Night Beds performing Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own” for AV Undercover
1. I’d spent the better part of a semester pining for you which was strange because you were far and away out of my league and I’d never had a real crush on anyone before which was unusual for a twenty year old but there you were with your guitar and your eyes and the way you asked me about my writing and the way you would smile when we saw each other but then I heard about all the girls you took home and I thought “why not Cassandra?” and I tried so hard to get you to notice me and too many times I was in that corner watching you kiss her and it wasn’t until I heard this song in my friend’s car a few months later that I thought “hey, maybe Robyn gets it more than I thought.”
2. I learn to laugh about how much my life mirrors this song but suddenly I’m not laughing anymore and I’m watching it play out this time in my own house with a boy I cared about less and I figure if I finish that bottle of wine and actually dance on my own I’ll forget that I always lose.
3. They say that comedy works in threes so why not try again a third time, with a third boy and this time I’ve learned from my past social faux pas and goddamn it I will succeed this time but as the night wears on I realize that what I mistook for flirting was genuine platonic friendliness and I’m back in that corner watching you kiss her only now I’m 22 and know when to leave so I come home and cry and my best friends tell me I’m too good for this but I’m having trouble believing them.
I have a strange and sentimental relationship with Ra Ra Riot. To explain why, I ask you to step back in time with me, about four years. In April of 2009, I was about to graduate high school. I decided to attend Syracuse University, but I wasn’t that enthusiastic about my choice. I felt pressured to go there by my parents, because my aunt lives in Syracuse, and by my bank account, because they offered me a lot of money in scholarships and grants. Every day I was questioning what I wanted to study, and what I wanted to pursue for the rest of my life. I chose to major in Acting, not because I loved performing, but because I spent so much time working for my high school’s drama department that it seemed foolish to give it up. When I visited the campus, I wasn’t particularly impressed, but it seemed a better alternative to the University of Illinois, otherwise known as “Niles North Grad School.” So in April of 2009, I was not in a good place.
In that same month, I spent some well-earned (read: birthday) money on tickets to see Death Cab for Cutie with Ra Ra Riot and Cold War Kids. I liked-not-loved Cold War Kids, but I’d only peripherally heard of Ra Ra Riot. I listened to a few of their songs before the show, and I found warmth and familiarity in Wes Miles’ voice, even though I was only listening for the first time. After an amazing opening set, Wes said farewell to the audience with a grateful “We’re Ra Ra Riot, and we’re from Syracuse, New York. Thanks for listening and have a great night!” It was there, at the Aragon Ballroom, surrounded by Chicago’s hipster finest, that I felt not necessarily confident, but more secure with my decisions about my “future.”
I listened to The Rhumb Line a lot my freshman year. I was homesick, unhappy, and desperate. Ra Ra Riot represented to me the intersection between what I loved about my home and the few things I liked in Syracuse. When I started going to house shows my sophomore year, I wondered what it would have been like to attend SU in 2005, and see Ra Ra Riot in some basement on Clarendon. When I attended their SU-sponsored concert in our music school’s auditorium three and a half years later, I felt that same warmth and familiarity. Wes and Rebecca and company joked and bantered with the audience about their time as students, and I happily realized that I was no longer relying on their music as a security blanket. They turned a dismal winter in 2005 into a song (“Winter 05”), much like how I got tired of being so sad and lonely my first two years at school, and went out to find some friends and join some activities.
I’m excited for their new album because it’ll be a fitting bookend for my time in Syracuse. I graduate this year, and I can’t wait to get the hell out, but I’ll always have Ra Ra Riot to remind me of what SU became once I made it my own.
Check out the new track from Local Natives, “Heavy Feet”.
1. July 2010. I’ve been listening to Gorilla Manor on repeat since February. I have a thing for flanneled men who can harmonize. I attend my first Pitchfork music festival with my two best friends. I wait in the hot Chicago summer sun to see them, but they’re on the other side of the park at the same time as Beach House. I’m outvoted. “Ah well, they’ll be around for awhile. I’ll catch ‘em next year.”
2. August 2011. I must have drunk from the idiot fountain the day I bought my Lolla 2011 tickets. Instead of the three-day wristband, I get 1-day passes for Friday and Saturday, thinking I’d be saving money. My mouth waters at the Saturday line-up: Beirut, Lykke Li, and (wait for it) Local Natives. My job won’t give me Saturday off, I trade my ticket for a Sunday pass, and my plan to see these men are thwarted once again.
3. January 2013. I graduate college in 4 months. Even if all does not go as planned, I can theoretically live anywhere I want. When it comes to live music, I’m at the mercy of my location: I have to hope and pray a band comes through Chicago when I’m visiting home, because the chances of them coming through central New York are slim to none. My hope is to move to Brooklyn, NY, and make a name for myself as a creative writer/the next Lena Dunham there. I love Brooklyn because there’s no shortage of music, and with all this Local Natives new album news, I’m pretty confident I’ll be able to see these guys before the year is over.
don’t send that text
try new things
The Hunger Games
“you were nothing before you met me and you’re nothing without me”
naked bike ride
game of thrones
up shit creek
crying in the sand
crying in the grocery store
crying in the kitchen
“excuse me while I go hit on your roommate”
buck up, buttercup
coffee shop gnome
“you’re a compelling writer”
four more years
“hey, it’s Starbucks girl”
crying in the living room
crying in the car
four hours of sleep
“I see you here all the time”
writing a play
three hours of sleep
two hours of sleep
hi mom hi dad did you hear about connecticut I love you
“it was good seeing you again”
sweet home chicago
old stomping grounds
not summing up the year in a list
because two semesters are always more telling than 365 days
hoping for a slightly-above-decent 2013 for you and yours
Someone just texted my best friend a picture of their genitals.
I didn’t think people actually did that.
I-81, somewhere between Syracuse and Ithaca, NY.
A daytrip to Ithaca—EXACTLY what the doctor ordered.
Sharon Van Etten at Lollapalooza - August 3
Ms. Van Etten is my spirit animal. She was funny, friendly, enthusiastic, and humble. She sounds as beautiful live as she does on her record, and though she was playing to a rather large audience in this huge field, her sound maintained its intimacy.