So I have to say, one of the things that definitely sucks about writing books (I just finished my third book, co-authored with Mr. Jason Mankey, yes indeedy!) is that I can’t listen to podcasts or music with lyrics that I can understand while I’m writing. I can listen to instrumental music, and to non-distracting music with verbal ambiance… (Sufi chanting yes, Arabic pop songs no…) But anything I can understand or pick up enough on? NOPE.
Why is that distressing? Because I love listening to both music and podcasts. When I make art, I especially look to podcasts for my audio pleasure. It keeps me engrossed in a story, while also keeping me from looking at the computer. I also tend to learn something from podcasts – either by absorbing stories, new twists on myths, getting interesting takes on the news, and hearing about people’s lives. I find they not only influence my art, but also my perspective on things. When I listen to music with words, I start hearing the songs in different ways – the lyrics find new meanings and visions. Later when I look back at the art I have created, I remember those stories and lyrics. So clearly, there’s something powerful there.
However, when I’m writing, there is so much going on in my head, it’s like an intricate spiderweb. Words outside of what I’m focusing on become distractions instead of inspirations. They vibrate my attention away from what I’m working on.
So even though my dear friend Misha beat me to making this post (great minds and all), I’m going to share with you some of my favorite audio inspirations. This post will be the music post, and I’ll follow it up with a podcast collection.
But I must include a disclaimer. I’m in a band. Technically I think that one band is actually about 3 bands, but what that means is I know and work with a lot of musicians. And nothing pleases me more than listening to awesome music made by people who are my friends – and not only are they my friends, they’re freaking awesome people too….that gives me so much squee, I can’t even express it in words. Bonus points when I get to dance with them, because yes, I’m a professional dancer too.
Ego Likeness – Based in the Baltimore, area, Steven Archer and Donna Lynch are an amazing team (usually joined by Mike and Rick), and I have two CDs of their’s in my car in the 5 CD player. They don’t leave the CD player under penalty of death, because seriously, this music is my witch-as-fuck-hardcore-jam. Here’s one of my favorite songs from their latest album “When The Wolves Return”, but you should listen to ALL OF THEM. One of my favorite bands to dance with. Also check out Steven’s side project, Stoneburner (electronical-tribal-dance-amazeballsness) – and is currently on tour.
Jill Tracy – I met Jill around 2006 I believe – we were both living in the Bay Area, and I filmed an instructional DVD that featured a performance to her song “Evil Night Together.” I have performed with her live quite a few times since then, and I love all of the music she creates. It’s like Edward Gorey meets Gothic Lounge meets Spiritualism in audio format. She’s an incredible artist and you should check out the work she’s been doing at Lilydale and the Mutter Museum.
Florence & The Machine – No, I don’t know Florence. I’d like to think we’d get along. But her music did help me immensely…I randomly heard “What the Water Gave Me” on the radio during a drive home from a rough day at work, a few months before it was released. I had never heard of her before, and I can’t remember the last time I was so possessed to hear more from an artist. I even splurged on the extended special release albums. The albums became my anthem mix as I was getting through my divorce and starting my new life. I also really love her latest album, which I wasn’t too sure about when I first heard it. Such foolishness!
Brown Bird – How do I express the beauty and the tragedy that is Brown Bird? We lived in the same state for the longest time, but I never saw them live. It wasn’t until I was back on a trip to RI that I picked up “The Devil Dancing” – thinking, hey, I keep hearing about these guys, what the heck, I’ll buy the album. Then I went home and ordered the rest. And eagerly awaited their tour stop in Seattle. Alas, halfway through the tour, Dave Lamb was diagnosed with cancer, and they had to cancel it. He made progress, but unfortunately succumbed to his illness. At the point he died, we were the same exact age, and I can’t tell you how hard his death hit me. Probably more so than any other well-known musician whose music I had loved. Their lyrics are such a mix of darkness, magick, and the spiritual. All the albums are amazing. I chose this video so you could see Dave, but listen to their mastered tracks especially.
So that’s a little musical excursion into some of the music I love. Shortly, we’ll hit upon some of my favorite witchy podcasts!