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Although the headlines have continued to frustrate the living daylights out of me (hugging being banned in school/Iraq war costs skyrocketing to over 1.6 TRILLION dollars /1 in 4 homeless are veterans/Chinese manufactured toys continue to endanger our children), I haven’t really had the desire/energy to do any blogging lately since my life’s been a bit too full of uncertainty and limbo. In times like these, instead of doing what I should (like packing), I tend to turn to my drug of choice: MUSIC! (Yes, I have done some packing while listening to music, but…)

My all-time “turn that mood around” artist is, without a doubt, Bob Marley (especially “Three Little Birds“), closely followed by local Southern California bands Common Sense (LOVE “Say the Word“), B-Side Players, and Ozomatli, along with a heaping helping of Blues Traveler. Then to go a bit old school I’ve just got to throw in some Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, and The Kinks. And since blues music is right next to reggae at my soul’s core, there’s got to be some John Lee Hooker (regret having not seen him before he passed), B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland, and Candye Kane. Topping it all off are more recent faves The Cliks, Placebo, and The Cat Empire.

Yup, a bit on the eclectic side when it comes to music, so thank goodness for iTunes party shuffle to keep me happy with a constant rotation of my favorite artists and music. Seriously, if you put ANY of the above mentioned artists on the CD player my mood would instantly change…for the better! Come to think of it, I’ve seen all but four of them live, so I’m sure the great memories of their concerts and the fun times we had must have something to do with their music’s ability to change my mood. Don’t you all have music that can do the same thing for you? I hope so because it would be such a shame if you didn’t–if music didn’t affect your life the way it does mine. Then again, maybe it’s just me!

Sadly I missed the return concert the other day of B-Side Players to San Diego after their recent tour. I am really enjoying their new album “Fire in the Youth“, although truth be told I’m still a sucker for their older stuff (again, possibly due to having seen them in concert so many times). I thought I’d introduce those of you unfamiliar with this high-energy, positive message, deeply talented band, with the following video of them talking about their band, their music, and their latest release. I’ll also see what other B-Side Players videos I can round up to really help you enjoy their music, but the truth is that no video could EVER come close to capturing the energy of a live B-Side Players concert. Take one in when you can!

B-Side Players “Fire In The Youth” EPK

B-Side Players twist on “Could You Be Loved”

“Nuestras Demandas”

In preparation for the True Colors Tour 2007 gig on the 30th in Los Angeles, I’m checking out some of the groups I’m not familiar with, and am SOOO now hooked on The Dresden Dolls. WOW! They are so unique and incredible. If you aren’t aware of them you should really check them out. I can’t stop listening to the two CDs I got on iTunes, “The Dresden Dolls” and their new one, “Yes, Virginia.” I love live theater so they are right up my alley, with their very extravagant and engaging performances that I’ve caught online. They describe themselves as punk cabaret and that is pretty much how I’d describe them, too. Totally awesome. Each song on their CDs is like a story, not that all songs aren’t like stories…these are just so intense…love it!

Anyway, here are a few videos for you to check out, along with their web site link (check out their photo galleries for some, um, uh, “interesting” pics…especially #14! ;)) and their MySpace page (which has a great live video of a few songs with striptease in between). Enjoy!

Here’s “Coin-Operated Boy” from their self-titled CD. (As a single gal I’m thinking a coin-operated boy not be such a bad idea…especially if it’s Brian. ;))

And this video, “Backstabber: The Dresden Dolls-vs-PANIC! At The Disco”, is just hilarious, especially since a friend’s nephew is in one of the bands. (PANIC! At The Disco…hey there proud Auntie JD ;))

Here’s The Dresden Dolls “Shores of California” video from their new CD “Yes, Virginia”, which is a total play on…

…David Lee Roth’s “California Girls” video.

(***Added 6/19/07: LOGO will air a True Colors special beginning this Thursday, June 21st.***)

Thanks to a VERY generous and spontaneous friend (Thanks, Jackson ;)), I’ll be hitting the True Colors Tour 2007 when it makes its final stop in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre on June 30th. Totally something to look forward to, for so many reasons (especially after finding out just today that The Cliks are rearranging their own tour schedule in order to add the last three True Colors gigs–woo-hoo!), but especially since it will be a incredibly memorable time spent with fabulous friends. Btw, the LA stop is SOLD OUT (Not sure if more tickets have been released or what the deal is, but TicketMaster is no longer showing the LA show as sold out), so I would highly recommend jumping on tickets for the other remaining shows NOW!

I’ll let the following Cyndi Lauper interview on The View fill you in on what the True Colors Tour 2007 is all about, and I’ll include links to the MySpace pages of several of the scheduled performers. I do have to say, though, that I continue to shake my head in disgust, dismay, and ultimately sadness, over the fact that so many people continue to harbor such hatred toward others just due to one’s sexual orientation. Sigh. Life is far too short, folks. Appreciate the incredible diversity around you (who on earth wants to be just like everyone else?), embrace it, and for crying out loud just get out there and enjoy the heck out of life!

Cyndi Lauper on The View discussing True Colors Tour 2007

Cyndi performing an acoustic version of True Colors

MySpace Pages

True Colors lyrics

You with the sad eyes
Don’t be discouraged
Oh I realize
It’s hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you feel so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then,
Don’t be unhappy, can’t remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you’ve taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I’ll be there

And I’ll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that’s why I love you
So don’t be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful,
Like a rainbow

OH-MY-GOSH, I am BEYOND addicted to this band!!! And I only heard about The Cat Empire for the first time last week when my TV crush, Craig Ferguson (sigh…drool…), had them on The Late Late Show. Bought “Two Shoes” on iTunes the next morning, and CANNOT stop playing it! Just wish iTunes had all of The Cat Empire CDs available…fingers crossed that will happen soon.

It’s hard to try and fit their music into any particular genre. To me they’re a cross between Sublime, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Common Sense (local SoCal band), Ozomatli, B-Side Players, with a heavy dose of the Buena Vista Social Club ensemble of musicians thrown in for good measure. (They did record “Two Shoes” at the same studio BVSC did in Cuba!) They are a high-energy, body-shaking, positive, up-beat band, with the frosting on the cake being the fact they have brass in their band! Gotta love it! (Well, except for you, Jackson! ;)) I can only imagine the energy created at one of their live performances…can’t wait to find out!

Guess they’re just starting to ‘hit it big’ in the US now with the release of “Two Shoes” stateside. They have been around a few years and according to their web site, have had a couple of tours in the US since May 2005. I was SO incredibly disappointed when I saw that they JUST played one of my favorite venues, The Belly Up in Solana Beach, CA, just ONE FREAKING MONTH AGO!! Sigh.

Anyway, here’s the video of The Cat Empire performing “Sly” on The Late Late Show last week (they also played it on Letterman), and another video, “Days Like These”, that’s bound to put you in a care-free, gorgeous summer day mood (takes about 20 seconds to start). And being the giver that I am, here’s a link to YouTube so you can have a blast discovering their fun, energetic, positive music for yourself. Enjoy!

Additional The Cat Empire-related posts:

Those who know me are well aware of my passion for live music of all sorts. That being said, I will admit that while my taste in music would easily be described as eclectic, rap has never really been something I could just pop in the CD player and listen to for hours on end. Give it to me in the infectious, body-moving sounds and beat of Ozomatli, or in the politically infused lyrics and rhythm section of B-Side Players, and I’m fine. Give me rap with nearly-naked women shaking and rubbing their body parts all over the place, and sorry, but no matter how important the rapper’s message might be, you’ve lost me.

Maybe that’s the difference for me: the message and how it is delivered. To that end I’d like to share with you a local talent (San Diego area) who not only has a message to share, but feels strong enough in it to do something I could never do: appear on anything FOX news-related! (UGH!) Tommy Hanna (AKA TIMZ in the music world), is an American-born rapper of Iraqi and Chaldean descent and someone whose music I first ran across due to his Super Chargers 2006 video (yes, I’m still in mourning over my Chargers NOT being in the Super Bowl…sigh). TIMZ recently released his debut album, “Open for Business” and is getting a lot of attention for his video/song “Iraq”. Definitely powerful stuff, definitely a strong message.

I’m including not only the video of “Iraq”, but also his recent appearance on George Bush’s media outlet (AKA FOX news), if you’ve got the stomach to watch Chuck Norris stumble through his attempt at being an interviewer. There’s also a story on the local ABC news affiliate, KGTV 10, and yes, I must also include “Super Chargers 2006″…part of the healing process for Chargers fans everywhere. 😉

Sniffin’ out the info

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