Tag Archives: music

songs that dented my brain this year

maiki’s post on musical influence made me think about what tracks made a dent in my brain this year, too. I posted a big comment that ended up being more for me than for him, so here it is on my own blaugh, plus some more. I think that most of these songs actually aren’t from this year, but this is about what I’ve discovered.

I learned about M.I.A. relatively recently too (I’d heard Paper Planes, of course, but hadn’t followed her until earlier this year, when my coworker Shaun said “this solange song marks a Moment, just like how last year mia’s bad girls marked a Moment.” I was like, “bad girls?” and he was like, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE VIDEO FOR BAD GIRLS” and we watched it immediately and it blew my mind. Incidentally, I had thought that the aforementioned Solange track had not dented my brain, but pulling up the video now, maybe it did, at least for a while, there–the instagrammed-out visuals, the ultra style, the odd juxtaposition of the funky dancing with the slow movement of the song, that motherfucking british flag umbrella, the sunwashed mellowness of the sound, the smoothness of everything). So, onward to what I was trying to say in the first place: I love love love Bad Girls, and I especially love the truly epic official behind-the-scenes mini-documentary. “She’s actually crazy.” MIA’s out there, and graceful, and she’s got this fire in her eyes, and she is so so so feminine without ever begging for anything. It’s totally different from so many of the (especially female) singers/artists out there, whose only mode of interaction with the rest of the world is in a pleading manner. She’s fascinating to me. I think she blew my mind so much because she represents an alternative way to be feminine, or something.

On San Francisco:

  • Google Google Apps Apps, which makes everyone profoundly uncomfortable. Especially me. I live in the mission right now. Every time I walk home from the bart station, I pass these spraypainted words on the sidewalk on 24th at Valencia: “FUCK TECHIES,” because that’s where buses drop people off. I cannot even talk about this track ironically. Or unironically. Or maybe even at all. I try to talk about it (I do, I really do, to anyone that will listen, and to lots of people who won’t) and flail, hard.

  • Bucket Betch by Double Duchess, somehow irresistible in its joyful insistence. “We’re poppin’ up and takin’ over the place.” Something about the noise and the clapping and the jingle and distorted vocals and the San Francisco sunshine is happy and expressive and free and summer-y: “wait for it wait for it: HOORAY!” Pure exuberance!

What Spotify showed me:

  • Amon Tobin – Kitchen Sink (Clark Remix) – I like the soundscape of this. Magic and faeries in a warehouse with cogs and gears, machining grotesque forms of twisted metal, pixie dust detritus scattered across the floor. I don’t even know what kind of music this is or how I can find more. Spotify was like “since you listened to [something else, which I wish I remembered right now, because it would be a clue about what the heck genre of music this is at all], you should try this track” and I was like “okay” and then I was like “omg what is this I love it”

  • We’ll Begin Tomorrow by Release The Sunbird. Lisa made me a playlist of all the music SHE had run into when she started using Spotify (“I haven’t listened to new music for like ten years because that’s how long it’s been since I’ve walked into music stores and looked at CDs! It turns out all these artists are still making music, and look at all these new artists!”)

  • Another one from Lisa: Jolie Coquine by Caravan Palace. Turns out there is a wealth of artists doing old-timey-sounding blendy new music. Then there’s also Catgroove by Parov Stelar, who we didn’t see in concert when they were here, somehow.

Also from friends:

  • Holdin on by Flume. I really like Flume. This makes me think of springtime and possibilities and the little fluttery notes that go up are like birds taking wing. I’m begging Dawn to help me choreograph a belly dance routine to this song. Hip shakin’ mama!!!! I mean really.

  • Speaking of belly dance, Dawn showed me this gateway song: Simarik by Tarkan. It’s accessible and catchy and so so fun. She taught me a beginner’s routine to this. Months later, I got to bust it out at <a href="http://www.aynurgirginwesten.com/"Aynur‘s Gold Party, draped in gold beads. This happens to be one of the biggest Turkish pop songs ever, and so the universe aligned and everything worked out. I totally practiced in my head over and over again in my zipcar on the way to the gold party from k&a’s wedding, so much so that I missed my exit. I’ve had a lot of fun to this song.

  • The, uh, club version of the Wankelmut remix of the Asaf Avidan song, Reckoning Song (One Day). I had never seen or heard the original until JUST NOW, researching this comment.

  • This Get Low cover by Dan Henig which I cannot stop singing at the top of my lungs. This is a good one to really bellow.

  • Atish at robot heart on friday night this year. Obviously, burning man dented my brain rather severely. Atish also does monthly mixes. We go and find him every month at Tutu Tuesday.

I have given up on categorizing (and again, these are all things that are older than this year, but I just found out about them):

  • Major Lazer – ‘Get Free’ feat. Amber. First heard in a yoga class at work, started hearing it everywhere after that.

  • Aquarium by Nosaj Thing.

  • Just Can’t Get Enough by Depeche Mode lol.

  • Konstantine by Something Corporate, a band I’d heard of when my suitemate in 8b26 in 2000 watched her friend perform on Letterman for the first time, but I never knew this song, and I fell so hard and so fast, threw my entire body into it, overwhelmed by everything, longing, the unknown, the unknowable.

  • The album Far Away Trains Passing By, by Ulrich Schnauss, which is Dennis’ chill music, especially for when there’s traffic going across the bay bridge. Here’s knuddelmaus, which I really love. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so I put this and Lullatone on.

“I guess this comment is really more for me than for you,” I said to maiki, in my comment on his blog. “In that case,” I continued, “I might as well list the other things that particularly dented my brain, especially earlier this year: End of Time by Beyonce, Sail by AWOLnation, Dream Catcher by Unicorn Kid ……..”

And, very recently:

  • Loud Pipes as well as everything else by Ratatat (like Montanita, and the chord progression in Gettysburg (there’s something so emotional about it, and sad, and uplifting too), but also seriously everything else by them too). I really like this a lot. A lot. That guitar. And a particular chunkiness to the beat. It makes you kind of slam yourself around, and I like slamming myself around.

  • Still Night by Pretty Lights. This track has really, really dented my brain in the last two weeks. For a little while, that five-note riff was the only constant thing in my head, reminding me that I was a person. Saw ’em at the bill graham civic auditorium. Had a grand time. Light show with tons of gold spotlights on a disco ball, shards of all our brains scattered all over the room, lasers making shapes on the walls. They released giant giant balloons, and watching them float up and down over the crowd made us feel like we were underwater, undulating, pulsing, alive. We danced like crazy.

I’m sure I’ll think of other things. Oh! Buzzcut Season by Lorde, which I already wrote about. Can’t Hold Us because in Amsterdam, there was a night where we went to like 5 bars and this song played at ALL OF THEM and it was demonstrated to me so clearly that there’s some kind of river of ideas connecting at least these parts of the world that I got to get mixed up in. I only mention Blurred Lines because it was so big, made so many people mad, there were these awesome parodies, and when we went to Burning Man, Mustafa had to find internet to check on his what rhymes with hug.me website, which totally blew up and got written up and stuff!

I was about to write “DUH, there’s Madness,” and I even knew what I was going to write about walking home to Euc house for two weeks through Stern Grove and the eucalyptus trees with this in my ears but it turns out that was in SEPTEMBER OF LAST YEAR, not this year like I thought. There has to be a cutoff somewhere. I did still listen to this song a bunch this year, I think.

I’ll probably be unable to resist continuing to add to this, especially now that it’s some kind of stream-of-consciousness free-association look back at this year.

This has been quite a year for me.

What a year.

i live in a hologram with you

I am obsessed with this album. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pure_Heroine

There are so many gems in the lyrics. They all break my heart. I love the way “I’m kinda tired of being told to throw my hands up in the air, so there” is old and young and something about her voice, her voice, her voice.

I can’t stop listening to Buzzcut Season. The octave piano on the off-beat already feels like an old friend.

I am so heartbroken by this song. Here are the lyrics I hear. I looked them up after I typed them out. What I hear (recorded below) is slightly wrong, indicated by corrections in brackets for no really good reason other than I think it’s kind of entertaining to write down what I thought the lyrics were before I knew what they are in canon.

I remember when your head caught flame.
It kissed your scalp and caressed your brain.
(I remember when your head caught flame.)
Well, you left. Baby, it’s okay. [Actual lyric: “‘Well,’ you laughed, ‘baby it’s okay'”]
It’s buzzcut season anyway.
(Well you left. Baby, it’s okay.)

Explosions on tv, and all the girls with heads inside a dream.
So now we live beside the pool, where everything is good.

We ride the bus with the knees pulled in.
People should see how we’re living.
(We ride the bus with the knees pulled in.)
Shut my eyes to the song that plaaaays. (that plaaays.)
Sometimes this has a hot, sweet taste.
(Shut my eyes to the song that plays.)

The men up on the news, they try to tell us all that we will lose,
but it’s so easy, in this blue, where everything is good.

And I’ll never go home again.
Place the call, feel it start, favorite friend.
And nothing’s wrong, but nothing’s true: [Actual lyric: “nothing’s wrong when nothing’s true”]
I live in a hologram with you.

Where all the things that we do for fun [Actual lyric: “We’re all the things that we do for fun”]
cannot be, let it go, [Actual lyric: “And I’ll breathe, and it goes”]
play along, make-believe, it’s hyper-real
but I live in a hologram with you.

The cold earth, the burnt-out taste; [Actual lyric: “The cola, the burnt-out taste”]
I’m the one you tell your fears to.
There’ll never be enough of us.

sions on
tv, and all the girls with heads
a dream
so now we live
the pool
where everything is good

And i’ll never go home again
place the call, feel it start, favorite friend
And nothing’s wrong but nothing’s true
i live in a hologram with you

where all the things that we do for fun
cannot be, let it go,
play along, make-believe, it’s hyper-real
but I live in a hologram with you.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 2.53.20 PM


After maiki wrote about Lullatone, I got Songs that Spin in Circles because I am trying to relax. I like it. =) I’ll probably get Looping Lullabies next.

I like the pure instrumentals more than the ones with vocals, even if they are background-level. I particularly like “Tops on a Table”, because it’s got this punchy quality, like the mechanical sound that toy pianos make. I like the dropping mechanical sound.

ps. Spam count: 5 now!!

Edit 2:51pm: I just transferred the Lullatone album to my desktop, where there are speakers, and WOW, there’s bass. Especially on Merry-go-round… bass like a heartbeat. I like it even more now.

I need to come up with a way to sync my iTunes libraries between my PC and my Mac so that I can update my iPod via either of them. o.O

arcade fire

the arcade fire was fun. i like concerts. the greek theater was a good venue to see the arcade fire in, because there are a bunch of singalongs.

10 people onstage. in the top right, two horn players: one was on trumpet/french horn, and the other was on saxaphone/french horn. he’d let his giant sax dangle from his neck and pick up a french horn and turn his head all the way sideways to play it, then put it down and play his sax again during songs. next to them, middle back, was the drummer. i like drummers. they go crazy. at one point he switched with a girl in a pink sash and pink hair ribbon and he played the keyboards for a while. then, back left, was a guy who played the xylophone like a madman. for one song, he played an organ. with giant silver pipes. that was pretty cool. bottom left was a guy who ran around drumming on things and shouting into megaphones (which they all did) and playing the keyboard. for one song, he banged on a cymbal with one hand and banged on the keyboard with the other. for another song, he ran around banging his drumsticks on something different every measure–the singers’ mic stands, the metal supports to the stage, the lights. he put a helmet on a stick and banged on that. then there was the aforementioned pink-sashed girl that cranked this strange wooden device, and an accordion, and sang lead on some songs, and had bracers on her wrists that also had bells on them. i want bracers like that. badly. she could sing high, and that sounded good, almost like a strong clear falsetto, but her chest voice was pushing it a little at parts, maybe it was just cold. i liked her white boots. the main singer guy broke a lot of strings on his guitars. after one, he said “when i’m standing in front of the pearly gates, i can look at st peter and say: i broke my low e string during the softest song on the set.” he also said “your fog broke my amp. thanks a lot, motherfuckers… just kidding… it’s not your fault… i’ts your… character… if you didn’t have fog like this, you wouldn’t write all these songs about the california days filled with sunshine… take the good and the bad…” then there were two string players: one violin and one viola, i think. they both sang while playing their instruments sometimes. that was awesome. i counted 10 people on stage but this is only 9. one more must have been banging on something. oh, and someone brought out a giant double bass painted silver for a song or two, too.

i like their sound. rockin’. favorite was a song that the girl sang lead on, not because of her (i don’t think she was very strong tonight) but because of this heartbreaking sequence on the strings. oh it was beautiful. and of course, they walked off stage after the end of the proper set singing the “oooo” refrain to the last song they played, and amidst the cheering, the stadium kept it up until they came back for the encore. that’s a lot of fun. i like the greek theater.

i brought three blankets and used one. i missed elecrelane, mostly–what i heard as we were looking for seats sounded like some loose improv and a kaoss pad, haha. screechy guitar sounds

ell oh ell

do you know any asian-american comic writers? if you like comics, join the facebook group too. even if you’re not asian-american.

i might skip guster again for imogen heap. hey, kid beyond’s opening for her all through her us tour. that’s pretty cool. and the warfield i can bart to. poor guster.

who wants to drive me to davis on nov 13?

i went to the ucce halloween show yesterday. the 5pm one.

This isn’t about WoW

So I’m tagging my recent entries, and I realized that all of them are about WoW. Should I be frightened?

I’m singing with Spot the Octopus now. andeja, lemmingsolution, mbarrien, plish, flyingbear and misterroboto (plus livejournalless alan) are a fun bunch. rwclark is with us until he leaves for Iowa. G’s pet has shed a shell. What are those things called again? I forget. It swims upside-down as often as it swims right-side-up (why not down-side-down? or upside-up? and why do I put a dash between down and side but not up and side?) and has many thing leg-like things (just like the Ohms in Nausicaa) and has evil, evil eyes. Its name is Daisycakes.

We sang Squirrel, Money, Sorry, and Breathe today. Lisa stuck by her original chord changes which nobody sang anymore as rehearsal devolved into watching Angela’s light-up fan reflect off of Ryan’s cheek.

POY POY! Somebody make some icons for that. Hey Alan should make a livejournal JUST so he can have Kool as his icon. It has to be animated, too. We went to watch him in an improv show. Now I am imagining Kool doing improv. Someone on the other side of the little theater shouted “Leeroy!” as a name choice… and as their leader guy was trying to begin the scene I said “AND HIS LAST NAME IS JENKINS!!!!” and I think the guy thought I was really weird and annoying so I didn’t shout anything after that. But Leeroy Jenkins ran into the revolving restaraunt with a huge two-handed sword and we were all very delighted. Well I guess I can only speak for myself. I tried explaining it afterward, but you really just have to watch the video yourself (my GOD, I can’t believe that website exists, I googled it just to find the place I viewed the video, which was warcraftmovies.com).

Today we showed Lisa a Mechanical Squirrel, Bokchoy’s horsie, a Lifelike Mechanical Toad, Savory Deviate Delight, and Noggenfogger Elixir. Lisa, you want to know all about pets? Bokchoy can tell you about pets. He is obsessed. If you’re an engineer, you can make and use stuff like Arcanite Mechanical Dragonling and Gnomish Battle Chicken (CHICKEN FURY!!!!!)… other than that there are little dragon pets, bunnies, cockroaches, kittens, parrots (I’ve GOT to get the hyacinth one… I’ve only ever seen one person with it!!!!), prarie dogs, owls, …. oh yeah, also, it’s this game, and you like, do quests and stuff. Yeah…

Ryan is arranging Chocolate by Snow Patrol. I like that song. You know how you can watch videos on the iTunes music store now? I watched a bunch of videos. Chocolate was one that made me like the song less, not more, though I actually don’t really like the song less. I only liked it less while I was watching the video. ? Another song whose video I feel similarly about is Scientist. Now, I love that song. It is so sad. But I didn’t expect the Coldplay guy to look like that. I expected him to A) be not so skinny and slouchy, B) have brown hair. Also I did not like the video. It’s not like I have extensive experience with music videos, either, so maybe I just don’t like the medium. I remember when I first heard about popular music that isn’t played on KOIT, I was at a friend’s house and they were watching CMC, with that fat annoying jockey who I never liked and who slurred all his words. He’s still on, I think. But anyway that always played right after school got out at 3pm, and I was at a friend’s house, and everyone was saying “Oh yeah this music video is sooo cool” and it was a girl group, I can’t remember which (allure?), and the video had people walking around and everyone once in a while everything on the screen would freeze and the singers would walk around among all the frozen stuff. So they had shots of people stepping in puddles and the water froze while splashing up… anyway I liked the visuals. Gimmicky, but I liked them. Ryan is listening to podcasts and I’m very bad at multitasking so it’s hard to type becuase I keep listening to it, I can’t hold a thought to spill out and anything else in my mind at the same time, which is why I’m so verbally (as in, talkingly) inarticulate, I can never get the words out of my mouth before they get garbled by interference from information coming from the outside world. I should close my eyes and ears whenever I try to talk.

This is how my thoughts blend together. Hopefully there’s a new version of semagic out that has tags implemented… aw, there isn’t. Sad

Awesome!Dwarf picture; Ben Folds in SF on August 23

Check out the gun on this dwarf: http://wow.allakhazam.com/item.html?witem=18817

hahahahahaha!!! That page is for his FLAMING (literal) crown; the gun page is actually here. hahahaha!!! I laugh so hard!!! You all get to 60 NOW so we can take on Ragnaros and get these items of badass!!!! hahaha!!!

The Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright concert at the Saratoga winery place is sold out already. I’m very sad. I thought I had time! August is more than two months away! wtf! The tickets were FIFTY DOLLARS each, anyway. What, do I LOOK like I’m made of money? /pout

Ok, I am doing more research. The email I got from the Ben Folds mailing list only mentioned three concerts in California–two in LA and the one at the Saratoga winery thing. The Mountain Winery website doesn’t even list the folds/wainwright concert in its schedule, oddly (but you can go there to watch the beach boys, margaret cho, aimee mann, huey lewis and the news, the wallflowers, styx, the b-52’s, jewel, and many other people). Ok, and www.benfolds.com shows the two LA concerts, the saratoga winery concert… AND a concert in SF in between! 8/23/05… at the Davies Symphony Hall!! That’s cool. (On Sale June 12) (Stay tuned for pre-sale info). Also the ben folds website mentions that not only is it ben folds and rufus wainwright, but there’s ben lee on this tour too.

THEREFORE I, JUDY THE RESOURCEFUL, HAVE FOUND A BETTER WAY TO SEE BEN FOLDS IN CONCERT! A WAY THAT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE! ha. So um. Tell me if you want to come for sure sometime soon. I wish I were resourceful enough to find out how much the Davies one is per ticket. But then I can wake up early in the morning on June 12 to buy tickets for it. Yes.

sfsymphony.org has nothing about it cuz they apparently don’t actually “plan” things this far in advance; the “august” page says “Events have yet to be scheduled for this month.” But while browsing, I came across Of Thee I Sing/Let Them Eat Cake. I was in our school’s production of Of Thee I Sing in seventh grade. Haha! Winterspring (oh my…) Wintergreen runs for president on a platform of love–he has a beauty pageant and pledges to marry the winner (Kucinich tried this too in 2004!), except he falls in love with Mary who makes corn muffins, and the pageant winner who’s the illegitimate daughter of the illegitimate son of the illegitimate nephew of Napoleon gets the French ambassador to come and threaten war or something so they marry her off to the Vice President for the happy ending! Haha! I was Winterspring’s secretary. I have a sneaking suspicion that my character was supposed to be a man, but they changed it to a girl cuz more girls try out for junior high musicals than boys; I’ve never found out if this was true. I had a really really hard time pronouncing the word “plurality” and kept saying “PHOto-GRApher.” What else can I say about this musical? My mom had this green suit-dress-thing that she tailored down to fit me and was so proud of it because it was green and the president’s name was Wintergreen. The kid who played “Senator Lyons” played the cowardly lion in the following year’s production of “Dorothy Meets Alice” and once I pointed that out to him backstage and he went around telling everybody how cool that was for half an hour (I can’t remember the actual kid’s name, though). Meghan and Soumeya made fun of my pink water bottle and the flight-attendant machinery I dragged my backpack to school in, holding their fingers in an L-shape on their foreheads and I didn’t even really know what that meant (I learned “3-D loser! You’re a loser in all dimensions!” later in life I guess; ask for a visual demonstration if it wasn’t a favorite of yours in jr high! I’d be happy to oblige). My fellow secretary (the vice president’s) was Erin. If you watch the crappy video my dad took of one of the performances with his creaking, unweildy videocamera, the kind you have to put a whole VHS tape into, the kind you had to support on your shoulder, you can see me and Erin standing in the front of a mass of kids leading a song and dance (it’s great to be a secret’ry in the white house, D.C.!), and you can very clearly see me turn the wrong way in the final triumphant moments of the number. Erin’s married now. My image of my father from those years is fuzzy, out of my peripheral vision: squinting, behind his glasses which were behind the camera lens with the flappy rubber eyepiece, hunched over bearing the weight of a massive whirring box, skirting tables and bystanders with as much lopsided grace as he could muster. Hovering, with a smile, enjoying that he was laboring to capture these important moments in family history so that we could enjoy them in the future. I always took it for granted that he’d be back there, in a corner, to document whatever spotlight I happened to be in, with all the other dads who were documenting the other kids I was in the spotlight with. You know, I was in Dilworth’s talent shows from first grade through sixth grade. In first grade, Greg’s mom had this idea to recruit twelve little girls and have them stand behind Greg who would sing Calendar Girl, a song I don’t even know now (just like “do the locomotion,” a song that I don’t know now but would recognize… it was the theme song for one of the first Walkarounds I participated in. I might still have the blue and white tshirt. Dragon and train). There has to exist a video of it somewhere. My house is like a vast sea cavern.

Edit 9:26am: I just woke up. Hard drive: “Your package is in the UPS system and is on time with a scheduled delivery date of May 25, 2005.” Sniff… can I last another day?

The end of the trailer for “Unleashed” (Jet Li) has the instrumental backings (no vocals) from Muse’s “Apocalypse Please.” I like Muse. I like pianos. I don’t know what to think about the new Jet Li movie. It’ll make good use of the “Jet Li looks so cute and unassuming but actually he has lethal powers” thing, like all Jet Li movies do I guess. The new iTunes music store lets you browse movie trailers and music videos. This, and spending all day yesterday reformatting my computer, explains my absence from WoW.