Archives for category: audiobox

Happy Hallmark holiday, er, Valentine’s Day, everyone!

I don’t think much of the idea that Valentine’s Day is meant for telling someone you love them – you should do that every day. I think the little, daily things that happen in your life between you and the ones you love should punctuate the life of love you share with them. It’s that simple.

But I’ve been treated extremely well today, and I am so grateful and lucky to have Jason.

Here is one of the most romantic music lyrics of all time, in my opinion. It is completely understated but poignant, all the same.

“You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years”

LISTEN: The National, “Slow Show”

(The photo, before I distorted it, was shot by the lovely Nadia Pirani)


Yay for weekends! I sometimes prefer not having plans because that truly signifies the presence of the weekend and the absence of weekly commitments.

But I am thrilled to have plans to visit Noble Ale Works in Anaheim tonight to sip some delish craft beers and taste a few of the area’s food truck offerings. And family and friends make it all the more enjoyable.

My relaxed mood today reminds me that though the week can be hectic with work, life is still pretty great.

Live in the O.C. area? I suggest checking out Noble some time, they are turning out some spectacular brews at a commendable rate. You can read up on such libations at Jason’s fantastic beer blog.

Here’s a parting song for you today…(by a ridiculously talented singer/songwriter/guitarist)…

LISTEN: Jose Gonzalez, “Down the Line”


It’s no secret I have a raging crush on Radiohead.

The group’s vast catalog of music keeps them always sounding timeless and fresh to me as I shuffle through their albums, depending upon my mood and the season, of course.

Recently, Jason and I hit up Sound Spectrum in Laguna Beach; a love-worn, decades-old record and music memorabilia shop just a block from the beach.

To our ever-growing collection we added The Big Come Up by The Black Keys and OK Computer, arguably my favorite Radiohead album (arguing with myself, naturally). The band put much thought into their vinyl packaging, embellishing the cover and inserts with art and encoding the two pressed records with a clever ‘eeny, meeny, miny, mo’ track system.

Today’s audiobox post is “Climbing Up The Walls,” a creeping, building, sexy and yet slightly demented song that drags intensely from start to finish. Thom Yorke’s voice is like honey coating daggers – something lovely that is lightly hiding something dangerous. As his voice intensifies, so too does the song, taking off in a whirlwind of distorted guitar and keyboard fuzz.

Enough from me, hear it for yourself.

LISTEN: “Climbing Up the Walls,” Radiohead

You can also preview the song on Amazon and buy it for 99 cents here.

Band of Horses, the Greek Theater

If you haven’t already, join the band wagon on liking these two groups.

They’ve both been around for quite some time, but movie soundtracks (Band of Horses) and highly-touted music festivals (Arcade Fire) are helping to hoist both bands to a more recognized status among music listeners.

I jumped on board with Arcade Fire in the beginning of their career with Funeral, when to me, they sounded like they were doing something so original, so raw, so unheard of by fusing indie rock with baroque/classical undertones. I still think they were, but everyone’s doin’ it these days.

I was a little late in acquainting myself with Band of Horses’ career – I latched onto Cease to Begin in 2007 (their second full-length album and arguably my favorite of their’s).

However, today I’m buzzin’ about the newest album by each (which are both nominated for a Grammy for best alernative rock album, Arcade Fire is also up for best album of the year).

Here are my favorite songs from each album, give em’ a listen and brighten up your Monday!

Band of Horses / “Neighbor”

Why it’s rad:  Front man Ben Bridwell’s twangy, smooth voice floats the song through, building with soulful organ tones. The end of the song crashes gently into the crescendo, pleasantly catching you off guard.

LISTEN HERE, “Neighbor”

Or purchase this song or the full album from Amazon HERE.

Arcade Fire / “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”

Why it’s rad: There’s a lovable, 80s-esque beat to this song that propels it forward in a refreshing fashion. It’s also a unique turn for this group – and I’d love to hear more like this.


Or purchase this song or the full album from Amazon HERE.

I have loved Murder By Death for a long time, now (thanks to best friend Laura), and the unique quality of their style keeps them sounding new to me every time.

Today I’m jammin’ on “Ash,” from 2008’s Red of Tooth and Claw, which is not even my favorite album by the band.

Lead singer Adam Turla’s voice has this gravely-yet-soft sound, cellist Sarah Balliet’s deep cello strokes add an ominous, gothic and lovely tone to the track. The steady drumming makes the song feel as if it is swirling up from the ground, taking flight.

And they’re from Indiana, my motherland, nonetheless.

LISTEN: “Ash,” Murder By Death

You can also preview the song on Amazon and buy it for 89 cents, HERE.

Mmmhmmm, it’s FRIDAY.

Fridays and other good days are worthy of – no, command – a stellar lineup of jams to reflect your snappy mood.

The Black Keys are clearly capable of producing such badassery to usher in a weekend, but their tune “Everlasting Light,” has that grungy, sexy, dripping-in-red-candy-syrup sound.

If I could drink this song, I would get drunk off of it.

LISTEN: The Black Keys, “Everlasting Light”

What’s on your Friday rotation?

Is it the weekend yet?

It’s only Tuesday (afternoon, thank goodness) but I sure am loving free time lately, spontaneous moments especially.

Not that the concept of ‘free time’ is something new to me, but I was stuck in bed last week with strep throat and though I love our apartment, it started to feel a little claustrophobic. But I do have to commend the work week for allowing me still the evenings, where I get to cook and listen to the new record player with Jason ❤

Speaking of records, I picked up two new ones this weekend from Fingerprints in Belmont Shores: Elliott Smith’s From a Basement on a Hill (his 2004 posthumous release produced by family and friends after he was found dead) and a sampling of Iron & Wine’s new album Kiss Each Other Clean.

If you don’t know who Elliott Smith is, he basically supplements the entire soundtrack for the film Goodwill Hunting with his darkly hollow, acoustic lullabies.

I’m still searching for Mr. Smith’s 1997 album, Either/Or on vinyl which contains the delicate, nostalgic fave of mine “Between the Bars.”

With that being said, I’ll make this daily gaze post an audiobox as well. How’d you like that double whammy?

Take that, Tuesday!

CLICK HERE to listen to “Between the Bars”

And, to come full circle with the spontaneous moment idea, that’s what the photo, above, depicts.

Doesn’t my mom take a lovely photograph?

Since the band surfaced in 2007, I have had my go-to winter soundtrack.

True, Bon Iver’s first album For Emma, Forever Ago was dropped in the summer, the band’s sound evokes a chilly, yet snug aura, as if personifying the bite felt in the air during winter; the crunch of snow underfoot.

Fittingly so, the name Bon Iver is meant to mimic the French phrase for ‘good winter.’ And, honestly, I wouldn’t have a good winter without this band.

I’m a seasonal music listener. I can’t listen to Bon Iver (much) in the summer. I can’t listen to Destroyer, Phoenix, MGMT, Surfer Blood or others (whom I discovered in the summer) when the weather is warm. Because it just feels off to me. It doesn’t quite fit. Which isn’t to say that these aren’t good, ‘every-time-listenable’ bands. But to me, certain music has a time and a place.

I often feel as though I have to ration this band to myself – aside from one full-length album and an EP (Blood Bank), Bon Iver’s unassuming ringleader Justin Vernon has since lent his vocals to side projects, duets and cameos. I treasure these few songs by Bon Iver…I don’t want to ever grow sick of them, skipping through them when they rotate through my iPod’s shuffle.

Which is why I am both sad and grateful that they halted touring live indefinitely to write more music.

What baffles me most is the group’s ability to make a raw, stripped sound come off feeling and sounding completely whole and fulfilling. And soulful. There are often just acoustic guitars holding up songs, with simple, barely-there drumming. It’s Vernon’s aching, beautiful, tormented falsetto that rounds out every song, speaking directly to that vulnerable piece of your core that you thought you’d hidden well enough.

Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it comforts.

Seeing Bon Iver play the Hollywood Forever Cemetery at sunrise last year was just about the most aptly placed performance I have ever witnessed. Since doors for the show opened at midnight and the band started near 5 a.m., it felt like I was just rubbing my eyes, sitting up to strain my sight as Bon Iver took the stage.

Vernon thanked the crowd, a sea of blankets on the grass, for ‘trusting me on this one’ by waiting to see his band play in a cemetery, no less, throughout the night and into the morning.

A thick, chilled fog rolled through the cemetery as the band passionately belted out every song in their catalog, struggling to keep their guitars tuned through the moist morning dew.

But it was honest, and a bit imperfect and hauntingly beautiful.

And it was just about winter time.

These are some songs I can’t live without in the winter:

“The Wolves (Act 1 & 2)” HERE

“Lump Sum” HERE

“Blood Bank” HERE

Hollywood Forever Cemetery performance 9.27.09

It is no secret that I borderline worship Minus the Bear.

I’ve seen these prog/math rock masters four times – three times THIS year (the Fox Theater in Pomona, Lollapalooza and The Wiltern) – and I wouldn’t mind seeing them 100 more times.

This band manages to seamlessly splice the most complex, chaotic of segments into the smoothest of songs. You’ll be listening to a calmer jam with a steady beat and liquid-like guitars when suddenly, you realize your face is being melted by an insane, measure-altering breakdown. But you didn’t see it coming, and you don’t realize it’s there until it is slapping you in the face.

And I just love that about Minus the Bear.

They’re also cool as hell and very funny guys in person.

The band’s second full-length album Planet of Ice is one of my top favorite albums of all time and the sexy-cool-slower track “When We Escape” stops me in my tracks still after countless listens.

It also perfectly displays their sneak-attack of awesomeness.


When I have had a rough week, I cling to music (and espresso) like they’re liferafts.

I just put on my headphones and caffeine up.

Hey, I didn’t say I was perfect. But, I DO listen to some pretty decent music, so let’s forget the coffee addiction for a sec (at least it isn’t crack?).

This is my ultimate safety blanket song. It’s like sucking your thumb, but for grownups. Although, The National often assume this role for me when I’m feeling less than perky, anyhow.

Obo and horns meet almost lazily at the beginning of the track, slowly joining and inviting steady, thudding drumming to the mix. Matt Berninger’s low baritone floats in, and you feel like someone has dimmed the lights, put a glass of red wine in your hand and draped a warm blanket over you. The hazy backup vocals beam in and you can just forget about it.

On listen number, oh, 23, I decided to share this with you.

LISTEN: The National, “The Geese Of Beverly Road”