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Alt Pop





Alt Pop

Time: 
19:00
Band name: 
Rachael Sage
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/rachaelsagepage
Venue name: 
City Winery
Band email: 
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Alt Pop

Time: 
Brion Starr... A Night To Remember w/ Beau, DJ Alix Brown, & Special Guests
Band name: 
Brion Starr
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/brionstarr/
Venue name: 
Cafe Wha?
Band email: 
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Nobody's Girl Takes the Town for a Girl's Night Out

Nobody’s Girl’s self-titled album is the quintessential album for twenty/thirty-something post-college career women who have fallen in love with nightlife, shopping, adventurous cuisines and (how can I forget?) all the choice of cute dates in their new city life.

I should know. I was there once myself, and this record glimmers with memories of the excitement, hope and occasional frustrations I experienced when I moved on my own to a larger, vibrant city for the first time. Relatable in the way that Dayglow’s recent Harmony House speaks to and soothes frustrated teenagers looking for an escape from the structured expectations of everyday life, Nobody's Girl is an album embodying a particular demographic in a particular place in their lives.Recorded in 2019 at Texas’ Lucky Hound Studios but only released in late July of 2021 by a trio of woman friends with successful folk music solo careers, the album is by turns folk-pop, country-pop, bar band pop/rock and politically motivating Americana social commentary — all thematically woven together by reflections on the shared experience of post-college, big city womanhood in the internet age.

Abundant with harmonies by BettySoo, Rebecca Loebe, and Grace Pettis —- two classic soprano brunettes and one mezzo soprano redhead —- the band's undeniable vocal chemistry is as much a product of their airtight friendship as their mutual professional training. The accomplished and admired list of supporting musicians with impeccable credentials  include  Charlie Sexton (Bob Dylan), J.J. Johnson (Tedeschi Trucks), Glenn Fukunaga (Dixie Chicks), David Grissom (Buddy Guy, Allman Brothers, Ringo Starr), and Michael Ramos (John Mellencamp, BoDeans), who produced. These male musicians never overwhelm the musical presence of the strong ladies of Nobody’s Girl, whose lovely singing imbues heartfelt, personal lyrics with effortless vibratto and a subtle trace of the twang from their respective Southern upbringings.

“Kansas” starts out with a raspy rock n’ roll riff mildly reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” — very fitting for a pop song about an eagerness to leave home, complete with Wizard of Oz references that makes The Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces” seem tame.

“Rescued” is both relatable and funny. Nobody’s Girl sings “Don’t send up flares/Don’t send an SOS/Don’t send the National Guard/It's just a little black dress//The trouble I find is the trouble I run to/I don’t wanna be saved/I don’t want to be rescued.”  The phrase little black dress is sung with amused sarcastic confidence. Often  parents who have not experienced city life or singleness may not be comfortable with the normal hooking up, going out late on the town and other fast-paced city life that they worry will ruin their daughter's reputation or jeopardize her career. The riff and tune on the verses remind me of Survivor’s eighties hit, “High on You”, but the rest of the song displays expansive song-writing (particularly in the delightfully unpredictable bridge). 

Tiger is a complex take on traditional folk-pop tunes. By adopting (and absolutely nailing) a rapidfire hip-hop rhythm  at the beginning of “Tiger," and by subverting the silly “catch a tiger by his toe” nursery rhyme, Nobody's Girl keep the mood light to discuss a serious topic of their struggles with self-control in their new, adventurous life. The woman protagonist in the song successfully resists telling off her boss at a much-needed job that puts her on the verge of tears and she resists a particular booty call that only tempts her in the throes of loneliness and self-pity.  

“Waterline” confidently articulates a first experience with post-college career disappointment with zingers including “This is not where I thought I’d be right now. This is nowhere.” The waterline metaphor and those harmonies are folk song language but the subject matter lies in the here and now situations of a modern pop song. If there’s a bit in the chorus reminiscent of Avril Lavigne singing about her (not) happy ending on the radio in the mid-2000’s, it shouldn’t be surprising because the thirty-somethings in Nobody’s Girl likely grew up with that hit.

 

“The Promised Land” is compassionate political commentary as aesthetically pleasing and emotionally stirring as a Michelle Obama speech. It’s both Americana and pop in it’s style and topic — and its subject matter only works on a fun, metropolitan album because these women sound very invested in their concern for our country that arose out of their tour experiences in 2019. If they weren’t busy with music, they would have been out canvassing, feeling the Bern and pioneering for a better and brighter future.

The track on Nobody’s Girl that should be the one to break them into mainstream commercial success is “What’ll I Do”. Grace Pettis quipped in a Zoom concert that the tine is about “ that lovable mess who got away.” The lyrics’ exuberance are sexy and fun. “ My friends wouldn’t give this the green light/but I’m going to floor it!”  Some of the lyrics remind me a bit of Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much”’s sassy comments to the pretty boy love interest who would make a disappointing partner due to his head in the clouds approach to work and finances.  This song is so relatable and likable, that I hope I hear it soon on US-99 radio.

— Jill Blardinelli

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Teddy Grey explores celebrity break-up culture on "The Great Failed Romances of the Twentieth Century"

In Richard Dyer’s classic 1979 book Stars (classic, that is, if you happen to be a Cinema Studies major) the distinguished British scholar considers how stars/celebrities provide a kind of psychological and sociological map to the culture from which they are spawned—kind of like how actual stars once served as maps, used to cross unfamiliar lands and strange seas. (of course today we've all got our omnipresent pocket computers and GPS apps to fill that function, and of course nothing bad ever comes from putting machines in charge...)

Anyway, Dyer goes on to unpack at length how these star-driven mental maps are formed through the art of storytelling—the TV shows and movies and long-form music videos and youtube makeup tutorials that the stars star in, and also in the many, many stories about the stars themselves that circulate in our society which can collectively be called “star texts” if you’re nerdy like that—stories that help to shape the collective belief systems through which we navigate our own lives in a celebrity-driven culture, a lot like how all those nutty stories about Greco-Roman gods captured the belief systems of Greco-Roman times—gods that provided the names for many constellations (names used to this day) which of course are made up of…STARS! (ok I'll give the whole metaphor a rest now)

 Like the gods of ye olden times, modern celebrities appeal in large part because they're both human and superhuman, both highly relatable and highly aspirational. Consider, for instance, how Glenn Danzig can be going out to buy kitty litter in one moment (highly relatable!) and bestriding the stage ike a buff little garden gnome the next (and later, he can go on to direct a straight-to-Shudder horror movie featuring three stories of surreal and bloody erotic horror and ginormous breasts.

In other words, we are all Glenn Danzig. And there can never be another Glenn Danzig. And if we can navigate this contraduction, we can maybe face down all the contradictions we face on a daily basis in normal everyday normal life

Another way to put it is that, when it comes to star idols and celebrity worship, we as fans get to live vicariously between two worlds: fantasy and reality. And this is one thing Teddy Grey seems to "get" given that this self-described purveyor of “the tastiest garbage on the market” has written and recorded an entire double-album telling the stories of 30 high-profile celebrity couple breakups--granted, taking significant creative license in playing these roles himself alongside a wide array of musical and vocal collaborators, and imagining their inner thoughts and everyday experiences--stories we can all likely identify with (that is unless you've never been through a messy breakup and if so bully for you) but which are also quite exotic and impossible to identify with (that is unless you've ever had your nose cave in from doing too much coke, or been elected to Congress on the basis of a popular '70s TV variety show before skiing head first into a tree and expiring).

The album in question is called The Great Failed Romances of the Twentieth Century (Mother West) and it features songs with titles like “Everything Will Change When We Have Money (Lindsey & Stevie),” “Our Voices Aren’t Made For Duets (Sonny & Cher),” Popular Kids (Burt & Loni),” “Second Best” (Billy & Courtney)” featuring Blaise Dahl (Dahl Haus) as Mrs. Love-Cobain, and “Like I Mean It (Ike & Tina)” featuring Jack Colquitt and Brandeaux and opening with Ike berating Tina during a recording session ("It’s a love song, girl, you gotta mean it!”) before turning into a rollicking brass-assisted number with Tina imagining better times ahead: “When I imagine you gasping for breath on the floor / I’m giving up for another auteur / I can see my happy ending…someday you’ll be dead / better days are ahead" and anyway I think you get the song-naming convention at work here. 

Personally, I think my favorite song on the album is “There’s Nothing That I Love (But You Come Close) (Sid & Nancy)” because it so brilliantly punctures the over-inflated mythology of the junkie couple with a rock musical-ready arrangement and a number of choice couplets like “let’s make out on the toilet, fuck on the floor / I think we forgot to close the bathroom door” and “take me in your arms and hold me close / tip me on my side if you hear me choke.” Oddly enough, my second favorite track happens to be the very next song on the album, called “Provocateur (Serge & Jane),” which drops some deep knowledge of Serge Gainsbourg (“bad puns and lollipops / concept albums donning Nazi rock”) or it does for an American audience at least, even if Teddy’s Serge impression sounds more like Pepé Le Pew meets Jarvis Cocker meets Dracula for a breathy ménage à trois session.

“But what does the album actually sound like?”, you may ask? Let’s go right to the press release for this one: “Shimmering guitar pop, piano ballads, arena rock—even a 32 second hoedown detailing the 32 day marriage of Ernest Borgnine and Ethel Merman!” and really who can argue with a press release that evokes either Ernie or Ethel never mind both. I would also add that The Great Failed Romances of the Twentieth Century has a Broadway Cast Recording kinda vibe—which makes sense since if you Google the album title you'll find a backstage.com public notice looking for guest singers/celebrity impersonators for the project, which also makes sense since Grey's main collaborator on the album is one Michael Lepore, a singer-actor who's in the cast of the upcoming Broadway musical Sing Street. And, finally, if you ever wished Weird Al would record a double concept album (let it be noted that "Weird Al" Yankovic is also quite the musical polymath) which also serves as the soundtrack to a Broadway rock musical, well, here’s the closest you’re gonna get so get at it! (Jason Lee





Alt Pop

Time: 
08:00
Band name: 
F*CK YOU, DAD
FULL Artist Facebook address (http://...): 
https://www.facebook.com/events/406626877531321/
Venue name: 
Pinebox RockShop
Band email: 
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