Dipping Into Indie Funk

Image ID : 132080302
Source: 123rf.com
Copyright : skovoroda

If you were to listen to the songs which I have in my iTunes and Spotify libraries, you’d probably scratch your head in wonder over the vast assortment of genres which I enjoy. One of the reasons why I have so many different genres in my music collections is that I tend to obsess over a certain artist or genre for a while, soaking it up until I begin to get tired of it. The latest musical genre which has caught my attention is Indie Funk, and I specifically latched onto one band in particular, Magic City Hippies.

If you want to listen to music that has an easy vibe, catchy beat and tempo, and just puts you into a feel-good mood, then I would definitely recommend checking out Magic City Hippies, Cool Company, and other related groups which create this vibey, groovy music. The past several months have been pretty difficult for me, so I rely on my relaxing home space to provide consistency and comfort. This means that on most days when I find myself hanging out or working at home, I turn on the Magic City Hippies Spotify station. Friends and clients have actually commented on the station, asking about the musical artists featured. I’m not kidding when I say that indie funk can instantly put you into a great mood and cause stress to just melt away.

Here are a few YouTube videos from bands within this genre:

My Songbird Fantasy

source: 123rf.com
Image ID : 16616006
Copyright : Sergey Nivens

From the time I was a little girl, I fantasized about having a beautiful singing voice, but I wasn’t destined to be blessed with such talent.  Though I am not tone deaf, and can carry a tune, the quality of my singing voice is very basic and certainly not worthy of any type of showcase.  At least I was realistic at an early age (eight years old to be exact) about my utterly ordinary voice, and never attempted to delve into some delusional idea that I might someday develop pipes which would rival Mariah Carey.  Instead, I happily lived vicariously through my favorite singers, imagining what it must be like to have such sweet melodies emanate from one’s vocal cords.

Of course, like most of you, I’m not afraid to belt out a tune while driving my car or taking a shower.  There is something so cathartic about being able to let loose like that, so I allow myself to indulge in it frequently.  Why not?  It’s not like I’m going to try out for American Idol or The Voice.

It’s pretty sobering to think that the majority of singers never really get a chance to fully live out their dreams of stardom, despite having massive talent. I recently watched “Twenty Feet From Stardom” which follows several prominent backup singers from the 1960’s to present time. In one portion of the documentary, Merry Clayton describes her experience recording the vocals for the 1969 song “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones.

In an excerpt from an article on openculture.com, Merry describes the evening:

Well, I’m at home at about 12–I’d say about 11:30, almost 12 o’clock at night. And I’m hunkered down in my bed with my husband, very pregnant, and we got a call from a dear friend of mine and producer named Jack Nitzsche. Jack Nitzsche called and said you know, Merry, are you busy? I said No, I’m in bed. he says, well, you know, There are some guys in town from England. And they need someone to come and sing a duet with them, but I can’t get anybody to do it. Could you come? He said I really think this would be something good for you.

I said, Well, play the track. It’s late. I’d love to get back home. So they play the track and tell me that I’m going to sing–this is what you’re going to sing: Oh, children, it’s just a shot away. It had the lyrics for me. I said, Well, that’s cool. So  I did the first part, and we got down to the rape, murder part. And I said, Why am I singing rape, murder? …So they told me the gist of what the lyrics were, and I said Oh, okay, that’s cool. So then I had to sit on a stool because I was a little heavy in my belly. I mean, it was a sight to behold. And we got through it. And then we went in the booth to listen, and I saw them hooting and hollering while I was singing, but I didn’t know what they were hooting and hollering about. And when I got back in the booth and listened, I said, Ooh, that’s really nice. They said, well, You want to do another?  I said, well, I’ll do one more, I said and then I’m going to have to say thank you and good night. I did one more, and then I did one more. So it was three times I did it, and then I was gone. The next thing I know, that’s history.

Now listen to her raw vocals.  You’ll get the chills from her energy and passion:

Now that’s magical talent!

Back In The Day…Attending Concerts

Source: 123rf.com
Image: 46963270
erika8213

 

Among the memories from my childhood, teenhood, and early adulthood are all the incredible concerts I had the good fortune to attend.  I grew up in the 1970’s – 1980’s, and was exposed to all kinds of music during that time.  I was able to see most of my favorite artists perform live, some in front of massive coliseum-sized audiences, and others in cozy local venues like the Troubador.  Little did I know that when I was cheering Poison and Ratt that those bands were about to hit it big on the music scene.

Here is a partial list of some of the artists I was able to see live between 1976 and 1989:

Elton John (Dodger Stadium, 1976)

Rolling Stones (1981, 1989)

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1980, 1981)

Pink Floyd

Mötley Crüe

Talking Heads

David Bowie

I thoroughly enjoyed being in the audience, rocking with the music, lighting my lighter (who remembers doing this?), and singing along when the lead singer would prompt the crowd to join in.  There was always a palpable energy at concerts, a buzz, and I’m not talking about the burning weed which circulated through the air.  The audiences were always so pumped, so excited to hear a favorite band play live.

I also remember wanting so badly to attend the US Festival on Labor Day weekend in 1982, but my mother staunchly refused.  Then there was another US Festival which I desperately wanted to attend on Memorial Day weekend in 1983, but my mother once again refused, pointing out that I had final exams the following week.  Some of the girls in my class threw caution to the wind and attended the festival, so I was able to live vicariously through them when they described the experience.  An estimated 570,000 people attended the 1983 Labor Day weekend US Festival, which is no surprise since tickets were a mere $20 for each day of the event.

Here’s a video of the full concert which Van Halen performed during the 1983 US Festival:

Other festivals have come to the forefront in popularity in, recent years, but now that we have spent the bulk of the year in lockdown, avoiding COVID, live concerts, with the audience standing in front of the band members, are nearly extinct.  We now rely on livestreams and virtual concerts, which don’t even come close to creating the same magic that a live concert in front of a packed audience can do.

Ventura County Fairgrounds recently hosted a drive-in setting for a live concert which apparently went pretty well.  The audience was limited to 500 cars, I wonder if this will be the new norm for concerts?  At any rate, I am thankful that I was able to see so many incredible artists live, when concerts were still fun.

 

I Miss Soul Train

From the time I was a kid, I remember watching Saturday morning cartoons, all the while anticipating the treat which would come after cartoons were over. The Soul Train theme song would play, and I would settle in for an hour of some of the best music around. I continued this pattern through my early 20’s, and would plan my Saturday around Soul Train, carving out time to watch like the faithful fan I always was. At the 45 minute mark, the Soul Train dance line would form, and I would be glued to the television set, watching all the moves, and looking at all the cool outfits. The Dance Line began as a couples line, then by the 1980’s, it morphed into singlets and the occasional group of dancers moving across the dance floor:

The first Soul Train episode aired on October 2, 1971, and the show ran through March of 2006. That’s 35 years and 1,117 soul, dance, R and B, and funk-filled episodes. Thanks to creator and host Don Cornelius, Soul Train brought black culture into America’s homes, broke down barriers, and wowed people like me. Don Cornelius would close out every episode with a sweeping thrown kiss and a wish to the viewers for “love, peace, and SOUUUUUUUULLLL”, a uniting and loving gesture which became a signature for the show.

For those of you who loved Soul Train as much as I did, you’ll get kick out of the following video, in which former Soul Train dancers share their experiences of being on the show:

Here are two video compilations, one which features the top ten female Soul Train dancers, and the other which showcases the top ten male Soul Train dancers:

Quit Taking My Musical Icons

Michael Jackson’s death in June of 2009 was so shocking and painful for me that I still feel profound sadness over his passing. I grew up listening to his music, so his voice and artistic vision helped to define my entire life from childhood. David Bowie had a similar impact on my growing years, and I was so passionately moved by his musical genius that he remained a favorite artist from the time I was very little through today. Though Bowie was ill from cancer, his death was shocking as well, and my heart has been heavy from it.

When I heard that Prince was dealing with poor health, I began to worry. Surely this 57 year old multitalented musical god wasn’t near death’s door? Alarm bells went off in my head when I heard about the emergency plane landing on April 15th. Then on the morning of Thursday, April 21st, I flipped to Sirius XM’s Z100NY and thought it was very odd that a Prince song from 1984, “When Doves Cry”, was playing, since the station runs current hits. I pulled into a gas station and turned off the ignition to pump my gas. When I started up the car, “Purple Rain” was playing on Z100NY. I groaned and thought, “Oh no…”, grabbed my phone and looked up Prince. Sure enough, news of his death had hit the world.

prince

It’s been seventeen days since Prince’s death, and I still feel like I was punched in the solar plexus. I have been listening to The Groove to soak up Prince’s music, and my iPod runs Prince tunes while I am training at the gym. Admittedly, though, I already had a collection of Prince songs loaded onto my iPod for many years, so jamming to something like “Sexy M.F.” was a regular occurrence. There is no doubt that I am one of the many millions of Prince fans who are in mourning, who appreciate the enormous talent this man had. Prince was daring, controversial, brilliant, innovative, original, and charismatic, and had a profound influence on my teen years and early adulthood.

R.I.P. Prince.

What Do You Want To See On My Blog?

Noel Denim

Hey everyone! I wanted to check in with you to see what you would like to see on my blog. Since I have been posting every single day, it can be a real challenge to come up with content to post. For that reason, I am not as prone to write lengthy posts.

I have also decided to change my posting frequency to three days per week from now on. I will post every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or Sunday.

Here is a list of topics which I typically cover:

Preventative health
Optimal health
Brain health
Medical conditions
Anti-aging
Nutrition
Healthy recipes
Supplements
Weightlifting
Exercise
Fitness
Bodybuilding
Sports
Cosmetic Dermatology
Skincare
Makeup
Personal grooming
Empowerment
Modeling
Branding
Fashion
Bodybuilding contests and prep
Music
Pets
Relationships
Travel
Comedy
Entertainment

I welcome suggestions from you! Please reply to this post and let me know how I can best accommodate your interests.

Thanks so much for following my blog!

Music Performance and Cognitive Function

piano

Please check out my original post at:

http://xactmind.com/xc/articles/music-performance-and-cognitive-function/

By: Dr. Stacey Naito – Physician and IFBB Pro

Play For Your Brain

Not all of us are able to play musical instruments well, but the challenge of learning to play one can be a fun hobby. Recent research suggests that people who play a musical instrument regularly, even if they aren’t musically gifted per se, are reinforcing their brain’s function at the same time.

Musical training is thought to increase neural connections in the brain which are associated with decision making, complex memory, and creativity. Musical education can even boost cognitive function in people who have suffered from strokes, and equip the brain to adapt by using intact brain regions.

Musical Brains

Numerous studies have proven that the brains of musicians differ functionally and structurally from the brains of non-musicians. Skilled musicians are like athletes, because they need to coordinate multiple senses, and focus on complex elements like melody and tempo, while performing a piece.

There is also research which suggests that the areas used in musical performance are closely linked with other important cognitive functions. One study by Schaug discovered that musical disorders such as tone deafness affect about 4 to 10 percent of the population, which is the same percentage range seen with disabilities such as dyslexia and dyscalculia (math difficulties).

Another study, performed by Wang, examined the brains of 48 young adults who had studied music for at least one year between the ages of 3 and 15. The subjects who had begun musical training before the age of 7 had greater development in the areas of the brain associated with language and executive function.

The Submarines Biography Is So Interesting!

thesubmarinespressweb-592
I enjoy the musical arrangements and vocals which characterize songs by indie pop group The Submarines, but I had no idea how interesting their biography was!

The Submarines consist of John Dragonetti (aka Jack Drag) and Blake Hazard, who met in Boston and began to collaborate musically and romantically. Dragonetti produced Hazard’s debut solo album, Little Airplane, in 2002, from which point they began playing and performing with each other’s bands. Shortly thereafter, the couple moved west to Los Angeles, but their relationship ended in late 2004. The breakup turned out to be magical for their respective songwriting, however, and since Hazard was still recording at Dragonetti’s studio, the two began sharing the songs they had written about their breakup. This collaboration also rekindled their romance and the two got back together, recorded the breakup songs, and ultimately married. Their 2006 album Declare a New State! was mastered by a friend as a wedding present. As a reflection of better times, their 2008 release Honeysuckle Weeks featured much happier songs.

My All-Time Favorite Musical Artists

Yesterday’s post got me thinking about all of my favorite musical artists throughout my life, so I thought it would be fun to compile a list of them here. I figured the best way to do it would be to group them by the decade in which I was first influenced by them. In an effort to keep the list from being exhaustive, I have decided to omit bands which I might have liked in the past but cannot listen to now. What I ended up with was a list of my all-time favorite bands and artists who have stood the test of time and held my interest.

Rolling Stones
1960’s:
Rolling Stones
Stevie Wonder
Jackson 5
Aretha Franklin

david-bowie
1970’s:
Elton John
David Bowie
Led Zeppelin
Aerosmith
Journey
Earth, Wind & Fire

the Doors
1980’s:
Jimi Hendrix
Pink Floyd
The Doors
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Prince
Michael Jackson

NIN
1990’s:
Janet Jackson
Lenny Kravitz
Dishwalla
Rage Against The Machine
Nine Inch Nails
Portishead

white stripes
2000’s:
White Stripes
Kings of Leon
Keane
Coldplay

NBT
2010’s:
Muse
Royal Blood
Nothing But Thieves