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  • walking home, coat catching the breeze, listening to the doors

    29 mar 2014, 02:41

    it's one of those beautiful nights in new york city, when the tourists have somehow cleared out of midtown for a few hours, and i get to walk home in my own musical wonderland. with my wireless headphones on, i push play on "Morrison hotel" and begin to walk on the slightly damp pavement towards my apartment.

    i start out on 44th, after three left hand milk stouts with my friends at Virgil's. i'd never usually be caught dead in times square, on a friday no less, but it was for a friend. we call him cousin, and he has a wonderful laugh that is best called a belly laugh, because he heaves with laughter every time i make a funny. i love cousin, and he just got a raise, so we went out to celebrate.

    it was like spring break 2006: me and a bunch of dudes. don't get me wrong, i love men, and it seems like i get along with them just as well (if not better) than with women. well, some women.

    i digress.

    with jim morrison crooning about waiting for the sun, i hit 40th street and hang a right, since traffic was speeding across the crosswalk. i tend to walk through new york city in weird patterns, turning when the light changes against me, and speeding up when i can catch the tail end of a walk sign. my path differs almost every time i walk somewhere for a long distance, unless it's from my house to the train, which is the same every time. predictable and unpredictable, sometimes i'm one, sometimes i'm the other.

    tonight, the air is on the cusp of letting itself be taken by spring. the last of the frost has melted away, and the rains are coming to take over the city. i see girls carrying long pink umbrellas in plastic sheaths, under the blue sky of the afternoon today. they were all carrying pink bags from USA's biggest lingerie purveyor (if you wear a Double D or more, you better look elsewhere). it's a GWP, or gift with purchase for those of you who have never swooned over the freebies at the clinique counter (duh).

    the familiar jazzy electric guitar riff of "peace frog" fills my ear as I hit 7th Avenue, walking west. "blood in the streets, it's up to my ankles," he sings, in an amazing syncopated tone, bursting with emotion. the bass player is killing it in this song... he's holding it down in the nod-my-head and do-a-little-dance-while-i-walk kind of way.

    i realize i'm almost home when i pass the corner with the Houndstooth Pub on it. i'm at 37th and 8th, only one avenue block away from my house. one song left, maybe two if I don't take it too fast. so, i purposely slow my pace a bit and wait for the light, while listening to Ship of Fools. is that a keyboard? a hammond? probably the latter - it sounds more and more like one as i listen and continue my walk west.

    i wish i could call marie right now and ask her to humor me... "tell me about our time at père lachaise, s'il te plaît," i'd say. but she is in los angeles this week, and i don't want to bother her on vacation with these half-drunken questions.

    i think about that day in my head, when i was 18 and she 16, exploring paris like teenage girls should. i wanted to see jim morrison's grave, because i've been a fan of the doors since i was young. i wrote in my journal that his grave had little trinkets lining it, from a joint (tobacco? ehhh, maybe) to a painting of him on a canvas that had rain smears down the front. he looked like he was crying, and it was beautiful in a Ralph Steadman sort of way. I tell marie that my favorite song from the doors was always riders on the storm, but i'd lay on the floor and pretend the sound of the rain was real. i swear i could feel it on my young, freckled skin.

    it was here at this cemetery that we meandered through the graves, stopping to put on bright red lipstick and kiss Oscar Wilde's massive white angelic monument. see, he was buried in paris because he was exiled for being gay. even back then i was a fruit fly.

    that summer in paris when we were too young to care about anything except our love for each other and my budding love for the city was not as long ago as i think. every day we get farther from it, but i remember a lot, capturing the days in my yellow journal. my handwriting was much better back then - one day marie and i will read the pages to each other and laugh and cry and remember every detail. we will stay up all night and go back to being 16 and 18 again, even just for the the time under the stars.

    i'm home now, walking through the rotating doors, feeling the change in air on my face. "hi mike," i smile, after i take off my headphones. he looks up and says hello, but quickly looks away as i step to the left and gather up my mail. now the elevator is coming, and i realize the album isn't quite over, but it was the perfect soundtrack for my way home.

    perhaps you and i can take a walk again together soon, with a different album to trigger the good memories.

    until then, i remain,

    jessica.
  • My favorite albums of 2013

    18 dec 2013, 03:37

    (In no particular order)

    Sigur Rós - Kveikur
    The National - Trouble Will find Me
    Tegan and Sara - Heartthrob
    Snoop Lion - Reincarnated
    Phox - Confetti
    Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
    Phoenix - Bankrput!
    Miley Cyrus - Bangerz
    Lorde - Pure Heroine and The Love Club (EP)
    Langhorne Slim & The Law - This Is The Way We Move
    Justin Timberlake - The 20/20 Experience (Parts 1 and 2)
    The Head and The Heart - Let's Be Still
    Hey Marseilles - Lines We Trace
    Bastille - Bad Blood and Haunt (EP)
  • Top 10 albums of 2008

    3 dec 2008, 20:25

    10. Ryan Adams -- Cardinology (Released October 28, 2008)
    My favorite track from this album is "Crossed Out Name" -- Adams sounds vulnerable and broken... it's bittersweet.

    9. She & Him -- Volume One (Released March 18, 2008)
    Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward sing like they were made for each other. "You Really Got a Hold on Me" is the quintessential track from this album, with a spooky echo and slowed-down tempo. It sounds almost like a stripped-down southern church choir.

    8. My Morning Jacket -- Evil Urges (Released June 10, 2008)
    "I'm Amazed" stands out on this album to me. The production is spot-on, with a build-up of instruments culminating in the vocal track from Jim James. He sings his heart out, and it sounds damn good. (Plus, it's catchy as hell!)

    7. Death Cab for Cutie -- Narrow Stairs (Released May 9, 2008)
    Ben Gibbard and company have made another solid album, with this one having more instruments and production than the others that came before. My favorite track is "Cath..." because of the amazing lyrics and storytelling. "You said your vows, and you closed the door on so many men who would have loved you more..." Come on guys, you know this reminds you of the one who got away.

    6. Dr. Dog -- Fate (Released July 22, 2008)
    I love this Phildadelphia born band... they had me from the catchy hooks and handclaps apparent in their music. My favorite track from "Fate" is "The Old Days." The lead singer's voice makes me smile and think of sunny days.

    5. Jake Troth -- Blind Contours (Released September 5, 2008)
    "Move With Me" is my favorite from this album, only available through a website (and it's free!). Jake Troth is an relatively unknown singer-songwriter, but his music speaks for itself. Download the entire album and it will soon be one of your favorites!

    download here --> http://fuelfriends.blogspot.com/2008/09/free-summer-album-from-jake-troth-blind.html

    4. Ryan Auffenberg -- Marigolds (Released June 24, 2008)
    This is the first full length release from Auffenberg, and it's an emotional rollercoaster. Some songs conjure up tears, others shine with what seems like a full orchestra on loan from the new york philharmonic. Listen to "Dizzy Spells" with a glass of red wine in hand... it's my favorite.

    3. Mike Doughty -- Golden Delicious (Released February 19, 2008)
    The former Soul Coughing singer is doing just fine on his own -- this album is catchy and beautiful. It's the perfect summer day soundtrack, with so many stand-out songs that it's hard to pick my favorite. It's a tie between "Like a Luminous Girl" and "Nectarine (Part One)" -- both have amazing hooks and a chorus that will make your toe tap.

    2. Okkervil River -- The Stand Ins (Released September 9, 2008)
    This band is almost perfect -- the arrangements blow my mind, and Scott Brackett's vocals are absolutely amazing. "Lost Coastlines" is my favorite because there is such a pronounced tambourine... plus, the lyrics conjure up something Herman Melville would have written. Remember to sing along around the 3:02 minute mark with the "la las"!

    1. Sigur Rós -- Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (Released June 24, 2008)
    It takes a lot to make me love an album, but once I have fallen for it, I never look back. Sigur Rós has some sort of hold on me, and the newest release is gorgeous and perfect. I have no idea what the lyrics to any song mean, but I know that it puts tears in my eyes and makes me think about tragically beautiful things. There is no stand-out track on this album, because it was meant to be played all the way through. It's a masterpiece.
  • Top 10 albums of 2008

    3 dec 2008, 20:23

    10. Ryan Adams -- Cardinology (Released October 28, 2008)
    My favorite track from this album is "Crossed Out Name" -- Adams sounds vulnerable and broken... it's bittersweet.

    9. She & Him -- Volume One (Released March 18, 2008)
    Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward sing like they were made for each other. "You Really Got a Hold on Me" is the quintessential track from this album, with a spooky echo and slowed-down tempo. It sounds almost like a stripped-down southern church choir.

    8. My Morning Jacket -- Evil Urges (Released June 10, 2008)
    "I'm Amazed" stands out on this album to me. The production is spot-on, with a build-up of instruments culminating in the vocal track from Jim James. He sings his heart out, and it sounds damn good. (Plus, it's catchy as hell!)

    7. Death Cab for Cutie -- Narrow Stairs (Released May 9, 2008)
    Ben Gibbard and company have made another solid album, with this one having more instruments and production than the others that came before. My favorite track is "Cath..." because of the amazing lyrics and storytelling. "You said your vows, and you closed the door on so many men who would have loved you more..." Come on guys, you know this reminds you of the one who got away.

    6. Dr. Dog -- Fate (Released July 22, 2008)
    I love this Phildadelphia born band... they had me from the catchy hooks and handclaps apparent in their music. My favorite track from "Fate" is "The Old Days." The lead singer's voice makes me smile and think of sunny days.

    5. Jake Troth -- Blind Contours (Released September 5, 2008)
    "Move With Me" is my favorite from this album, only available through a website (and it's free!). Jake Troth is an relatively unknown singer-songwriter, but his music speaks for itself. Download the entire album and it will soon be one of your favorites!

    download here --> http://fuelfriends.blogspot.com/2008/09/free-summer-album-from-jake-troth-blind.html

    4. Ryan Auffenberg -- Marigolds (Released June 24, 2008)
    This is the first full length release from Auffenberg, and it's an emotional rollercoaster. Some songs conjure up tears, others shine with what seems like a full orchestra on loan from the new york philharmonic. Listen to "Dizzy Spells" with a glass of red wine in hand... it's my favorite.

    3. Mike Doughty -- Golden Delicious (Released February 19, 2008)
    The former Soul Coughing singer is doing just fine on his own -- this album is catchy and beautiful. It's the perfect summer day soundtrack, with so many stand-out songs that it's hard to pick my favorite. It's a tie between "Like a Luminous Girl" and "Nectarine (Part One)" -- both have amazing hooks and a chorus that will make your toe tap.

    2. Okkervil River -- The Stand Ins (Released September 9, 2008)
    This band is almost perfect -- the arrangements blow my mind, and Scott Brackett's vocals are absolutely amazing. "Lost Coastlines" is my favorite because there is such a pronounced tambourine... plus, the lyrics conjure up something Herman Melville would have written. Remember to sing along around the 3:02 minute mark with the "la las"!

    1. Sigur Rós -- Med Sud I Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust (Released June 24, 2008)
    It takes a lot to make me love an album, but once I have fallen for it, I never look back. Sigur Rós has some sort of hold on me, and the newest release is gorgeous and perfect. I have no idea what the lyrics to any song mean, but I know that it puts tears in my eyes and makes me think about tragically beautiful things. There is no stand-out track on this album, because it was meant to be played all the way through. It's a masterpiece.
  • i've never met a better whistler!

    23 maj 2007, 03:56

    Thu 17 May – Andrew Bird, Joan as Police Woman

    This was my first Andrew Bird show (I did not catch Joan as Police Woman, so I cannot comment about her performance), and I absolutely loved seeing him perform. Bird is more talented than you might think, singing, whistling, playing the guitar and the violin.

    I'm kind of short, but Webster Hall is a great venue because I can look up at the screens in the balcony if need be (even though it's not a very good picture, it still helps when an 8 foot tall amazonian with a fro steps in front of me).

    I always enjoy live shows where the artist doesn't play exactly like the album versions, and Andrew Bird did not disappoint. The instrumentals stretched on, and I loved every second. PLUS, there was a crazy old-timey double record player amplifier (the ones that look like big tubas?) in the back. It spun like crazy... I loved it. Anyway, great show, and I bought a copy of 'Armchair Apocrypha" on vinyl. Delicious!
  • camille, je t'aime!

    1 apr 2007, 00:50

    I'm a former resident of Paris, and even though I live in the U.S. now, I'm always on the lookout for amazing french music. Camille was a great find, mixing so many styles into one big melange that can only be called "amazing."

    "Assise" is my favorite track from "Le fil" -- the drums and beat-boxing combine beautifully with her angelic voice.

    Bravo, c'est super!
  • An eclectic album that brings a diamond in the rough

    1 apr 2007, 00:42

    I found Les Balayeurs Du Desert by watching a short film called "The Little Girl Giant" (watch below on youtube). The song beautiful and heartbreaking and I immediately bought it on itunes.

    The rest of the album, though, is not my cup of tea. It's very "world music" and is not as laid back and beautiful as the first track. This has become one of my favorite songs, and will not leave my top rotation soon...
  • plans

    21 sep 2005, 00:54

    i really dig the new deathcab -- i used "i will follow you into the dark" on my most recent podcast for my company. (hopefully that podcast will be up and running soon.)

    when i told my friend i joined here, he said "you might be a little too random in your tastes for it"

    where i come from, we call that eclectic...