Monday, May 16, 2011

Asians not playing violin

'If I hear someone make another request for Tchaikovsky, I'll cut you, man!'
(Photo source: SFGate)
I recently gave a peek at some of the music I've been bumping while completing the artwork for my upcoming self-published book I Suck at Math: A Trio of 10 Articles About Pop Culture (and that post itself will be included in the book). It's time for another peek. Because it's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, here are five recordings from my laptop's various I Suck at Math artwork playlists that are all by Asian American musicians who don't play the Tiger Mom-enforced violin.

1. The Morning Benders, "Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)"
I first took notice of this terrific little timpani-driven cut about relationship disagreements during Sklarbro Country, of all shows. Good lookin' out, St. Louis Sklardinals. My only beef with "Cold War" is that it's way too short.



2. The Morning Benders, "Cold War (Star Slinger Remix)"
This dope remix Kanye-ifies Morning Benders frontman Christopher Chu's voice and is part of the Bay Area band's Japan Echo EP release to aid Japanese disaster relief.

The Morning Benders - Cold War (Star Slinger Remix) buy & support japan by Star Slinger

3. The CounterParts, Appetizer EP
It's cool to see T-Know's hip-hop career take off. I knew T-Know briefly when we were UCSC students.

The Skyflakes by Hellen Jo
4. The Skyflakes, "sci-fi as lit."
This is a pretty clever Star Trek-inspired song. The Fil-Am indie rock band's "sci-fi as lit." refers to events from the Next Generation episode "Tapestry," in which Q grants Picard his wish to go back in time and change a pivotal moment from his days as a vert-around-the-gills Starfleet Academy cadet. You don't have to be a Trekkie to dig "sci-fi as lit." because unlike the music of Trek-inspired novelty bands like No Kill I and Warp 11, the track never mentions any Trek characters by name, so it could refer to anyone who's ever wanted to redo a key moment in their past--something everyone can identify with.

Usually when I fall off a toilet seat, a flux capacitor isn't what I see. I just see piss puddles and ripped-open condom wrappers on the floor.
5. Blue Scholars, "John DeLorean"
Another Pinoy musician expresses an obsession with time travel. This track, which contains Back to the Future references (hence the title "John DeLorean"), arose from a discussion Blue Scholars beatmaker Sabzi once had with Scholars MC Geo in which they wondered, "If you could have just one super power, what would it be?" Geo picked time travel because with that ability, "you actually have the capacity to secure any other super power you wanted. For example, if you wanted to fly, you could just travel to a future time where personal flying technology was developed and bring it back."

Has Geo ever considered writing sci-fi or superhero comics as a second career? What Geo said about powers in the "John DeLorean" single download's liner notes had 10 times more clarity and sense than the writing in last Friday's Smallville series finally.

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