Friday, October 18, 2013


It is true! "A-Tran's Band of the Week" blog has been permanently moved to Suburban Remix [ ]. Along with "BOTW" features on this new and fancy website, you will also find concert/festivals recaps, fashion ideas/blogs, and super hipster/thrifty items for sale (coming soon)!

Thanks for following BOTW every week, and I am looking forward to seeing you at !

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Thursday, August 29, 2013


NONONO is this week's band of the week... but they are more like YESYESYES! This trio from Stockholm brings sassy chick vocals, dancey beats, and great usage of synthy keys; everything you could ever want in an indie alt-rock outfit. 

Their debut single "Pumpin' Blood" has one of the catchiest licks, and it's whistled, of course (I have a theory that any song with whistling is a gem, I even have a "Whistle Along" playlist...). You can expect to find yourself shamelessly dancing to this song in your bedroom and/or fist-pumping to your heart's content.

NONONO is currently working on their album, and I cannot wait to hear what else they create!
Follow them @nononoofficial

NONONO fans will also dig:
The Ting Tings
Passion Pit
Tegan & Sara
Family of the Year
The Naked & Famous
Foster the People

See all you Seattleites at Bumbershoot this weekend!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Thursday, August 22, 2013

#ThrowbackThursday #FlashbackFriday

What up BOTW readers! Seeing that it is nearing the end of the week, I thought I would equip you with a #ThrowbackThursday/#FlashbackFriday playlist! This set of hand-selected tunes will give you a blast from the past in pop (at least for anyone from my generation haha). I was inspired to do this while I was working and "Fall For You" by Secondhand Serenade came on my Pandora station. INSTANT nostalgia, I tell ya! Hope you enjoy!

Check out my "#ThrowbackThursday #FlashbackFriday" playlist on my Spotify profile!

1. Fall For You - Secondhand Serenade
2. Back Here - BBMak
3. All or Nothing - O-Town
4. Come Clean - Hilary Duff
5.  Don't Mess with My Man - Nivea
6. Genie in a Bottle - Christina Aguilera
7. Never Had a Dream Come True - S Club 7
8. All That She Wants - Ace of Base
9. Shape of My Heart - Backstreet Boys
10. Case of the Ex - Mya
11. I Wanna Be With You - Mandy Moore
12. The Reason - Hoobastank
13. Bills, Bills, Bills - Destiny's Child
14. Shake it - Metro Station
15. (You Drive Me) Crazy - Britney Spears
16. On the Way Down - Ryan Cabrera
17. Waterfalls - TLC
18. See You Again - Miley Cyrus
19. For You I Will - Teddy Geiger
20. More to Life - Stacie Orrico

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, August 16, 2013

BOTW #28 - Jagwar Ma

TGIF! Per request by my pal, Mo-riss, this week's BOTW is the indie-surfy-electro-pop band, Jagwar Ma. Upon first listen, I instantly became a fan of their synthy light and upbeat sound, reminiscent of MGMT, Toro y Moi and your favorite 80's new wave artists.

Relatively new to the indie scene, Jagwar Ma just recently released their debut album this year. With the use of contagious dance beats, B-52s-esque synth pads, Beach Boys-inspired guitar tones, and airy vocal effects, this Australian band creates a unique fusion that sounds fresh. but also gives listeners a blast from the past.

Jagwar Ma creates music that is perfect for a workout, a long commute, or even soundtracks for some independent movies!

Check out some of Jagwar Ma's catchiest tunes:

Bands you will also like if you are jammin' to Jagwar Ma:
Toro y Moi
Human League
New Order
Empire of the Sun
The B-52s
Men Without Hats

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Festival Recap: 107.7 The End Summer Camp 2013

Found Gregr at Summer Camp! Coolest guy on the radio!
First of all, I just wanted to apologize for the delayed post. I am a survivor of PCD, otherwise known as Post Concert Depression, and I am living with the side effects of partaking in an epic 11 band extravaganza (aka waking up at 1pm...haha)!

If you have never been to summer camp as a kid, not to worry, 107.7 The End hosts one every summer and it's probably 100 times more rock n' roll and good vibes. Tickets are less than 30 bucks and you get to experience handfuls of rad bands, 11 to be exact! 

Here's the run down of all the fun times you missed (or want to relive with me)!

Royal Teeth - Opened up Summer Camp this year with bang. Their indie-melodic tunes were perfect for the nice summer air and got everyone warmed up for the rest of the day at Summer Camp!

San Cisco - These guys are one of those bands that you like on the record, and even more live. Their presence on stage was just so contagious and they are probably the most adorable Australian indie pop bands, ever. Also, huge shout out to Scarlett on drums and vocals, you make it look WAY too easy!

Said the Whale - I was super stoked to catch these guys and gal from our friendly neighbors, Vancouver BC, and they didn't disappoint! Their hits, "I Love You" and "Camilo," got everyone on their feet and rock horns up without a doubt!
My previous blog on Said the Whale:

MS MR - Fierce, Fabulous, Synths, & Girl Power. That pretty much sums up MS MR. Lizzy commands the stage with her confidence and flawless vocals (& her lime green w/pink under layers hair was perfection), while Max is rocking the short-shorts and synths. This duo is unstoppable.
My previous blog on MS MR:

Hey Marseilles - Seattle locals take the stage and treat the Summer Camp audience to that "classic Seattle sound" reminiscent of Death Cab and the like. Always a blast to hear them play and represent our city!

Family of the Year - These guys and gal (I sense a pattern here, haha) ROCKED the stage with their upbeat tunes and serenaded the crowd with their beautiful "Hero." The band's set was as tight as their vocal harmonies and Christina's lemon-lime Blondie-inspired bob was to die for. 

The Neighbourhood - Urban-indie-rockers (as I like to categorize them), The Neighbourhood, brought cool alt-hiphop-esque vibes to the Summer Camp crowd. Their extremely catchy "Sweater Weather" got everyone's head bobbin' and rockin'.

Wavves - The dudes of Wavves brought me back to my high school days of REAL punk rock shows. If you could sit through their set of upbeat songs, there is probably something wrong. They will get you on your feet and moshing in no time.

New Politics - Being a huge fan of New Politics before the show, I didn't think I could love these guys more, but they proved me wrong. This three piece brought so much energy and stage presence that you could not help but DANCE. Defintely one of my favorite lice bands now, and that is saying a lot. Lead singer, David, even showed us his breakdancing and backflipping skills. #MovesWayBetterThanJagger #ImInLove
My previous blog on New Politics:

Surfer Blood - Surfer Blood definitely lived up to their name! I'm not sure if any of them surf, but their tunes are perfect for a day on the beach (or Summer Camp)! 

Cold War Kids - The "Hang Me Up to Drive" band delivered and ended Summer Camp perfectly! The bands bluesy-alt-rock energy is contagious and Matt's vocals are ON POINT.

Hope you had as much fun as I did, and if you weren't there, hope to see you there next year! 

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BOTW #27 - Lorde

At the ripe age of 16, this week's BOTW, Lorde, is totally killin' it and proves that age really is just a number. After sweeping her homeland of New Zealand off their feet with her debut EP, The Love Club, Lorde is now making her way into the US music scene and she will not have any trouble with doing so!

I first heard of this indie-pop-prodigy (literally) this afternoon while I was driving and haphazardly "Shazam-ed" to see who the creator of this ridiculously catchy song was. "Royals," the lead song off her EP, has this cool MIA/Santigold feel, and an a cappella vibe with her layered backup vocals (and y'all know how hyped I get with anything a cappella-y). I was instantly hooked!

Aside from her inventive instrumentals and fresh beats, Lorde's lyrical content is so mature for her age and really gets you listening and thinking. Check it out for yourself!

Lorde could/should totes collab with artists like:
Lana Del Rey 
Kid Cudi
Toro y Moi
Marina & the Diamonds

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, August 2, 2013

BOTW #26 - Said the Whale

Aren't they just hipsterific?
No doubt they were influenced by the Seattle indie scene.
Along with Surfer Blood and Wavves, you will also be able to catch water-themed-band-name band, Said the Whale, at this year's The End's Summer Camp (YO, 107.7 The End, you should probably hire me for promoting you guys all the time)! And boy are you in a for an indie-rock treat.

These Vancouver (BC, not WA) natives came to the scene with the debut EP in 2007 and have been creating honest and raw tunes ever since. Upon multiple listenings of their discography, Said the Whale does a great job of creating captivating instrumentals whilst also not making it too complex where it could not be replicated in a live show. Creating a huge or full sound on recordings without sounding too overproduced is definitely a skill that is taken for granted.

STW's vocal harmonies also sold me. Any band that has multiple members that can sing is almost always a winner! Said the Whale takes this vocal approach and keeps it classy and does not overuse harmonies to the point where you don't know who the lead singer is (always a musical pet peeve of mine).

Said the Whale's current single (does it remind you of "My Sharona"?):

A couple of my faves:

You're totes gonna dig Said the Whale if you like these bands:
Walk the Moon
The Hush Sound
Young the Giant
Harvey Danger

And other beachy-keen bands like:
Surfer Blood
Best Coast
Nada Surf

These guys are perfect as the soundtrack for your last few weeks of summer!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Thursday, July 25, 2013

DIY Music Festival feat. John Mayer, Phillip Phillips, Bruno Mars, & Ellie Goulding!

Summer is all about concerts and music festivals out in the sun! This past weekend a few of my best pals and I went to 2 shows back to back, and it turned into our own little DIY music festival!

On Saturday, July 20th, we trekked out to The Gorge in Quincy, WA for John Mayer's Born & Raised 2013 tour with special guest, Phillip Phillips! John's crooner style and ridiculous guitar shredding skills were to die for, and Phillip's performance definitely solidified his spot in the folk-pop singer/songwriter genre!

For those not familiar with The Gorge and will be heading out there for Watershed or Sasquatch in the near future, here are some tips!

The Gorge 101

  • Bring food and water! (Stuff there is expensive and you are allowed to bring one sealed bottle of water, and food in clear containers)
  • Blankets and lawn chairs are a must if you are on the lawn. (Or you'll be lying on the cold hard ground)
  • Bug spray. (If you're a mosquito magnet like myself, you will not regret it)
The Gorge is GORGE! 

A clip from the show!

Going into Sunday, June 21st, we head to Seattle's beloved Key Arena! The go-to venue for any of your favorite major/mainstream artists and bands!

Key Arena 101
  • Leave earlier than you think you should to find cheaper/free parking! (Ain't nobody got dimes to pay 20 bucks for event parking)
  • Get to the venue early for first dibs on the best merch. (Lawd know that unisex smalls are the first to go!)
  • Be discreet with phone recordings of the concert! (the employees there get mad when they see you recording, also, someone else is probs gonna post it on youtube later anyways, so just enjoy the show!
As you may know by now, I am a very frequent concert goer and I have seen many great AND horrible performers. This being my second time seeing Bruno and his band, I can safely say that they are some of the best live performers I have ever witnessed (only being challenged by the great, Muse). Their in sync energy, effortless and fun choreography, and musicianship paired with Bruno's ON POINT singing/guitar playing/piano playing/drumming/dancing, it really can't get any better. 

Bruno killin' it on the drums (and everything else he does)!
(Sorry for the horrible sound quality!)

So when I heard Ellie Goulding was opening for Bruno, I WAS PUMPED! Not to sound like a pretentious music hipster, but I loved her debut album that featured "Lights" WAY before it was even on the radio here in the US! Even though Ellie's genre and music style didn't really go with Bruno's, I had no care in the world because I love them both! Her sweet-airy tone, catchy synth lines, and extremely contagious melodies should make you an instant fan!

A clip from Ellie's set!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

BOTW #25 - MS MR

Due to internet at the Honolulu International Airport costing $9 for 2 hours (as my brother would say,"ain't nobody got dimes fo dat!"), this post is a bit late... Apologies to my loyal BOTW readers! However, the wait was totes worth it for this week's featured artist!...

Watch out alt-pop-rock world, there is another electronic power duo in town! MS MR hails from New York and brings listeners a spacey pop sound with airy synth pads, hauntingly sweet vocal stylings reminiscent of Florence Welch and Ellie Goulding, and the quirky-coolness vibes of Bjork. 

I first heard of MS MR (pronounced Miss Mister) from a friend at work, Vera, who was totally raving about them after seeing them as an opening act for another band (Ellie Goulding maybe?). Being the band-obsessed person I am, I had to see what they were all about right away! And boy, was I pleasantly surprised! MS MR's debut full length, Secondhand Rapture, has been on repeat ever since. The record works perfectly as foreground and background music, whether you need new workout tunes or just something to play in the background of a party or whilst studying!

Can't wait to see them live at The End's Summer Camp!
See you August 10th at the Marymoor Park! Tix:
Check out MS MR's site for more tour dates:

A couple of my fave MS MR tracks:

Other artists you might like if you're diggin' MS MR:
Florence + The Machine
Lana Del Rey
Ellie Goulding

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,A-Tran.

Friday, July 12, 2013

BOTW #24 - 78Violet

This week's BOTW spotlight is on 78Violet, a.k.a. Aly & AJ Michalka! These names probably sound familiar to you if you were ever a Disney Channel frequent of my generation. These pair of sisters were seen acting on TV shows (Phil of the Future, Hellcats), movies (Cow Belles, Easy A), and were signed as "Aly & AJ" early on in their careers to Disney's Hollywood Records. Although they started out with Disney, their spin on "pop" was a lot edgier than the rest of the bubblegum singers on the Disney roster with synths and guitars that they actually played, and songs that they actually wrote (both a rarity nowadays in the industry).

These Cali born/Seattle raised sisters brought us super fun and catchy electro-poprock hits like "Potential Breakup Song" and "Chemicals React" that were bound to be stuck in your head.

With Aly & AJ 2.0 on a different label, now referred to as 78Violet, their sound has matured into a more raw and organic direction, and it will not disappoint! Their leading single, "Hothouse," from the upcoming album gives off an indie-folk-pop vibe and their melodies and harmonies are absolutely haunting (very reminiscent of one of my favorite bands, Eisley)!
(song starts around 3:27)

I can't wait for 78Violets new album to release! I loved their old electro-poprock stuff, and I can already tell that I will love their new stuff even more!

You're totally gonna love 78Violet if you like: 
1. Eisley
2. Kimbra 
3. The Hush Sound
4. Sea Wolf
5. Sia
6. Churchill
7. Gotye

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The MERICA Playlist - Happy 4th BOTW Readers!

In honor of the 4th of July, the ultimate MERICA holiday, I am listing a few of my favorite Merica themed songs!

1. How can this not be on the list? "Party in the USA" - by Miley Cyrus

2. One of my new faves! "Made in the USA" - by Demi Lovato

3. "I'm Proud to be an American/God Bless the USA" - by Lee Greenwood (but here's the Queen Beyonce version!)

So, my brother and I have this thing where we love to watch renditions of the National Anthem... here are a few of my favorites!

1. JHUD - This gets me everytime!

2. Take 6 - Probably the illest arrangement.

3. Destiny's Child - Nothing tops those harmonized riffs, NOTHING.

Hope everyone has a patriotic day, stay safe!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

BOTW #23 - Sanders Bohlke

Sanders Bohlke @ Tractor Tavern 6/19/13
Upon first listen of this week's BOTW feature, you would probably associate his music to the "Seattle Sound." Sanders Bohlke's folky-indie-DIY vibe is super chill and is perfect music for a day of writing at your local coffee shop or just lounging around the house. 

I got the chance to catch Sanders on Rachael Yamagata's 2013 Dealbreaker Heart Tour and could not be more happy that I came in time to see his set (opening acts can be sketch sometimes.. haha)! Sanders' set consisted of him and his guitar. In this acoustic setting, I instantly became a fan of his voice. And although his studio recordings are great, they do not do justice to the power, rawness, and sincerity in his tone that can only be captured live (so go catch Sanders and Rachael on tour!!!).

Sanders was the coolest guy ever,
super nice! And we're matching!

You would totes dig Sanders Bohlke if you like:
1. Ray Lamontagne
2. Civil Twilight
3. Sea Wolf
4. Band of Horses
5. John Mayer
6. Paolo Nutini

Check out "Ghost Boy" from his latest record:

A clip from the show:

Sanders' Internet Stuff:

Have a musical night, friends. (:

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, June 21, 2013

BOTW #22 & Concert Recap - Rachael Yamagata

Dealbreaker Heart Tour 2013.
June 19, 2013.
Tractor Tavern - Seattle, WA
Cell pix by A-Tran.
This week's BOTW feature is on Rachael Yamagata, a singer/songwriter that has been such a big inspiration to me ever since I heard her for the first time nearly 9 years ago! I painfully had to stay home back in 2004-05ish whilst my mom went to her show on the "Happenstance" tour. Since RY only ever plays 21 & over shows, it was not until last year did I get the opportunity to catch her in Seattle for the first time after I was old enough!

I remember the day I first heard "Happenstance," Rachael's debut album, and I instantly became a fan of her beautifully raspy and raw voice, artfully constructed lyrics, and enchanting piano melodies. "Happenstance" is one of few records that I have experienced and can listen to the entire thing without skipping a track.

With the release of "Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart," "Chesapeake," and "Heavyweight," following her debut album, you can really hear RY's artistry evolve. I like to compare her voice and music to wine, it has definitely gotten better and matured with age. RY's ability to pour her heart out into a song is so inspiring and beautiful. Rachael is the epitome of the singer-songwriter genre, and I am definitely taking notes!

RY's songs have so many feels that you would probably think her live shows to be potentially really sad and a Debbie Downer... but, WRONG! Her live shows are full of nothing but tears of joy and laughter! Between songs, she usually narrates how she came about writing them and cracks jokes with the audience. Rachael is literally one of the most hilarious, endearing, and genuine artists I have ever had the chance to watch. She is also super cool to come out after every show and take the time to talk to all her fans, I highly recommend catching her next show!

A few favorites from each record...
1. Happenstance: Letter Read, I Want You, I'll Find a Way, Worn Me Down

2. Elephants... Teeth Sinking Into Heart: Duet, Elephants
3. Chesapeake: Dealbreaker, Full On, Even If I Don't, You Won't Let Me
4. Heavyweight: Heavyweight, It'll Do

Video clips of the show a couple nights ago!...

RY & I!

Check back next week for a feature on one of my new favorite voices! In the meantime, you have a lot of Rachael music to listen to. (:

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Concert Recap - LIGHTS

Tour: Siberia Acoustic 2013
Date: June 13, 2013
Venue: The Neptune - Seattle, WA
A myriad of pics from my phone!
First off, to all my BOTW frequents, I apologize for this late post! The last week has been super hectic with finishing out my last quarter at UW AND graduating... BUT! I am back and ready to share my music opinions and endeavors! Be sure to check out my blog again later this week for a BOTW feature & concert recap on one of my favorite singer-songwriters!!

So going back to this concert recap... Last Thursday I had the opportunity to catch LIGHTS on her Siberia Acoustic tour and it was AMAZING, to say the least. Although her full band shows are stellar with energetic synths and headbangin' beats, LIGHTS with her acoustic, piano, and Kevin Fox on cello brought a whole new perspective to her music.

Despite the fact that I memorized Siberia Acoustic front to back, hearing her perform it live brought the songs to a new level. The vulnerability and honesty she displays on stage for her fans is one of the most inspiring things about LIGHTS and I really appreciate that as an aspiring artist and songwriter. LIGHTS' singled out voice was as pure and as strong as ever, never missing a note. With Kevin Fox accompanying her with beautiful and inventive cello lines, the instrumentals were on point! Low and behold, LIGHTS is a rare performer in this day and age that can sing and play live and sound as good, or even better than the studio versions!

Check out this vids! (Including some tunes not included in Siberia Acoustic!!)

For more on LIGHTS, check out my previous BOTW post:

Sunday, June 9, 2013

BOTW #21 - Gift uh Gab

Photo from:
I have to admit that my Seattle rap game was limited to Macklemore x Ryan Lewis and Blue Scholars up until I saw "The Otherside" (a documentary about Seattle's underground/indie rap scene) just about a week ago.  The film was shown at the SIFF (Seattle International Film Festival) and is definitely one of my new favorite documentaries! Local artists took viewers through the rich history and current ever-evolving rap scene and you couldn't help but be a proud Seattleite. Needless to say, my eyes have been opened to a new world of great music and one artist that stood out for me was GIFT UH GAB, the one female rapper highlighted as a component of Seattle's rap scene during the film.

As soon as Gift uh Gab came on screen, she immediately caught my attention with her extreme confidence, 90s throwback inspired rap style, and effortless flow. Gift uh Gab gave me old school vibes of Queen Latifah and Salt n' Peppa, and at the same time, the music resembles this unique/indie/laid-back "Seattle Sound" that many local artists inhabit. Her EP, "Queen La'Chiefah," is jam packed with the most chill tracks and it is perfect for your summer car ride playlist. Records like "My Life" and "Sprinkle" will definitely have you singing along at the choruses by the second listen.

Being the social media enthusiast that I am, I went to follow her right away on Twitter after the film... and as soon as I walk out of the theater, she is right there! I got to say hi and get a picture, she was really nice and just a really down to earth chick!
Gift uh Gab and I at "The Otherside" premiere! Photo creds: Momma Tran
I really recommend checking out her stuff and supporting the Seattle musicians!

You can follow her @Gift_uh_Gab
And get her AWESOME album here:

Other Artists You Might Like:
1. Santo Gold
2. Frank Ocean
3. M.I.A.
4. Blue Scholars
5. Queen Latifah 
Until next time, music listening friends. Peace out, Sea-Town.

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Also, we're like besties.

Friday, May 31, 2013

BOTW #20 - Pickwick

Photo fr:
This week's BOTW is Seattle's very own PICKWICK. This band is so indie hipster-cool that they don't even have a Wikipedia yet, and almost everything has one these days.  This indie-rock/soul group bring a fresh sound with their 60s guitar tones, groovy organs, steady beats, and earnest vocals. Along with Allen Stone, I am pretty sure they are part of Seattle's growing "soul" movement. I'm going to call that now (we will see if this theory pans out).

I first heard of these guys a couple years back through a video of them singing a cappella in the Suzzallo Library Reading Room (aka the Harry Potter Room). There are many things amazing about this, but here are a couple.  One: The Suzzallo Reading Room is basically silent at all times, even the sound of your backpack zipper will echo obnoxiously through the room. Basically the perfect room for an impromptu a cappella performance. Two: I am obsessed with basically anything a cappella. So the fact that they were able to sound AWESOME a cappella is a pretty big deal. 

You'll totally love Pickwick if you are fans of:
1. The Black Keys
2. Allen Stone
3. Alex Clare
4. Band of Horses
5. Cold War Kids

Check out Pickwick's full length album, "Can't Talk Medicine," for some soulful tunes. It shall not disappoint! 

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, May 24, 2013

BOTW #19 - Capital Cities

This week's BOTW spotlight, CAPITAL CITIES, serves the indie-electro-disco realness that you have been missing in your music collection. The band's extremely catchy and danceable debut EP probably has something to do with the two main members starting out as jingle writers. They met through Craigslist in LA in 2009 and started to build up a full live-band set up, which also includes a trumpeter!

The expertly crafted combination of smooth and melodic vocals, goovin' bass lines, 80s-inspired synth hooks, trumpet riffs, and toe-tappin' beats, Capital Cities could do you no wrong. They have a full LP due out this coming June, but in the meantime, check out their self-titled EP for a good dancing time. Their hit single, "Safe and Sound," not to be mistaken by the track off the Hunger Games soundtrack, was released in 2011 and is just now starting to get radio play on alt-rock stations. I would not be surprised if this band blew up sometime soon!

If this song doesn't get stuck in your head or make you want to fist pump in the car, I do not know what to say...
There's also a million remixes of "Safe and Sound" on Spotify, check itttt.

Other bands that might play in the same festival lineup with Capital Cities...
1. Phoenix
2. Imagine Dragons
3. Empire of the Sun
4. Walk the Moon
5. Two Door Cinema Club
6. Daft Punk
7. Young the Giant

Until next time music enthusiasts.

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

This blog was Capital Cities approved on 5/24/13. (:

Friday, May 17, 2013

BOTW #18 & Concert Recap - Pentatonix

Aca-scuse me? This is real life.

Photo by A-Tran. 5/11/13 Showbox SoDo.

This week's BOTW spotlight is on the most aca-awesome band you will ever hear, PENTATONIX! Choir nerds can rejoice because PTX has made a cappella the coolest thing ever (not that we ever thought otherwise). Let us just take a look at why each member is a key component in creating that signature PTX sound you hear in all of their a cappella covers and originals...

Photo by A-Tran.
Scott (a.k.a. Beyonce) 
Where do I even start with this kid? RIFFS, that's what. Scott's riffing skills are out of this world and leaves you amazed every time he sneaks one in. His powerful and distinct baritone pop/soul/r&b voice is so versatile and sounds stellar on basically anything.

Photo by A-Tran.
Mitch (a.k.a. Voice of an Angel)
Mitch serves the realness and sass of the group. Not only does he have the voice of an angel, his range, runs, and Vogue poses are EVERYTHING.

Photo by A-Tran.
Kirstie (a.k.a. PTX Queen)
Being the only girl in the group, Kirstie does not earn the "PTX Queen" title by default, she is truly one of the fiercest, stylish, and most talented chicks around! Her sweet tone, perfect harmonies, and awesome belt voice could win anyone over. (She also does a mean "Single Ladies" in whistle voice... what??)

Photo by A-Tran.
Avi (a.k.a. Meat)
Never was there a bass like Avi. Not only is he a solid foundation for the group, he sings overtones like a pro AND claimed to be a dwarf whilst singing the dwarf theme song from "The Hobbit" at the show last weekend. He is also the sweetest person ever and wears a lot of flannel/plaid.

Photo by A-Tran.
Kevin (a.k.a. Potatoes)
What can't Kevin do? He is a class act vocal percussionist, an accomplished cellist, the creator of "cello-boxing," fluent in Mandarin, and was pre-med at Yale... seriously? This guy glues PTX together with his reliable and inventive beats, crazy sound-effects, beatbox-rapping, and vocal-trumpet solos!

Now that you know a bit more about the members, let's just take a minute and appreciate their combined sound. Their arrangements are a perfect combination of expertly arranged three-part harmonies, synchronized riffs, funky bass lines, dubstep breakdowns, and cray beats even your drum machine can't keep up with! Their aca-talented-selves are so good that they are often accused of using instruments (best compliment an a cappella group could get!).

PTX just wrapped up the first leg of their 2013 tour right here in Seattle (obviously the best place for a finale). The show was nothing short of EPIC. They sold-out the entire Showbox SoDo, and I am pretty sure it was filled to the brim with choir nerds/a cappella-wannabes. Complete with a stage set-up, lighting, and choral-ography, the show was everything you could have hoped it to be. PTX performed the best of their YouTube covers as well as favorite from their time on The Sing-Off.

Oh yeah, I ALSO HUGGED ALL PTX MEMBERS. They were literally the sweetest people ever at the meet & greet! It all happened so fast, it was probably the peak of my fangirl life thus far. Basically, Scott liked my floral print Docs, and then I had a really nice conversation with Kevin about what I am studying in school and such. Can't believe I actually got to meet my a cappella heroes, TOO MANY FEELS.

Any who... here are some various video clips/pics from the show! (Apologizing for the guy behind me trying to sing ALL of their parts and ruining it..haha. Also, if the vids are fuzzy sounding, it is because of DAT BASS.)

"As Long As You Love Me/Wide Awake"
Kevin's Beautiful Cello Solo:
Avi Singing Mongolian Overtones (like a boss):

And then all of this happened...
I can actually see myself in this crowd shot!

Have an ACA-awesome weekend!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Thursday, May 9, 2013

BOTW #17 & Album Review - LIGHTS

Photo fr:
In honor of the recent "Siberia Acoustic" release, this week's BOTW is the one and only: LIGHTS. (Not to be confused with Ellie Goulding's single) Before you read any further, I just want to note that this may sound very fangirly, at least more than usual...

Hailing from Toronto, this electropop-rocker has graced the music scene since 2006, starting out as a songwriter for SONY, and later getting signed as a solo artist in 2008 to 'Underground Operations'. Not too long after, LIGHTS takes the Canadian charts by storm and eventually leaves the label for her own, 'Lights Music Inc'.

LIGHTS's first full length, "The Listening," is jam-packed with synthy pop-rock and tasteful use of autotune.  LIGHTS is basically a melody making machine. Every tune she writes has the potential of getting stuck in your head, and that takes skill. Her 80's new wave inspired beats and expert use of sound effects glues the album together.

The sophomore album, "Siberia," is perfect. She has grown so much as a vocalist, songwriter, and instrumentalist since "The Listening," and this record proves this with every single song. The tracks are so solid on this record that she could have released any of them as leading singles. "Siberia" brings a more refined alternative-electropop-edgy vibe, much more lush synth pads and voices, great lyrical choices, and her voice is so much stronger. It is going to take a lot to top "Siberia," to say the least.

With that being said, LIGHTS's "Siberia Acoustic" is a whole other musical adventure! With each acoustic version, she brings a new 'feel' to the music and new meanings to the lyrics. Stripped down to mostly acoustic guitar, cellos, and percussion, you are really able to 'hear these songs as if she were playing them at home,' as LIGHTS describes.

Especially notable acoustic tracks include:
1. "Peace Sign" - With the finger-picking, slight changes in riffs, and the addition of Coeur de pirate singing in French, this song could not be any more endearing.
2. "Heavy Rope" - I loved the original version of this song, but something about the acoustic version makes me really dig deeper into the beautiful lyrics.
3. "Banner" - This acoustic redux version gives listeners a sweeter tone when compared to the electropop-anthem vibe of the original version.

My Favorite LIGHTS Songs (if I HAD to choose):
1. Cactus in the Valley (Original, Acoustic, AND iTunes Session versions!)
2. The Last Thing on Your Mind
3. Peace Sign
4. Ice
5. Banner
6. Siberia
7. Toes
..But, basically ALL of them are my favorite.

LIGHTS is currently touring for the her "Siberia Acoustic" album! Check out dates here:
OR see you at the Seattle show @ The Neptune, June 13th!

LIGHTS & I! (When she toured
Canada/US with Keane in 2009!)
LIGHTS & I, again!
(Bumbershoot 2012)

Until next week, friends!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, May 3, 2013

Concert Recap - Marina and The Diamonds

Tour: Lonely Hearts Club
Date: May 2, 2013
Venue: Showbox SoDo - Seattle, WA
Opening Act: Little Daylight

A myriad of cell pix from last night! Not to worry, I will start bringing a real
camera to shows (depending on the anticipated mosh levels.. haha)!
As an experienced concert go-er, I can usually anticipate the intensity level of the crowd depending on the type of music or the level of fame the artist has achieved.. This was not the case for Marina and The Diamonds! Having had success and a dedicated following in the UK music biz, her status in the US is definitely more on the "up and coming" side of the spectrum. With that being said, Marina and her Diamonds were able to sell out the Showbox Sodo on the first stop of her last "Lonely Hearts Club" tour in Seattle! 

After the opening set, my concert going buddy and I (shout-outs to Mo-riss), were beginning to get restless in all the anticipation for Marina to start, and we began scouting out the crowd... For future reference, the crowd at a Marina show might resemble one of a One Direction concert; a.k.a. 95% fangirls and fanboys ranging from the teens through mid-20s, and 5% parents who gave their tweens a ride to the show. As soon as she walked out, the crowd literally erupted in an uproar of screaming/screeching girls, and for the first half of the show, the mosh levels were equivalent to an arena rock concert. Girls be getting feisty tryna get that perfect Instagram photo or just a closer glimpse of Marina doe!

Marina commands the stage like no other. With at least four wardrobe changes (she has the best outfits), quirky stage props (i.e. mannequin outfitted in a baby blue tux, her fluffy stuffed animal poodle, soda & burger stage props), and a dapper band, she is the FIERCEST of fierce. And like the cutest, EVER, with her Bristish accent. Her voice is beautiful with strong lower register vocals that are reminiscent of Katy Perry's, and her upper register will give you vibes of Florence Welch. M&TD graced the crowd with the best of the best tunes from her two albums (although all her tracks are solid) and everyone left the Showbox a happy camper.

Relive the Marina mosh from last night with these video clips!

Starring Role

Bubblegum Bitch

The State of Dreaming 
(Literally recorded these 12 seconds because it's the best part of the song)

Marina brought along some new kids on the block, Little Daylight, 
to open for her and it was definitely a great choice. Little Daylight 
provided some great catchy electro-poprock tunes to pump up the 
Marina crowd, and if you're fans of other bands like Shiny Toy Guns, The 
Naked & Famous, or Tegan & Sara, then you would 
totally love these guys (and gal)!

Here are a couple clips from Little Daylight's opening set!

For more on Marina, check out my BOTW #6 feature on M&TD:

That's all for now, see y'all at the next show!

Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

BOTW #16 & Concert Recap - Alex Clare

Photo from:
If there were ever an artist that embodied the fusion genre of Awolnation/Stevie Wonder/The Black Keys, a.k.a. alt-soul-rock, this week's BOTW, Alex Clare, is your main dude! Hailing from London, this singer-songwriter brings you much, much more that just his Top 40 hit, "Too Close."

As a vocalist, Alex Clare is one of those guys that could sing anything and I would listen to him all day. His effortless ability to croon on a mellow rock-ballad and then transition into a high-energy upbeat song is almost unfair. Check out my favorite tracks: "I Love You" to witness Alex at his most endearing vocals, and "Hands Are Clever" for his most soulful performance.

Check out some video footage I caught on my phone to get a taste of what awesomeness you are missing out on!:

This is a BRAND NEW song! I couldn't catch the title with Alex's thick accent, HOWEVER, I can tell this is already a new favorite!

"Treading Water" is a perfect crowd pump-up song, and you can see/hear why...

And of course, AC and the band closed with "Too Close," just as epic as ever!

AC @ Showbox Market 4/29/13 via my cell pix.
Literally obsessed with AC's band. You've got the ultimate
alt-rock drummer in his black teee, the Spongebob shirt wearing bassist, AND
the Fresh Prince of Synths (complete with flat-top and keytar).
If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend that you go see AC and the band live.  It is one of the most chill/rockin' shows you will ever go to!

Some other artists you might like:
1. Awolnation
2. Madeon
3. The Black Keys
4. The Naked and Famous
5. Allen Stone
6. Young the Giant


Peace, Love, & Rock n' Roll,

Friday, April 26, 2013

BOTW #15 - Toro y Moi

Photo from:
Imagine a mashup of MGMT's synthy effects, some funky Jamiroquai-esque grooves here and there, the offbeat-coolness of Frank Ocean, and some Imogen Heap vibes... what do you get? This week's BOTW: Toro Y Moi!

South Carolina native, Chazwick Bradley Bundick (coolest name ever), brings these hybrid sounds (often referred to as chillwave) to the electronic and synthpop world and they have definitely made their mark.

For the lucky few that were able to snag Sasquatch tickets, Toro will be there to grace the stages of the Gorge. For all the non-PNW kids, he is currently on tour in various locations around the world.  For everyone else, his records are totally ideal for the next time you decide to throw a hipster dance party.

Shout outs to @AdamFeldenkris for the request!

Bands I think Toro Y Moi should tour with...
2. M83
3. Passion Pit
4. Daft Punk
5. Grimes
6. Cut Copy 
7. Mayer Hawthorne
8. Empire of the Sun

Check out the single, "So Many Details," from his record, "Anything in Return":

Have a synth-tastic weekend, friends!

Peace, Love, & Rock n. Roll,