This week's B-sides is in the flavor of "sad," unfortunately, in the way that finding out a band I loved last year has taken some missteps since then. I first wrote about Warpaint last November (see the previous link), where I caught a little flak about thinking they're pretty (heads up: still do) and also generated a thoughtful conversation about Native appropriation in the band's name and aesthetic style. That discussion stayed with me, and the video NPR just released for Warpaint's self-titled new single warrants further critical analysis.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart released the video today for their single "The Body." In it, the quotidian tasks of the present-day band members (brushing teeth, making eggs) are juxtaposed with images of their child-selves frolicking on the beach. The beach scenes are so summery that you'll feel like you've been transplanted from your desk to the shore (almost), and the kids look so much like the adult band members that the video is worth watching just for that. Check it out:
There is, in my opinion, a right way and a wrong way to advertise Irish singer Susan McKeown's album Singing in the Dark. Calling it "a work exploring Creativity, Suffering and the Pursuit of Happiness," as her website does, is the wrong way. The project loses its power in those highfalutin capital letters, veering instead to the inspirational spoken-word side of the record aisle. The right way would be to say something more along the lines of, "If this album had existed six years ago, it could have changed the entire course of my life for the better."
Wildbirds & Peacedrums have been on the road for the last four years, performing, recording, and taking in the sights. The Swedish duo were kind enough to spare me a quick Q&A before their show in Portland on Saturday.
Jesca Hoop will win you over with a word. At least, that's how it went for me. I came across her second album, Hunting My Dress, a couple of years ago, and have been looking for it ever since. Last week, I found it sitting on the shelf at the library, like I hadn't just been wracking the whole of the West Coast for it.
"Rock is, among other things, a potent means of expressing the active emotions—anger, aggression, lust, the joy of physical exertion—that feed all freedom movements, and it is no accident that women musicians have been denied access to this powerful musical language. I think it's crucially important for female performers to break that barrier and force rock to reflect their experience and aspirations." - Ellen Willis
It's no secret that I'm a rather huge fan of Alison Mosshart. But on the train home after being simply blown away by the Kills at Terminal 5 Friday night, I started trying to pick apart just why.
Brooklyn Vegan released the lineup for Lollapalooza 2011, Chicago's contribution to the summer festival circuit, today, and I'm sure they just MISPLACED the list with all the female acts on it, and that's coming shortly. Right? There's no WAY such an enormous festival wouldn't include a SINGLE WOMAN in their list of headliners? Ouch, Lolly. Ouch. I thought our love went deeper than that.
Sometimes part of what makes a musician so compelling is the story behind them. Were the White Stripes married, or brother and sister? Would Sid have been the character he was without Nancy? Is the girl in the "Cry Me a River" video REALLY supposed to be Britney Spears? (I have strong feelings about this one because I was young and impressionable when Britters and Justin dated and broke up. But that's another post entirely.)
The same is true of Abigail Washburn. Her music is outstanding on its own, but the road she took to fame is too serendipitous not to share.
It's taken me more than a decade to come around to Lucinda Williams. When I was in middle school, my dad came suddenly into my room and put a CD in my stereo with no explanation. I set down my alg/trig homework and watched him carefully. He finally said, just before the music started, "Listen to this song, Kate. I've never heard anything so...gripping." And then he sat with his eyes closed until the song was over. And that was the first time I heard Lucinda Williams. I'm not even sure now what the song was, but that's the thing about Williams' music: many of her songs could be the most gripping song my dad (or anyone) has ever heard. I did not agree at the time, but remembered her name in association with her affect on my father. Now, on the event of her 10th studio album being released, I finally get it.