Video: Ka - Off the Record

I'm sure this video resonates with those that received their introduction to quintessential nineties rap through vinyl records and tape decks. My first rap album was Puff Daddy's No Way Out, on CD (fml), and it's a shame to Read more

Marmalakes - Dolores

I was in bed reading the The Movie Goer by Walker Percy the other night when "Dolores" came up on a recent playlist I made. I had to put down the American classic and listen a little closer to Chase Weinacht's Read more

Toony TuneS & Captn Dan - Popadock

Wordplay Saturday. You might be out in the sun, swimming or riding your bicycle, but I'm the house listening to rappers Toony Tunes and Captn Dan. I don't know where they came from, put them in my ears, Read more

» Alex Mitchell

Words in the Fire with Patrick Watson

On by Alex Mitchell In .MP3 | comment  

You might be familiar with this scene: coffee, macbook, headphones. Enter 20 something blogging at a local café. Creative stimulants are in full force, scone has been picked to crumbs.

Although I don’t frequent Chango, the expensive coffeehouse at the end of our block ($9 bagel anyone?), that scene, for the most part, is me. Except I’m at home and scone-less, intermittently reminding myself to take Sallie Anne across the street to shit on Providence Congregational’s lone strip of piss-crisped grass (that’s for singing too loud).

My point is, like a lot of people, I listen to music when I write. Right now I’m listening to the new Jens Lekman album, I Know What Love Isn’t, indie strange-pop at its best (just invented that term). Jens Lekman is a funky dude. But when I’m hunkered down, impassioned, and writing something I feel has purpose, or importance (to me, at least), I crave for that emotionally heavy swell of low key beats and soft, endearing melodies.

In the past it’s been Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Beach House Devotion, Elliott Smith (anything), and many more. Currently though, it’s Patrick Watson, Adventures In Your Own Backyard. AYOB was released in May, however, I didn’t get hold of it until the beginning of August. Since then I’ve put it on loop whenever I sit down to write. I’ve even reverted to it now (Jens was failing me).

All thirteen tracks of AYOB, from “Lighthouse“ to “Things We Do”, exist as the perfect background sound. For me the key is to not get stuck on the lyrics until they burst through my vestibular nerve and demand to act as inspiration. So as “Words on Fire” comes to a close and Watson sings his last lines, ”So what’s been on your mind / Eatin’ you inside / Takin’ all of your time / On this warm summer night / Put those words down in the fire,” I feel this mountainous passion building, a feeling I hope will spill into my sentences. It’s good.

I realize I just described sort of an orgasmic experience. In actuality, I think it’s a bit sad that all these factors need to be in place for me to write impassioned material. Why can’t I just be at the park with a journal watching people buy drugs and little kids getting yanked along on Dora the Explorer backpack leashes? Good Question. Maybe Shakespeare would have found it troubling to type up a script on Final Draft. I don’t know. To each her own.

However, if you’re a coffee+macbook+headphones type of writer like me, or not that at all, check out Adventures In Your Own Backyard. I’ll be doing the same, wishing I had a backyard myself for Sallie Anne to shit in.


Beat Culture: Useless

On by Alex Mitchell In .MP3, Music, New & Fresh | comment  

Beat Culture is Sunik Kim, an electro-experimental wizard. He’s 17. When I was 17  I was stealing lingerie for my girlfriend and rap battling the mirror like Eminem in 8 Mile. Sunik, on the other hand, is a pitch-shifting shoegazer that mixes samples into a steaming pot of Jealous Potion THAT I WILL GLADLY DRINK EVERY SINGLE DAY! (Exclamation point exclaiming ANGER!)

An Object of Beauty

On by Alex Mitchell In Blog, Stories | comment  

I didn’t think I could make it. Six months in LA traffic and I was feeling the rage. Over Christmas, on a week trip to Portland everyone was asking about my exploits in the big city. “Phew,” I told them, “traffic is killer.” Which, truthfully, is on par with “the weather is unbeatable.” Or, “we have an IHOP down the block with valet service.”  Just kidding I love/hate that fact. However, when driving becomes such a significant, depressing portion of your life, it comes up in conversation with people who bike to work.

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