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Music Review: ‘Nowhere Land’ by Olivia Olson

NOWHERE LAND by Olivia Olson

Los Angeles is both magical and manic. Entertainer Olivia Olson should know. Just take a listen to her song, “Los Angeles,” from her newly-released album, Nowhere Land. A mellow vibe belies a darker outlook. Among her credits, Olivia can proudly claim to be the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen on Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. She’s an L.A. kid through and through. So, she means what she says with lyrics like, “So what if I’m scandalous…I’m so Los Angeles…I’m so over the hills, so under the spell…Is it heaven or hell?…I’m so Los Angeles.”

“Los Angeles” sets the tone for an album with a youthful kick. There’s a powerful vibe to such torch songs as “Chasing Your Chances,” “Anyway,” and “Tore Up.” Each one of these nine tracks is a piece to a puzzle revealing a complex artist with a multi-layered vision. If you’re searching, and a little bit lost in the big city, this is the album for you.

Olivia says that she is very proud of the team she worked with to put this album together. As an independent artist, she looks forward to spreading the word and folks enjoying what they hear.

Nowhere Land is available on all the major music platforms including iTunes.

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Mellon Collie CD set

“We only come out at night, we only come out at night, the days are much too bright. I walk alone to find the way…home.” The bumpity bump bump beat in the background reassures you that anything is possible in the world of The Smashing Pumpkins as you listen to the digitally remastered, “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” that just released in time for holiday gift giving. As part of EMI’s extensive reissue campaign, you can now enjoy a deluxe reissue of the band’s career-defining 1995 double album. It entered the “The Billboard” Top 200 Albums Chart at #4 and earned the #1 spot on the Independent Albums Chart.

For me, it takes me back to more youthful days that I can hardly remember the exact details but that provide a hazy comfort. That was in the mid-90s during my year or so in Spokane. I had decided that I was going to try something different which led to many long nights out in a strangely and wonderfully desolate urban rural landscape full of decay and hope. The hipster crowd would gather at this 24 hour cafe in a huge loft space. The ceilings were exceptionally high. The couches gave way to more couches and nooks and crannies housed all manner of secret chambers for chess playing marathons and feverish reading and writing of novels. And this cafe had a ridiculously long list of espresso drinks, stuff like “Peppermint Patty’s Revenge,” “The Mad Hatter’s Surprise,” “Peanut Butter and Jelly Epiphany.” Something like that. The list went on and on so you could always have a different drink every time you visited. And music always played, of course. The Cranberries, Belly, Toad The Wet Sproket. And, particularly fitting, The Smashing Pumpkins. A cafe could chug along very nicely with only a Smashing Pumpkins music menu.

People, with no business doing so back then, wore flannel. Others did so out of practicality. Spokane got cold, much colder than Seattle. And, back then, even before grunge took off, my hair was already very long. Birkenstocks and Doc Martens have managed to hang on as part of my wardrobe to this day. I had always planned on getting more piercings and at least one tattoo. Maybe I will. Anything is possible, as I listen to this box set, and its relentlessly offbeat journey, from dreamy soft (“1979”) to crunchy and guttural (“Zero”), and always with Billy Corgan’s, and the whole band’s, distinctive sound. If you want to let your mind fly and get into the mood to do everything or nothing at all, then you need to own this box set and let it play, day or night, at home or on the road, all the way through. “I guess you’d say take the whole day. Do what you please, strumming with the leaves,” as the song, “Autumn Nocturne” suggests.

A question that used to be asked quite a lot was, “Why aren’t there any other bands like The Beatles?” The answer, in fact, is that there have been numerous bands that have followed a similar arc of success. You can switch it around to, “Why are there so many bands that have tried to emulate The Beatles?” And, again, a very long list of wannabes, some more successful than others. It’s nice to know that, with The Smashing Pumpkins, you have a band that clearly follows in the former list with a sound very much their own. Oh yeah, another question that will always be asked, “What kind of music do you like?” The short answer might be, The Smiths. Well, another mainstay you can’t go wrong with, The Smashing Pumpkins, especially since they’re still very much an active band. Check out the new album, “Oceania.”

“Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,” is a package of ambient, rocky, hippy dippy, poppy, crunchy goodness, full of hits and dubs and mixes, all arranged to transport you to another world. Get yours here.

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