Begin Again: A Review Monday, Nov 17 2014 

On Saturday, PJ and I watched Begin Again, the latest movie by John Carney, the writer/director of Once. Keira Knightley stars as Gretta, an idealistic singer-songwriter who just wants to create art. When he boyfriend, played by Adam Levine, has an affair and unceremoniously dumps her, she’s about to go home to England when she runs into Dan Mulligan, played by Mark Ruffalo, a down-on-his-luck former record producer. They decide to make an album together. Here’s the trailer:

In many ways, like Once, this movie revolves around two things: music and a will-they-or-won’t-they-fall-in-love plot. I like the movie, even though it’s not as moving as Once, which is one of my favorite movies. But Knightley is very good, and Ruffalo is excellent.

My favorite part was the music. One song in particular stood out my favorite. As she writes her new album, Gretta gets inspired to write a break up song. She then calls her ex up and leaves it as a voicemail on his phone:

Overall, it’s a good movie, and I like Carney’s willingness to experiment with the romantic comedy.

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SotW: Hard Wired by Smokey Graves Sunday, Nov 16 2014 

Smokey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) is one of PJ’s and my favorite musicians. He came to the Nelsonville Music Festival this year, and we were determined to finally make it into the no-fi cabin to hear him. (After years of trying to year bands in there, we finally made it!) It was wonderful seeing/him perform just a few feet away from us.

His second album, And the War Came, was released a few months ago, and I love it! It’s definitely going to be one of my favorite albums of this year. My favorite track is “Hard Wired”:

And today, PJ had me watch a few videos of Smokey Graves on eTown. We both especially liked his version of “You’re the One that I Want”:

He also performed one of my other favorites from the album, “Dearly Departed,” a duet with Esmé Patterson:

I highly recommend the album and everything else he does. I wish we could see him in concert again soon!

SotW: “Handsome Man” by Matt Alber Wednesday, Oct 1 2014 

This just might be the sexiest video ever!

SotW: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran Tuesday, Aug 26 2014 

This summer I’ve clearly listened to more male solo artists than I usually do. While many of these have been gay (Adam Joseph, Sam Smith, and Eli Lieb), some have also been straight. Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” is one of my favorite songs right now. Here’s a live version:

I love the sentiment and romance of this song. While the latter part are more particular to Sheeran’s experience as a musician, overall the song is universal is expressing love for that someone special. I especially like the lyric about falling in love every day. That’s definitely how I feel about PJ! 

 

SotW: “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith Monday, Aug 11 2014 

Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour has rapidly become one of my favorite albums of the year. He recently released his latest video, “I’m Not the Only One.” This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, and I think the video is hauntingly beautiful:

 

SotW: “Square One” by Jay Brannan Monday, Jul 28 2014 

How did I not know that Jay Brannan has released a new album? It came out a couple of weeks ago. “Square One” is his new single/video:

I bought it/downloaded it last week and am really enjoying it!

SotW: “Queen” by Perfume Genius Tuesday, Jul 22 2014 

Perfume Genius has a new album coming out and has just released its first single: “Queen.”

Can’t wait to hear the rest of the record!

2013 in Review: Favorite Songs/Tracks Thursday, Feb 6 2014 

Finally, I’m ready to list my favorite songs, singles, and tracks from 2013. Since I ended up with 25 again, I will probably only discuss the first few briefly and then list the rest. Basically, I primarily liked two kinds of songs in 2013: ones I heard on Alt-Nation and gay ones!

1. “Royals” by Lorde 

I didn’t anticipate choosing “Royals” as my favorite song of 2013 until just the last week or so. Anyone of my top ten could have been my favorite, but what distinguished this one is that I’m constantly singing it in my head. It’s the one song that has stuck with me the most from last year.

2. “Another Story” by The Head and the Heart 

I’ve loved this song since I first heard it. I’m not totally sure what I think it means, but I enjoy it nevertheless. This acoustic version really foregrounds how beautiful it is.

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2014 in Review: Concerts Wednesday, Feb 5 2014 

PJ and I didn’t go to a lot of concerts in 2014, but we did go to three that are worth remembering.

In May, we attended the annual Nelsonville Music Festival, which is a wonderful local three-day festival of national acts, some of them up and coming, others nearer the end of their careers, and everything in between. Last year featured Lucius, Wilco, Mavis Staples, and lots more! Here’s a video I found on YouTube that samples the three days of music:

We also saw Natalie Merchant in Columbus. She’s been touring for the last couple of years and performing with local orchestras. PJ adores her, and after seeing her repeatedly I have to agree that she’s amazing in concert. Here’s a video from another stop on the same tour:

“Verdi Cries” is my favorite of Merchant’s songs, and it really works well with an orchestra accompanying her.

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2013 in Review: Favorite Covers Tuesday, Feb 4 2014 

2013 was the year of the cover song. Several of the singles and individual tracks that I liked were covers. So, I decided to separate them out and have a list of my favorite covers from the year.

1. “Annie’s Song” by Brett Dennen and Milow 

John Denver was one of my all-time favorite singer songwriters, and this cover of my favorite of his songs is beautiful. It’s from a John Denver tribute album. Two more of the tracks from this album will be on this list.

2. “Wrecking Ball” by Eli Lieb 

This cover of Miley Cyrus’s hit is as — if not more — beautiful as the original. And I wish I had hair like him!

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