Favourite Song: Angel Olsen ‘Shut up Kiss me’ – blast from the past

I usually don’t do this but in the case of Angel Olsen I feel like I have to slam the music press. I’ve read quite a few reviews of her new album (which, I admit, I haven’t heard fully so far, I always get stuck on this song) and there’s way too many people saying that with her new album she proves that she is super diverse. ‘Xcuse me? How did her previews albums not show that Angel Olsen is diverse like the current season’s Queens of Ru Paul’s Drag Race?

I mean, I listened to the exquisite ode to 70s punk “Shut up kiss me” and I was too things:

– delighted how amazing this song is

– totally not surprised that Angel Olsen could come up with this

The video makes me think that I got the music decade right

What’s lovely is that this is a reference to old school New York punk but it doesn’t sound like a regurgitation of the music of yesteryears (least of all because there have been so few women in that scene). Angel Olsen’s vocals on the line “Even if you walk around as though you think you’re right” is such a throwback to early Cyndi Lauper or Pat Benatar (how does she do it? It’s so gorgeous and then she goes into this full, juicy chorus). But the song itself is so dirty that it automatically reverts you back to a decade earlier, strumming along on the guitar and chewing gum in a hot leather jacket (I guess that’s what the NY punk scene looked like, right?).

In fact, the song coincides with a recent re-discovery of a song by a NY punk band that not exactly sounds the same but not only has the telephone-link (Angel: “I ain’t hanging up tonight”) in its lyrics but also this restless energy with an amazing hook line.

I had to look for this. There’s another video but it has a lot of unnecessarily sexist imagery of pin up models and you know what, I will not have it!

I also want to add that I know of the Blondie-version and it is a hoot but it somehow doesn’t have the desperation of the original. Deborah is simply too cool for school to sing about waiting for anyone to call back. Like, who would leave Debbie Harry hanging on the telephone? No one, that’s who. She rather sounds like she’s mocking the dude who’s told her to not leave him hanging on the telephone …

Favourite Song: Anna Meredith ‘The Vapours’ – whaaa?

Anna Meredith’s debut album “Varmints” is absolutely titillating. Remember, when Dan Deacon came along and it was so weird and colorful what he did and everyone wanted to join his crazy live dane parties?

I feel like Anna Meredith is – although stylistically different – likewise this incredibly fresh air of electronica that’s just weird and beautiful and exciting. Is prog-electro (proglecto?) a thing? Can it be? When I hear “The Vapours” I feel like it should be a thing. And I can’t even describe probably what I am hearing because it’s just this gorgeous layered cake of loopy electronics, electric guitars and violins and everything in this incredibly danceable beat and suddenly you’re in the middle of the musical stage with some wind instruments, it’s bananas!

Favorite Song: Lauren Ruth Ward ‘Make love to myself’ – get your creep on

I love the timeless feel of Lauren Ruth Wards country with a 70s Fleetwood Mac-feel. I guess it’s my age (or Spotify’s creepily great recommendation algorithm) but suddenly there’s a lot of country music (or country inspired music) that I like and Lauren’s pop with an edge is weirdly mesmerizing. After the lovely and stripped intro, the song soon turns into the kind of bluesrock-ish sound that might make Jack White ear’s tingle (if I were him, I would call Lauren soon to ask for a collaboration).

The song itself is a power-song about creepy dudes not getting the hint that they should leave and be creepy elsewhere. In the video, Lauren plays the creep and turns it into something even more sinister. It’s cheeky and adds to the song in an interesting way.

I don’t consider myself someone who knows a lot about the country scene but from my point of view I get the feeling that there’s a new batch of interesting mainly female artists who take the genre and make it their own by throwing out the clichés (especially lyric-wise) and modernizing it. I also appreciate a country music video without any dudes but with amazing hairstyles.

Favourite Song: Priests ‘JJ’ – there’s a Rockabilly in your Garage Punk

I feel like Priests secretly hide a poster of early 90s Glenn Danzig in their bedroom and yes, I do imagine that they all share one bedroom because that’s what bands do, right?

The debut album “Nothing feels natural” has spunk, a tinge of many a fun sub-genres and a charming bratty vocalist who could win a Danzig-coversong contest and I will say this over and over again because this kind of singing is a dying art but it is so catchy and mixes incredibly well with breathless rhythms. And even though “JJ” is fun as hell, Priests also get a little darker and weirder and less Danzig on their debut which is my kind of album and one of the reasons why Garage Punk mixed with other genres always gets bonus points in my little book of favourites (which is this blog, there’s no real book because I am a digital lemming who doesn’t even know what “books” are). You’ll get your too cool for school 80s punk, a surf rock inspired ditty and even one of those weird guitar-heavy spoken-word songs you can do the robot to. Everyone wins.

I also enjoy this music video very much.

Favourite Song: Jesca Hoop ‘Memories are now’ is on loop

This year, Jesca Hoop finally releases a new solo album. Last year she did a beautiful folk album with Sam Beam from Iron & Wine and although it’s a lovely album with lovely songs and a warmth that might be quite needed these days, I felt Jesca’s intense talent regarding strong and catching melodies take the backseat. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still there but just not as much in the front as her solo songs are.

Case in point: her two new singles from her soon to be released album. Whereas Jesca’s and Sam’s “Love Letter for Fire” is all about sweet love songs, her solos singles “The Lost Sky” and “Memories are now” both are about breakups and painful ones at that.

Both songs have a clarity when it comes to the melodies. The melody is up front and everything else comes together through it and doesn’t overshadow or cover it. No wallowing, no meandering and Jesca’s voice is seeping through your skin into your veins, giving you goosebumps. “Memories are now” starts with a low beat and her sighing in the background before her vocals really set in. Jesca is her own choir in this and it’s such a beautiful effect.

Her song is a strong breakup song, the song of a woman who lost someone because he disappointed her and she is no longer taking it, “I have only now to bare the load”. Thinking back on Laura Mvula’s breakup song “Make me lovely” this feels like a different heartbreak. Whereas Laura’s breakup is still full of love that ran out for the other person, Jesca is simply done and wants to move on, to leave nothing but memories.

Favourite Song: Dani Siciliano ‚Why’ is an amazing build up

You know, sometimes I feel like I am not enough of a music enthusiast to win 20 Bucks at „Who wants to be a millionaire – the music edition“. I know nothing, Jon Snow, when it comes to all the connections and histories and especially the supposedly groundbreaking artists that have paved the way. Instead, I listen to Dani Siciliano and am floored how good her third (really?) album is, how fresh it sounds and how much it sounds like a debut because it is so crisp but still playful and then I look at Wikipedia and boy, gee, you know, I should have known that she already worked with Matthew Herbert for, like, the last 200 years?

But then I think this: there is a pro and con to everything. Sure, to follow artists through their highs and lows and live shows is immensely thankful. Seeing how the Decemberists can’t create something that has such a grip on me such as „The Hazards of Love“ but still put out albums that I totally obsess over every single time, is magical.

But it’s equally magical to listen to that one Against Me! album without any prior (musical) knowledge of the band and therefore being able to see this album as the big, bold and beautiful statement it is, without any prior punk-history lesson or some angry punkrocker-dude telling me how much better they were 10 years ago.

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Dani Siciliano – Why von LineSession

So, here I am. Listening to Dani Siciliano’s „Why“, a song that has a great build up whose only mission it is to build up (Dani recites number-combinations like there’s a countdown or we’re at least in that “Lost”-bunker, sweating away) and to play with expectations. Oh, and that piano, what a hint of musical openers, the excitement, the drama, the humor. Dani produced this album on her own. Apparently, Herbert did this with her previous albums. I don’t know how they sound but I know that her job is exemplary with this album, whether it’s for the swoony 90s slow-dance-songs that hint at Sade at times, at other’s at Suzanne Vega or the bold songs that sound as if My Brightest Diamond teamed up with Imogen Heap. Oh, and no song let’s you guess what comes next. You think, you’re bad at guessing who will win the Super Bowl/World Cup? Try guessing where each song on Sicilano’s album is going. It’s a delight to be out of the loop through her use of loops.

Pop goes: Sia ‘Cheap Thrills’

You guys know that I watch “American Idol”, right? Well, the current farewell season is the usual mix of bland dudes with guitars and some female but way too young belters. However, this season also has Trent (a dude that got Mono during group week – you can’t and won’t make that up) and the amazing La Porsha Renea who might not win this (but should) but most definitely is THE breakthrough star of this thing.

Anyway, American Idol recently had a Sia-theme with Sia herself throwing at least a hundred weeks at the contestants and also giving some of the usual advice (just be you, feel the lyrics, bla bla bla). Sia also offered a performance herself with the amazing Maddie Ziegler (star of “Chandelier” and some other Sia-music videos).

Now, Sia is not news to me. I mean, yeah, I sometimes leave out certain trends and then discover them years later but Sia is a pretty compelling constant in the world of indie and pop which makes it impossible to miss her.

I kinda like Sia’s current shtick with the wigs and the non-face. I’ve read comments that people sneer how of course we know her face from a few years ago and that now and then she even dares to show it in live shows but in combination with her live performances on TV, it makes a lot more sense than the usual “I want to keep my privacy” that she offers to anyone who asks (and basically everyone does).

Sia manages to be THE only popstar right now who is all voice and show without being the center of it. Her TV performances usually put her somewhere in the back, the voice dominating all of it and some more (Maddie) some less amazing performers (like the pantomime dude at SNL – pantomime will never not be bad and cheesy) being put in the center of your vision. Whether intended or not, the result is a weird spectacle because it shows that you don’t necessarily need the Persona front and center. Don’t get me wrong. That wiggy Sia is one hell of a persona but it still plays with the element of anonymity which is usually an alternative/indie thing (think the Residents or the Puppetmastaz) unless Damon Albarn goes Cartoon.

Now, her newest single is the bomb. It’s not as lyrically heavy as “Chandelier” for example, it also features the amazeballs Maddie in the video and there’s a Sean Paul-version going around that I won’t listen to because I was a teenager in the early 2000s and the nondescript Reggae-mush of Sean Paul was a never-ending nightmare during that time. I will not let him ruin the 2010s.

But back to the song. “Cheap Thrills” is about having a party without necessarily handing out too much cash (maybe on booze)? It rings very true to my party-past because I used to go dancing mostly sober because I couldn’t move freely with a glass or a bottle in my hands (I dance like nobody watches, to be honest). And it is perfect for dancing – it is not boring, it is upbeat, it lets you shake it if you want it and it has some amazing beat to go all “I wish I would have gone to dance school” on the dance floor. I love it.