This is my first blog since the tragedy that occurred in Orlando on June 12th, 2016. I find that when something tragic happens, I often feel numb. Frequently, I find that it is only when I am moved by a piece of art, film, theatre, dance or music that the tears finally come. This song, Greg Holden’s “Boys in the Street,” makes me cry every time I hear it. It used to make me cry because I lost my father a few years ago. I still feel that pain when I hear it, but now I cry for a new reason as well. I have seen several people use the refrain from this song as a reminder that we must all go on. We must continue to fight. We must continue to love. We must keep kissing boys in the street.
All right, now that we’ve all had a good cry, here’s a more upbeat little ditty from another LGBTQ artist, Australian singer, Troye Sivan. Troye’s album, Blue Neighborhood, is a delightfully melancholy pop gem. This song is one of the happier numbers all about throwing oneself wholly into the hands of a lover. “My youth is yours,” he declares. Ah, the folly of youth. (Why,no, I’m not jaded—why do you ask?) Fun Fact: Troye Sivan is also an actor, and he played the young version of Wolverine in the bad Wolverine movie. You know the one I’m talking about. With the character called Deadpool that wasn’t really Deadpool until he later became the real Deadpool in a totally unrelated movie that was actually about Deadpool (called Deadpool). Yeah, there was a flashback at the beginning of that crappy Wolverine movie, and this scrawny 21-year-old is the little kid who we were meant to believe later turned into Hugh Jackman. Well, at least they were both Australian. Here’s the video for “Youth.”
Being that summer is here, let’s keep the dreamy pop rolling. Whitney is the band formed out of the ashes of Chicago’s Smith Westerns. While the Smith Westerns definitely had a bit of a throwback vibe, this album is drenched in a sunny ‘70s rock sound that is tailor-made for the season. This song would be right at home on the soundtrack to a Richard Linklater film. Enjoy Whitney’s “No Matter Where We Go.”
Ready for some quirky, DIY electro/R&B goodness? Jessy Lanza’s album Oh No is a no-frills affair. It feels like a lot of the underground electro-house acts of the ‘80s. I’m not talking about Depeche Mode. I’m talking about songs like ESG’s “Erase You,” Vanity Six’s “Nasty Girl,” or Arthur Russell’s “Hop On Down.”—minus a bit of the funk. Yeah, the album can be a bit cold in places, but there are plenty of hidden gems. “It Means I Love You” is the stand out track, no question. Here she is performing it in studio (she’s obvs too cool for traditional videos).
Canadian electro pop act Dragonette is back, or rather, they never really went away. In the four years since their last album came out, they’ve released more than another album’s worth of singles and collaborations. While none of those tracks has quite reached the incredible zeitgeist of their collab with Martin Solveig, “Hello,” they have released some damn fine tunes. You’ve probably heard Galantis’s track “Peanut Butter Jelly,” which features a vocal you would never guess is actually Martina from Dragonette. The latest single, not a collaboration, but a Dragonette solo number, “Lonely Heart,” is a blissed out summer bummer.
And finally, here’s a little carnival of delirium to end the blog. The Avalanches are about to release a new album after a decade and a half. The first single, “Frankie Sinatra” is a slightly sinister gypsy-reggae tune that reminds me of Gogol Bordello’s side project with Tamir Muskat of Balkan Beat Box, J.U.F. (I know, I’m stretching your memory here, but go back and take a listen to that album if you like this song).
BearSKN Music Blog 06/25/2016
Actor, writer, painter. Drinks too much whiskey. Eats too much cheese.
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