Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Screamo: Let It OUT!!!

Growing up on RnB and Soul/Neo-Soul did have some effect on the way in which I receive music. When I fell in love with Rock music my freshman year I leaned towards the bands which had lead singers I considered to have powerful/soulful voices. This lead me to a lot of Nickelback (seriously don't get why everyone hates them all of a sudden), Chris Cornell, Silverchair, Extreme....long long list. Like most I eventually fell head over heels in love with Linkin Park. Didn't take much to realize that Chester Bennington had his own way of expressing himself through screams of pain and anger. I got it, I understood it. But I still would relate screaming to Metal or Punk. I thought there's no way I could tolerate that through a whole track, record, concert whatever the case may be.

Only recently, in the last 4 years, have I come to appreciate what is commonly referred to as "screamo" music. It started when I basically just got into heavier music that consisted of "screamo" from time to time. I adapted a "taking the good with the bad" attitude about it at first, cause heavy rock doesn't consist solely of screaming and yelling, only on the most angry and painful tracks.

I started to hear this differently over time. I think at first it came of as obnoxious to me. I thought "why ruin a good song with all that?". I find that so funny now cause I LOVE it now! Cause I get it. It is a way to express an emotion. As far as our voices are concerned the height in which we can express an emotion IS by screaming or yelling. I'm sure you've all had enough arguments to know this is true. So since I need every aspect of human life in my music, well I eventually came around to this concept. So I wanted to share some of my favorite bands and songs that turned things around for me.

O btw that's Brody Dalle, lead singer of The Distillers pictured above, I think I just wanted to look at her while I typed.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Aisha Tyler: LMAO, Indeed I Am

Today's discussion: Longevity.

What does it take to successfully work in Hollywood for over ten years?

Well if I'm going to use Aisha Tyler as an example...yeah I am cause this post is about her, I would say: Determination, persistence, intelligence, toothbrush, clean underwear.....o shit...wrong list...

People in the Twitterverse know that I'm a huge fan of this woman. However neither them or this woman, know why exactly.

I was an awkward kid. I didn't have many real friends. Not many things made me laugh (in a non-fake way), then I turned it to Talk Soup one day. And there she was, Aisha Tyler, and she never left! After that, I saw her everywhere! It's like she was a part my life after that. I would be watching a movie or TV show and she would pop up, and I would be taken back to that horrible day she turned around for me when I discovered her on Talk Soup.

She doesn't know me, but I relate to her in many ways. Most ways I weren't aware of until I watched her video/intro to her comedy special on Comedy Central, "Nowassitall". Other than not having any ass, I also CONSTANTLY took shit for "talking like a white girl", whatever the fuck that means. And unlike Tyler who was the tallest person on the playground, I was and still am, the shortest, so I've had some height issues as well.

Ok all the mushy shit aside. She's fucking cool as hell dude! I often feel out of place being the only black person I know in real life that listens to rock music. She listens to Eagles of Death Metal and shit like that, she's my fucking idol (MAYBE second to Carrie Brownstein, that's pretty damn good!)! She's brilliant! She graduated from Dartmouth which isn't surprising if you saw her win Celebrity Jeopardy. And she's SUCH a dork (don't tell her I said that)! No really she uses words like "neato" and is obsessed with video games, specifically Halo.

She's written a short film, and a book. She's just awesome dude. She's super nice and very down to earth and obviously here to stay! I strongly suggest you follow on Twitter http://twitter.com/aishatyler and if you wanna see some funny check out her Myspace http://myspace.com/aishatyler

And YES YES OMG YES ok she is "the black chick from Friends" ...she's so much more! lol

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The Thermals: Culture Icons

"Hardly art, hardly starving. Hardly art, hardly garbage!"

And with that, I fell in love with The Thermals! The lyrics, from "No Culture Icons" of the band's debut LP More Parts Per Million, struck me as a direct dig at mainstream music. Not all mainstream music is bad, just because someone is on a major label, doesn't mean they aren't capable of making important music. It's just that over the last 15 years, that has been rare. Old school mainstream meant Bruce Springstein, The Who, The Police, Phil Collins...I could go on. New school mainstream is Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Fall Out Boy, selling Pepsi, Target and Burger King commercials. Do you see? New school mainstream music is all about marketing: "This song is great...now what can we sell with it?". And THAT my friends is why punk bands exist, just to keep everyone focused. Which is why when Hummer offered The Thermals $50,000 to use one of their songs in a commercial, The Thermals basically gave them the finger. Now had Honda offered them 20,000 bucks for a Hybrid commercial, perhaps they would've considered that. Cause that's another horrible thing, it's not bad enough that music has just become a marketing strategy, it's being used to sell the most unnecessary and unhealthy things! How about a Black Eyed Peas song on a life insurance commercial? Just saying....

*sigh* This is actually a post about The Thermals....lemme refocus here...:

The Thermals, yet ANOTHER gift from Portland formed in 2002. Then they took off at indie speed! You ready? Ok, so they gave their demo to Ben Gibbard who gave it to Sub Pop Records, who IMMEDIATELY signed them and had the record mixed by Chris Walla! The record, More Parts Per Million, was released in March 2003. Then they lost a guitar player, gave the guitar to lead singer Hutch Harris and became a trio and recorded and released their second record Fuckin' A, in 2004. For some reason drummers are slippery, and The Thermals were no exception, flying through drummer after drummer. Good thing bassist Kathy Foster is also a drummer and recorded ALL drums for the band's last two records. Maybe even the last three, it's confusing apparently The Thermals have an unreleased LP called We Sleep In a Holy Bed, why unreleased? I have no idea, I'll get back to you on that one! At least we have The Body, The Blood, The Machine and Now We Can See to distract us from any "lost" or unreleased goodness we may wonder about.

What's great about The Thermals is their music is actually really simple. The arrangement in the songs are so simple and yet the lyrics are so powerful and sometimes that creates some complexity in the way you respond to it. When the music is overpowered by the lyrics it makes you pay attention to the words, whether you want to or not, then you have to deal with how that makes you feel.

Now I don't talk about many punk bands because I've only just discovered punk music. I had a preconceived idea of punk music being loud, screamo with no rhythm. I'm finding this to be very untrue! So starting with The Thermals, I'll be blogging about punk bands I now love.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Silversun Pickups: Why They Make Me *Swoon*

Silversun Pickups' lastest record, Swoon is flawless!

This is a band that understands their sound, and knows what it's capable of doing and isn't trying to be anything other than what it originally intended. What they are is an indie rock band. Interesting double standard: because Brain sings in that nice soft sweet tone people like to call their music pop, completely ignoring the rock instrumentation. If Brian was a female singing over the very same music, people wouldn't question the "rock-ness" of the music.

Indie rock? Yes. Specifically new wave. When listening to Swoon I think Metric on downers. The keyboard tracks are subtle and barely raise above the guitar on most tracks, creating a peacefulness within the tracks that compliment Brian's tone. Other tracks however have distortion out the world on Brian's guitar, while his voice remains quiet, perhaps he didn't need to be heard at that moment. Nikki really shines on this record, a few songs have bass lead-ins, making it a few more than you usually get on one record.

My favorite track is "Growing Old Is Getting Old", because of the bass line. It's flawless throughout. The chorus also is hynoptic. Actually the whole record is this way. It's a side effect of the tone in which Brian sings, like Emily Haines' vocals on Metric albums. There's something about the low tone and "pretty" music that makes me light, and I can sink into those records and stay for days.