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':

Friday, June 28, 2013

Wizard Flurry Home

The first draft of this post was scribbled at 3 AM when I couldn't fall asleep. (Long story. Or boring story, really.) I soon discovered, to my chagrin, that while my eyes wouldn't close, my brain was not functioning with its usual (ha!) keenness.

Good news is, I've been sleeping better! And hopefully this post won't read as inanely as the words on this paper next to me. (I can barely read my handwriting, to be honest.)

Okay, convoluted opening over, let's get to the reason I'm here: to talk about Mariee Sioux.

Or more specifically, her album Faces in the Rocks. It came out in 2007, and I used to listen to it around 2008, I think. But that was the time when I was discovering a lot of new and wonderful music... and I lost touch with Mariee Sioux's music.

I went to look up Faces in the Rocks a year or two ago and discovered, annoyingly enough, it was unavailable. There was a reason for this. A reason I knew. But right now I can find no information on what happened. It's eerily like it never happened. (This is quite perturbing.) But something happened with the label, I think, and she no longer owned the rights to the songs? I have no idea anymore. All I know is, I was not able to buy this album until this past year.

Though predominately labeled simply a folk album, the Native American influence of  Faces in the Rocks is so apparent, it seems to be putting it lightly to say it was merely influenced by that culture. This album is imbued with it. The most enchanting part of this is the Native American flute that haunts the album. (I don't know if there's a more specific name for it. I'm just going off of what wikipedia is telling me.) Which is why I'm posting the opening song of the album 'Wizard Flurry Home'. I think it features the flute the most. Also it's the song I remember with the most clarity from when I listened to this album so many years ago.

(C'est tout pour maintenant. I hope to be less absent on this blog from here on out. I've missed it!)

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Till Tomorrow

I scribbled part of this post on a piece of paper somewhere, but now I can't locate it. I wouldn't be too bothered about this except I think there was a poem written on the other side. I really need to get my act together.

I've really missed music blogging, so I'm hoping to get back in the habit. I've been wanting to actually write this post for ages, so I'm ignoring the fact I'm tired, overheated, and have a stomach ache. Don't you feel sorry for me now? Well it's okay. Because I'm here to talk about someone awesome: Don McLean.

I think everyone knows either 'American Pie' or 'Vincent (Starry, Starry Night)'.  I myself have known and loved the song 'American Pie' for years. I had no idea what a wonderful store of Don McLean music exists. Sadly besides 'Best Of" type albums and American Pie, buying his music is not as convenient or cheap as one would hope for in this day in age.

I should probably put some of his biographical information in here somewhere... but nah. I'm just going to jump right in with my personal nonentities. Several months ago I downloaded American Pie on a whim and let me just say that is possibly the best decision I've made in the past 6 months.

This album was released in 1971 and was his second album. I don't know what else to say about it, except there is not a track on it I don't love. The album is mainly composed of beautiful, melancholic folk songs, but there's humour ('Everybody Loves Me, Baby'), anti-war ('The Grave'), and a cover of the traditional 'Babylon'. Not to mention the title track and opener 'American Pie' which is still, in my estimation, 8 1/2 minutes of bliss.

So I've picked the second track 'Till Tomorrow' to post, because it was the first song I listened to after I downloaded the album. When it started playing, I knew I'd made a good choice.

(The song might take anywhere from 6 to 30 seconds to load. Heh. Heh. Good things come to those who wait, though!)