Friday, April 9, 2021

Music Review //

While GETTERS have created a music video for the song "Blindsided" which should be in the Music Video Hall of Fame, that shouldn't distract from the fact that this song is also easy on the ears.  "Blindsided" treats the listener to that blend of pop and rock which comes out sounding like What Made Milwaukee Famous and to some extent AJR.   This is a song which I could easily hear on the radio and not just on the rock station but crossing over to the pop stations as well, much like that AJR song "Bang" does.

Along with this song- which will get stuck in your head- comes a music video which is an animated work of art.  The video takes us through several different stages of what looks like a video game, though if this was actually made as an app I would definitely download and play it.  There is something modern about the animation in the way which Cartoon Network shows look after a certain period (When they switched from the Cartoon Cartoons era of "Johnny Bravo", for example, to "Regular Show") but there is also something a little bit twisted within the animation as well, making me think of "Liquid Television".

As someone who has watched every episode of shows like "Adventure Time" and "Steven Universe" this video is perfect to me.   It has a video game theme, sure, but if it also somehow became an animated series I would be into it.  There are also these odd bits the longer the video goes on- like a fish with a chainsaw mouth- which make me think of "Monty Python".   What I think perhaps most importantly needs to be stated about this video though is that it is created in a time when a lot of artists either don't make music videos (or don't try) because there isn't what I remember as being an MTV growing up.

When I think of animated music videos of course I think of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" first and that was really groundbreaking stuff back in 1997, but in some way you have to think that it was also done for the attention as music videos were so abundant.   If I simply heard "Blindsided" on the radio, I would instantly become a fan of the song and want to know more about GETTERS.   But then, to find out that their music video for this song was also this masterpiece, it just makes me love them that much more.  

Music Review //
Ava Della Pietra

"Home" can be heard through an exclusive premiere with Parade Magazine by clicking here.

More information on Ava Della Pietra can be found at:

There is a slight chance that since the start of Disney+ I've been watching entirely too many Disney animated movies, but "Home" by Ava Della Pietra really reminds me of what I will refer to as Disney Pop.   The thing is, I grew up with a lot of great movies which had equally great soundtracks ("Aladdin" comes to mind) but this particular song reminds me more of something along the lines of the movie "Lilo & Stitch", partly because of the way the music sounds compared with that soundtrack and partly because the lyrics fit it so well.  (I will also accept this as part of the "Moana" soundtrack, so maybe it's a tropical island thing)

While I fully realize that there was in fact an animated film called "Home" (Though Dreamworks, not Disney) I somehow just don't see this song as part of that soundtrack as much because Ava Della Pietra just has that Disney magic.   It's a type of pop which gets in your head, but also has a certain amount of depth to it because you can really picture the song as it plays.  There would be clips of someone (whether it be a talking dog or just an animated human who is lost like Nemo) who is trying to find their home as a montage throughout this song, though they would also serve as reminders of the happy times and, hey, home is where you have been all along.  

It seems like the plot to many different movies but right now I'm unable to place just one of them.   Someone gets stuck somewhere by some circumstances, spends the whole movie trying to get home (or somewhere they feel is better) and then at the end come to the conclusion that their friends and family are where they are and they don't want to leave.  I feel that in this song.  I feel like it is a good way to help you find your home, but also it is a good way to just realize that wherever you are you might very well be where you are supposed to be right now.

I'm not sure there has ever been a time when I've so clearly seen a series of animated scenes play out before my eyes while listening to an upbeat song such as this.   The message within here is about reuniting children with their homes because of what I will call a "mess" (to keep it simple) at the border, but I do believe this song addresses it in a friendly way which makes it more open for discussion rather than people hearing an angry song and just dismissing it.  This also might somehow end up on a Disney movie soundtrack some day and if it does I would not be the least bit surprised.  I'd actually be quite pleased.  

Thursday, April 8, 2021

Music Review //
Thorin Loeks
"In This Place"

Through a short intro comes the titular track on "In This Place"  I've read a lot about how people say that you shouldn't use "singer/songwriter" as a genre for various reasons but whenever I hear what can be broken down as a voice + acoustic guitar that will always be how I think of it.  Maybe you could think of this album by Thorin Loeks as being like the early days of Dashboard Confessional (before the full band) but with a bit more bass in the vocals.  It's a little less emo than that too and I would say leans more towards folk if anything.

There are some beats in here, strings too, and on the song "Open Sky" it really kicks in.  I enjoy the power of lyrics such as: "I just made a plan / to love my life / I messed up again / but I'll still try"  Sometimes all we can do is try, so we must continue on.  "Ice Age" makes me think of if that particular film was made by Disney while there are backing vocals on "Tonight" and that song makes me think of Eagle-Eye Cherry for some reason.   The song has beats and it just drives, so even though you might think of this as being a certain way for being acoustic it does tend to move more than what you would think of in terms of folk.

While some of these songs can take a turn for the lighter in some ways ("Let It Rain" for example is a nice one to just put on and zone out during, perhaps while watching it rain) the last two seem to be the most deep of them.  "With You" is a love song about how regardless of what happens, "I'll be there with you".   It sounds like the type of song people would play over a montage of happy photos at their wedding.   It really is quite moving and though I've said this is more folk than emo it doesn't mean that these songs remain free from feelings.

"In This Place" does take a lot out of me when I listen to it.  It's light in the acoustics but it's heavy in the depth of songs.   When you reach that last song, "All That's Left", you hear that voice which has been hypnotizing you for the past thirty or forty minutes and it just feels so final- so much like you have listened through to the end and went on this journey with Thorin Loeks.  But, it was more like you were being told a story throughout these songs and so you're not as affected as a listener but by the end you notice that Thorin Loeks is different than when the album first started and "All That's Left" is the detailed note as to why.  

Music Review //
(Independent/Ahimsa Creations LLC)


When I first listened to the song "Matrix" I thought it had some qualities of the blues.  I thought it was along those same lines as Santana.   But then the more I listened to it I began to really hear how much it is just trippy rock n roll.   It has a huge influence of Pink Floyd to it, but when you begin to really break it down it is just vocals and the guitar which somehow makes it more psychedelic.

Thanks to Keanu Reeves we all kind of have an idea of what the Matrix would be like.   So when listening to this song by Nonviolenze it doesn't feel like too hard of a concept to grasp.   This is good because it keeps me grounded during the song as otherwise it could feel as if you might float away.   During this music video, squares of images- usually involving Nonviolenze singing and playing the guitar- appear in patterns across the screen.   This is very likely being done deliberately to enhance the otherwise trippy aspects of this song.   

While I do enjoy that this music video syncs up with the song perfectly- in the same way that you could imagine going to one of those laser light shows for Pink Floyd back in the '80's-  there is also this way about the song where it can be heard differently when on its own.  I suggest giving "Matrix" at least one listen when you are able to block out all distractions, are in the complete dark and can close your eyes and focus only on the sound and nothing else.   Upon doing that, this one just hits in a different way.

Listening to one song, seeing one music video, from an artist often leaves me with questions.   What would more songs like Nonviolenze sound like?  Are they all just voice + guitar or do other songs have the bass and drums in them as well?  Maybe to get really trippy we get some synth.   The way this song leaves everything open just shows how creative it is.  You don't know what to expect next from Nonviolenze, but that's okay because this is an experience enough to be satisfied and always wanting more.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Music Review //

When I first listened to "Stay" by BARBERA the thing which immediately jumped out to me was how this song has pianos and beats together.   It has soul, but could it be described as R&B?  Could it simply be reduced to pop?  I'm not sure.  I feel like there are people who will try and place this song in either genre just to make it easier on themselves, but the way this song can have the same sounds to me as a cassette by New Kids On The Block did and at the same time so did Bobby Brown, it just goes to show you that sometimes you can't define something so easily.

The lyrics to "Stay" are about what the opposite of the title might suggest.   Rather than asking someone to stay, this song is about why neither person should stay.   It actually makes a lot of sense if you've ever been in a situation like this and I feel like I have for most of my life.   One of the reasons given for why they shouldn't stay with each other is that they do it "only cause we're scared to run away".   There is a lot of power in that thought.   There is a lot of honesty in the idea of am I doing this because I want to or am I doing it because it's the only way that I know.   These are questions I wish I asked myself more in my youth.

If you've never been in a relationship with another person where you felt like it was time to move on but didn't know how to exactly say it, then you can also relate this to other situations in your life.   Do you live at home with your parents still simply because it's easier than having to pay rent, but yet you constantly complain because your parents don't give you any privacy so you really should leave and go out on your own.   Is this about perhaps you working a job that is "safe" because you're too scared to go out and pursue your dreams?  It's been the plot to many movies, so I feel like everyone will be able to relate with this song somehow.

I really feel a deep connection with these lyrics.  I can't go into the full details of how deep it is because that's possibly better left for a therapist to hear.   If I can make one comparison here musically, BARBERA sounds a bit like Alessia Cara to me, which is something I will never mind saying.  "Here" (by Alessia Cara) remains such a huge part of my life, of my mood daily, and I think that in a similar way "Stay" will be the same.  If anything, I just wish I had heard this song twenty years ago, so if you're reading this go and listen to this song now and remember it forever.  

Music Review //
Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
(Baggage Room Records)


The sound of Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz is on the softer side of rock.   There are pianos more than any other instrument present with the vocals.  This doesn't make for an easy point of comparison but in some ways it does make me think of Josh Groban or what is thought of as "Christian music" in the sense that it's music which church tells you it is okay to listen to.   Granted, "Searise" could have this spiritual way about it but the lyrics themselves don't ever specifically mention anything to do with The Bible so I wouldn't say the song was one of worship.  Calling it Christian music without the Christian makes it feel unholy but this song is all around easy on the ears.

Towards the back end of the song Evelyn Anders appears as singing vocals as well.   This pairing will remind the listener of something like She & Him or Of Monsters and Men.   I hear that "Little Talks" song on the radio a bit and I must admit I do enjoy it.   This also helps take the focus away from my thoughts of this being "Christian rock" and moves it more towards that pop rock and almost folk sound.  (Though you have to imagine a piano in place of acoustic guitar for the folk)  I think the key throughout "Searise" though is just that theme of melody because whether it's singing or piano it just feels so pure.

There is a music video which accompanies "Searise" and I firmly do believe that even if you do not care about this song based on the words which I am writing about it (or what you might have otherwise heard) you at least owe it to yourself to see this music video at least once.   It's animated in the sense that the images aren't real but they look pretty real.  And they move but they don't move all the way.  As an example, there's one image which sticks in my mind of some drowning.  This person is moving because they are falling down under the water, but most of the surrounding scene is still.   It's unique and I really enjoy it.  The music video is in itself a work of art.

One of the greatest things about music is that there is a song for just about any occasion and even more than that sometimes the song you want to hear isn't appropriate.   I think about how sometimes when people are happy they'll listen to angry metal.  So whether you want to just relax or do the opposite if you're that type of person, "Searise" is the perfect song for remaining calm.   But if you're able to, you can put this one on and clean your entire house.  It just depends on your mood but for me I like to think of this as a later a night song used to help me unwind at the end of a long day.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Music Review //
"The Invitation" //

I really like the name Jobbaloon because even though it likely has some other meaning I'm not aware of it reminds me of something out of "Alice In Wonderland" and I love "Alice In Wonderland".   These songs are pretty far out too, which makes me think they could be something from that sort of place- Wonderland- as they don't hold to a lot of what you consider to be the common concepts of music right now.

One of the first things you might notice about these songs is that they aren't the standard verse/chorus/verse.   Some of them are closer to it, but for the most part these songs feel more like trips- like going from Point A to Point B- rather than stopping, going back and revisiting somewhere we've already been.   The words, the singing, can also be a lot of sounds but not actual words like "da da da" which is just something which makes it feel less and less traditional.  Though, again, a song such as "Aligned" can have a lot of words and feel more like a verse/chorus/verse song as well.

There are beats and acoustics.   There are spoken words and strings.   There are horns, there are keys.   Sometimes I'm thinking of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" and other times the closest influence I can get is from The Scattered Pages.  But what is this exactly?  You can listen to it a hundred times and try to pick it apart but not find that answer.   Is it rock? Pop? Electronica? With the instruments involved (like that sweet, sweet guitar) and tempo I think it can be any mix of those at one time, but the way which it is all delivered just brings the sounds on "The Invitation" into a genre all its own.

One thought which stays with me during this album is "Abide in the What-is".   They say that depression is caused by focusing on the past and anxiety comes from focusing on the future.  Too often I feel like we're overwhelmed because we think about what we have to do or what we didn't get to do yesterday rather than just enjoying what's going on right now around us.  I try so hard these days to live in the now.  Jobbaloon has created songs here which feel rather spiritual and at times can seem like more of a mantra than lyrics.  Whether you already are or just need a push in that direction as well, this album should be part of your daily routine.

Music Review //
"Rock Bottom"

When I think about the idea of "Rock Bottom" it either goes back to that Enimem song or it's about the wrestler The Rock and his finishing move.   This song is probably closer to the wrestling move though because it's not rap and I could imagine it being used in WWE back when The Rock was an active wrestler there.   It might seem obvious because it is the first word of the song title, but Blueanimal does indeed bring the rock with this one.

On one hand, I feel like this song has two different sounds to it: one being found in the verse and the other in the chorus.   But on the other hand I feel like maybe this is just how some rock bands sound and we haven't heard enough of the rock lately to remember that.  During the verses I can hear some Nine Inch Nails and then when the chorus hits it feels more like Metallica, but those are using the two most popular influences I think everyone would recognize.

Visually there is a video here which has images in it that are partly obscured.   They remain calm during the verses but when that chorus kicks in there is faster movement to compliment it.   In some ways, this makes me think of a music video I might have seen back in the 1990's on MTV for Alice In Chains and I'm all on board with that.   There is a space between making a music video too simple and too complex and what Blueanimal does here is find that space so it's just a fun experience when watching.

I'm not sure what type of animal is blue, but then again maybe that's the point.  If the band was called "Redanimal" then people would just start listing off animals which are red, such as the red panda and then just ask "Well, why not just call yourself Red Panda?"  So I think as far as band names go, Blueanimal passes the t-shirt test because it would make people curious.   This sound also passes the crank it up and drive test and I really want to hear more rocking from Blueanimal because I feel like it's a slowly fading genre.  


Monday, April 5, 2021

Music Review //
"Floating (Slip n Slide Mix)"
(If Music Could Talk)

The sound of Slide is one which mixes rock music with pop.   Being that this isn't a sound which we hear a lot of there are not a lot of influences to trace this back with.   There are artists such as, say, The New Radicals, who throughout the course of time have put a lighter pop sense on their brand of rock but this isn't the same as that.    Slide has truly created a song in a genre all its own.

One of the only sounds which I can think to compare this song with would come from the Twenty One Pilots song "Stressed Out".    It has that same kind of vibe to it, in the way that I can picture Slide riding around on tiny bicycles.  I really do believe though that the way in which this song feels upbeat just also makes it fun.  It is a song which I feel even the youngest of children would enjoy, which is not something easy to pull off without having an overly annoying sound and I can listen to "Floating" any number of times a day without getting annoyed.

There exists a strange time in the era of modern rock radio where instead of playing just new music (as it was in the 1990's) radio stations relied more heavily on artists from the past (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, STP, Soundgarden, etc) and didn't focus as much on the artists of the present- of the future.  If I listen to my local modern rock station for an hour I'll hear songs by artists like Alice In Chains still, but I'll also hear a handful of new songs, released within the past few years.  In this way, I feel like "Floating" could be one of those songs I hear at random on the radio amidst a sea of grunge.

Aside from "Stressed Out" there aren't really a lot of songs which I hear on the radio and have that same way of breaking through while the listener just seems to be waiting for their next taste of nostalgia.   Most recently, I think the song "Bang" by AJR has hit that point.  If placed within the right context on the radio, I truly do believe that "Floating" could have that break out moment as well, as it is distinguishable enough from everything else but also close enough on the pop side that listeners will just love the hell out of it.  

Cassette Review //
"Silicon Soul"
(Suite 309)

$7 // //

While I remember Sophiaaaahjkl;8901 for a previous cassette released on Suite 309, I will also remember them always for the album "FUCK 12".   We start with some electronics and screaming which reminds me of Deathdealer.  This takes us into some more mechanical electro-loops, which feel like a video game but also just like the sounds of the insides of a spaceship.   

The sound now feels like we're walking with the electronics- a little bit of that Atari 2600 sound and a little bit of funk.   A sound like beeping now, but the beeping is somehow fried.   Beats come in and you can dance to this one.   It really kicks in now and you can feel like this one is something out of "Run Lola Run" as it just moves and makes you want to move.   Those synths like lasers cut through now and then we're reduced to this sound of back and forth before the song comes to an end.

There is a ringing but it's like a metallic banging and this makes the loop a little bit like a groove but it also feels like we're on a treadmill- moving while going nowhere.  Though we continue to move, through the static it can feel as if we're slowing down.   It feels like the gears are turning now, beats are here and there is a distant banging on something.   I'm not sure why but I just picture a construction site or steel mill as having this particular rhythm and turning from work into dance.  

We're glitching through the beats now and this one will also make you want to dance.    The beats get deeper and we get to a slightly darker place now as we are being told "Cut me with a knife"  It feels like we're being hypnotized now, not just by the words but by the music itself, as the first side comes to an end.

On the flip side now we open up with fast paced electronics and scrapes which make me think we are digging.   The beats come in and really make it feel like a timed game I'm about to lose.   We take a few minutes for individual notes and then everything breaks down into chaos.   Banging now feels like footsteps- ominous- as we can take in this robot army march to only spell our certain doom.  

We're onto a song now which has a more upbeat feel to it with claps.   A little trippy now, we're told "I can't do that because of the way that I'm sitting" and this one just takes off.   Back into that video game sound now, like we're on a mission, and then those distorted vocals come into it as well, but not quite the same way as the start of this cassette.   Slowly, we go through some beeps and synth with vocals which reminds me of something from the "Lost Highway" soundtrack.

"I don't know how to help you / I don't know how to help me" and then we just become the music.    This then takes us into a distorted game of pinball, which just makes me feel like I'm watching it on a screen rather than inside a typical pinball machine.   The vocals return and you can begin to feel the suffering.   As it feels like shots are being fired into space and just fading out, the beats return.    Through twists and turns this one comes to an end, just fading out as if it was never even there.  

Music Review //
Chris Birkett
"Precious Love"

Whenever you see a song title that has the word "love" in it and there isn't any direct relation to it that is negative (You know, if the song is called "I Hate Love" or something) then you can pretty much guess that you're about to hear a love song.   "Precious Love" does deliver on that, as it contains lines such as "I believe they broke the mold that made you".   And while some could argue that every song is a love song in its own way, this is in fact a very direct type of love song, the kind you would play for someone who you loved or were trying to love.

Right away, Chris Birkett brings out the saxophone.  I think because of that it's going to be a feeling of wanting to put this into a genre where it can be influenced by jazz and as such it might be considered easy listening (or what some might even call elevator music) but that might only hold true if it was instrumental and slower.   This moves to a steady rhythm and I think it has all of the makings of a pop song that feels retro but also you can't quite place it with anything in the past so it must be modern.

I largely feel like growing up I had two different sets of musical influences from each of my parents.   The sound of Chris Birkett is one which I would relate more with my mother than with my father.   There is that feeling of Billy Joel in here, or something you would hear on the radio around that same time.   It's that John Mellencamp factor of being in the car with my mom and listening to what I thought was rock music as a kid but when I look back now that "Wild Night" song with Meshell Ndegeocello wasn't really rock no matter how great it remains.

One of my favorite qualities of "Precious Love", though, is that despite the lyrics and the notion that you're going into it as a love song it doesn't sound like a love song.   It is certainly easy enough on the ears to be on the radio and to be a song which you played for your spouse but it's also not a song that you might hear when you are not in love and be annoyed be it.   Chris Birkett is truly living in a space which most music does not exist in right now- pop but not overly so- and I wish more artists would join him.  

Cassette Review //
I Know I'm An Alien
"Wi-Fi Breath"

Sold Out // 

Edition of 100 // //

When I first heard I Know I'm An Alien on the cassette "Do You Work Here?" I knew it was something special.   Well, I Know I'm An Alien is back with a cassette now called "Wi-Fi Breath" and if you've ever wondered how someone could have breath which is that of wi-fi, well, sit back, strap yourself and prepare for this wild ride.   It begins with a short track of just carnival sounding music which then takes us to the titular track.   Many of the songs have titles which appear in the lyrics and so just by looking over those titles you can kind of tell what the song might be about.

With robotic vocals at times this can sound like They Might Be Giants.   Is there really a comparison for this particular brand of rock music which at times is also punk but overall what people would just describe as "weird" or "experimental"?   As we get into a song such as "Robot of Cash", which is one of the longer songs on this cassette, and then into "Touchy Robot", we just dive into this place of distorted guitar riffs and slowed down vocals.    It adds something extra to that idea of thinking you've figured out the sound of I Think I'm An Alien.  

I Know I'm An Alien tells it right to the point on "Those Boots Are So Ugly".   I was once somewhere public and I heard two people have a conversation about how they hate Crocs and the older gentleman of the two said something like "Everyone who wears Crocs should die" and I just thought that was a bit extreme.  I was also waiting for someone wearing Crocs to show up.  But, you know, at the end of the day it's just footwear-- it's not that serious.   Then again, why do you wear those boots?

"Software Bacon" is one of the only songs on here I do not understand.  Is this some kind of new hip lingo the kids are using?  I'm an old school programmer and I've never heard this before.   "Rent Star" is about someone who pays their rent on time and makes their landlord happy.   There are so many people out there who struggle to pay rent I can never understand why it is so expensive.  Bills are always like a couple hundred dollars and then you get to rent and it takes that jump from $200 to like $2000 for some people.   It's almost like in some way too they don't want you to live, like they've stacked the deck against you from the start.

Into a song now which has electronic almost alarm-like loops beeping through some static.   This has both a combined sense of relaxation and urgency.    "I Love My Phone" is a song which is about what it says and I think people put too much stock into their phones- especially those who have to go out and buy the brand new model as soon as it comes out- but at the same time, my phone is important because I can do most anything with it.   It's strange how a device once used to talk to other people has become such an important tool in our lives now.  

On the flip side we start off with "Baby Avocado", which sounds like it could be the theme song to a Saturday morning cartoon.  I often think about things like why is it that I went through most of my life not really thinking about avocados and now they're everywhere.  I love avocados, don't get me wrong, I guess I'm just mad I wasn't eating them as a kid like I do now.   "Leprechaun Lucifer" is almost a chant, which somewhat scares me.   

While I'm not as sure what's going on lyrically, the song "Love Napkin" has a cool, fuzzy guitar solo leading it.    This is the longest song on the cassette and it just drifts off in a psychedelic way.  Being a longer song, this again shows that range in the style of I Know I'm An Alien and just makes me rethink what I think they sound like in terms of influences and comparisons.    We also get a one minute interlude called "Redundant Chair" before hitting up the "Download Club".   It's kind of funny but I got a car a few years ago and thought that I'd be able to finally listen to my CDs and it didn't come with a CD player so I have to do everything digitally.   This has made me feel like growing my Bandcamp collection is a good thing because I never know what I want to listen to when driving.

"BB Gun" sounds a little bit like Belle & Sebastian but it also has car horns in it.  The guitars become a little bit twisty, giving off that psych-driving vibe.   The way that "You Don't Have To Be Afraid" starts with a spoken intro makes me feel like it is a song from "Yo Gabba Gabba".   This takes us into "Box of Pay As You Go", which starts off sounding like "Jaws".   As it ends you can still hear the beach if you listen closely enough and I think feeling like we've gone out to sea is a fitting ending to this cassette based mostly on land.