Skip to main content

Posts

SAVOIR FAIRE: The 2019 Fall Playlist

From the looks of the above cover I quickly designed, you'd think this was a country album. Far from it.
My latest seasonal playlist has a few surprises up its cardigan sleeves: a new track from Alessia Cara that's unlike anything she's ever put out ("October"), the latest from my favorite 2000s band, Keane ("Love Too Much"), a jam from Armin Van Buuren that resonates more than it should ("Waking Up With You"), and plenty of retro synth pop to keep you pining for the 80s.
Grab your maple scones and turn up the volume, kids.
@TheFirstEcho
Recent posts

Song of the Month: September 2019

For the first time ever, my Song of the Month isn't some hot, new track from an up-and-coming artist. It isn't even a track featured on my playlist for the 2019 fall season.

I'm going back to 2006 and revisiting one of my favorite bands of all-time, Keane.

"A Bad Dream" is taken from the group's fantastic sophomore album, Under The Iron Sea, and 13 years later, it holds up beautifully. The melancholy tune is lifted by frontman Tom Chaplin's dreamy vocals, accompanied by distorted pianos and soothing synths.

It's the perfect song to keep on rotation while we transition into autumn. It's also capturing my current mood, thanks to some recent semi-heartache. Simply put: le sigh.

@TheFirstEcho

60 Great Songs of the 2010s

Where did this decade go?

Seriously, I'd like to know. Because it seems like yesterday I was looking forward to turning (gulp) 30, blaring Katy Perry's "California Gurls" in my Prius, and planning to take my first-ever cross-country road trip that would spark my side hustle as a travel writer.

How did we get here? Well, I have one theory: we survived the 2010s by listening to great music. And below is a playlist of my top picks -- in chronological order of release from 2010 to 2019 -- of the outstanding tracks that personally helped shape the last ten years. Some are well-known no-brainers, while others are less familiar songs that you should know and love.

@TheFirstEcho

The Sounds (and Silence) of Horror: A Discussion with the Genre's Top Film Composers

Last month at Comic-Con, I slightly geeked out having had the pleasure of chatting with some of the hardest-working film composers in horror: Michael Abels (Get OutUs), Chris Young (Pet SemataryThe Grudge), Carl Thiel (Machete KillsFrom Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), and Nick Soole (The Head Hunter). They sat down with me before taking to the stage for a panel to discuss the scores from some of the biggest horror movies of the past two decades.

Together we pulled back the curtain and revealed how they create some of the world’s most frightening film music. Check it out here.

@TheFirstEcho

Martinis, 'Metroid,' and Matthew Lillard

My series of throwback blogs continues, excavated from my personal archives. These were originally sent as e-mails to friends and family back home, #humblebrag-filled life updates from Los Angeles. And looking back, I think I want to slap my 22-year-old self...

Sent: Saturday, November 23, 2002

Hola amigos,

Long time, no e-mail, yes? Well, my L.A. journey continues...

WHERE I'M AT: Starbucks. (Also temping through the Friedman Agency; did at gig at New Regency on the Fox lot.) The Starbucks crew is really cool and friendly. My managers are taking me out to a comedy show on Sunset tomorrow night.

WHAT'S BEEN UP: I interviewed to be an assistant on a new UPN reality show called Supermodel. Tyra Banks is one of the producers. I was in the running to be a production assistant and then an executive assistant to the producers, but then I never got a call back. Meanwhile My Big Loud Greek Family doesn't start production until next month...that is, if I get chosen to be a PA on the…

That Time I Worked With Shirtless Werewolves (and a Future Bravolebrity)

In the fall of 2010 I had the insane (and exhausting) pleasure of working with my friend, Michael Medico, on a project for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Our sixth collaboration involved producing a flash mob-like experience and an accompanying digital video that promoted the DVD/Blu-ray release of Vampires Suck, the comedy spoofing the Twilight franchise as well as other pop culture trends at the time.

The project involved a day of rehearsal at a studio in the sketchy warehouse district of Los Angeles, followed by a day of shooting these performances at five locations throughout the city. The dance number was a recreation of one of the movie's scenes in which a group of shirtless werewolves (in human form) break out into a choreographed routine set to "It's Raining Men" by The Weather Girls (naturally).

The first performance took place on a Sunday morning at San Marino's Colonial Kitchen, a quaint suburban diner where we gave the post-church crowd a servi…

Song of the Month: August 2019

That bass drop. That chorus! And that simple yet effective choreo...

My song of the month is Sam Smith's "How Do You Sleep?", and its accompanying music video is my current obsession (So far, I've contributed to 15 of its current 52 million views). My only complaint is that the tune ends too abruptly. And according to several reactions on YouTube, I'm not alone in this. IMHO (In My Hiko Opinion), an additional thirty seconds would've produced a more satisfying experience. But still...

Directed by Grant Singer, the video is a surprisingly sexy and stylish collection of subtle visuals in which our crooner has fully embraced his sensual side. He's the most comfortable he's ever been in his own skin, and it shows in these mesmerizing three-and-a-half minutes.


For a behind-the-scenes peek at the making of this video, go here.

@TheFirstEcho