Today’s a great Monday because Youth Lagoon just released a song from their upcoming album! This band is especially special to me because I’ve got great memories of awkwardly standing alone in a dark room and listening to them jam. Really, it was great!
Happy Monday. Try not to do anything too awkward today. Tell me what you’re listening to!
I’m sitting (actually laying) in a hotel room somewhere in Chicago. I’m supposed to be somewhere over the ocean by now, halfway to halfway across the world, on a plane to South Korea. Now that’s happening tomorrow instead. So, here I sit. (Lay.)
When I first walked into my temporary home, the huge bed, wide desk, and sofa/ottoman thing excited me. Look at all these large comfy surfaces!, I thought (or something similar).
Then I made some coffee. Because why not. And then I drank said coffee. Because I was bored. And then I turned on all the lamps in my hotel room (there are like six different lamps, including two built into the headboard!). Because the coffee was no longer entertaining me. Then I sat (lay) down on the extra-large bed with the white feather-stuffed blanket. And then the room seemed too large, the lamps too bright, South Korea, and me, too far away from all the people I love.
Doing interesting things is hard. Traveling is hard. Moving to the other side of the planet seems difficult. (I’ll let you know how that goes later on.) If you admit to being weak, does that make you any stronger? Do we always need people? What does that even mean? Am I just being silly? Emotional? Over-dramatic? I never can tell.
Maybe I can blame the people I’ve been hanging out with. Those humans I call friends, who make me laugh so hard my head seems to whip around on its own, who make me cry talking about the wonder of life, who embarrass me by talking about… well… stuff.
A few years ago, I never felt this way, like I needed people in my life. I think I was much more self-sufficient. Or maybe I was just wrong. Or maybe I just hadn’t met the right human beings.
I am the elephant king, the one and only
I am the blood of the lamb, I am the holy
I am the teller of tales, I am a story
I am and the elephant king but I am lonely.
I am the prophet's confession on his deathbed
I am the soil of the earth, I am the purebred
I am the listener hearing all that's unsaid
I am the magazines hiding under your bed
And you can't take my kingdom away from me.
I am the elephant king, the one and only
I am the voice of the song, I am the lowly
I am the chosen protector of the dreary
I am the elephant king but I am lonely
So take my jewels and gems, take all that shines bright
Take all the signs of my power away from my sight
I will go to a land of constant daylight
I will talk to myself 'til I am alright
But take good care, I'll be back sooner than you think
'Cause you can't take my kingdom away from me.
It’s Monday! Today we’re going to do something different. Today I’m going to make you a mix-tape. Cool, right?
Oh, yeah. Maybe I should have mentioned that I call this “the mix-tape of sadness”. Sorry about that. But we all have those songs that we use to listen to over and over again and we loved them, and now when we listen to those songs it just isn’t the same! Maybe you heard the words too many times, or you thought of a certain person when you listened to a song, or you decided one Thursday that you had to stop listening to so much swing music. Whatever it is, however it happens, it happens. So, here’s my mix-tape of sadness. Tell me yours!
Ok, whatever, these guys are on “the radio”. I don’t listen to the radio, ok? It’s not my fault. Stop blaming me, sheesh! It’s just been awhile since I’ve heard an album that sounds this good when played as an album instead of individual songs. This is art, man! Or just good music. Which surprises all of us these days, right? Especially good music with good beats and good lyrics! And good accents. Do you know who I’m talking about yet? I’ll give you a hint. No, I’ll just tell you. Calm down!
First of all, I don’t even mess around with bands if they don’t sing well live. Ain’t nobody got time for… well, you know.
I mean really, the words are so good. Are you listening? So Ed Sheeran/Bob Dylan or some other lovely combo.
One more. Check out their whole album if you haven’t heard it yet or if you don’t listen to “the radio”.
This Monday, I don’t really have an impressive story to tell about how I found out about today’s featured Good Music Monday band; I didn’t meet them in a basement, I didn’t hear about them from some friend who lives in a cool city somewhere on the west coast — no, instead, I found them through Spotify. These things happen. And it’s ok, because this group has quickly become my new favorite, my ipod already playing the newly purchased songs so many times over and over again on loop it’s like I’m a scarily obsessed person (I might be). It’s only been a few days, and I’ve already sent some of this new music to my dad! They’ve been introduced! Yes, I guess you could say things have been happening pretty quickly in this relationship. But, I can share, I guess. Here, let me introduce you to
You know someone’s a good singer if they can, like, sing. In person. And especially on a porch.
One more… (there’s lots more on… Spotify! ugh. so. uncool.)
Something that’s sort of interesting about bands that become popular and then stick around for decades is that even though they’re still around, most of the time they’re really only still popular because of their past; because they’ve made some great music in their heyday, and they just happen to still be around and still strumming out tunes. I feel like if Elvis was still around, this would be the case: he’d still be swinging his hips or whatever, and his fans from the 60s would fill up his concerts and buy his new albums even though they might be totally different from “Hound Dog”. The same thing seems to have happened to Bob Dylan. I think his early music is great, and I think most people who are Dylan fans sort of casually ignore/forget that he’s pumping out new songs as well as charmingly reproducing his music from forty years ago. Speaking of reproducing (pun alert), Bob Dylan also made himself a son, who has gone on to make some lovely music of his own. So this Good Music Monday is a shout-out to father and son…
It’s Monday, and it’s summer, and it’s really freaking hot. Which reminds me of last summer, and this really cool band I saw that was the opener for another act in Detroit in a tiny, packed basement show. Usually you want openers to get off the stage as soon as possible, to get to the actual reason you’re in a tiny, sweltering, basement in the first place. But, sometimes, rarely, they’re so good you don’t mind their presence that much. That’s what happened when this crazy/cool/weird group took the stage, called
With their music they put all of us in that basement in a weird and wonderful swaying trance-like state. It was pretty magical. For being in a trance, I guess.
Bang. A gun shot. Don’t worry, we’re in the country, they must be hunting. Hunting what?
The phone rings. You answer. Bang. Another gun shot, this time through the phone in the form of bad news. Your heart drops again. You hang up, wondering, what’s that Mat Kearney song? “I guess we‘re all one phone call from our knees.”
Bang. Another gun shot, hours later. What’s he after? What am I after? What are we all hunting? Did that phone call stop my search or start it?
If today is a bad day, how do all the other days compare? What about the great days? What about those?
Bang. Not a gun shot anymore, just memories; coping, comparing the heart breaks: Your arm put in a cast on your eighth birthday. The crushed front bumper of your sports car. The end of something before it began. A false friend. An empty room.
A phone call. A gun shot. It’s really all the same.
As a writer-y sort of person, sometimes I find myself watching spoken word poetry on Youtube. There’s some really great stuff out there – some fantastically talented poets out there. Cruising the Youtube, however, is not how I found out about today’s Good Music Monday artist. No, I came across this talented human being on the Facebook. Yes, my friends tend to be those sorts of people – the Facebook DJs. But, I think that’s okay. Music – especially good music – is to be shared.
Ok, enough about social media websites! Sheesh. Let’s talk about…
George Watsky, aka Watsky, is a spoken word poet/rapper from L.A. His stuff is really different from everything else that I listen to/have heard. He’s more of a rapper than a poet/more poet than rapper. Get it? His music has meaning, and it’s fun it listen to.
Here’s the first Watsky video I ever saw (the one my friend posted!).
This is George’s super-popular video on the ‘Tube. He raps fast, y’all.
Here’s something a bit different – one of my favorite Watsky songs.
Ok, one more. If you want more Watsky – He’s on Youtube. Of course!
George Watsky (Watsky!) is a great example of a kid who took his dream and made it his reality. I really look up to him!
Watsky is going on tour! I saw his show in Detroit, MI last summer – definitely not a waste of time. Check out his soon-to-be-released album and his tour dates on his website: http://georgewatsky.com/cardboard-castles/
I flick on my blinker and suddenly realize that I’ve almost driven all the way home without noticing. Twenty miles flew by under the wheels of my SUV as I sat, thinking about other things. Four Corners by Josiah Leming starts to play on my ipod, and I think about how that song always tends to play when I’m almost home.
Josiah sings out of the speakers of my car, and I sing along with him.
“Must have passed at least a million homes, Can’t but help and wonder which one’s mine”
I got two hours of sleep last night. No, this morning. I went to bed at 5:55am, got up at 8 to finish that paper I had stayed up all night working on. I feel so tired – so tired that I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep. Not the giddy tired, either. Just tired. Bone tired.
“Half of the moon is all that we get this time.”
I drive down my road, towards home. It’s the middle of december, almost Christmas, really, and there’s no snow. No snow in Michigan in December. I wonder if we’ll ever have a white Christmas again. That’s all snow’s good for, anyway.
“Blink twice, it’s never real.”
I keep thinking about you. I want to hang out with you again. I think about how I’ve seen you more than I’ve seen any of my other friends in the past two weeks. I wonder if that means anything. Maybe I just like you because I like things when they’re new, when I haven’t gotten tired of them yet.
“I wish that my heart could eat away my brain, ‘Cause it swings in front of me and makes me insane.”
When I get home I curl up in a ball on the newish purple rug in my room. It’s comfy. Slowly I come to realize that I’m laying on the floor in my bedroom. I don’t care, though. Sometimes being a girl is painful. Sometimes being alive is painful.
“Four corners make a whole, And the holes will drag you under.”