Finally, after much anticipation….IT’S OUT!

Got time to kill this weekend? Wanna read some over the top cyberpunk fiction, with gratuitous sex & violence? Check out my short story “Flexed”, along with some other risque, no-holds science fiction. It’s the e-zine you wanted to read under the…

My boyfriend rocks. AND he’s published now! Buy it ‘cause it’s awesome.

Kortney Marie

The Chaos Grenade: Hey Look! I’m published this month!



Random Playlist: A New Chapter

Okay, not really.  Change is hard, guys.  It can be good, but it’ll startle even the strongest individual if that person doesn’t enjoy being a chameleon.  Like many of you, I’m experiencing quite a bit of change in my life–from my apartment to my career, my relationship to school, etc.  How am I coping?  The answer’s obvious: I’m immersing myself in my writing (found here:  A Creative Accident), dancing and spinning as often as I can, and listening to a whole mess of good music.
So what’s on the new playlists?  Who am I digging on as of late?  See below.  (:
You really can’t go wrong with these guys.  Any album, any track, and you’re likely to be as enchanted as I was when I first heard “Balalaika.”
The xx
Another one in which you can’t exactly go wrong.  The Gorillaz did a stunning cover of “Crystalised.”  My favorite thing about this group is the duets which range from heart-wrenching to enlightening to deeply romantic.
Definitely not new to me, but more of a re-discovery.  Thom Yorke’s voice can put me at ease instantly.
I’ve reviewed Megalithic Symphony, and I raved about them at Voodoo in October.  Aaron Bruno is still picking up my spirits regularly.
The Glitch Mob
From helping me zen out to warming up while spinning, these guys are a cure-all for varying states of my mind.  And despite being classified as “electro,” their sound is very unique and chill, a mix of what I love about electronica, hip-hop inspired beats, and a clever use of MIDI and laptops.
Jason Mraz, “Butterfly”
We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. is an impeccable album, but this track in particular gets me giddy stupid happy.
Crystal Castles
Let’s talk about Alice Glass for a moment:  she’s a badass.  And one half of the duo that makes up this electro-noise pop-infused project.  When things get weird–or need to get weird–this is one of my go-to’s lately.
Ever wonder what became of any member of the Sneaker Pimps?  Well, you can find what Chris is up to here.  There hasn’t been a new release in a couple years now, but whether you’re feeling grumpy, depressed, plain moody, or even love-stricken, there’s something here for you.
I’m sure you’ve heard of them, but have you taken a full tour of Fashion Nugget recently?  Somehow, this one just gets better every time I hear it.
De/Vision, “Unputdownable”
Just gives me warm fuzzies.  That’s all I’ve really got to say on that.  (:
Them Crooked Vultures
Somehow, some of the coolest people I know have missed the memo on this one so I’m putting it out there.  Rock super-group that features Dave Grohl, Josh Homme, and John Paul Jones.  There’s only one album out, but it’s a good one.  I like it particularly for long road trips.
Don’t forget to support your favorite musicians by buying their music, going to their shows, and spreading word about them like wildfire!
“I feel so close to you right now
It’s a force field”

The FOX/Glee vs Jonathan Coulton Fiasco: Just how hard IS it to give some acknowledgement?

It’s been a while, and though I’m not lacking new tuneage to discuss, I have been quite busy with work, research, and a new man in my life.  (:  I’ve been a busy, busy, happy bee as of late.

Now then…
Why is it difficult to acknowledge someone else’s hard work?
Not compensate or over-advertise but simply CREDIT them for a job well done.
If you’ve been following Glee, Jonathan Coulton, or both, you know where I’m going with this.  For those who don’t, let’s address a couple basics:
-Jonathan Coulton is a geek-tastic singer/songwriter who’s given us tunes like “Code Monkey,” “Re: Your Brains,” “Still Alive,” and “Want You Gone.”  The latter two you may recognize from the soundtracks of Portal and Portal 2.  He’s also done a fantastic arrangement of “Baby Got Back,” which is the track in question here.
-Glee is a television series featured on FOX that centers around a high school glee club and its nemeses, successes, and failures.  Lea Michele, Jane Lynch, Darren Criss, Jayma Mays, Cory Monteith, Naya Rivera, and Amber Riley are among the more notable of the cast, and it was created by Ryan Murphy, Ian Brennan, and Brad Falchuk.  It mixes the coming-of-age tales of mixed up teenagers with comedy, struggles such as bullying and LGBT tolerance, and a story line that celebrates underdogs in all their under-estimated glory.  It may go without saying, but this is the ultimate in TV-meets-musical and unique for that reason. 
Portal and Portal 2 are among my favorite video games so Coulton has a very special place in my heart, and I was a show choir kid so Glee is understandably close to my heart.  I’ve heard tales of Ryan Murphy pushing the envelope a bit, specifically flustering Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters, Queens of the Stoneage, etc) when he requested to use some of his music for Glee, and  Grohl denied the request for his own varying reasons.  This, at least, has been respected so far as I can tell.  What has happened with Coulton’s arrangement of “Baby Got Back” has driven me away from Glee as a whole, and I’m almost inclined to boycott American Horror Story as well.
So what happened to upset me so much?
Simple, the crew of Glee used Coulton’s version of the hit single by Sir Mix-A-Lot without crediting or compensating Coulton for what is rightfully his.  This is wrong on a myriad of levels, and it turns out that he’s not the only artist claiming that FOX and Glee have used their arrangements without permission.  For a show that roots for the underdog so frequently, there’s a gross misuse of power happening here.  I understand that covers and music left without copyright can be snatched up and used at will according to some legal stances, but seriously?  You’re raking in cash from merchandise, appearances, and good ratings, but you can’t do something as simple as run a credit to the little guy in the closing credits, on one of your official blogs/websites, or in one of your behind-the-scenes videos?  That’s sickening.
And sickening is really the only word I have for it.

Voodoo Fest 2012!!!

Friday…Oh, Friday.  (Gary Clark Jr, the Avett Brothers, Neil Young)
I’m not big on the sun, nor are my lovely friends who were kind enough to clean out their guest room for me. So we avoided it.  lol  Besides, it was vacation for all three of us; no need to rush.  We made it in time to set up camp in the grass after wandering shops and art exhibits a bit.  Gary Clark Jr was incredible.  So much soul, so much emotion…Definitely an unexpected highlight of the whole event.  He was followed by the Avett Brothers, who may have made me cry because they sound even more beautiful live than on an album, but their crowd interactions were hilarious, and their smiles are contagious.  Enter Neil Young.  And OH MY GOD.  That’s really all I can say.  Being the technogeek I am, I’d thought I might wander over to catch a chunk of Kaskade’s set, but this was be-a-hippie-laying-in-the-grass time…and NEIL YOUNG!  Good times were had by all…and I slept like a baby.  Kinda expected though, right?
Enter the best Saturday in my short existence.  (The Revivalists, AWOLNation, Silversun Pickups, Metallica, Justice)
Once again, wander, giggle, lemonade, cozy and happy place in the grass.  I’d never heard the Revivalists before, but they were surprisingly awesome.  Check them out.  For real.  AWOLNation was superb.  Aaron Bruno is a bad mammajamma and his ability to lift spirits with song knows no bounds.  I hate to say it, but the Silversun Pickups may have been my favorite part of the entire weekend.  I lost my phone during their set and didn’t even care.  They put on an excellent show, a set that spanned their growth as musicians…and Sarah Negahdari killed it on bass in Nikki Monninger’s absence.  (Brian Aubert informed us all that she’s at home VERY pregnant.   With twins!  Uh-dorable!)  Then there’s Metallica…and in the words of one of the friends there with me:  “They’ve got to be the happiest metal band in the world.”  James Hetfield was all smiles, and it was apparent that the guys were thrilled to be there, considering it was on such short notice.  (Green Day was the original headliner, but Billie Joe’s time in rehab led to them canceling a couple weeks before the festival.  So when that goes down…Here comes Metallica to save Voodoo!)  We ventured away from the set for a bit to catch Justice.  Much to my dismay, they’re not as good this time around as they were in Oakland this past April.  Still, Justice twice in the same year, plus Metallica, AWOL, and Silversun in the same day?  Yeah, I’d call that a win.
Sunday Funday!  (Coheed & Cambria, Borgore, Skrillex, and Jack White)
Needless to say, we were pretty worn out after Saturday.  We staggered in while Coheed & Cambria played on one stage, Borgore on another.  Decisions, decisions…Wait, no, this is America.  So I got a little bit of both.  (:  Admittedly, I caught more of Borgore than Coheed…but after my Justice let down, it was a relief.  Some of my friends will shun me for this next statement…Skrillex TORE IT UP.  By far the best set I’ve ever seen electro-dub-wise.  Feed Me is a close rival now that I think about it…but I didn’t lose my mind quite so much as I did during Skrillex.  Got one of my favorite girls to spin poi for the first time ever, did a crap ton of spinning and dancing myself, screamed the lyrics to Fresh Prince (surprise remix time!), and yeah…it was really amazing.  I heard everything I wanted to from him and made some sparkly, bass-ridden memories I’ll never forget.  Speaking of never forget…JACK WHITE!  I’m sad that the Skrillex set overlapped his so much, but that’s how we ended the weekend.  He played a bit from each project he’s had a hand in, including some White Stripes stuff, which was a lovely treat.  Who am I kidding, Jack White in and of himself is a lovely treat to hear, watch, and breathe, especially at the end of such an incredible weekend.
Major music festival cherry officially popped!  (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)  Voodoo was simply magical, and I’m thrilled it actually happened for me this year.  Big thanks to my gracious hosts.  It was a crazy week leading up to Voodoo, but we got through it together, and I love you both.  You know who you are.  ❤
Wanna show your love for the music?
Get out there.  Go to shows.  Be brave, go to a festival and get lost in it.  Buy their music.  Let them know you want more.

“Fell in love with a girl
Fell in love once and almost completely
She’s in love with the world
But sometimes these feelings
Can be so misleading
She turns and says are you alright?
I said I must be fine cause my heart’s still beating
Come and kiss me by the riverside,
Bobby says it’s fine he don’t consider it cheating”

The 2nd Law (Muse)

I want to say so much about this album, but it speaks for itself–from slightly political to ultra sexual to determined and unapologetic, Muse has more than delivered on their sixth album.  I had high expectations for the album, and while the style is definitely different than what I was expecting, it surpassed them all.  
It’s worth every cent I spent on it, as well as every cent I will spend on their next tour, and then some.

Artist Spotlight: Florence + the Machine

I could sum this up in two words:  simply amazing.
…But that doesn’t make for a very good blog entry, does it?
I read an article that basically said, “If you like Lady Gaga, you will love Florence and the Machine.”  I made a mental note to check them out, but it didn’t actually happen until a day spent cleaning house.  Like many others, the first song I heard from Flo was “Dog Days are Over.”  It popped up on a Pandora station I was listening to, and about ten seconds into it, I stopped cleaning, plopped down on my couch and just listened.  The. Girl. Has. Pipes.  And she’s not afraid to use them.  The whole of Lungs, released in 2009, is astonishing, taking us through a spectrum of human emotion, instruments, melodies, and deeply emotional lyrics.  The band followed this album with Ceremonials in 2011, and it is just as emotional, intricate, and soothing.  
While I hear all the musicality and talent that went into creating the whole of a song, I, like many others, have always been taken aback by the power of Florence Welch’s voice.  She has a fantastic range, and her vocal tonality and timber are phenomenal.  I’ve yet to see her live, but when I watched her on SNL a while back, it was refreshing.  She’s a joy to watch, a born performer with the ability to captivate an audience without the distraction of light shows, projection screens, or any of the other modern trappings of a concert.  And as much as I love my EDM, it’s really nice to see that there’s still more to new music than that.  It’s nice to be moved by something beautiful and unique.
Want to be moved too?  Go buy Lungs and Ceremonials.  And the new Spectrum EP.  And you’ll be supporting deserving musicians too!  They’re touring the US until October 10, and then they head on over to Europe.  Try to catch ’em if you can!
“It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back
So shake him off”

Born Villain (Marilyn Manson)

You’ll have to cut it down
And burn me into splinters
Or I’ll unwrap the string
That was me
Around your finger
And I’ll hang you in
Your bedroom burial ground
-“Born Villain”
I hate starting things with a note of criticism or pessimism, but I did have my own pre-conceived notions about this one.  When I follow Marilyn Manson’s discography from beginning to end, both Eat Me Drink Me and High End of Low seem a bit out of place.  So when I heard, “No Reflection,” the lead single from the new album in mid-March, it was clear that Born Villain was on it’s way, and I held on to a shred of hope.  The term “classic Manson” comes to mind.  I suppose that by the eighth full-length album, there’s a style and sound that just fit.
It’s the first album since the band’s release from Interscope, giving the band some creative authority and freedom not previously possible.  My favorite part of any of these albums has always been the lyrical content, a given as I’m a lyricist and vocalist.  Born Villain does not disappoint on this front, and Manson even ventures out of his comfort zone into repeating verses, something practically unheard of on previous albums.  It’s blues-y and rhythm-driven, experimenting with slower tempos, acoustic and ambient sounds mixed with aforementioned piercing lyrics.  There’s a different sense of self communicated, a desire to shake up old habits, to start fresh.  The bonus track is a cover of “You’re So Vain,” a treat in and of itself.
Basically, what I’m saying is that if you also yearn for the golden days of Grotesque, enjoyed MM’s work in any capacity, gave up hope after Eat Me, or have never heard it at all…Born Villain deserves your undivided attention for at least one full listen.  It will surprise you, much like it surprised me.
Remember, musicians are people too!
Support them by going to their shows and buying their music.

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