Live on KEXP has been one of my favorite radio programs from North America for quite a while, so I thought it appropriate to mention it here (which I have done multiple times before). The show puts a large number of the best bands in the world in the spotlight every year, granting each one time to show off their talents. Here are a few of the ones I liked recently, to give you an idea why they are worth checking out.

The first one in this small set is Los Bitchos with their full segment from March 2020; the second is Dinosaur Jr from June of this year, with both the music and interview segments. The third is Japanese Breakfast from just a week or two ago. Enjoy!

There were just too many SCANDAL songs I wanted to post on Part 1 of this entry, so I decided to break them apart and created this second post. This one continues the Pre-pandemic selections, first with 2014’s Awanaitsumorino Genkidene, and then what may be my favorite song by them: 2012’s Shunkan Sentimental! And the oldest track of all included in tonight’s collection: Shojo S, from their high school collection!

SCANDAL got their start in 2008 with the release of their first single DOLL, when they were all in high school together, and they have created a bunch of killer tracks since then. What they have been doing since is nothing short of amazing, and every year they are better than the year before. For those of you who don’t already know them, I wanted to share a few tracks.

The first song in this set is Eternal, their 27th or so Single (they have so many, and my Nihongo is so shady, that I can’t be sure if what I think I read was even close to correct), which was posted on March 2nd of 2021. The reason I intend to pick up this two track single rather than waiting for it to come out on an EP or album? Simple: While the 2nd track is also Eternal, it is the TOWA TEI REMIX (of Yellow Magic Orchestra and METAFIVE fame), which has to be world class! The next track is Tonight from February of 2020; While I would love to say these two songs are the bookends around the Japanese pandemic, I would be lying. Being closer to China than the US is, their pandemic started earlier than ours did, so by Feb2020 it was already in full swing; and it is still going strong today, with the Olympic Committee declaring no fans can attend just a few weeks ago or so because of the risk of contagion. A
Pre-pandemic selection is next, 2018’s Departure. Enjoy!

Tessa Violet has been cranking out a wide range of new music during the pandemic, but I seem to have lost the majority of my postings about her since it began. I can’t make up for the 20 or so postings I have lost with a single entry, so expect to see her listed here again very soon! First off, 2 versions of her song Games (2nd studio version, then first and only punk variation), out of the 3 studio and at least 4 live variations I have seen so far. I had to add Bored after that, since she sang that on pretty much all of her twice a week (and often more frequent) Pandemic webcasts since she wrote it a little more than a year ago. And lets face it, there is no song that expresses the mood of every one trapped at home during the previous 16 or so months than that one. And then for perspective one of my favorite songs from before the Pandemic, I Like The Idea Of You. It has been a hell of a couple of years, but I am very grateful for artists like Tessa, who just kept working their asses off even when in isolation, to help keep the rest of us from going batshit bonkers!

She Knows Tech is an organization of women professionals in the music industry, and if that immediately makes you think secretaries, receptionists, and gophers, you completely missed the point. The She Knows Tech Summit is a multi-day all-female line-up conference to celebrate International Women’s Day, which takes place on March 8th. The Summit happened this year from March 5th through the 8th, and brought together a new generation of multifaceted producers, artists, songwriters and music professionals. Their goals include:

1) To provide a platform for women to give and receive training in music technology.
2) To highlight female-identifying professionals in the music technology industry as role models.
3) To create a safe space for open discussion in closing the industry’s gender gap.

This year some of their members created music live from their homes and studios, which was hosted at the Spitfire YouTube Channel. That link will take you to their full playlist, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites here. The first tune is from Dominique, her song Use Me, a very tasty role reversal. The second track is from Ling Ling, and I love the fact the skyline behind her is also something she created electronically. I thought I recognized several of those buildings, and if so they came from different cities. Next we have dolltr!ck with her song Destiny. The final video is one of their promotional spots, telling you a bit more about the organization.

INFO: I posted the She Knows Tech entry back in March in honor of International Women’s Day, but like many posts I did in the past 2 years it evaporated when I moved to the new server a few months ago. The organizations work was too important and the music was too good to leave out, so this is the replacement post. I know there are hundreds of entries which are gone from this site forever, but as I identify the missing ones I will do my best to get them reinstated here.

From the first time I heard NENA’s amazing 1983 song 99 Luftballons I was riveted to the power and beauty of her voice and song! When I heard it again a half dozen months later in English I liked it even more, because the lyrics were telling a story that needed to be told. She didn’t slow down for a minute from then to 1987, at which point the band sadly imploded. She returned as a solo artist in 1989, with the second stage of her career going full tilt until 1997. She has had the full support of her original band members the whole time, including her ex, for both live and studio events. Not something many rock stars can say in that same situation.

After some film work and time to raise here family, she returned to the music scene with new tunes around 2005; during the between time she did manage to release a bunch of live albums. She kicked off the third stage of her music career with the 2 CD set of original music Would you like to go with me followed by a 2 CD collection of covers of some of her favorite music called, appropriately enough Cover Me. I particularly like that one of the covers was the most important song from Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy, called Helden in German, Heroes in English. After that she seems to have been releasing around an album of original music each year.

Then came the pandemic. She had few shows last year, and this year she has a handful of tour dates scheduled, 2 major festivals per month ending in September. Starting in March of 2022 she will return in force, with what seems to be 2 concerts scheduled for every 3 days for the whole rest of the year. With lots of other bands following the same pattern, this has become the New Normal.

It was easy to pick the first tune to include here, since it chose itself: 99 Luftballons. This version was posted from a live tour performance from 2018, as was the 2nd track, Willst Du Mit Mir Gehn. For the third one I went with Licht; Enjoy!