Monday, February 10, 2014

A Review of Event Horizon's CD, Episode

Hey everyone, Dana here. If you didn't catch last week's blog post, I discussed the controversial Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial. This blog post will be a music review; but not a review of a major label band. I've decided that it's time to give local bands attention with the art they express through music. I'm reviewing a 4-track EP of a really awesome music group that my band played with in October of 2013. They're Event Horizon; a band from Mahopac, New York.

Let's begin with an introduction to Event Horizon, shall we? Their lineup consists of lead vocalist John Clark, drummer Parke O'Leary, bassist Craig Podell, guitarrist Mars Vendz and keyboardist Andrew Salamone. Together, they create this really unique sound that has rock and roll influences but with a splash of funk and progressive rock. Let me introduce their 4-track EP to you: Episode.

Track 1: Rift

This is a really good opening track. It starts off quiet and ambient, as if it's luring you in to listen more. The opening riff almost reminds me of the opening to "Mr. Crowley" by Ozzy Osborune, and then boom! A wall of sound emanates from my speakers. The rhythm makes me want to get up and dance; that's how catchy it is. I commend John Clark's singing voice; it was nearly identical to Claudio Sanchez of Coheed & Cambria. If I happened to walk by and not see that the band performing the song was Event Horizon, I would have thought "Whoa, Coheed came out with a new song? Awesome!" But it wasn't. I love a singer that has a very wide vocal range.

Track 2: Open and Emerge

Wow, an instrumental track. You don't see a lot of local bands that release an instrumental track. What I notice about most bands is that if there's an instrumental track, it's usually the opening track. Event Horizon, on the other hand, decided to make it their second track. It shows that they have a significantly wide range of music that they can create. While listening to this track, I feel like this belongs in a movie trailer, or part of the soundtrack to a movie. Right on.

Track 3: Fluorescence

The song begins with a beautiful piano introduction by Andrew Salamone. I think this is my favorite track at the moment. What I really like about this song is that it targets any person with any music taste. It has rock roots but I also hear pop and classical tones in there as well. I feel like this song belongs at a school dance or a senior prom. I was able to close my eyes and imagine a room filled with couples swaying side to side and gazing into each other's eyes. This song has a beautiful melody, driving lyrics and soothing chord progressions. Incredible job, guys.

Track 4: New Earth Army

I really love Craig Podell's bass playing in this song; it's really prominent in this track. As it says on their Facebook page, the Red Hot Chili Peppers are one of their influences, and I can really see it in this song. Although the song is over eight minutes long, it's a really awesome song to listen to. I feel like I'm listening to a well organized jam session. Any band that has an eight minute song needs to have a variety of sounds and that is exactly what Event Horizon did.

Overall, this is one of the finest albums made by a local band that I've heard in a really long time. Every track is different; whether it's the rhythm, the melody, or lyrics, it targets any listener. There is nothing worse than listening to an album with five of the songs sounding exactly the same as the last, but Event Horizon did the complete opposite. This shows that their sound ranges and expands in so many different directions. Job well done, guys. I really am looking forward to sharing the stage with you again soon.

Please be sure to check them out on Facebook and Bandcamp; where they post newly recorded songs and upcoming shows they will be performing at.
I hope you all enjoyed this review, and enjoy the rest of your week.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The 2014 Controversial Coca-Cola Commercial

Hey everyone, Dana here. If you didn't catch my last post two weeks ago, I reviewed HBO's original series, Six Feet Under. Tonight's post is going to be very different. It isn't youth culture related, and it isn't any music/film/television review either. Instead, I'm discussing current events. I'm discussing controversy. I'm discussing something viral, or even something that is so incredibly popular that it's all over every social media outlet that we know of. Tonight, I'm putting my thoughts, musings, and two cents on the controversial Coca-Cola commercial that aired last night during the Super Bowl.

Okay, I'm going to be honest here. I didn't actually watch the Super Bowl because the Giants weren't in it, and I don't particularly care for Bruno Mars. So naturally, I didn't even watch the commercials either. But when I woke up this morning and checked Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, and my usual stuff, I noticed that this commercial was the top trending topic of various social media outlets. So, I decided to check it out myself before getting making an opinion of it. I watched the sixty second commercial, which is much longer than a typical thirty second commercial. A longer commercial means more money spend airing it. But then again, this is Coca-Cola we're talking about. A multi-billion dollar company that can do whatever the hell they want with their money.

This commercial obviously had a wide target audience; a target audience of the entire world. Men, women, children, Americans, immigrants, almost anyone that has a television! Most people don't pay attention to commercials because it doesn't target them or have any of their interests. This one, on the other hand, gained everyone's attention. Not because it was a Super Bowl commercial where almost everyone watched it, but because of who was in it and what the product was being advertised. I'm not a fan of Coca-Cola (I prefer Pepsi), but I thought that was pretty clever of them. It obviously gained the attention for the product they were trying to advertise, but why did it cause so much controversy? What was so offensive and heinous about it?

After reading the YouTube comments and what people are posting about the commercial on various social media websites, it  seems that they're offended because there were other languages used in the song "America The Beautiful" in this commercial. Apparently this commercial was "anti-American" because the song wasn't in 100% English. Now hold on a minute, does it really matter if other languages aside from English were used in the song? Who the hell cares if people sing "America The Beautiful" in various languages?
I don't recall English being the official and legal language of America. I didn't know it was "anti-American" to not speak only English. If that was the case, why was learning Spanish, French, Italian, German, and other languages in middle school, high school, and possibly college, a requirement to graduate? Why are there commercials from Rosetta Stone, the software that helps you learn other languages, all over television and the internet? If it's so "anti-American" to have a commercial that has other languages in "America The Beautiful," then what's the point of advertising a language other than English? I love hypocrisy. Isn't it great?

Let's back pedal even more now. People seem to forget that if it weren't for our immigrant ancestors, we wouldn't even be here. If you paid attention in your history classes, you should recall that Europeans took America from the Native Americans in the 1400' I think that's pretty contradictory and hypocritical of the people of this society to get freaked out over something so harmless. Obviously, our country has a lot of closed-minded individuals. It seems that the offended viewers have forgotten that they, themselves, are all descendants of immigrants...who had languages other than English. 
If your ancestors aren't indigenous Native Americans, American obviously isn't your exact ancestry. Yes, you need to be born here in order to be a legal American citizen, but who said that the people portrayed in the commercial weren't American citizens themselves? And even if they aren't, who the hell cares if they aren't? It's a song. People of any race or nationality can sing it, and can sing the way they damn well please. I honestly don't understand why everyone is so obsessed with how other people live their lives. Leave these people alone, already.

Here's another thing. It's funny, how songs from any country can be translated into so many different languages, yet people are getting all huffy and pissed off because the commercial decided to pick "America The Beautiful" out of any other song known to man. Oh, it's an American song, so it has to be in 100% English, right? Wrong. We have the English translation for other national anthems and other national songs from other countries, but heaven forbid anyone translates American songs into a language other than English. I don't care if anyone has extreme pride over one's country, but if patriotism becomes the most viral topic of the week, that's where I get really annoyed. Stop shoving your pride down people's throats and get over the fact that not everyone is going to conform to what you believe in. If they don't, let them be. They obviously aren't losing sleep over your beliefs either.

The last thing I want to talk about is a particular part of this commercial that also struck controversy. If you jump to 0:44 and watch until 0:48, there's a clip of a gay couple and their adopted daughter roller blading together; they're simply enjoying each other's company and having a wonderful time at a roller blading rink. I'm not sure if you know this, but this marks the very first Super Bowl commercial that includes a gay couple. That's really amazing. It shows that our country is starting to becoming more accepting of other people's lifestyles. But apparently, a change in acceptance also offended people. Apparently, a gay couple shown on a commercial is completely unacceptable. No, bigotry is unacceptable. It's 2014, ladies and gentleman. Same-sex marriage is becoming a social norm now. Same-sex marriage is becoming legal, and there is nothing wrong with a same-sex couple to be shown in a commercial. Gay couples are portrayed and featured in primetime television shows, but it's wrong to feature them in commercials? Newsflash! We're not in the 20th century anymore. Stop living in the past and realize that times have significantly changed. Why anyone got their panties up in a bunch over a Coca Cola commercial is really pathetic. There are other things to worry about. I've seen far worse commercials on television; this barely scratches the surface.

I think I got that off my chest and out of my system. All I can say is, it's really sad that a Super Bowl commercial is a trending topic in the media. It's a song. It's a commercial. Pretty soon, this commercial will be old news, and people will relinquish their boycott of Coca-Cola. I hope you enjoyed this post. Have a good night.