Sunday, June 30, 2013

MS MR: Secondhand Rapture

Sometimes good music arrives in flood-waves. There can be gaps where I'm twiddling my thumbs, waiting for new and long-loved artists alike to wow me with their lyrics, melodies, ways of seeing the world. But now, all of sudden, it's like the music gods have decided to lay in my lap the following: Olafur Arnalds; Austra's second album, Olympia; Patty Griffin's new album, American Kid; Antony & the Johnsons' Swanlights (thank you, Amanda!); and...

...MS MR's Secondhand Rapture. I'm still formulating my thoughts on this New York duo's debut album. Maybe I can compare it to a recent joyful experience of mine, one that's ongoing: I keep walking through my Hawthorne/Ladd's Addition neighborhood and noticing someone's street art; he or she (or they) are drawing colored chalk outlines around where shadows have hit the ground at certain times of day. In other words, no matter what time of day you may be walking past that parked car or fire hydrant or locked-up bicycle, you'll notice that this creative soul has helped draw attention to the beauty of the neighborhood, and to the elusive nature of time. We are forced to stop and think about evening, when the shadows stretch long and full. These shadows get covered up by black night and then slink away, like clockwork, in the morning. Over these past few weeks, when noticing this art, I've thought, "What time of day exactly did this-or-this occur? What is the artist thinking about when he or she does this?" MS MR's music is similar in spirit and tone. It wraps up mournful, hopeful, powerful stories in electro-pop gauze; it's music that's been dipped in that chocolate shell on ice cream cones that you love to crack through and savor as you hunt your way down the cone. Their music is cotton candy at a carnival run by Ray Bradbury or Francesca Lia Block.

Recommended for fans of: Florence + the Machine, Austra, Tori Amos during her choirgirl phase, Stephen Chbosky's the perks of being a wallflower, Francesca Lia Block's Weetzie Bat, Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes, Karen Russell's Swamplandia!, Katherine Dunn's Geek Love, David Lynch, Twin Peaks, and lovers of '80s horror flicks like A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Here are two videos for your curious mind, heart, and soul. Dare I say it -- Is "Hurricane" maybe my new favorite video of all time? I watched it and thought, "That's exactly how I think about things, deep in my core."

MS MR : Hurricane :

MS MR: Fantasy:


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Hedgehog Humor.

Well, some of you know I have a sick sense of humor. Here's a case in point: my mom's hedgehog, Spike, hurt his leg. I did some research online for Spike's care & healing -- Mom was on speaker-phone, jotting down notes, since her internet was down -- and then I brainstormed with Gus and his roommate Sean on the best advice to offer Mom, from heating pads to cool damp rags. Sean insisted, after a couple phone calls and text messages with Mom, that I make sure I offered the cool damp rag/ice cube method.

My text exchange with Sean later yesterday evening:

Me: I texted Mom to stick him in the freezer for an hour. That's what you meant, right?

Sean: Yes, but for maximum effect, put him in a bowl of cool water, THEN put him in the freezer.

My friends and I -- we just can't help ourselves.

p.s. Did you know there are many websites dedicated to hedgehog care? For example: I'm just tickled by this!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Newest Obsession

I love music. Love, love, love it.

I'm that guy in his car who plays his music way too loudly, and when you pass him you think, "I really wish that asshole would turn that down...."

I blast music into my headphones -- while I write, while I go on my power-walks, you name it. It fills up my head and heart, and pumps through my veins, and gets me in tune with my muse.

Finding a new obsession always makes me happy. You know what I mean -- when an artist (new or just new to you) grabs hold of you and won't let go and you start researching everything about them. And you get happier and happier with what you discover. You feel connected, as if you're born from the same tribe.

Now, for me, that artist is Icelandic composer Olafur Arnalds:

Here's the link to his videos:

His music is: poetry; blooming flowers in the blood; magical sadness. His music -- especially when combined with the soulful, mournful voice of Arnor Dan -- is broken then healed hope.

Recommended for: anyone who loves the movie Where the Wild Things Are as much as I do....

I'm really looking forward to...

"Once, in opposing kingdoms lived a princess and a prince who had lost their mothers. Althea, unable to cry, became light with grief and floated, and so was locked away. Digby became so heavy-hearted that he could never smile, and so was trained as a warrior.

One day, he declares war. Althea is forced out of hiding and down to ground but, in defiance of her father, she escapes, only to encounter the solemn prince on contested land. Beside a lake the warring heirs begin a passionate and illicit affair. But for Althea to find real love, she must first confront the world’s darkness and face her own deepest fears."

The Light Princess brings together iconic singersongwriter Tori Amos with playwright Samuel Adamson and director Marianne Elliott (Curious Incident) in this spectacular coming-of-age story. A dark fairytale about grief, rebellion and the power of love.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quote of the Day

“Every artist has one central story to tell. The struggle is to tell and retell that story over again—and to challenge that story. It’s the defining story of who you are.”

-Gregory Crewdson (*the below image is his photograph; it's the cover art for Season 3 of Six Feet Under)