The First Year: NTSIB Turns 1

Line up the shot glasses and lock up the animals and children: it’s time to celebrate Now This Sound Is Brave’s 1-year anniversary.

It’s been a thrilling year, and it looks like the next year is going to be even better. Not to get all awards-speech on you, but my thanks go out first and foremost to Duane, my oldest friend, who first proposed the idea of this blog and who continues to show inspiring support and encouragement. Thanks also to my co-blogger Jennifer, to fellow collaborators Brucini at the Black Keys Fan Lounge and photographer Nate Burrell, to fellow bloggers Digger (Take This Bread) and Tim (Rubber City Review), to friends who have become readers and readers who have become friends and anyone who has stopped here for even a moment. And, of course, a huge debt of gratitude to you who make music – even beyond this blog, I don’t know what I’d do without you.

Now, a present for you: a mix. Twelve songs that have elicited something strong … Continue reading

Rhythm of the Keys: Adventures in Writing


I began writing in earnest at age 10. My first story was a half-page tale for English class, and the plot, such as it was, told of two girls who started a band one day after synthesizers rained from the sky.

Some things never change.

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for the fourth year in a row, and there’s still a lot of music in my writing. There may even be women starting a band involved. It’s going well this year, and I may even achieve the 50,000 word goal this year. Please excuse me while I try to get Amii Stewart’s cover of “Knock on Wood” out of my head now.

To celebrate a steady start, here’s a mix of songs that have been inspirational to me and my characters so far.

NaNo One Mix

Playlist:

  • The Black Keys – “Here I Am, Here I Always Am” (Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band cover)
  • The Black Keys- “Her Eyes Are a Blue Million Miles” (Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band cover)
  • Continue reading

Ponderous Wank: Tears on My Pillow


As I write this, I am self-medicating to counteract a funk. I had the blues pretty badly, but the antidote is cleaning that mess up very well. The cause of the melancholy? Music. The cure? Music.

Having gotten one of her songs stuck in my head, I decided to listen to Jessica Lea Mayfield’s Blasphemy So Heartfelt on the drive to my day job this morning. It was not the best movie I’ve ever made. While it’s a beautiful album – good from start to finish – it can break my heart in seconds. As I began to sink low, I thought, “No problem. I’ll just pop in the Black Keys’ Brothers when I get to the office and be revived.” (No, I do not actually talk like that in my head.)

My surefire cure was delayed until lunchtime thanks to my Monday morning forgetfulness that caused my headphones to be left on the kitchen table, but that gave me time to ponder, not for the first time, the powerful connection between music and emotion. I have always been what I … Continue reading

How Did We Get Here: The Road of Influence

The roads that bring us to certain music can be fascinating. They can also be embarrassing. This came to the forefront of my mind when a friend posited the idea that I write a post about acts from early in my music-enthusiast career who have had great influence over my current tastes. I realized that the biggest influences were my parents’ music… and Duran Duran.

Hey, who were you listening to when you were ten years old?

Yeah, I thought so.

I believe one of the best moves I ever made was to listen my parents’ music. My dad is an Elvis man, no two ways about it, and stubbornly holds to the idea that anything recorded after 1969 is, more often than not, crap. (I couldn’t even get him into the Brian Setzer Orchestra.) My mother has always been more open to current music, but she also played the music of her youth at home alongside the then-current crop of country music superstars (Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton, etc.) and whatever I could influence her into liking. The soundtrack for car trips was always supplied by Majic 105.7 – a station that has now, sadly, abandoned most of … Continue reading

A.A. Bondy: Further illustrating why I started this blog

Action Bondy!

As mentioned in the christening post, I love A.A. Bondy. My friends have had an earful of just how much these past few months, and I finally decided to put my proverbial money where my mouth is by putting together a collection for them of Bondy gems from around the internet, like his sessions with Daytrotter and HearYa.

I was listening to the collection on the way to work this morning, and even though I have heard all of these songs – and sometimes these very recordings – hundreds of times now, I find that they can still surprise me. On the surface of A.A. Bondy’s songs, they seem very simple. Sometimes just guitar, bass and drums. Many times, even less than that. But it’s, as I’ve often said, a deceptive simplicity. On one hand, literally, there’s his deft finger-picking on songs like “Mightiest of Guns”. But beyond the technical aspects, the practical aspects, there is the emotional depth of the songs. Listening to the version of “World Without End” contained in this collection as I rolled down the … Continue reading

Now This Sound Is Brave: The Inauguration

A few things about me:

  • I have been told that my taste in music has a wider range than it has any business having.
  • My favorite bands are the Afghan Whigs and Morphine.
  • I am currently loving on A.A. Bondy so hard that it makes my eyeballs roll back in my head.
  • Other favorites include a range from Cab Calloway to Shudder to Think to Paolo Conte to Modest Mouse to Hank Williams, Sr. And, obviously, the Clash.
  • It is difficult to recommend music to me because my taste is idiosyncratic, but I love it when people try.

Why start yet another music blog when the internet is positively glutted with music blogs? Partially for myself, partially for my long-suffering friends. Music has long been one of my top obsessions. I love to listen to it, to go to shows, to find new music, to discover old music, to fall in love with artists and to write about it all. Endlessly. So much so that I could almost feel the metaphorical pushing and boots-to-the-ass of friends when the idea of concentrating my music mania into a central blog first came about. “Do it!” they … Continue reading