Archive for October, 2011

To some people this may seem mind blowing, but there was actually a time when hip-hop artists and punk bands would hang out, maybe even play shows together. Starting in the late 70s and early 80s, there was a time when the rebellious, political sentiments of the two genres actually lead to a surprising amount of collaboration and acknowledgment between artists.  Just for example, the  Beastie Boys became hip hop icons after originally starting as a hardcore punk band way back in 1982.  For a much better article on the early underground coexistence of the two genres check the blog located here. I doubt anyone rapped over sampled hardcore bands, but the idea of the two being in the same scene isn’t nearly as impossible as it would seem today.

Today if you were to go to a local show anywhere (or at least here in the northwest) you probably would not find Hip Hop artists and punks playing the same venue. What caused this rift? Most likley the gross assimilation of the two genres into mainstream culture. I’m sure things are far more complicated than this, but its undeniable that mainstream hip-hop‘s constant references to money being synonymous with greatness doesn’t fit with punk anymore than hip-hop would fit with the now seemingly nonexistent (perhaps somehow replaced by dubstep?) scene of whatever emo was. Likewise is the case with the underground, at least here in the Northwest. I don’t pretend to know everything, but as far as I know the Boom Bap Project playing a show with Rvivr still seems a little far fetched.

Meanwhile deep in the last ten(ish) years of California…

Somewhere in the strange limbo of artists of the California not-quite-mainstream-but-still-not-considered-underground-cus’-their-kinda’-well-known scene, there has been birthed some collaboration between punk and hip-hop artists (i.e Tim Armstrong being featured by Cypress hill here). Most of these collaborations are artists simply writing in another genre, but sometimes include a little experimental genre mixing. Notably a famous shampoo commercial jingle by The Transplants (Once again, still including Tim Armstrong, my apologies to the California Hip Hop Punks for not knowing anybody else).  Still, there are other artists who are not quite changing genres at all; but instead just giving shouts outs and playing basically the same stuff (shit, if you will). Say whatever you will (“no” for example, could be something you’d say) about many of these collaborations or whatever-they-are, at least it seems that they don’t do any real mixing of hardcore punk rock and hip-hop to make one  new weird-ass genre…

Or do they?!

Indeed, ass-whole cynicism aside; there are actually examples of Hip-Hop Punk Rock that in my opinion actually work (in the sense it blends both genres without sounding artificial, forced, or in general: terrible). So here are three very different songs by three very different artists all writing songs that blend punk and hip hop in three very different ways:

Zion I – Amerika

Extremely political. Probably the song that really blends the two genres the most, although be it with a higher emphasis on hip-hop. Listen to the whole thing before you rush to your own cynical judgments.

Leftover Crack – So you wanna be a cop

Leftover Crack, Chocking Victim, Crack Rock Steady Seven, Morning Glory; aren’t they all the exact same fucking band? Not really, but almost. Stza has been the front man and songwriter for pretty much all of them except Morning Glory (although he is still featured on some songs). I met Stza when Starfucking Hipsters were touring in 2009, during the ancient time when we actually booked shows in Olympia. I once heard a drunken rant from Stza claiming that they’ve actually played under a lot of different names in New York, due to constantly being banned from venues.  No idea if that’s true, but regardless! This song goes from old school breakdown to punk chorus, smoothly. I mean really, it works pretty well.

The Have Nots – Secret Machines ft. Cathy Cathotic

OK, so this is literally just a ska punk song until you get around 2:05.  The Have Nots are not exactly the most original thing to happen in 2011; a ska-punk + shout-talk (almost rap?) vocals reminiscent of Jessie Micheals (Op Ivy & Common Rider) + little bit of a pop-punk sound = not really breaking news. I like them, they played quite possibly one of the worst shows I’ve ever thrown in Olympia, and they came all the way from Boston! The lyrics in the chorus of this song feel a little lame to me, but its catchy as fuck. So here yo go, enjoy the sound of a Boston MC rapping over a ska punk break down, because apparently, that happens in Boston.

Finally-

-if you haven’t caught on by now I’m not exactly a Transplants fan (which is ironic, because the first show I ever chipped a tooth at was Rancid). But this is pretty goddamn badass:

Andrew

Here’s a local show flyer I ran into. I know close to nothing about the bands in attendance, other than it appears to be a good mixture of genres including: Experimental/ Electronica, Pop-Punk, Metal, and Indie Rock/ Folk. Five bands for five dollars. Sounds like a good deal if you ask me.

Here’s a demo from Drive Thru Junkies:

Baaaaaaahhh! Bobby! Get Away from my Propane!

Along with the flyer, I also present to you the facebook event page so you can “Attend” and look cool for your friends: SHAZAM!

BUT, if you’re serious about attending (excuse me if I’m a little jaded. I’ve had bad experiences with shows promoted on facebook) then all you really is to google map the directions and check out the venue. Oh, what’s this? A link to the venue information? I think so: VENUE-TASTIC!

Don’t forget your five bucks…

~Darion

Sometimes an artist writes a song with a powerful or interesting message, but the lyrics get jumbled in our heads and we miss the point completely. It’s fair to say that we’ve all had those confusing moments when song lyrics either turn out to be completely different than you originally thought, or were just damn confusing to begin with.

Today we look at a couple of my personal favorite Misheard Lyrics and analyze how a simple misinterpretation can distract from the entire message of a song:

  • Artist: Florence and The Machine
  • Song: The Dog Days are Over
  • What I heard: “Run Vampire Mother, Vampire Father. Run for your children, for your sisters and your brothers”
  • The Real Lyrics: “Run fast for your moher, fast for your father. Run for your children, for your sisters and your brothers”

I was incredibly disappointed when I learned that the song was not about people hunting down and killing families of vampires. When I had first heard this song my initial thought was “Yes, finally a song about brutal Vampire hunting!” but alas I was put in my place one day while singing along with some friends. Their looks of confusion conveyed the message that I was saying the lyrics wrong.  I have to say, now that this song isn’t about vampire murder…I find it hard to enjoy. Especially because it became aggressively over-played.

These kids deserve a song.

  • Artist: Katy Perry (feat. Kanye West)
  • Song: ET
  • What I heard: “Kiss me, hit me Bruce Lee. Prick me with your love pen, fill me with your poison”
  • The Real Lyrics: “Kiss me, ki-ki-kiss me. Infect me with your love and, fill me with your poison”

Honestly, what I originally heard didn’t make much sense; but it was much better. In my mind Katy Perry was some sort of alien woman who was super horny for Bruce Lee, and for some reason she was hanging out with Kanye West who basically wanted to rape her; and I was alright with that. The realty of this song is a bit disappointing. There should really be more Bruce Lee references in songs.

Can I take a moment here to express how pointless Kanye’s role in this song was? He adds nothing but a layer of creepiness and further confusion.

  • Artist: Jay-Z (feat. Alicia Keys)
  • Song: Empire State of Mind
  • What I heard: “New York, I’ve become a wet dream tomato. There’s nothing you can do!”
  • The Real Lyrics: “New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of. There’s nothing you can’t do!”

The actual lyrics are a bit more inspiring, but a lot less funny. When I first heard this song, I was pretty impressed. My impression was that Jay-Z  was rapping about real life, and then Alicia Keys  kept cutting in and trolling the shit out of him. At first I was like “Wet dream tomato” what the hell is that supposed to mean!? But then I decided that it’s kind of like “I’m a wet dream tomato, your argument is invalid”

Sadly this was not true. It’s just a normal-ass song about how inspiring life in New York is. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t the only one to hear these incorrect lyrics: YTMND


  • Artist: The Kooks
  • Song: Naive
  • What I heard: “I know that she knows that I’m not from the roster”
  • The Real Lyrics: “I know that she knows that I’m not fond of asking”

Actually, the words “from the roster” were a complete guess. This is one of those times when I liked the sound of the lyric but had no idea what the fuck was being said. Between Luke Pritchard’s accent and the strange inflection he decided to give that line, I was completely lost. The line might as well have gone: “I know that she knows that I’m not FAFAFAFA”

Am I happy now that I know the  real lyric? Sure, but I still like mumbling nonsense to myself when this song comes up on shuffle.

  • Artist: Neon Trees
  • Song: Animal
  • What I heard: “Oh Oh, I walked to Mordor”
  • The Real Lyrics: “Oh oh, I want some more”

This was a crushing realization for me, because after hearing that line I was convinced that the whole song was about Lord of the Rings. My imagination went wild. I began misinterpreting lyrics like “say goodbye to my heart tonight” and in ending up with “take a bite of my hand tonight”. If you know your hobbits and elves, then I’d suggest listening to this song and reflecting on the events of the LOTR. A little Tolkien makes a good song so much better.

Gollum took a bite of his hand that night.

~Darion

Recently at Le Voyeur in Olympia, Washington I had the pleasure of viewing Admiral St. Grey as the artist I Feel Awesome. This outlandish Brooklyn based artist comes with a sound that I guess could be called music. According to what some really high kids told me, it’s called “futuristic progressive minimalist.” I would definitely describe it as better than being stabbed, but that’s still debatable.

Ms. Grey’s music transcends both genre boundaries, and for that matter logic and reason, all with some proudly with unsolicited gusto. The first EP by I FEEL AWESOME comes with some minimalist drums similar to a an African beat, with a techno backdrop reminiscent of being in a refinery, then lovingly wrapped together with vocals sounding oddly similar to the musical styling of  Tsim Fuckis (look it up).

Grey also recently released an EP with her band, Glass Lamborghini, the bands music making about as much sense as their name does. All I can really say about that album is the best song, titled “Make It Sparkle” (linked here), is comprised of a generic synthy beat, with once again minimalist drums. Accompanying Ms. Grey at Le Voyeur were three other “experimental” artists, entitled: Chains Isabella, Cult of Zir, and finally SQURM. I use experimental in these terms the same way mustard gas started as an “experiment.” To be honest a child with a chemistry set would have been more interesting than this dribble. I even walked out of SQURM’s set when the music dropped and there was literally eight straight seconds of him just screaming (I wore a watch).

I must say the one saving grace of this boondoggled catastrophe you could maybe call music was the venue. Le Voyeur has a visually magnificent show room, not to mention a very pleasant restaurant/bar area. The staff are awesome and the foods not half bad, I recommend the fries. All this greatness is accompanied by an excellent bar tender and an extensive list of fine imported beers from around the world.

So in conclusion Le Voyeur in  Olympia Washington gets an A rating for Awesome bar/venue. Grey and her experimental posse get a F for Fuck you, and your wasting of my time.

Neff

So, heres a little context for this story: I’m in Peru. There ya go.

AND…

About five days ago the wonder and bliss of beautiful Peru wore off. No longer was Miraflores the neighborhood of my dreams and the land of opportunity. Suddenly this oasis of culture, the arts, and hospitality became a horrendous dirty city full of gringo-hating, mean spirited rapists. This change in attitude took place after I weighed the lessons of the week. Most of them were learned the only way a true lesson can be: The hard way. These included:

  • Not everyone has good intentions and my well-being in mind
  • It took me 6 months to figure out how to get here,  there is no way anyone can come visit me on a whim
  • I can’t maintain a relationship with 2 Facebook chat sessions a week

All lessons learned come with some harsh realizations, the toughest of the two:

  • -Holy balls, NO ONE HERE UNDERSTANDS MY ACCENT. I literally can´t voice my needs to anyone.

and, of course:

  • -I am completely and utterly alone.

So after a few nights of nightmares after bawling myself to sleep something inside of me (and my mother)  said, HEY.  You’re a brave girl. Time to put those big, brave girl panties on and pull your fucking-self together. Seriously.

So today, I did just that. I enrolled in school, started spanish classes, made some friends, and even made some evening plans. I went grocery shopping, I went to work, I exercised.

I had goals when I came here, I did. I wanted to learn Spanish. I wanted to learn about culture. I wanted to backpack. I wanted to be on my own for the first time in my adult life and not another lives-at-home college graduate. I wanted adventure. And now that I think about it, with my new, positive outlook and a refreshed view of this country I have chosen to call my home, I see that I am on the way to achieving EVERY SINGLE ONE of these objectives.

So whats next? MUSIC.

The third night I was in Lima I met a boy in the park. He was a mystic from the jungle who one day just made the 3 day walk out of the Amazon, hopped on a bus and came to Miraflores to enroll in college with hopes of becoming an astronaut. Before reading my energy with his weird mind tricks and making me imagine various scenes from what sounded to me like strange surrealist paintings he first declared that I was a punk. Did I have a boyfriend with a mohawk? How many drugs do I take? Do I wear my ballet flats in the mosh pits? After explaining to him that no, I don´t binge drink every night and I have other commitments than “being a punk” that require me to have more than one pair of shoes he made me dance and decided that, yes. Punks here dance the same way.

 And that was the last I heard about the punk scene in Lima, Peru.

I did some research and found out that like the United States, Peru has a rich history of punk dating back to the 1960s. THE 60s! And if mystic straight-off-the-bus jungle boy can find it, I can too, right? Punk can’t truly be dead ALL over the world, can it?

So tonight its off to the jam-sesh at the local jazz house with my new euro-trash amigos to talk to musicians about, well,  where to find this elusive punk. And hopefully very soon I will be reporting back and bringing the world of South American hardcore to you.

Because if a strange kid with a loin cloth, some blow darts and literally no spanish speaking ability can make it in Lima, a tiny gringa with safari shorts, geeky sandals and some spanish speaking ability can make it here, too.

Karli

Bringing you the first year of what will hopefully become an annual free music and arts festival in Tacoma!

This Saturday is the first day of the Fall Free for All, a wonderfully lovely music and arts festival held in the theater district in Tacoma. More than 75 acts will be featured including music, arts, poetry, acting, stuff for little children and drunks alike!  Free wristbands allow for free entry to literally everything in existence at the festival, patrons are encouraged to apply for the wrist band early here. The full line up offers a far more extensive list of all the greatness, wonder,  and heavenly divine genius of art that is available, however some of the most notable artists playing at the Music at the Rialto Venue include:

Saturday:
10:30 – Ukulele Ohana
11:30 – Eternal Fair
12:00 – Kris Orlowski
12:45 – The Local Strangers
1:30 – Port St. Willow
3:15 – Northwest Sacred Harp Singers
5:30 – The Tacoma Round, with Noah Gundersen, Kris Doty, and Port St. Willow
7:45 – Paul Rucker
8:30 – Portland Cello Project, with Drew Grow and Horse Feathers
10:30 – Drew Grow and the Pastors’ Wives

Sunday:
12:00 – CityHall
12:30 – Hurtbird
1:15 – Pearly Gate Music
2:00 – Sons of Warren Oates
2:45 – Kelli Schaefer
4:15 – Laura Gibson
5:00 – Portland Cello Project, with Kelli Schaefer and Kevin Sur (of Indian Valley Line)
7:00 – Concours d’Elegance

So go! And remember to sign up for your free wristband, so you can into the free music festival, and of course check out their facebook.

Enjoy,

Andrew