Dec 29, 2008

In Which I Get a Personal Stereophonic Device

I bought an iPod yesterday. Not "a new" iPod, mind you- I bought an iPod for the first time ever. It's the first personal stereo that I've owned in twelve years. The last time I had one I was a black-clad, sideburn-sporting teenager equally obsessed with Kurt Cobain and Mozart. It was a battered up old Walkman, a taped together mass of black plastic that I kept stocked with classical mix tapes, Led Zepplin, and 90s alternative. I don't remember how I got it, the earphones were dodgy, and I had to sort of jiggle it sometimes to make it work. I either lost it or it broke- I don't really remember, and never bothered to replace it.

Not that I don't like music, mind you. I love the stuff, and in the intervening years have cultivated a fairly large collection of LPs, CDs, mp3s, and even casette tapes, the majority of which are stored back in the States. In my old demi-house (it was more of a duplex than an apartment) I was quite proud of my stereo with my shelf of nicely retro LPs, kept my CDs stocked prominently in my living room, and went to concerts often. But, I never got an iPod. Part of the reason was money- they aren't cheap after all. I also listened to a lot of music on cheap and easy-to-aquire vinyl that could never be stored on a digital device. Another issue, though, was that I never really thought of myself as someone who owned such a device. It was just an immutable fact about me- I have black hair, brown eyes, and don't own a personal sterophonic device.

Recently, though, I've been going on this tear of musical geekery. It's been great. For whatever reason, I've started aquiring new albums at a fairly rapid pace, and I'm quite simply not in my apartment enough to enjoy them all. I've also taken up jogging, and figured that music would be nice while I did that. So, yesterday, I picked up a silver iPod nano in Shibuya. I was weirdly reluctant for a bit to get one, but fortunately a friend of mine was on hand to goad me into it.

Anyway, these things are awesome. I guess everyone has known that for a while ago, what with the Walkman and its descendants being popular for something over twenty years now. You know that stock sci-fi scene where someone gets zapped back into the past and then impressed cavemen with something simple like a lighter? Well, right now I feel like that caveman- I'm impressed and awed by something that everyone else has been aware of and enjoying for quite some time now. But, it's great- I didn't have to listen to insufferable muzak jingles at the supermarket this weekend. Instead, I listened to Vampire Weekend while I picked out vegetables, and was completely exhuberant about it.

So, what are you guys listening to right now? I'm caught up in full on music fandom and would love some suggestions. Right now I've been listening to Girl Talk, Vampire Weekend (who I've already mentioned), the new David Byrne and Brian Eno album, TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem and Frightened Rabbit. I've also given Chinese Democracy a couple of listens, which I feel like I should be embarrassed about, but whatever.

So... suggestions?


Kristin said...

Congratulations on joining the 21st century! Isn't portable music rad (especially the part about getting to tune out the endless saccharine-sweet holiday jingles of this time of year)?

Lately I've been enjoying the Decemberists, Poison, Kimya Dawson, The Velvet Underground and Arcade Fire to name a few. Enjoy your new device!!

SonicLlama said...

I haven't heard of Kimya Dawson. I shall investigate.

Poison, Kristin? Really? ;-)

Beau said...

I get the feeling I may be the only one left without an iPod...

I am glad someone else finds Vampire Weekend worth listening to. I should pick that up while I am in the city.

I have been listening to Band of Horses a lot lately, State Radio has a new album out but I haven't gotten my hands on it yet. I liked their first one though. I am big fan of OAR, but more their old stuff rather than the new. I have also been completely hooked by Fountains of Wayne. Power pop really seems to make the time in the office go faster, and theirs is pretty good once you are past Stacey's Mom.

Take or leave that as you will.

Kristin said...

Yes, really.

SonicLlama said...

Band of Horses, yeah! I remember them- they had that one song that I really liked back before I left. I'd forgotten about them, but I'll look them up. Thanks, Beau!

Definitely check out Vampire Weekend. They're tons of fun.

Also, Kristen, "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" is grand fun to belt out at karaoke, especially after everyone's had a few drinks. In addition, Stacy's mom is a classy lady.

Tara said...

I won't share my pop music preferences here--they're a guilty pleasure, and I have yet to find the strength to shout from the rooftops what dance music I love.

However, I recently rediscovered Pretty Girls Make Graves, which has made for some good listening. Also, The Helio Sequence and My Brightest Diamond are regulars on my playlists. Outside of music, I often listen to podcasts from iTunes, including the weekly Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me . . . shows and the rarely-updated Penny Arcade podcasts. Check 'em out.

Congrats! I hope you and your iPod will be very happy together.

SonicLlama said...

Thanks, Tara! I love Pretty Girls Make Graves, but have never really checked out Helio Sequence or My Brightest Diamond. I'll check 'em out.

Seph said...

Recent (last year or so) happy fun-times music:

Fleet Foxes
Ratatat (super kewl)
I'm From Barcelona
The Mountain Goats

Um, probably a bunch of others. That should get you started, though. Jesu and Ratatat are particularly good.

SonicLlama said...

Thanks, Joseph. I've got tracks by the the rest of those guys, but haven't listened to Jesu yet. I shall acquire them posthaste.

Seph said...

Jesu's album Conqueror is just about my favorite album of the past two years. Highly, highly recommended.

Ruthie said...

Recently I've been listening to Godspell to be honest (I'm in a production of it.) But I second Fleet Foxes, and if you like Scottish music, you should check out Fire and Grace and/or In the Moment by Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas.