Maybe it’s the jangly guitars in one song, the Beatlesque-ness of another, or simply the hand claps somewhere in this mix, but here is my latest list of ear candy. I’ll probably tire of some of them or add more songs over the next few weeks but for now, this new music makes up my summer jam. Artists include Fitz and the Tantrums, the Mowglis, Surfer Blood, the 1975, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Temples.
I do enjoy me some mash-ups. And I’m not talking about the kind Mr. Shue assigns on ‘Glee.’ Instead, I like when two genres come together. So you can imagine my excitement about the first ever Wavelength Festival this summer – it is a concert series that will blend contemporary and Pacific Symphony musicians. Collaboration, that’s what it’s all about.
Performances Include Bonnie Raitt, The Airborne Toxic Event with Pacific Symphony, KCRW’s Jason Bentley and The Music of Pink Floyd – “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety with Pacific Symphony.
Wavelength Festival of Music is part of the Pacific Symphony’s 35th Anniversary Season initiatives, and will be held this summer at the OC Fair & Event Center at Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa on Aug. 22, 23, 24 and 25.
According to Music Director Carl St.Clair: “Pop music has a long history of linking up with classical musicians. From The Beatles to Motown to contemporary indie bands, artists have recognized the sonic power unique to an orchestra. Our goal with Wavelength is to present diverse genres of high-quality music, often in direct collaboration with musicians from the orchestra. I hope audiences will spend the entire weekend with us to open their ears to worlds previously unknown to them. I like the diversity of the offerings, which I hope will be the ongoing appeal of Wavelength over the years.”
I am most excited for “indie night,” Friday, Aug. 23 when my favorite band, ‘The Airborne Toxic Event’ performs with Pacific Symphony. It isn’t the first time they’ve performed with a symphony. Here’s a look at a recent performance of The Airborne Toxic Event (TATE) with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Delta Spirit will open for TATE. And on Saturday, Aug. 24 KCRW’s Jason Bentley will feature a special DJ set. The final concert of the weekend on Aug. 25 presents The Music of Pink Floyd – “The Dark Side of the Moon” played in its entirety with Pacific Symphony in celebration of the album’s 40th anniversary.
“The idea for Wavelength sprang from a desire to serve Orange County and the region with a new and distinct popular music experience which demonstrates the versatility of the musicians to collaborate with a wide range of artists,” said John Forsyte, president of Pacific Symphony. “Through a long-standing relationship with Steve Beazley, former CEO of the Fair, I have come to learn about the exciting developments at the OC Fair and Pacific Amphitheatre. It’s a great venue for live music. Over a million people attend the OC Fair every summer and many attend popular music concerts at the Amphitheatre. Steve and I saw a great opportunity for Pacific Symphony’s name to get in front of a wider audience base.”
Another cool feature of the festival is that it will have two stages: the all-new Mercedes Benz CLA Mainstage in the Amphitheatre and Concourse stage. The Concourse stage will showcase various 2013 OC Music Awards-affiliated bands, local up-and-coming indie artists as well as individual Pacific Symphony musicians starting at 5:30 p.m. each evening. Main stage performances begin at 7:00pm
But wait, there’s more! Interested Wavelength attendees should buy tickets early and use their Wavelength ticket to “Bounce Forward” into the 2013 OC Fair, July 12-August 11. Wavelength ticket holders can attend one of the 23 days of the OC Fair for FREE by showing their Wavelength ticket.
Tickets for Aug. 22, 23 and 25 range in price from $25 to $95 and are on sale at 10 a.m. May 15 through Ticketmaster.com. VIP Packages are also available through Ticketmaster.com. Aug. 24 ticket prices and on-sale details will be announced in the coming days. For more information, visit wavelengthfestival.org.
I was between event at LA Live on Saturday when I decided to check out the Grammy Museum in Downtown LA. And let me tell you, the $12.95 admission price was well-worth it, especially if you are a music lover, or if you are a tourist looking for things to do in Los Angeles. I am not a tourist but I might as well be, coming from Orange County. Navigating freeway traffic from our close counties makes me sometimes wish I could hop on plane, after all! But I definitely am a music lover.
Photo below taken from http://instagram.com/thegrammymuseum/
The Grammy Museum explores and celebrates all forms of American music. Start at the fourth floor and work your way down the engaging and educational exhibits. I really enjoyed the large interactive Crossroads table. Put on the headphones and experience the history of a musical genre, literally with the touch of a finger. I liked how it showed how connected one genre was to another. Punk to rock to emo. Folk to alternative folk etc.
I also enjoyed the audio-visual clips of memorable performances through history. My favorites? Billie Holiday and Miles Davis, and a cool clip of Bob Dylan in a duet with Johnny Cash!
Note: This song was featured in the movie ‘Silver Linings Playbook.’
But the real fun began on the third floor with the immersive Roland Live experience, which featured a full electronic band setup with keyboards, guitars, and drums, which you could touch and pretend to play. It’s one thing to play a video game like RockBand or Guitar Hero and quite another feeling to actually touch a real instrument!
The second floor of the Grammy Museum houses the 200-seat Clive Davis Theater and the special exhibits. This month it was all about Whitney Houston. I felt that I already knew way too much about Whitney, so I skipped this one but the exhibits on this floor change regularly so perhaps another exhibit will be more my cup of tea. I would’ve loved to have seen the John Lennon exhibit they had in 2011.
Another thing that I hope to experience at the Grammy Museum in the future is a musical program. They have an eclectic mix ranging from “An Evening With” featuring legendary contemporary musicians to “The Drop,” which features artists with a new release. I would also have loved to watch my favorite band during the “Homegrown” program.
For information, visit grammymuseum.org
The GRAMMY Museum
800 W. Olympic Blvd.,
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Like a nut, I stayed up to watch The Grammy Awards. I didn’t care too much for the nominees or the winners, this year or years before. Like Kelly Clarkson, I didn’t know who the heck Miguel was. And I had only a vague idea who Ed Sheeran was either. But I’ve long accepted that though the Grammy World may not be to my musical taste, I love a good show. Like that Marley Medley and Jack White’s number!
The social media strategist in me was a wee bit excited every time LL Cool J asked people to get social and mentioned hashtags and what not. But since I was watching the West Coast telecast, it got annoying pretty soon because it wasn’t social “in real time.” In fact, some of my friends like @mayhemstudios and the crew tweeting with @omginsider; and members of the SoCal Lady Bloggers had already live-tweeted the event earlier.
I had to resist the urge to check my Twitter Feed and Facebook wall for spoilers. I failed, of course, because even before the west coast show on CBS, I already knew to look out for Taylor Swift in the audience singing along to every song, and Solange’s awesome ‘fro.
Some quick thoughts on how The Grammy’s could’ve done social better.
1. More pre-event engagement. They could’ve used their Twitter Feed and Instagram to create conversations and excitement leading up to the awards show.
2. Hashtag on the side of the screen, like FOX does or even #TheVoice. Hashtag should simply have been #grammys2013 (by just using #grammys it’ll be harder to track and analyze in the future). The other hashtags they were trying to get to trend were too long #grammymoment #theworldislistening
3. Instead of the host, announcing his answers to tweets, they could’ve had a Twitter wall or crawl on the screen with The Grammy’s newsfeed or people tagging #grammys.
Ah so much more, but hey, there’s always next year, right?
And since today is Music Monday and I’d like to leave you with some music. Unfortunately, I can’t get any official Grammy footage so I leave you with a taste of His Royal Awesomeness – Jack White.
Just a quick SoundCloud of new tunes on this Music Monday. You wonder, what do these three songs have to do with each other… first of all, I like them. Second, they share this quality of sounding like multiple songs in just one track. They start slow, then fast, then rock hard and then sound totally different somewhere in the middle. It’s almost like ADHD songs – (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Is this a new trend? Take a listen to British band Alt J, and American indie bands Cloud Nothings and Foxygen.
We were on a bus somewhere between Italy and Spain, when Andi started singing, then Michelle joined in. So really I had no choice and before I knew it, we had everyone on the bus singing “End of the Road” by Boyz II Men in 4-part harmony. Yeah, just like that scene in Pitch Perfect. It was the ‘90s, after all, we were young and on the road. Life was good plus it’s a catchy tune. Can you blame us? “It’s so natural, you belong to me…” well, you know the rest.
When news of “The Package Tour” also known as the summer tour featuring New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) BoyZ II Men, NKOTB and 98 Degrees spread on my social feeds, I didn’t go crazy like some people did. First of all, I find it annoying that they are calling this tour the “return of the boy bands” because truly, the boy bands never left (hello, One Direction?) and second of all, apart from being all-male groups with cheesy pop music, there really isn’t anything exciting or new about this musical collaboration. Just another bunch of bands trying to make a comeback, capitalizing on nostalgia to fill some seats.
But hey, it’s a free country right? So if this is your kind of music, go, grab a ticket and relive the past.
Here’s a version of that Boyz II Men ditty that’s more my style. “End of the Road” by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.
Happy Music Monday, everyone!
Surely you’ve heard that catchy song that accompanies that new Windows 8 ad. It’s the kind of song that you like more and more, the more you hear it, and it is by the awesome singer, violinist, composer K Ishi Bashi or Kishi Bashi, who has collaborated and toured with Of Montreal, Regina Spektor, and Sondre Lerche.
The video that accompanies the song is strangely beautiful, just like the song. But get this– according to the YouTube description, the song includes “common idioms” throughout the video. For example at 2:51 into the video is “Break a Leg”. You can search the rest of the 49 idioms. As for me, I’ll just be humming along with the bird people.
And if you want to see more of Kishi Bashi, check out his Tiny Desk Concert on NPR.org where he rocks the violin and even beatboxes. You can also follow him on Facebook and check out more of his music at www.kishibashi.com
In my own mind, I am a cultural icon, but only so I can pretend that one day I will be featured in KCRW’s Guest DJ Project.
KCRW’s Guest DJ Project invites actors, authors, chefs, athletes,directors, tech entrepreneurs and more to share their musical passions. During the show the Guest DJ gives deep insight into their lives and their creative process through their musical choices. In the show, they share and discuss songs that have inspired and moved them.
Since today is Music Monday on the blog, I thought I’d share a random sampling of music that mark sdistinct periods in my life. They aren’t the best songs from those times but they take me back and they make me smile.
Ah yes, the British invasion. I was a young nerd who hardly listened to the radio and did anything considered cool, so when a friend shared this with me in a mixed tape (Remember those?), I thought, wow, this is cool. Whenever I hear Love Plus One now, I can’t help but feel happy it reminds me of simpler times.
And now for song number 2.
Confession time. I was so in-love with Depeche Mode, I even started a fan club in the Philippines. I produced a fanzine and everything. Totally DIY, photocopied and all.
I don’t know if this was ever popular in the U.S. but the video is in black and white. Back then videos at least tried to tell a story.
Stories of Old
Somewhere between the British bands I loved as a tween and my college years, I became so totally unhip and clueless. At that time, I didn’t care too much for music and listened to mainstream pop and whatever retro 70s songs the Manila cover bands were doing. It was a horrible time for me musically. So will skip that time.
Fortunately, by the 90s, I was getting my groove back, listening to alternative music including all the Grunge bands, like Nirvana and Pearl Jam. But what I was really into then was the Original Pilipino Music rock scene. These artists were my friends and it was such an exciting creative time. It also helped that I was working for the hottest modern rock station in the country then.
This song is obviously Beatle-esque and I chose this to share mainly because it is in English, albeit Filipino-English, so some word choices may be awkward to the American ear. The band is called “The Eraserheads.”
With a Smile
Cynthia Alexander was both an artist I admired and a friend. I was a bit of a groupie for a while and during my Lilith Faire phase, I even produced a concert featuring her band and other Filipino female-led acts. I think that if she came out in this age of YouTube, her songs would’ve gone viral.
I’m ending my Guest DJ set with this song, which actually pre-dates my Filipino Rock phase. I was in my 20s and totally identified with the characters in the movie “Reality Bites.” My favorite line was uttered by Winona Ryder’s character Lelaina. There are other cool lines in the movie, but this one resonated with me the most: “I was really going to be somebody by the time I was 23.”
New music excites me. New music performed live excites me even more. Unfortunately, my forays into live concert venues are few and far between so that I have to content myself to the usual online sources – blip.fm, myspace, bandcamp, soundcloud, npr music, kcrw, college radio, sirius xmu.
Last month though I was lucky enough to catch an indie experimental pop-rock group called “Tapioca and the Flea” at the Yelp All Hopped Up event at The Observatory in Santa Ana. According to what I’ve read, Tapioca and the Flea is really the stage name of recording artist Samuel Jacob from Los Angeles, who performs with his friends Ronnie Knott, (guitarist) and Frank Alva (Bass).
Samuel is a charismatic lead singer and master-tinkerer of things ranging from vintage keyborads, synths, guitars and pedals. Someone told me that Tapioca reminded him of the Flaming Lips. To be sure, Samuel evokes Wayne Coyne, not only in his singing and songwriting style but in his skill at musical experimentation.
Personally, I am not in love with the name Tapioca and The Flea but the music, ah, the music — with its infectious, beat-driven grooves now that’s something else.
Give ‘em a listen:
Here are 2 videos I took at the Yelp event. You’ll have to forgive the quality. I shot them on my Droid.
How can you not love a band that name checks French composer Camille Saint-Saens in an interview and actually mentions Tchaikovsky and Mozart in song?
Meet Oberhofer, one of my new favorite bands in the indie pop-rock music scene. Oberhofer is basically 21-year old musician Brad Oberhofer’s four piece band. The music and words are all his and he comes across as genuinely sincere – a rare quality these days.
Here is the video for “Away Frm U,” a very catchy tune that’s sure to have you singing along in no time.
And if you want more, check out this Spin Magazine Backstage Pass interview.