a simpler sound.

Meet my [teenage] bedroom.

I was passionate about photography and had fun displaying my photos of Hawaii along the wall in a trail.  Really graphic and fun.  

Color. Music. Posters. Art. Color. Everywhere.

I've been a 'designer' since I was a kid.  I've always been changing the spaces I inhabit, on a constant basis, and I recently found some proof of my earlier days of design mayhem.  While transferring all my digital photos onto my new computer [having everything in one place rather than fragmented on multiple external hard drives is a dream come true!], I found these photos.

This is my bedroom from my childhood home in New York.  These were actually taken sometime during my freshman year of college, somewhere between 2004 and 2005. I'm still trying to look for photos of my old college dorm rooms, because they were something to behold [I went a little overboard]. This room isn't too far off from that though, and if there's one thing you get my from my design back then, it's my personality.

Everything was perfectly laid out, strewn about the walls, and organized in a perfect chaos.  If you wanted to know what music I listened to, there was a poster for it.  If you wanted to know my favorite books or CDs, they were organized in bookcases I built into my closet. My love for Hawaii was all over the place: in tiny hula bobble heads, in floral leis, in the photography I would display. Little hints of my love for impressionist art are all over [in my calendar, in my paintings, even in my favorite Simpsons poster mimicking Georges Seurat]. My obsession with the color green was pretty obvious too.  As a kid, it was purple EVERYTHING, but I matured into a bright granny smith apple green. Now I love teal and different shades of grey [totally not a reference to the book...].

It's amazing how tastes evolve.  My style has absolutely changed over the years, but it's interesting to see how I still hold onto a certain atheistic.  

I hope you enjoy this peak into the younger Jo.  More [current] design to come...

My obsession with band art hasn't changed.  I'll admit though, it wasn't always for the right reasons. I remember loving the band in the corner, not because they were particularly great, but because I thought some of them were really cute...I was never one to put up posters of the Backstreet Boys or N'Sync, but you bet I had ones up of my punk rock bands!  I've since stopped putting up posters of boys [shocker, I know]. Here you can also see one of my favorite Salvador Dali pieces, as well as this light up art of the Brooklyn Bridge [it was a little tacky, yes, but at night I loved how it gave my room this bluish glow].

My biggest regret is not taking care of my band art the way I should have.  Most of these posters are really tattered on the edges, and some downright ruined due to the constant moving of them each year of college.  I was able to properly frame some of them, but these really bring me back...

I built these 'custom' shelves with my Mom, mostly because I didn't have enough room anywhere to house my massive CD and book collection!

I love having old pictures [check out little Jo with her awesome bowl cut bangs!] around and check out my adorable bobble heads [not sure where they are anymore, how sad!]

More of the overflow of DVDs and video equipment. I wonder where my Wiffle ball bat is these days...

I kept that vase of artificial gerber daisies around for the longest time. Now I hate the thought of fake flowers.  I love having real deal around when I can these days.  I think the daisies finally retired to my mom's work office.  And check out my old iPod! That isn't my original one, since that was actually stolen at a party the year before.  Back then who could have predicted my large succession of Apple devices to follow...
I'm not sure if I knew I was taking a picture of myself or not, but there I am at 18...where has the time gone?!

New Music Mixtape: August.

I'm just sneaking a mix in before the monthly deadline.  I had a harder this month [I also was a little low in my usual iTunes funds- I squandered away my iTunes savings on an entire season of Parks & Rec because I couldn't wait until it came out on Netflix, and I needed my Ron Swanson fix], but there are some great songs on here.  Enjoy. 

[FYI: I'm running all over the place today, so I'm holding off on adding in band links until later- but Google makes all of that a little unnecessary anyhow]

1. V.A.L.I.S. - Bloc Party
This album is a bit of a mix bag- not your usual Bloc, but this track stays pretty true to their sound.

2. Rivertown Blues - Yellowcard
Now talk about throwbacks; this song brought me right back to the old Yellowcard I loved so much in high school- super fast drums, with the faint beauty of that fiddle in the background- such nostalgia for this one.

3. Would That Not Be Nice - Divine Fits
This new collaboration has members from Spoon and Wolf Parade, among others.  The Supergroups just keep forming- something akin to the Avengers of Indie Alternative music.  I'd see them live for sure.

4. The a Team [Live] - Birdy [Ed Sheerhan cover]
It's not news that I absolutely adore this girl's voice and work on the piano.  I'm actually learning a few of her piano renditions right now. When I was a kid, all I knew were Disney songs [I can still play A Whole New World and Can You Feel The Love Tonight? THAT'S RIGHT.]

5. Keep on Swinging - Rival Sons
They've got some serious rock in them.  I get a mix of The Black Keys and a little bit of Led Zeppelin.   Love love love that riffing on the guitar.

6. Family - The Cast of Cheers
I heard this song on Pandora, and literally could not get it of my head.  It's ferociously catchy and fast, so I had to have it. 

7. Cut It Out - Kitten 
I love the light, breathy quality of this song and the lead singer's voice.  The drums give it this 80s ballad sound and remind me of this really specific song from that era, and I can't put my finger on it.  It's driving me a little crazy, but I'll figure it out eventually.

8. World's End - Army Navy
This has such an oldies vibe to it.  My youngest years were spent listening to this era of music [that and Madonna...] so even though this sort of sound is so simple, it holds a really special place in my heart.

9. Downwind - Sean Rowe
This man has such a booming, deep voice that's really addictive. This song also has that old surfer guitar sound that I love. It's like a sexy version of Sheb Wooley's Purple People Eater [that may sound completely nuts, but think what you will].

10. Dementia - Owl City ft. Mark Hoppus
I actually heard this song on Pandora and thought it was a new departure of Blink 182.  I had no idea it was Owl City. I thought, well Blink is going a little more pop, a little less punk, but I don't hate it.  And then I found out the truth.  And I wasn't all that upset about it.  Heck, I can't help but love that Carley Rae Jepsen duet he does, so why not like a collaboration with Blink? 

11. Fading Listening - Shiny Toy Guns
This song has an odd mixture of dance music mixed with Fleetwood Mac.  It's kind of perfect in that way.  Some of the male vocals remind me of M83 a bit, so overall it's a great mixture of sounds.

New Music Mixtape: July Releases.

I was M.I.A. [missing in Aruba? Alaska? yes.] for a good chunk of July, so I wasn't keeping up with the latest Alternative releases, but I still managed to pull things together right at the end of the month.  A lot of these tracks are singles for some upcoming albums [all of which I'm really looking forward to] so there's a good mix in here. I also started working on my concert list, which usually doesn't start until the fall, but there are a few good shows coming up.  I'll list them here soon. 

1. Sleep Alone - Two Door Cinema Club [still has that dance-y vibe I love about TDCC, but with a tinge of sadness...I wonder if the rest of the album will follow suit..]

2. Sky Blue & Ivory - Torches [I immediately think of some kind of mashup of TV on the Radio and Bloc Party when I heard them for the first time]

3. If Only You Knew - An Atlas to Follow [I love the way their voices meld together- simple and pretty]

4. My Only Hope - Illusion of Self [has that gritty, raw Strokes-sound, great debut album from this band - buy this one]

5. Angels - The xx [this band has that hauntingly beautiful sound down to a science, this new single being no different...I've been looking forward to this album for a long time- can't wait!]

6. Age of Ignorance - Our Last Night [their sound is so familiar; very much like what I listened to in high school- a less throaty Thrice or even a little like Story of the Year..]

7. Fame > Demise [Acoustic] - Woe Is Me [after sifting through the thrashing and screaming on this album, I found a really nice vocal on this track- for some reason I love when hardcore bands sing pretty songs [albeit a little whiny, but that's okay by me] like this]

8. Come Together [Beatles cover] - Arctic Monkeys [I was watching the opening ceremonies of the XXX London Olympics last Friday, and I was so impressed by this cover. I knew they were a great band, but they really did The Beatles justice on this one]

9. Settle Down - No Doubt [this is their first release as a band in 11 YEARS, and I was secretly hoping for a return to their Tragic Kingdom roots, but I'll settle for this. I really like the first half of this song, and then it trails off a little for me- but I'd be a fool if I didn't represent the band I grew up with]

10. The Way It Is - The Sheepdogs [their sound definitely rides on the coattails of The Black Keys, but there aren't many other coattails I'd hitch a ride on]

11. Perfectly Aligned - Milo Greene [I've been looking forward to their full length release for a long time, and I HATE that I was out of town when they came to Atlanta a couple weeks back.  This track is so clean and really showcases how perfectly in sync the band is vocally]

12. The Crystal Text - Young Moon [no vocals on this track, but the open picking on the electric evokes its own melancholic voice, much like Explosions in the Sky]

Photo: Illusion of Self

Travel Photography Clean up: a man and his alphorn.

I've done quite a bit of traveling over the last year and a half.  Mostly for family reasons, sometimes just for fun, but regardless, every trip has been a truly one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience.  I usually go on a photography rampage when I travel, and my little Macbook Pro 13" is getting tired.  I've pretty much maxed her out, and on this most recent trip to Aruba, I had no choice but to go through my 8,000+ photos [this actually being only half of my actual photo collection, since everything pre 2011 is backed up on my external hard drive] and start making decisive cuts.

I get a little trigger happy, especially with the action setting on my SLR, so there are tons of photos that I can part with, since there are 7 or 8 more nearly identical to it.  The other issue is these SLR files are massive.  Gone are the days of my 4 megapixel Canon Elph circa 2001.  I've got to work on continuously editing this opus of photos, but I never seem to keep up with them.  Since I leave for another big trip tomorrow [SO excited for my retirement cruise in Alaska with my Mom!] and I know I'll easily take 500+ photos while I'm there, so I've got to continue the photo purge.  

Therein lies my rediscovery of this Swiss man and his alphorn. I started going through the thousands [yes, thousands] of photos I took while in Europe last summer, and I came upon the day I met my first alphorn player.  This traditional Swiss instrument dates back to the mid 16th century and was used as a mode of communication in mountainous regions throughout Europe.

We had taken a lift up to First Mountain in Grindelwald, and this gentleman arrived right along with us.  We waited in the lodge restaurant, because a heavy cloud cover moved over the mountain, causing nearly zero visibility.  While we waited, I noticed the man pull several wooden tubes out of his small black backpack. I watched as he slowly began to assemble them together. In short order, he  had a nearly 11 foot horn sitting in front of him, right there in the middle of the lodge.  He hoisted this monster horn up and brought it outside, in the thick of the clouds. 

As if by magic, the cloud cover began to dissipate, and he began to play these long, low notes.  I was convinced the vibrations of the horn broke up the clouds and cleared the skies.  A small crowd gathered, and we watched this man create beautiful music alongside the breathtaking mountainside.    It was definitely one of those surreal experiences.  I probably took a hundred photos of the man and his horn, but I saved quite a few, since the intensity on his face was so fascinating.  I love that even years from now, I can still look back at these photos and recall this day.

Tell All Your Friends.

The song "There's No 'I' in Team" has to be on my top 100 songs of all time. 

There are some songs that just resonate with me. There are certain albums I can listen to start to finish. Again and again.  And years later, I'll stumble upon that CD [or these days, it was likely by just listening to my itunes on random, but rediscovering a CD is far more nostalgic] and be brought back to that same time in your life; an album that stirs up emotions you forgot were buried deep.  

Last night, I had that very experience with Taking Back Sunday's debut album Tell All Your Friends [circa 2002].  

If you don't know me well, you may not know my past was filled with emotional punk music.  Lots of screaming, sometimes slightly whiny, lyrics strewn with love and heartache.  I'm not a fan of anyone who uses the term "emo" and even less so when it's used as a negative connotation.  I wasn't some sad "emo" kid crying softly in the corner of her bedroom listening to depressing music.  These songs and this style of music just reverberated with me. The entire New York/New Jersey/Long Island punk music scene was part of my birthright.  Bands like Thursday and Brand New [and of course, Taking Back Sunday] will always hold a special place in my heart.  

Yesterday, I was in bed, and again had another bout of insomnia.  Something just wasn't sitting right with me [and I don't mean my favorite frozen yogurt].  
So I reverted to my usual location of contemplation: the back porch.  I flipped open my laptop and pressed play on itunes.  

Sure enough, Taking Back Sunday's track, Great Romances of the 20th Century, came on, and within the first few melodic chords, I was brought right back.  The lyrics fell completely in line with how I was feeling [and quite literally alluded to my lack of sleep]. 

This won't mean a thing come tomorrow
and that's exactly how I'll make it seem
Cause I'm still not sleeping
Thinking I've crawled home from worse than this
So please, please I'm running out of sympathy
and I never said I'd take this lying down
You always come close but it never comes easy
I still know everything
You always come so close
If it's not keeping you up nights
Then what's the point?

Then I found myself writing down lyrics, something I do quite a bit. I started doodling alongside them [as you can see at the top of this post].  It's therapeutic.   I also picked out specific lyrics that spoke to me and created a little Tell All Your Friends album art. 

 Two hours went by and I'm not sure if I felt any better.  In fact, I felt even more uneasy and incensed than I did before. This is just one of those albums that incites me.  It makes me feel things I'd long forgot about.  It's a little piece of who I was in high school, that every so often comes back and reminds me of my past [or in this case stirred up more recent memories that I've worked hard on forgetting, but can't seem to shake].  As Vonnegut said,  "so it goes."

Amazing Album Cover Art: Alberto Seveso

I really miss the days of CDs. I used to love flipping through the album booklets, and reading the lyrics and band credits. I always loved when a band's album art was particularly creative or interesting. This same love goes for records, but I'm without a record player [something that I'm currently on the hunt for], so for the meantime, I'll just reminisce about CDs. 

I saw a post on Apartment Therapy today, about this artist Alberto Seveso, who creates beautiful art by photographing ink in water with a high speed camera.  I was completely mesmerized by the combination of colors and the organic, milky texture and shape of the images. 

There was something so familiar about this photography, when I realized I just bought a CD using the very same artist.  The Temper Trap [which you can see their latest album at the top of this post] are fans of Seveso as well, and used a number of his photographs for all their current and upcoming singles.  Check out Alberto Seveso's site, and see how breathtaking ink can be.

1. Photographs found on Alberto Seveso's website


I've been making mixes lately; some for friends who are moving away, some for road trips, some just because it's what I do.  

One band has made an appearance in nearly every mix as of late: Fun.  Their album, Some Nights, has been at the top of the charts, mostly in part of its hit single We Are Young, which more or less became the anthem of the year [or mid-year anthem at the least- 69 million and counting views on youtube don't lie].

I find myself listening to the track Why Am I the One over and over. 

For once, for once, for once
I've got the feeling that I'm right where I belong
Why am I the one
Always packing all my stuff?

Most tracks have this epic quality to them, something that makes me want to scream the lyrics out my car window. 

At times, there's a bit more auto-tune than I'd care for, but overall, their sound makes me want to dance or march around chanting the lyrics.  I don't know that I've had an album that makes me feel empowered in a fun, jump-out-of-your-chair and sing way.  Yes, Fun. is fun...

Definitely check out their album, and watch their latest music video [you can get the link here too].  A Civil War based storyline is not what I ever imagined for their track, Some Nights, but it's really well done.  It tells the story of two men and their fated meeting on the battlefield. 

bands to keep your eye on: milo greene [a concert and EP review].

I saw Milo Greene back in November when they opened for The Civil Wars at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, GA. From top to bottom, that was one of the absolute best [yes, it deserves the double superlative!] concerts I've ever been to.  Although much of that status had to do with The Civil Wars putting on an impeccably moving performance, I left that show discovering a new band that would soon become another favorite of mine.  

I honestly don't know much about Milo Greene, other than that they're based out of Los Angeles, since I recall them mentioning that at the concert. Apart from really enjoying their soothing sound, I was so impressed by the vocal abilities of every member of the band, as well as their individual instrumental prowess.  With every song, the entire band would perform a sort of 'ring-around-the-rosie' dance, almost seeming as if they could grab any instrument on the stage and perform in perfect pitch together. This created such an organic performance, with each song taking on a varied style and tone. They played quite a few songs, all of which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Unfortunately, at this point I don't believe they were officially signed to a label, and were still producing an EP themselves specifically for The Civil Wars tour.  I was able to snag a copy and chat with who I believe was the bassist [but with the tossing around of instruments, it was hard to tell!].

The EP has only three songs, two of which have been very recently released as singles on iTunes.

1. 1957: This song was just released as a single the other week. This is their most upbeat song on the EP and has a great melodic quality to it. I love the tapping of the drumsticks [at least I think that's what the sound is, I could be wrong...] throughout the song. Love these lyrics:

'the scent you wear moves in lines 
from your apartment into mine 
you act like you don't know me 
my god you tempt my anxious mind'

2. Silent Way: This song is my favorite on the EP for so many reasons.  For one thing, for a girl who doesn't love country music, I'm a sucker for the plucking of a banjo. It melds so perfectly with the piano. The slow, melodic pace has a repetition that I really like.  It's mimicked in the lyrics,

'when, when, when we're older
can I still come over?'

The song, whether it actually carries this meaning or not, reminds me of being a kid and how easy it was. I'd just go to a friend's house and we'd make up random, ridiculous games that almost always involved an obstacle course [Legends of the Hidden Temple was my FAVORITE show during this phase].  That might be a slight tangent, but essentially, I just loved how easy it was to have friends and have fun with life.  The lyrics make me think of little Jo, asking her best friend that when they're older can it still be the same, simple friendship they always had.  When you get older, things change and get so complicated. I wish it were as simple as this song, but it's not.

3. Don't You Give Up On Me: I posted a great quality live performance of this song at the top.  The song was actually featured on Grey's Anatomy recently. It has the most commercial quality of the three, and I can see it being used again in anther show or movie. I don't mean that as a negative in any way.  I've found so many great artists on TV shows [my secret dream job has been to be the person who chooses music for movies and TV- I'd LOVE that entirely too much]. It's just such a sweet song:

'I'll go, I'll go, I'll go wherever you go
I would never leave without letting you know'

This EP is my go-to driving CD, because I can listen to it over and over without ever getting tired of it. I sing to it all the time and since I rarely allow people to hear me legitimately try and sing, the car is a perfect venue for my performances. It's also got that great quality that makes driving seem leisurely and enjoyable, and calms my ever percolating road rage [I'm really a very calm, relaxed person- but my inner New York resurfaces every so often...!].

The Milo Greene full-length album has a release date set for July 17th, and they'll be heading to Atlanta shortly after on the 21st.  They're playing at the Drunken Unicorn, which is stumbling distance from my house, and I CAN'T wait to see them.  I'd love to invite them over to my house after the show to hang out and drink on my porch. They just seem like the kind of people I'd be friends with anyhow.

Concert review: M83 at The Masquerade.

A couple Mondays ago, M83 [fronted by French musician Anthony Gonzalez] came to Atlanta [within about a half mile from my house] to the Masquerade.  Occasionally, when there's a big demand for an artist [remember the time Snoop Dogg was in my neighborhood? Yeah.], The Masq will move concerts to an outdoor stage behind the main building.  
Despite showing up late, [due to some parking issues] we were able to catch most of the set, and more importantly, the amazing encore [their performance of Couleurs was one of my more surreal concert moments].  I really wasn't sure what to expect, since M83 has such an electronic based sound, with minimal singing.  But I was really surprised to see how many instruments were on stage [in addition to the more synth-based variety].  Their latest album, Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, takes a departure from their previous work and focuses on trying to use instruments not normally found in alternative electronic music.  I especially loved the guy on the saxophone during one of their bigger hits 'Midnight City' [insert my stalker photo of him here].

I was completely entranced by this guy [see below] and his one man light show, just off to the side of the stage.  It's amazing what a DSLR camera can capture.

The show was a hybrid of an outdoor festival and a rave [hello 90s?] and the combination of dancing, lights and music was perfect. The only things missing were two of my favorite songs: 'Too Late' and 'Raconte-Moi Une Histoire' [I'm dying to make a music video for this!] but this gives me a great excuse to see M83 live again.

New Music Mixtape: May Releases

Photo taken at Amoeba Records in Hollywood, CA

When I have trouble sleeping, I typically do one of two things. I find this time apt to clean the house [yes, in my pjs is when I think it's best to organize the spices in the kitchen cabinets or hang items from the ever-growing pile of clothes that accumulates on my desk chair].

My other late night ritual is hunting for new music.  My modus operandi involves sifting through the latest releases on itunes [with a focus on alternative music].  I basically sample 2-3 songs from each band, starting with the album's most popular song and then randomly choosing another. If I absolutely love the few songs I listen to, I may buy an album or EP on the spot [depending on how hefty my itunes cash is, which currently I've got ample funds so I'm being less picky with my purchases] but usually I'll just wish-list it until I've sorted through the majority of new music out there.  I also like to peruse several good music review sites out there [my go-to sites are this, that, and the other] and this helps give me a well-rounded view of what's out there right now and what deserves another listen.  

Tuesdays are always the best for this task, being that's when the majority of new releases come out.  Last night, I came upon some noteworthy tracks.  Here's the 'mixtape' I put together of some new favorites:

1. Blood Red Shoes - 'Cold' [harkening back to my bad ass roots]
2. Beach House - 'Myth' [other worldly]
3. Best Coast - 'Last Year' [liking the guitar riff]
4. POP ETC - 'Keep It for Your Own' [a touch of 80s synth]
5. Atlas Genius - 'Trojans' [upbeat !]
6. Matt Skiba & The Sekrets - 'Falling Like Rain' [Alkaline Trio lite]
7. Passion Pit - 'Take a Walk' [a refreshing change from their electronic falsetto]
8. Animal Kingdom - 'White Sparks' [reminds me of Mew]
9. Here We Go Magic - 'Over the Ocean' [Radiohead influenced]
10. King Charles - 'Lady Percy' [Mumford & Sons approved]
11. Barcelona - 'Slipping Away' [Brian Fennell's got some indie rock soul]
12. Sean Bones - 'Gallon Jug' [love, love that drum]
13. Death and a Cure - 'When It All Goes South' [singer/songwriter represent]

Give some of these a listen- many of these are just singles [with the hopes of fantastic albums to follow] while others come from albums worth buying in their entirety.  

Music worth a listen: of monsters and men.

If you haven't heard of them before, I highly recommend giving Of Monsters and Men a listen.  The band hails from Iceland, which is probably why the lead female singer reminds me just a bit of Bjork [minus the elecronica-trance vibe and sweet outfits like this]. I've had their EP, Into the Woods since last year and listened to it relentlessly while on a trip to Seattle [alongside a new recording from another great band, The Head and the Heart]. 

Though only four songs, each one is fantastic and addictive in its own right. My love for this band reminds me a bit of my past obsession with Mumford and Sons.  There's something about the combination of varied instruments and how both have the whole band singing in harmony, that really strikes a chord with me. 

Their latest album, My Head is an Animal, recently released in April, is still topping the Alternative charts over a month later.  The album utilizes a fuller range of the band's instruments and voices, but has the right combination of upbeat, catchy songs and slower, more contemplative pieces.

The video I posted is from a couple years back, shot in the band's apartment in Rejkavik.  By filming them in the round, you can really see the full range of instruments [my favorite being the accordion, of course] and voices.

I haven't had the privilege of seeing them live yet, but I look forward to them coming to Atlanta one of these days! 

a MUST listen: The Civil Wars.

I honestly don't think I could sum up my love and awe of this band in one post.  I could easily write an entire blog dedicated to The Civil Wars, reviewing each and every song and video and live performance [though I've only been to one] because they are that talented.  Every time they sing, the nuances in their voices and the combination of these two impeccable singers is so refreshing to the ears, I don't think I could ever get tired of them. 

The chemistry between Joy Williams and John Paul White* is palpable.  I'm absolutely baffled these two aren't in a relationship [both are married].  Watching the back and forth between them, how effortless they're able to make music together, and not to mention the banter the two have on stage- if I ever meet someone who I have that with, I'd keep them by my side for the long haul, without question. 

I try to check Youtube often for new videos of their performances, since each one is so different, but perfectly executed time and again. I especially love the covers they perform, since so many of them are even better than the originals. [albeit, I'm a bit biased...] I stumbled upon this one that was just posted the other day, and it's of a song I hold close to my heart, so I had to post it. 

"I've Got This Friend" tells the classic story of two star-crossed lovers, who have for whatever reason, shied away from telling the other of their feelings. The lyrics are written in a way that they're referring to their supposed 'friends' who would be perfect for each other, with the implications that they're in fact talking about themselves and the struggles they both have with finding love and sharing how they feel. 

The chord progression is simple and light, and you can't help but be in a good mood listening to it, all the while holding a bit of longing and hope for the two characters in the story. "If only..."

The lyrics really resonate with me:

"I've got this friend
holding onto her heart
like it's a little secret
like it's all she's got to give"

The long and short of it: The Civil Wars are by far the most talented music act I've seen in years.  Watching them live was such a moving experience- and so rarely for me is a live performance even better than the record, but without a doubt this was the case. I'm not someone who gets weepy or overly sentimental, but their performance moved me to tears. 

I can't wait to hear more from this phenomenal band, and look forward to seeing them live again soon. 

*Is it just me, or is John Paul a hybrid of Jack White and Johnny Depp? Regardless, his voice makes me melt...

Musings on a nightstand: water and writing.

I figured out why I decided to share my nightstand with you.  I mean really, how long can a  person wax poetic about a lamp? [in my case, quite a bit] In reality, I think this might actually give you a little insight into me and my quirky habits, some of which may become recurring themes here, and others I may try to repress and plead plausible deniability that they were ever shared with you.  Think of this as 'show-and-tell' for adults. [I LOVED show and tell in kindergarten- I'm pretty sure this habit of mine traces that far back, maybe even further]

Rather than repeat the same photo I took of the nightstand [with the addition of helpful numbers, just in case you get confused between the glass of milk and a flower- these things are tricky] I figured you could just refer back to the previous post, or use a little imagination.

2. Water: I'm always thirsty, and being parched reaches its all-time high when I'm asleep.  I have an irrational fear of being without water, or really any drink [insert image of the little girl in the M. Night Shyamalan classic, 'Signs' with her 37 glasses of water strewn about the house]. The water pictured here is a rather large bottle of Acqua Panna, the self-proclaimed 'finest still mineral water.' I've never been one who can really taste the difference between obscenely expensive water and water that's free. I'm pretty sure I started refilling this bottle with tap a long time ago, so don't take me for a water connoisseur.

3. 5-Year Journal: I have to be the world's worst diary/journal keeper.  Since I was just a little Jo, I was obsessed with these wonderful, tiny books that held the potential of keeping your deepest secrets under lock and key. I probably had a whole box full of diaries. I could also probably count the number of pages I wrote on with two hands.  Then came the 5-Year Journal, a perfect device for someone like me since all it requires is one brief line about your day.  I've even went so far as to jot down just one word [it still counts!].  This one is a particular favorite of mine since it's filled with Jane Austen quotes that I adore. [I'm that girl who re-reads Pride and Prejudice yearly and watches the movies any chance I get...]

4. Music Journal:  I have no issues filling the pages of this book.  Since I was twelve, I've had a penchant for writing down lyrics from my favorite songs.  They usually had to do with some boy who I thought was just the BEST [but later would probably find him to be the WORST...the trappings of young love].  Fourteen years later, this exercise has become much more therapeutic, and is far less about silly boys, and much more about music that moves me, or reminds me of my past [or future?].  Usually, I just have a standard journal that I'll fill every inch of, but while I was in L.A. this past March, I found a bonafide *Moleskine music journal, which has proved to be very useful. Lyrics are so often overlooked, that it feels right to give them a place to 'speak.' 

5. Writing implements: simple enough, but I have specific tastes when it comes to these sorts of things. I always like to keep a #2 pencil [old-school yellow preferred] and a flair pen in navy or army green or black. [I told you I was specific!]

*fun fact: I've always pronounced Moleskine the way you would pronounce molester [it sounds even more inappropriate when pronounced by this British man] and it's a habit I have trouble breaking- so no, I don't have a molester journal, and no, I'm not a pervert...

have a listen: The Lumineers 'Ho Hey'

I discovered The Lumineers recently through one of the blogs I frequent.

Listen to this song [and watch this video] for a little bit of light [figuratively and quite literally].

I can't help but smile when I listen to the chorus:

"I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart"

It's just the right amount of simple, with this undeniably infectious warmth.  Add the gentle strum of a fiddle, and the low tap of a bass drum and they've got me hooked. 

The timed shouts from the rest of the band are a jolt to heart, in the best way possible.  I love the effect of lightbulbs breathing in time with the song. [I have a quirky thing for incandescent lightbulbs...look for an upcoming post explaining why..] This band has so much lighthearted soul [is this a contradiction?] and it's evident as they walk the halls with instruments in hand and conviction [and smiles] on their faces.  

Something about this track is just so pure and almost child-like.  The video only further embodies this with its throwback touches, alluding to a simpler time.  

Only the best songs act like synapses, connecting us to a memory, a feeling. They reverberate in your soul.

This song does just that for me.  

This is just a song/video review, since I'm still so new to the band. I'm starting to get a feel for the rest of the album, and it's already promising. 

the sunset. the catalyst. etc. etc.

West Palm Beach, FL

I was in south Florida this past weekend helping a friend move [and spending some brief, but much needed time with my long, lost love- the Atlantic Ocean] and caught this unbelievably saturated sunset on my last day before heading back to Atlanta.  I snapped this photo [and quite a few more] with my phone, regretting I didn't lug my SLR around with me. I never seem to have it when something beautiful crosses my path [and if this guy ever crosses my path, I'll certainly need more than my Canon to capture the moment...wink wink].  Nevertheless, my iPhone does come in handy, and I must say, it takes a decent photo.  

[Now, get ready for the cheese...]

What motivated me to get the cogs in my blog turning again was how moved I was by such a gripping wash of colors in the sky.  I'm so inspired by color and nature, and a thousand thoughts stream through my mind when I see [or hear, or taste] it. It can be hard to sift through it all. I was hoping to hold off on starting a blog until I decided on the most perfect name [a task I may never accomplish] and a focused concept.  But in reality, I can't focus on just one topic. [this speaks volumes of my personality..] Don't get me wrong, I'm insanely passionate about cooking and photographing every meal I eat or create [much to the chagrin of my friends and family]. But my mind is constantly wandering between different facets that intrigue me.  Music. Photography. Food. Design. Nature. etc. etc. etc. 

Maybe you'll just find 1/100 of what I post interesting, but I'm curating this more for me and all my etc.