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GMG 41: Tough Crowd: The Students of 826LA Review the Songs of Culture Collide

By Staff on October 11, 2012


GMG 41: Tough Crowd: The Students of 826LA Review the Songs of Culture Collide

This fall, FILTER teamed up with our friends at 826LA to teach a seminar on music reviews for students ages 6 to 18. After learning the in’s and out’s of hard-nosed sound breakdown, these budding critics were played songs by international artists appearing at Culture Collide and put their new skills to use (revamping the ol’ “blank-out-of-5 stars” method to incorporate their own inspired measuring sticks). Not since Lester Bangs has a reviewer been this entertaining, inspired and unflinchingly honest.

For the rest of the reviews, visit and To hear the songs, click here for a sampler!

Boxer The Coeur
“Stormily Reassuring”
The song I hear is from Italy. It is about a festival. It looks like the singers go under the water. There is a group of people singing. It is a type of rock and roll. It is a little bit funny. It makes me happy and silly. The drums went so fast. It has a lot of beats. It reminds me of nothing but after all they are good and sometimes they rap. JASIEL AVILA
3/5 “nothings”

“I Won’t Stay Up”
Coldair is from Poland. It makes me feel like I want to cry too much. It’s pretty good. They use horns and a guitar. When I close my eyes I see me walking with a boy. When I close my eyes it’s cold when I walk in the park. I really like it. I really want to see them. I’ll give it 5 out of 5 tears because he shows his emotions. Yay. HEYDY VASQUEZ
5/5 “tears”

Efrat Ben-Zur
The song would repeat and every time rise an octave and add an instrument. I would listen to it while relaxing and day dream. MARSDEN LYON WAHL

Efrat Ben-Zur are a group from Israel. The words are hard to understand however they complemented the music nicely. The words were repetitive. I enjoyed the music. It wasn’t very fast paced and changed towards the end. There seemed to be guitars, drums, and some piano. Overall the song was very tranquil and was nice and slow. KOJO SADLER
3/5 “glowing winged creatures”

Ewert and the Two Dragons
“Good Man Down”
Ewert and the Two Dragons is an Estonian band. The vibe given off by the song was very calming because of the singer’s voice and the consistency of the bass. The lyrics in the song did not grab my attention, but the bass line did. The male singer’s voice alternated with the instruments in the song. The song is enjoyable to listen to and I recommend it because I felt very relaxed when I listened to the song. GEORGE KHABBAZ
4.1/5 “large fields of wheat”

This song is from Estonia. It reminds me of a man dying. I heard clapping, drums, and I heard a guy singing. I felt happy because I never heard this song. I would listen to this song again. OSBALDO GALINDO
5 out of 5 “my house”

I think the words are sad. I think the music is sad and happy. I think the vibe is sad! It is stuck in my head! FRANCISCO RAMIREZ

Gold Fields
“Treehouse” is an amazing song that talks about getting lost and almost winding in different places. It sounds new and old at the same time which makes it really unique. Some sad tones were thrown in there but somehow made it uplifting. I think when I get home I’m gonna put it on my playlist. JESSYE BAUTISTA
5/5 “adventures”

Half Moon Run
“Full Circle”
“Full Circle” is relaxing and calm. When it starts you could hear a piano and when they start singing you could hear soft drums. He sings quietly and sometimes the words are fast. MARVIN GALINDO
5/5 “sad songs”

Half Moon Run is made from Canada. I have never ever heard of their songs. This was my very first time I heard them sing in my whole life. The song was about your journey in life. And the words are kind of confusing. And the words are kind of like poetry. This song isn’t something I mostly don’t listen to but I think many other people may like it. VALERIA GUERRA
5/5 “beaches”

Huddle is from Canada. The music was cool and I didn’t understand the words. It was a laughing song, interesting, and party song. I like the music and the drums. If I heard this song in my house I would party till it ends. JAIR AVILA
4/5 “parties”

“Islands” is awesome and I loved it. It made me feel to dance. It was weird and strange because I do not know the music. JOSÉ RENDON
5/5 “Hawai’i's”

I think this song is good, but not really original. Instead of hearing as a music video, I hear it as another movie. It doesn’t stand out in the playlist. I would recognize it when I hear, but only when certain parts are playing. I would be interested to hear what other songs this band does. I think they have potential. SAM GLOVER
4/5 “islands”

Marit Larsen
“If a Song Could Get Me You”
The song is good for ballet. It’s from Norway. It’s so good. It makes me feel happy. It has a guitar and piano. Well, I feel like Cher right now. HEYDY VASQUEZ
5/5 “ballet dancers”

The song is by a Norwegian artist whose name is Marit Larsen. I did not enjoy the overly happy vibe given off by the song. The female singer sang about trying to date a man and hopes that the song will convince him. The mandolin gave the song an extra happy vibe along with the acoustic guitar. I would not recommend this song because like most common songs today it talks about love. GEORGE KHABBAZ 2.7/5 “candy”

I did not hear a lot of words in this song. They were happy words. I heard a girl singing with a high voice. I heard a drum and a piano. I did not feel a lot of emotion. The song goes slow. I would tell people about it. OSBALDO GALINDO
4/5 “radios”

Mines of Wine
I could hear piano, drums, and xylophone. The piece is hypnotistic and peaceful. I could listen to it for hours. It builds and builds then hits its peak then goes soft and starts to build again but stops halfway through. MARDSEN LYON WAHL

Mines of Wine are from Italy. The words are in English and aren’t too hard to understand. She seemed to be saying “in and out” which reminded me of burgers. The music was great. The piano was very nice and started off slow and sped up later. The melody changed from really childish and playful which reminds me of ice cream and then it changed to a very dark and adventurous type. KOJO SADLER
4/5 “ice creams”

Morning Parade
I like this song. The singer sings clearly. The beat is upbeat. I do think I have heard this song before, but in other songs. It sounds like a couple of song that I already have heard. There is definitely a couple of different tracks, which can be confusing. I think the song is good, but it could be more low-key. An acoustic version would be good. It makes me think of night. SAM GLOVER
4/5 “headlights”

Morning Parade is an English band. I really liked this song, because it had a bubbly, upbeat vibe. It made me want to play football for some reason. He has a really good voice and I would listen to this song again. The music was fun and boisterous. It had a great rhythm and it complemented the beautiful words really well. The music would build up energy and then slow down, making great harmony and almost answering the words. If you like good music, then you should listen to this. This song makes me think of a fun party. RYDER DAVIS

“The Hunter (Radio Mix)”
Great lyrics, good music. I think the song is about a man who lost his love. I think when he finds his girl he will give whoever is with his girl “the talk.” The song had a good beat and was happy, fun, and active. This song makes me think of breaking up. JOBIM ZEICHNER
3/5 “break-ups”

I give this song a 5 because it is so catchy, exciting, and energetic. I think the words are catchy because the singer was repeating the words over and over. I think the music was exciting because of the guitar solo. It made me feel energetic and playful. This song makes me think of a devastated person because he is looking for an important person. JIMMY HIGGINS
5/5 “devastated people”

I think it’s a great song, but I wonder if they played it at a concert. If they had a concert I would go see it because it’s really good! I think he’s singing about his girlfriend and getting dumped. I heard drums, and it makes me feel active. I felt like I was surfing. This song makes me think of people. BEN SALKO
4/5 “people”

Optic Yellow Felt
“Let You Wonder”
The song is kind of dull and slow classical. I didn’t hear some of the words and the words I did hear weren’t that meaningful and the song was a bit dull. I think the music was too slow for my taste and made me a little bored. It sounded like a few instruments. I wished the song was over in the middle of it. It made me feel very, very sleepy. This song made me think of blankets. GEORGIA TURMAN
2/5 “blankets”

What I noticed about this song is that the words didn’t really go with the music. It’s as if they wrote lyrics, and they also wrote some music, then they just put the music and the lyrics together. You can’t really hear the lyrics; at parts, the lyrics got really soft. The lyrics were always either really loud or really soft. The music was very jazzy at the beginning then it progressed into being kind of country-esque. The instruments used in this song were very diverse. There was a flute in there! The guitar part was very prominent. This song made me think of hammocks. OLIVE SHERMAN
2.75/5 “hammocks”

This song was really long. It went from slow to fast and from quiet to loud. The words were kind of sad. I couldn’t really hear because he was loud then quiet. The music was slow, but then it was fast. I could really hear the guitar. This song made me feel tired. It kind of made me feel lazy. It made me feel like I was on a roller coaster. This song made me think of boats. TESS DAVIS
4/5 “boats”

Sudden Weather Change
“Proper Flavor”
The music sounded very gothic to me. There weren’t many words in the song, but when there were I couldn’t really understand them. The singer’s voice sounded like he was British, even though he is from Iceland. It didn’t remind me of anything I’ve ever heard before. It was very original. It reminded me of Depeche Mode. There were a lot of spaces in the song with just music. It was definitely NOT One Direction. The vibe the song gave off was very sad, dramatic, and depressing. When I was listening to this song I was imagining what the music video was like; I came up with the band singing in a black room with no emotion on their faces. If you like gothic sounding music, this song is for you. MADELINE TELLO
3/5 “welted roses”

“Proper Flavor” is upbeat yet a little bit depressing and mysterious. It is a dramatic mix of a slow, deep piano on top of a fast, upbeat guitar. This song would be perfect for a mystery movie. It was hard to understand the lyrics and they had a slight echo to them. It was as if the man singing was calling out for help. The tune was very repetitive and so was the music. In fact, I think the whole time it was the same music in the background. I really cannot compare this song to anything else I’ve ever heard. CASSIDY LEEDS

I would not recommend Proper Flavor unless you like sad, depressing songs. Mostly there is music and it rarely ever has words. Even when there was words you can’t understand them. It sounds like a small black room. The music beat was fast, but it was very sad and it brings you down. Mainly the music was very repetitive. I recommend it for goth and funerals.  CHLOE SCHRAEDER
3/5 "goths"

“Don’t Worry My Love”
“Don’t Worry My Love” is a classic romantic pop song. It’s very cliché and a story that’s been told many times before. The background music is actually pretty cool and spacy at the beginning and the end. But the singer’s voice is whiny and moaning. The band seems to be trying hard to be a boy band. It was cheesy and uncreative. I was bored. It reminds me of a bad romantic comedy from the ’90s. I would not recommend it but if you like sad, cheeky songs, enjoy. COLLETTE KEATING
1/5 “tears down my cheek”

Terminal is a Danish band. The music is simplistic but complete. It was nice harmony and the instruments were throbbing and cool. However, the vocals suck and the lyrics are bad. It doesn’t go well with the music at all. The song makes me think of an awkward man from Denmark because that’s the singer. RYDER DAVIS

The Balconies
I absolutely loved this song! The lyrics were great, the dark melodic guitar was perfect and the overall feel of the song was really powerful. The vibe was dark and angry, and the music almost hypnotic. PARKER ALLEN
5/5 “tigers”

This song begins with a huge buildup of saying “Ooh you’ve got me like a tiger” and it got me excited to hear the rest. It continued and did not disappoint me at all. It had great harmonies, meaningful lyrics, and wonderful vocals. The words were mysterious and worried, and definitely sending a message. FINN SNYDER
5/5 "tigers"

Unlike some of the songs I listen to, I think this song can stand by itself. I don’t see it in a movie, but in a music video. I think it is catchy and interesting. A song you want to hear more than once. The only think I would change is the “wa-oo’s” at the end. I think there were too many. It almost seems like they substitute actual words for the “wa-oo’s.” Overall, a good song. SAM GLOVER
4/5 “wa-oo’s”

The Kavanaughs
Overall, I think this song was very mediocre. I think that they really played it safe with their words and their music. It is about a guy that went on a date with a girl and wanted to talk about more than he did that night. It is rather dull. OLIVE SHERMAN
2.5/5 “stars”

“Tonight” is by an Argentinian band called The Kavanaughs. It didn’t really make sense. The words were sung by a whiny loser who seemed to want a girl that didn’t like him. The music was repetitive, slow and boring. It centered on slow, depressing guitar riffs and drums that are funky and odd. Overall, it was a funky, depressing song. It makes me think of people crying. RYDER DAVIS
1/5 “people crying”

In the song “Tonight,” I think the music alone is very powerful because all the instruments are played in a very strong way. The song makes me feel very excited and happy because of the background music. I think the words are very classical but upbeat at the same time. Personally, this is a very good song. It makes me think of energy. GEORGIA TURMAN
4/5 “energy”

This song doesn’t really make sense. It makes me want to jump around and it’s fast. It’s also funky. It makes me feel excited. I wouldn’t listen to it again. But it is weird. It makes me think of narrow streets. TESS DAVIS
3/5 “narrow streets”

The Kavanaughs are cool. Their song is “Tonight.” This time I understood the words. It was a dancing, partying, rhythmic song. I like the sound, the drums, guitars, and the way it sounds. It was one of the best songs I have ever heard. JAIR AVILA
5/5 “dances”

“Tonight” is by a band named The Kavanaughs. I give it a 5. It made me move my head. It said “tonight.” It made me be happy. I hear a flute, drum, guitar, and a singer. JOSÉ RENDON
5/5 “rock and rolls”

The Lighthouse and the Whaler
The song I hear is high and when the singer sings it goes low. It is cool. They rap a lot. It tells someone to come back to the house to help the man. They play a slow drum and an electric guitar and a bell and some people in the band clap their hands. It is sad. It reminds me of my dog. JASIEL AVILA
5/5 “my dogs”

“Pioneers” was very joyous and sweet, and was featured in an Adidas commercial. The many instrument melodies were very good. However, the lyrics made zero sense. The words were the only thing that I didn’t like about the song. They didn’t make sense and there was no clear story line. However, the singer is talented. Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable song. RYDER DAVIS

The original song, “Pioneers,” is a mysterious song with really no specific genre of music. The song never says the word “pioneer.” But, it mentions how you have to keep holding on and staying strong. That’s what the pioneers had to do. The mood of the song is calm, peaceful, yet strong and encouraging. The music is a mysterious kind of dinging sound. I think all kinds of music lovers except maybe pop will like this song. CASSIDY LEEDS

In the song “Pioneers” the band didn’t say the title much, instead they said “hold on” a lot. Even though they didn’t say “pioneers” it was a really good song. It was original. The music sounded like an Owl City or Ed Sheeran song. I’m not sure what instruments or sound effects they used, but it sounded cool. The music for me was very calming and mellow. The vibe the song gave off made me happy and calm. It’s good to have songs that make you feel things because then you know they did a good job with the song, because they got feelings out of you. Overall the song was amazing, I need to buy it on iTunes. It makes me think of California. MADELINE TELLO
5/5 “Californias”

The song "Pioneers" is amazing. Yet, it never even mentions pioneers. It makes you feel relaxed and happy. Giving a good vibe. The music is repetitive but not annoying, like a calm river flowing into your ears. The words were about a broken couple and holding on. Personally I think "Holding On" would be a better title. Still, it is a great song and I recommend it.  CHLOE SCHRAEDER
5/5 "headphones"

The Moog
“I Want to Take You to Paris”
When I first heard the beginning of the song, I thought I was in for a treat. The vibe is happy, carefree, and upbeat. Then the singer started singing, and my opinion made a huge U-turn. It was very sudden and unexpected, keeping me from enjoying what there was to be enjoyed of the song. The lyrics had no special message that hasn’t been said before. Maybe if there was another band with a better singer covering it, or a karaoke version, I would like it more, but this is the version I’m reviewing. That’s not to say that no one can look past this, but I can’t. So I’m done until the guy singing into a fan improves his voice. FINN SNYDER
2/5 “Eiffel Towers”

When the song started playing I knew I would enjoy it and I did to a certain extent. The music was simple, melodic and carefree but the vocals almost ruined the song for me. If it weren’t for the overall happy feel of the song I would have hated it. PARKER ALLEN

This song is very upbeat and happy. The songwriter appears to have nothing sad to say. The only annoying part of the song is the singer’s voice. It isn’t the worst song in the world, the voice is annoying. It is understandable, but not clear. I don’t hate this song but if a different artist sang it, it would be better. I can see this song as a short cut scene, but sang by a different person. SAM GLOVER
4/5 “La’s”

The Standards
“The Fall”
The singer’s voice is nice but also kind of hazy and hard to understand. There is cool electric guitar and a nice beat, but the music is very electric and depressing and dark. It feels like a dark with flashing lights after an awful fight or a really bad day. I wouldn’t recommend this to a friend but overall it’s not a bad song. It makes me think of gothic unicorns. COLLETTE KEATING
2.5/5 “gothic unicorns”

In this song I was confused. It had weird sounds and the last part was creepy. It was different than other music I have heard. The instruments were cat sounds, guitars and crazy drums. It made me sleepy. JAIR AVILA
3/ 5 “head explodings”

“The Fall” is awesome and cool. It is strange. It made me dance. It sounds like a rock and roll band. I hear a flute and drum. JOSÉ RENDON
5/5 “dancing”

The Trouble With Templeton
“I Wrote A Novel”
Overall I hate this song because it is too repetitive. It has no beat, no tune and no rhythm. It should have 3 beats repeated as it goes on, each one getting louder than the last, and by the third it would start over. The vibe was bad because it had no story. It is ironic because the song is about writing a novel and novels have story. JOBIM ZEICHNER
1/5 “books”

I didn’t like the words because it repeats over and over. It sounds like he’s doing opera in a cave. I would like it more if it had no words. I like the drums and they have a slow beat. It felt like I was in a long car ride staring out the window at nothing! BEN SALKO
2/5 “books”

I think he was trying to rhyme but he did not do so well. It reminded me of Mexican music. It was OK. It makes me feel like he is writing a novel about music. I give it a 2.5 because the lyrics were bad and pitchy. He was also off-tone and I give him credit for trying. JIMMY HIGGINS