Today I had my first day at my W. W. Norton internship and it was swell. The only thing I found super difficult was sitting without tunes all day long. In honor of my lonely ears, here are some songs that have been in my brain and playing from my laptop speakers lately.
Alex Winston: “Velvet Elvis (RAC Remix)” (from the fabulous Miss Moss mix, Electric Spring)
Adele: “Rolling in the Deep” (Girl can sing.)
Cee-roo: “A Day in the Life (feat. John Lennon)” (from Miss Moss’s August) (Sad this isn’t a real music video. 😦 😦 :()
Midlake: “Young Bride” (You can blame Katie for this one.)
The Decemberists: “Calamity Song” (Because who can resist a David Foster Wallace inspired video, right?) (And also because I’m still obsessed with The King Is Dead.)
I’d put up like a million more except I’m tired because of working for real $$$ like a grown-up or something gross. (jk, not too gross.) Air Review’s “Waiting Lessons” deserves to be mentioned, even though it isn’t on YouTube that I could find. But it’s HERE, so take that, YouTube. Also, I listen to a buttload of Florence + the Machine because lady singers are the best.
Although I’ve only mentioned The King is Dead on this blog, the Decemberists are my favorite band ever as of right now, and have been for a while. Brilliant sound, brilliant lyrics, I just love love love the Decemberists. And guess what, world? Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy has written a children’s book called Wildwood that is illustrated by his wife, Carson Ellis. The first four chapters are available for free here. You can bet your butts that I have read the first four chapters and they are so good.
The story follows Prue, a girl growing up in Portland, Oregon. She is babysitting her younger brother, Mac, when he is kidnapped by a murder of crows and taken into the Impassable Wilderness. She and her schoolmate, Curtis, must journey through this wilderness to find Mac.
Unfortunately for the ENTIRE WORLD who doesn’t have an ARC, there are only four chapters out so far. I loved them so much. What I think I loved most of all, though, is that Meloy doesn’t sacrifice language just because the book is for younger readers. Children are smart, and this book does not condescend to its readers. As a kid, I would’ve been totally into this. I’m still totally into this. But I would have really appreciated a book that uses a higher vocabulary.
I also love the little hints at the Portland culture of hipsterdom. (Examples: Prue, a vegetarian, rides a single speed bicycle. All of her classmates have graduated from doodling superheroes to band logos. Prue’s morning with Mac: “a pair of Levis, not quite the right color, needed returning; the recent arrivals bin at Vinyl Resting Place required perusing; a plate of veggie tostadas was messily shared at the taqueria […]” How great is that?) And of course I love the illustrations. Lovely, quirky, and entirely in line with the story.
AND it got a nice blurb from one of my favorite authors, Jonathan Safran Foer. There are so many things to love.
The only disappointing part? The rest of the book doesn’t come out until the end of August and the excerpt ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. HarperCollins / Colin Meloy, if you’re reading this, do you mind sending me an ARC? I don’t think I can wait that long.
Bonus video (Carson and Colin discuss the book):
Seriously. I cannot talk this up enough. I cannot wait until the rest of it comes out. Everyone else in the world read this right now and suffer with me.
Guess what, you guys! I like more than just books and reading and writing. I also like music! And because I like music, and I also like forcing my opinions on the world at large, and because I’m just full of myself enough to think that someday everyone in the whole world will read my blog, I’ma tell you ’bout this new album I’ve been listening to.
Last Monday the Decemberists released a new album, The King is Dead. AND IT IS SO GOOD. They’ve really gotten folksy and stepped back from the storytelling of Hazards of Love (which I also loved, but this one is better) and the result is the best ever. (I’m not sure if I like Crane Wife better or not, yet, because the novelty of The King is Dead might be what’s making it my favorite right now.)
A little on the Decemberists: vocals by frontman Colin Meloy, and his voice may get to you at first but KEEP LISTENING, because he is a great songwriter. We clearly share a love of words, and the imagery in his songs are not something you come across in most contemporary music.
So go listen to it right now. Here, I’ll help. You can listen to parts of “Down by the Water” on YouTube! (Okay, you can listen to the whole album on YouTube, but don’t be a jerk, go buy it. It’s 100% worth it. So do it. Pretty cheap on Amazon, right here.)
Anyway, it’s my favorite album right now, and I’d listen to it over and over and over again if it wouldn’t annoy whoever happens to be in the room with me. It will definitely be on during homework time tomorrow.
FIVE MILLION STARS. It’s the best.