04 June, 2013

Crowdfunding Campaigns to watch! (And get involved with.)

Ironing Board Sam's TENTH - A Music Documentary


This project honestly looks stellar, and I am so excited to have been able to crowdfund the tier where I can actually watch the movie when it is released. Get on board before you can't! It's got 7 days left, and the new goal is $10,000. To lift information directly from the page:

$10,000 will allow us to expand the scope of the movie. Reaching this goal will enable us to shoot additional scenes for the film. At the 10k goal, we'll be ab[l]e to submit TENTH into 5 additional festivals!
That's awesome. Plus, the film-maker has been partnered with the Music Maker Relief Foundation for years. This is a great project, and absolutely worth supporting (either monetarily, or via signal boosting - AKA Tweet it, link it, Facebook it).

Spark Shira E's New Album and Adventures!


I've been watching Shira E. and waiting for more musical releases since my first year of college, when I saw her perform with one of our a capella groups. She is stellar. Not only does she write poetry and perform like nobody's goddamn business, but she is also trying to keep her music within her own control while touring the U.S. This is no small fete. She's over halfway to her goal, and you can still snag a digital and physical (for all you music snobs) copy of her new album for just $25. Listen to her music on Bandcamp and IndieGoGo, and then think about this:

To tour this great country requires funding. There are endless expenses on the road from lodging to gas to renting necessary transportation. But just imagine: a $40 donation fills the gas tank from Cincinnati, OH to Ann Arbor, MI. (Check out the map above to see where your donation could send me!) You will be adding shows to my tour, putting wind in my sails & launching me for two brilliant months on the road.
 That's pretty epic, and you can get involved. Again, even if you can't contribute monetarily, you can absolutely signal boost this post! 

02 June, 2013

"Zebra" (Live at the Ottawa Geurilla Busk) by John Butler Trio

Jesse & Celine (Reprise of Romance)

I watched Before Sunrise and Before Sunset in an unduly romantic double-feature fashion yesterday, while trying to escape some of this heat. It was most definitely a sweet escape, which ultimately surprised me. I had watched Before Sunrise back in 2010 with a good friend of mine, and we had found the story laughable and almost tragic. This gorgeous, intelligent woman seeming to ignore the imbecilic attempts at getting laid via pseudo-intellect from a greasy young man (young being the most important descriptor, I think). But I think we missed something on that first viewing – maybe having never experienced something like that night that ended in a true and non-predatory way. I mean, one time I met this attractive older Englishmen on a train, and he turned out to be a drunken philanderer who alternately showed me pictures of his two beautiful children and attempted to make out with me. Gross and disappointing.

What I'm trying to say is that I think sometimes you have to be able to step outside of your experience a bit to understand a movie. Maybe that is obvious. But even more so, with some great movies you just can't get them the way they ought to be understood until you've done a bit of growing yourself (or, a bit of strategic ungrowing). Before Sunrise might just be like those great books that you love upon first reading (around age 15, while innocence is still somewhat intact), find laughable upon second reading (in your early twenties, when you've dealt with some cads and feel the world is a bit more real and hard for you), but maybe love again when you've found yourself at a point where you can see how it could be true.

Part of why this movie resonates with me at this moment, is that I am in a great relationship where I wish we got more time to just wander around Vienna at night and talk. That would be more exciting and stimulating than most things I can think of, which alone brings some truth back to the romance depicted in Before Sunrise.

One interesting thing about this storyline is that it is perfectly placed in time. Jump ten years into the future and your two characters would have Facebook pages and internet trails, and even if they hadn't exchanged any information at the end of the movie, they most certainly would have crept on each others' internet imprints and possibly even drunkenly friended one another at a low point. This is the truth of this time: people are often cowardly about romance outside of a screen, and also bored enough for you to guess how they will be just as boring as everyone else. Jump ten years before the movie is set, and it would've been the mid-eighties. The pledges of undying love and early jumps into marriage and/or parenthood would have left the end of the movie sour with a stronger question about what these two characters gave up just to stay together physically. Instead, we have a linear time-capsule holding the promise and the disenchantment of the early nineties, followed by the semi-apocalyptic tendencies of the Bush era, and...what of the new movie – Before Midnight?

Despite the fact that it has been released (its trailer, combined with a Tavis Smiley interview I saw with Ethan Hawke prompted me to pick up the first two again), it is in limited release at the moment. I will most likely go to see it alone when it does come to my area. I just think that the relationship of Jesse and Celine is both one that deserves regular reprise and room to breathe in my own mind. I'm not going to guess about what the driving action of Before Midnight will be, as I am far more excited for the Linklater-esque filming of entire conversations between two close people. That seemingly untouched connection is what is so captivating about these films. The magic of two people meeting and really getting each other. I hope that is made only a bit sweeter, darker, and more complex by their aging together in Before Midnight.

Want a movie, album, etc. covered in my blog? Send me a DM on Twitter, or write in the comments below.

"Just In Time" (Live in Paris) by Nina Simone

01 June, 2013

Orchestra Technologica

So, I have a little bit of a Twitter presence, which showcases my split personality (equal parts coffee, gender studies, book recommendations, random quotations, and music videos). Somehow I caught the attention of chiptune artist, freelance sound engineer, and video game reviewer N8bit, who sent me a DM asking if I wanted to hear his music. I – quite honestly – have not really broken into the chiptune scene before, but I am always up to hear something new, so I subsequently listened to his whole EP (Pixelhate [edit: I had missed this title earlier, but I don't want my readers to be ill-informed]) on Bandcamp.

The EP consists of five songs, starting off with a doozy called "To The Brim," which genuinely sounds like a miniature orchestra walked into your GameBoy Advance and started playing originals over your old-school Pokémon soundtrack. I've always been a fan of the chiptune classics - Zelda, Mario, the Tetris theme: they are all among the soundtrack of my childhood, but I never figured I would get into the music outside of the game environment. What's cool about this EP is that it is immersive, leaving you little room but to let it take you on its own adventure. You can also jam to it. I found myself wishing that "Ice Pond" had some rapping action going on, because the beat is just so damn catchy. Hey N8bit, have you ever thought about pairing up with Aesop Rock for an album?

Anyway, this is definitely worth a listen and with a "pay what you want" format on Bandcamp, totally worth purchasing, if you love it. Even if you don't love it, I say share, share, share. This music is bound to make any #90skid feel like they just ate some warheads while sitting on a sunny lawn playing Harvest Moon. 

28 May, 2013

New Musical Swag from May!

This is my newer music from the last few weeks (not pictured here is and MP3 copy of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's album, The Heist). I was so excited about showing you all what I am going to be writing about in the next couple of weeks that I forgot to turn off the flash (which is why the Phoenix album looks like it's about to explode in the first picture). Then when I did shut off the flash the whole set took on a yellowish tinge, so I decided to just include both pictures.

Here's a breakdown:

Top left corner: Dream of Life by Patti Smith. This is one of my favorite later albums by Patti. It was produced by her husband Fred "Sonic" Smith who also wrote the track "People Have The Power." It's one of the albums she made after she was married and had at least one child (I think both at that point), and her focus has really transitioned. The art is obviously prime in her mind, but the accessibility is also there. I cannot wait to listen to this on my record player.

Top right corner: Streetlights by Bonnie Raitt. I walked into Bullmoose Records thinking I wanted some early Bonnie Raitt, and then I proceeded to look at the covers of all the albums they had until I found one where she looked like a baby. Even so, it's still her fourth fucking album. But the great thing is that it has "Angel of Montgomery" written by John Prine and "The Song About The Midway" by Joni Mitchell on it. I have never listened to much Joni Mitchell, but she is a musician who I want to delve into, so I figured this is a good way to start.

Bottom left corner: Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend. This album is supposed to be gloomy. I mean, just take a look at the cover art, which is an actual picture of New York city one of its smoggiest days - a day when people actually died from the air pollution. So yeah, this is distopian Vampire Weekend, but I think it's still right in their wheelhouse. Jumping from cardigans and yachts on Cape Cod, and rich people problems, to - well - the problems that rich people sometimes create seems pretty perfect.

Bottom middle: United by Phoenix. I have been surprised by my interest in Phoenix's latest album, and my brother noticed this, so he bought me Phoenix's first album for my birthday! This is so great. It's a hodgepodge in the best type of way, and I finally realized that Phoenix is a French band (where have I been?).

Bottom right corner: The Sky Is Calling by Kim Boekbinder. I Kickstarted this album awhile ago, and I was pumped when it came in the mail. It's a whole bunch of pop-rock tunes inspired by space, space travel, etc. It's like if Neil Degrasses Tyson and Madonna had a baby, and then that baby hung out with the Cure and Occupy Wall Street people.

I cannot wait to do this music justice on this blog. Hopefully, I will be a font of productivity in the next few weeks and I won't leave you all hanging.

25 May, 2013

Calling all...

...people of the internet!!

I just posted this request on Twitter:

This is a question I need answered, Twitter. So far Google has failed me. I want piano music that is moody and mixed like the best Regina Spektor. But I don't want the singer to sound twee or fragile (like no Florence, Ingrid, etc. etc.) Any recommendations??

This is now going to exist as an open thread where responses can live. Come share your music with us in the comments. XO

"Patron Saint" (Live) by Regina Spektor

Spektor is a fantastic live performer, and the quality of her recordings is so strong! I have been re-listening to all of her albums lately, and finding myself incredibly drawn to the darkness and movement of her lyrical play. Piano is a perfect accompaniment - a second voice. It all makes me want to learn piano.

22 May, 2013

I Don't Care...

...Jon Lovitz!

21 May, 2013

Get to Know the Uncluded

"Special Education" by Goodie Mob featuring Janelle Monae

I just found this song on Mass Appeal, and it's a pre-release single off the album Age Against The Machine by Goodie Mob (which features Cee-Lo). It's pretty cool. It has some amazing bass and crunchy-industrial music, while Janelle Monae sings the slick chorus.

20 May, 2013

Despite Myself: Music I've been rocking to (while mildly cringing at myself)

"I Love It" by Icona Pop has blown up since being featured in the Girls episode where Hannah tries cocaine. It is contagious and it is the epitome of a teen girl anthem, but I don't care, I love it. This song is particularly great to turn up really loud in the car and jam out to. Hrmm, what else? It has this line which always make me smile: "you're from the seventies, but I'm a nineties bitch." Here's the official video:

We play this song by Lil Mama a lot in my shop, and the other day I saw a fourteen-year old represent while trying on some lip balm. I also DEFINITELY get this stuck in my head about three times every week. "What'chu know 'bout me?"

Keri Hilson has long been one of my favorite pop R&B singers, and this song is banging. This is sort of along the lines of Destiny's Child with "Independent Women" but has the deep and grimey sound of post-dubstep pop/R&B. This is a super funky track and "all my girls, fly girls getting money":

Clairy Browne and the Bangin' Rackettes are all the way from Australia, and so, so soulful. This song in particular has been high up on my list for awhile, and I love the live version. It's hilarious:

I generally am a bit annoyed by Lana Del Ray, but this one song has always held me. It's just very different from a lot of other music right now and I can't help but enjoy the creative ways in which she sings the crazy, pouty lyrics:

So, this post has been largely populated by female pop and R&B stars up to this point, but that's just because I've been listening to a lot of music in those genres recently. Here is something a little different, "Entertainment" the newest single from alt-rockers Phoenix. I am really digging their latest album, maybe even more than Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Still, they are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me:

But now my question to you all is what constitutes your own guilty pleasures? Mine are generally a combination of an initial adverse reaction to a song/artist for any number of reasons, followed by a genuine enjoyment of some of their music. Hit me up in the comments with your answers.

17 April, 2013

"My Dream Girl Don't Exist" - Neutral Milk Hotel and a bonus "Two Headed Boy" cover by the Dresden Dolls

You can read more about the song in this short article from tiny mixtapes (Neutral Milk Hotel - My Dream Girl Don't Exist), but in the meantime know that the chord progression is the same as Green Day's "When I Come Around." That familiarity gives this song an even eerier feeling than most of Neutral Milk Hotel's releases, but it's so great.

Here's your bonus Dresden Dolls cover:

Now go listen to all of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea and think of ways to make the world better through love/music/art/science/creation/rebellion.