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Monday, September 8, 2014

Monday Playlist: Birthday Ladies

Today is the birthday of 3 amazing ladies: Patsy Cline, Neko Case, and Aimee Mann. 

In honor of this day, I present this week's Monday Playlist: Birthday Ladies.

Patsy Cline - Got a Lot Rhythm in My Soul




Neko Case - Man


Confession time. For a while, I thought that Mazy Star's Fade Into Me was a Neko Case song.



Aimee Mann - Save Me


I still have not seen the movie Magnolia, but I heard it's really good. This song, which was on the soundtrack, was a fairly recent discovery from my Spotify Radio. 



Bonus Song: 'Til Tuesday - Voices Carry


I love this song, but this video is insane.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Playlist: End of Summer 2014 Top 5

Is it really September? It seems like it was just a few days ago that I was looking forward to summer and going to a bunch of music festivals. Life happened and most of my summer plans had to take a back seat to other things. That's how it works, I guess.

Despite only going to 3 shows and a music festival, I had a very eventful summer. Lot's of highs and lows - the kind that makes you reevaluate what's important right now and what it is that you've always wanted. And with great music serving as soundtrack to these events, it made even the lowest lows tolerable. 


Here are the Top 5 Songs that made my summer (in no particular order).

Young Rising Sons - High




Young Rising Sons had been on my radar for quite some time now.

I'm still a bit skeptical about them, but damn it, their songs are as infectious as Chlamydia in a bath house.

With lyrics like that seems to extrapolation, their sound is surprisingly uplifting, upbeat, and just the right amount of optimism that people like me would appreciate.

It's like Walking On Sunshine but far less annoying and not as overused on movie montage and trailers.

'Cause all we need is love

and love means sacrifice

But it's sure worth the prize

if you get it right (eh!)

'Cause way up in the sky 

there's no such thing as blind.

I listened to it the most the days leading up to my epiphany. It really is a fun, simple song that should be on everyone's "Feel Good Playlist".

 

Joywave - Tongues




This song from Joywave sounds like something from the Party Girl (1993) soundtrack. I imagine Parker Posey dancing to this song, or some drag queen Vogue-ing to it.

It, for some reason, also reminds me of Daft Funk's Around The World. There is something almost cartoonish about the beat, and that makes me smile every time it comes on my Spotify playlist. The lyrics perfectly describes what it feels like living in gossipy small community, much like being in the gay "community".

This song is fun, dancey, and very drag-tastic. I really like it more so than any the other songs in Joywave's discography.

Bleachers - Rollercoaster




Bleachers is Jack Antonoff's side project he started while on tour with his band Fun.

The album Strange Desire is a revealing, compassionate confession of someone "sorting things out." It's a lot like a blog post from someone in on the verge of a counseling break through. Something that I can obviously relate to.

Rollercoaster is one of the songs in the album that doesn't completely sound like you're eaves dropping on someone's therapy session. It's a sad song, but hopeful at the same time.

 

Bad Veins - Dancing On TV




This is an older song, I think. But I did not discover it till I heard it on KEXP.

There is so much longing in this song, that is masked by the upbeat rhythm, but still present in the lead singer's voice.

What I like about this is that it's a deceptively sad song, much like Baby, One More Time and MMMBop. I appreciate songs that seems vapid on the surface but actually has more to it - kinda like me, according to some people.

Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?




Ryan: Wait, this is NOT Black Keys?

James: It's NOT?!

My exact reaction too. But that's a good thing.

This song has some seriously bad ass guitar riffs.

The lyrics is very tortured and a lot of longing - common themes in most of the songs that I gravitated to this summer.

So have you got the guts?  
Been wondering if your heart's still open
and if so I wanna know what time it shuts  
Simmer down and pucker up I'm sorry to interrupt. 
It's just I'm constantly on the cusp of trying to kiss you  
I don't know if you feel the same as I do  
But we could be together if you wanted to

Bonus:

Maids - Bandits

This is a local band here in Des Moines.

I had the chance to see them live this summer at 80/35 Music Festival.

They'd been around for a while, but I am just now discovering them. I've even met one of them in person before realizing that he's in this band. I'm glad that this town is producing some really decent bands, not just American Idol rejects.

Check out their Facebook page: Maids Facebook Page and a profile on Juice Magazine.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Morning Playlist

Introducing: Hipster Sloth, our playlist curator.

Mondays doesn't get much love. From Garfield's hatred of the day, to school kids and adults dreading the start of another school/work week. But Mondays, apart from Friday and Saturday, has inspired many songs. While they mostly lament the end of the weekend, Monday songs, if curated properly, can lift you out of the gloom of starting yet another soul-sucking school/work week.


This is the precise reason why I curated this Monday Morning Playlist - filled with songs that will elevate your mood, (it has Monday on their titles). The list is designed to follows a mood elevation pattern that eases you in to the week.



For optimal result, play the songs in this order:

Monday Will Never Be The Same - Hüsker Dü


Monday - Jon Brion



Monday Monday - The Mamas & The Papas



Monday, Monday, Monday - Tegan & Sara



I Don't Like Mondays - The Boomtown Rats



Manic Mondays - The Bangles



Monday Morning - Death Cab For Cutie



Monday - Wilco



Blue Monday - New Order



Come Monday Night - God Help The Girl



Bonus song:

9 to 5 - Dolly Parton

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Maha Music Festival

Dear Organizers of Maha Music Festival,

You had me at Death Cab For Cutie.



Love,
Callen


Friday, June 20, 2014

Nitefall On The River

Every summer, the wonderful people over at Simon Estes Amphitheater puts a series of concerts featuring regional and national acts. It's like Shakespeare In The Park: you bring your lawn chair, you get drunk in public while the sun's still out, you dance around, make a fool of yourself. Good times.

I'm not really sure who organizes it, but I doubt it's the same people in-charge of the 80/35 Music Festival. It is possible it's the city's Parks & Rec.

The last time I went to one of these concerts was about 4 or 5 years ago. My friend, Beau, wanted to see Natasha Bedingfield. He was obsessed with Pockets Full of Sunshine since watching Easy A. I suffered through her opening act (Kat Graham) and a selection of her music. By the time she got to Pocket... it started raining!

Guess her pockets aren't full of sunshine.

This year, I'm actually quite impressed by the line-up. Here are some of the acts that I wouldn't mind seeing.


Yes, I like Ingrid Michaelson. Deal with it. 


I am most excited to see Portugal, the Man and STRFKR. I've seen Grouplove before, but I wouldn't mind seeing them again. I do like their new song "Shark Attack".


To learn more about Nitefall on the River, visit their Facebook page.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mashup Monday: Freeez vs Bruno Mars

Williamsburg today or London in the 1980's?

This song was in a mashup I received from an ex a few years back. Thought it was a more recent song. Should have known better since it was on the same mix cd as the Arcade Fire/Blondie mashup track.


Also, they have hipsters in the 80's. Who knew?

Now listen to the Bruno Mars / Freeez mashup after the jump.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Robyn + Röyksopp in Chicago


There was a collective scream from my Facebook friends when I posted about Robyn and Röyksopp's Do It Again Tour coming to Chicago this summer.  So far, it's the closest one to Des Moines, unless they stop by in the Twin Cities.


Robyn performed at First Avenue in Minneapolis a few years back (2011).  At the time, none of my friends knew about her.  Body Talk Pt. 1 came out in June the previous year and it hasn't quite made its way to Middle America.  I've always liked her ever since her "Show Me Love" and "Do You Really Want Me" days.  Then she did "With Every Heartbeat," and from there grew my appreciation for the Swedish pop-star.  She's the only gay pop icon that I'm not embarrassed to be caught listening to ( and maybe occasionally Kylie).

Meanwhile, Röyksopp was a band that I only knew about through a Geico advert.  It wasn't until their "Miss It So Much" came on my Pandora station during a make-out session my senior year of college.  I've liked them since then.

I'm sooo ready to finally see them live in concert!  Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10am.  I hope I wake up early enough.

Monday, May 5, 2014

80/35 Music Festival Line-Up

So... the 80/35 Music Festival is in two months.  I'm still somewhat hoping that there would be additions to the line-up.  It just seemed lackluster compared to the previous years.


Out of all the acts listed, I'm really not that excited to see anyone.  I like Conor Oberst, but that's just old habit.  Best Coast is OK, I liked them in 2010.

I would still go and check it out.  I think it's important to support the event.  It's not always going to be great, but if you want to see more events like this happen in your city, you've kinda have to support it.  Perhaps next year I'll join their board or committee.

Visit their website here: 80-35

Line-up Verdict: I don't hate it.  / Actual event verdict: Pending

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Hanging Out: Up-Down


One of my favorite places to hang out is the Up-Down an arcade bar located in Des Moines' East Village.  They have more than 40 old-school arcade games, a life-size JENGA and Connect Four, and Nintendo games.  It's basically like going back to your childhood basement, except this time you don't have to sneak in alcohol.

I approve of this place because it's across the street from where I like to start my night of partying- The Blazing Saddles. One sip you'll get a buzz, one drink will get you drunk.

On my way down the stairs to the bar last night, I walked-in on a middle of a conversation between two dudes about the musician St. Lucia.


"You've never heard of St. Lucia?" asked the first dude. 

"No."dude number two replied.

I chimed in as I was descending down the steps, in my NATO regulation jacket and Doc Martens - looking like I just came back from an Occupy Movement rally. 

"He sounds like Steve Woodwind."

"Winwood." One of them corrected me.  

"Same difference," I said as I continued down the stairs to look for my friends Bryan, Firras and Jose. 

I don't think that interaction could have gone any cooler if I had said the right name.  But that's the kind of stuff that regularly goes on at Up-Down.  I like that they play music that seems like out my Spotify playlist (or my missing iPod). 

Sometimes though, there will be people who those "party bus" people.  They're usually bachelorette parties or people from Ankeny.  So expect to see the occasional Ed Hardy types, but they normally don't hang out there for long.  They migrate to the martini bar across the street. 

Visit their website: UpDownDSM

Verdict: Callen Approves.

Speaking of St. Lucia, take a listen to his new song Elevate. Then listen to Steve "Woodwind" Winwood's Higher Love and tell me if hear the influence. 



Saturday, April 26, 2014

Allergic Rhinitis? Aint Nobody Got Time For That!

Hello readers of the worlds best secret blog!

My new physician looks like she just graduated from med school.  My old one, Dr. Major, has been my physician since I was a teenager.  He's quite old now and is transitioning a lot of his patients to this doctor.  She looked like a bespectacled Meredith Gray.

It's odd having a younger and somewhat attractive doctor.  I have the same feelings about my new dentist.  I would like people examining me to be unattractive.  It just doesn't seem fair to have someone that good-looking to be so close to your face and not make-out with them.

But I digress.

During my physical exam, I informed my new doctor that I've had trouble breathing.  It's not a lung issue, but a nose issue.  Ever since I went to the South and experience a nosebleed somewhere on the continental divide, I've had trouble breathing through my nose.  My old doctor advised that I should keep my nose moist by using a saline nasal gel.  Four tubes later, it's still no better.

Camping? Nope. I'm allergic to nature!
photo credit: nan palmero via photopin cc
My new doctor examined my nose and saw that my nasal passages are inflamed.  Yup folks, I have developed a seasonal allergy.  I have what is called Allergic Rhinitis, commonly known as Hay Fever!

Dun... dun... dun...

Since I'm not really an outdoorsy kind of guy, I've never really noticed or been bothered by it.  But now that weather is getting warmer, I am running outside more.  Thus exposing myself to pollen and dust that causes my allergy.  

I've never really been allergic to anything before.  I used to joke that I'm allergic to vegetables.  Now that I actually know I am allergic to something, that joke doesn't seem as funny anymore.  At least I have a better reason to NOT go camping aside from the lack out plumbing. 

The good news is that my new doctor prescribed me some antihistamine and nasal spray to help me breath during this allergy season.  The bad news is that I would probably have to rely on them for the rest of my life.  That legitimately sucks, but it inspired to look up some stuff to help with my allergy.  

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Austin City Limits Music Festival

Austin City Limits Music Festival announced their full lineup earlier this morning.  And let me tell you, it's pretty impressive!


A 3-day General Admission pass is $225. Snag your tickets TODAY at 10AM CT!

For those who wants to enjoy the festival in style, there are VIP packages with special amenities offered with access to complimentary food & drinks, gourmet happy hours, mini spa treatments, air conditioned bathrooms, HD live feeds of the four main stages, among other plush amenities.

But if you're like me, you'd probably just crash with people you know (or kinda know) in Austin. There's always CouchSurfing or AirBnB for cheaper accommodations.

See the full lineup for both weekend and ticket information here.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Playlist: New Music To Workout To

Add Some Variety To Your Workout Playlist!

Not all workout should be high impact. As such your workout playlist shouldn't JUST consist of Dub-Step or heavy metal.  Download some of these indie (and some almost mainstream) songs to your MP3 player and get ready to be cut!

Shark Attack by Grouplove



Dangerous - Big Data





Harlem - New Politics



Doses and Mimosas - Cherub



Habits - Tove Lo



Fever by Black Keys



One Minute More - Capital Cities



Sunday, April 20, 2014

A Pretty Epic Live Mash-Up That I Didn't Get To See

OMFG! It finally happened!

Yes, I know, this is a week old. But I wasn't at Coachella, so... there you go.

Last week at Coachella, Arcade Fire brought it by inviting Debbie Harry on stage for a  Heart of Glass/Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) mash-up.

Watch it here before it get's shut down!



Here's the studio version of mash-up, which I prefer over the regular edit of Sprawl II.

Send Me To Iceland... Please!

Iceland is on my TOP 10 Places To Visit.




You just know you'll find something interesting to do in a country that's a combination of glacier and volcano.  The Icelandic landscape has often been used as a backdrop for movies and television shows such as The Game of Thrones and Prometheus.

Iceland also gave us awesome musical acts like Of Monster and Men, Sigur Rós, and Björk.  In November they have one of the coolest music festivals... EVER: Iceland Airwaves Music Festival!  I'd been wanting to go ever since I first heard about it a couple of years ago.

I was JUST talking about how going to the festival would make for a really awesome blog post series, when I saw this video.  It was created for the travel site Inspired By Iceland and showcases some the cool stuff you could do in Iceland.

  

 I definitely inspired!  Someone, please send me to Iceland, preferably in November ;)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Playlist: 5 New (ish) Songs To Cuddle To On A Rainy Day


It's been raining on and off since last night.  Sundays, for me, are usually reserved for browsing the used bookstore and catching up on my favorite publications.  But it has been a while since I had a Sunday all to myself, let alone an entire weekend.

I usually have some work-related function that I had to attend to, and having recently come off a three-month judging gig (not really a gig, since I did not get paid for it) for a friend, followed by a charity fashion show I helped produced - I was overdue for some time off.

But as I mentioned, it's been raining on and off since last night and I'm not really in the mood to go anywhere.  Also, I really must start posting on this website.  I guess this will be my first real post.

Inspired by the rainy day, I came up with a list of 5 new-ish songs that would be a perfect soundtrack to your cuddling session.