Neighborhood Jams: Alive & Well

Happy Monday, KCR readers!  There’s something happy about this Monday, and I think it has a lot to do with this week’s neighborhood jams.  On my morning show from 9:00-11:00 a.m. I got the opportunity to sit down and interview a member of Alive & Well. We were also joined with Hard to Hit’s lead singer, Jason Kubo.  You can check out my write up on Hard to Hit right here. It was a fun morning of discussing music, boy bands, middle school nightmares, and hitting up the San Diego music scene.

Alive & Well has three members right now including: Matt Vernon on vocals and guitar, Mike Mule on bass and vocals, and lastly Eric Brozgold on the drums.  This trio is really hitting up the scene all while looking for a new lead vocal and guitarist.  The band is labeled as a pop punk and alternative rock band, which I personally think fits them perfectly.  They sound like a combination of Saves the Day and The Starting Line. I spoke with Mike, and he gave me the inside scoop of where the band gets their inspiration for their songs – the answer is the struggle moving from the east coast to the west coast.  Their lyrics are real and relatable; their sound is happy yet extremely meaningful; they are a perfect combination for a great rock band.

Their single No Winter in the West has great visuals including locations all over Ocean Beach, San Diego and the east coast.  This is THE song and video that got me hooked.  Mike shared with us how difficult it was for the band to carry their equipment on Sunset Cliffs and people passing by thought there was going to be a show.  I would love to see Alive & Well performing right by the ocean.

The boys just performed at the Casbah last week, and they are scheduling more shows in the near future including Jawsfest at The Legacy Room in Chino, CA on May 7th. You can buy tickets here. They will also be playing at Soma in San Diego on May 21st – get tickets here! I also heard we should keep our ears open for a band spankin’ new EP in early June!

It was such a pleasure to interview Mike and hear all about the great things Alive & Well is working on. I am extremely excited to see where these boys end up – maybe main stages instead of Sunset Cliffs – either location I am rooting for you guys. Give them a like on their Facebook and let’s get them to a 1,000 likes – they are so close! Hope you guys are listening good!

Eight Weird Rock Genres You May Not Have Heard Of

Punk, indie, alternative, hard, soft, metal, classic, these pretty much cover the different rock genres right?

Wrong.

Search “Rock Genres” online. The result? Hundreds of genres listed one after the other. The Internet’s favorite unofficial information source (Wikipedia) lists over 200 total genres from A to Z falling under the Rock category. While it may be debatable whether all of these constitute their own genre, the list definitely has some unusual  and noteworthy rock styles that stand alone.

I decided to compile a list of some of the most interesting and unique genres and delve a little deeper into what they were all about.

Here’s the eight obscure rock genres that made the list. How many have you heard of?

1. Pirate Metal

The blending of rock & roll and piracy is not a new concept. Even one of the most famous fictional pirates, Johnny Depp’s Captain Jack Sparrow, was inspired by Rolling Stone Keith Richards.

Pirate metal takes this to the next level. Incorporating a piracy motif into heavy metal, the genre is a mashup of electric guitars, folk instruments, screaming and pirate lingo.  Popular pirate metal bands like Alestorm not only sound like pirates, they look and dress like them too. Samples lyrics include exalting the virtues of rum, making enemies walk the plank, wishing for a wench and sharing tales of the  high seas.

2.Punk Jazz

Punk jazz is the union of punk and jazz. It’s a genre mashup of a full jazz sound with the garage band grunge. Big brass instruments come together with electric guitars and hard drum beats to create this distinctive style. Some bands sound a bit more classic jazz and others fall more towards the punk side of the scale, but they all bring a unique fusion of jazz and punk music.  Lounge Lizards, Youngblood Brass Band and Jazz Punks are some great bands to check out to learn more about this underrated genre.

3. Nintendocore

Gamers stop here. Nintendocore, aka Nintendo Rock, is a blend of rock and video game music. The genre features elements such as electric guitar, drums, synth, electronic music and 8-bit sound. With headbanging and screaming often involved, nintendocore  is actually pretty hardcore, it just has some nerdy elements thrown in the mix. HORSE the Band and Minibosses are some of the top-notch guys in the nintendocore world.

4. Math Rock

Math Rock got its name through its unconventional use of timing and irregular beats. The mostly instrumental music genre is characterized by erratic rhythms and unusual time signatures. The limited lyrics, disjointed rhythms and constantly changing tempos make this tranquil music style stand out among the rock genres. A close cousin to progressive rock, math rock is also often known for its above average song lengths and pull away from the pop song structure. Notable math rock bands include American Football, Don Caballero and Slint.

5. Dark Cabaret

When it comes to Dark Cabaret just imagine the Phantom of the Opera was serenading Christine with an electric guitar instead of an organ. The dramatic rock genre is very theatrical in nature. It’s musical theater with an edge. It features the passionate vocals of a typical cabaret performance, but with a gothic twist. Acts often feature musicians dressed in classic goth clothing and dramatic makeup. The music brings up a romantic picture of shady night clubs, femme fatales and circus freaks. Notable acts in the Dark Cabaret genre include the Dresden Dolls, Vermillion Lillies and Johnny Hollow.

6. J-Punk

The US has a pretty strong fan base devoted to J-Pop and K-Pop. Other than Psy’s Oppa Gangam Style though, Western culture pays little attention  to Asian produced music. Perhaps surprising to some, but Asian music does in fact go beyond synth and Psy. Just because you don’t speak the language doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the music. The J-Punk scene consists of everything from grungy ’80s punk bands like The Stalin to modern more polished acts like the pop/punk Dustbox.

7. Unblack Metal

What is Unblack Metal you ask. It is exactly what the name implies. Unblack metal is the opposite of black metal, but only in message not in style. Where black metal screams out themes of satanism and the supernatural, unblack metal counters those with Christian messages of hope and faith. Unblack Metal, alternatively Christian black metal, seeks to break misconception that metal and faith can’t mix. While they do experience criticism from both the Black Metal scene for not truly being metal and  from the religious scene for not truly making Christian music, unblack metal bands like Horde and Antestor continue to create music to express their religious faith through their Black Metal Style.

8. Wizard Rock

Number eight and my personal favorite on this list is Wizard Rock. Harry Potter changed more than just the literary world. JK Rowling’s story has inspired movies, theme parks, plays, immeasurable amounts of fan fiction, music and even musicals.

Wizard Rock, aka Wrock,  is a sub-genre of the nerd rock world. Rowling’s fans have joined together to create a whole sub-genre of the music world dedicated entirely to the world of Harry Potter. Geeks all over the world have joined together to lament Snape’s love for Lily, express their house pride, and recount tales of Harry’s heroism in song. With millions of YouTube hits Harry and the Potters, Ministry of Magic, Gred and Forge and Remus and the Lupins are just a few of the Wrock bands to rise to (relative) fame.

Thanks for checking out this list of weird rock genres. I hope you enjoyed the music and maybe found a new favorite rock genre.

Here’s a few honorable mentions that also have unique and interesting styles: Cowpunk, Medieval Metal, Time Lord Rock, Afro Punk, Queercore, Stoner Doom.

Click here for a comprehensive list of the hundreds of rock genres that apparently exist.

Neighborhood Jams: The Aura & Øvation

Hello friends! This week on Neighborhood Jams I am featuring the San Diegan band, The Aura & Øvation! I highly, highly recommend listening to these guys – each musician adds so much emotion with their preferred instrument. This past January they released the album, Brilliant Nights – EP, and you can purchase it on iTunes. On their website you can listen to their entire acoustic EP, read up on each member’s background, and check out a quick summary on each song from their acoustic EP. It’s absolutely great to read about the band’s feelings and thoughts on their own songs – it makes the connection between the musician and listener stronger. I loved it.

If Dashboard Confessional were to do a collaboration with Kings of Leon we would get the guys from The Aura & Øvation. They would be considered alternative rock. Lead singer and guitarist, Mike Strong, combined his instrumental skills along with his passion for poetry and, in the first song from their acoustic EP, titled Vines and Mini Blinds, Strong’s emotions and honesty shines through. You can feel the rawness in each chorus, and I believe it is truly beautiful. Alongside Strong is Jesse Richardson on guitar and bassist Paul Philips each bringing a key ingredient to the heart wrenching songs. Lastly, Chris Thiel is strumming away and keeping rhythm on drums. Thiel is three-time San Diego Guitar Center Drum-Off Champion, and his skills and techniques really round out The Aura & Øvation.

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I also really loved the songs House on Fire and On These Brilliant Nights both featured on their album Brilliant Nights – EP. Each song sounds full, powerful, and make me want to close my eyes and do a slow head bang. The guys have played at several local venues including The Tin Roof and Point Loma Nazarene University – I wish they could play at SDSU! It’s so great to find local bands filled with so much passion in their first albums. Great job guys, great job. Check out The Aura & Øvation on October 24 at PLNU’s Fall Fest.

Give these guys a like on their Facebook.

 

Photo Credit: Sarah Binsfield

The Sounds of State-Andrew DeLeon

On Thursday I showed up to the Farmer’s Market Turn Up to meet Andrew DeLeon. With him were some familiar faces, Joey Bautista who I did my first interview (he also is in charge of the KCR Secret Sessions), and former programming director Brendan Price. Andrew was eager to be interviewed, he had reached out to me on more than one occasion to volunteer. Reciprocating his enthusiasm, we went into the Communications building and sat down to have our chat. Andrew is so far the only interviewee I’ve had who I’ve know beforehand. Last year my 5-6 National Sports talk show on Wednesday was preceded by Andrew’s show The Grand Illusion. He was a great DJ to interview, giving all of my questions thoughtful responses and his full attention. In fact, this is the longest interview I’ve done so far, at almost 13 minutes. With that said, I don’t want to use any more of your time that takes away from the interview, so let’s jump right in!

Cameron Satterlee: Okay I am sitting here with Andrew, welcome.

Andrew DeLeon: Thank you.

CS: So, what is your radio slot for KCR?

AD: This semester I’m doing Tuesdays from one to two. I just figure it works with the class schedule I had, and work schedule, trolley schedule. I pretty much just take what I can get as long as there’s time for classes in there.

CS: Uh huh. You’re pretty flexible with what time you get?

AD: Yeah you know as long as it’s not too late cause [the] trolley. And then early because I did a show at 8 am one semester and that didn’t turn out too well. We were still in transition and there was a bunch of tech problems so I would try to call them and no one would answer. We didn’t quite have Alex yet.

CS: Oh man yeah I don’t think I’d do an 8 am slot to be honest. I mean that’s good for you, you stepped up and took the bullet pretty much.

AD: I had to, that was all they could give me. I was willing to try, I adjusted though, it worked.

CS: Yeah. So how long have you been with KCR?

AD: This is my sixth semester. Interesting story on how I joined–

CS: Wow I’d like to hear it.

AD: Yeah I’m sure they would too. I was in psychedelic rock class. This was my freshman year, I was just taking this for credits. I didn’t care about the whole upper division, you have to take it at a certain time thing. I’m like “you know what? I’m gonna take psychedelic rock class, this will be fun.” And the guy I sat next to, really tall guy, kinda looked like Kurt Cobain, he asked “what do you want to do?” And I mentioned you know sports broadcasting or radio or tv, something like that. Even if it’s just some behind the scenes work, I’m good with that. And he said “oh why don’t you join the radio station, KCR?” I said “oh I didn’t know that there was one on campus.” And he told me I think the semester before they were still trying to transition–get it going–but the semester I joined what when it really started taking off. John was there, Lincoln was there and it was really the rebuilding years when I joined and now I’m happy to be here when it’s a big part of the campus now.

CS: Yeah I mean that’s sort of the eternal struggle for KCR is getting people actually on our own campus to know about us.

AD: Well look at it now. We have a what hundred members or something?

CS: Yeah we’re doing very well for ourselves. I mean guys like you who show up and become dedicated to your show is what really sets us off I think.

AD: Right, and I know I don’t volunteer as much as I should but I’ve tried to do my best here and at least wear my shirt whenever I do the show so that way people will know “KCR listen in.”

CS: Yeah yeah totally. So but you wanted to go into the radio, the field, before you joined.

AD: Right because in high school I really started getting into baseball. I had already been a fan but I was thinking “you know what someone’s got to take Ted Leitner’s job eventually.” Make sure that no one calls anyone else a moron again (laughs). That was hilarious, I give Ted credit for that. That was funny. Gotta love him.

CS: Gosh I feel you with the baseball thing. Well so, I guess I’m gonna take this in a different direction but so you currently have a music show and you’ve had one for a while.

AD: Right.

CS: It’s actually funny, so I guess I’ll say this for the benefit of the listeners, but Andrew, last semester, preceded my show. My sports hour. So we knew each other before then. So I kind of know the answer this question, but for the audience, what is the music you like to play?

AD: Good stuff. Good stuff.

CS: Good stuff?

AD:And by that I mean classic rock. A lot of the shows on campus now they do Indie and folk and rap and hip hop, there’s a little much of that. Some stuff is okay, others…I mean play what you want to play I got nothing against that. But I thought “you know what? I’ll play my music” cause in high school–here’s the sad thing I graduated from Ridgemont High people didn’t know who The Beatles were at that school anymore. I would literally walk through Clairemont High School and people would say “who are The Beatles?” so I thought “you know what with this show I gotta do something about this.” So I took the classics, mix in with a little new things, and pretty much revive the genre and it’s surprising how many people like you and Jackson always come in and say “oh yeah these songs are awesome” and so many people I’ve met through this station they’re like “oh wow that’s awesome that you do that. That you play all these things.” Hell Alex and Brendan always sit in on my show, I always catch them dancing or singing. Everytime I play Huey Lewis, Brendan always shouts “HUEY” or I’ll dedicate a song to him and be like “this is for him, this is Phil Collins” and he’ll be like “ah you’re playing Phil Collins again,” yup that’s correct. And Alex just dances in the background, so awesome.

CS: You seem very passionate about your work. Rock music, I mean it’s its own genre and I guess at this point in rock music’s history you could say classic rock is its own separate sphere than what’s going on now.

AD: Yeah.

CS: Is there anything a bit more specific than classic rock you play? Like any real genre music?

AD: I suppose it’s not genres it’s more themes. What I do is try and set a theme each week and then I’ll take, sometimes I’ll take disco, sometimes I’ll take some country and do that just to mix it up, but then I take the rock songs and I’ll say you know “okay there’s soft rock so I’ll do soft rock this week”. Or there’s a bunch of metal songs so I’ll do some full metal jacket this week. Or sometimes I’ll incorporate sports, I’ll play songs that would be played at baseball games. You were there when the dancing friars came in.

CS: Yeah that was interesting. Yeah I remember those themes now that you bring it up.

AD: Yeah, so it’s not so much as a genre thing as it’s more of a thematic [show], but it’s more based on the rock genre I guess.

CS: Yeah and so each show is different. You’re not just sorta playing off the same playlist every week, you’re mixing it up.

AD: Right. Yeah I even make a point to do that. I say “okay I already played that song this semester, I’m not going to play that again” or at least make an attempt not to. So that way I don’t have repeats. Sometimes I listen to the stations and it’s the same set of songs every couple of days. Or I’ll drive to work, I’ll have on Easy and I’ll hear–for some reason they play In The Air Tonight on the Easy station–so I’ll hear that and then I’ll drive to work like two days later. I just heard this at the same time. So I try to mix it up a little bit. Make it interesting.

CS: Yeah yeah. So yeah I think that’s a great way to do things, it keeps things very interesting and different so that’s a cool thing you do. So I’m curious why classic rock? Why is it important to you? I mean you like it but why do you like it? Why is it important to you?

AD: Because the stuff that people produce now has no instruments and there’s almost no thought to a lot of it. There is thought, I do give people like Taylor Swift and you know some of the country people credit but a lot of the pop stuff now–I mean like that song Turn Down For What by Lil John, what is that? I mean he just says what so much he’s like “I’ll write a song with the word what in it.” It doesn’t make sense anymore.

CS: Well that’s interesting. I mean that’s kind of a negative perspective to look at it. You listen to classic rock because music now isn’t that interesting to you.

AD: Right. I mean I’m not saying all of it is, I’m just saying there’s certain parts of where it just seems that the creativity isn’t what it used to be anymore.

CS: Well I mean that could be a whole different discussion that leaves us here for twenty minutes.

AD: Exactly.

CS: Well but I’m curious if there’s sort of a more–cause you probably looked at in the sense that “oh I like this classic rock music, so this music doesn’t look so good to me.” Which I understand, I’m a classic rock guy, I’m trying to you know contemporize myself but it can be difficult, I’ll admit. But what made you like the rock music in the first place? That’s what I’m trying to get to.

AD: Right. I guess it’s because when I was little my mom played a lot of the stuff. She played some newer stuff too so I kind of evolved around that. But then, a lot of the stuff–like when I was in elementary school or middle school I would just hear this–some of this stuff and I thought “eh, new stuff doesn’t really appeal to me.” And I’d listen to the older stuff and like “okay this is good. I like this.” So I just rolled with it.

CS: Yeah I feel that’s how a lot of people in our generation got to like classic rock. I mean you brought it up earlier that there may not be so many of us in proportion to the actual population. How it used to be where rock was the big thing, the big genre. But there still are a good number of people who know what it is. But I think that you’re right that it comes from our parents you know, and just absorbing the music through other media.

AD: Yeah and you go to rock concerts now and there’s still a good turn up of teenagers. I went to The Monkees concert over at Humphrey’s, I think it was last year, yeah it was last year, and there was a kid probably about sixteen-seventeen dressed up looking exactly like Mike Nesmith.

CS: (laughs) That’s awesome.

AD: Yeah so you know that there’s people that are really influenced by this. I mean The Scorpions concert I went to, there was a lot of little kids there.

CS: Yeah. Alright so this is gonna be interesting because a lot of the people I interview, since they listen to contemporary music, the new music that gets released is what they’re obsessing over. But classic rock, unless they are artists who are still releasing music that sounds similar. I mean like Pink Floyd just dropped a new album.

AD: And it’s already up to number one.

CS: And that’s a whole different thing. But I’m curious since the classic rock music has already been released, by definition, but is there anything that you’re still just discovering? Any new bands where you’re just like “oh hey I should have listened to these guys before, this is great.” Like a recent obsession. It could be a band or a song or an album.

AD: I’ve been listening to some country, I think it’s cause I went to the Vince Gill concert. So I’ve been listening to some of that. Oh I listened to The Eagles a lot earlier in this semester cause they were coming here and cause I was watching History of The Eagles. It really depends who’s coming in concert. The only one I think I really didn’t listen to a lot before or after the concert was Chris Isaak cause I’m not a huge fan of his. He’s alright you know I respect him. I like what he’s doing, just haven’t been given a chance to listen to a lot of his music. And the one song I heard, Dancin, I was thinking “yeah it’s okay,” not totally my cup of tea.

CS: Alright yeah great, I’ll be sure to put up links to those songs for the blog. So here’s a fun last question. So what would be your ideal show? How would it go?

AD: It would probably either be the dancing friars show that I had last semester or the one I just had on Tuesday where I played the whole Sgt. Pepper album.

CS: Oh wow that’s awesome. That’s really interesting cause I mean I’m a sports DJ but I’ve kinda wanted to do a music show, it’s just hard to you know get two slots. But I was thinking I’d want to play whole albums. That’s great that you’re doing it.

AD: I had this theme all set. I was thinking “well I’ll do 50’s music.” I was gonna do that and then I thought, “well, there’s one more I gotta do before the Christmas themes. Why don’t I move that back and and I thought, ooh Sgt. Pepper, I haven’t done a whole Beatles show.” So in honor of George Harrison and John Lennon’s deaths since those are coming up, the anniversaries, I figured might as well play some Beatles songs. In addition to the Sgt. Peppers so I just had a whole Beatles show. I even mentioned the Manson story, about him getting married. That was kinda weird. But it made for a good story.

CS: Yeah, if nothing else (laughs). Yeah wow, so this has been a great interview by the way, I mean few people totally go all out on the easy questions I ask but you’ve been you know very open about your whole idea with your shows. I think it’s great. You’re a flag bearer the classic rock movement here at KCR, and so thanks for sitting down with me, it’s been great.

AD: Yeah no problem, and Ted Leitner you’re doing good but I want your job so be on the lookout. I’m coming. I want to work with Bob Scanlan.

CS: (Laughs) Alright thanks.

AD: You’re welcome.

So there you have it, we got some KCR history to go along with our music discussion. Andrew and I hung out a while longer before we had to split up. I had to enjoy the Farmer’s Market after all and score some Pad Thai. Remember to listen to Andrew from 1-2 on Tuesdays and KCR anytime online. Thanks for reading!