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9th June 2010

10:33am: r.i.p. tinyblog 2001-2010

I wrote here in the tinyblog for about seven years starting back when having a personal blog was a pretty novel thing. I wrote some stuff that not even my mother would be interested, but I did write some pretty good stories at times, both fictional and non-fictional. So, I thought I'd put together a "best-of" so anyone who's interested can see some of my favorite stuff without needing to comb through hundreds of old entries.

tinyblog history

Sadly I did not archive the first blogger version of the tinyblog design, but it featured a photo of Buddhist teacher Thrangu Rinpoche.

Then, for a long time I used this "cowboy looking at a rainbow" design.

This is what it looked like for most of its natural history, before I got all simple and XHTML on it. I took the photos of young Aidan with a real film camera, and he became the tinyblog logo for many years.

Some people wonder why I call it the tinyblog. Because it's tiny.

true stories


A couple of stories from when I lived with a young boy named Sam and a young girl named Rowan. One where Rowan explains how to be grown up, and another where Sam explains how I should determine his preferences.

A heartbreaking story about my one-time neighbor and his mentally ill wife.

A three part story about how I saw the movie What's New Pussycat with some porn actors, and then had a couple of strange experiences afterwards wandering around Seattle late at night. (Part II) (Part III)

A story about how a guy found redemption.

An amazing true story about how my Buddhist teacher exposed a CIA plot to infiltrate student groups in the mid 60's.

Another Buddhist story, a longer photo article that I gave its own page on tinyplace, about when my little sister went into a three year Buddhist retreat. I still love this story myself.

The first year I went to burning man I photodocumented my experience. Boring right? Well, some of the photos and stories are actually really spectacular!

Also photodocumented the process of making honey with my mom in 2005... go through the pictures one by one and they tell the story in captions.

And the last of the true stories and one of my all-time favorites about a time I drank with homeless kids in Freeway park and heard some words of wisdom.

fictional stories

I loved writing little microfiction, or sudden fiction on the tinyblog and wrote stories about:

A vegan and a homeless guy.

A guy who chuckles at a childhood memory after being shot.

A skinny kid, told in three acts with dialog only.

And last, but not least, a modern fairytale about two beans.


This is a "found", aka. "ripped off" poem I wrote interviewing Aidan, the original tinyblog boy, at about the time the masthead photo was taken. I love it.

This is where most of the pieces I used to do at poetry slams live, including actual mp3's of me performing them.

Then (thankfully very short) poems, respectively, about apostrophes, the end, autumn haikus, sledding, limes, and the very next moment.

Also, a tabular poem my sister wrote about abandoning all the girls' names she had now that she was going to become a nun.

And last, in 2004 I made a cool Christmas card with little sketches, and some of my favorite poems I've ever written. (Note: it's a 400k pdf, it's pretty!)

wierd stuff, surveys, parties and abandoned things

Before evite and facebook, it was super cool to make a custom web page for your party. I did this several times and the invites are pretty cool. Ben's Invention Party, a kissing party that never happened, an early bonfire party where I introduced my overexplaining FAQ style,

I made a fan page for a girl who said she really wanted a fan page. Jessetastic, you are still awesome! I will always maintain your fan page!

A blog that a friend and I were going to do where people finish a story exquisite corpse style called The Launching Point.

Back in the early aughts, when people were sending all these email surveys like "What kind of ice cream do you like, etc. etc." so I made a survey with the questions that I really wanted to know about people (at the time) and posted a page with the questions and some of my favorite responses. Feel free to email me the survey if you'd like to do it! If you have some funny answers I'll even add them to the page.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

23rd November 2009

11:28pm: I'm curious.

I still get weird fan mail for old entries sometimes, but does anyone actually subscribe to / check here anymore?

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

14th October 2009

12:46pm: the power of fan mail

Someone found the tinyblog googling for tortellini the other day, and found me on facebook to send me the first-in-a-goddamn-long-time fan mail.

She told me about her blog, with a hilarious post about her first goatherding experience.

So, I decided to maybe, possibly do a tinyblog post every once in a while.

It's hard because now I've got a girlfriend I have to be careful not to embarrass by writing "interesting" personal stories. It's amazing how difficult that makes it to write the tinyblog.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

23rd January 2009

1:23pm: Completely Official
I needed some sort of dumb project to break my "poster's block" since I have two blogs I can't bear to post to.  So, I present to you Completely Official, wherein I create completely official badges based on whatever pops into my fucking mind.

21st January 2009

10:24am: The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me!
My choice.

For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:

I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
What I create will be just for you.
It'll be done this calendar year.
I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.
You have no clue what it's going to be.

The catch: You have to put this in your journal as well.

(This may be one of the first of these Ive done, but the opportunity to have something made by bittercrow  broke me.)

28th October 2008

12:08pm: the sweet snob

Some of you have told me that you really like the music reviews here on the tinyblog, and it's become a big part of what I've been doing. So big, in fact, that it kind of eclipsed the daily storytelling that the tinyblog was originally about.

So, I finally decided to do what I've wanted to do for a long time and take the plunge. I started a brand new blog to put all of my music and film reviews, and it's called The Sweet Snob:


Please head over and subscribe! It's the new way people read blogs now people.

To LJ users, sorry, but I'm not going to be able to create an LJ mirror of that one. I'm not sure if you're a non-paid user if you can put regular blogs on your friend's page, but consider using a feed reader like Google Reader, if you have a gmail account, you already have it. It's just like a friends page for your non-lj blogs.

Now, the tinyblog will go back to being about my photos, my life, my stories... you know, me me me.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

19th September 2008

11:22am: instant message to an it contractor who's been dodging my question

a) Yes, I checked in those shell scripts we were talking about and forgot I did, now all the running executables that serve an [Product] function are checked into CVS for sure.

b) Yes, I checked in those shell scripts, but I think there's probably still some floating out there and investigation would take a real HelpDesk job handed to me by craig to be worth doing.

c) No, I haven't checked in the shell scripts but I do remember them and will soon.

d) No, I haven't checked in the shell scripts, and although I vaguely remember the conversation, I have no idea what shell scripts I was talking about anymore. Do we really have to deal with this?

e) [Product] is a totally fucked product and I rue the day I ever got involved with it. Can't you just fix some bugs like a nice developer and stop trying to wrangle the horrific mess of an IT situation around this product? It would make my life a lot easier.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

31st August 2008

9:56pm: some things i meant to mention, mostly about music

On my deck
(me on my porch)

regarding team gina

Last night I went to a lesbian dance party called Lick! and saw like, the best lesbian rap group ever, called Team Gina. They sounded a lot more practiced live than they do in the MySpace recordings, and they blew me away.

Especially because they rapped about the "olecranon" (the anatomical word for your elbow) which I thought was badass because I wrote a poem with "occiput" in it. I went up and told them I thought it was cool and she said she was a massage therapist. So, big ups to massage therapist rappers. I'd love to do what they're doing!

regarding Ryan Chapman:

Made a new friend recently, and we were feeling each other on the good-music-and-good-weed tip. I went over to his house for like a "first friend date" and we got crunk on the vaporizer and listened to LP's on his nice setup. Here's what we played:

Big Star - 3rd: Femme Fatale
Talking Heads - Fear of Music
Bowie - Changes: John, I'm Only Dancing
Spoon - Gimme Fiction: Turn My Camera On / My Mathematical Mind
Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago: Flume
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Film Score
Panda Bear - Person Pitch: Take Pills / Side D
Al Green - Stay
Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Smith - If...: TBTF / Fucked Up Kids
Okkervil River - The Stage Names: You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man
Dodo Bird - Beware of the Maniacs: Horny Hippies
Shearwater - Rook: Home Life
Plants and Animals - Parc Avenue: Good Friend
The Born Ruffians - Red, Yellow and Blue: Little Garcon
some little Earlimart single with a Wings cover on it
Spiritualized - A&E: Sitting on Fire / Death Take Your People

Then, just the other night, I went to a show for the band plays bass for: Red Jacket Mine, a nice Ryan Adamsish alt-country band with some good, solid chops.

Ryan and I walked outside to smoke a bowl after his set. He mentioned that we should go talk to Benny, a guy who lives on the street in Fremont and does art by stacking rocks. I'd heard of the dude from a few newspaper articles, notably this Stranger feature about Benny.

We did indeed find him and he did know Ryan for sure. He took a liking to me and I'm sure would have been happy to shoot the shit and smoke my weed all night. He read me from his book of contemporary Arabic poetry. He read first in Arabic, and then translated on the fly, which was quite a treat for me. Intense poems read grandiosely!

Then he busted out three different harmonicas and played us a tune before we went back to the High Dive.

When we got back , I was fairly successful with possibly the cheesiest pickup line ever (that was seriously meant to be a sincere compliment and not a pickup line, she seemed to be there with someone affectionately):

Me: How does it feel the be the cutest girl here?
She: I wouldn't know.
Me: Hm. I guess not.
She: *surprised look*
Me: Well look around. All I can do is marvel. You look good.

Then I walked away. No problem. But as I sat and danced, she ended up standing next to me and we talked for a few hours. We were vibing and she stuck to me like glue for most of the show. Then, during a long moment where I helped the band load equipment I took too long without letting her know I was still there and she went home. Hm. It was nice for one night that didn't have to turn into anything.

regarding going home

I went home last weekend to visit my mom and got to meet her beautiful new dog and catch up. We went to some cool shows ourselves, including a bluegrass festival out there, and a Dub show (!?!) played by my mom's across-the-street neighbors. They were pretty amazing, and I'm not even a huge dub fan. I'm allergic to too much JahJah talk, you know? But whatever, I hope my mom does indeed send me a The Reggies T-Shirt.

I'm not sure whether people can pick their parents, but I'm either glad I picked my mom, or damn lucky. Met a lot of people on the planet and not many as cool as my mom.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

25th August 2008

11:20am: the end of comments at tinyplace.org

livejournal user pic vs. tinyplace logo

Some of you know this, but I post this blog in two locations. Since 2000 I've had the blog here at http://tinyplace.org/tinyblog. This is the main home of the tinyblog.

But, for the last several years, a bunch of my friends had livejournals, and kept an active community there. So, in order to let them easily read the tinyblog, I installed a Movable Type plugin that crossposts all my entries to an exact copy of the tinyblog called tinylj.

Over time, the only people besides my mom and occasional old friend who comments on the main tinyblog are 1 million spammers. Most people who comment, comment to the livejournal, even though the tinyplace.org location is the real permanent record of posts.

So, sorry to the occasional person who comments on the main blog, but I'm turning comments off there. No one reads them anyway, so you can just email me at danieltalsky@gmail.com and I can save myself a lot of spam administration.

Thanks to both my tinyblog and tinylj readers... this blog has been an awesome place to tell my stories over the years and I'm sure it will for years to come.

One last note: a lot of people didn't quite get the end of the story of my last post. Grau and I just agreed not to talk about politics anymore, and our friendship has been great. Grau is an awesome guy and he just misunderstood me and I think my post helped him a lot to understand. It was funny, at the time, all of his blog readers commented on his original "our friendship is over" post with resounding "hell yeah!"'s. Only one person told him they thought it was shitty.

Ok, I'll put the 4th wall back in now.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

8th June 2008

11:27pm: now shaved

First Shorn 08 Shot
Originally uploaded by danieltalsky
There we go. Not too bad. Thom didn't draw even a drop of blood. I was breathing pretty heavy at first though.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

6th June 2008

2:10pm: i'm moving and i'm cutting off my beard

Bare-faced Daniel photos to come, but here's the only pictures I have of my new place (the craigslist ad I found the apartment on is gone because I already signed the lease).

The view from outside:


The lovely kitchen:


View from the deck:


The wee living toom:


[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

14th April 2008

10:40pm: requiem for ross

Actually it's a little pathetic when I pour some of my coke on the ground and say it's for my dead homies. Cause... I don't have that many dead homies.

Ross is one of them though. I was friends with Lauren Beth Yockey for awhile before I met Ross Yockey. She had told me about her parents, and then abrubtly they moved to Seattle and I got to know them. Joanne with her quiet southern dignity, and Ross with his enthusiastic lust for life, and intense curiousity.

I was a writer and so we gravitated together. His curiousity was insatiable and he would always ask a million questions of me. He could not be satisfied by shallow answers,

When I wrote a book of poetry as an elaborate Christmas card, and gave it to people as a Christmas gift, he stopped there in Beth's living room and read it, in its entirety. He looked at me with a devilish look and read a poem aloud for me, as if it were an imperative.

One time, when I was talking to him about marraige. (I was engaged and asking for advice.) He told me, "It's best to just do whatever your wife wants. It works out better that way." I chuckled at him, but he was right. Joanne said, "You just have to keep talking."

Ross has been on the way out for awhile. The last 3 parties I saw him at, he had a tank of O2 in tow, and it hurt me to see him, swollen and dying. I asked Beth if I should call Joanne, and she said I should call Ross and see him. But I fucked up. I missed my chance to spend a moment with him, and soak up what he had to say one last time. Or provide a moment of comfort to him. Whichever.

Shit. Now I have someone to pour out Chardonnay for. Ross, thanks man, you raised up a good woman, and you left two good women behind. I miss you so much already.

[the tinyblog] (Permanent link to this entry)

28th March 2008

11:01am: reviews for anne

I gave a friend at work some music. I said I regretted I couldn't give her a little reference to everything I handed her, so I opened up an excel spreadsheet of an export of the albums I gave her, and wrote quick mini-reviews of all the albums I gave her. It only took me about a half an hour off and on, but I liked the result:

Artist Album Mini-Review
Suzanne Vega 99.9F Suzanne Vega, back in the day, did a somewhat industrial music inspired
album. Blood Makes Noise was the famous song, but
I prefer the heartbreaking In Liverpool.
Yeasayer All Hour Cymbals Saw these guys live. They are going to be big, I think. The first 4
songs on the album are my favorites. They did
2080 on Conan O'Brien and Conan was impressed. The rocking harmonies are
even better live.
Brenda Belcher Another Autumn Day My friend Brenda Belcher and her sweet, amazing songs. They're better
with her storytelling about each song, but even
without these songs are awesome.
Outkast Aquemini Among the best hip hop albums ever. Easygoing, deals with social issues,
has some fantastic and sexy raps. This is the
pinnacle of their career.
Suzanne Vega Beauty & Crime The newest Vega… not her best but it has some amazing songs. Anniversary
and Ludlow Street are my favorites.
Charizma and Peanut Butter Wolf Big Shots This will be the only Charizma rap album ever, cause Charizma got shot.
His rap totally inspires me to rap though. It's
friendly, sweet and smart. I LOVE methods, ice cream truck, and apple juice
break, but it's all good.
Camera Obscura Biggest Bluest Hi-Fi A mellower Camera Obscura album.
Neko Case Blacklisted Possibly the most pop-friendly Neko Case album. Deep Red Bells, I Missed
the Point, Lady Pilot are probably my favorites.
Brett Dennen Brett Dennen Just started getting into this. Cool jazzy vocals.
My Brightest Diamond Bring Me The Workhorse This lady sings backup for Sufjan. Her own band is much darker and
Nick Drake Bryter Layter You listen to this album and realize how much it must have influenced
"The Sea and Cake". This makes you
realize how ahead of his time Nick Drake really was. I only got into this
album recently and I was really impressed.
Neko Case Canadian Amp A little known EP. "In California" is one of her most amazing
songs and well worth the price of admission.
Michelle Shocked Captain Swing Possibly Michelle's definitive work. A bunch of songs I love to memorize
and sing.
The Black Keys Chulahoma: The Songs Of Junior Kimbrough (EP) One of the best parts of the album is Junior's widow Mildred, leaving a
touching message on their answering machine.
Awesome album
Erin McKeown Distillation Erin McKeown's scrappy early work. Blackbirds is one of her most kickass
M. Ward Duet for Guitars #2 Mellow re-release of early M. Ward recordings.
The Avett Brothers Emotionalism Some amazing bluegrass inspired music. These guys are coming to town.
The first 4 songs or so are some of the best.
M. Ward End of Amnesia M. Ward album I'm not that familiar with.
Bon Iver For Emma, Forever Ago I don't have to tell you about Bon Iver. You're already kicking yourself
you missed the chance to see him live.
Neko Case Fox Confessor Brings The Flood Case's most recent masterwork. Where to start? Maybe the intensity of
Hold On, Hold on, or the cryptic power of The
Lion's Jaw?
Grizzly Bear Friend Grizzly Bear's EP of remixes is maybe more like their live experience
than their LP. Lovely stuff. I saw them open for
Feist and they were a pleasant surprise.
Neko Case & Her Boyfriends Furnace Room Lullaby The album that first broke Neko Case, and probably still the best.
Pretty much wall-to-wall amazing. The mellow
classics are Porchlght and No Need to Cry. South Tacoma Way is the emotional
powerhouse. Everything is good.
Jeff Buckley Grace The main Jeff Buckley.
Hercules and Love Affair Hercules and Love Affair This is one of the hottest cuts of the year left. This is the best
modern disco I could have hoped for, sung by a
smoking transsexual.
Of Montreal Icons, Abstract Thee [EP] The companion EP to Hissing Fauna. It's got some sweeter, more personal
Radiohead In Rainbows Probably the first Radiohead I've really loved. 15 Step, Nude and
Reckoner are the songs that consistently blow me
Joanna Newsom Joanna Newsom & The Ys Street Band The only new song Joanna has done since Ys is Colleen.
Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators Keep Reachin' Up (universal pub) Just starting to get into this. I like it.
Jesca Hoop Kismet Never heard of Jesca Hoop before until a friend gave me this album.
She's kinda Regina Spectory, in a good way.
Dreams in the Hollow, Seed of Wonder and Intelligentactile 101 are the good
Feist Let It Die The album that really broke Fiest. One of my favorite albums. I wore a
groove in it right when The Reminder came out.
Perfect timing.
Camera Obscura Let's Get Out Of This Country My favorite Camera Obscura album… thank god they learned how to rock a
little. The first two songs and the last three
are my favorites on the album but I've come to love Dory Previn too for some
Nick Drake Made To Love Magic This was the first Nick Drake I heard and I still love the orchestral
backing on some of these songs. Made to love
Magic made quite an impression on me.
Beck Midnite Vultures This was Beck's hilarious take on R&B. The mostly silly Debra is a
Battles Mirrored What is it? Metal? Prog? Noise? It's brilliant.
Feist Monarch (Lay Down Your Jeweled Head) Actually the first Feist solo album. I don't even know if it's in
release anymore. Not as masterful as her later
stuff… less distinctive. But, Monarch and The Mast are pretty impressive.
Erykah Badu New Amerykah, Pt. 1: 4th World War Haven't heard it yet but I've heard it's good.
Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala The album that made me love Jens. The best of it is just so amazing.
I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You, Postcard
to Nina, Kanske Ar…, and the Opposite of Hellelujia is the way to go.
Beck One Foot in the Grave My favorite Beck album, released right around the time of loser and
Stereopathic Soulmanure. It's sort of a tribute
to American old time music. It has original songs and covers, and is
probably the most wholehearted album of his ever. Erika likes this album and
that made a real impression on me. A hidden gem.
Feist Open Season: Remixes And Collabs Remixes mostly of Let it Die tracks. Some great stuff on here.
Including a cover of a Peaches song, who Feist
used to tour with under the moniker 'Baby Bitch'. I think she used to
operate a sock puppet onstage or something.
M. Ward Post-War Just a hell of an album. M. Ward is one of the classics. This has songs
I want to learn and sing to my grandkids or
Robert Plant/Alison Krauss Raising Sand I wasn't impressed by the idea of this album, but in execution it was a
pleasant surprise.
Sunset Rubdown Random Spirit Lover Heard part of a cut from this as the intro to an NPR show, which was a
surprise. Strange, exuberant rock.
Born Ruffians Red, Yellow & Blue I have mixed feelings about this album. I love Little Garcon though.
The Black Keys Rubber Factory I think this is my favorite Black Keys album.
The National Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers A little known The National album. Slipping Husband and the amazing 90
Mile Water Wall are my favorites.
Michelle Shocked Short Sharp Shocked The other essential Michelle Shocked. There's some serious classics in
Erin McKeown Sing You Sinners Erin McKeown, out of the blue, comes out with an album of all 1920's
hits. Rhode Island and Viper are my favorites
DJ Gyngyvytus Skeet Spirit: A Crunk Tribute To Radiohead A crunk tribute to Radiohead. What else is there to day?
Suzanne Vega Songs In Red And Gray Not the strongest modern Vega, but there's SERIOUS gems. When I saw her
live she told people they could shout up songs
they wanted to hear stories about. I asked her about Harbor Song. She
stammered for awhile and finally refused. It was very strange.
Outkast Southernplayalistic adillacmuzik The debut Outkast album and possibly my favorite. This was the true
genesis of all the southern rapping. Dre and Big
Boi come at you with mellow, smart raps and show themselves off as some of
the smoothest motherfuckers on the planet. On this and Aquemeni there's some
of the coolest little skits in rap music.
Big Boi Speakerboxxx Speaks for itself.
Outkast Stankonia The album that made OutKast famous. Probably the last album I really got
into but Miss Jackson was probably the first song
of theirs I heard. I like "We love deez hoes" and of course the
completely psychic "Bombs over Baghdad".
Fleet Foxes Sun Giant I am SO waiting impatiently for the Fleet Foxes EP and going to see them
on April 18th. I am in love with this EP and
listen to it almost every day. I start at Mykonos and listen to the last 2
songs, then I start over and listen to it again from the beginning. Ep's are
too short!
Zap Mama Supermoon Didn't expect an album this sophisticated out of her. This one is my
favorite I think.
Beirut The Flying Club Cup I guess they're really getting serious. One of the best albums of 2007.
One I'll be drinking to for years to come.
Outkast The Love Below Got huge and for good reason. Hey Ya is one of the best pop songs of all
time. I love the hilarious Dracula's Wedding
(with Kelis!) and Valentine's Day might be my favorite. Oh wait, I like the
ending rap, A Life in the Day a hell of a lot.
Joanna Newsom The Milk-Eyed Mender Joanna Newsom's older songs, just her and a harp. Man that girl can rock
a turn of phrase, and if you can deal with the
shrillness of her voice, there is a LOT to love here. The Book of Right-On
is a good entry point. If you can possibly stomach it, it's worth it to feel
the lyrical richness of these songs.
Bettye Lavette the Scene of the Crime Old school, baby.
Iron & Wine The Shepherd's Dog Just, wow. I never liked him before but boy did he win me over. One of
the most amazing albums of its kind ever. Way to
nail it. Beautiful songs beginning to end. There isn't one weak moment.
Totally spectacular.
Okkervil River The Stage Names Kinda whiney voice, but this album is surprisingly good. Plus One and A
Girl in Port is a good mellow starting point.
Unless it's Kicks, and You Can't Take the Hand are the rocking songs. Great,
great lyrics and songs that really grow on you. Suzanne is kind of a stinker
for me but everything else is good
Neko Case The Tigers Have Spoken. Her live album. She does not ever use auto-tune and this is her real
live vocal recording. Plenty of total gems on
here. John the Baptist, and I love the Loretta Lynn cover "Rated
Neko Case & Her Boyfriends The Virginian The first Neko Case, before she got famous. The most countrified. I
love High on Cruel, and Thanks a Lot.
Portishead Third 10 years later and they make an amazing album that actually breaks new
ground. Sort of like a little metal in their Trip
Hop or something. A worthwhile and kind of challenging album.
M. Ward Transistor Radio The newest album only barely misses the greatness of Post War.
Vampire Weekend Vampire Weekend My god I'm sick of talking about them, but the album is pop perfection.
I've listened to it 300 times already.
Edie Brickell Volcano Edie Brickell's last solo thang is one of my secret favorites. Every
song is wonderful to me. Cool mellow jazzy guitar
and the best of her songwriting. Smoking, sexy songs.
Thao We Brave Bee Stings and All Just getting into this. Who can hate a lady who has a band called The
Get Down Stay Down. This album is a pleasure.
Erin McKeown We Will Become Like Birds Mellow mid-career album. Not my favorite but I LOVE Beautful I Guess.
I'm a sucker for that kind of percussion.
Marvin Gaye What's Going On (Deluxe Edition) The classic.
Joanna Newsom Ys One of the most amazing albums to be released this decade and I am NOT
kidding about that. Emily and Only Skin are
possibly my favorites but there's not a dull moment. She sings lyrics in
almost every second of her 10 minute songs, and what lyrics they are.
Emily, I saw you last night, by the river. I dreamed you were skipping
little stones across the surface of the water, frowning at the angle where
they were lost and slipped under forever. Like a mud-clud, mica-spangled,
like the sky'd been breathing on a mirror."

[the tinyblog]
(Permanent link to this entry)

4th March 2008

10:16am: okkervil river - the stage names


This sat on my hard drive for quite some time, since the first 30 seconds of it really turned me off. Seriously, I was like, "What kind of emo crap is this?" But, you know, pitchfork gave it a really good review and I'm a sucker for that. Good thing I am, though, because this album is truly beautiful. Even that first emo song.

The Stage Names sets the stage in that first song by comparing life to a movie. Not a brand new theme, right? Life is not a movie, or perhaps, right? I wasn't too impressed.

But then, in the second song, Okkervil River makes it clear how they're gonna roll:

What gives this mess some grace unless it's kicks, man
Unless it's fiction
Unless it's sweat or it's songs

What hits against this chest unless it's a sick man's hand
From some midlevel band
He's been driving too long

That's right, he called them a midlevel band, and still is into it for kicks and fiction right? You and me both, baby. Check out the singer's solo acoustic version, which is pretty sweet.

Then, he hits his stride for real in Plus Ones, where he talks about the limits to numbered things like tears, luftballoons, and ways to leave your lover:

No one wants to hear about your 97th tear
So dry your eyes or let it go uncried, my dear
I am all out of love to mouth and to your ear
And not above letting a love song disappear before it's written
and then the (for me) total showstopper of A Girl In Port.
Let fall your soft and swaying skirt
Let fall your shoes
Let fall your shirt
I'm not the ladykilling sort
Enough to hurt
A girl in port

Even the most precious and potentially saccharine song, "Savannah Smiles", about accidentally reading one page of his daughter's diary and uncovering some kind of abuse is still a clever and gentlehearted song.

There's something special about this one... it's been probably since Iron and Wine dropped Shepherd's Dog that I've heard something so lyrically rich and sincere. The music's not bad either. ;)

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29th February 2008

8:25am: vampire weekend - vampire weekend


Now that I'm in the stride of Vampire Weekend's debut album: Vampire Weekend, I can listen to it almost ceaselessly, kind of like many people can Paul Simon's Graceland, which is practically this album's spiritual father.

In Graceland, though, Paul Simon hired a bunch of African musicians to accompany his band. Vampire Weekend's percussionist, Chris Tomson, does a great job of African pop drumming all by himself.

It's not really African music though, any more than The Police was really reggae music. (Vampire Weekend's song "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" could easily be a Police song, if The Police could write such smart, snappy lyrics.)

It is good though, if all pop music were like this, I would listen to more pop music. I almost wanted to dislike it, since I got the impression it was some kind of teeny bopper sensation. It's pretty difficult to dislike, though. Even though I figured it was going to be arrogant college kids overstating the importance of their own worldview, eventually I realized that they make fun of it as much as they explain it.

Can you really hate a band that writes a song ("I Stand Corrected") about sincerely admitting a mistake? When it all comes down, it's just a sweet, smart album with fine musicianship that makes you want to just leave it in the CD player again after it's done.

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20th February 2008

9:52am: late to the odb game


Of course people have been lauding this album for a dozen years, dirty is long dead, and there's a rap on the new Wu-Tang album lamenting his death (shoulda taken it easy on the Tramadol and coke, dirty), but for me it's a sudden revelation.

For those who have no idea who Russell Tyrone Jones aka. Ol' Dirty Bastard aka. Ol' Dirty Doggie aka. Dirt McGirt aka. Sweet Baby Jesus aka. Freeloading Rusty aka. a bunch of other things even is, he is one of the rappers of the famous Wu-Tang Clan, one of the most famous rap groups of all kinds.

I've heard him rap before, on Wu Tang albums, but it wasn't until I really started listening to Return to the 36 Chambers that I really got the idea of the explosion of madness he really creates.

Method Man, another Wu Tang rapper, once said that Dirty's style had "no father", but I have to disagree. There is a clear father to his style in the crazy howling and singing of Screamin' Jay Hawkins. Even if you're not familiar with Hawkins you've probably at least heard his insane version of "I Put A Spell on You". He sings the standard and deconstructs it into a raw series of howls and growls.

Dirty keeps this tradition, but adds his own strange rapping into the mix. His subject matter is often sexual or mildly, playfully violent, but more often is just his own strange free association on any topic. But no line is ever just spoken straightforwardly. Dirty keeps you guessing with sudden changes of tone, volume and delivery.

In any one song he alternately gurgles, growls, sings like a drunkard, howls in surprise as if the situation he's rapping about is totally new to him, shouts, whispers, makes up new words, does impromptu scat... in short... it's never boring.

That aside, the album itself is great. He sets the tone by pretending to introduce himself on stage, as Russell Jones trying to fauningly introduce Ol' Dirty Bastard, showering him with compliments, but then at the last second forgetting his name and instead introducing James Brown. Finally he remembers who he's introducing, and finally finishes with "I love that guy!"

Then, he takes the stage as ODB himself and begins what sounds like it's going to be a touching ballad with a confessional gone wrong, talking about a girl who gave him gonorrhea twice that he knew for ten minutes. He begins to sing his horrible crooner song about oral sex, and then finally says, "Just kidding, listen to the album, because it's bangin'"

And it is bangin'. RZA is the producer and does it in a simple, amazingly mellow way. ODB clowns and sings in a way that sounds accidental, but with a few repeat listens it's clear that his strange patter and singing is pretty crafted.

Such a strange, confusing, beautiful album. If you ever liked it, give it another listen.

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13th February 2008

1:26am: my facebook groups
Join this group, invite all of you friends, and then leave.i dont care how old i am.....i still love Tom & Jerry..:D:dI skip stairs when i go up themMoleskinerieYes . . . I Padiddle Kids Who Hid In Dep't Store Clothing Racks While their Mom Was ShoppingFacebook is an Evil Postmodern Construction Relegating Life to a Video GameDeep Thoughts by Jack HandyHOMESTAR RUNNER!!!Be careful what you say... It may remind me of song that needs to be sung.Curse Your Sudden But Inevitable BetrayalHugs Make the World a Better PlaceI noticed that you're a Badass... I too am a Badass.Fuck All Those Kids That Won't Give The Trix Rabbit His Own Fuckin CerealI think patterns on scantrons are suspiciousI join groups mostly for the thrill of agreeing with the name publicly.Chipotle: Usually When You Roll Something This Good, It's Illegal!Seattle FoodiesBig/Thick Girls and the Guys Who Love Us!!!If this group reaches 100,000 my boyfriend will quit World of WarcraftIf I were an enzyme i would be DNA helicase so i could unzip your genesUnlike 99.99% of the Facebook population, I was born in the 70s.I hate the "celebrity" voices on the FerryLibraries and LibrarianscornerhostYongey Mingyur RinpocheWhen I was your age, Pluto was a planet.Free Rice ChallengeNuns on the RunGo Dietgirl Go!

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6th February 2008

4:24pm: i invoked this emily cover into being

Wasn't I just bitching that there wasn't any real Joanna Newsom cover from her Ys album? Well, there you go... somebody actually did a real produced recording of a Newsom cover, of the song Emily.

Pretty good, I must say... although I wish he would have kept more of the song's natural quirkiness in. He makes it almost as close to like a regular indie rock song as he possibly can, which is kind of cool, but sometimes he misses out on some easy opportunities to bring up the intensity a notch in the way Joanna does so effortlessly.

It's still an amazing song, and I hope some people can listen to it and vibe with it in a way that they wouldn't otherwise be able to because they just can't get over Newsom's voice.

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30th January 2008

12:04pm: a joanna newsom appeal


God knows I've gingerly put Joanna Newsom's unreal masterpiece of an album into the hands of many. A couple have totally felt it, but many more have not. Its often the sound of her voice that's the challenge. It's challenging, to be sure, and there's no use talking about it anymore.

I almost hoped that someone would do a magnificent cover of a Ys song I could use to demonstrate the astoundingness of her storytelling and wordplay, but alas, when people cover her, they generally attack the shorter, more coverable songs on Milk-Eyed Mender: Some guy does a pretty good job of The Sprout and the Bean, Some guy does a passable and kinda sweet job of Sadie, and the band Final Fantasy does a cool electronic / violin version of Peach, Plum, Pear.

I pulled out the album the other day and just dove in right at its middle act, at Sawdust and Diamonds. It's such a pleasurable part of the album, and it occurred to me that maybe new or reluctant listeners should try this, skipping the enthusiastic Emily and the over played and over discussed Monkey and Bear.

The story that begins with Sawdust and ends with the final howls of Cosmia is a story all its own. And people... oh ye of little patience, it's not like she's writing music for Mensa members only. Sure there's the little Shakespeare reference here and there, but this is not James Joyce.

It is genuinely sweet and funny, and as you listen to it a few times, just let its little phrases, jokes and turns of phrase come to you in tiny bits. It's more accessible than it first appears. C'mon... Give Joanna Newsom another chance. She's worth it.

Note: I did found an aussie singing this kind of sweet Emily and this somewhat more talented performer doing a fairly impressive cover of Sawdust and Diamonds. These really illustrate how difficult it is to adapt and perform these songs.

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15th January 2008

3:57pm: 2007 - music I'm still chewing on

There's a lot of great music (like Jens Lekman) that I never quite got to in time to rank among my favorites, but I'm continuing to listen to albums that were pretty damn good. Here's a little roundup:


White Williams - Smoke
Totally strange cover with girls smoking from a hookah and crying rainbow wax tears. Evidently Joe Williams saw some girl at a party who's boyfriend had just broken up with her. She was bawling her head off, but kept stopping to take hits of weed from this big hookah. He thought that was hilarious and made it into the concept of the album. It's kinda like a mellow T. Rex album with a lot of cool sonic experiments going on. It's classic rock at heart but has a prog rock face. It really is sweet and listenable and I find myself hearing something new and pleasing at every listen. The main misstep? Who really needed to cover "I Want Candy" again? Ugh. I hate that song.

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
A goddamn solid album that hit a lot of people's lists. Kinda like an old school Elton John / Billy Joel kinda modern rock scene with smart lyrics. There was only one slot for a band like this on the list and basically The National won the day. It shouldn't diminish that this is a damn enjoyable album.

Amon Tobin - Foley Room
I love Amon Tobin, and am glad to see him do a new album that's not a video game soundtrack. There's some great stuff in here. I especially like the track "Esther's", but it's not the kind of excellence of his best.


Burial - Untrue
I never even heard of the dub step genre, but some people are calling this their favorite album of the whole year, so I had to hear it. Turns out the guy who does Burial is totally anonymous and no one knows who it is. Anyway, the music is pretty damn cool... it's like a scratchy urban electronic music. I underestimated it, even so, for a long time, and I have to say the last half of the album is what I love. "Etched Headplate" is one of the most impressive and subtle sonic landscapes I heard all year.

Robert Plant / Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Who would have guessed? This is a beautiful album and more than just a VH1 cash-in. I have a feeling this will end up being a lot of hipsters' secret love.

Clipse - Hell Hath No Fury
Tough, vicious cocaine rapping over fresh Neptune beats. Why listen? Good rhymes, good beats. Momma, I'm so sorry, I'm so obnoxious: got two hot rocks in my pocket. It's bratty, amoral, conflicted and kinda fucked up. That's what makes it good rap.


Avett Brothers - Emotionalism
Amazing emotional bluegrass-inspired music. If the whole album were as good as it's 4 best tracks it would have been a shoe-in. "The Weight of Lies" is just amazing:

Disappear from your hometown
go and find the people that you know
show them all of your good parts
leave town when the bad ones start to show
Go and wed a woman,
a pretty girl that you never met
Make sure she knows you love her well
but don't make any other promises.

I've thought that very same thought before myself.

Wow, I have more of these than I thought. I may have to do one more roundup. Plus, I keep working through other people's 2007 lists. It's like gold!

I'm ready for 2008 albums anytime!

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8th January 2008

2:14am: jens lekman - night falls over kortadela


Isn't he dreamy, folks? Let's hear it for Jens Lekman. This man is tough as nails. Okay, he's not. He's a Swedish 25 year old with a face I want to pinch.

He thinks he's God's gift to women of course, but you know, he probably is. That's a hell of a baritone. And some musical swells that have me fit to cry. I mean, who can sing a cold-ass song like, "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You" (seriously, that's brutal) and make it sound... actually kind of romantic?

This was released in 2007! Why didn't I hear about it? Oh, I did. A bunch of people said it was good. I was busy. And who wants to listen to some feeb named Jens Lekman anyway?

Edit: I forgot to say the first time. "A Postcard to Nina", and "Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig" are really the songs that prove the album. So if you happen to work in the same building as me and are on my ITunes share then you can totally consider yourself lucky.

Edit2: I forgot to say the second time, that it's pronounced more like "yense" than "jenz". I wasn't sure but he actually says it in "A Postcard to Nina".

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26th December 2007

10:31am: other good best music of 2007 lists

The New York Times list is shockingly similar to my own.

No one actually picked the Metacritic list... it's just aggregated from scores of other reviews, like Metacritic itself. I am totally a Metacritic snob and check them for almost every single movie or album I'm interested in.

The Gorilla vs. Bear list is cool, and has some stuff I have to check out.

Paste magazine sure liked The National. You know, it's a great damn album, but it's just not dangerous enough to be #1. Well, like Feist is...

I think Stylus magazine shut down right after posting their best of list. Too bad, I like stylus.

But, they ultimately lost out to the shocking online musical erudition and snobbiness that is Pitchfork Media. See their list on display, and I'm sure it will take me most of the year to work through the stuff of their picks I haven't read yet. It took me until just a few months ago to get through most of last year's list.

Update: Didn't mean to miss the local and lovely Abbey's end of year album list.

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21st December 2007

1:05pm: the best of 2007: feist - the reminder

#01: Feist - The Reminder


No album affected me musically and emotionally more than this one, and it came out in May. I was fresh from an emotional breakup, my little sister was coming out of a cloistered retreat after three years and I was professionally frustrated.

I was already starting to really love Feist when this album came out. I started listening to Open Season, her remixes album, and hearing her sing so beautifully on the Kings of Convenience's Riot on an Empty Street. Finally I got her real album Let It Die and it broke my heart a good 40 or 50 times. I was going through some romantic nonsense and it just poked the wound so lovingly I couldn't help but want more.

Then, The Reminder came out, was released at Starbucks, had the songs My Moon, My Man and 1234 featured in every commercial on the planet, and suddenly Feist was this VH1 soft hit machine who had sold out in every possible way.

I'm here to tell you why I don't care, why I love Feist, and why I think The Reminder was the best album all year.

To me, Feist is one of the finest vocalists of modern pop music. She's like the Bill Evans of vocals. Bill Evans is a jazz pianist. But, he's not all experimental and exciting like Theloneous Monk. His piano playing is so gentle, that if you're not paying attention, it sounds like he's playing the most generic of lounge music. It's background music. It's elevator music. But, people who listen closer hear something so passionate and exciting. Bill Evans plays like he doesn't care if you're there or not, and within his form of gentle piano music, he makes an entire expressive world.

Feist is like that... although she can be thrilling even on first listen. Take a song on Reminder, for instance, like Limit to your Love. This is the pinnacle of the album, in my opinion. She plays guitar sexily in perfect accord with the longing in her song. She hits vocal heights and croons softly in the same song. She accuses and pleads. She sounds like she's coming to the realization that "I can't read your smile, it should be written on your face, I'm pieceing it together, there's something out of place." while the song actually wears on.

Even though there's songs like My Moon, My Man, which was made to be a Zune commercial (but it really a hell of a song, and has a great video of its own), there's a totally uncompromising song like the very next one on the album "The Park" where she sings, almost a capella, with only birds chirping in the background, in a song almost like "Nothing Compares 2 U", chastising herself for walking back through the park, because she walked back through the park. She thought she saw her lover there, but of course it wasn't him, of course "it's not him who would come, cross the sea to surprise you, not him who would know, where in London to find you".

To me, The Reminder is almost perfect. It's the incredible blend of her singing, songwriting and guitar playing. If she made a million dollars from Starbucks and the Zune, great. If she puts out another album even half this good, then she's forgiven as far as I'm concerned.

(stay tuned for more 2007 music stuff)

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9:42am: best of 2007 #02: of montreal - hissing fauna, are you the destroyer?

#02: Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?


With a name like that, it's got to be good, right?

Of Montreal has been around for awhile, and has recorded a stunning 13 albums and EP's since they started recording in 1997. Kevin Barnes is their androgynous front man, and while he sounds like, so TOTALLY ghey, he's actually straight per him, and this album is about the implosion and aftermath of his breakup with his partner and baby momma. That doesn't stop him from totally getting made up so he looks fabulous and occasionally performing live in the nude.

His earlier work is some pretty clever storytelling stuff. A little too literal and precious for my tastes. I really started liking them when he kind of struck off on his own and recorded The Sunlandic Twins and Satanic Panic in the Attic. These songs were a little more sharply produced, catchy, bitchy, hook laden, and the kind of music you could get a nun to shake her bootie to. All of it pointed to a pretty enjoyable snack of a band until this year, when suddenly Kevin Barnes drops his atomic bomb in the form of Hissing Fauna.

There's some baby cooing, some gentle firecrackers, and Kevin Barnes launches into sort of a the Beatles-on-crack instrumentation and songs questioning family, god, and his own sanity. And manages to make really a hell of an album doing it.

Like the reverse kaleidoscope (black in the center, colors on the outside) on the cover of the album, Kevin walks us through every mood of loneliness from the elation of freedom, from turning every head in the joint, to being too lazy to burn down a church but wishing he could, to locking himself in an apartment for days. He says it so plainly it's almost like teenage poetry.

But... he makes such a lyrical and musical rollercoaster ride of it, I can't help but be pulled along by it. It's a great way to integrate electronic music, rock and pop music and still make something adventurous and operatic out of it.

I can see this album being too peppy for some... too uneven for others... too poppy for others... too dark for still some others. But for me I gotta break this one out every once in a while, and be fully bitchy and heartbroken, singing along:

I guess it would be nice
To give my heart to a god
But which one do i choose?
Oh, the church is filled with losers
Psycho or confused
I just want to hold the divine
In my hand and forget
all of the beauty's wasted.

All the way until he reminds us that, "Physics makes us all it's bitches."

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