Saturday, February 27, 2010

have i had a hand in your loneliness?


Wolf-spider, crouch in your funnel nest,
If I knew you, once,
now I know you less,
In the sinking sand,
where we've come to rest,
have I had a hand in your loneliness?

When you leave me alone
in this old palace of yours,
it starts to get to me. I take to walking,
What a woman does is open doors.
And it is not a question of locking
or unlocking.

Well, I have never seen
such a terrible room-
gilded with the gold teeth
of the women who loved you!
Now, though I die,
Magpie, this I bequeath:
by any other name
a jay is still blue

with the loneliness
of you mighty men,
with your mighty kiss
that might never end,
while, so far away,
in the seat of the west,
burns the fount
of the heat
of that loneliness.

There's a man
who only will speak in code,
backing slowly, slowly down the road.
May he master everything
that such men may know
about loving, and then letting go.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

on a good day you can feel my love for you

it's no secret that i've been feeling down lately...

just kidding! it is, because i don't hang out, and i don't blog about it. so let's at least change that second part. joanna just got downloaded, and she's pretty much all i need. so far, this song is making me want to cry at my desk.


Sunday, February 14, 2010

did you or someone you know send me this? it's really nice (i got choked up) but it's also anonymous, and i don't feel good about that. so, please let me know if you sent it, by sending me an email at anonymouspolaroidrecipient at gmail dot com.

V3: I can always be found

well, we're here. volume 3 is finished and polished up into a pretty interesting mix-- and it's probably just as likely to make you cry as any of the other ones, sadly. that being said, this was by far the trickiest one to put together, because it encompasses a group of songs that i think of as most experimental or unconventional than the first two, and as such they are longer and a little stranger and a little all over the map. also, it's three sides, instead of two, because i am insane. side A ends on "the purple bottle," side B goes from "shut up i am dreaming of places where lovers have wings" to "the other side of mt. heart attack," and side C is "anthems for a seventeen year old girl" on. the subtext is A = mostly happy, B = super sad, C = uplifting-ish.

getting the tone right was important, and the key thing, strangely enough, was finding the right bjork songs. much as i love bjork, the versions of her songs that i love best are remixes or alternate versions, especially for mixes-- the ones on the record are pretty desolate. so, i finally got the sequencing right, found the key songs, and now it scans much happier than it did with the originals.

so, this pretty much attempts to encompass all the strangeness of loving someone, foreign as that concept sounds to me. as songs, this collection is pretty ambitious, but there are moments in each of them that are brutal and wonderful. let me point out a few of my favorite moments:

"the way you look could seriously make nature dysmorphic"
"here's the color of my heart as it's starting to crack"
"carry my joy on the left / carry my pain on the right"
"can i tell you that you are the purple in me?"
"if i fall into the drink, i will say your name before i sink"
"twist your head around-- it's all around you"
"i remember everything, and i never want to stop"
"i could take away the shaky knees, and i could give you all the olive trees"
"you couldn't lose me if you tried"
and of course, "i can always be found"

so, see if you like it. i've embedded it again, with the wrong bjork songs, but because i love you i've also included all three volumes, downloadable, labeled, and in order. because it's valentine's day. enjoy.

V1: All I want is your eyes (download via rapidshare)

V2: An honest verse of longing or a simple song of hope (download via google)

V3: I can always be found (download via rapidshare)

note that i tried uploading to google docs as well as rapidshare-- let me know if you have any problems downloading and i'll be happy to get it to you one way or the other.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

V2: An honest verse of longing or a simple song of hope

so, volume 2 of the mix has arrived-- i'm heartened by the fact that many of you have listened to volume 1, and unsurprised to realize that the songs aren't as happy as i thought they were, but give me the benefit of the doubt on this. volume 2 is a bit more conventionally happy... for most of it.

splitting these into three unique chunks was mostly a function of necessity, but i think i stand by it. there's one greatest hits collection to be culled from these 42 vaguely happy songs, but that's not really the point. i'm of the opinion that mixes should be a little more challenging than just corralling your favorite songs or disparate songs with similar titles. for volume 2, i wanted to include all the conventional pop songs with full band arrangements that i thought fit the mold of songs you might include to really seal the deal on any mixtape you made for that person you wanted to seal the deal with-- so it gets pretty obvious. belle and sebastian? check. (dating all the way back to high school, no less! i've been unconvincingly cynical for YEARS.) stars? duh. twice. could have made up half the list. zombies? yup. but...

i came up with the title before i came up with the idea for three mixes worth of love songs, and i knew pretty much right away i wanted bowl of oranges to end this one-- it's sort of the thesis statement for the whole project. to that end, bonnie 'prince' billy unexpectedly makes two appearances, as does some neutral milk hotel, and an unabashedly lovelorn magnetic fields song (is there any other kind? that i have covered?), and one of my favorite old smashing pumpkins songs. i think that honest verses of longing have just as much standing as simple songs of hope when you're dealing with mixes. so, this mix ends side A with "look up," which, duh, totally killer. it starts side B with "love comes to me."* it's not found if it's not lost at some point along the way-- you will not be surprised to know that i enjoy the journey.

so! i hope you like this one, too. it should at the very least give you something to listen to no matter what sort of mood you're in.

*: i changed the sequencing for vols. 2 and 3 after i had linked them in the initial post, and made a few additions, in case you were wondering.** also, for volume 1, side A ends on "i found a reason" and side B starts with "a tender history in rust." in case you were wondering.***

**: you weren't; it's fine.

***: you weren't; it's also fine.

Friday, February 12, 2010

V1: All I want is your eyes

let's start with the obvious: in retrospect, this is not a purely happy mix. i mean, i tried, i really did-- you have to believe me. but there's only so much i could do on my own. i was considering asking for help from friends who like happy music more than me (i almost dug through the entire "zombie heaven" 4-disc set jessica sent me, because i know there's plenty of happy in that), but i wanted to do something that satisfied a few criteria:

1) ease. i used only songs that i had immediate access to. i bought a bjork song, and it isn't even the version i wanted, but it cost 10 cents, so oh well.

2) familiarity. i know almost every word to all of these songs, so i think i can personally vouch for their worth, but since i know them well they can also vouch for my personality-- i don't tend to listen to songs i don't like more than once, so these mixes say a lot about me.

3) freshness. you'll notice that some of my all time favorite love songs-- say yes, at the hop, penelope, kathy with a k's song, etc.-- did not make it. that's for a reason. there are plenty of duplicates from other mixes i've made, of course, but i wanted to look a little harder for songs that fit the mood without being too easy. i think "thirteen" does what "say yes" doesn't, at least for me: it looks forward, not back.

so, after listening through vol. 1, i'm pretty pleased with the experiment. like most things i do, i'm not going to go back and edit these too much, even though i know i've left out a lot and could probably reorder them or otherwise improve. they're nice experiments, and they're just what i want to be: obviously extremely flawed, but hopefully lovable for being so off-kilter.


ps: some of these will be greyed out, unfortunately-- look for them on youtube them or something. they're easy to find (ahem beatles ahem)

pps: i'm really glad i remembered the against me! song for a couple reasons: one is that it's awesome; two is that my against me! tshirt finally died today-- the hole in the sleeve finally metastasized and now it's a one-sleeve tshirt; three is that the transition from "i will" to "we did it all for don" is kind of priceless.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

oh yes you can, just hold my hand, i think that that would help

i wanted to do something for valentine's day, especially given that i'm going to stay in my house with a bottle of gin and not emerge for the entire day (which has been happening a lot recently, due to snow/boringness). the thing is: valentine's day is not that good a holiday, but the nice thing is that it can only be good. if you're like me, be a hermit! let it pass! if there are people you want to spend it with, so-called 'significant' or otherwise, spend it with them! it shouldn't be that stressful.

to that end, as a way to try and prove to myself how much i've changed since i created a two-disc "valentine's day sucks" mix back in college, and to prove that i haven't changed at all... i've created a three-disc mix of love songs. there's so little sadness on these three lists that i find it hard to believe i like all the songs, but in fact i do. give them to somebody, listen to them, or just make your own-- doesn't matter. i'll post them over the next three days with a few comments, and you can get a head start here if you are impatient.

i started thinking about this in the context of listening to old songs i recorded, and in the process rediscovered the bright eyes song "bowl of oranges." it's the first song i ever recorded, in 2003; and, god, my cover sucks. REAL BAD. i had no idea how to sing. it's impossible to listen to, and i don't love or hate anyone enough to expose them to it. however, the actual song is wonderful, and it's the sort of thing you should listen to in bed on a sunny sunday morning, full or empty though your bed may be. i'm considering covering it again, just to see how far things have progressed in 7 years of pseudo-adulthood. so, happy valentine's day.

Friday, February 5, 2010

as far as we could know (updated several times)

i don't really know why i've been moderately productive on music things recently-- maybe because i'm a little bored, and slacking off on the other parts of life? or spending more time alone? either way, it's all for the best.

the other thing i don't really know is why i keep wrapping songs in all these layers of synth and noise, but they're good experiments, and a few came out reasonably well. now i just need to find three keyboard players-- one to teach me what the hell i'm doing, and two to figure out what i recorded and how to reproduce it without a macbook. or, you know, start from scratch. the snowstorm this weekend is going to allow for a lot of cooking and a lot of music, so hopefully something good comes from it. in the meantime: a song vaguely memorializing my old car. or something. listen.

update: sorry, nevermind, it sucks and i need to redo it or rethink it before i post it. it's important not to put out offal.

update #2
: ok, i'm pretty proud of what came out now. listen, if you'd like.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

home is wherever i'm with you

i decided to put this together a week or two ago. good stuff! who doesn't like epic songs, or making mixtapes? when in the mood, i might make other vague categories (good instrumental songs for mxitapes, interludes for mixtapes, love songs for mixtapes, lukewarm not-that-into-you songs for mixtapes, breakup songs for mixtapes, balls-out rock and roll for mixtapes, etc.) and post them. don't expect too much.

also: leave suggestions in the comments! my knowledge of epic songs is decent but pretty specific. let me know about others. andrew was spot-on with "home," and you can be too.

Monday, February 1, 2010

it pains me but i'm sure she's still yrs

i've been anxiously awaiting the pfork review of the new LC! album for the last week-- there were several long-awaited releases last tuesday (beach house, magnetic fields) so i didn't know exactly when it would get published. leaving aside your feelings about the site, it's pretty undeniable that if they love or hate something it tends to solidify the consensus-- and honestly, the reviews recently have tended to be thoughtful and well-written, so maybe that's deserved. anyway, since i like this band so much i feel like i have a rooting interest. i think paul thompson's review is very flattering and well reasoned, and though i'm a bit disappointed they didn't give it a Best New Music tag, it's not the end of the world.

also, one of my favorite songs on the album reminds me of something else i recently talked about here (for better or worse), in the context of an LC! song. i like this record for being more upbeat and in your face than most stuff i listen to, but also for being right up my alley: it's about death, breaking up, etc.; in specific, it's about being with the wrong person, and finally coming around to that realization, whether it's that the person is wrong for you or that you're wrong for them, or whatever. whereas "the sea is a good place to think of the future" is the emotional centerpiece of the record, this feels like the third quarter of a relationship that's ending. plus, there's this:
In a note I wrote, "I think too much about the end
But being around it made me feel like I'm coping now.
When I view the cemetery, I don't see headstones
I see rows of engraved middle teeth, hungry, waiting for me
And though I am fearful, I think I just crave the relief"

oh, and then the coda. i know it's a long record, but come on. this song is so good. it's the fifth quarter of a relationship that's ending.