Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In My Headphones...

Today I'm rocking Tame Impala. I listened a lot on my road trip to Columbus this weekend (actually great driving music) and I've already favorited most of the songs on their album, InnerSpeaker. They've got a psychedelic groove reminiscent of The Flaming Lips and even The Beatles...I hear a ton of Paul McCartney in the singer.

Tankboy and I saw them live not so long ago, and they unfortunately aren't as earth shattering as you think they'd be--especially when following Stardeath and White Dwarfs (Wayne Coyne's nephew's group.) But still, you've got a kickass album you can put on repeat.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Perfectly Arched

A girlfriend at work just asked me if I did something different with my eyebrows. As a matter of fact I did, and thank you for noticing! Last month I was at Trim, a waxing salon in Bucktown, getting ready for my beach vacation-ifyouknowwhatImean, and my girl Deanne asked if I’d be willing to grow in my pencil thin brows and let her shape them. Hell yes, and again, thanks for asking! Since I was a teen, I’d been obsessed with brows. Maybe it’s because I had really thick heavy brows and I wanted to feel more feminine, but once you get going with the tweezers, it’s hard to stop and then you’re stuck with pencil thin ones because the thought of the time of growing them back in is daunting, and what would you do with them then?! Seek professional help, that’s what you do.

Deanne drew lines under and between my brows and told me to not tweeze anything inside those lines. It ended up being really easy to fight the urge to tweeze since I was on vacation for the first week, and when I got back I was pretty much bedridden with bronchitis, so I wasn’t looking in the mirror much to apply makeup or anything. By the time I gave myself a onceover right before Christmas and right before my first shaping appointment, I was surprised by how much they had grown in! Of course they were splotchy, but I’m really lucky how quickly they filled in. Once she cleaned up the edges and applied brow pencil, they looked straight out of a beauty magazine. And I must say it’s nice to not have to spend all that time in the mirror tweezing anymore!

P.S. If you have a Benefit Cosmetics store near you, they have a great Brow Bar too.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Besnard Lakes More Than Deliver

Review: The Besnard Lakes @ Lincoln Hall, 1/13


There are some shows you just don't want to end. The Besnard Lakes last night at Lincoln Hall was of those performances. Their ethereal albums are hypnotizing enough, but live everything is bigger, louder and more wicked. To look at the husband and wife team of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, you may expect flower power folk; instead you get a wallop of psych rock with modern electric touches.

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The Besnard Lakes' Lasek and Goreas (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

Last summer the Montreal pair opened Millennium Park's Downtown Sound series at the open air Pritzker Pavilion. It seemed the most fitting way to hear the group, under the night's sky, but last night being up close and personal was that much more powerful — a different but equally compelling feeling. Their set got underway almost a half hour earlier than their scheduled 11 o'clock time since opening girl-group Frankie Rose & the Outs played for only 20 minutes. As the room filled up, the band hit full stride by "Land of the Living Skies". It was at times a transcendent experience, juxtaposed by the casual banter and stories from the band (including one about being compared to David Koresh!). We got plenty of Lasek's mighty falsetto on songs like "Chicago Train" and "This Is What We Call Progress", and he brought out a captivating white 12 string electric guitar for "Albatross", on which wife Goreas takes the lead on vocals. The contrasting sweetness of "Albatross" made the following song, "Like The Ocean", all the more haunting.

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The Besnard Lakes' Olga Goreas (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

They ended the evening with a bang, encoring two lesser known cuts. The closing one, "Four Long Lines" being what Lasek called a "rarity", appeared on the 12" "Albatross" single released in anticipation of The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night in early 2010. (I did some mad research for that last tidbit.)

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The Besnard Lakes' Jace Lasek (Photos by Kirstie Shanley)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Black Keys Vs. Vampire Weekend

The Black Keys are better than Vampire Weekend at anything, even if it is whoring your music out:

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Years In Numbers

Oh, hi. It’s been a while. What’s new? Well, I’m shifting this into more of a life blog. I’ll still talk about music of course, as it is such a big part of my life-- in fact, one of the things I’ve discovered through keeping this blog is just how prevalent music is in life in general, whether you follow bands like I do or not. But, my life is not just music. Especially as I get older, my interests continue to broaden, and I’m still learning a lot. Cooking, sewing, writing, dancing, fitness, beauty, fashion, home improvement and decorating, even some sports are all things that I love, and I love to talk about them. I’ve already got so many topics planned to write about.

Speaking of getting older, I turned thirty last month. Do I feel any different? No. Do I feel different than I did at twenty? Hell yes. Instead of dwelling on the number, I think milestone birthdays are simply for looking back, checking in with yourself, letting yourself acknowledge how far you’ve come (even if it’s not where you expected to be) and putting some thought to what is important to your future. I never really look forward to my birthday, falling in early December, the weather is making the final shift into winter (I’m a sun bunny, not a snow bunny), and holiday fever is picking up with all its gift and family trip planning. It’s the perfect anxiety recipe. So this year, my boyfriend and I decided to take advantage of the milestone by leaving it all behind and treating ourselves. Since I’d never spent my birthday on a beach, we went to an all inclusive resort in Jamaica.* It was wonderful. We did nothing but lay on the beach all day. I was surprised at how easy it was to forget the pressures of life back home.

Between my vacation, being sick when we got back, and the downtime at work, I feel like I got a month’s worth of time off. The past three years have been pretty hectic, and I feel like I’ve finally caught up on rest from all of it. My head feels clearer and I don’t feel the pressure to get things done, or take on something new. If I want to lie in front of the tv all day or go to bed early, I don’t feel bad about it anymore. The laundry can wait one more day.

As for a year end album or song list, I didn’t keep up with my running list as I intended, but maybe I’ll throw something together. Or maybe I won’t. You should check out Tankboy’s anyway. We have a lot of the same tastes, and since we live our lives together, our significant songs of 2010 were pretty much the same. I actually learn of a lot of my new music from him anyway since he is so much more plugged in than I am willing to be.

Here’s to a prosperous 2011!

* There’s even a musical tidbit here—we heard nothing but Bob Marley the entire time. And smooth jazz Marley covers. And curiously, no Jimmy Cliff.

My new headphones came today!

Last year I told you about my shocking problem. Now that I’m wearing my Big Coat all the time again, I haven’t dared wear my in-ear headphones, and the commute to work was getting really lonely without any music or podcasts to keep me company. Outer ear shell headphones were on my year-long list of things to buy with my Christmas money, and after shopping around a little bit and not finding anything I liked for a reasonable price, I decided to revisit a recommendation from @izatchu from last year. Lucky me, the cute little Zumreed headphones were on sale for almost half price! I ordered them in lime green. I think I’ll use them tomorrow night when Tankboy and I DJ together at The Burlington!

Thanks Anne!