Music

The Music Matters – Episode 1

Michael and TJH have a brief chat about the new J. Cole album and other hip hop trends going on right now. 

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Other Cool Music You (Maybe) Haven’t Heard Yet

Tired of only hearing people talk about Drake and Ed Sheeran? There is a reason those guys are popular, but with over 100 albums being released every week, its really easy for awesome stuff to fall by the wayside.  If you’re looking for some music that sounds a bit different than the current trends, here are some suggestions that I have found pretty sweet from this year: 

Wild Fiction by AR Ferdinand
An electronic album that just feels good to listen to, you can’t go wrong putting this on with a hope to have some feel good vibes. With vocal effects reminiscent of Daft Punk and samples of many different feels ranging from minor disco? to R&B to Jazz, you just have to at least give it a shot.



French Kiwi Juice by FKJ
Opening off with an organ and a saxophone to set an appropriate mood can’t be a bad thing, and this jazzy R&B album doesn’t disappoint with all the “mood” and “feeling” you want to close your eyes in a room with a nice candle and just chill. 



Brokenlegged by Sinai Vessel
It wouldn’t be a list made by me if there wasn’t at least a little bit of Emo offerings. This year, Sinai Vessel released a very sad (in a good way) album about what happens when a relationship isn’t working out right and the anxiety that might cause someone to make an album about it. Sappy and cliche and a sterotype? Yes! And that is what I needed!



The Storm Before the Calm by Death Therapy
What if I told you that someone made an electronic death metal album without using any guitars? What if I told you that it worked? Jason Wisdom of the Christian metal band Becoming the Archetype made this solo project that has layers of things going on and is worth your time.



Prick of the Litter by Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men
Are you in the mood for some bluesy modern stuff reminiscent of a Randy Newman (The dude what made the song from Toy Story) mixed with a little bit of the Eagles? This kind of smooth rock is something we all might like more of in our life.

Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” Playlist is An Example of Common Grace

Have you ever been anywhere doing anything and a song comes on that you either forgot about or have never heard before and it just hits the spot? What if you could have a robot cater to your subconscious desire for that to happen every week? That’s what Spotify’s “Discover Weekly” playlist seems to do for me. 

No, Spotify doesn’t pay me, and the streaming business is a bittersweet entry into the music industry with many pros and cons that I won’t delve into right here, but there are some wonderful things that Spotify does. Aside from its wonderful social and sharing features, and the fact that it provides an ad supported but otherwise free, legal option to listen to tons of music, some time ago they also implemented something called the “Discover Weekly” playlist. 

The “Discover Weekly” automatically created playlist does what so many music services attempt to do. It looks at what you already listen to and tries to build a playlist built around those styles. Pandora is the first service I know that did this with their radio streaming, and pretty much any music service has some version of this, but I don’t think I’ve ever had one that was so successful and finding me music I have never heard of, but instantly connect with as Spotify’s “Discover Weekly”.  It seems every time I check it, at least 50% or more of the tracks on the playlist are songs I would want to listen to many more times, a few are songs I’ve heard before but may have forgotten about, and the rest are songs that I like but don’t love. 

Of course this is meant to be used as a discovery tool and can be useful in finding artists that you never would have even heard of before. I made a separate playlist for myself called “Discovery Discovery” just so I can put songs I like from my Discovery Weekly playlist into the Discovery Discovery playlist to listen to more and research after the week is over. 

If you are feeling the urge to enter that scary arena of finding some new music to listen to, but aren’t sure where to begin or maybe are unsure what you even like, Spotify may be the artificial intelligence that can read you like a book and serve you up with the endorphin releases that come from finding an awesome new song you have been missing out on. 

Music Spotlight: The Distance — Cake

Sure I’m writing about a song that came out in 1996, but I just discovered it this year and I’m hoping that maybe I can share it with someone else who hadn’t heard it before — The Distance by Cake. 

Here are the lyrics: 

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line
Engines pumping and thumping in time
The green light flashes, the flags go up
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup

They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern

As they speed through the finish, the flags go down
The fans get up and they get out of town
The arena is empty except for one man
Still driving and striving as fast as he can

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

He’s going the distance, he’s going for speed
She’s all alone, all alone in her time of need
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He’s going the distance

No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine
He’s haunted by something he cannot define
Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse
Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force

In his mind, he’s still driving, still making the grade
She’s hoping in time that her memories will fade
‘Cause he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up
And long ago somebody left with the cup
But he’s striving and driving and hugging the turns
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns

‘Cause he’s going the distance, he’s going for speed
She’s all alone, all alone in her time of need
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He’s racing and pacing and plotting the course
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse
He’s going the distance, he’s going for speed
He’s going the distance

Its a song of nerd white rap determination that shows the dedication of a racecar driver crushed by the loss of his love and taking his sadness out by fighting even harder to win at the track — where he still loses. A simple driving bass progression with choral vocals behind the chorus while topping it off with a cool sampled horn section helps bring out the sad, but determined mood of this driver.

Hope somebody enjoyed this song as much as I have been lately!

My Experimentation and Creation with Music As of Late

I’ve been messing around with creating and playing various music lately and I thought I would share some of it with you. I hope you enjoy and I am very thankful to anyone who happens to give it a listen. Thanks! 

Give it a listen and if you would like, please let me know what you think either in the comments section below, or by emailing me your thoughts at michael@thecultureofmypeople.com 

You can listen to or DL the .mp3 here — Enjoy! 

Top 5 Songs 2013

What up people! Michael, Amanda, and myself have been working on filtering through the top songs of this year. We will be posting the podcast at a later point, but in the mean time here are some of the songs that we discussed in our determination of the best songs of the year. Stay tuned for the podcast to discover what our top 5 songs of the year are. Collapsible Lung – Relient K Get Lucky – Daft Punk Mirrors – Justin Timberlake Phoenix – Fall Out Boy Doin It Right – Daft Punk Superhuman – Any Mineo