Monday, October 13, 2008

The Orange Spotlight

Jenifer Wills Skidding Through the Mud Incognito (erbacce press)

"I'd much rather listen to The Knife than Tchaikovsky" - from "Confessions
of a Modern Day Poetess"

There is a part of youth that forces you go incognito, to blend, to follow, to survive. Middle school seems to be the age of camouflage and still the unique are ridiculed. If your clothes aren't right, your hair, your face, anything, any difference, it can be near torture. Yet by 8th grade most are tried of blending, of shuffling through the halls, and they begin to find small ways of breaking out, breathing, expressing their own emotions, and finding their personal reality. It's a necessary process that allows the individual to discover on their own the importance of following their own voice. This is where Jenifer Wills begins her journey from skidding and blending to discovering herself through observation and adventure.

Winner of the 2008 Gloom Cupboard chapbook contest, Jenifer's collection pulls the reader into her struggle, her journey, her complex and less then idyllic childhood, and makes you understand. She shares everything from images of her mother, to the mix cds that litter her life, and the thoughts of suicide. It is almost like reading through a young girls private diary, and watching her life unfold from an awkward twelve to a student of life to a mother. She shares every doubt, ever indiscretion, and every lesson. Skidding Through the Mud Incognito is a vibrant collection from a blossoming young poet, and a great example of the hidden gems waiting to be discovered in the independent press.

Team Genius Team Genius (Self-Released, Oct 7th, 2008)

In an era of podcasts and shuffle modes and the ability to download a couples song here and a few songs there, the traditional album may be changing. The chances of someone going to itunes and buying an entire album may be slim, and buying a cd is even more unusual. So what can a musician do make an entire album appeal to a wide range of listeners. Brooklyn's eight member group, Team Genius feel they have discovered a solution, and the results are extremely enjoyable. Drew Hermiller is the foundation of the group and calls the record "a reaction to the modern way music is consumed and listened to". So they made an "ipod" album.

It would be to broad of a statement to called their sound indie pop. They shift sounds from track to track, from funky falsettos (“Take Me Home”), to Celtic intonations (“Sing Song”), epic anthems (“ABC”), weird pep rallies (“The Wise Ones All Give Up”), two chord experimentation (“Meanderings and Musings”), ukulele folk (“Speak Softly”), and even a campfire sing-along (“While We’re Asleep). Consisting of two sets of siblings, they certainly possess the talent and instruments to make each style and sound work perfectly. The risk when making an album like this is that it may sound disorganized, but Drew's lyrics and creative vocals nicely tie the album together.

Take Me Home (mp3)/Surely The Sun Will Explode/Sing Song/Run Gun Sun/ABC/The Wise Ones All Give Up/Meanderings and Musings/Speak Softly/Take What You Can't Make/While We're Asleep

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