For The Key’s year-in-review, we asked our trusted sources – our writers and photographers, XPN’s on-air staff, fellow bloggers in the Philly scene and even a few musicians – to send us their Top Five Whatevers. Could be the traditional music route – albums, songs, concerts of the year – or it could be only loosely connected. We’ll be sharing these recaps every day through to the end of the year. Today, singer-songwriter and Johnny Brenda’s DJ Birdie Busch recounts her five favorite things about the year.
I decided for my list of the Top 5 of 2012 to be somewhat a hodge-podge but unifying in the sense that they are all things, both large and small, that shaped this year for me.
1. Younger generations asking me about what I’m spinning – I’m at an age now where I can feel time behind me more intensely. I think we go for awhile where we can reflect but everything around us physically still feels a bit of the same time and place. Now, I see the places around me shifting. Younger folks seem more like peacocks on the loose to me and I’m like the old gorilla with those deep eyes that sits behind my cage which is in this case the DJ booth. And someone will walk over and say, “What is this?” and I realize I’m about to tell them about Linda Ronstandt or Joni Mitchell or Santo & Johnny or fill in the blank and turn this person’s world inside out. I then realize that is something so comforting to me about great music, it never depreciates, it’s immortal and blazing hot and is the tie that binds.
2. Recording music with a full band live to tape – I was afforded the chance to do this this year because of lovely humans who decided to become patrons of our work. While I’ve made other recordings, this was the first one I could cut the music live in a single room with the whole band feeding off of each other’s vibes and energy and love. It was one of the most rewarding musical experiences of my life.
3. Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House in Chinatown – I forget how I made it here, a combination of suggestions of others and independent curiosity. A bowl of their shrimp noodle soup is $6, a plate of peanut noodles $3, less than a beer in a bunch of places these days. We’ve celebrated a lot of our small and large victories here running the spectrum of “Honey, I did my laundry, let’s go get noodles!” to “Honey, we just got album of the year at Pledge Music! Let’s go treat ourselves to noodles!” I remember reading Patti Smith’s book Just Kids and observing her conservation and money smarts in an effort to keep making art above all else and related, the noodle house is where we live like kings.
4. Light reflections caused by perforated metal – Ok. So I realize this may confuse some but it is just as it says. I have really fallen for light reflections cast by the process of light, either candle or soft bulb, coming through metal. I have a punched tin lamp or a candle shrine my friend made from scrap she found out in the world that serve this purpose. I cozy up in my bed and it’s like a trip back to being a child taken by finger shadows in the quiet of night. I’d sit there staring at this over a big party any night.
5. The expression “do it like you mean it son” – This expression I co-opted from my friend Ali who will say this out loud to everything, to an omelette she’s cooking, to a massive mural she’s painting, to a trip to Mexico she always wanted to take then did. Sometimes it’s more an acknowledgement than a command, like, “We do it like we mean it son.” I keep this expression in my pocket, and remind myself of it when I need to or bring it out all big-ups stylee when I’m feeling footloose and living intentionally. This year was huge for me for doing it like I mean it sons!