Sunday, May 28, 2017

Epigram of the Day: "Spicy"

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Song of the Day: "We Live for Love" by Pat Benatar

Currently on my Victrola?

"We Live for Live" by the great Pat Benatar. It's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. Did you know Pat studied opera before going full rock goddess. It's everywhere and especially evident in this song as well as her tremulous version of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights."

I cut my teeth on Pat Benar as a child. My sister acquired her Get Nervous album from the old Columbia Record Club. I doubt if she ever paid for it—it was a crazy scam targeting preteens with more cool factor aspirations than pocket money.

Anyhow, I pretty much co-opted the album because I liked it more. My go-to song to belt out when I was at home being a latch-key kid with secret rockstar aspirations was "Shadows of the Night." Sometime when I'm feeling brave, cheeky or drunk, I may even post a vid of my a cappella version of the aforementioned treasure.

In the meantime, I give you a taste of '80s transcendence.

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Saturday, May 27, 2017

Epigram of the Day: "Intolerant"

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Song of the Day: "Ouija Board" by Morrissey

You know how some songs are just the perfect chasers for other songs. Of course, we all associate "We Will Rock You" by Queen with "We Are the Champions," because they were composed as companion pieces and are often played one after the other on the radio.

However, I just listened to one of my previous songs of the day, "I Wanna Be Adored" by the Stone Roses and something about the way the song ends absolutely begs it to be followed up by "Ouija Board" by Morrissey.

It's one of his earlier solo efforts, before he went a bit rockabilly. I had the single but left the vinyl orphaned to put the pic up on my Smiths- and Morrissey-plastered walls. To say I was a super-fan is an understatement, and to use the phrase "was a super-fan" is inaccurate, because while Morrissey and crew are less a part of my decorating scheme, they are no less a part of my heart.

And "Ouija Board," which I somehow simultaneously enjoyed and dismissed as a throwaway effort has only gained in my estimation over time.

It's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica.

By the way, my google feed tells me people are outraged and angry at Morrissey about something he said about the Manchester terrorist attack.

Dude. He's not a politician. He's a humorist, a songwriter, a singer and, like all of us, flawed. The guy got your through your adolescence, sniping critics. Say thank you and if you hear him saying something off the cuff and emotional, put your fingers in your ears and say, "la la la." End of opine.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Random Musings: On the cheesey allure of "Ghost Adventures"

Two weeks into unemployment. My new resume is almost ready and I'm organizing my newspaper clips. Far more importantly, I have become a fan of the show "Ghost Adventures."

The guys are hilarious. The lead guy in the Ed Hardy shirt with the bulging biceps.

The nondescript guy with the camera whose face I can't remember. And the other guy with the camera and the beard whose face goes full Neanderthal when something scares the bejeesus out of him.

I just watched a recorded episode where they went to this old abandoned munitions factory. It was the second time I watched it but, in my defense, I was sharing the wonder with Brian. 

Number-one, there is some weird stuff that goes on in the building, particularly sounds and voices. Number-two, I can't believe how ernest and monosyllabic the guys are. 

But they're such bros that it's comforting. If I were every to submit myself to a lockdown in a haunted place—other than my own mind—I would want that trio there. 

I will say this. If there is such a thing as ghosts and the lore is true that they need to be coaxed off the earth, it's kinda sad that the guys just check out the paranormal activity but don't try to help. 

Couldn't they, shouldn't they, do something like throw holy water on the ground or tell the ghosts they're not dead and encourage them to go into the light? I dunno. 

Also, I think even a McDonald's Play Place or an orchid hothouse or a carwash or a dog-groomers would look freaky when illuminated by a night-vision camera. 

So there it is. I wanna hang ou with the guys from "Ghost Adventures." I also kind of wanna sleep in the lead guy's Ed Hardy T-shirt. Just kidding on that last note. I juste wanted to see if you read this whole post. 

And now I give you a few choice "Ghost Adventure" memes:

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Random Musings: Ariana Grande and the Family Circus

The article below this post—about an open letter from a "redneck" father of three girls encouraging Ariana Grande after the terrorist attack in Manchester at her concert—is really sweet and brought a tear to my eye.

I've become increasingly sentimental due to motherhood or just admitting, astrologically speaking, that I'm a Cancer.

Pretty soon I'll be taking a leaf from my Great-Grandmother Marcia. She would clip out especially adorable "Family Circus comics" from the funny pages and then dig them out of her voluminous purse to share them with whoever might get a kick out of them.

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Everyone has fallen in love with this dad's letter to Ariana Grande

A father of three Ariana Grande fans has penned an open letter to the pop star, offering some "redneck love from a daddy of daughters" following the heartbreaking events at Manchester arena. The letter by Patrick Millsaps from Georgia, U.S. has since gone viral, gaining almost 20K retweets and over 40K likes.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Song of the Day: "Keep it Close to Me" by Yumi Zouma

This quiet indie dream pop outfit Yumi Zouma, which is part of what I'm learning is a burgeoning New Zealand scene, proves you don't have to kick and scream to make an impression. As for those of you into the romancing, this just might be the Sade of 2017.

This song is called "Keep It Close to Me." The beats be dropping like rain on a drum-kit left in the garden, and vocalist Christie Simpson is compelling and, dare I say, soothing. The vid captures the untamed and unexpected soul of childhood. I'm reminded of a quote from "Slingblade," which is a lovely movie despite the chill of violence.

Carl, seemingly the slowest of men, understands the vulnerability of the movie's youngest protagonist. As he prepares to leave town in the most dramatic of ways, he asks standup guy and standup gay Vaughan Cunningham, played in a virtuoso turn by the late great John Ritter, to take care of the boy.

"That Frank, he lives inside of his own heart. That's an awful big place to live in."

Back to my song of the day. I know. I'm a evangelist, and it's possible my mention of the music sharing site grows tiresome. But I can't take a serious ramble through this digital depository without finding something special.

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Song of the Day: "Johnny & Mary" by Bryan Ferry & Todd Terje

A new-ish song (2015) featuring legendary Roxy Music frontman Brian Ferry? Is this the real life or is this just fantasy.

There's a bit of a rasp to Mr. Ferry's previously angelic vibrato, but it's not unwelcome in this moody but pretty tune.  And while the music was likely created by Todd Terje, whom I'm told is a DJ and multi-instrumentalist, there's a touch of Brian Eno in here—moments replete with the ambience of "Dance Away" or "Slave to Love."

Todd is bearded and Norwegian and, as everyone knows, when it comes to ethereal coolness nowadays, all signs point north. Way north.

As far as looks because, as a former coworker, gay if that matters, has told me, "You just want to kiss all the boys," weathered looks good on Brian Ferry, who during his youth could edge towards fey.

Did you know, by the way, that Brian Ferry was dating Jerry Hall when that scamp Mick Jagger stole her away?

 Well, not everyone has moves like Jagger.

The song builds slowly towards epic and is crying to be in a David Lynch scene, but not a creepy one, per say.

Yes, song of the day on battlestar eclectica is "Johnny & Mary" by Brian Ferry & Todd Terje.

Postscript: I thought this song was a remake but I couldn't place it. It turns out that it's a cover of a song by Robert Palmer called "Johnny and Mary." While the Robert Palmer version is more new wave and poppy, it still has deep lyrics and a lovely melody.

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Random Musings: It's your happy birthday!

Yesterday, while I was engaging in one of my favorite hobbies, feeling sorry for myself, Savannah, 3, proffered this declaration:

"It's your happy birthday!"

She then handed me some kind of plastic trinket wrapped in Play-doh as a gift.

I think she's onto something and, in fact, all young children—if they have the happy homes they deserve—are onto something. Enjoy the moment and when life hands you lemons, knead some clay.

In fact, that is going to be my new daily mirror affirmation. "It's your happy birthday!"

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

That cool quote by Dolly Parton

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Song of the Day: "Bill Murray" by Phantogram

First of all, Bill Murray. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

You have given me so much happiness, simply by acting like life is a joke and then having the good grace to let me think I'm in on it.

 I'll tell you the truth. If we were going by looks alone, you would never have been a leading man. Acne scars and a small mouth. (I promise, that's the worst thing I could ever say about you, and I'm already sorry I said it.)

But your sheer charisma—and now I'm picturing you talking about Dr. Leo Marvin in "What About Bob," championing "the sheer horse sense of the guy"—makes you the ultimate leading man.

You've got a knock-out combination of intelligence, acerbic wit and a mind that one can tell—with just a glance—can't be caged by any dull societal matrix.

And so we believe it when Sigourney Weaver in "Ghostbusters" falls for you, and when Andie McDowell falls for you in "Groundhog Day" and when Scarlett Johanstson more than half falls for you in "Lost in Translation." And now I'm hearing you say "For relaxing times, make it Santori time" as you lift a glass of whiskey.

Why am I writing this blog as though I'm directly addressing Bill Murray? Because I feel it is the most fitting way to show that I am an obsessive Bill Murray fan. I am, by the way, lately cultivating my fan-ship for anything that catches my fancy, from the show "Beat Bobby Flay" to consuming stacks of books to pondering reactivating my withered World of Warcraft account.

This is because it has recently become evident to me that the fan-girl and the fan-boy—call them connoisseurs if you prefer—are truly the happiest among us. Because when they don't get a jolt of adrenaline and serotonin through worldly achievements and approbation, they can just put on their favorite song, show or game. Or, given that here in Southern California it's Renaissance Faire time, they can dress up in breeches or a bustier and immerse themselves in times long past.

So, back to Bill Murray. Which of his movies have I watched over and over, so that I can recite his lines? "Groundhog Day," "What About Bob?" "Ghostbusters," "The Man Who Knew too Little" and "Garfield," to name a few.

I know what you're thinking. Garfield? Why would anyone list a movie starring a cheesey animated tabby (voiced by, you got it, Bill Murray) over, say, a Wes Anderson film. It's because I currently have a 3-year-old who watches the movie over and over, simply because of Bill Murray's smarmy, mocking voice ("You're not just my owner. You're my primary caregiver!"), I don't mind.

Okay, I've lost track of myself. I meant to share my latest song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. It is "Bill Murray" by Phantogram. The song hails from 2014. 

The lyrics aren't biographical, or even semi-biographical: "Am I lonely? Oh, it feels like/When the day breaks/Am I wanted inside"'Til you feel liked/Wave a goodbye/When you're heart's not in line/Burning Star/Burning Star" and so forth. 

The tune and the words are undoubtedly wistful, which brings me to another aspect of Bill Murray. He has the look and feel of sadness. We understand he's whistling in the dark because life's tough. He had one of his best friends, John Belushi, die when he was a young man and another SNL friend, Gilda Radner, die when he was just a bit older. He fell out with longtime writing and acting partner Harold Ramis, and Harold died before they repaired the rift. 

I'm sure that's just the tip of the iceberg, but it makes it so we resonate with this great talent and it also allows him to take on rolls that are as serious as they are comedic. 

You may have noticed that I am no longer directing my blog personally to Bill Murray. Who am I kidding? He doesn't know me. Yet. 

But anywho—and now I'm hearing Groundhog Day's Ned Ryerson ("Bing!") saying, 'It's all a crapshoot anywho—the Internet tells me how the song got it's name. Josh Carter, half of the duo that is the alt indie electro rock outfit that is Phantagram. the other half is Sarah Barthel, whose boredly ethereal voice brings to mind just the kind of shoegaze band that would end up on a soundtrack composed by the endlessly hip Sophia Coppola. 

Which brings us full circle to "Lost in Translation," in which Bill Murray is not just a lead actor but an unforgettable lead actor. 

Outside of my husband, I can't think of anyone whose shoulder I'd rather rest my head on.  And now, without further ado, here is "Bill Murray" by Phantogram.

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Song of the Day: "Feel Okay" ft. Lethal Bizzle" by Girli

This song has it all: melodic chorus, danceable beat and rap featuring heavy English accents. Plus, I would give it my vote for the best use of the word "banter."

Song of the day on battlestar eclectica is "Feel Okay" ft. Lethal Bizzle by Girli

And who, you may ask, is GIRLI. It's a valid question, one I share. She is, according to my friend and confidante Wikipedia, an English pop musician whose real name is Milly Toomey. She's cute and looks hella fun.

I know what you're saying. Don't forget to find out who Lethal Bizzle is. After all, this tune straight up features him. He's an English rapper whose real name is Maxwell Ansah. I'm told "he emerged in 2002 as a grime MC as part of More Fire Crew, with their grime single 'Oi!' charting in the top 10 of the UK singles Chart.

As always, when attempting, all hubris-like, to acquire encyclopedic music knowledge, one question leads to another. What is grime? I know the word means dirt and filth, but apparently it's also a music genre. What kind of genre? That's a topic for another blog. 

I'm currently reading John Cleese's biography, "So Anyway," which was unaccountably lodged on the shelves in the book section of my local 99 cent store. I've only read 30 pages and it's already worth thrice that.

When watching old episodes of Monty Python, I've always had a crush on John Cleese. What can I say? I'm shacked up with a 6-foot-5 guy who is far skinnier than me. I love me a tall drink of water.

I guess I'll end this English love fest by saying I feel sad about the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. Why mess with young people who have saved up their money to see a fun pop show? Music is meant to equal peace.

I should warn you, however, that this particular piece of music, the quite fun "Feel Okay" includes a couple of prominent f-bombs along with s-bombs and likely other four letter words of mass destruction. If you like your lyrics soapy clean, don't click on this link.

Otherwise, get ready to twerk or at least bob your head.

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Song of the Day: "End of the Party" by The English Beat

So here I am, editing someone's book and trying not to worry that I got laid off a little more than a week ago.

I need a boost. I need a smile. I need pleasure.

No, I'm not about to pop a pill or do a line. I'm putting on a song that get's me every time. Song of the Day on "Battlestar Eclectica" is "End of the Party" by The English Beat.

By the way, let's talk a moment about Dave Wakeling and his voice. Is anyone's voice more honeyed an endearing? I could go swimming in that vibrato. The bloke's not bad to look at either.

I'm going to put this wonderful love song on in just a moment, but let me first name a few—just a fe—voices that are more than the sum of their parts.

1. Dean Martin—Love and humor entwined like a strand of gin-stained DNA.
2. Billy Bragg—A cockney accent hasn't sounded so good since "My Fair Lady"
3. Brian Ferry of Roxy Music fame—his voice literally is the corsage in the tuxedo of a groomsman at a wedding who is simultaneously reminded of his endless loneliness and romantically inclined toward the maid of honor. Good luck, sir.

I think I'll stop gabbing and cut to the chase. "End of the Party" is glittery spray that can be applied to the most mundane and tiresome of life's moments.

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Song of the Day: "Violet" by Marika Hackman

"Violet" by Marika Hackman is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica.

The first thing I noticed, while clicking on this song on my favorite music discovery site was the name. "Violet" is the name of one of the best songs off Hole's breakthrough album "Live Through This," which was everything to me when I was new in college and just aging out of my teen years. That, along with "Miss World," was one of the first songs I ever tackled on guitar.

But back to this "Violet." The name is appropriate because while it's more of a whisper than a roar, it's proof positive that the grunge girl, the riot grrl of the early '90s hasn't gone away. She's just gotten wise to the situation.

If you have a touch of goth outlining your heart in charcoal, you'll also resonate with the eerie melancholy of this tune.

And now, onto the meat and potatoes of this post. Who is Marika Hackman? Could she be Gene Hackman's daughter, or is that just wishful thinking?

According to the internet, Marika Hackman is an English vocalist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter. She's also an aquarius, for those of you who are astrologically inclined, sharing a birthday of February 17 with my dear father.

She made a splash previously with a song called "Boyfriend," which I will now dutifully listen to and which will hopefully rock my socks off.

Sometimes I ask myself, what is Battlestar Eclectica about. Certainly, I've let myself off the hook by including the word eclectic in its title, meaning I can post about pretty much anything.

The truth is, though, amid this glut of information out there, I—a classically trained journalist and all-around writer—am always loathe to post anything I think will just add to the chatter out there. Our brains deserve a break today, by which I mean give me good information or give me none.

I think when it comes to posting music, new and old, that listeners may like, my goal is one of curation. I listen to four songs and like one of them. I then share the one I like. If you are a kindred spirit or kindred to a kindred spirit, you may like it too.

I have yet to learn whether Marika Hackman, age 25 and author of a new album called "I"m Not Your Man," will be part of my permanent sonic landscape.

But this song is cool. Real cool.

Is it just me or does the cover art for the song evoke a David Hockney painting?

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Song of the Day: "I Wanna Be Adored" by the Stone Roses

Today's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica is "I Wanna Be Adored" by The Stone Roses. It's off the Manchester-based band's from-God's-mouth-to-my-ears debut, the eponymous 1989 record The Stone Roses.

This band was part of my musical pantheon as a disaffected '80s/'90s teen. Yes, I'll admit it, I'm from Generation X. We were raised on political disillusionment and musical excellence, which is a recipe for a cynical sort of resilience, if I've ever heard of one.

One of the things this band is most noted for—besides its dream-rock quality and unerring excellence in mood and execution—is its drummer, Reni. He is so steady he's like a drum machine, only one with a soul.

If you want further proof if his prowess, listen to a song called "Fool's Gold."

Lead singer Ian Brown is quite handsome, or was, in a sort of Monkees member on drugs kind of way, which never hurts when you're a fan-girling teen. He's cool-looking as an oldish guy, too, I've learned in today's Internet search. Those cheekbones.

Who else would dare to admit that they are capable of the worst, as well as the best, and to say out loud that they want all of the attention now?  I guess me, while I'm singing along to this song: "I don't have to sell my soul. He's already in me.. .I wanna be adored. . .You adore me"

By the way, the lyrics excerpted above are actually THE lyrics to the song, meaning that's about it. Ian and the boys know that when you've got an epic line, let alone two epic lines, stick a fork in you. You're done.

For further perfection, this 42-year-old fan suggests you listen to the soaring "Elephant Stone," off the same album.

They're still around and touring in the UK at the moment, bye the bye. I'm certain they've aged like a fine wine.

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Song of the Day: "Coachella-Woodstock in my Mind" by Lana del Rey

Here's the third single off Lana del Ray's upcoming fourth album, "Lust for Life." It's called "Coachella—Woodstock in My Mind" and it's song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica.

Oh, but first, I've got to get something off my chest.

Damn you, Lana del Rey. I always try to stop from being drawn in by your literary  conceits—comparing Coachella to Woodstock, for goodness sakes—your unflagging melancholy and your über-produced soundscape evoking that fleeting moment of coolness and youth before the fall. But I can't help it. I love everything you do.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Bite sized bio: "Be water, my friend."

I got laid off on Friday from the community newspaper I've worked at for four years and for three years before that during another stint. Financial reasons, I'm told.

It's scary and stressful, changing things up with what feels like no safety net—although I will be filing for unemployment.

I've got options, everyone tells me. I've got options, I tell myself. But on this my second day with no work, I'm just taking it one minute at a time.

I was thinking this morning. Being suddenly unemployed, I feel like water that was in a glass and now the glass has broken. But according to the great sage Bruce Lee, that might not be a bad thing.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Etsy shopping find of the day: Beeswax food wraps/covers

Note to self: Live more mindfully in the coming months and years.

In the near future, I will jettison all the wasteful plastic quart bags, sandwich bags, plastic wrap and the like, which is just petroleum junk upon petroleum junk adding to landfills.

The redbarnwraps site on offers these beeswax food wraps/covers, selling them in bundles of three wraps—which can be reused for a nice bit.

They feature lovely prints and are made with cotton, beeswax, jojoba oil and pine rosin that I'm told are responsibly sourced. The cost is $18.

It's the age of the bohemian goddess, who rejects corporate poison and a culture of faceless consumerism, in favor of things that are useful and pretty and exemplify the Hindu concept of ahimsa, which means non-harm.

Come on, partners in patchouli! Who's in?

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Song of the Day: "Particle" by Hundred Waters

"Particle" by Hundred Waters is song of the day on battlestar eclectica. It's a compelling mix if electro-futurism and ethereality, which puts me in mind of Imogen Heap.

I'm told by my friend and confidant Wikipedia that  Hundred Waters could be called indie rock, electronic or art rock and that the band was formed in 2011 in Gainsville, Florida.

It's a real good find, and I look forward to delving further into this trio's catalogue.

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Song of the Day: "Shark Smile" by Big Thief

"Shark Smile" by Big Thief is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica.

Adrianne Lenker, lead singer of this Brooklyn-based indie pop/rock outfit, has a voice with the honey-drenched warmth and time-stoping langour of Mazzy Star lead singer Hope Sandoval. This gem of a tune is also kissed by just a touch of Sun Records-style Country.

How I love a good music find! Thanks again to my go-to music sharing site,

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Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Song of the Day: "Want You Back" by HAIM

"Want You Back" by HAIM is a super-positive song that I suspect will be part of my summer soundtrack. The production is awesome, it's catchy, and the ladies' voices are smooth like honey.

From Wikipedia, I learned for the first time that the band's is no pronounced haim, as I've been saying it, by hy-em, as in the Hebrew word for life. As in The Fiddler on the Roof, when Tevye and friends sing the wedding song: "To life, to life, l'chaim!"

The group consists of three sisters: Este Haim on bass, Danielle Haim on guitars and lead vocals and Alaina Haim on guitars and keyboards. Their are an indie pop rock band with a touch of soul, if you must pin the sound down.

"Want you back" is off Haim's new album "Something to Tell You."

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Song of the Day: "Slip Away" by Perfume Genius

"Slip Away" by Perfume Genius is song of the day on Battlestar Eclectica. Perfume Genius, I'm told, is a Seattle-based solo endeavor by Mike Hadreas and as well as being considered indie pop or indie rock falls into a genre called chamber pop. I'll take it.

What lush production he brings to the table!

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Song of the Day: "No Curse" by Waxahatchee

I'm going to say something controversial. Waxahatchee is my favorite new-to-me group. I'm loving everything played by these bad-ass indie-rock ladies. The band, Sir Wikepedia informs me, was formed in 2010 by the American singer-songwriter Katie Crutchfield.

Their song "No Curse" is song of the day on battlestar eclectica.

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Song of the Day: "Ponytail" by Wild Beasts

This song is sexy and funky and features a touch of Nine Inch Nails/Ween production values. It's a winning combination. It's "Ponytail" by Wild Beasts, which informs me is in the category of art-rock along with indie-rock, pop-rock and alt-rock.

Sometimes it's hard to keep up with all these hyphenates. I say just enjoy this mid-morning wakeup call!

Wild Beasts is an indie outfit, featuring vocals by Ben Little and Hayden Thorpe.

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Song of the Day: "Lovelorn" by Sadie Horler

Today's song of the day is "Lovelorn" by Sadie Horler. A sweet voice with an Irish accent gets me every time. And the setting for the vid is so picturesque, reminding me that I truly live in squalor!

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