Author Archives: kevinpham31

Phoenix Tour-Paramount Theater, Seattle, Washington: Review

For the first time in two years, the 2009 Grammy Award Winner for Best Alternative Album (Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), the band Phoenix is on tour and stopped by the Paramount Theater in Seattle for its second show. And my god. It was absolutely glorious.
March 29th, saw Phoenix come into town with special guest Mac DeMarco opening for them.  The night didn’t start off too well, with Mac DeMarco playing a generally weak set. They have a substantial amount of energy and they actually had some nice beats, but the lyrics and singing were so painful to hear, it rendered entire songs as useless. A lot of the songs started out with potential and got my feet moving, but eventually, especially at the chorus, the beat would change or the singing would become unbearable. I even fell asleep at some points. While I don’t want to disrespect Mac DeMarco, it was flat out, not my style and their live set needs work, especially so that people can actually understand what they say. 


Wondrous Bughouse-Youth Lagoon || First Listen Thoughts

The one man band of Trevor Powers in Youth Lagoon sees the release of his new album “Wondrous Bughouse” after the amazing debut album “The Year of Hibernation” come on March 5th. Thanks to NPR we get a preview of the whole album, and needless to say, Powers isn’t playing here.
While I have to admit my first impressions were not matched, I have to be realistic. I expected YL to do something that is pretty much impossible, build on the 1st album and make it better. While the unreal expectations were not met, I came to another conclusion. It’s not that he didn’t meet my expectations, he just changed directions. “Wondrous Bughouse” has new sounds that doesn’t match much of the last album and are wonderful in their own way. Blending a mix of simple pop beats and fluent synths, YL creates an album that can only be expressed with a curious attitude and a quizzical look. The best way I can really describe the songs are: Uplifting-Moody-Mysterious. It really just hits you in different ways depending on what your mood is. NPR quoted Powers saying that he didn’t have any epiphanies or discoveries when making the album but rather just let the music control his busy mind.

“Wondrous Bughouse” has all its little quirks that just made it a blast to listen through all the way. Some parts confused me, others made me smile immediately, but that was just the first impression. I have a feeling this album will work the same magic that the last one did, its lyrics and sounds steadily growing onto me until everything just feels natural to listen to. But at this point, all there is to do is to keep listening and go along for the smooth ride. Overall this album is a great effort by Powers. There is some that is left to be yearned for, but I can’t complain, YL does what he wants and if he’s going to be exploring something new, hell, I don’t care what anyone says, I’ll be tagging along right behind him. Grade if you really want it: A (in this writer’s opinion)
NPR LINK (either just start from the beginning or scroll down and choose what you want to listen to)

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/24/172611335/first-listen-youth-lagoon-wondrous-bughouse?sc=tw&cc=twmp#playlist

Favorite songs off the album (so far):

  • Mute
  • Dropla
  • Third Dystopia
  • Raspberry Cane

Don’t ask what songs they sound like from past albums. They sound different to me as it might to you. Just give it all a shot!


Ra Ra Riot – New Album “Beta Love”


First full length album coming from Ra Ra Riot since the release of The Orchard about 2.5 years ago, and the departure of their cellist. This album sounds pretty damn good, although it’s definitely a change from their earlier, organized rock type of sound to a more of synthpop. It’s actually kinda interesting to listen to, and some of the songs just kind of blend in with others because unfortunately, the synths don’t distinguish every single song from one another. A couple solid ones on this album though, that comes out January 22nd, especially “Dance With Me”, the first song on the album. Definitely an upbeat song, with a damn catchy chorus. Give it a listen here and you can just go through the playlist (note, the playlist may be taken down soon, and if it is, I will replace it).


A.$.A.P. Rocky Ft. Florence Welch – “I Come Apart”

A$AP Rocky’s debut album, Long.Live.A$AP, dropped yesterday after numerous leaks from it as January 15th approached. A$AP has always been quite the interesting artist to me, because I usually don’t listen to rap, but I freakin’ love A$AP’s tracks. There’s been a few that have been out of his style, like his collab with Lana Del Rey, but this collab with Florence Welch from the fantastic Florence + The Machine, is definitely different from all his other tracks, only because they are two completely different artists. The meaning of this one is far different, essentially discussing the unraveling of a relationship at its seams and the repercussions that follow when trying to assemble the pieces back together While his fans of the harder tracks might not like this one, one has to appreciate his efforts to expand as an artist, really setting himself apart from the other ‘hard’ rappers.

A$AP is doing his best at a little bit of chill track, but this track soars as high as Florence’s superb vocals. I really do dig this one, not only because of Florence’s god-like singing, but it’s cool listening to the contrast between A$AP’s deep, rugged voice and Florence’s, setting the stage for a damn chill track that sends shivers down your spine from Florence’s voice, produces head-bobs to A$AP’s rapping, and a great appreciation of the track’s greatness.

LYRICS:

ASAP Rocky:
I thought you said you’d never leave
I think back as I took a puff
Know what happens every time you leave?
Always come back, cause you wanna f*ck
Always come back, cause you wanna fuss
Holding back, ain’t no turning back when you fall in love
Whatever happens anytime you speak
Always fall flat cause you on the rush
Uh, so you can take it slow
Separate the highs from the low
Separate the evens from the odds
Like something pull me back together when I come apart

Florence Welch:
I come apart, and you keep it together
I come apart, and I can’t stand the pressure
In all your grace and fire for me, that I cannot compare
I come apart, this can’t last forever
Can’t last forever
Can’t last forever

ASAP Rocky:
I woke up today, I felt a little less pressure for me
And I mad you say I, may you even learn the lesson for me
If you find the way to fight the pain,
If you fly away, you rest assure

Florence Welch:
I come apart, and you keep it together
I come apart, and I can’t stand the pressure
In all your grace and fire for me, that I cannot compare
I come apart, this can’t last forever
Can’t last forever

You’re the eye, but I’m tearing all the time
Always there to catch me, but I’m never coming down
Reconstructing all the pieces I left in my way
I guess you know, in control
Chaos I create
I come apart

ASAP Rocky
You made a bet with me, now you’re in debt with me
Made my bed, lied in it, then you slept with me
It’s ruthless, she the closest thing next to me
The truth is, that she blew it and you left with me
Especially hard to express to me
European attitude but born in West Philly
She just have a smokin’ ‘gina, where the Wet Willies?
I come apart, I’m in her heart on the left titty

Florence Welch:
I come apart, and you keep it together
I come apart, and I can’t stand the ṗressure
In all your grace and fire for me, that I cannot compare
I come apart, this can’t last forever
Can’t last forever
Can’t last forever
Can’t last forever
I come apart


STRFKR-“Say To You”

So new Starfucker track, “Say To You” just out, the third single on the upcoming album Miracle Mile and so far this album looks to shape up real nicely. This track is a bit more on the chill side and pretty relaxing to kick back and give a listen. Compare it to some of their other songs like “Born”, “Rawnald Gregory Erickson The Second”, or “Biggie Smalls” and you’ll hear a noticeable difference, a lot quieter, but kind of endearing in a strange way. Fairly simple meaning too I guess, just a little love song. Give it listen and see what you make of it:

LYRICS:

In the night when I come
crawling home
I want to say to you
curse the daylight when I come
crawling home
I want to say to you
Sleep, set me free
In a dream
I am born
apathetic, finally
I’m not sure anymore
We just take what we need
If I was stronger
I would play the fool
I would say to you
Mock the day, when
I come crawling home
I would say to you

ALSO, they’re coming to the Seattle on February 26th, so if that interests you, go for it.

http://stgpresents.org/neptune/calendar/eventdetail/485/-/strfkr


Damn Seattle, You Filthy

It’s OFFICIAL….. I’m running for Mayor of Seattle in 2025. Spread the word. We got a campaign to win.

-Macklemore

Oh man, This should be good. The current king of the Seattle music scene right now dropping this little gift for us on the first day of 2013? This is flipping awesome. Yeah it’s in 12 years, but  that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited now! Whatever you make of his music, that’s fine, but I’m not really sure there’s anyone out there that can call him a bad guy. Yeah he’s been through some rough times, but to potentially have a mayor where you already know his shady past and that he has overcome it? Don’t see how anyone can be more connected to the public than that. Also with a history of cultural aware songs like “Same Love” or “A Wake”, I’m sure that he’d make a great mayor. Obviously there will be some backlash to this because he’s a liberal guy, but hey, who knows? No you can’t have him; He’s ours to keep.

Go like Macklemore on Facebook!


Introducing-Joshua Baez

Hey you know that feeling you get when you listen to something and within 10 seconds, you just know that you want it downloaded into your music library for safekeeping? Then the next thing you know, it turns into some binge downloading, from one song to another, not even needing to listen to something through the whole way to know that it’s some damn good stuff? Reminiscent of some youtube adventures, this exact thing has just happened to me. I’d like to present y’all with this talented musician from Bellevue (whoop whoop, Washington!) named Joshua Baez.

This guy right here. He is good. Flat out. I don’t even really know what to say about him to be honest. His music is absolutely astounding. He calls his style a mixture of Alternative Rock and Indie Pop, but before we get into that aspect of his music, I really want to shed some light on the “Scores” part of his band camp. I don’t know where he got the inspiration for this or how he made it, but holy hell. I stopped writing this post for a while and I just looped all 7 songs over and over. I cannot describe what it is and why it’s so good, but I can just say it fit my mood exactly. So in a weird way, I guess the only way to describe these tracks are to describe how I was feeling. You know, sitting there and not really doing anything, but staring off into space. Not empty, pointless kind of space but where you’re actually thinking. Listening to it for a while, I knew that I had to look at some porn while I was at it. No not the kind of porn you’re probably thinking of, but some damn good earth porn. Yup, check some out right here if you want (Earth Porn!) It just made me feel like I wanted to pick myself up and place myself directly in those pictures to just sit and gaze for hours. Listening to these tracks just gave me some nostalgic feel, to what memories/feelings? I have no idea of, but it felt good. Just this warm feeling in the pit of my belly, kind of like you know things are going to be alright whatever happens and you can be content. Or you know, since it is winter time, it just gave me this feeling like I wanted to be outside, and the scene would be set perfect if I was chilling underneath a streetlight, snow falling around me and I was just feeling like I was good. As you can probably tell, I’m kind of rambling now, and it might not make sense, but those were the feels I got from these indescribable tracks. I will not single out any track. They are all fantastic. Choose one, play it and just go with the flow. Also, if you’re not in a calm mood or have no intentions to be, skip this for now. This is something to be appreciated and to be taken in completely.

A song written for our very own blogger, Dylan, for his short film “Titles Are Too Mainstream”. Here’s where I can heap on the praise for Joshua’s talent. If you’ve had the chance, you know “Scores” is already damn good, but for his songwriting/singing, he’s not one to pass over either, with this great track in “I Lost You”. Reminiscent of a young Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie’s lead singer), Joshua’s music just gives off the same feels as those of Gibbard’s. No it’s not because Joshua is from the Seattle area like Gibbard or that he has some damn cool covers of DCFC in the “Covers” section of his bandcamp, but rather because of Joshua’s lyrics and voice. With touches of vibes via lyrics from the D-Cab song “What Sarah Said” in a more upbeat tune, along with the uncanny familiarity of his voice that matches Gibbard’s in many aspects, I couldn’t help but immediately think of Gibbard when listening to this song. I always dig it when artists put little details into songs that aren’t the traditional guitar, bass, or drums etc, like the xylophone (correct me if I’m wrong?) in this track. This really made the song for me as it put that upbeat, hopeful feel into the song.


Here we go. Uke time. Seeing on his Facebook that he was part of a uke-piano duet, I went seeking for a track like that and “Please, Don’t Go Away” fits the bill. I haven’t really touched upon any songs that are uke and piano heavy, but a song that is just both those? wut. I was taken-aback by how much I appreciated the slow pace and chillness of this track. Once again, I’m sorry, I can’t describe the song. But I can give you one of the random thoughts that popped into my head. “Wouldn’t it be nice to just hop on a train and just leave somewhere with a significant other and just be carefree while the train bounces up and down?” + A random gif: 

Pretty weird, I know, but that’s the way my mind works when I can get some good songs to trigger these thoughts.

It only took me a few tracks to realize how chillax all of Joshua’s music is and I really dig that. If he isn’t a chill guy in real life, I’d be shocked. “White Wave”, one of his singles released online from his “Little Bird” album is just perfect. Why? Because for once I don’t have to describe what the song feels like to me because it’s all in the lyrics. Every aspect of this song just seems to fall into place perfectly and it’s awesome to single out different parts of the track and then smack them together again to hear the whole song. Best part of the song for me was the transition into a louder, more forceful sound around the 3 minute mark (you have to hear the transition).

Seeing as it is Christmas now, I think it’s fitting to leave you with Joshua’s little project called “25 Days of Christmas Cheer” where he leaves his own rendition of some good ol’ Christmas tunes. The cool thing about this specific one is that this is the slowest I have ever heard “Jingle Bells” ever sung. It’s distinctive and a bold presentation of the song, and for that, it deserves to be listened to with an open mind and a keen ear that tries to block out the traditional type of sound. It’s pretty damn cool actually, and if you dig it, listen to the rest of his songs all displayed up on his youtube page.

“I’m very passionate about music because I believe that music is a language that everyone speaks. We’ve all felt weak, helpless, alone, but with music, you suddenly don’t feel so alone. I want people to be able to connect with my music, to be able to relate to it. I want them to know that even when life is hard, it will get better. All you have to do is step back and breathe.” -Joshua Baez

Some damn good words there and I wished everyone could know the power that music can have on people. It’s more than just some sounds mashed together, but something magical that can make you feel anything ever. I don’t play any instruments, nor do I have anything to contribute to the music world besides an opinion and an opportunity to perhaps shine some light on some undiscovered music, but that doesn’t matter. We have people like Joshua to create what we cannot express with words sometimes and to feel like we’re not the only ones in this world ya know? His entire bandcamp is gold and it came at a perfect time for me. I downloaded a whole bunch (free music! Errone loves free music, Thanks Joshua!) and I let it just sit and play, which is why this post took so long (I started at 10:30 last night and it’s damn near 5 AM now).

You don’t have to read all my words or take them into account, but I just wanted to let Joshua know that his music has what it takes to make it big (especially on the internet) and thrive, so I’m doing my part to support him. I appreciate your music man and your approach to it is inspiring. Please take the time to visit these important links and follow up on Joshua. He’s good and it doesn’t hurt to let someone know that their efforts are not unnoticed. You can find all his music up on his bandcamp, except for a couple (C’mon Joshua, link ALL your songs to the bandcamp main page like “I Lost You”). Give yourself some time with this stuff, it’s not to be tossed around lightly. Happy Holidays!

Official: http://joshbaezmusic.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshbaezofficial
Music: http://joshbaezmusic.bandcamp.com/
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/joshbaezmusic
Tumblr: http://joshbaezmusic.tumblr.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/joshbaezmusic