Archive for the ‘I love this song!’ Category

My next euphoria

We just returned from another life-changing rock and roll road trip. It was inspired by a pop song, encouraged by our love of the band, The Maine, and served as a much needed break from the general monotony of adult life. I loved every minute of it. (Well, maybe not L.A. traffic…and those were many minutes.) It is one of those truly life affirming things to travel whilst doing what you love.  The combination of both joys – the experience of seeing different places combined with the euphoria of hearing, seeing and feeling music you love for a series of nights has always been one of my favorite feelings ever since I was old enough to travel for music. I love travel on its own but being “on your way to a show” adds a layer of anticipation that cannot be matched by anything that I have experienced in my life.

The music, the travel and the company you bring enhances every emotion you feel. Sometimes that feeling is annoyance…travel is stressful, but one moment of stress turns to euphoric excitement.  We called it “recalculating” on this trip – a re-correction to get you on the right path like a GPS.  Things start to slip, a moment goes bad (you get lost, you’re starving, tired, the car smells) and you do something to make it better.  I know that I need to remember to recalculate next time I feel lost or out of control, especially at work since that is where we spend so much of our time feeling anxious or frustrated.  If you recalculate, find an upswing…things get better.

I always leave my experiences with live music (and specifically The Maine) with this feeling that making the world and myself better is a useful exercise. The world wears you down with all of its trifles – all of the little things that need to be done – trips like this remind me that a balance needs to be struck between all of those things that are tugging at your heart and mind. I always end up feeling, after these shows, that hope may not be lost. I can be better, stronger, kinder, more grateful, more tenacious (all qualities I see in the amazing artists I have had the pleasure of seeing 6 times in 7 nights). These are not things that are completely lost on me, but I lose sight of them in preference to getting through the day, getting fussy about things that aren’t worth the time, or getting lost in trying to please others at the expense of myself, my family,and my overall soul.

This is especially relevant when seeing the Maine. First of all, they have quickly become my favorite band (in a weird tie with The Mats and Dead Hot Workshop. Hopkins must stand alone in this scenario). Their kindness, humbleness, DIY tenacity just makes me think…if we ALL carried the passion they have into what we did…what kind of world could this be?!

So here are thoughts and feelings I am carrying with me into this week from our week-long Maine-cation.

Balance – gotta make it; gotta rock. You’re not hardcore unless you live hardcore. Part of that is music, art, poetry; part of that is being the best damn Asst. Director of Curriculum Development the world has ever seen (lol); part of that is making sure that personal business is attended to and our house is made a home; part of that is taking a damn break and letting it happen without guilt. It’s the balance of work rock, rock rock, creative rock, house rock and taking a little nap rock. All valid.

Be kind; be gracious. We’re only here for a short time.

This isn’t the end. Being 34 is not the end. Being 38 is not the end. We’re here until we’re not. It’s a great time to be alive. I want to make the most of it. I want the balance struck to reflect that. I am a firm believer in Bukowski’s, “Find what you love and let it kill you” mantra. Growing up is not an option. We’re just going to be so good at playing grown up – no one will ever know.  Let this passion kill me. Let me find more ways to let it in and more ways to let it out.

This is what live music does to me. I turn into a blithering idiot full of mantras and buzzwords and big dreams of what I could do with the wild, painful, tight feeling in my chest that says, live more, work harder. Enjoy the wind and the sun, and jump up and down at rock and roll concerts until they take me out on a gurney.

For once in my life, enough talk.

Takeways from American Candy Week 2015

Forget what you think you know about yourself.

Realize there are two types of people in the world: those that believe they can learn and be taught, and those that believe that skill is innate and therefore, cannot be learned.

Just try…just a little more than you are now.

What’s the rush?

Find your American Candy and throw it away.

Not everything will have a positive outcome; hell…half of what I do won’t have any outcome at all. But that’s no reason not to do it.

Make time for something in your day that moves you.

They told me; I should listen: Go into the world and create something. Create something that moves you. Don’t try and please anyone.

Don’t be scared.


You kill me. You always know the perfect thing to say

In the last week (or so) we’ve gone from Minneapolis to Mesa, figuratively speaking. Next week, Tempe with The Maine. Tonight when Jimmy Eat World played Kill, I found that afterwards I couldn’t stop thinking, “I’ve always been an easy kill…I guess I always will.” In childhood, an overly sensitive, cry at the drop of a hat weirdo – making up some stories in her head on the playground, as she struggles to keep her internal monologue on the inside (which I still struggle with.) An easy kill. I can’t explain it any better. (Perhaps whiny baby?) Music made that okay for me. My gateway drug – came to me when I was about 13, which is the perfect age for such a thing. It was Doug Hopkins. (One could argue that Canada’s finest Bryan Adams perhaps started me on this path…a song of the week for the future, for sure! Waking up The Neighbors prepared me for things to come…) One could argue I dwell on this point too often, but I can’t help it. The Blossoms and Doug handed to me, on a platter: The Replacements, Dead Hot Workshop, The Church, The Cure, every Arizona band that I have fell in love with since the first mix tape was sent to me by a virtual stranger (who I later virtually married). If chance is a series of random connections, I can connect the dots clearly and see the major players here. Finding my pop voice, coupled with growing up in a house where music mattered and was to be placed under a…well, a cloudy microscope.

So, you have that recipe for disaster right there. Finding that place to fit in – with other people who got music, set me on a path. (The right one? Depends on who you ask.) It’s not just people who “get” music. It’s not music snobs or music teachers. We are the ones who feel it, carry it around, notes like butterflies in your stomach. It was a relief to know that I wasn’t the only one who felt the weight – been trying to find the right words to describe it for years. It kills me.

This week has highlighted that for me. Obviously, first with the Mats…who…is there a band that better expresses every thought or feeling I’ve ever had? Is that an exaggeration? I have been engrained with a deep love of snottiness, snark, silliness and truth. I see that our love was meant to be, Dear Mats. The experience of last Saturday – getting to see The Replacements live reminded me of being a kid again. The feeling of seeing your favorite band, shout the songs, putting aside the self consciousness for just a few moments and not caring how ridiculous you look when you sing or when tears roll down your face. I held it together pretty good, I think, but suffice it to say that calling it an emotional experience would be appropriate.

Then, tonight, Jimmy Eat World, which is all about the karate kick to the jugular – musically, lyrically. I can’t help but be moved. The live show certainly takes that to the next level with the sweat and the energy and the crowd all singing their whoah whoahs in perfect time. It makes me think of another Jimmy Eat World song, Coffee and Cigarettes,…and how the nights staying up until 5 am and watching the sun come up all because you started talking about a song…and just never stopped, are hours not wasted.

A song I know about one of my rock and roll pin up boys put it very well, “it’s got some kid shaking, isn’t that okay?” I’m an easy kill, what can I say?

A year in pop songs

This year I am going to indulge a bit and give some thought to some of my favorite songs. A year of Pop Songs: Jangle, Brit-Pop, Powerpop…the only real common thread is the feeling you get in your chest from a well-formed pop song.

1/1 – Doing the Unstuck – The Cure (Wish)
I can’t think of a better song to kick off a new year. Doing the Unstuck is one of my favorite Cure songs off of one of the best Brit-pop records. Jangly? Check. Musical gravitas? Check. Let’s get happy! Check. “Tear out the pages with all the bad news”…”it’s a perfect day to throw back your head and kiss it all goodbye.”

1/12 – A year in pop songs: Aussiepop. For those of us who are still thinking about resolutions two weeks into January…This song is great for a “get pumped” mix (as it was for me traversing international immigrations) but it’s just a great powerpop song. It’s not brain surgery but it makes you feel good. I am sure Kisschasy will make it into my list more than once this year.

1/22 – A Year in Pop Songs: In honor of the cold snap (thankfully the closest we get to winter)…and then the perfect weather we had afterwards…For your consideration, “Mr. Winter,” which has the ‘coolest’ opening riff.

2/2 – A Year in Pop Songs: I just heard this song for the first (I think) time this week. Mark has been telling me for years that I should check these guys out and I was really glad I did this week. I’ve often been heard saying that music should be more fun and there’s no shortage of that here. Not saving the whales, but I LOVE songs like this. I have simple tastes though – I could fill up mixtape after mixtape of songs at the same pace, and likely with the same three chords, and I would never get tired of it. This song is quite also suitable for a revenge mix. The fan made video is pretty cute too.

2/14 – A Year in Pop Songs: Hey, I know Valentine would be more appropriate, and there are more mushy Paul songs out there, but this is one of my favorite Paul songs. It’s big, fun, lustful and joyful – the way love should be. And I am sure that tonight my valentine and I will love everything that they hate.

2/22 – Domo, how can I just choose one Domo song?! Do I go with 88 Measures to Make Things Great? Meltbreakdown? Honestly? With Friends Like These? Domo, our first local entry in my year of pop songs, are purveyors of fine powerpop at the highest level. Need a happy song about murder? They have it! Want to break up with someone? Let Domo handle it for you! Today, I have decided to go with Middle Class Life…a end-of-week beacon, for sure. A suitable commute soundtrack that I recommend singing loudly as your small protest.

3/7 – Year in pop songs: Tommy Keene makes my ventricles hurt. When Mark and I were kids we’d refer to the feeling as being ‘there.’ ie. “that song is so -there-“…A term that was our way of trying to define a completely undefinable feeling you get from a song or the sky. And surely as vague as our little code word implied.

3/19 – A year in pop songs: Last Monday, Mark and I had the pleasure of seeing Green Day at the Marquee Theatre. A small venue for a huge band – they didn’t need to do that. They would make more money if they played one of our many large concert venues, but they did it anyway. I don’t have an interest in very many national bands. I can’t get into most of the new indie-cred bands, even though I know I’m SUPPOSED to. But I am a girl who was raised on rock and a sense of fun and there’s just nothing that fun about pencil mustaches. I am sorry, there’s not. This is a band that has straddled the genres and been knocked for that. Yeah, their sound isn’t super diverse, but I knows what I likes. Green Day makes me want to be a better person – to sing louder, shout more, have fun, do stage jumps, while maintaining whatever antiestablishment mentality you can in our current reality. It’s nice to have a national band that is so consistent. It was hard to pick one here…yet another band that is saving the powerpop anthem.

3/27 – Such an obvious choice for song of the week, Mark Ord! I think R.E.M. was the first band that I had enough awareness of to know all the members names, which is a big thing when you’re 8. Jangle.

4/10 – A year in pop songs: In honor of the Black Moods CD release this past weekend and the fun that was had, Don’t Let Them Get You Down. God bless Petty-esque pop songs (and the Black Moods!) Go get ‘um boys.

4/29 – This pop song of the week is brought to you by Genevelyn Ord and the continent of Australia. I like bass playing lead singers too – and no, not the obvious ones like Sting, who I am ambivalent about at best. And vests need to make a comeback for men – seriously. But like rock vests, not ironic 1800’s vests. It’s that little bit of flair that your shirt just didn’t have.

5/11 – Song of the Week: Big Casino. Powerpop Weekend, yay! Last night’s Jimmy Eat World concert was notable for a few reasons. First, I have never been to a concert where more adult men turned into ecstatic screaming girls. It made me very happy to see music fans like that. Second, it marks the first time I have seen them live. It was great how they are able to translate their songs into a live format and not lose any of the gravitas and energy. Their songs have that “ton of bricks to the chest” sort of vibe, and they capture that live. This song was on the setlist last night- Cool video. I like the message of the song as I stumble through my 30s and negotiate the passage of time.

5/26 – Pop song of the week: P.S. by Toad the Wet Sprocket. This is a stinkin’ cool video of one of my favorite Toad songs. Toad, like a few other bands from the 90s, take you to some pretty dark places in a jangled and disarming way. It’s artistic without being pretentious and sometimes either lyrically or by the structure of the music (see: Crazy Life) it just hurts down to the bone. Glen reminds me of John O from the Maine in this. I think it’s the hair.

6/3 – Song of the week: Love and Drugs – The Maine. Very excited about their Zia in store tonight and the release show tomorrow at Tempe Marketplace. Mark and I listened to a 2 hr and 40 minute AP Podcast with them on the way to (and from!) Prescott this weekend. It’s always so good to hear a band that GETS it – and isn’t cynical about the very cool job they have and are uncompromising about the music they make. If Love and Drugs is any indication of the record, I expect to enjoy it. They make me feel like a kid again.

6/21 – Pop song of the week! I was a late comer to the Plimsouls, although I always really loved Robin’s cover of Oldest Story in the World, but hadn’t delved into their catalog until the last few years. Everywhere at Once is a stinkin’ great record. I remember loving this song when it would come on at work back in the retail days. The video is really cool in that lovely 1983 way. Peter Case is dreamy in it too – which doesn’t hurt.

7/8 – Pop Song of the Week: Nixon Saves – Dead Hot Workshop. I would like to do a PHD in Babb – a dissertation wouldn’t even begin to cover it. DHW is the Eva Gabor of music. They will not hurt you.

8/1 – Pop song of the week…or whenever I actually get around to it clearly…Aussie version. Hoodoo Gurus have many a song to choose from but this is one of my favorites and reminds me of some fun times. Come Anytime? Australia, don’t mind if I do!

8/9 – Song of the week! We haven’t been waking up to the radio but if we were it would be this song every morning…at least that is what happened during the 2 and a half years I lived in Australia. It was Groundhog’s Day level comic. I would assume that the Choirboys are the REO Speedwagon of AU. It’s a guilty pleasure, but I always find myself listening a second time. (“Again!”)

8/18 – Pop Song of the Week Aussie Edition. We’re back in the U.S. now, so what would be more appropriate than my favorite Australian band performing the song that essentially brought us to this point – a love affair with a song, a band, Mark Ord, a desert place. It has made us our own island to some extent. Mark is a 16 hour flight (and countless airport wait hours) from home. (I’m a three hour flight, not too much room to complain.) It’s hard sometimes – we definitely felt that this week. We have lived in a constant state of goodbyes. First between he and I, now the families we leave behind. It’s all for having found our place in the world which started (more or less) with the original version of this song. I have heard about a million Hey Jealousy covers. This is my favorite one – I think it’s pretty true to the original. This is a band that understands pop music and although trends towards a hard rock/emo mentality at times, always has the pop sensibility running through their work.

8/29 – Pop song of the week: Let’s just say: I indeed WILL dare.

9/14 – Song of the week: It was DAMN hard choosing a BTE song. Partially because of the emotional connection that I may have to the songs, but also…just such a good band. (Bring me the 90s, just bring it to me!) I believe that Better Than Ezra goes on record as being the only one of “my bands” (or my “wussy” bands) that my Dad actually willingly went to go see with me because he actually liked them. I think he was impressed that they were a three piece, had a big full sound and had some rockers in their repertoire. I didn’t CHOOSE one of those rockers to represent, but instead chose a song with “feelings” associated with it. This record came out August 25, 1998. ’98 was sort of a big deal for me. It is a bit wussy, but it says what needs to be said.

A night with The Maine…

Growing up wont bring us down? A nice thought! You’re 31, I’m coming over…
Nothing makes you feel older than seeing a Maine show with hundreds of teenagers-short, barely dressed with their whole lives ahead of them.
My back aches…

Like We Did (Windows Down) is poignant when you’re 31-is this a good birthday song for this year?
“Stuff” begins to fall apart
I thought it wouldn’t happen to me because of my Peter Pan demeanor. Hmmmm….

Bass players with style are the coolest.

This comes across as a bad high school letter. The circle will be unbroken.

“Let’s run free and carry on, like we did when we were young”
I would have slept in my car for these guys for sure – when I was young.

But this is all evidence of how pop speaks.  Hearing Arizona’s own John Oh invoke Westerberg…I see the inter generational hope for our collective musical future.

Pop speaks to me too but it’s gonna have to shout. I’m getting old.

Oh Late 90s/Early 2000s Robbie Williams! How I love you!

Tonight was a late 90s/early 2000s Robbie Williams YouTube nostalgia trip. I have to say that he hasn’t done anything that I have been too interested in after Escapeology, but Robbie had more cred than most of the boy band guys turned solo artist. I was never into the boy band thing. (I HATED, NKOTB and would openly argue that Brian Adams was way cuter and more talented…) but RW worked for me.  I have a thing for charismatic cads. I cannot help myself.

I love this video. I didn’t feel like it was appropriate to post on Facebook due to the gruesome orgy at the end. I always thought he had a larger career in America ahead of him as an actor and an artist…