Category: Music

Post-midnight thoughts 8.17.2017

A random assortment of thoughts spilled out stream-of-consciousness style. I touch on controversial subjects tonight. Opinions in no way represent FactsB or other affiliated authors.

On Charlottesville, news media:
The damage being dealt to the left-wing and left-biased media outlets by the ultraconservative agenda almost seems intentional in how, as a collective, news outlets and entertainment figures are acting about and reacting to Donald Trump and various current events. Nobody seems to think before they speak, and speaking in hyperbole has become the norm. Diction matters for a reason, and consistently the staunchest critics of Donald Trump sidestep the right points by over-exaggerating certain issues that many White Americans simply don’t care about or cannot relate to yet (Except Charlottesville, that’s quite clearly a white supremacist rally and I think most people are at least concerned about it).

White nationalists march in Charlottesville. Alejandro Alvarez/News2Share/Via Reuters

They consistently give Donald Trump fuel to use in order to sway his very vocal supporters, who in turn give the news MORE fuel to exaggerate. When you make conservative pundits and outlets seem relatively sane in comparison, you might be doing something wrong. I don’t think they’re necessarily wrong nor do I feel like they should have to change. The truth of the matter is that Americans have to become smarter media consumers or else no amount of changing our tone will get through to people.

There needs to be a culture change. A popular myth states that Americans will take one year to build a bridge that lasts 10 years, but the Germans will take 10 years to build a bridge that lasts forever (one version I’ve heard). We’ve got to change our minds and the way we consume our media (and our food).
We’ve turned into a country of extremes, and I hope we can find that middle ground again.

That being said, nobody is the winner here when the US government clearly has an agenda to run this country into the ground by continuing to sabotage our education, overspend on defense, diminish healthcare, and halt social progress. But that’s just me.

On sports:
Football preseason has started, and that means everybody is out making wild assumptions about their teams record this year. Me? I predict the Broncos will have a more outstanding season than last, hopefully with a rejuvenated offense with some juice behind it. A 10-6 record would be their best record this season, I think, and they’ll probably one and done it in the post-season. Look how far ahead I am predicting this unpredictable game. Super Bowl winners? Probably the Steelers or Patriots versus the Giants or the Packers. Safe bets!

It’s going to be a good season of football as parity in the league has been restored for the most part (at first glance) with only a few outliers remaining. The Patriots dynasty is probably one of the most dominant in the history of the league, and I doubt it gets challenged by someone in the near future. The stranglehold they’ve kept on the AFC will continue to hold as Tom Brady reaches his 40th birthday while still paying in the NFL. For reference, he’s only the 33rd player to play after 40.

Tom Brady looks on as an errant pass is taken to the house for 6. The Patriots would end up winning the Super Bowl, overcoming the score of 28-3 against the Atlanta Falcons. (Getty Images via SportingNews)

 

My favorite draft pick this year is probably Mitch Trubisky. I think the Bears caught people by surprise with this one (because they either traded up too much or didn’t? i forget and i’m too lazy to look it up now!), and based on one preseason game I’ve seen him in I can say that I think he’ll do well in the NFL. Granted it was against 2nd and 3rd stringers, but give the guy credit where its due, yeah? That Mike Glennon looks as awful as the former starter of the Tampa Bay Bucs should, by the way.

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Derek Pope’s “Everything” is a Hidden Masterpiece of Modern Pop-Rap


I’ve been following Derek Pope since he was in high school. He’s changed his name a bunch of times, (Catastrophic, Kidd Upstairs), and aside from a few songs with a couple hundred thousand plays, the dude really isn’t that famous. It could just be me, but I think this guy’s production is nothing short of flawless.

On this track, Derek Pope brings you a formulaic (yet somehow not all that generic sounding) banger. His vocals are solid on the track solo, but imagine if this had a feature, from like, Rae Sremmurd. That would be all kinds of fire.

It’s Not Frank Ocean’s Fault – Stop Listening To Internet Rumors

After the masterpiece that was Channel Orange, we have long been anticipating Frank Ocean’s next album release, titled Boys Don’t Cry. We were promised it last year, and we were also promised it today, June 3rd, 2016. The album, and Frank Ocean are nowhere in sight. We know you’re upset, because we are too.

Except, Frank Ocean wasn’t the one who made the promises, so why be mad at him? One news source just has to erroneously print that it was supposed to be released today. Since journalistic integrity no longer exists, other media outlets also believe it to be true and it you end up with a torrential shitstorm of articles and tweets like we had yesterday.

How many times has RIP Eminem trended on twitter? Eminem has died 500 times in 500 different ways on viral social media, and obviously none of it is true. This news spreads in the same exact fashion. If you don’t hear the word directly from Frank’s mouth, or someone directly out of his camp, there’s no reason to be mad at the guy. After all, we’re not mad at Eminem for allegedly being dead.

In all likelihood, an actual song will be leaked from Frank’s album before any factual information about a release gets out. We really do wish that today was the day, but we’re just going to have to wait it out, guys.

The Summer Set – The Stories For Monday Tour Review

The Summer Set is a band that I have actually seen two times already, but only as a filler band at music festivals. Safe to say, standing far back from the stage for a set probably no longer than 30 minutes didn’t do them any justice at all. Tonight I was up close and personal at U Street Music Hall in Washington DC, with a perfect view over the heads of a mostly x-on-hand female crowd. This was honestly one of the most incredible performances I’ve seen.

Singer Brian Dales is an incredible vocal talent, sounding about the same as he does on record; but what truly made the performance so incredible was his stage presence and charisma. I was singing along to the songs that I knew, and I just had to pretend that I knew the words to the songs that I didn’t because I didn’t want to stop moving. He was taking tequila shots, telling stories about the band, and doing the “dougie” on stage captivating everyone there.

My personal opinion about the Summer Set from the past has been is that I LOVE some of their songs but their others were probably worth glancing over. This turned out not to be the case as they performed for nearly two hours (I believe Brian said it was one of the longest sets they’ve played in their 9 years as a band,) and I wasn’t bored for a second. They perfectly spaced out their big hits, “Boomerang” first, “Chelsea” somewhere in the middle, and “Lightning In a Bottle” to close off. In between they played songs new and old, and even though I didn’t know most of the words, I knew the melodies to the choruses and could usually figure out what to sing by the second time around. But even though it was fairly obvious which songs were popular and which songs weren’t, as soon as it seemed like energy was leaving at all, they’d play something like The “Boys You Do Get Back At You” and everyone would go wild again.

The other members of the band were fantastic as well. Drummer Jess Bowen was flawless as usual, and the guitarist wearing the hat (not quite sure of his name) was so enthusiastic on stage that I’m sure if he were the singer, he could have been just as commanding to the audience as Brian Dales himself.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing The Summer Set, and would definitely be open to see them a fourth time, especially in a small environment like this one.

Opening Acts: Karizma, Royal Teeth, Handsome Ghost

I had never heard of any of these dudes before, but since I’ve discovered some great bands in the past from opening acts, I always give them a chance.

Even this guy:

This guy is Karizma, and it was pretty hard for me to not write him off right away. I’m typically not a fan of white rappers, and even less a fan of guys with this haircut. Although I still left not really liking his music, it’s just not my thing in the first place, so that’s okay. I have a ton of respect for this dude, and I think that people who aren’t me will probably vibe to this guy. He prefaced most of his songs mentioning that he wrote it about an ex-girlfriend, and that “hating the guts out of someone you used to love” passion really showed. The crowd loved him and was moving the whole time. In the middle of his set, he quieted the crowd and spoke without the microphone, telling everyone that they should do what they love. It was heartfelt advice that he was obviously taking himself. Again, I personally am not into emo rap but he puts on a great show and would recommend checking him out if he sounds like your thing.

 

Royal Teeth from Louisiana absolutely blew me the fuck away. I took a snapchat video of them performing “Kids Conspire,” and it didn’t record the sound. I’m more furious about this than the time I was front row at Talib Kweli with a dead phone. There were two singers, a male and a female with a great dynamic. They sang well together, and they also sang well without each other. When one singer was doing their thing alone, the male singer either played guitar or had his own personal snare drum, and the female singer had her own percussion tambourine-esque things too. The female singer vaguely reminded me of CHVRCHES’s Lauren Mayberry, but being backed by live instruments instead of synth, I feel like I like her even more. It was a super energetic and active performance, and I would love to see these guys again. It’s rare that I come back from seeing a band I’ve never heard of before and immediately download their whole discography, but Royal Teeth is one of those gems.

 

Handsome Ghost, the act before the headlining Summer Set fell pretty flat. Performing an electro-indie fusion kinda thing, they had the opposite effect that Karizma did on me. They performed a genre I like, and I didn’t really find it enjoyable. They had 3 or 4 people on stage, but the performance felt so empty to me that the main singer could’ve just performed by himself to a recording and I probably wouldn’t have noticed a difference. He started with an acoustic guitar, but after asking the crowd if they could hear it or not decided to ditch it entirely. Maybe he should have gotten a proper microphone for that thing, because the performance just felt super empty. There was a female vocalist on stage as well, but I don’t think I could even hear her at all. Definitely not a good example of the male-female duet thing like earlier performers Royal Teeth. Even the crowdgoers around me seemed to agree, the girl to the right complaining about a noisy intro to a song, asking “When does this song actually start?” When The Summer Set’s Brian Dales asked if we all enjoyed the other acts, it was pretty certain that Handsome Ghost’s was a lot quieter.

Critter – Big World

(I actually put together this video myself from old studio diary footage in Premiere.)

My obsession with Sierra Kusterbeck is still alive and kicking. I think most of her old fans have given up on her after watching her instagram and snapchat herself in the studio for like 2 years with nothing to show, but the former VersaEmerge singer finally dropped this on her CRITTER soundcloud 2 weeks ago. This is definitely a “sit back REEEE-lax” chill tune and after some research I found the instrumentals were produced by a guy called “Stwo” who probably intended for the track to be rapped and not sung over. Sippin on that Sizzurp.

I think she sounds fantastic on this production. The lyrics she tends to write these days really seem to fit this laid back style of music over the epic spacey stuff or even the harder electronic she’s released over the last few years. I don’t know the deal between her and Blake Harnage or if they’re even making music together anymore, but I actually think they are better off making music separately. Blake is great at what he does, producing PVRIS who are a female fronted band that might now be bigger than VersaEmerge ever was. He also produced Alyssa Bernal’s Wasted Love which has the exact sound that electronic-age Versa was supposed to have and never achieved. I just don’t think the two fit together anymore. It worked great on Perceptions when they were still transitioning out of Post-Hardcore and could cover up their mismatch with guitars and warped tour-style energy, but when its just the two of them I don’t really think they’re a match.

I’m kind of writing this post like I’m mad at her or something, but I still believe in Sierra. This track just gave me even more hope that she’s finally found her new style in this kind of music and will release more songs like this and less like Domesticated Girl.

 

 

My 5 Favorite Songs of 2015 (That don’t include Drake or The Weeknd)

What kind of music do you listen to? This question always stumps me, because the real answer is pretty much “Just Drake and The Weeknd,” but I do occasionally dabble in female-driven pop, post-hardcore, EDM, and whatever happens to be playing on Hot 97. So here, I really struggled to find 5 songs released this year that I like, that do not include either of those artists.

5. Meek Mill – All Eyes on You

After the entire world has been shitting on Meek Mill for attempting to beef with Drake, and getting him *cough* Charged Up, *cough* I can at least appreciate that Meek Mill collaborates well with other artists, especially when he doesn’t use his angry voice and works with Nicki Minaj and Chris Brown. On this track, I’d actually say that Nicki Minaj stood out to me the most. I think this is her best verse since Monster, although there is still a pretty large gap. Anyway, I’d say all three of them gave above average performance resulting in a pretty nice song to bump in the whip.

4. All Time Low – Something’s Gotta Give

Good ol’ pop-punk. All Time Low has been one of my guilty pleasures, but sometimes it’s so guilty that I had the chance to see them live at a music festival and ended up passing on them. I ended up seeing a hardcore band I don’t remember the name of because the crowd was full of preteen girls and their mothers, which was pretty unappetizing after I had been in a dozen mosh pits earlier that day. Most old All Time Low fans don’t keep up with them lately, but this song is rather catchy, and if you still bump Dear Maria or Weightless, this song is probably worth checking out. If you happen to really like the riffing in this song, I also recommend checking out Cartel’s Sympathy, since this song totally ripped off of that. (I was mad about that for like, 2 weeks but I got over it)

3. Phoebe Ryan – Homie

Honestly, Phoebe Ryan probably has way better songs than Homie, but there’s something so great about the word “Homie” and the whole message behind the song. What’s the point of being anything more, or anything less. Right now you’re you’re exactly who I need you to be, so just get undressed. It represents the move away from dating culture and taking relationships too seriously, and I’m pretty much fine with that.

2. Carly Rae Jepsen – Boy Problems

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFT8FIPnumM

This song is so poppy and peppy that there’s a good chance you’ll internally combust on your first listen. A Katy Perry-esque poppy bassline paired with Carly’s sweeter-than-sugar voice created pure cocaine in the form of a Carly Rae Jepsen song. This song makes you want to dance, but you’re most likely going to feel really bad about it after the song ends. So you just end up listening to the song again. And again. And again.

1. Dance Gavin Dance – Eagle vs Crows

Honestly, I haven’t kept up with Dance Gavin Dance, and the first time I listened to this song was last night. However, unlike all of the 4 above songs, I’m in no way embarrassed to listen to this song. If you don’t appreciate it, you can at least tell it’s something that music snobs would like since it’s got a nice blend of complex guitar, and the mix of harsh/soft vocals and is catchy WITHOUT sounding anything like A Day to Remember. I can already tell that I’ll be listening to this song for years.

Wrongchilde – Dance to Your Heartbeat Lyrics

i’ll remember this night still when i’m older
every time your head lands on my shoulder
we swing our heads like marionettes
i’m so alive with you
if you kiss me like you mean it
i will never leave if
the lights are off, the dj’s gone
it’s cool with me because i’ll dance to your heartbeat

dance to your heartbeat
dance to your heartbeat

when i’m caught your eyes it’s like a time lapse
all the lashes are just like venus flytraps
stay gold they sing, all of the wild things
i’m alive with you

i know they say you act strangely
i hope you’ll never think of changing
when the power’s cut and closes shut
it’s cool, you’ll see, i’ll be dancing to your heartbeat

to your heartbeat
dance, dance to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat

just say we can light a fire that could burn for ages
see the glow from outer space
and spin to the DJ plays

always i swear to god we should run away
you can wear my coat, you can wear my chain
and when the sun comes up wear my ray-bans shades

oh babe, everyone’s dressed like a masquerade
in tux and gowns and cheap champagne

i ask you to dance but i was so afraid
now my heart’s going boom boom boom

i’ll dance to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat
i’ll dance, dance, to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat
c’mon
dance dance to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat
yeah
dance dance to your heartbeat
to your heartbeat
dance to your heartbeat


 

A commenter corrected bayonets to marionettes, let me know if anything else looks wrong here

Track of the Day: Gazzo – Sun Turns Cold

This isn’t exactly a new song, but I ran into it on Spotify, and the drop to this is super dank and catchy. Gazzo is an EDM dude who made the song that my old roommate Luke listened to about 6 times a day because he was featured in a music video with “Never Touch The Ground” in the background. I still listen to that song ironically since it’s been drilled into my head, along with “Hold On We’re Going Home” some Robin Thicke song I don’t know the name of, and “I Could Be The One”

I think I’m literally going to make a “Luke” playlist. It’d be really easy to make, and it’s perfect for bros who just love EDM and Drake.

Which reminds me, I gotta put together a new playlist. For whatever reason my 5 day playlist keeps playing the same damn Gorillaz tracks over and over again even on shuffle.

Drake vs. Meek Mill, A Glorious Marketing Opportunity

First of all, I’m glad that Meek Mill dissed Drake, because we got 2 new Drake tracks out of it. Secondly, I’d like to point out all of the virtual ham being served by the social media accounts of various corporations.

I’d say that nobody is going to do better than Whataburger in this *ahem* beef. Give your social media manager a raise. 64k likes from a fast food account is no joke at all. And I can’t get over how genius the chicken fingers/twitter fingers was. Hopefully I’m able to come up with something like that during my social media career.

This is really funny, but I can’t say it’s fair. When you’ve got a company like Brazzers jumping into any sort of viral social media issue, it’s going to get retweets. You know, because it’s Brazzers.

My opinion of this whole beef? You can’t touch Drake. I tweeted it myself earlier. Meek Mill has been made so much more relevant for Drake even acknowledging him. His plays on Last.fm have QUADRUPLED since the beef started. You can attribute that to the release of his album, but even still, the most popular song off of that album has ALWAYS been RICO, the song that Drake features on!

Even if Drake didn’t actually win the beef (He did, Back to Back was a caught body from the album art of the Jays beating the Phillies to the actual track itself) There was no way that people were going to admit that a middle-tier rapper put out a better song than DRAKE.

The author of this article has taken The Rap Test, and was only able to complete Drake’s portion of the test.  

Tune Tuesday: CHVRCHES – Leave a Trace (Live)

I wrote about Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 over at Karmaloop’s blog and it was just as exciting as I thought it would be. CHVRCHES was probably the band I was most hyped about seeing, and especially because they were performing a few songs off of their new album to be released this fall, Every Open Eye.

Leave a Trace was by far my favorite of the new songs. Listen to Lauren Mayberry’s voice kick into gear at :47 for the chorus of the song. She’s got such a powerful voice, and her stage presence has really improved since back in the day when she kinda just stood there and sang.

I might be more excited for this new CHVRCHES album than anything else dropping this year. Check out the live performance of Leave a Trace below!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RdpYCc_Sug