Seashore – The Regrettes

While perusing YouTube on a slow day, The Regrettes popped up in my “Recommended” section. Out of curiosity and boredom, I gave them a listen.

The song and video paired perfectly, and before I knew it, I’d spun the track at least three times.

I’ve had a real problem with “mansplaining” lately, and men not taking my feedback or input seriously. Now that I work at a concert venue part-time, I have a lot of men who think that “acting cute,” toward me will get special treatment. Even just a “hey girl,” can make my skin crawl.

Hearing lead singer Lydia sing, “You’re talkin’ to me like a bitch. Do you ever hear the way that you speak? Don’t have to be so mean just ‘cuz you’re weak,” is SO gratifying.

I’m tired of minimizing the poor behavior of others. Aren’t you? Don’t you ever get tired of downplaying inappropriate behavior to keep others comfortable? I, for one, am tired of sacrificing my own comfort just to avoid confrontation.

I think The Regrettes are too. Which is why I think I’ll be listening to them a lot more from now on.

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Hop Along – Tibetan Pop Stars

Few songs get me this pumped from the first note. The guitar riff mixed with Frances Quinlan’s ragged vocals make you feel like a badass. Quinlan’s voice goes from soft to violent, and it’s clear that she’s in total control of it, but it still feels on-the-edge enough to excite you.  When she suddenly drops down into a softer, more seductive tone and croons, “Nobody deserves you the way that I do,” I think it’s ultimately relatable, but also empowering. It’s not common for someone to come out and state something so boldly and assuredly.

In an interview with Westword, Quinlan said:

When describing her performance, “people use the word ‘urgency’ a lot,” she says. “I appreciate urgency, but that’s not really the first thing I’m going for. Urgency means ‘What’s the quickest way I can get this across?’ I’d like to think of it more as ‘What’s the best way to get this across?’”

For some reason, when I listen to this song, I can’t help sing along. I know I sound like shit, but I’m having so much fun that I don’t care.

Hop Along has a distinct power in their music that makes the listener feel engaged and enthralled. Nothing they create sounds like an accident or mistake. It’s carefully created by musicians that have different interests that all manage to intersect.

While they now have two albums out, I’d advise anyone new to them to listen to their LP “Get Disowned,” first. Find their sound, savor it, and move on to their other powerful storytelling.

 

Carolina – Harry Styles

This is a name I never thought would hit my blog. When I heard “Sign of the Times,” I knew I liked it, but then when I found out who sang it, I was in shock.

I’ve said this before, but sometimes you have to drop the musical snobbery and just enjoy something that’s good. Like, undeniably good. If I weren’t to know this was Harry Styles, it would have been in instant rotation. If I judged it by the fact that it was by Harry Styles, it never would have hit rotation. And that’d be a huge loss.

One Direction fans always sickened me with their obsessiveness. It was like 1D could do no wrong, and that automatically made me leery of them. It didn’t help that their music felt generic and their audience were about 12 years-old.Fans-In-Crowd-Screaming

After leaving One Direction, Harry Styles took a decidedly 60s/70s vibe in both appearance and musical approach. High pitched repetitive vocals, open-chested shirts, and clunky guitars seem to be the name of the game for him now. The best example of this is the ultra-catchy “Carolina,” which is gaining a following already.

He is definitely doing is due-diligence to shed the “boy band” label, and be viewed as a heavy-hitter in the writing/composition side of the industry.

The entire self-titled album he recently released is an easy listen. There’s a constant thread of similarity in songs, but they differ enough to each pique your interest. I’d say give it a listen, even if you’re a Motorhead fan. It’ll soften you to this 1D member. And if that doesn’t do the trick, watch the recent Carpool Karaoke with him. Endearing and talented. Two words I didn’t think would describe Mr. Styles.

Love – Lana Del Rey

My obsession with Lana Del Rey is absolutely nothing new. I heard, “Born to Die,” right after it was released in 2011. I immediately bought her album and never looked back.

The sultry siren picked up a lot of soundtrack gigs shortly after, being featured on Maleficent, The Great Gatsby, and more.

I fell off the Lana bandwagon sometime in 2013. I thought I’d heard all I could from her, and her voice just wasn’t inspiring me like it used to. (Definitely a “it’s not you, it’s me” situation).

Fast-forward to 2017. I decided to give Ultraviolence and Honeymoon a shot, and it was the best decision I’ve made this year.

Shortly after reabsorbing her into my playlists, “Love” showed up.

At first I wasn’t really sure what to do with this song. It seemed a little too sweet on the surface to me. But, as is with any Lana song, it has an underlying melancholy, foolishness, and hope.

With a slow-chugging base chord, and gun-effect, it harkens back to the 60s with images of Lana with flowers in her hair.

Pickup trucks and young hipsters floating through space fill the screen at the halfway point, and suddenly Lana is performing on the moon.

Perhaps the best part, though, is echoey bridge of, “Don’t worry, baby.”

Ultimately, the video and song have an air of naivety, and while you get the distinct feeling that this happiness will be quashed, it’s still a beautiful and dreamy listen.

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Thank God For Sinners – Ty Segall

It’s no secret that sometimes I enjoy things that are delightfully strange.

While carpooling to practice last week, a teammate and I struck up a conversation about music. “Have you ever heard of Ty Segall,” she said. I had not. She immediately played this song, and it’s been in my rotation ever since.

However, it wasn’t until I looked up the video that I realized that Ty is letting his “freak flag” fly, and it only made me love him more.

I love grungy, crunchy garage rock. The kind where the guitar and vocals sound like they’re battling sandpaper. This song has that quality.

It also helps that the title alone makes it appealing. The video has a strange effect of making me feel slightly uncomfortable as body parts rotate through a kaleidoscope of shapes and forms. At the very end, Ty’s tongue is ripped out violently by the hands that have been in the video the whole time.

His odd mix of Marc Bolan, Iggy Pop and David Bowie make his music infectious, and his videos squirm-worthy.

Regardless, Ty is someone I’ll be listening to on the regular from now on. His aesthetic and sound match perfectly with a hard workout or chilling at home.

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Me and Your Mama – Childish Gambino

On a rainy day, I decided to stop by a friend’s apartment and relax for awhile.

When I walked in, she had Childish Gambino’s newest album streaming through her television.

At first, I didn’t realize who it was. All I’d known him for was rap, and quite honestly, I’ve never been hip to the rap scene.

But when the bass dropped in this song, I immediately yelled out, “WHO IS THIS?!” like someone with Tourette’s. The evil laugh that sounds like a mix of Bowser from Mario and a horror movie, had me hooked.

Following this revelation, I went home and listened to the whole album on Spotify. It’s such a gem.

And it’s no secret to the world, unfortunately. I was a latecomer this time.

The psychedelic roadtrip Gambino takes the listener on is pure joy. It’s laden with rich, sexy, soulful 70s funk. His performance on The Tonight Show of “Redbone,” only further cemented the raw talent and energy he has. Clad in metallic leather pants, no shirt, and a ‘stache for the gods, he belts out “Redbone” in a stunning falsetto.

There’s no denying the sex appeal of Awaken, My Love, but if you need a smooth, soulful album for a rainy day, there’s nothing better.

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Pretty Pimpin’ – Kurt Vile

Some songs sound like what a daze feels like. They lull you into a quiet complacency that feels safe, sad, and inspiring.

That’s what “Pretty Pimpin'” by Kurt Vile gives me. It allows me to mellow out and feel at peace – which is a rare and exciting state.

This song urges me to go to the closest park and walk alone on a trail. To lay in bed and listen to it on loop on a rainy day. To sing to it in the car. It’s equal parts relatable and melancholy.

It’s a special gift that Kurt Vile has to make a song that is both an ear worm and to offer a message.

I’ve found myself so busy lately that I have forgotten entire days and what I did. I have to write down my daily schedule just so I remember where – and who – I’m supposed to see. Sometimes, all I have is the physical breathing part of myself left to offer.

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I know that I often create my own busy schedule, but there’s some sort of masochistic reason I do it. I give parts of myself away to others – here’s my heart – my love – my hate – you can have anything you need, and sometimes that doesn’t leave much left for me.

It’s easy to look in the mirror and feel like Kurt Vile – “Then I proceeded to brush some stranger’s teeth, but they were my teeth and I was weightless…”

The beautiful thing is that for all of the sadness this song evokes, it – for some reason – also inspires hope. That I won’t always be tired or want to be alone. We all need to define our own space sometimes – whether others get it or not.

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