Twenty years ago I might as well have been living in a bunker without access to the outside world for all I knew about music or pop culture. Don’t get me wrong. My family owned a television and lived a generally normal life. We just weren’t tuned in to some things. Mostly I think that was a good thing. But occasionally I find that there are gaps. For example, I would not have recognized a Beatles song until I was an adult. Not kidding.
This weekend I found another gap: Nirvana. I’d always told myself that I was too young. I was only a young teen in the early 90′s after all, but the crowd at the Uptown Cheapo store for the In Utero tribute on Saturday afternoon wasn’t any older than me. Actually many were younger. The musicians on stage spoke of memories of Cheapo, Nirvana, and being a teenager, and I found myself considering my gaps. So I missed it the first time around. This is clearly something worth going back for.
HighTV covering Nirvana at Cheapo
When it comes to books, I live in the future. The nature of my job means I’m reading books before they are released. My desk is stacked with 2014 titles right now, and it’s hard to look back to a previous publishing season to a title I didn’t get around to last year, or even earlier. If I miss something, I’ve missed it. Or so it seems sometimes.
I feel like I should conclude with something profound about balance, but I think I’ll just turn on some music.
Maybe I should start listening to The Current’s Teenage Kicks occasionally? I’ll catch up with the rest of you eventually.
My partner and I don’t agree on everything. But we do agree on post-rock. Friday night we were out together without the five year-old for the first time a what felt like a long time, but it wasn’t really a date night. His band was playing that night and celebrating the release of a split EP, so he was busy with last minute details for the show and networking–the life of a local rock star is a glamorous one–while I enjoyed the music.
Falcon Arrow, a local post-rock duo, opened the show. They have been around for a couple of years, but they were new to me. And I loved it. When I re-connected with Chad later in the evening, he had procured a Falcon Arrow CD. It seems we still have something in common, after all. :)
Check out Falcon Arrow on Bandcamp for their latest. Here’s a video from the album:
I came across Want to be in a Band? at work recently as I was going through some new picture books, and I paused. It isn’t often you find a picture book that is one part memoir, one part instruction manual for the music industry. And it’s illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators?! Love.
I wasn’t familiar with Suzzy Roche of the family folk-band The Roches before this book. I’ll add it to the list of trivia I have learned from my work in the book industry. In any case, Ms. Roche reveals the secrets to successful musicianship. Here they are for anyone secretly harboring a desire for family folk band stardom: A lot of practice, a lot of shows, and not letting the critics get you down. Most of all, it’s about love. Love for the music and love for your sisters. That’s the important thing, she says.
Maybe I liked the book because I have a thing for memoirs and picture book memoirs are so rare. Or maybe it’s because I really do want to be in a band despite my ridiculous lack of musicality. Actually, it’s probably because I’ve been listening to a lot of The Ericksons (a local sister band with a folk/rock sound) lately, and I can’t help but wonder if they sing at breakfast. Because that’s what being in a family band is like, right? Perhaps Roche spoiled the fantasy a little bit with her pragmatism, but next to Giselle Potter’s folk art style illustrations, I’ll allow it.
Whatever the reality, sisters can make some lovely music. Here is “Where Do You Dwell?” for you to listen to while you imagine a life in which you practice a lot, play a lot of small shows, ignore the naysayers, and just love music.
Find Want to be in a Band? from your local library or support an independent bookstore. No affiliate stuff here. Just trying to support my fellowbook people. :)
Also, you can name your price for The Ericksons music here.
I always seem to grab my notebook when Dessa is on the radio. Her songs have a way of sparking my own creative spirit, and her commentary on her craft become journal entries and eventually blog posts. Today, as I listened to the rebroadcast of Dessa Deconstructed on the Current’s Local Show, I once again found myself jotting down quotes and scribbling poetic jumbles. When you have some time, watch the program or listen to her latest record. Perhaps it will have the same effect on you.
My partner says I have a type when it comes to music. He’s probably right. Look at some of the artists I’ve blogged about: Haley Bonar, Zoo Animal, Lucy Michelle. I can’t deny it. I like female singer-songwriters, especially those who write folky indie pop. For the record, I’ve also blogged about totally different music (See Bloodnstuff, M83, and GY!BE), so I’m not completely stuck in a genre bubble.
I bring this up because Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps is so my type. The recent documentary about the Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter, My Way Back Home: Caroline Smith, highlights Smith’s evolution as a songwriter, her relationship to her family and hometown of Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, and finding her voice.
February is a good month for a birthday. At least here in Minnesota, where it is cold and snowy, it is nice to have a reason to celebrate in the middle of February. I am grateful to my lovely friends for celebrating with me with music at the Whole on the U of M campus on Friday night. We just couldn’t resist seeing Now, Now play a rare show at a small venue here in Minneapolis, even if it meant being the oldest people there. I am not lying when I say that I overheard a couple of students saying “she was at least 30″ when talking about weird it was to see a University librarian at a show. At first, I tried to pretend I was not a 30-something librarian, but then I figured that at least I’m a 30-something librarian with good taste in music. :)
Speaking of my taste in music, Prissy Clerks opened for Now, Now, and they are a recent favorite of mine. When I first played one of their songs for my husband, he put it best: “I think this is what it would sound like if you and I ever started a band.” He has a point. It’s cute and kinda girly, but it’s noisy too. We like it.
Here is Prissy Clerks performing “No Sir” for Radio K in January 2013:
I’ve been listening to the Local Current radio stream lately, and I’ve been thinking about how long I have to live with things to give them a chance. Low, Local Current’s Featured Artist of the month, has been around for 20 years, and I’ve known of them for at least 10-12 of those years. I never really gave them a chance until they released The Great Destroyer in 2005. It was a departure for them, and I loved it immediately. More than that, though, it put their backlist into context for me. Everything clicked. The songs that had been in the background for years weren’t background anymore. They were the ground, and they have been ever since.
I didn’t get it for a long time, and now Low is a band I will always come back to. Their latest record, The Invisible Way, will be released in March.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. A portion of purchases from these links may benefit this blog. Thanks for your support! :)
In September of 2008, my husband and I crowded into the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago to see My Bloody Valentine, one of my husband’s favorite bands. He was giddy to be there, and he was taken to another level of giddiness with the twenty minute wall of noise at the end of the show. I’m not as big a fan as he is, but I have to admit it was an experience unlike anything else and my fan-dom has been growing ever since.
So, obviously, I was one of many (many) fans trying to get to the new record released this weekend on the band’s website when it crashed. An inevitable circumstance, it seems, for a band with such a devoted following finally releasing new music after twenty years.
All’s well now. You can buy the record here. Or stream it here.
Welcome to Thursday! I decided to take a page from one of my favorite kidlit blogs and use Thursdays to feature three things that relate to each other in some way. It won’t be every Thursday, and it’ll probably be mostly books, but this week I have some music for you. It may not be new to you, but it was new to me in 2012.
It feels right to start the Thursday 3 feature off with music I discovered in 2012 because it was a year of re-discovering music. I don’t know if it is getting older (only in my early 30′s!) or busy or what it was that distracted me from music, but I was thoroughly distracted. One of my goals for 2012 was to pay more attention, to seek out new music the way I used to, and write about it on this blog. Perhaps you noticed?
In any case, here are three Minneapolis bands I discovered and liked in 2012:
- Prissy Clerks – I was late to the party on this one. When they were chosen as a Picked to Click band, I was clueless. I also found myself going back even further in time to discover Clara Salyer’s previous band, Total Babe.
- A. Wolf and her Claws - Aby Wolf is a singer-songwriter with a powerful voice and a diverse set of influences. With “Her Claws” she creates minimal electro-pop.
- Now, Now – Okay, I’m cheating a bit on this one because I’d heard of Now, Now for a couple of years at least. But I’m including them anyway because this year, I actually paid attention to them. Of course, a lot of people are paying attention to them these days, including Jimmy Fallon. Here is the video for “The Pull”:
What new music have you discovered recently? How do you find new music?
Today seems like a good day to look back at my favorite songs or albums in 2012, but my gaze is set a bit further back in time. With the news that the 400 Bar is closing, I was reminiscing about the various shows I’ve seen there over the years, and two shows stand out. One from earlier this year, but since it was my husband’s band, I’ll leave that for another time. The show I want to write about today was from 2005. Ivy had recently released In the Clear, and they played a great set to a small crowd at the 400 Bar. We Heart Music posted about that 2005 show recently and noted that Ivy has a newer album (All Hours, 2011) and video released on YouTube in 2012. I don’t know how I lost track of this band over the years, and I must say I’m glad to revisit their mellow pop songs today.
Here is the new video, “Lost in the Sun”:
Or, if you want to live in the past on the last day of 2012, here is “The Best Thing” from Apartment Life:
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.