Category Archives: music

Kim Boekbinder’s Kickstarter Tour

I’ve written about Kim Boekbinder and her funky music before And it still makes me smile and dance when it comes on in my car.
So imagine my excitement when she posted that she’s going to tour! And she’s stopping by Los Angeles, which I hate driving to, but I really would love to see her live.

But that might not happen. Because she’s pre-selling her tour. Which means that she has to have the initial amount through Kickstarter for each stop before she’ll actually put in the effort to find a venue. And there’s only 5 days left before the LA tour won’t happen, with most of the amount remaining.

So if you’re in the LA area, and you’re like me and interested in new music and like being part of something new, go buy a ticket! They’re only $10! And she has pretty cool merch that you can pre-order as part of your support for her innovative tour!

Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

The new My Chemical Romance album is out, and it is completely worth the interruption in The Umbrella Academy.

When the album teaser was released, I was rather excited. Now that I own the album, I’m closer to ecstatic. The opening is fun and spunky and unpolished. “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” blends together the best in non-lyrical music. Seriously, 3/4 of the song must be “Na”, but because the instrumentation and mixing are clean, it creates a great blend of exuberant joy.

And then, nearly half-way through the album, “Planetary (GO!) starts through the speakers. I’ve already repeated this song more than any other on this album. The beat makes me want to dance* and brings joy to my heart. And its the best example of why I think I like this album so much already. Continue reading Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

My Chemical Romance Danger Days

Hazel & Cha-Cha
Hazel & Cha-Cha from Umbrella Academy: Dallas (Marc Ellerby's flickr)

In what may be the most entertaining album teaser for the twisted I’ve seen this year, My Chemical Romance provided a taste of their new album Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. Sadly, the teaser lacks a release date, but I’m so excited to get a real taste of the album after following the band member twitter feeds for what feels like an eternity.

Welcome to the Black Parade was the album that finally sold me on MyChem. Perhaps it was the morbid concept behind the album. It could have been the resonance of Smashing Pumpkins “Tonight, Tonight” video. Or it could just be that I’m a complete sucker for well crafted concept albums, due mostly to playing Queen’s A Night at the Opera repeatedly on my parents’ record player growing up.

Regardless of the draw, I was hooked on the band. I am a huge fan of Gerard Way‘s other work The Umbrella Academy (I’m hoping the 3rd series gets to move up on the list now that the album is done), but that has little to do with why I like MyChem. So I did what any sane fan does in the socialmediaoverload world that currently exists, I started stalking the band on Twitter.

Which is how I found their album trailer. And why I’m so excited I’m pausing other work to post this.

From the trailer, I’m guessing the new album is another concept album. I love the idea of a group of renegades causing trouble in a world that looks like a live action version of The Umbrella Academy: Dallas. Blending Emo and Grunge is a funny look, but the sound is something I’m really looking forward to.

If the rest of the album follows the trend of what’s posted of “Art is the Weapon”, I know this album will quickly become a new favorite. Once the album is released, the sound as a whole will stand out, which will make it easier to describe. What I noticed, and liked, in the clip is the essence of My Chemical Romance’s sound without the repetition of anything I’ve heard by them. I like the risks, and I’m hoping they payoff as a whole.

So check out their video and then check their site. Hopefully soon is really soon and not the fake soon that happens sometimes.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63lyA42Y6ug]

Kim Boekbinder’s The Impossible Girl

I don’t know if you’ve heard about Kim Boekbinder and her new album, The Impossible Girl,  but seriously, you have to check it out.

She’s raised the money to record from preorders and donations. And now the album is for sale!

Boekbinder has broken the album into 4 pieces and is currently offering the album on bandcamp as a pay what you want. You can preview all of the songs in their entirety, so you know before you download how much you want to pay her.

Part 1 of The Impossible Girl flows with a freedom which gives the first four songs a joy that makes the album enjoyable and powerful. “The Impossible Girl #1” bounces through a beautiful description of  a woman who seems to fit in a legend or myth. We learn that she’s beautiful, distant, ethereal, and free. She cannot be bound and live. To love her is to accept her and her free spirit.

Continue reading Kim Boekbinder’s The Impossible Girl

Evelyn Evelyn

USPS dropped the Evelyn Evelyn record I ordered through their website at my door last week. Put together by Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley, this debut record is the work of conjoined twin sisters. I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I tore open the box and turned everything over in my hands. It’s officially on sale today! If you haven’t heard the music from this project, check out their myspace. That’s why I knew I wanted this album.

The twins are actually characters the artists are playing for their side-project. While there has been much discussion on Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley’s websites about the existence of the twins, and the ethical aspects of either wearing this persona(s), I don’t intend to enter into that part of the discussion at length here. I do appreciate concept albums and artists intentionally taking on personas to present work from a different perspective. And since I paid for the preorder record and cd, I’m evidently not offended.

I was looking forward to this album since the artists seemed very pleased and proud of the end product. I get excited about work that artists are excited about.

And I think the album is fantastic.

The characters of Evelyn Evelyn have a traumatic and sad back story, and in this record, they present their life story. Not in every detail; not in glory; and interestingly not in complete condemnation.

The story of the twins is presented in both very personal, first person accounts and more distant, third person accounts. Interspersed between the songs are narrated pieces of their story introduced as a conversation between the sisters and told in a journalistic tone. The story elements contextualize the emotional content of the songs. Some might find the interruption distracting, but I appreciate the context.

One of my favorite aspects of the album is the way each song differs and relates to the others. The songs are easy to tell apart from the opening notes because every song roots itself solidly in a distinct era and genre (which they point out in “A Campaign of Shock and Awe” while they’re making posts like this complicit in the exploitation of the twins). The stylistic choice results in an album that walks the listener through highlights of more recent music history.

Beginning with the waltzesk “Evelyn Evelyn”, the album travels through carnival style music, through 20’s vaudeville, and on to 80’s power ballad complete with synthesized instruments and crowd chorus. Each stop brings the best elements of the style and combines it with current stylistic elements.

“Evelyn Evelyn” opens the album with the haunting sound of dying waltz from an ancient music box. Following a conversation between the twins discussing their joint identity and indicating that there is a longing for more separation. This theme of mixed identities struggling to find the fragile balance between combination and difference surfaces throughout the song progression.

More complicated than simple disgust or hatred for the other whose identity is inextricable, the Evelyn Evelyn songs look at the tension of embracing others’ assumptions of one’s identity while asserting individuality. The sisters are obviously close from the way they talk to one another, and yet songs like “You Only Want Me ‘Cause You Want My Sister” illustrate a desire to be acknowledged as separate people. What makes the journey of self and joint discovery complicated is the constant observation the twins live with.

At the end of the Evelyn Evelyn songs, “My Space” points to hopeful resolution of their identity crisis through the agency the twins find in creating their online identity. For the first time in their lives, they are in control of how people see them, and that makes them more willing to interact with other people.

It is this ultimate discovery of self and identity that I love about this album. Through a life story that would put the twins on the fringe of nearly any group, they come through and find a way to reconcile the life people assign them with the life they want.

These characters demonstrate why I love stories. Often the stories easiest to relate to are ones that take life and re-present it. In a way, the outlandishness of Evelyn Evelyn’s story makes the messages in their music clearer. In real life, the question: “How could people do this to these girls?” dominates what people can learn from the music. With Evelyn Evelyn, the questions gets set aside because they aren’t real people, and the power of the character’s decisions becomes clearer.

And I’ve entered into the discussion of the characters. Perhaps talking about the album is to talk about artists taking on characters. Perhaps it’s because art, like life, rarely fits into the assigned compartments.

And maybe that’s part of what Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley were trying to communicate with this project.

And maybe they weren’t.

But I do love the discussion this fantastic album has  incited. And I love the music the artists created. If you haven’t listened to them, check out their songs on myspace. Like I said earlier, the album is officially on sale today, so you can download it when you purchase it.

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