Tag Archives: music monday

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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Music Monday :: on Hayley Kiyoko live

13 Mar

We were not, as we somewhat feared, the oldest ones in the room at this show. (There were much older and much sketchier people there, who yelled things that you should not yell at anyone but especially not a 24-year-old who openly professes via song her interest in… not the people that were yelling.) That was nice. We were also nowhere near the most openly queer (a young girl standing in front of us was wrapped in a rainbow flag, and I’m pretty sure she wasn’t the only one; much like Tegan and Sara last fall, it was a great place to spot plaids and glasses and patches on jackets). We were just there, having a nice time, enjoying the delicious Sapphic joy. And not putting our hands in the air because that’s not something either of us do.

(I did sing along a couple of times, I’ll admit, when others were [although that was most of the concert let’s be real]; “Palace,” because it’s beautiful, and “Girls Like Girls” because well, that’s why we were all there, wasn’t it? But I didn’t sing loudly, because that’s scary and also because I know better now. A benefit of being in my sage mid-20s, I suppose.)

The opening act was perfectly… fine. For what they were. Flor, they were called. They were a band comprised of boys, and because I did not know their lyrics I spent most of their performance playing a game where I discreetly typed out the lyrics it sounded like they were singing to me. This is not an insult to anything but a reflection of the fact that I’m seriously used to theatre diction where you Can Hear All Of The Words Clearly. (See also: the great Taylor Hicks debacle.)

Oopsies hearts alone, is overgrown, I’m calling you home.

So nightly ghosts eat, so night night in yeah yeah… go nightly sure ghostly in my feet, in a nice whisper where you find me, hold on something is making me gun!

Set up the moons, my attention, new birds, new Maureen, vote freely, shout boy you’re early.

They covered the Adele song “Send My Love” and at one point I thought I heard “If you read if you’re ready kids door.”

Can’t take out my fire for from my heartbeat …….. this ain’t lovely Barnes shot me, how many times make myself over that’s who I long to rest to your shoulder, oh oh heartbeat testing on me.

Discussing your story, you can elope with your shoulder, over behind, oh bleeding, it’s the light …… on the other side treat me like paradise, far from a pretty cooler don’t care if you’re alright.

For the wide, stay with your under, connects, Aloysius, scratches, naturally seen the sun …… found a place tracer, going on stopping stones walls, it’s not hard, taint.”

And etcetera. This is a fun game and I think I will play it again.

Anyway. Hayley herself was absolutely lovely. There was something nice about knowing that she was almost definitely going to play all of my favs (since the girl has a total of twenty songs that can be found online, and I assumed she would favor her newer two EPs instead of the oldest one and the unreleased tracks) and that it would be an easily predictable length of concert. Nothing against when I go for the Decemberists or Eisley or M. Ward or something, but those guys have dozens of songs, so it’s more unpredictable. This was nice in that I knew exactly what we were getting ourselves into and it was exactly what it was.

It was a small venue, a club, a room in a bar; it was packed very tight (which some people in the audience could have stood to be more mindful of, but that’s always true of standing-room venues) and it was packed primarily with smol queer girlchildren exalting. I don’t think there was a single song it didn’t seem like at least part of everyone was singing along with, and that’s fun. Hayley certainly encouraged it and seemed adorably impressed with everyone’s level of enthusiasm and commitment.

Hayley Kiyoko is officially a delight as a person, too. She was telling cute stories about being smol and Sapphic and emotional and while I did not relate to everything directly it was refreshing and cute. Also, much like at Tegan and Sara, it was fun to watch presumably heterosexual men be uncomfortable about these little divergences. Also, she’s a giant nerd and dances, as I heard in advance via tumblr, exactly like she does in her videos: goofy and ridiculous.

Also! She did that thing that I love, where the singer jumps in on backup percussion. There was a machine she fiddled with in some songs and a drum pad kid she viciously attacked with green drumsticks during others and it was a joy to watch and god, I just love singers on backup percussion because they are always having fun. At the end she tossed her drumsticks into the crowd and I’m sure they made the smol queer girlchildren very happy.

And yes, re: the setlist: all of Citrine was played (started with “One Bad Night” since that was the name of the tour, started the encore with “Gravel to Tempo,” threw the others – and “Sleepover” in throughout) and most of This Side of Paradise (“Girls Like Girls” was the second part of the encore, and a truly triumphant moment) and I think just one or two off of A Belle to Remember (not the titular track, which is fine and well by me since I sort of got burned out on that particular track at my old retail job where it was in rotation). All of it gay and all of it delightful.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: on Marian Call in concert

6 Mar

We went after the con on Saturday to a concert in a room in the back of a bar, at drift partner’s encouragement (she’s been to what I’m given to believe is a truly impressive amount of Marian’s concerts), and it was the smallest concert I’ve ever been to. This is a good thing! There were a very few people there and it was a very small venue, perhaps eight seats to a row and maybe ten rows, maybe? “Intimate” is the word that professional publications would probably use, and it sounds a bit pretentious but also it’s true.

But also this might just be Marian. She has a very personal way of singing, making snarky remarks and gesturing with her hands not unlike I do if I’m singing in my own car at a stoplight and singing at every general direction of the audience. Also she riffs, vocally, in a very jazz-standard-y kind of way despite the fact that her stuff is not really jazz; this gives live performances a certain sense of surprise and discovery.

I am somewhat pleased to report that, even as a relatively new initiate to her catalog, I at least knew of most of the songs she performed. Most of the new album was played, of course, with singalongs in a couple of places that I was too shy to partake in but appreciated the sentiment behind, but there were also songs that dated as early as Got to Fly, aka the only of her albums I’d dipped my toes into without drift partner’s pointing, which was nice. There was a humorous political diversion that segued into a singalong rendition of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian (sidenote: it also reminded me how angry I still am about that being nonsensically shoved in at the end of Spamalot where it had not business being, and I’m not even a Monty Python purist).

She promised to do more in the near future, for longer and in larger spaces, so hopefully that will happen soon. We spoke to her afterward, because drift partner is actually somewhat acquainted with her by now (we also spoke to her at her boyfriend’s booth at the con) and she is perfectly lovely. Also she drew a lizard on a rock for us.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: my thoughts on Memories Are Now

6 Feb

Jesca Hoop is a weirdo and I like her.

“Memories Are Now.” This song feels a little disorienting, which I mean as a compliment. Like it’s sweet but also there’s just a lot of things going on but also the lyrics are kind of going in circles, nice circles, I’m into it. This is a strange effect. She’s good at that kind of weird shit. I like it.

“The Lost Sky.” “You became the dark star and left me all alone” or maybe “dog star”  but “dark star” is creepier and I like that. “Out of our secrets we built a home” that’s also nice. This is just interesting and it’s foreboding for reasons I cannot at all fathom. Maybe it is “dog star.” I like that too, don’t get me wrong. Either way. This is nice. (I would also like to let you know, Very Certain Reader, that I instinctively typed it “Darkstar” the first time.)

“Animal Kingdom Chaotic.” Typewriter noises! “You know you wanna but computer says no” mm Jesca honey are we going to have to have to have a talk about the fetishization of computer hating? We might. It’s a pretty song if you don’t pay attention to that. I don’t know. I’m just really sensitive because like. Computers aren’t the devil, guys. It’s important to engage with living things too, but mm. Yeah. “Robots are the new exotic” on that note, y’all, don’t fuck robots.

“Simon Says.” I think part of it is that there’s always this weird lilting singsong thing to her songs, but there are also thousands of levels sometimes. It’s entrancing. It’s easy to kind of just fall in.

“Cut Connection.” This song seems sort of angry about something, which is not bad. Or maybe just vehement in a way a lot of hers aren’t. It’s interesting. Angry army war music.

“Songs of Old.” Also the songs sound somehow at once timeless and unusual, like they’ve always existed forever but there’s nothing quite like them. It’s a strange combination, but I like it. It works. This one especially feels embedded in like, legend. Maybe that’s partially the like, legendary type lyrics, rocks of ages and empires and stuff, but it also just feels that way. Solemn.

“Unsaid.” More lilting. “The night is long and the bed is cold and the heart is hard and the embers cold and the door is closed when you walk away” I think I’m fascinated by really long musical sentences that sort of blend into each other like this. Also the instruments make it sort of feel like a jig. At a Renaissance Fair. But in a good way. Not that those aren’t good, but I mean it’s not cheesy-sounding. It’s not trying too hard.

“Pegasi.” Strum strum! “You’re the envy of the sky.” Oh that is so pretty. This is so pretty. This is also (obviously) legendary. I feel like she’s trying to write songs that sound like medieval ballads, in a new way. Also props for working “supernova” into lyrics seamlessly.

“The Coming.” Lo-fi! Hello there. It sounds like a finale.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: 2016 in music, part 2 (10 albums of the year)

3 Jan

Posted on a Tuesday because the holidays messed everyone up and also we’ve been moving house and deal with it.

10. Wild Things, Ladyhawke
Solid synth for the year.

9. case/lang/veirs, case/lang/veirs
This album was classic from the first time I heard it.

8. The Bride, Bat for Lashes
And this? This is the kind of epic creepiness and melancholia that we all need in our lives.

7. Jessica Rabbit, Sleigh Bells
On this album, Sleigh Bells gets a bit more lyrically cohesive than usual and to emotionally devastating effect while continuing to bring the electronoise delight.

6. Beyond the Bloodhounds, Adia Victoria
The perfect mix of twang and devastation and blues and gloriousness.

5. Citrine, Hayley Kiyoko
The only badness is that this is so short. Otherwise it’s perfect ladygay delight.

4. In Loving Memory Of When I Gave a Shit, Lolo
My beloved, darling, deep-voiced and furious and glorious princess.

3. Good Grief, Lucius
Ah these blessed weirdos. I adore them and everything they do.

2. I’m Alone, No You’re Not, Joseph
As mentioned on Saturday.

1. Love You To Death, Tegan and Sara
As also mentioned. Bless.

–your fangirl heroine.

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