Video for "I Want You Either Way" by Sourpatch

Oh this poor neglected blog! Things have been incredibly hectic lately -- work days have been more crowded with actual work than ever before. There are a lot of things that I've wanted to write about (recent used bin finds at favorite record stores, most listened to albums of the year, concerts attended in the past few weeks), but finding the time has been hard.

All that said, I finally got around to preordering the upcoming Sourpatch album from Happy Happy Birthday To Me records and I'm already so, so pumped for it to arrive in the mail in (hopefully) mid-December. I discovered Sourpatch through WIAIWYA's free monthly downloads. Their Fun EP is blistering, bouncy, pop. It's what my boyfriend calls "girl music" and sighs disparagingly about -- but who cares? His favorite band is Weezer.

The Fun EP is evocative of the music I came to call my own in middle and high school -- though Sourpatch might not sound exactly like Cub or Go Sailor or Bratmobile or the Sissies, the raw, sweet, tough, sing-alongable elements are there and I am left reminded of afternoons spent learning how to skateboard, walking to the comic book store and the movie theater, and talking with my best friend about how we should start a band. When I hear the opening lines of "Fun," I remember what it's like to feel smart and tough and invulnerable, while also knowing how painful those teenage afternoons and nights often felt.

You can preorder Sourpatch's upcoming full length album from HHBTM. &, of course, they have a MySpace account.

The Blake Babies

So, I'm starting to realize that I don't listen to a whole lot of new music. So much of what I listen to now (with a few critical exceptions here and there) is exactly what I listened to in high school or middle school or, in certain cases, even further back.

When I was in middle school, my aunt taped her copy of Sunburn by the Blake Babies for me. I already knew about Juliana Hatfield -- I had seen her play a homeless teenager on My So-Called Life and my dad had bought the Juliana Hatfield Three's Only Everything for me, but even though this Blake Babies album was old, it was new to me.

I loved Sunburn from the very get go, even though it wasn't until much later on that I was able to relate to what Juliana was singing about in songs like "I'm Not Your Mother" & "Out There," but when I got to the point where I was able to integrate these songs into my own adolescent experiences, they were invaluable. Especially "Out There."

So often my friends and I talked about the decisions we made and why we made them, tried to break down our own mistakes and figure out how we ended up where we had ended up, and it's those conversations that I think about whenever I hear Juliana say, "I have a body and a brain and I turn them off again and again, I know, it's stupid."

Mary Timony

Blood Tree by Mary Timony

Today has not been a good day. It's cold, windy, busy in the office, my lunch was mediocre and my reading material was depressing. Sometimes, when I'm having a bad day, I find myself gravitating toward media that will only make it worse: case in point, I spent my lunch break reading The Kiss by Kathryn Harrison.

At any rate -- I've been listening to Mary Timony's "Blood Tree" on repeat for 20-30 minutes now and, honestly, it's fantastic. I mean, every song on The Golden Dove is great, but "Blood Tree" is really wonderful.

I love that this song is simultaneously dark and sad and rich and full of life -- I love its world weariness and it's forward momentum. I love that it seems to say, "Go, go, it's just not worth it, I give up," while also building up this glorious sense of defiance and nonchalance. Which, is, you know, essentially how I feel about things like work and Mondays: defiant and nonchalant.

Blood Tree by Mary Timony

Rocket or Chiritori

Vacation by Rocket or Chiritori

God, what is not to love about this girl? In some ways, I believe that the internet's tendency to hook me up with music that I would have loved when I was fourteen and had no friends is its only true redeeming talent.

I have always loved things that feel private, like they happened in isolation. I love spare sounding music that seems like it was recorded in someone's bedroom while they were hiding from their parents or trying to occupy the hours spent not attending a party they weren't invited to anyway. I love things that sound sad, but in that beautiful way, like when you're a teenager and you think there's something really brilliant and tragic and misunderstood about never having anywhere to go except, maybe, the convenience store to buy something to drink and maybe run into the older cooler kids who are trying to get frustrated adults to buy beer for them.

It takes literally NO IMAGINATION for me to picture myself as a teenager lying face down on my bed listening to "Vacation" on repeat, losing myself in the sound of Satako's tentative and perfect strumming.

(This version of "Vacation" appears on the Darla Records comp Little Darla has a Treat for You vol. 9.)

Vacation by Rocket or Chiritori

(I used to spend a lot of time listening to Hole in this house with my high school BFF.)

Olympia (Alternate Mix) by Hole

A few weeks ago, my boyfriend was trying to figure out what he should give his younger sister for her birthday and he asked me, "What were you listening to when you were seventeen?"

And it was in that moment I realized that the only album I have listened to consistently since I began to develop a taste in music outside of what my parents played in the car was Hole's Live Through This.

It is sort of a weird thing, to realize that one of the only albums I've cared about deeply for the last 10+ years is by a band that my boyfriend refers to as "Girlvana."

So, I tried to explain -- very clumsily -- what it means to me (and to at least one other girl I can think of) to love Live Through This in an unabashed, forever-and-ever sort of way.

I think a lot of it has to do with growing up with low self-esteem and not much money, to sense a difference in yourself so deep and profound that you don't know how to conduct yourself in complicated and overlapping teenage spheres -- to be out of place in the classrooms, the hallways, the cafeterias, the parties, the malls. Some of it probably has to do with knowing what it means to be a victim of sexual and emotional violence. Another part of it is loving art that reflects your struggles and seems to fight your battles for you -- I love Live Through This for many of the same reasons that I love Joyce Carol Oates' Foxfire and envied the older punk rock girls who were sent home for "acting out."

Now, years and years and years later, I find myself awkwardly defending Hole when my boyfriend and I discuss music. Pathetically trying to articulate the power of certain sneered sentiments (particularly Courtney's near-perfect, "Don't you touch me, don't you dare" in "She Walks On Me.")

I love the alternate mix of Olympia for it's clarity -- you can hear every word, every whisper. The first time I heard it, I was finally able to decipher the answer to Courtney's question, "What do you do with a revolution?" ("You just forget your name.")

Olympia (Alternate Mix) by Hole