Tag Archives: music monday

Music Monday :: my thoughts on Keepsake

23 Oct

Hello, Elizabeth and the Catapult! Give me everything please.

“We Can Pretend.” Starting with “queens of the underworld” is starting it right. Can I even put into words how much I’ve missed the experience of finding new Elizabeth music? I really don’t think I can. It’s a magical experience. Also, this is one of those songs that treads the line between romanticizing innocence and knowing it’s, yes, a “little lost thing.”

“Underwater.” I could go swimming in Elizabeth Ziman’s voice. I’m not just saying that because of the water motif, I mean it. It’s so lush. Oh this song got kinda groovy. There’s just spirit to her stuff, that’s all there is to it. Smooth life-giving spirit. I feel more alive already. (Is that dumb? Oh well.)

“Something More.” Jazzy ambiguity. That’s smoldering and I like it. There’s also something just seductive about Elizabeth’s voice, but I don’t necessarily mean in a sexual way? It just draws you in and like, wins you to its cause. And then she does that thing where her voice sort of intentionally breaks on longer notes and I just do mental backflips because it’s so delightful. “You can be my very last man” oh really? Really.

“Ambrosia.” Oh, more nostalgia with adulthood tinging the sentiments. Delicious! Things that are done here would sound all too twee somewhere else, but the sweet worldliness of Elizabeth Ziman’s voice and the lyrical complexity balances that out and makes a beautiful amalgamation.

“Magic Chaser.” Well if there isn’t something almost Amelie-esque to this. I like how this woman manages to be a magic chaser and an ocean drifter. She’s clearly an exceptional woman. God I love when she makes melodies that sound almost minor in parts over decidedly major instrumentation.

“Mea Culpa.” My god but it is obvious (in the best way) that this is a woman who knows not just classical music but classical literature. She makes music that’s smart. Plus it sounds like it would be fun to play, if I wasn’t so bloody out of practice. It’s theatrical, too! This is a lot of my favorite things. “Everything Else” from Next to Normal. That’s what.

“Method Acting.” And this almost has tones of the early 1970s. More of that groovyishness, but not in an overdone stupid way. This belongs in a coming-of-age film where the protagonist wears big square glasses and learns lessons about staying true to yourself but also some obscure academic subject.

“Better Days.” Ohhh. And a bit of Southern Gothic, I think? Or not by itself but it would belong on that kind of soundtrack. Sweet Willa Burrell, this is for her. This is the music that plays as she gets on a plane that flies her out of Louisiana and into the next big adventure of her afterlife. “I don’t have to live up to the legends in my past” Oh yes. “If I smile, if I smile the best I can” honey!! “Try to take it all like a woman twice my age” oh no. Poor misused little baby.

“Less Than You Think.” How swinging! It sounds a little like the background was sped up. Oh my god this is the soundtrack to a beach movie from the 50s or 60s, but more self-aware, but not in the Teen Beach way because that’s only as self-aware as Disney could allow. This knows exactly what it’s about. (Sidenote: I have never told you guys how much I actually really love Teen Beach Movie and its sequel. It’s beautiful gay nonsense.)

“Tread Carefully.” This is just… chocolate. This is kids’ temp (thanks, cos, and for the uninitiated kids’ temp is what you say to Starbucks people to make them make your cocoa not quite as hot so you don’t have to wait ten minutes for it to cool before you drink it, which I share to save a life because that is my favorite cheat) hot chocolate sipped slowly as an after-work pick-me-up.

“Land of Lost Things.” I’m sinking into this one. It’s melancholy and lovely and I can’t wait until I know all of its secrets.

“Wishing Well.” Strums! “Laughing and teasing till I can’t help believing” this is so sweet. Elizabeth Ziman please follow in Sara Bareilles’ footsteps and write a musical I don’t care of what but I just want it.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: on Delta Rae live

14 Aug

Again.

So way back when, when my mother and I saw these guys perform at a casino that they didn’t really seem to understand but whatever they still brought it, I seem to remember tweeting soon after that seeing them perform live was one of the closest things (the closest thing?) I’ve had to a religious experience. I cannot find this tweet because it’s very old, but I remember it, and I remembered it at the concert specifically because Brittany told a story about how, while she and her brothers had friends raised Christian, they were “raised confused” but did attend churches sometimes and find themselves moved by the woman who led the music programs. They wrote a song about it, after which Elizabeth made some joke about how they, perhaps, made the audience find some religion. Or something like that. It was similar enough to my original thought that I noticed it, is the point.

Because — yeah, pretty much. I grew up going to church and had a weird churchy phase in high school and sure I’d like to believe in some greater power but also religion makes me really nervous as it’s presented so it’s not really a thing I connect with that much. But what they were talking about, what that particular song captured, and what I feel most explicitly at really good live music events but especially specifically these times I’ve seen Delta Rae, is this kind of euphoria and awe about the world and this glorious audio experience just washing over people. Me, specifically.

Like, I don’t think I can actually fully articulate how intense of a joybuzz I get at a Delta Rae show. I’m not sure what it is about them, exactly, that makes it so noticeable, because I have a great time at the concerts I see and most of the musicals. I could make you a list of songs that have sent electricity up my spine (“Defying Gravity,” “Mama Who Bore Me (Reprise),” “Superboy and the Invisible Girl”; “Love Interruption” by Jack White, “Go Away My Lover” by Elizabeth and the Catapult, “The Night Comes” by Eisley; it goes on and on) but for some reason the second Delta Rae comes onstage I’m just… turned up to eleven for the entire show.

By the time they came on we, drift partner and I (she was largely new to their music but indulging me), found ourselves in the venue’s balcony area (it’s still very close, and given the tall, gross men who pushed in front of us while we were standing on the floor who I would very much like to shame but do not know the names of so I can’t, that’s how angry they made me, it was preferable and the view was much better). We were still behind a thin row of people, sort of sitting/leaning on a bench along the wall, but through a series of odd contortions I had a perfect view of the side of the side of the stage that Eric and Brittany, mostly, were on, and that was enough for me.

The fact that this show was in an actual venue meant that I had no compunction about getting physically, full-body-stim, into the music. Before I felt like I had to sit politely. No such thing here. I was pretty constantly moving, just slightly during slower songs, adamantly during the showstoppers. (Oops. By showstoppers I largely mean the intense crazy-eyed songs Brittany does lead on. They didn’t do some of my favorites this time, no “I Will Never Die” and still no “Fire,” but we of course got “Bottom of the River” – more on that in a bit – and there was a new song, a “cautionary tale,” called “Hitch a Ride,” that achieved that same intensity, among others.) And god, I was sweating buckets but I was having the most blissful time.

Maybe it’s the fact that all of them are constantly so into the performance. Maybe that’s what sucks me in. Maybe it’s the way that Brittany and Elizabeth are so constantly on, dancing and keeping time and singing at each other and climbing on the box they put at the front of the stage and everything. Maybe it’s the harmonies. I’m a giant sucker for harmonies.

Whatever it is, these guys put on a show like no other and it hits me just the right way. This time ’round they prefaced “Bottom of the River” with a scintillating remix-of-sorts of “I Put a Spell On You,” which then got threaded through their own song too, and it was somehow so brilliant that I was probably actually vibrating.

Also they kept talking about positivity and love and supporting people no matter their xyz differences including who they love. And they’re doing this thing where they give free tickets to teachers/school professionals and the winner this time was nominated by her wife and they mentioned that. And we ladyqueers up in the balcony squealed, “Oh, that’s nice!” It’s always nice to feel accepted, especially when you’re on an adrenaline high from beautiful music flooding your senses.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Something to Tell You

17 Jul

This new HAIM release is a couple weeks old but whatever here I am.

“Want You Back.” HAIM has the magical ability to sound exactly like they’re from the 1980s but not in an electronic way but also not in a cheesy. Or the early 90s. This reminds me of music that would be on the soundtrack of the Baby-sitters’ Club movie. That was the 90s but whatever. It’s kind of the 80s-90s. I saw the video for this song already and it’s cute too. HAIM is not a band that necessarily evokes deep reactions in me but I enjoy them.

“Nothing’s Wrong.” It’s like nostalgia but it can’t be nostalgia because this is brand new to me. I don’t mind this contradiction. It works. It also means everything has this like, vaguely cheerful air even when it’s not necessarily a cheerful song (as here).

“Little of Your Love.” This is just… cute. It also sounds not unlike something that would be on the end of a Care Bears movie. That’s a compliment.

“Ready for You.” There’s all these cute little slides they do with their voices that just further the aesthetic. HAIM is just very aesthetic. Very… “friendship is magic” honestly. It grooves and cheers and it’s generally good.

“Something to Tell You.” This is warm. Kind of a musical security blanket. It’s absolutely not dark or melancholy.

“You Never Knew.” Like, I think you could look at these titles and expect something much more introspectively sad than it really is. It’s really not tonally sad at all.

“Kept Me Crying.” This one is sad to start, but it can’t even keep the melancholy up. It sounds more like a fuck you anthem, tonally. Fuck you anthems are important. I think it’s the harmonies that sound the most Baby-sitters’ Club. I’m only just someone you call when it’s late enough to forget.” Ergo, fuck off! But cheerfully.

“Found It In Silence.” “Thought he was a modest man who could put me back together again, tried so hard to read his mind through his eyes” this… sums up so much for me? I don’t think this is what they intended at all, but that lyric absolutely smacks of women (fictional and real) who try to create men to love out of lumps of mediocre man-clay.

“Walking Away.” This feels precocious and I’m not sure why. That’s not bad. It’s cute. That’s just the feeling I’m getting.

“Right Now.” This is sweeping and orchestral in parts. This sounds like the love song performed by a pop star in a Disney cartoon from the 90s.

“Night So Long.” This is so far the most melancholy of the songs but it’s still melancholy in a very 80s pop way. Like the sad song in a Disney cartoon from the 90s.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Melodrama

19 Jun

Hi, Lorde!

“Green Light.” Ah here is the one I’ve utilized already. Did I mostly put this on the AIDA mix because “green light” could reference the godawful teal tint in the Framework? Maybe. But also I like “you’re such a damn liar” and this has a really, idk, building optimism vibe? And while I don’t condone Ophelia’s ultimate actions, I groove on the alternate possibilities of a robot finding herself. Seizing, perhaps, on the brief moment where she was proud of how she saved Mack.

“Sober.” This is weird. It’s got shades of 80s and shades of weird experimental and shades of I don’t even know what and I like it. I really am glad Lorde has stuck it out because I like her voice and I like what she does and I like it when I like pop singers that actually are on the radio and stuff.

“Homemade Dynamite.” “Let’s let things come out of the woodwork” aw that’s also nice. All of this is really cute and chill.

“The Louvre.” This is nice. There’s noise but then there’s melody and it’s good. I’m really just content here. I’m sure most of these songs are going to smack me in the face on repeated listening, but right now it’s just pleasant and good.”Perfect Places.” “It’s just another graceless night” that’s lovely. I enjoy the symphonic nature of this. I’m comfy here.

“Liability.” I like when pop songs get verbose OH MY GOD “I think I’ll go home into the arms of the girl that I love” oh my GOD this is a gift. It’s ballady but it’s great.

“Hard Feelings & Loveless.” “Please could you be tender and I will stick close to you” awww that’s so small and soft. This has gotten grand and interesting. Lorde has this way of getting away with a very talky kind of singing that most female pop singers don’t really do I feel like.

“Sober II [Melodrama].” Ooh these instrumentals. “You asked if I was feeling it” aw that’s something that’s not in songs always. There’s a slow sort of hip-hop to this, but it works.

“Writer in the Dark.” “Break the news you’re walking out to be a good man for someone else” hmmm. That’s. “Did my best to exist just for you” ugh that hurts. This is interesting. This is… really telling.

“Supercut.” Ooh I like her voice’s way of sliding on this bridge. This is just a very nice track to listen to.

“Liability [Reprise].” I like when pop singers do reprises. It makes life more theatrical.

“Perfect Places.” “It’s just another graceless night” that’s a nice lyric. This is just a really warm song and I enjoy it.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Hopeless Romantic

24 Apr

Disclaimed: I have not listened to Michelle Branch since high school (like, Hotel Paper) but Tegan and Sara rec’d the new album so here I am.

“Best You Ever.” This is a lot more… Jenny Lewis-y than old Michelle Branch. I’m not complaining! I love me some Jenny Lewis, too. And Michelle Branch can totally evolve and stuff. This is yummy.

“You’re Good.” Also the Grace Potter solo record. This is sort of sinuous and seventies. And I really really like this this is sweet.

“Fault Line.” Her voice is a little breathy but this is really sweet it really is. This doesn’t have a damn bit of the twang she was tending toward in the old days but I like “it’s too late to be the first to walk away” and all of this is really cute.

“Heartbreak Now.” “You’re my one obsession, you’re my daydream in the afternoon” oh my goodness this is cute too. Even though this song is a little more bittersweet.

“Hopeless Romantic.” I just want to stay up in this. I want to just groove on this. I’m going to need to put this on repeat and soak it up but I really like this. God, I’m so out of practice album reviewing but it’s so delicious. I’m going to find uses for all of this.

“Living a Lie.” Awww this is so cute and retrofuturist. I just really like this vibe I like that this is a thing now. This should have been here for my Bobbi mix but I bet I can still find a use OH MY GOD I HAVE A USE.

“Knock Yourself Out.” Oh my god. “In the dark I can feel the weight of the world pushing down on top of my shoulders. You think you’re strong enough to carry it all, go ahead, knock yourself out.” On “shoulders” I got a big old hit of nostalgia. I miss oldschool Michelle Branch. I should clarify: I have not listened to any new Michelle Branch albums prior to this one since Hotel Paper but I still definitely play the first two sometimes. I am deeply sentimental about old-school Michelle Branch. “I see beauty in resistance” damn, girl, you’re hitting my buttons.

“Temporary Feeling.” This is weirdly… sexy? But not, but yes? I’m not sure. It feels slinky even though it’s not. “You think its only physical until we make it chemical” augh yes. And the doo-doo-doos are just so cute. This is definitely soulmates with Grace Potter’s Midnight. Damn.

“Carry Me Home.” This is all so damn cute. It just is. There’s a really amazing bit of vintage to this. “And in the morning I’m just chasing shadow, I think I love you, but what do I know.” She’s dipping her voice in the nicest way on parts of this chorus. Especially the end with an extra “the hell” thrown in there.

“Not a Love Song.” This sounds really happy considering it’s kind of a fuck-you song. Like, Sara Bareilles-style happy fuck you. We need more of that in the world and it really works out. What a great. “You’re just somebody that I wasted my youth on.

“Last Night.” Wow, this is a very similar sentiment to a track off Grace Potter’s Midnight. Also an Elle King song. Also also also. It’s a little more fatalistic and relationship-driven but it works. “We’re gonna light up on the night sky.” I like that.

“Bad Side.” This feels a little mellower now for reasons I can’t explain. “Let your demons play with mine.” Cute even though it’s really not? Like this isn’t a nice thing but it’s still really cute?

“Shadow.” Ooh, heavenly ohs and ahs. “You’re a book and I have memorized every page” and “because the night is just Earth’s shadow falling on you” and “look how the stars are suspended in space, you can try to explain as you’re losing your faith. And you can search all you want, find all the answers. You fell in love with a girl, that’s all that matters.” Das gay. I’m assuming das gay because there are not any gendered pronouns anywhere else.

“City.” Groooovy. “That somewhere down the darkest alley is a heartbeat” well okay! This is pretty. There’s a dude here too I think? I don’t know who.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on A Long and Happy Life

3 Apr

Or: Give Me This Right Now Even Though I’m Betting Most Of These Tracks Will Also Be On The Next Album When It Drops. This is an EP, there are only 4 tracks, but I don’t care I’m ready.

“A Long and Happy Life.” Hello Liz! “I was raised by strongheaded women, men who tested limits.” I mean this is country. This is a country song. Moreso than some of their stuff. I’m fine with it. I’m not a big straight country person… but it’s part of these guys. It’s an element. It’s part of what raised them and what makes them who they are and I love who they are. “Make me a country bride, you’ll be my prince of tides” well that seems to be a slightly strange reference but sure. It’s still pretty. It’s wholesome. Whatever. Y’all do you.

“I Moved South.” A bit more guitar. GIRL DUET OH MY GODDDDDDD. One of the only things their catalogue has been somewhat lacking thus far. They’re singing about the nice things about Southern culture (and Southern music culture) and that’s nice. This is full of harmonies and it’s semi-autobiographical, clearly, and that’s nice too.

“No Peace in Quiet.” Oh no it’s the one that’s going to be like to make me cry. I can tell just from the opening chords. “My friends are always over so I’m not alone” oh Liz. Oh my god. This is so just… this is lonely and melancholic and beautiful and shit. “I’ll hate myself for checking as if I don’t know that it’s just the wind chimes” fuck damn you guys. “There’s nothing I hear louder than the words I never said” ow ow ow ow ow.

“Ain’t Love.” Okay, so this EP is mostly Liz. That’s fine! I love them all. “A broken heart looks good on me.” Oh, damn damn. “Ain’t love till it hurts like this.” “We only share the happy pictures we take, we put a filter on our own heartache” they’re straight owning up to things I’ve psychologically observed about other people oh my god this is. Something. This is kind of upbeat but it’s like, country angry-sad. This is not the first time I’ve felt they were kind of dissecting things emotionally and it’s interesting as hell.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: on Eisley live (for the third time)

27 Mar

I feel like I should say oops about this, but I don’t mean that at all because Eisley concerts are one of my favorite places to go in the whole world and that’s official and true. It just is. I was – not worried, but curious about how the lineup change might affect the overall live vibe, but I had absolutely nothing to worry about, you guys. I miss Stacy and Chauntelle, I do, I love them both dearly, but everything is every bit as magical now as once it was.

Backwards Dancer did not open as their lead singer had lost hist voice, but Civilian played, and I got some more humorously misheard lyrics for you! (Nothing meanly meant. It’s just, hearing live music that you don’t know all the words to can be like this sometimes.)

Your hair is a sign of astringence, fallen place in the back of your ears.

Consequence of years inside the polyps of home.

Mama you raised a Californian, easy to say.

Exceeding every dream I ever had, Barb Sunday.

Some will sing a secret that I care, beauty times escaped to the balcony.

One by one we send it, sucks for you we’re trading it in.

Hair that is sparkle ’cause you did it all.

So I walked in the glen in pursuit of a lion that walked the grounds.

Please stand over the trap!

Girls are talking shit about the government.

Same @ the last lyric.

Anyway. By the time Eisley came on we managed to work ourselves to a place where, possibly, I might actually have made eye contact with Sherri a couple of times. Or not, it doesn’t really matter, but that’s where we were positioned, anyway. They started with “Louder Than a Lion” off the new album and it was here that I first observed: this music sounds a significant amount more rock and roll when it is played live. That song has a grunge techno undertone anyway, but the instruments and the lights (god the lights were so pretty, swirling and different colors and everything) and just the vibe is incredible.

Next, I believe, was “Smarter.” This was warm and familiar to me ( one track I’ve used on a mix album, the Caroline Farrell one) and I smiled and everything felt right. Was I mouthing lyrics the entire time like a big nerd? You bet. Was I ashamed of this? No.

But then came something I was not expecting, at all, and that something was “Millstone” ( two tracks I’ve used on a mix album, the Jemma one). On the album, “Millstone” was Chauntelle’s track, vocally, and as such I’d pretty much figured on never hearing it live, because Chauntelle didn’t solo much in live shows. I obviously love the song, though – so hearing it live was a big beautiful warm rush of joy. Or something sappy like that. Sherri’s voice is different than Chauntelle’s, more crystalline or what have you, and I couldn’t pick a favorite but it was lovely.

Sherri is adorable, by the way. Took various shouts from the audience very well (they were fond shouts, if sometimes odd) and quipped and occasionally swore and giggled. None of the others talked much, but they were into their playing and it was nice.

Anyway, I can’t remember the exact order of the rest of the set, but off I’m Only Dreaming they did, if I recall, “Defeatist” and “A Song for the Birds” and “You Are Mine,” so the big ones. And the rest of the set wandered through their discography very nicely varied.

“Memories” and “I Wasn’t Prepared” (Sherri invited everyone to sing along to this one, which I was thrilled about because I am the nerd who can sing all of the harmonies to every Eisley song and I felt very cool harmonizing, but also it was loud enough that nobody could probably hear me if I got pitchy) and “Lost At Sea” from Room Noises (one girl in the crowd kept asking for “Golly Sandra,” but that was not to be, and I’m fine with it because I’ve heard it before, but it is cute and I do think I know why the girl was asking).

“Many Funerals” ( three tracks I’ve used on a mix album, hipster Game of Thrones) and “Invasion” (✓ four tracks I’ve used on a mix album, the general Dollhouse one, though it occurred to me not only that this is an incredible rock song, like damn, but it could also work incredibly well for the current line of events in Agents of SHIELD) and “I Could Be There For You” ( five tracks I’ve used on a mix album, Mal/Inara, as well as being the origin for the title of my damn blog) and, I think, “If You’re Wondering” from Combinations (I still want to hear “Marsh King’s Daughter” live, for the same reason that the random was asking for “Golly Sandra,” but I’m not getting my hopes up.)

Also “Sad” and “Ambulance” ( six tracks I’ve used on a mix album, Bennett/Topher; they closed with this one and god I felt torn in half it was so beautiful) from The Valley.

And also “Drink the Water” (which is not on one of my mix albums but I still heavily associate with things, and also Sherri killed it I was so proud) and “The Night Comes” ( seven tracks I’ve used on a mix album, Jon/Ygritte, and guys, you guys, she said they were going to do it and I swear I melted, I wanted to hear it so bad last time but they played it this time and it was everything I’ve ever wanted) and “Shelter” from Currents.

Anyway, support these fairy princesses and princes they’re glorious.

–your fangirl heroine.

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