Music: Good Kisser by Lake Street Dive

The lead singer from Lake Street Dive, Rachael Price, has this deep, soulful voice that I just adore. The band’s music is sort of this multi-genre that bridges Blue-eyed Soul and Jazz with a southern sound. And it’s divine.

Good Kisser, one of the newest songs from Lake Street Dive has this kind of f-u attitude about a break-up and it’s upbeat and fun. It definitely makes me dance around a little every time I listen.

I first heard Lake Street Dive in this live video from a Boston sidewalk where the band played a really amazing cover of “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.

Shakey Graves on Audiotree Live

Audiotree is an artist discovery platform with a YouTube channel where they regularly have an artist record several songs for them live. In 2014 they featured an artist named Shakey Graves, a singer-songwriter with a guitar, a suitcase drum and a tambourine. A little like Bert from Mary Poppins, he can be a one man band when he needs to be.

I don’t know how long after they did this first series of songs with him I discovered them, maybe 2015? But I go back to this little series of videos pretty often. I find this series recorded with Audiotree one of the best introductions to Shakey Graves. You can see his charisma in the way he plays to the camera as he sings and though I haven’t seen him live (yet) I feel like you get a pretty good feel for what that might be like. Not only does his stage name have this good Southern Gothic vibe to it, so does his music. I find it almost always puts me in a better mood — at least the upbeat songs do.

Below is the series of videos he did in this first set. My favorite song from this set is the first one, “Roll the Bones”.

A year or so after this set of videos was recorded, Shakey Graves did a second set for Audiotree, which you can see below.  From this one my favorite is the third song, “Where a Boy Once Stood”.

 

 

 

A plethora of playlists, thanks 8tracks

With the announcement by the team at 8tracks that unlimited streaming is back (in part due to subscriptions and ads and all that) I thought I’d drop a few mentions about the two dozen+ playlists I’ve had stored there for awhile. Most of them are fandom based, some just for fun, a lot of them in regards to my Dragon Age RP stuff. Still, all good if you like a variety of music (like me).

You can find me on 8tracks as Cherithe (an account name I have a number of places).  Depending on what you’re into, let me offer a few places to start.

A) Hey — Mary Poppins is coming out sometime in the next year, right? Were you always a fan of whatever secrets were behind Mary & Bert’s relationship? No? Cool… me either. But you know if you like old timey-eque music with what is perhaps a bend toward the romantic, check out Jolly Holliday. This literally came about because some friends and I were reminiscing that we’d all at some point growing up thought that Mary and Bert were in love.

B) You want my favorite of the list? Check out War is Never Cheap Here, a playlist to accompany the fanfic that a friend and I co-wrote with the same name. I still regularly listen to this playlist because I love the songs we put on it so much. This is the only playlist on the list with cover art made by someone other than myself.

C) Want something random? Years and years ago for a fandom exchange I made a playlist for someone writing a Forever Knight fic. It’s titled A Son’s Denial, which I believe was also the name of the fic — although I’ve long since forgotten the name of the person or the exchange.

D) Do you like water themes or songs about ships or just good rock songs that occasionally take a turn for the melancholy? Cool. ME TOO. They’re my jam. If so, check out Where I’m Coming From a playlist about two pirates that’re a bit like siblings, and the very best of friends, neither of which really knows how to speak their feelings but they just know they other understands.

Okay, that’s a good start. There’s 27 playlists there in total and those don’t at all include the playlists I’ve put up elsewhere in the years that 8tracks streaming has been useless. If need something to listen to, there’s plenty.

 

Music: Tank and the Bangas; NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

I think you have to have been living under a rock not to know what the NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts art. So you don’t need me to explain how good they can be to find new music or to see good indie musicians do what they do in an intimate setting. And the setlist isn’t tight or too defined, the musicians can talk or riff or whatever makes them feel the music or connected to the small audience in the office at the time. I’m not an NPR fan and I don’t watch every new Tiny Desk video when it goes up, but every now and again something will catch my eye.

Last year’s winner of the Tiny Desk Contest was a band called Tank and the Bangas. The video went up pretty much a year ago yesterday and it’s 20+ minutes of good fun. Their music is hip hop soul with a big voice and really hefty lyrics. I fell in love pretty much immediately, listened to all the songs I could find and then sent the video out to all of my friends.

They were in town for a Tedx youth conference recently and I’m kicking myself for not knowing. I would’ve loved the chance to see them perform in person. But I’ll settle for watching this video over again a few more times.

Music: Secret for the Mad by dodie

I’m very much not the demographic for Dodie Clark’s YouTube career, or even probably her music. But I find her honest and charming and her music utterly delightful. I appreciate her communication about her struggles with mental illness and her ability to put them on camera. I love the lyrics to her songs because they feel like they come from a real place and were I a younger adult, I’d likely find them highly applicable to my own feelings. Instead of sort of wistfully nostalgic. Actually I find myself somewhere between the two on most days and dodie’s sweet, soft voice is a good remedy for when you find yourself more wistfully nostalgic than tragically and seemingly unceasingly young. (For me, anyway.)

Music: Rolling in the Deep by Adele (Cover by Scary Pockets with Sarah Dugas)

As big of a fan as I am of music, I’m not the sort of person that hates on covers. Obviously I’ve recommended at least one here before. But lest that not accurately portray my love of covers, let me make it clear here and now. I LOVE covers, even bad ones, even cheesy ones. I love hearing someone else’s take on music I know really, really well. Sometimes they bring a sound to the music that I find interesting, sometimes they change the music in a way that brings out lyrics I hadn’t noticed before, sometimes it’s just a new way for me to fall in love with the song all over again. Sure, not ever cover is great and I might just listen to it once and pass by. But sometimes I might decide that I like the cover better than original. It’s all good in the cover game.

So then let me tell you how much I love Scary Pockets. They’re a funk band doing what Scott Bradlee did with Postmodern Jukebox (if you ask who? um… go figure that out and come back to me). They’re taking popular songs and make funk covers out of them. And listen, if you’re not into funk music, or maybe if you’re not sure if you like funk music, Scary Pockets is a good way to check it out. I mean some of the ‘funk’ is questionably true funk, but listen… they’re doing good at what they’re doing.
Plus, they’re giving all these great voices a chance to shine by not having one official Scary Pockets vocalist. 
Their most recent video is Rolling in the Deep by Adele, but funkified. The singer, Sarah Dugas, has an amazing voice and does the song justice. It’s worth a listen. 
HOWEVER, that’s not what I want to leave you with. While that’s good and shows you where they are now, I want to show you one of the ones I love the very most. Darren Chriss (of Team Starkid and Glee fame) has sang for them a few times. And the below is my favorite, a cover of Wonderwall by Oasis. Give it a listen and then check out the rest of what Scary Pockets has for you. If YouTube isn’t your thing, they’re on iTunes and Google Play and Spotify too. 

Music: New Rules x Are You That Somebody? by Pentatonix

I’m happy to see new music from Pentatonix that isn’t Christmas, or personal projects. Not that they’re not all extremely talented on their own, but after Ari left, I wondered what new music from them might look like. Their cover for Havana is good, but this new song is a little bit of a return to some of their older sounds – new music mixed with an old beat. It also helps that I really, really dig New Rules from Dua Lipa right now. Putting the beat from Aaliyah’s Are You That Somebody? just hits me where my teen-self lived, knee-deep in R&B. This is real good.

Chime; Dessa and the Science of Love

With the release of Dessa’s new album, Chime, stories and videos of her process in writing the songs on it have been making the rounds. As a bit of a science nerd, she investigated the impact of love on the brain. Comparing her brain’s reactions to images of an ex she couldn’t quite shake feelings for and another person, she was able to see exactly where in the brain her feelings for this person lived. She talks about it more in the video below.

I love Dessa’s music, the lyrics in her songs deal not just with love but life. I’ve been listening to Chime for the past week or so and while I’ve not as in love with it as I have been with previous albums, I am thoroughly enjoying it. 

Music: Tired as Fuck by The Staves

This video is about a year old now but boy is it pretty much a great description for having a chronic illness. I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia for about fifteen years now and while I have daily meds that (thankfully) haven’t changed much since I first started with my rheumatologist like a decade ago. The only think that really ebbs and flows regardless of pain is my energy levels. People tend to take a lot out of me, because I tend towards extrovert when I’m around people. Recovering can take a day or two and that depends on how many spoons I have on any given day. When you couple that with your just garden variety insomnia (which I’ve battled since I was a kid — I get it from my father and his father, we’re just night owls, period), getting restful, recuperative rest is pretty much not a thing that happens.

I feel like this song is pretty much my go to anthem for those days. Like, long Mondays with a lot of work on the table and not enough hours of sleep after a long weekend full of people. I also really enjoy the video (as seen below) because it’s obviously not trying to be more than it is. A bunch of badass ladies who are just… tired. A thing I can seriously relate to.

Ps. If you’re not familiar with The Staves and you like that kind of indie, folk-rock vibe, I highly recommend them. They don’t post often on YouTube, but their videos are usually pretty bare bones (which I like) and while they don’t have an extensive discography, it’s really, really good.

 

The Cantata Pansophical: An Exandrian Musical

I know I posted about this on tumblr yesterday, but I had to write a little more about it as a way to express my awe over this whole project.

I’ve been following the updates on this project since the idea was first floated to the community. Tumblr fans had been mashing up Hamilton and Critical Role in art and gifs and photosets since Hamilton came out. But a project of this scope is just beyond everything else, and it could’ve worked out so differently.

The work that it took to write these songs and make them fit both the story of Season 1 in addition to hitting the plot themes of Hamilton is mind boggling. Somehow they made it work and they made it work so incredibly well. I cried multiple times today listening to this whole thing. Seriously, if you’re a fan of both Hamilton and Critical Role and you haven’t listened to this yet, get on it. It’s amazing.

The Critter community is pretty fantastic as far as fandoms go. I feel like it’s worth mentioning how generous this community is. There’s a call for charitable donations on the website if you like the work they’ve done, some of the cast gives suggestions on places you might give. To put something like this together for free and further — to encourage charitable gifts as a way to appreciate the work, is such a wonderful thing.

The story in The Cantata Pansophical is centrally focused on the events of the Chroma Conclave with a little set up before hand. The cast is huge and extremely talented. Also, please take in the really fantastic and matched themes of the artwork on each song, it’s impressive.

Be prepared… the emotional gut punches hit pretty hard.

This should take you to the playlist on YouTube. You can also check out the website with the download link in addition to additional materials like the lyrics.