27 in music.

25 March 2013

birthday flowers from a friend for whom i am inexpressibly thankful. 

'now she's as poor as me, but she looks twice as good. i told her that, because it's something i would.' 
- leif vollebekk

leif vollebekk is streaming into my ears as i type, and his voice is like a weathered wooden floor in the most familiar place, sun stretching over it and illuminating the cracks - warm, familiar and beautiful. you must listen. no really, you must.

on thursday i turned 28. i like being able to wrap my years up neatly when they finish, and place them in a box with a label, then on a shelf in chronological order. for a myriad of reasons, i can't quite do that with the last year (or two? or three?)...

but one thing i can define from the year that i was 27, is that one of the bestest things that happened to me was learning to dj. sure, learning about the software and equipment and crowd management were great, but what it really taught me was this:

it is my job to love music. and i am damn good at it.

music has always been intensely personal for me, a close friend and refuge that sometimes feels too vulnerable to share with others. not to mention the times that friends have scoffed at my 'weird' tastes in music, or made fun of me for genuinely enjoying pop music. learning to dj, and having strangers come up and tell me how much fun they've had and how perfect the music was, or having my boss pass on emails he's received from happy clients, or people who want to re-book me... it's been amazing to receive some affirmation that, well, music is my jam. 

so. rather than a failed attempt at summarizing the year that was 27 in words, i'll define it in music. what follows is 27 songs/artists/albums that i took in my arms and held close to my chest in the past year. actually, i already gave you leif, above, so here are the other 26 (complete with linky-links to experience them for yourself! man i'm nice).

- first and foremost: macklemore. yeah, yeah, you've heard thrift shop, but seriously... listen to the rest of that album. it will blow your mind.

- the last three months of 27 was animated by a person who arrived out of nowhere, played me music and listened and smiled, and disappeared just as suddenly as he came. one thing he left me with was a growing fondness for canadian music, and an addiction to the rabbit-hole that is the cbc radio website. i discovered the weakerthans, who kinda make me feel like i just arrived in the nineties and that is a feeling i wish to re-visit every day ever. he also introduced me to wool on wolves, with lilting, driving folk-rock from right here in e-town. indirectly, through cbc radio 3, i also discovered the acoustic-ey, folk-rocky whimsy of mike edel & bahamas.

- two more rad edmonton bands from completely different genres are the preying saints - gritty rockabilly, and scenic route to alaska - indie-folk-rock gold!

karla adolphe - i've loved her forever (since 2005, which is forever ago.), but her album 'honeycomb tombs' last year was perfection.

- you've, uh, probably heard of them before, but bob dylan was my soundtrack while participating in NaNoWriMo, and over the past year i've fallen more and more and more and more in love with queen. freddie mercury makes my heart prit' near explode with inspiration. revisit them. you won't regret it.

ray lamontagne... i can't decide whether this man's honesty rips me to pieces or puts me back together again, but either way, it's gut-squeezingly beautiful.

- so, fun. has been all up in the radio's bizz with 'some nights', but my brother gave me their album aim & ignite (which was pre-some nights), and i've listened to it at least a bazillion times. pretty much the exact same story with hellogoodbye (except their radio hit was here in your arms in 2006...)

heath mcnease wrote an entire album based on the works of c.s. lewis, then gave it away for free!

- i think everyone else discovered ingrid michaelson a few years ago, but i only just did now...

- my brother in law knows me so well... when he posted a song by the lone bellow on my facepage, it was love at first listen.

- my boss got me into reidiculous and his (free!) dance-a-licious remixes of current pop. just in case one version of call me maybe isn't enough for you. (it isn't enough. i checked.)

vitamin string quartet performs covers of all sorts of music, from marilyn manson to green day, coldplay, lady gaga... you name it. i always feel like a super-sneak when i get away with playing weezer's 'buddy holly' during the mellow cocktail hour at a classy wedding.

- when people ask me what kind of music i like best, and i say 'old music,' they often think that i mean, like, the cure, or early punk-rock or something. no. i mean the dell-vikings. like, doo-wops make my heart get all mushy-melty.

- i listen to the soundtrack to les miserables on regular rotation. actually. and since the movie came out last year, it was extra involved my life.

bo burnham still makes me laugh, and i rediscovered him in january... still just as clever and funny as when i first heard him. if you're easily offended, probably skip this one. but if you love crass puns... get in!

- i'd forgotten about this zowie song, but rediscovered it in all it's glory. also: everything zowie wears in that video. hello.

- if i have the clarity of mind to realise that feeling good about things is a choice that i have to make... i have an ass-kicking playlist that helps me feel like i'm killing it at life, or at least that i can be. now, if i told you every song on that list, i'd have to kill you, but 4 of them, in all their pop-cliche glory, (bringing my total musical recommendations to 27!) are: kanye westgym class heroesandy grammer and no doubt. #sorryimnotsorry.

here's to another year of musical discovery!


  1. ray lamontagne - so know what you mean!!

    Off to check out the vitamin string quartet right now....>>

  2. Happy birthday! Now I don't have to do much searching. Except someone did show me one called tUnE-yArDs. And Welcome Wagon but I found that myself, serendipitously.


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