Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Feature: Airship

It´s kind of interesting what happened to Manchester-based indie rock quartet Airship. Basically, they had their second album ready to be released sometime this year, but instead of letting the world hear more of their awesome music they called the whole thing off. If you´ve seen the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you might remember Juan Antonio´s father- the poet who would not publish his apparently lovely work into public, it´s just his way of saying screw you to the world. Might it be something similar with Airship?

Well, I really don´t have anymore factual stuff to tell about the band (just remember to cherish the bands you love, which are still together...). Let the music speak for itself.

thanks to hanna for the recommendation.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gig night at the Rattlesnake of Angel Pt. 2

If you're in London and you feel like hearing some live music, go to the Rattlesnake. I fell in love with the place the first time I was there last February. Out of the few bands they put on every evening, you're guaranteed to be listening at least to one of them from your laptop the next day. In addition they've got this awesome mix of indie/60s and 70s music playing during the breaks and in the bar.

It's a small cozy venue with a big sound.

When I was waiting for the first band to start, I saw only a few people who looked as if they had just come straight from work. Suddenly, one of them approached me to say thanks for being half of their audience. "I thought you were here to have fun?!", apparently they were there to not only do that, but to make some noise too.

Beaver Fuel is a punk trio, which managed to make me laugh through their whole set. Dedicating a song to someone who wouldn't be aware about it, like umm, all of Finland was just perfect. Perfect because the song was called something like I want to live in your butt hole, and the country is shaped like a person with the capital being somewhere around that area.

As I was flying to Oslo the next day, I have to say it was a bit of a coincidence that the next band Ivan Müdd was from there. A really freakin' great coincidence. I've been gradually losing my interest in indie music, but bands like theirs shows that the rare gems still exist. The singer's voice for me is a mixture of Suede (even looks like him a bit!), Placebo and Smashing Pumpkins' singers. I kept praising the band to a few industry people in Oslo, and finally one of them knew the band too and loved them as well. Surprisingly the guy had been working with the band before.

Last but not least were The Dirty Royals. The quartet had a really great chemistry going on and got the crowd excited. They weren't short of jokes either with the main focus on Bonnie Tyler, the Eurovision and her heart problem. Talk about a total eclipse of the heart.

All in all being at the Rattlesnake was a great way to end the Tuesday evening. Or any evening in fact!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Feature: Pinback

One of the best feelings is when someone recommends you music that hits you hard. And I have to admit that it rarely happens nowadays. Also, it could take quite a while for me to get into the music. Like with San Diego´s multi-instrumentalist duo, Pinback. One year, one year.

But as I´ve said before, if something takes time to grow, it will last way longer. Most likely for a lifetime.

I took it as a mission to go really quickly Pinback´s whole discography, which starts from 1998, in merely a week. Unfortunately with all the amount of music to go through that´s a very used idea. In this case, though, I started with their 2004 album Summer in Abaddon, and am still listening to it. The first thing I wake up, the last thing before I go to sleep, and all the betweens.

The album is just too good.

Not only can you hear the band´s musical ability and irresistible hooks, but also the magic in how to make a record work as a whole. It keeps you in that certain state of mind, which gives the flow for anything you do. If that makes any sense.

It can be heard in many songs from other album as well, and I can´t wait to dig into them. But for now, I´m going to enjoy being addicted to one album, which hasn´t happened in ages!

thanks to jordan and heidi for the recommendation.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Covering your ass: Franco and the Dreadnought Special

Last year with the artist I work with, we launched a cover competition to create some hype for his first video, Last Man Standing. We got only one entry, which was ace though. A year from that we decided to launch a similar competition again- the fan base had tripled and many collaborations with other musicians were done during the past time. So, I was expecting quite a few covers and remixes this time.

We didn't get as many submissions as we would have wanted, but once again the quality was just amazing. Three covers and a remix, which are completely different from each other, yet fantastic. Great vocals, rhythm ... They're so good that I think I've listened to them more than the original versions!

The winner will be chosen by the public tomorrow evening, so you still got time to go vote for your favorite by just simply liking/commenting on the entry you love most right here. One lucky voter will receive Franco's new EP, and the cover winner on the other hand not only the EP with their name on the art work, but also a brand new Franco shirt and maybe a home gig. There's nothing better than to see him play the acoustic guitar in an intimate setting.

Here are the entries with the original versions.

Where I'm Calling From

Entry # 1 Emily Rose Hutchinson

Entry # 2 Josh Ruding

Love Sweet Home
- I remember when they were recording this at The Animal Farm studio and me and my friend were asked to  do the stomp/clap for the background. It was just a simple stomp/clap, but it was funny to see how we were trying to keep up with the rhythm. So staying in rhythm  for the girl who did the cover is not the hardest thing! It also reminds me of summer camps when we kids did the cup thing.

Entry # 3 Izzy Kennedy

Last Man Standing

Entry # 4 Connor Lepre aka Droid Daughter

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Skate to Mistake

The other day I went longboarding with my hometown group I didn't even know existed. It's been probably 1½ years since I skated with people. And it felt so good.

When you're with more experienced skaters, they will have their eyes on you and guide you through your journey. They'll even make you do things that you wouldn't dare to- let it be the fear of physical pain or embarrassment of failing in front of everyone. When my moment came to do something I hadn't done before, I was thinking "are you trying to kill me?", though ironically the stunt was to ensure my own safety better.

But like so many times before, the more you postpone something the more stressful and intimidating it becomes. All those videos and live situations I've seen of people taking a  fall... Fuck it, it's now or never.

While laying on the ground all I could think of was that it didn't hurt as much as I thought it would. I lifted my head to see the others- they smiled and had their thumbs up. Let's do it again!

It was the first time I had fallen, which just means that before this no one, including myself, had really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Staying in your comfort zone is something that most of us settle for, but no wonder. I mean it's much easier and safer to do things you're already good at and spare yourself from any public humiliation.

Yes. Once others see you make a mistake, they'll realize that you're only a human being. So awful!

All those times you didn't raise your hand in the class room, because you weren't certain of your answer. All those times you take the same role in every project you do. All those times when you think way too much of what others would think.

Which one is worse; people thinking you're helpless, because you made a mistake or you being disappointed in yourself, because once again you didn't push yourself to become more knowledgeable, skillful, all in all better...?

One fall I took hurt really bad. I could have easily dislocated my shoulder at it, but thankfully nothing worse came out of it than an arm that I can't move properly and bad bruises. Despite my grins, I'm all happyhappyjoyjoy inside. I took a giant step forward in something that I'm starting to really love.

The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.

i guess i won't be using these for my job interviews anymore

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Friday Feature: Aeropsia

Visual snow (Aeropsia) is the persisting visual symptom of 
seeing snow or television-like static across the visual field.

Santa Cruz- based producer Aeropsia aka Dane Ostrander has seen visual snow for the entire 22 years of his life. According to Ostrander, it doesn't bother him at all though. But I guess I can say that thankfully it affects his production. You see, for him, composing music is all about capturing the moment. The static he sees acts as a constant reminder to embrace the present. 

And as we all know living in the now is one hell of a barrier for most of us.

His EP released next month entitled "Chimera" (=a beast with parts from different animals in Greek mythology) is a suitable way to describe Ostrander's music. He's all over the place with producing beats not only for himself, but others and also remixing classic groovy tunes. Even if the beats and tracks differ from each other, you can still recognize the Aeropsia trademark. For me his signature style represents the type of maturity, subtlety and calmness, which takes time to grow on you. 

But when it does, you will fully appreciate it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thank You For The Music

It's a bitter sweet thing when I sometimes discover a really amazing song during those hours when I should be in bed already. I mean, I get so excited and energized by it that it ends up being on repeat for a really long time causing me to be part of the living dead the next day. Although, I'm never too tired to put that very same tune on repeat again the first thing I wake up.

For me it's shocking to hear when someone doesn't consider music to be the most important thing or important at all for them. Then I'm in my head like "is there anything else we could talk about now? should I really be bothered to get to know you anymore?". 

Don't get me wrong, though. I'm not as shallow as I sound. Music is just a huge part of my life that it's hard to believe that it isn't for everyone else.

One of the most horrifying comments came from my mother, when she told me I should sell my CDs if I move abroad. That was the moment when I realized what my relation to music exactly was- it's my most loyal and understanding companion. 

Friends come and go, but music is to stay. 

All the phases of life, all the emotions I feel. Let it be sad, happy, on top of the world or just absolutely effin' torn up. Music is there for me. 

Wherever my feet take me, music is by my side. To each place I say goodbye/hello, music is there with me. 

It's there to give me a push, encourage me to let go, catch me when I'm falling... I seriously would be completely lost without it. I haven't had a best friend since elementary, but when I think about it, that's just a rubbish statement. 

Music's been my best friend since cradle. And it will be just that beyond my last breathe.

note: while writing this the writer was listening to abba. oh, don't be too surprised.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Holm. - 365 Beat Project

A while ago I featured Boston- producer Holm. aka J Thatcher May, who had this really crazybrilliant, (stress on crazy) 365 Beat Project going on. So for a year May would produce a tune each day. Now you probably see why my emphasis is on the crazy part. But like I’ve said before, I am deeply impressed by the overall quality of May’s beats, and I just had to find out more about the project.

“I was always digging a ton of photographers who were doing 365 projects; it seems to be a pretty common project in the photo world. So I thought why not do this with music?”, May explains. With over 200 tunes out there already, I could imagine all sorts of feelings and emotions encountered during this period.

When I was growing up, all of middle school and early high school, all I listened to was Post-Rock and Ambient music. Artists like Eluvium, This Will Destroy You, The Mercury Program, and Explosions in the Sky (note: EITS is the writer’s happy melancholic music!) being some of my favorites. So I learned then that instrumental music can be extremely emotional. You can hear the emotion in those bands. So basically I always strived to put that emotion in my music, no matter if it lacks vocals most of the time. I could write you the story behind about 95 percent of my songs. Most are based on how I was feeling at the time. Some are happy, some are lonely, some are disappointed, some are stoked. It’s all ups and downs. Just like life.

In all creative stuff or should I say things that you have to do, there’s that little demon writer’s block haunting every now and then. That combined with technical unforeseen problems, you have got yourself the ingredients for  a mental breakdown.

Therefore, for May to overcome these issues and be consistent in regards of quality is pretty admirable. I guess there’s that thing called love and passion for something, which helps most of the time. “It’s a good feeling when you feel terrible and you hit that point in a song you make, when you're just like damn, this feels GOOD. That's why most of us do this music stuff.” 

An average of three hours a day (six at most) spent on producing a track sometimes way pass dawn, the project has without a doubt been tough on May: “It’s taken over my life a bit, hurt my health in some ways (little sleep), but it’s music so I’m having fun and really bettering myself as an artist”. May states if he had weeks to work on his tunes, he’d put three hours a day on each tune and they would be more detailed and complex- all around better. However, he admits that limited time forces him really to progress. “I’ve made many improvements. I can’t listen to the first 100 or so beats in the project, they’re terrible. Well, there’s a gem here and there, but I’ve just grown with technique. Trust me, I still have no idea what I’m doing, but I’m a little better at being clueless now.”

Regarding style, May has been all over the place. From jazz to funk, soul to indie. Straight samples, no samples at all. With vocals, without vocals. “I wish I made one style, then people would know what to expect from me and I feel like I’d please more fans. But I can’t do that to myself, I would get bored and in the end music should be a selfish thing for the artist, only make what makes you happy.” Hearing a producer or an artist and being all inspired works somewhat halfway for him: “[…] I get tired of it, or inspired by something else and in a night I'll do a total 180 to whatever I was making. It’s annoying really.”

When it comes to production itself, May tells that all of his music is computer-based, although he records a lot of guitar and makes it into tunes. He’s also keen on recording and using anything he could: “I love finding some terrible keyboard somewhere and seeing what I can make with something most people would think is garbage.” 

For me it’s not only exciting to hear what May has produced during those hours when people on the right side of Atlantic are wide awake, but also to see what cover art he’s picked for the specific track. “There really isn’t much about the pictures, I wish I had some in depth reason as to why I use them, but honestly I just go on Tumblr (note: a really popular and addictive blogging platform) and find some cool photos or paintings or sculptures or whatever! I recently started making my own art, and by that I mean just throwing Holm. on stuff, not really art, just font work. But it’s fun to mess around with.” 

With about 150 days to go, May just hopes he could make some good songs, as his work lately has not been pleasing for him. “I've had a lot of those moments where I'm making something and it’s 2 am and I have to get up for school in 4 hours so I'll say whatever, just put it out. And then the next morning it’s just a WHY? situation.” In fact for the remaining days, May plans on doing a lot more remixes, which he has not done much and vocal tunes when he has the time.

As for other projects stay tuned for a collaborative EP with Shelf Nunny entitled STY//GLD. The release date: “Due out whenever we get it done. In the works.”
So, if you still haven’t heard a single beat this man has put out, you ought to. Meanwhile, my brains and fingers need a break. Thank you J. May for the interview!

Just a few thank you's and shout outs. Thank you to anyone who's checked the project and felt something from one of my songs. As much as I do this for myself, I do this for the people who enjoy it as well. 
And thank you to my family at Sleepy Beach Records who give me that feedback, advice, and support. Mist Glider, Aeropsia, Shelf Nunny and Tree and the rest of the Sleepy Beach crew. And my immediate family too for constantly letting me bug them with my music, thank you sista's. – Holm.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

April ´13 Video Box

1. Crystal Castles - Affection

2. Crystal Fighters - You & I

3. Muse - Panic Station

4. Sébastien Tellier & Caroline Polachek - In The Crew Of Tea Time

5. Youth Lagoon - Mute

6. James Blake - Overgrown

7. Shelf Nunny - I Feel So Good About Myself

8. Iron and Wine - Joy

Video of April:

Biggi Hilmars - Fool's Mate

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Feature: Cable Car

by chris mcmahon

Two flew from Rhode Island and one from England to Los Angeles. After a few laughs and drinks, Cable Car was born.

Through their songs the three guys give you a glimpse of what's it like to live in the city of angels.
One word. One chord. One beat at a time.

Every single aspect of their recently released EP, Ride, screams of summer. While listening to it, images of the beach, driving in a convertible and the blazing hot sun pop into my mind. Cable Car's music is something that would fit perfectly into the mainstream. They're like a mix of Train and Jason Mraz, but with a more soulful indie touch.

However, I have to admit that I'm not a big fan of summer, but it's just my preference. Though, I'm glad that their best tune Wait For Me reminds me of the greatest time of the year- the beginning of autumn. I actually do hope that the guys would continue with the rockier and darker style. That being said, I can't wait to see where the lovely guys will end up.

thanks sarah for the recommendation & happy ever after!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jaakko & Jay @Harju, Jyväskylä

I saw the awesome punk duo Jaakko & Jay for the first time last January when they were warming up for Frank Turner. They were so good live that I swore I'd go see them again, when ever I could. Really didn't think that the next time would come so soon, and at such an exotic place like on top of a hill. 

The most fond memories of that place are definitely student- related. The least nice ones are those when you thought you could stand physical activities under the hot sun, hungover. 

Too bad the audio isn't the best in the video- stayed too close to the speaker and the wind..! Despite it, the gig was mint.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

April ´13 Music Box

1. She & Him - I Could´ve Been Your Girl

2. Franco and the Dreadnought - Spanish Harlem

3. Oberhofer - Earplugs

4. Oberhofer - You + Me (Still Together In The Future)

5. Oberhofer -Together/Never

6. The National - Don´t Swallow The Cap

7. Florence + The Machine - Over The Love

8. Noah and the Whale feat. Anna Calvi - Heart Of Nowhere

9. Janelle Monáe feat. Erykah Badu - Q.U.E.E.N.

10. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams - Get Lucky

11. Holm. - Day 211 CocoRosie Lemonade Remix

12. Holm. - Day 201 my cloud tower dreams.

13. Holm. - Day 189 It´s Getting Late.

14. Shelf Nunny - I Feel So Good About Myself

15. Kali Ma feat. Christina Klaproth - Girl You Got

16.Polica feat. Justin Vernon - Tiff

Pick of April.

What were your favorite tunes of April?