Thursday, March 10, 2011

March Update

I finally got around to going through my phone and camera and sorting through a huge load of pictures. Here are some random photos taken during The Pass' tour out west in January/February, which you can check out here. They're mostly scenery and whatnot. I wish I made a better effort to capture all the wonderful people, friends old and new, that we encountered along the way.

Here's a separate album devoted to the Grand Canyon, where we were treated to an awesome display of nature. We arrived there in the early morning in the middle of a swift snowfall and the low clouds filled the canyon, creating a quite ominous feeling. Peering over the rim, you could sense the vastness below, but all that visible was a void of white-grey clouds and snow. Within minutes of our arrival, however, the clouds were quickly swept away and, like some magic theatrical curtain being drawn, the canyon was revealed to us in all its glory. Words don't do it justice.

Here's a brief album that contains random phone shots from shows in Toronto, Louisville, and St. Louis.

The Pass has more pretty sweet dates coming up as well. Check our calendar to see if we'll be playing near you.

I'm looking to book some more Brainbheats shows in the near future, but in the meantime I've been working on a bunch of new music and doing some more remixing. Most recently I remixed "Lotus Flower" by Radiohead. Check it:

Radiohead - Lotus Flower (bhts rmx) by brainbheats

Until next time.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Favorite Music of 2010

So it's nearing the end of the year, which means it's time for an onslaught of best/worst this/that of-the-year lists. Here are what I thought to be the best songs and best album of 2010:

Songs (in no particular order)

Martina Topley-Bird - "Phoenix"
It's hard to describe this song in words, but I'll attempt by throwing out "minimal yet haunting." Her albums Blue God and Some Place Simple put her on my list of favorite female singer/songwriters. I find it difficult to listen to this song once and not play it on repeat.

Tanlines - "Real Life"
Ethereal, 80s-sounding new wave pop, done so well that Tears for Fears could have written it themselves. A 2010 song, but it manages to give me that sweet nostalgic feeling, and I can't resist it.

Miike Snow - "Billie Holiday"
Driving beat? Check. Epic dirty synthy goodness? Check. Lovely vocal production with a killer hook? Check. That about covers it.

Joanna Newsom - "You and Me, Bess"
The harp is such an under-rated instrument. Mixed with a spare horn accompaniment, Newsom melodically weaves and plucks through enthralling chords with spine-tingling dynamics and imagery-rich lyrics.

Flying Lotus - "Zodiac Shit"
This song really makes more sense within the context and flow of the album (Cosmogramma), but is a stand-out nonetheless. Like Dilla before him, Flying Lotus has the ability to produce instrumental hip-hop music so stunning that lyrics would only get in his way.

Brad Mehldau - "The Falcon Will Fly Again"
If I had to speak in terms of specific genres, Mehldau's Highway Rider would easily be the best jazz album of the year. Brad Mehldau + Jon Brion producing = forget about it. This track certainly isn't the best representation of this lushly orchestrated, sprawling album as a whole, but it's the one I keep coming back to. To me, Mehldau and saxophonist Joshua Redman are the best duo in the game right now, and this minimal piece serves as their showcase.

Erykah Badu - "Window Seat"
I'm a huge Erykah Badu fan, and this might be my favorite song that she's written to date. The perfect combination of jazz and soul, delivered by maybe the most beautifully raw and soulful voice since Billie Holiday (the singer, not the Miike Snow song from before).

Album of the Year

The Roots - How I Got Over
I surprised myself somewhat with how little thought I needed to put into this. Game, set, match, Roots. Not since Passion Pit's
Manners last year have I listened to an album so obsessively. I don't consider myself a connoisseur of hip hop by any means, especially within the past decade or so, but I know what I like, and I like this. The Roots have been my high water mark for good hip-hop music for a long time, and they exceeded even my high expectations by crushing it big time with How I Got Over. There's not a single misstep to be found. This is their masterwork. They got back to the basics of their style with more stripped-down instrumentation, tasty and creative arrangements, and culturally relevant and meaningful lyrics (which are unfortunately all too rare in modern rap and hip-hop). The album is simultaneously modern and reminiscent of vintage soul, and for my money, Black Thought has about the tightest flow in the emcee business. I could say more, but these are all just afterthoughts. It's all there in the music.

The Roots - "Radio Daze" (feat. Blu, P.O.R.N., Dice Raw)

The Roots - "Right On" (feat. Joanna Newsom)

The Roots - "Dear God 2.0" (feat. Jim James)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Lucid Dreaming

For the past few months, I've been really into the idea of lucid dreaming. If you don't know what lucid dreaming is, you can read all about it on Wikipedia, but the short answer is that a lucid dream is a dream in which you know that you're dreaming. This concept has fascinated me for a long time, but only recently have I started practicing the ability to achieve a lucid dream.

For those who might think this is some sort of New Age crap, lucid dreaming has a lot of science and history to back it up. Lucid dreams have been mentioned as far back in history as St. Augustine of Hippo in 415 AD. Scientific studies of dreaming have also documented them using brain activity monitors and other such fancy gizmos.

Fact #1 about dreams is that everybody dreams. Everybody. Multiple times per night even. The problem, though, is that the part of your memory responsible for dreaming also does a great job of resetting itself upon awakening, which is why it's so easy to forget dreams in the morning. You could be having lucid dreams every night and simply forgetting them the next day. So, the first and foremost strategy for anything involving dreams is to improve your ability to recall them. Like anything else, it takes practice. For a while now, I've been documenting my dreams by keeping a dream journal. It's as simple as writing down every detail you can remember about your dream the instant you wake up.

There are techniques you can use to help this process, which I won't go into, but it seems to work over time. For me, it started as very hit-or-miss (maybe one or two a week), but now I can almost always remember at least one dream per night, and sometimes two or even three. It's also incredibly interesting to go back and read the entries for some of my past dreams. Sometimes reading them triggers my memory and I can remember having that dream, and others read like the strange rantings of a madman.

Of course, you also have to become aware that you're dreaming while the dream is taking place. Your brain has a tendency to believe what it sees, and since dreams are brain-generated, you have to convince it that what you're seeing isn't reality (shades of The Matrix, anyone?) To practice that, you have to become accustomed to performing regular "reality checks," which are some type of action with predictable results in the real world, and for which any other result would help convince your mind that you're dreaming. There are a lot of possibilities, but a common one is to look at a watch or clock, look away, then look at it again. Things like words and numbers tend to become distorted and confused in dreams. Chances are, your watch would show a different time each time you looked at it (which is why you look twice), or might even show strange characters or or other non-numerical symbols.

So far, I haven't had any lucid dreams that I can remember, but the process been enlightening nonetheless. Dreams are crazy things.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Don't remember how I got here, but I came across this random website that pairs Friedrich Nietzsche quotes with images from the horrendously trite cartoon The Family Circus. I love it because they're two things I'm not a fan of, but together, they're a genius combo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go Away, Weezer

I've always loved Weezer. They'll likely never top the consistency of the "Blue Album" and Pinkerton (I really enjoyed Maladroit and the "Green Album" as well), and I must admit that their odd choice of putting a picture of Hurley from the show "Lost" on their latest album cover is more than a little puzzling, but Rivers Cuomo still knows how to write a quality song from time to time. Just like Green Day, Weezer was a band of my generation, the mid-90s, and yet, here it is around 15 years later, and they're still able to create music that teenagers can identify with. There's something to be said for that in my opinion, and if they can save just one kid from listening to Miley Cyrus or Bruno Mars, then they've done their job.

Long story short, I still have love for Weezer, but I thought this article about a guy who wants to pay Weezer to break up was pretty funny. And hey, if you agree, go ahead and contribute to the cause.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BURST On Sale Now

The debut LP by my band The Pass is finally out. We threw a sweet midnight release party at the country's best music store Ear X-Tacy for all of our Louisville friends, but all you folks from elsewhere aren't going to be left out. Please help us keep the wheels turning by checking it out, and if you like what you hear, buy a physical or digital copy using the links below.

BURST physical

Also keep an eye out for our tour dates to see if we'll be in your area. Over the next month, we'll be in Cincinnati, Toronto, St. Louis (with Major Lazer), Indianapolis, Muncie, NYC, and of course you can catch us here in Louisville supporting !!! (chkchkchk) at Headliners on Sept. 30.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Preview the New Pass Album

My band The Pass are releasing our debut LP called BURST next Tuesday, Sept. 21 on SonaBlast Records. You don't have to wait until then to check it out though. Using the player below, you can temporarily stream the album in its entirety. If you live in the Louisville area, you can be among the first to get your hard copy by swinging by our midnight release party/performance at Ear X-Tacy on Sept. 20. Remember when "new music Tuesday" was a big deal, and you'd camp out at the record store to get that hot new album? Well, we're bringing that awesome vibe back. Ear X-Tacy is keeping the lights on late, and we're gonna rock the house. Come out and support one of the best independent record stores in the country.

If I could recommend some tracks, a couple of my personal favorites are "Treatment of the Sun," "Criminal," "Out of Hand," and "Fate." Honestly, though, I think the whole album is solid and flows really nicely, if do say so myself. It feels great to still be pumped about something I've been dealing with on a daily basis for the past 6-7 months or so. I'm really proud of the fact that I can still listen to this music for the billionth time and feel good about it. Normally, I'm the type of person who finishes a creative project and is instantly ready to forget about it and move on to the next thing.

Monday, September 6, 2010

New Video from The Pass

My band The Pass has a new video out for "Vultures," a song off our debut LP BURST, which comes out Sept. 21. Our friend Zach from We Listen for You (who directed our videos for both "Colors" and "Treatment of the Sun") had the great idea to make the video work on two levels. For most people, it's just a weird, wild house party for a fun party song (which was really fun to shoot, I might add), with a sort of lo-fi, first-person feel. On the other level, Zach set up visual references for a whole bunch of music blogs and other music-related websites. It's a contest, in fact. Whoever can name the most references will win a $50 gift certificate to InSound along with a free hard copy of BURST. Learn more here, and check out the vid below:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lords Knows I've Been There...

...and I wish I had written this song. Cee-Lo says it all, and wraps it in one hell of a catchy, groovin' package: