Posts Tagged ‘rock’

Puerto Rico Vacation… Part 2

August 18, 2010

Coast of Old San Juan and La Perla close to El Morro

So where was I? Oh yes, I was on Day 3 so lets move on….

Day 4: Tuesday August 10th

Well, mom went on her own to the Barrio to visit my great grandpa. After the day before I needed a break. There is only so much you can take of an old man who wont stop talking craziness, is messy, and forgets who you are. He has no problem remembering mom and mom thought it best I get used to just being on my own in PR even if it was only for a day or two (ends up only for a day but we’ll get back to that).
While mom went to the barrio, I headed to the beach up the block from where we were staying! Woohoo! Yes! I actually went to the beach! I not only went there, I had a bathing suit on! (Finally), rented a chaise for 5 bucks, and went into the water deep enough to go under a few times. Yup! All by myself! Like a big girl! I also videotaped myself ranting but it didnt come out (boo). After that, I noticed the sun was disappearing so I headed back to the hotel, showered, got changed, and noticed it started to pour so I just chilled and watched tv for about a half hour. It cleared up long enough for me to go get a bus and head on out to Old San Juan just to walk around, see some vacant buildings, and NOT be a tourist. It was awesome!!! It DOWNPOURED! LIKE MAJOR. You had to see all the tourists just SCRAMBLING for places to hide and stores to duck into. I was in one when it happened and these two ladies from Seattle were like “Oh my God it rains a lot where we are from but NEVER like this” The only people who were out there were people who lived there so what to do but go out in the rain. It felt great. I mean I dont think you guys understand how Old San Juan streets are. They are extremely narrow and filled with people. So imagine the ease I felt walking down these empty streets with my umbrella. I could go slow, stop and windowshop, read menus, and continue on my way. Tourists would look at me like I was crazy. Locals would see me and just instantly ask me questions in spanish. Granted, you are in Puerto Rico but people mainly speak english in most places and when they see me I am instantly a gringa so when they started doing that it made me feel good. They automatically assumed I was from there and it made me smile. Being on my own felt fabulous. It was the best I felt my entire trip!
Mom met up with me in Old San Juan after having a grueling day with my grandpa. The cathedral was actually open so we went to church then went to Starbucks… cuz well, ya gotta! The Starbucks in PR is nice and since my mom wasnt feeling well and hates Starbucks coffee, I introduced her to Chai and she fucking LOVES it now. Mom had a rough day with my great grandpa. He was disoriented and argued with her about where he was going, insisting that she was wrong meanwhile he was the one that forgot where he lived lol. We go a late lunch at La Bombonera which is an extremely old diner in Old San Juan and very famous. We split a Cuban sandwhich, had their famous Orange Juice (its really good) and after walking around a bit we went back to the Condado and ate… pizza. Yeah I know “What? You have all that great PR food and you chose Pizza?!?!” Well yes, because Danny’s on Ashford Avenue sells some awesome yummy pizza. A personal pizza can fill up two people. If you ever find yourself in the Condado area, I highly suggest it.

Day 5: Wednesday August 11

Well it was supposed to be my other day on my own but mom got so sick with vertigo from running around with my great grandpa that she needed a day off from him too. We ended up going to Rio Piedras cuz my mom insisted that stuff was cheaper there.
Well we get there and its ok. I mean had I needed to buy anything in the area it would have been awesome but I bought what I needed to for the most part except sneakers. Flip flops were not cutting it in PR with all the walking. So I needed me some sneakers as did mom. Its a cool place to shop and yes it is cheaper but if you guys are familiar with shopping in areas of NY like Jamaica Avenue, Fulton Street, and Fordham Rd by the Grand Concourse you know how it is. Fairly ghetto but the people are nice and you get some great deals. Sadly no sneakers so we ended up going back to the mall.
Yeah all of our endeavors to seek out a unique yet affordable place to get awesome sneakers led us to freaggin Pay Less Shoes. Go figure. We bought our stuff and then took a cab Old San Juan for dinner. We ended up in Hard Rock Cafe.
Now I know what youre thinking. “UGH Natalia seriously?!? Out of all the restaurants around there, thats what you chose?” Yes! And Im sooooo glad I did cuz I met some awesome people that truly validated my goal in opening a venue in PR. I went in and the guy who seated us was really cool. It was early enough that there were hardly any people in there so he ended up actually sitting with us for a little while and I dunno how it came up but I mentioned wanting to open a rock venue there and his eyes lit up! He proceeded to tell me that almost everyone who works there is either in a band or works with musicians. He told me the woman in charge of merchandise there would love to talk to me and sure enough within 5 minutes he brought her over and we talked for a good 20 minutes about what i need to do who to trust and what the music scene is like in PR. The bottom line is: There is a demand for a venue like mine and I should put it in Old San Juan since thats where most artists live. I was very excited. I had a great dinner and went to sleep happy and soundly.

Day 6: Thuresday August 12

Ok we had our break and went back to the barrio. We go back to the senior center and he wasnt there. So we went to his place. There he was, shirtless as usual and sitting in the patio. Gummy smile and all haha. We hang out and talk for a while and I keep on hearing this weird noise. I look around, see nothing. Go about my business. I open up his fridge to get a bottle of water out. Hear the noise again. What the hell? Then I see the black dog come from outside into the house and I think to myself “Gee, her tummy is smaller than last time”. I see her run underneath the table and I realize “Oh shit. She had her puppies and they are UNDERNEATH THE TABLE!” I tell my great grandpa and he smiles cuz he had no idea (he cant hear or see very well) so he was happy cuz he wanted to sell them. I tell him he cant sell them right away because they were just born and need to be nursed by their mother for at least 2 to 3 weeks and thats still risky. I dont think he got me but I know he cant do anything yet. We didnt know what to do so we just left them there and kept on giving the momma dog water and a little food. It was hard to feed her though because shes so scared of people that if you throw her some food she runs from it. It took seeing the daddy eat from my hand to realize i was trying to give her something good. Even then she would snatch it and run away. I tried to get close to see the puppies but she would growl something fierce so we realized we needed to stay away. I THINK there were about 5 in the litter but dont quote me on that lol. Too cute from what I could see. Awww.
After going there we went back to the hotel and then decided to FINALLY check out Isla Verde. You know my uncle kept on insisting that Isla Verde was a good place to go and even wanted us to stay in a hotel there. I really didnt think it was a good idea and Im glad I stuck to my instincts. Its not easy to get to and we are not familiar with the area so to get to the barrio was going to be confusing for us.
OMG guys, Isla Verde was so fucking boring! Its pretty, got nice hotels, condos, and clean streets. The restaurants are few. They are normally in the hotels and expensive, like steak houses and japanese places. We saw one Puerto Rican diner and we ate there mainly cuz we had no other option. There were soooo many strip malls and most of them had fast food, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut, Burger King, Long John Silvers, Dennys, and omg one of the few MacDonalds in PR, it was ridiculous. I dont get why its become the new place to be cuz it sucks ass! Now granted the diner we ended up eating in had some AWESOME mofongo mmmmm and the people were nice but to go out to Isla Verde for that really wasnt worth it. What we DID go out there for though was Pio Bello Gelato and sadly it was NOT what we expected.
The Pio Bello we were used to was a place that was devoted to different sundaes and desserts devoted to gelato. Mom and I would always get this one tropical one where it was two scoops of vanilla gelato with fresh bananas, oranges, papaya, pineapple, mango, kiwi, etc. So yummy and they would have the different options of sundaes up on the wall and you would pick whichever one you wanted and if you also wanted food, they even had a menu of sandwiches and stuff but that was secondary. Well, this was not what it used to be. There was just a freezer with some flavors of gelato and if you sat down you were sitting down for food. On the menu there was not one mention of gelato. It broke our heart. We got a scoop each of some gelato. It was alright but not what we wanted. Defeated, we left and vowed never to go back. The bright side was that we now knew what we were missing and were right in our perception of Isla Verde. Its a great place if you are a resident of PR over the age of 65. However mom is 68 and she hated it so I guess its up to you lol.

Im gonna end it hear and write part 3 when I have the energy!

Music Review: Arcade Fire

January 7, 2010

Yes Folks, Arcade Fire

I know its been a while but yes I am back with reviews. I can’t believe I am still on A. I am so ashamed of my inconsistency. Ah well, be glad I still enjoy doing these dammit!

Arcade Fire is a band with God knows how many members in it originally from Quebec, Canada. The name of the band stems from an actual historic fire where a bunch of children died in a fire in a filled arcade. Tragic? Yes. Hell of a band name, YES!

Anyways, the first song I ever heard was Neighborhood #1 from their Funeral album. Very very odd sounding to me. I cant pinpoint it. I wasnt crazy about the lead singer’s voice. There wasnt a lot of unity in the harmonies. It was kinda all over the place. Yet… yeah, thats ACTUALLY what made the song awesome. You felt the intense emotion from the lead singer, Win Butler. He has this shaky, trembling voice almost like he cant control the notes he hits its just a reflex action that comes out. The main female harmony is made by his wife, RĂ©gine Chassagne, however there are a bunch of people singing and performing on this song. It just sounds like a crowd of people singing you a story in their own way and time. It makes it so impactful. The video is also an abstract cartoon that is melancholy, morbid, yet colorful and bright. That one song got me.

I got the album. It pretty much all sounds like that one song to me. Thats not a bad thing at all. It keeps the momentum going. However I admittedly cant remember many of the others ones from that album… except for Power Out, Wake Up, and the song that makes me cry (if you remember, making me cry in a song is almost always a great thing) In the Backseat.

In the Backseat is sung by Regine. Its like hearing a little child sing a very very sad song but initially is really shy. You can sense the apprehension and timidness at the beginning. As the music gets stronger and the song progresses, she gets bolder and louder. Shes still innocent sounding but she is determined to express herself. Towards the end, she is “aaaahh”ing and “oooh”ing like her life depends on it. Its so touching, so strong, its like standing in a room naked just to make your point known. You cry because you know shes trying to make sure you feel what shes feeling. I cry every time I hear it. Its that good. If you love Bjork, you’ll love this song.

Wake Up is an awesome song. Powerful beginning. David Bowie loves this band. So much so he actually has sang this song with them live. This song was used in the movie, Where The Wild Things Are. When I heard it in the trailer, I thought it was the most clever usage of a song for a film. It belongs in that film.

So to me, the Funeral album was awesome but the band just seemed so chaotic. Neon Bible came out after and that album did well but honestly, I have never seen the band live and I know THATS where the magic is, Ive seen footage of them performing live and it shows WHY they are so seen by others. They put on a great show and its a show to be experienced. I didnt get into Neon Bible. It didnt sound bad but I dont remember any of the songs except for My Body is a Cage which is awesome. The all were good. Just not memorable to me.

I look forward to seeing them live just to get me more motivated to enjoy them as they should be enjoyed. A new album is in the works for this year but hell if I know the title of that or the exact release date. I highly suggest checking them out though.

Video: The video that started it all for me, so so so weird but awesome. I love the artwork and I love the flow. Its the video for Laika (Neighborhood #1)

Music Review: Ani DiFranco

October 5, 2009
Ani Difranco

Ani Difranco

Ani Difranco really didnt come to my attention until Lilith Fair really got going. Thats one of the many great things that came about with the invention of Lilith Fair. All these female artists who were making the music circuit and even though they were signed and playing venues, they really were virtually ignored until there was a concert devoted to musicians just like them.

When you think of Ani (pronounced “Ahhhneee”) you think of patchouli smelling feminist women (some bi, some straight, some lesbian… ok more lesbian and bi than straight) who wear flannel and dont shave their pits who love folk rock and poetry. Well, you would be right however despjte my wording, thats not a bad thing. I love Ani!!!

I always feel bad for her though cuz shes always pigeon holed into being a certain way. Shes bisexual and discusses that at length in her songs. She is a feminist icon and women look to her as someone who isnt afraid to say whats on her mind. Not only is she a great lyricist shes also a pretty amazing poet and on her albums she will have soley spoken word poems alongside her folk rock music.

A few years ago she married a man and the worst thing happened. Something that will now make me go on a rant…

Ani Difranco as I said became a feminist icon and being bisexual, lesbian and bisexual women loved her. When she married Andrew Gilchrist, a sound engineer whom she worked with often all these women who claimed their love and respect for her being who she is turned their backs on her. So many people were offended, agitated, pissed off, and betrayed by her.

Really? She opens her heart to you all in her music, tells you flat out shes bisexual (remember, bi sexual meaning she liked BOTH MEN AND WOMEN) and she marries someone of the opposite sex and you feel betrayed? Im sorry but fans really have issues when it comes to figuring out what stance you fall on. I as a bisexual woman have a tendency to get very agitated by this double standard (as you can see).

So if your bisexual you are allowed to be loved by both men and women but once you fall in love with a man, its wrong? Is that really how it works? I really hate when women who are bi or lesbian claim to be open minded, want to be respected for their way of life and then become hypocrites and be upset if someone is bisexual and believes that love shouldnt have to do with gender, it should be about how you feel about the person.

Ok rant done for now. Lets get back to the greatness that is Ani. Ani has made a name for herself in the folk genre, feminist genre, indie genre. Indie is the best place for Ani. Its the best place for ANYONE who wants to make a career in music where they can say whatever the fuck they want, not bow down to the powers that be (in 1989 she made her own label,Righteous Records) and do what they love. She just seems like a down home girl that loves talking politics, religion, life, love, you name it and not give a fuck what others think. You dont love her, whatever, she doesnt fucking know you so why should she care. You love her, awesome shes sincerely honored to have your attention and does her best to make sure you enjoy her.

There are two songs by her (well I love more than two but anyways…)that always stick with me. 32 Flavors basically talks about how she knows how she is perceived but is making sure you know she is worth more than you think she is. “I am a poster girl with no poster I am 32 Flavors and then some, I am beyond your peripheral vision so you might want to turn your head”. Alana Davis covered it and both are great but knowing those words came from Ani herself, it just shows how attentive she is. My other favorite is Not a Pretty Girl. A line like “What if there were no damsel in distress, what if I knew that and called your bluff, dont you think every kitten figures out how to get down whether or not you ever show up!”

God those lines! I hear those lines and I get this grin on my face like Wowww she really knows how to put people in their place. I feel like I relate to soo many negative experiences shes gone through in her life. The difference is, she knows exactly how to handle herself in them and knows what to say meanwhile I can only think them. Its like she takes the words out of my mouth. I gotta love that. Whenever I am feeling like Ive been pushed aside from someone because I am not attractive enough or special enough, I can put one of her songs on and it makes me feel bold and strong and I can remember that they can never break me!

Ok video time: Sadly I could only find one, and I must be honest I didnt even remember the song. Its not one I listen to often. However its a good song and will do just fine!

Music Review: Andrew W.K.

September 30, 2009
Andrew W. K..... no really, thats totally him.

Andrew W. K..... no really, thats totally him.

This guy just flat out cracks me up.

Andrew W.K. is more than just a heavy metal looking dude that sings Party Hard.

Ok so granted thats really the only song hes known for and its admittedly my fave song from him BUT its true.

I know a lot of you remember his album cover for the album that carried that single. You know, just a close up of his face all bloody from a punch to the nose. That long stringy metal hair, etc. Yeah, looking at the pic above you dont realize its him. I know, trust me, I am still kinda blown away that he seriously is kinda cute.

Hes known for that single but ALSO for his stints in the Jackass Movie and just doing insane stunts. His album cover alone proved that as according to him, its real. He actually had someone punch him in the face to make it bloody. Now, do I believe him? Ehhh… hes crazy but I dunno if he’s THAT crazy.

His songs are almost all the same in the sense they are all 80s metal reminiscent but they are updated and they are just flat out awesome songs to well… play at parties. I mean its called Party Hard for a reason.

I also love the song I Love Your Face haha. The title alone.

THAT BEING SAID, there is actually more to this guy.

Hes a trained pianist. Hes studied music since he was a child and has been in the music industry since he was 13. He comes from a very intelligent family, his dad is a law scholar and his speeches to large lecture halls of people really had a strong influence on him. Not only does Andrew do the whole metal head deal, hes also capable of composing pretty cool songs and has just recently started collaborating with other musicians. Andrew is also a pretty known public speaker and has been doing self help seminars all over the US.

And yes, he cut off all that nasty ass hair. He explained it in a blog. Bottom line, he got rid of it because he figured his career would be over without all that hair… so, he did it. Yeah, thats how he rolls. I actually think thats kinda awesome.

My favorite performer? Nah, nowhere near it. However he is someone that deserves some recognition so he has mine!

Video: Sadly Party Hard is disabled for embedding so I have the song She Is Beautiful. Not a great song but hey, Im not leaving you all without a video. Its the least I can do.

A letter to MTV

September 25, 2009

Dear MTV:

I think we need to talk. I know we haven’t spoken in a while but I have been keeping an eye on you from afar so dont think I’ve been avoiding you, I just dont want a relationship with you anymore.

When we first met, you were newly born. When you came into my life, I was a 7 year old who saw her salvation. Her two favorites combined: Music and television.

You were so awesome. You were creative, you had awesome people working for you. Martha Quinn, Nina Blackwood, some guy with a Jerry Curl, Adam Curry…. ALL telling me about music and new musicians. Presenting little 5 minute movies musicals. All different types of music that I just absorbed like a sponge.

You also did things for others which I will always be happy about. You introduced unknowns to the world and made them famous. You gave everyone a shot at success and were willing to show people’s talent. Even if it was for just a minute. No joke I learned sooo much from you about different genres of music and even global cultures!

Then, you started to change a little. I understood, I mean I didn’t think you needed to cuz hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! However I was happy with the new things. Like Half Hour Comedy Hour, Remote Control, Just Say Julie Brown. It was a nice break. I emphasize BREAK.

Then you created The Real World. It wasnt an original idea mind you. I mean there was a reality tv show based on an actual family in the 70s but you focused this idea on 7 young 19 to 20 somethings who were all different living together in one place and see what happen.

I must admit, I loved it. I thought it was a great idea. I loved the very first one in New York. I wanted to be friends with Julie and Becky and Norm. I had a HUGE crush on Andre. I have to admit though, I thought to myself “whats this doing on MTV?” I mean remote control, just say julie, and mtv half hour comedy hour kinda were relevant to music television. Remote Control had comedy but referenced pop culture and music quite often. Just say Julie showed music videos and talked about music all the time. Half Hour Comedy Hour would have some of their comedians become VJs like Pauly Shore, Colin Quinn, etc.

The Real World, didnt exactly show that. It was just life. I did rationalize it though. Heather B was a rapper, Becky and Andre were struggling musicians. I thought “hey once this is over they will be famous musicians, MTV is helping them” so there had to be a reason why it was on MTV.

Yeah where are they now? Then the next season (really another season, alright) They were in LA. I watched it. It was alright but there was unnecessary drama. Then Real World San Fransisco. It again was alright, in fact I liked it better than LA because at the time AIDS and AIDS awareness were a big deal and Pedro Zamora really was the face of it at the time. It had an impact on me. However Rachel and Puck were a waste of my time. They were the beginning of the downfall for me. It was clear that you were all just looking for drama and I wasnt down. You won me over again with The Real World in London though. Why? Because there was no major drama! It was awesome! It was what made me realize I wanted to move and live there. It still drives my dream. MEANWHILE you all dismissed that season as your “bad” season cuz there was no drama and THATS when I realized what was happening to you.

You changed at that point. I didnt mind TRL at first because you played videos but the problem with TRL is that you ONLY played what mainstream generic people listened to. We are all not the same some of us dont have a voice. You catered to us all at the beginning but then decided that all that mattered was what made you popular and what brought in numbers. You forgot about the music. You brought in MTV Cribs, Pimp my Ride, Laguna Beach, The Hills, I dont even KNOW what else but babe, IT AINT MUSIC.

Now you have gone into producing movies. Fine whatever, if its not on your actual network I dont give a shit. However you have crossed the line.

You are SERIOUSLY gonna make over Rocky Horror? Like seriously? I mean its so unoriginal when ANYONE remakes a movie. It shows that no one is even trying. You just dont care anymore, do you. You just want to make money and not realize the movie magic you are destroying. The rumor is you want Russell Brand to play Frankenfuter. Look, I love him soooo much but I will still boycott this movie out of respect for the people who were unknowns and were discovered and became legends because of this movie. No one discovers people anymore. There are soo many people trying to make it in this business and they look to people like you to help them out and you dont. How pathetic are you?

I give up on you MTV. You used to mean something to me. You were once important and stood for something: Music. You dont do that anymore and for that Im sad. I will still hope and pray you change your ways however it doesnt seem likely. This year’s VMAs were a breath of fresh air. I was happy about it. You went back to making it a fun show and spectacular. Now if only you can do that for your entire network.

Music Review: Andres Calamaro

September 16, 2009
Argentinas Own, Andres Calamaro

Argentina's Own, Andres Calamaro

Andres Calamaro is an Argentinian singer who has really won me over. He has a really raspy, smokey, cigarette addict-damaged voice that really isnt easy to like. The first time I ever heard him I really wasn’t feeling him. I couldn’t figure him out. Was he a balladeer? Was he a tradition bolero singer? Was he new wave? Alternative? I couldn’t get it. I just couldnt figure out where he was going with his music. Thats how he grew on me.

Andres basically hits on everything to make his own sound. He pays homage to everything in his music. Salsa, Tango, Bolero, Rock, Pop, Alternative, Blues, Funk, you name it.

The other thing I love about this guy is, he lives and breathes music and its not about the money. I mean he made his music free he wanted it to be downloaded on torrents and free sharing sites because he wanted the music for everyone. Hes always trying to make new music and make different sounds. Its awesome.

I couldnt find many videos on the guy so here is one for his song Loco, its not my fave but its pretty good.

Music Review: A Black Tie Affair

June 8, 2009

Never heard of them you say? For shame I say!

A Black Tie Affair is a band that is up and coming and worth the listen. Originating from Park Slope, Brooklyn and led by the most amazing Jay Sharp, this band is the band you go to when you wanna hear hard rock alternative sounds with insanity its lyrics. If you are heart broken, if you want to hear about the struggles of the mind, just anger when it comes to romance then you must listen to this band. Its not about love. There is no love. Its about life. The hardships, the dirty parts, the funny parts, the anger.

Its not negative though. You NEED to listen to music like this. You know damn well life isnt all about “oh how I love you and how i miss you and how my heart hurts with out love” blah blah blah. Sometimes you gotta sit there and have some sort of song that releases that negative energy. Its harsh, its angry, it says repeatedly “fuck you fuck you fuck you fuck you!” I dunno about you but when Im feeling shitty and I want a release I will put on a song that is just as angry as me and I have fun! I enjoy hearing a band just say all the negative shit in a fun fucking way. Its hard drums and powerful guitar playing just RRRAAAARGGGH and then you feel, ahhhhhhh……

The lyrics are extremely beautiful because they are honest and realistic. Its not sad, its not hate-filled its just energy being released and it feels awesome.

The band is going through a member change but the ever present lead singer is still the core and honestly when you have a core, you have a band.

Am I biased? Does it matter? Who knows? Who cares?

So a video: This was hard because there are no recent videos of the band but there is one with a pic compilation on it. This is the song Sometimes. Hmmmm I wonder who the girl singing in the background is?…….