PORTISHEAD IS COMING TO NEW ZEALAND!!! And I think I am going to cry/die a slow and painful (but beautifully painful) emotional death when I hear them on November 10th. This Friday, 9am, I know where I’ll be – logged on, buying 2x tickets to guarantee the boy and I a sentimentally-charged evening in three months’ time – whilst simultaneously trying to finish my composition. According to my Last.fm account, I’ve listened to Portishead 369 times in the past seven days. It’s largely been driven by sleepless nights and the constant urge to dip into the pool of feeling that they bring me.
I really need to get out of this blogging-a-huge-post-once-a-week pattern, but it’s been really hard to break when my week days just seem to run into one another. And then there’s the Sundays, where it feels like my entire week has caught up to me. Today I woke at 1pm and then proceeded to nap the rest of the day, to a soundtrack of TV-noise and cooking going on in the kitchen. I wish my composition assignment that is due 30% of my Arranging & Composition paper would just write itself. And that these songs I’m meant to have memorised by Wednesday would miraculously wire themselves into my brain, electronically. If only.
Stressful rantings aside, this is turning out to be quite a photo-clogged post. Things I have done lately:
My sister was cleaning out the depths of her “stuff in storage” at the back of her wardrobe, and I found some of our old toys. Beloved animals, in varying ages of sentimentally old, or detachedly new.
Earlier this month, Liv took these photos of Flakey and I when I was napping on the couch. I didn’t know these existed until I caught her looking at them a few hours ago!
Isn’t he cute, squished up against me, aww.
A very talented fellow-female-bass-player friend of mine invited me around for dinner the other night. She cooked amazing lamb racks and even made delicious dark chocolate and banana tart that was served hot out of the oven and accompanied by ice cream. Divine, just divine. So this is how amazing she is “before”, and hopefully we’ll soon find out how good her cooking will get as she leaves in two days’ time to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris!
The beloved, tucking in my oldest, oldest beloveds.
A “before” shot of my hair. Then I dyed it. And ran out of hair dye. And had to use many, many more bottles.
Tequila shot, courtesy of an old friend.
The “after” colour of my hair. I think once the roots come out I’ll change the colour up again. I don’t know why I haven’t dyed my hair in the years since my blue/purple tints or red streaks phase. Oh wait, that’s because 1/ I’m too lazy and 2/ I’m terrible at dealing with my hair. Thus I never brush it. Ever. And it miraculously looks fine.
Liv and I, outside dear old jazz school at about 3am, after Friday night turned into Saturday morning.
Following this, I froze outside as my feeble knocks on the boy’s door took far too long to wake him up at 4 or 5am as I was seeking a warm bed. And for the sake of my obsessive documentation, the rest of Saturday happened as follows:
– Won my hockey game 2-1, after we were scored against, we worked doubly hard to bring the score back to our side; I didn’t play very well offensively, which isn’t very helpful for a left winger (at one point I got sandwiched by the goalie in front and two defenders slamming into the back of me), but I did better than usual defensively which was good.
– Went to a friend’s house for Hell’s pizza, wedges, Saporo and far too much fizzy drink and ice cream. It was good catching up with everyone, what with all the changes we’ve gone through, yet seeing how little we’ve all changed underneath it all.
– After some debate over the situation I watched the football with the boy in the end, seeing Liverpool off to a clear 2-nil win over Arsenal. Don’t even get me started on how obsessed with Liverpool the boy is… I’ve been a bit of a fickle football watcher over the years, but maybe I’ll settle my alliances in the end. In the meantime, I’m disappointingly glad that I didn’t stay up til 5am watching the All Blacks’ defeat. Damn I’m nervous about the Rugby World Cup. Most especially because it is going to be happening RIGHT HERE, very, very, veeeery soon.
And now, for the playlist. I can’t stop making them, seriously.
1. Rock On – Love Inks
A cover of David Essex’s ’70’s hit… and actually, now that I listen to the original, it’s not bad at all! The song is definitely growing on me (both versions!) but the problem is, I feel like it’s a buildup to essentially nothing. I think the good contrast is that Love Inks’ version is obviously more contemporary, without the cheesy backing instrumentals. I love the bass hook though. Damn, caught out bass-line-lovin again.
2. Atlas – Battles
Bring back the memories, baby. It’s becoming more evident with each and every new playlist what my “3 playlist habits are”. Or perhaps more like “3 music affinities” are. Those being: bass lines, duos, and sentimental connections. The last in particular, for obvious reasons, has lately been especially evident in my subconscious choices of songs that are “relevant” to the boy and I. And I don’t tend to notice until I get to this part of the playlist making process where I write a little about each song. Anyway, about the song itself, it’s old (by that I mean 2007, I think) and it’s what people liked to call “math rock” – a label which I have never understood because there are resemblances to other bands or songs that wouldn’t be classified as “math rock”… so what the heck. Also, this song rather reminds me of Animal Collective, both sonically, and memory-wise.
3. Scared – Albert Hammond, Jr.
I haven’t listened to Hammond’s solo stuff for ages, but had a random urge to, today. And for the first time, this song stuck out to me, although I’m not really sure why. You can definitely hear his distinct Strokes guitar sound on this song, whilst the song itself doesn’t as such. I just think it’s a really sad, sweet song, and the lyrics are so lovely that I crammed some of it into this post’s (very long) title!
4. One More Empty Chair – Blood Red Shoes
I think I’ve discovered what my subliminal theme to this playlist is – sick, sad love songs, or something like that. It started with the last song and runs through for the next few tracks too. I’ve loved this band for years, but I haven’t listened to them very much lately – until this week. It started off a desperate need for some good old familiar music to sing to in the car, and from then on I’ve virtually driven to them all week. 148 plays in the last 7 days, Last.fm tells me. This song is off their album, Fire Like This, that was released last year. What I’ve always loved about them that’s been consistent throughout their backlog of EPs and this album also, is their handful of stylistic distinctions: 1/ they’ve kept their accents, rather than sing in an “Americanised” way; 2/ they have a knack for repeating key lines of lyrics in songs which makes it really memorable, without getting old; 3/ for a duo, they’re pretty melodically and harmonically busy – it’s not just here’s the melody, with guitar and drums underneath – they both take turns singing and harmonising over one another, and I’m sure on the record they’ve dubbed in extra vocal tracks too; 4/ I just like their lyrics. Whilst it’s mainly nothing too deep and terribly simple, it’s the simplicity that makes it all very blunt and snappy – straight to the point. A very precise and painfully relatable point.
5. Gladhander – Stripmall Architecture
The only reason I ever listened to Stripmall Architecture is because Ryan and Rebecca Coseboom are two-thirds of the force that was Halou. I most especially love love love Halou’s “Stonefruit” and “The Ratio of Freckles to Stars”, and wondered what the heck they were up to these days. Apparently making very similar yet very different music. Although it’s no Halou, dreamy vocals are still there, and so are the thoughts and sentiments behind the songs. Isn’t it sweet that they have the same initials, now that they’re married?
6. Be Brave – Love Inks
It’s a cute song! I know that “vox, gat + drum machine” doesn’t sound particularly promising, but just think of what lads with macs have been doing these days, haha. So I’m looking forward to when their new EP comes out, which is soon.
7. Pagan Poetry – Björk
I saw Björk live in 2008, and she absolutely blew my mind. At the time, I had tried really hard to get into her music but just really didn’t know where to start. Call it musical maturity, perhaps, because earlier this evening when a hopefully-soon-to-be-musical-collaborator told me to listen to her Verspertine album, I “got it” straight away. And funnily enough, all the songs that they had said to be their favourite off this album were also the ones I was immediately screaming, screaming in my head and then outwardly raving about. Where the hell were my listening ears, all these times I had on and off tried to listen to Björk?! This song starts off rather Japanese-sounding (to me, anyway; its the instrumentation and the intervals chosen, but I’ll spare the musical analysis), and then goes on in growing intensity until she breaks out with “I love him I love him” repeatedly, followed by the heart-breakingly whispered, almost chanted, “She loves him she loves him” and “This time I’m gonna keep me all to myself/She loves him, she loves him/And he makes me want to hand myself over”. Ahhhhhh! I just die a little in every way. It’s so beautifully written and sang. It’s so subtle yet intensely powerful. And it really fucking hurts listening to this song, because it so precisely portrays a very particular feeling that I have felt and been through, and it’s like a bittersweet punishment to listen to it. Sweet because it is so goddamn beautiful. But bitter because of the half-healed wounds that her voices seemingly just peels at, like a continuous, scrutinising scratch on a scab that’s neglected to heal completely. And I fear one of these times it will come right off. For the record, those other favourite tracks off this album are: Cocoon, Undo, Sun in My Mouth and Unison.
8. The Worst Taste In Music – The Radio Dept.
A dreamy, bittersweet song (note: recurring theme of this playlist, right?!) with lyrics that basically suggests guy likes girl, but so does some other guy, said other-guy happens to have “the worst taste in music”, and if the guy “didn’t know this [he’d] lose it”. Yup, that’s about it. Dreamy, swoony layers over a subtly-relentless beat. Oh what love does.
9. Silence – Portishead
I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again – PORTISHEAD IS COMING TO NEW ZEALAND!!! Okay, I think I can breathe now. I can’t fucking wait. It also means summer holidays for me. This song is just a killer. The boy decided to point out the obvious one day (alright, that might be a bit unfair, I did ask what particular reasons he had for liking this song, because, you know, I like to ask things like that…) and point out the unexpected elements of this song. Like say, the end-