#MusicMonday, Vol. 55

What the CL Music Team is jamming this Monday, from Mason Jennings to X-Ray Spex and more (w/video).

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Joel - Falling In Reverse, The Drug In Me Is You (2011)
Ronnie Radke's post-Escape The Fate, post-two-year prison stay debut manages to be both orchestral and thrashy. Think equal parts A Day To Remember, Bullet For My Valentine, and Panic! At The Disco. Not my personal favorite musical combination but I keep coming back to Radke’s biting lyrics on songs like “I’m Not a Vampire.” Who can’t appreciate a line like, “Daddy should have never raised me on Black Sabbath”?

Taylor - The Rolling Stones, Sticky Fingers (1971)

Shanna - Emily & the Woods
I've been obsessing over the London-based group lately, and this song and video in particular:

Ray - Mason Jennings, Minnesota (2011)
At just 36-years-old, Honolulu-born singer-songwriter Mason Jennings has amassed one hell of a discography. He released an eponymous debut LP way back in 1997 and has since put out a DVD, a trio of EPs, and nine more full-lengths including his latest, last year’s Minnesota.

The nine-track effort is Jennings’ first on his own Stats And Brackets imprint and easily one of his most unique LPs to date. It finds him sometimes ditching the guitar for a piano (“No Relief” and “Bitter Heart,” video below), channeling the angry, vivid storyteller from his last LP, Blood Of Man (“Rudy”), and experimenting with off-kilter tempos and horn-laden arrangements (“Well Of Love”) all while continuing to write some of the most honest and heartwarming love songs of our generation (“Clutch”).

It’s hard to imagine Jennings not turning a thought into a song, and the years of practice have made his gift for sonically capturing everyday moments and emotions seem so effortless. It all comes to a somber climax on album-highlight “Wake Up,” which finds him telling the story of man desperately trying to quit the bottle. “Wake up, you’re dying now / you should be dead, but you’re not somehow,” he sings over a simply-picked electric guitar riff, “you think you’re being brave, but you’re digging a grave/you talk like a master, but you live like a slave.”

It’s the kind of songwriting that forces a listener to pay close attention, and it’s the reason I’ll be making the road trip to see Jennings at one of his rare Florida appearances on Saturday at the Double Down in Gainesville.

What the CL Music Team is listening to on this fine Monday to rocket launch the work week. Click here to check out previous entries.

Gabe - X-Ray Spex, Germfree Adolescents (1978)
Getting my Monday morning started off with a jolt this week; X-Ray Spex, the highly influential 1970's UK punk rock band fronted by teenage screaming banshee Poly Styrene, is giving me a much-needed shot of adrenaline today. Styrene (who sadly passed away last year) single-handedly did more for women in music (and not just in the punk genre) than she could have been aware of as a 17-year-old lead singer. Styrene took a firm stance against commercialism and the mundane in her compositions. She preached about the importance of individuality as she screamed and squealed her way through this brilliant album. The 1990's female punk rock "Riot Grrl" movement wouldn't have occurred had it not been for Poly and this now-classic album as most of the ladies involved in that era will eagerly point out. Certainly a must-have for any fan of punk rock or aggressive, thoughtful music. This album never fails to inspire. Rock on, Poly Styrene!

Shae - Zola Jesus, Conatus (2011)
The other day, I tried to explain Zola Jesus' music to a friend. After a few false starts and a flurry of hand gestures, the best description I could come up with was, "It's sort of Bjork-y, but more goth, and really atmospheric." This morning I put on Zola's latest album, Conatus, to see if I could better pin down her sound. How can I use the descriptions that spring to mind - "Siouxsie Sioux on Klonopin" or "the perfect soundtrack to A Wrinkle in Time" - to actually illustrate what the music is like? To parse it: the vocals are sultry and practically indecipherable, the drum beats pulse hypnotically, and everything is swaddled in a thick layer of reverb. This is the kind of album that is born and raised in the studio, so I'm interested to hear how it translates live when Zola Jesus plays the Crowbar on February 6. Maybe after seeing her live, I'll be able to come up with the perfect way to articulate her sound. [MORE ENTRIES AFTER THE JUMP.]

About The Authors

Gabe Echazabal

I was born on a Sunday Morning.I soon received The Gift of loving music.Through music, I Found A Reason for living.It was when I discovered rock and roll that I Was Beginning To See The Light.Because through music, I'm Set Free.It's always helped me keep my Head Held High.When I started dancing to that fine, fine...

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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