Please excuse my lack of words and ability to string them together in a fancy sentence structure.
I’m feeling drained.
I’m feeling tired.
Brain = Jello
But I have a great interview with the band Draag that I’m excited to post and I have a weird hang-up about back to back interviews. So thankfully I have this Sounds Like post I can put up between Camari Carter’s interview and Draag.
I admit this Sounds Like post is a bit of a reach, but I swear there is something here. I am picking up on some musical patterns and I hope you are too.
Harry Style’s ‘Sign of the Times’ sounds like Dr. Dog’s ‘Abandon Mansions’
We’re 8 days into May and I’m finally getting my April playlist up. One of my longest playlists to date. I’ve always been a music fan, there are examples of it all over this blog, but this past month I leaned on music in a way I haven’t experienced since my late teens.
Is the uncertainty of the time bringing me back to the simple escapism of a good tune — possibly (probably).
It’s been awhile since I’ve published one of these, so let me T-up this series.
I have zero musical talent. I think it’s why I’ve always been a “music person.” I used to interview local bands on the regular, interned for a music magazine, was a part of the music department of Myspace music (when that was a thing). I always fantasized about falling in love with a musician (spoiler alert – I married one). And like I said, I have zero ability to actually make or produce any type of rhythmic enjoyable genius sound outside of dorky sing-song melodies about an activity that I’m actively engaged in. i.e. I’m making a pie – oh my, yes sir – I’m making a pie (apply any tune you’d like)
However, I have one talent that can be applied to music and that is spotting patterns. I love patterns and connecting the dots. Every once in awhile I’ll be listening to a song and think, hey I’ve heard this before, this sounds like another song I’ve heard. I’ll then play the tracks and find their subtle similarities. It will be the same melody except one is slower than the other, or similar chord progression. It’s like the songs come from the same parents, but are completely different. They have the same DNA just different configurations.
I don’t pull sampled music into my Sounds Like database, because those are samples. To me, it’s like cloning a part of a song. I try to find the more nuanced connections.
On that note, here is a very non-nuanced connection as “Honeymooning” by the Holy Motors immediately can be identified as sounding like “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak – but it’s not a sample, so I think it falls on the list.
Looking forward to sharing more sounds like connections.
And for the record — I totally like Holy Motors video better than Chris Isaak’s video, although I feel like Wicked Game was one of my favorite songs as a kid. I was a moody child.
Before shows were being canceled left and right in the name of public safety, I saw Gesserit at Zebulon in Los Angeles. My husband and I had gone to go check out New York gritty post-punk group Gustaf, and Gesserit was the openers. I fell hard for the stormy daydream meets bluesy funk sound. They had an earnest yet soulful energy to their performance that is refreshing in today’s performers.
Below is my interview with the lead singer and creative siren behind Gesserit – Elizabeth.
Name: Elizabeth Wakefield
Favorite Color: I suppose it depends on the context of the color. It changes for me. I really love a celadon green wall or the purple, blue, yellow and electric red hues of a sunset on the beach.
Zodiac Sign ( If you know your moon and rising sign please indulge us ): Virgo sun, Scorpio rising, Capricorn moon
Childhood Hero: It is also difficult to choose just one hero. I really admired Cher and Elvis as a kid. When I first heard them sing I knew what it was that I wanted out of life: Music.
Home Base: Amarillo, Texas
When was Gesserit born into this world? What is the origin story?
The project officially began under that moniker in 2016. I was living in Brownsville, Brooklyn at the time with my friend Adrienne. The living situation was pretty rough. I was heavily into reading Dune and I was inspired by the Bene Gesserit. Reading helped me transcend the harsh reality surrounding me. The original idea behind the project was to create simple ambient soundscapes to reflect that transcendence. Years later in 2018 a full band was formed. I introduced the songs I had been writing over the years to my bandmates and together we created this current iteration.
Loved the set and seeing the incorporation of a saxophone player, how did you guys connect?
I do door at a venue in Brooklyn and one night this experimental noise jazz band called Wave Table began to play and I was totally in awe. They were running the sound through an analog synth and someone was manipulating the music Brian Eno style. There was a crazed man screaming improvised poetry and a woman playing Baritone Sax. I emailed them shortly after that night asking to play a show together. They didn’t see the email for almost a year, but it was Sarah who responded. We ended up connecting and playing a show together and I had an opening in my project, so I asked her to join. She’s become one of my best friends and a super important component and collaborator in the project!
When I heard you at Zebulon, I heard The The influences and a dash of Fiona Apple. I felt like the music could easily be place on the soundtrack of Empire Records or Foxfire – that is all my interpretation. Who are your musical influences and/ or creative influences?
Oh wow, those are interesting comparisons. I really love The The and Fiona. My musical influences are pretty vast. I take inspiration from many corners of music, not really specific genres or artists. As a child, I was obsessed with country music and the Grand Ole Opry. Lately, I’ve been listening to a ton of Beastie Boys, Marvin Gaye, Bob Dylan, Talking Heads, and Leonard Cohen. I’d like to try to deliberately combine these influences for the next record, haha. I imagine that would sound interesting.
I hate 5-year plans. What is your 5-day plan?
My 5-day plan is to enjoy the remainder of my time in Los Angeles before I head back to New York City. I want to take long walks, sunbathe, and see the sunset on the beach one last time.
How do you take your coffee (or tea)?
I like my coffee strong and black. I like my tea soothing and sweet.
Do you have any creative rituals that help you tap into flow?
When I am in New York I spend a lot of my time sitting at my piano bench, playing and writing until I feel satisfied with an idea. In L.A. I’ve been spending a lot of my time sitting in the sun at the park reading books, also with pen and paper at hand, ready to catch ideas as they come.
What are your three favorite spots in NY ( eat, shop, hang out) ?
There is a little cinema called Syndicated directly next door to my apartment in Brooklyn. I haunt that place multiple times a week! Central Park is obviously wonderful. So much of it I have yet to explore. I also really enjoy staying home, honestly. That is probably my favorite place to be above all.
If you have LA favorite spots, would love to know those too…
Going to the beach in Santa Monica is hands down my favorite place to watch the sunset. 1642 in Echo Park is a super cozy bar to catch a vibe and great live bands. My favorite venue we played and visited was Zebulon! Definitely broken in my dancing shoes on that floor.
How much of the set at Zebulon is not recorded and available to stream? When can one expect a release of music?
We played one new song that is not yet recorded, but the other material is from a record we recently finished. I am looking to release the LP this year! Super excited to share it with the world. We currently have one single from the record online called Silence. We are planning to release another single and video very soon!
My husband is a musician and I’m a writer. If we have kids, we’re bound to have a creative child or a rebellious athlete. As a person who is exploring their creative voice, do you have a piece of advice for us that we can keep in mind for our future hypothetical child?
I’m no authority on this! But I would say leaving tons of room for growth and creative freedom is so powerful. There are no rules. Using encouraging language and exposure to culture is so important.
Apparently the Spotify link and embed code are not communicating with the WordPress right now. So, you’ll just have to check out the February playlist on Spotify. However, I do like this new format that was formed because of a technical glitch.
One of my favorite podcasts, That’s So Retrograde, has a segment called roses and thorns where they share the best and worst parts of their life at the moment. I love this segment because it ranges from the general best life moment highlights too favorite product discoveries. Roses & Thorns is very broad-reaching in its ability to be an open category for favorites and unfavorites of the mental, physical, and spiritual variety.
I’ve decided to adopt the practice on this here blog to spotlight the roses, be transparent about the thorny parts of life, and most of all – roll out my music playlists ( 🤞 on a monthly basis)
The best songs of 2019, that may or may not have been released in 2019, part two
Only a mere stone’s throw away from December, I feel punctual in my publication of the best songs of 2019 part 2. The videos below highlight the top two tracks from each Spotify playlist I created, Q3 2019 and Q4 2019. A sampling of the melodies that filled my head during the last two-quarters of this past decade. Despite what my Spotify end of the year recap may suggest, I listened to a lot of other music besides the cast of Nashville.
I think it’s really cool that in 2029 ( if our planet hasn’t imploded and the AI apocalypse hasn’t hit), I’ll know exactly what I was listening too in 2019. Music can stimulate memories and retrieve forgotten feelings, passions, dreams – I’ll want to recall this time in life.
“Cool for Cats” – Squeeze | A playful earworm with some silly storytelling, and after watching the music video I feel I need to track down a pair of American Apparel red metallic spandex pants.
“You Push I’ll Go (feat. Alex Sanchez)” – Baby Dayliner | The singing/ lyrics give me Mark Kolzik vibes but the melody has a few more pop notes in it than the brooding irreverent singer-songwriter usually produces. The video for the song is NOT what I expected, and I assume was created with a bit of self-awareness, with that said, I’m here for it.
Dan feels the video detracts from the song. So you may want to just play it on the Q3 playlist.
“Hello?” – Tensnake | I imagine Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan prepare Sunday brunch for their closest group of friends with this song playing in the background. The centerpiece is a decoupage bowl filled with pushpin covered apples, bananas, and oranges.
“Oh Me I’m Never” – ShitKid | I wish I was thirteen discovering ShitKid and not in my thirties. They are cool as hell, and teenage Bekka would be ALL OVER the grunge punk-influenced garage rock. Now, I’m just an adult, wishing I wasn’t, so I could enjoy the tunes with that special verve one possesses as a teen.
The melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
The summer solstice has come and gone, meaning we are officially in the second part of the year. Yes, half of 2019 is gone and we are barreling towards 2020. It’s the perfect time to be reflective and set out fresh intentions for the year. In the spirit of mid-year evaluations, I am sharing what I deem to be the best songs of 2019 thus far. The top 5 songs pulled from my Q1 and Q2 playlists, that must be added to your summer playlist for road trip listening or poolside chilling.
“Trouble on Central” -Buddy | A harsh reality weaved into a beautiful melody.
“Dance With Someone!!!”- Busty and the Bass | Love this insanely funky song, but I just saw a live performance of this song, and it’s a total Rick Astley like experience.
“Can’t Hardly Wait” – Justin Townes Earle | Sometimes a cover is just as good as the original. This rendition feels like a cool breeze on a hot day, salty skin and simple adventures.
“The Jangling Man” – The Cleaners from Venus | This song swirls up so much nostalgia, and I was only just introduced to The Cleaners from Venus, but the melody in this song feels like the summer before my senior year of high school.
“Lost on You” – LP | I have a total crush on singer-songwriter Laura Pergolizzi and this song. The emotion in the delivery twists the echoing pain of unrequited love and rejection. I could roll around in the self-indulgent lamented pain that drips from every word. #obsessed
BONUS: “Viktor Borgia” – Stephan Malkmus | This song is awesome, but the comments on the music video, if read with love – are flipping AMAZING. My favorite: “When you need to make a Dadtronica video to embarrass your teenage daughters but don’t feel like changing out of your lawn mowing outfit.” – Luke Larsson on YouTube
Enjoy the above tunes and more on my Q1 & Q2 2019 Playlists. I’ll be back in December to share Q3 & Q4.
In the meantime, let me know who I should look up or listen to. I’m welcome to suggestions.