Thursday, February 28, 2008

Panera, Panhandlers & the Ebele Birthday Bash with Trivia Death Match!

So while this post might not be about much music, the soundtrack of the weekend remained The National, Dax Riggs and EAOD, as the albums continued to play on repeat in my head...even when my mind shouldn't have been on music (I blame lengthy conversations with Luke about certain playlists for this.)

On my way out of Hoboken Sunday morning, I called Cam, as his little brother TJ adores Panera and I was going to pass it anyway. We sneakily found out that TJ should be around his apartment and I grabbed his favorites and began the long trek all over Manhattan. The day was beautiful, so I decided to walk from the PATH to TJ's at 8th and 48th. Popped in, and true to my nature as the crazy girl who will do anything for a good laugh or story, met TJ for the first time to deliver his favorite foods. It was a bit surreal to meet him after hearing stories all these years, meeting their parents and going to their houses in Chicago and Scottsdale. He sounded just like Cam, but had a different build than I'd expected. It was great to finally meet him and he'll have to get used to my invasions of their apartment when Cam moves here for school in the fall.

From there, I continued my walk to Keri's on the Upper East Side, where I'd left my stuff from the painting extravaganza the day before. Snuck into her place and was again jealous that I don't live in the city. (Note to self: start researching apartment options in my favorite boroughs and Jersey--Ellen would be so proud of me for a move to Jersey.) Jumped on the train and headed down to Union Square for the Ebele Birthday Bash.

I still needed to pick up some alcohol, so I went into a gourmet deli with high hopes of finding something. While the staff was unable to help, a panhandler (his word, not mine) in the store excitedly offered to guide me to a liquor store (no comments please, we're progressive here). He took me to one store that was closed, then guided me to a warehouse, where he waited for me while I made my purchase, then took me right back to where we began. He was a very nice and talkative and I went to tip him at the end, but he seemed to enjoy the walk and talk more than wanting anything. This may seem strange, but is turning into a typical occurence for me.

Ebele's party was great. The food was awesome and the trivia questions were so Ebele, not to mention the enthusiasm behind each delivery! She split everyone into teams from the phases of her life and Team Blue was ready to play...even if everyone else thought we were cheaters!

Luke, Justin A. (his nickname, not mine), me, Jenn and Tim. Where's Sam Berg?

The contest started and we realized that we were screwed when the first two questions were about the Academy Awards and America's Top Model. We did get a sports question and Tim proved that his English degree was worth something through his knowledge of Roman gods. The death stares and yelling continued throughout the game, from our mortal enemies--The Orange Team!

Team Orange was out to get us or anyone that stood in their way and they certainly weren't smiling during the game. Well, except for my favorite team member who was genuinely woried about our well-being.

Each question was prefaced with Ebele's enthusiastic intos and some random anecdotes, here and there (that I won't be sharing--you should've been there, Sam!) And have you not noticed the team sashes? Throw a sash on us and Team Blue becomes very serious...well, except for Jenn, but at least Luke's eyes are open.


We didn't win the game and are sticking to the story that we threw the final question in order to escape the party with our lives. It was a great weekend that had me walking all over manhattan, brooklyn and hoboken, but I made some fun concert friends, caught up with some of my favorites and managed to squeeze a few hours of sleep in there.

I'm closing with a video I shot from The National's show, which I might have already posted, but what's a posting without some youtube? (And I'm too sleepy to worry about it.)


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jessi's Reading 2-26

Here's some of what I've been reading over the last few days...

Photos from The National & My Brightest Diamond at BAM

The Hold Steady are finalizing their next album

An interview with the Flight of the Conchords
Reasons Why I love this Interview:
  1. They met in a drama club when they were divided into groups and had to do a performance about body image issues. I like to think this was the inspiration for the David Bowie episode.
  2. They actually said fan base in the article and weren't talking about Mel.
  3. Yes is transcribed as Yis, when the Kiwis say it.
  4. I have a huge crush on Bret.
(Note to Eric, I think you might be staring in this video:


Speaking of Flight, the boys are playing at Sasquatch this May, which is causing some of us to seriously consider flying to the Gorge and dressing as Flight characters for their set.

Business Week talks about Trader Joe's Recipe for Success. Until I read this article, I didn't realize how similar Trader Joe's interior design was to the Official Small World/Maze Mash-up of Grocery Stores, Stew Leonard's. (Note to Stew's: Your samples were AWFUL today and you didn't have any lobster bisque for me!)

Slate discusses Neutral Milk Hotel's album In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, which some have named the best album of the 90s. I had no idea about this album, which made me feel like an inadequate indie fan. This is definitely on the download list.

I'm having serious MacBook envy and am taking the apple email that the macs now have more memory as a sign to buy.

The Blue has a post about a photographer's trek to the Joshua Tree National Park to take photos of the locations from the Joshua Tree album. The rest of his site has some great photography, too.

It's acceptable for women to propose marriage on Leap Year Day.

MRI images of people in the act (you know, doing it). I sent this to Kiks, which should entertain all of you.

Slate looks into the online models of democracy, Wikipedia and Digg and shows that the information is disseminated by the few. In fact, the percentages quite resemble the distribution of power and money in the United States

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dax Riggs at Maxwell's in Hoboken and a little painting in the city

After my late night Friday, Keri woke me up on Saturday to discuss our painting plans and the two of us might have made for the worst sounding phone call in a very long time. Between her hangover and my pill-induced headaches, we were quite the mumbly, groggy pair. Amazingly, we both got our acts together and were ready to paint after lunch. The walls ended up a warm, almost buttery, cream color and it was good to catch up with Keri through the afternoon. (Note to blog: Keri says hi!)

After leaving Keri's I had the fun of the commute from the UES to Hoboken, but each trip on the PATH reminds me of the OU weekend in the city and the drunken wanderings of Eric, Nicole and I in search of the PATH station and Nicole passing out on the ground. I had to call Eric as soon as I got to Hoboken, then chuckled again when I passed the CVS where they disappeared for something, leaving me on the streets drunk dialing one of my favorite ND guys (Note to those in my phone: I'm not a drunk dialer, so watch out if you ever get one...as for drunk texting, that's another story). Now to get the two of them back here for a weekend or even longer.

I made it to Maxwell's before the doors opened and was able to hear the sound check, while I grabbed a drink at the bar. I'd already been missing my brother and wishing he could've joined me for the weekend, when I spotted the only other 3 people waiting for the show and they were all goths, which means Dressy Jessi didn't really fit in with the crowd. The next person in was a normal looking girl from Brooklyn, so we hung out and talked concerts until the bands came on. Maxwell's was such a small venue, that I'll have to check out some more bands in the future...it reminded me of a small Blue Gator, as it had the regular restaurant/bar crowd, plus the concert space. (Note to self: If only Dread Zeppelin could play there each week! The Hoboken boys wouldn't know what to do with me.)

Nash Kato of Urge Overkill started the show and closed his set with Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon. When he was done Jersey's own Pinecone Liquor came on stage. We didn't know what to expect as the lead singer had a cowboy hat, which soon came off, followed by his shirt and those of all his band members. They actually had a really fun, fast, bluesy-rock set with some covers I recognized.



Dax Riggs came on shortly after and while I'd seen him as Deadboy with Tess on drums a few years ago, he was joined on stage by a drummer, who would occasionally forgo the drums for an acoustic guitar.



The drummer was full of energy and seemed to tower over his low drum kit. The set opened with Stop I'm Already Dead and was a mix of covers and songs from his new album, plus a few from We Are Night Sky. I love his soulful voice, combined with the intensity of the guitars and drums. There's a reason I should have an ON playlist, although the lyrics might terrify whoever might be with me. The set ended around 1:30 and I went to have a drink at the bar, did a shot with Dax and chatted with a few guys, while I waited for my ride to pick me up for the evening. It was an interesting evening with a crowd that certainly wasn't my usual set, but definitely worth the trip to Hoboken.

The below video is a cover of the Misfits's Skulls, but there are other videos on my YouTube page from the show (Stop I'm Already Dead, Radiation Blues, Misadventures of Dope, Fly on the Eye of the Lamb and a new one that I think is called Witch Song).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The National at BAM in Brooklyn 2/22/8

My weekend of concerts kicked off to a great start with The National. I could listen to the band every day, although I try to keep it to an every other day schedule. Thankfully, the music never gets old for me.

The concert began just after 8 with My Brightest Diamond, Shara Worden's musical project. She has played in Sufjan Stevens band and my favorite filmmaker Vincent Moon shot a beautiful video of her in a deep red dress, amongst the trees in a park in the city. Her background in opera melded with the strings of orchestral instruments and her three guitars. Her love of costumes added to the experience, as she took the stage in hot pink tights under a silver dress with a colorful tail and straps. I wish that I'd taken a picture of her onstage, as it was something else! Her voice was beautiful and the acoustics of the opera house were certainly ideal for her.

The strangest part of the experience at the opera house was that everyone stayed in their seats. I was okay with that for the opening act, but had asked Trevor and the guy on my other side if we'd be able to stand, but since we were in the front row of our section, I also didn't want to be that asshole. Unfortunately, everyone stayed seated for the show. I was a bit bummed when Luke told me today that the band asked everyone to stand on Saturday--if only they'd done it on Friday.



Even if we had to sit, the sound was amazing and we had a great view of the band. While The National is comprised of the five core members, plus honorary member Padma Newsome, there were a lot more than the usual six people on stage. Since they're based in Brooklyn, they were joined by many of the instrumentalists who play on their albums (Doveman on piano/keyboards, flute, clarinet, oboe, cello, violin, two trombones, and trumpet). Sufjan Stevens came out to join the band on Ada, as he'd helped write the song. For some reason, I've always had a weird musical crush on Sufjan, so it was neat to see him live for a song.



I imagined the set would be pretty similar to when I saw the band play in August, but was excited when they started to play Wasp Nest, which Sixeyes turned me onto from his Christmas mix. Aaron pulled out the acoustic for a new song which I will be calling Around the Bend. I was excited for Karen and City Middle in addition to the usual songs. The crowd finally livened during Mr. November, during which Matt left the stage and was screaming the lyrics amongst those in the front row. I looked down to the center of the Mezzanine and loved the group of about 8 or 9 guys who were just as animated. When About Today came on, I'll admit that I was a little bummed that I wouldn't get to hear Gospel, knowing that they seem to close with About Today. But my little heart grew quite excited when they returned for a second encore to do Gospel.

I was able to record Slow Show on my camera for my YouTube collection of National videos, but thankfully nyctaper was recording the show and I'm just starting to listen to the tape, as I've grown tired of the Oscars. The sound is amazing and will be such a welcome listen tomorrow in the office.

Enjoy the video from the show--and lucky you, my hands aren't shaky in the ones from this weekend! The setlist is below.



The National Live at BAM 2/22/8
1 Start A War
2 Brainy
3 Baby We’ll Be Fine
4 Slow Show
5 Secret Meeting
6 Mistaken For Strangers
7 Squalor Victoria
8 Abel
9 Wasp Nest
10 Racing Like A Pro
11 Ada (with Sufjan Stevens)
12 Apartment Story
13 The New Song which I'm calling Around the Bend
14 Karen
15 Fake Empire

Encore
1 City Middle
2 Mr. November
3 About Today

Second Encore
1 Gospel

Building up to The National + the Discovery of Everything Absent or Distorted

When I went to bed Thursday night, it seemed that the next day would be a typical Friday, but with the bonus of seeing The National in concert after months without any live music. Somehow it turned into one of those fabulous days with an almost magical quality. Maybe it was the fact that I declared it to be a snow day that set the day to motion in that childlike way where everything I experienced was sharp and vibrant and so full of life.

My usual concert crew at the office was unable to make The National’s show, so I decided to put the ticket up on craigslist and found a concert buddy pretty quickly. Between shoveling the drive and getting ready for a weekend in the city, I hadn’t really thought much about meeting this perfect stranger for the show. Late in the afternoon, I was talking to Kelly who said her friend Jeff was available if I still needed someone. (Note to Kelly: You’re right, Jeff is either my long lost mirror (obviously I’m still obsessed with Lost) or we both might spontaneously combust after meeting.) I told her that I had a concert buddy and then admitted ten minutes later that I found him on craigslist. Kelly then decided that I might end up in the gutter, while my mind started wondering how I could’ve turned my favorite band’s concert into a pseudo blind date. I then started googling him immediately, but only was able to skim the results and figured that he was in a band, which I took to be a good sign.

Luckily I didn’t end up in a gutter and he was a cool guy to see the show with. Of course, I admitted to googling him in the first three minutes--I told him that I saw he was in a band--Everything Absent or Distorted, which made him nervously chuckle and he might have thought that he'd found the crazy girl from craigslist. I hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to any of their music before the show, but since I was too excited to sleep after the concert, I was able to check out the band's website and started listening to their music on MySpace.



By the time I’d made myself a snack and showered I knew I had to download their album, The Soft Civil War, from iTunes. I’m enjoying Still Life with Machine Guns, Bureau of Yards and Docks, and Exit Parade the best. (Note to Self: When will Vampire Weekend’s Oxford Comma stop playing in my head when I type one?) Since I love live performances so much I ended up on YouTube and wished that I’d looked into them before the concert to talk more to Trevor about them.

1. Their excitement on stage is great and one of the guitarists and a guy with a horn (can’t remember which one) did a lot of excited jumping. (Note to self and ND friends: it’s a good thing I hadn’t seen this or else I would have been telling him about my incredible dancing skills at the Johnny Cougar concert and teaching Muffet McGraw how to jump and stomp.)
2. They played Red Rocks during the Monolith Festival, which I’d thought about flying to see last year. (Note to Sam: They opened for a bunch of bands that you and I both like…including Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! You’ll have to listen on the iPod next week.) I’ve been dying to see a show at Red Rocks since I roamed the venue with Lou on our trip to Colorado two summers ago. I’m waiting for the concert schedule to come out and am picking a show to see for a fun Jessi adventure weekend.

I’d definitely recommend their album—there are so many instruments that come together beautifully and you know I love horns…plus there’s an accordion! (Note to self: when are you going to start writing like a music critic about albums? Just be sure to keep out the bad music puns.)

Trevor also recommend the band, Devotchka, who they’ve played with this winter. So between them and Kelly’s Jeff’s favorite band Cloud Cult, I have a few more bands to listen to in the next week.



Cloud Cult



EAOD

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Staring Bleakly into the Mirror or What Happens When Stanford Hall Plays Derek & the Dominos

I had a great trip to Hawaii and by staying on my insomniac east coast schedule, I could wake up before the sunrise and explore the island in my Jeep during the early morning hours. From the North Shore to the southeastern corner from my self-guided LOST tour and sunrise hike up Diamond to finally finding Tracy Castro, I was able to see more than I thought would be possible.



Unfortunately, I received some sad news while I was there that Nick-I-Like's mom had passed away after her six month bout with cancer. For some reason, I ended up listening to a lot of U2 during my days back home, but had no motivation to write anything and really lacked any sort of desire to listen to music during the days surrounding her services. It absolutely broke my heart to watch Nick, his brother and dad suffer in their loss and I honestly don't know if I've ever cried as much in my entire life as I did that weekend--just picturing a few moments from the weekend still brings me to tears. She was a wonderful woman with a fabulously sarcastic/wicked sense of humor and a great female presence during my nightly calls with Nick-I-Like during high school. He used to get mad when I'd tell him back then that I'd call to talk to his mom or another family member, not him, but I think he knows how much his entire family meant to me.

As I returned to the office for the first time in two weeks, I still lacked musical inspiration, so I kept it on shuffle most of the day. It found me a few hours ago. The original version of Layla from Derek & the Dominos came on shuffle and I knew that this was what I need to hear. The album has just the right mix of bluesy sorrow and soaring guitars to match my current spirits.

I first really discovered Layla & Assorted Other Love Songs early in high school and certainly have to thank Daddy Lauer for raising me on the guitar gods of the 70s. After all, the man named me after an Allman Brothers song; I have to love anything involving Duane, right? This might have been the first album to make me realize the inherent sensuality of the blues.

But this album couldn't simply end there for me. It took a strange U-turn in college, as our nights in Stanford Hall could be going along fabulously until this album would come on. I'm not sure if Perry had a sort of smoker's intuition as to when he should leave the room, but it always seemed that he was conveniently gone when Bell Bottom Blues would come out of the speakers. That song always sucked Kevin into some trance, drawing him depressively towards the mirror above the sink in his room for some inner reflection, while Jody and I just looked at each other wondering what on earth we should do about it. And being the supportive friends that we are, we typically would start talking in hushed voices about The Rock and other things in The Vault. (Note to Jody: Did I tell you that we drove past The Rock's high school in Honolulu and I was the only one giggling at the visual in my head.)

(Note to my ND readers: Here's a confession. As much as I love The Vault, I might have traded some info with my favorite late-night companion in order to learn what The Word was. While he would always tell me The Word and most of whatever else I wanted to know, I swear he put me into some hypnotic state each time as I still cannot remember what The Word is and I know I gave him plenty in return for what he shared. I will be pestering him about The Word when I see him next, but he'll probably just give me that you're still quite crazy, Jessi Lauer look.)

The album always held such a mythology for me in my younger years and I'm still enthralled by all the emotions surrounding it. I was amazed during my younger years that Clapton could allow himself to fall so hard for his best friend's wife. Layla seemed like such the painful love song in those days; it's still unbelievable that he was able to win her over from George Harrison, but yet was unable to be faithful to her after the turmoil that he must have caused his best friend. I had always thought that his son Conor was Pattie Boyd's son, but I was wrong about that one. Knowing the story of Layla, Duane's impending death a year after the release, and Clapton's heavy drug use in the years to follow envelop the guitars with such emotion. My favorite songs remain I Looked Away, Bell Bottom Blues (even with the Kevin visual), Anyday and Layla.



There really isn't much from the early 70s available, but you have to love an appearance by the band on the Johnny Cash Show! In this performance, they play It's Too Late and are then joined by Carl Perkins & Cash for Matchbox. It's probably a good thing for Daddy Lauer that I wasn't growing up in the early 70s...I think I might love these musicians a little too much.



This song does such things to me. I will give Clapton a free pass for his hair-do under Jessi's Music Code 5.376 "Forgive all 90s fashion and hair mistakes, when unforgiving, look at old yearbooks or that 7th grade basketball picture for reminders why."
(Note to self: Add to various ON playlists.)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Volcano, An Irish Guy and a Bunch of Camera Crazy Asians

I had a very early wakeup this morning, as the alarm went off at 5:30 for my sunrise hike up Diamond Head. It was still pitch black when I got started and it was just my luck that the only bathroom open was the men's, not that that's ever stopped me. It was a fun 3/4 mile hike up the inside of the crater. I reached the summit with less than 10 minutes until sunrise and was shocked to find the top filled with camera-wielding foreign visitors. Needless to say, I took a few pictures for people :)

It was a beautiful sunrise and the top offered some great views of Honolulu, the hills surrounding Diamond Head, and the lighthouse on the water, which would make my Dad very excited. As I was heading to my car, three girls started screaming and pointing back at Diamond Head in a crazed manner, making me think something was wrong. I had to look back three different times before I realized that there was a rainbow stretching over the top. While a normal person would take this as a sign that it's raining somewhere, I admired the view, took a few pictures and put the top down on my Jeep. Obviously, i got a little wet on my way back to the hotel.







The rest of the day was pretty solid. I got in an hour on the beach before lunch, ran into Gerome Sapp at the bar and had a fabulous dinner with my group. Tomorrow takes us to Pearl Harbor and a free afternoon.

Tracy Castro Update: Tracy is sick and has no voice, which may explain why I didn't recognize her voice on her voicemail greeting. We are shooting for a Saturday meeting. Jody will owe me a $1 but if I don't find her, I will be doing what Perry said and taking my picture with an Hawaiian girl and claiming it's Tracy.

Today's album was Tegan & Sara's So Jealous. I started listening to the band after hearing them on CD101 when I was in Columbus with FBF. In those days, I thought it was a guy and a girl, not lesbian sisters. I'm not sure if this selection was unconsciously motivated by recent discussions of Lez Zeppelin and all the lesbian couples running around the hotel. Figures that the majority of women at a sport event are either looking to hook-up with an athlete or have no interest in athletes...well, the male ones at least. I've been wearing dresses and heels as to avoid all stereotypes.

Walking with a Ghost was my introduction to Tegan & Sara (I almost forgot...go Canadian bands!), but I randomly started listening to Fix You Up this summer. After playing that so many times, I realized that I also really liked the following song I Can't Take It. You Wouldn't Like Me, I Bet it Stung, Take Me Anywhere and I Won't be Left are also pretty good. I need to download their latest album, The Con, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet.

(There is some really bad adult contemporary music going on at the bar outside my hotel. I have to go to sleep with the doors open, since I hate AC especially with a cold, but this is a bit much!)



I guess here is where I confess that I have a weak spot for Grey's Anatomy. I think I almost confessed to this last week emailing about emotional Lost viewers, but then I think I deleted it. Can't make him think I'm actually emotional :) It's reached the point that I can't stand any of the female characters (I really only liked Addison in the past), but I keep watching for the emotional release at the end of each episode. (I couldn't find any live clips from Tegan & Sara that I actually liked...)

And since only one youtube link isn't any fun, here are some clips from Vampire Weekend. They're the official songs of this trip to Hawaii, which are much better than Sexy Back and that Beyonce To the Left song that we kept hearing 7 months after they'd been released last year.



I Stand Corrected from some indie radio show.



Oxford Comma makes me want to dance...a lot. I need to work on my car dancing, it's somehow morphed into the bar dance that my fat, gay, rugby-playing lawyer friend does. I love my Aaron Weir and must attest that he is not gay, but he does have some weird taste in girls. The Canadian midget would not approve of this honesty.



I just adore Vincent Moon. La Blogotheque shot Walcott on the streets of Paris.

Diamond(head)s are Forever

It was a beautiful and laid-back day in Hawaii. I woke up when it was still dark and headed down the beach promenade through Waikiki towards Diamond Head this morning. It's such a strange sunrise here as most of the buildings on the beach block the view of the rise, but the sunset is absolutely gorgeous. I had a good run, even though my body hated me every time I had to run through the sand. I stopped a few times to snap some pictures, but my hands were so shaky that I didn't really get any strong ones. I jumped into the ocean when I got back for a short swim and had my usual panic attack about fish. I have no idea how I'll ever do a triathlon with this crazy fear.



After getting our program under control, I headed to the beach for a few hours and had to laugh as any slightly large or overweight man was being eyed by the beach goers as a potential NFL player. Although it was right after I left the beach that I had my first celebrity encounter! T.O. was hanging at the bar (the same bar that he was at again 5 hours later when we stopped by for dinner) and loving all of the attention. If there's one guy who doesn't mind having his picture taken with random strangers non-stop it's T.O. He had the gaggle of whores/hangers-on when we spotted him this evening. I didn't have my cameras on me either times or else there'd be a celebrity picture right about now.

Chatted with Dommie this evening, who found it funny that I was listening to Zeppelin while in Hawaii. To this, Kevin would probably say, what else is there to listen to? Ooo, this is a great segue into what I read about on the blue this morning. Bonnaroo released it's 2008 lineup today which includes the all-girl cover band Lez Zeppelin...only the AP thought it was Led Zeppelin.

I had no idea what to listen to this evening and continued the not-very-island-ish trend with Kanye's Late Registration. There is a good reason why this album is mostly blocked from my mind. Replace the skits from College Drop-out with Hey Mama, Gold Digger and Touch the Sky and I'd be quite happy. And what's with rap skits anyway? I realize there's some deeper anthropological basis from the roots of hip-hop, but I hate them.

On a better music note, I've been listening to two tracks from Kate Nash's Made of Bricks and really like it...it's going to be a definite download when I get home next week.

I'm still head coldy and afraid that I'm combining too many pills, but am hoping that fear is just a result of the Heath Ledger news today.

Tomorrow is the hike up Diamond Head, so let's hope that my hands aren't super shaky again...it would be a tragedy to ruin that view. The GPS will be guiding me there, so hopefully we won't have a repeat of the U-Turn adventure that was the Kate-Jessi-Sean drive to some NFL party on Diamond Head last year.

New Feature!

Today we learn two need words:

Mahalo is Hawaiian for Thank You but these Hawaiian words feel awkward coming out of my mouth. It reminds me of knowing that I should say hola or gracias to the cleaning staff, but it just feels too presumptuous to say it.

Annas is Hebrew for Pineapple, so maybe I'll find a Hawaiian Jew and force myself into saying Mahalo for the Annas! That's three languages in one sentence!



I'm having far too many thoughts on this right now. One--can someone confirm that they're all lesbians? Two--if they aren't, why isn't Kevin in love with at least one of them. This is the penultimate classic rock girlfriend for him!! Three--I expected more flannel and Doc Martens, although flannel isn't really 70s rock...hmmm. Four--I think the lead singer stole Stephen Tyler's wardrobe.



We love Hey Mama.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Aloha!

I was a bit of a grumpy goose when I got to Newark this morning for my flight. I'd gotten less than 3 hours of sleep last night and had a horrible headache from the weekly tumor pill. I passed 4 or 5 signs/adverts for noise canceling headphones before taking it as a sign that I should just buy them for the 21 hours I'd spend on a plane. I was still rationalizing my purchase as I boarded the plane, but figured with the money I made babysitting and catering this weekend, I could justify it. The headphones are worth every penny--I listened to my ipod non-stop for 11 hours (with a few episodes of Always Sunny--Hundred Dollar Baby and Charlie Gets Crippled--so good!), was able to completely tune out the woman with the grating voice across the aisle and have never been happier on a plane.

Last night I downloaded the Killer's Sawdust, which kicked off my flight. I'd already heard all the songs that I really liked, but it was a decent listen. I have the video that goes along with all their Abbey Road session songs and have had a thing for Lou Reed lately, so those plus Leave the Bourbon on the Shelf were my favorites. I think I'm over my Brandon Flowers crush--his Mexistache and inflated ego proved to be a bit too much for me.

I then decided to celebrate Ray LaMontagne's entire catalog with Till the Sun Turns Black and Trouble. I'd never paid much attention to the latter beyond my favorite 3 opening songs, but Hannah and Jolene were both good. Incubus's Light Grenades came on next and that always takes me back to the summer, but thank god that whole situation has been fixed.

Next, I had to go with the Hold Steady for some upbeat music. First Night still gets me--I love the lyric "she was golden with bar light and beer" and the final minute and a half is wonderfully sad during the "boys and girls in america" repetition. And they even threw in some strings to really get me. I can't help but think of the same guy every time I hear this song. The song has the same feel as our relationship has always been over the years. It seems like the best times with him are spent roaming the streets or in a dark bar--I don't know if it's because those are the times when we're usually off on our own, away from the others or if it has something to do with the possibilities that I always seemed to find in those crisp, dark evenings. (I like to picture a smoky atmosphere, but no one smokes in bars anymore, which I only grow nostalgic for in these visuals in my head.)


Arcade Fire's Neon Bible and Snow Patrol's Eyes Open rounded out my plane listening experience. I read The Sun Also Rises on the flight and am still astounded that his prose translates so well 80 years later. I've had to put down so many older books as I find the narrative to be too stuffy, but this read beautifully. My drunken circle of friends might have something to do with my appreciation for the novel and made me want round up the crew from OU, plus a few select ND people for a trip to Spain. I might have identified too well with Brett, as she constantly finds herself surrounded by guys, but of course doesn't end up with Jake.

I picked up my Jeep and headed to the hotel after the flight and it's time to get to bed soon. I've got sunrise runs planned each day, with an early morning hike up Diamondhead at some point, too. Pictures will be going up here throughout the week.



Arcade Fire released their video for Black Mirror last week. The music of this song really scares me in The Ring sort of a way.



Oh no, he dances a little coy with some finger pointing! Those Canadians in this video need to sing a long in time with the song if they're going to do this! (Note to Jessi: this is your first ill comment about Canada.) I'd typically delete this now, but I'm really entertained...oh god, mr. singalong is now improvising... (Note to Jody: while the Jessi likes to tape concert clips and put them onto youtube, she DOES NOT sing a long! I do have really shaky hands, though!)



I listened to various live versions of Gospel at least 6 times in a row on the plane as the sun was going down. Something about this song really resonates with me.

A Very Vampire Weekend

This past weekend is quite the blur. I headed to Claire & Charlotte's late on Friday night and it took me forever to fall asleep. I was so afraid that I wouldn't hear Charlotte when she woke up the next morning or during the night, that I ended up waking up pretty early. And as terrified as I may be about having kids, it was so cute to have her wander into my room, say hi with a big, sleepy smile, ask why I was in her mom's bed, then climb into bed with me for some Saturday morning cartoons and chocolate milk. It made me think that I could maybe do the parent thing and the lazy days around the house wouldn't be so bad--as long as I could still travel for work occasionally and have my swimming/running time to myself everyday. I had the girls all day Saturday and thank god Jeremy was cool with us hanging out at the house that afternoon and evening and I love that he got to meet my favorite little girls who entertain me so much. Came home late that night for some tv with Jeremy, then woke early Sunday to run, swim and then cater a Super Bowl party.

Vampire Weekend's new album seemed very fitting for the weekend, as I was definitely keeping my insomniac/night creature hours. I love the island/african influence to the album and it makes me want to dance in my crazy Jessi style. The band's background reminded me of some video making fun of the Greenwich/Fairfield crowd a few years ago--let's just say that we don't have too many people like these guys in Ohio, but I'm used to it in my Connecticut world. I'm loving Cape Cod, Oxford Comma and Walcott, but it's a great album overall and I've already listened to it three times since Saturday. They're on my favorite indie label, Beggars, too. I need to work for an indie label and go on tour with a band. Enough of these sports trips to Hawaii!

For some reason I wanted to listen to my favorite Jewish convert rapper on Sunday as I was getting ready for the Super Bowl. His Live at Stubb's album was fantastic and he had a great set at Lolla a few years ago, but his studio album did nothing for me. The funny thing about Matisyahu is that I always picture Married Friend with a hasidic beard and hairstyle rapping on stage in some nike or adidas track suit. Married Friend wanted to kill me for 3 seconds when I first told him this, then he thought it was classic. Thank god that boy loves me or he would've written me off as crazy a long, long time ago. (For all you loyal readers, the new Hebrew word of the day feature will be coming soon!)

I was trying to keep things mellow on Monday night and threw on Eddie Vedder's soundtrack for Into the Wild. I really enjoyed the book and downloaded the soundtrack as I was reading it. I sent them both onto Daddy Lauer and it was met with his approval. Most of the album is pretty good background music, but I really like Hard Sun. Justin, Tim and I have tried to see the movie multiple times, but one of us was always unable to make it, so we'll have to have a dvd release watch.

I ended up staying awake until 4:30 Monday night--it was a combination of being too excited about Hawaii, trying to organize my life and knowing that the insomnia was not going away and I didn't feel like just laying there for hours. That allowed me to listen to Angels & Airwaves (I've always loved the Blink boys) and Loretta Lyn's Van Lear Rose, on which I love the song Portland and feel like Jack White has SUCH a crush on Loretta in that video.

It's time to head to Hawaii in a few hours, which means lots and lots of iPod time!



This video makes me want to fall in love with everyone in the group in a 60's commune/love-in sort of way. The coloring reminds me of I Dream of Jeannie and as I'm typing this it kinda has that whirling, busy sound in the background between verses that reminds me of the animated intro.



(Note to Universal Music Group: You may try to stop my embedding of your videos, but sometimes I win!)

I love every bit of this video. I've wanted to go to Portland for at least a year, but this video gives me the impression that the entire city is just this bar over and over again. When I do go, I'm staying at the Ace Hotel. It's a funky, high-end European style hotel that features local artists. I had booked a room there in Seattle, but ended up getting a great deal on a regular hotel on priceline and canceled. I'm still sad that I couldn't be hippie, artsy Jessi, so it's on my list for Portland.



If I'm going for an Eddie Vedder video, I have to go with this one. I fell in love with this song during my days at ND, yet it's miraculously been kept free of any guy associations in my head.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Lyrical Weaponry (This sounds like a dark romantic comedy starring Hugh Grant)

It felt like the last day of school before Christmas break in the office today. We were waiting for big news to break today and while it never came, it did give us something to talk about other than Lost. It was also Isaac's birthday which meant a Fudgy the Whale cake to match his Vineyard Vines wardrobe. (And happy, happy birthday to my long-lost-sister, Kelly!)

At some point I decided to listen to the Commodore's Easy (I'm a closeted Lionel fan and the Canadian can tell you how much I love that Starburst commercial that mocks the Hello video...oooo, such sweet, flavorful goodness that one is!) and I happened upon a solid part of the alphabet and was guided into the Counting Crows entire catalog. It made for a good soundtrack for enjoying a entertainingly long email and a reply that was equally long in composition, but probably less organized than my favorite horrible story-teller's original.

I've often wondered how the Counting Crows four albums are so hit or miss. Could it just be the times in my life that I discovered them? I might argue that for my attachment to This Desert Life, but I feel like August & Everything After would mean just as much no matter when I found it. It always reminds me of those dreary, wet Saturdays spent in my track uniform waiting hours for my events (high jump, 400, 4x400 and hurdles), laying in the infield trying to keep warm and relaxed. I always made certain to pack this cd and my enormous discman certainly gave it plenty of love.

While This Desert Life came out in 1999, I associate it with our sophomore year of college. I'd bought the album in preparation for the Live/Counting Crows concert in August before school started. At the concert, Adam Duritz incorporated part of Thunder Road into one of their songs and I was disappointed when the people I was with thought it must be a new song (woooo! an unreleased song!). Who doesn't know those lyrics?

Jody and I loved throwing on the album during that amazingly crazy year in McGlinn, until Amy Hits the Atmosphere would start. Our days in Stanford Hall were filled with music and we were on a Gin Blossoms kick for a while. Unfortunately, the lyrics of Allison Road could send any of us to a terrible place where that song played constantly in the back of our heads for days. The last minute of Amy Hits the Atmposphere had the same effect on us as he sings, wanna know, repeatedly for a minute during which it slowly builds until looped over that you hear, All I really know is/I don't want to know. We'd be listening to the album and then just before the final minute of the song, we'd be diving for the CD player in an attempt to stop it before it started. Eventually we learned that we could drive the other crazy and we'd intentionally go right to Amy to witness the effects. (Note to self & Jody: we should have used this as part of our I Hate Jody/I Hate Jessi campaign. At least Claudette cared about us, since Anne the RA was too busy trying to sleep with athletes so she could mention it in our section meetings.)

I remember seeing the video for Hangin' Around before the album was released and it had a funky Forest Gump feel. Colorblind is a wonderful song, but I always picture Reese Witherspoon driving across the bridge in the closing sequence of that sex-movie that I always think is based on Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities, but is really based on Dangerous Liasons. (Yes, Jody, I realize there is a Bonfire of the Vanities movie already, but I thought this was the raunchy teen version of that!) I love the piano part of the song and sometimes find myself starting to play it when I'm back in Ohio.

High Life was a song that surprised me. I recognized the song, but couldn't tie it to the song title. St. Robinson, I Wish I Was a Girl, Mrs. Potter's Lullaby are good ones, too.

Ryan's Smashing Life previewed two songs from the Counting Crows upcoming album on his site recently. 1492 was a departure from their usual as the electric guitar seems to be at war to be heard over the other instruments and has its successful spurts. When I Dream of Michelangelo reminded me of their regular style. I think he mentioned a March release, but I could very well be wrong about that one.

It's a weekend full of babysitting and catering for me before heading to Hawaii. I get to play Mom at Claire's piano recital tomorrow and will be keeping my fingers crossed that she far exceeds my past performances at the recitals at Mount Union and that my little Char Char can manage to sit through the whole experience. I've got my dressy Jessi clothes ready for the affair, but can already imagine the struggle to get the girls dressed up tomorrow. We're catering for our favorite Greenwich couple during the Super Bowl, so I'll have lots of tasty food, be able to keep track of the game and make some good money. Amazingly, I didn't even gamble on the game this year...that hasn't happened in years. I'm hoping to squeeze in some running & swimming time on Sunday after my two off days and maybe, just maybe, dive into my packing. I still act as if I'll find some fun spring/summer clothes in the next few days, but that's never going to happen.



No one should ever let me watch these user-created music videos. It always makes me want to force my friends into such a thing. Reasons why I shouldn't: 1) I have really shaky hands and can't afford a steady cam, 2) I tend to giggle uncontrollably at anything remotely funny when I'm videotaping, 3) my ideas would be a little too crazy. Maybe Dawn could be a PA for one if she ever does an east coast trip to see Kevin. Oooo, the idea builds! (And I'm giggling and want to share this with Perry and Jody, the only two people who can laugh at Dawn-Kevin jokes. Okay, Kelly can too, but she's usually off being busy with the Dominic.) Anyway, this one is a minute of Amy Hits the Atmosphere, but Amy just really seems to be walking in a field while wearing a weird hat.



I first heard about the Shim Sham shows when I was reading up on Ryan Adam's Come Pick Me Up the other day (which they cover at one show). The story seems to go that the Counting Crows used to do these "secret" shows at Shim Sham in New Orleans near the end of Jazz Festival. The sets tended to be quite a drunken mess of covers as they hoped to get the lyrics straight. This is a cover of Willie Nelson's Always on My Mind. Willie reminds me of Farm Aid and my dad's biography of him. I remember flipping through the book when I was in elementary school and I always loved looking at the photos in all of his big biographies. Well, this one had a woman on someone's shoulders giving Willie quite the flash. This is not suitable reading material, Daddy Lauer!

(Note to Universal Music Group: You make me angry with not letting me embed music videos! Onto live footage since Round Here won't be posted.)



As much as I loved Dread Zeppelin during my time in Athens, I can't take anyone else with dreads seriously. I'm listening to this live version and enjoying it, but can't think about looking at it. Dread is no more as he cut his hair before he and his bandmates headed to California.