Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Top 5 recent albums

There's been a great number of albums I've fallen in love with over the last few years, so I thought I'd make a list of my top 5. These are the albums I've not only enjoyed blasting in my car and dancing like a freak to, but the ones that have meant the most to me during a difficult time.

~

Brody Dalle - Diploid Love (2014)


Confession: I have a major girl crush on Brody Dalle. Mostly, I love her songs and her voice, but she's also just an all around badass. As I mentioned in a previous post, I adore all of her music, whether it's with The Distillers, Spinnerette or as a solo artist, but for now, I'm going to focus on her recent solo album Diploid Love. This album is an electro-punk rock manifesto that's catchy as hell and full of heart. Aesthetically, it feels both futuristic and like it was pulled from a time capsule planted in 1996. Lyrically, it moves from defiant to joyful to reflective and back and is always empowering. Also, it's the album I've listened to most over the last 2 years (according to my iTunes play count).

Favourite songs: I can honestly say every song has been my favourite at some point, but the singles (Rat Race, Don't Mess With Me, Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy) are as good a place to start as any. Nothing makes me wanna get up and dance like the second half of Meet The Foetus / Oh The Joy. I could listen to those 2 minutes over and over all day and not get sick of it.

~

Ghost - Meliora (2015)


Ghost is a Swedish metal band I discovered quite randomly in 2013, right before they released their major label debut Infestissumam. I was intrigued not only by their sound, but by their overall mystique, their sense of humour and their unholy ability to combine darkness with pop sensibilities. I've long been obsessed with this particular juxtaposition in music and Ghost are masters at it. They've managed to create a world all their own and it's one I thoroughly enjoy inhabiting (I've seen them live 5 times now). While I love all 3 of their albums, Meliora is my favourite thus far. It's the perfect combination of the 2 that came before it and is near flawless in its execution.

FS: Once again, every song has been my favourite at some point, but From The Pinnacle To The Pit hits me the hardest (more specifically, the second half of From The Pinnacle To The Pit, when the song shifts and a new chorus comes out of nowhere and takes my breath away - I enjoy this moment now as much as when I first heard it.) Also, what other modern metal band has released a song like He Is? That's why Ghost is Ghost and not just another flash in the pan or gimmick.

~

Marina And The Diamonds - Froot (2015)


So, this is my favourite pop album this decade. No big deal.

Honestly, I've always enjoyed pop for what it is, but it's rare that a pop album becomes one of my Favourite Albums. To be fair, though, this isn't strictly pop music. It's alternative, electronic, pop, rock and singer-songwriter all in one, illuminated by Marina's gorgeous voice. The songs here are well written and chock full of catchy hooks, so much so that it feels effortless. Every song is single-worthy and every song's melody is distinct, but still undeniably Marina-esque (a sign to me of a truly talented songwriter). Lyrically, she covers a wide range of topics, from depression to love to murder and war, all without sacrificing her charm, sincerity or wit. Basically, I love this album and can't wait to see what she does next.

FS - If I had to choose, Blue is probably my favourite to sing along to and Forget is my favourite overall.

~

Queens Of The Stone Age - ... Like Clockwork (2013)


I'm not sure where to begin with this one. This album has meant more to me than just about any other work of art, ever. If anyone reading this has never listened to Queens Of The Stone Age, I command you to. Stop reading this blog and go listen to Queens. All of their albums are phenomenal, but ... Like Clockwork holds a special place in my heart. It was written after Josh Homme died briefly on an operating room table during surgery and the depression he experienced afterwards. In his words, this album is about coming out of a black hole. In my words, it's powerful as fuck. Having discovered it during what happened to be the worst period in my own life, this album was nothing less than an epiphany to me. The way in which Josh was able to take so much darkness and transform it into something beautiful and hopeful is as good a testament as any as to what art has the potential to do (both for the artist and the listener). It may seem cheesy to love an album this much, but I don't care. I'm forever grateful for this masterpiece. (Also, everyone in Queens is amazing.)

FS - Every single song. Just go listen to it.

~

Tribulation - The Children Of The Night (2015)


Tribulation is another Swedish metal band I discovered quite randomly, this time in 2015. I've seen them live twice now (once as an opener for Ghost and once as a headliner) and they put on an amazing show. The Children Of The Night is a wonderfully dark, intricate album that takes me to another place completely - some Gothic cathedral in the middle of the night lit up only by candles. The music is as primal as it is romantic and feels almost primordial, like it's haunted by some long forgotten spirit chained to the ancient world. (Also, guitarist Jonathan Hulten, who drew their album cover, is a very talented artist. You can view some of his work here.)

FS - This album is like a painting in that, when I think about the album, I think of every song at once, because they all embody the same aesthetic and overall image so well. That being said, Strange Gateways Beckon is absolutely stunning, The Motherhood Of God haunts me and Cauda Pavonis is the best horror film theme song yet to be used in a horror film.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Don't let anyone else tell you who you are


Hey, here's a quick post for now. I'm leaving tomorrow for Ohio and then travelling to North Carolina and New York, all as I'm in the middle of moving once again (this time to Brookline, by Boston). Suffice it to say, I have a busy few weeks ahead, but hopefully they'll be awesome and memorable as well.


A Betsey Johnson sweater (one of my favourite pieces) over thrifted dress (The Pink House) over jeans from Gap. I hope anyone who happens to be reading this is doing well. I'll be back here soon. :)

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Gardenia


I found this cape at my favourite thrift shop The Pink House. I swear, at least half my wardrobe is from this one thrift shop. The pink sweater from the post below (which is easily one of my favourite pieces), and the black dress from this earlier post, are both from there as well. I've been gravitating a lot towards statement pieces lately, rather than outfits with multiple prints and points of focus. I still love a great combination of prints (as well as layers), but when I get dressed now, I find myself building each outfit around one particular garment, rather than a few different ones.


This shirt is from there as well. I'm kinda realizing right now how much I've been into this black/green/pink colour combo. I almost never go shopping with an exact colour or garment in mind, so it's fun to see how everything I've purchased recently goes together naturally.

Now that I've written the serious post I was inevitably going to write at some point (see below), I can say that 2016 has actually been an awesome year so far. It's been a year of change and movement. I've experienced a confidence and happiness I forgot I could feel. I've made new friends, reconnected with old ones, gone to a bunch of incredible shows (most notably Eagles Of Death Metal, Ghost and Tribulation) and moved to a new place (among other things). All in all, I'm grateful for the last year and am proud of myself for turning the lead I was given into gold (again, see post below).

The title of this post, btw, is a reference to both a song by Iggy Pop and Josh Homme (off Post Pop Depression) and a song by Josh Homme's former band Kyuss (off Welcome To Sky Valley) - 2 very different songs that I love immensely.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

26


I was 20 when I started this blog in 2010. If I had tried then to imagine my life at 26, it wouldn't have been anything like it is. Thankfully, though, this isn't a bad thing. Ideally, I would've moved away in 2013 and escaped the events of the last 3 years, and I would've had my dream design business up and running, but life threw me an intense curveball, and the lessons I've learned as a result, through reclaiming my life, are far more powerful than anything I could've wrapped my head around 6 years ago.

To rewind a little, late 2013 through late 2015 was Hell for me. Not just a nightmare, but absolute Hell. I used to think how nice it would be if I could write about the experience here or elsewhere (just to get it out), but I no longer feel the need to explain it in detail. I also don't believe I could ever truly describe how painful and paralyzing those 2 years were. Without exaggeration, everything I ever built my life/identity/beliefs on for the first 22 years of my life crumbled completely during those 24 months. Living with someone who put me through Hell, watching those I love most get sick and lose their footing, experiencing anxiety on a level I never dreamed possible (constant full blown panic attacks) and realizing the spiritual beliefs I built my confidence and self worth on were a lie, ate away every last fiber of who I thought I was. If all this sounds dramatic, that's because it was.

I was even suicidal. How do I begin to describe what that actually feels like? It's as though some impossibly large, unbeatably strong shadow figure, comprised of every negative thought/feeling/experience you've ever had and every horrible thing anyone's ever done to you, is compounded into one purely dark energetic force, grabbing you by the throat from behind and screaming at you to kill yourself. It's Hell. I've never romanticized suicide in my mind and never thought I'd be suicidal, but for at least 2 weeks, I reached that lowest of points.


Things did get better (obviously), but the process was slow. Climbing my way out of Hell (which someone else dragged me into), and doing so entirely on my own, did not restore me to who I was circa 2012 before this all went down. It stripped away everything until I was left with only the essence of who I am. It broke the shell completely and peeled back each layer of conditioning I had built my identity on. I realized how much of my true self I had compromised over the years in the name of pleasing people. I never thought of myself as a people pleaser, but I was. I always tried to appeal, simultaneously, to the various groups I was a part of (my Christian family, the friends I smoked weed with in high school, those I traveled to Haiti and Tanzania with as missionaries, the friends I made in fashion school, etc.). It's not that I ever pretended to be something I wasn't, it's that I was all of these things and that's not easy for people to put neatly in a box. I always felt like there was something about myself I had to hide, depending on who I was with, but now I just don't care.

In rebuilding my life, I didn't rebuild who I was in 2012, I remembered who I was long before that, and what has always been there, deep beneath the delicate facade - a version of myself far stronger, more confident, less apologetic, more primal and no less friendly or empathetic. I have zero tolerance for Bullshit. And by that, I mostly mean people. I will never, ever, under any circumstance, let someone treat me the way this person did, ever again. People who hurt me, use me or just want to feed off my energy vampirically, have no place in my life, period.

What I feel now is something akin to waking up after a long sleep to find myself in a vast landscape, stretching as far as the eye can see, and looking up at the most breathtaking sunrise I've ever seen. It's not a warm, fuzzy feeling, like curling up on the couch in your small suburban home, or some fantastical feeling, like a dream that's always just out of reach. It's something bigger, wilder and more dangerous, like that feeling that maybe, just maybe, anything is possible.