Archive for the ‘LA’ Category

Trends repeat themselves. We all know this. We try to hold on to things that seem classic and may come back with full force in the future but marked up in price x10. (Beanie babies never got there and never will) Some things I question. Like overalls. I was a real overall girl in the 90s. I had corduroy overalls for the winter and denim overalls I wore to death that my mom put star shaped patches in to cover up the holes. I was even in the trend of not fastening one of the straps and letting it flop around. If you wore both straps buttoned, you were unfashionable. How ridiculous! ¬†Now, they are charging hundreds for a pair of overalls and adults are wearing them! Okay. This isn’t a post about overalls. This is a post about music, so how is this all relevant?

The line between creativity and “genius” and “copying” or having been influenced within music is a thin one. It’s hard to be really creative with music. It’s easy to say ‘Oh this sounds like this band or that band.’ If a band sounds similar to another band does that make them unoriginal? Should things we once like be repeated and proliferate?

Popular music these days sounds like ___(you fill in the blank)___.

So when we hear music that doesn’t sound like today’s music we get a little shocked. It’s original for mainstream, but in the scheme of things, its kind of been done before.

Lately I have been listening on repeat to two artists who sound “old.” I’ve also been listening to Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles as per usual, but I still go back and listen to these two songs because although they sound familiar and like they could’ve been written in the 60s, they’re different.

Here’s a brief background on each:

Foxygen:¬†¬†This is a band that started in 2005 out of Westlake Village, California by two guys–Jonathan Rado and Sam France. The song I’ve been listening to is called “San Francisco” and it comes from their album fittingly titled: We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic. I really like the chorus.

Tame Impala:¬†Kevin Parker from Perth, Australia leads this band, and although I like the whole album Lonerism, the song “Elephant” is probably the most accessible. By the way, fun fact of the day, Impala is a medium sized antelope.

overalls in middle school

overalls in middle school. not repeating that trend.

Cooper and Ian AGAIN! If you have been following my blog (and if you haven’t you should), you’ll know that Cooper and Ian shot one music video partially in my bedroom¬†and that these two cousins won SXSW’s best music video. ¬†I think they’re changing the world of music videos. A beautiful metamorphosis, at that. All of their videos make you want to know what is going to happen at the end. They are unpredictable while still cradling the music well. This newest video is by Mr. Little Jeans who is, in fact, a female from Norway.

Dance to it, drive to it, get mad to it, make love to it, cry to it, but whatever you do, watch it.

 

 

 

 

After the recent collaborations on main-stream TV (Grammy’s and SNL) of Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar, one could question…Is Imagine Dragons turning hip-hop? Does the band with Utah roots and Mormon members secretly want to spit rhymes like Kendrick Lamar? Adoring and God-fearing teen fans are also fearing this may be true–pleading on Instagram and Facebook: “Please don’t change!” “Kendrick Lamar ruined your songs” or “My mom wont let me listen to your music if you start cursing.”

imagine dragons and kendrick lamar post grammys

imagine dragons and kendrick lamar post grammys

Here are my two cents. Their live performances are definitely different with Kendrick Lamar. Dan Reynold’s voice is less fluid and “song-like” when Kendrick is about to get on the stage. In youtube videos from 2012 and 2013, his voice sounds more like the recording on the CD, but in recent shows such as the Grammy’s and SNL, his voice lends itself to harsher, more broken patterns emphasizing the rhyme. His mannerisms are also more hip-hop-esque. Flicking his shirt up like “it ain’t no thang,” “point out the bounce” [Jay-Z reference] in his step while he’s singing.

But it’s all good. You’ve got to prepare yourself for when you’re on the stage with Kendrick [just guessing]. And for all the kids out there who are scared Imagine Dragons is going to change…they wont. How many really successful bands change genres amidst the height of their career? But even if they did, is wanting to be like Kendrick Lamar so bad? Some people look at hip-hop and automatically judge it as being all about money, sex, having your way with any girl around, alcohol, big booties, violence, drugs etc. Or at least that’s what the majority of the Grammy voters [aged 50+] probably thought.

But when you listen to Kendrick Lamar, who by the way should’ve won all those Grammy’s, you hear something else–something original, something positive.

1. Swimming Pools: No. He’s not telling you to “Drank”

“now I done grew up round some people livin their life in bottles, granddaddy had the golden flask, backstroke every day in Chicago.” He’s relating to those people who live with alcoholics. His granddaddy is swimming/drowning in alcohol, and that’s not a good thing.

2. The Art of Peer Pressure

Rush a nigga quick then laugh about it later, aye aye aye aye
Really I’m a peacemaker but I’m with the homies right now

And momma used to say
One day, it’s gon’ burn you out

Kendrick describes peer pressure in full, detailed artistry, and how it’s easy to get mixed up in but that there are so many positive things and forces. We are all really Good Kids in a Mad City.

I could go on…but to close, what were Kendrick’s actual verses at the Grammy’s?

Bury me alive, bury me with pride
Bury me with berries, that forbidden fruit and cherry wine
Thank you berry much, but tonight’s my night and I’m Barry Bonds
Swingin’ for the fences, barbaric Kendrick in idle time

Everything in life’s subject to change, change whip, change grind
Change clothes, change opinions, right before I change my mind
I don’t really know yah business, been in there since I was bendin’ Lego blocks
Now you tell the world about me, dry snitch

Tater tots on my shotgun, now I gotta pop one at the stars
Sky’s the limit, I gotta finish as the first rapper on Mars
Mark my word, I’mma make my mark, even when they start their Martial Law
Even when these Martians alienate, my mental state is still at heart

Look in my eyes, tell me I died, tell me I tried, to compromise
Tell me you love me, tell me that I, don’t give a f*** and can barely decide
Wishin’ good luck on my enemies, all of my energy go to the almighty God
I could drown in a bottle of Hennessy, f*** your amenities, I’m gettin’ better with time

A few of my favorite meanings: “dry snitch”–when a person accidentally says something about somebody to the police. He says it regarding the fans or non-fans who are snitching on him and thereby spreading his music around.

“tater-tots”-potatoes were used to silence guns. In this case, making a potato into a childish thing kids like to eat but still saying he’s going to knock down all the other rap-stars in his way.

And then the last stanza says he doesn’t care if you’re a hater. He wishes you luck because he’s going to make it no matter what. Hate is just going to drag you down.

See IMAGINE LAMAR on SNL 

(more…)

“Light Side of the Moon” is the third track on Luna Achiary’s, or as I like to call her Miss Moon’s, newest album, More Human Than God. It’s certainly a¬†play on words of Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and later on we get another track title that mimics the English band’s– “Breathe.” But it’s not just the similarities in the words. Luna’s entire album lends itself to being the centerpiece at a vibey party where some hip chick wearing a full length skirt and a second-hand plaid button-up resides. There may or may not be drugs at this party. The girl has just removed a Pink Floyd LP (you choose)…next up, Luna Achiary’s¬†More Human Than God.¬†

You’ve got to listen to this album from head to toe…no bathroom breaks. Ok, go ahead and go if you drank too much. This album flows; it transitions nicely, yet you never know what you’re going to get in the next 15 seconds. It’s an ocean. There are lulls and gentle waves and roaring tidal waves. The thing has you on the edge really. That’s what I love about Luna’s music. At the tender age of 24, she’s not afraid, and you can tell that through her music. She is experimental. She is the female Pink Floyd. I just looked up a female version of the name Floyd, and it doesn’t exist. Anyway. Pink Luna Achiary. Also, what the heck is she singing about?? She’s got a real nice boyfriend (who, by the way recorded and mixed this album, Johannes Raassina), but she’s talking about all this cray stuff in her lyrics that I’m pretty sure isn’t about him.¬†

Luna also has a pretty unique music video for her song, “Friends”. The video really captures the message she is singing. If you don’t listen to the lyrics you might not understand it. And thank goodness she’s not following trend and attracting attention with #twerking….but instead this

If you live in LA, make sure you come see her performing¬†More Human than God¬†live at The Joint. Judging from the last live performance of hers, this one is sure to be explosive. If you’re not in LA, support her creativity and get her album (link at the top).

Image

 

 

 

Ever notice how people who are uncomfortable or can’t stand silence talk about the weather? It’s easy. You’re both living in it. It’s hard to go wrong. It’s hot, it’s cold, it’s snowing, it’s raining.

Tonight is windy. 

I live in Los Angeles, where the weather is as certain as the traffic. So when it deviates from the norm. it’s an easy topic to talk about. It can become more interesting when instead of the falling leaves of Autumn we get smacked in the head with a palm frond the size of a whale tail with shark-like razor ridges on the edges. Fun. Raking isn’t so easy. Jumping in the pile when you’re done? I wouldn’t advise small children to do it let alone adults.

Tonight I can hear the wind over my thoughts, which is good. I’m listening to Atoms for Peace latest album, Amok. I’ll be seeing them in concert here in October.

Tonight I’m on Default repeat. The beginning of it makes me go a little loopy and then I fall…drowsily…down…into the…words and the layering of beats. I’m pretty tired. The weather …can’t… interrupt….

It slipped my mind. And for a time. I felt completely free
Oh what a troubled Silent, poor boy. A pawn into a queen
I laugh now. But later is not so easy
I’ve gotta stop.¬†The will is strong
But the flesh is weak.

I guess that’s it.¬†I’ve made my bed.¬†And I’m lying in it.¬†

I’m still hanging on.¬†Bird upon the wires.¬†I fall between the waves

I avoid your gaze. I turn out of phase. A pawn into a queen

I laugh now,
But later is not so easy
I’ve gotta stop
The will is strong
But the flesh is weak
I guess that’s it
I’ve made my bed
And I’m lying in it

But it’s eating me up
But it’s eating me up
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all the snakes on my heads)
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all my snails on my heads)
It’s eating me up (If I could feel all my snares on my head)

url

It’s not often that I like every song on an album, and it’s even a rarer¬†occurrence¬†for me to like the songs after only one listen.

On Aug 21st, Timekeeper, Lucy Schwartz’s latest album, was released into the universe (you can buy it on Aug. 27th) during her spectacular CD release party that truly took everyone back in time. I arrived at No Vacancy in Hollywood expecting a door facing the street, but was instead led to a backdoor entrance with a long line. “Hotel Juniper-No Vacancy.” We were handed masks, told to step inside, 5 at a time, and immediately…time warp–reminiscent of the 20s or some Disneyland theme park ride where the floor drops out from beneath you. From the little hallway I was expecting it to lead into a bigger room, but instead the door opened up to a bedroom of a “prostitute.” The scantily clad lady was talking, but all I could do was look at the surroundings. My group was nervously laughing. All of the sudden, the bed was cut in half, slid open and stairs appeared. Who knew prohibition could be this fun?!

Image

The venue was outside for Lucy. Great atmosphere with lights strung and her trailer for timekeeper was playing above us on brick walls. Greatest trailer for an album ever! And must be seen here¬†Her band was set up on a southern looking porch and smack dab in the middle was the time machine (seen in the linked video). There was a huge crowd. I heard that some people couldn’t get in because they hit max capacity. ¬†I was in the front row…being the reporter that I am. ūüôā

With my drink, the Royal Swizzle, in hand, the music began. I must say that this album is a lot different from the last, “Keep Me”. It’s more versatile. It shows all different styles of her voice, her music and yes…time. At moments, I felt like I was in an underground basement in Brooklyn listening to indie rock, other times I felt like I was in a field of flowers with a bunch of other love children singing along. There were even times where it became “croony”…you know like country, but the good, old kind of country. Timekeeper really embodies many eras, and Lucy’s¬†virtuosity¬†in both song writing and musicianship make each song shine a special light.

Image

I already have a signed copy. Pre-order Timekeeper through iTunes. More info on her site http://www.lucyschwartzmusic.com/

….so I have this secret…shhh….and if it got out, people might think I was crazy.

I wasn’t that excited for the new Arrested Development season to come out on Netflix. [insert gasp here] I guess I was a late bloomer as far as tv shows go and never got into it. But whatever, the hype was all over social media, and I went along with the excitement as people told me eagerly about the Arrested Development banana party they were going to or how they planned on watching all of the shows that evening while sipping on juice.

My excitement was for a little something different. I’ve written about Lucy Schwartz before on this blog (feel free to search her name on here). She is one of my more popular Aural Fixations. Her albums remain on my 16gb iPhone while others get rotated off or deleted to make more room for my other app necessities. I don’t tire of her music. To me, everyone else’s excitement of Arrested Development paralleled mine for new songs by Lucy and this is what I did instead of going to a tv show party–I listened on repeat to the two new songs that were featured on Arrested Development (her pop wrote the music for the tv show and was of course a big part of her song). ‘Boomerang,’ one of my favorite songs she has done, was featured in the finale. Listen below and try to not listen to it more than once (or attempt to tap dance for that matter). Just try. And make sure to check out her new album that comes out on August 6th, Timekeeper.

There’s a free download link to the song below the youtube video

Last night it was pouring rain in Los Angeles, which is a unique experience…kind of like watching this video. I can just see some weird scene that is similar to this happening somewhere in LA.

Ian & Cooper…they did it again!

Couldn’t get this song out of my head BECAUSE of this video when I first saw it. Enjoi.

this time I don’t feel like writing much. but if you haven’t heard of Kendrick Lamar Duckworth (Yeah you read it right…his last name is Duckworth) listen to his album good kid, m.A.A.d city. This 25 year old can rap.

Ever heard of this song? “I Can’t Live Without You.” No? Let’s play the name game! Which one of these people have you not heard of: Skrillex, Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Al Walser. Wait? Did I hear your mind say Al Walser? I haven’t heard of him either and neither have a lot of people who are “in the know.”
who-is-al-walser_16x9_620x350
Funny thing is Al Walser, who performed, produced and mixed the elusive “I Can’t Live Without You” is up for a Grammy nomination. Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about supporting the indie/niche music market, but for an unknown artist to be a GRAMMY nominee is shocking. Something has gone awry. No one has ever been unknown when they’re up for the king of all music awards, and I’ve been an avid Grammy awards watcher since I was old enough to stay up that late. So, I did a little snooping. Why is Al in the running for Best Dance Music Recording? And secondly, would I dance to this song? To address question number one, I browsed the interwebs. MTV writes “Walser credited his nomination to “nourishing” his fellow Grammy voters. Indeed, he worked diligently over the years to make sure all the right people knew who he was. The flipside to Walser’s good fortune, however, is that all eyes are now on him ‚ÄĒ and the new attention isn’t all good.” You gotta hand it to him. He probably worked harder “nourishing” his voters than Skrillex. According to the Huffington Post, the Grammy board of voters are all over the age of 40. Judging from this vote, they must also all be in need of some extra cash $.

Now that I and other more notable music publications are writing about him, Andrew Spada, VP of Dancing Astronaut says “He’s getting exactly what he wanted: notoriety and his 15 minutes of fame.” His music isn’t worth much, so I’d say this is about the lowest form of a one-hit-wonder.

Let us reflect on Al Walser’s closing statement during an interview: ‚ÄúI’ve been a [Grammy] voter for years. And there were some relationships that were established. Especially me being in Los Angeles. They see me. I perform in Los Angeles, and I let them be a part of the process of the song growing. I’ll shoot an email to a few of the guys and say, ‘Look do you like this? This is how the hook sounds. What do you think?’ … There are thousands and thousands of [Grammy voters]. I’m not connected to all of them, but they can grasp me. They know Al Walser”

do they know Al Walser?

Watch below. I don’t blame you if you stop it before it ends. I guess that answers question number two.