I’m an Asshole

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I’m an asshole and I’m sorry. I hate people who don’t keep promises. I am one of those people. I never want to disappoint my readers and most of all, myself. My busy life really isn’t an excuse. I’d rather be blogging and making music than working a job I’m not passionate about, trust me. I’ve come to the realization that something has to give. Unfortunately, that can’t be my day job. I’ve tried to balance everything and I can’t do it anymore. I don’t know what that means for all of my creative endeavors. I need creativity to survive, but the stress of trying to maintain it is also killing me. I really hope one day I don’t have to deal with this struggle. If anyone has any advice on how to balance a busy life, then please let me know. I’m failing miserably at a low stress life. I never get sick and I’ve been terribly ill for the last week with no voice, a terrible cough and then a head cold on top of it all. I finally feel like I’m getting a little better. I’ve been keeping up with everyone else’s blogs and you guys are doing really awesome things. I’m seriously so inspired by the creativity and talent I see every day on WordPress. You guys blow me away!

Good stuff is happening in my life, even if I haven’t posted about it until now. The Winter 2016 issue of Carpe Nocturne came out about two months ago. I wrote an Alternative Male Shopping Guide, a piece on Faroese fantasy musician Eivør, CD reviews on Melanie Martinez and Still Patient, my Sanctuary of the Strange column about my journey from Emo to Goth and my poem Not Like the Rest. Pick up a digital copy here or a physical copy here. I’m in love with our cover this time. Ash Costello from the great band New Years Day dressed as Harley Quinn. Epic!

Winter 2016

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I’ve also been moved into my new house for about two months now. I love it! Having my own space for the first time in my life is really fun. I think my favorite part is singing at the top of my lungs pretty much constantly. I’m going to do a whole post or two with before and after photos of the house, but I think I’ll give a sneak preview right now.

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Work is an adjustment right now. I’m sort of in a middle management role and I don’t enjoy babysitting people. I like training and helping staff, but the petty bullshit I can’t stand. I’m thinking about going back to school for some sort of Master’s degree. Yet, I already have no time. Going back to high school sounds really awesome sometimes. lol

Some of you might be familiar with my favorite singer Kerli. I haven’t posted about her in quite some time. Well, she finally released her comeback single “Feral Hearts” and it’s literally the best thing she’s ever done. Kerli’s back in a big way as the song urges the listener to connect with their true self and the nature surrounding them. I feel like Kerli lost her message for a bit being tied to a major label. This is the art she is supposed to be creating. This is the girl I fell in love with eight years ago. The music video for “Feral Hearts” is a dream with Kerli portraying different mystical creatures amongst gorgeous Estonian nature. Please support her in any way you can as she’s now an independent artist. You won’t regret it. Her new album should be out later on this year.

Kerli

That’s about it for now. I think my voice is almost well enough for me to start singing again. Spring is basically here and I love that because snow isn’t my thing. How do you film a music video in a snowy graveyard?! I mean come on. Feel very free to call out my absence and excuses. I deserve it. Damn, we’re about to lose an hour for Daylight Saving Time. Can I catch a break? lol Talk to you guys soon…and I mean it. 😉

The Hidden Gems of the Music Industry

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Underground or little-known music artists are usually my favorites. Often times, they possess a more original sound and a lot of creativity. Today, I wanted to share some artists that I think deserve more recognition.

Bad Pollyanna

This is a band I think my alternative followers would enjoy. At my first discovery of Bad Pollyanna, I’ll admit I wasn’t captivated. I don’t listen to nearly as much alternative rock music as I used to. I’m all about the synthpop, which I’ll save for another post. However, when I heard the band’s new charity single “Invincible Girl” and researched what the band was all about, I fell in love.

Bad Pollyanna’s website says they represent a mix of both beauty and darkness. The visuals in their music videos are both stunning and scary. Their debut album “Monstrous Child” reminds me of the story of Frankenstein. The concept involves a scientist that kidnaps a girl to try and bring his lover back to life, but his lover turns into a monster instead. The album is her story. It’s a badass idea. I love concept albums.

The song “Invincible Girl” was recently released as a charity single in support of The Sophie Lancaster Foundation. It’s probably my favorite charity because its focus is on creating respect for and understanding of subcultures in our communities. As a Goth myself, this message is absolutely vital in a society in which kids are dying for being different. You can learn more about the foundation here and buy “Invincible Girl” here. Bad Pollyanna are very talented and awesome people.

Ricky Rebel

Anyone remember 90’s boy band No Authority or Show Pony from the My Chemical Romance videos? Those were artist Ricky Rebel’s past endeavors. He even got to tour with Britney Spears! Now, Ricky’s a blue-haired solo pop artist with the hottest stage outfits I’ve ever seen. Ricky’s music ranges from dance to rock to pop. He certainly doesn’t mind showing off his individuality in his sassy music videos.

Tara McDonald

Tara is a singer/songwriter from the UK who’s debut album should come out this year. I came across her wild music video for “Give Me More” and fell in love. The video is like a sexy Alice in Wonderland tea party on crack. It reminds me of Kerli’s “Tea Party”. Tara also hosts her own dance music radio show. I wish her lots of success! She’s been hard at work in the music industry for a long time and deserves her big break.

Patrick Wolf

I liken singer/songwriter and violinist Patrick Wolf to the male version of Emilie Autumn. His music is described as Baroque Pop and includes lush orchestration, uncommon musical instruments and pop sensibility. He even has the red hair and eccentric fashion sense that Emilie has. Patrick has mastered making make both dark and light music. “The Magic Position” is a fun love song that even sounds like it could be in a musical. The band nerd in me loves that scales are being played throughout the song.

Lola Blanc

This is one spunky pop singer that I can’t believe hasn’t hit it big yet. Lola co-wrote Britney Spears’ “Ooh La La”, which was originally going to be Lola’s song. She grew up in Michigan and was a ventriloquist in a family full of magicians. Lola’s fashion style is edgy retro and the visuals in her music videos are on point. Even when she sings about a teacher and student high school romance on “Shut The Damn Door”, the song is so pretty that it’s not creepy.

Do you know of any underrated artists that I should know about? Leave them in the comments!

Melanie Martinez

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The creepy cute world I live in is pretty small. It takes a lot for a music artist to captivate me sonically and visually. I like a lot of music, but I don’t necessarily connect with every song I enjoy. Even if I can relate to the lyrics, the artist might actually bore me. I know that sounds bad. I really believe that music and visuals are of equal importance. That’s how a story is told. I could never be that artist that just gets on stage with their guitar and sings a couple songs. I respect that, but those aren’t the artists that generally inspire me.

I haven’t come across such a unique artist as Melanie Martinez in quite some time. Not long ago, I stumbled upon her music video for “Dollhouse” and was mesmerized. It brings back memories of discovering Bubblegoth singer Kerli for the first time, creepy dolls included. The song itself starts out sounding like a demented carnival, similar to the iconic Crispin Glover’s “Clowny Clown Clown”. The visuals aren’t as creepy as that video (thankfully lol), but they’re still spooky and stunning. The lyrics are really smart as well. The song explores the concept of perfection and how people may look like dolls to the world, but behind closed doors is where their flaws come out. Dad is cheating on mom, who’s an alcoholic. And the brother is a drug addict. But, the family hides these secrets to the world. Check out the video below:

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Melanie first came into the spotlight on Season 3 of the U.S. singing competition “The Voice”. For her audition, she sang an alternative version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”, which was really cool. Playing the tambourine with your feet is pretty badass. Melanie only made it to the Top 5 on the show, but that was enough to build a loyal fanbase called the “Little Bows”, suitable as Melanie always wears cute bows in her hair. Melanie’s appearance is very interesting. She has a large gap between her front two teeth, is known for her two-tone hair, and she is clearly influenced by Lolita with her fashion in the “Dollhouse” video. Melanie is an indie artist and has been compared to Lorde, though she reminds me more of Marina and the Diamonds. She plays the guitar and does acoustic performances quite well. I can’t believe she’s only 18!

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Hopefully Melanie’s first album will be released this year! I really stand behind this girl and I think she’s going to be a huge star. I can tell when a musician is just being edgy as a strategy to make more money. Quirky is who Melanie really is. She’s proving that weird can be just as marketable as sexy. Remember: don’t let them look through the curtains…

The Eerie Witch

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Eerie shadows moved among the dark trees, frightening and inhuman. A small boy sat alone, weeping on the damp earth, forgotten by the cruel world he didn’t identify with. His clothes were covered in mud and wet leaves and dark hair covered his face, yet his two brilliant emerald eyes shone through the darkness.

Suddenly, a luminous creature crept sluggishly out from behind a nearby rose bush. The creature seemed to resemble a tiny cat, yet had the face of a witch. And this creature was quite transparent, the moist leaves on the ground showing through its fur.

The young boy pushed his jet black hair from his wet, gleaming eyes and stared, bewitched, at the oddity in front of him. The creature looked back at the boy, its striking blue eyes transfixed on the boy’s narrow, pallid face. Forever this mutual appreciation seemed to continue, until the creature began moving slowly toward the timid boy once again.

Fearful, the boy began to crawl backwards away from the bizarre being, but got stuck in some low-hanging branches. The creature picked up speed and quickly approached the boy, moving faster across the wet land. The boy desperately tried to free his damp clothes from the branches, but it almost seemed like the branches were holding him in place, much like human hands would. He knew that he could not escape.

A scream issued from the boy’s mouth as the creature reached out a paw as if to touch his face, but this scream was swallowed by the black night. Once the paw touched the boy’s cheek, something mystifying happened.

The creature began to grow larger, its fur disappearing as well as its other feline features. A haze of smoke shrouded the creature and then, out of the mist, walked a young and creepy witch, with the same face the creature had.

Love Is Dead Cover Art

The young boy gazed in amazement into the sparkling blue eyes of the witch, whose ice blonde hair fell in long wisps across her face. She was dressed peculiarly in a long, translucent gown with a rather intricate design. The witch’s hair trailed the ground and drops of dew clung to it, as well as small stones the color of the nearby lake.

As she leaned over the boy, the witch’s long hair fell onto his lap and he could see fireflies dancing amongst the dew and stones.

At last, the witch said, “I do not judge, nor harm. You are safe here. What is your name?”

The boy replied, “I’m Kivi. I live in the small cottage across the lake. But who are you?”

“Oh, I know, child,” said the witch. “I have been watching you for a long time indeed. And who am I, you ask? Well, that shall remain a mystery.”

Nervously, Kivi said, “I thought I felt someone’s presence when I was by the lake the last few nights. What do you want from me?”

The witch smiled and replied, “I have witnessed your pain. I know the hurt you feel inside and I am here to help.”

“I’m fine,” shouted Kivi. “Nothing is wrong with me.”

“Oh, I think you are mistaken,” said the witch, dreamily. “I see you crying here among the trees often. And I know why. You needn’t deny your feelings.”

“Why?” asked Kivi.

“Because they are real and important and part of something bigger,” stated the witch. “You are meant for more than you know. But, you must have faith in who you are to get where you want to go. This cruel and harsh world will try to break you and force you to surrender, but you must not allow it to. You are special and a very valuable part of this beautiful reality. Be yourself and everything will fall into its rightful place.”

And with that, the eerie witch disappeared into another cloud of mist.

Kivi sat in silence for quite some time, mulling over what the witch had told him. He knew what he had wanted, but never dreamed it could become reality. But now, Kivi felt strong and was ready to create his own universe. And as he left the forest that mysterious night, Kivi sang through the darkness and made his voice be heard to not only the animals nearby, but to everyone that had ever doubted his abilities and questioned his dreams.

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I wrote this story a long time ago. It was inspired by Natalie Shau’s beautiful artwork above and the ever-inspirational singer Kerli. I was suicidal when I wrote it. It’s weird to think back to that time, but it also shows me how far I’m come since then. I’ll never be that lonely boy again. 🙂

I have also been nominated for the Shine On award by the always lovely and zany Izcentric! This award reminds me of that Rihanna song “Diamonds”. 😉

Shine On AwardI’ll be leaving tomorrow on a much needed vacation from work and life in general. I’m looking forward to being surrounded by nature and inspiration galore. I love disconnecting from technology sometimes. I promise I’ll return. 🙂 I wanted to ask before I go: Do you guys have any ideas for future blog posts? Anything you want to see? I’m up for trying new stuff, especially if it gets me out of my comfort zone. I’m crazy like that. 😉

XOXO

~Jonathan

Brooke Candy

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It appears this is turning into a music blog. Sorry I’m not sorry.

As my last post featured the wholesome, sweet Jewel, I think it’s only necessary to get dirty. Filthy. Disgusting, some might say. It’s high time I discuss fearless rapper Brooke Candy. And yes, that’s her birth name. Her nicknames are really fascinating, too. Freaky Princess, The Hoodrat Drew Barrymore (my fave), Lady T-H-C…makes me want a cool nickname.

Hoodrat Drew Barrymore

Baby Brooke

Baby Brooke

I will admit I was scared of Brooke at first. She’s hyper sexual, blunt, and next level. But, with time Brooke has grown into  one of my favorite rappers, only second to her (and my) idol Lil’ Kim. The Queen Bee just can’t be topped.

Brooke has had a crazy life. Growing up, her father was the CFO of Hustler magazine, which exposed her to sex at a young age. Brooke is also a former stripper. She says she made good money and it prepared her for performing on stage. That experience clearly influenced her personal style and music videos. Raunchy is an understatement. Brooke interned for celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe, too. Bananas. It doesn’t sound like Brooke was too fond of her, though…

Brooke first gained recognition in indie artist Grimes’ music video for the song “Genesis”. In her long pink braids, shiny warrior armor, and sassy platforms, Brooke was hard to miss. I first heard of her from singer Kerli. She referred to Brooke as her evil twin and I would say that’s very accurate. They both include fantasy and cyber elements in their fashion. Brooke tends to wear less clothing, naturally.

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Kerli and Brooke

Kerli and Brooke be friends

Honesty is really important to me in music. Straight up, I don’t like artists who don’t write their own shit. I just don’t have any respect for them. That’s why Brooke is a breath of fresh air. She doesn’t censor her raps in any way and refuses to sign to a major label that wants to change her. Her goal is to make it into the mainstream as an independent artist and I believe she can do it with the support of her fans, lovingly referred to as FagMob.

Brooke means no disrespect by using the terms “fag” or “slut” in her raps. She’s actually a lesbian as well as a feminist and wants to reclaim insults and flip them into compliments. That’s really admirable. Brooke’s bringing back female rap that empowers and supports women’s rights, just like Lil’ Kim and Khia. Even if her music is sexual, it’s not degrading to women. Brooke is telling women to be in control of their bodies and make their own rules. That’s clear in her song “Pussy Make The Rules”.

Love her or hate her, Brooke’s here to stay. We would totes be friends.

Masquerade

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Masquerade

Behind the labels and technology,

Frightened eyes peer back at me.

I’ve now come to realize

I’m older than you’ll ever be.

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A human emerged from the shrine

Too late, yet much too soon.

From infatuation to contempt,

Your presence no longer makes me swoon.

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Feigned compassion

Integrity is not your virtue.

I bled to death

While a scratch never appeared on you.

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Desperate to garner affection,

Primping gave way to a loss of identity.

Striving for your ideal

Destroyed my originality.

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Glimmers of sweetness still appear,

Taunting me from their lofty height.

Distance would heal my wounds;

The daily axe I cannot fight.

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Hiding within a nonstop masquerade,

You’re spinning out of control.

I tried to ride the twisted carousel,

But, the revolutions took their brutal toll.

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Back in my personal asylum,

I slowly discover myself again.

Your spell over me has lifted

And another chapter now begins.

Top 12 Songs of 2012

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Happy New Year! I thought I would celebrate with a countdown of my favorite songs from 2012. It was so hard for me to narrow it down to just 12, but here goes:

12.) Sleigh Bells – “Comeback Kid”

This was probably my first song obsession of 2012. “Comeback Kid” really gets me pumped! Lead singer Alexis Krauss’ angelic vocals work strangely well against the hardcore beats.

11.) Alexandra Stan – “Lemonade”

My summer jam! Summer is definitely my favorite season and “Lemonade” captures that carefree, warm vibe I crave at this time of year. Alexandra’s accent is so damn cute, too. 😉

10.) The Veronicas – “Lolita”

This is a step in a darker, more mature direction for The Veronicas and I approve.

9.) Purity Ring – “Fineshrine”

I sort of stumbled upon liking this song. I can’t even really describe what I hear. The lyrics and sound are quite strange, yet I deeply feel the emotion behind them. “Fineshrine” is a great song to space out to. Thanks Grav3yardgirl for recommending Purity Ring to your viewers!

8.) Ke$ha – “Die Young”

“Die Young” gets blasted every single time it comes on the radio in my car. No questions asked. It’s Ke$ha…I love everything she does.

7.) Pink – “Try”

Pink, why are you so damn awesome? Stop making me cry! “Try” is such an honest, relatable song.

6.) Emilie Autumn – “Take The Pill”

I’m both disturbed and in love with “Take The Pill”. The message behind it is one of utmost importance to me. I strongly oppose the pill popper mentality of this society. Drugs do not instantly cure mental illness. Emilie knows this better than anyone. The urgency and chaos that erupt near the end of the song are truly frightening. Can’t wait to hear this live in February!

5.) Marina and the Diamonds – “Starring Role”

I wish so badly that this song was not a direct reflection of my life. Alas, it is. Guys suck! 😀 Marina is an absolute doll.

4.) David Guetta feat. Sia – “Titanium”

Once in a while, popular music can have substance. “Titanium” has class and club appeal. The lyrics inspire me to never give up. Sia’s voice is perfection. I’ll never forget dancing with a gorgeous stripper to this song at a club one night. We both knew every lyric and connected through the music. Does life get any better? 😀

3.) Adam Lambert – “Cuckoo”

Getting crazy is the best way to be. Adam gets it. I love the concept of “Cuckoo”. Because I’m totally nuts. I don’t think I’ll let you out of that straitjacket, Adam…;)

2.) In This Moment – “Blood”

The duality within the lyrics of “Blood” impresses me. The concepts of love and hate are inverted. I think we all love what’s bad for us sometimes. And there are times when we reject kindness in exchange for pain. “Blood” is totally twisted and awesome. Maria’s fierce voice will slay you.

1.) Kerli – “Zero Gravity”

I hear love when I listen to “Zero Gravity”. I listened to it more than any other song this past year. It makes me feel really happy and inspires me to never hold back or dwell on pain. This should have been a radio hit. The world needs to hear more music like Kerli’s.

And there they are! I can’t wait to hear what 2013 will sound like. 😉