Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! In this edition, Lizabeth Yandel reviews Melanie Medina's new single, “Millennial Love Dance," available today on streaming platforms.
If you’re feeling like you could use a little comic relief in this possibly-apocalyptic, so-dramatic-it-would-be-funny-except-that-it’s-real time of coronavirus and quarantine, Melanie Medina’s new single “Millennial Love Dance” may be just the witty kind of medicine you need. It’s a track that so many of us can relate to in our current virtually-charged dating world. The playfulness of the music, combined with the hilarity of cringingly relevant lyrics like “baby, I’m consenting affirmatively,” give millennials of all stripes the chance to laugh at our ridiculous selves while also singing along (and not crying, you’re crying).
The lyrics stand on their own. Medina had been “pretty fed up with overly sentimental love songs full of imagery cliches.” The response that came from her frustration is a string of super specific, well-drawn images that vividly paint an everyday coffee-shop scene that might just be love. “I stop for coffee on my latest walk of shame, and there I find you standing so astute, in vegan leather boots,” she sings, with such a sweetness in her voice that one could easily miss the cynicism and comedy of the actual words. But Medina assures us that she wasn’t trying to paint the current dating world in an “entirely cynical” light.
“I wanted to write something really topical and flippant as a middle finger to, well, romanticizing romance,” she said.
The track was first written in a basement practice room at San Diego State University, where Medina completed her degree in music. Since that first rendition, the song has gone through a few revamps.
“I had to update the references a few times,” she explained. “It originally contained lines about vegan lattes and a beard that was ‘on fleek’. Yikes”.
Medina cut the final track, with references so current it’s almost embarrassing for all of us, with her producer Shandon Campbell in Campbell’s home studio. The track features Sean Hicke on bass, Abran Gurrola on drums, and Melanie Medina’s own killer guitar chops and wonderfully mellow vocals.
Medina’s hope for “Millennial Love Dance” is that, “we can all just have a good laugh about being basically living in a Black Mirror episode.”
Although the theme of the tune might speak to a general disappointment we all feel in the dating world right now, this fresh, clever song with its sprinkles of jazz harmonies and “liberal propaganda” (as Medina puts it) will absolutely not disappoint!
“I've been writing a LOT during the quarantine,” Medina says, adding that she has more singles scheduled to drop in the coming months. Be sure to stream or download “Millennial Love Dance” and keep your eyes wide for more singles from this rad emerging artist soon!
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
This edition of Boss Ladies is brought to you by member Lizabeth Yandel, who reviews Dixie Maxwell's new single, “Uncharted Territory.”
In just the first descending notes of Dixie Maxwell’s newest single, “Uncharted Territory,” as they dance down over a dreamy organ sustain, her thirst for life is made palpable. A San Diego native, Maxwell has been playing and writing music since the early age of 15, when she first taught herself to play guitar. Since then she has utilized her seasoned songwriting skills to co-write a number of tunes, one of which, a rock banger called “Monster,” became the title track for the Lionsgate film Killer Holiday. Focusing more recently on her own heartfelt songs, Maxwell’s undeniable talent and unmistakable voice have been streaming on all platforms, one single at a time, since 2014.
A power ballad in its own right, “Uncharted Territory” speaks to one of the most compelling and familiar aspects of the human experience: the unquenchable thirst for freedom. Maxwell’s words paint a clear picture of a young woman preparing for a grand adventure, but they also speak to a truth in all of us.
She eases us in to start—a lone guitar, then the opening lyrics:
I can’t predict what it’s gonna feel like
If I get lost it’s okay
The only thing I’m really looking for is me
This all sets the stage for a slow, powerful build into the chorus, starting with the part-confession-part-declaration: “I crave to live a life that has no bounds.” Melancholy guitar licks from Veronica May, the atmospheric drums of Paige Miller and tastefully simple bass line of Rick Nash, all fold in around Maxwell’s sweet-yet-sultry vocals and carry us through the rest of this personal, yet so relatable song.
Produced and recorded by San Diego’s own Jeff Berkley, the production is flawless—balanced and clean without detracting at all from the track’s raw energy. Even the overall production tone speaks to the song’s spirit and helps to paint the picture of standing on a precipice, unsure of but ready for life.
Maxwell, currently on tour in Australia, remarks on how natural the process was of creating the track. “There were no huge challenges. It all came together so effortlessly.” The idea for the song came to her, as Maxwell explains, “after quitting [her] job of 10 years and deciding to embark on some travels in an old camper van.” It speaks to the uncertainty of life and the excitement and beauty one can find in that uncertainty. “It really embodies me the most out of anything else I’ve released so far,” says Maxwell.
“Uncharted Territory,” released on May 27, 2019 is available for you on all platforms and is one in a series of singles Maxwell has put out over the past few years. Keep your ears open for more singles from Dixie Maxwell in the near future, not to mention a music video for “Uncharted Territory” once she returns from her Australia tour.
Thanks to all who came out to support last night's community gathering in Barrio Logan at La Galeria Michel featuring Corina Rose Collective, The Slow Kill, Gaby Aparicio, Becca Jay Band, and The Banduvloons. Special thanks to Corina for organizing the showcase and to all our volunteers/supporters for helping out! If you want to learn more about our monthly gatherings, make sure to sign up for our mailing list! Make sure to mark your calendars for 6/20 at Fair Trade Decor in Coronado, as well as our first annual Lady Brain Fest on 7/7 at Heritage Ranch in Encinitas!
Mayyyyy we interest you in some local music/art happenings around town featuring our very own Lady Brain members?
Tuesday, May 7 - Jessica Lerner at Soda Bar
Hosted by The Local Music, this Soda Bar lineup features Lady Brain member Jessica Lerner, as well as womxn-fronted bands Retra and Wargirl. $5 Cover, 8:30pm. More info/tix here.
Friday, May 10 - Ren Daversa at Porters at the Pyramid
Ren Daversa will be performing a free, solo acoustic set of originals from her album Saltwater to support William Dorsett's Solo Art Show at Porters at the Pyramid in Miramar. Half of all art sales will go to Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego.
Saturday, May 11 - Lindsay White at Poway Library
North County friends, join Lindsay White for this free songwriter showcase from 2-3pm at Poway Library.
Saturday, May 11 - SDCCU North Park Festival of Arts
This unique and vibrant neighborhood festival brings out over 40,000 people from all over San Diego County to celebrate and enjoy live music, art, crafts, delicious food and some of San Diego’s top Craft Beers.
-Julia Sage and The Bad Hombres: 3pm, Grim Ave Stage
-Miki Vale: 4pm, Main Stage
Saturday, May 11 - Lady Brain Presents: Pre Mother's Day Celebration of Womxn
Our next community gathering is a pre-Mother's Day special, celebrating ALL Womxn! Join us at La Galeria Michel in Barrio Logan for music from Lizabeth Yandel (solo), Gaby Aparicio (trio), Becca Jay (trio) ft. Paige Miller, The Banduvloons ft. Karina Frost and KC Deichler), and Corina Rose Collective. $10 Donation goest directly to artists. Other instructions: BYOB and wear bright colors to help us celebrate Womxn! More info.
Sunday, May 12 - Lizzie Wann at Spacebar Cafe & Wine Bistro Presents
Lizzie Wann will be the featured reader at the 2nd Sunday-Jihmye Poetry Open Mic at Spacebar Cafe & Wine Bistro in La Mesa. The open mic event runs from 3-5:30pm. Poets are allotted 7 minutes, musicians 2 songs or 10 minutes on the mic.
Saturday, May 25 - Tori Roze and the Hot Mess at Riviera Supper Club
Head to La Mesa's Riviera Supper Club to enjoy dinner, drinks, and a free, all ages, full band show from Tori Roze and the Hot Mess, playing 9pm-12am.
Our next community gathering is a pre-Mother's Day special, celebrating ALL Womxn!
Date: Saturday May 11 (Same day as Barrio Art Crawl)
Location: La Galeria Michel - 1878 Main St
Cover: $10 cash please (money goes directly to artists)
Other Instructions: BYOB // Wear bright colors!
Lizabeth Yandel (solo)
Gaby Aparicio Trio
Becca Jay Trio (ft Lady Brain member Paige Miller)
The Banduvloons (ft Lady Brain members Karina Frost & KC Deichler)
Corina Rose Collective
Don't forget to visit www.ladybrainpresents.com for more information and to sign up for our newsletter!
Shout out to Heather Marie for hosting the March meet-up in her lovely home! This month, we talked about working with audio techs to capture the best sound at live events. (Thanks to John Mcconnell for taking our questions and to Heather for presenting his answers to the group.) We also received a stellar presentation from Lady Brain member Sharisse Coulter. We learned so much! It's so wonderful to see this group growing. Thanks to all who attended!
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