New Music Enthusiast’s Club: i am Love

i am Love.coverarti am Love – i am Love

Think of all the kids you grew up with.  The ones taking music lessons after school.  The kids tinkering away on the piano, practicing their recitals.  The kids spending their afternoons learning the cello, or the violin, or the trumpet.  The band dorks.  The punk brats making a ruckus in their parents’ garages, banging and strumming away on their beginner’s drum kits and electric guitars.  The younger brothers and sisters rifling through their older siblings’ record collections and singing along in their bedrooms.  Think of those kids gathering together to create music, a circus folk rock troupe with flashes of Americana, post-punk, classic rock, new wave, and the Avant Garde all playing harmoniously like a choir of art school misfits.  A saxophone here.  A viola there.  A grand aural collage of different sounds, textures, instruments, and influences.  How glorious it must be.  And so we have the self-titled debut album from Philadelphia’s i am Love, a collection of pop songs created by a vast array of instrumentation and open, bleeding hearts.

Joup Confessions…

xanaduFact: I have never actually sat down to watch the roller skating musical fiasco that is 1980’s Xanadu.  I have seen bits and pieces and scenes from it, often with my older sister, years and years ago, but I have no real recollection of anything other than light and colors flowing behind roller skating muses.  I understand that the film is supposed to be an abysmal mess, but I like to remember it as a soft-focussed, neon-tinted piece of 80’s kitsch.

The Joup Friday Album: Roky Erickson and The Aliens – The Evil One

rokyericksonFull disclosure: I am super stoked that I ended up with the Halloween edition of Joup’s Friday Album.  That being said, it was actually kind of difficult to narrow my options down to one solid choice.  I skidded around from Goth metal to dark and creepy drone, from horror scores to silly, Halloween themed surf rock, finally settling on The Evil One, Roky Erickson and The Aliens’ punk and 80’s rock riff on all things monster movie.  This 1981 opus has everything: monsters, demons, zombies, vampires, and the devil himself.  It plays out like a love letter to a midnight B-movie marathon.

New Music Enthusiast’s Club: Leonino

leoninoLeonino – Naked Tunes

Leonino is the latest project from legendary Chilean artist Jorge Gonzalez, original member of and songwriter for the highly influential 80’s band Los Prisioneros.  Coming up in Pinochet’s Chile, Gonzalez’s music was a resistance to the dictatorship, a rising cry for the alienated and disaffected youth of the nation.  The group’s particular brand of new wave flavored, rock-a-billy punk made them arguably the biggest band in their native Chile, saw them achieve immense popularity throughout the rest of Latin America, and culminated with tours with artists like Peter Gabriel and Bruce Springsteen.  And then they disbanded in the early 1990’s.

Goodbye Mailbox: A Short List of my Favorite Sketches from The State

state1Over the last year, I have written a number of articles about the music I’ve spent my life listening to, poking and prodding and digging around to see how it all affected me, how it made me grow as a person, how it helped me, defined me, or influenced my life and personality. There was a lot to sift through, but it was a joy to revisit and re-experience it all again. And now that musical nostalgia highway has got me thinking about other aspects of me that the pop culture I grew up with molded like so much clay. Like my sense of humor. Where did that come from?

Thank God for VOD! – ABC’s of Death 2

I don’t get to go to the movies as often as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch awesome flicks at home. Thank God for VOD!

abcsofdeathABC’s of Death 2

A hairy and half-naked man running down the street, eyes aglaze, mouth frothing, attacking innocent bystanders! A new castaway coming between two men stranded on an island! A group of ungrateful family members pining away for their inheritance from their defiant benefactor! Granddad on grandson violence! Monsters! Jilted lovers! Deranged babysitters! Guns! Robots! Badgers! There are 26 new ways to die in the latest installment of the horror anthology series The ABC’s of Death, and they’re delightful. Part two finds a brand new group of directors from all over the world being assigned a letter from the alphabet, and then just going nuts from there. The first film was a lot of fun, though sometimes cringe-worthy, and the sequel keeps up the pace, at times even upping the ante.

New Music Enthusiast’s Club: Tomás Doncker Band

Big Apple Blues CD CoverTomás Doncker Band – Big Apple Blues

Just like getting pummeled in the face by a barrage of instruments, a cacophony of cymbals, distorted harmonica, and sound, a weathered and guttural old voice coming from the deepest, darkest pit of defeated and downtrodden old bluesmen, the opening title track from legendary performer Tomás Doncker’s new album, Big Apple Blues, comes out kicking and scratching before settling into a familiar and comfortable flow. Pairing up with Pulitzer Prize winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa, the record moves, dealing in blues, jazz, rock and roll, and world flavors, a kind of “global soul” music for the masses. It’s classic. It’s immediate. It’s timeless. It’s an ode to the big city.

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