25 Reasons to Have Sex to My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ Today, Its 25th Birthday

This was once sold on Society6.com. Swoon.

This was once sold on Society6.com. Swoon.

25 Reasons to Have Sex to My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless Today, Its 25th Birthday
By Jaime Lees
Fri, Nov 4, 2016

My Bloody Valentine’s quintessential shoegaze album, Loveless, was released 25 years ago today.

Many now-classic albums came out right around this time a quarter of a century ago, not the least of which was Nirvana’s Nevermind. (See also: U2’s Achtung Baby and A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory.) But Loveless stands out from the crowd on the merit of one huge distinction: It’s the greatest doin’ it album ever.

In honor of its 25th anniversary, we offer you this list of 25 reasons to bang to Loveless today.

01. Because it’s an entire generation’s version of putting on some Marvin Gaye.
Say you go on a date. You’re into that person but you’re not sure if they’re into you. Then at some point, one of you puts Loveless on the hi-fi. The introduction of Loveless relays one’s eagerness to mate faster than taking off one’s pants. At that point you can tell your genitals to just go ahead and get hyped because you’re about to enter the Bone Zone.

02. Because even if the sex is bad, the soundtrack will still be good.
Sometimes a sexual experience is just lame. Maybe you thought it was going to work out and it’s definitely not, the chemistry is all wrong. While you’re in bed and trying to figure out if you should call the whole thing off or if you should just pray that it gets better, you can at least let Loveless deliver you some Grade-A indie rock to listen to while you’re hating your whole life.

03. Because Loveless can make sweet sex hot or hot sex sweet.
It’s usually one or the other, right? Well, with the aide of Loveless you can easily switch the mood to whichever you desire. The overall sound of the album might be dreamy, but it’s still loud-as-hell rock & roll. You and your partner can pick up on whichever vibe from the album suits you or alternate vibes as you please.

04. Because good taste in music is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
Some sounds and people associated with them just don’t work for your naughty bits. Like Parrotheads. Or Deadheads. Or Juggalos. When there’s so much to frown at out there, it’s extra rewarding when you find someone who shares your taste in tunes. And when that shared album is Loveless, it’s frequently a match made in the sexual shoegaze stars.

05. Because enthusiastic consent is sexy.
Sex is best when it’s done with honesty and enthusiasm. So go at it with gusto or not at all. Be bold and open to a shared, mutually-satisfying experience. Instead of trying to trick someone into letting you into their pants, try Loveless instead. The drums at the beginning of “Only Shallow” somehow magically open legs, I promise. You’ll both be happy.

06. Because you can get high on Loveless like a drug.
Poppers, pills, pot, ecstasy — there is no end to the list of substances that people might use to try to enhance a sexual experience, but music can have a similar effect on the brain. The powerful sound production on Loveless can change your perception of space, time, gravity and, like, all of creation. For real. Give it a try.

07. Because out of the many good sex albums, Loveless is best.
I know tons of folks who like to get down to Portishead. Maybe even a little Björk. Some in my generation prefer Nine Inch Nails, which I guess is understandable, but that wouldn’t do it for me. And nobody can deny the pull-your-clothes-off quality of classic soul music. But Loveless offers a certain headiness that is just freakin’ unbeatable for sexy times.

08. Because like Loveless, you’re worth it.
Loveless was famously labored over for years before it came out. It also took a rumored $500k to get the darn thing done. So maybe it takes you a long time to orgasm? Maybe you’re shy in bed? Who cares! It also took Loveless a long time to get comfortable and to… uh… get release. Let this album be your inspiration to treat yourself right. Don’t give up, you can get there.

09. Because it can keep you from being a total sleaze.
If you’re part of the generation who thinks that Loveless is the sexiest album ever and your potential banging partner has never heard of it, just drop the whole thing. He/She is too young for you and you are not their teacher. Let them go bang someone their own age to Maroon 5 or whatever the hell the kids are into these days, you creep.

10. Because it can help you out with dirty talk.
Your lover wants to hear some romantic words? Just look to the lyrics of Loveless. Well, some of them. There is a lot of confusion and insecurity in there, but there is also: “Soft as a pillow / touch her there.” “Tiptoe down / To the holy places.” “Slip your dress / Over your head.” “To lay under her, I want her there.” “Close my eyes / Feel me now.” Sigh.

11. Because it’s depressing as shit while still being beautiful.
Loveless is like the musical version of ruins photography. Everything might be falling apart, but gosh, isn’t it weirdly lovely? Many of these songs are so, so sad, but still oddly exhilarating — like sex with an ex or any number of other bad ideas. Just live it and feel lucky that you have a heart that can both soar and be crushed. It’s a privilege not afforded to all.

12. Because you can match your condoms to the album cover.
If you can’t protect your heart, at least protect your junk. STIs can be a real buzzkill. But with all of the recent advances in condom design, talking about protection can easily be made a part of the act. Whip out your Loveless-colored pink condom and ask your partner to swirl up on your body like those guitars. (Or say literally anything else, because that’s a terrible line.)

13. Because it can make your bed into a raft for two.
Maybe you’re getting down and you’re having a moment. You know, one of those times where the world drops away and the entire universe feels like it’s just you and your partner. (Or partners, we won’t judge.) The swaying, all-encompassing sound of Loveless can make it feel like you’re together out at sea, blissfully riding soft waves to “When You Sleep.”

14. Because you can use it to show your intentions.
If I showed up to somebody’s house and they showed me their Loveless-styled bed or if I clicked on their dating profile and it said they were into Loveless or if I got in their car and they looked me in the eyes and then put Loveless on the stereo or if they were like “Here, take a copy of my favorite album” and it was Loveless then I would think only one thing: They are DTF.

15. Because the American presidential election is in just a few days and we’re all going to die.
These things might actually be two separate facts, but they sure do feel connected right now. When Loveless came out, George H.W. Bush was president and well, those times were almost as scary as these. Many voters think that we’re screwed either way, so why not screw anyway? Election doomsday banging only comes around once every four years. Live it up.

16. Because you can synchronize your moves to the music.
With any full album that you know very well, it’s easy to imagine what song is coming up next based on the one you are currently hearing. That means you can choose to actively listen to the music and give yourself performance tips like, “Go down on her during the entirety of ‘To Here Knows When’ and she will be pleased.” Yes, she will.

17. Because in a world full of crap, you’ll always have Loveless.
Job got you down? Family problems? Car troubles? Terrible kids? Unpaid bills? Lost at the casino? Lost in the wilderness? Any number of bad things can throw off our little lives. We must take comfort where we can find it. Puppies, kittens, a warm cup of coffee, a starry night. And Loveless. It’s nice. Let it comfort and shelter you while you make a little love.

18. Because Brian Eno hasn’t yet made an ambient album specifically for intercourse.
He’s made gorgeous ambient albums for airports, for being on land and for freakin’ Thursday afternoons, but Mr. God of Sound hasn’t ventured in the business of bumpin’ uglies. What gives, Eno? The closest we have is Loveless, as it’s painstakingly produced and Eno-approved. Check out this mini-documentary where it mentions Eno’s love of “Soon.”

19. Because you can use the Loveless trick on multiple separate partners.
Don’t get caught up searching through your iTunes collection with your pants down. It’s a boner-killer when somebody holds up the fun times because they’re trying to choose the perfect accompanying music. Scroll straight to Loveless, friends. Your partner will think that you picked it just for them, when really it’s your go-to selection for whenever you’re acting as DJ BJ.

20. Because it’s a good soundtrack for anything, really.
Are you depressed? In love? Sleepy? Just waking up? Feeling lazy? Feeling energized? Hiding from the world? Blasting music in your car? Alone with your thoughts on the train? Surfing the web late at night? All of these situations are perfect for Loveless, that’s why it’s your best friend. Go ahead, have sex with your best friend. We won’t tell.

21. Because it will make a great story for your friends.
This works in the same way as Seinfeld’s famous “yada yada yada” as a conversational shortcut. Your friend says, “So, how did your date go last night?” You say, “Oh, you know. We went out to dinner and then to a bar and then we went to his house and he put on Loveless and I woke up with knots in my hair.”

22. Because it will never be ruined by a bad boyfriend or girlfriend.
Music frequently gets tangled up with our emotions. Certain albums often make you remember bummer times or mess with your head. But bang to Loveless in 2016 and this won’t happen. Why? Because if you currently listen to this album you’ve probably also been listening to it for the past 25 years, so it’s already associated with some other jerk from your past. Score!

23. Because you want to have sex with Kevin Shields.
It’s a bummer that it’s probably never going to happen. He has that super shy thing that makes you just want to dirty him up, but the chances of you getting to hook up with the God of Shoegaze are slim to none. So listen to Loveless instead. He thought of you, the listener, while he was making it, so you can think of him while you’re… making it. Totally works.

24. Because it’s great all the way through.
Some albums are 95% great but then there’s just that one song that you just can’t stand and you must skip past it every time. But Loveless wouldn’t do you like that. It might take you on a magical carpet ride to outer space and back, but would never interrupt your sexual flow. It’s perfect from beginning to end. Just like you.

25. Because, I mean, have you heard this thing? Dang.

link: Riverfront Times

How Halloween Costumes Reflect Music Culture History

"Punk" halloween costume for sale by wondercostumes.com

“Punk” halloween costume for sale by wondercostumes.com

How Halloween Costumes Reflect Music Culture History
By Jaime Lees
Mon, Oct 31, 2016

History is interesting, but how history is recorded and decided on is mind-blowing. And the history of fashion is particularly intriguing because the clothes that we choose, personally, often say more about our time and place in the world than they do about us individually.

The fashion in each decade eventually becomes distilled down into one singular style that the entire decade is remembered by — this is how we know how to “dress like” a decade when we’re attending a themed party.

Halloween costumes present the easiest way to see this reduction. Visit any Halloween store and you’ll find costumes that represent each modern decade starting (generally) with the 1950s when television began to freely enter our lives and started to influence the goals and attitudes of Americans en masse.

With television we were all suddenly plugged into the same feed, and it was a visual feed, at that. And the introduction of television combined with a booming economy created the rise of mass consumer culture. In an instant, Americans became aware of the basic standards for how they should dress and, more importantly, what was in style.

A 1950s costume is the first decade-representing costume to show up in most Halloween selections. Traditionally, the 1950s costume is a bobby-soxer or a rock and roll-loving greaser. A 1960s costume is some kind of hippie Woodstock ensemble with tie-dye garments and long flowing hair. A 1970s costume is generally a disco dancer with flared pants and platform shoes. An 1980s costume is a new waver or some neon-sprinkled version of Cyndi Lauper or Madonna. And the most recent addition, the 1990s costume, is a grunge kid with dirty hair and a flannel shirt.

But what do all of these styles have in common? They’re all interpretations of what was seen as the popular youth music movement of the time. (And, more specifically, the popular white youth music movement of the time.)

Obviously, music influences fashion in every decade (and vice-versa), but it’s the fashion that’s most closely associated with music culture that ends up sticking around for years to come. This means that music fashion ends up representing entire decades of complicated American culture to future generations.

These broad interpretations of popular music cultures (rocker, hippie, disco, new-wave, grunge) don’t represent all that was happening in each decade, of course. For example, many people dressed like The Replacements in the ‘80s, with worn-in jeans and thrift store plaid shirts. But you’d never wear that laid-back ensemble to an ‘80s party, you’d wear mesh and technicolor hair spray and cheap rubber bracelets.

And there were proper punk fashions in the 1970s, but in a Halloween store a punk costume would be labeled as “punk” not “’70s.” Tartan trousers, spiked hair and dog collar necklaces would never be marketed as a “‘70s” costume, because our idea of what a 1970s costume is has already been decided. (And — it’s worth noting — a ’70s costume is specifically Studio 54, not Soul Train. Just like a ‘90s costume is Nirvana, not Boyz II Men.)

So how will the next decade in line be represented in Halloween costumes? The span of time from January 2000 to December 2009 doesn’t even have a proper agreed-upon name, much less an obviously cohesive fashion distinction. The first decade of the 2000s (let’s just call them the aughties) is too close in our rear-view mirror to gain any real perspective on how the fashion will eventually be perceived. Styles seemed hideous and all over the place (think: Juicy Couture track suits, thong panties on display, low-rise everything, embellished anything) but what will surely go down in history as the most important marker for that decade, culturally, was the rise of the modern internet. In the span of those ten years, the average American went from hardly checking their email to putting their entire lives online and easily connecting with a global community.

Taking this idea of Internet Omnipresence and combining it with our formula for what types of fashion will eventually stick (the fashion most associated with the popular youth music culture at the time), the only reasonable projection for what an aughties Halloween costume will be this: the “scene kid.” You know, a proto-emo youth. One of those MySpace-using androgynous creatures with tight pants, a white belt, raccoon eyeliner and flat-ironed hair.

It’s highly likely that fifty years from now an aughties Halloween costume will look just like Pete Wentz. Our great-grandchildren will think that for an entire decade we were all taking tragic bathroom mirror selfies with our bangs in our eyes while we listened to My Chemical Romance or ultra crappy electroclash concoctions.

link: Riverfront Times

Chris Baricevic Is Putting St. Louis on the Musical Map

PHOTO BY HOLLY RAVAZZOLO

PHOTO BY HOLLY RAVAZZOLO

Because Chris Baricevic Is Putting St. Louis on the Musical Map
One of 75 reasons we love St. Louis in 2016
By Jaime Lees

Chris Baricevic is just 30 years old, but he’s already been the steady heartbeat of the south St. Louis music scene for more than a decade. The label he started eleven years ago, Big Muddy Records, is one of the region’s most revered musical organizations, the St. Louis equivalent to Jack White’s Detroit-born Third Man Records.

Big Muddy is not some vanity DIY project. It isn’t even a “boutique” label. Its artists are robust, well-practiced, world-class musicians ready to greet the world — Baricevic’s long roster has included Pokey LaFarge, Jack Grelle, Sidney Street Shakers, Rum Drum Ramblers, the Hooten Hallers, Southwest Watson Sweethearts, 7 Shot Screamers, Arson for Candy, the Monads and the Vultures.

Baricevic sees his role at the label as a hybrid of motivational producer and a spiritual mentor, but he’s more like a seasoned mountaineering guide, willing to carry the baggage so his artists can climb higher and claim their own victories. Baricevic often takes on the role of therapist or shaman (or maybe even mother) when leading his charges. He encourages them to develop their talents, embrace their community and to create art without ego.

His responsibilities go deeper than his current bands, though. He’s been the executor of beloved St. Louis musician/photographer Bob Reuter’s estate since Reuter’s 2013 death, and he’s also currently in the process of licensing the music of early 1960s local blues legend Henry Townsend for reissue. Baricevic does this all quietly and without fanfare. In fact, he’s so accustomed to staying out of the spotlight that he’s only now getting around to performing his own music with his new band, Kristo & the Strange Places.

Pure-hearted and a bit of a romantic, Baricevic’s humble exterior conceals a man who is naturally ambitious and seemingly inexhaustible. Authenticity is at the core of everything that he does, and he explains that he only cares to be involved with music that is “screaming from the soul.”

This St. Louis native has big plans for the city to “start to claim our creative landscape.” He promises, “If I get the resources I need, there is nothing to stop us.” Believe that.

link: Riverfront Times

The St. Louis Library Is the Bomb (and I Just Wish I’d Realized It Sooner)

This is what happens when you let a music writer loose in the St. Louis Public Library. / photo by Jaime Lees

This is what happens when you let a music writer loose in the St. Louis Public Library. / photo by Jaime Lees

The St. Louis Library Is the Bomb (and I Just Wish I’d Realized It Sooner)
By Jaime Lees
Tue, Sep 13, 2016

I’ve just recently realized that the St. Louis Public Library is the bomb. This is lucky for me because I’ve also recently realized that I have an issue with getting rid of old books. Most books that I let through the front door tend to stay in my house for life.

I wanted to figure out a way to stop giving books a forever home. I’ve always had minimalist tendencies, but started going deep into a decluttering adventure a few months ago. I’m always constantly cleaning out closets, trashing entire drawers, donating old clothes and, lately, digitizing my audio files, photos and important papers. But the books. The books don’t want to leave.

So what are you supposed to do when you read a lot of books but you want to stop buying them? The only answer is to swap or borrow them. I had to learn to foster instead of adopting. And that’s where the library came in.

I loved libraries when I was a kid, but I also had issues with libraries. I hated the school library when I was an elementary student. I read far above my grade level but the librarians there wouldn’t let students borrow from the sixth grade shelves when they were only in the second grade. The books I had access to there were dull and very, very short.

Annoyed with the quality of the “baby books” offered at school, I constantly begged my mother to take me to the public library, but I’m not sure that she’s ever read a book in her life, so my visits there were less than infrequent. I’d go once and get books and then sometimes she wouldn’t take me back to return them for an entire year. When I’d return and try to get new books, I’d always have a massive fine on my late books and I’d feel red-faced and ashamed when the librarians scolded me for it. Eventually I just stopped asking to go entirely. It was too much for an introverted kid to handle.

I started liking the school library again when I was in high school because I’d skip class and go there and read full text articles on their database. I should’ve been in French class, but I’d be hiding out at the computer terminals and reading obscure old magazine articles about Kim Gordon or Echo & the Bunnymen or whatever. I eventually got busted for being in the library so much and I got detention. (Pro tip for the kids: Did you know that if you skip detention that they give you in-school suspension? And then if you skip that they give you out-of-school suspension A.K.A. vacation? Once I figured out that my punishment for skipping school eventually turned into permission to skip school, they stopped giving me detention and I got to hang out in the library all the time.)

In the years since, whenever I wanted to read a book I just bought it. Trips to Borders eventually became trips to Amazon.com, and I’d just buy them all. I’d raid the books section at thrift stores and go to Left Bank Books and hunt through the insane collection in their basement. Still, there were always lots of books that I’d always wanted to read but couldn’t find. So I just kept ordering them all of the time like a damn chump.

Though I’ve donated more books than most people will ever read in their lifetimes, there are still a stupid amount of them in my house. Eventually, I was like, “This is dumb. I need to just go to the damn library.” If I was going to keep wanting new books, this would be at least one sure-fire way to stop keeping them — they weren’t mine.

After meaning to go do it for months and months, I finally took myself to get a St. Louis Public Library card just five or six weeks ago. And holy crap, it changed my life.

Nobody ever explained to me how awesome the library could be, so I’m here to tell you just in case you were also missing this piece of critical information.

First of all, it took about three minutes to get a library card. You show them your ID and they just print you up one right there at the main library counter. I signed up with the St. Louis County Library system, but you can access books at the city libraries, too, via an interlibrary loan program. Right after they handed me the card — instantly — I could’ve checked out up to 100 books. Whoa.

And as it turns out, the library has almost everything you could want. Really. The other day I transferred my Amazon books wish list list into a library books wish list. Of the 44 books that I had on my Amazon list, 37 of them were available through the library. (And the ones that weren’t available through the library were all rare or out-of-print titles.) Figuring an average of $15 that I would’ve paid for each of those 37 books, having a library card has already saved me $555.

I’m also done with buying DVDs. I usually watched them once and then they sat in a closet forever, so I checked the catalog for a DVD that I’d recently added to my Amazon list, too. Chuck Berry’s Hail! Hail! Rock and Roll DVD goes for no less than $39.99 online and I’d almost bought it a million times because I’ve been thinking about Chuck Berry a lot lately and I haven’t watched it in at least fifteen years. But guess what? The library had it, so I got to watch it for free. ($555.00 + $39.99 = $594.99 saved.)

And that’s not all. On my first exploratory trip to my main branch, I asked the librarian on duty if they had a specific book on minimalism that I’d been wanting to read for a long time but refused to buy because that seemed entirely counterproductive. She said yes, but that they didn’t have a copy at that branch, and then she asked me if I’d like her to order it for me. For free. I was like, “Uh, yes please.” It was there the next day — even faster than Amazon. O.M.G.

These librarians just do stuff for you and you don’t even have to pay them! She knew that it was my first day there and she told me that in the future I could also just easily search and request my own books on the app. What.

And, yes, there is an app. You can look up what you want and find out where it’s available or when it’s due back. You can also search on the app and download digital media. Now whenever I think of a book that I want to read, I just go to the app and search it to see if it’s in the system. If it is, I look at which branch has a copy. If it’s not a branch that I frequent, I’ll request the book right there on my phone. Then they email you a couple of days later when the book is there and ready for pick-up. The whole process couldn’t be easier.

They also even offer a free Netflix-like streaming service called Hoopla. Hoopla offers movies, music, television shows and audiobooks for instant streaming. It’s like having a Netflix account for free through the library. No joke.

And here’s something else I learned: In addition to being able to borrow from any branch, you can also return to any branch. Say I finish one of the many Oliver Sacks books that I borrowed from Branch A. Despite the fact that I borrowed it from Branch A, I can return it to Branch B. It’s also worth it to take a peek a their events calendars, as different branches offer different meetings, lectures and classes. (Colson Whitehead? He’s coming to the county headquarters this Wednesday.)

So, yeah. I’m head over heels. And even if you’re constitutionally unlikely to join me in fan-girling out over an institution like a library, you can’t argue with its merits. In fact, I guarantee, after your first library visit, you’ll walk out feeling like you robbed the place. It’s really almost too good to be true.

Wait, did someone say there are late fees? Nothing in life is perfect. But the St. Louis library system comes pretty damn close.

The Natural Bridge branch of the St. Louis County library re-opens this week, following a massive upgrade via the Your Library Renewed program.

– link: Riverfront Times