Cherry Pickles recently released their debut LP on Stockholm based label PNKSLM who also have artists like ShitKid and Angelic Milk on their roster. Singer/Guitarist Priscila B is Brazilian and drummer Mimi B is from the UK. The duo are based in Birmingham. Their music has a vintage garage rock feel and that aesthetic flows through to their dreamy videos like their newest one Fantasma. I am in love with their sound and aesthetic!
Welcome to the first installment of my blog about beginning to produce beats. I began the process of learning to make beats in January this year. A couple of months along - I have had both "I am so bad at this" and "I'm actually making progress" moments. Learning any new skill is always a mixture of frustration and small breakthroughs. It's important to realise that it will all take time but also to put time into learning and practising on a regular basis. I find working on beatmaking for even an hour or so a few evenings a week to be really helpful.
You Tube is a great teacher if you are not doing formal training - which I am not. I like Collective Intelligence's You Tube channel. They post a lot of really useful videos which show you how to make beats in different styles like dupstep and trap which I started with.
I finished my first beat which actually sounds okay this weekend! It's a hip hop style beat with sounds from akicanon's drumkit and cymatics. I used midi to make my drumbeat but I am planning on creating a drumbeat using audio too as it seems like an interesting alternative technique.
This beat has no mixing or effects though - so it's really a baby beginner's beat but it's a start.
Ableton isn't the easiest DAW to learn in that there are both session and arrangement views but it's all becoming a bit clearer as I go on and does have these different ways of working in it! I do have a Novation launchpad too but I'm not seeing a great use for it so far. I also have a Roland sampler which I never figured out how to use properly. At least working within Ableton itself is working for me now. More later!
AQ: Pastel Zine is happy to again host a fabulous playlist from the wonderful poet Kristin Garth - this one accompanies her powerful and important new book Puritan U - a project I am more than happy to get behind! Thanks again, Kristin for sharing this musical accompaniment to your book!
KG: It’s not everyday that you publish a poetic memoir. Puritan U is part one of mine, going to print today, in fact, published by Rhythm & Bones Press. (Part Two, Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir is coming soon from Hedgehog Poetry Press.) To say that I feel vulnerable about this book coming out would be quite an understatement. It is the story of my abuse within a family, an oppressive religious system and a sexual assault that happened at a Christian college. It’s a heavy book by a womanchild with a heavy life – but that’s not all it is.
It’s a book about Sundays, all the Sundays I was indoctrinated into a lot of bad behaviors, misogyny in so many forms, and yet here it is a Monday that I am writing this to you. I’m an adult. I MADE IT OUT! I made it to Monday in my own house where I write whatever the fuck I want, what I need to write in the moment, and I have the miracle of being read by some people.
In this way, Puritan U is about the curse of religion and childhood for me and the blessing of adulthood and writing. At first, I was hesitant to make a playlist for this book because I thought it would be too dark and heavy. That was Sunday. As I say in Puritan U and my poem “revirginized,” “Monday is coming & she will wait.”
It’s here so in the words of Prince in a song on this list, “Let’s Go Crazy” and celebrate my freedom that I wish for anyone living in abuse and oppression. Normally when I do a playlist I like to pick a poem for every sonnet in the book. However, I haven’t done that in Puritan U which is 65 pages long. The playlist songs do correspond to sonnets but a sampling from the book. Thank you for reading, listening and order your copy of Puritan U today at https://www.rhythmnbone.com/puritan-u
PURITAN U The Playlist
Y Not ? Missionary Man, Eurythmics
No Locked Temptation, New Order
Life’s R-Rated It’s A Sin, Pet Shop Boys
God Is Just Personal Jesus by Marilyn Manson
God Is Wrong Like a Prayer, Madonna
Degraded Ballerina God Is A Woman, Ariana Grande
Puritan U Losing My Religion, REM
Showgirls She Sells Sanctuary, The Cult
The Names Blank Space, Taylor Swift
Welch’s & Cheese Cult of Personality, Living Colour
revirginized Let’s Go Crazy, Prince
Austin Faith, George Michael
Succubus Closer, Nin
As I have alluded to before - over the Summer break I began teaching myself how to use Ableton in earnest. I have definitely made the most progress I have made to date. I spent a lot of time working through a number of You Tube tutorials. I made a dubstep beat and a trap beat. They may both be generic sounding learning exercises - but they taught me a little bit about beat construction. I think the beats I will produce myself will be looser and weirder! I think a lot of that will come from my lack of technical skills and my interests. My musical history was listening to a lot of experimental music. Then I returned more to pop and hip hop and other genres. Garage rock and folk and new wave and post punk have always been there. These days it’s a mixture of everything but a lot of hip hop and pop and d.i.y punk, lo fi and soul.
In terms of song lyrics - I have written song lyrics since I was a teenager but in a more formal setting - I wrote a bunch of different song lyrics for one of the creative writing papers I did at Uni last year. Again - the structures were a bit rigid and learning exercises in a way as we had to write a ballad, a blues and then two free songs. The best one was actually the ballad - it’s a pop song inspired by Marina and the Diamonds’ Teen Idle called That Girl. I wrote it prior to Yung Baby Tate’s That Girl!
I’m not the greatest singer around and I’m not so interested in being a pop singer/songwriter. Perhaps I could be a folk one but my inclination has tended towards something more electronic or else d.i.y punk rock based. Cyberfairytales is one of several names I have thought of for my musical project over the years. I have the hook of a song called Sugar Rush which was always going to be the first Cyberfairytales song and it was like hyper electro pop vibes in my head. Over the summer I worked on a reworked version of that hook and then also a new song called Modern Art which is perhaps more of a rap song. Maybe I could get into spoken word a la Kate Tempest. I really like the almost spoken word vibe on the B.E.D album which came out last year too. I’m not sure if I’ll be purely electronic as I do play the guitar as well. I am very influenced by the likes of Skinny Girl Diet and Delilah Holliday’s solo stuff. I’d perhaps like to collaborate with someone musically but there’s a lot of fun to be had doing my own thing in the meantime.Read More
Kitty has just released the first song and video from her upcoming second full length album Rose Gold which is due out in March! Kitty is a long time favourite artist of mine. Her music has meant a lot to me over the years and it has been great watching her go from strength to strength artistically and interviewing her and Sam as The Pom Poms last year. I am so so ready and excited for the album and I love this song and video.
2019 has already got of to an exciting start musically. A new artist who has caught my eye recently is Sir Babygirl. Her debut album Crush on Me just came out in February and is brilliant. I love her songs and aesthetic. It’s a really interesting combination of influences and is something unique as well.
There Are No Bees are now a duo and have released a brand new single called Melo. I thought their first ep was great and enjoyed interviewing them at the time. This song is even better! It has a dance orientated beat and the lyrics go harder and faster - the two members really show they are excellent rappers here. They serve up their menace with a pretty touch, I think. As the lyrics say, the ep was just the entre and their upcoming album is definitely something to get excited about!
AQ: Kristin Garth is releasing an exciting new tiny chapbook called The Legend of the WERE MER. Pastel Zine is excited to have her again to share another of her awesome playlists with us!
KG: Nothing is as exciting to a womanchild than writing her own bedtime stories and then sharing them with other people. Make no mistake that’s what the Were Mer is -- a tiny adult, aquatic fairy tale with a tail. It’s the story of a mermaid who at the age of 14 develops a were condition causing her to change with the moon into a human woman. Until the sun rises, she cannot breathe underwater, swim and live in the ocean, and when it does, she must return. This condition, a sort of puberty, sets her apart from mer folk and humans. She has to make her way in the human world half her life with poor communication, no education. She is very vulnerable to men. We follow her experiences, mistakes, her journey through stranger seas for a search for companionship without capture on land.
Were Mer is currently in pre-orders with Thiry West Publishing House as a part of their 2019 Pamphlet Collection with two other books entitled Glitter Gods by Mateo Lara and Conjure by Jerrod Schwarz. You can order Were Mer or the entire collection at a bundled price here:
The Legend of the Were Mer is a tiny book of five sonnets, and the playlist is also five corresponding songs. Nothing goes with a sonnet like a song because sonnet literally comes from the Italian for little song :
Maudlin Mermaid Siren Call by Islaja
Were Mer Siren by Tori Amos
The Capture Hooked by Bonnie & Clyde
Stranger Seas Swim by Dizzy
Her Tears Are A
Travelogue His Heart
Divines Mermaid by Okkervil River
Skinny Girl Diet are one of my all time favourite bands and were the first band I interviewed for Pastel Zine. They have just released a beautiful new video for La Sirena from their second LP Ideal Woman, which came out last year. The video features mermaids and a skirt dancer reminiscent of Loie Fuller. What more could you ask for?
An artist whose aesthetic I am in love with is Avalon Lurks. You may recognize her from Father’s Heartthrob music video. She also makes her own music and videos. She has a really strong visual sense as well as an interesting sonic one and it’s linked to art, her Xicana identity and spirituality. I can’t wait to see and hear more from her!
I loved this song when it came out and I have just been reading about Meltycanon who produced this track and also Hands, Sephiroth and a number of other Father tracks. I feel bad that I didn’t pay so much attention to who produced the song at the time! I’m definitely focusing a lot on production and what I like right now and Meltycanon’s production sounds like a dream to me as I mentioned in my post about Sephiroth.
Another Awful Records artist I have come to love is Danger Incorporated. I love their latest ep but I think that Are You Afraid Of the Danger Boys? is my favourite one so far. I especially love the song Diamonds. I tried to get an interview with them but Pastel Zine isn’t big enough for them. We still love you, though!
Happy new year! One of my favourite albums of last year which is defintely starting off my 2019 on a great musical note too is Father’s Awful Swim. I love the song Sephiroth! It’s produced by the extremely talented Meltycanon. I have started making beats in Ableton myself. This is a very recent development for me but it’s really fun so far. Basically if I could make a beat as cool as the one this song has … I would be very happy! I’m not a hip hop artist per se but I think the great thing about Awful Records is that they are just innovative full stop. Genre doesn’t matter so much. So yes, I am inspired.
AQ: As promised, here is another special playlist from Kristin Garth - this one is for her upcoming solo chapbook Shakespeare for Sociopaths! I’m really excited to read it next year - especially getting a preview in the form of all the sonnet titles and the songs Kristin has chosen to match each sonnet! Thanks again for another wonderful playlist, Kristin! It has been great having you and your music choices on Pastel Zine’s blog.
KG: Shakespeare for Sociopaths is a chapbook of poetry, all Shakespearean sonnets on villainous characters from true crime, my mind, the news, people who’ve abused, maybe even a muse or two. I’ve always felt that a sonnet to me represented a cage of form where I could release dark, animalistic thoughts and be safe in its confines. The poetry cages in this book hold a wide array of villains – murderers, emotional vampires, pedophiles, the Slenderman, bullies, ruthless lawyers, misogynists, Mad Hatters and many more. As sonnet comes from the Italian “sonneto” which means “little song,”I thought to honor the sonnets in my book, I would make a playlist assigning each sonnet an actual song. So peruse my table of contents and listen to its soundtrack:
Ophelia Interrupted Shakespeare by Fink
Stockholm SOS by Portishead
When You Are Drowning In A Car Riverside by Agnes Obel
Canadian Psycho Psycho Killer Talking Heads
The Mouth Mouth by Bush
Expensive Leotards Home by Phillip Phillips
The Advocate Blood in the Water from Legally Blonde the Musical
Slender Secrets Eyes Without A Face by Billy Idol
Lafave Tear Away by Drowning Pool
Pudding Man Til It Happens by Lady Gaga
Butter Creep by Vega Choir
Girl With A Pen Just A Girl by No Doubt
Perverted Philanthropy You’re So Vain Marilyn Manson
Uniforms Cheerleader by St. Vincent
Topless Wuthering Heights Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush
The Sexual Hypocrite Has No Clothes Human Nature by Madonna
Dora Luka by Suzanne Vega
Betazoid Oh No by Andrew Bird
The Hunter Heart Shaped Box by Nirvana
Sepulcher Lust for Life Lana Del Rey with the The
If the Star Fits Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay
Little Legs Daughters by John Mayer
Stepford Whore Doll Parts by Courtney Love
Southern Gothic Ghosts Tomorrow, Wendy by Concrete Blonde
Murderess Girls Just Want To Have Fun Greg Laswell
Christian of Troy Cosmopolitans (tri-factor remix)
Insanitea White Rabbit Jefferson Airplane
Senator Happy Birthday Mr. President
Parchment Doll Paper Doll by John Mayer
The Lady Who Loved Lightning Don’t Stand So Close To Me by The Police
Water Demon Down By The Water by PJ Harvey
Chrysanthemum Antichrist Superstar by Marilyn Manson
Succubus Cannibal by Kesha
Peepholes Audrey’s Dance Angelo Badalamenti
Poppet Dragula by Rob Zombie
AQ: I have been keen to feature guest playlists on Pastel Zine’s blog for awhile now - so when I put out a callout for contributions, I was very excited when one of my favourite poets, friends and editor to be Kristin Garth responded! She is providing Pastel Zine’s blog with two great playlists inspired by her upcoming books. The first is a playlist for her collaborative poetry project A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony. Her collaborators Justin Karcher and Tianna Hansen collaborated on this playlist especially for Pastel Zine too - so it’s very exciting to be able to share it. Thank you, all! I’m excited to host you and your playlist and I can’t wait to read your book. I have been loving the poems I have read online! You can read some of them here.
KG: I showed this sonnet to my friend Justin Karcher and he commented on the cool male character inside of it, The Wizard. I’d done collaborations before but as a poet never with characters, and I thought it would be so fun to explore the dollhouse world of my dreams with collaborators. After Justin, Tianna Hansen signed on to play the character of the frenemy who came to be known as The Firebird. Just as in my dream, I became The Doll. The three of us have such a magical collaboration, and we were so thrilled to expand that to collaborating on a soundtrack for our dreamy poetic opera. Listen to these songs and prepare yourself to enter my dreams with friends June 2019 brought to you by Rhythm & Bones Press. This playlist was compiled by The Doll (Kristin Garth), The Wizard (Justin Karcher) and The Firebird (Tianna Hansen).
I already did a favourite albums of 2018 post but there have been a few more amazing ones since I wrote that post so here’s an update of some late entries into my favourite selection and I few I perhaps have just listened to more now - a bit later in the year.
Rosalia - El Mal Querer
MO - Finding Neverland
Tommy Genesis - Tommy Genesis
Father - Awful Swim
Hinds - I Don’t Run
Bhad Bhabie - 15
Dolores Haze - Play hard fuck hard love hard
Dream Wife - Dream Wife
Vince Staples - FM!
Brockhampton - Iridescence
There Are No Bees, who are one of Pastel Zine’s past interview subjects and local faves, have released a new single and video! Poker is a moody and atmospheric track. I really like their raps and the production on this one.
I have become a big fan of New Zealand’s Theia recently. I liked the ep she released last year a lot but it’s her new singles with their striking visuals and perfect pop sounds that have caught my attention. The video for her new song Candy has just been released. It’s so fierce! I love the message - my reality is better than your fantasy. Indeed!
Tommy Genesis first caught my attention in 2015 when she released her first mixtape World Vision on Awful Records. Now she has just released her first album proper and it’s definitely my favourite rap album of the year so far. The new album features Charli XCX and Empress Of but is mainly Tommy and her unique vision. She has described how the new album explores both pop and hip hop and it is very forward thinking in the way it sounds. The first half is very sexy and hard hitting in its beats and Tommy’s raps. The second half is more free flowing, dreamy and playful. Tommy’s first mixtape may have introduced us to her fetish rap and that vibe is still present on the new album but it’s an album of many parts. I can’t wait to see what Tommy does next.