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My uncle gave me A Fine Frenzy’s CD “One Cell In The Sea” the day before Christmas Eve 2007.  It also happened to be the day before my grandmother would pass away, but we did not know that at the time.

A few hours after she died, I drove to my apartment to be alone for awhile.   My uncle had said that despite the name, A Fine Frenzy was actually a singer/songwriter named Alison Sudol.  I just knew I needed something to drown out the loud nothingness that was taking over my brain.

The drive from my parent’s house to my apartment was the longest 45 minutes ever – I remember every stretch of nothing as I cut through LA County into Orange.  Sudol’s voice was both strangely muted and present as she sung of love and loss.  The vocals were soothing and and strangely beautiful, and the music – with piano performed by Sudol – was well suited for her voice.

Her new song, “Blow Away” is the first single off her album Bomb In A Birdcage which will be released in September.  Fans of Feist and Regina Spektor will be pleased.  If the song is any indication, Birdcage will be much more pop-influenced than the piano-driven One Cell In The Sea.
What do you think?

Buy “Blow Away”

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

I had high hopes for the past two weeks:

  • Top Ten Albums of 2009 so far (get excited)
  • July Playlist – Independence Day Spectacular (get more excited)
  • Artist Profiles (homeless African paraplegics who live in a zoo – continue to be excited)
  • TOT Info (you may be confused now, but you’ll be excited later)

Um yeah.  You got none of that.

Last weekend I went to Mexico for the bazillionth time.  And before assumptions are made, I voluntarily signed a covenant which stated that I would not drink alcohol for the entire time I was there.  Or flirt with boys.

Confused much?

Cross the Otay Mesa border in San Diego, hang a left at the tire shop, go offroading for a bit, narrowly escape death by crazy tanker trucks and machine-gun-wielding policemen several times, and you will soon enter a migrant community known as Rojo Gomez.

I’ve been going down there for four years to build houses for families there who previously lived in boxes made of garage doors, tarp, and some scrap wood.  Dirt floors on hills that frequently get hit with mud slides.  No bueno.

These familes have become family to me.  It’s interesting how much we have in common with each other.  The first kid I ever met was named Adrian, who had the most sarcastic sense of humor ever (not that I could relate to that.  Nope…).  I should probably admit my lack of knowledge of Spanish, despite the fact that it is my father’s first language and I have a hispanic last name.  But I have discovered this handy equation:

Broken Spanish + Broken or Nonexistent English + Smiles + Crazy Hand Gestures X Lots of Piggy Back Rides + Soccer Balls (Cubed) = Love

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

Photo Credit :: Aaron Young :: thesmallestbox.com

This is not a guilt trip.

Rather, this is a reminder to the intended geographical audience of this blog that three hours away is third world-ville.  And I have no answers as to what your part to play is or if you even have one.  But in relation to this blog, there is an amazing culture practically down the street, with some sweet ass music, some amazing food (um holy crap on crack, some amazing food.  I swear that sometimes I think I only go there for the street tacos.  But that isn’t true.)  And the importance of family (and in Mexican culture, anyone within a 100 mile radius is familia.  Which is all kinds of awesome.)

To put it mildly, my life has been dramatically changed (beyond words that can do justice) since discovering Rojo Gomez, and the neighboring town of El Nino.  And as I helped build two houses last weekend for two rad families, it has taken some time to adjust back here, and I really have not felt like writing or checking out any new music.  I’m getting back into the swing of things, so check back tonight or tomorrow.  But processing and reflecting on all that occurred on that rad weekend was more important and worthwhile.

For now, enjoy some of the music from a few hours south.

Download MP3: Rodrigo Y Gabriela – Vikingman
Download MP3: Pistolera – Nuevos Ojos
Download MP3:Grupo Fantasma – El Sabio Soy Yo

More info:
Habitat For Humanity

Baja Christian Ministries

Listen to “Charlie Chaplin”
A few months ago, I went on the Worst Date Ever.  Oh I wish this was a dating blog.  It’s an… interesting story.  But there’s a light at the end of every tunnel, and that date’s light was Katie Herzig.

A few nights before we went out, Mr. WDE mentioned that we should go to Katie’s show at Hotel Cafe.  I’d never heard of her, but why not?  If I didn’t like him, I could lose myself in the crowd and run like hell from him music.
So I checked her music out online.  I expected mediocrity but found Holy Acoustic Wonderment, Batman.  Quirky.  Different.  Subtle.  Mama Likes.

Not Even Close
I have a playlist called “Migraine” that I listen to when I take a vicodin, and head to a happy place.  A lot of female singer-songwriters with predictable, monotonous, mellow songs are on rotation.  This isn’t to knock them… they have their place.  However, Katie doesn’t follow the traditional mold of the female singer-songwriter.  She colors outside the lines and creates a masterpiece all her own.  No song is the same, and I greatly appreciate that.  However, she has the discernment and maturity to both stick to what she knows and get out of her comfort zone enough without seeming awkward or uncomfortable.  Katie accomplishes this like few solo artists can.

Listen to “Until You Try”

Songbird
Where have you heard Katie?  Most recently, a Frito-Lay commercial, where her song “Two Hearts Are Better Than One” is featured.  She also just finished the Ten out of Tenn tour.  Don’t ask me if I went to their stop at the Troubadour.  I’m still kicking myself.
Last year, she sang on the Hotel Cafe Tour with artists such as Laura Jansen and Meiko.
Her latest album, Apple Tree, just released in April and is getting strong reviews. 

Listen to “Hologram”

Crazy
So how was her show at Hotel Cafe?  Don’t ask me.  The jerkhole complained that the website to buy tickets looked “shady” and we’d just wait in line.  Okay.  So of course, they sold out before we got to the front.
Nicely done, sport.

But we’ll always have Katie.
websitemyspacefacebooknoisetrade

What do you think of Katie Herzig?  Leave a comment.

Listen to Lily Allen – “22” –

Wake up. Snooze button. Snooze button. Shower. Pray that my pants aren’t too wrinkled. Grab some string cheese and a v8 and hope that constitutes as a healthy breakfast. Drive way over the speed limit to work. Stare at the computer screen for eight hours. Drive home. Do homework. Drink wine. Sleep. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat…

I’ve officially hit the quarter-life crisis.  I can’t help but think, “Is this going to be my whole life?”

Let me be trendy and blame the media for this.  First, I watched Revolutionary Road a few months ago.  It didn’t get the best reviews, and I wasn’t thrilled with the acting.  But the story – a husband and wife who both believed they were destined to do something “special” with their lives and had extraordinary gifts yet succumbed to life in the suburbs – hit me hard.  “Ugh, they were so selfish and ungrateful” my mom complained.  I think I smiled and nodded, but I secretly (mom, please don’t read this part) understood what Kate Winslet’s character was feeling.

I want to travel.  I want to have a family.  I want to visit every continent (well, maybe not Antartica) and write a book and save the world and live overseas and get two master’s degrees and possibly a doctorate.

And I’m staring at a computer screen.

Then there’s Lily Allen’s song “22”.

When she was 22 the future looked bright
But she’s nearly 30 now and she’s out every night
I see that look in her face she’s got that look in her eye
She’s thinking how did I get here and wondering why.

I’m grateful for what I have.  I absolutely LOVE the people I work with, and my company I work for.  I have a great life… but I can’t help but wonder what else is out there.

She’s got an alright job but it’s not a career
Wherever she thinks about it, it brings her to tears
Cause all she wants is a boyfriend
She gets one-night stands
She’s thinking how did I get here
I’m doing all that I can

I think most people in their mid twenties can understand where Lily is coming from (right?)  Luckily, I got out of my funk rather quickly.  I, like everyone else I know who is employed, can’t help but say “At least I have a job.” And it’s true.  At least I have a (great) job, (greater) family and friends, a house a few miles from the beach… but still…..

Download Lily Allen – 22
Buy song – 22
Buy Album – It’s Not Me, It’s You

Buy DVD – Revolutionary Road

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Any MP3 posted here is available to stream and/or download for two weeks or less, so get it while it's hot. Hopefully I can help steer you towards music you've never heard before. If you like what you hear, please purchase the album, and support the artist at shows. The music posted here is for sampling use ONLY. If you are a band or representative of an artist who is featured on this site and would like your music removed, please contact me directlyand I'll be happy to immediately remove the song(s).