8 A TALK WITH TENNIS 12 THE FIRST DAY WITHOUT LOU REED: A TRIBUTE 16 AROUND TOWN: MADISON VENUES 18 IN DEFENSE OF L.A: INTERVIEW WITH CLASSIXX 21 KENDRICK LAMAR VS. THE WORLD 24 LOVE HATE: MILEY CYRUS 26 THE RISE OF [THE] LORDE 28 PLAYLISTS
56 RUDIMENTAL HOME
LARK REMY HOST
57 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE 20/20 EXPERIENCE 2 OF 2
KINGS OF LEON MECHANICAL BULL
58 NORMAN JEAN WRONGDOERS
FIERCE BAD RABBIT MAESTRO AND THE ELEPHANT
59 LONDON GRAMMAR IF YOU WAIT
60 ADVENTURES CLEAR MY HEAD WITH YOU
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD I LOVE YOU
32 THREE TAKES ON MS MR 34 THE VACCINES 35 AOIFE O’DONOVAN 36 VOLCANO CHOIR 38 THE CHARIOT 40 UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA 42 PHOENIX 43 OH LAND 44 HANK WILLIAMS III 46 WALK THE MOON 47 OF MONTREAL 48 TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB 49 ANIMAL COLLECTIVE 50 DEER TICK 51 KID CUDI 52 HEAD AND THE HEART 53 CUT COPY
61 CAGE THE ELEPHANT MELAPHOBIA
DIPLO REVOLUTION EP
62 HAIM DAYS ARE GONE
63 THE CULTS STATIC
TOM ODELL A LONG WAY DOWN
64 M.I.A. MATANGI
65 IO ECHO MINISTRY OF LOVE
ST. LUCIA WHEN THE NIGHT
66 LORDE PURE HEROINE
67 DANNY BROWN OLD
WILD BELLE ISLES
brought to you by
hannah BULGER sam EICHNER alicia FLORES alyssa GALLONI ali GRIMES alyssa GALLONI ginx HANCOCK ali JAGODZINSKI julie JARZEMSKY andrew MACKENS livi MAGNANINI sean MANNION john MCCRACKEN becca MELDMAN connor MURPHY megan OPPERMAN joe OSWALD ryan PERLIC abbey SCHNEIDER james STRELOW dj TRAINOR molly TREROTOLA
SEE MORE AT
EMMIEMAGAZINE.COM WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/EMMIEMAGAZINE @EMMIEMAGAZINE
dear emmie reader, So you took a chance, you picked us up, and you’re probably wondering what you got yourself into. The answer? A pure, unadulterated love letter to music. Here at EMMIE, UWMadison’s student run music magazine, we are true lovers of music in every sense of the word. We follow our favorite bands obsessively, we jump at every chance to catch a concert, and we review, review, review. This semester we’ve been lucky to experience the wild gamut of music that has rolled through our city, ranging from electropop to indie folk, from rap to chillwave, from country to metal and everything in between. Our writers have gotten the chance to chat with our indie cover band, Tennis, and upand-coming LA electro producers Classixx, and take a stroll “around town” to showcase the best music venues in Madison. We’ve argued the feminist (or anti feminist) expression of Miley Cyrus, debated Drake and Kendrick, and mourned the loss of Lou Reed. Through our playlists, we give you the music that accompanies our java runs, gets our blood boiling about political matters, and makes us feel “freak nasty,” EMMIE is an outlet for our writers to share our opinions and critiques on industry darlings, and give voice to the undiscovered, or at least the unconventional. This issue, our editors have toiled over revisions, our graphic designer has transformed our blank pages into tiny works of art, and our layout team has pulled grueling all-night sessions to turn out our best product. A special shoutout to the lovely miss Julie Jarz, who has been the Emmie layout wizard for four years, she will be sorely missed when she graduates this December. There’s a lot of love in these pages. We don’t pretend to be music elitists, that’s not who we are. (We know our reputation….) We celebrate variety in this issue more than ever before, and we hope that you can see the range. From mainstream to avant garde, to the just plain weird, Emmie has it all. So dive in, dear reader, we hope you love the music just as much as we do. livi MAGNANINI
EMMIE STAFF livi MAGNANINI EDITOR IN CHIEF
sam EICHNER FEATURES EDITOR
megan OPPERMAN SHOWS EDITOR
anton MAKHIBORODA ALBUMS EDITOR
abbey SCHNEIDER ALBUMS EDITOR
jon MCCRACKEN SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR
aj BECKER GRAPHIC DESIGNER
julie JARZEMSKY LAYOUT EDITOR
Alaina: Hi, how are you?
A TALK WITH TENNIS ALAINA MOORE OF INDIE-POP BAND TENNIS SPOKE WITH EMMIE ON TOURING, LAURA NYRO, AND THE BAND’S BOLD NEW SOUND.
EMMIE: Good, thank you! How are you? Thanks so much for setting aside some time to talk to us. Alaina: I’m good, I’m good. How has the tour been going so far? Good! We’ve been having a lot of fun. The only thing is, we haven’t been on tour for a year now, so I’m just kind of remembering how it goes, you know what I mean? I can’t even imagine being on the go that much. Where was your latest show? We played in Toronto two nights ago, and then we had a long drive yesterday, and tonight we play in Indiana.
Yeah, it’s not exactly the best season to be touring in the upper Midwest. Starting to get pretty cold up here. Absolutely. Speaking of, you’re coming to Madison pretty soon! I know you were here last year. You know, we have a great time in Madison. One of our friends who we truly love, Julian Lynch, lives there, and he’s a really amazing musician and he’s been getting his PhD. So we love visiting, he’s like our insight to town. There’s a promoter there who is so amazing and he let’s us stay at his house and makes us breakfast, so we feel like we get treated like family when we’re there.
Wow, that’s great. It must be so nice after being on tour for a while to have a home-cooked breakfast. Totally, it’s so nice. So I guess there’s a different vibe than between a college town like Madison and a big city like Toronto or Chicago? Yeah, I mean, it’s totally different. Every city has its own vibe and it’s always so different, but we get to know places the more often we stay, and Madison is one of those places we’ve been to several times now, and so you sort of cultivate its own vibe and its own feel, and become familiar with its uniqueness. I’ve come to really cherish the differences in each city. It keeps the tour from feeling really monotonous and makes each show feel really unique, even though we’re really playing the same thing every night. So, yeah, it’s good!
Well I think you’ve definitely cultivated a certain fanbase in Madison. Maybe it’s because some of your songs sound so summery, and it get’s so cold here? Yeah, it definitely gets cold! So, I wanted to talk to you about your new EP, Small Sounds. It was great, I really loved it. Thank you!
thing you wrote and you don’t want to sit on it for like a year, and not show it to anybody. Yeah, absolutely. So part of it was just excitement, like “Hey, I really want to show this song to somebody!” And I really felt like instead of just releasing a single and doing a seven-inch, because our capacity for change was so great, I wanted to offer more of a progress report and release a few more songs than just a single, so that people can get a taste or idea of where we are right now, what we’re channeling, and
I don’t know, honestly, I feel like we’ve just been really isolated in the past year. We moved to Nashville, we lived in this little house in the suburbs, and just wrote a whole bunch of songs. We were writing ourselves a new direction, and I just really feel like we need to resurface. So, we’re going to be touring a fair amount and hopefully hitting the same cities a couple of times because it’s been a while. Also, I know the first time you play new songs live, it’s kind of hard to process. It’s a lot easier in the private sphere of your room, or your, car, or your headphones, to get to know a new song. I think I’d like to go back a few times so that we can share something familiar together.
I’VE KIND OF GONE DOWN A RABBIT HOLE OF LATE SIXTIES AND EARLY SEVENTIES WOMEN SONGWRITERS, AND I AM ALMOST OBSESSIVELY CHANNELING THEM.
I was wondering what contributed to your decision to put out an EP rather than a full-length album, and to tour off of that release. Is it a smaller project you’ve been working on, or maybe a preview of your next album? Well, I mean a lot of it had to do with circumstance, but to be honest we’re really close to having a full-length album written but we’re not quite there yet. I felt like we were evolving a lot over the past year, and I feel like by the time we’re done writing this album we might be in a really different place sonically than we were on Young & Old. And, well, first of all, we just really wanted to release something, because you get excited about the new
what direction we’re heading towards. I have this fear of releasing an album two years after Young & Old, and it being so radically different that maybe we alienate some of the fans who have been with us from the beginning. So this is kind of like our way of checking in, being like “Hey, here’s what we’re doing!” and letting people get on the same page as us. I hope. I definitely felt that way listening to the EP, because, like you said, sonically, your two albums and this EP are all really different. There’s a definite, distinct evolution, so I’m really excited to hear the new album. Do you have any idea of when it’ll be released?
So you’re expecting it to be a really different sound? Because, even though both of your albums and this new EP remain distinctive and unique in their sound, there is, and I’m sure you’re used to hearing this, a breezy, pop-y quality that crops up pretty frequently and seems really central to your sound. What do you think contributes to that quality in your music? Are there any artists in particular who have influenced your style? I think the thing that has most influenced or motivated sounds or style choices that we’ve been making in our new writing has been a decision to prioritize rhythm over melody. When we write a new song, we think about rhythm first, whereas Cape Dory just has that classic surf beat. As we kind of have outgrown that and moved on, [rhythm] has turned out to be the thing that we care most about, especially live. It can really transform a show and bring a lot of life to it. So that’s where we’re starting. The other thing is that I’ve kind of gone down a rabbit hole of late sixties and early seventies women songwriters, and I am almost obsessively channeling them.
they’re doing. But because people tend to compare us and look for connections anyway, I don’t want to add to it on my own.
Any examples? Laura Nyro, Judy Sill, Vashti Bunyan. Vashti Bunyan is sort of like psychedelicfolk music, and Laura Nyro is sort of early piano gospel/rock/soul music. Even Carole King. Very cool. They’ve kind of become my patron saints of songwriting, and I am going to keep mining them for inspiration. Their voices just really resonate with mine, and that’s exactly what we channel as we continue to write and finish this next record. That’s what really influenced the EP as well. Our first single off the EP, “Mean Streets,” is kind of a love song, but it’s specifically about Laura Nyro. She’s become a hero of mine, and I feel like what makes me want to make music is being able to revel in their legacy and try to continue their memory.
I think it’s great that you’ve chosen to channel those sixties and seventies female singer-songwriters and that that sound has been resurrected. For whatever reason, a lot of people, including myself, most likely haven’t heard of those women. Absolutely. I mean, right now there’s so much going on with women in music that I feel like some of the greatest women in music are underrepresented and so
That really puts your future development into great context. I’ve actually never heard of most of the artists you mentioned, although I am a big Carole King fan. Yeah, absolutely. If you get a chance, you should listen to Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. It’s my favorite record of Laura Nyro’s. It’s just so crazy and awesome. You know, I was planning on asking you which bands you’ve been listening to lately, but I guess that kind of covers it! I know, there are so many great contemporary bands. I probably won’t say anything that you don’t know already. I feel like we all probably like the same popular things in like, contemporary independent music. But I try, especially when I’m trying to write, to listen to either bands or artists that are no longer composing or are dead because I don’t want to inadvertently channel my own peers who are releasing music simultaneously to me, if that makes sense. Definitely. I feel like what you’re listening to probably inadvertently has a huge affect on what you produce. Exactly. And we’re inevitably going to be compared to anyone from Cults to Best Coast to Beach House, and that doesn’t bother me in the least because I love all of those bands, and I love what
I DON’T BELIEVE IN GUILTY PLEASURES...I TOTALLY LOVE THE NEW MILEY CYRUS RECORD. I THINK IT’S AWESOME.
unknown. The fact that I’m a musician for a living and I’ve never heard of these women, I mean, I’ve heard of Carole King, but most of these women I had to work so hard to even discover. It’s kind of sad, but hopefully it means that there’s so much out there for me and I just have to go find it. You know, it kind of reminds me of women in literature being rediscovered. Hopefully if you’re looking and bringing their names back into the open, other people will start looking too. Yeah, I hope so too.
Last question: If you could participate in one wintry activity (ice-skating, sledding, hot cocoa, building a snowman, etc), with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you do? Wow, a wintry activity, correct? Correct. I definitely think I would pick sledding, because I’m the least likely to kill myself, and you could still talk during it. And I think I would pick Patti Smith. I would go sledding with Patti Smith. That’s awesome. There are so many people I would love to meet and talk to, but I think that Patti Smith has genuinely the most remarkable life of any woman that I’ve read about, so I would trade anything to spend a day with her. Sledding would be especially fun with her. I bet you could get some great talks in walking back up the hill. Exactly. Ice skating would be cool too, but I’m a really terrible ice skater. Oh, I know, me too. It’s awful. I know, I would be too afraid of embarrassing myself. Well thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us, and good luck with the rest of your tour and the upcoming record! Thank you! I’ll talk to you at the show! I look forward to it! hannah BULGER
I do have to ask, any contemporary guilty pleasures? Oh, I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. I mean unless the pleasure is actually self-destructive, like a heroin addiction or something, then that would totally be a guilty pleasure. But with music, I don’t believe in them. I totally love the new Miley Cyrus record. I think it’s awesome.
THE FIRST DAY WITHOUT
LOU REED a tribute A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: The first day without Lou Reed, has begun. My feet shift trying to find a comfortable position as I attempt to write this, to express my bizarre love for someone I never met. One of the great American rock legends has died. They say he influenced a generation, a saying we see a lot in the headlines when one of the greats dies, like Johnny Cash, Michael Jackson, or Tina “Left Eye” Lopez. Why did I feel so strongly that I publicly posted a video of myself crying and singing along to one of my favorite Velvet Underground songs? My cousin Bobby told me I looked so utterly sad that it got no response because it was as if one of my relatives had died, and people often wonder, “Is it okay to ‘like’ this? How do I show support?” I grew embarrassed after a half hour until it was unbearable enough that I took the posting down. But I wanted to show my FB world that I wasn’t ashamed that I loved Lou Reed. He was a best friend to me. He was my best friend when few people knew how to talk to me. I listened to VU albums over and over in my studio in the year of 2008. And my love dribbled into 2009, forever, as my life had changed forever. I had found out that my estranged father was a cocaine dealer, or maybe still was? So I took my guitar, given to me by my friend Nigel, I learned the four necessary chords to play “I’ll Be Your Mirror” and I sang alone in my studio, afraid that my neighbors might hear. Lou Reed made me feel cool. Just four chords and the ability to sing in tune?
I could sing his poetry, I could feel the vibrations of his harmony in me, first created nearly 40 years before. I wonder if the VU and Lou Reed solo records sales will spike. I’m sure Transformer will sell out by the end of the week at Strictly Discs. They’ll raise the prices and people will pay it, because he’s dead now, and in some last desperate attempt to grasp him, they’ll buy the records. Maybe the commercialism isn’t such a bad thing. Maybe those records bought will remind each person of the day they went down to the record store and bought their first Lou Reed or VU album because Lou Reed had just died, and it seemed like the right thing to do. I got my copy of Transformer, on vinyl, bargain-binned, and on CD. Then I got my Record Store Day special release of a live recording of the VU, but the most special recording I have is a fucking burned CD from Nigel, Live at Max’s, Kansas City. A fucking burned CD. The album work is Nigel’s scrawl in sharpie on the CD. It was illegally burned and copied with love and given to me. I wonder what Lou would’ve thought. If he didn’t care for his commercial success, then he probably wouldn’t have given a fuck about it. I think he’d dig that 50 years later, a Hapa chick trying to get a little scream out took aural pleasure in his work so long ago. He was banging three-chord tunes when my mother was just in diapers, in the Philippines. The news haven’t released how he died, but only that he had a liver transplant back in May, back when I turned 26 and joked to myself, I should die next year,
make this year a really special one, so I can go out like Jimi and Janis. Of course that would include mastering the guitar, conquering the hearts of millions of people with my lyrics and my solid-body wood carved appendage, and the fun part, a drug addiction thrown into a healthy daily routine of whiskey drinking, with an epic death, drowning in my own vomit, or as I imagine, slowly sinking into a bathtub, blacked out. It’s 2:06 am and I should be sleeping. I’ve got class in the morning, and then work. I’m behind on everything, and after finally spray painting my back drops to my video art installation, I’ve realized I didn’t buy enough goddam blue spray paint. And I’ve got no money left. Not until next pay day. Aww Lou, was it like I was ever going to meet you? If you had lived another ten years, I’d say yea, there’d be a good chance. I’ve got faith enough that it could have happened. But since I’ve met you, you’ve always just been a copy. A copy of a recording, on vinyl, on CD, or not even a copy of a DVD, but a streaming of you, via my Netflix account, through candid interviews in rockumentaries. A copy of a copy of a copy. And now you’re gone. So people are gonna go out, and buy more copies of you. But the real you, the you who played those threechord songs, who seeped into the tissue of my brains and rewired my circuits so I could walk straight for a while, stop crying for a while, that you, is really gone now. And this is why I cry. ginx HANCOCK
AN INTRODUCTION Before Lou Reed was Lou Reed, he was just another middle class Jewish kid sentenced to suburban normalcy on Long Island. His father was an accountant. His wife was a beauty queen-turnedhousewife. I imagine that he was told to eat his vegetables on various occasions; to clean his room. In his high school picture, Reed, who first recorded in a doo-wop band called The Jades, looked like a slightly more Jewish version of Leave It To Beaver’s older brother Wally. Yet despite an ostensibly standard middle-class upbringing, Reed was a troubled adolescent. No doubt some of his struggles as a teenager stemmed from his budding bisexuality; in 1956, when Reed was just fourteen, he received electroconvulsive therapy, intended to curb his homosexual urges. In 1960, though, Reed left home to attend Syracuse University, and became swept up in journalism, film, and creative writing. One of Reed’s greatest influences would be his English professor, Delmore Schwartz. A Trotskyite, and successful poet in the vein of literary modernism, Schwartz would plant the seed for Reed’s artistic radicalism. After writing a slew of cheap pop song knock-offs in the songwriting factory that was Pickwick Records, Reed took his passion for the avant-garde (“high art”) and merged it with rock and roll, forming the now iconic band, The Velvet Underground. With his gritty-cool sprechgesang and the oft cacophonic, droning guitar, Reed explored and epitomized the darker side of urban life: drug abuse, prostitution, sexual deviancy, and the wonderfully toxic squalor of the Lower East Side. Shorthaired, clad in all black, Reed and his dystopian brand of moody New York realism took a lyrical piss on California’s longhaired, pot-smoking, tie-dyed hippiedom. Consequently, their debut album, The Velvet Underground & Nico, released in 1967 and featuring such classics as “I’m Waiting for the Man” and Nico’s sultry “Femme Fatale,”—as well as the Andy Warhol designed banana cover—was poorly received at the time, though it has since become one of the most influential rock albums of all time. Reed would make three more albums with The Velvet Underground before launching a successful, if not eclectic solo career, recording hits like “Satellite of Love” and the David Bowie-produced “Walk on the Wild Side” (both on Transformer); a junkielove-story concept album (Berlin); a best-selling live album (Rock ‘n’ Roll Animal); an offensive, vociferous metal album (Metal Music Machine); and later, in 2003, his peculiar spin on ambient meditation music (Hudson River Wind Meditations). The perennial avant-gardist, Lou Reed tirelessly reinvented his persona and music all the way to the end, when he passed away last month. And though his sullen gaze and signature nonchalance might be gone forever, his voice—bending to a tender coo, or flattening to a toneless, jocular talk, or flexing its fuck-the-establishment intonations—still lingers on… sam EICHNER
eed est of Lou R MIXTAPE: B et Underys - The Velv a S ie n a h p 1. Ste ground erground e Velvet Und h T e n oi er he Velvet 2. H ’s Parties - T w ro or om T 3. All d Undergroun ou Reed nd Baby - L la Is ey 4. Con ou Reed e Velvet Un5. Berlin - L he Man - Th T or F g in it 6. Wa Velvet Underground irror - The M r ou Y e B 7. I’ll Reed derground ild Side - Lou W e th on lk feat. Lou 8. Wa The Killers e iz il u q n 9. Tra Velvet UnReed othing - The N t ee w S ! h 10. O derground
MIXTAPE: Cla ssic Covers 1. Here She C omes - Nirvan a 2. Sweet JaneMott the Hoop le 3. Satellite of Love- Morriss ey 4. Pale Blue E yes- Josh Ritte r 5. Sweet JaneU2 6. Femme Fata le- R.E.M. 7. Perfect Day - Scala & Kol acny Brothers 8. All Tomorro w’s Parties Beck 9. Rock and R oll - Jane’s Ad diction 10. I Found a Reason - Cat Power
THE LEGACY To the man who defined cool, and changed music forever. “Hey babe, I’m gonna miss you now that you’re gone...” The most cited influence in rock and roll. The perennial outsider. The first queer icon. The voice of New York. The father of indie music. The list of adjectives seems endless, though perhaps not adequate, for the man who dramatically altered the course of rock & roll music. The death of Lewis Allan “Lou” Reed on October 27, marks the end of an era, but leaves behind a legacy of music that has and will continue to influence generations of musicians. With his raw energy, passionate vulnerability, and a gift for writing songs that were both as risqué as they were reticent, Reed was a revolutionary. Just like the list of labels that couldn’t be more difficult to define, the list of bands that celebrate Lou as an influence is long and growing longer. Although he may be gone, we celebrate his legacy through his best songs and continue to find comfort in that cool, haunting voice and the simple words that mean so much. livi MAGNANINI
BANDS INSPIRED BY LOU REED
The Sex Pistols
“The first Velvet Underground record sold 30,000 copies in the first five years, I think everyone who bought one of those copies started a band.” - Brian Eno 15
AROUND TOWN a quick guide to Madison’s music scene
What It’s Like: The Orpheum is perhaps Madison’s best music venue. They get all the big acts without forgetting about the up-and-comers, on the margin of mainstream. Less formal than the stuffy Overture and more ornate than Majestic, the Orpheum has all the antiquated charm of an old movie theater without any of the tackiness of, well, an old movie theater. (See: Barrymore Theater). With a huge balcony and the high ceilings of a Gatsby-esque grand ballroom, the sound here is more lush and atmospheric than at Madison’s smaller venues. Listening, dancing, head nodding excessively because you don’t know how to dance— you get the sense that the Orpheum has managed to contain something bigger than you, which is why we go to concerts in the first place, right? Well that….and grinding, obviously… Notable Shows this Fall: Local Natives, Animal Collective, MGMT, Lupe Fiasco. Skrillex, if you’re into that sort of thing. Michael Franti & Spearhead, if you’re into that sort of thing… The Crowd: Kids dressed like adults. Adults dressed like kids. Guys who expertly layer cardigans over buttondowned shirts. Girls dressed like they should be the band’s violinist. That one person sitting in the back row while everyone else stands. The A-Bar: Paul’s Club. Why? 1) It’s swanky without being douchey or pretentious. 2) The Orpheum is pretty much right next door. 3) Bands are rumored to go there after shows (at least the Local Natives did). 4) And there’s a tree inside. sam EICHNER
What It’s Like: Located on the far side of the Capitol building, the Barrymore gives off an old-timey charm of a historic theater. Featuring the architecture of an antique movie house, the Barrymore delivers a comforting vibe while still bringing a diverse audience to its concerts. There is standing room which allows fans to get up close to performers as well as ample seating and a balcony. The twinkling stars on the ceiling provide for a spacey experience when jamming out to the large variety of artists the Barrymore attracts. You won’t find a lot mainstream acts at the Barrymore, but still a lot of popular names that attract large crows with genres ranging from country, jazz, metal, and standup comedy. Notable Shows this Fall: Toro y Moi, Trombone Shorty, Stephen Marley, Hank Williams III, Eddie Money, Dark Star Orchestra, Dweezil Zappa, Stephanie Miller, Red Green The Crowd: Diverse range of people depending on the concert. The Barrymore attracts more slightly older concert-goers than young college kids. In general, easy going people looking to have a good time and listen to some music. The A-Bar: Mr. Robert’s Bar and & Grill. A bit of a dive, but it is located right next door to the Barrymore and alright to stop for a drink or nine after a show. james STRELOW
off the beaten track the inferno an industrial, chicago-style club in madison, playing punk, metal, house and electronic music the brink lounge adjacent to High Noon, mostly jazz & blues mickey’s tavern: an old home-turned-bar, a chance to see local artists squeeze into the main bar area and perform
high noon saloon
What It’s Like: Positioned on the outskirts of the Capitol square, High Noon has everything you would expect from a Saloon. Come on in and post up on a bar stool, play some pool, or get right in the action on the open floor space in front of the stage. High, wood beam lined ceilings, brick walls, and wood floors give the place a polished but laidback vibe. If you’d rather get away from the crowds, there’s a second level with a balcony to overlook the mess of concertgoers below. Small enough to maintain intimate settings for calmer shows and big enough to sustain a packed house of jumping fans, this venue has the versatility to house a wide variety of shows, usually smaller acts that haven’t climbed the ladder enough to book the Orpheum or Overture. Notable Shows this Fall: Smith Westerns with Sky Ferreira, Califone, FIDLAR The Crowd: Closer to the eclectic East side and out of the
walkable radius from campus, in general High Noon draws older (though no less rowdy) crowds. The scene a mixed bag that goes along who’s playing. You’ll find townies and locally-grown yuppies at a local blues show, see the place invaded by hipsters during indie acts, or get an influx of neon-clad ravers for electronic shows. The A-Bar: Take advantage of having Essen Haus at a fewblocks reach, because a couple of “das boots” of beer and polka music are a good way to top off any night. julie JARZEMSKY
What It’s Like: The Frequency is the perfect place for concertgoers who enjoying being splashed by overly sweaty musicians. The concert hall is dark and intimate, which provides the ideal atmosphere for experiencing those cherished few seconds of awkward eye contact with the cutest band member. Although the hall is lined with tables, there is still plenty of room to show off your “impressive for how drunk you are” dance moves, but thankfully the room gets too loud to carry out any regrettable conversations. Located in the back of the bar, the Frequency’s music hall hosts up-and-coming bands who obviously love what they do. With its small size and fun shows, the Frequency is sure to leave you with a new favorite band that nobody’s ever heard of (how hipster), and possibly a few new friends…well, depending on how sweet your dance moves were. Notable Shows this Fall: The Moondoggies, David Wax Museum, The Floozies, Counterfeit, Turquoise The Crowd: That one old uncle who goes to the bar on Wednesday night, that group of kids from the dorm who are there for an 18 and under show, drunk cowboys, hipster college kids, and anyone who likes good music The A-Bar: the Natt Spill, because its around the block and channels the same dark, dingy energy of the Frequency, without the dingy part. abbey SCHNEIDER
What It’s Like: As Madison’s oldest theater in town, the Magestic merges the best of both worlds of “just mainstream enough to book [actual] bands” but still remaining cool, and enough under the radar that its the first stop for all bands to make in Madison before they get big. Yes, I feel like every show I’ve seen at the Magestic during my college career has involved a group that was just about to “make it” and then they do, and probably never play there again. But I have the awesome story of saying I saw them there back before “they sold out,” in all my middle school ego glory. Just a couple steps from State Street and tucked away off of the Capitol square, a night at the Magestic can be as casual of a commitment as you want to make it. The layout inside is perfect for an seated, anonymous performance, but with a dance floor small enough that things can get rowdy with fellow concert goers if the mood strikes. With lovely high balconies reminiscent of Jazz Age glory, offering a swanky view for the VIP concert goer, and a second row of tables if you’re feeling casual and want to sip your drink while you watch the show, the general stage area is the best place in town to get a real close up glimpse of your favorite band, before they get too big. Notable Shows this Fall: Cut Copy, Of Montreal, The Vaccines, Cherub, MS MR The Crowd: Everyone and anyone. This is the prime people watching crowd, everyone from your French TA, to your friend’s parents, to your roomate, or some beautiful hipster boy you’ll never see again...(sigh) The A-Bar: Genna’s. Duh. Best shot at findng that hipster boy... livi MAGNANINI
IN DEFENSE OF
WE SAT DOWN WITH THE GUYS BEHIND L.A. BASED DANCE MUSIC DUO CLASSIXX, TYLER BLAKE AND MICHAEL DAVID, AFTER THEIR OPENING SET FOR TORO Y MOI TO CHAT ABOUT THEIR ACCIDENTALLY WISCONSIN-THEMED OUTFITS, COLLABORATING WITH FRIENDS, AND WHY L.A. DOESN’T ACTUALLY SUCK LIKE EVERYONE SAYS IT DOES.
So, you guys can’t be dressed in Wisconsin sports colors on accident… Classixx: What are the Wisconsin sports colors? These are just our sports jackets… Oh, so it is an accident? Well you’re wearing green and gold, Packers colors and you’re wearing red and white which are the UW Badger colors. M: Oh, that’s awesome. T: Total accident. M: I hope some people thought that was cool. That’d be cool if like every city we went to we dressed in the colors. I was going to ask if you did some research on Wisconsin before coming [laughs]. Where did you get those jackets? T: There’s a vintage shop in Echo Park in Los Angeles, which is the neighborhood I used to live in and it has all vintage sports gear, like old golden age Chicago Bulls t-shirts, Micheal Jordan t-shirts, Aaron Gordon tee-shirts, satin jackets like this from the 70’s… it’s a cool spot. Sounds like it. So, you guys play both live and DJ sets, can you say what the difference is between those two styles as a performer? T: Yea, it’s a pretty clear difference. I mean the main difference of our live set that we’ve been doing is that it’s all planned, it’s a set list and we play the same songs, M: For a DJ set you can totally change, we pick songs on a fly. You can feel the room, if the room wants you to make a big song, you can do that. In a live show you just gotta play whatever is next. And also when we’re playing live we’re playing mostly our own music and we don’t play that much of our own music when we DJ. We’ll play like 2 or 3 songs of our own in a couple hours.
features You’ve worked with some big names, like Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem. How do you choose which vocalists to match to the sound you produce? M: Well, we like to choose vocalists with interesting qualities to their voice, and someone that we have at least some loose connection with. We find that if you try to hook up with a person who you have no relationship with, it can be a pretty awkward exchange—it can be weird to collaborate with them and just sort of unnatural, generally. If there’s a song that calls for something specific and we have an idea, then we can sort through a few singers that we want to approach, based on the music. T: But mainly they’re our friends... From making music and touring we’ve been lucky enough to meet a lot of talented people and we like working with people we are friends with. So it’s more fun. T: Definitely, definitely. Way less awkward. So we’re coming off of Halloween weekend, did anything spooky happen to you in the last week? Did you dress up? M: I had a very boring Halloween just because we’ve been traveling for the past three months basically so we had a few days in Los Angeles. T: I went to a weird Hollywood party and I did dress up but my costume was very, very lazy. I was Christian Slater’s character from True Romance. Basically he just wears a Hawaiian shirt, so I found a Hawaiian shirt and was like, “I would totally wear this anyways,” so I pretty much looked like myself. But I didn’t have much time to prep for it. M: Sometimes we put a lot of preparation into it, if we had a show we would’ve done more, but we just had those few days off. So it was time to rest. Yea, exactly. What do you think differentiates you from the burgeoning group of electronic producers that are filling the scene today? From other bands producing dance and chillwave music, like Toro y Moi, Washed Out, Chromeo, etc? T: Our music is somewhere in between that kind of music and club music I think. There are definitely songs on our album that fit with the kind of stuff you mentioned, but it’s not really band music since we don’t have a drummer. There are certain bands that are just for the club or a dance setting, not really just for
sitting around. But I think what differentiates us is that we do have songs on the record that are for that setting, like for your car, driving around or just to sing along to. So I think we’re somewhere in between club music and the dance music you were just talking about. Your sound is relevant to a lot of different scenarios. So, what’s your opinion of L.A. as a whole? I just saw that you guys have “I love L.A.” pins for sale upstairs. T: We grew up there so it really is our favorite city in the world; we’re biased but we have a lot of hometown love. There are a lot of people who aren’t so fond of it, they’ll go out there and don’t have the greatest experience. They only get the Hollywood view, the stereotypes of fakeness. But you know, growing up there, we just have so many great friends there. And there are millions and millions of people there, if you’re there long enough and you work hard enough you can really find a good crew of people to hang out with. And you totally find yourself in environments that are very much not the stereotype. So you think people just see the surface when they go out there? T: Some people do and those are the people that come back and you know, are the haters,
WE’RE INTO THE ARTS AND ALL THINGS CREATIVE; BIG MOVIE FANS, BIG COMEDY FANS, AND IT’S HARD TO ARGUE AGAINST WHAT’S COME OUT OF OUR CITY.
that’s what they have to hate on. But not just is it a city that’s beautiful, it’s by the beach, it’s very temperate, it has some of the best art and music and movies come out of it, and we’re into the arts and all things creative; big movie fans, big comedy fans, it’s hard to argue against what’s come out of our city. Speaking of—tell us about the artwork on your album. T: It’s hugely inspired by the artwork for the Olympics, the pictograms on sporting goods. We wanted it to be really simple, so Mike came up with the idea for that, and then we brought it to this guy that we were really a fan of, named Jonathon Zawada, he’s an Australian artist, and he did artwork for this group called the Presets that we went on tour with. He basically took this idea that we had, and turned it into something really beautiful. What’s it like touring with Toro y Moi? M: They’re the sweetest guys ever, it’s kind of amazing. It probably has to do something with the fact that they’re from the South, they’re just like generally very considerate and kind to us. T: Hospitable. Southern Hospitality, it’s real. M: Yea, I guess that’s part of it, but also they make great music. T: And we noticed when we first started hanging out with them that they kind of seemed like the same type of group of friends that we had when we were growing up, like a lot of our friends skated and they skate, and a lot of music they listened to, we listened to when we were kids. M: On just different sides of the country. T: Yea, just totally by straight chance and you think about people from places across the country that can be so different but really it’s just the same thing in different places, so we’ve gotten along really well. And they’ve been extremely cool to us. Yea, that sounds awesome. How did you get hooked up with them to start touring together? M: We had emailed back and forth with Chaz a couple of times, but then the guy that runs our label has also worked with Chaz and noticed he was doing a tour and he kind of landed us into the support spot. We thought it was a good chance to play some different audiences than the ones we’ve been exposed to, because we usually DJ clubs and the audiences that go to Chaz’s shows are usually concert-goers, so it seemed like a good spot. julie JARZEMSKY
KENDRICK LAMAR VS. THE WORLD: why he’s the greatest rapper alive (sorry Drake)
After selling 241,000 copies in the first week and eventually going platinum, continually gaining popularity off his good kid, m.A.A.d. City release, and becoming (an almost) household name, it’s clear nothing is stopping Kendrick Lamar. Discovered at the age of 16 by T.D.E., Kendrick had a series of releases announcing his dopeness with the E.P and O.D. (E.P.,O.D), imitating Dr. Dre’s the Chronic. He really burst out on the scene after the critically acclaimed Section.80, reached number 16 on the charts. Quickly after, Dr. Dre signed Kendrick to Aftermath Records, taking him on as his protégé. Along with the solo career, Black
Hippy, his rap group--consisting of Ab-Soul, Schoolboy-Q, and Jay Rock--may be the best group out there lyrically, beating out OFWGKTA and the A$AP Mob. While he may not always be releasing his own music, any song with a Kendrick feature is arguably the best song on the album. Prime examples include “Nosetaglia” off of Pusha T’s new release and “F**king Problems,” the A$AP Rocky single that also features 2 Chainz and Drake. His swagger is unmatched, especially in “F**king Problems.” He opens with “Yea hoe, this the finale;” an announcement that they saved the best for last. Kendrick Lamar is the best rap-
features per alive, solely based on the circles he runs around the game, lyrically. Probably the most well-known and most debated verse of Kendrick’s is on “Control,” the bonus song off of Big Sean’s Hall of Fame. He calls for other rappers to step up their rap game by threatening to murder them and “make sure their core fans never heard of their rhymes.” The direct threat is a change from rap culture or beefing subtly over a verse. Instead Kendrick just flat out tells it how it is, pronouncing himself as the best rapper alive, asking “who is tryna jump and get it?” The aftermath of “Control” has left several rappers firing shots back at the self-proclaimed leader of rap, some of which were clearly beneath Kendrick. This includes Meek Mill, a rapper that normally loves beef, but backed down before Halloween, proclaiming that the only challenger to Kendrick’s “Control” verse is Drake. Drake, fresh off his 3rd album release, Nothing Was the Same, has since publicly stated that he felt disrespected by Kendrick. He believes Kendrick is fake after writing “Control” and then having the relationship be “just love, so was that real or was it just for the people?” Drake would rather make “great music and bodies of work over being the talk of Twitter for five days.” In contrast, Nothing Was the Same nearly tripled first week of sales compared to G.K.M.C. with 658,000 units. Featuring club bangers like “Started from the Bottom” and hits like “Hold on, We’re Going Home”, Drake also takes the beef to a new level with “The Language.” “F**k any n**** that’s talkin’ that sh*t just to get a reaction, f**k going platinum, I looked at my wrist and it’s already platinum.” Although it does not directly mention Kendrick, many feel for obvious reasons this is a response to the “Control” verse. Although Kendrick and Drake may
be in the same genre and have very different aesthetic cultures, Kendrick is the better rapper and here’s why. Drake is a pop rapper: his two most critically acclaimed singles off of Nothing Was the Same are not rap songs. “Started from the Bottom” is straight pop with a catchy hook over a stacked beat. “Hold On, We’re Going Home” is an R&B style song to pay tribute to some of the greats. Pitchfork, in the review of Nothing Was the Same, says, “he’s the genre’s biggest current pop crossover star. Kanye has, for the moment, stepped out of the pop-radio wars, which means that Drake currently has no meaningful competition.” Like Kanye, Drake doesn’t see himself as a rapper, at least based on these standards. Emotionally, some may argue Drake is better than Kendrick, but what emotion does Drake ever reveal besides love lost or gained? Drake is always crooning about past relationship problems and about half his album is focused on his issues with females. Kendrick, however, demonstrates more emotional breadth. Kendrick made a song about the downside of alcohol use and it turned into a club banger. The critically acclaimed “Swimming Pools” portrays Kendrick’s views on the emotional danger of alcohol. Kendrick also paints a vivid portrait urban struggle on his Section.80 track, “Keisha Song,” as he describes to his little sister the hardship of a prostitute. After listening to these tracks, it’s clear that Kendrick’s upbringing was tough. Drake on the other hand suggests he “started from the bottom,” but having connections in the industry and starring on Degrassi does not help his claims. Lyrically, Kendrick is better than Drake. Kendrick’s overall flow is different with every song. He creates an infectious hook at times, like on “B**ch Don’t Kill My Vibe,” and breaks down a beat with a breathless fast flow. Kendrick presents
his music in story format. Written almost like a thesis, Kendrick Lamar dropped, “The Heart (Part 3)” before the release of g.k.M.C. challenging hip-hop society with the question “will you let hip-hop die on October 22nd?” g.k.M.C. listens like a book on tape describing his troubles with Sherane, to rapping in his backseat, to his experience smoking a laced blunt. All events lead up to the eventual death of a friend after trying to seek revenge on the people who set up Kendrick, and the real and religious experiences he finds in music after. However, Drake is also lyrically talented. Drake’s signature “migos” flow is found on the latest album several times and is a good change of a pace. Drake’s prominent mix of singing and rapping is highly present, but this limits his chances to lyrically out-perform Kendrick. Drake has to produce high quality rap lines in the 16-bars he puts out on a song, while still producing the pop superiority for which he is noted. It is tough for him in limited rapping settings to outduel a straight rapper like Kendrick Lamar, let alone paint a better picture. In terms of lyricism, Kendrick Lamar is Leonardo Da Vinci, while Drake is an Andy Warhol. ryan PERLIC
Yes, Miley Cyrus has done some obnoxiously provocative displays in recent months. Yes, Miley Cyrus has crossed boundaries that have been deemed as acceptable for what a “lady” to do. But no, Miley Cyrus is not a Disney pop star anymore, and why should she be held to such limiting standards?
Miley Cyrus is not getting D.W.I.’s. She is not going in and out of rehab. She is not smashing in cars with a baseball bats. She is not dating every other celebrity in Hollywood. What Miley Cyrus is doing is what countless female artists, performers, and activists have been trying to do over the past forty years: seizing control over their own sexuality. Female sexuality, a concept characterized by scandal, hypocrisy, and taboo, has largely been defined by society (whatever the hell that actually means) as something to be subdued and tamed to the extent that it does not even exist. Paradoxically, these same societal forces inconsistently promote both a sexualized and idealized, veiw of the female and her body to a point that has resulted in distorted expectations of how one should look and act, countless body image issues among women and girls, and an implanted belief that the female is somehow an inferior object to be used by the male. With contradictory expectations of the virgin and the vixen established for how a woman should behave, Miley Cyrus will receive criticisms for whatever identity she is forced to assume. However, Miley does not blindly assume either of these roles. She establishes her own form of sexuality, one that asserts itself in the realm of the vixen, but does not lend itself to objectification.. In her controversial music video for “Wrecking Ball,” Miley’s nudity and provocative acts seemingly portray a crude image, but actually strengthen the emotionally painful experience that the song and video aim to express. “Wrecking Ball” is a sentimental and down to earth portrayal of her heartbreak, revealing a side of Miley deeper than the common ‘party girl’ persona so evident in her other work. In the wake of her highly publicized breakup with Liam Hemsworth, the song captures the emotional struggle she experienced. And while Cyrus could have seized this opportunity to unashamedly bash her ex, like many other pop stars tend to do, she instead portrays an incredibly relatable experience in an impressively mature manner. The music video exemplifies the emotions and experiences of Cyrus. Her nudity alongside the bare, industrial environment is not meant to be sexual; rather, it demonstrates her stripped and vulnerable state, in a beautiful portrayal of love and loss. The remaining tracks from Cyrus’ latest album Bangerz continue to prove she can capture a wider range of genres than her previously associated Top 40/pop classification suggests. Cyrus’ uncompromising pursuit of originality verges on the realm of madness. The boldness of Bangerz that emerges has an instinct of profanity, rebellion, and undeniable personality. And people obviously like her music: she’s had multiple tracks top the Billboard Top 100 for consecutive weeks. Bangerz is by no means the best new pop album of the year, but it is fierce, catchy, and deserves the recognition it is receiving. ally JAGODZINSKI
Look at Miley Cyrus, all grown up and dancing on stage in her underwear.
Don’t worry: this isn’t going to be some slut-shaming piece on why Cyrus’ antics are “indecent,” or that she should “be more conservative in her wardrobe choices.” We’ll leave that to other critics… With popular culture’s obsession with celebrity mishaps and watching people spiral out of control, Miley Cyrus’ twoto-three year transition from Disney star to America’s Next Wild Child has enamored everyone, from paparazzi to entertainment journalists. After chopping off her hair, releasing songs telling the world that she can’t be tamed and likes to dance with molly, Cyrus has presented evidence that she wants to be treated like an adult because she is an adult. That’s all fine and good, and I’ll be the first person to congratulate her on her transition. Just look at Justin Bieber, who’s trying to do something similar, but instead acts like a petulant child, content to run around peeing in buckets and visiting Brazilian brothels (kids these days... am I right?) The one point that really does detract from her “REBELLIOUS SPIRIT!” attitude is her horrible appropriation of black culture.
and released it. Cyrus is just copying it, word for word, and calling it her own. Cyrus even went as far to tell the songwriters of her hit “We Can’t Stop” that, “I want something that feels black.” I’m sorry, what? It’s easy for Cyrus, a white woman from a privileged background, to assert her new musical styling as a change in direction for her music. However, this adoption of “hood” culture, which Cyrus has claimed her new music is channeling, is rather pretentious. Also, stop trying to make twerking your thing. It’s not. Twerking has been around since you were rocking the blonde wig and singing about the best of both worlds. While the song is catchy and fits well into pop’s current canon, the video for “We Can’t Stop” is deplorable and downright annoying. The video is a sensory overload of video clips that have been made into GIFs, condemned to replay for all eternity. Again, much like in her VMA performance, Cyrus uses black women as props—a second fiddle to her white friends and backup dancers. Cyrus’ actions are those of a privileged white girl who, trying on “black culture” for size, will just as soon discard it for the next outfit that catches her eye (we can only hope it’s not that skin tight beige two-piece from the VMAs again).
Cyrus, here’s a heads up: your act at the VMA’s wasn’t bad because you were ass-backwards against Robin Thicke—it Maybe, for all we know, she’ll stick with this look and style, stay with this new was because you used black people as musical direction, and become a rather props. interesting crossover artist. Most likely, though, she’ll switch it up on her next How much weed did you smoke to think that using black women as props album to generate more sales, more tweets and more controversy. (not backup dancers, these women would come on stage, be used for a gag, and then run off stage) was a smashing idea?
While some may argue that, “Well, Elvis and Led Zeppelin borrowed African American culture, so why can’t she do it?” Well, I’ll tell you why. Those artists’ borrowed musical styling and songs from black blues and soul singers, repackaged it with the band’s own sound
Cyrus is becoming the queen of taking dance moves or musical hooks from artists that have been doing for years. She isn’t revolutionary for her music or her crazy style or her response to critics about her personal life; she’s just like every other pop artist out there. conor MURPHY
OUT OF NOWHERE, LORDE BECAME A SUMMER SENSATION WHEN HER HIT “ROYALS” INVADED RADIO STATIONS ALL OVER THE WORLD, SELLING AN ASTOUNDING 2 MILLION SINGLES IN THE UNITED STATES ALONE. HER WILD SUCCESS WITH THE LOVE CLUB - EP AND “ROYALS” FUELED (AND PROBABLY FUNDED) HER FIRST FULL-LENGTH ALBUM, AN ATTEMPT THAT WAS RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER. PURE HEROINE DEBUTED AT #2 ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS AND WAS LAUDED BY BLOGS, MUSIC MAGAZINES, NEWSPAPERS, AND CELEBRITIES, RECEIVING SOME OF THE HIGHEST REVIEWS OF THE YEAR, AND TALK OF GRAMMY NOMINATIONS. DESPITE HER QUICK, YET DESERVED, SUCCESS WITH HER MUSIC, LORDE MADE SOME CONTROVERSIAL COMMENTS ABOUT OTHER ARTISTS IN THE SAME GENRE THAT SENT POP CULTURE INTO DEFENSE MODE. MANY BEGAN TO QUESTION LORDE’S ELITIST ATTITUDE AND WONDER IF THE HYPE SURROUNDING HER MUSIC AND HER DEMEANOR WILL LAST. BUT WE AT EMMIE THINK THAT LORDE IS GREAT…HERE ARE EIGHT REASONS WHY: (BUZZFEED-STYLE).
THE RISE OF [THE] LORDE 1. “ROYALS” HAS BEEN #1 ON THE BILLBOARD CHARTS FOR 5 WEEKS NOW (AS OF PRINT DATE ON NOVEMBER 8TH). Arguably the song of the summer, “Royals” has been on the charts for 17 weeks before finally reaching #1 on October 12th, and it was #3 for three weeks before that. She was also the first woman to top the alternative charts since 1996 and the youngest person in 26 years to top the charts. Did we mention she won the 2013 New Zealand Silver Scroll Award for songwriting?
an ‘e’ on the end! Some people think its religious, but its not,” Lorde told Interview magazine. She also turned down a profitable spot as the opening act for Katy Perry’s Prism world tour because “it didn’t feel right” and she wanted time to develop as an artist.
2. SHE JUST TURNED 17. Lorde was born in 1996, and while her hit is topping charts around the world, Lorde still has a year and a half of high school left. Lorde’s real name is Ella Yelich-O’Conner and she hails from New Zealand. She was just a normal girl in middle school when her manager discovered her at 12 from video of her performance at her school talent show. A year later, she was signed to Universal Music NZ; three years after that, she was signed to Lava Records in the United States. The rest is history.
4. HER LYRICS ARE INCREDIBLY DEEP FOR A 17 YEAR OLD, OR ANYONE IN GENERAL. If you haven’t taken the time to actually listen to “Royals,” then you really should ASAP. At first listen, the lyrics sound like any pop song, but when you listen closer, you notice her talking about the unrealistic lifestyle of the rich and famous. She wrote this song while listening to Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne and Lana Del Rey, hearing about vacationing in the Hamptons and driving expensive cars. “What really got me is this ridiculous, unrelatable, unattainable opulence that runs throughout. At the time, me and my friends were at some house party worrying about how to get home because we couldn’t afford a cab. This is our reality! If I write songs about anything else then I’m not writing anything that’s real.”
3. SHE HAS A VERY CLEAR ARTISTIC VISION. Everything from her name to her band is part of her vision. “When I was trying to come up with a stage name, I thought “Lord” was super rad, but really masculine – ever since I was a little kid, I have been really into royals and aristocracy. So to make Lord more feminine, I just put
5. SHE’S SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS AND BLATANTLY HONEST ABOUT IT. Lorde has been pretty outspoken about a few women in the pop industry and their effects on American culture. She said Taylor Swift “is so flawless, and so unattainable, and I don’t think its breeding anything good in young girls” and made comments about Selena Gomez’s song
“Come and Get it” in an interview with Rolling Stone. “I’m a feminist and the theme of her song is, ‘When you’re ready come and get it from me,’ I’m sick of women being portrayed this way.” When many artists in pop music stood up for Selena and Taylor, Lorde stood behind her comments because she didn’t care what people said. Now that’s pretty admirable. 6. HER HAIR IS AWESOME. Those perfect curls. Enough said. 7 HER PERFORMANCES ARE F**KING WEIRD. When she performs, it looks like she is having a seizure. The awesome, musical kind. Kanye West saw her perform and loved it, so therefore you should, too. Fingers crossed to seeing her at every major music festival next summer! 8. SHE’S NOT AFRAID TO BE DIFFERENT (SEE TENNIS COURT MUSIC VIDEO). Her black mesh shirt and ultra-dark lipstick make you want to be goth all over again, and you’ll forget you ever considered being Miley Cyrus for Halloween. megan OPPERMAN
One of the craziest metal instrumental groups out there, this will surely blow your mind and make you bust a move in the most unconventional sense possible j MCCRACKEN
freak nasty DO NOT GO GENTLY
ANIMALS AS LEADERS
TYLER THE CREATOR
M. I. A
With lyrics just barely filthier than the beats themselves, a rundown of Ms. Gordon’s night will leave you blushing but secretly loving it all the while. l MAGNANINI
J DILLA The title could not be more fitting. The scratching on the beat is top-notch, and Chuck D delivers bars with force.
government shutdown Politicians are always in for the biggest media show, and they sure got it. A song riddled with metaphors about our country’s economics and congressmen fully coincides with the current problems in our own government. Everyone says the House rigged the shutdown, so just burn em down! a GALLONI
P.O.S. is an amazingly intense and hard hitting rapper that makes you mad at all of the things we should be mad about. j MCCRACKEN
BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE
SHUT ‘EM DOWN PUBLIC ENEMY
WE DONT CARE
THEY DONT CARE ABOUT US
AINT NO REST FOR THE WICKED
CAGE THE ELEPHANT
One of the singles from Chromeo’s upcoming album: feel-good funky fresh j JARZEMSKY
Between the perplexing lyrics, harpsichord accompaniment, and the soothing vibes, this song is a great one to be listened to over a warm chai latte on a cold day. For a band that was originally known to play small gigs in coffee houses, they have now embodied the sound of such places with their newest album Modern Vampires of the City. a GALLONI
coffee shop CAR RADIO TWENTY ONE PILOTS
HANNAH HUNT VAMPIRE WEEKEND
ON TREES AND BIRDS AND FIRE I AM OAK
TAKE OFF YOUR COOL NORAH JONES FEAT. ANDRE 3000
I’LL TRY ANYTHING ONCE THE STROKES A humbling account of Robert Diggs’ childhood before he became the rapper/ producer, actor, author, and director we know as RZA a MAKHIBORODA
SWING LO MAGELLAN DIRTY PROJECTORS
STEP VAMPIRE WEEKEND
CALYPSO GOLD PRINCETON
EAST & YOUNG
RZA FT. ALLAH REAL & MASTA KILLA
HEAVY METAL HEART SKY FERREIRA
RED EYE KID CUDI FEAT. HAIM
OVER YOUR SHOULDER CHROMEO
3005 CHILDISH GAMBINO
SAFETY BRICKS KEVIN DREW
WHERE DAMAGE ISN’T ALREADY DONE THE RADIO DEPT
A dry-humored retelling of a gardening accident, this wittily-named song pairs well with a monday morning commute j JARZEMSKY
Milo’s one of the chillest and smartest rappers out there with lines about space and time followed by awkward attempts to write love songs; this will keep you thinking and grooving all day long j MCCRAKEN
MS MR 32
“Madison, we know how YOU do on a Sunday,” cried MS MR, barely audible over the buzzing, energetic crowd that gathered at the Majestic to catch a glimpse of indie’s hottest act of the moment. The New York duo, fresh off of the festival circuit and preparing to enter the Late Night talk show run, played an intimate and lively set, allowing the audience to see why the buzz keeps surrounding MS MR.
Indie buzz band MS MR banged out a set that left one fact undeniable: energy is contagious. Spunky, green-haired lead singer Lizzy Plapinger captivated and enlivened the audience with her constantly undulating hips and robust vocals. Not everyone can get a Sunday-night crowd dancing, but MS MR did it with ease by simply rocking out All eyes were locked on Lizzy Plapinger, lead singer, who is as hard themselves. Plapinger rotated between enigmatic and she is dynamic. With green hair that seems in- facing the rest of the band, dancing and destructible, skin-tight leather leggings, and a crop top riding coaxing them all into sync, and hanging right above her incredible abs, Plapinger combines tough girl over the crowd as she belted lyrics. Often with a sweet smile, radiating a fierce energy and confidence compared with Florence and the Machine, that is enviable. On songs like “Dark Doo Wop,” her voice MS MR combine Plapinger’s dusky vocal provides range, going quickly from powerfully intense to pain- melodies with rumbling drums, keys and fully gentle. “Head Is Not My Home” shows a sexier side, with guitar into infectious pop tunes. Lizzy gyrating out front and Max Hershberger pounding the keys in the background, throbbing like a beating heart. During Plapinger’s lyrics mirror her strong, edgy “Think of You,” the crowd moved just a little faster, with many presence on stage. “I still think of you and fists raised as members of the audience belted out the lyrics, all the shit you put me through, ” she sings “I know now, I know you were wrong.” MS MR taking note, in “Think of You,” announcing before the “I can see there’s a lot of you who’ve been hurt.” Pounding song that she knows some in the audience into the next ballad, the duo sparked a connection with the will relate. A high point in the show was audience that was sincere, a notion of palpable solidarity in the band’s rendition of LCD Soundsystem’s heartache. “Dance Urself Clean,” which displayed the band’s ability to succeed in sounds other With their melodic, Mozartlike synth bass combinations and than the somewhat monotonous material insightful lyrics, it’s amazing these two claim they fell into mu- on their first album. The band pulled off the sic pretty much by accident. MS MR is very much a marriage build-up that is paramount to the song in a of the elements, haunting and excitingly dark instrumentals way that would have made James Murphy with beautifully penned songs of love and loss. So much of the proud. concert was enjoyable because they seemed to be enjoying us as much as we were enjoying them. “We love Madison, we’ve The show was just fun to watch because the been here before— speaking of cheese curds…”, the two skin band was so clearly having a blast. Plalinger and bone New Yorkers joked about the fact they were denied burst into laughter at the end of every song the Wisconsin staple because the Old Fashioned was closed as applause flooded the Majestic, seemingly for a staff meeting (ugh, been there Lizzy). The fresh faced in shock at the fact her on-the-rise band band reppin’ indie-at-the-moment closed out with “Hurcould rouse a Sunday crowd to that level of ricane,” walking off the stage and leaving us feeling like the energy. room was still buzzing. julie JARZEMSKY livi MAGNANINI Immediately leaving, and days after, MS MR’s concert at the Majestic, three primary elements of the night overwhelmingly populated my mind: leather leggings, a cheetah print crop top, and the body wearing them. Not to disregard the music or the other members of the group, but the lead singer, Lizzy Plapinger, caught my attention and, I must say, I was majorly girl-crushing. Aside from her bold outfit, Lizzy, who consistently experiments with wild hair colors, was rocking a green do, and had an incredible spirit that simply radiated joy. Accompanied by her playful dance moves with a body that was fit as hell, Lizzy established an intriguing stage presence for herself and the rest of the group. Let’s not forget that there were other members to the group: producer, Max Hershenow (the Mr. of MS MR), plus two additional musicians on bass and drums. Max, likewise, had an energetic stage presence that reflected Lizzy well. However, the drummer and bassist went under my, and presumably everyone else’s, radar. The likeability of the MS MR duo only increased as Max described their simple
music-making beginning, when, crammed in a miniscule New York City apartment Lizzy “didn’t even realize she could sing.” With just one album, Secondhand Rapture, MS MR played a relatively short set that flew by. The darktinged dream pop performance had infectious allure through the combination of the atmospheric synth and soaring vocals, creating a BOY meets Florence Welch environment. The vibe varied from anthemic pop in “Think of You” to one of a haunting procession in “Dark Doo Wop” to an assertive powerhouse in “Heart is Not a Home.” Finishing the set with the dark, sexy “Hurricane,” MS MR ended on a definite high note that left the audience wanting more, evident by their denial of an encore because “they don’t do that.” ally JAGODZINSKI
If one thing was confirmed during the Vaccine’s floor-shaking performance at the Majestic on September 27th, it was that Americans will always be enchanted by British rock. Opening the show with their explosive song, “Blow It Up,” the Vaccines had every fan dancing. The crowd mirrored the band’s enthusiasm and within seconds of taking the stage it became very clear that the Vaccines love what they do.
VACCINES REVV UP THE MAGESTIC WITH THE LIVING STATUES
Frontman Justin Hayward-Young had no problem capturing the heart of every fan in the audience. If it wasn’t his New York Yankees shirt and blue jeans or the way he pronounced “Wisconsin” in his British accent, then it was the incredible energy he brought to every song. The Vaccines delivered a non-stop marathon of hits, performing “Teenage Icon,” “A Lack of Understanding,” and “Wetsuit” early in the set. They proceeded to cause an epidemic of dancing by performing “Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra),” “No Hope,” and “If You Wanna,” in what seemed like one, glorious breath. The British rockers closed their set with crowd favorites “I Always Knew,” and “Family Friend.” However, within seconds they were back on stage delivering “Bad Mood,” and a wild version of “Norgaard” that left the audience singing and practicing their British accents long after The Vaccines had left the stage.
However, the night would not have been nearly as praise-worthy without the opening act, The Living Statues. A rock and roll band with Midwestern roots, The Living Statues know how to build up a crowd. The quartet, fronted by Tommy Shears, performed an hour set which included crowd favorites such as “Our American Cousin,” “Not My Fault,” and “Stay in the States.” Guitarist John Sprangers and Tommy Shears, both UW-Madison graduates, knew what they had to do to give The Vaccines a Wisconsin welcome later in their set. When the Statues covered the Strokes’ “New York City Cops,” Shears challenged the audience to sing as loud as they could to “show [the Vaccines] that Badgers don’t fuck around.” As if the Statues didn’t have enough charm wearing matching suits and ties alone, the band’s chemistry on stage was endearing, especially when Shears introduced the other band members as his “best friends.” If the Vaccines and The Living Statues have one thing in common, it’s that they both epitomize modern rock and roll. With catchy melodies, edgy lyrics, and long hair it’s no wonder these two bands put on a memorable show. abbey SCHNEIDER
AOIFE O’ DONOVAN
bers can pursue individual projects- Fossils is Aoife’s project. It had been a long time dream to pursue a solo album, and Aoife’s hard work and talent have made it a reality. The album is excellent: the ultimate soundtrack to autumn. It’s a unique juxtaposition of folk and blues that is inarguably perfect for Aoife’s voice: at times peaceful, mournful, elated, or some combination of all three.
to the sett
The show was a wonderful experience, and the perfect performance to bring some warmth to a chilly October evening. As we enter pie season once again, I know what I’ll be listening to as cinnamon and nutmeg fill the air of my apartment: Fossils, Aoifie’s beautiful debut as a solo artist.
brings us home Apple pie. This was the first thought that came to mind
while listening to the lovely folk sound of Aoife O’Donovan performing at the Sett in Union South. Her down to earth personality and “country-home” feel were inarguably reminiscent of the Americana warmth that exudes from a slice of fresh apple pie, à la mode, on a crisp autumn evening.
Kristen Andreasson began the show with quirky flair. Andressen kept the audience engaged with comical songs about wolverines and Krispy Kreme doughnuts, sung in a deep alto tone, and an upbeat acapella-tap performance. Kristen provided an extremely entertaining musical introduction for Aoife, and later she’d return to the stage singing backup vocals. Immediately drawing in the audience with her soft-spoken, modest persona, Aoife kicked off the show with one of her most well known songs, “Lay My Burden Down.” Artfully melding her beautifully soothing voice with bluesy-folk electric guitar and an upright bass to carry the beat along, Aoife set the bar high for the rest of her show-and she certainly didn’t disappoint Transitioning from the soft folk of “Red & White & Blue & Gold” to the more upbeat “Thursday’s Child,” Aoife’s soft, crooning voice proved to be perfect for her traditional genre. Contrasting her folk tunes with more sensual ‘bluesy’ songs, such as “My Baby’s Got a Diamond in His Hand,” Aoife’s show demonstrated her impressive range as an artist, while also providing a comfy, down home feel. Supplementing her musical style with her cheerful, funny personality, Aoife regaled the audience with comical stories between tracks. Tales of Bluegrass festivals, musical misadventures, and the group’s last trip to Madison provided humorous interlude between Aoife’s songs, and filled the room with both laughter and applause. The majority of the songs Aoife performed live are also featured on her debut album, Fossils, which just dropped in June. Prior to her solo album release, Aoife had been a band member (and co-founder) of Crooked Still and Sometimes Why. These bands have taken a temporary hiatus so mem-
VOLCANO CHOIR at the orpheum
Volcanoes: they’re often formed on the borders between oceanic and continental plates. When the two converge—as they so often do in Hawaii (uh-oh!)—the oceanic plate subducts under the continental plate, and magma from the earth’s upper mantle rises up and into newly molded mountainous ridge. But enough about the Geology 100 homework I’ve shamelessly enlisted as a cheap segue into this article! Let’s talk about Volcano Choir, who “erupted” and unleashed a “magma” of “rock” and roll (can’t think of a pun for “roll”) into a head-nodding/slightly dancing crowd at the Orpheum last Saturday. Volcano Choir is yet another one of Justin Vernon’s numerous side projects. Vernon rose to indie-folk fame (does that exist?
Evidently it does) after hibernating in a remote cabin following a particularly rough break-up. While there, he wrote some sad songs. Really sad songs, in fact, which he made sadder by singing in the strongest weakest falsetto anyone had ever heard come from a man with a full beard and closet-full of heavy flannel shirts. For Emma, Forever Ago, was the most melancholy folk album of the millennium (so far). To this day, whenever I hear “Skinny Love” or “Re: Stacks”, my chest tightens; a glob of sorrow lodges itself under my Adam’s apple; embryos of tears pierce the back of my eyeballs. And I think back to that winter Junior year of high school, the snow on the ground like blinding-white drapes closing in fast on my memory, my teeth cold and naked from a recent braces removal, and most of all my first girlfriend—curly-haired
and slightly bug-eyed—our budding relationship cut short by rather brash judgments regarding her excessive activity on Facebook, and her fastidious relationship with my mother. But I digress….Vernon’s second album, selftitled Bon Iver, was a departure from the skeletal vulnerability of his first: a fuller, more lush folk-rock album (four band members to nine, at least on stage), that still showed glimpses of the Vernon we knew and love from For Emma (songs like “Holocene), and yet surprised us with its contrast (see: “Beth/Rest: the 80’sesque ballad at the end of the album). Volcano Choir, Vernon’s more experimental collaboration with Collections of Colonies of Bees, saw the Wisconsinite slinking back into the margins of the music scene. Their debut, Unmap, seemed as much defined by its sound as its silence. Many of the songs were instrumental, and when the ones that did have vocal were unorthodox, even by Vernon’s standards. (Dare I say, “unmapped.”) Volcano Choir’s show at the Orpheum mostly
highlighted their sophomore effort, Repave, which, like Bon Iver to For Emma, Forever Ago, serves as a more fleshed out version of Unmap. Taking the stage, Vernon looked more like a conductor than a member of the band itself. He stood front and center, behind a podium on which rested a device that looked like an iPad (and probably was—though I’d like to give him the benefit of the doubt). Surrounding him were the members of Collections of Colonies of Bees, one of whom looked like a slightly less Jewish version of Bill Maher. Vernon himself did not pick up an entire instrument the entire show, though he did provide the lead vocals on most songs, this time with the falsetto-less full-belly voice featured on Bon Iver. The band played “Island, Is” rather early in the show—perhaps first or second—which was somewhat surprising, as it is easily their most popular song (at least off the first album). Other highlights included “Dancepack”, which opens with the same exploratory-type riff as “Perth” does to open Bon Iver. If nothing else, “Dancepack” signifies a grand departure from Unmap—it is, in essence, a rocky Bon Iver song, tweaked by the atmospheric effects of
Collection of Colonies of Bees. And it is a particularly good song, especially for people like me who were worried the concert would be a snore. With the repeating lyric, “Take note, there’s a hole in your heart” and a fast, steady beat, “Dancepack” was a song the audience could bang their heads too, however moodily. Another highlight was “Byegone”, which seems to be the single off Repave. “Byegone” is a little slower, a bit more ballad-y, but culminates in a nice build, followed by a strong crescendo. Vernon, to his credit, really lets go here; his voice, at the chorus, is looser than usual, more unraveled. The band closed with a rendition of “Woods,” a song off of Bon Iver’s EP, famously sampled by Kanye West in My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With the band roaring behind him, “Woods” proved to be a good closer—particularly for those hoping to hear at least one Bon Iver song so they’d have an excuse to launch into a confessional digression on high-school romance indisputably unfit for Emmie articles. sam EICHNER
photo from legendsarising.com
FORGET NOT YOUR FIRST LOVE:
THE JOURNEY TO THE CHARIOT’S FAREWELL SHOW Chaotic math-core giant, The Chariot, have decided to call it quits. Their announcement of a farewell tour sparked thousands of upset fans searching for a reason to explain why their ten-year campaign was closing. The only response they found was the band’s reminder that “All’s Well That End’s Well.” Once I heard the news, I knew I couldn’t miss out on the chance to see one of my favorite and most inspiring bands live for the last time. Fast forward to the weekend of October 26th. I arrived at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago extremely early for the show to secure a spot in the front row, and was fortunate enough to be greeted by The Chariot’s vocalist and their guitarist while waiting in line. The guys were very down to earth and just as nervous and excited for the night as I was. Once the doors opened and our tickets were checked, the show started, for the last time. The Chariot’s final show in Chicago started with four opening bands, with the only notable group performing last. Glass Cloud, an intense progressive metal band with syncopated rhythms and backbreaking guitars riffs, took the stage and blew away the crowd through their epic metal experience. Playing songs off of their new release “Perfect War Forever”, they shook the entire room and kept the energy high for the headliners of the tour. Finally, The Chariot stormed the stage, playing songs from their most recent album, One Wing. The room
was full of noise and a very chaotic sense of urgency as everyone screamed the words to every song. The Chariot ran through their set playing fan favorites from all five of their albums, and even playing songs they haven’t played in years. Near the end of their set, they played the song “The Heavens,” a personal favorite of mine, off their inspiring album, Long Live. The song started with a hollow, repetitive beating of the drums. This booming call filled the ears of everyone in the crowd as they started chanting “Long Live The Chariot!” and it served as a heartfelt salute from front-man Josh Scogin to his Chicago-based fans. Their last song, ”Back to Back/The Deaf Policeman” came and the opening line hit everyone in the chest as they were reminded, “This is the last chance you’ve got!” The entire place lit up, bodies were jumping everywhere, and punches and were being thrown. In the middle of their last song, The Chariot’s drummer took half of his drum set off the stage, handed it to the crowd, and let them play with him as they finished out the night. After an hour or more of blood, sweat, and mostly tears, The Chariot had played in Chicago for the last time. Thank you, The Chariot. Thank you for these past years, and every song and show I’ve ever screamed my guts out too. You will never be replaced. Long Live. jon MCCRACKEN
unknown mortal orchestra at the frequency
One million, one-hundred and forty-nine thousand, five-hundred fifty-four.
That’s the number of plays Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s most popular song, “So Good at Being in Trouble” has on Spotify. This lazily romantic song showcases UMO’s raw, grainy vocals and simple baselines. They achieve this effect by self-recording all of their songs in a basement, using a collection of tape recorders, old 70’s mixers and ProTools on a laptop. I was eager to see how this self-recorded sound translated to the stage at UMO’s show at the Frequency and was pleasantly surprised to see a completely different side of the band during their performance. While some bands stick strictly to the album material, playing their recorded tracks verbatim, UMO
meandered through drawn-out transitions from one song to the next, mostly featuring guitar solos by lead singer and guitar player, Ruban Nielson. The end of the hit song, “How Can you Luv Me,” from their first, self-titled album whirled into a chaotic, cosmic mix of fuzzy noise, building suspense for the next song and displaying the band’s experimental side that you don’t see in their recordings. Nielson sang into a microphone that distorted his voice, making it sound like a 40’s jazz singer with a throaty, crackly voice. This sound was different than his voice on the album, and the twists the band threw on their songs gave the audience a novel version of their songs that can only be experienced live. Despite Nielson’s incredible technical talent on the guitar and the flexible and the exciting structure of the show, the band was humble and seemed unaccustomed to praise on stage. “Wow, you guys ever practice?” someone yelled sarcastically during a break in songs. Nielson responded with a nervous glance towards bassist Jake Portrait, muttered a “thank you” and moved on. Portrait and the drummer of UMO, Riley Geare, sat in the shadows for most of the show, and at points, even Nielson backed away from the sole spotlight at the front of the stage. Portrait sat on the amp on the very edge of the stage, looking laidback as if he were playing in his living room. Nielson seemed more inclined to communicate with the audience via his guitar than by his voice.
However, he gracefully created a dialogue between himself and the crowd, strumming in syncopation with the clapping and forming his guitar solo around the audience-made beat. When UMO finished the last song of their set, the crowd was not going to let them escape without playing an encore. Nielson reappeared to perform “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” solo, finger-picking and softly singing into the mic. The atmosphere he created was intimate, but I had to smile to myself while watching, having just seen the cute and campy music video for the song. Before playing one last cover song, the band satisfied my craving and played their most popular tune, “So Good at Being in Trouble.” In their hit, Nielson sings about longing for a girl he’s lonely without, but who is “so good at being in trouble, and so bad at being in love.” The microphone, again, filtered Nielson’s voice, making the slowpaced and painful lyrics even more soulful. The way he croons about the girl made you want to be this heartbreaker, who lives too fast to fall in love. The song deserves the million+ listens it has on Spotify, and the novel touches the band throws into their shows makes them a live act worth seeing. Pretty soon this band will have to get used the idea that they are simply a “Mortal Orchestra,” who are bound to draw crowds who appreciate their technical skill and unique live performance structure. julie JARZEMSKY
When the audience started to clap on the rhythm of “Ffluffy Friends,” completely unprompted by the band, Nielson again glanced at Portrait, seemingly unsure of how to respond.
the crowd began to shift about to obtain the perfect view of Phoenix, especially lead singer Thomas Mars who is known to be quite the performer. Then the room went black, and all of a sudden you hear the Asian influenced opening of “Entertainment” off their new album Bankrupt!, and the band begins to rock out.
PHOENIX LIGHTS UP ARAGON IN CHICAGO Walking into Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom Saturday, September 28, I was once again blown away. A venue I had attended a number of shows at in high school still struck me with surprise in its dreamy, mystical feel of Europe at night between the constellations swirled on the ceiling and the room’s architecture, similar to that of a old village in Spain. Consequently, it seemed to be the perfect venue for Phoenix. Opening for them was The Vaccines, a band I was semi-familiar with before the concert, who put on a fairly good show. Their English Indie post-punk style really had the crowd dancing and pumped up with hits such as “Wreckin’ Bar (ra ra ra),” “If You Wanna,” “Blow It Up,” and “Norgaard.” Once they finished,
With the crowd jumping like crazy, Phoenix nicely transitioned from album to album going on to “Lasso” and “Lisztomania” from Wolfgang Amadeus (2009), and then even further back to “Long Distance Call” and “Rally” from their earlier album It’s Never Been Like That (2006). They never once stopped playing, which made the show feel more like a really organized jam-sesh than anything. It especially felt like this when the band mixed together “Bankrupt!” and “Love Like a Sunset” in what they have deemed to be called, “Sunskrupt!” The two songs, both intensely instrumental, made a perfect match. Beginning with a chaotic melody of electronic buildup that is “Love Like a Sunset,” the band then quickly jumped to the techno-euro rhythms of “Bankrupt!” Accompanied by a purely crazy light show, the band kept a steady jam going until they decided to switch back to the conclusion of “Love Like a Sunset.” At this point, the entire crowd was overcome with silence in response to the strong feelings of utter beauty and emotion within the music. After this, Phoenix returned to hits such as “Consolation Prizes” and “1901,” to which the crowd loudly shouted aloud with the “hey hey hey hey’s.” Then Mars decided to get rowdy. With playing “If I Ever Feel” and “Countdown,” he was nowhere to be found until people spotted him on the second floor balcony serenading onlookers. As if this didn’t raise the energy enough, Phoenix came into full circle by ending the concert with “Entertainment,” with even more energy than they had begun with. While the band rocked out onstage, lights flashing, fake money falling from the ceiling, Mars decided to pull another stunt and leapt into the crowd. With the conclusion of the show, energy incredibly high in the Aragon, Phoenix said their good-byes and walked offstage. As the lights turned on, everyone became quite confused that it was actually over. The people were ready for an encore, but apparently Phoenix had expended too much energy for such events. Irregardless of the disappointing lack of an encore, it was a remarkable show. Being able to rock out with true musicians (which can be fairly hard to come by these days) was an amazing experience. As they continue to astound their fans with innovative and creative new sounds at the peak of their career, hopefully this is not the last we have heard from these French revolutionaries. alyssa GALLONI
OH LAND: THE RENAISSANCE GIRL Were living in an age where ladies are finally the rockstars. Adele, Beyonce, Lorde— from big name powerhouses to indie breakthroughs, the list goes on and on. Affirmed by her stellar show Tuesday night, Oh Land, or Nanna Øland Fabricus, is certainly no exception to the rule. On tour in support of her recently released third album, Wishbone, Oh Land stopped in Madison where she danced around wearing a badger on her head, received marriage proposals, and gave a magnetic performance.
stranger songs on her new album, she came out bopping around armed with a megaphone, rapping over rock sounds flaunting her ripped stomach looking like a Danish Gwen Stefani. She quickly transitions to her new single, the pop perfect, rhythm intense “Renaissance Girl,” not too far off from the swagger of “Hollaback Girl,” but with a clever feminist message; “I can be an artist sculpting your face like you always wanted/Making you believe it’s just how I saw it/It’s logic for a renaissance girl.”
Taking the stage in a cropped top, harem pants, and a huge statement necklace, the fabulous Oh Land somehow packed all the biggest European clothing trends into one and somehow, pulled it off. With her soft lavender hair, opulent complexion and bizarre outfit choices, her look gives as much character to her songs as the music itself. The fine-featured Scandinavian songstress is all light— with all the elegance and grace that a former ballerina would possess, mixed with the punky eccentric energy of her adopted Brooklyn. Although she drew us in initially with her charming, light pop in songs like “Son of a Gun” and “White Nights,” her third time around Oh Land is becoming more daring and experimental, evident in the songs she performed Tuesday night.
Channeling that energy and intensity, she was able to flawlessly transition into soft ballads like “Sleepy Town,” penned about leaving her small hometown in Denmark to pursue music at age 15. Her expression was just as moving as her crystal clear vocals, which seemed to fill the space of the Majestic perfectly, making it all the more intimate and powerful. She ended the night with the best rendition of “Son of a Gun” imaginable, starting out light and soft and building up into an unstoppable dance party on and off stage, the true combination of light and dark.
Oh Land seems to be balancing between soft and hard, loud and quiet, dark and light. The entire night was a switch between these two types of songs: her upbeat jams where she is confident and commanding, becoming her own hype woman, and then when she becomes quiet and unassuming, serenading the audience on the piano with her soft crooning vocals. On “Boxer,” one of the
Quickly following in her encore, “Love You Better,” she showcased one last power ballad where her voice became the sole performer, stripped down completely— clear as cold water. But then she was back to her eccentric, energetic self, yodeling her final encore of “White Nights” with the help of the audience, turning something dark into light, or light back into dark, depending on her persuasion. livi MAGNANINI
HANK WILLIAMS III AT THE BARRYMORE Anyone who says that country is dead has clearly not been to a Hank Williams III show. For that matter, anyone who says punk, stoner doom, or thrash metal is dead has also not been to a Hank Williams III show. Williams put on one of the best and most interesting shows that I’ve ever seen. Clocking in at well over four hours, it was also one of the longest concerts I’ve been to. Williams had no opener and started playing right on time. The crowd that packed in was a mix of south’s-gonna-do-it-again hellbilly rebels and some older folks who were probably fans of Williams’ granddaddy. It would be safe to say that Williams attracted the most beards, beerbellies, and black biker vests I’ve seen on this side of the Mason-Dixon line. The show opened with the foot-stompin’ “Crazed Country Rebel,” a booze-soaked, classic country tune about drifting around the country while stoned, drunk, and tripping on all sorts of uppers and downers. Most of Williams’ songs are about what any true country song is: getting drunk and having a damn good time. Playing his classics like “Smoke and Wine,” “Gettin’ Drunk & Fallin’ Down,” “Thrown Out of the Bar,” and “Six Pack of Beer,” Williams has no problem admitting that he likes to get wasted and have fun. His musical support also provided some off the finest chicken-pickin’ banjo, whinin’ fiddle, cryin’ lap steel, thumpin’ bass, and poundin’ drums that I’ve seen in any modern country band. Amongst Williams’ fans, it is well known that he has never liked cookie-cutter Nashville country and outwardly condemns it for ruining real country music. As he sings that he’d, “rather eat the barrel of a double-barrel loaded shotgun / than to hear that shit they call popcountry music,” Williams displays his strong contempt for the establishment. A simple, yet profound display of Williams’ rebel attitude can be seen in the “FUCK” sticker stuck on the front of his acoustic guitar. Regardless of his father’s advice, Williams shows that in country music you can, indeed use the “F-word.” As a fan of true country music, it was refreshing to see such a loyal fan
base showing support for Williams and his never faltering country style. As the great Waylon Jennings told us how “Nashville’s got too rich to sing the blues / they’ve traded in their cowboy boots for high-heeled Gucci shoes,” I think that if Hank Sr. could see his grandson now, he would be proud of him for carrying on the family tradition in today’s highly polished country music industry. With a strikingly similar thin body type and crooning country vocal style, Williams paid a hauntingly reminiscent tribute to his granddaddy
“IT WOULD BE SAFE TO SAY THAT WILLIAMS ATTRACTED THE MOST BEARDS,BEER BELLIES, AND BLACK BIKER VESTS I’VE SEEN ON THIS SIDE OF THE MASON DIXON LINE.” by playing the last song the country legend released in his lifetime, ironically titled “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” Meant to be a tongue-in-cheek story of Hank Sr.’s own struggles, the song only added to the legend of the country star as it was peaking on the billboard charts at the same time he died in the back of his car on a snowy New Year’s Day while traveling to a concert. Along with playing some of his classics including “Country Heroes,” “Pills I Took (Those Poor Bastards cover),” “D Ray White,” and “Dick in Dixie,” Williams also gave the audience a sample of some of his new material off his latest album, Brothers of the 4x4. Staying true to its redneck roots, Brothers of the 4x4 will not disappoint fans of true country.
As the concert went on and the music became progressively heavier, Williams gave the audience a taste of some of his other projects. After losing his cowboy hat and vest, he then switched to his hardcore punk project, A Fiendish Threat. Armed with a distorted acoustic guitar and backed by drums and the same upright bass player, Williams gave a sample of some Misfits-esque cowpunk. During the first song, he broke a guitar string but kept pounding straight through the set without stopping to get a new guitar. The third act of the night, Hank III’s Attention Deficit Domination, brought the sludge with some evil stonerdoom metal. To set the mood, the house lights turned off and eerie green lights now bathed the stage. After undoing his pony-tail to allow for proper head banging, Williams came back onto the stage ready to kick some ass. A.D.D. was accompanied by the screening of Tribulation 99: American Anomalies Across America, a spoof sci-fi film about aliens who came to planet Earth in the year 1000 and now wreak havoc on the United States. It was an interesting movie to say the least, but fit quite well with the beefy riffs and distorted vocals. At the end of A.D.D.’s set, the concert had been going on for about three and a half hours and Williams had not yet taken any breaks. I thought that the concert must be over now, but he returned yet again with his thrash metal band, 3 Bar Ranch. With his face now covered by a bandana and donning a cowboy hat and black metal shoulder spike gear, 3 Bar Ranch delivered what has been dubbed “cattlecore,” a mix of speed metal riffs and blast beat drumming accompanied by the incredibly fast speaking of auctioneers raffling off cattle. At this point in the concert, a large portion of the audience had cleared out leaving only the hardcore fans. 3 Bar Ranch’s music is a bit of an acquired taste even for metal fans, but was a solid set with some wicked heavy riffs and drumming. Overall, Hank Williams III put on an excellent show that was definitely worth the money as fans got over four hours of his music. For any fans of classic country or metal, I highly recommend going to a Hank III show sometime. james STRELOW
You don’t need me to tell you that Madison goes all out for Halloween. It has become a sacred night in local culture, and when choosing to see a show on the one night a year when every Madisonian is obligated to have fun, there’s a lot of pressure for it to be worth it. Walk The Moon delivered a killer performance that had the crowd of spooky concertgoers jumping up, down, left, right, and grinning from ear to ear.
WALK THE MOON’S HALLOWEEN AT THE BARRYMORE
First, came indie pop band Smallpools, who played a short yet fun set that got the ball rolling for the rest of the night. Southern Californian 8-person alternative band The Mowgli’s was next, and they spread the love with their catchy, hippie-esque rock tunes. Both openers took the opportunity to dress up for Halloween, and they seemed amused at some of the more eccentrically dressed attendees, with The Mowgli’s even pointing out an impressive unicorn costume in the front row. Then, with cheerful smiles on their painted faces, Walk The Moon opened their set with “Next In Line.” The already excited crowd erupted into song with them, and the high-spirited dance-y atmosphere only intensified as the night went on. There was a sense of lively camaraderie among the audience as everyone danced and sang along throughout the show. The set list, which was scrawled whimsically on paper plates, included well-known Walk The Moon jams like “Tightrope”, “Shiver Shiver” and “I Can Lift A Car”. During their slow ballad “iScariot”, a magical, almost religious atmosphere filled the Barrymore. They also played some newer music, which was all very well received by the enthusiastic audience. Not only was this the Halloween show, but it was also the last show of Walk The Moon’s fall tour. This meant an impromptu visit from the opening bands during Walk The Moon’s standout, explosive hit “Anna Sun.” The wild crowd somehow got wilder as The Mowgli’s and Smallpools, still in their costumes, raided the stage and danced with Walk The Moon. Lots of crowd surfing, high-fiving, and cheering ensued from the surprise visit. For their encore, Walk The Moon came back dressed as the new wave 80’s band, Devo, and sang “Whip It.” They followed Devo’s cover by their own song “Jenny,” and it was downright impossible to not have fun at this point. I even saw a chaperone dad crack a genuine smile. At the end of the night, Walk The Moon walked off the stage and left everyone in the audience feeling like they’d just kicked Halloween’s ass. becca MELDMAN
OF MONTREAL GETS WEIRD ON ALL HALLOW’S EVE Stuffed tighty-whities, granny bras, kneehigh socks, and long balloon (condomlike) hats plunging straight to the celling sum up the immediate image of Madison’s true Freak Fest this year. The night of October 31, the Majestic Theatre was packed with people dressed in costumes ranging from the funny and creative to the semidisturbing. Clearly, everyone was ready to get weird, and Of Montreal definitely brought the party to them. Opening the night with La Luz mainly kept the crowd busy and attentive. With their more relaxed vibes and “surf-rock” sound, one could say they were not the absolute perfect match for Of Montreal. Nonetheless, they played a good, but rather mellow, set, preparing the audience for some crazy things to happen next.
The entirety of Of Montreal followed in a whirlwind. They opened with a teaser of “Girl Named Hello,” and swiftly moved into “Triumph of Disintegration,” a song from their latest album Lousy with Sylvianbriar. Definitely a more easygoing song of theirs, as is the a lot of their newer work, I became a little concerned that the show would end up being an entire promotion of their new album. While they definitely did play a great deal of these newer tracks, they intertwined a few of their kooky oldies. Throughout the night they played songs like “For Our Elegant Caste,” “Oslo in the Summertime,” and “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse,” all strong show pleasers with their far-out sounds and risque lyrics. They also played the perfect song for the holiday: “Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games),” to which the crowd went absolutely crazy, dancing about and shouting along in what was quite the bizarre celebration. This definitely was one of the highest energy moments of the night. It got me wishing they had played more from older albums like Satanic Panic in the Attic (2004) and The Sunlandic Twins (2005), both great albums of upbeat tunes that would been better suited to the night’s atmosphere.
As the night reared to an end, lead singer Kevin Barnes was raised up in an angeliclike costume that was adorned with trippy, colorful lights as they performed the conclusion of their set. Barnes proceeded to rip off his bra and jump around stage in the bands performance of “She’s a Rejecter.” With that, they exited the stage and left the audience ringing with high energy. Before long, the band came back out, covered in fake blood, and ready for one last kick of the night. They started off with a little sing-a-long of “Don’t f*ck the candyman, he’ll get mad, and you’ll get stabbed…,” which got everybody pretty giddy. Then they moved to playing “Gronlandic Edit,” and concluded the night with “Requiem for O.M.M.2,” a song that has always been a major hit. It was a great ending to a night of interesting costumes, trippy music, and getting weird. The eclectic style and effects that Of Montreal incorporated into their show provided a perfectly funky way to celebrate the spookiest holiday of the year. allysa GALLONI
TWO DOOR CINEMA CLUB
AT THE RIVERSIDE I have been a huge fan of Two Door Cinema Club for years, so when they announced a Chicago date on their North American tour on a Saturday, it wasn’t a question of if I was going, it was a question of how I was going to get there. Four months later, I found myself road-tripping to Chicago for the day with a couple of fellow Two Door fans for the show at the Riviera Theatre. The sold out show began with Peace, an English indie-rock band that looked a lot like the Rolling Stones circa 1965. Despite their ‘hair band’ appearance, they were surprisingly good, playing music off of their combined EP and debut album, In Love. Peace played all four of their singles off their album plus a few more from their album, the highlight being their closing song, “Lovesick.” Their sound was reminiscent of Two Door Cinema Club’s with a steady drum, random guitar rifts, a strong base, and lots of keyboard. Second up was St. Lucia. They had a large fan base at the show, many people flocking to see their array of Hawaiian shirts and hear music from their very recent debut album, When the Night. St. Lucia was very vested in the crowd, asking them to help sing along in multiple songs like their hits, “All Eyes on You,” “Elevate,” “Closer
Than This,” and “September.” Their 11song set, plus a short encore, seemed to drag on as the crowd eagerly awaited Two Door Cinema Club’s performance. Though St. Lucia was entertaining and put on a good show, their performance was nothing in comparison to the show the headliners were about to put on. At last, Two Door Cinema Club ascended to the stage, wine glasses in hand, starting their set with their first single “Sleep Alone” from Beacon. The band has accumulated quite the following after the wild success of their first album, Tourist History, and their lack of appearances in the United States makes the show even more worth it to attend. The energy of the crowd was almost indescribable as all attention was focused forward on the stage and the smooth vocals of lead singer, Alex Trimble. They continued the show with all of their hits like “Undercover Martyn,” “I Can Talk,” “Sun,” “Next Year,” and “Something Good Can Work,” plus a majority of songs from Tourist History and Beacon, as well as my personal favorite, the new single off of their Changing of the Seasons EP, released in late September. Despite playing the same exact set-list for every show, they managed to keep interest and energy levels high with themselves
and the crowd. TDCC had little crowd interaction, instead jumping from song to song, something that I surprisingly preferred. It gave them the opportunity to play more songs, instead of wasting time telling the crowd the same clichés we hear from every other band. Probably one of the most impressive parts of the performance was the light show behind the band. There were constantly sunrise-like spotlights, blue and purple hues swarming the stage, an occasional strobe light, and a screen that flashed “oh’s” and “ah’s” to “I Can Talk.” Though TDCC has yet to make a bad song, the lights added the little “oomph” needed to turn their two albums into a great live show. When their set ended, they were quickly called back on stage by the overwhelming excitement of the crowd to play a short encore. TDCC ended their incredible show with, arguably, the best songs off of Tourist History, “Cigarettes in the Theatre” and “What You Know.” With the final beat of “What You Know,” the show ended. Though it was a sad moment to see TDCC walk off the stage after waiting years see them, I couldn’t think of anything more worth a road trip to Chicago than the show I had just experienced. megan OPPERMAN
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE AT THE ORPHEUM I want to talk about beer for a second. Never have I walked into a show and had a more pleasant experience buying a beer. No line, no pushing, no asshole spilling on me and doing the whole drunk guy apology thing. Like seriously I don’t need your undying bond that you’ll wash it out. I simply waited behind a couple polite, modestly dressed dudes who even reminded me of my change that I forgot on the bar. Just a lovely experience. Now to address the obvious: everyone’s on drugs. It’s out in the universe, it’s mostly true, and now we can move on. That being said, the experience of an Animal Collective concert is largely underlined by that fact; not because it is a hotspot for seedy underground interaction – actually not at all. The whole production, in general, merely promoted introspection; polite, overwhelming introspection. From the beginning there were no direct addresses to the audience or even a little “hey how are ya?” (which, jeez, is just the worst). Instead they entered right into the set and didn’t skip a beat until the end. They didn’t bring you on an intimate journey with them as they did with yourself. The set design, in particular, was not insignificant in this sense either. Behind the four piece set stood a billowing arch covered by a radically elementary design. Once you looked at it, the simplicity of it, it was actually fascinating. It was as though they made a segmented design, filling in large squares with a washable marker. I’m talking Crayola, mandatory for first grade, thick marker. The contour of the lines had the effect – and I know everyone knows about this – where you would lay down a thick line and then layer over it, darkening the shade of the marker. More than once I heard side comments between friends remarking “that thing looks like, like some one colored it right?” I knew I was onto something when almost everyone noticed, “it’s like those, like markers you used as a kid,” “Yeah man!”
Yeah man is right. Aside from observations like these, the crowd remained relatively still and, from what I can presume, were recalling those days of coloring while entranced by the elongated takes of nearly indistinguishable records. Even throughout the more rambunctious songs, the floor moved in a seemingly constrained unison of head nods and powersways (you know, those). The tunes were enjoyed within the personal sphere of each audience member, interacting only to exchange knowing smiles to buddies with a “that was tight” glance. The melodic jams featured on Meriwether Post-Pavilion merited not a small number of such glances. More than anything these tunes like “My Girls” and “Brother Sport” made you feel like a little kid in the same way as the set design. You could dance around to distorted melodies and recollect those days when you wielded a Crayola like a coloring frickin’ gunslinger. You weren’t there feeling intimacy towards anyone so much as you are with yourself. They’re fun – and you could, again, feel sentiments that brought you back to a place within that’s just as fun. They yell and scream and play real loud making all sorts of goofy noises. They elongate the tracks far past the point of necessity. It’s as if Mom and Dad aren’t around so everyone mildly bounces around until we hit that point where we’re kind of tired ourselves. We’ve played and danced and then hit the threshold where that kind of fun is overcome by a necessity to, well, do something else. At that point there was an overwhelming tone among all that they had been spent. Fun had been had, and each well-behaved member of the audience seemed satisfied. There were no shouts or chants after they left the stage, desperately calling for more. Everyone simply left because it just felt like time. As the mass filed out, those satisfied faces turned to their buds, reflecting knowing glances and courteously re-entering the streets. sean MANNION photos by ali GRIMES
at the majestic
Deer Tick front-man John McCauley has had a difficult time separating himself from the word dick. For starters, there was the time that he allegedly got naked on stage during a 2011 performance at the Majestic Theatre in Madison and played the guitar with his dick (I cannot personally attest to this as I was not there, but numerous Madison folk have brought it up in conversations about Deer Tick). There’s the time my mother made the Freudian slip of calling his band, “Teer Dick.” And then there’s the fact that the paragon of music moralism, Pitchfork, has deemed McCauley to be a dick. Two out of three of these examples have a lot to do with his penchant for excessive intoxication. But despite the sometimes negative attention McCauley’s hard-partying has received, the audience at Deer Tick shows are often oblivious to why this would ever be considered a bad thing, instead basking in the debauchery. This includes me: the last time I saw Deer Tick in 2012 at the Majestic they treated me to one of the greatest concert experiences of my life which left me stoked for the next chance to see them. Deer Tick rolled into the Majestic Theatre on October 13th on the heels of McCauley’s
announcement that the tour bus would be stocked with non-alcoholic beer this time around. While no one was seriously upset with the decision in terms of McCauley’s well-being, the concert-going crowd can be positively Machiavellian and the question on everyone’s mind was how this newfound sobriety would affect the show. Deer Tick’s behavior may have been polarizing in the past but there was no denying that their shows were often the best parties to be found anywhere.
While the crowd was receptive to the new material, it was the old favorites that electrified. By encore time, the band had run through the Negativity tracks and they performed their classic ballads “Twenty Miles” and “Ashamed,” to the crowd’s delight. As a final reminder that the band isn’t completely running from their recent years of rowdiness, they closed the night off with “Let’s All Go to the Bar,” characteristically spraying their drinks into the crowd in the process.
Deer Tick started off the set eager to show off songs from their brilliantly dark new album, Negativity (2013), a collection of introspective songs with themes ranging from crack cocaine abuse to the recent incarceration of McCauley’s father. Opening with “The Rock,” McCauley backed up his assertion that performing clean improves the range of his gravelly growl. Three songs later we were all reminded that Deer Tick is far from a one-man show when guitarist Ian O’Neil took over the mic to perform the lead single off Negativity, “The Dream’s in the Ditch.” Drummer Dennis Ryan got in on the action during the psychedelic-tinged “Thyme” and the haunting cut off of the 2011 Divine Providence, “Clownin’ Around.”
The entire show was an assurance that Deer Tick still brings one of the most energetic shows around no matter what state they are in, and fans need not worry about them losing their edge with a clean band leader. After the show, the band appeared behind the merchandise table with an endearing awkwardness to hang out with the Deer Tick faithful (and to be very clear since I brought it up earlier, McCauley is far from a dick). While the show may not have featured nearly as much moshing as years past, the band sounded incredible musically and I’ll take that any day. joe OSWALD
MOON MAN LANDS TO SPARK UP WITH MADISON CROWD Kid Cudi’s “The Cud Life” 2013 tour found itself in Madison on the cold and rainy night of September 19th with Logic and Tyler the Creator opening the packed show at the Alliant Energy Center. The show started with Logic, the up-and-coming rapper from Maryland. Logic’s performance highlighted the 23-year-old rapper’s unbelievably fast flow and spirited stage presence. The crowd came alive when he performed “All I Do,” one of the tracks on Logic’s mixtape, Young Sinatra. Tyler the Creator was the rowdy second act of the night. Though he appeared to be disinterested in performing, he provided a fantastic set, capturing the audience with his controversial lyrics and edgy presentation. Notably, Tyler the Creator’s performance of “Yonkers” was equal parts terrifying and brilliant. Finally, it was time for Cudi. The room simultaneously grew dark and silent as an intimidating voice sarcastically set the ground rules for the concert: “no photography of any kind, no pushing, and absolutely no smoking.“ Predictably, as soon as Kid Cudi emerged from a “moon cave” in his spandex space suit while “The Resurrection of Scott Mescudi” played in the background, the crowd erupted in frenzied camera flashes, crowd surfing, and a haze of smoke. Despite his elaborate set-up and space suit created by the costume designers of Tron, Cudi disappointed the crowd by opening his show with the slow and overly repetitive “Unf**kwitable.” You could tell he was thrown off by the crowd’s lack of reaction, and he was forced to verbally address the low excitement level; “I need you all to mirror my energy. I’m up here in a f**king spandex suit. I need you guys to be able to get me through this two hour set.” His attitude, much like his opening song, initially seemed unpleasant, but once the first chords of “Soundtrack 2 My Life” were audible, the night (and the crowd) made a complete 180. Cudi’s set consisted of a mixture of tracks from the recently released Indicud and old favorites like “Erase Me,” “Mojo So Dope,” “Marijuana,” and “Mr. Rager” from his Man on the Moon albums. He also brought out King Chip for a few songs, including the hit “Just What I Am,” which added a dynamic that the show vitally needed. Cudi’s delivery of “Man on the Moon (The Anthem),” and “Day ‘N’ Nite” were so moving
that it was seemingly impossible not to believe every word he was rapping. Cudi closed his concert with the “Pursuit of Happiness (Nightmare)” that transitioned into Steve Aoki’s remix of the same song. Although he never came out for an encore, Cudi left his fans raving over the concert. There was something so pure and honest about his live performance that could simply not be captured on his albums. Together, the three performers put on a very memorable show. Some might even say it was truly “unf**kgetable.” abbey SCHNEIDER
HEAD AND THE HEART charm the orpheum
Monday nights are typically dedicated to studying, recovering from the weekend, or watching football, if that’s what you are into. But on Monday October 28th, a couple hundred lucky people kicked their week off right with The Head and the Heart at the Orpheum Theater. The concert came not long after the October 15th release of their sophomore album, Let’s Be Still. The Head and the Heart took advantage of their return to Madison and made it an opportunity to familiarize their old fans with new songs. After performances from their three impressive opening bands Quiet Life, The Get Down Stay Down, and Thao, the Head and the Heart’s set opened with two of the new hits, “Summertime” and “Homecoming Heroes.” Though Let’s Be Still only debuted a number of days prior, it was evident the Oct. 28 crowd showed up prepared as they easily sang along with the new tunes. Following the opening songs came the characteristic shout-out to our great city of Madison and of course, our delicious beer. The crowd responded with hoots and hollers, seemingly agreeing with the compliment. People expressed even more appreciation when singer and guitarist, Jonathan Russell announced, “It’s a beautiful room, good night, good time.” Atmosphere and general mood swung from high energy, with their more upbeat songs like “Coeur d’Alene” from their first
album, to a more intimate mood with slower tunes like “Honey Come Home” and “Cruel.” For the latter, singer Jonathan encouraged the crown to slow dance with a prelude to upcoming faster-paced songs, warning, “It may be your last time tonight.” The nature of The Head and the Heart’s songs are more delicate than most folk-rock bands, but they amped up their live performance energy by shaking tambourines and fooling around with each other on stage. Every show has a set list that strategically hides crowd favorites for certain moments in the show, but Jonathan had no problem adapting the set when an audience member shouted “Play ‘Lost in My Mind!’” Jonathan surprised everyone by nonchalantly responding, “You want that song? We’re going to play you that song.” I had no idea The Head and the Heart accepted song requests from the audience, but it was interesting to see a band of their caliber changing their planned set list to fit a fan’s needs. No one predicted the band to put on a comedic performance but low and behold, Jonathan had the audience chuckling after forgetting the opening line to song, “Sounds Like Hallelujah,” not one, not twice, but three times. It was not until after using his ask-the-audience AND phone-a-friend lifelines before the female band member, Charity came to his rescue filling in the forgotten lyrics. It sure sounded like Hallelujah -and like Jonathan was singing the song- for the first
time. The crowd was very forgiving and found the minor blunder quite adorable. The onstage version of “Rivers and Roads” brought us back to their raw performance along the shore of Doe Bay in their home state, Washington in the song’s unofficial music video. With closed eyes it was easy to imagine experiencing the music like the acoustic performance in the video. The YouTube version is definitely a favorite, however, does not include the song’s impassioned summit of its live performance. Electronic music has nothing on the indie-folk rock beat drop in “Rivers and Roads.” The Head and the Heart worked seven of their new songs into set list and although the crowd welcomed the less familiar hits from Let’s Be Still, it was evident the crowd preferred band’s older tunes. Their successful show merited an encore, especially because a few of these fan favorites had not yet been played. The first encore song was their upbeat single, “Shake” off Let’s Be Still. The fans collectively held their breath, hoping for “Down in the Valley” to be the second encore only to be disappointed upon hearing a beat not belonging to that song. Jokes were on us. The unfamiliar beat cut out abruptly after it played for 20 seconds and the band appeased our souls when “Down in the Valley” commenced. Good one, guys. molly TREROTOLA
LIGHTS AND MUSIC CUT COPY AT THE MAJESTIC
Lights and music are still on my mind. I don’t think anyone could better define the feeling after a Cut Copy concert, then the Australian electro quartet themselves. The inside of the Majestic was packed with people on Wednesday night, November 13th, with the same things clearly on their minds. With two opener DJ’s (one of which was a delightful discovery), and a powerful set by Cut Copy, the concert raged into the wee hours of Thursday, making the morning after much more exhausting and my night so much more worth it. Larry Gus, the second opener DJ, was a full-body energy high, entertaining the audience with his ridiculous falsetto over clapping tracks and fast beats. Throw in tribal screams and his nonstop hand waving, and everyone in the room was smiling and bopping around, even if we couldn’t understand a word he was saying (his Greek accent was just so thick). More than just a segue into the main attraction, Gus was intriguing and exciting, gaining at least one more fan that night. Cut Copy entered not much later, in a spacey intro with a strange voice over and intense dark blue lights, feeling a little too much like a ride at Universal Studios. Redeeming themselves quickly,
they launched into “Free Your Mind” the title track of their latest release, shining brighter-than-the-sun strobe lights into the eyes of the audience. Mixing in songs from Zonoscope, In Ghost Colours, and Bright Like Neon Love, the boys ran off of the energy of the room, downshifting if the mood switched and pumping it back up when need be. The crowd responded accordingly: shouting, thumping, sway-
ing, and jumping in time with the music. “Hearts on Fire” did just that, setting a high that could not be surpassed the whole night, save the finale. At times, it seemed as if the crowd had fallen into a trancelike state, mesmerized by the electronic rhythms, relentless percussion, hard guitars, and thick bass.
Songs like “Far Away,” showcased the strange percussion with clanging of sticks on hollow tubes, tempered by soft “ooohs, ahhhhs” and 80’s instrumentals. Cut Copy’s catalog of songs can start to feel repetitive at times, and the bass was so overwhelming that lead singer, Dan Whitford’s beautiful vocals were sometimes lost over the buzz, creating an almost Sleigh Bells’ effect, but not as well done. Tim Hoey, guitarist, took the energy to the next level by climbing on the amp to the left of the stage, playing at eye level directly to the fans below. It was the first instance where the band took down the buffer between themselves and the crowd, where it started to feel like a real rock and roll show as opposed to being stuck in a warped video game intro. Ending their set with an encore of “Lights and Music,” Whitford croon went from mellow to over the top with percussion and guitars to match. Waving his hands like a bizarre conductor, he led the crowd into the last song with enough energy to power a small town. Lights were flashing, music was blaring, and the crowd was on a contact high. Cut Copy sent us into the night with the only one thing on our minds, the true sign of a really great show.
[WARNER MUSIC UK] Oh my, the British are coming. Or are they already here? Fresh off of the Disclosure buzz, Ellie Goulding and Calvin Harris’s too-good-for-words collaboration of the summer, and a smattering of Brit indie partnerships with DJ’s such as Foxes and London Grammar, this seems like the moment for UK artists to take control of the mainstream dance throne. Enter: Rudimental. The debut album, Home, from the electronic quartet is a smash, a string of hits almost already queued for radio play time and yet, unique and unknown that if you heard it at a random house party, you’d just bop your head eagerly.
undoubtedly the most commercial of the hits, but understated slams are “Right Here” featuring Foxes and “Hell Could Freeze” featuring American rapper Angel Haze. Miss Haze is at her finest, spitting “Cupid’s gun to our souls, he just can’t trigger chemistry/ I need a lot of things that you can’t really give to me/I’m screaming on mute cause you ain’t really hearing me,” with Rudimental’s sirens and quick switches between fast and slow beat tempo. This is their biggest strength and seems to be the formula they are banking on, lovely velvety vocals with alternating, sharp beats.
From start to finish, the 12-track stunner features everybody who is anybody, with enough British star power to make you feel like you’re in a Harry Potter movie, or at the Royal wedding. Every song except the first features a household name, ranging from the pop newcomer John Newman to the high-powered vocalist Emeli Sandé. With so many guests, it does start to feel like a David Guetta album, except since Rudimental is so new to the scene it feels a little unnatural. Guetta didn’t start featuring mainstream pop stars on his tracks until he was a household name for his DJ-ing, leaving us feel a little lost as to who the group is behind the guest. Nevertheless, the dependence on others doesn’t hold them back musically, it’s the collaborations that power the tracks.
Some of the slower songs feature background beats that sound like DeadMau5 rejects, “Spoons” and “Free” being the main culprits. But even the boring songs musically are still exciting lyrically; the entire album showcases a kind of somber, yet optimistic power. Rudimental exceeds at providing an energy that comes from a serious place, it’s not all about that party life we hear in Guetta’s work, and most dance music, for that matter. Although already a household name in the UK, Rudimental’s Home has the ability to really transcend the dance music that usually comes to us from across the Atlantic, putting our mother country as the front-runner for “in-the-moment” dance music. livi MAGNANINI
No doubt about it, the album is packed with dance club hits. The first time I heard “Waiting All Night,” I was actually at a club in London and spent thirty minutes after desperately trying to maneuver Shazaam into finding out what the song was, which of course didn’t work. That song is
[SELF RELEASED] “Hauntingly beautiful” is the phrase that comes to mind while listening to Lark Remy’s debut EP, Host, which was released on October 18th. Lark is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and she’s ready to launch her career in the local music scene. Lark’s mournful vocals are reminiscent of Lana Del Rey meets Evanescence, with electronic beats laying an excellent foundation for her uniquely beautiful voice. The first of the EP’s two tracks, Host, begins on a slow, powerful note, and builds into a distinct combination of upbeat instrumentals and emotive vocals. The track ends with Lark, nearly unaccompanied by instrumentals, repetitively singing: “And I know/This is endless/ Why can’t I/Just get past this?” Once Host trails off into a meaningful silence, Lark transitions to “Light Me Up.” The song begins, just as Host does, with slow, haunting vocals. Lark repeats “Consume me/Consume me” in her signature way, evoking a simultaneous feeling of despair and tragedy, yet somehow, hope. A beautiful keyboard joins in her lament, and finally, a dreamy, electronic beat picks up the song’s pace and carries it until the end of the song.
Although the song picks up its pace, it never once loses the sense of Lark’s lovely, tragic opening plea, “Consume me/ Consume me.” Host is a fantastic EP, an eclectic combination of electronic instrumentals and powerful lyrics. Check out her music on larkremy.com, and follow her on Twitter @ larkremy. ali GRIMES
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE 20/20 experience 2 of 2 [RCA RECORDS] When I heard the news of a second half to The 20/20 Experience, my thought process was something to the effect of, “10 songs now, 10 songs later? Okay. I’ll just keep throwing money at my laptop until I hear more JT crooning through the speakers”. Once I heard “Take Back the Night” I was beyond sold. It was going to be epic. Timberlake would be on top of the world once again. But with massive hype often comes massive disappointment. I made the fortunate decision to check the album out on Spotify first, and am now glad I saved myself the cash. By no means is this album terrible. I was just thrown off by a few things. For one, 2 of 2 is 11 tracks, not 10 (Yes, I’m going to be that guy). Nitpicking aside, this album still sounds like JT, but not completely 20/20 JT. “Drink You Away” and both parts to “Not a Bad Thing” are guitar-driven tracks that seem like they are unused material from Timberlake’s Justified days. As for the tracks that actually fit on the album, Timbaland goes overboard with textures, samples, and his own vocals (“…she kill me with that coochie…” REALLY?), ultimately distracting the listener from the true reason
you’re listening to the album: JT. After featuring Jay-Z on the impressive single “Suit and Tie”, it was safe to assume we’d see more features on 2 of 2. Unfortunately, Timberlake just called in Mr. Carter again, which was considerably underwhelming. Adding Drake was a smart move, but with the Canadian rapper’s recent album release, it’s not exactly turning heads. The one feature I expected given the summer of pop was some sort of duet with Pharrell, so not seeing my dream come to fruition was additionally disappointing. Timberlake set himself up to have 2 of 2 compared to its better half. It’s definitely worth a few listens through, but it simply pales in comparison to The 20/20 Experience. In the end, “Take Back the Night” is the album’s Harvey Dent: the track the album needed, not the track it deserved. andrew MACKENS
KINGS OF LEON mechanical bull [RCA RECORDS] Kings of Leon is back with their usual southern rock anthems. Three brothers and a cousin make up this family band that released their sixth studio album entitled Mechanical Bull. Based out of Nashville, the band looks to maintain their place among current rock royalty. Many people were surprised to find out that their critically acclaimed album, Only by the Night was already their fourth album. People would also be surprised to find out that Mechanical Bull is twice removed from that Grammy nominated compilation. The fanfare has seemingly declined back to its original form since the hits of “Use Somebody” and “Sex on Fire.” True fans of the quartet will be delighted with the additions made to their already extensive collection. The first released single “Supersoaker” has a similar sound to that of the songs from their first two albums. The up-tempo drums from Nathan Followill paces the song into an enjoyable frenzy. The song that might find the most success in the public eye would be “Rock City.” The opening guitar
solo contains more soul than other rock bands can fit into an entire record. A listener almost feels uncomfortable with the raw emotion that is evoked in the short ten seconds of its tenure. Caleb Followill neutralizes the song with vocals unlike anything he has performed before. The soulful rock guitar meets a vocal performance that almost resembles a pop song. The fusion undoubtedly works. The album as a whole is a summation of the band’s catalogue so far. “Don’t Matter” could easily fit into the bands third album Because of the Times. It contains a harsh guitar hook midway through the song that is typical of that album. Mechanical Bull would be the final product of putting every KOL album into a blender. Those who are already fans will be thrilled to receive more of the same. Those who are not fans will understandably continue not being fans. Regardless of their rise and fall in fandom, Mechanical Bull reaffirms why Kings of Leon still deserves a chair at the table of current rock royalty. dj TRAINOR
NORMA JEAN wrongdoers
[RAZOR AND TIE] Whether it be online or on the radio, recently new albums and artists are everywhere. There are tons of new, bland metal musicians releasing tracks everyday.What is needed is a return to the roots of the metal genre. This August, metal-core madmen Norma Jean did just that. With the release of their 6th album, Wrongdoers, you would assume that something would get stale, but that’s where you’re wrong. This album is exactly what the metal community needed. It’s an extremely solid album that refreshes the metal genre while blending elements of past works with their new sound. This album is as if the matured Norma Jean had a jam session with their chaotic younger selves. Reminiscent of their first album, Bless the Martyr and Kiss the Child, this release does everything that you would want from a Norma Jean release. In the first track, “Hiveminds,” the listener is introduced to the refined sound that Norma Jean has built with their past albums such as Vs. The Anti-Mother and Meridonal. This organic sound pushes the album forward into fast and hard hitting songs like “If You’ve Got It At Five, You’ve Got It At Fifty,” and “The Lash Whistled Like a Singing Wind.” These tracks are focused on the chaotic and fast paced jams that are filled with giant riffs and overwhelming static. This sound mixes with the heavy anthems on the album like “Neck in the Hemp,” “The Potter Has No Hands,” and “Triffids”. Norma Jean dares to try new things on Wrongdoers such as:offbeat syncopation, mellow radio broadcasts, gang vocals, and epic choruses that shake the entire genre to it’s core.
and “Sun Dies, Blood Moon,” amplify the creativity that was put into this record. These songs have not left my headphones, and I’m still learning about their intricacies every time I listen. Norma Jean has, once again, created a record with impressive, meaningful lyrics. Wrongdoers is filled with lyrics about learning from mistakes. Many tracks look from the outside in as the speaker goes through a metamorphosis. Vocalist Cory Brandon expresses his concept, explaining that “our wrong is something that brings everyone together in the same light, no one escapes that category and it actually brings us together, we are united by it.” The title, Wrongdoers, is something that is supposed to connect everyone and highlight the flaws we all share. Even the title track holds lyrics like “We make love to the same mistakes and never get tired/embrace the lover, make yourself comfortable.” This exhibits the idea that we all should be comfortable with who we are and accept the wrongs we have committed. This album is exactly what metal needs, it’s reviving and gives strength to a genre that has been losing steam. Norma Jean’s Wrongdoers is one of the most important metal releases of the year. Even when it comes to their 6th album,Norma Jean is still exciting listeners as they put all of their energy into the album’s production. This release blends the old with the new and ties new ideas and concepts together in one kick-ass package. john MCCRACKEN
Tracks like “Wrongdoers”, “Sword in Mouth, Fire Eyes,” “Funeral Singer,”
FIERCE BAD RABBIT
the maestro and the elephant
[SELF RELEASED] Fierce Bad Rabbit, a quartet from Colorado, epitomizes indie folk-rock in its latest album, The Maestro and the Elephant. With steady rock ‘n’ roll rhythms, folksy vocals, and catchy melodies, Fierce Bad Rabbit has created an outstanding album that captures its unique sound. The band, formed in 2009, has been compared to Arcade Fire, The Shins, The National, Wilco, and Delta Spirit. Although the associations may seem lofty, Fierce Bad Rabbit lives up to the comparisons especially with their fourth and latest album. The Maestro and the Elephant begins with a track entitled “Wildflowers” that has been growing in popularity ever since the album’s release in January 2013. The beautiful, yet empowering song is a testament to Chris Anderson and Alana Rolfe’s impeccable vocals. Similarly, “Until We Are Dust,” “Better Days,” and “Carry On” highlight Anderson and Rolfe’s perfectly synced voices. The most impressive aspect of the album is the unique nature of each song. While “The Devil Smells Like Country” has a folksy vibe with an abundance of rhythm guitar, “Here’s Looking At You” resembles a rock ballad with extravagant build-ups. While “When All You Got Is
Worry…Let Go” could make anyone want to whistle and dance around after a stressful day, “Shooting Stars” could make anyone want to cry and reevaluate the meaning of life. Even though each song has such a unique vibe, the whole album is bound together with Rolfe’s impressive viola that can either produce a haunting, beautiful, or folksy effect depending on the song. If Fierce Bad Rabbit isn’t in your music library yet, The Maestro and the Elephant would be the perfect first addition. However, if you dig albums in which “all the songs start to sound the same,” Fierce Bad Rabbit’s fourth album is not for you. abbey SCHNEIDER
LONDON GRAMMAR if you wait
[COLUMBIA RECORDS] It is not news that the U.K. is a headquarters for acclaimed and up-and-coming pop music, and London Grammar is simply fueling the fire of the British pop scene. London Grammar’s much anticipated first album, If You Wait, received significant hype, even suggested as a frontrunner for the U.K.’s Mercury Music prize prior to its September release. Furthermore, with a feature on the track “Help Me Lose My Mind” from Disclosure’s topcharting album Settle, London Grammar was bound to turn heads towards the musical chiaroscuro of their own album. Even with an overnight buzz, London Grammar’s rise has been natural and understated, aligning with the haunting and downplayed grandeur of the album. London Grammar’s relatively familiar sound lands themselves somewhere between The xx and Florence and the Machine. Instead of the muted, murmuring vocals of The xx, lead singer Hannah Reid channels Florence with a set of surprisingly deep and strong vocals. Alongside a subtle, yet reverb-heavy, pop background, London Grammar creates an intoxicating juxtaposition. Additionally, her powerhouse voice counterpoints her youthful, sweet appearance, and in accord with the minimalist instrumentals, the vocals become a defining and integral element to each arrangement. The remainder of London Grammar consists of producer Dot Major and guitarist Dan Rothman, who chillingly establish their modern sound of a classical and ethereal blend. Despite only working together for less than a year before their album release, the threesome effortlessly produce a cohesive unit.
is almost asking to have a dubstep remix. Additionally included on the album is a cover of French artist Kavinsky’s “Nightcall,” which beautifully flows with the other tracks. Although the essence of many of the songs radiates congruency to debatably the state of triteness, certain tracks, such as “Wasting My Young Years,” with its unique blend of piano and hi-hats, evidentially display the claims for London Grammar being “the next big thing.” The pervading sense of musically climatic prescience aligns with the album’s impassioned qualities, solely tormented by personal longings, questioning, and desires. Inner contemplation reveals itself in “Wasting My Young Years,” while the persistence of linger memories pervades “Flickers,” where Reid sings “everytime I go to bed, an image of you flickers in my head.” Overwhelming emotions continue throughout the album, and Reid acknowledges the need to escape to confusing state in “Strong,” while stating “excuse me for a while, while I’m wide-eyed and so damn caught in the middle.” If You Wait is undoubtedly a solid album that is crafted in a mainstream appeal that is still polished, smart, and individualistic— even alongside their brooding undercurrent. With the strength and success of their debut, despite slight areas for improvement, London Grammar demonstrates that they are just getting started. alexandra JAGODZINSKI
Anticipation underlies the entire album, creating the sense that a peak of orgasmic musicality should occur; however, there is no such moment. This is not necessarily a disappointing aspect to the album. In fact, it creates a dissatisfaction that leads to listening on repeat and simply desiring more. The emotive power of crescendo pervades the album, and spacious sounds capture attention. Despite a general homogeneity, there is a hypnotic element that establishes a strong sense of intrigue. Coincidence or not, the album title becomes quite suitable, potentially suggesting there is more to come, if you wait. “Hey Now” commences the album, which has a subtle build throughout the track, setting the tone for the rest of the album through synth claps, Rothman’s discrete guitar, and emotional musing. “Sights” seamlessly layer vocals on the instrumentals, creating such a heavy downbeat made of rhythmic eight counts that it
clear my head with you [NO SLEEP RECORDS] Adventures released their second EP this summer entitled Clear My Head with You. This group is composed of three members from the hardcore/ punk band, Code Orange Kids. If you’re looking for something heavy and hardcore-esque, this side group is not for you. Much different from their hardcore counterpart, Adventures is a lo-fi indie group that writes mystical music. Their newest EP only contains four tracks, but it grabs a listener’s attention and never lets go for those blissful ten minutes and fifty-three seconds. Although this is only their second release, this young Pittsburgh group knows a thing or two about writing emotional music The first track, “I Can’t Stay”, is very driving and moving. It is reminiscent of 90’s drum heavy indie music. I felt that the emotion on this song defines the songs that follow. The instruments hum along to a laid back but moving feeling. The vocalist, Reba Meyer, is hidden in the sound of the first track. Her vocals shape this group drastically and are on display in the second track, “Promise.” This song pops out as the most gripping song on the album. There is a sense of longing in the slow-moving and emotional that is amplified by the desperate screaming of Reba. This emotion is shown in the sonic and hollow strumming of the next song, “Clear My Head With You.” This song makes you feel like you’re spinning. It’s the type of music you want to listen to on long car rides as you stare up to the clouds with only your thoughts. This track blends the EP together so well and the grand climax of the album is developed in
the middle two songs. As the album falls to a close, the final song “ The Light Brings Without” is a haunting melody. All the motion and drive from the previous songs falls away as the mix of male and female vocals come to the foreground while reflective and melancholy instrumentals play in the back. This group draws inspiration from all the difficult decisions everyone faces. This album illustrates the anxieties and struggles that shape many people. The strongest line in their final song rings clear as the hollow voice sings “It’s not easy for me to live in the moment.” This group defiantly writes music that reflects the hardships that many people face, no matter their situation. Being a young group with a firm direction on where they are headed sonically and emotionally makes for many great songs. Adventures takes an amazing spin on modern indie groups with a strong 90’s vibe given off of this EP. Their vocalist/guitarist Reba Meyer has a great sense of emotion and struggles in her singing which pours over into the entire collective. I look forward to hearing what Adventures has in store next. john MCCRACKEN
i love you.
[COLUMBIA] The first full-length album from the alt-rock Californian band The Neighbourhood, titled I Love You., makes me feel like I’m riding a fixed-gear bicycle through Brooklyn on a misty autumn morning with a cup of fair trade coffee in my hand and a tattered paperback copy of “Catcher In The Rye” tucked into my vintage leather shoulder bag. Basically, it’s insanely hipster, in a good way. The lyrical content, at once pensive and cynical, along with the androgynous voice of the singer, fuse to create the rainy-day hipster mood of the album. Known for their black and white imagery, The Neighbourhood combines dark, nostalgic lyrics with a catchy alternative sound. The dreary gray stormclouds of their album artwork are the perfect colour to portray their theme. The Neighbourhood is best known for their song “Sweater Weather”, which reached the number one spot on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart in June and can be enjoyed by listeners of pretty much all genres. The rest of the album is strong as well, offering an overall pleasant and accessible sound. Most songs from I Love You. have dark and somber lyrics. Track one, titled “How”, begins with the lines “How could you question God’s existence/ when you question God himself? Why would you ask for God’s assistance/ if you wouldn’t take the help?” A theme of vague existential questions is prominent throughout the album. If you’re not into the
confused and tormented ambience, you can just enjoy the nice melodic tones that conjure up images of thrift store crewneck and pumpkin spice lattes. Overall, I Love You. is a strong album. The tracks work chronologically to take the listener on a musical journey. What the songs lack in cheerfulness they make up for with an enjoyable air of nostalgia. It’s the perfect sweater weather soundtrack for anyone who likes sweet sounds reminiscent of band such as Of Monsters And Men and Phoenix. The Neighbourhood’s debut album features a well-rounded track list that creates a cozy feel for listeners. I’m excited to see what this band does next. becca MELDMAN
CAGE THE ELEPHANT melophobia [RCA RECORDS] Melophobia, coming from the Greek words ‘melodia’ and ‘phobos’, translates to the fear of music. While this may seem a near impossibility to many, it could not be a truer title for Cage the Elephant’s third studio album. The band remained aversive to mastered recordings during the production of the album in an attempt to take an artistic step forward and actually project what their real sound is. Needless to say, the results are intriguing.
surprising horns from “Black Widow” are as funky an addition as they would be for any other band. Listening back to their previous album Thank You Happy Birthday, there actually isn’t much difference in ‘listening curves’ (particularly for tracks like “Indy Kidz” and “Sell Yourself ”) between the two albums. Make no mistake though: no matter how many times you listen, some parts to these songs are just flat-out weird.
The first single, “Come a Little Closer”, is a chill track that doesn’t surprise you in any way, and got me really excited for the full album. But upon my first listen through Melophobia, I had little idea of what exactly I was listening to. I’m still having trouble sifting through some of the cacophony. For example, “Spiderhead” and “It’s Just Forever” are both interesting songs, but the last 30 seconds of each throw you for a loop. The outros still sound like the song it started as, but only after a few listens. The number of listens you give an album is often the key to enjoying it. As I continue to listen to Melophobia, the ending to “Spiderhead” becomes expected, and I’m finally realizing the
What matters in the end though is that Cage the Elephant accomplished what they wanted. They wrote music and lyrics that were true to themselves, which is the sign of a true work of art. And while Melophobia may not be consistently pleasing to the ear, it can be appreciated for what it is: an album written in the spirit of fearing music,
revolution ep [MAD DECENT]
For some reason or another, perhaps due to a sheltered Midwest past, Revolution was my first encounter with the LA-based DJ Diplo. My inaugural Diplo rendezvous left me feeling both energized and curious about his past musical creations. The tone of the six-track EP album release was immediately set with the cover art featuring a clenched and defiant fist, formed by the consolidation of numerous twerking bootylicious behinds. The first track “Biggie Bounce” adheres to the twerking theme with a satisfying mixture of metallic clashes, vocal interjections and percussion. Twerking aside, the track does possess a somewhat repetitive aspect that leaves the listener craving a variation in the ascension before a drop. However, the instantly radio-ready track “Crown,” featuring big names like Boaz Van de Beatz, Mike Posner, and RiFF RAFF, satisfies the craving. The intense electronic buildups and spastic reverbs juxtaposed with trance-like vocals create a track that is both dynamic and alluring. The album offers a range of tracks, all with elements of EDM, but
clearly a derivative of any genre, due to the adventurous musical styling that is the norm of Diplo. Yet the scope of eclectic styles contained within the six tracks, could use a cohesive thread, that is beyond remixing the same base tracks, to pull the album together into a stronger cohesive whole. Track 4, Revolution the Boaz van de Beatz remix, is an example of this shortcoming, it parallels the first remix of Revolution to the point where the song loses its originality and verges on annoying. Despite the occasional exhausted beats, Revolution is a successful ode to the dance, so play it loud and twerk on.
days are gone [COLUMBIA RECORDS] The essence of cool manifests itself in HAIM, the trio of sisters—Danielle, Este, and Alana (plus drummer Dash Hutton) hailing from Los Angeles. Their unique sound and style is not just catchy, it is addictive. Since the release of their first EP in February 2012, Haim has dominated music blogs and concert festivals, including SXSW, Lollapalooza, Glastonbury, and Bonnaroo, and even before their debut album, Days Are Gone, released on September 30th, people could not stop, and will not stop, buzzing about HAIM. And rightfully so. With a musical upbringing (Mama and Papa Haim are both musicians, including the girls in their family band Rockinhaim), as well as numerous projects prior to the formation of HAIM—Danielle, 24, has been a drummer and guitarist for Jenny Lewis and Julian Casablancas, and Este, 27, has UCLA degree in ethnomusicology—HAIM has created a record, and not to mention a stage presence, that emanates ease and naturalism while still producing an entirely distinct sound. Categorizing HAIM as indie pop or indie rock unjustly simplifies their organically complex genre. Along with frequent comparisons to Fleetwood Mac, HAIM’s incorporation of ‘90s R&B, ‘80s synth, and new wave synthesizes the record into an original form of eclecticism. The energetic tempo, underlined by disco synth beats of patterned hi-hats, fuses with a punk rock bass (and their outwardly punk rock attitude—just youtube some live performances for a good dosage of “mostfuckers” and Este’s bass face, all while decked out in leather and lace) demands the genre of disco punk. Each individual song holds to the disco punk genre while also taking a unique spin. “My Song 5” turns towards grunge and blues rock with its syncopated beat and synth guitar riffs. “Let Me Go” simultaneously embraces a soulful, electronic, and alt rock vibe. “The Wire” begins with a classic rock intro that quickly coincides with a retro R&B feel. Even with diverse influ-
ences emerging in individual tracks, breathy vocals, echoing drums, funky basslines and lots of handclapping permeate the entire album, helping to unify their fusion of modern and vintage. Upholding a generally consistent theme of heartbreak, the ladies of HAIM lyrically exude an interesting take on girl power. There is little sadness or regret, but also little embracement of feminist independence. Rather, they maintain relative passivity, as seen in tracks “Don’t Save Me” and “Let Me Go.” They explain relationship turmoil with a sense of normalcy —as heard in the chorus of “Falling,” describing that “don’t stop, no one’s ever enough/I’ll never look back, never give up/ and if it gets rough, it’s time to get rough.” Additionally demonstrating this theme is “The Wire,” in which they describe a breakup in the most straightforward manner: “I know it’s hard to hear me say it, but I can’t bear to stay and/…. I know that you’re gonna be OK anyway.” Despite an attitude of nonchalance, they are realistic, and even more importantly, they are confident. With a strong first album, HAIM demonstrates that they are three talented, hard-working women who can actually rock. No gimmicks, no corporate ploys, no mainstream intention— just some kickass sisters doing what seems to come most naturally to them. With a band name, and surname name, that originates from the Hebrew toast “to life,” there does not seem to be a more appropriate identity for the dynamically compelling, talented, and bold trio. Coincidence or fate, Days Are Gone epitomizes the toast “l’chaim.” alexandra JAGODZINSKI
[COLUMBIA RECORDS] What happens after you break up with your lover and sole bandmate and decide to return to the studio? Tortured, messy, and great music. This isn’t Rumours by any means, but a more subtle take on the baggage that comes with a breakup; Cults’ sophomore album, Static, is a potent follow up to their 2011 debut. As the title suggests, much of the album seems like it is coming out of dilapidated speakers from another era, crooning the tale of the of demise of young love. Lead singer Madeline Follin and guitarist Brian Oblivion’s end of their four-year relationship marks the album, supplying the emotional fodder and twisted instrumentals that has transitioned Cults from blog sensation to mature band. The album proves deeper emotionally, although perhaps not so revolutionary in its sound. On Static, the New York duo master what the sound they had already pretty much perfected on their first album: sixties teenybopping vocals supplied by Follin, reminiscent of the Specter days (albeit a touch more whiney,) set against evocative guitars and solid rhythms. There is still a heavy emphasis on robotic, washed out background noise, chime-y and faded, but it works better on Static,making it more introspective, instrumentally. Songs like “TV Dream,” and “I Know” are somewhat only interesting instrumentally, but reveal just how strongly Follin’s vocals direct
us through the white noise, sounding almost like the light in the dark. There is no happy, peppy song like their hit “Go Outside” on their debut, but “I Can Hardly Make You Mine” is easily the most catchy and exciting rhythmically, with Follin pleading “But I know you’re not the one or the only/ But we both know what it’s like to be lonely.” The give and take, the push and pull —the familiar situation we’ve all encountered becomes that just more believable through her voice. “High Road” is another great single, darker and haunting, forging distance through words and sounds, as if they are getting farther away from us as they are growing from each other. The pain cuts deep on “So Far,” with a layered triumphant intro, that bellows back into a smooth rock song packed with visceral loneliness, embodied in the lyric “and I wonder how you sleep at night…” The Cults are making thoughtful music, reflective and intimate, maybe not armed with another hit for the blogosphere but with the same intrigue that pulled the curious in at first, and keeps the faithful coming back for more. livi MAGNANINI
a long way down [COLUMBIA RECORDS] Tom Odell, a British singer-songwriter, is melting hearts with his debut solo album, Long Way Down. Although you may know him as the man with the British accent in Spotify advertisements, the twenty-two year old musician from Chichester, West Sussex is on the rise. People in all walks of life can relate to Long Way Down because it recounts every phase of love. Whether you’ve been married for 50 years or have had your heart broken 50 times, Odell has most certainly written a song for you. The initial track, “Grow Old With Me” is a beautiful testament to long lasting relationships. With sweet, lovely lyrics such as “I’ll pull your sheets when its cold on your feet/Cuz you’ll fall back to sleep/ Grow old with me,” the first track on the album could make anyone want to fall in love. Similarly, “Hold Me” is an upbeat track that narrates the spontaneity and beauty of falling in love. However, Odell is no stranger to a broken heart. The tracks entitled “Another Love,” “I
Know,” “Supposed To Be,” and “Till I Lost,” may be tear jerking, but they turn the pain of a broken heart into something truly beautiful. Along with his dynamic vocals, Odell plays piano on every single track of the album. It’s hard not to want some chocolate and a glass of wine while listening to his rhythmic, yet serene piano accompaniment. While you might not want to play this album to get pumped up for a big game, you should turn it up when you’re feeling lovesick, heartbroken, or when you just need a good cry after watching The Notebook. abbey SCHNEIDER
matangi [INTERSCOPE} It’s good to see M.I.A. back in action. After fighting with her label to release this “spiritual” album and a million-and-a-half dollar lawsuit from the middle finger incident at the 2012 Super Bowl, Matangi is here. While this album isn’t as groundbreaking as her debut Arular, or as controversial as MAYA, Matangi fits perfectly in the M.I.A. discography, complete with pounding bass, lyrical manifestos of religion and personal growth and near-perfect production value. M.I.A. is far from a conservative artist, and her music is statement of her outlandish and remarkable personality. As the daughter of the Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger member, Maya Arulpragasam has made a name for herself with controversial lyrics and feuding with anyone in her way, from Diplo to Anderson Cooper. Despite her rather abrasive interactions with celebrities, M.I.A. is able to back up her actions and statements with powerful and high quality tracks. She has evolved from the London-based hip hop artist from the early 2000’s to a superstar, and Matangi expertly shows her growth. Matangi is covered in a splatter paint-like amalgamation of instrumentation, vocals, beats and M.I.A.’s near-constant rapping. The album starts off with “Karmageddon” and “Matangi,” two tracks laced with tantric strings and traditional drum beats, with M.I.A.’s pounding vocals enveloping the listener. “Only 1 U” is a throwback to her 2007 release Kala, with the mixing of samples and pulsing drumbeats. While the lyrics are a little wonky at times, with an odd Lara Croft reference thrown in to the mix, the instrumentation helps to even out the lackluster lyrics. M.I.A. has described her music as being “5000 feet” above the competition, and while that may seem hyperbolic, “Come Walk With Me” hits that statement on the nose. One of the albums strongest tracks,
M.I.A. takes a step back from rapping and uses a smooth melody and simple lyrics to introduce one of the best beat breakdowns on a major album this year. One of the biggest surprises of the album is the trap and reggae infused “Double Bubble Trouble.” Moving seamlessly back and forth between off beat reggae and harsh trap beats, “Double Bubble Trouble” provides the best example of M.I.A.’s evolution from her 2005 debut. The following two tracks, “Y.A.L.A.” and “Bring The Noize,” were two of the albums main singles, and both let M.I.A. flex her lyrical muscles. “Y.A.L.A.” calls out Drake on his “YOLO” mentality, while wiping the floor with her “haters.” “Bring The Noize” is one of her most cohesive tracks, with a constant drum beat and a taunting rhyming scheme in her lyrics that are needed to fill out her album. While this album is full of highlights, it’s not perfect. Sampling The Weeknd, M.I.A. drags along two separate songs, “Exodus” and “Sexodus,” both of which are too slow to keep up with her lyrical fire-spitting. Yet, M.I.A.’s filler tracks are good compliments to hear, and “Boom Skit” is a quick lyrical whiplash of her sharp tongue. “Know It Ain’t Right” is a slower R&B jam that pushes the album towards it’s final track, but still keeps up with the rest of her raps. While Matangi won’t be breaking any new ground for M.I.A., she has released an album that cements her as one of the most consistent hip-hop artists currently performing. The album’s beats and production value make up for the, at times, lackluster lyrics and slower songs, but when M.I.A hits the right point, she hits it hard. connor MURPHY
ministry of love [IAMSOUND RECORDS] Imagine yourself at your favorite Chinese restaurant. As you sit amongst golden statues and red tapestries, traditional Asian music fills the air. Now imagine you’re at a Matt and Kim or Peter Bjorn and John Concert, jamming out to cheerful indie vocals meshed with eclectic percussion: whistles, bells, and sweet drum riffs. Combine the two, and you get IO Echo’s first full-length album, Ministry of Love. Launching their first single in 2010, their first EP in 2012, and finally, their first album this year, IO Echo is relatively new to the music scene. Yet this hasn’t stopped the group from rising through the indie music ranks at an impressive pace. Providing a unique blend of dreamy synth-pop, upbeat percussion, and Asian elements, (including the sounds of authentic Japanese kotos and Chinese violins) IO Echo’s sound has impressed many well-known artists in the industry. As of Fall 2013, IO Echo has already opened for Nine Inch Nails, Garbage, and Florence + The Machines- plus they’ve performed at Coachella and Lollapalooza. Not too shabby for a band that only just released their first full-length album. Ministry of Love kicks off with “Shanghai Girls”, the band’s most well known song. Ioanna Gika’s dreamy vocals are melded to traditional Asian melodies, creating an excellent representation of the band’s
unique sound. However, the song’s tempo is rather slow, and it lacks the peppy percussion prominent in many of their other tracks. That’s not to say that IO Echo doesn’t perform well with slower-tempo tracks: “Outsiders” and “Berlin, It’s All a Mess” are two excellent, slower songs that demonstrate IO Echo’s range of tempo-ability. But overall, upbeat ‘indie’ percussion is what makes many of IO Echo’s songs so great, and “Shanghai Girls” is somewhat lacking in this department. If you’re going to listen to just a few tracks on Ministry of Love, choose “Draglove”, and “Ministry of Love”. Both of these songs are excellent: upbeat, filled with cheerful indie vocals, Asian instrumentals, and fantastic percussion moving the beat along. I think I even hear a ratchet being used at points- former percussionists; you all know what I’m talking about! Ministry of Love is an extremely impressive first album by an equally impressive, fresh new band. IO Echo produces a mesh of musical elements that by themselves seem familiar and distinct, but combined, creates an entirely unique sound. ali GRIMES
when the night [COLUMBIA] A quote from Juno came to mind as I began listening to When the Night: “It sucks! Its just noise.” Ellen Page’s feelings towards Sonic Youth mimicked my immediate reaction to the albums first track, The Night Comes Again. The second thought was, “I hope this gets better.” Sorry to disappoint you, but it really doesn’t. When the Night takes a musical field trip back three decades to remind us why music from the 1980’s stayed in the 1980’s. Their first full-length album shows basically no musical growth from their EP that was released in early 2012. Playing St. Lucia - EP and When the Night back-to-back, one has trouble distinguishing when one album ends and the other begins. While St. Lucia – EP was praised for its “new and refreshing sound,” I failed to see anything “new and refreshing” about something my dad probably played in his college band in 1985.
Each track sounds like a disco-y continuation of the last with a lot of synthesizer and tacky messages about love that take you back to the school dance in Napoleon Dynamite with the painfully awkward slow dances to “Forever Young.” The album becomes more and more agonizing to listen to as it goes on with a lack of musical diversity and overly lengthy songs. The title track of St. Lucia’s debut album, for instance, drags out for a cringe-worthy seven minutes and 21 seconds. That’s seven minutes and 21 seconds too long, in my opinion. If your dream is to be trapped in an 80’s movie with John Cusack’s boombox, than this is the perfect album for you. Otherwise, steer clear. “Its just noise.” megan OPPERMAN
pure heroine [UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP] Over the last three months, Lorde’s debut single “Royals” has infiltrated the normally mundane and repetitive Top 40 radio stations across the country. While these radio stations see one-hit wonders rise and fall in their airplay yearly, what Lorde has, that many new singers and artists don’t, is staying power. The seventeen-year-old New Zealand native has stayed at the top of Billboard’s Top 100 chart for three weeks in a row, since she released her debut album Pure Heroine in late September. Lorde has garnered immense praise for Pure Heroine, a ten track foray in the life of a misanthropic teenager who can’t stand the glamor and excess found in the albums of pop’s reigning “queens.” Declaring that “we aren’t caught up in your love affair” with over the top luxury, Lorde sets herself apart in music through writing lyrics that are related to her target audience, teenagers, but not with pandering, sing-song writing. The album lets Lorde’s versatile vocal talent shine, with backing electronic beats and instrumentation that compliment both her voice and writing perfectly. While it’s not a flawless album, Pure Heroine is a startlingly beautiful debut album for Lorde. The album opens with “Tennis Court,” giving Lorde time to reflect on her rise and recognition that she received, after “Royals” became an international hit earlier in the summer. The song’s clap-style beat with deep synthesizing works well as the song progresses, pulling back to create transitional effects before the chorus and refrain. While “Royals” may be a song of note on the album, Pure Heroine’s strength is found in the middle tracks of the album. “Ribs,” with its call and response lyrics and layered choral arrangement, has Lorde singing of lost thoughts and childhood, and that she and her friend will “laugh until their ribs get tired/but that will never be enough.”
“Buzzcut Season” draws a picture of the opposition younger generations face from older generations, dismissing the dreaming of teenagers. The song transition into “Team,” with a steady rock beat and lyrics that contrasts high life and parties with the realtites of her life living in suburban New Zealand. The highlight of the album is “Glory and Gore,” a dark and determined song that emphasizes her superb writing. The song’s chorus is an anthem of rising up and showing that she is a force with which to be reckoned. “Glory and gore go hand in hand/that’s why we’re making headlines” Lorde cries, and that “chance is the only game I play with.” The song is eloquent and rough, but is versatile enough to show how wide Lorde’s talents extend. The album ends with “A World Alone,” a soft ballad that wraps up the LP with a five minute song on how life goes on, and that we all have issues to work on as we grow older. Lorde’s surprising talent is her unique writing, that is witty and dry while leaving the listener asking for more. While Lorde has recently made some questionable comments about pop stars, Lorde is unapologetic and backs her statements up, showing that she isn’t going won’t let more successful stars push her around. Lorde has made a serious impression with this album, and has successfully announced that she is here to stay. conor MURPHY
DANNY BROWN old
[FOOL’S GOLD RECORDS] Whether meeting new people or interviewing for a job, we are always told about the importance of first impressions. My first impression of Danny Brown was that his cartoony high-pitched rapping was a little too ridiculous to be taken seriously. However, in the midst of a hip hop bender, I gave Old a listen after hearing about the albums publicity. At the album’s beginning, my original impression of Brown immediately melted away. I was struck by the gravity of his voice. From “Side A [Old]” through “25 Bucks”, Brown sets the tone for the first half of the album. Unique instrumentals and a mostly settled Brown make the rapper come off as focused and finessed. By the time you get to “Side B [Dope Song]”, you are actually yearning for the ‘turnt up’ Danny Brown, and he does not disappoint. “[Dope Song]” and “Dip” are absolute bangers worthy of any rager’s playlist.
each song averages between two and a half to three minutes in length, so even the trap-based tracks are not overwhelming. The lyrical content is equally diverse as the instrumentals and flow of the album. Topics range from hood life and being around dope fiends to the ‘typical’ popping Molly, selling drugs, and promiscuous women. Regardless of the song, Brown still drops ludicrous lines involving peanut butter, pitbulls, “rolling like Lieutenant Dan,” and the post-secondary education of 2chainz. Needless to say, they make the album all the more entertaining. I am glad I gave Danny Brown a second chance — this may be the most an album has exceeded my expectations all year. andrew MACKENS
The instrumentals on the second half of the album are influenced highly by trap and modern hip hop , and inherently not as compelling as the instrumentals from the first half. That being said,
WILD BELLE isles
[COLUMBIA] Wile Belle’s debut album, Isles is an upbeat and entertaining listen, guaranteed to satisfy several music style preferences. The album released this past March after the band cruised along on a small string of hit singles since its formation in 2011. The Wild Belle duo consists of siblings and Chicago natives Elliot and Natalie Bergman. The naturally musical pair grew up with musician parents and pursued individual careers before combining their talents to create Wild Belle. Isles’ is a mixed style of laid-back blend of indie-pop, retro, and rock accompanied by Natalie’s beautifully light and crisp serenades. With memorable lyrics and clean and simple staccato sounds, creating melodies that are easy to listen to and fun to sing along with. Some album favorites include, “Keep You”, “Its Too Late,” “Twisted” and “Backsider.” In “Keep You,” one of the band’s singles before Isles released, Natalie toggles between full, rich vocals and light and airy intermittent bits. Brass aesthetic compliment her indie vocals nicely
in one of their more funky songs, “It’s Too Late.” Elliot and Natalie help prove that jazz and indie pair seamlessly... at least for some standout tunes in Isles. Wild Belle’s general sound reminds of an upbeat version of Lana del Rey in “Twisted” and like a darker and sultrier Kate Nash in “Backsider.” But the siblings’ crisp style is not limited to indie sounds; they dabble in some bubbly reggae tones in “Love Like This” and more electronic-rock beats like in “Happy Home.” Natalie shares the microphone with her brother, Elliot in “When It’s Over,” the only track of the album with his charming male vocals. The only song in which Isles falls short of impressive is “Shine,” a nondescript background song of a lower caliber than the rest of the album. Besides this small blemish in Isles, Wild Belle’s debut album is fun, likable and a perfect for indie-pop music fans that enjoy soulful vocal accompaniment. molly TREROTOLA
University of Wisconsin-Madison's student-run music magazine's fall 2013 issue. Features interviews with Tennis and Classixx, a Lou Reed tri...