Friday, July 24, 2009

Christian Rock And It's Universal Appeal

Now I've never been very religious. In fact, the next time I find myself in a church, it will probably be at my funeral, in which case, I still won't be finding myself there. But I'll still be there, are you happy mom!?
Sorry, um...yes yes music.
Growing up it was very clear religion, church and all that wasn't my thing. But also very clear that music was. My mother even bargained with me on this issue. I would get excited about a record and she could see I'd do anything to get it. So of course she gets the bright idea to force me to buy a "gospel CD" before buying my devil CD.
When my mother says "gospel music" she means Yolanda Adams, Fred Hammond, John P. Kee etc. Basically go duplicate her music collection. I knew that everyone that went to church couldn't possibly be into the same kind of music so I did some research and stumbled upon "Contemporary Christian Rock", take that mom! I wanted a Finger Eleven CD, so before I could get it, I purchased a P.O.D CD. I continued this pattern for the rest of my years at home. All of it was rock to me, christian or otherwise, it sounded the same.
So in the end we both got what we wanted. However, a year later I told my mom I was gay so my music taste was the least of her child-burning-in-hell worries.
Even now I LOVE "christian rock", but not for religion, I just love the music and I don't even relate much to the Christian aspects of it. The lyrics are universal. It's similar to when gay artist play the "pronoun game" and they don't use words like "her" or "him" in their music, to make it universally relatable. All the Christian rock bands I listen to now never use the words "Jesus", "God", "holy", "church" or anything that would pull attention away from the whole message of the song and directly towards religion.
In doing this these bands have managed to blend in with pop culture, basically spreading the same message as most bands. All the basic emotions are still in their music; anger, pain, and sadness. There might just be more than one song on their records about hope, love, and inspiration. Instead of giving some long list in print, I'll just go ahead and list some of my contemporary favorites, starting with my favorite: Thousand Foot Krutch!!!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In Search of N.E.R.D

So if you've listened to hip-hop in the last 10 years at all, you know who Pharrell Williams is. He's one half of The Neptunes and one third of N.E.R.D. He, by himself and along with The Neptunes and N.E.R.D has created some of the best rock/electro/indie rock music you've never heard. Fact: Pharrell Williams is one of the most successful hip-hop/pop producers of our time. Fact: Pharrell Williams has yet to have a successful solo release, however The Neptunes did make buzz with 2003's The Neptunes Presents...The Clones, and all three N.E.R.D records have been certified gold. Still N.E.R.D manages to remain under the radar.
The Neptunes is a production/writing team. N.E.R.D is a band. N.E.R.D is Pharrell Williams, Chad Hugo (also the other half of The Neptunes), and Shay Hayley.
The record I'm recommending to you today is the first release from N.E.R.D, In Search Of.... It's a favorite of mine. I put this record on repeat every few months, as I have since 2001 when it came out. The instrumentation is brilliant. The lyrics range from funny, sad, painful, inappropriate to just down right ridiculous. It's one of those special, rare records you can listen to all the way through. It's mood altering due to the lyrical range but in a good way.
Some stand-outs are "Tape You" (which is every girls nightmare), Am I High (which is about Pharrell having an affair with a woman who was with another woman), and my absolute favorites "Truth or Dare" and "Bobby James".

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Coming Soon To An Ipod Near You!!!

So everyone's favorite people Tegan & Sara are gearing up for an October release of their, yet to be titled (well to us), highly anticipated 6th studio record. Fans are resting easy after Sara Quin reassured fans that it's going to be the type of record that "Tegan & Sara fans would like" recently at a Seattle show. Of course because I'm complicated like this, I sort of took this as a warning. What did that statement mean? Does that mean that no risks were taken? That this will sound like So Jealous? I mean I have no big complaints either way....I just don't like when artists get so comfortable with what they've done they're are no longer motivated to try something new.
I quickly got over my fears when I thought about "Floorplan" and "Are You Ten Years Ago?" from The Con. I thought about how different those songs were from "We Didn't Do It", Walking With A Ghost" and "You Wouldn't Like Me" from So Jealous. Furthermore how both records were drastically different from the first three!
So I came to the conclusion that, as usual, Sara Quin was just fucking with us!

Other favorites of mine in the studio are AFI and Uh Huh Her, looking foward to new material from them. Rachael Cantu, somehow still unsigned(after having her music played in Private Practice and opening for B.B King & Pat Benatar!) , is releasing a new record soon, date yet to be announced.

Monday, July 6, 2009


So how does my computer/ipod/hard drives get full? Well it's my pattern. Discover a band, research the band, check out each member's other or previous bands. Chances are if you like what someone is doing now, you'll like what they were doing then. This has been the outcome for me anyway. And An Horse is no exception. Kate and Damon both were in successful bands before forming An Horse. Kate's band was called Iron On, more on them when I find out more. Damon's was called Intercooler (clever). I immediately fell in love with these guys. So much so that I'm kinda sad they're not together, in spite of my love for An Horse.
I strongly suggest you check out Intercooler's discography, I did! And they were pretty damn good! Here's some stuff to get you started:
My personal favorite!:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Internet Compensation

I'm not going to go on a long rant about lesbians/bisexuals not being represented in the media, mainly because I strongly feel Sarah Warn has taken care of that. But I do feel like lesbians are the dirty little secret of the media. Only being able to show ourselves through the world of "www dot". Like we're well hidden. We're not on Gossip Girl, 90210, or Private Practice, o no! We're not obvious, we're tucked away. We have to be scoped out manually through laptops, desktops and iphones. We have to be searched. We have to be downloaded. We have to be written in shows created by us and for us. We don't stream in the mainstream, we stream over the web in streaming video.

It's a small world but at least it's ours. We've claimed it, and Afterellen is our kingdom, with more lesbian media in one place than probably any other website has "straight" media. I mean props to AE right, have you checked the "video" section? But it's sad because straight people aren't going to look for us there or on any other website, which is why we're not seen in the media cause everything about us apparently remains foreign to them.

So now what? We just have to remain content with cyber visibility? Perhaps, here are some of my favorites: