Long Days & Loud Music

“Well are you excited?”  This was Maine, said by everyone. My responses were affirmative, but always with a bit of unintentional hesitance. There were still some major pieces of the puzzle to fall in place, and things had come together too quickly to really grasp. I couldn’t help but sound uncertain.

But then there I was, packing Old Blue to the brim with clothes, shoes, skis, camping gear, and saying a hard goodbye to my parents. The excitement of the road ahead hit me; it was Go time.

**

“I’m so glad to know that you exist.”  This was Chicago, said by Harry’s girlfriend. Apparently for years the two of them had a running joke that my existence was fabricated – that I was a cover up for him to chat on the phone with another girl rather than an old friend. She was delighted to be proven wrong.

Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska blend together for a long, flat, and unchanging few days. The general perception of Middle America is not wrong – the landscape is boring, and the air smells like manure; and yet, there is beauty to be found in sepia-tone cornfields under a late summer glow.

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“I don’t know if you’ll reach California today, son.”  This was Utah, said by a hefty fellow named Glenn. I looked around the waiting room and wondered how long I’d be stuck there. Blue was hurting, and I couldn’t continue until she got checked out. On the bright side, I was surprised I made it as far as Utah without the car sputtering. It almost felt required that this would happen.

Seven hours and one painful invoice later, I zoomed through the mesmerizing Bonneville salt flats and the Nevada desert. I was delayed, but thankful to get the auto work done. The music got louder and the speed limits higher; all eyes were on the final state ahead.

**

“Well, welcome to California!”  This was Truckee, said by the woman behind the counter, inquiring about my East-coast license plates. The state border had snuck up on me, and before I knew it I was pulling over for coffee, surrounded by the majestic Sierras.

It was now, finally in the air of my new state, that I could reflect on it all: the past six months, the whirlwind of September – during which I slept in fifteen different locations, the Boston chapter behind me and the California chapter ahead.

I suddenly wished I could go back to everyone who had asked if I was excited.

Hell yeah I was excited.

**

 

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Tash Sultana

Every time I start up Spotify I’m introduced to a new artist. Some good, some bad; some to add to a playlist, others forgettable.  Then there are those that make you stop everything because it is something entirely different. Who is this person? Where are they from?  What’s their story?

I want to tell you about Tash Sultana. She’s a 22 year old Australian with an incredible story, and we’re already late to the game.

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At 15 years old she started playing on the streets of Melbourne after school and on the weekends. On any given day she could’ve been performing one of the ten instruments she taught herself how to play. Fast forward some years, and she’s battling a year-long episode of psychosis thanks to a bad mushroom trip. She misses school for months, loses 35 pounds, but it was music that kept her from losing her mind.  Then, last year, she creates Jungle, posts it on YouTube and she’s a star.

Her Tiny Desk Concert is time well spent.  Not only is it remarkable to see her musical talent (looping all of her sounds), but Tash performing is nothing short of mesmerizing.

The last song

It was nearing the end of the night. Two more songs maybe? Just one? Ben looked around and could tell everyone was getting anxious to wrap it up and move onwards to their parties, their open houses…their freedom.

“Alright everyone, last song of the night. You know what that means..find that special someone one last time. Class of 2016, this is for you!”  Was it possible for the DJs at these dances not to sound corny?

Ben’s eyes flickered frantically around the dim room. His heart rate picked up. The time had come. In his mind, he’d put himself in this exact moment countless times. It was his last shot to impress her, to make a statement, to look into her eyes.  There was no afterparty for Ben. There was no next opportunity.  After tonight was a summer of lethargic boredom and the foreboding unknowns of college.

Where was she?

There. Her yellow dress caught his eye. She was laughing with a friend.  The colorful lights of the dance floor shimmered in her eyes; those eyes that first grabbed Ben’s attention sophomore year. He smiled.

Ben took a deep breath, walked over to her, and put his hand on her shoulder. She turned.

May I have this dance? 

 

A nod to the opener

It’s 9:42 on Saturday morning, and I’m trying to go back to sleep.  A small headache – thanks to some tequila, some beers, and definitely no waters – pulses to the beat of Rufus. The set they played last night was incredible, lighting up the feet of a sold out crowd.

If you follow this site, you don’t need a reminder of the greatness of Rufus. No, there’s something else entering my groggy memory: the opening act.

The Kite String Tangle is a fellow Aussie following Rufus’ current tour with good reason. He absolutely crushed the role of an opener,  with a healthy dose of throbbing dance beats getting everyone hyped for Rufus to step on.

Caamp

Curveball alert! Folk music!

Spotify Discover introduced me to Caamp, and sweet baby jesus am I happy about it. A little folk banjo pickin’ action coming from two Ohio dudes, I’ve been playing their debut album nonstop in the car. There’s not a song on it I don’t like.

“Ohio boys making beautiful noise”…. These guys Tyler and Evan have a bright future.

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Matthew and the Atlas – Pale Sun Rose

Think about this: songs almost always reveal themselves in the initial listen. Whether it’s a club banger, a chill vibe, a folksy love tale, or a mellow downer – we know what kind of song it is meant to be right away. You agree, right? Rarely do songs polarize listeners, blur the lines, and provide multiple moods.

Pale Sun Rose is a song I’ve been chewing on for a few weeks, and I still can’t put my finger on it. After seeing D-Man dabbling in my Spotify and gravitating towards this song himself, I found he had a similar reaction. We know this is a good song immediately; it’s unique and captivating. But what is the story – is it sad? Adventurous? Reflective? How is the listener meant to digest the song – for a roadtrip, around a campfire, on an aimless stroll?

I’m still not sure myself, but I know it’s cool music. And we should acknowledge the songs that lure us to dig into them; songs that aren’t cookie cutter in their theme and feeling.

What does this song do for you?

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