Feminist America Won’t Let Planned Parenthood Go Without a Fight
April 19, 2017 12:10 pm

At 21, I walked a childhood friend into Planned Parenthood when she feared she might be pregnant. With our shaky hands intertwined—hers seeking support and mine offering it—we walked inside, straight into the place we knew would have the answers should her fears be confirmed.

On April 13, President Donald Trump approved a bill giving states the legal right to withhold funding for Planned Parenthoods clinics should they choose. For men and women in more conservative territories, their means of receiving a free and reduced price yearly physicals, pap smears, mammograms, condoms abortion services have been taken away.  In the name of “religious freedom”, their access to affordable reproductive healthcare is gone.

Planned Parenthood de-funding

It’s a move many of Americans who didn’t vote for Trump in 2016’s election feared would become a reality. While every Republican isn’t anti-pro-choice, the President has proven himself to be staunchly anti-pro-choice. As well as also being an advocate for “family values”—which, by action and not words, means homophobic, transphobic, and against feminism—and one who has displayed sexist, classist, and rape culture-sympathetic behavior, Trump at the helm of the country’s operations spells danger for women.

President Trump’s witch hunt against Planned Parenthood and feminist adjacent aides to female healthcare, despite what his cabinet insists isn’t true, is, in fact, a war on women. When he proposed keeping the organization’s funding in place as long as they got rid of abortion services, it was the latest battle waged in this war. Taking services and entire organizations that directly assist women’s healthcare and cut them because they don’t fit the narrative of “family values” is why advocates are rising up.

Musical artists from Best Coast to Katy Perry, actors like American Ferrera and Scarlett Johansson, and political figures like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) are among the most vocal advocates for the continued funding of Planned Parenthood clinics in the U.S. They know the importance of having condoms, breast exams, STD and STI tests and treatments, and yes, abortion services, available to those who need them.

Because personal judgments shouldn’t interfere with the health of your fellow man and woman.

So what can we as a people do now that the war is on?

We can donate to Planned Parenthood. You can sign petitions and advocate with groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Human Rights Campaign. You can volunteer at your local Planned Parenthood clinic or attend an appointment there. You can use the hashtag #WeWontGoBack to spread the organization’s message on social media, and/or speak with family and friends (this guide is handy all year round!) about the benefits of Planned Parenthood and the current government’s involvement.

Even though my childhood friend wasn’t pregnant all those years ago, she knew that Planned Parenthood had her back if push came to shove. She knew that the state of her health was important to them. President Trump can’t take away what the American people put up a fight to protect. Planned Parenthood is a savior for so many, and we’re not backing down to save it.

Check out our playlist that is filled with badass songs about empowering women and giving us the right to choose what we do with our bodies.

Four Quick Digital Marketing Tips
12:05 pm

Have you ever been interested in learning more about digital marketing? Perhaps you’re interested in building a website or tracking social media analytics for your business.

If you’re just starting out, navigating the world of digital marketing can be confusing.

To help us navigate this field more in-depthATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Ashley Panter, an Athens, Georgia-based digital marketing specialist with substantial professional experience in areas including website design, graphic design, and social media marketing.

Panter currently works as the marketing manager of UGA Small Business Development Center, and as the creative director of her company, Blu Mountain Expressions.  She is also currently a master’s candidate in the Emerging Media program at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Here are several tips Panter swears have been instrumental in her own development as a marketing specialist and an entrepreneur.

1. For someone new to digital marketing, what are essential tips about your field?

“For someone new to digital marketing, knowing which social networks your audience is on is key,” Panter says. “Taking it one step further, knowing which days and times your audience is online are also critical.  You don’t want to be pushing out content at times when your audience isn’t present.”

According to Panter, maintaining a balance between content consistency and diversity is essential to engaging your target audience.  Pushing content through multiple channels, i.e. graphic design, website design, UX, email marketing, etc., is a good strategy for maintaining a wider audience.

“My last tip for someone new to digital marketing is to not discount the value of your website,” she says.

She referenced her recent article “How Poor Website Design Will Affect Your Business“.


2. Talk about building your freelance network. How long did it take? How did you gain new clients?

Panter started by creating free flyers for professors’ courses around Augusta State University, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications with a minor in art.

“The first client I picked up was a professor’s church friend who owned a medical billing business,” she says. “I created a website for her for a menial fee of $300. At the time, that was a lot of money for me though. She was so happy with her website, she referred two of her friends to me. And the chain then continued.”

After two years of freelancing, she had built a network of roughly 20 steady clients, doing work ranging from “websites to business cards, logos, brochures, ads, promotional products, etc.”

According to Panter, being willing to be flexible on pricing, or even do jobs for free, is essential to building your client list when starting out.


“[Technology] also helps you pinpoint your exact target audience which ensures you are pushing out the right content and messaging to be the most engaging to your target group”—Ashley Panter, Blu Mountain Expressions


3. What is the role of tech in your job?  How has technology made it easier to work as an entrepreneur?

“Technology plays a huge role in my day-to-day job, but an even bigger role in my freelance gigs,” Panter says. “The ability to reach people via social media by a targeted digital ad based on a user’s age, location, interests is huge.

She explains that things like the ability to take notes on an iPad and capture quality video and audio with her smartphone make her job as a marketer and business owner much easier.

“Can you imagine being a marketer and being asked to create a flyer and market an event before technology? No InDesign, no Photoshop, no Illustrator, no social media, no email marketing. Wow, that would be a tough job.”


4. Talk about work-life balance.  How do you manage your daily life while being a successful business woman?

“Usually, I take on 3-4 freelance projects monthly, which require 30 to 90 minutes of time each,” Panter explains. “So, as you can see, I live by a pretty packed schedule, but find it easy to manage as long as I can keep everything organized and the line of communication open.”

She says that maintaining a work-life balance while completing a master’s degree is sometimes tough to manage, but she manages her commitments by being extremely organized and communicative.

Check out more articles on ATYPICAL SOUNDS.

Interested in checking out more of Ashley Panter’s work? Check out her blog here.

Artists Fight For The National Endowment for the Arts
April 17, 2017 4:24 pm

President Donald Trump is not the most popular person in the U.S., which is funny considering how he won the presidency.

Nevertheless, he is the president, and the president gets to make a budget to float to Congress. Just last month, Trump floated a budget that would completely cut funding to the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, a notion that hasn’t been spoken about since LBJ. The NEA budget is $150 million, which factors out to every American being charged $0.46 as a result. It’s a small piece of the overall big picture and would kill art projects across the country.

Many of these cuts would have direct impacts on various TV and radio mainstays like PBS and NPR, in addition to the many shows that have loyal fan bases across America, like the beloved “Sesame Street”.

There have been multiple musicians and artists that have been vocal about their distaste for funding cuts; like us, they would love to see the annual budget increase, not decrease. We would like to showcase these musicians and artists and stand toe-to-toe with them in the fight against cutting any funding for these great programs that have driven art projects across America.

We ask the question “What is more American than the freedom to show the world how you feel about being American?” At ATYPICAL SOUNDS, we say fuck that shit, and so do many others in the arts community.


David Byrne

Byrne is the charismatic frontman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band Talking Heads. He is a powerful voice in the music community and has also extended his influence well into other sectors of the arts. Byrne has been one of the most vocal against the cuts, attending a rally at New York’s City Hall in protest. Byrne also penned a wonderful essay entitled “What Good Are the Arts?” on his website adding that killing the economy in the arts sector is “completely stupid”. He continues “It’s probably the best investment the government makes—as far as a means of generating jobs, growth and social good […]”.

David Bryne protesting for the NEA

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is a Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer. He is also the co-artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis recently took to “CBS This Morning” to speak out against the funding. Marsalis said that the proposed cuts to arts education and funding are “preparing the public to become more ignorant”. Marsalis expanded on this, stating: “When we tell people our arts are not important, we’re preparing our public to be more ignorant so that we can exploit them more.”

Wynton Marsalis speaks out against NEA defunding

Robert Redford

Redford, an Oscar-winning director and Oscar-nominated actor, cited the NEA as playing a fundamental role in the creation of the Sundance Institute. The NEA has made significant contributions to the Institute, including the grant to help launch its first labs for independent filmmaking. He also credited the NEA with launching the Sundance Film Festival, which has, in turn, become a mainstay for launching the careers of a variety of filmmakers across the world. In an open letter posted on the Sundance Institute’s website, found here, Redford passionately writes about the funding cuts occurring at the wrong time and how “more than dollars, the NEA represents a civilization that values critical and creative thought.”

The St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony is a hallmark of the Midwest. Founded in 1880, it is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States. The symphony asked their board members to call their elected officials and let them know why cutting funding was important. Chief Executive of the symphony, Marie-Helene Bernard, joined other symphonies across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera, to voice opposition to the cuts. Bernard also urged its board members to contact members of their elected officials to oppose addition cuts under the Trump administration.

Julie Andrews

Listen, when Julie Andrews speaks, you fucking listen. Andrews recently co-authored an article on CNN with her daughter Emma Walton with regards to children’s participation in the arts. The screen and stage legend speaks to how arts budget cuts are a “huge mistake and enrich kids lives through community and culture sharing.” They highlight the importance of the arts by drawing on history, stating that “decades worth of research attests to the fact that the arts are among the most profoundly important and valuable ways to improve learning and promote success, from early childhood through adulthood.” The two then invite readers to view the positive statistics in a linked study published by the NEA, showing the long-term academic achievements for children involved in the arts. Their article can be read in its entirety here.

Julie Andrews speaks out against N

October 28, 2016 4:20 am

So, here’s the thing. I’m supposed to write a serious music review, and I totally could, except it’s 2AM on a Friday and I’m watching Pineapple Express on TNT (We Know Drama). I should really be sleeping. That’s what a sensible person would be doing. They’d be sleeping there all numbly-bumbly thinking how sweet it is being asleep safe and sound right as rain, all cozied up gaining valuable, usable energy for the strenuous day that may or may not be ahead of them, I don’t know, I don’t know who we’re talking about. But I cherish that thought, that sleepy paradise. I want it so bad. Dammit if I could only just produce some content first lickety split. And also dammit because this is a great movie. I will, without a doubt, watch this entire thing right now instead of sleeping. Can’t leave Dale and Saul hanging.


This soundtrack too though, this is a work of art. This is the real winner, all the way through til the end. This is a content goldmine staring me square in the face screaming “Hey what’s up let me just turn your whole world upside down for a second here thanks.” I’ve been thinking about this all wrong, what am I doing?! Well I guess about to review this movie soundtrack, that’s what I’m doing. Buckle up.

Okay first we have Paper Planes, duh. Gotta be first on the list. M.I.A. blew up that year, not saying all because of this movie, but hey I’m not saying otherwise neither. That was a great year for everybody. Stay woke. The song isn’t actually in the movie, but I mean everyone remembers that trailer, right? Fuck this is a good movie.

The real headliner is Electric Avenue from Dale’s sweet opening “you’ve been served” montage. Instant classic. The scene, not the song. It’s an old song. Eddy Grant was already “classic.” But the movie really brought him to the forefront, at least for me, and I’ll always be thankful for that. We need to focus on the good things in life. “Out in the streets!” That’s what he says in the song, and it’s pretty good, because it’s a song about a street. Pure genius.

Next up is the most dopety-dope song ever, and by “next” I don’t mean chronologically next, but rather in terms of my vaunted quality-assessment hierarchy, determined through my capacity as self-proclaimed official movie-soundtrack reviewer. I’m talking of course about Poison by Bel Biv Devoe, and if you don’t know that then you don’t know jack. Wake up. Your world is not as it seems. What a seriously good song, mad props to Pineapple Express. They really nailed it with this whole soundtrack. Jeez Louise!


Uh oh, look out, we got a piping hot track coming fresh out the oven–Public Enemy‘s Lost At Birth. I like this scene because he says “melon farmers,” which is what they say instead of motherfuckers on TNT (We Know Drama). You’re not allowed to swear on television. Wow, Public Enemy really ties this whole scene together. Somebody did their job real good when they picked that song for this scene. What a sick nasty awesome so fucking sick movie soundtrack.

Damn there’s a lotta reggae on this mix. Wanted Dread and Alive (see what they did there? With the dread?! Cuz they have dreads!), a Bob Marley deep cut (well obviously), a reeeal laid-back Ring Of Fire cover (like Johnny Cash but way chiller). See, the movie is named after a kind of marijuana from the movie, and there’s a lot of people who sometimes associate reggae music with marijuana usage for some reason. So when a movie gets made about a hairy Mary Jane strain, they’re gonna mix up a little reggae in there. That’s just the world we live in. We didn’t choose it, we were born into it. Forced from the warmths of prebirth out into the cruel, unforgiving hellscape we inhabit every waking hour of our lives. I mean it’s just monstrous out here.

Well, that’s all the time we have for today. The movie is over so I’ve now fully exhausted my content resource. Thanks to all who participated, especially you still reading this and also the good people over at TNT (We Know Drama). Let it be known that this is a can’t-miss, won’t-disappoint, doesn’t-even-flinch-as-it-knocks-you-out-of-your-socks kinda flick, and if you haven’t seen it, well why did you read this entire review of a soundtrack for a movie you’ve never seen? Yeah, that’s what I thought, you’ve definitely seen Pineapple Express. It has a pretty awesome soundtrack. I know, right? Cool, glad we’re on the same page. Let’s be sure to always stay positive in the face of any near-universal suffering we might encounter on a regular basis. Okay bye!

October 27, 2016 9:28 am

When I was 17 years old, I was doing what most other 17 year old teenagers do; playing sports, doing homework, driving a car for fun, I was even playing guitar a lot by most standards. But I was creating nothing like Gab Strum did in his seventeenth year.

He started the electronic pop project Japanese Wallpaper and released his first single “Waves” back in 2014. Even at this early stage in his career, the sounds he created were nearly on the same level as ambient titans Tycho and Boards of Canada. The ethereal, jovial tunes started drawing attention from some pretty well-known folks in the industry such as fellow Australian, Chet Faker. Also in Gab’s seventeenth year, he won Triple J’s Unearthed High competition. Oh, and his track “Breathe In” was also featured on the soundtrack for Zach Braff’’s follow-up to Garden State, Wish I Was Here. Seventeen! I think this goes to show how the state of modern music equipment has altered the music scene. If a high school kid fifty years ago wanted to make music with more than a guitar, he would find it incredibly difficult to do so. The tools to do so weren’t easily available yet. Now we can download software on our laptops and create magic.

Gab did his first tour of Australia back in 2014 with great success. He has since been putting out EP’s with some fantastic remixes in the last couple years. Most recently this year he released the single “Cocoon.” Earlier this year, he released a deluxe edition of his self-titled EP that came out in 2015 with a slew of new remixes. The remix of Between Friends” by Sable is a noteworthy track from the record. The single “Forces” featuring Airling is a smash. I think it’s safe to say that Japanese Wallpaper has a promising future ahead of him. He has a few tour dates left in 2016 if you happen to live in a major Australian city. I imagine he’ll make his leap over to the states soon enough and I for one will be right there in the crowd grooving along to these incredible tunes.

October 26, 2016 12:11 pm

We have covered Virtual Reality a handful of times here at Atypical Sounds, talking about its innovations and abilities, but people are already finding new and amazing ways to use these headsets, I’m pretty impressed.

A Virtual Reality Roller Coaster sounds like a vomit inducing headache. For those who get easy motion sickness with either roller coasters or VR probably shouldn’t go anywhere near these rides. But for those who love both of them and want to see something truly spectacular, this is the newest thing for you.

Here is the rundown, you hop onto a roller coaster, like the Superman: Ride of Steel from Six Flags, strap on a headset and that’s it! The display will move according to the coaster pretty smoothly and you look around like any other VR experience and enjoy the ride. Check out the video below and to see people ride it and see what it’ll look like compared a normal ride. I would highly recommend anyone that has a Six Flags near them to check out this incredible experience. VR has been pretty fun and amazing experience, but it is still pretty limited. This and other innovations are what we need to make VR an actual worth while investment for our culture, otherwise it will be like HD DVDs or 3D TVs, which died after a few years of being on the market.

The experience isn’t everywhere or on every ride, it is just in the starting phases. But you can be sure to see in the next 5 years the huge increase in VR roller coasters in places like Disney, Universal Studios, and Kings Dominion. Check out more about Six Flags VR and the upcoming Sea World VR.

October 25, 2016 9:49 am

It’s been thirteen long years since Elliott Smith took his own life on October 21st,e 2003. He battled demons a majority of his short life and his music brought so many people the harsh reality of that struggle into the words we could tangibly use to forget our own aches for a few moments, or for an entire album. In my opinion he is one of the most underrated geniuses in modern music.

A group of other musicians apparently felt the same way when they decided to get together and create a tribute album for Smith titled Say Yes! as released by American Laundromat Records. It features bands such as Yuck, Waxatachee and artists like J. Mascis and Julien Baker. A wide array of sludgy rock to intensely acoustic indie artists. I think my favorite from the album is the Yuck version of “Bled White, which is also an all time favorite Elliott song of mine.

I’ve personally covered one Smith song during a live performance “The Biggest Lie”. While I enjoyed singing my heart out, Elliott’s songs are a force to be reckoned with. A tantrum of eloquence and equally as dark currents raging inside of a drowning man. It’s nearly impossible to recreate the feelings Smith captured in his music.

Honestly, I was pretty giddy at first and while I wholeheartedly appreciate these artists showing their influence by Smith, it was almost a little hard to hear the songs without Elliott. The fact that 13 years after I find him, he is no longer putting out new material is a heart wrenching realization for me. There just isn’t a way for other artists to recreate something so personal, and the despair he felt daily triggered the wild agony in his songs. These things made them what they are, and it is a travesty to deny that.

However, these songs are a tribute and we can not look into them as if Elliott is there, but more so that he was inspiration to them.

Songs you can find on this album include but are not limited to, “Waltz #2 done by J. Mascis, “Easy way out” done by Wild Sun, and “Division Day done by Lou Barlow. Yuck’s upbeat version of “Bled White” got me pretty pumped up for the album as the first song I heard with its punchy drums and rock version of a song always adored. In J. Mascis’ version of Waltz #2, he seemingly chose specific parts of the song to use, and it’s very eerily pasted together with slow vocals and droning guitar and drums, at first I wasn’t even sure it was the same song.

We may have lost a very valuable and pivotal force in indie, acoustic and rock and roll music thirteen years ago, but his music transcends time and is not fleeting by any means of the word. Elliott had an unwavering ability to create classic music that would punch you in the gut every time you listen. There is no simplicity, paper thin vocals, shuttering harmonies, both clean and distorted guitar riffs in all the right places, so much Beatles influence you’ll be humming “The Two of Us” or “Helter Skelter” without even knowing why after checking out Figure 8 or From a Basement on a Hill.

Take a listen to this new tribute album, and if you haven’t yet listen to Elliott’s albums front to back in memory of 13 years without him in the physical realm, go and do that too. He’s always here in the musical realm, hats off to you Elliott Smith.


October 24, 2016 9:00 am

Minna Choi is one-of-a-kind. In addition to leading her own Magik*Magik Orchestra (who have performed as the backing orchestra for Death Cab for Cutie and Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood), she is the choir director for City Church San Francisco, AND has just released a solo album as Magik*Magik with her own original orchestral work.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS caught up with Minna as she prepares to tour, and had a nice chat about the new album, traveling with an orchestra, and the terrifying state of the San Francisco housing market.

Does it make you more nervous to be out there on your own, versus backing another musician?
It’s a completely different level of fear and vulnerability playing your own songs than it is being a hired gun for someone else’s material. I didn’t anticipate it was going to be such a steep emotional learning curve. Magik*Magik Orchestra recently played at Outside Lands with me conducting in front of 40,000 people, backing up the band Third Eye Blind and I wasn’t nervous at all. But a month ago I played a little private show of my own songs in front of maybe 60 people at a club and my foot was uncontrollably shaking trying to press the piano sustain pedal. The nerves were on high alert. It’s amazing the difference.

How much input did you have in the creation of the video for “Weep”? 
My main input to Nathan (the director) was that it had to feature the orchestra, and that it had to be a live performance. I was adamant that the first video I put out as a solo artist pay homage to the orchestra because that experience directly led me here. So I told Nathan, it needs to have the orchestra, I need to be conducting and I’d like my friend Coco dancing in it. That’s all the prompt I gave him, and then he took that and came back with the story idea.

What do you see for the future of orchestral music in the mainstream?
I’ve always described an orchestra as a piano made out of people. If people can start thinking of the orchestra as simply another instrument, like a piano, that is capable of playing any type of music at any level, that will be healthy for the future of orchestral music. There are 4 year olds plinking away at pianos in homes everywhere, it’s “allowed” to be bad at piano and to be a beginner, learning as you go. That mechanism currently doesn’t exist in the orchestra world. If a bunch of really smart people could figure out how to change the mechanics of how orchestras are funded and programmed so that the experience of making music in orchestral formation was more approachable and everyday, it would be a good thing.

Are there any classical artists you feel deserve more attention?
I’m very biased and have a bit of tunnel vision on this topic to Bay Area artists. All of my closest friends are musicians and they are all in outstanding classical chamber groups. My favorite group is Delphi Trio, a piano trio based here. Their violinist is Magik*Magik Orchestra’s concertmaster and their cellist is our principle cellist. Their pianist is Jeff LaDeur, who may be the most intuitively advanced musician I know. He’s like the Gandalf of music or something. A local composer I’m also crazy about is Luciano Chessa. He was a teacher of mine at the conservatory and his work is joyful, sorrowful, human, funny all at once. Very theatrical. Also, my former boss Carla Kiihlstedt, the violinist, singer and composer is my musical hero. I used to be her personal assistant when she lived in the Bay Area. She is the best violinist I’ve ever heard. She writes music with her husband Matthias Bossi and have a subscription service named Rabbit Rabbit Radio. I highly encourage checking it out.

Do you still work with that church band during the day? How much freedom do you have to experiment with their sound?
I do still work at City Church San Francisco, it is my full time day job but they give me a lot of freedom to work from home when I need to. The church has 3 music directors and I focus mainly on the choir. The church had no choir when I started working there 6 years ago but they were always interested in starting one so I tried a few approaches and finally settled upon a more gospel choir type approach. The choir is always accompanying the band, we never sing like Bach or something. Lots of ooos and ahs and backup vocal type moves. The band is amazing. They are all jazz session musicians and can play anything. Wil Blades is our B3 player, and Jeff Marrs is our drummer who is also the drummer for Marcus Shelby. It’s like an all-star band. And yes, I have a lot of freedom musically with this job. My boss is Karl Digerness, who has been their main music director for over 10 years. He and I have an incredibly trusting musical relationship. He basically told me when he hired me that he loves how I write and arrange and that I could write whatever I wanted for the services. It’s a dream job.

Classical music is often stereotyped as a genre that appeals mainly to older people. How do you think classical music can be more relevant for a younger crowd?
That’s the million-dollar question facing pretty much every Symphony these days, except maybe the LA Phil, they seem to do a pretty good job with keeping their organization in the black with good ticket sales. I think younger audiences enjoy going to performances by their peers. That’s not 100% true of course, but generally speaking, young performers tend to have young audiences. And older performers tend to have older audiences. If every major symphony in the US started a chamber symphony of musicians with age ranges mirroring the age ranges of the audiences they are hoping to pull, I think that could potentially yield results. Maybe that’s too simplistic of a suggestion, but I feel like the other methods just aren’t really working.

The Bay Area has become notorious for its real estate prices. Have you noticed any major changes in the neighborhood you live in since the tech industry took over?
Yes. Every day someone is leaving. SF is bleeding musicians and working creative types every day. People are either moving to Oakland, to LA, to Portland, Seattle, Austin, NY even. And it’s not just musicians and artists. If I look at the friends I had when I first moved here in 2007, I think maybe like 30% of them are left. Many of these folks actually do work in Tech, but even then the housing prices are so ridiculous that they would rather move elsewhere and have a decent 2 bedroom to start a family in or whatnot. I live in a rent controlled studio that costs $2500/mo and that’s considered a steal for the neighborhood. I was only even able to get my place because my aunt and uncle lived in it before me and they pleaded with the building manager to let me take over their lease without raising the rent to market value, and that was back in 2013. I’m able to pay that and barely eek out a life here because I have a full time job at the church and I also do tons of freelance gigs on the side for the orchestra. If either one of those things went away, I’d have to move tomorrow because my yearly income would cut in half.

Are you looking forward to getting back to New York on your upcoming tour? Is there anything you miss about New York from your time at NYU?
I am SOOOOO excited. Scared yes because playing your original songs live just cuts you so deep but I’m proud of the live show and I can’t wait to see my friends. I lived in NY for 8 years from 99-07 and I became who I am there. It shapes you and forces you to stand up tall when you live in NY. I owe a lot of my tenacity to that city and I’m looking forward to returning in this new way. The first thing I will be doing is going to the Bagel Store on Metropolitan off Graham and getting an everything bagel with scallion cream cheese and tomato and an Orange/Tangerine Tropicana from the drink fridge to the left when you walk in. And maybe a bag of jalapeno kettle chips. That was my go to breakfast for years.

How do you prepare for a tour with so many musicians and instruments?
The live band for this is going to be myself on vocals and keys, James McAlister on drums (Sufjan’s drummer, he played on the record), and 6 piece string section. We are only traveling with 2 of the 6 and then we are going to be contracting local string players in each city. That’s tricky because you basically meet your new players on the day of the show, hand them the music, run the song once and then do the show. But really great string players can sight-read almost any Pop music perfectly. Magik*Magik Orchestra does that all the time for bands traveling through San Francisco so I know how that goes and it’s time to put some faith in players in other cities and enjoy the experience of having the tables turned.

October 21, 2016 5:41 pm

Determining whether there are punctured areas in the body of an airship takes time, attention, and there is always the possibility of human error.  Now, Skunk Works, the advanced development programs division of the aerospace technology company Lockheed Martin, has developed a robot that can locate and repair pinholes on an airship.

Dubbed SPIDER, the robot is autonomous, and can complete scans of an airship while the craft is still being assembled. According to the video released by Lockheed Martin introducing SPIDER, multiple robots can be deployed on an airship at the same time, increasing the speed that pinholes can be located and repaired.

Although finding pinholes and repairing them is its primary function, SPIDER does not stop there. The robot notifies the maintenance team when it has found a hole and repaired it, and sends data back to the central processing station so the information can be reviewed. The machine is composed of two magnetically connected components. One half of the robot is on the outside of the airship, and the other half is on the inside.

Although SPIDER significantly cuts down on the potential for human error, there is still the possibility of machine error. What would happen if SPIDER was to malfunction? Or be unable to repair a pinhole?  Skunk Works’ solution is that other SPIDER bots that are monitoring the same airship can be re-routed with adjusted search patterns to target the hole that the initial robot failed to repair. 

SPIDER is an example of the automation of tasks by machines, both to decrease the probability of making a mistake, and increase the speed at which a task can be completed. Additionally, having SPIDER allows the airship maintenance team to focus on more tasks, and devote more attention to making the craft ready for flight. 

Featured Image source – New Atlas, Lockheed Martin 

Featured Video source – LockheedMartinVideos

October 19, 2016 11:23 am

“When I was a young boy, my father took me to the city, to see a marching band…”

This line of lyric is so universally known by the rock world that no one can hear this song and not feel some strong attachment to it. My Chemical Romance‘s immersive album The Black Parade was part epic, part tragedy filled with soaring highs and wallowing lows. Rock Sound magazine is celebrating the 10th anniversary of this legendary album with the story of the creation and life of The Black Parade and an incredible amount of content.

9390352-368-k802450A decade is a long time, in 2006, the Playstation 3 and Nintendo Wii came out, Casino Royal and Cars debuted, Justin Timberlake was bringing “Sexyback, Shakira’s hips didn’t lie and Daniel Powter was still having his bad days. This was a year of strong movement in pop culture and punk rock was being redefined. My Chemical Romance way making one of the biggest movements because of their raw style of music, fashion and tone in their genre defining The Black Parade.

Rock Sound’s October edition is an essential for any punk, emo, rock or ska fan. There is a beautifully told story of MCR’s creative process of The Black Parade and its life and impact it had on the band. It is filled with a lot of funny small stories and interesting insights on why the band took a break and how they dealt with all of these changes.

However, the part of this edition that seems more interesting and gripping is the cover album that accompanies the issue. Rock Sound gathered a grand collection of artists deep in the indie rock world to cover each song on The Black Parade giving each track new life while saluting them with praise and honor at the same time. From Escape the Fate‘s similar and powerful rendition of “Dead!” to Twenty One Pilot‘s heart breaking performance of Cancer and Against the Current‘s different take on Teenagers, this album brings new life to The Black Parade while reminding you how truly amazing this album was and still is.

I would recommend anyone and everyone who is a fan of MCR, The Black Parade, punk, rock, indie, ska, heavy metal or good music in general to pick up this epic issue of Rock Sound with the additional tribute album. MCR is also celebrating this 10th anniversary with a special deluxe edition that any fan NEEDS to get, you can’t miss this. The Black Parade is amazing in both forms and may their music and memory carry on.