Music On, World Off: It Takes A Village

Oh my stars.

If you know me, then you know that I actually utter that phrase in the real world. Yes, it’s a bit old fashioned and I leave out the “and garters” portion but it tends to suffice in expressing certain levels of astonishment while doing so in a family friendly way. Because as often as I’d like to let an “Oh, for fuck’s sake” fly these days, tender ears – like, say, Boy Scout ears – need to be respected. Respected.

Being at San Diego Comic Con offered a chaotic and beautifully nerdy respite from the real world (although I did chime in about Sean Spicer leaving the building): panels and press rooms and interviews with folks such as the cast of Gotham, Midnight, TXVikings, Supernatural, Black LightningThe 100, and more plus all things Marvel like Black Panther, Inhumans and Netflix’s Defenders. As for wrapping my arms around Mike Colter (Luke Cage) and Tom Ellis (Lucifer)…you only live once, folks. And with that respite over, it’s back to the weirdest reality show EVER that we just can’t figure out how to cancel: the blunt instrument and ugly American in the White House who continuously makes me utter, “Oh my stars.”

In my world, all things tend to lead towards taking comfort in Pepsi and music and while the former may very well be terrible for my health, the latter is quite extraordinary for it. So I’ve jacked up my Spotify MUSIC ON, WORLD OFF playlist (give it a follow, whydontcha?) with 13 new songs: some damned good goodness like the return of Jet (yes, THAT Jet) who, on the heels of reissuing their Shine On and Get Born albums, just smashed some rock in everyone’s face by channeling fellow Aussies AC/DC on their collaboration with The Bloody Beetroots: “My Name Is Thunder.” Holy shit, Nic Cester’s still shredding those vocal cords and welcome back. Still eagerly awaiting a full album from Nashville-by-way-of-Canada’s Billy Raffoul because he keeps doing things like the almost spiritual “Dark Four Door,” London’s Sian Cross has our Video Of The Week with “Gave Away” for a reason, I dig the scaled back approach to their natural bombastic tendencies on “Ahead Of Myself” by X Ambassadors, and Louisville, KY’s White Reaper are absolutely in the running for the title of “The World’s Best American Band.” How cheeky a song title is that? But wait, there’s more!

Wrabel – “The Village”

The fact that this heartbreaking/heartstrengthening song was written months BEFORE those 140 character insults to the transgender community (as well as the rest of human race) should not be lost on anyone and it speaks to (as if there were any doubt) where Wrabel’s heart lies or – more precisely – where it stands which is in pure solidarity with his LGBTQ family. As an Army veteran, it’s hard to describe how it felt when those tweets hit, but safe to say that it was closer to “Oh, for fuck’s sake” than anything else. This real world has far too many souls who feel isolated, out of place, ashamed, unloved and damned for who they are or want to be and that’s a cruel and dangerous place to live. “The Village” makes that truth painfully clear, but it also makes love painfully clearer.

“There’s nothing wrong with you / It’s true, it’s true / There’s something wrong with the village”

Come on village; we can do better.

Nothing But Thieves – “Sorry”

As good as UK rockers Nothing But Thieves are at waving their heady alternative rock flag, they have always been just as adept at tempering and smoothing out their sonic edges into ethereal loveliness (“Lover Please Stay,” “Tempt You [Evacatio]”). Conor Mason’s rock operatic vocals are restrained just so on “Sorry” but with marvelous inflections in all the right places and allowing the lyrics and music to do a good deal of the heavy lifting.

Lauren Ruth Ward – “Blue Collar Sex Kitten”

Take a minute and digest Lauren Ruth Ward and that song title. Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Saints Of Valory – “Set It On Fire”

Safe to say that Saints Of Valory had zero interest in restraint with them going all pyromancer on us (yes, I just went Game Of Thrones on you: don’t judge me) with “Set It On Fire,” a song written in the midst of the presidential election and the weird social place this country was (and still is) in. While the song and video may seem a bit aggro, it’s more than simply that.

New album, guys? Please and thank you in advance.

Holy Moly & the Crackers – “Cold Comfort Lane”

You’re going to want to dig a little deeper into Holy Moly & the Crackers. Earlier this month they released their full length album, Salem, and it’s all wonderfully weird “gypsy folk rock” that sounds like a New Orleans dark carnival coming out of your speakers. Think if July Talk were from England and ate baroque for breakfast. Yeah, that.

So that’s what I’ve got for you this week, lovelies, and – I hope – you find something within my ridiculously deep MUSIC ON, WORLD OFF Spotify playlist that gives you a real good musical (perhaps even emotional) feel good. If you do, let me know: you can always find me at @dharma69 on the Twitter. Yes, I proper noun’d it. Don’t judge me.