Divad’s Soundtrack #81: July-August 2009

Our summer road trip for 2009, which was confined almost entirely to the state of California (and probably less than an hour in Nevada), may have seemed less ambitious than our 2008 trip encompassing the American Southwest, but I had made it my goal to visit a number of natural tourist spots in my home state that Christine had not yet seen, due to them being more than a day trip away from our home in SoCal. We managed to see the Humboldt Redwoods, Lake Shasta, Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, and Mono Lake along that trip, as well as attending the wedding of a college friend in Oakland just a day after our own four-year wedding anniversary, and also visiting family and friends in Sacramento and Mammoth Lakes. This was probably more than we should have crammed into a single trip, but we made it work. That summer also marked a great technological leap forward for me, as I finally got around to joining Facebook after several years of resistance, and I had also bought an iPod for the first time in my life preceding our trip – a green 16 GB Nano. The sudden convenience of having all that music at my fingertips without having to haul a big book of CDs with us on our travels began to revolutionize the way I consumed music. Not needing a physical CD to enjoy an album in the car helped to diversify my listening habits and gave me that extra nudge to take chances on more artists I hadn’t listened to before. My soundtrack mixes had to stretch by a track on each disc to help accommodate some of these new interests – and even then, it didn’t feel like 17 songs on each side was nearly enough space to truly do it justice.

In with the New:
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The New Pornographers
Mew
Metric

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Divad’s Soundtrack #80: May-June 2009

If you were to listen to this mix that I made in the summer of 2009, and take the songs as literal indicators of what I was going through at the time, you might assume that I had gone on a post-apocalyptic road trip, gotten lost at sea, enlisted in a foreign war, and became very, very convinced that I was going to die soon. None of those things actually happened, but the music told such vivid stories that I felt intrigued, even downright moved, by what a lot of the characters in these songs were going through. I remember this as a generally happy phase of my life, and I’m immediately transported back to that happy vibe by the opening songs on Disc One. But I was having some issues with insomnia at the time, as well as a resulting loss of appetite and general malaise that followed it most mornings. The final songs on the second disc are the ones that most honestly address that feeling of knowing I wasn’t in the healthiest place physically, and wanting to reach out for help and make some genuine changes to keep it from getting worse.

In with the New:
Grizzly Bear
mewithoutYou

Out with the Old:
The Listening

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Divad’s Soundtrack #78: January-February 2009

Right at the tail end of 2008, and into early 2009, I was feeling a pretty strong dose of the economic anxiety that I think a lot of Americans were feeling at that point. Part of it was due to Christine being in transition – knowing she didn’t want to work in daycare any more, but not feeling another calling to a type of job that was both exciting and feasible to pursue. So we were living off of just one income for the time being, and it was hard not to worry about our future plans getting stalled out as a result of this. Fortunately she knew what to do to help get my mind off of the worries, and a pair of trips that we ended up taking along the central California coast in January and February did quite a bit to lighten the mood in that difficult transitional phase of our life together.

In with the New:
Animal Collective
Fiction Family
Josh Ritter
A. C. Newman
Blitzen Trapper
Joseph Arthur & the Lonely Astronauts

Out with the Old:
Code of Ethics
The Myriad

It Was Worth a Try:
The Welcome Wagon

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