music

Music 2010

It's a little late for this but it's one of those if-I-don't I'll-regret-it posts. 2010 was a terrific year for music for me. Many of my favorite artists released excellent new records, and I was able to see most them live. Retribution Gospel Choir, The National, Spoon, The Books, Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene. I also made it to a number of other great shows: Doc Watson, Caetano Veloso, Plants and Animals, Neil Young and Bert Jansch, Land of Talk, Joan as Police Woman, a second show by The National in Royal Oak. Chris Lightcap put out a new record with Craig Taborn (first saw him 20 (!) years ago in Ann Arbor) that I'm enjoying as much as the previous two and even the Wall Street Journal saw fit to plug it. Some additional records I really enjoyed in 2010 were the latest Sharon Jones, Tallest Man on Earth, and Jamie Lidell. But I think I can summarize the year with a little something you can enjoy along with me. Spoon's Transference was maybe my favorite record of the year, and everything I love about it and about my favorite song on the record "Is Love Forever?" and about Spoon the band as a whole is articulated concisely by Max Goldblatt:

Spoon "Is Love Forever?" from Max Goldblatt on Vimeo.

Now do you understand? Good, I knew you would. That was a real highlight, as well as having a quick chat with Joan and later with the bassist from RGC after their shows, both of whom were gracious and friendly after tearing up their respective stages with all the energy and passion you could hope to expect from a live performance of music you really love. Then I thought the highlight of the year was going to be seeing Caetano Veloso play my favorite song on my birthday (actually it was the next show after this): Right. Hard to top that. But then I saw מארש דונדורמה. That's Marsh Dondurma for the non-Hebrew-enabled among you. "Marsh Dondurma" is an Israeli marching band, in the spirit of the Hungry March Band, but infused with all the diverse musical strands you might expect from a band based in Jerusalem. You can read about them on mcclatchydc.com, Jerusalem Post, and Israelity. But you have you see and hear Marsh Dondurma for yourself to understand why every Shabbos we now prepare dinner chopping and slicing and dancing and singing along with them and their three excellent albums. You can buy the first two Marsh Dondurma albums on CDBaby, and you can listen to the new one on their site (hopefully it will be available in the states sometime soon, each is better than the ones before, and the first one is great to begin with). This is what it looks like when Marsh Dondurma puts on a show in Jerusalem. This mob flashed a few weeks before our trip to Israel, a few steps from where we stayed during that trip. I didn't see them out in the open like that, though, when I saw them it was in the basement music store a few blocks from there, horns and percussion spilling out onto the street along with folks of all ages and sizes packed in the store up the stairs and into the steps outside, dancing because you couldn't help but move. But aside from arranged appearances like that one and others they've done in many locations including in North America a few times, apparently it's not surprising to find them playing impromptu shows like this: Good music makes me sing along, it makes me remember a time or a place or a person or an event, it evokes emotions, it moves me and makes me move. Great music makes me want to play music. I want to abandon my career and start a marching band. I can play a little bit of drums, and I used to play clarinet a little in eighth grade, but you've got to start somewhere, right? Who's with me? Seriously. LET'S START A MARCHING BAND. This is what I'm talking about: And this: If I knew how I'd put on a marching band festival on the national mall every year and invite them and Hungry March and Rebirth and Batala and it'd be a hell of a party. In case you're wondering the name is a take on "maras dondurmasi" (sp?), which I think refers to this unique Turkish approach to ice cream sales: So if the new marching band fails I'll just move to Turkey and offer myself up as an apprentice to one of these guys. Happy 2011!
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