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Avanti Interview

Earlier this year, when I was following The Nearly Deads, I saw a band called Avanti (which means ‘forward’) perform in Newport. Everything about this band surprised me, and out of two weeks of travel I didn’t see a better local band on the road. I fell in love with them immediately – they get bonus points for being so friendly too! I would say that it’s hard to find really talented bands in the post-hardcore / metalcore genre, and the fact that they were female fronted was a game changer for me as a listener.

I reached out to talk to their lead singer, Jasmyne about the band and what they’re up to!

If you’re in the Cincinnati area, I suggest you keep an eye out!

Recommended song: “Better Off Without”

What are everyone’s day jobs?

Our bassist (Kerry Brooks) and rhythm guitarist (Delilah Witt) both work at Amazon as warehouse associates in different buildings. Everyone in Avanti (except our lead guitarist) has worked at Amazon at some point. Our drummer (Cody Baxter) works third shift at a place called Senior Star. He is ground security and does maintenance when needed. Our lead guitarist (Cameron Gulley) works at P&G as a plastics engineer and gets to travel to places like Germany, Paris, Brazil, Mexico, etc. I, the lead singer (Jasmyne England) am a tattoo artist and work at a shop called Doll Star Tattoo.

Continue reading “Avanti Interview”

Pride Month Ends, The Proud Don’t

As Pride Month comes to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the last month of rainbows and history and coming out stories. June is considered LGBT+ Pride Month because of the riots at the Stonewall Inn in 1969, but I’ve began to wonder if the month is still really for us. I know many people in the community have felt stifled by corporations that have hypocritically adopted the pride flag this month for advertisements, by the presence of cops at festivals, and by arguments about intersectionality and inclusivity. June has become a month about education and “acceptance,” but I know I’m not the only one that has just been left tired from all of this.

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Garnet is the literal embodiment of love between two girls gems

Here is the crux for me: I’m queer all the time, all day, every day. I am always having to explain to people different labels, why it’s not okay to misgender someone just because they are disrespectful, why a lesbian seeking trans boyfriends is transphobic, why we need more representation in media, et cetera, ad nauseum. That means that I’ve just been bombarded for the last few weeks, sometimes with the positivity of friends coming out for the first time or reaffirming their identity, but also sometimes with negativity and questioning and the suspiciously sweet supportive posts from allies. It’s my regular life, except increasingly more colorful and exhausting. Most people enjoy Pride month because of the celebrations, but I didn’t get to go, and I’m not even sure I could handle that many people in one place. I’m ready to go back to regular ol’ “straight people months” so I can be proud on my own terms.  Continue reading “Pride Month Ends, The Proud Don’t”

On Tour: The Nearly Deads

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Last month, I started an article about The Nearly Deads’ Revenge album, exploring the EP’s individual tracks and the apocalyptic style that makes the band so fun. It was the product of a Pledgemusic campaign that barely made the quota, but the payback for fans was worth it. The sound was evolved and the production level impressed me; TJ’s powerhouse vocals had no trouble keeping up with the music. But I realized something after 800 words of (well-earned) praise and half-hearted objectivity.

It’s no secret that I’ve been an avid follower of The Nearly Deads since 2012, and to pretend that my feelings are because I think their music alone is superior is ridiculous. I love them because I was a fourteen year old looking for the Marianas Trench merch booth and instead I ran across a group of people that were genuinely friendly and accepting. I love them because the only line I could actually understand that day was “The audience has no idea” and I thought that was the most brilliant irony of my life. I love them because I was an awkward teenager who thought she could break into music journalism and they let me try. I love them because they’ve talked to venues about working with underage fans so my parents could get me in. I love them because once TJ wrote “Worlds Hottest Mom” on my mom’s t-shirt. I also love them because they’re skilled, hard working musicians.

I would love to talk about why I love their new record, because I most definitely think they’re talented and that each song is to be admired. But I think their music can speak for itself, and if you’re interested, then you can find it at one of their shows, purchase it when it comes out next month, or watch the two music videos that are out for the EP. But what I want to talk about more is more personal.

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I took nine days out of my life to follow The Nearly Deads on their Break Into Action tour, which was headlined by Eyes Set To Kill and supported by Bad Seed Rising. This tour was a powerhouse of female vocalists, and even many of the local bands were lead or included badass ladies. I started in Newport, Kentucky, and followed them all the way to Trenton, New Jersey, helping out by selling merch. I drove my own truck, I paid for pretty much everything myself, and I spent a total of probably 30 hours driving in a little over a week. It was a great experience because I was fulfilling a dream of mine. The Nearly Deads looked out for me and helped me survive on the road, and I got to see so many local bands that put on a fantastic show.

If you don’t respect touring bands now, you should. By the time you walk through the door, those bands have probably been there for two to three hours getting prepared. If they don’t have their own driver, then they’ve probably taken turns driving anywhere from two to eight hours to get to your venue. They might not have showered. They probably ate gas station food for breakfast and lunch. These bands, especially those that are DIY in every way, put in so much effort and should be supported at all costs. I saw all of this with The Nearly Deads last week. even when everyone was drained and things got chaotic, they still put on a great show and were kind of the people that came to watch them.

Today, I’m travelling to Nashville to see them as a fan. I’m not doing merch, I’m not standing in the background. I’m going to be in the crowd like I have been so many times before. I’m going to sing every song as loudly as I can manage, and I’m going to make that shrill noise that is meant to sound vaguely like praise. I’m going to buy myself a t-shirt and give myself a headache. It’s going to be wonderful.

I love the process of finding and reviewing media, but I don’t want to sell myself or anyone else short for the sake of sounding professional. I think people will always make their own judgments, and my job is to show them why they should care in the first place. So for The Nearly Deads? I tell people the story of how I met them, how I’ve seen them at least twice every year since, and how they give as much back to their fans as they get. That’s what makes them important to me, and I can only hope that shows to other people.

update:

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Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

My first encounter with Kendare Blake’s writing was Antigoddess, a story about contemporary Greek gods and goddesses, which had just the right blend of fantasy, action, and character. Three Dark Crowns finds a good in-between from that novel and her popular series Anna Dressed in Blood, which follows her love of horror.

Set on the island of Fennbirn, this story is about three triplets who are all in the running to be the Queen. Each has been given a gift by the Goddess, and when they turn 16, one of them has to kill the others, and then she’ll be crowned the one true queen. It’s like The Hunger Games meets the Stardust movie…but better.

The triplets:

Arsinoe – the naturalist (growing plants and controlling animals) who has no familiar and wants to escape instead of fight

Katherine – the poisoner (mixing toxins and being invulnerable to them) who still gets sick from poisons, and doesn’t know how to socialize with anyone

Mirabella – the elementalist (controlling the elements, of course) who is the only triplet to remember being children with her sisters Continue reading “Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake”

On Writing

Or, knowing you want to write from a young age

Yesterday, I went and saw Aimee Nezhukumatathil speak at my college, and she told a story about reading a prose poem that changed her life, and helped her decide she wanted to be an English major, not a Chemistry major, in her junior year of college.

Something about these kinds of stories are inspiring, but inevitably alien to me. My decision to be a writer (or rather, my lack of decision) seems less miraculous and destined. I’ve been writing since I was very young, I’ve been an avid reader since before that. Something about the idea that I could have legitimately been anything else is off-putting. I realize that I’ve always wanted this, even when I thought I wanted something else. My favorite book, Inkheart is literally a fantasy about the power of words and stories. There was never a moment where I thought, “This is something I could do.” It was something that, for much of my earlier life, I simply did.

Continue reading “On Writing”

Multimedia thoughts

I’ve been procrastinating on a lot of articles that aren’t exactly relevant now, but I still wanted to dole out some thoughts on the subjects.

Music

Closer” by The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey

What got me the most about this song (other than having Halsey in it) was that it had a lot of detail that created a specific environment for the song to thrive in. Choosing Halsey was a great decision, because I feel like she really embodies the tone of the song, the picture of travelling across the country and living moment to moment. I also enjoyed the background snapping. Continue reading “Multimedia thoughts”

Things That Happened The Week We Moved In

So, big news! (Old news for some of you.) Alex and I are in our own house! After two years of being together we got everything in order and are currently on our own. We knew it was going to be a difficult transition, but I didn’t expect such a chaotic week.

  • Thursday – Our friend Deanna helps us move our essentials in, and we sleep in the house for the first time

article-4 Continue reading “Things That Happened The Week We Moved In”

Birthday Wishes

Hannah,

First, happy birthday.

How do I say thank you for your friendship? If I had to believe in fate, it would be because you and I met at a place I almost didn’t go to and I read a piece I was almost too afraid to write, because you were brave enough to say hello and I wasn’t so stupid as to leave without knowing you. Since then, we’ve talked nearly every day. You are a fundamental part of my life, and I love you.

I wanted to do something silly but thoughtful for you, so I decided to do a slideshow of things that remind me of you.

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(Hint: there’s 18 things)

Continue reading “Birthday Wishes”

Jet Black Summer Night and “Golden”

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Jet Black Alley Cat, despite having only a few officially released songs, has gained quite the following in the last two years. They’ve done consistent touring on this side of the United States, including Nashville Warped Tour in 2014, but this time, they decided to change things up. The Jet Black Summer Night (July 9th) was advertised as an intimate show for the longtime fans of the band, the venue being a small brewery in Nashville. Only 50 tickets were originally sold, which was later expanded to 60. Whether or not it was a small show, I would have gone, but the idea of a purposefully small show was really interesting. Continue reading “Jet Black Summer Night and “Golden””

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