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Blog Music News and Interviews

Some New, Magical Tracks by DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ

What is it about DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ that gets me excited to pour through her entire discography? Is it the hypnotic dance tracks that fill my body with an overwhelming electric buzz, or is it the insane premise that the soundbytes used to create this music is from the TV show “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”?

While I am still trying to figure those questions out, I can enjoy these three new tracks DJ Sabrina released this year:

Under Your Spell

While I didn’t find this track to be the most glamorous or explorative track that DJ Sabrina released this year, it does have the consistency of her previous work. DJ Sabrina mixes beautiful beats that get me hyped to dance and the cold hitting lines from “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”.

Call You

This song is one of the longer mixes where DJ Sabrina captures the entirety of my attention. It has a playtime of 8 minutes and 35 seconds, and starts out muted and slow. Then, the beats start bumping. I am still bopping my head up and down writing this because that is how intoxicating this track is. 

“Daddy Didn’t Want Me To Sing (DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ Remixes)”

This remix of Sandy Hawkins’ song “Daddy Didn’t Want Me To Sing” is pretty fun. I like when DJ Sabrina is able to branch out from taking audio clips from TV and apply her skills to remix other artists’ work. I think this is a prime example of how powerful DJ Sabrina’s beats are. 

There is definitely something witchy happening behind the scenes of DJ Sabrina’s music production. I am enchanted by the beats and feel-good tunes that appear magically when I need them most. I cannot wait to stuff myself with whatever DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ serves up next.

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Music Education

Live From the Clink: Bad Brains and “Sacred Love”

I Against I

While Bad Brains’s debut studio album, aptly titled “Bad Brains,” is indisputably iconic, “I Against I” possesses a special kind of charm.

Bad Brains, considered among hardcore punk’s original pioneers, released “I Against I” in November of 1986.

Despite the band’s original background in jazz fusion, the album presents a riveting blend of various musical elements including funk, alternative metal, rock and hardcore punk.

Consisting of ten songs, “I Against I” traverses a broad scope of musical sensations.

Unlike “Bad Brains” or the band’s demo album “Black Dots“, each song in “I Against I” has a unique feel, making for a truly dynamic listening experience.

The cover of Bad Brains's album, I Against I
Cover of Bad Brains’s third album, I Against I

“Sacred Love,” the album’s eighth song, is particularly special. Unlike the album’s other tracks, “Sacred Love” has strikingly lo-fi vocals. The song sounds like a fuzzy, crackly voicemail, the lyrics barely comprehensible.

Upon first hearing “Sacred Love,” I assumed the audio effects were a stylistic choice. However, further research revealed the truth.

The Recording of “Sacred Love”

According to testimonies from the album’s producer, Ron St. Germain and Anthony Countey, the band’s long-time manager, “Sacred Love” was performed from a D.C. correctional facility.

An excerpt of an interview from Howie Abrams and James Lathos’s novel, “Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. From Bad Brains” details the circumstances which led to the song’s unorthodox recording:

Shortly before Bad Brains was set to record I Against I, D.C. law enforcement arrested lead singer H.R. (short for Human Rights) for marijuana distribution.

According to St. Germain, the band successfully recorded nearly all of the songs in I Against I’s discography before H.R. was due to enter jail.

All songs, that is, but “Sacred Love.”

With an unfinished album and an incarcerated vocalist, Germain and Countey had to improvise.

In what St. Germain referred to as a “communal effort,” the band organized for H.R. to perform “Sacred Love” through a collect call at the jailhouse.

The setup for the recording was makeshift at best. When the initial plan to facilitate a direct patch from the phone to the recorder failed, St. Germain undertook a more DIY-style approach.

According to St. Germain, he ended up taping an Auratone monitor to an analog telephone and swaddling both in a sound blanket.

In the studio, a second phone connected H.R. directly to the rest of the band. On that phone, St. Germain taped a microphone over the receiver.

The whole process took less than two hours. The result?

Listen for yourself.

– J

Categories
Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

The Resurgence of a 1980s Classic

“Stranger Things” is one of Netflix’s biggest shows and is set during the 1980s.

This show is no stranger to dropping 80s movie references and including tons of iconic and classic songs from the 1980s to add to that effect. Not to mention, the show is about a group of teenagers that live off pop culture.

Music was as big a part of 80s culture as it is today, and due to the popularity of the show, songs from the 80s are on the charts once again. To be more specific, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush. 

The song has more significance in the show than just being a part of the soundtrack.

*Spoilers Ahead about Stranger Things Season 4*

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” was an influential part of saving the life of a character named Max, portrayed by actress Sadie Sink.

If you’ve seen the season, you know how important finding the right song was to save the lives of characters that were targeted by Vecna. Max had a strong connection to the song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush which led to her life being saved.

It was this concept that your comfort music can reach parts of your brain that a human’s voice isn’t able to. 

Not only was this her favorite song but the lyrics were highly significant to Max’s history, knowing her trauma. Her brother, Billy, had been possessed by a creature called the Mindflayer and was eventually killed at the end of season 3.

After Billy’s passing, Max blamed herself and had this overwhelming guilt and trauma from witnessing his death. This is reflected throughout the song as seen with the lyrics “And if only I could | I’d make a deal with God| And I’d get him to swap our places” 

Max spends day after day thinking about Billy’s death and if she could have saved him. If she could have taken his place. She’s seen wearing headphones connected to a Walkman, constantly listening to music as an escape from her reality.

The resurfacing of this song led to a lot of fans discussing what their favorite songs are and essentially what songs would “save them from Vecna.” It’s cool to see how a TV show can cause a music trend to arise.

The scientific aspect of how music activates all parts of your brain is so fascinating to me. The fact that there can be one or two songs that you have an emotional connection to can literally save your life.

I might not make it out alive if I was ever in that situation. I am too indecisive when it comes to choosing a favorite song. One day I like one song and the next I’m religiously listening to another song.

What I love about the power of the internet when it comes to popular shows is that fans do not hesitate to make edits. The song has been used in over 1.5 million edits and videos and has finally hit #1 on multiple charts after 20-ish years.

Plus, what makes that all the better is that Kate Bush wrote, sang, and produced the entire song all on her own. 

Check out “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” if you haven’t already, you won’t regret it.

Categories
Music News and Interviews

Dhruv “Blur” Song Review

Dhruv must be on whatever Harry Styles has been lately.

Dhruv’s newest single “Blur” which was released, June 22, came totally out of the left field. 

It’s more of a 70s and 80s-inspired pop track compared to Dhruv’s traditional R&B style. Not that I’m complaining.

I know I say this almost every other post, but I genuinely think this song could be the song of the summer– no– easily the song of the year.

Typically, Dhruv writes songs that hit you right in the feels and are more on the wistful unrequited love side. However, I think Dhruv has finally done it, he has made a song that makes you want to start dancing.

Right from the intro of the synthesizer, it hooks you in.

It’s always refreshing to see an artist step outside of their comfort zone and Dhruv has done just that with “Blur.” 

I had mentioned in Dhruv’s Artist Spotlight article I wrote a while back, that he grew up listening to Western Pop artists like The Beatles, so it’s really cool to see him draw inspiration from the music that inspired him to become an artist in the first place. 

He still stays true to hits roots by writing a classic love song but adds a little twist to it. It focuses on the high of crushing on someone new and almost how surreal and dream-like it begins to feel. He captures that feeling to a tee.

It’s fast-paced and the lyrics are quite intense. 

His vocals hit high notes that are so satisfying all throughout the song. Especially in the chorus when he sings “Don’t stop with your beautiful mess| Spin my world on your axis | Hold onto the madness | When does dreaming end and waking begin? | It’s all in a blur again | Soft shock, put a spring in my step | We touch and it’s static | This love’s cinematic | Where does dreaming end and waking begin? | It’s all in a blur again.”

The chorus is longer than in most songs but it’s one of the best choruses I have heard this year.

In an odd way, some parts of the song almost sound like the same melody from “Don’t You Forget About Me” but in a slighter higher pitch. That’s what really evokes that retro aspect to it.

Towards the end of the song, the last verse brings back his traditional music style in the lyrics “Sense scattered | Nothing matters | Don’t wake me up | If it shatters | Don’t wake me up | Don’t wake me up”

The background music for that verse sounds interstellar and adds a unique palate cleanser so-to-speak before hitting you with the chorus you grow accustomed to.

The more I listen to the song the more I’m getting obsessed with it.

I’m not sure how much longer I can go on without recommending a listen to this song. It might be something out of your comfort zone to listen to but I promise it won’t disappoint. 

If Dhruv can step out of his comfort zone and create a masterpiece like this, I’m sure you’ll be able to listen to a masterpiece as well.

Categories
Miscellaneous

The Movies and Music

Music and film have been able to evolve together over the past 100-ish years to create more beauty out of these arts than any artist could probably have imagined. Obviously music has been around for a longer time than movies, but the profound affects the two have on each other led them both to feed each other’s creative capabilities. 

First There Was Silence

Before there were movies with sound, we had the silent era of film. I have not seen many films from that era, but I do know how popular Charlie Chaplin’s films were and still are today. His film, “The Kid” features a comedic fight scene that has no sound, but honestly doesn’t need it. 

Chaplin was able to take visual arts and impact millions of people without a sound, which inspired generations of filmmakers to come. Chaplin wasn’t the only silent film influence on the world, but he made big strides toward the future with his techniques

Then Came the Music

When sound came to film, there became so much more room to explore within the medium. People could have conversations without being interrupted by dialogue cards, fights that sounded real and thrilling and the sounds of music could be heard by the audience. 

One of my favorite scenes from “RRR”,  a movie that came out this year, incorporates music, choreography and cinematography beautifully. You can watch it here:

Naacho Naacho from “RRR” released in 2022. Video uploaded by T-Series.

The colors and costumes in this exciting action film aren’t even the best part. The music and choreographed scenes add more to the movie’s strengths than the dialogue or plot. 

“La La Land” and “Sound of Music” are another two films that blow me away in their use of music in film. They, like “RRR”, have scenes throughout the film that are choreographed and feel separate from the film universe around them. Whenever I see an amazing musical-ish movie like “La La Land” I do enjoy it, but it often feels less plot oriented and less emotionally impactful than narrative films. 

Synthesizing the Worlds

The films above are absolutely fantastic and I have nothing bad to say about them, but the way these next couple of films use sound and music creates more emotional connection and tension. Instead of separating scenes into dialogue and music, the directors of these movies have incorporated music and rhythm directly into the cinematography of the entire film. 

In the opening scene of “Sound of Metal”, the camera is focused solely on Ruben about to launch into his drum routine live on stage. We see his reactions and actions to the sounds and stimuli around him, and we learn this movie is more character driven than anything else.  

The music of that scene adds to Ruben’s character rather than existing as a nice emotional piece of music. It is the background and platform to understand his current state of emotional affairs. Music is part of Ruben’s world and throughout the film, music and sound are used as character development rather than emotional stimulation. 

Also, in movies by Edgar Wright, like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Baby Driver”, action scenes are synched to a musical rhythm like Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”. It is a lot like a choreographed dance, but instead of relying on dance to show the rhythm, the scenes are able to use violent action synched to a beat. The characters also rely on music to express themselves to the people they love around them. 

Conclusions

I have found movies that are able to synthesize music with the narrative flow and cinematography often create a more emotionally influential piece of art. Music hits our ears at the same time we see a story unfolding and pictures moving with the sound of the film. 

Categories
Miscellaneous

“Boiling Point” – Movie Review

After watching “Uncut Gems” a fair share of times, I gained an appreciation for a masterfully done dramatic thriller film. That is exactly what “Boiling Point” is. This film was released in 2021, and was directed by Philip Barantini. 

This movie is shot in a single take, like “1917”, and uses this technique to drive your heart into your throat. I was choking out of anticipation by the last minutes of the film. It has a run time of 92 minutes, which feels incredibly short while watching it. 

This is Barantini’s second feature length film and it is his most successful. The main actors are Stephen Graham, who plays Andy Jones, Vinette Robinson, who plays Carly and Alice May Feetham, who plays Beth. The movie is set in a London restaurant focused on head chef, And Jones’ ability to handle the heat of his personal life and kitchen life in a single night. 

This movie is quite intense and uses extreme language as it is set in the high seas of a foul mouthed kitchen. 

Quick Synopsis:

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot of this movie because that is the driving force behind the tensions and heart pounding story. Basically, Andy Jones comes into his restaurant and immediately faces barrages of inquiries that make him feel overwhelmed. 

His front of house (FOH) manager, Beth, is already up in his business when he walks in the door, which makes it hard for Andy to even have a calm moment to prepare for the busy night. Also, his sous chef, Carly tells Andy about issues and new trainees that are happening while he deals with management issues from Beth. 

I always start to perspire when I think about how long of a night this kitchen staff has after the closing of a restaurant. Platter after platter of drama piles up, and by the end of the film it feels like there is no way for Andy to resolve the mess he has gotten himself into. 

A Review:

Having this film be shot in a single take is astounding to me. Not only does every single actor have to be sharp and attentive for the entirety of the film, but the crew has to be prepared too. Plates of food are brought out and fires extinguished constantly. Barantini really does make you feel like you’re in a kitchen with a time bomb strapped to it. 

Having sweat slide down my forehead while sitting and watching a movie is never something I thought I would recommend, but the ache in my heart from anxiety I got watching the film was intoxicating. 

Stephen Graham and Vinette Robinson are also fantastic throughout the entire film. I could absolutely believe them in their roles. Carly and Andy play off each other so well, it feels like real kitchen experiences I’ve had myself. 

Conclusion:

The more I thought about this film as a representation of kitchen life and stress, the more I began to enjoy it. Films and directors that are able to focus on a few key emotions instead of a spectrum of feelings, keep me involved and invested during and after the viewing. I feel like I learn something about someone’s life perspectives by taking in their sights, sounds and frustrations with their world around them, which is exactly what “Boiling Point” does. 

Keep eatin’

– DJ Chef

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Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 6/21

#ArtistRecordLabel
1FLY ANAKINFrankLex
2LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
3SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
4ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
5MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSelf-Released
6HIATUS KAIYOTEMood ValiantBrainfeeder/Ninja Tune
7ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
8MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
9DIZUltra.VioletSelf-Released
10FLYING LOTUS“The Room” b/w “You Don’t Know” [Single]Warp
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Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 6/21

#ArtistRecordLabel
1TDJTDJ123Disques Durs
2SIMON ADAMS, MAX MILAN“Mr. Franklin (Miguel Migs Salty Rub)” [Single]Salted
3RANGE, THEMercuryDomino
4PHFPurest HellDanger Collective
5TIMKOVBIATCH“Alertness” [Single]Self-Released
6COL LAWTONJordi LOVE Groove [EP]Salted
7CLAUDIA BOUVETTEThe Paradise ClubBonsound
8NIKITCH AND KUNA MAZEBack And ForthTru Thoughts
9JUNGLE“Good Times” b/w “Problemz” [Single]Caiola/AWAL
10FLUMEPalacesFuture Classic
Categories
Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 6/21

#ArtistRecordLabel
1ASTRAGALPure CashmereThe Nothing Song
2FOOTBALL ETCVisions [EP]Self-Released
3PAPERCUTSPast Life RegressionSlumberland
4SASAMISQUEEZEDomino
5SKY FERREIRA“Don’t Forget” [Single]UMG
6SOUND OF CERESEmerald SeaJoyful Noise
7SUNFLOWER BEANHeadful Of SugarMom+Pop
8VEROUnsoothing InteriorPNKSLM
9PARK HYE JINBefore I DieNinja Tune
10BAKERS EDDYLove Boredom BicyclesIvy League
11BIG ORANGE“Love’s Not Enough” [Single]Self-Released
12CARRTOONSHOMEGROWNWichita
13CARTEL MADRASThe Serpent And The Tiger [EP]Sub Pop
14CONWAY THE MACHINEGod Don’t Make MistakesShady/Interscope
15FLY ANAKINFrankLex
16FREDDIE GIBBS“Vice Lord Poetry” [Single]EMPIRE
17GUERILLA TOSSFamously AliveSub Pop
18HAVIAH MIGHTYStock ExchangeSelf-Released
19IDK“Taco” [Single]Warner
20KHI INFINITETake What You NeedArtist Partner Group
21KIPP STONEFaygo BabySelf-Released
22NEWMAN“FAMINE” [Single]Ten Steps Ahead
23POST ANIMALLove GibberishSelf-Released
24PUPThe Unraveling Of PupTheBandRise/BMG
25RAAVI“Lazy Susan” [Single]Self-Released
26REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
27SAM HENSHAW“Untidy Soul” [Single]Merlin
28SEA POWEREverything Was ForeverGolden Chariot
29SILAS SHORTDrawing [EP]Stones Throw
30SOCCER MOMMY“Shotgun” [Single]Loma Vista/Concord

Daytime Adds

#ArtistRecordLabel
1DYKERITZTwin Flame ReunionSelf-Released
2RIVER WHYLESSMonofloraSoundly
3SAUCERBingeSelf-Released
4QUELLE CHRISDeathfameMello
5ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
6BUMMERDead HorseThrill Jockey
Categories
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 6/21

#ArtistRecordLabel
1CRYPTOPSYDivine CouncilEVP
2KUBLAI KHAN“Resentment” [Single]Rise
3GULCH“2019 Promo” [Single]Creator Destructor
4DEATHLeprosyCombat
5LIVING WRECKAGE“Endless War” [Single]M-Theory
6LORNA SHOREAnd I Return To Nothingness [EP]Century Media
7QUIESCENT MANTIS“Shake The Cage” [Single]Wave Transform
8INCLINATIONA Glimpse Through The Lense [EP]Pure Noise
9CALLOUS DAOBOYS, THE“A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops” [Single]MNRK
10FROMJOYIt LingersSelf-Released

Chainsaw Adds

#ArtistRecordLabel
1BUMMERDead HorseThrill Jockey
2LORNA SHORE“Sun//Eater” [Single]Century Media
3TALLAH“The Impressionist” [Single]Earache