Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Narcotized: Beginning of Summer Mix, Twenty-Ten Edition

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May is flowering, or whatever it does, and we’re kind of all just waiting for June, let’s be honest, when we can really wear next-to-no clothing and not feel indecent, because it’s really just that damn hot, and everyone has kind of coaxed into the summer rhythm of things and maybe people at your office ask you out to get iced coffee more or maybe you really do start doing yoga on the roof every day. Those kind of things. But there’s a special charm to this time of year, too, this wintry-springlike-mix that is April and the beginning of May, when there’s still so much potential for the summer stretching out before you (yes, you will write that novel this summer! you will go climbing upstate more often, you will eat nothing but raw food, you will take a class in unicycling or cooking sauces or speaking french, you will land that job you are looking for, you will stay up late and subsist on kombucha and tecate, and get everything you’ve wanted to get done done and your skin will look great, all sunkissed and maybe freckled, and other things that I’m increasingly aware are beginning to sound like that one Rilo Kiley song). At this time of year, the sun still has the power to narcotize you, render you still and worshiping in its presence you are so happy you made it through another winter for this, because really, every year, you forget how good it really is.

Anyways, this is all just to say that back by popular demand! (two people asked me about it): the Summer Mixtape Trilogy, Twenty-Ten Edition.

First up is Narcotized: A Beginning of Summer Mix. I don’t want to brag or anything, but this may be better than the Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever. I guess it all depends on your tolerance for weird Polish music from the 90s, which ends the mix and drove the people that are hosting me in DC right now away from me and behind headphones and/or closed bedroom doors after a minute or so (it’s a 10-minute song). So, there’s that. There’s a band that I learned about from NPR via a friend who’s a Threadless model, which is a cliche about something but I’m not sure what (the band, Black Prairie, is amazing, and sounds like a western). There’s old stuff, like Jon Prine and Sam Cooke and Arlo Guthrie, and very very new stuff, like MGMT and Broken Social Scene.

There are also two songs that I will declare right now are going to be THE SONGS OF EARLY SUMMER TWENTY-TEN. These would be “all our most brilliant friends” by the slow club (the refrain is “all our most brilliant friends are doubting themselves,” over top of jangly dance music; that alone – tapping our existential dread but pairing it with the kind of frantic beats that make you want to jump and dance around like Renee Zellewegger on the rooftop in Empire Records singing “Sugar High”  … it provides a crisis with an immediate and built-in path to redemption or catharsis that is like the stock and trade of summer hits, or medical dramas. But maybe that’s just me).

If you’d like your summer hit a little less complicated, a little more familiar (Chocolate Bobka pointed out that it “harnesses the vibe” of Grateful Dead’s “Touch of Grey,” which pretty much means at times it sounds just like it), then you’ve got “Getting By” by Alex Bleeker (also the front-man of somewhat-more-well-known Real Estate), which is a summer-after-senior-year-of-high-school driving or porch-drinking kind of anthem in all the best ways.

[Of course, I have been wrong about “songs of the summer” before.]

Anyways, enough of all this Sunday-afternoon babbling. Here’s some music. Hope you like it as much as I do.

[*if you’d like a copy, email me*]

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Written by ENB

May 9, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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Behind the Scenes: Cobra Den Invitational With Wakey! Wakey!

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We shot a lovely two-song session with Wakey! Wakey! this past weekend, in what will hopefully be the first of many for the Goddamn Cobras‘ “Cobra Den Invitational” series. I’m trying to teach myself to use Final Cut Pro, so I shot some footage on my little digital camera while we were setting up, and edited it into a ‘behind the scenes’ clip. Enjoy!

P.S. Lead singer Michael Grubbs and the rest of the band were super nice. When I listen to their music on Wakey! Wakey!’s MySpace page, it doesn’t really grab me, but in person it was just delightful. Goddamn Cobras will be putting out our recording of the shoot sometime in mid-February – just in time to correspond to Grubbs’ next big moment on One Tree Hill, OMG.

[x-posted to brooklyn home companion …]

Written by ENB

January 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

December Mix: Homeward Bound, & Everywhere

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Written by ENB

December 21, 2009 at 10:19 am

Posted in Culture, Music

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The Internet is a Weird Place

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A few months ago, my friends made a tribute to this Brat Pack Mashup of Phoenix’s ‘Listomania’ that was posted on YouTube. Now, a group of Phillipino kids has made a tribute to their tribute, complete with footage from my friends’ video of the New York City skyline spliced in and re-creations of the Brooklyn kids’ mistakes (a hat falling off, one of the boys falling down).

Globalization at its strangest?

Written by ENB

November 4, 2009 at 11:10 am

Is Gil Reyes Banging Jennifer Chiba?

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Because that’s the only possible explanation for why Searching for Elliott Smith, a documentary that premiered at this week’s CMJ Music and Film Festival, got made.

The film, directed by Reyes, was one part retrospective on Smith’s life and career, one part did Smith’s former-fiance, Chiba, kill him?, and all parts one of the most poorly-made documentaries I have ever seen. From extreme-close-ups on grainy year-book photos rendered horribly out-of-focus to superfluous illustrative graphics interspersing the interview scenes (thank you, yes, I did need to see an illustrated New York subway map when someone talked about Smith moving to Brooklyn), the quality was just extremely, extremely bad. Shots of Smith’s album covers were seemingly downloaded from Amazon.com—for one cover, Reyes forgot to edit out Amazon’s “50% off” graphic.

Unable to secure rights to any of Smith’s music or performances (“I emailed the record labels, but they never wrote back,” Reyes said after the film), it lacked what seems a pretty crucial element to documenting a musician’s life and work. It did, however, contain an illustrated segment on the similarities between Smith and Matt Damon’s Good Will Hunting character: a blank-screen with the words “Strange Parallels” across the top, accompanied by a picture of Matt Damon that said “math genius” and one of Smith that said “musical genius.”

And then there was Chiba. This was the first time she’s appeared on film explaining what happened the day of Smith’s death. Reyes interviews with her were handled pretty well, but any points that may have garnered for the film were pretty much ruined by a Michael-Moore-esque stunt Reyes included at the end to “disprove” a 2004 police report saying Chiba refused to talk to detectives. Reyes and Chiba show up unannounced, cameras rolling, at the L.A. police precinct years later, brandishing the original report and asking to talk to a detective. The police sergeants are thoroughly confused, and ask Reyes to turn off his camera. This is offered as some sort of proof that their allegations against Chiba were all wrong.

Asked after the film why Reyes wanted to make this movie, he could offer no personal connection to Smith or motivation other than clearing Chiba’s name. Nevermind the fact that the film really did nothing of the sort—anyone who sees her on film, sees her face, hears her story, has to know she didn’t do it, Reyes explained. People never lie on film.*

This, however, may have been one of the most coherent answers Reyes gave during the post-film Q&A. In explaining a shot near the end where he interrupts Smith’s former-roommates somewhat powerful emotional breakdown talking about Smith’s death with a shot of windy bushes, Reyes went on about how the wind seemed to signify that Smith was their with them, how they all felt a presence while making the film, how one time he read about a bar where Matt Damon’s character in Good Will Hunting hung out and it turned out he had been there 2 days earlier, how sometimes Smith wore white suit and, you know, oooh, ghostly.

Hardcore Smith fans (of which I count myself one) will probably still find the film interesting—it does include some funny Smith stories told by former friends and colleagues, and clips from a weird Smith-made experimental film. Just don’t expect anything enlightening or inspiring. I’m still hoping that someday a much better film about Smith gets made.

P.S. Two movies I saw at CMJ that were good? The Men Who Stare at Goats (Clooney, Spacey, Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor???) and The Messenger, starring Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster and Samantha Morton. For what it’s worth, I recommend both.

* For the record, I’m not a weird suicide conspiracy theorist, and I have little opinion on whether Smith’s death was a suicide or not, though I’m inclined to believe it was. I’m just saying that Reyes claims about his film “clearing Chiba’s name” are sillily overstated.

Written by ENB

October 24, 2009 at 5:24 pm

This Blackest Purse

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© Anticon Records.

© Anticon Records.

New WHY? single, “This Blackest Purse.”

I like it. (I am so eloquent when talking about music, aren’t I?)

Apparently they’ve got a new album, Eskimo Snow, coming out in September.

Written by ENB

July 22, 2009 at 10:42 am

Posted in Music

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A Summer Mix, Finally

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via DG Jones

via DG Jones

It’s no Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever, but then, this is no summer 2008. Last summer was relentless. This summer is … not. Too many people I know either lost a job, or went through a breakup, at some point in the winter/spring to make the beginning of summer really celebratory—although I must say, just finally, in the past two or three weeks, everyone seems to be snapping out of that, really letting the summer seep in. Cheers to that. Maybe a late July/August mix with much more gusto will be in order. But as for late May/June/early July, this is what I’ve got. Enjoy.

Commandante – The Mountain Goats
There Is Love – Brian Olive
As You Do – Castanets
Horoscope – Cats on Fire
Fascination – Correatown
Ghosts – Laura Marling
Self-Taught Learner – Lissy Trullie
Plans – Pull In Emergency
San Francisco  Bound – The Pimps of Joytime
Hey You – Summer Cats
Faites Vos Jeux – Modernaire
Earthly Bodies – J. Tillman
Bicycle – Memory Tapes
The Vowels – Why?
Beatific – Glass Candy
Doomed (MGMT Remix) – Violens
Military Madness – Woods
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Two Birds – Regina Spektor
Help I’m Alive (acoustic) – Metric
You Don’t Love Me – Bonnie Prince Billy
The River – Samantha Crain

[Download]

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[For reference: Summer 2008 Mixtape Trilogy]

Written by ENB

July 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Music

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A Summer Mix, Finally // 2009 Edition

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via DG Jones

via DG Jones

It’s no Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever, but then, this is no summer 2008. Last summer was relentless. This summer is … not. Too many people I know either lost a job, or went through a breakup, at some point in the winter/spring to make the beginning of summer really celebratory—although I must say, just finally, in the past two or three weeks, everyone seems to be snapping out of that, really letting the summer seep in. Cheers to that. Maybe a late July/August mix with much more gusto will be in order. But as for late May/June/early July, this is what I’ve got. Enjoy.

Commandante – The Mountain Goats
There Is Love – Brian Olive
As You Do – Castanets
Horoscope – Cats on Fire
Fascination – Correatown
Ghosts – Laura Marling
Self-Taught Learner – Lissy Trullie
Plans – Pull In Emergency
San Francisco  Bound – The Pimps of Joytime
Hey You – Summer Cats
Faites Vos Jeux – Modernaire
Earthly Bodies – J. Tillman
Bicycle – Memory Tapes
The Vowels – Why?
Beatific – Glass Candy
Doomed (MGMT Remix) – Violens
Military Madness – Woods
Lisztomania – Phoenix
Two Birds – Regina Spektor
Help I’m Alive (acoustic) – Metric
You Don’t Love Me – Bonnie Prince Billy
The River – Samantha Crain

[Download]

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[For reference: Summer 2008 Mixtape Trilogy]

Written by ENB

July 20, 2009 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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Girls, Cakes, Bikes, Beards

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• Those Darlins released their first album yesterday! These girls are just so adorable you will want to drink lots of cheap beer with them somewhere stiflingly hot, where you are all wearing summer clothes & there are free pretzels on the table, and also to listen to their new album a whole lot (go on. give ’em a listen).

• My friend Katie made the most beautiful cake I have ever seen (in-progress pic above).

• I was searching for this New York Times article on women & biking that ran last week, but instead I found this:

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• In case you are on the fence: 10 Very Good Reasons Why You Should Grow a Giant Beard

Written by ENB

July 8, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Posted in Ephemera, Food, Music

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Emergency Stimulus Mix!

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Steel Reserve photo from Douglas Van SantI was almost done compiling my January/February mix, the songs all slow or folky or faux-nostalgic, like I like, when suddenly realized—this is not what the people need right now!

The people need music that will re-instill confidence!

Music that will create a favorable climate for productivity to thrive!

Fast-acting relief that will create more inspiration in my friends’ iPods than a lot of slow-moving government programs!

So. I rushed to put this together—I knew I could not afford inaction or delay. This is music to fill out the unemployment applications to; write cover letters to; work those long hours (because god knows those of us still with jobs can’t say no to anything our bosses ask now) to.

Music for the bus rides home from the long hours of drowning sorrows at local taverns.

Music for scheming ways to make the recession work in our favor; music for planning new entrepreneurial and creative endeavors!

The mix passed 3-0 in my shared office this morning, and a version of it is now being sent to the blogosphere for approval.

[Download]

untitled-1

Steel Reserve photo from Douglas Van Sant

Written by ENB

January 30, 2009 at 2:35 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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My Christmas Present to the Blogosphere

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I won’t say it’s the best holiday mix ever, but it’s pretty damn good. I must tell you that the last seven songs are probably the best, but I only say that because I like nontraditional holiday songs. Not that any of this mix is particularly traditional (Lynard Skynard’s “Greensleeves,” anyone?) , but the last seven are where the mistletoe really hits the fan. Or something. So, enjoy! And Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Etc.!

A Holiday Mix

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) – The Beatles
Spotlight on Christmas – Rufus Wainwright
Six Tons of Toys – Dave Dudley
Children Go Where I Send Thee – Natalie Merchant
Christmas Tree’s on Fire – Holly Golightly
Gold Front Tooth – Dick Smith
Hip Santa – Jimmy McGriff
Put the Loot in the Boot Santa – Mae West
Oh Holy Night – Avril Lavigne and Chantal Kreviazuk
Winter Wonderland – Goldfrapp
God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – Jethro Tull
Carol of the Bells – TransSiberian Orchestra
Greensleeves – Lynard Skynard
So This is Christmas – John Lennon
Christmas Fire – The Deer Tracks
Father Christmas – The Kinks
Chanukah’s Da Bomb – Chutzpah
Christmas is for Losers – Mike Nicolai
Merry Christmas from the Family – Robert Earle Keen
Fairytale of New York – Stars
A Christmas Duel – The Hives & Cyndi Lauper*
If We Make It Through December
– Merle Haggard
Auld Lang Syne – Martin Sexton*

[* New arrivals on the holiday music scene. Dare I say the Hives/Lauper song, released just this month, may contend with ‘Fairytale of New York’ for greatest feuding-couple holiday duet? And this version of Auld Lang Syne is just heartbreaking, in the best way possible.]

Written by ENB

December 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm

Posted in Music

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A Prayer for Winter Traverlers

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100_14312Mix tape time again!

With winter bearing down, I’m back to my old mix-tape trope of inadvertently packing in as many songs that may make you want to die, or at least escape to the mountains, as possible. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. And without further ado … Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

November 23, 2008 at 10:10 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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Summer Mix-Tape Trilogy Project, 2008 Edition: Installment #3

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I promised a trilogy of summer mix tapes, so here’s the final installment, the end-of-summer mix. This one’s definitively FALL—I didn’t mean for it to be, per se, but that’s what happens when you have to grab a cardigan in the morning for the walk to the bus stop and Starbucks starts promoting pumpkin-flavored lattes. Happy end-of-summer, kids!

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Installment #1: The Beginning of Summer Mix

Installment #2: The Mid-Summer Mix

Written by ENB

September 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

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Summer Mix-Tape Trilogy Project: Installment #3

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I promised a trilogy of summer mix tapes, so here’s the final installment, the end-of-summer mix. This one’s definitively FALL—I didn’t mean for it to be, per se, but that’s what happens when you have to grab a cardigan in the morning for the walk to the bus stop and Starbucks starts promoting pumpkin-flavored lattes. Happy end-of-summer, kids!

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Installment #1: The Beginning of Summer Mix

Installment #2: The Mid-Summer Mix

Written by ENB

September 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

Posted in Music

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Historic Jewish Indie Rock

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DC folks—what’s up with the 6th & I Historic Synagogue? It’s suddenly the hot new concert venue in town? Jenny Lewis & Yeasayer are both coming to town in October and forsaking the black cat or 930 or R&R Hotel and performing at the 6th & I Historic Synagogue? What is this place? Is this a new phenomenon, or am I just woefully uninformed about the secret hipster going-ons in this city’s unassuming places of worship?

Written by ENB

August 28, 2008 at 2:14 pm

The Mid-Summer Mix

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So I think at this point I’m aiming to make the perfect trifecta of summer 2008 mixtapes. Which brings us to: Installment #2, the Mid-Summer Mix (Carry On). Yes, I’m the sort of pretentious person who titles mixtapes, and titles them long and weirdly and with thematic intent at that. The beginning of summer mix was “Relentless,” because that was the word we coined Memorial Day weekend for what the weekend was and we hoped the rest of summer would be. And May & June did not disappoint, and all the music was super-frantic and manic and happy. But July has slowed down just a bit—or maybe not, maybe we’re just now accustomed to all the sunshine and late nights and little sleep—but regardless, it seems a little calmer. And so, so is the mid-summer mix (it even contains a Jason Mraz song [because—horrors!, I know—I’ve really been liking this Jason Mraz song, okay?], and “Stay Positive” by the Hold Steady, which is probably almost definitely the best song of this summer but doesn’t it feel a bit like a song that’s already nostalgic about summer passing?). Anyway, track list with links below. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mid-Summer Mix (2008) // Carry On

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So I think at this point I’m aiming to make the perfect trifecta of summer 2008 mixtapes. Which brings us to: Installment #2, the Mid-Summer Mix (Carry On). Yes, I’m the sort of pretentious person who titles mixtapes, and titles them long and weirdly and with thematic intent at that. The beginning of summer mix was “Relentless,” because that was the word we coined Memorial Day weekend for what the weekend was and we hoped the rest of summer would be. And May & June did not disappoint, and all the music was super-frantic and manic and happy. But July has slowed down just a bit—or maybe not, maybe we’re just now accustomed to all the sunshine and late nights and little sleep—but regardless, it seems a little calmer. And so, so is the mid-summer mix (it even contains a Jason Mraz song [because—horrors!, I know—I’ve really been liking this Jason Mraz song, okay?], and “Stay Positive” by the Hold Steady, which is probably almost definitely the best song of this summer but doesn’t it feel a bit like a song that’s already nostalgic about summer passing?). Anyway, track list with links below. Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

July 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Music

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Mix Tape completed (long ago)

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So a while ago I mentioned that I was taking suggestions for the Most Perfect Beginning of Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition, and then utterly failed to follow-up update with the final line-up, since I have also utterly failed to post on or even log into this blog for the past month. Um, yeah. I pretty much rock at blogging.

So—not that it matters in the slightest, but just to maintain a cohesive blog narrative—here it is:

The-Most-Perfect-Beginning-of-Summer-Mixtape-Ever, 2008 Edition (Relentless) Read the rest of this entry »

Written by ENB

July 10, 2008 at 4:14 pm

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The Most Perfect Beginning-of-Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition

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Obviously, it’s too early to call the Official Song of Summer 2008 yet (4th of July Weekend is really the Super Tuesday of Summer Song wattage), but “I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You” by Black Kids is, at the moment, the strongest contender (thanks).

I’m putting out a last call for suggestions for The Most Perfect Beginning-of-Summer Mix Tape Ever, 2008 Edition. Comment now or forever hold our peace.

And seriously, New York? “Take a Bow?” THAT is no “Umbrella.”

Written by ENB

June 9, 2008 at 2:23 pm

Posted in Music

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I’ve been out of musical sorts lately …

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…. but I swear by this time last year we had Paper Planes, Umbrella, Young Folks and Modest Mouse’s Missed the Boat. Any contenders yet for The Official Songs of Summer 2008?

Written by ENB

May 28, 2008 at 1:07 am

Posted in Culture, Music

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