‘when I walk into a room / I do not light it up / fuck’
I woke up on this sleepy Tuesday morning elated to find a new track from one of my favorite bands ready for me to devour, but, alas, my elation simmered back down to sleepiness after a listen. While The National has never been known for tearing down a house or slinging catching choruses, and I love them for it, Demons still feels lackluster relative to their other work – a little too monotone, a little too heavy. It is a brave take on dark subject matter (‘I do my crying underwater, I can’t get down any farther’ ) but Demons is just landing me down with its sentiment instead of stirring something up inside of me.
I am still happy to hear Matt’s signature baritone tackle any new material, but I am hoping the rest of forthcoming album, Trouble Will Find Me, due out May 21st, has more of a pull. When Terrible Love came out, it kept me up for days. #indie/tory
A late and abbreviated post because the internet has been out in my apartment all weekend. And we have mice. And half our lights went out. And (thankfully) SantaCon happened.
Today’s Emo: I Need My Girl / The National
‘I can’t get my head around it / I keep feeling smaller and smaller / I need my girl’
The National show last week was so fantastic that I have been replaying bits and pieces in my mind since, trying to relive a bit of what it made me feel. So fitting for Matt Berninger to have an glass of red wine with him on stage all night, amazing that he hopped off the stage and weaved his way through the crowd of Bill Graham rocking out to Mr. November. That venue is so vast it is almost impossible to feel intimate in, and they pulled it off, closing the show with Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks acoustically, with all of us singing along to fill the space.
I was delighted (and jealous) that the band debuted two new songs in a following performance in Canada. Both are awesome, but I Need My Girl is my favorite. Steady guitar strings, an echoed chorus, and sweet but not syrupy lyrics expressing that void you experience when you have to be away from someone and you know they are the only thing that is going to make you feel better. #emo
Today’s Untz: Call it What You Want / Foster the People (Treasure Fingers remix)
‘you say, “now what’s your style and who do you listen to?”‘
Despite aggressive over listening abuse, I still haven’t gotten my fill of FTP’s addictive sound. Thankfully Atlanta based dj/producer Treasure Fingers weaves in some nice variety to one of my favorites. #untz
‘and I can’t fall asleep / without a little help / it takes awhile to settle down’
I am seeing The National headline for the first time on Saturday night at the Bill Graham Auditorium, and it has already gotten hard to concentrate on regular life three days out. The band needles itself in and out of my heart as being my absolute favorite, and this song brought me to tears at the end of Coachella last year (and not just because I was exhausted after three days of revelry).
The piano, the builds and breaks, the lyrics, Matt’s baritone–Terrible Love settles into you in the best kind of way, and after hundreds of listens still gets me every time. Love is terrible, and awesome, and spider filled and amazeballs. Thanks for articulating this guys, see you Saturday. #emo
Today’s Untz: Dance / Rebecca & Fiona
‘this is happy sleepless times’
Every month or two I come across a new song that immediately drives me totally bat shit and all I can articulate is, “so good… so good.” I will attempt to shake myself out of my original stupor and explain why: celestial beats, whispery, sigh inducing lady vocals, and some beautiful strings nestled throughout. So good… so good. A blog favorite of mine, Sunset in the Rearview, put it like this: “This track, Dance, is less a song about dancing and more a song about making love to the floor with your feet and, by extension, your body.” Mmhmm.
Upon a little research I’ve discovered Rebecca and Fiona are beautiful Swedish princesses ruling the my world right now, and the duo recently released an album, I Love You Man, which I am checking out as I write. If the vocals sound vaguely familiar, look no further than Kaskade’s Turn it Down. #untz
Work has been crazy before, but things feel at a new level. And once more, Friday does not feel like Friday when I know I will be heading back into the office on Saturday. Thus the shortest TUATE post of all time, but still only my favorite music.
Today’s Emo: Bloodbuzz Ohio / Oh Land (The National cover)
‘stand up straight at the foot of your love / I lift my shirt up’
Remember when Mr. Little Jeans covered Arcade Fire’s Suburbs, and broke everything down in the subtle, effervescent way that only a woman can take something apart and put it back together? This is that, but with the National and Oh Land, and I like it even more. I want to take everything too far. #emo
Today’s Untz: Sweet Disposition / Temper Trap (Axwell and Dirty South remix)
‘oh, reckless abandon / like no one’s watching you’
There are few better ways to fall asleep than with bass still ringing in your ears, drum beats vibrating through aching feet from dancing, and the heat from a live show pulsing in your veins but somehow still allowing you to drift off into a post concert blissful coma. Thanks to last minute tickets from the lovely Lisa, I was just floored by TV on the Radio at the Independent, and am happily sinking into said slumber.
Today’s Emo: About Today / The National
‘today you were far away / and I didn’t ask you why’
A favorite from the vault, although this one was discovered much later than when it was produced. While I was listening to Maroon Five and Ashlee Simpson and busy wrapped up in soccer practice, prom dates and graduating from high school in the spring of 2004, the National was busy releasing their Cherry Tree EP and crafting this subtle masterpiece which has come back to haunt me and delight me seven years later. Seven years, wow.
I didn’t come across this song until last fall when I started hungrily losing myself in all things The National, and I didn’t fully lose myself into About Today until spring when it started to hit quite close to home. I love the strings, the simplicity, the gaps between words. Mostly I love how it explains the lingering sting of words left unsaid. #emo
Today’s Untz: Levels / Avicii
A quick change of pace. This song is appropriately called Levels, because I hear layer upon layer build onto each other like a well played Tetris game of untz. Avicii is a very Nordic looking Swede who is showing some amazing talent for a twenty one year old, tossing in vocals from Pretty Lights’ Finally Morning between his own blocks of beat laced synth. This is the the kind of music that makes me mourn that it is only Wednesday. But it makes Wednesday so much better. #untz
I grew up in a house where we referred to Neil Young on a first name basis. I learned about Crazy Horse while playing with My Little Ponies, and I subconsciously memorized the lyrics to all of his songs by age 10, including some I really shouldn’t have (I wish I wasa trapper / I would givea thousandpelts /to sleepwithPocahontas / andfindouthow shefelt.’ Neil was an inescapable fixture in our home, from our tape deck in the volvo station wagon to our family holiday soundtrack, when my dad would try to slide Rust Never Sleeps into the CD player in the place of Handel’s Messiah whenever my mom stepped into the garage to grab more ornaments.
Accordingly, I hated Neil Young with a fiery passion throughout the majority of my life.
In the past few years though, things have changed. I caught a couple of Neil’s Bridge School Benefit Concerts at Shoreline, and was impressed with his dedication to his family and the enormous respect he has garnered from his peers. When I go back to Oregon I no longer cringe when I am greeted with Rockin’ in the Free World (which also happens to be our home internet password), and these days I find the vanity license plate “Walk On” more amusing than annoying.
As my musical tastes have matured, Neil’s whiny voice sounds a little more palatable and his once gibberish laced lyrics now make at least a little sense. In the end, I have come to realize my dad showed me what it meant to love music before I knew how. Today’s untz may not be an actual Neil song, but this is as close as the TUATE is going to get.
Today’s Emo: Exile Vilify / The National
‘does it trouble your mind / the way you trouble mine?
I lost my shit during The National’s set on Sunday night, so imagine my delight in the release of a new track on Tuesday to help cure my ever aching Coachella withdrawal. While I wasn’t won over by the group’s release of Think You Can Wait last month, I instantly fell for this one… I am such a sucker for piano, and I can picture fingers rolling lazily but deftly across keys in this intro, leading me into the song.
Exile Vilify has all the elements that make The National my favorite band: a mini orchestra, flawless melodies, and Matt Berninger’s signature baritone, which is somehow both calming and haunting, chilling and comforting at the same time. The strings cut everything up and then smooth it together, and I am lost on repeat. #emo
Today’s Untz: Harvest Moon (Neil Young Cover) / Teen Daze
‘because I’m still in love with you / I want to see you dance again’
I will go so far as to admit I actually like a few Neil songs now, and with its simple, cut to the heart lyrics, and swaying on the dance floor rhythm, Harvest Moon is one of my favorites. Although my father may find it slightly sacrilegious, this Teen Daze cover has me smitten… with soft vocals and dreamy rolling beats, the original version is hardly traceable, but isn’t lost here. At this point in life, I must have heard this song a thousand times, but I’ve never heard it like this. #untz