12/12/12 12:12

We’re all a little crazy about the number 12 this week, and the hype peaked at 12:12 today. At that precise time I was in my car driving to Starbucks for a lunch-replacement cafe mocha (grande, decaf, no whip) with a beloved colleague recently back from 5 months of disability. We had a lot of catching up to do out of earshot of anyone else, and I was desperate to get out of the office for about a thousand other reasons. Off to Starbucks we flew. We put our conversation on hold at 12:12 to create a positive thought for our futures. I was able to surround myself with a little bubble of happiness, and expanded that out to include my daughter and our family and friends. I wished for happiness for everyone connected to me, which means I wished it for everyone. We both had a collective deep sigh, and then resumed our story swapping. On the drive back to the office we came up with a brilliant idea that could help her career. She put that plan in motion as soon as we walked into the office, and was back at my desk an hour later saying that our plan was working! Thus is the power of Starbucks, positive thoughts, and getting out of the office for some...

Wilde Saturday Watching Top Gear

I’d like to share my perfect Saturday: compiling quotes to use on the backs of my new business cards with Top Gear on in the background. I’m reawakening my never-far-from-the-surface adoration of Oscar Wilde while fantasizing about driving fast cars with very funny British guys and beating Jennifer Saunders’ lap time1. A few of my favorite Oscar Wilde gems: Never love anyone who treats you like you’re ordinary. We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars. Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you. I just returning from a social media marketing conference in Las Vegas where I met a guy named Travis Wright who had Photoshopped onto the back of his business card his “Dream Team.” He has everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Nikola Tesla sitting around a table, discussing something deep2. He says it inspires him. I love that idea. So I’m assembling my own dream team. I figure it will take a few months of mulling to capture a decent collection. Here’s who I have so far: Oscar Wilde (naturally) Shakespeare Caroline Bayard Eleanor Roosevelt Charles Bukowski Ghandi Maya Angelou Lao Tzu Brian Greene Brian Cox (I love astrophysicists named Brian – I collect them) Matisse3 T.S. Eliot That’s just me working off the top of my head.  Who’s on yours? ______________ 1 1.46.1 2 So deep it sunk...

Thank you Baby Jesus, Missy Elliott is back

Something I was afraid I’d never hear again: new Missy Elliott! Check it… Available at midnight tonight on ye olde iTunes. I’m so glad she’s back, hopefully to recalibrate hiphop1. I’m a huge Miss E fan, from her Virginia roots to her visionary sound2 back in the early 00s, to her mind-blowing videos with Hype Williams and the groundbreaking Timbaland production… so good. So very, very good. Meanwhile, just for fun ___________________ 1 And eat Nicki Minaj for breakfast 2 Can sound be...

Single Spectator Theatre: Hotel Project at the Grand Summit Hotel in NJ

So get this: I went to see three one-act plays. Crazy, right? Yea, it isn’t. Except that I didn’t watch these three one-act plays from a frayed, faux velvet seat facing a stage. Each play was staged in a hotel room at the (haunted1) Grand Summit Hotel in good old Summit, New Jersey, with me in the room as the only participant in the play with no lines. It was the coolest, most stimulating, mind expanding thing I have experienced in a very long time. The Hotel Project was produced by The Internationalists, an organization that brings together theater producers, directors, actors, and other devotees of the stage arts from around the world. These hotel room plays were put on in Summit, NJ, New York City, and I think Mexico City. It is such a cool concept. It plays into the human predilection toward voyeurism, and brings interactivity to an otherwise passive experience. It’s exhilarating. I came away from the hotel feeling literally expanded. Even the set-up is fun. I walked into the hotel (which is truly Grand, just as the name boasts – it’s gorgeous) and was greeted by a receptionist that told me my escort would be with me shortly. I could help myself to a beverage and snack, but chose instead to flip through one of the magazines piled on the table in front of me. Since each play is put on for just one person at a time the ticket start times were staggered by 30 minutes or so. The start time for me was 9:40p on a Sunday night, which added to the drama....

Best of 2011

The end of the year brings us gift giving holidays, piles of baked goods (and subsequent carb-bloat), and a party or two. But what is any of that in comparison to the year-end “Best of” lists? I generally have my list of Best Albums and/or Tracks of the Year in mind by mid-December, then lollygag, dilly-dally, and loaf my way to mid-February before I post it. Well, hold on to your hats, lovers, ‘cause it’s still 2011 and I’ve got my Best of 2011 post ready to go. The caveat is that I was completely unable to listen to music1 from May – November (give or take), so my list is short. On the bright side, this gives me more time to critique everyone else’s list, which is so much more fun that coming up with my own anyway. My favorite lists are by Pitchfork, Other Music, and Urban Outfitters (they’re offering a free download of their Top 25 picks – it’s still up as of today). Flavorwire has a cute post called Stereotyping You By Your Favorite Album of 2011 – it’s good fun. Unlike past years, I have no overwhelming favorite for 2011. If I were forced to pick one, I’d say The Weeknd and their album House of Balloons. The title track samples from Siouxsie and the Banshees’ “Happy House,” so it’s kind of inevitable that I’d love it. One huge standout for Best Live Show was LCD Soundsystem in March. I was sick with a sinus infection and running a fever, and still I danced for 3 hours straight. That is some serious live show...

Home is where the heart lies

I first heard Throwing Muses on a 4AD compilation I purchased in college called Lonely is an Eyesore. It’s a showcase of the British label’s artists at the time, bands with esoteric names like Dead Can Dance, This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins. I loved every track on that album, and it formed the foundation for what continues to be my favorite kind of music: discordant, rhythmic, weird, poetic, and a little dark. To sum up, I love everything 4AD puts out. I loved it all in 1989, and I love it all now. Back to Throwing Muses. My favorite track on Lonely is an Eyesore, and a song that remains one of my top 10 songs of all time to this day, is the one by Throwing Muses, the first American band to be signed by 4AD. It’s called Fish, and it reshaped my brain buds in 4 minutes and 39 seconds. [audio:http://www.lifemusicblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/ThrowingMuses-Fish.mp3|titles=ThrowingMuses-Fish] Bizarre, fever dream lyrics, right? I’m sure you caught that the name of the album was taken from Fish. “Lonely is as lonely does, lonely is an eyesore. The feeling describes itself.” And the music – it was like nothing I’d heard before. My heart knew I loved it long before my brain could form enough new synapses to process all the twists and turns. Throwing Muses is led by Kristin Hersh (one third of my music trinity, for those keeping score. PJ Harvey and Kim Deal complete it. And me.) She is a genius. I have yet to say anyone is a genius that I’ve written about on this blog (not even PJ) so...

Indie Label Distribution Center Burned to Ground in London

As London is in the midst of figuring out what the hell just happened, the news of England’s largest independent music label distribution center burning to ashes made it’s way across the Atlantic and into my email inbox. On Tuesday morning, the second night of rioting in London, the Sony/PIAS distribution center in Enfield was set on fire and burned to the ground. All stock was lost. Among that stock was CDs and vinyl from labels Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar, Secretly Canadian, Matador, XL, Rough Trade, my beloved 4AD, and Subpop. Full list of labels affected by London fire, compliments of Pitchfork. I’m relieved to report that the new box sets from Throwing Muses and This Mortal Coil were unaffected by the fire as they were in transit at the time. More from Beggars Banquet on their recovery from the loss. Many small indie labels may not be able to recover from such a total loss. In a post entitled [PIAS] & AIM Establish Fund for Labels Adversely Affected By The Sony DADC Fire the UK Association of Independent Music is encouraging indie music fans to purchase digital copies of music on the labels’ websites. I’ve read that a few fund raising concerts are being planned as well. Other Music wrote the following, and I agree whole-heartedly: We were deeply saddened earlier this week when we learned that the PIAS distribution warehouse in London had been destroyed in a fire during the riots. This was a crucial storage and shipping hub in the UK for so many of the great independent labels whose music is so important to us (and...

Teaser

I caught an early (and very short – 45 minutes!) show by EMA at the Mercury Lounge a couple nights ago. It was my first live show in more than a month. I’m not including the Journey tribute band1 that played my town’s Family Night a couple weeks ago. I was anticipating big things from EMA live after reading about the review her previous band (Gowns) got for their live show2, and I got pretty big things at the gig – including an EMA tote bag (thanks, H!). I had a feeling earlier that day that the coming night was going to bring some adventure, and since the show ended at 9p, we had plenty of time to find some. We ended up at the bar where we had started a couple hours previously, my home away from home, Nurse Bettie. Our arrival happened to coincide with the arrival of that night’s entertainment: five burlesque dancers, each with her own colorful entourage. Adventure found! The most striking was the goth/dominatrix in full goth/dominatrix gear carrying black roses and wearing a slight, sorta creepy, goth man3 on her arm. We had randomly and serendipitously caught the weekly burlesque show called “Spanking the LES” hosted by NYC darling Honi Harlow. The spanker’s name was Diety Delgado. But the best name of the night goes to a dancer named Stormy Leather. Rawr! Thoroughly enjoyable show. Like many women, I find burlesque joyous and liberating. Watching a real woman with cellulite, curves in a few of the wrong places, and natural breasts celebrate her body with song, dance, spankings, and pasties is absolutely...