I seem to have been quiet lately. So some recent bits and pieces...
I brought back a pair of vintage glasses frames from the US but I haven't had the lenses put in yet. I went around to shops in Leiden getting price estimates, but then I was looking into sending off the frames to an online shop in the US. The shipping was cheap and the lenses would cost a fraction of what they would here. But after reading some reviews, I decided it's too large of a risk to send off the frames. I'm really nervous about them getting broken, even by an optician here, and when I read about people receiving warped modern metal frames from online places, I don't think I can really trust them with fragile plastic. I'll probably wear my glasses a good 4-5 years anyway, so I may as well make the investment.
Damien Jurado's latest album, Caught in the Trees, has replaced Iron & Wine's The Shepherd's Dog as the CD that I can't seem to keep out of my CD player. There is hardly a song on it I don't like, and there are many beautiful melodies and lyrics that I keep going back to hear.
Last night I went to see The Thermals in Utrecht, likely my last concert of the year. It was very good, very energetic. We managed to get spots right at the front, just to Hutch Harris's left, it was awesome. I regretted not taking my camera, though E took some photos
. The band, including the new drummer, was joking around a lot and the audience was definitely into it. There was some lower energy when they played songs from their upcoming album, but the enthusiasm during the songs we knew more than made up for it.
The Decemberists will have a new album in March and I think they will be taking themselves again to epic heights. I've heard a live, Colin-only version of the main song that runs through the album and it is brilliant. It reminds me quite a bit of The Tain or The Island, so it may not be the most groundbreaking, but it's still impressive to hear. I also finally bought my first Decemberists shirt (though it hasn't arrived yet), which seems rather overdue. And the band is "strongly rumoured" to be in the lineup for Glastonbury 2009. If it is true, it is not too much of a leap to assume that they might also be at other European summer fests. Like Rock Werchter. Which I've been pondering going to again next year. If the D's are playing, I'm there.
I've been more involved lately on the forum for the Decemberists, and for Christmas someone organized a secret Santa exchange. I received my gift last weekend from a girl in the UK. She sent me some American candy (Reese's Pieces, Nerds, Hershey's Miniatures) and then a kit to sew a cushion in the shape of a Spanish-looking chicken. It sounds a bit weird, but it's funky, and, as I told her in my thank-you note, I like to sew in theory but I don't really know how to, so this is something at my level. Maybe some afternoon during the holidays I'll put it together.