music is life, music is breath, music is us

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Catherine Wheel-”Sparks Are Gonna Fly”

If you think this song sucks, for the love of god, please get your head examined.

Derek Kortepeter-”Waves”

Available as a bonus track on my EP this remains one of my best songs. My composition of the backing instruments really are a song on their own. Add my wave-like guitar tones and you get something really special.

On the unknown, the satisfied and dissatisfied, and the truth of the artist

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So…I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I did, after all, recently close the chapter on my academic training at UCLA (which in all respects was a major milestone). I think a lot now, probably more than ever, about the trajectory I want my life to go in. I have for many years seen my dreams develop and evolve, something that I doubt will cease anytime soon.

The funny thing is, in many ways, what I desire I already do.

And yet I don’t.

(Let me explain).

What I want to do with my life is what I am already doing now: making music, writing about music, interviewing bands and the like. The problem is, I am never satisfied. I always want my art to expand, my writing to reach greater heights, and much more. I take pride in what I have done, revisit it often, but then think of what I can do to better such creations and accomplishments.

I am not complaining here, it is simply that I am restless. I am seeking a higher artistic purpose/vision/inspiration (at least that is what I keep telling myself). I’d be lying if I said I didn’t also want success as well. I have selfish interests that I think will validate me as a human being (trust me; any artist that says they don’t have this is lying to you).

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But what is success measured by? Wealth? Fame? Awards? What I seek is, inevitably, unknown. I know people that are totally content in their lives, but I am not one of those people. In this time after college in which I am truly seeking my destiny, I find a lot of roadblocks. Pursuing what you love is painful, but life is indeed made up of a great deal of pain…is it not? Any worthy pursuit is filled with treacherous battles that test your will to survive, and indeed I know that while I have faced my fair share of obstacles, many more await me.

I used to be an individual that believed he could control circumstances with various actions. It was only with my acceptance that the future is totally uncertain that I was, to a degree, set free from my own hang-ups about life (there are plenty more to be found however). What I have to understand as I continue to plunge into the rest of my life is that I will always be in a state of artistic satisfaction and dissatisfaction. My life is my art, my music, my writing and there is nothing that can change that. But whether I wake up one day nominated for a GRAMMY or wake up 10 years from now in the same place that I started…I will never stop trying to create. That, my friends, is what makes me an artist.

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So I look with great apprehension to my future, but nevertheless continue to strive for only the very best from myself. I will crash and burn more times than I will succeed, but that is alright with me. I know who I am, and yet I am still discovering more.

Thanks for reading this, come along for my voyage and let us see where I land. Cheers.

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“One recognizes one’s course by discovering the paths that stray from it.”-Albert Camus

 

RIP Tommy Ramone

Punk has lost a great one. See ya on the other side Tommy.

Review of “Cut-Out,” debut album from Eilat, Israel-based band NowAdays

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If you know anything about me, you know that bands from the 90’s grunge and other alternative scenes are high on my list of favorites. I was recently contact by an Israeli band named NowAdays that advertised themselves as a band influenced by Nirvana, Incubus, the Foo Fighters and many others. This peaked my interest enough to decide to review their debut album release Cut-Out.

Listening through, it is clear that the band has their own style that is bred out of the 90’s rock scene. Consisting of Sagi Nave (Guitars / Vocals); Anabelle Jean (Vocals); Liron Tzadok (Guitars); Thomas Levy (Bass) and Liav Noy (Drums), the band creates a sound that is multi-faceted. Cut-Out takes you from aggressive rock to softer tones, ultimately giving an all-encompassing sound experience. Central to the album is the presence of great melodies and arrangements, as every song has the right amount of balance to draw any listener in. Present are two vocalists who bring their own unique musicality to the table. Also present are amazing instrumental lines, rhythms, and harmonies (courtesy of a backing string group in various track). With Cut-Out you will find yourself singing the hooks, pumping your fist to the jams, and ultimately having a full-fledged rock experience.

The most refreshing thing about NowAdays’ debut album is that they do not try to “relive” the glories of a past era, instead taking their own viewpoint and placing it into their influences. Unlike many 90’s style bands that channeled rage and nihilism, you actually feel uplifted listening to Cut-Out, even when pain is being discussed. Rock that takes you out of your situation and transplants you into a better place is always a wonderful thing.

You really cannot go wrong listening to NowAdays, especially if you love bands like Mudhoney, the Gin Blossoms, the Smashing Pumpkins and other great 90’s groups. I want to stress though, this band is not a look into the past, but rather a gaze into the future. I promise, you will love this album. So go on, buy Cut-Out and see for yourselves, don’t just take my word for it.

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James Newton (Album “Paseo del Mar”)- “Rose”

And now some music from a man that as a mentor taught me so much about composition, taking my autodidactic ways and expanding on them. He understood my stylistic tendencies well as he himself is an autodidact in composition (not to mention a badass flutist!). It is a privilege to know him, and I am certain he will teach me much more even though I have officially moved on from UCLA. Love ya Professor!

Songs from my college years: Catherine Wheel-”Heal (b side version)”

This song carried me when I couldn’t go any further and also stoked the creative fire in college. I gained the courage in many senses to try singing publicly (whereas before I just played instruments live) from Catherine Wheel and Rob Dickinson. I know my voice isn’t great, but you know, singing has unlocked a lot of new ideas. Really kind of a milestone moment in college, really in my life. I know I probably won’t go far in the scheme of things, but as long as I have my artistic integrity, I think that is alright. I’m just doing my thing and hoping somebody listens, that is really all I can ask for. Cheers.

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