music videos

TEN SECOND SONGS: 20 DIFFERENT STYLES IN 1 DIZZYING BURST
July 6, 2016 11:44 am

Cover songs can be both a wonderful and cringe-worthy affair. They allow contemporary artists to dust off forgotten gems and repackage them for a new generation. Occasionally, a cover will manage to even improve on the original, though often they fall short. The Carpenters or Sonic Youth; Otis Redding or The Rolling Stones or Devo; The Postal Service or The Shins? Al Green or Talking Heads?—this go-to conversation fodder can quickly escalate into heated debates.  Youtuber Anthony Vincent gives covers to you 20 different ways in one dizzying burst.

Ten Second Songs doesn’t particularly befit a YouTube channel dedicated to the Jim Carey of pop music impersonators—for whatever reason, the title automatically reminded me of this classic AskReddit thread instead. Nonetheless, Anthony Vincent’s goofball concoctions are a total gas. If you you’re in need of a quick and hardy laugh, he’s got you covered.

Vincent’s main attraction is the 20 Style Cover Series, in which he sings through a selected track—often voted for anonymously by his loyal subscribers—and redubs the song in the style of a random interchanging array of musical guises, from Frank Sinatra to Nirvana and RunDMC to Daddy Yankee. Sure, it’s a touch on the gimmicky side, but that’s totally the point–the pure belly-laugh value is undeniable as Vincent mashes up some often hysterical combinations. Make sure to check out his HUGE variety of covers here. This is one of our favorites, enjoy!

MY JAM TV IS OUR MODERN TV
June 21, 2016 12:22 pm

Remember when MTV played actual music videos? I honestly can’t remember the last time I saw an MTV music video. Vh1 had it going for a while, but now both channels are overwhelmed with shitty reality shows voiding themselves completely of music. Well, never fear because My Jam TV is the new MTV! The company started last year and is rapidly growing, spreading to London and China, getting on Sky TV, Roku and soon on Apple TV. My Jam TV is causing some major waves.

Here is the real break-down of what it is: It’s a channel where artists pay to have their music videos played on the air in an ever shifting rotation.

What this means for the viewer: An endless stream of music videos of all genres from new and growing artists. We scored a few minutes with CEO, David S. Zucker, and talked about it’s inception and its plans for the future:

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Where did the idea for My Jam TV come from?

After MTV started to die, I talked with my partner, Russ, about how there is nothing that really shows music videos and new artists anymore. I then asked if he wanted to start up a channel that does exactly that. He was a tiny bit unsure but I told him, “We have nothing to lose, why not?” And so we did it. We’re trying to get the word out there so that the independent artists know who we are and that they know it isn’t just another YouTube, it’s a station that is on constant rotation and people all over the world will be able to see who they are. Its tough to start, but little by little we’re trying to get out there and help the independent artist, that’s what it is about.

How does it work for the viewer and artist?

We want to educate the artist. We will broadcast their music video many times throughout the month, they get to build their own fan page, be on a radio show, a chance to be on live TV and play on the air. We also offer digital distribution with the artists to the viewer, but unlike most companies, 100% of the money from buying music goes straight to the artist.

You are broadcast all over the world, are you open to other languages?

We are mostly English right now, we do have a few Chinese bands actually and their stuff is incredible, so in other words, yes we are open to other languages. We would love to also get into the Latino community and even have a separate Spanish channel and possibly other language specific channels down the road.

What do you see for My Jam TV five years from now?

I see us having multiple channels for the various music genres, a hip-hop channel, rock channel, country and so forth. We want all sorts of music on My Jam TV, letting people explore genres they normally wouldn’t. We want to give an opportunity for artists to grow, expand and let people worldwide experience something new.

So for our readers who love new music, you know what to do. The indie channel is right up our alley, sticking it out for the underdogs. If you’re an aspiring artist, they offer a great way to get your name and music out there. Check out their website and enjoy this awesome endless flow of music videos.

Weekly Beats First Installment
October 9, 2015 1:26 pm

I’d wanted to start sooner. One of my earlier memories is confidently telling a friend of mine that I was going to learn the drums, only to then hear my mother hold in a scoff. Then, turning to my friend’s mom, “He’s going to take piano.” I didn’t hate piano, but the excitement that would come with my first drumset and lesson was certainly not included. I finally got my chance at the end of 6th grade. Since then I’ve studied rock, funk, R&B, jazz, marching band and drumline, hip-hop, steel drums, Latin percussion, Ghanaian drumming, taiko, electronic and experimental music, and others.

What has always grabbed my attention were the areas where these worlds cross over. How certain principals are tied to certain types of drumming, while others permeate throughout the world of percussion. Every new discipline I’ve learned has taught me something about drumming as a whole.

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One of the last disciplines I learned in college was from my last drum set instructor, Bill Carbone. This was a lesson that had been preached one way or another for more or less my entire musical career, but one that didn’t stick until more recently. Bill showed me how to discover and absorb great drumming through recorded music. Not that I had never paid attention to the drumming in songs before, but Bill pushed me to actively listen to the parts. To think not only about the part itself, but why the part is being played that way. And most importantly, that 90% of the time, less is more.

A tool Bill used through my final year of instruction was an ongoing Spotify playlist called “Drummer Trax.” All of the songs that Bill assigned students to study are on it, and many more besides. Bill also pushed me to make my own playlist. To find the songs that inspire me as a drummer, and figure out why.

I never had a chance to complete it with full satisfaction, but now my vehicle exists. This is to be the first of a weekly installment (if you did not surmise that from the title). Each Friday I’ll bring you three songs; one new, one old, and one you might not have heard, like below. One theme will tie the three together. There will be an ongoing playlist that grows every week. It will be groovy as hell.

The New One

Last week New York based Darwin Deez came out with their third album, titled Double Down. A full review of this album is in the works, but for now we’re going to focus on the second track “The Mess She Made.” The song starts with a wet smack and the whole band is immediately into the groove. What follows is often referred to as a break beat, an eight/sixteenth-note centric groove that the entire Drum & Bass genre is built on top of.

Deez’s drummer (who after what should have been more than enough searching, is only credited as “Greg”), has his own application though. The song is a little more ambient than typical Deez fair. While the busy layering of guitar tracks is still present, the parts are more spacious than usual, as is the vocal melody. What really pushes this song forward is the driving drum beat. It’s a nice juxtaposition; the intensity of the drums against the more reserved nature of everything else. Greg does a very nice job of pushing the song forward tastefully, without overpowering anything else. There are a few tricks he uses to accomplish this.

Firstly he plays very few fills, which could become very distracting very quickly in this type of song. When he does fill, they tend to be steady streams of sixteenth notes, keeping the momentum of the song going. What Greg usually plays instead of fills is… nothing. This is a super powerful technique. The drum track all-of-a-sudden stops. The listener is left hanging, leaning in, waiting for the beat they KNOW should be happening. It’s used all the time in hip-hop beats. You’ll hear the beat, or even just certain parts of it dropping in and out, creating tension. In those split seconds, the listener is begging to have the drums back, and when they finally do return, the same beat that you were just listening to is now fresh and exciting.

Greg combines these things with something else inherently tied to break-beat drumming: hitting off beats. Off beats drive things forward. They push toward the next step in the pattern that your brain is anticipating. Most frequently Greg will drop out on the “and of three,” or 75% of the way through a measure. This feels like a jarring halt; the drums hit a wall. When he crashes back in on the downbeat it’s the damn breaking, everything suddenly back in action. He does this almost every chance he gets throughout the song, and every time it’s awesome.

Listen for the guitar hook. You’ll know it when you hear it, just Darwin and Greg, guitar and drums. The two parts lock in perfectly, playing off each other while the band plays hits. A guitarist with a super-ear for pop hooks, Darwin Smith knows good drums when he hears them.

The Old One

Now, to find where Darwin Deez got all these great ideas, you really only need to look in one place. It is place I will likely go often in this column, as it is not only a major tenet of my drumming education, but a foundation, a pillar for most modern music. That place is the wonderful world of James Brown.

For those that don’t know him, first of all shame on you. He created funk. And not the goofy, boppy, jammy funk you hear across college campuses nationwide. He was playing hard funk. Real funk. One defining aspect of James Brown’s style is straight ahead feel of the drums. Syncopation didn’t come from a “funky drum beat.” It came from Brown’s two drummers, Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jabo” Starks, laying down time with all the rest of the band playing off of it. What’s important is feel of the song, not whether or not what they’re playing is considered cool (even though it definitely is).

Today we’re looking at a Stubblefield groove, 1968’s “I Got The Feelin’.” Again, a major driving force of the song is the drums. Also using the “wet-smack beginning,” the tempo is not that fast, but the song feels quite upbeat. Part of this is that Stubblefield almost exclusively emphasizes off beats. In between these hits you hear him pattering out streams of sixteenth notes, essentially the same fill that Greg uses in “The Mess She Made.” While “I Got The Feelin’” does not feature the super-frequent drop-outs like Deez does, it does drop out for a bridge section. This allows Brown to pull the listener in with his “Baby, baby baby’s” before the whole band is right back into the groove.

Listen to how the horns interact with the drums. When do they line up? When don’t they? Why is it so freaking cool? Now go back and listen to the guitar riff breakdown in “The Mess She Made.”

The One You Might Not Have Heard

Now listen to these concepts on fleek. “Uh Ah Brrr” by Calibro 35. This contemporary Italian funk band cranks up the tempo and cuts loose. Like The Meters on speed. A slick opening fill leads in to a steady stream of quick parts and melodies, always coming back around to the “Uh” “Ah” “Brrr” grunts that make up the chorus (something else pioneered by James Brown). Lots of off beats. The drums periodically drop out. All of the things, just more-so. Also flute.

So check ‘em out. FOLLOW THIS PLAYLIST. Check back next week for another short list. And keep it feelin’ good.

Drums