Guest Mix: Women's Realm

curated by Karen Locker

image1.JPG

I am about to seriously date myself. What I mean to say is that I'm writing this on the eve of my 41st birthday, and I'm not even sure how I managed to garner the invitation to wax nostalgic on The Grey Estates. That's an unlikely honor, considering that Lauren's got her finger on the pulse of all the latest and greatest indie music, and here I am – a middle-aged lady who's unleashing what is likely the most self-indulgent playlist I could possibly muster. I've been introduced to so much great music through this blog, so it's my hope that I might be able return the favor by blowing the dust off of some oldies. Maybe someone, somewhere will find something relatable in all these words and tunes and stuff...

Then again, I guess that's what birthday's are for; reflecting over the changes that span the decades of our lives. The older I get, the faster everything seems to change, and the faster things change, the more bonkers the world seems to me. It's maddening trying to follow all the newness, music not withstanding. I'll admit it -- I am TERRIBLE at keeping up with what bands I should be paying more attention to, but my brain is so saturated with stuff these days. Luckily, there's The Grey Estates. For an old-timer like me, TGE is a godsend because I just can't stomach the snobby music blogs that so many of my peers follow. It's a real struggle to be in your forties and not feel like everything is over your head, so props to Lauren for bridging the gap between me and -- how do the kids say it these days? -- relevancy? It's highly likely that I'm not the only 'lady of a certain age' that's reading the blog though. 

Speaking of ladies, March isn't just my birth month. More importantly, it's Women's History Month. As I started culling together songs to share, I realized something; I am almost exclusively listening to female musicians these days. Sorry fellas, I don't mean to castrate you, but women are ruling a lot of things right now, including the music (and blog) scene. Come to think of it, I guess they did back in 1992, when I was writing a music column for my high school newspaper and listening almost exclusively to Siouxsie and the Banshees... but that's the black hole of nostalgia I'm prone to falling down, and this is now. We are living in bullshit times where women are facing mounting oppression while the patriarchy runs roughshod over us all. For me, listening to the voices and noises of women has felt like both an act of protest and a source of comfort.  In a way, this collection of songs feels like a collection of women; both young and old. Some are bawdy, sexed-up & proud of it, others more vulnerable... almost painfully shy. Nurturing and delicate, or pissed off and wicked. Mercilessly outspoken and opinionated. STAUNCH. Frenzied. Frenetic. Forlorn and fraught with emotion and worry. Snarling and wild. At once stronger than any man, yet more fragile and wispy than gossamer – and I've been every one of them, if only for a fleeting moment. 

That's the thing though: If you identify as female, chances are you've been some of them, too. Whether you've been standing on the front lines of an army of determined feminists, or on the fringes of that same sisterhood, you've felt the power and the energy you wield within your body no matter its age. Sometimes gender can be such a drag (no pun intended), but if there's one thing I'm learning as the years roll by and I grow older and, dare I say, wiser –  is that I was dealt a lucky hand when I was born, because womanhood, with all its facets and pitfalls, is a strange and beautiful gift that grows easier to embrace with age. 

So here it is: A women's realm to keep you company tonight. This is by no means meant to alienate TGE male readers. In fact, I hope you guys out there will feel encouraged to give it a listen! After all, we're all allies here, right? 

When I hear these songs I know the ladies who are singing them feel that same gift of power, and they're here to remind you like they remind me. Always following me around like ghosts of my former selves; always whispering or sometimes wailing in my ear that I can be whoever I want, whenever I want. Just like you.

rewind: Messes - Stef Chura

words: Kat Harding

rewind takes you back to a previously released album that we don't want you to miss. 

Stef Chura, hailing from Detroit, Michigan, released Messes in late January on Urinal Cakes Records and we haven’t stopped spinning it since. Her voice is everything: at times twangy, saccharin and even low and brash. Her vocals are mixed loudly over finger-picked garage-pop guitar and bass lines that make you want to sway back and forth. Messes demands to be a staple for any fan of powerful women with something to say.

While many may think of Detroit as a deserted post-industrial town, there is a vibrant underground and DIY scene, of which Chura has long been a part of. She’s moved nearly 20 times within the state, always barely unpacking before heading to the next place, turning her experience into song. Just check out the opening track of the album, “Slow Motion,” where she says “right when it starts to feel like home, it’s time to go,” a feeling many relate to in our continual quest to strive for the next best thing, switching majors, switching jobs. “Low” gives some serious Hole vibes, Chura’s voice growling, “sick and tired, I always admired you from afar,” knowing that an intended romantic target is no good. The title track gives the same feeling: we know better. With distorted, hazy vocals and heavy guitars, Chura guides us through a bad relationship.

The album cover features a mess waiting for someone to come along and clean it up - there's smeared and spilled makeup, sprinkles, a roach and a waffle. Her music is anything but the untidiness depicted on the cover, displaying focus and determination, and unveiling a story of grungy growth and the bravery to make changes.

Pick up her album here. And go listen to our podcast, where Chura joined us to chat, here!    

mp3: "Kismet" - Posse

Posse helps Secretly Canadian kickstart their Document record series with single "Kismet." Each album in the series "takes inspiration from the original concept behind the founding of the label's attempt to document their home city of Omaha through music and art. Each release featured in the Document series will comprise of an exclusive 7-inch record featuring unreleased music from various artists outside of the label’s roster and a specially curated zine highlighting the artist’s hometown /music scene." Posse's contribution is "Kismet," a stormy, emotive single that has the band interchanging vocals, crashing subtly into each other, their questioning nearly whispered, only pausing for a midway break of thunderous instrumentals. It's a moving puzzle, the pieces coming together to paint a single that's gloomy, but in a beautiful, mysterious way. 

TGE Recipes: Coconut Milk Curry with Michael Nitting of The Misters

Welcome to TGE Recipes, a place where our favorite bands share the secrets straight from their kitchens. Think your favorite Food Network show except on a purple blog. Today we welcome The Misters' Michael Nitting.

Coconut Milk Curry (Vegan, or not, up to you)

Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
Serves: 4 (freezes well for leftovers!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tomatoes, chopped 
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 small piece of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or chili pepper chopped up (optional, if you’re feelin’ spicy)
  • Veggies/Chicken/Beef/Fish (this is the best part: add what YOU want)
  • We put:
  • A can of chickpeas, drained 
  • 2 Large Carrots, chopped
  • A head of Broccoli
  • Tilapia seasoned with citrus, salt and pepper

Spice Mixture:

  • 6 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
  • Can of coconut milk (that good good)

Directions:

1. Put a lil’ oil in a frying pan over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until soft and translucent***

2. Add your tomatoes, garlic, ginger, chile (optional), spices and continue cooking down until the tomatoes have almost turned into a paste

3. Add your vegetables and cover to let them steam until cooked through

4. Add the coconut milk and simmer until everything thickens, roughly 5 minutes (Make sure to taste afterwards and see if you want to add anything. Everyone’s got different taste buds!)

5. Serve over a bed of rice, quinoa, or last night’s regrets and top with a slice of lime, cilantro and crushed red chili peppers

***If you’re adding any meat or fish, cook it in the pan first until basically done, then remove it and let it rest until you need to simmer the sauce. Add it then and let it finish cooking

NOTE: Spices may seem expensive at first, but trust me, having them in your cabinet allows you to add a whole world of flavor to anything you’re cooking. Plus, they don’t go bad for quite awhile so they’re definitely worth grabbing. 

mp3: "Close My Eyes" - Tomemitsu & "Fear" - Alexei Shishkin

Two of our favorite artists - Tomemitsu and Alexei Shishkin are teaming up for a Forged Artifacts split - Had A Dream. Ahead of the April 14 release, the artists shared two singles - the first is the noisy, fuzzy-filled soundscape of Tomemitu's "Close My Eyes." A tale of disappearing into closed eyes blends together with its backing, creating a fantastical listening experience that's more than suiting for a message of tightly closing your eyes, and clinging to the dreams you so desperately desire. The cutting guitars, and perpetual waves of noise engulf you, leading you straight into a dream world. Alexei Shishkin's contribution is equally as stunning, though more breezy, and light - husky vocals floating by. This tale of the mind is anxiety-ridden, admittance of fears and the inability to relax a mind. For the heart-racing anxiety that it seems to describe, Shishkin's take is so unlike what you'd expect. It's an airy, calming way of peering at anxiety. Together, the singles are a beautiful glimpse at a promising release. 

interview: Eisley

words: Kassie Salas

Last month, Eisley released I'm Only Dreaming and are currently on tour in support of the amazing record. Sherri DuPree-Bemis of the band was kind enough to speak with us about the album, touring, meeting fans and more!

photo: Bliss Katherine

photo: Bliss Katherine

The Grey Estates: There have been some major line-up changes ever since the release of Currents, were there any struggles when it came to taking the leading act of song writing for I’m Only Dreaming?

Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley: Not really because we had all written separately before this record anyways. The only thing that really changed was having to write more material! Something new and fun was realizing that my cousin/bassist Garron is a kickass songwriter and we make a really great writing team!

You got to work with Max Bemis (Say Anything, Two Tongues) and Anthony Green (Circa Survive) on two of the tracks within the album, what was it like incorporating them into the song writing process? Did they write their own lyrics for the song, or did they pick out which lyrics they wanted to sing?

My husband Max (Say Anything) has always a great help when it comes to bouncing lyrics around. He's super good at helping me if I get stuck on something. He's literally like having a human Thesaurus. And with Anthony, we just sent him the song and he wrote/tracked his part with Will Yip in Philly where they live! Couldn't be happier with what he added. Love that dude!

Speaking of Currents: I’ve been a huge fan of that album since it came out, and always imagined it having a sort of underwater/mermaid feeling to it. If you could describe a concept for I’m Only Dreaming, what concept would you consider it as?

I honestly can't say I think it has a concept. But to me, it definitely has a theme of vulnerability, fearlessness, joy and hope. This record is me learning to believe in myself and trusting my musical voice. I truly couldn't of done it without Garron and his input, his musical abilities and encouragement and faith in me/us as a band.

On I’m Only Dreaming, one of my favorite songs happens to be “Sparking” what was the inspiration when it came to writing the song?

Ah! One of my favorite songs and moments in a film is in Disney's 'Summer Magic' when Burl Ives sings 'On The Front Porch'. I think that song is PERFECT and it always reminded me of my family. We would sit around outside and sing together and pick out harmonies. That song/feel is literally what sparked 'Sparking'. It was also the first song I wrote after I had my daughter, Coraline.

When it comes to the music video for “Louder Than a Lion,” who was the person who came up with the idea for the video? How many takes did it take to perfect the underwater scenes?

Our long time friend Israel Anthem (who's also directed amazing MuteMath and Paper Route videos; among other things) came up with the idea and it was really his passion project! When he told me he wanted to do an underwater video, I was equally as down for it as I was terrified. I'm barely a swimmer! It was super hard, because I had this long gown on and couldn't tread water! So when it was time to come up for air, I'd have to have someone throw me a float so I didn't drown! Haha! But we shot it all in one day, and it was one of the coolest, most challenging things I'd ever done. I love it so much.

What do you consider tour essentials, and which songs do you consider a “must have” on a tour set list?

Tour essentials, as a Mom of two little girls, are much different than anyone else's! Haha! cannot go on tour without baby gates (one for the RV staircase and one for my bunk, that I slide in between the mattress and opening so my toddler doesn't roll out during the night!), Plenty of Kinetic sand for easy play time (because it doesn't stain the RV and you can just vacuum it up when it spills!), iPad loaded with cartoons, Our automatic espresso machine, my Converse and a good book (even though I probably won't even get through one with two kids on tour). 

Which city has been your favorite stop on the tour so far?

I'm a warm weather girl, so I'm looking forward to California! Haha but I love every city with a warm crowd ready to sing songs with us.

How has it been meeting fans who bought VIP tickets? Have you met anyone that’s left an impression on you so far?

Every night, I walk away from VIP feeling like, I can't believe someone wanted to spend extra time with us so much that they took extra time and money out of their lives to do that. It's so beautiful! And truly humbling and it just makes me want to strive to be a better performer and person every day.

Are there any albums, or artists that you’re currently obsessing over? 

I truly love the bands on tour with us now! Civilian and Backwards Dancer. Since I have the girls on tour I don't get to watch their sets very often so I listen to the records on the bus!

Being a big family of coffee lovers, which café is the perfect place to get a delicious latte, or any type of coffee?

We hunt down good coffee every day and if there's not a place with like super great reviews we just go to the closest Starbucks because honestly my kids love it and they have cake pops! You can't lose. 

Do you consider yourself an official Instagram Queen, or are your daughters the real queens of Instagram and the reason you’ve managed to collect so many followers?

It does help having beautiful kids who are fun and vibrant but part of reason they're so fun and vibrant is because I am! I don't mean that egotistically but I strive to bring my girls to be themselves and to enjoy life and find the fun and beauty in every day and in themselves...so, yeah it's both that people are drawn to! The whole package. I love following moms who inspire me and I love that people see something in me and my family that inspires them! 

Take Time to Figure it Out: Jay Som’s Bedroom Recordings Flourish on Everybody Works

Melina Duterte Emerges as a Bold New Songwriter, Producer

by: Dusty Henry

By now, the narrative of Jay Som’s Turn Into has been retread again and again. And it’s easy to understand why. There’s the image of Melina Duterte, the sole force behind the project, making her way through a bottle of wine at her parents house over Thanksgiving weekend. Her hand hovering above the mouse, finally clicking the button and sending the album out into the world on Bandcamp. Most of us probably don’t make good decisions while we’re wine drunk. But Duterte did. And that choice may have been the best thing to happen to her career, sparking word of mouth buzz and eventually a rerelease of the album on Polyvinyl Records almost a year later.

But that’s not where Duterte’s story begins or ends. The Oakland-based songwriter has been writing and recording music since middle school, all from the confines of her room. She’s the sole musician on all of her albums, continually building off the foundation of the last record and emerging more formidable each time. That’s part of what makes her latest album, Everybody Works, so remarkable. It’s not just because of its wondrous and heart-swelling songwriting, but because of Duterte’s boldness as a producer. From the opening notes of “Lipstick Stains” that flutter into frame like a daydream to the fuming “1 Billion Dogs” and the wandering closer “For Light”. The way she pitches her vocals gradually mid-verse on the track “Baybee” shows the type of boldness that makes Duterte such an exciting artist and inventive producer. Ingrained in each song are stories of seeking identity, feeling overwhelmed in a new city, and glimpses of romance and heartbreak. We had the chance to chat with Duterte about Everybody Works and the journey that led her to it.

Perusing through the Internet, I found some recordings you did from when you were 12 years old under the name Mother Knows Best. What got you into music at such a young age?

Melina Duterte: Well, I grew up in a pretty musical household. My dad was a former DJ so he just had a ton of records lying around and his old cassette tapes with his mixes on it. So like every day and every Sunday morning, he'd put on some funk and R&B records that I grew up on. A ton of Earth, Wind, & Fire, Michael Jackson, and all of that stuff. Sometimes 80s rock. I was already raised on that, but then I started to buy a ton of CDs from Barnes & Noble and also I used Limewire a ton. I think I was just listening to so much music at the time and I was always curious with how my favorite artists were making their sounds. So I started recording at 12 years old and I was also teaching myself how to play guitar at the same time. So I was kind of doing both – learning how to be a musician and recording.

What was your setup back then? Were you using a computer mic or tape recorder or something else?

At the very beginning stages, I had a Dell laptop. You know those really shitty laptops from the early 00s? My dad took me to Guitar Center and he got this really bad mic. We bought this program called Sony Acid Music Studio. I didn't know what the hell I was doing.

Did you teach yourself how to record music or did you take any classes?

It's a mixture of both. For a couple years I was just doing it myself and then I took some audio production classes in high school. After high school, I went to community college and took some more audio production classes. But I only took those classes to get the basic ideas of how audio engineering works. I was doing it myself and learning myself. I like that better. It's more fun that way, learning yourself.

Do you think of yourself as a producer at all or is it just part of the deal with how you write?

I think I do. There are multiple hats I have to wear for this project, for Jay Som. I'm writing the songs and producing them too and I'm also doing the Internet stuff. I feel like I do hold that title. I think more especially since I'm starting to record and produce other people's music. It's definitely something I would like to do more than dabble in.

You moved into a new apartment while you were working on Everybody Works. Were you able to expand your setup?

Well, when I was living in San Francisco for like a year, I was sharing my room with people. So I had like three roommates in the span of that time. It's really hard to have a setup, so I only had like my desk and my monitors and laptop and a small amp. Nothing else. I was kind of tired of that. So when I moved to Oakland, it was like a dream come true. I have my good bed in here and everything and full drum set and amps and guitars. Everything's in here. I definitely have more room. It's really nice to just wake up and start recording music.

So was Turn Into recorded in that room in San Fran or was it also recorded in Oakland?

Turn Into, for the span of two years, was recorded at my parents' house in my old room and also in San Francisco. Most of the tracking was done in my parents house in Brentwood, which is in the East Bay area, 30 minutes away from here. I did a lot of the mixing and I released the album in San Francisco when it came out. So it was both, half and half.

Being a “bedroom” artist, do you feel like a homebody or do you like to venture out?

It's funny because I've been thinking about that a lot. I used to be a person that always wanted to go outside, well I was always going outside and going to shows and doing all this stuff. Ever since I moved to Oakland and ever since I got signed to a record label and I've been doing this music stuff, I've definitely been a homebody. I stay at home a lot because I finally have the freedom to work on music as much as I can. I don't mind. I feel like a lot of this entire project is based on the comfort of solitude and it's always been that way.

There's this cliche of bedroom recordings of someone in a room with a tape recorder, and it’s this very intense and intimate experience. Is that something you try to subvert? Your music doesn't sound like what most people think of as bedroom pop or DIY. It’s so lush and dynamic.

I've definitely heard that from someone before. I think throughout the years of my songwriting and honing in on my skills as a songwriter or producer, I've had time to make things more intentional because I'm learning. I'm still learning. I learn something new every time I record a new song. I do intentionally want my songs to sound good, but I also don't care if they're not pristine quality. It's more about what is right for the song and the music. What kind of vibe is it going for, for the song. I also notice that a lot of bedroom artists get lumped into the whole dream-pop category and I'm kind of tired of that.

Since you do record yourself, do you think you value that authority to direct it as you see fit?

I don't necessarily miss collaborating with people. I'd say, definitely in a full band setting where everyone divides their parts equally, there's more effort into it and there's more complications with figuring who's doing this and what kind of attitude they have. It's less complicated working by myself and I think it's more rewarding in a sense because you are… by yourself, it's the most vulnerable you can be. It's all about trust and gut instinct. I don't hate working with people, but I've had a lot of experiences where I realize that most people are hard to work with in terms of collaborating. But I do like working with people on their music, as a side member. I love doing that. I love playing other people's music.

When you went to start the new record, were there any lessons you took away from the recording and release process of Turn Into?

That's definitely something that was on the forefront of my thinking for the album. I definitely just wanted a traditional approach to the album. I really was thinking about the tracklisting and order and how it's cohesive as an album. And also how the artwork would connect with the music. So it was a lot of thinking in that way. Connecting similar themes together as well. It's not like a concept album, but it was more intentional than Turn Into. I also wanted to take a different approach to my production, mixing, and also different songwriting too. But at it's heart, I feel like it's still a pop record, kind of like Turn Into.

When you started Everybody Works you had some demos but you scrapped a lot of them and decided to record new songs during that three week recording session. What made you want to start from scratch?

The demo process started around March of last year. I took about that month to do some demos and they were pretty fast. I was kind of just making music because I wanted to, but also I had the idea the year was going to progress a little faster than I thought it would. I did that and then I went on a couple tours. When I went back from tour, I definitely felt like a different musician completely. I wasn't particularly attached to the demos I had. Half of the songs I remember thinking, 'Oh man, I hate these songs. What was I thinking?' So during those three weeks, I was just writing on the spot. I feel like that's a very genuine thing of me to do. I tend to write and record at the same time. So like, record a guitar part and writing while thinking about the recording and tracking it. It became a little more stressful than I thought it would, but the end result was pretty positive. The older songs, they didn't feel right.

Do you think the final version of the record is more reflective of where you're at now because of that?

Kind of? I say that now because I've been writing music and directly after Everybody Works, I was already writing and recording music. I already have a couple songs recorded. It's not completely different, it's not too crazy, but it doesn't sound like Everybody Works. I just feel like my kind of vision and sound for music is always shifting. It's just something that I've always accepted.

Last year you went on a couple tours with Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, and Peter, Bjorn, & John. Do you feel like touring and being around other artists for such long stretches of time impacted your writing at all?

Oh yeah, it definitely did. I think if I didn't go on those tours, Everybody Works would be a completely different album. It'd sound different, there'd be different songs. When I was on tour, especially on the Mitski tour, that was a pretty long one – it was like a month and a half. I had a ton of time to just write music in my head. I was getting a ton of ideas because I was constantly inspired by the locations where I was, the people I was meeting, the musicians I was seeing every night. I was just ingesting so much musical information at that time. And also during the Peter, Bjorn, & John tour; that tour was also pretty special to me too. They are a band that I grew up listening to. When I was 13, they were like my favorite band. That was insane to be on a tour with them. It kind of brought me back to the reasons...it brought me back to why I love music so much. I think that reminiscing of loving music from so long ago definitely inspired a lot of Everybody Works. 

On Everybody Works, it feels like there's this push and pull of romantic language and self consciousness. Were you thinking of a similar type of emotions you wanted to display through your music?

Oh yeah, for sure. Especially for this album I'd say, different forms of self identity kind of like settling into new skin as a young adult. I feel like those were common themes on Turn Into, but especially for this one I definitely focused a lot of different states of emotions. I don't really know what else to say for that.

It's not a political record but you said that troubles facing women, queer community, POC fueled this record. How are you able to channel frustrations and worries and turn it into something that isn't overly political, but also so beautiful and dreamy at times?

It's definitely something that I don't think about all the time, like making my music politically fueled or very black and white like, ‘This is what it's about.’ But I think sometimes when I'm inspired or frustrated or angry by something, I instantly want to write and just write whatever comes to mind. It doesn't necessarily have to be about that. But something that a listener can connect to in ways. If they can connect to this lyric, or this guitar line, or this sound or tone of a certain instrument. Wanting to make someone feel something is important to me.

So you’re saying you think with intentionality in your instrumentation as well?

For sure. Also lately, I try not to read reviews and comments about music, but I always end up doing that because it's there and I'm curious. A lot of the constant remarks about my music are that my vocals aren't loud enough. Most of the time that's very intentional for certain parts of my music because I feel like the voice can act as an instrument. I don't really believe in just, 'this is how you record. This is what it is. Vocals, straight center. Guitars, bass, drums.' Stuff like that. I feel like there are so many intricacies with arranging music and also finding out how certain instruments work. Same with your voice.

Reading those reviews, did it make you want to make your voice more prominent? How do you take something like that?

It didn't really bother me, in a way, and it didn't pressure me into changing my style of mixing. It did make me think about it. It made me think about how people listen to music and it made me aware of the music that I was making. At the time, I was making music already after Turn Into. Turn Into was pretty old songs. The new music that I was recording had vocals pretty loud, too. So, I was still kind of changing the way that I was making my music. It's not like something I thought about, especially when releasing this album. Should I make this accessible for people or stick to my own thing?

You have such a range in dynamics from track to track on the record. “Lipstick Stains” and “1 Billion Dogs” couldn’t be more different. Yet it all sounds so cohesive. How do you balance all those different ideas and sounds?

I think my end goal for any piece of music, like an album or an EP, is I want the listener to be familiar with every song and realize that it still sounds like Jay Som. Not just because, 'oh it's my voice'. But because of maybe the way I play something or the chord structure that I use. I'm not making these super different songs just because I feel like it. I mean, well yeah I do feel like it. That was a lie, that didn't come out right. I'm not doing it to be fake and like, 'Oh I wanna be different!' It's just feels right. I don't want every song to sound the same. I think because I just listened to so many different types of music, I kind of want to emulate that.

Do you think playing so many different styles has stretched you as a musician? Especially since you’re playing every instrument?

It definitely has. When I was doing Turn Into, I picked up the drums. The song "Ghost", that was the first time I ever recorded drums. That was actually the week after I started playing drums for the first time. I had so much fun because I think leading up to now, my drumming is a little different. I don't get any lessons, but I'm moved by the way my friends drum. Being in other bands, I've been around so many drummers and picked up so many different kind of unique traits in their drumming… And also I'm pretty influenced by jazz drummers too. I like jazz, so I'm pretty influenced by that. It's definitely helped me with songwriting too, because I feel like not having that discipline from not formally learning an instrument can kind of benefit the way you write songs.

It can help me be a little more creative because I feel like it's all stemming from your own playing abilities. I think I say that because I did trumpet for about nine years and I was doing that in school. I was doing jazz and wind ensemble stuff and doing honor bands. I was very invested. It's kind of like this disciplined instrument that takes a lot of time to learn, so I've applied what I've learned musically from trumpet to all of the instruments that I play now. I don't consider myself a guitar player because I feel like play my guitar like a trumpet, because that's the way I think when I play.

What reaction do you hope people have to your music and the new record?

I honestly hope that they can sit down, listen to it, and hopefully like it. I feel like that's all I have to say. If you don't like it, don't listen to me [laughs]. But in all seriousness, I hope that someone, anyone, can find a sort of connection to this album. Maybe pick a favorite song if they don't like the whole album. I'm pretty proud of the album. I hope it shows the music that I'll be making in the future, because I definitely want to do more of that.

video: "Bitch Island" - Mommy Long Legs

Mommy Long Legs are so wholly and fiercely their own. Part of the reason we first fell in love with their was due to their bold and colorful personalities. On their previous EPs, the band revels in a spirit of complete joy, coupled with an attitude where they just don't give a shit what anyone else thinks. It makes for music that's as entertaining as it is inspiring. On "Bitch Island," the band dons colorful wigs and invites you to an interesting arts and crafts adventure, all the while their song of making an escape for "Bitch Island" plays out. It's bubblegum punk in its purest form, the saccharine spirit and playful vocals rattling around your brain endlessly. The single comes from a brand new EP out in May. 

Toon Tunes: Lisa Simpson

curated by Lauren Rearick, Le'Donne Morris & friends

Lisa Simpson is my hero. She's fearless, kind, smart, in touch with her feelings, and unafraid to speak her mind. From joining the hockey team to creating her own Malibu Stacy called Lisa Lionheart, she's also fully and totally supportive of her fellow females. Anyways, we made her a mix that features some modern day tunes she'd probably be into along with jazz and blues. 

Tracklist:

  • W-O-M-A-N by Etta James
  • Young Pilgrims by The Shins
  • Slutmouth by Girlpool
  • Just A Girl by No Doubt
  • I'm A Woman by Peggy Lee
  • Happy Alone by Saint Seneca
  • Meat is Murder by The Smiths
  • Jazzman by Carole King
  • No Offense by Slutever
  • Calculator by Micachu
  • Tummy Ache by Diet Cig
  • Tell the World by Vivian Girls
  • Richard and Judy by The Spook School
  • Why I Say No by Jay Som
  • Conventional Girl (Girl Talk) by Kate Nash
  • You Let Me Down by Billie Holiday
  • Stairway to the Stars by Dinah Washington