Listening to What We Saw from the Cheap Seats, the sixth studio album from real-life Manic Pixie Dream Girl Regina Spektor, is a pretty philosophical experience. Spektor has done a lot of changing. Her music has changed, her career has changed (read: exploded), her audience has changed (read: used to be some people, is now ALL OF THE PEOPLE). But she's also done a fair amount of staying exactly the same. This isn't going to be a wistful post from a longtime fan, bemoaning the loss of an indie darling to the riptide of the mainstream. I promise. But Cheap Seats, as it turns out, are where you get the best view of the big picture.
Water! It's pretty important and beautiful and easy to use as a metaphor, so it turns out there are a lot of great songs about it. This mix features songs from Rae Spoon, Your Heart Breaks, Kimya Dawson, and Mos Def. Enjoy!
Sometime between White Lung’s first record, It’s the Evil, and their second, Sorry, the band blew up. Maybe it’s because of the rock writing of singer Mish Way, who proves that not all Vice writers are raging douchebags. Maybe it’s how Way sweats off things like a broken face. But really, it’s probably the fact that Sorry rips like few other punk records this year, and, lucky you, you can stream it right here.
Girls Rock Camp summer showcase season is back! Since 2001 in Portland, OR, Girls Rock Camps have been empowering girls and women through music creation in cities and towns across North America and Europe, with a total of 37 camps in the international GRC network, Girls Rock Camp Alliance. GRC Summer Camp is a week-long program where girls and women ages 8-18 learn a new instrument, form bands, and collaborate to create an original song performed live complete with screaming fans and camper-designed band t-shirts. This BitchTapes is a sampling of songs written and performed by campers from Girls Rock Camps across North America and Europe. Check out a camp showcase this summer at a GRC near you!
JD Samson is certainly no stranger to Bitch; a significant voice in the Riot Grrrl movement, and a more than prominent queer and feminist icon, it only makes sense to let you know what she's up to this summer. Last week, while attempting to figure out exactly what to write for this post (because leaving you with just a list of tour dates would be boring), a dear friend deemed me a “JD Samson connoisseur.” While I gladly accepted this title, there's definitely a bit of a difference between knowing a lot about someone and having a mild obsession* with (read: giant crush on) that person, and you can probably guess where I stand within this spectrum of connoisseurship. Though, with this giant crush, comes a great deal of respect and admiration for JD as both an artist and an activist.
The word “forward” keeps popping up in my sphere. Wisconsinites wielded it during their recent recall election (it’s their state motto). Obama has chosen it as his new campaign slogan.
I’ve decided to adapt it as my personal slogan as well. My life has gone in about a million different directions over the last year—I finished school, went through a major break-up, threw stability to the wind and moved halfway across the country. I know I’m not alone in feeling uncertain about the direction my life will take from here (it is graduation season after all), but that doesn’t make moving forward any easier.
So, to those of you who aren’t sure where you’re going either: I made this “forward”-themed mix for you. Track list after the jump!
I've been here for less than a week, and this Pacific Northwest weather is not quite clicking with my system yet. I wake up in the morning, birds are chirping at my window, the sun is gleaming on my face, and it appears to be beautiful, then I step outside and it's cold. There's a giant grey cloud looming overhead, but it's sunny across the street, and just when you think the weather is going to be fine, it starts to rain? Someone tell me this changes soon. All I'm hearing is that summers here are the best, but I feel like I'm being lied to.
Kat Edmonson makes warm, hand-holding love songs that hearken back to smoky 1940s lounges or swinging 1960s girl groups, with simple lyrics and arrangements that keep her message accessible and sweet. And now that it's almost summer, the breezy, throwback pop which makes up Edmonson's sophomore album Way Down Low is exactly what the doctor ordered. Read after the jump for an interview with Austin native Edmonson on music, writing, champagne, and birth doulas (!!).
For me, the 1920s stand out as one of the coolest times to be alive. The music, the parties, the changes in social mores, the fashion, the burgeoning of film and radio. (This is of course, with rose-tinted glasses neglecting the poverty, the subjugation of classes, ethnicities, and women—not to mention the violence brought on by prohibition.) Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby introduces high school English classes everywhere to the roaring twenties and its lavish galas filled with copious amounts of glamour and booze—set to a soundtrack of swinging tunes.
On the other hand, the trailer for Baz Luhrmann's Great Gatsby, released this week, gives us a Leo Dicaprio trying his best Paul Newman imitation and an indulgent take on an already-indulgent literary masterpiece. This includes using contemporary music instead of music from the renowned Jazz Age (didn't we learn this was a bad idea from A Knight's Tale?).
To right this terrible wrong, here's a playlist of some of the period's finest. (Sorry Yeezy and Hov, but Bessie Smith makes for a better Jazz Age soundtrack than Watch the Throne does.) You're encouraged to play these songs while watching the trailer or when re-watching episodes of Boardwalk Empire. More bathtub gin please...