New Town, New Music

In addition to packing/unpacking music from my own library  – Reel Big Fish, Talking Heads, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Snow Patrol, Sleater-Kinney, Bouncing Souls, George Harrison Live in Japan, The Cure, The Replacements – I got some new music from Tongs, in the form of a mix CD.

Fancy Footwork – Chromeo
Electric Feel – MGMT
The Girl and The Robot – Robyn
Golden Skans – The Klaxons
Juno – Tokyo Police Club
Cough Coughing – Menomena
Warning Sign – Local Natives
Rebellion (Lies) – Arcade Fire
Evil – Interpol
Lovesick Teenagers – Bear in Heaven
Woman King – Iron & Wine
White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
Under the Milky Way – The Church
Phantom Limb – The Shins
Detlef Schrempf – Band of Horses
Bluish – Animal Collective
Grace – Jeff Buckley
The Snow Leopard – Shearwater

Some of it is too electronic-sounding and dance-y for me; I tend to prefer sounds that are made with real instruments (you know: guitar, bass, drums, maybe the occasional triangle or keyboard or electric violin). And when I hear “electronica” I think of techno, which makes me think of the music they sometimes play in clothing retail stores, which is one of the many reasons I avoid those places like the plague.

But this isn’t about my aversion to shopping, this is about music. And there are more songs here I like than songs I don’t. Specifically, the tracks by MGMT, The Klaxons, Local Natives, Arcade Fire, Interpol, Bear in Heaven, Fleet Foxes, The Church, The Shins, Band of Horses, and Animal Collective (apparently people outside of Williamsburg do listen to them!) (that’s the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, not colonial Williamsburg). The Shins I already knew about (from the Garden State soundtrack, admittedly), and I’d heard and liked the Arcade Fire song “Rebellion (Lies)” on Pandora a while back. The Fleet Foxes I first heard about from Carrie Brownstein (of Sleater-Kinney)  at Monitor Mix on NPR (each link goes to a different Monitor Mix post about the Fleet Foxes). I had never heard of The Church before, but yesterday at Newbury Comics I had their album Starfish in my hand; I didn’t get it, but I might have to go back.

In addition to this taste of new (for me) music, I’ve also just finished Rob Sheffield’s Talking to Girls About Duran Duran, which was excellent; I’m already looking forward to reading his previous book, Love is a Mix Tape. I had already heard of both, but was urged to bump them to the top of my to-read queue by a friend. Anyone who likes Nick Hornby’s essays will most likely enjoy Sheffield’s writing as well. And it’s not 100% about music; there’s this selection on driving in Boston (dialogue between the author and his girlfriend at the time):

“There are no lines on this road!”
“The lines are in my mind.”
“Where are we going?”
“Remember, this is Boston and everyone on the road is a lunatic. Relax.”
“I still don’t see any lines.”
“They don’t give you a license here if you notice lines.”
“They’re not letting you in.”
“I’m feeling my way in.”
“I hate it. I hate it, hate it, hate it. Now what in God’s name is that thing?”
“It’s called a rotary.”
“You can’t be serious.”

(In all honesty, I think it boils down to this: driving in New York is awful because of the other drivers, while driving in Boston is awful because of the roads. But that’s just my opinion.)

One last note (no pun intended) on music: here’s a link to some of my friend Jason’s songs. He makes beautiful music.

What I’m reading: Traffic, Tom Vanderbilt; The Elegance of the Hedgehog, Muriel Barbery
What I’m listening to: all of the above


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