Tagged: music
coyotes too near the house at night
chris. | 17 July 2010 | 1:01 pm | everyday poetry | 2 Comments

The Andy(tm) and i are on a mini-vacation in Oregon.  We took the train down wednesday so that i could see Caravan Palace (Last.fm, MySpace, website en Français), a French electro-swing band, on one of their few tour dates in the U.S.  Andy’s (step)brother was working the concert as a photographer for the local paper, so we got to hang out with him for awhile during the concert and then went for snacks and beer afterward, which was great because we hadn’t seen him in exactly a year.

Hawthorne Hostel ecoroof

Hawthorne Hostel ecoroof

We stayed wednesday night at the Hawthorne Hostel, which was quite nice.  Our room had a balcony that projected out onto the hostel’s ecoroof!  The hostel also uses rainwater to flush the toilets, which i found pretty exciting because one of the few reasons i’d love a house of my own is so that i can set up a water recycling system.

i managed to spend only $6.50 here

i managed to spend only $6.50 here

Wednesday afternoon and part of thursday we had some time to wander around Portland’s Hawthorne neighborhood, which was the whole reason we decided to try the Hawthorne Hostel instead of staying at the hostel up in the northwest area like we usually do.  Wednesday was a late lunch at HotLips Pizza (“East Coast style” pizza, tho’ i thought the sauce was bland) followed by a visit to Cool Cottons.  Cool Cottons was a completely accidental — i noticed it as we went by on the bus on our way to the hostel — but utterly delightful find.  It’s probably a good thing i have not yet gotten my pattern collection uploaded to my Evernote because otherwise i might not have made it out of there having spent only $6.50.

Thursday we had a late breakfast at Paradox Cafe (very tasty), then shopped a bit at Powell’s Books for Home and Garden [my take: 2 papermaking books & 1 book on sewing from / altering a pattern (by Nancy of “Sewing With Nancy”)].

After that, Andy’s grandparents met us in town and brought us out to their place, where it’s been nothing but delicious food, reading books, watching the last 1/2 of the 2nd season of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” and listening to coyotes howl at night from the ravine behind the house.  It’s sufficiently rural out here that there are few lights to get in the way of stargazing, so i’m hoping to lie on the grass tonight and not get eaten by coyotes while i brush up on identifying constellations.  Naturally, i (yet again!!) forgot my Galileoscope, which is worthless in Seattle and so hasn’t seen a lick of use since i put it together last year.  It’s 1st on my list of things to bring with us when we come down on our scooter trip for the Portland Zine Symposium in late august.

Home via train tomorrow.  I miss the cats.

PS:  Here’s “Suzy” by Caravan Palace.  There’s also a video on YouTube for “Jolie Coquine”, but it was “Suzy” that caught my attention back in late winter and turned me on to the band in the 1st place.  Dancing giant outerspace robots and pretty flapper ladies?  Do want.

recommending: Zee Avi
chris. | 26 April 2010 | 5:03 pm | (culture) consuming | Comments closed

This past weekend, Andy and i finally tracked down a rare creature indeed: A CD WE BOTH REALLY LIKE.

It’s Zee Avi‘s self-titled debut album. We were turned onto her music back in december by our friend Wings, who runs the infamous Star Life Cafe where Andy and i wind up spending ridic amounts of time. Wings gave us a burned CD with music he thought we’d like, including Zee Avi. Ever since we’ve been trying to track down a legit CD so that (a) we can register our enjoyment via a purchase (b) we can have a damned tracklist! Wings maybe needs to learn to burn better CDs. :p

I don’t know how good i am at describing music. It seems like the only way i can think to describe Zee’s music is to say “it’s light music for a sunny summer afternoon.”

Which isn’t to say that the lyrics are always light in tone — “Poppy”, for example, is pretty deceptive in how it sounds like an upbeat jazz tune, but underneath that it’s talking about a boyfriend being “lost” to opium addiction.

Music-wise, i think the lightness i’m perceiving comes from the accompaniment being pretty stripped down. Sometimes it’s just Zee singing with guitar or piano (“Let Me In” is really lovely), sometimes there’s a little bit of horn, a little bit of soft percussion. And sometimes [coughcough] there’s a little bit of ukelele.

Not all of the lyrics are about heavy things like opium addiction. “Honey Bee” is pretty adorably about saving “my honey bee”, “even if i have to face the queen.” The line “the bees have control of your mind” has become extremely popular in our house.

Linguaphiles/Malayphiles may enjoy “Kantói”, which Andy enjoys for how it shifts between English and Malay right in the middle of lines. The internet tells me that: “Kantoi” as most Malaysians know, is a term used when you catch someone in the act of something not-so-good (or simply, “busted!”).

You can listen to “Bitter Heart” on Zee’s website. She came to have a record deal after posting her song “No Christmas For Me” to YouTube — watch it there, because it’s not on this CD.