Andrew Young "Forever Cruisin" Album Review

by Sophie Pay

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Andrew Young is a singer-songwriter who hails from sunny Los Angeles, California.

Young’s debut album “Forever Cruisin” explores the emotions of relationships and the search for the unknown. The first track off the album “Again” has a heavy rock n’ roll vibe. Singing “I just want to make it right again”, is Young’s urgent call to mend a relationship. Throughout the album, Young emphasizes this idea in other songs like, “Blue” and “Right Now”.

The record is a journey that many individuals can relate to. The idea of not knowing the future may be scary, but it's the mindset you develop for yourself that pushes you forward. Everyone has gone through the ups and downs that comes with relationships, whether romantic or not. On  “Anything Left” the track is very relatable to those who have gone through the feeling that life moves very fast, and that people who were once close to you are now far away. When Young sings, “Does anybody hear me at all and if I fall will anybody catch me at all”, he calls out for his need to know that there is someone out there who still cares.

“Don't You Worry” is very unique as it starts off acoustically, but then journeys into a full band jam. The songs “I Think I Wanna” and  “Alive” bring a more upbeat and uplifting atmosphere to the album. The audio recordings added to “I Think I Wanna” makes the song more real. “Alive” is a stand out song on the album, taking a different route from the other songs, the upbeat dance vibes creates a fun song to jam to.

The seventh song off the album “No Words“ takes an emotional route. Stripped down to just acoustic and guitar, it feels as if Andrew Young is physically present with the listener. The imagery that he evokes helps the listener imagine every aspect of the song. Also, “Free Time”  another acoustic, layback emotional song helps brings the innocence of his voice onto his experiences.

The album ends with the song “Give it a Try” which explores the unknowns of life and the inexperience an individual has in the world. Young highlights the idea of taking a chance in life, just sitting back, and seeing what is to come as he sings, “just have to trust this process”.

Overall, “Forever Cruisin” takes you down a mix of emotions with some rock n roll, stripped down acoustic, and synthy vibes. Young explores the ups and downs of life, but keeps the message of living life to the fullest.

9/10 stars

Check out some links to Andrew Young’s Music and Social Accounts

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Young

Photo Courtesy of Andrew Young

Eric Bachmann "Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter" Song

by Sophie Pay

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On Eric Bachmann's upcoming album No Recover "Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter" showcases a mellow atmosphere with the use of synths, acoustic guitars, and a melodic voice. The song starts out very calm but as time goes on, the addition of the synths help build the song into a louder cry for that special something out in the world. With just a little taste of what is to come from the whole album, we can expect it to be a little different from his self-titled album that was released in 2016. No Recover will be released on September 7, 2018 on Merge Records.

Give a listen to "Jaded Lover, Shady Drifter" down below.

Caring for your Record Collection

by Sophie Pay

These days record collecting has made a comeback and to properly care for your music you will need some basic record collector advice. Everything said in this article is from my own experience of record collecting and things I've learned over the past five years.

1. Inner Sleeves

Most new records come in a paper sleeve that has art or lyrics printed on but it does not protect the record itself. Using anti static sleeves will not only prevent static but also prevent the record from scratching when you slide the record in and out. My number one recommended type is the Mobile Fidelity Inner Sleeves. I have had my fair share of inner sleeves and so far these are my favorite.

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2. Outer Sleeves

With its main purpose of protecting the record sleeve from friction when taking in and out of its storage space, scratches from foreign objects, or just wear and tear from the climate of the room; outer sleeves may be the most important aspect of keeping a record in its original condition. I highly recommend the polypropylene ones not the plastic outer sleeves because they will not rip as easily.

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3. Storage

The IKEA Kallax shelves are perfect for storing your records. The shelves come in different sizes such as the 1x4, 2x2, 2x6, or 4x4 (shown in the picture). Whether you are just starting out or have hundreds of records, these shelves give you the choice to expand in the future. I own the 2x6 and I have been able to use it for storing records, CDs, cassettes, and even using it as a desk for the little space I have. You can also use cardboard boxes or milk carts when starting out, but as the collection grows the Kallax shelves are a good long term plan. 

Starting at an affordable price point for beginners at $35.

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4. Equipment

Brushes

Dust and static are always bound to attach to your records while on a turntable so having an anti static brush nearby to brush it off before and after listening can help keep your records in tip top shape. You can purchase these brushes at your local record store, your favorite online record accessory shop, or just from amazon.

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Record Cleaner

An affordable way to clean your records is the RCA Vinyl Record Cleaning Kit. There are more expensive ways like buying a record cleaning machine or spinner but if your price range is not over 100 bucks this will be your go to for right now. It does a great job in getting fingerprints and residue from any used records you buy or even factory residue from new records. I have found that if you have a new record that skips, cleaning it may fix the problem. This is the main reason why I highly recommend getting a record cleaner, don't doubt this buy.

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Weights

Record weights might seem like an unusual necessity but stability while on a turntable is much needed. They help with reducing vibrations and providing quality sound. You can find an assortment of weights from Turntable Lab.

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So far all of these products have helped me maintain my record collection over the years and hopefully it can do the same for you. I know how hard it is to find a product that is good and with all the research I've done over the years, I still feel like I don't know everything there is to know about record collecting. Although, I hope that my recommendations have jump started your journey that is record collecting.

Mike Krol "An Ambulance" Song

by Sophie Pay

Click the image for a link to listen to the song on YouTube.

Click the image for a link to listen to the song on YouTube.

Three years have passed and Krol is back greater than ever. With new material since his 2015 album "Turkey", he has introduced a guitar heavy and energy driven song out into the world. With a little taste of what is yet to come, it is safe to assume that a new album announcement may be set for the future. 

Mike Krol statement on the song, "Music listeners of the world, I present to you “An Ambulance”: a rallying cry for anyone who has suffered from being their own worst critic, and how finding someone else in the world who listens and understands can help change your perception of yourself. Sometimes just the act of sending out a distress signal is enough to help you learn more about who you are and find the confidence to break through any mental barriers in your way. The song itself is longer and a bit more technical guitar-wise than my earlier material, which I’m especially excited about since it’s indicative of what you can expect from me in the very near future....

So tell your friends—Mike Krol is back, and the best is yet to come!

Listen down below.

10 Essential Albums for the Summer

by Sophie Pay

These albums aren't necessarily albums just released but albums to liven up your summer. Ranging from old to new, these albums are good for those summer road trips, hangouts at the beach, or to just enjoy when you are relaxing on the couch. Ranging from beachy vibes to rock to pop, I've got you covered.

(The albums are not in any order, click images to watch a music video from the album)

1. The Only Place by Best Coast

2. Geography by Tom Misch  

3. Matt Costa by Matt Costa

4. As Is Now by Paul Weller

5. The Days We Had by Day Wave

6. American Teen by Khalid

7. Boys & Girls by Alabama Shakes 

8. Odessey and Oracle by The Zombies

9. Max Baker by Tijuana Panthers

10. Telekinesis! by Telekinesis

Brian Ishiba "How It Goes" Song

by Sophie Pay

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Brian Ishiba is a singer-songwriter currently based in Tokyo, Japan and he says, These songs are little episodes in my life over the course of the past six months. They’re about feeling lost and dealing with my fears about the future.  They’re about accepting the things in life you can’t change. They’re me whining to myself.  They’re about saying goodbye. The EP is 100% written, recorded, produced, and engineered by Brian, which has proved that fancy setups and high budgets are not needed to create a great piece of work.   

The song "How It Goes" starts off with synths, guitars and drums that pleasantly go together, to create a joyful atmosphere within the song. Once Brian's vocals kick in 35 seconds in, the song reaches a pivotal point where the listener is deep in thought and transfixed by the emotions emitted to the listener. The feeling of being trapped in a world you know so well, is finally released when the guitar slowly comes to a halt. Brian Ishiba's lyrics are very relatable, which is why it pulls you in, everyone faces a point in life where you are confused, unsure about what you are doing.  

 
 
 

Hibou "Something Familiar" Album Review

by Sophie Pay

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Something Familiar is a dreamy pop filled album, right out of Seattle.

With their new album Something Familiar on the Seattle indie label Barsuk Records, Hibou’s songwriting has become much deeper. Peter Michel has taken on topics that reflect on himself, including that of anxiety and self-discovery. Opposite to his debut album, which took on his teenage years and the troubles that occur at that point in life. The songs on the album incase the opposite of his previous work, which was lighter and dreamier. Michel’s writing has matured into topics that are not typically taken on by many people, the usual love song will not be found on the album.

The single, “Fall Into” starts off with a catchy bass line, accompanied by the mix of synths and drum machines. The occasional outburst of guitars, allows Michel to emphasize the most important parts of the song, which later turns it to a full blown dreamy pop song. The song “Junipero Love” explores the years of change that occurs in a person’s life. Towards the end of the song the drums and guitar complement each others approach in the song’s finale. The track “Something Familiar” allows Michel to pour his struggles out, conveying how you should not always stick with what you know, but rather try new things that will make you happy. Songs like "Glamour" and "Opia" mark the turning point in the album where Michel digs even deeper into his struggles. The songs are no longer full of airy vocals, but with that of someone who is frustrated with how life is going. The song "Only in the Dark" has a nice calm 60s rock atmosphere, with the rhythmic guitars and drums.  

Moreover, Hibou took their songwriting to a realistic level that is full of emotions. The core of Hibou still remains intact; sticking to the reverb guitars, airy vocals, and dreamy pop sound. Something Familiar takes you on a trip through space and time, exploring the fundamental aspects of life itself. Michel is more honest about his life, putting the ups and downs of it out into the world. His honest approach opens up a door of personal subjects, where Michel was able to bring an uplifting atmosphere to the album.

8/10 stars

The new album Something Familiar is out now on Barsuk Records, check out the music video for the song “Fall Into” down below.

Cloud "Wildfire" Song

by Sophie Pay

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Cloud represents a mixture of indie bedroom pop and psychedelic rock. With their debut LP Comfort Songs and their follow-up album Plays With Fire which premieres tomorrow; it's something you can put on and enjoy on a cold rainy day and just travel to another world. The single “Wildfire”, starts off with a psychedelic breakdown and vocals, full of synths and drum machines. The song allows the listener to imagine themselves taking a joy ride in the midst of the chaos we call life, with the genuine feel of wanting to escape into a peaceful bliss. For the full experience put on some headphones and blast the song away, the synths travel from left to right and the music video is full of colorful visuals. 

Check out the music video for "Wildfire" down below.

Cloud Plays With Fire on Audio Antihero, premiering tomorrow!

Girl Ray "The Way We Came Back" Song

by Sophie Pay

Photo by Nyla Davison

Photo by Nyla Davison

Taking you back to your younger years. "The Way We Came Back" was written by Poppy Hankin at the age of 16, reflecting on the struggles of being a teenager and finding your way into adulthood. With its clean guitar sound and vocals, the song is full of emotions that coincides with the confusion of life. The song was written way before their debut album Earl Grey, finally making its way to the public, just two years later, this is simply a mere reflection of the band’s early years. Now currently touring in North America for the first time alongside Porches, Girl Ray is not hitting the brakes anytime soon.

Check out the new music video for their new single “The Way We Came Back” down below.

Ludwig's Method "Failure?" Song and Interview

by Sophie Pay

Ludwig's Method (Photo by Carlota Hawes)

Ludwig's Method (Photo by Carlota Hawes)

Song "Failure?"

In September 2017 Ludwig’s Method, a rock band from Madrid, Spain came out with their debut EP The Mistake. They recorded, mixed, and mastered the EP by themselves in their friends basement. Their song “Failure?”, represents the band’s sound. The song starts with an acoustic guitar and goes into a great guitar solo, and is accompanied by a clean rhythmic guitar. The drums plays the role of holding the song together by keeping a steady beat. Overall, the song is very catchy and it lures the listener in. You can find yourself listening to it on repeat, lost in a trance of thought. If you would like to give it a listen, check it out below.

Interview

I also got the chance to ask the band some questions about their journey as an independent band in Madrid, Spain.

For starters, would you like to introduce the members of the band?

Ludwig's Method is a band from Madrid, Spain formed by:

Juan María Herrera - Lead vocals, piano and harmonica.

Sofía Cortés - Bass and backing vocals.

César Membrillo - Drums.

Noé Celestino - Guitar and backing vocals.

Lucio Lupano - Guitar.

We make music. We think it’s good. We hope you do too.

How did the band form? What’s your story?

Okay so Juan and César went to highschool together. They tried to form a band during Junior year, and in fact they did; but since they couldn't find any guitar or bass players it was a piano - drums duo. Let's just say it was too conceptual...

During this time, César's cousin, Noé; started learning guitar and practicing every day, and by the end of Senior year we decided he was good enough to join us. We only needed a bass player, but oh boy is it hard to find a bass player in the city of Madrid. We literally had to ask every single one of our contacts if they knew a bass player that could practice with us during the summer. After a couple of weeks we found a guy (Jorge) and we rented a place to practice for the whole month of July. (Since we live in the city we had to rent a soundproof room to avoid being sued by angry neighbours). We practiced every day of the month in that place, sometimes we would even sleep there on the floor. This is where we wrote "Failure?" and "Ludwig Had a Plan".

When the month was over we were sounding pretty good, we felt like we needed to add more punch to our sound. Noé knew Lucio from highschool and so he invited him over one day to get a feel and we decided to add him to the roster.

Then some bad news came, Jorge had to move to England, and so we were stuck without a bass player again and we had to ask every single one of our contacts if they had met one by chance. In the end it turned out a friend of a friend of an acquaintance of a friend knew a bass player: Sofía. We called her over, played with her for a while, and she was in.

After that, with our current roster formed, we started practicing at Lucio's, since renting a soundproof room every month can be an impossible feat for 5 college students with barely any income. His father is a musician and so he lets us play in his soundproof basement. This is where we recorded The Mistake, our 5-demo EP, using his old recording equipment.  

Are there any musical influences you guys have?

We have a very varied set of influences. For instance, Juan is obsessed with Transformer and anything else Lou Reed has ever done but Noé and Lucio are more typical Beatles fans and also like to get down to some funk. We believe that influences themselves aren’t the most important thing, the crucial part is how you build on top of them, and most importantly how you get a cohesive mix.

When we write songs normally everyone has a different idea on where the song should go based on their own influences. The most difficult part is to try to integrate a little bit of everyone’s ideas into the song without losing a sense of direction. Sometimes things don’t work out and you have to go back to the drawing board, but when they do, we feel like we get a much better song than if we all listened to the same music and just wrote something that fell within that style.

How would you describe the sound of the band?

This is a tough question. We mostly try to make songs that we’d listen to for fun, or songs that we’d enjoy playing. We do try to unify the sound but it’s always positive to have variations. You don’t want all your songs to sound the same and at the same you want to be recogniseable for your own sound and not have people remember you for who you sound like. We definitely think we have some glam in our songs: “Failure?” ‘s solo for example, but we also have songs that people might say lean closer towards alternative rock. We think it’s better for people to just listen and decide for themselves. We’ve had people describe our sound in many different ways; and we can say we sound like the Pope in Rome, but at the end of the day, if nobody thinks that, do we really? And so if people like it, let them have it and not worry about our own description.

What were some of the challenges of self-recording the EP?

Probably the biggest challenge was learning how to record, mix and master from zero. It really is harder than it looks. Mainly because when you are inexperienced, you might record something and think it’s okay, but then when it’s time to mix and master you might realize you really should record it again. It really was trial and error for us.

We had to record individually by tracks since we didn’t have the mics to pull off a good live recording. When you do it this way you really have to pay close attention on how everything ends up coming together. When you play live you can tell what’s happening around you and most importantly you can react to it. When recording by tracks you are pretty much blindfolded; you have to put your trust on the mixing, and the difference between a good sound and a bad sound might be a 3dB increase in the lower frequencies of the drum track, for example. It sounds exaggerated but this is what we found to be true in our case.

Then the hardest instrument to record was obviously the drumset. This was mainly because of its acoustic nature, loudness and the radically different sounds you get by just slightly changing the position of the mics.

When we record again (probably this summer) we feel like we’ll do a much better job thanks to the experience we got by doing these 5 demos.

Do you guys find it hard being teens and booking gigs?

Not necessarily, the hardest part about booking gigs here is just the lack of involvement of the venues. How it works is, if you want to get paid you can either play for free and earn a commission off of drinks people buy while you‘re playing or rent the venue and start selling tickets.

The first option is usually a no-go because venues won’t give you more than 15% per drink, which is ridiculously low. Like they could really do better than $15 for every $100 they make thanks to our fans buying their overpriced alcohol. The good thing, though, about not selling tickets this way is that you get to be heard by not only your fans, but just random people that might walk by and come in.

The second option can be challenging since to rent the venue you need to pay around $200 in advance and then estimate how many people will be coming to set a reasonable price on tickets. We usually pick this one, because we’ve found that if you get together with one or two other bands and throw like a mini festival you can make some reasonable profit. The downside to this is that very few people can stumble upon your show (appart from the fans of the other bands) since you’re charging admission.

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Photos by Miriam Montano

Photos by Miriam Montano

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You guys are from Spain, is there a big local music scene there that is supportive of independent bands?

There used to be a scene here in the 80s during “La Movida Madrileña”, venues would help bands grow and there were TV and radio shows to promote independent bands; but right now all of that is gone.

Basically if you want something done you have to do it all by yourself and if somebody offers you some help they’ll probably charge you afterwards. You want to play? You have to ask around to friends of friends for other bands to play with. Like we mentioned before you have to pay in advance the venue’s rent and if you don’t make the money back, well, tough luck, kid. Most of the time the venues won’t even announce that you’re playing there unless you pay them for promoting. You also have to design the pamphlets or flyers yourself and spread them around the city. At the same time these things force you to be creative because if you have to rely on others, you’re going to die waiting.

We’re not saying there aren’t any initiatives, but we’re not very fond of them. In a city of 3.2 million people, paying $200 to the single band that can get the most facebook likes on the promoters page and then wins a “Final event” (like a talent show of the bands with the most likes), where they don’t even pay you for playing, is pretty lame. Most of this initiatives are just publicity stunts for the company that promotes them disguised as some sort of concern for the well being of the scene.

Do you think that social media has helped the EP reach people around the world?

It is the main tool we have. If we had to rely on a record label stumbling on our shows out of the hundreds of shows that happen every night in Madrid, we’d be lost. This way we can more or less start making a name for ourselves without anyone’s help.

It is still extremely difficult to reach people mainly because of the sheer amount of bands that are out there trying to be heard. We humans love repetition, we listen to a song and it takes a couple of plays before we really like it; and most people aren’t willing to give a couple of plays to every single band that appears on their timeline. Still, it’s a good way of doing things on our own.

We just want to reach as many people as possible, that’s why we’re giving our EP for free on bandcamp. We’re not going to live off of it at this level anyways so do as you please. Check it out, download it, torrent it we don’t care as long as you enjoy it and don’t make money out of it.

To end, do you guys have any music you recommend I should check out?

We're going to recommend you some local music because we feel like we have to represent. Some of it is new, some of it is old, everything is good: 

Los Vinagres - Me enamoré de tu Madre

Los Nastys - Veneno de Serpiente

Siniestro Total - Todos los ahorcados mueren empalmados

Javier Krahe - Marieta

Kiko Veneno - Los delincuentes

Ilegales - Europa ha muerto

Go check out Ludwig's Method on social media! Maybe even get their EP on Bandcamp. 

Ride "Tomorrow's Shore" EP Review

by Sophie Pay

Ride "Tomorrow's Shore" EP (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Ride "Tomorrow's Shore" EP (Photo by Sophie Pay)

After a two decade hiatus, Ride finally released their first album since their reunion, Weather Diaries. Shortly after, they released the Tomorrow’s Shore EP, a companion to the album. With a total of four songs, the band added a touch of modern production with the help of London-based electro DJ Erol Alkan. Notorious for their shoegaze sound, their new work has traveled to the electronic side of the music spectrum. No longer stuck in the 90s, the band has been able to produce more music that seems to be suited for the music world of today. The EP takes on topics such as humanity’s destruction, existence, space travel, and the point of return.

Their first song on the EP, “Pulsar”, starts off with transmissions from space and gradually builds up into a power pop masterpiece. The lyrics, “Like the summer always fades and the wind gets cool on your skin/ You know that something was, will never again”, represents the person’s realization that the feeling felt on earth will never be felt again because they are trapped in space. “Pulsar” brings about the popular idea of existence, space travel, and the longing for home. The song “Keep It Surreal” is full of harmonies and presents a fuzzy guitar solo midway through, with the haunting lyrics “surreal” repeated. The Song “Cold Water People” holds a very melancholy tone, with the person yearning for weather and all the joys of living on Earth.

The EP’s closing track “Catch You Dreaming”, is in the perspective of a person watching the world end. The lyrics, “In another time/ There were people here/ And it felt so real/ 'til it disappeared”, represents doomsday. The repeated lines “We've done nothing wrong/ It's just who we are/ No need to apologize/ Work it out this way” conveys this person’s acceptance of humanity’s wrongdoing and how it has caused the destruction of our own planet. This EP surrounds more of a psychedelic and calm atmosphere, with the repeated use of synthesizers.

6/10 stars

Check out the EP on Spotify

 
 

The Moonlight Club Band Interview

by Sophie Pay

Photo Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

Photo Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, The Moonlight Club released their self-titled debut album on February 2, 2018; successfully through PledgeMusic, a crowdfunding website. Defining themselves as alternative rock, the album comes after their 2015 EP Words in Gold, which was the band’s first release since forming the band. They took the funding of the album to their fans and The Moonlight Club successfully reached 110% of their goal. I had the chance to interview Francois Royer Mireault, the lead singer and guitarist of The Moonlight Club.  

For starters, what inspired you guys to form the band? How did you guys meet?

We all come from a small town near Montréal and even if we were all playing music then, we initially met through skateboarding, snowboarding and just going out. Music was not a cool thing to do back then. When John & François moved to Montréal in 2010, they discovered an eclectic scene and it revived their ambition to write, play and record music. Simply having a rehearsal space and some instruments to play felt like achieving the ultimate dream. We kept going and a few tunes turned into an EP, and into some shows and into an album. We didn’t have a band name before we actually had to pay an invoice from a recording studio. Haha!

What are some of your main musical influences as a band and also individually?

We all grew up in the 90’s so we share a lot of love for cheesy rock, grunge, punk and pop groups from that era. As a group, we’ll agree that The War On Drugs, Ryan Adams, Kurt Vile, Tame Impala are all great contemporary rock artists. Individually though, we have our own quirks. John (bass) will listen to a lot of current indie such as Future Islands and good rock classics such as Tom Petty. François (drums) has a soft spot for obscure metal bands and an obsession with Luke Holland. I’ll switch between a britpop and a country playlist in the same hour. We’ll jam some Québécois classics such as Richard Séguin (you won’t know that one!). And last tuesday at rehearsal we were banging on Greta Van Fleet, the 18 years old Led Zeppelin fans. We’re all over the place.

What were your main inspirations for writing the songs on the album?

Songs are weird. You’d think you control them but they control you. It’s not like we brainstorm on themes and we have a clear direction. I think moving to a new city in our early 20’s and just trying to figure out life, work and love inspired a lot of songs. Traveling, seeing and experiencing new cultures fueled some of our stories too. We’re reflective and sometimes nostalgic but definitely optimistic in our tunes. We’re still a rock’n’roll band and we like to think you’ll listen to the album and be like: ‘yeah, I’m *&?%$ lucky to be alive and free, let’s go out and do something good with my time’.

Photos Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

Photos Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

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How has social media influenced the making of the album?

It actually influenced us a lot. Social media is like writing in a journal. It allows you to write your own story and reflect on it. We try to document what we do so we learn from it and the feedback we get from people fuels new ideas. And we won’t write and produce tunes so it will fit our local radio ‘creative direction’. So we need to connect with like minded folks online. You know the feeling when you meet someone and check their Spotify playlist and go ‘wow, you’re deep into REM early stuff? Great, let’s hang out!’.  People who came out of nowhere (small towns in England, France, Australia, Ontario, and even one guy from Indianapolis!) and went out of their way to write to us to say they liked this tune or this artwork and had comments or ideas. It’s so much better to have 100 people in 100 different place who really dig your stuff than 100 friends in your area who just think you’re OK. Social media allows that. You find your crowd if you put your heart into it. 

You guys successfully used Pledge Music as a mean in funding the album, would you choose any other way in making the album if you got the chance?

Great question. I’ll start by saying that Pledge Music is an awesome platform for musicians to organize and streamline their commercialization process. If you’re independent and need structure, it’s great. But it requires time, effort and a lot of energy. They have an amazing support team and they’ll help you craft a nice project. But consider that you’ll need to sell every single copy yourself. They’re not salesmen. And the real work starts when the campaign starts, you’ll need to hustle a bit to get the word out. We’d do it again with them but we’d reserve 200h of work, instead of 10-20h.

What was your music-making process of this album?

We had a bit of training with the recording of ‘Words In Gold’ so we had a process we liked. We’re not trained musicians so there’s a lot of trial and error. It all starts with having good songs. And you need to write a lot of them to have one that sticks. A song is usually a bit of music, a melody, a few lyrics and and overall feeling or mood. It’s something you can play with a piano or an acoustic guitar and tell your friends ‘look, this is gonna be an epic 7-minute ballad with distorted solos à-là Cream, and it’s gonna be called X, it goes like this (play 30 seconds of music)’. Once you have that clear vision, and everyone is excited, you jam the hell out of it and you build arrangements. After that, we like to record demos ourselves in our rehearsal space. We bought cheap gear so we can record everything at the same time. We play the song one or two times and we have everything on the computer in seperate tracks. We try to add some stuff on it afterwards: vocals, piano, harmonica, guitars, etc. and we do a crappy mix, just so we can listen to it in the car and feel it. When you hear your own demos, it gives you ideas for better lyrics, back-up vocals, bass lines and better arrangements. Once we had 10 songs we liked and the whole thing felt like an album, we were ready to go in the studio, where you do it all again but with a real producer and top notch recording equipment. That's how we did it!

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Photos Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

Photos Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

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What has changed for the band since your 2015 EP release Words in Gold?

We recorded ‘Words In Gold’ with another drummer, a friend named Cedric. It was a great experience and we learned a lot. It was enough for him after that, and we completely understood. So we looped in our old time friend François who had just moved to Montréal. He brought in a lot to the band, musically and visually. He’s an all around creative guy. Always building and creating stuff. And he’s so stoked to have a band, he’s always optimistic, he’ll send you a text a 11pm on a Monday night because ‘he has an idea for a drum patterns on song X’. He added a lot of dynamism in our trio.

What has been your biggest challenge as a band?

Two things. First, we really suck at organizing gigs. Playing live is hard when it’s not your full time job or if you don’t have someone who organizes everything for you. Events are hard. You need to manage a lot of variables. It distracts you from actually writing and playing music. We’ll get better at that. And second, balancing music and promotion. They work great together, one fuels the other. If you play music by yourself and don’t share it with anyone, you’ll get bored after one year. But you have to be careful not to do too much promotion and forget to show up inspired at rehearsals. We did a bit too much emails in the last months. We’ll ask for help and get back to making more music in the next months.

What is your stance on streaming services as an independent band? Some people hate it, while others don’t. Does it hurt the band or help you guys get your music out there?

Great question, again. We have to be realistic about that. We have a product (an album or a song) that hasn’t evolved since 100 years so it’s hard to expect people to still pay the big price for it. We expect to read the news, watch movies, download photos and get updates from our friends for free online. People expect the same for music. CDs and vinyls are luxury collectibles (we personally love them, but they won’t be around for long). There will be new ways of capturing value for musicians and artists. But we’ll have to create these opportunities instead of waiting and praying Sony or Warner does it for us. As an independent band, I think it’s better to aim for the best distribution possible – that means signing up for all streaming services and making sure someone who wants to hear you can do it anywhere at any time for free – and develop other revenue streams around that. Whether it’s live shows, merch, limited edition records, donations. I mean, you can literally live stream your rehearsal and ask for tip on Twitch. We’ll have to be creative, nobody will ‘save us’, we never go back to old models once we adopt new ones.

P.S. Don’t be fooled though. Big labels literally own streaming services because they own branded playlists (Filtr, Digster, Topsify) with hundreds of thousands of subscribers but only promote their artists. They still act as gatekeepers. They have so much distribution power. This is a good read by the way: http://www.hypebot.com/hypebot/2017/06/secret-lives-of-playlists.html

Does the band have anything planned in the future at the moment?

Yes! We have almost 10 events lined up in the next few months. A few local gigs, a launch party, a few acoustic sessions and a live radio session. This summer we’ll try to relax a bit, live a little, and get back into demo-ing mode next fall-winter for a second album. We’re still 100% independent but we’ll try to get some help for the next one, we were in way over our heads in the last few months. We’re all professionals so it is truly a ‘Moonlight’ club!

To end, is there anything you guys are currently listening to that I or others should check out?

We have a secret crush on Canadian artist Leif Vollebekk, who recorded his album with our producer David Smith a few weeks before us. His album Twin Solitude is beautiful. We listened to it one night when we were in the middle of our recording process and felt a bit overwhelmed. It’s our 2018 pick. And it’s SO Canadian. Also, I don’t think you have anything about Elephant Stone on your blog, check out their 2013 eponymous release, it’s right up your alley. They’re from Montréal as well, they’re a great inspiration for us.

Photo Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

Photo Courtesy of The Moonlight Club

 
 

Check out their new album on Spotify!

 
 

Ought "Room Inside the World" Album Review

by Sophie Pay

Ought "Room Inside the World" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Ought "Room Inside the World" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Ought is back and better than ever on their newest album, Room Inside the World. Released under a new label, Merge Records, Ought takes their music to an even deeper emotional and complex place on this new album. Lead singer Tim Darcy’s voice has evolved and gained more weight to complement the heavy bassline and jolting drums. This album differs so much from their past two releases, which were notably heavy post-punk albums, full of angst. Room Inside the World explores the importance of survival in a world where people are trying to find their true identity and sense of belonging. The album depicts a lost soul trying to find their way on a day to day basis.

On the single, “These 3 Things”, Ought conveys the events that cause life to be problematic. When Darcy sings, “Will I hear my soul?” repeatedly, it is accompanied by an array of synths that rise and create a sense of his urgency. The music video displays the differences between life as a mannequin and that of a human, to show how the human element changes everything with the use of very strange and random objects. Everything goes perfectly well for the mannequin, but it all goes wrong for the human.

The song, “Desire” creates a sense of wanting to belong in the world, although trapped in a sea of darkness. It sets a perfect tone with a mix of a smooth bassline, jangly drums, and synths. Darcy sings “Desire, desire” in an almost crying out tone, while accompanied by a chorus singing “Never gonna stay” in return. The track, “Brief Shield” marks a pivotal turning point in the album as the tempo slows down, Darcy’s vocals lighten up a bit, and the guitar has a clean sound. The song “Take Everything” resonates with your inner feelings, the lyrics, “You’re tucked away/ When you need to set out and meet it/ And the fright of the friction/ And the soul's indecision/ Keeps you at bay”, showing a person battling with themself.

The closing track, “Alice”, is a haunting conclusion to the album. With Darcy’s voice continually echoing for the remainder of the song at the two minute mark, the drums and synths slowly disappear into the abyss. With the song, “These 3 Things” alluding to machinery and its faults, “Alice” also references it through the lyrics, “Moment and flowing through it/ Motor and churning to it/ Didn't notice for a while/ Didn’t notice for a very long time”.

On Room Inside the World, the band was able to experiment with their music and take it to a deeper level. This album leaves you yearning for more answers about life, and more from Ought.

9/10 stars

 
 

An Introduction to Record Collecting

by Sophie Pay

(Photo by Sophie Pay)

(Photo by Sophie Pay)

Hey there! Welcome to my advice series on record collecting, where I give you all the information I know about record collecting based on my own experiences over the years of record collecting. This all started for me with a CD collection in 2012 and I eventually switched over to collecting records in 2013, and I never looked back since.

What’s so great about record collecting?

The community we have is the best reason to collect. The culture of record collecting has been widespread over social media, and Instagram has been a home to a community of record collectors for quite some time, enabling people to find others with similar interests. The best part of the record community online is that everyone appreciates one another, and over time everyone knows each other.

Many collectors are known for their creative photos incorporating album covers; they encourage you to use your creative abilities to express your love for the format. It’s not just the feeling of acquiring material things, but to have some fun with it. Occasionally, there are contests to engage everyone and encourage fellow record collectors to get creative. Each post is critically thought of: whether it’ll be patterns, color schemes, or a theme. If you are looking to join this community, you have a lot to look forward to; the vinyl community sticks together.

Choosing a Turntable

You need to know what you are getting into: if you were like me and had collected CDs, records are way more expensive. If you are willing to spend that kind of money, go for it. Also, try avoiding all-in-one turntables at all costs, you can’t upgrade anything on it.

Personally, my current setup is an Audio Technica LP-120 turntable. The upside to owning an Audio Technica LP-120 turntable is that it has a built in preamp, which makes it more affordable. You don't have to buy a preamp if you choose to go this route, making the cost of your first setup to be a bit on the cheaper side. You can even switch the preamp off and plug in your own, if you want. Other features include, a weighted arm, anti skating, and pitch control.

Audio Technica LP-120

If you are looking for a turntable under 100 bucks, the Audio Technica LP-60 is the way to go. It includes a built in preamp just like the LP-120. Although, you must make note that it does not include the luxury of a weighted arm, anti skating, and pitch control. On the plus side, it has an automatic cue button which can help those with shaky hands.

Audio Technica LP-60

Another option you can take is choosing a belt-drive turntable rather than an automatic drive. With the U-turn orbit turntable, you have the ability to customize the turntable: you can choose a built-in preamp or an external one, a cartridge of your choice, and even what kind of platter you want.

U-Turn Orbit

Audio Technica LP-120 and Audio Technica LP-60 Comparisons:

I have actually tested the differences between these two turntables first hand, using my brother’s Audio Technica LP-60 as a comparison. The Audio Technica LP-60 and the Audio Technica LP-120 have major differences in performance, which is obvious because of the price. My brother had a record that would always skip and he had thought that it was due to the pressing of the album, which bad pressings actually occur from time to time. Although, with the LP-120, it was absolutely fine, with no skips whatsoever. The anti-skate abilities and weighted arm improve the performance of the turntable so much. The price difference is worth it in the long run if you see this as something you will continue to do, but if you are just going into record collecting for the fun of it and occasionally listening to records the Audio Technica LP-60 is fine. In owning a turntable, cartridges and belts will need to be replaced depending on how much you actually play your records. You must make note that expenses will not end if you go into record collecting. I hope that this will help you figure out if this is right for you. Good Luck!

Why do I collect records?

The main reason why I collect records is because music means so much to me and having that platform to look back on my life is important. No one really realizes that it trails your life, because every record you buy has a story behind it. It tells the story of your life, how your music taste changed over the years, and what musical phases you had gone through. It’s not just a material item to me, it’s more than that. If you go through my collection and pick out my Palma Violets seven inches, and ask me what’s the story behind it, you will get the whole story of my first show and how it was a turning point in my life. That moment, sparked my dream of working in the music industry, whether it was writing like I am now or playing an instrument in a band. If you get into my collection of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, you will get the story of how I became obsessed with Oasis for a good two years of middle school, which was the start of this CD, record, and cassette collecting journey. If someone ever questions you, just tell them this, “You won’t understand until you experience it” because the experience is worth it.




 

Glen Hansard “Between Two Shores” Album Review

by Sophie Pay

Glen Hansard "Between Two Shores" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Glen Hansard "Between Two Shores" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Following a successful career with The Frames and The Swell Season, Glen Hansard has successfully ventured into solo work. Starring in the film Once earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Song for “Falling Slowly” and through the years, he has dabbled in folk rock and indie rock. His third solo album, Between Two Shores is the result of a few weeks spent in France’s Black Box Studios, working alongside former bandmate David Odlum as his producer. The album entails an emotional journey through the heart with songs detailing break-ups.

The opening track, “Roll on Slow” and “Wheels on Fire” are the only songs that provide a vibrant atmosphere around the album, while the other songs maintain a melancholy state. “Roll on Slow” includes trombones, saxophones, and trumpets to provide a dramatic effect, as well as a guitar solo midway, that supplies the listener with an overflow of instruments. The song, “Wheels on Fire” gives out a call of urgency, seemingly preparing for confrontation, as Hansard sings, ”And they’re using us up again/ But I won’t be no puppet on a string/ Your wheels on fire/ Your one desire/ Is to roll and rule over everyone”.

On the track “Movin’ on”, Hansard sings “I’ll be long gone” a total of eleven times, creating a haunting atmosphere that reassures he will never come back. Accompanied with his acoustic guitar and an organ, Hansard belts his heart out, seeming agitated by the state of his relationship. “Setting Forth” signals he’s finally moving on, as he sings, “Surely this is the right time/ To wind down the shadow play”. His play on words shows the enduring loss of a relationship, while maintaining a state of hope to find someone else.

Hansard ends the album with a ballad that conveys the importance of time and its power to help a person overcome a struggle. In the song, “Time Will be The Healer”, Hansard sings, “Keep your friends and neighbours close at hand/ Stay busy with your work and don’t give in/ To the bottle or your self- defeat again”.

Similarly, to his last two albums, Hansard’s articulation of emotions are able to leave a listener with a long lasting effect.

8.5/10 stars

 
 

The Shins "Heartworms" and "The Worm’s Heart" Comparison/Album Review

by Sophie Pay

The Shins "Heartworms" and "The Worm's Heart" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

The Shins "Heartworms" and "The Worm's Heart" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

The Shins released their fifth album, Heartworms back in March 2017 and now he has released the album once again, but this time “flipped”, calling it The Worm’s Heart. The order of the songs have been reversed and have a different take to them. This album is a mix of genres, tempo changes, and a lot of drastic transformations.  Heartworms, at its core, is a blend of indie pop and rock that focuses on the life of a lonely person, who reminisces about their past of heartbreak and self discovery; begging for a sense of belonging in the world.

One song that has a very unexpected alternative take is “Half a Million”, which transforms from being heavy on guitar to reggae and slower. The music video for the original version of “Half a Million” had a very creative take with the use of 5,566 stickers in various locations. Meanwhile, “Mildenhall”, which was once country, has turned into a heavy rock song with a groovy organ solo in the middle. Mercer had maintained the melody of the song at a faster pace. It is very evident that the whole album was re-recorded, vocals and all.

The opening track for Heartworms, “Name For You”, gives the album an upbeat feeling with its synth pop take, but ends the album with “The Fear”, which brings a mixture of emotions as it tackles the topic of anxiety. The song is about a missed opportunity and with the album ending with a ukulele, it slowly leads on to mimic the silence that is overtaking him, singing “No, not anymore Not anymore”. On the other hand, The Worm's Heart opened up with “The Fear”, which became heavily distorted and upbeat in comparison to the original, when it was once slowed down and full of melancholy feelings. Although, “Name For You” didn’t replace the feeling that “The Fear” had created for Heartworms, it was rather synthy.

Overall, Heartworms has a slight advantage over The Worm's Heart, as it was able to evoke more emotions out of the listener than the latter.  Although, The Worm’s Heart brought a fresh take on the songs, allowing the listeners to fall in love with the songs in a different way.  Without listening to The Worm's Heart, many may think that it was just a slightly altered version of every song off of Heartworms, yet it was not.

Side note: The album art for The Worm’s Heart is cleverly shown attacking the flowers and turning it to a series of darker colors, the complementary colors of the latter. Just as the album has been altered with and “flipped”, the album art reflects the contents of each album.

Heartworms: 8.5/10 stars

The Worm’s Heart: 7/10 stars



 

My Top Ten Albums And EPs Of 2017

by Sophie Pay

2017 was a very busy year for music, and I had the chance to find new music to fall in love with. Below are albums and EPs that helped me survive this hectic year and hopefully you will enjoy them too. If you click the images it will link you to my favorite song off of each album. 

1. Declan McKenna - What Do You Think About the Car?

Stumbling upon Declan McKenna performing "Brazil" on Conan, I had instantly fallen in love with his lyrics. Instead of writing typical songs about love or heartbreak, Declan brings songs that touch on sensitive topics such as politics, religion, sexism, and social issues. His music video for "The Kids Don't Wanna Come Home," depict young people talking about how their generation is lost and confused. The whole world needs to watch this music video and maybe the world will be a better place.

2. Vagabon - Infinite Worlds

First discovering Vagabon at Music Taste Good 2017, I stood there behind the barricade thinking about life and everything around me. This album is able to pull out your emotions while taking you to an empty room where the guitar echos, making you search for answers.   

3. Passenger - The Boy Who Cried Wolf

After finishing a long tour, Mike Rosenberg announced the release of this album by his own label. He approached this release differently, taking a long deserved break and disappearing from the world before reemerging again. This album revives his lyrical abilities, sticking to the same rhythm he's renowned for. Two songs in particular caught my eye: "Setting Suns" and "And I Love Her," songs that were never released on official albums before.

4. The Mountain Goats - Goths

The album, "Goths" by the Mountain Goats is comprised of upbeat, soft jazz, and pleasant songs in regard to goth culture. After producing albums about wrestling and other various topics, Darnielle, the singer, has proven his ability to tackle any topic and weave lyricism into an album. If you take close note of the lyrics, there are mentions of everything from the goth scene in Long Beach to a song all about Andrew Eldritch, a popular figure in goth culture. 

5. Hippo Campus - warm glow EP

Back with their upbeat guitar riffs and slides, "baseball" and "traveler" by Hippo Campus set the feel of the entire EP. Ending with the song "warm glow", Hippo Campus ends the EP in a mellow setting. The more you listen to this EP, the more you will enjoy it. 

6. Shout Out Louds - Ease My Mind 

With everything going on in the world today, this album cries escape, escaping everything and just enjoying your life as it is, in its comfortable state. This album allows you to drift to that state and stay there for as long as you want (or maybe just as long as this album is playing).

7. Neil Finn - Out of Silence

Approaching the album a different way, Finn conducted four livestreams in which fans from around the world would be able to witness the songs come to life. The final product, full of complex arrangements and backing vocals that set the tone for each song, Finn released the album within a week.

8. Alvvays - Antisocialities 

Bringing dreamy indie pop to their second album, singer Molly Rankin sets the tone of the album stating, "Who starts a fire just to let it go out?" in their song "Dreams Tonite". This album takes you into a world of breakup, making you experience those emotions within the lyrics.

9. Iron & Wine - Beast Epic

This album teaches you about life, allowing yourself to accept that doing what you want is better than doing what others want you to, enabling you to find yourself and to embrace freedom.

10. Dan Auerbach - Waiting on a Song

This album may be the most upbeat and playful one so far that Auerbach has created. He steps away from the heavy guitars and brings out a different side, while still maintaining the "soul" that his albums always have, creating an mixture soul, pop, and folk together.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds "Who Built the Moon?" Album Review

by Sophie Pay

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds "Who Built the Moon?" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds "Who Built the Moon?" (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Back with his third solo album, “Who Built the Moon?” Noel Gallagher has gone out of his comfort zone. The album’s producer, David Holmes did not allow any pre-written songs into the studio, so Gallagher was going in blind.

The sibling rivalry between Noel and his brother, Liam Gallagher, both formerly of the band Oasis continues. The tension built up between the brothers during their years in Oasis, which finally exploded in 2009 backstage at their Paris show, where the band famously split. This marked the point where the brothers would not speak to each other, even to this day. Although, Liam occasionally indirectly comments on his brother, most famously calling him a potato and recently making fun of Noel’s scissor player in the band.

Their albums were released just weeks apart, dragging along Oasis fans, as many took sides and took the criticism to social media. Some chose to stay loyal to one of the Gallaghers while others kept a neutral stance in the situation. More criticism was directed towards Noel than Liam, since his album was not a traditional Oasis style album. Noel was able to produce a psychedelic rock/pop album which hit all the right marks.

Starting with the album’s first track “Fort Knox,” the constant sirens and instrumental sounds foreshadow what the listener is to expect from the rest of the album. The album’s other songs including, “Holy Mountain,” “Keep on Reaching,” “It’s a Beautiful World,” and “She Taught Me How To Fly” establish a feeling of urgency to do something in the world, fast paced drums. Compared to his last two albums, the vocals on this one express joy and happiness, along with the support of powerful backup vocals. The surge of this fast pace album gives Noel the ability to do something different, since his time in Oasis had only allowed him to create rock ballads, and his last two solo albums were slower paced. This album replaced the Amorphous Androgynous collaboration album that was scrapped out and never released back in 2012, during the same time his debut album was released.

Be Careful What You Wish For” reminds me of “Waiting For the Rapture” off of the last Oasis album ‘Dig out Your Soul’, with a reference in the track’s lyrics of “And if you're waiting for the rapture the day will never come.”

Towards the middle of the album there is an instrumental interlude that marks where the tempo starts to slow down. This occurs again at the end credits, where an additional instrumental interlude pulls back to reveal a stripped down bonus track, “Dead In The Water” featuring just Gallagher and his guitar. This extra, unplugged ballad on the album is one of Gallagher’s most notably emotional tracks, with a stripped down setting reminiscent of his work on Oasis b-sides. Gallagher brings yet another song that is able to pull your emotions out into display for all to see, allowing a person to reminisce on the good times.

Overall, the album is very interesting, as Noel seems to focus more on the instruments than the lyrics this time. I did have mixed feelings when I heard the first single, "Holy Mountain" since it was not the typical Oasis song. For all those confused Oasis fans who are used to Noel’s older style of writing, producing rock ballads, I would recommend giving this one a chance. ‘Who Built the Moon’ is Gallagher's most outgoing and fast paced solo album, showing that Noel has moved on from the past to do his own thing.

7/10 stars

 
 

together PANGEA Fingerprints Show

by Sophie Pay

Together Pangea Acoustic Show at Fingerprints Music (Photo by Gary Pay)

Together Pangea Acoustic Show at Fingerprints Music (Photo by Gary Pay)

I went back to my favorite record store in the world, Fingerprints Music. It has been my go-to source for music since 2012, and I have so many good memories there, especially since I saw my first show there featuring the band, "Palma Violets". The atmosphere from that place screams of musical history from the bands that have played there.

This would be the second time I would see the band "together PANGEA", but this time in an intimate show. This was an acoustic show, something they rarely play at. Sadly, the crowd was not very large, as this was  same weekend that the World Series and Growlers Six took place.

The band came out and played songs off their new album, "Bulls and Roosters" acoustically for the first time. They played some of their fan favorites, "Badillac" and "River," the latter being my favorite song from them. One interesting thing that happened was when a group of girls next to me tried to start a mosh pit. The crowd surrounding them retreated in confusion: who moshes in a record store?. They eventually stopped after countless glares, but it was nevertheless interesting to watch. Overall, it was a very laid back show and I enjoy attending their shows occasionally. They were a nice distraction from the fast-paced world.

 
 

Music Tastes Good 2017

by Sophie Pay 

Music Tastes Good Art Installation. (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Music Tastes Good Art Installation. (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Music tastes so good! With a revolving stage transitioning smoothly from one band to the next, the Long Beach stage at Music Tastes Good Festival brought amazement to everyone’s faces. With the ocean to the right and the skyline of downtown Long Beach on the other, there was no doubt this was the perfect place. In its second year Music Tastes Good traveled from the downtown streets to its new home at Marina Green Park. The lines were almost non-existent whether you were just arriving or walking around festival grounds to find a bite to eat.

It was very evident that this year's Music Tastes Good was paying homage to the late Josh Fischel, the founder of Music Tastes Good who sadly passed just a few days after the first MTG. A very large cassette tape sculpture stood tall with “Josh’s Mix” written on top.

Sculpture at Music Tastes Good in honor of the festival's late founder, Josh Fischel. (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Sculpture at Music Tastes Good in honor of the festival's late founder, Josh Fischel. (Photo by Sophie Pay)

With a very diverse lineup with bands like Slaves, Heaven 17, and RIDE coming from the UK to Juana Molina from Argentina to Los Master Plus from Mexico; all bases were covered. Headliners included bands Ween and Sleater-Kinney. One band in particular that caught my full attention was Vagabon fronted by Laetita Tamko, her songs poured out so many emotions. Stripping down to just guitar at one moment her emotions were escaping into the crowd and finding a place in our hearts. I felt as if I was taken into another world.

One memorable moment was when Heaven 17 started playing and instantly we were brought back to the 80s, the crowd transformed instantly into a London nightclub. Everyone was dancing and having so much fun; it was a sight to see.

As the sun began to go down, of Montreal hit the stage playing one of my favorite albums,  “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?” in its entirety to celebrate its 10 year anniversary, Singer Kevin Barnes came on stage sporting a blonde wig, turquoise mini skirt, and red tights bringing color into the performance. The night ended with RIDE, one of my top favorite bands who I got to see live for the very first time. The performance of “Lannoy Point” off of their most recent album, “Weather Diaries” was the best moment of the night. I found myself stuck in a trance for a split moment.

Andy Bell of RIDE at Music Tastes Good Festival 2017. Long Beach, California (Photo by Sophie Pay)

Andy Bell of RIDE at Music Tastes Good Festival 2017. Long Beach, California (Photo by Sophie Pay)

On the second day I took it very easy and arrived in the afternoon to see Furcast, Y La Bamba, and Jay Som. Into the day Dengue Fever played, an American band fronted by Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol got everyone in the crowd dancing. Their songs are performed in English and Khmer, a mix of psychedelic rock with bits of surf and garage sounds. David Ralicke, a member of the band broke out into a saxophone solo and the energy transmitted was tremendous.

The Old 97s was the last band of the day that I saw and they played their way through the rotating stage, still one of my favorite parts of the festival. The set included many songs off of their most recent album “Graveyard Whistling” including some crowd favorites, “Timebomb” and “Rollerskate Skinny”. They even went on to play “Question” following the request of a couple that were getting married soon. With the ocean breeze flying through, nothing could be more perfect than that moment.

The glowing Music Tastes Good sign lit up the festival grounds at night and kids were walking around with their parents having the time of their lives. The atmosphere of Music Tastes Good was like no other festival. My whole life I always hoped that a music festival would be in an arm’s reach and it finally happened, a place for people to discover new music. Growing up in Southern California most festivals take place in the L.A. area and getting there isn’t the easiest. Having a music festival in my hometown makes me proud and hopeful that Long Beach will now be known for its amazing music festivals.

Clips from Music Tastes Good Festival 2017:

Photos from Music Tastes Good 2017 (Photos by Sophie Pay)