PERPETUAL CHANGE — “High Maintenance” by The Sexual Side Effects

| Apr 7, 2014

amber-taylor02

Last month in this space, we posted an interview with Amber Taylor, lead vocalist, (also guitar and piano) and main songwriter for the Atlanta based band, The Sexual Side Effects. When offered an opportunity to listen to, and eventually review their EP High Maintenance, I jumped at the chance.

Doing a review for an EP containing 5 songs sounds like an easy task, but actually it’s kind of hard to get a real handle on any one tune. Overall, the entire project has a real, very live type of “indie rock” feel. I believe that’s what Taylor and the rest of the band is trying for, and they’ve succeeded in capturing the kind of energy that seems to be mostly dominant on non-major label releases these days.

high-maintainceThe project starts off with the tune Aurora, which definitely hits the listener with the live feel immediately. Very good guitar work throughout the song. But what’s interesting is that the project closes with an acoustic version of the same song. While this might seem as an easy way to economically stretch only a few songs to cover the length of an EP, Aurora actually lends itself quite well to an acoustic guitar treatment. Although it does sound a bit darker than the electric version, it’s still a creative way to end a project.

Two of the other tunes, All She’ll Ever Hurt and An Hour Ago, are extremely reminiscent of the alternative, new wave, post punk sound that dominated when bands such as R.E.M. were all over the radio. Considering the overall sameness of what passes as music now, it’s actually refreshing to hear such guitar/vocal oriented material again. And The Sexual Side Effects aren’t doing it as a parody of the genré — it’s evident they really love this material.

Clip from Aurora

Clip from All She’ll Ever Hurt

Clip from I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used To Be A Man)

Speaking of love, the fifth tune of the project is entitled I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used To Be A Man). So, wrap your head around this: a male-to-female transgender front woman vocalist singing about being into another girl who used to be a man. Those of us who have spent any time at all in the greater LGBT community, and especially the “T” portion thereof, can understand the sentiment, but for the world at large — what a statement. What makes this even more so is the fact that this is the most radio friendly tune on the project. And the lyrics speak for themselves:

I’m In Love With A Girl (But She Used To Be A Man) by Amber Taylor

(chorus)
I’m in love with a girl
But she used to be a man
Somewhere in between
She had a change of plans…I’m in love….I fell in love

(verse)
I’ve a story that I need to tell
About a man and a woman
Whose love was doomed to fail
I was walkin’ down the way
Once De Leon Avenue
She’s fine and she’s mine
But I didn’t have a clue
Something’s going on….
(chorus)

Strolling down the street
In six inch platform shoes
Lipstick, fishnets, so so sweet
Then she told me the news
Feels like something’s wrong
Something’s going on

(chorus)

During my interview with Amber Taylor, she told me that it’s too soon to say when The Sexual Side Effects will be releasing new material, but they do have tons of songs ready to go, and definitely have a well known producer lined up. Well, whenever that is, it will not only be worth the wait, but will no doubt broaden The Sexual Side Effects fan base by quite a lot. They can’t help but crank out good stuff given the talent in this band, which along with Taylor, includes Matt Foster, guitar; Mike Sidner, bass, and Clay McCllure, drums and percussion. Produced by Amber Taylor and John Briglevich.

For more information, please check out the band’s website. They’re also on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Music is available through the band site as well as iTunes and Amazon.com. The band’s site also contains the official music video for their tune All She’ll Ever Hurt, plus several live videos.

ALSO THIS MONTH

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

Rev. Yolanda

 

It was mentioned in our companion TransVocalizers column that Rev. Yolanda had been nominated for a Manhattan Association of Cabaret and Clubs (MAC) Award. Well, she won in her category, which was Impersonation/Characterization/Drag Artist. Congratulations to Rev. Yolanda and everyone involved in the show, Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour: Glen Ganaway, producer; Rev. Shawn Moninger, director; Kenneth Gartman, musical director, and the Yolandaleers Band — Bill Turner (banjo, dobro, harmonica); Dennis Michael Keefe (stand up bass); Emily Mikesell (fiddle, vocals). There are pictures on Yolanda’s facebook page from the awards event, also check out her website. Join Rev. Yolanda on Easter Sunday at The Duplex in New York City for the newest version of the show, Rev. Yolanda’s Old Time Gospel Hour, Chapter 2 — Be The Love.

Jennifer Leitham

Today when this column gets posted, it’s the last day to contribute to Jennifer Leitham’s Triple Play Project on indiegogo.com. We’ve already introduced her project concept, which involves her next three studio recordings, in past columns. Each of the three projects will be different, and since she is working as an independent artists on her own label, she needs your help. For complete details, and to still make a contribution, please go to indiegogo. Also, check out her website.

NEW MUSIC

Kiss Me Once by Kylie Minogue

Kiss Me Once is Kylie Minogue’s first studio release since 2010’s Aphrodite. The entire project, with the exception of one tune, is high powered dance material. First release from the project is Into The Blue, which already has garnered critical acclaim, and is helping to draw the entire project onto dance floors everywhere.

Into The Blue has a video out already, but perhaps the one tune and corresponding video from Kiss Me Once that’s getting the most attention is Sexercise. It lives up to it’s name, and proves that red stilettos can be worn with anything, for any reason. (While searching for this on YouTube, I also found a pretty funny parody, but that’s only my opinion.)

The one non-dance tune is entitled Beautiful, and basically is a ballad. Very well done and thoughtful.

The project’s best production moments are found on If Only, Beautiful, and the title track, Kiss Me Once, which is a more moderate tempo groove, and one of Minogue’s better vocal moments on the album.

Executive producers are Kylie Minogue and Sia. For individual song production, writer and musician credits, please check out the CD insert. Visit Kylie’s website for more info.

Behind the scenes video from the making of the Sexercise video

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She’s So Unusual A 30th Anniversary Celebration by Cyndi Lauper

cindi-lauperWhat can you say about Cyndi at this point in time? Just in TGForum alone, we’ve reviewed her blues project, 2010’s Memphis Blues (and it’s companion DVD To Memphis With Love), and last year’s Kinky Boots broadway cast album and it’s companion single releases. While Ms. Lauper has been something of a politically outspoken ally to the greater LGBT community, that sometimes seems to overshadow her amazing creative output. And that’s a shame — put the politics aside and just listen to the music.

The 30th Anniversary Celebration project should give a lot of people that chance. The original She’s So Unusual came out in 1983, at a time when Lauper and her manager had to borrow money just to eat. When they went into the studio to work on the original album, they knew they had something, but no one dreamed at the time that songs such as Girls Just Want To Have Fun and Time After Time would become global anthems. Even some of the more off-the-wall things such as She Bop (okay, supposedly about masturbation) would have staying power over time.

What’s interesting in going back and listening to this album again in it’s entirety is to rediscover the different styles that were touched upon. Granted, it was the beginning of the 1980s, a decade known musically for hair band metal and the beginning of the music video revolution. However, punk, new wave, girl-group material, Lauper touched on all of it in the original album. Add to this mix the now iconic Time After Time, and a debut album by a down-and-out singer from Queens is still considered one of the great moments from an otherwise predictable era.

The 30th Anniversary Celebration CD also includes two separate remixes of Time After Time and a remix of Girls Just Want To Have Fun. Lauper will also be touring, starting on April 23rd and lasting into July. You can find more information on the tour and the CD on the Web.

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Category: Music

About Pam Degroff: Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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