Posted by: birdmaddgirl | 8 September 2013

rediscovering my music geek

pat benatar/the doors: being home with my dad, building couch forts
miami base/power 96: driving to elementary/middle school
indigo girls/ani difranco: driving with kimmi in high school
toto/belle & sebastian: sophomore spring of college
weezer/tmbg: summer with my college boyfriend
mos def/busta rhymes: late nights just out of undergrad

a representative and random sampler of ways that music and memory fall out in my brain. this list would never end if it wasn’t cut off arbitrarily. i grew up with the sort of dad who quizzed me about the music he loved – i would be asked to name the artist, track, album (when i got older, sometimes also the year). my dad had a much-loved record collection (sadly decimated by hurricane andrew) and was a very early adopter of cds. remember those extra-long sleeves? whose idea were those? a trip to peaches was serious business. i can still remember buying my first cassette tape with “my” money at the spec’s that used to be on kendall drive. it was pouring rain as it does on summer afternoons in miami, i was graduating fifth grade, and i ran in to buy my own copy of a night at the opera (my dad had an original masters that he rarely busted out). all this to say that music has been important to me as long as i can remember. i was proud to be someone that my friends came to when they wanted a mixtape or a recommendation. i keep all my concert stubs (and still resent how i can’t get one for a boston club show usually). in college, i became quickly enamored of the small venues that were suddenly available to me for the first time. no one comes to miami except to play an arena show – and even then they have to be sure to sell that shit out. the fact that i could get on the subway and go to the middle east and see throwing muses play a reunion show just spazzed me out; a band i love, in a space that holds ~500 people, and i didn’t have to bug my mom to take me. my mom should rightly enter this story as a very generous soul who not only took me to my first concert – aerosmith on the get a grip tour – but sat around shows or parking lots(!) for hours ferrying my friends and me around. my dad may have shared his musical tastes with me more, but my mother was tolerant and giving of her time so that i could enjoy myself acting out on my music obsessions.

it’s hard to talk about music and memory without rambling; i’m not even trying. i think about music a lot lately because i ran very far away from it for a while. in a fit of what i should have recognized as untenable depression, i shut down my ears. no new music. no comforting junkmusic. no concerts. as i slowly built myself back to something resembling normalcy, the first things that i could listen to much were a handful of standby favorites. dance music, mostly. duran duran. a mod night mix. destiny’s child. within the past year and change, concerts have started creeping back in as a regular thing. although, hahhaha, as i write this i am skipping out on seeing sarah & matt play at a kickoff for tt’s 40th anniversary week. i’m giving myself a pass because i went to brooklyn for ~4.5 hours friday night to see depeche mode. and it was awesome.

i have finally come far enough around to really want to dig back into knowing music. it’s harder than it used to be, there’s so much access and so much out there. and a lot of it is banging. and i have a lot of music that i already have but haven’t sunk my fists into sufficiently. getting a new ipod has helped. a blank slate to load up. i have been wanting a lot of texture and things that are really albums, so for the past few months, my listening has been heavy into electronic music: autechre, old boards of canada (haven’t heard the new album yet), new order (cause i saw them in july), chris clark,  tribe called red. today i started reading ?uestlove’s memoir – so good! – and it’s reminding me of stuff that i just haven’t touched in a long time. like that prefuse 73/mos def album urban renewal program. which i’m listening to right now – so good!

so i’m loosely giving myself a project to listen to an album straight through each week. to listen like dangling off a cliff. as much as i love a good single, i grew up with concept albums. i want a landscape that i can get lost in. i want big sonic risks. i want to find all the shit i never had a vocabulary to get into (my understanding of the blues is just pathetic). and i want to drown in remembering how much an album means to just me and no one else.

feel free to leave 1 album recommendation in the comments – but please only 1 so that i can actually check stuff out. it doesn’t have to be like a desert island favorite, it could just be something that speaks to you as a cohesive whole.



  1. There’s one album I left out of the fb thread that deserves to be added, especially in light of your last paragraph: Anamanaguchi’s new one, Endless Fantasy. The opening title track is worth the price of admission alone, but the whole thing is a sprawling epic.

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