Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Video That You Must Watch: Ojos Color Sol

Calle 13 can do no wrong, whether it is a song with a political message “Multi Viral," a collaboration with another band “No Hay Nadie Como Tu” (featuring Café Tacvba.) Or, giving us “the feels” with their powerful love songs like “La Vuelta Al Mundo.”

Well, they of course have done it again, with the simplistic yet enchanting video for “Ojos Color Sol.” And, with cameos from Gael Garcia Bernal & Maria Valverde, well, this is a bonafide smash hit!

I personally cannot wait to sing along to this song, and luckily for fans, Calle 13 will bring Gira Multiviral to San Francisco on October 10th – make sure to get your tickets, as this show will sell-out!

And now, go on and watch the video, because... a three minute long kiss that’s why.

"Abriste los ojos y el sol guardó su pincel, porque tu pintas el paisaje mejor que él..."

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Yes Hilary Duff I Also Want To Be Chasing The Sun

I cannot even contain the excitement that Hilary Duff's new single brings to my life. It has been way, way too long since she released any catchy-essence-of-pop songs. While I consider myself to be a music lover, pop holds a special place in my muscle of blood.

I had listened to a leaked version of "Chasing The Sun" and I was mighty disappointed, but then, Hilary Duff mended her ways, and the official video was released. This first single, while not on the same ranks as a song by Adele or Mariah Carey, is definitely a catchy summer anthem. Listen, I sit behind a desk for eight hours a day, and since I watched the video the first time; I caught myself singing along to: "It's like the clock is always racing, but my time is not for wasting, someone else can do the chasing… Cause I'm chasing the sun…" I most definitely appreciate the message!

Here's what I love about Hilary Duff, while she might have been away from the music business for over six years, she did not forget the sound that made teenage and college girls fell in love with her. Because, let's face it, you used to watch Lizzie McGuire, "So Yesterday" was the break-up anthem that you dedicated to your high school sweetheart, and you most certainly knew the lyrics to "Come Clean" because Laguna Beach was your guilty pleasure. I cannot be the only one, right? RIGHT? 

Well, I KNOW that I am not the only chick excited on having Ms. Duff back in the music land -- the single is out now on iTunes and amazon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Peep At The Newest Oakland Resident

The city of Oakland has become a ‘prime' destination for foodies, art lovers and nightlife aficionados. It is not surprising that it was ranked one of the top five places to visit – as noted by the New York Times. VOGUE also mentioned Oakland in one of its ‘culture' articles as a city to visit.

With so much buzz surrounding what is flourishing around the city, savvy peeps are taking note, and in the blink of an eye there are new business ventures opening up. The downtown & uptown neighborhoods have especially been attractive to business owners – there is an abundance of restaurants, bars, boutiques, and art galleries. With so many options, there truly is something for everyone's taste.

One of the newer businesses that graced Oakland is Pure, an apparel-rare-to-find-kicks store. The business is already causing a stir all throughout social media – with over a 1,000 ‘likes' on facebook, a growing following on both Instagram & Twitter, and glowing reviews; Pure is shaping to be a new favorite. A satisfied customer wrote on Facebook: "Dope people and customer service was immaculate."

Photo Courtesy Of: PURE

Pure is located in the heart of downtown, a few blocks away from the 19th Street BART station, right off 17th Street & Webster. The GRAND OPENING is happening this Friday August 1st – with such a busy location, the ‘First Fridays' festivities are the perfect opportunity to introduce the newest Oakland resident to Oaklanders and Pure's counterparts.

So, ‘sneaker heads' of the Bay REJOICE! This First Friday when you are out and about checking out the art shows, and walking around deciding where to eat and what to drink – stop by Pure and score yourselves some fly new kicks.

Check out Pure's facebook, Instagram & twitter.

Sponsored Post

Saturday, July 26, 2014

West Coast Night With The Neighbourhood

West Coast, Sweater Weather, Afraid
Photos Courtesy Of: Adrian Jusue
It never fails that the few occasions when I go to a show, as merely a fan, my writer instinct kicks in and I start itching to get home and write a review. And, that is exactly what happened after attending night one of The Neighbourhood's concert at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

The city of Oakland was lucky enough to be the last stop of El Blanco Tour (the United States part of it), and the band has had such success that the show sold out and they had to add a second night. The band brought along two fantastic opening bands, White Arrows and Bad Suns – both from LA, just like the guys from The Neighbourhood. 

Let's talk about Jesse Rutherford, and his unpredictable choice of outfit – basketball shorts, a band tee, and a leather jacket. While slightly odd, it worked, and two of the other guys follow suit with the ‘shorts' theme of the night.

The concert kicked off with "Female Robbery," Jesse's voice echoed throughout the Fox, and the young crowd of mostly female fans went wild! Shortly before "W.D.Y.W.F.M.?" Jesse addressed the crowd saying that this song was dedicated to all of the ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends – and the fans could not wait to sing along to the tunes of "Maybe you're right, maybe this is all that I can be, but what if it's you, and it wasn't me? What do you want from me? What do you want from me?"

The band also performed "Honest" which served as one of the songs from the Spiderman 2 soundtrack. One of the highlights of the night was when the band performed "West Coast." Jesse once more addressed the crowd, and talked about how, out of all of the tour stops California has been the best with Oakland being the third California city from the tour – the rendition of the song was an acoustic version, which let the lyrics of the song shine through… "I was the one who wasn't coming from where they're coming from. I speak poetically, and never pride my ignorance, but this California shit is rigorous, They say it's happy here, happiness is figurative. I'm happy 'cause of me, doesn't matter where I'm living."

Towards the end of the concert, the band introduced the first single off their new soon-to-be-released-album Black And White – the name of the single is "Dangerous."

The concert could not come to an end without the band's rendition of "Sweater Weather" and the encore being "Afraid." Because, let's face it, what's better than a sold out crowd singing along to "Keep on dreaming, don't stop breathing, fight those demons, sell your soul, not your whole self. If they see you when you're sleeping, make them leave it, and I can't even see if it's all there anymore so…You're too mean, I don't like you, fuck you anyway, you make me wanna scream at the top of my lungs. It hurts, but I won't fight you, you suck anyway, you make me wanna die…"

Seriously, if you don't know about The Neighbourhood, this review is the perfect opportunity for you to get to know them – while the concert was short, it was definitely sweet!

Friday, July 25, 2014

I Love You. The Love Collection

"I was the one who wasn't coming from where they're coming from. I speak poetically, and never pride my ignorance, but this California shit is rigorous. They say it's happy here, happiness is figurative; I'm happy 'cause of me, doesn't matter where I'm living..."

"What a mistake, saying the way; I felt I'd say my main influence is myself. And cause I started young, I learned a ton. I didn't run, la da da da da da. I was scared as fuck and out of touch, and I was still testing my luck, oh..."

Because If Yonce And HOVA Are Over…

Yonce, HOVA, Drunk In Love, Partition, Forever Young
Photo Credit: Rob Hoffman / Life And Times

Then there is really no hope left for us single mere mortals.

The universal consensus amongst most of my single friends is that we look to "successful" relationships or marriages as a typical guide as to what we want in our own personal lives. Yes, sometimes those come our way via famous people (possibly a terrible example), while others come via other friends or family members.

A friend and I will be going to the On The Run Tour in two weeks, and we could not be more excited – sadly a gray cloud dumped on us a few days ago as rumors surfaced on how Jay-Z is "allegedly" cheating on Queen Bey with designer Rachel Roy (reason behind Solange going cray-cray on him at the Met Gala), and how he is also "supposedly" keeping singer Mya as his side chick. 

"They are just rumors Azu," says my friend. But, as with all high-profile couples, there is always some truth to the rumor mill.

I have always been fascinated with Beyonce and Jay-Z, not only as artists (their music have influenced the younger generation of up-and-coming artists), but their private life has also been fascinating as well. From the moment they started dating, their romance has been on the limelight, and they somehow managed to be coy about it, and that in itself has brought a mystery as to how, when, why, where their romantic and financial empire was built.

I mean, how can Jay-Z cheat on Beyonce? This is a legitimate question people! Aside from physical beauty, she is a savvy business woman, a devoted mother, family oriented, and quite the talented singer as we all know. As another friend told me, there could be a million possibilities as to why he is "cheating." Obviously, if true, we the ordinary folks will never really know.

And so, that begs the question – if someone as beautiful, smart and talented as Beyonce gets cheated on, what hope is there for us single "girl next door" women of the world? A few weeks ago I was telling my friend how over the moon I was to be going to the show, to see them both live, to literally breathe Yonce's air. In an alternate universe, I honestly believed that her and her amazing love story could bring some good "dating juju" (if you would) to my ill-fated and often pathetic dating life. 

I remember when I saw them both at Coachella in 2010, their rendition of "Forever Young" was short of pure magic. You could see their love magically transpire through their harmonious voices, the love was felt in the way he looked at her, and she looked at him. For the duration of that performance, I got a glimpse of what a real and legit love looked like. I was there, front row, being crushed by the masses who wanted to make it to the front of the stage and experience what I was feeling.

If they do split after the tour is over, then what? Sure, there is a lot of money at stake. They both have managed to build a joint empire of unimaginable proportions. But, aside from the financial aspect, there is a baby girl who will have to grow up with her parents being divorced (as someone coming from divorced parents, IT SUCKS!) 

And, for us single ladies who semi looked up to their fantasy-perfect relationship – our idea of love will be forever crushed. If them being successful, and so in love couldn't keep their marriage together. Then, the common folks are doomed! Relationships and marriages take time, understanding, communication and trust. The lack of one, two or all of the mentioned most definitely break a twosome.

One thing I know, in order to protect my already disastrous dating karma, the day of the concert I will be carrying my invisible oxygen tank which will be the perfect accessory to the HOT outfit I already plan on wearing - lord only knows that I don't need the bad "dating juju." In the words of the great poet Jay-Z… all I need in this life of sin is me, my friends and my hot outfit. 

Photo Credit: Yosra El-Essawy / Life And Times

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Electropop Night With Belanova

All Photos Courtesy Of: Claudia Guzman
It has been four long years since Belanova toured in the Bay Area. And, this past weekend, they more than made up for the time lost by having three shows, two in San Francisco and one in Oakland. Belanova performed at a gay club in San Francisco this past Saturday night, and they were the headliners of the latin stage at Pride festival on Sunday.

But, their three day stop did not end in San Francisco – on Monday, the band had an unbelievable show at Oakland’s The New Parish. Fans gathered at the venue, anxious to finally see the return of Belanova to the stage.

Lead singer Denisse Guerrero looked flawless when she got on stage – dawning a crop top, high waisted shorts, and a retro bandana inspired hairstyle. The fans went wild! There was a cluster of people who had been standing in the front of the stage for about two hours, while others chose to take a view in the upstairs part of the venue.

The curiosity was increasing, what song would start off the show? And, the opening song did not disappoint, as Belanova decided to go with "Rosa Pastel" – and, if you are a true Belanova fan, well, you most certainly know the lyrics by heart.

Denisse engaged with the audience, she talked about how certain songs of the repertoire for that night’s show were of significance for the band, and put them on the music map. One of those songs was “Me Pregunto” from their 2006 album Dulce Beat.

The concert at The New Parish was an absolute success, and it did not matter that it was a Monday night. The setlist also had a vast variety from Belanova’s discography. Some of the songs included: “Mariposas," “Cada Que," “Tus Ojos," “Aun Asi Te Vas," “Baila Mi Corazon'" and  “Por Ti.”

Credits: Jaffe Events

Friday, June 13, 2014

So, It’s Official! I’m In Love With Sam Smith!

Yes, I know most of you have known about Sam Smith from that contagious collaboration with Disclosure on the track “Latch.” And, while I love that song, and “La La La” which he collaborated on with Naughty Boy – the song that got to the chords of my soul was “Stay With Me.”

You see; if you are anything like me, certain songs or lyrics, represent your current state of mind, or that of your heart. Perhaps it’s been broken, let down, or recovering from unrequited love. Whatever the case may be, Smith’s debut album In The Lonely Hour will speak to your muscle of blood. 

And, while the album does not debut in the US until June 17th, our friends over at NPR scored a streaming version for us to enjoy, and, TRUST me when I tell you this – you will want to buy the album IMMEDIATELY!

I have been playing the album all day (seriously!), and as I type away, each track reveals to be so relatable! such great melodies, such heart-felt lyrics.

Ahhh! The track “Not In That Way” talks of that unrequited love – how many of us have fallen for someone who simply didn’t want us? Or have changed their minds about wanting to be with us. Well, Sam Smith knows your struggle! “And I hate to say I want you when you make it so clear you don't want me…” Or, how about the track “I’ve Told You Now” ….. “But why the hell, why do you think I come 'round here on my free will? wasting all my precious time…” 

Amazing albums are hard to come by nowadays – artists rely so heavily on the “technical” aspect of an album, that they often forget that what is important is the content. Thankfully, Sam Smith came to the rescue! In The Lonely Hour is a gem from beginning to end! At 22, Sam is wise beyond his years!

He will be hitting the road, and his show at the FoxTheater in Oakland is officially SOLD-OUT! (let’s hope a second date opens up.) He is the HOTTEST ticket around since Lorde made her debut.

I leave you with the video for the song “Stay With Me.” In The Lonely Hour comes out on June 17th, available on iTunes & Amazon

Friday, May 23, 2014

A Chat With Foals Lead Singer Yannis Philippakis

Indie Music,
Foals At Fox Theater In Oakland

I had the opportunity to have a little chat with Yannis, lead singer of one of the most popular bands in the world after their big success over the years, having their latest album as one of their best albums they have recorded so far called Holy Fire. This casual conversation took place at a bar in San Francisco a few days ago.

Yannis and the rest of the band were drinking and I happened to show up at the bar, and the band was there in a corner with a group of friends. I decided just to have a drink and head over to say hi to them. Yannis Philippakis said hi to me, and I introduced myself. He then said: "Hi my name is Yannis I play on a band called Foals." He began to introduce band members from Cage the Elephant; Matthew the lead singer, and Brad the guitarist.

So then we started talking for a while and Yannis treated me to a drink. I certainly accepted and realized how cool this guy was. So as we talked, I began asking him about everything. I told him that I enjoyed all of their music and loved their latest album Holy Fire. Yannis asked me what song was my favorite and I answered "Late Night" and "Out of the Woods.” He nodded and told me that he loves playing "Late Night" & "Providence." Yannis said that his favorite song to play is "Providence." I asked him if he ever gets tired of playing the same songs, he answered of course and that's why he tries to play different songs during their sets, but he also said that there is one song he will never get tired of listening and playing to... "Spanish Sahara."

I asked him if he prefers to play at big venues & music festivals or if he rather play smaller shows. He responded that he prefers the smaller shows because they are more intimate and they go with his personality. He gets to interact with his fans at the shows jumping, crowd surfing, making everyone scream and dance to the lyrics.
While talking about music I asked him about his biggest music influences. He said that Nirvana, The Pixies, Placebo and a lot of underground bands. And that he hates bands like the Sex Pistols or bands that are too mainstream. He explained to me that he has an appealing taste for underground bands. He is constantly on the look for up-and-coming-bands.

As we were talking, I told him that I own almost all of his vinyls, and some of them are really rare and expensive, and that I love buying records and CDs.
He also confessed that he is addicted to shopping for records online, and that he tends to buy unique vinyls at ridiculous prices. He also told me how he loves playing in Mexico and UK, he stated that fans are the craziest when they are at their shows. He loves their energy and said that they sing like there is no tomorrow. He asked me if I ever seen them play in Mexico or London. I, unfortunately, haven't seen them there, but that it is on my bucket list. He smiled and said that his favorite place to play is London, he loves London culturally and loves living there. He began to tell me how beautiful London, Manchester, Oxford and some other places are, and that I should visit. He said that he loves playing here in America for the fact that they can go out freely and not many people know them.

Something that I couldn't resist asking was how he likes meeting people and being asked for pictures and greeting fans all over the world. I told him that he seems so down to earth and that I really appreciated the fact that he is very friendly and very easy to talk to, unlike other bands like Arctic Monkeys, who are not so eager to meet and greet with the fans. He smiled and said, “you got to understand that Arctic Monkeys since their early beginning, they have been successful and they are rich.” He said that he has questioned a few times Alex, and then Yannis said to me "When you work on this industry you got to prepare for these things, is something natural, as natural as someone asking for a picture or media getting on them all the time." Talking about Arctic Monkeys; I asked him what band or album he has been listening to recently. He said that he barely has time to listen to new music because of the constant touring and the busy life he is living, but the latest album was AM from Arctic Monkeys. He said: "such a great album, definitely the best album from them." Then he smoked a cigarette and said that his favorite song was "I Wanna Be Yours" song which was based on John Cooper's poem and converted this into a masterpiece.
We talked about so many things, and I even managed to score some info about the new album. He said that they need to finish their tour, go back home and relax and bit, and then they will focus on a new album. They already have some songs in the works, but have a long way to go.

I thanked them all Yannis (Foals), Jimmy (Foals) and Matt (Cage the Elephant) for hanging out with me, and for the chat – safe to say that it was one of the best nights of my life!

Guest post by: Adrian Jusue

Adrian is a music fanatic who always scores meeting band members, he is also a freelance photographer. 

You can check out some of his work HERE, or follow him on twitter.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Mindy Lahiri Is The New Carrie Bradshaw

"Guys don't break up with girls they secretly want to be with." - Mindy 

Let’s talk about the season finale of The Mindy Project for just a second. I was so excited for Mindy and her new love interest Charlie aka “I’m not a guy. I’m a man.” Charlie is exactly the MAN that Mindy needs – a caring, secure of himself and wise man. Sadly, during the season finale I was terribly disappointed, angry, sad, heck devastated!

Tim Daly, Mindy Kaling

How could Mindy have fallen for Danny Castellano AGAIN? He catfish her, he stood her up at the Empire State Building; he is selfish, controlling, and possessive! HOW?!?!?! WHY?!!?!?! Actually, I know why! For what seems to be FOREVER, tv shows, have led us women to believe that it is OK to forgive the jerk, that these men we tend to fall for will eventually get it, and they will want to be with us, full on, no hiding, no BS. But it is ALL A VILE LIE! It is! Let’s keep it one hundred percent real – we women usually fall for the sweet talk, and sadly (as a friend told me), we get “dicknotized.” Once these men whisper sweet things, what we want to hear, we automatically forget all the wrongdoing. It is frustrating and exhausting!

And, you see, Mindy did it, she fell for it. And back in the late 90s, and early 2000s Carrie Bradshaw did it too. She let go of wonderful, caring, sweet Aidan, and fell into Mr. Big’s lies. May I remind you all that HE LEFT HER THE DAY OF THE WEDDING! And, she forgave him!

I just don’t get it! Why do we (women) allow these situations to happen? And if you are reading this, and you say that you have never been in a similar situation, you are flat out lying! We have all done it. We let go of the “good guy,” the “silver fox,” only to go back to the guy who broke our hearts, the one afraid of commitment, the cheater, the liar. I mean, the list goes on!

TV shows make us believe that going back or staying with these men is OK! that, in an alternate universe, these men will change into the men we let go of – those we should have stayed with to begin with. Mindy Lahiri and Carrie Bradshaw have failed us! They were supposed to set the example for the rest of us, and not let us fall into the spiderweb of lies.

Instead, Carrie let go of perfect Aidan, and Mindy fell into the trap of Danny Castellano, and entirely shut out sexy silver fox aka Charlie.


 Photo Credits: The Mindy Project on FOX
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