Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Blog Has Moved!

Hi friends/followers! I am really excited to announce that this blog is "moving on up" to a deluxe domain name in the sky!

Please come visit me at . . .


There'll be all kinds of fun new additions! Contests! Prizes! The answers to life's biggest questions! Nudity! Free Beer! Fan Art! Concert Reviews! Unicorns! Cake Pops! Videos! The Fountain of Youth! Some of these are even true and better still...its all FREE!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

PM - "Important", Maps & Atlases

Five months. Five whole months lost that I could've been living inside of this new LP, Beware and Be Grateful, by Maps & Atlases.  There's just SO much music out there, ya know? I bookmark things to go back and listen to or create playlists on Spotify and sometimes something slips through the cracks.  I really wish this hadn't been one of them because here, ladies and gents, is a gem that is definitely going to find a spot on my Top 10 Favorites of 2012.  I could have had five more months with my new love. Ah well, I promise we'll make up for lost time.

This song is a standout, for me.  It makes me think about how people who don't obsess about music never quite get those of us who do. "It is very important for you to know what I was listening to and it is very important for you to know that I was thinking of you."  For some of us, songs are our way of navigating the world. We would be rudderless and probably spend most of our days on this terrible and beautiful planet in a state of total confusion. The right song, at the right moment can make you adjust your vision and see things with clarity.  Its like when I was 13 and put contacts in for the first time.  Before then (because I was a vain little thing who wouldn't wear her glasses) all the trees in the world were just blobs of green until I got close to them.  When the contacts went in, everything was sharp and I could see every individual leaf from far away, everything was more richly textured and it all screamed for my attention.  Sometimes too loudly. There are times, especially as I get older, where I miss how I used to see the world, when I'd have to get very close to anything to see it clearly but when I did I saw all the details that someone with better vision might have missed. I think my poor vision is part of what led me down a path to making art. Anyway, I digress, the point I was making is that music does the same thing. Some songs bring our hazy realities into clear focus and others soften all the sharp edges. There are songs that make you understand your own heart, your own life better and there are those that bring the perplexing actions of others into perspective.  For those of us who lose ourselves in songs all day we bring something out with us when we surface for air.  It is very important for you to know what we were listening to, that we were thinking of you.  That is, its important if you want to know us at all.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Perfectly Aligned", Milo Greene

Milo Greene's music makes you feel ooey gooey. Its like someone has dipped you in caramel and then rinsed you clean under a gently cascading waterfall, dried you off with a velveteen towel, wrapped you in yardages of gauze and feathers, filled your belly with pot roast and mashed potatoes, laid you down in a bed made out of puppies and snuggled you under a cover stitched from cotton candy and dandelion fluff.  Floaty and full and hazy and so, so very happy.

I also think that their series of videos for songs from their self-titled debut album are beyond brilliant.  Each is a snippet of time in the relationship of this man and woman but it doesn't really matter what order you watch them in. I hope there are more coming!

P.S. Now I totally want pot roast.

P.P.S. No puppies were harmed in the making of this imaginary bed.  The puppies are all sleeping and you are floaty and weightless so you can't hurt them. Um...duh...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Review - An Under Cover Weekend Night 2

Gah! I don't even know where to start. Deep breath.

You know how you can sometimes talk an event up in your head? You make it out that its going to be the end all - be all experience? This is why New Year's Eve ends up being a total bummer sometimes. Too much pressure!  I was starting to fear that I was amping up AUCW too much in my head and on my facebook page and twitter feed. But I just couldn't stop myself, when I'm excited... I am EXCITED, dammit.  I just had a sneaking suspicion it was going to be...wait for it Barney....legendary.

Holy shitballs, my happy little head nearly imploded from pure joy.

Arthur and the Librarian, my "new to me", favorite local band, kicked it off and reaffirmed my love for them.  Arthur Crittenden did a bang up Paul Simon from wig to turtleneck to soft spoken tones.  Its just so apparent how much fun they all have playing together and goofing off together.  Chuck Crittenden should patent his dance moves and MAN can that guy play. I was seriously impressed. My only disappointment was that Aubrey, in the role of Garfunkel, really got the shaft sound-wise, so to speak. For most of the set, she could barely be heard and I was front and center. She has got a kick ass voice and I was kind of getting ticked for her.  What I ain't mad about though is that they ended the show with my request and completely nailed it. Jubilation!

Authenticity Award of the night goes to Bredon Jones, vocalist for Last to Show First to Go. From the pork-chop sideburns to facial expressions to the sound of his voice...he had Neil Young DOWN. I loved the "Fuck Factory Farms" tshirts, two of which he threw out to the crowd 'cause, "fuck consumerism too. "  His rendition of "The Needle and The Damage Done" was the most somber and moving moment of the night. Trumpet player Miriam Keller and Guitarist Mikey Naucas were real talent standouts and the band as a whole gave the impression that they came out of the womb playing these songs. Unbelievable.

Let me just take a moment to clue you in that I am completely ambivalent about ABBA.  I am neither a lover nor a hater...their music has just always been kind of there. I don't know, maybe I heard "Dancing Queen" too many times at high school dances. Well, Palace along with members of Scarlet Tanager slapped that ambivalence off of my smug little face and made me DANCE MY FRIGGIN A OFF.  These kids are infectious but like a good tropical disease that feels more like a life transforming hallucination than your end of days. The crowd completely, collectively lost their shit.

The dance party continued with Dots Not Feathers dressed in various incarnations of  Michael Jackson fashion choices. This was much more of a sing-along set than the other acts and I loved all the little touches like glittery gloves being tossed around in the crowd and the zombie dancers, zig-zagging through the crowd doing the famous routine when Thriller was played at the end.  Here's the thing too, one of the main purposes of AUCW is to draw attention to local music and help concert go-er's discover a new band in hopes that they will then go see what they play on a regular basis.  After the show I hunted down a few tracks by Dots Not Feathers and they could not be more up my alley if they were parked in it. I cannot WAIT to go see them play their own stuff!

Cherry on top?  Via Dove as Aersosmith.  I am not sure this city can contain Andy Shadburne. Who is this dude? Seriously that man can SANG.  Organizer Mike Tomko joined in the fun and I applaud him for really committing to the wig for the whole show. He had to be sweating blazes under that thing. I have to admit I did feel kind of old because I had to move to the back of the room at that point as my elderly eardrums were protesting.  The energy was just as high back there though and it was SO fun to see friends of mine from college Jimmy Vavak, who joined Via Dove on bass for the set, and Bryan Tucker with the rest of the Robb Steele crew who joined in "Walk This Way" as RUN DMC. What a fun surprise and the perfect end to an evening that indeed did NOT disappoint and exceeded my expectations.

Finally (bigger deep breath), I think a certain article published  in a certain publication in this city, prior to the show,  got it all wrong. Now they asked some valid questions which have, I think, been more than adequately answered. I just think it could've been done in a much classier way.  There's a way to get your concerns addressed without being a pompous jerk about it.  I make no apologies for the fact that I am more of a professional gusher than I am a "reviewer". I mean I will certainly bring up things in my writing that need to be addressed (i.e. a performer who is way too inebriated to be performing, bad sound, an off night or an off album) but I think its the responsibility of anyone who writes about music, really anyone who writes about anything, to maintain a level of respect and avoid trying to be confrontational for confrontation's sake or tear things down when all you are really looking for are answers to some questions.

That particular publication (I don't feel the need to name them because if you are reading this, you know freaking good and well who they are and they don't need any more links and publicity than they already get) has, over the last decade or so, gotten itself a reputation for always trying to find the latest scandal or exposé.  The author was right about one thing...not everything has to be such a BFD.  In fact, PKB (pot, kettle, black).  I for one (of many I do believe) am grateful for all the hard work, brilliant social media skills, high level of artistry and performer commitment that goes into AUCW. Come hell or high water, I am going to BOTH nights next year.

This is the first in a five part series of videos put out by AUCW to promote the event. That's right. Smart people do make a BFD out of promotion. Sorry. I couldn't resist. Hope you watch the rest and SERIOUSLY go look at some of the gorgeous photography work of Jason Stoff and Bryan Sutter. Unbelievable.

The Beginning: An Under Cover Weekend from Mike Tomko on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

"(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" and "My Girl" Otis Redding covers The Rolling Stones and The Temptations

I am going to end Cover Week here at amnoonpm with my man Otis.  Super excited about Night 2 of An Under Cover Weekend at Firebird!  Ready to shake it, shake it baby!

PM - "Tonight, Tonight" Passion Pit covers Smashing Pumpkins

This is just such a pretty version, so crystal clear and shot through with sparkles.  The Smashing Pumpkins original drags you along the ground and scrapes you up with gritty vocals then grabs you by the hair and exposes your throat to drain you like a vampire. The Passion Pit  cover gently locks pinkie fingers with you and floats you upward to soar over clouds and rainbows. Look, there's a unicorn! Now we're all eating ice cream cones! Now glitter is raining down upon us!  I like both versions, it all depends on the mood you're in, ya know?

AM - "Glory Days", The Avett Brothers cover Bruce Springsteen

It appears that The Avett Bros shoved all their equipment into a janitor's closet and decided to rock out to a little Springsteen.  Nice.

Friday, September 7, 2012

PM - "Postcards From Italy", Florence Welch covers Beirut

When I first heard Florence and the Machine's masterful LP,  Lungs, I immediately went on a youtube search for videos and it wasn't long before I stumbled upon this gem.  I mean Florence can sing anything really, but gives this such poignancy that I think its among her best vocal performances.  Hope you are enjoying Cover Week and if you are in the St. Louis area I hope you'll come support AUCW starting tonight!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

PM - "These Days", Elliot Smith covers Jackson Browne

It is still devastating to me that this man is gone from the world.

PM - "Between The Bars", Metric covers Elliot Smith

Just to catch you up if you are just checking in, this week on amnoonpm its all cover songs, all in honor of An Under Cover Weekend here in St. Louis.

Metric covers Elliot Smith. Has anything more perfect ever happened, ever?

PM - "The Book of Love", Airborne Toxic Event covers Magnetic Fields

If there was a machine that measured your love for a song and I was hooked up to it while this played, I would flat out break the damn thing. Like we're talking springs sproinging out and sides falling off and smoke coming out of the top.  It is, in fact, one of the most important songs to me in the whole history of songs.

This version simply crushes me. I am a Janet shaped puddle on the floor.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

PM - "Take On Me", A.C. Newman covers A-ha

The other day I waxed poetic about the intersection of visual and aural arts inspired by the dulcet tones of dear Mr. Newman.

Today I share this because 13 year old me like totally loved this song. For sure.

PM - "Bohemian Rhapsody", The Muppets reprise Queen

I mean...Beaker's part,"me me me"? Serious giggles.

PM - "Jailhouse Rock", Queen covers Elvis Presley

I take it as very good juju that the anniversary of my blog coincides with the birthday of one Mr. Freddie Mercury, who would have been 66 freaking fabulous years old today.  My adoration of him is well known amongst those close to me and more than once have they had to listen to me prattle on about how I think he was meant to be my gay boyfriend but we got star-crossed. I guess technically he would have been my bi-boyfriend. Eh...labels shmabels...we'd have been so happy together.

Wherever you are in the cosmos, dear Freddie, I hope you are having a rocking good birthday. XO

NOON - Happy Anniversary to amnoonpm! "When U Love Somebody", The Decemberists cover The Fruit Bats

Happy Anniversary Dear Blog! I began this endeavor one year ago on an absolute whim. I was taking a walk in my neighborhood and one of my favorite Decemberists songs "Rise to Me" came on. It fit so perfectly with the feeling of the day, the sweet sunshine andI was feeling inspired to really make some big changes in my attitude and in what kind of life I want to carve out for myself. The song was the soundtrack to that walk. That led me to thinking about how every single day has its own soundtrack...morning, noon and night and this is how a blog gets born.

I have so many ideas and plans for this little space that I hope to implement in the upcoming year. I want to thank all of you who come to visit and I'd like to really encourage you to start commenting! I love to hear your thoughts!

So I figure it's only appropriate that we come full circle and kick off cover week with this little gem by The Decemberists! The Fruit Bats, in just a few simple lines created such a catchy little tune and I love the energy that The Decemberists bring to it. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Celebrating Cover Songs!

In honor of St. Louis' 6th annual, An Under Cover Weekend this coming weekend (check out my preview for playback:STL, HERE), the rest of the week is devoted to some of my favorite covers!

Its kind of an obsession of mine, finding really good cover songs.  I love hearing favorite artists take on something that is meaningful to them that another person created and I love hearing a favorite song turned on its head and made into something new.

Here are links to some of the covers I've already featured here on amnoonpm. Keep checking back this week for some more of my favorites. If you have a favorite cover, I would LOVE to hear from you! Leave a message in the comments section.

"The Chain", Reignwolf covers Fleetwood Mac

"Into the Mystic", The Swell Season covers Van Morrison

"Wildflowers", Tristen covers Dolly Parton

"Strangers", Wye Oak covers The Kinks

"This Must Be the Place", Shawn Colvin covers The Talking Heads

"Circle", J. Mascis covers Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians

"Flaws" Yasemin Turan covers Bastille

"Disarm" The Civil Wars cover Smashing Pumpkins

Thursday, August 30, 2012

PM - "Digging Shelters", Neil Halstead

We have hit one of those points in the year where I am no longer happy with the season and feel itchy for it to change. Today its 91 grumpy inducing degrees but my impatient internal clock says it should be crisp and cool.  There should be cold rainy days and boots and fires in the fireplace.  I don't want it to be August anymore. I want to put sundresses in the back of the closet and put the big fluffy comforter back on my bed.

Come February, it will be the opposite and the cycle continues...mostly happy with the season until its just stuck around too long.  Summer, I will love you again but right now it makes me sick to look at you. "Let there be spaces in your togetherness" says Kahlil Gibran.  Summer, I need some space.

To me, this song feels just like autumn easing into winter.  I want to snuggle up in it. Looking forward to the release of this album in November, which I plan on playing as the soundtrack to our first snowfall.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

NOON - "The Myth of Youth", Geographer

Okay Geographer album, you are my new best friend. We are going to braid each other's hair, share secrets, maybe even prick our fingers and bond with blood.  You may be the alpha dog in our relationship because I feel a little inferior, but at the same time you have that way of building me up and making me feel empowered. If someone called you names on the playground, I would throw down for you. I totally have your back, Geographer...but I'll let you lead the way.

AM - "I'm Not Talking", AC Newman

This song is pure bliss and really falls in line with what I've been thinking about a lot lately which is the intersection of visual art and music. Because I would like to expand into designing art for musicians (albums, posters, tshirts, etc.), I think a lot about how a song or collection of songs would translate into a visual representation.  Songs, just like a piece of visual art, are a collection of textures and layers.  When I was an art teacher, I would do this exercise with the kids where they listen to a piece of music and draw an abstract representation of how the music made them feel.  Colors and lines, use of perspective, deciding on a shallow composition or using a lot of depth of field; All of these things can be translated from or into a piece of music. 

This particular song, from The New Pornographer's Carl Newman's newest solo album, has this floaty, nostalgic feel to it.  Like fluff from seed pods blowing in a breeze, all curving lines and soft, hazy, late summer colors...golds and greens, shimmering and floating across a page.

Friday, August 17, 2012

PM - "Hell's Bells", Shovels & Rope

Dear sweet, baby incarnations of Jesus, Buddha, Isis, Lao Tzu, and whoever else's godly power is necessary...please bring these people back to my fair city of St. Louis so as that I may bask in the awesomeness that I can only imagine is their live show.  I am pissed, pissed, pissed that they played at Off Broadway in March and fate deals me the cruel round of not knowing who the hell they were. I just found them yesterday. sob.

Cary Ann Hearst's voice reminds me of Martha Wainwright with a country twang. Delicious. 

I need a shot of whiskey after this...Happy Weekend ya'll!