All posts by Adrian Spinelli

Music. Food. Sports. Chill.

Nightlife in Korea

“This is Mihn Guk and Jin” Dr. Choi said. “They’re Sport mgmt students here in Korea and will be assisting us all week.” [Dr. Choi turns his head slightly and cleary looks at me while still addressing the whole group] “And don’t get them drunk..” It’s almost as if i heard him say: “go get these guys hammered” and i knew then and there what i had to do. Loop Jin and Mihn Guk into our group debauchery and hit this town hard with a couple locals…

Our first full day in Seoul called for an all out group outing. What better to build the group energy than going out and getting absolutely hammered and dancing our faces off? The night before, shortly after arriving in the city, 6 of us went on a stroll through the milder part of the Gang-nam station area. Most alcohol serving establishments there are restaurants and you could easily tell that the custom at these types of joints is to eat and drink. In other words, you cant just stroll into a restaurant and order booze without getting food too. We happened to find a lounge bar and knocked back a few korean beers and met a new friend, ‘Uncle Park’ as he liked to be called, who insisted on buying us rounds:



Night number two was a different story. We started at a legit Korean bbq joint and the soju (somewhere in between vodka and sake, cheap and smooth; lots of fun) and beer started flowing, while the bacon and bulgogi was sizzlin:

Tina and Erika cookin up the bacon (or ‘The people’s meat’ as they call it in Korea)



Bulgogi beef with enoki mushrooms sizzling:



The aftermath:




Having Jin and Mihn Guk around helped us find the happening part of Gang-Nam. While there were restaurants in the area, clubs and pubs prevailed. Our fix for the night, was Noise Bassment:


18 American students and 2 Koreans walked down the steps and the shit got real. Korean kids were doin the dougie in a corner or killin it on the dance floor, which we promptly took over. I got the impression that Jin and Mihn Guk weren’t the biggest party animals, but it was nothing a few beers and jack and cokes couldnt take care of. Before long, i had Jin doing my infamous ‘crab walk’ on the dance floor and everyone was jumping up and down to good old American bubblegum pop. Nothing says go get shitfaced on the dance floor in Korea quite like Katy Perry and Lil John.

On the stroll home, we hit up a tempura stand for tempura squid, deep fried dumplings and deep fried corn dogs (trust me they’re glorious):




Last night, we returned to Gang-nams happenin’ drag and got the games started with drinks from a liquor stand. Jack and coke tastes soooo good out of a zip lock bag:



Me and my classmate Ryan spotted a sign that had a lucky cat with a microphone. We thought this was probably a karaoke bar and took the elevator to the 7th floor to scope it out. It didnt take long until 10 of us had a VERY cushy private room and were blaring out renditions of everything from Beyonce and Offspring to 50 cent and Boys II Men. They didnt serve alcohol there, but bringing in your own booze from the 7-eleven downstairs was game. Add some 1.6 L bottles of korean beer and soju to the mix and the festivities looked something like this:



So there you have it… Korea definitely does not suck. Until next time, heres the double battered corndog commandos, saying goodbye!



Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost!
Hard Mix – Defaults
Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West

The Set-Up

So a quick rundown of my class here in Korea. There’s 25 students, 16 from my cohort thats been together for almost 2 years, 4 from the cohort below us (all way cool and already an integral part of the crew) and 6 from a So Cal cohort. We’ve got 2 Korean sport mgmt students with us (Jin and Mihn Guk, they go to the “same university as chan ho park“; koreans are very proud of their national sports heroes) along with my professor dr. Choi. We ride around visiting korean sport related sites on this sexy whip:


Our first day of class was awesome. We hit up Samsung Badminton center and played badminton with olympians…. Id never played before and i quickly learned that i really suck. While similar to tennis, the racket has a smaller surface area and the shuttlecock (thats wht they call the little feathered ball u hit) is tough to pinpoint. Nonetheless, it was a blast. I filmed a quick video of the badminton demo the olympians played for us and i’ll post it later. Here’s a pic of me with a former olympic gold medalist, whos now the mens team coach:


The best part of the samsung visit was lunch. Holy shit was this good:


The big rice bowl with veggies and mushrooms is ‘bibimbap’, theres korean bbq beef on the top left, halibut (so flaky and buttery) on the top right, beef brisket soup and kimchi (pickled cabbage, its the local specialty).

Our next stop was at KBS (the largest broadcasting company in S. Korea). We toured the facility and then met with Mr. Chung, who is a very well respected sports reporter ad documentarian. He’s like the Korean Ken Burns. We talked about everything from the mutually beneficial relationship of korean athletes with KBS to how Chan Ho Park becoming the first Korean to play in the MLB changed the face of sports media in Korea. We saw a rehearsal for the Korean SNL, ‘GAG’ and then visited an espn type show, where ex-white sox bullpen coach and korean legend Lee Man Soo was being interviewed. He was an awesome guy, took photos with us and chatted. Here he is (on the left) with dr. Choi:


At coca-cola korea, we watched some presentations on marketing strategy and saw a video for their ‘Move to the Beat’ campaign at the 2012 London Olympics featuring Mark Ronson and Katy B. Not gonna lie, it was pretty sick. Definitely more focused towards a european audience, but i love me some Katy B.

This hardly felt like “class”. These visits are definitely making me think in new ways and pondering options of what to do with myself and my career when i get back to the States. The fact that i dont work for Comcast anymore hasn’t really set in yet… But my brain is starting to formulate ideas for the future, the future i’m trying to use this sport mgmt degree to create. I like where my head is at right now and this is only the beginning of the next step. Fuck… I havent even begun to tell you about last night…………..stay tuned.



Grieves – Together/Apart (fast becoming the album of the trip)
Katy B – Katy on A Mission
Kruder & Dorfmeister – Conversions
Memory Tapes – Seek Magic (Also on heavy rotation)
St. Vincent – Strange Mercy


TravelBlog: Engage…. Just arrived in Seoul after a lovely 13 hour flight. I say lovely because they kept a drink firmly implanted in my hand the entire time. Cant say ive ever had that much to drink on a flight before… And with my classmates on board, we had a blast. All was peachy, ‘cept for the two little indian kids trying to outdo each other in a crying battle. Man, these kids hit some high pitch notes that would put Mariah Carey to shame…i watched ‘Drive’ on the flight and it was nuts. Reminded me of ‘Redbelt’ in a lot of ways…

We landed at Incheon airport in Seoul, picked up our bags and Dr. Choi, our professor, was there waiting for us with 3 Korean staffers, Jin, Hu and Minh Guk. Theyre sport management students themselves and are working with us this week. They gave me a shrimp burger:


Heres me and my classmate Bernadette flashing our snazzy vip USF name tags, complete with schedules and a few helpful Korean phrases:


Right now, im sitting on the bus, our chariot for the week, on the highway along the Han river. Lookin like a short stroll thru the area near our hotel/dorm before our 9am start tomorrow. We’re scheduled to play badminton with olympians at the samsung badminton facility, visit broadcast center KBS and an afternoon trip to coca-cola Korea, Dr. Choi’s old stomping grounds.

Ok, im tired, but super stoked to be here. It’s like 32 degrees out, which feels surprisingly nice. If this trip is half as good as my shrimp burger, i’ll be ok. Signing out.


Airplane Play List:

Little Brother – The Listening
Grieves – Together/Apart
Memory Tapes – Seek Magic
Cut Copy – Bright Like Neon Love
Phonte – Charity Starts at Home
El Ten Eleven – El Ten Eleven
El Ten Eleven – Every Direction is North

The Top 9 Obscure Indie Tracks of 2011

Let me start by defining what I mean by “obscure”… I tried to pick tracks that weren’t as well known as some other 2011 favorites or maybe a track was “obscured” by another single or two on a great or well publicized album. So please consider this as an explanation of the spirit of this list. Also, as much as I’d love to talk about tracks like Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ (My fave track of 2011), or tell you about how infectious the beat is on Neon Indian’s ‘Polish Girl’, these tracks don’t belong on THIS list.  I’ve already enlightened you to Ki:Theory’s  ‘I Wanna Run’ on a previous post and I won’t include any tracks that were linked in my Top 18 Albums of 2011 entry either. Finally, if one of these tracks doesn’t seem particularly ‘obscure’ to you, then we probably hang out a lot or you’re up on your music and should keep in mind that most people have more important shit on their minds than Me or You do 🙂 Enough babble, here’s the list:

9. King Krule – The Noose of Jah City – Apparently this English kid is 17. Pretty intelligent “wavy” track…

8. Givers – Meantime – I’m hard pressed to think of a show I had more fun at this year. Great young band from Louisiana.

7. Purity Ring – Lofticries – Super electronic. Took to this track the minute I heard it.

6. Washed Out – Before – My favorite track off of his 2011 release ‘Within and Without’

5. Hooray for Earth – True Loves –  Very cool, organic sound.

4. Gardens & Villa – Black Hills – This Santa Barbara based band put out a killer self-titled album. Check it out.

3. Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – Senator – Former Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus might be my favorite guitarist. His project with the Jicks Mirror Traffic was great. Check out this RIDICULOUS video for ‘Senator’ with Jack Black and Lumburg from Office Space. 

2. Yuck – Get Away – I absolutely love the guitar in this song. It reminds me of some of my favorite 90’s alterna-rock tracks from bands like the Screaming Trees and EMF (that’s right “Unbelievable…Ohhh!” See you at the karaoke bar.

1. Tune-Yards – Powa – I posted a live video of this track because the way Oakland’s Merrill Garbus makes her music is a sight to behold. Looping drum stations. Wacky ukelele pedals and a voice that’ll make you jump. ‘Powa’ was hidden on Tune-Yards’ 2011 release W H O KILL amongst singles like the fantastic ‘Bizness’ and ‘Gangsta’. A certain 7×7 writer had the foresight to call ‘Powa’ out as the track of the night from her November performance at The Regency Ballroom in SF (Don’t be confused by the Top 9 format, look at the byline). At any rate, i think i yelled at how awesome Garbus’ vocal range is like 3 times while watching this video. With that, my #1 “obscure” indie track of the year:

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Words of Wisdom from Ichiro Suzuki…

“Chicks who dig home runs aren’t the ones who appeal to me,” he said. “I think there’s sexiness in infield hits because they require technique. I’d rather impress the chicks with my technique than with my brute strength. Then, every now and then, just to show I can do that, too, I might flirt a little by hitting one out.”

The man’s got style…


The Top 18 Albums of 2011

Keeping with my yearly tradition, I’m kicking off the new blog with a list of my favorite albums of 2011. I think I fell further into my addiction with sound than i ever have. Constantly consuming music at random and then downloading with a purpose. I discover my music from a few different sources: 1) KCRW – An LA based public radio station. DJ Jason Bentley hosts ‘Morning Becomes Eclectic every weekday morning from 9-12. I use the iphone app, but you can also listen online at  2)Siriusxmu – Sirius/XM’s indie rock station 3) Pandora – It’s still relevant 4)My friends – extra super duper big ups to peeps who’ve put me up on a lot of music this year, you know who you are.

Anyhow, I’ve kept this year’s post interactive. Every album listed has a pic of the album cover, links to notable tracks just below the entry and some scattered hyperlinks throughout. If something is underlined, it’s a hyperlink, so click it, or you can right click and open the link in another tab, so you can keep reading while listening. Enjoy!

18. Wilco – The Whole Love – Wilco proved there was still gas in the tank after last year’s ‘Wilco The Album’ fell short of expectations.

Art of Almost 

Dawned on Me (Live)

NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert (18 mins) – Great live set a friend shared with me.

17. Phonte – Charity Starts At Home – If anyone from Little Brother puts anything out, I’m all over it. Here, Phonte re-unites with producer 9th Wonder on his first solo effort. Still one of the last real rappers out there.

The Life of Kings – Evidence and Big K.R.I.T. lend a hand on this epic 9th Wonder beat

The Good Fight

16. The Rapture – In The Grace of Your Love –  The LCD Soundsystem breakup has me seeking solace in anything that James Murphy’s DFA label puts out. This was a pleasant surprise and will definitely get you moving.

In the Grace of Your Love

How Deep is Your Love?

15. Pure X – Pleasure – Shoegaze lives! I dont know if an exclamation point is appropriate when talking about shoegaze (and ‘Post-Shoegaze’ c. Spinelli), but its fun to get excited about a glimmer of the genres existence. This is a very cool album to work, read or space out to.

Easy -This track sent me way back to the early alterna-rock days..

Twisted Mirror

14. Future Islands – On The Water – One of my favorite discoveries of the year. ‘On the Water’ is a great release, with some fantastic moments (amazing ones at that, see below), but if Future Islands’ 2010 release ‘In Evening Air’ (which i also, only discovered this year) came out out in 2011, it’d be #1 on this list, bar none. Put this band on your radar and check all their shit out.

Balance – This track kills it. The best on the album and one of the best of the year.

Before The Bridge

13. Bon Iver – Bon Iver, Bon Iver – What Justin Vernon does seems so simple, until you put your headphones on and embrace the complexity of this soft and melancholy sound. This album is a complete work and perhaps Vernon’s best to date.

Holocene – If you saw Bon Iver at The Greek in Berkeley, you’ll never forget this performance.


12. Cut Copy – Zonoscope – Ah Cut Copy… My favorite thing to come out of Australia since Paul Hogan. Zonoscope was their much anticipated 3rd LP. Their US tour absolutely destroyed the dance floor and they’ve cemented themselves as a big name act.

Corner of The Sky – Creeps up on you into the best dance floor shaker on the album.

Take Me Over – 2011 Coachella performance.

11. Atlas Sound – Parallax – Bradford Cox can do no wrong. What a strange motherfucker…an evil genius of sorts. ‘Parallax’ is great company on a lazy Sunday, or a weeknight in; Totally A loner album and this needs to be embraced.

Te Amo – Yes.


10. Tennis – Cape Dory – Wow. So doo-woppy and just plain fun. This Denver couple wrote this album about a sailing trip around the world. This is some straight up dreamy shit. Check it out.

Baltimore I can never get this song outta my head…

Marathon Their first single

9. M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming –  When I think of M83, I think about boundaries. Pushing boundaries is what draws me to music. It’s whats shaped the evolution of what I’ve listened to for the last 15-20 years. If its fresh, I dig it. Once it starts to get old and people start replicating an innovators style, i get over it (sorry, its the truth). Anthony Gonzalez’s M83 project really crossed a lot of barriers within electronica and indie rock. Widely accepted in both formats, Gonzalez found a way to make music that was new to fans of both. From a groundbreaking perspective, this album probably belongs higher up on this list. This was one of the freshest products of the year.

Midnight City -Pitchfork’s track of the year

Steve McQueenMy personal favorite on the album

8. Katy B – On A Mission – Ok, this was my favorite straight dance album of the year. Katy B accomplishes commercially with dubstep, what Jenna G couldn’t with drum&bass. Growing up with drum&bass, the dubstep phenomenon was hard for me to pin down at first. What is it about dubstep that appeals to audiences on a  mass scale that drum&bass couldn’t achieve? Maybe the sheer grime and grit of d&b is only suitable for English ears? What this album accomplished, was getting me to warm up to dubstep. A friend of mine always called the female MC in d&b tracks the ‘girly voice’ and Katy B is the embodiment of it. It takes a special kind of  female voice to hang with dubstep/d&b. Katy B kills it.

Katy On A MissionOk, before you play this track, turn your speakers all the way up or put your headphones a little louder than usual. Remove all breakable objects from the vicinity. Now press play. Youre welcome.

7. Toro Y Moi – Underneath The Pine – Speaking of nostalgia. Shit, as if we weren’t vibing on 2010’s ‘Causers of This’ enough, Toro y Moi built on that momentum (which he still has by the way after releasing his late 2011 EP ‘Freaking Out’), with another quality release. ‘New Beat‘ was one of the best tracks of the year, and Toro y Moi’s Chaz Bundick continued to build on the chill wave sound he’s been at the forefront of.

Still Sound


6. Real Estate – Days – What a sweet album. These jersey rockers evoke nostalgia reminiscent of the days of Ben E. King (#respect). Real Estate embodies the lighter side of the musical spectrum that i gravitated to this year. Gentle guitar strum and trippy solos that make you think you’re on the cold Atlantic shore with your feet in the sand and the waves crashing in.

It’s Real – Classic.

Out of Tune – See above.

Live on KEXP (18-minute set)

5. Tycho – Dive – If I died and went to heaven, this would be playing in the background.  Heard some of the San Francisco based Tycho’s tracks on KCRW and was hooked. A minimalist spin on old drum & bass and nuskool electronica. Tycho doubles as a visual artist and his live set brings out elements of this. ‘Dive’ has been on HEAVY rotation since i got it and I’m getting my feet wet on his older stuff, which is likewise amazing. Tycho is on the Ghostly International label, who is putting out some really intelligent shit that’s worth discovering.

Daydream – The one.

A Walk – Opening song to the album.

Dive – Slightly more upbeat.

4. Holy Ghost! – Holy Ghost! – Ahhhh…another DFA artist. I blame my infatuation with this album, much like The Rapture, on what we’ll call the LCD backlash… James Murphy will tell you he stopped the LCD Soundsystem project because he wanted to focus on his label, DFA. What gets lost in this decision is what ‘focusing on his label’ actually means: Namely furthering the careers of its artists, many of which have drawn much of their style and been inspired by what LCD Soundsystem did. Holy Ghost! fits this mold. Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser are James Murphy’s two young disciples, whom he took under his wing and said “try this, see if works for you. Now work with it and make your own sound” What ensued on HG’s first LP was a VERY DFA (new adjective alert!) brand of electro, and who doesn’t like that?

Static On The Wire – Been on repeat in my head ever since i heard it.

Hold My Breath – The song that got me into this band…think of a modern-day ‘All My Friends

Some Children feat. Michael McDonald – That’s right… Michael Fucking McDonald! #respect

3. White Denim – D – Along with Future Islands, White Denim was my favorite band discovery of 2011. Their sound fuses psych rock with folk rock, evoking shades of bands like Wilco and Tame Impala. They jam like its going out of style. Every track has a different theme from the last and delving further into their discography is the only way to truly see how this band is growing. ‘D’ was a timely masterpiece and feels like some shit I would bump if I was sitting in the back seat of Randall “Pink” Floyd’s Chevy from ‘Dazed and Confused.’

River to Consider

Street Joyperfect.

2. James Blake – James Blake – One of the most versatile productions I’ve heard in years. There is no occasion that this album isn’t suitable for. JB’s sound borrows heavy influence from the UK DnB scene, but calms itself down with an R&B twist. Its strength lies in the perfect production and mastery of rolling bass throughout. The marriage of hard bass and soul.

Unluck – Beautiful…intricate bass levels throughout

The Wilhelm Scream

I Mind

1. SBTRKT – SBTRKT – Everything I’ve ever wanted in music. SBTRKT (pronounced ‘subtract’) came up as an electronic music producer who was on the cusp of the d&b to dubstep evolution. On his self-titled release, he teamed up with singer Sampha to create a sound unlike anything i’ve ever heard before. The beats are perfect, never fully claiming to skew towards one definition, but always maintaining a certain rhythm to know that this is ultimately a dance album. This is the album you dance to while at the club, and also the one you come down to at the after party. Sampha’s soothing voice claims a uniqueness that sets this production apart. Every track is vastly different from its predecessor, but each has its own appeal. Sbtrkt speaks to you through beats that always keep your head moving and Sampha speaks to our cognitive rationalizations with lines like “is it better to let you go? or is it better, to let you know?on Something Goes Right. Pardon me if i’m swooning, but alas, ‘SBTRKT’ is that moment when all of the music that i love and everything that i love about it comes together and fuses into one artist’s sound. For me, this was the definitive album of 2011. It poked through the dubstep inundation to create something different, something that made this drum&bass head think and ponder about the direction of electronic music. This album explains why the digital sound is the future… it shows us how far the scope of possibility reaches… it foreshadows a musical peak that perhaps has yet to be reached and this excites me for what lies ahead in 2012…..


Pharaohs – You’ll be on your feet.

Wildfire feat Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano – the dubstep anthem of the album

This was one of my favorite videos of the year:

Damn if those tiki masks aren’t cool as fuck! I gotta admit, getting this post done was a big monkey off my back. I’m really stoked to get this blog up and running again. More music lists and lists of all sorts (in Top 9 format of course) are still to come. There are travels to be completed and documented. In the meantime, got any albums you really liked this year? Drop me a line, let me know your thoughts! Cheers to a kick-ass year in music. Happy 2012!

Welcome to my new blog.

If you’ve followed any of my previous blogs “The Road to San Francisco”, “Cooking with Gas” and “Spinelli’s Top 9”, this is a unification of all of those previous concepts. I look forward to staying up on this site, blogging frequently and not letting this one go dormant like the other ones!

So please, have a seat, kick off your shoes….get comfortable. Enjoy!