Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! In this special holiday edition, Carissa Schroeder reviews “Just a Sad Xmas," new from Tori Roze and The Hot Mess.
You’re at a bar – the kind that is still “cash only” – the kind where the bartender’s a certified asshole unless you’re a regular. Green glitter naugahyde covers the booths along the wall; it’s December and gobs of tinsel wind around the ceiling, competing for attention with the disco ball, eternally spinning over the black and white checkered dance floor. You swill your Wild Turkey old-fashioned and mash the bright red maraschino cherry and orange wedge together in the bottom of your rocks glass.
Now, imagine a Christmas song coming on the jukebox. But not the jolly, saccharine, Hallmark kind. This kind of Christmas song – a sad and soulful one – warms you like the whiskey, from the inside out. It’s noisy, it’s busy, and it’s got some stank on it. The fat bass lines (played by Harley Magsino) and the criss-crossing vocal riffs (cue guest artist Nina Leilani Deering) create the perfect holiday storm.
That’s exactly where Tori Roze and The Hot Mess take me with their version of 1969’s lost ode to the holidays, “Just a Sad Xmas.” If you’re already a fan of Roze, you won’t be disappointed. (If you’re not already a fan, it’s time
to catch up). She shows up on the track with nothing less than her signature style of vocals – soulful, free-flowing, expectation-bending, and seemingly effortless. Deering executes the backing vocals just as they should be – with the intentionality of a lead vocal but the timbre and intensity of a supporting part. Her tone choices are the perfect complement to Tori’s.
The cover is an underground cut, originally written by Ida Sands of The Soul Duo, about getting dumped right in the middle of the holidays (ouch). Brought back to life with a respect for the genre, thanks to Rashaad Graham’s clean and simple drumming and Alan Sanderson’s production style, the track remains closely related to the original while fitting into the Hot Mess setlist seamlessly. Props to the band, overall, for having the discipline (and musical maturity) to not overplay. Johnny Alexander achieved the ideal guitar tone for the song, making really
tasteful choices in his playing. How the hell Deering was able to pull off an accordion track in a song that could easily be on the soundtrack for a holiday themed installment of the Shaft franchise, I’ll never know. But it works.
The traditional, quoted Christmas lyrics (such as “Jingle Bells”) sprinkled through the song set the scene for us. The protagonist of the song is lamenting, “why can’t loneliness let me be” while being physically surrounded by the joy of the season. About halfway through the song, the tone changes from wallowing in the misfortune of the circumstances, to looking forward to a “New Year’s resolution” to reunite the love affair.
The listener never gets to know if the couple in question does, in fact, reunite – but you can absolutely put yourself in the shoes of someone, turning the facts over and over in their mind, trying to make sense of the juxtaposition of “green, red and blue (…) lights and décor” and a mood that is “grim, gray, and black.”
Overall, this is a solid pull from the Hot Mess crew. If you, yourself, were experiencing a less than joyful holiday season (perhaps drinking alone at a dive bar), this would be the kind of song that would get you swaying on your stool – or maybe even up on the dance floor. With this kind of late sixties soul laying the foundation for the sonic landscape, you might even snag yourself a new lover. This thing’s got some ass on it.
Support by downloading “Just a Sad Xmas” on iTunes on or after December 7.
Happy holiday season to all our friends and readers! If you're looking to fill up your seasonal social calendar with amazing art, music, education, and creativity, the Lady Brain Collective has you covered for fun things to do in San Diego in the coming weeks:
Saturday, November 30 - Creativi-Tea With Jill Badonsky at Liberty Station
Get a creativity high over high tea with author, artist, and creativity coach Jill Badonsky. New ideas, fresh approaches, and a more authentic voice are not easy when we overthink our writing and admonish our attempts with harsh self-talk. We will defy these obstacles with the use of visual images, storytelling, multimedia triggers, and off-beat beginnings over high tea, champagne cocktails, and delectable high tea delicacies. 1-4pm. More info/Register
Tuesday, December 3 - WTF is Happening When I Sing? Live Online Training with The Bold Vocal
This free, live training event from The Bold Vocal covers the basic science of singing. You'll learn about the three systems of singing in the human body and how they work together to produce rich, supported and powerful sound. Every singer should know this stuff -- it's how we increase range, energize tone, and prevent injury. 12-1 PM, Free, no experience required. Registered participants will receive a video playback via email that is theirs to keep. More info/Register
Sunday, December 8 - Lady Brain Presents: Home is Where the Art is Holiday Party at The Holding Company in Ocean Beach
Lady Brain Presents will host its first annual holiday party and winter clothing drive titled “Home is Where the Art is,” with performances by Chloe Lou and The Liddells (retro rock/soul), Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres (South Americana), Miki Vale, (hip-hop) and special guests including emcee Tori Roze. In addition to musical performances, the event will feature a raffle, a collaborative art activity for all attendees, and a winter clothing drive to benefit North County Lifeline’s LifeSpring Program, which offers transitional housing for former foster youth and youth experiencing homelessness. Guests are encouraged to bring (preferably new) beanies, gloves, scarves, socks, blankets. Free, 4-8pm, 21+. More info
Tuesday, December 10 - Acceptance: A soulsong.life Transformative Songwriting Workshop with Astra Kelly at The Lotus Room in Hillcrest
Experience growth, healing, and connection through music by tapping into the creative source. As a group, we will explore the theme of “acceptance" in depth and write a song together that reflects our shared perceptions and experiences. No musical skills necessary! 6-9pm, $60 (Special holiday rate to make it easier to give yourself this gift!) Advance registration required. More info/Register
Friday, December 20 - Tori Roze and The Hot Mess SPECIAL Xmas Show at Bar Pink in North Park
This funky jazzy neo-soul brings you a SPECIAL Xmas version of themselves, including soulful holiday mashups and funky non-denominational tunes to put a smile on your face through the New Year. There will also be a limited edition EP available for purchase by Tori Roze and Johnny Alexander called “Classy Xmas” to stuff those stockings at home! Free, 7-10pm, 21+. More info
Sunday, December 22 - Carissa's Birthday Show ft. Golden Howl at Sycamore Den in Normal Heights
This Lady Brain-laden event will be headlined by Golden Howl (featuring collective members Marlo Smith, Rachel Riba, and Jules Stewart). Birthday girl Carissa Schroeder will open the evening with a solo set of original music on the beautiful (albeit slightly out of tune) piano at Sycamore Den. Situated nicely between Carissa's birthday (12/20) and the end of year holidays, CS invites you to celebrate with an evening of goddess-y, all-the-feels music, perfect cocktails, delivery ramen, and skeeball. It's a win-win-win-win. Free, 8-10pm. More info
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This edition of Boss Ladies is brought to you by member Carissa Schroeder, who reviews “Amulet," the latest single from Lizabeth Yandel.
If Lizabeth Yandel ever decides to throw in the proverbial music towel, it’s safe to say she has a solid future letting her subconscious mind design interiors for the trendy, San Diego restaurant group, Consortium Holdings (Born & Raised, False Idol, Craft & Commerce). Her latest single, “Amulet,” was born from a dream in which she sat, having a drink alone, “in a narrow little tavern lit by small star-shaped lights. It was decorated with vining plants and pieces of stained glass strung from the ceiling, which was almost completely comprised of windows.” The moon was out. She sat in her booth and sang the first verse of “Amulet” – a song that was fully completed and already in existence in dreamland – when an oddly specific 2000’s version of Erykah Badu appeared with her squad and started singing along in lush harmony.
You’ve gotta love dreams.
What I wouldn’t give to step inside this woman’s head for a day! It seems so magical. Truthfully, she did an incredible job of capturing that sense of whimsy and magic in the song. Her ability to bring her inner world out through music is uncanny. I could place my own two feet in that tavern if music could physically transport my body.
By experiencing the audio playground that is “Amulet,” it’s clear that Yandel embodies the reason that people need to start paying better attention to the local music that is happening right beneath their noses. This song has everything it needs to become a favorite in your rotation – it’s (literally) dreamy, well-written and recorded, and it has a lyrical, soul-forward, message that we so desperately need right now.
Yandel, who has admittedly battled with depression, feelings of hopelessness, and even mild suicidal thoughts, calls this song, “a heart-aching celebration of music for all the ways and times it has saved my life.” Her lyric, “Be alive,” swirls around repeatedly at the end of the song, like a mantra, reminding us that it’s a “constant choice to stay alive” and fight life’s battles.
I believe that this is truly what we need to hear, right now, as a collective. When so many of us these days report suffering from anxiety, depression and isolation, it’s no wonder we are maligned with what seems like endless news of suicide, mass shootings, and unspeakable violence.
If American society is teetering on a narrow ledge – dangerously see-sawing between a destructive past built on problems swept under the rug, and an unforeseen future where we publicly acknowledge our wounds and heal them – Yandel fits neatly into the pocket of the phrase, “Think globally, act locally.”
How many lives could be changed, or even saved, with music like this? How many people need to hear the words, “it’s your one true light, let it guide you through, you don’t have to hide…” or, “at the center of all our darkest secrets is one same song, beating right in time…”?
Yandel has a new fan in me, and the next time I’m feeling disconnected from others, or untethered to my purpose, I will revisit this dream. I will let this multi-dimensional, creatrix of a womxn remind me that “we are lyrics written from the stars,” and that “we can be free inside our minds.” I will find solace here in her divination, and a peaceful knowing that I am not alone in this fight to stay alive.
Stay connected: http://lizabethyandel.com
Drums & Intrument Tracking - Jules Stewart
Bass - Melanie Medina
Backing Vocals - Siena Beacham, Jillian Wilding, and Shala Harmony (from SD Resistance Revival Chorus)
Mix/mastered by Victor Franca, Track Town Records in Eugene, OR
Single art - Johnny Hoolko
Lady Brain members are busy this month - please add these dates to your calendar and go out to support these creative folks who are working hard to bring excellent art and music to the San Diego community!
Wednesday, September 4 - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at The Holding Company
Local band showcase. Come on out and party with us! Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres starting at 9 pm sharp. More info
Thursday, September 12 - Golden Howl at Til Two with The Strawberry Moons and The Powerballs
Friday, September 13 - Chris Avetta & Golden Howl at Moose Lodge in Oceanside
Saturday, September 14 - Kinship Cafe Singer-Songwriter Showcase at Eve Encinitas
This showcase at Eve Encinitas will feature short sets from six acts, each of which includes at least one woman, and four of which feature Lady Brain members: The Banduvloons, Dixie Maxwell and Lee Coulter, Mayzie Jean, and The Spiritual Motels (plus The Shift and Dulaney and Company). 7-10:30pm, $10, all ages. More info
Sunday, September 15 - Lift Me Up 2019
The Banduvloons and friends are hosting their 3rd annual community benefit show: Lift Me Up! This event seeks to bring together a community of artists and musicians who are working together to combat white supremacy and an inequitable capitalist society. Two local POC artists are chosen to be the beneficiaries of this event, and all money collected will go directly in their pockets. Expect dope live music, comedy, dance, vendors, food, drinks and a family friendly environment! 2-6pm | $5-$10 sliding scale entry free. More info
Saturday, September 21 - The Bold Vocal Launch Party / Adams Avenue Street Fair Pre-Party
Come celebrate with Carissa Schroeder as she officially launches her vocal coaching business,The Bold Vocal. Event highlights include a raffle for free voice lessons and other goodies, website unveiling, live demonstrations on mindfulness, mic technique, and stage presence, performances by students ranging from six years in age all the way to professionals — including Joshua Taylor, Amanda DaRosa and Nick Crook. Enjoy complimentary wine, beer, light bites and dessert, and start your street fair partying early! Event runs from 12pm-3pm at Jayne’s Gastropub. Free and open to the public. More info
Saturday, September 21 - Calamity at Artwalk Carlsbad
Don't miss the gals from Calamity playing originals during Artwalk Carlsbad from 3:15 to 4pm. No cover, all ages. More info
Sunday, September 22 - Tori Roze and the Hot Mess at Coronado Music Festival
This inaugural three day music festival kicks off on Friday September 20, with Tori Roze and the Hote Mess headlining on Sunday, September 22. The family-friendly weekend features local and regional musical talent of all genres and visual art. This marks the first event for Coronado Music and Arts Foundation(CMAF), a nonprofit, whose mission is to provide cultural music and art experiences for at risk and homeless individuals including youth and special needs adults through a variety of settings in Coronado and San Diego. More info
Thursday, September 26 - Lady Brain Presents Community Gathering In Celebration of Life
Lady Brain Presents is back with a special art/music/spoken word showcase centering around the topics of death, dying, and existence. Join us at a private Ocean Beach residence around 6:30pm for sunset, social hour, and art viewing. Performances will kick off around 7:30pm. $10 Suggested Donation, proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. More info
Saturday, September 28 - Lindsay White (Full Band) at Frogstop House Concerts
Join Lindsay White at the intimate Frogstop House Concert series. This is Lindsay's first full band show since returning from her 2019 summer tour, and likely her last full band show of the year. Limited seating, don't miss it! More info
8/31/2019 0 Comments
Thanks to all who attended our August meet-up! Shout out to Jessica Lerner for hosting us and setting up a lovely mimosa station! This month's special guest was Kelsea Rae Little, Media Director at GoFundMe and host of True Stories of Good People podcast. Kelsea fielded our questions about crowdfunding and shared her story of how she got involved with GoFundMe, as well as severals stories of some of the everyday heroes who have used the platform to do good work in the world. There was not a dry eye in the room!
Please Join us on Thursday, September 26 for an evening inspired by death, dying, grief, and existence. This special gathering will feature a variety of music/spoken word/visual art from many of our Lady Brain members, including:
Jacqueline Jax Silva
$10 Suggested Donation - Private Sunset Cliffs Residence- RSVP here
Beverages/small bites available for small donation
(A portion of proceeds will benefit Leukemia & Lymphoma Society)
Folks are encouraged to stroll to Sunset Cliffs to enjoy a 6:30 sunset. Then join us for social hour/art viewing. Performances begin at 7:30pm
Guests are welcome to bring:
-Blanket or chair (there will be some will be available)
-In addition to beverages/small bits provided, folks are welcome to BYO
-There will also be an interactive community art installation. If you'd like to participate, please bring a photo, trinket, or offering of sorts in memory of your loved one(s). You can take these items home with you at the end of the night. There will also be some supplies available to leave a message/make an offering if you forget, or are unable to bring something.
Please dress appropriately for a beachy autumn eve!
Thanks to all who attended our August Community Gathering at Art on Third in Chula Vista! Special gratitude to Amy Day for curating such a wonderful lineup in such a cool artsy space! Don't want to miss the next event? Make sure you sign up for our newsletter!
Lady Brain members are out and about in full force this summer - make sure to catch them at one of these upcoming shows/events!
Friday, August 2 - Jessica Lerner with Full Band at Kensington Club
Jessica Lerner and her band will share the bill with Jehlad and The Rogue Pilots. $5 Cover. More info.
Friday, August 2nd - Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres at The Black Cat Bar
Sonic Attack at Black Cat Bar: Don’t miss this lineup featuring Tormenta Rey, Lana Rebel and Michael Mayfield, Julia Sage and the Bad Hombres, Gary Hankins, and from Robert's Western World in Nashville TN, special guest DJ Brendan Malone! $5 cover. More info.
Saturday, August 3 - Astra Kelly at Helix Brewing Co. La Mesa
Delicious brews, Kokopelli's food truck and a beautiful patio! Family owned and family friendly. Astra Kelly plays solo/acoustic from 6:30-9p. No Cover.
Wednesday, August 14 - Tori Roze & The Hot Mess at The Casbah
Tori Roze & The Hot Mess plays the Casbah with The Routine and fellow Lady Brain band The Anodynes. Show starts @ 9pm w/The Anodynes on first, followed by Tori Roze & The Hot Mess second. Come thirsty and ready to get soulful! $8/21+. More info.
Wednesday, August 14 - Bonfire Jam Circle at The Heritage Ranch in Encinitas
Hosted by Cathryn Beeks of Listen Local Radio. Bring a chair, your beverage of choice and an appetizer to share. Songwriters rotate clockwise and everyone plays on everyone's songs. 7pm to 11pm small donation appreciated. More info.
Friday, August 16 — Lady Brain Presents Showcase at Art on 3rd
The next installment of the Lady Brain Presents series will be a showcase in a Chula Vista artist-owned gallery. The event will feature short musical sets from Chris Avetta (with Jules Stewart), Marie Haddad, Dixie Maxwell (with Paige Miller), Carissa Schroeder, and The Spiritual Motels (Amy Day, Omar Musisko), as well as video from Mary Bee, and visual art from Chris Avetta, Julia Sage, and other Lady Brain artists. All ages, $10 suggested donation. The event will run from 7pm - 10:30pm. More info.
Thursday, August 29 — Lindsay White at The Pointe Westfield UTC
Join Lindsay White for outdoor happy hour at Westfield UTC featuring cover songs by some of her favorite artists including Fleetwood Mac, Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, and more. No cover. 5-7pm. More info.
We know, we know, we say it every month, but July's meet-up was SO GOOD! Maybe it was because we were riding the wave of a successful inaugural Lady Brain Fest. Maybe it was the full house, the artsy space, or the nachos. It was definitely the inspiring and collaborative presentations from our host Astra Kelly, Carissa Schroeder, and Sandi King - all Lady Brain members, talented creatives, and compassionate entrepreneurs.
Carissa kicked things off with a chill mindful vocal meditation/warm up. It was exactly what we needed on a Monday night to center and connect with ourselves and each other.
Next, Sandi talked about her new venture, Backseat Booking. No matter the tour route or style of music, Sandi is a wealth of information when it comes to touring. She can help indie artists book entire tours, or give them the tools they need to successfully plan their own routes.
Astra of soulsong.life rounded out the evening with a songwriting workshop demo that resulted in some pretty special goosebump moments - once we found the right melody (thanks, Jessica Lerner) and hook, magic energy was swirling all around the room. Looking forward to next month's meetup!
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