Dads: American Radass (this is important)

When a book goes from black and white pages to a film, it’s scary…especially if you hold the written words so dear. You fear seeing the characters taken advantage of by Hollywood. Luckily Perks of Being a Wallflower wasn’t overdone and stands strong as an adaptation of a group of misfits silently observed by a young boy named Charlie. Throughout the story (both book and film) surviving adolescence with a head full of confusion and doubt is what drives Charlie, and music is there the whole way through. So when Dads’ American Radass (this is important) started to play, I knew some of those songs would likely be the kind Charlie would put on a mixtape for Sam.

Like Perks, American Radass is full of one-liners that speak volumes for the product as a whole. “Get to the Beach!” has “We can pick out our faults enough to blame our parents” and “Aww, C’mon Guys” has “If they heard what you were saying would they listen anymore?” Both sound like they were ripped from a tattered composition book hidden under the bed of a kid just trying to form something out of the chaos entrapped in their mind.

Keeping with chaos, the music that backs the lyrics sounds like a basement session among friends. Its coarse manner makes it appear like the best of a box full of demos that made the cut. Much like Joie De Vivre’s We’re All Better Than This though, if it wore a pretty mask, it’d lose it’s cool. In the end it’s a musical feast that’s got garage punk chunks with emo croutons scattered about.

Charlie may forever be just a fictional character girls pray was real, but if they want, they can pretend he just grew up and joined a band like Dads and took his aggression and angst out in song on American Radass (this is important). So if you like bands like Dowsing and Brave Bird, check out Dads…not moms, just Dads’ American Radass (this is important), out now on Flannel Gurl Records.

Dance for the Dying: Puzzles for the Traveler

Every generation has a niche audience for dance and electronic music, but it seems that in recent years those styles have evolved into a force to be reckoned with. They are not only they’re own little world anymore. Earlier this week Blaqk Audio dropped a new electronic record. What makes that relevant in this, is that the members of Blaqk Audio were once the reigning kings of doomsday rock that thrived on the notion that it was a scene goth kids could shine in. So you can see how much dance and electronic is being taken into consideration in the rock world. That then leads us to Dance for the Dying. They’re a real group with instruments, but add a synth to their sound to bring to life their idea of dance rock with their new record, Puzzles for the Traveler.

Inspired by a trip to India, Dance for the Dying drummer, Chris Link got the ideas for the band he calls home now. Now, there’s no Bollywood tidbits on the record, so one can assume it was more of a spiritual thing he went through…? Instead you’ll find a very indie pop sounding “Mannequin.” Nope, not a Katy Perry cover, but a lively song that will cause listeners to play it until they’re sick of it. That song was good and fun, but it’s “Ordinary Objects” that gets the ultimate stamp of approval for the album. Its electronic base plays like an anthem for dance floor aficionados. At this point, let’s point out the oddball. If you’re not into dance music, but need a new song to add to your iPod, then please let me introduce you to “Momento.” It was slower than the rest and really, you couldn’t tell it was the same band that had made the other tracks. It was my personal favorite as it seemed the most human and honest sounding.

Dance and electronic isn’t just for those people with miles of beaded bracelets on their arms and pacifiers in their mouths anymore. It’s now as mainstream as “Call Me Maybe.” So if you’re a fan of bands like The Faint and We Have Band, then check out and get down to Dance for the Dying’s Puzzles for the Traveler, out October 2nd.

Stan Lee’s Comikaze: Avengers, Bigger Scales and Cosplay

Last year Comikaze was a fresh faced geek-centric convention that didn’t set its expectations too high, but when about 35,000 people turned their first year into a hit, they knew they had the beginnings of something pretty amazing. So amazing that Stan Lee took notice and got involved. Thus, Stan Lee’s Comikaze was born, and with the name “Stan Lee” involved, word spread and this year was way bigger than the last. For those who didn’t go in 2011, we were in this small area and the panels were in makeshift rooms made out of sheet like material. This year they upgraded in space, got more guests, panels were held in actual rooms, had more vendors and even had a place to survive the zombie apocalypse.

Since fans are what drives these cons, I wanted a lot of fan involvement, so I reached out and got opinions, both good and bad on the entire weekend. So while the space was bigger, not everyone in attendance was impressed. Jennifer Muzquiz shared, “Overall, it seemed like they were trying too hard to be Comic-Con without being Comic-Con. I have high hopes they learn from this year and turn things around by next year. As a native Angeleno, I really want a local convention that can showcase the awesome fandom communities we have in our city!”

The other big negative as far as fans were concerned was the wait time to get tickets and the sun beams. Carly Shadrick was lucky enough to beat the heat, but not the wait, “We were in line for an hour and a half with little to no movement. Fortunately we got inside before they locked the doors and stopped letting people in so at least we weren’t forced to wait in the sun, but organization sucked.”

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