Music

Some things are too beautiful to not share

This is Bear’s Den, a British Folk Rock group that play some of the most beautiful music you’ve ever heard. I don’t post a lot of music here, but damn – this is incredibly moving. Also, I might have a dash of beard-envy.

Enjoy.

A Classic Hip-Hop Album turns 21

Nas’ renowned debut album, “Illmatic” turns 21 today. If you’re a fan of the art form, and you’re not familiar (or you just want a reminder of how ground breaking this album was) have a listen to one of the greatest hip-hop tracks of all time.

From Wikipedia:

Best of D&D Studios, Vol. 1. Steve ‘Flash’ Juon of RapReviews.com states:

“[Illmatic] was to be an album steeped in the rich traditions of hip-hop history, mixed with the most advanced verbal styles and fat beats that could be put on wax. And if it couldn’t be set off any more right already, the DJ Premier produced “N.Y. State of Mind” was designed to knock you right off your feet. Primo’s knack for finding the illest piano loops and matching them to pounding beats was perfected in this track, and paired with a Rakim sample on the chorus that provided the mental link for an analogy most rap heads had already made by now: Nas was the NEW Rakim on the block.[9]

“I wish it was all a dream”

iwishitwasalladream8tracks

8tracks.com features streaming music, in mix-tape format, made by real people from their own collections – and I’m absolutely in love with it.

For the last three years it’s given me insight into so many incredible songs and artists and offered an instant escape into whatever mood I’m feeling. Pandora can’t do that. Spotify can’t do that. Not to knock those services, but nothing beats this.

If you’re old enough to remember the joy of making or receiving mix tapes you’ll immediately appreciate the simplicity and the beauty of what they’re doing. This morning I answered the call of the 8tracks.com tumblr blog and got this treat. Indie jams perfectly matching my dispistion this morning. Which is awesome, because yesterday afternoon it was mid-90’s NYC rap that was fueling my work, but this morning called for something a little more chill and this was beyond perfect.

Feeling wistful and breezy this early Fall morning? Pop this on and just go with it (click on the picture) – odds are you’ve never heard of half of the artists or the songs and you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Even if you don’t care for this mix, 8tracks has something you’re going to love. Start listening to music again like you did in high school, and, if you’re feeling up to it, make a mix for someone else by simply dragging/dropping from your own music collection. You can post the cover art, name it, and send them the link in a matter of minutes.

 

 

Five Seconds to Your Heart…

Do you like 80’s New wave synth-pop? Do you like sweet pseudo-futuristic, post-apocalyptic themed videos filmed in stunning slow motion? Motorcycle gangs in said post-apocalyptic world extracting their revenge? I think it’s revenge. Could be that “the Teds” (best name for a gang, ever) are the aggressors here. In fact, that’s highly likely. After all, Georgie did steal the Prince of Fangs motorcycle… but I digress…

Do you like your music videos with over a minute and a half of back story to start with? Do you like songs that sound like something Phil Collins, Robert Smith of The Cure, and Prince wrote over a bottle of absinthe and a handful of Quaaludes?  Would you prefer that said song be about a short fictional story written by the very artist singing the song?

Great hook that absolutely catches in your head? Sense of urgency? Plenty of rise where you want it?

Oh, you would?

Then peep this. Twin Shadow – Five Seconds.

Appreciate: The Most Beautiful Thing You’ll Hear…

Around my senior year of high school I wanted to impress this girl (BTW, how much of our history has been caused by someone uttering those last six words?) and somehow I got this great idea to take her out on this moonlit stroll where, at a point I’d read her this amazing poem to show her how into her I was. Yeah, really original and not at all cheesy.

Well, my biggest obstacle was I didn’t know anything about poetry- how to write it, what was good, did it have to rhyme? So I started by reading every conceivable book of poetry I could get my hands on at Barnes-&-Noble. I did this for weeks in preparation for my big moment and I have to admit, it totally killed. She loved it and boom, we we’re dating.

Smooth, right? It was, but it didn’t last long – probably had something to do with my cancelling on her for prom three days beforehand. To take out my ex-girlfriend.

Yes. That happened.

But my main point here is that I never stopped reading poetry. I kept writing, for years and haven’t ever really stopped for a tremendous length of time. All kinds too; the classics, spoken-word, slam, Charles Bukowski, Billy Collins, Sharon Olds, you name it. That being said, this song (see the video) is not only the most hauntingly beautiful song I’ve ever heard, it’s also a remarkable work of poetry all its own.

Original writing is insanely hard. To capture the nebulous feelings you experience when you look at someone that truly matters to you, and to do it without sounding hackneyed, or trite, or derivative of a master – it’s like verbal alchemy. Damn near as impossible, too.

I think it’s easy for people to take for granted the unbelievable forces spinning inside them; love, jealousy, yearning, ambition, fear, grief, longing – and how hard it is to get someone else to know exactly what those feelings are like – using only the written word. How they make you tingle, or shudder, or how they change your breathing while sitting perfectly still. To get someone else to feel them all over again, just from reading them.

It’s a gift, and this young lady has it. Stunningly beautiful imagery,  intense feeling, uncommon honesty, all adding up to one hell of a song.