Thursday, July 20, 2017

RBG Summer Jamz 2017 OUT NOW!!

Collecting 24 of the best songs sent our way recently, RBG Summer Jamz is the essential playlist for the summer.    Split into two parts- Side A and Side B- to get you into the cassette spirit.    And, well, if you share it around social media one lucky person will be chosen at random to receive an actual physical cassette of the mix!

Songs featured include:

[ Side A ]

"40 Years Of Hip Hop" by The Hood Internet
"Stretch 2-3-4" by WatchTheDuck Feat. Pharrell Williams
"Self-Destructive" by MOTHICA
"Wild Animals" by FJØRA
"Runaway" by Julietta
"Erupt" by Be The Bear
"City Of Gold" by Thea & The Wild
"American Nightmare" by DYLYN
"Blur" by Alexa Dark
"Mechanical Bull" by Stella Donnelly
"Breathe Again" by Lodato
"This Is How It Ends" by ANIMUS

[ Side B ]

"Bang Bang" by Bianca Gisselle
"Planetarium" by Carmen Villain
"Tainted Emotions" by Danny Darko ft. Alisha Jade
"Do You Know" by Oddie Room Project
"Simple Love" by Fanny and the Atta Boys
"The Whip" by Hanne Hukkelberg
"Someone" by Anna Of The North
"Sojourn" by AJ Salvatore feat. Tessa Marie
"Gave Away" by Sian Cross
"Calm Down" by Lone Kodiak
"Lost" by Club 8
"I've Told Lies" by Dani Le Rose

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Meresha [Interview # 194]

Meresha for “Raised by Gypsies”.    4th of July 2017

1)     Your music was first described to me as "alien music", which of course I was more than willing to listen to based upon such a name, but what do you feel makes your music so alien?  That is, how would you describe what that means to someone else?  (Personally, I like to think of your music as pop but not pop, which probably doesn't help at all)

Pop but not pop is a good place to start.  Some people say I’m from another planet.  I don’t comment on rumors.  In any case, hope my music fits with other out of ordinary music and takes you to another place while still being accessible and getting you to move.
2) Every time I hear someone with such a wonderful voice as yours I am reminded of the number of women currently featured on the radio and at what would be called a "mainstream" level, while at the same time there seems to be ten times as many men singing.    What are your thoughts on the gender gap as it relates to music (It has never really been evenly balanced, has it?) and what are your thoughts on the current group of women in the "mainstream" eye such as Adele and Florence and the Machine?

There are a lot of talented artists these days. I’ve sometimes been compared to Florence and would love to have the chance to perform live to as many people as she has over time.

While I’m not really focused on gender when I work with people, it was cool this year to work with Emily Lazar.  She's the first and I think still only female mastering engineer ever to be nominated for a Grammy. 

If you look among producers too, you also find few women.

So the “gap” seems to go beyond performers.

I’m working on being able to produce my own music, and may in the future also work with other artists.  If that some day makes it easier for female artists to succeed, would be a great thing.

3) Who do you consider to be the influence you have- or just the artist that you enjoy the most- that people seem to be most surprised by?

I'm a big fan of Led Zeppelin.  Video of my covers of “Communication Breakdown" and "Rock and Roll” are online and people seem to have liked them.  This might be a surprising sound to people who hear my latest songs.

4) Having songs currently on SoundCloud, would you ever like to see your music released physically, perhaps on cassette, or do you feel like that is an outdated media?

Cassettes are cool.  Would be great to have my EP on cassette, as long as people could be able to buy it and listen. 

My previous EP was also on a “vinyl CD”.  It played in a CD player, but looked like a smaller-sized 45 vinyl record. 

Think real music fans appreciate having a physical copy of the music from their favorite artists.  I know I do.  I have a collection of vinyl, cassettes and CDs that I have no intention to convert to digital, even if I also use streaming services.

5) As an adult and a huge fan of cartoons, when I first heard the song "Lemonade City" I thought it had to be about a place which really existed within an animated realm somewhere.   It sounds like something out of "Adventure Time" but could even just lead to a series of animated music videos.   What are your thoughts on all of that?

That's a great idea.   So far I have only made a “lyric video” of that song using some extra footage from my “New Revolution” shoot.  Would be great to create a built out Lemonade City people could visit, at least for a few minutes.  Would be happy to work with the right animators.  Any ideas?

6) If you weren't making music what would you be doing?

I’ve been pretty focused on music since I was 12, and I hope to be able to make a living working in music in different ways.  It is a bit hard to imagine what else I might be doing, but it would likely be something in the creative realm.  I used to draw and sketch a lot, including portraits of Björk, Robert Plant and Jimi Hendrix.

7) If you could collaborate with any person- living or dead- on a song (whether it be an original or with David Bowie on "Under Pressure") who would you choose and what song?

Would love to do a new duet with Björk.  She’s someone I greatly admire.  Coming from a somewhat remote, smaller land, with great creativity she created worlds for us to visit.   Maybe we could create a new one together.

An absolute fave is also James Blake.  Love his sounds and always appreciate seeing him live.

8) Final things we should know about you / shout outs / links / etc??

Watch out also from some DJing and techno news from me.

All my links are on

I really appreciate all the support people give.  For an Indie artist like me, every listen, like, follow, etc. helps me get my music out. 

If you hear a musician you like, be sure to let them know!

Cassette Review: Fetishes "Onryō" (Already Dead Tapes and Records)

The first time I listened to this cassette I didn't know what to think and then the second time around it fit me like a glove.   Every time I listen to this cassette it seems to make more sense to me and the great part about that is this cassette seemingly just keeps on giving.

Side A opens with static, somewhat into a void of darkness, but there are these mechanical elements to it as well.   In some ways this entire cassette reminds me of that movie "Pulse" in the way that technology comes to life.   There is a decent amount of talking during these sounds though and that just goes with what I'm hearing otherwise because I'm beginning to think of this as some lost radio transmission from some lone survivor on a forgotten island somewhere.

On the flip side we have the same static and somewhat mechanical elements but the mood grows sadder, darker.   At first, the sounds I hear that appear to be made by the human mouth remind me of crying but not in a typical way but rather as a deep sobbing.   I listen to this part for as long as it goes but every time I begin to think more and more that perhaps it is not crying that I hear but something else.    I feel guilty admitting that this seems like an audio illusion- that my ears are playing tricks on me and somehow this has been crafted for me to hear what I want to hear (I am sad, so thus I hear crying)

We keep going into pianos and what almost begin to sound like screams.   What are the seven stages of grief again?   I'm hearing some I Like You Go Home in here but at the same time I'm just kind of excited to be exploring these new places because it's got this sound of ambient/noise/static that you might otherwise hear only on itself (and they'd likely call it "drone" too) but there are other layers in here which just make it fantastic.

Other factors will come into play before this cassette comes to a close and those will perhaps clout your judgment but the fact remains through it all that what is being created here is similar to what I have heard before as drone or even a static drone, but then it is taken to whole new level by adding in other elements and not even in an obvious way but just sort of slipping them into the background so you listen to it a few times over and go, yeah, that is there, I like that.

Cassette Review: obody "Is A Bridge / A Ready Place" (Already Dead Tapes and Records)

Today was a snow day.  I was stuck inside.   They said the snow was coming and though sometimes they can be wrong, today they were right.  I got out of bed around 11 am and looked out the window but all I could see was white.   The snow had blown and covered my screens so I couldn't see much past it.   I saw a car parked in my driveway.   It wasn't mine.   It was covered in snow.   Most everything out the window was a sheet of white.

I had a lot to do inside today-- cleaning, organizing, purging.   It kept me busy and made the day go by so that I didn't feel so trapped, so that I didn't get that cabin fever.   Then around night time, after it was dark, I put this cassette on.   The perfect mix of beauty and murder.   Somewhere between The Wallflowers and Murder by Death, these songs have that old soul feel to them.    Not "soul" like James Brown, but you know how they say someone has an old soul?

Listening to these songs made me want to cut my hair.   Listening to these songs didn't make me sad though-- they made me feel content, which is odd because they have that sort of darkness surrounding them.   They aren't exactly on the same spectrum as Tom Waits or Leonard Cohen but they have that same mentality.

I don't know what to think of these songs in terms of how you should listen to them.   They're not happy songs, but that doesn't mean they're not for happy people.   And even though they could be thought of as sad songs, that doesn't mean they will make you sad (or if you are already sad they won't make you feel worse, they might even make you feel better)   I just know I'm always going to relate them to this snow day from now on which seems rather fitting.

Cassette Review: Unsung "Young Man" (Already Dead Tapes and Records)

There once was a show on Netflix called "Stranger Things".   It was a hit with the kids and everyone was talking about it, making memes about it.    I watched it and I liked it but you know what show came out at around the same time that I liked better?  A little show called "The Get Down".   Now, "The Get Down" actually stars a musician from Clipping, but it just has this feel to it that I can apprecate as a fan of music.   And I feel like that show didn't get as much recognition as it fell in the shadow of another show.

Somewhere between that world and something modern such as Sage Francis (who will somehow always remain revelant) is where you'll find the verses and beats of Unsung.   And the more I think about hip hop in terms of not only the artists being released by Already Dead but also in general on cassette, it really makes me think what a vast universe this really is.

Think about it.   If someone were to play me a popular hip hop song right now and ask me if it was Jay Z or Kanye West or someone else who is popular right now I might not be able to identify it.   People will say "Oh yeah, so and so is hot right now" and I'll maybe- MAYBE- recognize the name but probobably not a single song.   I listen to those weird Odd Future kids though.   Chance the Rapper.   Earl Sweatshirt.   Strange Famous.

Now underneath that world is this world of hip hop which I listen to on cassette.   But I also have a co-worker who listens to underground hip hop and I have no idea where he gets it from.  There truly are a lot of people out there with a beat and a verse.   Everybody has a story to tell.   And I think it's funny my co-worker has the mindset of "You don't know who Gucci Mane is, how are you going to know this even more underground rapper?" and yet now I'm thinking "But do you even know Unsung?"

Cassette Review: Misery Loves Co. "Business As Usual" (Already Dead Tapes and Records)

Back in the 1990's, like most people, I was really into the band Soul Asylum.   I wasn't really a fan of their radio-friendly hit "Runaway Train" though because later on in life I would want to ride the rails as a hobo.   No, I liked their hard rocking sound mixed with depression.   So when they came to town- Toad's Place to be exact- and shot scenes for their music video for "Misery" you know I was there.    It was somewhat serendipitous.

Fast forward to 2017.   I'm sitting in an apartment surrounded by cats and I find a cassette called Misery Loves Co.   The first thing which pops into my head- as should with people of my age or nature- is "They say misery... looooves company..." and so on into the song.    It's funny how much our past really influences our present.

On this cassette what you have to understand is that I think of the term "misery" in the sense of depression and not depression in a sad way but in the medical condition way, i.e. the mental illness.    Somehow, through these songs we manage to hear various stages of depression or perhaps various incarnations of it is a better term.

Beginning with that acoustic guitar notes into singer/songwriter style we have what many people believe depression to be-- listening to a lot of Elliott Smith.   This is a nice sound so I'm willing to feel less bothered by the fact that I think it represents what most people think depression is: feeling sad.

The music shifts to a dark static.   Pained screams come through, but only barely.   It is neither loud nor heavy enough to have the impact of something that could be considered "metal", yet at the same time, there is an underlying violence to it.    As we go through all of the songs I feel like I'm watching a cartoon, that old Disney movie "Fantastia".    You see the notes, the words on the page in black and white and then they get up and start falling off into chaos.  In a word: madness.

And isn't that what depression really is?  Madness?  It's not being sad as much as it is losing ones mind.   But does this have anything to do with the music?   I suppose if you are willing to listen to something by an artist with the word "misery" in their name then you shouldn't expect this to be fun-happy-times filled with rainbows and balloons and birthday cake.    You might not have the same take on it as me, but no one may and that's the beauty of it.  

Listen to this.   Find what it means to you.   Use that however you can.  Now or twenty years from now (Has it been that long since "Let Your Dim Light Shine"?)   Spread the word so others can do the same.    Together we can make for a better world for individuals which will equal greater for the whole.

Cassette Review: BLIGHT. MAKES RIGHT v/a (BLIGHT. Records)

Right away you have to appreciate that this cassette is from DC.   Whenever I have thoughts from there it's all politics.   Hearing people make music from there which I enjoy is a much better way to relate to any place really.   It's like you go, "Oh, what do you know about <this city>?" and then you say "I know this <this band> is from there".   That's how I want to live my life.

As far as this cassette is concerned it is a compilation- on paper- this is true, but I've heard soundtracks which weren't put together this well.   There is a deliberate order to the songs that makes me feel like this really is some sort of combination between "Basketball Diaries" and "The Crow" and I'm really mad I missed the movie.

I recognize some of the names on here.   Other names I don't recognize.   It doesn't matter though.   The songs are on a level where I could only listen to this forever and be satisfied.   And that was when what a compilation truly means hit me-- in that moment.   It took this compilation and years of me reviewing them (and avoiding them) to figure it out.

When I was in my late teens/early twenties, I got this compilation (a free sampler of sorts, I don't remember whether or not it was for sale) from Equal Vision Records.   Now, I loved EVR back then and listened to all of their bands and full albums.  But there was this one song on this compilation which was about graduation and it just always stuck with me, like I'd listen to Bane, Converge, The Stryder and Saves the Day, among many others, to hear that one song.

What I'm trying to say is that I've never wanted to review compilations because it was hard for me to say a little something about each song or say whether or not an artist is good since I'm only hearing this single song by them.    The thing is, if I have to decide based upon these songs whether or not I'm listening to these artists again (Which, again, some of them I've already heard) the answer is yes.

So what it comes down to is that compilations are not the problem (Even though this also feels more like a soundtrack)  Having that one stand out song and then linking together twelve, fifteen, twenty or however many of them to craft a solid complation was the problem.   And now Blight Records has shown me that such a thing can be done, much like in my youth when I avoided comps altogether.   It's all just so good you won't be disappointed by a single note.