It's been a while since I've posted anything on here so I decided to start this with a picture of Morrissey. Because, why not? I think we all need a little Morrissey in our lives.
I've been super busy trying to finish up my MFA--I've got my big comprehensive exam coming up and my thesis defense. (My thesis is my play The Snow Globe, which I'm feeling pretty good about.) This is why I have sort of fallen off the face of the Earth. (Unless you come to Cool Beans, where I will probably be reading or writing.) I also started working on a young adult novel. I was so in love with the Muses from my play Painted, Vincent and Izabella, I wanted to keep writing about them. And I felt like the young adult format was a good place to do that. Because really, have I ever grown up past the age of 17? Um, probably not. (Have I grown up past the age of 8, some people might ask. I do have a Peter Pan complex. As anyone who saw my short film, Leapfrog, or heard my song, "Peter's Lament" knows. But shhh.) So anyway. I feel like maybe I have found my niche. The Snow Globe is a children's play, I'm working on a new young adult novel, and well, maybe I just like being immature.
Things are looking up for me, though. I am starting to see the light at the end of the grad school tunnel, I got a new job today where I will be able to learn and grow in the field of internet marketing/SEO, which is a great thing for a writer to get into. (There's a lot of writing web content involved.) And I'm hoping that I will be able to get back into music--playing shows and recording songs--when I graduate and all of that settles down. I have a lot of new songs (well..."new" as in they aren't on my solo album or the Pocket the Moon album...) and I'm hoping to record another solo album (but this time with backing musicians!) some time in the next year or two...I have a lot of ideas kicking around. But you know me, I always have 8 million things going on.
One of the great things I have enjoyed about taking some time off with music is that it has given me more time to enjoy and support other artists. Here's one you should check out!
My friends over at Verge of Bliss recently released an EP and it will rock your face off. Seriously. I feel like there is a raw, pure "rock" quality that Verge of Bliss has that is unique in the local Atlanta scene. Check out their EP here.
You can catch Verge of Bliss at Star Bar in November. They'll also be touring Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, so check out their dates if you live in those states.
I'm going to try to post some YouTube covers in the next few weeks. I need to stay sharp even though I'm not playing shows right now, and that will definitely help! Plus I have a few cool covers I've been playing lately that I'd like to share with you guys.
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.
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 :)
Hey everyone! It's been a while since I've updated. I've got quite a few things going on right now, so I thought I'd let you know about them!
First of all, I just finished a new book of poems called Driving Downtown to the Show for a poetry writing workshop I was taking for grad school. As you may recall, this is the project where I had to use the name of a band playing at The Earl, the Star Bar, or the Drunken Unicorn in each poem. I'm really happy with the way it turned out, and I'm planning on going the self-publishing route with this one and releasing it sometime in August or September. So stay on the look out for that!
Also, my band, Pocket the Moon, has been super busy. We are hard at work getting ready to release our debut self-titled 10-track album. We also have a couple of really cool shows/events coming up that I hope you will join us for:
Pocket the Moon Benefit Show at Kavarna - All proceeds go towards the American Red Cross and Tornado/Disaster relief - Saturday, May 28th -Come join us for this great night of music! Pocket the Moon, Divine Isis, and additional artists will be playing! It's only 5 bucks to get in, the money goes to a great cause, and we will be having a raffle with some really great prizes!
Pocket the Moon CD RELEASE SHOW at Drunken Unicorn! - 5 bucks - 21+ Come out and support us as we release our debut album!!
We are also continuing to book shows for our August 2011 tour! A complete list of tour dates will be announced soon!
And stay tuned to the website for more of my YouTube cover series and the Poem of the Week, both of which are returning next week!
The video for Verge of Bliss's "Dreaming on the Eve" - this is one of my favorite songs that they do
Decoupage! I took an old acoustic that I had just laying around and made it a Pocket the Moon guitar! I'm planning on giving it away in the raffle at the 5/28 American Red Cross Benefit Show!
The fact that Avenue Q is playing at Horizon Theatre starting tomorrow, May 20th! Check it out everyone!
Carolina Wallin Perez - Anyone who has known me for longer than a year probably knows about my obsession with Swedish band, Kent. I just discovered this artist who has AN ENTIRE CD OF KENT COVERS which are AMAZING. And that makes me excited :)