Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I was a punk rocker. I wore my boyfriend's badass punk jacket, some fake tats (that's "LIVE FAST DIE FUN" on my chest, and "fuck you"/"fuck me" on either side of my neck, and "hard luck" on my knuckles, as an homage to my girl Jerri Blank), leopard print leggings with fishnets over them, sexy makeup, purple ratty hair, and my badass old Chucks.

That top picture is of me getting my groove on with my friend Kyle Lyle Caldwell. He was supposed to be Buffy the Vampire Slayer; his costume is really just a bunch of my everyday clothes. So he was kind of "Annika on a typical Thursday" for Halloween.

I love this holiday, there's no necessity to be with one's family or buy gifts for anyone. You just dress crazy, drink a lot, and dance. Hedonism!!

As for now, I'm about to finish up some homework and continue my Halloween celebrations with a Hosty show at the Deli. Goodnight Halloweenies!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

thy voice is a celestial melody

Even though instrumentals are rockin' awesome (post on that to follow, maybe) most music that people love has lyrics and vocal performance of some kind. We love to hear someone articulate feelings and thoughts in words, and it helps if that artist has a beautiful or distinctive voice.

When I was in 7th grade, I was completely and totally obsessed with Clay Aiken (this was when he was a contestant on American Idol). I filled notebooks with pictures of him, I wrote poems about him, I cried myself to sleep when he lost the show. Yes, I was a Claymate. Looking back now, I can't really see the appeal... I'm no longer attracted to squeaky clean uber-Christians... but I still think his voice is fkn gorgeous. See for yourself!

I can't make a post about voice without mentioning Sam Cooke. Cooke was an R&B singer in the early days of rock-n-roll, and he had tons of hits between 1957 and 1964. You've probably heard his songs "Cupid", "Chain Gang" or "Twistin' the Night Away" if you've ever listened to an oldies station for any extended period of time (or if you're like me, your entire childhood). This guy just floors me every time I listen to one of his songs. His voice is pure and soothing and beautiful. Unfortunately Cooke was murdered at age 33, when someone shot him at a hotel after mistaking him for a robber.

This song was released posthumously and is one of the best protest songs of all time. Listen to that sweet honey voice.

Then there's Bob Dylan, of course. Dylan is special because he has a TERRIBLE singing voice. He can hardly carry a tune. His voice is croaky, it's ugly, it's nasal, and it's one of the most distinctive voices in musical history. There is no way you can hear a Dylan song and ask someone, "Who is this?" Really the only acceptable thing to do is do your best impression along with the song. "How does it FEEEL?"

It's important for an artist to have a distinctive voice, even if it's not as obvious as Bob Dylan's. That's how you get recognition and fans. You have to sound like yourself, and preferably not like lots of other people. But there are different vocal styles that people fall into...

The Indie Girl Murmur

Sounds like Feist, Regina Spektor, Sherree Chamberlain, Penny Hill, Colbie get the picture.

The Tragic Male Introvert

Sounds like Why?, Animal Collective, Cursive, Bright Eyes

The Pop Crooner

Sounds like Bruno Mars, Drake, Jason DeRulo, etc.

You get the picture. Voice is important. Voice is awesome. Listen to music.

Monday, October 18, 2010

British Invasion

So after The Beatles got really famous in the United States in 1964, a whole swarm of other British bands who looked or sounded or acted like the fab four came and got really famous too. Here are some of my favorite British Invasion songs...

The Zombies have this jazzy, sexy sound. Another good example is their song "Time of the Season."

What a voice, oh my god. I'm sure you've heard The Animals' cover of the old American folk tune "House of the Rising Sun."

Herman's Hermits are probably the most Beatles-esque. By the time they hit the scene, their sound was almost a throwback to the early Beatles sound which, by then, was a few years old. I used to sing their song "Henry VIII" all the time when I was a little kid... that's not weird, right?

Dave Clark Five has this awesome, driving sound with the heavy drumbeat, and the way they all shout together. It's almost a Phil Spector/Wall of Sound type experience, except with rock guitars and saxophones instead of strings and timpanis.

This is Peter & Gordon singing "A World Without Love," which was actually penned by Lennon & McCartney. Paul was dating Peter's sister Jane at the time, so he helped him out with a song. Apparently back in the day, the famous songwriting duo could knock out a pop hit in 30 minutes or so, then let a different singer/band perform it, and then make money on the royalties. Genius!

Of course I have to include my favorite band of all time, The Beatles. I love this video of them on the Ed Sullivan Show performing "This Boy," a really beautiful and underappreciated song from their early days. That 'middle 8' that Lennon sings is just breathtaking.

So that's my report on the British Invasion! I'll update with something a bit more interesting later this week.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

it's been a while

Oops, sorry y'all, guess I've been neglecting this here blog for a while. Didn't mean to leave you high and dry like that, but life happens I suppose.

Part of it is that this is supposed to be a music blog, and lately my computer has been busted. Public computer labs = no music for me :(

Also, to be honest there are too many things happening in the world right now that I'm frustrated over, things that make me forget about all the wonderful music in the world. I'm very interested in politics, and I'm a big old radical liberal queer feminist, and sometimes I just get bogged down in how much I HATE EVERYTHING, ya know?

But I'm allowed to say that, this is my blog after all! Hooray!

So, tomorrow is my 21st birthday. Perhaps a playlist of my favorite drinking songs is to come in the future...

I've been thinking about concerts lately too. The other night I went to see The Avett Brothers in Oklahoma City, and they were really great. I've seen them four times now, and this was probably the best show of theirs I've been to. They always have great energy, and the crowd is usually pretty awesome. When they played "I and Love and You," everyone was singing the chorus along with them at the end while holding up fingers to count - the line is, "Three words that became hard to say: I, and Love, and You." And lots of people were waving lighters in the air, myself included. That's a great concert tradition.

Another great concert I've attended was Dave Matthews Band. I've seen them once in Wisconsin and once in Dallas. I liked the show in WI better, but it's always a great experience to see Dave. Truly a unique concert, every time.

My favorite concert of all time, though, has got to be Cursive. I saw Cursive in spring 2008, when I was still a senior in high school. My boyfriend and I skipped out of class early and drove down to Madison, Wisconsin. We spent the day shopping on State Street.

The show was at the University of Wisconsin, in this pretty small venue in their student union. There were maybe 100 people there. It was so intimate and so incredible. I got so close to the stage that Tim Kasher's (lead singer/love of my life) sweat hit my face. Yes. When they played their loud, fast and hard songs, the crowd surged and rocked. I have never had so much fun dancing with a group of strangers.

But then they played this one song. It was before their album Mama, I'm Swollen had come out, and they were playing a lot of new stuff off that album that no one had heard before. Then Tim said they were going to play this song live for the first time ever, and they launched into "What Have I Done?"

You could have heard a pin drop. It was amazing.

On the ride home, I couldn't stop talking about that song. I remember telling Damien that it was breathtaking. The next day, we skipped class again, and got in big trouble, but it was all worth it.

Here is a video of Cursive performing "What Have I Done?" This video is from the show in Madison - the very show I saw them at. Enjoy!