Valentines Day Song: The Brothers Johnson - "Strawberry Letter 23"


The Brothers Johnson's "Strawberry Letter 23" is our Valentines Day 2018 song pick.

Check out our RECAP.

"Strawberry Letter 23" is a psychedelic transcendence into bliss. The lyrics paint a vivid, colorful imagery about the innocence of love. The heavenly harmonies swirl magically with the funky bass beats and hypnotic chimes. However, the real show stopper is Lee Ritenour's extensive trippy progressive rock layered guitar solo towards the end.


Sound Majesty Presents: Mexico Benefit Concert at West Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go

Written by Jessica Klausing


2017 has been a year plagued with many natural disasters around the world. Last month Mexico’s 7.1 magnitude earthquake took hundreds of lives, leaving the country with over $1 billion dollars worth of damages.  Aid and relief funds are still desperately needed.  On Sunday, October 1, Sound Majesty hosted a Mexico benefit concert at West Hollywood’s famed Whisky A Go Go. 

Beck Black served as the emcee, introducing all eight musical acts including a Mariachi band! During the concert, attendees were encouraged to participate in the silent auction upstairs. The auction items included an autographed guitar, signed by all of the benefit artists, Vampire Vineyards wine, and exclusive sunglasses. All ticket and auction proceeds went to the Mexico emergency relief funds.

Matthew Phillips

Matthew Phillips photo by Jessica Klausing

Matthew Phillips photo by Jessica Klausing

San Diego based singer-songwriter Matthew Phillips took the stage at 6:00PM. With an acoustic guitar in hand, Phillips launched into “Together Forever,” a saccharine love ballad. Right off, I was impressed with Phillips ability to connect well with his audience.

Throughout his set, he made sure to make eye contact and reach out to every person in the room. His songs empathize with those who have been “friend zoned” and looking for hope.  His charisma and bell pure vocals stood out on “Goodbye” and “Always Be There.”  “No More Pain” was a beautiful tune dedicated to Mexico. The biggest highlight was his Goo Goo Dolls cover of “Iris,” which prompted an audience sing-a-long.

Jade PraiZe

Jade PraiZe photo by Jessica Klausing

Jade PraiZe photo by Jessica Klausing

Jade PraiZe upped the swag dosage for the night. The UK singer-songwriter strutted on stage with a large red hair bow and cool shades. Her sweet yet snarky demeanor gives a playful edge to her soulful lyrics. Vocally, she reminded me a bit of Amy Winehouse and Fiona Apple. 

PraiZe cries out “Don’t be fooled by the Milky Way/I got through in but I couldn’t stay,” in “Milk Way.” My favorite was “Hands Out” with the ever inspiring, “Put your hands out/Dance like there’s no tomorrow.” I do hope Ms. PraiZe sticks around. I’m curious to hear more from her!

Love Like Suicide

Molly Kills photo by Jessica Klausing

Molly Kills photo by Jessica Klausing

Love Like Suicide stole the show. Period. Singer Molly Kills portrays a gothic femme fatale as she seductively slinks around the stage with long black hair covering her face, crooning out dark secrets. Expect the dark, the sexy, the mystery, and the nostalgia. Their music is a throwback nod to the 90’s grunge and punk genres. If you love Garbage and The Cranberries, then you’ll love this band.

Their newest single, “Side Effects” off the EP, Verdugo exhibits impressive alternative guitar hooks and hypnotic synths. Guitarist Mor Kosmik and Bassist Troy Richardson riffed through other punkwave hits such as “Born Again” and “On A High.” The benefit show was particularly important to Kosmik, who is originally from Mexico City. She proudly showed off ‘Made in Mexico’ written on her left leg for the night.

The Knitts

The Knitts photo by Jessica Klausing

The Knitts photo by Jessica Klausing

The Knitts took us back to the post-punk and Brit-Pop scene. Their songs were reminiscent of early Rolling Stones and The Beatles. The songs boasted plenty of upbeat, catchy classic rock melodies. Lead vocalist/guitarist Charlie Volkens impressed with his boyish charms and husky low growls. The Knitts were determined to get everyone up during their set and they succeeded!

“Vamonos Mexico” turned the venue into one big dance party. “This is the only song we have about Mexico,” joked Charlie Volkens. The energy continued with the more country twangin’ “Hold Steady Pretty Lady.” “Get Up Get Out” had everyone chanting out the song’s title. This song could easily be the modern-day Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” party anthem.

Peter DiStefano

Peter DiStefano photo by Jessica Klausing

Peter DiStefano photo by Jessica Klausing

Peter DiStefano slowed it down with more beautiful acoustic guitar. Beck Black introduced his set as “pop rock unplugged.” DiStefano is a prolific musician in the business. He’s composed countless music for television, film, and video games. He is best known for his early alternative rock band, Porno for Pyros (The Jane’s Addiction offshoot).

DiStefano shared his softer rock tunes with us. His solo work is more delicate than his other musical projects. It’s a definite contrast to his electronica pumped side band, Venice Underground. He did surprise us with a few Porno for Pyros covers. His acoustic version of “Tahitian Moon” was performed with such graceful precision, that I actually prefer his version to the original.

Falling Doves

Falling Doves photo by Jessica Klausing

Falling Doves photo by Jessica Klausing

Hollywood’s own Falling Doves were up next. Their music is described as “whiskey laced vocals infused with bits of glam and blues.” Lead singer Christopher Leyva donned a leather jacket with slicked-up black spiky hair. He looked like the frontman of a hell raiser 80’s punk band. Don’t be fooled by the apparel. The music is fueled with heavy guitar riffs but it’s a definite nod to classic rock with confessional storytelling.

The Falling Doves rolled into the power rock anthem “Ready to Go!” The sultry guitar licks pop infused “Paris” followed. The set ended with a couple of epic covers. Oasis’ “Champagne Supernova” was the real crowd pleaser! Beck Black joined the band for Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

Beck Black

Beck Black photo by Jessica Klausing

Beck Black photo by Jessica Klausing

The lovely and fierce Beck Black performed a special set. Ms. Black’s music is bluesy punk with a whole lotta soul! Minus drummer Adam Alt, Beck proves that she could still hold her own. Her commanding stage presence will pull you in if her seductive vocals haven’t already.

“Life's a Circus” brought out plenty of carefree attitude. Beck would playfully leap from guitar monitor to guitar monitor effortlessly. She would even drop and roll on the floor without missing a beat! Beck commands attention in “Vampires Come out at Night” with the sultry lyric, “Vampires come in the dark/when you light up a spark/they bite, they suck, your energetic blood.”

Corey Feldman and The Angels

Corey Feldman and The Angels photo by Jessica Klausing

Corey Feldman and The Angels photo by Jessica Klausing

Midnight struck when Corey Feldman and The Angels finally took stage. Due to a technical issue, Corey’s set had to be cut short for curfew. Corey didn’t seem too fazed. He spent several minutes chatting amicably with his fans from onstage. The set officially started about ten minutes later. Corey channeled his inner Michael Jackson with a bold red, black, and silver colored jacket and dark shades. His angels wore white lingerie with brightly lit up wings and neon glowing shoes. The performance itself was simply mesmerizing to watch. Maybe it was all those Christmas tree-esque lights?

The band opened with the iconic “Take a Stand,” in which Corey advises us, “We need peace (right now)/We need love (somehow)/The world is not full of clouds/Let the sun shine down.” The next song, “Walk” featured Corey on guitar. “It’s So Simple” was another inspiring pop song about making the world a better place. For the closer, Beck Black and the Mariachi band joined Corey for a Beatles cover of “Come Together,” dedicated to Mexico.  If you have never seen a former child star, scantily clad women, and a Mariachi band perform a Beatles song, then you have not experienced Los Angeles!

Corey Feldman and The Angels perform "Come Together" photo by Jessica Klausing

Corey Feldman and The Angels perform "Come Together" photo by Jessica Klausing

I gotta admire Corey for his optimism.  I’ll admit that his band concept may be a bit too whimsical. If tongue-in-cheek performances offend you then stay away from a Corey Feldman and The Angels show! However, beyond the “over-the-top” theatrics, his music does spread a positive message. Our world seems more obsessed with hatred than ever. With all the negativity going around, it’s a bit refreshing to hear songs about love and helping one another. Honestly, I think this world could benefit from more Corey Feldman and The Angels.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: No Issues With The Re-issues

Written by Brody Duggson

On May 26, 2017, the lyric “Twenty years ago today” turned fifty years old. 

The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band on May 26, 1967.  It was a Friday.  The album came out in the United States a week later. 

Why is this album so important?  Why should you care what four musicians did before you were born?  Before your parents were born?

What’s so important about music released prior to the advent of the internet and the rise of personal computers?  Why bother with an album that was recorded on magnetic tape and originally mixed in mono?

You should care because Sgt. Pepper is the greatest album of all-time.  Even if you don’t think it’s the greatest album of all-time, it’s been regarded as the greatest album of all-time for half-a-century.

It was the ipso facto start of the Summer of Love, a milestone for Baby Boomers, and the culture apex of the 1960s.

It was the first rock album to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year.  It has sold more than 32 million copies.

In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine put it first on their list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All-time.”

If your favorite artist has ever recorded a concept album, or used the studio as an instrument, they owe a debt to Sgt. Pepper.  The album didn’t necessarily invent those techniques, but it certainly popularized them.

Therefore Sgt. Pepper has influenced, either directly or indirectly, current artists as diverse as U2, Green Day, and even Lady Gaga.

In fact, music historians often credit Sgt. Pepper with starting the “album era.”  If we accept this accomplishment, then the sphere of the opus’ influence increases even more.

Sgt. Pepper legitimize rock as an art form.  It laid the foundation for progressive rock and was the zenith of British psychedelia. 

Songs from Sgt. Pepper have been successfully covered by numerous big-name artists including Elton John, The Flaming Lips, Cheap Trick, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth, Thievery Corporation, Gomez, and Billy Brag.

It has survived half-a-century.  Not many things survive five decades.

Think about this: recordings celebrating their 50th anniversaries in 1967 were Billy Murray’s "Over There" and "Livery Stable Blues”—the first commercial jazz recording. 

There were no 50-year-old albums in 1967.  The album format was invented in 1952.

It’s highly likely that Sgt. Pepper will be celebrated in 2067.  Do you think the same can be said for Ed Sheeran’s Divide, Katy Perry’s Witness, or The Chainsmokers' Memories... Do Not Open?  No offense to those artists, but probably not.

Beyond all those accolades, it’s just a damn good record.  From the title track to its closer, “A Day in The Life,” the album has no weaknesses.  Every song is a classic.

To commemorate its 50th anniversary, Sgt. Pepper has been reissued via four versions: a single CD, a double CD set, a double vinyl collection, and a super deluxe edition that contains six discs.

Giles Martin, son of the Beatles producer, George Martin, went back to the original masters and made a stereo remix out of Sgt. Pepper’s original mono mix. 

The Beatles participated in the original mono mix.  They did not participate in the stereo mix.  So, this 50th anniversary edition allows fans to listen to Sgt. Pepper’s the way the band intended it to be heard (but in stereo).

If your budget allows, pick up the super deluxe edition.  It contains three discs of outtakes, instrumental versions, and mono mixes. 

These extra tracks reveal the genius of the Fab Four and provide listeners a glimpse into how the greatest album in the history of rock and roll was created. 

Longtime fans, many of whom bought the album when it first came out, have been blown away by the extras.  Fans are hearing sounds, riffs, and phrases they’ve never heard before.

The reason behind these sonic discoveries lies in how the Beatles recorded their music.  They played like an orchestra, with each instrument performing a different part.  When heard without the vocals, the songs of Sgt. Pepper sound very different.

For example, the chorus of their psychedelic masterpiece, “Lucy in The Sky with Diamonds,” sounds like garage rock sans John Lennon’s singing. 

That transformation, and others like it, allow longtime fans to experience the Beatles’ masterpiece in an entirely new way.  For new fans, the extras are a master class on how to make a rock album that’s impervious to the ravages of time.

If you’re a music fan, Sgt. Pepper’s should be in your collection.  The 50th anniversary re-issue is the perfect place to start.  It doesn’t detract from the original, it adds to it.


AIR + STYLE 2015

Written By Jessica Klausing

For the first time, AIR + STYLE brought big air, snow, and music to Pasadena's Rose Bowl. Hosted by Shaun White, This two day festival featured world elite snowboarders and skiers qualified from the Innsbruck and Beijing events. This was also the first time skiing was added the lineup where 16 professional skiers competed on the Big Air Jump.

Despite the cold weather and rain showers, the competitions were completed with more than 40,000 spectators in attendance!

For the results and additional information check out the AIR + STYLE  main page.

In addition to the competition, AIR + STYLE brought 18 incredible bands performing over two stages. The Saturday lineup consisted of: Bad Things, Phantogram, Diplo, Kendrick Lamar, Teenage Wrist, In the Valley Below, Metz, The Black Lips, and Portugal The Man.

Below are my favorite songs from each of these bands. Enjoy!

Bad Things

These guys were the first act of the day. This is an American Synthrock band that features professional snowboarder and skateboarder Shaun White on lead guitar. I didn't think at first I was gonna dig it. Despite White's athletic celebrity status, this band has some songs worth checking out. "Caught Inside" stands out among their predominant garage band sound. This song is smooth with a nice steady drum beat. The group also includes lead vocalist Davis LeDuke, bassist and former Augustana member Jared Palomar, guitarist Anthony Sanudo and the lovely Lena Zawaideh on drums and vocals.


This band was my favorite of the day! Their music is catchy, chill and motivating. What's not to love? Sarah Barthel can belt out the pop vocals like nobody's business! It's hard to find a bad song out of their catalog, but "Fall in Love" is their ultimate best in my opinion. Barthel's voice just pulls you into a deep hypnotic spell with no chance of ever coming back. Seriously, I can't stop playing this song on repeat.


Electronic music lovers unite! This American DJ is usually seen with his associated act, Skrillex, or as the duo are better known as Jack U. This electronic dance music (EDM) sound can be described as Dubstep. Honestly, I am not much of a fan to Dubstep. I personally prefer the more traditional House or relaxing Trance. "Revolution" is one of the exceptions to the rule for me. It's upbeat and fun, which is the whole point to EDM, right?

Teenage Wrist

When it comes to music I'm genuinely a sucker for 90's garage and indie sounds. So, I was quite pleased to discover Teenage Wrist. In a world full of autotune it's pleasant to get back to the simpler sound of sweet nostalgia. Not a whole lot of information can be found other than their Facebook and Twitter accounts. What we do know is the band is a collaborative side project that consists of Kamtin Mohager (The Chain Gang of 1974), Marshall Gallagher (Swing Hero) and Anthony Salazar. "Slide Away" is the second single off the band's forthcoming EP. According to the band, this song is a sample of what we can expect for future releases. If that is true, then I don't think music lovers will be disappointed.

In the Valley Below

Angela Gail and Jeffrey Jacob blend the beautiful harmony that is Americana, blues and synth pop. Their sound is almost a dead ringer in the style of Peter Bjohn and Jon Jon. This dynamic duo has already gained attention by European alternative radio. "Peaches" is the opening song on the their debut album The Belt. It's a fitting pick to give listeners an introduction into Gail and Jacob's synchronized chemistry.  


This Canadian post punk trio are a real punch to the gut. If you are not too much into the heavy metal scene then you might have a hard time listening to their new stuff. It is heavier, darker and much more sloppier. Those that love heavy distortion, screeching vocals with growling guitar riffs may appreciate "Wet Blanket" or "The Swimmer." My pick is the somewhat tamer "Spit You Out." This song has the right amount of feedback in which can almost resemble Nirvana.

The Black Lips

The Black Lips are a self described "flower punk" garage band. Basically, it's another term for psychedelic rock. Despite their provocative stage antics, their sound has a 60's British rock vibe. Granted a demented 60's sound but the lyrics are quite catchy. "Bad Kids" is one of those dark songs that you can't help but sing along.

Portugal the Man

Portugal The Man is an American rock band that hails from Wasilla, Alaska. Most of their songs have a quirky synth sound to them while under toning symbolism for the darkness of human nature. I like "Sleep Forever." That song has a beautiful "Champagne Supernova" by Oasis like eloquence to it. However, "Purple, Yellow, Red and Blue" receives the honorable mention for its deliciously dark combination of bells and falsetto vocals.

Kendrick Lamar

Hip Hop artist Kendrick Lamar closed the AIR + STYLE Day 1 as the last performance of the night. And what a fun way to close the festivities indeed.  Lamar brings a fresh sense of swag to west coast hip hop. His arty self expressions give hip hop a much needed positive look on life. "I" is perhaps the best example of that point. The song is a reminder to keep happy and be blessed in things that you have despite the bad times.

Plus the line "These days of frustration keep ya'll in tucking rotation" is a real doozy. It gets stuck in your head for days!