Friday, December 30, 2011

A year in retrospect (or my poor excuse to write a 'Best of 2011' music post)

I've moved three times in the last eleven months – DC, Austin, Chicago – and each brings with it some fond music nostalgia. Combined with it being that time of the year for 'Best of 2011' type posts, thus, a 'Best of 2011' blog is born.

Part 1: DC, or how I learned to stop worrying and love the politicos

First, a National Mall/North East Capitol Hill/U st./National Gallery of Art/Lucky Bar/Ben's Chili Bowl/Tryst/9:30 Club/Cherry Blossom Festival/Teddy Roosevelt Island/Prime Meridian Hill-shout out, wha-what!

In the DC phase of this year, I was really into singles, especially ones that made me want to hop around and dance during my morning commutes on the Metro. Sadly, this sort of thing is frowned upon in DC (but all the more reason to do it, in my opinion).

"Animal" - Miike Snow

"Lost in the World" - Kanye West (Feat. Bon Iver)

Part 2: The Lone Star State Strikes Back

First, a Zilker Park/Sonic/Highland Mall/Trivia Night/Spider House/Magnolia Cafe/Barbarella's/Amayas/6th St-shout out, wha-what!

Oh, Austin. I specifically remember riding out one of the worst droughts in Texas history driving in my dad's car with failing AC listening to tUnE-yArDs and public radio. I still get a bit sweaty thinking about how hot that summer was.

"Powa" - tUnE-yArDs

"Kid Logic" - This American Life

Part 3: Is it pronounced Chi-cago or Shi-cago?

First, a Willis Tower/Lincoln Hall/Second City/Deep Dish/Promontory Point/Art Institue/Bourgeois Pig/Fisher Building/Dinkel's Bakery-shout out, wha what!

I've been absorbing as much of the midwest culture as I can. Sufjan is the best example of a muscian who obesses over writing songs about a geographic location, the culmination of this being 'Come on! Feel the Illinoise!' From the album alone, I have enough knowledge about the state to pass a grade school Illinoise history exam, this summarized in the sentence, 'Stephen A. Douglas was a great debater, but Abraham Lincoln was the great emancipator.' Love it.

"Jacksonville" - Sufjan Stevens (filmed at ACL - my Austin and Chicago worlds collide)

"The Tallest Man, the Broadest Shoulders" - Sufjan Stevens

2011, it's been a pleasure, an absolute pleasure.

See you next year, folks!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Holiday Hypocrisy

I suppose it's officially time to admit that the holiday season is in full swing and that Christmas is upsettingly soon. In keeping with the season, I'm sharing a little bit of both the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who sides of my inner music critic. (Awwwr.)

First, GRINCH: the times when my deeply cynical, sarcastic, Seinfeldian streak makes itself known. During these moments, I'm usually just chillin', listening to the radio while I roll out pastry dough for my latest fattening holiday pie, and BOOM. One of those awful, cutesy songs pops on and ruins my retro-domestic good mood. If you don't know what I mean, chances are you're a normal, well-adjusted person. Congrats!

Well, norms, if you're curious what it's like on the dark side, here are a few examples.

Michael Franti - "Sound of Sunshine"

Grinch Tilly says: Put on some shoes, asshole. For real.

Bruno Mars - "The Lazy Song"

Grinch Tilly says: As charming as shoving your hand down your pants is, I would appreciate you truly committing to this lifestyle of never leaving your house. Like, ever again.

Train - "Hey Soul Sister"

...and I feel compelled to include the equally repugnant "Marry Me"

Grinch Tilly says: All I want for Christmas is for Train to realize they're over 40 and go away.

BUT WAIT - the plot thickens! ...I am a gigantic hypocrite. I listen to some seriously fluffy music of which Ms. Lou Who herself might approve. Observe:

She & Him - "In The Sun"

Tilly Lou Who says: I think she would really appreciate my penchant for holiday pie baking. (Also I may or may not be obsessed with Zooey Deschanel. You know how it is.)

Aaaand sometimes I just like to get my estrogen on. You know, Moulin Rouge style.
"Elephant Love Medley"

Tilly Lou Who says: What do you do when you can't decide between the cheesiest, sappiest love songs of all time? LISTEN TO ALL OF THEM AT ONCE.

Ok. Let's get real. Here's the lamest, sappiest skeleton in my musical closet: DA BIEBZ. (Like you didn't see this one coming.) Here's a LUDA-cris (har har har) holiday single of his.


Tilly Lou Who says: It's like candy for your brain. You know, if candy could have an illegitimate babymakin' scandal.

It must be this same cotton-candy quality that makes such songs irresistible to residents of Whoville and beyond; it's an escape, a way to turn off your higher brain function and succumb to the sweet, foot-tappin' grooves of muzak-al oblivion.

Would you look at that? I suppose I've finally reached my peace with the "Hey Soul Sister"-s of the world. IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE YOU GUYS.

On that note, enjoy the holiday buzz and whatever terrible songs make you happy this time of year.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

2G1K Reunion - Deep Dish style

A little over a year ago, the 2G1K gurlz traveled across the East coast for a long-awaited rendez-vous in New York City. From there we headed to DC for the Rally to Restore Sanity (or Keep Fear Alive, depending on which side of the aisle you stand). Despite getting to the rally late, not actually being able to see/hear a thing in the crowd, and eventually taking refuge in the Museum of Natural History's food court, it was a jolly good time.

FLASH FORWARD a year later - 2G1K reunion in Chicago!

We wined, we dined, we...wined again. Tilly saw Thom's new life in the Windy City; and what a life it is! L trains are pretty neat. You know what else is neat?

ADORKABLE ENGLISH BANDS. Like Metronomy. Yeah, we saw them in Chi-town. It was awesome. Even more awesome than our initial discovery of this English gem at SXSW back in 2007 (seriously, 2007!!), where we saw the original all-synth, three-man band make a push-button light show.

[Archival photo-documentation.]

Nowadays, with a new lineup (and more instruments!), Metronomy puts on a great show - lights included!

Tired of 2g1k's permanent Metronomy-gasm? Well, then HOW DARE YOU.

...I suppose we could compromise by recommending Metronomy's opening act to you: Class Actress. Hailing from Brooklyn (don't they all?), this duo puts out dreamy, sultry synthpop that's definitely worth a listen.

Class Actress - "Journal of Ardency"

Class Actress - "Keep You"

Experiencing life in a new city, seeing the sites and going to a good show.

Now that's classic 2G1K.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

City of the Winds

Dearest Tilly,

The moment you returned from the New Yorke, I was uprooted by a powerful gust and sent to the City of the Winds. This city is much different than my life in The District or even our hometown in the great Lone Star state. It is a place of grit and grime. It is a place of wires that go on for miles, lights that fill the night, and buildings that kiss the sky. Chicago – city of the damned it is, and it is in this damned city that I now take residence.

My daily life is nothing of the norm that it once was. The people I surround myself with are the seediest creatures of human life; from iron mill workers to bootleggers to social media experts, I find myself in the company of a surly bunch. The following video is an accurate portrayal of the life I now live.

After exhausting days of labor, the only thing one can do in this place is to go to the streets and let the music revive your withered soul. Music pulses through the veins of these Chi-town cats. It is the kind of music that drags you out of bed at night, the kind your mother always warned you about. Well, maybe not your mother Tilly, but my mother certainly did. "Stay away from those vagabonds, those riff raff who associate with violins and guitars and keyboards and drums," she would say to me. "Nothing good will come of it."

She also warned me about the dangers of not doing your laundry on a regular basis and for this I am rather thankful.

But the music Tilly, the music. Here I am away from home, away from my mother and look at the creature I have become. The music has consumed me and I ain't never coming back, especially after hearing Chicago native Andrew Bird's sinful jazz compilations from his aptly named 'Bowl of Fire.'

"Depression-Pasillo" - Andrew Bird

"Shake It and Break It" - Preservation Hall Jazz Band & Andrew Bird

Complete smut! Heed my mother's warning and stay away from the city, Tilly, lest you lose your purity. It is too late for me.

Although, if you do happen to come to the city let's visit the Art Institute of Chicago.

As always, give your mother my regards.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

In the Windy City [insert narrative here]

I'm moving to Chicago soon [insert story of a girl from the hill country moving to the big city]. I've packed t-shirts and snowboots, my laptop and camera, and not much else. I'm not sure what to assume of my life in the windy city, but I look forward to whatever lies ahead [insert cliche personal discoveries, life changing decisions, lack of sleep].

I love the following examples for their representation of Chicago. First up, Wilco's "I am trying to break your heart." On its own, the video stands as a good introduction to Chicago aesthetics 101.

Next up, Ferris Bueller and The Beatles' "Twist and Shout." What suburban youth doesn't fantasize about their own Bueller-ticker-tape parade moment?

And of course Sufjan, how could I ever forget you (and Karen O?!).

"Maps to Chicago" - Sufjan Stevens vs. Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I'm ready for this place [insert Chicago, Windy City, Chi-town].

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tilly and Thom's Favorite Things - Hot & Sweaty Summer Edition

To say it is a little hot outside would be an understatement and so us 2G1K gurlz have some tunes to cool you down. So sit back, crank up the AC, pray for rain if you're Gov. Rick Perry, and get ready for some sweet songs to beat the heat.


This summer has been the summer of tUnE-YarDs (or is it Tune Yards, or TuNe-yARDs, or TUNe-yARDS?). It is powerful, raw, fun fun stuff. The first song that got me going for Tune Yards is the song 'Bizness.'

The band's fantastic, ukulele-playing, leading lady Merrill Garbus has put a temporary rift in indie-music that does not promote some sort of dancing. Need more kinetic proof? Just listen to the seductive-slow-dance-to-the-point-that-it-is-kind-of-dirty inducing "Powa."




Mmmph, indeed! (Thom's on to something there.) But sometimes I want some music with a few more miles on it. Like, 35 years of miles, ya herd? I'm afraid modern indie kids don't often appreciate music older than themselves. Hopefully I'm wrong, but if not, here's a late great musician for homework:

Warren Zevon. He had macabre wit and impeccable songwriting skills, which created some of the best lyrics (and songs) of the 70s and beyond. The most successful of these songs was "Werewolves of London," from the 1978 album Excitable Boy. Enjoy the killer lines (pun intended!) and adorably hokey werewolf while watching the video below.

I saw a werewolf drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic's; his hair was PERFECT.

After a lifelong phobia and avoidance of doctors, Zevon was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 2002, but he took it in stride. During his final public performance, on David Letterman, he incited nervous but genuine laughter in the audience by declaring that he "may have made a tactical error in not going to a physician for 20 years" and that he was "reminded to enjoy every sandwich" in the face of his illness. He worked hard to finish recording The Wind, an impressive and collaborative album, before his death in 2003.

So kids, check out ol' Warren, and remember to enjoy every sandwich.

Until next time,
Tilly & Thom

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Hello all!

I'm here to tell you about the grand return of Cold War Kids, Metronomy, Peter Bjorn and John, and (I daresay most importantly?) 2 GIRLS 1 KEYBOARD! We are going to stop being deadbeat 20-somethings and start writing more often. Starting now.

Cold War Kids: Mine is Yours

It's been 3 years since Loyalty to Loyalty, the most recent album from solid 2g1k favorites Cold War Kids, but it didn't make much of a splash back in '08. I've previously noted this lack of Cold War Kids goodness, but they have returned!

Mine is Yours is a new but really good sound for them. A little less Southern bluesy, a little more inspirational, a whole lotta catchy and pretty tunes! It's worked well for the band--they have gotten popular enough to make an appearance in little ol' Albany, NY at Tulipfest 2011, which I had the pleasure of attending. Look carefully below, and you'll see a great example of a native Albany college student in all his douchebaggery.

Here's a few of my favorite tracks, since oddly I've never loved the single which has made them so popular of late, "Louder than Ever."

"Finally Begin"

"Sensitive Kid"


Metronomy: The English Riviera

Metronomy, how we have missed you! Thom and I are pretty big fans. Thus the three year wait since Nights Out has been sad, but The English Riviera has arrived...and it's magical.

As with Cold War Kids, this album represents a newer, more refined sound for the band, but with very good reason--the departure of one of the original three band members and addition of two new ones! Gabriel Stebbing, or as I sometimes call him, "The Hot One," amicably left Metronomy, then Gbenga Adelekan became the new bassist and Anna Prior the new drummer. (GIRL DRUMMER FUCK YEAH.) See them below in the music vid!

"The Look" (showcasing the quintessential adorable Metronomy music video style)

"Everything Goes My Way"


Peter Bjorn and John: Gimme Some

Just like the sandwich, PB&J always satisfies. Though only two years after their great album Living Thing, Gimme Some is really refreshing. It brings back the upbeat, hypercatchy, quirky strangeness of their golden years, complete with endearingly imperfect English lyrics.

"All art has been contemporary, dig a little deeper"
...well said, young Swedes!

"Second Chance"

"Dig a Little Deeper"

Hopefully some of these songs strike your fancy! Stay tuned for a soon-to-come Favorite Things post from both of us.

Until next time,