My name is Alexandria

Hello, my name is Alexandria. I love listening to new music, seeing new places, and writing new things. I hope you all enjoy my blog and find your passions.

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IDLES

The English punk group Idles released their first full-length debut album Brutalism last year to critical acclaim. Brutalism is everything you want a punk album to be. It’s snarky, sarcastic, in-your-face, angry and down right nasty. Joe Talbot really drives this attitude and their whole aesthetic with his harsh and often menacing voice.

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On the track Stendahl Syndrom, Talbot demolishes people who have immature reactions to art that they can’t understand.

Did you see that pink thing what Basquiat done?
Looks like it was drawn by my four-year-old son

Yikes.

On the track Well Done, he goes on to showcase the stupidity of mindlessly following trends. I adore Talbot’s overly snarky tone in this one, and his use of reggae to get a point across.

Why don’t you like reggae?
Even Tarquin likes reggae
Mary Berry loves reggae
So why don’t you like reggae?

Here’s the video for Well Done which I highly recommend watching…

And of course on the track White Privledge, there’s no shortage of snarky social commentary.

How many optimists does it take to change a lightbulb?NONE! Their butler changes the lightbulb…
Always poor, never bored.

This band is doing brilliant things and I anticipate that their follow-up album will be fantastic. Be on the lookout for their upcoming material and support good music. Listen to Brutalism if you haven’t, or be super punk rock and don’t listen to anything I say. Whatever works.

In conclusion, yay for punk. Yay for UK punk. Yay for IDLES.

A Learning Experience Like No Other: Learning about the Modern Jewish Experience in Germany

I went to Germany with the intention to learn new things, as I was going on a study abroad trip with my university. Realistically though, I was initially more excited about traveling and having fun in another culture.

This changed when I started doing a project about the modern Jewish German experience. I wanted to do a story about this because as an American student, the only thing I had ever learned about the Jewish experience in Germany was the horrific one under Hitler’s rule.

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How have things changed? How have they remained the same? How do you feel living in a country with such a notorious past against the Jewish people?

These are all questions I wanted answered.

I stayed in Munich, the city where the Nazi movement really gained huge support and rose. I spoke with one woman who runs a Jewish school in the city, and I later found out her mother was an Auchwitz survivor. She told me that it is important to not blame German youth for what happened 70 years ago, but to hold them accountable for the present and what will be the future.

For the most part, I think the German youth will ensure a brighter future for Jewish people considering how well preserved Germany’s dark past is within the country.

Munich, as well as other German cities, certainly does not hide their Nazi past. You can walk in Dachua concentration camp, you can go into the buildings where the Nuremberg trials were held , and you can generally still feel the remnants of suffering that millions of people endured.

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This is important because  this past should not be forgotten and repeated.

However, while Germany is preserving its past, the Jewish community is also actively pursuing a brighter future. I learned from an employee at a Jewish academy that FC Bayern, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, was founded by Jewish people and they show solidarity with the Jewish community frequently.

After speaking with locals, I found that German Jews have a strong connection with the area. They also have a strong connection with the past and work to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten.

This is a short video package I put together about the Jewish experience in Germany. I’m greatful I got the chance to do this, so check it out 🙂

I spoke a lot with Dr. Michael Brenner, whose mother survived forced labor that was administered by the Flossenbuerg concentration camp. She is still alive and talks about this past.

He now teaches this history to a new generation of students.

The Distillers ( & my best birthday)

Wow, I haven’t blogged in such a long time… (not that anyone was holding their breath).  I’ve been busy, spent a month in Germany, excuses excuses etc. etc. (Should I blog about Germany in another post? I think yes and this blog is about what I think so it’s a yes)

ANYWAY, before leaving for Germany I had the chance to see one of my favorite badass female-fronted punk bands The Distillers. Let’s all take a moment to appreciate the goddess that is Brody Dalle.

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I mean c’mon! I love to see talented females in rock music because it really inspires me and makes me so proud to be a woman. Brody seems so empowered and comfortable in her own skin and I LOVE IT! The Distillers are playing some shows again, and you should really go see them if they come to your city because who knows when they’ll tour again???

One of my favorite Distillers songs is Die on a Rope on the album Coral Fang, and here is my absolute favorite preformance of it with Brody looking and sounding amazing.

I AM IN LOVE WITH HER.

Also:  I got to meet Robin Pecknold from Fleet Foxes the same day I saw The Distillers, which was on my 21st birthday!!! It was probably the best birthday I’ll ever have.

Robin was so nice and even signed a guitar pick for me 🙂 such a talented and humble guy, makes me even more proud to be a fleet foxes fan ❤  (I know it’s not distillers related, but I got to meet ROBIN on the same day I saw them, so I had to throw it in here!!!)

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Alice In Chains

I’ve been very busy lately, but I had to take a minute to pay my respects to Layne Staley. To my knowledge, I haven’t written anything about Alice In Chains on this blog yet, what a travesty :/

Anyway, when I first got into the whole ’90’s “grunge” scene, I mainly listened to Nirvana, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam. Of course I knew the song “Rooster”, but I wasn’t very knowledgeable regarding his personal struggles and the enormity of his talent…… and of course…. HIS AMAZING VOICE.

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(^ accidental fashion icon too?)

About a year ago, I listened to the album Dirt and really fell in love. I feel like if this album came out today it wouldn’t feel dated at all- something I can’t say of all albums that I love. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar work is incredible, of course Layne’s voice is outstanding, and the dark lyrics throughout really capture that whole “grunge” thing.

From what I understand most of the lyrics deal with drug abuse, which I can’t personally relate to. However, I feel like this album resonates with anyone who is struggling with any toxicity in their lives that they can’t let go of -drugs or not.

When I went to Seattle, I got to tour the studio (London Bridge Studio to be specific,) where Dirt was recorded. It was a really special experience that I won’t forget anytime soon. I wish there weren’t so many martyrs in the grunge genre, but here we are. April 5th is a rough day- losing both Kurt and Layne (though years apart- still on the same day).

I dedicated this post to Layne because I’ve already dedicated one to Kurt, and also I think Layne is way too often overlooked. He may be favorite voice of the grune scene (in terms of sheer vocal range and uniqueness). RIP Layne! Gone but never forgotten.

Here’s the song Dirt of the album Dirt- I love it 🙂

 

 

 

Frank Zappa- Apostrophe’

GREAT GOOGLY MOOGLY! Apostrophe’ was released on this very day in 1974. I only discovered Zappa’s music about a year ago unfortunately, but I’m confident his music will never leave me.

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Personally, I think my favorite Zappa album is Hot Rats because the compositions are breathtakingly beautiful. However, Apostrophe is damn funny. I mean the man says “great googly moogly” and has a song called “St. Alfanzo’s Pancake Breakfast” where he goes on about how he STOLE THE MARGARINE (gasp! how scandalous!) And I mean… “don’t eat the yellow snow”, c’mon.

Of course Cosmik Debris is on this album, which I actually think may be the first song of his I heard. His guitar playing is fantastic on it and it has that Zappa stamp of weirdness, so it’s awesome.

I personally don’t think Zappa is given enough credit as a musician, but I doubt he’d really care if he was here today. He’s always had a dedicated cult following and I don’t think that’ll ever change. Side note: I’ve never met a Frank Zappa fan who I didn’t like, so he’s got the best fans 🙂  RIP FRANK!

 

 

Go listen to some Apostrophe’!!!!

Lou Reed- The Blue Mask

Honestly, has anyone ever been as cool as Lou Reed? I’d argue Frank Zappa was on that level of cool (if not above it because… Zappa… c’mon) but it’s hard for me to let anyone else in the same category.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but I prefer Reed’s solo work to the Velvet Underground’s work. I can certainly appreciate and understand how much they impacted music, but I get a weird feeling listening to Lou Reed’s stuff that I don’t get from the Velvet Underground. Like I can’t listen to “Perfect Day” and not think of the strung out heroin addicts in Trainspotting, but I sort of appreciate his ability to weird me out.

Speaking of being weirded out, let’s talk about the blue mask. I think this song is quintessential Lou Reed level weird, so of course it’s my favorite. Let’s check out some of the lyrics….

The pain was lean and it made him scream
He knew he was alive
He put a pin through the nipples on his chest
He thought he was a saint
I’ve made love to my mother, killed my father and brother
What am I to do
When a sin goes too far, it’s like a runaway car
It cannot be controlled
Nuff said. Anyway, Lou Reed was great. I’d recommend listening to his solo stuff if you haven’t (not his album with Metallica though, let’s just pretend that didn’t happen)

Jeff Buckley- Grace

Jeff Buckley is one of my favorite singers of all time. Son of legendary folk artist Tim Buckley, Jeff certainly inherited an immense amount of musical skill. It’s unfourtunate Tim wasn’t really in Jeff’s life and he died before Jeff released the album Grace, because I’m pretty sure he would have at least been impressed by his son’s skill. Personally, I enjoy Jeff’s music more than Tim’s. Jeff had the ability to go from a beautiful falsetto to a raging scream and make it seem effortless.

Jeff Buckley

Jeff drowned in the Mississippi River in Memphis, TN in an extremely untimely, tragic death.  I looked out toward the Mississippi on my recent trip to Memphis and I couldn’t help but think about him.

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Dying at the age of 30, Jeff only had the chance to release one album titled “Grace,” which is incredible. I can only imagine where he would have gone musically after this album.

This performance is probably my favorite performances by any artist ever, and that’s saying a lot. Every time I watch it I get chills, and I can’t seem to only watch it once. This is the title track “Grace” performed live on the BBC. Rest in peace Jeff.  I hope you all enjoy this performance.