Friday, December 28, 2012

Songs of the Year (???)

Greeting Fam.  It's that special time of year, when we look back on the year and make the tough decisions:  what music will be immortalized on the playlist called life?  And what will join the simply "listenable" and other weak sauce that came out in 2012?

This year I took a spin through Pitchfork's Top 50 tracks to get a legit feel for the Indie music scene.  I must say, some was brilliant, a lot of it was not good and some was just "meh".  Below are my findings and other takeaways.

JZ's Top 10 traxx of 2012:
Chromatics - "Kill for Love"
This band came to my attention via the raddest movie of 2011/12:  Drive.  Well, I watched it in 2012.  Since then I have waited for this album with baited breath.  It delivered.  Look for Chromatics traxx in various other awesome movies like Bellflower - whoa.

Grimes - "Oblivion"
Perhaps the most heavily hyped indie-songstress of 2012 is Grimes.  I must say, Grimes lives up to the hype.  She has a style all her own that is odd, melodic and upbeat.

Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"
This SNL performance destroyed.  If you haven't heard of Frank Ocean or his killer album, Channel Orange, you need to go to Spotify immediately and stream.  You won't be disappointed, unless you hate rad traxx.

Purity Ring - "Fineshrine"
It was tough to choose the right Purity Ring track.  It's a fairly recent infatuation, but Fineshrine is as good as any, and probably the most accessible of their spliced-electro style.  Check it out.

Jai Paul - "jasmine"
This is the diamond in the rough, so to speak.  It's the only track from Pitchfork that I hadn't already heard that made it to the top 10.  It's so strange, yet addictive.  Definitely worth a listen, or 10.

Beach House - "Myth"
Yeah, the nu Beach House delivered.  Beach House is one of those bands with a distinct sound, that doesn't mess with the recipe.  You wanna ride the chill wavves?  Pop in some Beach House.

Odd Future - "Oldie"
Those who know me, know I'm not much of a rap-guy.  But, the mixture of strong laid-back beats and the twisted lyrics of Tyler the Creator, et al make this a song to remember for 2012.  It's on my doin' work (not to be confused with werk) mix, believe it or not. 

Sleigh Bells - "Comeback Kid"
YES!  Sleigh Bells was probs the best concert of 2012.  That or M83 (round 1).  I can't decide, but either way, these guys have something special.  They have combine listenable metal riffs with a hawt alt-girl-former-teacher whose vocals matchup perfectly with the wall of Marshalls spewing forth sound

Danny Brown - "Grown Up"
OK, here is the best video I've seen in a bit.  It features an awesome little kid, that just F's stuff up left and right.  Reminds me of the oft-overlooked gem from Sagat:  Funk Dat (re:  kids F'n stuff up). 

Atoms for Peace - "Default"
How in the F did I almost miss this one?!  Atoms for Peace is what you call a super-group.  It features:

Thom Yorke - vocals
Flea (Chil Peps) - bass
Nigel Godrich (Radiohead, Air, Beck - producer)  - guitar, synth, keys
Joey Waronker (Beck & REM) - drums

The first time I heard it, I got goosebumps.  It's just that good. 

Honorable Mention:  Nu Crystal Castles.  I just haven't listened to it enough yet to have a great opinion, but if it's anything like I or II, it will get some serious rotation

Summing up this list, I conclude that either music is getting decidedly stranger, or I am.  Either way, I'm on board.  I mean 2012 is when M83, a French electro-pop mastermind, became a household name.  I mean, Purity Ring?  Could this have happened in 1992?  Any other time, and it would have faded into electro-obscurity.  Second observation:  rappers are getting less hardcore.  They just are.  There are still a few who keeps it real, but even the thugs, have been de-fanged.  I saw some clip of DMX crying about his mama on TV.  I guess that's how Rough Riders are rollin' these dayz...

Much like Highlander, there can be only one Song of the Year / Album of the Year:
1) SOTY:  Atoms for Peace - "Default" (see above)
2) AOTY:  Chromatics - Kill for Love (ok, it's not ALL good, but there are at least 6 rad traxx and at least 2 killer traxx (killer > rad).

See you in's gonna be a great one, I can already tell.

Hope you Dig,

Friday, November 16, 2012

Song of the Week (Y. N. Rich Kids - Hot Cheetos and Takis)

Sup there fam.  This week brings us a long awaited SOTW discussing the most important meal of the day:  Snacks!  My sister, Zard, sent this to me and has been requesting an SOTW for months.  At long last, I give you:

Hot Cheetos and Takis

This video is the absolute jam.  These kids have some sick rhymes and produced a pretty legit video.  It even rivals the oft-overlooked Lazer Katz, who took the world by storm in the summer of 2010.  Clearly, the best kid is the little skinny one that just'll see.     

This vid got me thinking about awesome snacks.  There is no disputing the awesomeness of hot cheetos, but who here has even had a taki?  Show of hands?  OK, only 2.  That's what I thought.

What were your hot cheetos and takis?  Mine were blue gushers and string cheese.  Not at the same time you silly goose!  The string cheese was combined with nacho cheese doritos in a 1 part cheese:  2 parts dorito ratio.  The gushers were savored at the end of lunch with half of the pack eaten one at a time and the remainder stuffed into my mouth all at once, washed down with a luke-warm caffeine free coke.  Yeah, caffeine free (the gold can).  My mom was weird like that. 

Oh but just because I'm 30 doesn't mean snack time is over.  Au contraire.  The only difference between now, and 20 years ago, is that my mom can't limit my gusher intake to one pouch.  Well, I have actually moved on from starbursts and skittles.  Red starbursts and skittles!  Red starbursts and skittles!  I can't get enough of them red starbursts and skittles!  Snack!  This isn't going to make sense unless you watch the video.
The other day, I was interviewing people about their fave know, doing research for SOTW, per uge...when I got an unsolicited response from Sam the cat.  Keep in mind, I was interviewing people...not cats...

So apparently, Sam the cat is keen on Fancy Feast and crickets.  I was like:  "ummm...yeah that sounds awesome Sam...really...tasty."  Then he tried to insert a rap about it, but it just came out like "meow meow meow meow meow-mow..."  I was all like:  "Sam, you can't rap meow with meow over and over, you stupid idiot!"  Then he bit me, ran and hid under the bed.  Sam, I got some bone bread from Eatzie's with your name on it!  #breadingcatsainthard


Hope you Dig,

Friday, October 12, 2012

Song of the Week (Herman's Hermits - No Milk Today)

It's already here!  That greatest of football Saturdays known as TXOU or the Red River Shootout.  Rest assured, it's gonna be a milk-bath!

Now in their epic track:  "No Milk Today" Herman's Hermits was really trying to get across a somewhat obtuse point:  there will be no milk today because the Oklahoma Sooners sucked it all up.  I know...I was shocked by this as well.  How could a 60s era Brit-rock band even know, much less care about the Oklahoma Sooners?  Rather than bore you with the lengthy explanation, I'll just give you the short version.  In 1963 there was a massive milk shortage in the U.S.  This was around the time of the "British Invasion" of Brit-rock in America (Beatles, etc.).  On their first tour, Herman's Hermits were in the Dallas area around October.  They went to a local grocer to inquire about obtaining some milk for their tea, and the grocer replied:  "I'm sorry chaps, but the Sooners have sucked it all up."  They sucked so much milk that we're all tapped out.  There you have it:  "No Milk Today."

So, here's to hoping the Sooners will, yet again, suck milk.  And on Sunday, when history is written, the Longhorns will be able to say:  No Milk Today.

Hope you Dig,

Friday, October 5, 2012

Song of the Week (Krispy Kreme - Best Friends)

Greetings Fam.  There has been a lot going on in the world of SOTW's author:  new business endeavors, new travels, new friends, new grey hair and new music.  But one thing has stayed constant:  Best Friends.

Before you laugh and say:  "Hey JZ, have you been sucking milk or somethin'?"  I advise you to view the following music vid from the creative genius known as Krispy Kreme:

Yes, "Best Friends" follows up such breakthrough hits as "The Baddest" and "Haters Wanna Be Me".  This guy is awesome because he is probably aware that his lyrics sound like they were written by a 13-year-old.  He is 13 after all.  But these beats is dope.  Seriously, I'm impressed.  Put it another way, I'd rather listen to Krispy Kreme, who keeps it real and always has his best friend's back in a fight, than milk sucker #1:  Kanye.

Speaking of having best friend's backs in fights, shout-out to my boy Neil for keeping it real when some would-be thug tried to rob me in Barcelona last week.  That was a "BF" move. 

The greatest part about Krispy Kreme's instant classic:  "Best Friends" is that 13-year-olds really do talk like this.  Rewind to 1995, and you could probably find me and my BFs, Ben and PT talking about how much "back" we have and who has more "back".  For the record PT had the most back because he had an older brother and all the back of his brother's friends who, at 14, were much larger than us.  We could only dream of having so much much f'ing back!

We also biked everywhere.  It was the vehicle of freedom.  It allowed us access to untold amounts of mischief.  Ben's bike had pegs too.  So, you may have seen us rollin' by on Dead Cat Gorge on the reg.  Total BF-move.

This video, other than the use of handguns by 13-year-olds, is pretty much my childhood.  Just take out the rapping, and insert metal.

This one goes out to all the Best Friends out there.  You know who you are.  Shout out to T-Smith for the Krispy Kreme find.  That and the Chili Peppers concert made my week.

Hope you Dig,

Friday, August 24, 2012

Song of the Week (Fatboy Slim - Praise You)

Dream of the 90s is alive in...Dallas!

This week brings us something that really embodies a different side of the 90s: Techno. Don't act like you didn't like techno, because you did. I was there, and I saw you liking it.

Love it or hate it, techno was part of the Dallas scene. For a period of time in the 90s, Dallas was an epicenter of international techno. Pioneering the warehouse/underground rave scene, Dallas pulled top DJs from across the planet (mostly Europe, NY and L.A.). One such DJ is Fatboy Slim.

If this song doesn't make you wanna dance, then you are a robot. And if you are a robot that doesn't like to dance, then you're a robot I don't wanna hang with...FACE!

This video is one of my favorites from the 90s. I remember watching it on MTV and then spending the next 3 hours downloading a low-res audio version via Napster on my dial-up AOL-enabled home computer. Back in the 90s when you saw a video on MTV, you had to just keep watching MTV until it came on again. Youtube was but a dream.

Today we've been Tosh.0'd to death with a nouveau version of America's Funniest Home Videos. Except Daniel Tosh is a Nancy'er version of Bob Sagat. And MTV is a shadow of it's former self. Just watch "Guy Code" or "16 and Pregz". Do you think kids today will hearken back with nostalgia about 16 and Pregz via their blog, circa 2030? I really hope not.

Thus concludes our 2-week 90s-exploration. This is your final gentle reminder to purchase your Back to Bayside tickets: Ticket Registration

If anyone can replicate these dance moves tomorrow night...I'll just lose the best possible way.

Hope you Dig,

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Song of the Week (Blackstreet - No Diggity)

Heyo heyo heyo heyooooooo!

When this song comes's not just bizness time. It's a full on bizness conference call with the New York, London and Beijing office. This conference call has been on the calendar for 6 months so don't even think about missing it, Bob. I don't care if you do have a parent/teacher conference, it can wait, BOB! No Diggity, SUN!

In case you don't know, there is a crucial 90s party coming up circa August 25th. I for one cannot wait, not just because it's Saved by the Bell themed, or because it will be open-bar all night (both great reasons to party), but because we have instructed the DJ to play No Diggity no less than 3x. Play on playa.

I've been trying to think of a costume. It's actually much harder than for an 80s / 70s / 60s party. I think it's because we came of age in the 90s. Sh!t I still dress like I did in the least more so than how I dressed in the 2000s (the oughts) a boss.

Now, this isn't exactly true. If I am being intellectually honest with myself, I'm wearing hot pink and purple umbros and rockin' a No Fear shirt. Sure I had a brief grunge phase, but that ended abruptly circa 9th grade when suddenly we "graduated" to become "preps".  How disappointed I am now in how easily I donned a denim Gap shirt in exchange for my Metallica "Master of Puppets" shirt. Real disappointed...

"Curve's the words, spins the verbs, lovers it curves so freak what you heard" - (I don't even know what this means, but it is one of the greatest lines I've ever heard)

In other news: I want everyone to think positively for Friends of SOTW, Pussy Riot. Here is an all-female Russian punk band who were arrested on "hooliganism" charges and sentenced to 2 years in prison. If there is one thing the 90s and SOTW stood/stand for it's sticking it to Putin (re: privatization & hooliganism).

PS: buy your Back to Bayside Tickets here
PPS:  Bday shoutout to my boy Markus.  Being 30 is totally rad...seriously. 

Hope you Dig,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Song of the Week (Summer Anthem 2012)

It's that Summer Anthem yall!

Flashback: Summer of 1996 (aka Summa '96)
It was a great year in music. Seriously, from La Bouche's "Be My Lover" to Smashing Pumpkins' "1979", it was a great time in music. MTV hadn't started sucking so terribly. Seal was in his age of prominence #Don't Cry. A young JZ was focused on doing work (#mowinglawns), doin' werk (#mostlyunsuccessfully), and bombing tracks (#studiogangsta #stillwaitingonmyroyaltychecks). The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Flashforward: Summer of 2012 (aka S-12)

A reasonably young JZ, in his 20s, is doing the exact same thing. Sure there are a few notable changes, but seriously, I mowed my parents' lawn a few weeks ago...while listening to Soundgarden. Do we ever really change? Probs not. Probs not, indeed.

Yes, I realize that this song came out prior to 2012, but 2012 is when "A Real Hero" started getting serious rotation on the JZ playlist of life. Yes, I also realize that this was a SOTW months ago. But, how can I deny the Summer Anthem status? I simply Kant. What makes a good Summer Anthem? Well, it has to be totally radd for one. It also has to be versatile enough to get play on the "ride home from work mix" as well as the "poolside chill mix". The last test, and potentially most important, it has to be sing-along-able. "A Real Human Being...being...being..." 'Hero destroys all of these.

Ya know who's not a Real Hero? Kanye. One Direction and Pitbull are also not Real Heroes. They are, however, Real Terrible...#FACE.

You know who is? Sully. This song was actually written as an homage to Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III. Remember Sully, the pilot that landed that plane on the Hudson River? Now, that guy is a Real f'n Hero.

I request that you all immediately download College's "A Real Hero". Play it 10 times today. Then tomorrow night, during a fireworks display, play it at least one more time.

I hope everyone has Real Heroic 4th of July and Summer.

Hope you Dig,