Perhaps I’m just reminiscing on the easier times, but the inspiration of today’s music selections has been the nineties and the early oughts. I can’t help but do the simple math to think about how long ago 1997, 1999 and 2002 were. In 1999, I was just eleven and learning about fractions and integers while Matt Pryor of the Get Up Kids were twenty-one and drinking legally for the first time. In 1999 they made one of my favourite albums ever created, Something to Write Home About.
I think the most formative years for my music taste were between 2002-2004. I listened to a whole lot of crap music, but some have stuck with me. Something to Write Home About is still incredible seventeen years later:
It has been so long since I’ve visited this spot. I guess I can thank Jenny Lewis for this one, who I get to see this Saturday to celebrate ten years of Rabbit Fur Coat.
I love this performance of “Happy,” where Lewis delivers an uncertain act to a very deliberate performance (just watch her expressions throughout):
Fast forward ten years to about a month ago and soak up this delightful sing-a-long. One of the few I wouldn’t be afraid to belt out in a live show.
I was fifteen when Saves the Day In Reverie came out and I fell in love. I’m nearly thirty and I still love the album. It was cute to hear this recent interview with my hero from my teen years. The interviewer apologized to Chris for trashing his album from over ten years ago –
Going Off Track Person – “Hey, it took me like ten years, but I finally came around on In Reverie”
Chris Conley – “No worries, man. I made a whole album that sounded like “Freakish””
That moment when you realize the song you’ve loved for a while now is actually a cover. Face palm.
Get classy with this throwback to 1951 –
And feel good with this updated version (way better, in my opinion) –
I first saw the Shins at the tender age of seventeen. They were in between Chutes to Narrow and Wincing the Night Away pushing no album in particular.
Eleven years later I’ve caught myself listening to the gorgeous tune “New Slang” over and over and over and over. I’ve never really listened to lyrics until now – descriptive and imaginative.
I had the strange realization that I watched Jason Collett play exactly a decade ago when I was eighteen (and underage) at the Mod Club. My move was to never buy advanced tickets, but to rely on door tickets and a little bit of hope that someone thought it was my picture on my ID.
I had a sweet exchange with the guy I bought my ticket off of. We agreed that listening to Jason Collett makes someone cool and that Jason Collett has sure held up well with time. The record store guy said that it was because of his “responsible” choices as a musician. Must be responsible being a Dad of a large, mature brood of kids (no longer kids and maybe not that large).
Along with his age, Collett’s live show has changed quite a bit. He has the same fellas (Zeus and Bahamas) playing with him that he did a decade before, as well as session artist, Christine Bougie. Trusting his band more, he leaves the music to the band and focuses on his sweet dance moves. His lanky figure matches his hip-heavy, arm swinging dancing that traversed most of the stage.
Hometown heartthrob Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) came out for a few songs and for the third modestly hung back and played the tambourine. It felt more like a family gathering than it did a paid concert. Collett’s always been good at setting a comfy mood at gigs.
In sixteen years, Collett’s released eight full-length albums. He played selections from most of the albums including some oldies like – “Blue Sky,” a solo sung “Hangover Days,” “Fire” and the set’s opener “I’ll Bring the Sun.”
He played a honky-tonk-style version of “My Daddy was a Rock ‘n Roller,” which he tacked together with another song – a very Zeus move.
I went out of my way to trade for these damn Sunday tickets. I had to sell my Stub Hub’d Saturday tickets and bought someone else’s Sunday tickets. Madness, but I made it.
These shows were crazy sold out ages in advance. The Danforth Music Hall has a capacity of 1,500 people. In 2008, I saw them play to a crowd one-third of the size at the El Mocambo and paid just eight bucks to hear them. That was almost eight years ago to the month, I was a wee peanut – just twenty years old. As the chumps we are, we watched them play eight years later with one thousand more people.
Beach House is Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally. Their band additionally includes a bassist and a drummer. Their sound is lush and sleepy with Legrand’s husky vocals and Scally’s guitar noodles. Beach House has carved their own unique sound – organ heavy with gorgeous guitar parts. I fell hard for 2010’s Teen Dream, particularly the album’s second track, “Silver Soul.” I was into it so early that YouTube videos hadn’t even really populated on the album. I watched this video over and over soaking it every sound that left Scally’s guitar from the first second of the video.
Legrand took a few minutes to give the audience an etiquette lesson, referring to it as her old lady rant. She told the audience that out of respect to their fellow concert-goers and the artist, one shouldn’t have their cameras on for more than a minute. Similarly, She & Him share this same attitude towards cameras and concert going.
Considering the band released two albums in 2015, they played a good balance of songs old and new. I was thrilled to hear “Silver Soul,” “Walk in the Park” and “Gila,” but slightly heartbroken in the absence of “Used to Be,” “Zebra” and “Master of None.” To YouTube, I guess!
Have you heard of Damien Jurado? I saw the guy play a few years back at Sasquatch! Music Festival. He must’ve been in a bad mood because after noodling around in his brief soundcheck he stormed off the stage. It took a fan to hop in front of the mic to publicly beg Jurado to please his fans. He plugged through the set and offered a half apology for his displeasure.
This performance got me. I get the challenges of turning it on for people. It ain’t easy.
Here I provide a short list of albums Jurado loves. I’m surprised by the list’s diversity and his sweet memories of how he stumbled upon each one.
Jurado’s playing the Garrison on May 30, 2016.
My girlfriends and I didn’t make a video of our experiences at Eaux Claires, but the Stavely-Taylor girls did (aka The Staves). They get the festival’s buzz perfectly in this sweet little video for the song “Horizons.”
A few things about the festival:
- Sweet program book/Eaux Claires passports – bright yellow, comprehensive, artistic and handy
- Timely rain. Nothing during festival hours, but the scariest hazardous conditions I have ever endured. Tornado warnings and high winds forced us our of our tent and into our car. We called all our loved ones in fear of losing our lives (see 1:43 in the video above). Something tells me the Staves weren’t sleeping outdoors!
- A killer line up that never tired me: Charles Bradley, Spoon, Sylvan Esso, The National, Bon Iver, Phox, The Tallest Man on Earth, Poliça and that’s just off the top of my head.
- Movies – a short film by Tom Berninger, a short partly-fictional film on the band Phox
- Shitty food
- Our discovery of Buzzballs
Feeling some major summer nostalgia right now.