Happy New (Year) Sounds!

Happy New Year! It’s still January, so it still counts, right?

This year I’m giving myself 5-day mini challenges in order to make weekdays a bit more memorable than previous years. I wrote a bunch of 5-day challenges in paper and put them all in a box. Each Monday, I pull out a piece of paper and see what’s going to be the deal of the week. This week, I started on Tuesday. Why? I was stick Monday and I had left the box of challenges at the office.

Anyway, this week my challenge is to find 5 new bands. Bands I like, of course. When I saw the paper I got excited, but now, just mere hours later, I’m a bit worried.

There are so many sounds online… in the vastness of the interwebs. I already listened to several new (to me) bands and haven’t really liked any. I’m in for a real challenge here, and I will keep you posted.

Wish me luck. Or better yet, recommend me unknown sounds.

My Verano Sounds Like This

Slow shutter summerI’m a child of March. In El Salvador, March is the hottest month of the year. The cicadas come out and we all go to the beach. I am a child of the Summer. And I always celebrate it with music and some kind of art project (like that year when I documented my entire summer in film photographs). This year has been a bit different for me and I’ve been on rough path for a couple of months. I have been able to travel some, which helps me clear my mind, but I haven’t even made an official B Gutierrez 2014 Summer Playlist, or haven’t worked on any art projects. Well, I applied to a couple, but they’ve been rejected. But then, last night, when I got out of a store and the heavy hot air hit my face, I realized we are officially in the Dog Days. So I’ve decided to re-start things.

When it comes to summer music, I could go anywhere. I spent one entire summer listening to nothing but early-2000’s Latin-american reggae. And there was another summer where I made this play list called “Tropical” and it had a lot of old school bachata and vallenato, sprinkled with a little Jack Johnson. Then there was the Summer of Jack Johnson.. that playlist was called “Pacific Love,” but it was just all Jack’s music with (maybe) Bob Marley’s Legend included. I’m not even kidding.

Then, in 2010, I discovered Mausi. That was the year I had Rye Rye’s “Sunshine” on repeat until Mausi came to my rescue with the gem that is “Sol.”

If you don’t get happy with that video/song combo, I don’t think we can be friends. The song alone, which was created for that specific video, is amazing. I read (here) that this is what started Mausi. They took a trip to Italy and then edited down the video to 3 minutes, then created a song from it. And because of the Internet, they are now a band. Pretty amazing, right? No wonder I couldn’t find anything else by them when I got super obsessed with Sol.

Mausi has continued creating summer jams. And they have so many mixes and remixes… It’s a wonderful world to get lost in. I wish I had access to all of their material. Here are the rest of the original songs:

And their latest summer jam “My Friend Has A Swimming Pool”

As I told you, I have plenty of other summer jams, but this season has been odd. And Mausi has come to the rescue. So, for now, Mausi is all I want to share.

My car told me yesterday at lunch that it was 99*F outside. My car tends to exaggerate when it comes to heat, so it was probably a few degrees under that. The air has been heavy with this Southern humidity and it feels healing. So here’s to celebrating the rest of the season of the sun!

The Sounds of Summer

I know that I owe you and the world a wrap up of May. And trust me, I am working on it. But in the meantime, lets talk summer songs. Summer starts on Friday, so what better way to start off right with some amazing tunes for the upcoming season. We also want to know your summer songs… and @begt, @bernard and I are going to share with you our songs of summer.

So here I go…

I know this song came out this past fall, but it screams summer to me. We Are Twin is a an LA based Duo with international roots. Currently they only have a 5 song EP out, but hopefully have more soon. Off of their self-titled EP here is “The Way We Touch”.

Up next is a band that @Begt knows, but I just stumbled on to this spring. New York based electro-rock-ish Ghost Beach combines synths, rock, beach and a little bit of psychedelica to craft some truly unique music. I am excited because they are touring with Cherub this fall and will have stops in both Fayetteville and Las Vegas.  Here is “Miracle” off of their first full-length record, Blonde. If you don’t move around a bit listening to this song, I will question your humanity.

SoCal (OC) based The Colourist have a similar vibe to other SoCal favorites (Family of the Year, Grouplove, the Mowgli’s, etc) but clearly have their own sound. While this song could be called a song of last summer, I’ve only recently heard it, and this is my list, so this is a song for this summer. Here is “Little Games” from their self-titled 2014 release.

We are going to go across the pond for this next one. I was exposed to Lux Lisbon through The Twitter, and am so thankful for it. This Durham, England based 5 piece band has a sound reminiscent of a young Killers, but with a bit more of that English swagger. To be honest, I am a fan of all of their songs I’ve heard, but their new single “Memento Mori” is on my current rotation. I do hope this band catches fire and visits the US in the near the future. Here is “Memento Mori” from their forthcoming full-length Your Heart is a Weapon the Size of Your First.

Last but not least, my favorite Atlanta based outfit, Paper Lights, with a more slower summer evening reflection type song, “Never Let You Go”. I don’t know what it is about this band, but I am just really digging everything they put out. Here is “Never Let You Go” which is currently available on iTunes but isn’t on an album or EP at this moment.

So what are your songs for this start of the summer?



A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Folk

I cannot believe it is already March. 2014 is whizzing by. I am not going to lie, 2014 has started like 2013 ended…which for me, was no bueno. But, there are some really exciting things about it being March. 1)It is the birth month of @Begt. Which, lets be real, is probably the best thing about March…every year! 2)I am a big fan of college basketball and March Madness! For the first time in many years, it looks like the university that is a common part of all three authors of this blog’s history should be in the NCAA tournament (the University of Arkansas, for those interested). 3)March means amazing weather here in Vegas. So far, not disappointed. 4)One month closer to April, which means, one month closer to the LouFest lineup announcement and one month closer to the amazing shows that will take place at the Cosmopolitan here in Las Vegas in April and May (St. Lucia, Grouplove, Childish Gambino, Empire of the Sun, to name a few). And, 5)It is @Begt’s birthday in March!

With that said, this week I’ve been listening to two bands on a more regular basis than others (well, there are three that I am listening to, but my last entry focused on one of them…Haerts). Both of these bands have a “country” vibe to them, but are most definitely not what we would call “country” especially compared to what is popular in country music these days.

The first of these bands is The Lone Bellow. This Brooklyn based act released their first record, The Lone Bellow in 2013. This three piece is known for their high energy shows and their catchy lyrics. Their first album was produced by Charlie Peacock, who also has produced the Civil Wars. While similar to other modern folk acts (Mumford & Sons, The Lumineers), the Lone Bellow exudes a bit more “soul”.

The first song that caught my attention is the super catchy sing-along “Green Eyes & a Heart of Gold”

I am not going to lie, I also enjoy that there is a mandolin player as a part of this group.

The second of these bands is Delta Rae. This Durham, NC based “family band” is a bit more country than I want to acknowledge, but their songs have much more folk appeal. One of my favorite things about this band is, as @Begt knows I am a fan of, all the members sing. While only 3 seem to take lead singing roles, you can hear the different voices on their various tracks. Delta Rae is composed of 6 members, with three of them being siblings (when you watch their videos, it is pretty easy to tell who is related). Delta Rae released their first record, Carry the Fire in 2012 and are currently working on a new full-length release as a follow up to their “Chasing Twisters” EP released at the end of last year.

And because I am enjoying this band so much right now, I give you two songs. The first, “If I Loved You” (ft. Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac)

And, “Dance in the Graveyards”, which is the song that got me hooked:

You will like both bands if you like: Churchill, The Civil Wars, Fleetwood Mac, The Lumineers.

Autumn Sounds Pt. 2

When the weather gets colder I start to crave certain things… foods like soups and chili’s, hooded sweatshirts, hot chocolate and mellow and melancholy filled music.  On my recent hunt for the warm the soul music, I’ve stumbled on to a few songs which when not cloudy outside, would sound just as good, but would illicit different feelings.

First up, from Canada, Indie Folk outfit Cuff the Duke and their song “Count on Me”.

British singer Luke Sital-Singh has a sound much more mature than his age suggests. Here is “Nothing Stays the Same”.

Not as new as the other two, but folk vets the Wood Brothers sing one of my more favorite melancholy songs, “Luckiest Man”.

Finally, a band that @Begt introduced me to, Swear and Shake with “Brother” from their forthcoming full-length album.

California Brake

I’ve been MIA from here for the last two weeks, because I was in California visiting family, friends, and driving around the desert and the coast. I had a lot of fun while I was out, but I am back. During the break I realized that I seriously need to look into what is happening in the world of Latinamerican music. One of my uncles kept playing the station that he used to listen to while he lived in Los Angeles (about 17 years ago) and I bet they are still playing the same songs they played when he lived there (It’s K. Love, yo. It’s horrible.) And that got me thinking that I have no idea what is new, and most importantly, good in the work of La Música en Español. Granted, I’m not completely in the dark, I know who Pitbull is and I’m aware of how certain individuals have completely ruined bachata. But I have no idea what is going on with rock and pop in Latin America. So I will be doing some research on that.

Tomorrow I’m headed to Tulsa, OK for a WALK THE MOON show, so I will do a bit of a preview of the show later today. In the meantime I wanted to leave you with two songs that I kept replaying while in California.

“If loving hippie makes me a hippie”

I giggled when I read “If loving hippie makes me a hippie…” on @DocMurda‘s review of Day 2 of LouFest. I have been labeled that before, a hippie. The first time someone called me a hippie was in El Salvador in 2001. I was out on the street hanging out with one of my best friends (because we do that in El Salvador) when we saw a girl walk by, her outfit was a bit different and I asked if she was a hippie and he said “no, she’s not. YOU are.” After that, it’s happened a few times. Whatever, let me get to the point of this post before I forget it or go too far off a branch. At my yoga class yesterday, the instructor had a playlist going on (I love that about my studio, there are some people that practice without music and I just don’t like that). In the middle of trying to hold triangle, “Om Nashi Me” started playing. This is my very favorite Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros song. So this mile-long smile took over my face and this feeling that I can’t even describe got in me. I didn’t know if I wanted to hold the pose forever, or just start chanting along, or leave the pose and dance. It was awesome. So I wanted to share that on this blog. Music is amazing. And me encanta that everyone on the Sandy Beats collective is on that same page. Music moves us. Now enjoy the song. It’s an old one, from the first album, but SO good.

New Music: ‘Innocents’ from Moby

On September 30th, the musician known as Moby will release his 11th full-length album Innocents. While the official release is still a week away, NPR Music has the new record available for First Listen.

If I cannot be honest with the readership of this blog, who can I be honest with…right? No music review is unbiased. We all have our biases and tastes. However, some people will claim a lack of bias. In this case, I am claiming no such thing. I adore Moby’s music. I celebrate his entire catalog, and have been anxiously awaiting this release since he shared the video for “The Lonely Night”. I don’t believe that Moby is free from error or misjudgment, and I will say that some people may not enjoy his music (we all have faults…). My relationship with Moby’s music is long and storied (well, on a personal level). From the moment I first heard “Next is the E” as a 13 year old new to the world of techno to walking down the aisle with my new wife to “Feeling So Real” on our wedding day…he is the only musician I ever had a desire to meet and thank for his music. He was the first performer I saw live more than once, and both Everything is Wrong and Play CD’s have had to have been replaced due to listening to them too much. Okay…enough with the gushing…on to the music…

I’ve found the last two of Moby’s releases, 2011’s Destroyed. and 2009’s Wait for Meto be very atmospheric and themed and without some of the trademark “disco” that Moby is known to inject into his music. These records were also composed almost solely by Moby in his home studio in NYC.  I enjoy both of these releases, but have been hoping for a more robust release from him (I was and still am pretty enthralled with his 2008 release Last Night which took his disco love to a whole new level). Innocents does not seem to have an overarching theme like his last 3 releases. The album does not need to be listened to as a whole and often the music feels a bit disjointed from one track to the next. As “Everything that Rises” starts you can sense that this record is different. You know it is Moby, but this song already sets the tone for more energy than his previous release. “A Case For Shame” could have been on Destroyed. as the components are very similar to much that record. Moby revisits the style so prominent on Play and 18 with sampling soulful spirituals on “A Long Time”. He also incorporates a little disco funk on “Don’t Love Me (ft. Inyang Bassey)”. Moby also uses more guest singers than previous albums. Almost every track has a featured singer. This definitely adds to the flavor of the record. If I were to compare this record with one from Moby’s past, it would be Hotel which happens to be one of my favorites.  Like that album, this one contains a few dance-able anthems like ” Saints” and “The Perfect Life (ft. Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips)” (see below). I am pretty sure that @Begt would want to join that rooftop party watching the sun set over Los Angeles. I know  I would.

This track in particular speaks to me. Overall the record is not outstanding, but it is a return to and evolution of some of Moby’s previously used styles. I like that he has put a West Coast spin on some of these tracks now that he is a permanent resident of L.A. Moby is not touring to support this record, instead he is performing 3 shows over 3 nights at the Fonda Theater near (walking distance) from his home in L.A.

I look forward to hearing more from Moby in the future, and will, in the meantime, lose myself in these songs.

LouFest Spotlight: The Killers

I would be remiss if I didn’t include the Killers in our discussion of LouFest. I realize that the Killers are in fact, one of the most well known American bands in the world. From what I’ve been able to gather from other media outlets and European music mags, the Killers may be the biggest American band in the world. This does not stop them from being one of my most favorite bands, and the band I am most looking forward to performing at LouFest. The Killers are the Sunday headliner for LouFest (Saturday is Wilco).

There are very few bands that exist on my “must see live” list and my concert “bucket list”. The Killers are atop both of those lists. I do admit that seeing them live in Las Vegas probably differs from seeing them in other locations, but lead singer Brandon Flowers has a genuine charisma that I’ve not seen from any other lead singer (including the charismatic likes of Rob Thomas and Adam Levine).

I saw them late last year when they returned to their hometown of Las Vegas for a set of shows to close out 2012. In my life their are few times when I’ve been so ill that I could barely walk…their December 29th show was one such day. Unless I was in a hospital, I was not going to miss this show. I had been waiting for years to see them live…and when I did, it was magic.

LouFest will be the second time I see them live, and the third time will come next month when they headline Vegas’ own Life is Beautiful Festival.

The Killers were formed in Las Vegas in 2001. They’ve released four studio albums, with the most recent in 2012, Battle Born.

I am sure their festival set may differ from their set from the most recent “Battle Born” tour. However, I know every song they play will be amazing.

One of my favorite songs from Day and Age, “Spaceman”:

As @begt already has seen, The Killers have on occasion while in the UK performed my most favorite song of all time. Both Flowers and  band co-founder Dave Keuning are admittedly huge Oasis fans… “Don’t Look Back in Anger” performed by the Killers:

When I saw the Killers in December, they started the show with a song not often performed live since the tour of the same name. “Sam’s Town” will always mean Las Vegas to me no matter where I live. For the first three years I lived here, I could see Sam’s Town (a local casino) from my house. When this started playing this song, my sick self started shaking.

I cannot post this without sharing my favorite Killers song (one of my top 5 favorite songs, now you know two), which is also from Sam’s Town, “Read My Mind”.