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Songs for The Long Ride Home


I know, we only reserve the lists for the weekend right? Well, the weekend comes early, as I, along with my favorite person in the whole wide world, go on an unprecendented 15+ hour trip to the land of our birth. It will be a trip to visit my dad, who's been in a 6 year long bout with lung cancer and who is also, currently missing his most loved and only grandson.

I can't help but feel like Drew Baylor in Elizabethtown, or better yet, Andrew Largeman in Garden State - only replace the quirky female lead with an equally quirky, yet slightly unhinged, cute, 6-year-old autistic boy. Like Drew, I've recently been booted from my job, with which like Andrew, I've been harboring bitter thoughts about. This trip may or may not be insightful and life-changing, but one thing's for sure, it'll have a killer soundtrack.

As I load my flash drives and Mp3 player with all the songs I could think of, I'm posting a couple of songs that Paolo and I have been listening on the road during our short trips in and around the city. These are the songs that Paolo would request over and over again and like me, songs that he would wait to finish before he gets off the car, even if we're at our destination. This will be a two person list (mine and Paolo's), and as such, it will be more than the usual five - an extra treat since I don't know when I'll be able to post again during my 5 week sojourn.

To all the artists that have been keeping tabs on the site, I apologize for the non-reply, I've received all your requests to feature your band on the site (it's a growing list, which piles on every day) and will get to that soon. But to date, I will be putting the Fresh From the Post section of the site on hiatus until I get back. Also, a much needed redesign of our clunky old site will be (hopefully!) in the works.

So now for our list -

List Addicts Fridays: Two shows and a movie

This week's list will be a short one, though, with how much I ramble on, this post will probably be as long as my previous ones (or might even be longer).

I'm actually making this list to get these songs out of my system, since I have a bad habit of listening to songs that I fancy 10 to 20 times a day until I get sick of them. Maybe sharing them will take the load off of my craving, and the songs and I can part amicably, such that I can listen to them randomly one day and not feel sick to my stomach. Of course a list will have to have a theme. Luckily, my songs have one in thing in common - they've been significantly used in a TV show or a movie. I could probably round up a couple more songs if I'd chosen indie songs used in adverts (the most common habitat of indie music - apart from college radio shows), but then there's a need to purge so I'll probably leave that for another week.

There's probably a hundred and one reasons for me to like a song, but for the most part, when I can imagine a scenario with it - sort of like creating an visual trailer for a movie or maybe see a particular scene in my made-up film when the song plays, that's when it becomes a favorite. This is why it's easy for me to like a song when it's used in a film or a show - the visuals are already there, I don't need to make one up for it. Though, not all songs used in films or shows are immediately likable, the film also has to be likable itself - or else a really nice song becomes wasted. Like Architecture In Helsinki's 'Maybe You Can Owe Me for example', did you know it was used in that Lindsay Lohan film 'I Know Who Killed Me'? Suffice to say, it was totally wasted - I could have imagined a lot more deserving films it should have been associated with.

Now, we come to my three songs. It's only three, a list that's short but sweet.

1. We Are Scientists - After Hours |



I recently got hold of a copy of the movie Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. I rarely ever get around to watching films, and on the occasion that I did, it was an absolute treat. I could say, Nick and Norah is this generation's Singles. The movie has a great character driven story, backed by wonderful actors, topped off with absolutely cool songs. I could go on and on about the movie, but this being a music blog, I'll keep it to a minimum. Here's a few things that I love about it though:
- the queer-core band 'The Jerkoffs': the band's concern about their only straight member's lovelife is endearing
- the blink and you'll miss it cameos:  Devendra Banhart (the guy in the deli) and Eddie Kay Thomas (as Jesus)
drunk Caroline: especially when she wakes up to the disturbing metal song 'Balls Deep'
- Nick's yellow Yugo
- beefy guy: he's gay and his name is Lothario
and of course, the song that plays in the background when the gang drives all over the city to look for Fluffy: After Hours

This post-punk song, without the usual accompaniment of a British sounding singer, is now one of my favorites from the New York band, We Are Scientists. I've listened to their songs before, enjoyed them, but never really got hooked until watching Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. It's easy to fall in love with the song after seeing the movie, since After Hours captures most of what it's all about -  a fun night out with friends. The movie takes place in just one night. Seeing the movie and afterwards, listening to the song, kind of reminds me of all the fun times that I've had going out with friends and not wanting to go home just yet. You usually hop from one place to another, just looking for a place that's open, and eventually crashing at a friend's place since it's the only one that's left. Like the movie, there will always be one drunk mess (or two - depending on how big your party is), music (rock or dance), a quick stop at a 24-hour convenience store (for the munchies) and a nice joyride across the city. If you've never had a similar experience, you're either - a) too young or b) a person that needs to get a life (on this note, go out and have fun). For the majority out there, you can most likely relate to the song and enjoy it. Though you don't need to watch the movie to appreciate After Hours, I highly recommend viewing Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist as well.

2. One Night Only - Just For Tonight |



I'm addicted to British shows - not just because they're really good, but because they're really good and they usually have a terrific selection of songs playing in the background. It might just be that my music tastes lean a bit on the Brit-Rock side, but when they put it on shows like Nearly Famous - they just sound more appealing.

Just For Tonight was used as the opening theme for Nearly Famous - kind of a British version of Fame, only less singing and dancing and more about telling the story of four young individuals at the fictional Salinger School for Performing Arts. We never get to see how the story ends, since the show only lasted one season before it was axed. Nonetheless, if you can catch as few episodes somewhere (hint: your favorite online video site might have it) - the soundtrack is absolutely good. There's a few originals there that are noteworthy - the song Owen plays in the first episode, his song with Lila as well a nice reinvention of the Fame theme and their own rendition of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. You can actually check out some of these songs at Joe Bosswell's MySpace site - as he composed and arranged a few of them. Unfortunately no official soundtrack album was released for the show, so you may just need to hunt for the individual songs out there that you happened to like while watching.

Besides from being the opening song for Nearly Famous - Just For Tonight in itself is a great song to listen to. Someone from a songs forum mentioned it sounded like OMD's Enola Gay, which after listening to it again, I realized it kind of does. So I guess, I was craving for an updated version of a song I grew up with - somehow modernized to the times. But then again, a lot of songs sound like some other song in the past. (I have a theory that easy to like songs either sound like a song by the Beatles or the Cure). In any case, Just For Tonight (which according to the band, is a song about a power station) holds on its own, it may give you a hint of something familiar but in a none too familiar setting, and that's where it's beauty lies.

3. The Concretes - You Can't Hurry Love |



Last but not the least is a song that was used in the now tremendously famous British teen drama Skins. I didn't choose Gossip's 'Standing In The Way of Control' (Soulwax Nite Mix mind you, there's a difference). I confess, I've never listened to The Concretes before I heard them on Skins, so I thank Skins for that since they're now one of my favorite bands.

If you haven't heard of this teen show, I'd recommend grabbing a copy of the first season, which is the only season I can vouch for. The second season blew in my opinion, except for the Sketch episode - which was quite amazing. The third season is currently being aired, so I don't have any opinion on it yet. If I could summarize what it is in three words, it would be: sex, drugs and nudity (after all, it is called Skins). It's also the show where Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire) got started. If you watched his interview on The Late Show with David Letterman - he humorously describes his role on the show.

Aside from being this edgy teen drama, Skins is also known for being a launchpad for indie acts. The tremendous success of Gossip's 'Standing In The Way of Control' can solely be attributed for it being on the Skins soundtrack and the Foals playing live on the Secret Party episode, also helped boost their popularity. Each show is a bagful of ear candy and also an interesting assortment of sights and sounds (with a bit of shock factor), so it's no wonder why the show's hit.

Going back to my song -  'You Can't Hurry Love' was featured on the first season's finale, where Sid goes off to find Cassie after he realizes that he's in love with her.  The song is only sampled briefly - while Sid distractedly dresses up in mismatched clothing to go to Cassie - but it becomes quite memorable as a background to one of the sweetest moments in the show. Since it's better seen, so here's a link to the clip.

Ok, it's actually taken me longer to write this - I started somewhere around Friday, but ended up posting on Saturday instead. I might need to rethink the whole List Addicts Friday thing, List Addicts Saturday doesn't have much of a ring to it though.


List Addicts Fridays: The Electropop One Man Show


One of the best things that I like about the internet is that it's so easy to make your work accessible to a lot of people. Not only that, with a truckload of software applications being made to help produce your work of art, you'll require less time, effort and manpower.

The offshoot are digital tracks strewn across the web: some weird and quirky, while others, unique gems. What I love most about these do-it-yourself home-made tracks is that, a bunch of them are electronic (to the 80's child, it's the music of choice!) and it's also in a way, very 21st century. Interestingly, a lot of them are a solo efforts - the producer is also the singer, songwriter and all around instrumentalist.

This being list addicts Fridays, I've queued up a couple of electronic solo acts that currently tickle my fancy:

1. Playradioplay! - At This Particular Moment In Time |

Playradioplay! is 19-year old Daniel Hunter, who got started posting self recorded music  on MySpace. His songs gained immense popularity which eventually led to a 2 year stint with a major record label.  'At This Particular Moment In Time' is one of the tracks from his debut EP The Frequency. It's a dancey tune about being a scrawny teenager, in love with an attractive, older girl. I hear he did get the girl eventually, and based on that, I figure she's not the type who goes for the manly-man kind, since our boy Daniel, definitely sounds like a girl in this song. Nonetheless, the song is quite cute.

2. Her Space Holiday - Tech Romance |

In 'Tech Romance' Her Space Holiday aka Marc Bianchi, mixes soundbytes, violin samples and electronic drumbeats to create a neat little love song. I'm not sure where the title comes from, but the song is about a guy pining for a girl, who's already with someone he thinks isn't deserving of her. He regards their never to be destined love, as a picture perfect movie that won't ever get made. 

3. Casiotone For the Painfully Alone - Scattered Pearls |

There's great imagery and metaphor in the lyrics of this song, which actually reads well as prose...but I won't get into that. Basically, 'Scattered Pearls' is a just a fun song about a girl losing her grandmother's pearls while at the disco. Owen Ashworth does almost everything else in this song except sing (employing the help of guest vocalist Jenn Herbinson). What results is a catchy, electro-pop song - cute enough for Hello Kitty to star in the music video.

Notable lyrics: Mom don't cry. They are only pearls. 

4. The Blow - Fists Up |

This band started out as a duo, with Khaela Maricich and Jona Bechtolt . Jona left to concentrate on his other project (Yacht) while Khaela became the now solo act known as The Blow. 'Fists Up' is a song that will make you feel like you've heard it before, but can't figure out where and when you heard it. I still am scratching my head how it's all familiar to me, but in the end, I just happily bounce my head to tune when listening to it.  

Notable lyrics: I don't want to come to the point of this song, because the point of this song would have to be so long

5. Dntel - (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan |

If you think this sounds like The Postal Service, it's because it is. This is the collaboration that started it all. When Dntel aka Jimmy Tamborello asked Ben Gibbard to contribute to his new album, what resulted was one of the best non Postal Service, Postal Service songs. If you listen closely, you'll hear the static noise at the beginning that gets peppered throughout. I think it gives the song character, like an old record that you've listened too much to. Gibbard's lyrics on the other hand, seals the deal, making you instantly fall in love with this catchy electro-pop classic.

Notable lyrics: Your eyelashes tickled my neck, with every nervous blink. And it was perfect.

(photo: Street art in Lisbon, Portugal by Retinafunk


List Addicts Fridays: My Top 5 Break-up Songs


What better way to let you in on my top 5 breakup songs than on the eve of Valentine's Day, which coincidentally falls on Friday the 13th.

I know, Valentine's might be a nice red letter day for young lovers, or a special post Christmas holiday/pre-Easter chocolate treat day for young kids (especially for my 6-year old son Paolo, who zipped through his valentine chocolates in less than 6 minutes). But, let's not forget the people, who's Valentine's Day isn't so much as a celebration of couple-ness, but a hurtful reminder of the relationship that was lost - never to be found again. Not to alienate members of the Lonely Hearts Club, here's my top five breakup songs in no particular order:

1. Love Spit Love - Am I Wrong |

Once again I bring you guys a track from the 90's (you probably know how old I am). You don't have to be broken-hearted to actually love this song - it's a kind of tune that feels good when you hear it but hits really close to home if you are recovering from a lost love.

Notable lyrics - 'It's like glass. When we break, I wish no one in my place'. Yes, indeed, you might feel a tug on your heart if that's you. 

To 80's fans, you might be familiar with the voice singing. Love Spit Love was actually  Psychedelic Fur's frontman - Richard Butler's project, right after they broke up (to anyone still not familiar, they're the ones that sang the 'Pretty In Pink' song).  'Am I Wrong' was Love Spit Love's more familiar songs - the most popular one being a cover of the Smiths' 'How Soon Is Now?' (from the US movie 'The Craft' and WB's 'Charmed').

There's actually two versions of 'Am I Wrong' - the original recording and the movie version featured in the 1995 movie 'Angus'. I've posted the 'Angus' version, because - one, the movie was quite good, I liked it - you get to catch a glimpse of a pre-Dawson's Creek James Van Der Beek as a high school bully; and two, I just love that old marching band sound.

2. Guillemots - Blue Would Still Be Blue |

As I've said in an earlier post, the Guillemots know how to make their love songs. Of course they're as excellent when it comes to break-up songs too. If I do ever end up with a list of love songs that make me want to kill myself - this might be included (along with a ton of Stephin Merritt songs). It's solemn, somber and heart-wrenching. True to its title, this song will leave you blue (it might even be bluer) with a hopeless chant in your heart that blue would still be blue. Points for being a song that can totally move people , especially to tears, but still be unique enough not to be regarded as cheesy.

3. OK Go - Oh Lately It's So Quiet |

For me, OK Go isn't the band that got really popular because of their treadmill dance number on YouTube - I'll always remember them for being the band that sang one of my favorite break-up songs: 'Oh Lately It's So Quiet'. It's their intro that got me. There's just something about that nice keyboard sound at the very beginning - like the sound effect that you get when you watch films and the character either wakes up or starts to realize something important. It sort of sets the tone somehow. It's playful and has that easy going sound too - to the point of adorable. A nice 'I'm in denial' song for anyone who's ever broken up and would like to suppress the feeling that they're still in love with theperson they broke up with. It's also a nice song to bounce back up on after being severely depressed from the previous song in my list.

4. Stars - One More Night |

I've mentioned this song before, but I never posted it - so I'm doing it now. This, in my opinion is one of the most beautiful songs I've ever heard. It's about love, lust and spite. 'One More Night' might sound romantic with the smooth vocal duet from Torq Campbell and Amy Millan, and the nice touch of violins, but when you get down to the lyrics, it's anything but. A love song for those edgy types, who like to have angry breakup sex but still appreciate the beauty of romantic love - this song is one of a kind, and will definitely be on anyone's favorite list may you be the romantic or non-romantic type.

5. The Radio Dept. - Strange Things Will Happen |

Not to let everyone forget about the other song that I also adore, I've included this one on my list - saving the best for last.

'Strange Things Will Happen' is a unique gem from The Radio Dept., a band not usually known for their girl/boy duets. For me, this one is an instant classic. Very low-fi, it sounds like a song that you and your friends decided to make out of boredom one lousy Sunday afternoon and decided to record it on the spot. The unique way that the band recorded it is endearing, and despite being a break-up song it's actually quite uplifting. The best break-up is always the one where you feel like things have opened up for you instead of things crashing down. Strange things *will* happen, but then again, not all strange things are bad.

(photo credit: pattista)


List Addict Fridays: Good Things Come in Pairs


As they say, good things come in pairs - in this case, it's good songs. The past week, I was contemplating on what my next list topic would be. I started off with one thing, but could only list up to two songs in my head that I thought was post worthy. How could just two be a list? So, I moved over to another topic until I got three themes started in my head with two songs each. This, adding up to six songs in three very short lists. So, why not make it a Iist of three pairs? Yeah, why not!  It's perfect for the click happy internet surfer - six songs won't be too short, nor too long. It's just right for the discerning individual, with a somewhat limited attention span.

My first pair came to mind because I've been listening to a lot of Shout Out Louds lately (which will explain why I have 2 songs from them in this post). Their song, 'Your Parent's Livingroom'  reminded me a lot of Ben Folds Five's 'Brick'. Though melodically different, these two songs, have that same sombre atmosphere and tell of a couple with a tragic background. It's not specified in the song what that is, but you know: something really bad happened to them that tore them apart. The feeling is heavy, Ben Fold Five gives it to us clearly with a narrative of how things spiralled down. The Shout Out Louds on the other hand,  hints with lyrical allusion: the guy waking up with a headache, or the dust in his eye. He tries to recall the events that happened - a memory that he seems to have trouble piecing together. In any case, both are excellent songs, different in style but oddly give you that same sad and emotionally charged feeling.

Ben Folds Five - Brick |

Shout Out Louds - Your Parent's Livingroom |

Taking a shift from melancholy to happy, the next two songs are about falling in love - but not just plain falling in love, it's falling in love with someone from a foreign land. We don't have a lot of indie songs about this (I only came up with two).  I'm going back into the 90's again with the Dambuilder's 'Shrine' and then a tune from 2007 - Of Montreal's 'Du Og Meg'. Both tell of a  story about a boy and a girl, brought together by the same love for music, just trying to overcome the language and cultural barrier to be with each other.

'Du Og Meg' (Norwegian for 'You and Me') feels like it should've been accompanied by a stick figure animation music video, since it sort of feels like someone's telling you a fairy tale -an upbeat one, about a swashbuckling knight from the evil empire, entranced by a princess. He swept her of her feet and she joined his touring rock band selling t-shirts at the shows. She ditched him, he came galloping back, and they were married in the summer. That's actually the whole song right there in one short paragraph. It's kind of cute to think that this was actually  how the singer, Kevin Barnes met his wife Nina who's from Oslo.

'Shrine' on the other hand is ear-candy. It opens with a beat and a bass guitar, and swells up to the full on rock band sound with a hint of violin. It's about falling in love with a girl, who doesn't speak much english and the only thing you have in common is rock n' roll. One nice trivia fact is that the song peaked as #14 in the Billboard Modern Rock chart in 1994 - which is  pretty good considering it doesn't have a chorus at all to help people remember the lyrics in their head. Coincidentally it's also something that it also has in common with Of Montreal's 'Du Og Meg'.

Of Montreal - Du Og Meg |

Dambuilders - Shrine |

The last two songs that I'm posting up here share the same title. One is indie pop and one is electronica. 'Impossible' is the second song in this entry from the Swedish group Shout Out Louds. It's also one of the songs my son has recently been liking (which definitely is because of the playful keyboard intro). Despite the uppity beat, this song is actually a post break-up song - where the guy is unable to move on. He insists, 'It's impossible that your love is something that I cannot remember' (which translated from Swedish English to English English is: 'It's impossible that your love is something that I can't forget') . The lyrics are heartfelt, and if you've actually been stuck on someone - you might want to sing along when he sings:'I don't want to see the same pictures all over. And I've been standing on the same spot now since it's been over'. Whether you're in post break-up or not, it's a song you can definitely like right away and a can survive a couple of more plays without getting old.

Figurine's 'IMpossible' on the other hand  - with the title cleverly written with a capital I and M - is somewhat of a break-up song as well. The song features a nice dialogue between the male and female vocals on how impossible a long distance relationship would be, especially over Instant Messaging. It's *the* love song for the internet generation and to anyone who's carried on a long distance relationship supported by IMs, Video Chats,. emails and what-not. Also, it's got a nice touch of the Belgian rave siren - which definitely dates the song (it must've probably been targeted to the early 2000 warehouse party go-ers).If you don't usually like electro-dance with a bit or rave - this song might actually make you consider (or not!).

Shout Out Louds - Impossible |

Figurine - IMpossible |


(photo credit: sporkist)

album "I'm not ever supposed to, ever supposed to but I will anyway."

Little Flame by Elle S'Appelle

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