“Oh, My Heart” is the third album from Philly’s DIY scene’s Shannen Moser. It injects something vital into the listener, like nutrients to a healthy garden. The vibe holds a blend of the Dixie Chicks’ banjo storytelling and harmonizing and a more mature version of Girlpool’s innocent emotional tolls of growing older. Girlpool also plays in the same Philadelphia circles as Moser. “Oh, My Heart” sings to the heart of spring and the melt of winter.
The opening track, “I’m Going Home (Sacred Heart),” is a lilting intro with an almost gospel-sounding timbre. As the dust settles, “Alex (282)” sets you on solid ground. Moser inflicts her audience with a voice similar to Marissa Paternoster of the Screaming Females.
My heart is heavy for all the mayhem in the world. Though it’s nothing new, and every day brings a conflict, personal, national or global, something about today’s news of the shooting in San Bernardino sits heavy on me. I’m currently at a loss for how to articulate all the different ways we can be hurt and abused, and I feel art is the only salve because of the supernatural way it carries all our questions and uncertainty. So, here are some lyrics from a song by the band Jars of Clay (song below), which I keep typed out on my refrigerator, because it so simply illustrates a lack of answers. It acknowledges grief and failure, and somehow there’s comfort in knowing we’re all working uphill.
liars and fools; sons and failures
thieves will always say
lost and found; ailing wanderers
healers always say
whores and angels; men with problems
leavers always say
orphans always say
war creators; racial haters
preachers always say
distant fathers; fallen warriors
givers always say
pilgrim saints; lonely widows
users always say
fearful mothers; watchful doubters
saviors always say
sometimes I cannot forgive
these days, mercy cuts so deep
if the world was how it should be, maybe I could get some sleep
while I lay, I dream we’re better,
scales were gone and faces light
when we wake, we hate our brother
we still move to hurt each other
sometimes I can close my eyes,
and all the fear that keeps me silent falls below my heavy breathing,
what makes me so badly bent?
we all have a chance to murder
we all feel the need for wonder
we still want to be reminded that the pain is worth the thunder
sometimes when I lose my grip, I wonder what to make of heaven
all the times I thought to reach up
all the times I had to give
babies underneath their beds
hospitals that cannot treat all the wounds that money causes,
all the comforts of cathedrals
all the cries of thirsty children – this is our inheritance
all the rage of watching mothers – this is our greatest offense
Sending up a Friday PSA about this fabulous new singer, Vagabon (no “d”–not the British band Google would have you believe). She was recently featured on NPR’s First Listen for her upcoming second album, Infinite Worlds. Only her first album, Persian Garden, is available on Spotify, currently. As shitty as Spotify is for independent artists, I’m plugging it here because you have to hear it right away, somehow. If you can get your hands on her actual album or support her live, that would be ideal! You can also listen on her Band Camp page.
Vagabon (Laetitia Tamko) is a multi-instrumentalist and plays most, if not all, of her own music. Her sound carries hints of classic 90s grunge mood with intense guitar and raspy vocals a la Feist or Cat Power–that languid, but raw yearning that rests on top of the instrumentation. But Laetitia uses the sound wisely. It’s gently interspersed throughout the songs like punctuation to her introspective lyrics. Listening to Persian Garden, I imagined myself on a long car ride, staring out the window at the passing scenery. The enclosed space giving time to dwell in all the emotions around my various memories.
From Persian Garden, Sharks:
“I am so small.
My feet can barely touch the floor
on the bus where everybody’s tall.
I surrender myself.
Run and tell everybody that Laetitia is a small fish.
I’m just a small fish.”
Ashlee Haze. This girl is wild. Her slam poem “For Colored Girls (The Missy Elliott Poem)” is featured on Blood Orange’s latest album Freetown Sound, sampled on the first track “By Ourselves” (others are on there too like De La Soul and Venus Extravaganza from the documentary Paris is Burning). In the song, her cadence bursts in on top of intertwining saxophones. There’s so much earnestness and youth. You feel like you did as a kid on a summer afternoon–everything is yours and your biggest dream is going to materialize from the blue sky.