Music On Monday: Rivers and Roads

A while ago my girl Stacey posted the video of this song on my Facebook wall. And I loved it. Then forgot about it. Then this blogger posted another song from The Head and the Heart in his weekly musical installment. And I ran to iTunes and bought the album. And was reminded of this song. And it all fell into place.

This week we’re saying goodbye to another season, another place, another group of people we’ve grown to love.

A year from now we’ll all be gone, All our friends will move away

There are some wonderful aspects of this lifestyle. The travel, the shared experiences, the summers off. The chance to meet people who I’d otherwise never have set eyes upon. But it can be very lonely, for how social it is. It can be isolating, for how intense the bonds often are.

We spend 7 or 8 months a year missing those we’ve left back home(s). During those months we make new relationships. You settle into a routine and feel a closeness that is special and unique. All the while knowing that when we say ‘See you later’ at the end of the season it’s likely we mean ‘See you never again.’

Been talking bout the way things change, And my family lives in a different state, And if you don’t know what to make of this, Then we will not relate

This cycle used to be much harder on me. Or maybe I just didn’t have the same perspective I have now. I used to cry when I said goodbye. Now I just smile and hug and hope that this time it’s the exception and I do see you again soon.

The consolation to the melancholy of our departure from our hockey-seasonal home is the ecstasy of a reunion back home-home. The long-awaited moment where I squeeze my dogs, smell my mom’s perfume, see my best friend’s smile and have whispered night-time talks with my sister.

Rivers and roads, Rivers and roads, Rivers ’til i reach you       

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Jack Johnson

Nerina Pallot

Lauryn Hill

Propogandhi

AKB48

The Zolas

Florence + The Machine

The Tragically Hip

Music On Monday: Longtime Running [PLAYOFF FINALS EDITION]

The Tragically Hip are in a constant and hard-fought battle with Pearl Jam for title of “Dave’s Favorite Band of All Time.” In 2001 Dave introduced me to their wonders and glory and now I am of course in love with them as I am with him.

Choosing a Tragically Hip song as the Icebucks playoff run continues is only natural. The Hip are Canadian and thereby are hockey fans. And a more obvious choice might have been the classic ‘Fireworks‘ since it’s literally about hockey (and the line ‘she said she didn’t give a fuck about hockey, I’d never heard someone say that before’ seems like something Dave might had said about me when we first met), or maybe their newer song ‘The Lonely End of the Rink’ since the storyline for the Icebucks has become quite wrapped up in goaltending.

For me the Tragically Hip are one of those bands (like Counting Crows or Sarah Harmer) that always seem to have at least a few lines of lyrics in each song that leave me half-jokingly asking ‘Is this song about me?’ I chose ‘Longtime Running’, firstly, because it’s one of my favorite Hip songs in general. It’s not as hard as many of their most popular songs, but it speaks to me. And secondly, the chorus is the epitome of what a hard-fought season leads to.

It’s been a long time running…It’s been a long time coming…It’s been a long, long, long time running…It’s well worth the wait.

In 2009 Dave and I saw this band in concert in a small bar venue in L.A. It was truly amazing. First of all, a year before I was even pregnant this concert brought me into contact with some awesome parenting role models: jammed right up next to the stage with us was a Canadian-American couple with their 13 and 17-year old son and daughter with them. Awesome. Secondly, I had that kind of concert experience that makes you really feel alive, sweaty and screaming and it all culminated with me and Gord Downie having a really special moment (right Gord? I’m sure you remember!) during ‘Blow At High Dough.’ He would scream into the mic and then put it to me and I’d take my turn. BLOW! BLOW! BLOW! I was a rock star. Or at least I had a rock star dripping his sweat on me, same difference.

This song doesn’t have the beat or the pace that you might expect me to choose to help inspire Dave and his teammates at this crucial moment for their team. But it has all the passion and some of the pain that comes for a group of players who are this close. When a season (and a century) of underdog status have taken their toll, when injuries start to crop up in players who are fighting like dogs, when fear and doubt start to creep in after a tough loss, a team can fall apart. Just like that, the high of making it this far can crumble into infighting and finger-pointing and taking the easy way out. That can happen.

But it doesn’t have to. This song is the pace this team needs now. As they prepare for their game, their minds should be calm but their hearts should be fierce. As they look at each other they should remember that we can each only do OUR part and hope that inspires the next person. When they get in the locker room a couple of hours before the game, I trust they will find a faster beat to get the blood flowing. But just before that, listen to this.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Jack Johnson

Nerina Pallot

Lauryn Hill

Propogandhi

AKB48

The Zolas

Florence + The Machine

Music On Monday: Marlaina Kamikaze

I am always, always, always looking for music for my runs that is also in the alternative/folk genre and doesn’t use auto-tune. The Zolas popped up in iTunes as a suggestion (oh iTunes, you know me so well) and I was immediately drawn to their sound. I love the strength of the lead singer’s vocals, I love the plethora of instruments I heard on their albums, I love the creativity of the lyrics. Also, as a rule I love any band that includes at least one beard and two hoodies. Check and check. Once I had purchased a few of their songs I hit up their website and found they are, wait for it, CANADIAN. What is my deal!? Musically inclined Canadian men with facial hair are like my Achille’s heel!

This video is a fun one-take version of a song that is now in heavy rotation in the daily playlist of my life. I love videos like this because you can truly see the talent of the musicians and I feel like I get a small glimpse in to how much fun they have making music. But if I’m honest, once they really started jamming on the hotel bed I immediately thought: ‘I hope the people in the next room don’t have a sleeping baby.’ Oh. My. God. I am old and lame. Never invite me to a party at your house, I’ll be passing out coasters.

P.S. A fellow runner, music lover and blogger has been inspired my M.O.M. posts (I’m so flattered!) and has started his own on-going series ‘Sounds, Suds and Cinema’…the first installment does not disappoint, check it out here!

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Jack Johnson

Nerina Pallot

Lauryn Hill

Propogandhi

AKB48

Music On Monday: Refusing To Be A Man

When my husband was 14 or so he was cut from a hockey team for the first time in his life, causing him to have a mid-adolescence crisis. He says he considered giving up hockey forever (and we all know how that turned out) and he became more serious about skateboarding, previously just a hobby, as an alternative. Naturally, during this period, he co-founded an ironic punk band.

This is how the Such Friends were born. Even at that age it would appear Canadian teens are able to master parody. The Such Friends once played a basement concert with original songs such as ‘Pass Me The Milk.’ The chorus sings: pass me the milk…pass me the darn, f$*@ing milk. Dave still sings this song when he wants me to pass him the milk.

The soundtrack to his mid-adolescence crisis and probably an inspiration to the formation of the Such Friends was the musical stylings Manitoban punk band Propagandhi. As an impressionable 14-year-old Dave was listening to Propogandhi’s second album and memorizing the very political, rather radical (when you consider the average beliefs of a Canadian prairie resident or an American Midwesterner) lyrics. I doubt he understood it all then, but it sure beats having your brain numbed by Mariah Carey…which is what I was doing at that same time a thousand miles away.

Dave still loves Propogandhi. He still knows all the lyrics to every song on that album, although it’s difficult for me to guess how he learned them since when the music is playing I can’t hear anything but noise. And yes, I know how old I sound when I write that but egad does it have to be so LOUD!? Anyway, although their music does reside in our iTunes library, I always panic and rush to change the song when they come up on shuffle. Despite Dave’s efforts to translate/narrate the lyrics to me, all I can hear is the yelling. My god the yelling.

Recently, because he knows me all too well, he sent me an e-mail (while sitting 4 feet away from me) with the lyrics of a few of those songs cut and pasted into the body. The title of the e-mail was ‘humor me…just humor me.’ And I did.

While I still can’t really stomach this genre the way Dave would love me to, I can certainly appreciate that these men and musicians planted some pretty awesome seeds in Dave’s hormone-riddled adolescent mind. And as we raise our daughter and face a world with what seems like louder and more powerful voices of hate clinging to the patriarchy, it’s hard not to appreciate how much he values a diversity of messages. Lyrics below for those who don’t speak this language.

I’m not going to try to tell you that I’m different from all the rest.

I’ve been subject to the same de-structure of desire and I’ve felt the same effects; I’m a hetero-sexist tragedy. And potential rapists all are we.

But don’t tell me this is natural. This is nurturing.

And there’s a difference between sexism and sexuality.

I had different desires prior to my role-remodelling.

And at six years of age you don’t challenge their claims. You become the same. (Or withdraw from the game and hang your head in shame).

I think that’s exactly what I did. I tried to sever the connections between me and them.

I fought against their further attempts to convince a kid that birthright can bestow the power to yield the subordination of women and do you know what patricentricity means?

I found out just a couple of days/months/years/minutes ago. It means male values uber alles and hey!

Whaddaya know… sex has been distorted and vilified.

I’m scared of my attraction to body types.

If everything desired is objectified then maybe eroticism needs to be redefined.

And I refuse to be a “man”.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Jack Johnson

Nerina Pallot

Lauryn Hill

Music On Monday: Real Late Starter

Not only do I love this song, it also adequately describes a ‘Music on Monday’ post that I publish on a Tuesday. But let’s just say yesterday Dave had the baby out of the house the WHOLE morning and I lay here in a hazy bliss of laziness, only to end the day with a visit to the hot springs and the easiest dinner one can make in Japan: pizza in the toaster oven.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Jack Johnson

Music On Monday: Breakdown

First thing you should know is: I LOVE JACK JOHNSON. I do. I love every single song he sings. I know that’s not particularly cool or hip or interesting but sometimes music is good simply because it FEELS GOOD. In these days of hipster-mania it’s like you have to have discovered an artist busking on the street in order for them to be worthy of enjoying. Newsflash hipsters: popular music is popular, often, because it is fun, easy to listen to, and catchy. I’m not saying it’s the most interesting artistry, but I am saying liking it makes you a normal, loveable human being that enjoys enjoyment for the sake of the thing.

When I am in a bad mood or things aren’t going well, I often seek a musical pick me up. Dave will see me fumbling with the iPod and say ‘Jackie-J?’ (that’s what we call him, he likes it) and I’ll say ‘he can fix this.’ And he can. Anyone with a ukulele can solve my problems, that’s how small they are.

This week was pretty awful. Started with the baby falling ill on Monday, getting slightly better, getting much worse, and then finally getting slowly better again. I’m starting a fund where I collect all my loose change and pool it together for plane fare for one of our mothers should this ever happen again. Having a sick baby is exhausting. Plus we fell ill ourselves. Plus I don’t know what anyone is saying to me at the doctor’s office except for that one nurse who insinuated I wasn’t dressing my child warmly enough but don’t worry I killed her with a bunch of eye-daggers.

‘Breakdown’ is one of my favorite Jackie-J tunes and it fit well with our week. Sometimes we are forced to take things more slowly, to appreciate what we have, to try to chill the F out. I’m working on it.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

White Rabbits

Music on Monday: Percussion Gun

I’ve been running more lately. And hard. The kind of run where at the end you fist-pump and yell out TAKE THAT MOTHER-TRUCKERS! My neighbors probably don’t like it but they’re certainly not going to approach the crazy foreigner and ask me to stop.

When I get to like the 42 minute 17 second mark of my run, I start to feel like dying. It’s a brief, roughly 3 minute sputter that, if I can get through, leads to a very, very strong finish. Which is where ‘Percussion Gun’ comes in.

Firstly, don’t you love when a lead singer plays an instrument other than the guitar? Me too. Secondly, if this song doesn’t make you want to sprint and/or jump-kick, you need to be examined because you are dead inside.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Tracy Chapman

Music On Monday: Fast Car

As I write this all the other members of my nuclear family are together. In Norway. Without me. My mom, my dad, my little sis. At this very moment they are probably having a group hug while my sister’s fiance Ryan stands by feeling weird about it all.

With the 4 of us spanning 3 continents it’s important to soak up the time we do have together and relish in all the memories we built before we grew up and the family started growing. Before I married Dave. We adopted Falcor. Then Enid. Then had the baby. Then Alley and Ryan adopted Lewis and finally got engaged.

But before all that, back in the day, we got our first family CD player. It still lives and operates in my parents house. A 6-disc changer thankyouverymuch. If my dad has anything to do with it (and he does) it will remain operational until the day he and my mom both die (simultaneously in their sleep at age 100 while holding hands) and my sister and I will then have to keep it because we won’t be able to bear the thought of getting rid of it. But I digress.

I remember we were all allowed to pick out a CD at the store to bring home and try. I went real alternative with it and got Mariah Carey’s Music Box, my dad got a Jim Croce hits collection, my sister being a wee lass of about 7 chose some kind of Disney soundtrack I’m sure.

But none of those left the impression on me that my mom’s choice did. She bought Tracey Chapman’s self-titled debut album and we rocked out to that bit of musical art together for years. It’s music we now play for our own child. For a long time the favorite track of my sister and I was ‘Behind the Wall’, and I am fairly certain it was the amazingly emotional acappella storytelling-singing that captivated us since we were a little young to be picking up on the domestic violence themes. Later we found our now legendary abilities of interpretive dance and listened to ‘Fast Car’ on repeat while pretending to, wait for it, drive a fast car. But in slow motion. We can interpret any song into dance I promise you that.

I miss you guys.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Hey Rosetta!/Said the Whale

Music on Monday DOUBLE FEATURE: Welcome and Love Is Art

Last week my sister-in-law Julie was here. And it was so lovely. Lovely watching my daughter fall in love with her aunt. Lovely watching a brother and sister love each other. Lovely having another loving pair of hands and a friend to laugh with. Added bonus: we swapped music from our iTunes and now I have about 50 new songs to groove on. And because it’s not technically Monday anymore and in case you are suffering from a post-holiday let-down, I take from that list and give you two songs.

Hey Rosetta!’s ‘Welcome’ is basically the most amazing ode that a parent ever wrote a child. It’s so full of love that when you listen to it the love will pour in, fill you up, and pour out in the form of tears. Last week this song came on during dinner and Dave literally wept. Twice. While eating. (But he would want me to tell you that he prefers the electric version because ‘it adds urgency to the song’)

For this hard ride
They’ll be strapping you on
All the ups and downs and you can’t get off
Yes trouble, we’re handing it off
And you’ve got to do better than us
It’ll be alright
You’ve got lots of time
Got your daddy’s love
Everything you want
I can feel you and what you’re gonna be
You’ll be stronger, you’ll be smarter than me
Oh baby, I’ll say it again
You’re the most incredible thing

‘Love is Art’ by Said the Whale is my personal favorite from the new songs Julie added to our stockpile. I love the drums, I love the bridge (SO MUCH) and I want to sing this song while dancing wildly around my kitchen with the baby and Dave and whoever else wants to join as long as they are holding a tambourine or a maracas or something.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain

Butterfly Boucher

Music on Monday: Cinnamon and Chocolate

If you thought I was only going to do one holiday Music on Monday, you don’t know me very well! My WORD I love this genre of music. And usually I’m pretty hardcore about the classics. But I am not going to stick to traditional Christmas songs with blind loyalty because, let’s face it, Mariah Carey invented ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ and if you haven’t sung that song at the top of your voice while pointing to strangers lately, you aren’t living.

Australian artist Butterfly Boucher is an amazing musician and my ear always perks up when I hear she has something new coming. When I found out she went the original Christmas song route I was all ‘Don’t screw this up, Butt!’ (in my imagination we are really close friends and her nickname is Butt) and after a listen I discoverd :::spoiler alert::: she did not screw it up. ‘Cinnamon and Chocolate’ is a great holiday song and if you don’t find yourself loving it, listen again. You owe Butt that much at least.

Sidenote: Dave has a little (and by little I mean REALLY big) crush on Butt and I am so proud of him for that. He came out of his Christina Aguilera dressed-up-as-a-pin-up crush and improved his taste by like…10 million percent.

Sidenote 2: Wouldn’t it be weird to be Australian and all the Christmas movies and songs are about snow but it is summer at Christmas? Since Butt is Australian I will ask her about this next time we are hanging out together, just jammin’.

M.O.M. Past:

Sarah Harmer

Timbaland ft. The Hives

Rene and Jeremy

Elvis Perkins in Dearland

Brendan Benson

The White Stripes

Janelle Monae

They Might Be Giants

Powderfinger

The Frames

Great Lake Swimmers

The Who

Andrew Bird

Cold War Kids

Michael Buble ft. Shania Twain