New cover! And an old one from my solo/acoustic album. 

 I posted a new acoustic cover! I've been obsessing over Florence and the Machine lately so I thought I'd do my take on "Shake It Out." Have a listen!





Also, I have been playing my solo tunes more lately. I miss some of them! And I don't get to play them very often with Pocket the Moon. I've actually been trying to go out to more open mic nights - I'm even hosting an open mic night on Fridays now at my favorite coffee shop, Cool Beans, in Marietta. And I think I may be playing some solo gigs in the near future. We will see!

Anyway, I decided to post one of my favorite songs from my solo album - the title track, "Unsent Letters."


 


Driving Downtown to the Show - a new book of poems coming spring 2012 

 

Driving Downtown to the Show is a book of poems that came out of a grad school poetry workshop I took in spring 2011. Our professor had us come up with a poetry writing procedure, which would consist of ―rules that we would set for ourselves which would determine our writing schedules and content. We were to decide on a title before writing any poems, and the goal was to have a cohesive collection of poems by the time the semester was over. Because I was taking this class at a time when my main creative focus was my music career, I decided to use music as an inspiration for my procedure, particularly the Atlanta music scene.

Being in a local Atlanta band myself, with a long history of performing and enjoying many local shows in Atlanta’s many wonderful and unique music venues, I was greatly inspired and I wanted to harness that energy. Our city has such a wide variety of musicians and performers, and on any given night, there are at least three or four excellent local shows to go see. I wanted to do a collection of poems that celebrated the musician and celebrated the entire metro Atlanta area.

I scheduled my writing time for after band practice, and I decided each poem must contain a band name. When I sat down to write a poem, I would look up the bands that were playing at some of my favorite Atlanta music venues, The Earl, the Drunken Unicorn, and the Star Bar, and I would incorporate one of those band names into my poem. I also would put my iPod on random, and whichever song played would determine the length of the poem based on how many lines the lyrics had or how long the song was if it was an instrumental song. (I also decided, just for fun, to slip in all of the band names of bands I’ve been in.)

I will be self-publishing this book in the spring. Stay tuned for news of a book release/reading event! 


For now, enjoy one of the poems from my collection. In this poem, the band name I used was Wild Nothing. (They are not at Atlanta band, but they happened to be playing at the Drunken Unicorn the day I wrote this poem.)

Driving Mixy #1: The 'Songs That Actually Mention Driving' Mixy

That night, you got into
a shopping cart,
and I pushed you
around the Pizza
Hut where we worked –
in the rain - laughing - we were
wild. Nothing
ever stood in between
you and I and adventure.

We'd sneak out of our slumber
party bedroom windows
to hop in my white Chevy Malibu,
alternating drivers, drinking
vanilla coke,
bitching about the boys
who dumped us both at the same time
("Those fuckers!"),
listening to the Driving Mixy –
     All I want to do is to thank you
     even though I don't know who you are
     you let me change lanes
     when I was driving in my car


Accelerating without a care
through the strip malls and chain restaurants
in the town
where we once covered
the church playground in sidewalk chalk –
happy faces and song lyrics –
until the cops caught us
and told us to go home,
but we were.







New cover! Hyperballad by Bjork 

 

Here's a new acoustic cover for you guys. "Hyperballad" by Bjork. This is one of my favorite songs, and I've been doing this acoustic cover for a while so I thought I'd put it up for you guys. 

Ignore the weird focus/blurry issues I was having with my webcam! 

My favorites from 2011 - part 2 

So I'm continuing my end-of-year favorites! In this blog, I'm going to talk about my 5 favorite albums of the year (in no particular order) and some of the favorite shows that I saw. 

My Favorite Shows in 2011

Well, I went to a lot of shows this year - more than I've gone to any other year, probably, but most of them were on a smaller scale. So it was a lot of Drunken Unicorn, Wonderroot, Eastside Lounge, The Earl, Star Bar, Masquerade kind of shows. The "biggest" shows I went to this year were M83 at The Masquerade and Beirut at the Variety Playhouse - both of which were completely amazing. (But I love both of these bands A LOT - see below - so that's really not surprising.) 




Many of the local bands that I saw this year, though, put on amazing shows. A few of my favorites were the Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun CD release show where Moonlight Bride and Sealions played with them at The Earl. I originally went to the show mainly to see Moonlight Bride with a vague sense of liking Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun but not really remembering what they sounded like. The entire bill was spot on that night, and I truly loved everyone's performances. And I left there with a great new record from Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun. All in all, it was a win. I then caught Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun again last week at The Earl where they played their whole album Wildfire, start to finish, at the Atlanta Music Roundtable show. Amazing set.




I made it out to quite a few Verge of Bliss shows this year. Not only are these guys great people, but they are seriously everything that a rock band should be. They have a high energy level on stage, Virginia's vocals are powerful and soulful with just the right amount of grit mixed in, and the instrumentation from the whole group is solid, together, and in your face. And yet, they will break your heart with songs like "Dreaming on the Eve" and "Photographs." It's really cool to see a band grow and develop, and I can't wait until they put out their album in 2012. (And shotout to Trey Bliss for being the most supportive Atlanta musician there is. Seriously, this guy is out supporting Atlanta musicians practically every night of the week it seems. You can always count on Trey to be at the show!) 




On the folksy singer/songwriter side, it was all about the ladies this year for me. I was impressed by the wonderful songwriting abilities of people like Juliana Finch, Molly Parden, Rebecca Loebe, and Sydney Eloise. I had the opportunity to see all four of these ladies throughout the year (some of them more than once! and some of them I even got to play with!) They all write very sincere and honest songs with such skill that you can't help but be a little bit awed. They are also all huge inspirations to me. I definitely had "moments" to each of their songs when I was at their shows this year. Definitely check them out. 

Other local and/or indie shows that I really enjoyed this year: Cinetrope, Siberia My Sweet, Sour Soul, Wowser Bowser, Calm White Noise, Railbird, 1880s Dance Party, and nerdkween.



5 Albums I Fell In Love With in 2011




Beirut - The Rip Tide

It's no surprise that I would love this album given the fact that I've been in love with everything that Zachary Condon has done, but The Rip Tide really combines all of the elements that I loved about Beirut's previous albums. There are some songs that you can dance around to, there are some songs that will break your heart, there are great melodies all the way through and great arrangements. And as always, this guy's level of talent blows me away.




Foster the People - Torches

This is an album that I wouldn't have expected would make my favorites list, but it was definitely one of the albums that came out this year that just makes me happy every time I pop it in. Of course, it's catchy as hell and certainly poppy with a very mainstream appeal, but once you actually listen to the lyrics and hear what they're saying underneath all of the catchy melodies, there's actually quite a lot of meaningful substance here. So whether you just want some music you can dance mindlessly too or you want music that makes you think, Foster the People manages to do both here, which isn't always easy.




Radiohead - The King of Limbs

This album almost didn't make my list. If I were making a "favorite Radiohead albums" list, it would be on the bottom. But even my least favorite Radiohead album is still one of my favorite albums of 2011. Although the initial few times I listened to it, I wasn't completely blown away (like I was with In Rainbows), I quickly found that songs like "Separator" and "Lotus Flower" were some of my favorite tracks from any band this whole year.




The Kills - Blood Pressures

This is a great "straight up rock" album. Straight up rock is a new genre name I've invented (well, I'm sure many other people have used it before!) because with SO much music these days and SO many sub-genres that get grouped into the "rock" category, you can sometimes forget what a real rock n' roll album sounds like until an album like this comes along. "Future Starts Slow" wins the award for "best song to drive around and feel like a badass" to. "The Last Goodbye" will break your heart. "Heart is a Beating Drum" will make you dance around like an idiot. All-in-all, this album is a great experience.




M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming

This "list" is not numbered, but if I had an absolute favorite album of 2011, this would definitely be it. This 2-disc album really and truly takes you on a journey. From songs like "Midnight City" that will make you dance like crazy to heartbreaking nostalgic ballads like "Wait" to incredibly trippy songs like "Raconte-Moi Histoire" to incredibly epic songs like "Outro," this album has everything. Every album M83 has put out has been progressively better than the previous one (in my opinion), and considering how much I loved Saturdays = Youth, I was bound to love this album. One of the great things about Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, though, is that the whole album comes across as one epic, emotional dream.



So those are my favorites from 2011!

Definitely go and check these out, especially the locals! There are a ton of links for you to click on. Go to their pages, listen to their tunes. If you're in Atlanta, catch a show in 2012! Going to see a local show is always a great thing to do. It's cheap (and sometimes free!) live music! Typically in a place where you can drink BEER. And you never know what kind of free shit you will get - moon pies, stickers, free CDs, free beer! Who knows? And if you go support a local band, I guarantee your presence will be appreciated. Everybody wins :)


 

My favorites from 2011 - part 1 

Well, it's that time of year when obsessive dorks like me start making lists. This is great for people like me who obsessively document everything. I journal every day, I make silly lists (10 things I'm grateful for today, books I've read this year, shows I've played this year, etc.) on my computer. I have tons of notebooks filled with other things that don't exactly fit into either category. Okay, I know what you're thinking. "Wow, Sara, that sounds very OCD of you!" but considering how completely laid back I am in every other aspect of my life, I'm quite accepting of this one aspect of obsessive behavior.

So most of the music blogs out there are making "best of 2011" lists, but I don't like the word "best" because it implies that there is an objective way to determine which albums are better than others, and as I always say, all art is subjective. (I should get that tattooed. That's become my battle cry.) So, instead, I'm going to share with you 5 albums that I fell in love with in 2011, my 5 favorite shows that I went to in 2011, 3 albums I fell in love with in 2011 (that weren't actually released in 2011), and 3 local Atlanta albums I fell in love with in 2011. And if you really don't care about all of that, just skip down to the fun YouTube videos so you can listen for yourself!

2011 was an odd sort of year. At this time last year, I thought that there were going to be tons of releases from some of my favorite artists that I would absolutely love. Radiohead, Bjork, Lykke Li, Devotchka, Bon Iver, etc. For the most part, though, most of these releases left me with that "meh" feeling, which is definitely not what I was expecting from these artists.

One of the great things about 2011, though, was how involved I got to be in the Atlanta music scene. I played around 25 Atlanta shows with Pocket the Moon, and I made it out to around 20 (mostly local) shows in addition to that. Seeing and playing all of these shows allowed me to see some really great bands, both local and touring, and I also got the opportunity to meet some really cool people. As much as I often bitch about certain aspects of the Atlanta music scene (*cough*hipsters*cough*), there is a lot to appreciate about it also. This past year, I have met so many incredibly talented musicians who are (*gasp*) ALSO supportive of OTHER musicians!!

Everything that Geoff and I have gotten to do as Pocket the Moon--release an album, go on tour, play some really great shows, make a music video, get voted "Best New Music Act" and "Best Folk Act" in Creative Loafing--would NOT have been possible without all of our friends and supporters. I cannot say thank you enough to all of you for that.

Anyway. Onward. Let's see the lists!

I'm going to save my "5 albums I Fell In Love With in 2011" list and my "5 favorite shows I went to in 2011" list for next time. But here's the first half of my obsessive list making!

3 albums I Fell in Love With in 2011 (that weren't actually released in 2011)

I think it's important to include these sorts of albums in these kinds of lists, especially with music the way that it is today. There is SO MUCH indie music out there to be discovered that sometimes you won't find out about an album until way after it is released. There is no shame in this! While you won't typically see most indie music bloggers actually admitting that there was an album they didn't know about until a year later, I'm not a "typical" indie music blogger. (In fact, I'm not a typical anything blogger. I just write whatever the hell I feel like writing whenever I feel like writing it.)

Anyway, I wanted to write about these three albums because even though they were released before 2011, to me, they were very much 2011 albums because that is when I obsessed over them.






Angus and Julia Stone - Down the Way (2010)

I actually loved this album more than most of the albums on my main favorites from 2011 list. While the atmospheric track "Hold On," the haunting "For You," the catchy "Big Jet Plane," and folksy "And The Boys" are definitely my favorite tracks on this album, there really isn't a track that I dislike. These songs are full of soul, passion, emotion. The lyrics are deep and meaningful, the vocals of Angus and Julia really blend well together, the arrangements and the melodies are superb. The whole album is a winner.








The Naked and Famous - Passive Me, Aggressive You (2010)

This upbeat and catchy album reminds me of everything that I love about bands like MGMT, Foster the People, Moonlight Bride. Not that The Naked and Famous necessarily sounds like those bands, but they have some of the same elements. This track, "Young Blood" is my favorite. Some of the vocals remind me a little of M83, too, which is probably another reason I love it.






James Vincent McMorrow - Early in the Morning (2010)

This folksy and soulful solo artist reminds me a lot of Bon Iver or Edward Sharpe. His songs are very catchy and yet full of meaning. There are a lot of great and almost haunting harmonies on this album. It's perfect for rainy days like today. You should definitely have a listen if you haven't heard him before.



3 Local Atlanta Albums That I Fell In Love With in 2011

(aside from self-titled by Pocket the Moon...)
(kidding, kidding)
(no but seriously, listen to our album.)





Places - The Future

Tracks like "Dark Fear, "No More Lies," and "At Least It's A Beautiful Day" are great examples of why I love this dreamy, nostalgic album. It reminds me a little bit of Wild Nothing meets Slowdive (and comparing a local band to Slowdive is something I never thought I'd do). Definitely check them out. You can hear the whole album at the Bandcamp page and pay what you want.

Places on Bandcamp
Places on Facebook







Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun - W I L D F I R E

When this album came out in May, I think it spent a good month on repeat in my CD player (or at least a few weeks...I don't have a great concept of time). This album may as easily have been on my main list of favorite albums from 2011, but they just happen to be local so they go here! "Old Monster," "We Were Wild," and "With My Good Eye" are definitely my favorite tracks. (They remind me a lot of Metric.) I also think this band is definitely an inspiration for all of us Atlanta musicians. (Plus, they donated a free album to my raffle for the Red Cross benefit show I organized at Kavarna earlier this year so kudos to them!)








Molly Parden - Time is Medicine

Ever since I saw her set at Drunken Unicorn this June when she played at our CD release show, I have been a big fan of her's. She's one of those genuine folk singers that I love because her songs are very honest. My favorite tracks from this album are the title tract and "A Song For My Mother."


So check out these artists, go see their shows (if they're local!), buy their music, be supportive!

And stay tuned for part 2 of my favorites from 2011. :)

Sign up for my mailing list!


Receive a FREE exclusive YA contemporary novella!
* indicates required
Email Format

Donate to Sara Crawford

Btn donate lg