Music

Top Three #3

Time for another top three!

1. Brand New [music]

I finally got to see my favorite band live for the first time. Truly a surreal experience. Throughout the whole concert, I was oddly calm but it keeps hitting me in waves that I got to experience them live. Judging from Youtube videos, they can be hit or miss depending on whether they’re feeling it, but they were fantastic last night. I wish I could say the say about the crowd. The crowd/atmosphere was a bit disappointing (venue was on a college campus so a lot of undergrads/younguns) but I think I managed to stand in a pretty good spot/enough of hardcore fans around me to get me excited too. At concerts/large gatherings, I’m that fan in the crowd with his/her arms crossed because I honestly don’t know how else to behave/express myself but other fans’ energies get me to loosen up a bit.

But holy crap. Such a fantastic night. Major thanks to my two friends I convinced to go with me (story of my life haha). I have yet to find my music soulmate-friend.

2. Speakers [things]

When I initially moved to Michigan, I ran out of room for my nice (aka heavy) three piece speaker set and only had room for my $10 pair that my dad bought for me at Fry’s like five years ago. I’ve been using the $10 pair for most of my first year but last time I was home (May), I was determined to fit my nice speakers into my luggage. Once back at school, I immediately pulled them out and oh man, music/TV/movies have not sounded better since. (And seeing how the $10 pair are still in perfect working condition, I brought them into lab since I don’t mind them getting all grody with science).

3. Kayaking [life]

I’ve caught the kayaking bug. Being on the water seems like a big part of summer life here in Michigan, whether it’s tubing, kayaking, canoeing, etc. A few weekends ago, I went kayaking for the first time in years with a group of friends who were similarly unexperienced. And I went canoeing the following week with a friend who just moved to the area.

The first and last time I went kayaking was probably in middle school and it was kayaking in the Baylands (so like… no current). I was in the back seat of like a three person kayak where the front two people were two dudes. So you have this petite Asian girl, kayaking for the first time, trying to steer a whole kayak through narrow passages where the dudes barely paddled because they thought it’d be funny. I ended up ramming us into a bank by accident and then they realized I physically was not able to move the thing by myself and started helping. But I really love being on the water.

Anyway, today, I went kayaking for the first time since then and it was amazing. I went with three others and was in a kayak with one of the ones who had never kayaked before. One of the best days I’ve had in so long. It’s so much fun and it doesn’t feel like exercise but man, got an arm work out in since my friend was paddling for the first time.

panoramic creeper shot of my friend 🙂

It’s definitely a wet and messy experience but it’s totally worth it. Would highly recommend and my graduate program has a kayaking/tubing/canoeing trip planned for later this month. Got to get my tan on before the sun disappears.

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Top Three #2

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Time for another top three!

1. Wildlife by La Dispute [music]

I’ve mentioned this band so many times on this blog but these guys are just so amazing. I’ve been listening exclusively to their earlier two full lengths and they get better each time.

2. Textured Cross-Back Pullover from Banana Republic [fashion/shopping]

This sweater was on sale last week and with an extra 50% off (ended up being $25!), I couldn’t help but pick it up. I usually don’t understand/like many trends but this crossback design caught my eye and I feel like I can still wear it after it’s no longer trendy (I see similar designs everywhere so I’m assuming it’s a trend…). I love the color (I got the light blue one), the feel of the fabric (weighted and textured but cool), the different ways (sleeveless or long sleeve collared button up underneath, tank underneath, paired with a jacket/scarf) I can wear it, the way it looks on me and how I don’t have anything like it. So much win.

3. Peaches/nectarines [food]

Summer is possibly my least favorite month of the year (yeah, I know). I hate the heat/sun, sweating, the clothing and especially here in Michigan, the humidity. However, the one saving grace of summer are the fruit. I love peaches and nectarines. I buy maybe 5-10 a week to keep up with my cravings. I’ve only been able to find good yellow peaches and nectarines so far but I’m hoping the white ones (I could probably only eat white peaches and nectarines for the rest of my life) will be available soon! So so yummy. Thank you nature!

Those are my (maybe trivial) top three things at the moment. I’m going to try and write up Everlane reviews later today (I think I have like 5+ items). But I did a huge Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic haul that I just took all the pics for… So there’s that coming up. 😁

-amy

Top Three #1

In an effort to try and blog more regularly, I’m going to attempt to post my top three things that I’ve been digging over the week (or two weeks). So without further ado:

1. Gilmore Girls / Gossip Girl [TV]

I finished yet another Gilmore Girls rewatch (I’ve lost count) this week (aka today) and was about to rewatch the series yet again when I decided I wanted to watch something new (to me) and ended up watching Gossip Girl. Back when it first came out, I watched a few episodes here and there during the earlier seasons but by the time season 3 premiered, I had no idea what was going on. Since it’s the show that all my friends were obsessed with and watched during high school and college, I decided to give it a go. Better late than never, right? But man, the music and fashion is so nostalgic. But I’m totally addicted… I forgot that there was a time where Blair and Chuck weren’t together.

2. Baking [life]

Recently, I find myself baking something pretty much every week. It’s mostly because I love eating baked goods and I live in a part of town where there’s no where close by that sells baked goods. But within the past two weeks, I’ve made lemon blueberry bread, banana bread, shortbread cookies and a no-bake Oreo cheesecake. I’ve pretty much perfected my banana bread and shortbread cookies recipes at this point. The lemon blueberry bread was just okay. I think I’ll try just a plain blueberry bread/muffin next. But holy cow, the no-bake Oreo cheesecake was amazing.

 

yum yum in my tum

 
3. Taylor Swift’s 1989 [music]

I haven’t really listened to Taylor Swift since high school when I had to write a review of various albums for my school’s newspaper, but after hearing a lot of her recent singles, I decided to give her latest album a go. I’m not in love with many of the songs on the album (I think most are just average), but I’m in love with Blank Space and Style. Like I have not been able to stop listening to these two songs for the past two weeks (and I’ve just been letting the album play on). So catchy and the whole album reminds me of 90s pop.

That’s it for this week. Hope everyone had a lovely Independence (or Canada) Day!

-amy

Just a little post

Still not a legit post. Still in the midst of finals week/finishing up my first rotation. Taking a break tonight before diving back into studying. At least it’ll be for immunology (a subject I actually like… versus biochem or cell bio. blech)!

Anyway, last weekend, I spent some time adding some “new” music (most of these were released at least a year ago lol) to my rotation since my playlists were getting way too familiar and boring and made me sleepy instead of keeping me awake.

Here are a few albums I’ve been listening to that I thought I’d share:

1. Rooms of the House by La Dispute

I’m absolutely obsessed with this band and album. Definitely not geared toward the average music listener with their spoken word/punk/hardcore/rock influences but man, they get it so right. Their singer’s voice doesn’t actually sound that special/unique, but it just clicks perfectly with their overall sound and he has great vocal versatility. And their instrumental parts are not too flashy to detract from the vocals and lyrics, but they have these super “catchy” melodies. I definitely think this album is less heavy than their previous releases, but shows the band’s range of sound/musicality.

I’m the absolute worst when it comes to remembering lyrics and song titles, and I usually just make up my own, but I actually went to look the lyrics up for their songs because they’re such a huge part of the overall mood/feel of the songs. Poetic and stream-of-consciousness-like lyrics. Their lyrics are usually quite meaningful and actually “deep” and it’s so nice. And the rhythm of many of their songs makes it easy for me to block out the lyrics, allowing me to really focus on my task at hand. And they happen to be from Grand Rapids, MI so whenever they mention Michigan in their lyrics, I feel all 🙂 despite having only lived in Michigan for a few months 😉

Favorites on the album: Objects in Space, For Mayor in Splitsville, SCENES FROM HIGHWAYS 1981-2009, Woman (reading)

Click here to listen to the whole album.

2. Simple Math by Manchester Orchestra

Manchester Orchestra has been on my radar for a few years but they’ve never left a large impact on me. It’s one of those bands who have a great following, but I just never “got it,” if you know what I mean. So I’ve put off listening to this album for years(!) before deciding to give it a spin the other day and I’m so happy I did. The first few songs didn’t immediately grab my attention, but oh man this album gets to good. Another band with great lyrics and singer. While I’m not in love with Andy Hull’s voice, he has so much control over his voice and he’s so emotive, much respect.

They intense in a chill way but their songs still have great drama. Would describe them of a mix of alternative, rock and indie/folk. They remind me of a more rock-influenced/”up-beat” Bon Iver (especially in the song “Deer” and I don’t like Bon Iver but I kept listening!). Loving the use of strings in this album.

It’s just a lovely album. I totally “get it” now.

Favorites on the album: Virgin, Simple Math, Apprehension

Click here to listen to the whole album.

3. 9 Dead Alive by Rodrigo y Gabriela

I love these two. Amazing, amazing guitar players and musicians. Like, the album doesn’t even do their playing justice; they’re totally a group you have to see perform live to truly understand how fantastic they are. And I haven’t even seen them live. I just know lol. I wish I’ve seen them live; must be an insane amount of energy and holy shit it’s be a mesmerizing experience (Tammy, please enlighten us with their amazingness).

To be more specific, they are an acoustic guitar duo and their music is a blend of their influences, from flamenco to metal and it’s really interesting to hear these influences come together and in their music. The first time I heard one of their songs, I didn’t realize it was just two people, one guitar each. Like I didn’t believe my friend when she told me and we had to go on Youtube so she could find proof. We spent the next hour or two looking up their live performances and just generally squeeing.

Super happy they released another album and man, it’s so great. I put it on to study and ended up just sitting there, doing nothing, during my first listen. Worth it.

Favorites on the album: Misty Moses, Sunday Neurosis, The Soundmaker, Megalopolis

Click here to listen to the whole album.

happy listening!

-amy

My music festival survival guide

So you’re heading to a music festival soon? First time? Or just curious how other introverted festival attendees deal with the masses of people? Then congrats, you’re in the right place. Titling this post “survival guide” is being a bit dramatic but it caught your interest, right?

As mentioned at the bottom of my last post, I going to SF’s Outside Lands music festival with Tammy on Friday. This will be my second large official music festival but my fifth time heading to a multi-artist/multi-stage music thing. Previous to this, I’ve attended Warped Tour x 2, Lilith Fair (does this count?) and Coachella. All very, very different things with very different attendees. But I’ve learned from my past experiences to prepare for this one.

Here are some of my (personal) tips that I like to try to follow for music festivals in no particular order:

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TBT: Music roundup

My last few TBT Music posts have been published on Thursdays but this write-up has been sitting as a draft for far too long. Decided to just break out of my comfort zone and publish this on a Tuesday. Gasp.

During my recent chill time, I’ve recently wandered back over to absolutepunk.net, where I spent the majority of my high school years looking for new music and artists. Like I might’ve mentioned before, I definitely fell off the music bandwagon during college and am trying to get back into it but it’s a few miles ahead of me at this point. Back in high school, I think I tried to absorb too much (is that even a thing?) music as possible in a span of 2-3 years and just seriously over did it and looking for new music became a chore, so I stopped.

Of course I would occasionally stumble upon a new album/band that I liked during college mainly due to friends, media, etc. But I wasn’t actually going out into the Internet world looking for music that I would want to look for. This isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed the music that I’ve discovered during my so-called “music dark ages,” but those bands were on the ends of the spectrum of my tastes. For instance, I absolutely love Florence + the Machine, but I seriously can’t imagine listening to her and similar bands/artists for eternity. It’s just not something I naturally gravitate toward and seek out.

So I started back to the place that had the best collection of information about the music I liked the most: absolutepunk.net.

The staff have an End of the Year (EOTY) post every year since I can remember, anyway, where they compile their (staff as whole and individual staff member’s) favorite albums as well as the site user’s favorite albums and more. They also “recently” released their Middle of the Year (MOTY) lists so I thought that’d be a good place to start.

I’ve found a couple of new artists that I’ve never heard about as well as discovered a love for certain bands that I heard about in the past but never really looked up and got into. So here’s a list of a variety of stuff you might also want to check out:

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TBT: Music (classical)

A TBT post of my favorite classical music pieces from my past just seems like the most accurate TBT music post I could possibly post. I mean, it’s throwing back in two different ways!

I grew up listening to only classical music and Taiwanese folk songs/oldies. Also, I used to play piano and viola and by extension, played in a youth symphony. Of the many songs I’ve heard/played in the past, there are a couple that really stood out (I managed to narrow it down to ten pieces). The videos are the versions that I prefer listening to.

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