Archive for May, 2010

Song Shots: Metro Station – Shake It

Posted in Bands, Songs on May 24, 2010 by mattstorm

“I saw you dancing, And I couldn’t get you off my mind”

“Shake It” by Metro Station is a catchy punk/techno/dance song that was the first single off the band’s self titled album that came out in 2007.   This song is definitley worth a listen.  The band has an infectious sound and it show is in this single.  I discover this band by dumb luck through Pandora.  I instantly feel in love with this song the moment i heard it.  I would typically recommend to go t check them out in concert but unfortunately the band broke up back in March of this year.

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Band Bonding: A Review of Hypnogaja’s album Truth Decay and an Interview with Hypnogaja

Posted in Albums, Bands, Interviews on May 8, 2010 by mattstorm

Hypnogaja is a modern rock band from Los Angeles,  California.  They have a sound that fits in very well with the likes of some of the bands they’ve toured with, like Shinedown and Saliva.  I had the pleasure of conducting an email interview with the band recently, but before we get to that let’s talk a little about their latest record: Truth Decay.

Truth Decay is the band’s fifth studio album to date.  The first single off the new record was the song “The March”  which is a rocking anthem about not giving up and doing whatever it takes to soldier on.  The band gets a lot of support especially for the latest record through the use of their twitter and facebook pages.  This album is definitley in my belief the their best record to date.  The band has made amazing music in the past and this record just feels like the next natural step in the band’s evolution.

As always, I have a favorite song off the record. It was tough to choose just one, but when pressed I would definitley say “Static”.  The tempo in this song is almost hypnotic.  The lyric I favor most from the song would have to be “I search for signs, Of another who can bring me back to life, I hear the sound, Of static.”

If you like modern rock and Nu-Metal then you’ll love Truth Decay.  It’s a brilliant record from start to finish and will definitley keep you rocking through the day.  This band is definitley the life blood of what I personally think rock music should be.  The instrumentation and fantastic writing this band puts on display is what the world of rock should take notice of.

Now, as promised, the interview with the band.  I want to thank all of Hypnogaja for taking time to answer these questions for me and their other fans as well.  I would also like to especially thank their keyboard player Mark Donikian, with whom I’ve been in constant email contact with. This would not have been possible without his help.

*Crash Chords:   What band or musician most influenced your sound as a band?

Hypnogaja:  We are influenced by so much music – and so many different types of artists- that this question is literally impossible to answer. Our iPods are all over the map, with music from different decades and genres. On any given day in the van, you might hear songs by Pink Floyd, Portishead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Prince, Gnarls Barkley, Metallica, Alice In Chains, Donna Summer, Massive Attack, Eurythmics, Fleetwood Mac, KISS, Nirvana, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, The Beastie Boys, Blondie, Stone Temple Pilots, Bernard Herrmann, Marvin Gaye and more, more, more. We can’t get enough music into our ears.

*Crash Chords:   How did you come up with your band name?*

Hypnogaja:  It’s derived from “hypnagogia” – a term that ShyBoy (our vocalist) first heard in psych class. Basically, it’s a lucid dream – the state your mind falls into as you drift into sleep. This transitional state has been long regarded by scientists, philosophers and artists to be a highly creative moment for the human mind.

*Crash Chords:   How did the band get together?*

Hypnogaja:  Most of us migrated to Los Angeles for one reason or another. One of us is a native to SoCal. We all found ourselves in this band because we share a love for writing and performing music. Hypnogaja started out more as a studio project, with heavy electronic leanings. As people have come in to the group, our sound has evolved and gone in different directions with each album – not because of a lack of musical identity but because of our thirst for creative exploration.

*Crash Chords:   Where do you seek inspiration from when writing new music?*

Hypnogaja:  From everywhere. Writing is so intangible. You can sit in front of your notepad, keyboard, computer, with your guitar, etc. one day and nothing comes out – and then on a different day, some great new idea flows from seemingly nowhere. It’s all about tapping into the stream at the right time, when you’re in the right frame of mind.

*Crash Chords:   What interests do you have outside of music?*

Hypnogaja:  We all have very different personalities, which I think makes for a really interesting collaboration. Our collective interests run the gamut from films, books, record collecting, comic books, live concerts/theater to various sports (especially hockey and baseball), travel and, of course, amusement parks of any kind.

*Crash Chords:   What is your favorite food?*

Hypnogaja:  Several of us have gotten hooked on the Food Network, and we’ve been enjoying shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – where the host goes around and eats at the best diners in America. I think we all enjoy a good steak, there’s some avid sushi fans and there’s always room for home-baked desserts. On tour, our best meals are the ones that are home-cooked by fans, friends and family. You can only eat at so many gas stations and truck stops before you start needing some real nutrition.

*Reader Questions*

*Mary asks*
*7.  What made you write music for the Looking Glass Wars?*

Hypnogaja:  “Looking Glass” and “Lullaby” were both songs that already existed in our catalog when our publisher sent them to Frank Beddor, author of the Looking Glass Wars. When Frank and his team heard the songs, they thought they were a great fit with the book and they included the tracks on the book’s soundtrack, as well as the audio version of the book released by Scholastic.

*Veronica asks*
*8.   Where do you see yourselves, say, 10 years from now?*

Hypnogaja:  Our dream is to make music forever, for as long as we can. We hope that we’ll still be making records and touring. We see ourselves doing this for a long, long time.

*Bob asks*
*9.  Why do you rock so much?*

Hypnogaja:  Please tell Bob that HE rocks. We just work here. Many thanks to him and all of our fans. We couldn’t do this without the support!

For more information on Hypnogaja check them out here.

Band Bonding: A Review of OK Go’s album Of the Blue Colour of the Sky and An Interview with Dan Konopka of OK Go

Posted in Albums, Bands, Interviews on May 6, 2010 by mattstorm

OK Go is one of the most unique bands around.  Typically, I like to compare a band’s sound to that of another, but with them I can’t. I found that no comparison does the description of their sound justice.  OK Go formed in 1998 though the lead singer Damian Kulash and  bassist Tim Nordwind met when they were 11 years old. Dan Konopka and Andy Ross joined up later on. The band first found major success through the help of their legendary treadmill video for “Here It Goes Again” when it blew up on Youtube.  It currently has 50,988,412 views.

The band’s latest record Of the Blue Colour of the Sky is a wonderful evolution of the band’s sound and creativity.  The style variation from song to song is magnificent with a new rhythmic and beautiful surprise around the corner.  Their attention to detail as well as the use of technology makes this album shine above many others and is definitely in my opinion their best work yet.

My favorite song from this record would have to be track 3, “All Is Not Lost”.  It’s a great song about not letting the bad things in life get you down and that there is always something better around the bend, just keep your head up.  The most memorable lyric for me is “But just remember: when the tide rolls in, it can’t be too long until it rolls back out.”

If you’re looking to spice up your life with some variety that rocks, you need too pick up Of the Blue Colour of the Sky. It’s an album packed with songs that will get stuck in your head and you’ll be humming them all day long.

I was lucky enough to get to conduct an email interview with Dan Konopka of OK Go thanks to the help of Bobbie Gale, their publicist. Dan is the drummer and provided some great insight to the band as well as himself.

Crash Chords:  What is the first album you ever bought?

Dan Konopka: Van Halen’s 1984. It’s still one of my favorites. I can’t say it was a huge influence on our band, but I can definitely say it inspired me to pursue drumming.

Crash Chords:  What is your favorite movie of all time?

Dan Konopka: That’s a hard one to answer. Off the top of my head I’d say it’s either Goodfellas or Casino – I love Scorsese’s films. But when I really think about it, I’d say Caddy Shack.

Crash Chords:  What do you think is the most defining factor of the band’s success?

Dan Konopka: I think it is the utilization of the internet. We’ve managed to forge our own metric of success through connecting with people online. We can really connect with so many more people online then without.

Crash Chords:  Do you believe that the future of the music industry resides within internet culture?

Dan Konopka: Yes, we’re already at a place where more music is consumed and shared online – I believe it’s going to stay that way.

Crash Chords:  Do you like bananas?

Dan Konopka: I love bananas. I like banana bread, banana pudding, banana liquor, whatever you got bananas.

Crash Chords:  Which musician or band had the greatest influence on the music you play?

Dan Konopka: Probably the single most influential band would be the Pixies. We also take lots of cues from the Beatles, Prince, Led Zeppelin and the Cars.

Crash Chords:  Was being in a band always your first choice of career and if not, what was?

Dan Konopka: I’ve always wanted to be a professional musician. In college I majored in music and minored in sound engineering.

Crash Chords:  When creating new music where do you draw inspiration from?

Dan Konopka: Definitely from the bands mentioned earlier, but also from the musicians/producers we work with. Dave Fridmann, the producer of our last record was a huge inspiration to us. He has such an amazing catalogue of music he’s worked on, and is a classically trained musician. Being around great people is always an inspiration.

The last two questions were inquires from a fellow blogger.

Crash Chords:  Mary asks: Where do you get the inspiration for your music videos from?

Dan Konopka: We come up with them ourselves, and our close friends will pitch in and share their great ideas with us as well. We don’t usually draw randomly from the public or anything like that.

Crash Chords: Mary asks: Do you think that it matters whether you are professionally trained or self started (self taught) when it comes to a love of music or is it inconsequential?

Dan Konopka: I don’t think you need to be trained to be great at music. So many of the world’s best musicians weren’t trained. So many just played by ear – expressing what they were feeling the best they could. The amount of practicing someone does isn’t what people notice when listening to music.

To find out more about OK Go check them out here.

Record Review: Train – Save Me, San Francisco

Posted in Albums, Bands, Music In General on May 4, 2010 by mattstorm

Train is an Alternative/Pop rock band from San Francisco, California that formed back in 1994.  The band first found massive success in 2001 with the song “Drops Of Jupiter” from the album of the same name.  Their sound has always fit well in the company of bands like Matchbox Twenty and The Fray.  They have always had an knack for creating great songs with a catchy hook, like in songs such as “Meet Virginia” and “Calling All Angels”.

Train’s latest record Save Me, San Francisco has a much m0re streamline sound, as shown by the focus of the remaining members of the band.  The band regrouped as just a trio for this album– filling in other instrumentation with outside sources.  The band definitley came back with much determination after their hiatus back in 2006.  This is the band’s fifth album to date and in my opinion the strongest.  I think that with this album they finally found their best combination of sound and emotion.  There are quite a few songs about love on this record (in both good and bad light), which shows the range of emotion that went into the writing of this record.

Initially, I was very much in love with the single “Hey, Soul Sister” as my previous post shows, but as I continued to listen to the record one song rose even above that: Track 4, “Parachute”. It’s a beautiful song about going the distance for the one you love and doing whatever it takes to keep it together through better or worse. The lyric I liked most in this song was in the chorus.  “I’ll open up and be your parachute, and I’ll never let you down, so open up and be my human angel, and we’ll only hit the ground, running.”

I simply love this album.  Every time I listen to Save Me, San Francisco the songs send me through a plethora of emotions and it is a truly euphoric experience.  Train delivers a fantastic joy ride of ups and downs, some songs with beauty and simplicity and others with heavy beats and rocking guitar solos.  This is definitely a shining jewel of music you don’t want to miss out on.  The point is, if you like to feel anything you will love this album.

For more info on Train find it here.