“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists & music people beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day. Today’s guest is a fairly recent signing to what is our (airhorn sound/drum roll) label of the year 2021 – Kill Rock Stars. Not only has this Olympia, WA label soundtracked this fanzine since it was an A4 xeroxed riot grrrl/grunge rag, I interviewed co-founder Slim Moon on an issue that was featured on the famed John Peel BBC Radio One radio show. Since those heady days of Bikini Kill and Heavens To Betsy (plus Mary Lou Lord who I also interviewed that same day in the flesh in a pub near Gary Walker from Wiiija Records house), KRS is still alive and kicking against the pricks, and it’s their thirtieth anniversary this year.
Not only has that meant some great new signings like TEKE:TEKE, Tamar Aphek, Tele Novella, Habibi, ONETWOTHREE, Chateau Chateau, Caleb Nicholls, Shutups and Foxx Bodies, and new records from MAITA and Shaylee but also an exhaustive (but never less than energised) list of covers from their back catalogue for a special series called “Stars Rock Kill (Rock Stars)” – using the words in the label in yet another creative configuration from a whole bunch of iconic comps that launched many a glittering punk rock career. KRS has been the nexus for indie rock legends aplenty ranging from the audio assault of Unwound to riot grrrls dun good Sleater-Kinney via the sadly missed Elliott Smith to the irrepressible The Gossip.
A big fan of Smith, and someone who came to my attention this year via his day glo cover of mega hit “Standing In The Way of Control” with Bitch (who’s also got a new one coming on KRS next year) is our man today, representing our fav label. He’s been around a while making great shakes as an LGBTQ+ trailblazer in many guises as an MTV presenter, writer, activist, performer, singer-songwriter and all-round lightning rod – Logan Lynn not only has a fantastic new record coming in January on Kill Rock Stars (I for one cannot stop playing my advance digital DL) called “New Money” he’s also been named in Out Magazine’s 2021 Out 100 list. And not one to ever rest on his laurels, Lynn’s also got a brilliantly and typically in your grill Christmas offering – floridly titled “It’s Christmas, Motherfuckers!” which is the lead single of the comp “It’s Hard to Dance When It’s Cold and There’s No Music: Kill Rock Stars Winter Holiday Album Volume 2” out December 10.
We’re so pleased to be joined here on these pages by Logan Lynn!
(here with his holiday message first)
and this his latest single from “New Money”, an anthem for outsiders of all stripes.
And here’s the tonsorially reassuring cover to “New Money” out on KRS on the neatly elliptical 22 Jan 22.
It’s full of heart felt lyrics worn hard on a Gucci sleeve, backed by disco ballsy glitch. Upbeat music with melancholic (yet optimistic) lyrics, it’s a real effervescent blast, a slap of cologne round your chops.
“New Money” is Logan’s 10th studio album but first for Kill Rock Stars. Having collaborated in recent times with the likes of 80’s pop sensation Tiffany (she wasn’t alone for that one), The Dandy Warhols and Styrofoam, it’s fully back to Lynn’s electro-pop roots, produced with longtime co-writer Gino Mari.
It’s a paean to “queer power, gay joy, and the belief that we will someday come back together, at shows, in crowds, and on the dance floor”, inspired and evoked by the solitude of lockdown, lampoonery of New Portland gentrification and recovery from addiction – which is a dizzying mix of whipsmart street smarts and sine wave synth parts. Lynn has laid low locked down and now he needs to live a little. Highlights apart from the killer singles “Rich And Beautiful” and “Eat&Drink&Smoke&Shop&Fuck” are two incisive covers by his all-time musical heroes Liz Phair (to continue the expletive theme “Fuck And Run”) and the aforementioned Elliott Smith (“Baby Britain”). But to sum it all up, it’s instant, hooky and ace.
In case you need more of a primer, Logan Lynn is the former host of “NewNowNext Music” on MTV’s Logo Network. He’s also a producer and artiste who has released music for the last twenty years on labels including Caroline Records, EMI Records, The Dandy Warhols’ Beat The World Records, Greyday Records, Mohr Media, Banana Stand Records, and his own label imprint Logan Lynn Music. His music has been splashed all over including on MTV, VH1, Logo, Spike TV, the Emmy Award-winning series EastSiders on Netflix, and international advertising campaigns by CoverGirl Cosmetics, Oscar de la Renta, Nicole Miller, Volkswagen and other major brands. Don’t you know.
Logan’s activism in the LGBTQ+ sphere is also blockbusting and equally inspiring. He’s received the prestigious 2017 Award of Excellence from the National Council and been named to Kink FM’s ‘The Portland 50’ in 2018. In 2019 Lynn joined the Portugal. The Man team in the role of PTM Foundation Director to help build the band’s charitable foundation in aid of funding causes to indigenous peoples’ communities, which he launched in partnership with the band. Logan’s also spearheaded the global launch of the .gay domain — alongside George Takei, GLAAD, CenterLink, PFLAG National, Adam Lambert, Roxane Gay and other queer luminaries — for which he is the brand spokesperson.
We’ve kind of given the game away as to Logan’s pick of tune for our series, if you’ve already heard the latest episode of Velvet Sheep radio, but if you haven’t without further ado, here’s Logan Lynn’s “song for ewe”…
“The Innocence Mission – Small Planes
To understand the importance of this band and their records in my life, you might have to have been there. And by “there”, I mean in my house growing up. We were raised in a radically conservative environment where things like public school and musical instruments were deemed too secular. This created a desperation in my early life, primarily centered around music and movies and not being allowed to listen to or watch any of the ones I wanted to.
The only way I was able to engage real music as a young person was to shoplift CDs from the local record store, secretly tape things off the radio onto cassette, or convince my parents that a band was actually Christian. I did this famously with Jesus Jones. This last hustle was made easier if a band explored religious themes at times in their songs, which is how I was able to get my hands on records by the Innocence Mission. This song, as an example, references a Catholic nun and, in 1991, that’s all I needed to get something through the gates.
This is an older song which was not released until much later in their career, but it reminds me of that time in my life every time I listen. When I first heard Karen Peris’ voice, it changed my ears. Her songs, the way she so eloquently explores grief and joy and the loneliness of life…I just had never heard anyone do that so bravely, and with such tenderness. Her vocals have the power to transport me to somewhere better, every single time.
I’ve always felt like this band was my secret, their songs quietly soundtracking my life and fitting so exactly at every turn, for decades. That’s the magic of Karen Peris’ songwriting, I think — the songs all feel like they were written just for you, about you and your innermost thoughts and feelings — even though they are all very specifically about someone else’s life and loves, and Karen has never shied away from being specific about who she’s writing about. I’m not sure how she pulls this wizardry off, but it’s magic, and it keeps captivating me and inspiring my own songs all these years later. No band has meant more to me or my own music.”
THANKS SO MUCH TO LOGAN LYNN AND TO RACHEL SILVER AT SILVER PR
“New Money” is out on 22 Jan 2022 via Velvet Sheep’s 2021 label of the year Kill Rock Stars
and here’s all the Logan Lynn destinations you can ever need:
I’ll leave you with this absolute sad banger, the irresistibly moreish “Rich and Beautiful”…