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It’s not the heat. It’s the *&($**(%$*( heat.

Welcome to summer in NE Ohio! We’ve had some warm days here and it’s been decidedly un-fun. The kids and I have gone majorly nocturnal. Not going to bed until around 2am and waking up around 10 – 11 am. It’s the only way to handle the weather without air conditioning. It has cooled off a bit, thank goodness. Storms rolled through this weekend (beautiful thunderstorms!) and helped.

Alright, we can discuss the pink elephant – yes, the RNC is this week in my beloved Cleveland. No, I won’t be anywhere near it. I have no desire to go close. The closest I will be is Wednesday night when my dear friends with the band Hollis Brown are in town at the Grog Shop. (So much love for Hollis Brown – they are incredible. New album “3 Shots” is a keeper and seeing them live is stellar!)

But I digress. No Cleveland for me this week. Please don’t burn my city down, folks. I love it.

Garden is doing well. Lots of baby tomatoes on the tomato plants. I think my peppers and eggplant are dead though.

As for Pokemon GO, yes, we play. Yes, it’s fun. Yes, I love that it’s getting my kids outside and active. Yes, we are safe when we play.

I did start the new retail gig last week. It’s…..a job. Not a forever job but it’s helping me mentally and financially. That’s a win/win in my book.

I spent time last week listening to a lot of new music and you are going to LOVE what I’ve got for you this week!

*Tyler Boone: His new EP “True Experience” came out on Friday. I love musicians that show depth of talent and Tyler definitely does. Each song on the EP has a beautiful and unique sound. Definitely one to check out! Here’s the first single, “Don’t Let Me Down”:

*Cobi: Sometimes one listen is all you need to be hooked. Listen to this song and tell me you don’t want to know more and hear more.

*Lissie: I fucking love this woman. I have loved her for years. I love her talent, her passion, her sound. She seems like a hard working woman who just wants to make great music and rock the fuck out. Maybe, just maybe, the rest of the world will notice her this time around.

*Descendants: Punk is alive and well. Here is your proof. I’m all over this band, their new album “Hypercaffium Spazzinate” and this song.

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Where the heck did my month go?

I’ve been writing down music to talk about, thinking about what to write for almost a month. I just kept forgetting to take the time to actually, you know, write.

I used to have a schedule. Even working from home meant I needed a schedule. This summer? Gone out the window. I’m awake until 1 or 2. Up around 10am. Then to the gym to swim or workout on the elliptical. Kids and I have played mini golf once. A few lunches out but we’ve been mega lazy. Don’t even ask me about the status of my vegetable garden. The tomatoes from last year took over! I had no idea they could come back! Mine did and they have decided the entire veggie patch is theirs. I have to dig up a hosta and plant my eggplant and pepper. That’s tomorrow’s goal – we have storms today (that means 1. I’m not working in the yard and 2. The ground will be nice and soft tomorrow.)

*Edit: I totally forgot one awesome fun thing girl child and I did this month! We went strawberry picking with a super awesome friend and her two boys. It was a hoot!

Putt Putt with the kids was awesome. We don’t follow the rules, we just whack our balls around. Seriously. No scores to keep, just fun.

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I’ve been slacking on new music. Mostly because of summer laziness. But do not fear, I have a few gems for you!

*Highasakite is my latest musical love. The whole album, Camp Echo, is heavenly. I’ve been a fan for a few years and this album shows their growth beautifully. I can’t share any new videos from this album so we’ll have to make do with “Since Last Wednesday” from their 2013 album Silent Treatment:

*When I worked in radio, I avoided cover songs like the plague. But every once in a while one would come across my desk that blew me away. Meet SHEL. Hear their cover of “Enter Sandman”. Yeah. Life is good. (then go listen to their other stuff cause dayum.)

*Check out Great American Canyon Band. I’m kinda crushing on them. Incredible sound. Then I read the bio and my heart melted. Love love love.

Here’s “Only You Remain”:

*Lots of new music from artists I love – Hozier, Bastille, Tom Odell, Passenger, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Violent Femmes, Meiko, Anya Marina, and more. It’s a great time to be a music lover!

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Spring is kinda maybe almost here….

Spring passed us by and we’ve gone into full summer mode here in NE Ohio. I’m not a huge fan of the heat BUT I have fans, belong to a gym with a great pool, and have access to cold water. I love summer – bonfires, camping, and lots of yummy fruit.

Today I’ll be finally planting my garden – peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. Cross your fingers for me that they do well, please!

I’m still running. Not as much – my workouts have slowed and that’s just not cool. I’m back to running/elliptical/swimming – it really helps me feel great and clear my brain. Here’s the picture I took today on my run – the Towpath Trail is so beautiful!

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I had a short term temp gig (lasted about 3 weeks). That’s over so I’m back to looking for work. I know something great is coming, I just wish it would come a little quicker!

I’m still listening to new music and there is so much that is awesome I don’t know where to start! I do try to focus on artists that aren’t with major labels but sometimes I have to ignore that guideline and yell from the rooftops about an amazing artist you should all know about.

*So here’s LÉON. She’s signed to Columbia and is quite a find. I could babble about her but I’ll let you just hear her and you’ll know what I mean. She’s the next big thing, folks.

*I have loved St. Paul & The Broken Bones for years now. They continue to impress the heck out of me. Their new album, “Sea of Noise” comes out in September. No video yet for the single that was just released to radio “All I Ever Wonder”. But here’s the teaser trailer.

*Have I talked about The Wind + The Wave yet? OMG people! I adore this band. Dwight and Patty are awesome – super talented, fun, & brilliant. Here’s “Grand Canyon” from their forthcoming album (released on Island Records).

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A plan is hatched

I try my best not to be impulsive. Sometimes I fail (especially at the grocery store when I’m hungry!) but I really try to weigh options, talk to friends/colleagues, & fully analyze a situation before I implement. That can slow me down but at the same time I feel I understand fully what I’m about to embark on. After last week’s post, I’ve been talking with a lot of folks to get their thoughts on how to best accomplish my goals.

My dear friend Michael (who is an amazing life coach) summed it up well. He simply asked “what brings you joy? What do you want to do?”

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(My joy. Right there.)

My answer? I love talking with people. I’ve always been happiest behind a microphone interviewing people, whether it’s artists or local community leaders (like I did for my public affairs show Greater Cleveland Forum). There is something I’m working on along that vein but it will take a while to get it going (grant writers are amazing!) but I need to do something now.

I’ve been doing voice over work on the side for a long time but never made it my focus. That is about to change. My demo is in the works and then I’ll be shopping myself around for work. Having a studio at home makes things awesomely easy to do this. Thanks, CG! 😉

For those following along at home – I’m now up to Week 6, Day 1 of the Couch to 5k program. I ran that today and got my longest run in yet. 1.81 miles. Which makes me feel like a snail (pace-wise) but I keep reminding myself that it’s 1.81 miles most people aren’t running today. So go me!

I promised I’d talk about new music in last week’s blog so without further ado…..

*Mariachi El Bronx is one of my favorite bands. The song “Wildfires” came out 9 months ago but I’m betting most of you haven’t heard it, or of them. Time to change that!

*Most of the bands I highlight here are one listen bands. As in, one listen was all it took to fall in love. That’s absolutely the case with Big Thief. One.Listen.

*Ermagerd have you heard of Skating Polly? Time to rectify that if you haven’t. What do I love about them?

1. They’re sisters. That’s so bad ass it’s amazing.
2. Punk influence. Also bad ass.
3. I have a weakness for gritty and raw music. Music not “smoothed out” or made to sound pretty. Just the band, the microphones, and the engineer. Perfection.

Here’s their new single “Pretective Boy”:

*I keep a pad of paper next to me at my desk. As I hear new music I want to blog about, I jot down the name of the artist and song title. I must have really really really loved Kevin Morby because his name was on my list twice. That tells you a lot. So here he is with his single “I Have Been To the Mountain” (and OMG this video. Wow this video!):

*Tom Odell has a new album coming out in June!!! This guy – wow, this guy. Love his voice. Love his vibe. I met him at a convention in Boulder and he’s so fucking sweet and nice and then rocks the fuck out. How can you not love that? First single from the new album is “Magnetised”. Love!

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Intelligent, vivacious, passionate, strong woman seeking……

A company that desires an employee like me.

The job hunt has been rather frustrating. Many resumes sent out and many rejection letters received. I was getting bummed out but then my positive nature took over and I decided to turn my problem on it’s head. If you do a search on my name one of the first things that shows up is the Huffington Post article about the letter I co-wrote with Blake Morgan.

The vast majority of places I’ve applied to are the sorts that most likely don’t want an employee who questions the status quo. I realized last weekend that I’ve been going about my job hunt completely wrong. It’s time to find a job somewhere that embraces my strengths. I don’t have a darn clue where that is but I’m extremely excited about what will come.

In other non-work hunt related news the 5k training is going well. I’m up to week 5, which puts me at running for a total of 16 minutes. I won’t say it’s getting easier but I will say I look forward to running 3x a week. I’m mixing elliptical work and running in the current channel at the pool to keep active every day. Bonus is more energy, which is always a good thing.

Me after my latest run:

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No music today, instead I’d like to share a video by SoundExchange that features Blake and I. We went to Washington D.C. in January to meet with some Congressional Representatives and discussed the I Respect Music campaign. And I was thrilled to stop by the SoundExchange office while we were in town. There are some incredible folks there working hard for all artists.

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St. Patrick’s Day, 5k, and music

I’ve never understood the love of St. Patrick’s Day for those who aren’t Irish. Which I’m not. But I do love Irish music (traditional and new). I’ll just pass on the green beer!

I’ve taken the running leap and have begun a Couch to 5k training program with a group of friends. I’m running 3 days a week, the other three I walk or hit the pool. I feel great and love it! Today I completed Week 3 Day 1. That involves walking for 5 minutes then jogging 1.5 mins, walking 1.5 mins, jogging 3 mins, walking 3 mins, repeat once, then cool down. I was a bit unsure about my ability to run for 3 minutes straight but I’m glad to say I did it!!! Here I am after completing the workout:

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I’ve not blogged in 2 weeks so the list of new music is rather long. Let’s start with two Irish bands I love.

*I have been a die hard fan of Flogging Molly for many years. I love their sound, their passion, their energy. That and their mosh pits are the bomb – I’ve never seen a pit so polite!! One of my dreams is to go on the Flogging Molly cruise. I love seeing them live – if you can, definitely do it!

Imagine my delight when they released their first new song in 6 years. So.Much.Love.

*When I first heard Enter the Haggis, I was delighted. These talented fellas from Toronto are brilliant musicians AND businessmen. I love their new single (and can’t wait to hear the new EP!)

*If you haven’t heard of Hozier at this point, then I’m sad for you. Time to crawl out from under your rock and join the rest of us because he is Da Man. And Irish. This isn’t a new song for me, but it’s my hands down favorite song of his. It’s getting a huge surge of love after it was used at the end of a Walking Dead episode. Here’s “Arsonist’s Lullabye”

*Frightened Rabbit is NOT an Irish band. They’re Scottish. And brilliant. The single from their new album “Painting of a Panic Attack” shows incredible growth from them which makes me doubly happy.

*Finally we come back home to the U.S. and the artist Sierra Hull. I could babble on and on about her but there’s no need. Close your eyes and listen. Gorgeous!

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Struggling to see daylight

It’s been rough these past few months, so I’m doing everything I can to focus on the positives in my life. My kids are number one. My family. My SCA family. My pets (ermagerd sweetest dog evah!). Music.

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Now that I’ve been out of the radio biz for 2 months I’m finding I miss it less and less. As I continue to search for work, I’m focusing more on the non profit sector. To know that I use my energy to help others in some way would fill me with joy. I’m still doing voice overs and slowly prepping the office for painting – need it to warm up a bit more before I can paint.

Girl child and I have started training for a 5k. I’ve survived so far so things are looking up! And I’ve lost 3 pounds, so bonus!

I read a study somewhere, years ago, that NE Ohio actually has more cloudy days than Seattle. I don’t know if it’s true, yet on days like today when the sky is cloudy and it smells like more snow, I can believe it. I’m finding my own daylight lately. That means snuggles with the kids and pets. Running outside instead of at the gym when I can. Clementines. Seriously, clementines are small little balls of happy.

And yes, music. I wasn’t sure if I was going to focus on music today but there are a few new(er) artists that have made me smile.

*I’ve always admired Bob Boilen and the Tiny Desk Concert. They announced the winner of their yearly concert a few days ago and I don’t wonder why. Give a listen to Gaelynn Lea and her song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun”.

*I’m known for being down on twangy music. What folks don’t know is I was like that for the last station I programmed. In fact I enjoy quite a lot of Americana music. The single, “Your Story” from Distant Cousins new album has a definite twang and I love it.

*I don’t even remember how the band Mynth came to my attention. I don’t care. Listen and love.

*Icelandic bands are huge right now. Here’s an Alt-leaning band that’s getting a lot of attention – Agent Fresco.

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Cover letters and more new music

When we last saw our heroine (that’s me), she discussed new music and promised more. It’s coming, promise.

This is my procrastination break from applying for jobs. Cause you know, work. And cause you know, cover letter.

Cover letters are the bane of almost everyone’s existence. When I was part of a hiring team, I read them and sympathized. Now that I’m on the other end, I find I can either churn them out like a pro or I get frustrated and start writing mock letters. That I end up changing slightly and sending. Hmmmmmmm

But I digress. Cover letters. I’ve looked at numerous sites that have examples. I’ve done my best to highlight my experience and general awesomeness. I’ve had lots of feedback from amazing folks on my resume. On the last cover letter, I seriously wrote:

“I’m hard working, dedicated, smart as heck, a team player, and a fast learner.” We’ll see if I get any nibbles….

Now on to the music!

*The Moth & The Flame: I adore the heck out of this band and am trying to decide if I want to road trip to Detroit to see them next week. Oh who am I kidding? They are awesome and I’d be silly to not go! Here’s the second single from their album.

*Moderat: dooooooooooooods. Check out “Reminder” and then wait impatiently with me for their album “III” which comes out in April.

*Charles Bradley: When a blues/soul singer covers a Black Sabbath tune, I have to sit up and take notice. When a blues/soul singer does an amazing cover of a Black Sabbath tune, I have to share the awesomeness with the world. Enjoy!

*White Denim: I’m totally doing a happy dance around my home office about the new forthcoming album “Stiff”. This is me right now:

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New music and the joys of snow shoveling

School was canceled on Tuesday for my kids because of snow. I like snow days because I can spend time snuggling with my kids watching movies but I also love shoveling the driveway.

Now before you start calling me names, hear me out.

I am a regular at the gym. Five mornings a week you’ll find me there either on the elliptical or in the pool getting some hard core exercise. But there is something to be said for productive workouts. I get frustrated with my workouts to nowhere. The joy of being productive and burning calories makes me happiest. Which is why I love tasks like chopping wood or shoveling the driveway after a good snow. I know how to do it right – the snow we had Tuesday was very wet and heavy so I took regular breaks to rest and hydrate. All told it took me almost 2 hours and I burned over 1500 calories. That’s what I call productive!

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Plus, I get to see beauty when I’m out there.

Speaking of productive, I’ve been keeping myself busy. Slowing cleaning/emptying the home office for a paint job and reorganization. Working on my voice over demo has also kept me busy. I’ve done a few voice overs already so yay gigs!

It’s also time to start planning the spring garden. Every year I have such high goals and never manage to follow through. I’m going to keep it simple this year – tomatoes and peppers I think. I’ve not had any luck with anything else. Plus you can’t go wrong with those two – oh the possibilities!

While those listed above have kept me busy, I’ve also been enjoying a lot of new music. It’s a long list so I’m going to break it down into two posts.

Oh, and the Grammys? Yeah, I watched some of it. It was mostly uninspiring and bored me, so I watched Return of the Jedi and caught highlights the next day. Kendrick Lamar was awesome, as were Andra Day, Tori Kelly and James Bay. I felt bad for Adele but as she said, “S&%t happens”….

Now on to the music!

*Dorothy: Who is this band and where have they been all my life??? What the what the what? Love!!!!

*DMAs: I’ve been a fan for a while. With their new album coming out next week, I knew it was time to spotlight one of the songs. “In the Moment” is gorgeous and highlights what makes this band stellar.

*Mass Gothic: I gotta be honest, it’s a rare SubPop band that I don’t love. Mass Gothic highlights how sometimes walking away from a project is the best choice you can make. Noel Heroux walked away from his band Hooray for Earth and found himself again. I’m so glad he did. Mass Gothic’s self titled album released February 6. Give a listen to the focus track and let yourself fall in love.

*Trixie Whitley: OMG Trixie Whitley. I first heard her when she was with Black Dub with Daniel Lanois, a project that blew me away and I couldn’t understand why they didn’t get more notice. Sometimes it happens (sad!) but I’ll be gosh darned if I let her incredible talent slide by again. Just listen and you’ll learn why I want the world to hear her.

*Lettuce: A recent discovery for me, here’s the second single from their delicious album “Crush”. Funk, blues, rock….dudes, listen and love.

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