The Best Bands That You Don’t Know: Aloha

Aloha is a hardworking, crazy-touring mainstay of Polyvinyl
Records here in the States. Started by long time members Tony Cavallario
and Matthew Gengler while they were attending college during the summer of
1997 in Ohio; they have been working extremely hard for the progress of their
band ever since. Matthew and Tony, joined by Cale Parks and later T.J. Lipple
in the spring of 2003 make up the band as they are now.

With the addition of T.J. their sound was able to expand quite
a bit from the band’s earlier works; with his sound contributions of a homemade
Mellotron, Marimba, Organ playing, editing tricks, as well as his Drum playing
abilities; which allowed Cale to further develop his sound within the band.

Their expanded sound can be seen on their first album
together: 2004’s Here Comes Everyone,
which was released that winter. The beginnings of the album were written in T.J.’s
grandfather’s house in Pennsylvania shortly after the coming together of the band’s
lineup.

Their follow up album was the critically acclaimed Some Echoes, which was released in the
spring of 2006. The album was recorded and produced at the Silver Sonya studio
in Virginia, which is operated by T.J. and Chad Clark (from the DC band Beauty
Pill).

Some Echoes showcased
a further progression in their sound and was praised by nearly everyone that
listened to the record; I honestly do not believe that I’ve read a single poor
review of the album. It is an absolute classic and quite possibly my favorite
work by the band to date. The album was also streamed on their website for
everyone to listen to, but sadly the old band website is no longer available;
they now use their Myspace page for their website needs.

Their latest release is Light
Works
, an EP, released in late 2007. While not as progressive sounding as
the previous two releases, Light Works
is a light and fine work indeed, especially as far as EP’s are concerned; it is
a quality release without a doubt, it’s almost album like. Though it may be a
little unexpected at first to hear the piano and the acoustic guitar, you soon
get used to it and enjoy the quality of the work that is being done.

Aloha really is one of the hardest working bands making
music today, and they are grossly unappreciated for the amazing work that they
have done and continue to do. I have been to several Aloha shows over the years
and I am not joking when I say that they are one of the hardest working bands
around. They are in what seems to be a constant state of touring, recording,
writing and working.

They have played shows all over the world, from every corner
of the United States, to Japan and Singapore. They have a very loyal following
in their fan base, which will undoubtedly continue to grow as time passes by
and people continue to discover them. The band certainly deserves any and all recognition
that they receive.

Aloha: One of the best bands that you didn’t know about
until reading this article.

The Greatest Songs of All Time: Neil Young’s “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”

Released
on the 19th of September, 1970, on Young’s brilliant and now classic After
the Gold Rush
album; the song was written by Young and the album was
written and recorded between the summer of 1969 and the spring/summer of 1970.
Most of the album was recorded in the homemade recording studio thrown together
in Young’s home in Topanga Canyon;  a very popular and famous place to
live at the time for musicians due to its populace, attitude, and location in
Los Angeles County, California.

 

It’s
an acoustic song in the vein of Young’s work with Crosby, Stills & Nash, as
is much of the album; quite possibly due to the immense popularity of their
album with Young Déjà Vu, which was released earlier that year and
quickly rose to the top of the charts.

 

No
matter what the reasoning was behind Young’s decision to record the album the
way he did, he still created a great album. Though it was originally panned by
critics; it is now generally accepted as a great album, one of Neil Young’s
best, which I tend to agree with; and furthermore, it has several great songs
on it, including “Don’t Let It Bring You Down”:

 

 

Lyrics:

Old
man lying
by the side of the road
with the lorries rolling by
Blue moon sinking
from the weight of the load
and the building scrape the sky
Cold wind ripping
down the allay at dawn
and the morning paper flies
Dead man lying
by the side of the road
with the daylight in his eyes

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

Blind man running
through the light
of the night
with an answer in his hand
Come on down
to the river of sight
and you can really understand
Red lights flashing
through the window
in the rain
can you hear the sirens moan?
White cane lying
in a gutter in the lane,
if you’re walking home alone.

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Just find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

Don’t let it bring you down
It’s only castles burning
Just find someone who’s turning
And you will come around

 

It is a beautiful work with beautifully simple and
extremely vivid lyrics; which are powerfully brought to the forefront of the
song via Young’s voice and the simple playing of his acoustic guitar.

Ride a Bike

Posted on Various Thoughts on Culture

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I am very pro cycling myself. I have an
extreme dislike for the car culture that we have here in the US in
general. I absolutely feel that if mass public or self transportation
without the use of a motor vehicle is possible, then it should be used
in nearly all cases.

Personally I do not drive currently and I do not even own a car.
Using mass transit and self transportation is environmentally sound and
much more cost effective than operating a motor vehicle of your own.
That’s why I don’t understand the car culture that we have, I don’t
understand how it has spread and is generally accepted everywhere, even
in our large cities.

That’s why I thought that Bloomberg’s tax was a brilliant idea for
NYC. Having actually biked through New York on a regular basis, it’s
not exactly the greatest experience that I’ve ever had, and certainly
not something that I would want to do every morning to get to work. If
there were less vehicles, less congestion and less hostility in general
though, then I would be all for cycling to work most of the time. But
still it isn’t a huge issue as we have a fine public mass transit
system in our subways.

Anyway, I’m hoping that the recent housing issues in the US will
make more and more people come to the cities, which should lead to less
reliability on vehicles for people in general if they have a quality
system for public transportation in place.

I have other huge issues with suburban sprawl and the whole suburban
culture here in the US as well, a different topic, I know; but it has
to be stated as it undoubtedly plays a key role in the want and need
for motor vehicles by many Americans. If we didn’t live 20 miles away
from where we go to school and work, then there would be much less of
an issue and the car culture in the US would simply dissolve. It is
honestly ridiculous to live so far away from the places that you need
to go on a regular basis when you could just as easily live in the
city, much closer to the places that you need to go.

Both are huge issues that people need to get over in my opinion. You
don’t need an acre or two of land surrounding your home, really. There
is absolutely no need for that, it’s wasteful and harmful to all of us
in the long run. Living in the city is a much better option. Hopefully
more and more people in our future generations realize this and stop
moving into and building new unnecessary suburbs.

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