the things we remember.

Things I remember about places I have mostly forgotten with time.

- - -

7 am. Amsterdam. I tiptoe down the rackety stairs in my apartment building and out the door, stopping only to toss my earbuds in my ears. A quick right turn leads me directly into the red light district, where women are still dancing, and foreign tourists are still spreading eyes wide trying to figure out how to make something like this possible in their home countries. Good luck, fellows. I shoulder through the crowd, across the bridge and into Dam square, where the group is waiting for me, all smiles and morning coffee. A hundred bicycles go by, a tram, a tiny european car. We sit and watch the traffic, sipping espressos and wishing we could stay forever. I still occasionally wish it were home.

- - -

The sun rises over the dusty dirt lot in the Uighur hotel, and we step out onto the street. In half an hour we are set to leave for more desert, days upon days of dusty beige desert at this point, more temples and statues and famous art carvings. Our just-showered bodies and newly cleaned clothes are instantly covered in dust. A bicycle with fifty chickens on the back totters by, and a local sweeps the sand from the sidewalk to the street and back again. Grapes grow overhead in the streets, and we pass by the spot where just last night, two young chinese boys told us how they want to go to america because it's better. They are fascinated by our lives, our oozing north-american-ness, our mastery of english and how we respond to their sometimes manic hellos and goodbyes. But all they really want is a dream of somewhere other than the place they're in. And you can't blame them for something that we all want, can you?

New Music Friday!

Digging into some of my youtube favourites for this week's list. Temper Trap - Sweet Disposition

I have become particularly fond of listening to this on long-ish highway drives between Montreal and Ottawa. I don't know why.

A Fine Frenzy - Sleepwalking

This is a great track, but the video is what really makes it. Stop motion scissors!

The Leisure Society - Save It For Someone Who Cares

Letting Up Despite Great Faults - Our Younger Noise

We saw this band at SXSW in a near-empty bar a few hours before Moby performed a DJ Set. They were great, and they gave us stickers. Double thumbs up!

Miniature Tigers - Bullfighter Jacket

Telekenesis - Dirty Thing

My favourite song this week.

FridayWednesday Playlist

Music on the brain here these days as I've been updating the 'concerts we probably might want to go to' list with some regularity instead of "oh! we live in a city that has concerts! that's so nice, i'm too busy." which has been the rule of thumb for the past few weeks (hence why I haven't even talked about music here). But now - so many concerts and so little time (and conflicts! even). That never happened in Ottawa. So for this week, a mid-week music Friday on a Wednesday. Happy listening!

Freelance Whales - Generator 1st Floor. December 8th @ La Sala Rossa

Elvis Perkins - While You Were Sleeping

Niobe - Good Ol Owl

Mumford & Sons - Little Lion Man

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes - Home

St Vincent & Andrew Bird - Black Rainbow

Friday Playlist on Sunday: 4th Edition

Also known as the "upcoming shows I am going to miss and EVEN have tickets for" edition. A busy few weeks, including the addition of Pop Montreal to the city's crazy social calendar. Today might be the last day of Pop but it's the beginning of a great fall lineup of other show, including the Books, Sufjan Stevens, Casiotone for the Painfully Alone (a personal favourite I am forced to miss because of a thanksgiving holiday).

Listen to these while you are curled up with a hot mug of something tasty and a warm blanket.

Sufjan Stevens - "Too Much" from The Age Of Adz (Released October 12th)

We all know Sufjan from his previous albums - Illinois, Avalanche and others, but this album is a step away from analog to electronic. He plays a sold-out show at Metropolis October 12th.

The Books - "Be Good To Them Always"

I first saw the books with about 30 other people in Babylon, a popular live music venue in Ottawa's Centretown. I was surprised that I liked their live show even more than I liked their albums (which I liked a lot). The visuals are what makes it extra special. They're back on tour, playing Cafe Mile End on October 23rd (which I am also going to miss because I'm traveling. Oh, October! Your travel plans are cruel - yet great.)

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone - "Subway Home"

I don't think I've found a song he's written yet that I don't like. And the live show is charming and sweet. He's playing Raw Sugar on October 9th for all of you Ottawa readers, and Casa Del Popolo here in Montreal on October 10th as part of his final Casiotone tour (which I am also going to miss. Missing this show in particular I am quite sad about indeed).

Friday playlist: Volume 3

A little late, but I've been busy having a lovely weekend instead. The Tallest Man On Earth - Love Is All

I discovered him from this Pitchfork Post, where you can also listen to "Like A Wheel" from his new EP. And of course, he is playing here in Montreal on September 25th, with S. Carey if you want to join me

The XX - "Crystalized"

I cannot stop listening to their album since I discovered it at Planet of Sound last week. Plus, they just won the Mercury Prize. You know you want to like them. And they're playing Pop Montreal. Ok, I'll stop. Everybody is playing Pop Montreal, it seems.

Badly Drawn Boy - "Too Many Miracles"

Oh I am SO HAPPY to hear some new music from him.

Blonde Redhead - "Not Getting There"

Penny Sparkle! Penny Sparkle! I am loving this album, and this track in particular reminds me of discovering blonde redhead when I was 26, browsing through albums in Brett's apartment at 4 am. Luckily his downstairs neighbour was a technology company that always went home before dark, so they didn't mind that we liked to play our music loud.

Seven Saturdays - "Au Revoir"

Loving this. Especially if you listen to it while sitting in a cafe sipping a latte watching the city move quickly while you sit still.

Frankie Rose & The Outs - "Candy"

Hello 2010's version of 60s Sock-Hop dance.

Freelance Whales - "Hannah"

Just watch it, you will love it.

Back with more music later this week! But first, a bonus: Muppets + Iron Chef Cat Cora. Did you live through the muppet era? I dare you not to love this.