Song of the Week

Guster’s new album comes out in one month!! Excitement? Yes, I think so! They’ve put out a video of one of the songs on that album called “Stay With Me Jesus,” and it’s this week’s song.

This song really made me stop and listen. First off, Guster is not a Christian rock band. Quite the opposite in fact, as all three members are Jewish. So I wonder why they wrote a song basically all about Jesus.

A quick excerpt from their newsletter in which they debute the video. “Track 5, “Stay With Me Jesus” — sounds like a Christian Rock title on the surface, but it’s not.  Guster is not Christian Rock.  Guster had Bar Mitzvahs.”

I listened to the song and came to the conclusion that I really like it. And that the song’s not so much about Jesus in the Christian religious sense. It’s more about Jesus being the name for some inexplicable protecting force, the comforting idea that something is watching over you and snatching you up, or stepping in, or keeping you sane at the last crucial second. And that is a universal sentiment. I do wonder why they chose Jesus as the way to explain that feeling though. I’m not at all pissed. (though honestly, I may feel a little weird belting this one out at their concert. But hell I’ll do it anyway. It’s just a word here.) Listen to the song, I doubt you’ll be offended once you do, because you’ll probably be able to relate to the lyrics, whether you believe in the actual and literal words they’ve chosen to sing or not. And maybe that’s their point. It doesn’t matter what word, person, belief you associate with that feeling of being protected and saved. That feeling is still the same across the board.

Or maybe I’m reading way to much into this song. Just listen, OK? And leave me a comment. Tell me what you think. Because I’m extra curious about this song!

Song of the Week

My parents appreciate good music. They love the classics and are open to the new stuff, my dad especially. I get him music almost every holiday/birthday. Kid Rock, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Beatles, and She & Him to name just a few. Growing up, my mom would put on the Beatles or Simon and Garfunkle, and she and my brother and I would dance together in the family room. Sometimes she even taught us dances steps from her aerobic dance class. I’ve known the words to Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, and Mrs. Robinson my whole life. In the car we listened to the oldies station almost exclusively. I think 60s and 70s pop brought back childhood memories for my mom. She once told me that American songs would come out in Holland, and she and her friends would sing along not knowing what the words really meant. She had a Neil Diamond poster hanging in her room. As a result, I was the kid in middle school who awkwardly (please, everything I did in middle school was awkward) avoided the question of favorite music because oldies weren’t “cool.” I was so insecure. (Ha, was? Who are we kidding, I will always be the epitome of awkward and insecure.)

We didn’t only listen to classic rock though. My parents were avid symphony goers, even if my dad sometimes fell asleep in the theater after long work days. Classical made appearances in our stereo, too. Every Christmas, even now, my dad picked a classical CD to play while we cooked and opened gifts. The rising and falling of strings and horns mixed easily with family chatter. My dad actually owns and really enjoys a copy of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. I think we must have listened to classical shows on NPR because I remember my parents always writing down the names of composers and symphonies.

So anyway, I have this soft spot in my music heart for anything classical or classical-esque. Today’s song of the week reflects that. James Blackshaw is a guitarist and pianist. NPR calls his music “transcendental chamber music.” I don’t know. I’d go with like riding a slightly angsty and dark but somehow inspiring wave. This is a track from his new album All is Falling Apart. I can’t seem to find the full length version of it that I can embed here, but I can find a seven minute version.

Song of the Week

Carolina, someday I’ll, one day I’ll come home. (Avett Brothers, Salina)

Last night Sam, Jen, and I went to a house party. We wanted to pretend we were nineteen again. We struck up a conversation with a girl who really was nineteen, and moving to Minneapolis. She said Asheville had been her second choice. Of course, I started blabbering about how wonderful Asheville is. She said, “That’s what everyone tells me, and you lit up the second I mentioned it, so it must be a great place.” Was I that insightful when I was nineteen? Doubtful. Unless you consider leaping down an entire flight of stairs insightful.

I like this song for more than the fact that it mentions Carolina. Something about running around the country trying to find Somewhere. I relate to that.

Oh, the song is Salina by the Avett Brothers. This is them performing it at Bonnaroo this past June.

Song of the Week

This week, in honor of Arcade Fire releasing their new album (listen to it here), my song of the week is “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire (duuuh).

I don’t know why I love this song so much. I really fell for it when it was on the trailer for Where the Wild Things Are (which, by the way, is an awesome movie if you haven’t seen it). I played the trailer over and over again to listen to the song until I realized that I have it on my iTunes. The lyrics are kind of dark maybe, and they’re not the reason for my addiction to this song. I think it’s something about the big sound that explodes from your speakers when you play it, and the chorus of voices singing out. It feels full of hope and potential and flyingness. (Did you know I like to make up words?)

OK, so here’s the song.

In other news, Happy Friday!

In other, other news, the heat index in Indianapolis on Wednesday was 112°. Yes, you read that right. Heat that presses down on you and fills the air until you feel as though you can hardly breathe. Thankfully the weather broke last night and I was able to ride my new bike into work!

Ellie the bicycle

Songs of the Week

Where to start…? With a list!!

1. I am now the proud owner of the domain name piebelly.com. Ooooh, right? Now can someone design me a little Buddah rubbing his belly and holding a piece of pie for a logo?

2. I took a trip to North Carolina to the mountains last Thursday through Sunday. Coming back is hard. The mountains are my home. They’re full of wonderful people (and one terrible person). I cooked so much amazing food with my friend Renée that I could cry happy food tears. Just need to upload my pictures off of my camera and then I’ll post all about pies, pastas, porch swings, and gazpachos.

3. To make up for serious slacking in the Song of the Week area, I’m going to post three today.

Firstly, there’s Guster. Last week I got the most wonderful and much-anticipated e-mail in my inbox. Guster announcing their new album – title, release date, and first … single I suppose. Also TOUR DATES! October 10 at the Egyptian Room right here in Indianapolis. This will be Guster concert number 11 for me. So after much very restrained squealing (I was still at work when this e-mail arrived), I listened to the first song. Then I downloaded the song. Then I listened to the song 10 more times. Then I memorized all the words. It’s called “Bad Bad World.” The album is called Easy Wonderful and is due out October 5. Here’s the track listing

1. Architects & Engineersv 2. Do You Love Me
3. On the Ocean
4. This Could All Be Yours
5. Stay with Me Jesus
6. Bad Bad World
7. This Is How It Feels to Have a Broken Heart
8. What You Call Love
9. That’s No Way to Get to Heaven
10. Jesus and Mary
11. Hercules
12. Do What You Want

And here’s that first song.

Bad Bad World lyrics

I would like to dedicate this song to the amazing women who I hung out with this past weekend. Bette, Renée, and Jennifer, this song is for you girls. And maybe also Officer Jesse Durham, as a thank you? Heh.

Secondly, U.S. Royalty. I discovered this band last year at the Forecastle Festival in Louisville.

U.S. Royalty, Forecastle Festival 2009

I guess you could call them Americana, or folk-rocky. I like them either way. This song is called Raincoats.

Thirdly, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals at Bele Chere

I heard of this band sometime over the summer, but now I’m not sure how it was. Either way, I saw that they were playing at Bele Chere, this big street festival in Asheville that we went to this past weekend, and I was determined to see them. And holy awesome they did not disappoint at all. In fact they were incredibly amazing and I left the show with two of their albums. One of my friends described them as a sort of throwback to the 70s and the lead singer as a Stevie Nicks. I like that description and I’m going with it. They’re a nice blend of blues-y goodness and rock.

This is Goodbye Kiss from their self-titled album that just came out this year.

And this one is called Paris (Oh La La) on the same album.

Song of the Week

Well, I hope you all had a great fourth of July weekend. Mine involved cooking out and fireworks. How all-American!

I’ve picked Jesus, Etc. by Wilco from their album Yankee Foxtrot Hotel for this week’s song.

I was introduced to it maybe four or five years ago by one of my dear camp friends Mary. This song made her cry on cue, for no apparent reason, and that’s why I originally loved it. Any song that can rouse such emotion out of someone has to be great. Especially because Mary is one of the most sunshiney and smiley people I know.

For some reason I think of this as a love song. Really the lyrics are kind of depressing. The world’s kind of ending, the girl has tears streaming down her cheeks. But then he’s telling her, despite all of this ickiness around us, it’s all ok, don’t cry, because I love you and we have our love. To me, that’s incredibly sweet.

So here it is on YouTube. Hope you like it as much as I do.

Sun-soaked Gold Motel

OK, I know I just posted a song the other day. And I swear when I get home tonight I’m going to put up the most amazing recipe for the most amazing cake. But I was just scrolling through my Twitter feed and came across this band via Spin. They’re called Gold Motel. I’d say just about perfect summertime music. Play at barbecues (particularly 4th of July ones), in the car with your windows wide open, on your porch, in your living room while you dance and sweat, by the pool while drinking beers, etc., the list goes on.

So, here’s one video for “Perfect In My Mind.” I love the lyrics.

And here’s a link to a video of theirs posted on Spin.com. It’s  exclusive and brand new and shiny so I couldn’t find it on YouTube. Just click the link already.