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A life of A... listener:
Thoughts on the Ice Bucket Challenge
08/24/14 at 04:50 AM by Explode
The ice bucket challenge has been one of the most impactful social media phenomena of our generation. And the beauty is that it wasnít started by a marketing team or executive. It goes to show the true power and potential of social media and networking online; a power that didnít exist ten years ago. For those who think those who dump ice water on their heads and donít donate are foolish and donít make an impact, think again. Completing the challenge and not donating is more valuable than not completing the challenge in the first place. Itís the same thing as donating to ďawareness.Ē You donít need money to spread awareness.

A guilty feeling has been created for those who donít donate. People are now only donating because others are making them feel guilty. Stop thinking that only money can make a difference. That isnít what this is about.

Itís the challenge itself that has spread like wildfire; the challenge itself is the reason for the media coverage, the reason that this has become so big. Word of mouth is a tremendously powerful tool.

The ice bucket challenge will be studied by social media and business moguls for years to come. This will be attempted again and again, almost to the point of receiving chain emails/IMs. Those who have donated have made a difference, but there are hundreds of charities that deserve the publicís attention. Donate to the charity that you care about, the charity that supports something that has affected your life.
Tags: ice bucket challenge, ALS
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The Unknown Bands of Warped Tour, a Solution
05/08/14 at 11:43 AM by Explode
The Unknown Bands of Warped Tour, a Solution

I really hate the fact that I don't know many of the bands on this year's Warped Tour. Firstly, It's not the tour's fault; not at all. It's their job to give exposure to lesser known bands. In 2007, I was seeing another band while Paramore, a band that I had never heard of at the time, was playing on another stage. I wish I would have known to check them out. Warped should be more about discovery, and less about seeing your favorite band for the fifth time.

In my opinion, Warped needs to create a showcase. For 90 minutes (in the morning), everyone would flock to one stage (Camden's dual stages would work perfectly to account for set up time) to see bands play 2 songs. They get once chance to showcase, and if the crowd likes them, maybe they're awarded a longer set later in the day on one of the smaller stages. Maybe these are local bands from the area who just come to a few stops, or maybe they're on for the whole tour. If they're on for the full tour, then the smaller bands can rotate. One day they'll play the showcase with a chance at a longer set, and other days they'll be guaranteed a longer set and another band can take the showcase spot.

Maybe it won't work because if you're a big fan of one of the smaller bands, you might not get to see them for more than 2 songs. On the other hand, they'll be playing to the entire audience on that stop. They'll build a following and you can see them when they come to town for a show.

Ultimately, I think something needs to be done to combat the entire "Who is this band? Eh, I'll pass" mindset.

Anyway, a few more bands were just announced, and you can read a little bit about them below. Give them a listen:

Wind in Sails
Newport, Rhode Island

Warped Dates: 7-6 to 7-13

Immediately I get a strong City and Colour vibe from Evan Pharmakis. You might know him from post-hardcore band, Vanna, but he's been setting out on his own for Wind In Sails since 2012. Evan's music is available in two flavors. If you prefer a more stripped down sound, check out October 2013 release, Dark Nights over on Bandcamp. I recommend "Heart to Focus" which you can stream above. If you want check out a more full-band sound, check out Brighter Days on Spotify. I'd recommend "Set Adrift" off of that release.

RIYLAnberlin, City and Colour, Anthony Green

Face the King
New York, New York

Warped Dates: 7-12 to 7-19

For some reason, I was expecting this to be a heavier band. I turned my speakers down before I started playing 2011 release Face the King. Then I heard the delay on the guitars and turned my speakers back up. New York rockers, Face the King definitely don't deliver the type of music you might expect on the tour. You won't find any screaming or pop-punk melodies here. I really enjoyed "All the Pretty Things Between" and "You, Me & Sound" (which you can stream above) off of The Sound EP.

RIYL30 Seconds to Mars, Kings of Leon, Young Guns

Me Like Bees
Joplin, Missouri

Warped Dates: 7-20 to 7-31

I was surprised to see some push back on this band based on the band name alone. Believe it or not, I hear a little bit of The Format in their sound mixed with a lot of Modest Mouse. Luke Sheafer's voice has an uncanny resemblance to Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock at times. Listen to "Pneumonia" and you'll see what I mean. The sound they present on 2013 full length debut The Ides is actually quite impressive. I'll definitely be taking some more time with this album. Check out "Comet and the Snail" and I guarantee you'll be pleasantly surprised.

RIYLDear and the Headlights, The Format, Modest Mouse, Steel Train

I, the Breather
Baltimore, Maryland

Warped Dates: 6-13 to 8-3

I'm really not the guy to talk about a hardcore band, but if you're into the heavier genres, give Baltimore's I, the Breather a listen. They were signed to Sumerian on 2010 and have two full lengths with a third slated for July. They'll be on the tour with label mates Born of Osiris and DayShell.

RIYLblessthefall, Asking Alexandria

Captain Capa
Bad Frankenhausen, Germany

Warped Dates: 6-13 to 8-3

Captain Capa is an electronic band from, get this, a town called Bad Frankenhausen, in Germany. Check out "Berlin Fainting" in the video above which is from 2011's Save My Life. I tried looking up some interviews, but they're all in German. If you're interested, go check out 2013's Foxes. I'd recommend "Ghosts" and "24."

RIYLIt's German electronica! Just give them a listen!

Strangers You Know
Los Angeles, California

Warped Dates: 6/20, 6/22, 6/25

LA group Strangers You Know was a little hard to find (they used to be called Reprise), but I was finally able to track down "Smoke and Mirrors" which you can stream above. It's quite catchy, and attracted me instantly. Check out "Be It" and "More Than We Have" off of First World Answers.

RIYLDear and the Headlights, Alt-J, Young Statues, A Great Big Pile of Leaves

So there's a quick run through! Even if you don't stop by and see these bands perform this summer, you'll never have to say "I've never heard of that band" ever again :)
Tags: Warped Tour, Wind in Sails, Face the King, Me Like Bees, I the Breather, Captain Capa
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Young the Giant - Mind Over Matter - Initial Thoughts
01/21/14 at 06:45 AM by Explode
Young the Giant - Mind Over Matter

"Crystallized" stimulates my pop craving in all of the right ways. I can see it dominating the alternative airwaves similar to the recent campaigns by Imagine Dragons' "It's Time" or Bastille's "Pompeii." I just pray that they don't overplay it. I think those two are seen as more "mainstream" for whatever reason, so we should be in the clear.

Five tracks in, and I'm praying that the album won't be top-heavy. "Anagram" does it's job perfectly in that pole position. Here comes "Daydreamer" following up the title track. I'm putting a lot of pressure on this one, but I can take an average track to wind-down from the front line-up. Alright, it wasn't bad.

It sounds like "Firelight" is the real wind-down, which makes sense because it cuts the album in half. If they can pack the second half with as much power as the first, than I'd be very surprised. In itself, not an amazing track off the first listen, but it was enjoyable. Now "Camera" comes in, still pretty slow. Possibly going to pick up? It has to. You can't have two slow tracks in a row! You just can't! This track will go insane in a few seconds.... (1:00). Alright, things are interesting now, but still pretty chill (1:57). If anything, this is a build up track to "In My Home." "Camera" is sounding like something you'd open a show with before going crazy... or maybe just a chill song with a cool light show going on.

Here we go! "In My Home" is starting off wonderfully (:17). I can feel a great chorus coming. Was that a chorus, or a second verse?

I'm hoping there's a favorite hiding in the back section somewhere. There has to be something absolutely huge back there.
Tags: young the giant
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EOTY 2014
01/15/14 at 05:21 AM by Explode
Yep, starting early this year.

Late Discoveries


Volcano Choir

Hudson & Troop

EOTY 2014

Young the Giant - Mind Over Matter

We Were Promised Jetpacks - TBA

Walk the Moon - TBA

Taking Back Sunday - Happiness Is

Inventions - TBA

XO - Heart

Nick Mulvey - First Mind May 12th

Foster the People

Motion City Soundtrack

Say Anything

Manchester Orchestra - Cope


The Menzingers - TBA


Matthew Mayfield

Tokyo Police Club - Forcefield 3-25-14

Margot & the Nuclear So & Sos

Snow Patrol

Greg Laswell


The Fray





The Colourist
Tags: eoty 2014
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How Spotify is ruining my life
07/17/12 at 09:39 AM by Explode
So since I found Spotify about a year ago, I've been so overwhelmed with new music. I remember the days of saying "Damn, I need new music." Well those days are long gone now. Long gone.

Even if I find a new album that I sort of like, I don't really consider it "listened to" until I give it maybe five full listens. That's really when you can think back and start to form an opinion. There are albums that take months or even a year to fully hit me. Driver Friendly's "Chase the White Whale" is a perfect example. At first, I only liked the first half of the album, up to "Remember When..." but now this album is one of my favorites of all time. I find myself rediscovering bands/albums that I've had on my iPod for five years.

I'm trying to give all of this music a fair chance and avoid "once-overs." In my current rotation are: Man Overboard, Fireworks, Pinsky, Walk the Moon, Eagle Scout, Owen, and Sucre. These are all bands that I discovered over the past few months and I've been able to enjoy their music because of Spotify.

Now that Spotify radio came out, my list of bands to check out keep growing... It will never end, and that is why Spotify is ruining my life.

Btw... if you haven't listened to Imagine Dragons yet, do yourself a favor and check out their Continued Silence EP. Their upcoming album is the AOTY for 2012 that no one saw coming. Check out my review here.
Tags: Spotify, Driver F, Driver Friendly, Chase the White Whale, Imagine Dragons
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Last Updated: 08/24/14 (5,612 Views)
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