Archive for March, 2012|Monthly archive page

Stand Up (Mike Tompkins)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Many of you have heard about the Bully movie, a documentary which goes hand-in-hand with a major anti-bullying movement that is growing worldwide. This film is particularly influenced by bullying in the United States, where the film was created. It was filmed over one school year and follows the stories of five youths. The MPAA originally chose to give this film an R-rating, preventing anyone under 18 from seeing this film. Obviously, this was a problem, considering that the film is a great opportunity to empower youth and foster conversation and actions to prevent bullying. After a lot of resistance, the MPAA changed the rating of the film to “Unrated”, which leaves the decision to play the movie up to the theatres. This is clearly better than an R rating, but it still means that many people won’t have an opportunity to see the film.

Many of you may have also seen some of the viral videos from Mike Tompkins, who is a beat-boxing, self-producing artist. Mike and I went to high school together, and although we haven’t kept in touch, I have been following his videos and watching his success. He is an incredibly talented guy and always stood out in our high school years as being a unique and creative thinker with exciting ideas.

Today, Mike released a self-written and self-produced song and video on YouTube called “Stand Up“. It is the official music video for the Bully movie and its inspiring to see him use his talents in such a great way. His single is available for purchase on iTunes, and you can out more of his videos on YouTube.

Please visit The Bully Project to find out more information about the film and the movement.

QueenS (THEESatisfaction)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 30, 2012 at 9:00 am

Oh god I love this beat.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet today. Check out this song and be prepared to bust a move. The end.

Kangaroo Court (Capital Cities)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Capital Cities is back with another great tune that (once again) makes me want to bust a move, and even as I’m sitting here writing this entry I can’t help but move. Since I heard “Safe and Sound” last Summer, I’ve been a fan of these guys and their fun, feel good tunes.

If you don’t know this duo, check out their music on The Hype Machine or as a direct download from Soundcloud and enjoy.

Another short and sweet post for you today!

Ekki Mukk (Sigur Ros)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 29, 2012 at 9:00 am


 I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t! Unless, of course, they don’t know Sigur Ros. But, after a two-year hiatus, and after Jónsi (the singer) released his own solo album and toured the world with a beautifully artistic set, Sigur Ros has plans to release their 6th studio album this year.

Lucky for us, they have released a track with an official video as a little taste. I love it. As many of their songs go, listening to “Ekki Mukk” is like 8 minutes of slow inhalations and exhalations. “Ekki Mukk” is like a musical landscape that slowly unfolds layer after layer into what feels like an emerging morning sun. Its beautiful, its mindful, its evasively articulate. I can hear brief influences from the celebratory sound of Jónsi’s album, Go, and also some of the atmospheric sounds from Riceboy Sleeps, the album of Jónsi and his boyfriend, Alex Somers. I especially the love the beautiful and gradual ceasing of sound in the last minute of the track. It leaves you with a feeling of completion and peace.

Watch this video and slow yourself down, just like the small boat that sails (or is it flying?) across the screen like a timeline.


Nomad (The Avantist)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 28, 2012 at 10:45 am

Check out this Summer-feeling tune by four Chicago brothers known as The Avantist. These guys are friends with Está Vivo, aka Ryan McMahon, who I posted a track from a while ago.

The Avantist describe themselves as “descendants of mariachi” who decided to make some music together and in 2008 formed a band. “Nomad”, their new single, have much of a mariachi influence to me, but if you listen to some of their tracks off the Pantoja EP, you can hear a little more of that. You’ll also notice that they have settled down and come off the heavy drums and guitar a little bit. They seem to have refined their sound further on “Nomad”, and will continue to do so as they play together, I’m sure.

The track has a good feeling to it and I think you should take a listen and see what you think! Its available for free download, along with a remix of “Nomad” by Está Vivo, which is smooth and a little softer on the ear – its got a very different energy.

What do you think? Check it out and let me know!

#110 – The Bends (Radiohead)

In 124-100, Top 150 on March 23, 2012 at 10:53 am
Cover of "The Bends"

Cover of The Bends

I love Radiohead. I got into them about ten years ago when Hail to the Thief came out in 2003. We all know Radiohead. If you don’t know their music, you know their name. They are iconic in the music industry and definitely associated with the idea of resisting pop culture, partly because of their lyrics, which tend to have a tone of exclusion from the mainstream. But Radiohead has also resisted the mainstream by releasing their latest albums (In Rainbows and King of Limbs) independently. I should mention, though, that they are only able to do this with great success because of their initial work with EMI.

The crazy thing is, I never listened to The Bends (or any of their other albums pre-2003) from start to finish. I would consider myself part of the “newer” Radiohead generation, so when I listened to The Bends, I expected much more electronic, synth- and FX-driven tunes with code-like lyrics that evoke a lot of emotion but don’t always make sense. On The Bends, I found something totally different. I love how stripped down the band sounds after listening to all of their digitized releases in the past ten years.

Listening to The Bends feels like a momentous and special experience for me, and I think a lot of it is because their sound is totally different than I expected. The recording has got a real sense of togetherness in the instrumentation, but still feels like it still incorporates enough room for each band member to breath and move a bit within the framework they obviously laid down before recording. I love the clean, precise grunginess of the title track, and then the contrast of moving from “The Bends” to “High and Dry”, which is well-known for its stripped-down sound and lyrical honesty. Would you believe me if I told you that I heard Jamie Cullum‘s version of “High and Dry” (from Twentysomething) before I heard the Radiohead version? True story.

The Bends was released in 2003 after Radiohead’s debut, Pablo Honey, put them in the spotlight. As their career progresses, you can see that they resist the idea of mainstream-pop lifestyle and success. The Bends is a demonstration of this, with songs like “Fake Plastic Trees”, which is a very obvious comment on a culture of fakeness, referring to personalities, and also plastic surgery. But, as Yorke sings, “gravity always wins”.

“Sulk” was the first track that really reminded me of any of Radiohead’s newer music, but only because the drums at the beginning of the song reminded me of “Weird Fishes/Arpeggio” from In Rainbows.

I don’t even know what to write about the last two tracks. As “Sulk” begins, it creates a feeling of isolation which shifts into resignation, especially as the track ends and “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” begins. Apparently Yorke says that “Street Spirit” is their saddest song. As I listen to this track, I get an overwhelming sense of calmness, even as I feel like I’m drift down this tunnel of despair. Its tragically beautiful, just as the entire album finishes with one last, powerful thought, almost as one last exhale: “immerse yourself in love”.

I want to know about your experiences with this album, so please tell me what you think! I love it and I am so glad that I finally sat down to listen to it, start to finish.

3 Songs for a Spring Day (with the windows open)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

The past few days, I’ve been sick with a bad seasonal cold and it really knocked the energy out of me. However, I’m starting to get that energy back and feeling a bit more refreshed. It also helps that I have all the windows open in my house and the cool and equally as refreshing Spring air is breezing in and out (kind of like the island is inhaling and exhaling).

So what qualifies a Springtime tune? It has to have an optimistic feeling, with a slightly nostalgic sound and a beat that makes you want to roll down the windows of your car and let your hand surf in the air…all this while you are wearing your sunnies, of course.

Check these three tracks out. I think they make fantastic Springtime tunes. But what are some of your favourite songs for this season?


3 Songs for a Spring Day (with the windows open)

  1. I Will Love You by Summer Twins
  2. Yr Memory by The Tao of Con
  3. Origins by Tennis

By Surprise (Gemini Club)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 15, 2012 at 9:57 am

Let’s keep this simple today. It’s a beautiful, sunny day here on Jeju Island and this track makes me feel like dancing on the beach (although its not quite that warm yet)…

Download a free copy of “By Surprise” from Gemini Club’s website.


Why Am I The One (Fun.)

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 13, 2012 at 1:45 pm

This NY-NY three-man-band is cool and fun, just like their name. I dig these guys and their mixed up retro indie sound.

“Why Am I The One” has a crisp and clean sound and these guys have a great contemporary rock sound that also has some retro influences that sound a lot like Queen and The Beach Boys. I think I’ll just let you experience this song and let you make up your own mind on this one.

And if you need another track to get a good impression, check our their initial single, “We Are Young”, featuring Janelle Monae. Its another great track, which is also from their newest album, Some Nights. I’ve just started listening to the entire album, and it sounds cool.

They’ve got lots of North American tour dates scheduled, including Toronto (for all my Canadian friends back home)! You can also coordinate rideshare through their website, so check it out!

3 Songs by Generationals

In current listenings, tracks to listen to on March 9, 2012 at 11:09 am

Happy Friday, friends!

Let’s keep this short and simple: here’s three songs by Generationals to help you rock out on a Friday. I’ve included these videos in a playlist from YouTube. And once you’ve finished, I added a live video to the mix so you can check it out!

  1. Trust
  2. Greenleaf
  3. Say for Certain

Have a great weekend!

Unfortunately, I can’t post the embedded playlist video here, so instead…click this to watch the playlist of these videos, or watch them individually below!


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