Monday, April 26, 2010

Feel Good, Feel Bad, Feel Something

The other day, I was in a terrible mood. I didn't want to get out of bed. I didn't want to go to work. I didn't even want to listen to music on the way to work. I scrolled through my iPod, and tried to find a song that would put me in a better mood. But instead, I found a song that made me feel worse. Which in the end, made me feel better.
Have you ever done that? Purposely put on a song that you know will make you cry or make you more angry than before? I absolutely love that feeling. I don't enjoy making myself feel like shit or anything, it's more ... catharsis. These songs help me get out those pent-up feelings that I have without taking them out on anyone else. You know you do it.
On this particular day, I came across an EP that I had downloaded months before by a woman named Samantha Crain. I turned it on as sort of a background sound on the way to work. But then, Beloved, We Have Expired came on. There is a part in the middle of the song where the lyrics are ... "I want to be held again, To be close or dead, Sung to sleep again, That would be the greatest thing". Gut-wrenching! I had tears in my eyes! Before I knew it, I was full on crying! (Note: This is not a pity party... I'm just expressing how I love songs that move me this much) By the time I got to work, I felt great. I had gotten this negative feeling out of the way without taking it out on someone.
I have a list of songs that I listen to when I'm feeling shitty. I guess I could call it my shit-list. But I mean that in the best way possible. These songs, literally, move me to tears and eventually leave me feeling refreshed. Here's a short version of it:
1. Don't Be Scared - Andrew Bird
2. Biggest Lie - Elliott Smith
3. Saddest Vacant Lot In All The World - Grandaddy
4. We Crawl - The Polyphonic Spree
5. Rest Of My Life - Rilo Kiley
6. Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space - Spiritualized
Now, let's not focus on songs that make us sad/cry. Here's my list for songs that can, usually, no matter what make me feel amazing:
1. Glad Girls - Guided By Voices
2. The New Style - Beastie Boys
3. O My Soul - Big Star
4. The Party's Crashing Us - Of Montreal
5. Money In The Afterlife - Saturday Looks Good To Me
6. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone - Sleater-Kinney

So, what's your list? Songs that make you feel good, feel bad or feel something... anything. I really want to know.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

My Recent Obsession

Friday night, my two friends, Kelly, Kristina and I went to the Metro to go see Dr. Dog. I had been excited for this show for about two months. Dr. Dog has been my most recent obsession. I'm not sure how most people are with their music, but about once a year, I get really into a specific band. Like, REALLY into them. The day Dr. Dog's new record, Shame, Shame came out, I bought it. (It's available on iTunes, if you're wondering) I listened to it everyday in anticipation for this show.
Why was I so excited, you might be wondering? I had seen Dr. Dog, probably about a year ago, at Taste of Randolph Street. Fate, the album before their newest one, had been out for a few months and I was pretty into it. Me and my boyfriend at the time, stood in the rain for two hours, just waiting. And it was worth the wait. Because of the rain, many people had left, so Chris and I were able to stand right in the front. The band came out in full force. What a show! They might be one of the best live bands I have seen in a long time. There's nothing really flashy about them. They all dress normal, with the exception of fedoras and sunglasses. But when they play, do they play. The energy that they have fills the crowd and makes you want to dance/cry/laugh/scream. Toby Leaman, the bass player and one of the lead singers, is amazing to watch. You can see he has a passion inside him that goes nuts. I guess it's not just him, it's all of them. They all have ... soul, I guess. Maybe soul isn't the best way to describe it, but they've got something. And it's working.
The Metro was completely sold out. The band came out and opened with Stranger, the first song off their new album. It's a sad song that tricks you into happiness because of it's beautiful harmonies in the background. That is, until you hear the lyrics "The good old days have passed and the good times after that", insinuating a lonely road ahead.
The soothing harmonies Dr. Dog is known for are apparent in the song Where'd All The Time Go. A four part harmony fills the background as Scott McMicken, the guitar/piano player and other lead singer, yells the chorus. Even though the album is filled with dark themes, the emotionally charged lyrics combined with the clear sounds of pianos, guitars, bass, and drums make you feel warm inside.
The night went on as they played a mixture of songs from their other two full length albums, Fate and We All Belong. The lights flashed different colors as each song climbed to a climax. The guys danced around the stage, like they do, letting their energy flow throughout the crowd (I swear, I'm not a hippie). Once they were finished and walked off stage, it only took about thirty seconds for them to come back.
They started their encore with the title track off the new album, which is explained as a "...harsh self-critique [...] a gnarled admission that sometimes it's best to admit your mistakes and move on..." on their website. (Just a small side note about the song, Jim James from My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk sings on this track) They followed it up with my favorite song, "Jackie Wants A Black Eye", a telling tale about a couple "falling apart". I'm not going to lie, after that song was played, I was in some sort of euphoric state. I can't even recall what other songs were played.
I do know that I left the Metro completely satisfied. I haven't stopped listening to Shame, Shame since the show (yes, I am listening to it right now). If you like chamber-pop folk rock, I recommend this album... THIS BAND to you. Get it! Get the album and tell me what you think. It's okay if you disagree, opinions are welcome here.

If you are like me, and you start to become obsessed in a ridiculous way, Dr. Dog has a facebook, a myspace and of course, their own website:
Be sure to check out the Daytrotter Session video. It's awesome!