30 October 2016

Goth Youtubers - 90s Goth with Angela Benedict

Some of you loyal readers will remember my "Why I Dislike Goth Youtubers Post" back from last year (and I also remember the majority of you agreeing with me, than you, thank you...) but I've been spending so much time on YouTube lately that I feel like it would be hypocritical of me to say that I dislike ALL goth youtubers (which I have disclaimed in the mentioned post, but still).

Yet recently I have discovered a relatively new youtuber that has been doing something no other goth youtuber that I know has done - educating you on the past!

The thing is, most (goth) youtubers are either teenagers or in their 20s, and rarely do you get a person above 30. Not to mention the topics usually addressed by most youtubers who claim to belong to a certain subculture are not exactly versatile.

But what I was happy to discover were Angela Benedict's many stories about how the gothic subculture looked like back in the 90s (note: in New York). Being someone who only discovered goth from 2005/6 and on, I find it fascinating to listen to a person who has actually been in the scene in the 90s to tell you how things were, ranging from what music was played, what clothes and styles were worn and how the people were like. I wish someone from the 80s would have done the same thing!
I wrote a "Beginning of 00s Goth" post in the past as well, so the style recaps definitely spoke to me.

I guess the thing with youtubers is that the personality and way of speech of a person can affect your liking/disliking them, and in this case, I absolutely love how Angela tells stories and the way she's communicating, I find it very straightforward and relaxed. I also love the old school video editing, I get annoyed when youtubers have an intro that can kill a PR expert.

One of my favorite videos is Gothic Fashion as a 90s Teen:

For the record, she doesn't even know that I'm writing this post, so it's not sponsored or anything (I will tell her as soon as this gets published).

Her Hairfalls tutorial is also quite the thing. It's not my style of hair but the spirit of the 90s is definitely there:

Have some of you been goth in the late 90s/beginning of 00s? What was the gothic subculture like back then? I hope you found Angela's videos entertaining as much as I did.

Happy Halloween to those who are celebrating!


21 October 2016

Postcards from Amsterdam

It was the first time visiting Amsterdam for me, when Boris and I went in September as he was playing there with Totenwald on the F Word Festival. I've mentioned in a recent post that the festival was the best part of the trip, since I found the city to be way overcrowded and that took away from its charm.
However, I still enjoyed the architecture a lot and some parts were very beautiful.

The two pictures above were taken at Our Lord In The Attic's museum - a catholic church built in the attic of a building from the 17th century! It's made into a museum, so you can go inside the entire building and the attic to see how the people lived back then. If you happen to be in Amsterdam I recommend visiting the museum a lot, it gave us the historic feel we felt slipped away with all the weed and drunken tourists...

I don't think I would like to visit the city again, since my main problem were the tourists - the city itself is tiny, and the amount of people running around with tongues hanging out to get their hands on weed and look at the prostitutes was repelling. Not to mention all the bikes, it's clearly a city more for bikes than people. Seriously, you get bikes and vespas on the bike road, it made me hang on for dear life every time I wanted to cross a street. Urgh...

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? What do you think?


19 October 2016

The Big Bad Bass Pedal Wishlist

Here I am sitting alone at home drinking cream liqueur while watching bass pedal tutorials.
Hate to be the one to write a post completely off topic, but this is just how I roll...

For those of you who don't play guitar (as was I, until a year ago) - guitar and bass guitar players use different effects to achieve a various sound: distortion (mostly in metal music), chorus (for all you The Cure and post punk lovers) or fuzz (for the stoned ones) and the list goes on and on.... The effects come in pedal form, to be pressed on with the foot while playing (as you will see on).

For years I've wondered why Boris (who has at least 5 different pedals) spends so much time looking at dudes online explain about pedals and effects, their combination and variety (and then spending money on it). Well now that I've gained some experience in bass playing and made some aspirations, I've decided to check some pedals out to achieve a dirtier, heavier and less cleaner sound.

Here is my wishlist.

Electro Harmonix Nano Bass Big Muff Pi

Electro Harmonix are one of the companies whose effects I like best. Their fuzzes are great, and this is a smaller version of the Bass Big Muff. I like the crispy sound a lot, but my problem with fuzz is that you lose a lot of dynamics with it, and sometimes your clean sound. I like how you can make it completely dirty and all over the place (imagine a garage-rock guitar here, it's very similar) but it also loses the deep bass tone that I like. I think a fuzz is a cool addition to a guitar, but not for a bass guitar. So I was deliberating with this one.

Boss DS-1 Distortion Pedal

Did you catch the adorable brown sock in the beginning?

This is the pedal I will perhaps purchase, since it's not so expensive and has almost entirely the sound I am looking for - there is an option to make a classic distortion, and you just go from there to how much you want the crispyness of the sound. According to the tutorial above you can achieve something close to a fuzz without losing the bassy core, which is exactly what I'm looking for. I wonder about the sustain (how long a note lasts) of it though, since I like my sustain long...

MXR Bass Distortion

Note the Americana styled tutorial above hehe. This is another good distortion that has a very deep and rough cryspiness. Yet here I face the same problem I have with fuzz-sounding effects - the original bass sound tends to get lost and you get a dirty mishmash of sound, it sounds more like a soundscape than an actual tune. So hm... I am thinking about it, though it all depends on how much you exaggerate the distortion.

Aftershock Bass Distortion

The best for last - this is my absolute favorite of all the effects I've checked, and it doesn't say "the only bass distortion pedal you'll ever need" for nothing. This pedal has it all, there is so much versatility in the sound you can make without being too much or too little. Too bad it "only" costs 179 euros... so I'll just marvel at it, but if I had the chance to buy it right now, I would.

That's about it for now. I'm a complete newby when it comes to effects and all I know I've learned from Boris. Another thing to have in mind is that a pedal's sound will change depending on the amplifier you use -  an art in it's own that I am yet to have any knowledge off.

Hope this wasn't too confusing for you, as I've never written on the subject before on the blog. If you happen to watch one of the demonstrations above tell me what you think.


12 October 2016

Latest Music Favorites (Summer/Autumn 2016)

My last music favorites post was in March, and it's time for an update. I've been to quite distant music places since then and I can't wait to sum up this year's favorites. December seems so close!

Here are some things I've been into lately. Goodbye post punk, hello every rock genre ever.

1. Boilermaker

Boilermaker / Midnight Manager

So we all know obscure post punk bands, right? But what about other genres? One evening I was browsing unknown (original) emo and/or first-wave post hardcore bands, to get to know the genres better, and I was happy to come across Boilermaker. There is something very nostalgic and bittersweet in emo music for me, despite not listening to it when I was a teenager (unlike many people I know). The whole self-titled album is very interesting, the instrumentals are very good, and I find the basswork in the song above just great and quite progressive!

2. Stoned Jesus

Stoned Jesus / Seven Thunders Roar (full album)

Progressive, you said? I got you covered - this one is a great mix of stoner and progressive rock, and you'll probably be as much surprised as I was to know that this band is from Ukraine (plus points on the lack of accent in the vocals!). I found this album so inspiring: there are hard rock parts, there are folky parts, there are prog rock parts and even grungy parts, and of course the familiar stoner atmosphere. I found myself listening to the album from start to finish a few times and it's versatility has made me very happy. Just the kind of mix I have been waiting for.

3. Tool

Tool / Bottom

Speaking of hard, progressive and grungy - I have at last reached the point of loving Tool's music! I can't believe it's happened, I could never digest their music, aside from 2-3 songs (we all know Sober) and have been a huge A Perfect Circle fan. But Tool have always seemed too technical and less emotional for me. This changed thanks to buying Unleashed: The Story Of Tool when I was in London. You've got to admit, even if you don't like the band much, Tool are pretty damn mysterious and would make anyone who's seen Keenan's stage presence (or lack thereof) curious. The book is great and quite inspiring, and so I felt like the over-complicated albums were chewed down for me into expressions like "the dexterity of the drums" and "the razor-sharp bass line" and I could finally gather my comprehensive abilities and give Tool another try. 
And boy, I wasn't disappointed.
So I've decided to take it step by step and start from Undertow, their first album (see song above). I was happy to discover the obvious grunge elements, contemporary to that time, though we all know Tool are much more than that. Hello progressive rock my old friend - it's so nice to get inspired again.

4. Justin Johnson

Justin Johnson playing a shovel guitar

And now for something completely different - the video above is getting quite viral lately and suddenly I found myself discovering all this old school blues music I have always been ignoring! And it only took a beautiful long-haired guy to do it.
This video shows a haunting dark lap steel guitar, the slider work is amazing! I know of the technic because Boris uses a slider when playing guitar sometimes, and it's so cool to see it done old school. I kept listening to the various things Justin Johnson does and maybe I got interested because I play a guitar myself now, so learning the blues might be a very good idea. Just check out the shovel guitar in the video above!

Don't want to give away the stuff I'm storing for the "2016 music recap" post, so I'll finish here. I am so happy to dive into more progressive stuff recently, It has been such a long time.
What have you been listening to lately?


5 October 2016

25 Lessons I learned in 25 Years

Hello world, I turned 25 today! I am happily married, dragging my uni studies to infinity, having visa trouble in Germany, get hardly impressed by new music and already had a few orthopedic problems and a knee surgery. What a time to be alive!

So in the great tradition of Jenna Marbles's videos, here's my post of 25 lessons learned in 25 years of existence:

1. Going clothes shopping alone is the best thing ever.

2. One can learn great things from a youtube video, just like I did about the origins of emo music, back when everyone was coloring their bangs blue in 2005.

3. This is what you get when you google "Peter Hammil sad":

4. Classical music school is the best music school.

5. No matter how hard you try to be invisible, there will always be someone who will hate you and/or try to do you harm just because you're being who you are. A lesson learned in elementary school.

6. Wearing comfortable clothes can boost your body imagine more than exercise or dieting.

7. Never underestimate your mother's love, she always cares no matter what you do.

8. The most painful experiences in life make for the best creative energy. Sometimes I wished I had more of those. It's a decadent approach, I know, but it kept me going.

9. When in doubt - smile. Sliding through confusion, fear or awkwardness is never made easier with a grumpy face.

10. Padding translucent powder over gel eyeliner will make it stay forever (just when you though gel eyeliner stays on forever anyway).

11. People with flawless eyebrows should be respected.

12. Speaking various languages is the best possible thing you can do to yourself in life. 

13. Just because a person is goth/alternative looking, doesn't mean they're smart/intelligent/nice/not racist/listen to good music.

14. You can be the worst in math and still survive.

15. Almost always, no matter the genre, live music will be an interesting experience.

16. Taste in food changes over time - now I love eggplants and hate chocolate.

17. Everyone has been through some shit in life. No one gets it easier, everyone is tripping out from different things - money, family, career goals, identity. You name it. Everyone has a fight to win and it's fascinating and very fair.

18. Some people are very logical and rational, and they should be treated with understanding and love, even though they're completely crazy.

19. A shared mother language can go a long way, especially with people who you thought you had nothing in common with.

20. There will always be a little part of you that no one will ever understand. A little piece from the past, a small voice in your head, an inner dialogue. It's something no one can take away from you.

21. Know how to differ infatuation from love.

22. Never be ashamed of your hobbies, however amateur they might be.

23. When in doubt #2 - google it! Nothing boosts your self acceptance more than knowing somebody had already asked "what is the area between the anus and testicles?".

24. Wear comfortable shoes! Alternatively - don't wear cheap ass shoes, you'll make your feet happier!

25. And lastly - nobody knows you better than you know yourself.

I hope this entertained you! What lessons have you learned so far?
I will celebrate with our band's gig this friday and then with a small birthday party on saturday. Meanwhile I'll enjoy today's rainy day and eat something nice.