Friday, February 13, 2009

tyler hearts flinty-voiced female singer-songwriters

yes, this is true. why is it true? i have no idea. i'm listening to jenny lewis right now. we're going to see eleni mandell in march. i am completely obsessed with neko case. nina nastasia. jolie holland. need i go on? i honestly do like the music. seriously. a lot.
it is weird listening to jenny lewis though- she's only a few years older than me and when she was an actress as a child i happened to see several of the movies she was in- my sister watched 'troop beverly hills' constantly for quite a while, 'the wizard' (or whatever that nintendo movie was called), there was even a made for tv movie that i saw a few times over at some house that we used to go stay after school while our parents were at work- the love's house. when i was 15 i baby sat for the love's kids. i took them to the pool and did back flips and cannon balls off of the diving board. it was very fun. but anyway, when i was ten we used to watch a movie called 'a friendship in vienna' (i think that's what it was called)- jenny lewis played a jewish girl whose best friend's older brother was an active nazi-sympathizer before the war. it was a really depressing movie to watch when you were 10 years old. there's some quote in there about how safety is a lie and just something that we tell ourselves exists so that we can sleep at night. but anyway, jenny lewis was in it and after seeing her in all of these movies and the fact that she was about my age caused me to develop a thing for her. i was 10 years old. so it's weird to be listening to her music all of these years on because that's kind of what it makes me think of. the first time i heard about rilo kiley was in an issue of magnet- they were in one of those 'on the radar' (or whatever it's called- those page-long new band profiles where half is text and the other half is a giant photo) blurbs and i looked at it and thought 'is that the girl from "a friendship in vienna"?' i then read the article and discovered it was, indeed. that's some crazy shtuff. after that i think she turned up all over that 'quest for sleep' documentary on the superchunk dvd. i guess that what i'm getting at here in a really odd, roundabout way is some kind of commentary on the nature of visibility. she's been in two public visibility capacities and i managed to be around for both of them. the fact that we are so close in age makes me feel some kind of abstract, bizarre, post-modern, somehow-fake, but somehow-not kind of connections. naturally this does not go both ways. it's a strange time that we live in where such things are possible.
but yes, i listen to tons of psychedelic drone and noise-laced music. and lots of female singer-songwriters. i listen to a handful of male singer-songwriters too, but i generally like the female singer-songwriter better. i don't know why- most singer-songwriters of the male ilk seem to be a bit easier to pigeonhole whereas i can think of tons of brilliant female singer-songwriters and it would be all over the map. someone like mirah, for instance. very difficult to pin down. i also find that these lady songwriters who i listen to write much more profound/interesting lyrics. i normally don't care a lick about lyrics in the music i listen to, but in the singer-songwriter context it really becomes a bit impossible to ignore the lyrics because then why are you listening to them in the first place? other than that it's just someone playing an acoustic guitar and singing over it. it's so bare-bones that the lyrics become something that should grab you as well as the music. i think this is why i'm not a singer-songwritery type. there are elements of that stuff in my music, but really i do best with things that are more abstract and singing that acts more as an instrument than to convey a long thread of clever rhymes and deep meaning. at the same time i think that my singing and stefanie's singing conveys a lot of strong emotion- that's the only reason i can think of that causes people to want to understand what we're singing. i guess we make it sound as though it must be incredibly important.
i will also admit to finding a lot of these female singer-songwriters attractive. it isn't really why i like them by itself- part of the attraction is fed through how talented they are- both in terms of songwriting, playing and often what they are able to do with their voices. it's just a very appealing package- i guess it's just more socially acceptable for the attraction to be female fan to male musician. i do get an awful lot of shit for this, btw. it's kind of getting to be annoying. like i should be ashamed to be attracted to someone who does something that i admire musically. that doesn't make a whole lot of sense, does it? it basically means that i like some substance in ladies that i'm attracted to. i'm not real into the whole plastic-barbie-doll ideal of 'beauty' that people are so swept up in in this country. it seems to me that too many men just expect women to be perfect looking, but completely devoid of substance- opinions, emotions, passions, etc. i still get a bit of that whole 'all those ladies are crazy' bullshit at work. i'm not a fan of that crap- never have been. for anything that is said in that context the amount of truth in it seems to be nothing more than a grain. plus, it cuts both ways. i don't see what's so difficult to understand about that. i guess it isn't a surprise that i like so many female singer-songwriters amongst all of the other stuff that i like musically. in a lot of ways the music world is an unchecked sausage fest (it's precious rare that we play a show where stefanie isn't the only girl in one of the bands). the sausage fest gets old. it's nice to have a little variety. plus i'd much prefer to be in a group of women to being stuck in a group of men.
that said i am still just a dude. i'm not beyond having my own misguided male-insecurity moments. with dudes it's always something of these- cars, sports or guitars. no one is immune.
the guy sitting across from me is doing sign-language in front of his computer. oh, this modern age. we had another 'singles' moment while we were watching a movie recently. i can't remember what movie it was from, but if you don't know what i mean by a 'singles' moment i would be happy to explain it. watch the movie 'singles' and take note of the number of times that there are moments contributing to the dramatic workings of the movie as the result of technology that has been rendered archaic in these modern times. the best example of this to me is the part when campbell scott's character calls kyra sedgewick's character on a payphone while he's drunk and leaves a long, rambling, important message on her answering machine- only to have kyra sedgewick's answering machine eat the tape. such a moment becomes charmingly hilariously nostalgic when it's watched today. 'singles' is the best movie for this too because it's basically a time-capsule of that era- it really hasn't aged well at all. it is painfully dated. this contributes to its inherent charm. something like 'say anything' even suffers less from this even though it was made earlier than 'singles.'
we have a show tonight at a gallery. it's kind of nice that we're housesitting right now too because since we have a car we don't have to arrange to reserve one for a few hours or renting one for a day just to go play a show. the main point of this show is just to keep us up to snuff. we haven't played a proper electric show in almost six months. our last show was in portland back in september. the show over christmas doesn't count because it was acoustic and completely different from 90% of the shows that we play. the purpose of this show is mainly to get our chops back up so that should we happen to get more shows in the next few months then we won't suck and be totally unprepared.
i haven't heard anything at all back from anyone i've contacted about setting up the near-mythical strings show. i'm contacting places that just charge you a fee for use of their space- it's not even up to them to make their living off of anything other than the use of their space. uuuurrrgghhh!
i do have some strings stuff to record next week- which is awesome. we are on the way to completing a few more tracks- 'under the flood' just needs drums and vocals. the two new songs just need strings and drums. we can do the drums for those since they are played with brushes- a good drum sound with brushes is something we have no trouble getting at all. oh yeah. i've got to get a megabus trip scheduled asap as well. that shit needs to get going. i check the site every day nearly.
i am going to kill this rambling and nonsensical entry right now before it gets too much more uncomfortably revealing or long.

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