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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Summer's Demise: A Mix in the Key of D

We look forward to summer all year long.  Kids long for being a summer camp and adults picture their dream vacation or getaway.  Then, when August rolls into September, what do we have to show for it all?  Campers tell friends that they'll write to them over the year.  Summer romances must decide whether to forgo the effort or swim against the tide.  Vacations and adventures are reduced to rehashed episodic anecdotes that no one really cares about.  So here's a question worth asking.  When summer ends, what do we have to show for it?  I think music best captures our memories and reflections of a time best summed up in images anyway.  

Catching lightning bugs, watching fireworks, running after the ice cream truck, having light to play until nearly 10pm, making s'mores, singing at campfires, camping and hiking excursions are image that come to mind.  Me, I remember lying in my grandfather's hammock in his backyard listening letting of the tzzuezz cicadas lull me to sleep.  Summer is a time of frolic and fun.  And as it ends, so does our youth, in a sense. I always thought to myself that I should go live in the Southern Hemisphere for the half of the year that we experience autumn and winter so I don't have to leave youth.  But, we all know that like everything, it must end.  'Nothing gold can stay', after all!

'Blurred Lines' by Robin Thicke

'When I Get You Alone' by Robin Thicke

Exactly ten years ago, in 2003, Robin Thicke came out with his debut album, A Beautiful World.  I remember the moment when I saw the video for 'When I Get You Alone' on MTV2 (back when there was such a thing that only showed videos).  This was back when MTV was just getting raunchy and bubblegum with the Carson Daily video countdown and shows like Jackass or Next.  I loved what I heard, and immediately got the album when it came out.  It was good.  No, it was great.  I had not heard a white dude with so much soul since, well, ever really.

Robin Thicke, as you may all know is the son of actor, Alan Thicke, best known for his role as the psychiatrist Ward-like dad, Dr. Jason Seaver, on Growing Pains.  Robin Thicke's mother, Gloria Loring is also an actress and a singer.  Robin Thicke is all over the airwaves now.  I think we can officially deem his song the hit of summer 2013.  Ever car stereo and grocery store speaker plays that catchy song.  It's in your head and probably in your Itunes library.

It's not a bad song but I am resentful that ten years ago I called this.  I knew Robin Thicke would be huge.  When his single and debut album came out, I was talking about him but no one else seemed to know who he was.  I didn't hear his stuff at any college parties and except for his hit 'When I Get You Alone', he was virtually unheard of.  This single came in 2002, and its success was a catalyst for the release of his debut album in 2003.  But unlike his first single, the album didn't gain as much notoriety.  I remember the single in the movie for the book, The Rules of Attraction (which, by the way, has a kickass soundtrack.)  Other than that, nothing. 

In fact, I thought, after the album's release, that Robin Thicke faded into the abyss of one-hit wonder fate.  I was upset because I knew he was such a talent.  But fast forward ten years and boom.  He's come out with five other albums, which includes Blurred Lines.  He's had other success, though,  since his first album until now.  His 2007 album, The Evolution of Robin Thicke was number one on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop chart.  His 2008 album, Something Else sold around 140,000 copies in its first week and was number three on the Billboard 200 Chart.

All I can say is that 'I called it'.  Though his summer hit is slightly annoying, I will say 'I told you so'.  It's like my Green Day story.  When I was in sixth grade, I remember sitting in art class and telling my peers, 'hey guys, have you heard of Green Day?'.  They had not.  But a year later, everyone had.  Dookie  was bought as a tape (when you could still get those) or CD for every birthday party.  So I called that one too.  I just never get any credit.  Sigh!


As summer comes to a close, we often reflect upon our travels and adventures and what they have taught us.  Summer is a metaphor for adolescence and youth.  Perhaps the reason that many people feel so glum and sentimental at the end of summer is that as we enter fall, we metaphorically enter into adulthood.  The end of summer represents 'the fall' in poetry and literature.  At summer's end, we fall from innocence and naivety.  We shed our youth and energy and find our true skin.  We wiggle around in our new skin, though everything seems too roomy and too expansive.

It is not easy to transition from childhood/adolescence into adulthood.  Many people often ask what that one moment was when you remember feeling like an adult.  For me, it was when I took six kids to a punk rock show in Boston at the Avalon.  And I still remember exactly which six kids it was.  When I worked at a boarding school in Massachusetts, I used to take the students on weekend excursions.  My first such adventure was driving a bus with six students to a punk rock show at the Avalon in Boston.  They're all adults now.  And the Avalon has since closed.  And it's been almost ten years since I lived in Boston. So even retelling this story makes me feel old. 

I don't know what possessed me to actually drive the bus into Boston.  I thought, after just attending graduate school there, that I could navigate the streets easily.  No problem.  Only when I lived in Boston, I never actually drove in the city.  I took the T (subway) everywhere and only drove to get groceries or to the school I was student teaching at.  And note that I lived across the Charles River in Medford/Somerville which is different than Boston proper.

So as we are about 15-20 miles outside of Boston, it starts snowing.  And note that this is just before Halloween, late October.  And I don't mean a little snow.  There was snow coming down so hard that I had to crouch over the steering wheel to see out the window.  Windshield wipers were going at full speed.  Once I'm in Boston, or at least around Porter Square right outside of Cambridge, I see a parking lot.  But I don't go into the parking lot with the bus.  I think that I can find the destination, which is right near Fenway and BU in Kenmore. 

I asked for directions multiple times.  It's still snowing.  The kids are getting antsy and we're already an hour late for the show.  Plus the kids are getting hungry.  Then I see a grocery store.  Next, a T station parking lot.  WONDERLAND.  Blue line.  Okay, so I can go to the grocery store, make sure everyone gets something to eat.  We can drive to the T station parking lot, sit in the car and eat, then go to the show.  Wonderland is in Revere, and it's only slightly sketchy.  With six kids in tow, I should have parked the bus back at the Porter Square T station lot with the huge Stop n' Shop but too little too late.

So the kids and I eat dinner.  We leave the bus and take the T to Kenmore.  We're late for the show but it's really only just getting started.  Then, I look around and see kids with nose rings, full sleeve tattoos, and neon mohawks.  I felt like the oldest person in the place.  I only think to myself, 'wow, if it was only five years ago, I would have been these kids.'  But, I'm an adult in a cashmere sweater holding all the kids' coats standing next to a dad holding his kids' coats.  The dad and I look at each other and give one another a nod.  That was my initiation into adulthood.  Not only maneuvering children that weren't my own in an Adventures in Babysitting moment (minus the gang fight and garage thugs).

So as summer ends, so does our youth.  We enter the fall months and school starts.  Another year has begun and your once cute toddler is now learning multiplication or geography.  Young ladies and sirs go off to colleges and universities.  August marks a time when almost every car on the highway is from a different state and packed sky high with dorm gear.  It's an exciting time, the end of summer.  But it leaves room for doubt and hesitance.  All of us are unsure of our next steps.  Like me, many people probably feel a mixture of pangs at leaving memories of beach days and road trips behind.  What's left of your amazing vacation in India or France are your photos, both in your mind and on your camera.  We enter the fall as stronger, well seasoned veterans of adventure and challenge.  Whatever trials and tribulations happened during the summer are now notches on your belt of experience.

So with that being said, I present to you a playlist for the end of summer.  25 songs that will serenade and soothe your transition.  Summer isn't quite over yet.  But, before we know it, Halloween candy will be in your neighborhood store and leaves will begin changing colors and then fall to the ground.

1) 'For All my Friends in Spring, For All my Friends in Fall'- The Loom

2) 'April Come She Will'- Trapper's Cabin (A) note: Tracy Grammer has another great version-original by Simon and Garfunkel (B)



3) 'Next Summer'- Choir of Young Believers  

4) 'Summer Rain'- Anna Ternheim

5) 'Indian Summer'- The Doors

6) 'Nobody'- J.K. and Co.

7)  'Wild Horses'- The Sundays (A)- original by The Rolling Stones (B)



8) 'Change of Time'- Josh Ritter

9) 'Landslide'- Smashing Pumpkins (A) original by Stevie Nicks/Fleetwood Mac (B)


10) 'Dust in the Wind'- Daughter Darling (A)- original by Kansas (B)


Below is someone's home movie from 1977 set to 'Dust in the Wind' by Kansas.  I liked it way better than the actual Kansas video (which is super cheesy).  Sorry, KansasGreat song, lame video!

11) 'You Were Never There'- Diego Garcia

12) 'Call To Be'- Dana Buoy

13) 'Dull to Pause'- Junior Boys

14) 'Radio'- Lana Del Rey

15) 'Indian Summer'- Luna-original by Beat Happening (I personally prefer the Luna version)

 16) 'Push and Pull'- Nikki Costa                                    

 17) 'All the Tired Horses'-  Bob Dylan (The Narrator also has a great version)

18) 'The Secret Life of Letters'- Scissor Sisters                                           

 19) 'Nothing'- Young Man

 20) 'Have you Forgotten'- Red House Painters

21) 'Sweet Memory'- The Tindersticks                                    

22) 'Clocks'- Coldplay

23) 'Winds of Change'- Alexa Whipple (A)- original by The Scorpions (B)                                  A

 24) 'Who Wants to Live Forever'- Queen (Breaking Benjamin has a pretty decent version too though it doesn't trump the original)

25) 'Last Summer Days'- Archer Prewitt


I did not put the songs in any particular order as I usually do.  I leave it up to the reader.  You can download them in Itunes or make your own playlist CD mix built from mine.  It's up to you.  So go unpack your dorm room or set up your classroom.  Whatever it is you're getting ready for, now you have some tunes to ease you into that next transition.

Happy end of summer!



Friday, August 9, 2013

Truth Speak: $$$


                                           'Money, Money, Money' by Abba (1976)

I have two shameless things to admit and they're connected.  1) I will not give up until all of my talents and creativity are fully recognized and utilized to their full potential.  2) I will use my recognition and success to save up enough money to fully invest (time and finances) in altruistic causes and also leave America for good.

Both of these facts are probably very common thoughts that people have.  I want to have enough finances to back and get more involved in causes that I care passionately about.  And there are a lot of humanitarian and social justice causes on my list.  Or, I could start my own organization that helps people.  There are too many causes out there right now for me to give my time and money to.  My wife recommended that for now, I pick one cause per month to give $10 to; otherwise, I feel guilty.  If I had all the time and money, I'd back all of the causes I believe in (environmentalism, marriage equality, education, Jewish/Israel issues to name a few).

Also, I want to be able to finally say 'au revoir America.'  I don't want to go on a rant on that topic, but I'm done with 'Merica.  I feel that this society is unravelling and falling apart.  Frankly, I'd rather live in Europe for awhile and then move to Israel.  With financial stability, yes, I could travel.  That's not enough.  I want to live in different countries and experience life from a different perspective.  America is not the ONLY way to be. 

Don't misconstrue what I've said.  I don't want to sit here and say that 'I want to be famous' or 'I want to be wealthier than Donald Trump'.  I am not the type of person who thinks that money is the end all be all to life.   There's a saying that 'money makes peopel funny'.  I do believe that people can turn into monsters and become corrupt by money.  I do believe, though, that money allows you to explore the world in ways that you couldn't if you didn't have it.  Having financial freedom allows you to travel, explore creative talents, get involved in charities.  People who live paycheck to paycheck worry about if they'll have enough to cover rent AND groceries for the next few weeks.

Have you ever walked into a grocery store, looked around, and thought to yourself 'it's really nice that these other people have the luxury to fill their cart with groceries and not worry about the cost'?  I used to be in that camp, where I'd throw things in my cart and as long as it's under $80, it's okay.  Now, I don't even spend $80 on groceries in a week (it takes almost three weeks to rack up that amount).  Or maybe I think about these things because I grew up in upper-middle class suburbia where most people flash a credit card and worry about things like making a haircut or manicure appointment and still have time to get the kids from school.  I'm not bashing that lifestyle.  I'm not criticizing any lifestyle.

There was a time when I never gave a thought to what I spent money on.  I threw away money on many frivolous things when I was younger.  That part of me is, thankfully, gone.  I am definitely much more aware of the difference between 'need' and 'want'.  Moreover, I think that I've finally become thankful for the hardships I've been facing over the past few years.  The bubble has been removed and I'm seeing things with fresh eyes.  And for the first time I feel blessed for that. 

 You have to understand something.   I am not materialistic nor do I consider myself greedy or a capitalist consumer.  Sure, I like nice things like the next person.  But honestly, I don't need all of the latest gadgets and toys.  I am often the last one to have the latest 'cool phone'.  I got an Iphone for the first time this past December, and my wife got it for me as a Hanukkah gift.  It was a .99 cent upgrade and I did not get the latest model.  Often, when I tell people this, they're like 'oh wow..oh it's not an Iphone 5'.  I could give a shit.  And to be honest, I only wanted an Iphone because I like touch screen phones for convenience.  I also feel like, being in NYC, I have to have access to email and other apps while I'm on the go.

Okay, now I sound petty and materialistic.  The fact of the matter is that I've realized how much society relies on a piece of paper that tears when wet and burns when lit on fire.  Money comes and goes.  So many people take what they have for granted.  Or, quite frankly they work like dogs just to be 'middle class'.  You know that age old American Dream.  Well, a long time ago I figured out that the American Dream doesn't really exist.  The American Dream is a bullshit sham.  It's programed into our brains from an early age. Buy a nice house with a picket fence; Golden Retrievers are optional.  Get married and build a family; maybe have two or three kids.  That's plastic.  Whose dream is that anyway?

Now, all I want for myself is to be recognized for all of my merits and talents.  I admit that I'm a little bit of an ego-maniac, though one with a low self-esteem.  I balance thinking one minute that I'm a genius Renaissance Man and the next that I'm a talentless hack.  And NYC makes me feel even more manic.  Being in NYC, I have to think I'm the cat's pajamas.  But often it's a fake bravado, a fake confidence.  I take criticism seriously and to heart because I want to impress the pants off of everyone I meet.  I don't understand it when people ignore me or don't want to be my friend immediately.  Yes, it's sad.  But this is all truth speak!

I'm not going to say that I want to be 'famous'.  I just want my talents to lead me to a road of success.  There are too many individuals out there who have loads of success based on vapidity.  I just want to be able to offer the world something, infuse positivity with what I create.  I don't want to be another bombastic vampire.  I feel like that there are loads of individuals who are successful, and they truly do not deserve it.  What's more is they abuse their power and status.  Take Justin Bieber for instance who spits on people for sport.  What a punk!  But there's a difference between true leaders and mere wax figurines of pop-culture. 

I want to be a leader, and I've always felt this to be my destiny.  Like many people in the world, I have always felt like I was destined for great things, whatever that may mean.  However, when they actually do happen, I don't feel like I deserve them.  It's weird, I balance humility with pompousness by thinking negative thoughts when I get a compliment.  Or I tell myself that the other person is lying to my face that I'm good at whatever they're complimenting me for.  Or my reaction is sheer surprise because I don't deserve to be recognized.  At times, I really feel like I have an angel and a devil on each shoulder.  One part of my psyche has taken up all of the bullying and manipulative negativity I've dealt with.  The other part of my psyche tries to build up my self-esteem by reminding me that I do deserve success and eventually will get it.

All I want is to one day have enough financial freedom that has come about from my G-d given talents and merits to be able to do things like travel and explore my art.   I'm not saying that you can only do these things if you're wealthy.  I do know, that at this juncture in my life, I feel like I've missed out on many opportunities and possibilities.  I've missed many friends' weddings (some in other countries) and I haven't been able to take full advantage of living in NYC all because of my current life situation.  I'm not going to merely blame it on finances.  The fact is that right now I'm just stuck.  I'm a motorboat with a propeller that stopped working.  And most days I despise getting on Facebook because I see that other people are sailing through life on private yachts and cruise ships.

I'm not jealous of other people's wealth or happiness.  I'm just jealous of their success especially when I question how it was attained or if it's at all deserved.  And note that I don't want their specific success.  As I said, you never know what someone else did to get to where they are.  I just want success for myself.  And right now I am at the opposite end of success.  I don't like seeing old friends or being out in social situations because when I talk about what I'm doing at the moment, I sound like a big fat loser.  What I want is my confidence back.  I want the ability to talk to people and not give a shit what they think.  I've always challenged the status quo and gone against the grain, beating to my own drum.

 I guess I'm going to try and pick up the pieces of my life and build my own damn sailboat.  Tomorrow is a new opportunity to conquer the world and I have yet another chance to make the world recognize all of my potential and reward all of my talents/creativity.  I'm going to carve my own way in this universe and continue spreading light and love.  And that's what I need to remember.  I could deal to be a little more cutthroat and competitive but without being nasty.  Fighting for what you want doesn't mean you need to be a greedy, immoral asshole.  The world has too many of those.  I will just be me and inject passion and light into everything I do.  I will paint the world in a tie-dye kaleidoscope of color!

Love and Light,


NPR: 'American Dream Faces Harsh New Reality'

'Radio' by Lana Del Rey (from Born to Die, 2012)
"American dreams came true somehow.
I swore I'd chase until I was dead
I heard the streets were paved with gold
That's what my father said."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Sounds of Summer: Part 2

Did you  like Sounds of Summer: Part 1?  Did you read that post and think to yourself, I want more.  I WANT MORE!  Well wait no longer.  Here is the second part of my summer sounds series where I will recommend more great bands/musicians for your ear.

Luke Rathborne:

Another contact through social media.  I had no idea what to expect and was gladly surprised.  His stuff is kind of 90's with a modern indie kick.  Fast paced/modern folk that is reminiscent of Matt Pond PA, Local Natives, Bedouin Soundclash or Caesars.  I like his sound.  What I like more is that there's an actual band rather than just a dude with a guitar.  The 'dude n' guitar' act is so overdone.  Luke Rathborne is from Maine originally but now lives in good ole' NYC.   He moved to New York when he was only 18.  He recorded his first album, After Dark, when he was only 17.  He got noticed by Joey Levine, a songwriter and musician who wrote the 60's classic 'YummyYummy Yummy'.  Levine produced many of Luke Rathborne's songs and then brought attention to The Stroke's manager, Ryan Gentles.  Back in 2007, he was named 'Discovery Artist' of the year in Interview Magazine.  He was also a featured artist on BBC 6, for a music show, as a discovery by DJ and host, Lauren Laverne.  He has opened for The Strokes at the South by Southwest music festival, in 2011.  He also toured with the band, Noah and the Whale, as their opening act. 

2011 became a prolific year, as Luke Rathborne was signed to an indpendent LA label, 'Dilettante' and also the Australian label,Speak and Spell Record.  In the same year, Rathborne released a double EP, Dog Years/I Can Be One E.P.  The song 'True Believer' is what gained Rathborne notoriety and got him noticed by Lauren Laverne on her BBC 6 show.  He went on a seven night tour in London, playing a different venue each night.  His stellarly positive reception in the UK shows what a talent he truly is.  We all know that the Brits have much better taste in music than the Yanks!  It's bloody right!  What's really impressive is that Rathborne's first album, After Dark, was engineered and produced by himself, without any help.  He actually had to sneak into a local college radio station (in Brunswick, Maine) at night and pretend to be a radio DJ.  He made the record without being busted.  Mad respect for this dude!  He has true dedication and grit, real chutzpah!  The record was done on Rathborne's own label,Coonbone Record and got noticed in NYC.

Rathborne has been compared to Elliot Smith and Bob Dylan (before he got bad).  I personally think he's much more talented and versatile. I agree to the extent that he transforms the whole rebel, loaner, rogue singer-songwriter into something new.  He adds synth and a multitude of different instruments.  He is a hurricane force that is sure to catch on like wildfire soon enough.  His album Soft, is due to come out September 2nd.  Reserve your copy now!!  I'd be shocked if they don't sell like hotcakes!

                                          Video for 'Last Forgiven'- Luke Rathborne

'Peco's Bill' by Luke Rathborne

'Tomorrow' by Luke Rathborne
Junior Boys:
This duet was formed by Jeremy Greenspan and Johnny Dark in Hamilton, Ontario (that's in Canada, eh) back in 1999.   A demo was made but nothing substantive happened until  Johnny Dark left to pursue other things.  In 2002, KIN Records heard their demo and asked for more.  Jeremy Greenspan then teamed up with Matt Didemus, his engineer.  In 2003, they came out with a four track EP called 'Birthday/Last Exit'.  One of the tracks on the EP was mixed by Fennesz, an Austrian guitarist and electronics artist.  The next Junior Boys' EP, High Come Down, came out in 2004.  One of the tracks on this EP was mixed by a Canadian musician called Manitoba (Daniel Victor Snaith), now known by the stage name of Caribou.  The first full album, Last Exit, was recorded in late 2003, and came out in 2004 with KIN Records.  'Birthday' was the most popular track on this album and prompted them to tour with Caribou.  The second album, So This is Goodbye came out in 2006 with the label, Domino Records.  Their third album, Begone Dull Care, was released in 2009.  After this album, they were able to go on tour in Australia.  The next album, It's All True came out in 2011.

The first track I heard from these guys was 'Dull to Pause', off of Begone Dull Care.  It has a nice electronic, pop sound.  Junior Boys stand out from other indie/electronic acts.  Though they are similar to acts like Among Savages or The Antlers.  The vocals are scratchy and soft.  The instrumentals remind me of a video game or a pinball machine.  The visuals of their videos are strange and colorful.  Junior Boys is wonderful and unique.  I'd love to see them live, as I'm sure they put on a killer show.  What I also notice is that fans have made their own videos which shows that their music inspires creativity and originality.  I definitely recommend downloading their stuff for your summer road trip or BBQ.  It will blow the hats off of everyone in the immediate listening vicinity. 
'Dull to Pause' (unoffical video) by Junior Boys

'Bits and Pieces' by Junior Boys

'Parallel Lines' (unofficial video)

'Banana Ripple' by Junior Boys

George Ellias:
Another friend I found through social media.  I promised I'd do a write-up, but only because he's the real deal.  Talented and with a groovy sixties' sound!  George Ellias is another singer/songwriter who is from LA.  He left high school in 2004 and hit the open road in pursuit of music.  He spent time living and performing in places like Berkeley, San Francisco, and cities around the bay area.   He moved to New Orleans in 2006 and came into contact with many street musicians who influenced his style of music. While traveling, Ellias was able to meet many music legends like Ramblin' Jack Elliot,  Arlo Guthrie, T-Model Ford to name a few.  PS: I also met Arlo.  He's a cool dude!

At the moment, Ellias lives in LA and just finished getting a degree in English at California State University.  His EP, titled 'EP', was recently released and his album is also now available.  He loves literature, art, and poetry; he also draws (much of his art is inspired by books he reads).  I feel a kindred connection with Ellias.  He is the true traveling troubadour.  He leads the life that I would have wanted had I lived in the mid to late sixties.  Ellias is the love child of Bob Dylan and Arlo Guthrie.  He is living the life of 'Alice's Restaurant' in 2013!  He travels around getting inspiration for his music from everywhere.  He has stylings of folk, country, blues, and rock.  Not a Dylan copy!  A folk original in his own right!   His full length album is due to come out in the fall.  You can download some of his tunes on Spotify.  Give him a listen.  If you like the stylings of Nick Drake, Simon and Garfunkel, and Donovan, that 60's folk vibe with an undercurrent of psychedelic sounds akin to underground UK bands, then you'll love George Ellias.  Subsribe to his YouTube channel and you'll get enough music to satisfy your craving until the next album (and yes there will be many more I'm sure!) 

                                                  'On the Plains'- Experimental Guitar sounds

'You Should Have Said'

 'Little Sadie Spaceland California' (live)

 'Midnight Special' cover
I LOVE this song!  And George Ellias does it justice.  He adds some twang and makes it into a fresh take on an old classic!

Apples in Stereo:

This band started, believe it or not, in 1992.  They are a psychedelic and indie rock based off of many underground bands from the late 60's and early 70's.  Their sound is not for everyone.  But I like a lot of bands like this.  I found them while on a hunt at Newbury Comics (based in Boston) in Amherst.  I used to discover bands there all the time while browsing their endless selection of music.  The bargain bin is an especially great place to find good stuff.  PS: George Ellias, you would dig this band! 

Apples in Stereo is currently made up of Robert Schneider (lead singer, lyricist, guitar) , John Hill (rhythm guitar), Eric Allen (bass), John Dufhilo (drums),  John Ferguson (keyboards), and Ben Phelan (keyboards/guitar).   The band is part of the Elephant Six Collective, which is a group of bands such as Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control.  The band's sound has been compared to music of the 60's and 70's, with bands like ELO, Pavement, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys.  There music has been heard on shows like 'The Powerpuff Girl's and 'Yo, Gabba Gabba'.  Their music has been featured on the talk shows of Conan O'Brien, Carson Daly, and Stephen Colbert.  Why not Jimmy Fallon?  They definitely need to get booked on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  And I better be in the band bench if it happens!  Their last two albums were released with the label, 'Simian Records', started by actor Elijah Wood (hence why he directs and stars in some of their videos).  I always had a feeling that me and Elijah Wood would be friends, and the fact that Apples in Stereo is his band, prooves it.   Apples in Stereo's latest album is described as having the sound of 70's R&B if it were being played by aliens and broadcasted by a spaceship.  Again, they aren't for everyone!  They are weird and wonderful, similar to the theatricality of acts like Of Montreal and MGMT!  Definitely my kind of band! 

The band has seven albums: Fun Trick Noisemaker (1995), Tone Soul Evolution (1997), Her Wallpaper Reverie (1999), The Discovery of a World, Inside the Moone (2000), Velocity of Sound (2002), New Magnetic Wonder (2007), and Travellers in Space and Time (2010). 

Video for 'Told you Once'- Apples in Stereo

'Dance Floor' (with actor Elijah Wood)

 'Energy' (directed by Elijah Wood)

Fun Trick Noisemaker (entire album)

Young Man:
Another singer/songwriter who goes by Colin Caulfield (any relation to Salinger's Holden?)  Caulfield is from Chicago.  Aside from Caulfield, the band is made up of Emmett Conway, Joe Bailey, Jeff Graupner, and Darien Williams.  Caulfield seems to be one of those musicians who started out as a one man act but then merged into a multi-member band.   They have gained notoriety thanks to social media.  In the digital age, platforms like YouTube has helped propel Young Man's fame, as it has for others.  Though I'm sure they will turn out to be nothing like Justin Bieber. 

 The frontman for Deerhunter, Brandford Cox, first noticed Caulfield's cover of the Deerhunter song 'Rainwater Cassette Exchange' and felt it was even better than the original.  To have the lead singer of the band you're covering say that is a major feat, not something to take lightly.  Young Man's sound has been compared to bands like Animal Collective and Ariel Pink.  What's to be said about Young Man is that their music tells a story.  Caulfield has explained that though his music is definitely auto-biographical, that he wants it to also be universal.  He also wants his music to be the kind where people stop, listen and go 'what was that?'  Young Man currently has four albums: Boy (2010), Ideas of Distance (2011), Vol 1 (2012), and Beyond Was All Around Me (2013).   Their latest album was just released and is now available.

The first song I heard by them, 'Nothing' is trippy and dreamy in its vocals and instrumentals.  You feel like you're floating.  A similar feeling is evoked with bands like Spiritualized, The National, Dana Buoy, and Diego Garcia.  The vocals of Young Man's songs, at times, actually remind me of Jake Shears (from Scissor Sisters), Patrick Zimmer (of Finn.) or Brian Molko (of Placebo).  They would be a great opening band for The Flaming Lips or Arcade Fire.  You should check them out because like my other recommendations, Young Man brings something new to the world of indie rock. 


video for 'Up So Fast'

 video for 'In a Sense'
video for 'Enough'

So now that you've read parts one and two, you can download to your heart's content.  Go to Itunes, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, what have you.  Check out my recs and let me know what you think.  I promise you will not be disappointed with my picks.  Have a great summer!  And remember to listen responsibly, folks!

keep on rocking in the free world,