Thursday, November 30, 2017

You and I

This past year has been......... a trip and a half. On a personal and global level. I've come to appreciate music that I can turn up and block the world out. One of my favourite bands for this has been PVRIS.

Photo by Brandon Taelor Aviram [source]

PVRIS is comprised of Lynn Gunn, Alex Babinski, and Brian MacDonald, and their band's name is pronounced 'Paris'. Even though I know that, I still find my brain reading it as 'Purvis' of all things. I... am not in the mood to discuss genre or dissect sound. All I know is, when I need life blocked out, their music has what it takes to do so.

This summer they released a new album, All We Know of Heaven, All We Need of Hell, which I love. But today, I want to talk about their first album: White Noise. While All We Know of Heaven... took a while to grow on me, White Noise was an instant obsession. It came out in 2014 originally, but it was re-released as a deluxe album in 2016. I was pretty late to the PVRIS party, so it's the deluxe version that I own. I'm actually rather shocked, because while writing this post, I realized the two songs that I was originally obsessed with from the album ('Empty' and 'You and I') were not on the original release, and were added to the deluxe version as the first two tracks. I can't believe I didn't know this for a full year. I've definitely read things that should've made me realize this, but apparently I blipped right past them. (Also yes I know my pet peeve is different versions of albums, but what can you do?)

I particularly wanted to write about this album before this month ended, because I listened to White Noise a lot last November. It ties in strongly with important events from that month: my trip to NYC, NaNoWriMo, and even the election. (The last one is because I hadn't bought the album yet, but I was so depressed the day after the election that I bought it. Retail therapy, I guess? More like retail survival.)

Wow, on that note I'm at a loss at where to go. I'll let the music speak for itself, I guess? I'm posting the aforementioned song, 'You and I'.

A theme of this blog has been listening to music that no one in my life knows and can comment on, but regrettably my little brother knew of this band before I... and speaks disparagingly of them. Alright, lil bro. That will not stop me from cranking them up when I am [insert negative emotion here]. (Not to say that I don't ever listen to PVRIS when I'm happy, because I do that, as well.)

It's always nice to return here. I make no promises, but I do have a lot of music I want to burble about...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Live As You Dream

One of my favourite ways to find new music is via television shows. There have been a number of artists I've discovered because the soundtrack to something I was watching caught my attention and made me start googling lyrics to figure out what the delightful sound I was hearing was.

While this can be a good way to find new indie artists (especially on current television), I've also found it works connecting me to older artists of whom I had heard but never listened to. (And by older I do not mean "old" but musicians who have been doing their thing for a couple decades.)

Last year, I was watching the (slightly obscure) 90s British drama Playing the Field and I became very interested in one of the couples. I wonder why....

[gif made by me because I'm the only one who caaaares]

As I was rewatching their scenes (probably for the third time or so...), I realized that the same song was playing in a couple of their scenes. (It wasn't even playing in the forefront of the scene, just like on the character's stereo in the background. I felt like a detective. A very gay detective.)

 I googled the lyrics and discovered it was the song 'Live As You Dream' by Beth Orton.

[photo source]

 I'd heard of Beth Orton, but never listened to her music. But on a whim (and because it was cheap), I bought her 1996 album Trailer Park which the song 'Live As You Dream' appears on.

Trailer Park was Beth Orton's first album, and honestly I had no idea what to expect. I hadn't even known she'd been recording since the 90s. But I quickly grew extremely found of the album. I listened to it a lot while driving, and had to make sure I kept it in my car for the roadtrips I took last year. Though even after listening to the album many times, I still didn't really know how to categorize her style of music. Well, until I Wikipedia-ed her just now, where her genre is referred to as "folktronica". That makes a lot of sense, as the songs on Trailer Park vary from straightforward folk-rock to hazy ten-minute trips.

The song I'm posting today is, of course, the one that started all this: 'Live As You Dream'. It continues to be my favourite song on the album. Honestly, it's hard for me not to smile when it comes on. (I think because it's a happy song, but also it might have something to do with the association of my TV ship. Haha.)

Can you believe I actually posted again before another year went by? I'm not sure I can. Let's see if I can do it again......

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Don't Be So Hard On Yourself

This morning I felt an inspiration to write this blog post, so I'm running with it before motivation dissipates.

I've been meaning to write a blog post here for... over a year. Specifically about the song I'm posting today, which has been at the top of my Top 25 Most Played for, well, over a year.

I might be doing a series of posts, talking about my year and the music I've been listening to. Or I might cop out and let this post suffice. Who can say!


The song I am posting today is 'Don't Be So Hard on Yourself' by Jess Glynne.

Photo credit: Simon Emmett

This song is from her debut album I Laugh When I Cry. It was also released as a single, and reached the top of the UK charts. (Which is also true for several other songs on this album!) I'm not sure how this album came onto my radar, but I bought it in 2015 a couple month after it was released. I clearly can remember downloading it as a treat while I was working, which involved staying at someone's house and looking after everything because they were sick. The album was a much-needed treat, indeed, and from then on, I've listened to this album a LOT.

[Side note: the great thing about researching an album while writing blog posts is that I've found out I have the North American version of the album, and the UK version has several more tracks! I'm going to track (heh) them down as soon as I finish writing this post. (Also: it's 2017. Why is having different albums in different countries still a thing?? This has been a pet peeve of mine for years.)]

I Laugh When I Cry is a pretty equal mix of love songs and break-up songs. Jess Glynne went through a significant break-up with her girlfriend, which was the inspiration for several songs on the album.

(Ohhh, that's how I must've heard about this album: The Queer Grapevine.)

Little Miss Hipster Me's music taste has swerved slightly in the past couple years. This album is a pop delight with some dance, as well. I'm not even sure I would've liked it five years ago. But it's perfect for where I'm at these days. Especially 'Don't Be So Hard on Yourself'. As someone who tends to be very hard on herself (thanks to severe social anxiety!), listening to this song has soothed me on multiple occasions. Also it's just fun. What more could you ask for in a song?

Also the site I used to host files on no longer works properly, so you can no longer conveniently listen to most of what I've posted in the past. Quite annoying. Part of me wants to go back and re-upload everything, but I might have to stifle that urge. (But I probably won't.) I'll just be using youtube embeds for the time being.

Alright, that's all for now. I'll be back soon! (Maybe!)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A possible return.

Today I finished a longterm project and have taken care of a few other things that I've been meaning to do... and I figured while I was on a roll, I'd do something I've been meaning to do for months: post here.

Since I last posted a year ago, I've almost solely been listening to musical cast recordings. I am not even close to kidding. However, there have been a few new releases by several artists I love that I made room for in the midst of my musical theatre binge. I'm going to write about two of them... because after a year's absence how could I just talk about one song? So I shall be posting about two EPs: one by Hannah Peel and one by Laura Groves.

In my head, it makes perfect sense to put these two lovely ladies in the same post, as it was through Laura Groves's music that I heard about Hannah Peel.

Photo credit: Hiro Hirata
Hannah Peel's new EP Fabricstate, which was released in February, was brought to my attention by Hannah herself (Thank you!!). I posted about her album The Broken Wave a couple years ago, so I was delighted to hear more music from her. Though her style of music has evolved, Fabricstate is enchanting. Hannah's voice and music are as soothing and sweet as ever. I'm posting the first track on the EP, 'Silk Road'. When I first listened to this song it evoked a strong feeling in me that it would be a perfect song to put on a mix CD for a road trip taken in the very early morning. (I could practically feel the light chill in the air and see the empty, dimly-lit streets.)

And now for the second section, Laura Groves! (Still working on the art of segues...)

Photo credit: Owen Tetley
Laura Groves used to record under the name Blue Roses. Her eponymous album released under that name has been one of my favourites for years. I feared she had stopped recording, but a few months ago I discovered she had released an EP called Thinking About Thinking in September last year. I quickly went to listen to it and was happy to find that it lived up to her precedence of dreamy, haunting music. I'm posting the last track on the EP, which is also the title song. I also very strongly see this as being a perfect road trip song for the early morning. (How many road trips have I taken in the early morning? Very few. But I'm seemingly obsessed with the idea...)

(Tried to embed this via bandcamp, but blogger was not having it. Ah well.)

I do hope it won't be a year before I get around to posting again. I'm going to avoid making any promises, though.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Changer and the Changed

I am genuinely perturbed at how fast July flew by. So much, in fact, I don't even want to talk about it.

I have a happier subject to dwell on anyway: my new favourite album.

The other night when I was meant to be sleeping, I found myself googling lesbian singer-songwriters, because that's where my interests lie these days.

And on some blessed compilation list on some blessed website, I ran across a recommendation for an album by Cris Williamson called The Changer and the Changed. Embedded was her song 'Waterfall'... and before the song had even finished, I knew I wanted this album. Less than 20 minutes later, I had ordered a copy. I didn't even listen to any other songs off it. I just somehow knew I would love it.

(I only doubted this when I received it and feared it was going to turn out to be a country album. But only the second track was country, to my relief.)

Cris Williamson, where have you been my whole life?

(photo credit)

I've yet to explore her other music (she's been recording since the 60s) and I look forward to doing so, but for now I just want to bask in the perfection that is The Changer and the Changed.

This album was released in 1975 without the help of any men. Seriously. It was released on the independent label Olivia Records (which was completely women-based) and in the liner notes it says, "This album was made with the help of these women" and proceeds to list a plethora of females. As a feminist, I think that's pretty awesome.
There is something timeless about The Changer and the Changed. Something indelibly golden. The ten songs that make up this album made a home within me the first time I heard them. I've had this album for only a month, but it has touched me so much already. I hope it continues to mean a lot to me over the years. (And reading what other people have to say about it, I suspect it will!)
I don't know how to classify this album. Just give it a try and if you like it--wonderful! Below I'm posting the song that started it all for me 'Waterfall':