Friday, December 13, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 92

Rachel just realized it’s Adobe & Teardrops’ 8th anniversary! This episode is as good as any to jump in -- she discusses punk, feminism, and queer country music!
  1. Brian Fallon -- “Etta James” (Sleepwalkers)
  2. Two Ways Home -- “Out On the Road” (Closest Stranger)
  3. Sweet Fever -- “Needle and Gold” (Single)
  4. Melissa Etheridge -- “Love Will Live” (The Medicine Show)
  5. Cindy Lee Berryhill -- “Diane” (Straight Outta Maryville)
  6. Cowboy Mouth -- “Rose on Fire” (Word of Mouth)
  7. Mavis Staples -- “Sometime” (We Get By)
  8. Michelle Hannan -- “He’s Too Far Gone” (Single)
  9. Suzanne Vega -- “Gypsy” (Solitude Standing)
  10. Troubaduo -- “A Better Hell” (Single)
  11. Werwe -- “Making Art” (Werwe) 
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Friday, December 6, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 91

Of Thanksgiving, creativity, and Dubai! Charlie sends his love. 
  1. George Ducas -- “I Got This” AND “I’m All In” (Yellow Rose Motel)
  2. Jon Pardi — “Tied One On” AND “Nobody Leaves a Girl Like That” (Heartache Medication)
  3. Oh Glory -- “Daughters” (Single)
  4. The Pairs -- “Did I” AND “Will and a Way” (Noise)
  5. The Henrys -- “They Hid in the Shallows” AND “Empty Nestor” (Paydirt)
  6. Julia Vos -- “Stay”
  7. Chaperone Picks -- “And Follow Through” AND “Riches Abound” (Haiku Houses)
  8. Lizanne Knott -- “Hurricane” AND “Bones and Gravity” (Bones and Gravity)
  9. Fox and Bones -- “A Strange and Wondrous Place”
  10. Vandalye -- “Sydnee’s Calling” (Cigarettes & Minarets)
  11. Better Than Ezra -- “WWOZ” AND “Hung the Moon” (Friction, Baby)
  12. JS Ondara -- “Torch Song” (Tales of America)
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Thursday, December 5, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Anna Volpe ft. Dreux -- Burn (Remix)

Back in June, Anna Volpe released her debut EP Call My Name, a heartfelt exploration of pop music with significant influences from Volpe's country music roots. I know Volpe through her collaborations with James Wilson of Paisley Fields, but I'm thoroughly enamored of her new stuff -- it's not the kind of music I usually listen to, but I enjoy having my boundaries expanded!

Techno is definitely beyond those boundaries, but Volpe has teamed up with a DJ (is that what they're called?) named Dreux to put a whole new spin (haha get it?) on her song "Burn." The song's intro deconstructs the whole thing in really interesting ways -- but as we get into the meat of it, the ballad gets transformed into a catchy beat. If I was cool enough, I'd totally break it all down on the floor to this.

Anna Volpe -- Official, Facebook, Instagram

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Lewin -- "Don't You Dare"

When art imitates life and then life imitates art, it can be a bit tricky. For Dutch artist Lewin, that scenario came abruptly. As she wrote a series of breakup songs with then-partner and producer Aaron Ahrends, it turned out that the songs predicted the unraveling of their relationship.

After the pair recorded the songs, Lewin released them on an EP called For the Left Behind. Her latest release, For the Leaving, shows Lewin's new interpretation of the breakup with some added perspective, giving her agency.

Credit: Lieke Romeijn

That's best shown on "Don't you Dare," a delicate ballad that culminates in Lewin's resentment and anger towards her ex. Sometimes it takes a little time to process the grief -- but, eventually, you realize it's not all your fault, no matter what your ex might say. Especially if they dumped you in a shitty way.

Lewin's delivery reminds me of Anna Tivel while the depth of her songwriting calls to mind Erin Rae.
The song masterfully portrays that emotional arc, beginning with a melancholy verse that gradually builds into a triumphant climax.

For the Leaving is out now. In March, Lewin will release an album that combines both EPs with an additional five songs.

Lewin -- Official, Facebook, Soundcloud

Friday, November 29, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 90

Rachel is thankful for some good news and discusses this year’s country and Americana Grammy nominees -- and of course some of the best folk, punk and country on offer!
  1.   Dracula (Miami) -- “Mononoke-hime” (Dorys & Eli)
  2. Catherine the Great -- “What You Make” (Jigsaw Puzzles and Pink Wine)
  3. Cassie Noble -- “Brave” (Find a Way)
  4. Maeve End (formerly dave end) -- “And by Queen…” (How to Hold Your Own Hand)
  5. Micah Schnabel -- “Memory Currency” (The Teenage Years of the 21st Century)
  6. Hayes Peebles -- “Riddle Me” (Single)
  7. Gaby Moreno and Van Dyke Parks -- “Alma Llanera” (Spangled!)
  8. Weakened Friends -- “Blue Again” (Common Blah)
  9. Gabriella Cilmi -- “Keep on Keeping” (Single)
  10. Paul Sanchez -- “All Alone” (Hurricane Party)
  11. Nathaniel Talbot -- “Between Me and the Silence” (Frames)

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Andrew VanNorstrand -- That We Could Find a Way To Be

In my interviews with queer country artists, I ask if they think there's a particular sound to queer country -- or if it's a matter of the artist's identity. Most artists have demurred -- often pointing to the fact that the production value and overall quality of the music is far better than anyone expected. That's not meant to be backhanded -- if you're younger than 30, you grew up in a world with The L Word, Steven Universe, The Legend of Korra, plenty of high-budget, same-sex romantic comedies, and a multitude of out popular and indie artists.

For the rest of us, we were stuck with earnest, low-budget productions in just about every media. Most of the time, that earnestness made up for artistic flaws -- that, and the relative scarcity of other media that represented us.

Thankfully, that's in the past and Andrew VanNorstrand's exquisite That We Could Find a Way To Be has helped me crystallize a sense of what queer country -- as a genre -- really points to. The album may best be described as prog-folk: there's even a reel halfway through. VanNorstrand's compositions are virtuostic and deeply experimental -- literally queering the genre. And that's before you absorb the lyrics.

VanNorstrand's songwriting feels more like poetry with musical backing. In these gentle songs, VanNorstrand explores his awe of upstate New York's natural beauty, weaving his observations into his romantic adventures and foibles. There is a quiet political strain here, too: on the "Deep Blue Green," VanNorstrand relates his experiences at the fateful counter-protest in Charlottesville, VA. On the album's starting track, "What Am I Supposed to Say," VanNorstrand gently questions the trite pro-equality phrase (originated by a straight man): love is love.

We know that politics is inherent to the queer experience, especially in 2019. Of course, love is a universal experience, but one that is especially important to highlight when there are so many powers aligned to erase a particular version of it. What helps That We Could Find a Way To Be feel like a queer country album is that willingness to experiment, using country music and folk tropes while flirting with pop -- but never in a way that would cheapen these songs in an attempt to make them mainstream-friendly. Whether VanNorstrand is singing in a duet, spinning an instrumental track, or on his own, there is a fundamental sense of self in the music, a sense that there is no other path forward than bringing these songs to the world.

Andrew VanNorstrand -- Official, Facebook, CDBaby, Bandcamp

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 89

Guest-starring one of Rachel’s favorite people! We’ve got jazz, pop, punk, and country -- the usual!
Also, you should watch the video for Jeremy and the Harlequins’ “A Chinese Restaurant on Christmas” -- trust me. The link is in the show notes. 

  1. Matt & Kim — "Daylight" (Grand) 
  2. Karen and the Sorrows — "Jonah and the Whale" (Guaranteed Broken Heart)
  3. Scott H. Biram -- “Been Down Too Long” (Sold Out to the Devil: A Collection of Gospel Cuts by the Rev. Scott H. Biram)
  4. Of Monsters and Men — "Empire" (Beneath the Skin)
  5. Whippoorwill -- “Cold Sound” (Single)
  6. Carly Rae Jepsen — “Too Much” (Dedicated)
  7. Tomeka Reid Quartet -- “Aug 6” (Old New)
  8. Hamilton — “Wait For It” (Hamilton Cast Recording)
  9. Scott Howard -- “Come With Me” (Ascended Man)
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