The blogs are all a-twitter today with Fourth of July playlists, so I'm staking my claim to mine now, subject to change, as I'm listening to it for the first time right now and if anything seems too out of place, I'm jettisoning it:
1. Aimee Mann - 4th of July
2. John Vanderslice - June July
3. Neko Case - Star Witness
4. Eddie from Ohio - Independence, Indiana
5. The Decemberists - July, July!
6. Andy Stochansky - Miss USA
7. 2 Skinnee J's - BBQ
8. The Tragically Hip - Fireworks
9. Counting Crows - American Girls
10. Oh No! Oh My! - BBQ
11. Paul and Storm - Ten-Fingered Johnny
12. Dan Bern - New American Language
13. John Vanderslice - Plymouth Rock
14. Moby - Fireworks
15. Elvis Costello - Indoor Fireworks
16. Moxy Fruvous - Independence Day
17. Eddie from Ohio - Fifth of July
18. Elliott Smith - Independence Day
But before I switched to my ID4 playlist (is it absurd that I still use that abbreviation for this holiday a decade after the damn film was released?), I was listening to Tarkio, even though I really really need to be listening to any of a dozen other new acquisitions. Seriously, how do the music bloggers keep up? I'm literally drowning in music right now... it would be easier if I could listen to music and read, but I can't. Anyway, I was talking about Tarkio (hellooo short attention span... oh, look, a bunny!): maybe Colin Meloy has performed some kind of magic spell on me to the point where I honestly believe he can do no wrong, but I'm totally smitten with this two-cd set of his early work with his college band. The Boy commented that it "definitely isn't the Decemberists," and that's true. It reminds me a lot of early R.E.M., honestly, with a similar kind of stripped-down rock sound. But that's just it--it does rock. Significantly, in parts. And that's distinctly different from the Decemberists (whom I love with every fiber of my being, who are my current favorite band because they're as wonderful live as they are on CD, and who are trying to prove me wrong about the "rocking" thing right now with "July, July!" coming up on my playlist, but NO--I'm talking about TARKIO, damnit), who have less of a raw sound even at their most upbeat. Other parts of the Tarkio catalog would be equally at home on stage at a folk festival, replete with banjo and violin. And though Colin's lyrics aren't quite as developed as they are in his later work, there's still a lot to love, particularly for those of us who value complex turns of phrase and imagery. Anyway, my point is mostly that I hope Colin continues to make music for a long time because I find everything he's done to date utterly captivating, and unlike some of my other very very favorite artists who are either (all-but) defunct, aging themselves into pseudo-irrelevance, or just not inspiring in me the kind of passion they once did, I get the sense that this could be the beginning of a thoroughly beautiful musical relationship between him and yours truly.
At any rate, here's a funny story from The Boy, who is currently trying to find cool places to study for his exam tomorrow. And by "cool" I mean not hip, but literally chilled, as the Brits are air conditioning-phobic and his dorm room's a sauna: he went to Starbucks for an iced beverage to cool off and was prepared to pay the equivalent of $9 for a frappuccino but was told, "We are not serving cold drinks because it is too hot for ice." Too hot for ice! I am baffled, but I'm also feeling morally superior, as I sip my own grande nonfat iced mocha with just a touch of whip. Mmm. We Americans might not be culturally perfect, but at least we understand the value of a cool beverage on a hot day.
Happy almost-Fourth. Oh, and check back tomorrow--it's a big day.