Music nostalgia

Had some serious high school music nostalgia hit me when a Bush song came on the radio tonight.

I didn’t have access to a lot of stuff other than what was on the radio (and no truly cool friends to get me into new music) so I was left with what was usually on the radio (anyone from Chicago remember Q101?). Most of my friends were either as nerdy as myself, or they were part of the crowd that wore all black and had interesting makeup (these were the girls that taught me how to use an eyeliner pencil in our sewing class). I stuck out like a sore thumb in that group, for sure.

So I listened to a lot of Bush, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, The Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Orgy, Radiohead, 311, Collective Soul, Garbage, Incubus, Live, Our Lady Peace, Rage Against the Machine, Stabbing Westward, Silverchair, Audioslave, Metallica, Deftones, System of a Down, and Fuel. (I don’t think I even have most of the above on my iTunes anymore.)

I’ve switched to lighter and more current fare in the last decade, but I still get kicked back to my teens when any of the above come on.

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Tonight I felt alive for a moment, a rush of adrenaline as one of my closest friends and I drove down 94 with the windows down, singing along to the radio at the top of our lungs. It is a warm, sticky summer, a thunderstorm loomed overhead tonight, and everything is going to be ok.

As I neared home, this song by Real McCoy came on the radio. It reminded me of awkward school dances, of the 90s, and of things that are good. I remember when Chicago had a techno station, and my friend and I would crank it up in the summer and sit in her front yard. I remember driving hours to see friends, listening to music and dancing just because we could.

August is going to be a very busy, intense month for me, both for work and travel. I can’t wait.

Take joy in the small things, in the biggest thing of all…that we are here and full of life.

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Sound waves

I’ve been immersed in some pretty amazing music recently .  If you want to know the playlist running through my head, here ya go!

Jonsi, the lead singer of Sigur Rós, put on a fantastic live show on April 27 at The Vic.  Hands down the best show I’ve ever been to.  Tickets are still available for the November 3 show in Chicago, and I’m definitely going.

Voxtrot was on a farewell tour, and I got to see them play May 21 at Lincoln Hall.  That venue is probably one of my favorite ones in Chicago, as it is clean and small, without feeling stuffy.

The National played August 4 at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. I love this band so, so much.  That voice gets into my bones!

CDs on my wishlist:

Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

Ra Ra Riot – “The Orchard” (listen here)

Röyksopp – “Senior”

Thank you, B.
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Arts and music

I had the opportunity to volunteer at the 4th Annual Baha’i Choral Music Festival in May. It was wonderful to see so many people at the House of Worship. I was manning the main entrance for both performances, so I got to see everyone.

A number of my dear friends went on the Voices of Baha tour in India in June. Imagine 120 singers from around the world, traveling around India in the heat of summer just to sing! Seeing the photos and video made me wish I was with them.

I purchased my copy of The Baha’i Gardens by my friend Marco Abrar a few weeks ago, and received a copy of this gorgeous book soon after. It is a coffee table book that I think everyone should have. It has beautiful photos of the Baha’i Holy Places in Haifa & Akka, Israel, and it nearly brought tears to my eyes as I looked through the pages and remembered my time there.

Speaking of photobooks, you should definitely pre-order Hasten Forth, a photobook that takes you on a journey of Haifa and Akka, by my Haifa companions (and lovely friends) Ginous Alford and Anis Mungapen.  I can’t WAIT until my copy arrives!

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Last night I went to the Delorean & Miike Snow show at the Metro.  It was fantastic.  I enjoyed myself immensely.  It was pouring rain when we parked and went in, my feet were aching at the end of the night, and a couple of guys started arguing in the middle of one of my favorite songs.  I asked them to stop, and they did. :-)  These are the things that make a show, outside of the music itself, of course.  If you don’t know who these bands are…check them out.  Trust me.

In other news, Nineteen Months has been updated for the month of “Glory“.  I am SO impressed with the talent involved in this project.  Check it out, tell your friends!  You can also join our Facebook page or add us on Twitter.

The story behind my photo: I was approaching the deadline, on my lunch break, and worried that I had nothing to contribute.  After failing to capture anything that I liked by Lake Michigan or in the gardens of the Baha’i House of Worship, I went into the lower level of the House of Worship to say hi to friends.  One lovely lady and her daughters were there, and as their mother worked on some things, I had a change to talk to the girls and take photos.  Elsie, the littler one, insisted on seeing the photos after I took her picture.  She is really rather young, but already knows about cameras. :-)  It made my day to see such lovely children, and I got my photo.

This coming weekend is the Religion Communication Congress, in which several Baha’is and publications will be receiving awards.  I have several friends attending, and I can’t WAIT to hear their stories.  I’ll also be reuniting with one of my dear friends that I served with in Haifa…she and I have some catching up to do!

Finally, I updated my blog layout.  The previous one was rather awkward and this one is much cleaner.  I also added a contact page.

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I was driving to a Baha’i event on Saturday, and my sister was in the car with me.  As we rocked out to some Phoenix, a nicely formed little spider dropped down from my visor, right in front of my eyes.

Now, I’m not really afraid of spiders, but when you’re confronted with an insect in your face that is flailing around on a web, there is little choice but to freak out.  I managed to smack it down with my hand, and it ran away.  Not an exciting story, it is just a side note.  Spiders are no fun in the car.

Anyway, earlier that morning, Phoenix was on Sound Opinions (you can listen to the broadcast here).  This band is all over the place these days.  I was lucky enough to go to their show in Chicago in September and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the crowd of Midwestern hipsters. 😉

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Baha’i inspired music

Lately I’ve been seeing more music by artists who are Baha’is, and thought I’d share some with you.  Everyone has different taste in music, of course.   I know a lot of musicians, so I’m only going to highlight a few here.  Perhaps at one point I’ll get around to linking to everyone.

The Hidden Words – Nathan & Nabil Huening (songs available for download!) Great for devotionals.  The songs are based on The Hidden Words, which is a book of Writings by Baha’u’llah.

“This is that which hath descended from the realm of glory, uttered by the tongue of power and might, and revealed unto the Prophets of old. We have taken the inner essence thereof and clothed it in the garment of brevity, as a token of grace unto the righteous, that they may stand faithful unto the Covenant of God, may fulfill in their lives His trust, and in the realm of spirit obtain the gem of Divine virtue.”   (Baha’u’llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

Ellis&Knight – Vahid Ellis and Hayden Knight

“Ellis&Knight was formed in August of 2007, under the scorching Brazilian sun. Through travel and the Baha’i Faith, Vahid Ellis and Hayden Knight ended up as roommates in the Brazilian capital, and quickly realized that music was an inspiration they shared…Our first album entitled “Groundwork” will be out soon, and we hope that it will inspire people and offer something new to the world of music: a fusion of hip-hop, acoustic guitar, melodic vocals and thoughtful lyrics that blend and bring together diverse elements and styles.”

Everlasting Fire – Alessandro. You can download his album through Amazon or the iTunes store, and listen to a few full-length songs on Myspace.

“His love for music and the performing arts, his love for people of all races, creed and culture, his firm conviction that artists are essentially story tellers, whose tales should uplift the heart and call to the higher, noble nature of the human being, his vision for the future of this beautiful planet, – all these permeate this first recorded suite of Alessandro’s songs. They are offered with the hope that they may point the way to that quest for beauty that is at the heart of all human endeavor.”

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Things to read, listen to, and look at.

The illustrious Sarah Lonning has a presence on the web. Be impressed.

Navid shares music, often with commentary. Brilliant. I’ve been enjoying it very much.

That odd fellow known as David Precht launched his site a while ago, and it is as lovely and strange as he is.

Genius Dog is now The Doghouse Diaries, so adjust your links. And they’re doing a fantastic job. Keep it up, guys.

There is a carousel at the mall that reminds me of this gorgeous photo by Shahriar. As the children go around, their faces light up and they live completely in that moment. I love that.

Lauren uploaded these photos from her trip to Nepal a while back but I forgot to blog about how much I loved them.

The streets of Chicago are still snow-covered, and we are trying to stay warm. Do me a favor…if you live in a warm climate, please go outside for a moment and enjoy it for me. 🙂 It is horrible to admit that I am getting acclimated…yesterday I traipsed around in the snow in our yard for a while, just because I had snow boots on and I could. And last weekend I went sledding with my sister. I had some bruises and aches afterward, but it was totally worth it.

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The Golden Eleven

The instructions are simple: choose your eleven favorite musical artists, then your favorite song by each, and provide a link (YouTube if possible) so the world can share in the crème de la crème of your musical tastes. This list is probably different than your eleven favorite songs, which is why you choose the artists first.

George created this meme. Lorenia made the very good point that she doesn’t have 11 favorite bands or artists…and neither do I. Andrew outdid us all by using his fancy design skills to do the meme. Ezra’s list surprised me as I had no idea what kind of music he liked. I usually don’t do internet memes on my blog, but this one was fun and I got some interesting insight on my friends’ music choices through it. Go ahead and try it…you’ll see how much of a challenge it is.

I have organized them in descending order, and if you click on the image, you can listen to the song. And while the choices here are mostly very laid back, relaxing songs, I do like to dance and listen to happy, bouncy music. It just so happens that the music that I listen to on a regular basis is…quieter. 🙂

11. Live – Dance With You

10. Coldplay – Til Kingdom Come

9. India Arie – Ready For Love

8. The Decemberists – Summersong

7. Damien Rice – The Blower’s Daughter

6. The Shins – Pink Bullets

5. Sufjan Stevens – For The Widows In Paradise, For The Fatherless In Ypsilanti

4. Stars – Calendar Girl

3. Feist – Gatekeeper

2. Joshua Radin – Winter

1. Zero 7 – Today

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I guess you take the good with the bad…

A cockroach crawled up my jeans leg while I sat at a bus stop yesterday. I had to shake it out…it was about as long as my index finger and quite…wriggly. Not so much fun.

Also, I had an entire conversation with the old man sitting next to me, even though he knew about 20 words in English and I know about 5 in Hebrew. He offered me a peach but I wasn’t hungry.

Frisbee last night at the beach:

Last week’s frustration has been channeled into action, which is much more fun. I had quite the wonderful weekend, and while I am not home as much as I used to be, I have decided that it is a good thing to be busy, especially for someone like me.

I have been rather obsessed with a few artists recently. So check them out…

The Shins– Wincing the Night Away, 2007

Joshua Radin– We Were Here, 2006

Bloc Party– A Weekend in the City, 2007

Tom McRae – unreleased recordings

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It dawned on me….

I listen to music almost constantly…and I have been wanting to give people a glimpse of the soundtrack to my life. You know, the music that would accompany you if you were in a movie, walking briskly down the street.

There is a song by Calla called “It Dawned On Me” that I can listen to over and over. Watch the video, or listen to a clip at Kind of moody and uplifting at the same time.

Another artist is Junetile, specifically the song “Dream Away”. You can stream the whole album here, but I definitely recommend “Dream Away”.

Band of Horses’ song “Funeral” is haunting and atmospheric. Watch the video here.

Snails in tidal pools, Akka, by the sea.

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Live @ The Vic

I went with a friend to see Live at The Vic on Tuesday night.


I must start by saying that Live has been one of my favorite bands for at least the last 8 years. I’ve never seen them perform live. They’ve been doing this for over 15 years, and you can tell that they absolutely love their job. 2 encores, old favorites and songs from their cd that is coming out in June. 1.5 hours of wonderful music.

I’m still happy from it. Amazing how music can do that to you. Click to see a list of some of the songs that they played.

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New Cds

I just got The Tea Party’s cd Transmission from Amazon last week. This cd is…powerful. I’ve liked their music for a few years now but have been unable to buy their cds here in the USA…they are from Canada, and very popular there. You can listen to some samples at Amazon.

I also acquired the newest Live cd, Birds of Pray. Very good, doesn’t have as much electronic crazyness as the album before it (V). I now own all 6 Live cds! One of my favorite songs on this album is “The Sanctity of Dreams”.

Another recommendation is Ours. I have both of their cds (Distorted Lullabies and Precious), but have listened to the first one more. Personally I feel it shows the lead singer’s vocal range more accurately, and has catchy songs. Perhaps I just need time to get used to the new one. Click here for a good review. Their website seems to have disappeared.

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