Sunday, March 4, 2012

reverie 1a

1. {Peonies} I've never been much of a flower person - ask me the name of most plants and I can almost guarantee you I don't know it. However, I've recently begun to appreciate the subtle beauty of filling your house with fresh flowers. Peonies are just so lush and soft and indulgent. 

2. {Kinfolk Magazine} I was thumbing through the current issue of this quarterly yesterday - my own copy is arriving in the mail this week - and everything from the paper to the photos to the layout got me so excited. I have been a long time fan of the whole "dinner with friends" things and this magazine is dedicated solely to food and the social experience of sharing it. Back in LA I had a group of friends that would get together and cook a huge meal on Sunday evenings. I truly cherish those meals together and lately I've been making an effort to makes those happenings occure more often. 

3. {Barr-Co Oatmeal & Shea Butter Lotion} I first sited this yummy lotion at one of my favorite boutiques in Ballard, Lucca (seriously, they have the cutest nic nacs). The stuff is so smooth and even smells soft. I was at Anthropologie recently and noticed they are now selling the line. Good things should be shared with the masses.

4. {Kirsty Maccoll} This lady has been on heavy rotation as of late. Her mix of sweet and salty has found a perfect match in these early moments of spring. If you haven't listened to her I strongly suggest you check out "They Don't Know" and "A New England".... and if you're feeling a little spunky take "Turn My Motor" for a ride. 

5. {1842 Rosa Alba Eau De Parfum} I NEED a new fragrance! I'm running low on my tried-and-true MJ and am itching to try something new. I've never actually sniffed this Happ & Stahns perfume but thought the bottle was quite darling. Any fragrance suggestions?

Friday, February 3, 2012

vanilla waffles with a side of egg

This morning I had a lovely breakfast with my lovely friend Mazohra. We opted to try Silence-Heart-Nest in Fremont and I'm so glad we did. This place is 100% vegetarian, 100% New Age (their business cards have "enlightening" sayings on them), and 100% yummy. I ordered the South of the Border Breakfast burrito and the thing was HUGE. The other wonderful thing about this place are the large windows at the front - which on a day like today was a must seeing as though the sun has momentarily graced us with its presence.

The two of us have decided we are going to try and make this Friday breakfast date a monthly thing (which we also decided is very LA funny enough). Here's to a whole new chapter in my life: Breakfast, Seattle-style.

alabama shakes

On Tuesday night Chelsea and I found our way down to the Croc to catch Alabama Shakes. Being the thoughtful friend that Chelsea is, she had given me a pair of tickets for Christmas which, if you know me at all, is always a perfect gift. I'll gladly take concert tickets any day.

We got there early enough to catch half of Quiet Life's set. I went in with low expectations and it's a good thing. At best they were a solid weekend bar band. At worst they were a set of Portlanders trying too hard to capitalize on the already tired fascination with revitalized americana. The songs were a bit bland, their sound wavering from singer-writer to blues to country. I never really got a handle on their "thing" and took it as a sign of self-doubt.

After QL finished their set, Chels and I tried to manuever our way to a spot where the tallest guy in the house wasn't standing - I swear, I frequently find myself with the worst luck when it comes to venue geography. A couple of lovely ladies helped usher us towards the front. Not after long Alabama Shakes took the stage, and by took the stage I mean STOLE it.

Brittany Howard knows how to command a crowd. With her powerfully scruffy, soul-rumbling tone you can't not believe in what she's singing. Standing there saddled with her Gibson SG she is nothing short of a bad-ass. The guys in the band have their own quirks and when brought together you can't help but wonder how they all came together.

Seeing their live set was a nice preview of their yet-to-be-released LP. And while I enjoyed the show to the very end, "Hold On" remains my favorite tune of the night. So check them out, their EP is free to stream on their bandcamp : .

Saturday, January 21, 2012

weather radio

Five summers ago I had a MASSIVE Talking Heads musical emersion. I watched as much performance footage I could get my hands on, read This Must Be the Place: The Adventures of Talking Heads in the Twentieth Century and listened to Stop Making Sense almost everyday (if you haven't seen the film do yourself a favor and do it, NOW).  Along with it came healthy servings of XTC and Elvis Costello.

Lately I have seen a shift in my music listening pie chart towards those musical tendencies of the summer of '06 . While the end of 2010 and most of 2011 saw big chunks dedicated to folk and folk-rock (basically  I had a very acoustic guitar-y year) , those are quickly being replaced by sections of punk, post-punk, 80's alternative and soul-tinged garage rock. So it should come as no surprise that my daydream of the moment is to be the bassist for the band Pylon circa 1980.

If you haven't listened to Pylon's album Gyrate I suggest you do so (you can stream the whole thing on Spotify)

late to the game

I've been listening to Neil Young A LOT lately. I'll admit it, until the past few months or so I had some sort of aversion to the guy. I am more easily sucked in by "pretty, gentle" things while the more "abrasive, raw" sounds usually win out in the end. It's proving to be the same thing with Mr. Young.

CSN has had a stable spot in my musical rotation for years. N stole my heart right away with his British charm and undying love for Joni while C kept me intrigued by his seemingly misguided sense of survival (S was just good at being present). Y always made me a little uneasy. Maybe subconsciously I knew it wasn't time to dive into Y, that somewhere deep down some part of me felt I wasn't ready to fully appreciate his musical perspective.

I equate it to my Carole King / Joni Mitchell experience. Here you have two very different artists commonly described the same way yet worlds apart both musically and lyrically. While I'll always love King's simple straight forward pop songs, Mitchell offers unusual chord progressions and custom tunings accompanied by words with double meanings and a voice that pierces the heart. When I want to escape and feel light and dreamy I listen to Carole. When I'm mulling over how I feel, I listen to Joni (it would surprise you how many times I have been driving in my car listening to Blue and tears start streaming down my face... I know, it sounds super dramatic but what can I say, I'm emotional).

One could make the argument that perhaps Carole's songs are just more uplifting and celebratory of life and that Joni lives in waves of perpetual sadness. But that's not the case at all. In fact, I think of the two Joni is more of a dreamer. She is the one constantly longing to find love and be happy but at the same time she's just not afraid to explore the reasons why it's so hard to do so. And to give her credit, Carole attempts to do the same thing but it's the depth of that exploration that makes the distinction.

Now I don't want you to take this as a rant on how some music is inherently "better" or more "relevant" that others. That topic is too big and complex for me to even attempt to take on today. It's more of an internal struggle of trying to distinguish what it is about music that I find so powerful and why that is.
 Is it more powerful when a song makes you think or are the true signs of intelligent songwriting when your heart digests the song? Or is the true pinnacle of songwriting when you find both?

I'm telling ya, Canadians know something we don't.

Sugar Mountain - Neil Young

Monday, September 5, 2011

it's okay to dance... really

Why is it that so many people appear to be allergic to dancing at concerts? Even at it's most simple form - swaying back and forth - people keep their distance as if it were the black plague. I'm so happy to report that that wasn't the case last Friday night.

I journeyed 10 minutes southeast of home to attend KEXP's final installation of their Concerts at the Mural series. It's a wonderful set of free events that the station produces not only showcasing some great national and international artists but also gives a stage to up-and-coming local acts. The four bands that played this past weekend all have roots in the Pacific Northwest - 2 Seattle bands, 1 from Portland and one act out of Nashville originally from Seattle. While the vibe for the entire evening maintained a healthy level of communal enjoyment, the shining moment of the evening was Pickwick's set.

Pickwick, a relatively new band based in the Emerald City, does not fall in line with the neo-folk/harmony driven/beard growing contingent that is heavily reverberating out of Seattle right now. The band's sonic aesthetic is not as easy to draw out. While the knee-jerk assessment would point to influences of soul and R&B (which are absolutely present), the instrumentation is a little more difficult to categorized. Disston's vocals have shades of Motown and the specific use of keyboard (frequently utlizing organ samples) accentuates their gospel tendencies, but the guitar lines don't always follow those same guidelines and there isn't single horn in their lineup. Regardless, the combination gets Seattle indie rock fans grooving.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

picnic table and badminton

A couple of weekends ago, my roommates and I christened our brand new picnic table by throwing a bbq in our new and improved backyard. In LA I always found myself living in apartments with barely enough room for a small balcony or porch. Here in Seattle, I finally have some room to stretch my feet and me and the gals are taking full advantage of it. About a month ago, as we were stumbling home late one evening we noticed that one of neighbors a couple blocks from our house had put out a free bench swing. We took it apart, and in two pieces, carried it home. After some avid craigslisting, we got our hands on a lovely wood picnic table perfect for sunset dinners and bbq banquets under the sun.

So as I was saying, a few weekends ago we invited some family and friends over to enjoy our new backyard digs. We spend the afternoon and evening playing badminton and sippin' on fresh squeezed lemonaide (yeah, that's right, fresh squeezed).

And what was the soundtrack to these magical festivities, you ask?