Archive for the ‘music’ Category

future islands is a shimmery new wavey sorta group who used to play with dan deacon and wham city; on 12 june at 8pm they will be playing at the silent barn in ridgewood; you should come!

this is an especially pretty music video (in hd!!!) for their song tin man:

their music feels like pastel afternoons at a build-a-bear workshop, and also like wearing neon leggings while eating ice cream cake on cape cod, and maybe even a little bit like what it would’ve felt like if molly ringwald came to my bat mitzvah.

if you do come to the show and you see a short girl with brown hair dancing around like a huge dork you should come say hi; either it will be me or you will have just made a super cool new friend.

[ stefanie ]

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i haven’t been the biggest fan of john cage since i was in high school, when the boy i was dating performed 4’33” at our senior solo recital and i was so embarassed to have been dating the kid who stood on stage in silence for almost five minutes that i thereby rejected all avant-garde composers.



high school biases notwithstanding, it turns out john cage is, in fact, a worthwhile figure to acquaint oneself with. i love this reaction he had to opinions of 4’33”:


They missed the point. There’s no such thing as silence. What they thought was silence, because they didn’t know how to listen, was full of accidental sounds. You could hear the wind stirring outside during the first movement. During the second, raindrops began patterning the roof, and during the third the people themselves made all kinds of interesting sounds as they talked or walked out.


this recording posted exerpts from john cage’s indeterminacy this morning. read them!


One of Mies Van der Rohe’s pupils, a girl, came to him and said, “I have difficulty studying with you because you don’t leave any room for self-expression.” He asked her whether she had a pen with her. She did. He said, “Sign your name.” She did. He said, “That’s what I call self-expression.”


When Colin McPhee found out that I was interested in mushrooms, he said, “If you find the morel next spring, call me up, even if you only find one. I’ll drop everything, come out, and cook it.” Spring came. I found two morels. I called Colin McPhee. He said, “You don’t expect me, do you, to come all that way for two little mushrooms?”


Five years later, when Schoenberg asked me whether I would devote my life to music, I said, “Of course.” After I had been studying with him for two years, Schoenberg said, “In order to write music, you must have a feeling for harmony.” I explained to him that I had no feeling for harmony. He then said that I would always encounter an obstacle, that it would be as though I came to a wall through which I could not pass. I said, “In that case I will devote my life to beating my head against that wall.”


when i was a freshman in college i took a course on the history of modern dance taught by a woman who had danced with merce cunningham, john cage’s lovah and creative collaborator. i wish i could remember my professor’s name — louise, maybe — but far more vivid in my memory is her adamant refusal to wear a bra, ever, and her sorta icky smell. anyway, she was old and fairly crazy, often telling us to “float like seaweed” and leading us through the hallways with ribbons and sheets of chiffon. one day, we were all sitting in the room waiting for her to arrive, talking and being pretty loud probably, when she appeared in the doorway. she walked to the front of the room, silent all the while, and watched us calmly until we quieted down. then she walked back to the door, turned the lights off, and left. after what felt like forever — the darkness had been punctured by occasional nervous laughter but no one had dared to speak — she reentered the room, turned the lights back on, and, with no further explanation, told us that today we would be learning about john cage.



the dark classroom was a vehicle, just like the silence of 4’33”, to hear and notice background noise. that was john cage’s music: giggling, squirming, breathing were just as momentous as chord progressions and intricately placed harmonies. very very zen.


in the end, how can you not love someone who, in addition to being one of the most influential creative figures of the 20th century, was also an amateur mushroom collector?



[ stefanie ]

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It’s Sunday night.  Are you feeling like you could use somebody?  I could use this cover of Kings of Leon any night of the week.


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I’m slightly obsessed with this song right now, and thought I would share:

Painting by Chagall, The Weepies

Thunder rumbles in the distance, a quiet intensity
I am willful, your insistence is tugging at the best of me
You’re the moon, I’m the water
You’re Mars, calling up Neptune’s daughter

Sometimes rain that’s needed falls
We float like two lovers in a painting by Chagall
All around is sky and blue town
Holding these flowers for a wedding gown
We live so high above the ground, satellites surround us.

I am humbled in this city
There seems to be an endless sea of people like us
Wakeful dreamers, I pass them on the sunlit streets
In our rooms filled with laughter
We make hope from every small disaster

Everybody says “you can’t, you can’t, you can’t, don’t try.”
Still everybody says that if they had the chance they’d fly like we do.



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It’s Friday, Chill TF Out!

Pour yourself a glass of wine (still at work? take a lunch break), relaaaaax, listen to the intoxicatingly simple guitar riffs (ok I don’t know what riffs are, but maybe?) of Alejandro Rosso (below) and Emilio de Benito (above).


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I have recently been introduced to a few auditory time travelers: musicians who have managed to produce music in the 2000s, which one would have sworn came from an earlier decade. As for my first example, Brooklyn-spawned Au Revoir Simone, have the song Stars, to which my immediate internal reaction was a sensation of de ja vu.  Wasn’t this song on my high school friend’s Napster-born burned CD, appropriately titled, “Dance Party USA,” circa summer of 2002?  I quickly realize that is not that case.  In fact, the song I’m thinking of is Stacy Q’s adrenaline pumping hit Two of Hearts.  No doubt, the quality benchmark for 80’s girl rock.  And not-so surprisingly, while searching You Tube, I stumbled upon a remake by Kelly Osborne, who manages, somehow, to turn the song into Madonna cover.  Anyway, after rediscovering Stacy Q’s song, I realize that Stars and Two of Hearts don’t really sound the same… at all, but that is not the point.  My point, Sherlock, is that there exists a contemporary Indie Band who can create music that successfully confuses you about what year it is.  To finish the recipe, add a dose of Japanese animé, and the cover of their old album The Bird of Music (1968? 1972? 2007?!?!), and VOILA!  Pure temporal confusion.

My second, and more believable case: The Explorer’s Club.  There is no mistaking this one: second 8 to second 12 of Forever, track 1 on their album Freedom Wind, is undoubtedly, note by note, the intro to The Ronettes’ Be My Baby.  There is no way I’m not gonna catch that one, Explorers!  Nor anyone else who grew up watching Dirty Dancing!  And, in addition, there is no way I’ll not want to catch you the next time you open for Zach Galifanakis!  If you get back together, that is (?).  Someone posted a comment commenting that they broke up.  I can’t verify this, and don’t want to if it’s true.  I’d rather they stay together, while denying their relative measure of success, and relocate to Richmond, finding a new identity as a street-corner-performing sextet (perhaps outside a Barber Shop?).

I can totally picture it: just mentally remove “music,” “friendly,” and “dancing,” and replace it with clip art images of combs and upside down shampoo bottles.  Well, and erase one of the band members.. I don’t know where that seventh guy came from (Wikipedia was wrong??).  Besides all that, their music already fits the bill.  And it makes me remember my love for Oldies.  Like Please Mr. Postman.


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Viva la Roux!

So, this is no breaking music news, but thanks to a music service named after a mythical character who ruined the world with her box (not Eve, actually), I’ve added the fabulous La Roux to my repertoire.

I now walk the streets of New York (they make you feel brand new!) with a power pace, the result of one-part sky-high black suede booties (an older man actually catcalled my heels at 10 AM Sunday in West Village: “Those are some great shoes!”) and five-parts La Roux’s zippy, electro-synth soundtrack playing on my iPod.  Please, indulge:

“Bulletproof (Lagos Boys Choir Remix)”

If you likey, and you too want to be invigorated by her irresistibly catchy, 80s-video-game beats & cute f-you girl lyrics belted out with an elusive (is singer French? Norwegian?…French, thanks Wiki)-yet-kind-of-enthralling accent, please obtain the following two songs:

1. In For the Kill (and subsequent remixes)

2. Reflections are Protection

In no time you will be pounding pavement in whatever city you’re in with a spunk in your step.


UPDATE: spotted, La Roux– belting out “Bulletproof”– as the next big thing, on Taxi TV, en route from Upper West to Williamsburg 3/13/10.  The producers must have read this post.

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