Archive for the ‘music’ Category

Well-Respected Beards, No. 008: Jim Henson


Come on, you know you love him. How many smiles has this dude been responsible for over the last 40 years? How many people can recite that “Number 12” song without even blinking? How hard is it to be green, really? Why does some silly rainbow video have half a million hits? I mean, seriously, it’s a sack made of green felt with some guy’s fist up in it not playing a miniature banjo.

Mr. Henson, if you’re out there, I just want to say thanks for that whole Dark Crystal thing, because the swamp scene totally blew my mind. Sorry I missed you in Leland.

Photo via this here frog fanatic.


Imaginary Album Art: Frugivore


Apparently during SXSW week in Austin even some Cedar Waxwings can start a band. It’s a good thing I had time to churn out the album cover before their free showcase in my backyard. The drummer is down there on the left … I think he said his name was Saul.

Developmental Psycholinguistics

“Baby doesn’t know what I just said
Baby doesn’t know the words that I just used
Babies haven’t learned any words yet
Babies haven’t been used by any words yet
People only think, people only talk
People only think in words they already know
The babies haven’t learned any words yet (no)
They only know what the people feel
They don’t really care what the people think
They only care what the people feel
Music only knows what the people feel
Babies only care and hear what the people feel, feel”

Barstools and Dreamers
Widespread Panic 1991

Yes indeed I like to read


Levar says these guys write all their own rhymes!

“Oh yes indeed I like to read, cause reading’s fun
not only me (I’m DMC) but also Run
from the front to the back as pages turn
reading is a very fresh way to learn
and if you look into a book you might just say
I had fun (just like Run, DMC, and Jay)”

Run DMC on Reading Rainbow

Well-Respected Beards, No. 022: Joseph LeDoux


New York University: studies Emotion, Memory, and the Brain.
Plays guitar for the Amygdaloids.
Wrote a paper that may have inspired the science behind “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”

From a Salon interview:

Q: Most memories degrade and distort with time; why are music memories so sharply encoded?

A: I know from my own experience that it’s a very powerful way to remember things. I’ve found that in the short time we’ve been playing music we can convey the gist of a concept with a three-minute song that we’d need a chapter for in a book and many, many hours of painstaking work to get across. Then people read it and they forget everything. But you can just sing the line, “An emotional brain is a hard thing to tame,” which captures the essence of the concept, and people remember it.

The dog of tears, hard at work


What happens when a fantastically talented songsmith (Laura Veirs) from Portland (when she’s not studying geology in China) reads a novel (Blindness) written (when he’s not accepting the Nobel Prize) by a genius wordsmith (Jose Saramago) from Portugal? This (transcendence) is what happens:

“Don’t Lose Yourself”

I felt my vocal chords weakening
I felt my concave thoughts
I felt my voluntary blindness
For staring straight into the sun
The romantic air of your eye patch
Called me across the room
I clung there and I danced with you silent
Admired your divine tattoos

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A muse monster kisses my forehead

(“A muse monster…”; Her words, not mine.)

There are a limited number of smiles in this world which might conceivably break a person in two, and Regina Spektor has one of them. She’s quite good at music, also.

Introducing the MagZoMinnies

Speaking of music, does anyone besides me want to see an all-girl band led by Maggie Gyllenhaal (vocals), Zooey Deschanel (vocals & banjo ukulele), and Minnie Driver (guitar)? No? Okay, just checking.


If you’re ever feeling hemmed-in by white-bread American culture, go hear a band from Paris play Argentine electro-tango and meet up with a Belgian from Mexico City who just got back from a trip to China. The chanteuse up on stage singing in Portuguese about capitalism? She’s from Barcelona. That wasn’t a concert, it was a cultural enema. One-way ticket on the next jet plane to anywhere, please, I’ve got to put some different sounds in my brain.


And now we pause to admire the lovely lady after whom one very alive, very adorable puppy is named. It’s a bit ironic for a dog who never barks (except for that one time with the wild pigs), but she’s certainly memorable, as Edie suggests:


“How can that dog be barkin’ in the backyard?
We ran over him years ago
How can that dog be runnin’ by the backfence?
We ran over him years ago
Ghost of a dog
Barkin’ in the backyard

How can that dog be scratchin’ at the back door?
We ran over him years ago
How can that dog be lying under the shady tree
Where we buried him years ago?
Ghost of a dog
Flyin’ through the backyard”