the oh so quiet show

Chessie = Good Stuff

Chessie – Manifest

I randomly decided to see if Chessie had a myspace page (yes) and then found out they (Stephen Gardner and Ben Bailes) came out with an album…in February.

So I’m slow. But at least I randomly stumbled upon their page before their show at the Knitting Factory on December 19. I rarely go to concerts anymore, but I am there. THEEERRREE.

I first heard of Chessie in 2001 when “Daylight” played on WNYU. Seven years later, it’s still one of my favorite songs when I want to discharge my brain. (Even though I’m not in love with the album it’s from, Overnight. I like Signal Series better.) Alas, I don’t have an mp3 of it on my work computer, but here’s a video:

holy crap, a store of music

I don’t mind admitting that I pretty much buy all my music on these days (hey, I do buy music) and it’s been so long since I stepped inside a music store that I forgot how fun/wallet gouging it can be to just browse shelves and stumble upon music you didn’t even know you wanted.



I’m currently vacationing worlds away from my New Jersey homebase in the ‘ZONA! …I mean, Arizona. Phoenix, to be more precise. (I’m here for all fun and no work, unless you count eating as work…and it is partially work, but work of the awesome tasty kind, not the, “Oh god I hate my life please kill me,” kind.) My friend Alex brought Lee Anne and me to Stinkweeds, which he said is the only indie music store in the area, a very nice one at that (and happens to sit between a vintage clothing store and designer toy shop). We oogled their letterpressed business card, OH HOW WE OOGLED THE BEAUTY OF THE RECESSED TYPOGRAPHY.

store interior

Anyhoo, while browsing the store and thinking, “Gee, there isn’t anything that I want,” I ended up taking Les Ondes Silencieuses by Colleen, Pan Or Rama by Console and the latest Interpol into my squishy arms. I didn’t know what the Console album sounded like at all (not that I knew what the other ones sounded like either, but if I really like a particular artist I figure I will like everything that they’ve churned out) so the nice guy managing the store unwrapped it and popped it into the stereo for all of us to listen to. Bleepy bloops filled the air with melodious bleepy bloopage.

“I like this. …Um, I’m going to take this from you,” said Alex.

With each passing day I honestly feel more music-lazy than ever (as in, too lazy to seek stuff out myself or go to live shows), but…I really shouldn’t be so lazy. Yeah. Shouldn’t.

12 W Camelback Rd
Phoenix, AZ 85013

Lavender Diamond

So I went to this Lavender Diamond concert…

Becky Stark

…about 2 weeks ago? Really? I feel like it’s been much longer. But the photos I took are only 3 pages back in my flickr stream, so I guess they’re not that old.

still Becky

Ah, I know…time is slowing down as I approach the end. You know, death? Yeah. That’s why I feel like I’ve aged a few years since the concert. And soon time will stop completely. And I will know I have passed into the neeext woooorld.

Guess who this is!

But…that’ll take a while. Yeah. While I am living, I’m glad that people like Becky Stark exist to make fun bands with fun songs because it makes living a little more enjoyable. She wasn’t as shy as she was during the NYPL performance. She was still silly, but confidently so. It’s quite a difference. I especially liked it when while singing “You Broke My Heart” she pointed at various members of the audience as though they were the perpetrators.

I wonder if someone really did break her heart. …I suppose so or else she wouldn’t have written it. Is the song even sad? It it happy? I can’t tell. If Becky sang about livers being torn out of squirrels, it would probably still sound kind of happy. … …Yeah.

So, my concerting kinda seems over for the summer. Maybe I will go to a Pool Parties show, but man, Williamsburg is far from me at the moment. If I were less dumb, I would’ve seen Feist and Grizzly Bear. But no…I am full dumb. And sleepy. [eyelids droop]

Patrick Wolf

Last week I became semi-obsessed with the music video for The Magic Position by Patrick Wolf:

Happy colors! Dancing! Smiles! Craziness! Basically the opposite of my world, which is full of earth tones, sitting, frowning, and normality! Or something! I love the continual movement of the camera in all the non-dancing scenes and every little step and pause taken by Patrick and all the twirls and claps in between. Is that weird? Choreographed walking? Strolling? I don’t know. I really like the pause at the 1:15 mark, but I have no idea why.

I thought that I wouldn’t like any of his other songs—I’ve listened to bits of his older albums before and never got into them—but then a friend kindly donated the album to “Robyn’s iTunes” and it turns out that I like it. A lot. At least until I get sick of it. It’s a weird mix of…stuff. Hell, I’m not writing an album review; there are no standards here. WEIRD MIX OF STUFF, THAT’S WHAT IT IS. Stuff that expands in your brain and fills in every squishy crevice with beeps and thumps and pianos and horns and maybe the screechings of soaring fireworks.

He’s playing at Bowery Ballroom on May 9th. Which I only just realized is the day before my (second) graduation ceremony. Crap. Stupid graduation. I’ll just be very tired that day.

Hey, it worked.

I’m pleasantly surprised that I got this “switching servers” thing to work without too much swearing or hair pulling. One lil’ problem I had was that while I used an anti-spam plugin before, all the spam comments that I thought had been deleted were actually still roaming around in my mysql database. All 9000+ of em. I didn’t have enough phpmyadmin prowess to figure out a painless way to delete the bulk of them at once while keeping the legitimate comments, so that process was kind of a huge ass pain in the bum. I think a lot of them are still there, actually.


Armchair Apocrypha

The only thing that made me happy yesterday was receiving Andrew Bird’s new album in the mail, Armchair Apocrypha. (Also, I think the redesign of his website is byootiful. Thank you, Mr. Web Dude.) This album is awesome. Because. BECAUSE. ARGH! AWESOMNESS. Listen to some new tracks; isn’t it awesome? Yes.

I had no more adjectives to give you.


I saw Mew last Thursday for my first concert-going experience in a while. And they were great. But I was really tired. And thirsty. A sip of my friend’s noxious rum and Sprite did nothing for me except make me hate alcohol even more than I already do. Mew is a magical band, but I think they’re better experienced with enough hydration and not while standing next to a girl screeching, “I LOVE YOU JONAS!” after every song and singing along during Mew’s biggest hits, or the songs I’d rather hear come out of Jonas’s mouth more so than the girl next to me. Not that I don’t understand her enthusiam…because I do. Just. God. I dunno.

Ever since I turned 21 I’ve felt like an old bearded dude trying to get young whippersnappers off his lawn. Damn kidz.

But I have to see Andrew Bird at Webster Hall on May 17th and pray I don’t stand next to a screaming Andrew Bird-obsessed fan.

latest obsession

Darn, I forgot my bathing suit

Panda Bear

Actually, I’m lying; he was my latest obsession more than a week ago. I don’t know why I can’t blog as much as I used to. (Watching a gazillion episodes of Nip/Tuck doesn’t help. Kidz, don’t get addicted to fucked up TV shows. NOT COOL I caught up on three seasons in just a few weeks.)

You can find lots of new Panda Bear tracks online from his upcoming album Person Pitch, so I don’t see the point of uploading any for you. At the very least, listen to “Bros”. And “Comfy in Nautica”. And every song you can find. I could probably download the whole album now, but I’ve found that downloading entire albums before they come out destroys the satisfying effect of buying a shiny flat plastic disc that I will ultimately rip MP3s from anyway. I still like my plastic discs.

So what’s up with this music that makes me love it so much? If I had any idea what taking valium felt like, I imagine it would be something like Panda Bear’s music. …But I’m just guessing. There’s something oddly soothing about his music. Like wrapping my head in a warm towel. Or wrapping my brain in a warm towel, if I didn’t think the invasive surgery would hurt or possibly leave me braindead. Even though I don’t really know what the hell Panda Bear is singing half the time, it still puts a smile in my face. Not literally, but somewhere inside I feel it. Even though the weather has been so cold lately that I feel like the wind is ripping off my face, this music gives me the sense that there’s warmth somewhere, temperature-wise and in an emotional sense.


I am sleepy. Back to my auditory valium, I go.

That new Beck stuff

I haven’t actually bought Beck’s new album “The Information” yet, but I’ve been listening to it for a few days. (DO NOT ASK HOW. SECRET INFORMATION.) I will buy it eventually, like after I stop caring that it costs $10 on and 16€ at

The Information
The Information

Why isn’t the CD in my possession yet? Sadly, the videos and songs that have been popping up on his website until the release of the album didn’t catch much of my attention. The trend with Beck albums for the past few years is that my interest in them has decreased. Don’t ask me why. (I maintain my beck fansite somewhat half-assed…oh well.) However, I do like his new album, even more so because of the videos that I had initially written off as “…huh?”

screen cap
happy fun times

That’s what’s nice about em. They’re random. Lo-fi. Weird. Download them all courtesy of Right now I’m watching the video for “New Round” (one of my favorite songs so far) and it’s just a bunch of friends hanging out. With instruments. Wearing random clothing. In settings accentuated by fake backdrops and houseplants. I also like this video in particular because it doesn’t have any effects aside from fading in and out. It’s a video you could make with your friends if you have a lot of em…and if they’re a bit odd. (Who likes normal people anyway? Psshaw.)

Beck described the video making process to Celebrity Week:

We bought a couple of video cameras, set them up in the same room, one of them had the green piece of paper and people just sort of stopped by. We had a whole side room full of wigs and toy rifles and a bunch of nonsense [like] spacesuits … There is something in these that is sort of awkward and unprofessional and charming.

It gives me a nice, warm feeling. Mmm. But I can’t wait to see the Michel Gondry video for “Cell Phone’s Dead”.

more random bits: MYSPACE TIME

Even though a part of me thinks myspace is a virtual bucket of ugly crap, I turn to it as the easiest way to listen to music that I otherwise can’t find. “Huuh, their official website doesn’t have any media, but surely they have a myspace with songs.” This works out most of the time…as long as myspace is working (which happens every now and then). Here are some bands with short descriptions:

Port Largo
Port Largo

Port Largo (myspace): Danish, synth-rock-pop, kinda reminds me of Mew/Sigur Ros…because of somewhat unintelligible high-pitched singing. You know the type. 😉 Favorite song: “Another State of Mind”

The Ballet
The Ballet

The Ballet (myspace): New York, indie-pop/”Belle & Sebastian after too much cotton candy” (–Logo), bleepy keyboard and clappy drum machine lines, lovingly handcrafted album (sold out). Favorite song: “In My Head”


Kunek (myspace): Oklahoma, atmospoheric, sad, delicate, kinda-reminds-me-of-Coldplay (hope that’s alright). Favorite song: “A Sign of Life”

One Trick Pony
One Trick Pony

One Trick Pony (myspace): Los Angeles, kinda reminds of Sondre Lerche, but I don’t know why. Is it the croon-y voice? Sorry, that wasn’t much of a description, I’m too lazy. Favorite song: “Box Song”

Hooray for Earth
Hooray for Earth

Hooray for Earth (myspace): Boston, synth-y pop rock, and their name is HOORAY FOR EARTH, which might be the main reason I’m mentioning them because this isn’t exactly my kind of leisure listening music. Favorite song: “Take Care”

midlake happiness

The Trials of Van Occupanther
rejected title: “random people in the woods”

I really like Midlake’s new-ish album, The Trials of Van Occupanther. That doesn’t mean you’ll like it. But you might. Aren’t you curious now? Huh? [poke poke]

Yup, I lost any ability to actually describe music, but that’s what myspace is for. It lets you listen to stuff! Wow! I’ve uploaded a lovely mp3 too, if that helps:

Midlake – Branches [removed]

“Branches” is the song where I think Tim Smith sounds very freakishly like Thom Yorke. It’s not good or bad, unless Thom Yorke’s voice triggers a self-destruct command in your brain and you nonchalantly listen to Midlake thinking, “Oh, this won’t make me explode,” but then it does, and you can’t do anything about it because you’re dead.

It happens.

My favorite song from the album so far is “Young Bride”. The music video adds to its beauty:

I listened to it two days ago while driving/hydroplaning down Route 4 in the “likely to cause deathly collisions” downpour. Fun times!

Banman and Silvercork
I don’t know what it is either

Midlake’s first album Bamnan and Silvercork is playful and sunshine-happy compared to the mellowed-out TTVO. It’s kinda like freshman year versus senior year of college: “Yaay, I’m in college, all carefree and stuff! / Oh crap, I have to find a real job and make money and be all serious and worry about making my life less doomful.” It’s just like that….but in music form. Maybe.

Elephant Parade

squirrels are cool

I’m not sure where the name for Elephant Parade came from, but it seems to fit. What does that mean? …I have no idea. If I replace “elephant” with a different animal, it just doesn’t work–Squirrel Parade, Hamster Parade, Whale Parade? They don’t sound right. (But maybe that’s because there is such a thing as a parade of elephants while as far as I know, a parade of squirrels/hamsters/whales is less common.)

What does Elephant Parade sound like? I would come up with my own description, but other people have done a much better job at it than I could. Here is an equation of choice words pulled from various reviews:

*simple* + *beautiful* + *intimate* + *whispery* + *sweet* + *fragile* + *introverted* = *Elephant Parade*

What I thought most (I mean, aside from the adjectives I just listed) while listening to their album “Bedroom Recordings” was that I felt as though I were listening to something too personal and lo-fi for it to be meant for the general public to hear. A fun album for close friends to enjoy that somehow leaked out to others who were lucky to hear it. And I mean that all in a good way. The occasional bit of unintentional distortion/wind adds makes the songs lovelier. More than that, I like Estelle Baruch’s and Ido Fluk’s soft, effortless singing over simple acoustic guitar and keyboard melodies. My favorite song features Estelle’s warm voice accompanied by sustained piano arpeggios:

Elephant Parade – Boat Song [removed]

They look as cute as they sound, possibly more so:

cue heart melt-age

You can download another song at Zion B’Ayin and read an interview at Whiskey & Apples. If you like what you hear (and you do), support them by buying their painfully short CD. It’s over before you know it, but hey, 22 minutes is still better than zero.

Elephant Parade sounds more “real” to me for some reason than other music. And it’s not like other music sounds…”fake”. But. Well. Maybe you know what I’m talking about after listening to their songs. Nothing is overdone. All I hear is sincerity.

New Yorkers can see the pair in action for free at Pete’s Candy Store on August 25th.