Song of the Day: Death Cab for Cutie, “Underwater”

I first heard this song on a mixed tape (remember those) that my friend Dan made for me.  I think it was a Christmas mix.  I wore that tape out.


Kitsch of the Week


This band is either the most ridiculous cover band ever, or the best potential garage rock band out of Chicago, just as soon as they gin up the courage to boot their ludicrous lead singer. I saw them Saturday night.

Update: apologies for the misspellings. The phone and I are warring over some words.

Song of the Day: The Beta Band, “Dry the Rain”

I’ve been listening a lot to the October 2009 cd club mix.  It’s full of songs about the weather, and it’s really perfect writing music.  This song is one of the familiar but still perfect songs on the mix.  Technically, the cds are supposed to be new music or music that is new to you, but we’ve definitely evolved since our humble beginnings to more themed mixes or to just what we happen to be listening to when we’re making the mix.  I don’t think anyone is like me in making their cd, however.  I’ve been drafting my mix for at least six months now.  I keep on adding songs.  And now I need to edit it down.  At any rate, here’s a great live version of the Beta Band’s “Dry the Rain.”


“For I have learned

To look on nature, not as in the hour

Of thoughtless youth, but hearing oftentimes

The still, sad music of humanity,

Not harsh nor grating, though of ample power

To chasten and subdue. And I have felt

A presence that disturbs me with the joy

Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime

Of something far more deeply interfused,

Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,

And the round ocean, and the living air,

And the blue sky, and in the mind of man,

A motion and a spirit, that impels

All thinking things, all objects of all thought,

And rolls through all things.  Therefore am I still

A lover of the meadows and the woods,

And mountains; and of all that we behold

From this green earth; of all the mighty world

Of eye and ear, both what they half-create,

And what perceive; well pleased to recognize

In nature and the language of the sense,

The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,

The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul

Of all my moral being.”

~ William Wordsworth, “Lines Written a few miles above Tintern Abbey”

I still find these lines deeply beautiful.

Our Scheduled Interlude

Posting will be light for the next couple of days. I’ve got several different things that are due this week (where did August go?) and of course class prep now that the semester has begun (seriously, where did August go?).  The female part of the family is doing Galveston this weekend (somehow the brother didn’t seem too keen on the idea of a weekend spent with all women…), so expect beach pictures soon.

Song of the Day: Bloc Party, “Talons”

Bloc Party is one of those bands that I instantaneously knew I was going to be obsessed with.  They’re the perfect blend of pop sensibility, rock guitars, bravado, and lyricism.  They’re also one of the few bands I’ve seen recently that makes the transition from album to live show.  The first time I saw them in concert was at the now defunct Gypsy Tea Room in Dallas.  The ballroom was not the best music venue partly because of the acoustics, but mostly because the bar’s awkward placement in the middle of the room meant that people there to be seen and not to hear could be heard over the band half the time.  But, not so with Bloc Party.  Frontman Kele Okereke is a consummate showman; he knows how to work an audience and generate energy.  (He’s so one of my fake pop culture boyfriends.)  But it was the moment Matt Tong touched his drums that I was completely and utterly hooked.  The beauty of Bloc Party is that under the fuzz of guitars, Okereke’s soaring voice, and the moody intensity of the lyrics lies a musical structure built on a moving, varied bass line and drums that drive the music forward in new and creative directions.  Watching Matt Tong play is like watching a whirling dervish of energy and light.

Biodiversity and Pseudovariety

So, I’m lazily reading blogs this Saturday morning instead of indexing.  I’m giving myself about fifteen more minutes before work needs to begin in earnest.  But, I couldn’t help sharing this video on biodiversity from students at the Vancouver Film School.  Of course, I got it from The Daily Dish, along with a cool map on pseudovariety.

(Note: Normally, I’d embed the video, but it’s in vimeo.  Go figure that wordpress and vimeo seem to not like each other. On the plus side, it does take you to the blog The Ark in Space.)

Song of the Day: Stars, “You’re Ex-Lover is Dead” and “Take Me to the Riot”

I just found out that Stars are playing Dallas right before Thanksgiving.  I texted my brother in giddy excitement like I was a sixteen year old girl.  But really, I feel more like one of those fourteen year olds cheering for Justin Bieber.  Okay, an infinitely hipper fourteen year old.  Still. So, here are two songs of the day for you, both of which got me through the dissertation.

“You’re Ex-Lover is Dead” is off of their album Set Yourself On Fire, which I think has the best liner notes ever.

“Take Me to the Riot” is off of In Our Bedroom After the War.  I like the concept behind the first video more.  The juxtaposition of fire, ice, and the twirling ice skaters works as a visual composition.  But I appreciate the fact that the second video tries to tell a story.  Most music videos don’t even bother doing that much anymore.

“The Look of Love”

My friend Walter has just reposted my favorite essay from his “Look of Love” series of film criticism.  Now, I’m a big fan of Christopher Orr, A.O. Scott, and even Manhola Dargis, but Walter really is my favorite film critic.  I say that even though I’ve known him since high school and am perhaps more than a little biased.  His criticism isn’t traditional or academic.  It’s simply the incredibly intelligent musings of a guy who not only knows film but also truly appreciates the craft of film and writing.  His blog, The Quiet Bubble, is now on hiatus.  (I refuse to consider that he’s given it up completely, although after three months of doing this steadily, I do more fully comprehend his rationale.)  In going on break, Walter had to switch blog platforms, so he’s slowly been reposting things.  I’ve been eagerly awaiting this one on Wes Anderson’s The Royal Tenenbaums, one of the movies that I simply cannot get out of my head.  You won’t be able to either after reading his take on one scene in the film.

Song of the Day: Centro-Matic, “Call the Legion in Tonight”

For unknown reasons, Centro-matic is a band I turn to when I feel the season is about to change.  We’re weeks away from it, but today, for the first time, it doesn’t feel like summer anymore.  It’s actually not the song I want to post, but I can’t find a clear video of “The Mighty Midshipman”.