learning love songs

est. 2008


February 2013


“Shadows settle on the place, that you left

Our minds are troubled by the emptiness
Destroy the middle, it’s a waste of time
From the perfect start to the finish line

And if you’re still breathing, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of us are heaving through corrupted lungs
Setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting names of the lovers that went wrong
The lovers that went wrong

We are the reckless,
We are the wild youth
Chasing visions of our futures
One day we’ll reveal the truth
That one will die before he gets there

And if you’re still bleeding, you’re the lucky ones
‘Cause most of our feelings, they are dead and they are gone
We’re setting fire to our insides for fun
Collecting pictures from the flood that wrecked our home
It was a flood that wrecked this….

And you caused it
And you caused it
And you caused it

Well I’ve lost it all, I’m just a silouhette
A lifeless face that you’ll soon forget
My eyes ae damp from the words you left
Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest

Ringing in my head, when you broke my chest

And if you’re in love, then you are the lucky one
‘Cause most of us are bitter over someone

Setting fire to our insides for fun
To distract our hearts from ever missing them
But I’m forever missing him

And you caused it
And you caused it
And you caused it “


Daughter, The Wild Youth EP 
Daughter writes some pretty deep songs – this is the single that’s got the most attention but thumbing around on YouTube yesterday showed lots of deep sad tracks to get lost in. Lots of sad, dark metaphorical lyrics, about regret and the unfaithful and pain and healing and that ilk. Sounds are sometimes spacey and air-filled, affected by computers just-so to highlight the somewhat unearthly quality of Elena Tonra’s just-so-British voice, but lots of piano, too. I expect lots of Florence Welch comparisons, but Daughter is a bit more understated, I think. A solid choice for get-lost-in-your-head listening.

You’ve got a warm heart,
You’ve got a beautiful brain.
But it’s disintegrating,
From all the medicine.
From all the medicine.
From all the medicine.

You could still be,
What you want to,
What you said you were,
When you met me

Daughter, The Wild Youth EP


“Hate, hate, hate,hate, hate
It’s gonna overrun this town
As soon as the moon goes to nothing
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait
They’re always gonna run you down
It’s better to face my something”

~The Leopard and the Lung 
The Joy Formidable, Wolf’s Law
When I first discovered  The Joy Formidable (I think it was sometime early last year on a radio station) I knew I’d stumbled upon something different. Something intense. Something fresh. Something firmly rooted in punk and thrashy rock ‘n’ roll unafraid of its own interpretation for the future. And when I saw Ritzy Bryant  murder the hell out of some pedals, I was only more excited to see what their second LP would contain. 
“Wolf’s Law” feels like a collection of songs that build upon the best efforts of “The Big Roar,” only there’s more urgency here, a rapid onward assault replacing where there was more reflection. But that makes sense – Joy Formidable is moving forward, doing things like opening for Muse, and I think this record was a “go-big-or-go-home” moment for them. I think it’s hella fun, and  I think it’s a perfect choice to soundtrack a productive, independent-fueled Saturday. 
“Wolf’s Law,” released in January 2013, does not disappoint for first-round fans. There’s the same ascension of tightly coiled riffs into an excessive avalanche of distortion and noise, and the same smooth melodic rocks anchoring said noise. The same tartness to Bryant’s voice,only it’s layered over and over itself on nearly every track, creating somewhat of a spacey harmonic fullness. It’s also just a really fast record – in tempo and in structure. In that sense there’s almost a prog-like transition sensibility(See “Maw Maw Song”). 
Lyrically we hear a lot of pointed aggression, the same honest-and-almost-accusatory narrative, but we also hear a lot of struggle in the face of ambition (“I had a reason but the reason went away/We keep hanging on,” Bryant sings on “Bats”). One of the biggest surprises here was “Silent Treatment,” a rather raw and beautiful dressed-down ballad right smack in the middle at track six. 
Maybe it could be easy for someone to look at The Joy Formidable and say “What do we need with another indie rock band?” But they’d be doing themselves a world of disservice, because Joy Formidable does what a lot of indie rock bands don’t.They walk a lot of genre lines. Their influences are clearly the edgier side, the louder side, the dirtier side, which is all ultimately refreshing when every other new song on every other trendspotter playlist is more soft and timid and bearded than the next. Most importantly, they’re undeniably true to their own sound (as their second LP proves) This is not a record for feeling sad or hopeless, but this is a record for finding ferocity in the face of any circumstance.

“I’ll take a quiet leave it
But I’m hot-wired, quick-feelinged
So I’ll take the silent treatment
I’ll take the silent treatment.”

~Silent Treatment 
The Joy Formidable, Wolf’s Law


I don’t listen to to headphones at home much anymore. At work, yeah. At the gym, sure. At home? I stick to  my $40 sub-and-speaker set up in the living room, it’s good enough to hear from the kitchen.

Today, though, getting work done, screwing around on the Internet, chillin on my bed listening to a rather scattered variety of music through headphones is making me feel like a kid again. Making me remember how  much I loveddddd discovering how good music sounded through headphones. And how much I loved using them to drown out everything else.

“If I hadn’t made me, I’d have fallen apart by now
I won’t let them make me, It’s more than I can allow
So when I make me, I won’t be paper mache
And if I fuck me, I’ll fuck me my own way”

~Make Yourself
Incubus, Make Yourself

Yeah, maybe today won’t be such a drag after all.


Got about three hours of sleep last night. Not because I was out particularly late, but I stayed up far longer than I should’ve waiting for a phone call that never came.

Got an early deadline for a project I’ve been working on for awhile (version 4, ack!),  and pretty sure I’m just going to keep my phone off until it’s done. Plus I’ve got electricians hammering away to get my lights back on and running my laptop off an extension cord. At least I get to sit here and listen to the Nashville soundtrack through headphones, and there’s no one around to judge me for it.

Whoever is writing these songs for Nashville would be a hell of a partner. Some, like the ones written for the “Juliette” and “Rayna” characters are intentionally campy, almost in a musical theater way, but “Scarlett” and “Gunnar” have some gorgeous songs….a lot of heart behind them. This song, “Change Your Mind,” is sad and hurt and almost a little vengeful all at once, I think it’s got the right balance of a rhyming structure and some really powerful lines. Also Clare Bowen has the voice of an angel, absolutely love her phrasing, she does this breathy pursed thing sometimes (maybe because she’s Australian?) but she can hit a lot of mid-range notes without

“In the early morning haze, when my kiss is all you crave, let it go 
Cause I don’t want  to do that dance, the push and pull, the second chance 
I already know, yeah I know 
You’ll just me promise me forever 
And then you’ll take it back, just like that, say you can’t live without me..

Then you’ll change your mind
So baby, don’t comeback this time 
Don’t want to have to say goodbye 
All over again…

So if you think there’s still a chance to make right, 
Change your mind 
Change your mind, 
Change your mind.” 
~Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, “Change Your Mind”
OTS Nashville


Tomorrow is what some call a “Hallmark Holiday,” or Valentine’s Day, and for every fool with chocolate and teddy bear there will another (likely single) fellow or lady spouting off the reasons they hate the courtship, the  romance, the intertwined indulgence of modern-day coupling.

But over here, we like to think you don’t need a special holiday to be cynical, about such things. Hell, we pretty much do it every day.

“I was writing his story
And he gave me a look
He was very handsome, distractingly so
and I never dreamed that he’d be my boyfriend
He wrote me letters, daily from prison
That said I know I’ve killed a few
But none of those women were you
I couldn’t speak,
It was over for me,
I found my grim reaper prince

Well he said he loved me,
And he cooked me dinner
He cut my lungs out,
And made me feel thinner
And I’ll never forget him
Now that it’s over
The life that we had
When they strapped him down

Oh but how all the girls were jealous
Cause he liked me the best
Oh and I couldn’t breathe,
It was true love indeed,

But now my grim prince is gone

Well I said I loved him
When they strapped him in

But he wasn’t cryin’
He took it like a man
And the families watched him
As he breathed his last
But I got rather angry
I started to laugh a
nd say, 

Now he’s got what’s comin’
He was due his lot
Oh and I couldn’t see, 
there were tears on my cheek
Goodbye my grim reaper prince

Goodbye my grim reaper prince
Goodbye, goodbye
I’ll see you in a while,
Good luck.”
-A Journalist Falls in Love with Deathrow Inmate #16
Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s


Tired with a side of distracted calls for mildly spacey melodic post-rock. Such a beautiful song, really enjoy Moving Mountains overall and this is a great song to unwind to. Hear they are fantastic live. All these layers, better be. 

This EP, “Foreward,” has been really great to listen to at night as a pre-bedtime, settling in ritual – it has some heavier moments but I find I like that at night. Something to focus on, something to channel the leftover energies of the day. I have this awful habit of getting into bed when I am not ready to go to sleep, stillness is an enemy that I chase until it wins, and I get distracted by screens and books and paper and pens and the cat and nails (hers and mine) – in turn, bed ends up getting associated with a lot of things beds shouldn’t be for, stillness always arrives at the expense of all my will, and my head is totally fine with being awake to unreasonable hours. 
So tonight, maybe this’ll help clear out the distraction. 

“I will always wait for you,
Through everything you’ve been through.
When you can’t feel the air,
You can’t feel it.
My dear you’re so worn down.
I can hear it in your voice.

I can see it in your veins.
I can see, I can see, I can see, I can see.
I can see it, I can feel it, no more.”

~Tired Tiger

Moving  Mountains, Waves


So I’m listening to the indie-loving college radio stadium tonight, happily driving home in softly falling snow after a fun Super Bowl closing out a hella-great weekend. What comes on but The Last Royals! Recognized them instantly without recognizing the tune, which is one of the joys of terrestrial radio listening.

“So come take my hand,
Maybe you’ll understand,
The faster we run,
The softer we land.

But we won’t change a thing,
Gonna earn what we bring,
You’ll be my queen,
And I’ll be your king.” 

~Come Take My Hands
The Last Royals, The Last Royals

They put on a hell of a show – saw them open for Lovedrug last spring. Was definitely won over, frontman is a hell of a performer, really good vocal instincts and showmanship. Very easy to compare them to The Strokes during the show, but their first LP came out a couple weeks ago and I’m looking forward to giving it a full listen. As far as indie pop goes (especially the Brooklyn-based variety) these guys seem pretty hardworking and focused on traditional tenants of pop rock song styling.

Think this might have to be the song I play on repeat while getting ready in the morning this week (there’s usually one or two in rotation for this purpose). Such a sweet song. Light and loose, good balance of melody and solid pop beat. Forward-looking and carefree about dealing with cares, hook-tastic. I love songs about beating the odds.

Discovering so much new music lately, and feeling like it’s the perfect time to do just that. I’ve been a little all over the map lately (literally, figuratively) and it’s had me feeling kind of disembodied. But that can be a great opportunity to refocus. Here, listening to this song with my cat on my chest and remembering a great show, it’s hard not to think about how though what lies ahead may be absolutely daunting and terrifying it could be equally fun, fulfilling, freeing and exhilarating.

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