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.

Thee Comic Column #107: Drinking with Yost and Kyle’s New X-men in the Midwest!

86871-18078-105907-1-new-x-menNo, unfortunately this isn’t going to be a post about how I was able to film some segments of Drinking with Comics in Chicago and Dayton, the way I had planned to on my recent trip. However, just because I forgot to bring the proper sound equipment with me and thus didn’t get any usable footage doesn’t mean that I wasn’t drinking good beer and talking comics a large percentage of the time I was there. Chicago especially is where the idea for the show came from – late night parties with my friends where we’d inevitably end up clustered in the kitchen (why always the kitchen?) talking about Teenagers from Mars, Preacher, Sandman and of course debating the value of the superhero franchises at any given moment. It was a long trip – a great trip but seeing as it put me back down in LALAland this past Monday at the tip of an eleven day in-a-row work stretch it has also been an exhausting one. I spent eleven days in Chicago – mostly in the forested south suburbs – and then hitched a Greyhound bus to Dayton, Ohio where I crammed eleven songs with four friends – most of us having never played with each other before – and then did a gig on November 1st – el dia de los muertos. It was a great ride, lots of fun but…

The Joup Friday Album: Emitt Rhodes

Emitt-Rhodes-Emitt-Rhodes-383053At 64, nobody needs or feeds Emitt Rhodes, whose legacy is unfairly aswim in comparisons to Mr McCartney. In this age of archeological appreciation for overlooked artists, Emitt Rhodes has come agonisingly close to being paid his long overdues but unfortunately fallen short at every opportunity. From inclusion on the soundtrack to Wes Anderson’s ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ to being the focus of a documentary dedicated to his unjustified obscurity and aimed at setting the record straight, 5 years have passed since it’s plaudit winning appearances at independent film festivals – the stars periodically align but fail to influence a wave of reappraisal.

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?

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