Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Night Videos (and poetry, and tunes).

I had a Walkmen record 6 or 7 years ago and liked it, but started to feel after awhile that the lead singer's voice was sort of a yucky, Dylan-y gimmick that I wasn't buying anymore. So I didn't really investigate when they released an album this summer. And frankly, I think my erstwhile opinion of the singer might be warranted (not surprisingly, singers make or break a band for me). When he's droning along on your basic three-note rock songs, I don't like it. When he actually allows his voice soar and be melodic, it's interesting. I don't know why they don't just always do this. It's like if Lee Hazlewood sucked a small amount of helium for a hipster collabo:

That "the sky above" riff (and the production in general) is what made me sit up and listen harder in the car on the way home from work. There's higher quality audio at Stereogum, if you're interested.

If you've never lived around snow, it's hard to describe how quiet it can make things feel. We keep getting another inch here and there and I've been putting off shoveling for days, but finally went out tonight and got my back exercise in. No one is outside and there's a hush over everything. It's dark and the sky is overcast (more snow coming, probably), but there's so much reflected lilac-gray light that it's easy to see even though our entry light is burnt out (another little project to add to the list). It's beautiful, especially when you can return to your warm home after taking it all in.

Here's a Kenneth Patchen poem about snow (among other things)--a poem that I know as a song by Richard Hundley. Apparently Patchen wrote more than one version of this poem, and I don't even know if this version is an official one or one that was futzed with by the composer (sorry poets, this occasionally happens). Anyway, I'm giving you these words for reasons that will become apparent below.

O sleeping lay the maiden snow
Upon the branches of the city
And oh my love was warm beside me

O nearer came the rush of dark wings
Over the dreams of my people
And oh my heart was full of their pain

O sleeping lay the maiden snow
Upon the bitter roofs of the world
But ah! my love was safe in my arms.

Here's a recording of me singing the song in a recital a few years back. At long last: internet proof that I have some sort of life in music.


  1. Oh my god, your voice is beautiful. Like, movingly so.

    And yeah, the quiet feeling of snow is absolutely magical.

  2. Oh, how lovely. I get pretty moved when I hear you do your thing.

    Also, the Walkmen are playing tonight in Nashville. I'm worn out from Guided By Voices but I might just have to go.

  3. After 5+ yrs of long-distance friendship, finally hearing you sing is thrilling for me. Seriously, thrilling. And you sound just as awesome as I always suspected you would.

  4. Really late to the party here, but girl, that's ahhhmazing! Love hearing you do your thang.