My top albums of 2013

Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra – Theatre is Evil

Over the last year I’ve come to realize how big a role music plays for me. I’m almost always listening to it, connecting with it and letting it influence my own artistic outlets. Recently I’ve been really big on discovering new music and bands that I really like, not necessarily just listening to whatever I come across. I wanted to share them with you because this has been an outstanding year for music. And part of me is really happy about the resurgence of vinyl. I think one of my favorite pressings was from The Head & the Heart, though Amanda Palmer killed it with packaging & extras.

From the beginning to the end, here’s my year in music, so plug in some headphones and enjoy.

Heartthrob – Tegan & Sara (release: January 29, 2013)

The Sky Is Calling – The Impossible Girl (release: June 21, 2013)

A Brief Case of Madness – Tom Dickins and the Punintentionals (release: August 1, 2013)

Days Are Gone – HAIM (release: September 27, 2013)

Pure Heroine – Lorde (release: September 27, 2013)

Let’s Be Still – The Head and the Heart (release: October 15, 2013)

An Evening With – Amanda Palmer & Neil Gaiman (release: November 19, 2013)

Chasing Twisters EP – Delta Rae (release: November 19, 2013)


Also, in putting together this list I realized quite a bit of the music I listened to a lot (or even discovered) isn’t from this year at all. Here’s a few albums I had on repeat or discovered for the first time this year but were not released in 2013:

in lethe EP – Jaggery (release: October 01, 2004)
Yes, Virginia – The Dresden Dolls (release: April 18, 2006)
My Head is an Animal – Of Monsters and Men (release: September 20, 2011)
Ceremonials – Florence & the Machine (release: October 28, 2011)
Electra Heart – Marina & the Diamonds (release: April 27, 2012)
Carry the Fire – Delta Rae (release: June 19, 2012)
Theatre is Evil – Amanda Palmer (release: September 5 2012)
Halcyon – Ellie Goulding (release: October 5, 2012)

as an added P.S. Willow out of Melbourne, Australia. They don’t have an album out yet, but I love their sound. Got to see them open for Tom Dickins in Melbourne in August and fell in love with what they’ve got going on.


In Melbourne by chance : Tom Dickins and the Punintentionals

Tom and Jen, The Jane Austen Argument in London 2011

Back in London in 2011 I met a musician from Australia on a hill. The next night I got to see him open for Amanda Palmer at Heaven. A bit after that we were supposed to meet again in Portland, but he got stuck in Canada. Now I’m on holiday and he has his album launch party the week I happened to be in Melbourne.

The show was brilliant. I loved the opening bands… and Tom’s new album was killer live. Very raw and intense.

After the show I walked up, just wanted to say thank you and that hey, that crazy girl from Oregon that’s been posting on the facebook wall for the show made it. Halfway through this, it dawns on him that the crazy girl from Oregon is the one he met in London. He was really excited to see me. I received a hug and a handful of merch. After he made it through the signing line (I had stuck around… okay, I’d left, it was raining, I realized I should stay for a bit, there is one more tram back, headed back in) we chatted for a bit and he proceeded to introduce me to everyone that came up. His wife, his mom, his friends. And each time the story came out.

It’s nice to be remembered. Especially by someone in the spotlight, someone we (society) forgets is a normal human. We like to be remembered and appreciated. and hugged.

And maybe one day we’ll run into each other again, who knows where, but it’ll probably happen, because honestly, what are the odds?


p.s. Check out Tom’s music, either under Tom Dickins & the Punintentionals, Tom Dickins or The Jane Austen Argument. He’s a wonderful musician as well as a wonderful person.

such a little thing

Last day in beautiful Eugene and it's finally sunny
My last day in beautiful Eugene and it was finally sunny. UO campus

This smile on my mouth
It’s hiding the words that don’t come out
My friends would say that I’m blessed
They don’t know my head’s a mess

I’ve had Sara Ramirez’s version of The Story repeat for the last week or two. I’ve always been a fan of the original by Brandi Carlisle, but something in Sara’s version gets to me a little more. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the people in my life and how even though I haven’t found that someone, as the song is about being in love and find that person, I have people to tell my stories to while I search. More importantly I have people who listen.

I don’t have more people than I can count, but I have enough, and they are each dear to me for different reasons. A trifecta of going home (see pictures for some of what I encountered on my trip), The Story, and Gwyneth Lewis’ Sunbathing in the Rain: a cheerful book about depression*, gave me what I needed to see what I had, something I knew but hadn’t really internalized before I left for London. When your stuck in a bout of depression you’re outside yourself and you never come back quite the same. Which is probably good. There’s a reason you became depressed, something that needs fixing. When you’re down it’s hard to see the things you love and the thoughts you take for granted when you’re up. Like I have people, people that listen. It seems like such a little thing, but it’s not.

contemplating the waves
contemplating the crashing waves of the mighty Pacific

On good days those four lines of The Story immortalise my life. My life seems like something from a story to some and slowly, one day, I just might tell it to you. Part of me is waiting for that person to complete the circle before I begin, and the other part is screaming to tell it all now. Both arguments have merit, but back to this story at hand. As much as I’m a hopeless romantic hidden inside an adventurous exterior and I’m waiting for that day I get to meet that person I’m going to be with for a long while, I can wait. I think. As much as I have people, wonderful, wondrous people, and my smiles are never insincere, there is some much that I can’t find the words to say. The struggles and trials my life has presented me with have opened the door to so many opportunities. To look at me now those that don’t know the half of it envy and regard my life with a kind of wonder. Small town girl follows her dreams around the world. And when I find myself happy beyond belief and with someone. This life certainly looks blessed in hind sight.

endless beach into an endless ocean

That last bit: my head’s a mess, not too many people know. I’m trying it out, letting people know. But there are so many preconceptions and misconceptions when it comes to depression. That it’s laziness, that you can think your way out of it, that the depressed are victims. I’ll be the first to say, that what I suffer isn’t the worst of it. I’ve been able to wait my time and avoid, probably to my detriment, seeing a doctor, but I do suffer. Lately it’s been mornings that are hard. I spent most of my childhood believing that it was better to keep quiet and spare other people than to spare myself. I still do, it’s part of who I am, but I’m trying not to hide parts of me away out of shame anymore. I don’t let this disease define me, because I know even in the worst of it, that it isn’t me.

I’ve been writing this post for five days. Trying to find the words, trying to stand tall and honest, and battling a couple bad days when I got back to London. I know right now, finding the words to be honest with myself pulls me through, attacking and analysing the situation from new vantage points. I have so many stories that I want to tell you and new ones I can feel coming up. Because when I can feel my way through my thoughts clearly I can see this bright shining possibility swarming around me. There’s so much I’ve learned because of and in spite of what I’ve gone through. All these stories. All this potential bound up in someone so small, the ability to connect and pull lessons from one day into the problems of another.

Here’s to breaking the rules.

*Sunbathing in the Rain was suggested to me by Sian, my tutor at Goldsmiths, and I can’t thank her enough.