Tuesday, December 15, 2009


An "I'm sorry" is definitely in order. Not that I'm speaking to a very large audience, but still. I have been away from Listening Around for a few months now. I haven't stopped listening around, I've just been too preoccupied to share the music love.

I have been making some monumental changes in my life, and it has been overwhelming, to say the least...

My sister and I visited Barcelona for a week in October, which was amazing. The warm people, the afternoon glasses of wine, the dreamlike architecture, and the flamenco (!) all make me want to go back to Spain, like now. We saw a flamenco show, and while the dancing was unbelievable, I was more taken with the vocals and guitar sound from the band. The video below isn't the show we saw, and isn't the best quality - but it's the perfect demonstration of some of the most haunting, passionate, and soulful music I have ever heard...

I was moved by Spain. And when I came back home, I knew I needed to make some of my own moves. And I did - relationship moves, work moves - I think I was looking for ways to add more passion and feeling to my own life.

More to come on these roller coaster rides that have been the last few months...

Friday, September 4, 2009

No Words

After one of those weeks when work just kicks my ass, I don't want to talk to you. Sorry.

But I'm not totally sorry, because through all of the fuss, I realized my attraction for instrumental music.

When the last thing you want to hear is the sound of someone else complaining, nagging, or claiming to know it all - listen to these artists/songs/albums...

RJD2 - Magnificent City Instrumentals

Relaxing in a funky way. The beats are almost visual, so you don't start to feel like you're going to doze off while listening.

The Album Leaf - Into the Blue Again...Red Eye is a great song.

I also recommend El Ten Eleven, and The Octopus Project. Oh, and "Suco De Tangerina," by the Beastie Boys.

Happy 3 day weekend!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Girls Rule

Indie rock chicks are, in my opinion, some of the toughest broads around. The aren't afraid to be overtly feminine and cutesy in both their look and sound - but they're also not afraid to be dark and a little naughty in their song lyrics. Leather and lace: They are aware of their intelligence, and they know how to get you to listen to them. Tricky...

And awesome. Here are three great Indie chick artists/groups that I can't stop listening to:

The Bird and the Bee - Again and Again

I could listen to The Bird and the Bee songs over and over. They are heartbreaking and fun.

Lykke Li - Little Bit

I love these lyrics: "Hands down/I'm too proud, for love/But with eyes shut/It's you I'm thinking of..."

The Dirty Projectors - Stillness Is the Move

This video is pretty weird. But the song is so fresh, it could replace cucumbers in your salad.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Amy Says Relax

I'm a wonderer. No not a wanderer, a "wonderer". I'm practiced in the art of day-dreaming, and I tend to get lost in my thoughts. I think this might be why people think I'm quiet - this is not the case, really. I'm just a heavy thinker, and an observer. Anyways, because of this quality, I have a hard time relaxing my mind.

I can remember an old psychology professor I had - whose name made him sound more like a magician than a Dr. - telling us about relaxation and meditation. He said it's really something you have to work at.
Practicing meditation always sounded like too much work for me. About 5 seconds into a breathing exercise, I found myself thinking, oh, wait, what am I doing? Fuck this I think I lost count.

So basically, for my sanity, I have had to come up with another way to clear my mind. That, my friends, is listening to music. Duh.

I usually pick a song that's a little weird. You would think I would go for easy listening, but I actually need something a little punchier. Think: The Flaming Lips, "Are You a Hypnotist?", or The Disco Biscuits, "Home Again"...

With headphones on, of course, just listen, really listen to everything that's going on in songs like these. Meandering melodies, electronic/synthetic layers of sound, ethereal vocals. If you take the few moments to give credit to every sound in the song, you might just find some peace.

At least, that's what works for me.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Keep Your Eyes on the Road

I get freaked out when I notice metaphors in my daily life. In art, a good metaphor/symbol can create understanding and clarity, which I love.

**We're just 2 lost souls swimmin in a fishbowl

But when they pop up out of nowhere, I start to wonder if someone, somewhere, is trying to tell me something...

Last week, a girl that I grew up with passed away after she developed an infection from surgery. She had been fighting for a little over a month, but her body couldn't take it.

I couldn't stop thinking about that moment when a body finally gives in. No higher reasoning, no purpose to it - just an ending. What kind of wisdom is there to be gained after this kind of tragedy?

Of course, in the silence of it all, I listened to a lot of music, hoping to feel comforted by something. I used some Explosions In The Sky as an instrumental Indie Rock pillow.

Then, on the drive home from her funeral, a local classic rock station was playing faintly in the background, and The Doors' "Roadhouse Blues" came on. I heard that great Jim Morrison line a little differently, and it was exactly what I needed to hear:

"Well I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer/
The future's uncertain, and the end is always near".

I don't think you can always find meaning in death. I think it's all about what comes before. And all we can do is make it worthwhile, since we're here, now.

A lot to swallow for a second entry, I know. But life is what happens when you're busy making other plans...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Digging Sunshine at 2am

This has been a strange summer. Partly because of the panic-inducing, rainy, humid, doomsday weather, and partly because, this summer, for me, is bleeding into the fall and winter of my unplanned future. (No, I am still not over the fact that I graduated from college. And yes, I will be talking about it until I am over it, so lay off me.)

For my first post, I'm picking three songs that I've repeatedly come back to throughout this summer. They are the audible illustration of a hazy, dreamlike, grayish orange chunk of days. Check it...

1. Sunshine - De La Soul

I love anything and everything that sounds old school - like something you would hear playing on someone's stoop. This song makes me want to wake up and go fry an egg on the pavement.

2. 2am - Slightly Stoopid

This song, along with the rest of Slightly Stoopid's album, Chronchitis, has perfected the art of creating atmosphere. Meaning, of course, that they take you someplace better than where you're at. Heady stuff.

3. Dig - Incubus

I have this memory of riding on the bow of a boat one summer, right before sunset, bouncing along the waves, and feeling untouchable. That's what this Incubus song, along with others, reminds me of. They always sound like they are on the edge of something. (I couldn't be more jealous of you little shits who got to see them live in NYC last week..)

So there you go - enjoy. Stay cool.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


You guessed it. I'm another 20-something year old, liberal arts college graduate, simmering in the what now? portion of my life - searching for meaning through reading, writing, traveling, tattoo ideas, and dreams of the big city. The only thing soothing my restlessness is my endless, fiendish search for music, new and old, coloring my life every step of the way. I can't really say enough about it - which is what Listening Around is all about.

No music snobbery, no haterade. Just sharing.