March 26, 2015
by melissa

Smart ladies love rad music, the week in music 3/26/2015

Reviewing SXSW Coverage

South by Southwest just wrapped, and that means I am on blog reading and Spotify OVERLOAD.

Unlike my good friend Donkey Jaw, crowds make me so anxious that I will probably never attend SXSW, which is a damn shame, because I miss out on seeing some of the best new artists right before they break. Thankfully, we live during the time of the Internet and it’s so easy to be an armchair visitor to Austin.

Many of the most-talked about artists at SXSW this year–Mitski, Natalie Prass, Torres–have already been covered on the blog, so I had to dig a little harder to find new music.

Ryley Walker

The best part about this video is the pet sheep and chicken. I want to live on a farm and double expose everything.

Springtime Carnivore

How effing adorable is this video? I really like this whole record, which sounds like Neko Case fronting a girl group.

Winter/Samira Winter

Winter is THE least Googleable band name. Samira Winter has put out some great solo records full of Portugese folk songs but her band is fantastic dream pop.

Lydia Ainsworth

OK, this video is a little strange, but I am always looking for more dark electronic music.

Sheer Mag

This Philly band might be one of my favorite new discoveries since Radiator Hospital. They’re putting out a full-length soon and a little polish might make them sound like The Shivvers. Holy Shit. BUY THEIR EP.

Anderson East

If you read my American Idol posts, you know white boy soul is not my favorite; however, Anderson fuses his with country and there are lots of HORNS, too.


For a band with such a weird name and a sound that screams Melissa, I am shocked I have not listened to Swedish punk band Makthaverskan before. They played a bunch of shows at SXSW, as you do, and blew everyone away.


A lot of people I know posted about Ibeyi too, a band that fuses cultures to create a very unique and beautiful sound.

Leon Bridges

Not only is this song a great retro soul-burner but the black and white tones of the video are gorgeous. So happy to have found this.


I think everyone’s getting a little bored of the psych wave from a few years ago–probably even Wand, who write some of the catchiest psych-tinged rock songs I’ve ever heard. People like my husband, who did not like the slick turn the Crocodiles made on their last few records, would really like this.

Arum Rae

Sparse, lovely, and creepy. I will definitely listen to this often, adding it to my Grouper-Weyes Blood work rotation.

Josh Berwanger Band

I don’t understand why this isn’t ridiculously popular. Why aren’t more people into power pop? What is wrong with America? [This video has a lot of boobs and is maybe NSFW.]


Everyone on the All Songs Considered SXSW preview show was fighting to play this song, which usually isn’t a good sign for me (their taste is a bit more mainstream than mine; one of their picks sounded exactly like fun.), but I love female pop singers and this song has stuck with me in the days since I listened to that podcast.

Other crap I’m listening to

Jessica Lea Mayfield & Seth Avett

Ever since my friend Christina told me the Avetts were libertarians, I have honestly been avoiding their music, because I am weird like that. But the record that Jessica Lea Mayfield released last year was fantastic (I wish I listened to it enough to add it to my Top 15), and my love for Elliott Smith runs deep, so I reached for this as soon as it came out. For a Smith fan like myself, I was a bit disappointed in the obvious song choices (“Between the Bars” and “Angeles” instead of “Division Day” and “No Name No. 1″?) and the lack of arrangement changes–“Angeles” was just slowed down. But sometimes, it’s ok to completely honor the original, and the way Jessica’s voice drags on “The Ballad of Big Nothing,” hits just the right place for me. Rare rocker “Roman Candle” sounds fantastic with the call-and-response chorus at the end. I haven’t listened to Smith since he died (too many emotions) but this has been a way for me to enjoy his songs without all the sadness hanging over them.

Father John Misty

I Love You, Honeybear hasn’t hit me in the same way Fear Fun did, but “The Night Sean Tillman Came to Our Apartment” will absolutely be one of my favorite songs of the year. Tillman has a one-night stand with a girl he totally hates, one who is pretentious and self-obsessed because people have been telling her for years that she’s smarter than her peers and she can sing like Sarah Vaughn (Misty’s retort to that is “I hate that soulful affectation white girls put on/why don’t you move to the Delta?”). It’s brilliant and snarky.

The Hollies

I read a bunch of those Pitchfork guest list things the other day, which makes you realize musicians are just people who like questionable shit just like the rest of us. But Jessica Pratt mentioned downloading two Hollies records, Evolution and Butterfly, and lauded them as being psych pop masterpieces. Gun to head, the only Hollies song I could name is “Bus Stop,” even though I looooovveeeee CSNY & Graham Nash’s solo records. If you like Odessey and Oracle and are looking for something similar, both these records are great next steps.

Colleen Green

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on twitter that Colleen Green’s “TV” should be the SLLS theme song. I Want to Grow Up is such a natural progression from Sock it To Me–same great melodies and almost melancholy, nostalgic lyrics, but recorded in a studio.

March 23, 2015
by katie

Smart ladies love movies, this week in trailers, March 23, 2015

Movie Trailer Monday

5FlightsUp_1 Via.

Each week I review movie trailers that came out the previous week or for movies that are about to premiere. Some of these movies I am excited about, some I am mildly curious about, and the rest I make fun of!

Notable movies coming out this weekend

Get Hard

This movie looks silly as heck but my love for Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart makes this a must see (BTW this is the restricted trailer because I am a fan of swearing). [Every time this dumbass trailer comes on TV I laugh hysterically. Je ne regret rien. -M]

Tracers, is out onDemand and for Rent

PARKOUR!!! Taylor Lautner stars in this movie about parkour loving thieves and bike messengers. It looks terrible BUT gave me an excuse to post a video of Michael, Dwight, and Andy from The Office doing PARKOUR!!! [Taylor Lautner is the least believable badass bike messenger ever. Maybe older teens will like this? The Office clip is a million times more entertaining. -M]

Movies I can’t wait to see in an ACTUAL theater

5 Flights Up, May 8, 2015

This little indie movie about real estate in New York looks adorable mainly because it stars Diane Keaton, Morgan Freeman, and a really cute dog. [This looks freaking adorable. I hope they move to like Woodstock or Ulster County or something. You could buy three houses for the cost of that apartment! -M]

I won’t go to an ACTUAL theater but will pay for it on Amazon

Pixels, July 24, 2015

The only reason Adam Sandler’s summer movie Pixels isn’t in the last category is Peter Dinklage (sporting an epic sho-lo) and Josh Gad (national treasure). Also isn’t Michelle Monaghan like the perfect Sandler female lead, she should be in all his movies. [This trailer takes way too long to get going. This looks so cool visually that you would kind of need to see it on the big screen. My Pacific Rim of 2015? -M]

You would have to PAY me to see it in an ACTUAL theater

Max, June 26, 2015

This trailer nearly made me cry, I just don’t think I can handle a movie about a dog with PTSD. Also Lauren Graham as a grieving mother is NOT my jam. [As soon as he pet the dog I started crying. Honestly, if it weren’t for the sad dog bit this seems like an enjoyable movie about teens doing great things ala Super 8. -M]

March 20, 2015
by melissa

Smart ladies love dumb TV, ranking the top ten performances on American Idol

American Idol 01

You guys, it’s been really hard to write about American Idol this year, what with their insane schedule (two performance nights last week?) and lack of a boring elimination episode that gave me a buffer day for writing. So I decided to write a short-and-dirty post with my reactions to Top Ten night, where the theme is “Movie Night,” one of my least favorites, as I fucking HATE “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.” The contestants spared us from that song, but instead gave us several songs that were more than 25 years old.

American Idol JLo 01

American Idol JLo 02

ALSO, J Lo performed in a magic dress. And Keith kind of mentioned his wife:

American Idol Keith 01

All of this plus some pretty good performances made this one of the better shows of the season. In order from worst to first:

11. Daniel Seavey- “Lost Stars” from Begin Again

The Idol tumblr did not post a gif of Daniel so enjoy this one of Nile Rogers.

The Idol tumblr did not post a gif of Daniel so enjoy this one of Nile Rogers.

To me this is a Keira Knightley song, not Adam Levine–in the movie, Keira wrote it for her asshole boyfriend (Levine). This was so terrible I don’t even want to talk about it. I muted it after twenty seconds and then fantasized about Daniel being eliminated next week because he went second and that’s the death slot. [Dear America we all lose by you insisting Daniel is worthy of his place on Idol. -K]

10. Maddie Walker- “Let’s Hear it For the Boy” from Footloose

American Idol Maddie 01

KARAOKE. And everyone knows THIS is the definitive cover of this song. (I will seriously look for any excuse to post this Doveman cover, which gives me chills.) Harry was right, Maddie does not know who she is. [So bad. Her outfit was also insane, her shorts needed to be trimmed and her headband was almost offensive. -K]

9. Tyanna Jones- “Circle of Life” from The Lion King

American Idol Tyanna 01

And the award for worst song choice goes to… Tyanna! I need this show to ban Disney songs for contestants under 25. Nick should have done “Be Our Guest,” though. The thought of that cracks me up. Also, Tyanna was under pitch the whole time and I was so disappointed. [I didn’t hate this as much as everyone else did but that’s cause I think that’s because I listen to show tunes all the time so I hear either this song or “Hakuna Matata” at least once per week if not twice. -K]

8. Nick Fradiani- “Danger Zone” from Top Gun

American Idol Nick 01

Only Nick would respond to the criticism about being more original by picking a twenty-five year old song from a movie no one cares about anymore. I don’t agree with JLo that Nick is Idol’s cool, hot guy. More like their corny grandpa. WOMP WOMP. I do enjoy anytime I get to see Mama Seacrest, so I thank him for the Fradiani Frenzy. [I think he is a liar and is really 40. -K]

7. Jax- “Grow Old With You” from The Wedding Singer

American Idol Jax  01

The first thing I noticed about Jax during the “Get Lucky” group number (???!!!) was her crazy new hair. She is trying too hard to be normal. That’s not what people want! I promise. This was an interesting song choice and she sang it well, but honestly, I find her so grating and am unable to place her any higher. [Her new hair is so fake she looks like a baby doll and it creeps me out. -K]

6. Rayvon Owen- “Stayin’ Alive” from Saturday Night Fever

American Idol Rayvon 01

I was totally into the funky beat and tight Prince quality the official SLLS Idol boyfriend gave “Stayin’ Alive.” The sexy dancing totally helped too, wink wink. I don’t think it was the perfect song choice but the theme is fucking lame, so what are you gonna do? Katie IMed me that she loved Clark’s air bass. Awww Clark, you are boring, even while doing air bass. [Rayvon is hot and I heart is falsetto so AMAZING! -K]

5. Qaasim Middleton- “Come Together” from Across the Universe

American Idol Qaasim 01

I am so happy Qaasim was saved, as he definitely deserves to be on this show over Daniel and Maddie. I think the confusing voting will not help him (I already submitted my app votes before he performed, but I voted for him on the web!), though hopefully he will not be eliminated next week. Also, while I thought he did great, picking a song from what is essentially a jukebox musical is cheating. [Qaasim totally sang for his life and it was amazing. He is the pep in this show and people need to vote for him because in all honesty he is the next Bruno Mars. He also dances like James Brown. VOTE FOR HIM! STOP VOTING FOR DANIEL! -K]

4. Adanna Duru- “I Love You, I Do” from Dreamgirls

American Idol Adanna 01

I do think Adanna could be a dark horse due to her cute personality and ability to belt but parts of “I Love You, I Do” were super breathy and flat. I am still waiting for the producers to let her sing Tinashe or Solange. I want real modern R&B on this show SO BAD. The Weeknd, D’Angelo, Ciara, SOMETHING PLEASE LORD. [Adanna is so freaking cute and likable. -K]

3. Clark Beckham- “Sunday Morning” from Cheaper by the Dozen 2

American Idol Clark 01

The second Adam Levine-related song in one night (KILL ME), but this was actually good. I’m so glad Clark did a song from the past ten years (every time I see him, I think, “If I hear ‘Yah Mo Be There’ one more time I’m going to ‘Yah Mo’ burn this place to the ground”). This might have been my favorite of all of his performances. The falsetto was beautiful, and the arrangement was simple and suited the song so well. [This is the first time I have loved Clark since he eschewed the keyboard and I can no longer see his fraggle legs. -K]

2. Joey Cook- “Mad World” from Donnie Darko

American Idol Joey 01

This song already had a huge Idol moment with Adam Lambert, so I did initially think my little former Richmonder didn’t make the smartest choice. Thankfully, her version was different, but still creepy. and beautiful. Also, the staging was great, as were her hair and outfit. COULD JOEY WIN THIS THING? I am trembling just thinking about it. [She was totally my second fave of the night. I loved this so much. I pray for a Joey/Quentin final. -K]

1. Quentin Alexander- “You’re the One That I Want” from Grease

American Idol Quentin 01

Quentin has the edge slightly over Joey, though both were amazing, because he did something completely new (to me–apparently this was in a commercial) with a song I love. I have seen every season of this show and he is the most exciting contestant since Adam Lambert. I don’t care about his pitch issues–plenty of them had problems tonight–because he’s so damn magnetic. [I am always moved by the emotion of Quentin that I never notice the pitch/tone issues because he takes me someplace new and I think those issues will be resolved once he isn’t on a competition show. -K]

All gifs from American Idol’s tumblr, which is just great. Next week I will try to add some screencaps. ;)