Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I am super excited. Not only am I going to 2 amazing concerts this fall but I am going to them with awesome people. First up is Adele in Nashville at the Ryman. It's the make up show from where she had to cancel her tour due to laryngitis. Second is a concert I only found out about yesterday. The Sounds, Natalia Kills, The Limousines and Kids at the Bar.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Ryan Lill - Not Like the Movies (Katy Perry Cover)


James Leon - Never Been Cool

Every now and then an album comes along that is deceptively simple. The production isn't overworked, the lyrics aren't meant to talk down to you and the songs aren't there to open a gigantic philosophical discussion that will lead you through the rest of your life. It's albums like this that you can just throw on and let them take you where you need to go. If that is a place of carefree frivolity where cotton candy and bubble gum fluff are the main dietary necessities or somewhere hopeful and romantic; James Leon's new album, Never Been Cool is the road map you need.
I'm not going to say this album is overly ambitious because it's not. Everything it sets out to do, it does. It makes you feel good and gives you something to think about with some of the tracks but more than anything, it's a solid first release from a burgeoning pop icon. I think this album has an overall feeling of camp to it and with that being said, I would more than happily stand this album up beside anything Andy & Vince or Neil & Chris or even Marc Almond and call it a welcome addition to that club. It has solid sensibilities in 2011 and pays homage to those great artists from the past. It's not a dance record, is a pop album and it is good. A good friend of mine once told me that if you can listen to an album 10 times in a row and not be sick of it, then it's a good album. This is one of those.

There is something that is a bit wonky on the album and that increases it's level of hipness and it intensifies the overall feeling of actually being cool. The songs are poppy and sick with you for days after listening to them. This is definitely an album that is going to be there when I need a pick me up. I mentioned to James that I loved the cover art and noticed how his bow tie is a bit of kilter to which he replied, "Kind of like me" There is a bit of gold on his cheek and that to me is a tribute to David Bowie on some level and it is also a small bit of glamour.

Purple Heart has always been my favorite track ever since he first sent it to me. I love the emotion behind the track and it reminds me of myself in a lot of ways.

With it's driving beat and orchestral movements, The One Before Me has enough scorn and righteous fervor to say, "What are you doing! We have a good thing and you are going to lose it if you don't stop what you're doing".

I want to get lost in the crowd at the Club with No Name. Just to be in there spinning around and around with the beautiful people. I bet Keith Harring, Leigh Bowery, Grace Jones and Toyah would all be there.

I look forward to hearing more and more from James. I think he has a brilliant career in front of him and I am glad to be a fan. I did read that this album was self financed so don't be a dickhead and steal it. It's £6.99 or $8.98 USD on Amazon either in the UK or the States. And if this album represents what it means to Never be Cool...then I don't want to be cool either.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Jessie J - Who's Laughing Now

I bought into Jessie the very first time I heard her. I think she's an amazing artist and has a killer voice. Her song writing skills are brilliant and I appreciate everything she does. If I could find one thing that I could complain about, it's her stutter she does on certain consonants. She doesn't do it in this song and it's better for it. The actress playing young Jessie is amazing and throws a mean bitchface when it's called for. I think this is a super empowering song about getting through adversity and making a better life for yourself in the long run. Love the song, love the video!

Meet Ryan Lill

This is Ryan Lill. He shared with me on Google + and I've been listening to him this morning. I am a HUGE fan of guitar/vocal type music. Jay Brannan is one of my all time favorite artists and Ryan reminds me of him a bit. This is Ryan's cover if "Hometown Glory" by Adele and while his arrangement doesn't stray too much from the original, his voice brings subtle nuances to the song that make it his own. Hometown Glory was the first song by Adele that I ever heard and it's probably my most favorite of all of her songs. With a voice like his and the passion he puts in his music, I want to see him go far. I am going to continue to follow him and support him because I feel he is well worth my time. Give him a listen and see how you feel about his music.

p.s. here is his cover of Landslide....another one of my all time favorite songs.

Elephant (Opinions and Attitudes)

So here's the deal. Elephant isn't going to hold your hand and tell you everything is going to be ok. They are going to say things that won't necessarily sit will with everyone but they are things that need to be said because the gay community is made up of so many different people and those people think and feel differently from everyone else. I've been spending some time with their music and it is raw and will potentially strike a nerve with those people with delicate sensibilities. That being said, they are one of the more impressive independent artists I have come across lately. They have performed with gay icon, Josie Cotton on an updated mix of her seminal classic, "Johnny, Are you Queer?" and are releasing music that is going to make you think.

The production values of their music is high and it doesn't sound like something that was recorded in a basement (unless it's supposed to and then they doe that flawlessly as well). The lyrical content is thought provoking and both brothers have amazing flow that can only come from people that deserve to be in the rap game.

They aren't looking for your approval and they don't seem to care if they hurt your feelings. That's not their job. They are here to give you their perspective on life and if you can find meaning in it, that's all that matters. I suggest you head over to youtube or facebook and check them out. Support our independent artists because when it all comes down to it, they are the ones on the front lines telling the stories that need to be told.

Crazy, Stupid Love

Charles and I were going to go see Fright Night last night but because our stupid little town only had it in 3D (a technology I cannot get behind), we decided to see this instead. I knew the general story of the movie from the trailers but what they don't tell you is how much heart the movie has. They don't tell you that there is a potential to get invested in the characters and want to see how it all ends. The movie is pretty formulaic on some levels within the Rom-Com realm but there are some things that it does really well and there are actually some plot twists that you would never expect. To me, it had the "Little Miss Sunshine" kind of vibe to it and that's a pretty good thing, I think. If you enjoy the genre or any of the actors that all do an amazing job in this movie, I say go see it, you won't be disappointed.

Those little things

Relationships have been weighing relatively heavy on my mind lately. The relationships you have with your family, co-workers, friends and lovers. I've started a new job and with it come the stresses of meeting new co-workers and establishing boundaries and begin building those relationships. Being a gay man that is "passable", I always have a horrible time when these new relationships are formed because not only do I have to worry about whether or not they are going to like me because of my work performance and my sparkling personality, but I have the added layer of potential judgement for something that is so minor it shouldn't even be a consideration.

So I meet these new co-workers and begin to worry, almost immediately, if they are going to have issue with my sexuality. In order to gain some reassurance, I turn to social media and ask my gay friends across this great country how they would deal with the situation. My answers were not from those people that had experienced this but from straight friends that wanted to help me practice my self esteem skills and be able to say, it doesn't matter....they are going to love you for you. If you have never been put in the situation where you are going to be judged silently or otherwise, it's very difficult for you to have an opinion on the subject, unfortunately and as much as I appreciate your words of doesn't do me a whole lot of good. I left the conversation with not really getting much advice but what do you do.

Let me back up for a minute and talk about being passable. To me this is a horrible Catch 22 because it means that when you look at me, you don't immediately know that I am a gay man. And throughout the course of our interactions, unless I want you to know there is more than likely a high probability that you will never know. This doesn't mean I am "straight acting" but it does mean that for all intent and purpose I can step back into the closet and pull my screen door shut and all is well. This is a skill that can come in handy but it makes meeting new people unbearable sometimes because you end up having to come out all over again. When people ask me how old I was when I came out, I have to explain that it's an almost every day occurrence and it's something that I will always have to do. This leads me to another point where people tell me, "It's none of anyone's business". That's all well and good until people start asking me about my personal life or guys start in on the objectification of whatever female may be close at hand.

Sure, I agree, it's no one's business but I don't want to be a liar either when people start asking these questions. I don't want to have to worry about making sure I say the right pronouns and make sure that I am gender neutral enough not to offend some one's sensibilities. I just want to be me and part of that is who I sleep with. So it becomes their business and I have to eventually share otherwise I spend all my time being miserable.

I've made comments in the past stating that I wish I was "gayer" than I am and by that I mean more obviously gay or flamboyant so that I didn't have to worry about coming out all the time but I know how closed minded that statement and sentiment can be as well and it's not allowing me to be who I am either.

I've rambled on enough in this post and I intend to come back and do it some more about other relationships I am proud to be a part of and relationships that I am happy to be on the periphery of looking in as they are growing and changing, so it's not all gloom and doom.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Elephant - Queer Nation

Here's something new for you. Gay hip hop duo and identical twins Elephant with their new track, Queer Nation. They are edgy and raw and really foster a take no prisoners attitude. Check out their stuff and see if it's up your alley because as someone that is interested in new tracks and new sounds, they are pretty amazing.