Two nice things: Writer’s block edition.

Frances Stark_why_write1. This piece by L.A.-based artist Frances Stark really speaks to some of the frustration I’ve been feeling recently with my own work. I don’t get writer’s block often, and I don’t often call it “writer’s block” (I usually just say I’m being lazy) but man, does this image hit the nail on its nasty little head. Why should you not be able to assemble yourself, Katy? (See more of Stark’s “trashy collage” aesthetic on Art Forum.)

2. Wet, Wet, always Wet. This indie pop band is just so freaking good, but this lyric is pure truth: “Some days just aren’t good for anything at all. Feel all those feelings but don’t make that call.” Listen to the song (which is fantastic and dreamy and upbeat and pensive at once) here. 

“For heaven I’m a failure, for earth I’m as good as anyone else.”

TakagiHaruyamaTwo things today:

1. My Bubba is a fan-freaking-tastic musical duo composed of two girls—one Swedish, one Icelandic—who make the kind of dreamy yet down-to-earth music that my heart is currently craving. Do you like smart, poetic lyrics with haunting vocals? Well, then you’ll dig these ladies. Start here. Fall down the NPR rabbit hole. Enjoy.

2. I’ve been reading a lot of mythology lately and one of my favorite stories comes from Japanese folklore. It’s about the moon-rabbit, a mythological creature that lives in the sky. There are so many different stories about the moon, but this one has stuck with me. Wild rabbits (like bears) show up in my dreams fairly often, and I feel a weird kinship with those scattered, scared creatures. Anyway, if you’re not familiar with the story, here it is….

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This song by Lady Lamb the Beekeeper makes me so happy.

I fall in love with strangers all the time. Here’s a song by the inimitable Lady Lamb the Beekeeper about that—about people and connecting, and I think, also about missing someone and being overwhelmed by the world. And catching trains. And eating mountains, which is a dream of mine (actually, to be the best afterlife would be one where I became an indigo mountain somewhere lonely and wild).

I also keep finishing that one great sentence—”the kind of high I like is when…”—in my head over and over with different things.

The kind of high I like is when I stay up all night with someone and we’re exhausted in the morning and we still can’t stop talking even though we’re so tired that the world feels a little unreal and we look like hell and just don’t care.

The kind of high I like is when I see someone I was waiting for and they look at me and I get so nervous and I realize again that I really, really like them and I don’t care at all that they made me wait.

The kind of high I like is when I’m almost crying and something strange and funny makes me laugh and I keep laughing until it hurts.

The kind of high I like is when I hear a really great song and it gives me goosebumps on my arms and I play it over and over and soon I don’t get goosebumps anymore but instead I feel it nestle down into my bones and the sound that someone else made becomes mine and it feels so sweet.

My favorite album of the year.

Waxahatchee-Cerulean-SaltI know it’s a bit early to be naming albums of the year, but I don’t care—Cerulean Salt is so, so good. Waxahatchee is the solo project of Katie Crutchfield, who has been writing and performing her own songs since her early teens. And it shows! She’s so talented. I can never listen to an album from start to finish (hello, ADD America reference) but I did listen to this, again and again. Her sound is a bit grungy, lo-fi, with echos of punk. Some songs are slow and rather sweet, which is nice because it showcases her vocal range, since she so often growls out lyrics, scratches them on your eardrums. In a good way though, because that sounds painful and it’s not.

Reviewers often describe music as “for fans of Band X and Band Y” and I know some people find that cheesy, but I actually like it a lot. I like it when Netflix tells me what I enjoy (gritty crime dramas with a strong female lead, or suspenseful supernatural thrillers with a strong female lead) and I love it when Amazon suggests books. So I’m going to do it too. If you like Best Coast, 90’s Liz Phair, or Cat Power, you’ll like Waxahatchee.

 

Two Nice Things.

jeremyKool_poses1. I absolutely love foxes and I’m a sucker for anything made out of paper, so when I saw Jeremy Kool’s Paper Fox Project, I fell pretty hard for the rascally little guy. Sadly, all Kool’s animals are made digitally, so this didn’t actually involve any origami. Does that make the entire thing more impressive? Probably! But for me the best part is that the little fox—and Kool’s other critters—are part of an interactive storybook for iOS devices. Neat!

2. There are few things that grate on me like the phrase YOLO, though I do appreciate the idea. Carpe diem, while epically cliche, is fine with me (Latin makes a lot of things more palatable, I think) though my favorite grasp-life-by-the-horns phrase is probably “gather ye rosebuds while ye may!” because no one does pastoral parties quite like a metaphysical poet. Anyways, this is a roundabout way of introducing my current favorite song: “Yawning” by Pearl and the Beard. Listen closely and you’ll understand why I’m talking about it like this. Plus, it’s very, very pretty (as if you needed more reason to check out my musical recommendations, right?)

Yawning

Ask Me My Number…

Good pop music is hard to find. I mean, I enjoy a good Ke$ha dance party as much as the next girl, but let’s be real: No one has ever, in the history of Jack Daniels, used it to brush their teeth, no matter how much whiskey they drink or glitter they snort. And do all the hipster boys fall in love when she got her hot pants on? Only god knows for sure.

But anyway, I’ve recently been really into Jhameel. His album “The Human Condition” is pretty much the perfect pop record. Right now, I’m listening to “How Many Lovers” and bouncing up and down on my bed (which isn’t as odd as it sounds, because this is pretty much what I do all day long anyway). That song alone is enough to get him a place on my summer playlist—the non-embarrassing one, with Kimbra and Icona Pop, not the one with weird throwback songs by Brand New.

But since I like it, and you’re reading this, you might like it, too. Go download it for free here.

Czech It.

Wayne-Thiebaud-Supine-Woman-1963.-Oil-on-canvas-36-x-72-in.-Courtesy-SothebysI’ve been playing with Emotional Bag Check all afternoon (ever since I saw it posted on The Hairpin) and the results have been MAGICAL. It’s a website that lets you either drop off some emotional baggage, and receive a song in return, or suggest a good song (and send an inspirational message) to an unhappy stranger. It’s the bee’s knees.

I’ve gotten almost thirty new song suggestions (my all-time favorite being “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off,” which first made me feel a bit funny then I realized, whatever, it’s not wrong) and sent out too many songs to count. For some reason, I seem to feel like the answer to everything can be found in Liz Phair and Sleigh Bells? But on that… Continue reading

Sounds Like…

I don’t usually post about music, but I have a new favorite album and I’m listening to it on repeat: Jennifer O’Connor‘s I Want What You Want. Her voice is so great. It’s a little folksy, and a little feminist-y, and I like it a whole lot.

My favorite track is “Already Gone,” but there’s a “Swan Song (for Bella)” that I kind of love too—and not just for the Twilight reference. Apparently, that song was almost in the movie, but the director decided to cut it. Which is maybe a blessing in disguise, though I’m sure O’Connor was probably bummed.

Here’s the whole thing on Bandcamp.

When I’m not listening to I Want, I’m playing this song over and over. Swedish teen pop with a country western feel? Yeah!

{via}

I haven’t been blogging much lately. Actually, I haven’t been blogging at all. I suppose it’s been the combination of a new job, new apartment, massive life changes, etc. that have made me stay away from my own website. But not anymore!

Because November is National Writing Month, and goshdarnit I’m gonna participate. To the absolute best of my ability. The first thing I did was pledge to complete NaNoWriMo. I won’t lie—I’m a bit behind. But I’ve also been writing at a breakneck pace to catch up, and I’m loving every minute of it. I’m writing a young adult fantasy novel (about a 16-year-old girl named Iphigenia who lives in the Hudson Valley!) and so far, things are going pretty well. Having never written a novel before, it’s all new and weird and scary, but it’s also been the best therapy I can imagine.

So while my blog will still probably get neglected in favor of the much bigger project, I do want to post more often. And in honor of that, here’s something wonderful I saw today: A stylized Smiths poster from Hunting Bears. It’s going on my Christmas gift list, though I have no idea who I would give it to (yet!). Even though the “good times for a change” line is terrifically applicable to my life right now, I am really crushing on this print. Too bad it’s sold out—it’s one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite songs in my (current, because this changes daily) color. So much favoritism! Maybe when it comes back I can get one for my new walls.

I swear to god, my boyfriend sings this song every day. Every day! Though I don’t think he would admit it, it’s probably the most-played song at the bar where he works, but only because he puts it on every night. Every night!

At first, I didn’t understand it at all. But now it’s really grown on me and I keep singing it to myself. I fully plan to show up at the bar some night all dressed up like a cowboy’s dream and order a whiskey. Silly or slightly badass? (probably the first).

Oh and a word about the bar: the clientele is probably 60% old Irish men. And they all loooove country music. There’s always an interesting blend on the jukebox there—probably half old Irish tunes and sad ballads and songs with pipes and half country hits. The one thing they have in common is the fiddle. So I suppose it makes sense.