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Listen to This: “Funeral Beds”

Happy Sunday, everyone! I woke up this morning and the sky is dark and grey, and I can see the trees swaying in the wind out my window with rain on the horizon. I’m not quite ready to crawl out of that comfortable Sunday morning feel yet, though to be honest my dreams were wild and I woke up from the crash of thunder several hours ago. So, I poured myself some coffee and I’m doing what I do sometimes, which is listen to the same handful of songs by The Districts on repeat. I know I’ve mentioned my love for them on here before (through an old search, I see in my Watch This: About Alex post,) but I think it’s been awhile. “Funeral Beds” is one of those songs where if I’m not being careful, and don’t have on cruise control, my foot gets heavy on the accelerator. It’s a jam out song of mine for sure – especially when they start riffing on the harmonica. The Districts are cemented in several memories of mine over time. (Like that time they played a smaller stage at Bonnaroo 2015, and my friend piggy backed me for a better view.) I mean, the song itself is heavy and the words cut deep – but the delivery is something else entirely, and it just makes my whole body want to move. “Funeral Beds” is a track on The Districts 2013 release Telephone. For any of you haven’t heard it yet, or if you have listen again. Here’s a good little tune to get your day going:

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Listen to This: Calling All Angels

I was driving to work this morning and Train’s “Calling All Angels” came on the radio, and I haven’t heard it in a while. With news of Chris Cornell’s death yesterday, I was thinking about the personal demons we face, and how so many times people fight those battles silently. That line “I need to know that things are gonna look up.” People need something to hope for, and they need to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and that even on dark days when you feel absolutely horrible, you are not always going to feel like that. It’s hard to say when the clouds will lift, but one day they will. And sometimes, well I think almost all the time – people need to know they’re not alone. People just want someone to reach out to them, to listen, to provide a sense of company in our crazy world – even if you can’t physically be there in a moment. We all get so busy in our day to day lives, and have our own ordeals and struggles to handle, but just remember to check in with each other. It helps ease the burden of the weight we all carry.

I know this song probably sounds cheesy in memory, but the message is a good point and it’s a good reminder. So, here’s to a little Friday throwback. And as always, remember to be kind to each other – what a difference it can make.

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Read This: 99 Days

First of all, let me just say that Katie Cotugno has a genius way of being able to weave a juicy plot, into a story of summer love, lifelong friendship, the meaning of family, and the events in life that make us grow up.

In 99 Days we find out early on that Molly’s mom has done the unthinkable – used the love triangle of her own daughter’s (disastrous?) adventures in love – as the plot for her best-selling novel. Because who isn’t going to read about the sweet girl betraying the boy she grew up with, her first love Patrick, by getting together with his older brother Gabe? Dramatic, I know. So what does Molly do when this story lands itself on the cover of People magazine? Run off to boarding school out of state, of course. Even with a year hiatus from the town holding the secrets of her past, she can’t stay away forever. So, the summer before going off to college in Boston she finds herself back at her mom’s place. Of course, Molly does what any teenager practicing avoidance and any kind of social interaction would do –  lays in bed eating Red Vines and watching Netflix documentaries. Not surprisingly, though that’s a comforting activity, it gets old fast. So, Molly unexpectedly finds herself with a new job to busy her self, (helping with the re-opening of a restaurant at the country club,) and slowly tries to mend the pieces of her broken friendships.

Cotugno tells Molly’s story of learning forgiveness (extending it to others, like her mom and looking for it with her friends by owning up to mistakes she’s made.) We all know I’m a sap, but I felt Molly’s struggle of trying to listen to her heart screaming to her about someone she knew like the back of her hand, and someone new who was fun and present and real, and seemed open. Cotugno also delved into the meaning of family – with Molly’s relationship with her mom but also her relationship with Patrick’s family – she used to be like one of their own.

While yes, this has a great pace for an indulgent read by the pool or at the beach – don’t dismiss it as a fluff read. 99 Days is heartfelt, emotional, funny at times, and it’s true to life. Maybe you see yourself in Molly, or one of her friends. It’s a refreshing take on coming into your own from the throws of teenage-hood, and growing up.

If you haven’t read this one yet, check it out!

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Listen to This: “From the Dining Table”

Harry Styles long awaited self-titled solo album was released last week. I waited to listen until Saturday morning (after loving the new radio hit “Sign of the Times”) and I CANNOT STOP LISTENING. The whole album is so dang good. Don’t brush it off as a teeny bopper album, or you’ll be missing out. One of my favorite tracks on the album (too hard to choose – addicted to “Meet Me In the Hallway” “Sweet Creature” “Ever Since New York” “Two Ghosts” – okay all of them, I guess) is “From the Dining Table.” I think one of the endearing things about this album is that the lyrics are so relatable. Don’t hate me for this comparison, but the fist thing that came to mind was AM by the Arctic Monkeys. The songs are so emotional and heartfelt, but there are also songs you can move to, and they’re perfect for jamming out in the car. OK, honestly, they’re perfect for everything because I also listened while I was running this morning. “From the Dining Table” is the last track on the album, the imagery is so vivid, but also the longing is palpable. His vocals are smooth, and the music is original. This guy is talented, and hopefully his true artistry is recognized.

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Listen to This: “We Could Happen”

My friend Jared has made me a number of fantastic mixed CDs. This morning on a dreary drive to work, I popped one in to make the ride a bit cheerier. One of my favorites, that I’d never heard before until he introduced me is AJ Rafael’s “We Could Happen.” It’s vulnerable and honest, but it has a happy beat. Something about it reminds me of the butterflies of anticipation when you’re entering new territory with someone you like. It really encapsulates that whole wave of hesitation and uncertainty before you take the jump. It’s a unique tune, and it’s a little sappy, but I like sappy. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a listen: