Tag Archives: Music

MakeSandcastlesNotWar’s Best Christmas Albums


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Image result for Christmas in Boston

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What’s up folks?  Christmas is less than two weeks away, so we got some more holiday-themed posts coming soon.  It already snowed in Massachusetts and the temperature is already dropping.  Looks it’s safe to that we must brace ourselves because winter is coming (Game of Thrones reference FTW!).

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Image result for Christmas Albums

With Christmas just around the corner, there’s nothing better than turning on the Christmas songs.  Christmas classics like ‘Jingle Bells’ or Frosty the Snowman’ always lift my spirits during the season.  As I got older, I shied away from the traditional classics and aimed for some unique albums.

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Some albums came from pop culture while others were from my favorite type of music.  Whatever the case may be, each Christmas-themed album takes me back to a better time.  It’s time I discussed some of my favorite Christmas albums I discovered over the years.

Here are some original Christmas albums to check out this year:

Jingle All the Way – Béla Fleck and the Flecktones

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The first album featured was one I discovered weeks ago during one my writing seshes.  The progress jazz-bluegrass band from Nashville, Tennessee released this Christmas album on September 20th, 2008.  With classics like Silent night and a bluegrass take on Guaraldi’s track ‘Linus and Lucy’, fans will be sure to have a rocking Christmas rocking out to some Béla Fleck and the Flecktones.  Be sure to add this to your music library if you want to add some country flair to your Christmas if you want to have a rootin-tootin good time!

A Very She & Him Christmas – She and Him

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Shifting away from the country side and we enter the hipster group that is She and Him (who consists of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward).  Deschanel and M. Ward band together to create their first Christmas albums A Very She & Him Christmas.  The duo band together to sing notable tracks like ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ and ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’.  Hipsters who are looking for more underrated and trending Christmas albums should check out A Very She & Him Christmas this year.

A Charlie Brown Christmas – Vince Guaraldi

Image result for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack

Image result for A Very Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack

Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas features Christmas classic with a kick of jazz.  I love watching A Charlie Brown Christmas every year and this soundtrack complements the TV special so well. Some tunes are just instrumental jazz while others feature chorus from the Peanuts gang (like ‘Christmas Time is Here’).  This is one soundtrack you should listen to multiple times for Christmas.

Songs for Christmas – Sufjan Stevens

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Another indie artist that released a Christmas-themed album is Sufjan Stevens.  Sufjan Stevens released Songs for Christmas back in November 21st, 2006, a five-EP boxset featuring Christmas songs and carols recorded by him between 2001-2006.  The boxset contains over two hours of tracks, so you’ll never run out of Christmas goodness.  Check out Songs for Christmas is you’re looking for a boxset jam-packed with Christmas tunes!

Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas Soundtrack

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For the final album pick, I have to bring out the soundtrack to Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  This classic story (and I mean the ANIMATED version, NOT the cheesy live-action film!) of the Grinch finding the true meaning of Christmas has always been my favorite Christmas special.  The song ‘You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch’ provides lengthy and wordy description of how horrendous he truly is (I STILL wouldn’t touch him with a 39 & ½ foot pole!).  If you love the story of The Grinch, then you’ll love this Christmas album.

That’s it for my choice of Christmas albums this year.  Some featured cartoons, while others had a notorious hipster duo.  Whatever the case may be, Christmas songs will live on forever.  Music styles are changing, yet the traditional tunes of Christmas stay the same.  Who knows what new Christmas album will be released next.

Until then, check back for more Christmas goodness here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  Merry Christmas everyone!

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Dystifyzer’s Live 24/7 Nintendo Stream


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Whenever I create these amazing posts for MakeSandcastlesNotWar, I gotta have some fantastic music blasting.  Blasting some music gives me that creative energy surging through me during my writing.  Whether it’s the soulful jazz music from Weather Report or an adventurous folk-indie album that puts me into a mysterious new world, having that music blasting gave wonders to what has become the MakeSandcastlesNotWar blog.  A new topic, or a new path rather, places readers into the exciting journey today (and in most cases, stories that foreshadow another major event in the future!).

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Rather than dig deep into how to harvest that creative energy into writing ideas (those stories will be unlocked at a later time!), it’s time to dive into the music on YouTube.  YouTube has tons of albums up and are absolutely FREE to play.  Rock, jazz, metal, country, blues, and even ambiance music are easy to discover on this social media site.  As someone who loves video game music every now and then, I enjoy the video game playlists that are around.

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Image result for youtube Video Game Music

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I’ve stumbled onto some crazy music playlists that introduced me to some original video games I didn’t get into as a kid.  Nintendo was always my favorite video game brand and I always choose to play their games every year.  Their games were so much fun, but it was also their nostalgic music that really tugged at my heartstrings.  It’s always cool running into music playlists catered only to the Nintendo series.  Discovering Nintendo music playlists was awesome, but then I found a video showcasing a live streaming service STRICTLY for Nintendo music!

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A 24/7 live streaming service featuring Nintendo music ACTUALLY exists on YouTube!  YouTube user Dystifyzer started streaming on August 23rd and has been streaming tracks from the Nintendo series.  Various users can listen in and chat with others about their favorite songs.  Dystifyzer’s unique channel has favored well with the audience and has been subscribed by over 16,000 users.

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The unique aspect of Dystifyzer’s live stream is the interactivity happening between the users.  Users can simply chat with others, request for songs to be played, ask for rupees (which can be cashed in for things like donating for new album drops!), and even hold mini marathons themselves.  There are over 10,000 tracks from hundreds of games to choose from. You can complete these commands by entering key codes into the chat using the exclamation point.  Typing !rupees will provide the users rupees based on the number of hours they have watch.  If you want to request a song, simply type !songrequest and choose the song from which game it came from.  The more hours you watched, the more rupees you will have to use.

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Users can also rank up by watching the stream service more often.  As you rank higher up, more features will be unlocked to use.  Some awesome features include holding a mini marathon based on your picks or purchasing new album for the stream.  Ranking up is one of those interesting interactive features that provide users more than just free music (did I happen to mention that it’s also COMMERCIAL-FREE as well?).

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With that, Dystifyzer’s live Nintendo stream is definitely worth checking out.  Dystifyzer combined users’ love of nostalgic Nintendo games with a chatroom full of interactive features.  It’s a great stream to kick back with some awesome music from Nintendo and talk amongst others about your favorite games.

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This is the kind of unique idea that pushes the boundaries of what YouTube can offer for its users.  Providing users the ability to share music albums around with other listeners is one thing, but creating a live stream service based on a unique theme is a whole other ballgame.  Its users like Dystifyzer that help build upon YouTube’s social community.

Image result for Youtube Video Game Service

Image result for Youtube Video Game Service

Thanks to Dystifyzer, we now have a unique interactive live streaming service featuring some of the most timeless music from Nintendo series.  Hopefully other users will branch out from his unique idea and provide other video game streaming services (like for Sony or other video game brands!).

If you’re looking for an easy playlist, check out Dystifyzer’s 24/7 Nintendo Music Live Stream on Youtube!

 

 

Roger Waters & CKY Album Drops!


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How’s it going folks?  Hope you’re enjoying the first few days of summer so far!  Summer’s been shining hard for me with ice-cold Sam Adams Summer Ale, an amazing strain named Fruity Pebbles (which actually tastes like Fruity Pebbles!), and warm weather.  It’s cloudy out in MA now, but the summer is just beginning.

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It’s been so damn great so far that I forgot to mention about two INCREDIBLE albums that came out this month.  Music hasn’t gotten the cream of the crop here at MakeSandcastlesNotWar and it’s about time I showcase some musical GOLD.  Two artists, CKY and Roger Waters, released their newest albums.  Here’s the personal PR scoop on these two magnificent pieces:

Roger Waters, Is This the Life We Really Want?

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Pink Floyd was one of those incredible bands I started getting into in high school.  The Wall was what really did it for me and soon discovered the distinct sounds between Roger and David.  I listened to all of the albums by the time I got through high school and still got them locked within my music library.  Roger’s tone followed through with his solo albums (I’m re-listening to The Pros Cons of Hitch-Hiking as I’m writing this out) and his newest one hits home 25 years later.

Recorded between 2010-2017, Is This the Life We Really Want? hit the digital shelves on June 2nd with hot tracks like Smell the Roses and The Last Refugee.  It’s got the progressive aspect from the Pink Floyd days with the mix of some art rock.  Pink Floyd fanatics should definitely pick out Is This the Life We Really Want? this summer!

CKY, The Phoenix

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Before I jumped into being part of the Pink Floyd Animals (band pun intended!), CKY was one of my favorite rock bands of all time.  CKY featured Chad I. Ginsburg, Deron Miller, Matty J, and Jess Margera (older brother of infamous Bam Margera!) playing some gnarly rock tunes.  Released in June 16th, The Phoenix is their latest album in 8 years.  Some classic CKY tunes include Days of Self Destruction and Replaceable.  While it’s been a while since their golden years in the early ‘00s, the CKY guitar tone is still heard from the sweet sounds of CKY!  It’s definitely a great album to check out if you’re a true CKY fan.

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And there you have it, two amazing albums from two incredible artists that are making more musical gold.  It’s not every day I come across exciting new tunes from some of my favorite artists and I’m grateful for discovering them both.  If there’s ever any other new albums that hit the digital shelves, I’ll be sure to spread the news for MakeSandcastlesNotWar!

Until then, check out these fantastic new albums Is This the Life We Really Want? and The Phoenix.

JC’s Ipod Shuffle List #1


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What’s up, folks?  It’s hump day and we’re in the middle of the work week (just two more days to go!).  I figured today I do something fun rather than shooting the shit about the entertainment PR world.

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Since reading this blog, you’re probably asking, “damn Jon, these topics are incredible!  Any specific music that you enjoy or that feeds into your creative genius?”.  Why yes, random awesome reader!  I certainly do have some funky tunes that I enjoy here and there.  These amazing music tunes were picked for my long-lasting Ipod touch that I got years ago (many falls later, it’s STILL working!).

So enough with the dibble-dabble and let’s hit it!  My iPod shuffle that will showcase some of my favorite songs I enjoy (ESPECIALLY after consuming cannabis!)
String Cheese Incident – Texas (Carnival ’99)

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The String Cheese Incident may be one of my favorite jam bands of all time.  Hailing from Colorado, this crazy group blends rock, bluegrass, jazz, calypso, funk, and other genres.  I enjoy their live albums better some of their studio albums and Carnival ’99 doesn’t disappoint.  Live albums of SCI are so action-packed, making me feel as if I’m in the show at this moment.  This also may be my favorite version of Texas from their albums (the studio version is just down-right RIDICULOUSLY awesome!).  While I’ve seen members of Phish, I’ve yet to check out a String Cheese Incident show.  Hopefully String Cheese Incident will head to Boston one of these days!

Umphrey’s McGee – Andy’s Last Beer (Local Bar Does O.K.)

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Ah, Umphrey’s McGee!  I caught three of their shows while attending college in Burlington, Vermont (or also known as B-Town!).  Umphrey’s McGee is another amazing jam band that started around Indiana/Illinois.  This funky band played some jamtastic tunes when I saw them at Higher Ground.  The waft of cannabis and warm beer filled the venue as I jammed my ass off throughout the night.  While I didn’t know all of their songs, hearing them live at the venue was still incredible.

Umphrey’s McGee – Walletsworth (Anchor Drops)

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Another tune from the Umph!  Anchor Drops is the third album that dropped in 2004.  14 progressive tracks are set, mixing progressive rock with tastes of heavy metal, jam band grooves, folk, and even electronica (BTW did I mention that jam bands take tastes from various genres? Yeah, I thought so!).  Walletsworth is one of these jamming tracks that has that heavy metal feel to it.  Truth be told, I used to be into heavy metal music back in middle/high school.

The Derek Trucks Band – I Wish I Knew (How It Would Feel To Be Free?) (Songlines)

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Sweet mother of guitar gods…DEREK TRUCKS.  I got into Allman Brothers later into my high school days, but it was The Derek Trucks Band that really grabbed a hold of me.  Derek’s nasty guitar licks blends in blues, soul, and jazz into some amazing rock albums.  As a nephew of Butch Trucks, Derek Trucks is a guitarist who has his own project.  Songlines is one of his great albums to check out.

Gorillaz – Clint Eastwood (Gorillaz)

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The Gorillaz were an AMAZING band to discover!  It’s so cool to see an animated group spit some awesome trip-hop lines.  Not only is their music catchy, but their animated music videos are out of this world (Feel Good Inc. played for MONTHS on MTV!).  Clint Eastwood is definitely catchy and their spooky music video makes the experience that more beautiful.  What’s great is that Gorillaz are STILL making music to this day!  They’re playing shows all across the country and will be hitting Boston this summer.  Here’s to the Gorillaz for being the true OG animated group!

And there you have it, a snippet of what’s locked within my Ipod Touch.  It’s definitely been a blast conducting this idea and I look forward to this tactic again soon.  Until then, happy hump day!