Featured Artist: PieceMakers

First thing I have to say:

I’m proud of my young fellow friends and acquaintances for pursuing their creative dreams during rough and uncertain times in this economy.

The dream killers of this world will tell you to study your brains out to get smart so some Ivy League college will accept you because hey that’s the only school that will prepare me to get a job right, then sell your soul to studying a field you could care less about but hey it’ll get me a job right, and then plunge further into debt to get a Master’s degree because hey I’m not good enough to get  a job yet and now I’ll for sure get one once I graduate right. And GOD FORBID you sign up for some artsy-fartsy major like Music, English, or Studio Art.

The people that bow to this social pressure I pity, for I am seeing people I know and love working hard to attain their true dreams, not looking down on themselves because they are young and creative, but setting an example for the world in their artistic passions.

And so today, as I was checking Facebook, I saw a post of a music video called “I Hope to Remember”…and, well, I watched it. Backed by soft guitar strums, the singer croons with somber emotion about a broken relationship as he contemplates pure love, while the video montages a couple struggling through a breakup. The work of both the music and video was rather beautiful, with harmonious tones in sound contemplated by the soft lighting and cool color scheme of the visuals. And the story portrayed struck me with honesty–I related, I blinked away a tear or two in my eyes–and I may or may not have listened to it again…and again…

But the best part: the music was created by my friend’s newly formed indie/acoustic rock band PieceMakers. The video work and acting was done by some guys from my high school youth group, who are presently in the hardcore band Kady! Danger.

Be inspired.

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Let’s do some MUTEMATH

One of my life regrets is not getting into MUTEMATH sooner. I got their CD Armistice for my birthday last year (which I fell in love
with), and I just saw their music video “Typical” for the first time a couple weeks ago–which made me feel a little ashamed of myself, after I got over almost having my head blow up from overexposure of too much genius ….

But what matters is that I’m on the right track now, and I’m excited to introduce some of MUTEMATH’s new work for their upcoming album Odd Soul, which is due to land in October.

The single, “Blood Pressure” hit iTunes today, and I’m liking its funky blues-rock vibe and its rather sweet drum work. Alongside it is “Odd Soul,” a less catchy and more experimental piece, but no less noteworthy, with a stellar music video available on the band’s Facebook.

Shoot, I’m pumped.

Why I am so proud my brother won a rock…

My brother brought home a rock Saturday night. And I am so proud.

…Okay, it wasn’t just any rock, of course.

The Slick Rock Film Festival takes place at the Fox Theater in Visalia, one of the most highly anticipated film festival for junior high and high school students in California’s Central Valley. Hundreds of short films are entered into specific categories, and the winners are awarded with a plaque, certificates, filming gadgets (like microphones), bragging rights, and the highly prized rock, which is polished and engraved.

My brother collaborated with some high school youth group friends and made a music video over the summer, called “Welcome Freshman,” an original composition meant to be shown at the youth group over the summer to welcome the new freshman kids. After its completion, my brother figured he could enter it in the Slick Rock competition as well.

So on Saturday night, we (which included my brother and his crew, some parents, and me) sat patiently for the Music Video category to be announced, which was listed as the last category on the program.

The screen showed the nominees. Tension radiated from our section of the theater. I was probably squeezing my hands intensely.

The winner of the Music Video category went to a group from University High. I sighed in disappointment. Well, it was nice being here.

But there was one rock left on the award table. Oh, there’s a Best of Show category? That’s not in the program…

I figured the Best of Show would be the top film out of the ones that had won in the separate categories. But the screen didn’t list nominees, just simply:

Adrenaline rushed through me, and my mom was totally screaming. We forgot we weren’t the ones that actually won.

Best part? The music video was a rap, and after it was played and the host handed the guys their awards, this is what he said:

“You guys are so WHITE.”

So, my brother took home a rock that night. A slick rock, that is. And I went to bed grinning my face off.

In fact, I was so proud, I decided to write a blog about it and post the video right here so you could watch it! (You may want to watch it twice. It gets funnier every time).

The Fresno Bee gives the full listing of the festival’s winners here.

All photos credited to Lisa Ramsey. Thanks! :)

Underoath–not just a band, I’m not just a fan

The day I heard Aaron Gillespie left Underoath, I almost cried. I think people thought I made a really big deal about it. I told others, and myself, that this is why the news was so terrible to me:

1. Gillespie simply is an amazing drummer, and the chemistry that he and Spencer Chamberlain (lead singer) had as vocalists was really quite unique. Songs like “Too Bright to See. Too Loud to Hear” just wouldn’t be happening anymore.

2. I admit, I have a soft spot for Gillespie….the product of a past teenage-girl crush I had on him. Sorry. Don’t blame me, he was the red-headed drummer of my favorite hardcore band! What was I supposed to do?

3. Gillespie was the last remaining original member of Underoath when it started, from the ground up. Knowing he wouldn’t be there anymore was just weird.

4. I never would be able to see THIS in concert ever:

pig(Photo credit not mine)

So, those were the reasons I thought I was so upset about dear Aaron Gillespie leaving Underoath. As life moved on and I accepted my heartbreak (yeah, so dramatic), I still continued to follow Underoath, and I was happy to receive their new album
Ø (Disambiguation) for Christmas.

Yesterday, though, I watched the music video for their single “In Division.” Out of all Underoath’s bizarre, raw music videos, this one ranks at the top for me. Seriously; here’s a screenshot I found online of one of the scenes:

As I was watching the video, though, I found myself saying, “Oh my gosh, Tim!”…”Whoa! Look at Chris! He’s so crazy!”…”Haha, oh, James…”…”Aw, Grant!”…and, “Oh no! Spencer’s drowning! Sad…”

Then it hit me–even though I’ve never met any of these guys, much less seen Underoath in concert (truly a sad thing), this band has been part of my life ever since I started listening to them back in my early high school years. From the first time I watched their video biography from debut They’re Only Chasing Safety, it was like I entered into their world. And for the next couple of years, I grew up with the Underoath family–that was the special part of Underoath, how they never changed since Chasing Safety; no lineup rearrangements, no breakups, no hiatus. Unlike a number of other bands I listened to, Underoath held to consistency.

So when Aaron left, you could say this wasn’t the typical so-and-so-band-broke-up-that’s-too-bad-they-were-pretty-good sort of deal. No, we’re talking about a my-big-brother-just-moved-halfway-across-the-world-I-may-never-see-him-again sort of deal.

I was rather relieved to realize my feelings weren’t simply the product of a very disappointed fangirl.

Though I believe Underoath will never be the same without you, Aaron Gillespie, I will still listen, support, and love them. Ø (Disambiguation) is a rather fantastic album, and the “In Division” music video is a pretty good way to express its hardcore awesomeness.

Hands (pt. 2)

Artist: The Almost

Album: Monster Monster

My previous blog on Hands was inspired from this music video of The Almost’s song “Hands.” May I encourage you to take a short break and watch it? The message in the music is simple, but powerful.

Lyrics:

With our hands up high we’re screamin’
Whoa whoa-oh, whoa whoa-oh

I’m not afraid
To make big mistakes
To fall flat on my face
I need to get this looked at
Need to get this looked at
I need some time to think
About what I’ve done
Oh, one last thing before I go

Chorus:
With our hands up high we’re sreaming
Whoa whoa-oh, whoa whoa-oh
And with our feet
We stomp a cadence for you

It’s all free and that’s real
It’s all free, you said I need
To accept, I need forget I guess
I’m glad I got this looked at
Finally got this looked at
I’m so glad you came for me
Get this, get this right
Before we go

Chorus

Bridge:
I am the one who needs you
I am the one who needs you
I am the one who needs you

Chorus