RICH’S MIXTAPE: POST-PRIDE EDITION

We appreciated the Pride theme “It Only Gets Better,” but it also sounded a little like a self-help mantra. Now that Pride is over, we’re looking to keep our groove going with a little fun. These tunes should turn a frown upside-down.

“I Could Be Happy” — Altered Images: Of course you can, especially after this 1981 New Wave hit by Scottish post-punkers fill your brain with its bouncy, joyful sound.
“Dreams” — The Cranberries: Bubbling with optimism, it is pretty hard not to think your dreams will come true after this alt-pop classic plays.

“A Little Less Conversation” — Elvis Presley: The King isn’t on a self-help kick here, but who could resist this kind of beat? For those who can, you need far more than this mixtape.

“Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do” — Robyn: This popster takes a different approach to self-empowerment, but it works. Listing everything that bugs her, she sounds just like us. Sometimes we just need to vent and curse.

“Firework” — Katy Perry: Don’t deny it: You get a rush when Perry builds to her chorus and then the beat drops.

“Louder (Put Your Hands Up)” — Chris Willis, pictured: While we keep waiting for his full- length debut, the out singer delivers the ultimate uplift anthem, and it’s a good dance tune, too.

“I’ll Take You There” — The Staple Sisters: There are few lyrics in this song, but all we need to know is I know a place / Ain’t nobody cryin’ / Ain’t nobody worried. Let’s go.

“Roam’” – The B-52’s: Sometimes the B’s are out there, but they make the world a better place here. Who figured permission from the band to roam around the world would feel so good?

“Hell With You” – …Silenze: These queer-centric metalheads don’t take crap. Declaring I’m someone unlike you, the band forgets the fuzzy-wuzzies and takes a stand.

“Move any Mountain” – The Shamen: Though their hit “Ebenezer Goode” came off rather dark, the rave house band gets all Dr. Phil with this addictive and encouraging dance track.

“I’m Sorry Baby, But You Can’t Stand in my Light Anymore” – Bob Mould: Sometimes it’s the one you’re with that’s bringing you down. Kick ’em to the curb the way this queer indie rocker says: Hate to leave you standing in the corner on your own. Fact is, sometimes you have to.

“Express Yourself” – Madonna: You had to see this coming. Truer words have never been sung than Don’t go for second best, baby. Even if it is a song about relationships, it’s always said so much more.

—R.L.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 23, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Sarah Jaffe and Bosque Brown tonight at the Wyly

Buzz surrounds local musician Sarah Jaffe, but she’s ready to move on

Going from playing smaller clubs like Dan’s Silverleaf and Club Dada, to selling out the Granada Theater last year, Sarah Jaffe’s star is on the rise. She gets a primo gig Saturday when she headlines at the Wyly Theatre in support of her 2010 full-length debut, Suburban Nature. After garnering attention for Nature locally and nationally (from the Dallas Observer to NPR), Jaffe wasn’t just a girl with a guitar — she unlocked yearning and pain with wisdom beyond her 25 years. Jaffe captures the poetry of life and love and sets it to music … even if she doesn’t mean to.

“I’ve never been a strategic writer and I’m thankful for that,” she says. “It comes out sporadically. There are those moment in life when I slow down and it’s just me being human and being alive and the writing is totally cathartic.”

Read the entire article here.

—  Rich Lopez

Sarah, upside down

Buzz surrounds local musician Sarah Jaffe, but she’s ready to move on

RICH LOPEZ | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Going from playing smaller clubs like Dan’s Silverleaf and Club Dada, to selling out the Granada Theater last year, Sarah Jaffe’s star is on the rise. She gets a primo gig Saturday when she headlines at the Wyly Theatre in support of her 2010 full-length debut, Suburban Nature. After garnering attention for Nature locally and nationally (from the Dallas Observer to NPR), Jaffe wasn’t just a girl with a guitar — she unlocked yearning and pain with wisdom beyond her 25 years. Jaffe captures the poetry of life and love and sets it to music … even if she doesn’t mean to.

“I’ve never been a strategic writer and I’m thankful for that,” she says. “It comes out sporadically. There are those moment in life when I slow down and it’s just me being human and being alive and the writing is totally cathartic.”

Despite her ardent folk music and Joni-Mitchell-and-the-like upbringing (thank her parents), her musical affinity lies elsewhere.

“I love electronic music and I love making it. I’m obsessed with Robyn. I have this secret dream to be a choreographer because I legitimately love dancing. It makes me happy,” she gushes.

With big-time hype and attention, Jaffe is a contradiction to the ramping buzz about her work. She sounds like she wants a sensible perspective despite her self-proclaimed pessimism.

“I feel so lucky at this point. When people talk about you, it’s strange with even a small amount of success,” she says. “But there’s always some negativity. It’s a huge honor for people to recognize my work but I question myself. I’ve always been a cynic, but I guess I have a shitload to learn.”

Jaffe’s “small amount of success” has already been on the receiving end of the “is she or isn’t she” curiosity. She received accidental lesbian attention when AfterEllen.com included her in a travel destination piece on Dallas and, she surmises, the writer mistook her for Erase Errata’s Sara Jaffe. Perhaps it was a blessing in disguise — it expanded her audience base.

“I do have a large lesbian following and it’s great anywhere it comes from,” she says. “Any sort of relating that anybody can get out of music is a wonderful thing.”

She’s learned quickly it comes with the territory, but it’s awkward for her nonetheless.

“It’s weird there’s this curiosity. Sexuality is gray for me but people are gonna talk about those things,” she says. “I’ve loved men and I’ve loved women but it’s more like I relate to a human connection. None of that matters to me.”

Jaffe’s just glad to get any person to her show as well as clean her slate. Despite the success of Nature, she’s ready to move on.

“I plan on an EP release this spring. They are all demos but I think there’s a charm in it,” she says. “I’m so proud of Suburban Nature, but the songs are like six or seven years old. And I’m chomping at the bit.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition Feb. 11, 2011.

—  John Wright