It’s been two years.
Honey, he says, don’t kill that last cigarette…
But it’s time to go.
From time to time, I’m sure I’ll miss this blog, but there’s no real motivation. I don’t do radio any more (nor, in fact, do many of the people I first did radio with). I graduated from college seven months ago, and have been taking Danish since then only because I had nothing better to do; my last class is Monday. Josh has long since given up smoking. Even Oliver North Boy Choir, the first band I wrote about here, decided to call it quits last month.
So… I guess I might as well. I've got things to do. You can keep in touch with me via email (as long as you don’t mind how slow I am in response), or keep an eye on what I’m listening to on last.fm -- although it should be borne in mind that, especially lately, I find myself listening to vinyl (and sometimes streaming audio) far more frequently than mp3s, and even when I do listen to music on the computer, I’m prone to turning off scrobbling for large swaths of time. Take everything there with a grain of salt.
Finally, and most reliably, you can find me also at my other (better?) blog, RQEBIR, where I write about books and short stories and, occasionally, how badly I want to work at Powell’s. I’m very fond of this blog right now. I hope it lasts. And I hope that things get better too.
Thanks everybody for reading.
Twilight (the Raveonettes)
om sproget / on language
Jeg vil skrive bloggen på både engelsk og dansk. Hvis du kan ikke forstå ordene, fortæl mig, og jeg vil forsøge at oversætte. Hvis du er dansk, vil jeg gerne fortælle dig, jeg endnu er ved at lære sproget, og mit dansk er ikke særlig godt. Hvis du gerne vil hjælpe mig med ordene, det er rart og tak for det. Min email er email@example.com.
This blog will be written in both English and Danish. If you, as a reader, have trouble with one of those languages and would like a translation, please let me know, and I will do my best to oblige. If you are a Danish reader, please know that I am just learning, and my Danish is far from perfect. If you would like to suggest corrections please do so. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
13 March 2009
It’s been two years.
06 March 2009
Much as it pains me to say this, I fear I will not be able to carry this blog on much longer. I still love and listen to new music, though not with such… excitement, perhaps, as before. Things have changed, and, well, things have changed.
Who knows -- maybe a week from now I’ll change my mind and begin blogging twice a day. There’s always the chance that I’ll continue to pop in here from time to time, and I’ll still read It’s A Trap! daily and other music and mp3 blogs regularly. I’ll try to keep somewhat abreast of music news, and if anyone wants to keep in touch with me via email, keep in mind that I’m not the most reliable or punctual of email correspondents, but I’ll do my best. As for the blog, though -- this has been a long time coming, and I think it’s best not to drag it out any longer. So I’m going to let the blog die now, while there are still a few readers around to mourn its death.
(On the bright side, though, after nearly a year's absence, Emodreng & Indiepige is back! Go read their stuff instead.)
Before I go, a few music tidbits (but no downloads, sorry) to end with:
For those lucky enough to live in or near Denmark, Psyched up Janis, Sune Rose Wagner’s first band (I think? He can’t have had that many before it; it was 20 years ago) is planning a brief reunion tour. They sound, by and large, completely different from the Raveonettes and Sune’s recent solo stuff, but you can also hear hints of the same influence. I like to think of Psyched Up Janis as sort of a grunge band. On the other hand, they covered the Ronettes’ Be My Baby, in a decidedly non-grunge way, so… you never know. Their big song, I Died in My Teens, won me over nearly three years ago, back when I still was one.
El Perro del Mar’s new single, Change of Heart, is still great. Another one undoubtedly worthy of vinyl. Can’t wait for 1 April, when the EP, Love is Not Pop, comes out.
I’ve also been listening to Jonathan Johansson’s fairly new album, En Hand i Himlen. It’s all Swedish. It reminds me of the few songs I know by fellow Swede Nordpolen -- but it’s also a lot more diverse. The entire album (which includes a cover whose name, even in English, you will not recognize, but which you will know as soon as you hear) can be streamed on his website. My favorite track is the fifth one, Aldrig Ensam. Means never alone.
Oliver North Boy Choir released their final songs before calling it quits last week. Once again, I like the B-side (Crash) better than the single (Blackmail). Stream them all -- those two and more -- here.
Efterklang, who I saw in an absolutely insane show at last year’s Roskilde Festival, are playing Portland tomorrow night, supported by Peter Broderick, who is actually from Portland. I’d like to see them, even if just for the contrast, but unfortunately, I am expected at work (and even if I didn’t have to work, I’d have to be on the guest list to go, because impecunious is the word of the
day week month year probably decade). Provided the venue doesn’t get as crowded as that stifling Roskilde tent (and it won’t; they’d get shut down for fire code), I can’t think of a more pleasant way to spend Saturday night. Well, yes, I can, but you know what I mean.
Outside of Scandinavia:
Is it just me, or is the new myspace music player really overdone and ugly? God. Let’s kill that, too.
I’ve been listening a lot lately to the new Black Lips album, 20 Million Thousand. (Stream at last.fm.) Very... diverse? I never thought I’d say this, but I guess it might be the rap song that I like best. Actually, no, but it’s very good. Long live whatever this is.
And finally. I will write one more post after this, on 13 March, which would be the blog’s two-year anniversary. Aside from that, this is goodbye.
23 February 2009
I haven't written anything in a while because I haven't listened to anything new in a while. Actually, to be honest, it started with something new -- Change of Heart, the first single from El Perro del Mar's upcoming EP. (Stream here; buy (soon) here.) It's old-sounding and beautiful, and I know it's only February, but this one could be the song of the year, easy.
It's catchy and addictive, and it made me want to something old and scratchy. I started with the Bee Gees (whose earlier stuff is amazing) and quickly moved on to a Telerad comp album called 24 Original Happening Hits. Judging from the appearance of the cover, the ages of my aunts (from whom many of my weirder records were inherited), and the release dates of the individual songs themselves, I'm guessing it was released in the mid-sixties. The 24th happening hit (the last track on side two) is my new favorite song. It's by a group I'd never heard of (though I know I've listened to the album before; I guess I must have never paid attention to songs I didn't already recognize), the Chantels. The song was their biggest hit. It came out in 1958. It's called Maybe. The lyrics are nearly unintelligible, but the sound and the message are not - and it's sad, so sad. It's fifty years old, and I don't care -- this is how music is supposed to sound. Beautiful song. (Stream (a different version) at last.fm.)
But since I can't listen to the same two-minute song over and over without having to get up to move the needle every two minutes, I decided eventually to try and listen to something else. This brings me to the Japanese bootlegs. Among my vinyl inheritance were a number of strangely packaged imports in plastic sleeves and monochromatic cases, some of which bore the Universal Records logo, many of which do not, and one of which was attributed to Nancy Siatra, and the omission of the N is not my spelling error.
My favorites of this collection actually came as a set. They lived in what was, by the time I got it, a slightly sunken grime-encrusted cardboard box, and were smaller than ordinary albums (the same size, actually, as 78s, though they play at 33 rpm), pressed on translucent red vinyl. Originally there were ten; now there are only five, plus an unplayable sixth, retained for reasons unknown, which melted at some point before my time into a shape roughly similar to a newsboy hat, and which no longer fits in the box. The surviving records are great. I remember sequestering myself in the family room and listening through each one after I first got them. It was the first time I heard the Small Faces (and probably countless others). It was the first time in years that my dad had heard a song he remembered playing for ten cents on a jukebox, a song which I later found someplace weird and bought on 7" (and which somebody has put up with a really bad video on youtube, but which should still be listened to).
Of course it was these albums that, when faced with a desire to listen to something old yet new, that I went for - but I discovered, to my dismay, that they were not here. I must have decided, for a now-unknown reason (possibly related to not wanting to contaminate my apartment with their filthy storage box) to leave them at my parents' house. Now I'm annoyed, upset, and slightly afraid that something might happen to them -- those aren't the kind of things you ever find again.
But anyway. New music. Aside from the aforementioned El Perro del Mar track, Jesper Norda also released an EP, We Have the Guts, last week. It's piano-based as before, and, I think, even better than the previous EP. The title track, six and a half minutes long, is great, but my favorite track is the first one, Let's go to a place infected with truth and resist with all of our hearts. It's gentle and calm for the first three minutes; then there's a sudden crescendo before the last bit, and for a few seconds it's just pounding, intense. This man can play the piano. The entire We Have the Guts EP, which, I must add, flows very well together as one cohesive unit, is also available for download in the Jesper Norda archives.
Next week I will write something else, perhaps on the horrific possibility of not becoming deaf but suffering amusia, which I think would be even worse.
Let's go to a place infected with truth and resist with all of our hearts (Jesper Norda)
12 February 2009
Lykke Li is approximately 20 blocks away from me right now. This makes the third time she’s been to Portland in the past year. I haven’t seen her on any of these occasions, nor did I see her set at the Roskilde Festival this summer (as I probably ought to have done). In fact, I have as of today only ever heard two of her songs, for a grand total of maybe five plays. I never intended to actively avoid her, I was just never interested. And now she’s become one of my “records” -- like not having been to a movie theater in five years, not having driven a car in nearly three, and (this one is entirely without reason) absolutely, point-blank, no exceptions refusing to listen to the Long Blondes, even though all evidence points to a high probability of my liking them.
But that is that. I am always annoyed when small bands I like become wildly popular (the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, anyone?) so I’m probably the last person to start listening to someone simply because she’s the new Swedish sensation and therefore someone I should know about. So no Lykke Li for me. I’d take the snark and swagger of Ida Maria (Norwegian, yes, I know) over her any day. Or, staying Swedish, Robyn. How about that trip to Portland she promised she’d reschedule? Again -- any day.
04 February 2009
There’s no way to break this gently.
The radio show is over. The last hour was last Wednesday evening, January 28. If I’d stuck it out until today (February 4), like I originally planned to do, the last show would have marked the fifth anniversary of my radio debut. I’m sad to have missed it, just like I’m sad to have given up my show, but the station had become too unpleasant a place for me to be. Maybe in time, I’ll make my way back onto the air, but as for now… it doesn’t much look like it.
I also can’t say how frequently I’ll update this blog in the future. Much as I hate to say it, I’m kind of burned out on music right now. I’ve been listening to the same six or eight bands and albums over and over. (If I were scrobbling, my last.fm neighbourhood -- and charts -- would be all messed up by now.) It’s all very good music, but I can’t seem to get myself to care much about it, and I care even less about everything else.
These albums are getting lots of spinning:
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea – Neutral Milk Hotel
All Hail West Texas – the Mountain Goats
Forever Changes – Love
Takk… – Sigur Rós
Chain Gang of Love and Lust Lust Lust – the Raveonettes
There’ve been some digressions, but they generally happen when I’m really not paying attention (as opposed to only sort of not paying attention) and just want some sort of background noise, and they generally tend to be bands and/or albums that sound some degree of similar to one or more of the artists mentioned above.
Anyway, now that I’ve listened to Two-Headed Boy Part 2 at least ten times in a row, I feel ready to… I don’t know. I just wanted to point out that I’ve now listened to Two-Headed Boy Part 2 at least ten times in a row. It's that bad.
Tonight, while the automix plays bad 80s music during the timeslot my show used to occupy, I will be spending the first of many now-free Wednesday evenings in one of my favorite places, Powell’s City of Books, in the company of one of my current favorite authors, Lauren Groff. I know that, due to length, it’s very likely that she won’t, but I hope she reads “Majorette.”
I have a book blog. (I would say “I have a book blog now,” but I’ve actually had it for more than a year.) If I become too negligent with Ashtrays, and you still crave my writing, you can read it here.
29 January 2009
I gårs var mit endeligt programmet. Det skal jeg savne, men det var tid for at afgå. Jeg var led og ked af at føle lige en andenklasses borger. Hvis du vil gerne snakke med mig eller ved mere om alle af det, må du godt emaile mig eller skrive en kommente.
Spillelisten fra i gårs:
1. A Whiter Shade of Pale – Procol Harum
2. Where Damage Isn’t Already Done (live) – the Radio Dept. (SV)
3. Hoppípolla – Sigur Rós (IS)
4. Stay Alive – The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
5. At Least I’m Honest – Tiger Baby (DK)
6. All You Want – Said the Shark (DK)
7. The Quiz – Hello Saferide (SV)
8. The Twist – Frightened Rabbit
9. Remember – The Raveonettes (DK)
10. Something New – Bakers at Dawn (SV)
11. Teenage Life – Club 8 (SV)
12. Cobra – Oliver North Boy Choir (DK)
13. Where Do You Go To (My Lovely) – Peter Sarstedt
Tusind tak til alle som hjalp at lave min tid med stationen god. I skal jeg savner, og jeg håber jeg skal endnu se I engang i mellem, og håber også, at I alle lave den bedste af det. Og der er ingen af I, som kan læse dansk, så skal jeg stopper nu. Hilsen til alle, og på gensyn.
Ashtrays Podcast (28. januar 2009)