Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music Meet-n-Greet!! "Pastoral Hipster" meets "Cloud Rap"

(and it's pastoral as in pasture, not as in religious)

Yellow Ostrich
I read a review for their music which coined the phrase "pastoral hipster" which is in itself a pretty cool term and can describe the music of this trio, who have a multi-instrument member and their singer does some neat stuff with vocal looping so it sounds like a larger group.  I heard them first on KEXP's Music That Matters Podcast, in "John's Awesome Mix Tape." The song Marathon Runner has not left my head since.  While the guitar drives the tune, a deeper listen reveals some amazing lyrics that are so applicable to where most mid-20s folks and just people in general might be in their lives right now.
Marathon Runner off of the recently released Strange Land
(If this gets so wonderfully stuck in your head and heart as it is in mine, they offer a free download of the song from their website mylegsaresore.com)

Speaking of heads and hearts, that's a direct and not at all contrived segue into the next musical group: The Head and the Heart.

The Head and the Heart
This band has been highlighted by many different sources, so Imma add myself to that list. It's just a matter of time before they hit it big, they have a sound you expect to hear in the background of some rom-com or smaller indie film. and the shifts in the song Sounds Like Hallelujah are creative and done well to really tell a story. 
Sounds Like Hallelujah, from the 2010 self-titled album

The Lumineers
Hailing from Colorado (I know a couple of awesome things that have come out of Colorado), this band is poised again to have some great mainstream appeal. And they also have enough fun making their music that they should thrive under the opportunities that come with recognition.
Ho Hey, from their self-titles debut out on April 3, 2012.  I want someone to sing this song to! I want to just be cool enough to be in this band, are they holding auditions?

Matt Corby
A FANTASTICALLY AMAZING solo artist out of Australia.  Apparently a couple years ago as a teenager he was the runner up in Australian Idol, and "losing" was probably one of the best things that could've happened for him, his music, and us listeners.  He had time to cultivate his own music/personality/unique point of view and has emerged with some wonderful songs of folksy introspection (not to mention his skill on an acoustic guitar!) If only I could've seen him live in in LA or NY last week (not complaining cause I did have another mind-blowing concert experience, read about it here)!
My False, off of his Into the Flame EP

Brother, this was the #3 song off of Triple J's Hottest 100 (it recently displaced Gotye's Save Me as my ringtone)

Imagine Dragons
I discovered this band off of the wonderful website (youmeandcharlie.com) run by Dianna Agron of Glee fame.  She is so incredibly artistic and open minded it is kind of crazy how different she is from Quinn, the character she plays on the show.  Anyways, there is a section of the site called Yo!DJ that is a must to at least check out some great artists.
It's Time, performed live. And while it doesn't necessarily match the genre, their song Tokyo is FANTASTIC! I want to go back in time and be in the music video for it.  Search it and you'll see why!

(Kudos to those who've made it this far)
"Cloud Rap" refers to an emerging trend to compose and rap over "ambient or glo-fi washes" or a type of a mash-up of rap and indierock, the blog Space Age Hustle coined the term. 

Yet another KEXP Podcast find, you can find it on the Music That Matters Podcast as well as the Song of the Day Podcast (I think it was mid-February it came out). My goodness! How dope is this, right?!? And how much did you cringe to hear me use the word "dope"?
Teenage Dream off of No More Golden Days

The artist I know the least about but he is apparently a big name in the semi-newly dubbed genre of cloud rap.  I'm a sucker for anything Sigor Ros (YouTube videos of their songs accompanying Planet Earth clips are a finals-break favorite of mine), so this mash up drew me in instantly
Shook (Sigur Ros X Mobb Deep), Emancipator made this song available for a free download on his bandcamp)

LAST SONG: Not Cloud Rap but a pretty cool collaboration
I dig the hip-hop meets mod vibe of 360's Boys like you feat. Gossling, he provides the beat, she provides the hook in a sing-song wispy lost-innocence sort of way.
Boys Like You 360 feat. Gossling (and Gossling herself has some FANTASTIC stuff out there too, I just felt like no one would really even get this far or further so I had to end this post some time)...

Next up: Dance Party Hits for the Non-Top-40-Crowd! I had to blog about Tokyo somehow =)

Friday, March 23, 2012

"State of the Art" is an Understatement: GOTYE & KIMBRA IN CONCERT!

Kimbra joining Gotye for "Somebody That I Used to Know"

"Come into My Head" and "Save Me" cause I might need to "Settle Down" after seeing this "State of the Art" concert with my "Eyes Wide Open", my "Heart's a Mess" with joy and there's no "Easy Way Out"! Gotye and Kimbra, "Thanks for Your Time"! We arrived full of "Good Intent,"  to bask "In Your Light" for just awhile, and we got something way more exciting than a "Bronte" novel.  You see, between us "Love is a Two Way Street" all the way from Kimbra's shimmy-shaking "Limbo" moves and "Cameo Lover" appearance on "Somebody That I Used to Know" to Gotye imploring us to "Learnalilgivinanlovin." "The Only Way" it could have been better was if you had come out to meet us fans after the show (or if you played "The Only Thing I Know," or just more songs)!

Me and my two AWESOME sisters before the concert. 

So I have been looking forward to this concert since an e-mail conversation July 7-10, 2011 WITH GOTYE HIMSELF!  I had just discovered "Somebody That I Used To Know," and bought a copy ASAP from the website.  Unfortunately since I use my older laptop for all my music (this new one is strictly Law School and Photos, I want as little chance of a crash as possible, so far so good), I had issues downloading the song and just so I could stop streaming it online on REPEAT(REPEATREPEAT!) I e-mailed the person in charge of orders. Got a great and quick response, (considering this person was halfway around the world), and after figuring out the issue, this person went out of their way and made sure I got the song, problem solved.

Then I realized that I had no idea how to buy the CD when it would be released August 19, 2011 in Australia so I sent another email a couple days later.  Imagine my shock and complete freeze-up/freak-out when I received this response:

Hi Julia

Thought I'd just answer myself, you can get the my direct experience :)
Thanks very much for your support and interest. Where in the States do you live? I hope I'll see you there sometime soon
Looking like I'll be doing some small shows in LA and NY around October



I composed myself the best I could and sent out some semi-coherent string of words basically trying to convey how AWESOMELY STAR-STRUCK I WAS without seeming star-struck and being really gracious and praising while staying cool about it (I think it took a good hour before I hit send).  His response the fact I lived in Virginia, and asked him to come to DC was as follows:

Cheers Julia *(I seriously think I swooned at this)

Hope to see Virginia sometime, maybe 2012 is the year! But yes, keep your eye out for NY date and perhaps see you there first

Thanks again for your interest

I spent the next few months listening to Making Mirrors, developing my Rock-Opera using the tracks from Like Drawing Blood, following @Gotye, @Kimbramusic, and @timshiel (Gotye's band member) on Twitter and SoundCloud, hyping "Somebody That I Used to Know" on Facebook, and trolling his website for show announcements (Not a creeper, just a super-fan).  Indeed 2012 was the year and as soon as tickets opened mid-December for this date, I dropped everything, got my sisters on board and bought the tickets!  And then couldn't stop smiling FOREVER!

Through this time, I also became a big fan of Kimbra and her music, the way that girl just feels the music and just let's her emotion and spill out her whole body while belting those lyrics is inspirational.  When she announced she would be joining the tour in DC, I probably got another cramp in my jaw from smiling too much.

So my sisters agreed they liked the music and were pumped to go.  I drove up from Richmond and we headed into DC for the concert.  They were awesome-sauce and promised to wait up to 90 minutes after the show so I could try to get an autograph (even though I already had the signed version of the album).  So now here's what you really came for, the concert recap:

Kimbra was a bubbly, bellowing, ball of FANTASTIC frenetic energy!  Not to forget, that girl can SING!  She played her better-known songs as well as 2 I hadn't heard before, never stopping her swirly, spastic, animated dancing.

Kimbra takes the stage to sing "Cameo Lover", her band was TIGHT! Also, check out the drummer's hair, early-90s-SWAGtastic! 

She moves like nothing else, drastically-spastically-WONDERFUL! 

Kimbra and I are BEST FRIENDS, see she took a picture with me! 

I think she might've bruised her arm with how hard she was shaking that tambourine!

Gotye takes the stage to "Eyes Wide Open"

Playing that synthesizer-sampler-button-thing, whatever it's called

Easy Way Out

Let's just pretend that microphone is my face? K, thanks (just kidding (not really!))

Wally got some dance moves too!

Jammin' to "Save Me" He actually got the audience to help sing the "yeah-ee-yeah-ehhhs," and it sounded pretty awesome.  You can catch my amateur tribute to it here

No, really, Thanks for Your Time!

 "Now and then I think of" how GREAT THIS WAS!

Unfortunately, even after skillfully and somewhat forcefully worded request that the audience quiet down for the sad, slow, soft "Bronte"; there were enough people there who seemed to only care to see the song that is an internet sensation, and not at all for enjoying the music (I'm talking to you, stupid drunk girls behind us).  Rather abruptly, Gotye bid us "Cheers" and adieu and left... 

Luckily he came back for a three-song encore!

Sing it, bruthah!

Too excited to even care that I look like a cheezing dweeb, but seriously though it was awesome!


Look it's Michele and P-Dunc...  we met up after the show and briefly thought of trying to pass him off as Gotye's cousin to get on the bus (apparently he caused a few double-takes before Gotye went onstage)...

This is Ben, he plays the guitar, the electric mandolin, and the "steel-stringed-lap-guitar," I saw him outside the bus and decided we would be friends.  We bonded over a mutual love of mandolins, Appalachia, and the fact that I caught him searching his suitcase for clean undies...

Unfortunately, we also learned from Ben, after waiting with my sharpie and poster and two very tired sisters who had to work the next day and were troopers about my obsession  love for this Belgian-Aussie's music, that Wally took a nap after the show, and had yet to awaken.  It was the only disappointment of an otherwise perfect day! 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Free Write Every Day: #6

Well, I remembered to write all my posts for my assignment... even if I forgot to post the last one here... oops.
Anyways, I am taking a week-long "fast" from social media for a week, so if you're looking for an update in the next 7 days, sorry but it might be awhile =) But really, let's be honest, my blogging is sporadic at best anyways.
Last free writing assignment, I actually attempted to get creative with style and form before letting my time-crunch, procrastinating, gotta get it over with ways kicked in:

Sunday February 26 11:00pm
I’m currently back in Richmond and unpacked from a fun and refreshing trip to see the family. I’m surprised that I have not used this writing time more creatively but have merely used it as a journal or reflecting space for myself.  I have never spent time trying to cultivate a writing to this extent before so I guess I fell back on a default of writing as a reflection, or subjective report of events.  I’m going to try something else for the rest of today (the last day’s) entry.
Words or short phrases relating to the weekend:
technological detox, glittering blackness, reunion of friends, paleontological diets, she spoke with the adroit word choice and the cattiness of a roommate and almost friend, laughing while feeling a deep uneasiness, further motivation to regularly exercise: swimsuit shopping in February, exhausted and sore yet feeling like I accomplished very little, with the camera as a shield protecting mt from unwanted conversation, I ventured into the throng of people.

Meta-ReflectionSince that was harder than I thought and the deadline is short approaching (as well as the knowledge I must awake in less than 7 hours, I will strive for a mixture of quantity, quality, and ease to finish this last entry of the week before searching for reflections to share or writing a new one. I guess I never had really paid attention to how much of my writing is never manifested due to the delete/backspace button.  I used to wonder what happened to the used and then discarded letters.  Since they are a digital projection onto a screen, there is never any proof over what once existed, unlike writing by hand or typewriter, where the tell-tale trace of white-out at least belies the effort a writer undertook to adjust what was written. this can be sort of a metaphor for life in the digital age.  Photos are taken, reviewed, and deleted within seconds.  No longer does the casual or amateur photographer have to wait an hour at the very least to evaluate the shots.  140 character manifestations of thoughts are instantly broadcast to the world (and can be just as quickly deleted) through twitter.  Does this mean less thought, intention or planning goes into what we produce? Is there really any sort of valid argument to counter this thought?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Free Write Every Day: Day #5

Saturday February 25 10:00am

Today my plan is to spend all day with my sisters and then various friends as we set up the party for "Rah", my middle sister.  Her birthday is tomorrow and that is the reason I traveled up to northern Virginia to see the family.  For the last three years I have been able to do this and I definitely enjoy the short-lived breath of fresh air I can get outside of Richmond and away from the law school.  Unfortunately, my obligations follow me up here, and do not cease to exist but at least I have plenty to motivate and distract me up here.  My other sister does get a little bit jealous and she has let me know how bummed she is that I am not able to make it up for her birthday.  Unfortunately hers is in late April during exam-study-crunch time and I can’t quite justify leaving everything to travel home at that stage in the game.

The odd thing about this particular trip is that my parents have just about finished the process of renovating the kitchen/family room and other parts of the main floor.  This means all of the furniture that normally adorns the foyer, living room, dining room, kitchen/family room space has been moved into storage.  Lamps, tables, couches, chairs, pots, pans, bowls, shelves, and plenty of boxes fill our garage, our neighbors garage, and the upstairs.  This includes my old bedroom, which as I am the daughter living furthest from home and least likely to visit during the renovation meant that it is full to the brim. I actually ended up staying in Rah’s room, which was perfectly fine as her bed is a double, where as mine is merely a twin.  

This made me think about the ways the places we sleep can become a reflection of who we are. We decorate them according to our tastes and convenience yet they themselves can shape our thoughts, moods and emotions. For example the room where I grew up has plenty of decorations, images, and leftover crumbs from the time spent there, while the hotel room I stayed at for two nights last summer had maybe a dirty towel and some trash to witness my presence after I left.  these rooms themselves can shape our thoughts, moods and emotions.  I sleep most of my nights these days at a room in a house in richmond, posters, hats, and Christmas lights adorn the walls, displaying parts of me, but even still, it is not “mine.” 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Free Write Every Day: Day #4

Friday February 24 11:00pm

So I traveled home today.  Like most times that I drive home in the middle of the day, it just seemed to highlight how I can be two totally different people at once.  It feels like the last 24 hours were really two completely separate days and when you think about it, it is actually sort of mind boggling how in todays world in less than 2 hours I can be 100 miles away.  This never ceases to amaze me when travelling by plane.  

For instance, this past fall I took a trip to Las Vegas to play in the national championship tournament for an adult kickball league (a story in itself how my sister roped me into this sport in the first place).  I was in Las Vegas for less than 48 hours and by the time I got back it, the journey and the time spent almost seemed as if they belonged to someone else.  As if they were not mine to own, that I couldn’t have travelled that far and returned in such a short time.

An even better example occured last summer when my grandfather turned 85.  My grandmother had planned a surprise party for his birthday.  Bizers and Robinsons made the trek to Huntsville Alabame from Texas, Florida, Kentucky, and Virginia.  Unfortunately the main party (and my grandfather’s birthday) fell on Saturday May 6, the day after finals. Even more unfortunate was the actual surprise was set to take place May 5, a day I needed to devote to my last final exam.

I found a ticket where I could leave Saturday mid-morning from Richmond for Huntsville, and then leave to go back to Richmond the following day in the early afternoon.  In order to afford the ticket I had to incur a layover in Charlotte, N.C. a city towards which I have a semi-reasonable wrath due to interactions and games with their Varsity women’s soccer team (grrr).

Unfortunately, due to some ridiculous layovers and delays, I got to the party and it was great to see the whole family.  I was definitely bummed to miss a bart of the whole cleebration but I was even more bummed when the airline cancelled my initial flight, which then meant I had a longer layover.  I once did the math and I think I ended up travleing for $18+/hours for a 16 hour trip.  however, I am so glad I got to see my grandpa’s happiness to be surrounded by so many people that love him.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Free Write Every Day: Day #3 (really #7, Out of Order)

So on Thursday, February 23 I used my "free day of writing."  It was unplanned but I had a lot of work due by Friday morning and the next thing I knew, midnight had passed and seeing how I do not possess a time machine, I did not have a free-write that day.

I will use this space as a brief reflection on the time spent writing (which is weird because there are three more entries for you to read... even though I'm finished):

I guess for me, writing holds that place in my life that physical fitness or exercise holds for other people.  I think about it, I think about how I will be better for it, I think that I will not regret doing it, but inevitably most of the time I only ever think about what I want to write.  Since I am in the gym a lot (teaching yoga, teaching a core-training class, refereeing IMs or doing a personal workout) I hear a lot of "exercise talk."  You know, the little phrases people are always telling themselves to motivate them to get to the gym or to actually push themselves.  Stuff like: "you never regret a workout, you only regret not working out", or "everyday you're either getting better or worse" (I guess I actually see more of these on pinterest and have even pinned a few myself "There's no easy way to get in shape"

oh, ok
Can I please apply this motivation to writing/schoolwork in general?!?

I know there are times I enjoy writing, I know I have been proud of my schoolwork in the past, I know I have busted my butt to finish assignments and enjoyed it, I just don't know where that is now.  Sometimes I feel like there's so much on my plate, I let things slide because I just cannot imagine how to get everything done so I give up on one thing, but that's not how I should be approaching learning.  I have no idea how I will make it through Bar Prep this summer (that's a different post entirely unto itself)...

20+ years of formal education and I know what I should be doing, I just don't know how to get myself to do it...