Neighborhood Jams: Young the Giant

While waking up for my Tuesday 8:00 a.m. class today I was hit with a reminder that we are in the middle of the semester.  Nights are a little bit longer in the library; mornings are cold and come too soon; and midterms are creeping up faster than finals.  All of this can only mean one thing – we need to take some time for ourselves and our wild sides.  We need good music for our souls, and I know just the band. This week I am featuring a band that is playing two nights in San Diego this week – YES, TWO NIGHTS THIS WEEK! So between all the page flipping and essay cramming, we can definitely take a break – in the name of rock ‘n roll of course.

Young the Giant is an alternative, indie rock band formed in Irvine, CA back in 2004.  Before they decided on their current name they were formerly known as The Jakes back in the day. The band consists of: Sameer Gadhia on lead vocals, Jacob Tilley and Eric Cannata on guitar, Payam Doostzadeh on the bass, and lastly Francois Comtois on drums.  Together they have released three albums titled Young the Giant (2010), Mind Over Matter (2014), and Home of the Strange (2016).  In 2011 the band’s two singles “Cough Syrup” and “My Body” hit charts both reaching to the top five of America’s top alternative music. My personal favorite song is “Cough Syrup”  because when I first heard this five years ago, it was a sound that I was not familiar with.  They are happy and poppy without sounding like a cookie cutout of Top 40 pop.  Their lyrics are different yet meaningful.  For example, my favorite lines are:

“If I could find a way to see this straight
I’d run away
To some fortune that I, I should have found by now”

 

Two months ago Young the Giant released their latest album Home of the Strange on August 12th and have since been on tour selling out almost every single venue.  You guys can check them out tonight, October 18th, and tomorrow, October 19th, at the House of Blues downtown at 7:00 o’clock.  Tickets are sold out – but you are more than welcomed to stand on the corner and try to scalp some tickets with me tomorrow night.  Until then be sure to check out their Facebook page in order to stay up to date with tours, news, and all that jazz.

 

Photo Credit: Young the Giant

Back from the Dead: San Cisco

Bands can evolve for years, creating new sounds that draw listeners in. However, for San Cisco, this Australian band has reconnected with their roots and put out a new track called “B Side”. The song’s bright, clean guitar sound and catchy melody pays homage to their 2012 self-titled album with popular tunes like “Fred Astaire”, “Nepal”, and “Awkward”. The simple yet infectious clean guitars in “Fred Astaire” give it a 50’s vibe. The synth, on the other hand, adds a modern sound recognizable in Vampire Weekend songs. Other stand-out tracks like ‘Awkward’ with its distinctive groovy bass and thumping drum beats, and “Nepal” with its dreamlike guitar effects has made San Cisco’s debut album a personal favorite. Their second LP Gracetown, on the other hand, takes a subtle but different approach.

Gracetown carries a more mature sound. They ditch the pure indie pop for psychedelic, hip-hop, and disco leanings. Lead guitarist Josh Biondillo adds more complex and creative hooks listeners can groove to. Complimenting the bouncy riffs and melodies, Scarlett Stevens shows off her exceptional drumming and even her pipes in “Magic”. Nick Gardner’s ingenious bass lines bring depth to the songs while Jordi Davieson’s lyricism and dreamy vocals tie every aspect together.

The record opens up with “RUN”. The bass line is an immediate stand out and the jangly guitars are nice changes from the usual clean effect. Including “RUN”, “Magic” and “Bitter Winter” are the best tracks on the album. Nevertheless, in spite of raving reviews, Gracetown fell flat for me. I appreciate San Cisco’s musicianship and maturity as a band, but I also miss the bouncy pop vibe from their debut album.

‘B Side’ takes me back to the self-titled days. The clean guitars, infectious riffs, and Davieson’s melodious vocals gave me a little spring to my step. Even the endearing lyrics in the chorus aren’t cringy at all, but sweet and fun. Overall, it’s a solid track and a solid “B-side” to their new single “SlowMo”. I’m excited to hear their upcoming record so stay tuned for more updates!

It’s DJ Ricky P signing out. Deuces.

Now Listening: STRFKR

Hey-O and happy Wednesday to you weirdos and whatnots. After a long winter and lovely El Niño, I’m back in action here at KCR.  I couldn’t be more stoked, because this girl will be ~blogginq weekly!~(◕‿◕✿) If you don’t know, it’s me, Lala. Nice to meet you. You’ll be seeing me here every Wednesday, and not only do I talk music, I play it too! You can listen to me on KCR, Wednesdays from 3-4pm.

In moving on to more important things, let’s get to the actual music yeah? Today you’ll be receiving a little lesson on a band known as STRFKR. (Yes, you read that right, now sound it out children.)

Formed in 2007 in Portland, Oregon, STRFKR is a four man band full of indie rock with tones and hints of electro pop. After reaching success in 2008 through their self-titled debut album, STRFKR’s other notable album is their most recent release, Miracle Mile in 2013.

Now you might ask me, “2013? C’mon! The wave of indie rock is dead and gone, I want that new new.” But read the next line very carefully.. STRFKR has recently dropped a single called Never Ever. *gasp here* So rejoice! The release of this single should hopefully be an indicator of a 2016 album.

You may be thinking, “so what if there’s new indie rock, it still sucks.” To which I respond: You’re very wrong. The trend of indie rock and pop (RIP 2009-2013) was a time of sugary hooks, washed out vocals, and lots and lots of hand clapping. While it may seem silly, and you may seem too cool; indie rock is FUN. Have you heard Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second? Don’t tell me you’ve never jammed to the catchy tune that helped STRFKR reach their fame.

Some of the most fun I’ve had has been dancing like a fool to funky rythyms from the genre formally known as indie rock. And isn’t music about having fun and enjoying yourself? There is no shame in belting out every intelligible word to the catchy hooks, and clapping to every beat of those random bridges. Which is exactly why you should be hyped for new STRFKR.

STRFKR also came to San Diego last week with Com Truise! The two played at the North Park Observatory on February 12th, and let me tell you, it was a blast. Synthy vibes and a complete evening of jamming, STRFKR may not be the most technically astounding band, but they’re a good freakin’ time. That’s all what we’re really here for anyway, fun times with the tunes.

Below I’ve provided some of the best and new STRFKR tunes, take a listen yo! ❃

 

 

 

The Sounds of State-Kiana Malekzadeh, Renee Ramirez, and Kiersten Sukert

Hello and welcome to another week of The Sounds of State. This week, I interviewed a trio of new KCR DJ’s from our Indie Invasion block. I was late on Wednesday afternoon when we met in the studio and walked out to Campanile and sat right down on the grass in a circle for our discussion. Here’s how it all went down:

Cameron Satterlee: Okay, so I’m here with Kiana, Kiersten, and Renee. Alright so let’s start off with an easy question, so what is your radio show and do you have any DJ names?

Renee Ramirez: You want to start?

Kiersten Sukert: Okay our radio show is called KRK, it’s pretty simple, it just stands for Kiersten, Renee, and Kiana. And we have the title of Indie Invasion, we didn’t come up with that though, that was just given to us. But yeah we basically play genres of indie music, we kinda play EDM-based too.

Kiana Malekzadeh: Alternative, kind of.

KS: Yeah, it’s just very different music.

CS: Okay, and your show is when?

KS: It’s on Wednesdays at 4, so listen.

RR: 4 to 5.

CS: 4 to 5 alright, yeah yeah the Indie Invasion block I think is for everyone who has shows at that time of the week. So you said you play indie music but also a bit of EDM, do you all personally sort of have your own niches that you like to play?

RR: I don’t play that much EDM.

KS: That’s kinda my thing. I wouldn’t really categorize it as EDM though.

KM: It’s really hard to describe.

RR: EDM-indie, is that a thing?

KS: Yeah if I had to describe it in one way it would be EDM indie.

RR: Laid back but still upbeat I guess.

KS: Electronic based indie.

KM: Yeah. Also I feel that you like to put slower songs and then, me, I don’t know, I can be all over the place. I just know that you like the slower, more mellow stuff.

KS: Yeah.

CS: Alright, so I’ve been trying to get into this music, cause I’ve found it more interesting as I’ve been in college and I guess exposed to new things, so that’s a more recent interest for me. But what’s the back story for the three of you, how did you get into this sort of music?

RR: I just started to listen to it my senior year, that’s when I got into indie because I started going to more concerts. Because they were cheap tickets, they were fifteen dollars, twenty dollars, and my friends would be like “let’s go see it” and I don’t know who they are but okay. And then as I went to more shows, on Spotify, I put them in the radio section, I would type in Young the Giant and I would see all these related artists and new songs would come up and it kind of just filled my playlists. And that’s how I started liking it.

KM: For me, I guess I’ve just had an interest in bands my whole life, just from my parents too. And I remember in fourth grade I liked bands, that was my thing. But then as I got older, I’ve always been prone to trying to find new stuff to listen to, it’s just fun, cause I get sick of skipping songs and you want to find new stuff. So Spotify definitely helped me too, plus it’s updated now, you can go and discover and things like that. And me and my friends from back home have the same taste in music too and we’d go to shows as we got older and could drive. You’d end up liking the opening band and stuff like that. Yeah, it just grows and grows I guess, I would say.

KS: Am I doing this one too?

CS: Yeah, sure.

KS: Okay. I think it started when I found my parent’s vinyl collection. They had a lot of 80’s, so I started getting slowly into the 80’s, and I think I kind of just worked up the decades. And I kind of realized that when I met people who liked the same music as I did, we had the same or similar personality traits. And it’s kind of like its own culture within society. You know you meet cool people, you listen to the same music.

RR: That’s how we met.

KS: That’s how we met. Yeah and these girls are awesome.

CS: Great! That’s sort of a Segway to my next question, I’m interested how the three of you partnered up at KCR.

RR: It was very random.

KS: We were just talking about that.

RR: We all just went in solo, we just wanted to make friends, wanted to get involved in school, I’m a freshman and they’re both sophomores and so I was like “KCR, might as well get involved”. And they were like “yeah get involved now” and then I met Kiana first, the very first night they were signing up for what show you wanted to do and she actually thought I didn’t like her first. Because I was in a rush to go somewhere and she was trying to get to know me and I was like “yeah where’s the paper, where’s the pen, let’s sign up, let’s go”. And then, the next day, we meet Kiersten the next day randomly and she’s like “what kind of show are you guys doing” and we say indie and that’s how music brought us together because she was like “oh I listen to that too, we should all be cohosts together” and I was like “okay I guess three makes it easier if I had to back out on one day” (all laugh).

KS: (laughs) You were thinking about backing out?

RR: No I just was thinking if I couldn’t make it to a show (all laugh). But yeah it was fate.

KM: Yeah.

CS: Alright anyone can answer this question, would you say that you have good chemistry on the air.

KM: Yeah. I can stumble on my words but for the most part they make me feel more comfortable by talking as if I was talking to anyone else.

KS: We’ve got our own movement too, Kiana’s always usually on the laptop playing songs and she usually introduces them too. And Renee and I switch off controlling the laptop and talking. But we usually do the intro or closing. We have our own system going (“yeah”’s all around).

RR: “Kiana, what song’s next?” (laughs).

KM: And we try to talk about upcoming shows with artists who are playing and stuff like that.

KS: Right now our big thing is Coachella.

KM: Cause it’s in a month.

CS: Alright, so are there any songs or bands or albums that you really like to play on the air right now? What’s the new big deal for the three of you?

KS: I don’t know. We don’t have a specific person that we always play.

KM: We played a few alt-J songs, I’ve noticed. I’m the one that puts the songs on so I can remember more than you guys.

RR: Oh yeah.

KM: But definitely alt-J, I’m trying to think.

RR: San Cisco.

KS: I’ve seen a lot of Glass Animals.

KM: Oh yeah, definitely.

RR: But I guess with indie, there are so many indie bands that we don’t really stick to one artist.

CS: Alright, so last question, I always think it’s a fun one to end with, I want to know how your perfect show would go. Just if everything was awesome and you left the studio just thinking ah yeah we nailed it! How would that be?

KS: Honestly, we talk a lot while our music is playing.

KM: On accident.

KS: No I mean about our personal lives, and you can definitely tell we each have a different personality. And I feel if we put that personality on air that would be a perfect show. Just be comfortable in the studio and talk with each other like we normally do.

RR: Well we don’t really talk much on our show because it’s music so I don’t know if the audience really gets to see our personality. Cause we just kind of introduce a song and talk a little bit about the artist or their show, so I guess they don’t really know our personalities yet. And I don’t want to talk too much cause it’s a music show.

KS: We kind of established that in the beginning too, to not talk that much.

KM: But the perfect show would just be us not messing up. We get some technical difficulties sometimes.

KS: We’ll be giving away tickets and getting the people who call on the air is hard.

CS: Oh, we’ve all been there. Alright well, thanks, this has been a great interview.

All: Thanks.

Afterwards, I had to go do my own radio show so I stayed in the studio for that while the girls walked off, hopefully to reward themselves for a job well done. Kiana later messaged me a few songs to give you readers a sampling of what they play on their show, check them out:

Spoon-Do You

ODESZA-Say My Name

Blind Pilot-One Red Thread

Bahamas-All The Time

If you liked any of those songs, be sure to check out KRK, Wednesdays from 4-5 pm on KCR Radio, the Sound of State.

(Also maybe stick around till 6pm cause that’s when I’m on air!)