Fan girls.

Friday, June 5th, 2009


For the record, we didn’t grab the stray hair. We’re not total creeps. Not like the guy shouting all the lyrics to Acid Tongue… boo to that guy! But Jenny sounded fantastic, as we’ve come to expect of her, and the whole show was a lot of fun. We might have even gone just to see Barbara Gruska on the drums!

Also, we were standing right next to this photographer from True Endeavors, so I’ll link to those photos when he posts them, as they will be pretty much exactly our what we saw (plus a post-show shot of Holly, Marie, and I, because we’re sooooooooo photogenic, ha). Update: photos are here.

Oh, and also for the record, I named my blue bicycle Jenny, as we walked it home after the show ūüôā

Mix it!

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Since I’m already unable to decide what the primary focus of this blog is (comics? music? faith? art? yours truly?) I’ve decided to introduce something new.¬† I’m going to make a monthly mix, with tracks culled primarily from the music blogs I read, and occasionally some gems from my own collection that I think you might need.¬† I make these mixes anyway, for myself, so I may as well share:

Easel Ain’t Easy mix (to the max!), Volume 1, January 2009

1. Dear Nora – Fargo
2. Fleet Foxes – White Winter Hymnal
3. Jenny Lewis – Barking at the Moon
4. The Decemberists – Los Angeles, I’m Yours (in honor of my recent L.A. day-trip!)
5. A.C. Newman – Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer
6. Santogold – L.E.S. Artistes (XXXchange mix, ft Movado)
7. Mates of State – My Only Offer
8. The Smiths – Asleep
9. The National – The Thrilling of Claire
10. Bon Iver – Blood Bank
11. Vetiver – Everyday
12. The Acorn – Crooked Legs
13. Andrew Bird – Fitz and Dizzyspells
14. Okkervil River – Lost Coast Lines

Let me know if you want it.

2008 – My Musical Year in Review (but not like a musical revue).

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Hey, I agreed that Bon Iver recorded a good album, but I don’t know if I agree with the way that everyone has been gushing about it. ¬†Just about every music blog that I read has to mention him somewhere in their Best of 2008 posts. ¬†If recording something in the middle of a bitter Wisconsin winter is all it takes (because that is the one consistent point that all reviewers bring up) then I’ll plug the mic in tonight – it’s well below zero degrees – and you can tell me where to get in line. ¬†But instead of being a grump about it and taking out a long, frustrating day on poor Bon Iver (it really is a good album) I’m going to make my own Best of 2008 list. ¬†This is based on my very limited exposure to pop and indie culture (compared to the real music bloggers, anyway) and is really just reflective of my own personal experience with music this year. So if that kind of thing interests you, read on!

Deep breath, here goes (in order remembered, no special hierarchy). 

1. Jenny Lewis at Epiphany Church |¬†Chicago, Illinois | September 19, 2008 – This show was partly great because of the adventure that surrounded it, but it was mostly great because Jenny Lewis is great. ¬†I’ll say this item on the list also includes the release of Acid Tongue, but we heard the live versions of all the songs first and the album was a tiny bit pale in comparison (just a tiny bit). ¬†This show also gave my my first taste of new favorite drummer, Barbara Gruska. ¬† ¬† …stay for the breakdown!



2. Tegan and Sara at State Theater | Minneapolis, Minnesota | October 11, 2008 – Half the fun of this show, as I said in my original “review” was how funny these girls are! ¬†The grow-to-love-it Twin-Rock was pretty great too, I mean, that’s the thing that gets you there. ¬†Lots of songs from The Con which I love. ¬†


3. The Art Table Reunion Show at The Eagles Club | Green Bay, Wisconsin | September 20, 2008 


РA year in the making, The Art Table finally got together to make gentle the masses still quaking with mourning. This was a fun show, if a bit rough (my crash cymbal stand was stripped and just about useless) and we played a few new songs inluding Door Mat and Break Up River which will possibly someday be recorded.  There is some video from this show that I almost forgot about, which I will put up when I get a chance. 

¬†The piggy-back to this item is The Art Table mini-show, when Holly and I played a couple songs at Kristin and Nathan’s wedding at The Train Museum. ¬†We both had shiny happy fits of rage…

4. The return of purchasing CDs (forget you, iTunes! ¬†I want album art!) Some of my buys in 2008 included: Jeff Hanson – Madame Owl | Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs | Bon Iver – For Emma Forever Ago | Nedelle – From the Lion’s Mouth |Dear Nora – 3 States | The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon | Jenny Lewis – Acid Tongue. ¬†I would recommend all of them (although I haven’t actually received the Dear Nora discs yet, I pre-recommend them.) ¬†This can also include my list of albums on backorder, The Dears – Missiles | TV on the Radio – Dear Science | She & Him – Volume One | Nicole Atkins – Neptune City.

5. Discovery of old Elliott Smith bootleg.  Increasing love for Quasi.

6. Growing bored of Mates of State, Tilly and the Wall, and Rilo Kiley. ¬†I think this is a significant corner being turned in my musical taste, personally. ¬†Of course it could turn right back just as easily (I’ve been known to fall in and out of love) but for right now the power-pop is a little more grating than it is fun. ¬†Performances like this do not help their case:


Granted I never picked up MoS or TatW’s new albums, and only “acquired” Rilo Kiley’s disappointing Under the Black Light, but the point isn’t that they aren’t still good bands, just that I have started losing interest in them. ¬†It’s not you, it’s me. ¬†Speaking of, check out Milwaukee’s own, our friend Mike Mangione! (I think we saw him at The Cup at some point ¬†in 2008, so he can legitimately be on this list)


7. Threatening to grow bored of Sufjan Stevens… (also here) Of course I will never really give up on Sufjan Stevens, but we had been getting a little antsy for some sign of life. ¬†This was before I knew anything of The Welcome Wagon, though, whose debut Sufjan was busy producing. ¬†Yay, Sufjan!

8. The Welcome Wagon – Welcome to the Welcome Wagon – I really do love this. ¬†I’ve posted enough links to this band by now, but since this IS my exhaustive year-end list I’ll post it just once more. ¬†It’s gospel music!

9. Seeing a free Ra Ra Riot show at The Union | Madison, Wisconsin | I don’t even remember the date. ¬†This just kind of fell into our laps, we had never heard of the band, it was before their ship had taken sail, or at least before The Rhumb Line was released. ¬†It was awesome. ¬†It was totals fun. ¬†The Virgins opened. ¬†


¬†10. Handel’s Messiah at Christ Presbyterian | Madison, Wisconsin | December 14, 2008. ¬†NOT just because I needed to find a number 10, this really was great! ¬†I’ve always loved the music at this church, and this performance came at a time when I really needed an angel choir to shout praises in my ear. ¬†It’s Advent, y’all! ¬†But ah, I didn’t bring my video camera, so watch some other folks perform it!


Oh, there is one other thing that will make this list (I guess at top 11) but it’s not ready to go up here yet. ¬†Stay tuned.

Jockeying of musical tastes.

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Tegan and Sara. They were awesome. Easily one of the most fun shows I’ve been to. At first I thought it was a little quiet, but really it had just been a while since I’d been at a venue that has good acoustics, and forgot that a live show isn’t actually supposed to hurt your ears. It was a good night. The crowd was fun, we didn’t get lost getting to the theater, our handsome party somehow multiplied halfway through the night, we bought fun raccoon pins, we could see the stage, the opening acts were good. ¬†And then of course there were Tegan and Sara who sounded amazing, sang most of our favorites, and were funny and entertaining on stage. My only disappointment was that they didn’t play their anticipated cover of Rhianna, but overall there was very little to complain about.

Tegan and Sara at State Theater, Minneapolis 10/11/08: (not my videos)

Burn your Life Down


Introducing Walking With A Ghost


And the cover we didn’t see…



If you play a good show you’re going to move up on my list, it’s pretty simple. Tegan and Sara put on a good show, and have elbowed their way a little higher into my oh-so-important hierarchy of musical taste. ¬†Probably at this point, and maybe this is an impulsive comment I’m about to make because I’m coming off of a really fun weekend, I’d say that Tegan and Sara have momentarily bumped Rilo Kiley for my number one chick-fronted indie band. ¬†Under the Blacklight was disappointing overall, and Jenny Lewis has hopped ship to another categories favorite as a solo artist, and anyway, I make changes like this all the time but don’t usually bother to write about them. ¬†But this one seems kind of big, and here’s another big one: Sufjan Stevens is slipping. ¬†He hasn’t released anything new in too long and he hasn’t toured, and it makes me sad to keep waiting for those things. ¬†So the beautiful-voice-beautiful-face-and-beautiful-hearted-male-vocalist category is currently up for grabs. ¬†Put your name in now!

There was a lot more that happened this weekend, and I’ll write more about it soon. ¬†In the meantime, why do I lose things all the time? ¬†Remember those racoon pins I mentioned above? ¬†Lost them. ¬†The cord to connect my camera? ¬†Lost them. ¬†My cell phone? ¬†Lost it again! ¬†Lame.

Edit: Laura found my pins ūüôā

And okay, I had to add this one, since today (Monday) IS Cananadian Thanksgiving:


Weekend in paragraph form (Second Edition).

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

It was one of those weekends that is almost too overwhelming to write about. So I better just write about it, or it will go forever undocumented, it will be in the past, and eventually forgotten.

No, I can’t. Too much happened. I can’t even write about it. But I’ll give it to you in one breath:

Drove to Milwaukee, Emily made me dinner and taught me how to wear makeup like a real woman, Molly and Arek joined me for burritos, Molly hosted a very exclusive art show, met up with Holly, took a bus to Chicago, the bus driver was crazy and held us hostage, K and N gave us a place to rest our heads and the confidence to take public transit, JENNYLEWIS was unbelievable, drove to Green Bay, the Art Table Reunion show was sloppy but fun and Rebecca, Shawn, Anthony, Andrew, and Andrew came which was awesome but unfortunately Rachel came two minutes too late so we got some pancakes afterward and I didn’t really sleep all weekend long but that’s what Tuesday nights are for.

But if I can repeat one part of that for emphasis, Jenny Lewis really was unbelievable. I’ve been able to hear her sing live three times now (once with Rilo Kiley and twice on her solo tours) and she is maybe the one person I’ve experienced who sounds even better live than she does recorded (and recorded she sounds pretty dang fantastic). It was a little strange watching the Secular Queen singing in a church packed full of hipsters, but it was mostly just great. Here is what I gleaned from some Youtube scavenging:

(These are from the show I was at, but I didn’t take them)

A new one:


An old one:


A cover:


In other concert news, I’m going to see Tegan and Sara in Minneapolis which I’m pretty excited about, and I’m thinking I might need to see The Dears when they come to town. Before Jenny it was well over a year since I’d been to a concert. I need to make up for lost time.

(Never said I’d win an award for the writing in this post, did I?)

(Photos by Molly and Shawn)

Big happenings and burrito let-downs.

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008

There are certain weekends that are just destined to be great.¬† This weekend may be one of them.¬† This weekend not only marks the beginning of the Olympics (of which I have mixed feelings this year but am still growing daily more excited for) but it also contains the day on which I turn another year older.¬† I’ll get to see my family this weekend and some of my best friends, and no matter what kind of events unfold, it’s an August weekend, so I know it will be a good one.

If I may, then, I’d like to designate in advance another sure-to-be-awesome weekend: September 19-20.¬† I don’t know how to begin building this up with the right amount of suspense, so I’ll just give you the facts:¬† Friday night we’re going to be in Chicago to see… Jenny Lewis!¬† Ahh!¬† Jenny and her acid tongue.¬† I can’t wait.¬† Then the next day we are driving all the way up to Green Bay for, are you ready?¬† The Art Table Reunion Show!¬† It’s officially happening!¬† September 20th at the Eagle’s Club.¬† Be there, all right?¬† We’ll even have a few new songs, just for you.

Finally, I’d like to close by saying that today I had lunch at a popular burrito chain which I suppose will go unnamed.¬†¬† I went there because I won a coupon for a free burrito, otherwise it’s not really on my dining circuit.¬† On the way in I read a sign on the door that said, “Our burritos are so good you’ll need a cigarette when you’re done.¬† Just don’t smoke it in here.”¬† Funny, right?¬† It was their attempt at a clever spin on the No-Smoking sign, meant to suggest, I assume, that their burritos are as good as or better than sex.¬† Kind of a bold assertion (probably wouldn’t want to explain that sign to my kids) but more upsetting than the crude analogy was the basic encouragement of smoking.¬† Just not there.¬† Smoking is cool, but not in our restaurant, okay?¬† Smoking doesn’t give you lung cancer, and our burritos won’t give you a heart attack.¬† Heck, why am I protecting them?¬† The restaurant was Chipotle Mexican Grill!¬† Kind of a tasteless move, for a pretty tasty burrito place.