Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Lazy Afternoon for Tired Roadtrippers

Image Credit: Uhh... someone on

So I've got this really romanticized and innocent idea about roadtrips.

I disregard the fact that after a certain amount of time spent in a confined space, people start to exude interesting scents that seep into the soft fabrics of cars. I metally gloss over the very human reaction to, after a while, be annoyed by the generally unannoying habits of others i.e. occasional throat clearing or off-tune humming.

Instead, I choose to focus on the [imagined] cinematics -- the small, tender moments; stretching out tightened muscles and yawning roadside; afternoon light filtering itself through the mud-speckled windshield in vintage tones; the soft hiss of a carefully selected mixtape; glancing into the rearview to point out an amusing chuch sign, and finding that your friend has quietly fallen asleep, long eyelashes resting on their soft cheeks.

Problem here is that I've never been on a roadtrip. Not since I was younger, anyway, and my parents did a marathon drive from Asheville, North Carolina to Disney World and then back into South-Eastern Ontario. I spent a lot of my childhood in cars and to this day I think I sleep better in a moving vehicle than in any bed.

ANYway, I was feeling roadtrippish this morning, so I indulged my licence-less self with a ten track playlist.

Here's the scenario: it's day five of a two-week long roadtrip. End location isn't important here. What is important is that it's a cloudless, summer mid-afternoon and everyone in the car has settled into a state of cozy lethargy. You've got the phantom taste of a mystery flavour red popsicle embedded in your cheeks and you've finally given up on keeping your dirty hair out of your eyes. It falls across your face as you feel the weighty pull of sleep.

Someone slips in a mixtape of low-key, vibish music that's lullabying you further away from conciousness. The road is a monotone drone beneath the car's wheels. The sun has warmed your headrest. And the afternoon slips on.

Left clicks, passengers.

Lorge by El Ten Eleven
Little Garçon by Born Ruffians
Pacific Theme by Broken Social Scene
Into the Stream by The Tallest Man on Earth
Born in the 70's by Ed Harcourt
Social Competence by Peter Morén
Black Out by Pavement
Libraries by Seabear
Oregon Girl by Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin
Poney Honey Money by CSS

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Man Walks Into a Song

Image Credit: timide_ch of

Yesterday I finished reading Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss -- a wonderfully pulsing and poetic novel. While a few of the Amazon customer reviewers thought the book had 'wasted potential' and 'strained metaphors', I found it refreshing in that it was beautifully written and insightful, but didn't strand itself in a field of flowery, 2-D words. There's depth here.

ANYway**, some parts of this novel were just so striking that I felt the need to mark them with the teensiest brackets possible [I did check it out from the library, after all] so that I could later soundtrack each passage with a song be-fitting of the mood. And this is precisely what I have done.

I really tried to figure out how to get one of those "Read On" links, but it's hugely confusing. I even wrangled the help of my computer genius brother, to no avail. So, uh... this'll just be mondo long. But fear not! For, aside from the mp3 links, the following is solely made up of passages from the book. Really great passages. Written by a professional author. So it's solid.

Left clicks, kids.

1. "It was the vivid colour of the memory that startled him, a luminous blue. It was all around him, warm and smooth, and moving through it toward the glow of light he could hear the muted sounds that seemed to come from a great, impassable distance. There was a felicity despite the slow pressure on his lungs that finally pushed him upward. He remembered that when his head broke through the surface of the water he'd been surprised by the chill of the air and thee world that stood in perfect, microscopoic clarity: the blades of grass, the night sky, the dripping faces of the two boys illuminated by the pool lights. "Forty-three seconds!" one shouted, looking at his watch, then barreled down the diving board, leaped into the air, and clutched his knees, dropping into the water with a lucid splash." [p. 17]

Under the Water it Glowed by Eluvium

2. "The hairline cracks of a sugar bowl on the kitchen table. The sun falling through the leaves casting shadows on his fingers. His mother's eyelashes." [p. 18]

Hottub by David Wingo & Michael Linnen

3. "Frost forms between the plane's double windows, each geometric crystal an argument for the stillborn beauty of pure math." [p. 79]

Imagination of a Watermelon by The Matinee Orchestra

4. "The first grid is the strangest, the geometry of better living etched onto the desert floor: identical houses of a planned community pleated around the nucleus of a swimming pool. One and then another, until the desert is paved under streets and scattered with countless pools like a deck of blue cards." [p. 79]

Future Perfect by Autolux

5. "It was beautiful, the ambition of it, the freehand interpretation of a city. From such a height, the knowledge of the small, simultaneous, faraway was comforting: people dialing the operator, swallowing pills, breaking off romances, signing their names. Twelve million people inhabiting one of the most volatile places on earth, naturally disastrous, prone to flood and fire. Sharing wavelengths." [p. 83]

Mirror by Michael Andrews

6. "Maybe they had taken drives out of the city, crossing delicate bridges whose steel fibres hummed and swayed imperceptibly in the wind. They traveled north into the country where they imagined a future, passing through small towns with steeples and weather vanes. Anna would take off her shoes and draw her feet up under her. December, a faint snow of the ground, they would come to a crossroads and the dying yellow light would glow under the sky's dark hem. She would be silent, her head tipped against the glass. Then suddenly she would look up,her mouth open, her face changed by an expression he'd never seen before and that made her seem unrecognizable." [p. 207]

I Think I'll Be a Good Ghost by Say Hi to Your Mom

7. "He began to notice the small details she was made up of: the way she made a small popping noise with her lips when she was about to say something difficult, or played with the ends of her hair when she was watching TV, or drank her coffee with the spoon still in the mug, and so on. Eventually he found he could only see her as a collection of such fragments." [p. 219 - 220]

I've Got You and You've Got Me [Broken Social Scene remix] by New Buffalo

8. "'I mean, how many someone elses can one claim to be in a lifetime? It's not very long a life, is it, Max? You're a kid, it's summer, you blink your eyes and years--years--have passed. And you realize that you've become someone else, but that your heart is still caught in that lost kid. That what you're left with beating in your chest is a diminished thing, a shadow of what it was when you were a boy and running under the night sky you felt it was filled to bursting.'" [p. 227]

Stay, Son by A Classic Education

9. "Samson's cheek was pressed against the grass as if he had fallen from the sky. The idea of ever getting up again seemed absurd. The flashlight lying at his side was still on, a dim ray of accidental light grazing Max's bare foot. It was like a little devotional scene, a tragedy happened and passed and the quiet setting in now, lit up by the flashlight used to rescue." [p. 237]

Stay Golden by Au Revoir Simone

10. "He closed his eyes. Sounds that had only been at the furthest margin of his consciousness, the pinpricks of each moving leaf and the ocean rush of a distant car, made a point of themselves, each a tiny argument against nothingness." [p. 227]

Sons of Light and Darkness by Helios

Thanks for stopping by,

** I stole ANYway from Chuck Klosterman. I stoled it real good.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Picture's Worth a Melody: By the Window

Photo Credit: amaliachimera of

To me, this photo looks like it was taken by a grandmother who has not been visited in so long that she hardly recognizes the faces smiling at her from the photos scattered around her cluttered apartment.

You can't see it, but there's a cup of cold tea that the old woman keeps bringing to her lips and taking small sips from. It was warm when she sat down to write the letter to her daughter, but the words are coming slow and with difficulty.

So she looks up at her living room window, at the useless artifacts hung on and placed around the pane; the whiskey bottle come vase and the threadbare curtains.

This is her Saturday morning.

Phone Call by Jon Brion
Blackout by Chris Garneau
Junk by The Beatles

Thanks for stopping by,

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jealous, See?

Sometimes I wish that I could have a friends-with-benefits relationship with the States. Y'know. I could still keep my Canadian status and use the word toque in public without fear of mockery. But then, when nobody was looking, I would have access to some Uhmerican goodies, too. Mainly their concerts... Because check this:

John Vanderslice and Stephen Malkmus are heading out on tour. Together. If that's not a dream team, I don't know what is.

I first heard about Vanderslice in the October 2005 reviews section of Harp magazine, where a mister Steven Rosen described JV's Pixel Revolt as a record that conjured "images of a young man of privelege afloat and day-dreaming in a backyard pool on a sunny day." **

So I was intrigued by one reviewer's descriptioon of John Vanderslice, and I checked him out. And I kind of loved his music in a big, real way. And it's been good times ever since.

Stephen Malkmus took a while to get to, though. I used to watch that Family show Radio Free Roscoe when it was on, and there was one episode where Lily [alias "Shady Lane"] talked about how the Pavement song [quelle supris!] "Shady Lane" is what made her want to learn to play guitar. Cool. So I got a hold of that song. And dug it. And then kinda forgot about it.

I don't know exactly when my fascination with Pavement kicked up, but at some point I guess I heard some more Pavement songs and finally it clicked: they are awesome. So that brings us to a couple months ago. I was now the owner of two Pavement records: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain and Terror Twilight. Then I started tuning into the eltronic drone of internet buzz shrouding Malkmus' upcoming album, Real Emotional Trash. And once again stuff just clicked. Teh end.

So if you're lucky enough to be near one of the venues that will be opening their unworthy doors for the Vanderslice / Malkmus powerhaus, please do attend and allow me to live vicariously through you, you lucky bastard.

Left clicks, kids.



Me and My 424
The Mansion - The Life and Death of An American Fourtracker - 2002
Pale Horse - Cellar Door - 2004
Winter Light - MGM Endings: Cellar Door Remixes - 2004
Time to Go - Emerald City - 2007


Jo Jo's Jacket
Jenny & The Ess-Dog - Stephen Malkmus - 2001
Dynamic Calories - Dark Wave - 2003
Mama - Face the Truth - 2005
Out of Reaches - Real Emotional Trash - 2008

Links etc.

JV's official site [full tour schedule]
A crapload of free and legal Vanderslice mp3's
Go buy some CD's.
SM's official site
And then buy some more.

Thanks for stopping by,

** I searched through the review sections of my music magazines for a good half an hour to find this. I wish I was a more honourable music geek and could just cite this kind stuff off the top of my head, but alas I am not. I have shamed you, Rob Gordon.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Welcome to the Pride

My name is Alie, and I am a chronic blog abandoner. I have come to terms with this and am now on the long road to recovery. The first step? Yr reading it.

This is: a music blog, an honest to blog blog and an et cetera blog.

But, instead of rambling on in increasingly fragmented sentences, I'd much rather just plug in a few downloadable, lion-related mp3's.

Left clicks, kids.

Lion's Mane by Iron & Wine
Lions by Headlights
Lion Rip by Duke Spirit
Sea Lion Woman by Feist

Thanks for stopping by,