Monthly Archives: November 2011

Shameless Doritos Ad Plug

USC Students have generally done well in the Doritos Ad competition. Remember the ad with the pug from a couple years ago? Yeah, that was us.

So without further ado, I present to you several of the pretty sick USC Submissions (the last one’s mine):

Chipacabra

The Birds (HD Version)

Funeral

Computer Chip

A Better Wingman Than Your Wingman (it has some technical difficulties, but you can check out a less glitchy version here)

I’d like to give a shout out to all the people who helped me out with the Doritos ad; the ever-talented Kassidy Testut directed and edited as well as co-wrote it with Kirsten Jakob and I, Tomas Ruiz and Elle Callahan did a great job as the über-linguistic couple, Michael Bugarin played the perfect douchey wingman and Gus Bendinelli shot it (as always) with professional flair.


“Lyin’ Ass Bitch” – Fishbone

I don’t know if you guys heard about this, but Jimmy Fallon‘s ever-awesome house band The Roots pulled a hilarious stunt when Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann appeared on Late Night, her intro music was the ska jam “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” by Fishbone, for hilarious reasons.

Bachmann demanded an apology from both Fallon and NBC and received one, though she was disappointed with it.

Left-click to download


You know… That song in Napoleon Dynamite!

Bumpin tunes kid

Jamiroquai’s Canned Heat, as featured in the Pre-Michael Cera age of indie movies Napoleon Dynamite, is an awesomely groovy song. And I’m happy to say that its only the beginning of Jamiroquai’s funky sound.

Jamiroquai describes themselves as British jazz funk or acid jazz. My best description is the USS Maroon 5 crashes into the HMS Soul Train. I wouldn’t call their music unique per sé but more authentic. It has a very real sound to it. You can hear the hours of work the artists put into the songs in their music. Frankly, its just really cool. Funky guitar riffs are mixed with deep space noises and beats that you have to tap your foot to with some added awesome synth keys. And they’ve definitely established this starry night-inspired spacey theme. If you’ve ever seen Daft Punk’s (Favorite musical group ever over here) Interstella 5555 (which I highly recommend you do), it feels like a similar deep outer space journey. Either way, Jamiroquai is the most danceable music I think I’ve ever heard… as Mr. Dynamite beautifully demonstrated for us.

  

Virtual Insanity is easily one of my top 15 songs of all time. The video is pretty sweet too. These guys have been around since the early 90s and they’ve rocked it the whole time. Their music is completely worth looking into. Plus their signature Buffalo Man mascot has magical space traveling powers so it all evens out anyway.


A Tribute to Swedish Girls: Those Dancing Days

Those Dancing Days are officially over (well taking a break…but that’s kind of a loaded word isn’t it?). Late to the party I know, but still it’s surprising.

From their website (August 31st, 2011):

“We have decided that we will be putting Those Dancing Days to bed for a while. We have been together as a band for almost six years now and have had such an amazing time – we have grown up together, created together, seen the world together. We have been so incredibly lucky and feel so honoured that so many have appreciated our music. As a young band we have had the pleasure of being role models for other young musicians – something we have found incredibly fulfilling and important – and especially to young female musicians like ourselves. Go girls – never doubt yourselves and never stop dreaming!

After we played the Popaganda festival this last weekend we felt it was the perfect ending to the summer and a good time for us to say good bye for a while. We want to explore things on our own for a change; some of us will go back to school, some of us will be taking jobs – and without a doubt all of us will explore new musical settings.
To all our fans – thank you for being wonderful! We hope to see you again in the future and until we do – live and love!”

This is weird to be honest. I’ve never experience the surprise and mild shock that comes when you find out that a band you’ve been faithfully following for the past year ceases to be. Particularly even stranger considering that Those Dancing Days was one of my top favorites out of all the bands I’ve found throughout my search for music in the endless music blogs. Hell, Those Dancing Days provided me a lot of material to write about back when the blog was just starting out. They sparked me interest in indie bands from Europe. Lord knows how disappointed I was when I found out they had to cancel their US tour, even though the closest location they would have played was in LA. However, one’s love for music can make one think in absurdities and boy oh boy did listening to Those Dancing Days make me feel absurd (in a good fashion of course). Mother Teresa this makes me sad. I’ll just leave you all with my favorite song by them (not to mention a strong contender for my favorite song of all time).

I still can’t shake off the notion of how a mere six months ago, this song was the soundtrack to my highly anticipated summer (right before college starts). Now that a few months of college has gone by, I find myself a bit numb at the notion that  I can’t prepare for new material from the Swedish girls later in my college life. I guess that’s  the strength and fragility of music: You find yourself a great band to listen to, and you start thinking about how that band is going to be around for a long time, or at least until they begin to lose favor as you shift to different music. Then you find out that the band’s over, and you start to remember how music isn’t just about what you hear, but about the creative process that individuals go through to produce such a work, something we take for granted. Those Dancing Days, thanks for the bliss you’ve provided me. Though I never got the honor of seeing y’all live, having your music in my itunes is a good consolation prize (where it’ll enjoy numerous repeats).


The Don’ts and Be Carefuls: Three Song Preview of “Sun Hits”

I know I’ve talked about The Don’ts and Be Carefuls before (here) , and even got a chance to interview these fun loving guys from Denver (here) but after searching through the blog email, it turns out we got another email sent by the band about a month ago! Given a chance to preview their album, I know it is late but better late than never, here’s an idea of their EP:

As most their songs are, “So Money” does not disappoint  as upbeat and fun. The Don’ts and Be Carefuls build their sound off of an jubilant vibe that aims to keep a crowd energized and having fun with the crashing guitars and stand on a table while singing aspect . “So Money” builds into this powerful song that gives off the feeling of a summertime that’ll last a lifetime. I’m not sure what it is with this song but it pulled me in the first time I heard it, with its catchy chorus and guitar rifts.  It’s strange to think, but despite the seemingly upbeat sound, the song actually has this quiet, reflective quality to it. It’s a toast to those nights with that group of friends you know that will be with you through every trivial pursuit, every dramatic, and there’s no greater satisfaction than that. Check it out

 

The three songs that were given to us do not disappoint and scream summertime over and over. These guys really know how to make someone really yearn for the summer. It’s really nice of them to release their album in the waning days of fall and beginning of winter…when it is so far from the sound that they give. Because of them, I get to suffer and dream of summer in sub 40 degree weather. The Don’ts and Be Carefuls, I thank you for making me ache for summer when I cannot have it. I guess it’ll be worth it when summer does roll around and I can count on listening to them for a sense of fun and the energy to get out and do things. They will carry me until I can live the vibe of their songs. Check them out and I guarantee you won’t feel cheated…well you will feel a lot of aching for summer though. The perfect remedy to the Seattle rain (even when it’s not raining, you’ll know that it will hit you eventually). Honestly though, give these guys a listen and follow that up with some love. They have more than proven their worth.


Introducing Hectic Zeniths

hectic zeniths Cover Art

If you’re into Balam Acab, I would like to steer you towards the company of Hectic Zeniths, “the work of bedroom producer and multi-instrumentalist Adam Morgan Prince. Nearly three years in the making, the densely layered project builds around original piano compositions with an atmospheric collage of chopped and pitched dollar-bin vinyl samples, live instrumentation, synths, and haunting vocals. Featuring violinist Patrick Bailey, guitarist Dave Cohen, and The Yetti on drums.”  ‘Hectic Zeniths’ is an anagram for the German word ‘Zeitschtichten,’ meaning “Layers of Time.” The artist has previously released a free EP and an array of hip hop and electronic remixes under the name ‘amplifya’. Born in Brooklyn, NY, he is currently teaching high school math (A high school teacher making music and serving his community? Now that’s mad respect right there)  in Philadelphia, PA.

If you swing over to the bandcamp, you’ll only be privy to only three songs off the latest EP (Lucky for me, the perks of writing about music gives you the ability to receive extra songs as a sign of goodwill).

Now the comparison to Balam Acab immediately establishes the musical  foundations of Hectic Zenith, namely the emphasis on the instrumentals, layered with a mumbled voiceover every now and then. So what it is it about Hectic Zenith that like Balam Acab, separates itself from the music you would hear in some uptight office workplace? It revolves entirely around the mood and tone that the music takes, often times elevating in tension and emotion in one moment, only to settle in a calm demeanor the next. Such technique is seen in the song  “curtain” and “then and now” showcaseing the pitfalls of merely pidgen holing the song into the category of Balam Acab territory only.  Balam Acab’s songs usually have an extremely slow pace, while Hectic Zenith actually builds into a crescendo at various points of the song.  Allow me to talk about my runaway favorite song off the work  “I Might Drown”.  Dramatic but at the same time it allows for a sense of reflection upon listening. The beauty of top notch piano work.

After finishing my first listen of the EP, my biggest question about this (and perhaps the subject to a Tell All Thursday interview sometime?) is the time it took for the work to be produced, refined, and deemed worthy enough for release. I would love to know what factors made this timeline so long (new musical influences, personal life putting music on hold, etc.) With a work like this, I can’t help but feel that the album is an extremely personal narrative of Hectic Zenith…only without the words. Perhaps that’s the finest quality of this music, it allows the listener to work with the material given and express in their own words about the story.  The very structure of the songs seems to support such a conjecture, seeing how there isn’t a consistent / overriding tone throughout the music. You’ll have instances of dark, brooding sound in the beginnings of “then and now”, only for it to shift into a quiet embrace in the middle of the song (about a minute and thirty seconds into the song). Just as you’re about to settle into this nice, relaxed mood, the tension in the song re-enters, making you forget that there was ever that brief interlude. However, the crazy thing is, if you listen carefully enough, you can catch the subtle shifts in the music that anticipate the transition. Talk about musical sophistication.

I wouldn’t say that the music is exactly jubilant, and it’s Hectic Zenith is not the easiest sound to get into right away, but once you settle in…the musicality demonstrated is pure bliss.  Hetic Zenith demands the listener not to just passively take in the music (at least not at first), but to actively engage with the music to move with every rise and fall. It’s challenging and sometimes exhausting, but maybe that’s the draw of Hectic Zenith all along. The power that is given to the audience to express within the music, now that’s beautiful. Took me awhile, but count me in as a fan.

Release date:  January 10 2012 [Bandcamp]          


Amaral: A Pop-Rock Band that Deserves to be Heard, Regardless of Language Barrier

In my desire to obtain a Spanish minor along with my double major of English and history, I am quite interested in seeing what I can do to further integrate myself in Spanish culture. After all, the trip to Spain during the summer was absolutely sick and I loved the culture of Spain while visiting. By learning more Spanish and eventually become fluent if I work hard enough, I can more than justify a return back to my favorite European country (France…y’all a bit too snobby for my tastes. Sick buildings though). Lucky for me, UW has an actual representative from Spain at the school, as since she works at the Spanish cultural exchange office, I thought I would try a few rounds of speaking Spanish. Even better for me (and for you), this office also lends media like DVDs and cds for students interested in learning more. This post reflects my first introduction to Spanish pop rock, and man is it a killer. Amaral is a pop rock music group from Zaragoza, Spain consisting of Eva Amaral and Juan Aguirre . So far they have sold about 4 million copies of their discography from 1998 to present. Amaral’s musical style is often fused with Latin beats, folk rock, synthesizers, and in particular traditional Spanish folk music.

Their song Revolución, is from their third album Pájaros en la cabeza (English: Birds In The Head) released in 2005. Now when reflecting upon the subject matter, unfortunately many times (if not always) the revolutions that begin with good intentions end with bloodshed and becoming more repressive than the above, and is a real shame.

Here’s a youtube comment off the video.

me encanta esta canción, yo soy un fan e amral y so ke ya tengo unos 40, pero dice totalmente la verdad, expresa la libertad de un pueblo.

Esta canción tendría que habersela cantado a Franco en la cara, madre mia, lo que nos espera, estoy ansioso, a ver lo que ocurre con nuestro bonito planeta, y ver que nos va tocar una revolución bonita, somos la fuente más brillante, este es el momento, pero mañana aún mejor.

Viva la libertad.

Rough English translation:

I love this song, I’m a fan and so amral and I have already about 40, but says absolutely the truth, expresses the freedom of a people.

This song would have sung habersela Franco in the face, mother, what lies ahead, I am eager to see what happens to our beautiful planet, and see that a revolution is going to play nice, we’re the brightest source, This is the moment, but tomorrow even better.

Long live freedom.

Acoustic

Seriously this song is legit. Love.