Give Me Five…Featuring girlhouse

Friday. Rough feeling day. My body isn’t being very kind today, though I’ve been trying to be kind to it. Went to acupuncture this morning and felt refreshed after, but also felt driven to go somewhere with sun and fresh air and low, low stress. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible today so I had to return to work and some big non-work stressors at home. I’ve been trying to listen to my body more, to be silent and still to hear my intuitiveness. Today, I feel like its screaming, making me nauseous and full of anxiety.

I’d love to listen and act on what my body seems to need, but I’m not able to today (maybe over the weekend), so I’m hoping that some music will help quell this mess of blah going on inside of me.

Give Me Five – May 14, 2021

You can listen and follow along with May’s Give Me Five at Spotify and YouTube

Song 1: “pretty girl in la” by girlhouse

girlhouse "pretty girl in la" Give Me Five
“pretty girl in la” by girlhouse – from the EP, the girlhouse ep (2021)

“Too young,
too mean.
She’s mad at things she’s never seen.
I hate to say it glitters,
but it does.
Too many houses lined up on Figueroa,
doesn’t feel like it was.
So I hold my breath going through every tunnel.”

I discovered this song, and this EP, this morning while drinking coffee and perusing the new music releases that came out today. The song title jumped out at me because of my fondness, and ever-evolving collection, of songs about California, and LA. I pressed play and was taken in by the bedroom pop/indie pop/dream pop sounds.

On a second and third listen, the lyrics took hold. Lyrics like “So I hold my breath going through every tunnel” brought to mind so many thoughts and memories and moments. Driving through tunnels on the freeway, my friends and I holding our breath as we drove through. That group of three tunnels that was always exhilarating, and a little scary, as we tried to hold our breathing as we drove through all three.

This song is just the start of the EP though, and the start of the story-sung EP that Lauren Luiz is telling on this EP entitled “the girlhouse ep.” Lauren explained the project to Under the Radar:

“This EP follows my story of landing in LA and finding out exactly how ignorant I was to the real world; whether that be relationships, men in general, career, sex, friendships, or battling mental illness and dealing with trauma, it all felt new to me.” (source: Under the Radar)

She said this specifically about the track “pretty girl in la”:

“‘pretty girl in la’ is more direct than the others on the ep. This one is very nostalgic of my West Hollywood days, wanting to be an actress and letting people destroy my confidence daily for the sake of the ‘craft’. I have so many memories of being out at bars/clubs in LA having a lovely time, when out of the blue some stranger would come up to me and tell me that I’m ‘kind of pretty, but not LA pretty.’  (source: The Line of Best Fit)

LA pretty hits a nerve with me, for sure. Growing up in Orange County (not quite “LA”, but still full of ridiculous body image/pretty girl image issues), I felt the pressure to be a certain look, a kind of pretty, and to have a certain body in order to be anything at all. This was exacerbated when I got into acting, a creative and career path I ended giving up because I made myself sick trying to me something close to “LA pretty”, and failing, over and over. I finally did give up, but the echoes of “la pretty” is a sound I’ve never stopped hearing.

To hear more of Lauren Luiz, and girlhouse, and to help support her music, go here.

girlhouse "pretty girl in la" Give Me Five - Song 1

Song 2: “midnight love” by girl in red

girl in red "midnight love" Give Me Five
“midnight love” by girl in red – from the album, if i cold make it go quiet (2021)

“I hope that the right time one day arrives.
So, I’ll be willing to let this die.
Able to look you right in the eyes,
say I’m not your consolation prize.”

I heard this song initially via a TikTok video. A friend of mind has been doing a music-inspired TikTok series where she lip-syncs to different songs, while being costumed up to fit the song, as well as applying black and white and sparkly/other effects. They are delightful and so addictive – I’m always anxiously awaiting what song she will take on next.

This song that she was featuring was new to me, and I immediately sought it out, listening to the song in full, then diving deeper into the entire album.

There is something “Twin Peaks” about this song that I love. A haunting, middle of the night, restless longing that is what caught my attention so quickly when I heard just the start of the song, on my friend’s TikTok.

girl in red is the indie-pop project of Marie Ulven, singer-songwriter and producer from Norway. She first came to notice with her bedroom-pop songs about queer romance and mental health. (source: Wikipedia)

If you want to hear more about Marie Ulven/girl in red, and if you want to help support her music, go here.

Song 3: “Wildfire” by Cautious Clay

Cautious Clay "Wildfire" Give Me Five
“Wildfire” by Cautious Clay – from the EP, Wildfire (2021)

“You’re starting up a wildfire in my heart.
Hope it’s what you want,
not just what you do.
You’re starting up a wildfire in my head.
Hope it’s what you meant,
not just what you do.”

Fitting beautifully into the R&B lane, with that cinematic flair, reminiscent of Leon Bridges and Michael Kiwanuka – but with an indie- glow on it, too – Cautious Clay’s new song and EP, both titled “Wildfire”, is another discovery of delight I’ve found today. I’m lucking out so much in all the new music treasures I’m finding.

I like that its a love song that is questioning what the lover is feeling. All this excitement, this desire, this want and need that could be love – is it meant to be taken that way? This resonates hard with me right now, as I question this in myself a lot. Intention versus reality is sometimes a bigger existential question than expectation versus reality.

Cautious said this about the song “Wildfire”:

“Wildfire” explores the fact that people’s intentions sometimes get lost in translation. Good intention is not always enough to prevent people’s emotions and insecurities from spiraling. Subtle signals or cues can unintentionally ignite emotions—like a brush fire. (source: Paste Magazine)

Cautious Clay (Joshua Karpeh) is a singer, songwriter, music producer originally from Ohio. He worked in my field – advertising – for a stint in New York, as well. (source: Wikipedia)

I’m loving this stripped down, acoustic performance of “Wildfire” – a lot:

If you want to hear more of Cautious Clay (including keeping alert of when his first full album is released, in July), and you want to support his music, go here.

Cautious Clay "Wildfire" Give Me Five - Song 3

Song 4: “Somebody Like Me” by St. Vincent

St. Vincent "Somebody Like Me" Give Me Five
“Somebody Like Me” by St. Vincent – from the album, Daddy’s Home (2021)

“Oh, I guess we’ll see,
who was the freak.”

I am so into St. Vincent’s new album. I think I first got lit up excited when I saw her perform live on SNL – wow. I mean seriously wow. I’ve always liked St. Vincent (Annie Clark) quite a bit – but I can see/feel it growing immensely with the arrival of her 2021 album, Daddy’s Home.

Maybe it’s the seventies vibe. Maybe it’s the memoir-esque nature of the songs. Or maybe it’s just her crazy talent and voice that has finally got a hard hold on me.

The album, Daddy’s Home, is said to be inspired by Annie Clark’s father’s release from prison at the end of 2019, as well as the musical palette of New York City in the first half of the 1970s. (source: Wikipedia)

I am so here for it.

To be here for St. Vincent, too, and to support her music, go here.

St. Vincent "Somebody Like Me" Give Me Five - Song 4

Song 5: “Get Lost In the Music” by Ambar Lucid

Ambar Lucid "Get Lost In the Music" Give Me Five
“Get Lost In the Music” by Ambar Lucid – from the single, “Get Lost In the Music” (2021)

“Get lost in the music with me.
Revival of beauty is insanity.
Get lost in the desert,
don’t dread.
What’s the point of living if you’re already dead?”

Speaking of a seventies vibe, Ambar Lucid (who I’ve been digging and following for a few years now) has a new single that is overflowing with the seventies. There’s a bit of drug-induced psychedelics here, too. Well, actually, more than a bit (an ode to magic mushrooms, much of this song it). As well as that touch of 60’s psychedelic sounds – especially with the organ, and muted horns.

I am so into this song, and the evolution of Ambar’s sound and style. I’ve been saying for awhile she is one to watch – and she keeps on proving me right – again and again and again.

To hear more of Ambar Lucid, and to support her music, go here.

What songs are doing it for you this Friday? What of the five songs today did you enjoy the most?

For May’s Give Me Five I’m featuring Kelly Vivanco’s piece “Creekside” as the Cover Art.

GIVE ME FIVE – MAY 2021

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