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May 24th, 2007

It is now May 24th, 2007, and I have finally given up making a 2006 mix CD.

It’s not me—I don’t think. It’s the music. The wonderful, wonderful music. All year long, so much good music and so little of it the kind that you can make flow in a playlist. I’ve broken it all down into groups: rockin’ (which works with everything), cute and/or quirky (which works with only some things), funny (which works with fuck-all, even itself), and slow (which can be stuck at end of rockin’). The thing is, when I try to put it altogether, the ones that get left out call to me but don’t make up a full second disc of their own. The little bastards. So here, I’m going to tell you about all of them. Just don’t expect me to put them in any kind of real order.

The Thermals wrote this song called “Pillar of Salt” that I instantly fell in love with. The Thermals can do that to you, if you let them. In 2004, I downloaded two songs from their Sub Pop webpage—“No Culture Icons,” from 2003’s More Parts Per Million, and “How We Know” from Fuckin A—and I don’t think I’ve ever played songs louder in my life. But “Pillar of Salt” has more to it than sounding good at high volume. It’s a story, reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale, of fear and flight and oppression. I feel like I’m running myself every time I hear it, and I can taste that fear. That’s pretty amazing. Fool that I am, I’m afraid to pick up the album, that no song on it could compare to this one.

Another song that takes me along with it is Muse’s “Starlight.” “Take a Bow” has its own greatness, for bringing politics to the level of rock opera by way of Queen, but “Starlight” trips me out without having an agenda. It’s another story, more science fiction—maybe that’s what 2006 was really about, you know? Our reality feeling less and less understandable, more and more like a dystopian novel. Maybe that’s why I’m connecting to these songs. Or maybe “Starlight” just rocks my socks off.

Keane’s “Is It Any Wonder?” is the song that would come right after “Starlight” if I were making a mix CD. Which I am not. Because what can follow these two tracks? The Keane song is just straight-up pop rock, the catchy, sing-along kind of song that it is getting harder and harder for me to find. If I’m not looking in the right place, let me know, because I could do with more songs like this one to get me through my days.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs blew me away with Show Your Bones, because I foolishly expected more of the same after Fever to Tell. Karen O and co. proved that they could grow musically without any stretch marks or cracked voices or some other sort of metaphor. The whole CD rocks out, but “Cheated Hearts” gets me every time.

Someone needs to explain to me about Calexico, and what it is about “Letter to Bowie Knife” that makes it one of the most-played songs I have from the year. It has just enough of a polish to catch my picky, poppy ear, but it also has a bit of that raw, indie sound that reminds me of stepping away from the radio to find things that weren’t processed, that were straight from the heart. From Calexico’s heart to my ear, down to my heart, I think.

Okay, God bless the pretty ladies who told me about Tilly and the Wall, because “Bad Education” has gotten as much play as “Letter to Bowie Knife.” I’m a sucker for percussion and Tilly and the Wall’s percussion is...tap dancing? FANTASTIC. Add to that a punk art heart and set it on repeat, people. Indeed.

Paste Magazine is quite good and you should check it out sometime. They give you these samplers, and most of the music I can (or have to) ignore, but every once in a while, there’s a jewel in there. Usually it’s someone you already know putting something new out, as in this case. See, I wouldn’t have bothered with Frank Black because, while I love him, he’s not an artist I seek out—at least, not as a solo artist. However, one of his songs was on a Paste sampler, and I love me some Paste and like to keep an ear out, so when “If Your Poison Gets You” started playing, I did a double-take at the name of the artist and suddenly that Franklove surged back up in me. Frank Black and “alt”-country, not really two terms you’d think would go together, and yet they do. SO WELL. The universe throws you curve balls and you close your eyes and hold your glove out sort of randomly and there, you caught it. That’s how I felt when I was in T-ball when I was seven, and that’s how I felt about this song.

Next week: Part 2 of I’m-not-sure-when-I’ll-stop. I think I’ll go to cute and/or quirky next...

December 20th, 2006


Ani DiFranco with Dan Bern, Frank Bango and the Ditty Bops, and Spiraling with Fairmont.

December 19th, 2006


Pressed is now a paid journal, just so that we could bring you the best (okay, not really) in concert photos. I've already uploaded pictures for a few artists: Tegan and Sara, Rachael Cantu, Kristin Hersh, the Pixies, the Datsuns, the Bennies, Adem, and Badly Drawn Boy. I apologize ahead of time for the poor quality of some of the photos. There are basically two reasons for it. One is that the camera used for these early pictures wasn't exactly state-of-the-art, and the other is that the majority of them have to be taken without flash. That's a part of being press, really. "First three songs, no flash" is what they tell you when they hand you the pass, and doooom to those who break the rules.

You can see the pictures here: http://pics.livejournal.com/pressedmusic/ and there are now links from the entries to their specific galleries.

Unfortunately, that's all I have time to do today, but check back tomorrow for Spiraling, the Ditty Bops, Ani DiFranco, and more!

December 7th, 2006

Holiday bloggin'

Yes, I know, that "soon" thing kind of took a trip off a giant cliff when I realized that my four-year school wasn't going to be as easy as the two-year one was. But as the semester comes to a close, I have been eyeing Pressed hungrily, just waiting to get back to it. Two papers, one Power Point project, one hypertext project, and three exams from now, I'm all Pressed's.

I fixed a computer issue that was holding me back from getting all the old interviews up, so keep a lookout in the next few months for interviews with Rasputina, Bettie Serveert, The Dresden Dolls, and many more.

Also, I'll be spotlighting certain 2006 CDs through the end of the year, starting with Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins' Rabbit Fur Coat.

Oh, and we'll be upgrading to a Paid Account in the near future, which means that all the concert photos we've taken will be accessible to you and yours. Happy Holidays!

July 3rd, 2006

Coming soon...

Interviews with Kristin Hersh, Rasputina, Tegan and Sara, Vince Gilbert, Alana Davis, Full Frontal Folk, the Dresden Dolls and more!

CD reviews of the Weeds, Ben Weaver, Hotel Lights, Autolux, and much, much more!

Show reviews of Nine Inch Nails, The New Pornographers, Fiona Apple, Jeremy Enigk, and Grant-Lee Phillips!

Even more exclamation point abuse!

Thanks for reading. We appreciate your support of the music industry.

June 20th, 2006

Michael Nace and Lou Barlow

Alana actually walks out of a show, 3/4/05Collapse )

Charlotte Martin

Alana and Charlotte Martin email about everything from lyrics to Liz Phair, 5/27/05Collapse )


Adam revisits an old favorite and finds something new, 12/16/04Collapse )

Spiraling photos!

Adrian Belew - Side One

Thumbs-up from Greg for Belew's new CD, 1/25/05Collapse )


Alana catches up with Liz in email after the Rothko Bloody Valentine Circus in NYC, 3/20/05Collapse )

Pixies, Datsuns, Bennies

Alana reviews the Pixies show from in front of the front row, which is so awesome, 12/4/04Collapse )

Pixies photos here!


How Soon...until I can get out of here? Morrissey, 10/2/04Collapse )
Rasputina kills a butterfly and fails to impress, 3/16/04Collapse )
Alana + New York Art Rock = Love, 5/27/03Collapse )

Liz Phair (self-titled)

Teenyboppers rejoice, elitists cry at the new Liz Phair, 6/24/03Collapse )
It was the best Halloween (show) ever! 10/29/04Collapse )
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