fleet foxes - pres photo

Tuesday Tunes – “Helplessness Blues” by Fleet Foxes

“I was raised up believing I was somehow unique / Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see. / And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be / A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.”

As a member of Gen Y, I can remember even as early as kindergarten, our teachers reinforced the idea that we were all special. “You’re unique!” “You can be anything you want to be!” “Work hard and you’ll reach your dreams!” Those ideals are not without merit, but reality is perhaps the greatest disappointment to millennials. As we grow older, we realize that our dream of becoming a famous actor isn’t as easy as we were raised to believe.

Perhaps the greatest triumph for millennials is shedding the desires of “self” and shifting our focus to the greater world around us and building communities. Everything changes when we focus on others instead of our own – sometimes selfish – desires. We’re taught in kindergarten about the importance of working together, but often, it isn’t until adulthood that we truly see the value of teamwork. As lead singer Robin Pecknold states in this song, he’d rather be a part of something bigger than himself rather than a “special snowflake.” He doesn’t know what his purpose in the big machine is yet, but he’s ready to work and find out.

And so am I.


PJ Harvey

Tuesday Tunes – “The Wheel” by PJ Harvey

(Or listen here if you don’t have Spotify)

PJ Harvey returns with her follow-up to 2011’s Let England Shake with a new track that could fit nicely on that album. But knowing this English songstress, we can expect few similarities between Let England Shake and her forthcoming ninth album, The Hope Six Demolition Project.

Harvey took a unique and very public approach to record her latest effort. The album was recorded live at London’s Somerset House as part of an art installation. Through one-way glass, spectators could watch the recording process, but Harvey and her team could not see the spectators. This type of observation feels similar to what Harvey discusses in “The Wheel,” in which 28,000 children disappear as the world observes instead of taking action.

You can see the album trailer below:

For more on PJ Harvey: Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Noah Gundersen

Tuesday Tunes – “Blossom” by Noah Gundersen

Today’s tune comes from Noah Gundersen, a singer-songwriter from Seattle, Washington who’s behind one of my favorite albums of 2015Carry the Ghost.

“Oh, you hold my heart forever. / I can’t hold on to what’s not there. / May you blossom like a flower. / May you go dancing in the air.”

“Blossom,” to me, describes contrasting feelings at the end of a relationship. In vocals tinged with regret and absent of bitterness, the speaker wishes his former love well. Lyrically, Gundersen presents the opposite themes of life and death as the speaker wishes that his former love will go on to “blossom like a flower” even though their relationship has withered. It’s a moving expression of beauty and pain, hope and sadness, compiled into one song.

For more on Noah Gundersen: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

fergus brown

Tuesday Tunes – “Nerds in Love” by Fergus Brown

Vinyl. Lou Reed. Mechanic shirts. Black-rimmed glasses. Sounds like a teenager in the 1990s… or a 2010s hipster. Fergus Brown pokes fun at the hipster subculture in his song, “Nerds in Love,” referencing all of those things and more. “You can keep your hipster flings,” Brown sings, because he’s got books and a biochem girlfriend.

“Nerds in Love” appears on Brown’s 2009 debut album, Burgers Frown. Its DIY-style music video, released in 2011 and produced by Oh Yeah Wow, was filmed in an abandoned warehouse and features a handpainted Scrabble board and letter tiles. Near the end of the video, Brown and a friend – maybe his biochem girlfriend – destroy the tiles, possibly as a commentary on the absurdity of hipster culture.

Side note – The video looks like it was so much fun to shoot!

For more on Fergus Brown: Facebook | Twitter

“Nerds in Love” has been added to my Tuesday Tunes Spotify playlist.

our girl - promo photo

Tuesday Tunes – “Sleeper” by Our Girl

This Tuesday, I’m happy to share music from a band I’ve recently discovered, Our Girl. Soph Nathan (who is also a member of The Big Moon), Lauren Wilson, and Josh Tyler make up this trio from Brighton, England. “Sleeper” is the band’s debut single, out now on Cannibal Hymns. It’s a blend of rock, pop, and shoegaze that effortlessly weaves between soft and loud dynamics. Don’t sleep on this one.

For more on Our Girl: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Soundcloud

“Sleeper” has also been added to my Tuesday Tunes Spotify playlist.

2015 in review

2015 was Between the Notes’ best year so far. Thank you to followers new and old, and everyone who has read, commented, shared my posts, and/or sent words of encouragement. Here’s to even more writing and interacting in 2016! Happy New Year!

Much love,


WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for Between the Notes.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


Tuesday Tunes – “No Applause” by Martha Ffion

Can you believe 2015 is almost over? It didn’t sink in for me until I started preparing this post and realized it’s the last edition of Tuesday Tunes for the year! Fact: Time flies when you’re listening to music. Fact #2: There’s more truth in that statement than you may realize.

Rounding out the year is “No Applause” from Glasgow, Scotland based singer-songwriter Martha Ffion. Ffion’s sound blends elements of dream pop, shoegaze, and surf rock, even. I’m digging the fuzzy guitars and grooving bass. Though the music reminds me of summers at the beach, the lyrics have little to do with “fun in the sun.” Still, you’ll find it hard not to sing along. Since discovering her music this past fall, Ffion has become one of my “artists to watch” and I’m eager to see what 2016 holds for her.

For more on Martha Ffion: Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp | Soundcloud

See you next year! Or next week. However you want to look at it.

Favorite Albums of 2015

Here are my favorite albums of 2015 in no particular order. You can click the album covers to enlarge them and read my thoughts in the caption. Full reviews are forthcoming for some albums. Do we have any favorites in common, just one, or none at all? Leave a comment and let me know!



Tuesday Tunes – “Christmas At Sea” by Carbon Leaf

Can you believe Christmas is three days away? Between the lack of a Christmas tree in our house and the crazy, unseasonably warm weather, it doesn’t feel like December where I am. Still, I’ve sent Christmas cards and put Christmas tunes on rotation to help me get in the spirit.

One song I’ve revisited this year is Carbon Leaf’s “Christmas At Sea” from the band’s 2010 album, Christmas Child. My interpretation is that it’s written from the perspective of someone who is unable to spend the holidays with a loved one in the Navy or another branch of the military. This song perfectly captures the feelings of sadness and longing when someone you love can’t come home for the holidays. The narrator describes fine details like “ornaments unpacked from the TV box,” the clean, clear beach in wintertime, and “how the lights just disappear over water.” “C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S-O-S” is one of my favorite bits of songwriting. Hits me in the gut every time I hear it.

If you’d like to learn more about Carbon Leaf, you can read my interview with lead singer Barry Privett or check them out on social media: Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!