Tuesday, April 16, 2013

No Fear.

Yesterday I learned about the horrific events at the Boston Marathon shortly after I left work. 

I took my still new walking route to the Market East Station, thinking about how chilly it was for mid-April. I waited on the platform for the 5:10 train and pulled out my phone for my post-work checking of text messages, emails, etc. 

The very first message I saw was a SMS alert from The Pottstown Mercury reporting explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. 

I gasped and immediately tried to look up further information (on the train I noticed that anyone who had their phone out was doing the same thing). I read the reports of casualties and grave injuries. I saw the pictures of first responders carrying the injured. I tried to understand the timetable of events as various new reports came in.

As I stood on the platform surrounded by fellow commuters going about their daily routine, I struggled to hold back tears. I thought about the victims and their families and what they must be going through. I  thought about what kind of person could possibly have committed such a crime against humanity. And I thought about my brother.

My twin brother is a semi-pro runner and track coach. While he does not run marathons, he has run several races in Boston, he worked for the organization that was in charge of the New York Marathon, and all of his friends are runners. And as hard as I try, I can't help thinking how he could just as easily have been there as any of the victims.

But today I realized that by letting myself think that way, I am doing exactly what that faceless monster who made those bombs wanted... I am giving in to fear. 

This past year in the US we have seen more cruelly ironic and horrific acts then ever before. We now live in a society where children are targeted in the place they go to learn and grow; where people who go to see a movie about a man wanting to protect the innocent, are faced with a real-life bad guy from hell; and where individuals and their families who put an emphasis on movement and activity in their lives, lose their limbs. 

In a society such as this, it is easy and instinctual to give in to fear; fear of living our lives as we would without school shootings and terrorist attacks. But by doing that, we only perpetuate the terror and panic that these sick bastards are trying to spread. 

Horrible things happen. More so than before it seems. But I refuse to let the fear of something horrific happening to a loved one or me affect how I live my life. So, tomorrow I will ride the train in to Philadelphia and go to work without fear that a gunman will appear or a bomb will go off, I will enjoy Spring, I will #runforBoston... and I will say a prayer for the victims and their families and tell my family I love them. 

I refuse to let evil people in this world determine how I live my life. 

So, please, if this event changes how you live or think about your life, let it be modeled after the runners who worked towards a positive goal in their lives, and their families who cheered them on. Let that be the kind of society we live in.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Back...With Lots of Music for Spring (Part 2)

I'm back. Again. As promised.

This time with some new music releases I'm really looking forward to over the next few months.

Cold War Kids - Dear Miss Lonelyhearts

Coming off their success of 3 previous albums, indie rock band, Cold War Kids, released their fourth studio album just yesterday. Cold War Kids definitely have their own unique sound, one that you tend to either love or hate. But if you have heard any of their past songs then you will certainly be a fan of this new album.

This French band had more wide-ranging success after their 2009 release, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (possibly as a result of this).  Ever since, fans have been clambering for more, and on April 22 that wish will come true. 

She & Him - Volume 3

I love M. Ward. I love love Zooey Deschanel. So, I love love love She & Him and was so excited when they announced that they will release their new album, Volume 3 (their third, after Volumes 1 & 2, not counting A Very She & Him Christmas of course) on May 7. Based on the new single that was recently released, we can expect just as much 1960's-sunny-California-ukele goodness as before.

City and Colour - The Hurry and The Harm

I do believe I could listen to Dallas Green's voice crooning songs under the name City and Colour every single day for the rest of my life. So it's probably a good thing that he is releasing his fourth studio album, The Hurry and The Harm, on June 4th. This small taste released yesterday makes me think we will get the same "sad music" style that he has come to be known for, but a little bit more rock'n roll perhaps.

The Postal Service - Give Up: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

This may not exactly count since this is just a re-release, but there will be two new songs as well as new versions of previous songs, and, I mean, this is The Postal Service. Re-releasing the one beloved album they have ever released. It's kind of a big deal. To some people anyway...including me; music nerd that I am. This drops in less than a week, on April 9th.

I have a feeling I am forgetting some others. Any ideas/suggestions?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Back...with Lots of Music for Spring (Part 1)

So. It's been awhile.

Do you ever feel like you have so much to say that you avoid having to actually write it all out? Well, that's how I have felt about blogging over the past few months. But I've decided that I don't have to blog about everything that I would like to...if I don't write it all down then that's okay. I need to just do what I can.

For those of you who may still even be remotely interested in what I have to say, I thought I would make up for my absence with a lot of new music.

Spring is a time of year when I love to try new things, and am usually itching to explore new music. Fortunately for me, this spring also seems to be a time for lots of great new releases from old favorites to add to some new favorites.

Here we go.

First some new discoveries that have really been putting me in the spring mood:

Lord Huron

An LA-based indie folk band (my favorite kind!) that makes me feel like running through the desert yelling and dancing. You'll understand once you listen. Hopefully.


I had heard mentions of Haim, made up of three LA sisters, this past winter and made a mental note to give them a thorough listen. But to my delight I got to see them perform live shortly after! You see, these three cool chicks have recently been touring with Mumford & Sons. And I had the SUPREME pleasure of going to the Mumford show at the Barclay's Center in February. I was blown away by how much these sisters could rock out, and for an opening act, they really knew how to work the crowd. I don't think you can get higher praise than Marcus Mumford saying you're the greatest band in the world. (On a side note, the other opening act was Ben Howard. Score. And the finale consisted of Haim, Ben Howard, and Mumford & Sons all performing The Weight. Life made.)

The Lighthouse and the Whaler

The Lighthouse and the Whaler is another indie-folk band, but an indie-folk-pop band (is anyone else starting to get confused by the ever increasing names of music genres?). Their most recent album, This is an Adventure, does indeed make you want to go on an adventure. A good up-ity, road-trip album.


Speaking of up-ity, Norweigian duo, Lemaitre, is a little outside of my comfort zone being an indie-electronic band, but it's infectious. And the music video below makes me giggle.

Slowing it down a bit with the "dream-pop" band, Houses, their music is perfect for a rainy spring day. Beautiful, peaceful, and melancholy all at once.

Beach House

Staying in the realm of slower, dream-pop indie music, the name alone of this Baltimore-based duo makes you think of warmer weather and salty breezes.

Ski Lift

In contrast, the name "Ski Lift" may not put you in the mind of springtime, but their music would beg to differ (more indie-folk-dream-pop type stuff, go figure...getting sick of those words yet?), and I'm obsessed. Maybe it's because they have connections to this band. Fifty points to the person who can figure out the connection.

Youth Lagoon

When I first saw a picture of Youth Lagoon, a.k.a. Trevor Powers, and read his description of his process of writing music, I immediately thought of a modern-day Bob Dylan. But his music sounds like anything but Dylan. More dream-pop. More imageries of exploring woods on spring mornings.

Langhorne Slim & The Law

However, if you are on the lookout for some modern-day Bob Dylan-esque music, then check out this fellow-PA'er. Courtesy of the big brother.

Father John Misty

I'll admit, I only gave Father John Misty (also known as Joshua Tillman), a listen because the title of the song below caught my eye for certain reasons. But then I immediately liked it. Tillman was once a member of Fleet Foxes, which I think you can pick up on, but he definitely has his own style with lots more folk influences.


This one is probably the least like the rest of the bands in this post (although another boy-girl duo as many of these are....hmmm) but their EP, Candy Bar Creep Show, has seemed to be popping a lot lately, and I don't just mean on my iPod. And then there is the music video for the first single off of their debut album (see below). I can't stop watching as much as I would like to sometimes. Watch and you'll see. As the name of the EP and the music video would suggest, their songs are dark but still captivating and grand. "Chillwave"was one description I read...is that another weird new genre name??

Okay, I think that is plenty for today. Come back tomorrow and I'll do some new old favorites. I promise. And I'll try to keep the weird imagery stuff to a minimum.

In the meantime, feel free to let me know what great new Spring-like music you've been listening to lately.