Thursday, October 28, 2010

Dancing in the Rain

This has been making the rounds of the blogosphere, and I think it's definitely worth watching. Just a video about 4 guys doing what they love in the rain. What struck me about this is the poetry of their unscripted movements. At its best, the four seem to be making fun of every law of physics. It's hard not to pick a favorite, and I think dude in the white shirt kills it, but combined their efforts are just mind blowing. The dancers get a strange mix of breaking and krumping going, with even a little ballet mix in, but whatever you call it, all I know is that there was beautiful art being made on that street corner in Oakland that day.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Few More From The JamandaHalf Family

Gotta keep the posts coming. Here are jams that we've had sent in to us from all types of places lately. Keep them coming everyone. 


One of JamandaHalf's favorite rappers, we have been lucky enough to see Anthem three different times-opening the March 3rd concert, flowing for what seemed like an eternity at the officially unofficial post show with music by Dougie Fresh and the Funky Bunch, and his "MTV Unplugged" like show at the Hip Kitty, a bar in Claremont. Anthem is not only a rapper with serious, serious flow, but he also has ingenious wordplay, a message, and is just an overall good dude. Prepping his new mixtape, hosted by DJ Whoo Kid, Anthem drops this short gem. Showing off a fire and confidence that was absent on some of his earlier tracks, Anthem will have my eternal respect for dropping "vuvuzela" on a track. Great little taste of what's coming from him. Follow Anthem on Twitter

 Anthem - Inception ( by jamand1/2 

Windy City Gentleman-Good Old Friend

Windy City Gentleman is an LA based solo artist who contacted us a little while back. His debut album China White dropped recently, and I had a chance to check out this up and coming rocker. It's hard to put a finger on WCG's music. Mixing genres and effects, sometimes it might seem that his music is a little too scattered. But in reality,WCG is just showcasing his talent across different styles of music, not limiting himself to a particular sound. My favorite is the Eddie Vedder-esque "Good Old Friend." Heavy on folk, this jam is a great song to mellow to, and is the perfect track to reminisce about the past times. Check him out here. With his emails, WCG would end with a line that I loved, and wanted to share: Don't die with your music still in youHaven't read truer words in the longest. Thanks for getting in touch with us WCG.

 Windy City Gentleman-Good Old Friend ( by jamand1/2

Jeff Spec-Clyde Stubblefield

Jeff Spec is a Vancouver based rapper that has been updating us on the moves he is making. He recently dropped this track (video here), and I'm feeling it. Over a pounding bass line, this track sounds almost as if Jeff and a band were playing it live in my headphones. With a old-school feel, Jeff Spec feels at home on this, and although it only clocks in at a short 2:26, the track perfectly captures a sound of an era while adding some modern touches. Check him out here.

 Jeff Specs-Clyde Stubblefield ( by jamand1/2

Zion I & K. Flay: Coastin'

This track was sent to us by our good buddy, Johnny Kathmandu. Like his funky Nepalese/Belgian background, Johnny KTM's musical knowledge is diverse, and he keeps sending us juicer jams than the burgers at Island Vibe Hostel in Jbay . Zion I is one of the most underrated duos in the game right now. Consistently dropping quality songs, Zion I has on my radar since "Lose Your Head" had me going dumb a few years back. What has always impressed me about their music is their sonical diversity. While I originally pegged them as just another hyphie group, Zion I keeps bringing new sounds and styles to the table, include this jamandahalf, a fun and uplifting song about living too good. Loving this track right now.

 Zion I-Coastin' ( by jamand1/2

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Glowsticks-I'll Be There

I love hearing about what my friends are doing across the world, especially when they are doing big things...

My family and I moved to Abidjan, the capital of Cote d'Ivoire, before the start of my 8th grade year. That year made a huge impact on my life, although a coup d'etat cut short our stay. When I wasn't playing basketball, my best buddy at the time, Jono (aka Kasper tha Ghost), and I would make beats and lay verses on them, even making and selling a full album (maximum 3 albums sold). There was a strong musical streak at that our international school, and people got really into producing, rapping, and battling, getting funky on tracks with a mix of kids from all over. While I would make simple pre-installed loop based beats on our bootleg copy of Ejay, one buddy of mine would get nuts on his beats, incorporating instruments from his native Sudan with a complexity far beyond his years.

This friend, Osama, now better known as Verse-Atile, started off small, but over the years has continued to make music, and has expanded his talents and crossed over genres. Now based in Canada, Verse-Atile is part of the group The Glow Sticks (TGS), which has a dope single out (I'll Be There) to promote their new album. Incorporating a strong house feel, "I'll Be There" shows off Verse-Atile's ear for making a hit, and feels like it could keep clubs going from Abidjan to Toronto.

I had a chance to catch up with him recently, and asked him a few questions about The Glow Sticks and "I'll Be There":

Can you tell us a little about TGS. How did the two of you meet? What type of sound are you trying to capture?

The Glowsticks (TGS) is a group consisting of myself (producer-songwriter) and DarkAce (vocalist -songwriter). Originally I was DarkAce's producer for his solo project. During the process of producing and co-writing Ace's project, we realized that we are stronger as a duo.

I know for a while you were making more traditional hip-hop. How did that evolve to the sound in "I'll Be There?"

I started out as a hiphop and RnB producer, yet thanks to my frequent travels to Europe, I fell in love with House and Electro music, which then began to influence my style of production. I began mixing genres together to create more interesting beats that crossed genres. "I'll Be There" is more house influenced, but the rest of the TGS project is more mixed genre.

What are your plans for TGS? You have a dope single that people will probably love, what's your next move?

We have been working on other music and we now have over 8 songs fully finished and we are currently working on more. They will be cross genre with a lot of electro and house influence, and a touch of urban hiphop.

I know you've come a long way since our days of making beats on ejay. What's your process to making a song like I'll Be There?

I use a combination of tools to create beats based on what sound I want to achieve, everything from FL Studio to Logic and Protools. For TGS we play with different sounds and experiment with them in different styles until we are happy with the result.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Cunninlynguists-Mic Like A Memory

The stark honesty of this jamandahalf is almost unrivaled in any song I can think of. I'm going to admit right now, I've slept on Cunninlynguists something heavy. With a discography that seems like it's filled with introspective hip hop cased in a Southern shell, I feel like I should have been playing this group for years. My loss.

In this surprising jam off of their 2001 debut, Will Rap For Food, the trio from Lexington, Kentucky and Atlanta weave tales of self doubt, personal struggles with drugs and depression, and tragedy over a beat jazzier than Salt Lake City's finest. Mix in a Common sample, and you got a hard hitting tale that in the end manages to be inspiring. Kno (the group's producer) mixes in a trumpet loop that is both invigorating yet haunting, at the same time reflecting the song's dark tales while keeping its triumphant spirit. What "Mic Like A Memory" is all about is finding oneself, whether it be through your family, through your friends, or like Deacon's confessional verse, through music. With three heavy verses that show off lyrical dexterity, tight flows, and an honesty that is rare in modern music, Cunninlynguists show off the skills that you've either known for years, or like me, you've been sorely missing. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Breathe Owl Breathe-Across the Loch

The guitar loop on this song has managed to creep itself deep into the crevices of my mind, popping up whenever it feels ready; in fact, this whole song has been on repeat in my brain. "Across the Loch" is a song which manages to perfectly capture every detail of the mood of a single line, "I was afraid of losing you." Its beat is almost haunting, a simple guitar loop on top of layers of other sounds, with a gruff electronic guitar riff every now and then disturbing its tranquility. There is something wholesome about the sound of Breathe Owl Breathe, something that manges to balance being extremely complex and unbelievably simple at the same time. Like Bon Iver's best songs (which plunge even deeper into simplicity), "Across the Loch" sounds as if it were inspired by wilderness, and the the Michigan based trio (made up of Micah Middaugh, Andrea Moreno-Beals, and Trevor Hobbs) have created a song that is impossible not to mellow too, and one that will do its best to take you to a simpler place.

Download Here

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Poppers

I've discovered new bands in a lot of ways-sometimes friends email me songs, other times my favorite blogs drop knowledge. The Poppers are the only band that I can say that I found looking for a church.

I was in Caceres, Spain for my orientation, and a few other language assistants and I decided to go have a beer after day 1 of our orientation. Caceres has an amazing old city-walking along its cobblestoned streets takes you back to medieval times, with incredibly large stork nests keeping sentry over its windy paths. Our group was headed home, but I wanted to see just a little bit more of the old town at night, especially the old church. After making it, we heard very loud and very live music bouncing off of its walls. Like a bum drawn to a warm fire, I was entranced, and immediately got to work convincing my sleepy group that checking out where music is coming from is always a good idea. We took a corner and stumbled upon a mini rock concert in a small plaza bordered by two churches. And that's how I discovered The Poppers. 

Hailing from Lisbon, Portugal, the Poppers have a sound that reminds me quite a bit of Franz Ferdinand mixed with a little White Stripes. While I'm not the biggest fan of the genre, the Poppers played with an unyielding relentless energy, as if they were convinced that every fan had to walk out of the small show saying to themselves, "man, that was good." And that's what we all did. Their lead singer (second from the left) has some serious star power, and had some die-hard fans in the front singing along to each word. For the majority of us, it was impossible to not bob our heads to their furious pace of their music and be immensely impressed. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Great Jamandahalf Blackout

As promised, to try and make up for our downtime, here are videos I discovered during the Great JamandaHalf Blackout of 2010.


This could be the craziest video I've ever seen-it looks like a cross between the wildest claymation ever created, and the Sims 5: Coachella Edition. Taken during Coachella this year, and using an effect known as tilt-motion, the video really captures the whole feel of the incredible festival, from the people celebrating just being at the festival, to the waiting on the grass, the energy of the shows, to the at-times bizarre juxtaposition of the art exhibitions with the green grass and desert night sky. While it all felt so normal then, looking back at it makes me realize how strange it really was. Strangely magical. (Watch in full screen HD for the best effect)

Phish Shreds

While Moodawg has opened my mind to some really great genres and bands that I never would have heard or liked otherwise, he's never been able to get me to fully appreciate jam bands and their 15 minute long instrumental movements that take longer to finish than AMitch brushing his teeth. It's a mental blockade I got, an impatience that won't let me fully appreciate a Grateful Dead show. I've tried, trust me, and have sat through many Dead Shows on dvd and vhs at strange hours of the night. So although I realize that musically bands like the Dead and Phish are incredible, they're just not me. And that's why I think this video, one of a series where this guy makes legends of music sound really really off, is hilarious.

Monday, October 18, 2010

WebsiteandaHalf-Tiny Desk Concerts

Thanks for sticking with us guys. The past few days typing in probably did not bring you the soothing site of an elephant wearing headphones, but instead brought up an ugly GoDaddy screen or a load error. Moose always calls me a hacker, but this time the hacking got the best of the site, and it took five calls to GoDaddy to get all the pipes of the internet back in order. But, gone forever is any mention of blogspot and also now you should see our logo appearing as your favicon. Cool, eh? To make up for it, here are two posts...

This newest WebsiteandaHalf looks like the ultimate job perk. Every three days or so, a dope artist or band comes through the offices of NPR Music, and plays a live show on the desk of All Songs Considered Host Bob Boilen. Workers and friends crowd the room, aching to hear their old and new favorites play in probably the smallest venue they will ever see them in. I'm not sure how I found out about this great site, but man, I've heard everything from awesome go-go to rugged folk on there. And all the concerts have a video of the show and some of them even have a downloadable mp3 of the songs. The series started in April 2008, and was sporadic at first, featuring mainly artists I have never heard of. But the series began to pick up steam, especially this year, and has featured personal favorites The Tallest Man on Earth, Ed Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Jimmy Cliff, along with other big names like Phoenix. It's a great way to find new music and see artists you love, or discover the next contender to dominate your Ipod, in an intimate and stripped down environment. With no flashy lights, crazy stages, or smoke to hide behind, you see the artists as they really are. When they sound good playing on a desk, it's probably because they are good. Enjoy and welcome back.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Kinks - Waterloo Sunset & Strangers

These days The Kinks just dont get love like they should.  Now I apologize to all you cats who have been round the block and all the old folks that read this, cause you already know.  But to the youths.  Youre missin it.  Youre hearin them but your not listenin.  Brushing them off because they only play 2 Kinks songs on the radio, and no doubt, Ill be the first to admit that if I hear You Really Got Me again I may try to take my own life.  But The Kinks are a classic Rock and Roll band, and their list of jams is deep...real deep.  Strangers, A Well Respected Man, I Gotta Move, Long Tall Shorty, the list goes and goes.

But while the songs can stand alone, their reputation needs context in the minds of the kids.  The Kinks were one of the most progressive bands in Rock, and really just music.  The band came up out of North London in the 60s, formed by brothers Ray and Dave Davies, and these dudes listened to a lot of music.  Rhythm and blues, folk, country, and Im sure many others.  Today we can all recognize these as the origins of Rock and Roll music, but back then white people didnt catch on real fast.  The Kinks first album came out in '64 and actually sounded like Rock music, relatively speaking of course.  Covers of songs by Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, and heavy, raw, guitar sections, and flavor, lots of flavor.  This is the same year The Beatles were making songs like this.  Feel me?  But while The Kinks were some of the first gringos to get it rockin their sound evolved as well, moving to harder rock (thickly reflected in the punk movement), then to a more lyrically oriented style melding folk with classical English music hall (influencing everyone from the Door and Jefferson Airplane to The Who), then on to a few weird but revolutionary theatrical albums, and a whole lot of other twists too.

Their style holds some kind of bridge, between what Rock was before the 60s and what we have come to recognize it as now.  Its not something that I can put into words but you can hear it in their sound.  Ive only got a few choice jams here just to show you some range.  The super jam that youve prolly heard but I couldnt not put up is Waterloo Sunset.  It captures a scene of paradise as the sun goes down over the river Thames in London.  To musically convey the sentimental beauty and peace of the setting sun is all you have to do to make an incredible song.  It kind of reminds me of Crimson and Clover by Tommy James and the Shondells which came out the following year in 1968.  Strangers is one of my favorite songs they do, its kind of my anthem for when Im strugglin on my own.  Check the lyrics for sure as you listen.  Yo and finally I put in a video of some old school Kinks.  Long Tall Shorty is that original harder sound and check out how much people used to love it.  You should too.  Enjoy and do yourself a favor and look into the other million songs the Kinks made.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Andre 3Stacks-The Most Mysterious Man In Music

Any long time reader of this blog will know of our love of Outkast. From "Player's Ball" to "Shine Blockas," Outkast (it will forever be Outkast) jams have always found their way onto our playlists and these pages. I think quality has something to do with it. Outkast is probably the most consistent rap group of all time, and despite not having put out an album in seven years, the two have commanded an permanent place on the music scene that is almost unheard of. Big Boi, after years of false starts and label squabbles, put out arguably (and I'm arguing) the best rap album of the year. By far. And 3000 has turned into a hermit, living underground like a Chilean miner, emerging from time to time, but unlike the 33 brave souls, has decided that the light is too bright, and takes that lunar capsule back underground.

From time to time though, Andre decides to bless a track with some magic. Although some of his choices may never be explained (Ciara? Really?), 3000 returns every few months, perhaps trying to prove that he still has it. Maybe he gets bored doing whatever he's doing. Maybe he's recording nonstop but is tired of the limelight. Whatever his reason may be, Dre comes back and in one verse remind us that he is the best rapper alive. These three verses, from three different songs which have leaked/been recently in the past few months, prove that.

Chris Brown-Deuces Remix (Feat. Kanye West, Drake, Andre 3000)

The most recent Dre verse, on the star studded remix to a Chris Brown song, is like having a burrito from Santana's after being away from California for a while. Dre's verse both reminds you of what you've been missing, and how great a Dre verse is. On his minute long verse, an eternity these days, Dre does what he does best, tells stories. Commanding the sparse beat with his flow, Dre's continuously changing rhyme pattern is an exhibit in Hip Hop 101. On this one verse, 3Stacks proves that he's still light years ahead of everyone.

Andre 3000 Deuces Remix Verse ( by jamand1/2

Lookin' 4 Ya

On a track that was supposed to be on Big Boi's album, Dre spits a light hearted verse that still manages to school most new rap. Some label bullshit: Big Boi signed to Def Jam to release his first solo album because Outkast's longtime label, Arista, felt his aforementioned debut album was too artsy. Dre was supposed to be on a few tracks, but because having the two on a track would make it an "Outkast" track, which Arista "owns," Big Boi had to scratch jams like this one, and a classic like
that one. Luckily for us, a fairy "leaked" this song, and the two sound so good together, it makes a man wonder why they don't go independent and pull a Radiohead. With such a devoted following and longstanding presence on the scene, Outkast could easily pull it off, and could lead a revolution that could shake the music industry. I'm down.

Andre 3000 Lookin 4 Ya Verse ( by jamand1/2

I Do

This track,
rumored to be a verse from Young Jeezy's oft delayed TM103, sounds like vintage Dre. A verse about a "heavy praying woman," "I Do" feels almost like an "International Players Anthem Pt. 2." Dre's ability to switch his flow to match any beat is evident, as well as making rapping about anything seem cool, even having a nerdy daughter that "loves books, and cooks, and looks, just like you."

Andre 3000-I Do ( by jamand1/2

Like Dave Chappelle's spot as the funniest man alive is his until someone takes it (John Stewart is creeping fast), Andre's spot is there waiting for him. But he doesn't take it. But to keep us wanting more, he drops gems like these three. Dre is my favorite rapper of all time, and until someone takes his crown, he's the best rapper alive.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

UGK-One Day

As Southern as a dinner of that good old Florida BBQ from Big Al’s BBQ trailer in Gainesville, Florida, accented by the sound of chirping crickets and taken down easy with some sweet tea, UGK was among the first Southern groups to hit the national stage. And like groups such as Outkast, Goodie Mobb, and the Ghetto Boys, UGK cooked up jams with a conscious streak, jams that had one ear to the classics of Motown and another to the streets. UGK’s sound maintains a down-home feel that has stood the test of time since they first dropped their debut album,
Too Hard To Swallow in 1996, and continued to grow for the next 11 years until Pimp C’s untimely death in 2007.

UGK has jams. While not as consistent as Outkast or Goodie Mobb, when UGK drop a jamandahalf, you know it’s serious.
This serious. But although my two favorite duos this side of Simon & Garfunkel got funky together on that classic, no other UGK song fully exhibits their uniqueness like “One Day.” From Pimp C’s opening line, “My mamma put me out/at only fooourteen” to the final loop of the dope Isley Bro’s sample, the song's bare-knuckled honesty hits hard, but is weathered by the undeniable smoothness of the guitar chords and the sugary vocals of the Isleys. And although Pimp C and Bun B always sound good together, the two have never sounded better than they do on this track, trading verses about growing up with nothing, and living without knowing what the next day will bring. A true classic. Enjoy.

UGK - One Day Your Here, Then Your Gone ( by jamsfordays

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We Used To Walk

I sometimes get random bursts of creative energy, and one hit a few weeks ago with this video being the result. On September 29, 2010, I took 1391 continuous pictures of a walk in central Madrid during the national strike. My girlfriend and I started near the Callao metro stop, and walked along Calle de Preciados to the Puerta del Sol, the heart of Madrid and also the center of the strike. After Sol, we walked to Plaza Mayor, my favorite place in Madrid, and a Plaza that is never the same twice. Its latest reincarnation was as the host to an exhibition about Argentina. I added the Arcade Fire's "We Used To Wait" because of its relentless pace, which I though was perfect for the flashing images. Hope yall like it,

Friday, October 8, 2010

John Legend-Floating Away

John Legend performed last Friday at my alma mater. When I heard the news, jealousy flowed through my veins like beers do at a bar on a Madridleno Friday night, but I’m glad that my little college continues to bring in top names recently. Anything is better than Mickey Avalon and his four minute set my Freshman year. Anything is better than this.

John Legend is up there with my all-time favorites. As an artist he burst on the scene with his powerful “Ordinary People,” and is an R&B crooner with a little something for everyone. Like a reassuring back rub from a friend, listening to Legend has the magical ability to fix a day. His songs are about things which we all face in our day-to-day lives. Legend makes extraordinary music about ordinary things, getting better and better with each album.

Off of the Japan Edition of his most recent album, Evolver (no idea how I found it), Legend included a jamandahalf that has a rhythm which mimics that of our best days-uplifting, fun, and, invigorating. A victorious song, “Floating Away” showcases why I think Legend should be considered up there with some of the old-time greats. With a powerful voice that never feels forced, Legend sings about freeing himself from someone holding him down, escaping to higher heights. My favorite band sometimes says the best thing is to not know where you're going, but to head to the top. And that's what ‘Floating Away” is all about.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

AZ feat. Nas - How You Livin

Yo its been a minute since my last post and I wanna thank all the readers and contributors and especially Big Leks for keepin the website super irie. Fortunately, I have been spending my time trolling through the past, fishing for jams...and jams I have found. When I first heard "How You Livin" drivin down the freeway, hand out the window, warm breeze accompanying the setting sun, I knew it was a classic. Didnt have to hear the words, I could feel the nostalgia building as the flow and beat intertwined into a vibe that I knew was golden. Its not so much the lyrics or the content, its a kind of euphoric feeling intrinsic in the track. And though I didnt do anything to deserve it, I felt like I was on top of the world, right there next to AZ and Nas.

These two cats knew how to make a hit, and they did it all the time. From the hip hop legacy of "Life's a Bitch" off Illmatic to their days chillin with Foxy Brown at The Firm, AZ and Nas were two masters who loved to get together to shoot the gift. Its no wonder that when they got back together on another L.E.S. beat (same dude who produced Life's a Bitch, not to mention
Gettin Jiggy With It) it was gonna be gold. Its got the same smoothness of a Warren G/Nate Dogg jammer with unreal rhymes. No one will ever doubt the AZ flow, but the complexity of the words he rhymes boggles my mind, at least 2, sometimes 3 syllables. AZs second verse is pure intellectual fire, and Nas is always up to par, be sure to check the lyrics while you listen. The whole jam is a celebration of what their skills have brought them, and you can feel the success in a way that lyrics cant convey. You can hear it in the sound. The sound of a classic.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Few From The JamandaHalf Family

Lately jams have been coming from some unexpected sources, and I love it. Thanks to all of you who have sent in some of your favorites. And as always, we love hearing new jams, so if you want to highlight a favorite artist or song, send us and email or click the link above to drop off a jam for us. Here are a few new ones we've gotten:

Jaya The Cat-Closing Time:

This jam was sent to us by a fan on Soundcloud, and I’ve had it on repeat since. I knew nothing of the Amsterdam-based band until I checked out their site, and although the past nine years has been seriously tumultuous for the band, with only the main vocalist remaining from the original trio, Jaya The Cat seems like they’re making music as dope as their name. “Closing Time” has an upbeat rhythm and an infectious guitar hook, but its cheerfulness is muddied by more melancholy lyrics, an interesting juxtaposition that surprisingly works. The band is carried by the amazing voice of the lead singer Geoff Lagadec. Gravelly and forceful, Geoff’s voice reminded me a lot of Smidge Malone of the Stumblebum Bass Band, and sounds at home talking about the painfulness of having to let something go.


Toodar is a new band from London that’s been together for a little over a year and their first single, “Toy,” features detailed guitar picking in a gloomy sea of electronic ambient noises. Leads singer Tom laments about being played with, about being dragged around, about being used, like he is someone’s plaything. “Toy” plays on the metaphor throughout, and is marked by resignation and defeat. Although not my favorite, “Toy” has an interesting sound and a great video, which you can find here.

Playing For Change-One Love

I love this. I saw the original a while back, and think these have a great message and an unbelievable sound. Taking mainly unknown musicians, while often throwing in the more famous name (like Keb-Mo), the Playing For Change website features street musicians singing some of the world’s most famous songs. As you can see in the video, each part is recorded individually, and through awesome engineering, the various parts come together beautifully. It’s hard not to feel a little fuzzy seeing this. All the individual artists shine with their respective parts, but the combined effort glistens. It’s clear that everyone had a great time making this and the other videos on the site, and the smiles on the faces of the Sinamuva Choir tell all you need to know about this wonderful project. People coming together, making good music. I like it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cold War Kids-We Used To Vacation

It's a celebration people. Amitch, one of our best buddies and creator of the upcoming Jamandahalf shirts, comes by with a true gem. After almost a year of giving him shit for his first post, Mitch comes through with his trademark wit, humor, and great taste in music. We hope the jams keep coming. Enjoy.

I first heard the Cold War Kids in a hospital bed in Memphis, Tennessee. I traded CDs with the nurses, attempting to spread indie rock through the South via cute 24 year-olds with fat diamonds already sitting on their ring fingers. I felt like God, or an American in a small Brazilian village handing out technology that would revolutionize their way of life. I didn’t always get good music in return - that was until I met Stacie. Nurse Stacie has a husband who was/is on point with new indie tunes. He probably writes a music blog and torrents b-sides and live shows, sucking all that a song offers out in couple plays, like they are otter pops in a never-ending Costco box. Needless to say, Stacies mixes were fresh to death. Not literally, I’m still alive.

During my re-acquaintance with the Cold War Kids this last summer, I fell in love with We Used to Vacation, an eerie song that tells the story of alcoholic father who fails his family. The lyrics are real, everyday, and unglamorous. They build a circumstance you can imagine might affect anyone: drunk fuck ups – with a family to apologize to. Yet when the drums slow and the guitar sits idol for a chorus that states, “I told my wife and children I’d never take another drink as long as I live/Yet it sounds so soothing, to mix a gin and sink into oblivion,” I get nersty case of goose bumps. And then a subsequent bridge that feels like a horror show guitar solo, paired with a rattlesnake maraca that reminds me of the wedding massacre in Kill Bill I.

I can’t always handle the voice of Cold War vocalist, Nathan Willet, but in this song, his predicament and jarring portrayal of apathetic sincerity seals a deal with suburban alcoholic fathers from Vancouver, Washington to Claremont, California. Hence: Jam and a Half.

1 Year

Hey Everyone...

Today is the one year anniversary of the first post of this little blog! I've had a great time with this, and hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. We've grown up a little in the past twelve months, and will keep getting bigger and better. This year has seen a lot: tons of different artists, genres, guest posts, features, a layout change, and interviews with up and coming artists. But this year I'm hoping to do a few things:

  • Emphasize more artists who are coming up, with features and interviews of young artists from across the world.
  • Complete redesign of the site, allowing all of you to post whenever inspiration hits.
  • JamandaHalf Shirts! Designed by my good buddy Alex Mitchell (
  • Monthly contests with great prizes, including concert tickets, shirts, and gift certificates.
  • More of the world's best music.

Thanks for all your visits (more than 2,000 in the last month), insights, guest posts, and on and on. This blog was created to spread knowledge of good music from across the world, and I've got a lot of new favorites from your suggestions. Keep checking back, as big things are coming from


Friday, October 1, 2010

The Temptations-Papa Was A Rollin' Stone

I had a long post almost completely written for this jamandahalf. I tried to capture everything about it in that post. It's the longest jamandahalf we've had had, clocking in at almost 7 minutes and I tried my best to describe the movements of this jam, its story, the music, the bassline, and the history behind the Temptations. I wanted to tell you funny stories about this song, like the one time when Ainsley and I had an impromptu accapella rendition of this classic outside our dorm's lounge late one night, finger snapping and foot stomping the whole time. That post was almost a great one, but it failed to fully convey an incredibly simple message:

This is the funkiest song of all the time.