Tag Archives: mp3


Thanks to my good buddy Patrick, I’ve finally participated in making music for the first time since finishing at Reed.

So, for your listening pleasure, here’s a cover of Elliott Smith’s “Pretty (Ugly Before),” inspired, mixed, and all-but-entirely performed by Patrick excepting the female vocals, which are mine. Thanks for listening!

© 2011 Patrick Finley


1 Comment

Filed under music

Change is good.

We’re getting to the truly crazy point in my last semester in college. I have just over 21 days left to me before my first draft is due to be submitted to the division. Yet even as my headspace is becoming more and more manic (termed the “crazy steady state” by a charming duo), I’m still managing to take good care of myself, with a good amount of help from some beloved friends. Musical therapy doesn’t hurt either.

The reason I’m here is because I’ve had a couple of serendipitous afternoons, walking down the hill from the coffeeshop to campus, where the shuffle setting on my iPod has rewarded me and coincided perfectly with the fleeting sunshine. And maybe between my slightly manic state of mind and the thin warmth from the spring light, I’ve developed a higher tolerance for pop-y covers and remixes, replete with handclaps and toy xylophone. In any case, the changing of the seasons from gray to gold is what I need and these few covers seem to be the perfect soundtrack, no matter their creative merit. Timing is, after all, everything.

Feist — Lonely Lonely [Frisbee’d Remix]

I’ve been revisiting Open Season. I only love few tracks off the album — this one, and then also the k-os remix of “Mushaboom,” since its freestyle contains some endearing Feist/Broken Social Scene references. Good cherry blossom music.

Thom Yorke — Atoms for Peace [Four Tet Remix]

The perfect combination.

Miles Fisher — This Must Be the Place (Naïve Melody) [Talking Heads Cover]

Talking Heads holds the special-est of places in my heart. If it weren’t for them, Reed College would not be what it is. I can say that much with certainty. I’m looking at you, “crazy steady” duo.

Anyhow. I know some of you will think this is blasphemous. Whatever. Embrace it. And happy March/thesising.

Leave a comment

Filed under music

Solstice, yearning.

Winter break started about one week ago. I haven’t done much that isn’t slovenly and therefore lovely–late evenings, beer with friends, naps, and trolling some music blogs for new tunes. Don’t let anyone tell you that sloth never produces anything good, though. Due to this quiet time, I have two new album recommendations for you.

Alela Diane, To Be Still

The first is a little late given its February 2009 release. However, I just found out about Nevada-City-native-turned-Portlander Alela Diane, and just listened to To Be Still (Rough Trade Records) for the first time today. I’m quite taken with it and her pretty, infrequent blogging. This is her first recording since her debut, The Pirate’s Gospel (Holocene Music 2006). Her songwriting is impressive given her short musical history–she started writing songs just three years prior to The Pirate’s Gospel. Yet both of her parents are musicians, TPG was recorded in her father’s home studio, and he has collaborated with her on several of her songs. She was “discovered” by fellow Nevada City native Joanna Newsom, who arranged for her first public show. She has since toured throughout the US and Europe, extensively in France. She collaborated with Joey Waronker, Gus Seyffert, Leo Abrahams, and Woody Jackson under the name “Headless Heroes” to produce an album of covers, The Silence of Love (Nov. 2008), recorded by Eddie Bezalel and Hugo Nicholson. Her most recent release (Oct. 2009) is a collaboration with Alina Hardin, simply titled Alela & Alina (Family/Names Records). You can hear a sample of them here.

Other nice stuff: Pitchfork‘s review of To Be Still;  a Daytrotter session, which includes some nice recordings (May 2007); NPR’s World Cafe session with the lady and her father (!); and a Blogotheque “Take Away Show,” which is embedded below (Dec. 2007).

Laura Veirs, July Flame

Luckily, I’m right on time with a fanfare for this album. Laura is another Portland transplant who I was lucky enough to see perform at the Laurelthirst (one of her standard gigs) back in October. She had a valise full of CDs of July Flame, her newest recording, set for a Jan. 12, 2010 release date. The recording will be the debut full-length album for her own label, Raving Marching Band Records, and her seventh full-length album–sixth with co-producer Tucker Martine. A look at her website reveals a full July Flame tour schedule extending into March, with dates throughout both the US and Europe. In fact, if you’re in Portland, you can catch her at the Laurelthirst again on New Year’s Eve. You can download two tracks off the album right here; I certainly recommend the title track. Like Alela, the Colorado Springs native got a start in music with her family, with summers spent camping and singing around campfires. Her songwriting skills really emerged right after graduating from college and moving to China to serve as a translator. Writing lyrics became a way of coping for her, during a period of semi-isolation. Her biography on her website describes July Flame‘s genesis:

On a day in late July 2008, when the sun was hot enough to melt the skin, Veirs and a friend stumbled upon a booth at the Portland, Ore. farmer’s market selling July Flame peaches. Veirs so liked the name that she suggested she and her friend each write a song with that title. They bought a bunch of peaches and canned them in their bathing suits on the hottest day that summer. The peaches, spiked with cloves and drenched in syrup, turned out great, and the song is one of Veirs’ best ever. “I’d been in a songwriting slump at that time and writing that song pushed me over my plateau and into a new place where I was surprising myself again. I invented oddball tunings so I was really using my ear to search out new-sounding melodies and patterns,” says Veirs. “I wrote this album from a searching, soulful place. I hope it elicits a real gut feeling.”

Other nice things: The NPR World Cafe session is here; I’ve embedded a video she made of her barn, the space at her home where she writes her music and teaches lessons. It’s a pretty cool glimpse!

Thanks for reading, all; I hope you enjoy these two beautiful albums. Merry Christmas to all, and a fulfilling new year.

Leave a comment

Filed under music

Recommendation: Mirah’s (A)Spera


1. Generosity (3:44)
2. The World Is Falling Apart (5:00)
3. Education (5:18)
4. Shells (2:32)
5. Country of the Future (3:35)
6. The Forest (3:30)
7. Gone Are the Days (3:41)
8. The River (7:49)
9. Bones & Skin (3:12)
10. While We Have the Sun (4:41)

Over the last year Mirah has become one of my favorite artists. I find her lyrics sweetly impressive and clever. I think her lo-fi idiom is solid, well-practiced, but never boring. She mixes her troubadorial guitar with instrumental choices that might otherwise be surprising if you were listening to any other singer-songwriter. “The Forest” (off of (A)Spera) shows off a tight horn section with a military flavor; “Shells” is carried by a light, arpeggiated dulcimer (one of my favorite sounds in the world); “While We Have the Sun” unfolds over a thumb piano loop (thumb piano!), dulcimer (!!), and layered vocals. The overall scope of her records shows a positive correlation between her creative bravery and the progression of time.

Her newest album (A)Spera came out about a week ago and marks her first release of new material since 2004. It highlights all of her abilities as a musician, lyricist, and songwriter, furthering her arc of successful artistic projects. If you’re already a listener, you won’t be disappointed. If you’re not, now would be a good time to change that.

A well-written review of (A)Spera can be found here. Give her opening track a listen. And to all you folks lucky enough to live in Portland (her chosen artistic base), she’ll be playing the Aladdin Theater on the 4th of April. See you there.

Leave a comment

Filed under music