Tag Archives: music

My music trends in 2016

Every year, I like checking my Last.fm account to see what music I played the most the previous year. This year, my most played artist was Sia. Given that I definitely know I play her music a lot, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. She’s not my sixth most played artist overall in addition to number one in 2016.

This graph shows just how much more I listened to Sia than anyone else. It also amuses me that Instalok is number six considering I listen to his parody songs that use Overwatch footage.

Four of my most played tracks were by Sia. I only listened to her during the second half of the year as well. I have a Spotify playlist made on July 6 that consisted of the music Anela played while I was driving, and it was during that drive that she introduced me to Sia I think (although I did go on to find new tracks by her that I loved). “Kill Em with Kindness” and “You Don’t Own Me” (which Suicide Squad made me love) was also from that same playlist actually.

Despite enjoying ska concerts, no ska song broke the top ten (although two ska bands were in my top ten most played artists. I guess I must listen to a lot of different Suburban Legends and Half Past Two songs.

I wonder what I’ll listen to in 2017.

Suburban Legends, Skapeche Mode, and more on 1/14

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

I went Reel Big Fish concert a couple weeks ago featuring Starpool, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders at the Observatory. I didn’t get chance to share any photos. Better late than never.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

After watching The Maxies on the main stage with gem, I switched rooms to watch Stupid Flanders. That’s also where I ran into my friend, Amit.

gem left Stupid Flanders to be sure to catch all of Suburban Legends. I missed the first half of the first song or so by the time I got over there. It was packed, and we were separated.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

After Suburban Legends’ set, I switched back to the Constellation Room for Skapeche Mode. Can you guess that they do Depeche Mode covers?

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

I got nice and close! Skapeche Mode has great energy, and I love fun 80s tunes. Plus, they’re pretty friendly! I actually ran into Bryan, the trumpet player, at SDCC.

gem managed to find me at this point even though we couldn’t text. Signal was so bad that our text messages were actually lagging by 20 minutes or so.

skapeche mode

After their set, gem and I chatted with Bryan briefly, and I got this photo with Skapeche Mode’s singer. Note the David Bowie homage.

Reel Big Fish, Suburban Legends, The Maxies, Skapeche Mode, and Stupid Flanders on 1/14/16

Last was Reel Big Fish. By that time, I just wasn’t feeling it too much anymore. Plus, there was a lot of weed around us, so we left after a couple songs. We did, however, run into Brian Klemm, guitarist for Suburban Legends. I think this is the happiest I’ve ever seen gem. Plus, when I asked Klemm about the band since this is their last tour, he confirmed that they’re not breaking up and should still be playing locally. Awesome!

Ending 2015 with the Ska Luau VI and a NYE party

Following tradition, I ended 2015 by attending the Ska Luau on the 30th and going to a New Year’s Eve party at the Carters’ on the 31st. It was a lot of fun!

Ska  Luau VI

gem and I were looking good at the Ska Luau. I need to work on evening my tan.

Ska  Luau VI

The two of us were rocking our Suburban Legends shirts! The Luau featured the Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe, Karate in the Garage, Hooray for Our Side, Suburban Legends, and Starpool. What a sweet line up!

Ska  Luau VI

We ran into our friend Bryan who’s the trumpet player for Skapeche Mode and Failed to Victory. All the bands performed amazing sets. I’d never heard Karate in the Garage, so that was a treat. I’d only seen Hooray for Our Side once, and they gave a great performance. Suburban Legends and Starpool are two of my favorite bands, and they somehow always exceed expectations. I didn’t take many photos of Suburban Legends. There choreography is so awesome that still photos wouldn’t do them justice. However, I have some videos of them playing and dancing in the playlist at the top of this post.

Ska  Luau VI

Starpool came out in a bang of confetti!

Ska  Luau VI

Throw my hands up and shout! I love when they perform this. You can see T-bone Willy Wonka and an Oompa Loompa on stage too. My ears were ringing all day the next day.

New Year's Eve Party

I brought a lot of food to the New Year’s Eve party – brownies, lemon bars, and biscuit pizzas.

New Year's Eve PartyI told Henley that I had a gift for him in the car, and he was pretty excited. He was so adorable asking if it was time to open it yet. He needed some help getting it unwrapped! New Year's Eve Party

He seemed pretty happy with his new Buzz Lightyear! As it turns out, he had really wanted one too. While I was undoing the ties to get Buzz out of the package, Henley repeatedly gave me hugs. He’s so cute.

We suggested he open gem’s gift while I got Buzz out of the box. gem gave him a jacket that looks like a polar bear, complete with bear ears of course. He’s wearing it in that photo, although he didn’t want the hood.

New Year's Eve Party

Dev’s dog, Happy, is totally a lap dog.

New Year's Eve Party

Here’s me and Dev! He’s one of my oldet friends. We met in 8th grade.

New Year's Eve Party

I guess Mike likes my brownies! Actually, he was wondering why Dev scooped them out of the pan with a spoon.

New Year's Eve Party

gem made cheesecake ice cream as gifts and left them in a freezer. I realized that Gracie and Jon forgot to take one, so we began discussing the ice cream. Somehow we realized we could heat up my homemade brownies and serve them with gem’s homemade cheesecake ice cream.

New Year's Eve Party

Super success! A picture doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me that it was delicious.

And that was my New Year’s Eve! Thanks to Alex, Darnell, Henley, gem, Devin, Lorena, Gracie, Jon, Mike, Dev, and a couple people who I didn’t really know (sorry, I forgot names after a day already) for a fantastic end to 2015!

My Merry Christmas

Christmas 2015

My Christmas was certainly merry, and I hope everyone else’s was too. This is my little Christmas tree. I hadn’t put the homemade ornaments on it yet, but I forgot to get a photo with them and the gifts. Whoops.

Christmas 2015

This is at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve. We do our main celebrating and gift exchange on Christmas Eve, while Christmas day is more relaxed. This photo was just my generation of the family. That’s my cousin Haley on the left, my cousin Mitch under his gifts, and my brother on the right.

Christmas 2015Here’s another of Mitchell. He’s pretty awesome. Christmas 2015

Now I’m standing with my grandma, my aunt, and my mom. My grandpa is on the right.

Christmas 2015Here’s one of me and Pete. He’s trying to hold up a photo on his phone he took of my grandma’s butt.

What happened to grandma’s shoe? Weird. Christmas 2015

Here’s a couple gifts from gem! She gave me a Bluetooth speaker, a set of bear sheets (I can’t wait to get into bed tonight), and a ukulele! Amazing! I brought my ukulele with me today when I went to my parents’ for Christmas day to practice. I’m trying to play Martian Girl by the Aquabats. Yes, gifts from me are missing from this post. I’ll talk about them some other time!

Thanksgiving weekend

TommyThis might not have been a Thanksgiving spent in Hawaii, but it was still nice and fairly packed full of action. I spent most of Wednesday evening attempting to create pumpkin pie blondies. While I’ll still eat them, I’d say they didn’t work out. Oh well! Thanksgiving morning I woke up at 4 to get an early start and to drive Anela to LAX. On the way home, I stopped by my dad’s to say hello and then headed home for a nap. In the afternoon, I went to my aunt’s in Redondo Beach for Thanksgiving. That’s her dog, Tommy, at the top. Tommy

He was pretty freakin’ adorable. I spent the evening with my aunt, uncle, and two cousins. It’s been great getting to know my cousins as young adults. Usually my mom, stepdad, and sometimes brother come too, but this year they didn’t come. I found out that Mom and Pete were painting the house this weekend instead. Oh well. We had a delicious meal, watching Jurassic World and Shark Tank, and played Bananagrams, Rummikub, and Triominos. My cousin Haley left fairly late in the evening to do Black Friday shopping. I didn’t even realize that stores were open at midnight. It seemed crazy to me. More on this very soon…

Ferris WheelI left a little after 11 for Irvine. After getting home, I met with gem. For Black Friday from midnight to 8 AM, Spectrum was going to have free carousel and Ferris wheel rides. Now that I knew stores were open at midnight, it made much more sense. Carousel

We started with the carousel ride, which was right next to a live DJ. Fun!

Ferris WheelNext up was the Ferris wheel. It was freezing, but it was fun! There was free ice skating as well, but we decided it was too cold for that. We went to Macy’s to look for a bathroom, and next thing I knew, we were shopping. I had to send a Snapchat to Haley. Just a few hours earlier, I thought Black Friday shopping at night was silly, yet here I was, 3 in the morning, sucked into stores. I didn’t buy anything though. Selah Laughing

After a short night of sleep, I went with gem to her parents’ for a large Thanksgiving meal. Here’s gem’s niece, Selah, laughing. She’s beautiful! I’d seen photos of her, but this was my first time meeting her. How lucky I was!

Selah Eats Ice CreamSelah liked gem’s homemade ice cream. Was that the Earl Grey or the apple pie? No idea. Selah Eats Ice Cream

She got a little on her face! 🙂

Selah SelfieShe likes playing with phones and seemed to like the camera. We took this selfie! I was careful to ensure she didn’t call 911. She did that recently at their house. Selah

Here’s Selah playing with gem’s ukulele. She hit it like a drum, but when she held it up to smash it down, gem took it away. She’s so adorable!

Musical FamilyI played two games of chess with gem’s nephew, Caleb. He kicked my butt. gem and her brothers had a family jam session too! I thought that was really cool. South Coast Plaza

After that? Black Friday shopping again somehow. There’s nothing I really want in particular, and nothing jumped out at me, but it was still fun.

Vegan ChiliOn Saturday, I visited my mom, Pete, and James. I had offered to help paint the house, but they actually had finished. We played Scrabble and ate chili. Yum! Mrs. Cronk We also came across some old school photos. Can you find me? This is from kindergarten. Mrs. Thorness And this one is from first grade. Later Saturday night I read some of Aeneid, finished Iphigenia at Aulis, and watched Big Hero 6. Exciting evening! Original Pancake House

Sunday morning I awoke early to pick up Anela from LAX. I actually drove over 350 miles this weekend, which is impressive considering I didn’t actually go out of town. On the way home, we stopped at Original Pancake House for breakfast! We had blueberry pancakes and Swedish pancakes. Tasty tasty.

Pumpkin pie blondies (with dark chocolate)

In the evening, I finished the weekend by eating leftovers and watching Frozen with gem. We also had these treats! I baked pumpkin pie blondies recently. They tasted decent though they were too strong and too soft and mushy. I considered them failures. gem thought to cover them in dark chocolate. It was a nice improvement; they were much tastier!

Spotify’s Discover Weekly, a great way to discover new music

Spotify introduced the Discover Weekly playlist, giving users custom playlists of new music based on their usage. So far, it’s been pretty amazing for me. If you haven’t tried it yet, check Browse > Discover > Discover Weekly.

Checking my Last.fm reveals that in the last week, nine of my top ten played songs were from my Discover Weekly playlists from the last two weeks. Spotify’s algorithms seem spot on; they certainly know what I like. Discover Weekly is a single playlist that’s updated every Monday. Because I want to save them, I make a new playlist that’s a duplicate of my Discover Weekly. When the Discover Weekly is changed, I still have my duplicate.

One song it recommended was Obsessed With You by The Orion Experience. It recommended it to me two weeks ago with the introduction of Discover Weekly, and it’s now my 38th most played song ever according to Last.fm. That’s crazy. I guess I listened to it a lot. Whoops.

I’ve been looking for ways to discover new music, especially since there are some kinds of music that I enjoy but about which I don’t know much. This is a perfect way to discover new music! And in the interest of discovering new music, here’s a selection of tracks that I’ve enjoyed from my Discover Weekly playlist:

  • The Orion Experience – Obsessed With You
  • The Bird and the Bee – F-cking Boyfriend
  • I Fight Dragons – The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth
  • MisterWives – Twisted Tongue
  • Beautiful Small Machines – Counting Back To 1
  • Crayon Pop – Bar Bar Bar
  • Garfunkel and Oates – Gay Boyfriend
  • Morgan Laurence – Come On! Come On!
  • Dixie Flatline – Just Be Friends
  • Noah and the Whale – 5 Years Time

If you use Spotify and haven’t checked out your Discover Weekly playlist yet, you’re missing out every week you don’t take a look!

Kindred Throats are the best!

Kindred Throats show

Yesterday gem and I went to Hollywood for a Kindred Throats show! We saw them at the Coup de Comedy Festival, and they were amazing. They’re the sketch comedy / musical duo that sang to gem, and they were the recipients of gem’s cookies!

Kindred Throats show

Before the show, we also so much food at Hollywood Thai Restaurant. Oh my god, it was delicious.

Kindred Throats show

Eventually I dragged my bloated why-oh-why-did-I-eat-so-much body to the Comedy Central Stage at The Hudson Theatres. gem made a really awesome card for them and, of course, more cookies.

Kindred Throats show

The show was hilarious! I don’t really know how to convey how funny it is, because describing it as funny songs doesn’t really do it justice. There’s audience interaction as well, which is comedic gold. Their opening song was about how the people in the back thought they were safe. During the song, they proceeded to move everyone from the back row closer. Luckily we were already sitting in the front.

On the way out, we saw Todd, one of the members, who recognized her and thanked her for coming all the way out! Woo! She was wondering if they’d recognize her, but I’d sure recognize someone who seemed to always bring me cookies. I might be in love with food.

Rude Boy, Wayzgoose, and reggae yoga

Lots of interesting things happened this weekend!

Friday night was the first screening of Rude Boy the Movie at the Frida. It follows Rudy, a Mexican-American teenager from Anaheim in 1984 who doesn’t fit in at school. He eventually finds ska and rude boys. It was a lot of fun!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

Saturday was Wayzgoose at UCI! I walked to campus and spent a little time wandering around, taking in the festivities. It seemed a lot smaller than previous years honestly.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The Psychology Student Association had this awesome Adventure Time booth with sweet cosplay. I had to get some tacos from them for that! I hope tons of people bought from them.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

Some people seemed to be practicing quidditch too. It wasn’t a full game, but they were definitely out there having fun. I talked with them a bit, and they seemed really cool. Quidditch sounds like a pretty fun activity, and it’s cool to see people at UCI playing! Thanks for all the info, Anteater Quidditch!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I’ve been going to Wayzgoose since 2007, and every year I get a shawarma from the Muslim Student Union. Yum, yum, yum. Besides the tacos and shawarma, I also had horchata, a churro, spam musubi, and a brownie. It was a delicious day.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The 3D printing club had a booth showing some of the neat things they made. Here’s a bulbasaur.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

And here’s a squirtle. I like the bulbasaur more. I didn’t see a charmander even though charmander was clearly the best of the three.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

The anteater was pretty cool though!

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

On my walk back home, I decided to walk through Middle Earth. I stopped to take a picture from Gondolin.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I also saw cool restrooms in Middle Earth. When I lived there, they were men’s and women’s. Now they’re both all-inclusive. Pretty cool.

Wayzgoose 2015 at UCI

I had to stop by my old dorm too. It seems weird to think that I lived there a decade ago.

Later that night I went to Sean’s reggae yoga workshop. It was a two hour yoga workshop with DJ Tory playing reggae music. It was a lot of fun. After the workshop, I went to an after party. There were a couple people I knew and a lot more that I didn’t. Everyone seemed really cool, making a really awesome night!

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Last weekend was Pizza Beat Entertainment’s Prom Night of the Living Dead! They’re the group that held Ska Day at Disneyland as well.

By the way, even with makeup remover (which I did not buy before trying on the make up the first time), it’s really difficult to get that eyeshadow off. Also, I splashed blood on the flowers.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Once I was a zombie, I had to go after Angel for her delicious brains.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Unfortunately, I forgot that she was dumb.

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Here’s my wounded hand. I guess I didn’t do that great of a job blending it to my skin.

Prom Night of the Living Dead

Victim’s point of view!

Prom Night of the Living Dead

The prom king and queen were pretty cool! gem went after them while I took their photo.

Here’s how zombies dance. gem even requested Dead Man’s party.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Feeding time!

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

The pursuit.

Zombie at Prom Night of the Living Dead

Animated!

Prom Night of the Living Dead

I kind of like what happened to the undershirt more than my visible shirt. It looks more “natural,” like there’s really blood soaked on my shirt.

There are more pics in my Flickr album.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra with Viernes 13 and Skapeche Mode

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra sign The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra gave an awesome performance yesterday at The Observatory! Half Past Two posted about it, but I wasn’t planning on spending money. However, when Max talked to me about it at this week’s Ska Parade Lounge on Wednesday, he convinced me to go. I’m glad he did!

I’d never been to The Observatory in Santa Ana, but it was a pretty sweet venue. Reviews on Foursquare seemed pretty negative honestly, but I thought things were fine. There was a lot of space and multiple tiers as well. Multiple tiers also means multiple walls on which to lean so there’s a lot of room for people who want to take it easy.

Viernes 13 The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

The show opened with Viernes 13, a ska band from LA. Before they started, I noticed that the woman next to me was with a man who kept leaving for long periods of time. As it turns out, he was the keyboard player. I seem to be running into a lot of Spanish ska lately! They were fun with a good variety of music, including a Skatalites cover. I talk to the guy on keys, Francis “The BubbaMaster” Sanchez (assuming their Facebook is current), a little after the show too.

Skapeche Mode The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Skapeche Mode performed second. Given their name, it should be no surprise that they play ska covers of 80’s music. Their Facebook says that they’re “Committed to ruining both the eighties and ska, one show at a time.” Well, they certainly weren’t ruining either because they were awesome. Skapeche Mode had awesome stage presence – especially the singer and horn section. Is the trumpet played Bryan Lackey, the same trumpet player from Failed to Victory? Did I somehow see him two nights in a row? Rad, because he’s great!

I know what you were thinking. You wanted to check out what they sound like considering these jerks aren’t on Spotify. There you go.

Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra The Observatory in Santa Ana on 10/9/14

Last but not least we have Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, a ska band all the way from Japan! Composed of drums, percussion, trumpet, trombone, tenor sax, baritone sax, vocals, guitar, bass, and even a melodica, they really rocked! They just had so much energy and really commanded the stage and enthralled the audience. I particularly enjoyed the bari sax player. Also, and I’m sorry if it’s weird that I noticed, but their clothes, especially their jackets, fit. It’s rare.

I know you’d be sad if you got to see a bad video of Skapeche Mode but no bad video clip of Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, so there you go. They do have an album on Spotify too, so check them out. One thing I really liked them about them is that despite having guitar, bass, and vocals, I really felt like the horns stood in the spotlight. Their line up isn’t very different than a lot of full ska bands (besides the melodica), but normally it seems like vocals take center stage with guitar and horns standing side-by-side. I liked the feature on the horns! They also did a fantastic rendition of the song from Tetris. How could I not fall in love with that?

Another successful ska night! At the beginning of the night, I’d never seen these three bands. By the end of the night, I have three more bands I’d love to see again in the future!

Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill

Failed to Victory at Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill in Huntington Beach on 9/26/14

Friday night was Ska & Punk Night 5 at Centerfield Sports Bar & Grill in Huntington Beach. Half Past Two posted about it, which is how I found out. Stupid Flanders was headlining, and somehow they didn’t actually post about it until after Half Past Two despite HP2 not performing in it.

The line up was Not A Chance, Failed to Victory, Revancha, and Stupid Flanders, with Stupid Flanders being the only band I’d seen. Not A Chance, a punk band, played first. I noticed that Max, guitarist and vocalist for HP2, was there, so I said hello between sets. gem and I ended up joining him.

Failed to Victory is pictured at the top. For some reason, my clip of them won’t upload to YouTube and has no audio when I try to play it on my PC.

It’s fine on my phone and on Instragram though.

Despite a long wait as they fixed a blown out amp, F2V was really good! Unfortunately, it got so late that we didn’t stay for Revancha or Stupid Flanders, but I’m really glad to have learned about Failed to Victory. Plus it was cool to hang out with Max!

September Ska Parade Lounge!

The B-Sharps

With another month comes another Ska Parade Lounge. The opening band was The B-Sharps. I’d never heard them, which actually made them the band I was most highly anticipating. They had a nice sound with two horns and a lot of energy!

Half Past Two

I saw Half Past Two about a month earlier at the Wet Hot Samerican Summer concert. I love the singer’s voice (although her mic was picking up a lot of feedback).

The Maxies

The last time I saw The Maxies was with Reel Big Fish, Mighty Mongo, and The Pietasters back in January. Honestly, I didn’t like them very much, but I like them a lot more now. They were fun, and I like their shtick. BiPolar Bear Tom made an appearance, danced around on stage, and then joined the dancers in the audience.

The Originalites

The Originalites are a great band that I’ve seen a couple times, most recently at January’s Ska Parade Lounge. I like their reggae/ska mix, although I was pretty tired from dancing (and staying out late). They played some new music for us too, which was cool. Hopefully my ears will stop ringing soon.

Ska Luau IV!

Starpool

Last night was the Ska Luau IV at the House of Blues! It was an awesome show, and I’ve learned about some new awesome bands.

Magnolia Polynesian Dance Troupe

The show began with Magnolia High School’s Polynesian Dance Troupe. I only took one photo, and it was pretty bad. Sorry! They had men and women, but they danced separately. They did dances from a variety of Polynesian cultures. Pretty interesting.

CodeName: Rocky

CodeName: Rocky was the first band to perform. I hadn’t heard their music previously but was very impressed. They had a great variety of instruments too. Sax? Of course. Trumpet and trombone? Yep. French horn?! Heck yeah!

Save the Swim Team

Save the Swim Team described themselves as “the most screamo ska band,” and I suppose that was true. I liked the ska, but didn’t particularly like the screamo parts. However, they did mesh it pretty well, and I could understand why they’d have a lot of fans. This was actually their last show ever.

Suburban Legends was absolutely amazing. I’ve actually been listening to their music all day today now because I’m hooked. The lead singer was a lot of fun, but their guitarist was pretty charismatic too! Their brass section consisted of two trumpet players and a trombone player. The band also danced together with great choreography. I wasn’t expecting it, but it was so amazingly good.

Starpool

Starpool came on the stage wearing tiki masks before starting the set and releasing the confetti that’s in the photo at the top of this post.

Starpool

Besides throwing bags with chocolate penises into the crowd (some sort of joke from previous concerts I’d assume), they also threw these glowing sticks.

Starpool

They played an amazing set full of a lot of songs that I loved. I sang along, danced, jumped, and was pretty tired at the end honestly.

Starpool

And what concert would be complete without a band member crowd surfing in a giant ball? That was pretty cool. Starpool ended the show with their cover of Shout that I absolutely love. This might have been my favorite concert I’ve ever attended. If not, it would be the show with the Aquabats and Starpool, so I guess that’s good for Starpool anyways!

Hopefully Friday’s Reel Big Fish show at the same venue is as awesome.