Sounds Like Sublime

Everybody knows Sublime, those guys with the “Santeria” song. Sublime was a major player, and contributed to the music scene of Southern California today.

The group is from Long Beach. And, they definitely give off West Coast rock ‘n’ roll vibes. But, Sublime combines that with reggae in order to get a unique ska sound.

Although Sublime was not making studio albums for a long time, they have had a ton of music released overall. Song after song set the stage for today’s punk scene. This is the reason that many people today listen to bands that got their start in the mid ’90s.

If you’re looking for some more ska punk to get you through your day, then you’re reading the right post, because I have some suggestions for you.

  1. The dirty heads –  This is a hip hop reggae band that was formed in Huntington Beach. They’re made up of five members and cite Sublime, 311 and Bob Marley as inspirations for their sound. This shows how influential Sublime is, linking the great artists Bob Marley and 311 together.
  2. Another band that may have been influenced by Sublime is Pepper. Although this band formed in Hawaii in 1997, they also have the same reggae ska punk rock vibes that Sublime is known for. They were still active and making music in 2013, so go check them out to get a Hawaiian Sublime trial.
  3. Slightly Stoopid – This band is from right here in San Diego, where they formed in 1995. They tour almost nonstop, and have been for the past 10 years. They share the ska sound that you’ve come to expect from Sublime but present it in their own Slightly Stoopid style. These bands will surely help you to get your ska fix when you’ve already had your fill of Sublime.

Discover the Up-and-Coming: Rad Horror

Calling all “Stranger Things” fans! Rad Horror is a talented up-and-coming band from New Jersey that brings a twist of late ’80s and early ’90s music and film to their individualized sound. I had the pleasure of interviewing the band over the summer and they’re aiming to bring the era they grew up in back to 2017.

Lead singer, Dylan Scott, was the bass player for Young Rising Sons until he decided to pursue his own musical endeavors. He got a group of friends together and they started Rad Horror. The band released their first album, “Before You Got Too Cool,” in December 2016 despite critics from the industry advising them to wait.

The album has sadly been removed from Spotify. Until their full works are released again, their latest single “Dark Times” will be released Nov. 10 along with a music video. See the trailer here.

Although the band hails from New Jersey, Scott made the big move to the West Coast. Now, the group has an array of Los Angeles and New Jersey members. The band made their debut in L.A. in March and continued to play various shows on the West Coast.

“Benzos and Cigarettes” is their first single as Rad Horror, and it’s available on Spotify. The band set themselves a budget of 20 dollars and decided to do as much as they could to create a music video for it. As a broke college student, I give props to Rad Horror. I understand the struggles of making the most out of a small amount of money. And, let me tell you, the video does not disappoint and perfectly depicts Rad Horror’s essence.

“Sad Boy” is another single that is accompanied by a music video. The band addresses an issue that society very often ignores – men and their emotions. Men do have emotions and should be allowed to openly express these emotions, rather than being frowned on if they stray from the socially acceptable stoic, strong male image.

Rad Horror released a handful of show dates on the East Coast in about two weeks. If you’re from the East Coast and have some free time while visiting home for Thanksgiving, try to catch a show. The band’s stage presence is flamboyant, unique, and sure to get you dancing.

Rad Horror brings a diverse sound to today’s music industry and address deeper issues through their music. I hope you find a connection to their music and love it as much as I do.

Check out Rad Horror on Twitter and Instagram.

And, check back next week for another up-and-coming artist to add to your favorite playlists!

Featured Image: Retrieved from Rad Horror’s Twitter. 

The Drums Bring Surprising Emotion to The Observatory North Park

Let’s precede everything with this statement: I’m a casual fan of The Drums. The Drums are a late 2000s indie pop/surf rock band whose music helped develop the garage-rock music scene in Southern California, which I was a part of during my high school years.

As The Drums kicked off their tour for their new album, “Abysmal Thoughts,” with relatively low-key act Methyl Ethyl opening for them, the stage was set to be an interesting night at The Observatory North Park.

The opening four piece act, Methyl Ethyl admirably warmed up the stage for The Drums. The crowd didn’t attend for them, and the band understood that. Despite that, Methyl Ethyl strutted comfortably onto the stage, and followed up with an opening song that established the sound (which had a similar feel to The Drums) for the remainder of the night. Punctuated with high pitched vocals, a sharp, steady snare and a low-energy vibe, Methyl Ethyl gave a pleasant performance that provided attendees with backtrack to mingle and relax to.

After their set, the venue began to feel more lively in anticipation of the headliner. A feeling of pleasure and love was in the air, and though initially I didn’t understand the vibe, I learned why this was the case in the middle of the show. Once The Drums came onto stage, the crowd erupted and surged forward – typical concert behavior. The way that the band stepped out exhibited confidence, and everything was set for them to give a solid performance. And they did. 

Members of The Drums bounded across the stage, crossing to (excitedly) show off, communicate with each other and revive the crowd’s adoring screaming. What impressed me most was front-man Jonathan Pierce’s performance, as he enthusiastically danced, ran and put himself at the forefront of everything. My favorite reflection of the concert was his ability to tease the crowd, gracefully twirling his microphone and placing it on the tips of his outstretched hand, carefully balancing the device while simultaneously inviting attendees to sing along. It was a flourish I never tired of seeing, occurring again and again on songs such as “Let’s Go Surfing,” Money,” “Days” and “I need a Doctor” (essentially their biggest, well known songs).

This is where things took a surprisingly pleasant turn, and I learned exactly why there was so much love in the air.

While their songs contain dark lyricism contrasted with upbeat drum patterns, guitar strums and bass riffs, the energy The Drums brings evokes a youthful feeling of what I like to call “unsure freedom.” Freedom comes from an attempt to escape and forget about responsibility in this atmosphere. “Unsure” begets a more frantic, desperate feeling, trying to reassert or reassure their confidence in being able to accomplish this freedom. This youthfulness, present in the crowd and on stage, was exemplified after Pierce began a long emotional monologue, in which you could hear his voice shaking as he tried to stay composed, encouraging others to embrace nonconformity, uncomfortable situations, new experiences, love and passion. The subjects of rebelliousness, depression and uncertainty of one’s place in the world and the struggles it all brings were touched upon, ultimately bringing Pierce to his point of being true to yourself. Although a cliché, the conviction in Pierce’s speech and the overall response from the crowd made it an extremely emotional moment. At this point, I genuinely felt like a blanket of good-will had engulfed the entire venue, a feeling I have only felt a few times at concerts. Due to the emotional response they evoked as well as the energy they brought forth, I applaud The Drums.

Off the heels of the speech, the band quickly bounced back into their next songs. From either the break or the speech, people were refreshed and a new upbeat energy had been brought out. After closing with “If He Likes It Let Him Do It,” the crowd dispersed and fans either left the venue or began to lineup for a meet-and-greet. Approximately 15 minutes later (past the reasonable amount of time to expect anything more), the band pulled one last surprise. Rushing back onto stage when fans were least expecting it, the band played a very frantic version of “Under the Ice,” drawing huge amounts of people out of their spots in line for one desperate last chance to see the band up close and bask in their performance. People sprinted past each other, trying to be the first to reach the stage and dance the final song away; another good surprise by The Drums.

Overall, I’d say The Drums killed it, putting on a much better and surprisingly emotional performance than I would have ever expected from them. The opener and headliner complimented each other, and the crowd consisted of a lively, yet friendly group of devotees. Heartstrings were tugged, people danced and I had a great time.

Artist Spotlight: MILCK

Los Angeles native, singer, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Connie Lim, otherwise known as MILCK, released a new song and video called “Quiet,” after several years of independent releases and gigs on stage.  The 30-year-old singer and songwriter focuses her music on the realness of domestic violence and anorexia, both of which she suffered from at the age of 14.  

“Quiet” was originally supposed to be released in 2015, with assistance from frequent collaborator Adrianne Gonzalez.  This song is a message for people of all backgrounds, races and religions who have remained strong while dealing with trauma and grief. It utilizes soft piano chords and a strong delivery.  

MILCK explains, on her website, “It’s unbelievable to think now, but I was initially told to hold the song,” she explains. “I couldn’t keep compromising anymore though. It’s my story as a survivor of abuse. I was finally letting myself out of the chains. Recording Quiet was a very genuine moment of therapy for me. It’s very real. I thought if the honesty healed me, maybe it can heal someone else?”  

In another interview with Billboard, she said, “I had been trying to write this particular feeling into song for years now.”

MILCK teamed up with 25 female singers at the January 2017 Women’s March in Washington, D.C. to deliver seven flashmob performances of “Quiet” on the streets. Alicia Keys and Janelle Monae performed at the Women’s March as well.  MILCK had only practiced with the singers once before they performed on the streets of Washington, D.C.  A fan’s video of one of the performances went viral, with over 14 million views in just two days.

 At the end of the week, she performed on “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee” and was then featured on Vice, Rolling Stone, Associated Press, NPR, Buzzfeed, Vanity Fair, Refinery29,and even more popular media outlets.  This sparked the #ICantKeepQuiet project on social media, with celebrities Debra Messing, Emma Watson, Tom Morello, Denis Leary and Tegan & Sara sharing the video.  The funds of the project’s merchandise are benefiting the Step Up chapter in L.A., which provides after school and mentorship programs for underprivileged girls ages 13-18.

“I’m just being myself, and I don’t want to assume that I can sing for everyone. I want to sing what I feel. If people connect, that’s awesome,” MILCK said.