Music

Hear Tracey Thorn’s “Oh, the Divorces!” from “Love and Its Opposite”

More than, perhaps, any other songwriter, I’ve found Tracey Thorn’s songs from the past three decades to be consistently evocative. Every album has something that ignites my memory or feeling, and her new one is no exception. Love and Its Opposite is due in May, and its first track, “Oh, the Divorces!” isn’t a pop song; it’s a panorama of adulthood’s disappointment. Click here to download it as an MP3.


Tracey Thorn / ‘Oh, The Divorces!’ by buzzinfly

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Listen to Bon Iver at the New Yorker Festival, or how bad is the iPhone’s microphone?


I saw Sasha Frere-Jones interview Justin Vernon of Bon Iver as part of the New Yorker Festival last night. After the interview, Vernon played a brief solo set of the following songs. Unfortunately, I didn’t have my MiniDisc recorder with me, and I have yet to acquire a Tascam DR-1. So, I recorded the set with my iPhone, which sounds just about as awful as you would expect. Listen via the player below or download his set here. I’m not sure I got the title of the second song correct, and I couldn’t fine the lyrics online anywhere.

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  1. Hazelton
  2. Miss You Can’t (Real title? YouTube)
  3. Flume
  4. Hayward

I have to admit that I wasn’t as taken by Bon Iver’s album as most people I know were. However, I’ll certainly give it another chance after hearing him live. What I found fascinating was how Vernon talked about moving back to Wisconsin and doesn’t really have any interest in living anywhere else. Even after making several declarations of allegiance to the place that I’m from, I’ve left it three times this decade. And even though I intended to return each time, I still always left hoping that I would come back and never leave again. Vernon’s comments about place aren’t anything new, but given my personal history and my recent reading of Wendell Berry’s essay “A Native Hill,” hearing someone consciously commit himself to the place where he’s from, even as his work is expanding the possibility to be elsewhere, was valuable. Berry returned to Kentucky after studying at Stanford and moving to Manhattan, and he writes about his home, “Before, it had been mine by coincidence or accident; now it was mine by choice.”

It’s often bothered me than I don’t know many people who lived away from their hometowns after college and then returned to them. And I think Berry and Vernon are getting at something that I haven’t heard much among the young professional set—the value in having your geography be a set place that you serve rather than a place that simply serves your ambition. For Vernon, returning home to write the Bon Iver record For Emma, Forever Ago made geography almost invisible; place became a given, not a distraction. The artistic freedom that allowed Vernon to write a record unlike any other could only come from geographic restriction. And you can really only limit yourself to a place and know you’re not leaving if you love it, if you commit to and are responsible for it. Back to Berry: “…I never doubted that the world was more important to me than [New York]; and the world would always be most fully and clearly present to me in the place I was fated by birth to know better than any other.”

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Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude mix CD

Apparently, Jonathan Lethem handed out CDs containing his own personal soundtrack to The Fortress of Solitude after the novel came out back in 2003. The Millions was able to unearth the track listings on the Internet Archive, but the Archive’s page is now down. So, I’m posting the track listings here in the hope of preserving them a while longer.

    Disc One

    1. David Ruffin — No Matter Where
    2. Four Tops — Ain’t No Woman
    3. Bill Withers — World Keeps Goin Round (live)
    4. Randy Newman — Short People
    5. Syl Johnson — Anyone But You
    6. The Spinners — One of a Kind Love Affair
    7. Marvin Gaye — I’m Goin’ Home
    8. The Prisonaires — Just Walkin’ in the Rain
    9. Hot Chocolate — Brother Louie
    10. Manhattans — Shining Star
    11. Gillian Welch — My First Lover
    12. Marvin Gaye — Time to Get it Together
    13. Phil Ochs — City Boy
    14. Billy Paul — Let Em In
    15. Howard Tate — Get it While You Can
    16. The Spinners — Sadie
    17. Pete Wingfield — 18 With A Bullet
    18. Marvin Gaye — You The Man
    19. The Last Poets — Two Little Boys
    20. Maxine Nightingale — Right Back Where We Started From
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Using Streampad to add a music playlist to your website

Inspired by Fred Wilson’s FredWilson.fm, I decided to see if I could add a playlist to my website using Streampad. As you can see, I now have Streampad’s player running at the bottom of this page. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to add it to your own site:

  1. Set up a Tumblr blog and start posting music to your blog in MP3 format. Tumblr allows you to upload one MP3 file a day or you could link to MP3s hosted elsewhere. This will become your playlist for Streampad.
  2. Insert Streampad’s code in your page template’s header between the <head> and </head> tags.
  3. Here’s the code to insert. Make sure that you change the Tumblr URL to your own URL: <script type=”text/javascript” src=”http://static.streampad.com/streampad-tumblr.js?api=YOURNAME.tumblr.com&autoplay=true”></script>
  4. You can delete the autoplay parameter if you don’t want Streampad to start playing automatically when a user loads your page. There are several other parameters you can add to the JS URL to alter the appearance of the player.