Category Archives: Current Events

Iska Daaf Rescinds Demos

A couple of days ago I published an article (https://lifeafternirvana.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/introducing-iska-daaf/) about Iska Daaf, a new Seattle group composed of Mad Rad’s Buffalo Madonna and Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band’s Benjamin Verdoes. I passed along a link to the duo’s SoundCloud, a page that featured demos for two songs, “Happiness” and “Rumi”. Apparently, so did The Stranger (http://lineout.thestranger.com/lineout/archives/2012/07/17/iska-daaf). Two days later, and the demos have been removed. Are us bloggers to be blamed? Most definitely. Did I scoop these guys before The Stranger? I believe I did. Hire me.


Steezie Nasa ft. Nacho Picasso – Art of War

 

I’ve spoken highly of Nacho on this site many a time. To me, he represents something the city previously lacked – a rapper capable of significant national exposure. I’m planning a post that goes into detail on this in depth beyond the scope of Nacho’s crew Moor Gang, but I’ll tell you what has me excited about this video – it shows another element that the Seattle “scene” sorely lacks: a cohesive and cooperative group effort. Steezie Nasa is just one of a handful of Seattle rappers dropping tracks under the Moor Gang moniker. He, along with Nacho, Jarv Dee, and others are a crew. Seattle doesn’t have one of these. This can’t be coming from the 206, proud proprietors of artists who work by themselves and by themselves only. Macklemore, Blue Scholars, Sol, Shabazz Palaces – these are the front runners of Seattle’s rap scene. None of them work together. Shabazz works with TheeSatisfaction and that is the only current collaborative effort that the city can proudly boast. Moor Gang offers hope. These guys are going in together, with their own unique style that is separate from Seattle’s usual conscious fare. Thank god for these dudes. They offer promise and hope for a legitimate scene in Seattle to materialize.


The Neptune Brings You Cults!! A Concert Review

April 7th, 2012. That night will definitely go down in my memory as one the greatest  nights of my young life. Going to see one of my favorite bands of all time with some super tight people? Just sets the stage for a great night. So, CULTS!!! Man, I love these guys. Been a huge fan after hearing “Go Outside” a couple years back. It has been a great pleasure watching them grow popular and create great music, because they deserve it for the great music they make. So yesterday at The Neptune Theater in Seattle, I finally got to see them. And I can say they definitely did NOT disappoint. Absolutely fantastic. (This pic wasn’t anyone preforming yesterday by the way, just an idea of the venue)

Knowing how to work a crowd, Cults featured two artists before them, just to make the crowd wait. I’d like to say I liked both bands, but really, one of them sucked really bad and I couldn’t wait for them to leave the stage. Coupled with the Cults were Mrs. Magician and Spectrals.

Starting the night off was Mrs. Magician. To be blunt, I hated this band. Now, I respect them for what they’re doing, creating music, going after their dream, but really, I did not like them. A big problem throughout the night for all the bands were the vocals. It was SO hard to hear what the singers were saying. They kept on getting drowned out by the guitars and drums. It was very difficult to hear and that was probably the second most disappointing part of the night. First was the choice of letting this band play. Seriously, they were bad. I’m sorry, but in my opinion, I just flat out did not like the band. Really loud. Like very loud. It wasn’t good though. So you already have a problem with the sound of the vocals, but this band just tried to come in and bring the house down. They failed to do so. I saw more people covering their ears than rocking out with the band. I’m not sure what it was, but there was something about this band that I didn’t really like as they were coming out. Swaggering out and spitting like they owned the stage. They jumped right into their songs with a ferociousness that wasn’t really expected. The problem I had with them was that everything just sounded so generic. There were times when I was listening to them that I felt like they belonged on some Radio Disney stuff. Things I have heard hundreds of times before. Absolutely no originality in their sound. It felt like they were trying to be some beach rock band at one point and then a hard rock band at another. I may be wrong about what genre they are, but last night I didn’t really care whether or not I was right. It was just loud noise with some sort of garble coming from whatever the hell the singer was trying to say. I feel bad about bashing on Mrs. Magician, but I just did not like them. They were just way too loud and generic, nothing that I would even want to rock out to. If I can say one positive thing though, I can say I liked their drummer. Yes some of my like for him has to do with him reminding me of a young Darryl from the Walking Dead and Neil Patrick Harris, but whatever. There was a song where he substituted one of his drum sticks for a maraca, which I thought was very creative. Sounded pretty cool combined with the snare drum. So I pretty much didn’t like them. I was disappointed that they had to start off, but hey, maybe Cults were pretty smart after all. Start with the worst and build up to them. The next band that came up were the Spectrals.

This is a band that I really liked. Coming from England, is the Spectrals. They definitely made up for the terrible performance by Mrs. Magician. Coming out at first, I have to admit, this band looked goofy as hell. I mean the lead singer reminded me of Carrot Top (well at least his hair). I wasn’t expecting much out of them, but man did they blow me away. They were awesome! I had a lot of fun watching them. As soon as they started playing though, I started to pay attention. I mean they were good! It was definitely enhanced by the fact that they played softer than the previous band, but they still were good. Just a fun sound, and pretty chillax, without trying to overpower the crowd. The crowd didn’t really get into them at first, but after their first song, Spectrals had the crowd, myself included just hooked. Their sound was just so happy sounding and their lead singer had this awesome accent. This band is just so easy to cheer and root for, they’re like little underdogs, and everyone loves underdogs! I’m not calling them that, because their sound was bigger than the way they seemed. They pulled me in, I don’t know why to be honest. Within a couple songs, pretty much the entire crowd was clapping along and enjoying the performance. It was just a fun performance and they dug down and found the energy that was in the crowd. Huge props to them and I can’t do anything but sing praise for them. The band was just adorable (can’t think of anything else) and I loved watching them. The thing that I really liked about them was their ability to connect with the crowd. Of the three bands, they made the most effort to ask the crowd what was up and thank them for the cheers. Now onto my personal favorite part of their show. Their bass player. This man, Thomas Dean, is not even a part of the band, but he is just touring with them. I fucking love this man. Throughout the ENTIRE performance, he was ROCKING out hardcore. And listening to the Spectrals, it doesn’t even make sense for him to be rocking. It does not match their sound at all. But I really appreciated it. I enjoyed watching him just sweat like a mad man, bounce around, and rock back and forth. It was such a joy seeing someone just go at it, without the slightest worry of looking ridiculous. My friends and I called him “BassGod” during the show and he had no problem with, it, even giving us highfives for it. After the show most of the band came out and they were talking with the fans, so I enjoyed that. But Mr. BassGod was kind enough to even give me a free CD of his own band. I won’t forget this band’s performance.

BASSGOD!

Now to the band that the entire crowd had been waiting for: Cults. Two hours after the show technically began, they finally came out to the screams of the crowd. Now I’ve been following this band for a long time and getting to finally see them? I had my hopes up pretty high. And I can say they were not disappointed. Cults were AMAZING! From start to finish, they had the crowd absolutely hooked. People were hanging onto every word, bouncing and following every song. Everything about the show was great, the vocals (drowned out a bit, but still good), the sick lighting, the sound, and most of all the atmosphere. The energy was absolutely electric when they came onto the stage. Everyone was feeling it. Madeline Follin looked damn intimidating up there and about ready to bring the house down. And that’s exactly what happened. Opening song to the time they left the stage, the crowd was either jumping, screaming, clapping, cheering or whatever else a bunch of drunk people do. Man that performance was the greatest one I have ever seen and just being in the crowd and rocking with my friends was hella fun. Now to their set list. Starting out with Abducted, they went to The Curse, Never Heal Myself, Most Wanted, You Know What I Mean, Bumper, Never Saw The Point, Rave On, Everybody Knows, Walk At Night, everyone’s favorite: Go Outside, and finally Oh My God. I wish I could go into full detail about every single song, but I can just spare going into a few. I did love every single one though.

Abducted

Walking out onto the stage to the screams of the crowd, this was the perfect song to play. First starting out softly before leading into the drums; when this point came, I could see many people just start rocking out and I realized that the problem with understanding the lyrics were over. Everyone sang along to the parts that they knew. Combining the voices of several hundred people made a really cool environment. The song was just the fit. Singing along to the chorus was just great. Bouncing up and down to it was fun as well!

You Know What I Mean

One of their nice soft songs, listening to this live was just cool. I could just feel the crowd swaying back and forth which was cool. The song’s chorus (like all of their chorus’ are) was quite enjoyable to sing along to. I don’t really know what else to say about this one except that it was really good.

Go Outside

Okay, I’ll admit that I’ve been pretty lazy on the other song posts, but I’m pretty sure a lot of people just want to know how the hit song went. Worry about whether the high notes would be hit, if the Jim Jones intro would be the same, yada yada yada. Don’t worry. This song was spot on live. The crowd crooning along was just awesome, I could hear just about everybody in their singing along and really belting “I really want to go out. I really want to go outside” Whenever the chorus hit, I could just feel the energy rise into something I haven’t felt before. Everyone singing with the same amount of passion. Damn, that was just sick. There was nothing whiney about Follin’s voice or any lack from her part. She was spot on. And the fading parts to the song with the last few xylophone hits just made the hair on my neck stand up. Seriously amazing.

Cults left the stage to roaring cheers that were clearly well deserved. I will NEVER forget this night, as the concert was the greatest one I have ever been to hands down. Props to all the bands that played and especially to the electric crowd. No doubt about this concert though, if I had another chance to go see Cults, I wouldn’t hesitate for one second.

Like Cults on Facebook!

Like Spectrals on Facebook!

Like Mrs. Magician on Facebook!

Like US on Facebook!

(ALL PHOTO CREDITS GO TO JOE NGUYEN)


One Year Later: Life After Nirvana (I Can’t Believe It)

It all started because my computer could no longer burn cds. In 2009 I decided to stop by Dylan’s house unannounced and just chill with him. Well at least that was what I said to him. You see, I had a bit of a more devious plan when I came over that day. My mother had effectively shut down any possibility of my brother or I getting an ipod for fear of our liberal use of the headphones and loud music, so it was all about the 90’s and early 2000’s approach…burning cds. Everything was fine and dandy until my computer hard drive could no longer read the cds to burn. Just like that, my solution for my technological backwardness was wiped clean (well that and my mother deleted all the files off of my itunes library as punishment for misbehaving). It was off to the library and checking out cds to give to Dylan so that he could grab the tracks for his itunes, which would eventually provide enough tracks for me to continue my practice. It became a weekly ritual, where I would swing over for no more than thirty minutes, talking to Dylan about school and life while itunes was getting some new tracks. As the school year ended and summer began, I would come to visit Dylan nearly everyday, each time bringing new music along me. These visits became so frequent, that even my mother began to stop questioning whenever I went out for run in the evening (she knew where I was going).  Although the original purpose was to share music with one another, our interactions became much more than that. I can remember exactly how Dylan and I would spend time together. I would be sitting on the cheap ass, broken-down pool table while Dylan would sit in his brown leather chair. We would lament about our first world problems (relationships obviously), tease each other about the failings of our sports teams (seriously the Ravens are choke artists at the finest), and sometimes we would sit there and not say a word at all. However, we would always have music playing in the background, whether it was the sunny pop of “Lust for Life” by Girls, or passionate yelps of The Born Ruffians in “I Need a Life”.  Dylan and I turned to each other because we both had something to offer, but music was what helped us become pals to best buds. Eventually as the years went on, I finally got my computer fixed and upgraded to a more convenient way to gain access to new music: blogs. In particular, I showed one very important site to Dylan. It is called hypem. a vast collection of music blogs that constantly update and post new songs of all genres. Beautiful, absolutely beautiful.

It all started because of a facebook status. In early February of 2011, Dylan posted about his desire to create a blog that would give back as much musical content to hypem as much as he took from it. He asked if any of his friends were interested in this endeavor. Of course, given the nature of facebook, he had plenty of likes, but no one really commented to signify a shade of commitment. So Sir Dylan gathered a half-dozen names and sent a group message about the possibility of being apart of a music blog. Some the folks were inspired and went out to form their own blogs, while other people never did get around to committing to the work needed to get the project off the ground. Look, I get it. In a world already engulfed by excess, why bother caring about another music blog in a field already over saturated with them? Despite it all, Dylan did not relent even once. His enthusiasm and musical knowledge more than made up for the small group of people who signed up to begin Life After Nirvana. It took a lot of patience and hard work, but a year later we were able to celebrate the success of Life After Nirvana…via the blog’s own facebook page (Yeah yeah yeah we were very late to the party).

It all started because each and every single person on this blog is addicted to music in one form or another. For some of us, our relationship with music is physical, as we grip the tools of our craft, ready to produce sounds that will eventually be refined to become melodies. For others, the relationship is more mental, as we sit back and admire how these people work tirelessly to create art for our appreciation.  For all of us, we have an emotional relationship with music. The source we turn to when we can’t verbally articulate the emotions we are feeling at the moment. The medium that assists us in achieving catharsis. The unifying source that allows us to communicate with others despite the grand differences in our life experiences and expectations.

So what song can capture even a trace of what I am trying to communicate here? I think I got something here to capture not only the joys and frustration of blogging during this first year while still capturing the excitement that we still got for the future.

LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends (right click to download)

What a beautifully bittersweet song this is. The endless repetition of the same guitar, clumsy piano chords, keyboard  produce this jumbled loop that is one bad move away from becoming a convoluted mess. Kind of like the blog starting out (seriously, if you look at our early work, it is laughable). However, as the song builds up and leads to the mammoth percussion section and joyful guitar riff begins to change the song’s dynamics entirely, despite the core of the sound still being retained. Soon the imprecise sound of the piano serves not as a hindrance to the overall work, but rather as a reminder that the imperfections are basis of authenticity. Our blog isn’t the most polished one there is, but it is ours. Each mistake we make, each success we have, those are of our own. Nothing can take away from that.

While the song “All My Friends” maturely concludes with the acceptance of being older and moving on from past regrets, I hope that Life After Nirvana and its bloggers will be able to continue to share the music that they love, not only for the sake of our small but faithful audience, but to share with one another. It ain’t high school anymore, and though some of us are at the same college ( or will be), our different lives dictate that we won’t be in close proximity and constant personal interaction with each other as we once had back at Woodinville. What matters then are our sustained efforts to keep connected. It’s been a damn pleasure working with y’all. I think the last lines of the song say it best.

Where are your friends tonight?
Where are your friends tonight?

If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight
If I could see all my friends tonight

In concluding this post,  I want to give a shout out to my boy Dylan V (the only blogger not stationed in Washington because of his prestigious status as a USC brat boy majoring in film and screenwriting). It’s been ages since I last saw you and by god I miss you. Cheers friend, may our blog continue to hold up so that we can continue not only our love for music, but our friendship.

As an extra bonus, I went back and searched through the message archives of the initial message exchanges between potential bloggers. To be concise, a certain individual did not endear himself to the rest of the group and was asked not to participate. Read some of the comments left by this jilted lover.

March 25th 2011

  • “hahahahahahahahahaha.How’s that music blog coming along? Lots of witty, insightful, generally wonderful reviews that I see on that non deserted wasteland of a blog.”
  •  Just looked at the blog today, saw there were no posts. I just found it funny that after all the prep, and planning and whatnot, it never came to be.
  • I await for the final and continuing product, and will humbly retract my statements once I see the completion of this blog.

May 1, 2011

  • “I humbly retract my statements.”

Oh buddy. If you did such when the blog was just starting out, I wonder what would be the reaction if you were to see the blog now? Eat crow fella.


Reintroducing The Morning Benders as POP ETC

Before I begin, I would like to show you all something. You may have seen this commercial before.

The song is “Excuses” by the Morning Benders…only problem is, they aren’t the Morning Benders

A few days ago, The formally known Morning Benders took to Facebook and Twitter, to announce that it would be “their last post/tweet as The Morning Benders”

Soon after that band announced on their old website that they had actually changed their name to POP ETC citing the following:

1. We simply cannot go on using a name that is demeaning to the gay community. The reason we are making music is to reach and unite as many different kinds of people as possible, and the idea that our name may be hateful towards anyone makes us sick.

2. In the UK and many parts of Europe the name has simply become too distracting. The MUSIC has always been our number one focus, and we want to present that to people in as pure a way as possible

I know that many people around the world have grown to love the name “The Morning Benders,” and understandably have memories and experiences associated with it. Obviously we can understand this, we’ve lived and breathed this band for 7 years. However, for those of you that know and follow us, you also know that we are committed to change. We’ve always promised our fans that we will never settle into a place that feels safe and easy, because that leads to boring art. It is true that we didn’t anticipate this specific twist in the road when we set out on this musical journey, but we still like to think of this as merely a further embodiment of our commitment to change. We believe that it will only lead to new growth and excitement.

Thank you for your attention, your love, and your support.

From henceforth we shall be known as POP ETC

In case any of you are confused, “bender” in the UK and Europe is a degrading term for “homosexual”, which makes this name change extremely thoughtful and classy. Following the announcement, the band  dropped a new, free mixtape,  “Mixtape”, which you can download from their new website. It seems to be a radical departure from the band’s previous material, so I guess the name change was both supporting the diversity of their fans and the expression of a new musical sound.

Pop Etc

So about that song “Excuses”…it’s a truly wonderful song. Check out a live performance here (start at the :50 mark)


Frank Ocean “White”

You know, one of these days all these snippets that Frank Ocean releases will eventually make up a full fledged song to be thoroughly enjoyed. For now, we can only sigh and deconstruct the scraps that this soulful crooner drops every now and then. Odd Future will release their group album, OF Tape Vol. 2, on March 20 (next Tuesday) and Frank Ocean has contributed one solo track to the overall production. Knowing the track record of the rest of the members, something tells me that this will be the only source for some soulful bliss. Then again, you wouldn’t buy a Odd Future production for that kind of stuff would you?

It is amazing to know that Frank Ocean’s  last two songs haven’t been longer then 2 minutes, yet it retains the impact that demands your attention. The two-minute “White” is a fantastic tease of a slow jam built mostly around Ocean singing with a soft keyboard as backup. The tender lyrics reveals a very introspective look at how love changes over the course of life and the blast of horns and strings at the very end leaves it at an absolutely aching cliff hanger. The incompleteness of these songs and the mystery regarding to why these tracks are produced in this fashion do not supersede the beautiful melodies, but they certainly do make the story of Frank Ocean even more compelling now.

UPDATE: Since the youtube has been taken down, just stream it here

Lyrics:

Could this be earth, could this be light
Does this mean everythings going to be alright
One look out my window theres trees talking like people
I dreamt of storms, I dreamt of sound
I dreamt of gravity keeping us around
I slept in the darkness it was lonely and it was silent
What is this love, i dont feel the same
Don’t believe what this is, could be given a name
I awoke you there chasing planets on my forehead
But I forget 23 like i forget 17
And I forget my first love, like you forget a day dream
And what of all my wild friends, and the times I’ve had with them
But I’ll fade to grey soon on the tv station

“White” (iTunes)

Frank Ocean is also featured on “Snow White” with Hodgy and “Analog 2” with Tyler and Syd on The OF Tape Vol. 2.


SXSW 2012 Downloads

As you may know, SXSW, a music festival in Austin is near the end of its scheduled run. With that, many bands are getting a chance to increase their exposure and sharpen their skills in front of crowds. However, there are so many bands playing it is hard to know which ones to really check out. Have no fear, some fella over at Listen Before You Buy went through all the artists and put up the best. Here’s what he said:

“For the past few years the organisers of the SXSW festival have included an MP3 with each artists they feature on their site who is appearing at the festival, as a wee taster of what to expect from said artist.

At the same time some awesome fellow organises all of the free (and legal) MP3s featured on theSXSW website and makes them available as a Torrent file. For the last couple of years I’ve spent a month or so going through all of these songs and picking out my favourites, so you can have a sweet little playlist of awesome free music to either soundtrack your roadtrip to the festival, or check out some of the great things going on if you’re unable to make it.

Last year there were 792 songs to listen to, this year there were 771, but here’s the process I went through.

  • Three weeks of listening to all 771 songs and artists
  • Going back through the 233 that I’d picked out as extra special awesome, and making sure they were still awesome on the second listen (they were)
  • Making sure all of the songs had the correct ID3 tags and were labeled properly
  • Putting the songs into groups of ZIP files
  • Uploading each ZIP file to Mediafire and then posting them below
  • Uploading all of the songs to the excellent SoundOwl.
  • Copying the MP3 location from SoundOwl, highlighting the song in the post and pasting the MP3 link so that it plays on this here page…..233 times
  • And finally going through each song on this page and making sure they all worked (they did)

So there you have it. 233 free MP3s curated by LBYB for your perusal. Let us know what you think in the comments and who your favourites are.  We’re going to have a few staff members at SXSW this year so if you see us somewhere and know what we look like (no, we don’t look like douchebags actually) come and say hello.”

Clearly amazing. Check out the link to really find out some fantastic artists (the SHEER size is amazing).

The best of SXSW 2012