Tag Archives: music monday

Music Monday :: on First Aid Kit Live (and Ruins)

29 Jan

I just received the album this week, and therefore figured that since we were going to see them live I’d just wait and talk about everything all at once. This means no song-by-song play-by-play, but there is still much adoration to be had.

Their opening act was a fellow called Van William, who was not really someone I’d have sought out on my own but honestly that’s mostly because I’m a musical misandrist, probably. He’s apparently besties with Klara and Johanna Söderberg, so he must be a good person.

They did play most of the new album (I’m looking at the tracklisting and only doubting if I heard a couple of them, and even then I might have done, I just don’t know them that well yet) and I was thrilled to hear. My goodness, I am addicted to these harmonies. We were seated very, very high up so I don’t think we got all of the benefits of the light show (there were projections on the back wall, but we only saw approximately the bottom fourth of them) but it was still very pretty and electric.

As for the songs I already knew, it was a good mix of things from The Lion’s Roar and Stay Gold, including both title tracks. There were no Big Black and the Blue deep tracks, unfortunately (I was really hoping for maybe “Josefin” but I knew that was the longest shot ever since it’s such a random favorite to have), but they did also definitely do “Wolf,” which I mention because in addition to “The Lion’s Roar” it’s the big one from the Game of Thrones fanmixes obviously, and also it’s noteworthy that they performed it because it’s actually just a bonus track on the album even. I feel like they might well know what’s up.

They also did a song that is unrecorded as yet, I’m pretty sure, called “You Are the Problem Here.” This is basically a punk rock feminist anthem about how abusive men can fuck off and women don’t owe them shit. It’s brill and kickass and watching men in the audience be uncomfortable when Johanna explained what it was about and why (because #timesup, y’know) was pretty funny too.

And also of note was their cover of Heart’s “Crazy On you,” which was also pretty damn punk rock. It’s fun watching these sweet girls do punk. It’s fun watching these sweet girls do everything.

–your fangirl heroine.

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Music Monday :: 2017 in music

25 Dec

It’s been a busy year for me, as I’m sure the lack of daily posting has proved. Turns out when you live with your someone your evenings are rather more occupied. But I’m definitely not complaining. What that means is that tonight’s in review is going to be shorter. I’ve been listening to a lot of stuff, just not all brand new stuff, and here’s the best of the year in any case.

6. Hopeless Romantic, Michelle Branch
Some good stuff up in here. Always fun when an old favorite sounds finds a new sound that’s also sort of that of an old favorite of yours.

5. Keepsake, Elizabeth and the Catapult
As always, Elizabeth Ziman makes perfect music the end.

4. The Con X, various artists
I didn’t actually review this album but we’ve listened to it about a thousand and one times already. What this is is, in celebration of the tenth anniversary of their classic album The Con Tegan and Sara had a bunch of their musical artist friends do a cover album. And it’s brilliant. Sara Bareilles does “Floorplan.” CHVRCHES does “Call It Off.” Shura does “The Con.” Other artists I’m less familiar with do other awesome covers. It’s remarkably gay, although it’s not gay when it’s unsettling hearing guys sing some of these songs. Not irredeemably unsettling, just it takes adjusting.

3. Melodrama, Lorde
I actually ended up looping this album and her first one a lot this summer. It’s got a particular moody aesthetic that I can groove on, and sometimes I like moody music in hot weather because it’s… psychologically cooler. I don’t know, it’s weird. But it worked. They also play a couple of the songs at my job and I subtly lip-sync to them when I’m not with customers, because I make a point to do that to my lady music.

2. Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, Halsey
Belatedly ETA because how could I forget damn me. This album is so good and it’s been nonstop in my car for what seems like ages now. Brilliance.

1. I’m Only Dreaming, Eisley
Of course! My beloveds are always going to be number one. I’m fairly sure at this point that “Louder Than a Lion” tops my list for this album’s songs, but they’re all brill and seeing them (again) was brill and I genuinely and wholeheartedly approve of them.

–your fangirl heroine.

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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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