Tag Archives: growth

Indian School – “The Cruelest Kind” [NEW MUSIC]

I was late to embrace Audio Karate, one of the fieriest bands to come out of the late 90s/early-aughts pop-punk scene.  By the time I was getting into their kind of raw, full-throated, vocals and live, loud, imperfect production, the band was almost broken up.  I had no idea that was the case when I stumbled across “Nintendo 89” on a Warped Tour compilation, and if I had, I would’ve begged them not to.  Listen to this beast:

The first thirty seconds are one of the most epic builds in pop-punk.  The guitar tones are perfect, the drums won’t stop, and when it all drops out to introduce those main power chords – ugh.  There’s more energy in those thirty three seconds than a six-pack of Red Bull.  I can only imagine the reaction it got live.

Anyway, these dudes went their separate ways around ’05 and left the world with two albums, Space Camp, and Lady Melody.  Buy ’em, love ’em, play ’em loud, and then check this out:

They came back!  They have a piano player, mainlined The Strokes and changed their name, but the songwriting and singer Arturo Barrio’s distinct pipes are as solid as ever.  I miss the throat – rupturing rawness of their earlier work, but hey, that’s growth.  Space Camp didn’t have a single instance of saloon style piano playing either, but “Elvis” features it heavily and it works.  It’s a give and take.

Whip-crack opener “Rob Your House” comes closest to capturing the groups free-wheeling energy of old, with the titular phrase serving as an anarchic refrain that’s gonna feel good to shout out with a group of drunken buddies at a show or before a night of debauchery.  At the same time, it also sounds the most “Strokes”y, complete with synths and – unless I’m crazy – a hint of a vocal effect.

The middle pair of tracks, “High Low” and “Wind You Up” form the backbone of the new sound: slower tempos, catchy choruses, and the addition of some acoustic strumming and clean piano sounds.  EP closer “Elvis” is the track that sounds the least likely to work on paper, but is executed with aplomb.  The aforementioned saloon piano kicks in early in the track and is mixed low, but shines in the chorus.

Over the course of the four tracks, the moment I keep going back to, the one that draws the line in the sand is two and a half minutes into “Wind You Up.”  Like the opening of “Nintendo 89” it’s another beat where everything drops away, but instead leaving space for the hell-raising guitar from that track, it’s just Art’s vulnerable croon and a piano.  Does it make me want to pogo my way into a pit  Not really, but it makes me damn excited for what Indian School does next.

UPDATE: Thanks to Eric and Lucy for pointing out I overlooked a fifth track that can be found here: http://soundcloud.com/indianschool/tracks  Enjoy!

Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles |@Chris_Cullari | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC |

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HelloGoodbye [MUSIC] [VIDEO]

Remember Drive Thru Records?  Label of amazing comps and the cool roster in the early 00s. Something Corporate, Allister, The Early November, Fenix, TX, New Found Glory, The Starting Line – hundreds of high school band’s hopes and dreams hinged on getting that golden arrow slapped on the back of their CD.  Unfortunately, they took a nosedive in recent years, and dragged a lot of good bands down in the wreckage of tangled contracts, unfulfilled expectations, and generally miserable business practices.

The last group they had a significant hand in launching was HelloGoodbye, an emo/pop hybrid that served as the hyperkinetic protozoa Owl City would eventually grow from.  They had a hit a few years ago – “Here In Your Arms” – that was almost tolerable, but Forest Kline’s unbearably nasally vocals and cheeseball lyrics put a kibosh to that.

After they moved God knows how many units for Drive Thru on the back of that single, the band pretty much vanished.  Every once in a while, there’d be talk of a follow up, a b-side would leak, or an interview would be posted, but otherwise, the group seemed pretty much done.  The attention I paid to all this was somewhere between “Oh look, it’s raining out,” and “Hey, a bird.”

This is where we’ll stop and take stock of my bad assumptions for a second: HelloGoodbye is a bad band, a dead band, a one-trick pony on a busted carousel.  All wrong.  So, so wrong.

Would It Kill You, their first release in four years – and on their own label, Wasted Summer – is an illustration of a band in the middle of creating something new.  By shedding the (literal) bells, whistles and AIM alert noises from their sound, the group has placed a spotlight on their songwriting chops and come out looking sharp.  Tracks like “You Sleep Alone,” come closest to falling backwards, but the dedication to trying clever new acoustic instrumentation elevates what could otherwise be a bleating electronic mess into a legitimately interesting pop song.

“You Sleep Alone”

In general, the production and arrangements on the album seem to take cues from Motown and 50s rock records with washy cymbals and reverb-laced geetars. Kline’s voice is still not launching any ships, but someone’s been practicing and it pays off.

I think it all comes together best on the last track “Something You Misplaced,” where the band takes a second to slow it down and really play with a unique melody.  The drums are still spastic, but the quiet, languid performance on top of them suggests an interesting new direction.

“Something You Misplaced”

As for Drive Thru Records?  Ugh.

By: Chris Cullari | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @ChriswithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

As the Web Grows – New Neighborhoods of the Web are Emerging

As the internet continues to advance, the ways we use and experience it will evolve.

A neighborhood is a community of people usually brought together by similar circumstances. There are certain aspects of the community that all people there commonly enjoy. One is the network itself. Social networks are simply gateways of access and connection to basically opportunities, and social networks have existed offline for a very long time.

On the web it is no different. I break the neighborhoods of the web down by their community’s purpose. Right now there is only one neighborhood that is really distinguishable, and continuing to grow rapidly – the social one. It is a huge web of social communities, each with their own functions, all linked together for one reason or another. I call what is commonly referred to as web 2.0, the collection of all of these social functions, the Social Neighborhood.

But the Social Neighborhood is beginning to splinter. It is getting so big, and so customized for specific purposes that separate neighborhoods are beginning to form, each with their own unique experiences. The Social Neighborhood will in fact be the mother of all other neighborhoods to come, because of the universally social nature it shares with the web itself. All other neighborhoods, I believe, will eventually reach the same proportions of the Social Neighborhood right now, and may go beyond.

The reason I call the different purposes of internet use, neighborhoods, is because as they continue to develop, they begin to take on their completely own spaces, feels, functions, and uses, just like neighborhoods in traditional society, and the metaphor at parallel is an important one.

Think of the web as a city. A huge conglomeration of infinite complexity. A hub, for anything. There are many different neighborhoods..many different purposes for the web. The neighborhoods right now are relatively small and unorganized, centered around the main Social Neighborhood, mostly because of the lack of new tools and organization to really make drastic changes. But still, progress is being made slowly.

A couple quickly emerging neighborhoods right now are the gaming networks, news discovery networks, music networks, and the common socialization networks, like facebook, and even 2nd Life, although 2nd Life has been proven to have a wealth of purposes. A neighborhood that I believe will explode in the near future will be shopping social networks.

To explore deeper what I mean, lets look at one of the farthest along examples right now, the gaming platforms. Gaming is continuing to get a lot more social, with a lot more p2p interaction. As this is happening, it’s creating new virtual communities, where the experience of web use is completely transformed, from the navigation throughout, to interaction with others, and everything is made custom for the specific experience of playing the game.

Other environments, specific to other web usage, will begin to emerge as well, and the looks, feels, and total embodiment of the web will begin to evolve rapidly. The web is quickly becoming more like a place, rather than a thing. It’s a place we go to find something we need..music, information, good deals, ect. It makes perfect sense that the web will actually adapt to suit these specific needs, and new kinds of experiences will emerge individually.

I envision a vast online map of virtual communities and experiences, more similar to the ones we enjoy in real life. I see things like virtual pools halls, virtual car dealerships and test drives, more advanced ways of experiencing the web, like with full peripheral glasses, and even augmented reality integration with our everyday lives.

A great example of the difference between now and the future can be described by shopping online for music right now, say on iTunes, and shopping in a real music store. The difference is staggering. Despite the ease of iTunes, I often hear people say they prefer the intimacy of strolling through the racks of music, and physically rooting through the albums. Because of that, I’ve actually created a 3D virtual music store for Beat-Play that recreates the experience of being in a real store, while allowing for all the same benefits of an online store..no lines, open 24 hours, instant checkout and downloads, ect.

This is one example of how the current interaction and organization of the internet could actually evolve to be both more realistic, and more encompassing of the user’s need for a satisfying experience. As all of these neighborhoods continue to grow, and get more organized and advanced, so will the ways we access them, making web usage extremely more efficient, and even more fun.

I am very excited for the future of the internet, and I love the direction it seems to be heading in. I can’t wait for things like teleporting from virtual site to virtual site, infinitely customizable browsers, and infinite scalability in virtual social networks. These may all be topics for another blog…I really just can’t get enough.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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The Process of Innovation – Think Social!

This is an awesome topic that I love to share with people whenever I can.

Innovation is something that can be thought of in several different ways, however there are good ways, and then there are better ones.

Innovation can be basically anything that solves a problem that has not been previously solved, or it can be something that solves a problem that was previously solved, while solving other problems at the same time(these are the better ones).

There are really two perspectives into innovating. One is purely the scientific aspect of it. The physics, the research, the testing, the technology. Then there is the practical, social side of innovating, which does not always agree with the scientific side.

The process of innovation should contain both views, almost at the same time. It is not enough to innovate and solve one problem technically, while socially creating another problem.

A quick example of this may very well be gas powered vehicles. They’ve solved a huge problem in enabling faster travel, but they’ve also caused a sort of social dilemma, because people are almost forced to use them in some fashion, and they are now proven to have negative impacts on air quality and perhaps weather.

Innovation should be approached from the view of the true designer:  the architect, who builds not only for aesthetics, but for purpose, and function. The architect builds for the social function, while utilizing the best scientific practices and innovations available. But the purpose is always foremost, for the people.

People are weird. They do not really seem to fit any set pattern as a whole. There is an infinite variation, and this must be accounted for in design.

Innovations when designed for people, tend to solve the most problems, and leave the least behind. The best innovations, the truly beautiful ones, seem to leave no problems behind, and just fit, like a puzzle piece finally being snapped into place.

When designing Beat-Play’s music search solution, I ended up solving several social problems: How do I find new music? How do I find good music? How do I not waste time searching for music?

The way I solved these problems was to think about it from the approach of the social first. The first step is always to survey what already exists. I studied the different methods of how music was found and shared now.

I found some methods that were better than others, and I looked at the best ones, and searched out the problems there. It turned out that I found some.

The best solutions available at this point for finding music are Pandora or Last.fm, where the music is suggested and played for you, allowing you time to focus on other things. This is a great innovation, but I saw flaws.

It went right back to thinking socially. Pandora finds songs based on other songs, using basically scientific data and variables to link songs together into an automated playlist.

This I knew, was the wrong way to think about it. People are not defined by any given variable. They are defined by many variables that vary all the time. Music is no different. It is a mere extension of people. There needed to be a social way for people to find music.

So my idea came to me almost rather simply. It was to use social networks, and people to create a user’s playlist, instead of a computer.

On Beat-Play you can follow friends or favorite bands, who you share a taste in music with, and who are infinitely as variable as you are; and the music those people like enough to save, will automatically get played in your radio.

This enables you to find the best new music literally as simply as a mouse click, without searching through mounds of bad music, wasting hours before finding a good song. And it keeps you updated.

Also this method does not limit a person’s playlist to one genre of music, or a certain group of artists, like Pandora does, unless the user wants these limits on.

This solution is so beautiful because it solves several other problems at the same time. When you hear music on your radio coming from your friend’s playlists, if you like it, you save it into one of your playlists, and it then gets sent to anybody following you.

For the best artists, this is an amazing way for fans to spread the music for them. It’s actually a form of free promotion and distribution in addition to being a much better way for fans to find the music. It can even be a great way for artists to gain advertising revenue by tracking plays, which could then result in the best music being free.

The more the people love and share the music for free, the more the artists will get paid, making everyone happy, and rendering piracy irrelevant!

That is what I mean by snapping in a puzzle piece. This solution fits on all sides, perfectly with it’s surroundings. This solution came by simply analyzing the environment that the innovation must exist in, which is always an incredibly social one.

If we inject this social perspective into our innovations, we can adapt what we know about the scientific, physical stuff, to coincide with the social factors, to form the ultimate solutions.

Design thinking is an extremely powerful thing, especially when approached in the right way. The formula is simple: Search out the problems, and then fix them, integrating what you know both about the social and scientific or technological environments currently present.

If you do that, you will do great things. Innovation is everyone’s responsibility. There are too many problems for us not to all try and solve them. Good luck. Think social!

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Anything I can do, You can do too

We are all different, but we are all the same.

It’s important to note that the only differences between people rely not so much on genes, because in that respect we are 99.99% the same, but they rely mostly upon cultural, societal, or environmental differences.

A person’s own experiences will determine very much how they feel about certain things, how they react to certain things, and how people achieve certain things.

It is this fact that leaves me to conclude that if everyone were put in my shoes, and has seen the exact same things that I’ve seen, they would feel the exact same way as I do about everything.

One could argue that everybody feels differently about different things, and not everyone makes the same choices, but remember, people’s choices are 99% based on experiences that they’ve had..the things they “know.”

If you take someone, and completely replace what they’ve already seen, and put in it’s place what someone else has been through, they will react almost exactly the same way.

The reason I know this is that there is no legitimate reason anyone can give me for this not to be true. If every single aspect of a person’s life were inherited by another person, from the start, hypothetically speaking of course, that person will make all of the same choices.

This really says something for the human potential. Think about all of the great people throughout history. The greatest ones, yes may have been smart enough to figure out what the right choices were, but the chances are that they didn’t always know, and they had to make a lot of mistakes, just like everyone else, to actually figure out what the right choices were, in order to be successful.

Also, chances are that if you would have put anyone else in the exact circumstances, they would have learned the same lessons from those mistakes, at least eventually.

The almost surprising thing is that the successful people are usually the ones faced with the worst circumstances. The human survival drive is one of the deepest drives accessible by our nature, and when needed, people will literally do anything to survive. The reason the people with the worst circumstances are usually the successful ones though is that they were the ones willing to take the risk. What else did they have to lose?

It might sound cliche but the most important step is the first one. To decide to take the risk, and never turn back. But risks can aren’t just going all in on a straight draw. They are usually calculated in this context, and the important ones are usually drawn out long enough to see which decisions to make, before they actually need to be made, or at least you have more time to think them through.

Too often people settle for mediocre when their dreams are staring them right in the face, almost as if from behind a 2-way mirror. People that need to survive break straight through that glass to see the other side, and they don’t stop until they get everything they ever wanted from life..and they deserve it.

It’s just sad that not everyone accesses that innate drive, that when used correctly, can secure a person’s dreams and future, when accompanied with patience and resilience.

Remember, if you have a dream..something you long for but have been told it’s impossible..look at those people, and smile, and say to yourself “I’m going to do that.” Anyone can do anything; and if the circumstances aren’t present right away, keep believing..trust me, somehow, if you want it enough, it will come. Anyone can change their circumstances.

My mother comes from a very poor family, who sometimes even struggled for food because of an alcoholic dad who left with all the money when she was 4. She worked throughout and after high school, in order to put her older brothers and sisters in college. Then later in her life, after getting laid off, with no college education herself, she decided to start her own business, doing public relations for pharmaceutical companies. She didn’t know what she was doing, but she hired people who did, and she had great social skills..enough to secure her first client from the beginning. Now her company is worth millions, and there she sits, the head of a successful 12 year old public relations firm, run entirely by women, from their homes, and she was able to buy her mother her first house.

If anybody taught me a lesson about circumstances and possibilities, it was her.

We are all different, but we are all the same, and we are powerful.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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Don’t Just Change, Grow

This is a subject I’ve been wanting to talk about for a while. The difference is simple.

There always seems to be two sides to the story: Stay the Same, or Change.

What I find extremely frustrating is that these two choices usually end up with similar results. The current methods might not be the best, so people opt for change, but change is too vague of a word to guarantee positive results.

If I have a choice, I don’t just want to change the methods, I want to evolve them.

Opting for change could actually mean negative progress. At least if you opt for staying the same you are assured it won’t get any worse.

The difference between growth and change is incredibly big. It’s like the difference between a 40 year old man and a 12 year old boy.

The 40 year old man made some mistakes in his past, but he eventually learned from them and moved forward. The 12 year old boy continues to make mistakes based on his lack of experience at any one given method of achieving.

Change is like putting yourself, or your company, or your country, through puberty in hyperdrive. It can cause unnecessary mistakes.

Instead, I believe it’s necessary to approach things from the 40 year old man view, which ideally is “this is what I know and what I do well, and I’m going to stick to it, and for what I don’t know and what I’m not good at, I will hire the person who is.”

Change can be a dirty word. Growth is way better than change. It implies keeping the things that you do well, while building on top of that to tackle areas that you missed.

Growth is what everybody needs. It is truly progress. Everything else, including loose definitions of change, is standing still or going in reverse.

I believe it’s important to be clear and specific any time a change is needed.

When considering a “change” its always incredibly more safe to specifically define your goals as growth, and continue to proceed accordingly.

I really believe that growth should be demanded all the time, and in all instances that would apply. I think that even though it is a seemingly small difference on the surface, the results would be surprisingly positive overall.

When faced with the option to change or stay the same, don’t forget about the hidden option to grow. This is the definition of a brighter future.

Who do I talk to to swap change for growth permanently in the english language? Hopefully there’s enough you’s out there. Thanks for listening.

Written by: Dante Cullari Founder & President Beat-Play, LLC

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