Category Archives: Music

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

SONG OF THE DAY: What Up, English – By The Way You Look

Most of us would be lying if we said we knew every artist on the Llama lineup, if only because of this little band from Nashville. Made up of college seniors at Bowdoin, Vanderbilt, Tulane, and UVA, What Up, English is a rock group formed in 2011 known for their catchy guitar hooks and highly danceable tunes. I highly recommend a quick perusal of their Bandcamp page – all of their available discography can be found there.

This track has particularly infectious riffs. Give it a listen, or two, or three, and get ready to dance next Saturday afternoon to this and other jams from What Up, English.

 

 

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 Uncluded – TV on 10

A catchy-as-fuck, gritty lil indie-rap crossover to push you through these bizarre late April snows and off-white skies. Also great if you’ve been meaning to get more into rap, but your search list kinda ran dry after you found Childish Gambino

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.

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.

 

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.   

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:

 

 

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.