Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Variety Hour; Or A Couple Of Releases To Be Checking Out

Back again Gents (Presumptuous to think we only have male readers? Prove me wrong ladies). Was sitting here thinking about doing a review on two new Sam Lachow releases when I heard a voice: “Seth, there’s an awful lot of new releases in your Youtube history right now.” God… is that you? Nope just talking to myself again. To save you from more tempered senseless rantings, here are some new releases from a variety of artists to be checking out right now, bon appétit:

Sam Lachow & Raz

Young Seattle rapper Sam Lachow has teamed up with Raz Simone, another little-known rapper from the Seattle area on the “5 Good Reasons EP”, a collaborative release due 9/17/12. This recently dropped single off the album features a verse from both rappers that’s hopefully indicative of what’s to come, along with the heartfelt, raspy musings of hypeman B Skeez. Sam talked in an interview about how working with Raz who has a more serious, contemplative theme to his work, has really challenged him and forced him to explore a new “deeper” style to his own lyrics. Experimenting with new styles aside, this song is a charming listen with a nostalgic, feel-good vibe. It’s a little goofy, a portion thought provoking, and a lot sincere. It’s easy to get caught up in the bullshit when it comes to all this jibber-jabber about “The Town” but you can really hear that this city means a lot to these guys, not because it’s Seattle, but because it’s what they call home.

Sam Lachow, Kung Foo Grip, BFA, and Gift uh Gab

A quick paced, independent release from Sam features an array of young and upcoming Seattle area rappers. Sam picks up the beat with a classic, no-worries verse that calls back to his high-school debut group: Shankbone. The next verses to follow come from Kung Foo Grip and Brothers From Another. KFG’s boys bring smooth verses that hugely understate there real talent. They definitely have some room to improve with their flow/lyrics, but those two know how to go hard. They played at Cascadia Community College for a crowd of probably 100 or so (aka not very big) but still went nuts on stage and gave us a hell of a show. BFA hail from the Eastside here (Kirkland I believe? Fact check anyone?) and present themselves with some silly lyrics about being a teenager and partying, which IS the meaning of life after all. Joking aside, to contrast the youthful, still developing lyrics of these 4 guys Gift uh Gab (aka Gabby Kadushin) quite remarkably murders this track with her verse. Not that I have anything against girl rappers, but quite frankly most of them don’t really have the talent and presence needed for being truly admirable. This is not one of those cases though. Gabby’s flow is warm and buttery, and her lyrics have a depth that almost jabs you at the end of each line. She’ a regular feature on Sam’s work (check out Goldschlaggers) and I’m thinking she could sport some bomb solo work. Sam’s paying his dues here, and I love it. It’s encouraging to see local artists work with each other and really contribute to the Seattle music scene as a whole.

Mellowhype

The Odd Future crew sort of disappeared this summer but Mellowhype is back with their video for La Bonita, the first single off the upcoming album Numbers (or at least the first official single? 64? 65? 45? Wikipedia needs to get it’s shit straight…). Truthfully, it’s groovy. The whole Latin style to the song is provocatively intoxicating. The marimbas (feels like sixth-grade music class) bring in a sweet-sounding melody that isn’t often heard on Odd Future tracks because it’s not Tyler’s production style. It’s a welcome change that is definitely setting Mellowhype aside as it’s own entity. Unlike most of their songs where Hodgy is solo rapping over Left Brain’s beats, Mr. Brain comes in with his own verse and various vocals. It’s awesome. He’s got a gravelly, welcomingly menacing voice that sounds just fucking boss on this. Hodgy’s stellar as usual with the same kind of impressively rhymed lines that have been bolstering him this whole way. As for the video it’s just cool. There really isn’t another way to describe hot latin girls (is that Rihanna?) dancing, badass gypsy makeup, huge speakers, oversized coats, a mariachi band, and a motherfucking trained, smart ass capuchin monkey chillin out on Hodgy’s motherfucking shoulder like it’s gonna jump off and spit it’s own verse. Go get your own capuchin, then talk to me about cool. Look out for Numbers coming 10/9/12.

Deadmau5

Look which mildly irate, minecraft addicted, Nyan Cat sporting nerd DJ is back. This song has been out for a couple weeks now in a couple different versions but this recently released video features the official mix off of Deadmau5’s soon to come album >album title goes here< (Coming 9/25/12). The song has a strangely fitting mix of heavy guitar sounds with the classic mau5 synths and heavy bass kicks. Professional Griefers also features the vocal talent of Mr. Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance. Boy, my middle-school self is squirming in my too-big-clothes and too-long-hair with excitement. But for real, Gerard (may I call you Gerard? Okay, thanks) adds a new dynamic to the mau5 song. Although Dr. Mau5 has his merits, sometimes his music needs that extra kick, and these almost slam-poetic vocals give it just that. The video’s humorous as ever with Joel and Gerard facing off in a giant-remote-controlled-mau5bot UFC match, only to be foiled by a robotic Professor Meowingtons (I promise I didn’t make that up).

Honorable Mentions?

•Macklemore’s Thrift Shop, has everyone in Seattle buzzing about like it’s the second coming (still waiting…). Call me cynical… I am, but meh. I like the saxophone and the vocals coming from Wanz but I’m not sold on the verses. Slash the video’s hilurrious, I’ll give it that. Check out Kevin’s post on it if you’re looking for a more favorable opinion.

•Madeon’s The City, also covered by KPham, is an uplifting and thrilling electrogasm of keyboard, bass, beats, and singing. That being said, I feel like it’s release has unfairly shadowed his only month-old release of Finale, which is the superior track in this blogger’s opinion.

Whew, that was an ordeal. Go show some love on the artist’s facebook pages if the mood strikes you. Tell me why my music taste is shit or why I’m wrong on our own facebook page


[Must Listen] Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Going Harddd – “Thrift Shop” ft. Wanz

I’m sure y’all have heard of Macklemore, one way or another. He’s good huh? Yeah he doesn’t dissappoint with this fresh, new track called “Thrift Shop”. He’s been preforming it for a while now if you’ve seen any videos of live performances on youtube. But now we actually have the track and an awesome music video to go along with it. This track is a bit different from what we’ve gotten from Macklemore of late (especially his track regarding same-sex rights “Same Love”) but I dig this shit all the same. For real, on this one, Macklemore goes fucking HAAM y’all. Hard as a motherfucker. And hot damn is it flippin’ cool to listen to. Rockin’ the jazzy, horn beats gives you a different feel this time around. I actually prefer listening to this over his other songs to just kind of chill and groove to a beat. Enough about that though, it’s a fresh track, with Ryan Lewis always doing his thing and Wanz providing a nice lil chorus bit. Macklemore just does what he does best. Represents ALL of Seattle now. I mean it’s for all the hipsters out there. The lyrics are talking about thrift store shopping. The music video is just absurd as the concept of the song, but it’s still awesome and hilarious as shit. Macklemore just bounces around in those thrift stores doing whatever the hell he wants? haha. Best part has to be when he’s rocking the Batman onesie.

I can definitely dig the lyrics as well. They’re so insanely unique. Just fits exactly who Macklemore is. The part about the “cold ass honky” was freaking funny. Oh and did you catch that refrerence to R-Kelly and his pissing story? hahaha lyrics on this one are just so damn great. This is a track you HAVE to listen to. Way too easy to loop over and over.


The Latest Internet Craze: PSY “Gangnam Style”

If you haven’t seen this, prepare to be bewildered and entertained. I cannot think of a better way to be introduced to Korean Pop, however I doubt that many of you will venture off and check out other Korean songs simply because you’ll be stuck pressing the replay button again and again.

Here’s the info attached to the music video: “The album’s weighty title song ‘Gangnam Style’ is composed solely by PSY himself from lyrics to choreography. The song is characterized by its strongly addictive beats and lyrics, and is thus certain to penetrate the foundations of modern philosophy.” I cannot believe the audacity in the claim of impacting “modern philosophy”. Utterly absurd, but so right in its mesmerizing content (Who the heck creates a dance that is based off riding a horse)? International media like CNN have covered this song because of its bizarre video, along with many Youtube videos getting thousands, even millions of hits of Westerners (Americans) growing more and more befuddled as they watch the music video. Before I go on, let’s take a look at the video shall we?

So here’s the biggest question: What the hell is Gangnam Style even mean?

Read this article off the blog My Dear Korea to be enlightened. Prepare for some real philosophy.  A quick overview:

“In Korean society the term “gangnam style” has come to represent an aspirational nouveau riche mindset among the affluent residents of the area south of the Han river. Psy’s lyrics are a send-up of the typical expectations of that lifestyle skewering the image-conscious habits of male and female residents such as the doenjangnyeo or “soybean girl” who spends more for a trendy cup of Starbucks coffee than for her entire lunch. The music video is particularly rife with ironic imagery accessible to viewers who cannot understand the Korean lyrics. Jea Kim, blogger and social commentator on Korea writes:

“The music video begins with PSY seemingly sunbathing on sandy beach, being fanned by a hot chick, but it turns out he is surrounded by little kids playing in the playground. There’s PSY walking together with two hot girls just like P. Diddy walking on the red carpet but in fact, he and the girls are in an outdoor parking lot and instead of confetti… trash is thrown at them. He looks like P. Diddy sitting in a luxurious chair, it is actually the toilet he’s sitting on.”[54]

Each of Psy’s pursuits of the luxurious lifestyle ends with a sardonic twist: a closeup of Psy in a clubhouse sauna has him sharing a steam not with the rich and beautiful but lowlife Korean gangsters. His lap in the pool reveals to be in a public bathhouse. His horseback ride at the country club ends up being a merry go round at the amusement park.

The video has Psy searching for the “classy and luxurious” girl mentioned in his lyrics “in irrelevant places such as under the bridges over the Han River or in the Han River Park and eventually finds his ideal woman on the subway and dances with her and others there, not in one of those Gangnam nightclubs”

In the end, I leave you this: http://imgur.com/a/kXkeY#12


Album Review – Erin McCarley – My Stadium Electric

Long time, no see, internet. I’ve missed you. I know you missed me too. No you didn’t. But it’s okay. Because Erin McCarley is out with a new album.

Erin McCarley is one of those singer-songwriters. You know, the ones that try to seem indie with their choices in arrangement, quirky-pop songwriting, placement on the soundtracks for He’s Just Not That Into You and Grey’s Anatomy, odd-but-solid lyricism and use of actual instrumentation and chord progressions as opposed to nonsense synths and dubstep-inspired computer breakdowns. But really, she’s a pop artist, signed to Universal Republic. I say that like it’s a bad thing, but it’s not. If pop lives in the Erin McCarley universe, I like pop music. Her music is, for the most part, simultaneously introspective, catchy and often unselfish.

Her biggest hits from her last album, Love, Save the Empty, were the title track, which focused on the “you” rather than the usual “I” (a topic I will soon dive into greater detail on) and prays for a universal love for which to hold an ambiguous “us” together, and “Pony (It’s OK)”, a catchy number with percussion from the coolest instrument never previously used (to my knowledge), a typewriter, and a message again focusing on the “you”, advocating for self-expression. Another gem is “Pitter Pat”, which proves ballads are also in her vast range of composition abilities. Oh, and did I mention that all these songs are catchy and contain smart lyricism?

Yeah, that’s a thing.

Her new album, My Stadium Electric, is, on first listen, a slight step down from Love, Save the Empty–it’s clear she’s headed closer to mainstream pop with this record. However, a couple of her key signatures remain–well-produced, clever arrangements and catchy progressions with occasionally unselfish pieces–if she adds a few synths here and there and her lyrics become a little less coherent (I’m looking at you, “Elevator”).

The album has its highlights–“Pop Gun” is immensely catchy, as is “Elevator” (though a bit too synthy for my taste, the percussive elements are fun and the hook is neat). “What I Needed” and “Re-Arrange Again” prove her dynamic ballads are back with a smoothly executed vengeance. “There’s No Holding You Down” brings back the empowerment present in “Pony (It’s OK)”. And for the most part, it’s loaded with similarly real instrumentation, rather than synths. Oh, and “Amber Waves”, a vibes-and-xylo-tinged catchy piano-pop tune, is the free single on iTunes this week (much like “Pony (It’s OK)” was when Love, Save the Empty was first released in December 2008).

I’d compare this release to Ingrid Michaelson‘s Human Again. Similar style of artist–I prefer Ingrid on the whole as her songwriting is markedly more complex, and in my incredibly uneducated opinion better than McCarley’s–but McCarley chooses to go much lighter on the synths that have proven to be so popular in 2012 with everyone and their mother (including Ingrid), which in my opinion is a fantastic decision that should be applauded.

Definitely worth a good listen. Solid work all around.

Three videos to wrap it up. First, “Pony (It’s OK)”…

…second, an acoustic version of “Pitter Pat”, to inform you that she has real talent…

…and finally, her new single, “Elevator”:


107.7 The End’s Summer Camp 2012 – Review

August 25, 2012. Marymoor Park. Redmond, Washington. 107.7 The End’s Summer Camp 12. Stuff just went down. Washington’s biggest alternative radio station just threw one of the biggest concerts of the year with big names throughout. And boy, was it good. The lineup (in order) for 2012 was Adventure Galley, Husky, Milo Greene, Animal Kingdom, The Features, Morning Parade, Atlas Genius, The Royal Concept, Walk The Moon, fun., Alex Clare. Here comes a review of the entire series (in this writer’s humblest opinion of course!)

Adventure Galley

I missed them completely. Sorry. Here is a cool song called Addict anyway.

Husky

First time I’ve heard of them and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting much when I first heard them start playing. But this folk band did wonders and actually was a pleasant surprise. Their overall performance left me with a good first impression. This four-piece band from Melbourne, Australia with a folk-alternative sound has this soft, melancholy feel about them. That’s the first vibe that I got from them, but then later they actually kind of rocked as well, so look for them to be a soft band with a rockin’ side to it. The greatest aspect of their performance had to be the vocals though. The singing was very, very good. I might even go to argue it was one of the best voices of the night.

Milo Greene

This five piece band has been one of my favorites within the past year, so it might be a bit biased to say that I really liked their preformance and thought it was good. Wait scratch that. It was good! They started off their set with a flawless transition from an opening number into “Don’t You Give Up On Me” and from there, the rest of their time on stage was damn good. With reverbing guitars that echoed nicely, to the change in tones with the switch up of the lead singer, Milo Greene kept it nice and steady until it rocked out in the end with a cover of Sufjan Steven’s “Chicago”. The only knock on an otherwise, very solid set, was the difficulty in hearing some of the singers at times, especially the girl. This was a bigger problem for Milo Greene than the harder bands because they rely a lot on their soft vocals to carry them through songs, but it gets hard live. Other than that, I enjoyed the consistent performance.

Animal Kingdom

I was first exposed to this band a long time ago when their track “Tin Man” was a free single on itunes. I forgot about them and I was reminded that they are actually a quite solid band. But I was really surprised by the way their sound has evolved. I liked “Tin Man” but compare that to a track 3 years later in “Strange Attractor”. Not gonna lie, I first thought the lead singer was a girl when I first heard “Tin Man” but now he definitely sounds like a man. Interesting fact about them that Summer Camp was their first ever show in Washington, yet their first record was recorded in Seattle. But the thing I liked about their performance was some strange beat machine that kept on mixing their sounds. But one thing I can take away from them, is that I know I won’t forget about them now.

The Features

These four rockers from Nashville, TN came and blew me off of my feet. Not literally but pretty damn close. Throughout their performance, my shorts were shaking from the bass’ power. Their sound is quite interesting as they call themselves modern pop/indie/rock, but to be honest, the sound a bit like some abstract folk rock that relied heavily of synths. Whatever they are, they really brought it that afternoon. Their energy level was insane. As their performance went on, their energy grew and it was damn fun to watch and rock along with. It also really helped that the singer could really freakin’ belt. They had the best energy the whole night, hands-down.

Morning Parade

Their performance was absolutely flawless. That’s all I can say. It was just perfect. The crowd was in sync perfectly with the band and they had every fan out there eating out of their hands. The beats were super energetic, upbeat and hella catchy. You could just see people mesmerized by the performance. I know I was. I had an absolute pleasure watching every second of the performance. Now thing I liked most about them was their pure joy of just playing. They looked so damn happy just being up on that stage, rockin’ out while the crowd went nuts. Great show by them. Best Stage Presence.

Atlas Genius

Coming off of the high that Morning Parade brought, it was a bit weird to get switched to the slower-paced Atlas Genius, but it was still alright. They started out with a little funk sound, but they eventually sped up and gained crowd support, as well as energy. Big props to them for gaining the crowd back after a kickass performance. By the end, their ending “Trojans” had the entire crowd bouncing up and down, the first time all night that it happened. Must’ve been pretty cool for the Australians that are touring in the US for the first time.

The Royal Concept

I had previously known them as The Concept before they changed their name and when I saw them as The Royal Concept, my perception of them changed. They went from being really cool to freakin’ kickass! That night yielded very little similarities to the voice of Thomas Mars and the rest of Phoenix and The Royal Concept made a nice job banging out a name for themselves. Absolute great vibes from the crowd the entire time and people were just bouncing around digging the high-octane energy of the group. By the time their finale came up, the crowd was already pretty pumped. “D-D-Dance” came on and the place just about blew up. Freaking crazy.

Walk The Moon

How was Walk The Moon supposed to surpass any of the great bands from before? Well they do it by doing a little something like this: Make the crowd wait 30 minutes to preform (even though they were already set-up), get to the stage with the hype and excitement rippling through the air, start playin some bitchin’ music, get into it with the crowd, throwing stuff out, including the crowd in with the music (during Quesadilla, it was magical) and just getting everyone to go nuts. I didn’t know how the energy could go past what The Royal Concept brought, but it was done. Walk The Moon made the crowd just go ape-shit crazy. Everyone was jumping up and down and just whooping like no tomorrow. The best part of the set had to be during “Anna Sun” where pretty much every single person was screaming the memorized lyrics at the the top of their lungs. Best Overall Performance.

fun.

Now even though fun. was the headlining act, they preformed second to last because Alex Clare refused to play unless it was dark. So fun. took it in stride and played a fucking awesome set. They had the best set-up and atmosphere during their set. There was even a point where they blew a whole bunch of confetti up in the air and the crowd went wild:

fun. played with such a passion and the lead singer maintained his awesome singing voice throughout the entire set. Yes, “We Are Young” and “Some Nights” were freakin’ awesome too, don’t worry. fun. basically got their shit done. Coolest part asides from the confetti exploding and the awesome light show in the background, was when the crowd was given the chance to croon out the chorus to “We Are Young”. That was cool listening to 1000+ people sing together.

Alex Clare

Skipped him completely. Why not just suck it up and play during the day? Also I wanted to beat the traffic. But apparently it was good!

Overall:

There was not one bad artist there. I ended up loving each and every performance, regardless of my original thought. All the bands genuinely wanted to be there and you could really see it in their performances. A whole bunch of them came out after their sets to sign autographs and talk with the fans. It’s always cool when groups realize their fans supporting them is what got them big, so showing  little love never hurt. It definitely made the experience much greater because if the artists were happy to be there, the fans were sure as well ecstatic to be there. Asides from the heat and a bit of anger from inside the mosh pit from the swarming pile of bodies, I have no complaints of the night. Everything just kind of fit together perfectly to create an awesome cultural experience. Everything, from the music, to the weed smoke wafting up in the air, the dude holding a cardboard sign that demanded people have a dance party, to the idiots that went crowd surfing and eventually being dropped, all fit together like a perfect puzzle to put an exclamation mark on the just amazing 2012 107.7 The End Summer Camp.


Hell. Yes. Madeon – “The City” ft. Zak Waters

File:MadeonLogo.jpg

God damn this dude is good. Any electric music-heads out there who have not heard of this French producer must’ve been living under a rock. You know that guy who made that live mix of a song called “Pop Culture”? Yeah, same guy right here. And damn he knows how to make some fresh beats. We got a little teaser of a new track of his called “The City” yesterday, and now today, a radio station called BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac played the song in its entirety and hoooo-boy is it fresh. Apparently the track has been out but has only been playing in live sets, but Madeon is finally relenting and coming out with this new single. Lyrics from Zak Waters provides a little different track from what you usually get from Madeon who does a lot of pure beats, but it’s still alright because the beat is still awesome. Madeon knows how to make some banging beats and doesn’t disappoint with this one; way overshadowing any singing. Great track. Give it a listen and let your love for Madeon grow (or begin to grow!) Stay aware. This guy is changing the electropop scene.

LYRICS:
There is a place in the distance
A place that I’ve been dreaming of
No more time and space don’t exist there
We can dance like there’s no tomorrow
There is a place, no time in space

I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to

I can feel the city crumbling around me
I can’t seem to find my way
But I can see a bright light calling through dark night
Hoping I’ll find my way

Yeah I had what I wanted
It went away so fast fast
Yeah I got to let go
We can dance like there’s no tomorrow
So here we go

I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to

I can feel the heartbeat underneath the concrete
Just like a kick drum plays
Running in a straight line guided by the street lights
Pushing the dark away

Yeah I had what I wanted
It went away so fast fast
Yeah I got to let go
We can dance like there’s no tomorrow

There is a place in the distance
A place that I’ve been dreaming of
No oh time and space don’t exist there
We can dance like there’s no tomorrow
There is a place, no time in space

There is a place in the distance
A place that I’ve been dreaming of
No more time and space
We can dance like there’s no tomorrow
Oh oh oh!

I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to
I’ve got to go all the way
I’ve got tomorrow to

Tomorrow
Tomorrow
We can dance 


This Might be the Most Fantastic Thing You Will See

Rotary Dial Springtime cover art

So I surfing the web in hopes of exploring some other cultures (and subsequently fueling my passion to go overseas sometime soon) and I came across this gem of a video. It covers Holi, a religious spring festival celebrated by Hindus. A group by the name of Good Line captured the event and posted it on their page. Here’s their statement about what they do:

Good Line is a creative collaborative focused on telling stories through the method of short documentaries.

We are writers, cinematographers, musicians and artists fueled by the art of Storytelling. Our tale-chasing takes us around the globe as we enthusiastically track down the best threads, the wildest yarns, and the good lines; no matter where it takes us.

The experiences we’ve shared with our clients make us who we are and we count ourselves blessed to be a part of their story.

We believe in optimism, truth, and real life characters.

We believe in capturing life as it is.

Now proceed to watch their awesome video.

Beyond the eyegasms of watching thousands of people having a the time of their lives as they blast each other with colors, I couldn’t help but notice the cinematic sound of the video. Well, in actuality notice would be too much of an understatement. I absolutely adored the music, this is a kind of sound that absolutely bursts with energy and enthusiasm.  Go ahead, listen to the track for the first minute and see if you aren’t compelled to smile in joy. Do the same thing with the video too. Oh Jesus I need to participate in Holi.

http://micahdahl.com/

https://www.facebook.com/thegoodline