Music: Whiskey Please by Whissel

This theme of Whiskey Please isn’t anything new, in fact, songs about your man and his liquor is pretty standard in both country and rock genres. And songs about your man being taken by someone else, well that’s just a good 90% of all female-led lyrics (a rough guesstimate).

Whissell’s song here, Whiskey Please, gives those themes a little mashup in something that’s a little reminiscent (to me) of Dolly Parton’s, Jolene. This isn’t a song of complaining or even of anger. This is a song where a women is begging for her man back, begging for the alcohol to let him go. We know it doesn’t work like that, but as someone who has some first hand alcoholics, I very much the understand the wish that it did. And it doesn’t at all hurt that Whissell has this deep voice, something that reads as strained from tears or something more.

I’ve been listening to a lot of her stuff lately and just really enjoying her voice and the sort of badassitude that comes across in a lot of her songs.

 

February Mixtape B-side: Schwarmerei; dudes edition

I really love the ladies edition of this mixtape theme that I put up last week. However, it left out a couple of songs that I really wanted to include somehow. So, I’ve got a dudes edition (male singers) that hopefully has the same kind of badass attitude that the ladies side had. And really, if you only listen to one song from this playlist? Make sure it’s the last song.

You can grab the ladies version of this theme I put up at my post here.

As a reminder these were put together as part of the February mixtape challenge put together by Eve @ Twist in the Taile and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages, The word for this month’s challenge is schwarmerei. You can find the prompt post for this month here.

Tracklist: i. temperature – machel montano; ii. do it – tuxedo; iii. happy – c2c; iv. harder better faster stronger – daft punk; v. champion – fall out boy; vi. someone new – hozier; vii. don’t stop me now – queen; viii. two fux – adam lambert

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Truman

My hand has a stamp of Harry Truman’s face on it. Such is my life after having attended a concert at one of the newer concert venues in Kansas City, The Truman. It’s really a glorified warehouse, a big open concrete room with a bar in the front and a bar in the back and a stage that doesn’t offer much line of sight unless you’re standing in the front. Or, if like me and my concert pal, you find some bar stools and a cocktail table. From there, perched uncomfortably on metal stools, I could sort of make out the head and shoulders and the occasional peek of a drums and a guitar or two of the two bands we went to see Tuesday night: Night Beats, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

Really, we went for BRMC. As one might expect if you’re at all familiar with the band. They’re a rock/rockabilly kind of band complete with heavy drums and the intermittent use of a harmonica. I was somehow, through the musical browsing I often do, introduced to BRMC by their song “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”. Which at the time became an anthem of sorts for a Dragon Age story I was writing with a good friend of mine.

War is Never Cheap Here is a post-Origins Dragon Age story about the disgraced war hero, Cauthrien and the distrusted Bann, Teagan Guerrin. I couldn’t get enough of that song when we were writing it and as the title might give away, we leaned in heavy to the theme and lyrics. In fact the whole playlist was pretty thematically monarchist and war heavy. Rightfully so. It’s still one of my favorite stories. We wrote more after that, but even many, many years later, I’m still very proud of that one.

So that was my introduction to them years ago and since then, while I’ve put that song in a pretty regular rotation along with a few others from that album, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo, I don’t listen to much of the rest of their catalog on a regular basis. But, I’m a fan of concerts and this seemed like such a good opportunity to hear one of my favorite songs in a new way.

I’ll say this, most of the shows I got to are metal or goth concerts. Occasionally, I’ll stray outside those genres for a show, but the vast majority are one of those two. BRMC isn’t far off, but it’s just enough off that the crowd for this show was different. Older, for one. Quieter, for another. They weren’t as rowdy a crowd as I’d expect from a rock concert, nor did many people seem to be singing/shouting along as I’d expect.

The song I came to see was the third song in, which surprised me a great deal, given it’s popularity. But it became quickly apparent that this band was in it for the long haul. They went from fast to slow, from old to new, and there was very little talking between. This is a group of musicians that are just up there to play, and the audience was really just along for the ride. I appreciate that.

We had to cut out a little early because it was a week night, but man, after two full hours they seemed to only just be getting their second wind. If I had to rate The Truman, they’re a solid 2/5 out of all the venues I’ve seen concerts at. But BRMC was amazing and totally worth the discomfort of concrete floors and metal stools. If they come back, I’ll see them again — hopefully they’ll show up a different venue if there’s a next time.

Music: Judy Blume by Amanda Palmer

Yesterday was Judy Blume’s 80th birthday.

Judy Blume’s stories were the sort of human stories that we needed as kids, the stories that told us we weren’t alone with our weird thoughts… or we were but maybe we weren’t as weird as we thought we were. For those of us who grew up with the works of Judy Blume, I think we each have a book that hit us harder than others, one story that really spoke to us.

For me, that was It’s Not the End of the World.

My parents were already divorced by the time I was old enough to read It’s Not the End of the World, but that didn’t make it any less profound to read for me. The way Karen thinks about being at her parents houses when they’re separated, the way she deals with thoughts about her own future relationships, and what you feel like your house must look like to other people.

For Judy’s birthday, Amanda Palmer has written this really lovely tribute to the way stories change us, how reading books like the ones Judy wrote make us who we become. The video is full of Amanda’s piano playing, singing and a lot, a lot of people reading Judy Blume books. It’s amazingly sweet.

Music: Walk on the Wild Side by Lou Reed (Cover by Jordan Mackampa)

If you’re not super into YouTube or music, you might not know about this great channel called Mahogany. Since 2010 the Mahogany channel has been putting together these great studio sessions for indie music creators. Their videos are beautifully shot, with amazing sound and they’ve introduced me to some really fantastic creators.

Today they launched a new series: Covers. And it started with this really soft and amazing cover of the popular Lou Reed song, Walk on the Wild Side by Jordan Mackampa. This first video is shot in a really fantastic profile, half-silhouette and based on their teaser it looks like that might be the standard for these sessions, which is cool. It also looks like you’ll be able to keep up with the Covers sessions on Spotify here, if that’s your kind of thing.

If you like Jordan’s voice, check out a session he did with his original song, Open Arms, which has been one of my favorite finds from Mahogany for a long while. 

February Mixtape: Schwarmerei; ladies edition

Inspired by the word for the february mixtape challenge as created by Eve @ Twist in the Taile and Evi @ Adventuring Through Pages, I bring you a playlist for February. The word for this month’s challenge is schwarmerei: n. You can find the prompt for this month here.
As I started putting songs together I was sort of inspired to only put songs on the list sung by ladies, and sort of my go-to songs for putting myself in a good mood. You can find the playlist on Spotify here.
Track List: i. confident – demi lovato; ii. my lovin’ (you’re never gonna get it) – en vogue; iii. freak like me – halestorm; ivlove myself – qveen herby; v. good as hell – lizzo; vi. what have you done for me lately – janet jackson; vii. that’s my girl – fifth harmony; viii. flawless – beyoncé

Music: Dubstep Bagpipe Cover by TheSnakeCharmer

I don’t have anything much to say about this video except that it’s super cool. It’s a dubstep medley of The Force Awakens, Duel of Fates and Imperial March done on a bagpipe, accompanied by a violin and a DJ on a launchpad. Also, this badass piper has the coolest horned dragon skull on her bagpipe and I love it.

 

Music: Fall Out Boy — Church & Rolling Stone’s “Levels” Breakdown

I’ve already written about how much I love the new Fall Out Boy album and specifically the song, “Champion”. I don’t want to spend a bunch of time talking about all the songs on the album that I am loving, especially since every time I listen to it all the way through I’m finding something new I like. Some of the songs didn’t strike me at first but have definitely become more interesting and enjoyable upon repeated listening.

However, more than any other songs on the album, even more than “Champion”, I love the songs “Church” and “Heaven’s Gate”. I have a strong affinity for media that works with Christian mythologies and symbolism. Both songs heavily rely on Christian or church themes to talk about love. Plus, they’re just pretty enjoyable pop songs, with catchy lyrics and melodies. I have a hard time getting either of them out of my head once I’ve started listening.

But instead of going in-depth about the songs themselves, because I’m not about to breakdown the lyrics or anything like that, I thought I’d share this video I found from Rolling Stone’s series, Levels. In it, Patrick Stump gives an interesting look at the musical makeup of “Church”.

As much as I love lyrical analysis, I also really enjoy listening to artists talk about the process (both pre- and post- studio work) of putting a song together. I especially enjoyed learning about how a song can progress from Patrick’s original, which was more of a downer, to the finished version. If you’re a bit of a music nerd like me, check it out.

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Music: Fall Out Boy — Champion

There are several new songs off the new Fall Out Boy album that I’m in love with, namely “Church” and “Heaven’s Gate” which have themes I tend to really like it songs. They’re also catchy as hell. However, those aren’t the ones I want to share.
Instead let me share with you a song for all the bad days that if you’re like me, get a little bit better with a good song. Champion is a song about making it through. About coming out stronger on the other side of something. About knowing you can live through something tough.
It reminds me a lot of my tattoo, which is a line from an Andrea Gibson poem, “I Sing the Dream Electric, but Only When My Power’s Out”. I have on my arm a portion of this line: 

I said to the sun, tell me about the Big Bang
The sun said, ‘It hurts to become.
‘”

I like that line because it reminds me that we all go through tough times, but it’s the moments we experience and get through that shape us and make us what we are.

Music: Jonathan Young – Unravel

I’m kind of a huge music nerd. Not a snob, because I like just about anything you put in front of my ears. I pride myself a little on having an ear for what’s good or bad. In fact, when I was much younger and was buying tapes and later cds as they were released, I used to challenge myself to figure out which would be the next song released from the album for the radio. I feel like I did pretty well.

Although my access to new music was more and more restricted as I grew up and my family got more and more into the church. By high school, I only kept up with as much new music as I could pack into every other weekend at my dad’s, since my parents were separated.

In recent years, I’ve really enjoyed having access to streaming services and YouTube. I signed up for a Google Music account pretty much as soon as it was possible. And I became a subscriber when that became an option. My Google Music subscription gives me YouTube Red access and whatever mess YouTube has going on currently, I like being able to have ad-free access to new and upcoming artists.

I used to do this thing on my tumblr where I boosted videos from YouTube that I was really into and I think I want to bring that over here.

Here’s my first one. I’ve turned a bunch of my friends on to this guy through his metal covers of Disney songs (which are fabulous). Jonathan Young has an absolutely amazing voice and a really great ability to make a song his own. I’ve been enjoying this latest cover from him: “Unravel” from Tokyo Ghoul. Give it a listen.