I don’t blog much these days, especially not here. It’s hard to find the time to write long form posts about anything and the way that I’ve listened to music has changed so much since I last posted. I no longer live in a home with a working stereo system, so I only listen to music either on my laptop (the tinny sound of laptop speakers making everything sound just a little off), in the car (a mix of the radio and the same playlist I’ve had on my iPhone for the last year), or at work (streaming albums via Spotify, the sound of what I’m listening to constantly drowned out by ringing phones).
Yesterday I was talking to April about how new music seems so hard to come by. There are a few new things that I like and am excited about, but for the most part the music that makes me happiest is old, old, old (particularly by internet standards). I’m going to fewer shows these days and I’m buying fewer albums, but I still think that music matters & three old things that have mattered most this year are:
Dinosaur Jr., “Freak Scene”
The Friday night before the fourth of July, Matt and I went to a crummy neighborhood bar to drink and play that MegaTouch game where you spot the differences between two “sexy” photos. The bar was practically empty and only perfect 80s/90s college radio songs were playing – “What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?”, “Fade Into You” (P.S. what is up with this song? I heard it in three separate places on the same day this week ), “Cannonball.” When “Freak Scene” came on, I couldn’t resist the urge to say, “I think this is one of the best love songs ever written,” whispering into my drink: just don’t let me fuck up, will you/when I need a friend it’s still you.
The Flying Burrito Brothers, “Hot Burrito No. 2”
Right before I moved out of my apartment, my friends Brittany and Pat came to visit me and we went to a party hosted by one of Brittany’s friends from high school. At the end of the night, there were just a few of us left sitting around the stereo. “We should really get going ” kept turning into “ok, but just one more song,” and while most of what we heard was culled from the greatest hits of our youth (Bone Thugs, Rilo Kiley, probably some Bright Eyes), “Hot Burrito No. 2” somehow got thrown into the mix. A song like this can make you ask some dark questions about your life, but in that moment I was just thankful to be embraced by Gram’s voice and the same familiar sadness that always comes along with it.
Mary Timony, “Blood Tree”
I’ve been listening to The Golden Dove a lot lately. Like at least once a day. There’s a quiet, decisive perfectness about that album. It’s like the perfect cross between a Mary Gaitskill story and a pack of tarot cards and The Animal Family and all the darkest, strongest, most raw parts of yourself (which I guess is technically covered by “a Mary Gaitskill story.”) I don’t normally grow into music, but the older I get, the better this album sounds. I love the feeling of driving along the shoreway, gray waves crashing on the rocks and me, snarling along with Mary, “give and give and never ask” (the only other lyric that I can think of that gives me the same level of satisfaction is “I ain’t no goddamn foster home” in “I’m Not Your Mother” by Blake Babies).