QOTD #1

Which band/singer made you get off of your comfort zone to other kinds of music?

I’d like to hear about it from you.

I’ll share first:

I wrote about it a while ago; I don’t remember if it was 2018 or 2019. The band that popped my pop-punk bubble (or happy punk) was Amaral, a duet from Zaragoza, Spain. I was still a kid in middle school, but I still remember when I only liked pop-punk like Blink 182, Sum 41, New Found Glory, and other similar bands. However, it all changed when I heard on television a song by Amaral. It was not a catchy song, but it was so different, so beautiful, that I couldn’t stop listening to it.

From that moment on, I knew there were great musicians that I didn’t know, not only in English-speaking countries but also worldwide. Pop, metal, punk, ballads; everything had something to offer me. Now I know I shouldn’t focus on one genre or language.

Let me know in the comments if you had a similar experience.

I Was Listening to 6ow 3id girl

While I am always open to all the music that exists, a decade ago, I was reluctant to listen to music I wouldn’t be able to understand. The only languages I speak are Spanish and English, so listening to others would have been a pain. Then I remembered that, two decades ago, I could only speak Spanish, and I listened ONLY music in English; I thank music and videogames for my English! With the internet, we’ve had access to different cultures, and one that stands out more today is the Japanese culture, which I like, and I’d love to visit the country one day.

One of the things I do on the internet is to look out for new things. It’s easy to look the bestselling artists on Amazon, but sometimes we ignore what’s lost in a sea of “hits”.


My experience has been good so far. For Japanese music, I grew fond of their 70’s and 80’s decades. Although, just as it had happened with the songs I loved in both English and Spanish, getting fully engaged, tied, or close-minded to new things. As I explored social media, I ended up finding a couple of new Japanese bands and singers; I did like some and disliked others. So I thought maybe this would be a good time to talk about one of these artists. I randomly picked 6ow 3id girl because she’s new. She has released three singles so far that are available on YouTube and some music platforms.

6o2 3id girl’s first single is a catchy song called “Whack a Mole”. A title inspired by the game of the same game.

English lyrics for “Whack A Mole” here: https://www.lyrics.com/sublyric/78670/6ow+3id+girl/whack+a+mole

The lyrics, however, have nothing to do with the game itself. They are basically focused on the singer, getting away from a relationship, friendly or romantic; the lyrics are open and could be well applied to both. The music is catchy and the basslines sound very cool.

English lyrics for “Peko-niko-boo!” here: https://www.lyrics.com/sublyric/78671/6ow+3id+girl/peko-niko-boo%21

This one has simpler lyrics. “Peko-niko-boo!” tries to surround you as a vampire, while the music, that during the chorus sounds like an upbeat remix of the music that you listen while watching a classic horror movie. Let the song embrace you, it won’t suck your blood!

English lyrics for “Sequin Brandy” here: https://www.lyrics.com/sublyric/78669/6ow+3id+girl/SEQUIN+BRANDY

“Sequin Brandy”, is my personal favorite. Definitely a song that will be stuck in your head for a long time. This is one of these haunting songs that MUST be in your playlist, taking it to your trips or whenever you just want to walk alone. The seductive music and lyrics, reminiscing the 80’s, has everything to accompany you no matter what your mood is at the moment the song starts playing. The electronic pop sound of “Sequin Brandy” is as addictive as the scent of a good brandy.


Personally, I see a lot of potential. After “Sequin Brandy” I am excited for an album release.

Always the Music

This is another comforting post for me. I just want to share some of my favorite singles (songs) of all time. I’ve previously mentioned how much I love music, and how much I hate nostalgia. It seems that many people can’t just listen to other thing but “classics” or believe that whatever was made in a certain decade was better than the new stuff, and dare to claim knowledge. 

But this is not a post about me ranting. This is just me, sharing some of the music I love.


I always try to talk about those songs that didn’t make it into a single. You know, these songs that are chosen by the record label or the band to promote a new album. They usually pick the most radio-friendly songs to have better reception. And, as we all should know by now, that doesn’t mean the singles are the best songs from the new album; again, these are just the most radio-friendly.

However, I understand that a good way to introduce new bands to people, is to pick these catchy songs from YouTube, and send the link to your friends. If they like it, they’re going to buy the album, or stream it on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, or other services I forgot.

analog audio cassette cassette tape

Photo by NEOSiAM 2020 on Pexels.com

This list is a reminder for me, and maybe others, that music is a huge wave of nostalgia that is ready to take us out to the sea of good and bad memories. Music has that power, and I also believe that music is even more powerful than literature when we want to travel to a world beyond imagination. Don’t you agree?

RISE AGAINST

I know, this is unbelievable; the first song I heard heard of Rise against was “The Violence” from the album called Wolves (2016). I’ve been late to the party. This is weird for a persona like me, being so close to punk music since I was in middle school. Even I ask myself what in the world happened to me for not paying attention to this band, THEY ARE GREAT! The message they want to deliver is clear when they talk about politics, in a very mature way; and same thing happens with their most romantic songs, and more personal songs. This is a band that lyrically care about what is happening with society. There’s also a humble feeling in each song that makes me truly believe they know where they come from. After “The Violence” I write down the mission to myself to listen to all their albums, and found my favorite: Siren Song of the Counter Culture (2004).

 

SOCIAL DISTORTION

Before I take a step into another genre here, I want to speak about my “new” favorite punk rock band. Social Distortion is a particular case here. I’ve been listening to them for decades, even when I hadn’t had the opportunity to get any of these albums. I grew up in Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and the music stores are very small, no punk at all. No Social Distortion, no Bad Religion, no Pennywise, no Rancid; nothing. Thanks to the power of the internet I found about more bands. I became obsessed with a lot of music that wasn’t even available in the whole continent! It was a paradise to me. Unfortunately, the only option I had is to stream in a very bad quality and a lot of lag. But that’s what we had back then!

I have to say that I hadn’t loved Social Distortion so much until they visited El Paso, TX. The Tricky Falls existed (and now it’s gone, sadly) and many cool events took place. I was living a tough situation; and I wasn’t in the mood to attend any concert. I can’t remember exactly what happened, but I ended up buying the ticket for Social Distortion concert. I don’t know why, Mike Ness’ words went through my heart. I wrote a whole post about it, so I’ll keep the whole story out of this post.

I wanted to put this on top, but if I let my inner fanboy goes out, it’d contradict the message that I always try to tell about listening to different stuff.

AMARAL

Amaral, the duo from Zaragoza, Spain. Other musicians that have a meaningful story in my life. There’s a post about it, but I’ll summarize it for you: I loved music, but I underestimated all music in Spanish, but thanks to Amaral I regretted being ignorant for so long.

Music that comes from the heart. It is often called pop rock, but I wouldn’t be tagging Amaral just like that; their music has a lot of substance, since they have a variety of genres combined, mainly folk music. The poetic lyrics is another big highlight and, as strange as this will sound, one of the reasons I believe they’re not as popular as many other musicians in the mainstream circle. I’ve heard several people telling that their words don’t make any sense, but that isn’t truth, specially once you’d taken time to learn a bit more about Eva Amaral (vocalist) and Juan Aguirre (guitarist).

This duo is special. It surprises me that is not that popular as I thought they would be. Yes, in Spain they are a big deal. That changes in this continent; sure, there’s a good fanbase, but not big enough compared to other pop bands.

THE CURE

The Cure, a band that I believed an introduction wasn’t necessary, but today, I don’t see many people talking about them. I needed to look deeper for any mentions on social media.

This band, I’m not going to lie, is living out of their hits. Any album or song released after the 90’s is like it hadn’t existed in the first place. “The End of the World”? “Alt.end”? From their self-titled album? Yeah, I thought so. It is sad, their audience (me being part of that audience) is still there, waiting with all hearts for a live show.

I remember a post on Twitter from Kristin “Dee Dee” Gundred (ex-Dum Dum Girls) saying that listening to The Cure is like going to church. I couldn’t agree more. Magic is a word that I’ll always use to define The Cure’s work. Even though the majority of songs are simple, Robert Smith and company did something; put an enchantment to every single song that’d been released. Their versatility and deep lyrics (in the most part) took the band to a well-deserved position in our musical history.

It’s still sad, though, that so very few speak of The Cure nowadays.

AVANTASIA

When everything comes to Metal, the first and last band that comes into my mind is Avantasia. A band that started as a “solo” project by Tobias Sammet (Edguy), and ended up gathering the best of the classic and contemporary metal.

For me, Avantasia’s first album, The Metal Opera, brought something old and yet new to the table. I got the album from one of these weird and hidden music stores in Juarez, and all because it had the word “Opera” in the title. I wasn’t a big fan of Metal back then (I was more into punk), but my curiosity and the money Mom had given me made me feel in the liberty to pick a random music CD.

The first thing that surprised me, was the story; and no, I don’t mean the story behind the album or how it was made. The album itself contains a story. Every song has a scenario, and each song has one or more singers, each representing a role/character in that story. A dialogue between two or more characters, a monologue, a narrator, all singing their part as a metal song. Did I mention that each album has well-known guests? Alice Cooper, Candice Night, Sharon del Adel, among others. Give Avantasia a listen!


I don’t know why, but this quarantine lacks of something. Recommendations are always welcome, and I believe listening to different things or new things is good. Do not hesitate to write down your favorite bands or songs, I’ll listen to them! 

Spotify, My Love

Dear Spotify,

I must thank you for existing. After services like Netflix or Crunchyroll, I wondered if there was something similar for music, and I appreciate the fact that there is. There are others, of course, but Spotify is my favorite. I love you even when you don’t have the original soundtracks of the Shin Megami Tensei/Persona series, or Blazblue and Guilty Gear.

I forgive you for that. Your catalog is big enough to compensate! Just joking, I know it doesn’t depend on you. Atlus and Arc System Works are weird companies.

spotify-playlist

This is an irrelevant talk. This is just a blog about nothing, to be honest. This is a post where I’ve decided to share more of the music I listen to and why. The vast Spotify catalog is a poor excuse for me to write anything. Come, listen to some of the songs that I love, and feel free to share yours. I am also looking for a good excuses and recommendations to add songs to my playlists.

I remember my love for music as a kid. Believe it or not, my parents punished me by taking the music away from me. They never touched my videogames, as my biggest hobby was music.

My story began when my uncle played a VHS tape (damn, I am old). A cousin recorded a lot of music videos from MTV. Believe it or not, the M stands for Music, and they had actually shown music videos. INCREDIBLE! Back to topic: that VHS tape included a lot of rock videos. Before that, I loved music, but I didn’t really care much about it. I was a little kid, so my knowledge in music was so little. Then a song began, “Falling Away From Me” by Korn. From that moment on my interest in music started.

At first, I only listened to English songs, even though I had no clue what they said. Hey, now I have to thank that music that I’ve learned the language. Yet, I was an ignorant fool thinking that only music in that language was worth. Then a popular channel in Mexico proved me wrong. There was a Top Ten show on Saturday mornings; of course, they only played songs in Spanish, so I had zero interest. Then, a song started–a song from a duo from Spain: Amaral, with a song called “Te Necesito”, featuring Beto Cuevas (the singer from a Chilean band called La Ley). I’ll show you below.

Some inspiring music

One of the things I love most is writing, that’s the purpose of my blogs, just write and write until I feel tired. There are other sections as well, that I wish to use for reviews, stories, and promote my future novel.

I know some prefer to write or do homework in complete silence. I understand that, I love silence, or I prefer a very low volume at home when I watch anime or play videogames. Music being an exception. When I listen to music I like it loud. Punk, rock, metal–these genres are meant to be loud.

There’s another exception, though, and that is the exact moment I sit down to write. I only need enough space in my head for soft music and imagination. I realized that videogames have a vast selection of music that could work perfectly to do activities that require concentration. I would never get tired to recommend it, and I would never end naming examples of videogames with great music. It is a shame that not everyone is going to take that music seriously, “it came from videogames, how could that be good?” Nothing I can do to change their minds.

The only thing left for me to do is to write and see if anyone is curious to listen.

“Hopes and Dreams” is the title screen song from a game called VA-11 Hall-A, a cyberpunk visual novel available on all gaming platforms. That moment the title screen shown up, I feel in love with its soundtrack. The music fits perfectly; there are many hopes and dreams gathered in a city where the game takes place. Hope and dreams are the only things you could strive for in a decaying city. You are a bartender, and your job is to serve drinks and listen to the citizens tell about the problems and what’s happening, while the music you’ve chosen for the jukebox plays in the background, giving a temporary feeling of relief.

The full soundtrack is available on Spotify.

English is not the only language for music

Imagine one being so disrespectful to music that automatically assumes that there’s only one language for music? I feel ashamed, but I was one of them, and I don’t want to believe that people that only knows one language is the same today as I when I was twelve years old.

I am so glad I changed my mind after listening to this duo from Zaragoza, Spain, because they helped me to look further into them and other artists as well. One of my dreams was to assist to one of their shows. Unfortunately, I always lived close to the border, and they usually visit the most important cities in the country. So any hope died back then, and I never had the opportunity to travel when I was a kid. That changed as an adult, though. I traveled to Guadalajara, Jalisco (my favorite place in Mexico) in 2017 just to assist to their concert. Not only that, I was able to take a photo with Eva Amaral.

One of my dreams came true. I respect them. They gave us an epic show! I hope to repeat it someday.

A cure for bad nights

The Cure has a legacy, that can’t be taken away. This is one of the many bands that never wrote complicated songs, but somehow they managed to add a lot of magic to its simplicity. Robert Smith is indeed a genius songwriter.

From their most teenager post-punk album Three Imaginary Boys, to their darkest work called Pornography, to their pop rock Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, you have the perfect album to satisfy your mood.

Depending on the context, The Cure is also helpful if your intention is to write or study. I don’t know how to describe the sensation, but they are perfect for any activity.

When Metal tells a story

The Metal genre is well loved by many and hated by others. As any other genre, there are good and bad bands out there. It’s hard for many of these bands to not get compared to Iron Maiden and other veterans of the genre. Don’t you dare mention that a band because “Iron Maiden is better” (which telling that band is better than newer bands is just getting stuck in the past). A legacy is what they left, and we all should respect that.

A band caught my attention the first time I heard of them. Avantasia released an album called The Metal Opera, and my first thought was of a band that wanted to sound pretentious. Yet, my curiosity moved me, and I got the album (yeah, I bought it the same instant I listened to it)–as soon as I got home from a long trip to downtown in Juarez, I turned on my uncle’s CD player and listened to the album. Wow, I loved it. Every second of that album is gold. The “Opera” in the title was a real deal. It wasn’t just a title, its intention is to be a real Metal opera, and Tobias Sammet did an epic job. The album tells you a story that is written in the booklet. The booklet describes a scenario while the lyrics and the singers (each singer representing a different character) their conversations, as if it were a script. A real opera.

Tobias Sammet made something I never thought possible. Back then, I didn’t know if the project was 100% original, or if there was another Metal band with a similar concept. The only thing I know today, is that Avantasia surprised me. It made me look at music as more than just poetry, a thing that could tell you a story as literature does.

I am thankful

With all of it, I really appreciate services like Spotify being here for us. Giving us all access to a lot of music.

What Kind of Whatever

It’s hard nowadays to get old people to know new bands. The young fellas know old bands because their parents try to show them what was their music back then, and it is cool to share with your kids about those better times. The problem begins when you show your music as an elitist telling “the music from [insert your favorite decade here] was better than today’s”. Oh Lord. I believe every generation believes everything was better in their childhood’s decade. Is it truth? Absolutely not. Really?

Just think about it. It is true that The Beatles and other bands from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s defined what music, specially rock, is today. No one is trying to take away the importance they had; they earned the place they have in immortality, undoubtedly.

What still bothers me is the fact that some good fellas believe there’s nothing good. Had they at least tried to find new music? Of course not, and if that happened, the typical response to a genre would be “what kind of [insert your favorite band of the genre in question]. You know, people speak memes instead of languages.

Let’s go full metal

Ten years ago (or almost ten years) I had a conversation about one of my favorite genres: metal. The last quarter of 2019 had a another conversation about the same genre. Well, both times I had the same results, and that’s why I won’t even bother to tell the exact words from both cases.

Is kind of tricky to have a conversation on classics, these must remain untouchable if you don’t want to be sacrificed in a ritual. Jokes aside, it is not fair to verbally attack anyone just for trying different bands. Even if it is your son/daughter you’re talking to. Maybe you’d end up learning more about music, specially your family’s hobbies. No, I am not trying to be a good parent of someone else’s children, that’d only show ignorance. What I really want to do with this is open your mind a little to new things. And yeah, most Metalheads are above 30 years old, and have a good family.

Most adults should remember how their parents tried to raise them with music that “was better” and you disagreed in silence. That happens exactly now. Whenever you hear the bands Metallica, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, among others, you feel a chill running trough your spine. The memories of their singles are beautiful. Hell, I grew up listening to Metallica as well.

Although I have mentioned the classics deserve immortality, that shouldn’t be a chain to keep us tied to these bands. Specially if you start telling someone “what best is”.

Classic

Should the term classic exist? I don’t know, it is complicated to tell what classic really means. We can just go and look up for the definition of the word, and we all like definitions so here it is.

Classic

It is indeed how we can define the bands I have mentioned. They were very remarkable for their time. How about now?

Internet: a great source of entertainment

Decades ago, it was hard to stand among artists. You have an opportunity to be played on the radio, and lucky you if anybody paid attention to a new song from a band/singer no one knew.

The world is different now. The radio is still relevant, somehow, but having your song played on any radio station is not as “indie glamorous” as it was back in the days. It is understandable–services like Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and probably others I don’t even know, give anyone the opportunity to show off their talents. Or at least propose something completely new, something that might not be for everyone, but could gain a cult following. No, I am not saying “something that might not be for everyone” as if something bad.

Elitism makes people believe that if something is labeled as a “classic”, then it should be considered the best thing that ever existed, even though our reach is significantly greater than it was before internet. So it’ll be possible that the label disappears in the air. How would you consider something a “classic” now that we can listen to SO MANY musicians on Spotify. The list is huge, and I dare you say that your favorite band (or mine) is better than something that probably has 50-100 listeners a month. Who knows? The number of great musicians is huge.

Classic, again?

This is short: tell me how would you define a classic now with the almost unlimited number of artists? I wonder that myself, but I don’t see how that could be relevant nowadays.

A point

I need to clarify that I have nothing against any band. I kinda like The Beatles and Metallica. I love The Cure and many others old bands! Their legacy exists and it is wonderful, I am so grateful for what they did with music; I am sure everything would have been different if it wasn’t for those bands. They deserve a lot of respect.

This also mean that new bands deserve respect, too, assuming you appreciate music. The moment you start supporting new bands that you consider good, believe me, they will keep doing what they love, and their motivation for doing it will increase. Take a look at your local bands, or if any of your friends has a band and you like what they do, share to your contacts. Sharing is caring, some say, and I agree. Sometimes sharing and talking about what they love has more meaning for them than anything.

 

Music & Words

 

blur-classic-close-up-371836

Imagine your favorite song

Music is definitely a sound that travels through the whole universe. A muse that flies around Earth, looking for those who had lost their way on the path leading to one’s creativity–a good power metal putting elves and dragons fighting in this ancient magical kingdom that was built on a piece of paper. A pop rock song recreating a high school memory with a few liberties as you remember your crush. A piano piece played in minor notes, taking our hands and leading us to the deepest and darkest places that were hidden in our hearts.

Every piece of art tells a story of its author. The message is not always clear, that is up to the spectator to fill the holes with an individual interpretation, but always keeping in mind the creator’s own life and what you have on sight. Music, on the other hand, although it almost works the same way, the meaning for each note goes beyond a single interpretation; a mayor chord might make you feel happy, but there are no words, there are no images to show you what the author felt exactly–you draw your own image in your mind, what made YOU happy. The world that your head builds when the music starts playing is supernatural, even when the song has lyrics, it is hard to not portray oneself along the rhythm.

I still remember the first time I heard “A Forest” by The Cure. The bass made me feel like I was walking through the nature at dusk, caring about my foot trails. I ended up getting lost, though, and it didn’t matter because I knew there was a mystery at the end of that forest. Never reached that goal. It was a path that felt infinite, but a path that I would walk again if given the chance.

Must clarify that “A Forest” is not even close to being one of my favorite songs, but it’s actually the first song with lyrics that helped as company when I wrote my first short story. That was more than a decade ago, the days I remember how much I wanted to conquer the world.

That music without words is the one that lets you picture your own story. Listen to your favorite bossa nova, synth-pop, “classical,” you name it. The sounds that shield your ears and emotions through your headphones. Following the sidewalk, passing by the city lights as the world around you falls asleep.

Silent. There’s no sound anymore, but you are unable to notice–to care–, a playlist is making your insecurities disappear. Walk, nobody’s around and yet, you could almost remember with clarity and taste the Coca-Cola and beer you had with your friends at the restaurant on the corner of the childhood neighborhood. How long has it been? Months, years, decades, it’s your life and you know what you had lived.

And it starts raining.


Personal note: It’s been hard for me to come up with new stories. I have a few outlines which I really hope I can use very soon to start sharing my short stories on this not-blog. Music has helped me a lot through my life; it’s always been there whenever I need to write or just escape reality.

Feel free to share the songs that make you feel inspired. If it helps you to create your own art, or just to pass the time.

Thank you so much for being here. If you like my content, feel free to follow me here and/or Twitter.

A Year Ago, Steve Soto Passed Away

Steve Soto

Steve Soto (August 23, 1963 – June 27, 2018). A year ago, the bass player of one of the most important punk rock bands in history, The Adolescents, has passed away.

I am not a person that likes to make any noise for any artist; but in this case, I believe I must do a certain kind of tribute. Punk rock music has been an important genre in my life. Since I was a little teenager; it helped me to enjoy music as a true form of expression, the loudest way to make a revolution without violence. Only as art.

The Adolescents, just like Bad Religion, Pennywise, Social Distortion, among others, had occupied my compact discs collections and now my digital playlists. And one of my dreams was to meet all the members that recorded one of the most important punk rock albums, the self-titled album, also known as the Blue Album, for obvious reasons. I knew they weren’t on tour very often, and also that it was not very common for these band to come to El Paso, Texas, so I decided that the only chance to fulfill my dream of met the original members, was to visit California.

Steve Soto old

After looking every week about concert dates, the bad news came to my feed: Steve Soto passed away. And with it, one of the most iconic members of the purest punk rock era. And a piece of my dreams to meet a punk rock gentleman.

Steve Soto, I know you wasn’t even aware of my existence, but the music you made with all your friends will accompany me in my journey until my last breath.

Rest in Peace

Amaral and My Musical Ignorance

Amaral

Eva Amaral and Juan Aguirre

Amaral is simply my favorite band in Spanish. There’s a good story, though; when I was in elementary/primary school, my love for music started to grow. Actually, I need to admit it was an obsession to me. Whenever I got grounded, my mother never take video games away from me, she let me without music, and that was my weak point. I guess most mothers know how to punish their spoiled children.

I remember I was living in a little bubble. “Every song in my language is shit, and whatever is not punk or metal is shit.” That’s what I used to say. My ignorance was so big that I thought that every pop song sounded like Backstreet Boys or Britney Spears, or that every song in Spanish sounded like a trash copy of something that was being popular in English—Belinda being a copy of Avril Lavigne; Panda (or PXNDX) a copy of Blink 182, Sum 41, and others pop punk bands.

I denied all songs in my language so hard that every time my grandma turned the television on to watch the top popular songs in Mexico, I ran straight to my room to play games or put on my headphones to listen to my favorite songs. One day, while I was just daydreaming in my room, I heard a song from my grandma’s room:

The version I heard was the one featuring Beto Cuevas, from the band called La Ley, but I honestly prefer the original song

That was the moment that a song in my language got my attention. From the music to the lyrics, I couldn’t help but wonder about that song. Though when I had finally decided to take a look, the song had ended. I had to wait another week to catch the song again. When it happened, I knew it was something great. I knew I loved it so much, but I went into a state of denial; I didn’t want to admit that a “pop” (that’s how I called it), could be that good. I managed to ignore it after two or three weeks, but didn’t forget. The song disappeared from the top ten and everything went back to normal. A time had passed, years. And another song caught my attention while I was playing games in my room:

“El Universo Sobre Mí” from their fourth studio album called Pájaros en la Cabeza, and I fell in love with it. I couldn’t get it out from my head. It took me some time to realiza that the song was from the same band that released the song “Te Necesito” from the album Estrella de Mar. From that moment, I wanted to know more about Amaral. It was impossible to resist the urge to listen to all their works. There was—well, still is—a music store called Sounds in Juarez, that was almost like a sanctuary to me back in middle school. I had visited it at least once a week after class, always looking at my favorite albums. But had never visited the Spanish section before Amaral. After Amaral, of course, the first thing I did was to run straight to that section, and my excitement reached its top when I saw both albums. I rarely spent any money at school, so I had enough to buy one, so I bought Estrella de Mar, and the moment I pressed the play button, the moment I couldn’t stop or skip any song. That moment I realized that being stalled in just one genre—or language—was a huge mistake. I had missed a lot of good music, and there is a lot of songs and artists out there to be discovered.

Hacia lo Salvaje

Photo from their sixth studio album, Hacia lo Salvaje

I have learned that every  genre has a treasure, you name it. It is a big mistake to believe that every artist sounds the same. I just wanted to talk a little bit about my experience listening to this SPECIAL duo from Spain. I had the opportunity to go to one concert in Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico back in November 2017. Believe it or not, if you watch one of their shows live, you’re going to see a true definition of love for music.


As you know, this is not an informative post about the Spanish duo. It was a way from the to tell you how much I love their music, and that you should have a look if you’re curious about music in different languages. I hope you like it.

Happy Birthday, Mike Ness!

29665237_10156144567234002_8645024652784666745_oHappy Birthday to the one and only Mike Ness!

Mike Ness is the leader, front man, voice and guitar player of the veteran punk rock band called Social Distortion. A band that successfully combined the passion for the punk rock with the classic rock & roll era of music, and a bit of country. One of the best examples is the self-titled album, released on 1990. For many considered their best work; but I consider every single release to be great.

Let’s be honest here, is there a bad Social Distortion album? I don’t think so. Every release takes several years to see the light. And even though I am eager to see a new album, I see why it takes so long; the passion put on each release is noticeable. Their latest album is called Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes, and it was released on 2011. It won’t be a surprise that the next record will be as awesome as all their previous works.

Now, why am I dedicating my time writing a post for Mike Ness’ birthday if he doesn’t even know you exist? Well, that is simple. A few years ago, I fell into a heavy depression. It was a very hard time in my life, and not because I was on bankruptcy or hungry or a bad relationship. Depression hits in weird ways, you don’t know if you’re actually depressed, you just feel like everything you do is not worth; you feel hard waking up, even if the days promises to be beautiful; you just feel everything’s wrong, even when you achieve something. 2016 was the worst year for me, and I never sought for any help. Not many people see depression as an illness; most people see it as if you’re just feeling sad, and I was one of these people. Unfortunately, I fell in it, and it isn’t just feeling sad. It is way deeper than that.

2017 remained the same. I never did anything to help myself. I was just wandering around looking for distractions. Videogames, books, walks, food, and whatever kept my brain occupied. Of course, this wasn’t a long-term solution. As soon as I had finished one of the mentioned activities, my world fell apart. Then, while I was looking at the thousand internet memes, scrolling on my Facebook feed, found an event at the Tricky Falls in El Paso, Texas:

20992847_1539504509445682_4127547474319098427_nA date for a Social Distortion show, with Jade Jackson as a special guest. To be honest, yes, it took me by surprise, but I was not in the mood to go to any concert. I remember that a few weeks (or months) before the date, Tiger Army played a show; Tiger Army is also one of the bands I wanted to see for years… and I didn’t go because, seriously, I was so down.

I don’t know what happened. Guess I just bought the ticket, and in the end, I thought I wouldn’t go. Fortunately for me, I was really close to downtown (therefore, the Tricky Falls). It was early, but I had nothing to do, I sat there and the line started to gradually increase. After a few hours, they called the people that had bought the VIP tickets, the doors were open an hour earlier for them. I got the regular tickets. Lucky for me, all of the VIPs went to the bar first; though I went in an hour later than them, I got a place right in front of the scenario. Never been so glad in my life for people and their alcoholic priority.

21317583_1551145784948221_3424897979390255213_nI was there, right in front of them as you can see on the second photo. I took it. Of course my hand is not steady, so I should apologize for the low quality.

There, Jade Jackson opened; started playing her first single, “Aden,” and that’s when I fell in love with a new singer. I got a vinyl signed by her and the band! It was a good moment, yes, but it wasn’t until Social Distortion took the stage that my life changed for good. It is really hard to explain, the energy put into the lyrics and music made my heart explode. Something about Ness’ words between songs, and the songs themselves gave me something that kindled within me. You know, sometimes there’s something unexpected that gives you strength out of nowhere to keep moving forward. Something about words and sounds that grabs your hand and pulls you back to the direction you are supposed to be moving. That is exactly what happened as soon as Mike Ness stepped on the stage.

And for that, I thank you.

Happy Birthday, Mike Ness! A punk rock hero.

The Rock House

This is a profile I wrote as an assignment paper for my English class last semester. I had a good time so I’ve decided to post it here, too.

Outside

Part of the indie culture in El Paso, Texas, has a few places to share their works; music, poetry, stories, and some good jokes are a few things shown at The Rock House. You can see it from a few blocks away. A small house connected with a long wall full of graffiti that yells art instead of gang activities. The smoke of some expecting cigars can be smelled, and the chimney being its counterpart invites all of these non-smokers. Really weird considering the stereotypes of these places.

From folk to rap. From poetry to comedy. The place was already opened by 8:30pm. Everyone had a nice welcome; open doors for everyone. Richie, one of the hosts and professor at El Paso Community College started: “This is an open-mic, a free event where you can just sign on the list if you want to participate, spread a word among poetry and music.” And yes, he recognized some coming faces, and said “What’s up!” to most of them. At first, you don’t think the place could be fully crowded. Compared to most ‘sophisticated’ places it may be true. However, the vibe was really natural; friends hanging out together, aligned in front of a scenario, talking, laughing, and remaining silent while some performers do their jobs showing talents.

It started with a few laughs. A stand-up comedy with a guy with a pony-tail and glasses. He received a positive clapping from the small crowd in front of him. Then, some drummers started bringing some rhythm to everyone. Who doesn’t love music? People were happy by listening to them. Both comedy and music warmed the crowd, just to give them something to start with.

A quieter guy brought a few papers. Some poetry written on every sheet. His words spread some thoughts and reflections of life. He made a fantastic work pulling people’s attention from the beginning to the end. You could hear some whispers of every poem; what was the meaning for each one. It would have been greater if each person shared their thoughts in front.

Some more comedy after poetry came. A brave kid cheered up the life reflective group in front of him. Small and innocent jokes draw smiles everywhere. A big clapping was heard at a distance. He left the scenario feeling happy because he have done it.

And one of the biggest highlights of the open-mic that night. Jorge Guzman. A man from Puerto Rico who shared a few folk classics with his accordion. Everyone just called him “the accordion man”, but no one will deny the magic that he made out of his fingers and the instrument together. More than one person just ran to the scenario just to have a closer recording of each song. And no one said a single word until he finished his performance. It was a huge disappointment that he didn’t last too long, or maybe time went really fast when he captured everyone’s love and attention. Who knows?

If you visit El Paso, Texas, make sure to visit The Rock House. 400 W Overland.