Kristeen Young


There are no small parts, only small minds. But Kristeen Young has never suffered from a deficit of imagination. For the new EP V The Volcanic, songwriter and performer Kristeen Young drew upon the cinema, writing originals inspired by supporting characters—some of them quite unexpected—in seven different films: Violet Bick in Frank Capra’s 1946 favorite It’s A Wonderful Life(“V The Volcanic”); the Angry Apple Tree of 1939′s The Wizard of Oz (“I’ll Get You Back”); Lucy Westenra in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 take on Bram Stoker’s Dracula (“Why Can’t It Be Me?”); Old Lodge Skins in 1970′s Little Big Man (“Now I’m Invisible”); the android Pris from 1982′s Blade Runner (“The Devil Made Me”); Sarah Jane Johnson in Douglas Sirk’s 1959 melodrama Imitation of Life (“Imitation of Life”); and Cleopatra in the 1963 Elizabeth Taylor/Richard Burton adaptation of Cleopatra (“Fantastic Failure”)….the exception to the supporting character rule.

At the outset, Young intended the follow-up to 2009′s thunderous Music for Strippers, Hookers, and the Odd On-Looker to be a funk record. Only at the time, she was in a bit of a funk herself. “I was going through a particularly dank depression,” she reveals. Mired in the midst of this protracted “blue period,” she sought solace through immersion in her favorite movies—and from that escapism sprang new inspiration. “I didn’t want to be me, so I decided to use what was killing my time and become other people.” Not real people, but her very real-seeming companions at the time: movie characters. Now she had a legit excuse to spend even more time disappearing into the world onscreen. And “disappear” is the right word, as that theme crops up throughout V The Volcanic—not just in the sense of getting lost in the alternate realm of movies, but also apropos of how the expanding virtual universe crowds out the “real” world.

Young admits she isn’t entirely certain what drew her to each of these specific characters, although she pinpoints some clues. “Some of them, like Violet Bick in It’s A Wonderful Life, I can always imagine having another life. And because she’s a minor character, I want to know more of what’s going on in her head.” On the EP’s explosive and kaleidoscopic title track, Kristeen Young delves into Violet’s psyche, demanding “how much can be swallowed ’til she explodes?” Violet displays a confidence in who she is that George and his namby-pamby wife Mary lack, yet is painted as somehow lacking because she doesn’t aspire to the same ideals. “I always feel sorry for Violet. She was a woman ahead of her time.” Underscoring that notion, “V The Volcanic” calls out a litany of revolutionary women: including Josephine Baker, Camille Paglia, Yoko Ono, Harriet Tubman, Benazir Bhutto, & Courtney Love…..women whose unique behavior or words (in their time) upset people.

One of the record’s most arresting turns comes courtesy of a very unlikely character: the Angry Apple Tree from The Wizard of Oz. Her voice effortlessly flipping into its highest register as murderous piano pounds beneath her, Young runs the listener through a bitch-slap spelling bee inspired by the sheer gall of young Dorothy Gale. “I relate too much to the Apple Tree,” the composer admits. “The idea of doing all this work and creating something, and someone just happens to pop by and pluck it from you. That was my complete experience of the past couple years: being food for thieves.”

Musically, V The Volcanic marks a departure from earlier Kristeen Young releases. Having set out to restore the piano to its rightful place alongside the guitar as one of the most fearsome instruments in the rock music pantheon, and feeling that she’d finally met that goal with 2009′s Music for Strippers…, Young was now interested in going back to her roots, drawing on the electro-funk grooves she loved in her Midwest childhood: Prince, Rick James, Teena Marie, Cameo. Yet as the new material took shape, she began to lose interest in mining just one musical vein. “I started branching out into other styles a bit, opera, dark wave, and other sounds that felt cozy to me.” V The Volcanic may not sound precisely the same as its predecessors in the discography, but it always sounds like Kristeen Young. With Young’s thrilling four-octave vocal range and dramatic performance style, it couldn’t be anyone else.

V The Volcanic was recorded with legendary producer Tony Visconti (David Bowie, T. Rex, Morrissey), who also contributed bass and guitar. The arrangements, however, are solely Young’s handiwork. Former Fall Out Boy front man, Patrick Stump, also plays guitar, as does NYC noise maker, Lou Rossi. Since much of the material was written in St. Louis, or inspired by notions of what constitutes “home,” Young worked with several players from the Gateway City, including longtime percussionist “Baby” Jef White, bassist Chris Sauer, and guitarist Richard Fortus.

The Village Voice hailed Kristeen Young’s last record, Music for Strippers, Hookers, and the Odd On-Looker (2009), as “the kind of ‘commercial’ pop we need more of.” Originally from St. Louis—where Young started out in life as a half-Apache, half-German foster child, then was adopted by strict Christian parents—Kristeen is currently based in New York City. In addition to making music, Young also designs her own eye-popping stage wear. To promote V The Volcanic, the band shot its first video (for “Fantastic Failure”) amongst the landmarks of hometown, St. Louis. The video was directed by (Los Angeles based) Seaton Lin. Following the album’s release in May 2011, Kristeen will embark on series of month-long residencies in four major metropolises—Los Angeles, New York, London, and Chicago—plus side dates in nearby markets.

www.kristeenyoung.com

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Emily Zuzik

Emily Zuzik ::  http://www.emilyzuzik.com

“Zuzik mixes the urgent intensity of Ani DiFranco and Tori Amos with the easy cool of Kim Gordon, but is still her own woman and an impressive artist.”

–Performing Songwriter Magazine DIY Pick, November 2003

Granddaughter of a trucker and a coal miner, Emily Zuzik hails from Southwestern Pennsylvania. She gave her first public performance singing Dolly Parton’s “9 to 5″ to her fifth grade religion class. By eighth grade, she was performing original work in front of her school. And the rest, as we say, is history…

Since then, Emily’s performed both solo and with many bands including acoustic roots rockers Sexfresh, Babes with Beats, the Burning Man phenomenon Funkmobile, 70s classic rock tribute group Southern Frost and San Francisco WAMMIE-awarded Shitty Shitty Band Band.

Besides her solo work and that in bands, Emily and Sexfresh co-founder Ben Ratliff continue to collaborate on different conceptual, production and performance projects. The duo along with Sexfresh guitarist Chris Mulhauser formed Mother’s Discontent Music, an artist collective and independent music label. She has appeared as a background singer for Pi and Jeff Winter in the NYC area, and has begun producing other local independent artists in her studio.

Emily’s songs have been featured on “Women in Music with Laney Goodman” (syndicated to over 400 stations worldwide), “XM Unsigned” on XM Satellite Radio, Alice Artist Spotlight on 97.3 FM in San Francisco, KUSF’s “Radio Segue,” KOOP’s “Soul Talk Radio with Chuck Freeman,” and KUT’s “Femme FM.” The video for her song “Try a New Line on Me” airs regularly on the Austin Music Network and aired nationally on the Trio Network to over 18 million households.

Besides her own career, Emily’s also active in the woman’s music community as a performing member of Indiegrrl, GoGirlsMusic Elite and NYC’s Womanrock collectives. She is also the Events Coordinator for showcases and special events of Womanrock.com. Emily also co-founded sirenswildride, a nationally touring collective of female singer-songwriters. In addition to this, she is a performing member of Folk Alliance and Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.

Emily tours several times a year both solo and with songwriting partner, Ben Ratliff. In September 2002, she hit the road with French recording artist Pi on the Babes With Beats tour receiving rave reviews from press and audiences alike. The sirenswildride began September 2003 to the Midwest and continued on to the Northeast, Upstate NY and Canada later in 2003. Sirenswildride continues to tour and is expanding to include a variety of talented women artists.

 

 

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Carolyn Wonderland

Carolyn Wonderland ::  http://www.carolynwonderland.com

Carolyn Wonderland is the multi-award winning guitarist/ singer/ songwriter/ pianist/ trumpeteer from Houston, TX (now living in Austin) with the funny hair (now cut Texas summer short & gasp! It’s one color!) & BIG mouth! (and even bigger voice). With a voice that has to be heard to be believed, Carolyn and her band have been a favorite in the media since 1992, and have won just about every “Best of” music award the city of Houston has to offer. Through years of touring, she has developed a cult following across the United States and parts of Europe.

Carolyn has led her band through several incarnations, and has released 6CDs to date. (currently recording lots of demos- you can hear them in progress at www.mp3.com/carolynwonderland) Recently, she’s had the pleasure of recording as the featured singer with Jerry Lightfoot’s Band of Wonder, featuring: Jerry, Carolyn, Vince Welnick (Grateful Dead, Tubes, Todd Rundgren), Frosty (Guy Forsyth, Lee Michaels, Sly & the Family Stone), John X Reed (Texana Dames, Doug Sahm) & Larry Fulshear (Taj Mahal). Look on this site for release dates soon!

Carolyn has been lucky enough to get onstage & jam with folks like Los Lobos, Robert Earl Keen & Eddy Shaver!

You can find her at her regular Tuesday gig in Houston at the Last Concert Cafe & rumor has it she sits in with Guy Forsyth on Sundays at Antone’s in Austin. Well, here’s a little more background info of Carolyn Wonderland and the Imperial Monkeys. Enjoy!

Born in the seventies in Houston, she started playing the family piano, & Mother’s guitars around the age of eight, followed shortly thereafter with her aunt’s cornet. Carolyn sat in on tambourine at her mom’s gigs & later started her first band, an all-girl vocal group that sang their own songs, in the 3rd grade, but they didn’t do much gigging outside the playground.

By sixth grade, Carolyn played piano & guitar with the older boys’ bands, covering Alice Cooper, AC/DC & whatever was fun, until one day

 

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Cristina Williams

Cristina Williams ::  http://www.cristinawilliams.com

Cristina is a former Florida folkie who moved to New York and converted to a rock ‘n roll old soul. On last year’s debut LP, What Did I Do?, she introduced herself as the Florida Girl with a Cuban soul and a redneck spine who had just waded out of the Jacksonville marshes to rock and roll New York City.

She learned much from Gotham, hanging out in dark clubs and grungy rehearsal rooms, drawing the power of the Ghosts of Rock Bands Past and sending it back out to the audience through her ’72 Fender Custom and the Starlite Venus that the good folks at Daisy Rock gave her.

With the help of Jamie Laboz (producer), Dan Green (bass), Michael P Nordberg (drums) and Alan Camlet (engineer), Cristina channeled those spirits into her second release, an EP named Cowards in Love (coming out in the spring.)

As the title suggests, it’s a short collection of love songs that put the fun back in dysfunctional. They were recorded live and laid down fast to seal in the freshness. Folks have used names like Tom Petty, Joan Jett and the Pretenders to describe them. We won’t argue with that.

Recording the album was a summer blast! But then the season changed. And after one brutal New York winter too many, Cristina made the jump to California. Now she’s storming the beach, armed with her guitars and her songs. They’re loaded and she’s not afraid to use them.

 

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Sean Wiggins

Sean Wiggins ::  http://www.seanwiggins.com/seanwiggins/

Before Sean Wiggins, a centered and attention-grabbing, blue eyed, soul diva is how she’s been described, but there’s much more to Wiggins when she takes to the stage or gets in the studio. You will find that her recordings define her inner most feelings at that precise time in her life. As an artist, Wiggins is making waves! A song from Wiggins past, “Jane and the Goats”, is currently featured on the critically acclaimed and award winning independent film, “God, Sex, and Apple Pie”. In addition, in January 2002, Wiggins song styling will be featured on MTV’s hit night drama, “MTV Undressed”. The summer of 2001 was a busy one for Wiggins.

While recording her newest CD, “Next Time Around”, she toured the country opening for Sophie B Hawkins and Jill Sobule, while hitting large music festivals such as Chicago’s Market Days, which hosts 350,000 people. She also performed shows in New York City, Atlanta, Seattle, where she opened for Melissa Ferrick, and all throughout Southern California. In Fall 2001, Wiggins graced the stage of the Houston Women’s Festival, opening for Patrice Pike, and hosted a variety of CD release parties. She then returned to the Windy City with Linda Moss (harmonica) to play the renowned Hard Rock Caf

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