love his song – I don’t know if they realize he is singing about killing his own children.)

And then the Queen comes back out for “The Queen’s Rebuke/ The Crossing” and just about rocks our faces off. Todd admitted that he felt a tear in his eye it was so good. The son crosses the river and saves Margaret and they both meet their death together.

Exeunt. They left the stage and the crowd knew they would be back out, but boy did that last a long time. Worth it though, when they came back out. They didn’t play a few songs that i would have loved to hear from other albums (“Leslie Anne Levine,” the poor ghost girl who falls for the dead Chimney Sweep. “The Crane Wife,” about a man saving a crane and it becoming his wife. “Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then),” about a dead soldier and his pregnant lover back home. Or either of my other faves: “Oceanside”, a sensual little coaxing ocean love song, or “The Bandit Queen.” (She only has nine fingers, lives in a grotto, wears a turban, drinks bourbon and robs trains. I want to be her.) To hear “The Bandit Queen” would have made the show absolutely perfect.

They did play “July! July!” “Shankhill Butchers” (a crowd favorite), “16 Military Wives,” and another of my favorites, the melancholy “Raincoat Song.” I’m sure I forgot something here or there, but maybe Todd or Nat will have more to add. The final encore was a cover of the Heart song, “Crazy on You.” That’s one of those songs that you recognize almost immediately, and the crowd went wild, and the band killed it.

Great show. I am mad at myself for not seeing them before (Chastain with the ASO? I could kill myself for missing it.) I rarely say this about any band charging thirty bucks a ticket, but just the Queen’s songs alone were well worth the price of admission. Go see this great band. It made me giddy to be this excited about a live music experience. It’s been a long time.

After the show, Todd mentioned that he didn’t think that he had ever heard a band play a full album live before. I said that I had. Any of my loyal readers want to name the band, venue, and the two albums they played back to back? I know some of you were at the show I was thinking of. . . Nat, you don’t count, because you know the answer after discussing last night.

We’re Sorry, Dogwood Is Unavailable

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

She is flying away to Chicago to see M. Ward for her anniversary and will not be able to get back to you until Tuesday. She regrets the inconvenience.

No, actually, she doesn’t.

For the Love of a Monkey Pie

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

So, Todd and I listen to a lot of music in the car, and after a while, the kids will pick out songs that they really like. Remember when you were a kid, and you had a “phonograph” (at least, that’s what my family called it) and you played things over and over? For me, it was this little red and white-striped box that held a record player inside. You could fold up the box and carry the thing around. It was in our playroom forever. Even before that, my parents had a record player. It was actually a record player and an Am/FM stereo in a HUGE cabinet. You raised the lid and the stereo was inside. Awesome. It was in the living room, and one of my earliest memories is listening to one of those K-Tel compilations that had Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” on it. Played it over and over and danced in the living room. Later, in the playroom, i would play some of my albums (Macho Duck and the Jungle Book. specifically), but more often than not, I would play my parents albums (and later 8-tracks). I really remember listening to The Every Brothers Greatest Hits, Buddy Holly,  and The Beach Boys a lot. On 8-track, Linda Rondstadt was a fave. Bay City Rollers. The Eagles’ Hotel California. Elvis, Elvis and more Elvis. My mom loved her some Elvis. She was even a fan club member back in the day. (Membership card here.)I remember hearing Suspicious Minds all the time! I remember the day Elvis died, too. I came inside – had been out playing, and mom was sitting in the den blaring Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel, and sobbing with tissues in her hand. Yes, my first experience with death and grieving was Mom mourning Elvis.

Another vivid childhood memory was Saturday mornings. My dad would put on Otis Redding, or some Stax/Volt compilations and do housework. I can remember Dock of the Bay being on, and then the sound of the 60s vacuum coming on, and shrieking as I jumped up on the couch to avoid the vacuum getting me; Cecil did not watch out for toes. Other important childhood albums: Dylan’s self-titled “Bob Dylan” with my mom’s friends writing all over it: “Virgin” for my mother’s name, Virginia. A bunch of Beatles and Beach Boys, Jan and Dean, the aforementioned Stax stuff, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. Hank Williams. Hank Williams, Jr. (also my first concert), a ton of Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. Sure, there was some crap: Abba, for instance. But mostly it was great stuff.

Where am I going with this? Well, i think back fondly on a lot of that stuff that I heard growing up. Especially now that my kids are inundated by media, and constantly singing some Barney shit, or wanting us to buy them Diego albums or whatever. So, we still try to listen to our stuff and hope the kids like it. And most of the time, they do have favorites emerge. Every few months or so, we will make them a playlist and now both kids have their own CD player in their rooms. They will play for hours and listen to music and sing in their rooms. I think this is awesome, because then I can also play somewhere else in the house without being bothered by the little pests.

So, Todd made them a cd a few days ago. Some of the stuff they like includes The Cure, Dr. Dog, The Ramones (Tiller knows most of the words to “Blitzkrieg Bop,” which is just funny), and their current absolute favorite is The New Pornographers’ “Letter from an Occupant.” Tiller makes up her own words and her version included a lyric that instead of the “Letter from an Occupant” line, sounds something like “For the love of a Monkey Pie,” which let’s face it, probably makes as much if not more sense.

You are probably asking yourself, “Does she really let her kids listen to a band with the word ‘pornographer’ in their name?” Why, yes. Yes, she does. Because kids never ask the meaning of words, they just like to say them. Rollie gets it right, and Tiller insists on calling them the New Photographers, which makes me laugh, and pisses Rollie off, which is always funny. We gang up on him and call things by the wrong names and he throws tantrums and we laugh at him.

We don’t get out much.

Give the Kids Indie Cred!

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Very, very, very rarely, parenthood and cool coincide. When I say “rare,” I mean, endangered species rare.

But the folks at Paste hit the nail on the head with this one.

I am so buying a copy and playing the playlist for the kiddos.