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Perpetual Change — Year End Music and Gift Guide

| Dec 19, 2011
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If you’re thinking you’ve seen this column title before, and also thinking that perhaps we’ve made a mistake and might be running the last Transvocalizers column over again. . . well, you’re half right. I “borrowed” my title from the previous column, but this is this month’s installment of Perpetual Change. Same title, same basic concept, different column.

As with our companion Transvocalizers column from just a few weeks back, this installment of Perpetual Change is a brief overview of the musicians and their music featured here during 2011. While some of this material is going to be hard to find on such short notice (Christmas is this weekend — how’d that happen?), you might still have a chance to obtain CD’s by many of the artists here, providing you’re willing to spend that little extra for overnight. Hey, it’s always worth it for good music.

Each year seems to bring new artists to my attention, and 2011 was no exception. Most of the artists featured this year were new to the column. While only three review columns were posted, practically every artist has music available in hard copy form or as a download. To the best of my knowledge, all contact information is accurate. Some of these artists are also available on major on-line retail outlets such as Amazon.com.

Perpetual Change started the year off with an interview of Storm Miguel Florez in January.  In February, we featured a review of his Long Lost Sun CD.  If you’re not familiar with Florez, he’s  a transman singer/songwriter who looks a lot like Elvis Costello and often sounds a lot like Bob Dylan. Long Lost Sun is what other reviewers would describe as minimalistic in its approach. Most of the tunes are just Florez and his guitar, sounding like he probably does live.  Some musicians couldn’t carry that off on a recording, but Florez keeps it entertaining throughout the course of the project. A very good album for anyone who loves excellent  song writing.

The self-titled debut album from New York City’s Chaos And Lace was reviewed in August.  The band is the brainchild of Juliana Brown, who is the main songwriter, vocalist and guitarist.  Other members are Ashley Morgan, bass; Pookie Rodriquez, rhythm guitar, and Vincent Alva, drums. This band is the real deal; down and dirty, honest musicianship that’s a guitar driven wall of sound reminiscent of the best of the ‘70s and early ‘80s. No samples, rap, or that gawdawful, mind numbingly ubiquitous 4/4 beat. Great stuff for the rockers we all know (and some of us still are).  (Available through Soundcloud, with more information through the band’s Facebook page.)

Last month, I had the pleasure of introducing a very unique trio of ladies from Italy known as Le  Marinetti. The three gals involved — Mercuria, Scintilla, Turbina-sing Andrews Sisters type harmony from the Big Band era of the 1930s and 1940s.  They even dress the part and are backed by the Orchestra Maniscalchi. That particular column was actually a review of two of their albums — the Christmas project Note Di Natale (or Notes Of Christmas), and Signorine Novecento (or Twentieth Century Ladies).  While they do occasionally sing in English, most of what you’ll hear is in their native Italian. Their voices blend beautifully and are quite feminine. The whole package of using a real big band, singing music from that particular era, and even dressing the part, makes for an enjoyable, and somewhat unexpected at first, experience. From some of the videos I’ve seen, their live performances are true classic presentations of an era few of us know much about. They will be featured again, with another CD review and an interview, which will probably be our first post of the new year. (For information on obtaining CDs — which might not be possible for Christmas at this time but are nonetheless a great addition to any serious music collection- please contact their agency at www.p-nuts.it)

Some of the other artists that were featured throughout the course of the year also have music out there, but we just never got the chance to do any reviews. Perhaps as a personal goal for next year, I’ll order a bunch of CDs, take a listen and get to it. Anyway, other artists of note who are worth checking out are:

The Shondes from New York City. They released a new project last year called Searchlights.  Previous albums are The Red Sea and My Dear One. Visit their website for more information and search for them on Facebook.

Schmekel, also from New York City, is a band of transmen who sort of loosely describe what they sound like as Jewish Polka Punk. You’ll have to check out some YouTube videos to get the true meaning of that statement. Nonetheless, it was the raw creativity of their music and lyrics that grabbed me. Very entertaining and mostly upbeat. Great stuff. Their music is available through transjews.bandcamp.com; also on Facebook.)

Catrina Daimon Lee, from Singapore, is a gifted jazz artist who  is not only an outstanding player, but is a music theorist and researcher as well. Given the fact that Lee is from Singapore and doesn’t travel, her albums are very hard to find and obtain. Releases include The Book Of Worlds, The Practice Of Stopping Time, Songs From The Breastbone Drum, and Virtual Music Tunes.  Some of these titles are still available, albeit in limited supply, in hard copy form.  Others can be obtained as downloads at bandcamp.com, IMRADIO.com, with more information through Facebook. Lee has also worked on what she calls “The Grand Unified Field Theory Of Western Harmony,” and has garnered much professional critique for her efforts. A very interesting and talented lady whom we hope to feature again next year, with possibly a review or two.

There are also two other Christmas projects by artists featured before that should be mentioned because there is still time to find them.

The first is Christmas With The Puppini Sisters. This is following in the big band genre’ as Le Sorelle Marinetti, but all in English. Very fun, up-tempo stuff done with a big band. My parents would have loved this one (and that’s not a put-down of any sort. The production and harmonies are excellent.)

The other project that really took me by surprise when I first got it was Annie Lennox’s A Christmas Cornucopia.   This is an album of Christmas carols, some familiar and some obscure British carols known only to the locals. Lennox is one of most distinctive female vocalists to emerge during the last several decades.  To hear her sing Christmas music — well known or otherwise — is a real treat.

And what would it be with another ALSO THIS MONTH?

This time, there are two new remix discs out that warrant brief mention and will probably be easier to obtain on short notice.

Guinevere has released a remix of her tune Crazy/Crazy. This is the first single from her debut album.

Also, Porcelain Black has released Naughty Naughty remixes. This song was originally released earlier this month, and her full length debut album will be released early next year.

Well, that’s it for this year.  Thank you for your support throughout the last year, and for every year that these music columns have been a part of TGForum. Even though there’s not much time left for shopping, you still have an opportunity to pick up a last minute gift for the music lovers on your list, and to also support some of the musicians who help  make the transgender community so entertaining.  And, always remember the reason for the season; Merry Christmas to you all, and may God Bless you and keep you safe next year and always.


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Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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