Tuesday, February 19, 2013

February Light



February Light

Last weekend we headed up north to shoot the video for "Lucky."  It's gonna be on the new record, which we're gearing up to put out soon.  Here are some photos from the shoot.  More to come!



Friday, November 2, 2012

Poem Day.




chorus


“Still we’re often told, ‘seek and ye shall find.’”
                        - Ira Gershwin

Music was born in me
In a place you would never imagine
In a synagogue in Detroit, Michigan
A cement triangle hanging out onto the service drive
That ran next to Telegraph Road
Lines of stained glass running up its middle
In velvet heels on the marble lobby floor
Winter wind sticking under the skin of black tights
In the waxy smell of my aunt and cousin’s lipstick
As we’d kiss silent hellos
While I stepped past them in our pew to get to my seat:
There is where music began.

It was there
In the same prayers with the same tune year after year
My father harmonizing in his clear tenor.
Synagogue is not like church
There is no choir swaying and clapping
Moving to the music
The singers are hidden behind a fa├žade
Their voices are piped out into the air
So they come from nowhere
From the core
The voice of the creation of God
And my father and his brother sang along
In their matching navy blue sport coats
Faces buried in the prayer book
Despite knowing it by heart a lifetime ago.

When I got old enough I sang as well          
Tried to match my dad’s harmonies
Pronounced the s’s instead of the t’s, like all the old guys did
An ancient way to speak a time worn language
I listened to the way my father repeated the English after the rabbi in a monotone, emotionless voice
And I copied him
Extolled the beauty of God like I was dictating a legal letter

When I was twelve
I learned the mournful tune of my Torah portion
For my bat mitzvah
I practiced until I had it memorized
And on the day
I was perfect
Not a single note or pronunciation incorrect
Not a single crack of the throat
My little girls’ voice was a bell ringing out into the sanctuary
The Rabbi told my parents
That in all his years of doing bar and bat mitzvahs
I was the best he’d ever heard
My father was unbearably proud
I thought it was because perfection was important to him
I know now
It’s because that was the last time
I did exactly what he wanted me to
The last time I actually wanted to do it
In the years to come we would crash up against each other
I became quick to shriek and swear
Quick to slam my bedroom door as hard as possible
Against his acid tone
More and more like him
Until he was astounded by me
Until we had no idea how to live in the same house.

It would be years before we’d find common ground
I had moved to California
I had no synagogue
But I wrote songs
He’d send me old sheet music, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin
Thick manila envelopes travelling across ten states to get to me
Speaking to me in the only common language
We knew
Still no words to explain
That the Mahzor and my notebook serve the same purpose
That the prayers I learned at six years old
Are carved so hard into my memory that I sing them
When I am alone cooking dinner
That all of it,
Torah portions and screams and slammed doors
The Viper Room at midnight on a Tuesday and my upright piano in my first apartment
The words of a rabbi and “Someone to Watch Over Me”
The piles of sheet music in his den
and the cds stacked against my teenage bedroom wall
All of it is just
Us
Singing

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Color War




Color War


At the end of camp
Our counselors bussed us out
To a field by the highway
To play capture the flag
We painted our faces our team color
My cheeks and nose bloody with red paint
Running unrestricted through knee-high grass
Ankles ravaged by mosquitos
Handkerchiefs tied over our foreheads
We screamed hoarsely at each other
Whispered business-like our strategies
Words hot on each other’s necks

It seemed like endless dusk
The sun never beat down on us
The first splash of fireflies lit up the grass
Looking around I saw nothing
But field and wood and children
They had set us down in another world
And we would readily have disappeared there
Never gone home to our families
Left hollows in the beds of our rooms
Our happiness
unrivaled

We sang our team song
After we secured the last flag
Our roughened feet stomping
on the metal bleachers
Deep into night

In the morning
We wandered out from the woods
Into a patch of yellow flowers and dusty ground
Scuffed our shoes across railroad ties
Our bus looked like an alien aircraft to me
Huffing smoke out of its exhaust
I ran my hand down my dirt-streaked arm
The skin and muscle, the bone
Was all still there
I could not believe it

I never went back to camp after that first summer
In the hard polishing of adulthood
I have rubbed off most of that magic
That golden tinge of almost crossing a line
Only occasionally
A memory will rage up inside of me
Push its fists up through my heart

Like a skinny kid leaping
into the air

Monday, August 13, 2012

Taste of What You Love

Taste of What You Love

While I wait to start mixing the new record, the only thing that seems to make me feel better about the pause in working is writing more songs.  So here's a very demo-y demo of a new song I'm working on.  Click the pretty red title above and lemme know what you think. xo.


Taste of What You Love

I was at my sister's house today, we sat out in the yard
Watched her little boy play
She said "This love will break my heart.
How could I ever have thought I knew, knew about life or death?"

Sometimes a taste of what you love is all you're gonna get
Sometimes it just ain't happened yet

I keep a notebook in my shirt
I like to carry it around
I fill it up with all my words
When I can't check out and I can't calm down
They published my poem in the paper
When I was still full of young breath

Sometimes a taste of what you love is all you're gonna get
Sometimes it just ain't happened yet

Sometimes it feels like the whole of my heart is buried in this town
Everyone else went and got a fresh start
And I just went home, lookin' down.

I'm gonna skip my shift tonight
I'm gonna pack what I can't pawn
Leave a rose by my sister's porch light
By the time she finds it, I'll be gone
Cause I just don't know enough, enough about life or death

Sometimes a taste of what you love is all you're gonna get
Sometimes it just ain't happened yet.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wide Awake




Wide Awake


Hi Kiddums!
Happy Summer to you.
Click above for a cover of the glorious Katy Perry song, "Wide Awake."  I recorded it in my piano room at home, so it is a very demo-ish demo.  But enjoy it anyway, in all its pop glory.


xo
A





Monday, July 9, 2012

Red Hill


In the dim light of Red Hill restaurant
I scratch the bug bites on my ankles
My skin indented from all the worrying I’ve done to them
I say to my brother, Isn’t it strange?
How things just don’t happen the way you think they’re going to?
And he laughs behind the candle in the mason jar
He laughs behind his glasses
Yes, dude, he says
Believe me, I know just what you mean

We aren’t old
We are young
And yet it feels like time is running out
I was supposed to be Fiona Apple by now
Wasn’t I?
He was supposed to be a famous director
But really
We are just ourselves
Roughed up a bit
Lazy patches of pain floating around us
From all the shit that’s gone down
since we moved to this desert of a city
Our father
who still works at 77,
who still goes to the office every day
Taught us to push and fight
To make something of ourselves
And the truth is we might
But there’s just as good of a chance that we won’t

So I pay my half of the check
With money I made teaching piano lessons
He slides the rest of his beer down his throat
Standing up and pulling his hoodie around his shoulders
We wander out to his car in the parking lot
To a soundtrack of cars and the sun hissing out of the sky

And the most likely outcome
Is that we will have moments of joy amid long stretches of monotony
Like everyone else
And it won’t be what we hoped
But somehow it will turn out to be exactly
what we needed

Thursday, June 7, 2012

"What This Looks Like"

It's 11pm on a Tuesday and my throat is breaking.


Someone is taking a scissors to the inside of my throat.  I am onstage at a bar in Hollywood and I am standing behind my keyboard and people are ordering drinks and shouting flirty things at each other and having meaningful conversations and I'm singing but I'm sick and things are coming out hoarse and rough.  Luckily it's 11pm at a bar on a Tuesday, and the people who are watching don't care that my voice isn't 100% clear as a bell, they're just here to hear music and have fun and bob their heads to my drummer.  But I am having a hidden meltdown, wanting to lay down and go to sleep on the stage, wanting to drink ginger tea on my couch, pushing to keep going because my real self loves this more than anything, but my sick self is throwing daggers at me, some of which include "no one cares about you singing up here," and "you don't connect with audiences," and "you're too old for this shit."  And I don't know.  I don't know who I'm supposed to be up here anymore.  


It's terrifying.  I play my set, I kick my whisky glass over halfway through and curse at myself, I get off the stage and hack up half my lungs and then smile and chat with people and give some hugs and feel generally like a giant impostor.  And then a girl comes up to me, and grabs my arm and says "What is your name?"  And I tell her and she says, "I loved your songs.  I am going to look you up when I get home."  


All it takes is one of these to make all the other stuff seem ridiculous.  


I watched this video the other day for the first time, and it blew me away.  I hope you guys will watch it, if you ever wonder how artists are going to continue making music when they are no longer getting paid for it the way they used to.  Or should I say why they are going to continue.  The film is by Levi Weaver, a lovely person and great artist.  Thank you, friend.  You've said it all.