The Lasting Impact of Kate Bush Masterpiece Hounds of Love

It opens with the woosh of a synth leading to a steady dance floor rhythm, albeit it one that, at 108 beats per minute, is slow enough for pensive swaying. Her voice rises, “It doesn’t hurt me/Do you want to know how it feels?” 

The music surrounding her starts to sound like a world teetering on the verge of collapse. Yet, her voice remains in complete control as she dives into the chorus, wishing to make a deal with God. She stays strong, holding your attention as she continues to rise to the bridge, commanding, “Come on, come on darling, let’s exchange the experience.”

Thirty-five years ago, Kate Bush dropped listeners into the drama with “Running Up That Hill,” still one of her most memorable songs, and kept them hooked for the duration of Hounds of Love. Throughout the album, she builds narratives around complicated emotions, intertwining childhood fears and romantic apprehension in the title track, maternal love and a violent crime on “Mother Stands for Comfort.” She turns an obscure book into a single on “Cloudbusting” and wrote an entire album side following one story arc with The Ninth Wave

Hounds of Love, released on September 16, 1985, was Bush’s fifth album, the second that she produced on her own and the first that she recorded in her own studio. It was an album that was simultaneously accessible and experimental, home to the beloved singles “Running Up That Hill,” “Cloudbusting,” “Hounds of Love” and “The Big Sky.”  It also includes The Ninth Wave, a seven-song suite, essentially an album-within-an-album, that brings together traditional instruments with inventive use of synths and samples to tell the story of someone alone at sea overnight. 

It was an ambitious album, one that came out of a major work-life change. In multiple interviews, Bush spoke about her decision to leave London and and to build a home studio. It was a crucial move, she would explain, because the home studio away from city life allowed her to work with fewer distractions. Moreover, for a recording artist who wanted to spend time experimenting with sounds, it was more cost effective than paying for studio time. 

In the press surrounding the release, Hounds of Love was viewed as a comeback of sorts. Bush’s previous album, The Dreaming, was perceived to be less successful than her earlier efforts. However, when this was mentioned by interviewers, Bush would point out that this was simply a matter of charting singles, and not a measure of the artistic success of the album. In fact, as years passed, The Dreaming would go on to become a greatly admired by both fans and critics. It’s also the album that marks her debut as a producer, a pivotal moment leading to the creation of Hounds of Love. 

Moreover, three years passed between The Dreaming and Hounds of Love, which was considered to be a significant absence for a popular singer (listening to old interviews, it seems quite possible that this marks the beginning of the “Kate Bush as reclusive artist” trope that persists to this day). Through her responses, it’s clear that Bush was set on following her own musical path, not one that was expected of her. 

In a 1985 interview with the British television channel Music Box, Bush talked a bit about her relationship to press, stating that her intention was to promote her work, not herself. “I’m being the saleswoman for the record or the video or whatever it is at the time,” she explains. 

To hear this 35 years after that media push for Hounds of Love might seem a bit baffling. Bush’s approach is fundamentally opposed to the advice that’s been drilled into just about everyone’s head now, when social media and personal branding is considered integral to success. To take the emphasis off the self and put it on the work sounds quaint, a luxury reserved for artists who have the financial support of institutions with big budgets. But maybe Bush was onto something; maybe it’s because of her insistence to keep the focus on the art and not the artist, something that she’s continued over the decades, that her work has had such longevity. 

Certainly, that time she spent out of the limelight and focused on the music made an impact with Hounds of Love. On The Dreaming, you can hear Bush pushing the studio to the limits, layering and manipulating sounds to bring together traditional and modern music in an emotional way. She continues that practice on Hounds of Love, but with tighter songwriting and an emphasis on rhythm. “I think this album is dealing with me being much more influenced and excited by rhythm, particularly consistent rhythm,” she said in a Night Flight interview, “as soon as it’s danceable, people can relate to it.” 

All that leads to a stickiness with Hounds of Love that would last for decades. Her songs on this album motivated people to look deeper into its roots. Take, for example, “Cloudbusting,” which was based A Book of Dreams, Peter Reich’s memoir of life with his father, the controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. If you it up on Amazon now, you’ll see the subtitle, “The book that inspired Kate Bush’s hit song ‘Cloudbusting.'” 

With Hounds of Love, Bush also built a collection of songs that would re-enter the public consciousness repeatedly over the years. Just as she employed sampling on Hounds of Love, her vocals from “Cloudbusting,” were cut-up and re-configured by the  electronic duo Utah Saints for the 1992 song “Something Good,” which would become a top five hit in the U.K. while making an impact with both the dance music and alternative radio crowds in the U.S. In 2005, twenty years after the album’s release, The Futureheads covered “Hounds of Love.” Their version would make the U.K. top 10 and reintroduce the song to a new generation of listeners. Meanwhile, “Running Up that Hill” has been covered and remixed multiple times over the years, with notable reinterpretations from Placebo, Chromatics, and most recently Meg Myers. Aside from the direct nods to the songs on  this album, there are the countless other artists across disciplines who have found inspiration in Hounds of Love. 

In a British radio interview from the time of the album’s release, Bush spoke about the art, particularly films, that inspired her and related it to her own music. “When I write things, I, ideally, would love to be doing to people what happens to me when I’m affected by these things,” she said. No doubt, with Hounds of Love, Bush achieved that. 

NEWS ROUNDUP: Webster Hall Reopening, R. Kelly Arrested, and MORE

Webster Hall is Reopening!

It’s always sad when an iconic New York venue closes, but Webster Hall’s story has a happy update. The 130-year-old venue was shuttered in August 2017 for renovations when longtime owners the Ballingers sold it to AEG. That means Bowery Presents will be handling bookings, and the show schedule looks pretty sick, starting with a christening from punk poet laureate Patti Smith on May 1. Broken Social Scene, MGMT, Sharon Van Etten, Big Thief and Built to Spill are some of the acts slated to play over the next six months or so, and that’s just the initial announcement. The New York Times got a sneak peek into the renovations, and it seems like the $10 million plus project focused mostly on accessibility, with a revamped entryway and the addition of an elevator, as well as updates to the bathroom and soundsystem. Much of the characteristic fixtures in the ballroom were left unscathed, though we’re guessing the floor will no longer feel like it’s about to cave in when the mosh pit gets too rowdy. The Marlin Room will become a lounge, and there’s no word yet on what’s going on with the basement stage. The venue will still have a capacity of about 1,400 – making it an essential part of downtown nightlife once again.

R. Kelly Arrested, Bond Set at $1M

Following increased scrutiny after Lifetime doc Surviving R. Kelly aired earlier this year, the R&B star was arrested in Chicago on Friday and charged with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four separate victims, three of whom were minors when the abuse occurred. One of the most disturbing pieces of information to emerge in Saturday’s bond hearing was that Kelly met one of these victims at his 2008 trial for child pornography, of which he was acquitted; like the trial a decade ago, some of these charges stem from the discovery of a sex tape in which Kelly appears to perform sex acts with an underage girl. His bond was set at $1 million, and that may be the tip of the iceberg – Kelly is also under investigation by multiple federal agencies for sex trafficking, and it looks likely that there are more victims who have yet to come forward. Let’s hope this is the beginning of the end of their nightmare.

That New New

Audiofemme favorites Sharkmuffin shared rollicking new single “Serpentina,” the first single from their Gamma Gardening EP, out April 5 via Exploding In Sound. We couldn’t be more excited – love you, Tarra & Nat!!!!

While this video for Kate Bush’s cover of Elton John’s “Rocket Man” isn’t exactly new, it hadn’t been released since its recording in 1991. The video comes with the announcement of a four-disc rarities and b-sides compilation called The Other Sides, which will be available March 22. In other Elton John news, his biopic, starring Taron Egerton, comes out May 22.

Tierra Whack is back with single “Only Child,” her first release since blowing up with Whack World.

Helado Negro is currently on tour with Beirut as he prepares for the March 8 release of This is How You Smile; he shared a video for single “Running” this week.

Ella Vos shared an intimate self-directed video for “Empty Hands,” which follows her through the last day of two years of treatment for lymphoma. The single appears on her latest EP, Watch & Wait.

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe will release Gnomes & Badgers, their first album in five years, on March 8. The TG Herrington-directed clip opens a poignant dialogue about the family separation crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Marissa Nadler released two new songs – including a duet with John Cale – via new imprint KRO Records, who will release the single on heart-shaped vinyl this spring.

CHROMATICS are back with “Time Rider” and a slew of tour dates, but no official release date for an album, which they’ve been teasing for some time now.

Priests released a lyric video for “Good Time Charlie” from their upcoming album The Seduction of Kansas, out April 5 via Sister Polygon.

Empath have announced their debut LP Active Listening: Night on Earth (out April 2 via Get Better Records), and shared its first single, “Soft Shape.”

Alex Lahey will finally release a follow-up to 2017’s excellent I Love You Like a Brother. It’s called The Best of Luck Club and is slated for release via Dead Oceans on May 17; “Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself” is the first single.

TEEN are streaming Good Fruit ahead of its March 1 release over at NPR, and have shared a video for “Pretend.”

With her band Wax Idols on an indefinite hiatus, Hether Fortune has shifted to solo work with the release of single “Sister.”

Shady Bug shared “Whining” from their sophomore album Lemon Lime, out March 8.

Los Angeles noiseniks HEALTH have released their fourth collaborative single since September, this time featuring JPEGMAFIA.

We’re obsessed with “TGM” from 18-year-old newcomer Ebhoni, who reps her Toronto home and West Indian roots all at once.

Palehound kicked off their tour with Cherry Glazerr by releasing a new single called “Killer.”

Indie poppers Pure Bathing Culture  shared a lyric video for “Devotion,” the first single from their forthcoming LP Night Pass, out April 26.

If you’ve ever wondered what Mountain Man’s Molly Sarlé sounds like on her own, take a listen to her debut single, produced by Sam Evian. She’ll play some shows with Mountain Man cohort Amelia Meath when she joins Sylvan Esso for a few shows in their recently-announced WITH tour.

Nilüfer Yanya’s debut album Miss Universe drops March 22. Her latest single “Tears” follows alt-pop bops “In Your Head” and “Heavyweight Champion of the Year.”

Former Shudder to Think frontman Craig Wedren has had an illustrious career scoring film and television, so it’s no wonder the clip for his vibey rework of “2Priests” (from last year’s Adult Desire Expanded) is so gorgeous.

We have a feeling Aldous Harding’s low-key pilgrim dance from “The Barrel” video might catch on well before Designer arrives via 4AD April 26.

Legendary Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr shared a video for latest single “Armatopia” to promote his upcoming North American tour in support of 2018’s Call The Comet.

End Notes

  • Breakdancing could become an Olympic event by 2024.
  • Moogfest has announced the “first wave” of its 2019 lineup, featuring Kimbra, Martin Gore, Matthew Dear, Lucrecia Dalt, GAS, Ela Minus and more.
  • Wilco have also announced the lineup for their bi-annual Solid Sound Festival, taking place June 28-30 in Massachusetts. There will be several sets from Jeff Tweedy solo and with the band, as well as appearances by Courtney Barnett, Cate Le Bon, Tortoise, Jonathan Richman and more.
  • Detroit musicians will be the first recipients of Tidal’s new $1 million endowment program.
  • The 1975 took home British Album of The Year at the BRIT Awards for A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships, and called out music industry misogyny in their acceptance speech for Best British Band.
  • Stereolab have added a ton of reunion tour dates to their Primavera Sound and Desert Daze appearances, and announced reissues for seven of their records. The band has been on hiatus for a decade.
  • Tom Krell of How To Dress Well launched his label Helpful Music with an EP from Calgary’s Overland.
  • W Hotels have also recently launched a label, releasing two songs with Perfume Genius to benefit Immigration Equality. Watch a mini-doc about the collaboration here.
  • Lydia Loveless took to Instagram to detail sexual harassment she has suffered since signing to her label Bloodshot Records; her abuser doesn’t work at the label, but attended all social events having to do with it as the partner of one of the label’s founders, who has since left the imprint.
  • Someone decapitated Puff Daddy’s wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Times Square.
  • Michael Jackson’s estate is seeking to block the production of HBO’s Leaving Neverland with a $100 million lawsuit; the two-part doc follows the story of two men who say their were abused by the King of Pop as children and is set to air March 3rd & 4th. Watch the trailer here.
  • Stereogum published this handy rundown on the drama that’s dogged Royal Trux’s reunion tour, as well as the release of White Stuff, still scheduled to come out March 1.
  • My favorite Eric Andre gag is getting his own TV special. Thanks Adult Swim!

AUDIOMAMA: A Very Indie Christmas

The second Monday of every month, we explore the trappings of the millennial mama with parenting tips and tricks that are more Tycho than Tangled.

My son giving Santa the “Who are you again?” eyes.

If you’re like my family, the holidays are spent watching the same movies (Muppet Christmas Carol on repeat), eating the same food (#homemadefudge4life), and listening to the same holiday music. This is our son’s first Christmas and we’ve been hard at work, creating our own traditions by infusing our music taste into the mix.

In order to bring you the best and brightest Indie Christmas playlist, I had to comb through some fairly terrible holiday tunes. Did you know that Oasis managed to get it together long enough to make “Merry Christmas Everybody”? Or that The Killers composed the jaunty tune “Don’t Shoot Me Santa”? These are just a few of the gems I would not expose my child to.

We’ve laid out some of our favorite new classics below, with even more in the AudioMama Vol 3 playlist. Turn on Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, pop some Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies in the oven, and listen to the sweet sounds of Bright Eyes moping around on Christmas Eve.

“Christmas Is Going To The Dogs” – Eels

Plum fairies are replaced with chew toys in this playful tune made for your favorite pup! Indie artists tend toward the morose (we’re looking at you, Bright Eyes), so this is a rare uplifter.

“Lumberjack Christmas / No One Can Save You From Christmases Past” –  Sufjan Stevens

Remember that year you drunkenly told your office crush  ____ while ____ and after that he / she totally _____? The memories may never fade, but at least you’ve perfected the perfect smile-while-avoiding-direct-eye-contact.

“My Dear Acquaintance (A Happy New Year)” – Regina Spektor

Sometimes an old classic gets a makeover and you remember why you loved it in the first place. Sometimes an old classic gets a makeover and you’re introduced to it for the first time. I’d never heard this Peggy Lee number, but with Regina Spektor at the helm it instantly brings to mind classic that New Year’s movie scene of a forlorn lover waiting at the doors of a party for Mr. Right to waltz in.

“Linus & Lucy” – Anderson .Paak 

A Charlie Brown Christmas is one of those rare movies the whole family can enjoy. Anderson .Paak gives Vince Guaraldi’s “Linus & Lucy” a more improvisational jazz feel. It’s tight and cheery, with the perfect modern twist.

“50 Words For Snow” – Kate Bush

While it’s not directly a Christmas song, “50 Words For Snow” has the kind of magic meant for the holidays. Bush was fascinated with the claim that the Inuit people have over 50 words for snow. The song features Stephen Fry listing out Inuit words for snow while Kate eggs him on: “Come on Joe, you’ve got 32 to go.”  The words devolve into nonsense: “19 phlegm de neige / 20 mountainsob / 21 anklebreaker / 22 erase-o-dust / 23 shnamistoflopp’n / 24 terrablizza / 25 whirlissimo / 26 vanilla swarm / 27 icyskidski…” you get the drift. See what I did there?

If you’ve got a good tune for our list, tweet @AudioFemme and we’ll add it! Happy Holidays!

ONLY NOISE: An Audience of None

In what world does this sound like a good time? You are in a dark room, surrounded by drunks you don’t know, and some you know too well. Your favorite song is playing, only it’s a compressed, simplified version void of lyrics. You are holding a cheap microphone, and the fate of the next three minutes is in your hands, and most crucially, your voice. For many, this sounds like a grand ol’ time, and it is the enthusiasm of that majority that keeps karaoke alive. For me, it is the stuff of nightmares.

One might assume that any avid music fan, particularly someone that makes a living writing about music and fandom, would enjoy nothing more than showing the whole wide world, or at least the whole wide bar, their hidden chops and impeccable tastes. Music critics are all supposed to be failed musicians, right? What better way to display our unappreciated talent, to walk our daily talk? Obviously not all critics have left trails of defunct bands behind them, but it’s true that many of them love their karaokeand I certainly know a few who have the same passion for it that John Goodman’s character has for bowling in The Big Lebowski. Things get competitive. Not only is vocal technique scrutinized, but the very song you choose to sing might as well have its own scoring category.

There are only three approaches to choosing a crowd-pleasing track. Your selections will typically go well if they fall into one of these categories: 1) Timeless Songs, i.e. “Crazy” by Patsy Cline, or “Crying” by Roy Orbison, though I strongly deter you from both unless you have serious pipes. 2) Nostalgic Songs, meaning songs that the crowd grew up on. These are often cuts once thought of as bubblegum garbage, but with the passage of time have been crowned in the High Court of Pop Classics. For instance, Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River,” and anything by Britney or Destiny’s Child. And then there’s category number 3) Ironic Songs. In my experience, this is the most mined category, probably because everyone is in for a good laugh at 2:45 a.m., and no one has to worry about the quality of their voice while singing “Last Resort” by Papa Roach. Apply this formula the next time you go to Korea Town and rent a room. I assure you, it works, and I learned it from years of going to karaoke parties, doing nothing but watching from afar.

In fact, I was just at one last weekend. Unfortunately for pedestrian karaoke enthusiasts, this shindig was 90% musician-populated, which results in a disadvantage to the less musically-inclined folks in attendance. Still, the formula applied. Someone sang George Jones (Timeless), a couple dueted Sugar Ray (Nostalgic), and a trio of dudes unleashed their worst alt-rock baritone for a rendition of Lifehouse’s “Hanging by a Moment” (Ironic). About midway through the performances, a friend asked me, “So, are you going to sing anything?” “Oh no,” I said, “I’m a sadist. I only watch.”

Friends and family usually interpret my refusal to sing karaoke as some kind of repression, or at the very least, a curmudgeonly, fun-hating trait of mine. I don’t blame them for thinking this, but it’s just not true. The fact of the matter is: I simply loathe performing. I hate the game, not the players. Nothing makes my skin crawl more than the thought of being in the center of a room, shuffling through a song and dance while being watched by others. I’d rather swim through an in-ground pool filled with mayonnaise (again, while no one is watching) than bare my soul, and exhibit my most private pastime to an audience.

It’s not that I dislike singing. Quite the contrary, in fact, I love it. The first thing I do when I realize I’m alone in my apartment is blast tunes and sing along at the top of my lungs. Sometimes these private karaoke sessions are paired with elaborate, and slightly dangerous dances through the kitchen. I can be very performative, but I’m not an exhibitionist, and my spoon wielding, choreographed versions of Kate Bush’s “Suspended in Gaffa” are for my eyes and ears only.

Maybe I could trace my fear of public singing back to a wedding I attended with my dad over 15 years ago. It wasn’t a particularly fancy wedding, but what it lacked in panache it made up for with a karaoke machine (aka, a humiliation station). My father, who has been a musician since childhood, may or may not have sung a song that day; I truly can’t remember. What I do remember was him shuddering when someone went sharp, grimacing if they fell flat, and quietly critiquing their mic technique (or lack thereof). A large portion of my family are performing musicians, and sometimes I think they’re waiting for the day I’ll burst into song along with them by the campfire. But sitting with my dad and listening to that wedding karaoke over a decade ago, I think I learned that I like things a lot better on the other side of the microphone.  

ONLY NOISE: Leave The Party

Think about the last party you threw. Think about the beer bought and balloons inflated. Remember the quiche you labored over, only to realize no one wants to eat quiche at a party. Now consider the playlist you made. Don’t deny it – we all know you spent three lunch breaks compiling a shindig score entitled “Fiesta Mix.”

Now tell me – was your party (despite irrelevant quiche) a hit? Did “Fiesta Mix” incite a collective boogie? Did hips swing and booties shake, rattling the room with merriment? Well congratulations, my friend; you have accomplished something far beyond my abilities. You’re allowed to pick the music for the party.

“But, don’t you write about music…for a living?“ you ask.

I know. It doesn’t make any sense. You might assume that all these years of music fanaticism, self-dedicated mixtapes, and belabored op-eds would prime me for the simple task of DJing a party – and somehow, the opposite is true.

Proof of such failure lies in every birthday party I’ve thrown since 2012. Each year I, like you, spend hours crafting a party soundtrack featuring all of my favorite “happy” songs. As you can imagine, this is a fairly difficult task for someone whose self-described musical tastes are that of a 45-year-old divorced man. Nevertheless, I press on – crafting my little playlist for my little party with utmost care.

And yet each year like clockwork, usually smack in the middle of “Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick” by Ian Dury and The Blockheads, someone pulls the plug on my tunes. Someone (usually my roommate) decides that a grubby punk with polio shouting “Two fat persons, click, click, click/Hit me, hit me, hit me!” is not party-worthy. I beg to differ, but that does no good. Within minutes my entire playlist is cast aside like an empty PBR can, and the bump n’ buzz of Top 40 hits crashes my b-day bash. I’ve gotten used to it, as well as the badge of honor I’ve earned in recent years: World’s Worst Party DJ. If I only had a sash embroidered with the accolade.

Fine then. If I can’t play my music at my own birthday party, I might as well take my talents to other soirees – clearing them out with the most un-danceable sounds. Embrace your strengths, am I right? Sure it takes some skill and intuition to boost the party the mood with music – but what about killing the mood? Doesn’t that take a certain aptitude for emotional sensitivity, too?

If you can’t join ‘em, beat ‘em. Trying to break up a party? Want to ruin a perfectly good game of beer pong? Looking to cock block Steve? Here are some tracks that will ensure record-scratching fun-terruption.

“Rhesus Negative” by Blanck Mass

Nine minutes of unrelenting, furious noise. Employ when the new Justin Bieber hit has begun its rotation, and everyone is dancing in unison. The room should begin to vacate around minute 4:35, when Blanck Mass’s Benjamin John Power starts screaming like a demon.

The entire Colors album by Ken Nordine

Nothing could be less conducive to partying than this 1966 spoken word jazz album by the eccentric Ken Nordine. Each song is dedicated to a color, to the point that it is supposed to sound like the color. Favorite cuts include, “Olive,” “Mauve” and “Fuchsia,” the latter of which contains the line, “we don’t wanna lose ya, Fuchsia.” It will derail any and all sexiness.

“Between The Bars” by Elliott Smith

If angry and awkward approaches don’t work, go with depressing. Who better to aid your mope attack than Mr. Misery himself, Elliott Smith? It will definitely kill the party vibe, but at least that guy slouching alone in the corner will appreciate it.

“Dear God, I Hate Myself” by Xiu Xiu

Pro tip: project the band’s music video (which is three minutes of Angela Seo making herself vomit while Jamie Stewart eats a chocolate bar) onto a nearby wall. Party over.

“Imagining My Man” by Aldous Harding

What says “party” more than a woeful folk singer? Just about anything. Funnily enough, this track comes from Harding’s most recent record, which is entitled Party.

“Japanese Banana” by Alvin & The Chipmunks

Think of this one as a little party favor – something to stick with the fleeing guests. There’s a reason my friend refers to this cut as “mind herpes;” it will be remembered long after it has ruined the festivities.

Pretty much anything by Tom Waits.

I personally like “What’s He Building In There” or “God’s Away On Business,” but let’s face it – no one’s going to be happy with gravelly voiced, vaudeville-inspired rock and if anyone is, marry that person immediately.

“Waking The Witch” by Kate Bush

From the dark side of Hounds Of Love, this number features chopper-like percussion and male vocals that literally sound like Satan. It’s impossible to dance to and sure to terrify everyone.

Whale Songs (various whales)

Any whale will do.

“Leave the Party” by Happyness

If all of your subtle sonic hints to GET THE FUCK OUT are for naught, perhaps a bit of direct lyric-messaging will do the trick. Happyness’ drowsy pop number literally says, “Leave the party, head right home” in the chorus. If guests refuse to hear that, then maybe the words, “kill everyone at the party” will be more audible.

ARTIST INTERVIEW: Kimi Recor of DRÆMINGS

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photo by Jean Francois Campos

Coachella recently broke my heart when rumor had it they had rejected Kate Bush as a headliner (they later explained that never actually happened). When I sat down and started listening to DRÆMINGS’ self-titled EP, I was immediately transported to the mist-filled, gloomy paradise in which Kate Bush fans dwell. Kimi Recor’s voice is part Pat Benatar, part Patti Smith, and all guttural emotion. DRÆMINGS put a dance beat to some dark subjects, including suicide, technology overkill, and even the Dakota Access Pipeline. I spoke with Kimi about living in Germany as a child, her writing process, and even got the scoop on the theme for tonight’s free EP Release Party at The Echo.

I’d love to dig right in and ask you about your childhood. Mostly because when I listen to your music I picture an ethereal Wednesday Addams burning sage and jamming out.

KR: Well, I was born and raised in Germany, and I lived there until I was about 12. I had a very creative childhood – my mother is an artist, so we were always super hands on with everything. I was a wild child, throwing a lot of temper tantrums when I was younger, but eventually I managed to divert some of that energy into just being a spaz [/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][laughs]. I didn’t really watch much TV until we moved to the US, so my childhood to me feels like this very imaginative, open space in my life. We spent a lot of time playing in the woods outside of my house, so it was really wondrous.

What kind of medium does your mother work in?

KR: Well, my mother started off as a dancer, and then later became a physical therapist, but since I can remember she’s always painted or drawn, or done sculpture — my mother is kind of amazing, because she’s always made art for herself, not other people. She never really exhibited her artwork, even though it was and still is amazing. It made me realize from a young age that “success” in the art world didn’t go hand in hand with talent and that art doesn’t always have to be something you monetize.

That really is an important lesson. Artists so often lose their original intent looking for success.

KR: So true!

How old were you when you wrote your first song?

KR: I’m pretty sure I was always singing when I was super young, but I remember the first time I wrote a song and performed it in front of an audience. I was about 12 years old, had just moved to the US, and roped two of my friends into doing this weird acapella song that I wrote. We wore all black and berets, and the song’s lyrics were something along the lines of “Fear us, hear us, near us, fear us!” It was very goth, pre-me knowing what goth was [laughs].

It sounds very Macbeth to me. I love that you were already incorporating costumes!

KR: Oh yeah, I’ve always loved costumes. Since I was very young, my mother always had a costume trunk for us.

Was fashion ever a vertical you considered?

KR: When I was a teenager I modeled a little bit, and I think for a couple of years I wanted to be a fashion designer based on my experiences. But then I realized I would actually have to learn how to sew and make patterns, and I realized that I’d rather just thrift weird stuff and alter it than actually make something from scratch. It’s funny, because now my costumes on stage are very intricate and strange, but on a day to day basis, I dress almost in uniform.

You did an interview with Nasty Gal where you said “When I was younger, I used to cause myself a lot of pain, thinking it was the only way to access my creativity. Now, I realize I can just draw from the darker experiences of my past instead of creating new ones. It takes a little more motivation, but I think it still creates meaningful work.” Do you draw exclusively from your own life, or do you now pull from other art mediums (literature, film, etc.) during the writing process?

KR: Definitely both. Sometimes I’ll watch a TV show, and I’ll relate heavily to a scene or moment, and it will inspire me. I’m also hugely inspired by the political, economic, and ecological events that are happening in the world right now.

What were some of the inspiration points for The Eternal Lonesome?

KR: A lot of those songs stemmed from a time period during which I lost everything I had defined myself by. A relationship, my band, my home – all of those things dissipated within a matter of months, and writing was the only way I could deal with it. It was very much an album that dealt with loss. But there’s also a couple of songs on there that are about my past, moments that defined me in my life. It’s an album I’m very proud of, but that also caused me a lot of pain, because it took so long to get released.

Do you go through writing spurts or do you have a daily ritual? Have you noticed your writing habits shifting from this album to new music you’re working on now?

KR: I wish I could say I wrote every day and that I have a ritual of that sort. I try to do a brain dump onto paper every morning, but life sometimes gets in the way of that. The Eternal Lonesome was pieced together from songs I had already written, plus songs that I wrote to round out the album. The new EP we just released today was written with my band in a rehearsal space, so I think the energy between the two is very different.

How did the band DRÆMINGS come together?

KR: Chris, my guitar player, is my brother from another mother. We have been playing music together for almost 10 years. He taught me how to play guitar. When DRÆMINGS was still more of a solo project he would come play the live shows with me. Thorson, our bass player, came on board about two years ago, when I needed a bass player for a national tour I was going on. We got along really well, and he’s been in the band ever since. He produced and mixed the new EP at his studio. Nathaniel, our drummer, just joined the band last summer. My old drummer went to medical school, and we lucked out. Nathaniel is super awesome, and his personality fits right in. We are definitely a dorky band that likes really weird things.

Can you tell us a little about the themes on the new EP?

KR: There’s a few in there. “Fire in Hell” is about finding your voice after someone tries to silence you. “Great Escape” is our feminist anthem about the double standards women often have to deal with. “Holy Land” is about the current state of affairs in politics – it was written right around the time the DAPL protests where reaching their climax. “Drowning World” deals with the repercussion that technology has had on our emotional state. “Don’t Even Worry” was written about my friend’s suicide attempt. And “Tides” is the lone love song – it was written about unconditional love, something solid and never ending.

I definitely hear some recurring Biblical themes throughout. It seems like apocalyptic undertones are popping up in a lot of artists’ music nowadays.

KR: Definitely. I think we are all really feeling that heaviness. It’s hard not to live in fear.

DRÆMINGS has had a month-long residency at The Echo. I absolutely love that space. How’s it been going?

KR: Really amazing. Each night just keeps getting better. I love The Echo as well, it’s probably my favorite venue in L.A. They’ve been really great about letting us do our thing. Every night we’ve decorated the venue in accordance to a different theme. It’s been a lot of work but SOOOO worth it.

And this Monday is your release party show right? I’m excited to see what the theme will be…

KR: Yes! We’re so excited. The theme is fortune… and let’s just say we’re definitely ready to blow the last night out of the water.

Is a tour in the works?

KR: We are doing a bunch of West Coast runs this summer, and hopefully booking a proper national tour later in the year. We love touring, and can’t wait to get on the road.

Alright, the Double Jeopardy final question is: What do you want someone to feel when they listen to your music? Is there an emotion or tone you’re hoping to convey?

KR: I want people to relate. Growing up, music was sometimes my only friend. It made me feel like someone out there understood me, and that feeling probably saved my life. I would love if our music could do that for someone else.

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You can find DRÆMINGS self-titled EP out now on iTunes and Spotify. In the L.A. area? Be sure to drop by The Echo tonight to dance it up at the DRÆMINGS Album Release party.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

NEWS ROUNDUP: Tokyo’s Octogenarian DJ, Killer Pink Floyd Shrimp & More

  • Coming Soon: The Creative Independent’s 7-Inches For Planned Parenthood

    Brandon Stusoy of The Creative Independent has curated a boxset of 7” singles with all proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Artists that contributed tracks include Chvrches, Mitski, Foo Fighters, St. Vincent, Laurie Anderson, Sleater-Kinney, author Margaret Atwood and much more. A statement on the set’s Facebook page reads, “This curated series of 7-inch vinyl records is being made by a group of people who believe that access to health care is a public good that should be fiercely protected. Do we know there’s a joke in the name? We do. We hope the title evokes the rich history of 7-inch vinyl records as a medium for protest music and resistance.” Check out pre-order information here.

  • The Seriously Inspiring “Dumpling DJ”

    Sumiko Iwamuro is 82 years old. By day, she runs a Tokyo restaurant, making dumplings. By night, she’s a hit DJ in the city’s red light district, proving that someone’s age or day job has nothing to do with their musical taste or talents. Check a mini documentary on Sumiko, via Al Jazeera, here!

  • Meet The New Killer, Classic Rock Shrimp Species

    Last year brought us a tarantula named after Johnny Cash; now, let us introduce you to 2017’s Synalpheus pinkfloydi, a shrimp that can kill (fish, at least) with a pink claw that, when it snaps, produces super loud  and deadly sounds. According to rock mythology, Pink Floyd once performed loudly enough to kill the fish in a lake near London’s Crystal Palace. And according to The Washington Post, this shrimp’s snaps are 210 decibels loud(for context, a thunderclap is around  110 decibels). Check out a video of a Pistol Shrimp below, which has a similar attack method:

ONLY NOISE: Lost and Found

I take the same path to the same coffee shop every week. Down DeKalb Avenue, a right on Franklin Avenue, a left on Greene Avenue, and a final right on Bedford Avenue. My gait is calculated and mechanical. A determined trudge. There is nothing romantic about this habit, and while I’d like to applaud its efficiency, I haven’t actually done the math to prove that this course is the fastest. In truth, I take this route because it is the one I first took to the coffee shop. It is repeated out of reflex and muscle memory and stubbornness. It is firmly rooted in a strong longing for routine.

This path is so engrained that my body dictates every step while my mind is free to think – something I do best while in forward motion. Walking puts me in a trance – alert enough to dodge oncoming vehicles, but rapt in layers of thought. So rapt, that I nearly missed the fat Fela Kuti box set propped up against a wrought iron gate on Greene Ave one Spring day. I stopped abruptly three feet past where the box of vinyl rested, then ambled slowly backward looking left to right to see if anyone was watching me. This I am sure, did not look suspicious at all.

The box was over an inch in depth. It was black and white with a banner of teal across the front reading “FELA” in block letters. I couldn’t help but crouch down and open it immediately, praying that its owner wouldn’t come bolting down the stoop of his brownstone to reclaim it. Perhaps an angry lover had left it on the sidewalk along with other prized vinyl from his collection…like, that Fat Boys LP right next to it…and, that…Kajagoogoo maxi single…

Ok, these records were probably left out on purpose, but I still couldn’t believe it. Lifting the box’s slightly scratched lid I found an alarming amount of Fela Kuti records. I was expecting three, maybe four LPs, perhaps with some booklet taking up a majority of the box’s real estate. Instead I found a seven record pileup, each one opened yet minimally played and well cared for.

There was Zombie, Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 With Ginger Baker Live, Roforofo Fight, He Miss Road, Alagbon Close, Ikoyi Blindness, and Everything Scatter – a glorious heap of his recordings. I was in shock; seven intact, fabulous albums, the collective price of which would have been well over $100. It felt as though I’d stumbled upon a treasure trove, but I couldn’t understand why anyone would ever abandon it.

I grew paranoid again, remembering a time when my dad and I found a handsome sack of toys in the woods behind our house. At seven I was overjoyed at this discovery, but also puerile and hesitant, imagining the sad kid who’d lost their bag of wonders. My dad assured me that finders were keepers, and it was on our property anyway. To ease my concern he assured me that if the toys’ proprietor came looking for them, we could hand them over.

And that’s just what happened. The neighbor girl was ecstatic when reunited with her pink satchel of toys. I felt devastated but virtuous by returning it. To this day I cannot remember what was actually in the sack – just the absolute thrill of stumbling upon it in our mossy forest.

By the time I was halfway down the block my paranoia had dissipated, but I still clutched the Fela Kuti box tightly to my chest just in case. My sense of elation was difficult to unpack – I am by no means a believer of fate or the “universe” gifting me anything…but I surrender to the sensation of it from time to time. I have come across some of my favorite things this way – finding them while looking for nothing.

I first discovered Will Oldham because a neighbor left a stack of CDs in the hallway of my apartment building a few years back. It was in one of many fruitful “free piles,” a name my roommate and I thought we’d coined. The album was an oddball EP recorded with Rian Murphy called All Most Heaven. It had one of the worst album covers I’d ever seen, but something about it shouted “What the hell? Take me home!” It was eccentric, no doubt, but I loved it nonetheless. Its four twangy songs eventually graced a small road trip to upstate New York one summer (our car only had CD capabilities). Opening its jewel case now, the silver disk is nowhere to be found. It may still be in that car, but my only hope is that it has found a way into the music collection of anyone who would bother adopting a stray CD in 2017.

In our age of Spotify Discover Weekly and record subscription services and pre-programmed radios and playlists tailored to every hyper-specific situation we can dream up, coming to music organically and spontaneously is uncommon. It seems rare enough to exchange music between two people in the same room, let alone find one of your favorite records in the street. I wouldn’t suggest the scavenger lifestyle as anyone’s sole source of musical discovery, but I will say there is a taste of destiny in it. I don’t believe in destiny either, so anything that conjures a sense of it feels pretty damn nice, if not fleeting.

The other week I had finished my book and was looking for a new one to read. I had just spoken to a friend about how I’d oddly never read Hunter S. Thompson, which is strange as he fits the profile of my favorite writers (depressed, debauched, wry). Days later I walked through my basement, past a stack of books an old roommate had left three years ago when he moved out. I was drawn to a turquoise spine peeping out from under a couple of Bret Easton Ellis tomes. It was The Rum Diary, Thompson’s first novel. I am enjoying it tremendously, and can’t believe it has been waiting silently under my nose for three whole years.

Come to think of it, it was that same roommate who provided me with another bout of serendipitous discovery. When he moved, I upgraded to his bedroom after five years in the windowless cavern next door. His room had not one, but two windows, and he’d left his superior mattress and an enormous credenza that was far lovelier than anything I’d ever allow myself to buy.

I took my time moving in – I set up my haphazard bookshelf. I stuffed my 500 pairs of underwear into one of the credenza’s many drawers. I arranged my desk with reference books and a quantity of pens that would suggest I was deeply concerned about a imminent global pen shortage. After deciding that all of my portfolios from college would go in one of the credenza’s large cabinets, I opened the door and found around 80 forsaken vinyl records leaning against one another. I believe my mouth truly dropped open. This pile of albums ended up doubling the size of my collection, and included some true gems. There was Kate Bush’s Hounds Of Love, Roxy Music’s Manifesto, Prince’s Controversy, Talking Heads’ 77, Joni Mitchell’s Ladies Of The Canyon, Blondie’s Parallel Lines, Lou Reed’s Transformer, and dozens more. It seemed like luck, or at least something like it, and I took it as a good omen – something I also do not believe in.

I hauled the LPs I didn’t love (Donovan, Heart) to the nearest record store and swapped them for a $25 dollar credit, which I used to pad my collection with bizarre French funk punk records, Peel Sessions, and anything I could find by Prefab Sprout. Puzzled by my fortune, I still couldn’t understand why someone would desert a collection that had clearly been accumulated over a few years…but I was more than happy to give it a new home.

ONLY NOISE: Love Songs (Without All That Baggage)

only noise audio femme

Love. Loss. Heartache. Pop music. These four things, among others like adultery, arson, and death, have all found homes in The Love Song. The tumultuous narrative has scored popular culture from the moment man could mouth words. Consider Helen of Troy, whose tale could be looked at as a large-scale “Jessie’s Girl” long before Rick Springfield ever sang to himself in a mirror. Kate Bush literally lifted her inspiration from the written word with her breakout hit “Wurthering Heights” in 1978.  The song, like the novel, recounts the turbulent relationship of literary Sid and Nancy Heathcliff and Cathy. A personal favorite is Aaron Neville’s “Over You,” in which Neville threatens to kill his lover should she deny him, so that no other man may have her. Perhaps a bit of Henry VIII in there, no? All of this drama is unavoidable in storytelling because, well, drama is enticing. It keeps people on the edge of their seat; there’s a reason soap operas still exist after all.

But what about when you do the work, and grow up, and want to reserve the drama for your television set? What love songs can you turn to that aren’t jealous, or sexist, or murderous? Those are, after all, for the breakup. This week, while listening to Townes Van Zandt’s 1969 LP Our Mother The Mountain on repeat, a record packed with unruly love songs, a levelheaded track caught my ear. “Second Lovers Song” is, perhaps one of the sanest cuts I’ve ever heard, and a progressive one at that.

As the song commences, Van Zandt sings of waking next to a woman who whispers that he “ain’t the only one” softly in his ear. The male narrator responds by cooing: “Do you think I really care? Do you think it matters?” It might not sound so revolutionary, but if you consider the artistic canon-especially that of country music-it’s pretty damn forward-thinking. “Second Lovers” is a song about acceptance, realistic expectations, and removing the perceived ‘angel-woman’ from her heavenly pedestal. Van Zandt’s narrator is seeing his lover as a human being, not as an untouched virgin child who’d be a whore if she’d ever bedded another man. In the song’s last verse he croons: “My lady can’t you see I love not jealously? But for all you are to me and all you’ll be tomorrow.” If only there were more voices in contemporary pop music like Van Zandt’s, singing of a woman’s past without resorting to words like “bitch” or “ho.”

I was in the mood for more. More love songs that extol the virtuous aspects of relationships, even if that means knowing when they must end. Don’t get me wrong; I like to relish in gritty breakup numbers by the likes of Bob Dylan and Elvis Costello too, (especially if you can’t tell immediately just how mean they are) but every once and awhile it’s nice to hear some sense coming out of those speakers.

Below is my guide to a few love songs without all that baggage.

“Kentucky Avenue” by Tom Waits

Puppy love. Could another love be more pure? The final cut off of Tom Waits’ 1978 masterpiece Blue Valentine is a real showstopper.  While the song is technically about Waits’ childhood friend Kipper (who was wheelchair ridden due to polio), and not a grade school crush, the same foundations of loyalty and unconditional love apply.

There is a strong sense of “us against them” in this track, as the narrator dotes upon his companion with gifts and acts of care-taking: “So let me tie you up with kite string and I’ll show you the scabs on my knee.  Watch out for the broken glass, put your shoes and socks on and come away with me.”  Waits goes on to promise that he’ll “get a dollar from my mama’s purse and buy that skull and crossbones ring, and you can wear it around your neck on an old piece of string.”  “I’ll take the spokes from your wheelchair and a magpies wings. And I’ll tie ‘em to your shoulders and your feet. I’ll steal a hacksaw from my dad and cut the braces off your legs and we’ll bury them tonight in the cornfield.”

It is a song that revels in shameless adoration; the kind of worts-and-all romances that occur so rarely in adult life, and so often when we are naive enough to let them happen.

“Wannabe” by Spice Girls.

Though we may always be eluded by the etymology of “zigazig ah” the mission statement of 1996’s “Wannabe” is pretty straightforward and commendable. I speak from personal experience when I say that dating a socially inept log who, literally cannot “get with my friends,” is nothing short of excruciating. Some never talk. Others you just wish would never talk. Critics in the mid ’90s may have been skeptical of the miniskirt wearing Fab 5, but the Spice Girls’ message was always unabashed, unapologetic Girl Power. Their breakout hit is exemplary of that ethos; stating that they’d be fine to take a lover, but they’re not about to halt their lives for one.

“I won’t be hasty, I’ll give you a try. If you really bug me then I’ll say goodbye.”

And who could forget the simple power in the words:

“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.  Make it last forever, friendship never ends. If you wanna be my lover, you have got to give. Taking is too easy, but that’s the way it is.”

It’s not exactly Chaucer, but I’m behind what they’re saying.

“Praise You” by Fatboy Slim

Another simple, cut-to-the-chase track. While lyrically the song owes nothing to Fatboy’s Quentin Leo Cook (the repetitive lyrics are taken from the introduction to Camille Yarbrough’s “Take Yo’ Praise”), the unrelenting loop of words grows with meaning each repetition: “We’ve come a long long way together, through the hard times and the good, I have to celebrate you baby, I have to praise you like I should.”

“Praise You” relays a dense message via omission. The repeated phrase is enough to build an empire of love and understanding upon, but what the song does not say is just as fortified. Lyrically it is void of so many codependent tropes that plague love songs.

Things you do not hear:

“I need you”

“I can’t live without you”

“I was nothing before you”

Whether or not it was intentional, Fatboy Slim’s lyrical restraint has left us with a simple, healthy, and drama-free mantra.

“Take Time To Know Her,” by Percy Sledge

The tragic tale of a man who commits a supreme mistake while conducting his romantic life: not listening to his mama.  Percy Sledge’s “Take Time To Know Her” is a ballad exalting the value of taking things slow, not rushing it, and really getting to know the (wo)man you love.  Contrary to his mama, and the preacher’s advice to “take time to know her,” the song’s narrator beelines into a marriage with a beautiful woman, only to find her cheating on him not long after their vows.

“And then I came home a little early one night and there she was kissing on another man.  Now, I know what Mama meant when she took me by the hand and said, ‘Son, take time to know her.  It’s not an overnight thing.  Take time to know her.  Please, don’t rush into this thing.'”

Even Elvis (and wise men) knew that “only fools rush in.”  But so did mama.  Please listen to mama.

“To The End,” by Blur

A big part of a healthy relationship is knowing when to call it quits.  Maybe you bring out the bad in each other, or the sex has gone sour, or worse, there isn’t any sex to go sour anymore.  No one knows that breaking up is hard to do more than songwriters, but some breakup tunes are less vicious than the rest.

A favorite is Blur’s “To The End” off of 1994’s Parklife.  The song is a reprimand of both players in the relationship, citing the faults they’ve committed together:

“All those dirty words, they make us look so dumb.  We’ve been drinking far too much, and neither of us mean what we say.”

The narrator goes on to honor the relationship’s good moments, while unfurling its inevitable demise.

“Well you and I collapsed in love.  And it looks like we might have made it.  Yes, it looks like we’ve made it to the end.  What happened to us?  Soon it will be gone forever.  Infatuated only with ourselves, and neither of us can think straight anymore.”

There will never be a shortage tear jerking, wrathful and jealous love songs.  Love is hard.  Being a romantic is hard.  But being a sensible romantic is the hardest.

 

ALBUM REVIEW: Meilyr Jones “2013”

meilyr_jones_phil_sharp

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of Meilyr Jones, or his former band Race Horses. It doesn’t matter if you think Jones is English, when in fact, he’s a Welshman. It doesn’t even matter if you’re stumped on how exactly to pronounce “Meilyr”-because an authoritative voice tells you within the first 30 seconds of 2013’s opening track “How To Recognise A Work of Art.”

These things cease to matter, not because they are uninteresting, but because it is such a great record that it speaks for itself. It stands on its own two feet.

2013 is many things-a contemporary foray into baroque and renaissance influences, a brilliant pop record, a sonic odyssey with innumerable peaks and valleys. But it is also a love letter to Rome, the breeding ground for many of songs on the album. After the disbandment of Race Horses and the end of a relationship, Jones romantically fled to the ancient city, catalyzed by reading art history texts and Byron’s Don Juan. “I got really taken over by the feeling of adventure and passion in Byron, and some of Shelley’s poetry and Keats as well. And they were all people who went to Rome.” Jones mentioned in a press release.

And so along with everything else, 2013 has yet another incarnation, as a scrapbook of Jones’s time in Rome, and everything he loves in general. “I wanted to make something that felt right to me and expressed my interests, which are classical music and rock ‘n’ roll music, and films, and nature and karaoke, and tacky stuff,” Jones says. “And I wanted to capture that feeling in Rome of high culture and low-brow stuff all mixed together.” For a record so difficult to nail down, it is comforting to know that such a stew of influences went into making it.

It might amaze you, as it did me, that five of the twelve tracks on 2013 were recorded live in all of one day with a 30 plus piece orchestra that Jones assembled himself. Jones told press that he “wanted to record it completely live. The idea was doing it like a Frank Sinatra session.” And that idea certainly comes across in the grand arrangements Jones has served up.

He’s a songwriter with big ideas, delivering lofty compositions of the finest kind. “How To Recognise A Work Of Art” confirms the pop chops Jones has been refining since his days in Race Horses, the sweeping orchestral arrangements bringing a whole new dimension to otherwise infectious hooks.

 

 

“Don Juan” slows the record down to a honeyed melancholy, which is the only place to go after a banger such as “How To Recognise A Work Of Art.” Inspired by the same poem that led him to Italy, “Don Juan” is a nod to the baroque with subtle harpsichord and recorder riffs. The opening notes remind me of the exoticism found in The Stranglers’ “Golden Brown,” a similar genre-bending track. While straying from gimmick, “Don Juan” does render a lush image of open-bloused sirs flung upon velvet divans, drinking not from cups, but goblets.  

One of the most compelling aspects of Jones’s songs is that they behave more like Classical compositions or film scores than traditional pop music. They never end where they began, and traverse twisting paths the whole way through. “Passionate Friend” thumps along like the opening number in a sinister musical, the first words to which are nearly whispered by Jones: “Sometimes I am with the witches//on fire, fast and ruined//sometimes all around, with the honey in me, I quicken.”

“Refugees” is the emotional core of 2013, seemingly the most obvious breakup song. The leading single off the record, it is the first song I heard by Meilyr Jones, and it continues to resonate deeply with me. It is spare enough to exhibit his incredible talent; there are no bells, whistles, or harpsichords, just Jones at the piano with his striking choirboy voice.

 

 

2013 is an album in two acts, bisected on either side of “Rain In Rome,” an instrumental that melds organ with pattering raindrops and violent applause. It is a joyous palette cleanser, as the remainder of the album will volley from straight up rock with “Strange Emotional” to classical dramas such as “Return To Life” and “Olivia,” the latter of which features an operatic choir. There is a lot going on here, but I wouldn’t change it a bit.

I could all too easily write a synopsis of every track on this record, which is something I am rarely compelled to do…but 2013 is that wonderful. There isn’t a mediocre song on it. If you like Kate Bush, Van Morrison, The Zombies, if you like classical, eccentric, baroque, chamber, psychedelic, garage, or just slickly written pop, I recommend, beg, entreat you: give Meilyr Jones a chance. You will never be bored again.

2013 is out now via Moshi Moshi Records.

 

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Six Songs for Your Sweetheart

Happy Valentine’s Day from AudioFemme!  Thus far we’ve gotten some excellent feedback and would LOVE some more if you’ve got a few seconds to email us and let us know what you think, what you’d like to see more of, and – oh, yes! – submit something.


If you need some inspiration, we’ve got our first submission RIGHT HERE!  It comes to you from Jessica Darakjian, a self-described 23-year-old grandma living and working in Brooklyn, NY.  Currently she is getting ready to move back to California where she will partake in her favorite pastimes – riding a bike, gardening, making pickles and pies, surfing, going to flea markets, and listening to country tapes with her grandpa.


Personally, we think she could do most of these things just fine and still stay in New York, but she will not be convinced.
Enjoy! – Eds.

Is it just me or does anyone else wish Ye Olde Valentine’s Day was celebrated a little different? How, you might ask, could I ever dislike chocolate boxes, cutesy cards, hearts and bows, fancy dinners, pretty dresses and shoes, lots of flowers, and maybe jewelry (if you’re uh, rich)?  Well I don’t. I’m not saying I would refuse any of those things if they were handed over to me. But, I am saying that most likely I would love you, dear, a bit longer and harder if you approached this holiday a little differently… Can’t a girl get a mix tape in this day and age?  It’s all I want. Honest. Just to hold the little shitty piece of plastic in my hand and know it took you 45 fucking minutes to get the cut right so the tape didn’t run out in the middle of our favorite song. Can’t I listen to it over and over, until I know exactly how many seconds are between the click of the needle setting down to the actual beginning of each song? Everyone remembers how fucking special this is, we all know how much heart goes into it. From a friend or lover, there is no doubt that mixtapes are just, ya know, absolutely honest. So Happy Merry New Kind of Valentine’s Day – here are some songs I’m playing for my sweetie pie.



(One of my favorite videos. I wish I could dance like her. But honestly, Catherine should have just chosen Heathcliff and then none of the crazyness would have been necessary, right?)



(Even though you and I both can’t stand to look at that fucking blue hat this weirdo is wearing, you cannot try to tell me this song didn’t melt your heart when you were/are in your rebel high school loser stage)




(Best scene from Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. Makes me all googley)



(off the most played record I own. “I need it everyday”)

(I can tell by the way you dress, that you’re real fine)

(awww, Miss Cora, you are a lucky lady)


Feel free to give Jessica some L O V E.