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Three Imaginary Girls AstroPOP! April 2007

AstroPOP!

AstroPOP reviews for April 2007 written by the fantabulous Billy Corazon

Aries (March 21 - April 19)
To be blunt, Aries, you are currently the Queen of Fuckinawesomeville. April is all about new beginnings and right now you OWN IT. We'd tell you to be careful not to flaunt it, not to be too cocky, but, eh ... screw it. That's part of the magic of this time of year for you: Everything you do seems so effortless that nobody is going to accuse you of trying too hard, they'll just hope some of it rubs off on them. That same breezy, effortless radiance informs every blissful note of Erin McKeown's newest album, Sing You Sinners (Nettwerk), a masterful exercise in indie-jazz that is touched by the greatness of Judy Garland and Les Paul at their best. You should walk down your sunny side of the street with this album providing your personal rhythm section this month, Aries, and, naturally, your signature song should be "They Say It's Spring." {buy it}

Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Taurus, as always, you are at your best as when you are doing something tangible and April is the perfect time for energetic action! Imagine an exclamation point behind everything you do! See how awesome that is! With the rebirth of Spring, now is the perfect time to finish up the projects that have been dragging along all winter and revive forgotten or deferred goals with new gusto! Singer / guitarist Josh Smith (formerly of Drunk Horse / The Fucking Champs), is just the kind of heavy touring workhorse with a dozen projects up and running at any given time that you want to emulate this month, Taurus, and his newest band The Makes Nice provides just the right kind of energetic, meat and potatoes power pop on their debut album Candy Wrapper and 12 Other Songs (Frenetic Records) to fuel your bull-shaped battleship! For maximum pop'n'roll, try "Enough Is Enough!" {buy it}

Gemini (May 21 - June 21)
As the sign of poets, bards and other verbal magicians, you are a lover of language, Gemini; As the sign of the twins, you are inherently attracted to and draw energy from duality. As such, nothing is going to suit you better this month than Over The Counter Culture, by Tim Fite (Anti-), which offers a dizzying array of contradictions, with Fite, a white guy known primarily for his inventive but low-key alterna-folk, letting loose a relentless salvo of scathingly political hip hop over fractious, sparse beats and samples. The entire album is an indictment of the co-option and degradation of formerly revolutionary sub-cultures like hip hop and punk by the machine of commercialism, and Fite unsheathes an arsenal of double-edged lyrical blades that slash at his own contradictions in equal measure to corporate culture, all while creating a startling fusion of linguistic subtlety and brutality, profanity and lucidity. Check out the title track featured here and then go to his website to download the entire album for free (no strings attached). Use it this month as a springboard to embracing the contradictions of your own inner lyrical warrior. {download for free}

Cancer (June 22 - July 22)
The rebirth represented by Spring will have immense psychic and spiritual effects on you this month, Cancer, and that's no surprise; Your sign is deeply linked to the sea, the mirror of the endless stars above, symbolically thought of as the "Womb Of Eternity" in astrology. As a result, you're massive thoughts might start getting too big for your head and for routine means of communication, which may be confusing to those around you. We recommend that you use Los Angeles singer-songwriter Danny Cohen (Anti-) as your musical guidepost this month. With his newest release, Shades of Dorian Gray, Cohen, who has been creating batshit-crazy works of under-the-radar genius since his tenure with proto-proto-punk band Charleston Grotto in the early 60s, weaves an off-kilter pop opera full of bizarre, Tom Waits-ian instrumentation and shambling lyrical imagery that pays homage to what he sees as the inherently anti-authoritarian values of 50's television characters. While many might respond to this with a resounding, "Yeahbuhwha...?" you, Cancer, should take cues from Cohen in formulating your own vivid, expansive, fearlessly excessive means of expressing your own truth – and presented as a sample is the song "Palm of My Hand." {buy it}

Leo (July 23 - August 22)
While the return of the sun from which you draw your astrological power may seem like the perfect excuse to throw yourself headlong into hedonistic celebration, Leo, now is actually the time to reflect more deeply on the nature of joy, birth and love. The father of modern psychology, Carl Jung, was fascinated by the number 8, finding it sharing a similar significance across multiple cultures as a symbol of that which is beyond human knowledge; the doorway between life and death; the place where infinity begins. On The Meaning Of 8 (Earthology Records), the newest release from Minneapolis band Cloud Cult, songwriter Craig Minowa composes a sweeping, majestically conceptual album focused on this universal aspect of the number 8, all while maintaining an intensely intimate, personal tone. As the ruling sign of the 8th month of the standard year, Leo's should pay particular attention to this numerical significance. Your natural charisma draws people to you and you have many close acquaintances, however, you can often have trouble moving past your visible associations into the infinite, deep connections of true friendship and love. The Sun's Spring rebirth is the perfect time to focus your energies into forging those connections and the song "Chemicals Collide" is a good starting point to get your soul in the right place. {buy it}

Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
Traditionally, the birth of something new requires a sacrifice. Virgo, your greatest strength lies in your personal integrity, modesty, and attention to detail. But the flip-side of these attributes can often be a streak of harsh, hypercritical perfectionism. To squeeze this toxic brew out of your system and start the season off right, we recommend that you make the greatest sacrifice imaginable for a Virgo and give up your finely honed sense of self control. You are often accused of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Well, we suggest that you run through that forest half-naked, sloppily flinging bright neon pink paint in all directions. Work on contracting A.D.D and Tourettes. Start claiming to be the deposed royalty of an unpronounceable and non-existent nation. The perfect soundtrack to this ritual freak-out will be the spastic, churning, life-affirming death-trip jams of Minneapolis' Huge Rat Attacks, best represented here in the song "Robosexual Cyborgasm" off their new album, Cougars (Rock Bottom Records). While T.I.G. cannot condone or suggest the use of hard psychedelic drugs, it is our belief that each of us has a secret gland within that produces such substances naturally and Huge Rat Attacks will be the perfect band to find that gland and rub it vigorously for you in the month of April. {buy it}

Libra (September 23 - October 23)
As a social ambassador and peacemaker, you are often focused on the well being of those around you, Libra, but this month we'd like you to think about the care with which you present yourself and the appreciation with which you are met. As a positive example, we present you with the British band Tap Tap. Their most recent album, Lanzafame (Self-released), is undoubtedly one of the best releases of the last few months; full of rollicking melodies and handclaps, quirky instrumentation and ramshackle, sweetly harmonised gang vocals, it calls to mind what might happen if a band like The Arcade Fire decided to quickly crank out a really, really happy album of relatively short songs. However, we here at T.I.G. might not have ever known that if the band had not chosen to send us the album in the most awesome pre-release package ever, a hand-made, signed, numbered edition of the CD in cloth-bound packaging that resembles a library book from an old elementary school, complete with the album info on a "borrower's card" on the inside cover, plus a mini-CD of bonus tracks. Listen here to the track "Way to Go, Boy," and plot an equally imaginative way to present the wonder of you to the rest of the world. {buy it}

Scorpio (October 24 - November 21)
As a Scorpio, you have a natural talent for ferreting out truths, especially darker, more unpleasant ones, hidden beneath the surface of everyday living. However, you can become frustrated and turn inwards by the failure of others to recognize those truths. If you want to share your insight with those around you, take a cue from Toronto's Birds of Wales and the song "Fall of the 49" from their self-titled album. Over an easy-going beat reminiscent of a meeting between 70's rock and Bossanova-era Pixies, lead singer Morgan Ross paints a bleak picture of modern political reality controlled by "mass media, Free trade, the selected few and mass media" so gently it is almost imperceptible to the conscious mind upon initial listening; however, the message sets in over time and the song carries an unsettling undertone for all its breezy energy. Though this might not be the truth you are telling particularly, it's a good model for how you too should slide your truth under the door when necessary. {buy it}

Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)
April is the perfect month for kite flying, Sagittarius, and you of all people should take advantage of that. Like the Centaur that is your sign, you are strongly rooted to the natural, physical world, but those roots give you the strength and balance to climb high into the unseen world both within you and external to you. "Kite Song," from the album These Friends Of Mine by Rosie Thomas (Nettwerk), captures the perfect combination of simple, down-to-earth song structure and soaring, dizzying melody and emotion that should be informing your own literal and figurative kite flying this month. {buy it}

Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)
The phrase "Deux ex Machina," Latin for "God From The Machine," has its roots in Greco-Roman theater, where, in lesser dramatic works, whenever things were at their bleakest and the play's protagonist faced certain doom, some stage hands would wheel out the "God Machine," a contraption comprised of some actor made up to look like Zeus and hoisted up on wires, who would hear our hero's plea and save the day with his mighty wooden thunderbolt. Now, as a sign associated with stability, ambition and persistence, Capricorn, you are unlikely to believe in anyone sweeping in at the last moment to save the day for you. And yet think about the other ways that your nature might lead you to an unhealthy belief in "God from the Machine"; the rigidity, conservatism and coldness that are the negative aspects of your sign might lead you to believe that a clockwork life can bring you spiritual happiness. Not to worry, though. We recommend a heavy dose of the epic rock'n'roll lightning of Seattle band Patient Patient and their new album, Professionals and Convicts, to save your ass from mechanical living. {buy it}

Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
It's old hat to say April showers bring May flowers, but you're going to need any hat you can get this month, Aquarius – because a hard rain is gonna fall on you. The record-breaking snows of winter are melting into the floods of spring, and some things you've been holding back are about to seriously fuck up your dam-building operations. Remember, however, that you yourself are the water carrier and inevitably you've got to dump some back in the river. Keep your shit together with Boston, MA's Lost in the Trees, whose debut album, Time Taunts Me (Trekky Records), is full to the brim with just the right kind of slightly wintery, quietly majestic soundtracks of equal parts hope and isolation to help you ease the flow of your impending emotional flashflood. {buy it}

Pisces (February 19 - March 20)
While Aquarius is having problems holding back the flood, you, Pisces, are a very happy fishy who is just glad the damn water is warming up and you're ready to get all you can. Find yourself an Aries to hang out with this month, because both of you are feeling the full power of Spring's rebirth. We recommend "NYC Boy," from the album City Beach by Jill Cunniff as the perfect companion to whatever hijinx you might get up to. A founding member of Luscious Jackson, Cunniff retains that group's sexy, smoky intelligence on her first solo release and the irresistible flow of the results are just what a Pisces like you needs to jump into and swim off into the sunset. {buy it}