Tag Archives: children

Emily Dickinson favorites (1101-1775)

The earth has many keys.
Where melody is not
Is the unknown peninsula.
Beauty is nature’s fact.

But witness for her land,
And witness for her sea,
The cricket is her utmost
Of elegy to me. Continue reading

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selections from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“She’ll come back and be a serious Americanah like Bisi,” Ranyinudo said.

They roared with laughter, at that word “Americanah,” wreathed in glee, the fourth syllable extended, and at the thought of Bisi, a girl in the form below them, who had come back from a short trip to America with odd affectations, pretending she no longer understood Yoruba, adding a slurred r to every English word she spoke. (78) Continue reading

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selections from Turtle Island by Gary Snyder

Goal: Clean air, clean clear-running rivers, the presence of Pelican and Osprey and Gray Whale in our lives; salmon and trout in our streams; unmuddied language and good dreams. (94) Continue reading

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whiskey isn’t poison

we all come from the goddess
and to her we shall return
like a drop of rain
flowing to the ocean Continue reading

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…and walked into the sky.

i read a book this weekend. it’s all about a little girl named Lyra and her dæmon Pan and this magical elementary particle called Dust and a truth-teller called an “alethiometer” and battles between witches and gyptians and armored bears. … Continue reading

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sounds like “what?”

“what?” a small boy, urine splashing from two feet above the water, a large truck. quick sink, wooden door, MEEP–a car honking, “MEEP,” my flatmate. boyish giggle, people talking.

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the best music of 2010 (mid-year [by year {mostly}]) [archive]

oh yeah, i gave up on doing BEST OFs the year we’re actually in, because i don’t listen to enough of that newfangled crap and when i do, i’m already a few years late to the party. only one 2010 release made this list and it’s not even actually released yet.


Happy Trails – Quicksilver Messenger Service (1969)
1969! sex! drugs! rock & roll! acid! psychedelia! the goddamn motherfucking blues. exactly 25:18 of this 50:09 piece of work (that’s “side A” for the vinyl-inclined) consists of an extended cover of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” side B is a few different songs, but they flow together almost as excellently as the first side. though i only discovered this album about a month and a half ago (from a torrent site recommendation), i can honestly already recommend it highly. in fact, i did so after just one listen. if you at all like blues rock, classic rock, jam rock, psychedelic rock, or your soul, this album is essential.


Sing for Very Important People – The Free Design (1970)
fucking hippies did so many drugs the year before that all they could sing by 1970 were children’s songs. one of many Panda Bear recommendations to come, this album–by a band allmusic calls “a pop group for children”–features songs that are as cute as their titles: “Don’t Cry, Baby,” “Little Cowboy,” “Love You,” “Bubbles,” “Daniel Dolphin,” and “Kites Are Fun.” the last one has lyrics like “i like flying / flying kites / flying kites / flying kites / kites are fun / kites are fun / kites are fun / kites are fun / see my kite, it’s green and white” etc etc. it’s like Daft Punk but less mature. if that’s even possible. they even do a cover of “Can You Tell Me How to Get to Sesame Street?” how is this not the greatest album ever? you’ll probably like this if you like Peter, Paul, and Mary and can handle super sappy lyrics


Gentleman, Confusion, Zombie – Fela Kuti (1973, 1975, 1977)
Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals. Gentleman, Confusion, Zombie. who doesn’t miss the 70s? if you haven’t yet listened to Fela Kuti, you’re an absolute fool. i was an absolute fool for almost 22 years, but was saved the embarrassment one very late night at a friend’s house in Claremont, blazed out of my mind, sunrise approaching, when someone had the prudence to play the third of these three albums, still my favorite. the couple friends who were still awake, lay sedated on the couch. but i couldn’t not move myself, for afrobeat–the polyrhythmic Yoruba music, jazz, highlife, funk, and chanted vocals–had invaded my brain and firmly seated itself at the controls.


Love to Love You Baby, I Feel Love – Donna Summer (1975, 1977)
it’s the late 70s, so it’s singles time! i was tempted to actually just list the albums, Love to Love You Baby and I Remember Yesterday, from which the singles come (i did actually listen to both a lot!), but i would be lying if i denied that the singles beat all the other songs by a mile. the first, “Love to Love You Baby,” is a 16:53 epic of soulful r&b love, delivered to your ears courtesy of the singer’s orgasm. no really, she moans and groans for almost twenty minutes over an unbeatable disco track. the second? “I Feel Love” is breathtaking, groundbreaking, and irresistible for dancing. forty years ahead of its time. that is, timeless.


Rasputin – Boney M. (1978)
running somewhere between 4.5 and 8 minutes, depending on what version you get, “Rasputin” is always an epic dance journey. personally, i prefer the 12″ version. it lets you savor every sound longer. the militaristic drumming. the synthesized claps of the masses cursing Rasputin. the Serbian/Turkish folk guitar licks. the see saw between the creepy male vocals and angelic female vox. and then, when you finally get into the heat of the song (probably where another version starts off), another guitar stream announces a flurry of strings, which themselves make way once more for that Turkish guitar. and by now, you’re thirsting for the chorus (“Ra-Ra-Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen / There was a cat that really was gone / Ra-Ra-Rasputin, Russia’s greatest love machine / It was a shame how he carried on..”) and fist-pumping! every time i hear this song, i will think of a great 11th/Yale party with Aerienne and Meryl dancing around like madman jesters. oh.. those Russians…


The Message – Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five (1982)
again, the most of the message is on the single. frequently referred to as the greatest record in hip hop history, according to Wikipedia, and the first hip hop record ever to be added to the United States National Archive of Historic Recordings. “don’t push me ’cause i’m close to the edge / i’m trying not to lose my head / it’s like a jungle sometimes / it makes me wonder how i keep from going under.” even if you don’t know the song, you already know the beat and you already know the lyrics. i love songs that are just that good. plus, it’s probably fitting that i rediscovered this gem sitting stoned with a bunch of white kids (friends of Tori) i had just met in Seattle.


Why – Carly Simon (1982)
with this one, i have no trouble just listing the single. i’ve already played this for most of my closest friends, and most of them get this look in their eyes like they’re repeating the lyrics to me (“why does your love [of this shitty ass song] hurt so much? tell me why”) i don’t know guys. it’s more than the sum of the parts, it’s more than that ska-like cheesy piano, it’s more than those crash ass drums you can only squeeze out of an 80s synthesizer, it’s more than Carly Simon’s sultry voice, it’s more than those eight minutes, it’s love for disco after the death of disco. thank you Evan.


Smoke Two Joints – The Toyes (1983)
relax, this is the last single for sixteen years. but who knew Sublime did covers? well i guess there’s that Toots cover. oh and the Grateful Dead. do Gershwin songs still count? ANYWAY, since we all know originals are always the best, in every circumstance, with no exceptions, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that the Toyes’ legit reggae version of “Smoke Two Joints” just plain rules. let’s just say, Sublime made the sad mistake of leaving out two crucial characteristics from the original: 1. the bassy chorus, singing, “smoooookeee twooo joints!” and 2. amazing lyrics, like “i smoke two joints when i play video games and at every ten thousand points (i smoke two joints)” and “hey would you rather smoke two joints or would you rather do your homework? … i knew you were going to say that!” yeah! fuck homework!


Taking Drugs to Make Music to Take Drugs To – Spacemen 3 (2003)
the dates on this one are so fucked, i don’t even want to deal with it. but i guess the bulk of the album mostly originated from 1987, so i’m putting it here. with the oh! cleverest of titles, Spacemen 3 confess what everyone’s known for millennia: music sounds good on drugs. and psychedelic space post-rock sounds extraordinary on drugs. so many times over the past few months did i find myself so stoned that the mere prospect of having to choose music to play for myself and my friends proved incapacitating, until i scrolled past this delicious little creature, which never failed to calm my senses. hey man, amen.


Spirit of Eden – Talk Talk (1988)
so many good things came out in 1988. like me and half of my friends. i’ll be honest, i really don’t know this album that well. i got it in that huge download-every-Noah-Lennox-influence-ever phase i went through. after having listened to it about five times, only the album’s first song has really stuck with me (as a song), but it’s the entire work as a whole that elicits a complete positive feeling. it lives in its own world of soft spirit. combining elements of ambient, classical, jazz, and rock, the album has been said by critics to anticipate post-rock and pave the way for bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Mogwai, Radiohead, and Sigur Ros. so far, i believe it.


Son of a Gun, Dying for It, Dum-Dum – The Vaselines (1987, 1988, 1989)
the Vaselines are an indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. need i say more? well, if i must, then let me say that they are a CATCHY indie pop band from Glasgow, Scotland. they write SHORT catchy pop songs from Glasgow, Scotland. ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN sing together on the short catchy pop songs from Glasgow, Scotland. i’m really dragging this out. if you like pretty little ditties, get their whole discography and be done with it.


Is This It – The Strokes (2001)
i guess i’m skipping the 90s. whoops. what is this, anyway? garage rock revival revival? i don’t know, but i fell in love with this album again on a lousy fun trip to LA with Shanleigh last semester. maybe Thee Oh Sees set me up for it by reminding me how awesome garage rock really is. like a garage rock album should be, this guy’s got eleven cuts, around three minutes each, verse chorus verse, straight to the point. “Is This It,” “Someday,” “Last Nite,” jesus, Casablancas is a 21st century early 1960s Beatle.


Alcachofa – Ricardo Villalobos (2003)
another Panda Bear recommendation (and looking to be a big influence on the new album, if a planned Kompakt single has anything to say about it!), Alcachofa is sweet, wondrous microhouse by Chilean producer Ricardo Villalobos. though i’m not feeling it anywhere near as much as Vocalcity (yet another Panda Bear rec, yet more microhouse), i think it’s easily on its way. the beats are just so weird! and that has to mean something coming from me.


Diverse Systems of Throb – Bassnectar (2004)
Bassnectar just has this particular sound. Rachel, the girl who gave me this album, and i were talking about how Bassnectar, like Boards of Canada, has this particular sound that seems otherworldly. but otherworldly in the 2001 sense: pink sequin deserts, planets with rings of fire circling them, upside down forests, you know? the most absurd images we can conjure, still earthly, but still fantastical. dubby, glitchy, and kaleidoscopic, the man has chosen an apt name, because his music is beautifully bassy and sexily sweet.


The Campfire Headphase – Boards of Canada (2005)
i warmed up to Boards of Canada besides Music Has the Right to Children without even noticing it! one day i just realized that the other albums actually had a lot more plays than i ever imagined them to have, and when i went through track-by-track, it dawned on me that i could recognize most of the songs. weird. though i still can’t (and may never) put this one on the same level as that earlier ambient techno masterpiece, The Campfire Headphase is nothing but solid dreamy soundscapes. “Chromakey Dreamcoat” is driving through inverted California, “Dayvan Cowboy” is falling from heaven, and “’84 Pontiac Dream” is swimming in a rainbow-colored sea alongside monolithic serpents and fish with bus-sized gills.


1983 – Flying Lotus (2006)
i first discovered this shit back in my sophomore year when i had this motherfucking sweetass radio show called ElectronicAfternoon that everyone and their mom listened to for the latest hip hop and r&b. but back then i really only listened to the title track (which i still consider untouchable) and track 7, “Pet Monster Shotglass.” oh, but there’s so much more to this album. if i could do it all over again, i’d play the whole thing all the way through. after all, it’s only half an hour in total and each track flows seamlessly one to the other. but really, i feel like i get Flying Lotus now. it’s stoner hip hoptronica and it’s meant to be chilled to, not taken too seriously, and just enjoyed for what it is. nothing more, nothing less. it’s just hearty Los Angeles goodness. damnit.


Prayer of Death – Entrance (2006)
it’s like the 60s all over again except we’ve lived through disco psychedelia, cocaine-addled 80s, angst, and we’ve finally decided that the Beatles were right about sitars, peace, and all that jazz after all. although, i’m not quite sure what Blakeslee would think of me saying so about his music. i love this album because fearlessness of Death permeates the whole thing. the Grim Reaper, Silence, and the Dark rest in peace on all eight tracks, heavy, slow, light, fast, but always surrounded by the main man’s untortured voice. “I want to die without fear / How I want to die rejoicing.” thank you Elise for making me tell some old dude without a cell phone to pick me up early for the Oh Sees show. my life will never be the same.


Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem (2007)
this one’s LONG overdue. thank you Jacob for that tiny little push i needed. ever since high school, i have been absolutely obsessed with LCD’s two-disc debut self-titled. i still am. thankfully, the world of LCD Soundsystem doesn’t stop there, because Sound of Silver is magnificent James Murphy dance punk. i still can’t say anything on here matches the perfection of “On Repeat” or “Losing My Edge” (oh, the irony [fittingness?]), especially since the album loses its luster in the final tracks. but there’s no denying the awesome power of “Get Innocuous!” and “North American Scum.”


Reset – Flying Lotus (2007)
a short 17 minute ep released just a year after 1983, Reset is pretty much more of the same way, but that’s not a bad thing in the least. the opening track, “Tea Leaf Dancers,” even with the addition of a vocalist, manages to be even more hypnotic than anything off of 1983. listen with headphones.


FabricLive.37 – Caspa & Rusko (2007)
“how does he do it?” “my dear boy, do you ask a fish how it swims?” “no.” “or a bird how it flies?” “no.” “no sirree you don’t, they do it because they were born to do it!” thus begins what’s probably the first-ever dubstep album to really grab me by the balls and not let go. probably fitting, since both the DJs involved are, i think, getting legendary for popularizing dubstep. wahwahwahwah wahawawowowohoohowowowohowoohw. like some other albums on here, this one’s not about any individual songs (though the opener does always remind me why i’ve returned). it’s about the experience of the album. my recent obsession with singles has sort of made me forget what it is that draws me too albums, but all’s not lost.


Love Cry – Four Tet (2009)
the first and only single from Four Tet’s slightly disappointing latest, There Is Love in You, “Love Cry” and its experimental b-side may just about make up for the rest of the album. it’s not astonishing or anything new, really. but it does what it does nicely and it does it for a long time–nine minutes. simple four on the floor, ethereal vocals, whomping bassline, trembling melodies, snapping snares. i liked it from the first moment i heard it on Pitchfork, but i didn’t realize i loved it until hearing it blunted at senior week with Rachel, Alex, and co.


Tomboy – Panda Bear (2010)
god, i’m so predictable. or am i? though it might have seemed obvious that i would conclude this list with the newest Panda Bear single (by dropping the fact that half the new albums i like i only know because of the Person Pitch liner notes), at the same time, i was practically setting myself up for disappointment. i was too excited to hear new Panda Bear. but it’s ok! “Tomboy” is great! mysteriously, it draws from all three of his other albums: simplicity of the first, acoustic guitar prayer chants of the second, and kaleidoscopic sound collage of the third (is that someone puking in the first two seconds? disgusting). Continue reading

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