Monday, September 24, 2012

A Return of a DMB giant: Steve Lillywhite

Aside from the myriad of things that I love about my wife and all that which drew me to her (Renee "the inspirerer" Ramsey), we still, after 12 years together, equally share an unhealthy love for Dave Matthews Band ("Dave" or "DMB" for short, you guys). Sappy, I know...its a character flaw. We shared many concerts between MA and CT venues. Quick side note: you konw when you listen to live shows and you hear people yelling "I love you Dave" and "whoooo whoooo, we love you Dave".......yeah, that's her....likely on some bootleg cd somewhere. But the best part about our fandom, is her reaction when I get to tell her of a new album release The convo goes something like, ME: "hey, guess what....a new Dave Matthew Band album comes out tommorow." HER: REALLY !!! (doing her impression of a kid on Christmas morning). This brief, but joyful, exchange is invariably followed by a discussion of our dream to both go out to the Red Rocks (Colorado) and see Dave for a weekend [sooo, if anyone wants to baby sit some October, email me].

We are lifers. Own all the studio albums, about 30 live albums (some released by DMB and others from the mid-90s that weren't (shhh), and far too many versions of his many songs. Somethings don't change.

Dave certainly has changed (sort of....see below), which you have to image is due to the reunion of DMB and the producer that put DMB on the charts and map (at least in part), Steve Lillywhite. Lillywhite is best known for DMB's first three of fourt chart topping albums, "Under the Table and Dreaming" and "Everyday" (I think he did "Remember Two Things" too, but don't beleive "Crash"....what-evs, I am sure you could look it up if you gave a two craps....I only give one crap, so I'm going from memory). Lillywhite may be also infamously known for one of the darkest albums that lead to his split from working with the bank for over 10 years (btw, the album was finally released as "Busted Stuff" and apply named. Prior to that most die-hard could find a bootleg copy that was known as "The Lillywhite Sessions").

This album, even for a long time fan (maybe especially for a long time least this one) was weird to listen to at first. Could not figure out why. To be perfectly clear, this was litterally on the first listen. It wasn't that the music was bad or too different or that they regressed into something out of my taste; it wasn't any of that. By the 3rd listen (my magic number), I figured it out. Oddly it was that this album reminded me of the old DMB. The syles, the jamminess to many songs (or envisioned potential for jams), the playfulness of some songs, Daves lyrics...

....songs like "Gaucho" (studio and live are awesome). Great lead-ins, almost a sticato of all instruments: percussion, guatars, violin and...yes Trumpet. Trumpet? Yes, Trumpet. This maybe be the first studio album with trimpet(s) featured on almost all of the tracks (there may have been a few on Grux). It reall gives these songs a jazzier and livly feel and it also pairs well with the high pitches of the violin. They been touring with Rashawn Ross (Trumpet) for years, so it was only a matter of time before he landed fully (and rightfully) on an album.....

Guacho goes right into Sweet. A perfect DMB song, in line with past songs like "Oh (Some Devil ,solo album) ", "Baby Blue (GrooGrux), "Christmas Song (Remember Two Things)". A nice, fairly light traditional DMB track. Simple, violin, sax, gental Dave vocals....and a Yuke! Yeah, I think so...either that or its Boyd Tinsley playing his violin as a guitar which he is known to do, but the sounds is usually more single note driven and not chord based...curious though.

Plenty of awesome tracks on this album and certainly no need to review/explain them all. Old fan or new fan, I think this album will please you, if not for its familiar sound to older works, then for the great production value and talented musician that comprise DMB.

Join me next time. No tease this time, just a demand.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rhys' "Good Winter"

My original intention for this blog was to to talk about my love of music, my family, and my family's love of music. My path has veered, so here is my correction. This one was tough one to write. A heavier subject only aided by music and having the happy ending we all wanted.

To be clear from the get-go, this is NOT about how a song "saved" me or my family or anyone in my family. This is about how words and music can help change a perspectve, lift a spirit, give you a needed boost if not for a few days, a few hours.

In February of 2011 my wife and I were lucky enough to be blessed with a baby boy. Despite troubles that started early in the preganncy, he is great, healthy and one of three people that make everything I do worth it, tenfold.

Rewinding some: October 2010 was a rough month. I think I purchased Bon Iver's album "For Emma, Forever Ago" in early 2009, so I had already embraced most of the tracks and developed an unhealthy love for Mr. Vernon's voice. At that time, I just enjoyed the music and wasn't really focused on lyrics and meaning (which I think is really the way music should be consumed). That month we learned far too much about far too many things that no one but a medicial professional should feel compelled to know and researched many topics looking for answers we did not want. Guessing, agonizing, confused, helpless. One of the few moments in my life I have experienced despair and surreality.

It was on one of those research nights that I was playing this album. Many tracks talked to me. I know this is common; music hits different people, at different times, at different stages of life. While many tracks resonated with me, like "Blindsided" (which I was), "For Emma" and "Wisconsin" (probably the best bonus track I have ever heard on any album, ever (I will take that challenge)), none hit me the way "Re: Stacks" did.

Catchy, certainly. Overplayed, possibly. Near perfect, yes.

The music itself was cathartic. Sounds lame, but it was slightly healing.....actually..... looking back, no, it really wasn't, but it made me feel better and matched what I was feeling at that time. Setting aside any other purported song meaning, to me it seemed to be, in part, about putting so much love and energy into something, investmenting emotionally and physcially, and suffering a great crushing blow despite everything. For us, that crushing blow was the very real probability (not possibility) that our baby boy would not make it full term, and if he did, he likely would not survive long thereafter. While this certainly lyrically emotional song gives you (gave me) that calm, sad yet serene feeling, it also gives you (gave me) a point of strenght. While we (my wife and I) were faced with tough questions and put in unthinkable situations, we pushed through (we had to).

The other part of the song seems to be about the other side of the emotional investment (i.e. what the Stacks of chips are being waged on). It was the last verse of the song that stuck with me the most on this point. It didn't give me the answers or even attempt to try, but it gave me a bump; that things are going to happen in life, things that range from fucking awesome to puke-your-brains-out shit bad. It let me take a deep (deep as hell) breath, and say that regardless of what happens, I will protect him, them, my family, and keep them safe from as much as I possibly can.

Here is that final verse. Its bold and hits hard:

"This is not the song of a new man
or a crispy realization.
Its the song of the unlocking and lift away
your love will be safe with me."

Well, I put it out there. Feeling a bit more on track, despite the depth of this post. Promising, for now, that other posts won't be as hard to write or read.........join me next time where I promise to keep my promise from my last "join me next time" statement.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Antlers; not a new release but a great one.

Took a mini blog vacation. But from all the fan mail *wink*, I decided to start writing again.

New experiment: This post is complelely done on the road, via iPad2, without spell check and written sitting next to strangers, gaulkers and not in my ususal fashion (quill and ink with parchment)....TO THE MUSIC:

Picked up The Antlers 2011 release "Burst Apart" (although the earlier album "Hospice" is on my radar too) and enjoy the hell out of it, #youguys. Not a typical summer listen, but so good (as always, it improves with age).

After thinking about who I could draw a comparison of this band to, I realized that I was not sure I could actually do that...accurately at least. Sure, if you take The Antlers apart you could draw comparisons to other artists. Like Silberman's (Peter Silberman pretty much runs this production) almost falsetto voice can be compare with Justin Vernon's (Bon Iver's lead vocalist). And their electronic pace to many of their songs can be similar to Arcade Fire...just "dreamier" (yes, I've heard the term "dream pop", but this isn't pop). To steal a line from @dadboner (a twitter "soap", as I call it... hilarious stupid humor, btw), if you put an unloaded gun to my head (cause as loaded gun would probably be illegal) then I would say that The Antlers have a bit of Radiohead influence, Depeche....maybe...anyway, its probably not that important. What is, is the music.

Mellow. Very mellow in much of what they do (sleepy even (i.e. "Tiptoe"). Silberman's voice blends with the songs, in a high, falsetto voice that is graceful enough to be a womans, but occasionally deep enough (and pitchy at times) to be a man's - - actually in the track "French Exit" it gets kinda tricky because his high voice is matched with a duet/back-up high pitched woman's voice. The two are so evenly matched it's hard to tell it is two people. I think that this album gets most of its praise for the first 3 or 4 songs which are great, but the entire album is excellent and worth a listen (or my obligatory 2 full listens to love standard). "I Don't Want to Love" is the first track. The track carries an organ bed which pairs well with lazy drums and guitar melody - - add in some high pitched man-voice, and bingo: an Antler classic. "French Exit", has more of a beat and a catchy maracca-synth thing going for it that makes it kinda fun....chill-and-converse-to-fun, not dance-to-it-fun (or to any of the tracks). "Parentheses" is rougher, meaner, a more suspicious lyric, guitar, piano and darker feel. Great nonetheless. From that point in the album, the tracks shift to a more, electronic, melodic, dream-like style. But still great...just different.

The last 4 tracks; however, are where this album excels. "Hounds", "Corsicana", "Putting the Dog to Sleep" (not an act I ever look forward to with my buddy, but the song is probably the best on the album....lyrically sad (of course)....Compare to: "Bronte", the last track on Gotye's "Making Mirrors" album....oddly also about a dying dog), and "Tongue Tied" (a bonus track) are incredible. They build a bit on each other (these first 3 at least) and then "Tongue Tied" just hits you with a heavy, gritty synth-drum track with a far more gruff, yet aloof voice compared to the prior 10 tracks.

I give this album an overall "2 Listens to Love" for a music junkie and "3 Listens to Love" for the more causal music lover.

"Join me next time" when we dig into the belly of a......wait for it.....main stream, multiple studio album, multiple live album, and multiple side-project, band (hey you, yeah you, don't roll your eyes or groan....I will make it fun).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A new Shin

Note, i wrote this almost a month ago and intentionally did not post it (kinda like that angry letter you write and come back to later)...I still listen to the album regularly, but my opinions remain unchanged....just an experiment.......
I've been waiting for this. 5 years in fact; 2007 was The Shins last studio album ("Wincing the Night Away")...I know I know....John Mercer has been "busy" [condisendingly] with side projects....and cleaning house with certain Shin band members that weren't pulling their weight. Not bitter. Just feel neglected.
First impressions: it's The Shins in all their quirky atmospheric indie (rock? Naah) style laced with great lyrics and prominent Mercer vocals....but it's not exactly what my 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 or 2012-self was looking for (especially not my 2008-self; he was just pissed). It is a departure from the old...a maturity... its a full sound that does not leave the impression it was performed in isolation from the world like past work.
Second Impression: Despite not getting exactly what I wanted, it is still a good album that I really like. But if your looking for the inward looking meloncholly tracks of "Oh Inverted World" then you may be setting yourself up for disappointment.  The tracks on "Port of Morrow" are far more upbeat in the beginning (using a relativity scale from past albums) and trending toward more mellow down tempo tracks at the end.  Broken Bells, a side project of Mercer that I enjoyed, is all over this album. If you compare Mercer's style on Broken Bells project (a Danger Mouse adventure), it is not hard to see the evolution of The Shins to "Port of Morrow."  Track 10, also called Port of Morrow, even sounds dangerously close to Broken Bells song The High Road.  All for the good though. I can't put my finger on it exactly but I think it's the chill tempo and vocal cadence (just deeper in Broken Bells).
Each track is fairly distinct, opening with The Rifle's Spiral that weaves a drum and synth based track complete with The Shins signature "surfer" (or Hawaiianesq....your call) guitar.  This is followed by Simple Song which is radio track and....blah blah've heard it, it's catchy and perfectly engineered and mastered to catch both a pop and indie classification (Elise will not be happy).  I think the album picks up from there and gets better, especially with It's Only Life and its references to Alice in Wonderland.  Bait and Switch has a funness (c'mon, it should be a word) and almost a 60s or 70s pop feel with a surfy guitar...then BAM...September hits and the album gets familiar again to older works.  No Way Down brings this bi-polar album back up....not a favorite of mine, but it has a great lyric that balances my dislike for the track: "make me a drink...strong enough to wash away the dish water world they said was lemonade."
The next 4 tracks are my favorites: For a Fool, Fall of '82, 40 Mark Strasse and Port of Morrow (also a song name).  All are on a down tempo, almost lazy feeling, especially For a Fool.  Fall of '82 has a Beatles feel to it (mainly due to guitar scales) at the the chorus. 40 Mark Strasse is one of my favorites with an repeating haunty intro, a great accoustic melody and an interesting German prostitute story line (yes, like hooker...40 Mark Strausse (Street) was apparently where German soldiers picked up the ol' lady friends....also 40 Mark (40 dollars)....."playing in the streef at night"'s not rocket science, but makes for good music.  Hopefully I have not thoroughly discouraged you from the album.  I like it and it is well worth the money despite not getting exactly what I wanted.
Join me next time for something that's bigger than a bread box and is not a body least i think...

Great new video that recently came out too....check it:

Rifle's Spiral Video

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Gotye. Say it with me: "Go-te-yae"

Yes, Gotye; it's not a typo (more on him later). As a back drop to this post, and my slacking in that department, my younger sister, Megan, must be credited in alerting me to Gotye's new release.  She sent me a message telling me to check out his new song "Someone That I Used To Know."  Actually what she said was, 'hey, this guy makes weird music and you like weird music, therefore A + B = You will like this song/artist' (paraphrasing but that was the gist).  She knows me well.  I was not aware of Gotye's new album, but knew of his release from 2006 Like Drawing Blood and its main single "Hearts a Mess" (an incredible song). So thanks Meg for telling me about this new release.

The new album, Making Mirrors, was released in 2011 at various times depending on location (iTunes says December 2011 but I understand it was released in June and July in Europe and Australia/NZ) and it's truly a Great (capital "G") album that is fun to listen to and keeps you guessing.  No, he is not another dup-step DJ (I promised I wouldn't), but this Belgian born Australian does bring to the table a fair share of electronic components to his music...but it's only a small portion of what he does.  Gotye is the stage name of Wouter De Bachner (Walter in Wally really)...plenty more on Google on how he went from Wouter-to-Walter-to-Wally-to-Goyte, but its origin is French-based (so who really cares...back to the music).  If you had to categorized his music, i think indie-alt or progressive rock with electronic aspects (mainly through synthesizers) would cover it generally. But labeling is dangerous and he is the proof.  There are very few tracks that stick to the same format (which is a negative if you only like one of his many formats).  The first 3 tracks tell you right out of the gate that this album is nothing ordinary, from his airy ambient intro track, "Making Mirrors," followed by the almost 70's style (Beck-ish) rock and roll track, "Easy Way Out," to his big single on the album, "Someone That I Used To Know."  This track can best tie his old album to his current work, and is in a similar vein to "Hearts a Mess" from Gotye's first album Like Drawing Blood, in its use of broad varieties of instruments ranging from acoustic guitar, xylophone, cello, brushed snare drums, and electronic/synth effects.  A beautiful (break-up) song only improved by the lovely voice of Kimbra, a New Zealand singer/songwriter. Truly a great track.

Off hand I can't think of a comparable compilation of songs that are each sooo different from each other but fit so well on one album.  He has the obligatory radio ready singles, "Someone That I Used to Know" and "Eyes Wide Open" (not a huge favorite of mine) that are catchy and can stand alone.  Huddled around these tracks; however, are unique and varying, almost dorky but endearing, tracks that honestly took a solid 2 times to listen to to really enjoy and get into.  Maybe that wouldn't make the best marketing pitch, but these "secondary tracks" make the album.  Yes, I would put this album in the category of addictive after a 2 start to finish listens (it's not a long album and trust me, if you found this Blog and you are reading it up to this thinks you have some time on yo' hands, so do it and don't cherry pick off this album for your own musical health) improves with each listen...promise.

There's a Bj√∂rk like quality in "Smoke and Mirrors" that reminds of her track "Human Behavior"...probably from the drums/bongos, use of snares and use of horns (or electronic versions of horns).  Then there's the 60ish-Four Tops styled "I Feel Better".  Wasn't a huge fan of this track at first, but it's catchy.  There is a bit of an 80's revival woven into some of the tracks throughout the album.  The use of synthesizers makes it almost unavoidable (especially the way he does it), but well done.  He's not the only one to have done this recently, Bon Iver did it on its new disc in a track called "Beth/Rest".

A particularly interesting song is the reggae/down tempo ska-ish styled song called "State of the Art".  The voice is on distortion or "auto-tune" to sound almost robotic, but the best part of this song, is how the lyrics play off of the music (or vice-a-versa).  It's almost comical once you figure out what he's talking about.  Here's a quick summary: He purchases a "Lowry Cotillion model D-575" (an 80's organ and synthesizer) and is telling all about its features, from the "genie bass" button to the "banjo repeat" function and how amazing it is....then he invites his neighbors over to dance to the "bossonova beat" and play the "magic swing piano" setting for some truly amazing entertainment (so much so that he throws his TV out).  As he's naming all of the Cotillion's functions, the song then does what he's described musically (i.e. when he says "I put the 'genie bass' on" the song starts to actually play the genie bass from the Cotillion).  I am fairly certain that he actually used a real Lowry Cotillion for all parts of the song (its listed as one of the instruments he played on the CD...actually the only one).  Granted, the whole track is a bit silly, but musically amazing (again, when you consider what he used to play the music...) and a favorite track of mine.  Just for fun, this is a Lowry Catillion model D-575:

I don't dislike a single track, which is something I usually never say.  The album rounds out the end with a more melancholy tone and electronic sounding tracks, some with almost David Gray like rhythms that Gotye has become popular for, like "Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching" and "Bronte" both of which are in my top 5 for this album.

SOOO, if you have a musically adventurous bone in your body, I truly think you will enjoy this album.

Top 5 Songs from Making Mirrors (in no particular order):

  • Someone That I Used to Know
  •  Don't Worry, We'll Be Watching
  •  Bronte
  • Giving Me a Chance
  • State of the Art

"Join me next time when" I plan to talk about an album that I've been waiting to drop for years (I can almost feel your anticipation)....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Skrillex. "He's quite Raw"

I dabble. I'm a dabbler. In music, let's be clear. All types. So I am compelled to write at least one post about electronica or dance or techno music (not a huge fan of the names of the latter two classifications, mainly because of an impression those names invoke...more on that later). Closer friends and fam know of my interests and I usually don't discuss or play this music for anyone other than myself.  Frankly for many I can understand why it doesnt work for them outside of a bar/club/gym.  People have a hard time relating to it.  I get it.

Not sure why I am drawn to it but I am, and even if I don't like a particular track from any given artist it usually at least intrigues me. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of crap out there and its hard to decipher which is going to be good or make you feel like you're in a PS3 game. But some of the sounds or distortions or other EQ tweaks are kind of amazing when you realize the effort it took to make that 1 sound (customized) among the 10s of thousands of other sounds (also customized) in that 1 track. I'm not going to get into the how (truly I only have a basic understanding of it, let alone the know how) but I am going to get into the what.

Today's what is Skrillex. I know, sounds pretty intimidating, scary and hard, right. Calm down. No really, calm down. What if I told you Skrillex's really name is Sonny Moore and he's a young 22 year old...and you could totally take him if things got rowdy? See, isn't that better *pat on the head*. Ok, moving on....the tracks ARE hard and aggressive (some of them anyway) and he has said that he likes the "scariness" of some of his sound. He doesn't have just one dymension, which is unusual on this side of the music spectrum and a bit refreshing. His sound varies from.....*head scratch*.....ok, let's try this this way:

[Brief side explanation] - So yeah, before I categorize, I wanted to try to break this down a little. Saying "techno" is like saying "rock", its waaay too broad and leads to misconceptions. There are tons of different styles of electronic music and while I am sure there is a far more technical or musically appropraite way to describe them, here is a quick crash course:

Club - probably the most mainstream of styles. If you hear it on the radio, its probably a club remix.
House - think of a funkier more disco style of club. The beats per minute ("bpm") are slower.
Progressive - the songs tend to build from start to finish or within them, generally a faster bpm than house or club.
Trance - faster and more aggressive than club, and heavy on drums and base, but not Drum & Base (see below)
Drum & Base - you'd know it if you heard it.  The tracks are mainly driven and comprises of...[pause]  loops of drums and base.
Glitch - it usually involves amplifing qualities that most top 40 artist try to avoid, like that crispy sound of a record, or background noise or other sounds you'd hear in a pre-Mastered record.
Dubstep - lots of looped and varying base lines with sampling and vocals.

Sorry, I hated that as much as you, but it was sort of necessary...I could go on, but I won't for your sake.

Skrillex predominantly swings in the Dubstep category but also performs and mixes in a reggaeish style called "Moonbahton" (disregard how stupid that sounds, and despite the fact that that word is a fabrication, it has a valid reason for its name...focus in the fact that it has a reggae back beat, a faster beat....see, better). One of his more recent tracks from 2011 was "First of the Year (Equinox)" on a re-release to the album Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites, called creatively, More Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (what he lacks in record naming he makes up for in production).  This track is in the Moonbaton fashion, and then turns into a little Dubstep as it picks up. It starts rather chill and bouncy, with a nice piano introduction then builds into this intense electronic explosion of glichy samples, looped vocals and almost robotic/machiney chorus. Its a pretty solid mash up of his styles. Best of all there is an official video he made which is of decent quality and production value. Not going to review the video too but, ill say this: its one of those videos that you start watching and right away you say outloud, "oh no, this does not look good", and gives you the creepy douche chills to the point where you feel like maybe you shouldn't watch (having watched, I suggest you continue, its twisted but not like you think it would be from the intro). Here's the link First of the Year (Equinox) and come back.  See, pretty solid, huh? Not what you thought it would be and kind of puts a spin on things when you listen without the video.

His other big track is "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites" of the title album of the same. It's probably the one that he is most well known for (its been used in commercials). The title really explains the sounds of the song, which goes back and forth, almost like a battle, between this scary sounding electronic voice/noise (the "Scary Monster") to a higher pitched sprite like melody response (the "Nice Sprite"). Some forums/reviews claim that the entire track, in both the monster and sprite vocal loops is nothing more than the lyrics "i'm just like you" played in reverse...with obviouslky different treatment and alterations to them respectively.  This lyric is also played at the end of the track...only fact. There are more fun facts, but i'll let you discover.

An older song, that is also used in many media applications, is "WEEKENDS!!!"  It's a straightforward Dubstep track, no more no less.  "I think you and my friends should hang out on the weekends!" is such a reasonable lyric. Not pushy, not too presumptuous. Ok, maybe after it's said 73 times in 4 minutes and 45 seconds it may sound pushy. But I'm still going with sincere...he was in a EMO band before this project, so you know he's sensitive (he was lead singer in a band called "From First to Last" into too many drugs (allegedly) has some throat surgery from all the coke (allegedly) and all before he was 20 (true)).

That aside, he's remixed for some big acts, Adele, Nero, Lady Gaga, Snoop, some of which can be found in various websites. is where Skrillex made his bones and is probably your broadest option as far as his variety of track. iTunes has a few of his albums.  That said, I don't recommend buying any of his albums in their entirety. As a general rule in this land of music, artists will have 1-3 different main tracks on each album (mainly because despite what people say, creating these aren't super simple) and then 4-7remixes of 1 or all of those tracks, some of which are drastic from the original. So just because you like the original does not mean you will like the remixes. Skrillex is no exception and has s few tracks worth checking out:
1. Equinox (First of the Year)
2. Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
3. Rock & Roll
5. Kill Everybody (note, while I like this track, I don't recommend it if this title offends. It's not graphic or lude, but is repetitive. If you get past the title and consider the song as a hole, it's a decent track. Trust me, its nothing you haven't heard Stewie from The Family Guy say).

So, while I don't expect any of you to actually like Skrillex, don't deny yourself a listen.  He actually just came out with a new album about 2-3 weeks ago that I have previewed and its solid (called Bangarang).  He's doing something right having 5 Grammy nominations, a record label, top of Dance Charts, and winning a couple of MTV and European music awards, ALL under his belt under the age of 22.

"Join me next time" when I promise that I will not be talking about electronic music...promise...unless you ask me to...nicely.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I want chata. More chata!

You just can't say "no" when this one says "mo Chata",
not with these dance moves and style! what she is yelling once White Sky (track 2) starts playing. Why you ask? Because her (my 3 year old who turns 15 in a few minutes) favorite song, Horchata, just ended and she's got the need for more stomping and dancing across the living and dining rooms. The kid's got taste; it's one of the better tracks on the Contra album (as a continuity note, she also likes Kick Drum Heart, Avett Bros.)...[oooh, see what I did there]...

This song reminds me so much of summer: the start, the middle, the end. Lyrically, the song kind of all over the place but as far as I can tell it's about Mr. Vampie being in a hot climate when...remembering the cold of December elsewhere (probably why it would look pyschotic wearing a balaclava (ski mask)), drinking Horchata...and then moving on to the heavier alcoholic drink, an aranchiata. Such a great song, such a horribly structured and blahhhcck drink (its rice juice.  I'll say it again, rice juice.  R.i.ce. j.u.i.c.e. I don't care how you think it should, could, or is prepared, you can't avoid the fact that it's juice make from rice....oh there's cinnamon too.  So rice juice and tree bark, happy?).

Long tangent...and we're back;  Many reasons come to mind why it still reminds of summer. It's that catchy pump you up for a bbq, party, sunburn booze fest beat that you blast en route to Burger Fest in NYC for example (complements of Messrs. Ryan Koenitzer and Randal Stanco), but also, because whenever my daughter was getting to the end of her car seat tolerance on the way to the York or Wells beach Maine (we lived in Boston only a few months ago), putting on this track bought us at least 3 minutes and 27 seconds...until we hit repeat.  It is a favorite in our house.

So when you turn this track on, dance a little, with your kids too [end sentimental part] and try not to vomit when you think about Mr. Vampie (seriously I think that is the lead singers name, isn't it?) sipping on tepid rice juice on a humid tropical island, dreaming of a New England winter (8 degrees this AM, awesome).

"Join me next time" when I plan to flip back into music review mode and reveal an artist that is exploding world wide that you probably have never heard of from a genre you don't often consider...if ever.  With an open mind to music, I think you may enjoy it at some level.