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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dave Holland- Mental Images

Being a bass player and a fan of jazz, I have always been a big fan of Dave Holland. He is a British musician who has risen out of the usual backdrop role of jazz bassists and founded a really great big band that has put out a handful of innovative albums. I remember buying "Overtime" in 10th grade and listening to it a few times, and even seeing Dave Holland perform with his band in support of the record, but I guess I never "got it". This week, however, I broke this record out again after 4 years, and I've got to say it's pretty slamming. Most of the tracks are pretty straight forward modern big band stuff, solid composition and great solos from Holland's band of all stars. One track, however, stands out to me as a modern classic. "Mental Images" is Holland at his best, a ripping 9 minute track bursting at its seems with energy and drive. It begins with some classic bass noodling from Dave but breaks into a rock solid groove highlighting the unsung heroes of the big band brass, the trombones. The song is in a really weird time signature which I've never really been able to pinpoint, but the fact that the rhythm section can hold such a tight groove with such weird time just makes the track even better. The brass brings several cool riffs interwoven around Dave's bass and the main horn riff. Anyway, even though the track weighs in heftily at 9 minutes, it definitely never drags or gets boring- a feat which few jazz tracks can accomplish. Not a jazz fan? Give this a listen. Toss your Kenny G discs and hear what a true OG can bring to the table- jazz lives!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

(I Plead the) Fifth Recording (2/24)

That's a random picture, but our show is a bunch of non-sequiturs anyways, so I thought it fit. Anyways, we had a great show today, at least it started out that way. No wait, that's a lie. There were some technical difficulties, but we made it through it, and I do believe that thanks to our constant complaining, we have brought change to the WGTB studio!

And that wasn't even the worst thing that happened this show. I received some terrible news toward the end of our show, and we discussed it, so as always, click the title above or right here to download the show or stream it below:

Fifth Show Playlist (2/24)

Michael Franti & Spearhead - Say Hey (I Love You)
G. Love - Greatest Hits
M.I.A. - Sunshowers
The Matches - Papercut Skin
Alice Cooper- I'm Eighteen
The Beatles- Norwegian Wood
Bad Company- Bad Company
MOP- Ante Up
Al Fatz- Came Down
The Clash- Spanish Bombs
The Greyboy Allstars- Grey's Groove
Atmosphere- Don't Stop
Blue Scholars- Bayani
Jewish War Veterans-Evander
Simon & Garfunkel-April Come She Will
Anti-Flag- Emigre
Mike Mictlan & Lazerbeak- Suicide Jimmy Snuffa
Jimmy Eat World- A Praise Chorus
Walter Schriefels- The Ballad of Lil Kim
Faith No More- Epic
B.o.B.- I'll Be in the Sky
Mark Ronson ft Robbie Williams- The Only One I Know
Quincy Jones & Bill Cosby- Hicky-Burr
Bad Brains- Jah Love
Helmet- Unsung

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Emerald Triangle

There's a place that's not so close to where I live called Humboldt County. Along with the neighboring counties of Mendocino and Trinity, Humboldt is notorious for it's marijuana production. Multiple reports have noted that marijuana accounts for two-thirds of Mendocino's economy. Besides the pot, this region of California is also famous for it's giant Redwood trees that can grow up to 380 feet tall and it's proximity to the Pacific Coast.

I bring this magical place up because I recently watched a movie entitled Humboldt County. It's basically about a disillusioned medical student who finds himself in Humboldt living amongst the pot farmers. Similar to Zach Braff's overly-melodramatic films, the film felt like a mixture of Pineapple Express, Into the Wild, and Garden State. And like Braff's films, Humboldt County had some great indie music. Despite its controversial subject matter, the film was touching and interesting, almost introspective. And though the movie does present pot in a positive light, it doesn't overwhelm you with propaganda. The movie maintains an ominous mood throughout, never forgetting that growing pot is still illegal. Instead, the movie focuses on the people and their lives in Humboldt. The themes are familiar: strained father-son relationships and confusion about one's place and direction in life. And it's these themes that drive the characters to act the way they do, making the drugs more of an afterthought and one aspect of the setting and background. Filmed in the Redwoods of California, the film takes full advantage of Humboldt's natural beauty with some exquisite cinematography. The characters are well-developped, and the actors bring raw emotions to the film, reminding the viewer that pot is not just a hippie drug, but a way of life and sometimes a last resort.

But what really makes the film memorable was it's selection of great indie folk artists on its soundtrack. Before watching this movie, I had never heard of any of the bands on the soundtrack. As someone who is more into heavier rock and hip-hop, I usually don't stray beyond Death Cab or Snow Patrol for my indie rock, but the moment the film ended, I immediately googled "humboldt county soundtrack." After a little research, I found that Junip, Radical Face, and Earlimart were the main artists that provided the film with it's dreamy, folksy sound. If you are into Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses, or Rogue Wave, you will most likely like these bands.

And after all, "It's just a plant."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fourth Show Recording (2/17)

We had a pretty good show today. If you missed it or wanted to listen to it again, click the title above or right here to download the show as an mp3 or you can stream it below:

Fourth Show Recording (2/17)

Eric B. & Rakim - Let the Rhythym Hit 'Em
Lucky Boys Confusion - Do You Miss Me [Killinas]
Cannibal Ox- Real Earth
The Ramones- My Brain is Hanging Upside Down
Billy Bragg- A New England
Lauryn Hill- Doo Wop (That Thing)
MURS- Brotherly Love
Walter Schriefels- Arthur Lee's Lullaby
Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal
Aesop Rock- Tomorrow Morning
Chamillionare- Riding Dirty
Fleetwood Mac- Go Your Own Way
Hot Water Music- God Deciding
The Offspring- All I Want
Sublime- Smoke Two Joints
Muse- Plug in Baby
Jawbreaker- Oyster
Lifetime- Cut the Tension
The Grouch- The Bay to LA
Common- The Food
Nas- Rewind
Middle Class Rut- New Low
Lupe Fiasco- Go Go Gadget Flow
Alice in Chains- Got me Wrong
Bloc Party- Flux
Far- Pony
Samiam- My Conveniance
Ozomatli- Super Bowl Sundae

Mother freaking John Tesh!

Jorm Dancing to Fleet Foxes

Sunday, February 15, 2009

So I just watched the NBA all star game/weekend for the past few days and obviously I saw Spike Lee in the audience. This got me thinking- Spike Lee's movies are pretty good, huh? Everyone talks about his earlier stuff (School Daze, Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X, etc.) , but I feel like Spike deserves some more props for his recent efforts. 2006's Inside Man saw Spike directing big league actors such as Denzel and Clive Owen in what, for my money, was the best heist movie in recent memory. Sure, it was a little "Dog Day Afternoon"-y, but I liked the way Spike brought the NY vibe to the classic bank heist, and the ending/subplot was definitely cool too.
Earlier today, I watched Spike's last movie, "Miracle at St. Anna", which was WIDELY trashed by critics.Admittedly, "St. Anna" is ambitious in its efforts, as its a 2.5 hr+ WWII epic, but I was pleasantly surprised, especially after reading dozens of reviews trashing it as meandering junk with no narrative. The film is framed as a murder mystery, but is really the story of a group of four young African-American soldiers who are trapped behind enemy lines in WWII Italy. The story itself is very well written, and brings in many ideas, from racial and sexual tensions to religion and supernatural elements. This, though, is what I thought got Spike into trouble with critics. St. Anna begins as a tightly woven knot which quickly unravels, ending with a single thread. Many saw this as a downfall, but to me, its this narrative style that really sets St. Anna part from not only other WWII films, but even other Spike Lee films. Spike paces the film wonderfully, slowly maneuvering each piece of plot one from the central knot, until only one remains. This process is robust, however, as the film weighs in at a hefty 160 minutes- another reason why it was trashed by critics. In the end, though, maybe it's just my pre-existing interests in some of the facets of this movie, but I liked it. Spike does a great job of spinning the traditional war movie into a suspensful and enlightening film- definitely worth watching if you get a chance.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Park Lane Update

A few weeks ago, we played a track (The Fallen) by Park Lane and we justed wanted to let you know that you can now purchase their newly recorded EP on iTunes.

Third Show Recording (2/10)

We had a pretty good show this week, I mean we played Lily Allen, so you know it's good. We also had some strange requests (The Lonely Island, Bel Biv Devoe, Gummy Bears Theme Song-not played). Decker threw in a short dance block too. If you missed it, you can listen to it now!

As always, click here to download or the title above or stream it below:

Third Show Playlist (2/10)

The Dandy Warhols-Every Day Should Be a Holiday
Nine Inch Nails-Every Day is Exactly the Same
Sims-Barnum and Bailey's
Title Fight- Memorial Field
Tiger's Jaw- Between Your Band and the Other Band
The Lonely Island- Santana DVX
Zion I- Breathin Slow
Blink 182- Here's Your Letter
Felt- Life Vegas
Bel Biv Devo- Poison
Snoop Dogg- Gz and Hustlas
The Knux- Cappuccino
Crime in Stereo- Bicycles for Afghanistan
Incubus- Circles
The Strokes- Razorblade
Dizzee Rascal- Temptation
Andre Nickatina- Soul of a Coke Dealer
Excel- Take Your Part, Gotta Encourage
Clipse- I Still Got it For Cheap
Seaweed- Free Drug Zone
Caesar Palace- 1Ne
Cage- Blood Boy
Underdog- A Lot to Learn
Grits- Ooh Ahh
Young Jeezy- My President
Blue Scholars- Bruise Brothers
Lily Allen- The Fear

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

EMO: A Brief History

For many people, the term "emo" implies the nerdy kid at your high school who wore girls' jeans and dyed his hair black. Knowing what real emo music is, however, this association has always gotten on my nerves. Hence, I decided to write on what emo really is- mythbusting, blog style.
Emo music began as an offshoot of hardcore punk, when many bands began writing less hard songs and turning to more "EMOtional" sounds, thus the name was born. Known DC hardcore heads such as Ian Mackeye and Guy Piccioto were key players in the development of emo, as they turned from the bands of their younger days (Minor Threat, etc.), and began to wrote perhaps more mature music, in bands such as Fugazi and Rites of Spring. 1985 saw the birth of both bands, each developing a more progressive and experimental sound than the straightforward hardcore of the early 1980's. Ian Mackeye's record label, Dischord Records, provided a springboard for many of these bands. The turn of the decade saw many simliar-minded bands developing, which progressed from the traditional simplistic elements of hardcore into more melodic and experimental approaches. New York bands such as Texas is the Reason and Quicksand, featuring Walter of Gorilla Biscuits and Youth of Today fame, took the sound of experimental hardcore bands and turned it more toward the sound which Mackeye had been experimenting with in Fuagzi. The momentum of bands like Fugazi influenced many other early 90's emo bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate to release records, which further developed the traditional emo sound. The following years saw many major emo acts rise to popularity. Groups such as Braid, Cap'n Jazz, the Promise Ring, and Mineral all released albums considered to be pillars of "traditional" emo in the years between 1990-2000.
Similar-minded emo forefathers, Jimmy Eat World and Weezer, both released landmark albums in 1996, Static Prevails and Pinkerton. These two bands can be credited to bringing the emo sound to mainstream audiences. The broad success of these records brough major label attention to emo, and eventually brought emo music to mainsream pop music. Bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Saves the Day, Taking Back Sunday, Hot Water Music, Brand New, and New Found Glory brought pop sensibilities and more accessible sounds to emo music, and saw major success in the early 2000's, fully achieving the crossover of emo into pop music.
It is at this time that the history of emo diverges. Emo has become mainstream, much due to the exposure of pop culture staples MTV, and the annual Vans Warped Tour. Popular emo music began straying further and further from the roots of the genre- so much so that I would say the acts labelled as "emo" in the 21st century (The Used, Fallout Boy, My Chemial Romance, Panic!, etc etc.) have been anything but emo. Many of these bands used over-the-top dramatic and theatric elements which are NOT traditionally a part of emo in anyway. Sadly, these elements have come to be associated with the emo genre, and dare I say, soiled the good name of emo forever. Hence, for most mainstream music fans, "emo" has become a catch-all phrase to describe most alternative or punk music- everything from Death Cab for Cutie to The Smiths (yes I have heard both described as emo). So next time you are about to call your local eyeliner wearing hipster "emo" take a second and remember what emo REALLY is.

Suggested listening: Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Jawbreaker, Sunny Day Real Estate, Seaweed, Knapsack, Samiam, the Promise Ring, American Football, Mineral.

Second Show Recording (2/3)

So, thanks to our shitty internet, only the first hour and twenty minutes of the show got recorded. But to listen to those glorious 80 minutes, click here to download or click the title above or stream below:

Second Show Playlist (2/3)

Hilltop Hoods-The Hard Road Restrung
Sigur Ros-Gobbledigook
The Sonics-Have Love Will Travel
Blink 182- Roller Coaster
(+44)- Cliff Diving
The Arctic Monkeys- Cigarette Smoke
Shiny Toy Guns- Ghost Town
Clipse- Pop Champagne
Paramore- That's What You Get
The Weathermen- Made Shit Your Pants
Yak Ballz- Future Deluxe
Cock Sparrer- England Belongs to Me
Led Zeppelin- Over The Hills and Far Away
Doom Tree- The Wren
POS- Goodbye
Saves the Day- Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
The Get Up Kids- Campfire Kansas
Tech N9ne- Absolute Power
Pharoahe Monch-Right Here
Michael Jackson- Starting Something
Rage Against the Machine- Bombtrack
Von Bondies- This is Our Perfect Crime
Anarchy Club- Through Windows Clear
Ghostface Killah- Kilo
I Am the Avalanche- New Disaster
Classified- Beatin' It
The Descendents- Hope
Pharcyde- Passin' Me By