Apr 27, 2013

The Absolute at Hotel Cafe 4.26.13

The music gods are smiling once again.   A friend of mine was talking to me about my blog and mentioned he was in a band.   This happens a lot.   As usual I said, if you ever play a show in Hollywood let me know, I will do my best to see you play.   And thus begins what I am fairly certain will be a long and awesomesauce relationship with the band I am about to blow your minds with.

But first, another band opened for The Absolute, and while they weren't who I went to see, I can happily say they were a pleasant bonus to the evening.   They are called The Chance.   I didn't get the opportunity to talk to the band, so they don't even know I am writing about them, but I did video their last song.   I found them refreshingly sweet, almost naive if you can use that word to describe a sound.   I videoed their last song- just watch...

That was a cool precursor to what I am about to show you.   The band I went to see is called The Absolute.   They are, in a word, phenomenal.   I did not expect what happened when they started playing- they had a fantastic energy, a great sound, and above all- wonderful music.   Philip, the lead singer, is a force to be reckoned with- his voice is inspiringly powerful.   Ryan plays bass, Michael and Ashton play guitar and Anthony is on the drums.   These boys definitely rock out.What I find fascinating is how charismatic they are on stage, live.   I came home and listened to some of the same songs they had just performed, and it sounds very different.   Live, it is electrical.   The produced tracks are much more laid back and calmer.   I prefer them live, hands down, no question.
"Hear the Band Play"

"I Had It Coming"

"Through the Motions" (new single!)

I was having technical difficulties (a.k.a. my memory was full) and couldn't record everything but what I did get is shockingly good.   They just got up there and rocked out.   You can listen to their music on their website (links at the bottom) and even get some downloads so definitely go check them out and let them know what you think.

They have a promo video that is much better visually than what I recorded:
the Absolute - Promo 2013 from Black Tie Studios on Vimeo.

Find them:
On Facebook - http://facebook.com/theabsolutemusic
On Twitter - http://twitter.com/#!/theabsolute
On YouTube - http://youtube.com/theabsolutemusic

Apr 22, 2013

Memories By Way of Music

I was minding my own business (ok, fine, I was playing Coin Dozer on my iPhone) and had the latest episode of The Apprentice playing on my computer and Lil Jon, who is a current contestant said a line that literally caused me to put down my phone (at a crucial level!) and start writing.

He said:
In music, you want to give people memories. You want them to identify your song with a time of life.

Mind = Blown.

I have long said that there is a soundtrack playing in my head every moment that no one else can hear- and that when they finally invent the technology that allows me to change the song or that will play a song based on my mood, all in my head, I will happily beta test it.

Every memory I have I can associate with a song.   I can also tell you what I was wearing, for some reason I remember exact outfits too.   That's not important to the point here, but I find that fascinating.   There are good memories, bad memories, things I try not to think about too often, and events that I look back upon fondly- all set to the soundtrack in my mind.   I have two very recent examples that I have related in my blog in the last few months, that I can cite here again.

When my boss passed away suddenly, we had just had our holiday party a few weeks prior and the videographer chose the Swedish House Mafia song "Don't You Worry Child" as the music when the video was released posthumously.   I hear that song all the time, since it is still a huge hit on the radio and in clubs, and yes- every single time it plays my heart starts to pound slightly faster and I blink a bit to make sure the tears don't overwhelm me.   It's just the reality of what that song means to me now, and I actually gain comfort from it even if my physical reactions seem like I'm miserable.   Side note- have you ever tried to choke back tears when the entire room is full of confetti and smoke and there's a couple hundred people waving those stupid foam light up thingies drunkenly?   Like I said, it's all about memories.

The second and much more personal example, if you can believe it, was what happened when I was alone in my room a few days after he passed.   For those of you who follow my blog you have already read a post similar to this but I'm writing it again anyway for the sake of this point I am trying to make.   I was feeling so emotionally crushed and had no outlet, no way to share the incredible sadness and pain I was feeling.   I still cannot explain what possessed me to record it, but I turned on my phone and recorded myself singing Hallelujah.   The song fit the moment so perfectly- down to the lyrics "and she cut your hair" ...I finished singing it and watched it back a couple dozen times.   And then I shared it publicly- which is something I had never done before with a song.   The act of sharing it was so cathartic- it was like I could show everyone, Yes, I am totally messed up by this event that has totally blown my life into a million pieces, and no, I'm not really okay but I have to smile and pretend I will be because that's what everyone keeps telling me to do.   I'm still struggling with it today, but now I have music I can turn to that really helps me remember the better parts.

When Thrift Shop by Mackelmore comes on, I think about how we danced in the salon, with the sound system at full volume, and one of the girls knew every single lyric.   I rap 50 Cent songs in my mirror in the morning, and my alarm clock song is Bitch Please II (and yes, I know every word).  I guess my final point is really that I wish more musicians would remember their music may end up part of someones life forever and that when they create it, make it meaningful, not just something to hit the charts with and make money off of. I mean, god bless, I hope all that happens too- but music touches people so deeply, in ways you often can't predict.   There's almost a responsibility on artists and musicians to make certain that it sounds perfect no matter what.

With that being said, I am off to listen to the Golden Oldies on Pandora and pretend I am one of the Supremes.   Like I used to do in the car when our family took road trips from Toronto to Atlanta.   Music as a memory...

Apr 19, 2013

Music As A Language

Time to get insightful folks.  

Tonight I spent a lot of time talking to a friend who has been at the core of the music scene for years, specifically in LA, but also around the world.   We were discussing how life throws you curve balls and based on your reaction, you dictate how your future unfolds.   I just summarized a very lengthy conversation on that entire topic into one sentence, but that was the gist of it.  We then started talking about what I was planning on doing with myself given the curve balls that have recently been tossed my way... since I have a lot more free time now I have really started focusing on what to do with this blog and how I utilize what once started as a personal hobby and has now morphed into this voice that I broadcast into the world.  

Usually when I receive music from an artist who doesn't know me and who asks me to listen and write about them, I start with a blank screen and as I listen I write and put my opinions and thoughts out there.   There have been artists I have contacted after hearing their stuff and asked if I could write about, but it is the random submissions that excite me because I literally never know what I will get in my inbox or if it will be "good" (very subjective, I know).   I very honestly said that when I hear something that isn't great, or more specifically sucks, I just don't write about it.   I don't want to use my forum to trash people, or put down what they created.   No one knighted me an expert and of course it really comes down to taste anyway, right?   But my friend challenged me- what if instead of shying away from music that may not impress me, I was able to find a way to write about it subjectively, stating what I didn't like, what could be improved or changed and yet still giving their creation the benefit of reaching other people.   Fair point.   In the coming months I hope I can live up to this challenge, and write about everything I hear.   That was one outcome of the conversation.

The other, more mind blowing concept we discussed was music itself.   I have long maintained that I hate country music.   Of all the genres that exist, it is the only one I really cannot stand or relate to at all.   yes, there are exceptions (um hello, Johnny Cash anyone?) but as a standalone genre if I hear something with the lyrics "she thinks my tractor's sexy" I'm inclined to roll my eyes and dismiss it as total bunk.   Instead of laughing, my friend actually clarified the concept of musical taste to me in a way I already perceived but didn't articulate.   Music, like all creative venues, is a language.   It is a form of communication that allows people to relate to one another in a way literal words may not be able to do.   The idea of music as a language is not new, but the twist that kind of caught me off guard was how different generations have had different points of view, things to say, and therefore the language itself is ever changing and progressing and speaking to different people in different ways.

Take dubstep, for example.   The music blasted in clubs today is literally numbing- it is relaying so much about the current generation.   The trend of popping molly and disengaging from everything while still being physically present, while the sounds attack your senses.   Go back to the 60's, think about what was going on in the country and the world then- war, dissatisfaction, peace, love... that is what the music of that era relayed.   Of course, since I was having this discussion at an event focused on old school hip hop, we talked about how hip hop was the voice for an entire group of people who had no other outlet.   To tie it all together, we came to the conclusion that all of the genres I identify with and love, speak to me.   They are languages I understand in some form or another- even if it makes no sense how someone like me could possibly identify with a genre like hip hop- and yet I do.

While none of this is new information, having it put so clearly in front of my face clicked for me.   I don't "hate" house music, in fact I am a fan of some of it- but for the most part it isn't a language I am fluent in.   Instead of dismissing it as 'not real music' I am trying to wrap my mind around the concept of it just simply being a foreign language that I don't speak fluently.  

I know this long post is not my typical video link type of write up, but I felt like it was something I needed to articulate and share, since so many new people have started reading what I put out here and responding.   It has been so much fun sifting for buried treasure in the music I hear, picking the gems I want to write about- but it is time for me to grow and expand this into something bigger, better.   Throw your music at me- let's see how many languages we can experience and share.

Peace and love dolls- the world was a scary weird place this week and there is entirely too much negativity out there.   Let's find a language we can relate to and express ourselves with instead of acting out with senseless violence and chaos.

Shout out to the boys I saw at Afex - specifically DJ Adam 12 and Gavin O'Connor for feeding my musical soul tonight.   If you haven't come through yet, it is definitely something you should look into attending- you will walk out a lot happier than when you walked in, it is just that kind of night.

Apr 18, 2013

Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis "Can't Hold Us" feat. Ray Dalton (video)

Now that he has literally changed the stigma against shopping at Goodwill for generations to come, Mackelmore and his crew of creative geniuses have dropped a totally different kind of video on us.   I was half expecting more batman footie pajamas and epic full length coats- instead I got camels, kangaroos, pirate ships, sky diving, beautiful locations and an anthem-like song.   Love.

The song is great- inspiring in a weirdly unpreachy way... like it makes you want to see all the places shown in the video and make the world awesome.   And the words...
Can we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we'll fight till it's over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us
Like the ceiling can't hold us

I was going to comment that it was cool how they dedicated a fare amount of time at the end to credit everyone involved in the making of the video, but then I noticed not only did they do the credits well, they explained it in information under the youtube video... so here it is directly from them:

Published on Apr 17, 2013
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis present the official music video for Can't Hold Us feat. Ray Dalton.

Can't Hold Us on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/can...
The Heist CD deluxe edition: http://www.macklemoremerch.com
The Heist digital deluxe on iTunes:https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the...
The Heist on Amazon: http://amzn.com/B00908DDZM
The Heist in-stores NOW!

Note from Ryan Lewis:

It seems like when a music video comes out, the title that receives all of the credit and travels with a film is that of the director. It's as though the director is the "artist" or "creator" of the music video, when in reality a music video is first a written treatment, produced (putting together ingredients like actors and locations), shot and directed, cut on the editing board and finally color graded. The music might be fine tuned and scored specifically for that film. There are so many variables that are completely equal if not sometimes more complicated than directing, it's a shame that so much credit comes down to whoever fulfills that position. A director wouldn't have shit to direct without a producer. A producer would have nothing to produce without a writer, and so forth.

For our team, I think it's even more complicated because roles tend to cross over. We simply don't work within the conventional hierarchy of the film industry (director, producer, etc.) Sure, people have concrete pre-defined roles based on their expertise, but our team has the remarkable ability to wear multiple hats. Can't Hold Us was a video that showcased this well.

After three months of shooting, finally getting to those last few frames where you reveal the credits, it's a tense moment. There isn't exactly a sensible way to do it, if we're trying to fit people into classic film roles. It leads me to the point that although we do our best to give people titles, this was a video fully created by seven individuals at the forefront. Take any of those people out of the equation, you'd be watching a very different video. I write this in hopes that you don't fall under the illusion that one person creates a music video, particularly at the Macklemore camp. We are constantly challenging and enhancing each others ideas and I take pride in believing that's the reason we make great videos. - Ryan Lewis

Music Video:

Written By
Ben Haggerty
Ryan Lewis
Tricia Davis

Directed By
Ryan Lewis
Jason Koenig
Jon Jon Augustavo

Produced By
Tricia Davis
Honna Kimmerer
Jenny Koenig

Ben Haggerty
Ryan Lewis
Ray Dalton
Owuor Arunga
Da Kadu Brown

Director of Photography
Jason Koenig
Ryan Lewis
Mego Lin

Stedicam Operators
Chris Duerkopp
Rhys Duncan
Ant Ireland
Alex Kornreich

Production Assistants
Linda SImonsen
Jackie Ganger
Edward Tran
Adam Leeman
Nic Adenau
Johnny Valencia
Ben Campofreda
Seth McDonald
Mitchell Overton
Lei Tao

Editing & Color Grading
Ryan Lewis
Jason Koenig

Post Production Supervisor
Erik Hustad

Special Thanks
Victory Studios
Koerner Camera
Space Needle
Ryan Sanson
Lady Washington
Logan Neitzel
Sierra Blu Kennels
Niche Camera
Karen Stimwell & Co.
Hollywood Props, Auckland
Helicopters Northwest
Niche Camera
Absolute Technologies
Court in the Square
First Scene Costume, Auckland
Painted Camels Unlimited
Graeme Menzies
Colin McKay
Daniel Cooper
Mercury Bay Aero Club
Whitianga Charters
Dylan Henderson
Jason Bosch
Kyle Bosch
Hollywood Animals
Michael Barrett/United Reprographics
Peter Pathe


Can't Hold Us feat. Ray Dalton
(B. Haggerty, R. Lewis, R. Dalton)
Macklemore Publishing BMI, Ryan Lewis Publishing BMI
Produced by Ryan Lewis for Macklemore DBA Ryan Lewis LLC
Written by Macklemore
Additional Vocals by Ray Dalton, Camila Recchi, Victoria Fuangaromya, Tyler Andrews
Trumpet by Owuor Arunga
Trombone by Greg Kramer
Violin, Bells, and String Arrangement by Andrew Joslyn
Violin by Caroline Faflak
Violin by MacFarlane
Viola by Elisa Clegg
Cello by Danah Olivetree
Cello by Natalie Mai Hall
Recorded and Mixed by Ryan Lewis, Ben Haggerty
Macklemore/RyanLewis Studios, Seattle, WA
Mastered by "Big Bass" Brian Gardner, Hollywood, CA


Subscribe To The Channel: goo.gl/1UmcM

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis managed by Zach Quillen

Apr 16, 2013

FreshMays - Humble Beginnings

Once again the power of twitter is making things happen!  My favorite thing about social media is finding the underground or undiscovered stuff that no one else has seen yet.   I welcome submissions from artists- you never know what gems you will get in your inbox.   That's what happened here- I got a tweet from FreshMays and it included a link to his song "Humble Beginnings".
Listen to it:

I liked it.   He hails from Indianapolis and has a mixtape out called "A Starry Night in Indianapolis" that he just released recently.   I listened to all of his stuff and I like the vibe, definitely glad he hit me up.   Hope you enjoy it too...
Here are the links so you can explore his music and get a free download of his stuff:

I am also including the other two songs I liked:

Apr 15, 2013

Davis Fetter - Look What You've Done to the Boy (video)

I cannot believe that Davis Fetter has already released 11 singles- it's been such a pleasure to watch him grow musically and keep making great songs that I thoroughly enjoy listening to and sharing with all of you.

He just released his 12th single "Look What You've Done to the Boy" - and it's available on iTunes now.

(The video features footage of Davis playing live when he was 12 years old!)   Nice haircut by the way :)

You can also hear "Look What You've Done to the Boy" on MTV's The Real World Portland at 10pm this Wednesday!

If you are local- definitely don't miss his FREE SHOW this Friday, April 19th at Three Clubs in Hollywood at 10:30pm! Event info

Go like him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davisfetter

Check out Davis in my previous posts:

Apr 10, 2013

Bad Rabbits

I love writing about groups before anyone else discovers them.   I missed my chance with Alex Clare (and apologies but I am going to quickly tell that story now).   Two summers ago my brother went backpacking across Europe and ended up jamming with Alex in London for a weekend.   He sent me a bunch of links and  I loved what I saw and heard.   I was all set to write about him and I even emailed Alex and asked if he would like to contribute anything... and for whatever reason I got sidetracked and totally spaced and never wrote the post.   Serves me right for procrastinating, because two years later he is huge and a household name.   Even if you don't know who he is (you do) you definitely know his song "Too Close".   My point is, I missed out.

That brings me back to Bad Rabbits.   Sure, now you are hearing about them- they just set out on a tour with Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki.   What if I told you that I was listening to their stuff years ago?   How I discovered them is even more random than the Alex Clare story!   I used to obsessively play an interactive game on my iPhone (it stole four months of my life) and through the game I ended up meeting a lot of cool people that I stayed in touch with.   One of these friends lives in Boston and during an afternoon chatting with her on the app about music, she said I had to hear her friends- you guessed it- Bad Rabbits.   I listened to their song "Stick Up Kids" and also "Can't Back Down"

I thought they were cool then, had a great energy and were different, interesting.   I'm pretty sure what blew me away was their cover of Michael Jackson - Human Nature

I should have written about them back when I first was introduced to them- and once again, it is totally my own fault.   I am really glad they are making it big now and fully expect to see them when they hit LA, because I know they will continue to do great things and soon everyone will know about them.   All of their links are below- if you have the chance, go see them!
Dua Boakye - Vocals
Sheel Davé - Drums
Salim Akram - Guitar
Graham Masser - Bass
Santi Araujo - Guitar

Listen to their new single "Doin' It"

You Tube

Apr 9, 2013

Smokey Robotic - Ghandi

Wow.   I am so proud of the boys of Smokey Robotic.   A few years ago I stumbled across their music and signed up for their updates and I am so glad I did!   I have been listening to their stuff for a while now, and finally I feel like other people are starting to notice how cool they are!   My proof is that their latest video "Ghandi" just debuted on MTV's The Hive... I'm like a proud mama, so stoked for the recognition they are getting and pumped that they are blowing up like they deserve to!

Check out Ghandi and go see them live!

Upcoming shows:
4.10 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda's
5.26 New York, NY – Bowery Electric
6.15 New York, NY – PIANOS

More information:


Facebook   YouTube  Twitter  Soundcloud 

Best surprise of all- getting the video in my inbox today with this little description:
Oh My Gandhi...

The Video:

The eclectic and irresistible pop, electronic and hip-hop conflagration that is Smokey Robotic has just debuted their video "Gandhi" from recently released album Musium. The group, composed of singer-songwriters Seer and Father Dude with production from !llmind and Konrad Oldmoney, has just wrapped a wildly successful west coast tour culminating in a headline show at Los Angeles' The Roxy Theatre, and now MTV Hive has premiered "Gandhi," which producer !llmind succinctly describes as "a trippy ass video for a trippy ass song." The stunning psychedelic visuals were directed by T.S. Pfeffer and Robert McHugh, for Pier Pictures, a studio that's previously directed videos for Diplo, El-P, Ice Cube, and others.

"Gandhi" is ultimately a dance track. Producer Konrad Oldmoney explains that, "originally, I made this beat out of a general discontent for the current state of bass driven music." The whip crack of snappy production opens the track in full to what Seer calls, "a celebration of the sexual and natural wildness of being human." The group felt that the comparison to Gandhi was, as Seer says, "cheeky, cocky, odd, and not quite historically accurate." Maybe sexualizing Gandhi is spot-on though, because Seer adds, "you get higher off of your heart than any substance." It's hard not to get high off this video with its masterful diversity of kaleidoscopic effects, which, as Seer says, "allows the song to breathe" and perhaps most critically, "hopefully inspires women to want to kiss our flying mouths." Truer words... you know how it goes.
(Courtesy of Audible Treats)

Apr 8, 2013

Ginger Watermelon Smoothie

Hi lovers!   I know, I have been away and not really doing what I love with regards to keeping this blog up to date- well, to be fair, I am still completely messed up from what happened with my boss and on top of that, I took a vacation to try to air out my mind and ended up sick the entire time and compounded that misery by flying home with a huge sinus infection.   Big mistake.   Huge.   Do not ever do that- even with Sudafed and medication.   My ears are still screwed up and I've been in bed pretty much since I got back because of it.   Finally feeling a little bit normal and decided to video one more smoothie vid for you all... it's in honor of one of my tweeps who has consistently complimented the series.   Also, this is a special smoothie- I created the entire thing on my own, no recipe no guideline, just stuff I wanted to mix together in my very new blender (because I accidentally murdered the last one- watch the video, I explain).

Anyway, ingredients are:
watermelon, vanilla almond milk, agave nectar, banana, ginger.


I challenge you to create your own smoothie and send me the videos!   I will post whatever I get (as long as it'a all PG, sorry, my family watches this stuff)
Besos xoxo.

If you want to watch all my other smoothie videos in order:
Smoothie Day 1
Smoothie Day 2
Smoothie Day 3
Smoothie Day 4
Smoothie Day 5
Smoothie Day 6