I’m on a bus to the Austin Convention Center to pick up my music badge for SXSW…this little blogger’s life has just met a milestone.
Oh homework, how much I missed our toxic relationship; day one of classes and I’m already sick of you.
The most miraculous thing about the first day of school last semester was the fact that my legs stopped wobbling enough throughout the day so I was able to physically make it to my classes. It had been a while, and the thought of it all was the most fearsome element. Well, it was until I listened to my theme song of the day.
On the train ride down to the campus in late August, my dad gave me a piece of paper with a song and artist on it and a dollar to buy said song. He said that I should play it while I walked to my first class on my first day to pump me up and put a little strut in my step. Music is my medicine, and “Hold Your Head Up” by Argent definitely did the trick. While walking to places in the morning I usually go for The Beach Boys, but I made an exception this one time. I didn’t let myself listen to the song before my walk so I’d be surprised and extra excited. 8:15AM, out my door, down three flights of stairs, on to the quad, press play. Drum drum drum drummmmmm, drum drum drum powwwwwwww! After the first note I was hooked, and my head was definitely held high! It’s amazing how great an effect a song can have on a mood, and this one energized me and totally took my mind away from my worries.
So, even though I’m a seasoned one semester veteran now, I dug that song up from my iTunes catalog and jammed out to it on my ridiculously early walk today. And the only bonus about my class being on the second floor of the farthest building on campus? I got to listen to the song twice!
I had to cut this last show of the semester short as I had to run to the Pocket Vinyl concert afterwards, but this was what I got in!
1. Bad Ritual by Timber Timbre
2. The Season by Matt Costa
3. Reality Check by Schneider TM
4. Second Bird of Paradise by The Rosebuds
5. Buildings and Mountains by The Republic Tigers
6. Sleepytime in the Western World by Blitzen Trapper
7. Mother Nature’s Rump by The Beastles
8. Postcards From Italy by Beirut
(I really want to learn to play this song on the ukulele, but the hammering F note in the beginning of the song is the current bane of my existence!)
9. My Heart Is Calling by Cataldo
10. Don’t Forget To Dance by The Kinks
11. The Charming Man by The Smiths
1. Grey Gardens by Rufus Wainwright
2. Frankly My Shankly by The Smiths
(For about a week straight, this record was all I listened to around this time)
3. Spent On Rainy Days by Bright Eyes
4. Bonnie And Clyde by Serge Gainsbourg featuring Brigitte Bardot
5. Colour Me In by Broadcast
6. Barlights by fun.
7. Phonetics by Reptar
8. Buildings & Mountains by The Republic Tigers
9. This Time Tomorrow by The Kinks
10. Heartlight by Neil Diamond
(I love this song for the line “home is the most excellent place”… Oh Neil, haha)
11. Creep On Creepin On by Timber Timbre
1. Heading for the Light by Traveling Wilburys
2. Cemetry Gates by The Smiths
3. Foux Du Fafa by Flight of the Conchords
4. Kaptein (Span Die Seile) by Kurt Darren
5. Firecracker by Ryan Adams
6. El Salvador by Athlete
7. Everybody Knows It’s Gonna Happen by The Go Find
8. Beautiful Gas Mask by the Mountain Goats
9. Civil War (Daytrotter Session Version) by Bill Baird
10. I Want to Ride My Bicycle by Queen
11. Coney Island by Good Old War
12. Down By The Water by The Drums
13. Don’t Lose That Feeling by Cataldo
14. Flowers Grow Out Of My Grave by Dead Man’s Bones
15. Forest Green, Oh Forest Green by Holly Miranda
16. The Opposite of Hallelujah by Jens Lekman
(I was also on quite the Jens Lekman kick this semester)
1. Crazy In Love by Pattern Is Movement
1. Top Of The Pops by The Kinks
1. The Sound by Human Highway
(I first heard this song as a part of some indie music mix, and until recently it was the only song I’d heard by this group. I looked up their other songs and albums, and kind of wish I hadn’t. The instrumentals are so cool in this tune and I had hoped that they’d carry over to the group’s other songs but was sadly let down)
2. The Weight by The Band
3. No One Does It Like You by Department of Eagles
4. World at Large by Modest Mouse
5. Sprawl Of Glass (Arcade Fire vs. Blondie) by The Hood Internet
6. Tell Me Lies by Fleetwood Mac
7. Heart It Races by Dr. Dog
(My favorite cover EVER)
8. We Don’t Want Your Body by Stars
(Right around this radio show, Stars released the music video to this song and they came back onto my radar)
9. Evil Lives by Bosco Delrey
10. Armagideon Time (Live) by The Clash
11. Happiness Runs by Donovan
12. Measuring Cups by Andrew Bird
13. Wild World by Cat Stevens
14. Andy’s Chest by The Velvet Underground
15. When I Said Goodbye by Mayer Hawthorne & The County
1. Lay Down In The Tall Grass by Timber Timbre
1. Organ Donor by Jeremy Messersmith
1. It Don’t Come Easy by Ringo Starr
One thing that I had really wanted to do last semester was keep a record of the playlists I played on my radio show, but after the first week I severely slacked. Luckily, I did write them down elsewhere and now that the mood is striking me, I’m bringing them home. So, I apologize for the inundation posts that are coming up, but I will not apologize for my rad mixes and excellent taste in tuneage! :)
1. My Heart Is Calling by Cataldo
2. She Blinded Me With Science by Thomas Dolby
3. The Ark by Dr. Dog
4. Pa Pa Power by Dead Man’s Bones
5. Enola Gay by Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark
6. The Richest Kids by This Is Ivy League
(Cobra Starship came to play a concert at my school the following Saturday, so I plugged the event after this song, as two of the members of Cobra make up this indie band)
7. Twin Peaks by Surfer Blood
(This semester I took a class called Intro to Film and Media Studies, and the graded portion of the class consisted of three essays and a presentation, all analyzing and focusing on a single movie or TV episode of our choosing. So I’d have an excuse to watch the series over and over and be able to call it “studying,” I chose the pilot episode of “Twin Peaks”)
8. Sneaky Times by Birds & Batteries
9. Evident Utensil by Chairlift
10. Puttin’ On The Ritz by Taco
11. Lolita by Throw Me The Statue
12. Do You Wanna Dance (Early Take) by The Beach Boys
13. Marathon by Tennis
14. Bury Us Alive by Starfucker
15. Cosmic Dancer by T. Rex
16. All Yr Songs by Diamond Rings
17. Experimental Film by They Might Be Giants
(I heard “You’re Sixteen” on the radio a couple months ago, and ever since then Ringo’s been a frequent member of my playlists)
2. The Rescue Blues by Ryan Adams
(I was walking in town, talking about this song with a friend when someone leaning up against a building turned his head and said “Ryan Adams? Yeah!!” which made me laugh, and proud that someone knew the difference between Bryan Adams and Ryan Adams)
3. Moan (Trentemoller Vocal Remix featuring Ane Trolle) by Trentemoller
4. Run by Air
(I first heard Air in a “Veronica Mars” episode, and when it ended I immediately looked up everything by them. Didn’t love everything else of theirs as it got a little repetitive after a while, but I did really like “Talkie Walkie,” the album that this song and “Cherry Blossom Girl” are on)
5. I Think We’re Alone Now by Crotty Chops
6. Stay Loose by Belle & Sebastian
7. Doctor Worm by They Might Be Giants
(A must for any solid playlist, hehe)
8. Furr by Blitzen Trapper
9. Sweet Pea by Amos Lee
10. The Geeks Get the Girls by American Hi-Fi
11. Af en Af by Kurt Darren
(When I was in South Africa, Kurt Darren was a favorite to dance to and was the person who taught me the most Afrikaans through his singing, haha)
12. One Life Stand by Hot Chip
13. Lost in the Supermarket by The Clash
14. There Is A Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths
15. I’ll Be Your Friend by Bright Eyes
So this concert review is about a month late, but I was just letting it marinade. But now? Get it while it’s hot!
Remember that rad band I met at the Bright Eyes concert in Vermont last summer, Pocket Vinyl? Those newlyweds who were two of the nicest people I’d ever had the pleasure of swapping stories with? Eric? Elizabeth? Yeah, those guys! Remember how awesome their live shows sounded, how I hoped to see experiences one one day, but knew that concert promises ne’er come to fruition? Well, have I got a story for you.
After the concert, Pocket Vinyl and I swapped contact info so that we might cross paths along the tour they were soon to be embarking on. Time goes by, I migrate south for the semester for school, and Chinese ink painting and linguistics take over my life. One day while coming up for air between classes and checking my email, I see a message from a certain band inquiring about setting up a certain concert. The ghosts from summers past turned out to be not so much ghosts as two artists alive and kicking and looking to play a concert in town!
Living in Amish Country, I have come to terms with the fact that I do not reside in a music mecca, a nightlife hotspot. Well, “come to terms” might not be entirely accurate- I know that this is the rep that my town currently has, but when by four years at school are through I’d like to see that stigma laid to rest, and a concert on campus seemed like the perfect way to get the ball rolling.
There’s a local club that serves as the venue for most lost musicians who find themselves wandering through town, but unfortunately they were booked for the day Pocket Vinyl was slotted to make their entrance. Fear not, I did, and I looked to other options. Just a week before, the Arts House, an off campus house for students to reside in, hosted an open mic night and a seed had been planted in the back of my mind. Is there a more perfect venue for an indie band than the intimate basement of a house of art? Answer: no.
After emails exchanged with the people in charge of the house, the gig was set for December 7th. A lovely date with the added bonus of doubling as the night before not one but TWO of my finals (don’t worry, I aced ‘em both).
Days rolled by and the semester drew to an close, and before I knew it the 7th became known as “today.” Excellent weather for ducks, it poured all day and made me worry that I should have reserved a fleet of canoes for concertgoers to travel across campus. As evening approached I armed my person with galoshes, a feeble umbrella, and a pocket full of mint Hershey’s kisses and walked over to the radio station for my last show of the semester. With my usual flare for eclectic playlists and witty banter, I ended my show on a high note and went on my way to the Arts House to help set up.
Letting myself in the front door, I walked through the hallway and into the kitchen where I found two familiar yet strange faces- Eric and Elizabeth! They existed outside of Concert Land and the interwebz! We caught up on life and got to do the thing we’d most wanted to do since vowing to have this reunion so many months ago- tell the unlikely story of how this concert came to be to everyone around who’d listen.
Soon enough it was time to proceed into the depths of the basement and let the show begin. We were lucky enough to have two opening acts who set the stage for a great show, and made me all the more proud to study among such talented people.
But enough build up, time for the main event! Elizabeth set up her canvas and went to town dressing it with swirling greys while Eric pounded on his keyboard and belted out Pocket Vinyl’s discography. I can now say that they were as charming, as wonderful, as heart pounding, as perfect as I so hoped they would be. Eric was great with the between song banter which is such an important part of performing, and I was continually amazed at how Elizabeth painted away so calmly and boldly, adding a fun contrast to Eric’s eccentric movements (which made the concert one of those things you literally had to there to understand their brilliance!).
Time passed, and people steadily came in and out. I knew that holding a concert on a Wednesday night was a bold move, and had told my friends that I’d appreciate their attendance even for just a few minutes. I can honestly say that my heart when I saw so many of the people who promised me they’d be there actually show up. I mean, anyone in their right mind would go to a free concert with amazing talent, but we all know that few people maintain their right minds as finals approach. A chuck of us just wouldn’t budge, so Pocket Vinyl kept playing into the night, till past 11!
When the music stopped the good times did no such thing, and we had some nice chats and a heated auction for Elizabeth’s painting of birds in branches (we ended up splitting the piece and giving it to the Arts House).
As snow started falling, I made my exit with a smile on my face, music in my heart, and happy knowledge that sometimes, things just work out.
…And the best part? They’re coming back on January 20th!