Some of my favorite things…

Here are some things that make me smile. I can’t believe March is just starting and there’s so much awesome things to share with you. More to come… but til then, enjoy these finds.

Tiny Wings app on iphone – Help this little birdie see new land at lightning speed with just a touch.

TED – Right now, big thinkers and creative minds are meeting in Long Beach. Alas, I’m not a luminary so I’m not at the event but I can watch from you and so can you! Here’s the first video posted from this year’s meeting of the minds…

Adele ’21’ – One of my favorite albums so far in 2011. I hope this is a sign for more good music to come this year. Adele’s ’21’ is soulful and smart. I admit I can’t help but turn up the volume when I listen to this album.

Charlie Sheen in New Yorker Cartoons – I do admit there’s been a Charlie Sheen overload in the media these days. Here’s a worthy link that is clever and brings a new depth to Sheen’s words. Brilliant! By the way, here’s a clip from the ABC interview chock-full of Charlie Sheen quotables.

February sounds like this…

Here’s some music to get you through the cold winter nights.

For those of you who are Pitchfork fiends and follow the AV Club, you’ve heard of Tennis. The band has been hyped by music blogs for months and to be honest – the hype is for real. I can’t get their music out of my head. For those who haven’t heard of Tennis, here’s your introduction.

Tennis is Patrick Riley and Alaina Moore, the husband-and-wife team from Colorado. Their album, Cape Dory, is inspired by their yearlong voyage on a sailboat. The album is out now and it has a great nostalgic sound that will warm cold hearts. Give it a listen…

One of my favorite Swedish bands is coming to town: The Radio Dept. I’ve been a fan for years and they rarely travel stateside so I was more than ecstatic when I found out they were playing at the El Rey. Yes, I have my tickets in hand.

Their sound is a bit shoegaze and a bit dream pop. Their latest album, Clinging to a Scheme, is probably their best yet because you can hear their range and the music is tighter than their previous albums. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of their previous work but I think this album really stands out and shows how much they’ve progressed.

Here’s an artist who doesn’t use words – it’s all instrumental: Ólafur Arnalds. He’s an Icelandic artist in his mid-20s. He used to be in a hardcore/metal band but now creates ethereal neo-classical electronic music. Quite a transition. His music seems simple at first listen but it’s quite complex. He’s on tour now – I’m actually going to see him play at The Echoplex.

Happy listening!

Music recap: Culture Collide in Silverlake

Sorry for the lack of posts but life has been one step ahead of me and I’ve been playing catch up. Right now, I’m in the midst of finding a new apartment, had my first day of Korean language class, prepping for my trip to Montana for the annual Society for Environmental Journalists conference, and organizing a backlog of food photos — sit tight, food porn is on the way.

But in between all that, I did get a chance to go out last weekend for Filter Magazine’s Culture Collide Festival which brought together indie bands from around the world. For $20, you could skip around from venue to venue and check out up and coming international bands for the entire weekend.

One of my highlights was being able to see Hello Saferide for the first time. Hello Saferide is singer/songwriter Annika Norlin from Sweden. She has a vulnerability in her voice that I immediately fell in love with when a friend in Sweden put her on a mix CD for me. Here’s a photo I snapped when she played an acoustic set at 826LA in Silverlake during the festival.

Here’s one of my favorite songs by her…

The band that stole the night for me definitely has to be the Norwegian band Casiokids. I couldn’t stop dancing during their entire set! And to be honest, I wasn’t the only one because most of the crowd was moving – it was impossible not to dance. The band had great stage presence and even had a pineapple  shaped shaker to boot for some percussion. And of course there were some Casio keyboards in the mix. Enough talk, here’s the band and some songs that will move YOU. Enjoy!

If you’re having a bad day…

You should watch this music video by OK Go. It’s another winner… really! I love the creativity in their music videos – which I’ve highlighted before in a previous post. Please don’t judge but I admit I’m a bigger fan of their videos than the music. The music is definitely catchy but they’ve really established themselves in making original and memorable music videos. Someone please give these guys a MTV Lifetime Achievement Award for making REAL music videos!

Anyhow, if you had a bad day or if you just want to smile, please take a moment to watch this:

Belle & Sebastian is “Write About Love”

Those who know me know that I adore Belle & Sebastian. The layers of sound and the bittersweet lyrics mixed with Stuart Murdoch’s charm make it all irresistible for me. B&S have a new album, “Write About Love,” coming out in October and their label is releasing promos like this free MP3 download of “Write About Love” you can get now.

There’s also a 28-minute B&S TV show that was produced by the Glasgow production company Forest of Black where the band talks about their new album and performs a couple songs from the new release that you can watch below.

And if seeing them online and hearing their music isn’t enough, the band is going on the road  this fall (heck yeah!!) and you can find dates here.

A while ago, I produced a B&S interview for the WBUR Boston public radio program Here & Now that you can check out on their archived website here — click on the full broadcast and skip to 34:37 for the interview with Stuart Murdoch and Mick Cooke.

I remember when my awesome arts editor snapped this photo when we did the interview. It was definitely one of my favorite stories I got to produce while I was at Here & Now. It was actually the first time I used ProTools too! Listening to it now, there are some things I would have changed but que sera… I’m glad my pitch was accepted and I got to produce it.

My latest addictions will be yours too.

Since Lost was cancelled, I haven’t watched television that much. You’re thinking that I’m doing summer things – kayaking, hiking, or something outdoorsy. Alas, I’m not. Instead, I’ve been addicted to getting my entertainment via the web. Here are the two sites you should be following (if you aren’t already):

Infinite Garage

This blog is the brainchild of my dear friend (and author) Raina Lee. She’s on an archeological dig of her family’s history from the last 35 years. The reason I love this blog is because Raina’s writing is strong and her voice really comes through. She makes you laugh and is open about her family’s history through her words and photographs. One of my favorite posts is about her mom’s dress where Raina posts a photo of her wearing the dress today and posts a photo of her mom in the same dress when she wore it as a young woman. And I can’t forget the post about all the gadgets she’s finding in the garage. You feel like you are actually sifting through her family’s history with her. Want to be part of her findings? She’s posting items on Etsy to help downsize her home right now.

The LXD

Watch one episode and you’ll be addicted… I know I was. I admit I’ve always been a fan of dance films… think Fame, Center Stage, Strictly Ballroom, Shall We Dance (Japanese version), Fred and Ginger filmsThe League of Extraordinary Dancers (aka The LXD) is directed by Jon Chu and is a web mini-series that was launched last month. Each Wednesday, a new episode is released on Hulu and trust me… you’re going to wish a new episode was released everyday. The story is simple – good versus evil. But the way the story is told is through dance. What makes this series unique is how the verbal dialogue is secondary because the dancing is the real dialogue. Here are a couple of my favorite webisodes…

Vodpod videos no longer available. Vodpod videos no longer available.

If you think you just saw the guy from Glee (Harry Shum, Jr.) in the webisode above, you are correct. He’s also one of the choreographers for the series. Anyhow, I can’t wait to see what happens next!

Lastly, can’t stop listening to the Best Coast album. I’ve had the singles but finally the full-length came out and it’s been on repeat. Here’s one of my favorite songs on the album. Enjoy!

Music videos that make me smile

Here are some notable music videos of 2010. Why do I like these? It’s the storytelling that takes place in 3-5 minutes. Plus, these artists look like they are having a damn good time while making music.

I heart Mark Ronson. Enough said… just watch and you’ll know why.

Here’s the new OK Go video that came out this month. Seems pretty simple but when you look closely, you realize this was shot all in real time and it’s made by using stop-motion. Well done!

And we can’t forget OK Go’s last video – yeah, I’m talking about the Rube Goldberg machine one… brilliant!

This Vampire Weekend video has some unexpected cameo appearances by Jake Gyllenhaal, Lil Jon, RZA, and Joe Jonas. Plus, this is one catchy song that I adore.