POP your heart out.

The Pipettes-Pull Shapes

Memorial Day is sort of the unofficial beginning of the summer here in the U.S., and I can see why, as the air feels still, the birds chirp but at a muffled and relaxed pace, the wind pushes stray leaves over barely and the sun shine with a lazy slant. Everything is frozen in time, like many warm, still summer afternoons. Which, of course, is no fun.

The Pipettes, then, jumps in. With enough energy to blast through a very, very thick and concrete wall, leaping and skipping with careless joy. Excitement! POP! Polka dotted dresses and dancing! Super charged claps (but of course!)! Near scary straight forward lyrics and melodies! Action! Arenas! Chorus! Overwhelming matching grins and earphones and bright ribbons flying through the air! The chorus! An overcharged orchestra! Obsessive listening and happiness and energy is almost required for this band. Yay!

The Essex Green-Snakes in the Grass

Skipping stones. Green grass figures flickering back and forth, bouncing in cheerful unison. Tamborines, jingles, wishful thinking. Mysterious signs and warnings. Punch, lift, punch, lift, the skipping rope line of melody. Enchanting rituals, fairies and creatures leaping about in general pleasantness and slight confusion...

So this has to be the most un-Friday like Friday in a really long time. And you know what we do here on those messy, odd days? We post wonderful, wonderful indie pop and dance around a bit. It clears things up by a lot, really.

The novel: Anansi Boys-Neil Gaiman
The song: Say Anything-Spidersong

Yeah, okay, so I know I should post different artists and read different authors already! This is like the third Say Anything song I've posted, and the third Neil Gaiman book too. But you know what? If this song is fitting, both the name, lyrics and mood for the novel, so fuck it.

I don't even know if I can say anything (ahaha. got it?) anymore. Say Anything is a brilliant, clever band, and really this was the first song that popped up in my head when I finished the novel.

But the book...signature Gaiman, a semi-sequal to American Gods, this time concerning the story teller Anansi's two kids, who could not be more different from one another. While Fat Charlie is the typical, boring, safe office type, his (previously unknown) brother is flashy and extravagant, seemingly inheriting all the charm and magic in the family. Spider manages to ruin Fat Charlie's life in many respects, but when Fat Charlie takes a step toward getting rid of his brother, complications and hilarious and wonderful quests continue.

Gaiman's smart and sharp take on traditional fantasy scenes is great, as usual, and...yes.

Watch: Camera Obscura-Lloyd, I’m ready to be heartbroken (Real Player Media)

The picture is in fact not a still from the video, but a photo of Camera Obscura. Why, you ask? Because, really, the "official" still does nothing to showcase the pure joycore frenzy of the video and the song, and the whirls and blurs of motion radiating from the dancers in the video can't be captured by a mere Print Screen button.

Oh Camera Obscura, what have you done? I think you've achieved a rather perfect indie pop semi ironic always catchy and spilling wonderfulness state of music videostardom. That is to say, there is nothing not super fantastic about the leaping, perfect musical styled 60's perfect couple dancers, the bright, bouncing colors and backdrops, tall white socks, Repro Depot fitting fabrics flashing behind, the Target ad perfect furniture, oversized collector's toy and the constrast of the solemn, classic indie pop girl singer's slightly heartbroken expression. Watch. This is what joycore is made out of.

The Black Heart Procession-Not Just Words

I have a nearly overwhelming urge to type in all caps for the next couple of lines, which I will try very, very hard to resist. Because, today, I'm excited to present a present for you wonderful readers. Yes, it is The Bubble Death's first contest giveaway free things other than just the song and the sweet feeling it'll leave inside type, thing. Right.

And I can't imagine a more fitting band. Aside from the wonderful, lush, dark and moody but laced with beauty and soft, smooth curves of pop music at its base type sound that The Black Heart Procession creates with the flickers of guitar and the echos of the drums aching and merging with the poetic lyrics, there is the fact that, well, hi, they're a San Diego band! And I always feel so guilty for not looking into the local music scene...

To enter: Send an email to xbrokennightmarex @ gmail.com (or direct mail to "talk to me" on the sidebar) with subject CONTEST and, since we're all about the snappy comebacks yet seem to lack variety, tell me your favorite tagline, movie/book quote, lyric, or random catchy phrase. Doesn't have to be this blog, this band, music or book related at all. Four winners in all, and here are the prizes and ranks of winning:

One Cooler-Than-Thou First Prize:
One Limited Edition Black Heart Procession 7-inch
Two (different and both beautiful) BHP posters
One surprise bubbledeath gift (!)

Two So-Close-Silver Second Prizes:
One Black Heart Procession 7-inch
One poster

One Good-Going Third Prize:
One Black Heart Procession 7-inch

Send your emails by June 12. Yays all around, and good luck!

The novel: The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2003-edited by Zadie Smith & Dave Eggers

This was such an elclectic collection of...well, everything, really. Which makes this really hard. I enjoyed the majority of the pieces gathered, and it's wonderful exposure to such a diversity of different writers and styles. Many of these articles I would have never found in any other way, and even the foreword was a delight to read. But the crazy blend of words does get a little confusing and jumpy.

So I can't find a song that gets all over the place as this, but I definitely enjoyed the book and for non-required reading, it really should take over some of the worse required reading we have to do.

Watch: The Concretes-On the Radio

Are you terribly sick of indie pop bands with catchy, stuck in head, pleasant melodies and about a thousand band members with cutsey everything and music videos with spring, pastel color schemes and undeniable stop motion and effects and general wonderfulness that begs repeated watching despite its seemingly typical appearance at first?

If you are, this is not for you. But for most the rest of us, there is this lovely, delightful video by the The Concretes (who also have this OMG look at how cute and detailed and precious it is must visit visit visit website). The random appearance of the line of graceful and matching dancers, the band members, tilted by gravity, spinning as if in a snow globe, or just generally dancing and making naturally flowing, sweet, wave like rolling movements, and the last second, that super cute cannot stand it anymore ending with the footprints. It really turns what was originally a quite good indie pop song into a rather great one. And it's definitely not "just another video".

The novel: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close-Johnathan Safran Foer
The song: Neko Case-That Teenage Feeling

Neko Case is one of those artists I want to dislike (and in someways do, as in her snobby interview with snobby Pitchfork), but after a few listens, her voice crawls and snuck in my head, and as you know, I'm a helpless pop whore and alt-country avoidant, but with such beauty and genuine story telling skills that dislike becomes near impossible. I might not agree with her philosophy, and there are times/songs when I can only marvel at the pleasing to listen to but unremarkable quality of the music, but this song...this song is worthy cherishing, worth wrapping into a bandana and slipping away to the medows, to a pond and unwrapping it in tiny pieces, savoring the ripples of the song, matching the gentle pushes of the sea.

This book is a delicate and wonderful piece of fiction. The story is that of a nine year old boy, Oscar, who goes on a quest to find the lock of a key his father, who died in 9/11 left behind. While the crafted cast of characters he meet to find clues for his keys are marvels to start, his innocent outlook on like and the style of the novel, sprinkled with letters from/of his father and grandfather, spinning parallel stories and even more emotional wonders. The snippets of humor and wild occurances add more entertainment, and it's a great book, by any standards.

The novel: Me Talk Pretty One Day-David Sedaris
The "song": David Sedaris-Why Them?

It's Book Talk week! (Since I've fallen behind and all...) So enjoy the rich, creamy literature and the sounds until next week!

So, knowing me, I have this habit of getting into things way too late. I think everyone knows who David Sedaris is except me, and I had to steal his name off You Ain't No Picasso's call for book recommendations. But wow, oh, wow, David Sedaris might just be my new writing hero. I know, it seems like I say that every time (I can't help it that I've been reading such wonderful books!), but he's a hero in a slightly different way than these others. By that, I mean, he's actual laugh out loud funny. There is just nothing quite like clutching a book and shuddering with laughter every two minutes. Drawing strange glances, sure, but also enjoying the hell out of myself. Sedaris turns the most ordinary incidences into hilarious essays, and if you had told me just a year ago that I would adore a collection of personal essays, I would have laughed and said no way. And that's the beauty of this book and him in general.

Such charming, funny wods that flow off the page. So then, I found out that he actually read his own audiobooks and in fact is known as a comedian. And then I realized that in this oh my god moment, he's even stopping at San Diego in October. Of next year? Yeah, it's just a little far off, but already I'm excited. So this little spoken word incident isn't from this book, but from his Live at Carnegie Hall album. And it's funny, and it's great, and once you hear it, you'll understand why David Sedaris is my new writing obsession.

Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins-Melt Your Heart

Happy Mother's Day.

Words seem to taint the beauty and utter sweetness of this song, and words fail me now. Belonging in a whole other realm of melodies as delicate and blossoming as a quivering lilac on a sprinkling spring day, the truth of the lyrics, the knowing quality of Jenny Lewis's voice and the general effect of the song...make mom cry, in the best way possible.

Grandaddy-Elevate Myself

Hello! Testing is over, I return, with lots of ideas and fancy projects in mind. Just give me a week or so to catch up. So...

I discovered Grandaddy far too late. And by that, I mean I discovered them around the same time they broke up...but it's songs like this that will keep me from dismissing them.

It zips from end to end, snatching attention and buzz all around. The keyboards muzzling about the melody, unbarebly sliding and dancy and catchable. Catchable? Yes, that. That breathy, verse, the bridges a clean cut of fading into a spiral downward that the song is trying to get away from. Every detail is lifted into high spirits by the end of the song, the swirls of sounds and the layers of near psychedelic detail, and at the same time, so pop, so watching a bright yellow baloon floating into the sky...it's far too easy to elevate oneself.

Oh No! Oh My!-Jane is Fat

Don't get confused here-Oh No! Oh My! is the band. The band that I talked about way back. The one who's all about the unbearably sweet and wonderful and sunshine butwith biting lyrics and such catchiness that it becomes overwhelming? With these ringing acoustic guitars and such a bouncy chorus? The one whose CD is officially released (and is so great!) with art and everything, and you should buy for only $8, shipping included? This band. The band that used to be called the Jolly Rogers (a cute name, to be sure, but once you get used to it, Oh No! Oh My! does have that ring to it) but is now named after a Robot Ate Me song.

The Robot Ate Me-Oh No! Oh My!

And then, there is The Robot Ate Me, who I (wrongly) assumed to be one of those indie classics that everyone knew anyway and didn't need an introduction, because they have that sound, that perfection of lo-fi indieness. They wrote the song "Oh No! Oh My!", presented here in all its glory for your in depth enjoyment. Because, it's so understandable why Oh No! Oh My! would name themselves after this song, because these lyrics--politics and genocides, but sang in such a soothing, carefree fashion that you almost don't notice the subject matter, until you find yourself singing along about these poor African statistics...a Robot Ate Me signature thing. And once you get to that line, that brilliantly sang "oh no! Oh my!", everything clicks. It becomes another experience.

But these bands share more than just a name. There is the fact that they are both underrated, underappreciated wonderful, delightful listens in need of a far larger audience and recognition. There is the fact that both are indie pop of the most wonderful sort, with all the jingling elements and then something unique, so repeated listening is totally preferred, so singing along is totally warranted, but that after taste of oh wow, that was so great, that after taste still hangs strong.

Bishop Allen-A Quarter to Three

Signs that an artist or song is incredibly good:
♥Repetative, non stop listening of said artist and/or song.
♥The need to clap hands, bob head, and dance around in a bizarre fashion and sing along without really knowing the lyrics (snaps included).
♥The inability to decide on a song to post and finally deciding on one that's been stuck in listener's head at the moment, as all songs have been stuck at various points.
♥Hating oneself for not discovering said artist sooner.
♥The need to share said artist/song despite studying responsibilities and a melted brain.
♥Realizing why a blog like You Ain't No Picasso could be named after said artist's songs.
♥Realizing said artist could become the listener's new favorite indie band as well.
♥Deciding that the seemingly insane an EP a month this the band is doing is actually one of the most amazing things ever. New Bishop Allen every month!

So I'm sort of entering panic-y mode and here's some places to keep you distracted, because I'd feel terrible for any artist/song who gets a write up if I tried to do it today.

Color of My Sound lets you select a color from a palette with a random song that comes on, and asks for an explaination. You don't need an elaborate analysis everytime, but it's interesting to see what colors other select and the shifting colors are just plain fun and relaxing. You can even upload your own songs, although many of the tracks seems to be electro/techno oriented, it's still much amusement.

Got a question about anything? Anything from idealogical and philosophical questions to the fun and irrelevant, someone over at justcurio.us probably has an answer. Strangers helping strangers, and you must answer a question to ask one, but the responses are so varied, understanding or entertaining that it becomes very addicting.

It's summer. Feel a need to stay cool with artsy indie tees? Once again, Threadless has you covered with another (!) ten dollars sale.

Designer shirts not your favorite clothing? For a wonderful alternative, try Modest Apparel Christian Clothing Lydia of Purple Dresses Custom Sewing for all your clothing needs. They will even let you pick your own fabric and pattern...and modify for the modesty, of course.

Like bunnies? Well, who doesn't? But I mean, aside from the Cute Overload crowd, how about artist drawn bunnies? And not just the (today: intellectual) adorable and delightful Bunny webcomic, but a collection of over 1500 individual bunnies in such diverse sizes, styles and interpertations...it's worth staring at for long periods of time, mesmerized--only with the Bunny Mandala


I like it when you talk to me
Listen, love, buy.
MP3s don't last forever.

songs + words