Kiwi Californiana: Arthur Ahbez

We’ve been enjoying Arthur Ahbez’s album Gold. His aesthetic strikes me as decidedly NorCal folk psych pop, not something I was expecting from a Kiwi! Either way, I was excited to see his band open for the mesmerizing Julia Jacklin last Saturday at the Tuning Fork. Alas, he played solo, and was quite nervous (he said so several times) without his band. Definitely rocking a Devendra-esque look. And that voice!

But tell me Arthur’s song Gold:


…was not inspired by this:

It had to be. Right?!

All the ways I appreciate music

Haven’t been able to get this video out of my mind since discovering it last week. Such a moving example of the power of visual storytelling, as the video doesn’t actually match the lyrics to the song, except for a pretty brilliant bit of overlap at the climax:

Trying to explain why I like Pup so much — in a nutshell, because listening to them makes me want to *play* music like this! — has got me thinking about the very complicated Venn diagram that might illustrate the various ways that music affects me.

There would need to be circles to represent: Continue reading

Still Amour

We were supposed to leave for NZ at the end of October, but stayed through the 3rd so we could catch Malian singer Rokia Traoré and her sweet, super tight band at the SF Jazz Fest. Seemed like an appropriate bookend to our San Francisco existence, since that’s where Scott and I spent our first date, too…

As soon as they started playing Amour:

…I was immediately reminded of this Khruangbin song:

As is frequently the case, the studio versions of both pale in comparison to the energy and complexity of the live performances

Continue reading

Influences

I’ve convinced myself that Feist’s I Feel It All video (I am in awe, I love it) influenced the first two thirds of Maggie Rogers’ video for Alaska… after which it’s no longer one take and falls apart for me, but I still love the song. I can find no evidence to support my hunch other than Maggie’s mention of Feist in this interview from 2013, have a look anyway.

How do I know if I love you

I found this video sometime in March or April and I’ve been meaning to post it since then, though there’s so much more about it that hits home now:

So many reasons to love someone; so many people to love for specific, incomplete reasons; so much hair-pulling over whether or not the “right person” (if there even is one) can ever meet all expectations; the combination of fear and relief inherent in choosing to extract oneself from that binary way of thinking; and wide-eyed wonder at the paradoxical experience of feeling simultaneously so free and so committed.

But mostly it delights me that my Dancing, Philosophy model human (see 0.33-0.36 in the video) doesn’t come in a box, that he doesn’t have an off button, and that he is moving with me to New Zealand.

In search of home

This song is everything I need right now:

As a words person, I’m frantically trying to learn the language it takes to describe the sonic landscapes that are really doing it for me these days, and thanks to everyone who’s been patient with me in trying to get more of it into my system (Evan Scott Matt and for the Flume tip, Samyak)!

It’s got all the swelling instrumentation, sweet layered vocals, and slow-attack bass of this:

…but with far more appropriate lyrics for my current state of mind: that strange sort of “anticipated grief” or pre-nostalgia that comes on the verge of a purposeful decision that’s going to change a Whole Lot all at once. [I’ve written previously about the related feelings that come after the shift.]

Plus a healthy dose of the same overall feeling — that I love, by the way — of Continue reading