Hi everyone,

Ninja Pants is going to go into Inactive Mode for an indefinite period of time. All of us are trying to find time and space for us to work on this bad boy while fitting it into the rest of our lives, and we don’t want to feel bad about leaving you all hanging while we figure it out. Don’t worry – you’ll know when we’re back. Because we. will. be. back.

On an unrelated note, go check out On Appetites, a spiffy blog dedicated to one (wonderful) woman’s thoughts on food. Yum!

pat m.

Spare me the “omg this is so old” stuff. I liked it.
YouTube – breakdancing to the Canon

pat m.

Yes. YES.

Watch.

pat m.

There’s a free download of a Blue Scholars track that didn’t make it on to Bayani available at Mass Line Media. It’s called “Dawn”, and it’s a nice and mellow 3-minute instrumental track that went out on a promo EP or something. Anyway, check it out here.

pat m.

The good folk over at AARising have two new interviews for us, one with the four young men from Seriously and one with the four sisters from JAZMIN. Check them out at the links below.

AARising – JAZMIN Profile

AARising – Seriously Profile

pat m.

Matty Wise takes us to the limit with a new review of Valerie Chang’s extended play.

Valerie Chang, extended play EP, Indie Rock

Valerie Chang’s EP is a four piece effort that sounds as if it’s trying to find a niche. I like that none of the songs sound particularly similar to each other so you get a good sense of what she and the band are capable of. That being said, the band is clearly better at certain sounds than others.

Chang’s EP starts off pretty sweet, opening with “I’ve Got”. The song is nicely layered with some good hooks from the electric guitar. The band sounds much more like a cohesive band than Valerie’s band. Her voice is somewhat pushed into the background by the growls of the guitar, and comes off as a catchy accompaniment rather than the centerpiece. I could see myself giving this song another listen occasionally. It’s when her voice becomes the focal point that I’ve got a problem. Even in “I’ve Got” there were definitely occasions when she was just flat, but it was forgivable because the electric guitar helped distract me. But when I listened to the next song, “The Goodbye Kiss”, I was simply annoyed when I heard a wrong note or her voice flatten.

Now if my calculations are right, she is only nineteen so I can attribute some of it to her voice simply not being fully developed yet. But being a choir boy (yes, I was in church choir, and no, I can’t sing. Ask Pat for my rendition of “Lady Marmalade”) (vooley voo mocha-choco-latta-MARMALADE. -ed.) I know that all she needs are a few voice lessons that will help her sing from her chest rather than her head. What I mean by that is when she goes into her higher register it sounds like the voice is straining, and often flattens or gets scratchy when maintaining a high note for more than a second. But Valerie can sing. When she’s using her lower register, like in Cold Jeans, she sounds sexy as hell, crooning a strong and more mature sound. She just needs to get a little tune up.
As for the content of what she sings, the lyrics are relatable, but I can’t say there was anything awe-inspiring, life-altering, or even particularly interesting about them. If she were to make a full length, I could not imagine it going very far if she simply writes about love as she has here. Oftentimes, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this given my track record, she’s not personal or introspective enough, and I’m devoid of any empathy when I hear something that’s supposed to be full of emotion like “so one last thing don’t you ever forget, goodbye, goodbye”.
I found “Note From Jailbird” to be an interesting attempt at her being bad ass, and I really like the kinda pop punk sound. The guitars deliver a nice grinding noise, but the lyrics and her voice don’t quite back up the edginess of the guitars the way I hoped it would. And that was how I felt about the EP in general. Everything didn’t feel quite together. I’m curious if this band will grow, or if this is the last we’ll hear of Valerie Chang as even she describes herself as “[having] trouble staying focused on one thing too long.” That certainly fits the EP and its many directions.

matty wise

Vince spits hot fiya RE: the As-Seen-On-TV APA indie rock band Seriously’s self-titled debut EP release. Check it out:

Seriously, Seriously, Indie Rock, Chaos Theory Music

The self-titled EP by the band Seriously is a Sunday afternoon, light breeze collection of cookie cutter, bubblegum pop rock. One wouldn’t be surprised to catch a tune of their’s like “Fireflies” or “Dare I Say” during a touching moment on a teen drama of the 7th Heaven, Dawson’s Creek variety. The album has a very high school groove to it. The band pushes the nostalgia bug on you after a few guitar strokes and the entrance of the sandy vocals, but fades just about as quickly because all the songs drag on a bit too long and sound like some song you heard before already.

Lead vocalist Christopher Pham sings between a reassuring familiarity that nicely echoes the group’s subject matter and the ordinary generic flavor of a coffee shop’s house band that you and your friends thought were okay. The lyrics, guitar riffs, and snare beats are nothing you haven’t heard from plenty of other acts out there. Seriously isn’t bad by any means, there are very “meeh” in every sense of the word. It seems Seriously finds a place more among a mainstream, safer style along the lines of a John Mayer, which plenty of people eat up gladly. But for a soul that’s looking for a fresh sound or double-taking your ears on a great line of songwriting? Look elsewhere, friend.

vincent chen

Today we’re introducing the latest addition to the Ninja Pants staff – welcome Theodore Ko, AKA TKO, who will be covering Filipino smooth-stylin’ R&B/Pop sensation Manny Garcia’s Story of My Life.

Manny Garcia, Story of My Life, R&B/Pop 

I should preface this review by saying that I don’t really think too highly of R&B as a musical genre. It’s nice as a change of pace, maybe an R. Kelly song here and there on the ol’ iPod, but I can’t really handle a full album of the stuff. Which makes me the perfect review option for Manny Garcia’s Story of My Life – riiiiiight. It’s not that I dislike R&B, per se. I just don’t feel compelled to listen to a musical genre characterized by the phrase “mood music” in situations where I don’t feel inclined to set that kind of “mood”. I used to bum rides home from a nice young Chinese boy in high school who would leave Usher’s “U Got It Bad” on loop and sing along while angsting about a nice young Chinese girl; that is, to me, R&B at its best.

But enough of me – on to Manny G.

Story of My Life opens with “Here”, an upbeat, funky little number that tries to set the album off with a little sass. It kind of reminded me of the soundtrack to Ridge Racer IV (dork much?). It’s an optimistic way to start, I suppose, and the juxtaposition between this and “This Ain’t A Love Song” (clever guy, Manny. I see what you’re doing there. And this ain’t an album review!) kind of sets the bipolar tone for the first 2/3rds of the album. Where “Here” is perky, “This Ain’t A Love Song” is a solemn, melancholy track that consists of Mr. Garcia awkwardly using the power of his voice to obscure poorly-written full sentences – a reoccurring trend in this album.For example:

English:     

I don’t know what love is. It might be something that makes you feel so alive.

 

Manny Garcia:  

I don’t know what love IIIIIIIS, it might be something that makes ya feeeeheeeeeEEEEEEEEEEL so a ALIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!!!!

  This proceeds well into the album, courtesy of “Next to You” and “Gone”, with “Take It Slow” and its acoustic as a welcome interlude, and “Who Do You Think You Are” as a return to Manny’s more upbeat side. “As Long As I’m With You” is kind of sweet, I guess, but before you know it we’re into the last three songs – “Stand Up and Shine”,  “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”, and “Story Of My Life” – all of which, together, kind of blend into each other like a really long version of “I Believe I Can Fly”. Beware those last few songs – the sappiness is strong in this one.  This kind of review is the trickiest to write because it’s not (it’s not!) a complete pan.

The problem is not Manny’s talent as a musician, because he sounds fairly average for R&B. It’s the variety that suffers – Story Of My Life would have done better as a 4-track EP release, so we wouldn’t have time to get tired of his croon and his piano. Don’t worry, Manny, I’m not turning that dial, you’ll be here for a while – and hopefully you’ll pick up a little more artistic definition.

TKO 

Kero One posted a neat t-shirt on his MySpace that ties into his upcoming Plug Label mix-tape and is available for $16. From the bulletin:

Who can deny the power and soul of the fender Rhodes keyboard? Used on countless recordings from soul greats like stevie wonder, jazz players like bob james, to hiphop producers like j-dilla and pete rock. This t-shirt/hoodie payes homage while representing the underground hiphop/electronic imprint “plug label”.This shot was taken from the inside of Kero’s windmills of the soul cd sleeve.

A picture of the actual Rhodes that helped pave the plug label sound into underground fame! S,M,L,XL available in Black, eggplant, brown, navy blue colored shirts.

Go check it out here.

The good people at AArisings posted a new video to the “Screening Room” – it’s of APA indie rock band Seriously’s song, “Irony”. Check it out at the link below.  

 AArisings: Da Asian Pacific American Entertainment Resource: The Screening Room

pat m.

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