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Today on Down the Rabbit Hole day, I’m going to write about what I spent the last half of last year listening to. I missed pretty much everything going on in the indie world because I finally discovered something on the radio.

Since we moved to LA I had turned off the radio because I couldn’t find anything to listen to. But my husband — usually an intrepid fan of the AM dial — found KUSC, the classical music station that USC underwrites. And I fell in love.

Readers of this blog will know that I am pretty much a dedicated lyrics person. I don’t think I ever had the patience for classical music, having had my attention span honed since birth by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the King. But suddenly last summer I had grown up enough to sit still through a sonata, and my reward was beyond anything. I have always loved opera arias, but now I learned about where they fit into the opera and what they were about. I learned names of musicians and singers and musical groups performing symphonies by Dvorak and Lizst and Bach and Salieri. I learned that Salonen was leaving the LA Philharmonic this year (wonderboy Gustavo Dudamel is taking his place).

And I learned that classical music fans are even more fond of arcane detailing than hipsters. Which they totally have a right to — when Fleet Foxes puts out 68 string quartets, 14 operas, 42 concertos, 14 masses, 45 piano trios, 62 solo piano compositions, and 108 symphonies, let me know. (That’s the output of one J. Haydn).

I’m not saying I’m one of the elite (or that F.Foxes are bad, duh) here. I’m just saying, I dove in and swam around for awhile. The water was fine, it was more than fine, so if you want to stick your toe in, I recommend it. Or maybe you’re already swimming around in there and you’re laughing at me for being a dork — fine, I’m a dork. Let’s be dorks together.

I was dorkily delighted to see opera make an appearance on Gossip Girl last week — Rufus drags his former-rock-star butt to the opera with Lily, and tries to impress her by learning about the opera. But he learns about the wrong one (he is actually attending “Tristan & Isolde,” but Eric teaches him all about “The Magic Flute”). My almost-four-year-old son loves that particular aria sung by the Queen of the Night, and often asks for it. It’s called “Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen,” loosely translated by me as “A hellish rage boils in my heart.” Who wouldn’t love a song called that, especially when it sounds so beautiful?

Die Zauberflöte — Der Hölle Rache Kocht In Meinem Herzen (as sung by Lucia Popp)


This is all good news.

01. A new Cake On Cake album, due out Oct. 1st, with new songs to stream at her Myspace! I dance with Swedish glee!

Cake On Cake — Come On Rainbow

02. LAist has a nice new podcast called “Advanced Afrobeat For Beginners.”

03. I decided to suck it up and go see Flogging Molly at the House of Blues next month. Only Dave King & co. would get me out of the house in the face of Disneyland parking, traffic on the 5, and crazy kids wanting to mosh into me. I am waaaay too old to mosh. Get out of my personal space, you kids!

Flogging Molly — Black Friday Rule

04. More Decemberists! Now in handy pretentious three-volume set. Hey, I’ll take what I can get. Coincidentally (or not, maybe), YANP linked to some new live songs that Meloy has been playing lately. “Valery Plame” gets on my nerves, but maybe with some drums it will be better.

My favorite so far is definitely “Night/Rake.” No one gets the joke of this site’s title (Bon Ton is named after the Upper Ten Thousand of regency romance novels), but I love hearing songs about really nasty rakes, like the dubious character in the Mariner’s Revenge Song who leeches off the narrator’s mother and absconds, leaving all his debts for her to pay. This new guy sounds even worse, though. Whew.

05. My secret punk-rock boyfriend, Matt Pryor, has a new album out. I have a very soft spot for Mr. Pryor and his sweet, off-key singing, but it’s not everyone’s cuppa so I won’t go on for ages about it. It’s called “Confidence Man” and is put out by Vagrant records. I just missed Matt at the Troubadour too, sigh, so I will have to listen to the album in lieu of going down to WeHo to stare at his tattoos hear him sing.

The Get Up Kids — Mass Pike

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