Thank You Thursday is a random Thursday (ie; whenever I feel inspired to write) note to just thank an artist for creating something. That could be a song, an album, a video, poetry, or even visual art. It’s just a “hey thanks for doing something cool and contributing to the artistic society. I really appreciate it”. There will be no hate or negative criticism from me in these notes. There will also be no “coulda woulda shoulda” from me. I feel as though art gets judged too much like a test. Especially independent music by mostly unknown artists. It’s hard enough being a nobody artist :cough: ME :cough: and to have your friends, family, and music associates tell you that you need to do this that and the third doesn’t help. How about we just celebrate artists for doing some cool ass shit and say THANKS!
I have always wanted to review albums but felt that since I was a musician it was “Wrong”. Yup, got over that shit quick. I love listening to music and dissecting it just as I do creating and producing it. I especially love when music is interesting, creative, and original. I really don’t care what genre it is as long as it has “BALLZ”. What are “Ballz” you may ask? BALLZ are kind of this x-factor that a song, artist, or album has. It’s what seperates it from the norm. There are certain pop songs and pop artists that have BALLZ too. An example of an album with BALLZ (just my opinion y’all) would be Kanye West – Yeezus. You have either heard it or heard about it. You either love it, hate it or give zero fucks. But, this album has some serious juevos. It just really doesn’t care at all. An example of a pop song with BALLZ (just my opinion y’all) that came out this year would be Taylor Swift – Trouble. Extremely damn well done. I mean from the production to the lyrics, to the composition to the arrangement. It’s just has this edge to it even though it’s catchy as fuck and straight up pop (can you get anymore pop than Taylor Swift?!).
But those are mainstream artists. This note is exclusively for the BEFOREBIGS blog which means that they have to still have some underground cred to their names and well… be unknown to most people. So with that I’m going to give a huge thank you to GABE & SUNNY’s album “FREE CANDY”. This album has some serious BALLZ. Gabriel Niles (who is a long time music friend and collaborator) freaked the shit out of this project. He somehow combined dream pop, indie shoe gaze, hip hop, and electronic music into this pretty much genreless (or too many genres?!) work of art. I think I’m on listen 10 or 11 of the whole album but as with most thing, this shit ages with time. The creativity lies within how you don’t know what is a sample and what was played. The originality factor is within the lack of a defined genre but you can hear every genre that he is pulling from, and the interesting credit goes to how well he utilizes Sunny’s vocals. They are sparse at times, and very in your face at other times. This is one of those albums where you can actually hear and feel the producers executive reach and power. This is the type of album that I strive to make when collaborating with other like minded artists. I wouldn’t say I’m jealous but I’m quick to say that this album is a huge inspiration and wake up call to me that anything can be done. Stream Free Candy below.
So again, THANK YOU mr. Gabriel Niles and Mrs. Sunny Gicz (and a secret shout out to Ced Hughes) for blessing the interwebz with your creation. I could have written another 5 pages and broken down each song but you know what… I’ll let the cool people that read this do that for themselves.
Til the next Thursday that I feel like being Thankful
A week and a half ago I saw emerging electronic pop/rock act Basic Vacation. Based on what I heard in their 5-track debut EP and their intimate performance at Bardot for the KCRW curated It’s a School Night, they will become a huge mainstream act in the realm of Imagine Dragons mixed with Fun. I repeat, this group will become a huge mainstream act!
I actually dug almost everything they performed including their hit, “I Believe”, “It’s All Happening” (probably their next single), “You’re In My Head” and “Worlds Collide”. These 4 tracks are on their 5 track EP which I highly recommend listening to below. Their live set was fun alternative pop rock with many people singing the oohs and other words that are easy to sing along to. I also enjoyed when Basic Vacation covered “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears, thanks @JakeCraney for the reminder of that classic gem getting cover treatment.
Actually Bardot didn’t do this band justice, they deserve to play in front of way larger crowds and I feel very lucky to get to see them free on a Monday night in Hollywood at a venue that holds no more than 200 people. Stream the Basic Vacation EP (iTunes) below and watch their video for “I Believe”.
I highly recommend attending It’s A School Night, it was my first time there and I had a nice time getting to see a band that wouldn’t normally be free to see. They usually curate shows getting artists before they blow up, I wish I had KCRW’s resources to do something like that.
Last Saturday I witnessed one of the best hip-hop producers of all time, Pete Rock, reunite with CL Smooth to perform many of their classic hits as well as hear Camp Lo perform some oldies but goodies in hip-hop. It was a show with people of all ages and colors, mostly dudes and latin folk but overall a good sold-out vibe that was impossible not to sweat in the cosy confines of The Roxy in West Hollywood.
Overall it was a fun show but I’ve learned that I will never love a hip-hop show over other genres if I can’t rattle off most of hte lyrics to most of the songs. It’s why I’ve never become a big fan of Busta Rhymes or Twista, their dialect is just too quick in rapping for me to repeat and follow along. However the production behind the old school hip-hop acts I saw, Pete Rock & CL Smooth, and before them Camp Lo, really made me appreciate how the older hip-hop acts sampled quality old school jazz, soul and blues rhythms to create the songs that made them special.
It’s hard for me to quite remember my favorites that I didn’t already enjoy because like I said earlier, for me it’s tough to rap along to lyrics I hadn’t previously heard. Below is my favorites from the acts I saw last Saturday at The Roxy. (more…)
Last Thursday, courtesy of Groundsounds I had the pleasure of seeing UK alternative dance rock band Crystal Fighters at the Fonda Theatre in Hollywood. It was an excellent show as Crystal Fighters proved to have lots of energy, engaging the audience with clapping, dancing and many fun moments to sing along.
I highly recommend seeing this band as they know how to get the crowd dancing and there were quite a few cute hippies in the audience to mingle with if you go see Crystal Fighters. This band won’t produce fans that fold their arms when watching them, but produce much dancing, singing along and attractive hippy chicks. Although there were many songs I heard that I didn’t know before the show, I still enjoyed most of them very much but especially loved “Plage”, “You & I” and “LA Calling”. I also really liked that when it felt like Crystal Fighters was done performing like after they performed “Plage”, they came back and performed even more, it was a never-ending dance party! Enjoy those three tracks below.
One of the most underrated live bands is The Dustbowl Revival. The Venice beach collective plays a variety of music from old school country honkey tonk to indie rock to catchy pop. There’s nothing Dustbowl Revival can’t play and they seem to always prepare a different set for each performance they do bringing on various musicians as well. It was also the violinist’s birthday so there were many violin solo’s which you don’t see very often and was quite awesome. Read more below. (more…)
Last Saturday, a few buddies and I caught, Armand Van Helden, aka 1/2 of critically acclaimed DJ duo Duck Sauce, at Create Nightclub in Hollywood. His DJ set went by super quick although it lasted for over two hours, which shows how entertaining of a set he performed, which was mostly disco and progressive house, lots of fun!
Anyways, I don’t remember a ton of what he spun, but when he performed 2009 Duck Sauce hit “Anyway” and the latest Duck Sauce single, 2013′s “It’s You”. Oh and also his 1996 classic, “The Funk Phenomena”; watch music video’s for those three songs below.
Late last week I caught Filter Magazine’s 4th Annual Culture Collide Festival. I went to days one and two of the three day festival and thoroughly enjoyed most of the acts I saw, although this years lineup didn’t have the same sexiness that previous lineups had, although Maya Vik is one sexy lead singer/guitarist! Read more below for reviews on the acts I enjoyed, which included: Maya Vik, Ghost Wave, Plastic Plates, Miami Horror (DJ Set + live band), Gemini Club and Mystery Skulls.
I was going to write reviews of every band I saw but I didn’t enjoy every band and feel it’s better to not saying anything at all on them if I have nothing good to say.
Last Wednesday, my brother and I caught Indiana folk rock band Houndmouth at The Mint in West Los Angeles. The Mint invited us out and knew I would love the harmonized vocals and positive energy that Houndmouth displayed throughout the set.
Although at times it felt like I heard songs more than once because some of their tunes sound similar, overall I felt encouraged to sing along to many of their tunes because the whole band was singing, which I loved. A quality show on a weeknight, if you happen to see Houndmouth on a lineup at an event, I highly recommend checking them out, especially if you dig folk music. As someone whose never been too much into folk, Houndmouth is one of my few exceptions as they have an upbeat vibe or at least understand that if everybody in the band sings along, their audience will be encouraged and enjoy to sing along with them, it’s fun.