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

Ads on Tumblr: Is Nowhere Safe?
November 17, 2016 1:18 pm

Earlier this summer, Tumblr, the common blog of choice for painfully hip and melancholy teens, decided to dip their toes into the realm of commercializing their user base by enabling the option of slathering ads site wide. The move allows for Tumblr users themselves to monetize their blogging hobby by running their own personal ads and allows sites like Yahoo to run advertisements. The decision came on the heels of Verizon purchasing Yahoo earlier this summer, with Yahoo itself having purchased Tumblr in the summer of 2013.

The practical decision was at first met with the usual reaction from those who are used to being provided a service with little to no catch: derision. But it hasn’t been all bad; Tumblr allows users to switch off the ads in their settings menu, a step that is more about maintaining good will with their user base than becoming money hungry. The ability to switch off ads usually comes at a price to the everyday consumer, most commonly in the form of a premium account.

The decision came shortly after one of the largest internet mergers in its history. Verizon added the social media website to their ever growing list of content sites that it has steadily consumed over the years. As Tumblr has been traditionally regarded as a bastion for those who feel cast aside or otherwise different than mainstream internet consumers, the strategy from Verizon, as harmless as it may seem, opens the door for future changes in a capitalistic direction. Hence the reason why internet activists fight so hard to keep what privacy rights they are given; once begun, it’s a slippery slope.

Monetizing previously free service websites has always been a compulsory first step after a previously agreed amount of time. Popular sites like Facebook, Twitter and Reddit made the jump long ago, sacrificing a small piece of community goodwill in order to serve the very concrete problems and issues that face internet companies. With the ease and familiarity that users navigate the web, it can often come as a shock to find things not only different, but to be thought of as the product instead of the consumer. It’s within that discomfort where a company can move in one of two different directions: to either appeases the users or appease the board and/or the stockholders. It takes a brave spirit to attempt both and time will tell whether Tumblr can keep its outsider shine amongst the gold.

November 14, 2016 9:00 am

Guys. Me and Shaun Fleming of Diane Coffee have the same silver eyeshadow. And now that that’s out of my system, I can tell you that we were able to grab some quality time with the shiny bombshell himself Thursday night before his show with St. Paul and The Broken Bones at Terminal 5. Keep reading to get the essentials on how Shaun feels about touring, turning the big 3-0, and what it’s like to sing opera at Macaroni Grill.

It’s been a really weird week, with the election happening two days ago. Did you perform last night?
We did. I needed that more than anything else I’ve ever needed, ever. I look to music and to artists to get me though everything from cracked a toenail, or this. [The band] were talking about it, and none of us had slept the night before, and we were just…I’m sure a lot of people were stressed on both sides. It was really close for a long time. So we were feeling pretty down, plus sick all over from the outcome. [Drummer] Kate was throwing up before she went onstage. Everyone was feeling really dumpy and awful. We were in Philadelphia last night, and the crowd was so positive and so energetic, and it was really awesome to be someone’s relief.

How is your tour going otherwise?
It’s really great, we sold out tonight. It’s been one of my favorite tours. I feel like [St. Paul and The Broken Bones] and I are cut from the same cloth in a lot of ways, but we’re different enough where I think it’s a nice blend. We’re playing to a lot of people who have never heard us before, and they’re walking away really enjoying what they heard, so we couldn’t have asked for a better pairing. Crowds have been awesome, they’re here to dance, they’re here to have fun, and the few headlining shows we had done were great. I got sick early on; right when we hit the road, it became fall all of a sudden. I had to cancel a show, which was a bummer, but other than that I think it’s been awesome.
Is it hard for you to sit in a van with a group of people for the entire length of a tour?
I’ve been playing with Foxygen as well, so I feel like I’ve been on the road for like five years straight. [Diane Coffee has] been touring this record since September of 2015, almost nonstop. It’s funny; I get home and I feel like I need to go to the gas station just to go to the bathroom to feel any sort of normalcy. It’s been awesome and very tiring. You get used to it, and I’m traveling with great people who are my closest friends, kind of the only friends I have now with being on the road.

The lineup for this tour is new; I was playing with a separate band for everything prior to this for the Good Dog tour. And this tour kind of came up last minute and the other band couldn’t commit. It’s fun for me, because everyone brings their own personality to it, so everything feels very fresh and very new and very exciting again.

Will you be playing with Foxygen when they perform in New York?
No, I’ve stepped away from Foxygen. I’ve got so much to do with this project now, kind of focusing on my baby. They’ve got a whole new lineup though, and it’s amazing. They just played their first show that I haven’t played with them, ever. It was kind of surreal to see the tweets and stuff, “Excited to see Foxygen!”, and I’d have a little panic attack like “I’m supposed to be onstage!”. It’s like that dream where you forget your clothes and you’re at school. It was that feeling. I’m excited to see my first Foxygen show.

I have to ask, what brand is your silver eyeshadow and is there a method to the madness in its application?
There is, I got way better at it. It’s been about 2 or 3 years in the making now. I started doing it with Foxygen and it developed in that world and spilled over into this one. I’m using Maybelline Color Tattoo. Once it dries, it doesn’t come off. And just a basic eyeliner. And I use that Maybelline silver eyeshadow for my lipstick too, which I don’t think you’re supposed to do. I got this stuff by L’Oreal, Liquid Diamond powder, and I was thinking of doing gold, but it kind of looks like you have jaundice. But if you mix it with a silver powder, it’s kind of a weird halfway point between silver and gold.

Guitarist Matt Kronish walks in.

Me and Matt grew up together in L.A.

Matt: I feel like we’re still growing up together.

What was he like as a teenager?

Shaun: Matt had shorter hair.

Matt: He was just as much of a dynamo when we were 15.

Shaun: We were just talking makeup. Matt wore makeup for the first time the other day.

I’m a serious journalist, and we’re talking about makeup.

Matt: Getting to the hard issues.

Shaun: How do you feel about the election? What brand [of eyeshadow] do you use? Actually, that’s actually exactly where it went.

Matt leaves.
You’ve mentioned in interviews that you embody a female role for your Diane Coffee persona.
Not necessarily a female role. I embody the feminine archetype, which is sort of that performer. Everything gets lost in translation with interviews, especially stuff like that. Diane Coffee is that feeling that you get when you’re a shy, reserved person, but maybe you go to a concert and the energy surrounds you and because of that community, you’re singing at the top of your lungs, and you’re dancing and then you’re back home and you’re quiet and reserved again. It’s the same thing when you go onstage; that thing that kind of takes over.

You hear a lot of artists that say they don’t remember what they do onstage. I remember what I do onstage to an extent, but that part of me takes over completely. That’s what I call Diane Coffee. When I’m performing, I’m Diane Coffee. If the band feels it, they’re Diane Coffee. If the audience feels it, they’re all Diane Coffee. I definitely wanted a more feminine name, but I don’t think it’s a character I’m playing onstage. It’s a piece of me that’s amplified greatly.

You used to live in New York and L.A., and now you’re in Bloomington. Do you feel like a big fish in a small pond when you’re at home?
I really love Bloomington. When I grew up in L.A., I wasn’t in L.A. proper; I was in a small place called Agoura. New York is kind of scary; I lived on the Lower East Side, which was a lot. Everyone was like “You should’ve moved to Brooklyn”, and they’re probably right. Bloomington felt to me like going back to business as usual. I don’t feel like a big fish or anything like that. A lot of my band members come from Bloomington, and there’s a sea of talented people there. There’s the Secretly Canadian label, Jagjaguwar, all that stuff, so they’re there. It feels like an artistic community in the middle of Indiana. It’s like this cultural oasis in the middle of corn. It doesn’t feel like a lot of other midwest towns; it’s a college town.

I’m far enough away that I do kind of become a little bit of a shut-in. Me and my girl have a house out in the woodsy area and it’s great. When you tour, it’s like city, city, city, city, all the time. And when I get home, I don’t want to be in a city, I want to be somewhere where I can have a fire and kind of just unwind and get creative again.

You’re turning 30 in the coming year.
Yes, I am. I’m trying not to think about it though. I feel like 29 was freaking me out more than I think 30 will be. My then-girlfriend in high school, me and her made this pact: she made me promise that if nothing starts happening with music by the time I’m 28, I had to get out of music and get a job or something like that. When I was 25, 26, I was like “Fuck that, I’m gonna keep doing what I’m gonna do”, and I started playing with Foxygen and things were taking off and it was going well. But still, in the back of my mind I was like “Oh man, 28 is coming up. How am I going to feel about it when I hit that point?”. And then my birthday was during the Primavera festival in Spain, and I think that was the biggest crowd I had ever played to, like 20,000 people or something like that. And I remember just thinking “This is cool, I think this counts as ‘I can keep doing this.’” But I mean, I know a lot of cool 30-year-olds. You seem cool. The world’s not going to come to an end. At least not because I’m turning 30.

Have you ever had a “real” job?
I did acting and stuff as a kid, and then no one really taught me about saving any of it. And one day it was like “Ok, this is over now. I have no more money.” My first job was at Cold Stone Creamery.
Did you have to sing when they put money in the tip jar?
We’d holler for a dollar. Everyone had to sing. I was not getting into it. I had a job at Romano’s Macaroni Grill, and I was a host/opera singer. Every hour on the hour, I had to go into the middle of the restaurant, pull out a chair, take out a fork and a cup and sing some opera standard.

Our Macaroni Grill never did that.
I don’t know if it was just this one, or if they knew I could sing and were like “This is what you do, this is part of the job.” And I would have to go around to the tables and ask if people wanted a song and they would maybe tip me a dollar or something. It was so brutal. I hated everything about that job. That was, like, my darkest hour, I think. I was living in Reseda, in this little cramped apartment by myself. I was trying to play music and write, but I couldn’t get a band together. And L.A. just sucks for trying to put a band together.

That sounds like the theme of a Tom Petty song.
I tried everywhere – Ventura sucked, Reseda sucked. I ended up moving to Boston for six or eight months, crashed on couches. Tried to be in a pop band, that didn’t work out. I did a lot of teaching; I taught voice and guitar and a lot of stuff like that. Things were getting super dark and I didn’t know what to do anymore. So I was thinking about going back to school and trying to get into music business, which I’ve never really wanted to do. Anything to keep me in the world. That’s when Rado [of Foxygen] hit me up, and was like “Hey, we got a show, do you want to play some drums?”. That’s when one show became two, and two became more.

When you were a voice actor on the Disney cartoon “Kim Possible”, were you held to a strong code of ethics like many of the actresses on Disney’s live-action shows?
No, no one knows who the hell we are. It’s great, my dad would just pull me out of school, drive down and we’d sit in a booth and do the thing and get out. No one really knows who you are. Especially pre-internet, no one knew who the hell any of these vocal actors were.

Do you look forward to coming back to New York at all? Is there a pizzeria that you like?
I was living right across the street from Lombardi’s, so I was right in the thick of it. I look forward to the dumpling houses. I was right near Chinatown and I was broke as all hell, so dumplings.

I love being in New York and playing in New York, but I hate living in New York. I hate driving in New York. I hate parking. I always end up getting a parking ticket.

Do you have any last words before you go on tonight?
I think this is going to be the last show in New York for a while. I’m going to be doing the new record soon. I’m sure this will be one of the first stops. Don’t forget me, New York.

November 7, 2016 9:00 am

Are you ready to take a trip with Cool Company? The Brooklyn duo recently released their Slice of Paradise LP, and it’s a sublime taste of a tropical summer holiday, perfect for escaping these blustery autumn days.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS got to engage in some correspondence with Cool Yan and Fat Matt, and got the inside story on the album’s creation.

Congratulations on the recent release of your album Slice of Paradise. What’s the most important thing you learned during its production?
Y: I think on this project we really started to break out of our shell and take ownership of our style. We started being a little more experimental and just did what felt right to us even if we were bending some rules we may have been previously trying to abide by.

M: We developed a few techniques for processing Yan’s voice that I didn’t perfect until the end of the recording process. I was also learning about some of the Native Instruments Komplete plugins as I went, but that is just a part of being a musician. You are always better after working on a project than you were before.

Is there anything you were looking to do on the album that you couldn’t do on your previous releases?
M: On this album, we were able to bring in some talented instrumentalists and vocalists to add their sounds to the work. Yan and I can cover everything if we need, but adding back up vocals, brass, and guitar from people who were much more skilled in those specific areas gave the sound an extra dimension.

The songs on Slice of Paradise seem a lot less silly (for lack of a better term) than “Call You Back”, the song many of your fans may know you for. Was there a conscious effort to make more “serious” music?
Y: I think we’ve always made serious music since the beginning, but when it comes to the singles and one-off releases, we like to have a little fun and keep things light for our audience.  At the same time, with every song that we write, we continue to grow and some of this new music is representative of our continued growth.

Were you two friends in high school? I read you met in choir class.
M: We came from different grades and friend groups, but I think we each thought the other one was funny and we started hanging out. We also had Latin class together and Yan would always fall asleep because it was right after lunch. The Latin teacher would always get flustered when she saw him asleep and yell at him.

What was it like to meet back up in 2012? How did the creation of Cool Company come about?
Y: We started making music for fun with a bunch of our hometown homies and sometimes it’d just be the two of us chilling making tracks and writing raps. We noticed it had a totally different vibe and style than when we would all work together and it just sort of grew from there.

Are both of you originally from Brooklyn?
M: We are both from New Jersey; we moved to Brooklyn after releasing our first album. I guess we are part of the change; lots of creative types move into the city seeking an outlet to express themselves.

Is it financially difficult to be a musician in the city? Are you in a position where you need to balance a day job with your musical career?
M: It definitely requires some differences in lifestyle from friends of ours with full time jobs in Manhattan. People take Uber everywhere; I don’t even have the app on my phone. We get by by living relatively far out in Bushwick, sharing a big apartment with a bunch of other people, cooking meals instead of ordering, and generally trying to take care of things ourselves instead of paying someone else to do it.

For money, I work out of our studio recording, producing and mixing for other NYC artists, and teaching lessons. Yan works in a restaurant and occasionally does graphic design and songwriting and recording work.

Are there any bands in Brooklyn you feel deserve more attention?
M: There are a lot of great contemporary acts in BK, and we’ve been fortunate to be able to play shows with a few of them. Lewis Lane, Greg Banks, Lawrence, Blood Cultures, Lady Moon & the Eclipse, and The Northern Orchard are some of our favorites

What kind of music are you currently listening to?
Y: Right now I’m listening to a lot of top 40 stuff cuz I like stay in the loop, but I also listen to a lot of alternative R&B as well as some old school Motown. I’m always trying to find new music that I haven’t heard as well as keep up with what new stuff is being released, whether it’s real popular or more grassroots.

What albums would you recommend for someone looking to get more into soul and R&B music?
Y: I love anything from Frank Ocean, Anderson .Paak, The Weeknd (especially his earlier stuff, even though I still love his more current pop sound). Emily King, Esperanza Spalding, R. Kelly, Majid Jordan, there’s so much good stuff out there.

M: I’d recommend Emily King and Anderson .Paak as well, also King, this amazing group of 3 ladies making beautiful R&B music. For classic stuff, my favorites are Stevie Wonder, Curtis Mayfield and Sly & The Family Stone.

What is your favorite NYC pizzeria?
M: My favorite is BD Pizza on Stanton St. near Arlene’s Grocery. It’s the only dollar pizza place I’ve found that gives you parmesan, plus the fact that it is a dollar makes it so much tastier.

What’s next? Are you planning to tour?
Y: We been really preoccupied with the Slice of Paradise record, so we haven’t been able to invest much energy into our live shows. But now that we’ve dropped the album, our next priority is gigging around the city, so look out for us playing around in the next few months or so. We also may set up a tour for next summer and hit some festivals. My family is from London, so we are also trying to get over to Europe for a few shows too.

October 31, 2016 12:00 am

Ben Talmi has worked behind the scenes for ages, manning the boards at Virtue and Vice Studios, as well as scoring films and being a DJ for an EDM-driven circus (more on that later). Now Ben has stepped into the spotlight, releasing a music video for his song, “Play”, and gearing up for the release of his album.

ATYPICAL SOUNDS was lucky to catch a few minutes with this musical renaissance man, and get his take on creating music for a diverse world.

You recently released a video for your song “Play”. What’s next?
I’ve got some more music videos up my sleeve, and an album done that I can’t wait to get out there. I’m hoping to tour as hard as possible on it.

 Virtue and Vice Studios has seen some pretty impressive bands pass through its doors. Do you have a favorite band or artist you worked with there?
Any time that I’ve had the extreme luck of working with or having any of the musicians from yMusic in my studio has been amazing. They operate on a very inspiring level of musicianship while maintaining impeccable taste with their playing. Often times when musicians achieve such a high level of technical ability, they want to use all their knowledge and skill all the time but the musicians in yMusic really balance that world beautifully. I’ve also been writing a bunch of songs with Dave Monks from Tokyo Police Club recently, he’s amazing, just totally free and fun to write songs with.

You wrote the score for the film Duke and the Buffalo, which was included in the Tribeca Film Festival. How does one go about writing a soundtrack for a film about bison? Where do you start?
These days, directors and filmmakers will send you what’s called a “temp score”, that’s sort of a guideline or reference music for cues that they want you to imitate or mimic. Composers generally detest this because it doesn’t leave room for much creativity or the ability to put your identity into the music you are making. With Duke and the Buffalo I was pretty inspired by the peaceful nature of the animals in these epic landscapes virtually untouched by man. If you listen to the score you will hear hints of Brian Eno, Nils Frahm and Jon Brion throughout.

You also wrote an EDM score for Circus Electronica. Acrobats seem pretty different from bison. Is it a challenge for you to switch gears between projects?
Conor Oberst once said something great about how a song is just a naked body and the way you produce it is like sending it into a walk in closet and putting on this shirt or that pair of pants. At the end of the day its all harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics, just open up the faucet, the water will pour out.

How different is the “real world” of music from what you learned while attending Berklee?
No one cares about how many scales you know, how fast you can play augmented arpeggios or what your proficiency ratings are. The only thing that matters is if you make art that says something and connects with people. It’s not about you, squash your ego, be a vessel for something greater that can inspire and change people for the better.

You’ve also done music for clients like Microsoft. Do you have much experience specifically in the advertising industry? Do you find your advertising clients asking you to do things like making a soundalike of a popular song for an ad?
Whenever I’ve done commercial writing, music supervisors will always ask to mimic other songs or do a soundalike but Microsoft actually licensed one of my own songs for a commercial. Its a really personal song that was inspired by something I went though. I had no intention what so ever of molding the music to fit a commercial sound or putting any kind of obviously “licensable” characteristics in it. Funny how that works.

You have experience in orchestral composition, yet much of your work is electronic. Do you see there being major differences between the way the two genres are composed, or are they more similar than people may think?
It’s all the same if you look at music as the four fundamental elements of harmony, melody, rhythm and lyrics.

What’s your favorite place in New York to get pizza?
This might be obvious to people who live in Brooklyn but Roberta’s will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

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.