screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Tag: Adrian Rodriguez

In “Defenseless,” Blackpaw Ponders The Importance of Connecting in a Disconnected World

Blackpaw

At some point in the future (perhaps in the very near future), we’ll remove all the risk and all the unknowns of meeting new people by choosing to socialize only in a virtual world. One might argue that with Facebook and Twitter and an infinite number of other social network platforms, we’re there already. But as far as I know, we can’t yet have a complete virtual experience that in any way rivals the full sensory adventure of really being there and interacting with others.

In their debut video for their song “Defenseless,” Blackpaw, the alter-ego and artistic project of Los Angeles songwriter and musician Adrian Rodriguez, considers this possibility. In doing so, he offers some poignant social observations about L.A.’s dating scene and our need to connect with someone on a deeper level. The song, as its title suggests, is about opening yourself up for whatever comes and taking a chance. What possibilities lie beyond your fear?

BLACKPAW – DEFENSELESS from BLACKPAW on Vimeo.

After watching this hypnotic and slightly sad video, with its surprise, goosebump-inducing ending, I found myself Googling “Connect” to reassure myself that this wasn’t actually a thing. Google Connect, anyone? But no, if you look carefully at the packaging in the video, you’ll see that the manufacturer is Blackpaw. Whew!

The film is cleverly crafted by Blackpaw and Mitchell deQuilettes. It’s an engaging story with subtitles, giving it a French New Wave film vibe, while the song is like a narrator’s commentary. It features the spellbinding couple Mani Yarosh and Quincy Banks as two people who are searching for connection and intimacy in the wilds of Los Angeles nightlife, from the safety and comfort of their own apartments. Is it worth taking a risk for a chance at love? We’re left with that lingering question.

The video was originally premiered by Live FAST Magazine. “Defenseless” is available on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.

This summer, there will be two more singles ahead of Blackpaw’s much anticipated debut EP. They have a few shows scheduled — June 15 at Moroccan Lounge in Los Angeles with Harley Cortez (for his release party), June 16 at the Supergloom Fest in Long Beach and June 29 at Zebulon in L.A. with The Big Pink and Marc Baker.

In an interview with Noisey, Rodriguez explained the inspiration behind the song:

‘Defenseless’ is the inner monologue to the idea of letting yourself feel something no matter what the outcome, good or bad. It’s about having your preconceived notions and having your guard up. Once you let it all go and get lost in it, you’re truly able to experience the moments that become memories. I think it’s important to cherish as well as let go. No matter how good it feels, or how much it hurts. These energies build us.

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The Airborne Toxic Event’s February Mini Tour

The last time I saw Airborne, they were tearing it up during an incendiary 45-minute set at Boston Calling.

The last time I saw Airborne, they were tearing it up during an incendiary 45-minute set at Boston Calling.

Consider this a continuation of my flakey attempt to see what my L.A. bands have been up to lately. I started this exercise in earnest at the end of last year with Black Hi-lighter, went boldly into the new year with Summer Darling and Sea Wolf, and then promptly fell off the face of the earth. Chalk it up to 2014’s strange beginnings, a curious job situation and the on again, off again polar vortex. Call it what you will.

I’m back now to have a look at what The Airborne Toxic Event have been up to recently. By recently, I mean since last October, when they finished off with 13 European shows, marking the end of the “on again, off again” tour to support the brilliant Such Hot Blood. So what have they been up to? Uh, not a whole lot. Or I should say, not a whole lot that they’ve been talking about. One can extrapolate, however, from various sources. Their single “Hell and Back”, from the Dallas Buyer’s Club soundtrack album, has been doing really well, in the top 20 of Billboard’s “Alternative National Airplay” chart for 13 weeks now. Mikel Jollett has been all but invisible, save for a cryptic tweet every two or three weeks. There’s been a virtual “radio silence” from the rest of the band, except for Anna Bulbrook doing a few side projects, setting up her own studio, picking up some new musical skills and tweeting about her canine roommate, io. All signs point to a pre-recording scenario (writing, collaborating, arranging), and sure enough, a recent tweet from Anna announced a vague “listening session with Mikel Jollett,” so I guess that’s probably right.

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