Tag: Picks From Planet Venus

  • In the Blog

    Lavender Love

    December 18th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    The holidays can be a rough time for many people; what with the excessive family time (“Yes, Auntie Zelda, as a matter of fact I am trying to scare away husbands”), trauma caused by shattering of previously rock-solid resolve to be healthy, and the complete and utter panic attacks brought on every time you hear a “funky” remix of Jingle Bell Rock, the season of joy can sometimes turn into a nightmare. Well, I … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    i listen to bands that don’t even exist yet

    December 12th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Do you find the music industry’s manipulations and machinations to be as confusing as I do? Do music mags’ “What’s Hot and What’s Not” lists make your head spin? Have you ever showed up at a party wearing a band t- shirt that you were sure was the latest thing, only to be told “That band is more out than Ellen Degeneres”? Well, fear no more, friends! Monitor Mix, the blog Carrie … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    I wish i didn’t have to keep doing this

    December 4th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    By which I mean saying goodbye to folk music and civil rights activist heroes. But only two weeks after we lost Miriam Makeba, we now also have to do without Odetta, the American folksinger who helped generations realize how essential African-American music has been to the development of songwriting, in America and elsewhere. She was also a major figure of the American civil rights movement - she performed at the historic 1963 March … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    lederhosen who?

    November 28th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Krista Muir has been a mainstay on the Montreal music scene for more than a decade now. She’s probably best known for her off-the-wall, food-obsessed, fashionista Teutonic alter-ego Lederhosen Lucil, a blonde-braided German uber-hostess who’s been known to bust out songs that sound like a cooking show set to Casio keyboard sample tunes. But of late, we’ve been getting a chance to see the woman under the wig and hosen; Muir has just … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    goodbye Mama Afrika

    November 15th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Global warming just got a little worse on November 10th… we lost someone pretty damn cool. Miriam Makeba was a South African singer and civil-rights activist who spoke out against apartheid and injustice in the strongest, sweetest, most melodic voice you could imagine. She was exiled from South Africa after she left to pursue a musical career in the US and found her passport had been revoked when she tried to return. But she … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    stern warning

    November 6th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Okay, it’s November, it’s getting dark at 4:30, I have to think about things like storm windows and Thinsulate, and Proposition 8 is making me want to eat my face. But! Today it’s 18 degrees outside, I have reason to feel optimistic, and Marnie Stern has a new album. Stern has gotten a lot of buzz since her first release In Advance of the Broken Arm, with accolades like Greatest Female Guitarists of All Time (Venus … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    diamanda is forever

    October 30th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    I said it last year and I’ll say it again: Halloween is the time of year when everyone lets their hidden fantasy loose, their inner demon out, their freak flag fly… and the next day we wipe off the eyeliner and fake blood and shaving cream and go back to business as usual. But for some people, grappling with the dark side is what they do every day of their lives. You can bet Diamanda Galas … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    yo, it’s about time

    October 17th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    If, like me, you sorely miss the tuff-as-Lee-Press-On-Nails attitude and music of mouthy, unabashedly sexual 90s rappers Salt ‘N’ Pepa, this news will make you wanna Shoop. (Ouch… sometimes I kill me.) Yo Majesty, Florida’s electro-crunk rap ladies, have just released their first full-length album, called Futuristically Speaking… Never Be Afraid. They’ve been tearing up dancehalls and The Internet for years now, but this is the first time you can have a full sixty-ish … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    sweet soul queen

    October 9th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Nobody (except maybe Roy Orbison) knows crying like Irma Thomas. If you wanted, you could make a mixtape exclusively of songs she’s recorded that are about crying or tears - Cry On, In Between Tears, Cry Cry Cry, Hold Me While I Cry. And, you know, it would still make me happier than most bubblegum pop. Okay, Aretha has a bigger voice, and Otis Redding is more enjoyably melodramatic, but for my … READ MORE

  • In the Blog


    September 25th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Sometimes life is hard. Sometimes your bike doesn’t work right, and the people you love are far away, and don’t return your phone calls, and there is a weird smell coming from under your kitchen counter that’s probably not going to go away, and you stay up at night worrying about things like the Hadron particle accelerator creating a black hole that will swallow the earth before you have a chance to say you’re … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    love is a something or other

    September 16th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Picks from Planet Venus is going to be on hiatus for a bit due to my aforementioned book tour. So until it resumes, please enjoy the video for Pat Benatar’s Love Is A Battlefield. Oh Pat, when do I get to join your gang of rebel taxi-dancing girls? … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    welcome to the crystal vortex

    September 4th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    According to those who care about such things, in Arizona and New Mexico there is a geological phenomenon known as the “crystal vortex”. Underneath the desert, such people claim, is the largest growth of crystals and gemlike things on the continent. Because crystals are known for their properties of vibration, aura-mending, and general healing, this area has a disproportionately large amount of, well, good vibes. This is why so many new-age type … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    we don’t need another hero… well maybe one

    August 28th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    My first post ever for Picks from Planet Venus was about Sarah Mangle, the singer-songwriter who plays the mini-ukulele and writes curious, queerious campfire songs for city kids. So it pleases me to no end to announce that, one year later, she’s acquired a terrific backing band of string-players and they will be launching their album, congratulations ha ha ha, tomorrow night. Here’s an idea of what said band, Wet NOSE Hero, is like: Imagine you’re … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    matana roberts: soliloquy in four parts

    July 31st, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Astute readers may have noticed that I’ve missed a few installments of Picks from Planet Venus over the past few weeks, things being what they are. So to make it up to you, here is something epic in scope and length. Jazz saxophonist Matana Roberts has started a video blog to address some ideas about feminism and creativity that have been buzzing around in her head (and cropping up in interviews) for a while. … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    one song for you

    July 4th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    It’s been two years, give or take a few days, since one of the best rock bands of all time decided to call it quits. Sleater-Kinney gave the world about a decade of music, and for that I respectfully pour out a virtual forty for them on the curb. A few key S-K points and/or moments: No one has heard a voice like Corin Tucker’s, before or since (though a friend once said that … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    saw skills

    June 26th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Ah summer, season of the construction project. No matter where I go, no matter how idyllic the park or peaceful the rooftop, there’s always some tool (and some person using it, har har) razzing up the neighbourhood. Oh well, all the more reason to stay indoors trolling YouTube for videos. Some of the most curious and intriguing music I’ve heard in a while is being made by Montreal’s Elfin Saddle, a duo whose stage … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    feels more dirty than it really is

    June 19th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Kansas City art-punk brats Ssion (pronounced “shun”) set out to make what singer Cody Critcheloe describes as “the gayest record ever”; what resulted was Fools Gold, an album that is maybe more pomo-hop than homo-pop. But let’s not mince words - it is pure disco-punk dance party mania. Man, I wonder what Sid Vicious would think about how it’s now possible to use a term like “disco-punk” without batting an eyelash. But … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    you’ve asked for my comment I simply will render

    June 11th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Today seems like a good day to post Buffy Sainte-Marie’s heartbreaking song My Country ‘Tis of Thy People You’re Dying. It’s a brutally honest and powerful comment not just on First Nations history but on how that history has been censored, covered up, and just plain ignored. This version was performed in the 60s on Pete Seeger’s show Rainbow Quest; Buffy Ste-Marie is playing at the Montreal Jazz fest this summer along with … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    my mom says you’re cool

    June 5th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    Laura Barrett describes her music as “neurotic sci-folk for neurotic sci folk,” a summary which seems so charming and concisely accurate that I may as well just sign off now and go back to figuring out how to water tomatoes from the bottom. But that would be too easy, and goodness knows sci-folk don’t take it easy. Barrett is a startlingly unique songwriter, but you’d have to check twice to know it for sure. … READ MORE

  • In the Blog

    file under innovative wingnuts I will love forever

    May 28th, 2008     by Anna Leventhal     Comments

    A little short on time these days, so I’ll leave you with a no-brainer this time around. The thing about Kate Bush is that she never really stopped being weird. She made it big as a teenager in the late 70s with her melodramatic, gothic, Bronte-inspired hit Wuthering Heights, but did she then fall into the banal pit of superstardom, letting managers and music execs craft her into a predictable and semi-clothed pop star? … READ MORE

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