Category Archives: Music

JJAMZ – Cafe Du Nord

It’s been a ridiculously long time since I’ve actually gone to see a show. I guess you can say Noisette counts because I saw the Dodos and Pillowfight, and I guess I saw a few other bands perform over the last few months, but they’ve all been part of some festival or other event. To actually go see a band or someone else perform? Embarrassingly, that might be when I took my mom to see Michael Buble. And before that, the New Pornographers in 2010. Inconceivable! This is a dry spell I’m glad to be ending.

In any case, learning about JJAMZ was a semi-random journey of chance. I’ve been a huge fan of bands like Phantom Planet, Rilo Kiley, The Like, Maroon 5 (when they wrote Songs About Jane), etc. ever since late high school. Seeing each of these bands either split up or, in the case of Maroon 5, slowly degenerate in quality over the years, has been a depressing process. Thus, when I learned that there was a band that sounded like a mix of these bands, I was excited. For whatever reason, I didn’t continue to look into the band until my friend, by chance, sent me an article about the band, whereupon I learned that this band sounded like a blend of some of my favorite bands of my younger years because it was made up of members of those bands. Needless to say, I bought the album almost immediately. The timing was perfect because they happened to be kicking off their tour in SF on Labor Day. Hurrah!

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Noisette (SF)

When I started this blog, I set out to write primarily about food and music. Several years passed, the interests that inspired me tended to change, and, well, I started writing about anything I felt like writing about. Leave it to Noise Pop to create an event that brings me back to my focus. Noisette, which was held at Public Works in San Francisco last Saturday, was an event dedicated to sampling food prepared by some of the city’s finest chefs while listening to great music. Really, who could ask for more? For the price of the regular admission, you were given a punch card to sample nine dishes, all while listening to music or drinking to your heart’s content.

Unfortunately, my arrival to San Francisco was slightly delayed so my partner in crime and I did not make it to the event until about an hour into the event. For the food, this wasn’t a problem as the plates were being served throughout the event. We did miss the first performance, however.

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SubZero Festival – San Jose, CA

I grew up in the Silicon Valley. I often take the area for granted. It’s not hard when we’re only a hop, skip and a jump away from San Francisco. Sometimes, however, I tend to take a step back and realize that, despite all of the hate that people of the Bay Area pour down on the South Bay, it can be a lot of fun.A couple of weeks ago, I went to a festival in Downtown San Jose. The SubZero Festival, which was in its 5th year, took place on June 1. It’s a celebration of subculture. Part of the event was part of what’s apparently a monthly art walk.  There was also live music, beer tasting, and a lot of food trucks.

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Comfort Music

The Avengers came out. I saw it at midnight and am still fan girling about it. I want to post about it and will, but I wanted to hold off until my fan girl fever dies down (or until I manage to see it a second time). In short, however, the movie was nothing less than amazing. Joss Whedon nailed the superhero movie, as I presumed he would. It’s a must see.

That’s not why I’m writing today. Today’s topic is what I like to refer to as “comfort music.” I’m sure others refer to it in the same manner. Like comfort food, these are the songs or musicians that will make you feel better no matter what’s going on in your life.This is the music that, for me at least, makes me step back reassess my situation, and think somewhat more clearly. I’m sure everyone has certain albums, artists, or songs that elicit this reaction.

For me, it’s not a matter of the tempo of the music, nor is it necessarily a matter of the quality of the music. For instance, as much as the music hipster in me pains to say it, NSync’s self-titled album just does it for me. I could be in the absolute worst mode, but I can’t help but smile if “Tearin’ Up My Heart” is playing somewhere. And even the most soothing music can still leave my ears ringing if I’m in some sort of a panic.

What I’ve realized is that the music that can be most effective at this is often most closely associated with some sort of nostalgic element. Perhaps it’s the nostalgia that elicits those feelings of comfort in the first place. Thus, a band like NSync still brightens my day. In the past week, I’ve been thinking about some of the music I’d consider comfort music. This list is in no particular order and it does not represent all of the artists who have this strange effect on me, but I thought I’d share a handful to give you a small glimpse into my mind.

And Happy Cinco de Mayo!

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Buster Keaton Live Scoring with Merrill Garbus

The San Francisco Film Festival kicked off last week. I know this not just by following general San Francisco news or by the fact that my sister’s been interning with the SF Film Society. No, I also know this because I was at the opening night party. It was a fun event with so much great food. The only downer of the night is that we met Benedict Cumberbatch (of Sherlock fame) and it turns out that he was kind of a butt.

In any case, the event I was most excited about was a live scoring of Buster Keaton and Fatty Arbuckle shorts. The music and scoring was done by Merrill Garbus and the rest of Tune-Yards as well as local guitarist Ava Mendoza. Now, I’m not really that well-versed in classic films and film history. To my knowledge before the event, the only time I saw Buster Keaton in a movie was his very brief cameo in Sunset Boulevard. I later learned that his last film was A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, which I was obsessed with as a kid. Beyond that, I am not familiar with Buster Keaton’s work. Nor had I ever seen anything with Fatty Arbuckle in it before Monday. I was primarily excited by the thought of seeing silent films scored by a band like the Tune-Yards. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I’m a hipster.Whatever.

Well, I guess I have to thank the Tune-Yards for being an intriguing and unique band, because I would have otherwise missed out on a fantastic evening.

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On My Rotation

1. Plants v. Animals

2. Britney Spears

3. Twin Sister

4. Bombay Bicycle Club

5. Air

6. Caveman

7. The Wandas

8. tune yards

What I’ve Been Listening To

There was a while where I didn’t listen to much music. It was a sad and dark time. Not only was it depressing to to not only be completely oblivious about the mainstream popular music, but I also had no idea what was going on in the indie world. Lately, as I’ve been spending my days behind a desk, I’ve been trying to fix that issue. I’ve been trying to keep up with what’s going on and also have discovered and rediscovered albums that had been on my iPod. Sometimes I get really excited about Amazon mp3 deals and buy an album only to later forget I had bought it at all. It’s the epitome of a first world problem, but it also feels amazing when you’re later flipping through your iPod options and discover that this album you’ve had on your iPod for months is an absolute gem. That’s what I felt when I listened to the Zola Jesus album a couple of days ago. In any case, here’s what I’ve been listening to of late (in no particular order):

1) Hospitality – Hospitality

2) Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

3) Zola Jesus – Conatus

4) Andrew Bird – Break It Yourself

5) Air – Le Voyage dans La Lune

6) The Like – Release Me

7) Tune Yards – W h o k i l l

I’ve also been listening to a lot of Britney Spears. I used to hate her when I was in middle school and high school. Some time during college I discovered that she makes for great workout music and she’s been my jogging music the last few weeks.Also got the new Grimes album Vision yesterday and am kind of in love with it.

Noise Pop 2012 – Culture Club

I never feel as much like a hipster as I do when I go to a Noise Pop event. After a year’s absence from the festival, I needed my fix again. Granted, by the time I got my act together for tickets not only were the tickets I wanted all sold out, but the tickets of the bands that seemed enjoyable were also sold out. It all worked out, however, because Mia managed to snag tickets to the Culture Club through her internship. Not having been to Culture Club before, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was kind of like Chuck E Cheese for hipsters. I’ve never felt more like a hipster than I did on Saturday. That being said, I also had a lot of fun.

This is going to be a long picture filled post, so I’ll cut…

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Love Songs for Yelp

Valentine’s Day has snuck up on me this year. It’s not that I actually care for the holiday much or that I actively wait for the day to arrive. We usually  do something, but it’s never too big and we always tend to do it the day before or after to avoid the V-Day crowds. Romantic, I know. In any case, it’s snuck up on me this year and suddenly I’m surrounded by love songs and hearts. Fun. In any case, I went to a Valentine’s Day themed Yelp Elite event and one of the things we had to do was bring a CD of love songs. For most people, this should have been a relatively straightforward task. For me, it was something that I obsessed over for weeks, even before I knew I was getting into the event and it was something I slaved over today in lieu of doing something more productive like, say, applying for jobs. Just kidding, I got a few of those in too :D.

I did not want to make a CD full of just love songs. Love songs are great and all, but if you’re not feeling that vibe this Valentine’s Day, they’re not really the types of songs that you want to hear. As such, I wanted to shake things up a little and put some more breakup-y or heartbreak songs in the mix.  I wanted to tell a story of someone who had gotten out of a relationship, saw someone new, fell for them, and fell for them hard. I wanted to end the CD with the happiest love song I know – Modern Nature by Sondre Lerche. One of my biggest problems was that a lot of songs that I wanted to put on this CD have disappeared since I had to restore my computer in November. That part was lame.

In any case, I really like what I ended up with. Who knows if other people would.

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Behind the Photo: San Diego 2007

On stage with Miggs

I had a lot of fun writing the last post. I realized that there are a lot of photos I have sitting around in my computer worthy of some serious story telling. Now, I can’t do this all the time. I don’t have that many pictures. But yesterday was my twenty-seventh birthday (I feel old) and this picture was taken on my birthday several years ago, so I felt like this was a fitting time to post this pic.

Back when I wanted to dedicate this blog just to music and food, I did actually have one post that I think I did a pretty good job on. That was my show review of the band Miggs. Well, I said it then and I’ll say it again now. I’ve been following that band for a LONG time. I used to watch them play shows at local Borders. They recently actually appeared on an episode of the Soup, so I feel like they’ve come a long way since then.

They had a show in San Diego on what I think was my twenty-second birthday. It was at this small venue I’d seen them at before called Lestat‘s. I brought a couple of college friends with me and picked up my brother from the dorms along the way. We were there ridiculously early, so ended up finding and falling in love with this nearby Mexican restaurant called El Zarape. We managed to get back to Lestats just in time for the show and it was quite a fun show. Having seen Miggs perform way too many times for me to count, I can say for certain that I definitely do not get tired of their live shows. They always add something new and that time they did not disappoint.

I share my birthday with another big fan from the area and we were all MySpace friends. Don, the lead singer, pulled both of us up during one of the songs to sit on the stage. It was kind of awkward to sit up there, but it was a lot of fun and made for quite the birthday memory. After the show, they even signed and gave me a drum cymbal. So, that’s the story behind this picture and my memorable twenty-second birthday.