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Posts tagged ‘Music’


Winter is the Season of Love Songs

The dream is over. Winter is here. Not the moderately enjoyable, holiday laden, over imbibing happy days of winter. The fuck me, it’s frigid why the fuck am I driving to work in the dark winter. That special time of year when your back clenches up like the spring of a Chinatown wristwatch, ticking closer to dysfunction with each passing second.

If you’re me, this is not the time to dust off The Beach Boys or Jimmy Buffet, as if the mere strum of the ukulele will teleport your spirit to the beach. No thanks. I would rather listen to a band or artist that articulates the bitter, harsh – often lonely winter months. It should be stark. Fragile. Haunting at times. It should sound like Mountain Man’s Made the Harbor.

Everyone always talks about spring fever, but winter is where the real yearning for love originates. Life is easy in warmth. Navigating a week without sunlight proves tough. It just so happens that spring lies at the end of winter and suddenly the thin, invitation of an April dress is enough to knock a man over. Words like wind chill and frost bite make an intimate evening beneath the covers feel like a necessity more than a want. The outdoors are a lover all their own, it’s the emptiness of a drafty living room or a frosty mattress feels like an unwarranted punishment.

“Boots of Spanish Leather” could never have been written without the jarring winds of a New York City winter. The heartbreak proves more palatable picturing Dylan shuffling through snowy streets while his love sails toward sunny Spain. “My spirit is in shambles and my feet are cold. Send some boots you soulless, selfish hell cat.”

In the same way, Van Morrison seems unlikely to ever have penned the incomparable “And it Stoned Me” without the warmth of summer, when a brief rain proves more opportunity than hassle – a welcome relief and healing. The bouncy piano line and floating acoustic guitar sound destined for nights where mosquitoes swarm the solitary light outside a screen door. Love is less essential on days like this, when an icy beverage can be as satisfying as a lengthy embrace.

Weather constrains and shapes an artist as much as any influence imaginable. The claustrophobic aspect of winter forces us to create for ourselves. The beauty of the outdoors has vanished and the artist is left with a blank, snowy canvas. I’m excited to see what songs winter inspires this year. What will the winds blow our way this time?

Written by Rob Peoni


Local Compilation: Loving South Africa: The Album

If you are an avid reader of this blog, then my introduction to this compilation should be seamless.  While we work hard to promote local music, there always exists greater opportunities to show your support.  Loving South Africa: The Album, Vol. 1 is a mix of Indianapolis and regional musicians. Any and all proceeds from the album benefit the Loving South Africa organization. The album was released in late November of last year.

NM Kjeldsen mastered this compilation while also contributing the track “My Father’s Son.”  Kjeldsen’s Black Bear EP was featured on this blog last fall and it is amazing to see his greater aspirations. If the local, independent musicians of this city inspire you, now is your opportunity to join them in support of a worthwhile cause.  Listen to “Floods,” the contribution from Chicago’s Great Quake, below.

Purchase Loving South Africa: The Album, Vol. 1 via Bandcamp

Written by Brett McGrath


IndyMcGrath: Juggling Musical Sources in the Digital Age

I never learned how to juggle, but I have always admired the skill. I always viewed it as the perfect mix of maintaining composure while overcoming distraction.  Focusing in on the touch, building routine, gaining speed and then ultimately mastering the art. Muscle memory serves as an essential element in the skill set of any juggler. Memorizing the patterns, the feel, and the object is primary.  Often, jugglers challenge themselves to handle different objects with opposing size and textures.  These are the true pros.  They are sincere risk takers, always looking for a challenge.  These artists never settle, absorbing innovative ideas and experiences. The “like riding a bicycle” perspective is truly impressive as I build a true appreciation for the composed multi-tasker, the juggler.

In an era where music can pump through our speakers in a matter of seconds we all have to be jugglers. The searching, downloading, streaming, spinning, Spotifying, Turntabling, etc. makes it a constant challenge to maintain routine and memory.  So many awesome avenues to discover artists and reaffirm our relationships with existing bands is truly amazing. We now reside in an era where our listening experience is not directed, but merely suggested. The choice to tune in or out is ours. Technology has created a new type of personal DJ.  We are the hunters, we are gatherers, and we are jugglers.

Keeping a notepad by my computer, taking pictures of my Sirius radio, and texting recommendations to myself are all methods I must juggle in order to document the firestorm of tuneage that pours down upon me each day. My advice is to focus on a documentation process that works for you.  Gradually add a new blog or online stream source while building your personal documentation process.  This musical juggling might not be as impressive as hurling a flaming bowling pin in a circular motion to the average outsider. However, we musical jugglers can appreciate the art that comes with constantly unearthing new sounds.

My latest documented success came courtesy of a fellow user.  I introduce you to the Belgian-Australian experimental rocker Gotye.  When I heard “Somebody That I Used to Know” blare through my headphones in some indie turntable hotspot, I fell immediately n love.  This song was a perfect mix of sadness and rhythm.  Add New Zealand singer-songwriter Kimbra on the second verse/harmonies and I was hooked. Discovering this one beautiful song caused me to immediately purchase his 2011 release Making Mirrors from iTunes.  While this song is truly the gem of the album, the rest is certainly something to take note of.  Upon further discovery, I found out by my local record store that this was not cut on vinyl and is only available in the U.S. for a $33.00 import fee. This truly marked an occasion where the avenue of digital download proves its value.

Please take the time to watch this radical video for “Somebody That I Use to Know”.  Your avenue is Thought on Tracks and your platform is YouTube.  Grab your pen, legal pad, and write this down.  Congrats, you are now a juggler.

Written by Brett McGrath