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What I’m Listening To

23 Jan

MUSIC: it’s what keeps me going. I love music and I love sharing it with my friends. I’ve decided that every now and then I’ll post a few songs that have been in heavy rotation on my ipod. Feedback is welcome.

Also, please tell me if you’re unable to play these. I can always post youtube videos or links, but I’m gonna be pissed if I got a space upgrade so that I can upload mp3s and it doesn’t work. I’ve tested them and they play for me, but let me know if you have problems.

Here’s what I can’t stop listening to lately:

Gold Motel: I am in love with this aptly-titled album, Summer House, which feels like summer. What a great escape from this frigid weather. Every song is amazing, but Sunshine All Night is probably my favorite. It reminds me of my time in L.A.:
Arcade Fire: Suburban War, off of their 2010 album The Suburbs, is unequivocally the best song of 2010. We can’t “agree to disagree” on this one, you just listen to it repeatedly until you concur:
The New Pornographers: Amanda turned me onto this band last summer, and I’ve been dragging them back out lately. Again, this whole album is amazing, so it was hard to choose one song for you to sample. Here’s We End Up Together from their 2010 album Together:
Girl Talk: From the 2010 album All Day, here’s my favorite, Every Day:
Kanye West: I know he can be quite the arrogant asshole, but he’s also a genius. He and I both love many of the same bands (he’s a big fan of Daft Punk, TV on the Radio, etc), and I love hearing the indie rock influences in his work. Here’s one I’ve had on repeat, it’s from his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, this is Lost in the World, featuring Bon Iver:
And lest you think I’ve been doing nothing but reliving 2010, I give you a couple of much older songs that are in my Top Played List of late:

Chris has turned me into a Talking Heads fan, and these are the two songs I play the most lately. This is Road to Nowhere, from their 1985 album, Little Creatures:
And this is Sugar On My Tongue, from their 1977 album,  77:
Now what have you been listening to?


The Best Love Songs of the 21st Century (so far)

5 Sep

Click on a song name to watch a video (chosen for the sound quality and not visuals); click the artist name to go to their website.  You’re welcome to add your own favorites in the comments, but here are the very best love songs from the year 2000 to the present, according to me:

25.  I See You: The Duhks – Canada; World/Country/Folk; “I see you, for everything you are; in this sea of people, you’re the shining star; they fade away…”
24.  Sleeps With Butterflies: Tori Amos – LA by way of Maryland, born in North Carolina; Alt-Rock/Baroque/Piano Rock; “You say the word, you know I will find you, or if you need some time I don’t mind; I don’t hold on to the tail of your kite; I’m not like the girls that you’ve known, but I believe I’m worth coming home to; kiss away night, this girl only sleeps with butterflies…”
23.  Northern Lights: Bowerbirds – North Carolina; Indie-Folk; “I don’t need you to catch my wandering mind; And I don’t expect a southern girl to know the northern lights; And all I want is your eyes, in the morning as we wake for a short while…”
22.  The Only Exception: Paramore – Franklin, Tennessee (lead singer from Meridian, MS); Alt-Rock/Emo/Pop-Punk; “Up until now I had sworn to myself that I’m content with loneliness; Because none of it was ever worth the risk; Well, You, are, the only exception… You, are, the only exception…”
21.  Naked As We Came: Iron and Wine – aka Samuel Bean; Austin, TX by way of Florida by way of South Carolina; Folk Rock; “She says “If I leave before you, darling / Don’t you waste me in the ground” / I lay smiling like our sleeping children / One of us will die inside these arms / Eyes wide open, naked as we came…”
20.  Stillness Is The Move: Dirty Projectors – Brooklyn; Experimental Indie Rock; “after all that we’ve been through / I know we’ll make it after the wait / the question is a truth / there is nothing we can’t do / I’ll see you along the way baby / the stillness is the move”
19.  You Picked Me: A Fine Frenzy – Los Angeles; Indie Rock/Alt-Rock; “And all I can say, is you blow me away, Like an apple on a tree, hiding out behind the leaves, I was difficult to reach, but you picked me, Like a shell upon a beach, Just another pretty piece, I was difficult to see, but you picked me…”
18.  Big Red Heart: Tracy Bonham – Eugene, Oregon; Alt-Rock/Post-Grunge; “Suddenly oooo-oooh, suddenly oooo-ooohh, this big red heart, beats for you, beats me black and blue, and then it’s such a lonely view…” (close second: You’re My Is-ness – no video available)
17.  Reasons to Love You: Meiko – Los Angeles by way of Roberta, Georgia; Adult Alt./Indie-Pop/Folk; “I wanna fall asleep with you tonight, I wanna know that I am safe when you hold me tight, I wanna feel like I wanna feel forever…”
16.  Anyone Else But You: Moldy Peaches – New York; Anti-Folk/Garage Rock/Indie-Rock/Lo-Fi/Comedy; “You’re a part time lover and a full time friend, the monkey on you’re back is the latest trend, I don’t see what anyone can see, in anyone else… but you…”
15.  You’ve Got the Love: Florence and the Machine – London; Alternative/Indie-Rock/Soul/Baroque Pop/Art Rock; “Time after time I think “Oh Lord what’s the use?”, time after time I think it’s just no good; Sooner or later in life, the things you love you lose, but you got the love I need to see me through…”
14.  Light You Up: Shawn Mullins – Atlanta; Alt-Rock/Country Rock; “Everybody wants a real deal, everybody wants to cop a good feel, everybody want more money, everybody wanna taste o’ yo honey… I just want to light you up, light you up, like a fire, I just want to turn you on, turn you on, and take you higher…”
13.  The Girl: City and Colour – aka Dallas Green; Ontario, Canada; Acoustic/Folk/Alt-Country; “When you cry a piece of my heart dies, knowing that I may have been the cause; if you were to leave, fulfill someone else’s dreams, I think I might totally be lost; You don’t ask for no diamond rings, no delicate string of pearls, that’s why I wrote this song to sing, my beautiful girl…”
12.  No One’s Gonna Love You: Band of Horses – Seattle; Indie Rock/Alt-Country/Southern Rock; “We are the ever-living ghost of what once was, but no one is ever gonna love you more than I do, no one’s gonna love you more than I do…” (close second: For Annabelle)
11.  Might Tell You Tonight: Scissor Sisters – New York; Glam Rock/Disco/Pop/Alternative/Electroclash; “Life seems so much slower with your toothbrush by the mirror, can I make it any clearer?  And I just might say it tonight, I just might say it tonight, I just might tell you tonight that I love you, and you should stay all my life…”
10.  Hot Summer Night: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals – Fayston, Vermont; Indie-Alt/Blues/Rock; “It won’t stop raining, and there ain’t no explaining why I feel, feel, feel a warm summer breeze; Oh babe you make me feel like it’s a hot summer night, even though it’s the middle of the winter and it’s really bad weather, it’s a hot summer night, when I’m next to you, baby”
9.  Need You More and More: Donna the Buffalo – New York; Zydeco/Folk Rock/Country Rock/Bluegrass; “Romantics set aside, with my cheap suit and a comb, one smell of your armpit, is proof enough that I’m home; Need you, more and more; Need your love, more and more…”
8.  Die Alone: Ingrid Michaelson – New York; Indie Pop/Indie Folk; “I never thought I could love anyone but myself, now I know I can’t love anyone, but you; You make me think that maybe I won’t die alone… Maybe I won’t die alone…” (close second: The Way I Am)
7.  Birthday: the Bird and the Bee – Los Angeles; Indie Pop/Indie Rock/Synthpop; “Hold on, hold on, keep holding on to me, I will love you from the bottom, no one holds you better than me; Hold on, hold on, doin’ the best we can, I will love you on your birthday, I will love you better than them…” (close second: My Love)
6.  Us: Regina Spektor – New York by way of Moscow, USSR; Anti-Folk/Baroque Pop/ Indie Rock; “They’ll name a city after us, and later say it’s all our fault, then they’ll give us a talking to, then they’ll give us a talking to, because they’ve got years of experience…” (close second: Samson)
5.  January Wedding: The Avett Brothers – Concord, North Carolina; Indie Rock/Folk/Folk Punk/Roots Rock; “She’s talkin’ to me with her voice down so low I barely hear her, but I know what she’s sayin’, I understand because my heart and hers are the same; And in January we’re gettin’ married…”
4.  Drunk With The Thought of You: Sheryl Crow – Kennett, Missouri; Pop/Alt-Rock/Roots Rock/Folk Rock/Country Rock; “I could wait my whole life for this moment to come, with a long list of beautiful chances I’ve blown; Well if love is a cocktail of all that you do, I get drunk with the thought of you…”
3.  To Be Loved: Joan As Police Woman – Norwalk, Connecticut; Singer-songwriter; I will never know but forever I ask, how I got so lucky; All this time proceeding, silent in processional; The words, they escape me through my singing cage, of how I love you too…”
2.  Hey Darlin’ Do You Gamble: Lucero – Memphis; Alt. Country/Southern Rock/Cowpunk; “Now, I believe you should run with me until this Texas sun falls into the sea; If I shed this skin of iron and this breath of kerosene, darling, would you take a chance on me?” (close second: Smoke)
1.  All The Time: Mike and Ruthy – New York; Folk/Singer-Songwriter; “I wanna fall in love, I wanna call it love, I wanna haul up all this love with you all the time; I wanna be in love, I wanna see you in love; I wanna be knee deep in love with you all the time…” (close seconds: Slow Train; Something’s Got a Hold of Me)

The 20 Honorable Mentions that almost made the cut (no particular order):

I listened to hundreds of songs over and over when making my final list.  No, I’m serious – countless hours of listening, relistening, comparing, shuffling… I’ve been working on this for over five weeks!  I did not want to repeat artists, hence the “close seconds” contained in the Top 25.  Some artists just master the art of the love song more than others – I probably could have come up with a whole list of amazing Mike and Ruthy love songs.  I also wanted each song to be a love song, not just a song about love.  Does that make sense?  I’m very satisfied with the final product, and can honestly say that I sincerely love every single song on the list.  My hope is that each of you find a couple that you like as well.

And finally, I would like to share one of my favorite love songs ever, from one of my favorite bands ever.  The band isn’t together at the moment, but I truly hope they work something out soon.  I want a recording of this song!  But alas, I’ll have to give you a video I made myself.  Had I any idea that it would be the only way I would be able to listen to this song, I would have stopped swaying around so much when recording it, and I definitely would have stopped singing.  Please forgive my terrible voice and video skills and enjoy the clip of this sweet little tune by my dear friends in Two Way Radio:

Ditch the Disposables Challenge 2010

27 Aug

Crunchy Domestic Goddess has had a challenge for the past two years, asking everyone who will participate to find at least one or two disposable items you use regularly and give them up for the months of September and August.  I noticed they posted the challenge on September 2nd last year.  I want to get on it earlier than that!  Not to hijack their idea (click their link if you like, they should take full credit!), but I’m pretty sure that they won’t mind, considering we’re talking about saving the planet here, not upping our blog stats.

This will be difficult for me.  I was a tomboy as a child – always had dirty fingernails, played with the boys, dirt bikes and hot wheels and climbing trees and playing in mud, sleeping on the ground with the dogs and building forts – but somewhere along the way I became a real girly girl.  Maybe it started with adolescent hormones or just being awed by how makeup could transform my face, but I’m now 30 years old and I love pedicures (when I can afford them, which is hardly ever) and nice, minty-smelling shampoos and soaps, going to the tanning bed (please stfu), dressing up, wearing heels, and I won’t even go buy bread without a full face of makeup on.  I am what some might call high-maintenance.

When it comes to beauty, I use all kinds of facial cleansers and moisturizers, creams and toners, masks and scrubs.  I use lotions on my body and love smell-goods in the shower.  I buy nice shampoo – no cheap crap.  I don’t pay Marci $200 a pop to have my hair cut and colored just to turn around and lather it up with $1 Suave junk.  I want my locks clean, nice-smelling, and healthy.  I love my hair.  My hair and my eyes are my favorite things about myself, strictly aesthetically speaking.

So some of this is tough stuff, but there are things that I care about more than primping and smelling like Halle Berry.  I care about the environment.  I care about my kids, and thus want them to have nice, long lives on a thriving planet.  So I’m willing to make some changes.  I’m sure you’d agree.  So let’s all pick at least one thing we can give up for the next two months.  I’d hope everyone would set their goal for two things, but hey, baby steps.  Crunchy Domestic Goddess offered this list of suggestions, but if you think of something you can do that’s not on it, tell me! (Psst, I added a few suggestions of my own and I checked all the links, changed a couple, and added a few, but this list was written by Crunchy Domestic Goddess, whose link can again be found at the end of the list.)

You can make the switch from:

  • Paper napkins to cloth napkins
  • Paper towels to cloth towels or something like Skoy cloths
  • Tissues to handkerchiefs
  • Paper, plastic or Styrofoam plates to your kitchen plates
  • Disposable utensils to regular silverware
  • If you order food “to go” or have food to take home from a restaurant, bring your own container rather than accepting Styrofoam or plastic
  • Inexpensive plastic “Take & Toss” sippy cups to Thermos bottles or the Klean Kanteen
  • Disposable water bottles to (again) reusable bottles like Thermos or Klean Kanteen
  • Plastic sandwich bags or paper lunch bags to reusable containers/bags
  • Plastic straws to glass or stainless steel straws
  • Swiffers (or similar products) to a broom and dustpan or mop (or use reusable cloths like cloth diapers/terry inserts in your Swiffer)
  • Disposable dust rags to cloth rags
  • Disposable diapers to cloth diapers
  • Disposable wipes to cloth wipes (inexpensive plain washcloths work really well)
  • Disposable feminine products (tampons, pads) to reusables like DivaCup, MoonCup/The Keeper, Glad Rags, Luna Pads, Pretty Pads, or New Moon Pads, among others. You can even make your own pads.
  • Grocery store bags to reusable bags
  • Disposable wrapping paper or gift bags to reusable cloth gift bags [Or use other non-conventional wrapping that you or someone you know has purchased previously, like newspaper. – Brandi]
  • Single-use batteries to rechargeable batteries
  • Store-bought facial cleansers to homemade cleansers or the Oil Cleansing Method
  • Ditch the ‘poo! (Shampoo that is)
  • Make your own laundry detergent
  • Make your own deodorant

Or, for the really crazy dedicated:

Most of you know that I ditched tampons and pads years ago in favor of The Keeper.  I did so for several reasons.  First of all, as a feminist, I do not like giving my hard-earned money to men who sell me things to bleed onto.  I don’t like paying to bleed at all, but damn sure not to someone who never has had to use their own damn product.  Also, I really, really dig my vagina.  We’re pals.  Besties even.  So I do not like sticking things in or around her that have been bleached or treated with chemicals to smell like “fresh scent” which is a fucking joke anyway.  I know someone who almost died from Toxic Shock Syndrome, associated with tampon use, so there’s another reason.  And it saved a massive amount of money to never have to buy “feminine hygiene” products again.  But the main reason I made the switch was thinking about, actually visualizing, all those tampons and pads in landfills.  I figured if I could give it a shot and just take a chance on it, even if I decided it wasn’t for me, I would have lost nothing… but if I tried it and liked it, I had saved the planet from a whole lot of waste.  If anyone had told me how much more convenient and comfortable it would have been to switch, I would have done it years before!

Initially when I heard about The Keeper I was grossed out and thought the girl a friend described as a user of such a product was just some crazy hippie, and no way would I ever try something so nasty.  Since my amazingly positive experience with it, I rule out nothing.  That’s why I will be posting a blog later detailing exactly what I am going to give up for the next two months, and how I’ll go about it.  PLEASE, if you are going to take the challenge, leave a comment telling me what you are ditching!  I’d like to know if this post had any impact.  If you convince someone else to ditch a disposable, let me know.  NO EFFORT IS TOO SMALL TO COUNT! And think of it this way – you are just going to give it a shot.  If you don’t like it, just try to push through for TWO MONTHS.  You lose NOTHING… but the Earth gains so much, from every day that we try.  Let’s support one another and share our ideas!

8 Books

18 Aug

Oh, the return of *8 Things!  (Remember, this is originally a Magpie Girl concept – please click her link in the blogroll to the right and show her some love).

8 Books On My Nightstand:
1.  Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (currently reading)
2.  Perpetual War For Perpetual Peace by Gore Vidal (almost done, but it’s a heavy.  I have to have light reading simultaneously, hence Stiff)
3.  The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Melissa Bank (book swap score, next on my list)
4.  Magical Thinking by Augusten Burroughs (I’m addicted to his memoirs, thanks Stardust!)
5.  A Night Without Armor by Jewel (because I have to pick up a poetry book at least 5 times a week to keep living and breathing)
6.  The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran (technically already read, several times, but I’ve been picking it up again lately.)
7.  Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith (I need to read this next because I borrowed it from Manna, but the Girls’ Guide is calling as well.  We’ll see who wins.)
8.  Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (awaiting this book swap find!)

What are you reading, darlings?

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