Boy, I haven't written anything for a while, have I? Anyway, I thought I might create the illusion that I've been insanely busy lately by recounting the two vaguely notable things I've done lately. Enjoy!
I'm not what I would call a She & Him fan. Sure, the leadsingles off of their first two albums were insanely catchy, and I have the requisite indie-crush on Zooey Deschanel, but I never felt much need to delve any deeper than that. So my attendance at their concert last Friday night wasn't due to some burning desire to see them, but more because I hadn't been to a show in a long time, tickets were fairly cheap, and it was a nice night to see a concert on Penn's Landing. In any case, I ended up having a pretty good time. It wasn't exactly revelatory, but it was entirely pleasant music to hear on a warm summer night. In addition to their own songs, they played some welcome covers -- Joni Mitchell's "You Turn Me On, I'm a Radio" and a rollicking "Roll Over Beethoven" (sung by M. Ward).
I didn't take many picture because I was afraid Zooey would beat me up. Also, I was really far away.
You see these people? They all want to marry Zooey.
Hey, wow! A light source!
In case you're wondering, the number of drinks required to make it possible to dance to any She & Him song is 5.
The opening act was Jolie Holland, who is, as far as I can tell, no relation to Jools Holland. I wasn't paying especially close attention, so I can't offer an informed opinion on her music. Then again, the same could be said for the rest of the crowd, judging by the low-level roar of conversation and the girl standing near me who was playing a game of "count the straw-hat-wearing hipsters." (Answer: many!)
Was so drunk that I was taking pictures in a bar? You decide!
After the show, I walked over to National Mechanics, where I moved in a fashion reminiscent of a man suffering from some mental or muscular disorder.
Then on Wednesday, I went to the Phillies game against the Braves with some co-workers, which was fun. I hadn't been to a baseball game since 2004, when Citizen's Bank Park had just opened, and had forgotten what a different experience it is seeing a a game in person versus watching it on TV. Basically, when I'm in the stands at a ballpark, I don't have to option to open my laptop, or read a magazine, or flip to another channel, or do any of the other things that conspire to keep me from watching a baseball game all the way through. Also, unlike the last game I saw, the Phils hit a couple of home runs, so I got to see the big Liberty Bell swing back and forth.
Unfortunately, there were a couple of minor things that lessened my enjoyment of the game. Record-breaking heat, for one. Also, I had some nachos that didn't really agree with me. I've never gotten so drunk or hung-over that I swore off alcohol, but by the time I went to bed I swore multiple times that I would never again order ballpark nachos (and if you know my affection for nachos, you'll understand what a sacrifice this is). Also, the Phillies lost. But there will be more games this season; the loss of the nachos is something far more tragic.
In a year that has seen new albums by The Hold Steady, the National and (next week) LCD Soundsystem, it's to my great surprise that the two records that I've immediately fallen in love with are from a Jack White side project (I like the White Stripes just fine, but would never call them one of my favorite bands) and a Pitchfork-hyped duo that traffics in loudness and distortion. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sea of Cowards by the Dead Weather and Treats by Sleigh Bells, my favorite albums of 2010.
Some words of warning: Sea of Cowards is great for anyone who likes sludgy rock, but Sleigh Bells are not going to be for everyone. Be sure your speakers/headphones are set to a reasonable volume, and if you don't like what you hear at first, skip to "Rill Rill," the song least likely to cause offense.
A retro-soul cover of one of the more dour songs on Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is a tricky proposition. At one end of the spectrum, it could end up like one of those tiresome ironic punk or ska cover songs that were all the rage a decade ago.
At the other end of the spectrum, it could be this:
I simply cannot believe that I've gone this long without knowing that Melbourne, Australia was founded by none other than Batman. And that there are numerous streets, parks, and other places throughout the country named after Batman.