Listen: Zola Jesus “Vessel”

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This girl Nika aka Zola Jesus went to high school in Wisconsin with some of my friends in college. This video is rad as fuck. It’s not that often that I gravitate towards the local-ish music scene with actual intrigue, since I am obsessed with pop/electronic/experimental music (the two most popular genres in Minneapolis music scene are hip-hop and 4-piece rock/jam/indie rock bands). Also fuck yeah for a woman makin’ it big from around here. The mpls rock music scene is over-saturated with a lot of dudes who think they deserve the world for owning an instrument. Ew.

I feel very proud of her because this is really cool and unique work done with style. A lot of my issues with the local rock bands who are trying to make it bigger is their lack of style, or lack of good style. People like to see new things, enter new territories when it comes to music and new stars. Zola Jesus is definitely that person around these Minnesconsin parts.

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I really, so much do not like people that wear these hats. They are bitchy. And don’t wear lipstain!

Unfortunately I’ve seen waaaaaay too many jam bands (for work I swear! There are a surprising disappointing amount of them EVERYWHERE. Thankfully these communities keep to themselves because drugs). Granted said jam bands are definitely playing and dressing for a certain sub-culture who love acid, but making it bigger is going to be verrrrry difficult if they aren’t doing anything new or fresh that will catch the attention of people outside of their target audience. Not to say there can’t be era-inspired music around- on the contrary. But it seems that many of these bands are missing out on the “inspired” part, i.e. take something old, give it your fresh new spin, and see what happens.

Bonus: I really liked this video of Zola Jesus shopping at Amoeba and going through records that she loves.

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Music: Being in love with Marina and the Diamonds “Electra Heart”

Marina and the Diamonds “Electra Heart”

If you can imagine what Barbie would be listening to in her lumped out jeep, it would be this album (which gives Barbie a lot of cool cred but let’s face it, bitch was fierce).

I AM OBSESSED WITH “Prima Donna” by Marina and the Diamonds. It is the most beautiful pop song that is SO POP that I’ve heard in a very long time. Pop music has definitely taken a more electro/dubby route in recent years. Which I don’t really have an opinion on right now because I haven’t had coffee yet. I also realize I’m about a fucking DECADE late hopping on the Marina train. Whatevs, I work through pop stars on my own time bc I Am Not A Robotl

My newfound Marina love began when I finally burned a new CD for my car after months of listening to weird mixes and Taylor Swift’s “Red”.

(It’s really fun to discover new favorite music in your car, especially if you live in a big city. Traffic is kind of like an album anyways. It gets slow, you get stuck behind big trucks and you’re outraged, or you’re driving super fast on the highway and blasting anthems.)

Anyways, my favorite tracks from Marina’s Electra Heart are hard to pick because I’ve only been obsessively listening to the album for 3 days (granted the first day and a half was spent with “Prima Donna” on repeat and feeling invincible). BUT early favorites are: Teen Idle, Radioactive, Sex Yeah, Valley of the Dolls, and Bubblegum Bitch.

Pop music and escapism vs. reality

I love Marina’s take on pop music. Electra Heart is one of the most poetic pieces of pop I’ve ever listened to recently. Not because she’s trying to sound poetic, but because that is the way she writes and the art that she wanted to make. If Marina truly wanted to be a “pop star” in the traditional sense that we know them to be, she’d have worked with Max Martin and adopted some sort of British Ke$ha persona. However it’s easy for many people/audiences to forget that pop stars and pop music don’t have to come out of a machine: they can come from the heart too.

What’s refreshing about independent/artistic journeys like Marina’s into pop music is you get the lyrical depth that is absent from mainstream pop/dance music. Sometimes it’s great to yell “Mazel Tov!” “Tonight!” or “Dance!” when you want to be enveloped in the total escapism pop music gives you. Shallow pop music lyrics have a purpose, because ain’t nobody want to contemplate their shitty relationship or societal woes on a Friday night dancefloor. But when it comes time to feel again, you can say hello to Marina or Lana Del Rey, where you too can contemplate love and life like a normal, suffering human being.

Marina’s Tunes

Check out her soundcloud here because it’s got a lot of songs and remixes up. But I like her originals better than most of the remixes up on her page, except this Passion Pit remix of “I Am Not A Robot”.

Fashion: Top 5 picks from my fave online store Nasty Gal

Internet shopping beats my mom’s window shopping any day. I get to sit on the couch, eat chips, listen to the Arctic Monkeys and look at a bunch of clothes I’ll never buy because I am always super underemployed and spending all my money on going to restaurants because A GIRLS GOTTA EAT WELL. Anyhow, here are my pics from all the latest finds at one of my favorite online stores, Nastygal.com.

Lighten Up Dress, $42

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I love this dress so much. The whole look in fact. It is simple enough to go with any jacket for spring or even tights underneath if you are stuck in a northern spring-winter like I am. The red lipstick looks awesome with the light blue color too. Hawt.

Caddy Platform Sneaker, $128

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WANT WANT WANT. NEED NEED NEED. I have been DYING to find some platform shoes. I was really trying to look for some wedge sneakers, but all of them looked so disgusting in person. Either they were poorly made or the colors were off. These are perfect because A) cold chains rock and B) platforms make me feel like the adult I always thought I’d be, because I’m finally of age to dress like a Spice Girl.

Empire Shades, $40

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I need to be 3 mimosas in on a sunny patio, like NOW.

Hot Flare Dress, $42

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This would be so cute with nude lipstick, a high bun and ankle boots. The back detail is awesome. It’d be such a weird tan line if you were sitting outside all day, but then your excuse would be “look at this great fucking dress DUH”.

Gianni Versace Couture Silk Blouse, $398

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The day I can spend $398 on a couture silk blouse will be a weird day. In the meantime, this shirt rocks. I don’t like it with the leather/pleather pants however. The shirt is so springy and the leather throws a harsh vibe in. I love mixing patterns and materials, but this one makes me uncomfortable.

 

Music: New Order live and my problems with live electronic music

First of all, New Order is one of my favorite and most influential bands of all time. I’m an electro-pop artist (Dennis) and a DJ, and “Bizarre Love Triangle” is one of my favorite songs of all time. ALL TIME. This song is fucking beautiful. This band is fucking beautiful. BUT.

As an an electronic artist myself, it is incredibly difficult to translate the emotion and excitement of electronic music into a live performance setting. As I watched New Order perform one of my fave songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live, I was completely underwhelmed and saddened due to the lack of electronic musical stage translation. New-Order-256e4

I think the lead singer, Bernard Summer, was great vocally; he sounded just like the record did nearly 30 years ago. However, the guy standing in the back of stage perhaps playing a drum machine is the reason this performance wasn’t as good as it could have been. Plus these people are old now. There is something so hard about watching old rock bands perform. I really hate to say it and even admit it to you and myself because these bands are idyllic. But their bodies have grown old. So much of being an alluring artist is a sexual appeal of some sort. Their spirit has changed too. Not worse or better, but different, which naturally causes their performance art to change.

(But then again you can watch modern day Stevie Nicks perform and she still has the passion necessary to keep an audience interested. It’s all a crapshoot.)

I’m not sure how many live DJ sets any of you readers (thank you for reading, i heart you so much) have ever been to. But they are fucking BO-RING. This has nothing to do with the fact that many DJs are SUPER talented DJs and know how to mix some insane, genius-level beats. It has to do with live show translation: it is simply not exciting as an audience member to watch anyone push buttons. (Exception: DJs mixing and pressing buttons for a dance room setting. As openers for other bands DJs tend to always run stale because nobody is drunk and dancing to openers, especially if the set is lacking visual excitement)

This is where electronic bands get into trouble. A drum machine is awesome, but you can’t FEEL a drum machine like you can feel a live drum kit. It gives the audience a mandatory heart beat to the pulse of your music that can’t be recreated through speakers.

Demands of the Modern Audience

Having been to a ton of shows throughout my life and most recently in the Minneapolis area, stage performance is a big part of why many shows are so underwhelming. Where is the creative lighting? Projectors of slideshows put together by the band to represent their aesthetic and therefore their performance art? Anything to keep the audience intrigued?

I don’t know if many artists have gotten the memo, but consumers/audiences are demanding as fuck in this modern age. They want all their senses taken care of. Being a musician isn’t just about making music anymore. You’ve got to give the audience something good to look at, something to feel, something to be, something to strive for. ladygaga-1

Why do you think pop stars dress so wild? That’s how they get attention. Being successful is about how much attention you’re getting. Good, bad; it doesn’t matter. And if that means you have to wear a piece of shit on your face so all the blogs are linking back to poor style choice *AND* your song, so be it. That’s how you get famous. That’s the world we live in now, and it’s not changing anytime soon.

Consumers want to be sold a lifestyle (Ke$ha, The Strokes, Lil Wayne, LMFAO etc.), and if your band- new or old- isn’t able to sell that, then sorry! That’s why you see so many pop stars and celebrities selling fragrances or clothing lines (not to mention the fact that music doesn’t make nearly the kind of money it used to): it’s all about the lifestyle brand. Buy this and be like this person. Buy this and you will be accepted by this group of society. Maybe it sucks, but whatever. That’s life. That’s entertainment. A lot of things suck more than pop artists slingin’ perfume. Its the most cliché shit ever, but LEARN THE FUCKING GAME ALREADY. *drops keyboard and walks off stage*

 

Hit Miss Mess: 2013 MTV Movie Awards

EW. Holy shit. The 2013 MTV Movie Awards were not a great compilation of fashion this year. Not to mention the fact that I know I’m getting older, but who the fuck are most of the people on the red carpet?! My guess would  be B-list “teen” celebs from MTV original shows (lol) and the CW.

Hit

Taylor Hanson

Legit, the only person I say who looked amazing head to toe. He’s so fucking handsome. And you can also tell he’s not a total piece of shit because he A) dresses himself and has great personal style or B) has enough brains to have a stylist. A+ Taylor!

Taylor Hanson

Miss

Macklemore

Okay. So, if Macklemore is going the pop artist route in mainstream society, then I owe him a congratulations. He wore something weird that will get the media talking. If I may deconstruct the outfit a bit, it feels as if the black tie and shirt underneath the blue suit is kind of grounding him, or serving as a reminder that he’s a “regular guy” with an eccentric shell. The cape is kinda fun, the hair has a style and shape, and he doesn’t look like a total hot mess. The shoes are horrid though.

I feel for men because there aren’t a lot of options or opportunities to be really creative with fashion without looking like a jag. He gets a B+ for effort.

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Mess

Hayley Williams

She is definitely a cute bitch. Her hair looks fun and she’s got a pretty smile. But overalls are not okay. EVER. And oh lord, that bag. Is it underwear? Is she carrying lipgloss inside of theoretical old butt stains around on a red carpet? Honey, no.

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Honorable Mess

Hana Mae Lee

What the fuck is that? OH! It’s a cigarette butt. Cuz people should PAY ATTENTION TO ME!!!!!!!!!! stop smoking? Woulda been a cute look otherwise, but then nobody would be talking about it or her. Clever publicist, but stupid, stupid outfit.

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