DesertIslandDiscs_katbonorchis In honor of her upcoming birthday, this month's Desert Island Discs are brought to you by my beautiful sister, Kathryn. Kathryn and I were latch-key kids and instead of doing our homework when we got home from school, we immediately threw on MTV's Top 20 Countdown, chowed down on frozen Ssips, and watched our favorite hair bands duke it out for #1. And while our tastes have digressed quite a bit since then, we'll always have Nikki Sixx playing the piano on "Home Sweet Home" and Slash's guitar solo on "November Rain." So without further adieu, here's her list...

Click here to listen to all the tracks!

1) Bad/40/Where the Streets Have No Name (live in Boston) by U2... I just could not decide between Bad or Where the Streets Have No Name. I love both. Solution? The live performance from Boston that includes both in one track. I have loved U2 for as long as I can remember, and their live performances are second to none.

2) Patience by Guns n Roses... I am pretty sure I have whistled along with Axl Rose (whom I intended to marry when I turned 16, during my lengthy love-of-guys-with-long-hair phase) over 100 times. I used to be notoriously IMpatient, and this song was a calming presence during some tumultuous childhood years.

3) Both Hands by Ani DiFranco... I remember exactly where I was and who I was with the first time I heard this song, and it was love at first listen. Who hasn’t been in a failing relationship but struggled to finally let go? “I am writing grafitti on your body / I am drawing the story of how hard we tried.”

4) All You Need is Love by The Beatles... So simple, so true, and so very appropriate for someone who wears her heart on her sleeve. I grew up listening to The Beatles with my dad and sister, and I have fond memories of being silly and singing their songs at the top of my lungs. If I’m going to be stuck on a desert island, I’ll need an uplifting and hopeful song that takes me back to happy kid moments. And at the end of the day, I really believe all we need is love. The rest can fall in line.

5) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd... I could have easily chosen 8 Pink Floyd songs I can’t live without, but this particular song is in my Top 3 of all-time favorites. I could be in the worst mood ever and this song will make things better. “How I wish, how I wish you were here / We’re just two lost souls / Swimming in a fish bowl / Year after year / Running over the same old ground / What have we found? / The same old fears / Wish you were here”

6) Feeling Good by Nina Simone... Oh how I adore Nina Simone. Total girl crush. This song is soulful, sexy, and would be the theme song of my desert island experience. From the opening line of “birds flying high” to the climactic end, this song is flawless.

7) Fix You by Coldplay... As with Pink Floyd, I could have easily chosen 8 Coldplay songs I can’t live without. But I chose “Fix You” because it’s the kind of song you want during hard times. It helped me get through 2009. “When the tears come streaming down your face / When you lose something you can’t replace / When you love someone but it goes to waste / Could it be worse? / Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you.” We all love, lose, and pick ourselves back up again. For me, this song is equal parts “cry your eyes out” and “hang in there, it’ll be okay.”

8) Closer to Fine by the Indigo Girls... Because it’s fun. And it reminds me of college, which was the most fun, responsibility-free time in my adult life. I know this song by heart, pretend I can actually sing while singing it, and it puts a smile on my face whenever I hear it.

Thanks, Kat!! Happy Birthday! :)

Desert Island Discs: Stephen Bond

January's Desert Island picks are brought to you by my friend, Stephen... a proud Austinite by way of the Olympia burbs. We met when we were both living in Seattle and bonded over our love of music and our dislike of most everything else. He has impeccable taste in music, and I love the list he came up with.

1) Cold, Cold Water by Mirah... This was the song that pushed me down the rabbit hole. Until I heard this, I hadn't bothered to investigate anything that wasn't in heavy rotation on the local alt-rock radio station. I went to my first "indie" show to see Mirah. It was at some sort of dance studio in Olympia, and The Microphones and Calvin Johnson were both on the bill. I was blown away, and life hasn't quite been the same since.

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2) Sultans of Swing by Dire Straits... This is perhaps the one song my dad and I will always agree on.

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3) Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone by Neutral Milk Hotel... It wouldn't be a stretch to include any and all NMH songs on a list like this. Listening to any of them is about as close as I'm going to get to calling something a spiritual experience. I particularly like the horns in this one. And the imagery. And... everything, really.

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4) Snookered by Dan Deacon... This song got me through a particularly tough part of my life. The lyrics are such a lovely expression of the existential misery that can come along with really crappy happenings, while the music batters all your sad-sack neurons into complete submission; it's the perfect "things are gonna be okay" song. When I saw him perform this live during SXSW 2011, it was the most connecting, giddy concert experience I'd ever had, and it completely reshaped my notion of what the live music experience can be like.

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5) Bad Religion by Frank Ocean.. This just came out this year, and holy crap, it's amazing. The whole album is brilliant, but this track sticks out. It's beautiful. It's important. I love it.

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6) Graceland by Paul Simon.. I grew up listening to this song, and I've never gotten tired of it. As a bass player, I'm constantly in awe of the bass work on most of the Graceland album.

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7) The Scientists by Hum.. It's a rock song about two scientists leaving the dying Earth behind on a spaceship. What's not to love?

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8) Meet Me in the City by Junior Kimbrough.. To me, this is what the blues are supposed to sound like. Simple, soulful, and haunting. You can't fake this.

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Thanks, Stephen!

Have Spotify and want to listen to the whole playlist? Click here.

(PS… remember that if you’re viewing this in a feed reader you’ll need to click over to the blog to see the Spotify tracks.)

turn it up: silent night

I have too much to say about the shooting in Newtown, too much still to process. So for now, I'll just share this... a beautiful tribute to those precious babies who left us far too soon. [embedplusvideo height="365" width="600" standard="" vars="ytid=CTbhVlHuONo&width=600&height=365&start=&stop=&rs=w&hd=0&autoplay=0&react=0&chapters=&notes=" id="ep5343" /]

desert island discs: jenn manzetti

Welcome to another edition of Desert Island Discs! Today's tracks are from my friend Jenn, an all around awesome gal who took the past year to do what we all dream about - she quit her job and traveled to cities near and far visiting friends, going to shows, and having herself a darn good time. She's a huge music lover, and I'm obsessed with this list (many of these were ones I debated including in my own list)...

1) The Wind by Cat Stevens... I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul. where I'll end up, well I think only God really knows." The first time I heard this song I was 11 and it instantly comforted me.  22 years later it still does.  Simple & powerful....the beauty of Cat Stevens.


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2) Nightswimming by R.E.M... When I hear the first few notes of this song, I become 16 again, sitting in a beat up car with my friends, driving nowhere in particular, soaking up the August days we had left before school started. I will never hear this song and not remember my lovely, misfit friends and our restless summers together.


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3) That's How Strong My Love Is by Otis Redding... I wouldn't consider myself a religious person, despite being raised Catholic. But music is sacred to me.  When I want to go to church, I listen to Otis. Side note: If someone ever felt the urge to write a song like this for or about me, I would be totally fine with it. 


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4) A Case Of You performed by James Blake... Two things about me: I love Joni Mitchell & cover songs.  However, I almost always dislike covers of Joni's songs.  Then I heard James Blake's version of this.  The original song is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful and heart-breaking ever written.  It's amazing, but this version is even more haunting.  Perfect for a cathartic cry and cheaper than therapy.


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5) Walkin' After Midnight by Patsy Cline... If I was to live out the rest of my days on a desert island, I'd want songs that I loved to listen to, but that were also sentimental to me. My grandmother, Nora, when she wasn't singing along to something, whistled. Constantly. More often than not, it was one of Patsy's songs that had her whistling. On my island, I would whistle to this and know that wherever Nora is now, she's joining in. 


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6) I've Got A Feeling by The Beatles... So I'm a total Beatlemaniac.  I love so many of their songs for various reasons, but most of my all-time favorites are Lennon-McCartney working in a perfect union.  This is a great example.  Mood instantly lifted!  


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7) Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen... As a Jersey girl, I had to have a Bruce song. Pretty sure I'd be kicked out of NJ and disowned by my family if I didn't. But seriously folks, this song never fails to get to me. Not to bring the room down, but when I was 19, I got sick and spent a lot of time in & out of hospitals.  My brother, Steve, was 13 then and trying to keep up his teenage, "this is no big deal" exterior, no matter the situation at home. Then I had a pretty lengthy hospital stay and when he visited, he brought me something: my old walkman & a mixtape he made me of all my favorite songs. This was the first song of side A. Basically, I well up with a mix of emotions every time I hear it.  Steve is a total pain in my *ss most of the time, but he's also one of the best people I know. Do not tell him I said that. I'll deny it.


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8) Ball and Biscuit by The White Stripes... Jack White is my cerebral crush and just perfection to me.  I could make a desert island playlist from his song catalog. The White Stripes were/are tops in my book (I've yet to come to terms with their break-up, but have high hopes of one day accepting it). This song is everything rock n' roll should be - a little ugly, a little sexy, all guitar and banging drums. 100% badass.


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Have Spotify and want to listen to the whole playlist (minus The Beatles because they're not on Spotify)? Click here.

(PS… remember that if you’re viewing this in a feed reader you’ll need to click over to the blog to see the Spotify tracks.)

turn it up: november's most played

(Lyrics by Shovels & Rope, design by me)

With November coming to a close I thought I'd do a little recap of the songs I've had on power rotation this month...

My obsession with Shovels & Rope is clearly still going strong. Seriously, if you haven't listened to them yet stop everything and do it now. Also watch every live recording you can find on You Tube. They're that good, and from all accounts super nice, humble, and funny, which only makes me love them all the more.

There are a few oldies but goodies I rediscovered this month... turns out Emma LOVES listening to Late in the Evening on the way home from daycare. I know I've hit a good track when I hear "whoooo!", "yay!!" and claps coming from the backseat. I also got nostalgic for Pickathon with one of my favorite live tracks from the festival. And if you haven't heard Mr. Hathaway's version of "Jealous Guy" yet, you're welcome. ;)

In addition to the Spotify tracks, it's been an excellent month over on Daytrotter. We've had the Mumford & Sons session on repeat in this house all month long. It's filled with old folk covers and features Dawes and Abigail Washburn. It's might just be the best Daytrotter session to date. The new Ryan Bingham session that came out yesterday is also quite good.

What have you been listening to this month?

(PS... remember that if you're viewing this in a feed reader you'll need to click over to the blog to see the Spotify tracks.)

turn it up: thanksgiving edition

(Lyrics by Edward Sharpe, design by me, but I'm not sure of the photo source so please only copy if it's for personal use. Thanks!)

Happy almost Thanksgiving! Dinner prep is in full swing and my mouth is already watering thinking about all of the delicious food we'll get to consume on Thursday. And the time I'll get to spend with my family while eating said delicious food. That's pretty nice, too. :)

Here are some Thanksgiving-ish tunes to get your groove on to while you're cooking up a storm this week...

turn it up: my desert island discs

Welcome to another new feature on the blog: Desert Island Discs! In the spirit of the long-running BBC program, I'll be asking my friends and fellow bloggers to send me the 8 tracks they couldn't live without. I thought I'd start things off by sharing my own...

1) Atlantic City by Bruce Springsteen... This might be my favorite song of all time. It's everything I want in a song and I'm never NOT in the mood to hear it. "Now our luck may have died and our love may be cold, but with you forever I'll stay." <---- Kills me. Every. Single. Time.

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2) Bring It On Home To Me by Sam Cooke... Is there a better Sam Cooke song than this? Not if you ask me. From the first notes of the piano my head is swaying and I get lost in Sam's soulful voice. His girl can do him all kinds of wrong and he still wants her back. We've all been there, Sam. (PS. Betty Harris has a shoulder for you...)

3) Cry to Me performed by Betty Harris... As far as I'm concerned, the female soul singer buck stops with Betty Harris. Excuse my language, but she sings the absolute shit out of this song. If I could sing one song well, this would be it. (I can't, for the record. But I sure do try.)

4) Don't Think Twice it's All Right (demo version) by Bob Dylan... There are about a million versions of this song, and I'm pretty sure I've heard them all. But this (THIS!) is the best version. I promise. It's so raw and simple and just perfect. "I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind / You could have done better but I don’t mind / You just kinda wasted my precious time / But don’t think twice, it’s all right." Perhaps the most poetic FU of all time.

5) Feelin' Good performed by Nina Simone... Please tell me I'm not the only one who spent many a morning in her 20s singing this in front of the bathroom mirror. It's the ultimate pick me upper, which might come in handy if I really was stuck on an island forever.

6) Let It Be by The Beatles... I prayed a lot when I was a wee lass, like a good Catholic school girl should, but found I didn't quite relate to God or Jesus, so I would ask them to "put Mary on" (ha!) and she and I would chat about stuff. So when I was old enough to understand the lyrics of this song I was like, "Mother Mary comes to me, too!" It became my anthem for coping with my parents' divorce, and it still makes me feel better when I find myself in times of trouble.

7) Swept Away by The Avett Brothers... Obviously.

8) Tonight Will Be Fine performed by Teddy Thompson... I love Leonard Cohen, but I have to be a bad music snob and admit that I like other people's versions of his songs better than I like the originals. No song is that more true for than this version of Tonight Will Be Fine. It's such a genius song, and Teddy Thompson covers it so beautifully. The last verse is probably the best verse in all of music and it gives me chills every time I hear it... "Sometimes I see her undressing for me / She's the soft naked lady love meant her to be / She's moving her body so brave and so free / If I've got to remember that's a fine memory."

(PS... The Spotify tracks don't show up in the RSS feed, so if you're viewing this in a feed reader click on the link so you can hear the tunes!)

turn it up: the election day edition

Illustration by the amazing Katie Daisy

Happy Election Day! In addition to being very excited about the things I have the opportunity to vote on this year, I'm nearly just as excited about finally being able to unsubscribe from all of the political emails I've been getting. (I'm passionate about politics, not so much about being bombarded for cash multiple times a day.) What are you most excited about knowing that today is the last day of election?

I decided a while back that I needed to bring more music into the blog since it's such a big part of my life, so what better day than today? Here are some songs to get you into the voting mood. Which you should definitely do, no matter who you're voting for. Seriously. Except maybe that last part. ;)

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