sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

it will be hard to let you go / i cannot explain why i haven't been feeling myself

i've had this one dream for awhile. it doesn't really matter what it is, but i have written about it once or twice on sand is overrated. for a long time, this dream was just that--a dream. it was something that i thought about from afar, but the chance of it coming true seemed so unlikely that it never bothered me when it didn't.

but then there was a time recently when it seemed...possible. in a way, i was even there for a brief moment, and being there only confirmed my desire to live in that dream. then in the realm of possibility, i set about trying to make the transition from possibility to reality.

but it seems that circumstances have transpired against me. my chances of realizing this possibility seem painfully unlikely, at least anytime soon, and these days i wonder if i wouldn't be better served to let this possibility fall back into a dream again, back to a place where it doesn't hurt when it doesn't come true. it will be hard to let it go, but at least i can still dream.

it's in this state that i found europe by allo darlin'. buoyed by jangly guitars and elizabeth morris' charmingly expressive voice, the album is nonetheless heavy on nostalgia (often to the point of regret) and melancholy (sometimes to the point of crippling self doubt). there are moments of revitalization, but i can't help but wonder if the singer really believes what she's singing in those moments, or if she's relieving pain by trying to convince herself that everything is going to be okay. obviously, i can relate, and europe is perhaps my favorite album of the year so far. perhaps that should come as no surprise given how much allo darlin' remind me, in almost every way, of my beloved camera obscura. sigh...



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Friday, May 04, 2012

the A is for adam and the lyrics, true

lost a great one today. namaste and safe travels, mc adam.

beastie boys : "a year and a day" (part 4 of "b-boy bouillabaisse")
from the lp paul's boutique (capitol, 1989)

m.c. for what i am and do
the A is for adam and the lyrics, true
so as i pray and hope and the message is sent
and i am living in the dreams that i have dreamt
because i'm down with the three the unstoppable three
me and adam and d. were born to m.c.
and my body and soul and mind are pure
not polluted or diluted or damaged beyond cure
just lyrics from i to you recited
arrested, bailed but cuffed and indicted
enter the arena as i take center stage
the lights set low and the night has come of age
take the microphone in hand as that i am a professional
speak my knowledge to the crowd and the ed. is special
for i am a bard and i am the last one
i am the king and this is my castle
dwell in realms of now but vidi those of the past
seen a glimpse from ahead and i don't think it's gonna last
and you can bet your ass

i drop the l. when i'm skiing
i'm smoking and peaking
i put the skis on the roof almost every single weekend
can't stop the mindfuck when it's rolling along
can't stop the smooth runnin's when the shit's running strong
broke my bindings the lion with wings
preaching his word in the b. boy sing
i am one with myself as i turn to thee
i prefer the dreams to reality
i prefer my life don't need no other man's wife
don't need no crazy lifestyle with stress and strife
but it's good to have turn to be a king for a day
or for a week or for a year or for a year in a day
come what may

i'm fishing in my boat and i'm fishing for trout
mix the bass ale with the guinness stout
fishing for a line inside my brain
and looking out at the world through my window pane
every day has many colors cuz the glass is stained
everything has changed but remains the same
so once again the mirror raised and i see myself as clear as day
and i am going to the limits of my ultimate destiny
feeling as though somebody somewhere's testing me
he who sees the end from the beginning of time
looking forward through all the ages is, was and always shall be
check the prophetic sections of the pages

he goes by the name of disco dave

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

if memory serves us then who owns the master?

i've been a great admirer of the many prodigious talents of andrew bird for quite some time now. however, if there was one characteristic that might have led me to feel a sense of detachment from his music, it might be that his lyrics could be so highbrow and cerebral that they could at times seem pedantic. don't get me wrong--i can and do appreciate the density of his lyrics, which are always interesting and often obscenely clever. but sometimes it's nice to just feel something, without having to look up words in the dictionary.

or, maybe he was just singing about things that i couldn't relate to. in any case, his latest album, break it yourself, seemed to change that perception for me. the cleverness and the wordplay are still in full effect, but this time there seems to be a more obvious vulnerability and pain, as if someone finally pissed off or hurt the guy who always made it look so easy. in particular is "lazy projector", an exquisitely crafted song about the tricks that our hearts sometimes play on our minds. it's a topic that i have related to all too well in the past (and, thankfully, not so much in the present), and established another reason why mr. bird is one of my very favorite artists.

andrew bird : "lazy projector"
from the lp break it yourself (mom+pop, 2012)
if memory serves us then who owns the master and how do we know who's projecting this reel and is it like gruel or like quick drying plaster tell me how long till the paint starts to peel is it like paramus or apollo or an archer we don't know? though history repeats itself and time's a crooked bow come on tell us something we don't know now who's the best boy and the casting director and the editor splicing your face from the scene it's all in the hands of a lazy projector that forgetting embellishing lying machine they say all good things must come to an end every day the night must fall but how it all came to this i simply can't recall too many cooks in the kitchen oh how the mighty must fall but i can't see the sense in us breaking up at all and it's all in the hands of a lazy projector that forgetting embellishing lying machine

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

the elephant in the room

when i first started sand is overrated, i didn't really know what i wanted it to become. and so i was proud when it evolved into an outlet for me to explore the many ways that music connects with my life. it became an online diary of sorts, and often times topics became a lot more intimate than i ever thought i would be comfortable sharing with strangers. my connection with music always felt so intensely personal, but i guess it became easier to share as i learned how experiences are almost always universal.

and then i disappeared. at first it was just busy-ness, as a long journey had culminated and led to the start of a new adventure. i never felt too badly about going silent here, as i felt that i had left it in a good place, a happy ending of sorts. it was the last word for two full years before i resurfaced, seemingly out of the blue, last august. after such a long time away, coming back was something that i felt necessary because my story had become painfully unfinished. i did what i could to distance myself from where i had left off, even splitting my favorite albums list into ten individual posts to push it off the previous posts list on the front page. i've so far only alluded to my reasons for returning, but, keeping with the spirit of what sand is overrated had become to me, i knew that eventually i would need to face it head on.

so here it is: today i am officially divorced. it's been an unquestionably difficult period of life, and, as can be gathered from many of my posts since returning, one that has renewed and strengthened my personal connection to a lot of the music around me. it has been an experience that i wouldn't wish even on my worst enemy, and one that i obviously hope never happens again. but today marks the day that this period is officially over. i have survived, i hope i have learned from mistakes, and now it is time to really start moving forward again. i still know what i'm looking for, and still desire what i always have. nothing has changed for me in that respect, and for that i am thankful.

having said all that, i still don't know what my intentions are for sand is overrated moving forward. sharing an experience like this--even to such a vague degree--is incredibly difficult and wholly contrary to my own instincts, and maintaining such a high level of intimacy is in some ways exhausting and undesirable. much like my effort to create some distance from july 2009, i would be happy to quickly bury this post as well. but i do feel like there is some value to staying true to my original intent, and to not hiding from the difficult times. after all, i know i'm not the first person to walk down this road. with releases from my two favorite artists (m. ward and sigur rós) in the next few months, creating some distance hopefully won't be too difficult to do. after that, well, i guess the only thing to do is to keep living and see what happens.

the shins : "it's only life"
from the lp port of morrow (columbia records, 2012)
dyed in the wool, you've been cornered by a natural desire you want to hop along with the giddy throng through life but how will you learn to steer when you're grinding all your gears? you've been talking for hours you say "time will wash every tower to the sea" and now you've got this worry in your heart well i guess it's only life, it's only natural we all spend a little while going down the rabbit hole the things they taught you, they're lining up to haunt you they've got your back against the wall i call you on the telephone, won't you pick up the receiver? i've been down the very road you're walking now it doesn't have to be so dark and lonesome it takes a while but we can figure this thing out and turn it back around you used to be such a lion before you got into all this crying on my lap back when you thought i'd never get this far but did you really think i'd shut an open door the future's calling and i'm gonna answer her the wheel's in motion, i never drank your potion and i know it breaks your heart open up your parachute, something's got to stop the free-fall i've been down the very road you're walking now it doesn't have to be so dark and lonesome it takes a while but we can figure this thing out and turn it back around

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #1

1.
the whole love

wilco

dbpm/anti, september 27, 2011

"art of almost"


if i had made my list in december, as i usually do, the whole love would have been number 3, behind the deeply personal connections i feel to bon iver, bon iver and we are the tide. however, while listening to it on a long drive in early january, i decided that i wanted the whole love to be number 1. it could be more for symbolic reasons more than anything, as in the end i wanted to try to remember the year for something other than heartache and pain. however, it is certainly not undeserving of the title of my favorite album of the year, as it may just be my favorite album that wilco has ever made. which is saying a lot, since wilco has long been one of my two or three favorite bands. the album is bookended by two quintessential wilco songs--"art of almost" and "one sunday morning (song for jane smiley's boyfriend)". the opener is the current (and hopefully last) incarnation of the band at the absolute peak of its powers--creatively, experimentally, musically, and, somehow, face-shreddingly...awesome. while the closer is a meandering 12-minute stroll through a painful paternal relationship, made breathtaking and heartbreaking by the intimacy of the quietly dueling acoustic guitar and piano. with a nod to yankee hotel foxtrot, the whole love may just be my favorite wilco album of all, and a gift that i will always be grateful to have received in the midst of such a terrible year. thank you, wilco. thank you.

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Saturday, January 28, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #2

2.
we are the tide

blind pilot

expunged records, september 13, 2011

"new york"


when bon iver, bon iver was released in june, i remember thinking that i would be very happy if it wasn't my favorite album at the end of the year, because that would mean that some truly great music would have been released during the second half of the year. to be honest, i'm not sure that we are the tide qualifies as "great" in the traditional sense, although blind pilot do what they do and they certainly do it very well (but let's be fair--it is an expertly crafted album by a tremendously appealing band, and certainly at least "very, very good"). rather, we are the tide is my second-favorite album of the year because of what it represents--with 2008's 3 rounds and a sound, it's the other blind pilot bookend to the most significant period of my life. it's the kind of relationship that can truly be appreciated only by me, but seeing as how this is my list, i get to determine how much weight it is given. and it means a lot. similar to bon iver, bon iver, i do have some reservations about assigning such importance to an association that is, no doubt, painful to recollect. however, i know that with time comes distance, and one day i hope those memories will serve only as reminders of what i have survived, and help me to appreciate the future present.

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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #3

3.
bon iver, bon iver

bon iver

jagjaguwar, june 21, 2011

"calgary"


shredding the mythology of the cabin in the woods, justin vernon returns with an album of surpassing beauty, both in its clarity of vision and the muscular confidence with which it is presented. lyrically abstract and sonically dense, the album seemed to evolve even as it is constrained to a silver plastic disc, shape-shifting and folding in on itself to reveal unheard sounds, unseen visions, and unfelt emotions. during a period in my life that was tumultuous and completely opaque, i found myself returning again and again to bon iver, bon iver, always with a different feeling and sometimes within the very same song ("calgary" comes to mind: "you know that all the rope's untied", then "the demons come, they can subside", then "there's a fire going out / but there's really nothing to the south"). in some ways it was tortuous, and it seems a shame to associate something so beautiful with a period so painful. but that's what it--music--is for me, and for that i know that bon iver, bon iver will always hold a special place inside.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #4

4.
helplessness blues

fleet foxes

sub pop, may 3, 2011

"helplessness blues"


if not for the difficulties i faced this year, helplessness blues would no doubt be higher than number 4. who knows--given my current state and the questions i have been left with concerning life and happiness, i can see myself developing a more personal connection to this album as time goes by. but what i know today is that helplessness blues is one of the most purely enjoyable and satisfying albums that i've heard in a long time. robin pecknold's vocals are given more prominence, with the vocal harmonies that so defined fleet foxes now more of a background flourish. and they are simply sublime, lending a serenity that belies the difficulties of the existential questions being considered.

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Monday, January 23, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #5

5.
on the water

future islands

thrill jockey, october 11, 2011

"balance"


here is where it got tough. deciding between several shades of why and on the water at number five was a particularly difficult decision. future islands was a new band for me, and samuel herring's bear of a voice is never short on histrionics. on the other hand, histrionics may be what the subject matter requires. on the water played a big part in an altogether conflicted month of october, as i found my mind and my heart turned upside down by lines such as "if things hadn't changed / i would have buried you deep in my arms", "if you let me be there again / i'll be still, won't say a word", and "look back, hold onto the last / don't let today push out the past". in the end, although the associations are a bit uncomfortable, the impact was undeniable, and the question begs--is number five even too low?

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

2011 albums of the year : #6

6.
several shades of why

j mascis

sub pop, march 15, 2011

"several shades of why"


i hadn't listened to j mascis since the mid-90s, with dinosaur jr., and so it was a surprise to hear him turn up again on my radar nearly twenty years later. it was even more of a surprise to see him now, a little heavier and hair all grey. but, in some ways, the effects of time more neatly befit the weariness in his voice, and the combination is perfectly suited for a mostly acoustic record.

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all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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