Podcast #3: Alicia Blue

For someone who has gotten a late start on her musical journey, Alicia Blue has proven that it’s never to late to follow your ❤️. The late bloomer has blossomed beyond belief since I first saw her at back in July 2018 at The Love Song Bar. She’s released an impressive self-titled debut EP with bangers like ‘Come on Home,’ ‘Incognito,’ and ‘Magma.’ ‘Come on home’ describes her desire to pursue music dreams in LA despite her family calling her back: “Hey babe, won’t you come on home, everyone’s wondering what you’re looking for’… “How can you ask me again you know the fire I feel in my heart, I don’t fit inside this town.” ‘Incognito’ is a clever, biting joust to those that have discriminated against her Mexican relatives, and man does it make you reflect. ‘Magma‘ will have you erupting will all sorts of warm, feel good vibes, esp. with Alicia beaming as she belts, “we’re looking so beautiful, AS WE RISE.” Another song that erupts euphoria is one she wrote in honor of her friend Lauren Ruth Ward: “She repairs the girls off sunset boulevard, she’ll braid your hair then she’ll break your heart.. but most of all, she’s A STAR. She’s the Queen of Echo Park.” I was lucky enough to be a foot from Alicia as she debuted this song at The Love Song Bar with LRW there to join on backup vocals. Not only was LRW brought to tears, but so was the entire room. We could not help but join in tearshed as we watched these incredibly talented women sing one another’s praises: “She’s electricity every time we meet.. and she don’t judge as she resurrects all the color buried in my chest.” This song made it onto Alicia’s newest album, ‘Bravebird,’ which I feel was meant to help us find flight, even in the midst of a global pandemic. My favs are: ‘The Joke,’ ‘Inside with You,’ ‘Blind Spot,’ and ‘Star Maps,’ the latter of which Alicia said came to her in just a few hours. They are a testament to her pensive, prudent lyrics and her rich, warm vocals. Looks like Nashville is the next stop on Alicia’s star map, for she is there now to play a few shows, collaborate with a few musicians, and see the legendary Lucinda Williams. We know that when this star returns, she’ll be shining brighter than before. ❤ 🙂

Such a treat to hear a new unreleased song that Alicia wrote during the pandemic

Music Videos:

Spotify:


Industry Reviews:

Billboard, TreeHouse LA, Jam in the Van, Girl Underground, TooMuch Love Magazine

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Let Go (Playlist: Oct 2020)

New playlist featuring: Sharon Van Etten (‘Let Go’ has been by on repeat for hours at a time – SO FREAKING GOOD) Allan Rayman James Vincent McMorrow (‘Little Bug’ has also been constantly on repeat), VAVÁ (‘when the lights go out’ is sooooooo good) French Cassettes Sylvan Esso Trevor Hall (love is new album), Little Monarch KUL Meg Myers Magic Bronson (check out their awesome new album) King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard Stevie Nicks (obsessed with her new song) MAMMÚT (love their new album) Cameron Black Tilli Tills Matt Berninger Satsang Carli Storms (can’t wait for her new EP to come out this Friday) Son Little (with Rob Fidel having created a genius animation to ‘Goddess Wine’) Troi Irons Skylar Gudasz Cobi Pep Squad Fleet Foxes Temme Scott Michael Kaiser CAAMP Radical Face This Is The Kit Dree Paterson Trousdale The Staves John Frusciante Chet Faker Local Natives Cloud Nothings Hamilton Leithauser Lucy Dacus Loah Terrace Martin Lucy & La Mer Penny and Sparrow Sin Fang Porches #musicplaylist #spotify #spotifyplaylist #lamusicscene #playlist

Podcast #2: Carli Storms

Life is definitely more fun with someone who believes in magic, who is always down for adventure, and who is nothing short of her authentic self. That someone is my talented friend Carli Storms who just released a BADASS NEW EP called ‘Unconditionally Myself’ on Oct 30, and who I gratefully had as a guest on my Beatsthatsetmypulse podcast to discuss this EP and share her process. We touched on her journey from Arizona to Los Angeles and the ways in which she found her footing and her tribe. We also touched on the inspiration behind each song on her EP (including her favorite, which you must watch to find out!), and the perspectives that helped her persevere despite inevitable obstacles and challenges. She reminds us to be present and aware of the magic that is truly all around us, even during tumultuous times: “There’s magic in the air, when I become aware.” This is a particularly refreshing mantra to have in the face of political tension and an unpredictable global pandemic. What stands out to me most about Carli is her positivity and her appetite for learning (not just for oysters, haha, which we did enjoy last month together in Catalina). She is always encouraging herself and others to believe in their capabilities and to abolish doubt: “Believe in, hearts’ conceiving, and let your breath unfold… I have no fear, I’m meant to be here.” She is also tough and resilient (as someone with the last name “Storms” should be), and she strives to always be a fearless Phoenix (which she has tattooed on her arm): “I have risen from ashes after I have burned in flames.” (lyrics from her song, ‘Unconditionally Myself.’ Cheers to the talented crew at BetaWave for video production support. 🙏🏼

Music Video:

Spotify:

Industry Interviews:

VoyageLA, Hollywood Digest, Rattler

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Podcast #1: Kat Leon (Holy Wars, Pep Squad)

Could not be more giddy about having had my good friend and badass front woman Kat Leon of Holy Wars and Pep Squad to pop my podcast cherry. I’ve had an interest in doing podcast for years, and am so grateful that Matthew Faulkner and & Matt Shores of BetaWave reached out to offer me the audio & video support to move forward with this endeavor. Kat was an obvious choice as my first guest, for she is lovely human being that I find so easy to talk to, and she has tons of recent successes to celebrate and be proud of: multiple song releases, publishing deals, music videos, virtual performances, etc. She is not simply surviving these COVID times, she is THRIVING, and although she may not want to bark about her victories, I certainly will. And, when it comes to live performances (who knows when those will be back), not many can reach into your chest and grip your heart with such tenacity and such grace as Kat. This dark, emotive beauty writes lyrics that are raw and revealing, “not covered up with poignant poetry but just saying exactly what I feel.” In her newest release, ‘IHATEMYSELF,’ Kat raises every hair on our body with the verse: “I look for happiness in the bottom of a glass, Drowning in the dark thoughts of an egomaniac. I’m making enemies, all the bullies in my mind, They try to hurt me but it was me the whole time.” Holy Shit. HOLY WARS. I feel so damn lucky to have met this lil’, petite, pint-size powerhouse who inspires us to shed the masks that society has asked us to put on and to embrace our truest self.

Industry Quotes:

  • “IHATEMYSELF” is one of the group’s most ambitious tracks, using dissonance and tonal changes to unsettle listeners and set up Leon’s powerful vocal hook. The song structure is similar to Radiohead’s first single “Creep,” shifting from a drifting, almost sarcastic melody into a hard-charging, guitar-and-drum riff, lightly layered with a synth vocal section that makes Leon’s delivery of the chorus even more powerful. –BILLBOARD
  • “Leon’s singing and music are really powerful with a vocal range that has come up against few boundaries” – BILLBOARD
  • “Legend” is heavy on stark, unsettling imagery and hypnotic symbolism that’s both strangely beautiful, and at times, disturbingly transcendent” – BILLBOARD
  • “…a distinctly heavy synth-rock sound that’s somewhere between Siouxsie and Suicide with a modern production sheen” – LA Times
  • “Crafting cinematically dark music with a sense of urgency and power, front-woman Kat Leon (Holy Wars) was reborn into music after the tragic loss of her parents a few years ago. The gaping void shattered Kat’s world and altered her soul and songwriting forever…With fantastical and warrior-like themes, this is music that’s somehow simultaneously melancholic and inspiring.”Position Music

Industry reviews:

https://www.grimygoods.com/2020/07/17/hot-new-band-alert-punk-rock-cheerleaders-pep-squad/

https://buzzbands.la/2019/11/23/photos-holy-wars-and-draemings-at-the-echo/

https://earmilk.com/2019/07/24/holy-wars-fiery-new-video-proves-that-kat-leon-is-a-true-legend/

https://www.rockcellarmagazine.com/holy-wars-band-interview-kat-leon-nic-perez-los-angeles/

https://www.bringthenoise.com/blog/noiseworthy-heres-why-holy-wars-might-just-be

Playlists I featured her on:

Forever on Your Mind, Under the Same Sky, Feel BetterYoung and Able, Miss Beverly, Stars Align, Born Dark,

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Between Mountains: “But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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I first saw Between Mountains at Iceland Airwaves 2017, just 6 months after they won Músíktilraunir, the annual Icelandic “Battle of the Bands,” and back then it was a very different band. At that time they were a duo — Katla Vigdís Vernharðsdóttir and and Ásrós Helga Guðmundsdóttir — and their name represented the fact that were from different fjords (in Westfjords region of Iceland) located “between mountains.” They harmonized beautifully together and incorporated elements of keyboard, xylophone, and accordion into their songs with a proficiency way beyond their years. Fast forward another 2 years and they are now a 4 piece live: Katla (the muse of Between Mountains) on vocals/keys, her father Vernharður Jósefsson on bass, her brother Valgeir Skorri Vernharðsson on drums (also drummer for Mammut and drum tech for Sigur Ros), and Salóme Katrín Magnúsdóttir on backing vocals/keys. While I enjoyed the duo before, I must say that I prefer the larger band much more and appreciate the clever, catchy percussion that Valgeir brings with his extensive experience on drums. The talent within this family is enormous (Katla and Valgeir’s brother is the talented front man of Rythmatik), and has me imagining how their spurious moments of “playing around the house” has led to the masterpieces we hear now. Please do yourself a favor and listen to their debut album, ‘Between Mountains’ (released on Nov 1 and produced by Arnar Guðjónsson of Warmland), because it’s AMAZING and chock-full of hits: ‘Little Lies,’ ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ ‘What Breaks Me,’ and ‘Synthalag.’ ‘Little Lies’ is an incredibly beautiful track with lyrics that I’m sure we can all relate to (“My mind will fall apart again, now it’s only a matter of when, it rise up as I go down.. and there I stay, I reach for you, meet me halfway… I wonder if I’ll be the same, and how I will keep myself sane, confine my thoughts, tie every note… I told you a lie when I told you I’m fine”) and I’m so impressed that they lyrics were written by someone only 18 yrs of age. The same goes for the song, ‘I Don’t Want to be in Love,’ which has a style reminiscent of Sharon Van Etten (whom I absolutely adore). : “It’s been 3 weeks since we’ve first met and I thought I hadn’t screwed up yet. I haven’t felt this way for someone in almost a year. I missed it when it was gone but I’m scared that it’s here. Cause I’m not very good at this and I never show my cards. I am too afraid of it, I won’t let my guards. But I know I don’t have to be in love to wanna meet you.” WOW. I know we can ALL relate to this one even though we’d rather not admit it: Poignant, vulnerable thoughts laced with infectious, upbeat melodies and gorgeous harmonies. ‘What Breaks Me’ is another stunner, and you’re bound to sing along to the catchy chorus (“It’s what I can hold that makes me, what I’ve been told what breaks me”) that Katla and Salóme so intricately deliver with staggering vocals that echo one another like a call-and-response.  Still, the song that I feel STOLE THE SPOTLIGHT at The Hard Rock Cafe was, ‘Into The Dark’ (nominated for “Video of the Year” at the Icelandic music awards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tp4AHG8OkRg), which Katla said she wrote when she was only 14 yrs old. UNBELIEVABLE. This one starts out soft but picks up on speed and intensity, and you can feel your adrenaline pumping as you anticipate the crescendo of the cryptic chorus: “It says you’re deeper in the sea.. I feel you’re face.. I see your face.” The harmonies in this one are gorgeous, and I made sure to mention that when a famous writer for Rolling Stone magazine was showering her with compliments later that night. Another song that stole the spotlight and had me all teary-eyed and emotional was Synthalag,’: “the colors in your eyes tell me stories, about what should have been and why I ran, the buttons your coat say ‘you’r sorry,’ cause they can hear and no one else can, and when I look up to the sky, I suddenly feel alive. The lights are dancing with the stars. And we just sit and watch.” OUTSTANDING VOCALS that will take your breathe away and transport you to a place under the arctic sky, looking up at the stars “together” with someone you love.  Between Mountains are certainly rising out above the rest and getting the visibility they deserve. I sure hope to see them in the states next year! ❤

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Hatari: “Dance of corruption, Trance of consumption, Greed and extravagance, Where do we go now?” – Live at Iceland Airwaves

 Written by Erica Andreozzi

 

Hatari’s show at The Reykjavik Art museum (11/8/19) this year was PURE PERFECTION, and one of the most phenomenal productions I have witnessed at Iceland Airwaves thus far. It has been incredibly eye-opening to watch how this band had evolved from when I first saw them at Kaffibarinn in 2017 (see review here), and I am constantly amazed at their efforts and execution in redefining the impossible. Known for their drive to defeat capitalism, Hatari started off their show with visual depictions (iPhone, computers, etc.) of how digital technology is trying is consume our thoughts and control our minds to perceive a reality that is not healthy. They also ended the show with this same theme, bringing us back full circle after unleashing our disgust for the “rampant hypocrisy that exists in this world.” Meticulously dressed in intricate, ornate BDSM attire, this transfixing trio — Klemens Hannigan (vocals), Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson (vocals), and Einar Stéfansson (drums, also the guitarist for the amazing band Vok!) — had our eyes locked on their every move. I was mad impressed by the visuals that the glow-in-the-dark whips dangling from Matthias’ wrists made as he swung them around frivolously while dancing. They were a perfect pairing to the glow-in-the-dark leather strap suits worn by the beautiful, alluring female dancers Sólbjört Sigurðardóttir and Ástrós Guðjónsdóttir who cranked up heated up even more. They also had surprise guest appearances by a rapper and a singer (wish I knew their names) that had us all hot and bothered. And if that wasn’t enough to raise our body temperatures many degrees higher, the EXPLOSIVE PRISM OF FIREWORKS shooting up from the front of the stage SURE WAS. I still recall my friend Erika and I gasping at that exact same moment as we marveled at this SIGHT OF ALL SIGHTS. What I find most compelling about Hatari is their ability to keep a straight poker face during this entire epic production. It’s their discerning dichotomies – their ability keep a straight poker face when delivering devilish, primal screams and disturbing, suicide lyrics to happy techno beats – that keeps us coming back for more. They exude a mystery and allure that is truly magnetic, and it’s this fascinating paradox that we can get enough of. Almost everyone around me knew all of the lyrics for ‘Spillingardans,’ ‘X,’ ‘Hatrið mun sigra,’ and ‘Biðröð Mistaka,’ just to name a few. After earning themselves Reykjavik’s Grapevine‘s “Best Live Band” pick of 2016 and 2017, and most recently a highly competitive top 10 spot in the 2019 Eurovision contest, Hatari’s fans are growing astronomically, and on a global scale. It’s only perfect timing then that Hatari is gearing up for a ‘Europe Will Crumble’ tour of 18 European cities in 2020. This is only the tip of the iceberg for these Icelandic renegades. Just you wait and see. See below for full videos of the show from my Facebook page.

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Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf 

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Lone Wolf’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

1) Lone Wolf – Georgi Kay
2) Caves – Gregory Alan Isakov
3) Bad Side – Kat Meoz
4) One More Thrill – Kolars
5) Hold on To – Liv Slingerland
6) Night Owl – Magic Bronson
7) Alone in Here – Easyfriend
8) Why So Serious – Alice Merton
9) Thingamajig – Miya Folick
10) Give Yourself a Try – The 1975
11) Fall Apart – Maps & Atlases
12) I Don’t Believe in the Sun – Grey Goon, Lauren Ruth Ward
13) Maggot – Lintronix
14) Little Black Death – Meg Meyers
15) Ventura – City of the Sun
16) Something’s Missing – Geographer
17) Heavy – VAVA
18) Atlas Please – Gengahr
19) Move – Milo Green
20) wow – Travis is a Tourist
21) Autopilot – Vok
22) Younger Still – Sean Fleming
23) God Complex – Georgi Kay
24) Hard of Hearing – Radical Face
25) I Call Bullshit – Highasakite
26) Keeper – Reignwolf
27) Shot Down – Emma Cole
28) Morning Light – Wilderado
29) Straight – Annabelle Lee
30) I’m Dangerous – Zachary Kibbee
31) Over – Doe Paoro
32) City Looks Pretty – Courtney Barnett
33) Soft Spoken – Naia Izumi
34) Bad Twin – SLUGS
35) Give a Little – Maggie Rogers
36) Hiding Bottles – Bear’s Den
37) Keep Lying – Donna Missel
38) The Jacket – Henry Jamison
39) Meet Me in the Morning – The Colour Coast
40) State Lines – Novo Amor
41) Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten
42) Dancing at the Blue Lagoon – Cayucas
43) Girls On T.V. – Tashaki Miyaki
44) Holding On – Jenn Champion
45) Ain’t No Grave – Zach Winters
46) Emeralds – Kingsburg
47) When Am I Gonna Lose You – Local Natives
48) Stop Talking – Miya Folick
49) Forest – Giungla
50) Black Halo – Black Pistol Fire

Queen of Failureland

Queen of Failureland

Compiled by Erica Andreozzi

LONG OVERDUE PLAYLIST (‘Queen of Failureland’) featuring recent tracks from artists I either saw within the last year or ones that have released new music:

  • Queen of Failureland – Birthh
  • Ringing Bell – Maps & Atlases
  • Sunlit Juice – Henry Jamison
  • Movin On – GIVERS
  • Desire – Meg Meyers
  • VAVA – The Other Side
  • Loading Zone – Kurt Vile
  • Girls Go Wild – LP
  • Keep Up – Future Feats
  • Hell No – SLUGS
  • Gems – The Lagoons
  • If Love’s a Gun, I’m Better Off Dead – Veronica Bianqui
  • Still Let You Down – Day Wave
  • Rebel Babe – Lucy & La Mer
  • The Taste – Easyfriend
  • The Spot – Your Smith
  • Casanova – Rayland Baxter
  • Night & Day – Vok
  • Brothers – City of the Sun
  • The Tide – La Force
  • The Fear – Maps & Atlases
  • Guilty Pleasures – Georgi Kay
  • The Way that it Hurts – Dan Sadin
  • No Roots – Alice Merton
  • Electrify – Magic Bronson
  • Summer – WILD
  • Glow Worms – Sean Fleming
  • This Body – Baum
  • Learn – Jack Cullen
  • Rise Up Wise Up Eyes – IBEYI
  • Mexico – Highasakite
  • New Day Coming – Matt Corby
  • Treading Water – Little Monarch
  • The New Great Depression – The Moth & The Flame
  • Leave the Party – Miya Folick
  • Love is Wasted in the Dark – Geographer
  • Twenty-Five – Rett Madison
  • Missed Connection – The Head and the Heart
  • Erase You – Vok
  • Wake Up – Run River North
  • It Feels Electric – Zachary Kibbee
  • The Louder I Call, The Faster it Runs – Wye Oak
  • In the Morning.! – Andrew St James
  • Did I Offend You? – Lauren Ruth Ward
  • Chlorine – Birthh
  • Margarita – The Modern Strangers
  • I Dreamt We Spoke Again – Death Cab for Cutie
  • Heart Home – The Colour Coast
  • The Overpass – The Soft White Sixties
  • Young at Heart – Milo Green

Eric Long: “So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone” – Live at Sofar Sounds in SF (Aug 12, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Grateful to have discovered the massively talented singer/songwriter Eric Long at High Sierra music fest this year, and even more grateful to have caught him at an intimate Sofar Sounds show in SF earlier this month. I found myself instantly memorized by his rich, raspy vocals and his blending of folk, Americana, and blues. He stands out as one of the few SF Bay area musicians playing a finger-style bottleneck slide guitar that draws strong similarities to Keb Mo, Taj Mahal, and Charlie Parr. SUCH A TREAT. Songs like ‘Dance with Me,’ ‘Hey Now Baby,’ ‘Leaving,’ ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ and ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ had me hooked hard, and I found myself playing his 2018 album, ‘A Long Way From Home,’ during my entire 10 hr drive back to LA the next day. ‘Pennsylvania on My Mind’ especially hit home, considering that I too moved from Pennsylvania to California over a decade ago and had to endure the mixed emotions of uprooting to a new coast in search of new adventure and new possibilities. ‘Hey Now Baby’ is also a beautiful track for the lovers, with lyrics that certainly melt the heart: “Hey now baby.. while your dreaming gets my heartbeat, you are stealing my breath away.” If I had to choose a favorite, it would probably be ‘Maraschino Cherries,’ for the melody and beautiful violin, as well as the pensive lyrics that I think we can all relate too: “Still don’t know where I’m going, guess it’s time to move along, don’t know where I’m headed there’s just no where to know. It’s so easy to say, little harder to do, sometimes it’s the sweetest things that you can’t hold on to …Take alot of man to know what he’s after, a better man let it walk away.. What’s a good man to do without a women by his side… Sometimes it’s the sweetest things that fade away before too long. So hold onto the best, and let go of the rest, cause in the morning, them sweet things might be gone.” Eric Long’s music a sweet thing that I certainly want to hold on to, and I hope he will be playing for a long, long time. ❤

 

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Trousdale: “Just when you think you know someone, Lord knows you ain’t got a clue” – Live at Club Tee Gee (June 16, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

“Trous be told,” Trousdale will take your breath away with their heartfelt folk and striking harmonies. Reminiscent of powerhouse sister trios like The Staves, Joseph, and Baskery, the flawless execution of Trousdale’s harmonies will make you think that this talented trio of Georgia Greene, Loren Cole, and Quinn D’Andrea are related in some way. Perhaps it was their 4 year stent together at USC that built this strong sisterhood. Although I only made it to see the last few songs in their set (Ain’t Got a Clue, Wanna Love, and Love), it was enough to hook me in. I am very excited to see them again on Aug 16 at Echo Park Rising and Aug 22 at The Hotel Cafe. Get these dates marked on your calendars, cause they will definitely leave your feeling happy-hearted. Ain’t that the trouse! ☺️

”Ain’t Got a Clue’

‘Wanna Love’

‘Love’

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Aging Actress: “Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon” -Live at Club Tee Gee in LA (June 15, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

I am STILL IN AWE of the ABSOLUTE MAGIC that I witnessed last Sunday night at the debut performance of Aging Actress, a new project curated by the phenomenal Lauren Ruth Ward and Chris Hess (of SWIMM). Both Lauren and Chris are incredibly impressive musicians on their own, but when paired up there is a chemistry that is undeniably explosive. Their vocal harmonies will slay you silly and leave you dumbfounded like “a deer in headlights.” THIS is what I believe is going to fill stadiums with a sea of devoted fans. I feel so damn lucky to have been one of the first with stars in my eyes from this divine duo. My favorite tracks were ‘Sing Pretty‘ (“In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say, I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day”) and ‘Lassoing the Moon’ (“Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon”, #1 and #3 (below). Chris and Lauren also sang stunning versions of Lauren’s ‘Did I Offend You’ and Chris’ ‘Speak Politely,’ #5 and #4. These beautiful vocals were beautifully backers by Hany’s keys and John’s Sax. Do yourself and favor and head to Tee Gee’s this Sunday, 6/23 if you’d like stars in your eyes too. Be sure to grab a coat, cause you’re bound to be lathered in chills. 🤩

As an added bonus, you’ll receive a handcrafted, limited edition “zine,” handcrafted by the one and only Lauren Ruth Ward, containing original handwritten lyrics by Lauren and Chris. I luckily scooped up #4 of the limited supply!

***

‘Sing Pretty’

Living in LA makes writing about your feelings feel cliché,

I know I won’t stop trying to relate,

All the things we can’t escape, With words,

Try to sing pretty, try to say something you haven’t heard”

In LA, I don’t believe a word that they say,

I trust they’ll give me fun until the break of day.”

‘The Darkest Jingle’

‘Lassoing the Moon Again’

Our love is a like a window with a view,

That’s never opened for the weather make it real for you

..

I’m so proud of us, always rolling your eyes at me,

For having stars in mine at you,

Sometimes pulling you down to me, Feels like lassoing the moon.”

‘Speak Politely’ (SWIMM song)

‘Did I Offend You’ (LRW song)

‘Sepia’

‘Aging Actress’

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Rett Madison: “Shame is a river, and I’ve crossed its waters, always sink… Hope’s on the other side, and I’ve got guilt I’ve got bricks to my feet… Love is a sunrise, where’s the light to eclipse my grief?” – Live at The HiHat in LA (March 8, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Photo credit: Nikki Neumann (website: Neumann.com  /  Instagram: @nkknmmn)

“Everybody says I’m just like you, is that one of the many things you suffered through… both know sadness too well I lost you too, waking up without you is waking up in hell, I never meet you 48, you won’t cry on my wedding day, you’ll never hear my children say your name, Jaqueline… I’m just pissed off and bitter, I couldn’t save my mother, I’m grappling with what I got left” 

FUCK. Tears just won’t stop flowing. Such a heavy heart listening to Rett Madison sing about the recent loss of her mother Jaqueline at The Hihat last night. It was very hard to hold back the tears, and it breaks me to think about the pain that this incredibly talented, hilarious, down-to-earth, and downright adorable person must be going through. Just last month at The Bootleg, Rett mentioned that her stage banter was a bit off because she “has just lost her mom” and “feels a bit weird.” ‘Jaqueline,’ ‘Death Don’t Make a Bitch An Angel’, ‘Flea Market,’ (see videos below) and ‘Don’t Know Better Till You Do’ (“I admit that pride gets my tongue, but you and I are of the same blood and you played the game better than I could.. when I should have done better by you”), were all songs that hit us a like a brick wall and triggered instant tearshed. Heavy and intense, you could feel the cathartic relief accompanying each lyric as Rett belted them vehemently from her chest. Rett also played ‘Shame is a River,’ (LOVE) ‘Pin Up Daddy,’ ‘Fleas,’ and ‘God is a Woman,’ all tracks (videos below) I had heard before and instantly connected with, wishing they were already available on Spotify. Her album is going to be an absolute masterpiece.

Rest Madison certainly stands out as my top 3 discoveries in 2019, and I will see her every chance I can get. To stay that I was stunned the first time I saw Rett play (which happened to be alongside Emma Cole and Wolf Bay at Madam Siam back in Oct and then later opening for Lauren Ruth Ward at The El Rey) would be an understatement. The minute Rett opened her mouth was the minute MY mouth would remain open, jaw dropped on the floor. Her West Virginia roots have fertilized a southern-raspy vibe that stands out in the LA music scene, carving a niche that not many can touch. She almost always starts her show with a gospel-like vocal intro called ‘One Year‘ (video below) that hooks you hard, stopping you in your tracks like a dear in headlights. Every song in her set is a masterpiece, and it blows me away that she is only in her early 20s. Since the Madame Siam show, I have been obsessively listening to her EP (God Is a Women, Mother’s Girl, Twinty-Five) over and over. I can understand some of the frustrations she mentions in ‘Twenty-Five’ (“My pals are all making plans and playing house… but I ain’t got a damn thing figured out”), but cannot understand her sense of urgency with her self-imposed time line: “Why did I romanticize where I’d be at 25… and I know that I know that I’ve still young but how come I’ve run out of time.” She is still SO YOUNG and is FAR FROM “running out of time.” She has already surpassed many her age, having written incredibly brilliant songs that raise ever hair on my body when I hear them sung out loud. Considering it was INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, it was also PERFECTLY FITTING for Rett to play ‘God Is a Woman’ (“I wish I had known back then that no love is a sin… cause GOD’S A WOMAN, She F*CKS A WOMAN, just as divine… that GOD’S A DIKE, and she made rainbows to give us a sign”) for her encore. I will forever put Rett up on a pedestal & broadcast her gift to the world until her fans are “drawing rainbows 🌈 in the sky to give her a sign.” ❤

Videos:

“If I was given one month to live, I’d carry our dreams in a bucket till we crossed our last wish off our list. If I was given one day, if I was given one day to live, I’d memorize your kiss with my clumsy mouth while you hold my shaky legs still. If I was given one hour, If I was given one hour to live, I would praise your body with every own god sin there is. If I was given one breath, if I was given one hour, if I was given one day, if I was given one month. If I was given one year, if I was given one year to year. I would plant that tree in the garden to keep track of our last seasons. If I was give one year.”

“Let me tell ya it takes more than a stitch to make me obedient… I never learned how to stay cause I was born a stray, yes I was born a stray”

“Shame is a river, and I’ve crossed its waters, always sink… Hope’s on the other side, and I’ve got guilt I’ve got bricks to my feet… I was 15 when I had my first drink, I’m on the sofa across from a shrink, keeping my mouth shut and grinding my teeth.. Got away as far as I could but that didn’t do me any good… love is a sunrise, where’s the light to eclipse my grief… Grace speaks of silence, I’ve been quiet but I only hear my own scream.”

“I’m so pathetic, I begged God to trade my life, with my mom’s, but you didn’t have that, you never asked me, you only wanted me to be happy… So I’m trying my best to be happy”

“Sometimes I think you live you through me, and you’re pissed you’re not directing the movie… If I die would you find a way to make my pain about you… When I go I already know that death don’t make a bitch an angel”

“Mamma never said I was second best, she loved a TomBoy in a Sequin dress…”

“I wish I had known back then that no love is a sin.. cause GOD’S A WOMAN, She FUCKS A WOMAN, just as divine… that GOD’S A DIKE, and she made rainbows to give us a sign”

 

 

Previous reviews (The Bootleg, The Love Song Bar, The El Rey, Madam Siam):

 

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Sharon Van Etten: “Halfway through this life, I used to feel free, Or was it just a dream? Now you’re hotshot, Think you’re so carefree, But you’re just seventeen, So much like me” – Live at The Fillmore in SF (Feb 26, 2019)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Lucky enough to finish my meeting in LA just in enough time to drive up to SF and catch the one and only Sharon Van Etten to a SOLD OUT crowd at The Fillmore ON HER BIRTHDAY (one of the greatest gifts she said she could ask for). It had been ~8 mon since I moved from SF, and there was great sentiment in getting back to the city where I first saw Sharon play (Aug 2012 at The Rickshaw Stop). Happy one year wiser to the female phenom who continues to advocate to “love more” (what a beautiful encore), and for that we love HER more. Besides dedicating ‘One Day’ to her mom who would have requested it, she dedicated ‘I Told You Everything’ (“a song about being brave enough to tell someone your deepest truths”) to a couple (“The Ruckers”) who gave her a card thanking Sharon for helping them to “let go.” She also dedicated a song to “all the mothers other there,” conveying her urge to protect her son (now 3 years old!) “from all the evil in the world.” A major highlight for me was when Sharon’s performance of ‘Seventeen,’ a song that I literally listened to SEVENTEEN TIMES IN A ROW and is my favorite track on the new album, Remind Me Tomorrow. I nearly DIED when she came over to my side of the stage and looked directly into my eyes as she shouted vehemently, “Downtown hotspot,  ” She describes ‘Seventeen’ as a “love letter to NYC,” to the “places I have lives, lost and found myself, let go of, and embraced,” and you can feel every hair on your body raise as you watch her reflect on the love/hate relationship and realize the “hotshot” that she wished she could have advised looking back: “I see you so uncomfortably alone.. I wish I could show you how much you’ve grown.” What a freaking masterpiece. “It feels odd singing about being 17 on your 38th birthday,” she said, “but I find comfort in the phrase ‘It is what it is’ that I saw recently on a pillowcase.” What an extra special night honoring an extra special lady. ‘Come back, Kid.’ We love you. ☺️❤️

Previous reviews:

 

https://beatsthatsetmypulse.com/2014/06/11/sharon-van-etten-weve-been-through-better-days-and-youve-tasted-all-my-pain-break-my-legs-so-i-cant-walk-to-you/

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Iceland Airwaves (Nov 3-5, 2017) – Review

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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I’ve worn plenty of wristbands in my day, but this one I wear with MOST PRIDE. Having been accepted to my second Iceland Airwaves Music Festival as a media pass holder is an opportunity that I do NOT take lightly, and I tried my best to capture the highlights of this magical, musical mystery tour.  Not only does this “land of Ice” know know to shatter glass ceilings and defy the odds of artistic potential and possibility, but it does so in a way that is warm (“land of fire”) and welcoming, and so in the least bit pretentious. The sky is definitely the limit for this innovative, ingenious, impressive Island. The music, people, and scenery is uncharacteristic of anywhere else.  ❤ 

Here are some of the bands that left a lasting impression in my mind and made me question the boundaries of human creativity (click on names or links below to see the full reviews): Hatari, Hogni, Hormonar, Kiriyama Family, We Made God, Omotrack, Rythmatik, Captain Syrup, Arstidir, Between Mountains, Axel Flovent, Mani Orrason, One Week Wonder, GDJYB (non-Icelandic), and Mammut (a personal favorite).  Since my review for Mammut was taking a very long to write (I often find it most difficult to write about bands that move me the most), I decided to write a combined review on their 2017 & 2018 Airwaves shows. Other Icelandic bands I have written about in the past are Asgeir, VAR, Vok, Kaleo, For a Minor Reflection, Sin Fang, Agent Fresco, Lay Low, Rokvva, Samaris, etc. See my reviews on Asgeir and Low Roar. See videos below from Airwaves 2017 when Mammut performed ‘Kinder Versions,’ ‘Pray for Air in the Water,’ ‘The Moon Will Never Turn on Me,’ ‘Walls,’ and ‘What’s Your Secret(these absolutely SLAY):

 

Kiriyama Family: “You’re looking for an answer, and try to dig deeper but you can’t always get higher” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 4, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

Photos courtesy of Peter Males

Photos courtesy of Peter Males
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Meeting the AMAZING ICELANDIC BAND who I hope will ALWAYS FEEL LIKE FAMILY.

Meeting the AMAZING ICELANDIC BAND who I hope will ALWAYS BE FAMILY,  Kiriyama Family. I was hooked HARD ever since I saw them at Secret Solstice Festival in June 2017  and could not WAIT to see them again at Iceland Airwaves Music Festival that same year.  They dropped my jaw to the ground once again at Airwaves and had me flailing my hands in the air like a madwoman. Formed back in 2012 by core members Karl Bjarnarson (vocals, guitar, bass and keys), Guđmudur Jónsson (guitar, bass and keys), Viđir Björnsson (guitar, bass and keys) and Bassi Ólafsson (drums and percussion), keyboarder Bjarni Ævar Árnason and vocalist Hulda Kristín were added in 2014 to complete this phenomenal six-piece family we see today.  All six are fantastic musicians in their own right, but know how to play their instruments and each others (known for several swapping during the set), proving they really do have that THE CHEMISTRY that they sing so proud and loud in their hit track track ‘Chemistry‘: “I’m not imagining this chemistry… so why don’t you just come with me.” We are surely not imagining it either. This chemistry is as real as it gets. You also don’t have to imagine the euphoria that they are feeling up there on stage, the pure joy that they have connecting with one another (they are all very close friends) and connecting with the audience who they welcome so comfortable with their down-to-earth demeanor and effortless, engaging charm.

Combining nostalgic 1980s synth pop with late 1970’s yacht/jazz rock and modern-day atmospheric, progressive rock, the band serves up a tasty experimental genre courtesy of their own “family recipe.” Armed with an array of synthesizers, guitar, and bass, Kiriyama Family combines influences of Steely Dan, Arcade Fire, Tame Impala, and M83, into a sounds that makes them stand out from many other bands I have seen (and I have seen THOUSANDS). They are a band where I am truly at a lost to find any sort of comparison (which is ALWAYS a good thing). Even more impressive are the gorgeous vocal harmonies of Hulda and Karl that will lather you in chills the instant you hear them. These harmonies are especially strong in ‘Innocence,’ one of their stand-out tracks that was #1 on Icelandic Music charts when it was first released. Check out a video below, where you can hear me shout “This one is the shit.” 🙂

Hulda’s powerhouse pipes will make you impulsively WAIL OUT LOUD to the catchy chorus as if no one was watching (at least I did, with carotid’s bulging out of my neck): “You’re looking for an answer, and try to dig deeper But you can’t always get higher lord … oh, my innocence is gold, I’ve got to wake up from this silliness, I’m not right for this. ”  What’s interesting is that this catchy chorus follows a particularly pensive intro (some of my favorite Kiriyama Family lyrics) that really embody the contant self-talk most of us battle: “I was deluded to say that, you could never find your preferable self. Seeing as it’s just a matter of perspective and you are the observer of own point of view. But just remember to relax, nothing is for certain and you will never pass as anything worth mentioning if you never step out of your comfort zone.”  Stepping out of your comfort zone is my main modus operandi, and I often try and remind myself that “you are only as good as your boldest experiment.” I always do appreciate the reminder, especially when sung by such soothing vocals. Other beautiful vocals can be heard in their lovely (#1 on their Spotify) love song ‘About You‘ (video below): “But now i only focus on one thing to help me set the pain aside, just a little something that’s more beautiful then i dear to describe… oh, there’s something about you.. I wanna be the one who sets fire to your heart.” My heart! ❤

Then there’s ‘Weekend,’ a funky, chill track showcasing Bassi’s perky percussion and Karl’s once again thought-provoking lyrics:  “And all of my friends got lost in the sands of time and doubts, as soon as the waves crashed down.” ‘Bassi’s tight rhythmic drumming also kicks off ‘Lightyears Away,’ a track that starts off slow but picks up speed in stride with the urgency of Hulda’ eager impatience for her love: “There is nothing I would rather do than sit here with you… but I’m a million light-years away from you.”  Another favorite is ‘Apart,’ (video below) featuring a happy hypnotic keyboard intro (courtesy of Guðmundur) and deep, funky bass (thank you Viđir) that does in fact “catch you off guard” when you learn the lyrics are not so happy: “All I can say is that we’re meant to be apart… And all I can do is hope that you don’t catch my heart off guard.” A final favorite (though I love them all) from the collection is ‘Anywhere But Here,’ which takes us on a exhilarating journey of groovy twists and turns that pair perfectly with the capricious call-and-response vocals between Karl (“sometimes you feel like all of our dreams are drifting away while we’re blinking, but I won’t let that happen on my watch…”) and Hulda (“don’t say that”). One of the most intriguing parts is when Karl responds to Hulda’s (don’t say that”) with “It’s Oh darling don’t get me started, I’m a changed man.”

It’s true that “We could be anywhere by here,” but do we really want to be? I think not. In fact, there is no where I would rather be than at their Saturday night Iceland Airwaves set. This is the family moment I have been “Waiting for,” and such a perfect name to their upcoming sophomore album to be release this spring.  Mad props to their awesome manager Jeff Rude who keeps me up to speed with this fantastic family. 🙂

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Hatari: “We are the screamer, We are the echo, and We are the chambers” – Live at Iceland Airwaves (Nov 5, 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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HATARI was BY FAR my favorite, unexpected discovery of Iceland Airwaves 2017. Their name, which translates to “hater” in Icelandic, suits the venomous vibe of their “experimental bondage  dark ambient darkwave goth punk synth” (check out their Bandcamp). Formed back in 2015, this transfixing trio — Klemens Hannigan (vocals), Matthías Tryggvi Haraldson (vocals), and Einar Stéfansson (drums, also the drummer for the amazing band Vok!)  — have already earned themselves Reykjavik’s Grapvine‘s “Best Live Band” pick of 2016 and 2017 (check out their comical interview).  Their BDSM garb and bizarre masks (worn mainly by Einar) perfectly compliment the cult-like atmosphere that they create with their dark, enigmatic electronic beats and their eccentric, bizarre behavior (crawling on the bar, swinging around poles, and screaming like the devil). What’s most compelling about Hatari is their discerning dichotomies: devilish, primal screams delivered with a stolid, poker face… disturbing, suicide lyrics shouted to happy techno beats… fearful, yet amused. They exude a mystery and allure that is truly magnetic, and I had such a hard time pulling myself away. Mad props to Hatari for helping the crowd unleash our inner demons and making us “haters” against all the rampant hypocrisy that exists in this world. AND, I later learned that Bjork was one of the unexpected crowd members that Matthías locked eyes when he swung down from the pole that show. ONLY IN ICELAND. ❤️ Can’t WAIT to see them again at Airwaves this year!

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Hogni: “Wonderful dreams that were uncomfortable scenes out of nowhere… Wonderful scenes that were uncomfortable schemes out of nowhere” – Live at Secret Solstice and Iceland Airwaves (June/Nov 2017)

Written by Erica Andreozzi

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“I’m in love I’m in love I’m in love can’t you tell?”… I’M IN LOVE with this song ‘Moon pitcher‘ that Hogni wrote for his fiance in his debut album, Two Trains, released Oct 2017 by Erased Tapes record label.  Hogni quotes: “I feel I tried my best to create an honest and passionate piece of musical work and I hope you will find the time and space to enjoy it as well as finding that connection. As a musician you aspire to create that other world, that sense of hypnosis.”  I def entered that other world, “CAN’T YOU TELL.” 🙂 ❤

Hogni was one of my top new discoveries at Secret Solstice 2017, and I could not wait to see him again at Iceland Airwaves 6 months later. His deep vocals and ethereal, experimental electronic arrangements simply SLAY, and I was so happy to hear the new gems from Two Trains, an album that he describes in the following words:

“The music on Two Trains is a blue-print of a period in my life where I collided with my own self, and at that point I felt the indifference between the personal and the universal, the absolute consciousness of life’s unconsciousness. Perhaps it’s a feeling that cannot be conveyed, like watercolours that just seem to wash off into the sea. But also a flashing mirage that you can enjoy before you arrive at your last destination.”

Hogni also alludes to this album as a personal expression of the tugging dichotomies he faces while living with bipolar disorder: “I’m bipolar. I got very sick and it has affected my life drastically. This album bears witness to it… (In) the last few years, the swings have decreased in size. When I was the most ill a few years ago, I felt terrible, even if you couldn’t see it. There was just so much going on, lots of fun, and even excitement about going to the psych ward for the first time. Like I was going down a new path for myself. But I haven’t seen it as exciting since then.”

Maybe this phenomena is what he was describing in his song (video below) where he sings:  “Wonderful dreams that were uncomfortable scenes out of nowhere… Wonderful scenes that were uncomfortable schemes out of nowhere.”

Previously known as frontman of the well-known indie rock band Hjaltalin and former member of ambient-techno group GusGus), Hogni proves that “Two Trains”, “change and metamorphosis” are his preferred method of transportation in this journey we call life. His “I can do whatever I dream” (lyrics in one of the videos below) is infectious and his tenacity for movement and exploration are an inspiration to us all: “My life is untethered, in many ways,” Högni says. “I try to focus on making good music and seeking inspiration, chasing experiences, travelling and finding adventures.

Aside from fronting two touring bands, Hogni has made time to score numerous theatre pieces, most notably The Heart of Robin Hood (dir. Gísli Gardarsson), staged by The Royal Shakespeare Company in 2011 and Angels of the Universe (dir. Thorleifur Örn Arnarsson), the Icelandic National Theatre’s 2013 adaptation of a well-known and loved novel and film of the same title.mHe has also written music for film and television, including a well-received score for short film Víkingar (dir. Magali Magistry, 2013) which won the Golden Rail award and was nominated for the Discovery award, both at the Cannes Film Festival. There really is no telling where his “Two Trains” will take us next. I don’t know about you , but I am surely ALL ABOARD. ❤

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