Friday, July 25, 2014

From the Land of the Ice and Snow

Hello there!
I've been neglecting this blog for a while, and I refuse to feel guilty about it because I was having too much fun. My aunts came to visit, and we took them on a big tour around the state. We went to the most beautiful mountains and rivers and lakes that we knew of, all in succession.
They just left this morning, and I'm going to need a day off to recover from it all.

So here I am in front of my laptop at a stupid-early hour of the morning and I'm going to share some of my favorite things in the world- Icelandic bands. 

I am in love with Iceland. Their culture is so peaceful and creative, and their music scene is phenomenal. For a country of only 300,000 people, Iceland is loaded with artists.


So, without further ado, here are my favorite musicians from Iceland, in no particular order:

Björk

My love for Björk is no secret, and I share this love with thousands of others.
Björk is the most successful musician to come out of Iceland, and was named in Rolling Stone's top 100 female musicians of all time.

She's a pretty big deal.

But the best part of it all is that her music is so wierd. It's not the type of music that you would see on a top 40 chart, but it's widely loved and listened to.

It gives me hope in humanity that Björk is so popular. 

If, by any chance, you haven't heard any of her music, this is one of my favorites:




Sigur Rós


Sugur Rós is another big popular band from Iceland.
They are the best post-rock band ever, in my opinion, and their ethereal sounds are like none other. 

Jónsi (my hero, you know) is the front man, singing in is angelic falsetto while playing away at the beautifully haunting bow-guitar. 
The sound they create is simple, filling your ears and dancing you through every emotion that you have, song by song. 

Sadly, Sigur Rós is frequently discarded as background music (like their most popular song, Hoppipolla, made popular by being featured in "We Bought a Zoo"). I don't understand this, because how could you not pay attention to this?




Amiina


Amiina started as an orchestral quartet in the 90s, and has evolved dramatically since then. Now, their music implements every instrument you can think of, including my favorite, the theremin
Their music is pretty similar to that of Sigur Rós, but it takes the whole "ethereal ghost-sounds" in a different, happier direction (not to say that Sigur Rós isn't happy, this is just more so).

Most of their songs are instrumental, with throbbing synthetic beats and gentle violin weaving in and out of their wide spectrum of ghostly sounds. And when they do sing, it fits perfectly with their sound- the singers are gentle, featuring perfect harmonies and wonderfully visual lyrics. Listening to their music is a great stress reliever and mind-clearer.





Múm


Múm is awesome, all around. They are a big band, consisting of about 8 people (more or less). 
They've been together since the year I was born, and the band members are always changing. Their music never stops morphing into new, unheard of territories.  

Over the years, they have created so many albums to explore and so many awesome works of art to appreciate. 

It's very hard to classify múm in a specific genre, but I would say that they are like an experimental electronic-folk. 

Needless to say, their music is weird. But I love it so much. 






Ólafur Arnalds


This man is beautiful. His music is like a glimpse into his mind, and it is remarkable.

Ólafur Arnalds is a contemporary composer and producer, who primarily writes scores for movies. But, like Sigúr Ros, it is very hard to overlook his music when you hear it in the background of a movie. He has won Oscars for his work, and has produced a plethora of albums.

My favorite album is Living Room Songs, which showcases his extraordinary musical talent in a very unique way. He composed, recorded, and published a new song every day for a week, all done in his living room. 

What resulted was a masterpiece. The songs are breathtaking, and you can hear his piano pedals creaking in the background. I love it.





Pascal Pinon


First, I must mention that these two sister (twins, actually) are only 18 years old. And they already have two self-produced albums released.

They are simply incredible. Their lyrics show wisdom beyond their years, and their obvious musical talent is hard to imagine coming out of 18 year olds. 

Their music makes me happy. Their newest album, "Twosomeness" is the perfect soundtrack to my life since I stumbled upon it a few months ago. It's got everything you can ask for in an album- great lyrics, perfect sound, incredible imagery, and a slide-whistle solo. What more can you ask for?





Samaris


HOLY HELL, Samaris.
I've been saving the best for last, let me tell you.
.... Okay, I can't say best because, I mean, look at everyone else who is on this list.
But man, are these guys phenomenal.

The main singer is half of Pascal Pinon. That's right- she's 18 and in not one, but two fantastic bands. 

I need to meet her and be her best friend right, exactly, right now.

But I digress. Samaris is a trio featuring clarinet, synth beats, and old Norse poetry. I dare you to get any cooler that that. 
(I posted about them here if you want to hear more ranting about their awesomeness).

I just can't words. Listen:





So there you have it! And now you have plenty of new music to keep you content for a long time.
I highly encourage you to delve into the never-ending realm of Icelandic music. You will not be disappointed, I promise. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Warm Floorboards

When I was in Maine, I had a great privilege of visiting the Olson House.

The Olson House was where the famous painter Andrew Wyeth would spend his summers working on his art near the sea.

Many of his paintings were scenes from this area, and the house itself is featured in his most famous piece, "Christina's World."

There it is, in the top corner
I had a really nice time strolling through the now-empty house, looking at the views that inspired him long ago. Here are some pictures from the house, which was incredibly charming:

<soundtrack: this lovely song by Múm>



One of the first views I had was of this window, which was featured in a gorgeous painting of his:
Same window, 50 years apart.

There was a great daisy garden right in front of that window

Shells were placed all over the house, but the walls were empty otherwise.



The floorboards were creaky, and had been warmed by the sun.
Just look at how worn the paint is on the floor and the door. It was beautiful. 
Many rooms in the large house had only a chair in them.


The wallpaper was peeling beautifully in one of the rooms.

The stairs looked like they were never fully finished.
Many of the rooms had blue floors, which Christina Olson (the owner of the house) nicknamed "Wyeth Blue," in reference to the random splashes of blue color in his paintings. 


More peeling paint.
 I must say, it gave such a great feel to the house.

Some old spectacles

Doesn't it look lovely? I really wish I could live there.

So if any of you are in Maine, or will be in the future, I highly recommend checking out the Olson House. It's a great way to spend a rainy day! They have books of his painting in some of the rooms, and you could spend hours there.

Here is my favorite painting of his, called "The Wind From the Sea" :

 I just can't believe that he did this in watercolor. Just look at that detail! It's practically breathing.

Oh, and I also feel like mentioning that my aunts, who have always lived on the East Coast, met Andrew Wyeth in person before he passed away. They were friends with the Olson family, and he was visiting one day and they got to sit and talk with him. How great is that?

Anyway, that's all!


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

And We Dance To Save Our Lives

Well hello there! It's been a while since I've posted anything. This is mostly because I had a fantastic experience that I really want to write about, but I'm a loser who didn't take any pictures. So I was trying to find a way to write about it without going on and on, but I've failed so far. 
And then I realized that the internet is a thing, and it also has many pictures for me to steal. So here we go! (So yeah, none of these pictures are mine. Not a one.)

To put you out of your restless anticipation, I will tell you what this fantastic experience was.

It was the Montana Folk Festival, right here in my very own home town.

They transformed one of our many mineshafts into a stage. It's really cool actually.
I know I complain about Butte a lot, but the fact that we host this festival makes up for all its flaws, and then some. This festival is the best. It's three days of FREE music (for real!), yummy food, cool people, and sooo much dancing. I danced so hard I could barely walk after it all.

Never mind the very creepy look on that lady's face. It didn't really look like this. It was more like a mosh pit in a sense, but with crazy old people. It's great fun, let me tell you.
I'm the type of girl who goes nuts when I hear live music. I just can't stay still!

There is always a very wide range of music at our festival, and this year was no exception. My favorite acts were Kurdish, Peruvian, Reggae, Gospel, Quebecois, and Zydeco. 

This woman was the 84-year old ringleader of the Gospel group. She was so amazing. Most of the time she wasn't singing into the mic, and she would just sit in her wheel chair and yell things like "preach!" or "hallelujah!" while the other women sang. You could tell that the music just made her so happy.
This was a Peruvian scissors dancer. It's pretty much what it sounds like- dancing with scissors. Take that, safety!
It was super great though. It was two grown men, wearing these flamboyant costumes,  breakdancing with scissors. I couldn't believe how spritely they were! Check this out: 

They use the scissors as percussion while they do crazy-ass dance moves. 


So yeah. That was my life this weekend! Also, two of my friends from Canada made the drive down here to see it with us, which made it even better. Alan taught me some cool dance moves, and at night James would play guitar to keep the fun going.

....And now I feel extremely sad that it's over.

WHY CAN'T THIS BE MY LIFE ALWAYS???



Moral of this post: some things don't have morals. 

The end. 

P.S. The lyric I used for my title comes from this gem of a song:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

∆ Triangles Are My Favorite Shape ∆

ALT-J IS COMING OUT WITH A NEW ALBUM.
ALT-FREAKING-J IS FREAKING COME OUT WITH A FREAKING NEW ALBUM.
OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS OH MY GOODNESS.
AHHHHDHSJKGHDSKHCJHFUHJHEUYFBCNUDYEFKNEFYCWKNDMSFJ

Words can't even describe how much I love alt-j. I don't care what anyone says about their "image" or whatever, they make damn good music. Bottom line. Their first album "An Awesome Wave," is possibly my favorite album ever. That's really saying a lot.

When Gwil left the band earlier this year, my heart broke. I thought they wouldn't make anymore music (Gwil was their main songwriter and instrumentalist. Tears). But they're still going! ALT-J WINS!

They've already released two songs that will be on their new album, and oh my word are they great.

Fun fact- hear that line "I'm a female rebel"? Guess who it is? Ha, it's Miley Cyrus.
Crazy times, man.

This one is especially fun, because it's almost the exact opposite of their usual style. 
But anything they make is amazing, so no worries.


The album is called "This is All Yours," and it will be released September 22.
I can't wait. Seriously, if someone gave me a time machine right now, I would probably use it to go to September 23rd (after I go visit Emily Dickinson, John Lennon, and the dinosaurs). THIS IS A BIG DEAL GUYS.

And, check out the track list:

01. Intro
02. Arrival In Nara
03. Nara
04. Every Other Freckle
05. Left Hand Free
06. Garden of England
07. Choice Kingdom
08. Hunger of the Pine
09. Warm Foothills
10. The Gospel of John Hurt
11. Pusher
12. Bloodflood pt. II
13. Leaving Nara

All that talk about "Nara"....... I'm thinking concept album? Maybe hopefully?

Oh man, this is hard for me to type without bouncing out of my seat with excitement. AHHH ALT-J AHHHH!!!!!


If you aren't in love with alt-j, then you probably haven't heard their music. So go now and listen to their music. And then cry, because we have to wait until September. 

The tears. Oh, the tears.



P.S. Check out this photo:


Pretty rad, right? Would you believe me if I told you it wasn't edited? Check out my sister's blog for how she took it, and more sweet photos like this. 

That's all (:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Trip to Maine

For the last two weeks of June, I was vacationing with my dad and brother to Maine.

Despite my visiting the East Coast quite frequently, for some reason I'd never been to Maine. All I knew about the place came from Bob's Burgers, so I was pretty well informed.

Tina Belcher is fabulous.
Anyway, it was good fun. Here are some pictures from my trip:

<Soundtrack: James Blake, Joni Mitchell, FKA Twigs, Amiina, and Maxine Sullivan.>











My aunts (who are twins) and 14 year old brother, Tom.

I had my first lobster!

An adorable island called "Vinalhaven" where we spent a day.


On the island, I bought this book of poems


The windows in my bedroom 

That's all for now, thanks for visiting my blog!

P.S. My sister just got her blog on Bloglovin, and I think ya'll should check it out! She's pretty cool, I would say.