The music post is coming- I'm probably over-thinking it. Brother's roommate E made me a couple discs while I was in Boston (new Andrew Bird, Alexi Murdoch, Elvis Perkins, Sondre Lerche etc), I've picked up a couple other tracks (mostly the fantastic Greg Laswell) and then there's the live component. Wait, this is kind've becoming "the music post." Alright, well, "the sea refuses no river." Rock on... (No, I'm not high and I've no idea why I'm writing like this) you don't need my essays anyway, my guess is that shameless name-dropping would do the trick. Well ok then.
My favorite gifts to give and receive are mixed CD's and homemade meals. Pretend shock and awe inserted here. It doesn't get more thought-out or personal than that in my world and I'm lucky to have people around who are happy to transact this currency in kind. My "Intelli-Jams" from E are below in their original format (click for the legible version):It's only been a week so I'm still working through favorites etc but the early frontrunners are The Trees Were Mistaken and Action/Adventure by Andrew Bird, Orange Sky by Alexi Murdoch and, the surprise, Say Yeah by Wiz Khalifa. That latter is the new running standout- makes me move!
My CD for E included some familiar TKTC names like Bon Iver, Blitzen Trapper, Yael Naim, The Changes, Joshua Radin, The Guggenheim Grotto and of course....Jose Gonzalez.
Which is a rather lovely transition. Colleen and I were at Jose Gonzalez (Mia Doi Todd opened) last Monday at Lakeshore Theater. My first time at this venue and I will be back. It's intimate...the theater is the size of a public elementary school theater with real seats but no seat assignments. And a great bar- Jameson/Ginger for me, Guinness for Colleen. Irish girls can't totally forget St. Pat's after all.
We kicked off with Mia Doi Todd who I was unfamiliar with. BEAUTIFUL voice- think the Elves from Lord of the Rings with a Pure Moods delivery and the personality of the middle school music teachers from SNL (old school Will Ferrell and Ana Gasteyer). I don't think I've never heard someone hit pitch that perfectly in person. The fact that it was accompanied by sweetly spaced out conversation like the following made it all the better:
Bongo Player: Man, it's warm up here! (takes off sweater)
MDT: Yeah man, it's hot. Too hot for your sweater.
Bongo Player: Good thing I wore a lot of layers.
MDT: Like life, man. Life has a lot of layers. Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yes yessssssss (a little catchphrase of hers)
Not kidding...it went on like that for a half an hour. We were laughing our asses off and somehow still impressed. It's chill-out, folked-out, hippie dippy yoga music if you're in the market. I usually am, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Jose was awesome. He is my modern-day James Taylor and I even bought a T-shirt. Goosebumps during "Killing for Love" which was even more intense live. What a mellow, deep sound and DAMN I have become a sucker for a well played Spanish guitar. Wonder where that weakness came from...moving on. A great venue for him, he played for almost two hours (Mia's set started at 10 and they'd played an earlier show) to a very appreciative audience seated in the aisles and in the doorways.
This show was brought on and promoted by Empty Bottle Productions. I get the impression that the Empty Bottle has long been a a strong, consistent presence on the Chicago Indie scene (certainly since I've been here) but according to Time Out Chicago, they're poised to take over. And looking at their line-up for the next few weeks- including Bon Iver and Jens Lekman - I'm alright with that. A moment of thanks for living in a city full of fantastic venues and the bookers who fill them well! Hotel Cafe Tour at Park West in T- 5/7 days :)
TKTC Note: Brother sent me The Kleptones. I am a little obsessed with the songs Amazing Temptation, Closer to the Boxer and If Les Fleur Were Mine. All contain snips of dialogue from the Richard Linklater film "Waking Life" which Brother then insisted I watch. How had I missed this???! I watched it tonight and, as if Dazed & Confused and Before Sunset weren't enough...I fucking love RL. Excuse my language, I'm all hopped up on Peeps and Sartre.