Death Cab for Cutie: Kintsugi Album Review

Ah, DCFC. This band has taken me on a tour of emotion through the years- “Marching Bands of Manhattan” evokes sadness, “I Will Possess Your Heart,” a cold anger, “A Lack of Color” tranquility, and “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” nihilistic love. Needless to say, DCFC has proven countless times to fans their worth in the pantheon of alternative rock gods.

In Kintsugi, I was looking forward to the storytelling genius I came to love in Plans or the intense instrumental skill of Narrow Stairs. But what I got was a DCFC album focused on lyricism, telling the story of a man who’s suffered a terrible breakup. (This album came after DCFC songwriter Benjamin Gibbard’s wife Zooey Deschanel broke up with him.)

“No Room in Frame” begins Kintsugi with layered synths that tickle the ears and a familiar Ben Gibbard pairing of depressive lyrics with a cheerful melody. In this beginning song we hear traces of the Radiohead-esque electronic instrumentation that differentiate Kintsugi from all previous DFCF offerings.

One of the two songs I would learn to sing along to, “The Ghost of Beverly Drive” sounds the most like classic DCFC, featuring a minimal bassline and fast-paced, hihat- heavy drumming. Yet it still manages to innovate with a vaguely Eastern fill in the middle portion of the song and an absolutely fantastic bridge featuring a dark synth (2:41-3:06).

I hope that we can see more of this electronic influence in future albums from Ben Gibbard and the crew.

Kintsugi’s biggest weakness is its repetition. Most songs describe a similar theme-love lost-with little to no true solos. Some could call this a matter of taste, but DCFC wasted a lot of space where they could have innovated melodically.

“Ingenue” is the other song I would listen to enough to learn its lyrics. It’s a pleasant, plodding ballad with a sonic texture composed of the word “la” looped hundreds of times, bright electric guitar and lots of closed hi hat and sleigh bells. In my opinion it’s the most musically complex song on the album.

Overall, I was not amazed on my first listen. But after a second and third time listening to each song, they grew on me, and I appreciate the talent that went into writing them even if the creativity wasn’t apparent on every single song.

Rating: 3/5

Posted in Albums, Reviews

Jake Miller’s Dazed and Confused!

Sometimes it takes me a few plays to really get into a song. At times, it’s five…sometimes two. Rarely one. Jake Miller’s new single “Dazed and Confused” featuring Travie McCoy had me in less than ten seconds. All it took was a simple: “Ba da, ba da ba da…Ba da, ba da” and it was a wrap!

One of MTV’s 2014 “Ones to Watch” artists, Jake Miller’s blend of hip-hop and pop is what has made me a fan for so long. As for the music video, I totally dig it! I’ve had the song on repeat nonstop and I was not disappointed. Jake plays a cashier who comes across a young woman while checking her out. Right after she leaves him totally dazed and stumbling with words (see where this is going?) an accident occurs leaving things a bit hectic. Check out the video below!

With special appearances by Austin Mahone and Travie McCoy, I think the video is precious and more than fitting for the song. Even though things get weird…it’s fun, quirky and entertaining! What do you think? I dare you to get through the song without singing along! It’s so catchy I’m obsessed!

Now signed to Warner Bros. Records, Jake is set to hit the road for the “The Dazed And Confused Tour” with artists Alex Angelo and Jasmine Villegas this July! There are no Texas dates released in the first leg (crossing my fingers for Houston) but check out the rest of his U.S. tour dates!

July 8: Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom – On Sale 4/10 @ 12pmEST
July 9: New York, NY – Best Buy Theater – On Sale 4/10 @ 12pmEST
July 11: Boston, MA – House of Blues – On Sale 4/10 @ 11amEST
July 14: New Haven, CT – Toad’s Place – On Sale 4/10 @ 12pmEST
July 15: Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club – On Sale 4/11 @ 10amEST
July 17: Washington, DC – 9 -30 Club – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 18: Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of the Living Arts – On Sale 4/10 @ 12pmEST
July 19: Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar – On Sale 4/11 @ 12pmEST
July 21: Cincinnati, OH – Bogart’s – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 22: Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend – On Sale 4/11 @ 10amEST
July 24: Orlando, FL – Beacham Theater – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 25: Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 26: Jacksonville Beach, FL – Freebird Live – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 28: Atlanta, GA – The Loft – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
July 31: Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom – On Sale 4/11 @ 10amCST
August 1: Cleveland, OH – House of Blues – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amEST
August 3: Milwaukee, WI – The Rave – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amCST
August 4: Chicago, IL – House of Blues – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amCST
August 5: Kansas City, MO – Record Bar – On Sale 4/11 @ 11amCST
August 8: Phoenix, AZ – Crescent Ballroom – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amMST
August 9: San Diego, CA – House of Blues – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amPST
August 10: San Francisco, CA – Slim’s – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amPST
August 11: Los Angeles, CA – El Rey – On Sale 4/4 @ 10amPST
August 13: Anaheim, CA – House of Blues – On Sale 4/10 @ 10amPST

Want more? Check out his music on Spotify and other social media!

Twitter

iTunes

Instagram

YouTube

Thanks for reading! “Ba da, ba da ba da…Ba da, ba da”

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Artists, Music, Music Videos, New Releases

Austin Pysch Fest Headliners: The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips are headlining Austin Psych Fest/Levitation Fest! Why does this matter? Because the Flaming Lips and their enigmatic leader Wayne Coyne are a spectacle to behold; I mean that in the best way possible. I had the pleasure of witnessing a Flaming Lips live show at Free Press Summer Fest here in Houston a few years ago, and boy was it a show. I had the privilege of seeing them perform Pink Floyd’s classic “Dark Side of the Moon.” More recently, the Flaming Lips have released their version of the Beatles classic “Sgt.Pepper and the Lonely Hearts Club Band featuring none other than Miley Cyrus. Hopefully, some of you have already seen the bizarre video from the Lips performing Lucy in the Sky with Miley and Nineties electronic legend Moby.

Warning: This video is NSFW.

See? This ain’t your parents Beatles. The Flaming Lips are a band that have prided themselves on the bizarre, with Wayne Coyne, lead singer, being one of the innovators of the “Headphone Concert” (Silent raves, anyone?) as well as odd recording techniques such as with the album “Zaireeka” which was pressed onto four seperate vinyls, meant to be played simultaneously, which is no easy feat, trust me I’ve tried. There’s a really cool slideshow that talks about some of the weird things The Flaming Lips have done, which can be found here.

Their latest release is “Imagene Peise – Atlas Eets Christmas” an outer space Christmas album, before that is “With a Little Help From My Fwends” the Beatles cover album. Their own original works have received critical acclaim such ” Yoshimi Battle Pink Robots”, my personal favorite, as well as countless others (these guys have basically lived in a studio for the past thirty five years). In 2002, The Flaming Lips were named one of the “50 Bands to See Before You Die” so if you aren’t a fan of the Flaming Lips now, once you see them at Austin Pysch/Levitation Fest you will be.

The Flaming Lips will be performing at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas, Sunday May 10th. Get your tickets fast and listen to Coog Radio for the chance to win some passes! If you don’t want to leave the chance of seeing the Flaming Lips perform to luck, then you can purchase your tickets at this link, three day passes as well as single day passes are available, as well as camping accommodations.

Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what your favorite Flaming Lips moment/song/album/stunt is. Oh, and enjoy the show! Did I mention Wayne Coyne is the dude from those crazy Virgin Mobile commercials?

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Bands, Concert Promo, Giveaways, Music, Promotions, Venues

Coog Radio Interview: PJ

Look out world! PJ is coming through! And she’s coming with a bang. The songwriter turned singer is changing the game. Not to mention, her voice is one of a kind! Her upbeat tunes make it hard to believe that the songwriter’s credits include hardcore rappers Kid Ink, Tyga, Wale, YG, Rich Homie Quan, B.o.B, Wiz Khalifa and Meek Mill. But one thing is clear. PJ is fearless. The artist remains unafraid to stay true to herself and to the public. Her real life enriched messages come from the heart and speak to the soul. In PJ’s song, “Make Believe,” she addresses some of life’s everyday struggles.

This past Saturday, PJ gave us Coogs so much of her love and time. She opened up for Schoolboy Q, rocked the Frontier Fiesta stage, and you loved it! Now, take a look into the mind of PJ. In our interview, PJ opens up about her musical beginnings/influences and her childhood. In addition, PJ gives us an exclusive live performance of her record, “Own.”

Photo by Rupal Mehta

Photo by Rupal Mehta

Photo by Rupal Mehta

Photo by Rupal Mehta

Photo by Rupal Mehta

Photo by Rupal Mehta

PJ’s debut EP, Walking Around Swimming Pools is now available for purchase.

Follow PJ on Twitter and Instagram!

Twitter: @justpeej

Instagram: @justpeej

PJ Interview


Listen to the Full PJ Interview

Coog Radio: What was your musical beginning? What made you realize that you loved music, and this is what you want to do with your life?

PJ: Well I think I always had a passion for it. You know, I was in orchestra. I was an orchestra geek in high school. That was fun. Then when I went to school, I started getting into songwriting. So Before I tried to do music, or think, “Oh, I’m going to be an R&B artist.” Songwriting was first. But I’ve always had in the back of my mind. When I got closer to graduating, that was when. Actually, when I met my managers in L.A. that was the moment when I wanted to be an artist, I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to keep doing that, and be behind people all the time.

Coog Radio: Is there anyone in your family that’s musical? I notice with most artists, somebody in their family did music or does music, and that’s kind of what set that spark for them to go ahead and get into the music game.

PJ: Well, my mom had like a brief stint where she wanted to be a rapper. This was a time period of six months, and that was it. That was when I was in the sixth grade, so I don’t know if that was it. I never saw her perform. I would just see her practice in her room. She wrote music too. My dad, he was a sports guy. He wanted me to play basketball. That’s what he thought I would do. But,  my dad can sing! He’s not a singer, but he can sing.

Coog Radio: So your Dad is a sports guy. He’s like one of the high school musical characters who plays basketball, but has a secret talent.

PJ: Yeah, he’d just sing around the house. My dad played professional football, he ended up doing that, but he’s a sports guy. He likes music now, but he’s football through and through. That’s what he is.

Coog Radio: I want to know your goals for music. You are just getting into the game, and I know that’s very exciting. I know you’ve written songs for people before, so it’s not completely like “getting into the game”, but this is all you. You’re an artist now, and on your own. Where do you see yourself? What is the impact you want to have as an artist?

PJ: I just want to be an amazing performer. Since I just started, that’s a big thing to me. I want to be amazing live. That’s the number one thing. In addition I want people to feel my music and everything. And if they feel it. I just want to be able to give them the same experience they got listening to it in front of them. Since I have a lot of influences, my music is not genre specific to me. It’s more like a vibe. Like everything I talk about is related to being the underdog or an outcast, and you know, everyday things. I’m sure as a college student, you may have financial problems and stuff like that. That’s what I talk about. So that’s what I’m working on. Being accepted for the topics, instead of letting people put me in a box saying, “Oh you’re r&b, or you’re pop.”

Coog Radio: You said you have so many influences. Would you care to name some of them?

PJ: So Disney is my biggest influence. That was like the thing…

Coog Radio: Oh my gosh! Listen. Yesterday I was thinking. I realized that I idolize Walt Disney, and didn’t notice. He’s impacted so many lives.

PJ: When I was little, my mom was a single parent, and you know, kids watch TV all day. So I would watch Disney all the time, and when they would get to the songs – you know back then, every Disney movie had a song; it was a musical basically- I would just rewind those and listen to them back to back. That’s why my melodies on my project are like kind of like Disney. Like its super pop. They’ll be pop melodies, but the beats will be like hip hop or whatever.

Coog Radio: I noticed that. I actually was going to ask. With your music I noticed its poppy, but the…

PJ: The production.

Coog Radio: …is mostly hip-hop and r&b. You said you’re not genre specific, or anything like that. Your music sounds summer time-y. I think this is the best time to release it. Do you write based off of your mood at the moment?

PJ: Yeah, it’s mood. And when I work with my producers, we make it at the same time, so it’s like a journey. I can go off chords. Like one can make me feel this type of way, or something just happened, so I’m going to try and write about this thing. It’s very free form. It’s not planned.

Coog Radio: I like that :) since you brought the freestyle topic up… I was telling PJ earlier, “You seem very relatable. Like I can talk to you!” I don’t feel nervous or anything like that. You dress like me, and I feel comfortable speaking with you. I noticed it’s like that. You’re just REAL.

PJ: Thank you!

Coog Radio: Yeah, you’re just real with your image, and your album art work, and your music videos. Even when you sing. Some artists, you can sort of tell who their influences are because they sound a bit similar. But you’re not sounding like anyone. You sound like yourself. I feel that this is someone who knows who she is. Is that the message you are trying to send out?

PJ: It is! It’s not the whole message, but yes. I feel like I am a majority. I feel I represent the majority of people just by how I look and who I am as a person and everything. But in the music world, we’re a minority. You don’t get to see the everyday girl. You see girls who are a certain way, or always talk about love songs or someone breaking their heart, but there are so many other things that we go through that no one really talks about. I feel like I’m an underdog. I feel that I am for you. I am for everybody. Because we’re not out there, but we’re the people who are really out here!

Coog Radio: Yes. We are the ones that make the world go round.

PJ: Yes.

Coog Radio: Did you go through anything growing up that made you decide you want to start being yourself? We all have our ups and downs, and our insecurities. And sometimes we can take those insecurities and kind of transform ourselves into something we wish could be instead of facing who we really are.

PJ: I feel like being a normal kid and going through middle school and high school is enough of a transition. THAT’S going through something. Not necessarily a specific event. High school is hard. You want to be accepted. You want to be cool. Just being a kid, and going through middle school, and high school. That’s enough of an event. It took me 25 years to be comfortable with who I am. You know, like this PJ now. I wish I could’ve had the same comfort back then, but at least I got it now.

Coog Radio: I notice that you have written for a lot of rappers, and they are hardcore rappers like Tyga, Meek Mill… The only singer I saw on there was Chris Brown. When I listened to your music, I thought it would be like some hardcore type stuff.

PJ: Well someone said I should go by the name of Fionna Trapple. (Laughter) You know who Fionna Apple is, right?

Coog Radio: Yep.

PJ: I have different extremes. I guess I have a little bit of depth. Suicidal, is definitely like the more gangsta side of me. I write for guys because it’s harder to get to female artists. Or at least, it has been for me. That was just the first door that opened, and it happened to be the hip-hop world. They would say, “Oh! That’s dope! We mess with you!” I wrote tons of love songs. I have so many love songs, but that wasn’t the thing that got me in the door. That wasn’t it.

Coog Radio: Do you see yourself branching off into other areas?

PJ: There’s a lot of stuff I would want to do. I definitely want to get into film. Not as an actress, just directing and producing, but that’s like, later. That’s years and years from now. Right now, I want to be an amazing performer, and I want to sell albums. Even though people don’t buy albums… (Laughter), but you know…

Coog Radio: (Laughter) People still buy albums PJ!

PJ: They do. There definitely are those people. I have a friend James. He’s the type of person that buys an album, and he’ll listen to the whole album, and say, “Oh I don’t mind it.”

Coog Radio: Do you have any female influences?

PJ: Right off the bat, my mom. I would have to definitely say Lauryn Hill because she was herself. And it’s so clear that she was herself. Of course, Oprah, because she just gets money. (Laughter) and Dolly Parton. I’m just in awe of her musicality. She is an amazing songwriter. Aretha Franklin! She’s crazy. To see her play the piano, like back in the day, and go ham. And Beyoncé, who doesn’t look up to her. She’s and amazing performer. Its Queen Beyoncé. I’m inspired by different things. It’s not just one. It’s a piece of each and I put it all together.

Posted in Artist Spotlight, Artists, Coog Radio Updates, Music, New Releases, Venues

Rae’s Raves: Kat Deluna Returns and March Favorites!

Why, hello there! It looks like you’ve stumbled upon yet another Rae’s Raves. Let’s get into it!

My Monday significantly improved when Kat Deluna dropped her new track “Bum Bum” featuring Trey Songs late Sunday night. Spring just knocked on our door, but thanks to this tune…I can already taste Summer! Kat always delivers with the upbeat and catchy songs and this one is no different! The sultry and cool vibe this song offers will have you singing along by the second verse. If the reference to Shaggy’s classic hit song “It Wasn’t Me” doesn’t win you over…listen to it again! I dare you to try to keep from bobbing your head or singing along. It’s impossible!

Listen to “Bum Bum” in the SoundCloud below! Buy the song on iTunes here.

As March comes to an end, I’ve added a few more tracks to my raves for the month!

“Stay Low” by Ryn Weaver and “Hold My Hand” by Jess Glynne have been giving me life! Also, I’ve been obsessing over “Break Your Heart Right Back” even more so after Ariana Grande’s fabulous performance at the Houston Rodeo. Be sure to check those out and as always let me know what you think!

What is your favorite song of the month? Let us know in the comments below!

Posted in Artists, Bands, Music, Staff Picks

Death Grips Announces Tour + New Music Video

In case you missed it, Death Grips made a major announcement in regards to the release of the highly anticipated “Jenny Death” (the second half of “The Powers That Be”) as well as an unexpected world tour. The news of a tour is a little shocking, given the fact that the experimental trio announced their breakup last summer. Along with the exiting news, Death Grips released a music video for the first track off Jenny Death, “I Break Mirrors With My Face in the United States.” The video itself is simple and filmed using a drumstick as a selfie stick  in the beginning of the video, and later attached to MC Ride’s mic during a performance of the track. The North American leg of the tour kicks off in Seattle, WA and concludes in San Francisco, CA. “The Powers That Be” released TODAY and can be purchased on iTunes and Harvest Records.

Check out Death Grips’ latest video down and tour dates below:

What do you think, is this the end of Death Grips or are you hopeful for a reunion?

Posted in Music, New Releases

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