So, Day Two of the Music Diary Project. As I mentioned on Monday, the Music Diary Project involves keeping a diary of what you’ve listened to from Monday, April 4th to Sunday, April 10th. People are participating in the Music Diary Project for all different reasons, but my participation is driven by a) an near obsessive tendency towards self-documentation and b) a desire to see how what I listen to on any given day is in tension with (or reinforces) that ways in which I publicly present my listening habits on blogging platforms like WordPress and Tumblr.
On Tuesday, April 5th, I listened to the following:
- Mike Watt, hyphenated-man (last 10 songs)
I started listening to this album yesterday, but only made it through the first 2/3. I hate to leave an album unfinished, so I made a note to finish it first thing in the office this morning. The album was alright, but I feel like it’s too much for be to absorb in one (or even two) listens. I have a hard time keeping up with the songs — they come so fast and furious. Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten really into fIREHOSE, so the songs on hyphenated-man were a bit of a stretch for me. It’s likely that I would get into this album if I could become more familiar with it, but I don’t know if I have the right sensibilities as a listener to do so. I may try slotting some of the tracks into a mix with other Watt stuff and see how I absorb them then…
- Sebadoh, Harmacy
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, Drew and I went to see Sebadoh on Monday night. I had such a great experience at the show that I knew walking back to the car that I would be listening to a lot of Sebadoh/Lou Barlow the next day. Sitting at my desk, working through some early morning mundane tasks, every song on Harmacy sounded perfect.
- Sibylle Baker, “The End” (embedded on Tumblr)
I don’t often listen to music posted on Tumblr unless it’s something that a) I already like or b) is paired with a description that catches my attention. I don’t know what exactly motivated me to listen to this song, but I’ll cop to feeling a little underwhelmed by it. I’m very, very particular about slow songs and rarely make the space/time for them in my listening, so I suppose it’s no surprise that this didn’t really resonate with me.
- Ke$ha featuring Andre 3,000, “Sleazy (Remix)” (embedded on Tumblr)
I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but when I’m in the car I like to listen to Top 40 radio. (Don’t get me wrong, Cleveland has a vibrant college radio community and I have favorite indie rock and pop programs that I listen to on the weekends, but if I’m running to the grocery store on a Wednesday night, I’m probably going to turn the dial to a commercial station. I noticed that I first started tuning into Top 40 radio when I was teaching 10th grade English and my students called me a hippy for liking Liz Phair.) Anyway, being a casual Top 40 listener, I would estimate that I’ve heard Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R” roughly a million times… and I don’t hate it. I get it stuck in my head a lot. If I end up having the same exposure to “Sleazy,” I will also probably start to really like it. What can I say? I am a sucker for things that are formulated for maximum catchiness, I guess. As long as I’m talking about Ke$ha, I may as well point you towards “Women With A Vocoder,” an essay that I would recommend to anyone who like to think “too much” about pop music.
- Persian Rugs, “Always All” (embedded on Tumblr)
The a-side from their forthcoming single with Cloudberry Records. I am so into this song, but keep forgetting about it, so every time I hear it it’s like I’m discovering my new favorite band. Their single will be out on May 15th and I can’t wait. Something about this song reminds me of the Moshi Moshi: Pop International Style compilation… There’s a sunniness to the sound of this song that wins me over every time.
- Gin Blossoms, “Hey Jealousy” (embedded on Tumblr)
I’ve always had a soft spot for the radio-friendly alternative pop of the Gin Blossoms (especially “Allison Road”), so when I saw this on my Tumblr dash, I had no reason to say no to listening to it. Even now, many years beyond the height of my suburban teenagerdom, I still feel my heart weaken a little at the lines, “we can drive around this town/let the cops chase us around.”
- Sebadoh, Bakesale (Sub Pop)
After my brief detour down my Tumblr dash, I returned to my planned regimen of Sebadoh and it’s blissful. Just like my earlier listening of Harmacy, every single song on this album sounds perfect.
- Uzeda, “What I Meant When I Called Your Name” (embedded on Tumblr)
I listened to this because the description mentioned Albini and spoke highly of the track. It didn’t do much for me, but I also wasn’t listening very attentively. Occasionally listening to new things reminds me that I am, oftentimes, a creature of habit and am very resistant to things that are new to me, unless I have a framework to slot them into.
- Radical Dads, “Recklessness” and “I am the Father of Myself” (embedded on Tumblr)
When Maria posted this, she described it as “very good noisy lo-fi indie rock,” which is a whole lot of what I like to listen to. This was good, but didn’t have much staying power for me. I may come back to it later and see if I still like it.
- Jason Loewenstein, At Sixes and Sevens
I had never listened to any of Jason Loewenstein’s solo stuff before, but when Drew and I were leaving the Sebadoh show last night, he said that he thought I’d really like it and most of the time (maybe 70%?) when he recommends something to me, he’s right, so I queued the album up for listening and (sure enough) really, really liked it. It’s definitely an album I see myself listening to in the future.
- Allo Darlin’, “Atlantic City”
2009 and 2010 were the years that I began to really listen to/enjoy Bruce Springsteen. Awhile ago I was at a Half Price Books rummaging through used CDs and stumbled upon the 2-CD comp from Where It’s At Is Where You Are, Skip Some School, Play Some Pool, Act Real Cool: A Global Pop Tribute to Bruce Springsteen, and immediately snatched it up (while wondering who on earth would have ordered it only to give it up later.) I posted Allo Darlin’s cover of “Atlantic City” on Tumblr sometime last week and when I saw that Julia had reblogged it, I stopped to give it another listen. It is still hauntingly beautiful, still pretty much near perfect.
- Lou Barlow, Lou Barlow and Friends: Another Collection of Home Recordings
And I continue with Sebadoh/Sebadoh-related projects! I queued this up for listening after my friend Jess mentioned Barlow’s cover of Bryan Adams’ “Run to You.”
- Vivian Girls, Share the Joy
When I stepped out of the office and went home for lunch, I found that my pre-order of the new Vivian Girls album had arrived. I didn’t have time to listen to the record at home, so I made a mental note to listen to it back at the office before writing something about it for this blog. I’ve only listened to Share the Joy a handful of times (this listen was, I think, my seventh), but the album has been a real grower for me. When I first listened to the album, I wasn’t that wowed by “I Heard You Say” (the “single”), but now I find myself humming the opening all the time… Listening to/thinking about Share the Joy makes me want to listen to older Vivian Girls’ albums to see how StJ fits in with their larger body of work.
- fIREHOSE, Live at the Music Machine (Santa Clara, CA, 8/25/89)
On Monday night Kim posted a link to this fIREHOSE live set on Tumblr and I immediately downloaded it and made a note to listen to it. The set starts out with a bunch of Who covers, which is pretty cool, and the originals are mostly stuff from If’n and fROMOHIO, my two favorite fIREHOSE albums. Listening to live versions of “Riddle of the Eighties,” “If’n,” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Cotton” reminds me of just how much I love fIREHOSE and how perfect their music is for flat midwestern plains.
At this point in the day, I know that I don’t have enough time to listen to another album, so I scroll through Tumblr and listen to some things that people have posted.
- Cold Cave, “Underworld, USA”
- The Siddeleys, “Wherever You Go”
- Childish Gambino, “Break” (I still have a lot of tension listening to this, perhaps moreso than I did upon my first listen — I love the sound, but need to work out my feelings about moments in the lyrics… I still don’t know exactly how Donald Glover is using Childish Gambino to play with conventions of coolness, particularly w/in rap and how lyrics that seem to objectify and other women of color interact w/ his desire to “play” w/ the aforementioned conventions.)
- The Nightmares, “Baseball Altamont”
After work Drew and I run some errands. We listen to a big chunk of NPR before the news becomes too depressing and we decide to switch to music. Drew picks out the following to listen to:
- Candy Hearts, Ripped Jeans & Silly Dreams (Augh, I really, really did not like this. Don’t get me wrong, I like pop punk, but this was way too saccharine for me. Not into it.)
- Sebadoh, “Soul and Fire” (I think his initial plan was to listen to all of Bubble and Scrape, but apparently there was some awful high pitched noise accompanying the track? I don’t know. I couldn’t hear it. He couldn’t finish listening to the song b/c of the noise, so we switched to something else.)
- Sebadoh, Bakesale (We listened to about the first half of this. This time around it was definitely background music for me, having already listened to it earlier in the day.)
- Mike Watt, hyphenated-man (When Drew realized that he had this on his iPod, he decided to listen to it… I really wasn’t in the mood to hear it again, though it did feel like less of a challenge to listen to since I didn’t have a pounding headache this time around. We made it through about the first ten songs before we got home. I’m still not sold on this one.)