Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Leaving is just the start of letting go

written January 2, 2007

there are these awkward turns of the page
that mark our hands with paper cut reminders
that this almost did not exist at all
that in more ways then we care to admit
we had moved on with this thing we coin a life
with new characters and episode titles
the lead roles played by different actors
though i think they all tried to play
that nothing across the screen had changed

it all seemed to fall into place
making perfect sense to the untrained eye
but up close the door was hanging loose from the hinges
the pieces warping and peeling at the corners
and I emptied out all the jars of paste
but all that stuck together were strands of my hair
and notes to a song I'd forgotten the lyrics to

at a distance I guess I had it all
but there were these vacant gaping holes
only filled up with my fire spat words
that tore at the widening air between us
I was trying to crack open the surface
wide enough for the whole world to see

perhaps I just wanted to wound you
to see if you would stand up and fight
or flee and run from me
because at the start I'd wanted this
to be my Before Sunrise
but the script was ill-conceived
the production rushed

what did you see when you looked closely at us
did you notice the bullet hole signs of our pending goodbye
we were each other's mardi gras masks
but now I need mine back
the painted lady is letting go of her disguises
as I stand by the window to wave at the floats rolling by

I wish you safe travels
hand you a box of bandages as you tape up the last box
because these next days will bleed all of us
separation is like that
even when it is for the best

and we will hurt while we heal
as we learn to believe in the dance again

Oh my stars and garters

Rid of Me ~ PJ Harvey
Unravel ~ Bjork
She's Your Cocaine ~ Tori Amos

Women in music. All genres. All the time.

a combined project of love from Lily and Lucy

Suzanne takes you down

"And you know that she's half crazy,
but that's why you want to be there."

Suzanne ~ Leonard Cohen

Nearly everything I've ever written, be it a short story, or a novel in progress (one day I'll finish one of them, I am determined), has had a character inspired by one of Leonard Cohen's songs. He is a muse of mine, and I do not remember a time in my life that I was not touched in some way by his music.

I still remember the first Cohen song I heard, where I was, and how it affected me. My Mother had one of his albums leaned up against these giant speakers. The stereo system was one of those impressive and dinosaur-sized 70's get-ups that took over one entire wall of our living room, and I loved it. I would drag my books or sheets of paper out into that front room, and set myself down in the corner closest to the music, and lose an entire afternoon in music.

It was a warm day, possibly late Spring, and my Mother was busy cooking something in the kitchen. I can recall the smells of the kitchen wafting into the room, and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors album had just finished. She yelled out to me to put something else on, and Leonard's album was right there in arm's reach.

I actually knew this song from Judy Collins' In My Life album, she was a favourite of my Mother's. The song Suzanne was actually a poem first, called "Suzanne Takes You Down", published in Cohen's book of poetry, 'Parasites of Heaven'. It is second only to "Hallelujah", as Cohen's most covered song.

I think what I love most about his songs, and his poetry, is how he captures such stories and characters - what life he gives them, and the plots that just build from each lyrical refrain, and melodic arc.

I think he will always be one of my muses.

Monday, March 30, 2009

So love me now

No One Would Riot For Less ~ Bright Eyes
No One Would Riot For Less (video) ~ Bright Eyes

"Well wake, baby, wake.
but leave that blanket around you,
there's nowhere else safe.
I'm leaving this place,
but there's nothing I'm planning to take;
just you, just you, just you, just you..."

I've said for a long time that music is my oxygen, my sanity, the way I focus and often exist. Lately I have noticed that it is my muse, though I'm sure I always knew this, never writing a word in a notebook, composition book, blank blog space, or even the backside of a postcard without a song playing in the background.

So now, as I push myself through to finish a story that keeps building, determined to not be the girl who never finishes anything anymore, I find myself with my ears open, taking in every turn of a lyric, and progression of sound. I've found myself pulling over to the side of the road, tears streaming down my face, as I see something so vivid in my mind.

Characters seem to take over, nudge at me, tug at me until I stop and look, or listen - this is the path, over here, and don't forget...

I always heard writers talk about that at some point the story takes over. That you become, as the writer, a conduit - or perhaps it is just that you become so entrenched with the characters that you become pieces of them. As if you are playing a role on a stage, layering traits over your own, and mixing them until they are one.

All I know for sure is that I am carrying them around with me - everywhere - and they seem to have song preferences. By the end of this story I think I my end up with a soundtrack that is volumes long. Time life will have to come around and make an informercial for it, or something.

The next chapter

we peel back the lines
of some long forgotten sentence
as if it were the unravelling
of an orange sweet and ripe
just a second shy from falling to the ground

you hand me a half-moon smile of a piece
that I slip between pursed lips
the sudden shock of bittersweet
turning my tongue to a tang tinged alert

and I laugh a bit
my eyes watering up into what
could be mistaken for tears

you touch my cheek softly
brushing chilled skin
and glance across the alley
where the sudden sparks are from
shooting up high out into the night

and I wonder if you are searching
for cue card direction
some sort of sign from the studio audience
because some days it surely seemed
that I needed the approval of the masses
more than I needed you

and it was the nature of
that drive and desire
glue stuck to me
ever since I was a child of five
setting toys across the grass
pleading with wordless conviction
for someone to notice me
for a sign that I was wanted

but I am far from the Hee Haw overalls
and jungle gym calloused hands
of a far past 1973 summer afternoon
and this story tale time in between
is nothing like a final happy ever after

because it takes more than a horse
and a first kiss
to make any kind of forever
dirty hands and tired bodies
falling and failing to get back up again
the hardest work is that of a relationship

but kiss me anyway as the year turns to another
and we will collect those coloured sparks from the sky
that make a night like this taste of fabricated magic
maybe if we hold it deep in our pockets
saved for later

we could pull them out and use the gleam
to light each of our individual pathways
and some days we might trade them off with each other
when we meet up at the curve and curl
taking hands briefly to say I am still here

So when you ask if something's wrong, well damn right there is, but we can't talk about it now

"This is the moment that you know
That you told her that you loved her but you don't.
You touch her skin and then you think
That she is beautiful but she don't mean a thing to me.
Yeah, she is beautiful but she don't mean a thing to me.

I spent two weeks in Silver lake
The California sun cascading down my face
There was a girl with light brown streaks,
And she was beautiful but she didn't mean a thing to me.
Yeah, she was beautiful but she didn't mean a thing to me.

I wanted to believe in all the words that I was speaking,
As we moved together in the dark
And all the friends that I was telling
All the playful misspellings
and every bite I gave you left a mark

Tiny vessels oozed into your neck
And formed the bruises
That you said you didn't want to fade
But they did, and so did I that day"

Tiny Vessels ~ Death Cab For Cutie

I could write this scene out, so clear in my mind. Perhaps change the location slightly, somewhere closer to the ocean, or the airplanes. But, I feel it, deeply, and I can see it, so vividly.

When I bought this album I remember this song hit me in a way that I thought would leave a bruise. I remember thinking that I'd felt that way, from the perspective of the singer. And now, I think I know what it feels like to be the girl the song is about. Or maybe I read too much into music, into memories, into my own version of the story.

We write our own endings sometimes, especially when they are so murky and impossible to define, and especially when they are not really endings, at all.

Right now, tonight, this song breaks my heart.

And you stood at your door with your hands on my waist and you kissed me like you meant it

My heart is yours: to break or bury: A Crossed Out Heart Mix

Lost Cause ~ Beck
Wise Up ~ Aimee Mann
Back On the Chain Gang ~ The Pretenders
Warwick Avenue ~ Duffy
If the Brakeman Turns My Way ~ Bright Eyes
Warning Sign (acoustic, live) ~ Coldplay
Hallelujah (cover, live) ~ Damien Rice
Crossed Out Name ~ Ryan Adams & the Cardinals
Miss Misery ~ Elliott Smith
Still Fighting It ~ Ben Folds
Nobody's Daughter ~ Courtney Love
Teardrop (cover) ~ Newton Faulkner
Disintegration (cover) ~ Lewis & Clarke
Say It To Me Now ~ Glen Hansard
Hands Down (live) ~ R.E.M. & Dashboard Confessional
Don't Let Them See You Cry ~ Manchester Orchestra
Nothingman ~ Pearl Jam
Metal Heart ~ Cat Power
Purple Rain (cover, live) ~ Kate Nash
The Diamond Sea (cover) ~ Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Crossed Out Heart Mix ~ Zipped Up

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I've got to tell you what a state I'm in

"When the truth is,
I miss you."

'Warning Sign' ~ Coldplay


"I walked out the door. There's no memory left." ~ Joel

"Come back and make up a good-bye at least! Let's pretend we had one." ~ Clementine

Goodbye is sometimes just as important as hello, though goodbye often goes unsaid, or is rushed, because we all tend to be wary of sentimental exits, and public displays of emotion. But, what if the goodbye you raced through, cutting it off before the real words were expressed, was actually the final goodbye? What if you never see that person again? Or, if you do, it is different between you, distant, awkward, or redefined?

Perhaps you will look back and think "I wish we would have had a real goodbye", the kind with a long, lingering kiss and an honest "I don't want to let you go."

Hello, Goodbye ~ The Beatles

"Goodbye, my love,


"The first show on a tour is like kissing someone for the first time. It's a kind of wonderful blur. It happens in a flash of blinding light as if time has no weight or meaning and then, suddenly, it's over. After the initial thrilling, terrifying dive into it, the experience never again has the same intensity. Some of the magic, wired energy slips from your hands - maybe because your nerves have settled - and though you strive to reclaim it every night thereafter, you do settle into a workaday routine of gig after gig."

Juliana Hatfield ~ from her memoir, When I Grow Up

Law of Nature ~ Juliana Hatfield (from the album, How To Walk Away)
Add Image

And you will be changed

"I once was lost,
but now i'm found.
Was blind,
but now I see you.

How selfish of you to believe in the meaning of all the bad dreaming.

Metal heart you're not hiding,
metal heart you're not worth a thing."

Metal Heart ~ Cat Power

The film Dedication, which I watched and wrote about last night, had a soundtrack that was as unforgettable as the film itself. Eccentric, bittersweet, melancholic, and full of an array of mood swings, much as Henry himself was.

Cat Power's Metal Heart was the standout favourite, almost upstaging the scene it resides in. When Metal Heart began to play, and Chan's voice trilled in, the combination of scene and song brought me to tears.

Chan Marshall's voice is one that quite often brings me to tears.

Shoegaze from Sweden

South Ambulance's Davy Crocket starts out with a dance club beat that quickly, and somewhat abruptly, transforms into something worth staring at one's shoes and sway about the room to. I could do without the clumsy beginning, but the rest is quite swoony and worth playing on repeat.

You can stream the EP here, which includes a cover of Pale Saints' 'Kinky Love'.

Remember me

Throw your arms around me: Make all the rest just an afterthought: Acoustic mix

Days Go By (acoustic) ~ Dirty Vegas
Trouble (cover, acoustic) ~ Elliott Smith
Perfect (acoustic) ~ Alanis Morissette
Posession (acoustic) ~ Sarah McLachlan
This Modern Love (acoustic) ~ Bloc Party
First Day of My Life ~ Bright Eyes
Blackberry Stone ~ Laura Marling
24 (live, acoustic) ~ Emmy The Great
Elephant ~ Damien Rice
It's Not (live, acoustic) ~ Aimee Mann
Ashes & Wine ~ A Fine Frenzy
This Time ~ Jonathan Rhys Meyers
200 More Miles (live) ~ Ryan Adams
No One's Gonna Love You ~ Band Of Horses
The Luckiest ~ Ben Folds
The Nicest Thing (acoustic) ~ Kate Nash
Last Goodbye (acoustic) ~ Jeff Buckley
The Trapeze Swinger ~ Iron & Wine

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'll miss you

Henry: "I've spent my whole life... wanting something... and doing my very best not to find it. Never even going near the places it might be... And suddenly, I've got the goddamn thing practically chained around my neck."

Lucy: "What are you talking about?"

Henry: "You. You. You're the, you're the... You're, you're- you're the goddamn thing. Ahhh, uh. I mean... You're, you're. I can't describe you... uhh, I don't, I don't write that kind of shit, I write... You know, the people who write, who write the real books, the love books, and the poems, and even those stupid little fucking novels with the hunky assholes on the cover..."

Lucy: "Stop... "

I watched this film tonight. It was fraught with things that affected me, touched me, upset me, and in the end, moved me. Henry and Lucy. So much broken-ness in this film, pain, hurt, and yet there was this thread of hope that meandered its way into every scene. As much as at times I wanted to dislike the characters, or turn my eyes away, I could not stop watching, caring, understanding, feeling, and just connecting to them.

I suppose I saw some of myself in the both of them, for different reasons, and to varying degrees. And yes, I did indeed see a bittersweet sense of hope.

Like the tiny rock he gives to Lucy, loses, finds, then gives to her again, the film was one of a kind.

Then it fell apart

"I would stand in line for this.
There's always room in life for this.

Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart
Oh baby, oh baby
Then it fell apart, it fell apart."

Extreme Ways ~ Moby

An alternate ending

I prefer this ending,
but we do not always get to choose the ending, do we?

"I picture you in the sun,
wondering what went wrong.
And falling down on your knees,
asking for sympathy.
And being caught in between,
all you wish for,
and all you've seen.
And trying to find anything,
you can feel,
that you can believe in."

In the Sun ~ Joseph Arthur

Happiness in love

Why does what was beautiful suddenly shatter in hindsight because it concealed dark truths?
Why does the memory of years of happy marriage turn to gall when our partner is revealed to have had a lover all those years?
Because such a situation makes it impossible to be happy?
But we were happy!
Sometimes the memory of happiness cannot stay true because it ended unhappily.
Because happiness is only real if it lasts forever?
Because things always end painfully if they contained pain, conscious or unconscious, all along?
But what is unconscious, unrecognized pain?"

The Reader ~ Bernhard Schlink

Friday, March 27, 2009

Some things look better, baby, just passing through

"And it's no sacrifice,
just a simple word.
It's two hearts living,
in two separate worlds.
But it's no sacrifice,
no sacrifice,
it's no sacrifice at all.

Mutual misunderstanding,
after the fact.
Sensitivity builds a prison,
In the final act."

Sacrifice ~ Sinead O'Connor

When will I begin to live again

How many planes are taking off right now, and how many are just landing? Is there any symmetry to the timelines and destinations? I know there are flights that occur daily, and the rhythms that happen, of take-offs and landings, is something to count on, rely upon, plan an escape to.

I wonder if you watched from the window from that room up so high, could you tell the time by just watching the planes ascend into the smog filled Los Angeles sky? I suppose it is a more precise measure then a newly acquired wrist watch, especially when you trade one timezone, for another.

And I will always remember that airport, and the significance it has to me. The trips taken, the people met at baggage claim, or in hotel doorways, and the future adventures that may, or may not, take place. I have maps and travel books stacked on a shelf, the one I sleep next to. I take them out often, lay on the floor and peruse the street names, cafes, places of so-called interest - and I dream, wish, want, and desire.

I miss the sound of the plane's on the tarmac, the lighted towers that change colours, blinking off and on, and I miss the feel of an over-filled suitcase dragging behind me, and a ticket to ride between my fingers. I miss what it all once meant, and what it still means, to me.

"One day I'll fly away
Leave all this to yesterday
Why live life from dream to dream
And dread the day when dreaming ends."

One Day I'll Fly Away ~ Nicole Kidman (from Moulin Rouge)
One Day I'll Fly Away (video) ~ Nicole Kidman (from Moulin Rouge)

I'm damaged bad, at best

Tied to a night they never met

"All these people drinking lover's spit,
swallowing words while giving head;
they listen to teeth learn how to quit,
to a night they never met.

you know it's time,
that we grow old and do some shit;
I like it all that way."

Lover's Spit (black sessions) ~ Leslie Feist

Mid-afternoon, with music stuck in my head, and the smell of coffee brewing in the next room. These are stolen moments when words criss-cross and light up my fingertips, while dreams still in their feigned disguises remind me of my hopes and fears. I discovered this song in a found mix, it was hidden amongst the familiar and unknown, the way most beauty is.

It reminded me of an afternoon, a saturday, working at Tower Records, in Chicago. There was this girl who was visiting from New York, and we had one of those conversations usually shared with those people you trust your soul with. But, sometimes strangers have that ability to peel back the surfaces, don't they?

She laughed and half-whispered a moment shared with a boyfriend she'd recently lost, and I listened. She asked about this band, and I told her I'd only heard them once, in a bookstore in Portland, and how the boy behind the counter with the pale blue eyes had told me the name.

She bought everything I recommended, laughing at how I now held a secret of hers, so she might as well take back with her some things I sang along to.

I have no idea what her name was, but I wrote her into a story once. and this song played, repeated, and played again, while I wrote it.

Into the light of the dark black night

Singing in the dead of night: These lullabyes may save me: Sleep Mix, pt. 1

Save Me (iTunes original) ~ Aimee Mann
I Can't Feel My Hand Anymore, It's Alright, Sleep Tight ~ Mum
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight ~ The Postal Service
Asleep ~ The Smiths
This City Never Sleeps ~ Eurythmics
Sleepless ~ Kate Havnevik
Her Morning Elegance ~ Oren Lavie
No Dreams Last Night ~ The Clientele
Cataracts ~ Andrew Bird
Flightless Bird, American Mouth ~ Iron & Wine
Rocketman (cover) ~ My Morning Jacket
Sweet Child of Mine (cover) ~ Taken By Trees
Blackbird ~ The Beatles
Playground Love ~ Air
The Funeral ~ Band Of Horses
I Will Follow You Into the Dark ~ Amanda Palmer
Real Life Version ~ Voxtrot
Dream ~ Priscilla Ahn
Europe is Our Playground ~ Suede

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Teardrop on the fire

You add up all the cards left to play to zero

"I could make you satisfied in everything you do,
all your secret wishes could right now be coming true,
And be forever,
with my poison arms around you."

Angeles ~ Elliott Smith

Tonight I hate Los Angeles. Tonight I hate being this alone. Tonight I am hurting in so many ways, and I am finding it hard to breathe and just go on. Let go, it should be so easy, I've done it before. I know about loss, and I know about giving up with grace, and I know about being the one that loves less.

But tonight, with the air thick and playing at a prologue to Summer with it city stuck warmth coming through, I just wish I felt differently. I wish it were easier. I wish I did not look in the mirror and see time slipping by. I wish I saw some remnant of beauty and hope in the reflection. But tonight, right now, all I see is poison and pain, and the echo of an empty room.

I know some of this is the physical pain I'm feeling. I've been in tears most of the night, and I loathe feeling as if I cannot take care of myself. I can, and I will, but tonight I feel like giving in, and giving up.

I keep hitting replay on this song, and each time it makes me cry a little bit more.


"All of us have had this experience. At some point, we have each said through our tears, "I'm suffering for a love that's not worth it." We suffer because we feel that we are giving more than we are receiving. We suffer because we feel our love is unrecognised. We suffer because we are unable to impose our own rules. But ultimately there is no good reason for our suffering, for in every love lies the seed of our growth. The more we love, the closer we come to spiritual experience. Those who are truly enlightened, those whose souls are illuminated by love, have been able to overcome all the inhibitions and preconceptions of their era. They have been able to sing, to laugh, to pray out loud; they have danced and shared what Saint Paul called, "the madness of saintliness". They have been joyful - because those who love conquer the world and have no fear of loss. True love is an act of total surrender."

By the River Piedra I sat down and wept ~ Paulo Coehlo

Home in a sentence

'Cause we'll hold each other soon

"If there's no one beside you,
when your soul embarks,
then I'll follow you into the dark."

I Will Follow You Into the Dark (cover) ~ Amanda Palmer

I am not quite sure what my beliefs are in regards to souls, and where we end up after this life. I have moments where I think I believe in some things, and inklings on my feelings about other things, but in the end I tend to believe in the possibility of many things. Perhaps I just agree that I'll be surprised when the time comes, and I look forward to finding out.

As for souls, I do not know how to define them, or what I even consider a person's soul to be. We toss the term around so much in this life. Soul mates, soul searching, things that move our soul, break our soul, touch our soul; but do we actually know how to describe what our soul is?

Is it the unique parts of ourselves, our psyches and consciousness? Is it the tastes we have, and the things make us love some things, and some people, and not others? Is it that part of us that cannot leave us, no matter how destroyed our bodies may become, unless we truly die? Is it something that transcends this life? Is it what comes out in our art, our words, our creations, and when we give love to someone else?

I would like to picture our souls as the parts of us that do not have to do anything except just be. The child in us that still plays on the swings and the roundabout and the slide at the playground. The artist in us that paints, draws, writes, sings, creates even if they have a full-time job and children at home. The lover in us that spends hours in bed, taking their time with every inch of each other's skin, not rushing, and not wanting the moment to end. And, the friend in us that holds themselves out there when no one else will, or can, to entwine their hand in another's, even when the other doesn't know how to ask for the hand.

I think that is what I like to see souls have.

And maybe, just maybe, the dark - the ever after - the what comes after this life - is just a meeting up of all the souls who will now spend eternity playing, creating, loving, and holding hands.

Someone told me not to cry

Follow the day: And reach for the sun: A Morning Mix

Wake Up ~ Arcade Fire
One of These Mornings ~ Moby
From This Side of the Morning ~ Del Amitri
Home ~ Gemma Hayes
A Fine Spring Morning ~ Blossom Dearie
Grey Lady Morning ~ Dave Evans
Becky ~ All Girl Summer Fun Band
Wake Up ~ Alanis Morissette
Mr. Good Morning ~ Elliott Smith
Til the Morning Comes ~ Neil Young
Now That I Miss Her ~ Elefant
These Days Nothing But Sunshine ~ Apple Orchard
Stop the Sun ~ Elysian Fields
Chelsea Morning ~ Joni Mitchell
The Morning Fog ~ Kate Bush
Feeling Better ~ The Teenagers
Bedshaped ~ Keane
The Way You Brush Your Hair Away From Your Face ~ Apple Orchard
Light & Day ~ The Polyphonic Spree
Good Morning Light ~ Cellophane Rain

Morning Mix ~ Zipped Up

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

You said something that I've never forgotten

"We lean against railings
describing the colors
and the smells of our homelands
acting like lovers

How did we get here
to this point of living
I held my breath
you said something"

'You Said Something (live)' ~ PJ Harvey

Have you ever noticed the immense power of words? How something can be said, even a few syllables, in person, in a letter, typed, written, whispered, bled, and everything can just change. Or, everything can stay the same, go on. or not. But those words, no matter how you try to set them free, they live in the deep folds of your skin, in the taste of life itself, in the wallpaper of our souls.

I know, for me, I have this insatiable need for words, for that language to ricochet from all corners of my mind, my ears, my lips. I always feel the deep recesses of who I am, overwhelming, over-flowing, making me feel that I always have so damn much to say. And so much I want to have said, or wish I'd said. I want to be the catalyst for all the words of everyone to come spilling out, all over, all over me. I feel this need to know, to know so much; to learn, and to hear the flowing of words, again and again.

Or maybe I just want to hear your words spoken to me again, with my words answering back.

I know I hold so many words that have been said inside of me. They sneak out in so much of who I am; in my breathing, in my writing, in the way I think, in the way I react. So many nights I lie in bed, sleepless, replaying so many words, over and over. And I know I dissect too much, I evaluate too much. I read too much into words. But, it is part of who I am, how I am, my own breed of insanity, I suppose.

Talk about it somewhere only we know?

Sometimes I still feel the bruise

"Making contact gets harder as the silence grows longer.
And why would you think of me when you were not the one
in love?
When you were not the dreamer.
When you were just the dream."

Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise ~ Trembling Blue Stars

There are silences that heal, that are necessary, that albeit sometimes painful, are the best thing for us. Sometimes there is nothing better than a dimly lit room, a blank book in front of you to write in, and the only sounds breaking thru are the passing cars, or some stray felines singing into the middle of the nght air; to each other perhaps? to the moon? to themselves?

There are other times when the silences hurt because you feel there is so much to still say, and yet never enough time, or perhaps not the right time, or any time at all. Maybe the time has passed, as it often does between people we've known, and even though there lies a pile of unspoken somethings, they exist only in one person's psyche, in that one person's moments of silence.

We take the roles of the dream's contents, or the dreamers, without any say in it really. Once in that role, is there ever a chance to change it? To switch places? To land on the proverbial same page at the same time? In those moments of complete silence when your thoughts linger on someone in particular, can they feel it, too? Is that when the unspoken actually is spoken in some way, even if just in a feeling that comes over you, or a dream that you cannot seem to shake?

Does anyone ever feel the same way at the same time as someone else?

My such a sweet thing

What a beautiful feeling: Over and Over: A Spring Mix

Wild Flowers ~ Ryan Adams
Spring ~ Saint Etienne
Beautiful World ~ Coldplay
Take the Long Way Home ~ Supertramp
Do Nothing ~ The Specials
Regret ~ New Order
Time of the Season ~ The Zombies
Opposite Day ~ Andrew Bird
Crimson & Clover ~ Joan Jett
Soul Meets Body ~ Death Cab For Cutie
Perfect Day ~ Lou Reed
Nothing Ever Happens ~ Del Amitri
Brighter Than Sunshine ~ Aqualung
Ashes and Wine ~ A Fine Frenzy
A Flower White ~ Susumu Yokota
Spring Flower ~ The Great Outdoors
If She Wants Me ~ Belle & Sebastian
Grazed Knees ~ Snow Patrol
Green Grass of Tunnel ~ Mum

Over & Over Mix ~ Zipped Up

And I'm in the quicksand

Quicksand ~ La Roux

Already a sensation in the UK, La Roux, who were voted by the BBC as #5 in the "Sounds of 2009", combine 80's synth sounds with the post-modern electroclash edge that has become a citylife sensation in dj'ed dance clubs, and indie music mixes, everywhere. The name La Roux, French for "a red-haired one", was selected from a baby book of names by red-haired singer/writer Ely Jackson. She is the daughter of Trudie Goodwin, star of the British procedural drama, The Bill. Co-producer and co-writer, Ben Langmind, help to create La Roux's razor sharp lyrics and electro-magnetic up-tempo beats, creating a perfect-fit partnership.

Yazoo, Erasure and The Communards come to mind when listening to La Roux, as does the inevitable Depeche Mode comparison that most of the post-80's electro bands/artists that have come around in the last few years get affixed on their "sounds like" t-shirts. Jackson herself recalls being raised on Nick Drake and Neil Young records, and that her first songwriting experiences came in the form of a girl singing heartbreaking poetry, and strumming on an acoustic guitar. Her now musical partner encouraged her to trade the guitar in for a Korg keyboard, but to keep her poetic, somewhat melancholic songs in tow.

The meeting-up of electro-keyboard pressing, which cannot help but harken those 80's pop predecessors, with Jackson's disarming, high-pitched crooning, and her emotionally-wrought lyrics (she's been cited as crying between lyrical refrains, on-stage) is hard to ignore. I look forward to catching La Roux live during their mini-U.S. tour this April. It has been ages since I've been to the Roxy, but I think this is a good enough reason to make a return.

North America mini-tour dates:

April 3rd, Brooklyn, NY @ Studio B
April 4th, Montreal, QE @ Les Saints
April 5th, Toronto, ONT @ The Drake
April 9th, San Francisco, CA @ 330 Ritch (Popscene)
April 12th, Los Angeles, CA @ Roxy (Dimmak party)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They'd only remind me of you

Within the sound of silence

My Grandmother used to tell me that all the answers we seek lie within ourselves, but that we fill our lives with too many noises and distractions to ever hear the answers. She was also the one who told me, over and over again, to follow my bliss. I used to say that last one, over and over again, to everyone I knew. It became a slogan of sorts, and friends of mine would send me it written in letters, on a kitchen magnet, on the front sides of postcards, and even as a theme to a music mix once.

I'm not sure I ever truly followed my own, or my Grandmother's, beautiful advice. Nor have I ever embraced silence and solitary moments enough to ever shut up the rattle and hum of daily living, and truly listen to my own thoughts, and answers.

But now I try to find those moments. I steal them if I have to. Waking up earlier than the sun in order to nick a bit of time from the day, alone in the front room of my small apartment, leaning close to the window where I an almost feel the air from outside chill my skin. Or I stay longer than necessary in the shower, letting the warm water trickle over me, like rain, washing away the stains of heartache and disappointment, confusion and fear. I try to find that spot in myself that isn't worried about money, survival, understanding, or what anyone else thinks of me. I try to find that spot in myself that is just that, myself.

I used to gauge my decisions on how they affected others, or by how others would perceive me. I put so much of myself out there to everyone I knew, walking around like I'd been turned inside out, my insides raw and jagged for all to see. I let the judgement, whether uttered or unspoken, make too much of a difference in who I was, and what I did.

But where is the truth in that? Where are the answers in other people's biased opinions? And in the end, if we fall and fail, will all those others opinions be there to help us?

In this quest to find out exactly who I am, and what I want, and what that actual bliss is that I'm meant to follow, I'm finding my voice in the silences.

"In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone,
neath the halo of a street lamp,
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of
A neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence."

Just for one day

"Though nothing will keep us together,
we can be us,
forever and ever."

'Heroes' ~ David Bowie

I still remember the first time I ever heard this song. Someone made me a mixed tape and had slipped it into my bag when we were leaving a club, in the wee hours of morning, somewhere in Hollywood. Funny, I really don't recall the night all that well, or where we are, but I do remember the tape.

I'd loved Bowie for years by this point, and had favourites of my own, but this was one song I'd never heard before. From that moment on, it not only became my favourite Bowie song, but one of my all-time favourite songs ever.

I drove around in that first car I had, listening to it with the windows rolled down, singing along. The song would end, I'd hit rewind, turn down a side street to lengthen the trip, and listen again. I had this image in my head, a scene from a film, or a story just starting to form, that had the ocean in the distance, and a boy and a girl in a bittersweet embrace. It was painted with melancholy in my imagination, one of those moments where you know you are saying goodbye, for what might be forever, and are not quite sure you know how you'll let go.

I still have that image in my head, just perhaps a bit more defined, one might say.

Heroes ~ David Bowie

The music plays all day long

These white lights will bend to make blue: And sorrow looks beautiful: A Mix

Galaxy of the Lost
~ Lightspeed Champion
You! Me! Dancing! ~ Los Campesinos!
The Magic Position ~ Patrick Wolf
We are Rockstars ~ Does It Offend You, Yeah?
Bullets ~ Tunng
Lump Sum ~ Bon Iver
Oxford Comma ~ Vampire Weekend
One Day Like This ~ Elbow
Get Better ~ Mates Of State
Challengers ~ The New Pornographers
Let's Call It Off ~ Peter Bjorn & John
Five Years Time ~ Noah & The Whale
Head to Toe ~ Kings Of Leon
Can't Say No ~ The Helio Sequence

In My Head ~ Ballet
Easy/Lucky/Free ~ Bright Eyes
Chicago ~ Sufjan Stevens
True Affection ~ The Blow
Heart ~ Stars
Take Me Home ~ Aqualung
These Bright Lights Will Bend to Make Blue ~ Azure Ray

And Sorrow Looks Beautiful ~ Zipped Up

Monday, March 23, 2009

You're the only one who really knew me at all

Make a wish

Blow Me a Kiss: I'll Blow You a Wish: A Birthday Mix

The Happy Birthday Song ~ Andrew Bird
I Wish ~ Babyshambles
Get the Party Started (live, cover) ~ Damien Rice & Lisa Hannigan
Unhappy Birthday ~ The Smiths
Three Wishes ~ The Pierces
Somebody Rock Me (The Killers vs. The Clash) ~ Party Ben
Birthday ~ Sugarcubes
Wishing Well ~ The Airborne Toxic Event
The Party ~ Bruno Coulais, Mathilde Pellegrini and the Children's Choir of Nice
Happy Birthday Girl ~ Sondre Lerche
Blown a Wish ~ My Bloody Valentine
Lights & Music (Boys Noize Happy Birthday Remix) ~ Cut Copy
The Boy I Wish I Never Met ~ A Smile & A Ribbon
City of Gods (Fergie Birthday Remix) ~ Namito
When You Wish Upon a Star (cover) ~ Gene Simmons

Birthday Mix ~ Zipped Up

Note: It is alright to sing to yourself on your own birthday, as long as you share the songs with all those people you love. So, happy birthday to me, and enjoy in the music drunk mix revelry. xoxox.

Cause I miss you

"Call me on your way back home dear,
cause I miss you,
and I just wanna die without you."

'Call me On Your Way Back Home' ~ Ryan Adams

I suppose there is something adolescent in thinking you cannot live without someone. I mean, at a certain age it becomes clear that you can live without anyone, and anything, because after awhile we all come face to face with loss. We learn to live through things that we think will destroy us, and we get to the other side sometimes and look back wondering what we were thinking in the first place. We brush ourselves off, we change our hair, we decide that going on is the only thing there is left to do.

The older we get the more the world becomes impatient with us. We are expected to sort it out, hold it together, get over things fast. People ask us if we are alright, but most often they do not want, nor wait, for the honest answer. Lovers break apart and before any healing has been allowed to occur we have moved on to someone else. Bodies shifting and names changing, we cling to the physical justification that we still exist, that someone wants us, that we are getting on and over with it; that we will not die without that someone we've lost.

All the psycho-babble could fill library shelves, top to bottom, and they would all say the same. Dependency is a bad word, right up there with heartbreak and need. Only the music makers and the writers of poetry and prose get to mourn anymore. So, we cling to the songs, and to the writings, and sit alone in the dark singing along, memorizing words, relating to every turn of phrase, shedding our tears along with them. Perhaps that makes us feel less alone in the world, and less immature to feel so torn up and broken inside.

But maybe, just maybe, it is okay to not want to live without someone. You will live on, regardless, and deep down you know it - I know it. But, you can still not want to lose someone who means the world to you. You can feel shattered when they feel lost from you, and miss them so terribly that you truly believe you will never recover. There are people that matter that much to us, and that isn't adolescent, or pathetic, or a bad thing - it is actually a beautiful thing to feel that way, to love that way, to have people who matter in that way. And you do not have to be a musician, or a writer, to feel that way - just honest, human, and alive.

"Oh I just wanna die without you,
yeah I just wanna die without you.
Without you honey,
I aint nothing new."

And I pretended I was sleeping

"Every time you leave me for a minute, it's like goodbye.
I like to believe it means you can't live without me."
~ Angela

Who'd of Known (video) ~ Lily Allen
Who'd of Known ~ Lily Allen

"Said tomorrow would be fun,
we could watch A Place in the Sun.
I didn't know where this was going,
when you kissed me

Growing up, I inherited a love of film and music, and nearly unshakable insomnia, from my Mother. I would find myself tossing and turning through the night, and I'd lean my head towards the door, straining to hear whatever film my Mother was watching in the wee hours between late at night and early morning, out in our living room. Quite often it was a classic film, black and white flickers on a screen with some of the classic Hollywood actors keeping her company. Sometimes I would creep out into the hallway, each step taken carefully as our hardwood floors were prone to creaking, and I'd try to remain unnoticed, craning my neck just so, in order to be able to catch glimpses of whatever film was playing.

Often she pretended to not notice me there, though I know now she was never fooled. But, after awhile she would shake her head and say, "just come in and join me."

Elizabeth Taylor was one of my early favourites. Her stunning looks and demeanor took my breath away. All dark hair and pale skin, and sparkling eyes that I would later learn were an unusual shade of violet. She had this air of melancholy about her, and a strange mixture of innocence and worldliness that seemed to emanate from every pore. I was fascinated by the roles she played, and by the way she carried herself in all of the varying roles I found myself devouring in those long, still hours of no longer night and not yet morning.

In my adolescence, when a theatre teacher told me that I reminded her of a young Elizabeth Taylor I was dumbfounded, and nearly burst into tears. I never saw myself as anything like her, nor would I again, but for that split-second I felt as if her mystique had slipped momentarily underneath my skin, and shone out of me, as those old films glowed out of our rabbit-eared second-hand television.

A Place in the Sun is about impossible love, bad timing, deception and loss. It is based on the novel, An American Tragedy, so I suppose there is no mistaken this for a Hollywood ending "they lived happily ever after" kind of number. And this definitely does not end happily, though I suppose there are moments "in the sun", and those stolen confessions in the moonlight when two people end up in each other's arms whether it should have ever happened, or come to be, at all.

Love ending at the electric chair, well I suppose that deserves the title of tragedy, doesn't it?

Odd then for it to be name-checked in Lily Allen's more hopeful song, 'Who'd of Known', right at the moment when two friends take that hesitant step into being something more. Was it simply chosen because it fit the rhyme and rhythm of a pop song, or is it meant to be some kind of foreshadowing? I suppose I have my own set of biases that colour such a question, though I think a part of me will always say love borne of friendship has the most amazing of potentials.

Even if your heart does end up electrocuted.