A list of delightful things, lately

1. The discovery of Cher’s twitter account. You guys, how did I not know that tweets like this have been happening since 2010? These days, she and Ringo Starr combined probably use more emojis than the collective rest of the internet.

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 9.50.07 PMFair warning: Cher is also prone to explosive caps lock and the occasional angry political tweet.

2. “Foreign Object” – My current favorite song (and lyric: “I personally will stab you in the eye with a foreign object”), from the new Mountain Goats album Beat the Champ. Can’t wait for my third—and possibly fourth—Mountain Goats concert in June!

3. I recently watched Help! again, and what a good idea that was. It is just the silliest movie.

4. Fun updates from David Byrne: DB and friends went to a WGI (colorguard) show and then he blogged about it! A video update was also posted on Facebook (my thought process while watching the first 15 seconds: “Why is there only one person clapping OH MY GOD THAT PERSON IS DAVID BYRNE LOOK AT HIM HE’S SO HAPPY”).

5. Speaking of WGI (percussion), huge congrats to RCC for winning gold in Dayton! As always, a proud alum. <3 You can watch their finals show here.
Side note: the first time I heard the show name, I thought it was “Guardians of the Bread.” Which would be a whole different show entirely.

6. Other delightful things: it’s spring, taxes are over, and the weekend is near. Everyone deserves a pick-me-up!

I’m starting a countdown

I just read Joseph Fink’s review and I’m so so pumped for the new Mountain Goats album (and the accompanying Fillmore show in June!).

I don’t love wrestling. But I love that this entire album is about it. I love that about so many of the Mountain Goats’ albums: something was ingrained in JD’s mind—something mattered so much—that it warranted 12(+) songs.

Here’s one of them:


There are certain things, places, and people that I feel exactly this way about. Here’s the closest, most relevant example I can think of. If I were an able songwriter, I would probably have enough feelings about the 1998-1999 San Diego Padres to fill an entire album. I could romanticize the breathtaking field-level view at my first baseball game, or the time Bondy and I giddily met Bruce Bochy in person at Qualcomm Stadium (you’re looking at an O.G. Bochy fan right here), or being 10 years old and organizing Topps cards in a plastic binder. Phil Nevin’s lucky number 23. Hell’s Bells. Winning the NL Pennant. That heartbreaking 4-0 sweep. It’s odd that these things would stir up so many feels (especially because I am the least sports-enthusiastic person I know), but they are rooted so deep in my memory that just looking at a ’98 roster gives me the warm fuzzies.

c73306d0

The great thing about so many Mountain Goats songs is how they perfectly capture those little scenes from childhood, or whenever. All those little buried details, making everything feel so familiar even if you didn’t experience it first hand. To quote the above linked review, “I think that the entire career of the Mountain Goats has been about giving names to nameless bodies, and remembering unremembered rooms. I can’t think of a more worthy cause.”

I can’t wait for this album.

Live music, lately

2014 is a crazy good year for live music in my world. In addition to Paul Simon & Sting and the highlighted shows below, I’ll be seeing OK Go twice (in SF and SLC), Tom Petty at Outside Lands, and Paul McCartney at Candlestick Park (the last show ever! …Candlestick’s that is, not Paul’s). I’m pret-ty pumped, to say the least.

Here is a glimpse of my May and June in music….

Kishi Bashi @ The Fillmore. 5/17. 

I’d been wanting to see Kishi Bashi in concert since I became obsessed with him last year. So I was stoked (yes, STOKED) to hear about this show. It ended up topping the list of my favorite concerts ever, even with the very drunk couple next to us who kept elbowing me and stepping on my feet. Kishi Bashi and his band put on an incredible show (special shout out to Grizzly Bearded Banjo Man, you sir are wonderful). I thought I already loved KB’s new album, but of course the songs are that much better when played live. How can a song about a piece of steak be SO delightful?
I also loved how genuinely excited KB was to be at the Fillmore. He made a point to mention that it was his biggest show so far, and that he never would’ve thought he’d be playing there two years ago when he was touring with Of Montreal. It made me feel lucky to live in the bay area, where the venues are just as exciting as the acts. :)
Video: Atticus in the Desert

Nickel Creek @ The Fox. 5/19.

Nickel Creek is from my hometown of Vista, California. Which is noteworthy because no one famous ever comes from Vista, California. But these guys happened to make it! It took some recollection, but I realized that I’d seen Nickel Creek before, like 10-15 years ago at the Smoky Hill River Festival in Salina, Kansas. Pretty sure that’s the only time that a band from my hometown has played a show in my dad’s hometown, but I could be wrong.
Anyway, they’re a really awesome bluegrass trio whose mandolinist Chris Thile you might’ve heard of (if you are a mandolin fan). Plus, they hadn’t played together in 7 years so it was a pretty epic reunion.
Video: Hayloft (couldn’t find a video of this one from the Oakland show, but it was one of my favorite songs so this is a vid from earlier in the tour)

The Spencer Owen Timeshare @ The Starry Plough. 6/7.

I’ve been to a lot of T.S.O.T. shows in the past year, but this one might just be my favorite so far. I’m not sure I can even pinpoint why…but I loved it, the crowd loved it, there was dancing, and there was saxophone. What else could you ask for? Also, the venue was really fun too. +1 for The Starry Plough!
The band is going on tour this July, and although I have work and don’t want to be all groupie status (well, I kind of do), I’m going to try my hardest to go to as many shows as possible. So exciting!!
Videos: My Troubled Past and Deserve You More (I’m lame and only start recording halfway through each song)

The Mountain Goats @ Bottom of the Hill. 6/14.

I saw the Mountain Goats in December of 2012, and became an instant fan. They played at the Fillmore in 2012, but this time the show was at Bottom of the Hill (a much smaller venue which has also hosted the Timeshare!). I loved how intimate/informal the show was: it was just John Darnielle and Peter Hughes playing acoustic guitar and bass (except when a string broke on JD’s guitar and he had no backup so used the opening band’s electric guitar).
Can I also just reiterate how awesome the crowds are at tMG shows? Probably the most attentive and dedicated fans I’ve ever seen. There are people that know every word to every song, even the deep cuts on cassette tapes from 1993 (I know this because they played the entirety of Transmissions to Horace and there were people singing along to every song). These shows are so much fun that I think whenever the opportunity comes up to see a Mountain Goats concert, I will make it a point to be there.
Video: California Song (same venue, but 6 years ago)

That’s it for now. But stay tuned for my OK Go/TPetty/Macca follow-up in August. Until then, I hope you find good music to listen to and I sincerely hope you check out OK Go‘s new music video which debuts TOMORROW!

So this is what the volume knob’s for

Last weekend I finally made it to the Fillmore, a venue I’ve been wanting to go to for years (it didn’t disappoint: walls filled with vintage concert posters = I was in heaven!). I went with 4 friends to see the Mountain Goats, and left the show an enthusiastic fan.

.

I’ll go ahead and admit it right now, the first 5 minutes of the Mountain Goats’ set made me cry. John Darnielle began the show by paying homage to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting that happened earlier that day. He questioned what someone like himself, a musician, could do to honor those children who will miss out on a lifetime of music and memories, and concluded that the best thing to do is play louder and more passionately than ever. He then opened with White Cedar:

Like a star come down to walk the Earth in radiant array.
I saw the light of my spirit descend the other day.
I was standing the bus stop on North East 33rd,
When I got the word.
I will be made a new creature,
One bright day.

I don’t have to be afraid.
Speed that day on it’s way.
And you can’t tell me what my spirit tells me isn’t true, can you?

Woke up on lockdown one more time,
My visions won’t ever learn.
But I see the light that much clearer,
Every time I return.
Forge my armor in the old fire.
My spirit sings loud and clear,
Even in here.

I’ll be reborn someday, someday,
If I wait long enough.

I don’t have to be afraid.
I don’t wanna be afraid.
And you can’t tell me what my spirit tells me isn’t true, can you?

The show was a wonderful mix of rockin’ anthems and beautifully exposed lyrics: a great chance for a newcomer like me to get acquainted with the extensive Mountain Goats catalog (did I mention how amazingly devoted tMG fans are? what an awesome crowd!). Also, John Darnielle is an excellent frontman. I loved his stories and perfectly timed punchlines. The show made me laugh, cry, and dance…what more could you ask for?

Some newfound favorites:
*San Bernardino – I love songs about places. Which is perfect, because there are tons of Mountain Goats songs about cities, towns, and driving. Yesssss.
*This Year – I listen to this at least once a day; lately it’s been more like 5 times a day.
*Cry for Judas
*Love Love Love

Shoutout to my friend Lauren for introducing me to this band! I hope this post will introduce a few more people to the awesomeness that is the Mountain Goats. :)