Need a Little Time — Courtney Barnett

I haven’t been here for a bit, but heard this song the other day and it’s my new favorite to loop. Every time I leave it for a little while and come back, I hear something new and it still sounds fresh and that’s pretty much my barometer for whether a song is good and will stand up to repeated plays without losing it’s glossy sheen.

I first found this Aussie performer a few years back with Pedestrian at Best like most of you probably did. Dressed in her clown make-up at a fairground job, she showed us the ugly underbelly of pretty much hating your current state of affairs, but getting up and doing it anyway knowing it’ll pass. And that it’s okay to be a little angry about stupid people in the process.

This newer song brings a sort of gloomy introspection to the inevitable conundrum of any relationship–that point when you just need a little time away from someone you’re confused about. She not so ironically makes space the backdrop for the video and she seems to be the chosen one by some Romulan sort of looking aliens to leave her current planet to travel somewhere, which begs the question is she the normal one or the freak? I think this mirrors her questions about her relationship with whoever it is she needs the space from and why she repeatedly says she needs space from “me” too. So, she’s questioning things and when you’re doing that in life, it’s a good thing to take a step back so you don’t mess things up further for yourself or your partner.

She starts with a somber tonality and her kind of signature “oh well if that’s the way it’s got to be, then so be it” sensibility. You can hear the music matching the lyrics with each line and her expressionlessness tone and facial gestures drive it home. This should be a big event–this being launched into space–but she looks as if she might as well be going to the kitchen to get a bowl of cereal in her slippers.

She’s terrific.

So, here’s the newest find by Courtney Barnett.

This song is best listened to while trying to figure out if you really want what you think you want. And while eating chocolate.



Need A Little Time
Courtney Barnett
I don’t know a lot about you but
You seem to know a lot about me so
I take a little time out
I take a little time out
I’m sorry that I lost my patience
You deserve better it’s true
I need a little time out
I need a little time out
From me, me, me, me
And you, ooh, you, ooh
Open up your insides show us
Your inner most lecherous
I’ll rip it out carefully
I promise you won’t feel a thing
Everybody wants to have their say
Forever waiting for some car crash
I need a little time out
I need a little time out
From me, me, me, me
And you, ooh, you, ooh
Shave your head to see how it feels
Emotionally it’s not that different
But to the hand it’s beautiful
Yeah to the hand it’s beautiful
You seem to have the weight of the world
Upon your bony shoulders well hold on
You need a little time out
You need a little time out
From you, you, you, you
And me, me, me, me, me, me, me, me
Songwriters: Courtney Barnett
Need A Little Time lyrics © Third Side Music Inc.

Asaf Avidan – My Old Pain

Wow. It’s been a little bit since I’ve found anyone this good. That’s why the blog has been sitting here by itself. But I finally found someone worth talking about. A friend of mine just sent me this song and I will always listen to stuff she sends because she has great taste like that, but I was super surprised by this guy’s voice and immediately tried to figure out where he’s from. He has such a clear sound, and it’s strong, but there is a restraint there that makes it hurt a little just like the pain he’s talking about. Look at the lyrics. They’re super simple, but his phrasing and tone make them come alive with what he means to say. He points them in the right direction with his voice. And I think everyone can relate to the feeling sometimes that your life just isn’t working out really well at the moment and the pain of it comes around like an oddly comforting old friend. And sometimes you just have to accept it and embrace it until it’s time to part ways again.

This guy is really very folk-sy by definition, to me, but he’s found a way to put a modern twist on it without overstating his sound. Just listen and you’ll see what I mean.

Oh, by the way, he’s from Israel and has a ton of European dates coming up. Check him out. See if he doesn’t remind you a little of Merle Haggard too–the story telling and the voice. Maybe it’s a little Willie Nelson too.

Here’s his site link:


I’m in love again
With my old pain
With my old pain
Save me from the same
Perpetual game
Of my own nameEvery time the Weeping Willow dances in the breeze
Please remind to everybody that I smiled with ease

Not too long ago
So honey, don’t let go
Of what you know of me

I am dressed to kill
In my old skin
In my old skin
Save me from the same
Primordial sin
That’s deep within

Every time the hungry waves come dancing in the sand
Please remind this broken shell it used to be a man

Not too long ago
So honey, don’t let go
Of what you know of me

Take heed of the ocean
And the scent of the storm
And whisper the west wind
And guide me back home

I’m in love again
With my old pain
With my old pain


Telmavar Records

Sony-Columbia Europe


Conor Oberst – A Little Uncanny

My mind is absolutely blown by the understated genius of this guy. It’s like Al Stewart, Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan had a lyrical lovechild. I think I had only ever heard one other song by him, but since hearing this yesterday, I have tapped his YouTube playlist like a Vermont Maple tree, sucking the marrow out of these songs. They’re simple and complex at the same time–not an easy thing to pull off. And listening to this song, you can tell he’s a reader, not only because of the literary references in the song, but because you get that sense from great writers too. The ones who write like a still topped lake with a fast rushing stream feeding into it somewhere off screen. This is how his writing feels. There’s a pulse in the veins with this one and it gets the atrioventricular valves pumping fresh, intelligent blood to the brain.

This song just came out on the adult alternative channel on Music Choice and I think it’s a good one to start with if you’re not familiar with him. It has a rockabilly vibe with that pronounced Dylan-ish harmonica kickstarting the methodical forward motion of the drum and beat-centric soul of the song. The lyrics are great. He’s talking about how things that aren’t considered great in their own time necessarily, still took a great deal of effort to achieve. It’s a way to tell you to keep chugging away at the old dream.

But don’t stop at this song. Keep listening. You just can’t imagine that they can get better, but they do. This is indicative of a true artist with a very deep well to pull from.

(I also dig that there is this backdrop of 90s video footage of Conor growing up. You get a chance to see the genius in the making.)

This is a great song to listen to while you’re trying to put together the pieces of your life in an artistic way.


We started drinking the Kool-Aid
We were taking the bait
We were talking the big talk
Never playing it safe
Looking good as Jane Fonda
On a Vietnam tank
Can’t get something for nothing
Have to energize your base

But she was young enough
She was blonde enough
She was ’bout a perfect ten
Had millions of admirers but not a single friend
And it’s a, it’s a little uncanny what she managed to do
Become a symbol for a pain she never knew

You know old Ronnie Reagan
He was a shoe salesman’s son
He got himself in the movies
He impressed everyone
He thought trial by fire
Was America’s fate
He made a joke of the poor people
And that made him a saint

But he was tan enough, he was rich enough
He was handsome like John Wayne
And there was no one at the country club
Who didn’t feel the same

But it’s a, it’s a little uncanny
What he managed to do
Got me to read those Russian authors through and through

I miss Christopher Hitchens
I miss Oliver Sacks
I miss poor Robin Williams
I miss Sylvia Plath
Every morning’s a desert
Every night is a flood
They say a party can kill you
Well sometimes I wish it would

But I’ll get strong enough, I’ll be man enough
To keep myself in check
‘Cause all my friends that flew to town
Said that’s what they expect

But it’s a, it’s a little uncanny
What they managed to do
Made me admit to things I knew were never true

Lyrics by Conor Oberst

Video directed by Josh Rawson
Director of Photography-Frankie Turiano
Produced by Alex Knapp and Katrina Bayoneto

Album: Salutations

Craig Finn – Preludes

Okay, it’s been a bit since I posted and I hate when bloggers bring that to your attention and then proceed to apologize, like anyone actually cares really. But my excuse is that I have had a hard time finding a new song that inspired me enough. I don’t like posting crap just for posting’s sake. So, that’s the deal.

Anyway, I decided to move forward even though we’re in a slump: a rash of bad songs recently hitting the bandwidths. It happens. Bad music, bad moods, bad hair days…You know how it goes.

But I like this song. I’ve been digging Craig for a couple of years now. He used to be a member of the band Hold Steady. Loved his song, Newmyer’s Roof and fell in love with his writing skills. A friend of mine I introduced him to remarked that he reminded him of Springsteen and that was my very first thought too and now I see that distinction pointed out all over the music blogs and comments.

The thing about his songs is that you kind of have to wait for it. Listen a few times, then it hits you. He builds his songs pretty steadily with nice rhythmic beats and then hooks you at the end instead of with the chorus or bridge. And I dig his lyrics. They’re heartfelt and deep even though they seem to skim the surface images of his experience. He paints pictures of American culture. He shares a sense of place and story that grows on you. (Oh, and he’s definitely a little Elvis Costello, too.)

Finn says this is one of his most autobiographical songs: “…this was what I remember 1994 being like, coming back to the Twin Cities after being away for college. It’s a time in my life that I felt most adrift, but there was also a feeling of wonder in being out of step and alone. This is the song that is closest to being autobiographical, but I think it fits with these other character studies. I was trying to figure out my place in a world that didn’t seem to have a lot of room for me.”

I can totally relate. 1994 was a lot like that for me too.

His solo album including this song, We All Want The Same Things, just came out March 24th.

This is a great song to listen to while on a road trip to see old friends. 


Well the gangsters drove Preludes and sold this one weed called White Tiger
Wirth Park had a body
The holiday guy couldn’t make change
The parking lot scene still existed, but not without problems
I came back to St. Paul and things had progressed and got strange

I got stuck in a snowbank
I was too drunk to drive to Edina
Right there is proof of my faith that God watches us
And the North Stars went south
And my friends all went out to Seattle
I stuck around town
Hit the bars then wait for the bus

And the guys at Northeast ride bicycles up to the market
Fish take to water but licenses they get revoked
And the writing on walls in the stalls in the bathroom says “Cindy’s so easy”
But I’ve never met Cindy, besides it might be a joke
Fish take to water but licenses they get revoked

I got stuck in a snowbank
I was too drunk to drive to Edina
Right there is proof of my faith that God watches us
And the North Stars went south
And my friends all went out to Seattle
I stuck around town
Hit the bars then wait for the bus

I was down on the trails by the river when this guy jumped out
He was waving a pistol
I consider my options
Decided to do what he said
He went through my jacket and found all my packets and matches
He lit up a cig and put the Kryptonite over my head

I was knocked out down in the mud too heavy to float off to Memphis
The crust from the camps they pulled me awake with a stick
Made coffee over a campfire
I described my attacker
They patched up my wounds, showed me a place to get sick
They patched up my wounds, showed me a place to get sick

I got stuck in a snowbank
And God watches us
We got into the Preludes
And God watches us
God watches us

Music and lyrics by Craig Finn

Aldous Harding – Imagining My Man

This is a true original. She makes me imagine what a magic moment it must have been to have discovered Kate Bush back in the day. Or Nico. (Tell me this woman doesn’t sound like Nico and I will eat my shoe.) This pop of realness, of fresh air invades your mind and you discover what your lungs have been missing. Aldous’ lyrics are strong and visual like the features on her face. There is a refreshing dramatic air to both.

Great music from this New Zealander. She is a relative newcomer, debuting with Stop Your Tears in 2015, but has garnered a huge fan base and critical acclaim from all corners of the music industry. She has been on a whirlwind tour of music festivals lately and the bloggers and music fanatics are blazing up the webs, singing her praises. Even Lorde is a huge fan as evidenced by her Twitter shout out yesterday.

This is a great song to listen to when you’ve run out of answers. It makes you feel like you’re not so alone in that.


(Lyrics are new and not necessarily right on this site. I will update when Google gets theirs up.)

[Verse 1]

I’m going to answer, protecting
It can be so hard to forgive
It’s not what I thought and it’s not what I pictured
When I was imagining my man
You are so nervous all of the time giving the classics
I know that imagining my man
Imagining, imagining my man

All my life (hey!) I’ve had to fight to stay
You were right, love takes time, hey, hey

[Verse 2]
You have this dream, apparently I’m not done
I leave and it’s dreadful
If you get there
Be honest, respectful

All my life (hey!) I never tried to stay
You were right, love takes time, hey, hey

I hope one dream will get that where
Lucky to be given the chance
I do not have the answer
But I don’t have the wish to go back

All my life (hey!) I’ve had to fight to stay
You were right (yes!), love takes time, hey, hey
All my life (hey!) I’ve had to fight to stay
You were right, love takes time, hey, hey

Written by: Aldous Harding, 2017

Procol Harum – Whiter Shade of Pale

I don’t follow conventions. You’ll get to know that about me. Who came up with Throwback Thursday anyway. Such a convention now. Boo.

I was listening to this song tonight. Looking at the bad video/audio sync like so many other song video recordings I’ve been listening to this week. They just didn’t have their shit together. I mean, I remember when we were all wowed by Michael Jackson because he had dancers who actually moved in sync with one another. But again, I digress.

This song reminds me of my eldest sister’s wedding. It was a rainy day. She married an Armenian-American guy from Providence, RI. It was a tight-knit group from a proud community. I was in college in Tallahassee at the time. I flew there and suddenly felt like, with the first communal dinner party, that I was in a different country. Grape wrapped rice things. Dolmades. The women in the house talked in a language I had never heard before and the men called sandwiches, sangwidges.

Everything was foreign. I was displaced. Not that I didn’t enjoy it, but who exactly was this newfound family of my sister? How was I going to fit in now.

The wedding day came and I started taking pictures. My sister’s posse had gotten a few rooms in a posh hotel in the downtown district. The women were in a frenzy getting everyone’s hair and nails done when I noticed it started to rain outside.

My sister, the bride, in her hair curlers, took a moment to go down the hall. The view was beautiful and she opened the window the small crack that it would allow. She pulled a cigarette out of her pocket and exhaled her breath into the foggy Providence air. And I took a picture. I was standing down the hall from her and thought, “What a profound moment this is.” Needless to say, she found out and promptly scolded me, admonishing me that her new mother-in-law would now know that she smoked sometimes. And, even though I never got that picture developed, it’s still with me.

But, to the song. It was a great wedding. Arguments and rain and French relatives and all. It was a huge wedding. Catholic. Big. 500+. People flown from Lyon and stuff. Did I say big? I felt like my sister was no longer mine that day. She was lost in the swirl of guests and relatives. That’s how big it was.

But, at the reception, we got to dance. And I really like to dance. I don’t do it well at all, but I kind of like that about it, too. And all the Armenians did their thing. Dancing around in a big circle and shooting alternate feet out like something I saw once in a Russian movie.

So, we watched them. My brothers and sisters and me. My older brother and I were a mainstay at the open bar, doing shots. And we finally got tired of their whole show.

And we got up there and danced some really bad American style stuff by ourselves. It was embarrassing to say the least. It was. It was bad, drunken, non-cohesive dancing and calling people’s names from the dance floor, imploring them to join in. I mean, we don’t really have a culture. But we do know how to get drunk and sentimental. And my brother wanted to hear Procol Harum. Yes, here’s where the longest story in the world wraps around.

Procol Harum was our song. My brother and my sisters and me. It was a song that got us through the hard times when my mother died. And I think we just wanted one last dance together. But the DJ wouldn’t play it. He said it was too depressing to play at a wedding. And he said the song doesn’t even make sense. But it doesn’t always have to make sense. It doesn’t always have to wrap around to a feel-good pop vibe. I guess that’s my point. And I would’ve loved to have had that dance with them. Just the four of us, together one last time.

But, somewhere amidst the haze of alcohol, I do remember my brother and myself dancing to You Look Wonderful Tonight by Eric Clapton. And singing it loudly and probably oh so badly. We’ll always have that. So, there’s something.

For my brothers and sisters.


We skipped the light fandango
Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor
I was feeling kinda seasick
But the crowd called out for more
The room was humming harder
As the ceiling flew away
When we called out for another drink
The waiter brought a tray
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale
She said, ‘There is no reason
And the truth is plain to see.’
But I wandered through my playing cards
And would not let her be
One of sixteen vestal virgins
Who were leaving for the coast
And although my eyes were open
They might have just as well’ve been closed
And so it was that later
As the miller told his tale
That her face, at first just ghostly,
Turned a whiter shade of pale
And so it was that later
Songwriters: Gary Brooker / Keith Reid / Matthew Fisher
A Whiter Shade of Pale lyrics © T.R.O. Inc.

Hippo Campus – Way It Goes

I have to admit, I haven’t been a huge fan of this band all along. I think this song just changed my mind. They were a little too college kid alt-rock, ‘finding quarters in the couch to go in together on a pizza’ type band. But you can hear that they are maturing into their own sound now. It isn’t easy for every band to find their signature sound, but I think this suits them. Nice breezy sound. It’s a good one to mellow out to on a weekend afternoon. Also, they always look like they have fun. Cool bunch of kids.

(But how do that many people even get paid in a band anymore?)

I digress.

This is great to listen to while finishing up that midterm cram session.


Wisconsin pines, collaborating with the day glow vibes
An altruistic breed of travel guide
It’s chill, but lord knows you’re trying
Zombie kids love to hear that easy
Going shit
Grab a guitar and
Just moaning shit
It’s cool
But Lord knows you’re trying
That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
It’s so satisfying
You put your records on
Exclusively the old Pavement ones
A 90’s soul with Doc Martens on
A step, a step away from crying
Degenerate, counter-culture, crying socialist
Hip-to-lazed crazed abstractionists
We’re weird, but Lord knows we’re trying
That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
It’s so satisfying
That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
One step away from crying
Well that’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
Yeah-eh-eh thats the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
It’s so satisfying
Yeah-eh-eh that’s the way it goes
That’s the way it goes
One step away from crying
Songwriters: Whistler Isaiah Allen / Jake Michael Luppen / Nathan Todd Stocker / Zach Mark Sutton
Way It Goes lyrics © Downtown Music Publishing