the riyl revolution

“Why Me?” — Nancy Kerrigan circa 1994
June 30, 2008, 10:05 pm
Filed under: music, story | Tags: , , ,

I had five deadlines today. Several thousand words needed to be submitted electronically by 5pm, and thanks to the procrastination skills now refined from 10+ years of experience, I didn’t get started on any of it until mid-afternoon. The last time I put something off this much was when I ended up plastering Dory’s facebook wall with photographs of elaborately decorated cupcakes. Whatever, I finally managed to perch myself on my porch with a mug full of ice water, ready to produce something spectacular.

As my luck would have it, my last minute crunch happened to coincide with the outdoor bagpipe conference! I had half an hour and approximately 600 words to go when I began working on Item #4. Key the bagpipe players: people of all ages each carrying the instrument of their common affection creeped out of the dorms by the tens and converged under the solar panel-roofed parking lot next door. While I tried to write a decent book review on a work that connected the feminist movement against sexualized violence and neoliberalism I listened to three fucking rounds of thirty bagpipe players standing in a circle playing Amazing Grace. But miracles happen sometimes, even in Oberlin, Ohio, (487 miles away from 34th Street according to MapQuest) because twenty minutes and about a million dirty looks later, I e-submitted my fifth and final assignment with seven minutes left.

Maybe I wouldn’t have cut it so close if I hadn’t started my first assignment three hours before my final deadline. Oops. Maybe I also wouldn’t have cut it so close if I hadn’t been subjected to the trope of bagpipes that have infiltrated my surrounding areas and will remain for approximately a week. In retrospect, Berlin’s Phon°Noir would have provided just the perfect tunes for buckling down and focusing, two acts I haven’t gotten down quite yet. He did get me through much of my final-paper-writing-marathon, after all. I’m not usually one for instrumental music – Explosions in the Sky being a major exception – but Phon°Noir aka Matthias Grübel has managed to arrange the perfect blend of indie, electronic, and minimalism to a beautiful hailing of satisfaction from my ears. There are hardly any vocals, and it’s just so intimate and pleasant without being distracting. Intimate and pleasant. Two qualitites I don’t associate with bagpipes, and certainly not in mass quantities.


the objects don’t need us

my paperhouse on fire

origami [sandklang remix]

riyl: focusing, getting whatever you need to do done, and enjoying it.


(Oh, and here are more cupcakes.)


prettiest quiet sounds

Sometimes I come across an artist or a song so epic I can’t stop listening, and before I know it the word “overplayed” becomes irrelevant. Better yet, sometimes my friends and housemates love it as much, and everybody reaches consensus on playing the same thing over and over again while we’re all out on the porch because it makes us all feel so good. Yeah. The following albums have been on repeat in my life for the past two-three weeks. Both have soft, moody indie-folk with male vocals and some of the prettiest quiet sounds I’ve ever heard.

skinny love

wednesday nights
sound the alarm

riyl: fleet foxes, midwest dilemma, the shivers, summer thunderstorms at nighttime, bicycling that down that road with no end in sight


June 15, 2008, 2:06 am
Filed under: music, Uncategorized | Tags:

had my first ever radio show. curious? golden lungs broadcasts live on tuesdays, 9-10am eastern on wobc. the first playlist sounded like the following:

citizen cope — son’s gonna rise
sam sparro — black & gold from his self-titled album
des’ree — you gotta be
ingrid michaelson — the way i am
maia hirasawa — crackers (previously posted)
johnny cash — hurt (nine inch nails cover)
mariah carey — always be my baby
mystery jets — young love (shoes mix)
headlights — cherry tulips
chris bathgate — yes, i’m cold (previously posted)
los zombies — groenlandia
sigur rós — gobbledigook from their album coming out june 23!
the everybodyfields – aeroplane
the avett brothers — will you return?
alphabeat — what is happening?
nana grizol — tamborine-n-thyme (previously posted)

and don’t forget to tune into dory’s show as well! beyond the pale, on mondays from 3-6pm mountain time at utah FM


the best things in life are free
June 5, 2008, 1:14 am
Filed under: list, music | Tags: , , ,

things that have recently come into my possession:
– a gold spray painted medical model of a lung
– a typewriter
– a study book for math GREs (guh, do not want)
– a tiny toy soldier with a plastic parachute. it is hanging on my floor lamp.

the following songs:
alphabeat — what is happening
pomegranates — whom/who

riyl: grilling on yr porch, eating every meal on yr porch, kitschy shit, catchy shit, re-reading yr favorite book, trying to figure out what kind of birds your friends would be if your friends were birds

albums: x&y


not sending letters to sweden.

School’s out!! After all is said and done, we go our separate ways* and I amp up the written correspondences in attempt to remind loved ones that I haven’t forgotten them (&likewise, a nudge for them not to forget me, either).

*the RIYL crew is currently dispersed all over the continental US and Hawaii. One of us may or may not be in Argentina right now.

Crazy things happen when you don’t keep in touch with people and it throws you for a spin when you find out how much has changed all of a sudden, you know? Like how I recently found out that my best friend from fifth grade is now on the national executive committee of the Swedish Young Conservatives, the youth wing of their neoliberal party.


I used to go to her house everyday and eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before I moved to a town 15 minutes away. Apparently long distance friendships are difficult to maintain during middle school, or something, because soon afterwards we got into a fight and she and our other friend totally dropped off the face of the earth. Turns out they were having face-to-face dates with boys they’d talked to on the internet. Well, it looks like she’s traded in the devotions of prepubescent mallrats for this free-market loving, Eurodollar-hating, bald-like-Mr. Clean Niklas Wykman.

Who would have guessed?

Neoliberals and bald people aside, there’s some pretty sweet indie pop coming out of Sweden these days.
Maia Hirasawa — Crackers; own it

The Lovekevins — Private Life Of A Cat; own it

Envelopes — I’d Like 2 C U; own it


the academy.
May 16, 2008, 12:21 am
Filed under: music, story | Tags: , , , ,

FINALS. for the past couple of days, we at riyl revolution (minus jake, lucky one) have been overmedicated with every possible substitute for sleep (along with most other students here in oberlin).

as if the population here weren’t eccentric enough already, you know? leave us in the library for 10+ hours and everyone’s pretty much on edge. to top it off, the school contracted giant inflatable jumpers and set them up on the lawn in front of the library. the place where people go to avoid fun and get shit done. i looked out the window next to my study carrel yesterday afternoon and saw kids bouncing around in velcro suits so that their bodies would adhere to what are essentially oversized floaties. then some guy appeared out of nowhere outside my third-story window (HOW DID HE GET THERE?????) and started squeegeeing the hell out of it, effectively causing me to freak the fuck out.

but it’s all good because when i got home at around 2:30 in the morning my roommate had left me a giant note on my bed full of kind words and hearts. so, you know, as long as people care, things have the potential to look up.

sea wolf — the cold, the dark & the silence
sea wolf — middle distance runner
from their album leaves in the river.

riyl: friends who always share their food no matter how much you mooch, awkward things that are still captivating and beautiful, friends who leave you sweet notes, finding a five-dollar bill in that pair of pants you haven’t worn in months, dunkaroos.


music for bad moods
May 13, 2008, 12:05 am
Filed under: music | Tags: , , , ,

because we’ve all been there.

for cheering up:
elbow — one day like this; album out june 8
nana grizol — tamborine-n-thyme ; album out may 13

riyl: random acts of kindness, organizing your room not because you’re procrastinating but because you actually want to and have the time for it, waking up without an alarm clock, bicycle rides on yr favorite route.

for wallowing:
explosions in the sky — six days in a coma
electric president — insomnia

riyl: one-on-one conversations in which you bare all, being alone and feeling good about it, beautiful instrumentals so moody it’s like someone transcribed your feelings into music.

you can get these albums here and here.