I am completely in love with the Saint John’s. They apparently are working on a full-length album, but at the moment have released four songs from a live recording. They are all amazingly beautiful with wonderful melodies and harmonies. Their song Your Head and Your Heart has gotten some radio play at least among NPR Music stations, though the sort of music they play is certainly riding a wave of popularity right now so I won’t be surprised if they eventually get some commercial radio play as well. I would definitely keep your eyes and ears on this band. You can actually download the four songs from their live recording from their website now, so get thee there and make your ears happy.
Month: March 2013
HIMYM End Tag
I used to love How I Met Your Mother. Now it is sadly a show I watch more out habit than enjoyment. It’s not to say that there aren’t some bright spots here or there, but for the most part this show is long past its prime. The characters have become overly broad and often contradictory to what we know about them from earlier seasons. I was really hoping this season would be their last one. We could find out who the mother was and all move on with our lives. Unfortunately there is going to be one more season that I will feel compelled to watch. At least I don’t hate this show as much as I hated House by the end of its run.
Despite all of its failings in the past several seasons every once in awhile the show will pull out something like the end tag of last night’s show which reminds me why I loved it in the first place. This is what’s making me happy today.
Mother Nature’s Last Laugh
I’m trying really hard to think about something that’s making me happy this morning because really I’m just bitter. Remember a few weeks ago when I was laughing and laughing because we got a “snow day” that turned out to be just rain? Well turns out karma sucks. It is now officially spring and we have a lovely little snow storm going on. Contrary to their usual habit of hyping up snow storms that then turn into nothing, our fine weather folks here in Maryland once again failed completely at their jobs and totally underplayed this one. We already have about 4 inches of snow in the city and it’s still snowing. Thanks to the crap weather forecast not only are we not closed today, but we didn’t even get a delayed opening. Normally for this much snow we would definitely be closed. So it’s Monday morning, which by definition sucks, it’s snowing IN SPRING (have I mentioned how much I hate winter and how annoyed I am that it won’t go away this year), and I’m at work when I would normally be getting a snow day.
And now I am breathing out and letting all of that go. I have a nice warm place to be. The view out my window is quite lovely. I have short work week anyway thanks to Easter break coming up. One of the perks of working for Catholic universities is getting Good Friday and Easter Monday off. I also had a lovely relaxing weekend. Oftentimes I jam my weekend full of activities, but this weekend just had some nice downtime.
Friday night we wandered over to the gathering of food trucks in our neighborhood and grabbed dinner. Then we came home and finished off the final three episodes of House of Cards on Netflix streaming.
Saturday morning/afternoon we were invited over for brunch by our friends Pete and Sarah. It was nice to hang out with them and their 19 month old little guy and eat some yummy food. Actually there’s nothing more happy making than the fact that Sarah is now in remission from cancer and they are at a point where they can host a brunch with friends. You can check out Sarah’s blog Balder than Baby in which recounts her experiences navigating cancer while having a new baby.
Saturday night because I am wild and crazy I watched a little basketball and read a book about the history of American copyright and public domain and literary piracy. I commented that I am a complete dork for reading this for fun on a Saturday night. My husband responded that the book did sound like a fun read. This my friends is why we are married.
Sunday I did a little cleaning in prep for visitors next weekend. I went ahead and got both of our guest rooms in order since they won’t be used before then and that saves me from having to clean them at the end of the week with the rest of the house. I watched some more basketball and a documentary about Chely Wright and read some more of my book. All in all a relaxing day.
Sometime late last fall in either October or November (I can’t remember now) I dropped my glasses on my tile bathroom floor and they busted just a little bit at one of the hinges. They weren’t so broken that I could no longer wear them, but they were broken enough that they were annoying to wear. The stem on the left side of the glasses no longer fit snuggly against my face so any time I leaned over they would dangle off my face. Trust me you have no idea how much you lean over until your glasses are constantly hanging off your face every time you do.
Despite the annoyingness of wearing them I kept putting off replacing them because I had just been to the eye doctor shortly before breaking them and knew I didn’t really need an upgraded prescription in them, and glasses are insanely expensive to replace if you’re doing it right. Since I wear my glasses essentially all the time I don’t like to cheap out. Plus my eyesight is horrible so I always have to pay for the super expensive lenses so that I don’t look like I’m wearing Coke bottle glasses.
I finally bit the bullet the other week and walked up the street to my optometrist’s office to pick out some new glasses because I was starting to go slightly insane wearing my old ones. I picked up the new ones this past Saturday and life is once again good again. Here are my new glasses with their case, which I only point out because if you look closely you can see that they match. My frames are Vera Bradley frames and apparently this is a thing with Vera Bradley glasses. I couldn’t care less. I pretty much never use the cases I have for my glasses anyway, but the woman working at the office informed me of this fact as a huge selling point for these particular frames telling me a lot of people buy Vera Bradley frames just for the matching case. I am about as far away from being the kind of person that would do that as possible, but now I’m amused by it.
And here I am actually wearing my new glasses. Not the best picture ever, but this is what you get when you try and take pictures of yourself using Photo Booth on your Mac. Trust me this is the best of a lot of really awful ones.
I Made This Playlist Happen
Yesterday, WXPN, The University of Pennsylvania radio station, which I listen to all the time streaming at work posted on their Facebook page soliciting people to submit the songs they never get tired of listening to for their 5 at 5 segment. As I was looking through people’s suggestions I thought this would make a really fantastic Spotify playlist. I mentioned that on Twitter and whoever was manning the Twitterfeed at WXPN agreed and said they were going to make it happen. Cut to a few hours later and they had a Spotify playlist seeded with about 50 or so of the suggestions people gave and then put the link of up on their Facebook, Twitter, and website asking people to continue to contribute to it. Only a handful of people have added additional songs at this point, but the whole thing makes me furiously happy. If I get time I might go back through and add some more of the suggestions people made in Facebook to the playlist. As it is now, it’s a great mix of old and new favorites plus a few songs I had never heard before but am already in love with like Rory Sullivan’s “Out of Here”.
In case you were wondering my contribution to the playlist was Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes”. I love that song to the very core of my soul. Feel free to add your own suggestion to the playlist if you’re on Spotify (you should join if you’re not) or add your suggestion in the comments and I’ll add it for you.
The Return of Natalie Maines
Natalie Maines, former lead singer of the now defunct Dixie Chicks is making a musical comeback after 7 years. Her forthcoming album entitled Mother is due out May 7. The album is a solo rock album mostly composed of cover songs. The first single off the album is a cover of Eddie Vedder’s “Without You”. I have no idea what the rest of the album sounds like, but this song still has quite a bit of country rock feel to me that doesn’t seem to be a huge departure from what the Dixie Chicks were doing especially in their later albums. Of course that’s probably what you get when you’re covering a song off a ukelele album. Based on the list of tracks I’m guessing that many of the songs will have a folk/country rock feeling to them. I am not complaining because I like that style of music. I read or heard somewhere that Natalie Maines said she would never go back to country music after everything that happened with the Dixie Chicks, and yes most likely this new music isn’t likely to get played on country radio, but it’s not that big of a departure from country as I was imagining when I heard that. Whether rock or country or some influence of both I’m happy to have Natalie Maines back on the musical scene.
And speaking of the ill-fated end of the Dixie Chicks, this America is why we can’t have nice things. I will never, ever understand the crazy mindset of people who boycotted them and sent death threats etc. because Natalie Maines expressed her disagreement with George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. One of the things that you crazy “patriot” people should be loving about this country is the fact that we have the right to free speech, which means people are allowed to say things you disagree with. Whatever moving back into a happy place.
I also happened to hear today the fantastic Dixie Chicks song “Not Ready to Make Nice”, which is off their final album Taking the Long Way. Though I am not happy with the way things ended for the Dixie Chicks or the fact that they ended at all, this album composed of songs mostly inspired by everything that happened is wonderful and probably my favorite of all the Dixie Chicks albums. That time also led to the great documentary Shut Up and Sing, which you should really watch if you haven’t already.
Today’s Delightful Video Brought to You By Billy Joel
It’s a gloomy, rainy morning here in Baltimore and based on my Twitterfeed everyone is in a bad mood this morning. So here is something to cheer you up. A delightful little video in which Billy Joel is doing a Q & A concert at Vanderbilt University and well you should just watch what happens. It’s sure to put a smile on your face.
Milo Greene and Stars at Rams Head Live
Last night I went to see Milo Greene and Stars in concert at Rams Head Live with my friends Lindsey and Laura and Laura’s friend Becca who was visiting from out of town. I love Laura and Lindsey because when I asked them if they wanted to go to this concert with me they not only said yes but they knew who Milo Greene and Stars were, whereas every other person I mentioned this concert to was like I have no idea who either of those bands are. So I am super happy to have Laura and Lindsey in my life because they not only love live music like I do they like the same kinds of music I do, so it’s a win-win. Laura’s friend Becca was also on board for going to the concert, which is why Laura was able to go even though her friend was visiting, so we like her too.
The concert itself was fantastic. Though standing room only shows really do bring out my desire to punch people in the face. Last night my ire was directed at a photographer employed by Rams Head to take pictures of the show, which he managed to do in the most obnoxious and obtrusive ways the entire show. Dude, my shoulder is not tripod, quit leaning all over me to get 2 inches closer to the stage, and quit jumping in front of me. Aside from him though it was great once I managed to move from out behind the giant tall guy who stepped in front of me just as Milo Greene took the stage. Luckily at that point it was empty enough that it wasn’t too much of a problem to move away from him. It’s seriously some kind of Murphy’s law that I as one of the shortest people in the room should always wind up stuck behind the tallest person there. It was a small concert though. They didn’t even have the upper levels open at all so as to force everyone into one area to create a crowd. The bottom floor did fill up by the time Stars came on though.
Last night was the first time Milo Greene has ever played in Baltimore and hopefully it won’t be their last. Honestly, I really wanted to go to this concert to see them. I like Stars fine, but probably wouldn’t have gone to the concert had it not been for the fact that Milo Greene was opening for them. I’ve been looking forward to the day I could see them live ever since they were featured on the NPR Music Interns’ list of bands that NPR Music missed in 2011. So thanks former NPR intern, whoever you are, for introducing me to Milo Greene.
I love their beautiful harmonies over dreamy melodies. They were fantastic to listen to and also to watch given that most members of the band play more than one instrument resulting in them moving around the stage a lot and playing various things. Marlana Sheetz, one of the band members, said that “What’s the Matter” is her favorite song during the show last night, so I will leave you with that to listen to.
Stars is a Canadian indie pop rock electronica band. Despite being the headliners as I already mentioned I was less excited about seeing them than Milo Greene, but they put on a fantastic show. You can tell that they love making music and they love their fans. They have a fairly large catalog from the past 13 or so years that they’ve been together. Their sound has evolved over time and I’m more partial to their newer stuff than their older stuff. They played a good mix of stuff both new and old and really dug deep for some of their choices apparently. I love a band that is doing their shows for their fans. Many artists have their set play list that they play night after night during a tour. I know a lot goes into staging a concert and with any kind of light show, etc. involved I get it, but I don’t care. I’m there for the music and love when that’s what the band is there for too. They obviously had a set list for the night, but it definitely was not the same thing they play show after show. They even played a request from an audience member as the first song of their encore after discussing whether or not they were prepared enough to be able to do it. Aside from Bruce Springsteen who is awesome at playing audience requests, it is rare to see that actually happen at a concert. Usually if an artist plays something you want them to it’s because they were already planning on it not because you’re yelling it out to them. I also have to say it was the first time I’ve ever seen a band leave the stage at the end of the show (before the encore) one member at a time gradually letting the song drop off until the only person left on the stage is the drummer who then leaves too. That was kind of fun to watch. While I may not love all of their music, Stars definitely won me over last night. Best kind of concert.
I shall leave you with “The Theory of Relativity” off their newest album The North, which I really like.
Young Lungs by Work Drugs
Work Drugs is a Philadelphia based band that according to them “makes music specifically for boating, sexting, dancing, yachting, and living”. That mission statement kind of cracks me up. Who wants to buy me a boat so I can properly listen to their music? I guess for now I will just have to enjoy it on a subpar level. Right now I’m digging their newest single Young Lungs. The hook that shows up about a minute into the song reminds me of Ghostland Observatory’s Sad, Sad City which you may recall I am also a fan of. Plus throw in the sax at the end and I’m sold. Take a listen and like much of their music if you like you can download it for free on Soundcloud. Bonus!
Best Snow Day Ever
Ahahaha! Thank you Baltimore meteorologists for being so incompetent at your jobs. I work at a university, which means that when it snows I tend to get off work because the schools I work for close. The past two winters have been very mild in Baltimore. I don’t recall getting any snow days last year, and this year we had one delayed start which I missed because I was in Seattle for a conference. As we entered March I pretty much assumed my chance for a free day off of work for snow was gone. Then they started predicting what my husband hashtagged #snowpossible earlier this week. They should have left it at that, but didn’t. I tried not to get my hopes up about getting off work today because I know how Maryland weather works. We always sit on that rain/snow line and often fall on the wrong side of it when it comes to getting snow.
Baltimore despite seeing snow pretty much every winter and often times large quantities of it manages to freak out when the word snow is even mentioned in a forecast. I have had some days in the past where I have gotten off work for snow that I thought were ridiculous, though I will never complain about a day off. Today however takes the cake. This my friends is the blizzard that kept me home today.
Does that look like the 8-10 inches of snow they were predicting when I woke up this morning? No? How about 3-6 inches which was the original forecast for the city and then the reduced forecast after it was obvious 8-10 inches wasn’t going to happen? Eventually they downgraded it even farther but still said once it gets colder tonight we would get some snow. Now I just saw that the winter storm warning has been completely canceled, so I suppose that means no snow at all. There are some places north and west of the city that did get some snow, but the fact that everything in the Baltimore metro area closed on the predictions of what was a non-existent storm in most of the area cracks me up. I essentially got off work today because it rained, and not even a hard rain at that. I walked to my dentist appointment this afternoon and didn’t even have to use an umbrella.
I can’t stop laughing about this. Ah, Baltimoreans your inclination to freak out about even the mention of snow will never fail to amuse me, but I certainly thank you for the “snow day”.