Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Madisyn Whajne is here to save our hearts (and ears).

Photo by Jen Squires

I've got a really annoying habit of putting off listening to stuff that I'm excited about as I work my way through the music I get. But during the pandemic this strategy of delayed gratification means has been essential.*

Madisyn Whajne's debut album Save Our Hearts piqued my interest when it came through last month, and a quick aural skim to set expectations resulted in me going, "This is one to hold onto until you can really sink into it." Also, her press release name dropped The Primitives and Best Coast so, yeah, the only this album could upset me is if the writer of said press release was way off.*** 

The writer of that press release was not way off. 

Whajne writes sprightly, zingy pop-rockers that definitely have their roots in the late '80s UK indie scene, and then adds crunchy fuzz over most of the tunes to amp up the volume, but never so much that it obscures the delicate craft laying underneath the noisier bits. In fact, while The Primitives comparison is apt, Whajne's approach really reminds me of The Darling Buds, another band from the late '80s with a similar sound.**** And the opening track on Save Our Hearts, "Summer Love," has proved an instant tonic when my moods dips too low. Which, these days, is a  valuable than ever quality to enjoy.

Today is the day that you become as big a fan of Whajne's music as I am. Enjoy! 

*This really is a pandemic-specific development in my workflow made in light of both my own mental health and the current state of the music scene. That state being it's not exactly pressing to write about the newest release the day it's released. There're no tours or other things that might require music journos to write against a specific deadline these days, and to be honest I am not complaining. Most big music sites have been regurgitating press releases for years, and with nothing going on, people are actually listening to the music again, and writing about it. It's exciting.**

**I have nothing against pulling relevant info or facts from a press release, especially these days when it seems most music PR folks are better writers than many music critics out there nowadays. Which, believe me, is super weird for a guy like me to say when I came up in the '90s and early aughts when PR peeps and critics were always in a state of tension when it came to each other's objectives. 

***I couldn't resist. After making that much noise you had to know I was gonna pull something from a press release, just to see you smack your forehead (and hopefully chuckle).

****In the interest of full disclosure I should note that The Darling Buds' 1990 release Crawdaddy is one of the handful of albums I love from start to finish, always have with me in some fashion. Which only means I was set to love Save Our Hearts, though I'd be very shocked to discover Whajne was even aware of The Darling Buds. But I didn't want to leave it as just a lone "RIYL" kinda thing, you know? 

Friday, January 22, 2021

Oh oh, it's AWEFUL!

It's been a while since I wrote about AWEFUL, but the Chicago trio just dropped a new video that is total fun, and should turn a regular Friday into and OUT OF THIS WORLD FRIDAY.

You'll see.

The video is fun, but if you buy the tune from AWEFUL's Bandcamp page they're donating half of all digital sales to NIVA, too.

Do it!

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Joe Biden is President, Kamala Harris is Vice President, and the world breathes a little easier today.

President Biden's speech was inspirational, but his decision to turn the stage over to a 23-year-old poet was truly inspired.

Change takes time, but change is coming.

We're gonna be O.K.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

I look into Pearl Charles' 'Magic Mirror' and find myself drawn through its lens into a better world.

I have listened to Pearl Charles' Magic Mirror a LOT over the last couple months. Her mixture of old school '70s rock and pop is balanced by a modern sensibility that allows the music to hang like sparkling points sunlight evinced by the sound of that era, with none of the sentimentality. At times Charles channels Abba, The Carpenters, and to my ears, even envisions what The Eagles might've sounded like if Linda Ronstadt had gone on to lead the band instead of a bunch of coked-up macho doofuses.

That also means I've been waiting months hoping Charles would release the lead track off Magic Mirror so I could share it with other people.* But I'm kind of glad she held off sharing "Only For Tonight" until just ahead of the album's release tomorrow. I love the tune, but if it had been the main thing out there to set the table for Magic Mirror there is an excellent chance people would've expected an album in the vein of Swedish dance pop, instead of the wonderfully textured quilt of various influences that it is.

But this tune is so awesome.

Am I wrong? No, I am not.

If you're reading this before January 15, you still have to wait a few days to hear the whole album, but there's nothing stopping you from sampling a few of the other tracks Charles has made public ahead of its release. And there's plenty of time to plunk down a few bucks and ensure the album is there, ready and waiting to be listened to on repeat when it drops this Friday.

*Seriously. I was checking in every few days to see if it was on her Bandcamp page because I couldn't wait to share it. Also worth noting, as an aside, that this album has been a lifesaver when I needed a pick-me-up or quick escape for a spell here and there over the last few months.

Thursday, January 07, 2021

What's next?

Yesterday I was waiting to write until after the election was certified, in hopes of celebrating that and the Senate wins in Georgia, and then adding in an unrelated coda celebrating the life of Betty the Beagle on the anniversary of her exit from this plane. 

I expected a bit of turbulence getting to that point in the day, but I did not expect an insurrection to occur.

And now, now I just don't know.

I think I'm still in shock.

What's next?