I wanted to put together a playlist of music that blur genres or aren’t easily classified, what I like to think of as experimental which is something I’m a big fan of in art. However the idea of “experimental music got me thinking “What is Music?” I’ll leave it to Philosophy Tube to tackle that ambitious question:
What are Songs? What is Music? I’ll let Olly at Philosophy Tube tackle this ambitious question
What Caught my attention was the mention of “Lowercase” music (cite time tag from video, find name of guy at this exists) and I followed the trail to his video on the subject “Lowercase” music.
I was talking with a friend the other day and she told me “Why is it all the music you listen to either morbid, kinda angry, or just…strange? Do you ever listen to anything, I don’t know, fun?” Of course, I think all my music is fun which is why I like it so much.
However her tastes, like most peoples’ (at least compared to mine), are much closer to main-stream and this did get me thinking that maybe my music tastes make me seem snobby.
I will admit to snobbery in my consumption of media in general but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few songs that I hate that I love that I’m fairly sure everyone knows. In an effort to forward my (fairly) radical honesty agenda, I’ve decided to share with you a playlist of songs that I rarely admit to really loving.
I never really got into “break up” songs because like I always felt like that would kind of ruin the song for me because of the association however when I was working in a catering kitchen they’d play this one song on the radio. A lot.
The kitchen was really loud with over 70 employees all chopping vegetables and clanging pots and chef’s yelling across the yawning expanse of the biggest kitchen I have ever worked in. This amalgamation of noises plus my generally failing hearing (I listen to music too loud, I go to shows and hug the giant bass speakers, I am aging gracefully but my ears are compensating) I could ever only catch one lyric which captured the spirit of my wonder-lust, which is frequently fueled by a certain sense of discomfort.
“This guy decides to quit his job and heads to New York City
This cowboy’s running from himself”
“Riptide”, Vance Joy
In that same chaotic kitchen I heard another song that I liked but similarly could only catch one line of.
“we don’t talk about it”
“Stolen Dance”, Milky chance
That lyric paired with the upbeat positive melody gave me the most wonderful mental image of a guy in real emotional turmoil but dancing along with a big smile on his face, not wanting to talk about it.
I liked the guy’s strange rough voice and the acoustic guitar so much that when I finally figured out what song I was hearing, I found that he has one other song I liked too.
It was this music video that kept me coming back. I like the colours. And his hair. Like that mane is glorious.
Years before finding all these songs I lived in this literally haunted house in South City St Louis off Compton St(1) with four other guys. We used to have this game where we would take turns putting things on youtube, from songs to mechanical videos, and when you wanted to have the wireless keyboard passed to you, you’d ask “Can I drive for a moment?”
The two brothers who I got on best with fucking LOATHED this song so naturally I couldn’t admit to liking it but it wormed it’s way into my heart. It hit’s too many buttons not to. The horns, San Francisco, being in love with the concept of love, it melted my cold black heart (that’s been torn apart).
There was a time when I was working in a grocery store deli(2) and they had this radio that had a stagnant playlist: the same 15 songs for the 18 hours of operation 7 days a week. It was brutal. However in the back of house, we had our own radio which was usually set to something like Z107.7, the St Louis pop station, and this one song would come one and it had this like pop ska sound to it which that I just could not get enough of.
The song reminds me of the game Shadow of the Colossus.
Year’s later I was working in Jimmy John’s, an American sandwich shop, and Jimmy Radio(3) would consistently surprise me with music good music from all over the spectrum plus some really obscure songs that I have never heard before or since outside of that place. This is one of those songs:
I know it’s one of those hipster chorus songs but it has this strange sound that I can’t identify but I really like. That “ewooo ewoo” synth sound like an electric kazoo or something.
I’ll leave you with one last song. This song, like the rest in this list, takes me back to a time when things were different. A time when I could drink reasonably (sometimes), a time when the world still felt small enough for me to conquer but big enough that if given free roam I would never get bored, a time before all my friends went to the angry winds. It was a time when I was deep in a bro-mance with my best friend of 15 years and we were had “our songs”, something I’ve never shared with a lover for the same reason why I avoid break up songs, and this was one of those songs. I listen to this song when I miss that guy, that time, that time-feel.
I have more than enough of these cringe songs to make another Cringe List but I’ve spent way too much time in the past today.
I still joke sometimes “I ain’t scared. I’m straight outta Compton.” Before I left St Louis for England, I wanted to get a jumper that read “Straight Outta St Louis” because I read this story once that a St Louis native in Oregon actually fended off a would-be mugger because he said “Man, I ain’t scared of you. I’m from St Louis.” Being effective due to our city’s reputation for being one of the most dangerous cities in America and #15 Most Dangerous City in the World.
I ate so many cheese scraps, they were literally scraps that we could not sell so I don’t feel bad, that when I left I was placed on the “Do not rehire” list but I don’t want to meet the monster who can throw away collective kilos of Havariti and Extra Sharp Cheddar and Provel among others. I love cheese, probably more than some people in my life, which is also one reason why I suspect I have a hard time meeting a partner.
I’m serious, the official name for the corporate approved radio station was called “Jimmy Radio”.
I like the punk rock look. Guy, girl, whatever. A well placed piercing, a few tattoos, and a healthy dislike for the establishment will get my attention and is the theme for the songs I have for you today.
I read the drummer, Matt “Pomade” Gee, from my favourite psychobilly band, The Creepshow, is in a punk band called “Rehab for Quitters“. I already like the drummer in the The Creepshow and the name of the band was funny enough I needed to look it up and Punk Rock Girl was the first song I listened to which inspired today’s post.
Streetlight Manifesto is one of the first ska bands I listened to. My first ska band was a live The Toasters show we got free tickets for from the local St Louis station 88.1 KDHX(1) who pretty frequently gives away free tickets to local shows. This is a cover, the original is by The Dead Milkmen on the album Beelzebubba but I like this version better because the horns. This is my favourite stanza
We went to the Phillie Pizza Company
And ordered some hot tea
The waitress said “Well no
We only have it iced”
So we jumped up on the table
And shouted “anarchy”
And someone played a Beach Boys song
On the jukebox
It was “California Dreamin'”
So we started screamin’
“On such a winter’s day”
Me and Dr. Frank have both decided that we love
Them more than toast
I don’t know if I like anybody more than toast. Wheat toast with butter and strawberry jam(2) has yet to let me down.
They have this excellent ska and punk show “Ska’s the limit” with JJ Loy on Saturday nights and Thursday they have a rockabilly show called “The Greaser’s Lunch Box” with Al Swacker and you can stream KDHX live from anywhere via their website and whether you’re a St Louis native or not I highly encourage you to do so because they have almost 80 different shows, each about two hours, spanning all genres of music, it’s commercial free, but the absolute best part are the personalities behind the microphones. They’re all colourful and wonderful and funny and interesting and sometimes you really get attached to some of these guys. There used to be this guy, Bob, who had a show Bob’s Scratchy Records. Bob loved hid scratchy vynals and his stories. “Bob’s Scratchy records is a hallucinatory, rabble-rousing radio program that weirds up the airwaves every Friday from 2pm– 4pm on St. Louis’ KDHX (88.1 FM) Bob Reuter takes you on an emotional roller coaster featuring the rawest blues, soul, gospel, hillbilly, rock & roll, and whatever else falls on the turntable.” I had a lot of good times listening to his radio show before he died August 2013. I remember final episode. It was rough. There’s not much left as far as archived episodes but this is my first time hearing Bob’s voice, here at his bandcamp page. The world is a smaller place with out Bob.
A few months ago in November I went and saw my first nerdcore show in Manchester and going in the only rappers I was familiar with were MC Chris and MC Larz but everyone put on such an amazing show that after the show was over I went and talked to the performers and explained about my blog and asked if they would agree to an interview.
All have agreed however I’m still waiting for answers back from MC Chris. I hope he finds time to reply to me but if not I will do a write up for his newest album instead.
Suck it Trebek this is my favourite because it’s a under publicized story that Alex Trebek of Jepordy said with regard to nerdcore “doesn’t sound like fun” and with regard to nerds “losers, in other words”. So yea, Trebek: you’re the looser.
1. Who inspires you? Musically, artistically, writing, personally?
anyone creating, living their dreams, hustling. it’s so inspiring to see creators making a living on their art, and working hard to get it out there.
2. Did you always want to be a musician/songwriter or was there a “monkey touch monolith” moment?
I didn’t… I wanted to be a dentist. Music was a hobby or passion project until one day I put songs on the internet that got a lot of attention and led to more and more gigs which led to me quitting my teaching job to do this full time. Every day is like a dream.
3. What do you consider your greatest artistic and/or professional and/or personal achievement? (Feel free to answer all three or one or a combination, whatever man)
I think my greatest achievement is surviving, as crazy as that sounds…so many people from my old neighborhood let their dreams and passions die, as that’s what we’re told to do.. Somehow I held on and it’s working out. I’m a living testament.
4. What superpower would you have if you could have one and why/what would you do with it? (Seriously anything, from the mundane, to the established, to something completely original)
I’d like to be able to fly. I’d just use it to get to gigs, because I really despise flying on planes, haha. So if i could get to my shows without worrying about lines, checks and small seats, I’d be great.
5. If you could be in possession of a pocket dimension that you could travel into and out of at will, that contained any established cannon (books, movies, comics, video games, Salvador Dali paintings, anything) what would it be and what would you want to most do in there?
there would be a super NES with every game on it in there. I’d sit down and drink Ecto-Cooler and play Super Metroid all night.
A big thanks goes out to Mega Ran for being so awesome and playing along!!
I have something new this week for my music bit. As I mentioned last week I reached out to Andreas Beats and he accepted to do an interview and also sent me an unreleased single which he gave me permission to share with my readers. So without further ado:
Since I don’t have a premium plan for wordpress I had to upload the track to soundcloud but here is a link: C – Strings
1) how long have you been making music? did you always want to make a career out of it or did it just happen?
Andreas: I started making hip hop beats back in 96 with a friend of mine. We kept at it for a few years, but I eventually got solo with no real aim or plan. I just kept doing the music that I like without the intention of anybody else beeing interested in it. I wanted to make a living from music for a while but it’s such a shaky business. I make a track for some company’s clip or something like that once in a while. But it’s not anything I pursue. When I’m asked I’ll do it. But nowadays I mostly make music for climbing movies, which is my passion besides music. But I won’t be quitting my day job anytime soon.
2) It seems like you do more than just make music, what are your other professional projects or hobbies?
Andreas: My passion and my job is climbing. I work as a routesetter. And when I have a minute to spare I climb. Can’t get enough of it!
3) Who inspires you? In anyway, like musical influences or personal heros or whatever?
Andreas: Who inspires me? Tricky one. I don’t know if I have a person that inspires me. Nature does. And sounds.
4) What advice would you give aspiring artists/musicians/producers etc?
Andreas: I’d say, just have fun and do what you like. Don’t try to emulate or follow trends. Just make the tunes you yourself would want to listen to. And put in the time. Music comes from inspiration, but inspiration isn’t present all that often. And in between the nuggets of inspiration you just have to work, work and work. Let it take the time it takes.
5) What sort of change would you like to see in your community (anything like the music scene, your country, the world at large, whatever you work towards personally that you’d like to see happen at large)?
Andreas: I cannot say all that much about the music scene and what needs changing since I am positioned on the very fringe of it. I sit at home and make stuff for the joy of it and don’t circulate in the “music scene” and that is in a way by choice. I’m quite happy beeing an outsider of the music industry.
But as for the community in general I would like to see a step in the other direction from where it’s going now. Towards compassion and not towards racism and hate. Seems like in all countries now there is a racist party on the rise. And it needs to be turned around if it’s not going to end ugly.
Thanks goes out to Andreas Beats for being so generous with his time and content.
I have more interviews lined up for the nerdcore rappers I saw in Manchester in November. I intended to get it out sooner but I was trying to wait on everyone to get back to me however, I have 3 of 4 and I will proceed with out the last guy if need be.
I like instrumental music a lot. It’s primarily what I listen to while reading or writing and for me what I frequently take away from music enjoyment is the variety of sounds, melodies, and rhythms.
Adreas Beats is musician who creates beautiful and whimsical nature inspired tunes strongly favoring flute, strings, piano, and some other accents like horns (I can’t quite identify it, trumpet and slide trombone maybe? UPDATE: I reached out to Andreas on Facebook to tell them how much I loved their music and they were kind enough to read my this post and they told me “…the hard to adentify sounds you described are a mash of trombone tuba and various other brass instruments :)” what a nice guy!) and drums. He has 2 albums out, though both are excellent I’m going to focus on his newer of the two Into the Woods.
Unfortunately this artist is still pretty small and doesn’t have very much of their music posted online anywhere except spotify. However if you do have spotify, both of his albums, Into the Woods and Vermland are available on there.
My top 3 favourite tracks off Into the Woods:
The titular song “Into the Woods”
“Positive” (not listed on his site under track listing but on Spotify)
I realize that this artist is a bit more effort to find than usual, I do try to make it easy, but please trust me when I say it is well worth finding Andreas Beats and having a listen.
UPDATE #2: Okay so as I mentioned in the above update, I reached out to Andreas and they read this piece and they are sending me an exclusive sneak peek demo they’re working on and agreed to an interview! Tune in next week Wednesday folks and be the one of those cool kids who gets to hear a bleeding fresh track first!
Sometimes I get into a funk and that sucks. My funk can express it self in many different ways such as apathy (“I could work on my writing projects, I should be doing coursework, I want to do SOMETHING but I can’t be asked”), or lack of creativity (“I feel like I have nothing to write today, so why bother?”), but most frequently it comes from routine decisions where I have a perceived lack of options or lack of novelty especially when it comes to music. I listen to A LOT of music, all different bands and genres and styles. From relatively popular/new music like The Chainsmokers to hardcore medieval party mixes to things that I’m not really sure how to describe except that “I like this”.
Between spotify, youtube, and soundcloud, I find a pretty fair variety of unique music to keep me happy but sometimes I just get bored of everything.
And that’s when the magic happens. Let me introduce you to: electro-retro.
Normally, I’m not a big fan of the “retro movement”. I think only some people have every been able to pull off the fedora look, I think only punks know how to wear big hair, and can we just leave our typewriters at home?
However when I some electro-retro, namely featuring synth sounds that took over the entire 80’s popular music scene, I knew I found something worth bringing back.
In last week’s Music Wednesday post I briefly mentioned in footnote 2 about this band and I all of a sudden remembered why I started this music series in the first place, which was to raise awareness about bands I like that aren’t getting enough attention or that I just cannot shut up about (usually a little of both) and this is one that fits both categories.
Way back in 2007 before I discovered the wonders of weed, I was a pretty studious scholar. I graduated high school early, with a 4.0 (on a 4.0/4.0 grading system), and my first year of university I was enrolled in 18 credit hours(1) and getting all As. Basically I kicked ass in the scholastic ring. In the social ring, it was a different story. Being this scholastic gave me lots of time to surf the internet because I didn’t have the social tempering to navigate university life (or really life at large) nor did I have time to kill and entire evening getting drunk and dancing (or so I thought(2)).
Late one night, on a Friday I believe, I was browsing the internet via the “stumble upon” I had installed on firefox, which when clicked took you to some seemingly random place on the internet(3) and one time I landed on www.lunarmuisc.net. Back then it only had two albums and the newest one was the second album Wall of Sound (released in December 2007) and it’s cover art covered the page with a black background.
I listened to it and the first album, Hybrid Awaken (released mid 2006).
Then I replayed them. Again. Again. And again. I hadn’t listened to ANYTHING on repeat for like 6 years prior but then Lunar got in my earballs and would not get out.
Years later they came out with a third album, Complexity Kills (released February 2010)
Lunar is a strange mix of instruments from piano and drums to organ and strings with a splash of glitch and some other things I don’t know. Results may vary but here’s some of my favourite tracks:
Lazy Dog Funk – it has kind of a jazzy piano and tip tapping high high hat sound that stays pretty steady. This song kind of reminds me of a lazy summer afternoon in St Louis when I was a kid when it was too hot to go play but it was summer and there wasn’t anything to do inside so I would just kinda wonder around looking at things, all of which were familiar but warranted a second look just in case something changed.
Voyage of the Mercantoli – the song sounds as big and profound as it’s boisterously ambitious title, lots of big drums and quivering strings reminding me of a voyage at sea in some rough waters, getting patches of clear skies but ultimately the ending sounds as ominous as the beginning of the song not promising a peaceful resolution.
Wall of Sound:
Overall the dude uses less piano on this album, which is nice because it sounds like he is being over all more expressive and experimental on this album but where he does use it, it works really well (like in Highest Limits)
Chaos Light – this song has one of my favourite build-ups in his modest discography at 2m10s coming to full fruition at 2m20s.
The Unknown (THW remix) – this is a remix of a song from the first album which articulates really well where the first album was lacking. The remix makes uses much less of the same sounds, mostly piano, but also builds up faster coming to its first climax at 1m22s where as the original was building the entire song but never felt like it came to a properly interesting plateaux. The remix turns up the background noises and varies the tempo keeping for a more engaging pace.
Melt – dude is using more guitar on this album and in this song he uses it particularly interestingly off setting grungy power cords with ting of plucked strings particularly around 2m5s
Nine Lives – this strong has a strong strange introduction that has a upbeat synth but then works into a strange techno carnival type sound at 1m10s however it works for me.
This is a person whom I’m not sure how much longer em’s going to be out there or if he’s still producing or what he’s up to(4) however if you like em’s music go buy his albums, they’re starting at the low low price of FREE(5). Give his page a like, go listen to em’s music on youtube and boost em’s ratings, basically if you like em go show him that some support.
I’ll see you Friday for the last post of 2016.
For my not American university students let me try to simplify. Most classes are 2-3 credit hours, each credit hour corresponding to 1 hour in class per week. Minimum full time is defined as 12 credit hours, the mean being 15 credit hours (they recommend to figure 3 hours studying per credit hour, eg 12 credit hours = 48 hours of class and study time a week, 15 credit hours = 60 total work hours; however for me I’ve found it more realistic to figure about 1-2 hours study per credit hour) so taking 18 credit hours worked out to taking 6 classes a week or 72 total work hours.
I had not yet learned the magical motivation of a game I like to call “running with the deadlines” which is kind of like running with the bulls if deadlines could trample your body to death rather than your sense of accomplishment.
After extensive stumbling I learned that there was a sort of canned set of places it would take you, mind you it was a big can of places, but it did repeat occasionally to my disillusionment.
There is no wiki page, his facebook page (@lunarmusic.net) hasn’t been posted to in about 3 years, and his search-ability on google and you tube is kind of awful.
Literally, go check his site, the prices of his albums are “name a price”. You can pay as much or as little as you want, it does appear to accept $0.00 as payment.
Folks, I got something strange and wonderful for you today. As a kid I was big time into old school metal(1) then something happened and I just kind of fell out of not only metal but like all music for years(2). It wouldn’t be until 2013 when I moved into a house with 5 other guys in South City St Louis when I would rediscover some of the joys of what I had been missing in the metal world and The Algorithm is a big player in that scene for me.
Age 15 – 19, not particularly sure why or what caused the shift however thanks to the firefoxstumble upon addon button, a mild internet addiction, and a seriously lacking social life while at my first University, I found Lunar and rekindled was my love for music.
What I mostly like about their music is it works as an EXCELLENT ear worm cure particularly for songs that are on the radio all the time even if you like them they still get stuck in your head. Sometimes I have trouble with ear worms because when I try to listen to the song it self to “reset the track”, I end up getting it even more stuck in my head because now I remember the entire song. Where as with string versions of these songs, I get the melody but because it’s missing the lyrics it gets unstuck.
And additional bonus to listening to this band publicly, as in out loud, is to the casual observer you sound like you have really classy music tastes before they recognize the tune.
This is a band that I’ve found it’s best to listen to mixes of rather than specific albums and that way it kind of becomes a guessing game as to whether you know the song before tabbing back over to see what it is.