I truly hope that the Black Lips’ recently released single, Can’t Hold On, is not an accurate representation of what the rest of their upcoming album will sound like. Their last album, Underneath the Rainbow was mediocre at best and a huge disappointment following their awesome 2011 release, Arabia Mountain. There is not a distinctly good or bad feature of this new single. It simple sounds substanceless. It is as though it may have been a recording the Black Lips disregarded from one of their previous sessions. Can’t Hold On is five minutes of unremarkable noise and will likely let down any Black Lips fans.
This song has been coming on my shuffle lately. Its funky beats and simple lyrics keep me listening and its a love song for Yoko so what more could you ask for? But I think this track off of Plastic Ono (1970) also appeals to me as fourth week in my impossible math class and spring break approach. It’s not too much of an commitment, over in less than 2 minutes, so go ahead and give it a listen. John also gets away with growling “cookie” halfway through.
If you’re looking to add a little healthy competition to your and your (other music nerd) friends’ day, look no further. Esquire has made a quiz that ranks your “music IQ” by seeing if you can match a song with its album cover, and it’s definitely worth fifteen minutes of your time. Check it out here:
I’ve been listening to a bunch of cover albums lately, and quite often covers of this song come up (this one’s a good one –– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qWJPglDkB0), and I usually love them. Today, though, the original came on the radio and I remembered how fucking fantastic this song is. “Home is where I want to be/but I guess I’m already there” is weirdly resonant.
Over the past few weeks, my roommate and I have actually greeted each other in the mornings—not with “good morning,” but with the phrase “fucking slow dance” and a dramatic eye roll.
The ritual is not in reaction to telepathic nightmares, but a lyric from Diet Cig’s 2015 single “Dinner Date” which has over 85,000 plays on Spotify. We too spend the rest of our days playing Diet Cig’s seven songs on Spotify, wondering when there will be more. Or even if it’s even possible to write truer lyrics than “If I told you I loved you I don’t know who/it would scare away faster.”
The pop punk duo consists of New Paltz New York’s own Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman, whose power chord ballads strike a balance between fun-loving and fuck you, and cut as deep as your memories of shitty hometowns and suburban-school expectations. They’ve been declared “A Band to Watch” by nearly every online music news monopoly, and simultaneously propose to destroy the monopoly label “bedroom songs.” Onstage Luciano jumps off drum sets, occasionally into the crowd, and generally requires that everyone quit shuffling their feet and fucking dance.
I stumbled upon the band in March at SXSW: first at Sidewinder, then the next day at the Stereogum showcase where a friend of mine may have had too much free Sapporo beer—he asked Luciano to marry him, and then chucked an inflatable deer at her head (on accident, of course). She didn’t miss a beat.
When I asked Luciano if I could call her for an interview, I reminded her of the deer incident and she seemed receptive. Bowman couldn’t make it. I sat in my bed in Colorado Springs, and she in hers in Brooklyn. We discussed Frankie Cosmos’ simplicity and Diarrhea Planet’s masterful mayhem, and of course, the reason why being a female shredder is essentially cooler than, well, anything.
Catch Dieg Cig with Sorrel and Brick + Mortar opening for the Front Bottoms at Black Sheep next Tuesday, April 12th
Hannah: Have you ever had things thrown at you before?
Alex: No, nothing’s ever really been thrown at me before the deer. I’ve had boys hand me love notes after a set onstage but that’s the extent of people giving me stuff.
Hannah: That sounds worse than the deer. How’d you like SXSW besides that? Was it your first one?
Alex: Yeah it was our first South by, it was super crazy. We played thirteen sets. It was supposed to be eleven but then we played two extra sets called Sessions. I thought we were gonna play two songs and they would record them and then they were like “Oh play a whole set in front of this audience and we’ll record two songs out of the set.”
It’s kind of a blur now looking back at it, but we had a lot of fun and we got to see all the bands. It was really fun running in the streets, running into your homies and being like “see you at the show later!” There was some crazy shit…I stole a gnome and then gave it back but that was before I like air guitar shredded it. Wacky.
Hannah: Dinner Date was actually the first song I heard by you guys and has since been my favorite—probably because of the opening lines. Is it based off daddy issues/a true story?
Alex: It’s a lot of Daddy issue-type feelings. That song starts out with my dad but also touches on a lot of relationships I’ve had with other people, and is me trying to convince myself that even though there are shitty people in my life that have just disappointed me or not treated me well that I’m better than these experiences. I’m taking power back from the people that have done me wrong.
Hannah: Do you feel like you’re running out of shitty situations to write about? You know, like shitty hometowns or shitty boyfriends?
Alex: I think that life is full of shitty situations, even when you grow up and start doing what you want to. You can take the smallest ones and write a dumb punk song about them, so I’m definitely not worried about not having enough shitty situations to write about.
Hannah: If you could describe your music now in one word what would you pick?
Alex: There’s a lot of words combined that I think would describe it. Our music is fun and also really cathartic. It’s really honest—I’d say it’s very honest—it’s like taking songs that like could be sad songs and making them fun. What I’m writing about is shitty stuff, most of the stuff that I write about are like bad situations that have happened to me. But it’s me turning things into a positive, fun situation.
Hannah: What’s your biggest musical influence?
Alex: I really don’t feel like one artist or any thing specifically influences me. I feel like I’m making simple live music that I like. But I’ve been influenced by the attitudes of a lot of musicians. I’m really influenced by Frankie Cosmos in the way that she just writes and writes and writes so many amazing songs and only recently has held off on releasing them because she’s been writing and releasing official records and stuff—but I’m really inspired by the way she released her early songs She would just release them on bandcamp and not worry about who would listen to it. It was just pure, real, honest music that she wrote.
I’m really inspired by a lot of other like strong female musicians. l like Hop Along. I think my music sounds very different than theirs, but at the same time I’m really inspired by what they’re doing and they’re songwriting and the fact that they’re out there and doing it.
Hannah: I really love how short Frankie Cosmo’s songs are—it’s the wave of the future you know? Everything’s getting shorter.
Alex: It’s true and it’s no frills, there’s no jam out guitar parts that last for like four minutes or anything. It’s just like honest lyrics and music that complements it.
Hannah: The biggest thing for me watching female musicians perform in bands is that it’s a breakdown of the male tendency to show off with all these crazy guitar solos.
Alex: It is such a masculine stereotype to do guitar solos and rip out and shred out. But I really don’t like the idea that that’s a male thing because I know so many female fucking shredders. Alicia from Bully fucking shreds—she’s amazing. I think there’s definitely a place for that though. I love Diarrhea Planet and they’re like the ultimate dude-shredder band. It’s all four guitars and guys guitar soloing, which is awesome, but I think that it’s equally as important for artists who aren’t technically proficient guitar players to be represented.
She Shreds the magazine has this really awesome philosophy that shredding isn’t your technical ability on an instrument, it’s the amount of emotion you can evoke through your instrument. I really respect women, or any musician, that can evoke a lot of emotion through their music without having to completely guitar-solo shred. I also have so much love and respect for everyone who’s just like slammin’ out guitar solos because it’s just the coolest thing ever.
H: Diarrhea planet: rock n’ roll done right.
A: Seeing them live is a joyous experience and they represent the kind of guitar-shredding that should be the ultimate. A lot of “serious” musicians take themselves too seriously. They’re serious musicians—but they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is why I think people like them.
H: So what’s a show that you’ve seen—besides Diarrhea planet, of course—that’s really inspired you to write or play music? A show that made you say “I gotta go home and practice the guitar right now.”
A: There’s been a couple that really stick out. When I was a freshman in college at New Paltz I was just getting introduced to the idea of DIY shows and artists producing their own music and I saw Frankie Cosmos’ show. It was actually hosted at my friend Chris Daley’s house (he recorded our music, our EP and our 7 inch) and I saw Frankie Cosmos perform at his studio. It was a really intimate performance and I didn’t really know who she was. I was just so floored by the simplicity of her songs and how beautiful they were, but also how accessible they were, and I was like “hey, I could write songs that are simple and honest like that, I have a lot to say too.” That was definitely one of the first moments that I was like “I can write songs that people will relate to and like.”
Then we did that tour with Bully this year, and Alicia really inspired me to start learning more on guitar, and to want to be more rock n’ roll as opposed to tweeny pop/rock or whatever people like to call us. I’m trying to find that balance all the time.
H: According to Pitchfork, you just need to “mature.”
A: (laughs) Yeah they were like “Well we can’t wait for them to mature.” And I was like okay no one asked you to write about my record. That’s the one thing about Pitchfork, it’s a love/hate thing because most blogs will write about the stuff that they like but Pitchfork will write about stuff that they like and they don’t like. And at first when we had that new record I was like in the back of my head like “Oh my god we have to write a record that is similar to the old stuff, but mature because we gotta get Pitchfork to like it!”
I’ve realized that after touring and playing those songs over and over again that we have to write songs that we like to play. You never know what people are going to like. So the only thing that we can do is write music that we like to play and that we’re proud of. This next record is going to be really awesome and I’m not sure if Pitchfork will like it—but I know we’re gonna LOVE it.
H: This is hard to ask without Noah here to speak for himself—but do you feel like you would have gone in a similar direction without each other? Would you be playing music with other people today if you guys hadn’t met in the first place?
A: I don’t know. I know he would be playing music with other people because Noah’s always been a musician and that’s always been his path. But I had some songs that I wanted to like perform and work on. It could have gone in a very acoustic low-fi bedroom pop kind of direction or it could have been “the band sound” with drums, a little more rockin’ direction—Noah was a really big influence in the music going in the direction that it did. It’s just as much Noah’s artistic vision as it is my own. Maybe I would have done something with music but I it wouldn’t have taken off and been what it is now if we didn’t meet.
H: Do you have any words of advice for people with “bedroom songs”? I feel like that’s a trope when people write about music like “Oh yeah they wrote all these songs in their bedroom.” But you guys got the songs out there, and there are a lot of talented people who haven’t.
A: Like you said “bedroom songs” is such a stupid trope and I feel like a lot of music writers or critics attach that label to women’s music. It’s so funny because Steph Knipe who’s in Adult Mom wrote online that “The difference between bedroom music and dorm music: one of them you’re paying 20,000 dollars a year to write your music” and it’s pretty funny because like what even IS bedroom music, does it mean you wrote it in your bedroom, does it mean that it’s soft and you’d wanna listen to it in your bedroom? I definitely can’t fit a drum set in my bedroom so I don’t know why people are calling my music bedroom pop.
I think some advice for people who are starting off writing songs in their bedrooms is to not feel hindered by the fact that you wrote it there—that shouldn’t define your music. You can write music in your bedroom and you can literally be any genre that you want. You can be anything you want.
H: If you could write a song for any one person who would it be?
A: I’d write one for my sister. She’s 12 and she’s in middle school and middle school is tough. I’m actually kind of in the process for writing this one song for my sister that will probably be on this record but it’s also tough because there’s so much I want to say to her. I want to tell her to be herself but in a way that’s not cheesy like “YOU CAN DO IT” because she is such a special person. She rocks.
WILLIAM ONYEABOR is hopefully but not likely a name you have heard before. The music of the mysterious man, released in the late 1970s and early 80s, characterizes a unique form of African electronic funk. After self-releasing eight albums during this time, he became a born-again Christian and essentially denounced his whole music career. To add another level of intrigue, there are rumors of his having went to Russia to study filmmaking.
After recently being “discovered” by Damon Albarn, David Byrne and other powerful male white British musicians, his music has gotten a little more exposure. There is apparently a short documentary released by Noisey (affiliated with Vice) on Onyeabor and — someone — has been trying to write a biography on him for a year and a half – but no luck there.
David Byrne’s world-music focused record label Luaka Bop recently re-released a lot of Onyeabor’s music with his approval and enthusiasm, but was unable to secure event a statement from him much less a live performance. He did, however, make an audio appearance on the radio program BBC 6 Music in 2014, where he stated that he “only create[s] music that will help the world,” and sort of announced to his fans that more music is to come… We can only hope.
I was first introduced to Onyeabor through a friend who has a habit of finding precious things in small crannies in the music world; I initially had absolutely no idea if this music came from one of this friend’s obscure, hyper-modern Soundcloud-only DJs from this decade or if it was from the middle of last century. If I ever find myself in Enugu in Eastern Nigeria, I will be looking to make contact with the High Chief William Onyeabor, operator of a flour mill and proponent of the local Christian music scene.
see another track: “Good Name”
Welcome to Deep Cuts! My name is cole, and for the remainder of this article I want you to think of me as your tour guide… or Sherpa into the amazing, mystical, and often dangerous world of music! I guess we should get right to it then. Hope you’re ready 😀
You may not know this about me, but… well… I’m not very good with women. It feels like I just don’t understand them! What do they like? Why do they smell so good? AHHH I don’t get it! This confusion, coupled with debilitating social anxiety, doesn’t leave many ways to gain… experience… so I’m left with two things: porn (I’ve learned everything I know about women from porn) and music.
Music! It’s like a window into someone’s soul, which is why I like to listen to the music of the female sex.
So why don’t we check out one of my fav’s, Lene Alexandra! Also known as Miss Boobs, Lene was a serious chart topper in Norway. Now she’s a mega hot body builder! Anyways, here’s Lene Alexandra’s My Boob’s Are OK.
As you hit play, I’m sure you were amazed by that killer beat. Whoa! Those rhythms sure got my head bumpin. Damn! But it doesn’t stop there. You see, once you get over those sick beats, you gotta really take a second and check the lyrics. Like I was saying earlier, if you’re like me, and don’t know women very well, just read this shit! I mean WOW! That’s what I like to call flowetry (flow + poetry). If you really pay attention, you’ll see that these lyrics just highlight the unbelievable pressure that growing women face everyday. These are lyrics that every girl around the world should shake it to!
My boobs, my boobs
My boobs are ok
Talk about self-acceptance! Now pay attention to the second verse…
I keep my religion in a Gucci purse
Oh my god, I just forgot the rest of this verse
Who cares? I never passed junior high
It was so hard!
My boobs, my boobs
My boobs are ok
I mean like, COME ON! She’s such a dynamic character. At first she struggles with religion and her intelligence, and then she realizes that the most important thing is really just the way she looks! If she’s got big bazongas, then what else matters? I mean… everything I’ve learned from porn seems to back this up. Everything is about sex!
Which brings us to her next song.
I’m very lonely 🙁
So sometimes I like to wallow in it, you know? I’ll get into a mood where all I want to listen to is Elliot Smith or the Cure… Well now I’ve got another chick to add to that list! Check these lines…
do you know the feeling when you
just really need a bang ?
do you know the feeling when you
need much more than your hand ?
do you know the feeling when you
want it so much ?
do you know the feeling when you
need to be touched ?
This shit is like straight outta my diary! What the heck Lene! How do you know my pain? When I heard these lyrics:
do you know the feeling when you
need much more than your hand ?
I was like, “YES! EVERY FUCKING DAY SINCE I WAS 11!!!”
God, I want you Lene.
Please, Please, Please…
let me get what I want!
I want to lick your sticky muscles
^ that’s her 😉
Pick a song you’ve been listening to a lot lately and listen to it again (for me, that song is Happiness by Elliott Smith).
Write/paint/sculpt/make art while it plays, using the song as a prompt.
Flash fictiony thing I wrote in response:
I see him walking up the callous mountain, and I feel a little small. He is wearing Keds, with holes where the sole should join the fabric. His toes poke out. The wind ruffles his hair; I think I see him smiling at the sun rising above the Rockies. Behind me, the house is quiet and drained – Andy and Shane sleep on couch, top-to-tail, in matching t-shirts that say ‘I Heart Xanax’, in the ‘I Heart NY’ style. Shane’s arm is sprawled across the makeshift table (wooden log underneath, piece of cardboard as the top), with a burnt out Parliament between his fingers, leaning towards the ashtray, like a sunflower towards the sun. I sit in a swinging chair on the porch, cradling a cup of Earl Grey like a premature child. The world in front of me is unfolding slowly, calmly – sun peaks out over the mountains; its streaks get in my eyes like loose strands of hair. Behind me, the people sleep through the aftermath of unhealthy decisions, sleep away the glaze, just sleep.
Words are taken from all Dave Matthews Band’s songs to create a single original composition.
Feel the light of love inside of you. In your eyes, it glows. Realize what you are. Sweet you rock and sweet you roll. You can’t always change the way things are, and, if nothing can be done, we’ll make the best of what’s around. All we are is wasting hours. Until the sun comes up, it’s all ours. The space between the tears we cry is the laughter that keeps us coming back for more. Just keep on with the sweet up and down. Come in from the cold for awhile, everything will be alright. Life’s too short to mind. You got love. Don’t turn it down. Turn it loud. Let it build. If you are tired, I’ll beat your burden. If you are dreaming I will not disturb you. I’ll clear the way for you. Float upon the notion we can work it out. Just love will put the hope back in our minds. It all comes down to nothing. Take what you can from your dreams. Make them as real as anything. Don’t burn the day away. You will rest your head, your strength once saving. How could we know that our lives would be so full of beautifully broken things. Caught in time, my head leaves me behind. Body fall cold and I see heaven. Spring sweet rhythm dance. As I shuffle through this broken town, think of you and you are all around me. A million reasons life to deny, let’s toss them away. Darling it’s all the same till’ we dance away. What I need is all around me. Forgive me in my haste. Breathe deep, take it all. Don’t you rob yourself of what you’re feeling, of all that you could be. Crazy as I may make my way through this world, it’s for no one but me to say which direction I shall turn. We make our passions pictures and we dance away. The sun is well asleep. Moon is high above. Fire grows from the east. I love the way you move. I love the way you talk. I love the way you move. We were walking just the other day. Wasting time let the hours roll by. Doing nothing, for the fun little taste of the good life. Whether right or wrong, makes us want to stay stay stay for awhile. For a moment this good time would never end. Oh little lonely eyes open and radiant. Celebrate we will, cause life is short but sweet for certain. Wait until I come and I won’t go. When we come I’ll let you come low. Why this lonely love. Oh it’s a shame to lose your way running wild. I just keep moving on. Why do I feel as if I’m in too deep? I’ve been praying for some way to show them I am not what they see. As heavy as stone and as blue as I go I was just wondering if you’d come along. If not I’ll go. I will go alone. But then came the day I climbed out of these safe limbs, ventured away. I will run and I’ll be okay. Let’s go drive till morning comes, watch the sunrise to fill our souls up. Lying under this spell you cast on me each moment. To each other we’ll be facing by love we’ll beat back the pain we’ve found. Long before these crowded streets. Funny when you’re small, the moon follows the car. I mean you look different but you haven’t changed. Now progress takes away what forever took to find. Now he’s falling hard. He feels the falling dark Conquered fear to climb. Once you get your gate, you will walk in tall. Crazy how you make it all alright love. No matter what the world. Dry your eyes. Let the love in there. The air is growing thick I swear like an angel you came down to fill me up. She gave it all she had but treasures slowly fade. You make a mess of me. I’ll dance a thousand steps for you. I’ll be whatever gets you through. She drinks to fill it up. There is no place to hide. Take me back. We move our lives for another day. Like skipping a beat, what if a great wave should wash us all away. Just thinking out loud. Well maybe it’s a game. You win some and you lose some. It’s alive right now deep and sweet within. Pouring through our veins intoxicate moving wine to tears drinking it deep. This love will open our world. Shake up your bones, shake up your feet. I’m saying open up, and let the rain keep pouring in. Wash out this tired notion. There are bad times. But that’s okay, just look for love in it. Everything must end sometime. Don’t burn the day away. And the answers were gone. Maybe I’m crazy, but laughing out loud makes the pain pass by. But as I walk there are voices behind me saying sinners sin come now and play. For such a lovely crime I’ll do the time. We will rise there as the buildings crumble. Love will be our wings. The passion rises up from the ashes when the world ends. Like a river bends, we’re going to float through the criss-cross of the mountains. Floating through the empty. And hope to keep us safe from the pain. We turn, so sure someone’s looking down. My empty pages are filling up with these wicked lies. Hard to find the words when you got so far to fall. But I hear deep in myself an echo. Into your heart I’ll beat again. I don’t want to wake up. Rain on me and then give me air. I won’t waste a minute here tonight. Love, you drive me to distraction. This time is so alive. Everybody’s tranced, dancing tonight. Then tell me what in the world I would sing for if I had it all. Then I could figure the whole damn puzzle out. Live safe, say why. The seasons sparing, we’re all drifting away. I’ll be whatever gets you through. I bent down to collect them and then she was gone. It seemed so unnerving, still somehow deserving. Why forests march to desert speed, a precious balance in between. All this talk about endless words, nothing’s done. A place so full of color yet overflowing. Come on, we’re taking the water. But while you’re dancing on the ground, don’t think of when you’re gone. Love, love, what more is there. We need the light of love in here. We got the freedom. It’s up to us to keep afloat. Pay no mind to taunts or advances. I take my chances on everyday. Oh look at how she listens. She just goes stumbling through her memories, staring out on to Grey Street. I dream myself a thousand times around the world. Take what you can from your dreams. Make them as real as anything. Come and relax now. No need to bear the weight of your worries. You let them all fall away. And the sound waves crash down. Breathing just to breathe, we might find some reason. So much space to believe. One hand is bleeding and the other holds a gun. While everything is open, everything is shut down. As I stand here, the ground beneath is nothing more than one point of view. The man stood there alone thinking… The man stood there twisting. Neon shines through smokey eyes tonight. Oh sweetest smile in a confident, come along. Tonight, we’re dancing in the faint light.. Digging a ditch where silence lives. Where all these worries weigh down on me will rise. Lift me up love. Fall away. Face down in the grass in the park in the middle of hot afternoon. Tried to look busy ’till the light turned green. Bring that beat back to me again. Days when all we did would never end. I woke up to the Angels. Mesmerized by your smile the way it lights up under your eyes. Smell like smoke and fire it’s burning in us all. But I’ve been walking for a thousand miles. Oh great light of love. I see you in life. It’s just a game I play. Cause you might die trying. Don’t know why I like to carry on the way I do. The believers stand behind him and smile as the day lights up with fire. Out on my window ledge. Hello again, it’s been too long. Everybody wake up if you’re living with your eyes closed. Troubles they may come and go, but good times they are gold. Just steady as we go. I’ll search the whole world through, and then you make it out a taste so sweet. Love is alive inside you. Let me like the real thing. Sing for your dinner. Carry on just a little bit longer. If you feel Angels in your hand, tear drops of joy runs down your face, you will rise. I think the sun’s a little brighter today. Make me lose my mind. Why be afraid of what we do not understand? Lying in the park on a beautiful day, sunshine in the grass and the children play. On the front step and a car goes by with the windows rolled down. Funny the way it is, not right or wrong. Somebody’s broken heart becomes your favorite song. On a soldier’s last breath, his baby’s being born. Standing on a bridge, watch the water pass underneath. With mountains and oceans and winters and rivers and stars. We will overcome this. We got a long way to go. But you, ya got to start somewhere. I only got a minute or two to spare and I got a whole damn life to fit in there. Oh, hold tight. Go down to the shore, kick off your shoes, dive in the empty ocean. Oh yeah, some days it’s so easy. Don’t always like the skin I’m in, but when I get it wrong, got to start again. Second day, the sun is high. You cannot quit me so quickly. Grace is all I’m asking. Your flesh, your bones, exactly what you need. Save your sermons for someone that’s afraid to love. Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed. Not falling but rising like rolling around. If these walls came crumbling down, fell so hard to make us lose our faith. From what’s left, you’d figure it out, still make lemonade taste like a sunny day. Eyes closed above the rooftops. All the sky for you. We gonna ride the blue all the way to the end of the world. Stars shine down from the black. Take what you need and we disappear. Without a trace, we’ll be gone. Well how could we know that are lives would be so full of beautifully broken things. The days are warm and the well is full of virtue because she likes the way it makes her feel, happiness so pure as this is surely worth the making. If you live life then you become what you are, with fire to keep us warm and tools we made from rocks and bones. We, in this image of fear and love, looked down upon from above. Can’t give up and hope God will intercede. Look and listen. Come on back, imagine that we could get it together. From good day into moonlight, now a night so fine. She stares up at the stars. Sitting still as a stone, watching. Why a world so full of mystery, a place so bitter and still so sweet. Naked you will see that we are all the same.