Archive for ‘Music’

July 29, 2011

I Think Fink

Perfect in the Darkness

We all have favourites when it comes to music. While my tastes and listening patterns are constantly morphing, I also have a few staples or favourites that I just keep coming back to over and over again. Fink is one of these for me.

Whenever I say I like Fink, I usually get one of two reactions. You know when you say something and the other person didn’t hear you but they are too embarrassed to say so and they just laugh and smile? That’s one of the reactions. The other is “who the heck is Fink?

I have always known Fink to the stage name of Fin Greenall, a singer songwriter extraordinaire from the UK, but it seems it is now being used for the entirety of his band. Needless to say on earlier this week, Fink’s new much anticipated CD Perfect Darkness hit the market, and it’s not only the darkness that’s perfect. This offering doesn’t disappoint one bit.

who the heck is Fink?

This is not your typical Friday night party music; this music has substance, depth and soul. I am more likely to put this on while I am reading by a fire or doing some writing. I love love love this CD! I could say that about all of Fink’s CD’s actually but this one in particular seems to have a more improved production quality to it.

You can download the title track free by clicking here. Check it out first by clicking on the play button below. When you’re done loving that, watch the video for a little snapshot of an intimate live show, and I mean intimate! I am pretty sure I know what brand of sunglasses he is wearing. Make sure you choose the highest quality setting on the tube player!

Peace, Leslie

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July 6, 2011

Circuital

On Tour Now! Playing in at the Ottawa Bluesfest on July 13th

I go through waves with music and right now I am at the crest of a wave, I just can’t get enough. It’s always playing, I sleep with it, I write with it, and I turn it up past what most people find comfortable for conversation. I have been playing the latest CD by My Morning Jacket called Circuital and it has been on over and over for the past few days.

I found it very hard to pick a song or even two for you to sample because I absolutely love every song. It ranges from fun to pensive ballad and back again. So I will just grab a couple for you to check out and run with it.  On the little widget below you can hear “You Wanna Freak Out” and below that is a live video of “Holdin On To Black Metal”As always you can check it out on the MEmusic tab above!

I highly recommend you pick up the CD itself and enjoy it from first to last.

Enjoy!

Peace,

Leslie

May 5, 2011

Helplessness Blues

Love it!

A great CD is often the impetus for me take action on something that I haven’t been giving enough of my time. Once again this happened this week when I was listening to Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes.  Sometimes I am motivated by the lyrics or the high tempo beat of a song. In the case of Helplessness Blues it is just the overall tone of the CD. I just love the vocal harmonizing. I can’t put my finger on why, but when I listen to this CD I just feel alive.  The Fleet Foxes have somehow motivated me to take on another project that I had put some thought into in the past but decided not to move forward. I guess it was just not the right time.

I haven’t been writing as much as I would have liked for MEfurbish as I am in the process of trying to get this project off the ground. Things should slow down in the next few days and I will be back to posting every day for the most part. In the short term, I just really wanted to share with you Helplessness Blues by Fleet Foxes. You can listen to the track on MEmusic or watch the video for the title track below.

Great stuff!

Peace,

Leslie

April 26, 2011

Right Back At It

Four Day Week!

It was a busy Easter weekend, and while it was great, and it was nice to spend some extra time with family and friends, I am glad that it’s over. In my journey of MEfurbishment, one of the most important things I have going for me are my routines. Much has been said and written about the routines of children over the years. I have come to believe that routines are equally important to adults too but certainly they are to me.

My level of awareness, regarding what contributes to stress and what alleviates it in me, has grown considerably over the past year. While I absolutely love holidays and special events, they also add more stress in my life because of their impact on my routines. Routine becomes a stress reducer in many ways because of its familiarity but also because it ensures that I am getting what I need to be happy and healthy. As long as my routine is set up with my MEbucket’s in mind, there is a dramatically positive impact on my happiness and well-being.

Our routines ensure that we have a balance of all of the buckets that we want to work on in our lives. Changes to these routines can sometimes swing a pendulum too far in the direction of one particular area. For example, I can very easily put all of my focus on family and friends and take time away from things like health, finances and creative endeavours. Coming out of a holiday weekend I can often feel like I have spent too much money and really need time to myself. In recent months I am also discovering that when I don’t prioritize my creative endeavours I really notice a difference in my energy and contentedness.

Going into this long weekend, I took a look at each of my buckets and decided how I would ensure I maintained the balance that I need in my life. Let’s have a look at how I did:

Health

Going into Easter weekend I wanted to focus on two major things to ensure that I was prioritizing my health bucket.  I wanted to make certain that I kept up my meditation practice during the weekend. This is something that I can easily let slip on a long weekend and I really notice the difference in my level of grounded-ness when I meditate. The other key ingredient was healthful food choices. I managed to make both of these happen despite a visit from the Easter Bunny.

Finances

My tendency is to spend too much money at holiday times and I wanted to make sure this was not the case this Easter. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s not the holiday event itself where I regret my spending but in the other things I write off in holiday weekend cash dumps. Going out for meals, additional un-needed shopping sprees, and a desire to fill up my long weekend with additional events like, movies, concerts, museums and the like are all things that have derailed me in the past. This Easter weekend I was able to keep my spending in check which is a great feeling coming into the start of the week.

Creativity

Normally the first thing to go during a busy holiday weekend, creativity was something that I was really focused on making sure it still had its place. A couple of things helped me out in that area. I wanted to make a new and exciting Vegan Easter feast, this being my first Vegan Easter. Cooking is always a creative experience for me because I rarely use a recipe as it is written. I will often use a recipe as a base and experiment with it until it is perfect for the MEkitchen.  I ended up with a delicious Carrot Coconut Bisque and a hearty Mushroom Quinoa Loaf. Next was time spent writing and taking pictures of my gastronomic fun to share on MEfurbish. The photography aspect of the recipe posts really got my creative juices flowing. I have missed photography and while I would not call the quick point and shoot stuff I did this weekend very creative, it really got me thinking about what I could do with recipes and photography in the future. I am really looking forward to working on this more in the months ahead.

Environment

There were a few ways that I made the environment a focus this weekend. With all its busyness it would have been easy to just pick up something like Tofurky instead of spending the time preparing my own meal, especially with the fact that I am the only vegan in my home. Taking the time to pick up bulk, and mostly local ingredients, saved on packaging and travel and making a large batch of food will save on energy costs in the upcoming few weeks as I enjoy leftovers. Another way in which I expanded on the environment bucket was to attend a local EcoExpo here in my home town of Ottawa. Any time I can educate myself and make new contacts I am making progress here.

Community

Community is something that was fostered by the EcoExpo I was at as well. The ‘Green”  community as well the Vegan community both had a presence at the Expo and networking with these individuals and gaining awareness about the industry as a whole is helpful.  I also made a decision to attend a function of another community organization I belong too instead of one of the family events that I have taken part in every year since my childhood. The event I let go of  does not feed me in the same way as the function I chose. It was a hard decision to make, but one that I am glad I made in the end for my own peace of mind.

Fun

This was an easy one for me to work on. Spending time with family and friends, buying treats and gifts for my daughter, cooking, listening to tons of music, and spending lots of time writing are all things that I find fun. I was able to easily work these and more into the four days of the weekend.

Relationships

Like fun, relationships are easy one for me to focus on within a holiday weekend. Spending time with family and friends works on these relationships by default. In looking for opportunities to take special action in working on key relationships I made a concerted effort to spend time with some of them that have taken a back seat lately. One area that may seem trivial but that was important to me was taking the time to send a few emails that I haven’t made the time to do recently. Out of all of the steps I took this weekend, this simple one, may have had the greatest impact on my mood, and serenity. Clearly, it was something that was taking up too much space in my head.

Even with all the work on keeping things balanced, things just seem to go smoother when the day to day routines kick back in. Spontaneity and routine used to seem like polar opposites to me, but what I have found is that my routines allow me to be spontaneous without feeling like I am taking away from something else. This is a big shift and an enjoyable one.

Peace,

Leslie

April 17, 2011

Rococo

Even Better Live

I spent part of the morning watching Arcade Fire live at Coachella. What a great show!! I just had to share my fave song from the concert with you here today. This video isn’t from the same show, but it will give you a taste. This is a band that I have to believe is best seen live. I am on a personal mission to make that happen.

 Listen And Watch

You can also listen to the studio version of Rococo off of The Suburbs, here at MEmusic.

Enjoy!

Peace, Leslie

April 13, 2011

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I Digress

Music rarely lets me down when it comes to the fun MEbucket.  I woke up this morning a little ache-y from a strain to my scalene muscles during my workout yesterday. No I don’t walk around saying things like “ I strained my scalene muscles today, ” but I was discussing the injury with a good friend who is a Registered Massage Therapist and she educated me on the name as well as some possible remedies. It is better today, so thanks friend!! Anyway, I digress.

In addition to my shoulder and neck pain, it is also kind of gloomy out today. Add to the mix that I have a very full agenda and it was very easy to get off and running into the future planning and even ‘living in’ my day ahead.

La La Land

After dropping off my daughter at school this AM my mind was racing with lists and places, anywhere really other than there in the moment. I grabbed my iPod and meant to select something kind of background for the drive, a soundtrack to my thoughts so to speak, and I selected the wrong item.

A moment later I was very present, just there in the car, a big smile on my face, tapping my feet and my fingers to the beat and a lot more perspective on the day ahead.  I had hit The Resistance, by Muse by mistake and had let go of mine in the process. My resistance to the day ahead that is. Check out this splendiferous track on MEmusic and try not to tap your foot or watch the video below!

I Dare You

In order to make my point I have concocted a little experiment for you, the MEfurbish community. Don’t just read this and laugh or say, oh yeah, good point Leslie, actually DO IT.

1. Grab your favourite track on your iPod or CD, or 8-track for all I care. If you don’t have a favourite track grab anything upbeat, something that speaks to you.

2. Slide it into the CD player, the docking station, or the cassette deck and press PLAY.

3. Turn it up until you start to feel like the neighbors might be hearing it. Then turn it up a bit more.

4. Stand up.

5. If you have a great big smile on your face, perfect – if not, put a big FAKE smile on your face. Show teeth.

6. Take a deep breath and lift your chest – keep smiling!!

7. Now be mad, sad or stressed. No! Don’t stop smiling or listening.

You can’t do it can you? Be honest. If you can do it, then you missed a step, start over. It’s virtually impossible. If I haven’t said this before, man I love great music.

Peace,

Leslie

April 3, 2011

The Cold Still

Coincidence?

I wasn’t planning on posting about music today. Even though it is a huge part of my life, I have lots of MEfurbishing to take care of and I don’t want to get side-tracked.  That said though, my weekend posts tend to reflect my weekend reality which is a little more relaxed, plus I just had to share this with you!

The Boxer Rebellion has a new CD out called The Cold Still. Anyone who knows me at all grew very sick of hearing about the Boxer Rebellion when their last release, Union came out.  The Cold Still is available widely in Europe and the US, but it has not been released in Canada yet. Fortunately, it is available on iTunes for those of us who prefer the electronic version.

The Boxer Rebellion who self-produced the epic sound of Union worked with renowned producer Ethan Johns on The Cold Still. With this move I became an even bigger fan. He has produced for artists like Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Rufus Wainwright,  Emmylou Harris, Crowded House and my personal favorite Ray Lamontagne. In fact he produced my favorite album of all time, Gossip In The Grain by the aforementioned Lamontagne.

It’s Epic

I have a good friend who has often referred to Union as an epic CD, and of course I agree. To quote producer Johns in The Cold Still – Mini documentary:

“If I had to sum up The Cold Still, it would be that it’s an epic record, but its intimate at the same time…”

There aren’t many albums that I immediately love, but this is one. The fact that it got better during each listen was unreal.  There is an interesting dichotomy that I have with this band.  I am pulling for them to make it big, a reward for their efforts and a desire to share them with others. At the same time, part of me loves the fact that they are relatively unknown in the grand scheme of things. Really, there is nothing better than seeing a great band in a small venue is there?

Take a few minutes to explore The Boxer Rebellion website, watch The Cold Still – Mini Documentary. I am sure you will be pulling for these guys before you move on. Jump over to MEmusic for a little preview as well!

Peace,

Leslie

April 2, 2011

Say It To Me Now

It’s Not A Musical!

I was goofing around with “Half Cherry” this morning and I very mistakenly fat fingered something which ended up sounding like the beginning to a song that I absolutely love. This song is actually one of the songs that re-inspired me to play the guitar. Say It To Me Now by Glen Hansard seems like a great song to learn early in my guitar playing journey because then original song is just guitar and vocals and for an aspiring musician with an inexperienced ear, it actually seems like it would be pretty easy to play.

Hearing this would be riff had me searching on Google to find the video, then searching for how-to’s on playing the song. My hopes were pretty high still when I watched Glen play in the video. One thing I noticed immediately was that there was at least a very small amount of picking in the song. That took a little bit of wind out of my sails but he was only plucking on the number six string so, I figured maybe I could make this work. Say It To Me Now is from the movie Once, a great film. Some might say its a musical, but I refuse to utter those words because of the imagery it conjures up. There’s no singing “can you please pass the corn” in this film, but lots of great music.

What Was I Thinking?

I found a how to play Say It To Me Now here, and then the anxiety started to build. What was I thinking? I don’t even own a guitar yet other than “Half Cherry” a bright red kid’s guitar with two strings missing. I quickly changed my tune though with this song and reminded myself that like everything else on MEfurbish, this is a process. I don’t have to be perfect. There is no finish line or time clock. This song at the moment is purely inspiration, and that’s just fine.

After letting my guard down considerably I was surprised to see that I was able to follow along quite a bit. It was quite enjoyable and I really do feel like I could play this song. So now that I have moved all the way up to step six or seven in my head, I’d better get back down to earth and keep going with step one and step two. Step one has been an effort to grow some calluses, and that has been going very well. I can really see the difference in the ease of holding strings, and my overall comfort level with a guitar in my hand. Step two is without a doubt the most important step of all – get a guitar!

Now if I could only sing like Glen Hansard….

Have a look and a listen below. Don’t forget to pop over to the MEmusic page to here this song and many more great tunes.

Peace,

Leslie

March 31, 2011

Community Drumming Circle

Perfectionism and Procrastination

A sense of community, especially the community in which I live, has been something that I have wanted to foster for some time now. I find myself wanting to come up with the perfect solution, the perfect plan, the perfect event, and as is often the case, I end up not taking any action at all.

It’s only in recent months that I have been able to connect the dots on the fact that my perfectionism is linked a great deal to my procrastination. Putting things off until they feel perfect or until the perfect fit comes along has been a real detriment to my personal growth. I am making efforts to ensure that this does not hold me back during my MEfurbishment.

Get Out There!

As an exercise in taking action, just for the sake of taking action, I decided to give myself 10 minutes of reflection on what ways I could just “get out there” and get involved. I was surprised that I only ended up needing two. Recently I have adopted a vegan lifestyle.  There are a variety of ways that this fact will work itself onto the pages of MEfurbish in the future. In this case I thought of getting more involved in the Vegan Meetup in my area.  While this is something  that I expect I will do in the future, right now I want to try and choose things that I am hyper motivated to do. Fun and Music are always high on my list so I started to think in this way. This reminded me that recently while I was looking for a used Djembe on Kijiji someone replied that I should consider a drumming circle. He indicated that someone always has an extra drum to play on and I would meet lots of fellow drum lovers as well as sharing ideas and tips. That’s it!

A drumming circle is exactly about community. It’s not a drumming squiggle or drumming cubicles. It’s about getting to know and connect with people and sharing a common interest – in a circle. What could be more community sounding than that?  This morning I replied to that email and said that I would be super interested in coming out to the next event. I’ll keep you posted!

If you hear thumping and tapping in the weeks ahead, you never know I could be just around the corner.

Peace,

Leslie

March 30, 2011

Tender Fingers

It Begins In Earnest

It began in earnest last night with my daughter’s ½ size cherry red guitar. Learning the guitar has begun with phase one – grow calluses. I mentioned in a previous post that one of the showstoppers I have had in the past with learning the guitar was the annoyance and time of callus making. I do not find playing the guitar enjoyable without calluses. I have never gone long enough to actually have calluses form on my hand so it goes without saying that I have never actually been at a point where I have ENJOYED playing the guitar.

My thought here is to get the annoying part out of the way at the beginning. So before my first crack at actually learning the instrument I am focusing on the thing that has kept me from the prize in the past. I found a two part How to Grow Guitar Calluses Quickly and Easily document on eHow and started with these exercises. Upon noticing that there were two strings missing from the guitar I have now dubbed “Half Cherry” I was miffed to think that I would have to wait another day and get some stings. Upon reading the steps involved in part one though, I was happy to see that I would only use the number 6 string.

Start Plucking

Basically all you do is start with your index finger on the string, pluck a few notes and slide your finger back and forth until you can’t take it anymore then move to the next finger. I ended up doing this for about 30 minutes twice yesterday. The advice in the article was to focus on the sound and making a little riff pattern because it would take your mind off the pain in the fingers. This really worked! I was actually having fun.

At one point I even put my headphones on and fired up good ole Lyle Lovett, someone who often inspires me to learn to play.  I focused on the music, which is super easy for me to do, and kept the exercises going the whole time. After day one, I am thinking that this might actually work. Today as I am typing with my tender fingertips, I think I can actually feel the beginnings of my first calluses. I’m so proud! To think, just last week, these calluses were just a glint in my eye.

Check out the acoustic version of Up In Indiana from It’s Not Big It’s Large by Lyle Lovett on the MEmusic page.