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"Alcott" - The National + Taylor Swift/"Candy Necklace" - Lana Del Rey + Jon Batiste

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"Drag Queens Are Much Much Much Much Safer than AR-15s" - Benjamin Stranger

That's quite the title, isn't it? But much truth to it - and definitely a very pertinent, urgent topic that is top of mind for a lot of Americans right now. This is a short and to-the-point acoustic song from Nashville-based singer-songwriter Benjamin Stranger, a new discovery for me personally. His music has a stripped-down indie feel to it, and calls to mind to me the work of Nick Cave, a little Josh Ritter, and maybe a hint of Tom Waits, too. You can listen to the track below and take a moment to reflect on this increasingly disturbing facet of the culture wars our country is enveloped in.  Here's another more Waits-esque song from Benjamin Stranger, appropriately titled "Strange Things."

Lana & Annie New Releases

Hi! Sorry for the long hiatus between posts - something something John Lennon "life happens when you're making other plans" blah blah blah. TL;DR I've been busy with not a lot of time for hobbies, except for today when I'm consciously carving out a little bit of time to do some light music writing (and if I'm feeling esp. daring, creative writing, but let's not get CRAZY). And what perfect timing, as two of my favorite singers - Annie and Lana Del Rey - have new projects bubbling. I try to highlight lesser-known artists when I can on this blog (I have tried for years) but sometimes you must feature well-known artists that you nonetheless love. So here we are.  First up, the new Annie single is actually a collaboration with Alan Braxe. I honestly had no clue who Alan Braxe was until "Never Coming Back" dropped about a week ago. He is a French electronic musician responsible for plenty of remixes over the years, such as one for Annie's arguab

"Come and Find Me" - Liela Moss

  Liela Moss - a singer-songwriter well known for her work with the garage rock band The Duke Spirit - is set to put forth her most recent solo effort, "Internal Working Model," on January 13th. The album features collaborations with the legendary Gary Numan as well as musician Jenny Beth (probably best recognized as the lead singer of Savages). The track "Come and Find Me" - the most recent single off the album - is gritty, dark, hypnotic, and sexy (which is a word I cringe to use, but it works here.) It has a distinct swagger that plays off the vibe of "Internal Working Model." Says Moss about the album's ethos, "We see the beneficiaries of the status quo suppress realness and well-being by selling you a banal alternative that upholds their agenda. I want to add to the firepower to burn that old house down." You can read an interview I did with Liela Moss a few years ago here . 

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2022

I haven't written a blog post on movies in probably a decade-ish, but since 2020 I've actively taken it upon myself (lol) to watch more films. The site Letterboxd has been an incredible help with that! I am by no means a huge film buff or cinephile - I like movies way more than TV series (the messy but also gay recent season of "Emily in Paris" aside) so I tend to watch them more than anything else. With all that being said, I watched 40+ films this year, which also proves I don't have much of a personal life. In no particular order, here are my favorites. And to get this out of the way, the worst films I watched were "Disenchanted" (disappointingly) and "The Poughkeepsie Tapes." NOTE: I still haven't watched a lot of films I've wanted to, like "Babylon," but I doubt I'll be able to get to them before the year ends. Womp womp.  NOTE NOTE: I am sure better lists exist! NOTE NOTE NOTE: Not all of these films came out in 2022

The New Tom Vek

"Eclectic one-man band" Tom Vek has been pretty prolific about creating music over the last few decades. And much to our benefit! You might not hear a lot about him these days at least stateside (unless you're Florence ) but rest assured he's still an extremely active guy. Case in point, I checked out his latest album, "Newer Symbols." As the name may imply, it's a reimagining of his 2020 album, "New Symbols." Reimagining or not though, this album (just a little more than 30 minutes) stands quite well on its own. Check out the 2022 version of "Washed Up on the Beach" - my personal favorite - here; I would urge you to check out this release if you like electronic music in any variety. It feels like some of his finest work I've heard; experimental yet approachable. Warm while still fairly cool. Some tracks don't quite land but on the whole it's a very good listen, one of my favorites of this past year.

"Made of Sugar" - Jacklen Ro

If you're looking for some sunny indie pop, I am happy to tell you that "Made of Sugar" lives up to its name. This new single from the duo Jacklen Ro clocks in at under 3 minutes of pure joy. And not shockingly, the twee-esque song is off their debut LP which is also titled "Sunshine I'm Counting on You." Although the song might seem like a light and feel-good throwback, don't be deceived! The band explained what they intended with the song, saying "'Made of Sugar' is about an on-and-off relationship from the perspective of someone who wants to get to the next level and be committed. It's the feeling of being let down by someone you thought you knew and could trust. It's the cycle of addiction to empty validation." We've all been there, I'm sure! I know I have.  "Sunshine I'm Counting on You" is out now on Lollipop Records.