Girl Power (Pt. 2)

A while back I wrote an article entitled ” Girl Power ” in which I praised a handful of the many talented women in the music industry. While I did mention women who not only sang but played instruments as well, I always felt like I should’ve spoke more on the instrumental aspect.

So, welcome to “Girl Power pt. 2.”

First up: Lindsey Stirling.

lindsey-stirling-celebrity-hd-wallpaper-1920x1080-54691

Stirling is the very definition of “YouTube Sensation.” The extremely talented violinist exploded onto the internet seemingly overnight, and has earned the impressive status she has attained. She not only has done covers and collaborative efforts on famous pop songs, but she’s even composed her own original pieces and has released albums to coincide. Couple this with the fact that she makes fantastic music videos and can jump and dance while she plays, it’s clear that Ms. Stirling is a sight to behold and has a bright future ahead of her. You can check out her YouTube page Here.

Now, how about the guitar? There have been a large number of fantastic female guitarists over the years. Joan Jett, Lita Ford, Tara McLeod (of Kittie), and Allison Robertson (of The Donnas) just to name a few. There’s been so many, that it was very difficult for me to pick one. So, I’m going to talk about two. Kaki King and Jacklyn Paulette.

06_KakiKing

Kaki King is a truly phenomenal guitarist. Her compositions include influences of…gosh, everything! From rock to Russian folk, King’s music is thoroughly enjoyable and definitely something to keep an eye on. She even recently opened for the Foo Fighters, with front man Dave Grohl saying “There’s guitarists that are good, and guitarists that are really f**king good. And then there’s Kaki King.” If you get a moment, head on over to her YouTube Page and check out some of her stuff. You will not be disappointed.

I’m a big fan of Horror Rock, Horror Punk, and Psychobilly, and as my Instagram ( @ThatMusicJunkie_ ) followers know, I recently attended a Tiger Army concert. In addition to the amazing performance put on by Tiger Army, I was actually blown away by one of the opening acts called Stellar Corpses. What particularly caught my attention about the Santa Cruz based Psychobilly outfit was their fantastic guitarist, Jacklyn Paulette.

BA8ObJACMAAC5LL

Sporting purple and black hair and a guitar that looked bigger than her, Paulette owned the stage of the Majestic Ventura Theater that night. I mean, this girl can shred! Halfway through the Stellar Corpses set, she went center stage and blew the audience away with a face-melting guitar solo that would leave the guys on That Metal Show speechless. I’d venture a guess that, like most bands in the genre, Stellar Corpses took influence from The Cramps, with Jacklyn Paulette taking inspiration from the legendary Poison Ivy. But that’s just my guess. At any rate, take a look at Stellar Corpses’ Website for info about the band, photos, music, and tour info.

Next we have the instrument that is near and dear to my heart: The Drums! As someone who has been playing for the past 15 years now, I love all aspects of the instrument and thoroughly enjoy watching drummers play and checking out their various styles. Of the many female drummers out there, I’d say the Christian Rock band Skillet’s drummer Jen Ledger definitely piqued my interest the most.

tumblr_niup9f6Xe21sj0qu5o2_500

While Skillet’s music has gotten progressively less impressive over the years, that’s not to the discredit of Ms. Ledger. The English drummer is also co-vocalist for the band, which is always an impressive feat in and of itself. I’ve seen the footage of her drum solos, and they’re pretty good! Plus, she knows how to keep the audience captivated and even participating. With Skillet’s breakthrough into mainstream music back with their album “Awake,” Ledger has been a driving force for them, and I feel like, of all their various member changes over the years, her addition has been the best one yet.

I’m sure all of us who were in Junior High and High School during the early 2000’s remember the emergence of Evanescence. The gloomy, angsty Alt Rock band seemed to be the soundtrack for all the emo and goth girls I knew at the time, and for good enough reason. While I was never particularly a fan of the band as a whole (aside from a few songs here and there), I was, and still am, a fan of lead singer Amy Lee.

kd0k5t

In addition to being a powerhouse vocalist, Amy Lee is also a very talented pianist, often composing very somber melodies that coincide with the darker tones of her earlier work. It’s always impressive when an artist can sing while playing an instrument, and Amy Lee is a proven expert at it. Oh, did I mention she plays the harp as well? Yeah, that’s what’s up. Although Evanescence releases music sporadically,  Ms. Lee is very much active with her career and has released several covers over on her Spotify Channel including U2’s “With or Without You” and Chris Isaak’s  “Baby Did a Bad, Bad Thing.”

Now, I know I’ve only mentioned a small handful of musicians, but let’s face it, I’d have to open up a whole other website if I were to talk about all of the amazingly talented women in music. So, we’ll leave it at these five for the time being. And, who knows, maybe there will be a Part 3!

Who are your favorite women in music? Use #ThatGirlPower on Twitter to @TheMusicJunkie8  to share your influences and inspirations!

 

There’s Apps for That

Technology has grown exponentially over the last ten years. One minute you’re getting a top of the line computer, and six months later there’s two new models that are even better!

And what about cell phones? Much like the Call of Duty video game franchise, you can bank on a new iPhone and Samsung Galaxy every year.

Overwhelming as it all may be, we Music Junkies actually benefit from all of the advancements. You see, we now have access to virtually every song ever created ever!

Whether you has a large music collection digitally or physically,  we now can listen to music older than our grandparents, or even albums recorded on the other side of the world seemingly at the click of a button!

But how do you listen to your music? Ah yes, that’s the real question now, isn’t it? Since the majority of cellphone users in “First-World” countries utilize Smart Phones, I think we can then reasonably assume that these people listen to music via their phone.

What do you use though? Do you use the phone’s internal music player, or do you sift through the plethora of music apps available in the App Store and Google Play Store*?

I mean, we’ve got iHeart Radio, Pandora, Beats Music, Spotify, Jay-Z’s ill-fated Tidal, and so many others! It’s difficult to pick which one to use, isn’t it? Personally, I use these two:

PRime

-Amazon Prime Music

spotify-logo-primary-vertical-dark-background-rgb

-Spotify

“Why these two specifically” you ask? Excellent question! Here’s why:

 First up, Amazon Prime Music. I love this app because, in addition to being able to download and listen to music off-line, it also pulls music from your device’s internal library so your music is consolidated in one convenient place. Of course, you have to be a Prime member to actually get access to the download portion, but with free two-day shipping as well as exclusive pricing, how can you not be?! Am I right? (Who do I talk to about an endorsement check…?)

 The only other downside to the app is that not every artist is on there, so if you’re a Tiger Army fan or want to listen to some Radiohead, I’m afraid you’ll have to pull from your personal library for that.

 That said, the app is great for the sheer variety of artists it does have, and you can choose to download entire albums, as well as individual songs.

 Ok, next up we’ve got Spotify. Spotify is a fantastic streaming app. You can create entire an unlimited amount of playlists compiled of a seemingly endless amount of artists. You can make said playlists consist of individual songs, or even entire albums. You can add friends and follow other users, so that you can enjoy their playlists as well! Best of all, Spotify is free.

 The downside to this app is the ads. Much like Pandora Radio, every few songs you’ll get an ad, so if relaxing to your mediation station or headbanging to your hardcore playlist, chances are you’ll get interrupted by an ad consisting of techno music promoting a fast-food chain, or a narrative for a car parts company. Now, you can get rid of the ads by upgrading your subscription to a Premium account, which allows for more customization as well as offline play in addition to the removal of ads, however the price tag is $9.99 a month.

I know that doesn’t sound terrible, but $120 over the course of a year tends to add up, especially if you’re on a budget. Luckily, Spotify does in fact offer gift cards for their subscriptions that you can pickup at your local Target or Wal-Mart or whatever, and they also tend to run specials like a free month or  a month at $.99, so that’s pretty rad.

Of course, in addition to these two fantastic apps, I also will occasionally utilize Pandora Radio, but 90% of the time I go with these two. Apple Music just launched fairly recently, but admittedly I’ve not had the opportunity to fully check it out, but hey they are offering a free month trial, so I’ll be looking into it.

What are your favorite music apps? Let me know! Tweet your favorite app to @TheMusicJunkie8 with #ThatMusicJunkie

*= Sorry Windows and Blackberry users, your apps are severely limited, which is why I left them out.

A Psuedo Call to Arms

Man, 2016 has not been off to that awesome of a start, huh? I mean, at the last minute of 2015 we lost Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead) and then not two full weeks later we lose the fantastic David Bowie a mere two days after the release of his 27th studio album “Blackstar.”

Now sprinkle in the loss of Eagles founding member and bassist Glenn Frey, legendary metal bassist Jimmy Bain (Dio, Rainbow), and most recently Earth, Wind, and Fire singer Maurice White, it would appear that 2016 is shaping up to be a horrendously morbid year for music.

Be that as it may, I’d like to propose this: Instead of being down and afraid of all these losses, I suggest we make a real effort to see as many shows as we can this year.

Yes, rather than moping around at the departure of these great legends, we should honor their memory instead by seeing the living legends we still have, like Black Sabbath (even though this is their last tour), Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, David Gilmour, Roger Waters, and countless other music giants that still walk among us.

Let’s take it a step farther even: Let’s go see not only our favorite modern bands, but new acts as well! How many of us have discovered our favorite musicians at a show? I know I have!

Just because the music industry and networks like MTV shove acts like Justin Bieber and Kanye West down our throats doesn’t mean that there’s no great real musicians left! They’re “underground.” They’re playing house house and dive bars. It’s their names in the microscopic print beneath the headliners.

Don’t believe them when they say that “Rock is Dead” or that all rap is like Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West. Even Pop has fell victim to this generalization due to the rise of Boy Bands and Britney Spears in the early 2000’s.

Who knows? The next David Bowie might be out there right this minute, singing his heart out in some dive bar , but we wouldn’t know it because we’re zombified by what mainstream radio and networks label as “real music.”

Sorry, got a bit preachy there for a minute, but you see my point.

I’d like to end this post  with a tribute to those we’ve lost. Please, take a moment to listen to the following songs and reflect on the legacy these giants left us with, and then start looking up what local shows are coming up and buy your tickets!

David Bowie (1947-206) – “Life on Mars?”

Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister (1945-2015) – “Motorhead” by Motorhead

Maurice White (1941-2016) – “September” by  Earth, Wind, & Fire

Jimmy Bain (1947-2016) – “Stand Up And Shout” by DIO

Glenn Frey (1948-2016) – “Part of Me, Part of You”