Song of the Day: Neutral Milk Hotel “Three Peaches”

Taken from the Neutral Milk Hotel official website.

If there’s one thing I love about meeting new people, it’s getting into new (or old) music. Last month, I met a pretty fantastic boy that was really in to Neutral Milk Hotel. NMH is one of those bands I had kind of put on the back burner. Not because they’re not an amazing band. in fact, Jeff Mangum’s voice and lyrics have been haunting me for years now. I first heard about them through WVUM 90.5 FM (the radio station that, funny enough, I wound up working for year later) and then later through my friend Hector who put a few NMH songs on a mix cd for me.

From then, i’d kind of forgotten about them until 2005, when I met a boy in California who absolutely loved them. During one of my trips to Los Angeles, he even tried to teach me how to play Two-Headed Boy on the guitar (I got a little of it but have forgotten since). But after I came back to Miami, and after that short-lived romance had ended, I stopped listening to them. Things didn’t work out with the boy and although I wouldn’t admit it in those days, enough time has passed to say that I was really heartbroken.But  It wasn’t their fault that things didn’t work out with that particular boy. The music is never responsible. It only serves as a reminder of things that might have been, things that once were, things that can’t be. And that’s alright. Because it’s making me realize something important.

See, I’ve spent about 3 hours now listening to this song on repeat, going over so many things in my head that might’ve mattered, that could matter, that probably shouldn’t. The great thing about listening to something over and over again is that eventually, the song means something completely different. It’s like when you say a word over and over again until it begins to deconstruct, decompose. It gets pulled apart, shredded, torn, and eventually it’s completely unrecognizable. The same is true for music. You can analyze a song to death, you can cherish it until it’s gone, you hold it close until you can’t remember why you were holding on in the first place.

And so it is with this particular song, Three Peaches, that I’ve gone through all of this, that’s seen me go through this, that continues to exist. I didn’t even bother to look up the words at first, but then I did, and of course it took on more meaning. But the more I listen to it, the less I want to cry and the more I want to be inspired, the more I want to do. It’s the kind of song that shackles you to the bottom of the ocean just long enough for you to find the key and rush back to the top. It resonates- because we’ve all felt that thing that sits in the back of Mangum’s throat. It’s the same thing that’s in the back of our minds and at the bottom of our bellies and hidden deep within the cavity of our chests, a harsh reality that simultaneously slaps you in the face and then cradles you until you’re okay again.

This song isn’t just a song. It means so much in its simplicity. So much emotion in each note. And to me, it means more than that. It means moments, it means history, it means everything i’ve felt for so few, on such rare occasion, when i’ve actually been capable, and it means a fresh start when it’s finally all behind me.

So listen. Just… listen. And if you hear it, if you know what i’m talking about, well.. then that’s all there is to it. That’s all I can say about that.

J is For… : A January Playlist

Oh, January. My, how good you’ve been to me. I’ve been wondering just how February plans on topping off the past 31 days…

good times. always.

Anyway, this has been my soundtrack for the past month; a mix of old favorites and songs overheard at, well, key moments. Most of these are on one of the many mix CDs I have currently sliding around in my car (no, I don’t have an MP3 player in my car, I know, I know…). UPDATE: I found this site, 8tracks.com, that helps you quickly upload a mix. It doesn’t make it available for download unfortunately but this should be good for now.

LISTEN: J is for… : A January Mix Tape

Playlist:
Tears for Fears “Everybody Wants To Rule The World”
De La Soul “Eye Know”
TLC “Creep”
The Walkmen “The Rat”
Animal Collective “Fireworks”
Edwyn Collins “Girl Like You”
Pulp “Common People”
Social Distortion “Under My Thumb”
The Replacements “Alex Chilton”
Florence and the Machine “Addicted to Love”
Weezer “Tired of Sex”
Beirut “Nantes”
The Black Keys “Unknown Brother”
Wolf Parade “I’ll Believe in Anything”
Lykke Li  “Possibility”
Pedro the Lion “Bad Things to Such Good People”
David Bowie “Lady Stardust”
Neutral Milk Hotel “Two-Headed Boy”
Radiohead “Gagging Order”
Best Coast “When I’m With You”
Sex Pistols “My Way”

Suggestions for what should go in my car this month? Just downloaded R.E.M.‘s and Atmosphere’s entire discography and the Tank Girl soundtrack for starters. Might also re-visit some old Tool since they’re coming to town.

Happy February!

Song of the Day: Elvis Perkins “While You Were Sleeping”

Back when I was on Blogspot, there were 3 things that I enjoyed doing most: posting movie trailers, posting links to news for the week, and posting songs of the day. This also worked pretty well in my Tumblr-ing days (which I may eventually return to at some point). And so, I figure that these things, which I enjoy so much, also have room to be placed on this blog of mine.

I was listening to Pandora today (my current station was: Neutral Milk Hotel) and whilst I tried to make sense of the mess in my room while avoiding the mess in my head, this song came on.

Elvis Perkins, son of famed swoon-worthy actor and former “Psycho” Anthony Perkins, is the man behind the music. This is my first time hearing anything of his, but this song has already convinced me to download his discography and give it a good listen. I’ve been in a slight musical rut the past couple of days, so it was nice to get this breath of fresh air, or fresh sounds anyway.

The song is simple and the chords repeat and repeat and lull you in to a longing that you might not have even noticed was in you to begin with. I’m a huge sucker for acoustic guitar and the throaty voices of the many who have obviously been kicked around, had their hearts and egos bruised, and spent many a restless night alone.

Read the lyrics below if you’re interested in the poetry of Perkins’ tune (with favorite excerpts in bold):

 

while you were sleeping
your babies grew
the stars shined and the shadows moved
time flew, the phone rang
there was a silence when the kitchen sang
its songs competed like kids for space
we stared for hours in our maker’s face
they gave us picks
said go mine the sun
and gold and come back when you’re done
while you were sleeping
you tossed, you turned
you rolled your eyes as the world burned
the heavens fell, the earth quaked
i thought you must be, but you weren’t awake
no, you were dreaming
you ignored the sun
you grew your power garden
for your little ones
and you found brides for them on christmas eve
they hung young cain from the adam trees
and danced
while you were sleeping
i tossed and i turned
til i closed my eyes
but the future burned
through the planet turned a hair gray
as i relived the day
while you were sleeping
the money died
machines were harmless and the earth sighed
the wind, you slept sound
and gravity caught my love around
the oceans rose, sang about decay
while witches flew
and the mermaids stayed
full of dreams, you overslept
and keeping with the quiet, through the walls i crept
i walked on tiptoe, sent darkness swirling over all the kitchen in the early morning
i’ll never catch up to you
who sleeps so sound
my arms are useless
my heart beats too loud to go to sleep
my mind’s too crowded
while you were sleeping
the time changed
all your things were rearranged
your vampire mirrors face to face
they saw forever out into space
and found you dreaming in black and white
while it rained in all the colors of the night
i watched the tvs
memories
championships
vanished to sea
could it be, my honey between you and me
so i waited for the riddled sky
to dissolve again by sunrise
and i’ve made a death suit for life
for my father’s ill widowed wife
did you have that strangest dream before you woke
cos in your gown you had the butterfly stroke
did it escape you like some half told joke?
when you reached for your plume of smoke
it’ll haunt you, my honey bee
anyone who is anyone has that same dream
were you falling
were you flying
and were you calling out
or were you dying
well, thank god you’re up now
let’s stay that way
else there’ll be no mornings
and no more days
cos when we’re dreaming
our babies grow
the sun shines
and the shadows flow
time flies
the phone rings
there is a silence
and everybody tries to sing

 

Coincidentally, while hunting this song down, I found a person that has been uploading Songs of the Day on their YouTube account for years now. While that might be a bit more of a challenge at the moment, I might attempt something similar in the future. For now, i’ll just enjoy what others have to offer and hopefully we’ll all expand our musical knowledge over time. Let me know what you think or if you have suggestions for future Songs of the Day!

This Week In Amazing: Miami Winter, Enchanted Santas, Impossible Missions, and the Spiders from Mars

If the first week of 2012 is any indication of what is to come this year, it may very well be the end of the world.

Alright, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but these first few days have been admittedly too much fun (if such a thing exists). It’s been deliciously cold out (cold for Miami, that is), so it’s been difficult not to be out and about. There were about 3 days in a row where my main mission was to find a good place with coffee and pie, a la Twin Peaks (holy crap someone get me this shirt!!). In between these days have been hang outs revolving around playing pool and watching movies. My pool game has sadly not gotten any better in the past few days, but I have to say it’s definitely improved in general over the past few months. As for the movies, we saw Young Adult a few nights ago (I’m still trying to write out my disappointment about this film in a separate post) and this past Sunday, I took my dad to watch the latest Mission Impossible film for his birthday. Maybe it’s because I didn’t exactly have high hopes for it, but MI4 wound up being exactly what it was supposed to be: mind-numbingly entertaining. Plus, you can’t go wrong with Simon Pegg, and hell, Jeremy Renner isn’t exactly hard on the eyes. See for yourself:

On top of all of this, there have been nature walks in parks (and almost getting pegged by the Frisbee golfers), my first time feeding my baby nieces (messy, to say the least), bonfires and barbecues in backyards (not to mention unpasteurized Gouda), drinks with the ladyfriends (at Fox’s, Mr. Moe’s, Sunset Tavern, Sandbar, and Titanic’s – all places I should be piecing together some reviews for soon), and the rediscovering of good music.

In particular, I’ve been indulging myself in a lot of Radiohead (the Com Lag and Airbag/How Am I Driving? EPs to be specific) and David Bowie (namely: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars). Getting lost in music again is inspiring me to bring back the old podcast, maybe even if it’s just mini-mixes for now. Will be trying to get something going for that in the near future.

Quite possibly the best night so far of 2012 though involved a trip to that Miami holiday staple: Santa’s Enchanted Forest.

Santa’s is the annual winter-themed carnival that graces Tropical Park from November to January. Like most Miamians, I’ve been visiting the Enchanted Forest since I was a little kid – I’ve even got the Polaroids to prove it. Of course, back then it was much smaller and a lot less expensive. Nowadays, the roughly $27 entry fee gets you admittance into the park where you can indulge your inner child while walking past Christmas-y dioramas, watching acrobats and clowns and the occasional fire-breathing act, stuffing your face on elephant ears and other fried goodies, and riding everything from rollercoasters to ferris wheels to the infamous Himalaya (“Let me hear your screaaaaaam!” is a popular phrase you’re sure to hear if you happen upon this particular ride). While this was a place I used to absolutely love coming to as a kid, it was sometime around early adolescence that I decided I was “too cool” to keep going to such a “childish” establishment. Luckily, the older I get, the less I care about ever looking goofy or silly, so my friends and I revived this old tradition last year and have since come to enjoy it as one of our new winter traditions. This time around, we over-indulged in cotton candy and nachos, enjoyed defying gravity on numerous rides, and even made friends with some enterprising, traveling caricature artists. And of course, there are more details about all this, but for that you’ll have to wait til I jot ’em down in the book (wink, wink). Suffice to say that sleep has been lost, memories have been made, and plenty of cafe con leches have been drunk in between. So is the good life.

On a side note, I’ve got my first part-time gig going for the year and quite hopefully more work to come. If all goes well, I may be returning to the store to reward myself with this dress:

I’ve spent far too much time wearing the same tired old things. 2012 requires drastic wardrobe overhaul!

For now, it’s time to continue with the writing goals and see where the rest of the year takes me.

 

How was your first week of 2012?

If it hasn’t been spectacular just yet, start adding a little magic to your life. Take an alternate route home sometime. Talk to the stranger next to you. Do something completely unlike you. You might be surprised at how much these little details can alter the course of your day, your week, your year.