Resolving to resolve

No matter how deep the cynicism has set in, it’s hard not to be hopeful on New Year’s Day. There’s something about a fresh start that gets even the most skeptical up early and cranking out lists.

Here’s what I’m listening to while I resolve…

Brand New Day Joshua Radin

Happy New Year Rent: Original Broadway Cast

New Year’s Day U2

Feeling Good My Brightest Diamond

Get Real Get Right Sufjan Stevens

It’s Alright Dar Williams

Unclouded Day Caroline Herring

This Time Around Howie Day

I Was Made for Sunny Days The Weepies

Hope Set High Amy Grant

I Am Not My Hair India.Arie & Akon

Ready or Not Fugees

In the New Year The Walkmen

5 Years Time Noah and the Whale

What has Moxie resolved for 2011? Three years ago I resolved to drink more coffee and watch more TV. Since then I’ve watched all five seasons of The Wire, three seasons of Mad Men, and gotten hooked on Glee (terrible, I know). I also own a coffee grinder. Anyway, the POINT is that I’m good at keeping resolutions. This year I’m resolving…to resolve. To not leave things unsaid. To not say things that don’t need to be said.

In decorating, my mom is a firm believer in odd-numbered arrangements. That being said, here’s to an odd-numbered year. Let 2011 commence!

Sufnasty encounters Late Night

In a previous interview…

STOSUY: I’ve never seen you play any Late Night TV shows. Everyone does those now. You just not want to do them?

STEVENS: I don’t understand why bands do that. It seems really tacky to me. I get asked all the time .Those shows are just promoting insipid comedies. Who watches those shows? And whoever does-I don’t think my music would speak to those people. I don’t even want those people to hear what I’m doing. I think musicians should stay off television generally.

Check out Suf playing Too Much on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.

When we saw him, the neon letters on his guitar read “icy hot.” This time it says “Royal” as a tribute to Royal Robertson, Sufjan’s schizophrenic inspiration for Age of Adz.

Also looks like the fly girls have moved up in the world…

Genuis or Mad Man?

Disclaimer:I’ve taken Sufjan’s fascination with deconstruction to heart in this post–it’s pretty scattered with no determinate direction.

Saturday was quite the day before THE day…I spent the early afternoon at the High Museum attempting to understand the madness of Salvador Dali, and later Sufjan Stevens was “my entertainment for the evening” at the Tabernacle. I didn’t connect the two until the following morning; both men exemplify the thin line between genius and crazy…or maybe thinking of the spectrum as a line fails to account for postmodern influence. Maybe it’s not a continuum, but a circle. Either way, these dudes are kooky and trippy as hell. Neither is limited to a particular style or medium. Both have a symbolic complexity beyond the ordinary and comprehensible, often (but not always) embodied in the way they title their work: The Remains of an Automobile Giving Birth to a Blind Horse is as intricate as some of the tracks from Illinois like “Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois” or “A Conjunction of Drones Simulating the way in Which Sufjan Stevens has an existential Crisis in the Great Godfrey Maze.”

Sufjan walked on stage with wings and a flock of musicians–not a new thing for him, but many in the audience have only google imaged this majesty. He opened with “Seven Swans,” and he slowly spun as he played to reveal the full spectacle of the wings to the audience. In person, he is…beyond description. It felt like Lady GaGa meets Indie rock—lots of costume changes and choreography, but in a subtle, deceptively smooth way. His movements are sharp but soft. Throughout the beginning of the show, I was mesmerized by his beauty.

Check it out in this video someone posted of Vesuvius. My favorite line of this song is “Sufjan, follow your heart…” like he’s talking to himself.

From the title track: he described this song as an “apocalyptic love song.” He must have used the word “apocalyptic” nine times throughout the evening.

For what you see is
Not fantasy, it’s
Not what it gets, but gives
This is the Age of Adz
Eternal living

Gloria, Gloria
It rots
Victoria, Victoria
It lives in all of us

To me, the name Victoria symbolizes colonization—English explorers naming their acquisitions after their queen. After all, land is gendered female. Do you think that like me, Suf is fascinated by the idea of colonization of the mind? Is he saying that each of us harbor a spirit of conquest in some way or another?

Sufjan dedicated “Get Real Get Right” to Royal Robertson, who Wikipedia describes here: “Numerous hallucinatory visions of space travel where aliens predicted the End of Days through complex numerological formulas and warned him about the dangers of adultery and fornication led Robertson to believe that he was a victim of a global female conspiracy. He believed that his ex-wife’s betrayal would be the cause of the cataclysmic destruction of humanity, and that his art was divinely sanctioned.” Sufjan told us that Robertson had been visited by angels, UFO’s, and even God himself on several occasions. Again, the line between genuis and mad man blurs. Robertson is responsible for all of the album artwork, and the screen displayed his trailer home with his prolific work scattered around. It was some crazy a$$ s***.

So where does my crushing stand after seeing him in person? In some ways, the lyrics “Boy, we can do much more together…it’s not so impossible,” from “Impossible Soul” ring true, but as Jeff aptly pointed out after one of his long pontifications on alternate realities and the space age, “You wouldn’t want to come home to that every night.” He’s so heady, it’s almost much too much. SufJohn (as he pronounced it falsely on stage one time) might be too deep even for Moxie, but the fascination persists.

And after all, he did pull through with Casimir Pulaski Day in the encore; I should never have doubted him.

Concerts Coming to a Venue Near…me

After a summer of nothing special in Atlanta, get ready for a fall filled with the latest greats. Definite appearances by Moxie are marked in red.

Arcade Fire + Spoon at Verizon Amphitheater 8/13 (that’s tomorrow!):

ALSO tomorrow, Tom Petty at Phillips!

(Too bad it’s a school night!)

O.A.R. at Verizon on August 15th (Brings back memories of watching people play beer pong at Beta)

Ray LaMontagne and David Gray 8/23 at Chastain

Natalie Merchant 8/26 at the Cobb Energy Center (much cooler venue than it sounds)

Kings of Leon 9/15 Lakewood Amphitheater

Widespread 9/23 at Center Stage and again 9/24 and 9/25 at Verizon Wireless

The National 10/5 at the Fabulous Fox

Drive By Truckers 10/9 at Buckhead Theatre

INDIGO GIRLS 10/15 Buckhead Theatre

Caroline Herring 10/29 Eddies Attic

Band of Horses 10/30 The Fabulous Fox

311 (really?) 10/31 The Fabulous Fox

SUFJAN STEVENS 11/06 The Tabernacle

Moxie’s favorite…

big venue: Cobb Energy Center

midsized venue: Tie between The Variety Playhouse and the Tabernacle.

small venue: Eddies Attic

Josh Ritter: “Baby That’s Not All”

I can’t get this out of my head today

It’s so smooth and dreamy, and the lyrics (although a touch cheesy) aren’t bad either. I’m sure there is some more sophisticated way to publish songs for listening, but for now, I have youtube. HERE IT IS

Fold yourself against
Me like a paper bird
Tonight we’ll fly awhile
Just give me the word
And hold onto me
Like I hold onto you
A steeple holds a bell
The night sky holds the moon
Melting flakes of snow
Will catch you when you fall
Baby that’s not all
Then like falling stars
Back down to sleep will go
Into our waiting arms
In orbits round the glow
Cover lets and down
Will catch you when you fall
Baby that’s not al

Thanks to reader Presbo for sharing this PASTE article about Josh Ritter’s new album.