The Weather is Starting to Turn…

…and with it comes the start of my favourite time of year.

I really do think that November and December are some of the best times of the year. Perhaps it’s because I love gray skies and wearing sweaters and when it starts to get cold (but not unbearably cold). But I think it’s also because the weather sets the perfect tone for some of my favourite indie rock.

To this day I’m still surprised The National chose to release “Trouble Will Find Me” in the summer because to me, their music is met for the late fall and early winter (it’s still a great record, though). Overcast skies put me in an introspective and introverted mood, and listening to Matt Berninger brood about lost love and falling into adulthood is always a perfect soundtrack for a morning cup of coffee, a rainy drive to work or a walk to class while the dead leaves blow across the brick paths.

Interpol is also a great choice, especially their record “Our Love to Admire.” Granted, I do prefer “Antics” and “Turn On The Bright Lights,” but moments on OLTA like “The Scale,” “Pioneer to the Falls,” “Rest my Chemistry,” and “The Heinrich Maneuver” always feed into that dimly lit nightclub persona Interpol always embodied with their tuxedos and twisted lyrical narratives (and, OLTA was the last record with Carlos D, a true musical mastermind).

I also find myself listening to older Decembrists tunes as well, and usually end up calling to mind a vivid memory of my friend and I driving around the state park near our hometown, a dreary and damp day stretching before us, while “The Crane Wife 3” played in the background, making the scene absolutely beautiful.

Of course there has to be some symphonic soundscape rock with Arcade Fire, usually in the form of Neighborhood 1, 2 and 3 from “Funeral” and “My Body is a Cage”(actually one of my favourite songs of all time) from “Neon Bible.”

Weather sets the scene to the day, and finding a great soundtrack for it is one of my favourite parts about late fall and early winter.

What are your favourite songs for this time of the year? As always, thanks for reading, and God bless.

-A.L.D.

Five Songs and Two Friends

I’m headed back to OWU from break today and thankfully I’ve gotten to spend some time with my friends while back at home. Through break I’ve been exposed/reintroduced to some fantastic songs through my friends because they’re music enthusiasts like myself, and just listening to certain songs frequently, and I wanted to share them on here.

1.) “Best Friend” by Dent May

I always seem to go back and investigate Dent May’s older stuff whenever he releases new music because it reminds me how catchy and vintage his sound is (I believe I described “Face Down in the Gutter of Your Love” to my friend as “If Brian Wilson got his heart broken and wanted to cover ‘Turn to Stone’ by Electric Light Orchestra”), but thankfully I’ve got a friend who listens to him frequently and exposed me to the artistic beauty that is the “Best Friend” music video. Dent May’s music is so genuinely him and his sense of artistic expression is so unapologetically weird that it’s hard not to sing along with what he creates. Watch the video here.

2.) “A Beginning Song” by The Decemberists

The first concert I ever saw (at the tender age of 13), The Decembrists will always hold a special place in my heart. I actually liked the “countryfied” folk sound of “The King is Dead,” but I am thrilled they went back to their nostalgic storytelling format on “What A Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” (albeit not as bombastic as the rock opera of “The Hazards of Love” or the theatrical production of “Picturesque”). Colin Meloy is an amazingly gifted writer and his encapsulations of emotion are perfectly written for his vocal style. This is a beautiful song composed of only 3 chords that I’m glad I rediscovered while driving through the countryside with my friend. Listen here.

3.) “Skiptracing” by Mild High Club

This is a lovely fusion of smooth jazz and yacht rock elements (two genres I don’t spend much time dabbling in, but my friend loves) and it’s something I could get the same chill, relaxed vibe from while in a beachside lounge or studying in the reading room. The phrase I keep thinking of to describe it is the indie rock version of elevator music. And I mean that in the best way possible. It’s three minutes and of a summer day. Watch the video here.

4.) “Ode to Viceroy” by Mac DeMarco

Slacker-rock Mac DeMarco has always been someone I enjoy, but the wonderfully weird and gory music video for “Passing Out Pieces” really won me over this summer. Some browsing around the Canadian indie rock corners of the internet led to my friend and I rediscovering this gem, which strangely reminds me of Oasis with its vocal delivery. The glazed, chiming guitars in the background remind me of a lazy portrait of a Saturday morning. Watch the music video here.

5.) “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore” by Lucy Dacus

I’ve been wanting to give this song a shoutout for a while now, partly because I love Matador Records and I’m thrilled Dacus is signed there and because what I’ve heard of her music is stellar. She’s got an earnest voice that’s perfect for her personal lyrics and I like the singer/songwriter indie rock vibe she’s got. Looking forward to seeing what she does next. Listen to her single here.

Thanks for reading. Have a great night. God bless.

-A.L.D.

A Forgotten Song

As I type I’m listening to an LCD Soundsystem song I used to listen to all the time as a freshman in high school, “All I Want.” For some reason (I’ll chalk it up to switching phones a few times and losing a lot of music in my library in the process) it slipped out of my playlist and I haven’t heard it since early spring/late winter of 2012.

I realize this may not seem like a long time, but so much has changed for me since February of 2012. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how my life is rapidly changing as I continue my education, and since music has always played a large part in my life, hearing certain songs has a lot to do with it.

I’m no longer a high school student with vague aspirations of what I want to do with my life, I’m a college student studying and working towards a real career one day. I am so thankful for what I’ve been able to do and learn since then. I’ve traveled and studied in different parts of the world, I go to a school I’d never considered when I was 14 (college was just this sort of fantasy for me back then), I study my love (writing) because it’s what I want to do for the rest of my life. And I certainly never would’ve pictured myself seeing LCD Soundsystem as the headliner at Lollapalooza back then (but I have!).

Times have changed since I last sang along to the final refrain of “Take me home” in the song, but the great thing about music is that songs both stay encapsulated in time and grow along with us. I have so many more things that I’ve accomplished and that I have to look forward to than I did those years ago, but hearing “All I Want” took me back to when life was a little simpler for a while. It’s like a time capsule of experiences I’m very thankful for and I’ll continue to learn from, while still being a song I can enjoy and sing along to today.

What are some songs that do this for you? Do you still listen to them frequently today? What are your forgotten nostalgic songs? And be sure to listen to “All I Want” here.

As always, thank you so much for reading. I’m currently back in my hometown on break for a few days from school, so I’ll try to fit in at least one more post before I have to go back Sunday night.

Have a great day, a wonderful weekend and God bless.

-A.L.D.

Weekend Record Store Mini Haul

It’s currently Homecoming and Parents Weekend at the university I attend, so the campus has been full of alumni and family members. Since OWU is a reasonable distance from my hometown (2.5 hours), my dad came to visit yesterday and as usual, we went to the record store in town to pick up some new stuff.

I picked up a CD copy of “Everybody Wants” by The Struts because I’m still impressed by their performance at Lollapalooza this summer (I don’t really think it’s appropriate to say it was a concert; it was more of a small-scale theatrical show). I’d love to see them live again. It’s brash, in-your-face alt rock that reminds me ever so much of a modernized Queen. A friend of mine said The Struts reminds him of Jet, and I agree. It’s unapologetically loud and full of attitude. I recommend if you need some songs to scream along with on your way to work.

Dad got a CD copy of the new Pixies record, “Head Carrier.” He and his buddies are all huge Pixies fans, so he was pretty excited about it. As far as new Pixies work, I remember really enjoying “BAGBOY” when it came out around this time in 2013, and “Indie Cindy” was alright. Personally, I like the older stuff with Kim Deal, but I understand when it’s time for artists to move on and that in-band fighting can be detrimental. Honestly, I’m just amazed when artists like New Order and Pixies can keep cranking out music, especially after coming back from hiatus. I look forward to listening to/hearing his thoughts on the record when I go home for break next week.

Have you listened to either of these albums? What did you think?

As always, thanks for reading, and God bless. Have a great week.

-A.L.D.

Support Your Local Music Scene

The town where I currently reside (Delaware, Ohio) is, from what I can tell, equal parts “college town” and “small family town.” And, coming from a small town originally, I must say they produce some fantastic music.

The beauty of where I live is that Columbus, Ohio (the capital) is only 30 minutes away. Having a city of music and art so close means Delaware is full of students who play music for fun, people with day jobs who like to play gigs on the weekend and music majors from Ohio Wesleyan. The coffee shop where I frequent, Choffey’s, has people who’ll stop by on their lunch breaks and play for whoever is in there (I’m serious, they were doing it the other day while I worked on a paper and drank chai).

And because Open Mic Night is such a quintessential college experience, Delaware has that too. Last week I was able to go to the first Open Mic held at Endangered Species, the only record store in downtown Delaware.

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Above: James Ormerod, a student at Ohio Wesleyan, played a combination of covers and original work.

The beauty of the event is Endangered Species has large windows that face the busy streets, and people passing by from nearby restaurants and shops saw what was happening and came in to hear college musicians share Beatles covers and original work. I saw a couple introduce themselves to a musician and tell him how much they look forward to hearing him perform again.

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Above: Dane Poppe, an OWU student, covers Neil Young.

There was a father son duo as well who covered Led Zeppelin and played an original the father wrote, and that showed me how strong the bond of music can be to bring families together (just like my dad and I going to Lollapalooza).

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(Above: A Delaware high school student covers Yes).

Opportunities where people can join together and share a creative talent they carry inside never fail to amaze me. It’s a great chance for people to bond over a shared interest with something so pure, so emotional, so personal. And as an aspiring music journalist, people who are willing to share their work gives me hope for what I’ll discover in my professional life. I have so much respect for their willingness to be exposed musically.

So my recommendation to you is get out there and support your local music scene. Go to an open mic, a local show, a festival. There is so much talent and potential in the people around you, and we all have a desire to create something and share it with the world. As a student I see you never know what kind of talent you’ll find within your own school, and better yet, within your town.

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Above: My housemates (from left) Dom Mejia, Chase Smith and Emily Phillips performing under the moniker There Will Be Cardigan.

And as a side note, since the Open Mic was held at a record store, I picked up a CD copy of both Angel Olsen’s “MY WOMAN” and Car Seat Headrest’s “Teens of Denial.” So all in all, I’d say it was a successful night.

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Above: Two great records.

Thanks for reading, and have a great weekend.

God bless.

-A.L.D.