More Paths

When Meghan Trainor released her new album Thank You a couple months ago, I remember watching a clip of Trainor talking about her songs.  In particular, she mentioned how she heard “Woman Up” and wanted to use part of the song.  After doing some extensive research (not really, a simple google search), I found the original “Woman Up” by Ashley Roberts

If you listen to both songs, there are obvious similarities – the bass line and structure is almost identical, and she keeps the “woman up, woman up” part of the chorus – which is expected as she did sample the song (i.e. she used parts of Roberts song and gave her credit).  However, when I was reading the comments on YouTube on Roberts’ version, a lot of people were bitching about the fact that Trainor sampled the song.  Like it was some toxic evil.  Personally, I like when artists experiment and sample.  I mean, if it weren’t for sampling, we wouldn’t really have most dance music, and remix culture would be dead.  I like looking at (or listening to) an original work and then seeing how someone took that and made it there own.

This is not to say originality is dead or bad – some people easily write off contemporary music as being just that – but sampling gives us new versions of our past favorites and more paths to explore.  Don’t get me wrong, I love original songs and I’m all for that form of creativity, but I don’t think sampling should be knocked down just because people can take an original work and expand on it.

Jim Dale

I love Harry Potter.  Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been hooked by the books and secretly hoped my letter to Hogwarts would arrive.  But what’s even more magical are the audiobooks.  Jim Dale, the narrator, brings each character to life and it’s simply spectacular.  I mean, he does so many accents and voices that you’d never believe it was one person.  Indeed, I thought the way they recorded the audiobooks was that he would record each character separately.  So he would spend one day only reading Harry’s lines and then he’d spend another just reading Ron’s lines and they’d splice them together.  But then I found the clip below of a reading Jim Dale did and my gosh he can switch through all of them seamlessly.

If you haven’t heard the audiobooks, they are worth the trip to your local library to check them out.

10 Days

I didn’t realize it’s been almost ten days since I last posted, but things have been incredibly busy for me.  sistersWe  actually lost power a couple days ago and it took them six hours to come out to our neighborhood to realize a transformer blew up.  So they had to send more crews out.  I’m not kidding, the street was lined with utility trucks.  Finally, at 10pm they seemed to be done, and then we heard roughly four mini explosions and it turned out they blew out all of the transistors/transformers/whatever they’re called on our street.  So they continued to work through the night…at one point they left (we think to get supplies or something) but they left their trucks on, rumbling at 2 a.m.  I have no idea when they finished, but it wasn’t a particularly fun evening, especially since the only two candles we had in the house were “Hot Apple Pie” and “Scents of Beach,” which are two smells that should not mix.  It’s like a warm cinnamon stick dipped in sun screen

Anyway, I’ve been listening to some cools stuff…hopefully I’ll find the time to write about it.

Oh, also, does anyone know how to get groundhogs to stay out of your garden/yard without actually killing or trapping them?  They keep eating our vegetables and I’m tired of chasing them and I don’t have the stomach to kill them.  If you have any suggestions, please tweet me (@phillipjspencer).  Thanks!

Sugar-Free, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free Ice Cream

Summer seems to finally be here and if you’re like me, you need to keep ice cream in the house.  But if you are like me, you’re also trying to eat better and cleaner – that is to say staying away from processed sugar, dairy, gluten, etc.  For the most part, it amounts to eating a lot of vegetables, which gets old…real quick.  And you start to realize that foods like ice cream – a staple for the humid months of summer – cannot be eaten.

Sad face.

So I’ve searched high and low for a recipe for ice cream that would fit my diet and I started to think that ice cream couldn’t exist without sugar and dairy – I tried avocado alternatives, and found something using cashews (which just kind of creeped me out… I mean, I like cashews, but I just don’t think they should be turned into ice cream) and something that uses hemp (???).

I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw this link for ice cream that uses two ingredients: bananas and almond milk.  I watched the video and it seemed pretty straight forward, and it looked like ice cream.  So I ran out to the store and got bananas and almond milk.  The thing is, banana ice cream is just as appealing as avocado ice cream (which basically tasted like cold grass)…I mean, I like bananas and all, but whenever they’re added with something, I find them to be perfumy and overpowering. So I added a splash or two of vanilla to dilute the bananas and I added in all natural peanut butter (I use Teddie’s) to make peanut butter ice cream (my favorite kind).

At first it did not turn into ice cream like the videos.  They make it look like you blend it together and BAM you got ice cream.  I blended it together and BAM, I got a friggin banana-peanut butter smoothie that just tasted like banana (perhaps too much almond milk splashed in).  It did have some thickness to it, but it was like the ice cream had already melted.  I put it in the freezer for a couple of hours and now it actually has the consistency of ice cream, and sort of tastes like peanut butter-banana ice cream.  So I feel like I’m cheating on my diet with a fattening dessert (which, I suppose I am), but it’s really not that bad.


I went to a music festival about a year ago where a bunch of acts were performing and I got to see Sky Ferreira live.  I sort of knew about her and was familiar with a couple of her songs, but her performance propelled me to grab her debut album Night Time, My Time, and I have to say it’s a pretty great album – I like the attitude that she gives. I’ve been hearing that she’s releasing a new album this year entitled Masochist, but I can’t seem to find when it’s being released.  Her last album was delayed so many times before it was released, so I’m wondering if the same thing will happen with this album.

Still on the look out for new music, I remembered that she released a couple singles/EPs before her debut album, so I decided I could explore those before getting my hopes high for Masochist.  So I did a search at my local library of Sky Ferreira.  Naturally I found the music I already had, but I found two compilation CDs that featured her song “Obsession.”  One featured the original version (video below), the other a dance remix (the “Static Revenger Radio Remix”).  So I picked up both compilations CDs.

Normally I would listen to the original version first and then listen to the remix, but for some reason I decided to start with the remix.  I’ve searched around but I can find any legal way of provide a clip of said remix (you’ll have to do some googling/search your local library) but I thought the remix was pretty great, it had a good beat and pace to it.  Usually I find remixes to ruin songs, so it was interesting to go backwards and listen to the original version.  I like both version – I think the remix has a better beat and drive to it (it has a slightly faster tempo).  Either way, it’s a straight up good pop song to bike/dance to…the only thing it’s kind of hard to find…although, it is on iTunes in a compilation album (which, weirdly, was not the compilation cd I found at the library).

Anyway, if you’re not familiar with Sky Ferreira, I’d definitely check out.   “Everything is Embarrassing” (which isn’t on her debut album, it’s a B-side) is one of the most sincere heartbreaking songs, and it has a great ’80s beat.  Also, I like her songs “Boys” and “Heavy Metal Heart.”


We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together (1989 Tour Remix)

If you were lucky enough to attend Taylor Swift’s 1989 World Tour last year, you undoubtedly witnessed the rock-inspired remix of her hit “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.”  The second I heard it, I was hoping she’d release either a studio version or live version of it..theoretically she did because she released video footage of it on Apple Music.

Anyway, I was searching around for a studio version of it, and I found this remix a fan made, and it’s pretty close to what she actually did live (although I’m pretty sure the grunts we hear throughout the remix are actually Cher Lloyd from her song “Want U Back.”)

This DJ/remixer/fan has several other Taylor Swift remixes, which are pretty stunning, but I have to say his acoustic remixes of “Clean” and “Wildest Dreams” are pretty spectacular (see below).

To give you an idea of what Swift did during her 1989 World Tour, here’s a clip:

Lost Boys Like Me Are Free

I was out driving, flipping through the radio stations, when I stumbled across “Lost Boy” by Ruth B.  I heard about the song – it was inspired by Peter Pan, causing it to go viral and thus land Ruth B. a record deal – but I never actually heard it in it’s entirety.  And my gosh, the girl can sing.  Her vocals soar soothingly over the piano, perfectly hitting the unexpected high notes.

The song has struck  chord with me particularly because I think she’s speaking about the importance of imagination.  The character in her song appears to be lonely and quite lost in life, so he escapes into Neverland with Peter Pan.  He turns to the power of imagination to live and to be free.  Just an important reminder to all us that deep inside all of us is our childhood self and the power of imagination.