Tegan and Sara Just Might Be the New Best Thing

This duo caught my ear on the work commute a few months back on Sirius Radio’s 108 (OutQ).  I don’t know all that much about Tegan and Sara except they’re twin lesbians originally from Canada (more here).  The single that really gave a yank to my ear is “I’m Not Your Hero” (check out the Eo3 remix below).  It’s a piece of ear candy that I want to listen to over and over again.

However, after trying out a number of of their other songs on youtube, I found most of them just kind of unpolished, though that sound may be a draw for some of their fans.  This past Monday night Tegan and Sarah were one of the groups performing on Logo‘s NewNowNext award show.  That live performance, too, left me wanting something.  The energy they give off is akin to that of a graduate student in a professional writing program.

That last analogy hits you as over-harsh, but should this pair keep on with the sound, on what I take is their latest single, “I Was a Fool,” Tegan and Sara may just be the new best thing.  This new one is clean and the lyrics pull you in.  Hope you take a listen.

I Want My Gay TV: Adam Lambert on Ellen

Reality TV doesn’t really pull me in, unless it’s true reality like college ball games, shows like Forensic Files on TruTV, or yard makeover shows on HGTV or DIY.  That’s why I’ve only watched bits and pieces of American Idol this season, or most of hte previous seasons, for that matter.  I watched more of last season when I got interested in seeing how far Adam Lambert would go.

Although he’s already a great showman, in my opinion, he’s only going to get better with more experience.  Since I first heard his “Whataya Want From Me,” it’s one song Top 40 song that I have yet to get tired of hearing on the car radio during my daily commutes. (Watch it here.)

His performance of “If I Had You” on The Ellen Degeneres Show will give all those fans a reminder of why this year’s American Idol has seemed so lackluster.

New Interpretations Bring Modern Fusions into the Classic Argentinian Tango

“Meloncholic” is how I think about tango music, not really a genre that I’m pulled towards very often. But just like in the previous post, which focused on some of the music coming out of Australia, I “stumbled” again, this time onto how gay artists in Argentina are bringing “new life” into that classic style of song and dance.

Gerar Flores and Agustin Rombola make up Kurdha Tango Gay, which is giving a gay flavor to some old tango classics; the one they are performing in the video is called “Los Mareados” (I’m not going to bother going to my dictionary, but it means something like “The Seasick Guys” or “The Guys with Hangovers”–take your pick or have a laugh at my translating.) The original comes from the 40s, but these guys are giving it, what some are calling a “gay tango fusion”.

When it comes to dancing the tango, another pair of dancers, Augusto Balizano and Miguel Moyano, are steaming up the dance floors in Buenos Aires, putting their own personal style into the dance that is thought to have started in rough port neighborhood of La Boca (that’s the area of the city we think of when we envision the old, multi-colored buildings).

“Stumblin'” into Memories of Neil Young via Austrialia; What IS Matthew Mitcham Up To These Days? And ‘Faker’–Nothin’ Fake about It

One of the first “real” albums that I ever had (not cassette) was Neil Young’s Harvest, and I’d play “Heart of Gold” countless times on end. By chance, this morning, I found a cover of that song done by Australian Lior and Canadian Serena Ryder. It’s a rendition that will give a shiver to any Neil Young or Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young fan.

I stumbled upon a little bit about Lior, who is an Israeli-born, Australian singer-songwriter, who seems to play mostly in concert, so there are not a lot of videos that are not just from concert takes. One, “Superficial”, which is what I’d call more “Indie” type, I like a lot, so I put in my Vid Box, which you can click into on the right. It’s not an “official” vid but it’s pretty cool, nonetheless. If you want more of Lior’s stuff, check out his “Burst Your Bubble”, which you can find on youtube and also myspace.

I say “stumbles” because I was looking to see what has been happening with our Australian diving guy, Matthew Mitcham. At the moment, he is competing the FINA Diving World Series; the most recent leg of this competition was held at Pond’s Forge, Sheffield, English, where Mitcham placed fourth in what appears to have been an event loaded with the world’s best divers.

Nathan Hudson, lead singer of Faker

Nathan Hudson, lead singer of Faker

Another of this morning’s “stumbles” landed upon the Australian band, Faker, who for a better description, I’d call “the 80s done up in an ’09 ‘do'”. Check out a couple versions of “This Heart Attack” on my Vid Box; the Miami Horror Remix is definitely worth a couple of listens. Also check out Faker’s myspace page. And yes, Faker’s lead singer, Nathan Hudson, is another gay Australian who came out about a year ago.

As I said in a previous post, if I were back in high school, I’d have Matthew Mitcham’s pic slapped somewhere inside my locker; I’d also go out and buy some of Faker’s music (latest album is Be the Twilight), but, hey! maybe I’ll go to that today–and I’ve been out of high school along time.

Jay Brannan–Songwriter/Singer: Take a Break for a Tuesday Treat

Jay Brannan’s lyrics are at once poetic and everyday. I’ve seen a number of his videos on youtube, and his laid-back, sweetboy demeanor entices your ears. He’s not big-time yet, and maybe that’s a good thing, but one thing’s for sure: he’s a gay guy’s gay guy (but I think you’re going to like him no matter who you are).

I’m just taking a break from my “have to do” tasks of the day, and this song makes a great little afternoon snack, so I decided to post it here rather than my vidbox in the sidebar (but, hey, you can go there too, for other goodies). Also take a look at Jay’s myspace page for more about him and more links to other songs of his.

I Kissed a Boy (and I Liked It)!

The "Angel" on La Reforma, close to the Zona Rosa

The "Angel" on La Reforma, close to the Zona Rosa

I saw this video tonight on youtube by a Danish group (all those Scandanavian groups make me think of Abba) called Alphabeat. I have to admit I rarely buy anything new these days, and still listen mostly to a lot of the old stuff, mostly Euro-type dance music, add to it, a little of the new reggaton on the car radio. So anyway, this video was a totally 80s pop, remix version of their song “Boyfriend”, which I hadn’t heard before. (You can check it out on my Vid Box on the right. Also check out a couple of different mixes of Chris Salvatore’s “I Kissed a Boy” there too.)

So then I started thinking about my 80s (here comes “memory lane”), going out to the clubs and dancing to a lot of similar type remixes of all the pop (and still disco, especially eurodisco) hits of the 80s. But also in the 1980s was when I started listening to a lot of music–pop music, that is–in Spanish. I was really into my Spanish during that time, taking classes and practicing. I learned a lot from the music I listened to. It was really difficult to find pop music in Spanish here in Houston at that time, despite the city having some music shops in Hispanic neighborhoods. They carried some of that music, but mostly what they had was more traditional, like ranchera and cumbia stuff, and of course, mariachi. But I’d go looking. I did find some, like Mecano from Spain, Flans from Mexico, and Karina from Venezuela, and I’d play those cassettes over and over. (I found them on youtube too and what a rush of memories they bring back. Check them out on the Vid Box.)

At the same time was when the first TV channels in Spanish started appearing here in Houston. Mostly it was the Mexican telenovelas that they showed, but in about 1986 or 87, they started showing a half-hour video program originating from Mexico City, and I always tried to catch it. From that show, I found out what the current Spanish hits were, so I’d go trying to find them. In those days, of course, it was all cassettes, and everything pop in Spanish that I could lay my hands on, I’d buy. But like I said, it was really difficult to find much of it here.

At that time, my best friend was Arthur, one-half of a gay couple, who did quite a bit of traveling, both together and separately. They were my neighbors in the little apartment complex where I lived. I didn’t have much spare money in those days, but Arthur kept telling me that I had to go to Mexico City, and kept talking about it, so I scraped some money together and over Labor Day weekend in 1987, I flew to Mexico City, where I met Oscar, who had gone a couple days earlier, because his time schedule was more flexible than mine.

I got there in the late afternoon, fought my way through all the mass of people at the airport, and found a taxi, which took me to the hotel where we were staying, a few blocks away from the Zona Rosa. We ate and got some rest, and finally headed out to the clubs. Even in those days, Mexico City had quite a few gay clubs, and there were several in the Zona Rosa. Everybody always thought that because Zona Rosa means “Pink Zone”, it was the gay zone. But the Zona Rosa wasn’t just gay, there were all kinds of clubs and restaurants there, plus shops attracting both tourists and locals alike. There was also one of the busiest Metro stops very close by, so the mainly pedestrian-only streets were usually filled with all kinds of people, but, in particular, young people.

The most popular gay club in the Zona Rosa at that time (and I think maybe it’s still there) was called El Taller (which means the “shop”, like “workshop” or “mechanic’s shop”. Like most of the gay clubs and some of the straight clubs, there wasn’t a lot of identification for the place on the outside. You just had to know where it was. Of course, the location was in any international gay guide of the time, and the locals knew it, so you could definitely find it. Sometimes, there’d be a line waiting to get in, but when you got just inside, they would always frisk you, checking for weapons. Then, you’d pay, different prices for different nights, and almost always the entrance included a couple of tickets for drinks.

That night we finally went maybe around 10:30. American tourists always go too early to clubs in most foreign countries, because most places don’t get busy until 1 AM or later and some clubs don’t even open until like 4 AM to catch the “after” crowd. After paying, we headed down the stairs, because the main club part of El Taller was actually in the basement of the building. The club was composed of several areas and a couple of bars, which allowed people to move around from place to place, but when it got packed, sometimes the moving got difficult (but I wouldn’t know much about that until I had been there a few more times). That night Oscar and I hadn’t been in El Taller very long, probably just long enough to cash in one of the drink tickets, and I was still trying to get my bearings. I started looking around the room, and not too long after that, I realized someone was looking at me. And that looking back and forth became one of those moments, those moments which are really hard to describe, but one which has stayed in a little memory pocket somewhere in my brain for all these years.

Of course, we finally spoke, and he was Damian. He became my long-distance boyfriend for two years. Along the way, my Spanish got a lot better (because he didn’t speak English). I got to know some parts of Mexico City pretty well (certainly there’s a lot I never saw–it’s such a big city), and as well, I found a lot of music shops that sold the kind of music I liked. (I know you want to know more about Damian, but this is mostly about music, so I’ll keep the rest for another time.)

(And yeah, check out the video.)

(Another version here.: