Twilight In Ogden: Miike Snow & Klangstof

Ogden Twilight has not disappointed me yet. If you’ve ever driven to Ogden from Salt Lake City, you may know how bad traffic can get between Farmington and Ogden. On the way to the Miike Snow concert, the traffic doubled due to an automobile accident. That did not stop me from seeing Swedish band Miike Snow and Dutch/Norwegian band Klangstof with a spotlight on local heroes New Shack.

Driving an hour north is usually worth it when going to the Ogden Amphitheater. It’s a very nice, friendly, and welcoming venue. When I arrived, I bought myself a frozen pink lemonade, and smoked while I waited for Klangstof. A very clear day, only a few small cirrus clouds in the sky. The place was getting packed. Due to the traffic, I only caught the last few moments of New Shack’s set. I listened to their music on SoundCloud when I got home. New Shack is from Provo, UT and they have a very new age indie pop sound.

Klangstof is a progressive/indie/alternative-rock band. The drummer would go back and forth from drum pad to traditional drums. Sometimes, you can tell when a band stumbled into the music industry; Klangstof is not one of those bands. These guys look like they have been on the grind for a while, and they are now on tour with Miike Snow. I fell in love with Klangstof‘s singer Koen Van De Wardt. He said the band, Miike Snow, had an incredible Swedish tobacco, but it stops working. The joke fell flat but I laughed.

From what I can tell, it can’t be easy to keep a band together. The way Koen kept all of his band mates engaged and relaxed showed me how real this band is. Very dual-sided, beautiful, light at times, with droning tones and complex shredding. This band was perfect for helping me release the built up tension from the awfulness of the world. After Klangstof‘s set, I felt like maybe things aren’t that bad.

After playing with the Pepsi Patrol, there was a brief introduction to the indie/pop/electronic band, Miike Snow, from the same host who introduces every Ogden Twilight I’ve been to. She introduced the band and then about ten minutes later Miike Snow came on.

This band had been apart for a little while working on solo projects. At first, they seemed to be very okay with me taking photos. It seemed Andrew Wyatt was even giving me some poses. I got carried away and kept taking photos. I’m very enthralled with this band in general. Towards the end, he seemed to break the pose he was making as soon as I lifted my camera (I don’t think bands like it when you watch their sets through your phone screen).

He kept a great and electrical energy the whole time; this band is so cool, Pontus Winnberg is my favorite.  The drummer, whose name I can’t find, had the key to my heart. the other band member, I can’t find his name either, absolutely stole the show with his sick licks. He was not regular bandmate Christian Carlson, he was not there on this particular night, however, he is a very important part of Miike Snow.

These guys are some real and professional musicians, which don’t always go hand in hand. I caught a glimpse of the setlist taped to the stage after the show and they had the encore they did on the set list. The encore song was “Animal”, a very popular song of theirs and I’m glad I got to see them play it.

This music definitely does not look easy to make happen every night sofor that, I thank you, Miike Snow. I can tell this band has made a real difference in people lives for the better. I’ve been a Miike Snow-Flake for a while now, it’s absolutely great music for dancing out the feels. Overall, a stellar end to the Ogden Twilight concerts.

 

New Shack- Soundcloud

Klangstof- Spotify

Miike Snow- Spotify

 

 

 

The Magic of Music: KONGOS

Check out this alternative rock band making its way through the charts!

KONGOS is a South African-born Greek-American alternative rock band consisting of four brothers: Johnny, Jesse, Daniel, and Dylan Kongos. Based out of Phoenix, AZ, the band specialize in driving, arena-ready alt rock in the vein of Muse and Kings of Leon that’s infused with the polyrhythmic cadences of the South African upbringing. They released their debut album in 2007, followed by the platinum-selling Lunatic in 2012, which spawned the hit singles I”m Only Joking” and “Come With Me Now”.

I had an amazing opportunity to interview the band at this year’s Bonanza Campout and you can check it out all down here!

K-UTE: What inspired you all to be an alternative-rock band instead of any other genre?

KONGOS: Someone told us that we should do it! We were trying all sorts of different things (hip-hop/rap, metal, etc.) and it wasn’t working out and then one of our music instructors back at Arizona State University told us that we should try out this alternative genre. We gave it a shot and it started to click!

K-UTE: How long ago after did you guys get big after taking the instructor’s advice?

KONGOS: When we started to add the dance element, it started to take off, especially during performances! The audiences were very receptive towards that.

K-UTE: Out of all of the shows you have all performed, which one was your favorite?

KONGOS: We were doing this show in Copenhagen and it was at this tiny club where 40 people showed up and the couches and floors were dirty. There was this energy from the anarchists in the crowd that was the most interested than any other crowd that we performed for. We don’t know whether it was from their political beliefs or whatever but for some reason, it just clicked!

K-UTE: Out of all the songs Y’all have written, what songs are your favorites?

KONGOS: One song that is our favorite is “I Want to Know” because it’s a nice one to perform! Another one we like to perform live is “Birds Do It” because it’s fun.

K-UTE: If you were to give aspiring musicians and bands one piece of advice, what would you say to them?

KONGOS: Roll your stage cables up quickly! Also, learn how to get on and off stage quickly and really listen to everyone’s opinions because often you are wrong about what you think and how you think your music should be. If you listen to other people, sometimes they give you a little bit of insight!

Check out KONGOS on their Facebook page for any announcements and information! You can also check them out on their Spotify.

Rare by Hundredth: Shoegaze meets Hardcore

The album, Rare, by Hundredth is a unique concept. A melodic-hardcore band realizes that their sound doesn’t reflect their musical tastes, and make an effort to shift their focus from hardcore to shoegaze. This change brings them an intensity that the dream-pop genre tends to shy away from. Tracks like “Vertigo”, “White Squall”, and “Youth” are all very much post-punk, dream-pop ditties that are solid shoegaze with some edge. But ultimately, Hundredth seems to lack the nuances that drive shoegaze, and the sound suffers because of it.

While most dream-pop might bring to mind positive imagery such as rainbows and beaches, Rare shoots for more of a nightmare-ish feel, with lyrics such as “False hope/Spreads like a disease/The curtain is drawn/ And there’s no shepherd for the sheep” from the song “Disarray,” played over a soundscape featuring heavily distorted guitars, blaring power chords, and aggressive drum beats.

It is surprising just how well the band’s darker tone fits with the shoegaze sound. Hardcore and shoegaze seem like opposite ends of the musical spectrum, but Hundredth has really found a sweet spot where shoegaze reverb and hardcore’s intensity can meld together and create something uniquely enjoyable. Tracks like “Suffer” and “Hole” really showcase this hybrid sound.

Rare is a solid album, but it is impossible to shake the feeling that this is not the band’s full potential. Shoegaze, as a genre, has surprising depth with the diversity of emotions and sounds it can encompass and Hundredth just hasn’t quite mastered it. At a certain point, the songs all meld together in the worst way possible; there is little variation and that’s what really limits Rare. Somewhere in the album’s forty-five-minute run-time, the album loses its nuance. “Down” and “Chandelier” might start differently, but ultimately, they all become variations of the same song, just with different lyrics and slightly different chord progressions.

With Rare, Hundredth shows a lot of promise for the road ahead, and if you’re already a fan of the band, this album, while a massive departure from the rest of their discography, isn’t going to disappoint you. However, for everyone else, it’s a mixed bag. Tracks like “Vertigo”, “ Disarray ”, and “ Suffer ” are inventive and strong, but as a whole, the album just leaves a lot to be desired. My recommendation: go check it out because there is a lot to love, just don’t expect to fall in love with Rare as an album because the “pieces” aren’t all there yet.

Album Review – “Abysmal Thoughts” by The Drums

The Drums have truly created an original universe. A commitment to listening to one of their albums is a journey into that universe. Imagine it is July 17th 1955. Disneyland is having its opening day and you are lucky enough to get tickets to this grand opening. A magnificent day in the southern California sunshine and breeze. The park is filled with and air of exuberant adventure and futuristic stimulation. You spend the first half of the day racing from attraction to amusement with a stick of cotton candy in hand. Your beige department store cardigan blows in the wind, but your slicked back hair stays steadfast with the power of pomade. Suddenly, out of nowhere, you see your crush and your heart drops as they are holding hands with another young thrill-seeker. You drop your cotton candy as the lights and sounds of twilight Disneyland come into fold. Feelings swirl your brain into a state of bittersweet entropy as fireworks and parades ensue. You spend the rest of the night in the park searching for meaning with a newfound friend who gives you a spark of hope once again. This is a glimpse into the universe created by the music of The Drums.

The Drums have always had some version of a full live band that appears on their tours and in their videos. But the actual band itself was always the work of two individuals, Jacob Graham and Jonny Pierce. This album sets itself apart from the previous three LP’s because it’s the first one that was written completely by Jonny Pierce. Jacob recently left the group for other artistic pursuits. However, Pierce has really pulled through on this now solo endeavor.

Many reviewers have pointed out that this record Abysmal Thoughts is a return to form that hearkens back to their self-titled album. I would agree that there is definitely a connection there to The Drums’ earlier work. The huge and dark synthesizers of their last album Encyclopedia are not quite as present in this piece. However, I do not completely agree with it being a simple retrograde to their first record. This album has matured that sound. Abysmal Thoughts feels like a more experienced work of art that yearns for second chances. The hook in the single “Blood Under My Belt” is a perfect example of that. Pierce exclaims, “I know I said change, but please don’t change. I know I said do it, but don’t do it.” In fact “rip it up and start again” also feels like a theme woven into this record.

Pierce seems to be acknowledging the fact that he is no longer the younger man he was 10 years ago when The Drums began. He went through a break up with his husband recently and there is no hiding that this record is that reflection. It makes sense that an experience like that would bring forward memories of moments from his past that forged his identity. For example, he explores a previous time in his youth where his father rejected him in the track “Head of The Horse”.

Abysmal Thoughts is a fantastic chapter in the work of this group. The album perfectly furthers The Drums brand of innocence, reflection, and tragedy through the study of minimal sunny melancholy pop anthems. The Drums is a project that continues to give all and hold nothing back, a sure project worth investing in.

Facebook: The Drums

Jonny Pierce of The Drums

What’s On My Playlist?

This summer has been a fantastic era for new music and new artists. Here are some of the songs that I’ve had on repeat this past June.

“Die Young” by Sylvan Esso

“Die Young” is a perfect combination of bittersweet lyrics and bubbly, bass-infused indie-pop beats that’ll make you want to hop in the car and leave everything behind. Plus, their new album What Now has similar hits like “Radio” and “Kick Jump Twist” that utilizes creative computer-esque beats and intriguing lyrics.

“Loving Someone” by The 1975

While their latest album came out in 2016, I can’t seem to stop listening to “Loving Someone” and pretty much every other song from The 1975. They have a beautiful talent of mixing aesthetic value and music together in a way that transports you to another place when you listen to them. For me “Loving Someone” is a song that uses poetic lyrics and dreamy synths to create a visual image every time you listen to it.

“Sober” by Lorde

As a long time fan of Lorde’s music, I was both hesitant and excited to listen to her new album, Melodrama. While I didn’t fall in love with her first hit from the album, “Green Light,” once I heard the opening to “Sober,” I was entranced. The song begins with eerie and desperate vocals that aptly sets the tone for the song. The subtle chorus and punching lyrics will definitely hit the heart of any angsty teen, like myself.

“Loudspeaker” by MUNA

I’ve already written an article on MUNA’s new album About U , here, but something about them has left a lasting impression. The lead singer, Katie Gavin, has such a unique voice, and all of their songs, like “Loudspeaker,” have an empowering, passionate, and truthful tone that goes straight to the heart. Plus, their style and aesthetic are to die for.

“Alone” by Halsey

While “Now or Never” is the staple hit from her new album Hopeless Fountain Kingdom, the song “Alone” has stuck out to me personally. The Pink Floyd-esque opening is an interesting instrumental lead into lyrics about a life of partying and fame, while still feeling completely lonely when the glamor fades. While I’m not sure if I can relate, I still feel like wistfully looking through a window with my heart shaped sunglasses on whenever I hear the song.

“Amsterdam” by Nothing But Thieves

Ever since I heard their first hit, “Trip Switch,” Nothing But Thieves has formed a special place in my heart. The song “Amsterdam” is a rock filled anthem that makes you wanna headbang in a circle, but the vocals and melody are catchy enough that you’ll be humming it long after the song is finished.

Summer Boy by “Lady Gaga”

Yes, this song was originally released in 2009, but it’s integral to any summer playlist, and as soon as you press play on this track, you’ll understand why. Lady Gaga’s iconic vocals and pop-powered electric guitar riffs make the song feel like pure candy to the ears. Plus, the light-hearted and whimsical lyrics make it a perfect summer jam.

The Magic of Music: FRENSHIP

These two men definitely know how to mix up different genres at once to blend and create amazing sounds!

FRENSHIP is an American indie-pop duo consisting of artists James Sunderland and Brett Hite. They are known for their most famous hit, “Capsize”, sung by Emily Warren, which was released last June and was charted in multiple countries. The song also reached No. 1 on Hype Machine and has had at least 360 million streams on Spotify! Because of their success, their follow-up single “1000 Nights” has over 14 million streams and is still continuing to grow throughout different Alternative radios.

I clearly remember the first time I listened to their top hit, “Capsize.” I was walking down the streets of London and experiencing the different sounds of the city that gave off a “foreign” vibe. I loved it and I wanted to hear more; especially being in a different country and then finding out they’re American musicians. Either way, their sound was on-point, and that’s when I knew they were a great band.

Recently, I just happened to watch their set at this year’s Bonanza Campout, and they were one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen in my life. When they played “Capsize”, my memories flew back to when I was in the UK all over again. Perfect moment!

That being said, I had the amazing opportunity to sit down with James and Brett and talk about their success and future with their music!

K-UTE: Coming from different parts of the U.S, how did all of you meet and begin this band?

FRENSHIP: We used to work part-time jobs at Lululemon, selling women’s spandex for a while in the heart of LA! We started together with writing and producing it all. A buddy from preschool became our drummer and then a roommate became our guitarist. Long story short, we wrote a song called “Capsize” and needed a girl to sing it! We then hired Celeste to sing and play the keyboard.

K-UTE: Why did you particularly choose Emily Warren to be your singer in “Capsize”?

FRENSHIP: We worked well with her because she was very easygoing and she fit our vibe on the creation side of things and her voice was incredible! She sounds great in everything you do with it!

K-UTE: When “Capsize” rose to the top of the charts, when did you start performing at bigger concerts, festivals, etc.?

FRENSHIPBonanza Campout was actually our first festival that we have played at! At the beginning of last summer, we started getting big. We had a fall tour and then played some bigger shows last winter.

K-UTE: What was your favorite thing about Bonanza Campout this year?

FRENSHIP: The scenery was gorgeous! We love the mountains right by the reservoir. We loved the crowd also; they were super friendly!

K-UTE: I hear sometimes fans confuse you two of being an EDM duo instead of an indie-rock duo. How often do you get that?

FRENSHIP: Currently not so much anymore! However, when “Capsize” came out, the song came off as electronic. It’s not a big deal because we have a collective taste. We have only been playing as a five-piece band for around five to six months, so if people are confused, they should see us perform and they will see that we are a five-piece!

K-UTE: Do you two have upcoming projects or releases coming out soon?

FRENSHIP: We have been working our butts off since January and started writing for the next round of music. We have a somewhat album coming up and we hope to release it maybe this year, but probably in early 2018!

K-UTE: What genre would you say this album consists of?

FRENSHIP: It’s a mix of everything! It has a lot more “live” feel to it. All of the songs will end up feeling like a band a bit more than a produced track for a pop singer kind-of-thing. I think it’s going to translate into more “live” than our past year of music.

K-UTE: Why did you two decide to work at Lululemon and what is your favorite product from the company?

FRENSHIP: One of us lived two blocks from there and he didn’t want to drive to work so you could say he was lazy and got a job there because it was close! We love their men’s boxers!

Check out FRENSHIP on their Facebook and Spotify! Also check out their latest hit, “1000 Nights”!

“Baby Driver” Blends Music & Movie in Perfect Unison

Baby Driver, the latest from writer/director Edgar Wright, is about to further fuel Wright’s cinematic position as one of the most daring auteurs this side of the arthouse. Although Wright’s name may not be household, his films certainly are. From Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Wright has been crafting the most loved of so-called “cult classics” for years now. Baby Driver is not Wright’s first genre-bending work, but the film is the first to withhold comedy from being the driving force. Instead, Wright allows the harmonious relationship between music and action to cultivate a glorious spectacle of summer blockbuster.

Ansel Elgort stars as Baby, a getaway driver with tinnitus who constantly listens to music on his vintage (they’re not that old) iPods. This opens the gateway for the fusion of music and film Wright is so known for. As Baby goes from heist to heist, meeting criminals played by Jon Hamm, Jaimie Foxx, Kevin Spacey, and Eiza González, he listens to a wildly fitting selection of songs from a bevy of decades to accompany his driving prowess. Added in to the playlist is Lily James’ Debora as the love interest to Baby and his main cause for action. Through the spectacular cinematography and soundtrack, Baby speeds through a number of automobiles, turning Atlanta into a demolition derby.

Edgar Wright continuously brings his own overt-style to each film (seems fitting he didn’t direct Ant-Man) with quick editing, wry humor, and of course, music and action in sync. For Baby Driver, its as if Wright has turned his own love for music into a narrative force. Each song for the soundtrack isn’t there for just background noise and helps add to the already much heightened reality. The fantasy of living out a personal movie through personal soundtracks is fulfilled by Baby’s constant musical choices of BlurDavid McCallumThe Commodores, among plenty of others playing out through his day. From the long tracking shot in the beginning set to Bob & Earle’s “Harlem Shuffle” showing Baby interacting with his world, the importance of a soundtrack is never diminished. A finale set to an apt Queen song is one of those perfect movie moments. More than a car/heist/action movie, Baby Driver is a music lover’s fantasy, a “what if” all those songs rolling around your head were helping make the movie of your life.

The fantasy of stylish getaway driving seen in other films like Drive, The Driver, and The Getaway have by tradition always favored the neo-noir soaked approach to cool. Wright’s wonderful eye for color leaves out the chiaroscuro and neon-stylings for a palette of primary colors and bright Atlanta scenery. Narratively, Wright keeps the archetypical silent driver through Baby (along with the classic villainous criminal tropes) and the “damsel-in-distress” character as Debora. Wright gives Debora enough nuance to flourish as a character, but never lets her break the male-dominated ideas of the car-chase-movie. The romance between her and Baby more highlights Baby’s own motivation than it does Debora’s character.

Baby Driver will be accepted into the Wright canon as more midnight movie watching and rewatching become accessible. Wright’s fans will have further reason to adulate him while his detractors may see this as, at least, a film demonstrating growth. The film is a towering love letter to music and action films and exemplifies Wright’s genre-bending intelligence. The kinetic editing and pacing only allow the energy of the film to flourish rather than hindering the action under a miasma of quick-cuts. The sheer coolness of style also breathes new life into the genre, with Kevin Spacey coming out as the primary scene-stealer, jazzed up on his own criminal world.

Wright’s ability to cross genres and present fresh takes on old stories is so well received because he crafts fun movies. There’s always drama present in his works, but he doesn’t let that slow down the massive appeal of action and comedy and character. Baby Driver continues this tradition but within a more dramatic vein. Its an action movie for music lovers, and vice versa. A homage without being cliché. A whirlwind of fantasy without being totally unrealistic.

Grade: A

 

[Adult Swim] On The Green Experience

Mind if I come in here with some words yo? I hope you’re reading this because this is way better read. What is [adult swim]? I’m not asking you, so don’t give me an answer. [adult swim] Is a television and media broadcasting company owned by Time Warner Cable. [adult swim] does a live broadcast every night after Cartoon Network goes to bed. If you stayed up this late then, like me, you’ve been scarred by this channel and you, like me, have a post-ironic nostalgic craving for a wad of meat. This past weekend on June 23, 2017, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend an [adult swim] touring festival.

After arriving and hearing the music I could already tell I was in for a treat. They played a lot of songs made popular by [adult swim]. Before I got into the place, they required me to allow them access to my social media information. I gave them some real bogus information because you never know what they can do with all of that sweet, sweet personal data. Then they gave me this wristband that had this panel to scan at the different giveaway areas in order to keep people from taking too much free swag. The paranoia in me thought it was a panel for mind control. I realize, in retrospect, the mind control came from the feature presentation at the end of the night.

When I was more of a child I would attend these elementary school fairs. The school would rent all kinds of fun and games to put out in a field. Those are some of my fondest memories. Going to this event took me back to that place. The lawn was littered with activities! Croquet, connect four, large Jenga™, a Geico™-sponsored prize eye. The prize eye was a large eye that when spun. it allowed you to keep your eyes on the prize and on the prize eye. Because the prize eye will reveal your prize if you keep your eyes on the prize eye and on the prize.  I won a towel with Mr. Poopybutthole from Rick and Morty on it. There was a tent that upon entering you are led to a screen that asks you to give feedback on your experiences with [adult swim] and in return, you get a dank poster. I got to take my photo with the Rick Mobile™ and they even hooked it up with popcorn and candy. None of that cheap stuff. I’m talking high-quality Italian knit popcorn and candy. This was all to keep the crowd occupied as we awaited the main event. The screening of things never before seen.

The Lawn was set up so there were activities on the outside perimeter and an empty field in the middle. People set up in the field and faced an extremely large LED High definition screen. Before they played the fresh content everyone was invited to play trivia. That was mostly unrelated to [adult swim]. Once the trivia had wrapped up, there was a personal message from a live stream and a Geico™ commercial and then the moment had arrived to see some brand new content.

You can expect to see a lot of upgrades and advancements being made to the channel thanks to its growing popularity. Tyler The Creator will be putting out a new cartoon. The show Squidbillies is getting a spit shine and will be returning this fall. A little quote from the episode about conspiracy theories. The Sheriff and Early are in a room where there are all kinds of bits of paper and pictures connected by red strings. The Sheriff stumbling in and pulling down strings says “Sorry I messed up your thing, I had no idea the conspiracy ran this deep.” To which Early replies, “That’s alright let me just make some more connections.” He then proceeds to, using a can of silly string, randomly connect different areas in the room which he only makes justifications for, after he’s already connected them. Other new shows coming. Apollo Gauntlet, Tigtone, Lazer Wulf and always more and more. Really what you need to know is the new shows are all off-the-wall random and perfect for smoking a fatty and frying all night or a sober night that you want to feel like you are on drugs. If this is you, [adult swim] is just what you need. The grand finale was an episode of Rick and Morty, season three, episode one. This is an episode I’ve already seen several times but it was fun to see it on such a big screen surrounded by laughter. After that, I thanked the Lord, put on my moon boots and jogged back to Salt Lake From Ogden. What a great night!