Format Archives: Video


The Grind

What is each day but a series of conflicts between the right way and the easy way?

Published on November 30, 2013

Song of the Day #152: Sweater Weather

The Neighbourhood – Sweater Weather
The Neighbourhood

Album cover art

The Neighbourhood is a 5-piece American band from Los Angeles, famously described as “dark pop”. They played at Coachella this year for the first time, just before releasing their debut album titled “I Love You.”

I haven’t heard many recent bands that sound like The Neighborhood – what I like in particular are the dramatic tempo changes, which are often half-time, like 2:25 into Sweater Weather posted above.

The popularization of this kind of rhythmic variation is becoming increasingly common, which has modern roots in electronic music. Sub genres like dubstep and trap (which are offshoots of drum & bass and hip hop, respectively) have especially propagated this rhythmic trend. I’m happy to see it become more common in genres outside of hip hop and electronic.

Published on November 15, 2013

Song of the Day #151: Holding On

Classixx – Holding On

I recently discovered an American group from Los Angeles called Classixx, who have become notable remixers working for artists like Lana Del Ray and Madonna among many others. Their sound is mostly French-sounding heavily filtered retro house music, occasionally accompanied by female vocalists. They have a wonderfully warm sound that sounds like it’s from another era, much like the most recent Daft Punk album Random Access Memories. Their debut album, titled Hanging Gardens, was just released this year. It’s very good – I’d say one of the top 20 albums I’ve heard in 2013.

They have an official video for another song of theirs featuring Nancy Whang which is a good video, but not a song that I like as much as Holding On. You can check that out here: Classixx – All You’re Waiting For on Youtube.

Published on November 14, 2013

Song of the Day #150: Paper

Sean Kongery – Paper

Since rap has moved into the sphere of mainstream music in the mid-1990’s, it has always held onto a worn out cliché.

This ever-present preoccupation prevents many people from appreciating the art form of hip hop by giving them an easy way to dismiss it. Low lives celebrating criminality and monetary wealth, they say. And that’s true in many cases, but that’s not the whole story.

Ten years ago I met a veteran DJ of Washington DC’s hip hop inner-circle, named DJ Ragz. Already well known in he 1990’s, Ragz was the forebear of the more well-known DC hip hop DJ’s who came after him and emerged in the late 2000’s. In addition to being a hip hop DJ, he was a jazz and funk connoisseur who later started a group called the Jazz Addixx. I remember once when he said that he didn’t feel comfortable telling people that he was into hip hop because that statement was so easily misconstrued. Hip hop had been hijacked by vapid one-dimensional cartoon characters like 50 Cent.

I love the video above because it pokes fun at the mainstream culture of hip hop’s obsession with wealth. Nearly all well-known rappers embrace money as a central theme in their lyrics: Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, etc. But those aren’t the people you should be listening to. The most most creative and inventive hip hop lives in the cracks between the commercialized figures that everyone knows.

It’s made by people like Sean Kongery.

Published on November 8, 2013

Song of the Day #149: Shape

Glasser – Shape

One of the best albums of 2010, titled Ring, was released a relatively known American singer named Glasser. Her music is in a similar vein to Björk, but I’d say it’s much more approachable. The follow up album to Ring came out earlier this month and I’ve been listening to it a lot. It’s titled Interiors and this song, “Shape”, is the first song on the album.

Read more about Glasser on Wikipedia

Published on October 16, 2013

Breaking Bad Concludes Tonight

As I rule, I avoid television. I haven’t had cable in 10+ years and I’m not particularly inclined to watch new television shows because of the time that I know they’ll eat up. Time that I’d rather use to create than consume.

With that said, once in a while a television show will come along with such a compelling premise that it’s almost impossible to ignore it – Breaking Bad is, to me, the quintessential example.

The pitch is so simple: A high school chemistry teacher is diagnosed with lung cancer. Facing imminent death, he becomes a methamphetamine “cook” to leave his wife and children with the nest egg that he couldn’t provide them legitimately. Will his secret life consume him?

What’s really remarkable is that Breaking Bad has remained so visceral. It’s simultaneously ruthless and relatable. In it’s characters, we see ourselves and our greatest fears at the same time.

The clip above is a fan-made clip which was released about a week ago that highlights many of the major events throughout the 5-season series.

Published on September 30, 2013

Song of the Day #148: Breathe This Air

Jon Hopkins – Breathe This Air

I was introduced to Jon Hopkins earlier this year with the release of his fifth studio album, titled Immunity. I’d say the track above fairly summarizes Hopkin’s contemporary sound: modern, electronic, ambient.

Read more about Jon Hopkins on Wikipedia

Published on September 26, 2013