Monday, May 31, 2010

9 Summer Albums That Matter Most To Me

A spin-off of Spin's 25 Summer Albums That Matter Most, I've narrowed mine down to 9, 8 of those off Spin's 25. I'm expecting the number to go up so it will most likely change, but as for now, 9 it is!

Wolf Parade
Expo 86
Album Drops: June 29

What is it with bands from Montreal that I like so much? Oh yeah, everything!

Kid Cudi
Man on the Moon II: The Legend of Mr. Rager
Album Drops: September 14

Since he blasted on the scene with his instant hit "Day N Nite" Kid Cudi has deemed himself the strangest (and arguably coolest) person in hip hop today as his newest single "Pursuit of Happiness" and his last album proved.

But as the saying goes: Strange is beautiful.

The Roots
How I Got Over
Album Drops: June 22

The Roots - hip hop at its finest. How I Got Over is their ninth album and is a promising one at that. Their single, "How I Got Over," was released in 2009 - a little teaser to their highly anticipated album. By now, these guys are pros at making head-bobbing hits.

The Young Veins
Take a Vacation!
Album Drops: June 8
Attending: Rooney with The Young Veins and Black Gold - June 17 @ House of Blues, Anaheim, CA.

Ah, a vacation into indie bliss. Former Panic! at the Disco (yes, "!" - I refuse to drop it) members Ryan Ross and Jon Walker departed from Panic! to follow their musical hearts, producing their preference of Beatles-like (too much?) tracks that are, quite frankly, delicious. Take "Cape Town" for example:


Although I'm bummed about the split (I was quite obsessed with Panic! in high school, an obsession shared by my closest friends) I'm also pretty happy. With The Young Veins we get an entirely different sound from Panic! which, basically, is like a double whammy of awesomesauce. Like many a relationship, this split was for the best.

Hot Hot Heat
Future Breeds
Album Drops: June 8
Attending: Hot Hot Heat - June 30 @ The Bootleg Theater, Los Angeles, CA.

It's been a long 3 years since we've heard anything from this band and I'm really excited to jump around to some of their new rousing hits. It was love at first listen when I heard "Bandages" on the mix my then-boyfriend Josh made me. I owe him for that one. I remember sitting in my room, daydreaming of my Baby Bash look alike of a beau, when a soft-lilting Jack Johnson track slid into a crazy jam about...bandages? By the time the second chorus came around I was jumping up and down on my bed singing along to the baffling lyrics, ending it with a loud "WOOOOOOOOO!!!" from utter exhilaration.

It was one of those musical experiences that stays with you. I was late to the band wagon since "Bandages" had actually come out in '03 and it wasn't until '05 that I caught on to the phenomenal fun that is Hot Hot Heat. Their only positive love song, and most recent single, "Goddess on the Prairie" was written for Steve Bays' fiancee - which just makes you wanna say "Awwwwwwww!" It's a fun song with a Chinatown-ish guitar rift floating through it that surprisingly goes really well. You can listen to it here:

Ra Ra Riot
The Orchard
Albums Drops: August 24

Attending UCSB last school year, we won a contest for the college that had the most registered voters who voted in the 2008 presidential election. As a reward, Death Cab for Cutie (my second favorite band) played at our school for absolutely FREE. Opening for them was Ra Ra Riot. At that time I had only heard one song by them and thought they were alright. After the concert, I instantly downloaded their songs and became slightly obsessed. It's without a doubt that with a single like "Can You Tell" - the ultimate indie crush song - that The Orchard is going to be outright peachy.

Jack Johnson
To the Sea
Album Drops: June 1
Attending: Jack Johnson - October 10 @ Cricket Amphitheater, Phoenix, AZ.

Admittedly the most controversial selection on my list, Jack Johnson has been one of my favorite singers since my freshman year in high school. Along with my boy bestie Josh, we've kept up with him since our younger days and pride ourselves on being his biggest fans before his rise to stardom. Though I have a completely biased view on Jack J, it's without a doubt true that he has helped me cope with the most difficult times in my life. You just cannot be down while listening to his songs; they have such a calming effect. Call it what you want, but I've been looking forward to this album since Sleep Through The Static (2008).

The video for "You and Your Heart" is just great. Reminds me, I went to the beach this past Saturday - THE WATER FEELS AMAZING! Can't wait for some more beachy tunes to coast me through another amazing summer.

Arcade Fire
The Suburbs
Album Drops: August 2nd or 3rd

Another Montreal band, Arcade Fire has the number two top spot on my list. A delectable delight I discovered in 2005, though they've been around since 2003, they have been nothing short of amazing - both Funeral (2004) and Neon Bible (2006-2008) are spectacular albums, so spectacular that they have earned multiple prestigious awards in Canada, the UK, and North America. My opinion on an absolutely beyond-words album is that each and every track has to be, well, absolutely beyond-words enjoyable. Funeral and Neon Bible are precisely that. I expect nothing less from their soon-to-be-released masterpiece.

Title TBD
Album Drops: TBD

Seeing as Interpol is most definitely in my Top 5 Favorite Bands of All Time and has remained there since I first listened to "Slow Hands" on KROQ in '04, their new album has me giddy with girlish excitement. It's with a heartfelt thanks to bands like Interpol that my music pool has widened into - I shan't say the size of the ocean necessarily - but instead the size of at least the Pacific and Atlantic combined. Thus said, I cannot wait for their newest release despite not knowing exactly when it will be officially available. One thing is for certain however, their new single "Lights" can be summed up in one word: Pleasing. Very pleasing. Interpol yet again exceeds at turning obscure, meaningless lyrics into something poetry-esque. "Please police me" - just what does it mean? What is the significance in this line and how can you relate it to Shakespeare's ever-famous "To die or not to die"? Whatever the meaning, I like the sound of it for a reason I can't quite defend. And is it just me or do they seem to really like the word "grace"?

While reading Spin's top 25 album picks for the summer, Interpol being on their list at number 19, they offered a "Fast Fact" concerning their lyrics - check out this article from Stylus Magazine from back in '04 for a good chuckle or two:

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been sick since Thursday but I've been recovering since Saturday morning. Which, of course, meant I could carry on with my weekend plans to drive up to Santa Barbara and attend Extravaganza 2010, see Drake work his raw and, to me, cute charm to a crowd of college students and visitors, and get to hang with my SB crew. I had so much fun and was actually very happy to be back that it got me thinking...

After last year and spilling my hatred for UCSB in this very blog and to friends and family, I've finally gotten to the point where I can reassess just WHY I was so desperate to leave. And as cliche as it sounds, it turns out that it wasn't entirely for the right reasons. Back then, I was stressed. College was new to me, as were loans, ACTUALLY having to really think about my future, and a UC workload. I won't lie, it was VERY stressful. But I think I made it more stressful than it had to be. Almost from the start I began to hate the place. First, I was roommates with the biggest complainer in the whole wide world. That person being my best friend Caitie. Living with that, it would be hard to stay optimistic about the place. She transferred winter quarter to San Francisco State University which was really hard on me since Caitie was my social life line. I was incredibly lonely at the start of my winter quarter at UCSB but that soon changed. I made friends, really good friends. Close friends. It's so, so rare to find people that you just "click" with and form such strong bonds with but I did. Being me, I didn't fully appreciate the gift I had been given and decided to focus on the negativity UCSB does, unfortunately at times, possess. My main complaint was the people. I didn't like the people, they were all shallow barbies or shallow asswipes in my eyes. Going around like that, it's no wonder I continued to fuel my hatred into thoughts of transferring. To add, having to deal with getting loans and dolling out money I didn't have every quarter got to my fresh-out-of-high-school-self. And to add on to that, I had a boyfriend who lived back at home. By the end of winter quarter, my mind was made up - just send in an application at my boyfriend's school and pray for results. All of the transferring crap was another stress load, not to mention my relationship's shakiness by the end of the school year. Though I had convinced myself I was transferring for ME, it was also to save my relationship. My biggest fear was that if I moved back Daniel and I would break up - which we did - but that says a lot. I should have been fearing other things, like what if CSUSB wasn't for me? Back in high school, I promised I would NEVER go to CSUSB like almost everyone from my school did. Now that I'm here...I realize CSUSB is NOT for me. It's a good school, don't get me wrong. But it's not for me. Maybe it's for Daniel. Maybe it's for the other thousands of students that claim it as theirs. But not for me. It's comfortable. But I don't necessarily like that. I feel I've regressed. Not because it's a CSU or anything like that. But because I'm back at home. That is not for me. I need to be away. I need to live elsewhere. I'm restless. So I've decided that I'm going to stay at CSUSB another year and then transfer either back to UCSB and live with the most amazing people and make my senior year awesome, or transfer to another UC. Yes, UC. Though I have nothing against CSU or its professors (in fact, I absolutely love my critical thinking prof) it's not enough. I know that sounds outright bizarre...but I don't feel like I'm really learning enough. Some classes I've taken at CSU overlap with those I've taken at UCSB, and I honestly don't need to study or read because I know the material and then some. I've aced all my sociology classes with flying colors all because I took women's studies at UCSB - because women's studies was so much more than just that - it encompassed so much, squeezed in as much as it could so that it covered an Intro to Soc class AND critical thinking class at CSUSB. Even my professors have made comments about how much more information I end up contributing in class. It's hard to really explain the difference I feel. I want more. And when it comes to my education, the more selfish I am, the better. I want the best I can get. So transferring my fourth year is going to happen, and I plan on staying a fifth year as well. Linguistics has become an obsession. I love how it breaks down language and how the two go hand-in-hand. I'm so much more mature than I was last year. I know what's really important. There's nothing for me here anymore. I love my family, but even they want me to transfer. I really feel like I transferred for the wrong reasons. For a warped, naive outlook and for a relationship that would have fallen apart irregardless of my moving back.

In short, I feel stupid. But at the same time I'm glad it happened. How else would I know it wouldn't work out? Everything happens for a reason, as the saying goes.

Anyway, I really do miss SB. Being back evokes so many memories. I miss riding around, living on campus, cooking dinner, my weekend routine, hanging with my lovelies, being INDEPENDENT. I really miss my girls. I can't wait for that fourth year to roll around. But trust, I'm going to make this year count. CSUSB is still my school after all. For now.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Dear Stranger,

Since the age of 13 I've wanted one thing and one thing only - to fall in love.

Little did I know I should have pined for something a step further - to stay in love, and for that person to stay in love with me.

It's so easy to fall in love. It's finding the right person that's the hard part.

I'm writing to someone I know exists. Someone that is mine even though they don't know it yet. Someone that is waiting patiently for me, and I for them. I thought I had found that someone but I was wrong....

But it doesn't bother me like it used to. As much as I try to deny it, I'm still hurting, I'm still healing, I'm still fighting the good fight. I think someone should write a book trying to explain unexplainable feelings, as paradoxical as it sounds. Why? Because no one prepares you for those experiences. And sure, this book of explaining unexplainable feelings may serve no purpose as words can never TRULY convey emotions, thus hindering them unexplainable, but I feel it should be out in this world nonetheless. For critical thought at least. If I had an inkling of what heartbreak actually felt like, maybe I would have done things differently.

Now, at age 19, I want nothing more than someone to love and to be loved in return, genuinely, tenderly. I feel like every human being shares this same desire - that somewhere deep within the complexities of the human soul lies a need to love and be loved. A big part of me feels empty now that I've been in love. In other words, the need for love has intensified. Before, I was content to dream. Now, all I want is for my dreams to become reality once again. The next time I'm in love I'll know what a precious gift it truly is. The sad and unfortunate thing about firsts is that you don't fully realize how special they are - especially your first love - and I don't think you fully appreciate how amazing they are until they're gone. You don't completely understand.

I feel so much more mature for having gone through so much pain. After all, isn't it through pain that wisdom is gained? The next time I'm in love, I won't be hesitant, I won't be scared. The next time I'm in love I'm going to give him my all before it's too late, and he's going to love me genuinely, tenderly.

For the longest time I couldn't listen to love songs. I'd either end up in a really bad mood or crying. Thankfully, I can listen to love songs now - and even sing along. See how much I've improved?

I made a little mix. It's dedicated to the next person lucky enough to have me. I hope you enjoy.

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