Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Music

landscape // a 1.2013 mix

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landscape // a 1.2013 mix  {download}

It’s nearly March, I know. This is in no way a “1.2013” mix to anyone except me. But these are my January songs. Some older, actually — it’s been too too long since I’ve shared music with friends and Internet strangers. The Raveonette’s “Young and Cold” has been in constant rotation in my iTunes since October, when it first found its way on a mix I  never gave to you. I was just wondering what happened to them last fall, and then there they were, with songs much lovelier than the ones I remember from 2004. Speaking of that musical era: I originally had some new Benjamin Gibbard and Sufjan Stevens on this mix, but it sounded too out of place, the aesthetic juxtaposition too jarring. I’ve been listening to a lot of drone-y doo-wop these days (see: Pure Bathing Culture, Angel Olsen, Trance Farmers). The Rolling Stones cover of “Under the Boardwalk” I only recently discovered fits right in.

Other than that — well, I’ve been moving around a lot, again, lately; which means (as usual) half these songs are more or less meditations on Home. And half are just new and interesting or fun. I like Run DMT because a reviewer described them as a bath salt-snorting version of the Velvet Underground; there’s a Velvet Underground cover because my love for Lou Reed & Nico endures (thanks, Jordan). I like Parquet Courts because I think they sing about being stoned in Ridgewood, Queens (and I think we’re neighbors?). I like Hotter Than a Crotch because the lady sings hot and the drummer is a friend of my roommate’s and looks like an extra in Jesus Christ Superstar. They introduced me to Cave Cricket, in the kind of basement show space that Silent Barn used to be last time I lived here, when it was in Ridgewood (which seemed impossibly far then), but now Silent Barn is down the street and fancy and legal and at the moment dry. I read an article in the New York Times the other day, from 2010, about art & media collectives in and around this neighborhood; I looked up the ones mentioned, afterwards, and they’d all disbanded or fallen apart somehow. I don’t believe the Cobras ever finished our Goddamn Western. Time goes marching. /end digress.

I like the Liminanas because the few times I regretfully decided to drive into Manhattan (oh, a car! how it changes Brooklyn), their’s was the only CD I had and it proved eminently listenable on repeat. I missed Wooden Wand at the Midpoint music fest in Cincinnati a few months ago because my friend and I decided to walk, drinking wine, over the highway and down to the city, instead of rushing (but we caught Lower Dens and Dirty Projectors; and later that weekend I finally saw Woods, swoon). A girl just moved in upstairs from Cincinnati by way of California and, most recently, Big Sur. She worked at the Henry Miller Library there. Times goes marching but not always onward. Sometimes you can’t tell which direction it’s going.

happy new year.


“Mountain Song” // Dynasty Electric
“The Heart Needs a Home (To Break In) // Tomboyfriend
“Ivory Coast” // Pure Bathing Culture
“San Francisco” // Foxygen
“The Waiting” // Angel Olsen
“Purple Hay” // Trance Farmers
“Young and Cold” // Raveonettes
“Bad Lady Goes to Jail” // The Liminanas
“Stoned and Starving” // Parquet Courts
“Use Your Hands” // Cave Cricket
“We the Common (For Valerie Bolden)” // Thao & The Get Down Stay Down
“Butcher Song” // Hotter Than a Crotch
“Bardo States Dream Walker Version” // Run DMT
“Year of the Glad” // Marnie Stern
“Supermoon (The Sounding Line)” // Wooden Wand
“Under the Boardwalk” // The Rolling Stones
“I’ll Be Your Mirror” // Meklit Hadero
“Closer” // Tegan and Sara
“Applesauce” // Animal Collective
“Minnewaska” // Widowspeak
“How Do You Ruin Me?” // Black Prairie
“Stay In The Game” // Adam Ant


Written by ENB

February 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Posted in Culture, Music

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Favorite Song Of 2012

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Some of you might pish-posh at the idea of anything ‘best of the year before’ that comes after the stroke of midnight on 1/1. Too bad. I’m as big a fan of letting the past go as the next gal, but I think the rules clearly dictate that you can dwell on auld lang syne for the entire month of January (resolution making or sharing for the upcoming year, meanwhile, is allowed through February). Which brings us to: My favorite song of 2012.

This was originally going to be five favorite songs of 2012, but narrowing down to five + ordering within the five seemed difficult. But choosing my top number one absolute hands down favorite? No problem: “Alexander McQueen,” by Canadian band Tomboyfriend.

[Listen/download here]

It’s from the band’s King of the Animals EP, which is all around awesome –though brief; just five songs. Do also give “Margaux” a listen; it’s like Counting Crows at their best and least hack-y (which may seem like a strange comparison but I spent a good part of the mid-90s and early 2000s praying for Adam Duritz to marry me, so it’s meant as a compliment).

“Alexander McQueen” is, in fact, about designer Alexander McQueen, who killed himself in 2010. It’s heartbreaking. It’s gorgeous. And, like most Tomboyfriend songs, it’s epic in a way that doesn’t feel (to me, at least) overwrought.


Maybe it’s hard not to make epic-sounding music when you’ve got 10 people in your band — the group definitely conjures a New Pornographers/Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes dynamic — but it’s also thanks to songwriter and lead singer Ryan Kamstra, who has been described as a queerer, more glam Meatloaf. It’s become something of a mission of mine to introduce Tomboyfriend to as many people as I can (like with Casiotone for the Painfully Alone in a previous life), because you will love them. And I like sharing things that people will love. And I like sharing things that deserve more love.

So just in case you missed it above: Alexander McQueen mp3.

I’ll leave you with this description of the band from The Little Red Umbrella:

Tomboyfriend’s music is a glammy echo of the best of the ’70s, of the New York Dolls, the Velvet Underground, the B-52’s, and pretty much everything that ever happened in the heroin-addled artsy heyday of Max’s Kansas City and CBGB & OMFUG. Their lyrics are dense and poetic and playful, littered with the half-digested remains of a pop culture diet, the kind of literary collage of references and re-appropriation that will take a listener years to unpack, but brings titans like Nick Cave and Dan Bejar immediately to mind.

And the video for “Almost/Always,” from the band’s 2010 album Don’t Go To School:

Written by ENB

January 13, 2013 at 10:33 am

rearrange: an early summer 2012 mix

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Happy summer, guys. In my general tradition, I am posting a beginning of summer mix, 2012 edition. It’s really all about Best Coast—I mean, seriously, Best Coast, right? I can’t get enough right now. The beach!, everything still sounds like the beach, though in a way slightly different than last year’s beach and slightly more different than the year before that.

[Even Lafayette, Indiana is too hot this time of year—that still, dry, let’s-have-red-wine-at-noon hot; that all I can think of is Lily in Run, River hot; that do we really have to wear clothes? (and I work from home, so not really) hot. It’s more or less my favorite weather.]

I’m also into so much by Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy right now, because every other month he’s got out something new these days (though it’s still always strangely jarring when he really loves Jesus).

Best newcomers: Lower Dens? Maybe I just like that their album is called “nootropics.”

.rearrange >> an early summer 2012 mix


that’s what’s up – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
the place – Best Coast
dream – Mirel Wagner
alphabet song – Lower Dens
do you know ida know – White Fence
firehorse – Our Hearts
chain of broken hearts – Billy Bragg and Wilco
goin’ to the party – Alabama Shakes
I can tell you’re leaving – Trembling Bells and Bonnie Prince Billy
palms will smoke in cold air – The Pica Beats
my better self – Tennis
dusty rhodes – Lotus Plaza
on the sea – Beach House
tearz for animals – CocoRosie
hummingbird, pt. 1 – Bonnie Prince Billy


I turned 30 last week, by the way. It doesn’t feel like much, really, but I do like to think of things symbolically so I’ve decided that our thirties–and I say “our” because so many people I know are entering their 30s this year, as are Little Wayne, Elizabeth Moss, Kate MIddleton and Kirsten Dunst–are going to be pretty damn good. In your 30s, you’re still young but not as stupid as you were in our 20s, mostly.

If you listen to what sociologists say, the beginning tip of Gen Y (aka the millennial generation, but I dislike that name) could be as early as 1979, but most place it at 1982 — which makes those of us turning 30 in 2012 the first Gen Y’ers to do so.

Happy 30s, Gen Y. Here’s some music for the beginning of June twenty twelve.

Written by ENB

June 15, 2012 at 7:58 am

Posted in Music

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MV + Woodsist

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You are all aware how totally awesome* this is, right?

Matt Valentine What I Became LP

Matt Valentine – who’s usually putting out rambly, dreamy psych-folk ballads with his lady, Erica Elder, under the name MV & EE – is releasing a new solo LP this June on the Woodsist Records label. Woodsist is the label behind just about everything I want to listen to right now …Geez.

Preview songs up at Altered Zones and Stereogum.


* I say/write ‘awesome’ too much; need a new superlative. ‘Great’ just doesn’t cut it though, you know? And ‘rad’ sounds forced. ‘Fabulous’ is too theater-major, ‘lovely’ I reserve for a different kind of appreciation, I’m not from the right coast to use ‘wicked,’ ‘sweet’ reminds me too much of college stoner friends … Suggestions?

Written by ENB

May 6, 2011 at 11:07 am

everything happens/watercolor sun: a March mix

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I think there was a time when everything sounded a little bit hard but whimsical, a little bit epic, and then everything sounded like the mountains, like bonfires around a farm.

Now everything sounds like a California or Hawaiian beach party thrown by Aleister Crowley, Belinda Carlyle & a mingled pack of 80s yachters & 2011 hipsters, all ghosts and surfers and gurus and weird sound effects and dangerous women. At least to me.

I thought all that Indie Appalachia music was inspired by Recession Times; I don’t know where this comes from. But I’ve been bumming about Venice Beach & Santa Monica the past week, so it suits me fine. Viva IndieSurfWaveFolkstericanaNoisePop! Or something like that.

Listen/download  >> everything happens/watercolor sun: a March Mix


1. Bimini Bay – Tennis // 2. Alemany Gap – John Vanderslice // 3. Robopup – BEEP // 4. Yipmerdai – Der Dong Dang // 5. The Singer (Johnny Cash/Nick Cave cover) – Dirty Beaches // 6. Wild 1 – The Babies // 7. End of the World – Anika // 8. Let England Shake – P.J. Harvey // 9. Hot Sprawl – Man/Miracle // 10. Come Down Easy – Spacemen 3 // 11. Sunset Liner – Ducktails // 12. Forced Aloha – Fergus & Geronimo // 13. find love (clem snide cover) – the sarcastic dharma society // 14. Almost Always – Tomboyfriend // 15. Children of the Light – White Flight // 16. Hit the Road Jack – Cat // 17. I’m free – The Petticoats // 18. You are a Runner – Wolf Parade // 19. The Arc – Wooden Wand // 20. Everything Is Burning – Ivan & Alyosha // 21. When Pushed From a High Branch – Snowblink // 22. Breakin’ the Law – The Babies

Written by ENB

March 11, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Curio: 2/11/11

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Everything this man posts, I want to be my life. Why am I not around this firepit? Why don’t I know this guy with the goggles? I own a buckskin hat, but why have I never placed a large feather in the side of it? Why don’t I own a VW Van? Or have a wolf tattoo? Why, my god, have I never visited the South?
[As a soundtrack while checking out Refueled’s blog, you may want to listen to the Woodsist ‘Welcome Home/Diggin’ the Universe’ LP, which I’m just first hearing this week. There are Cure and Grateful Dead covers! It’s amazing in that Chocolate Bobka ‘Sunday Morning Brunch’-y way. I’m also very much enjoying Woodsist’s newest, the White Fence ‘Is Growing Faith’ LP.]
There are, of course, times when this nearly becomes one’s life. These photos. I had a lot of moments like these this past August and September, ambling about California shooting a western and road-tripping with friends in and out of the goddamn cobras. I am telling you all of this about California mostly so I can link to a project just finished by my friend Jackie, documenting another goddamn cobras roadtrip, the summer before last (I was, somewhat regretfully, not on this trip, as I was between D.C. and Brooklyn that August with a month-long layover in Ohio),  when a group of these Brooklyn kids drove out to Boulder, Colorado, and back.

I’m in Chicago right now, where I spent last Friday night hanging out in a genuine igloo, so I’m a little bit daydreamy about the West again right now. Luckily I should be visiting California again soon …  And then, maybe, to find a home. Or a good VW van, at least …

Written by ENB

February 11, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Curio: 1/31/11

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I think you should …

Written by ENB

January 31, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Posted in Curio, Music

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Music, Best Of // 2010

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Happy 2011, darlings! One of my resolutions for this year is to start posting here with more regularity. But before we move things forward, let’s spend a little time looking back. Yes, yes: My nominations for Best Songs of 2010. You didn’t think I was going to go without some sort of year-end music post, did you?

As I combed through my iTunes library for inclusions on this list, I was surprised by just how many albums I had purchased or inherited this year, and by how many big-name indie bands put out albums this year, as well. Maybe it seems that way every year—there are a lot of bands in the world—but it made narrowing down my favorite songs of 2010 difficult. And so what we are left with is 41 songs—41 songs I feel are essential musical must-hears of 2010. In no particular order …

The 41:

1. The Ballad of the RAA – The Rural Alberta Advantage
2. Blood Dries Darker – Woods
3. Whiplash – Sunglasses (also, my favorite video of the year)
4. Rill Rill – Sleigh Bells (after approximately 9 billion listens, this song still makes me feel all dance-y).
5. Baby Say Goodbye – Wavves
6. The Arrangement – Beach House
7. Twenty Miles – Deer Tick
8. Motor Away – Alex Bleeker & Evan Brody
9. Go, Folks, Go – Bonnie “Prince” Billy & The Cairo Gang
10. Congratulations – MGMT (contains what I think is my favorite lyric from a song this year: “I’ll keep your dreams / If you pay attention for me”)

Wakey! Wakey! - Bloody Tambourine - Photo by Goddamn Cobras

Photo by Goddamn Cobras

11. Feral Love – Wakey! Wakey! (recorded live in the Goddamn Cobras’ den)
12. Ragged Schools –Goodnight Lenin
13. Snake Seer – Blood Warrior
14. Learning – Perfume Genius
15. A Crime – Sharon Von Etten
16. Girls in Love – Painted Face
17. (You Don’t Know) How Glad I Am – The Living Sisters
18. Soft Skin – Mountain Man
19. Coast to Coast – Dirty Beaches
20. Hospital – Florence & the Machine
21. I’m Not Yours – Angus & Julia Stone
22. Fool’s Gold – Lhasa
23. Hey Kid – Chase King (Chase is a friend of mine, and he wrote & recorded this absolutely gorgeous song for Goddamn Cobras’ upcoming western)
24. Sleepwalking After Midnight – Wooden Wand (Second favorite lyrics of the year: “Don’t hold me accountable dear / tonight if the bottle is clear/ should I find my way to your room / we’ll pin all the blame on the moon”)

Painted Face @ Glasslands

Painted Face @ Glasslands

25. Swimming – Breathe Owl Breathe
26. We’re All Gonna Die – Bubbles
27. We End Up Together – The New Pornographers
28. Destroyer of the Void – Blitzen Trapper
29. Ambling Alp – Yeasayer
30. Across the Black Prairie – Black Prairie
31. Brooklyn Bridge – Karaocake
32. Let’s Get On With the Illusion – Barton Carroll
33. All Delighted People – Sufjan Stevens
34. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire
35. Dance Yrself Clean – LCD Soundsystem
36. Love the Way You Lie – Eminem feat. Rihanna
(yep. I kind of love this song)
37. Times Are So Hard for the Dreamers – Ben Talmi
38. Tyrant Destroyed – Twin Shadow
39. Getting By – Alex Bleeker (I thought about not including two songs by any one artist, but Alex Bleeker was just that awesome in 2010…)
40. Drunk Girls – LCD Soundsytem (..and so was James Murphy)
41. Our Most Brilliant Friends – Slow Club

Download Podcast: 41 from 2010

Favorite Albums Taken as a Whole
For best albums overall, I concur with the myriad critics on Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs” and LCD Soundsystem’s “This Is Happening,” and add Deer Tick’s “Black Dirt Sessions” and Woods’ “At Echo Lake.”

Most Disappointing Albums
Some of my favorite bands put out albums in 2010 that I just couldn’t get into: The Hold Steady, Heaven is Whenever; Magnetic Fields, Realism; Peter and the Wolf, Traffique’s Endless Weekend Mixtape; Stars, The Five Ghosts & The Seance; Wolf Parade, Expo 86. What happened, y’all?

Written by ENB

January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm

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This week in music was made for me (or: a post rife with Rilo Kiley minutiae)

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Album art for Peter & the Wolf's new albumSeriously. Not only did I just find out that one of my favorite bands of the past 20 years, Peter & the Wolf, put out a new album, Traffique’s Endless Weekend Mixtape, in July, but NPR is sneak-previewing an album out August 31 from Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis and her boyfriend, singer/songwriter Johnathan Rice. It’s called I’m Having Fun Now, and it is … fun.

And Lewis sounds like she’s having fun—not just the wry kind of ‘look at me now’ fun that comes from wearing impossibly short gold-sequined dresses and outshining your ex-boyfriend (Rilo Kiley guitarist Blake Sennett), like circa Under the Blacklight, but real, genuine fun. And guess what? Me, too, Jenny! Good for us. Perhaps we all become better sons or daughters after all ….

Elsewhere, Again

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I’ve been doing a couple of profiles of musicians performing at SXSW for AOL’s music magazine, Spinner. Assignments are doled out at random (and stock questions required). So far, I’ve interviewed Warren Hood, an Austin-based fiddle and mandolin player with a most darling Texas accent; The Novas, a 1960s teen jangle-pop band reunited in 2006; and Kidz in the Hall, a Chicago- and NY-based indie hip-hop duo who talked to me about free shwag, “bangin’ and scrangin’ and screwin’ Texas-hip-hop,” and the importance of carrying lube at all times. Fun stuff.

[hey, maybe someday I'll blog something substantial here again!]

Written by ENB

March 12, 2010 at 11:01 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

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For all those of you who are spending the holiday with those you love, even though you may not technically be “home” … Enjoy:

[cross-posted to my other blog, b/c everyone should see this lovely video]

Written by ENB

November 26, 2009 at 4:19 pm

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



[For reference: Summer 2008 Mixtape Trilogy]

Written by ENB

July 20, 2009 at 1:52 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!


Installment #1: The Beginning of Summer Mix

Installment #2: The Mid-Summer Mix

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September 12, 2008 at 1:07 pm

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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 »

there is such thing as a free show

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“People always complain about celebrities being all fake and fancy, and then they get mad at you if you go on TV and don’t look all fake and fancy,” said Kimya Dawson Wednesday night, fresh off an appearance on The View for which she’d been apparently been panned for not dressing up.

Kimya – of The Moldy Peaches, the Juno soundtrack, and general awesomeness – played a free show at Crooked Beat record store in DC Wednesday, which I was lucky enough to catch. Crooked Beat is Old School and also Very Tiny. We were packed in tight, and I was surrounded by all manner of young hipster children — mostly of the high-school variety — with asymmetrical hair and homemade clothing, piercings, pins, and inexplicable backpacks (I was glad to discover absolutely nothing has changed in high-school-hipster-attire since I was a young thing). Perhaps because of the goodwill soon-to-be-spread by Kimya, I found a batch of particularly vocal ones surrounding me to be intensely charming, instead of predictably annoying. The whole scene reminded me of the 90s, in the best way possible. Anyway, we were packed so tight that not everybody who wanted to come inside could fit, so Ms. Dawson, being the nice lady that she is, sat outside in the cold to play a few songs for the thronging masses before coming in. Adorable, right?

Record-Store Dude eventually announced that Kimya would be coming in the front door, so could we please clear a walkway and, oh – remember – No Touching (very George Bluth’s prison guards). We made an aisle down the middle, and Kimya entered, took one look at the red-carpet-esque/parting-of-the-sea in front of her and said, “Oh god, are you kidding?” before starting awkwardly down the aisle and breaking into a soul-train dance halfway through. Later, during the set – which included only one song from the Juno soundtrack (“I guess I’m supposed to be promoting this thing, so I should play at least one song”) and a few songs from Kimya’s upcoming baby-songs album, AlphaButt (she’s got a 2-year-old daughter, Panda) – someone told her about the No Touching instruction, and she was kind of incredulous: “They told you no touching???? Human touch is my life. When I’m done here, we’re all gonna touch.”

This was the best thing about the show – the rapport between Kimya and the audience. She’d stop in the middle of songs to tell stories (The reason she looked so uncomfortable on The View? She’d just been told pre-show the word “turd” was off-limits, and was anticipating replacing the offending section of the line “shook a little turd out of the bottom your pants” with “blew a little load” in front of all those View ladies). If she messed up a song, she’d start over. Between songs, she paused to read a fan’s homemade card, to ask a particularly-squished-in audience member if he’d like to come sit on stage, and to just generally shoot the shit with the crowd. It was exactly like you always wish concerts would be – spontaneous, low-key, unique — not just straight-up recitation of recorded songs. And while there was (thankfully) no group-touch session afterwards, Kimya did stick around to sign autographs, take photos and give hugs. I totally rushed up front with all the high-school kids to get a photo.

P.S. This is my first post here so, you know …. hi.

Written by ENB

January 25, 2008 at 5:59 pm