Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Music for your Midweek: "Innocence" - Electric Youth

Took me a while to pick a last song of the year, but I think this is a pretty good one to end things on:

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

December Mix: Mirror Change

Here's a sweet, lonely little mix to finish out the year. The following 14 songs are a pretty good representation of what 2014 was to me as a whole:

1. Heavenly Day - Patty Griffin

2. 10,000 Emerald Pools - B├śRNS

3. The Day You Died - Phantogram

4. Quiet Nights - Catching Flies

5. Comfort Me - Feist

6. Clay Pigeons (Blaze Foley cover) - Michael Cera

7. Cameo Lover - Kimbra

8. Silver Line - Lykke Li

9. Locked in My Head - Radioactivity

10. The Next Episode (San Holo) - Dr. Dre

11. Seasons (Waiting On You) - Future Islands

12. Kissing You - Des'ree

13. Smile - Madeleine Peyroux

14. Reasons to Love You (Meiko cover) - George and Millie Parkinson

As for me, I'll most likely be listening to this old mix when the clock strikes midnight. It's a dear one to my heart.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Thursday Verse: "For the Time Being: A Christmas Oratorio" - W.H. Auden

This poem (actually a short book) was written during World War II. Below is an expert from the last portion of the poem:

Well, so that is that. Now we must dismantle the tree,
Putting the decorations back into their cardboard boxes --
Some have got broken -- and carrying them up to the attic.
The holly and the mistletoe must be taken down and burnt,
And the children got ready for school. There are enough
Left-overs to do, warmed-up, for the rest of the week --
Not that we have much appetite, having drunk such a lot,
Stayed up so late, attempted -- quite unsuccessfully --
To love all of our relatives, and in general
Grossly overestimated our powers. Once again
As in previous years we have seen the actual Vision and failed
To do more than entertain it as an agreeable
Possibility, once again we have sent Him away,
Begging though to remain disobedient servant,
The promising child who cannot keep His word for long.
The Christmas Feast is already a fading memory,
And already the mind begins to be vaguely aware
Of an unpleasant whiff of apprehension at the thought
Of Lent and Good Friday which cannot, after all, now
Be very far off. But, for the time being, here we all are,
Back in the moderate Aristotelian city
Of darning and the Eight-Fifteen, where Euclid's geometry
And Newton's mechanics would account for our experience,
And the kitchen table exists because I scrub it.
It seems to have shrunk during the holidays. The streets
Are much narrower than we remembered; we had forgotten
The office was as depressing as this. To those who have seen
The Child, however dimly, however incredulously,
the Time Being is, in a sense, the most trying time of all.
For the innocent children who whispered so excitedly
Outside the locked door where they knew the presents to be
Grew up when it opened. Now, recollecting that moment
We can repress the joy, but the guilt remains conscious;
Remember the stable where for once in our lives
Everything became a You and nothing was an It.
And craving the sensation but ignoring the cause,
We look round for something, no matter what, to inhibit
Our self-reflection, and the obvious thing for that purpose
Would be some great suffering. Wo, once we have met the Son,
We are tempted ever after to pray to the Father;
"Lead us into temptation and evil for our sake."
They will come, all right, don't worry; probably in a form
That we do not expect, and certainly with a force
More dreadful than we can imagine. In the meantime
There are bills to be paid, machines to keep in repair,
Irregular verbs to learn, the Time Being to redeem
From insignificance. The happy morning is over,
The night of agony still to come; the time is noon:
When the spirit must practice his scales of rejoicing
Without even a hostile audience, and the Soul endure
A silence that is neither for nor against her faith
That God's Will will be done, That, in spite of her prayers,
God will cheat no one, not even the world of its triumph. 
He is the Way.
Follow Him through the Land of Unlikeness;
You will see rare beasts, and have unique adventures. 
He is the Truth.
Seek Him in the kingdom of Anxiety;
You will come to a great city that has expected your return for years. 
He is the Life.
Love him in the World of the Flesh;
And at your marriage all its occasions shall dance for joy. 

-- W.H. Auden 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Music for your Midweek: "Silent Night"

Hope you all have a Happy Christmas tomorrow. Here's something a little jazzy to get your holidays started:

I'm reading Chet Baker's biography right now. Heartbreaking.

And one in German, for my dad:

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thursday Verse: "Those Winter Sundays" - Robert Hayden

My dad passed away a year and a half ago. We will be celebrating what would have been his 56th birthday this Saturday. Be nice to your fathers.

Those Winter Sundays

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he'd call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 
Speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love's austere and lonely offices?

- Robert Hayden

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Music for your Midweek: "La quiero a morir"

My taste in music changed drastically on my mission. the cheesier the better. One of my very favorite songs that we would hear on combis and buses was DLG's (Dark Latin Groove!!!!) "La Quiero a Morir" :

It wasn't till after my mission that I discovered the true story behind this song. It was originally written in French by Frances Cabrel and released in 1979. It was a huuuugeee hit, and so he decided to release a version in Spanish in 1980 which made it an even HUGER hit. Sort of like the Hallelujah of latin america.

Shakira does a lovely version...

and so does Jarabe de Palo and Alejandro Sanz...

But you gotta watch DLG perform it live. It is a sight to behold.

It doesn't even matter if they're a little flat.
Watch them dance.
Toooooo sexy.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Thursday Verse: "Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening" - Rachel Sherwood

Mysteries of Afternoon and Evening
The wind is fitful now:
soot piles in the corners
of new buildings,
gulls stumble out of place
in ragged branches
to skim against a rise
of pond water. 
The children watch, breathless
with the birds.
They feel an emanation
from this shuddering place. 
This winter evening
the sky cracks with cardinal color
and we sit in cooing wonder
like dwarves at the Venetian court
must have done -
amazed at Tiepolo's sunshot ceilings;
like us, they were fickle,
aware of smaller inconstancy.
But the dazzle above, enclosing
seems fit or made for this
fragment of belief. 

                                                          - Rachel Sherwood

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Music for your Midweek: "For Today I Am A Boy" - Antony Hegarty and Franco Battiato

You are not really an adult until you hit certain milestones, and apparently my generation is not measuring up. I know many of us don't feel settled, or at least feel the pressure of not accomplishing what's expected of us. This contrast is especially felt in the LDS church, where even church services are kept separate between young, unmarried members and the "general" family population. Until we are married, we cannot meet our full potential. We are children.

Antony Hegarty has the tenderest of souls, and this is one of his most tender songs. It somehow manages to make me feel hopeful and sad all at once. Not sure Anthony would agree with the way I've applied his lyrics to my life, but I think he would be sympathetic.

Listen. It's beautiful.

That particular track comes from a album/performance with Franco Battiato. Watch them perform "You Are My Sister" together below:

And a devastating version of "Crazy In Love":

P.S. This album would make a great Christmas present...

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thursday Verse: "Shall the Good Go Down" - Langston Hughes

Shall the Good Go Down?

All over the world
Shall the good go down? 
Were they good there?
Of did some devil come
To scourge their evil bare? 
Shall the good go down? 
Who makes fine speeches
Far from the ravaged town? 
Were folks good there?
Or did some god
Mete punishment
Who did not care? 
Who makes fine speeches
Far from the beaten town? 
Shall the good go down? 
Are we good?
Did we care?
Or did we weary when they said,
Your theme wears bare?
Boring anywhere. 
Shall the good go down? 
Who are the good?
Where is their