Upon this Tidal Wave…

In 2005, I showed up at MI’s Yuba City house in a dress. It was Halloween. His ex was playing Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s debut album in the living room stereo, and she made him admit – to my face – that he did, indeed, like the album. Not love it, maybe, and he certainly didn’t think it deserved all of the made-up accolades I was trying to bestow upon it. But he liked it. In spite of himself.

Ten years later, Alec Ounsworth is touring with CYHSY 2.0, celebrating that seminal album. And two weeks ago, he brought the party to The Independent. Continue reading Upon this Tidal Wave…

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…

Chair Dancing at the Movies

I’ve never thought dancing in my plush theater recliner during a movie was appropriate. But I’ve also rarely been to a screening where the live musical accompaniment was worth bobbing my head to. Leg shuffling, even less so.

So when I won tickets to see Cibo Matto perform “New Scene” as part of San Francisco Film Festival’s Live and Onstage series, I was pretty excited. I had no idea what to expect beyond the program description: “new musical soundtracks to a number of wild and abstract short movies to be played in this one-time-only performance.”

The wild and abstract almost won out, as I spent more time than expected staring in sheer bewilderment at the screen. Enough with the fly on the naked woman, Yoko Ono. I get it. Or, more precisely, I maybe don’t get it, but I’ve had enough.

My favorite foray into peculiar cinema was the thirty minute version of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadic Ballet produced by Bavaria Atelier GmbH in 1970. It was like a Jim Woodring comic making love to a De Chirico painting in a candy shop.


Continue reading Chair Dancing at the Movies

Sylvan Esso: Fillmore Part Deux

It’s been a good, better, best kind of week. And it only took through Tuesday.

IMG_2519By the time we were standing downstage right (LDG: “Right? Where are you? That’s left!”) for Sylvan Esso’s return trip to The Fillmore, I had already reevaluated my stance on a previously despised commerce-driven holiday; rekindled a list-driven exploration of Nordic pop; and rediscovered a central coast hideaway, heretofore nothing more than a power plant curiosity, that is home to both a bevy of sea otters and a treasure trove of Shakespeare aficionados.

And then, of course, the show Tuesday night was fantastic. Continue reading Sylvan Esso: Fillmore Part Deux

The Preatures, That One Night…

Blue Planet Eyes, the debut LP from Australia’s The Preatures, spun under my radar in 2014, despite the fact that both MH and RF had it on their year-end lists.

MH likes to tell the story about how he watched Game 7 of the World Series at Fly on Divis, and then, minutes after Salvie Perez’s pop-up landed in What’s-His-Face’s glove, he charged into The Independent to celebrate with The Preatures. Well of course he likes the album. He probably bought the vinyl and a pair of t-shirts while he was at it. I know what a memorable night feels like. I understand the significance of connecting a charged evening to a recording; he’s re-living Bumgarner’s superhuman achievement every time he hears “Is This How You Feel?” Continue reading The Preatures, That One Night…

Time Traveling and the Importance of Loving The Y Axes

Y Axes 03On their Twitter homepage, locals The Y Axes explain that they “are not the future of pop music, [they] are pop music from the future.” I’ve seen them live a couple times now, and have enjoyed the hell out of Sunglasses & Solar Flares since its release last year. I’m happy to report, then, that the future’s pop music reminds me a lot of Bay Area rock circa 2003.

Or maybe it’s just the venues.

There was something about those Lookout! and Asian Man shows in the East Bay, in the City, and in San Jose a decade ago. I haven’t listened to some of these bands in years, but I can remember seeing Squirtgun spazzing onstage, The Pattern doing their best Hives impersonation, Pretty Girls Make Graves playing almost an entire set in the dark. It was energized and alive, and, for me, just what I needed while I clawed myself free of a crap time in my life, bouncing between woe-is-me emocore and don’t-give-a-shit punk. Continue reading Time Traveling and the Importance of Loving The Y Axes

New Years, New Seasons

It’s been about a year since I started this blog, and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m doing here.

Jordan and Lauren of SALES
Jordan and Lauren of SALES

Is it a scrapbook collecting my live music experiences? A digital upgrade of that little ticket stub shoebox that lived in my kitchen drawer for years?

The second Noise Pop show I attended this year was Orlando’s SALES, an act I’d been following and eager to see perform since MMJ expressed her exuberance over “Chinese New Year” one Lunar Year ago. They were fantastic, and cool people to hang out with after the show. So cool in fact, it near made me forget the terrible sonic shitshows that opened the evening. Those bands made me feel old. Older. What are the kids listening to? * Continue reading New Years, New Seasons

TV Girl and The Center of the Universe

“Hey. Hey. Dude. Dude! This guy? Is a CHODE. But I like it.” – RF

TV Girl’s French Exit was one of my favorite albums of 2014. And their Wednesday night Noise Pop gig at Brick & Mortar Music Hall is now one of my favorite live musical experiences of the new year.

Granted, it’s only the second time I’ve been to a show in twenty-fifteen, and that last one was less than memorable, but still. This one will stand out.

And it wasn’t really because of the band.
Continue reading TV Girl and The Center of the Universe

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