POP your heart out.

1. Happy halloween, and whatnot.

2. Remember how I wrote a 110,000 words novel in less than a month last year? Well, it's happening again. And in case you don't know, it's this thing called National Novel Writing Month. The winning word count is 50000, but my goal this year will be 150,000. So triple the original. Plus school and going to shows and reviews and this blog. So of course, starting from tomorrow, expect less well written/time consuming posts, less frequent posts and um, more frustration? The scary part is that I still have no clue as to what my novel will be about. And this starts tomorrow.

3. Anyway, I'll be doing the ocassional book update blog on my special little NaNo blog again, and if you drop by to see how much my fingers have bled from excessive padding typing, please do say hello!

4. Yay. Have an happy Halloween!

While I realize catchy indie pop/twee is not most people's idea of a Halloween celebration mixtape, it actually should be. This is since indie pop and Halloween are both rather amazing, fun, and vaguely scary/sweet things. I also realize that most (if not) of these artists should be familiar. And that is okay, because they are rather good artists. And this is a fun mini-mixtape.

1. Tilly and the Wall-Night of the Living Dead

2. The Unicorns-Tuff Ghost

3. The Starlight Mints-Pumpkin

4. The Boy Least Likely To-Monsters

5. The Evangelicals-The Halloween Song

6. The Cure-Lullaby

7. Marit Bergman-No Party

Page France-Chariot

This band, this song, it sneaks up on you. These notes and melody, the tamborine and crystal bells, the seemingly simplistic thoughts and the lyrics. A chariot bobbing along a fresh grass road. Indie pop bouncing and smiling, at its happiest, purest. Folky hooks and this vision of the young and careless. Young and in love, in love with mellow adventure, with glistening eyes under a drifting blue sky.

And it starts off so innocent, so gentle. The delicate optimism. Stable line of song. At the 2:08 mark, suddenly, a burst of energy. A spur of chanting and dancing, joy at the world. Pop perfection.

The Unicorns-52 Favorite Things

Sometimes. Sometimes it's hard to realize this is life. Poetic. Cute little objects. Moments in time worth pausing. Moments in time that goes by too fast.

Somtimes it takes a certain song. Songs that evoke certain thoughts and moods. Ideas and images. Sometimes it takes the happiest, catchiest indie pop band in the world--and yes, the hyperbole is justified in this instance--to create a lo-fi, simple, fuzzy song that fill up a heart with the sort of warm fuzziness normally belonging to very small, fluffy animals. Sometimes it takes simplistic lyrics, but lyrics of such elegance and beauty. Little butterflies of images that capture that sense, these tiny little pleasures in life that can mean...so much.

(From The Unicorns' first and obscure release, downloadable in .ogg format here, and really, really, really worth hearing)

Chuck Klosterman-Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Stroy

So apparently Klosterman is famous. More has been written about him than he has written. And apparently, you either hate him, love him, or are awfully jealous of him.

This is the first book I've read by Klosterman, and while I'm not totally convinced as to where I stand, I think the Cult of Klosterman isn't exactly where I belong...

I enjoy witty writing. I adore pop culture references and all sorts of satire and name dropping of bands, books or movies. I like stream-of-conscious type narratives (ala J.D. Salinger) and memoir like non-fiction (ala David Sedaris). I did not, however, find myself in love with this particular book as much as I could have been. I had high expectations, to be sure, but how could an idea and premise this good--i.e., visiting all the places where famous musicians have died and reflecting on the value of life--turn into something this--well, rather pointless? See, Chuck doesn't just take us to these dead musicians' homes. He takes us into his mind as he travels, and his life, and his past, and perhaps most importantly, his string of ex-girlfriends and current girlfriends. To the point where it gets to be too much of a point. To the point where the "not-care" factor is popping into mind.

And um, those musicial references somehow weren't as fun as I imagined they'd be.

And really, the meaning of life wasn't explored much.

And really, this particular Chuck might not be deserving of all the hype.

And really, that's about it.

Mew-The Zookeeper's Boy

Mew reminds me of Mae, in name, and a bit in sound. Mew also makes me think of Japan, which Mae also does, for some reason. But Mew is not from Japan--in fact, like many other premier indie pop musicians of our time, they are from Europe. Denmark, to be specific (not Sweden?!). Anyway, they are rather ten times better than Mae could hope to be, and produce such complex, layered pop. Yes, pop, and not prog rock or indie rock, for never have indie rock been so infectious, with such sprinkled sweetness in the vocals and the instruments--with hints of the prog rock in the pushing guitars and melody, yes, but also with precious lyrics and spinning glass circles of blissful pop music.

Jo Mango-Waltz with Me

There's an art to this acoustic guitar singer/songwriter type music. There's a certain spark, a line of lyric, the fitting nature of a traveling guitar, a particular scene and emotion that needs to be the perfect droplet for a song to be unique. For it to hold something more, for it to be more than just another song, it's about more than the right melody and the sweet voice. It's about the right story, the right characters, the right sense of motion and being.

This song is everything. Ginger promises, air fluttering footsteps. The moonlight and the summer night sky, tangled footsteps dancing on grass. The seamless rhythm, a captured moment of purity of heart. A dance like no other, a time frozen in the eternal dance steps...one two three, one two three, toes nudging against skin, wind carrying this song and world to perfect, harmonized fantasy.

The Rabbit Factory-Marshall Karp

My relationship with mystery novels is a weird one. Once upon a time, I adored them. Agatha Christie was my hero, and although I never tried to put together clues and solve the crime before the novel detective did, I enjoyed the words and the storyline for its own sake. Which probably should have given me a hint that pure mystery novels and I weren't meant to be...which is what I discovered upon devouring different genres later on. A well written mystery with a bit more than just the usual crime-suspects-evidence would entertain me like any other genre could, but for the pure, conventional classic structure, I'm not a fan.

Luckily, this novel is rather BRILLIANT. It's charming and funny, with very strong and likable characters. Realistic, too, and did I mention really rather very funny? The storyline is unique! And fun! And gripping! And kept me reading! But most importantly, it's highly, highly entertaining. And funny. And an excellent, excellent work.

The Long Winters-Honest

Honest. That's the word I'm looking for--the word that represents this song. Lyrics with simplistic elegance, a story that's worth repeating. Expected, but unexpected in its expression. Honest. This honest, honest indie rock with all the essential ingredients. Plus something more--something charming and seductive in its down to earth, approachable, understandable style. "Everything is different when he's singing right to you," and it's true. It's alright to be a singer--but I do so want to love a singer.

José González-Heartbeats (Knife cover)

I never understood this song. Not the original, when every person, ever, was raving about The Knife and that amazing album (and I thought it merely interesting, alien lanscapes of gothic electronica pop). I didn't understand it when this cover became the new, official cover of the blogosphere. I didn't understand when the blogs that hadn't posted it before post it a month later, suddenly understanding and in love.

So, a good many more months have passed. And this is ancient news, but now I get it. Now I hear it, everything I've missed before. The fragile beauty, the bitter pain, the electric emotions swirling in the beats of the original, and the dancing strings of this version. This is a perfect match, every note portraying that shattered story of the original. And this is something. Something monumental, something truly great.

This whole next week is probably going to be old news. But it's not about posting the next big thing before everyone else--not anymore. Now it's about what this was meant to be about from the start. This sharing, this feeling, this music, these words.



And um. Does anyone else listen to The Cure when they're really, really happy, or is that just totally bizarre of me?

Friday the 13th is my favorite day, ever.

Don't ask why--because there's no real reason. But it is. So I'm posting this, because I have this desire to announce to the world.

I'm in love with songs.

I'm in love with words.

I guess that means this is back to recovery.

And I really, really want to delete my sitemeter so I can focus on what matters...help me do so, por favor.

Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories-Gregory Frost

Great. Not good, but great.

I've never heard of Gregory Frost before (and from the looks of things, I wasn't alone) , but I liked the look of the cover of this book and the hip name, so I picked it up and hoped for something good.

This is a collection of short stories--which, I might have mentioned before, is rather difficult to do book talks on, since they're a collection of totally different things and to generalize so much for all the content seems a bit unfair, especially when there are stories that are gems, and then stories that aren't so great. Horror, fantasy, sci-fi, all the fun things. Except this is a really fantastic collection, where it feels like every story is brilliant, all the plots gripping and how short stories should be--my kind of short stories, anyway--and with something more than just highly entertaining reading material. There is social awareness and satire, human observation in its sharpest form...everything, really, sharp, flawless execution, that is to say, writing style.

I loved it, basically. It's been a while since I've found such good stories worth staying up for, exactly the way I like them. It's like Stephen King meets Michael Chabon meets Terry Pratchett/Neil Gaiman, and um, everything amazing.

Pick this up if you ever see it, anywhere. You won't regret it.

Scissor Sisters-I Can't Decide

Once upon a time, I wasn't sure whether I liked the Scissor Sisters or if they were just another overrated alterna-indie-pop-rock-dance band. I liked their singles a lot--"Take Your Mama Out" was really fun to listen to, and I loved that they had a song about me--or at least my name. But something about their album wasn't clicking as much as I thought it would, or, at least, should.

My stance on them became one of "I like 'em," but with a note of doubt. I would have never jumped to defend them, should someone attack their musical merit. Then came along this new album.

I'm 100% converted. These songs, filled with the hooks and bursting pop and exploding dance fun, with this dark, bitter undertone that actually seems to suit things better, adds that extra touch that lift the band above the rest. This is a perfect example. The angry, steaming lyrics versus the hooky, instant love melody/guitar swipes, the hard to resist pulse of the song molding and shaping your ears and mind into a dancing, laughing, aware and exploding scenester--of the type that does dance, a lot.


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

songs + words