One of my favorite all-time father/daughter teams is none other than Philip Bither(Walker perf arts curator)and his daughter Julia (the most self-posessed 15 year old I’ve ever known – she could be a Gilmore Girls character). Philip’s passed on his taste for adventurous music to Julia, and each gave City Pages columnist Jim Walsh a sampling of what they’ve been listening to as of late.
Julia’s got a top 23, below is an excerpt. See Jim’s blog for full detail:
1. “Brighter Than Sunshine,” Aqualung. I first heard this in the movie A Lot Like Love. Pretty pathetic, I know, but I couldn’t help falling in love with this song. It’s especially helpful for those days where you just feel like you can’t move unless you get a feel-good melody in your soul.
2. “Rebellion (Lies),” The Arcade Fire. I was first attracted to “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” like every sane human being should be, but when I decided to expand my horizons I found this great piece of work. Slightly Franz Ferdinand, but extremely original.
3. “It’5,” Architecture in Helsinki. Eight people in one band? Somehow AIH made this work beautifully. This song just makes me so happy, plus it’s great fun to wake up to.
4. “If She Wants Me,” Belle & Sebastian. My dad tried to turn me onto these guys for a while but I refused. It wasn’t until I stumbled upon this song on iTunes that I started to appreciate the lyrics:
I wrote a letter on a nothing day
I asked someone “Could you send my letter away?”
“You are too young to put all of your hopes in just one envelope”
I said goodbye to someone that I love
It’s not just me, I tell you it’s the both of us
And it was hard
Like coming off the pill that you take to stay happy
Someone above has seen me do alright
Someone above is looking with a tender eye
Upon your face, you may think you’re alone but you may think againIf I could do just one near perfect thing I’d be happy
They’d write it on my grave, or when they scattered
On second thought I’d rather hang around and get down with my best friend
If she wants me
5. “We’re All In This Together,” Ben Lee. It’s Monday. And I’m pushing through the halls trying to find a friendly face…. or my next class. This song shows up on my Ipod and I feel my heart dancing. I begin to notice things. The eyes that linger, the hands that hold, the smiles that echo this illumination. EVERY thing is connected and that’s the ONLY thing that matters.It’s Monday. And I’m pushing through the halls trying to find a friendly face…. or my next class. This song shows up on my Ipod and I feel my heart dancing. I begin to notice things. The eyes that linger, the hands that hold, the smiles that echo this illumination. EVERY thing is connected and that’s the ONLY thing that matters.
6. “Hunter,” Bjork. As much as she scares me, this song happens to be fascinating. Over this pulse-y beat her voice is eerie but somehow extremely powerful. It’s Monday. And I’m pushing through the halls trying to find a friendly face…. or my next class. This song shows up on my Ipod and I feel my heart dancing. I begin to notice things. The eyes that linger, the hands that hold, the smiles that echo this illumination. EVERY thing is connected and that’s the ONLY thing that matters. As much as she scares me, this song happens to be fascinating. Over this pulse-y beat her voice is eerie but somehow extremely powerful.
7.”Bowl of Oranges,” Bright Eyes…unbeatable. Although this song came out years ago, the tune hasn’t aged one bit. The lyrics are incredibly bittersweet, just like the song itself. The lyrics are so skillfully written in fact, that you can’t help that the last lines are still echoing in your mind: “But if the world could remain within a frame like a painting on a wall/Then I think we would see the beauty/Then we would stand staring in awe.”
8. “In this Life,” Chantal Kreviazuk. Although this song is hopeful, something about her raspy voice and truthful words strikes a chord in me. Just the first verse alone can make me tear up.
9. “Title and Registration,” Death Cab for Cutie. Ah, Death Cab. What continues to amaze and amuse me is how they are able to turn logical lyrics into a raw, lonely love song.
The glove compartment
isn’t accurately named
and everybody knows it.
So I’m proposing
a swift orderly change
Cause behind its door
there’s nothing to keep my fingers warm
and all I find are souvenirs from better times
before the gleam of your tail lights
fading east to find yourself a better life
10. “Manchild,” Eels. The eels, actually introduced to me by Jim, have totally captivated me from the beginning. I guess all I can say is this song is so beautiful. But I thought my best friend Sarah’s reaction was pretty much perfect. After hearing it for the first time, she said, “See, if some guy came to sing outside my window, I’d want him to sing that song. I don’t care if it’s depressing, it’s just so…..pretty.”
11. “Here Comes The Summer,” The Fiery Furnaces. My dad and I first heard these guys on the Current with the song Candymaker’s Knife In My Handbag. Although repetitive, this song is catchy and original.
12. “All We Have Is Now,” The Flaming Lips. This song always gives me an eerie epiphany about how SHORT life really is and how little time we have to be who we are.
13. “Le Garage,” The Futureheads. The first 30 seconds of this song-it could be early Beach Boys. As the drums and singing kick in, you think you are listening to a modern Clash song. This combo happens to totally pump me up.
14. “Jezebel,” Iron & Wine. This song is nothing but relaxing. Sam Bean’s voice totally calms me especially on finals week!
15. “Do You Remember?,” Jack Johnson. Jack Johnson is definitely one of my most favorite all-around artists. I love the soft voice he uses even while reporting tragedy:
I remember watching
That old tree burn down
I took a picture that
I don’t like to look at
16. “The Gravy,” Japanther. This song is from Don’t Trust Anyone Over 30, one of my favorite Walker performances of all time. I am also addicted to this two-man band who can scream with the best of ’em.
Philip’s 10 of 17:
1.”Cool Water,” Laura Veirs. The understated slacker-voiced Seattlean combines soulful shuffle, organ, chimes, a touch of minimalism in her songs about natural phenomenon and odd creatures. The chorus of this one has hung in my head all week, “cool water” on hot day… a great metaphor for all kinds of unfulfilled desires all week.
2. “Enjoy Your Worries,” The Books. What a great balancing act between experimental and accessible. They combine banjos and sampled voices, fiddles and electronics and somehow make it seem like the most natural thing in the world.
3. “Memory Song,” Meredith Monk. Last week, I was in New York meeting with Meredith Monk (on a new project for the Walker) and we were reminiscing about the first project we worked on together — The Games, a huge-scaled collaboration with Ping Chong in 1984(!) I was a know-nothing 25-year-old wanna-be curator (working at BAM as a line-producer) and she was under huge pressure to produce a major avant-blockbuster. We leaned on each other. I’ve been a huge fan, and we’ve been friends, ever since. When I got back home, I dug into my home back catalogue to listen to her beautiful “Memory Song,” a stirring highlight of The Games.
4. “11 More Days,” Carl Hancock Rux. Art renaissance man (playwright, actor, spoken word artist, musician) goes deep with poetry, electronic ambiance, urban despair and funk. Popped up the other day on the Ipod shuffle and grabbed me even more than the first time.
5. “You Ain’t Going Nowhere,” Bob Dylan. This week, a favorite moment was driving and singing this silly yet timeless song loud, out loud, with my 15-year old Julia. Feeling like I could use a few more flights “into the easy chair” these days. When is someone going to finally put out that definitive Basement Tapes box set?
6. “Changes,” Seu Jorge. So unlikely but so perfect, this favella-raised, charismatic Rio singer uses his lilting baritone, acoustic guitar and gorgeous Portuguese language to somehow even top the Bowie original. I’d heard him live, but it is thanks to my nephew Mike for passing the Bowie disc along (from Wes Anderson film).
7. “Sinbad El Calipsico,” Axel Kreiger. My favorite Argentine pop musician who no one in the States seems to know. Here he seems to be channeling Morricone, my favorite film-composer. Discovered him from some Buenos Aires-based dance-performance artists we brought here a few years back for Out There fest. Their friend Kreiger made for them a fantastic commissioned soundtrack.
8. “You Ought to Be With Me,” Al Green. I saw him in Holland at a jazz fest last summer. His gorgeous falsetto still makes my spine tingle and brings me such joy, and Willie Mitchell’s production from this era seems sent down by heavenly messenger.
9. “Everybody’s Got to Learn Sometime,” Beck. Such longing and sadness. Those strings swell and it fills my heart like Brian Wilson does at his best. It was an inspired choice for the Eternal Sunshine soundtrack (where I first heard it).
10. “The Plans that We Made,” Jon Langford and Sally Tims. Mekons main man keeps reinventing himself, and here he and long-time songmate Sally squeeze the heartache and tragedy out of this country tune (by Lonesome Bob Chaney) that traverses adultery, murder and retribution (with great punk sense of irony, putting it on a disc to raise money to fight the death penalty).It is one of many highlights of Langford’s first (and brilliant) performance piece The Executioner’s Last Songs which arrives at the Walker in a week or so.
Look out for an upcoming post from Philip on his recent travels to New York (including a visit with Ornette Coleman and Calexico)for the annual Association of Performing Arts Presenters conference, which is the performing arts world’s answer to Art Basel Miami. Industry hoe-downs, both of them.