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 one of those weeks—the kind where you wake up hating everything, and it's hard to decipher exactly why. Maybe it's a combination of things—perhaps it's the weird teen angst hangover of your early 20's, or you're missing somebody, or maybe you took the comments section of a blog post too personally, or maybe it's none of that and you're just sad because people have feelings, and that's okay. Tears build up like a raging river, held back by the dam that is your eyelids. You continue your day by wallowing, writing a sad letter, sitting amongst unfolded laundry, and unfinished crafts. Then, as soon as you think it's all starting to feel better, something else happens and your face becomes Niagara Falls. And it's nothing that hugs and nice words can mend because your feelings are serious business. But maybe next week will be better. You can only hope.
Here are some songs to accompany a sad day/mad day/bad day, which will probably only make you more upset, but sometimes it's what we need, right?
I have now been here for exactly a month, and we're finally getting consistently beautiful weather. I'm glad that person who said the weather would be literally perfect after July 4th wasn't lying. But really. The ten-day forecast predicts sun every single day with a 0% chance of rain. You heard me correctly, 0% chance. Portland, I see what y'all have been looking forward to. I sure as heck wouldn't want to be boiling in the heatwave in the mid-Atlantic right now. That is not what the precious pomp on my head needs. Nooooo, thank you.
So, now that things are getting hot 'n' sweaty, you need to be geared up, right? Sun block, check. Muscle tee, check. Cut-off shorts, check. Phresh summer haircut, check. Comfy dancing shoes, check. Cuties to dance with... wait, did I say geared up? I meant queered up. Here's a bunch of jams by some super fun queer folx who will help you get yr Portland (or wherever you are) summer officially rollin'. Hey, and some of these steamy queers are playing this summer in a town maybe near you! Yay!
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.
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!
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 (!!).
The lead singer of Against Me! came out as transgender in the latest issue of Rolling Stone, which hits newsstands on Friday. While some of the comments on Rolling Stone's online article are predictably disgusting, commentators on the official Against Me! message board have been overwhelmingly supportive.
After all, any diehard fan knows it's the music that matters. And if transfolks are the ones making it, well, that should come as no surprise.