Now Presenting: The 2015 Pre-Ghosties


Welcome to the second annual Pre-Ghosties! This thrilling award show was created in January 2014 as a direct response to the poor decisions of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. You won’t have to sit through thousands of questionably bland live performances to find out who wins, and most likely, we won’t give any awards to blatant homophobes, members of the Church of Scientology or gay substitute teachers for Adele.

Unfortunately, we also won’t be giving any awards to Beyoncé for the following reasons—1) Her album technically came out in 2013, 2) We don’t have weird cutoff date ranges like the action Grammy Awards, and 3) “7/11” is a fun song, but spoiler alert, it wasn’t fun enough to win in its category. We hope that’s a sufficient explanation for the Bey Hive and Kanye West, because we assure you that we are, indeed, bitches who bow down.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to this year’s nominees and winners! Please that note that, if you are unfamiliar with any of the artists below, you can click the name of their song or album to take a quick listen. Additionally, a sampler of all nominees can be heard on Spotify… And, well, if it’s not one-hundred percent obvious, winners are presented in bold text.

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The Best Of January 2015


You may have heard that January is over. To acknowledge the overness of this past month, I have gone ahead and compiled a playlist entitled “Best Of January 2015: You’re Worth It, So Change It“. Most of these songs were released within the past 31 days, a few came out a little earlier, and amidst this, there are some older songs that resonated with me within this time period.

What’s the story behind those selections? I’m so glad you asked! Both “Pony” and “Human Nature” were songs that I’ve been wanting to perform at karaoke for ages, and I finally gathered up enough courage to give them both a try a week ago. You can watch an embarrassing video of me singing about my saddle over here (if that’s something you’d be into). It should go on the record that my saddle is, indeed, waiting, and it would behoove you to jump on it as soon as possible. A saddle can only be patient for so long.

 Sofia Talvik‘s “If I Had A Man” was one of my favorites from her album The Owls Are Not What They Seem, and since she personally reached out to thank me for my support over the years, I thought I’d include it here and, in the process, let you know that she’s currently raising funds for her next project Big Sky Country. This reminds me that I should probably respond to Sofia’s very, very nice e-mail.

Hmm, what else? Bette Midler‘s on there, because I just bought my darling boyfriend tickets to see her as an anniversary gift. (Seven years!) Taking Back Sunday is there, because apparently I am an angsty teenager stuck in a grown man’s body. The Tri-City Singers, Coko and Dolly Parton are the counterpoint to all that defiant screaming, each offering a bit of joy and inspiration.

The newer songs don’t have as many stories attached to them. The dance remix of that Lily Wood & The Prick song played constantly while I was traveling in Los Angeles, along with Selena Gomez‘s “The Heart Wants What It Wants” and Usher‘s slightly sex positive (but also slightly condescending) bop “I Don’t Mind“. They all grew on me, because that’s what happens when you drive around in sunny weather listening to the same three songs over and over again.

Everything else is just random stuff I like, arranged in a somewhat cohesive manner that should (hopefully) flow with each transition. It should be noted that the entire self-titled Vallis Alps EP is worth checking out, Fifth Harmony has proven to us the importance of horns in pop music, and “Oh My Zeus” is the greatest song you’ve never heard about two girlfriends chatting on the phone about a womanizing Greek god.

If you are somehow still reading this, then I’d like to remind you (or tell you for the first time) that original artwork by yours truly is now available through Society 6. I’ve made the decision that, from now until May 7, all profits made from sales on the site will be donated to BAGLY – The Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth. Links to a few of my favorite designs are included below:

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Winter Is For Blockheads (2015)


The inspiration for Winter Is For Blockheads came from the opening track “Ecor Rouge” (which originally appeared on Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers keyboardist Benmont Tench‘s debut solo album You Should Be So Lucky). To me, it felt like a vaguely depressing, slowed-down version of the type of song Schroeder would play in a Charlie Brown holiday special. His fingers would effortlessly dance across the keys of his piano, as each note commanded the gang to stop doing this, take their seats in the auditorium and make room on the stage for some real artists.

One by one, a series of mysterious strangers would emerge from behind the curtains to perform. The mood would remain solemn, yet engaging and remarkably cathartic. Each attendee would sit on the edge of his or her seat in order to truly appreciate the beauty presented before them. The VIP guest list would include Snoopy, Frieda, Linus, Violet, Pig-Pen, Shermy, Sally, 3, 4, that random guy no normal human could identify and, of course, you.

Here is the set list that you would all witness:

  1. Ecor Rouge” – Benmont Tench
  2. Piano Ombre” – François & the Atlas Mountains
  3. Green Jackets” – Catherine Ireton (featuring Go Away Birds)
  4. Lived and Died Alone” – Shamir
  5. Parar a tiempo” – Ximena Sariñana
  6. Churchill” – Samantha Crain
  7. Casino” – The Notwist
  8. Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me” – Blake Mills
  9. May as Well” – Angel Olsen
  10. Ed Reed Jersey” – The Range

During the final song, Shia LaBeouf would appear on stage, gyrating wildly in a nude leotard alongside a hologram of Martha Graham. Major dance critics—none of whom were actually in attendance at the show—would refer to his movement as “intense” and dripping with “raw emotion”. Their reviews would also include a shameless note to head to the gift shop and pick up a memento to remember everything you saw, heard and felt.