Thursday, January 29, 2009

Album Review: "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand"

Sometimes, it is so hard to get anything done in the winter. It's cold, it's dark, and I find myself craving fatty foods, fantasizing about sleep and hiding in my dorm more and more.

Imagine my surprise then when, sitting on the couch trying to find the motivation to actually do work, I came across Franz Ferdinand's new album on Imeem. It was like the clouds opened up and a beam of indie-post-punk shone through the winter gloom.

There is something...different about this album. It sounds a little dark, a little bitter; like the bite at the end of your drink. It's a little less dance floor and a little more anguished poet; it is less plastic, less surface...and yet, it still sounds like Franz Ferdinand; still fun, danceable and irreverent.

There is even a ballad of sorts. "Katherine Kiss Me" is a little strange, but sort of sweet, with the lyrical 'slips of the tongue' that show the nervousness and awkwardness that come with the conflict of wanting to say what we feel and being afraid to. The song has no shortage of dark, even ugly images and themes, but has an honesty and realness that is so uncommon in love songs.

I must confess that I am writing this as I am listening to the album for the sake of time (I know, sigh) so this is not a conventional album review. Since I have not done my traditional distraction-free listen or researched or listened to my favorite songs so much that they start to creep into my consciousness at random times, this is going to be a little more reaction and a little less analysis. Which is possibly as it should be.

The New York Times recently did a feature on the album which describes it much more elegantly than I:
The Times article

And lucky you, I'll even share. Here you go (clips):

Tonight - Franz Ferdinand

Favorite tracks (at the moment):
"Ulysses," "Katherine Kiss Me," "Twilight Omens"

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In which the blogger's brains resemble a mashed potato sculpture (though not as tasty or fun)

Sounds dramatic, right?

Actually, if I were to tell you why my brains currently resemble that Idahoan delicacy, it would probably end up being boring and self-indulgent, so I'll spare you the hairy details. Just know that psychoanalytic film theory is not a good way to end out what has been a very long week.

Unfortunately, there's more to get done, but I thought I'd leave you with a little sum'n sum'n.

This pretty much sums up my mental state (full song):

Get Me Away from Here, I’m Dying (Live Version) - Belle and Sebastian

Thursday, January 15, 2009

It's Like a Beeping Noise

I don't know how to feel about Architecture in Helsinki's newly-released track "That Beep." (The track is a sneak peek of AIH's upcoming album) Strangely enough, my opinion of it changes with every passing second of play. Although a little pop-y mainstream, it has a danceable techno beat with a hint of disco, quirky lyrics ("Dressed up as bubblegum, I'm stuck to your shoe. Let's run.") and a cheery use of synthesizer. However, moments like the "fade it, fade it" and "bring back the beat" sections seem contrived even as the band makes a brave attempt to keep them tongue-in-cheek.

Check it out and let me know what you think (full song):

That Beep - Architecture in Helsinki

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Passing Through

Sorry! I've been so bad about posting lately. This week has been basically eating me alive so far.

Unfortunately, I can't stay long, but I wanted to write a quick post to let you know that this is not a permanent thing. (Or at least I hope not. If the rest of the term is like this week, I may not even be capable of typing at the end of it, and thus, we'd have bigger problems on our pun intended)


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Blather, Blather, Little Blog

Scarring Party review to come, but I simply do not have the energy right now. (However, hint: they were awesome)

I will soon be embarking on a quest for new music. As I kind of alluded to in previous posts, I would like to implement a new season for Courting the Muse...

What that entails, I'm not exactly sure as of yet, but a few changes will be made (it's not too late to make a suggestion for The Muse's New Year's resolutions) and some new music will be explored. Although I'll still probably include some old favorites (after all, what is old to one could be new to another), I would like to do a little risk taking to see if I can uncover any gems. Besides, indies like me love to be cutting edge, right?

I guess that's one of the reasons why my musical style is so...random. Indie and oldies are my two top genres, which is really quite contradictory when you think about it: cutting edge vs. classic; obscure vs. mainstream...I'm like a musical grab bag, really. (P.S. - ever seen those "surprise" bags at the Dollar Store? You know, the ones that probably contain socks or something, but still manage to retain an air of (sketchy) mystery?) Woah, speaking of random...

Anyway, I've started a music fund (which right now, I think is at about 72 cents), I'm going to be better about keeping up with other music blogs, I'll maybe start making more trips the the APL and going to more shows and in general, I'll be keeping my eyes and ears open.

Far from trying to be one of those music snobs who heard everything before you did, I'm not aiming to be obscure for the sake of being obscure. I would just like to maybe find and share a few things that have fallen through the cracks or haven't yet gained the appreciation they deserve.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Upcoming Music Events (on campus)

Wednesday, January 7
7 pm - Note to Self hosts Fundamentally Sound (U.W. Madison)
a capella singers

Thursday, January 8
4:30 pm - Jazz Writers' Concert
jazz writers share their arrangements and transcriptions
Shattuck 46

Saturday, January 10
The Sturdy Beggars and The Scarring Party (Milwaukee)
9-11:30 pm (The Sturdy Beggars will play at 9 pm and The Scarring party will play at 10 pm)
student and local band
Underground Coffeehouse

"Milwaukee quartet the Scarring Party perform tuba, accordion and banjo driven end time music that draws on the influence of 20's and 30's music hall, Lomax folkways recordings and 70's punk. In two years, the four-piece have attracted a growing following and shared a stage with a diverse range of acts, including Daniel Johnston, Why?,Tilly & the Wall, the Ditty Bops, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, and Southern Culture on the Skids.

Though the Scarring Party performances combine low-key showmanship with vaudevillian spectacle, the more confounding part of their aesthetic is the role of typewriters, 40lb cast iron bells, the theremin-howl of mandolins, unorthodox percussion and Daniel Bullock's warbling tenor delivered through the crackling victrola veneer of a hand-built copper microphone. While their sound and aesthetic may recall an age gone by, the Scarring Party's unique voice rests comfortably outside of the confines of any era."
-from The Scarring Party official website (

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Good Morning!

A/N: I know that my posts have been kind of sporadic of late, but now Courting the Muse will resume its regular schedule.

It has been a beautiful morning. Woke up early, had a big breakfast, got a new ID so it no longer has a huge crack in it, came back to the room and am now drinking coffee listening to music and blogging. Heaven.

Those of you who don't know better might assume that I'm a morning person, and to be honest, I feel like one today. Nothing could be further from the truth, though. For you who, like me, usually find getting out of bed in the morning to be a Herculean feat, here are a few songs that will hopefully put a little get up and go into your morning routines.

I also find that it's really pleasant to wake up to classical music. (My alarm is set to NPR) has a station finder that will help you find a station in your area.

P.S. - Don't forget to give some input on the changes you'd like to see in the blog in 2009. I'm not ashamed to beg.

"Daydream Believer," The Monkees (full song)
Mellow and sweet.

Daydream Believer - Monkees

"Here Comes the Sun," The Beatles (full song)
The classic optimistic, start your day kind of song.

The Beatles - Here Comes The Sun.mp3 -

"Catch My Disease," Ben Lee (full song)
One of my favorites from Mr. Lee.

Catch My Disease - Ben Lee

"Here It Goes Again," OKGo (full song)
Treadmill dancing optional.

Here It Goes Again - OK Go

"She's Fantastic," Sondre Lerche (full song)
This song has a really cheery guitar riff.

Shes Fantastic - Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down

"Sunrise," Norah Jones (clip)
As pretty as an autumn morning.

Norah Jones - Sunrise :)

"Mr. Blue Sky," Electric Light Orchestra (full song)
If this doesn't get you going, nothing will.

Mr. Blue Sky (Album Version) - Electric Light Orchestra