Shannen Moser

Oh, My Heart

Written by Casey Holmstrom

Shannen Moser, Music, Philly, Musician, DIY
Shannen Moser. Oh, My Heart image via Bandcamp.

“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.

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Good Friday

I’m baacckk! And what better day than today to be here? 1) It’s gorgeous outside ☀️, and 2) the leader of the free world just keeps giving us reasons to regret being cognizant. But since we can’t do anything about that, for at least one day, let’s just pretend he doesn’t exist and focus on some goodness! There’s plenty of it.

  • BECK. His tour is stopping in Minneapolis August 17 for the first time in 9 years! Of course I went ham on Etix and refreshed for a half hour until 10AM in case anything happened without me knowing and snagged tickets. And that just reminded me of this homage he orchestrated, covering David Bowie’s Sound and Vision. It fills my soul with joy, literally, almost to tears. The menagerie of vocalists and instrumentalists is too much. Swelling, hopeful, joyful.
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Image via NPR.

Anu and her family were followed by the BBC as it reported on funding for kids who need prosthetic limbs to pursue sports. NPR reports, “The National Health Service got a grant of some $2 million for that effort after last summer’s Paralympics, but the money was split between research efforts and the “active limbs” program, and further funding is in doubt.” To find out more or donate here in the U.S., check out Limbs for Life.

  • For some of you, this won’t mean squat because you were ahead of the game. For us here in Minnesota? FINALLY. Our Sunday liquor ban has been lifted, and I look forward to being able to buy whatever my heart desires whenever I want to all day Sunday.
  • So, when’s the premiere of Wonder Cat? 😹

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Little Dragon

Season High

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Image via Little Dragon.

Has the world has caught up to Little Dragon? Not this time. Combining the electro-pop-whatever Little Dragon has going on and marrying a little R&B in “Season High” makes for a weird, inviting adventure. Like being piqued with arousal with a lover, you’re not sure what comes next, but you know you’re on the cusp of something momentous.

The whole of “Season High” came off both abrasively fragile and dancey. Starting with “Celebrate,” it reminds us of 2010’s Foster the People in the very first seconds of the song. Eventually, the song unfolds into a reminiscent complement to Prince or Michael Jackson. It’s got pops and head nods galore–whispering while the beat drops, Little Dragon keeps the disco alive.

Continue reading “Little Dragon”

These times.

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
brokenhearted; separated
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

oh my God
oh my God
oh my God

I hope.

Heard this song by UK singer Rebecca Ferguson (oh, ha, just saw when I Googled her that she’s the one who said she’d sing at Donald Trump’s inauguration if she could sing Strange Fruit) on an episode of Being Mary Jane (which I stumbled upon on Netflix and was pleasantly surprised. It’s funny, thoughtful, and nuanced, also giving a spotlight to woman in business leadership. Props to creator Mara Brock Akil and Gabrielle Union, my new celebrity girl crush, lol. Watch out Tracee Ellis Ross…).

Ok, too many parentheticals…

I took note of the refrain “I hope,” repeated and giving you now choice but to hear it. And we hardly hear it so emphatically these days. Then listening to the lyrics, not only do we not hear that we hope for things nearly enough, we don’t hope the best for our enemies. You know, I’d like to think I don’t have any, because that word feels really strong. But you can’t stop life, and there are definitely people in my life who I’ve done wrong to as well as to me. This song is a good reminder of “live and let live,” and that sometimes, the best we can do is hope the best for each other. Not without frustration, struggle, or aggravation, but eventually, that’s all. Hope the best.

 

Grimes

Grimes. She’s weird. And Canadian. And perfect. Her DIY music (she does all the production herself) mixes light and dark moods with an eccentric array of electronic mixes. Her first few albums kept it pretty simple. There wasn’t a lot of interplay with different synth sounds. It took a while to grow on me, but the straightforward approach gave her music an airy quality.

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Image via Music Radar.

Her most recent album, Art Angels, definitely takes more a pop direction, but not like top-40 pop music. The hooks are there, but they’re artfully blended into a wild swirl of color. That’s actually the best way to approach Grimes–think of her like an animation (and she does draw a lot of inspiration from her own art and anime). There’s more about her that has to be seen and felt than you can glean just from hearing the songs (check out Venus Fly with Janelle Monae). Her aesthetic is fantasy. Dark, rich, and story-driven. She’s not for everyone, but if you decide to venture into her world, give yourself time to get acquainted with the sights and sounds.

The Supremes

Throwing it back to Motown today with The Supremes!

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Image via CNN.

I pulled out an old CD on my drive to work and was like, “Oh yeah…” Sometimes going back in time is refreshing–there’s so much current music, it can start to congeal into one homogeneous glob. Change it up a bit today!