Monday, August 15, 2016

Girl Crushes and Hot Summer Music

So far, 2016 has turned out to be a bang up year in terms of losing musical legends.  As a "professional personality", it's my job to spin these events in the most thoughtful way possible. One big thing I've learned from all of these passings is that we love artists not because we know them personally, but, because their art helps us know ourselves better.  At this point, I think I know myself pretty well but I can always get on board with somebody who's going down a similar path.

Recently, there are 2 artists that have come into my orbit recently that have validated my existence - Esme Patterson & Jarryd James.  Allow me to introduce you to them:

Esme Patterson

Most people probably know Esme Patterson as the lady singing with Shakey Graves on "Dearly Departed".  If you do a bit of digging, Esme's done some really amazing things on her own & with her old bands, Paper Bird & Harpoontang #bestbandnamever.  Last year, she got some buzz with her "Woman to Woman" eps, where she sings from the perspective of women immortalized in song, i.e., "Alison", "Jolene", "Lola", "Billie Jean". etc..  The lyrics & video for the Billie Jean song, "What Do You Call A Woman" still gives me chills:

Aside from loving her sound, I've never heard anyone capture the female experience the way she has.  For as many strides as have been made in equality, there's still this "thing" where the end goal for women is marriage, family, & career, i.e. "having it all".  For some of us, "having it all" doesn't necessarily mean that traditional path - and that's what Esme's songs are all about.  Between figuring out who you are alone and in the context of a relationship, hopes, fears, reflections - it's all there.  It's the rare occasion I've come across a body of art so validating for me personally.  I don't give away my affections easily but I have a serious girl crush on her.  

Since Esme's a working musician, she's on the road multiple times a year.  Seeing her live is energizing - she's completely electric on stage.  If her studio stuff doesn't draw you in, the live show will.  It's impossible to not love her.  Right now, she's still in a space where she works her own merch table.  My husband made her night by making it rain on her, buying one of everything with a stack of $2 bills...which are her favorite denomination.  So, buy her album online; go see her live; and buy more merch with $2s.  A girl's gotta eat & buy guitar strings, so, help her out!

Jarryd James
The second artist who has completely grabbed my attention is Jarryd James.  His story has a been a bit winding in the US. In 2015, he made some quick in roads in his native Australia and was immediately optioned in the US.  Last Spring, there was a big push around "Do You Remember" & we all loved it at the station.  Then, things just tailed off.  While I don't have the back story, it seems like Interscope may have put him back in the studio to do a different album for this market.  Finally, 2 weeks ago, instead of "Thirty One", we in the US got "High" (not that kind of high...I wish) and it's as good as his Australian debut but with a few different tracks.  

What grabbed me about his music is the pure sensuality & sincerity of it.  Jarryd's music the audio equivalent of making out on a really hot night with somebody you've been dying to get with.  If that isn't the main driving force of this existence, I don't know what is.  Even though we had to wait a year to get "High" (I...can't...stop...smiling...), July 2016 was the perfect time with the unprecedented heat waves across the US.  

Needless to say, I was quite excited for his show with Broods last week.  Jarryd & his band went on first & were super tight, sounding exactly like the record.  Surprisingly, there was a large LED screen behind him which showed nothing but explosions.  I agree with the metaphor but it sort of detracted from the mood.   Given how hot his sound is, I would've preferred to see him in a bit more of an intimate light and feel the explosions through the music vs. watching them on screen.  I'll take what I can get though.

If the opportunity ever presented itself, I'd love the opportunity to interview him.  He looks very introspective/sad in all his photos so I get the impression he's got a lot going on his head.  It's a real privilege to be able to pick somebody's brain about his or her art if they're up for talking about it. 

Anyway, 2 summer recommendations for you! As always, I am all ears if you've got somebody I should check out.