I’m pretty much in love with The Shivers and The Stationary Set. No lie whatsoever!
The Stationary Set http://www.myspace.com/thestationaryset
Let me set the scene.
It was 2006. I was 16, sitting in my living room doing homework. My big black Sony stereo with the two feet tall box speakers that started everything (Music Starved, BoxSpeaker, my interest in my internship, my hours of searching for and listening to music online, my changing of plans for flights back to LA to accommodate bands’ concerts, probably even the whole point of who I am today) was playing tuned into either Indie 103.1 or KXLU 88.9 (these details escape me, but judging from the lack of static, it was most likely Indie).
Anyway, there I was sitting doing homework when an amazing song came on, sending its electronic beats through the speakers to my ears. I immediately pushed the red dot button on the stereo that meant “Record” to capture that magic on cassette. Later, I tried to type in the lyrics that I could hear to find out the song title and band. However, for some reason I kept getting death metal bands. It must have been because of the “Do or die” part. It was kind of hard to get any other lyrics because the section I was able to record was mostly in French. Anyway, after much searching, I finally found out that the song I heard was “DIY” by Robots in Disguise.
Now, if you know me personally, you’ll be aware of my love of robots and electropop. The girl duo that is Robots in Disguise bridged my two loves of robots and electropop to make a mellow track that really shows its ambient European electronica influence.
Fast forward to today when they are working on their fourth album and have songs that exhibit a riot grrl feel such as “We’re in the Music Biz.” This band is versatile and fun!
My number three favorite thing in the world (after hunting hats and kitties but before pillows with faces and limbs) is any cover done in a style very different from the original. For example, Nouvelle Vague‘s bossa nova covers of 80s new wave songs and the 3Oh!3 “Starstrukk” cover by Marina and the Diamonds.
Another example of my Number Three Favorite Thing in the World is Kate McGill‘s cover of “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (featuring Snoop Dogg)! McGill takes a song that is originally full of late 80s hip-hop-inspired (think De La Soul, specifically “Me Myself and I” and their more recent track “Respect”) electropop intro and overall beats and semi-70s-funk reminiscent pop beat undertones and turns it into a slowed down, acoustic ballad.
Last night, I did something really awesome!
I accidentally met Marina from Marina and the Diamonds before her set at PopScene!
Her set was amazing! I loved her short quips between songs, especially when she said “…and I only attract interesting audiences. That’s why I say it’s for you” before playing “The Outsider” and her quick discussion about a Gandhi quote before performing “Are You Satisfied?”
The place was packed with so many fans singing along to every word. Marina and the Diamonds started the set with “Shampain.” She segued into her next song, “The Outsider,” by teasing the audience a little with a dedication. (“And I only attract interesting audiences. That’s why I say it’s for you.”) After singing “Seventeen,” Marina commented “We have some interesting sounds on-stage with the monitors.” However, it did not even seem as if there was a problem because Marina’s voice is as strong and amazing live as on the album! Marina continued the set with “I am Not a Robot,” “Numb,” “Oh No!” and then “Obsessions.” Marina discussed the Gandhi quote “Everything you do in life is insignificant, but it is important that you do it” to introduce her song “Are You Satisfied?” Quite fittingly, she continued her set with “Hollywood” and then finished off with “Guilty.” As she left the stage, the crowd chanted “One more song!” A few minutes later, Marina was back on stage performing “Mowgli’s Road,” a song that everyone kept cheering for during her set, to simultaneously satisfy her crowd’s song request and encore request.
Marina performing “Mowgli’s Road” during the encore
Check out her music and upcoming shows at myspace.com/marinaandthediamonds
One of the best moments was when she did a cover of 3Oh!3 (featuring Katy Perry)’s song “Starstrukk”!
“Intentions” by Boxes for Everything, an NYC-based band, builds layer upon layer of feelings about a relationship. From the onset, you can tell this song will be pieced together slowly yet thoroughly through the way the guitar, shaker, and banjo come together one sound at a time during the first nine seconds. Kiara Brady’s vocals add to the layering effect, bringing in the first voice twenty-five seconds into the song. Her soft, youthful vocals are juxtaposed with the strength, emotion, power, and maturity of her lyrics.
The song comes together completely fifty-six seconds in when Natasia Hanratty’s singing and the notes from the xylophone join in during the chorus. Whether intentional or not, the chorus itself is brilliantly mixed, giving the listener a unique experience of having (and feeling) Brady’s voice right in the middle of one’s head, Hanratty’s chant of “and then you say that you want to try, you want to try, you want to try” in the right ear, and the innocent xylophone almost overpowering the other tracks via the left ear. It is overwhelming and slightly confusing at first listen yet harmonious and soft, all much like a relationship in the midpoint of making things work and breaking up and that would subsequently produce a song like this. In fact, it is almost as if the listener is presented with three streams of thought and has to decide which to focus on only to realize that it is okay to just let it all flow into one’s head.
Amazingly, the creativity exhibited in “Intentions” is just a small sampling of what can be expected in the future from Boxes for Everything.
The first thing I thought when I heard “Something I’m Not” was “this sounds like an 80s band whose name I can’t think of right at this moment.” When I listened to “The Worse it Gets,” I thought “IT IS SOOOOOOOOOO 80s!!!”
It’s seriously all in the synths of the two songs. Okay, I lied. It’s also in the singer’s voice. Doesn’t he sound like some 80s singer from Style Council or maybe even Duran Duran, particularly in the song “Rio” but higher pitched? The song “The Worse it Gets” really has a Hall and Oates feel (particularly their song “Your Kiss is on My Lips”). “Animal Animal” has a slowed-down Culture Club feel.
Essentially, Penguin Prison is an amalgam of various 80s electopop bands, creating a band that fits into today’s 80s redux pop culture that has brought back the Member’s Only jacket, acid wash, and spandex pants.
The Unknown Theater in LA.
Clayton Clayton played a show with Kitten, Pillz, and Billy Boy on Poison.
My best friend Kat (kata–loca.blogspot.com) described him as the “male Lady Gaga.” His show was such a Lady Gaga-esque spectacle, complete with oil/blood, glitter, a huge fur coat, confetti, and bright lights. A combination of electronica and rock, Clayton Clayton’s music has smart lyrics and dance-able beats. His sound is the complicated three-way love child of Mindless Self Indulgence, Dan Black, and Michael Jackson. As I’ve stated about Dan Black in a past blog, Clayton Clayton is another one of those artists who are even better live! His stage presence bombards you with electro beats and environmental conscientiousness all while making fabulous fashion statements.
Find him here:
This is my endeavor into music blogging.
Because I love finding out about new music and giving my friends new bands/artists to check out, I decided to start my own music blog! This way, I can compile all the information I find out and publish it for others to read!
My mission is to discover new music, write about it, and consequently tell the whole world about the new artists/bands/songs I find out about! Spread the love, right?
At the same time, I have decided to take this as an opportunity to also improve my writing style and, in turn, possibly land a music (or maybe even “Arts and Culture” in general) writing job! It would be amazing to get to meet bands all the time and write about them in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Spin, Under the Radar, NME, and Paste as a job!
Welcome to my new music blog! As you read in the last entry in my former blog (musicstarved.wordpress.com), I have decided to change my blog’s name.
I will be copying my entries from my previous blog over to have everything all in one, convenient place (this blog) while also posting new entries about other shows I’ve gone to and new bands I’ve discovered!
Why “Box Speaker”?
It is to honor the stereo that’s been at home since I was four years old. I remember when my mom and aunt brought home a huge box one night. Inside was what would be a lifetime best friend, our stereo. Many people speak of the television being their substitute parent. I agree, the television raised me, but the stereo taught me how to love.
Los Angeles’s up-and-coming indie rock quartet Kitten played at SF’s Bottom of the Hill last night.
I was able to hang out with the band in their tour van before their set.
Just the day before, April 20, the band played at Muddy Waters in Santa Barbara.
Before the show, the band discussed their tour, sightseeing around the San Francisco area, performing at SXSW this past March, getting tattoos, and accidentally acquiring such an awesome tour van (complete with a ceiling-mounted TV screen, XBOX 360, and a Spider-Man 3 game).
Request them on KALX Radio (90.7fm) in the SF Bay Area (kalx.berkeley.edu 510-642-KALX) and KXLU (88.9fm) in the LA area (KXLU.com 310-338-5958)!