hungry hearted

serving up a healthy portion of pop culture commentary, random infatuations, and introspective ramblings


When I saw Beirut perform at Emo's during SXSW last year, I felt my entire body melt at the first verse Zach Condon belted. I've pretty much been floored ever since (ba dum bumb). Granted, the initial awe may have dulled a little, but I'm genuinely impressed by what I perceive to be a balance of humility and talent. He's so comfortable. His appearance is that of a disheveled child but his performance that of a seasoned crooner. I love the melting pot feel in the layers of orchestration. I read this article months ago that I wish I could find to post, but basically I read about how he'd created and pieced together the layers himself for his first recordings and then had to find musicians to replicate the sound so he could tour. I think at first he bombed live, but he worked with the musicians and put emphasis on their sound being loud and messy. I find his approach unique in that it's melancholy and overwhelmingly beautiful. It just really hits me.

As I've previously stated, I'm always impressed when a song and video compliment one another and capture something new and exciting. I'm pretty sure I watched the video counterpart for "Elephant Gun" five times in a row in sheer awe of the beautiful mess. It's bazaar and brilliantly unafraid.

Another favorite, also directed by Alma Har'el, is for "Postcards From Italy." Right now, I cannot think of a video more heartfelt. It captures the essence of innocence in an honest portrayal without being cheesy. It's perfect. And it doesn't hurt that it's one of the most amazing songs I've ever heard.

those damn Scandinavians are amazing

It's not enough for them to be thisclose to being a totally green and sustainable society and have beautiful porcelain skin, they have to totally capitalize on being adorably quirky. It's no secret that I'm in love with Swedish pop music, and now look what they've done: a BEARD CAP. It's fucking incredible to think there might be a market capitalizing on being this uninhibited. This is a trend I would love to see catch on.

The Beard Cap, created by Vik Prjonsdottir
currently the only store stateside is in Brooklyn - Scandinavian Grace

warm blanket

It's officially the holiday season. That yearly blend of anxiety and excitement mixed with a refreshing cold front is provoking me to find comfort in sentimental details. Certain items, fabrics, movies, books, and albums are like a warm blanket and can substitute the absence of family and familiarity that can often leave me feeling somewhat displaced. My guilty pleasures and go-to vices have become increasingly evident to me these days as I find myself constantly meeting people and presenting myself to them whereas my friends from home saw the work in progress and are part of the context to which these habits all formed, right? I think so. I'm still interested in the cultural/geographical context to which this all may apply, but I'm not sure how to articulate or analyze that properly.

I guess sometimes the downside to moving around and meeting new people is the tiresome necessity of explaining myself. Sometimes I feel like my tendencies make me an outsider as I've found my niche through trial and error. I guess a lot of finding out who you are is about finding out who you are not. While I am a very extroverted person, I love winter hibernation. I don't necessarily like how long it lasts back east, stretching most years from November through March, but there is something to be said for the change of weather and it's effect on the human psyche.

"The moral influence of nature upon every individual is that amount of truth which it illustrates to him" - Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature

Winter makes me want to wear corduroy, thermals, and scarfs. I find myself staying home and listening to Dylan and Springsteen heavily. I have a profound admiration for writers and they're both brilliant storytellers. They're two of my favorite lyricists by far and their representations are inevitably entwined with the great northeast, helping me feel at home no matter how far I've wandered.

brooklyn crews and microbrews

For some reason living in NYC has never appealed to me. I guess the convenience of it's proximity suited me fine for all my years out east. It was always easily accessible and I ventured in for field trips, broadway shows, holiday shopping, etc. To me, the thrill of going into the city is equal to the relief of leaving it. It's tiresome to me to live life with horse blinders on, which is the only way I function in NYC. BUT, if opportunity ever led me to the five boroughs I would probably call Brooklyn home. Although it's terribly trendy right now with the indie cultural explosion, I suppose it's fair to say I buy into the allure of rubbing elbows with the young and creative.

Predictably, NYC has become more of a novelty to me now that it's less accessible, so it was a real treat to visit Sarah and Joanna in Brooklyn after my week in Jersey with the fam. After picking up a rental just outside of Newark where the Budget Rep. ("That's Raheem with two E's") tried to sell me his version of the American Gangster tale after flirting out the fact that I'm a journalism major, I hopped into my Chevy Cobalt and drove northeast. I was making excellent time until I crossed into Manhattan and it took me at least twenty minutes to inch down Canal St. to the Manhattan Bridge and into Brooklyn. Sitting in traffic, I couldn't help but think of the day I borrowed money from my mother to take the train into the city with Coby to buy fake IDs on Canal. So legit.

canal street

I parked in front of Sarah and Joanna's building, a three story house broken into apartments. It was small and rough on the exterior, but quaint and full of character. They had moved in just days before my arrival and already suitably declared it the "slanty shanty." I plopped myself in their kitchen to decompress from the road and listen to Joanna recollect her Coney Island experience on the previous night. She was hilariously animated, impersonating crack heads and double fisting a Heineken along with her own coffee mud slush creation. I chugged down some water, brushed off my exhaustion and got ready to go to their friend's Brew-BQ in Williamsburg.

Sarah, Joanna and I all went to MCLA together, but somehow never really hung out. I don't really understand how that's possible in a school of 1,500 kids, so I blame ex-boyfriends and the unfortunate abundance of drama fueled cliques. Fortunately, by the powers of modern networking we've managed to stay intouch and marvel at one another's brilliance while kicking ourselves in the ass for not hanging out in the micro-universe of North Adams, MA.

We took the subway over and as I watched the tunnels blur by I considered whether I could ever live in NYC. I like the idea of city living, with all it's conveniences and public transportation. It seems much more sophisticated with such a beautiful skyline and that self-empowering effect of being an anonymous city-dweller. But I know I'd have to live in a picturesque area super close to a park to avoid claustrophobia and panic attacks, and that's just unrealistically expensive and not happening anytime soon. I guess that's why Philadelphia still has such a warm spot in my heart, it's much more tangible.

Williamsburg is like a little hipster mecca. I guess at one point it was super affordable and attracted young creative artist-types. It still has that aura, but to my understanding the prices are on par with Manhattan these days. The neighborhood is really cute and you can tell a lot of money goes into the upkeep to keep the details fine tuned.

There was a wonderful assortment of microbrews the guys had personally made, awesome shish kabobs, and bbq side dishes. All the ingredients for a good Labor Day, hands down. After drowning my liver in Bud Lite and the like in high school, I gained a reputation as a beer snob in college, and while finances have influenced me to keep it real so to speak, I can't help that I like good beer. Needless to say, I was really happy to taste and talk about their creations.