Categories
Music News and Interviews

Wallows “Pleaser” Song Review

“Pleaser” is not a new song, nor is it underground. 

Yet, there is something so perfect about this song that has resonated with me ever since I first heard it. 

This song was one that marked Wallows’ debut and made the band who they are today. Who would have thought back in 2017 that their debut single would be such a revolutionary moment for them in the years to follow? 

The track is relatable in its entirety. About a guy who always finds himself biting his tongue and avoiding saying what’s on his mind to make sure other people are happy. Might sound familiar to those of us that are people-pleasers. 

The upbeat percussion and the head-bopping chords of the electric guitar bring the whole piece together. It’s a simple song on its own with no embellishments with the drumming, guitar, or vocals, yet the way these instruments harmonize with one another creates a satisfying tune. 

What makes this song scratch my brain is the slow intro that goes from talk-singing into full-fledged singing along with the drums and chord progression. It’s that unexpected increase in tempo that adds the cherry on top.

Not only are the instrumentals satisfying, but the lyrics are also quite impactful as well.

The lines that I love the most are from an early verse and then the chorus. The second verse of the song is where the tempo picks up and immediately gets you to start jamming along to the music. With the lines “Does it come as a surprise? | Language of averted eyes | Silence is what I do best | Still, I hear it all |  Wasting time around my head | So I talk to myself instead” 

The impact of the lines is just inexplicable. That feeling of that awkward interaction where you’d rather hold your breath and keep your opinions to yourself only to later regret it and let it rack your brain.

Out of the entire song, the one line that I always come back to is “Quite the people pleaser | If only I could please her”

Something about the lyricism of that line is truly genius to me. Being a people pleaser, albeit not knowing how to please the one person you really want to make happy.  

Another Easter egg of sorts I like is the line “I don’t want to talk to you right now”. Although the song, “I Don’t Want to Talk” from their latest album wasn’t written till 5 years after “Pleaser”, I like to think that there is some connection between that line in “Pleaser” and the title track of their sophomore album.

People-pleaser or not, this song is one that is guaranteed to tickle the brains of you all that like listening to indie rock. 

It’s a classic that captures such deep realities in a catchy melody. 

Check out the lyric video which is supposedly directed by Wallows themselves on an iPhone 7, how archaic. 

Categories
Classic Album Review

“Acquainted with Night” by Lael Neale Album Review

ALBUM: “Acquainted with Night” by Lael Neale

RELEASE YEAR: 2021

LABEL: Sub Pop Records

RATING: 9/10

BEST TRACKS: “How Far Is It to the Grave”, “For No One Now”,  “Some Sunny Day”

FCC: None

Lael Neale is a Virginia native and current L.A. resident. “Acquainted with Night” is her second album she has released, with “I’ll Be Your Man” being released back in 2015. She made all the music for “Acquainted with Night” in California and all of the videos in her hometown in Virginia, as stated on her Bandcamp page.

The album mainly consists of her airy, wispy vocals and the Omnichord, which she picked up to create “Acquainted with Night”. I would consider the tracks to fall into the lo-fi indie pop genre for the most part, as we can hear the crackle of the recording instruments often. All the tracks are filled with existential questioning and beautiful imagery. 

Favorite Bits:

How Far Is It to the Grave” is easily one of the most unique tracks on the album. The twinkling of Neale’s Omnichord brings me immediately into the light of the moon. The track is filled with the ponderings of an assortment of characters, who all question how much time they have left in their lives. In its eerie beauty, Neale responds, “It’s only a life dear friend, dear friend”. 

In “For No One Now”, Neale leads us on a positive journey. Forget everything that makes you worry and take whatever you desire in life. This anthem shines bright in the lonely, sunny mornings. This song is hope and love jumbled together, which celebrates the best of days in all their glory. 

My third favorite track is “Some Sunny Day”. The Omnichord’s ever-present hum of a few simple notes helps highlight Lale Neale’s vocals and lyricism. Also, a rare guitar appearance for this album is present, which adds a pleasant vibration. This track looks towards the future and holds the present in a melancholic state. Neale again looks to hope and destiny as her savior.

The Other Bits:

Now, the rest of this album is also extremely enjoyable, but some tracks aren’t nearly as distinct and loveable as the three songs mentioned above. For example I lump “Sliding Doors & Warm Summer Roses”, “Third Floor Window” and “Let Me Live Down by the Side of the Road” into a ball of comfort. I like listening to these songs, but it’s hard for me to pick them apart from each other. 

I didn’t want to include too many songs in my favorites section, but some honorable mentions are “Every Star Shivers in the Dark”, “Blue Vein” and the title track “Acquainted with Night”. Each of these songs are gorgeous, but don’t strike me the same as my picks above. 

Conclusions:

Overall, this album is a great set of tunes to listen to in the morning or late in the evening as the sun is setting, especially for all you lo-fi lovers out there. I personally love to put on “Some Sunny Day” while I water my plants. This album reminds me why I like the lo-fi genre’s simplicity. It feels so welcoming and homely that I can snuggle up and enjoy hot coffee or tea and watch pretty white clouds float on by in peace. 

Lael Neale released a new song earlier this year, “Hotline”, which you can check out on her Bandcamp, if you feel so inclined. I am excited to see where her career ends up next, and I hope my love of this album can inspire y’all to enjoy her music too. 

Keep eatin’

DJ chef

Categories
Band/Artist Profile Music News and Interviews

Her’s – A Band That Could Have Been

The UK indie-rock band, Her’s, was made up of two musicians Audun Laading and Stephen Fitzpatrick. Stephen was the lead singer and guitarist while Audun played the bass and sang background vocals. 

They debuted with their first single “Dorothy” in 2016 and eventually in 2018 they released their debut album, “Invitation to Her’s”

You may have heard their song “What Once Was”.

It’s a song that I get emotional listening to know the tragedy that hit the band. The song is about the passing of a family member with the lyrics. “My friends put on their bravest faces | Their tails between their legs, something is out of place”

The fact that these lyrics apply to the band themselves and were written by them without knowing what was coming in the future is what hurts me, as a fan, the most.  

With the releases of their singles and eventually a compilation album titled “Songs of Her’s”, the band grew a strong following and decided It was time to tour the States with their debut album. 

It was during their U.S tour that disaster struck. 

They had finished playing in Phoenix, Arizona – the third to last stop on the tour – and were on the highway driving up to California when their car got hit by a drunk driver.

The drunk truck driver was in the wrong lane and drove straight into them, causing both cars to go up in flames. Both members of Her’s along with their manager who was driving their car passed away. March 27, 2019.

Though it’s a little past the three-year anniversary of their passing, I thought it was important to highlight their work as artists and continue sharing their music with a new audience. 

While their discography is short, you can hear their passion in each song. 

The three songs I would recommend as an introduction to the band are “What Once Was”, “Speed Racer” and “Cool With You”. 

All three of these songs are dream-pop and indie rock. “Speed Racer” sounds like it’s straight out of the 50s with the rock and roll sound but still maintains that distinct indie sound. “Cool With You” is more lo-fi and has a heavier bass to it that’s perfect for daydreaming. “What Once Was” is a bittersweet bedroom-pop track that balances the syncopation of the bass with electric guitar chords and drums.

They have a total of 23 songs, so if you want to become a Her’s fan it’s not difficult to get consumed. 

If they had made it to 2022, I have no doubt they would have been one of the most popular indie bands of the decade.

You can check out Her’s discography on Spotify or YouTube.

Categories
Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 6/14

#ArtistRecordLabel
1FLY ANAKINFrankLex
2AUDREY NUNAa liquid breakfast DELUXEArista
3EVIDENCEUnlearning Vol. 1Rhymesayers
4HIATUS KAIYOTEMood ValiantBrainfeeder/Ninja Tune
5JPEGMAFIALP!EQT
6SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
7ANUSHKAYemayaTru Thoughts
8DIZUltra.VioletSelf-Released
9ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
10INJURY RESERVEBy The Time I Get To PhoenixSelf-Released
Categories
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 6/14

#ArtistRecordLabel
1LORNA SHOREAnd I Return To Nothingness [EP]Century Media
2DYING WISHFragments of a Bitter MemorySharptone
3ARCHSPIREBleed The FutureSeason Of Mist
4KREATOR“Strongest Of The Strong” [Single]Nuclear Blast
5DECAPITATEDCancer CultureNuclear Blast
6RUNESPELLSentinels Of TimeIron Bonehead
7MUNCIPAL WASTE“High Speed Steel” [Single]Nuclear Blast
8ZEAL AND ARDORZeal & ArdorMVKA
9BEGRIME EXEMIOUSRotting In The AftermathDark Descent
10FIT FOR AN AUTOPSYOh What The Future HoldsNuclear Blast

Chainsaw Adds

#ArtistRecordLabel
1GULCH“2019 Promo” [Single]Creator Destructor
2CRYPTOPSYDivine CouncilEVP
3LIVING WRECKAGE“Endless War” [Single]M-Theory
4QUIESCENT MANTIS“Shake The Cage” [Single]Wave Transform
Categories
Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 6/14

#ArtistRecordLabel
1PHFPurest HellDanger Collective
2TIMKOVBIATCH“ALERTNESS” [Single]Self-Released
3COL LAWTONJordi LOVE Groove [EP]Salted
4CLAUDIA BOUVETTEThe Paradise ClubBonsound
5NIKITCH AND KUNA MAZEBack And ForthTru Thoughts
6JUNGLE“Good Times” b/w “Problemz” [Single]Caiola/AWAL
7JUST WONDERING“idk, maybe” [Single]Lower Third/PIAS
8FINN AND I JORDAN“All About Love” b/w “Big B” [Single]Local Action
9FLUMEPalacesFuture Classic
10POLICAMadnessMemphis Industries

Afterhours Adds

#ArtistRecordLabel
1PHFPurest HellDanger Collective
2TIMKOVBIATCH“ALERTNESS” [Single]Self-Released
3JUNGLE“Good Times” b/w “Problemz” [Single]Caiola/AWAL
4FINN AND I JORDAN“All About Love” b/w “Big B” [Single]Local Action
5CLAUDIA BOUVETTEThe Paradise ClubBonsound
6JUST WONDERING“idk, maybe” [Single]Lower Third/PIAS
7NIKITCH AND KUNA MAZEBack And ForthTru Thoughts
Categories
Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 6/14

#ArtistRecordLabel
1FLY ANAKINFrankLex
2VEROUnsoothing InteriorPNKSLM
3AUDREY NUNAa liquid breakfast DELUXEArista
4EVIDENCEUnlearning Vol. 1Rhymesayers
5HIATUS KAIYOTEMood ValiantBrainfeeder/Ninja Tune
6JPEGMAFIALP!EQT
7THE CURLSSmothered and CoveredTruth Zone
8LAVA LA RUE“For You” [Single]Marathon Artists
9MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSelf-Released
10PUPThe Unraveling Of PupTheBandRise/BMG
11SAM HENSHAW“Untidy Soul” [Single]Merlin
12ANUSHKAYemayaTru Thoughts
13DIZUltra.VioletSelf-Released
14ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
15INJURY RESERVEBy The Time I Get To PhoenixSelf-Released
16JYROSCOPE AND MONTANA MACKSHappy Medium [EP]Self-Released
17LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
18TYLER THE CREATORCALL ME IF YOU GET LOSTColumbia
19VINCE STAPLESRamona Park Broke My HeartBlacksmith/Motown
20BREANNAEpiphanySelf-Released
21FKA TWIGSCAPRISONGSYoung/Atlantic
22FLYING LOTUS“Black Gold / Between Memories” [Single]Warp
23GENESIS OWUSU“Waiting On Ya” (Jono Ma Remix) [Single]House Anxiety/Ourness
24GIRLPOOLForgivenessAnti-
25GREENTEA PENG“Your Mind” [Single]AMF/EMI
26MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
27MOONCHILDStarfruitTru Thoughts
28NEWMAN“FAMINE” [Single]Ten Steps Ahead
29REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
30ROBERT GLASPERBlack Radio IIILoma Vista/Concord
Categories
Music News and Interviews

Hojean “Pose For Me” Song Review

We’re back with another banger by Hojean.

When it comes to Hojean’s music I never know what to expect. The beat is always fresh and comes out of the left-field while still keeping that same R&B traditional Hojean flair to it.

I have to say it, “Pose For Me” might be one of my new favorite songs of Hojean’s. It starts off with this retro 80s-funk groove and has disco-pop undertones to it combined with Hojean’s soft vocals.

The best part of the song has to be its chorus, it’s a vibe unlike any other with an infectious, almost beach-y, tune from a synth that makes you feel like you’re floating in the clouds. Levitating.

After hearing this song at least ten times while writing this post, it’s hard to tell what music component of this track I enjoy the best. Whether it’s the verses, the chorus, or the bridge each part is innovative and adds a new element to the song that catches the listener by surprise.

“Pose For Me” is a song you can enjoy without the obligation to pay attention to the song. It’s one you can simply listen to for the vibes.

For this track, Hojean keeps the lyrics simple. There’s a lot of rhyming that’s almost poetic yet it has that satisfying bounce to it. The harmonizing of the background vocals allows this song to be danceable and utterly relaxing at the same time. I can’t say it’s revolutionary, however, I’ve never heard a musician try to combine such different genres of music into one strong song as Hojean has with “Pose For Me.”

The lyrics of this song are a lot different compared to Hojean’s past singles. While he primarily writes about love, this song is very introspective. He writes about the joy of dressing up for no reason and posing in a mirror just for fun.

With the lyrics, “Runnin’ out of my mind | In and out of my head | These thoughts won’t leave and | I don’t wanna stay here | In another party with no one near so | Maybe I should go home | And dance with my reflection alone,” he writes about feeling out of place and anxious thoughts that he might never be able to change.

Seeing this side of Hojean is quite interesting and is a refreshing perspective from his past music. I love when artists show different aspects of their personalities and add depth to their work.

I personally would love to see more songs like Pose For Me from Hojean in the future. Bringing more of himself into his music and showing a new side of himself.

Just in time for the summer, Hojean might have written the best song to listen to while lazing around in the pool.

Perhaps the song of the summer, dare I say?

Check out the lyric video for “Pose For Me” on YouTube.

Categories
Miscellaneous

“How to Survive a Plague” – A Look at Activism during the AIDS and HIV Epidemic

How to Survive a Plague” is a documentary that shines a blindingly direct spotlight on the activism during the AIDS and HIV epidemic from the late 1980’s until the late 1990’s period. This film is not a happy one, but the director, David France, created a documentary that has given a clear perspective of the AIDS and HIV virus from the eyes of the groups ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and TAG (Treatment Action Group). 

David France has a rocky relationship within the film community and other social spheres because of his ignorance and greed when he stole the story of Marsha P. Johnson from creator Tourmaline, as stated in their Instagram post. I absolutely do not support what France has done with his Marsha P. Johnson documentary, and any person that decides they have the right to steal art should have everything they create be critically examined for plagiarism.

That being said, I think France has still made an extremely powerful documentary in “How to Survive a Plague”. France’s boyfriend died from AIDS in 1991, as mentioned in this IndieWire article, and I think that assists in validating his voice for this documentary. This film does accurately report on the lives of ACT UP and TAG members by primarily using archival footage and exclusive interviews done in 2012.

There are a few notable people highlighted in this documentary like Larry Kramer, Anthony Fauci, and Jim Eigo. More important members of both activist groups play key roles in the history of this film. 

HISTORY

To appreciate and understand the impact of this film, some history is required before watching. I will be pulling some timeline information from the HIV government website and this timeline from PEPFAR

The HIV and AIDS epidemic first started getting attention from the media and communities in 1981, so the beginning of this documentary really starts in the middle of the epidemic, which makes it difficult to follow at some points. 

The HIV virus was almost immediately linked to the LGBTQ+ community, which caused the immediate and further ostracization of these community members. It wasn’t until 1989 that AIDS cases reached 100,000 reported infections as stated by this CDC article. After that, the numbers grew even faster. 

“ACT UP, or AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, was founded in NYC in 1987 as a political action group in response to the AIDS crisis. The group’s first action, in spring 1987, was a march on Wall St. to protest the high cost and lack of availability of HIV treatment.” 

This quote is directly from ACT UP’s website.

ACT UP successfully started the campaign of getting more attention and action to the epidemic. The documentary goes into great detail about theirs and TAG’s foundation, so I won’t go into detail about it here. 

In October of 1995, the CDC reported 500,000 cases of AIDS in the United States, and from 1990 to 1995 there were just under 1,000,000 AIDS related deaths in the world, which you can see in this graph.

My little history report does not go into nearly enough detail about the atrocities committed by those in power who prevented and stalled research, funding and support for this epidemic. The documentary, however, does do this. 

THE DOCUMENTARY

The acquired film and interviews that David France used are synthesized in a way to emphasize the emotions and stories that are weaved together. One of my favorite techniques utilized in the documentary is how well peoples’ faces are highlighted. You can see their betrayal, anguish and hunger for life all in their eyes through the framing done by cinematographers.

“How to Survive a Plague” overwhelmingly succeeds in showing the impact of raising concerns and actively participating in the world around us. The collected films show people on their deathbeds participating in research and activism because they want to live. Not only do they want to live, but they want other people with their afflictions to live. 

France did an alright job collecting clips from the voices in the community, but he still leaves out many voices that deserved to be heard. A CDC report from October 6, 1986 states that Black and Latinx communities were disproportionately contracting AIDS and HIV in comparison to white people. I would have loved to have seen interviews or footage from these community members rather than solely the leaders focused upon in this film. 

One last thing I want to note about this film is how well it uses the death toll from the virus throughout the film. We see the numbers start around 100,000 deaths, and then they grow. 

These statistics are like bookmarks in time. Each growth correlates to the inaction of those in charge, and the flattening of the curve shows the success of ACT UP and TAG.

CONCLUSIONS

As I stated in the beginning of this review, this film is not easy to watch, but I highly recommend seeing it once. The HIV and AIDS epidemic that swept through the world (and still affects millions of lives today as you can see on this graph) is still not talked about enough today. 

The inaction from the US government and governments around the world has robbed the LGBTQ+ community of strong leaders and activists that could have supported the new, younger generations today. Millions of young people could have been supported by a strong community, but were instead left with a fragile support system that still continues to struggle under oppression from those against the LGBTQ+ community. 

Just remember, “Silence = Death”.

-DJ chef

Categories
Miscellaneous

Best Way to Consume Music?

In the past half of the year, I have been to my fair share of concerts whether they were being streamed online or I was standing in the crowd experiencing them in real-time. Of course, during that same period, I’ve streamed more than enough hours of music from hundreds of different artists.

Listening to music is something I constantly have on in the background no matter if I’m doing homework, driving, or painting. The real question though is, what is the best way to experience music as a concept. Live in its natural form or streaming it prerecorded?

Music creates an ambiance and sets the tone for any outing or event, in restaurants or on public speakers it allows silence to be filled.

Recently, I was thinking of going to Lollapalooza and the question of if I wanted to spend the money to experience these artists live or sit in the comfort of my living room and watch their live stream on YouTube for free was racking my brain.

Starting off with live music, there is just so much that can be added to that experience besides seeing the artist performing live. Being surrounded by fans of that artist and being able to shout the lyrics along with the artists themselves can feel surreal. You notice that they sing a line differently or play a random electric guitar solo just because they feel like it. It’s something you can never have the opportunity of experiencing outside of that moment and each live performance by an artist will be unique.

There is that adrenaline that rushes through you in excitement, but it’s an experience that can only be felt in that moment. After the performance or concert is over, you’re left sitting there watching scrolling through videos and pictures trying to attain that feeling once again. Reminiscing about how you were hearing their music in real-time right in front of you and exhibiting the artists as humans.

On the other hand, streaming music is a different experience on its own. You can listen to the same song for hours on repeat and retain that freshness of it if you’re in the mood to do so. Any song is within your reach and you don’t have to go out of your way by plane or car to listen to that music.

While the upside is being able to listen to quite literally any song, you don’t get to experience the realistic quality of that instrument playing. Each time you listen would be 100% identical and you won’t hear any fumbling of chords or changes in song pitch or any variations that make music listening to an experience.

Regardless, it’s all a matter of preference and access. Go stream some music or hop in your car to hear an artist play live.

In the end, live your life and experience what you want the way you want to.