New Song for the New Year

Telenovela Star
Telenovela Star

A couple of months ago, I met up with the other members of my band, just to hang-out and play some songs. We’ve been on a hiatus from playing out and practicing, since we’re practically broke and looking for employment and better lives (the real, on-going telenovela).  This has been a really difficult year for so many, not just us.  So good riddance 2008.

Anyway, we’ve been needing some sort of release for some time now, and meeting up just to play, not our set or unfinished songs, just to play loudly like we didn’t give a shit anymore, and feel the frustrations, the beast, bleed out.  This release felt like the best sort of cure for the thwart that’s been illing, suffocating us for some time now.

Of course I was late on the day, which sucked, because it takes forever to set a kit that’s not your own up, especially when it’s a piece of shit kit.  If anything this is a good metaphor for life:  never set-up or play anybody else’s piece of shit kit. 

Anyway, Maggie was fooling around on the keyboards, and Hanna on her bass. I quickly tried to set the mouse trap of a kit up. It was my worst set-up time ever: half an hour! After doing a three week residency at the Delancey earlier this year, I could set-up in like 5 minutes, 10 tops. Well, that was mostly nervous adrenaline, mixed with shots of Red Bull.

We were just messing around, spur of the moment playing, and then we started talking about this metal band that shared the studio space next door to our old studio, and how awesome we thought their musical arrangements were (lately we’ve been getting into metal). Maggie started talking about how she wanted to write a grave song, and of course that just started it all. Hanna started jokingly singing about loving a lover from the grave, while Maggie was playing on the keys, a blues progression to match Hanna’s bass and vocals. I came in with a slow blues beat, and it went straight to hell after that. We were so excited.  We had to play it again, and this time record it. We were hooked on what we had made, it felt so good. It honestly felt like a drug rushing through my veins.

We couldn’t get the melody out of our heads, even after our session at the studio ended. We kept humming this sketch, it was like a nursery rhyme. We just kept singing it over and over again, all through the streets of Manhattan’s Port Authority, laughing when one of us added a scandalous line to the lyrics.

I raced home hoping Hanna had emailed us the short recording of the song. I remember I couldn’t sleep that night, and for once it was for a positive reason. I kept giggling like a kid about our night, and the song. Ha! my poor lover, she puts up with so much. Luckily, she didn’t kick me out the bed that night. 

Anyway, we never had a chance to meet again before the holidays to flesh the song out, but Hanna did this incredible just keyboard version of it at home.

The name of the song is Carcass of Pleasure, our attempt at a metal song, well the lyrics are metal, but the melody is more blues, pop maybe? You decide.

After listening to Carcass, I suggest listening to Something In the Middle (see previous post) right away (on loud speakers, and dance around in front of a mirror, I do it all the time in just my underwear, and a broom as my microphone), since they sound so good together.

Enjoy, and as Yo! Majesty says, Never be afraid… Let the music set you free!

Listen to here: Carcass of Pleasure

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This Time of Year

Yup, it’s that time of year for list making and the best ofs…

But during this time of worry, wondering if my job is going to be there tomorrow, I’ve found this activity to be quasi healthy, as it perpetuates hopefulness. A promise. Something that I’m terrible at.

“Any tiny positive thing is good,” so says my lover, the Buddha. So, in an attempt to be hopeful about the future, I’ve created my list of favorite songs, and albums for 2008. Because as much as I make fun of her Buddha remarks, my lover is semi right. Reflecting on your favorite things, what makes you laugh, smile a little, that brings you joy is worth making a list of and keeping in your empty pocket, or maybe on your ipod.

In no particular order, here are a few of my favorite songs and albums, that kept me alive in 2008:

OBJECTObject’s Black Swan, because these kids reek awesomeness, especially live. I saw their last show for the year this past Friday night, and they did all new stuff, with the inclusion of their unrecorded and my favorite, Disappear. Most of their new stuff is instrumental metal, a new direction (maybe?), which began as a Halloween side project. These kids are sickly talented, and I can’t wait to hear what they bring in 2009. See previous post here: Object. Listen: OFF THE RECORD

THE NETHERLANDSThe Netherlands‘s BDF-German Hardcore, because they’re effin crazy, and their songs remind me of James Brown: some soul meets rock, meets noise possibly? My faves: Teenage Sun, BDF-German Hardcore, Warleola!, The Gogo Dancer, and The Cocain Knightz. This is a great band. I can’t wait for their insanity to explode. Listen: BDF GERMAN HARDCORE

YO! MAJESTYYo! Majesty‘s Kryptonite P***y EP and Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid. Some of the words, and phrases I associate with Yo!: Risk Takers, Unapologetic, Dynamism, Hott, Scandalous, Blasphemous… Scandalous and Blasphemous because isn’t that what makes 2008 especially special? When we think about all our leaders being caught in the act, and all these words become attached to their behavior. Like “phenomena”, as if they’ve created a new trend. I wonder sometimes what exactly is phenomenal about what they’re doing, especially when they can get away with it. These guys, however, Yo! Majesty, push the queer in funkadelic, rap, hiphop. Added to this mix and their in your face lyrics Yo! fuses Soca and Club music, making their sound completely sick. Faves: Break Bread, Kryptonite P***y, Night Riders, Hott, Grindin’ And Shakin’, Never Be Afraid.

SWATI Swati‘s Big Bang. This is probably one of the most uplifting songs I’ve listened to in awhile. It makes me feel electric from my finger-tips to my toes. I walk to work imagining that I could play guitar like it was my sword, singing the lyrics like they were a spell, ready for whatever awaits me…

RENIMINBIRenminbi‘s The Phoenix. Renminbi, pronounced REN-MIN-BEE, is an experimental three piece, that kept changing drummers on me. My band had the opportunity to play with these guys, and they’re amazing: both as musicians and human beings. For me that’s all it takes. My faves: Lachine, Fight Song, Siren, The Shore. Listen: SIREN

pianowire1 Pianowire‘s The Throws, still gives me goose bumps, or as we say in Trinidad, make meh pause raise. So good. They’re a mixture of Elton John, Billy Joel and Queen. I also love Contact. These guys are coming out with an album soon. Listen: THE THROWS

Holy FuckHoly Fuck‘s Royal Gregory, because you couldn’t be in a much better mood after listening. It’s a great mixture of electronic, experimental and rock music. See, it’s very possible to like electronic music, once it’s done well and it’s not repetitive. Another band that I appreciate a lot, that does the same (bridging the gaps between electronic, experimental and rock) are the Battles.

The CoolLupe Fiasco‘s The Cool is supposedly an antithesis to Miles Davis’s Birth of Cool and if I may the Cool Jazz movement, as it critiques and decontructs the current “cool” state of hip hop (a derivative of bebop jazz) which no longer challenges the status quo, discusses social issues, but again and again chooses to be distracted by the bling and pussy.  Gwendolyn Brooks’s poem We Real Cool also comes to mind when listening to this album:

We Real Cool

THE POOL PLAYERS.
SEVEN AT THE GOLDEN SHOVEL.

We real cool. We
Left School. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Something in the Middle

Something In the Middle CoverMy band uploaded a new song on our myspace page. It’s called Something In the Middle.

I can’t remember the details which lead to  Something In the Middle. Maybe it was a day when one of us was so beaten down, that we just spilled all of our guts out.  Because that’s what we do when we’re together, we spill everything out, everything that is trying to kill us. We sing louder, play harder, speak in tongues. We joke that our band practices are really therapy sessions.

Anyway, Something In the Middle is probably one of our most political songs (other than our very visible presence as women playing rock music) on our line-up.

Oh wait, it’s coming back to me now, how it all began. I was talking about the issues surrounding gay rights, and Hanna (bass player and vocalist), or maybe it was Maggie (lead guitarist and vocalist), made a scathing remark which lead to a beat, to a riff, to a refrain…

The recording is homemade, live at our studio. It’s not as polished as our previous recordings, but I’m digging the rawness.  We used this really handy recorder that fits right in your pocket,  Olympus LS10.

You can listen here: Something In the Middle

Something also reminded me of a poem I wrote a couple of weeks ago.

Yeah!

when tomorrow is just tomorrow

when we know that our phenomenal experience

isn’t as immediate as the phenomena expected

where Yeah exists.

I hope that these impressions stay with you

like the scars dealt to me for being open

as long as you live

I hope you live with just that amount of fear

living, breathing, preparing yourself for an attack

as you sit calmly with someone’s else’s blood on your shit: maybe it’s your own

wishing they were gone

as you sit and wait for Yes

to magically appear?

I’m still going to have Metal beating through me tomorrow

I’m still going to text my lover, I heart yous, and still be under-represented

infected with insanity, perversion, illegality

until I’ve been completely molded into something accustomed

I, continues, growing into a form

a persuasion for pettiness

and oh, I thank you God for my nose, eyes, and ears

because I couldn’t have reckoned without them

I couldn’t have survived this Love.