Monday, March 29, 2010
I am very passionate, and I am very afraid. I used to be fearless - but, you know, people age and close up and become neurotic balls of nerves, blah blah blah. I share this tidbit because I am in the process of trying to conquer one of many fears that has taken hold in the past 4-5 years: stage fright.
Someday in the near or far future I am GOING to give another recital. My first since I was barely 19. Additionally, I'm going to play a piece that has seen me through a lot of difficult times: the second Bach partita. It's irrationally long, difficult, and gorgeous. It is for one violin - I will be totally fucking exposed, which might be my biggest fear of all. Truthfully, I have no business playing it, but whatever.
So, as a means of inspiring some courage in myself, I've been listening to Hilary Hahn's recordings quite a bit. A lot of people say she's too robotic - I say they can jump off a damn cliff. I will defend her to the bitter end.
Here is her Courante, the second movement of the second partita.
May God help me.
"Partita II, II: Courante", performed by Hilary Hahn and written by JS Bach.
Monday, March 22, 2010
I'm not sure why, but this song bolsters me when I am feeling hopeless. Perhaps because it embraces hopelessness and turns it into a good tune.
"Ask Me Anything" - the Strokes.
I’ve been of age for a year and a half, but I’ve done a terrible job of taking advantage of Chicago. There is some great shit here that I need to start paying attention to. Here’s my list: 8 places I will go to/review before June 1st.
Blackbird – I absolutely cannot afford to be eating here. Which makes me want it more, of course. Whatever, I’ll go for lunch.
The Bad Apple – How is it possible that this bar is literally down the street from me, and I still haven’t been? Burgers have been rumored to be quite delicious, I’ll consider it a warm up to my inevitable journey to Kuma’s, which, lets be serious, is more hyped than any other burger place, ever, in the history of burger places.
Late Bar – 80s new wave bar. Quite honestly, I’m only curious about this place because of it’s extremely mixed word-of-mouth. I’ve heard everything from “Best Dance Party in the City” to “Fuck this Fucking Place The Owners Are Assholes and the Music Sucks”. Whether it’s great or awful, I just want to know for sure.
The Red Canary – I’m mostly curious about this place because of it’s interior. As I previously mentioned, I like jewel boxes, and I hear that this place is lavish and sparkly on the inside. Add excellent food/drink choices to the mix, and I am extremely curious.
The Whistler – Rumored to be a less trendy/expensive version of Violet Hour. Anxious to try the Penicillin, as it was adapted from a recipe from my favorite Manhattan speakeasy, Milk & Honey. Perhaps I’ll go on a night when there is a band playing.
Green Door Tavern – I’ve heard quite a few positive things about this place. Former speakeasy, housed in a building built in 1872. History = good. The other bars in the area I’ve been to have been subpar, so fingers crossed GDT doesn’t disappoint.
Tango Sur (no website)– I’ve been in the attached grocery store several times, the selection they offer is fantastic and the employees are really nice. This has always seemed like the most romantic restaurant in the city to me – there are no lights, only tons and tons of candles, and almost no room to walk around, and an excellent wine list.
Avec – lots of beer I am very curious about, and a wide array of small plates that sound delish. Especially the chorizo-stuffed dates with bacon and pepper-tomato sauceohmygodI’mdroolingasI’mtyping.
Live in Chicago? Have suggestions? Have cautionary tales about any of the above places? Clue me in in the comments.
(Also, if someone important would care to use their influence to get me a reservation at Alinea, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.)
Friday, March 19, 2010
Lacking the energy to write a full post before sleep, but I couldn't go to bed without linking these lovely little frocks. Clements Ribeiro's Resort 2010 Collection. I adore it. In love with looks 1-4, and 12-15 particularly. They make such a stylish team. Britain + Brazil 4EVA.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Josh Rouse, one of my favorite musicians of all time, has just released "El Turista", his eighth full-length album and one of the prettiest to date. There aren't many artists' careers that I feel thoroughly schooled in, but since his is one of them, I can get a good view of "El Turista" in relation to his earlier efforts. The gritty folk rock of "Dressed Up Like Nebraska" is long gone, my friends. Ordinarily, this would be tragic because "Dressed Up Like Nebraska" is such a wonderful album, but Josh has an ability to trump all his previous work with grace and ease. I can't think of many people that have had musical lifespans as varied and thoughtful as his.
"El Turista" sounds like the logical result of Josh's travelin'-man lifestyle (he has lived in places including Nebraska, Nashville, Brooklyn, and now Valencia). There are elements of every place he's lived in this album, in addition to Cuban and African notes. Midwestern Boy Goes Backpacking. It's unlike anything he's done before, and is still distinctly his. I don't know how he manages to do this with every. single. album he puts out. It is mind boggling. Gripe about his imperfect accent or the fact that this album was recorded primarily in Nashville if you must, but it's beautiful. He admits he's a damn tourist in the album title, cut him a break.
As for favorite tracks, I'm partial to the pretty violins in the opener "Bienvenido". "Valencia" makes me feel like I'm on a beach somewhere making animals out of clouds that pass by while drinking an extremely bubbly beer. The cover of "Lemon Tree" that big fans will recognize from the third Bedroom Classics EP is lovely and breezy. "Las Voces" will make you sway, and probably "aaaaaah" along with the background voices. "Cotton Eye Joe" is something of a dreamy sigh, and in my humble opinion it captures the spirit of the whole album.
A sidenote: A lot of Josh Rouse fans and critics are constantly complaining that he's moved too far from his original work - believe me, I've been there too - but I really firmly believe that if he made another "Nashville" (05) or "1972" (03) we would slowly lose interest. He can't just imitate himself - all authenticity would disappear, and that's the thing we love about him, right? Those albums are incredible, perfect things, let's leave it at that. I say we let him try to make a new incredible, perfect thing.
You can stream the entire album from KCRW here until March 22nd. (While you're there, OH HEY LOOK THE NEW SHE & HIM ALBUM IS AVAILABLE FOR PREVIEW TOO!)
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
There are plenty of things in my musical life I can't explain: my high school crush on Ludacris, my unnecesarily strong aversion to Vampire Weekend, why I just purchased the late nineties boy-band disaster "I'll Be Your Everything" from the "Inspector Gadget" movie.
But here is one thing I know for sure: “When They Fight They Fight” by Generationals is a nearly perfect song and when I hear it my body becomes an uncontrollable happy dancing jumping machine.
It was on a CD given to me by one of the great mix-making masters: Clark, over at MP3 Medication. Generationals is Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer, formally of The Eames Era (this makes the art history dork in me love them even more). They have a very enjoyable blog happening at their website, if you’re interested in the whereabouts, thoughts, and recommendations of the boys. (You should be, I’ve found them to be a pretty solid resource of giggles and insight. What more can I ask for?)
Play it, and dance: “When They Fight They Fight” - Generationals.
Monday, March 01, 2010
“Home” – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
(PS. For anybody who hasn’t used sendspace, just scroll to the bottom and click the orange download link with a blinking red arrow by it. The other links that say “download” are ads.)