Recordings | March 2016

By Cait Brennan, March 2016 Issue.

Sam Means | Ten Songs | Hello Records | 

No doubt you’ve heard the voice of Nate Ruess of fun. blasting out of your audio delivery method of choice, whether on one of his band’s trillion-selling hits, on his solo album Grand Romantic or on his equally huge duets with artists such as P!nk. But before he made any of that music, he was right here in the Valley as one half of one of the finest pop combos of the past 25 years, The Format. Tuneful and brilliant, Ruess and musical wunderkind Sam Means put out two instant-classic albums before calling it quits in 2008. The tears flowed mightily in my home, friends. Screams of “first Jellyfish and now this?!” echoed through many a heartsick canyon and crevasse.

Means has kept a (relatively) low profile these past few years, but his talent has only grown, and he’s back with a truly extraordinary set of tunes with the unassuming title Ten Songs. Ten Gems, maybe, should’ve been the title, because these are treasures right here in a very real sense.

And secret treasures, a bit. If you don’t know The Format and only know Ruess from fun., you might be expecting that band’s signature bombast and sing-for-the-bleachers roar. The glory of Means (and the thing that brought balance to the Force, er, The Format) is his gift for crafting and singing intimate, gorgeous shadow-box tales and haunting, seductive melodies that work their way into your sonic DNA.

There is no word but “Nilsson-esque” for the album’s opener, “How To Sing,” a perfect chamber-pop miniature that would put a smile on Harry’s face from here to eternity. “We’re Alone” manages to sound totally contemporary and yet also a bit like “Sunflower” -era Beach Boys. “Other Side Of You” breaks out the fuzz pedal for some catchy, punchy melody that can’t miss. I mean, okay, if you hate melody and catchiness you won’t like it.

Ten Songs reunites most of the team responsible for The Format’s great final album, Dog Problems, including producer Steven McDonald (who, um, yeah, is also in a teensy little legendary band called Redd Kross); Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (of the aforementioned late, lamented Jellyfish) provides the brilliant arrangements. And Means brings the best songs, warm and winning and intimate and honest and beautiful. Welcome back, Sir.

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WhistlePig + Alfa Romeo F1

SHOREHAM, VT (September 13, 2023) — WhistlePig Whiskey, the leaders in independent craft whiskey, and Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake are waving the checkered flag on a legend-worthy release that’s taking whiskey to G-Force levels. The Limited Edition PiggyBack Legends Series: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is a high Rye Whiskey selected by the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake drivers, with barrels trialed in their wind tunnel to ensure a thrilling taste in every sip.

The third iteration in WhistlePig’s Single Barrel PiggyBack Legends Series, the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake Barrel is bottled at 96.77 proof, a nod to Valtteri Bottas’ racing number, 77, and the precision of racing. Inspired by Zhou Guanyu, the first Chinese F1 driver, this Rye Whiskey is finished with lychee and oolong tea. Herbal and floral notes of the oolong tea complement the herbaceous notes of WhistlePig’s signature PiggyBack 100% Rye, rounded out with a juicy tropical fruit finish and a touch of spice.

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by Spectrum Medical Care Center

Nurse Practitioner Ari Kravitz

When I started medical transition at 20 years old, it was very difficult to get the care I needed for hormone replacement therapy because there are very few providers trained in starting hormones for trans people, even though it’s very similar to the hormones that we prescribe to women in menopause or cisgender men with low testosterone.

I hope more providers get trained in LGBTQ+ healthcare, so they can support patients along their individual gender journey, and provide the info needed to make informed decisions about their body. I’ve personally seen my trans patients find hope and experience a better quality of life through hormone replacement therapy.

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Descanso Resort swimming pool and lounge area

Descanso Resort, Palm Springs' premier destination for gay men, just received Tripadvisor's highest honor, a Travelers' Choice "Best of the Best" award for 2023. Based on guests' reviews and ratings, fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor's 8 million listings around the world receive the coveted "Best of the Best" designation. Descanso ranked 12th in the top 25 small inns and hotels category in the United States. Quite an accomplishment!

Open less than two years, Descanso Resort offers gay men a relaxing and luxurious boutique hotel experience just minutes away from Palm Springs' buzziest restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Descanso has quickly established itself as a top destination for sophisticated gay travelers, earning hundreds of 5-star guest reviews and consistently ranking in Trapadvisor's top positions alongside brother properties Santiago Resort and Twin Palms Resort.

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