My Concert Bucket List [Tune in Tuesday]


I have been fortunate and have had the opportunity to see most of my favorite bands in concert over the years. But there are still a few bands that I would do almost anything to see.

The Shins

Sea Legs

Arcade Fire

Keep the Car Running

My sad story: I worked for the Obama Campaign in 2008, so I was invited to the staff ball the day after the inauguration. I was in D.C. for the inauguration but my husband wanted to get back to work so we flew home the day of the staff ball instead. Guess who played the staff ball? Arcade Fire. *kicks self*

Ingrid Michaelson

You and I (with Jason Mraz)

Another Sad Story: Ingrid Michaelson and Matt Nathanson did a small appearance together at Borders in Ann Arbor a few years ago. I considered going but did not. I have since fallen absolutely in love with her. *kicks self some more*

What shows are you dying to see?

Head over to Greads! for more Tune in Tuesday goodness.

The Decemberists [Tune in Tuesday]

The Decemberists are another of my favorite shows ever. I saw them in Orlando two years ago and they were totally worth the 2-hour drive home at 2am (thank you again 24-hour Starbucks in Lakeland). Colin Meloy does a fantastic job interacting with the audience and it just makes for a very fun show. Here is one of my favorites, Sons and Daughters:

Check out the rest of the Tune in Tuesday posts over at Greads!

The National [Tune in Tuesday]

When I think back to my best concert experiences, The National easily jumps to the front. I saw them last fall and I think I was on a concert-high for three days. I’ve already blogged about it actually.

They closed the fantastic night with an sing-a-long version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks which might be my favorite concert experience ever. This is the video from the show I was at in Orlando last year:

And, because that video doesn’t give you an accurate taste of everyday The National, here is the totally-strange music video for Conversation 16:

Thanks to Ginger at Greads! for hosting Tune in Tuesday.

Konstantine [Tune in Tuesday]

Although I always look forward to listening to her selections, I’ve never participated in Tune in Tuesday at GReads. But I happen to love this month’s theme: the Concert Edition. So I am going to share with you a few songs this month from the best shows I have ever been to. This week is a band I adored in college and was lucky enough to see before they morphed into Jack’s Mannequin, etc. Here is Konstantine by Something Corporate:


Record Collecting for Girls [Book Review]

Record Collecting for GirlsTitle: Record Collecting for Girls: Unleashing Your Inner Music Nerd, One Album at a Time
Author: Courtney E. Smith
Genre: Nonfiction; Music
ISBN: 0547502230
Pages: 240
Year: 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 4/5

Summary/My Thoughts:

Music lovers. I have a new book for you. Have you ever noticed that most books about music (and magazines about music) are written by men? Well Courtney E. Smith did. I hadn’t given it much thought but she is right. Women make up an even amount of music listeners, so shouldn’t we also write about music? Enter Record Collecting for Girls.

Record Collecting for Girls explores how women relate to music. There is a chapter about Top Fives (remember High Fidelity?), guilty pleasures (mine is the Glee soundtracks), “our” songs, and the classic Beatles vs. Stones debate. She explains why loving The Smiths too much is a dealbreaker for her in men and questions why there are so few girl bands. Each chapter ends with a playlist. Which will be helpful the next time you are in need of some making out or breaking up music. And there are entertaining Interludes along the way (one such Interlude has made be give another try).

Because this is a book about music, it’s understandably very personal to the author. Some people may not like this (because their musical tastes are very different or they may even suffer from the dealbreaking Smiths Syndrome), but I think it would be impossible to avoid. Smith is five years older than me (as determined by where she was in life when Romeo + Juliet was released). This could be decades in music years, so while I relate to many of the artists she discusses (we share a love for The Shins), some of them I’ve never really experienced. This doesn’t ruin the book at all for me. I can still relate to the feelings behind it (although she did almost lose me by saying she cannot stand Arcade Fire and I actually DO think The National are genius).

If you are a music fan, man or woman, I think you will enjoy this book. It’s lighthearted, funny, and makes you look into your music habits. Plus, I have about a hundred new tracks to go listen to now and there aren’t many things in life that make me happier than new music.

Favorite Passages:

“It’s rare that a female musician is able to develop her image in a way that doesn’t revolve around her physical appeal to the male population.” p. 48*

“Some people might think underground or indie rock artists letting their music be used on soundtracks to blockbusters like New Moon is a big sell-out move. I think it’s a helpful lift to the music taste of future generations. Like giving kids a little bit of fiber with their hefty dose of sugar.” p. 75

On guilty pleasures: “It’s music that causes you to roll up the windows in your car for fear a pedestrian or biker might here.” p. 80

“Indie-music fanatics, both male and female, are captivated by the idea of being first. We want to feel ownership over artists before anyone else even knows who they are.” p. 84

Buy It Now: Amazon; IndieBound

Extra: Follow Courtney E. Smith on Twitter. [P.S.: I love that we live in an age where I can finish a book and then chat with the author 10 minutes later].

*Page numbers reference the e-galley and may differ in the published book.

Album Obsessions

Photo Credit: mp

How do you guys feel about a music post today? (I know, two non-bookish posts in one week, but…)

Do you ever get stuck to an album? One album that you can listen to over and over and over and over and over? I currently have three. I am actually afraid to look at the play-count on these ones. And I think I’ve already told you all this but 75% of my music recommendations come from my friend Johnny and he should be thrilled to recognize all three of these obsessions as his doing.

First, The Vaccines‘ debut What Did You Expect from the Vaccines? When I first heard the album, I thought, “Wow, this is really good, but it sounds like something.” I have yet to figure out what that something is, but this album only seems to be getting better. I have probably listened to it at least once a day for the past month. I really have issues.


The next album, Young the Giant‘s self-title 2010 album, has been on my go-to list for months now. I will try to put it away in favor of new music, but it always creeps back into my life. Once again, I love every song on here (and I really don’t care that most reviews were pretty critical of it).


And finally, the newest edition to my albums-I-am-obsessed-with playlist is Portugal. The Man‘s latest, In the Mountain in the Cloud. I’ve only had this one for about a week, but I have listened to it every day since then.


  • So American [Youtube]
  • Everything You See (Kids Count Hallelujahs) [Youtube]


What albums have you been listening to on repeat lately?

The Soundtrack to My Week

I do not feel like writing a review so I decided to do a quick music post instead of the radio silence that would have resulted. Because music is right up there with books in my life. And dancing. And dessert.

The five songs I can’t stop listening to this week (click the links to listen for free on Grooveshark):

  1. Skinny Love – Birdy (an amazing cover of the already amazing Bon Iver song)
  2. Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  3. My Body – Young the Giant
  4. Classic Cars – Bright Eyes
  5. The Chain – Ingrid Michaelson

It’s very strange. For the last few weeks, I have been CRAVING female vocalists (hence the Ingrid Michaelson and Adele obsessions of late). I generally listen to a lot of male singers so this is an interesting development.

Which songs are on repeat on your ipod these days? Any suggestions for me? I will love you forever if you recommend me good music.

Top Fives: 2010 Albums

Kicking off my week of Top Fives with one of the loves of my life: music. 2010 was a wonderful year in music. These are the albums I’m still playing in December.

Note: clicking on specific songs take you to that song on Grooveshark where you can listen for free. Or you can listen to the playlist at the end of the post.

1. High Violet – The National

I actually only discovered The National this year. I’d seen the name around but it was thanks to my friend Johnny that I finally sat down and listened. And the moment I did, I fell in love. Hard. I’m pretty sure there was a period of many weeks where The National was ALL I listened to. I was lucky enough to be able to see them in concert in October and it was one of the most amazing shows I’ve ever seen. High Violet is full of the kind of songs The National (and Matt Berninger’s heartwrenching baritone vocals) do best. Bloodbuzz Ohio, Afraid of Everyone, Runaway, Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks, and every other song on this album is just music at its best. Love love love.

2. The Suburbs – Arcade Fire

I really had a hard time deciding between #1 and #2 and both of these albums are by far my favorites of this year (but keep reading anyway). I’ve been a fan of Arcade Fire for some time and I anxiously awaited this new album. It did not disappoint. It is a not-always-positive homage on life in the suburbs and is full of gems like Month of May, Ready to Start,  and the title track The Suburbs. This Canadian ensemble has once again stolen my musical heart. If only they would tour somewhere – anywhere – near me. Pretty please?

3. The Rock and The Tide – Joshua Radin

I’ve liked Joshua Radin for some time but it wasn’t until I saw his show that I realized just how good his latest album is. The Rock and the Tide is a little more upbeat than his earlier music (although still pretty mellow) and he sings with such joy that it’s hard not to smile. My favorites from this album are We Are Only Getting Better, You’re Not as Young, and The Rock and the Tide.

4. Jimmy Eat World – Invented

My take on Jimmy Eat World has always been that they are pretty good but nothing that I’m likely to go out of my way for. But Invented caught my attention. And I just keep going back for more. So that is why it earns a spot on this list. My absolute favorite track from this album is Coffee and Cigarettes (accoustic). I’m also pretty fond of Mixtape. And someone please confirm that the beginning of Heart is Hard to Find sounds like the Gilmore Girls music.

5. Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said the Last Time I Saw You – Wakey!Wakey!

I actually discovered this band through One Tree Hill (which, let’s face it, features some pretty kickass music). I first fell madly in love with Brooklyn (which did not come out this year but I am linking anyway because it is aMAZing) and then immediately downloaded their latest album. It is a mix of passionate vocals, some killer piano work, and just the right angst to fun ratio. The best song on this album is the live version of 1876 – The Brooklyn Theatre Fire. My other favorites are Light Outside and Almost Everything.

Honorable Mentions

Because 2010 was kind of an awesome year in music, I am going to leave you with a few more albums to check out. I can’t help myself. [Click each band for a sample track].

EDIT: I created this post and realized that I forgot about one of THE BEST albums of 2010 (it probably goes just below Arcade Fire) so please forgive me for tagging it on to the end and not giving it the justice it so very much deserves.

Extra. The Winter of Mixed Drinks – Frightened Rabbit

Again, I have Johnny to thank for this one (when Johnny says listen to a band, I say how loud). Frightened Rabbit is one of my favorite discoveries of this year and their latest album is great from start to finish. Try Living in Colour, Swim Until You Can’t See Land, and The Loneliness and the Scream for a good sampling.

What are YOUR favorite albums from 2010?

For your listening convenience, every song mentioned in this post is included in the following playlist. Enjoy!

Music Break: The National

Photo credit: My husband*

I don’t have a bookish post for you right now and the only thing my very tired brain can think about right now is the amazing concert I went to last night. So that’s what I’m sharing with you.

If you have never heard of The National (I know that’s probably a good number of you), you should definitely take a listen. And then go see a show because, somehow, hearing the live show made even the recorded music I listened to today sound better (they’re heading all over the world this year so no excuses).

The National Setlist House of Blues, Orlando, FL, USA, High Violet 2010

Click on the Setlist to listen to the tracks. And fall in love. Seriously. Just listen to THAT VOICE.

*Ben asked me why I didn’t give him photo credits on the last post. So yes, he did take this photo. However, I am the one that edits the pictures so they look awesome. Just sayin.

Currently Reading, etc.

I normally have a pretty good work schedule – especially for a lawyer.  I basically work from 8:30 – 5:30 or so with the occasional work taken home.  This week was different.  I basically worked every single moment I was awake.  I’m not complaining – when there is work to be done, I’ll do it.  But it explains why I haven’t had any time for reading and why I didn’t post about books all week.  I also haven’t been reading blogs – or email for that matter. I’m afraid to check google reader.  That is part of my plan for the weekend.

My solution: to tell you all what I’m currently reading (and for fun what I’m listening to and watching).

Currently Reading:

Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde – I have about 120 pages or so left, so I hope to finish it this weekend. I’m more into it than I was at the beginning and it reads quickly (I also skimmed ahead and saw that there were some pages of pictures only).



Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I have been reading this forever.  Or not reading it.  I love P&P but as I’ve said before, I’m just not into it this time.  So I downloaded the audio version from LibriVox and I’m listening to it in the car (I figured out how the bluetooth audio in my car works and it is amazing!).  So I am slowly getting through it now.



All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque – I started this for RBC.  At first I wasn’t going to participate because I had no desire to read this book, but I owned it and I figured I might as well get to it now while others are reading it.  I do think it’s probably a book I should read at some point.


And some other books that I’ve only read a chapter or two in so I don’t really count them.

    Currently Watching:

    Dawson’s Creek – I watch this in the morning while I’m getting ready for work since I can’t stand the news and I’ve watched all the TBS episodes of Saved by the Bell 8000 times.  I’m almost done with Season 4 and still enjoying it.  It’s been a few years since I’ve re-watched this so it was about time.  Prior to Gilmore Girls, it was my all-time favorite show and it just takes me back to high school whenever I watch it.

    Other than that, Ben and I are struggling to keep up with our DVR so we’re not really watching anything that isn’t new (usually we have a DVD set or two going)

      Currently Listening to:

      Glee Soundtrack – It’s fantastic.  Need I say more?



      Wintersong by Sarah McLachlan – I know it’s early,  but I feel like I didn’t get to start the Christmas season until December 20th last year, so I’m making up for it this year.  And I’m basically just listening to Song for a Winter’s Night on repeat, not the whole album.