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I am a mother, writer, rock and roll musician, and guitar teacher.

7 Reasons I’m Pumped About Miley Cyrus’ New Record ‘Plastic Hearts’

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

I love Miley Cyrus’ music so much that I cover two of her songs on the regular — “Malibu” and “Wrecking Ball.” The first one speaks to me for so many reasons; it mirrors a short period in my life when I felt exhausted and apologetic for taking the little things for granted. The second one is tear-jerkingly beautiful and powerful — and one of the greatest songs ever written. 

Miley Cyrus ‘Plastic Hearts’ is out now

I just started listening to Miley Cyrus’ new record Plastic Heart today, and it’s brilliant. Here’s why I’m so excited about it.

1. Things are dark AF right now. 

We need a fierce, balls-out babe rocking our world right now. Miley made the record that will fix your broken December, with its face mask mandates and axed holiday visits. It will fix your head, as you drive down the highway, nostalgic for warm rehearsal spaces and gigs at dive bars. Thank you, Miley, for saving me from the depths of 2020 misery. 

2. Joan Jett and Billy Idol Make an appearance. 

Not gonna lie, the first track I streamed was “Bad Karma,” featuring orgasmically rich uh-huh huhs that would make Julia Michaels shiver. Joan Jett’s never sounded hotter, and neither has Billy Idol on “Night Crawling,” which is sultry and a touch goth. Yes, I’m swooning from my chair, over here in the suburbs of Fairfield, Connecticut. 

3. Her voice keeps getting better. 

Like fine, red wine, Miley’s vocals have aged beautifully, and on Plastic Hearts, we can appreciate their weathered, lived-in smokiness. Pitchfork’s Shaad D’Souza puts it perfectly in noting, “her sandpapery alto has never sounded more natural.” 

4. She keeps proving the haters wrong.

After the 2013 MTV Awards twerking incident, Miley Cyrus underwent a serious identity crisis — stuck for years between the innocent Hannah Montana persona and full-blown womanhood. But no matter how many people called her stupid or over-sexualized, or blamed her for setting a bad example, Miley held her head high and moved forward. She continued to live her life authentically, write music, sing, show up for her family, make time for charitable events and — eventually — attempt to get sober. Who among us hasn’t struggled with identity crisis or regret? I’m sure there are stupid dudes who will look at the headline for this blog, roll their eyes, and mutter something under their breath about how dumb it is for a grown-a*s woman to rhapsodize her love of the former Hannah Montana star. They can all suck it. 

5. That “Zombie” cover is so on point. 

I could write a sentence or two about how many dude-infused rock bands have tried to cover this ’90s classic from The Cranberries. But instead, I’d like you to use your time to listen to it here, in its raw, guttural beauty. Spoiler alert: It’s MUCH better than any other “Zombie” cover you’ve heard. 

[RELATED: My Teenage Nostalgia: Singing Along to Dolores O’Riordan in the Car]

6. She is not defined by genre. 

Like the best of artists, Miley doesn’t let herself fall into one category, like country or pop. While Plastic Hearts is a rock record, there’s a country-esque tune (“Angels Like You”), which bring out her Nashville drawl, and a fun, nightclub-vibe track with the girl-of-the-moment Dua Lipa (“Prisoner”). It’s so, so good, and suddenly I find myself wanting to drive a delivery truck.

7. She wears her heart on her sleeve. 

Miley’s struggled with losses in love, addiction, and trauma from the recent California wildfires, which burned down the Malibu home that inspired her love song to ex hubby Liam Hemsworth. Staying sober is no picnic, especially in Covid times, and Miley’s had a few slips. But she’s real. And real is exactly what we all need right now. Happy listening, mamas. 

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy

K. Britz on Jamming, Being ‘Kind,’ and Raising Girls

Q&A by Rew Starr

While we can’t always control the crazy, we can control how we treat other people. This month, Rockmommy connected with folksy-punk, indie-rock artist K. Britz to talk about her new single ‘Kind,’ motherhood, and having compassion for others as we navigate the day-to-day experience of pandemic life.

Musician K. Britz. Photo Credit: Mass Crush

Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?

K. Britz: It’s going alright. I used to hate when people answered that question with “Can’t complain” and yet, “Can’t complain” is probably the best answer today. Or I could be a jackass and say, “Actually kind of great.” Who says that now? There’s been many periods of my life that were a whole lot worse, and I was a lot lonelier because everybody else seemed to be having a better time. Now everyone has a certain level of compassion for each other in day-to-day interactions. If you can’t get it together people understand. For someone like me, who is naturally always a day late and a dollar short, this is the best of times. 

I’ve been working on a couple creative projects and doing a lot of waiting around. 

Rew Starr: You’re a mom. How’s school going? 

K. Britz: I have 3 daughters. My youngest is 10 and she is in school. For now she is on a hybrid and goes every other day. 

Rew Starr: So tell readers a little bit about your music. How many bands have you been in? Is it more than boys you have been with or less?

K. Britz: I’ve been in about 5 or 6 and they were all boys except when we were in the Dirty Mothers. The non-classical music world is still pretty heavy on male participation. I used to think it was because women weren’t welcome, and that may have been true in the past, but at this point in time I think it’s more benign than that. A lot of being a musician is waiting around and hanging out, and I think women are inclined to find something else to do in the meantime. 

Rew Starr: We met in ‘the Dirty Mothers’, and that was so much fun, we had incredible opportunities in a short time, would you consider a revival one day?

K. Britz: Sure I would!

Rew Starr: Are you making any new music?

K. Britz: I put a single out during quarantine, a duet with Jamaican singer Mystic Bowie (of the Tom Tom Club). It’s called “Kind” and it’s started to get some radio play so we’ll see.

Rew Starr: I know you are very popular in the yoga and spiritual community. How does this influence your music?

K. Britz: Well, with yoga I learned that its easy to get people to chant with you if you make the melodies easy and even grown-ups like sing alongs. I stopped trying so hard as a singer. It’s easier to get people to sing a long with you if you make it accessible, and really, that’s the best. When the audience is singing too.

Rew Starr: What about playing out? Have there been opportunities?

K. Britz: Not really. I sang a song outdoors at a friend’s memorial this fall, but that’s it. 

Rew Starr: Tell us something we don’t know about you.

K. Britz: I had my own sourdough starter before it was cool. 

Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?

K. Britz: Writing songs about my girls. 

Rew Starr is an actor, musician and mother who lives in New York City.

“Kind” on Soundcloud

Rockmommy Holiday 2020 Gift Guide for Kids

Make a big impression with little rockers everywhere this holiday season. 

Loog mini guitar; $63. We love the 3-string Loog Mini guitar and its accompanying app, which make it easy for a young child to learn to play real songs — not just scales or exercises. 

loog guitar

Encore board game; $19.98. The rules are simple: See who can sing at least one verse of a song containing words like “nice” and “love.” Winner takes all!

OVELLIC Karaoke Microphone for Kids; $17.09: Sing anywhere with this portable karaoke microphone that’s also equipped with a Bluetooth speaker and more. 

[SEE RELATED: Rocker Moms, don’t forget these gifts for YOU!]

FAO Schwartz Piano Dance Mat; $31.99 (Macy’s): Stuck indoors because 2020? This sonic mat helps kids will burn off energy while learning a little piano. 

LEGO Trolls World Tour Volcano Rock City Concert; $31.99. It’s rock vs. pop again, in this musical lego set. 

Cedar Thumb piano; $30-$50; Paul and Sue Bergstrom’s modern take on a traditional African thumb piano boasts an amp-compatible design.

Toy drum set; $21.99: For your little drummer boy (or girl). 

7-piece toy drum set

Rockmommy’s 2020 Holiday Gift Guide for Rocker Moms

Our annual Rockmommy gift guide is for the mom who sees strumming the guitar as “self care” or wants to channel her inner Janis in 2021 — or at least through an emotionally turbulent winter. Here’s our list of top picks on Black Friday.  

Ibanez Nita Strauss JIVAJR Signature Electric Guitar, $799: Alice Cooper’s leading guitar lady’s new JIVA is blonde and blue, and perfect for players who like a lightweight instrument to wield onstage. The JIVAJR has many of the appointments of the original JIVA10, including the Ibanez S body shape, H-S-H pickup configuration, double-locking Edge Zero-II tremolo, and of course, the ‘Beaten Path’ fretboard inlay. 

JivaJR guitar

Music playing cards; $10:For a fun game of solitaire or spoons, this one-of-a-kind card deck, available through Uncommon Goods, is sure to delight the pop/rock/country/blues lover in your life. 

Oasis Soul Scent Marley Treat Box; $62: We love Oasis Soul’s coconut-soy wax candles, which are inspired by mama Lola Pyne’s love of music. Bring a little sunshine into a dreary winter with her Marley collection — full of goodies infused with a warm earthy blend of Caribbean teakwood and clove. For Black Friday, everything is 20% off, so snatch yours quickly.

Nobody Ever Asked Me about the Girls: Women, Music and Fame; $24.14: Book by acclaimed journalist Lisa Robinson dives into the obstacles and triumphs of women in the music industry. As one reviewer puts it, “This book doesn’t simply rehash old interviews, it explores and comments on the distinct obstacles and issues women in the industry faced in addition to the ones both men and women had to overcome.”

Strung guitar string bracelet; $25 and up: Moms who loved charm bracelets as kids will adore these charmed bangles. Each one is inspired by a song (like “Hurts So Good,” “Yesterday,” “Paradise City”) and they look great together. Rockmommy readers: Use code DUSTIN20 at checkout for 20% off

Ridged Glass Guitar Picks; $20: Inspired by the beauty of molten lava, these handmade guitar — which are highly rated — picks fuse glasswork and music.

Spiritual Gangster Rip Amor Crop Top; $88. Our favorite yoga brand’s Grateful Dead x Spiritual Gangster collaboration is loaded with ‘60s vibes and perfect for indoor winter workouts. And unlike mom’s first rock band T-shirt, this fun tie-dye tank top is flattering — not super loose and boxy.

Songwriter’s Journal; $14.73. For the digital maven who misses the days of pre-baby journaling.

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy

Lucy Kalantari: On Motherhood, Music and Feeling Thankful

Lucy Kalantari — a smoky-voiced New York singer who writes adorable, jazzy cabaret tunes for kids and grown-ups — has been busy cooking up new music. The #rockmommy of musical son Darius, 7, is also the subject of this month’s interview with our correspondent Rew Starr. 

See what she’s been up to, and take a minute to check out her musical videos, one of which features her little man on cello. 

Lucy Kalantari

Rew Starr: How’s it going? What have you been doing these days?

Lucy Kalantari: Hi ReW! I’ve been alright, all things considered – hanging in and cherishing all the good and beautiful things. Besides helping my son with remote learning, wiping groceries down (I still do that!), I’ve been teaching, mentoring and writing.

Rew Starr: So when did you know your amazing son was a musical protégé?

Lucy Kalantari: HAHA I try to avoid the “p” word. 😉 He’s been so very musical since he was in my belly. The first time I felt him move was during a live show in NYC. It was the most beautiful flutter I had ever felt! As a baby he’d hum and sing, musicking his way through his days. When he chose the cello as his instrument at 2.5 years old was when I realized how immensely connected he is to music, and I also realized how much trouble I was in!

Rew Starr: What was it like GOING TO THE GRAMMYS???

Lucy Kalantari: I woke up and did yoga that morning before the makeup and hair artist came to prim me up. I loved watching my husband and son getting ready too. Walking the red carpet and doing interviews was really sweet to do with my son. One of my favorite parts was running into Linda Perry on the elevator!!!!

Rew Starr: What was it like WINNING????

Lucy Kalantari: UNREAL! It’s still hard to believe, even when I look at the statuette! I gave a good heartfelt scream when the presenter, my good friend Kalani Pe’a, announced my band. Then my focus was making sure I said the things I wanted to say in my speech, and the rest … is a total blur.

Rew Starr: Are you making any new music?

Lucy Kalantari: Yes! In early October, I released a song for the Halloween season, called “Haunting Days of Halloween”. It was so much fun to do! It really fed my Halloween spirit during these strange times. I wrote and arranged the song, recorded my parts in my home studio, then my musicians recorded their parts remotely and sent them to me. I edited everything together and my mixing engineer did her stuff. I’m super happy with how it came out!

Rew Starr: What about playing out? Have there been opportunities?

Lucy Kalantari: I’ve been performing live-stream shows from home here and there. It’s been really great to stay connected this way. The most exciting show was for Kennedy Center!! THE Kennedy Center! We had been scheduled to do a live show in person, and due to COVID-19, everything was canceled. Until they contacted me again at the beginning of the fall saying it’s back on––as a pre-recorded remote show! I really wanted to bring the same performance to viewers that we would’ve brought in person. I had a set designer create the stage, my jazz cats in costume, as well as a string section with my son and a 17-year-old exceptional violinist, and we recorded a fun, socially distant, backyard Halloween concert!

[SEE RELATED: Rockmommy Joanie Leeds’ New Record and Message of Empowerment Celebrates ‘All the Ladies’]

Rew Starr: Are there any other projects you’d like to share?

Lucy Kalantari: Just before the pandemic hit in the US, I had finished producing an album for artist Joanie Leeds. It’s her 9th children’s album and the first time I produced someone else! It’s been a gift that keeps giving, even during these times. Joanie is a great songwriter, and she wanted to create an album that empowers young girls and ladies, singing about breaking glass ceilings and about gender equality. I arranged, engineered and played a few things on it. The whole project is performed by and (mostly) made by women, and has been getting really wonderful attention in all the best ways.

Rew Starr: What’s something we don’t know about you?

Lucy Kalantari: Random, I learned how to swim as an adult! Before I became pregnant with my son, I was determined to learn to swim and joined a gym. I’d spend time watching close-up videos of Michael Phelps to see his breast stroke technique. My husband says I’m a “slow-motion Michael Phelps.” I still need to master treading water though…

Rew Starr: What’s the greatest part about being a rockmommy?

Lucy Kalantari: Thank you Rew! I love being a mom and I love music – I absolutely adore that I get to make music with my son.

Rew Starr is a musician, actor and mom who lives in New York City

It’s the Middle of November, and My Band is Still Practicing Outside

by Marisa Torrieri Bloom

November is all about gratitude, with Thanksgiving, and #WorldKindnessDay and all of the other little days in between. It’s also the birth month of some of my favorite Scorpios, like my childhood bestie Karina, my Dad, my niece Luciana, my mother in law Lynne, and my dear friends Emily, Steph and Linda. 

It’s a little foggy outside, but Trashing Violet is going strong.

But this year I’m feeling especially grateful, not just for my health and my children’s health, and for medical doctors and the recent election. I’m also grateful that my parent band — in spite of all of the parenting/life/moving/health/family struggles, and the loss of our beloved rehearsal space — has stuck together. 

Not just stuck together, but managed to home-record our first single (“Eggs”), learn a new cover (Concrete Blonde, “The Vampire Song”), and play an awesome, intimate show in my drummer’s cul-de-sac during the Halloween season. We’re also practicing EVERY WEEK in his bucolic backyard, underneath a canopy of trees and stars, fog or no fog. It’s so inspiring to look up into the sky and feel like I’m being held by the universe. 

Singing with my band Trashing Violet. #maskup

Yes, it’s getting colder. I don’t know how much longer we can continue to play music outdoors, in the dark, especially when it gets super chilly. With the coronavirus spreading faster than it’s ever spread, we may soon have to shutter indoors again, in a depressing flashback to the days of March and quarantine. 

The fact that it’s holiday season makes this potential reality pretty sad (I get teary just thinking about staying home in December, because I have spent every Christmas since my birth in Maryland, my home state). 

So it’s essential to take a moment, today, to say THANK YOU to my higher power for the ability to practice and play, sing and strum, even in the world’s darkest hours. 


Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the founder and editor of Rockmommy.

Camp Crush’s New Video for ‘Fangirl’ is the Virtual Party I Need Right Now

It’s been quite a week, to say the least. I’m in desperate need of sleep, like many of my friends who have been anxiously awaiting the results of the 2020 elections in a year that’s already reaching new levels in universal anxiety. 

So, let’s pause for a moment, and take a deep breath. 

Heck, let’s dance!

The video for New Wave duo Camp Crush — real-life Portland, Ore., #rockmommy Jennifer Deale & her hubby Chris Spicer — is here, in perfect timing. And it’s so much fun! 

Of course, to be fair to CC, there’s more to this song than meets the eye: Read American Songwriter’s review for more context.

Nevertheless, the infectious beat is all I want to hear.

If you feel like celebrating, this is the absolute best DIY video you’ll see all day. And by the way, how appropriate is the band name Camp Crush right now? I’m feeling like me and my brothers and sisters of the Blue Wave are crushing it, right this moment. 

[SEE RELATED: Camp Crush’s Jennifer Deale on Parenthood, Music, Feminism and Carving Out a New Sound]

Marisa Torrieri Bloom is the editor and founder of Rockmommy.