Ode* on Music and Typography

In the mood for a good swoon? Below lies a link to a soulful duo who sing beautifully then take a break to discuss the historical origin of a ligature.

photo from americansongwriter.com

photo from americansongwriter.com


Even if you’re not into their music, which I am—most certainly, unabashedly, devotedly— I do believe you’ll enjoy the The Milk Carton Kids’ Lincoln Theater Concert.

What part of the hour-plus should you watch?

Perhaps at 5:28, where Joey Ryan, duo’s resident comic and poet, discusses their choice of ampersand over the word and in “the Ash & Clay” (that song follows the brief interlude and is hauntingly beautiful).

Perhaps begin your viewing at 9:17 where Ryan mocks his partner for adding a perfectly placed comma in the song “Honey, Honey.” The song follows, and is one of my top three favorites lately.

But certainly you’re going to want to watch at 42:00, right after the gentlemen finish a gorgeous version of their popular song “Michigan” (which begins at 35:38) where there is a righteous, hilarious, and awkward typographical history lesson that blows my hair back as much as the resonant harmonies and instrumentation of the songs themselves. Y’all, this rock concert takes a break to discuss the etymology of the word ampersand. It goes off the rails a bit before “Snake Eyes,” but I don’t care. Both men are irresistible: funny, talented, soulful, and a bit shy. I think I’m in love.

And if the glorious per se discussion piques your interest, listen in on their Portland Sessions.

A wonderful friend asked me as I drove her to dinner the other night, “Why are you playing this depressing hippie music?”

Now, she might be one of the best humans who has happened into my life, but she totally misses the point here. Aside from the fact that I love, love, love depressing music, for I do. The Milk Carton Kids, however, are cheerful, hipster acoustic folk, not depressing hippie music. Remarkably wordy, funny, compelling, and dreamy.

Duh, anonymous friend. Duh.


*Yes, I know an ode demands a lyrical stanzaic structure quite different from this Teen-Beat-esque post. But I don’t much care. I’m tired, there are ligatures, and I’ll be damned if I’m pretentious enough to actually compose strophe, antistrophe, and epode about my music crushes. And I wasn’t going to get much traffic with “Ekphrasis on Erudite Concerts.” Just let me casually title my posts and get back to singing in my car, would you please?

Blammos on DFW

San Francisco band Blammos, during their 30 days of song and video this November, posted a lovely hommage to David Foster Wallace, the thrust of which reminds that, though our hearts are broken, the root cause of that is that DFW’s writing made us fall in love.

And ’tis a good thing to love, even if we must lose.


or on youtube

or in quicktime

Thanks, ladies and gents, for the song and the silver lining perspective.