The draft of this review for Southern Avenue’s 2019 album, Keep On, has been sitting the unfinished section for a few months. I guess I was afraid that once the post is complete I won’t have an excuse to listen to Memphis based Southern Avenue.
Luckily, I have finally convinced myself that I don’t have to let the music go. I’m a grown-up. I can eat ice cream for dinner so putting Southern Avenue on a playlist should be alright. My favorite song on the album is “We’re Gonna Make It.” It reminds me of when my boyfriend and I were super poor and couldn’t afford ice cream. If we came into some extra money, we would say “We’re gonna make it.”
It reminds me of the music from the Muscle Shoals scene -soul and rock and roll. Southern Avenue is so vibrant. I’m glad to be alive so that I can hear how full of life their music is.
If I could listen to this record anywhere on earth, it would be at the beach and at the ice cream stand that is on the drive home from the beach. It would be a perfect day – good music, the beach and ice cream.
Anyway . . . Wanted Noise of San Diego have the summer spirit and recorded it for the video for “More Sunrises.” It has given me an idea for what to get my boyfriend for Christmas in July – motorized cooler or a cooler to attached to scooter/skateboard. It would be the best present. He loves coolers with cold beer and summer.
P.S. We used to have a neighbor that always wore his speedo while driving around on his golf cart. His summer spirit was a bit weird.
What: Kaleido has a new album, “How to Weigh a Whale Without a Scale.” It was produced by Mark Gardener of Ride.
Why: You’ll find out how to weigh a whale without a scale. It would have to be worth a listen to find out mysteries of life. It’s good music so it’s a win-win. Finding out answers to life + good music = Yes please!
“The songs on this album represent the highs and lows I’ve encountered over the past few years, how I’ve dealt with them and what I’ve learnt through the process. It’s a mixture of love, regret, philosophies, humour and hope. I’ve always been a late developer, and so this to me feels like a coming-of-age album.”
There’s still no such thing as witches. But there will be.
They say everything comes in threes. I wonder if they mean witches too. In this book there are the Eastwood Sisters as well as the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. It seems like witches come in three in books and movies.
The 3 Eastwood sisters- James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth and Beatrice Belladonna- have reunite unexpectedly in New Salem. All of the sisters have learned witchcraft from their grandmother, Mama Mags. Unfortunately, Mama Mags has passed away but they remember her lessons.
There is an interesting story that the girls were told about St. George and the Tower.
It’s the usual version: once upon a time there were three wicked witches who loosed a terrible plague on the world. But brave Saint George of Hyll rose against them. He purged witching from the world, leaving nothing but ashes behind him.
Finally only the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone remained, the last and wickedest of witches. They fled to Avalon and hid in a tall tower, but in the end Saint George burned the Three and their tower with them.
Keep this story in mind because it will come back and make sense later in the book. Also, this book is not just about witchcraft. Other issues in the book: the suffragette movement, LGBTQIA relationships, racism and fathers who are the worst humans ever.
The Eastwood sisters are very different people with different gifts. Juniper is the youngest and the boldest. She is extremely determined and always ready to fight for what she thinks is right.
Agnes is pregnant through most of the book. She’s always finding love with the wrong people. Well, everyone loves her but she doesn’t love anyone until about the middle of this story.
Bella is a librarian. She does so much research to find stories about witches and also spells. She falls in love with Cleopatra Quinn, who is a writer for a newspaper.
Many years ago, the sisters had a falling out with each other and their horrible, toxic, abusive father. Now they are together fighting for something bigger than themselves – to be who they are in front of everybody. Witches!
If you want to read about a book from the perspective of all three sister-witches, then this would be an excellent choice. I loved this book so much. I would read it 100 more times if I had the time.
If you are Cotton Mather then you might not enjoy this book.
KnightmistressM1 is out there making music, living their best life and evolving like butterflies. Hopefully, they will inspire you as much as they has inspired me. I want to get out of this mom uniform of a hoodie and jeans. When I’m ready to get out of the cocoon, my wardrobe be really beautiful and eclectic like KnightmistressM1’s music. It will be a wardrobe worthy of writing poetry, goat yoga and dancing around the country with KnightmistressM1 blasting on the stereo.
Before all of those amazing transformations happen, please welcome frontwoman/violinist of KnightressM1, Emily Palen, to the blog.
Please tell us about your latest release.
Dreams and Devastation, released September of 2020 is a 12 song full length concept album written from the emotional and spiritual depths of personal and collective awakening. I wrote each song as a method of transmuting a particularly difficult emotional obstacle, using the power of the music to alchemize my own experience and also to provide a sonic template for the audience to journey and grow in their own way.
I designed the album as a soundtrack and strengthening of our 12 strand DNA, our full birthright as human beings. We tuned the album to a 528hz and as the songwriter and lead of the band I made deliberate conscious choices to steer the album into the highest expression I could, as the first record from KnightressM1. I co-produced and recorded the album at the Foo Fighter home studio, Studio 606 with their chief engineer John “Lou” Lousteau. Rob Ahlers played drums, Uriah Duffy played bass and I laid down the violins, vocals and keys. The album is unique in the respect that the music is driven by the violin, replacing what a lead a rhythm guitar would do. Unless people know it’s violin-driven, they will hear a guitar because of the similarity of tone.
The violin, as my home instrument from the age of 4, is the most natural extension of myself and I love pushing it to this level with rock and metal. It’s an incredibly free expression of myself. It was a privilege to work so closely with Lou on this record. His expertise and studio manner helped to elevate these songs past any level I could’ve accomplished on my own. It’s been well received around the world, reaching new fans and most importantly, is providing a foundation upon which to build future albums.
Where was your first concert as a fan? As a performer?
My first concert I ever went to was Leonard Cohen at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley. As a true fan, my first concert might have been Tool, though it’s hard to remember. As a performer, I started playing in recitals when I was just starting violin and piano from age 4. I performed in orchestra’s as a teenager, progressing on to play solo recitals. I have performed also live with bands, and actually the first performance I ever did with rock music was at a little coffee shop in Midland, MI playing “The Hurricane” on violin with a friend. So, that was the first for non-classical. It’s been a lifelong evolving journey with the stage.
Do you have a bucket list? If so, what’s on it?
I don’t actually have a bucket list. I suppose I live with the perspective that every day is irreplaceable so I better follow my dreams. Every day. I don’t get time back. My short list currently is, move to Paris. Collaborate with Gojira. Co headline with my heroes. Play Hellfest. Write and record the most crushing and heartbreakingly beautiful metal album ever done by a violinist. Help the world survive.
What was the last thing that you read?
My French textbooks.
What are you listening to at the moment?
While She Sleeps just put out an incredible album – Sleeps Society. That’s top of my playlist. Also Gojira just released Fortitude which is so organic and deep, a ripping album. Architects put out For Those That Wish To Exist – which is also an incredible album. It’s been a great year for what I hear as conscious music. Bands who actually give a rip about what’s important and have the guts to write about it. These bands do that in an amazing way, and they are all shredding musicians. Drew York who is another hero of mine, the singer from Stray From The Path, a band everyone needs to know about as well – just put out the single of the summer with JJ called “Cupid Missed” and I just love everything about this song. Stay tuned as well for a collab I’m doing with Drew York. We’ll be dropping that this year and I’m incredibly excited about it. That’s what I’m turning all the way up these days.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?
Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?
Gojira, Architects. Short list.
What do you want people to know or think about your music?
Whatever they honestly think. If they resonate with the music, that’s an honor to me. I know that we strive to write honestly and that means some people will like it and some won’t. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and tastes. I won’t write music to please everyone so, if you do dig it, that means the world to me. I write with the intention to leave this world better than it is now and we have a lot of work to do. We need to be brave, we need to know we aren’t alone in this fight right now and we need to know there’s more to our world than what we’re told. If you’re digging deeper and have pulled back the curtain, maybe this music will be for you. If you want to keep your eyes closed and pretend everything is ok, or if you live in a way where you harm other people, maybe you’ll hate it. Most of all I want to say thank you, to those who support KnightressM1 and to those bands who have paved the way for truth in music to thrive.
What have you been doing during times of quarantine (music-wise and hobbies)?
I’ve been writing a lot of music, planning the next album, producing videos, releasing Dreams and Devastation. Pushing everything forward while maintaining an emotional center in these absolutely insane times.
Has your songwriting process changed in the past year?
I wrote a lot of electronica songs because that’s what I can create at home in the headphones. So I tapped into my house side. I love making weird space music with synths and sound effects and some more vulnerable emotions. The sound of the band however has gotten much heavier. Vocals are much more aggressive and I’m just embracing my love of metal and letting KnightressM1 go completely in that direction. So, I suppose it’s expanded in different directions.
Is there a message you’d like to share with your fans or soon-to-be fans?
Whatever your dream is, that place that sends electricity up your spine, keep that fire blazing hot. Whatever your struggles and pain, you are not alone and it will get better. If anyone has made you feel unworthy of being alive, that’s their problem and not your fault. If you’re dealing with abuse or domestic violence, you’re not alone and there is freedom on the other side of it. The world will break your heart wide open, but as long as we stay connected to our hearts, even in that pain, we will get through to the other side with our souls intact. We are sovereign beings. We are beautiful. There is a place underneath all of our divisions where we all truly want the same thing which is to love and be loved. When we burrow down into that, we can connect and stop arguing about the particulars. We look forward to meeting you and playing for you at shows. We look forward to having amazing connections, sharing art and music and moments that inspire us. It’s a privilege to be in the company of good humans and we are everywhere.
What is something positive that happened to you in the past Covid-laden year?
I maintained my own still point in the middle of the external chaos. I’ve gotten to meet incredible people all around the world. New friends. Love. Support.
What are some things you are really looking forward to experiencing after some semblance of normalcy has returned?
Playing live shows, going to live shows, being out of the country. I don’t see normalcy returning though unless people dig deeper into the truth of our world. We live in a world where we don’t take care of each other or the planet. We have to change. I look forward to that.
What: Rubinos has a new single, “Did My Best.” She is celebrating the 5th anniversary of her album, “Black Terry Cat,” by offering signed vinyl records on bandcamp. It is worth all of the money.
Why: It is heartbreaking and lovely. Is she reading my mind right now? The song is everything that I could have said to my mom or could still say to the heavens, especially on New Year’s Eve. Even though the song is about heartache, it is nice to know someone knows the same feeling and can express it so well.