Monthly Archives: May 2011

Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter: A short introduction

[Description: Black and white image of musicians Jesse Sykes and Phil Wandscher.] (Image courtesy of jessesykes.com)

So, as probably evidenced by the existence of this tag on my Tumblr, I am a huge fan of the alt-country band Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter. I have seen them perform live several times (five or six, by now? I’ve stopped keeping track, truth be told); I’ve also met Jesse several times, and she seems like a pretty awesome lady who also makes amazing music (that sound you’re hearing would be my fangirlish squeal; my friend and occasional concert buddy Amy can attest to the intensity of my squeeage).

The band’s current lineup consists of Jesse Sykes (lead vocals/guitar), Phil Wandscher (guitar/vocals), Bill Herzog (bass/vocals), and Eric Eagle (drums/vocals). Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the Sweet Hereafter’s musical style is distinguished by layers of eerie (yet catchy!) melody ensconced in drifting wisps of sound that seems — at least from a metaphorical standpoint –¬† akin in some ways to the layer of misty fog that is a near-constant in the Pacific Northwest.

From a less metaphorical standpoint, however, the music of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter is country — or, more accurately, alt-country — for people who wish that country music was less poppy. If you’ve ever wanted to hear more late ’60s- early ’70s psychedelia influence in alt-country music, you will probably find something to appreciate in this band’s oeuvre. Or perhaps you’re one of those folks who would listen to more acid-rock/psychedelic material, but you tend to enjoy great musicianship and vocal skills in addition to seemingly endless guitar solos. Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter are a perfectly down-tempo combo of psychedelic rock, alt-country (complete with nicely utilized slide guitars), and atmospheric chill-out music. To some, this may appear to be (or sound like) an odd formula, but in the hands of these talented musicians, it is a successful one; they consistently manage to merge the otherworldly and dream-like with the down-home, and the results are usually spectacular.

Okay, onto the actual music! The selection of their stuff available on YouTube is decent (many of the songs I wanted to include here were not on YouTube); accordingly, I’ve limited the songs posted here to high-quality live performances and audio-only tracks. Lyrics for most of these songs are available at Always On the Run.

From Reckless Burning (2002):

The title track:

Lonely Still:

Doralee  (solo performance circa 2009, for French webzine Le Cargo):

From Oh, My Girl (2004):

Title track:

The Dreaming Dead (which you may have heard on HBO’s True Blood):

Grow a New Heart (Note: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite of theirs, but this one is consistently near the top of the list!):

From Like, Love, Lust and the Open Halls of the Soul (2007):

LLL (live at the No Depression Festival, 2009):

The Air is Thin (official video):

Spectral Beings:

Station Grey (live in Amsterdam, 2008):

From the Gentleness of Nothing EP (2007):

Be it Me or Be it None (also for Le Cargo sessions):

Gentleness of Nothing (peculiar pleasure):

And one non-album track, “The Sinking Belle” with BORIS and Sunn0))):

The band’s latest album, Marble Son, is currently out in Europe and France, and is due to be released on July 26 in North America. One of the tracks from the forthcoming release, entitled “Ceiling’s High,” is below:

If you’d like some mp3s to download instead of waiting for all of these YouTube videos to load, the band’s now-former label, Barsuk, has a couple of songs available for free, as does the live music website Daytrotter.com; their official website also has a few songs available for streaming (click “Listen” on the menu at left).

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More makeup blogging, I guess

[Image of Annaham, a young white woman with dark blond hair (worn in a bun) and blue eyes, sitting on a couch, wearing bright blue/teal eyeshadow that is exaggeratedly painted above her eyelids, nude-pink lipstick, and an orange scarf with white polka dots. She is looking up at something above the frame with a bemused expression.]

YET ANOTHER RIDICULOUS PHOTO OF YOURS TRULY, WITH MAKEUP.

This time, it’s Urban Decay’s Painkiller eyeshadow, available in the Show Pony Shadow Box (an excellent palette that has some good neutrals AND some lovely brighter colors; review from Temptalia here); Peace (from the Deluxe Shadow line, of which there is an entire palette, which I highly recommend if you want to try a lot of bright colors but are on a budget) is a fairly close dupe, although it’s a little more true blue than Painkiller. Lipstick (not really visible in this photo, but oh well) is MAC’s Sheen Supreme in Impressive (reviews and swatches); it’s a nice pink-nude color with a texture that is quite moisturizing on the lips, if you go for that sort of thing. Many lipsticks tend to be too drying for my lips, which probably explains why I have a lip gloss collection in the double-digits and (maybe) five or six lipsticks in total.

There are some people who believe that bright eyeshadows draw too much attention to the wearer and so should not be used, or should be used sparingly. You can probably guess why I think that is a load of hooey. This isn’t true for everybody, of course, but if some jackass is going to stare at me because I am moving through the world while being disabled and a woman and such, I might as well go out on some days with my bright eyeshadow on because it enhances something that I like about my appearance (that would be my eyes, for the curious), and I am thus less likely to care if some douche thinks I shouldn’t be out in public, or wants to ask me about my cane, or something.

Does this work every time? Nope. But some days, it keeps me from going over the edge or down a spiral of awful self-esteem (which has been a problem ever since I can remember) and, at times, very actively disliking myself. Sometimes, it’s the little things that get you through. Not always, but sometimes. I have had issues with my appearance for a long time, and wearing colorful makeup every so often has (weirdly) helped me move past some of these issues, or at least has shown me that I can (and do, even when I’m not wearing makeup) look fabulous. I was convinced for a long time that my face was weird-looking. Thanks in part to experimenting with bright makeup, I don’t feel that way anymore. I may not be conventionally “attractive,” but that is totally cool with me.

I probably should be wearing eyeliner or mascara here to make things look more “finished,” but it was pretty hot outside and I wanted to minimize time spent getting the makeup off my face after I was finished wearing it (and when I wash makeup off, it tends to run down the side of my goddamn face as well. AWESOME).

[Originally posted on Tumblr]

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Quick Signal Boost: BADD 2011

I haven’t been able to put together a post for Blogging Against Disablism Day (BADD) this year due to other commitments, but be sure to go check out the list of this year’s posts, compiled by Goldfish at Diary of a Goldfish. As with other years, I am sure that there will be many excellent and thought-provoking posts!

I’ve contributed to BADD in the past, so now may be as good a time as any to drop some links: a poem, a bingo card, the first bingo card (cross-posted at FWD; not for BADD, but perhaps necessary for context of card #2).

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