Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lanaversary: Grant's Past

OK, I've been slacking on this page doing other things, but let's fire off three posts in four days, beginning with the first of two lovely ladies you might not ever think you'd see up here but whom are as deserving as anyone. Besides, this blog is such a total sausage fest, I oughtn't ever hesitate to up the Female Quotient when presented with a logical opportunity.
This post is also unique, as it concerns a contemporary artist who is still in her prime, turning just 31 years young today. It also should serve as a counterweight to all the negative press she seems to attract, often from people reviewing her records as if they are in some sort of competition to write the most idiotic, misogynist things whilst having listened to the music they are writing about wholly zero times. This lady gets a ton of hate, why I can't fully grasp.
She's been at this over a decade, you know. Just not under the name she became a million-seller using, which is itself largely a constructed character like something out of David Bowie as interpreted by Donna Summer's Bad Girls and conducted by Ennio Morricone. Her new record is like a dream, with no tunes that exceed around 15 BPM and extensively quoting everyone from Dylan to Nina Simone. I love it.
She was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant on this day in 1985, and even made several albums under that and other names. She is a licensed drug and alcohol rehab counselor... even though the character she is playing sings a whole lot about drugs, alcohol, and their consumption. She's been Lizzie Grant, May Jailer, and maybe even a few other monikers, but the world knows her as Lana Del Rey, possibly Joshy's favorite modern popular recording artist under 40.
She has quite a story, and a deep well of tunes most people have never heard. Possibly hundreds, in fact. Before she hit it huge as LDR and had #1 records and headlined huge outdoor festivals around the world, she made and leaked dozens of demos and songs on various social media platforms, becoming a master of the modern science of keeping your name in the news between albums.
She probably thinks a lot of these songs are throwaways but any 12 of them, blown up in the more expansive, cinematic production she favors, would make a hit record, if you ask me. Sometimes she'll leak a song or a demo and then work hard to scrub any trace of it from circulation on the web. She's at once so accessible in what she does and simultaneously so mysterious and unorthodox, it's no wonder it took the public a while to focus in on her stuff.
How her music -- especially her latest one, Honeymoon, which as I said is all languid, lopingly slow torch songs swathed in Inside the Taj Mahal-type reverb -- is thought of as "pop music" is testimony to the art of mischaracterization, as practiced by the thoroughly earless modern music scribe. Pay no attention to them and perhaps their moms with kick them out of the basement.
As for Miss Del Rey, her air of mystery is only heightened by the fact that she rarely tours or plays live, sticking mainly to festivals like here in California this summer, where she will headline the Outside Lands Festival in Golden Gate Park in SF and the 1st Ohana Festival in August down south in San Onofre State Park. I have tix to the latter, and am going with a friend who is obsessed with her and who introduced me to her music. And yes, I can't wait!
To celebrate the occasion of her 31st today, I have got two items: one is her set from the renowned Glastonbury Festival in the UK from a couple of years ago and the other is one of her leaked, unreleased albums -- this is a full hour of songs thought to have been recorded from 2010-2013 -- that only exists in the public domain in MP3 format, embellished by a few bonus cuts of other leaked tunes I believe to be among her very finest.
Lana Del Rey

Die for Me
unreleased tracks, 2010-2013 

01 Driving In Cars with Boys
02 Prom Song (Gone Wrong)
03 Chelsea Hotel No.2
04 Hundred Dollar Bill
05 Put the Radio On
06 Dangerous Girl
07 Push Me Down
08 Heavy Hitter
09 Never Let Me Go
10 Serial Killer
11 Live or Die
12 Velvet Crowbar
13 I Don't Wanna Go
14 Paradise
15 Last Girl On Earth
bonus tracks:
16 Because of You
17 Children of the Bad Revolution
18 Every Man Gets His Wish
19 Hit and Run
20 True Love On the Side

Total time: 1:18:20

175MB 320K mp3

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts
Pyramid Stage
Worthy Farm
Pilton, UK

01 Cola
02 Body Electric
03 Blue Jeans
04 West Coast
05 Born to Die
06 Ultraviolence
07 Young and Beautiful
08 Summertime Sadness
09 Ride
10 Video Games
11 National Anthem

Total time: 53:28

Lana Del Rey - vocals & piano
Tom Marsh - drums, drum programming
Blake Stranathan - guitars, vocals
Byron Thomas - piano, vocals
CJ Alexander - bass & keyboards
mkv file of the original, 720p webstream
1.30 GB

both the CD and the MKV are in the same folder/June 2016 archive link
I took the liberty of remastering the unreleased tracks slightly to make them all play as one CD, for those still into the plastic format. Some of the tunes were kind of overmodulated and fuzzy, so I did my best to fix them up where I felt it was needed, without massive alterations. Anyway if you love Lana this post is for you -- let's dedicate it to my superfriend who hipped me to her; he knows who he is and how I feel about him -- and if you don't or have allowed asstastic critics to define what she's about in your head without ever having gone to the source, I'd advise pulling these down and dipping a toe or ten into the pool before your body starts writing checks your mind cannot cash. Oh yeah... and HBD to the incredible LDR, born this day in 1985, a year I actually remember!--J.

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