samantha anne carrillo
All That Glitters Is Foretold
Bourbon Snow Cones and Falling Veils
Made to Break
Harley Loco: A Memoir of Hard Living, Hair, and Post-punk, from the Middle East to the Lower East Side
Keep Calm and Read
The Jesus Lizard Book
Rooster Roundabout: This week’s music highlights
My first introduction to YACHT was when a friend played their song “The Afterlife” in his car. I liked the dark, '80s vibe emanating from his speakers, and the lyrics immediately grabbed me, what with singer Claire L. Evans deadpanning “We know how to make life go on.” Their show at Emo's in Austin, Texas was a pretty dynamic affair. People danced whether they wanted to or not. Now the band has shared a new single, “Plastic Soul,” and an accompanying video. You can watch that below.
I know … I know … It must get tiresome with all this love in the air and Valentine's day looming ahead like an unstoppable force coming to claim your hard-earned cash and whatnot. But the Sweetheart compilation I've been plugging for the past few weeks (posting tracks by Beck and Jim James) has shared a new track. This time it's Fiona Apple and her cabaret-singing sister Maude Maggart singing Anton Karas' “I'm in the Middle of a Riddle.” You can check that out at the Wall Street Journal. PS: You can also hear Ben Harper covering Mazzy Star for this compilation over at Consequence of Sound. And the compilation is out on Feb. 4.
While I've already ruminated over the music of the hit HBO series “Girls,” it's always nice when the good music keeps a-flowin'. And now we've got a new track by Jenny Lewis, titled “Completely Not Me.” The song was produced by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, which I'm assuming is supposed to be impressive. But you can hear the track below, and check out the Girls Volume 2: All Adventurous Women Do… over at Entertainment Weekly.
I've always appreciated Kevin Drew's atmospheric musicality in Broken Social Scene. I never really followed his solo work, but I guess it's better late than never. Now Drew is coming out with a new record (titled Darlings), slated to hit stores on March 18. And he's shared a track off said album (“Good Sex”), which you can listen to below.
While it's probably completely out of left field, Led Zeppelin themselves always had sort of an unpredictably whimsical quality about them. I mean, come on … they made medieval stories sound ridiculously cool. Regardless, John Paul Jones has teamed up with electronic artist Deathprod, and together they are Minibus Pimps. You can read more about 'em over at Pitchfork.
A friend first introduced me to Neutral Milk Hotel my sophomore year of high school, and (no joke!) my life was changed. I understood what it meant to make music an actual art form. Poetry and rock and roll had melted together into these seamless barrage of sound, all of it surrounding Jeff Mangum and his vibrant guitar. And now (after never thinking it was possible), I'll get to see them live because the band has added some more dates to their tour, and they'll be stopping at Albuquerque's Kiva Auditorium on April 17. Tickets went on sale this morning, so go get 'em before they sell out (if they haven't already). You can also hear my all-time favorite NMH track (“Two Headed Boy, Pt. 2) below.
Alibi Managing Editor and Music Editor Samantha Anne Carrillo covered Syracuse punk outfit Perfect Pussy in one of her Four Up's and noted how Captured Tracks had enough confidence in the band to sign them … Well, you can see why with their track “Driver” off their upcoming full-length debut (Say Yes To Love), which hits online and physical stores on March 18. It looks like the noise is headed our way.
Let those withering clouds part and the sonic sun descend upon the masses. It's been “confirmed” that Jack White and Neil Young have recorded an album of covers (apparently with Jack White handling production duties). According to music journalist Michael Goldberg, a source close to the project has confirmed it, but you know how that stuff goes. I say speculation until a physical copy is in my hands. It looks like I need to hit up Third Man Records for an advanced copy, what what!
For the past few weeks, music blogs have been abuzz over the long-lost Johnny Cash album (Out Among the Stars), which was recorded in the early '80s. The record will get a proper release, thanks to his son John Carter Cash. And now Cash's son has picked the album's lead single (“She Used to Love Me a Lot”). The album hits the music-sphere on March 25, but you can hear the aforementioned track below.
I've mentioned before that I like Ty Segall. I like his thrashy, disgusting, melted face approach to garage rock. It's supposed to be that way. And now his side project FUZZ has released a cover of The Kinks' track “Till The End Of The Day.” You can hear that below.
I don't know what it is with me and losing interest after a band's first album. It's a curse. That's how it went with The Mars Volta. De-Loused in the Comatorium was a fantastic album that highlighted my sophomore year of high school. (Or was it junior year?) Either way, now former member Omar Rodríguez-López and former Red Hot Chili Peppers member John Frusciante have started a new collaboration. The project is called Kimono Kult, and they're fixing to release a debut EP (Hiding in the Light) on March 4. But you can hear a new track from this group over at Rolling Stone.
It's always exciting when two powerhouse divas get together for a collaboration. (Britney and Madonna, anyone?) So I'm sure Shakira's collaboration with Rihanna will be no different. And the thing about Shakira (besides her being this pop sensation) was that she used to be this cool, alternative, Latin musician. Check out Dónde Están Los Ladrones? or her MTV Unplugged version of “Ciega, Sordomuda” if you don't believe me. That album is fantastic. Either way, I'm sure most people will go nuts over this track, so here's “Can't Remember to Forget You.”
Shepherd of Sin
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me
Rock doc covers cult band for both acolytes and the unfamiliar
Dragged down by Dolls
Way more highs than lows at Valley of the Dolls
The Alibi sent two of its editors, Arts & Lit Editor Lisa Barrow and Copy Editor/Staff Writer Mark Lopez, to check out local drag troupe The Dolls’ interpretation of Valley of the Dolls. I wasn’t able to attend this performance but—since I’ve read VotD a gazillion times—Barrow and Lopez offered to let me interview them about the show. Helen Lawson—whose character was based on and originally cast as a Judy Garland role—would probably urge you to ignore this, but she’s trapped in the ladies’ room right now, ‘cause I tossed her wig in the toilet. So read on.
Who was your favorite actor/character in the Dolls’ production of Valley of the Dolls? If you saw the film or read the book, is your literary/filmic fave character/actor the same?
Mark Lopez: My favorite character was Helen Lawson, played by Tequila Mockingbyrd. The character was hilarious and spot-on in terms of comedic timing. Granted, I’ve never read the book or seen the famous 1967 flick, I was glad to go into this production with a fresh head, not knowing what to expect. But Helen Lawson blew me away from the beginning. Neely O’Hara is a close second.
Lisa Barrow: Tequila Mockingbyrd was a crowd-pleaser, it’s true, whipping the audience up every time she appeared as Helen Lawson, the cynical star who’s past her prime. But I think I most enjoyed seeing Jennifer North, the tragically beautiful starlet who’s only appreciated for her body. A doe-eyed Stacia Visage gave her a syrupy voice and a voluptuous physical presence that played up the best and funniest parts of the character. I wish there’d been more for her to do.
In the film, Dionne Warwick’s rendition of the VotD theme really sets the tone for melodrama. How is music and song used in the Dolls’ interpretation?
ML: For me, the song was used in a sort of comedic way. In the beginning, seeing Anne Wells (played by Chastity Belt-Off) walk across the stage with a makeshift train window to the track was hilarious. To me, it was sort of a precursor to the ridiculousness and outlandish quality that made it so fun and enjoyable to watch. And of course, when it played at the end, as the actors took their bows, with Jacquesan Stratton-Toya Bouvier (wow, what a name!) lip-syncing to the song, it made me understand why people are fans of the original film.
LB: I just have to say, Jacquesan Stratton-Toya Bouvier was fantastic. She had several minor roles and was magnetic in every one. Mark’s right about the show playing up the ridiculousness in just the right way—another good lip-synching moment was Helen Lawson’s big number, “I’ll Plant My Own Tree,” where they approximated those colorful 1960s decorations (I don’t even know how to describe them... some sort of Calder-inspired mobile?) and Tequila Mockingbyrd owned the stage in a weird dress you couldn’t stop staring at. But my favorite multimedia aspect to the show were the film clips. Jennifer North rolling around on a bed with a French hunk in one of her nudie films was too wonderful for words. In the VotD movie, the whole scene with Sharon Tate is pretty tame and restrained. But in the hands of The Dolls, it was sublimely bizarre.
ML: Yes! The film clips were excellent. My favorite was when they incorporated Neely O’Hara’s exercise routine in a video with the Pee-wee’s Big Adventure theme song as the backing track. It’s probably not enough to merely mention it; this is one of those instances where you have to be there to not only witness the hilarity, but to get a better context for it. Needless to say, it was pretty great.
Sometimes theater audiences can seem very self-conscious and cautious about responding … whether they’re worried about laugh-snorting or being the only one screaming “Brava!” How was the audience interaction/
LB: It could’ve been better. Jim Johns, the show’s director, did come out at the beginning of the show and encourage everyone to shout out favorite lines like, “SPARKLE, Neely, SPARKLE!” And the stars onstage sometimes gave the audience signals to applaud—but overall, the crowd was pretty quiet. Maybe it’d be different with a different crowd, or the Dolls will manage to drum up more audience frenzy with more performances. I hope so. But something they did really well was interact directly with members of the audience at a few key parts. I don’t want to give too much away, but let me just dangle the phrase “high flying dry humping” before you...
ML: I tend to be one of those “self-conscious” audience members that doesn’t like audience interaction too much, so in that regard, I was kind of glad that I didn’t have to participate. The moments that Lisa refers to when they interacted with people were done very selectively. But, it was done well. And as I said before, I wasn’t familiar with the subject matter of the play, so I didn’t know when it was appropriate to yell “Fag!” (And I’m gay, so it’s okay for me to say it now.) So, mum was the word … and rightly so.
Now that the performance has had a chance to percolate in the ol’ brainpan for a few days, what would y’all say the overall strengths and weaknesses of The Dolls’ VotD are? Would you be interested in attending another work interpreted by The Dolls? If you could instruct them to take on a work, what would it be?
LB: Strengths were lightning-speed scenes and skillful, funny stars. I also love how fully The Dolls grok their source material, the 1967 movie—clearly, they love its camp and its senseless shallow splendor and also grasp how ripe it is for lampooning. But their fidelity to the movie might be a weakness, too—parts of the show could seem like an in-joke if you didn’t know the scenes they were based on. Which is why anyone reading this conversation should click on the video links and get familiar with some of the original scenes and classic lines before they see the show. So, hells yes, I’d see more Dolls in a heartbeat. As to what work I wish they’d take on... Well, in a perfect world in which my own very obscure, very particular demographic were addressed, I have to admit that I would swoon over an all-drag version of Gilmore Girls. But, almost certainly, that’s just me.
ML: I agree that that one of the strengths were the “skillful, funny stars” that Lisa mentioned. Also, they utilized the space very well. When I first stepped into the theater and saw how small the stage was, I was worried that it was going to be cramped and awkward, but they moved within the boundaries so fluidly and made it work. As for what they could work on, I’m not sure. As Lisa mentioned, there were a lot of in-jokes, but they were constantly lost on me because I didn’t know where they were (also because I’m not all there), but I didn’t watch any VotD clips before or after the show, but I still enjoyed the moment for what it was, which tends to be how I like to experience things. And Lisa! A Gilmore Girls show would be fantastic! You reading my mind?