12 July, 2005


dear diary. it seems like FOREVER since i last wrote to you. i am still waiting for a pony, and i am still on steroids for my poison ivy.


the past 14 days have been so full of radio, TV, shows, swimming whenever possible and van riding the rest of the time that my head is... ...swimming? we finally had a day off yesterday (went swimming, drove to NYC), but this morning it was bright and early back to work. we went down to philadelphia to do a live radio session on WXPN, and then i taped another session for a radio series that has artists talk about a record that is important to them. contenders for me were U2 Achtung Baby, Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, DJ Shadow Entroducing, Will You Find Me by Ida, or perhaps Ani DiFranco's Living in Clip... but i ultimately chose liz phair "whipsmart" because i heard it when i was 16 or so, it inspired a lot of my early four-tracking, and i bought it on white vinyl. the interview was incredibly fun and kicked my frazzled brain back into shape. i believe it airs in october along with sessions by joseph arthur, richard thompson, and liz phair herself.

just as i was trying to pick a record to talk about, i also made a little house-mix CD to play before shows. someone wrote in here to myspace asking to know the tracklisting for the mix. i was hoping people might tune into what was being played in the club... which also reminds me of something else i wanted to share. before iTunes put the clamp-down on semi-famous celebrity playlists, i had one all written up and ready to debut when my record came out (a version of it did make it up on canadian iTunes)(those canucks). i'll post that here too, maybe you'll find it interesting...

i love reading all the comments here, keep them coming!
see below for your homework!
x mckeown

[artist] / [song] / [album]

andrew bird / sovay / mysterious production of eggs
ida / 599 /heart like a river
shooby taylor / stour-hearted men / songs in the key of Z
tribe called quest / midnite / midnite marauders
andy stochansky / shine / 100
DJ shadow / changeling / entroducing
fionn regan / abacus / hotel room EP
coldplay / white shadows / x&y
patience and prudence / a smile and a ribbon / the 45s
lauryn hill / every ghetto / the miseducation of....
modest mouse / ocean breathes salty / good news for...
congress-woman melinda jackson / cousin mosquito #1 / songs in the key of Z
elvis costello / less than zero / live at el mocambo
weeping tile / south of me / valentino
regina spektor / us / soviet kitsch
gillian welch and david rawlings / blackstar / live
M.I.A. / galang / M.I.A.
sleater-kinney / jumpers / the woods

ITUNES PLAYLIST "we will become like birds" edition

I live for my ipod! It changed my life and made me (a professional musician) love music all over again. Like a teenager! There are so many playlists I want to make for you, but I thought for my first one, I would organize it around my latest record. Here are some of the songs that influenced the writing and production of "Birds" as well as some material by people who played or sang on the record.

Workaholic, Mylab, Mylab- I made "birds" with Tucker Martine, a drummer and producer from Seattle. Mylab is his collaboration with pianist Wayne Horowitz

The Cloud Room, Laura Veirs, Carbon Glacier- It was through meeting Laura a few years ago that I found Steve Moore, who played all the keyboards on "birds", and Tucker Martine. This is the song that made me want to work with Tucker.

Equus, Blonde Redhead, Misery is a Butterfly- Tucker introduced me to this band. I love the bassline that holds the whole thing together. So dirty.

This Place is a Prison, Postal Service, Give Up- This album came along right when I was formulating the plan for my own record. Everytime the beat kicks in it kills me. Everytime.

Cload, Four Tet, Osmosis - A large portion of the music I listen to has no vocals. Four Tet is one of my absolute favorites and for some reason, always reminds me of driving around the UK.

Disseminated, Soul Coughing, Irresistable Bliss- I first heard Sebastian Steinberg as the bass player in Soul Coughing, possibly my favorite band ever. He came and played bass on "birds" and was an immaculate human, not mention bad-ass bass player.

Butter, Tribe Called Quest, Low End Theory- Continuing on the low-end tip: I love this album. Every word of every song.

Shirt, Peter Mulvey, Kitchen Radio- Peter sings the duet "Delicate December" on "birds". This is the most delicious track from his latest record.

We Looked Like Giants, Death Cab for Cutie, Transatlanticism- I actually found DCFCutie through the Postal Service. Here they get mean, the way I like them.

Sadie, Joanna Newsom, The Milk Eyed Mender- Tucker played this for me when we met to record together for the first time. She's just off the grid!

Sporting Life, Sea and Cake, The Fawn- Sea and Cake have been a favorite of mine for years. The way they put together their songs, the interplay between all the instruments, has been really influential to me.

YoYeah, Black Star, Black Star- I come back to this album ALL THE TIME...

Flim, The Bad Plus, These are the Vistas- I first saw the Bad Plus at Bonnaroo last summer, where they blew me away. We were recording "Air" and really going nowhere when I had a dream about this song that helped us get back on track.

Sleeping with the Lights On, Teitur, Poetry and Aeroplanes- I like creative uses of loops: things that cut in wierd places or circle back on themselves in unique ways. Teitur is a good friend of mine, but before he was my friend he was making songs that caught my ear.

Joyful Girl [Danger and Uncertainty Mix], Ani DiFranco, More Joy, Less Shame EP- It was my friend Ani that first showed me New Orleans. She made me fall in love with the city, so much so that I had to go back and make my album there.

599, Ida, Heart Like a River- Someday I will make music as beautiful as Ida. Every album I will try my hardest.

Headache, Liz Phair, whitechocolatespaceegg- I have always loved Liz Phair, I always will. The half-sung lyrics in the middle are so hot.

Triumph of the Heart, Bjork, Medulla- I always think it's important to notice what songs artists choose to end their albums with. What will their last statement be? This one ends Bjork's most recent. Of course the Heart Triumphs!