Octopus Project at Urban Lounge

Monday Night. In Utah, typically reserved for families, board games, and green Jell-O. For some they are better occupied listening to live music at Urban Lounge, Salt Lake City. Of course, I’ll choose the latter. Not too many people left their nieces and nephews on Jan 22 when The Octopus Project came to town. When I first walked in there were only about 10 other people, exactly the way I like it.

Intimate shows are the way to go. Small venues with the stage right in front of your face. No metal barriers dividing musicians and the audience.  This is how music should be played/watched. There are too many ultra-artists playing in those mega-domes and super-stadiums. And some guy payed $200 for him and his daughter to sit in section 317 row J. Anyway, enough with my rant. Back to the important stuff.

The first band was SLC natives Indigo Plateau. With two guitars, bass, drums, and vocals they have a pretty classic dream-pop/alt-rock sound. And they sound pretty good. Both guitarists use a variety of effects during song interludes creating a nice atmosphere. Their music doesn’t blow me away with originality but an altogether strong sound. They were a good opener, playing for about 30 minutes.

The second act was New Fumes from Dallas, TX. A single musician graced the stage. A guitar hung around their neck and was surrounded by a variety of electronic gismos and gadgets creating the rest of the music. The music was wildly experimental. The vocals were incomprehensible and drowned out by the sheer noise. You’d often loose sense of tempo and rhythm. It was on the verge of being something truly original and cool but wasn’t quite there.

Headlining the show was Octopus Project. I first heard about them through a friend just a few weeks prior. I looked them up on Spotify and really liked what I heard. They are an experimental neo-psychedelic band from Austin, TX with a noteworthy sound. On stage, they are incredibly talented. The four musicians move around from instrument to instrument, each playing multiple throughout their hour-long set. Three of them provide lead vocals on at least one song, but much of their music is instrumental. They seem to have a strong connection as a band and play off each other immaculately.

Octopus Project put it all into their performance. Band-member Josh Lambert opened the show saying, “I know it’s cold and it’s a Monday but let’s have a fucking awesome time together.”  And that we did. The crowd had grown considerably but was still sporadic. Nevertheless, people danced, whooped, and hollered. Yvonne Lambert played an electronic instrument called a Theremin, which is played without physical contact. All-in-all it was a delightful show with excellent music.

Music is often inspiring and can teach us important life lessons. But sometimes it doesn’t have a deeper meaning. Sometimes it’s just meant to be enjoyed. Seeing Octopus Project was a chance to simply enjoy some live music.

Album Review: “Utopia” by Björk

The topic of love is somewhat of a specialty for Björk. Whether she’s singing about intimacy on “Cocoon” or self-love on “Army of Me”, Björk manages to describe love in ways that elevate her music above the average pop tune. For her new LP Utopia, she continues her exploration of the topic, contemplating new love in a digital age.

Santiago Felipe

This new love does not only relate to people, however; Björk also uses Utopia to explore a newfound appreciation for flutes. The instrument is at the heart of almost every track on the album, breathing a lively but airy quality into her music. It’s also where Björk’s ear for harmony shines best; on tracks like “Utopia”, the counterpoint between flutes creates beautiful sonorities for her ever-agile voice to sing atop of.

Despite being a new addition to her primary toolkit, the novelty of the flute does not entirely hold. While its persistent use gives the album a unique character, it at times comprises the integrity of the individual tracks. Those tracks that overly rely upon the flute, like “Paradisia”, while often beautiful, do not contain enough unique characteristics to distinguish themselves from the rest of the album. Seamless transitions between tracks often conflate this issue, blurring the line between one song ending and the other beginning.

Jesse Kanda

The tracks that do stand out typically rely upon more than just the flute, which is where Arca’s contributions come into play. Having previously worked with Björk on Vulnicura, Arca’s influence on Utopia does not have the same novelty it did on her previous LP, but his work still provides for Björk a vehicle to explore her musical interests in fascinating ways. On “The Gate”, sections of flute are put side-by-side with dazzling but minimalist electronic soundscapes. “Losss”, in comparison, joins the two, building in intensity as electronic percussion distorts and implodes upon itself.

While neither of these tracks cover particularly new ground for Björk, they prove to be enchanting none the less, which shouldn’t be a surprise. As a whole, Utopia is not her most compelling or innovative album, but it’s another deft demonstration of her ability to communicate the topic of love in ways most artists can only dream of.


Love Your Art? Walk Away From It

I’m writing this for artists. If you’re at a point where it doesn’t feel right, isn’t working, you’re lacking inspiration, I want to give you this piece of advice; walk away. Just walk away. That may sound counter intuitive to everything you’ve heard or felt but, if you’re stuck, I encourage you to walk away.

I’m an actor. Was an actor. Am an actor again. I studied, trained and have worked in a variety of venues from theme parks to Shakespeare festivals, from film and TV to voice over and commercials. I am not famous, that was never the goal. If that were to happen I wouldn’t mind at all however, I didn’t get into this thinking, I’m going to be famous. I got into this hoping I could be a working actor. I am a working actor. Those in the business know this term and understand that it’s not a bad place to be. I pay my bills, fund my entertainment, buy my bourbon by acting. I’ve done it for about 30 years and it was wonderful. Then it wasn’t.


A Working Actor

Let me explain the working actor thing for those of you who are not in the business or don’t have a connection to it. We see movie stars on screens and sometimes we see them on stage. We see stories about them in the news and images of them in fine fashion on carpets of red and in sleek cars and swanky houses. That may be the only image you have of actors. But, it’s a very limited view.

There are actors, good actors, great actors, inspiring actors all over the country who never achieve national fame. There are fine actors in your local theaters, in regional theaters all over the country. These actors are working actors meaning, they go to rehearsal, put up the show, run the show and move on to the next gig.

Now and then, they may get a role in a film, a guest shot on a TV show and that’s great. Most of the time working actors spend their lives going to auditions, (many, many auditions), getting cast, doing the job and going on to the next job. If you get three or four plays a year, maybe a few guest shots, a few small films, or, wow, a national commercial, then you’re doing well. You’re getting insurance, your pension is being paid into and you don’t have to do a day job. That’s the goal of the working actor. They’re everywhere and they are the backbone of the American theater. I have been very lucky to count myself among them for a long, long time.


It Just Wasn’t Working Anymore

Photo Credit: Nick Hidalgo

One day, it changed. I’m not 100% sure of what triggered it, I’m not sure of exactly why it happened but, one day it just didn’t work any longer. The joy I got from starting a new show, doing a rehearsal, discovering the depths of a character, creating a life with other actors, wasn’t fun. It was frustrating and making me angry. I was coming home from rehearsal and complaining to my bathroom mirror about this actor or this director.

First I stopped being generous in scenes, then I stopped listening. I was just angry all the time. My agent was sending me on auditions and I was giving excuses why I couldn’t do them. I had no real excuse, I just didn’t feel like standing in the room, reading what I thought were poorly written scripts and hopingfor the three line gig in a bad movie. Everything that I enjoyed about being an actor was making me angry and lost. I was making myself sick, and as a result I caused the actors I worked with some level of pain.

“Why not stop?” a dear friend asked me and my reply was interesting, if only to me. I didn’t say “No, I can’t.” I didn’t say “No, it will get better”. I said, “You know, I have good mind to do just that, just stop and see what happens.” I didn’t understand the sheer arrogance of that statement until a few months later but, it was symptomatic of how I was feeling at the time.

The real reason I didn’t want to stop, even though it was clearly killing me, was because I didn’t know who I would be. For most of my life I was an actor. People at parties would ask that terrible question; “So, what do you do?” and I was always ready with “I’m an actor.” I defined myself, my existence, my very being with the phrase; “I’m an actor”. If I stopped, who, what would I be? I also had this stupid notion that if I stopped the theater world would crumble without me. Let me stress again, I am not famous so, if I stopped nothing would happen. I just didn’t want to believe that.

Then, it just got to be too much. I stopped because I was too angry, too unhappy, too sick. I called my agent and told her I was stepping away. No one else knew, I just stopped. I did what my parents had always wanted me to do, I got a “real” job and I started living a very different life.

Photo Credit: Austin Chan

I noticed two things immediately; one; I was a lot less angry. And two; nobody gave a rat’s puckered ass that I quit. No one called and begged me to return. No theaters closed and put up signs saying: due to my retirement this theatre sees no reason to continue on. Movies were made, plays were produced and no one cared that I had quit. Oh, I was upset at first, how could they and don’t they know who I am, what I have done?

After a few months I really started to enjoy going to an office and doing a regular job. I liked having full weekends off. Actors usually get one day off per week. I liked being in my apartment all the time and not having to go off to a theater for 8 weeks and then come back and then go. The holidays were enjoyable, I liked spending the time with people I knew and not cobbling together an “orphans” Thanksgiving because I was on the road. I enjoyed having the life I had always shunned and avoided because I was an actor and being an actor meant you have rules. An actor does this and an actor sacrifices that and …. Blah. I realized, just like no one really caring that I quit, that no one had imposed these spartan rules about acting on me, but me.


A Year Off

I had given myself a time frame. I had decided that I would step away for a year. That was a big deal. I had never gone more than a month without a gig so, a full year was going to be tough. After the first few months, I didn’t miss it. I spent time with people who weren’t actors and had nothing to do with the business. I read a lot more. I learned a new skill. I got a steady paycheck. I went places on weekends. I lived a very different life.

Now and then I wondered if I’d ever go back, wondered if a year away would make me forget everything I had known but, those were fleeting thoughts. When I met new people and they asked what I did I would answer; “When” or “Why, what have you heard?” Sometimes I’d say something like, “Well, last night, I took this cooking class.” I stopped defining myself as my job, as an actor, as a profession. It was great. I felt free I felt new— I felt human.

I had told my boss my story when he first hired me and I let him know about my one year timeline. He was fine with that. When my year was almost up, out of the blue, I got a call from a director I had worked with several times and he asked me to do a show with him. I surprised myself with my initial response. I said, “I’d have to think about it, I have a regular job and I really don’t know if I could act again”. He was as surprised as I was. Normally, I would have said yes before I even heard the full offer. I have to think about it was not at all what he was expecting. I talked with my boss and he said the greatest thing; “Why can’t you do both?”


“Why Can’t You Do Both?”

Simple question but one, a year ago, I would never have entertained. Do both? Well, if I did both what would I be? Would I be an actor or a copywriter? Do I have to redefine my title. Would I have to do one of those, well, I’m really an actor but right now … things? All the things that would have hung me up a year before suddenly didn’t matter. I asked, can I work remotely, he said yes, I called the director, took the gig and that was that.

Photo Credit: Peyman Naderi

I was thrilled to be back in the room. Rehearsals were enjoyable again. I was happy to be back, exploring, creating and acting again. The big difference, I didn’t define myself as my profession any more. It made things easier. It made me happier. I wasn’t holding on so tight, I wasn’t keeping myself to some unwritten set of demands that I had to adhere to to be an actor. I was just doing it.

When the contract ended I returned to my office and it was great. I was happy to be back, happy to have done the show. I was happy. That was something I had missed, being happy. Shortly after my return I called my agent and she put me back in rotation. I went back to auditioning, feeling much more free, much more present. I was no longer getting crazy over the quality of scripts or the behavior of other actors, I was just present and happy to be so.

Walking away from my art was the best thing I have ever done in my life. Stepping away fully, starting a completely new career, not defining myself by my occupation, was healing and eye opening. I learned more about myself, what I was capable of, what I had limited myself to and what I wanted, than I ever imagined. I’m acting again. At the time of writing this, I’m getting ready to head off to do “Waiting for Godot”. I’m still working as a copywriter as well. I’m not defining myself as one thing. My acting is better. I am happier and I am curious in rehearsal again. I love the art again. And, I didn’t lose a step. All my training and time didn’t just vanish. I wasn’t starting from square one, but I was feeling like a student again and that is wonderful.

Walk away. Just leave it for a month, six months, a year. Do something else. Find out who you really are when you don’t define yourself as your occupation. Don’t worry, it will be there when you return. The world will be there. You’ll recognize it but, you may not recognize yourself.

Photo Credit; Hailey Kean @keanyefoto
Paul Kiernan is a writer/actor/eater of foods. He lives in Salt Lake City, and when he’s not acting he hangs his hat at ThoughtLab.

Holiday Musical Adventures

During the holidays, I found myself in a very strange place, Portland, Oregon. As a music junkie, of course I was gonna check out the local music scene. There is no better way to get to know a place than to listen to its music and I had to make the most of my mere two nights in the city. The first night I wandered downtown into the Ash Street Saloon.

Ash Street Saloon is a landmark in Portland. Located just around the corner from the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, the dirty rock bar features nightly live music. Locals go here to grab some pub food, a microbrew, and to listen to Portland’s common people become rockstars. December 27th, 2017 was dubbed the Farewell to Indie Rock because unfortunately, Ash Street Saloon will close in 2018.

According to the Portland Mercury, “commercial real estate agents have already begun showing the property to potential new tenants.” The owner has no plans to open a second or similar venue, “which means it’s time to celebrate Ash Street for what it has always been since it first opened its doors on Halloween 1994: a readily accessible venue for live music, specializing in local, loud, and low-cover shows, often spotlighting bands before they break through on the scene.”

I felt like an outsider as bands that had been playing here for years graced the stage one last time. That night featured sets from King Ghidora, J. Graves, Another Neighbor Disappeared, The Hoons, The Bible Belts, Pink Tornado, and Aux.78. There was nothing too special about the venue, but the poorly lit room with overbearing music didn’t try to be anything it wasn’t. It simply was what it was.

Night Two started with a red headed flannel wearing Lyft driver picking me up in a blue Prius, but when in Rome right? We ventured to what is acknowledged as one of the top music venues in Portland, Mississippi Studios. Inside the intimate room attached to Bar Bar, it’s all about the music. Built, owned, run, and for musicians, they provide a comfortable setting for local musicians to showcase a variety of new and innovative music.

The room was absolutely beautiful. The floors are semi-carpeted with rugs. The red painted walls suspend wooden guitars surrounded by angel wings. Purple lights shine down on decorative drums that line the balcony.

The first band was Volcanic Pinnacles. They are only a drummer and a sax player, yet produce sound that is so complex and intriguing besides using such little instrumentation. The perpetual pounding of the drums keep rhythm, while the smooth sax plays with effects pedals looping, distorting, and morphing the sound. Their music is some kind of post jazz psych rock and is fantastic. They stole the show at the beginning of the night.

Long Hallways was the second instrumentalist band of the night. The 5 musicians formed a mini-orchestra with drums, trumpet, synthesizers, a bass, guitar, xylophone, flute, cello, and a euphonium. They play post indie rock and display a comfortable familiarity on stage. Therefore, between songs you can hear them talking with each other. The bass player casually raised a finger to the crowd to indicate “last song”.

The final band was Mercury Tree. A simple 3-piece band that played indie rock with a twist. They had modified a guitar and bass dividing the octave into seventeen notes, five more than the standard twelve used in Western music. The lead singer’s microphone was programmed with heavy effects. Tempo variation within songs and strange titles such as “Hedgehogs are the Emperors of Space” and “Jazz Hands of Doom” added to their uniqueness.

However, as the rollercoaster of a year that was 2017 came to an end, these nights exploring the Portland music scene were exactly what I needed. It helped me unwind after the stresses of the year and reminded me of a few things. Primarily, that the world is constantly changing. Local hideouts are getting shut down and replaced with big businesses. Music is evolving and growing as technology improves. Change can be frightening but can lead to positive transformation. May 2018 bring innovation, personal expression, and new music to help get us through.

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard’s Workaholic Ethos

“My body’s overworked
It’s just the same I know
When can my body work
Cold static overload?
My body works, I know
It’s just the same, I know
My only difference
Is robot influence”


The chorus off of “Robot Stop” from 2016’s Nonagon Infinity is a prophetic statement for 2017. With the band releasing two new songs off of their fifth album this year on Wednesday, the Melbourne based King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is at the tail end of a whirlwind year. Touring across Australia, New Zealand, the U.S (twice) [if you want to see K-UTE’s Jackson Card’s review of their SLC show, check it out here.], and Europe the band has not only focused on tours but recording five different albums and ending the year with a touring music festival across Australia, “Gizzfest.”

A band with this kind of ethos is almost unheard of in 2017.KGATLW have proven that they can deal with a heavy workload and deliver quality music, concerts, and collaborations. What started as a seven member garage rock band from Geelong, Victoria in Australia, KGATLW consistently delivers new albums with new sounds, and 2017 was the band proving themselves to the world.


Starting with Flying Microtonal Banana in February, the band introduced a western audience to 24 TET tuning (For the non-musically inclined, these are notes in between notes in western music) which is commonly used in Arabic music. Fusing Psych rock, Krautrock, and Turkish folk music, the band created a sound that has not been seen in western popular music since The Beatles. The album had two singles that got considerable airplay in Australia and some U.S stations, “Rattlesnake” and “Billabong Valley”, the latter being a contemporary Bush Ballad that tells the story of Bushranger Dan “Mad Dog” Morgan.

In June the band released Murder of the Universe, an album that told three different stories through the band’s signature psych/kraut/garage sound. The album was even nominated for the ARIA’s (Australia’s RIAA) “Best Hard Rock Album” of 2017. Featuring Leah Senior’s narration for the first two stories on the album, the band resorted to using a text-to-speech application to narrate the final story. The album did not have any songs that got considerable airplay due to the length of each story, however it is the first time since “Eyes Like the Sky” that KGATLW has used spoken word to guide the structure of the album.

In August the band released Sketches of Brunswick East, a collaboration with U.S based jazz fusion group “Mild High Club.” The album mixes some concepts from “Flying Microtonal Banana” with a looser, improvisational feel ushered by Mild High Club’s involvement. This is some of the most improvisational content that the band has put out and their first foray into jazz. Citing Miles Davis’ “Sketches of Spain” as inspiration for the album name and jazz influence, the band delivers a newer sound that has not been heard in their discography. The album’s big single “Countdown” received heavy airplay in Australia. Again the band shows that they can metamorphose their sound and surprise their audience with new concepts they’ve never explored.

In November the band rolled out with Polygondwanaland. An album that is as fun to listen to as it is to pronounce. Building on the themes explored in “I’m In Your Mind Fuzz” and “Nonagon Infinity,” the band produces an album that uses more synthesizer than any of the band’s previous work. The big takeaway from this album however is the band released it entirely for free. The masters and artwork were given to the public for free. The band is stated as saying, “Ever wanted to start your own record label? GO for it! Employ your mates, press wax, pack boxes. We do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy.” The band again explores a new concept never seen with their work. The fanbase has already began publishing Polygondwanaland among different labels, creating special editions of the album that are unique to each label. KGATLW shows that there’s always something new up their sleeve. If you want to read more about Polygondwanaland, check out our very own Jackson Card’s review of the album here.

What’s going to be on the fifth album? The band released two singles on Wednesday (You can listen to them below), “Beginners Luck” and “All is Known.” Both singles show an amalgamation of their musical work in 2017. With “Beginners Luck” borrowing the softer sound of “Sketches of Brunswick East” and Beginners Luck taking sounds off “Flying Microtonal Banana” and “Murder of the Universe.” Does this mean the band’s fifth album will be the capstone of their work in 2017? If these singles indicate anything, the answer is yes.


King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard has delivered in 2017, they have come of age. Stu Mackenzie is now Kevin Parker’s biggest threat in terms of the Australian rock scene. In the time that Tame Impala has been quiet,KGATLW has come in and taken the crown from them. KGATLW has become the ruler of the late 2010s in the way that Tame Impala was in the early 2010s. The work they’ve done in 2017 has shown that rock is not dead. The show of pure passion for their content shows off with the band’s fanbase, and by giving their fans Polygondwanaland they’ve developed a new brand of marketing that is so brave in a world where music does not make a living.KGATLW is a force to be reckoned with. Time will show that their efforts are not fruitless and their work ethos in 2017 has sealed them as an influential band of the 2010s.



Album Review: Polygondwanaland by King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard

One problem that I have with the music industry is how commercialized it has become. Concert prices are going up and band tees are 50 bucks a pop. Meanwhile, record companies are making billions and artists are losing creative control.

Some bands, like King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, are combatting this epidemic. The Australian psychedelic rock band released their 12th studio album and 4th this year, Polygondwanaland, on November 17, 2017. The marvel of this record is it is 100 percent free.  On the band’s website, they say this album is “free to download and if you wish, free to make copies.” They have put up a link to the mp3 files and the CD and vinyl masters. King Gizzard says, “we do not own this record. You do. Go forth, share, enjoy.”

Polygondwanaland is a made-up word referencing multiple different things. Gondwana was 1 of 2 supercontinents that formed Pangea. It consisted of Antarctica, South America, Africa, Australia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian subcontinent. Polygon might reference their album Nonagon Infinity which pictures a polygon with 9 sides. Many of their albums exist inside the same interconnected universe and reference each other. Polygondwanaland uses polyrhythms, uncommon time signatures, and takes you on a journey to a mysterious land.

“Crumbling Castle” is the 10-minute opener. Several of their other albums, including I’m in Your Mind Fuzz (2014) and Murder of the Universe (2017), depict castles in the artwork. Descending guitar and vocals alternate between playing in unison and stagnated with complex polyrhythms. Guitar and flute solos take you up and away as they begin to enter the new world of Polygondwanaland. The lyrics are dark and gloomy. Stu Mackenzie sings, “we wait for our death… our extinction.” This is a heavy epic opening that sets the tone for the rest of the album.

“Polygondwanaland” begins with groovy drums and bass. They talk about climate change and how it will create a new world. They sing, “Snow melts… it will get hot.” Perhaps polygondwanaland is the new world that will be formed after the climate settles down. Mackenzie hopefully sings, “we’re gonna get there.”

Each song transitions seamlessly between one another. They tell a single story and build off each other. Spoken words by Leah Senior narrate the story and propel the album forward. Synth interludes give the impression of time traveling. Relentless drums drive us into “Deserted Dunes Welcome Weary Feet” where we learn that polygondwanaland is full of dinosaurs.

A theme of this album is gods and devils and the battle between good and evil. “Loyalty” is about a god whose people revolt against him. He chooses to make an example and show his wrath until he gets his loyalty. “Horology” takes you “to the ninth circle of hell”. They sing about a demon creature the walks across the land with death.

The last 3 songs touch on the theme of tetrachromacy, which is having 4 distinct cone cells in the eye. This condition is seen in many birds, fish, and other animals. Humans only have 3, which is why we see 3 primary colors. Millennia ago, all mammals were tetrachromats but it has been genetically phased out over time.

“Tetrachromacy” introduces this idea of a fourth color that humans have ever seen. They become curious about this color and “lust to see the invisible”. “Searching…” is the mysterious transition. Mackenzie sings, “Doctor please… I want to see the world differently.” The surgery is successful. They can now see “The Fourth Color” and it has granted them god-like powers. They can “see through walls… your terror… [and] the future.”

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard has delivered another stellar album with Polygondwanaland. The use of strange rhythms and time signatures creates a unique sound and music that is anything but boring. The albums complexity and connectedness transports you into a new world as all good psychedelic albums should. Free music is a futuristic idea and one that I can get behind. King Gizzard has promised another album this year, so all we can do is eagerly await as they explore new musical ideas.

What’s on My Playlist #4

For most college students, the workload at school ramps up around now. As Thanksgiving is the time of year people give thanks, I want to take the opportunity to give thanks to the music that keeps me going during these busy times.

“Arisen My Senses” by Björk

Björk’s newest album Utopia just came out and oh boy, one track in and it’s already a doozy. Gone is the gloom her beautiful album Vulnicura inhabited, replaced by an air of euphoria and ecstasy. Readily as ever, she wraps her voice around sweeping arrangements of synth and harp, recalling her previous work on the spectacular Vespertine. I’ll be reviewing the album in full soon, so stay tuned, but I can definitely say Utopia is off to a fantastic start.

“Dum Surfer” by King Krule

I mentioned this song in my article on records you can find at Graywhale; needless to say, it’s a spectacular take off King Krule’s new album The Ooz. If Archy’s distinct vocals or the layers of atmospheric effects don’t immediately pull you in, the saxophone definitely will. It’s the kind of tune that’s immediately catchy but has enough layers to keep your interest long past first listen.

“List of People (To Try And Forget About)” by Tame Impala

Speaking of music I’m grateful for, Tame Impala released a collection of b-sides and remixes that pleasantly surprised me. “List of People” in particular boasts the best qualities of band’s last release Currents plus some; it sports the same brilliant production and killer drumlines from Currents in addition to one of Kevin Parker’s best vocal melodies. The song has time to breath too, with a tasteful, understated ending that assures I won’t forget about this song anytime soon.

“If She Wants Me” by Belle and Sebastian

Understatement also happens to be a particularly appealing quality of Belle and Sebastian. Rather than dipping in and out of understated passages, however, the band sits in them. The resulting music feels deeply intimate, like stepping into a room with the band itself. Despite this, “If She Wants Me” is a big song for Belle and Sebastian, touting an organ and a majestic accompaniment by violins, creating a song both grand and charming.

“Extrasolar” by Baths

After reading a fascinating article about Baths on Kotaku, I decided to give his newest album Romaplasm a listen. While the whole album is an enjoyable listen, “Extrasolar” immediately caught my attention. Pianos chime and strings stir in the back of the mix, building into beautiful crescendos. Atop the instrumentation, Will Wiesenfeld creates beautiful harmonies with his vocals. “Come what may, we’re on our way” he sings over the chorus, a fitting mantra for getting through the end of the semester.

The Magic Of Music: Sam Lachow

Sam Lachow is a producer, songwriter, rapper, videographer, director, and editor of video and music.

Raised in both Seattle and New York City he’s been making videos since elementary school, and as a seventh-grader began a group called Shankbone. Sam began directing and producing music videos with Shankbone and went on to create videos for various other artists.


Then in 2011, Sam released his debut project as a solo artist, “Brand New Bike”. Produced entirely by Sam, the album utilized many live instruments from musicians based in Seattle and New York. The next year Sam released 2 EP’s and produced/directed dozens of music videos from the projects on his YouTube channel, which now has over 7 million views.

I had an amazing chance to attend his show with Rittz when they rolled through the Complex on November 9th to talk about his successes within his music. Check out the interview below!

First off, how are you doing? 

I’m doing so good, man! We just had a really great show at the Complex. The crowd was amazing – it was fun!

Glad to hear that! Do you like Salt Lake City?

I actually really do! I don’t like the weird laws, but it’s a beautiful place. The crowd’s always turnt up.

What inspired you to get into the rap game?

It started out as a complete hobby! In 6th grade, I started a band called Shankbone – it was me and two other Jewish kids because a shank bone is a Jewish dish! Then people started really liking it and that’s when I realized I was good at it. So I just kept doing it and then I went to college in New York, and at the same time, I knew I wanted to make music for a living.

When you got into rapping, were there any musical instruments that inspired you to do what you do now? 

I’m a drummer! I love live music so in my beats, I try to incorporate live music. But I’m not really good at any instrument, so I hire people that are really good at them and I tell them what I want. I was lucky to go to a high school where there was a great jazz band, so I know a bunch of incredible musicians.

Growing up, which artists did you look up to? 

For rappers, I’m a big flow man – lyrics are great, of course, but I’m into the flow. For example, you can’t write a good drum solo. I would say I look up to Notorious B.I.G. and Andre 3000! I also love Devin the Dude, who’s not as known, but his beats inspire me a lot.

Touring with Rittz, how does it feel? How did you gain the opportunity to join this tour? 

It’s not the most entertaining story, but we found out Rittz was going on tour and he doesn’t have a big following up in the Pacific Northwest, but my following up there is big. So we struck a deal with him that if I went on the tour, we would bring a shit ton of people out to the Pacific Northwest shows. Meanwhile, he has a huge following down here, and we had never met, we just talked online! But we decided to do it! He’s a cool dude though! He’s been in the game for a long time and he’s got amazing stories. I’ve been learning a lot from this tour!

Out of all the songs you produced, which one would you say is your favorite and why?

I go by what I still tolerate and listen to because I’ve heard my songs so many times. I love “Dreams of Gold” though because it’s just really good! I remember making it by a collaborative effort and it was a good time in my life!

If you were to give an aspiring rapper a piece of advice, what would you say to them? 

Make sure that it’s a complete passion! It can’t be something you’re doing because you want to become a famous rapper because that’s one in a billion. You have to do it because you love doing it. I would do it even if I wasn’t making a living for it. It would be something I would do all the time. Don’t think about making a bunch of money because fans can tell if you are making real music or if you’re just trying to be a “rapper”.

What was the most recent TV show that you binge-watched?

Curb Your Enthusiasm! It’s my favorite show! People compare me to Larry David a lot because random shit will annoy me. My dad reminds me of, Larry David!

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