Music has definitely been a heavy topic on this trip. First of all it was the reason we came over to the UK, also it’s how we got to meet so many great people and bands, we also lived and breathed music – whether it was setting up or hanging out in the bus – music was playing or being talked about. A huge issue is the whole illegally downloading part of the music industry now. It’s a virus for music and has torn down the industry to bare bones.
It’s really a vicious cycle once you think about it…if creatives in general (i.e. authors, filmmakers, musicians, artists, etc…) aren’t able to provide for themselves and their families then they aren’t able to do what they love anymore. And that’s the harsh reality of art. It sucks.
A lot of people have set out to show the truth behind the topic, but I really haven’t been super stoked on them until I stumbled on Unsound. A true account of how downloading art illegally hurts the artist. Following 5 artists cellist Zoe Keating, indie rock icon David Lowery from the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven, Jurassic 5, Tycho, and singer songwriter Rhett Miller.
“The internet revolution has brought about so many positive changes in our lives, but there is another side to this story that has not only impacted the livelihoods of musicians, but creators of all kinds. Although the music business was hit first in the digital economy, many other industries are not far behind. As the world becomes digital, the work of creators is now at risk. Increasingly all music, books, movies, and media has either been devalued, or is widely available for free illegally online. Right now, the people that create the things that we all love and depend on are struggling more than ever. In just over a decade, creators have watched their work become increasingly devalued, and their ability to survive from their work is in great danger.”
I’ve written about LaVoy before – and I’m super proud whenever I get to write about them. They’ve been super busy the last few months with recording new songs with prestigious producer, Tony Hoffer (M83, Silversun Pickups, Fitz & The Tantrums, etc…) in LA and now they have teamed up with Alaskan based production company Sons Of Winter to make a music video for one of their new songs “Fool Proof Plan.”
I love the simplicity of the video. It shows off a great deal of beautiful Alaskan scenery – and it’s not a performance video and doesn’t have the whole band (which is dissapointing – the other guys look great on camera) but it let’s you focus on the words and the visual aspect of the shots more.
Check out their brand new songs that they recorded in LA below…
Amazing sci-fi animated trailer for Le Castle Vania‘s new album”Prophication.” I love how the futuristic landscape of the video goes so well with the cinematic dance inspired song. Orchid Animation aka Evan Viera has done some wonderful work including the widely popular Caldera animated short, he also has an impressive music portfolio.
Like most people – when I get into bed – no matter what time it is – I get on my phone. It’s almost like I have to now to sleep. Usually when I do – I have 2 apps that I catch up on. One being Reddit, which this post is not about, and the other being Flipboard.
Flipboard has become my source for not just current events, but literally everything. If you’re not familiar with Flipboard – here’s a definition I grabbed from Wikipedia – “It collects the content of social media and other websites and presents it in magazine format and allows users to ‘flip’ through their social-networking feeds and feeds from websites that have partnered with the company.”
It’s kind of hard to pinpoint about what specifically I’ve learned from using Flipboard, because I browse user made magazines and literally subscribe to whatever looks interesting, and if you’ve been following this blog for a while – you know a lot of different things interest me.
But anyways – I started making a Flipboard companion for the site. It’s a lot of different topics thrown into one – and honestly would never make it as a print magazine, but it’s things I love and find visually pleasing and inspiring. If Flipboard sounds like something you’d be into – check out the These Old Colors Flipboard here.
In light of the colder days here in Alaska – I have taken to my couch and am protesting getting up from under the covers. It’s too cold out there. I like the warmth of my apartment and some nice tunes to listen to – also a good cup of coffee doesn’t hurt to add to that combination either.
But wherever you live – whether it’s the same temperature outside that it has been for the last several months or years – you’ll enjoy this playlist to spice things up in the morning. On another note – you need to check out Nosaj Thing’s album “Home” – it’s been on repeat for me the last week or so.
If you missed the last couple MMM’s – click HERE.
Some of you might know that I’m in a band up here in Alaska called Thera. I play the bass, once in a while play the guitar, and help out in the synth department. It’s probably one reason why I’m still a little sane to make music on a larger scale then just on my computer in my room by myself.
A little while ago – we announced that we’re heading to the UK for a 2 week tour in November with Alaskan heroes 36 Crazy Fists. Which is a huge opportunity that we never expected to get to do. There’s a couple reasons why I’m stoked about this tour. First – it’s in the UK. Second – it’s with 36. Third – it’s in the UK. I’ve never been overseas (never been out of North America for that matter) and have always wanted to, but here’s my chance to see the world while playing music.
We’ve toured the US before, and we were thankful for the opportunity to do that, but it was tough being a no name band traveling through the states and trying to get people to come to our shows. So – the US was a little tough – let’s try the UK!
The only downside to the tour is we are having to pay for everything ourselves. And even though we thought about doing a Kickstarter again – we didn’t want to keep bogging down your Facebook feeds with a post everyday that says “Help us go on tour by giving us money!!” Even though Kickstarter is a huge help to get projects goin – we wanted to do this on our own and work really hard for it. This will be the biggest thing we’ve ever done…and the most expensive.
So we came up with one idea…it’s not the biggest idea we’ve had, but hopefully it helps. I designed a special t-shirt just for the people that want to help us go on tour to the UK. It’s my first dive into the t-shirt designing business and am really excited how it turned out.
If you’d like one for yourself – you can send $30 our way via PayPal with the email address – email@example.com – we still have a bunch of shirts left including XS, S, M, L & XL. If you would like one – we only have a limited supply – around 100 – and they’re selling pretty fast, but make sure you add your size and address with the purchase. If we sell out of all of them – we might get more – so don’t be discouraged if we sell out of the first batch.
If you don’t want one – totally cool – I’m curious if you like the design I made. Like I said – it’s my first t-shirt design – and I would love to get feedback from the people out there. You can leave a comment on here or on Facebook. Thanks for reading!
Another week has come and gone…and that means another edition of Monday Morning Music. If you missed last weeks click HERE…and HERE for the week before. I’m finding it really fun to collect songs for these posts – discovering new bands and songs that I’ve never heard of before. I hope you’re enjoying the music as much as I am finding them.
So let’s dive into your morning. Hopefully it’s a relaxing and enjoyable one.
So it’s Monday…and I’m feeling good about this one. Changed the format from Soundcloud to Spotify, because Soundcloud didn’t have all the songs I wanted. If you’re just joining us…Monday Morning Music is my attempt to make your Monday morning’s a little more bearable by having some chill music to wake you up and get you going. Here’s last weeks playlist.
I kept the vocals away on this one, all you’re gonna get is a little “Woo’s” from Jonsi, but other then that it’s pure instrumental. I liked it like that, keeping it simple, just sticking with the music.
Well…I’m impressed with Mansions On The Moon. Not only did they make a phenomenal EP that has been playing in my headphones for quite a while now, but they single handedly have caught the attention of music stars Pharrell Williams, Wiz Khalifa, Mac Miller, and Diplo. If four white boys who play chillwave electronic music can roll with rap artists…you know you’ve got something good on your hands. The following song “Leaves Fall” is the first one I heard off their EP “Lightyears” which was executive produced by Williams. Super chill – and a great vibe to it. Love the vocals.
I know I’ve been saying this a lot lately…but expect something good to come from these guys…not only do they have some powerful backers, but they got the music to prove it.
If you’ve been looking for something to play on that long drive back from a long weekend of camping – look no further. Tessa Rose Jackson has you covered. Her song “Lost And Found” might be the catchiest damn thing I’ve heard in a long time.
Her voice is so sweet and it makes me just want an album of her singing lullabies acapella all with my name in them. When the chorus starts – “Lost and found / Lost and found, and found / Never meant to be / Still we’ll stick around / For now, for now” along with the beginning – there both such simple melodies, but yet it’s been stuck in my head for a while now. It’s that good. Her album “(Songs From) The Sandbox” reminds me a little bit of Feist – so this is for you Feist fans, you’ll love it. I promise. Or your money back.
I’ve always been a fan of mixes that set a mood – that tell a story in music. My favorite’s I’ve done are probably A Midsummer’s DayDream and the “Music To _____ To” series. If you’ve followed ToC for a while…you probably know what I’m talking about. Today while perusing my Feedly – I stumbled on an amazing article from DJ TechTools that shares the basics of telling a story through a DJ Mix.
It’s a concept that I’ve been doing for a while, but never really thought too deeply about. I’ve always thought about telling stories with words or film, but why not share it with music? A great quote from Pamela Rutledge in the article - “Stories are how we think. They are how we make meaning of life…Stories are how we explain how things work, how we make decisions, how we justify our decisions, how we persuade others, how we understand our place in the world, create our identities, and define and teach social values.”
It goes along with what I’ve been reading in Robert McKee’s book “Story” (which I highly recommend) – “The archetypal story unearths a universally human experience, then wraps itself inside a unique, culture-specific expression.” The same can go for producing music too. You grab the attention of the listener in the beginning with a hook, making them want to hear more, and instead of just doing the mundane verse / chorus / verse / chorus – you take them on a journey into a new listening experience.
You can read the whole “Storytelling In A DJ Mix” here – which has a lot of good examples of great music storytelling including a set from Flying Lotus.
Remember when I used to do Music Mondays? Well…this is gonna be similar, and hopefully I can stay on track with this one. But I was thinking the other day – how nice it would be to have some good morning music for a Monday to put us in the mood for the beginning of the work week.
I usually like to listen to chill music while I wake up and sip coffee while roaming the interweb before heading out. It wakes me up in a gentle way, and also I’ve noticed it puts me in a good mood. So – hopefully every Monday morning – I can start to compile some of my favorite morning tracks for you to take advantage of.
I had a couple more I wanted to share, but I could not find them via Soundcloud, so these seven will have to do for now.
Two years ago today I started my first Spotify playlist – “TheseOldColors Radio.” I remember exactly where I was too. Fresh off a 2 month tour in 2011, hanging out with the family in upstate New York – and I got just a little too excited over this new music discovery tool. At first I put everything in the playlist…dance, hip hop, rock, whatever…then I decided to branch off and make more playlists dedicated to a genre. TheseOldColors Radio is still my favorite though…kind of being an eclectic group of songs that fits so well together, and putting it on shuffle is the best. It’s crazy to think that I’ve added 754 tracks and counting to the playlist – and now with over 20+ other playlists – it’s a lot of music. Spotify has changed the way I listen / find / and share music.
If you don’t have Spotify – and you don’t hate music – go ahead and download it…because…heck, it’s free. Then once you have it…feel free to share with me your favorite songs of 2013 or whatever.
Here’s a quick question before you head on to do that though…if there was an actual ToC radio show – would you listen to it? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.
Haerts is about to be a band that you will hear a lot of. Hailing from the big Brooklyn, NY, the 5 piece band are making big waves in the indie music world and don’t even have that much in their discopgraphy yet. I like how Ben Taylor from Swide described their sound -”These guys are on to something big, crafting a sound that is not only very now, but also nods to acts of decades past, taking us on a nostalgic journey that looks firmly into the future.” Really good way to define the music their producing. They’re taking elements from past, present, and future…and turning up on top with a huge, epic, heavy sound.
Get to know Haerts better with a video made by Yours Truly.
I know most of you aren’t from Alaska and probably have never been here – and you probably won’t care about this – but if you’re one of the special few who have ever wondered what it’s like to go to a concert in the big AK, look no further. Matt Collins of the Anchorage Press has released 10 interesting behaviors you might see at a concert or festival in Alaska.
He hit the nail right on the head for some of them…like the ‘Unwavering Appreciation’ – spot on. I also like how he started out with ‘Shirtless fat dudes in the moshpit’ – because let’s all be honest – we know that guy. Or at least we know he’s going to be around when we need him the most.
I love projects that fuse more then one art form. I always come back to the band, MAE, an acronym for multi-sensory aesthetic experience, meaning to please more then one sense and dealing with the human’s response to beauty. I’ve always loved the thought of that. It’s so easy to please one at a time, but adding on top of it, gets more complex and in-depth.
That’s probably why I love this project ‘Symphonie Cinétique – The poetry of motion’ by media artist Joachim Sauter and composer Ólafur Arnalds where they try to ‘fathom the synergy between kinetic movement and sound, at the MADE Berlin.’ Doubt we’ll ever be able to hear Ólafur‘s compositions, he said this about the project, “The music is created for this space and this moment. It’s beautiful and very precious in it’s way, it will disappear and may never happen again.” Wish I could fly over to Berlin and discover this for myself.
So it’s been a while since I made a ToC mix – but I thought I would change things up a bit and release one only on Spotify. It’s weird – yea – I know, but there were so many songs that I wanted to put into this end of the summer mix – that it just wouldn’t work out. So instead of picking 8-10 good tracks – I thought I’d share with you all of them, because they go so well together.
These are some of the songs that have been the background music for some of my Alaskan adventures this summer. It goes from pop to hip hop to folk to indie to dance. It’s a very diverse mix, but it’s perfect if you need some music to finish out the summer with.
If you’re already on Spotify – I’m always on the lookout for some new music, so feel free to send me your favorite tracks via Spotify.
One of the coolest things that happened to me because of this website was I got to join my favorite local Alaskan band, Lavoy. It started with THIS interview about their new CD “Bearly Merry” – I thought it would help them out and would be cool to give a sneak peak behind the album. Because of that interview – me and singer, Tyrell, decided to grab lunch – and during the hour we set aside for lunch we found out we shared an interest in the same music – next thing I know and a couple weeks later…I’m in the band. What an honor it was to play with these guy for about a year. Such an inspirational set of guys and their encouragement throughout my time with them was legendary – also the songs we wrote were dope. They have an amazing mindset and focus for music that I didn’t appreciate until I left the band.
Lavoy is about to move on to bigger and better things, and I wish them the best – couldn’t be more happier for them…but before they do…they’ve been talking about something big coming out June 1st. So follow them on their Facebook for the big update.
Here are some of the new songs I helped write. Really stoked to hear these songs getting a great overhaul with new parts and sounds.
The electronic pop duo from Ireland, Young Wonder, has released a brand new album titled “Show Your Teeth” that follows up last years self titled debut. When I found their last record I went crazy for it. Mostly the only thing I listened to for two weeks. It caught my inspiration, because it was the music I was wanting to make and it just got me. This release is a solid follow up, but doesn’t catch my attention as much as the first one. It almost seems more melancholy then the bouncy happy tunes we’re used to from the previous EP. The backing beat is still my favorite part with Young Wonder, but they’ve decided to focus more on the vocals this time by adding very Bjork inspired melodies and phrasing.
It’s definitely worth checking out if you liked the first release. I’m on my second listen through and it’s definitely catching my mood in a perfect way right now.
It’s about time for another mix. To celebrate the changing of seasons and well…the 80s – I put together my favorite 80s inspired electronic tracks as of lately. It’s a continuous loop of music for almost 40 minutes – that might be well suited for long drives or just chill sessions by yourself.
I really started getting into 80s inspired electronic music not too long ago when I came across Kavinsky’s “Nightcall.” Com Truise had a little to do about it too. Both of who don’t make appearances in this mix (I actually did have a song by each of them in the first draft, but they didn’t go with the flow I wanted). To find more 80s music check out the record label Telefuture, which Makeup & Vanity Set (another goldmine of synths) is on, and the blog New Retro Wave.
And I have to hand it to Ryan Monson, bass player for LaVoy and graphic designer extraordinaire, for coming up with these designs for the artwork. I was really struggling with an idea to get all up in the face of the glorious 80s music and couldn’t wrestle my Photoshop skills down, so I contacted Ryan and he gladly provided not just one but two amazing designs. I loved the Statue of Liberty for the cover, but the second one was a close second. Remember when he did that awesome artwork for the “Music To Drive To” mix? That still is one of my favorite covers for a ToC mix of all time. Simple yet memorable.
Hey Champ /// Comet (feat. BeuKes)
Cinnamon Chasers /// Luv Deluxe
Futurecop! /// Karate
Monsieur Adi /// Fire Fire Fire
Power Glove /// Night Force
FM Attack /// Dreamer
Rain Sword /// Heart Of Light
The Outrunners /// Runaways
Anoraak /// Nightdrive With You (Fear Of Tigers Remix)
Historian is quickly becoming one of my favorite Alaskan acts to see live. I saw them the other day with my old band LaVoy at The Taproot here in Anchorage, and I’m not sure what it was – but this time their music hit me differently then it has before. Maybe it was because I wasn’t setting down gear or getting ready to come on after them that calmed my nerves…but I had a really great time listening to Historian. Recently local DJ “Alex The Lion” remixed one of their older songs “All Of My Friends Are Extinct” transforming it into a more electronically induced listening experience. The four piece band has big plans for the future but right now they are planning on releasing an EP they call “Romance” on July 27.
As an added bonus you can listen to their first single “Rebellious Flesh” after the jump.
I love Alaska. Every time I go out of state I keep moving back here. Honestly…not sure why…I hate the winter and it’s dark – cold – wet half of the year, but for some reason I can’t get enough of this place. When I think about it – part of what draws me to Alaska – is it’s “compactness” – for example: it’s a lot easier for a band to play shows or to start up a business in Alaska then it is in New York – mostly because you have less competition and criticism. Artist’s up here get a lot of recognition for their work – whether it’s painting or photography or whatever – the tight knit art community that Alaska has put together is growing and is turning into something amazing.
I don’t talk about my home state as much as I should on here. I’m proud of the things that are coming out of Alaska, and in the future I will begin to write more and more about it – the music, the events, the people, the places, etc…
To kick it off…I want to talk about Anchorage Community Works, a new place that is opening up this summer. It’s dedicated to putting like minded thinkers in the same room to learn from each other or work together. ACW will be a multipurpose building being used as a concert venue, art studio, shared classroom, and collaborative workspace holding classes on health, art, bike making, business and as a added bonus – have film screenings and art shows. They started a Kickstarter to help them get ready for the grand opening. I posted the video below which gives you a little more insight into who ACW is and why it’s a necessary addition for Anchorage.
Something like this is crucial for this city. A place for artists and like minded individuals to come together instead of a Kaladis or a bar. Check out their Kickstarter – and if you feel so inclined – drop a few dollars off while you’re there.
The other day I wrote about creating with my hands outside of my computer, and after I posted about it – I thought about making a little series about Finding Inspiration. So today is part two of helping you find inspiration and help you create the things that you want to create without having Facebook or other stupid things get in the way.
Lately it’s hard for me to find the motivation I need to complete the projects I’ve been working on. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ll listen to Madeon‘s latest album and get bummed at how he is 5 years younger then me and his music is lightyears beyond mine, or if it’s the place I live just confining my brain. When I was on a trip to New York recently – I got that kick of inspiration I’ve been looking for, not really for music because I really didn’t want to spend all my time making music, but just on other things – like design, and writing – creative things that keep my brain working in that area. So possibly it has something to do with the place I live or maybe that I just need to get out more in Alaska. The snow is melting – so now I have no excuse to get out now.
To help me get motivated in my creative endeavors – I’ve been scouring the internet looking for ways to get myself motivated where I am now. I don’t have the money to go to cool places every month or travel the world right now – so I’m stuck.
I’ve compiled several links split into several categories for myself and you guys. Some of these links are articles that may not be relevant to you in your creative process right now…but I’m sure you can take something away from them either way. The links are sites I visit every couple of days – if not every day. I also added my Spotify profile at the bottom – because music is a direct link to our brain and it helps us find creativity sometimes without even looking for it.
Hit the jump for more links in different categories…
I reviewed How To Destroy Angel’s first release “Welcome oblivion” a couple of months ago on here – and even though I gave it a 50% – I might be changing my opinion. First off – with more listens – the album comes out to me in a more gritty tone then it did before. Might be that being in the dark Alaskan winter – this album was not what I needed – leading to the rating, but now with spirits high – this album really is inspiring me.
To say all that – this post isn’t to apologize about the grade I gave the record – it’s to talk about their new amazing live shows design.
Rob Sheridan, HTDA’s art director, is not in the background during performances – he is up on stage – equipped with a Livid MIDI controller and an iPad Mini running Lemur that controls the lights and a 16-foot tall curtain of 14-inch surgical tubing.
Wo…what was that last part? Exactly what you read. Watch the video of the making of the live show – specifically for Coachella – but in turn surrounding an entire 12 show tour around this setup, just because it’s so damn cool.
If you want to see them perform the title track “Welcome oblviion” click ahead on the jump to see the video…
Christopher Willits is not a new name to the blog. I’ve talked about his album “Ancient Future” with amazing pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto – which even went on my favorite albums of 2012 list – and I’ve also talked about projects he has been involved with. I find his work super inspiring and even more so when he goes in depth on how he creates his music and art.
That’s where his new video series CREATE comes in. He’s made two videos over the last several months that go in depth on his recording and creative process. I really respect Willits as a musician, because he has been teaching the craft for so long. He doesn’t just keep it to himself and sit inside his bedroom making ominous texture tracks – he explores with everyone the nature of his music.
Watch the first episode below where he talks about the process behind Ancient Future.
Continue on to the second video after the jump…
My buddy Mac, from the band Griffith, shared this on facebook – and I had to share it on here.
Architects made an amazing album last year. It was one of my favorite metal albums of 2012, mostly because it was a metal record that I actually bought, since I couldn’t get it on Spotify. At that time when I bought it – I started following the individual members on tumblr and would see pictures of them traveling the world and be jealous of the the cool shit they got to do.
Now they’re releasing – “One Hundred Days” – the documentary of their 3 and half month tour last year. I’m excited for this – not just because I’m a music documentary freak, but it was a tour I followed from the internet – reading stories and seeing pictures – and now I’ll be able to experience it on DVD.
One of my favorite things to do on my downtime is go through Spotify and just listen through new music. I love to add music to my playlist “TheseOldColors Radio” – and it might be weird, but that’s my favorite playlist to listen to when I’m driving, taking a shower, chillin, etc… It’s got all my favorite tunes and new ones that are just too good to not listen to once.
The new Spotify find of the day is an Australian band called Alpine. I first found it on my buddy Greg’s playlist “thawing” – which is a great array of music for this time of year – so go ahead and follow it.
Alpine has all the right sounds for me. A little bit of pop with some dance grooves thrown in. It’s not overpowering – which is easy to do with all of the tools at our fingersteps – they keep it light. Adding shimmering guitar tones below some beautiful airy vocals provided by lead singers Phoebe Baker and Lou James.
I usually post about things I find on the internet – some call it curating – and I think that’s a good word for it. It’s rare when I write about something I’ve done on here. So…I’m gonna face my fears and put out these songs that I’ve been working on, because I want you guys to see what I do when I’m not posting on here.
I’m very particular in who I let listen to my music…I’m not sure if I’m waiting for the right moment to release them and don’t want too many people to hear or if I’m just a perfectionist and can’t let anything be done. Probably both. But I think I just want to get them out and see if it’s worth working on or not. I thought maybe you guys can help me out with feedback before I finalize them and send them off to be whatever they are going to be.
They’re very new – I haven’t even made artwork for them yet and all their names are just the first thing that popped into my head. Nothing special here. Just listen to the music and let me know what you think.
Follow my Soundcloud and leave me a comment if you like what you hear.