Category Archives: Music

Italians Do It Better. Chromatics Do It Best.

I tend to obsess over things. Case in point, when, back in November of last year, the Italians Do It Better website announced the Chromatics’ “Cherry” 12″ was COMING SOON.

For the next two months I checked that website every day (sometimes twice a day) for news or ordering information. Or, you know, maybe some news on Dear Tommy which, at one point, had an announced release of last February.

Every day. Website. Scroll. COMING SOON. Continue reading Italians Do It Better. Chromatics Do It Best.

Everyone Loves a Tournament

MH and I had been debating Sweden vs. Australia again. I continued my decade-long devotion to that magical Nordic cradle of pop perfection, and MH produced one piece of Aussie evidence after another. It’s a pointless argument. Our musical landscape is constantly enriched by both regions.

IMG_2653But it became even more interesting when we continued the discussion at Rickshaw Stop a few Fridays ago when Swedish-Australian disco duo Say Lou Lou were headlining the Popscene event. An argument ender? No. Just a beginning.

MH is a passionate college basketball fan (being the one among us to have attended a school with a decent program), so the idea of co-opting the NCAA tournament format as a successor to the Rock ‘n Roll Roulette ranking process was immediately appealing. The Idle Time Tune Tournament was born.

Then we argued about which Say Lou Lou song should make the cut…

Hundred Waters and Thousand Sunsets

This isn’t my first blog post of the new year, but it may as well be.

Roughly this time last year, I was rediscovering music: its past importance to me, its significance in The Turnaround, its role in my every day. And, partnered with a very personal need to journal again, I spun what I thought might have been the best pieces of the Idle Time site into threads of what I’d hoped to be something new, or, at least, something of the new me.

If that sounds directionless and vague, it was. Which is unfortunate, in a sense, because the last thing I’d wanted as a hallmark of my twenty-fourteen was a lack of direction. But as it turned out, moving forward — or backward, or sideways, or whatever direction the wind, song, or Sunday required — without my mind constantly fixated on the What’s Next was the best thing for me.

2014 was a year of being in the present. It was my most introspective, self-realizing year, built up from the ashes of a year I’d hoped to soon forget. Continue reading Hundred Waters and Thousand Sunsets

They’re Singing Deck the Halls…

This season, I’ve listened to the least amount of Christmas music in… well, probably my entire life. And that’s interesting, because I thought I experienced my fa-la-la nadir last Decemeber. My holiday tune intake has decreased dramatically in recent years.

Granted, prior to last Christmas, I lived with someone who absolutely loved Christmas songs. One of her most beloved possessions was a beat-up CD-R entitled “Xmas and more” that somehow survived getting kicked around the floors of countless cars, and resurfaced just in time every season. So the music was unavoidable.

Am I less excited, less enthused about the holidays? Hardly. In fact, I bought and decorated my first tree in almost a decade. My new housemate has been on a holiday baking spree. As I’m typing this, I’m wearing my new Santa sweater.

Better late than never. And this is the greatest Christmas song ever recorded. Please come home? There are a few things missing in the house, to be certain. But fewer and fewer things every day. The full spectrum of Christmas cheer might have been one of the last absent pieces.

Chromatics – White Light

Just in time for the weekend, a beautiful new Chromatics track.

And just in time for more sunset commutes home, chilly nights at the edge of the world, and rainy stay-inside Sunday mornings. I love the fact the Johnny Jewel keeps sneaking Chromatics tracks — and songs from other projects — onto his Soundcloud. If for no other reason than to continue posting songs alongside gorgeous Ruth Radelet photos. Continue reading Chromatics – White Light

Noodles in my Inbox

Lost on the Internet somewhere, in a post, a series of posts, or a defunct Google Group conversation, is the transcript of that fateful day when Sweden came into my life. That midday car ride with two other original Idle Time members, the debut LP from Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, and a rousing “Noodles” singalong. It’s possibly a Nordic enchantment of some sort; no other way to explain the resulting obsession.

More recently, JN, back from a year in Scandinavia, educated me on all the Nordic music I’m missing out on if I narrow my exploration to songs sung in English.

Yesterday, RF sent me a song in an email subject-headed A little gift from Iceland. It’s warm-blooded nouveau soul straight outta Reykjavík. The file didn’t have the track title, so I had to investigate on my own. The name of the song is almost as fun as the music itself. “Sjáum hvað setur,” courtesy of Icelandic four-piece Moses Hightower.

This also served to remind me that, months ago, I emailed myself a link encountered via the back-from-the-dead SKWBN Twitter feed. Continue reading Noodles in my Inbox

Kansas City Here We Come

JD and BC are on their way to KC right now, one via SFO and the other outta OAK.* Only one of the two is actually going to the games, but I’m pretty happy for both of them nonetheless. BC has been prepping his BBQ safari for weeks.

Yeah, it’s been a cute story, Royals. And under any other circumstance I might be cheering you guys on this October. But I’m making room on my championship wall display this week… a spot labeled 2014.

I know quite a few folks who weren’t crazy about The Giants’ “Together” marketing campaign this season. But I have to say… I’m feeling it. Kansas City, here I come too.
Continue reading Kansas City Here We Come

Cookies. Still Good.

Earlier this year, I was attending a dry seminar at a bleak airport hotel, and the catered lunch carts rolled into the conference room like a SWAT team response to a hostage crisis. Oh, Subway. And under one of those clear plastic lids, a bowlful of equal parts snickerdoodle and chocolate chip.

“Mm. I haven’t had a cookie in years.” I meant it, too. For reasons I’ve only recently begun analyzing, the cookie has been out of my dessert rotation for some time now.

Another attendee, in front of me in the chow line, without looking in my direction: “They’re still good.”

On last week’s Bandcamp Weekly, Andrew Jervis playfully gave Ben Sterling a hard time for taking five years to release an album following the breakup of Mobius Band.
Continue reading Cookies. Still Good.