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Archive for the ‘Jessica Lea Mayfield’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 30, 2019] Daddy Issues

I love the name of this band, Daddy Issues.  And I loved hearing about how they came up with their name

When singer and guitarist Jenna Moynihan saw the phrase “Daddy Issues” scribbled on the bathroom wall of a now-defunct Nashville DIY venue, she mistakenly assumed it was the name of an all-girl punk outfit sure to become her next favorite band. Upon realizing that no such band existed, Moynihan and friends Emily Maxwell (drums) and Jenna Mitchell (bass) picked up their instruments, taught themselves how to play and started their own band.

I had seen Emily Maxwell play drums with Jessica Lea Mayfield, but I was really quite excited to see the whole band. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 18, 2018] Speedy Ortiz

I really enjoyed Speedy Ortiz’ Foil Deer.  Sadie Dupuis has a great sense of melody (in a delightful alt-90s rock package) combined with excellent lyrics.  Check out this great blurb about Dupuis’ lyrics:

It’s very strange (“Or not strange at all! Hi!” says feminism) that most of the music we funnel into little girls’ ears——even music written by former little girls——is about how women are petty, pretty garbage whose only valuable function is to hold perfectly still in men’s boudoirs and wait for intercourse. “I wanted to make songs that were the opposite of ‘Genie in A Bottle’ or ‘The Boy Is Mine,’” Sadie Dupuis says of Slugger, her new solo album under the name Sad13. “Songs that put affirmative consent at the heart of the subject matter and emphasize friendship among women and try to deescalate the toxic jealousy and ownership that are often centered in romantic pop songs.” What!? Songs for women that actually champion women’s autonomy, reflect women’s desires, listen to women when they talk, and let women be funny and normal and cool, like women actually are?   – Lindy West

When Speedy Ortiz released their new album, they did a mini tour of…ice cram parlors.

As The Key noted:

It was a little suspicious, previously, that Speedy Ortiz’s only tour appearance in Philly would be at Little Baby’s Ice Cream in West Philly to scoop a new flavor, “Twerp Verse Dessert Burst Sundae,” and not to perform.

Then they announced a proper tour, which included a headlining spot at PhilaMOCA.  Amazingly, four days after our show, they were going to open for Dinosaur Jr and Foo Fighters at Fenway Park!  I don’t know how many people arrived early enough to see them, but I have to assume thy were seen by more than the 150 capacity crowd at PhilaMOCA.  And yet Sadie said she was more excited about our show than that one.  And it seemed like it.

Before the shows even began, Sadie was hanging out at the merch table.  We chatted, she sold me a copy of Twerp Verse and even signed it for me.  She was super nice.   (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 8, 2018] Jessica Lea Mayfield

I first saw Jessica Lea Mayfield (who I’d assumed was a country singer) on a Tiny Desk Concert back in 2016 (it aired in 2014 when she had just released Make My Head Sing…).  She had pink hair, electric guitars and a lot of glitter.  And her sound was decidedly grungy.  At the time I remember thinking that the contrasts she brought–her delicate voice, her simple but poignant songs, her look, and her promise that her shows get really loud–were really compelling.  So when last November she scheduled a date at Boot & Saddle, I was bummed that I couldn’t go.  But then she cancelled the date and it was rescheduled to March.  And so she became my second show in a pretty long string of shows this month.

I really like her latest album Sorry Is Gone.  And once again her look is very different–she quite glammed up on the album cover.  So I didn’t know what to expect when she came out.  And that was all the more thrilling.  When she finally did come out, green hair, blue nail polish, yellow heels and a flower dress, it was just a perfect microcosm of everything I think about Jessica Lea Mayfield.

The surprise came when Audrey from Mal Blum and the Blums came back onstage.  This time she was playing bass for JLM.  If you’re doing double duty on a night, it’s probably fun to switch instruments.  On drums was Emily Maxwell who plays with Daddy Issues.

When Jessica came up on stage, she was unabashedly polite and rather sweet.  She has a quiet voice (in song and speaking) and thanked us all for coming. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: March 8, 2018] Mal Blum and the Blums

I was unfamiliar with Mal Blum before this show.  Mal Blum is a songwriter who plays both solo shows and with the backing band The Blums.  Mal’s songs are great–catchy melodies and darkly comic self-reflective lyrics.  But I am particularly glad to have seen The Blums because the backing band was great and really seemed to infuse the show with a lot of fun (I suppose the solo shows are fun as well, but this is all I have to go on).

Mal was front and center of course on guitar and vocals.  On lead was Audrey Zee Whitesides and she was great–playing wild solos and then backing off to let Mal take center stage again.  Barrett Lindgren was on bass and he was particularly excited to shout Go Birds! (he is from Philly and had been holding off shouting that for many shows now).  On drums was Piyal Basu who was new for this tour (no pictures apparently).  He did a great job–I particularly enjoyed the time when Audrey “encouraged” him when an upcoming tempo change was imminent. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE MYNABIRDS-Tiny Desk Concert #670 (November 10, 2017).

I thought the name The Mynabirds sounded familiar.  Turns out they performed Tiny Desk Concert #64 (by my count).

Bob Boilen says he

first met Laura Burhenn ten years ago for a songwriting project she did with John Davis, her then bandmate in the duo Georgie James, here at NPR called Project Song. [which I plan to write about at some point].  Her current band, The Mynabirds, are Tiny Desk alum, Laura having played her first Tiny Desk Concert in the spring of 2010.  I’m not one to repeat artists at the Tiny Desk. I’m more into discovering and challenging new bands to play in this intimate and awkward setting. But this project was so different and Laura had ideas about how to make it even more special from what she’d done back in 2010, so I couldn’t resist.

2016 was a tough year … the elections and subsequent inauguration, which were devastating to many. But what transpired next for anyone dismayed by those events was inspiring: The Women’s March united many who were in despair, while giving purpose and focus to what for them was an unthinkable outcome in the election of Donald Trump.

Then came the songs – nine new ones Laura Burhenn wrote with Patrick Damphier, inspired by the many marches around the country, listening to the news, seeing social media, talking to friends and taking it all in. The result is The Mynabirds’ politically charged 2017 album Be Here Now.

The band sings four songs.  “Golden Age” features Laura on keys with a backing band of cello (Alexia Kauffman), guitar (Emily Moore) and bass guitar (Damphier). This song is full of lamentations and her husky voice works quite well with it.  She speaks of dead musicians, and political horrors.  The solo in the middle is interesting for it being deliberately jarring and somewhat out of tune.  Lyrically the song is pretty outstanding

Tell me, where are our heroes
Are they stuck at the wall?
Cause we got some real villains to stop
Before they kill us all

I see what you’re doing
With the Jews and the Muslims
You’re sawing us all
In half with your fake fear

My heart’s full of love
And all kinds of peace
But I think even
I 
Could punch a Nazi 
In the face

I just wish the song was more angry than sad.

For second song, “Shouting At The Dark” The People’s Choir come in.  The song rocks more with a great swinging bassline and some interesting muffled chugging guitar.  The choir really fills out the song and it sounds great.

I love the melody of the chorus which is once again, not entirely pretty–slightly haunting, except that they sound beautiful.  Adriana-Lucia Cotes is hitting these slightly dissonant notes that really standout in an interesting way.

Before the third song, “Hold On,” Laura talks about the choir, songwriting and the Muslim travel ban:

While recording this album, a travel ban was issued affecting six Muslim-majority countries. She wrote a song for refugees inspired by the ban and got in touch with friends back in Omaha at the Refugee Empowerment Center. It is there she learned of the Umoja Choir whose members include resettled refugees from The Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia and they ended up singing on her record. Laura also started a GoFundMe campaign for them to record their songs. Now some of those choir members Diendonne Manirakiza and Eric Esron (refugees from Burundi) have come to the Tiny Desk for a powerful set of songs. They’re joined by Michael Boggs, another Tiny Desk alum: Jessica Lea Mayfield. It’s an inspired project that I’m excited to share.

“Hold On” is “about having a heart.”  It’s a slower song with acoustic guitar and prominent cello.  The choir sounds like a “real” choir instead of backing vocalists on this uplifting song.

“Wild Hearts” opens with a cool echoed electric guitar.  For this song the choir works as powerful backing vocalists on this even more uplifting song.

[READ: May 20, 2017] Pretty Deadly 2

I didn’t really like the first book of this series.  And I didn’t like this book much either.  So I am officially giving up.

This book continues with the exposition by butterfly and dead rabbit.  An old woman, Sarah, is dying.  During the night she is visited by a ghost–of the man with slashes across his eyes, Fox (I can’t recall their relationship). Granddaughter Clara walks in and see the ghost.  Clara’s mother comes in and sees the ghost too.  And after some ugly words they ask if they can keep Sarah from dying until her son gets back to see her one last time–he is off fighting in a war somewhere. (more…)

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colony2SOUNDTRACK: JUSTIN TOWNES EARLE-Tiny Desk Concert #389 (September 8, 2014).

 jteI had an idea that Justin Townes Earle was a country singer.  Although I’m sure I’m conflating him with Steve Earle (his father) and Townes Van Zant (whom he’s named after).  But I realized I’d never heard him.  He’s more of a folk singer and he’s very charming.  He implies that he flew from Nashville just to play the show (“a quick trip just for y’all”) which gets an awww from the crowd) and like Trampled by Turtles and Jessica Lea Mayfield, he’s heading back home right after he’s done.  He also had his guitar maker send his guitar to him in DC so he didn’t have to travel with it.

He has an interesting percussive strumming style (he doesn’t use a pick) and he sings about love and loss.  The first song, “Burning Pictures” has a great line about how he doubts you even remember your love’s name since it’s another girl in the picture frame.

“When The One You Love Loses Faith In You” is a bit more bluesy sounding.  He picks some melodic notes between full-fingered strums.

Amazingly, he seems like he might quit after just two songs.  Bob asks him to do one more–doesn’t have to be new–it can be one he loves.  His favorite so that he ever wrote was “White Gardenias” (for Billie Holiday).  He says it feels like he’s about to miss the beat as he’s starts singing–which scares the shit out of a rhythm section.

Before beginning, while tuning, he says he has to learn a lot of his old songs for the upcoming tour.  Bob asks if he listens to the records, and he laughs and says he Googles the songs, which is just so ridiculous.  Bob asks if he illegally downloads them but he says no he just streams them.

“White Gardenias” is a lovely song with beautiful lyrics although I don’t really get that Billie Holiday vibe from it.

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 2

The inside cover of book 2 gives a little summary of book 1 (which is helpful). It also give s little recap of all of the main characters (which all series should do, frankly).

I loved that book 2 also starts with someone asking “where the %#!* are we,” it’s a man and a very large woman.  They also convinced Fud’na (the screeching violin playing guardian of the ferry) to ferry them to the island.  The large woman reveals that she is wearing a  stars and stripes dress which is very tacky.  But more importantly, she is a singer herself (almost as bad as Fud’na perhaps).

As the bok opens, Louis the slave boy is being set upon by the rocks bugs (although we dont know why).  He is recused by Jo’Pa an Indian who lives on the island (it is rumored that he used to be a real savage Injun).  And there’s Birdy, she is dressed as Squinto, compete with feather and bow and arrow.

Then we meet the Snodgrass family and Birdy’s heretofore unmentioned Gramdy, a cantankerous old man (who is her mother’s father). Turns out that Grandy hates the Injuns and is very mad that Birdy is dressed like one. “We’re at war with the Indian, dont you know they’re evil.” (more…)

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colonySOUNDTRACK: JESSICA LEA MAYFIELD-Tiny Desk Concert #388 (September 6, 2014).

jlmI had an idea about who Jessica Lea Mayfield was.  I thought she was sort of a folkie/country singer who I had heard of but had no real exposure to.  So I was quite surprised to see this performer with pink hair, short shorts, no eyebrows and a ton of pink glitter under her eyes.

Turns out that her earlier records are kind of folkie but that for her 2014 album she was inspired by her grunge roots to make a noisy album.  This Tiny Desk concert has her playing three guitars–one for each song.  Each guitar is covered with glitter and one has stickers all over it.  For “Standing in the Dark” she plays her pink glitter 12 string guitar with lots of reverb.  It’s a fairly upbeat song.  The melody is simple and she sounds happy while singing it (this is notable).  The middle section has a solo which sounds really alien by itself (that 12 string with vibrato), but which works really well for the song.

She says she brought all of her guitars because she wanted to show them off.  Her speaking voice is cute and adorable.  And she seems almost childlike asking if “you have any cats” are you allowed to bring them to work.  Bob says that bands have brought their dogs and she says she wishes she’d brought hers.

“Party Drugs” is a slow song with more echo on the guitar.  It’s a slower , darker song “party drugs just make my head sing…  I won’t die in this hotel room, I’ll be here when you return.”  It ends with a dark chord and mildly distorted whammy bar and is rather creepy.

The final guitar is a hollow bodies white guitar.  The stickers on the knobs are ponies.  She says the direction of the ponies tells her how the knobs should go.  There’s a pony, an alien cat and a unicorn “system I got going on.”

“Seein* Starz” is slow chords (with more echo).  Her twangy accent peeks its way in a few times in this song.  I like the way the picking notes are vibrated enough to sound unpredictable.

There’s something really captivating and almost vulnerable (but not really) about her performance.   She says she could stay here and do this all day and show you how loud it usually is.   Bob mentions something about six hours implying that she traveled six hours just to play for them (like Trampled by Turtles did the previous show).

[READ: July 22, 2016] The Lost Colony 1

I read this book last year.  But since I wanted to  read the other two books in the series, I wanted to re-read this before moving on to Books 2 and 3.

My recollection is that I didn’t really like the first book all that much, so I wasn’t prepared to enjoy it this time around either.

But, as it turns out, I really did enjoy it (and I’m not reading wheat I wrote the first time, just to see how this reading compares).  I think perhaps I didn’t really know what I was getting into the first time.  And now with hindsight, and understanding how and when some of the things are supernatural, it made more sense. (more…)

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