Black Lives Matter. The fact that it needs to be said shows how very far we still have to go as a country. We hear you and we are with you.
Every month since March 2017, I've been putting together a playlist covering songs discovered in different and unique ways over the course of said month. The ways I hear the songs put on the playlist always vary! Maybe CHIRP was playing a new favorite band, maybe I was catching a show and actually got there in time to see the opener, maybe I was watching TV and a cool song came on during a pivotal character moment!
After giving it some thought, CHIRP has graciously provided me the opportunity to bring you "Crash Revere's Monthly Mash-Up," a blog providing you the track list for every monthly playlist as well as an explanation (possibly a defense) to how and why each of the songs found their ways onto the playlist and into my heart.
DFA decided to release a post-punk synth-pop album in-between their electronic dance mixes and LCD Soundsystem live recordings and I am all over it. The title track brings us such hits as a fade in, reverb on everything, catchy drums, and straightforward lyrics. I thought this album was fun, easy to listen to, and not the least bit pretentious. This is my lo-fi '80s synth track of the month!
March 2020 was the first month of the Shelter taking place in Illinois, so this song ended up being more fitting than I expected. Truthfully though, I found this song off a web-cartoonist's "AA" playlist and I put it on this playlist because after getting back home from Germany after six weeks, I decided to cool it with the drinking. The New Pornographers could be considered a super-band at this point if you look at the different artists that have been a part of it, and this song really shows off their skills when they collaborate. Somehow haunting and uplifting at the same time, the only thing I can say is that I should've learned a German word that means both those things so I could describe the song better.
written by DJ moimoi
New year, new resolutions to get our sh*t together – whether that’s improving our eating, sleeping, and exercise (all good things) or just clearing out our watchlists while we’re stuck inside over the cold winter months.
One resolution that checks both boxes for self-improvement and entertainment is to read more, and here are some tips to ensure success:
First, figure out when you have time to read: On your commute to work? On the treadmill? Waiting in the allergist’s lobby or in line for a chicken sandwich? All of these and more can be opportunities to get some reading in, if you consider your selections wisely. For example, you don’t want to carry a Tolstoy novel around on your daily commute – that might make better bedside reading or work better on an e-reader. Poetry and graphic novels are great to pick up and put down when you’re multi-tasking. And paperbacks can be thrown around, consumed, and traded in with zero guilt (especially if you shop local and/or used).
Then, figure out what to read: Perhaps you have a tantalizing stack of unread books cluttering up your apartment or a really long spreadsheet of titles you’ve been updating for years. This is what happens when you decide to read something before figuring out when it will be read. Resolve yourself to clearing the clutter and crossing off the list using the method above.
There are also tons of celebrity reading lists, reading challenges, and book clubs to incentivize a new or renewed commitment to reading. As music-lovers, we at CHIRP particularly recommend the following:
Chicago by way of Nashville duo Vesper have just released Years and to coincide with a new single are debuting a video directed by local product and current Los Angeles resident Ellie Pritts.
Years has just been released on vinyl (with eight color variants) on Chicago’s own Shuga label, the record’s digital release is April 18, and the pair have a record release show at The Empty Bottle on Tuesday April 16 with Zigtebra and Big Syn also on the bill.
Zachary and Samantha say they “met through an overlapping circle of friends and adoration of animals” and started collaborating on music soon after meeting. Both grew up in artistic households, with Zachary being the son of a songwriter and theater director and playing in what he describes as “awful punk band” Muckraker during high school and Samantha started performing in musical theater and taking ballet when she was five and eventually took guitar and piano lessons and learned other genres of dance.
When asked if it’s a fair assessment that the songs on Years have a disconnect between the sometimes bouncy music and the serious subject matter of the lyrics, they both agree wholeheartedly. Zachary likes to describe Vesper as “the saddest songs you can dance to...I’m not a sad person per se; but we’ve both recognized hardships as a way of life. Instead of moping around, we use it as fodder.”
by Josh Friedberg
Higher Ground: Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and the Rise and Fall of American Soul by Craig Werner
Craig Werner is one of the most perceptive music historians and critics of the last three decades, and Higher Ground—the follow-up to his highly acclaimed 1998 book, A Change is Gonna Come: Music, Race & the Soul of America—delves deeply into the work of Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield. The book’s analysis appealed to me as a huge fan of music, history, and African American Studies, and with the passing of Aretha, now is an especially useful time to revisit the ideas in this book.
by Josh Friedberg
Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives, edited by Holly Gleason
I’ve read a few books on country music, but none has touched me as much as the 2017 collection of personal essays, Woman Walk the Line: How the Women in Country Music Changed Our Lives. Editor Holly Gleason compiles an impressive range of voices to discuss the female country artist that means the most to them, and the results do not disappoint.
Gleason writes in the introduction of country as “in many ways women’s music,” accommodating and welcoming a range of women uncommon “in any other genre.” The book makes a solid case for this claim, with working-class heroines and Ivy League graduates, visual magnets and pre-televisual icons, some who wore their biographies on their sleeves and others who shrouded their lives in mystery, heterosexuals and LGBT people, and whites and women of color all sharing space and changing lives.