17 May 2023

17 May 2023 - almost monday - broken people

What happens when three high school friends from San Diego form a band?

You get indie rock gold, that's what happens.  And this single, their 2020 debut, was a bellwether to bigger and better things - including a lot of investment by Hollywood Records, who have been advertising the hell out of them on their streaming media platforms of late. 

This song was a minor alternative radio hit in 2019, and they've only gotten bigger from there.  Their look is a little different than you might expect from big rock stars, but I think that's the point - they're making music that resonates with regular people, and not just aesthetes.   

The indie emotion shines even brighter when they perform the song live.

16 May 2023

16 May 2023 - Awkwafina - My Vag

Yes.   THAT Awkafina.

What other Awkafina is there?  Geez, we're not talking about water here.  No, we're talking about the Golden Globe Best Supporting Vag Actress winner.

No, we're talking about Awkafina's vagina today.  You know, her vagina is fifty times better than a penis.

You will be laughing straight through this incredibly politically incorrect song, which, believe it or not, put Nora Lum from Queens on the map - you can draw a straight line from this song right to her voice role in The Little Mermaid - but at the same time, you're going to be hearing this beat in your head all day.  

Oh yes.  She does it live.

15 May 2023

15 May 2023 - Steve Earle - Back To The Wall

This was the second single off Earle's 1988 breakthrough Copperhead Road album - and, as a country-rock album, it was outside my wheelhouse from a musical taste standpoint.  However, off the strength of "Copperhead Road", the single, I purchased this album.  

The standout for me wasn't the title song (which I liked for a while but grew tired of), but, rather, this gritty song about homelessness.  The video supports it - directed by Meiert Evis and featuring homeless people.  Written by Earle, the entire album and this song in particular cemented his legacy as a great storyteller.

Yes, Earle still performs this song live.  Here he is in 2018, 30 years after the song's initial release (yes, this song is 35 years old this year), performing it as gritty as ever in New York City.

12 May 2023

12 May 2023 - Mckenna Grace - Self Dysmorphia

We were watching The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu the other day and we noticed that there was a young actress who was playing a character that was mature beyond her years.   The character was Esther Keyes, and the actress was 16-year-old Emmy nomineee Mckenna Grace - and she is the youngest-ever Emmy nominee in any of the Best Guest Actor categories (and 10th youngest nominee in ANY category).  We know that 2nd part because we had to do a little research on this young actress.

Turns out she's an actress who sings - and has released several singles.  According to her website, she started this as a creative outlet during the pandemic, which, of course, did limit acting opportunities.  Music allowed her to get her emotions out.  

This single was released in November 2022 and was co-written by Grace.   The song itself was in the pop-rock genre that she's gravitated towards at this point in her young career.  The video was filmed after the actress's surgery to correct a scoliosis-casued 45 degree curvature to her spine (which she SHOWS you at the 2:00 minute mark of the video - yeah, that's her back).  It was directed, written, and edited by her, as she was pretty much confined to a chair in the weeks following her surgery (a doctor's directive she ignores at the 0:48 mark of the video).  

I exprect great things in the future, both in acting and music.  

Very soon after this video was performed, she seemed to be walking just fine - and she shows off the scar as she performed the song live.  

11 May 2023

11 May 2023 - The Lemonheads - Confetti

The Lemonheads is really one guy - Evan Dando - pretending he's a band with a bunch of whatever friends happen to be available at the time.  That included people from other Boston bands, session musicians, and at two different times, a couple of Blake Babies (another band he was a member of).  

This was a single from their 1992 breakout album, It's A Shame About Ray.  Written by Dando, the cheery-sounding song is about a guy who wanted to love someone but just couldn't, and instead decides to be alone.   The fourth and final single from that album, it was a minor hit in the UK.

It also happens to be one of my favorite songs by the band. 

The Lemonheads are still together, and still performing this song live, thirty years later.

10 May 2023

10 May 2023 - Huey Lewis & The News - Hip To Be Square

There was a time when Huey Lewis & The News were my favorite band.  I loved Sports.  Their early work was a little too new wave for my tastes, but when Sports came out in '83, I think they really came into their own, commercially and artistically.

Then Fore! came out and exploded, and I remember finding the first single off the album to be rather bland, so I moved on.   

Then they released their second single, which was all about how not actually cool they were - and I remembered why I liked them again.  The song is not just about the pleasures of conformity, and the importance of trends, it's also a personal statement about the band itself.  That's not an original thought by me.  It's a quote from American Psycho, a film in which this song was featuted.  It's also not the first American Psycho quote I peppered in here, so start hunting.  

This song was a #3 hit for the band in 1986, and featured background vocals from Football Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana, who at the time were playing for Huey's hometown San Francisco 49ers.  

09 May 2023

9 May 2023 - 10,000 Maniacs - My Mother the War

This song appears on both the band's 1983 debut album The Secrets of The I Ching and their 1985 major label debut, The Wishing Chair.  It is a song that longtime fans clamor to hear live (and in my times seeing them live, I did hear it a couple of times).

"My Mother The War" is the rare song with lyrics not solely written by Natalie Merchant from the early days of 10,000 Maniacs - it was co-written with Michael Walsh, with John Lombardo writing the music in the style that was so distinctive for the early days of the band.  

I don't know what else to say about this except, go Jamestown!

The band is still around, although Natalie left the band in the mid-90's (despite what you may have heard, it was amicable).  Here is not-usual-vocalist John Lombardo singing the song during a sound check in 2022. 

Here he is singing it in 2015 - you can see usual vocalist Mary Ramsey walk off stage as they play the song that defined the early band she wasn't part of (although she comes back).