joseph arthur: redemption city

Joseph Arthur - I Miss The Zoo
Joseph Arthur - Travel As Equals (Radio Edit)

Those who are only familiar with Joseph Arthur‘s poppier, soundtrack-friendly offerings—“Honey and the Moon” (American Pie 3, The O.C.), “In The Sun” (Saved!, The L Word, Scrubs, The Bourne Identity) and “You’re So True” (Shrek 2)—might be taken aback by the direction of his latest project Redemption City. The majority of the record’s lyrics are delivered in a spoken-word style, falling somwhere between Lou Reed‘s “Walk On The Wild Side” and Paris Hilton‘s lowbrow masterpiece “Drunk Text”.

Redemption City is a concept album of sorts, with a history that spans a whole decade. Back in 2002, photographer Peter Beard made a comment that Arthur’s Redemption’s Son sounded “too religious”, suggesting that he change the title to “Redemption City”. Unfortunately, the record was already on its way to stores, so it was too late to make any changes… Sad face!

The name haunted Arthur for years, until he eventually began writing and self-recording a project inspired by the title. “What would a city of redemption sound like?” he asked himself. “What kind of characters would inhabit it?” You can find out the answers (or something) by downloading the double album for free through his website (with the option to make a donation or purchase a limited-edition vinyl).

This is FOR REAL free. You don’t have to sell your soul to Satan or join any lame mailing lists.

Admittedly, sitting through the entirety of Redemption City can be a bit of a chore, depending on your mood. I’d recommend zeroing in on a few tracks and then expanding your horizons as you move along. “I Miss The Zoo” may not be the best place to start, but it’s a personal favorite. Maybe you’ll like it too? The world may never know (unless you leave a comment and tell me).

lera lynn

Lera Lynn - Good Hearted Man
Lera Lynn - Bobby, Baby

Have You Met Lera Lynn? It’s both a legitimate question, as well as the title of her debut solo album on Slow Records. The ten song set came out back in March 2011, which may leave you wondering, “Why are you writing about it so late?” To which I reply, “Well, have you met Lera Lynn? Because, if you haven’t, that’s why I’m writing about it so late.”

Also, there’s another reason! Lera and her boys will be releasing their first 7″ vinyl EP on March 2nd* at a show in Athens, GA (details here). Presumably, the EP will be available for purchase on future tour dates**, though you’ll soon be able to download it for free through her website. The release will include a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Ring of Fire”, as well as an original B-side entitled “Don’t Make Me Wait”.

For the uninitiated, “Good Hearted Man” is a good starting point for your soon-to-develop Lera Lynn obsession. It’s got the charm of classic Dolly Parton with a dash of modern polish. Plus, it’s only two minutes and ten seconds long (not nearly long enough), officially falling into the “too short to suck” catalogue of American songwriting.

Of course, if you prefer country songs that tread on darker territory, you might want to start with “Bobby, Baby”, “Whiskey” or my personal favorite “Gasoline”. Last but not least, if you’re one of those people who listens to “everything but country!”, please stop saying things like that forever. It’s wildly inaccurate, because I highly doubt that you’re listening to shit like this or this or even this. Give country a chance, you big jerky jerk!

* That’s the same date as the BIG QUEER ROCK SHOW! Have I mentioned that yet?

** Boston-area folks! There is a show on March 23rd in Cambridge at Club Passim.

Click through (or look below) for the “Good Hearted Man” music video:

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full body anchor: big queer rock show

Full Body Anchor - 1 in 150
Full Body Anchor - Offering

Good news! BAGLY picked up a nomination for “Most Loved LGBT Center” in About.com‘s Reader’s Choice Awards. They’re currently in the lead with a whopping seventy-three percent of the votes, but that doesn’t mean you should slack off and not vote for them. Go here. Click a button. With over 30 years of advocating for LGBTQ youth, they deserve this recognition!

And now for some additional good news…

It’s finally time to meet Full Body Anchor, the third of four bands performing at the BIG QUEER ROCK SHOW on March 2nd. Their sound channels the energy of ’90s indie-rock, with a list of influences that includes Shudder to Think, HUM, Archers of Loaf, Deftones and Queens of the Stone Age.

The anthemic chorus of “1 in 150″, however, is reminiscent of older influences, calling to mind the powerful punch of 1970s punk rock like The Ramones or The Sex Pistols. “Offering” reminds me of something too. Something great. Something you want to listen to.

As previously mentioned, you can (and should) catch Full Body Anchor live at the BIG QUEER ROCK SHOW. The show’s happening on March 2nd at T.T. The Bear’s in Cambridge. Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door, and you can still make a donation to BAGLY if you can’t be there (which is inexcusable, but less inexcusable if you make a donation).

Enjoy their music, and be sure to head over to their BandCamp page to listen to more of it!