It took me two showers to wash off the dirt from Portland-based roots music festival Pickathon last weekend, but I'm still basking in the glow of new music discoveries. Some of my faves after the jump, with links to band websites and performances...
The world's biggest flirt has triumphed over a social revolutionary on the pop charts: Carly Rae Jepsen and her flouncy seven-week chart topper "Call Me Maybe" finally unseated Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" as the longest-running number one single for a female singer with the Interscope label.
Flirty summer fun winning out over social comment, according to the dollars we are paying for the music they are making, means something. And yet, since this ideological overthrow was executed in the arena of pop music, the philosophical shift our iTunes purchases are fueling is not being discussed in the same way it might be if we were talking instead about domestic themes culled from the latest Jennifer Egan book or other pieces of more "worthy" art.
So what if we worthified the Top 40 by considering it alongside thoughts and arguments from great women writers of the past? What if we made explicit connections between the music of Kelly Clarkson and the oeuvre of Charlotte Bronte? What if we could talk about the contrasts between Adele and Emily Dickinson?
Welcome to my new guest blog, RetroPop, where the messages from today's biggest female-created pop tunes are played right next to those of rockin' and respected female artists from the past—and where dancing while blogging is highly encouraged.
I'm pleased as punch to be headed out to Pickathon, an inde and roots music festival all-weekend camp-a-thon in Portland. From this year's lineup, at least 15 bands are women or feature women prominently, including their big headliner for the festival, Neko Case. This week's Bitchtapes gives you a sampling of the folk, roots, and jams of Pickathon. If you can't make the festival, Seattle's KEXP will be livecasting the festival—check out their broadcast schedule so you can plan your viewing accordingly! Track list and more Pickathon after the jump!
I first saw Tilly and the Wall some years ago at the Knitting Factory in New York. I had never been so immediately entranced by any band, nor had I ever seen so many feathers and balloons on a stage. They quickly became one of my favorites, but then one day, shortly after their Summer 2008 release O, they dropped off the face of the Earth. Whew, has it seriously been four years since we last heard from Tilly and the Wall? Yes, yes it has. So, needless to say, I actually yelped when I heard that Omaha's own stomping, tapping, clapping babes have a new album called Heavy Mood, being released on Team Love on October 2nd. "But but but, that's so long from now!" Well, good thing we have a couple of sweet new tracks to hold us over.
New songs, album tracklist, and tour dates after the jump!
"Why do I have a playlist labeled 'Sexy Jamz' with nothing in it?" I exclaimed one day while looking through my computer's music library, "...your life," a friend said jokingly. I scoffed. But basically, the statement was true—when you're buried neck deep in papers, books, and homework, there's just no time to get down and dirty. But now it's summer, so you must just have all the time in the world to get nasty, right?
Okay, maybe it's not always quite that simple, but here are some songs that might make you feel like an awkward tween again.
The advent of Garage Band as a major media outlet for musicians and songwriters has provided a great many opportunities for the reinvention of the earnest acoustic wheel in the last five years or so. Shane and Essy are not reinventing that wheel. They are not inventing twang, they are not inventing milky-smoky vocals, they are not inventing dusty-country-roads guitar accompaniment. But they are making all of those older invetions look (and sound) real good-like.
Maybe it's time to reclaim karaoke, stop singing along to Paul Anka, and find some new hits. Or maybe just start a Rihanna cover band. Karaoke is cool again, and your grandparents will vouch for that and say it never wasn't cool.
So, for your listening pleasure and newfound or renewed appreciation for the art of karaoke, here are some sexy songs (and some previously unsexy songs) covered by badass musicians who I totally love. Add these songs to your karaoke repertoire and you'll totally be the star of the party.
It's easy to imagine that Potty Mouth are, er, a gross band, but a quick listen to their Sun Damage EP reveals them to be far from indecent. The record is a letter of intent addressed directly to the dead-serious post-punk set, citing '90s punk clatter as relevant education.