In 2018, NPR ranked this as the #67 greatest song by a female or nonbinary artist in the 21st century, saying: Too quiet to demand attention, a tide-pool chorus pushes her diaphanous murmur and folk strumming into the realm of dream-pop, with a hook that laid the groundwork for a career at the intersection of accessible songwriting and avant-garde production.
I opened a mirror up and saw a true love I let it separate in two The water rising up over my head Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more.
#EndMaddenMonopoly trends as fans express anger I've been looking for them online, can't find them, which is why I brought the question here.
Harris' music is a mixture of softly-strummed guitar, Wurlitzer keys, and her delicate, dreamy vocals. Harris' first album was 2005’s Grouper, a self-released full-length CD-R, followed later that year by Way Their Crept on Free Porcupine (re-released in 2007 on Type Records).
Grouper is the solo project of ambient musician Liz Harris, from Portland, Oregon, United States. Grouper is the solo project of ambient musician Liz Harris, from Portland, Oregon, United States.
It is no surprise really that music, with its myriad genres, audiences, contexts, and possibilities, slots so wonderfully into the multitudinous spider’s web of incomprehensibility that is mental health. In a study conducted by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it was found that, combined with standard care for depression and anxiety (such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication), participants of the study who received music therapy showed “greater improvement” in symptoms of depression than those who received standard care only.
The journey to my eventual diagnosis was fraught with a lack of understanding (it is thought that bipolar can be linked to genetics as well as triggered through external factors such as intense periods of stress or even physical illness) and deteriorating resources for mental health treatment in the NHS. However, when I was finally diagnosed after years of confusion and frustration, all my symptoms suddenly made sense.
And just like the sad sap who can’t hear Bright Eyes one more time because it just makes them think about their high school sweetheart and how they really fucked that whole thing, certain songs and bands have remained so deeply entrenched with certain times in the history of my illness that they have morphed into entirely new entities. The most notable example of this for me is Grouper, the solo project of the Portland, Oregon musician Liz Harris.
“In dreams I’m moving through heavy water … I’d rather be sleeping,” Liz Harris languidly sang. Since becoming obsessed with Grouper, I realized she exemplified what I call ‘happy-sad’: recognizing the deep lows while creating space for a return to a high.
I had a rudimentary understanding of barre chords and an old, unwieldy acoustic guitar that belonged to my sister at my disposal. It didn’t matter to me that I could barely play, because all I’d listened to for the past two months was a song that was so beautiful and seemingly simple that I felt like I could do it too.
This, combined with the fact that Liz Harris was a woman writing, creating, recording completely on her own, filled me with confidence that I, at the time an 18-year-old girl, could make things that could stand on their own. There are still so many songs I can’t listen to for one reason or another; so many that instantly spark happiness or anxiety or just plain sadness.
It had an indescribable transformative power that has made me regard it with a kind of respect and quiet satisfaction. Music remains my barometer, my crutch, and my teacher as I deal with the challenges that come with my mental illnesses.
For Christmas my family bought me a nice, new direct drive record player complete with USB capability. In the 12 years since I received my first record player for my 15th birthday, I've never had a truly nice one so needless to say, I am pretty psyched.
“Sons of the Second String" is one of my favorite Sunday's Best songs and I think this 7" as a whole is a great indicator of what was to come for this incredibly underrated band. If you are familiar with the EP, this 7" offers more of the same great Midwest inspired emotional indie rock (think Canfield Records).
Unlike Where You Are Now the three songs here shy away from the slower, darker end of the spectrum and keep things upbeat. Memorial Day was a very short-lived band, most notably featuring Skip from Turning Point on vocals and some dudes from No Escape, I Hate You, and others.
However, New Lows from Boston write the type of riffs I love being beaten over the head with because they are so incredibly heavy and pissed, it makes me feel like a teenager just getting into hardcore. This is a live set they did on an excellent program called “Radio beat” (I don't think it's on the air anymore) on Were in Boston.
Ten years after the release of Exile in Guille There made her most extreme leap into mainstream success with the song “Why Can't I” from her self-titled record. It was a record full of bubblegum pop songs more suitable for a flash in the pan teen star than a woman in her 30s.
Although, that song was pretty catchy and everyone has to pay their bills, this record is definitely the better bet when it comes to There's career. I had no intention of posting this record until I stepped outside this morning into a cold, snowy street to take the train to work and put it on.
It seemed very appropriate as the wet, dreary winter days we've been experiencing here in Chicago are the perfect backdrop to records like (Smog)'s Red Apple Falls. On his sixth album under the (Smog) moniker, Bill Callahan expands slightly on his interesting lo-fi, acoustic recordings by bringing producer Jim O'Rourke into the fold.
Red Apple Falls is a great album full of some real bum out tracks, perfect to listen to on headphones indoors when the weather gets too unbearable. I'd heard of Jawbreaker and Crimp shrine, but it wasn't until every zine that ever reviewed The Broadways compared them to those bands (and Fifteen) that I gave either a real listen.
This seemed to be the end of anyone in the punk scene wanting to be involved with Showoff, and they were signed by Maverick not too long after this. Brendan Kelley, singer of The Broadways decried Chris Envy's comments and everyone got really psyched and applauded.
Someone finally pointed us in the right direction, and we walked into a very crowded room full of young kids in really terrible baggy pants and big shirts (I was one of them). Overall, I have to say The Broadways remain my second favorite band of the Slapstick family tree (behind Alkaline Trio of course).
Beautiful Skin were a very overlooked, but excellent post-punk/electron band from New York City made up of keyboardist Ross Toting and former Rorschach guitarist Nick Forte. Admittedly, Forte's background in hardcore was an initial selling point of this band for me, but having listened to this record many times over the past few years, I think I enjoy this more than his work with Rorschach. Although Beautiful Skin's brand of dark, hypnotic synth-pop isn't nearly as groundbreaking as what Rorschach did with hardcore, they were definitely on the forefront of the post-punk resurgence that occurred in the early to mid 2000s.
Unfortunately this was their only proper LP, but they did release a few EPs and a collection of material entitled Everything, All This and More posthumously that are worth looking into. Today Dave and I were discussing how, despite the brutally cold weather and snow, it really doesn't feel like Christmas in Chicago.
Personally, this is my favorite time of year and though Christmas music can be incredibly lame and ridiculous, there are some holiday songs/records people simply shouldn't live without. For A Christmas Gift, production wizard, music legend and general maniac, Phil Spector assembled his usual “who's who” of girl groups to put their take on 12 classic holiday songs.
The Rosettes, The Crystals and Bob B. SOX & the Blue Jeans all do incredible versions of standards like “Frosty the Snowman,” “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and others, all rounded out by Spector's trademark wall of sound. The first time I heard the song “Los Angeles” by X I was surprised by their unabashed use of the words “nigger” and “jew” and almost passed them off as a racist band.
After all, upon a first listen the lines “she started to hate every nigger and jew, every Mexican that gave her gotta shit, every homosexual and the idle rich” look pretty questionable. That's until you dig a bit deeper and realize the story singer Even Fervent is telling about a distraught girl trying to get out of LA in the late 70s/early 80s and how she sees the city.
Though they aren't as raw and straight forward as contemporaries like The Germs, The Weirdos and others from the Danger house/SST/etc roster, they fit in quite well with the LA punk scene of the early 80s where everyone was a little different, but it all fell under the same umbrella. It was a double disc comprised almost entirely of bands I'd never heard of aside from the Mr. T Experience, The Bomb Bassets and Pansy Division.
However, in addition to being my intro to Elliott Smith and Deer hoof it also turned me onto one of the Bay Area's finest twee-pop exports, Go Sailor. Fronted by Rose Mel berg of The Softies and the equally great Tiger Trap, they wrote beautiful, catchy indie-pop with wonderful harmonies and just enough punish energy for the teenage me to be completely unabashed in my love for them.
They started when the heavier hardcore scene in Chicago was at an extreme lull and while my friends and I thought they were great, most people here hated them. On their first EP The Grave End of the Shovel Area really laid the foundation for what they would achieve on their next record Where Sleeplessness is Rest from Nightmares.
Went always wrote good lyrics and though many of the ones here are pretty melodramatic looking back on them, he definitely started coming into his own as the band progressed (and eventually ended up doing his best work in FOB). Some songs here are a little longer than they probably need to be, and they definitely hit their stride on the next record, but listening to this EP immediately brings me back to a certain time period where hardcore was my entire life, and I was incredibly stoked to be meeting so many people and making so many new friends.
It was Roman's 15th or 16th birthday and like every recording session ever, it was taking a long time to get started, so he and I left to get pizza. On Fates Got a driver their final LP as Split Lip and first as Chamberlain, the band shed much of their mid-tempo hardcore tendencies in favor of something more melodic and emotional, with vocalist David Moore stepping up his game as a singer and lyricist.
If Fates Got a Driver was their first foot out the door of hardcore, The Moon My Saddle was a complete lobotomy erasing any memory of that era. Honestly, I think The Moon My Saddle is a masterpiece and it serves as my favorite record the band did under either moniker.
Within the 11 tracks on The Moon My Saddle you can envision the long drives through empty fields, hear the steps cut the silence in a town where everything closes at 7pm, sleeping with freight trains running in the distance and everything else that goes along with rural life and even I can relate to growing up in the suburbs of Chicago. Black Star was/is a collaboration between Mos Def and Tali Well and marked the first proper release for both MC's.
They also rework Slick Rick's classic “Children's Story” and give a nod to BDP on “Definition.” Timmy (the singer) immediately did a 10-foot dive onto a small bench with 5 or 6 people standing on it.
I couldn't find the set from Chicago Fest on YouTube, but here is footage from their last show that accurately resembles the times I saw No Justice. Upon its release, it was by no means considered a failure, but only moderately successful in contrast to their earlier singles.
Poor promotion had much to do with the album's less than extraordinary performance, but I'm sure the shift in sound and lyrical content also played a bit of a role. The Beach Boys were known for writing catchy pop songs about surfing, girls and cars and the themes of loss, depression, growing up and the search for personal identity explored on Pet Sounds dig much deeper.
Frankly, much of it is incredibly depressing and introspective and I'm sure that caught the casual Beach Boys listener off guard. Interestingly, the album didn't even reach platinum status until the year 2000, which kind of blows my mind based on how incredibly important it is.
The A cappella version was actually released on The Pet Sounds Sessions, a 4 disc box set full of alternate takes, mixes and the original mono recording of the album. There is also a really great booklet with a lot of nerdy information and photos included, but the real gem is the A cappella disc.
The Beach Boys were always a vocal group and on this, all you hear are their voices working together, each unique, but essential to the sound as a whole. At that same time, I wasn't working, and I was taking a semester off school, so I was just sitting around my house constantly sick.
For my birthday, my good friend Robin mailed me a card and a CD of a band called The American Analog Set. Vocalist and primary songwriter, Andrew Kenny has an incredible knack for composing interesting, gentle melodies within beautiful arrangements.
The American Analog set is the perfect music for late nights through headphones or on a dreary Sunday afternoon in the middle of Fall when the leaves start to turn. Interestingly, they would nearly send the label into bankruptcy a few years later while meticulously working on their second LP masterpiece, Loveless.
I've always felt this EP is a good middle ground between the bands early brand of jangle-pop and the massively reverb soaked songs they'd later create. It's catchy enough for pop music enthusiasts to get into, but still has plenty of texture and subtle melody to keep things interesting and varied.
I've tried to shy away from uploading readily available records in favor of the slightly obscure, but this is something I think everyone needs to have whether you pay for it or not. The Clientele is a great Indie-Pop band from London who have been around since the early 90s, but only started receiving notoriety in the states once they were picked up by the always consistent Merge Records.
Whenever I start getting sick of summer and psyched for fall, Suburban Light is the first record I think of. I hear it in Alasdair Maclean's breathy, reversed vocals and in the soft, dark production that makes each song sound like it was recorded in a dreary London bedroom.
I hear it in songs like “Rain” and the off-kilter but upbeat “We Could Walk Together” in which Maclean sings about the fading heat of summer. They write dreamy, laid back music comparable to the lyrics about the simple pleasures of getting high, rainy days, quiet mornings, dusk and sleep.
In their life-span, The Clientele have rarely strayed from their trademark brand of nostalgic pop, but what really sets these songs apart is the production. Much like The Clientele, they play a jangly brand of indie-pop heavily steeped in 60s nostalgia comparable to bands from the Sarah Records roster.
All 15 tracks on the Saturday People's debut LP are catchy and rich without relying heavily on a lot of orchestration and extra instrumentation. I've always felt The Saturday People are a diamond in the rough and had they stuck around a bit longer, I think they might have enjoyed some success their contemporaries received.
However, I love this 7" and while people may dislike it for any number of reasons, is has held up a lot better for me than a many other things I was into in 2002 and it sticks out to me more than much of what I'm hearing now. The riffs are fast and the breakdowns are hard, but not excessive and the lyrics are interesting and clever without being over the top (i.e. the line “what fucking language am I speaking” which I've always found funny and periodically pops into my head since I bought this record 6 years ago).
I know one or two of these dudes went on to be in Cold World (a band that is regularly clowned or hyped based on where you're at, but has some legitimately good songs), but I kind of like Frostbite better even if they were relatively short-lived and not entirely original. At the time of their existence, Left-hand Path played an important role in Chicago Hardcore.
For a minute, they were getting hyped all over the internet based on a mid-tempo 30 second song called “Halfway in the Red” complete with a sound clip from a particularly questionable moment in the movie Kids. Fast-forward five years to when I traded a Chamberlain/Old Pike 2×7” just, so I could hear the demo of this band I heard 30 seconds of a few times.
Shortly after I acquired it and found it still held up fairly well, I asked my buddy Matt Wilson about them. As a Bay Area core dude, I figured he would be the man to ask and as it turns out, he was able to tell me that two of the guys went on to be in Lights Out.
Musically, Treason often remind me of a San Diego, Gravity Records style band mixed with parts of the frequently overlooked and equally short-lived Sworn In. All 10 songs are short, intense bursts of fast, messy, distorted hardcore laid against decent, often melodramatic lyrics about loneliness, desperation, sex, love and hopelessness.
This was when Green Day, The Offspring and Rancid started breaking on a very mainstream level and as such, my eyes were opened to punk rock. In “Virtual Reality” the songs that stood out to me the most were the Casual tracks in the background of Sean Sheila and Mike Carroll's segments.
I drifted away from listening to hip-hop a few years before this because punk was consuming all of my musical interest, but also because I didn't know where to find more of the laid back, jazz influenced stuff like DE La Soul and Tribe I was into as a kid. While Casual isn't the most widely known of the Hear crew, Fear Itself is definitely one of the best albums to come from their clique.
His voice is bass and his flow is excited, but still sounds smooth against the sped up horn samples and electric piano beats Domino is known for. Fear Itself will forever remind me of summers staying out drinking, getting into trouble and wishing I could skate in the best way.
Vocalist David Moore's vocals are a bit stronger on this version, but aside from that, the name change and the layout are the only recognizable differences. For some reason, it seems like all the best rappers from the post-Golden Age era of Hip-Hop only had one classic album worth of tracks and rode that out until they hung it up or continued coasting off past glory.
Some people throw Mob Deep into this category too, but I might argue that the follow-up to their classic 2nd record The Infamous is nearly on par with its predecessor. Regardless if Havoc and Prodigy attended art school, there's no denying they have a knack for penning gritty narratives of criminal life, drugs and hustling.
On Hell on Earth they didn't tamper with the original formula that made them great, but merely elevated the strengths and downplayed the throwaway aspects of their first two albums. From the opening of “Animal Instinct,” Hell on Earth is a beast that slays and makes me feel like a bystander to situations I've never faced in places I've never been.
Someone on a message board I read referred to Mob Deep as the Romans of hip-hop and while the obvious differences are apparent, there is a fair amount of truth in that statement. Both recorded two landmark LPs's that helped define genres that set the standard for others to follow before falling by the wayside.
Since she moved to New York a few months ago I can't simply have her come over or burn her records, so I figured I'd use this forum to post mixes that she and anyone else can download. Perhaps, because I grasp the lyrics about drugs, loss, love and growing up with greater understanding now than at age 11 when I first heard it.
From the lazy dope scoring haze of “My Drug Buddy” to the budding love story of “Kitchen” and the need to play even the smallest role in someone's life of “Bit Part,” no adolescent emotion or theme goes unreferenced. While I don't think The Lemon heads ever put out a bad record, there is no denying It's a Shame About Ray is their finest hour.
It's one of the few records I will listen to, then immediately press repeat and get psyched to hear a song I just heard all over again. As a side note, I saw them with Karl Alvarez and Bill Stevenson of the Descendants as Evan Dandy's backing band the day before my birthday this past year and it made me feel like a kid again. I kept my composure and didn't turn into “that guy,” but inside I was bubbling over with excitement as they played literally every song I wanted to hear.
Evan Dandy is a bit faded, but in between songs he just starts riffing on “Nervous Breakdown” so it's win-win. Perhaps people overlook them because the driving force behind the band, Jason Martin, is openly Christian or because they're on a label known for putting out abysmal Nu-Emo and bad metal core, but whatever it is, they are certainly worthy of more attention than they seem to get.
On their 6th record, Leave Here a Stranger, Starter 59 fully conceptualized their laid back, dreamy brand of pop music. They shed the dense noise and feedback of their first two records Silver and Gold and replaced it with much lighter, sunnier textures laid against Martin's airy, soothing vocals.
Before our year and a half hiatus, my band Down Like the Rest wrote a handful of songs that were originally going to be on a 12" our friend Dan was going to release. However, as I aged my appreciation for Ink & Dagger grew and I respect their honesty and creativity far more than what a lot of hardcore bands of that era did.
On their final LP before vocalist Sean McCabe's untimely death, Ink & Dagger pushed themselves further away from their already traditional take on hardcore into a blend of dream-pop, psych and noise only charted by San Diego experimentalists Antioch Arrow. The off-kilter riffs and McCabe's frantic singing style are still firmly intact, but much of what comprised their previous records is absent or subdued and replaced by waves of distortion and layers of delay, reverb and drum machine.
It's a complex effort and though it was probably not widely heralded by those in the punk/hardcore community to begin with, I think it has aged quite well in the 8 years since its release. All three songs on the released version of Sunshine Smile are soaked in delay and heavy on the ride cymbal with singer Piotr Fijalkowski's whispery, effortlessly executed voice leading each track.
They give “Fan and the Bellows” is given the Elliott treatment that foreshadowed the direction they would take on later records. And Strange Times, The Chameleons were this moody but not overtly dark rock band not too far off the map of what their Manchester peers and followers would create.
While I'm sure they had their modest fan base, the true accolades didn't seem to flood in until Cave In covered “Magnified” on their Creative Eclipses EP in 1999 and wear their Failure influence more prominently on their crossover LP, Jupiter. Instead of uploading an entire Failure album (which I might do if people want to hear more), I've chosen to post this cover of Depeche Mode's “Enjoy the Silence.” “Enjoy the Silence” has been one of my favorite songs since I was a kid and I think this is a very well-done cover done in the Failure tradition.
Before my family had cable, I would go to my friend Pat's house in the Summer and the “Enjoy the Silence” video would be on MTV constantly. Even at the age of 9 I thought it was the most depressing song because throughout the video, singer Dave Mahan, is dressed in a kings robe and crown roaming the European countryside alone.
Though they formed prior to his joining, for all intents and purposes Sunday's Best really took shape once Tom Ackerman of major label cut-out-bin band Skip loader became their new drummer. Despite their home base of California, I can't help but envision desolate, snowy Midwestern prairie every time I listen to this record.
It has this dark, cool production that makes the quiet, sad parts that much more heart wrenching and the brighter moments feel hazy like the sun in the dead of winter. As it happens, their next two LP's for Midwest institution, Polyvinyl Records, took a more upward, sunny turn toward catchy pop melodies and smoother production.
I'm trying to stick to more under the radar albums and rarities on this blog, but listening to this record on the way to work the other day inspired me to post it. I felt it was an instant classic when it dropped in 2001 and while many other records from that period have aged VERY poorly, this one is as relevant as ever. Taking a cue from experimental rap pioneers Company Flow, Cannibal Ox crafted (with the help of Flow's El-P) one of the true gems from the late 90s/early '00's much-hyped “indie hip-hop” movement fueled by labels like Def Jun, Ant icon and Stones Throw.
I've always appreciated the honesty of the lyrical content on this record and while many dudes brag and boast about getting girls, Can Ox penned what is probably the greatest song about getting stuck in the 'friend zone,' aptly titled “The F-Word.” Thankfully for nerdy bottom feeders like myself, I was able to obtain their entire discography for pennies on the dollar.
Valley has a natural ability to write a very focused pop song when needed (see “Hours Seemed Like Days” for a reference point), but I find his most endearing trait lies in his quest to work in beautiful sonic textures in with what might be an otherwise “typical” rock song. For a band that has been around for the better part of 10 years and releasing records for the past five, Ariel still remain one of Chicago's best kept secrets.
I feel ridiculous having never heard of them prior to a year and a half ago because they were right under my nose the whole time, playing the kind of shoe gaze/dream-pop I can't get enough of. It's a bit more psych meets the more rocking Swerve driver end of the shoe gaze spectrum and less ethereal dream-pop, but a fantastic record nonetheless.
Always a skeptic, I figured they'd just be another mediocre attempt at mimicking what Saves the Day, Lifetime and a slew of others already perfected. All the songs titles were key lines from the 90s romantic comedy Can Hardly Wait and their influences included American Nightmare, Killing Time, Infest and a slew of other bands they didn't resemble whatsoever.
They raised the bar in terms of music, lyrics and pushed the boundaries of what was deemed “acceptable” for a traditional hardcore band. I was bummed I missed this show (and their second trip to Chicago) because I was out of town or had finals and subsequently didn't get to see them until they toured with Converge, Hope Conspiracy and Thrice.
If memory serves this was the show they played with Nerve Agents, Ruination and The Enemy so it was a pretty solid line up. My friend Joe called me a few days after the show and couldn't stop raving about how good the LP was.