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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The March Hare: SEE the music!

Magical March Music Manic Madness

Yep, you have fallen down the rabbit hole and now you're at an epic tea party. The music is everywhere; you cannot escape. I will take you on a journey that will leave you feeling numb and dumb; wait did I say numb and dumb, I meant sublime. For the next three consecutive posts, I will be blogging about music. In celebration of March ending and spring beginning; call it Magical March Music Manic Madness! The next three posts are all about music! And, just so you know, good things come in threes, so I will now introduce three new(ish) artists!!!


Not surprisingly, this band is from London; we all know I have an affinity for all things British. Filthy Dukes is comprised of: Olly Dixon, Tim Lawton, and Mark Ralph. Polydor Records describes them as: "electroacidhousenuravetwisteddiscopunkfunk"! Their only album is Nonsense in the Dark (2009). I describe them as 80's synth-pop indie electronic vintage dance-o-teria disco-teque on lithium/zoloft. I mean that sincerely though. This music is so catchy and hip that you cannot help dancing or bobbing along. It is urban, hip and when I walk the streets of NYC, this IS my soundtrack. It is edgy and tough but also quirky, fun and flirty music. It doesn't take itself too seriously, really. Plus, if 2011/2012 has a soundtrack, this is it. Our times are raw, scary but at the same time we all want to forget ourselves and unravel in a good club/scenester dive. Do what the Israelis do to unwind; turn off your thoughts and DANCE! DANCE, damnit, DANCE!

PS: I will only analyze one song from each artist and leave it up to my readers to leave comments on/hypothesize about the rest.

'This Rhythm':

This song and video for 'This Rhythm' seem to reflect a bit of the idea that we CAN lose ourselves in the music from time to time. Sometimes that's what we need. Honestly, at seeing the video, I want to go out to a club and just dance the night away with strobe and neon lights blurring out the people around me. You know, have some sort of existential experience with strangers in an unfamiliar atmosphere, yet feel like you've been there before. Then you realize all the strangers are people you know and you're at your favorite club. A total out of body experience! Let's look at the video for this song. The woman in the video turns into some sort of creature with alien eyes. She appears zombie-like and vampiric. She looks at everything as if noticing it for the first time. Then, she walks around a hallway, seeing others 'like her' with large black pupils dilated to cartoonish size. I don't really know what to make of it, as she ends up levitating by some water and then transports back inside her 'club persona'. What I take away is the idea that music has the power to make us see things differently and can give us all a transformative experience. Music can heal, uplift, and provide a catharsis (fyi- one of my favorite words in the English language)!

'Nonsense in the Dark':



This new artist, whose real name is Jasmine van den Bogaerde, is a sure soon-to-be rising star. Her vocals are so crisp and melodic. It reminds me of a mixture of Leona Lewis, Norah Jones, and Adele. It isn't surprising that she channels some of these other female artists, as she is also British (only Norah Jones is American). Her debut album, Birdy (2011) was just released at the end of last year. Oh, and did I mention she is ONLY 15 years old?! Birdy's first known track/hit was with 'Skinny Love' a Bon Iver track on their album For Emma, Forever Ago (2007). Bon Iver is like THE indie/hipster band right now, and have fallen into the mainstream; this is especially true after the band, just recently, won two Grammy's. Birdy will also be well-known for her singer-songwriter talent and piano skills. She is on the 'Hunger Games' soundtrack and has a recent performance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. Birdy was also signed onto a label with Christian Tattersfield (a chairman of Warner Brothers UK), who also manages the singer-songwriter, David Gray. If you don't know who she is now, you will soon!

'Without a Word':

This song opens up with a haunting piano melody. It's either a break-up or a starting over song. The lyrics start "You can tell the world that you're leaving...spread your wings...and you can tell them all that it's over. While you wave goodbye, I'll be getting closer." It is definitely a sweet ode to starting a new chapter in one's life, literally shutting the door on one's past and pain. As the song progresses,I pick up, however, Birdy's request at asking whether she should stay or go. I realize it IS indeed a break-up/starting over song. Breaking up/moving on is a painful decision for any relationship. You cannot help but kind of tear up a little at the beautiful melody and lyrics. Birdy sings: "You can tell the world that you're tired. Your excuses they won't work 'cuz I know that you're lyin'. Every time I see your face, I notice all the suffering." However, she relays that comfort and solice will be 'in her embrace', in her love and trust. Birdy doesn't come off as a suffocating, obsessive female though. She will loosen her grip if that's what the other person wants. Fate is left up in the air. She's really only 15? This song seems so wise and sagaciously poignant. She belts out, 'without a word' and you're left not knowing whether these two lovers will be together or not. The decision is left up to the pursued, not the pursuer. 'The answer my friend is blowing in the wind'.

'Skinny Love':

'People Help the People':


This band is not only American, they are from Brooklyn! Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm make up this band; it is hard to believe that only two guys make all of these sounds. It fuses world music with synth indie/pop. It fuses high energy dance music with 80's pop/New Wave and background world music beats. You can tap your foot to it and let the music surge your whole body into motion like an 'electric Jesus' (remember that, Colleen?) Their debut album, Mixed Emotions was LITERALLY just released this month (on March 20th). They are as 'hot out of the studio' and 'shiny plastic new' as you can get! Listen and let your face melt right off!


More synth-pop but with a world music twist. The song opens, and you imagine an ocean. You are near the beach; you can see and hear the waves. That's what I envision at least. Then, as the beat and melody start in, you want to start dancing, slowly at first, one body part at a time until your whole person is into the song. (whisper) Electric Jesus! The upbeat, fast tempo of the song counteracts the lyrics: Minimal big mistakes, and the last one: "In the car or the store, you didn't ask for it. Take your time, take the place, and react." We are bombarded by decisions on a daily basis. What looks better: red or beige? Should I get whole milk or skim? Oreos or Chips Ahoy? Venti or Grande? Bus or walk? Paper or plastic? Eat at home or out? You could go crazy with all the constant quick thinking that a person must do! The camera motion literally backs up that notion. In the video, the camera literally slowly spins around and around giving us a bird's eye view of an apartment. What should you do? What choice should you make? The lyrics say: "Indecision overload is only chance figures. Change my mind, make mistakes.." Okay, so it's okay to make mistakes and fall down. Hindsight is only 20/20. Take risks; take the leap. The song seems to be about changes and gives us comfort that close relationships can resist the transient nature of time. I get this, as the song is titled 'Brothers' and think on how I've had many friends and acquaintances come and go in my life. There are many friends who you do not see literally for years, and then when you do talk or see them, the relationship picks up where it left off. There are years of time between you but your kindred connection hasn't melted away.



'All of Me':
This is my favorite video by Tanlines. I LOVE that all of these bored, zombie looking business men/women slowly get up to dance while watching a video of a band (Tanlines) playing the song. They look like whack-a-moles and bounce in beat to the song. HILARIOUS! They dance like robots, like their humanity is only reanimated at hearing this song. Creepy and awesome at the same time!

I hope you have enjoyed these new music recommendations. Download on Itunes/Bandcamp and plug in your Ipod. A world is waiting out there. And music will help you (re)connect and tune in to something new and unusual.

Music is therapy. Long live rock n' roll!

Muse-ically inspired,


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