New Music Friday: I Don’t Live Here Anymore by The War on Drugs (feat. Lucius)

The new album, I Don’t Live Here Anymore by The War on Drugs comes out today. It’s their fifth album and their first in four years. I’ve been looking forward to this album since they announced it. I wrote about “Proof”, the first single off of the album awhile back. I try not to write about multiple songs off the same album very often, which is why I haven’t written about the title song off the album, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” before now. It’s the second single and has also been out for a little while. I love it so much though and with the new album coming out today I finally decided to cave and write about it. My other option was to write about the new Tori Amos album, but I haven’t had a chance to listen to that one yet and I really wanted to write about this song. So here we go.

Bear with me as I make a brief digression. Ellen Pompeo of Grey’s Anatomy fame has a new podcast that I hate but also can’t stop listening to. I don’t think she’s a good interviewer and this podcast reveals some rather kooky beliefs that she has that make me kind of hate her. Anyway, on the podcast she keeps talking about how she believes in the power of frequency and how people are drawn to certain frequencies and also she believes in something called frequency medicine, which she said she got into after she had a cyst on her pancreas. She said her doctors told her they would giver her 8 weeks to try her hocus pocus and if it didn’t work she was having surgery. Guess what? It didn’t work and she had the surgery, and yet somehow this confirmed her belief in it? I’m just thinking as I’m listening that she doesn’t seem to realize that she is sort of doing the same thing that the anti-vaxxers she also rails against in this episode are doing. She grabbed onto some pseudo-science thing that sounded interesting and believable to her and didn’t let go of the belief even when science and her own experience told her otherwise. The human brain is not evolved enough for the modern world y’all.

Anyway, the reason I tell that story is because despite the fact that I’m super dubious about frequency medicine and even most of her claims about frequency at least a little part of me thinks that there is something there because of songs like “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”. There are certain songs where the music just resonates with me so much like deep down into my soul that I don’t even know how to explain the experience. I think it’s one of the reasons I love music so much, and even if it’s not with music I hope that other people have something in their life that gives them that feeling. Often when I have that experience with a song it’s usually either the guitar work or something to do with vocal harmony. Thus my thought that maybe the experience does have something to do with the frequency in the song. This song gives me that experience both with the guitar and vocal harmonies. There’s something about the guitar in this song as well as the vocal harmonies that Lucius is singing that just ring down into the core of my being like I feel a tuning fork being rung inside my heart. That’s the best I can do to try and describe it. It doesn’t happen with every song, not even most songs including ones I really love, but man when it does it’s an incredible feeling. Needless to say I love this song, and now that I’ve listened to it I love the whole album. Hopefully you can experience even a little fraction of what I do when I listen to it.

New Music Friday: Love Is the Greatest by Angel Du$t

For the second week in a row I’m switching up what I was going to write about at the last minute. Before I get to that I wanted to mention that there is a new Hiss Golden Messenger Christmas album, O Come All Ye Faithful, that was released today. I am very excited about it, but I refuse to write about a Christmas album in October so wait for me to circle back around to that one some time after Thanksgiving when it is appropriate to listen to Christmas music. Joy Oladakun also released a phenomenal cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” that includes some guitar work by Jason Isbell. It’s everything I love about cover songs, but it’s part of Spotify Sessions, so you can only listen to it on Spotify.

Anyway, what I am actually going to write about is a new album by a local Baltimore band, Angel Du$t. Until this morning I had never heard of this band. I’m not actually that plugged in to the Baltimore music scene. Hence why I have also never heard of the two bands, Turnstile and Trapped Under Ice, that this band is apparently a supergroup of. This album, Yak: A Collection of Truck Songs, was mentioned on NPR’s New Music Friday podcast this morning. I dug it, so I thought I should give the hometown band a little bit of love this morning. I’m going to feature the same song they did, “Love Is the Greatest” because it’s what drew me into listening to the whole album, even though it’s a lot more low key than the other songs on album. Most of the rest of the album is more pop punk. Apparently they wanted to create an album that sounds like your favorite mix tape that you would put on in the car to drive to. I would say for the most part there are a lot of really good driving songs on it, so they mostly met their aim. You’ll have to go look up the rest of the album on your own if you want to hear that though because song is not that.

New Music Friday: Virginia Beach by Hamilton Leithauser and Kevin Morby

There’s a new Adele song out today for the first time in five years. I’m not here to talk about the Adele song though. You don’t need me to tell you that there’s a new Adele song because everyone else already has. If you somehow are reading this while somehow having bypassed the entire rest of the internet since yesterday when the song dropped then bravo to you and I guess I’m really flattered that my blog is the one thing you look at on the internet.

Jason Isbell also released his cover album Georgia Blue today even though it wasn’t originally slated for release until November 25. He vowed that if Georgia went blue during this past presidential election that he would make a cover album of songs by artists from Georgia. He’s covering a lot of great artists along with the help of a bunch of other great artists. I haven’t had a chance to actually listen to it yet, so I’m also not talking about that today. But I’m super excited to listen to it when I get a chance later today.

I am however here to talk about the new song “Virginia Beach” by Hamilton Leithauser and Kevin Morby. Those are two artists that orbit around a bunch of other artists that I love, but for whatever reason I am not super into. I’m super digging this song though. I love the steel guitar. The line, “I have been to a Carolina” cracks me up. It’s like I don’t know I was in one of those Carolina states. I don’t know which one. Doesn’t matter. I don’t know why it tickles me so much, but it does. It may be the foremost reason that I like this song. And that’s what I have to say about that. Take a break from listening to Adele and give this a whirl.

New Music Friday: The Last Dance by St. Paul and the Broken Bones

I had a couple of other songs that I was thinking about writing about this morning and then I heard this new song by St. Paul and the Broken Bones and decided to go with it instead. I will keep the others in my back pocket as we’re starting to edge towards the part of the year where at least historically not as much new music is released. I will just let the opening lyrics tell you why I switched things up and wanted to share this song today.

“Lose yourself in a song that doesn’t make you want to cry
God knows we need it right now”

Hilton Head Vacation 2021

For a number of years now we’ve been taking a beach vacation in South Carolina in May. Obviously we just outright canceled our May 2020 trip, and back in January I could tell at the rate that vaccines were rolling out that we weren’t going to be fully vaccinated by the time May rolled around. So we decided to push the trip back a little bit this year and reschedule it for the end of September.

I had a lot of apprehension going into the trip for a long time because the case rates in South Carolina were so high and it seemed crazy to purposefully be traveling into that fire where things were out of control and there were no measures in place to contain them. It caused a lot of anxiety and thoughts of canceling for several months before the trip, but since my doctor who basically told me to keep living in a bubble due to my immunocompromised status signed off on it I managed to take her advice and still go. It also helped that cases finally started to dramatically fall in South Carolina a couple weeks before our trip so that they were still super high but only about half of what they were at their peak. Granted given the lag in hospitalizations following cases we were there just as their hospital capacity was peaking, so it’s a good thing I didn’t get bitten by the shark that was swimming along side the shore one day. The lifeguard spotted it and made everyone get out of the water.

I’m super glad we went. It wound up being the perfect beach week. I could not have asked for nicer weather. It was in the mid-80s and not overly humid pretty much every day. I quickly set up a little beach routine for every day. I got up and went for a sunrise walk on the beach. I came back and ate breakfast, and then went out for a bike ride on the beach and/or some of the bike paths around Hilton Head. After lunch I went down to the beach and sat under an umbrella and read for a few hours before going back and getting showered for dinner.

We only did take out because I was definitely not going to eat in restaurants where the vaccination rate is super low and no one is wearing masks even outside. That was fine though. I haven’t eaten at restaurants much at home yet either and not at all since cases have started going back up. We had a nice balcony, so we just sat out on the balcony and ate our dinner at the resort and then just hung out enjoying the nice weather and chatting until bed time. The most adventurous thing we did was go play mini-golf on Friday morning. It was a super chill week, which was exactly what I wanted and needed. Honestly that’s pretty much the way the vacation would have gone anyway other than that we would have eaten in the actual restaurants rather than doing take out and might have partaken in one or two of the activities at the resort like s’mores night.

I was trying to think if it was more crowded at the resort this year than it was when we stayed there back in May of 2019 or if my perception of crowds has just changed due to COVID. The common courtyards and pools didn’t seem that much more crowded to me, but the beach definitely did. I still managed to be mostly far enough away from people to feel comfortable, though there were a few times where people decided to set up right next to me for no good reason and I moved to an emptier space. I was also entirely confused by the number of school aged children that were staying at the resort. Do kids get some kind of fall break that I never got as a kid? Even then it seems really early for that even for kids who went back to school in August, but what do I know? Or has everyone just decided after a year and half of virtual school that they don’t really care if their kids miss a week of school for vacation anymore? It was very weird to me and definitely more kids than I was expecting to see given that we normally purposefully plan our vacations in shoulder season when kids aren’t quite of school yet or have just gone back.

We’ll be going back to our regularly scheduled trip in May of 2022. Hopefully things will be much improved by then and we can even go out and eat at some restaurants then. I’m already looking forward to being back at the beach, and I hope that the weather gods gift us weather as good as we got on this trip.

New Music Friday: In These Silent Days by Brandi Carlile

Of course I’m talking about Brandi Carlile’s new album, In These Silent Days, for New Music Friday this week. Whose blog do you think you’re reading? I listened to the album while taking a sunrise walk on the beach this morning (my last one before heading home, sob). I really do like it a lot, don’t get me wrong, but it’s probably the first Brandi Carlile album that on first listen did not become my new favorite Brandi Carlile album. It was bound to happen sometime, and maybe that will change with future listens. We’ll see.

A lot of the songs are definitely very influenced by Joni Mitchell, and I’m sorry to say that I just don’t love Joni Mitchell that much. Brandi would be super disappointed in me, I know. It may partly be because for most of my life the only Joni Mitchell song I knew was “Big Yellow Taxi” because it was the only Joni Mitchell song that ever gets played on the radio, and I loathe that song. I don’t hate all of her music, but I have also never in my life sat own and purposefully played music by Joni Mitchell other than the first time I made the effort to listen to the Blue album.

Like I said I don’t hate this album in any way. There are some songs I super love on it like “Broken Horses”, which is the one I’m highlighting here. I know many of the others that didn’t immediately grab me as much will grow on me. I will definitely be spending some more time with it and I certainly can’t wait for the day I get to see them play it live. Here’s hoping that’s sooner than I think.