jeweled platypus


tuesday, november 15, 2005
Something on a Sunday night

Asha (my roommate) and I went to a My Morning Jacket concert last night, which was quite exciting and enjoyable. First we got all dressed up, took the 40-minute bus ride into town, and arrived in time to buy tickets. The opening act was a guy named Saul Williams, whom I didn’t expect much of — some spoken word rap musician? But he was pretty cool and not too harsh, with poetic rhythmic songs and a nice theme. After that, the setup for My Morning Jacket took a long time. The crew put little owl figures and skulls on the equipment; the background music ranged from Prince to Kanye West to old country music.

Suddenly, in the dark, they started playing “Wordless Chorus”. Then the lights came on a little bit, then some more, and then the music was very good and noisy and melodic, just like My Morning Jacket should be. The band members all have long hair! The singer’s voice is just as wonderful in real life. They have energy and a sense of humor — they drew out the endings of a few of the songs, longer and longer until people weren’t quite sure whether to stop clapping. They played a bunch of songs from Z and some older ones (of course), a few of which I didn’t recognize but still enjoyed. “One Big Holiday” and “Mahgeetah” were very good. We danced and screamed a little and exclaimed over the sexiness of it all.

Eventually it was over, and we wandered down State Street looking for something that was still open. (Santa Barbara is practically dead after eight o’clock.) We shared a big raspberry-oatmeal-cookie-cake thing at a coffee shop, and then I remembered that we didn’t know what time the buses stopped running. Well, we found out — the last bus was at eleven, and it was twelve. So we strained our purses further and took a taxi.

Then — yes, then! — as we walked inside our house, there were our friends, and they were headed to a greasy burger place in Isla Vista. Well, why not? And we went and ate french fries with crazy boys and talked about syntactical quotations and whether or not tags are good for everything.

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friday, september 24, 2004
A graph and musicking

A graph of how often I’ve listened to each band/musician in my iTunes library:

The graph, as seen on my TI-83+ calculator.

It’s almost neatly exponential (not surprising…but interesting). Those two at the top — the ones I’ve listened to too much — are Bob Dylan and The Magnetic Fields. The little cluster below them represents other bands that I like a lot: The White Stripes, Yo La Tengo, Radiohead. The rest is just anything that my ears like.

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monday, july 19, 2004
Saturday, Magnetic Fields

An elegant light fixture in the Wilshire Ebell.

Lizzy, Sarah, and I went to see the Magnetic Fields perform on Saturday night at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre. It was quite cool, of course. They played most of i, part of 69 Love Songs, Vol. 1, and some other stuff.

The tickets were a birthday present, so it was extra-cool that they played “I Was Born” first (see my birthday post). And they played “I Die” last.

The band talked a lot between songs and Claudia, the pianist, said some funny things, like “Thank you for coming all the way from Silverlake” and “The audience is good-looking. I like their eyeglasses.” Stephin Merritt, singer and ukulele-player, scolded the audience when we cheered over the “first funny line” of “The Book of Love”.

Some of the songs were a bit boring without synthesizers. I find i sort of boring because of the lack of synthesizers, too. Most of the songs they played sounded similar to, or not as good as, the album versions — except “The Cactus Where Your Heart Should Be”, which was a lot better without the harpsichord. I hate harpsichord.

Also, I am a super-bona-fide bootlegger now! I used my camera to record bits of several songs and nearly all of “I Don’t Believe You” (4 mb). The sound quality is total crap, partially because my camera was sitting in my lap and partially because Stephin’s voice is so wonderfully deep that his microphone couldn’t pick it up properly and my little dinky camera couldn’t pick it up well at all.

The right-hand half of the Magnetic Fields: guitarist/banjoist, cellist, and Stephin Merritt.

Claudia the pianist sings while the guitarist (again) peeks out from behind the piano.

They perform 'Yeah! Oh Yeah!' from 69 Love Songs, Vol. 3.

That’s a picture of the performance of “Yeah! Oh Yeah!”: Stephin stood on his stool and Claudia sat on her piano bench (and fell off at the appropriate moment). They acted out the song and it was just awesome.

The opening guy, Darren Hanlon, was very good…lots of melody and mixed-up metaphors and nice silly stuff. I might even buy a CD because I can’t find many of his songs to download. A little clip of him performing (1.5 mb)…just for fun.

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thursday, june 03, 2004
Your Lascivious Turtles

I have five and a half favorite bands. I’ve gone to four concerts, each by one of them. The half-favorite band doesn’t exist anymore. So, there’s only one concert I still need to attend.

The Magnetic Fields are going to be in Los Angeles (almost within my zip code!) on July 17.

One of my earthly wishes is fulfilled.

I went to a Yo La Tengo concert on Tuesday night. I only knew about it a few days beforehand, tipped off by random($foo). Aided by the driving capabilities of my paternal unit, I got a ticket at the door and went to Espresso Mi Cultura for some food before the real stuff started. They have an awesome veggie sandwich that cost half the price of the ticket. Anyway…

Nearly everyone at the concert, even the opening band, was ooold (like twenty-five or older) and boringly normal-looking. A guy or two hit on me. The stage lights were exactly the same as when Modest Mouse played there a while ago — what’s up with that?

Eventually, Yo La Tengo started to play. Yay! They played terrific versions of “Today Is The Day”, “The Summer”, a couple other good songs, and then “Autumn Sweater”, one of my very favorite songs. They played it disappointingly weird, but that was ok. The other songs were so good, they kept me standing in the middle of the hot sweaty pit even when I wanted to go upstairs and sit down.

“Nuclear War” was especially crazy. I think it went on for fifteen minutes and something actually exploded somewhere in there. Near the end, when it was getting quiet again, they played these amazing, painful, screechy noises…and segued into “Flying Lesson (Hot Chicken #1)”. I think I’m actually getting the order of the songs wrong, but it doesn’t matter. The band went from loud, feedback-noise songs like “Cherry Chapstick” right into the sweet, quiet sounds of “Season of the Shark”. I loved it. I think I even danced. (Dancing is forbidden at Yo La Tengo concerts, you know.) For “Nothing But You And Me”, Georgia and James (or was it Ira? I don’t remember) did these crazy-sweet synchronized hand motions. I wish I took pictures, but they didn’t allow cameras and I had to hide mine outside in some plants. They did some covers, too: “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”, The Kinks, Antietam, other things I didn’t recognize.

I was a little lonely all by myself, though. It would have been much cooler with Lizzy and/or Mister Kyle.

Oh wow! I just told Lizzy about The Magnetic Fields in July and apparently that is one of my surprise birthday presents from her and Sarah. I have awesome sisters.

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wednesday, february 18, 2004
all hail my acute sense of typography

kusc (classical 91.5 fm in southern california) is having a pledge drive. they’re a nonprofit organization, and i need community service hours for school.

so my mom and i answered phones tonight, for four hours. it was a little weird and a little dull, but mostly harmless. they had free food - chocolate cake and potato salad.

the other phone-answerers were nice old nerds. there were about 20 of us. we raised $65,000 or so. that’s maybe 500 calls.

one was curious about whether high-schoolers really still listened to classical music. well…occasionally, i do. i don’t know about any others.

the best part was the cardboard box of promotional cds sent to the station. we volunteers got to rifle through it and pick one or two to keep. i just liked the covers - a funk symphony played by some czech orchestra, the “interior of christ” with indian-inspired harp and voice, and all that gnarly home-made cover art.

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I’m Britta Gustafson.

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