Archive | January, 2015

Halftime at the Super Bowl – The Creation

31 Jan

Carol Channing at Super Bowl VI

Halftime at the Super Bowl has transformed into the pinnacle of music stardom. You know you have made it when you grace the over-produced light-show of the Super Bowl. Well, my guess is you are aware that you have made it far before the Super Bowl. Acts like Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Madonna, and the Who have performed at the grand American affair since 2010, and pop songstress Katy Perry will team up with Lenny Kravitz in Arizona tomorrow (hopefully after a Seahawks smash-down first-balf of football – sorry Jets fan here). But was the Super Bowl halftime show always such an illustrious affair? Did you know the first Super Bowl halftime show was performed by none other than the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band?

So, when did the Super Bowl halftime show become must-watch television? Well, keep in mind that the Super Bowl has grown as an event as the NFL has grown in popularity. For many years, though, the Super Bowl was a themed affair with marching bands and cheer teams. In 1993 the NFL (and its sponsors) learned how TV ratings generally increase when you shove a superstar in front of the cameras and say sing. It was the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, who turned the production into, well, a real production. After MJ’s 1993 show at the Rose Bowl, the Super Bowl started to attract some major talent, and today it is arguably the most watched event and easiest way for artists to get their music to oodles of drunk and overstuffed viewers.

Way before MJ, before the Super Bowl halftime show transformed into the massive spectacle we will all view tomorrow, there was one famous performer who graced the Super Bowl stage, becoming the first true singer to be featured at a Super Bowl (minus Carol Channing, who is pictured above at this Super Bowl). Before the King there needed to be a Queen.

Super Bowl VI – Jan. 16, 1972 at the late Tulane Stadium. As a salute to the revered Louis Armstrong, who passed away in June of 1971, Ella Fitzgerald played an excellent set. I don’t have a video of the SB, but here is Ella with Louis performing “Summertime”. Check it out and enjoy the big game tomorrow!


Gee, no wonder, Jack + Eliza release debut EP

28 Jan

jack + eliza

Think of all the famous duos you can. Who do you come up with? The White Stripes, The Kills, Batman and Robin. Simple, yet effective teams that gave their all so effectively, you’d have expected more people to have been involved. Our latest talented twosome: Jack + Eliza.

There’s a dusky nostalgia in Jack + Eliza (…though I may just associate the thought of summer with nostalgia because I’m writing this as the northeast is ravaged by an enormous blizzard). Their debut EP was released last summer, and is exactly the sunny disposition everyone (except LA) really needs right now. Aside from the light and bright melodies, I also really love the earnest youth in their voices and lyrics. Think of Jack + Eliza as Best Coast’s younger sibling. That comparison works sonically as well, with their songs generally being upbeat and reverb-laden. All around, feel-good tunes.

Their No Wonders EP is out now. For more information on Jack + Eliza, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

Silent Partner makes some noise

27 Jan

I love music. I know that seems obvious, but bear with me for a moment. One of my passions is discovering new music, but I also love sharing it, hence this article and the many I’ve written up until now. I could not live without music, or sounds in general. I would have a very hard time if I was suddenly struck deaf. Which brings me to the subject of this article, Tom the Lion’s “Silent Partner.” The video for the track shows a woman signing along with the lyrics in a manner that I can only describe as heartbreaking.

Rebecca Withey is herself hearing impaired, and she does an incredible job emoting throughout this clip. There is an overwhelming amount of silence felt throughout, despite the track swelling and cascading with rhythm and feeling for four minutes. The minute-long intro watches Withey stare silently back at you, but the vocals don’t provide any relief. Withey lip-syncs along to very few of the lines in the song, and even then she is not loud. She is forlorn, her gestures exact. (The continuity editing of this video is superb.) Though the song isn’t necessarily about being deaf, this video is a perfect intersection of theme and emotion. The song would be tragic without the video, and vice versa, but paired together they become something more.

“Silent Partner” is from Tom the Lion’s Sleep LP, which is out now. For more information, visit Tom the Lion’s website, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Soundcloud.

Newly Nulabee

26 Jan

I am anti-Disney. I don’t understand people who insist on watching Disney movies repeatedly as grown adults, and never has that craze been so popular than with this Frozen nonsense. I might watch Mulan sometimes, but the only reason will be because there is a child in the room or because I am playing a Mulan drinking game. Something I can’t get enough of, though: Pogo. I only knew him as the Disney remix dude until I began working at my college radio station, then I realized he remixes much more than just Disney movies. The soft vocal cuts are like cotton in your ears, and the sounds he pulls together are so tender that everything he makes I just want to cradle in my arms. A new French artist, Nulabee, takes on the same idea, though does not aim to be so saccharine.

There is a certain weight in all three of Nulabee’s newest tracks. I’ve noticed a pattern where most of the lines end on a lower note than they began; this is apparent in the Holly Drummond remix, which also features somber vocals. Nulabee’s “Fade” is a great reinvention, with more layers than the original. Nulabee is adept at taking what he needs, highlighting it, and renewing it for his own gain. The samples of Kimbra’s “Settle Down” prove this point in “Down with Me.” Samples are strung together with a quick and coherent bassline in “Glitter,” though I can’t place their origin. That doesn’t make it any less his own, though, weaving his own signature into the bits that he’s re-appropriated.

Find more information on Nulabee on his Facebook, Twitter, and Soundcloud.

I went, I saw, I listened: Sego

23 Jan
There's a 'g' behind Petersen, I promise. S-E-G-O

There’s a ‘g’ behind him, I promise. S-E-G-O.

I have been to a number of concerts in the short amount of time that I’ve so far resided in LA, but I seem to always find my way back to the Bootleg Hifi. This past Monday I was drawn in by local apathetic indie rockers, Sego.

Sego has a brand of indie rock that is influenced heavily by their demeanor, and they come off as chill and carefree millennials. Vocals by lead singer Spencer Petersen are often only a step above glottal fry, but in their most notable track “20 Years Tall,” they bounce playfully with the bass and blah blah blah blahs. Petersen and drummer Thomas Carroll are the founders of Sego, and they have created a mighty beast of genre-defying musicianship. “20 Years Tall,” both recorded and live, is a testament to what kind of band Sego is, a loud and exciting yet monotone and contemplative one. Sego isn’t without its playful tracks, though, “False Currency” being one of my favorites, though that may have a lot to do with how much I love the lyric video they made. (Musta been hard to make with two righties.)

As far as their set at the Bootleg, I couldn’t have been more satisfied. I enjoyed the delicate melody that lead into “Wicket Youth” and of course chanting along with “Engineer Amnesia” (the latter of which gave me Modest Mouse goosebumps). The group is tight onstage, evidence of the amount of shows they’ve played in the past year to gear up for their big break. They will be playing a whole bunch more soon, like with Body Language in February in a few cities along the west coast. Get your tickets here.

Their Wicket Youth EP is out now. For more information on Sego, visit their website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This is an anti-guitar stands show.

This show was strictly anti-guitar stands.

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