Category Archives: Appreciation

Celebrating Absence: A Smattering of Nick Cave + Warren Ellis + The Bad Seeds

As the months go on, I mentally tick off the shows I was supposed to see. I marked them off my calendar long ago, but you know, the little scratched out writing is still there. In the scheme of things, it is a small loss, but occasionally, I indulge in a light depression about it.

This evening, I was supposed to see Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds perform live for the second time. The first time was in Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago. This time, I had a bit more special trip planned. I was going to see him in Detroit, one of my other favorite U.S. cities, at the Masonic Temple Theatre. My brother recommended the room as it is smaller, and he mentioned it would be one of the more intimate ways to catch a show. My brother was also planning to see Nick Cave on a special trip. Double bummer for us.

Instead of a pity party, I’ve been trying to go through some live performances (minus the recording of “All the Beautiful Things”, which I threw because it’s beautiful), and even though I am not there, it’s not live, the band still sounds, looks, and feels damn good.

“IUD” by Okay Kaya

I am bonkers about this song, and the artist Okay Kaya, lately.

I showed it to some friends, and one of them said “It sounds haunting.” I guess maybe a little. However, it’s a song about someone wanting a partner to come with them to get an IUD in. It’s very clever and a bit bawdy (not really to me because I don’t think contraception is a bawdy topic), but to me, the song is very romantic.


She sounds just as wonderful live, and you can enjoy people chuckling in the background on the clever parts.


“A Song From Under The Floorboards” by Magazine [Peel Session Version]

The great thing about living in Chicago (and I imagine other major cities) is that there are still some indie/alt FM radio listening options. In Chicago, we have the legendary XRT from which I have learned about so many songs (primarily songs before my time on Earth).

One day they played “A Song From Under the Floorboards” by Magazine. I loved it immediately, and I found an even better version, posted below, from famed BBC 1 DJ John Peel’s “Peel sessions”.

I added both versions to my rotation and have been listening to it a lot lately. Lots of people think this song is a reference to Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis”, but much like the meaning of the book itself, that is open to some interpretation. And others say this song is a reference to Dostoevsky’s Notes from [the] Underground, which sounds a bit more accurate. And to me, the track’s namesake and chorus only makes me think of The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Regardless, this song is definitely about self-loathing, but it BUMPS.

My friend Vinny, who recently swapped playlist with me and will be getting his own post soon, was very quick to share his opinion about this version.

I’m not even going to link the Morrissey version here because quite frankly, I don’t want to be associated with it. 🙂

The Complete John Peel Sessions by Magazine can be heard on Spotify (or whatever you use!).

“Getting to Know You” by Onyx Collective

Most folks know as “Getting to Know You” as a song performed by the celebrated Queen of Musical Theater (and film!) Julie Andrews in Rodgers and Hammerstein classic The King and I.

However, lately, I am really feeling this Onyx Collective rendition of “Getting to Know You” (ft. Okay Kaya & Julian Soto). I will do a follow up post about Okay Kaya because she is phenomenal.

Onyx Collective is an experimental jazz collective. And for their album Manhattan Special, they decided to cover only Rodgers and Hammerstein classics. An interesting choice, but I’m not mad about it.

This rendition is perfect to me during this beautiful time of year and the general vibe I am feeling and hoping to hold onto for a little bit.

Unrequited, Rejected, + Disillusioned: “Painter In Your Pocket” by Destroyer

I have been listening to a lot of Destroyer lately, but their most famous song “Painter In Your Pocket” from the album Destroyer’s Rubies in particular.

You may not know Destroyer. You may not know Dan Bejar (if not you should because he is very talented and handsome!). You might know the musical collective kinda supergroup The New Pornographers. If the latter is true, you have heard Dan Bejar sing– he’s the gender ambiguous voice in “Myriad Harbor“.

Anyway, slowly dying Hero of the Masses SongMeanings.com lists the lyrics for “Painter In Your Pocket” and honorable human beings have shared there thoughts about what the song means. There was one interpretation that struck a cord with other listeners (myself being one of them):

the painter in her (or his?) pocket seems to refer to the person she’s with now, who is responsible for all of her new thoughts and mannerisms, artsy and ‘high minded’ ones given the ‘painter’ part. lovers turn into each other. i don’t know if dan is suggesting that her new self is affected, but i get that vibe.

schopenhauerpower on SongMeanings.com interpretation of “Painter In Your Pocket”

This interpretation makes the most sense to me, but I think saying it is one thing. Listening to the song, you can fill in your own experiences with unrequited romance or rejection. Lyrically, the song takes us on that journey as well as the journey of becoming disillusioned or unfamiliar with a lover or object of your affection.

The Wounded Deer, 1946 by Frida Kahlo

And while the lyrics are great, I like this song mainly because of the vocals and the insturmentals. Dan Bejar’s voice is unique, and it is perfect for taking listeners on a journey– he can take you way high or way low, and he’s great at delivering a song with the snark that comes along with the bitterness of being rejected and/or disillusioned.

Instrumentally, this song is also a journey for me. It starts with a bit of a prologue in the form of an acoustic guitar as Dan seems to talk about watching someone they love be their own person despite maybe missing this person. The song then shifts to a more mellow but somber sound with heavy bass drum. There are a few guitar breaks that allow for some introspection before the song ultimately picks up with more steady guitar, and you’re blasted by full on feelings with Dan sounding straight up exasperated at how much his lover has changed and what a stranger they have become.

Without the lyrics, the song might be able to pass for some hip ambient hotel music or elevator/waiting room music. However, the music combined with the lyrics take me on some sort of journey that give me a chance to navigate almost the entire grief process. Who are you? Do I even know you? Maybe I don’t. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe even for the best, but I wish you nothing but the best.

You can listen to the entire Destroyer’s Rubies album many places, but as you know, I prefer Spotify.

“Time’s Been Wreckless” by Marika Hackman

I wanted to drop by for a quick post about a great song I heard today, compliments of my Spotify “Discover Weekly” list.

My presence is questionable here lately because of mainly grad school, but also baseball (because I know it’s time is likely limited, I’ve really wanted to soak the games in), professional work, work on myself, plants, and time with my loved ones. I have so many posts in draft mode that I want to finish once I’m done with school.

Also, I have been having an appreciation for indie women and queer and queer adjacent folks (and any overlap there) lately– mostly of the millennial set. So expect more pop ups like that in the interim.

One of these women is Marika Hackman. I am loving all of the things about her. Also, this article is delightful. So please, enjoy her song “Time’s Been Reckless”. 🙂 I am also adding three new blog categories: “Queer Stuff”, “Girl Stuff”, and “POC Stuff”.

Dayuuum, Boy: Marlon Williams

So, I don’t remember the exact path that led me to stumble upon Marlon Williams. I think Spotify recommended him as a “Fans Also Like” algorithm suggestion.

He is already pretty big (huge?) in his native New Zealand, and I’m assuming Australia, but maybe William will confirm if he happens to stumble upon this entry! Additionally it appears Marlon was briefly in A Star is Born (the remake with Lady Gaga that I still haven’t seen) and his song “Dark Child” was featured in the documentary Wild Wild Country.

He’s been on “Conan” in the U.S. too.

So where have I been? Well, I don’t watch a lot of tv, and I don’t watch a lot of movies when they first come out probably because I am a bit of a grandma in terms of pop culture. In a bubble I am.

But when I heard Marlon Williams, I was like “Damn, this Marlon boy kinda sounds like if Nick Cave had a baby with Orville Peck and it was also very talented and kinda dark but great at storytelling,” and if you have been reading my stuff or do read into my archives, you will know that combination of artists would be capable of grasping my beating heart and crushing it, and I would still manage to die with a smile on my face.

But then I looked this Marlon boy up, and I was like “Damn, this boy is also very handsome, funny, and goofy.”

So yeah, Marlon will 100% be a regular staple to my listening habits. Congrats on leaving me speechless even though you dance kinda funny. I am rurnt.

NEW: “Something in My Eye” by Matt Berry

Wizard of acting, comedy, and music, Matt Berry (who earlier helped me step off into what would be one of the most challenging years in a relatively brief existence [a common theme for all this year!]) has released a new single called “Something in My Eye”.

Matt Berry is someone who I don’t worry about delivering a consistently good vibe. The dude just seems to enjoy everything he does, and he takes me to the emotional highs and lows and all the in betweens.

So “Something in My Eye”is a bit of a different tune than “Take My Hand”, which is great because mid-2020 is definitely a different vibe than the last day of 2019. And yet, I am feeling stronger every day now.

“Every Time the Sun Comes Up” by Sharon Van Etten

Really feeling this today. Boy. Many other posts I have read mark “Every Time the Sun Comes Up” by Sharon Van Etten as a song being about a flippant response to self-destruction. I hear that, but this song means more to me.

When I listen to it and read the lyrics, it reminds me so much of what it feels like to identify as a woman and outwardly appear as a woman but also what occurs when you act outside the societal norms and expectations of being a woman– being quiet and good and patient. Not asking for what you need. No bodily functions. Etc.

There is a constant sense of “being in trouble” if you act outside of this expectation or norm or, god forbid, ask for what you need or express how you feel earnestly. In fact, people often react even more angry towards women when women show (maybe even a rare) instances of assertiveness, boundary setting, or speaking up for yourself or even the facts. I am sadly speaking from experience on this one and have one too many stories where I felt threatened (physically and beyond) for standing up for myself or even saying “no”. However, it is more normal to be gaslit or talked back into being quiet in real life instances.

Obviously these gendered issues aren’t just a problem for women. All genders suffer when we are bound by these expectations. This line in particular though really resonated with me in terms of being a woman:

I washed your dishes, but I shit in your bathroom

Sharon Van Etten, “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”

I’ve included a live version above because if an artist can do their songs justice in a live setting, usually the experience is a bit more touching. I have also included the music video below because it’s a really charming music video featuring a man transforming himself into a sort of a Svengoolie type character (I guess; there may be some other cultural reference I am not picking up on; let me know if that is the case!).