Music for Mornings – An Everyday Playlist

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So tell me the truth: do you lie bed in to the last possible moment, then leap up and run around in a panicked fashion, leaving a path of destruction in your wake, and barely catching the bus to work? Some people think that getting up a little early is a better way to live. I am not over-ambitious in the morning, but I have found that turning on a great playlist in the morning makes the whole day better.

These days I usually get up about 6:30 and drink some coffee. I sit quietly and stare into the darkness until it’s time to rouse the family and get the Owlets off to school. Then I crank up this Spotify playlist. It’s mostly dreamy songs about love, just to set a happy tone for the day.

Owl Muse Wake Up! Love < Listen on Spotify

1. Robot – Cue Fanfare

2. Lovefool – The Cardigans

3. Lovers Who Uncover – The Little Ones

4. New Years – Asobi Seksu

5. No Spare Key – Honeyblood

6. Beast – Ex Hex

7. Bedroom Eyes – Dum Dum Girls

8. I Turn My Camera On – Spoon

9. Violent Shiver – Benjamin Booker

10. Bang A Gong – T. Rex

11. Just One Drink – Jack White

12. Phantom Limb – The Shins

13. Up With People – Lambchop

I start my daily chant: breakfast-breakfast-breakfast-clothes-clothes-clothes-socks-socks-socks-comb-your-hair-hair-hair-brush-your-teeth-teeth-teeth-put-on-your-shoes-shoes-shoes–boots!!!! No flip flops please! It’s 5 degrees out!!! homework-homework-homework-coat-coat-coat-hat-hat-hat-gloves-gloves-gloves.GO GO GO GET OUT GET OUT OF MY HOUSE NOW NOW NOW. REALLY NOW. DOOR SLAMMED AND LOCKED. Haha, you aren’t getting back in here, babies! I don’t care what you forgot.

I have tried various approaches to get the Owlets out of the house–begging, bribing, shouting, crying, making elaborate posters, charts and multi-media presentations; dramatic re-enactments with stuffed animals, etc. Did that work? Yeah…Not so much. The best solution so far was a simple backpack checklist.

“I’m made you a list,” I said to the Owlets.

“Are there pictures on it, mama? ‘Cause you know I can’t read, remember?” says the little guy.

Touche, my boy! Oddly, it worked anyway.

  • Lunch
  • Snack
  • Water Bottle
  • Homework Folder
  • Gym Clothes
  • Gym Shoes
  • Hat/Gloves/Scarf
  • Snow Pants

Okay, it’s April already. We might be okay leaving the snow pants at home. We might. Also I broke down and signed them up for school lunch. I decided I would rather have them not-eat the organic, free range, healthy school lunch that not-eat the bag lunch I get up early to pack for them.

But the Owlets are getting better! And they pump each other up, “Let’s go get dressed–fast, fast, fast–NO distractions, okay? No distractions, go, go, go!”

Hope springs eternal.

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Belle & Sebastian with Honeyblood at The Riviera April 2015

The Belle & Sabastian concert on Friday at the Riviera in Chicago: It was a near perfect thing and I’m happy.

This is the third time I’ve seen Belle & Sebastian live, and it was the best yet. But where to start?

Well, first things first. Honeyblood. I generally resent opening bands. Honeyblood, however, was fantastic. Kind of like a lush, layered version of Throwing Muses, served with a side of Scottish righteous indignance. I have been listening to Honeyblood incessantly on Spotify and I can’t wait to pick up the debut album.

I became aware of Belle & Sebastian when Dear Catastrophe Waitress came out. I loved that CD, but Belle & Sebastian didn’t seem so different from The Shins, The Decemberists,  Death Cab for Cutie, The Killers, The Postal Service–it was a happy time for me, music-wise, the early 2000s, the height of indie pop.

That record led me to Belle & Sebastian’s extensive back catalogue: If You Are Feeling Sinister, The Boy With The Arab Strap, and Tiger Milk were just stuffed with beautiful songs that were personal and direct and riveting and kind.  And uniquely so, Maybe that’s why the mostly-very-much-younger-than-me crowd went so nuts for my old loves: Century of Fakers, The Boy With The Arab Strap and Lazy Line Painter Jane. The on-stage participation towards the end of the concert was what made the show for me. The crowd brought those old songs alive again.

But I was there to hear what Stuart & friends are up to now. In Girls In Peacetime Want To Dance, they continue to share their quirky take on life and how to live it. Nobody’s Empire is the big anthem off that album. The Party Line is beautifully nostalgic, as is Enter Sylvia Plath. And, on first listen, I was totally obsessed with the song Perfect Couples which is a bit of satire about modern manners. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t sure if I really liked Perfect Couples or if I really didn’t like it. But the live version (with bongos!) was freakin’ great and accompanied by a video that really worked. There was quite a lot of film in this show, maybe prompted by Stuart’s foray into film-making with God Help the Girl, or the fact the people listen to music via YouTube more and more.

So, why only near perfect? Stuart seemed a bit stressed at the beginning and made a few comments probably referring an ill-considered op-ed from Pitchfork (srsly, p4k, cray-cray much?). Still, I hope the crowd made the band feel well-loved in Chicago. Because they are!

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