2011 Melodies: Seven Songs from Husband+Wife Teams

I have a soft spot for husband/wife musical teams. Something raw, visceral, and seductive about creating something beautiful with someone you like. So I'm always on the lookout for melodies featuring the betrothed.

Some favourites all-time: Low, the Handsome Family, Mates of State, Sonic Youth, New Order, Yo La Tengo, Viva Voce

In 2011, there were some great tracks from the married folk.

Viva Voce. 
Black Mood Ring / Cool Morning Sun.
Portland's own Kevin & Anita Robinson veer between classic rock & roll with psychedelic lustre and lovely, bruising ballads with melodic and sultry swagger. They also write some of my favourite song titles (How to Nurse a Bruised Ego (Back to Health), A Viking Love Song, Analog Woodland Song, etc.)

Me, and her: our creative productions, aside from conceiving two children, are generally in the arena of Visual Arts and The Kitchen. Becca has become an invaluable asset in frequently helping edit (design, video, photography), although her painfully acute attention to detail can be maddening. Also, we cook, and bake, and make food together. Although she has been doing more solo endeavors lately, which I am jealous of. She invented both Vegetable Soup Dish and Sweet Potato Curry on her own, without my help or advice, which I am disgruntled about (see previous December posts).

Someday, we will record an album together. It is a dream.

December 2006, when we were children.
Mates of State.
Mistakes / Palomino.
Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel have been making music together since 1997, and now tour with their two young girls (7 and 3). Their bouncy, dueling synthpoppy songs sound like a Beach Boy on speed karaoking with an Erasure-loving, hipper Belinda Carlisle.  Mistakes has a chorus from Ms. Gardner  that is glorious. I smile, and feel bumps creeping up my arms.

Becca and I met in around the turn of the century, and I thought her bottom looked very nice. I did not voice that fact at the time. Also, I liked her voice. Just the sound of her talking. We have done a great deal of singing and headbanging on our billions of road trips, though we have never played on stage simultaneously. Someday, we shall. I am hoping it will be at Glastonbury.

I did, at one point, take Second Place in an outdoor karaoke contest in SoCal. I blasted out a sweaty, operatic version of Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Got beat out by an 11-year old girl, who won merely because she was cute, and sounded awful.

$20 / Try to Sleep / Done
Think of the craziest, loudest, fastest music you can imagine. Got it? Okay. Now I will tell you what the diametric opposite of that is. Low. It is Low. The Minneapolis outfit has been breathing out minimal, hypnotic compositions since 1993.  The opening track of this year's C'mon is apropos to their signature sound: Try to Sleep. The slowbeating core of all that is hauntingly melodic.

Inland Empire, California August 2001

Missoula 2005
Amidst the quiet whispers and occasional desolation, there is hope. That is not a metaphor for our relationship; is it is a concrete statement of Low's music. :) 2011's C'mon is a lovely winter album; a hazy, romantic, nighttime gathering of wishes and hope.

To do what you love, with people you love. That is the dream.

I am in dreams.

Black Mood Rising / Viva Voce
Cool Morning Sun / Viva Voce
Palomino / Mates of State
Mistakes / Mates of State
$20 / Low
Try to Sleep / Low
Done / Low


  1. Love this mix of musings, art, vintage photos, and music. I'm checking out Low right now.

  2. Hey thanks, Mr. Ponder! Let me know what you think of Low.

    Also, I am compiling my favourite tracks of the year. I will post them soon, if I can stop listening to Viva Voce for five minutes. If you have any favourites, let me know!

  3. I need to know about Jerry.

    Becca pumping her own gas is one of the most attractive things I can possibly think of.

    Please teach me how to make art like you on 4x6 cards.


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