The Concrete Schoolyard Podcast Aug. 1, 2013

Ya’ll know I have my hand in a bit of everything right? Here’s the Concrete Schoolyard from August 1st! Our #TapeOfTheWeek was the

FreEp from Melo X – God HiFi Image

and we followed suit bringing you the “latest and greatest in hip hop you haven’t heard.” You’ll just have to listen for all the other music we played!

In case you didn’t know the Concrete Schoolyard is a storied program on Fayetteville’s KXUA 88.3 student ran radio. It’s past is deeply rooted and has always brought a much needed hip hop presence to a city that has struggled to have hip hop as a mainstay. It is currently Hosted by Japan born, North Carolina raised Dj E- Yo, who has been a part of the show for more than a few years, and El Dorado born Dallas raised Dj El Barrrney.

Each Dj brings different talents to the front.

E-Yo live mixes his sets for every show. That means he is on the turn tables as well as the mic. 

El Barrrney AKA Sandy Beats’ own Bernard Oliver focuses on social media and media relations. 

Both Djs focus on the online presence of the Concrete Schoolyard in the form of 1 1/2 hour podcasts. The show airs live on 88.3 in Northwest Arkansas Thursdays from 8pm-10pm and has been known to keep it up until midnight on special occasions. The show is also broadcasted live online at

New Music: Typhoon

This post is quite possibly the most hipster post I will ever write. Not because I’ve loved this band for years. In fact, I just heard of them on Tuesday. However, they are from the hipster capital of the world, Portland, OR. They also are made up of more than 10 members, which apparently makes you a hipster band. Anyway, haters beware, this band is pretty damn good. Which band? Well that would be Typhoon. I first heard about this band from a friend who had heard them on NPR…Now…if you’ve never been to the NPR Music website, you are missing out. There is a ton of free to listen music, and they also have many podcasts of live shows or short sets. The fact that this “discovery” was due to NPR, probably makes this post even more hipster.

Their new record, White Lighter, will be released on August 20th. Before then, you can listen to the album in its entirety at NPR. It won’t be up forever, so definitely check it out soon. Their sound incorporates deep emotional lyrics, poppy hooks, and horns. Who doesn’t love horns in rock music?

The video for their song “Dreams of Cannibalism” is a pretty good representation of what this new record sounds like. It is also very hipster. Some of their older stuff is a bit more raw than this.

You will like them if you like: Band of Horses, Dawes, and Young the Giant.

“Representin” – A Refreshing, Classy Look into Sexy

As the title suggest Ludacris and Kelly Rowland are “Representin” what it is to be man and woman in tandem. That would be SEX. Yes we all love it and won’t talk about it. Ludacris and Rowland don’t hold back telling each other what they like to do to each other between the sheets. What’s great is they do it with just them, and NO nudity or booty shaking.  No video…um vixens? No naked p-poppin and twerkin’ because, really, does that have a place in the bedroom? Okay, maybe I’m being cynical now. After all, most of the time I can’t stand sex scenes in movies because there is no point. That’s what porn is for, kiddies.

Anyway, this is the sexiest Kelly has been, music-wise, in her career and she keeps bringing the hits on features as well as her own album Talk A Good Game. Ludacris hit platinum with her here, they counter and supplant each other seamlessly. I’m always a Luda fan and I can’t say he has many misses and this track is a classic mix of dope rhymes, an intoxicating beat, and sultry vocals from Rowland. True baby-making music without being obvious on the visuals.

Ludacris’ Ludaversal should be out before the end of 2013, but has no official release date. He has been releasing tracks via his #IDGAF mixtape and other online sources such as YouTube and VEVO.

PS from @begt: @Bernard_Oliver is going to be contributing to Sandy Beats from now on. Welcome!

“Junk” by Ich + Ich

I have been away from Sandy Beats for a minute, but I have a good reason. Three of my six siblings are with me right now and we’re having too much fun. You see, it’s the first time I meet my half-German oldest sister. It’s been quite an adventure and a delight.

She is, of course, leaving me with some great German music. I’ll share more later, but I wanted to share this song now. It’s about not buying shit that you don’t need. A brilliant concept. Enjoy!

New Music Round Up

Beyond Spotify, I am very thankful for websites like YouTube and Vevo because they allow me to watch music videos. Due to my age, I still remember when MTV and VH1 played actual videos, and I still remember spending hours watching them.

I often spend hours watching them to this day…but now I can watch them on demand.

A few of them have been in heavy rotation for me or they are new videos from favorites of mine.

The New Zealand Band, The Naked and Famous has become an obsession of mine (not unlike Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros) . They will be releasing a new album, “In Rolling Waves” on September 16th. Their first single off  the new record is “Hearts Like Ours”.

This video gives me the chills.

As mentioned in a previous post, the Manic Street Preachers, are one of my most favorite bands. Since my last post, they have released another video off of their upcoming release, “Rewind the Film”. This new song, “Show Me The Wonder” is quite catchy. The star of the video, Craig Roberts, also happens to be the star in the Killers video “Here with Me” which was directed by Tim Burton and the song was co-written by Fran Healy of the band Travis. I like to make connections between the music I like… so there you have it.

Here is “Show Me the Wonder” from the Manic Street Preachers

You’ve also heard me talk about the North Carolina based band, Matrimony. This band made up of a married couple and two brothers of the female lead singer, has been a recent favorite of mine.

Their newest video is for a song called “Golden City”. I love everything about this song.

The Farewell Circuit is a Minneapolis based band that I found while surfing through Spotify one night. I really enjoy their sound, and style.

Their newest single is titled, “We Were Wolves”.

I heard about the San Diego based band, Wavves last Thursday at the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show. My friend and I met a drunk man who bought us drinks and told us about this band that is a mix of the Beach Boys  and Nirvana. They will be playing the same venue where we saw ESM0s and my friend and I were quick to pick up tickets to their show even before hearing them. After listening to their songs, I think we will be in for a treat.

Their newest single off of their most recent release “Afraid of Heights” is called “Demon to Lean On”.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros 8.1.2013

Thanks to @begt I’ve been obsessed with Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros for a little over a year. I was really excited when I saw that they were on the bill for LouFest because I had heard they put on a great show. About a month ago, I saw that they were coming to Las Vegas to perform at the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan Resort here in Las Vegas. Through a stroke of luck and a bit of magic, I was able to get a free ticket to this show.

photo 5

photo 3 I had not seen a show at this venue before, but had heard that it was fun and intimate. I was not disappointed. This is the pool area for the resort, but they had drained the largest area of pool as this is right in front of the stage. There were smaller pools still available for those individuals who wanted to dip their feet in the water.

Having gotten there a bit later than expected due to an amazing dinner at the Spanish Tapas joint Jaleo . My friend and I settled near  the rear of the pool near the main bar. Despite being closer to the back of the crowd, we still had an incredible view of the stage.

The show started a few minutes late, but it seemed as if it could have been due to the massive size of the band, and perhaps the lead singer, Alex Ebert, appearing to be quite inebriated. I understand and applaud that he is the brainchild between the “cultish” vibe of the band, and perhaps that is why he was a bit out of it when the show started…or it could be because they like their weed. I am not judging. The first few songs included 40 Days Dream and my favorite That’s What’s Up. 

As the 1.5 hour set went on the vibe became distinctly more “jam bad” with songs like “I Don’t Wanna Pray” lasting for almost 10 minutes. The band really seems to enjoy what they are doing, and at least 1/2 of the members sung at some point in the night. The lead singer, Alex, has a great stage presence. He draws from the energy of the crowd, but also lives in his own world. I am not entirely sure he knew where he was last night.

The set ended with much more energy than it started. After the first round of “we have time for only one more”, which happened to be their biggest hit, “Home” where at least 3 people in the crowd were able to tell a story. With two birthdays included in these stories, there was a quick “Happy Birthday” to some of the fans. I was a bit worried at this point because the second song I was most waiting to hear, “Man on Fire”, had not been played yet. Fortunately, they did play this song in lieu of a traditional encore. By far, this was my favorite performance of the night.

The entire set included songs from all three of their releases. Their newest single, “Better Days” was also a highlight of the evening.

The chemistry between singers Alex and Jane is pretty incredible to see. They obviously enjoy what they are doing. It is always great to see a group with this much love of what they do.

I am greatly looking forward to their performance at LouFest as I am ready to use my two dancing feet.

TBT: The Sound of Sunshine Review

This write up is from September 2010, and I thought it also needed to be posted today. I’m still savoring Franti’s “All People” so the review will come in the next few days.

Have you HEARD The Sound of Sunshine yet? If your answer is no, you have to go listen to it right now. You can do so here.

Are you back yet? Did you open it in another window and have it playing at the moment? OK, good. As you might guess, this a must-buy album.

Michael Franti & Spearhead hit the Top 40 nation with his single “Say Hey” from his last album All Rebel Rockers. From the moment that song became a hit, Franti & Spearhead took flight. Talk about seizing the moment! I remember reading about him in a CA newspaper about a year ago, he was asked about working on new material and he said something along the lines of “…Our single ‘Say Hey’ is now in the Top 40. Since that’s blowing up, we’re trying to stay out on the road.”

Turns out, they didn’t need to stop performing to create a new album. In fact, that’s exactly what they needed to keep doing. A lot of the songs in The Sound of Sunshine were completed on the road. Franti & Spearhead spent their winter as the opening act for John Mayer‘s Battle Studies tour. Perhaps the opportunity to perform for so many Mayer-lovers did a world of good, introducing Franti to many that otherwise wouldn’t be found as part of his audience.

This album is awesome. It’s full of hits. I started listening to it and after singing along with the already familiar title track, I went into the other songs and one by one they filled me up with pure happiness. Music can make you feel so good! Or as Franti puts it “Music can somehow lift us all up out of our most difficult moments in life to unimaginable heights.” With this album, you’ll want to memorize the lyrics instantly. Love songs, feel-good music, dance tunes, call them what you want. The positive lyrics and fun melodies in this album can make anyone feel better at the end of a rough day.

Granted, there are a couple of recycled lines in some of the songs, but you’ll only notice if you’re familiar with Franti’s music. The album has another sure hit for Franti containing “Hey” in the title– three times. “Love Don’t Wait”? Sing it to me, baby! I’m all over this album. There’s even a sunset version of the title track, it’s called “The Sound of Sunshine Going Down.” And makes a lovely alternate version to the fun hit.

This album is going to the top. A little less reggae and a little less rock than we’ve ever heard coming from Franti, while still keeping the essence of his message intact.

Go get this album now. I just did.

P.S. This review had nothing to do with my special affinity for barefoot rock stars.

TBT: Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Village, 2010

I wrote this review in October 2010. Franti & Spearhead just released a new album this week, so I thought this is appropriate for Throwback Thursday this week.

Michael Franti & Spearhead @ The Village

With fresh new material, a lot of energy, and a growing fan base, Michael Franti & Spearhead are making the most of the moment. On Friday, Oct. 1, Franti & Spearhead had their first show in Little Rock, AR at The Village.

Franti & Spearhead really know how to put on a show. The venue wasn’t completely full, but it felt like it after the show started out with “Love Don’t Wait,” from the band’s latest studio production, The Sound of Sunshine.

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