Margaret Glaspy

So Emotions and Math is one of my favorite albums from 2016. Ironically my other favorite album from 2016 is probably guitarist and former child prodigy Julian Lage’s Arclight. I recently learned that Glaspy and Lage are together. After I became aware of this fact I felt unintelligent for not already knowing it because Lage and Glaspy have performed together on numerous occasions and the videos are all over the internet. But alas following music need not mean following which musicians are dating.

Back to the music. Glaspy has a commanding voice. Deep and a little raspy, to me she embodies modern blues vocal performance. Glaspy is an intriguing blend of country, alt rock and blues-y vocals. All together her voice is deeply emotional and is heard deep in your gut and heart. With influences from a crowd as diverse as Joni Mitchell to Janis Joplin to Patti Smith to Bonnie Raitt to Amy Winehouse I hardly even know what to think about Glaspy other than that I love it.

And then there is her guitar playing. Tight and delicate but beautiful and forceful, Glaspy knows exactly when to leave notes hanging and when to fill them in. I am so glad that she is her own guitarist because I wouldn’t want anyone else to be responsible for when to leave that crazy commanding voice alone and when to accompany it. Listen to her guitar come in at 2:16 on the track below, “Anthony.”

And then there is her songwriting. Personal and raw and often crude her lyrics add an interesting element to her music. Her commanding vocals in many ways require commanding and attention grabbing lyrics, but her guitar playing and her band are often much more delicate and measured. I guess this is what works so well about Glaspy and makes her so unique. The instrumentals are tight, spare jazz sequences but her vocals and lyrics are emotional indie rock. It all comes together in a hybrid, bluesy masterpiece.

Back to Lage. I’m bringing up Julian this time to make a musical point not a romantic one (although those two things aren’t so different). Listen to the link below. They sound incredibly good together which is in some ways surprising! Glaspy’s voice seems to shine most on her albums with more minimalist accompaniment. However, interestingly, with Lage’s complex fancy finger work Glaspy still shines.

Concert Review: Pity Sex, Eskimeaux, T-Rextasy

I saw Pity Sex, Eskimeaux and T-Rextasy on October 3rd at Market Hotel in Bedstuy.

Market Hotel is a great place to see music. The people are super friendly, and it has cool lighting and fun vibes. Also there’s a big window behind the stage where you can see the subway pass which is so sick. Unfortunately Market Hotel is currently experiencing some permit issues with the NYPD. The owners of the venue maintain a non-profit status because they host a variety of community events and activities. This status is currently being challenged unfairly. It’s an awesome place and the NYPD is really going after them for no reason. It’s hi-key not cool and brings me back to when SUB/mission was experiencing bullshit with the SFPD (for my SF friends SUB/mission was a space on Mission btwn 18th and 17th). Also Honey Hive out in the Sunset has experienced so much bullshit which sucks. It’s just so shitty when a cool small venue has to close because it can’t afford to function the way a large more established venue does. There needs to be places for small bands to play in big cities (even expensive cities like New York or San Francisco). Sometimes it feels like all the smaller-than-Bottom of the Hill spaces in SF are closing, and it makes me so incredibly sad.

Back to the show. It was awesome. T-Rextasy gave an extremely energetic and fun performance. I was only slightly familiar with their music prior to the show and had a lot of fun. The front-woman had insane Bowie-esque dance moves and was super engaging. The music was upbeat and fun and the lyrics were often extremely amusing. There was even one song just about boys who take gap years and then won’t stop talking about it.

Eskimeaux was likely my favorite part of the night. I’d seen them before with Pity Sex at Bottom of the Hill back home in San Francisco. They were wonderful then and sound even better now. Gabby’s voice is so hauntingly beautiful and her band compliments it well. She’s also one of those performers who are able to bring the audience in and make the show experience feel personal. This isn’t easy to do even at a small venue like Market Hotel. During Broken Necks (one of my favorites) she had the audience sing the refrain. This personal style of performance compliments Gabby’s emotional and poetic lyrics. It was really really wonderful.

Okay so it’s partially my fault that I didn’t totally enjoy Pity Sex’s set. I suppose I haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Emo News because I totally didn’t realize Britty Drake left the band. This is dumb of me because I’ve listened to White Hot Moon (didn’t like it as much as PS’s first two albums), and I should have realized there weren’t female vocals on it. I’ve seen Pity Sex twice before in my life both times at Bottom of the Hill (my favorite place on earth and where I spend all my time if you haven’t noticed). Both times Britty was there (obviously), and it was such an awesome show. Without Britty they simply aren’t Pity Sex. It was okayyy…they played When You’re Around which was dope, but I was a little disappointed with their set. I don’t think they should be recording/touring as Pity Sex without Britty.

Even though Pity Sex was lame I left extremely happy and had FUN. Thank you Market Hotel!! Sending luck/love and hoping the shitty situation gets resolved quickly and painlessly.

Schmilco Review

First of all the name. Wilco gets some credit for the amusing self-deprecation. The name was likely intended to lighten the mood of the album. Tweedy’s lyrics are emotional and personal, more so than any recent Wilco and maybe ever. Consider these lines from the first song on the album “Normal American Kids:”Oh, all of my spirit leaked like a cut / I knew what I needed would never be enough / I was too high to change my bid / Always afraid to be a normal american kid.” Themes of childhood, growing up, and trying to be happy are present lyrically throughout the album. In this way the album feels quite introspective and honest.

Musically, I found the album a bit boring. Largely acoustic, the songs all sound pretty similar. I didn’t find it as artistically interesting as Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (an aside: YHF is one of the 20ish CDs I keep in my car which only plays CDs, so I listen to it and love it a lot.) Schmilco is super mellow and great easy listening but lacks enough musical variation to really capture the listener’s attention. Locator (9th song on the record) gets kinda noisy towards the end which lends a bit of interest.

Regardless of my quibbles the album is worth listening to if not at least for the title. He makes fun of “We Are the World” in track 11, “We Aren’t the World (Safety Girl)” which made me laugh a little. With songs like that, the album title, and the amusing album art we can’t really be sure how serious Wilco is taking themselves right now which I kinda like. But also the lyrics are sometimes quite serious so I’m not sure what to make of everything.

Okay this is a pretty mediocre review, but I have to write a paper.

Stay Young, Go Dancing

I was just listening to this lovely song with some lovely friends. We were all smiling and singing, and music is magic yet again. I really love Death Cab so much and have for so long (5th grade jams!). I saw them two years ago at Outside Lands and again a year ago at the Greek in Berkeley, and both shows were wonderful. My mother went with me to the show at the Greek and is now also a big Death Cab fan. His voice is just so magically smooth and melancholy and beautiful. I imagine that Death Cab is a band I’ll still be listening to in my late 80s.

I’ll very much miss the aforementioned friends, but at least we have music.

And She Was

And she was lying in the grass
And she could hear the highway breathing
And she could see a nearby factory
She’s making sure she is not dreaming
See the lights of a neighbor’s house
Now she’s starting to rise
Take a minute to concentrate
And she opens up her eyes
The world was moving she was right there with it and she was
The world was moving she was floating above it and she was
And she was

Sometimes I feel like I’m narrating my life like this.Weird right? Anyways, I love this song. Also read my past posts on Talking Heads.

Morning Track

I love Wilco so dearly, and this song makes me happy.

I left you behind I know its been along time, but I’m not over you
Don’t forget the flowers someday, I hope I do
You’re tryin’ my patience, try pink carnations, red roses and yellow
daffodils
Don’t forget the flowers someday
I know I will
Don’t forget the flowers someday, I know I will

Reading the lyrics I realized it’s actually kinda sad.

Talking Heads

Talking Heads are actually my super cool dad’s all time favorite band, and so I very much grew up begging to here Psycho Killer one more time. I thought that song along with Burning Down the House were the best songs in the history of the universe. The first concert I really remember was actually David Byrne at the Greek in Berkeley (my actual first concert was Bob Freaking Dylan in Italy when I was one). It was an awesome show. My little brother and I danced with all the old Berkeley hippies, and it felt like the greatest thing ever. I think that show was likely when I caught the concert bug.

Talking Heads are also one of my favorite bands, and David Byrne one of my favorite musicians and people. I knew how brilliant their music was but seeing Stop Making Sense still took it over the edge for me. Some of those versions of Talking Heads songs will always be my favorites (funny story my ex-boyfriend had the Stop Making Sense CD and literally only knew those versions of the songs and was confused when I played the originals). Anyways enjoy a few of my favorites: