Apr 9 2012

#345 “Forest Avenue”

A few days ago I received an email which contained a link to a new demo from an up and coming local band called “Forest Avenue.” I must admit that up until this time hadn’t caught any of the band’s live performances or even sought out a avenue through which to experience their unique sound, but I’d heard their name dropped by local hipsters and audiophiles who labeled them as the triumphant voice of a generation devoid of intellectual musical heroes and I’d read about them in a number of underground publications which hailed their music as “enigmatic,” “haunting,” and even “soul-stirring.”

While the track posted here (entitled “The Wolf”) lacks the refinement and polish of a professionally produced studio recording, the band’s lead singer and guitarist both informed me that this rough cut is not only intentionally raw but also highly symbolic of the song’s focus and message. It seems that the powerful delivery of the verse, when combined with the subtly mournful and ever evolving chorus, creates a dichotomy that is representative of the wolf itself. It is a creature defined by both savagery and softness, aggression and solitary anguish. And this idea was melded into the song’s construction and performance. This composition, which focuses on the pack mentality vs. the inner yearning for freedom, and which presents themes revolving around the frustrations and trials that accompany of the coming of adulthood, is not just about the wolf, however. It’s about the inner lupine spirit inside all of us: the caged wolf that yearns to run free.

In an age in which mass-produced pop music is so candy-coated that the sweetness turns your stomach, this track serves as a healthy dose of raw meat. At first it may be a shock to your system, but once you’ve developed a taste for it, you’ll crave nothing else…

(Oh… I feel like I must apologize for the lack of an original wolf illustration today, but since the guys in the band informed me that this song was partially inspired by the WBS project, I figured it was close enough…)


Mar 29 2012

#334 Music Month (29)

From Eva in Phoenix, Arizona

Today’s Song/Video: “Hungry like the Wolf” by Duran Duran


Mar 27 2012

#332 Music Month (27)

 From CDS

Today’s Song/Video: “Wolves” by Kittie
(This song was suggested by Autumn via facebook. Thanks, Autumn.)


Mar 26 2012

#331 Music Month (26)

From Shannon

Today’s Song/Video: “You’re a Wolf” by Sea Wolf
(featuring clips from various Harry Potter films)


Mar 25 2012

#330 Music Month (25)

From a stranger in Spokane, Washington
(via a postcard featuring the Utah State Capitol)

Today’s Song/Video: “Someone’s in the Wolf”
by Queens of the Stone Age


Mar 23 2012

#328 Music Month (23)

 From Ol’ Bird in St. Louis, Missouri

Today’s Song/Video: “Werewolf Blues” by Guana Batz


Mar 22 2012

#327 Music Month (22)

 From a stranger in Harrogate, Tennessee

Today’s Song/Video: “The Wolf Hour” by Hunting Lodge


Mar 21 2012

#326 Music Month (21)

 From ALH in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Today’s Song/Video: “Start Over” by MC Frontalot


Mar 19 2012

#324 Music Month (19)

From Hannah in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Today’s Song/Video: “Crying Wolf: Le Chant De Loup” by Enya


Mar 9 2012

#314 Music Month (9)

 From a stranger in Halifax, Canada

Today’s Song/Video: “Hey, Mama Wolf” by Devandra Banhart


Mar 8 2012

#313 Music Month (8)

 From EJA in Boston, Massachusetts

Today’s Song/Video: “Wolf & I” by Oh Land


Mar 7 2012

#312 Music Month (7)

From a stranger in Michigan

Today’s Song/Video: “Werewolf” by Cat Power


Mar 6 2012

#311 Music Month (6)

From David in Siauliai, Lithuania

Today’s Song/Video: “Wolves” by Iron & Wine


Mar 3 2012

#308 Music Month (3)

From Hannah in Chattanooga, Tennessee

Today’s Song/ Video: “Of Wolf and Man” by Metallica


Mar 2 2012

#307 Music Month (2)

From Massimiliano

Today’s Song/Video: “When I Was a Boy I Watched the Wolves”
by Paul Kantner and Grace Slick


Mar 1 2012

#306 Music Month (1)

From a stranger in Harrogate, Tennessee

Today’s Song/Video: “White Mountain” by Genesis


Jan 25 2012

#270 Less is More (25)

 

From Damien in Phoenix, Arizona

The following is a selection from “Leader of the Pack” written by George Morton, Jeff Berry & Ellie Greenwhich; performed by The Shangri-Las.

Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let’s ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy’s ring you’re wearing?
Mm-hmm
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
Uh-uh
By the way, where’d you meet him?

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That’s when I fell for (the leader of the pack)

My folks were always putting him down
They said he came from the wrong side of town
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That’s why I fell for (the leader of the pack)

faf


Dec 29 2011

#243 “Auld Lang Syne”

From BTP in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

With the end of the year just around the corner, I cannot help but to feel a slight, creeping sadness. This year has been a good one, and as such, it will be a bit of a struggle to let it go. The passage of time is what brings us all the pleasant memories that we store away, but at the same time, there is a bit of sorrow in the knowledge that as these fleeting moments pass, they will never be regained. When I look at this intriguing illustration by BTP, I feel a sort of empathy flowing from its lupine subject. There is a pensive quality to this wolf that delivers a tone of thoughtfulness and reflection. The wolf’s brow seems slightly furrowed and the gaze is a bit downcast, suggesting that we have caught this creature in a moment of meditative introspection. The scribbled lines and squiggled features that make up the animal suggest age and perhaps even wisdom. Truly this is a creature in the midst of contemplation.

So often when we find ourselves ruminating on ideas related to that mysterious thing called time, we try to usher them instantly from our minds. But while it would certainly be detrimental to focus on the past forever… there is something to be said for freely allowing ourselves to grieve a bit for the time gone by, even if it has been filled with gladness… especially if it has been filled with gladness. We are human after all, and perhaps no one trait is so inherently tied to the human condition as the recognition of the fleeting nature of time…


Oct 23 2011

#176 “Ride the Wind”

From Ashlee in Nine Miles Falls, Washington

Voiceless it cries
Wingless flutters
Toothless bites
Mouthless mutters

For those of you that are somewhat Tolkien-savvy, I’m sure you recognize this riddle as being printed in a little book called The Hobbit. The answer to this puzzle, of course, is the wind.

In many ways, the wind is just as mysterious and enigmatic as the wolf itself. It is powerful yet peaceful. It has the capability to change at the drop of a hat. It can calm and soothe us or it can drive us to seek shelter from it cruel blasts. Indeed, it is truly a fickle mistress. More than this, though, it is all around us all the time. It is a part of us. Its existence is as closely tied to our lives as the air that we breathe, and in fact, it is a part of that as well.

I don’t know how the wind works, where it comes from or where it goes. And similarly, I face the same riddles when I set my mind on the beautiful and majestic wolf. All that I know is that the creature exists and is a part of this blessed Mother Earth that contains so many more mysteries than our minds are ever capable of comprehending. In the end, I suppose that I don’t need to understand the wolf in order to appreciate it, just as I don’t necessarily need to understand the wind in order to treasure a cool breeze on a warm day. Efforts of comprehension leave room for error, but love transcends misunderstandings.

The wind. A wolf. They seem like ordinary ideas on the surface, and yet Ashlee has combined them here in a triumph of art that shatters the ordinary. In honor of you, Ashlee, I have posted the video below. The song is called “Windfall,” and it is performed by the alt/country group Son Volt. If you’ll notice, the hook in the song repeats the words, “May the wind take your troubles away.”

This is the wish that I have for you, Ashlee. Thanks for the awesome picture.