Category Archives: Music

DJ curated music blog featuring new music, old music, good music, weird music, your music, my music, or whatever.

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SONG OF THE DAY: Mellowhigh – Mellowhigh (Prod. by Larry Fisherman)

A friend recently turned me on to a series by Mass Appeal called Rhythm Roulette. Producers are blindfolded and choose three random vinyls that they use to craft a beat. The videos are fascinating and do a good job artfully translating the passion and creativity contained within the minds of some of hip-hop’s biggest names. Rhythm Roulette belies a larger trend in hip-hop of producers gaining significant followings and at times even eclipsing the popularity of mainstay rappers. Some highlights of the series include:

9th wonder

Big Krit (raps a verse as well on this one)

Mac Miller (still lived at his dad’s house when this was filmed)

Mac Miller dons the magic of his character, Larry Fisherman, and cooks up a particularly unique beat in this episode. Fisherman has fallen off the map as of late, but there are some underrated songs floating around produced by Miller’s whimisically named alter-ego. One of these such songs is “Mellowhigh” which he produced for the OF duo, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain. The beat on this track lays low for the first 1:55 of the song and then kicks off its shoes and starts kicking you in the face after that. In the age of the soundbite, popular artists have taken to manufacturing songs that grab the listener from the first moments of the song. Mellowhigh and Fisherman employ a more understated approach on this song and the result is a complex hip-hop track worthy of at least a couple of listens.

Song of the Day: The United States of America – The American Metaphysical Circus

This song is from one of my favorite albums. The man behind it, Joseph Byrd, moved from New York (where he was studying under John Cage) to Los Angeles in late 1963. So he did what anyone would do: he joined the Communist party, started an experimental rock band, and called the band The United States of America. Byrd wanted the project to be “an avant-garde political/musical rock group with the idea of combining electronic sound, musical/political radicalism, and performance art.” So, it being the 60s and all, the band was signed to a major label.

Gone are the days of major labels signing experimental psychedelic bands self described as politically radical. But damn, I’m glad those days happened. Like so many of the best psych bands from the 60s, The United States of America only recorded one album. Soon after the album released, the band broke up. Still, they left behind an explosive, cutting edge record. This track is the first on the album, and it really sets the tone for the record. Unlike most psychedelic bands at the time, the band had no guitar player. Instead, Byrd and company relied on strings, bass, keyboards and most notably electronics. Any late 60s band that uses primitive hand-built synthesizers and ring modulators is right up my alley, and Byrd’s use of electronics is exceptional.  He seamlessly incorporates avant-garde influences to his music, which is experimental but still catchy and very melodic. Dorothy Moskowitz’s singing is mesmerizing and fits the band perfectly. Gordon Marron gets a crazy range of tones on his violin, from overdriven lead guitar to 19th century classical. This song, like the whole album, is a trip. Dig it.

Song of the day: This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody) –– Talking Heads

I’ve been listening to a bunch of cover albums lately, and quite often covers of this song come up (this one’s a good one –– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6qWJPglDkB0), and I usually love them. Today, though, the original came on the radio and I remembered how fucking fantastic this song is. “Home is where I want to be/but I guess I’m already there” is weirdly resonant.

Hopefully I’m not alone in thinking that David Byrne is a genius, but even if you’re not a big fan of Talking Heads, I’ve found that even those (foolish) people who aren’t usually into Talking Heads still love this song, so definitely worth a listen.

Song of the Day: Woods – Can’t See It All

Woods has been one of the most consistent bands over the past decade, releasing one solid lo-fi psych-folk record after another on lead vocalist/songwriter Jeremy Earl’s Woodsist label. That being said, Woods usually never deviates far from their roots. While Woods has never dropped a downright bad album, the band has certainly become predictable. Or so I thought. Woods new record, City Sun Eater in the River of Light (review comin’ soon, maybe) is Woods’ most adventurous and experimental record to date. Here, Woods explores some new territory, with prevalent reggae and jazz influences. “Can’t See It All” is a prime example of this stylistic shift, and the results are fantastic. Like any Woods song, lead singer Jeremy Earl delivers his vocals in his instantly recognizable falsetto. The wah-wah lead guitar and organ with gentle vibrato that kick off the track are uncharacteristic for Woods, but are very welcome changes. The organs give this track a dubby feel, reminiscent of Lee Perry or The Upsetters, and the creeping, ominous synth lead is almost Residents-like. This is a much more electrified, inspired, and ambitious song for Woods: textured, vibrant, psychedelic and catchy. Dig it.

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SONG OF THE DAY- “Glowed Up” feat. Anderson Paak – Kaytranada

 

Today’s track is gifted to us from producer Kaytranada featuring  Anderson Paak. The quintessential Kaytranada bass line plus with the alto vocals of Anderson Paak equals an emotive and eerie track. This song brings imagery of neon lights and halloween. The music video is the perfect visual accompaniment to this track by placing the viewer and listener in the mystical world of Kaytranada.   With his recent coming out to his fans as homosexual and the upcoming release of his album “99.9%”, Kaytranada is an artist to watch.  Nearing 100%, we wait until Kaytranada leaves his lab and shares what else he has created.

 

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SONG OF THE DAY: Dave Matthews- “Digging a Ditch”

run to your dreaming when you’re alone. unplug the TV. turn off your phone. get heavy on with digging a ditch. cause I’m digging a ditch where madness gives a dam, digging a ditch where silence lives. digging a ditch for when I’m old, digging this ditch my story’s told. where all this trouble weighed down on me will rise. run to your dreaming when you’re alone, where all these questions spinning around my head will die. digging a ditch for when I’m through. digging this ditch I’ll dig it for you. where all this worry weighed down on me will rise, where all these habits that pull heavy at my heart will die. run to your dreaming where you’re alone, not what you should be or what you’ve become. just get heavy on with digging a ditch. cause I’m digging a ditch where madness gives a damn. digging a ditch where silence lives. where all this disappointment grown angry out of me will rise, will die. run to your dreaming where you’re alone. unplug the TV, turn off your phone. get heavy on with digging your ditch. 

The song subtly articulates meditation, as it contains captivating key concepts signifying the practice’s elements. The words essentially illuminate the liberation a tranquil mind carries. 

The initial diction “run to your dreaming” supports the decision to ride beneficial thought patterns. The qualities associated with dreaming (imaginative, limitless, playful, unrestricted, wonderful) are youthful and essentially pure. The artist honors the subject’s capability to produce stories, derived from raw experience and revealed unconsciously. The artist values beautiful material the mind effortlessly generates, suggesting innate human divinity. 

Matthews empowers the attuned by illustrating the heaviness sensitivity breeds as wonderful without its overwhelming characteristic. To propel personal growth, we “get on heavy with digging a ditch”. We lovingly embrace the sensations by creating space for them to manifest fully and therefore be more clearly understood. Consequentially, feeling deeply becomes celebrating the stimuli itself, rather than struggling with our personal impressions. The artist assigns humans agency, as we are capable of digging a ditch to surpass seeing sensitivity as inhibitory. To move forward is not to diminish one’s sensations, but rather to lightly create space which alleviates their overwhelming quality. 

With awareness, “madness gives a dam”. Dam is defined as a barrier constructed to hold back water and raise its level, the resulting water being used as supply. Digging a ditch involves optimizing the madness with thought-management. With the breath, the individual gradually ceases contemplation about the madness. It transforms into a supply of passion without judgement. The emotion remains strong but there is not a need to identify it. Therefore, it is simply good. The breath’s function originates with constructing a barrier to combat madness and eventually disintegrates it into nothing.   

The purpose of the dreaming is to create free-flowing habitual thought patterns that eventually fade into nothing. Silence allows for total absorption, complete emptiness so that the world’s life force is potent within. We feel complete connection because it is the same wave from which our own essence is derived. One love. Essentially, the practice creates silence, and closeness with our most fundamental source.   

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SONG OF THE DAY: “Eye to Eye” by Astronauts, etc.

Fresh out of California, Anthony Ferraro is the frontman in Astronauts, etc. He was originally studying classical music at Berkley, but dropped out of the orchestral route due to arthritis and began to explore his creative possibilities. He now produces laid back, melodic pop tunes and has established a live band to tour with. Eye to Eye is the 5th track from the 2015 album “Mind Out Wandering,” recorded in San Francisco using fully analog technology.

Check it:

 

 

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With Notes of Change


             Interview of TouchIt’s Lead Singer Jack Douglas by Eliza Mott


photo credit Emilia Whitmer


Could you start by introducing yourself?

Hello my name is Jack Douglas, I’m a senior and I like Rock’n’Roll.

 

Where are you from?

I was born in Denver and grew up in Atlanta Georgia

 

So can you tell me a little bit about your band? How you guys came together?

So I think we started like most (CC) bands start, it’s kind of like the primordial soup of sophomore jamming in Mathias and you kind of figure out who is someone who is actually going to be someone you want to keep playing music with. So we kind of slowly just started jamming with each other and that worked out to be a core group or me and Oliver, Kyle, Ken and then we originally sought out Adam Ting because we wanted a sax player because if you’re in a CC band and you don’t have a sax player, it’s just not as special.

 

Really?

Well when we were starting out, almost every band had a sax player.

 

What does that add?

Sex appeal – sax appeal

 

So are you all seniors?

Yeah we are all seniors. So that was fun, last Battle of the Bands. Or not the last Battle of the Bands since we were put in the second round, could’ve been the last.  I think that sort of gave us either a feeling of I don’t really care about this. But it also gave us a feeling of we should probably do this right.

 

Those are two very different attitudes so what is the general attitude you are following?

Well my personal attitude was that I really wanted to put on a really good show and I think at first there was a feeling of, we don’t really need to do this and then I was like, “Yeah let’s do this that would be fun. So we practiced a lot (after we) figured out a set and ran it a couple of times before we actually played it.

 

Are you any of you guys music majors?

Oliver and I are music minors. Besides that we have a film studies major. Kyle, Oliver, and Adam are all O.B.E. majors biology majors and I’m environmental policy.

 

So, personally for you, what is the connection between Environmental science and music?

Well I mean you can write protest songs about climate change and polar bears. I don’t know I mean you can find connection between anything.

 

Well of course, but how do you explain it?

I don’t know if you can cultivate a sense of personal interest into music, I think for any cause there have definitely always been musicians behind it. You can talk about Bob Dylan and Civil Rights and Neil and the environment so like there is definitely a connection. But you have to make that connection yourself it’s not like inherent.

 

And for you do you draw a lot of inspiration from those artists and musicians?

Well Bob Dylan, Neil Young yeah. I mean come on, somewhere on a desert highway. Both pretty iffy singers but they both write pretty beautiful music

 

So do you think you, as a musician focus and are more drawn to the lyrics or the melody and music of a song?

You know I was having this conversation with Oliver the other day, cause I think it depends on the instrument you play. I think for him rhythm drives a song and for me I’m more of a mix because I do play guitar, harmonica, and I also sing and write lyrics.

I think lyrics are important and  I think a singer’s voice can often make or break a song for me. I’ve never liked Blink 182 because I feel like they sound like they are whining the entire time. That definitely is a big part for me but I think melody can often be more important than the lyrics.

You have people whose lyrics are incredible, like Bob Dylan and that’s why they are such incredible artist. I feel like the music for Bob was a platform for what he was trying to say versus the other way around.

 

When did you get involved in music?

I started playing guitar when I was in sixth grade, so like ten years ago, when I was 12 or 11, I don’t quite remember.

 

Of the songs you have written is there a song that is particularly important to you at this point in your life?

I think probably the best song I’ve written for Touch-It, me and Ken collaborated on this but I did the lyrics for the majority of the song. We played at Battle of the Bands called Lake House. It’s sort of politically driven in a way.

 

Can you explain a little bit about what it is about?

It’s called Lake House because the chorus goes something like, a     shower can’t wash your soul/it takes something deeper I know/ the old men talk they can’t wait/because dirty money put them in the house by the lake. I wrote it in the summer after my sophomore year and there was just a lot of stuff going on. There was bombings in Israel, bombings in Palestine, there was the Ferguson shootings and Robin Williams died.

I just felt very alienated from the people that were representing me all over this country in all forms of government. So the verses are all about those events like the last verse is about how a whole bunch of people got shot, or a whole bunch of black men got shot at Ferguson or in New York but Robin Williams got all the press. It’s a sort of a looking out of your window on political injustice or tragedy in the world.

So I guess a lake house, I see as a luxury and as something that shows how, these guys, don’t want to relate to you because if they can just go hide in their vacation homes they don’t have to think about these things.

 

How do you see music being a part of your life after college?

Well there’s a band I played  a lot with in high school and they are still playing together which is cool. Go them. They are down in Athens, Georgia. There was a while there where I thought about, not joining their band or anything, but going down and making music with them down on the periphery and just doing day jobs. Then I kinda decided I didn’t want to move back to Georgia  so I put the nix on that (plan).

I definitely want to keep playing music. It will probably end up being more of a hobby, I’ll do open mics and stuff like that. Maybe if I find some people I like playing with or have a longer term connection with I’ll start another band but then again as a senior, the next couple years I’ll probably be moving around a fair bit, so I don’t really know.

 

As a senior, what advice would you give to underclassmen artists/bands?

Sure, so if you’re practicing in Mathias be as respectful as f***k to Lisa because she is the bomb but that being said Mathias bass kind of sucks so if you can find another space on campus I would recommend that.

If you don’t like the music that is being played on campus, make your own band. In general, it’s just about reaching out to people there are so many people trying to get into the scene. It’s about finding people you like playing music with and putting work into it. It’s not easy.

I tell a lot of people this has kind of been my main extracurricular throughout college and obviously it’s not a sanctioned one by the school or anything but it’s definitely something I put a lot of work into.

 

What has been one of the greatest or most important things you have taken away from being a musician at CC and during your time playing with TouchIt?

Certain bands have a magical skill regardless of what music they are playing to make people mosh. Mac Demarco is one of these musicians, it doesn’t make sense, when I saw him live, he was like, “This is a tender number I wrote this for my lover but keep moshing anyways.”

I don’t know something happens, I think it starts out because of a certain precedent, like your friends get really excited and they start moshing at every show.

I know no other band on campus that has people mosh as much as we do. We do sometimes play punk and hardcore music but I don’t think our sound is cataclysmically different than that of other people at school in terms of like hardness and for some reason people just love moshing to it.

I think we have at least three concussions we are partially responsible for. I’ve been knocked over several times by my own mosh. I don’t know music is fun. Play music if you have a chance.

 

 

Album artwork for Over Easy, released Feb 24, 2015

Q&A with a bae: Alex Luciano of Diet Cig

Over the past few weeks, my roommate and I have actually greeted each other in the mornings—not with “good morning,” but with the phrase “fucking slow dance” and a dramatic eye roll.

The ritual is not in reaction to telepathic nightmares, but a lyric from Diet Cig’s 2015 single “Dinner Date” which has over 85,000 plays on Spotify. We too spend the rest of our days playing Diet Cig’s seven songs on Spotify, wondering when there will be more. Or even if it’s even possible to write truer lyrics than “If I told you I loved you I don’t know who/it would scare away faster.”

The pop punk duo consists of New Paltz New York’s own Alex Luciano and Noah Bowman, whose power chord ballads strike a balance between fun-loving and fuck you, and cut as deep as your memories of shitty hometowns and suburban-school expectations. They’ve been declared “A Band to Watch” by nearly every online music news monopoly, and simultaneously propose to destroy the monopoly label “bedroom songs.” Onstage Luciano jumps off drum sets, occasionally into the crowd, and generally requires that everyone quit shuffling their feet and fucking dance.

I stumbled upon the band in March at SXSW: first at Sidewinder, then the next day at the Stereogum showcase where a friend of mine may have had too much free Sapporo beer—he asked Luciano to marry him, and then chucked an inflatable deer at her head (on accident, of course). She didn’t miss a beat.

When I asked Luciano if I could call her for an interview, I reminded her of the deer incident and she seemed receptive. Bowman couldn’t make it. I sat in my bed in Colorado Springs, and she in hers in Brooklyn. We discussed Frankie Cosmos’ simplicity and Diarrhea Planet’s masterful mayhem, and of course, the reason why being a female shredder is essentially cooler than, well, anything.

Catch Dieg Cig with Sorrel and Brick + Mortar opening for the Front Bottoms at Black Sheep next Tuesday, April 12th

 

Hannah: Have you ever had things thrown at you before?

 

Alex: No, nothing’s ever really been thrown at me before the deer. I’ve had boys hand me love notes after a set onstage but that’s the extent of people giving me stuff.

 

Hannah: That sounds worse than the deer. How’d you like SXSW besides that? Was it your first one?

 

Alex: Yeah it was our first South by, it was super crazy. We played thirteen sets. It was supposed to be eleven but then we played two extra sets called Sessions. I thought we were gonna play two songs and they would record them and then they were like “Oh play a whole set in front of this audience and we’ll record two songs out of the set.”

 

It’s kind of a blur now looking back at it, but we had a lot of fun and we got to see all the bands. It was really fun running in the streets, running into your homies and being like “see you at the show later!” There was some crazy shit…I stole a gnome and then gave it back but that was before I like air guitar shredded it. Wacky.

 

Hannah: Dinner Date was actually the first song I heard by you guys and has since been my favorite—probably because of the opening lines. Is it based off daddy issues/a true story?

 

Alex: It’s a lot of Daddy issue-type feelings. That song starts out with my dad but also touches on a lot of relationships I’ve had with other people, and is me trying to convince myself that even though there are shitty people in my life that have just disappointed me or not treated me well that I’m better than these experiences. I’m taking power back from the people that have done me wrong.

 

Hannah: Do you feel like you’re running out of shitty situations to write about? You know, like shitty hometowns or shitty boyfriends?

 

Alex: I think that life is full of shitty situations, even when you grow up and start doing what you want to. You can take the smallest ones and write a dumb punk song about them, so I’m definitely not worried about not having enough shitty situations to write about.

 

Hannah: If you could describe your music now in one word what would you pick?

 

Alex: There’s a lot of words combined that I think would describe it. Our music is fun and also really cathartic. It’s really honest—I’d say it’s very honest—it’s like taking songs that like could be sad songs and making them fun. What I’m writing about is shitty stuff, most of the stuff that I write about are like bad situations that have happened to me. But it’s me turning things into a positive, fun situation.

 

Hannah: What’s your biggest musical influence?

 

Alex: I really don’t feel like one artist or any thing specifically influences me. I feel like I’m making simple live music that I like. But I’ve been influenced by the attitudes of a lot of musicians. I’m really influenced by Frankie Cosmos in the way that she just writes and writes and writes so many amazing songs and only recently has held off on releasing them because she’s been writing and releasing official records and stuff—but I’m really inspired by the way she released her early songs She would just release them on bandcamp and not worry about who would listen to it. It was just pure, real, honest music that she wrote.

 

I’m really inspired by a lot of other like strong female musicians. l like Hop Along. I think my music sounds very different than theirs, but at the same time I’m really inspired by what they’re doing and they’re songwriting and the fact that they’re out there and doing it.

 

Hannah: I really love how short Frankie Cosmo’s songs are—it’s the wave of the future you know? Everything’s getting shorter.

 

Alex: It’s true and it’s no frills, there’s no jam out guitar parts that last for like four minutes or anything. It’s just like honest lyrics and music that complements it.

 

Hannah: The biggest thing for me watching female musicians perform in bands is that it’s a breakdown of the male tendency to show off with all these crazy guitar solos.

 

Alex: It is such a masculine stereotype to do guitar solos and rip out and shred out. But I really don’t like the idea that that’s a male thing because I know so many female fucking shredders. Alicia from Bully fucking shreds—she’s amazing. I think there’s definitely a place for that though. I love Diarrhea Planet and they’re like the ultimate dude-shredder band. It’s all four guitars and guys guitar soloing, which is awesome, but I think that it’s equally as important for artists who aren’t technically proficient guitar players to be represented.

 

She Shreds the magazine has this really awesome philosophy that shredding isn’t your technical ability on an instrument, it’s the amount of emotion you can evoke through your instrument. I really respect women, or any musician, that can evoke a lot of emotion through their music without having to completely guitar-solo shred. I also have so much love and respect for everyone who’s just like slammin’ out guitar solos because it’s just the coolest thing ever.

 

H: Diarrhea planet: rock n’ roll done right.

 

A: Seeing them live is a joyous experience and they represent the kind of guitar-shredding that should be the ultimate. A lot of “serious” musicians take themselves too seriously. They’re serious musicians—but they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is why I think people like them.

 

H: So what’s a show that you’ve seen—besides Diarrhea planet, of course—that’s really inspired you to write or play music? A show that made you say “I gotta go home and practice the guitar right now.”

 

A: There’s been a couple that really stick out. When I was a freshman in college at New Paltz I was just getting introduced to the idea of DIY shows and artists producing their own music and I saw Frankie Cosmos’ show. It was actually hosted at my friend Chris Daley’s house (he recorded our music, our EP and our 7 inch) and I saw Frankie Cosmos perform at his studio. It was a really intimate performance and I didn’t really know who she was. I was just so floored by the simplicity of her songs and how beautiful they were, but also how accessible they were, and I was like “hey, I could write songs that are simple and honest like that, I have a lot to say too.” That was definitely one of the first moments that I was like “I can write songs that people will relate to and like.”

 

Then we did that tour with Bully this year, and Alicia really inspired me to start learning more on guitar, and to want to be more rock n’ roll as opposed to tweeny pop/rock or whatever people like to call us. I’m trying to find that balance all the time.

 

H: According to Pitchfork, you just need to “mature.”

 

A: (laughs) Yeah they were like “Well we can’t wait for them to mature.” And I was like okay no one asked you to write about my record. That’s the one thing about Pitchfork, it’s a love/hate thing because most blogs will write about the stuff that they like but Pitchfork will write about stuff that they like and they don’t like. And at first when we had that new record I was like in the back of my head like “Oh my god we have to write a record that is similar to the old stuff, but mature because we gotta get Pitchfork to like it!”

 

I’ve realized that after touring and playing those songs over and over again that we have to write songs that we like to play. You never know what people are going to like. So the only thing that we can do is write music that we like to play and that we’re proud of. This next record is going to be really awesome and I’m not sure if Pitchfork will like it—but I know we’re gonna LOVE it.

 

H: This is hard to ask without Noah here to speak for himself—but do you feel like you would have gone in a similar direction without each other? Would you be playing music with other people today if you guys hadn’t met in the first place?

 

A: I don’t know. I know he would be playing music with other people because Noah’s always been a musician and that’s always been his path. But I had some songs that I wanted to like perform and work on. It could have gone in a very acoustic low-fi bedroom pop kind of direction or it could have been “the band sound” with drums, a little more rockin’ direction—Noah was a really big influence in the music going in the direction that it did. It’s just as much Noah’s artistic vision as it is my own. Maybe I would have done something with music but I it wouldn’t have taken off and been what it is now if we didn’t meet.

 

H: Do you have any words of advice for people with “bedroom songs”? I feel like that’s a trope when people write about music like “Oh yeah they wrote all these songs in their bedroom.” But you guys got the songs out there, and there are a lot of talented people who haven’t.

 

A: Like you said “bedroom songs” is such a stupid trope and I feel like a lot of music writers or critics attach that label to women’s music. It’s so funny because Steph Knipe who’s in Adult Mom wrote online that “The difference between bedroom music and dorm music: one of them you’re paying 20,000 dollars a year to write your music” and it’s pretty funny because like what even IS bedroom music, does it mean you wrote it in your bedroom, does it mean that it’s soft and you’d wanna listen to it in your bedroom? I definitely can’t fit a drum set in my bedroom so I don’t know why people are calling my music bedroom pop.

 

I think some advice for people who are starting off writing songs in their bedrooms is to not feel hindered by the fact that you wrote it there—that shouldn’t define your music. You can write music in your bedroom and you can literally be any genre that you want. You can be anything you want.

 

H: If you could write a song for any one person who would it be?

 

A: I’d write one for my sister. She’s 12 and she’s in middle school and middle school is tough. I’m actually kind of in the process for writing this one song for my sister that will probably be on this record but it’s also tough because there’s so much I want to say to her. I want to tell her to be herself but in a way that’s not cheesy like “YOU CAN DO IT” because she is such a special person. She rocks.