Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Get Hit by Ukulele Rock

In today's music world, it is hard to carve out a niche. With mixtapes, remixes, covers, and new EPs coming out each and every day, it seems we are bombarded with so much new music that we can not possibly absorb it all. This sound and that beat, we have heard it all before, and we are bound to hear it again before the year is done. It is undoubtedly easy to get discarded to the pile of waiting to be discovered music, and still easier to be dismissed as unoriginal.

Yet all these obstacles does not stop true ability and ambition from rising to the top. Talent is not, and has never been, enough to define an album or a career. Rather it is a combination of said musical gifts, experience, and effort invested into the musical project that will bring recognition and fame in the end. Only a musician's dedication to their sound can bring out the full potential of their message to the world. This is why She's In the Band's new EP "Better" is stepping out into the scene with two strong strides instead of a wimpy tip-toe onto YouTube.

The idea behind this EP is not new. Take the pop rock you know and love and mix in some unique instrument that most people don't associate with the genre. In this case, it is the ukulele that gets the featured instrument highlight. But what the average listener does not expect, or even suspect, is the combination of She's in the Band singer Hannah Sciurba's voice with the emotionally sparked lyrics alongside that ukulele. Sciurba's vocals are genuine and she slices and dices her way through anger, heartbreak, and validation in "Better".

This EP is the equivalent of a cliff diver, launching into the air with their arms spread wide, focusing only on the water below. Every one of the songs takes a different stance on the singer's feelings and reactions to the lyrics; there is no hiding in subtleties here. Even the song titles with, "Feels Like Home" and "Keeping the Peace", are openly honest about the song's content and general mood. It is this unapologetic stance towards her music, her emotions, or even the impression she might make that makes gives this artist her charm and power.

For those looking for the familiar ground of today's pop, "At This Moment" is the best bet for general feel and rhythm. The ukulele and drum combination at the beginning instantly catches your attention and demands repeating. The vocals in this track brings up quick comparisons to Sara Bareilles's blues-infused pop, but the rock-based middle to end let her voice stand on her own. Personally, there was no question that "Hating You is Only the First Step" was the top prize in this style varied EP. With its punk, alternative, and even folk influences combined into a single punch, She's In the Band has made its own invitation to the private party that is the music industry. The guitar riff and solo of this track complement the song's spiteful title. Even if Sciurba sang peaceful, loving lyrics over this track, the listener would only focus on the driven pace of drums and electric guitar.

This EP is refreshing in its attempt to present original material into a current scene of look and sound-alikes. Is it earth shattering and soul moving? Not yet. Hannah Sciurba is, in my opinion, just starting to show her true vocal capacities on these songs. Her voice shines on the slow, moving parts of her compositions so I would like to see more material on the "sad", but not to take away any strength of the "mad" compositions. Also, strange that I would request this, is the fact that I wish to hear an acoustic track with just the ukulele and her vocals. I can hear the ukulele, but I feel like it should be heavily featured in at least one song, since it is her strength and unique input into the pop rock genre. Finally, I hope that in the future albums, she does not lose her direct approach to emotions and direct lyrical interpretation. This, I feel, is her greatest attribute in her compositions.

These four songs are a rock-solid foundation for this up-and-coming artist, and a great hear for those listeners waiting for a new take on a familiar genre. Pick up your headphones my friends, plug in, and take a hit of this fresh ukulele rock.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Manliest Man

Lately there has been a discussion about guy and girl bloggers, and which gender is more followed. Not surprisingly, nearly everyone has agreed that girls are on top, and that their blogs are much more popular than your typical guy blog. So we, as males, have not necessarily been feeling the love. Some common complaints were that guy content was so-called boring and unfamiliar. This then made me think about various “manly” topics up in my head, and I decide to write (type) down a few of these testosterone-bathed ideas. These are some manly things for you to think about:


Unavoidable, obviously. Penis. Vagina. Sex. Lots of it. If there were a day that, I could claim, that this subject doesn't cross my mind, I am blatantly undeniably lying. Of course, this topic covers a wide variety of conversations. You could talk about porn, whacking it, blowing it, sucking it, etc., etc., but most of all, it is the fact that you had sex. And the hilarity and unbelievable events that lead up to, occur during, and after the act itself, like when the Danaconda gets some. I think the Lonely Island and Akon put it very well also. Even if there is a paper bag involved, it still counts!


Meat, meat, meat, meat, me-me-meat. Carnivores, unite, and bring your beef, pork, veal, turkey, partridge, and chicken over to my home. Vegetarians, respect and love, but I can't live without my piece of marinated, broiled, grilled, or barbecued piece of deliciousness. I'm so so sorry animal-loving guys and girls.(Not really, but I feel nice for once) Its not easy being a Grill Master either, you have to learn the secrets of the meat arts, creating the sauce to marinate in, choosing the right grill, and of course, how to perform the cuts. Now, I am not saying you have to eat meat to be friends with me, but damn it sure does help our relationship.

T or A

Ah yes, the eternal debate started from the beginning of mankind. Coke or Pepsi? IPhone or Blackberry? Tits or ass? How to to delegate a superior importance to one part of the female anatomy? On the one hand, the girls are hard to ignore since your eyes are magnetically being pulled down to the chest area of her figure. Pick your head up dude, you are kind of obvious, and close your mouth. Jeez. On the other, did you just see her walk by in those tight jeans? By all things that are holy in this world, how does it get so big? And round? And bouncy? Put that thing away please, I can't focus on my driving/flying/operating heavy machinery. I'm going to presume that everyone from the Mesopotamians up to the Romans put their finest philosophers on this discussion and even they could only come up with what is now the Hot or Not websites.


FOOTTBBALLLLLLL. BASEBALLLLL. BASKETBALLLL. SOCCERRRR (fĂștbol) Among other stuff typically in a guy's mind is "how is the game going?" and "I wonder what the score is". Now, I have never considered myself a guy's guy, but more like a nerdy guy's guy. The nerdy guy who knows about technology, science, video games, and not so much on the sports side of things. Yet, somehow or another, I get sucked into watching and following sports regardless. I am somewhere in between the dude that knows nothing about the rules and asks the annoying questions and the die-hard asshole of a fan that knows all the names, the scores of the games, and the 100+ years of history that the team has. So maybe according to "sports fans" out there, I am not true fan yet, but I want to spare myself the effort of learning everything related to one team. This blog does help out though. But I do have my teams. I am a Yankees fan (yes, yes, you can shut up now...haters), a Phillies fan, and a Barcelona fan. I have started liking the Eagles since they picked up Michael Vick and gave him another chance. But that's it though. I have science as my competitive sport. COMPUTERSSSS AND GRAPHING CALCULATORSSS. So fucking intense I tell you.

How do these above mentioned topics compare to your typical "omg he's so cute" post and your "wear this, not this, this season" entry? Clearly, you want to hear me debate some other girl's posterior versus her might-not-be-natural-but-thats-okay chest region. I think you just have to have an open mind. I listen to you talk about your prospects for love, and you hear me talk about how much I love T-bone steak. It's give and take ladies, give and take. In the meantime, of course I will comment on your searches for happiness and make fun of you for trying to write (yet again) about your wardrobe.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Some More Final Thoughts (Part 2)

Continuing from the last post:

4) Just watched the season finale of Dexter, and changed my mind about the whole episode in the last ten minutes. Wow, melancholy and loneliness is a theme that is usually is mentioned in the show, but we got to see a whole new side of it. The episode highlighted how solitary the life of everyone's favorite serial killer can be but left it with a sweet note. Kudos, Showtime.

5) As I read, I realize, from all the girl blogs I now follow, that I have to reevaluate how much I really "understand" emotions across the genders. I have always thought that my rational and logic thought process usually gets me to the bottom of all complex situations, but some entries I have read has left me drawing a complete blank. A "wow I don't even know what to say to that" or even worse (for me) is the "I don't know what I am supposed to feel about this". I typically ridicule other guys that fail to comprehend basic girl behavior but it looks like I have hit a wall myself. I guess there are some life events or emotions that are not easily translated to "guy-ese".

I declare this situation as a whatever though, because even if I can't understand everything going on or what are the emotions running through the minds of these female bloggers, I can appreciate the fact that they are even writing about it and sharing it with the world, and that takes some serious balls. (ovaries?)

6) Am loving 20-something bloggers. It actually is motivating me to keep up with posting, because I gots followers, whoo. Also the discussions are fun, not to mention I signed up for a blog swap and karaoke showing. You all will be seeing some of that stuff pretty soon.

7) I have a research project next semester. I am very proud of myself for getting this, considering that I haven't been in this situation ever before and it is not even my major. But anyways, the topic is interesting, the math should be good, and I hope to squeeze all the knowledge I can from this shit. Alright.

Now, before I go practice guitar, go listen to "Tighten Up" by the Black Keys. Imagine the song that you want to be played when you are walking away from a bad memory or a horrible dream in your life movie. This is the badass song you want playing as you slo-mo your way out of the screen.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Some Thoughts on the end of the Semester


I handed in my last final at 12:30pm today. Feels great, being completely done with all exams, all work, and all that stress for the moment. Now I feel like passing out, but I can't really do that considering I still have my commute home. Sleeping on the wheel sounds appealing but, and I may have heard this, that might not be a good idea. All in all, exams were fine. In one of my easy classes, the professor decided to pull a fast one and give us a conceptually difficult final. Not cool man, not cool, babies be crying because of you. But I won't complain too much, l uh am working for that guy next semester sooooo yeaaa...
Okay well to clear some final thoughts:

  1. I didn't see hot girl again, oh well (secretly: damn!)
  2. I have concluded that while girls are, in general, as intelligent as guys are...the girls in my French class take the whole womens-campaign-for-equal-respect thing back to the Middle Ages when you were men's property. Good job girls, hope to see you on Rock of Love Season 432.
  3. I have finished catching up on some blogs. Man, people are funny and why oh why do I snort when trying to withhold my laughter.
I have to go so this is a short post. Will elaborate further later.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hello I Think You're Hot, Won't You Tell Me Your Name?

Dear Sexy Senorita,

Hello, how are you? I am good myself thanks. You might know me as the guy who passes you on Mondays and Tuesdays. Dark hair? Dreamy eyes? Dashing smile? No? Okay then, I'll explain. As I walk to my last class on Tuesday afternoon, we cross paths behind the Art Museum. Every Monday, I go to my review session at 1 and you have class (I'm assuming it is a class) in the same hall at that same time.

The first time we crossed paths and locked eyes, you caught my attention. You are, in a word, hot. Not in the temperature, "are you sick?" sense, but in the way that I want to spell the word h-a-w-t. Now a whole semester has passed, and we have passed each other a number of times. My visual opinion of you has not changed. I think 5 out of 5 dentists would agree with me that you are very attractive.

You are usually wearing some article of clothing related to the fact that you are in a sorority and not to enforce certain stereotypes, I am not surprised you are in one. You carry yourself with the air of one that knows she is control, in demand, and on top.
I know you might be wondering why I am writing this letter to you. No, this is not one of those creepy "I'm obsessed with you" kind of letters, but rather it is an explanation to both you and myself. You see, I am sure we could have plenty to talk about. So you are saying to yourself, "why didn't he come up, say hi, and introduce himself?".

The simple honest truth is that I am too busy. I am too concerned with other things not relating to females, dating, or sex. Surprising I know, considering I just admitted to the whole internet that I want to be on top of you. Or in any position really, I have an open mind and enjoy trying out new things in the bedroom. This would certainly have not been the case one year ago.

Back then, I would have dropped everything and strolled over with a smile and a twinkle in my eye. Do you like a guy that listens to you, teases you, takes you out to dinner? A singer and guy that knows how strut his stuff on the dance floor? That's what I thought. I would have charmed you into my bed and out of those panties before the words "can I come over?" would have been out of your mouth. And I know that you probably had lots of guys brag about how they would rock your world, but they wouldn't have held a candle to the night we would have spent. The kissing, the touching, the pleasure filled moaning would fill the room as our bodies collide, our embraces tighten, and our passion explodes into not one, but multiple orgasms. Once you were back in your own room, you would remember and relive the memories, leaving you breathless and delighted.

While this all sounds incredible, we probably are better off the way things are now. I am not that guy anymore. My passion is real and my skills are still intact, but my desires for life are different. I am looking beyond the one-night stand or the occasional hookup buddy. I am looking for success, for glory, for that personal satisfaction that comes from a man that runs his life, owns his world, and demands what he is worth. So yes, I am looking for a relationship before my next sexual adventure. I am not denying the possibility of future hookups or one-night stands, but I am sure that the next time I get naked with a woman it won't be the last time and I will feel something in my heart for her.

But anyone in college can tell you that there is so much to do and so little time. I take a full engineering course load, I work, and I commute back and forth from home. My mind is generally full of phasors, Butterworth low-pass filters, and turbine entropy generation, not on how I would delight you with my tongue. I worry greatly about Matlab, the GRE, and how to calculate the fourier transforms of my signals, and oh so very little on foreplay. Should you get to know me, and get to like me, you would not get the full me. You would be buying yourself a one-way ticket to Sexually Frustrated and I would be doing myself a huge disservice by not giving you all the attention you merit. Maybe there are ways to balance my academic life with your loving, but my coordination is fragile. I am holding it all together; my jobs, my classes, and my family obligations on a single thread where one bad day seems to throw my life completely off track. In the near future, my love will be available again, but for now, it is out of stock. So while you might be Miss Right, unfortunately you can't be Miss Right Now.

You might say if I won't hook up with you, or date you, maybe we could be friends? Maybe, but not likely. This whole letter is based on a large assumption of your personality. Maybe I wouldn't be able to stand you, and maybe you wouldn't be able to relate to me. It happens. And even if our personalities meshed, I am not a fan of having a girl you have the hots for as a close friend. It is a recipe for disaster. If you are not busy being jealous, then you are trying to separate your sincere friendship from your lustful thoughts. Careful with those Freudian slips, because they reveal the real reason you are always hanging out in her room. With your kind of hotness, caution is not only recommended but necessary.

That's leaves us back to where we started. You and I walk by each together, match stares, and smile. Two strangers on different paths for the time being. Maybe next time I'll throw in a "Hi" for you. Maybe. I hope you have a nice class and a good Christmas break. If we ever run into each other in the future, I know things will be different. Until then, you'll just have have to do with less-than-spectacular sex and guys that are close to, but still aren't, me.

With well-meaning but somewhat dirty wishes,

A shout-out to my first 4 followers, thanks so much for your support! Much love to Penny Lane, Andy, Dominick Mills, and ryepdx.

Friday, December 10, 2010

It's Beautiful Day/Weekend/Month

To start things off, I will never tire of listening to inspirational music. And I guess I will have to define it first before continuing. It is a song, a song that hits the spot right on what you are feeling at that moment. The notes and lyrics come to an intersection with the path of life, and you find that that artist/band/whatever knew and wrote about what you are feeling right now. Regardless of genre or even the original intent of the song, music can be taken in by the individual and interpreted to coincide with everyday goings. Sometimes I am working and I hear a certain song and "Damn yes! This is where I am and that is where I want to go". Music, for me at least, is a both a trail marker and path maker all in one. What songs you heard obsessively three years ago don't have the same quality to them nowadays, but they are a reminder of who you were and where you were at that time. Certain songs or artists bring past events to life or people into your mind. A fleeting memory of passionate sex, a tearful remembrance of a family member lost, or a triumphant event all can be captured in just a verse and a chorus. This is enough to bring the memory back to life, and back into your life.

So I have finished all my homework assignments and my semester project which had been a huge stress creator for me. My first exams are on Tuesday and I'm sure I'm going to get on some studying fo' sure soon. But at this point, I'm taking a self-reflective look on my life. In many ways it is not up to expectations, the dreams I had of my 21-year old self at 16. I'm back at home, I don't an independent life and my artistic dreams are still in baby stages. But on the other hand, I force myself to be realistic and face some truths. Most if not all of the drawbacks were my fault, my fault for trying to deceive myself that I could live life without committing to anything.

There are many highlights though! I work, and work hard for my grades now. I'm proud of my work and study. I feel like my brain is waking up, stretching, and going on the run it has been postponing everyday for the past 4 years. I get along with my professors and though I am working on the whole friendship thing, my anxieties, and anger, I have definitely met some friendly faces out there. Nicceee. From where I was a year ago to now, I have transformed and formed a new individual. Better, faster, stronger, Kayne start

The song I had in mind was "Beautiful Day" by U2. It is an amazing song in itself and I enjoy hearing it occasionally. But a few days ago I listened it and the lyrics seem to pop right out at me, literally and figuratively. It brought into mind all the times I woke up at 5am to commute early to get a parking spot, all the times I walked in cold scared to run into people I knew, and the insecurity that accompanies a person trying to get back on the horse of life.

"The heart is a bloom
Shoot up through the stony ground"

- I personally feel like my heart/soul/life-force will be whole once more someday. I just got to keep positive about it and keeping working my ass off. Am I right? I am so right.

"The traffic is stuck
And you are moving anywhere"

-I literally get stuck in traffic at least 3 times a week. I get angry when people cut me off and I stress out about getting rear-ended or side-swiped by a distracted driver. Not a fun time in my day

"You love this town
even if this doesn't ring true"

-I loathe the campus. I particularly enjoy the subzero temperatures and wind chill factor that leave me paralyzed and, in my mind, practically frostbitten in place that shouldn't be chilled for any period of time. Yet, I love this school because it is giving me a once-in-lifetime chance to change and fulfill my potential. Thank you for that, but I wouldn't mind much if you moved your campus about 2000 miles south.

"Its a beautiful day
Don't let it get away"

- Every day truly is, I know that this is true. I know that we all have the power to decide what the ultimate result of our days are. If I do just one thing better that I did yesterday that will improve my life, whether it is studying, blogging, practicing guitar, singing, or dancing, then my day has been a success. Little by little the days will add up and you create a life of advancements and achievements.

It's a beautiful day because I am done with classes and I am eager to rip through these finals like a little kid on some Christmas gift wrapping. BAM. It is a beautiful weekend because I will blog, record a cover (of this song), and be more productive than ever before. And it is a beautiful month because we will celebrate Christmas and the New Year, and I know, for a fact, I have earned my way back to the "nice" column on Santa's list. Wait, more like the "nice but still naughty where it counts" list. I just had to do that, I couldn't resist.

...That's what she said.

And before an avalanche of puns hits my blog, I will leave you with the beautiful song for all of your beautiful holiday seasons.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Sound of Silence (IPod Version)

The good news - it's the last day of class. Next week are my finals and then its a nice break from driving ridiculously early and suffering through nonstop classes. Also, I did some post design changes. Now we have a random list to the side and an LBA quote box. I have always wanted to update the world on my little brother's hilarious commentary and this will do until I decide to get a Twitter account.

The bad news - MY HEADPHONES ARE BROKEN. AGAIN. Ugh, my IPod is lonely. All ready with my music and no headphones. Note to random people working around me: you leave your IPod unattended, I'ma swipe yo' headphone. No lie.

But seriously, these headphones were dirt cheap to begin with and lasted barely a year and a half. I would love some high-quality (high-maintenance?) headphones from Bose or SkullCandy, but the money necessary is being allocated to other needs like Christmas gifts or food or most important of all - gas. The mechanical engineers of the world better be hurrying up with that solar powered car because I will the first one in line to get one. The resulting money saved would then be used on getting more (legal :P) music and some headphones with mind-blowing sou
nd quality. Like these:

These babies are the Sennheiser HD800, also known as the best headphones in the world. Valued at a scary price of $1400, it has literally the best audio engineering in the world packed into 330 grams. Sennheiser, the German audio technology firm that makes this work of beauty, is looking to patent its curved sonic wave front. To put it another way, their headphones bends the waves in a unified front, allowing you to hear sounds spatially. You can freaking hear music in three, count them three dimensions. I would love to figure out how they were designed and built, but I'm assuming I would first need an internship with them and lot of information clearance for their trade secrets. Oh well, Sennheiser, you know I am a huge fan. Other headphones of interest would be the Bose QuietComfort 15 with is noise canceling, so you can fully focus on the beats at hand, and the Skull Candy G.I. Black, which looks extremely bad-ass.

I know that analyzing an accessory such as headphones may seem kind of crazy. Actually, it is totally crazy and I know it but we each have our fascinations. I have realized that since I enjoy listening to music so much, I have inevitably grown more interested in learning about audio systems and technology. Speakers, amps, headphones, and sound cards are the gadgets we use to hear our favorite songs and recordings. The better quality they are, the more powerful the music will be. And now I will have to go study for my finals and finish my project silence. Correction - all in the annoying noises of the other people in this computer lab.