swiftumz

Swiftumz - More Than Sleep
Swiftumz - 4EVA

A month ago, our neighbors invited us over to decorate cookies. This is the type of invitation you can’t turn down during the holiday season. It should go on the record, however, that I never once considered turning down said invitation. Our neighbors are quite lovely people, and… Well, tastiness! Gingerbread all UP in my face. You know the drill.

As the story goes, a few last-minute errands resulted in my frantic (yet fashionably) late arrival. I stumbled over to their doorway thinking I was the most terrible person in the world, only to realize that I was earlier than nearly every other guest. Audible sigh of relief, I uttered!

The early arrival actually turned out to be a good thing, in multiple respects. For starters, I got first crack at the snack table. There were less people to introduce myself to. More bonding time with my neighbors… But, perhaps most importantly, I was able to discover my poor frosting skills before the true artistes arrived.

For real, guys! Decorating cookies is serious business. There was a woman who pimped out her gingerbread-lady in a pair rainbow panties, inspired by Rihanna‘s wardrobe on the Loud tour. I tried to pretend I was as cool as her by creating a Robyn-inspired cookie. Long story short, It wound up having unintentionally inappropriate nipples. I was not as cool as her.

It wasn’t until I made one particular cookie (who we’ll refer to as “Sad Sadie“) that I truly felt accomplished. Though she wore a brightly colored outfit, her sugary lips were (accidentally) turned down into a frown. She was miserable. And I loved her.

Sad Sadie became the companion piece for “Optimistic Girl“, a character developed by my neighbor. The concept was pretty simple. As response to anything remotely negative, Optimistic Girl would respond in her trademark high-pitched voice, letting you know that everything will be okay.

At this time in the post, you’re probably wondering—what does any of this have to do with Swiftumz? Rest assured, the answer is coming soon!

You see, “More Than Sleep” is the Sad Sadie of breakup jams. The narrator’s so ridden with self-deprecation and longing that he’s resorted to saying things like “I love her even more than I hate myself”. It’s kind of pathetic.

That is, until we get to “4EVA”, on which the Optimistic Girl inside our narrator’s brain unleashes her opinion on this matter. “Sure, there were bad times,” she says. “But why don’t you focus on the good times! The fun times! You’ll always have those, and nobody can take them away from you!”

In the context of Swiftumz’s debut album Don’t Trip, these two songs balance one another out to some point of, dare I say, sanity. It’s a magical pairing. Magical, I tell you!

 

garçon garçon: “save our souls”

Australian duo Garçon Garçon appear before the lens of photographer Elvis di Fazio, as they prepare to release their debut project EP.

“You left without leaving. Your ghost is still here. Don’t let go.”

This line from Australian duo Garçon Garçon‘s “Save Our Souls”, at the risk of sounding corny, has an exceptionally haunting effect. Part of it is the context. The song was written about a friend of lead vocalist Nathan Mahon, who took his life in late 2011. I was admittedly a bit hesitant to tackle the track from a writer’s perspective, given the sensitive (and extremely personal) subject matter. So without further ado, I’ll step aside and let the man himself do the talking.

“I wanted to write something beautiful as a tribute to him,” Mahon told ITMS. “When we were searching for the last few tracks to go on the EP, this just came together very quickly. Even though it’s a sad song lyrically, it also has a very optimistic, positive message as well. No matter how bad things may seem today, tomorrow can always be better.”

The word “better” jumped out at me immediately. Given all the national attention paid to LGBT suicides and the now-controversial* It Gets Better campaign, I couldn’t resist asking the pair how they’d feel about the song’s relationship to this particular movement. Group member Nick Tsirimokos responded:

“I think it would make a beautiful link to the It Gets Better project. We would do anything to promote an anti-bullying message. I was horribly bullied at school! I guess it will be up to the individual to interpret how they feel about the song when they listen to it. I like to leave it open for people to make up their own minds.”

That is, of course, if people aren’t too busy bawling on the dance floor to make up their mind! Nick’s production on this track is classic Garçon Garçon. Sure, this may seem odd to say about a band in their infancy that hasn’t even released their first project, but it continues the duo’s trend of crafting electro-pop with pure, unadulterated soul.

According to Tsirimokos, “Save Our Souls” was literally written in one day, followed by a whole year of injecting it with copious amounts of love and care. It had originally started out as a slow brass arrangement, eventually evolving in its mood to something brighter and more optimistic.

“I love Nick’s production on this,” Mahon added. “It’s sensitive and beautiful but also uplifting. Wherever my friend is now, I hope he loves it as much as I do.”

Amen to that! It’s The Money Shot is proud to offer up this exclusive preview of “Save Our Souls”, which will appear on Garçon Garçon’s debut EP. While this clip is undoubtedly stunning, I assure you that it doesn’t do justice to the way the song builds and gets under your skin (in the best way possible). Seriously! Be sure to pick up a copy of EP when it’s released on February 14th. It’ll be worth it for this track alone.

PHOTO CREDIT: Elvis di Fazio

* A powerful way to help end the epidemic of suicides is to support organizations which empower and develop young LGBTQ people to become leaders, so they can “make it better” themselves. This has been brought to my attention since my partner began working for BAGLY (Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth). I encourage you to check out the work they’re doing to support queer youth by visiting their website or following them on Facebook and Twitter.

rochelle jordan

Rochelle Jordan - _Shot
Rochelle Jordan - King A (Aaliyah Tribute)

I’m not gonna lie. It feels kind of tacky to post an Aaliyah cover on the late singer’s birthday (and Martin Luther King Jr. Day to boot). Yet, if you’d believe it or not, I had planned on writing about Rochelle Jordan before I discovered the existence of her “King A” tribute. Afterwards, it just seemed silly to not include it in this entry.

“King A” works because there’s already such a blatant Aaliyah influence in Rochelle’s work. She’s serving up lo-fi “PBR&B” driven by big aspirations (think the female equivalent of The Weeknd) laced with vocals that simultaneously recall Ameriie‘s fire and Cassie‘s ice-cold delivery (if that makes any sense, and it will once you hear her).

Basically? If you’re still sleeping on Ms. Jordan, you need to wake the hell up and get with the program. Basically. There really isn’t much more to say beyond that.