Monday, November 9, 2015

The "war" on Christmas

Why, hello my dear readers! Dana has returned to the writing realm! Please, forgive me for the inactive status of this blog. It's been a busy summer and quite the productive autumn as well with my job, my band, and seeing as many people as I possibly can. I hope all is forgiven. In recent events, I've noticed the biggest and most contrversial trending topic that's spreading all over social media: this so-called "war" on Christmas. You know, Starbucks removing the Christmas thing from their red cups. People getting all offended at "Happy Holidays" and "Merry Christmas" Does that sound familiar?
I've ignored the Facebook statuses, the memes, and angry pictures for quite sometime now. Well, enough is enough, and I'm finally voicing my feelings about this absurd ideology.

Okay, so let's begin with the Starbucks red cup controversy. To be honest, I never really bought coffee, tea, frappucinos, hot chocolate, or anything from Starbucks up until maybe a month or two ago because A) I'm not much of a coffee drinker. B) The prices were always jacked up compared to other coffee shops, Dunkin Donuts, or any other place that sells hot caffinated beverages. C) The places I do go to don't have a Starbucks nearby so I have no reason to go out of my way to go there. I've only recently gone there because I discovered delicious secret menu items that I enjoy from time to time. I never bought anything from Starbucks during the holiday season, so I'm clueless as to what you're given after ordering the "talle," "grande" or "verde" sized beverage. This is all new to me. 

For the past few days, I'm noticing people getting offended that the seasonal red cups Starbucks give out during the holiday seasons suddenly don't have Christmas-y designs on the cups anymore. It's just a red cup with the Starbucks logo like what you see right here. Instead of having a faded design of a Christmas tree, a snowflake, or a poinsetta, it's just a plain red cup with the Starbucks logo. I'm confused here. What is so offensive about not having a design on the cup? The cup is solely used for containing the liquids you are consuming, and it's getting tossed in the trash after consuming said beverage anyway. How is this considered "politically correct," or "attacking" Christmas? Better yet, why are politics getting placed with a PAPER CUP THAT CONTAINS HOT LIQUIDS? Is this what people are seriously getitng upset about? A paper cup without designs? I have a feeling this is one of those things that purposely get people to start talking so Starbucks can be the hot topic of the week. Well, it worked, but it makes no sense to me. According to numerous articles I read, the reason why it's blank is so people can customize their own cups. But like I said before, it's getting tossed in the garbage after it's initial use. It's just a silly design, people. There's nothing to get upset about here, and it's really no big deal. There are so many more awful things on this planet that are worth getting upset over...but here we are getting our panties up in a bunch over a paper cup. Nice going, guys.

And this one...imagine yourself Christmas shopping at the mall; you go up to to the register, you pay, the cashier bags all of your stuff for you, and the cashier says to you, with a smile, "Happy Holidays." What would you do? 
And what if the cashier said, with a smile, "Merry Christmas," what would you do? 
Would you seriously correct him/her and make the person feel ashamed for wishing you well during the holiday season? If you answered "yes, I would," that's really frightening.
Do you have any idea how rude that is? Do you have any idea how hurtful that is to do to someone? Making that person apologize for saying something nice and having to take back the friendly greeting? That's absurd! 
If I was told either "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas," I would say "thanks! Same to you" because, I don't know, that's the polite thing to do when someone wishes me well? Why are politics being put into kind gestures? Now we can't greet people without offending people anymore? This is unacceptable. 
Why are kind gestures offensive to people? 

Why is Christmas offensive all of a sudden? 
Why is "Happy Holidays" offensive to everyone? Can someone explain that to me?
The fact that someone is wishing you wonderful things during the holidays is one of the kindest things anyone can ever do, especially if they do not personally know you. So many people out in the world aren't told that at all because they might not have families to spend the holidays with. The world we live in now is a cruel one. Why ruin something so harmless, if not kind? Why get offended at all? Just say "thank you," return the gesture, and go on your merry way. It's not that difficult. Don't ruin a kind gesture by correcting that person.
I have no recollection of"political correctness" growing up. I was never ever told to tell people "Happy Holidays" without accidentally offending anyone growing up. But then again, maybe political correctness was happening and I was just too little and naive to notice. But politics do not belong in kind gestures and holidays. If you don't celebrate Christmas, why get offended at the words "Merry Christmas" or any other Christmas decorations outside? Just move on. And if you do celebrate Christmas, why get offended at "Happy Holidays?" They're just words. They're not even insults or profanities. THAT would be something to be offended over! Foul language in publc is something to get upset over. The fact that we're getting upset over non-decorative disposible coffee cups is a big reality check here. Stop fighting with each other. We're all humans. We're all living on this planet together and we're all going to the same place when our lives come to an end. Let's end this stupid and unnecssary "war" on Christmas and live our lives in peace.

Thank you all for reading my little rant here. I just get upset when people take kind gestures and turn it into something ugly. Hopefully the next time I write here, it will be a happier, lighthearted blog post like a movie review, local band CD review, etc. Until then, enjoy the rest of your week! I will write as soon as I find inspiration again!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

A Review of Logan's Room's debut album: LBNY

Hey everyone, Dana here. Yes, it's been six months since I've posted on this blog. Six long months of working, playing shows with my band, and spending time with some really incredible people I've had the privilege to meet. Speaking of incredible people I've had the privilege to meet...I got a CD from some of them. Last night, my band shared the stage with our dearly beloved friends in Logan's Room. (If you recall, I posted a blog about them six months ago here.) They released their debut album last night, played the CD live in it's entirety, and I'm about to review each song track by track. Without further ado, here's LBNY! *insert applause here*
From left to right: Mike Giordano, Jordan Klinger, David Kaufman, Matt Capitano

Let's take it from the top, shall we?

Track# 1: Roman's Candle

The album opens up with Matt's guitar under an awesome effect with Mike's drums fading in as the entire band joins in for an awesome instrumental jam. When they played this instrumental intro last night, I couldn't help but head bang. Later on, the tempo picks up and I just imagine one day when these guys become a world touring act, the entire crowd will break into a mosh pit...especially with Matt's guitar solo a little more than three minutes in. This epic jam lasts for nearly five minutes. Wow.

Track# 2: Flip Me Off

This song makes me want to jump up and down whenever they play this song live. It's got this wall of sound as soon as the track plays. The hook of the song "Flip me off just to say: that's what I'm talking about" is the most memorable part of this song aside from the break down after Jordan screams "FLIP ME OFF!!!!!!" at the top of his lungs right after Dave's bass break. You can hear the raw emotion towards the end with Jordan screaming "THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!" as the song comes to a crashing end.

Track# 3: Karma

This is by far the most catchy song on the entire album, and my favorite song out of the twelve songs on this album. It starts off with a guitar intro as Mike and Dave's drums and bass are perfectly in sync with each other. Then a wall of sound comes in with this dance-able rhythm. I sing along to it every single time they play it or when it plays on my iPod. It's their chorus that really draws me in. Later on, there's this guitar solo that gets stuck in my head after every listen. If anyone has ever done you wrong; whether it's an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend, a boss, a friend, or any other person that has treated you poorly, this song is for you. Check out their music video, by the way.

Track# 4: Do You Believe?

The song begins with Dave's bass, and then the rest of the band joins in. I have a thing for bass intros; not only am I a bass player myself, but it's something you don't see often. The "yeah, yeah, yeah" before the chorus is really good crowd interaction technique when played live. If there's one particular thing I like the most of of anything in this song, it's the rhythm. It's got this real classic metal sound; after hearing it last night, it honestly reminds me of "Sad But True" by Metallica. Awesome.

Track# 5: Your Savior

This song is absolutely beautiful. It starts off with a calm guitar intro. Then Mike has this incredible drum rhythm as the rest of the band joins in. This song reminds me of something you'd hear at a high school dance or a wedding. The calming sound of Jordan's voice and the smooth guitar riffs have this calming effect on me; especially the guitar solo after the bridge that leads into the final chorus. If I had trouble sleeping at night, or if I was feeling really anxious or uneasy, I'd listen to this song to calm my nerves and help me take the edge of off whatever was bothering me. This is another particular favorite of mine; I also sing along to it anytime they play it live or it shows up on my iPod.

Track# 6: Killing Me

This song opens up with Mike's drums; easily another head banger song. The sound I get from this song reminds me of something out of an early Alice in Chains or Van Halen album. There's a lot of raw emotions in this song...a lot of anger and frustration. But the one thing that cracks me up the most? I remember during their very first show at The Hub last summer, this song is about suffering with seasonal allergies. I think we all can relate to that one, don't you think? 

Track# 7: Locked Inside

This is another awesome one that I remember hearing at their first show last year that always stuck with me. Locked Inside opens up with wall of sound that leads into the main guitar riff between the verses and the chorus. During the first half of the first verse Jordan sings, you hear just drums and bass. It's that rhythm section that brings this whole song together. Matt's guitar solo towards the end before the final chorus is the most memorable part of the whole song.  Jordan screaming "WHAT THE HELL AM I!??!!" is the icing on the cake.

Track# 8: Don't Walk Away

The song starts off quiet with a smooth guitar riff with drum cymbals fading in...almost like how "Your Savior" starts. It's calm and soothing at reminds me of a song you'd listen to on a hot summer day at the beach. The calming sound gradually builds up as the guitar gets louder...then the heavy head banging emanates from my speakers. I love songs that have different dynamics...especially quiet to loud. Then the song ends the way it begins...quiet and soothing again as it fades out.

Track# 9: In Vain

In Vain has got to be the heaviest song on the album. This track starts off with an intro that lasts for nearly two minutes. It reminds me of a song you'd hear during a climactic fight scene in an action movie. After two minutes of jamming,then it quiets down for a bit as Jordan comes in with a falsetto singing voice that leads into heavy metal vocals. If there's one thing I admire about Jordan...his singing voices ranges from a calming soothing voice that you'd hear during a lullaby to heavy metal vocals like this. That is truly incredible. Like earlier songs, you can hear the raw emotions on this song. It's not music if your heart isn't in it.

Track# 10: Our Boys

This is the most intense song I've ever heard in my life. Between Jordan's vocals and the rhythm...let's take it from the beginning. The song begins with
 double drums played by Matt and Mike that send shivers down my spine. The rhythm reminds me of "Like Toy Soldiers" by Eminem. It is so intense to the point where my eyes tear up. If a music video was made from this song, I close my eyes and imagine scenes from My Chemical Romance's music video of "The Ghost of You" because all I think of during this song is war, violence, and pain. Jordan singing a verse in Hebrew completely blew my mind...I've never heard anything like that before. I'm just going to throw this out there. I've never once listened to a song by an unsigned artist that made me cry before. Obviously, this is by far one of the best songs on this album if my eyes tear up and my skin has goose bumps. Job well done, boys.

Track# 11: Dear Anonymous

This is another song that makes me cry too. There are many songs out there that bring me to tears, but not from an unsigned artist. If music brings out your emotions, there's something really significant here. As Jordan says during every live show when this song is about to be played, it's "an open letter to anyone that has ever lost someone." What a beautiful message. When a loved one is lost..your whole world shuts down. You feel more alone than any person on earth. But you know what? When a song like this is released, and you can feel the emotion in this song...that lonely feeling fades away and you can connect with this song on a real emotional level...that is pure beauty.The beautiful message I get from this  song is that 
even though a loved one is not physically here, you will never truly say good-bye because that person is in your mind, heart, and soul forever in eternity. As much as it pains me and reminds me of every loved one I ever lost in my is comforting to know that I am not alone and I can connect with anyone else who lost a loved one. Bravo.

Track# 12: LBNY

And so we come to eponymous final track...LBNY. In case you don't know, LBNY stands for Long Beach, New York. Long Beach was where Logan's Room first got together, so it was very fitting that they would name their debut album after where they formed. Everyone from Long Beach, NY should listen to this song and feel some kind of connection...especially the chorus. My favorite thing about this song is that when this song is played live...a "hey! hey! hey!" chant happens...another awesome crowd interaction technique. There's this really catchy guitar solo Matt plays as the drums come to a crashing end...and the last thing you hear from LBNY  is this lone guitar chord that continues to soar through my speakers as the track fades out.

That's LBNY, everyone. And now this is what I have to say after hearing this album from beginning to end...

What continues to blow my mind away is that these guys have been together for only one year. In one whole year, Logan's Room opened up for world touring acts, played countless shows together, and released a twelve track CD. Like I said in my last blog about them, I could not believe that the gig in Island Park last year was their very first show together. The chemistry and connection Matt, Mike, Jordan and Dave have with each other is absolutely unbelievable. They've grown so much over the past year...and after each performance, they continue to make me proud. I've seen many local bands over the past couple of years. I'm a firm supporter of local bands. But I never once had a deep emotional attachment to a band until I met Logan's Room. My band has had the honor of sharing the stage with them many times this past year, and I cannot wait to play another show with them again.

Thank you all for checking out this review. Do me a favor, and buy this CD. Check them out on Facebook, Instagram, or any other way to listen to their music. You will not regret it. Enjoy the rest of the week, everyone.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

A Review of The Serotones

Hey everyone, Dana here. Happy New Year! Yes, it's been three weeks since my recap of 2014, but I'm back to work and back to blogging! A few days ago, someone posted a question on the Long Island Musicians page on Facebook and said "anyone know some good music blogs that feature Long Island/New York bands?" Of course, I hopped on that question and posted my blog there! I immediately got a response from a girl named April and told me about her band, The Serotones!

From left to right: Matt Cusano, April Gabrielli, Kevin Eiserman,
 Jared Gabrielli, James Humprheys

The Serotones are based out of Miller Place, and their lineup consists of Kevin Eiserman on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, April Gabrielli on vocals and keyboards, James Humphreys on lead guitar, Matt Cusano on bass, and Jared Gabrielli on drums. Their sound reminds me of Taking Back Sunday thrown in with Panic at the Disco and Radiohead; as if they belong on the radio station "The Alternate Side." They've opened up with touring acts such as Taking Back Sunday, Circa Survive, and BB King, and just recently played at Amityville Music Hall and opened up for Gates and Young Statues.

 The Serotones released their 5 track self-titled EP on November 18th, 2014, and I'm here to put my two cents into the five songs here!

Track 1: Silver

The track opens with a catchy guitar riff as the rest of the band joins in to create a wall of sound. I really love the dual vocals between Kevin and April in this track, along with their harmonies together as well. You can clearly hear the chemistry between the two voices in this song; I really can't get over how well the harmonies fit together like pieces of a puzzle. I think this is a great opening track, and the perfect song to do a music video that you can see here: 

Track 2: Under The Rug

Out of all the songs on this track, this reminds me of something I'd listen to on "The Alternate Side" as I'm driving to work in the morning. The lyrics and message behind this song is really beautiful. "Cradle me at night, love in our minds. Sleep tight sweet darling, and dream of us together in bright light." When I heard that break in the song, my heart melted. I can see this song as part of a soundtrack in a romantic comedy too!

Track 3: The Crown

The intro of this song reminds me of "Hitching A Ride" by Green Day, and then the rest of the band joins in to create a reggae rhythm mixed in with alternative rock. Again, the harmonies complete the song. Not a lot of bands these days throw harmonies together; it's mostly just one person doing vocals with no backing vocals to accompany or compliment the other voice. The Seratones, on the other hand, have two voices that compliment each other beautifully.

Track 4: Crash

What I really like the most about this track is that I can really hear the keyboards on this song that compliments the main guitar riff. There are not a lot of local bands out there that feature keyboards. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the traditional two guitars, bass and drums; that's what my band is. But I love something new; something different than what I'm used to hearing and playing. The best pat of the song is towards the close of the track. I love the triplets that come to a crashing end, no pun intended.

Track 5: Hello

The rhythm of this song is so catchy that it makes me want to dance! I caught myself bopping my head to the rhythm while I was typing up this section of this post. What I really like is that the opening tracks and the closing tracks feature dual vocals again, so it's like two book covers with a variety of songs in between. Another interesting thing I noticed was that this song has an abrupt ending instead of everyone holding a note that fades out to close the song. I thought that was really cool.

After listening to this EP, I got a really good feeling about The Serotones. They have great potential, and I hope that my band will share the stage with them in the future. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, and their website for updates on upcoming shows and events. Enjoy the rest of your weekend, I will be writing again soon!