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Music: Tick Tick Boom by The Hives November 25, 2008

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My very good friend (and next-door-neighbour) DMcN often says that I like “fluffy” music. True, I do have some Top-40 tunes always in my head, and I know that she thinks that deep house music ain’t all that and a bag of chips. But I also think I do have a little bit of an edge in regards to the music I listen to, so I present to you another of my favorites: Tick Tick Boom by The Hives. Surprised? Shocked? Yeah, I *love* this tune.

Music – St. Marks Square by Black Science Orchestra November 19, 2008

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I’m a big fan of deep house music, and particularly of Black Science Orchestra. One of their best tracks, New Jersey Deep, is always on my iPod. The song whose video I’m inserting here is pretty much another one of those “tunes that define me“.

The rhythms in this song are completely along the lines of what I like to dance to, what I dance to when I am at home or in a club. Although I think the last time I heard this type of tunes was (believe it or not) at Bar None (in Yaletown, Vancouver)! Oh no, that’s not exactly true. It was at the Media 2O party (one of the best parties I’ve ever attended – only comparable to BarCamp Vancouver 2008 party!)

A rare and nice music find – Omarion – Ice Box November 3, 2008

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I am a big listener of house music. Some hip-hop, although rare. But this song is a gem. I thoroughly enjoyed it (although the end of the video is rather abrupt). Hope you like it. I can’t embed the video but here is the link.

The soundtrack to my life – A sampler October 21, 2008

Posted by Raul in random thoughts, Vancouver.
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There are a few songs out there that I feel are the backdrop to my life. In many ways, I often visualize my life as a movie, and these songs are an integral component of the soundtrack. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but gives you an idea…


“On a High” by Duncan Sheik


“Brother Down” by Sam Roberts


“Low Rider” by War


“Walk Into The Sun” by Dirty Vegas

New Jersey Deep – Black Science Orchestra October 16, 2008

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My friend Phaedra spins house music, my friend Trevor seems to enjoy house music (from what I saw in one of his Flickr photos) but for some reason I never seem to hear from any other of my friends anything about deep house (although I think Nomade Moderne would enjoy it and so would Lotus Effect) . So I figured I’d show you the kind of tunes I am most likely to enjoy. This is an old one (e.g. I’ve enjoyed this one for a while now, but I don’t think I had had a chance to post a YouTube video. I do love Black Science Orchestra’s deep house, and “New Jersey Deep” is the one I enjoy the most. Fourteen years and this tune is still rockin’ in London!

Feel free to add your comments, e.g. if you like it, or not, or whatever πŸ˜‰

Music review – Mayday (M’aidez) by People in Planes October 8, 2008

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I had the great fortune of watching the Welsh band People in Planes live in May of 2008 at The Biltmore Cabaret (right around a very stressful time for me) and I kept trying to find the video or the MP3. Luckily for me, someone uploaded this song on to YouTube so now you can enjoy it (and yes I love People in Planes, as I do Death Cab by Cutie, The Darkness, The Smiths, and a few other bands that aren’t as “fluffy” or pop as the majority of the music I listen to!)

What’s so great about Rock Band? August 18, 2008

Posted by Raul in blogosphere, personal life, random thoughts, Vancouver.
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Laura asked me on Twitter what was so great about Rock Band (since I tweeted that I was longing to play Rock Band with my Vancouver friends). There are many reasons, but let me just focus on two.

The first one, it allows me to tap into my musical past. While I hate my own voice (even when I sing in English) and I have frequently asked Mom why I didn’t inherit her vocal abilities (Mom is a soprano coloratura and can belt anything from an aria to a bolero to a mariachi song effortlessly), I love music, and in particular, love singing. I play piano, and I’m a well-trained dancer, but mostly, I love singing. I’m the guy who will never say no to you if you invite me to sing karaoke (or play Rock Band).

The second one is the inherently social nature of Rock Band. I used to hate videogames, and never understood why my good friend JT was so into them. Until I was first introduced to Rock Band by my friend Tanya. She has this tendency to organize awesome parties, populated with lots of good friends. We frequently play Rock Band, and doing this kind of activity has actually allowed me to get to know friends of Tanya whom I would have probably not gotten to know any other way.

My friends NMcC and her boyfriend R, and my good friend AF (all of them civilians/offline friends) also enjoy playing Rock Band, and some of the most fun nights we’ve had in past months have been singing “Heroes” by David Bowie, “Wave of Mutilation” by The Pixies, “Roam” by The B-52s, “Orange Crush” by R.E.M. and of course, my favorite (’cause I can sing it well now) “Gimme Shelter” by

The song shown below is my nemesis, though. NMcC, R, AF and myself tried to do it but we couldn’t. Me on bass, AF on vocals (both beginner), R on expert drums and NMcC on guitar intermediate. The last time we tried it, we stayed up until 3.30am (we started at 8pm) and we tried to do this one (Foreplay/Long Time by Boston) but didn’t get it right.

Sigh. I look forward to playing some more Rock Band upon my return.

Vancouver Folk Festival highlights for this coming weekend July 14, 2008

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Thanks to Rebecca, I was reminded that the Vancouver Folk Festival is happening this coming weekend. I know for a fact that I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now because I don’t even look at event calendars, given that I’m trying to sort out my own (and in a not-so-surprising turn of events, I’m fully booked all week, including evenings and weekend).

With little time to write a coherent blog post (I got like 12 drafts that will be time-stamped at some point tonight), I should highlight that there are at least four bands that you should see during VFF:

– Michael Franti and Spearhead
– Ozomatli
– Delhi 2 Dublin
– Spirit of the West

Some good news – one of my very best friends, HZ, is back in town this week after an extended absence (he was in Europe for a while). And his girlfriend, who is also a very good friend of mine, is back on Saturday evening (good times!). HZ and I both really like Michael Franti and Spearhead and Delhi2Dublin, so we’ll have to see if we can squeeze some time to see these bands (although by the looks of how my weekend has shaped up, that looks like a very unlikely event – and he probably won’t have time either).

Anyways, worth checking the performances at Vancouver Folk Festival. Hat tips to Rebecca for the reminder. [And incredible coincidence – one of the band members of Ozomatli has the same name as me. He is the reason why I don’t appear in the first page of Google!]

Meld’s last gig June 1, 2008

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I met Daniel and a few of his friends, including Anya and Alex at WordCamp Vancouver 2008 and we’ve kept in touch ever since. Since Daniel is going away for a year, his band (Meld) played one last time at Myles on Beans (near Edmonds Skytrain station – awesome place, by the way). Daniel invited me to his last gig, and I was happy I did attend.

So who are Meld?

MELD is a family rock band that plays mostly soft rock, classic rock, and folk but enjoys the occasional diversion into celtic music and psychedelic math metal. We’re Michael on guitar/vox, Esmie behind the scenes, Leanne on bass/keys?/vox, and Daniel on drums.[MELD]

Meld's last gig May 31 2008

I haven’t finished uploading all the photos from the gig, nor the videos, but here is a shot that I think captured the evening. The rest are on my Flickr set for this particular evening. After the gig, we came back to the McLaren’s for some Rock Band. As I’ve previously stated, I am HORRIBLE at Rock Band, but I love to play. I will upload the videos to YouTube at some point this week.

It was a very nice and enjoyable evening, and I kind of regret not having seen some of their other gigs, particularly since they played twice in my neighbourhood (Cottage Bistro and Purple Crab) last year. But I’m sure I’ll get to see them when Daniel is back.

As I mentioned to the McLaren’s (Michael and Esmie), in many ways, I saw my life very much re-enacted last night. My parents and I have sang together (my Mom is a soprano, my Dad plays the guitar, we all brothers play the piano) and they never pushed me to do anything. On the contrary, they always encouraged me to do the best I could. That’s what also made it very enjoyable to see another family do the same (Daniel is off to Europe for a year, and his parents have been very encouraging to him). Good times, all around.

Music review – We Are Family (Jump 5) April 29, 2008

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Actually there’s nothing to review here. The song is very well known and the group is totally teenager-target market, but my 17 year old niece would probably like this song, so it’s basically for her. You guys can just enjoy collaterally πŸ˜‰