I’m walking down this paved road in the park, and surrounding me with every step are these giant trees with branches that stretch over the paved road. As I walk I feel little patches of sunlight hitting, and I can’t help but think how beautiful this whole scene is. Playing in the background is “For You Too” by Yo La Tengo, and every single thing seems so much more beautiful than 20 seconds ago when this song wasn’t playing. I promise that I never thought I could appreciate a blue sky more than I did today; I could’ve stared at it for hours, while listening to this song. There are no gimmicks in the song, no intricate guitar solo or complicated drum fill, but there’s this layered echo that’s constant throughout the song. The sound is created by what sounds like a loop of guitars interweaving this beautiful melody and Ira Kaplan’s magnetic singing; it feels like a lullaby, but instead of falling asleep I want to look at every person, flower, tree, [insert inanimate object] and just admire it. I can’t even think while listening to this song; it feels like meditation, and all I can do is smile like an idiot as I walk through the park.
If you have the chance please head outside and listen to Yo La Tengo’s latest album, “There’s a Riot Going On”.
“I lay awake at four, staring at the wall
Counting all the cracks backwards in my best French
Reminds me of a book I skim-read in a surgery
All about palmistry, I wonder what's in store for me
I pretend the plaster is the skin on my palms
And the cracks are representative of what is going on
I lose a breath, my love-line seems intertwined with death
How awesome are those lyrics?! Courtney Barnett in “An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless in New York)” compares her cracked walls to palmistry as a way to explain how unsure she is about her future, while ending the verse on talking about how shitty her love life is. Her ultra-descriptive lyrics don’t always add up to some beautiful meaning. Rather they add up to a very relatable experience. In the second verse for example:
“I lay awake at three, staring at the ceiling
It's a kind of off-white, maybe it's a cream
There's oily residue zipping from the kitchen
It's art-deco necromantic chic, all the dinner plates are kitsch with
Irish Wolf Hounds, French baguettes wrapped loose around their necks
I think I'm hungry, I'm thinking of you too”
This verse oozes with descriptions of her kitchen, and then she ends not so subtly with “I think I’m hungry.” The fact that she’s hungry while in her kitchen isn’t so mind blowing, but the way she so effortlessly jumps from one subject to the next might be. I mean, we do it in our everyday life right? Picture this: “I’m walking to my car. The stars above me are so bright, and I’m jamming to “Fat Old Sun” by Pink Floyd. I’m about to walk up the stairs, and I see an armadillo next to a bush. I immediately think of you. I miss you”. See? I just went from Pink Floyd to some guy that looks like an armadillo. I mean obviously Courtney Burnett’s verses are 1000x better, but the point is that she so awesomely paints her life in songs. It’s great to hear a song about heartbreak, first love, anxiety, etc. without ever actually hearing those words. I can’t tell you how much I enjoy listening to her music and visualizing her thoughts; it feels like I’m hearing an audio book.
Stay tuned for her second album, “Tell me How You Really Feel” coming out May 18th!
It’s hot. I mean, I’m sweating profusely, and on top of that, I wrapped myself in a towel, because I really didn’t want to get any more burned than I already was. My feet aren’t covered, and I can still feel the sun hitting my toes. I dig my feet in the sand to remind myself where I am. At this point I’m so mellow I can’t even think until I hear “girl, your nipple is popping out.” I open my eyes to her laughing at me. I laugh too; I mean, if anyone’s going see your nipple pop out at the beach, it might as well be one of your best friends. My mind refocuses as I adjust my bikini top. “Within you without you” by The Beatles begins to play in the background, and everything in the world feels right. A minute or two into the song my friend looks at me and says, “I can feel this song healing.” At the moment I didn’t fully feel the impact of her words; I just always played music according to my mood, and I never gave much thought to how it affected me internally. Isn’t it crazy, though? Some songs just heal, and for a few moments they make everything right; that’s exactly what “Hot Knifer” by Peach Pit is.
This song gives me such a sense of calmness; its been a go to song for me this week when my emotions have felt chaotic. Each instrument is played in such a melodic and soothing way. The lead guitar specifically stands out to me in this song. It just spews out emotion with such simplicity. I mean, when the song starts, and I hear the rhythm guitar’s chord progression I can only close my eyes in total bliss. Then at 2:01 the lead guitar enters, sounding like it’s telling its own story of heartbreak in such a beautiful way, and I promise you every time I hear that guitar part I think “How lucky am I to be hearing this right now?!”
I would also like to point out that at 2:01 every instrument in the band is playing, causing an overflow of sublime sounds: the bass line perfectly matches to the rhythm and lead guitar, the drum’s appearance adds momentum to the song with its slow and pulsing groove, the rhythm guitar’s chord progression hails from the heavens, and so does Neil Smith’s voice. I’m so happy I, by chance, came across this amazing band, and I feel so lucky to know music that heals.
PS: If you’re looking for some new tunes to check out, please check out Peach Pit’s latest album Being So Normal.