Soundtrack to this afternoon.

Posted in Uncategorized on July 23rd, 2010 by byronkho

Since I am going to a wedding this afternoon, this seemed the appropriate mix. Hooray for Christopher Rubino and Megan McGowan! Yes, I am a closet romantic. Stole My Heart is on the Amazon Kindle commercial. Sister Hazel actually has some good stuff beyond their most popular late 90s period. Carissa’s Wierd was a Seattle “chamber pop” band, one of the members went on to Band of Horses. They apparently didn’t know how to spell. Good to see Jennifer Knapp coming back with some good stuff. Ima see Katie Herzig live pretty soon, so am looking forward to that. The Lily Allen song has weird grammar but maybe that’s a Brit thing… “get a Chinese” rather than “get Chinese”? I assume she’s talking about Chinese food and not adopting a Chinese baby. The song has a nice cover by some UK kids choir, was listening to that the other day and it was utterly charming… possibly even a little better than the original.

Stole My Heart – Little & Ashley
Dead Hearts – Stars
You’re Not The Only One – Paul Thorn
What Kind Of Living – Sister Hazel
Raining In Me – The Benjy Davis Project
Lions – Samantha Crain
Chinese – Lily Allen
Princess – Lee Dewyze
Die – Carissa’s Wierd
Things I Used to Know – Riley Etheridge Jr.
Blue Sunshine – Blue Giant
Check Your Pocket – The Benjy Davis Project
Dive In – Jennifer Knapp
Wasted Daylight – Stars
Static Waves – Andrew Belle & Katie Herzig
Queen of the Lot – The Spring Standards
Heart To Tell – The Love Language
Smile with Candy Hearts – Clara C

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Thursday in the Hood with BK.

Posted in Personal on July 22nd, 2010 by byronkho

K-town, in the vein of Jersey Shore.

I can waste hours listening to new music (and lots of rediscovering old favorites). One of my joys is listening to opera arias that I used to accompany back in the day. I remember with fondness the extremely short-lived Penn Opera Society… I looked up some of the old members on Facebook and it looks as if a lot of them are still in the opera game. Good for them. I’m not out of the game either; I’m working with many talented soloists on an opera right now called The Crowded House, along with the composer himself, Michael Dutka. The show will be opening in the Philly Fringe Festival in September in the Lantern Theatre. It’ll be great. I hope.

Never actually accompanied this one, but I find the Stabat Mater to be beautiful.

This Steppenwolf song has always been a keeper, and this updated live cover (since it’s been jazzed up a little bit) by the old man himself is pretty darn tootin.

I listen, off and on, to a lot of French music. Particularly that with a Afro or Cuban or Afro-Cuban feel. Since there are so many African and Arabic “influences” in France, there’s always bound to be great music. Thus, one more. I love her sound, as I imagine myself in a Havana cafe in the 1920s with elegant Creole women holding long cigarettes in holders and wafting exotic perfumes… I also, randomly, think of Marion Cotillard.

One of my favorite bands, Stars. They have this cinematic melancholy sound, and they’re from Toronto. What’s not to like? This is Wasted Daylight, off their newest album. Their other single from that album, Dead Hearts, is also super-awesome – and you can get it free on Amazon. Grab.

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A bit of this, a bit of that.

Posted in Personal on July 11th, 2010 by byronkho

Busy week! July 4th weekend: Walnut Room, Byblos, Philadelphia Orchestra at Penn’s Landing, Tattooed Mom, learned about Franklin Mortgage and Investment, BBQ on Kelly Dr, BBQ in W Philly, fireworks on the Parkway…

1) The Roots, Goo Goo Dolls, Chrissette Michele: OK performance. For some reason, speakers did not seem loud enough. I could hear them, but it didn’t seem close at all. So, The Roots weren’t as amazing as they usually are, though I could hear them playing perfectly competently. Chrissette Michele didn’t do too much – guess she was guesting with The Roots. Goo Goo Dolls were all right. Since everyone was talking a lot (and I was hardly paying attention to the show anyways), the sounds just kind of passed over my head. I did notice that the lead singer didn’t take any risks – he skipped most of the high notes and changed songs to make the vocal line easier! I mean, understandable in a way… but not something I’d want if I paid for the concert.

2) Comedy Cellar in NY, plus more. Chris’s bachelor’s party was a great time. Comedians were hilarious (place gets a let’s-go-there-again star), evening entertainment was entertaining, drinks were drinkable, etc etc. Drunken shenanigans, Chris almost rolling off a roof. Raina…

3) Memphis. Hot. The actor playing Huey almost broke on a high note (but didn’t… I could tell it was a near miss though) and his voice was on and off annoying/effective. Loved the main girl… shoot, don’t remember her character name. Bobby stole the show for his quick solo and then crazy dance routine. Basically, the entire 2nd act is on the set of the TV show. Stuff happens but it felt a little enclosed, namean? Great dancing. By the way, the League of Extraordinary Dancers has started on Hulu, and there is some awesome dancing. I was looking for the Antigravity dudes to make an appearance on Memphis, but that would be anachronistic. Probably.

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Listening to a bunch of Clara C. Again.

Posted in Personal on July 5th, 2010 by byronkho

Oh man. This girl is good with the production values and all the instruments and of course, being pretty and Korean. That’s called wide appeal. Having Kal Penn give you props and get you White House gigs ALSO helps.

BOB mashup covered by Clara C and Jason Yang, and the rap verse is sung. 1:00 to 1:30… musical heaven.

Kings of Leon, Colbie Caillat and John Mayer mashup.

Blu Cantrell and Paramore mashup. Nice take on Misery Business!


Raphael Saadiq.

Posted in Personal on July 1st, 2010 by byronkho

Wrigley’s marketing team spends a day with an innovator to learn their creative process… and this time it’s Raphael Saadiq.

How does the big man do it? Saadiq walks into a studio, pulls the Wrigley guys in. Ima lay down a few tracks, and here, why don’t you guys sing a bit and I’ll splice you in. All right, all done – here, take this home. Your very own Raphael Saadiq + yours truly exclusive.

End of the day: Buddy Guy’s Legends. Raphael: Oh, I’ve got time to chill. So… on to Legends it is. Grand entrance – hey, they’re with me. Sup, Buddy.

Perfect day. Too bad I’m not Chris.

Love his latest album. 50s renaissance man. Does soul music right. AND pulls in Stevie Wonder. Holy crap. If you check out some of his interviews, he gives a shoutout to Philly’s own Gamble and Huff, down Broad and home to Philly soul… progenitor of disco.

No Philly shows in ‘10. Too bad!

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Exploring Psyches over Chicken Soup, Part I.

Posted in Opinion on July 1st, 2010 by byronkho

On those long walks home – when I weave into dark alleys and shadowy paths, purposely chasing after danger and death by misadventure – and when I’m not otherwise occupied by audial bliss of an escapist nature (yes, even the strident tones of Rammstein or Slayer are an escape into something, be it love, happiness… or misery), I wax philosophical. I ask the very important question that most people do ask themselves in a usually ignominious, or insincere, or indirect way, and over which old men and women write heavy tomes, propagate religious dictums and otherwise determine an elusively permanent and malleable structure for ordered human thought and society: what exactly do I live for?

My inspiration, albeit extremely negative in some sense, comes from the core maxim of a 1938 novel by Vladimir Bartol. Nothing is true, everything is permitted. While the exact phrasing is not factually derived from the historical account or sayings (though interpreting his teachings may lead to that conclusion) of Hasan-i-Sabah, erstwhile leader of the merry band of Hashashin that plagued the Seljuk Empire in the 11th century, it is a nihilistic truth that both upends the common moral and religious strictures that governs and creates manageable human societies, and replaces it with another. One that more keenly ennervates and encourages our most primitive setting: he who wins, lives.

Alamut Castle

Not that I actually prescribe to a life dictated by the need to show that I, by the sum total of my positively gargantuan efforts to remain in such a position (which must be patently false since I don’t seem to be stressing too much about the basic issues inherent in the life of your average caveman of the Tertiary period), am at the top of some imaginary evolutionary chain – even though humans are still routinely eaten by sharks, lions, elephants… even other humans. What it does show me is that we are indeed insignificant in a universe that is expanding (and also retracting, according to your neighborhood astrophysicist) beyond our ability to reasonably comprehend, and thus anything that is true for us cannot mean so much to, well, everything else in this vast expanse of space. I can very well imagine myself as a speck of dust, completely impossible to find, in some existential miasma: exempli gratia, some unexplainable interstellar phenomena like the giant green gas blob near galaxy IC2497 in the constellation Leo Minor that eats planets. Which, despite being the material from which C-list scifi movies are made, does exist.

It’s coming to get you.

Any discussion on the place of man in this state of being (in comparison with his fellow man or with nature, since “being” is always in relation to something else) must always include the status and location of religion in such a conceptualization. In a grand general sense, religion is just a set of beliefs that promote ways for individuals to live in a mutually beneficial way with other believers in the faith. How? By providing a sense of belonging, an absolute sense of product placement in the store window that is this planet, and finally, a way in which one is not continually afeared of death due to the presence of others that, colloquially, “watch your back.”

In my present incarnation on this plane (not a reincarnation, as I do not believe that I was made into flesh, again, from some previous existence as… the mind boggles, though if I happened to be Casanova or Admiral Horatio Nelson or my namesake, Lord George Gordon Byron, bleeding to death a hero at Lepanto and refused a burial at Westminster Abbey due to “questionable morality”… “and all that’s best of dark and bright/ Meets in her aspect and her eyes“… I should not mind), I happen to be a believer in my own peculiar version of Christianity. One in which the individual can commune with God, separate from institutions which are not absolutely necessary but are beneficial in spreading the word. One in which the truths of our physical world, or what we can most closely discover to be the truth using our limited human understandings and experiences, are completely compatible with being a believer – I could not believe in a theory unjustified by the facts. One in which the believer can understand that the religion itself is fallible without disbelieving. One in which inconsequentiality is a possibility, and there exists no confirmation of man as a god above all things (yet somehow below the God of all things).

Oh Captain, my Captain (Nelson). Who here read Whitman? Who here watched Dead Poets Society? Who here read Whitman before watching Dead Poets Society?

What do I believe? That God made all things… by making it possible for all things to develop, given time. That God is a passive god, letting us make our own mistakes and discovering our limitations: disease, eventual feebleness, and worst of all, a paradoxical unlimited capacity for arrogance. What does this mean, and what does this have to do with an anarchical saying from a Middle Eastern potboiler (of the 11th or 20th century)?

To be continued…