Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

First of all, thanks to the folks at Least Pretentious Music Blog Ever for letting me contribute to the fun with articles and music-talk.  I just moved back to Olympia after a long hiatus and I am anxious to participate in anything musical that could be going on around here.

I spend a lot of time searching out and listening to new music that I would like to share with people to spark interest and discussion.  Stuff that may not technically be new but is new to me counts in my book, so if I talk about something that has been out for a while, well, don’t get all up my ass about it, okay?

I tend to find something I like and crack out on it for a couple of weeks until I find something else that gets my attention and then the cycle continues, so I should always have albums I’m all about for any given period of time.

So what do I love right now?

Okay, so we are deep in the throes of another northwest winter and won’t be seeing much sunshine for a few months, and for me that means it’s time to find some great winter, crappy-weather melodic music that I always crave come January.  Luckily, I have found just the thing.  The Lower 48, Minnesota transplants to Portland, recently self-released their debut album Where All Maps End.  I have been cracking-out for the last couple weeks and still going strong.  It evokes that timeless feeling I get when I listen to past winter favorites where it can just play on repeat for days and I never get tired of it.  It’s definitely a folky sound, and done really beautifully with some gorgeous instrumental interludes, a couple of super catchy tracks such as “The End” and “Come Awake” always demand that I sing along and do a little dance, and on the whole displays a versatility that keeps it interesting.  All of the songs are really good actually.  They are original enough so that I don’t feel like I’m just listening to recycled garbage.  Beautiful, melodic, atmospheric, intimate, innocent, and just plain good fucking shit.  Have a listen to “The End” and if you don’t find yourself wanting to hear it over and over again, well then, that’s fine, this is just a suggestion, y’all can do what you want.  But if ya like it you should definitely get the album and support these guys, I think they are gonna do good things in the future.

-Leah

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

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

So. We are alive.

Posted: September 25, 2011 in Rants

We’ve been gone for awhile, we are sorry for not responding to your emails. Thing is, Karli just moved to Peru. So we will not have her back until she figures her life out, give it sometime. Likewise following some court required out patient and a brief confrontation with being homeless by myself and Darion respectively, we have just re-obatined internet.  On the bright side we’ve found some replacements who may or may not sell coke and/or have narrowly dodged the icy grip of death and organized crime many times. So thats cool.

We are gradually worming our way back into existing. Give us just a little more time and we will continue to exist! So please keep sending us free press releases and stuff! Its nice. Also, if you haven’t heard, our friends and lovers at the Northwest Music Blog, are way cooler than us, check em out.

Thank you.

Andrew Taylor

If you are as lazy as me, you probably want to download music off the internet without working very hard.  This article covers a very basic method of downloading streaming music.  It does not cover how to torrent music, which most people know how to do and is generally a better, although less legal, method.  There are very few advantages to this method, save that as far as I know, it would be virtually impossible to contract viruses. That said for legality reasons I neither use this method nor support your use of this method for anyway that breeches terms of service, copyright infringement, nor endangers legality of media recording sites, rights, and their respective owners, and in no way support you doing so. With that in mind,  if rather than torrenting a ten gig discography, you prefer to hand pick songs and mixes (with no download link) off of YouTube, 8tracks, Soundcloud, whatever, then read on, pirate.

Download/Playback Streaming Music/Videos from YouTube, Playlist.com, and more

First, this method does not work for downloading from myspace. So, know that.

Two things here:

1. If you’re the least bit tech savvy, and use a pc, click here, and it should explain itself.

2. If you are less than tech savvy, need an easier way, or otherwise have a Mac, this is an alternate, perhaps even easier method. As long as you’re using Firefox, this really couldn’t be much simpler.  Netvideohunter is a Firefox add-on designed specifically for this purpose.  If you aren’t already using Firefox, join the rest of us in the 21st century and download it.  Read on!

  1. Download Netvideohunter, allow it to install, update, and do whatever else it needs to do.
  2. Restart Firefox, as you were likely prompted to do.  Now that Netvideohunter is installed, you should see its small playback icon in the bottom of the browser.  Click on it to bring up the Netvidehunter explorer.  It should have a big screen and a list (most likely blank) of recently streamed music and/or videos.
  3. You are now ready to download from music sources like Playlist.com!  You’ve already completed the steps to playback or download streamed content from any site that hosts music as a standard music file (.mp3, .mp4, .wma, etc).  To begin the process, simply go to the site, start playing the file, bring up the Netvideohunter explorer, locate the file on the list, then either click to play or to download the file.
  4. To download from a source like YouTube or Pandora Radio, you first need an audio converter.  Files on these sites are packaged as .flv (flash video) and unless you are endowed of a more advanced technical knowledge than I (and thus really shouldn’t be using this guide) you probably will not be able to play them back on your computer or mobile device.  This is easily fixed.  Download an application like any audio converter, MPEG Streamclip, or any number of freeware applications available on the web.

Don’t limit yourself to YouTube, PandoraPlaylist, and 8tracks!  There are literally hundreds of sites across the web with streaming content that can be downloaded via NetVideohunter.  For example, download from places like this, or even this. Use wisely.  Use legally.

Download from Myspace

UPDATE: One of the sites I linked here for downloads from myspace seems to no longer be working, there is a method of downloading from any site using safari, which if you are highly motivated I suggest you read up on here. The former site I linked, file2hd, had a pay option intended to allow you download from sites like myspace, but upon my own use and several forum posts it seems it is no longer effective for this. I am however, happy to be proven wrong if anybody has information contrary.

UPDATE: PART 2. This no longer works with the website 8tracks.com after, some emailing with them, I took down the links. Likewise while streaming their music netvideo hunter no longer works to download their files. That said they are literally hundreds of applications to download streaming music legally, so if you find yourself familiar with this method you may wish to search around a bit more.

My apologies and good luck!

UPDATE FOR THE THIRD TIME: http://keepvid.com/ is a great open source video downloader, it doesn’t require the download of an add on like NetVideo Hunter, I haven’t used it for streaming music and my sense it might be a little trickier to use for that than NetVideo Hunter, but! If you find yourself on a school, work, or anywhere else computer where you can’t use NetVideo Hunter, and you would really like the video your streaming, now you can download away.

Andrew Taylor

I really hate to be redundant like this, but I just heard something that burns to the very core of me with hatred. A couple of days ago I was listening to the radio and the new Nicki Minaj/Will.i.am song “Check it out” came on. I would like to start by saying that this in an abortion of a song. The formula for the song is basically:

Horrible rhymes from auto-tuned Will.i.am + auto-tuned Nicki Minaj talking about how great she is + “check it out” repeated over and over again + a sound sample = Utter shit.

In fact, the only thing I liked about the song was the sound sample that they stole and even that was ruined for me after it was used so many times. It actually took me a bit to realize where I recognized the sound clip from, I forced myself to listen the song until I remembered. Luckily the answer came to me and I was able to change the station before the song forced me to commit suicide. The sample they used in the chorus of  “Check it out”  was “Oh, Oh”, which was in “Video Killed The Radio Star” by The Buggles. I don’t just mean it was the same words; it is literally the exact same sound clip. I played them side by side, and there’s no doubt about it.

(Unfortunately, youtube videos of this song can only be viewed on youtube)


This pisses me off to no end. Why can’t these artists just make their own music? Are their songs really so bad that they need to take catchy parts from other songs in hopes that they can polish what is obviously the lyrical equivalent of a sack of crap? It doesn’t work!

In the song Nicki Minaj says “Haters you can kill yo-self”.  I would not be surprised if this song caused a wave of mass suicides across the nation, and then a second wave once the rest of the world translated these god-awful lyrics.

I have a proposition for all of you would-be music samplers out there. If you are going to sample a recognizable and prominent part of someone else’s work, then you have to name your work after them or work in the original title somehow. So in this case the original song was called “Video Killed The Radio Star” so the new version should be called “Check it out, Nicki Minaj ruined the Music Industry”.

(Just look at this as the second part of my last article, I promise my next post won’t be on this topic)


~Darion

I’ve had it up to here with horrible auto-tuning and lyric borrowing that plagues music today! I realize that you cannot tell where “up to here” is, but I assure you that it is a very disgruntled height. Every time I turn on the radio my ears are violated by the sounds of dismantled classic songs and voice modification, if I really wanted to hear robot voices I’d watch the movie Transformers.

I suppose it comes down to questioning the musical talent of new hip-hop and pop artists. Apparently not only are they incapable of singing (since they need to modify their voices), but they also can’t write a decent song to save their lives. When I hear classic songs like “Forever Young” and “The Time of my life” remixed, stripped for the chorus, and combined with horrible digital modifications it makes me feel sick and confused. It’s like the feeling I got when I saw Indiana Jones and The Kingdom of The Crystal Skull.

They say that monkeys typing randomly on typewriters for eternity would eventually complete the works of Shakespeare, I believe it would take Ke$ha twice as long.

What the generic Nicki Minaj lacks in talent, she makes up for in lady lumps.

If all it takes to be “talented” these days is some computer software and the hard work of someone else, then I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this kind of attitude crop up in other forms of media. Who needs to write a good movie anymore when you can just steal a pre-existing story and remix it with special effects? *cough* James Cameron *cough*

I guess if I wanted to make my own film I would only need to film 75% of it and then I could merely plug in a fight scene from The Matrix, and the ending to Fight Club. Guaranteed money maker.

Back to music, perhaps it’s not the horrible talent-lacking and lyric-stealing that bugs me. Maybe I’m really just afraid of how future generations will see us. I can imagine someone my age in the future, they’re seventy years old and listening to the music that’s popular now. I don’t want to be from the same time as an old woman who tortures her family by listening to the high-pitched yappy lyrics of Nicki Minaj, or the decrepit old man who is happy about throat cancer because now his new voice-box gives him constant auto-tune nostalgia.

It’s time to re-evaluate our standards for good music, or at the very least acknowledge and reduce the amount of credit we give to artists who make money by half-assing creativity. In the spirit of remixing and stealing, rather than write my own ending to this rant I have decided to steal the ending of Terminator 2:

“The unknown future rolls toward us. I face it for the first time with a sense of hope, because if a machine, a terminator, can learn the value of human life, maybe we can, too.”


~Darion