Saturday, May 31, 2008

seattle international film festival: a recommendation

today, i went to see katyn, a polish film playing at the egyptian theatre as part of the seattle international film festival. it was a very good movie (i think it was nominated for an oscar for best foreign film last year), although at times it was confusing and difficult to watch. it was about a historical event that i had never heard of - the killings of polish army officers by the soviets in 1940. the story was told through the eyes of the officers' wives and mothers, whose only news of the fates of their husbands/sons is names read over a loudspeaker by the germans. the movie was sort of confusing because there are a lot of characters, many of whom disappear and reappear throughout the movie. at times it was hard for me to keep the story lines straight, but that didn't bother me because i could follow the general plot.

i think that one of the most frightening scenes was when a university professor goes to what he thinks will be a meeting with a german officer (this also confused me because it seemed a little out of place in the film) the professors (most of them elderly) are told that the university will be closed and that they will be sent to a camp to "think about their behavior." then, nazi soldiers enter and force the professors onto trucks. later, the wife of one learns that he has died.

near the end of the film, a student enrolls in university but is told that he has to delete that his father was killed by the soviets from his resume. he refuses to do that, goes outside and tears a communist poster from a post, and is later killed by soviet (i think) soldiers.

be forewarned: the last five minutes or so of the movie are really graphic. i had to look away.

now i am interested in learning more about poland.

Friday, May 30, 2008

i took the 405...

death cab for cutie is on soundopinions this week and i would say that it's definately worth a listen. i STILL don't have narrow stairs (i have a gift certificate for i should order it). that tells you how excited i am about their new songs, huh? although, they play - obviously - some of the new stuff on the show, and i have to say that i really like grapevine fires. however, i will possess your heart still creeps me out. i don't like the song, and the title reminds me of that weird guy in high school who used to leave me plastic roses in my locker.

the interview itself is worth a listen, too. i think that the funniest part is when the interviewer says something about how no band is great when it first starts and then ben says, "well some bands are. we were pretty good." the interviewer laughs but ben doesn't. ha! i think that he's probably right, if he means that they were better then than they are now.

on a totally unrelated note, this review of the swell season show at radio city music hall is, despite its faults (when did the frames become a "tasteful decaf coffeehouse band"? what does that even mean??), worth reading for this: the best frames songs share the same DNA that made once so magnetic: "what happens when the heart just stops" is one long, graceful crescendo, expertly threaded out a measure at a time, until glen's pounding on his beat-to-crap guitar and howling 'disappointment' over and over like it's the most optimistic word in the english language.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

hey look at me now

there's a girl in my class who has a really hilarious personality.. she's always saying funny, random things and otherwise acting silly. (she and i get along really well...) today, she came up to me and, completely out of the blue, said, "i'm gonna steal your fingerprints." i thought that was a really strange thing to say, so i asked her where she heard of such a thing. she thought for a second and said, "it was in a movie called 'the history of fingerprints.'" so i thought, hmmm; when her dad came, i told him about it - he laughed and said that he and his wife had been watching a movie (i think it was national treasure) and the lead character lifted another person's fingerprints off of a wine glass. the father said he didn't think his daughter was paying any attention to the movie, but obviously she was. just goes to show you that 4 and 5 year olds pick up on a lot more than we give them credit for.

when i'm feeling sad, a pearl jam song that can always be counted on to make me feel a little bit better is given to fly.

my favorite line is, floated back down cause he wanted to share the keys to the locks on the chains he saw everywhere. i guess i've always thought of that line as hopeful, as saying that everything will work out in the end if you just have faith. not necessarily faith in god, but faith in yourself. (i think that's a central theme of lots of pearl jam songs). the more i think about it, the more the song, to me, is about finding the strength inside of yourself to keep going no matter what other people may say or do to you. first he was stripped, then he was stabbed.. he still stands. this is a great song to sing along with, especially while you're in a car with the windows down.

this performance is from single video theory (which i still own on video - never bought the dvd of it - and is still my favorite pearl jam release that is not an album. i like it better than their other 2 dvd's). i'm trying to figure out what ed says before they play the song. i think he says, don't let it keep you down, i'll still give you love, just give it away. for some reason, i love that.

also, i'll admit something a bit embarrassing. in the video, eddie is wearing a rubber band around his wrist, which he often does (did? i haven't noticed if he still does or not). when i was in middle school and high school, i also wore a rubber band around my wrist, mostly because i wanted to be like him (i also wore baby doll barrettes in my hair because i wanted to be courtney love. the shame..) i still do wear elastic bands around my wrist, but now it's in case i need to put my hair up in a ponytail (really! i swear!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

my weekend in a few pictures and words

every weekend should be a 3-day one, i think. i love that it's sunday night and i don't have to think about work tomorrow.

both yesterday and today i spent my time wandering around the seattle center during the folklife festival. the weather actually turned out really well - it was supposed to be cloudy and rainy but it was surprisingly warm (especially on saturday). i'm sure that i've said before that one of my favorite things about seattle is the summer festivals. i know, i know, they're crowded and often overpriced (folklife is free, however), but there is a part of me that loves walking around watching all the people, eating gross festival food (my absolute favorite are greek gyros. yum) and experiencing complete sensory overload.

of folklife in particular, something i really enjoy are the percussion workshops. the "seattle drum society" (or whatever, i don't really know if that's their name or i made it up) set up a tent with chairs and drums and shakers and they have people who lead community drum circles. i know it sounds really hippy, and it probably is; i had a roommate in college (in vermont, can you get more hippy?) who used to do stuff like this (and she was also a really good guitarist and singer, but i digress...) also, for the first time, i checked out something called "participatory choral singing," which was basically the same idea but with voices instead of drums. there is something really comforting about being surrounded by all that noise and all these people who are doing the same thing you are. and there's something really liberating about it too.

that's what i love about folklife (and other festivals): i see things i might never go out of my way to see otherwise. i saw african dancing, "folk punk attack!" (which was, honestly, quite oddly endearing), accordian players, an irish fiddling group, and the "raging grannies," among other things i wandered in and out of. the best musicians are not necessarily the ones on the stages, but the random groups that sit on the sidewalk and play. on saturday, i saw a string band ("the tallboys," if you're interested; i see them playing all the time at festivals or pike place market) that i could have watched for hours.

this afternoon, i went to see indiana jones . i've never seen any of the other movies, so i had no idea what to expect. it was entertaining; an enjoyable way to spend a few hours.

tomorrow, i plan to do nothing beyond taking a walk at green lake, getting my hair cut and watching bravo's marathon of top chef. (i love that show, but always seem to fall asleep halfway through the episodes when they're on the first time)

i'm waiting anxiously, kristine, to hear all about sasquatch. how was death cab? i'm sad i missed rem. boo hoo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

you're every now and then on my mind...

i know that i post way too much about the swell season/the frames, but this video is perhaps the most beautiful thing i've seen in a long time. i've probably watched it about 6 times since i found it an hour ago. i don't think i ever really realized what a gorgeous voice marketa has, and when she and glen sing together at the end.. WOW. i don't even know what to say:

does this song make anyone else cry??

this is from their concert at radio city music hall yesterday. because i have a slight obsession, i have read every review i can find online of that show. sigh. why am i never at concerts like that? it seems like it was absolutely amazing. i read on the frames messageboard, that interference (an irish band who opened the show) came out to do gold , which is one of my favorite songs on the once soundtrack. if you're interested, you can find more videos on youtube, including the best version i've ever heard of glen singing astral weeks . unfortunately, it's not the complete song, but it's long enough that you can hear how wonderful he sounds. and my favorite part of the video is the little grin he has during the middle of the song. it's like he's thinking, "we made it, we're playing a sold-out show at radio city music hall." which, regardless of how you feel about the swell season's sudden popularity, is pretty darn cool.

i really need to quit my job and win the lottery so i can follow the frames/swell season/pearl jam from city to city. sometimes i doubt if anyone would miss me.

i finally bought my ticket to for the subpop 20th anniversary in july. it's july 12 and 13 at marymoor park. i was only going to go on saturday, but green river is playing on sunday and i don't want to miss that so i just ended up buying a two-day pass. and now i notice that on friday the 11th, they are having a comedy show at the moore theatre and david cross will be there. the one time i saw him, in 2004 at the showbox as part of vote for change, he told a joke about finding an ad for a schoolbus on craigslist that is probably one of the funniest things i've ever heard. i wish i could remember it exactly, but it must have been funny because just thinking about it makes me laugh. really, who needs to eat when there is so much to do??

also, i've been meaning to post about this: a few weeks ago, my mom sent me a brochure for this company that does walking tours of ireland. i think that would be a really neat way to get to know a country. my only trepidation about something like that is that i would be traveling with a group of people but would ultimately be alone. does that make sense? a while ago, i checked an ireland travel book out of the library and made up the itinerary of my imaginary trip. it was fun. also in my mind, i am going to go to tibet, italy and spain.

Monday, May 19, 2008

hold on to the thread, the currents will shift..

there's another nonsensical lyric for you.

i thought of another reason i dislike summer: allergies. specifically, i think there's something right outside my bedroom window that forces me to sleep with my mouth open all night and wake up with a really bad sore throat. grr...

but here's a reason for liking summer... street fairs and festivals. i went to the university district street fair on saturday (when it was about a million degrees, and i got stuck in a huge line at starbucks because i didn't have any cash left and they were the only place where i could get an iced tea with a credit card). i love walking around lost in the huge crowd of people. i bought a really nice shirt too as well as some good bread ("dave's killer bread" does sound sort of ominous, but it's quite yummy). next weekend, aside from being memorial day and a blessed 3 days off work, is the northwest folklife festival at seattle center. i have to admit that i enjoy that. my favorite part of summer festivals is getting henna tattoos, because i am way too chicken to get a real one. but for a few weeks, i can pretend that i'm not.

stupid things happen to me during the day, and i think, "oh, i have to write about that on my blog," but by the time i get home, i have forgotten. so instead, i'll post this video, which i have probably watched 50 times since it was put up last week. honestly, i love it. here you go, glen doing say it to me now , but watch the way he is singing. i swear, that man can pack such intensity and emotion into a minute and a half. yes, he's sitting on his knees at the ledge of the stage playing the song. sigh. he and eddie vedder are, sadly, (the only) two singers who i would probably pay good money to see perform the alphabet song. preferably together. in irish. with interpretive dancing.

on that dvd that kristine got at the seattle show (i'm still waiting for you to make me a copy of it, missy), glen says that he wrote this song about his grandparents who fought all the time, but had a deep love for each other. and in once, it is made to be about his ex-girlfriend (which i totally do not get). to me, the song is about being angry with god for making life so... impossible, sometimes. as these shadows fall, i'll win somehow . if you haven't heard the version of this song on fitzcarraldo, you really should seek it out. it's a little different lyrically and musically, although i must say when i hear 2008 era glen play this song i get goosebumps. everytime. there's something about him and his acoustic guitar that is just pure magic.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

daydreaming our lives away

in case you haven't noticed, most of my post titles are random lines from songs that don't usually even have anything to do with what i am writing about, they just happen to be songs i love or am listening to at the moment.

generally speaking, i don't like summer, and i think i realized one reason why - i associate this time of year with endings. everytime i've moved, it has been during may or june. i graduated from high school in june, from college in may, i moved to tacoma in may, i moved to seattle in june... not that moving or graduating is necessarily a bad thing, but it does represent an ending in a way.

also, i really hate hot weather. i love the sun, but not all the time. and i don't like it when it's still light out at 9:00 on a weeknight. it makes me feel like i should be out doing things instead of falling asleep on the couch. wait, maybe i should...

today, however, was one of those spring/summer days i love. neither too hot nor too chilly. i went to the fremont sunday market, with a pit stop at pike place to get a piroshky and buy some sugar snap peas (yum). i walked around fremont for awhile, enjoying the view and going into little shops. everytime i'm in fremont, i always make sure to go to the antique market. i could spend hours wandering around there. and i think i did. well, one hour at least.

6 weeks until pearl jam in boston! i'm really excited for that. someone asked me what album i'd recommend as a first pearl jam record. i had to think about that for a second, because i don't really listen to the albums anymore - i mostly listen to live shows. and that question got me thinking, maybe i should listen to the albums more. anyway... i told her that she should get yield , because it is my favorite (that and no code, although the latter is a bit too experimental for me to recommend as a first album. it's one that i think you'll either love or hate, and if you hate it you might wonder why i love pearl jam so much)

speaking of endings and new beginnings, yield came out in 1998, the year i graduated from high school and started college. a lot of the songs on that album remind me of feeling homesick. there's a weird thing about music - songs that you listen to at a certain point of your life can become tied to the emotions you felt then. transatlanticism by death cab for cutie is another one; everytime i listen to that album, i remember where i was in my life when it was released. probably because i listened to it every night for a few months.

here's in hiding live from the gorge 06. this is my favorite song on yield, and one of the only ones that i hadn't heard live before this show. (i think the only song left that i adore and haven't seen after 20 something shows is indifference. play that in boston. got it, pearl jam??)

i was going to write more about why i love this song so much (the lyrics and stone's guitar, mostly), but my throat hurts and i'm suddenly really tired. so i'm going to make a cup of tea and watch desperate housewives. (don't laugh, it's the season finale!)

when things change so much, it's all state of mind

Saturday, May 17, 2008

get on the floor and do the new kids dance

wow, i'm 10 years old again. apparently, the new kids on the block went on the today show to announce that they are getting back together and going on a tour this summer. regretfully, i can't seem to find a seattle date.

is it scary that i remember the lyrics to most of these songs? i don't think song lyrics ever leave you.

what's in your music collection?

this is interesting. here's the basic premise: put your music player on random and write down the first 20 songs that play. here's mine:

pearl jam - inside job
regina spektor - on the radio
the frames - happy
death cab for cutie - we looked like giants
pearl jam - evenflow
silversun pickups - rusted wheel
regina spektor - fidelity
pearl jam - blood
modest mouse - spitting venom
REM - electrolite
smashing pumpkins - jupiter's lament
carrie akre - catch me if you can
mic christopher - listen girl
built to spill - the wait
soundgarden - the day i tried to live
the frames - underglass
mic christopher - heyday
john butler trio - better than
REM - be mine
sleater kinney - modern girl

that was kind of fun. now, i took this from my computer, which isn't really indicative of my entire music collection - in fact, a couple of these songs (soundgarden, built to spill, regina spektor..), i haven't listened to in ages. but mostly, these are bands i consider some of my favorites - although u2 is noticeably absent from the list. but, it was interesting that the pearl jam songs that played were all live versions and the two frames songs that played are ones i don't even really like. i just spent the past hour listening to songs i haven't heard in a long time, thanks to this post. i think i'm inspired now to dig out my old soundgarden cd's.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

livin' on a prayer

have i mentioned that i love carrie brownstein's blog at NPR? it's become one of the sites that i check every day. last week, she wrote what i thought was a really interesting post about the ways that people listen to music. i guess it was inspired by a friend's grandfather who had a really expensive audio system; she asked readers to send in pictures of whatever they used to listen to music the most. people sent in pictures of ipods, boomboxes, headphones, computers, televisions...

her newest post is about song lyrics that somehow become part of popular culture, particularly how words can make you want to sing certain melodies. the comments readers made were hilarious - after someone wrote that they always came home with livin on a prayer (bon jovi was my favorite band during middle school) in their heads, i am now singing that song (woah oh we're halfway there/ woah oh livin' on a prayer/ take my hand and we'll make it i swear)

three years ago, there was a boy in my class who always used to say "hey ho, let's go" before he put his nap mat away (this was also a boy who wore little death cab for cutie and KEXP t-shirts) so now i sing that little line in my head every afternoon when i come back from lunch. (and that's also why i laughed a little when i noticed that glen signed my ticket "hey ho!") everytime i make myself a cup of tea (which is actually often now, since shannon introduced me to a kind that i love), i sing to myself: "tea, a drink with jam and bread." and then i usually sing the rest of the song too. when someone asks me something that i find stupid, i think to myself "oh well, whatever, nevermind." does anyone know what that is from?

her post also got me to thinking about music and education. when i worked in tacoma, the other kindergarten teachers and i went to a workshop by a woman who put all of her lessons to music; we got a few of her cd's and i still have them. she also had a cd of self esteem music, and there are a couple of songs that the kids in my class love (i haven't played them in awhile actually, maybe i should tomorrow) - i'm a grump and wonderful me. i've noticed that the kids (and me) are in much better moods when we sing and listen to music. sometimes when they're not listening i just make up a stupid song and it catches their attention.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

i strolled all alone through the fallout zone

if you know me, you know that i absolutely hate driving so i take the bus everywhere i can. there are lots of reasons i do this: so i can do something small to help the environment, to save my sanity, to watch the guy that looks like kurt cobain and always seems to sit across from me, to give myself extra reading time... but most importantly, so that i can have at least 30 minutes a day of uninterrupted headphone listening time when i'm not worried about cooking dinner, taking the trash out, doing my laundry, or one of the myriad other things i find occupying my mind when i'm at home. one of my favorite things to listen to lately is a playlist i put together with some of my favorite frames, pearl jam and eddie vedder solo songs. tonight, especially, i was really tired; the bus was late, work sucked, my head was pounding and i realized that i could just close my eyes and let it all vanish, and i felt better once i got home. that's probably the truest thing i can write about my relationship with music - there is something about a good song that can make everything alright, if only for 5 minutes or so. and there are times when that is all it takes. and there is something about a singer who can fill the empty spaces of songs with emotion.

here's my (short enough that i can listen to it on a 25 minute bus ride) playlist for today:
the frames - seven day mile
the frames - red chord
eddie vedder - growin' up (springsteen cover)
pearl jam - given to fly
the frames - santa maria
pearl jam - in my tree
mic christopher - heyday

speaking of the frames, i love this performance of this song. i wish i had been at this concert. i love the swell season, but i want to see the frames again. this makes me really wish that i was going to see them in colorado next month.

the moment at the end of this song when the audience is singing the chorus is beautiful. i know i've said this before, but there's a moment during some shows when the barrier between audience and performer just totally breaks down and you look around and realize that you are not alone. for someone like me who never quite feels like they belong anywhere, that is a moment i live for.

and we have all the time in the world to get it right, to get it right
and we have all the love in the world to set alight, to set alight

go with happiness...

this makes my night.

Monday, May 12, 2008

seattle international film festival

it looks like there are some really interesting films this year. here's a few i bought tickets for already:

the five senses
This ingenious drama examines the ways in which seemingly unconnected lives run parallel to each other and even intersect. A little girl disappears in the park, forcing the tenants of a nearby apartment building into contact with one another. The story follows five of these neighbors, each of whom struggles with issues related to each of the five senses.
mainly because mary-louise parker, who i love, is in it. and it sounds sort of lost-esque, which is interesting.

Montagues and Capulets, meet Eyal and Rana. When an Israeli man and a Palestinian woman fall in love during the 2006 World Cup finals in Berlin, star-crossed complications ensue. Strangers offers an intelligent and complex treatment of the relationship between politics and personalities, and between realism and hope.
okay, this is because glen and marketa sing a song in this film. i admit it. but it sounds really good too.

Poland's master filmmaker Andrzej Wajda vividly and movingly dramatizes one of the last major World War II crimes to be acknowledged–the mass execution of Poland's military and intellectual elite. For 50 years, the story has been taboo after a cover-up in which the occupying Soviet forces tried to convince the world the Nazis were responsible.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

happy mother's day

happy mother's day. and, sometimes all it takes is hearing a song on the radio to remind you of a band that you haven't thought of in a while. now where are my band of horses cd's?:

band of horses, live at easy street records. sigh.

now i am going to attempt to cook fried rice, plant some flowers and study my seattle film festival guide. not all at the same time, though.

also, in case you care and don't know, you can download the swell season seattle show (as well as others) here. it's from the soundboard, very high quality. i approve.

Friday, May 9, 2008

and this i know

i love this...

i guess that glen invited a middle-school choir to join them on stage for falling slowly as well as this, a pixies song. i read about in in the chicago tribune, and my favorite part is:

Many of the kids described it as the best night of their lives.

"It was unbelievable...The best thing was this boy came up to me and it was after they performed. He said, 'This is the first concert I've ever been to, my first concert and I got to play the guitar,' and he gave me a hug. It was the best thing."

what an awesome memory for those kids. and it's kind of funny that he got them to sing along to a pixies song. ha. i love him.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

scratching at the surface now

it's a mistake to look for tickets to see one of your favorite singers in los angeles during a presale while telling yourself that you won't buy any, because what are you supposed to do if you find two GA tickets? not get them?? a better person than me could do that, perhaps.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

bits n' bobs

i love the way this has turned into a blog about music. when i started this, i had no idea that's what would happen, but turns out, i really enjoy writing about my favorite music. now, to figure out how to make money by doing that...

courtesy of the frames messageboard here is a link to the website for colm's new cd. currently, you can listen to three songs (although i can't seem to get blue shoes to work...) i've listened to time will tell four times already; it's beautiful. i'm not sure when this will be available, but it looks like you will eventually be able to buy it online.

also, in pearl jam news, mike said in an interview that the band has songs for a new album, and hopes to release it this year (although whether that will actually happen, i'm not too sure). maybe they'll play some new songs on their east coast tour? the most exciting part is that they are teaming up with brendan o'brien again,who produced some of the best pearl jam albums (vitalogy, no code, yield...) i particularly like what o'brien said in an interview with billboard magazine: "they were great to me when we were making records together [before], and we still remained very good friends ... i still think they're a great band. eddie has one of the best, if not the best, voices out there. when he sings, people believe them."

Monday, May 5, 2008

reason 491 why i love the frames

seattle film festival

i seriously doubt i'll see anything as good as once (what is it about that movie?) again at siff this year, but i'm still excited about this:

The 34th Seattle International Film Festival
May 22 - June 15, 2008
The Largest Film Festival in the U.S. Kicks Off With Battle in Seattle
Bottle ShockHighlights Closing Night Gala
418 Films in 25 Days, With 101 Premieres and More Than 600 Screenings

Seattle, WA - SIFF is proud to announce the 34th Seattle International Film Festival, the largest and most highly attended event of its kind in the United States. Running a full 25 days, SIFF will present 191 narrative features, 57 documentary features, and 170 short films from 69 countries, including 43 World Premieres (16 features, 27 shorts), 38 North American Premieres (19 features, 19 shorts), and 19 US Premieres (10 features, 9 shorts). SIFF 2008 will unspool from May 22 through June 15 at multiple venues throughout the city. The full schedule will be available in The Seattle Timesand online May 8 at

"This year's SIFF is fiercely independent with wide-ranging opportunities for people to explore new ways to look at the world through cinema," says SIFF Artistic director Carl Spence. "Seventy percent of the films in the program are currently without US distribution, offering an array of options for new discoveries and extraordinary film experiences. It is also of note that almost half of the features in the program are from first or second time directors."

The Festival gets underway Thursday, May 22 at Seattle Center's Marion Oliver McCaw Hall with the Opening Night Gala presentation of Battle in Seattle, a gripping dramatization of events that rocked the world when Seattle was host to the World Trade Organization.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

mike mccready

every year around this time, mike mccready (pearl jam guitarist) organizes a benefit concert at the showbox for the crohns/colitis foundation. mike has crohns disease, and it does not sound like a fun disease to have, so kudos to him for talking about it and doing all that he can to raise money for research.

the highlight of the show, for a pearl jam nerd like me, was a reunion of mike's first band (from the 80's), shadow, doing a jimi hendrix tribute. mike is such a great guitar player, and in pearl jam he doesn't really always have the space to show that. i was completely mesmerized by it for about 40 minutes. kim virant, a great local singer, sang on little wing, and duff mckagin from guns n'roses came out for a few songs too.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

my favorite albums, part 2

someone emailed me and asked me what frames album i'd recommend for a new fan. that's hard for me to answer; i have my favorites, of course, but other people may not agree. so i thought i'd do my own version of a guided tour through frames albums. not that i'm an expert or anything - far from it... but here we go:

another love song this is the first frames album, released in 1991 i believe. it's out of print now, although you can download it from various places online. it was recorded for island records (i think) and they subsequently left that label.
this is the dancer from a concert in dublin last new year's eve (an aside - i think i might try to go to dublin next year if they play on new year's eve. kristine, wanna come?:):

fitzcarraldo this is their second album, released in 1995. if you've seen once, you'll probably recognize say it to me now (although the album version is somewhat different from the one in the movie). there are some great songs on this record, but it's not one of the ones i listen to the most. interestingly, fitzcarraldo is a movie by werner herzog about a man who is obsessed with building an opera house in a remote town in peru and literally pulls a ship over a mountain. it's hard to describe this album, but i guess it's probably the most "rock" record the frames have. when i listen to it, it sounds kind of dated, although one of my favorite frames songs, red chord, is on this album:

dance the devil this is the album that made me love the frames, and i think it's still my favorite. it was released in 1999. if you've seen the swell season live, there might be a few songs you recognize here: pavement tune (i want my life to make more sense to me), and star star. my favorite song is 7 day mile:

i think i have a soft spot for this record because it's the first frames album i heard; i cannot for the life of me understand why this band is not bigger in the US -well maybe they will be now that glen won an oscar. i have no idea. there are a few albums that feel to me like a best friend, that i can listen to over and over, that i know so well i can sing along perfectly, that i fall asleep listening to. no code by pearl jam is one; dance the devil is another.

for the birds this is their next album; it came out in 2001. this is my second favorite, probably, although depending on the day, it might be number one. to me, this album has a bit more of an independent feel to it. i think that's probably because it was the first record the band really recorded where you can tell that they kind of said, well who cares about the record company? there is no clear "single" on here like revelate or pavement tune. i also think it's interesting that this album was partly recorded by steve albini (who did in utero, one of my favorite-sounding records). during some of the songs, you can hear noise of people walking around and stuff like that. before one song, i forget which one, you even hear a dog barking. this is definately an album that will take time to grow on you, but once it does, you won't be able to stop listening to it. here's headlong:

again, if you've seen the swell season, you might recognize lay me down and what happens when the heart just stops. i think this album, perhaps more than the others, has an interesting mixture of soft and loud songs. you have a song like headlong - which i adore - followed by something like early bird, - which i also love - a great song to turn up loud and sing along with. i also think it's worth noting that, in my opinion, this record has some of the greatest lyrics in the frames catalogue.

their next album, burn the maps, is not really one that i listen to very often. there are some good songs on there, but i just don't find myself reaching for it. this is finally:

the most recent album is the cost. this album is, by far, the most un-frames one, if that makes sense. i think it's a good record, but not one i would recommend to someone who doesn't know the frames. falling slowly (although a very different version than the one marketa and glen do) and when your mind's made up (wow, those songs are on 3 albums) are on here.

and then there's their live album, setlist, which is brilliant. i have it on my ipod, and listen to it almost every day on the way to work. there is a good mix of songs on here, and glen's story about the dog who inspired what happens when the heart just stops is pretty funny.

.. and if anyone has any clue where i can get from the breadcrumb trail, i'd be ever so grateful.

glen hansard:Music is medicine and dreams. For me that's what music is, when it's at its best. It makes time stop. It's salve. For me music is a moment of peace

Friday, May 2, 2008

the swell season at the moore

the swell season 4/30/08

where to begin? this was an AMAZING concert, and i'm pretty sure words can't possibly do it justice.

i saw the swell season last november, also at the moore theatre (which will forever be famous to me as the place the video for evenflow was shot. i can't go to a show here without picturing eddie vedder jumping from the walls), and that show had a much different feeling to it than the one on wednesday. for 5 months, i've been saying that that was one of the best concerts i've ever been to and i really didn't think it could be eclipsed. but it was. everything from the opening chords of say it to me now to the end of forever young was absolutely perfect. i have to say that the show in november felt a bit more intimate (probably for obvious reasons.. this show sold out i think in about 15 minutes. damn that oscar!) but now, glen and marketa (especially) seem a lot more confident and at ease with their performances. plus, the fact that all the members of the frames were there was icing on the cake (if you have been reading, you may know that the frames are one of my favorite bands. more on that later)

in oakland, glen did say it to me now without any amplification, but he plugged in his guitar and used the microphone in seattle. he said later that he was getting sick, but you would never be able to tell it. he's an incredible singer; what i love so much about the frames and, to a lesser extent, the swell season is that so many of the songs start out quietly but then build and build until the end when glen is almost screaming.

i don't remember the exact setlist; it was a little different from oakland, but not by a whole lot. marketa played her new song again, and it was even more beautiful than i remembered. although i kept my eyes on her and colm (the violinist), i did look at glen a few times, and the way he was watching her sing was really sweet. after she finished, it seemed like glen was going to play his new song (which i was hoping for), but marketa left the stage for a few minutes, and they played suffer in silence (a frames song) instead. very nice. it actually took me a minute to realize what it was, because i wasn't expecting them to play that. (it's from burn the maps, if you happen to care).

speaking of frames songs, they also did your face again, which i think is a perfect song for glen and marketa to sing together. i have to mention here that i love her voice. it seems to me that i can hear her more than i could in november, and i think that's probably because she is starting to get more confident in herself onstage. the three songs she sang by herself were great, and she really adds something wonderful to the songs she and glen do together.. especially falling slowly , and one of my favorite songs from the swell season album, this low.

ok, now i'm going to sound like a teenager for a minute, so bear with me: the best part of the concert actually came after the show. my friend kristine and i decided to wait outside the theatre and we met glen and marketa. i've never wanted to meet one of my favorite musicians before, because i've always thought, well what would i say, and what's the point of having an autograph? i guess i never realized how completely star-struck and like a teenager i would feel if that ever happened. my heart was pounding, and the only thing i could think of to say was "the frames are my favorite band." it was just completely surreal to be face to face with this person whose music i listen to almost every day and whose lyrics make me feel better when i'm sad. /end teenage gushing.


what happens when the heart just stops like falling slowly, no matter how many times i hear this song, i can never seem to get tired of it.

glen's storytelling i think this is always a highlight of frames and swell season shows. he cracks me up even with the jokes i've heard before. his comic timing is awesome (he always pauses before the punch line) and kristine was saying that the way he moves his hands when he's telling a story is really funny too. i think that must be an irish thing or something. this is what a dork i am: i noticed that during star star after colm plays the bit from willy wonka and the chocolate factory glen said "you're turning violet, violet; off to the juicing room." ha! i found myself saying something similar to a girl in my class today who was eating all the cantaloupe at lunch.

fitzcarraldo this is another song that i can't seem to get tired of no matter how many times i hear it. and i especially love to watch marketa play piano on this song; man, her fingers fly!

... there were other highlights i'm sure, but this week has seemed so surreal that i can't even really think straight. i'm going to watch last night's survivor and then go to sleep.