The Story of Another Us

Opening Scene to The Man In The High Castle Series

Opening Scene to The Man In The High Castle Series

Currently, I am obsessed with the show Man In The High Castle.  Just in case you have missed this epic piece of awesomeness, the whole basis of the show centers around Germany and Japan winning World War II.  In this alternate reality, Japan occupies the west side of the United States and Germany placed their home base on the east side.  Throughout each episode, the characters make choices that in turn affect not only their lives but everyone around them.  Whether it is in an alternate reality or real life each action has a reaction.  It could be good or bad, but it makes you question what would you do?

We all put ourselves into these scenarios thinking that we would do the “right thing” if the roles were reversed but it is human nature to react in self-preservation verse protection.  Of course, there are exceptions to that rule – a parent and a child or siblings, but if you think about it that is family.  If you had a choice to stop your family from getting shot versus 20 children who are strangers who are you going to choose?

The United States is throwing around hate left and right thinking that it is going to fix the issues we have as a country.  Is an egotistical and hateful man president – yes.  Did he get voted into office based on fear, hate, and hope for change – yes.  Now before you jump down my throat, I said hope for change, not hope for good change.  The majority of society doesn’t understand what real struggle is like and no I’m not talking about not having the latest iPhone.  I’m talking about not having enough food for your family even after working 12 hours a day week after week.  We go back to what I said at the beginning which is the majority of people do things for their own self-preservation, not for the greater good of society.  So, here is my political message – the sooner you understand others reasons for their choices and decisions, the better you can arm yourself with a defense to get them to see a different side that could be better for them.

We question the what if – What if the trade centers were never hit by terrorists would US soldiers be fighting in the Middle East?  If Hillary Clinton was president we think things would be different because she cares more about the people than about business?  We put hope into people making selfless acts, but 80% of people are not like that.  Living in Los Angeles I see it every day from the way most LA drivers put everyone at risk with their recklessness because they are late, to a young person not giving up their seat on the train for an older handicap adult who is fitting to stand up.  Don’t get me wrong I do the same thing when I see homeless people begging on the street.  LA numbs you to certain things as you see some people who really need help and others that are playing the system.  Plus, the first thing I think is I work hard for my money why would I give it to some random person I don’t know.  Society isn’t selfless.  In my entire 30 years of life, I have met one man who was selfless and that was my grandfather.  Someone who I’ve never known to act in his own self-interest but in everyone else’s.  We think about stories the way that they could be like it is a story of another us.  An image of hope.  The thought that an alternate reality could be better, but it could be worse in other ways.  The song by 5 Seconds of Summer (The Story of Another Us) goes:

“One last stitch and new beginnings
So take this heart, put yourself in it
The surprise ending I’m depending on
Could be the story of another us”

Be the change you want to see in others.  Be the inspiration to create hope for someone else.  Just like in physics for every action, there is a reaction.  Your choice could change the course of one person’s life which could change the whole world.  “…bet on people.  No matter what the world said, who they were, who they should be…One selfless act of love and hope.  That is what I put my money on.” – The Man In The High Castle

My 2015 Songs of the Summer

The last official day of summer is September 22nd, and as fall approaches, you reminisce on all the memories that you have collected over the last few months, and you realize another chapter of your life just ended.  For me, I had some life changing events occur, such as making a big move across the country, leaving the only life I have known on the east coast, and embarking on a new adventure at an amazing company in the dance industry in Los Angeles.  As I look back on all these changes, there is one thing that remands constant in my life; the music is never silent.

Flipping through Billboard Magazine, I noticed that most of the songs that slammed the charts over this summer don’t even touch my top ten favorites.  So, here are some of the songs that have been drowning out the constant noise of LA as I ride the train home.  They allow me go to my happy place where my world is whatever I want it to be.

Bea Miller – “Force of Nature” – This sixteen year old singer, signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records is starting to blow up the music scene.  Granted, she had some help from participating in the X Factor, but I think what really sets her apart from the other young singers is she doesn’t need the bells and whistles to have her voice shine.  The first time I heard her sing was an acoustic cover of “We Can’t Stop” with Boyce Avenue.  “Force of Nature” is basic.  It is basic in the good sense, that sometimes all you need is an acoustic guitar and a great voice.

Marianas Trench – “One Love” – Lead singer, Josh Ramsey never ceases to amaze me with his song writing abilities, his voice, and the harmonies of the men that make Marianas Trench.  “One Love” was recently released last week in anticipation of the release of their new album “Astoria.”  All the other songs that have been released as singles thus far have been a twist of sarcasm to the mainstream pop world.  “One Love” is a series of statements and questions that are constantly running through your mind.  Questioning your choices.  The affects of those choices:

“What if we could find a way to try to heal?
What if there’s no stopping us yet?
What if the one true love’s the only one that you get?
What if there was still a reason not to go?
What if there was still a little bit of hope?”

Seriously Josh Ramsey?!  I cannot understand why Marianas Trench is not lighting up the Billboard charts.  Society you need to get on this level ASAP.

Alessia Cara – “Here” – She has just broken into the Billboard 100.  I have been obsessed with song since May.  Granted, I didn’t feel that these lyrics fit my 20 year old self, but totally describes my almost 30 year old self.  Ice cream and my best friends sound like a better idea than a party:

“But honestly I’d rather be
Somewhere with my people we can kick it and just listen
To some music with the message (like we usually do)
And we’ll discuss our big dreams
How we plan to take over the planet”

Icona Pop – “Emergency” – I love the piano, the thing that sounds like a horn, but it definitely isn’t, and that constant rhythm line that carries the tune.  This song is catchy and will make you tap your foot and ultimately jump out of your seat and start dancing to that bass line.

Years and Years – “Shine” – This three piece British electronic group exploded when they released their single “King.”  Personally, I like “Shine” more as it gives an R&B side to the group and is highlighted with what they do best by mixing their synth machine and keyboard that makes their vocals glow.

5 Seconds of Summer – “She’s Kinda Hot” – I know this one has been on the charts and it is totally deserved.  As you have probably come to learn, I love the pop-punk and punk-rock scene.  I think it is epic that a band now is starting to bring back the sounds of Simple Plan, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, and Blink 182 to the radio, and new generation of youngsters.  Now, I am not saying 5 Seconds of Summer is any of these bands, but I love the loud guitars, the in your face and abrasive lyrics, and the encompassing drums that brings you into that full rock sound of not being able to hear when you take out your headphones.  I think this lyric sums up the scene that was big in late 90s and it is making a come back – “We are the kings and the queens of the new broken scene.”

Drumroll please…my all time favorite song of the summer is…

Sigala – “Easy Love” – This British DJ mixes The Jackson 5’s “ABC” and a full blown remix of popular songs, which gives you some easy listening, a pop of color, and a full on explosion of sound that makes it the perfect summer song.  It even gives you some cues on when to start clapping a long.  Also, the music video has two of my favorite things – danceable music and talented dancers.  So, here is my vote for the 2015 summer song anthem.

Band Spotlight: Against the Current

Girl fronted bands have been blowing up in the music scene over the last few years.  There is Paramore, The Pretty Reckless, Prvis, Echosmith, and now Against the Current.  Recently signed to the record label Fueled By Ramen (March 2015), Against the Current (ATC) is a three piece pop-rock band that consists of Chrissy Costanza (lead vocals), Daniel Gow (guitar and vocals), and Will Ferri (drums) from Poughkeepsie, New York.  Formed in the Summer of 2011 meeting through mutual friends and were originally a five piece band which also included Jeremy Rampala (guitar) and Joe Simmons (bass).  Ultimately, they have grown into the badass band they are today with a more enhanced musical sound, stronger stylized lyricists, and a fan base that I have watched grow on YouTube from a little over 100,000 to over a million followers.

In an interview with Maria Sherman the band stated that they utilized YouTube as a way to build their fan base outside of playing local gigs at pizza hangouts.  They were a band for about a year before ATC created their YouTube channel where they not only did covers of popular songs, but released original music.  The first cover they released was Good Time (Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen) as well as their first original Thinking.  Releasing both at the same time I thought was music business genius.  Fans of Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen searching online could come across ATC’s cover as well as their original music to help gain a new audience.

For the past four years ATC has done all the business related together as a team from packing up and sending merchandise, to spending a week to record and write in the studio to release new music for their fans.  The one support they have had before the label is a manager to helped book them all over the world.  For a band that just got a record deal in 2015 they have played sold out gigs in not only the United States, but in England, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Canada.  Now having a record label behind them they can focus more on their music as well as get a promotional push from the label to reach a radio level of success.

Their most recent EP Gravity has the potential to have radio hits, especially the song Talk.  Right now, the radio sound has been blowing up with 80s synth music (Taylor Swift, The Bleachers) and the comeback of electric guitars with groups like 5 Seconds of Summer and their 2014 break out hit She Looks So Perfect.  Chrissy Costanza has a powerful voice that has a range to be able to go from a hard rocker chick to a soft ballad.  Personally, I like her voice when it is on a bit of an edge.  The song Talk has an aggressive sound with the start of simple chords of a guitar and soft drum beat that explodes within the first twenty seconds.  Costanza’s ‘don’t mess with me’ attitude I think is the power every girl wishes they had when dealing with a boy that messing with their head; the younger generation has a great role model coming up with Costanza.

Against the Current’s push to go against the grain by releasing original music through YouTube along with covers gave them an edge in getting recognized by a label.  Their push to play outside their hometown, wanting the music to reach more than their inner circle coupled with the drive to do their music their way has a stead fast determination sure to take them far.  As their name is derived from the last line in The Great Gastby, “So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past.”

Music Video for Against the Current’s Talk.  Click here for ATC website.

Band Spotlight – From Cherri Bomb to Hey Violet

I have been following Cherri Bomb since coming across their first album “This is the End of Control” in 2012.  They had an epic punk rock sound, power house voices, perfect harmonies, and professional musicianship at such a young age.  Granted I’m not a musican, but I know a great sound when I hear one, and their songs were an edge that I hadn’t heard by an all girl group since the Runways.  In the music world, at least of girl artists, you mostly hear pop music; needless to say it was refreshing to hear this band.

These teenage girls were signed to Disney’s Hollywood Records on June 2011, opened for mega rock bands such as the Foo Fighters and the Smashing Pumpkins, and played festivals all over the world such as South by Southwest, Leeds, Reading, Soundwave, and Vans Warp Tour.  The band was represented by Samantha Maloney.  Maloney, who is an American musician and drummer opened numerous doors for these girls.  Unfortunately once they broke up, their manager and label bowed out as well.

When Hi or Hey Records (run by the pop band 5 Seconds of Summer in conjunction with Capital Reocrds) announced their first band signing Hey Violet, I knew I reconginzed the three girls from Cherri Bomb.  Of course being a stalker of music I had to figure out what happen.  I don’t think the fans will ever know what went down with Julia Pierce, Miranda Miller, Nia Lovelis, and Rena Lovelis.  There are interviews saying that Pierce was forced out, and there are others saying that she left on her own.

Either way, there is now a new group Hey Violet that has formed and bringing in a new sound of pop punk instead of punk rock.  Formed in Los Angeles, California this new group of Miranda Miller, Nia Lovelis, Rena Lovelis, And Casey Moreta are currently opening for 5 Seconds of Summer on their world tour.  This is giving Hey Violet a fresh start.  I know many people are upset about this change and with Pierce no longer being a part of the group, but if you listen to their sound they are on longer Cherri Bomb.  Their first released song “This is Why” sounds more mainstream.  Even though there are still guitars flooding the air waves they sounds more like All Time Low then The Runaways or Pretty and Reckless.

For old fans it’s going to take sometime to adjust to the changes that have been made, Pierce leaving, new members, and sounds changes, and new fans are going have to accept the comparison being made.  Change is good, and needs to happen to continue to have success and move forward.  In this case, we can anticipate Pierce putting out new music and putting together a new band, as well as Hey Violet’s up and coming album as the first group signed to Hi or Hey Records.