Page 1

¢ 5 Sound Who Owes Who What? Examining the relationship between artist and fan

November 2013

Lorde the the new new music music royalty royalty from from  (almost) (almost) Down Under Down Under

Anamanaguchi’s Endless Fantasy: Giving voice to chiptune

Dancing With Molly   The club drug even your parents   know about

Inside the Internship   A look at Topshelf Records

Kanye West   A decade of Dessert   and Disaster

november 2013 // 1

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR H ello , D ear R eaders .

Coming back from Summer Chaos Magazine turned into Five Cent Sound, with new staff members, new ideas coming in, and new music fresh in everyone’s ears. September welcomed an unusually warm autumn. The writers for Five Cent Sound too it upon themselves to go above and beyond this semester. Our photo shoot (and thus the first photo cover) came from suggestions by the staff. The staff primarily stars in the photo shoot. Our first printed issue hit Emerson’s campus in September as well. It’s been a long and interesting semester, and it’s coming to a close very quickly. The final papers are assigned, final projects in planning stages, and my final issue of Five Cent Sound is being put to bed.

As a senior graduating early, I can no longer be EIC of this fabulous magazine, but Ashley Alongi is taking my place. The mission and dedication of Five Cent Sound will not waiver. This magazine has become far more than I ever expected. Dozens of students come together to create articles, photo shoots, and layout. Working on the magazine, and working with our staff of editors, writers, photographers, and designers I have learned so much about magazines. Saying goodbye is traditionally hard to do, doing it via text is no different. But here’s my last hurrah, enjoy Five Cent Sound in all its new glory. All the best,

M ar ia S pi r i dig l ioz z i E ditor -I n -C hief

x1lx1lx1lxl1x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 2 // Five cent sound

Executive Board Editor in Chief

Maria Spiridigliozzi

Assistant Editor Ashley Alongi

Creative Director Melanie Cohen

Managing Editor

Mackenzie �Z� Hall-Kuester

Live and Local Editor

Tori Menson


Virginia Wright Heather Mulgannon Zoe Matthews Christopher Gavin

Entertainment and Culture Editor

Lauren Moquin


Josh Park Matt Kane Lana Ottley Allison Flaherty

Features Editor

Around the World Editor

Carrie Cabal


Devan Norman Nina Corcoran Leanna Furtado

Reviews Editor

Alexandra Fileccia


Nick Stalford Ari Anderson

Design Director Megan Seabaugh

Design Team

Caitlin Boland Olivia Billbrough Louis Roe Jessica Colarossi

Web Editor Ashley Alongi

Web Team

Olivia Billbrough Jessica Colarossi Dan Taverner

Head Copy Editor Meredith Mann

Copy Editors

Elizabeth Rule Dan Manning

Director of Photography Patrick Lynch

Photo Team

Kendall Paul Amy Smith Paola Camago Austin Ferreira Juliana LaVita Kathleen Collins

Domenica Perrone


Ben Sack Ari Notis Taylor Markarian

1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 All of the music. lx1lx1lx x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx For all of the people. 1lx1lx1l 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 All of the time. lx1lx1lx november 2013 // 3

Bold ,





5¢ Sound

Live and Local

topshelf records virginia wright  6 a look at cuffs   christopher gavin 8 profile: gone by daylight heather mulgannon  10

Entertainment and culture

dancing with molly   matt kane 12 tell them who kanye west is   Allison flaherty 14 Jools holland    josh park 16


photo spread   This issue:   Music-influenced style 17 berklee beantown jazz festival   ari notis 22 dubstep: an obituary   ben sack 24 who owes who what?   taylor markarian 25

4 // Five cent sound

Around the World

lorde: why she’ll stay on top   nina corcoran 28 chvrches and scottish electric music   devan norman 30 why you should be listening to bbc Radio   leanna furtado 32


Black and white boy: fragile   ari anderson 34 anamanaguchi: endless fantasy   nick stalford 35

wild nothings

  concert photos 36



  this issue: throwbacks



  this issue: throwbacks

november 2013 // 5



L iv e

a n d

From the perspective of an intern Virginia Wright


tarted in 2005 by Kevin Duquette, Topshelf Records has lately been getting a lot of recognition from online music publications. Websites like Pitchfork and Stereogum, have been publishing pieces describing an “emo revival”. Articles like “Top 20 Emo Albums of All Time” and “12 Emo Revival Bands You Need to Know”, etc. all depict this revival as something spontaneous, but this has been a genre labels like Topshelf and Count Your Lucky Stars have been a part of for years. Over the years and with the help of Seth Decoteau, Duquette has been able to build a substantial roster of artists including A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Braid, Pianos Become the Teeth and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die – just to name a few. Working at a record label might sound like a glamorous job and people tend to think that running a label is simply hanging out with bands, releasing their music and going to shows for free. All of which are included in job, but there is a lot of grunt work that goes into maintaining a label. My position at the label immediately demystifies any notion of glamour. My job in all of this is to assist with mail order, meaning: I

fold shirts, organize the warehouse, assemble records and update websites. I once spent five hours monetizing Topshelf’s Youtube views, which is one of many ways they bring in revenue for themselves and their artists. I found out about the internship nearly two years ago through their Tumblr page. At the time, I was just starting to get involved at Emerson with Wax On Felt and thought it would be different to see how a local, independent label works, so I applied. It took me a couple of semesters for the timing to work out – they prefer mail order interns to visit the warehouse twice a week, and now I’m starting to get a taste of what Topshelf Records does. The label is in the midst of switching over to a new website and everyone has been working on transferring the old content to the new site. This includes going through their old Tumblr posts and putting them on the new site with correct dates and tags. Through this, I’ve learned how to alter basic HTML coding, much like editing Tumblr or Myspace layouts. Every Monday and Friday, I catch an 8:30am commuter rail to Salem, where I am picked up and driven to the warehouse in Peabody. Their floor in this warehouse is shared by two screen-printing companies,

shelf hosted. Friday night was an all ages show at Suburbia in Brooklyn. My Fictions, Caravels, The Saddest Landscape, Enemies, Prawn and the Jazz June all played a basement apartment-turned venue. It was similar to an Allston basement show, but bigger, cleaner and more organized. Topshelf hosted their showcase in the same venue last year. Saturday had a similar line up and was hosted at Saint Vitus bar, also in Brooklyn. I got this sweet guest-list wristband that says “Satan Loves You” and I plan on wearing it until it falls off. The bands who played were Have Mercy, Caravels, Enemies, The Jazz June and Braid, who are one of the most influential emo bands and just announced they are releasing their newest album through Topshelf. While in Brooklyn, I watched live music, sold TSR merchandise and hung out with some band members. I rode up in Enemies’ tour van on the way back to Boston because they played a free show at b.good burgers that Sunday. That was my first time riding in a tour van with a group of guys and the four members and two friends sure made it a memorable trip. Working in music has always been a dream of mine and I feel like I’m doing something worthwhile by interning at Topshelf Records.


and another label, Bridge 9. A typical day at the office, involves me and the other intern assembling vinyl and organizing the space they rent out. Topshelf has over 90 releases to date and have another facility close by where they keep excess merchandise. Some day in the near future, probably after FEST in Florida, the other intern and I will have to tackle the daunting task of reorganizing the storage unit. It’s cool to see how a moderately sized label functions from the ground up, especially because I’m a huge fan of some of the artists signed to or affiliated with Topshelf. Another perk is, I get to hang out with and learn from the people who are so influential within this music scene. (I’m also made privy to some releases and tours before they’re publically announced.) In addition to hiring mail order interns each semester, Topshelf takes on video and graphic design interns as well. The video kids’ responsibilities include filming promotional material for artists and going to shows to record live footage. I’m not entirely sure what projects the graphic design intern is working on because I haven’t met them, but I know the intern over the summer created the artwork for the summer sampler. On October 18th and 19th, I went to New York for the CMJ showcases Top-


inside the wareh


“Working at a record label might sound like a glamorous job... but there is a lot of grunt work that goes into maintaining a label.” november 2013 // 7

Sounds like... a look at by Christopher Gavin


he first thing any experienced music listener does upon hearing the beginning of “Private View” is a double take. The clean, treble-driven guitar riff beckons like a siren as the snare drum pounds away to a straight four beats, a combination bearing resemblance to the old and rather punkish anthem, “I Fought the Law.” However, this notion can be quickly abandoned upon the entrance of Andrew Churchman’s vocals. The two and a half minute single is

8 // Five cent sound


the latest from CUFFS on the Boston based label, Ride The Snake Records, even though it was released last year. It is one of two official releases the band has had since 2010, which also includes the 45” record with “Privilege” and “Archer,” both continuing in the reverb loaded, clean chime the group has based their work around. Yet, with the band’s souring energy and fast tempo, it wouldn’t hurt to mention the presence of a rather punkish nature in the material as well

For all intents and purposes though, CUFFS is a live band. “You could say [we are] but we don’t play too often,” Churchman said in an email to Five Cent Sound. “In contrast to our two releases over three years, the ratio of live shows is much higher.” The four-piece East Cambridge band started in Inman Square, according to Churchman, and is made up of members from Pants Yell, Reports and Carlisle Sound.


Private View 7” (left) Privilege 7” (right) can be heard on Bandcamp

Joe Mahoney handles the bass with Casey Keenan on drums and Martin Pavlinic and Churchman on guitar. “We are long time friends and played in each other’s bands,” Churchman said. “We formed in the fall of 2010 after I recorded some demos.” To best summarize the sound and energy of CUFFS, indiepop-even with the band’s semi-punk edge-seems like a suitable genre. There is a step of pep in most of the guitar parts, specifically in “Private View” and “Privilege,” along with a swirling and catchy melody, almost related to “It’s Real” by the soft-indie rockers known as Real Estate. Churchman’s seemingly shy and low vocals also brings Phoenix, the French new wave and indie-pop band, to mind. Yet, there is some hesitation to labeling the group as a member of the same “good boy” and somewhat sensitive tone these other two artists share. There is a garage rock flair keeping CUFFS grounded in something else with more of an edge. “Private View,” for example has a sloppy, punk oriented drum backbeat with a messy hi-hat and a hard-hitting snare. The background vocals bring on a hint of The Ramones, but perhaps the best classic artist to use to describe it would be The Clash. The “da-da-da’s” sung in the back could possibly be substituted with a few low vices mumbling “London Calling” instead. It might also be appropriate to look at CUFFS with English mod-groups from the London music scene in the mid1960’s. The Who, arguably the most famous of the bands to

come out of the genre, in turn, was a major influence on and a leading force to the birth of punk rock in the late 1970’s, making this comparison justified in some sense. Funny enough though, Churchman said he has never owned a Clash album. “In terms of punk, I’ve always liked the Undertones, Buzzcocks, Descendents but wouldn’t call them direct influences,” he said. In fact, the original sound for the band was almost the opposite of these groups. “My inspiration for starting CUFFS were groups ‘80s soft-pop groups like Prefab Sprout, Monochrome Set and Everything But the Girl, but we veered away from that sound very quickly,” Churchman said. “The inspiration remains and that’s the important thing.” In terms of music legends and idols Churchman was influenced by, he cited Vic Goddard, Lilys, Neil Young, Eric’s Trip and the Everly Brothers. Yet, he can still be found listening to artists such as Dick Diver, LAKE, Chris Cohen and Comet Gain as well as on stage with CUFFS at TT the Bear’s in Central Square, a popular venue for the band. In addition to booking a few gigs every once in a while, Churchman said CUFFS hopes to finish the album it started recording last year, when asked what the band will do next. In the meantime though, check out the free download of the group’s 4-track demos on its Bandcamp page if “Private View,” “Archer” and “Privilege” just aren’t enough until the record comes out.


november 2013 // 9

Profile of...

Gone by


by Heather Mulgannon


t eleven years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? Maybe you wanted to be a firefighter or a veterinarian or the even the president of the United States. For many people childhood dreams end up changing or not working out quite the way they had hoped. When Massachusetts native, Eric Paquette was eleven he knew exactly what he wanted to be doing for the rest of his life. He wanted to be involved in music. He wanted to be in a band. And that is exactly what the twenty-six year old has been doing his entire life. Paquette has been obsessed with music for as long as he can remember. “Every night I would sit by the radio. I had one of those cassette recorders and I would wait for my favorite song to come on so I could record it and listen to it all the next day.” He first tried picking up the guitar in the second grade. He didn’t have the patience for it though and wound up smashing it against a tree and going back to playing Ninja Turtles. That was also about the time when he met Shaanan King who would go on to be the drummer in their band Gone by Daylight. It wasn’t until they reached the fifth grade that Paquette picked up the guitar again. After he learned to play he hardly ever put it down. “I played it while watching TV. I played it at the din-

10 // Five cent sound

ner table. I honestly developed most of my guitar playing skills with Shaanan for so long that he just knows what to do. I’ll when I was that young.” Fifth grade was also when Paquette throw a riff out and he’ll know what to do or he’ll play a beat and King played their first show together. and I’ll go with it. We’ve been doing this with each other for so They eventually enlisted King’s older brother Jordan to play long it’s just natural. It’s all we really know.” bass. The older King had originally played the drums but they Because Paquette writes so often the band has about 30 convinced him to switch to songs currently written. Of the bass. The newest member those songs about 15 have to be added to the band is guialready been mixed. He detarist Jeff Lynch. Although he scribes the sound of this new hasn’t been playing with the album as “more edgy and other band members for as rock”. The members of the long he fits into the band just band have been spending anyas well. time they aren’t on the road, Along with being Gone in a studio recording this new By Daylight’s lead singer, album. Paquette writes all the songs. They spend most of their He has been writing songs time performing shows in since he was younger. As he MA, and NY. Paquette will has gotten older the way he also sometimes play solo goes about writing songs has acoustic shows in between changed. Like many people, Gone By Daylight’s dates. when was younger, he only He says that he has probably wrote when he was feeling played over 1,000 shows, instrong emotion. Because of cluding with My Chemical this most of their EP Big Riff, Romance before they became was inspired by Paquette famous. dealing with breakups and The band recently played other emotional topics. at CMJ in NYC. CMJ is a Paquette describes Big Riff five-day music marathon as “guitar driven, mature pop spread throughout over 80 punk”. If he had to describe locations in Manhattan and Gone By Daylight he says Brooklyn. Bands perform all they would be a random mix over the city and lectures are of Jimmy Eat World, Jet, The set up at New York UniversiKooks, The Clash, and Jack ty. Big names in all parts of White. the industry speak at these He says it’s hard to deseminars and give advice to scribe their sound because it’s bands and fans alike. constantly changing. “I love Gone By Daylight also Gone By Daylight’s facebook profile bands that change their style recently played at Live in the with every record. I can’t Vineyard in Napa Valley, Calistand when bands re do the same thing over and over. I want fornia. They were the only indie band booked to play the music to be the kind of band if you hear our last record and then you festival/ vineyard tour. Big names such as Gavin Degraw, Jason pick up our new one you wonder ‘what happened, what where Derulo, and James Blunt also performed at the event. they listening to, what changed’.” They are currently on their way to Los Angeles to work on Paquette gets inspiration from everything from personal ex- their new album. . While they are in California they are going perience to things he reads. One of Gone By Daylight’s new to be filming a at least one music video and spending time in the songs “Bones” was inspired by something Paquette read online. studio The band is planning to release an EP of a few songs as “I read a line about the government, it was ‘they’ll break your a teaser before the actual album release, which they have yet to bones and leave you crutch less’, basically they make you need set a date for. them. I wrote it down and it stuck with me for a while. So I Paquette says that Gone By Daylight is also planning on gotwisted it around and basically made it about a girl. She makes ing SXSW again this year. Last year they did a full US tour you need her but you don’t even mind it.” around SXSW and they are thinking of possibly doing the same Paquette treats songwriting like a job, because it is for him. this year. He makes himself write every single day saying he is constantly They have a busy couple of months ahead of them but they inspired. “Actually finishing a song is the hardest part for me. couldn’t be more thrilled for all the amazing opportunities. I’m constantly writing, but turning it into something, whether They are hoping the new album will be released around March or not anyone will ever hear it, is just the best feeling for me.” 2014 along with at least one music video. One thing is for sure The songs Paquette writes by himself tend to be very differ- though; things are moving faster for the Gone By Daylight than ent than the ones he writes with the band. “I’ve been playing they ever have before.

“I want to be the kind of band if you hear our last record and then you pick up our new one you wonder ‘what happened, what where they listening to, what changed’.”


november 2013 // 11



a n d


Da Da




How media coverage on the drug is affecting the electronic music scene By Matt Kane


n August 28th, 2013, Zedd, one of the world’s biggest up-and-coming EDM (electronic dance music) producers, announced that his concert at the House of Blues in Boston, MA would be cancelled. The reason: the night before, three kids overdosed at the producers’ concert at the same venue using a popular drug in the EDM scene, “molly.” Four days later, on September 1st, 2013, the Electric Zoo Festival in New York City announced that they would be cancelling the last day of the festival. The reason: two fans overdosed on “molly” that weekend and died at the festival. Hundreds of people were outraged at the cancellations, calling them unnecessary and pinning the blame on the victims who didn’t know how to enjoy the concerts in a safe manner. Now, I’m not advocating either abstinence or experimentation with drugs. I think it’s interesting how much attention “molly” is receiving in the media, however. News coverage seems to be spreading the idea that molly is this brand new drug that is corrupting America’s teenagers. As a result, the EDM scene has been met with a wave of negative press. At last month’s Boston Calling Festival, which featured several electronic acts, fans were subject to stricter security checks than usual. UMass Amherst even went as far as cancelling all scheduled EDM concerts in an attempt to prevent molly usage from spreading. First of all, let’s get one thing clear. “Molly” is not a new drug. It’s just a new way to refer to the pure/powder form of MDMA, a drug that is used in “ecstasy.” MDMA’s ability to induce euphoria and empathy for others has made it a staple in clubs for the past couple of decades. As a result, it has always been associated with electronic music. So why now? Why is the media giving this drug so much attention when it’s been around for years?

So, what do the artists have to say about this? In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Zedd carefully distanced himself from “molly,” but struggled with whether or not concerts should be canceled because someone couldn’t handle their drugs: “I don’t know if it was the right call. It’s a very difficult debate. When is it a right thing to cancel a concert?…If we’re talking about people’s responsibilities, it’s difficult to judge that. It’s hard for the people that bought their tickets to

understand that a show gets canceled because of someone else’s irresponsibility…that’s the safest way to enjoy music, is to enjoy the music, and use that as your drug and not any other substances” The fact is, “molly” isn’t going to go away, no matter how much coverage it gets. Whether or not someone chooses to use the drug is their decision and theirs alone. If the media continues to focus on “molly,” however, it will take away from what is most important: the music.


It might have something to do with the growing popularity of electronic music in general. The EDM scene has exploded over the past few years, to the point where most of today’s top 40 music is influenced by various sub-genres of electronic music such as house and dubstep. It is becoming more common for DJs to produce songs for mainstream artists, including Lady Gaga, who is collaborating with Zedd on her upcoming album, Artpop. At the same time, the idea of consuming “molly” is being glamorized by some of today’s most popular acts. If you need proof, look no further than “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus, which references the drug frequently in its lyrics. Since “molly” and EDM are so closely associated with one another, the drug’s negative connotations have given the genre a poor reputation. It’s a shame, really, because electronic music has the capability of bringing people together and spreading a message of positivity. Why isn’t the media focusing on that? It seems that whenever a particular genre of music becomes popular, the media takes every opportunity to portray that genre in a negative light. When hiphop first became popular, for instance, the media slammed it for promoting violence and excessive drinking. Then, when the alternative rock/emo scene rose to popularity, critics claimed it would lead to a rise in self-harm and even suicide. Now that EDM has become popular, the media has chosen to focus on the one negative aspect of the scene: overdoses on “molly.”

november 2013 // 13

Somebody Tell ’em Who Kanye West Is A Decade of Dessert and Disaster by allison fl ahert y


anye West is synonymous in the mainstream media with megalomania, and wild eccentricity. Naming his daughter North West, his recent over the top proposal to Kim Kardashian, and calling himself a God provided fodder for lazy comedians and water cooler banter worldwide. The culture of irony, late night talk show hosts delivering manufactured jokes for plastic laughs, and our collective appetite for oddities to gawk at

14 // Five cent sound

have shaped Kanye’s public persona. We have Yeezus but we’d rather talk about Jimmy Fallon and leather jogging pants. So I don’t want to talk about Kanye West the headline, I want to talk about Kanye West the artist, but it’s difficult to separate the two because, unlike most celebrities, Kanye is a singularly uncensored guy. What he spits in his verses is the same thing he says in real life as he did in 2005 when he made headlines by

saying “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” on a national, live Hurricaine Katrina telethon. “Artist Kanye” came out with the line, “I might even make [my son] be Republican so everybody know he love white people” in Watch the Throne, six years later – only he never had to apologize to Matt Lauer for it. We’re used to our popular music served on a separate plate from our politics, and our celebrities carefully controlled to the point where they sound scripted in interviews, spouting auto-tuned opinions. When Kanye gives an interview you can almost see his PR person, head-in hands off-camera, cursing the day she took the job. In interviews, Kanye is rambling and emphatic, but undoubtedly sincere. He’s also all over the place - it’s like the audio version of a splatter painting, and often it doesn’t seem to make very much sense. In an interview with KME-FM he said that a reason for his collaboration with Jay Z on Watch the Throne was to learn some social skills from Jay that he demonstratively lacks. Kanye has become the circus sideshow of the music industry. This is why the artistic achievement that is Yeezus is overshadowed when Kanye proclaims himself the “number one rock star on the planet.”

From his Grammy-winning first album, The College Dropout, to the commercial smash, Graduation, to the incomparably dope and insanely artful My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, to the victorious and experimental Jay Z collaboration in Watch the Throne, Kanye has left his titanic footprint in the world of rap — the world of music — throughout the last decade. Yeezus is a different animal, though. Ye told BBC Radio 1 “Dark Fantasy could be considered to be perfect, you know, I know how to make perfect, but that’s not what I’m here to do [in Yeezus]. I’m here to crack the pavement and make new grounds.” And Yeezus delivers on this. Kanye said of Yeezus “it’s like a car crash”. And Yeezus is definitely different — it doesn’t have sugary radio singles, there’s no “Gold Digger” on this record. Yeezus is not an easy listening album. He punctuates Yeezus with piercing yells over unconventional beats. The album features collaborations with Daft Punk, Frank Ocean, and Chief Keef, creating a pop-eletronic-rap orgy with industrial and acid house influences. The overall sound of the album is acopalyptic until the sweet melody of the final track, “Bound 2”. It’s not the kind of album you bump in the club or blast with your car windows down on a summer afternoon. The first song on the album, “Black Skinhead”, is breathy, frustrated, and abrasive. This song doesn’t coddle the listener, but confronts him repeatedly with lines like “Middle America Packed in/Came to see me in my black skin”. It flows into “I Am a God,” a desperate, repeated affirmation “I am a God” interspersed with dissonant screaming. Track two, “New Slaves”, follows suit with its assault on racism and consumerism. The opening line sets the tone: “My momma was raised in the era when/ Clean water was only served to the fairer skin”. He continues with rhymes about the new slavery in America, the slavery to fashion, cars, and “this new thing called classism – its racism’s cousin”. Maybe the best moment in the entire album is when the anger and tension that builds throughout the first three songs breaks out into a joyous, soulful electric guitar interlude in “New Slaves”.

The whole album, especially “Blood on the Leaves” is a dark and desperate, unyielding explosion of emotion. He raps about love and emptiness, paparazzi ruthlessness, racism, money and self-loathing over a haunting refrain of “blood on the leaves”. Yeezus is one of the most confrontational, creative, and politically genius albums in recent music history. Ye says in response to people who ask who he thinks he is to call himself a God: “Would it be better if I had a song that said I’m a nigger? Or if I had a song that said I’m a gangster? Or if I had a song that said I’m a pimp? All those colors and patinas fit better on a person like me, right? But to say you are a God, especially when you got shipped over to the country that you’re in, and your last name is a slaveowner’s. How could you say that? How could you have that mentality?” So when we ask where Kanye gets off calling himself Yeezus, or selling a plain white t-shirt for $120, it’s worth acknowledging the creative genius, the undeniable tightness and the impact of the scope and vision of his body of work. Consider the fact that Kanye brings issues like racism, classism, creativity, and consumerism to the forefront in every album he makes. So who does Kanye West think he is? He thinks he’s the dopest, most genius rapper alive – and as long as he delivers albums like Yeezus, who are we to argue?


november 2013 // 15

Jools Holland by Josh Park


ey America, we stole a bunch of things from Britain, why not steal one more? We’re all very aware of America’s tendency of adapting things from Britain and attempting to make them even greater: soccer, Ricky Gervais’ shows, George Washington. Something’s really missing though. If we’re all about the spicy cultural incest we’re partaking with Britain, shouldn’t we go a step further? Jools Holland, for those who haven’t had a borderline creepy anglophile phase in high school, is this wonderfully fabulous and pudgy man who hosts a live music show for the BBC called Later… with Jools Holland. This music show has gone on for 20 years, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping. I mean if it’s good enough to last 20 years, why stop it right? Jools Holland, thrives on a constant, simple formula: 5 music acts, all genres, no bullshit. It’s stripped to its bare necessities. It’s for the guy who makes five figures and likes listening to Bad Brains, and for the artists, appearing on the show only adds to their prestige. I mean the show, STARTS OUT WITH THE HOST PLAYING WITH THE BANDS. Imagine if Jay Leno had Al Pacino on his show. Now also imagine if Jay Leno had any meaningful talent whatsoever. Before he interviews Al Pacino, Leno acts out the “I knew it was you Fredo” scene in the Godfather II. That’s what Jools Holland does every week. And it’s not like Jools

16 // Five cent sound

Holland’s show is something completely original and must be exclusively licensed. It’s just like any other music show. Anyone can have a music show. In fact, it’s so easy to have a music show that MTV decided that it’s better not to have a music show. So why doesn’t America have something like Jools Holland? Before I even state my case, you probably thought of the Late Night format. The said format is not all entirely different from Jools Holland. The performance is introduced and played live in front of a studio audience, and the said audience is as dead as Breaking Bad. Actually, it’s not that different at all. Other than the fact that the bands play after a long comedy show, both formats allow for live music to be played and recorded. But here’s the thing, one of the overwhelming hypnotic aspects of Jools Holland is that the host and the production makes sure in every possible way that the show is simply about the music. The fact that there is no American adaptation of Jools Holland is like an Italian restaurant that doesn’t serve gnocchi. It’s appalling. So let’s make one. It wouldn’t be too hard, there’s not a lot of talking. There’s barely any interviews. So there just needs to be an enigmatic musical talent that says a bunch of things that we can’t really decipher? So why not Tony Bennett? What is Tony Bennett doing? Nothing. Let’s open up Tony’s 401k into the world of broadcasting. He’s a wonderful per-

sonality and he clearly loves music. All he has to do is present with his wonderful voice. He might even want to sing a little bit with the musicians on his show. But the best part is that Tony Bennett is a good fit to have a wonderful time in a show devoted to music. You can make the case to me that the Late Night format is an American tradition that doesn’t need change. This is the formula that worked for Ed Sullivan. This is the formula that introduced the Beatles to America. Sure, but it was Ed Sullivan. Find me another late night host that will have as much reverence and importance, you can’t. Here’s another thing about the late night formula: it feels entirely too plastic. The music act in a late night show is simply the dregs of the show. They’re there because they’re famous enough to be on a show but not famous enough to not have to appear on show, and in that sense, it doesn’t necessarily celebrate music, it merely promotes it. The big difference between Jools Holland and the field is that an artist wants to be on Jools Holland, while an artist needs to be on Letterman.




he music you listen to is defined by the kind of person you are. And vice-versa. The emotions you experience the most and the opinion you have of the world will lead you to choose music that fits the wavelength of those emotions and opinions. The messages wrought by your favorite bands will also serve to shape your feelings and way of thinking. Your life and musical taste are forever intertwined. It only makes sense that the clothes you wear would reflect that shining little filament of your inner self. And hey, it helps that band t-shirts are like, the coolest piece of clothing ever. november 2013 // 17

Maria Spiridigliozzi I listen to a lot of punk rock, pop rock, alt rock, and any kind of rock really. My style is influenced by the bands I listen to, a lot of dark colors, and bold patterns based on the theatricality of My Chemical Romance. Some basic tees and jeans combos with combat boots ala the Sex Pistols. My style reflects the message of the music because it represents me, and I don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks about how I dress. I just ooze punk rock.

nichol as de la canal I almost only listen to swing and vocal jazz from the 1940s and 50s. Favorite singers/bands are Frank Sinatra, Buddy Greco, Ella Fitzgerald, Kay Starr, Harry Connick Jr., Peggy Lee, Glenn Miller. I do NOT like Michael Buble. He’s too poppy. And he has that weird lisp. I love the swank of that time period. It was apparent in both the music and the style of dress. There’s just something about a vintage sweater or a swing drum solo by Gene Krupka that makes me feel very nostalgic for that time period. That’s probably an effect from watching too many classic movies when I was growing up. But I feel like just about everything from that era (social values excluded) are timeless. Newer, “computer-generated,” music doesn’t have nearly the same feel to me as real instruments do.

18 // Five cent sound

Taylor markarian The bands I listen to fall under different variations of post-hardcore and metalcore. Some of my favorite bands are Senses Fail, Escape the Fate, We Came As Romans, Motionless In White, and Asking Alexandria, to name a few. Basically, my wardrobe has four main features: band tees, black things, studded things, and ripped things. I essentially just picked up my style from bands who inspired me and who I thought looked really cool. Dyed hair, piercings, and tattoos are also part of that sort of scene. It’s funny, because a lot of people who don’t listen to those kinds of bands think that it’s all just scary and sad and angry, which is part of it, but it’s mostly about turning the things that make us sad and scared and angry into a positive, confident statement.

alexandra fileccia I would say my style is punk meets glam rock. I like balancing masculine and feminine elements in my outfits. My favorite artist of all time is David Bowie, but I listen to a lot of the Ramones, Nico Vega, Liars, and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. They are all about a tough attitude.

november 2013 // 19

courtney tharp alex nelson alexandra fileccia

20 // Five cent sound

maria spiridigliozzi taylor markarian

courtney tharp alexandra fileccia

Cody Baker

november 2013 // 21

Openings and Closure 2013 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival by Ari Notis


ow, I don’t have time for this whole story,” says Christian Scott. He’s standing on the ARAMARK/ Coca-Cola Stage at the 2013 Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. Behind him are the members of his quintet: guitarist Matt Stevens, pianist Lawrence Fields, bassist Kris Funn, and drummer Corey Fonville. They’ve been playing their music— an energetic mix of jazz, funk, rock, and blues—for the better part of an hour. And now, with only ten minutes left of the festival, the band is being reminded that their playtime is just about up. Scott catches Funn’s eye. They share a brief nod and fleeting smile. Then Scott turns back to the crowd and tells the whole story.

1lx Some people are cocks; just cocky cocks. More often than not, a musician is a cock. As in, a musician is likely to be an arrogant ass and an arrogant ass is likely

22 // Five cent sound

also a musician. Though ever so rarely— underneath the braggadocio and behind the sunglasses—a musician has the chops to merit their cockiness. Simon Moullier is one of those. He and his band, the Simon Moullier Quartet—a band, impressively, comprised only of students—took the Berklee Stage at noon as one of the festival’s opening acts. Saxist Samuel Batista, upright bassist Elin Sandberg, and percussionist Kazuhiro Odagiri joined Moullier on stage as the other parts of the Quartet. Together, the four of them played solidly throughout: tight and on point, never missing a beat, switching effortlessly between various time signatures and tempos. Beyond a temporal mastery, they displayed a dynamic one as well, knowing the exact moments, as a group, to quiet down or pipe up–they did so without ever letting one musician overpower another. In short, the Simon Moullier Quartet made cohesion look easy. As any musician can attest to, that’s quite the feat.

But no amount of cohesion could change one fact: the show belonged to Moullier.


A harrowing story is one of the few things that can shut a boisterous crowd up. The crowd gathered for Scott’s set is one of these, but not in the friendly, let’sdance-and-be-merry way. They scream and shove and shoot death glares at those who come too close. Personal space is an issue for many of them. A group of students, standing not twenty feet from the stage, say rude things in loud voices: “I don’t know or care about the drummer, or whatever, but, like, Christian Scott, man,” or “He changed jazz from not cool to cool,” or, from a kid wearing a YOLO hat, “Christian Scott can do whatever he wants. Christian Scott can fuck my mom.” Each student yells louder than the last; they clamor to match the music in both tenacity and volume. Mature stuff, right? It’s a

crowd that really needs to shut up. Whether Scott knows—or cares about— this or not, he jumps into a harrowing story. Instantly, the students stop talking. Everyone stands still as Scott speaks. He tells a tale of his past as a young African American male living in New Orleans; how, one night, driving down a country road, without breaking any laws, he was pulled over and surrounded by three squad cars; how the cops exited their cars and approached his with guns drawn; how one asked him to exit the car and lie on the ground, after dropping his pants—and underwear. “Now, I wasn’t thinkin’ he was so hand-sum, so I said ‘Hell no,’” Scott tells his audience before continuing his story; one of race and racism, of false empowerment and unfair treatment, of lucky but unlikely heroism—a police lieutenant drove up and told him to go home safe. Scott’s final number, he tells us, is the sole positive thing to come out of this incident. It’s a product of channeling rage, humiliation, and aggression into art. “This song is called ‘Ku Klux Police Department!’” Scott shouts, before counting off. “Ku Klux Kops” would’ve been a better title.

1lx Batista, Sandberg, and Odagiri walked on stage, humble and heads bowed, wearing modest clothing: cardigans and woolen blazers, khakis and checkered shirts. Moullier, on the other hand, strutted on stage, waving too flippant a wave for a crowd that excited. He wore a black Oxford, unbuttoned to his naval to display his bare torso, tucked into skinny jeans. His neatly trimmed blond hair shone in the sun. And, of course, he wore Ray Bans. A cock, am I right? Throughout the performance, Batista and Sandberg would sporadically embark on minute or two-minute-long solos. Moullier, too, would solo, though his would run for five, six minutes. He’d

run his four mallets, Burton Grip style, up and down the vibraphone—oh, yeah, he’s a rockstar vibes player—interweaving complex melodies with the swinging jazz beats of his backing band. After one particularly virtuosic blast, he leaned in to the microphone and said, “Yeah, you like that, don’t you.” It was weird. But yes, Simon, that was very good. We did like it.

1lx Jon Garelick told the Christian Scott crowd, in introducing the performance, that stories would come through the music. At that point, it didn’t seem possible; after all, the band is instrumental, not lyrical. Prior to “Ku Klux Kops,” Scott seemed a bit like a musician who played six blocks away, five hours earlier: Simon Moullier. He seemed, due to the Kanye swagger, funky attire, and stark refusal to ever be part of the rhythm section, to be playing music for the sole reason of showing everyone how damn good he is. Christian Scott defies possibilities. “Ku Klux Kops” is a busy song. Williams kicks it off with a fast, snare-laden beat. Fields, Stevens, and Funn lay down a simple chord progression. Scott comes in with drawn out notes, letting his runs hang out mostly on the second and fourth. The song escalates quickly, hovering on the edge of dissonance. It doesn’t tell a story, exactly, but it’s apparent that emotion charges the song: anguish, urgency, infuriation. Scott caps off a trill-filled solo, and steps back, winded. A kid scrawling into a notepad, standing not twenty feet from the stage, surrounded by immature students, realizes something. Simon Moullier, for all his technical talent and stunning songwriting abilities, only needed to do one thing to get on Christian Scott’s level. He needed to make time, in his music, for stories.


november 2013 // 23


an Obituary

(May his ideas live on forever) By Ben Sack ubstep, the dance music scientist responsible for introducing the world to the joys of sub-frequencies and the inventor of the “drop,” has passed away in hospital after a long illness. Born in the London club scene to loving parents Drum and Bass and 2-Step Garage, Dubstep devoted his life to studying the effects of music on the listener. Unlike his contemporaries, who sought to affect listener psychology through meaningful lyricism or classical movements, Dubstep made it his mission to achieve a more visceral, bodily reaction. He focused on creating pure sonic satisfaction, without the distractions of rock and roll’s conventional songwriting or house music’s preoccupation with the positivity of club-goers. Dubstep experimented for years with bass and slow tempos in his London laboratory with colleagues like Skream and Benga, but achieved only limited success. The breakthrough came when Dubstep moved stateside. There, he refined his studies into a very specific formula. He discovered that one should start with a catchy hook. “If you can’t think of one yourself,” he wrote, “just steal one from a pop song and call it a ‘remix.’ Then, after approximately 55 seconds, add a ‘drop.’” The drop was Dubstep’s proudest creation. It meant, in practice, taking the song from a high register hook to a middle and low register breakdown, consisting of various forms of bass (from the docile “wobble” to the more aggressive “wub.”) His ideas resonated with American teenagers, who began using them as a basis for competition. The best Dubstep-style tracks became the ones with the “filthiest drops.” Unfortunately, this behavior led to Dubstep developing significant anger issues. His old friends began calling him nasty names like “Brostep.” His drops became uglier and more metallic, and he added unwanted elements to his hooks, like samples from viral YouTube videos (see Skrillex’s “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites.”) Then, in early 2012, he burst a blood vessel in his head and was airlifted to the ICU, where he later succumbed to his injuries. Although he died miserable and alone, Dubstep always believed in giving back to the community; his last gift came in the form of his organs, which were distributed to patients in need. Those patients have now formed an organization dedicated to furthering his research, a burgeoning genre called “Post-Dubstep.” Post-Dubstep is organized into factions, each created from a different part of Dubstep’s body, and each with a different idea of which sound really created Dubstep’s sonic satisfaction. “Trap” received the drop. Musicians like Baauer, Hudson Mohawke, and TNGHT insist that it really was Dubstep’s signature maneuver that compelled his fans so much. They have learned from his mistakes, however, and removed that nasty middle register responsible for the “filthy drops” produced by the likes of Flux Pavilion and Skrillex. Instead, Trap songs drop from a hook into a cleaner, simpler, ultra-low register “wub”

24 // Five cent sound

combined with high-pitched accents. Dubstep’s bass was distributed to a variety of the Post-Dubstep patients, all of whom assert that it was not the drop, but the sub-frequencies that resulted in Dubstep’s visceral reaction. James Blake set out to prove this by combining Dubstep’s wobbling bass with indie rock and R&B. In “Limit to Your Love” from his self-titled debut, he succeeded, remarkably, in splicing Dubstep DNA with a Feist song (to a haunting end result.) Blake’s friends, British duo Mount Kimbie, took a different approach. They combine Dubstep’s more staccato basslines with electric guitar and lesser used electronic instruments, creating dropless, yet still effective dance tracks. The most exciting music created from Dubstep’s remains, however, utilized the least expected part of his body. “Perhaps,” these musical scientists postulated, “It was not the drop, or the bass, that made Dubstep’s theory so incredible. Perhaps it was the anticipation.” In February of 2012, soon after Dubstep’s passing, pop superstar Usher and electronic demigod Diplo released “Climax.” The track, an R&B burner on the surface, consisted of what sounded like the beautiful first 55 seconds of a Dubstep track repeated over and over again. Like sexual foreplay, it is the lack of complete satisfaction from which the greatest satisfaction is derived. The song never “climaxes.” There is no drop, just build up, artfully echoed over four minutes. Since then, tracks like Sophie’s “Bipp” have teased us in the same way, building up excitement, laying off, and then building it up again. This style seems ultimately more sustainable than any drop-based Post-Dubstep, and seems to achieve that long-sought-after “sonic satisfaction” better than bass-based tracks. Dubstep is survived by all those continuing his studies. A burial will be held next Wednesday, followed by hors d’oeuvres for relatives and friends at the deceased’s home.


Who Owes Who What? Examining the Relationship Between Artist and Fan

by Taylor Mark ar ian


or some people, music is just that catchy Top 40 song they heard once on the radio that keeps them company during those tedious daily commutes, and the meaning stops there. For others, especially those who identify as outsiders—the punks, the hard rockers, the metal heads—music means a great deal more. It’s the song they replayed 100 times to get them through the day. It’s the album that made them feel like someone, somewhere, knew how it felt to be forgotten, ridiculed, or abused, just like they did. It’s the band that literally saved their lives by reminding them that they had a reason to hold on, that they weren’t alone. For these people, music is a home, a bulwark, and a loyal companion. Eddie Trunk, host of VH1 Classic’s That Metal Show, says in a promotional video for the program, “For decades people have tried to count out hard rock and heavy metal music, and for decades, they are proven wrong. It is the most loyal fan base [with] some of the greatest bands ever, and it’s not going anywhere.” These are the fans who go to every show and arrive three hours early to be the first to set foot in the venue. These are the bands that put their lives on the line just to “make it.” To the musically indifferent, this may all seem crazy and dramatic, but if someone or something had saved your life, how would you show your gratitude? Herein lies the trouble. Music, perhaps the most interactive of all the art forms, creates a unique opportunity for artist and fan to meet, bond, and maintain a relationship. All too frequently, however, the nature of that relationship is uncertain and has the potential to be awkward. The fan seeks both acknowledgement from the band and the ability to convey how much of an impact their music had on his or her life. For such a heavy subject matter, it is often difficult

to find a delicate, nonchalant way of getting the message across. And once the message is out there, the band could react to it in a number of different ways that fit none of the fan’s fantasies of that moment. On the band’s side of the matter, the question really comes down to motive and personality. People start bands to satisfy various desires: community, self-expression, excitement, and fame, to name a few of the big ones. You’re bored? Start a band. You’re an outsider? Start a band. Talented? Want to be heard? You guessed it—start a band. But along with the decision to become famous comes the consequence of sometimes unwanted or uncomfortable responsibility. Fan pages and comment sections all over the internet are testament to that fact, with many users claiming that particular bands saved fans’ lives with music. One such website is a Tumblr called My Chem Saved Me, referring to the famous rock band My Chemical Romance (2001–2013). Posts on the site detail kids’ experiences with hardships like bullying, self-harm, and depression and how MCR’s music helped them through those times. One anonymous post reads, “If I didn’t have them, I would have killed myself the first few weeks of high school. I’m alive because of them. I’m looking forward to a bright future in Art. I’m on my way to great things because of their inspiration.” In the 2006 Life on the Murder Scene DVD detailing the band’s history, the members recognize that saving lives and impacting people in a positive way was the main purpose to their music-making. Vocalist Gerard Way lists this purpose as, “Just to know that it’s OK to be messed up ‘cause there’s five dudes that are just as messed up as you, and we’ve overcome that in order to do what we do.” “This band has a way of saving lives, and it keeps us alive,” he adds.

november 2013 // 25

Down the line, though, pressure often sets in when bands make new records. How a record is going to be received is a source of concern for bands with fans who depend on their music for help. Finding a balance between wanting to move forward sonically and not disappointing longtime fans is often a precarious situation. In a 2011 interview with Youtube personality BryanStars, vocalist Craig Mabbitt of post hardcore band Escape the Fate says of the anxiety, “I hope I don’t let that kid down, the kid that really, really loves our band.” He recalls of his own experience as a fan, “When I was a kid going to shows, this was always my dream, to do this... It makes me feel good, saving lives. It makes me want to save more lives.” Sometimes, however, band members don’t set out with such charitable intentions. Some musicians are more focused on their own artistic vision or just simply don’t understand what all of the fuss is about. One such person is Jesse Lacey, frontman of the celebrated Long Island, NY band, Brand New. Being in one of the most beloved bands of an entire generation of young rockers has never seemed to register with Lacey, who has had the unfavorable tendency of detaching himself from his fans, sometimes rather rudely. In a 2006 interview with, Lacey says, ‘’I get the feeling

26 // Five cent sound

a lot of [fans] have a more personal relationship with the lyrics than I do. They seem really disappointed when they feel something about a song that I didn’t necessarily feel.” What it all boils down to is a complete and utter disconnect on both sides: Lacey doesn’t understand why fans are so passionate about his music and interested in meeting him, and fans don’t understand why they seem to be more passionate than the songwriter himself. “That’s the type of relationship we have with some fans.” Lacey continues, “They create an image of us in their heads, and when we’re not like that, they hate you. It’s jarring.’’ In a 2009 interview with Spin, Lacey says, “It seems to me the band has become more and more selfish with what interests us when we’re recording. Our goal is really to make ourselves happy and to fulfill the ideas that we have in our head.” Tours, then, become just another way to satisfy part of the creative impulse, and fan interactions become just part of the job description. But with fans who are so devoted to the music, is this kind of individualistic approach on the part of the artist selfish? Should it even matter what the artist is like if the music is so important? Basically: What should the relationship between artist and fan really be? To answer my own questions, I think a mutual respect, awareness, and appre-

ciation is in order. As Craig Mabbitt aptly puts it, “It’s the dedication of the fans that come to the show that really make a band.” Without the fans who spend their money to go to shows and buy albums when they could download them for free, bands wouldn’t go anywhere. The bands cannot forget or treat with apathy the very people to whom they owe their success. On the other hand, fans sometimes have to realize that they don’t have a right to unlimited involvement in an artist’s personal life, as some extreme fans tend to believe, and that they may have to be more flexible with their expectations. The relationship between artist and fan is a special one that can be infused with so much meaning, especially when the music through which they come together delineates a troubled and significant history for both. Particular to the rock, hardcore, and metal scene is a fierce sense of community. We all know what it’s like to be shelved by a society that doesn’t want to hear our problems, so we listen to each other to survive. But if we aren’t all best friends, at least the music will still be there. At the end of the day, it’s important to recall Mabbitt’s words of wisdom: “If somebody’s thanking you for a song helping them through something, that song’s there. That song’s there forever.”




scotl and


t h e

nick gri m s haw united kingd om


new zealand

november 2013 // 27





iwi birds, sausage rolls, and that beautiful landscape Lord of the Rings claimed for its film set: New Zealand offers more wonders than it seems possible, and the people who live there couldn’t be prouder. Before 2013, New Zealanders (or Kiwis, as they’ve cheerfully nicknamed themselves) were proud of their country for its expansive landscape and charismatic habitants. Now with Takapuna’s singer-songwriter Lorde dominating radio charts around the world, they have a whole other reason to wave their flag in the air. Lorde, the stage name of 16-year-old Ella Yelich-O’Connor, is the youngest person to top U.S. charts in a quarter

28 // Five cent sound

century. With her breakthrough hit “Royals,” she poured minimalism, electronic, and hip-hop sounds into a glass of pop, convincing the mainstream that her concoction was worth more than one sip. Impressive, especially for a girl who was first signed to label at age 13 and only just last month put out her debut album, Pure Heroine. Now step back and realize she’s the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one song in the United States – ever. It isn’t just our radio waves she’s taken hostage, but the world’s. Lorde has hopped onto the charts for Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, and dozens more. Even the US can’t get enough, ranking her on seven of

the Billboard charts, ranging from Hot Dance Club Songs to Adult Pop. Yet as of three months ago, Lorde had only ever played five shows under that name. Turns out her massive hit, “Royals,” was written out of the same intrigue many have regarding celebrities. “I find it all so interesting, such tragedies that stem from being put on a pedestal,” she said in an interview with Noisey. That’s partly why the song has gone on to become so successful. Writing about a wonder of, and interest in, the life of the 1% (“We’ll never be royals / It don’t run in our blood /… Let me live that fantasy”) is something the majority of people around the world are curious about. Lorde is the underdog story from

the country no one had any beef with, making her an easy candidate to climb the fame throne, and her song being unique enough to stand out—but simple enough to keep you from turning the dial—allowed her to get cozy at the top of the charts. A look at radio charts in the past few years shows the world opening its arms to a more loose definition of what makes “popular” music pop. Whereas rap and simplistic pop songs have been the main rulers, the past three years have shown a shift in favoritism when it comes to hooks and voices. Auto-tuned Ke$ha gets replaced by a bright-eyed Fun., Black Eyed Peas’ thumping beats with the softly-strummed guitar-work of Gotye, and Adele’s powerhouse voice treading on Rihanna and Nicki Minaj with reckless abandon. This is particularly important in America, a country whose Billboard

Top 100 list almost always differs from that of its UK equivalent who takes more risks with alternative and experimental sounds. But what does this mean for New Zealand? Often lumped together with Aussies, New Zealand takes pride in their culture, and Lorde is a musician they feel proud to be connected to. She stays away from romance-gushing topics or bubblegum pop sounds, yet her moody sounds manage to stay on the pop route despite their dark nature. Lorde has yet to get negative stigmas, and New Zealand isn’t either. As long as she keeps her posture straight and stays on her current path— like finishing high school and posting prom selfies on her Tumblr—Lorde will reign high above us until a natural, slow decline. Breaking in to the music world was her call, and where she heads next will be hers, too.


november 2013 // 29

Chvrches Humanizes Scottish Electronic Music. Three Indie Darlings went digital and aren’t looking back By Devan Norman


HVRCHES (pronounced “churches”) offers synth-poppy goodness, born from an informed background in other genres of music. The Scottish group began when Iain Cook and Martin Doherty met in a computer music class at the University of Glasgow. Both guys had indie rock cred, at least locally, and wanted to branch out into a vampy-er sound. Without guitars, a singer, or really a fully formed concept, they started meeting up every so often starting in August of 2011. They approached a signer once a general model for the band’s sound was laid down in a couple of demos. Their choice was Lauren Mayberry, spotted as Iain was producing an EP for her band, Blue Sky Archive. The odd trio represents several different age groups: Cook is 38, Doherty is 30, and Mayberry is 25. Their sounds gelled well from the beginning, despite the sound departure for everyone involved.

30 // Five cent sound

After tentatively releasing a few songs online anonymously, reception was so positive that they decided to go ahead and polish up “Lies” and “The Mother We Share” in 2012. Featuring jagged synth lines over consistent time signatures, dreamy vocals are happily hoisted to the top by everything else going on. “We push the vocal element — the treatments and backing vocals — to make everything more human,” Cook told Spin. This was a conscious decision on the band’s part, as highlighting the vocals helped differentiate from other (arguably less human) electronic acts. Unlike any other electronic voice, Lauren Mayberry’s articulation cuts through the dreamy electronic music accompanying her. That odd phenomenon of everyone singing in either an American accent or an exaggerated local one is shirked. After watching interviews with the band, it is safe to say she actually sings the way she speaks. “Her accent comes across really strongly but

it’s quite natural…that’s how she sounds when she talks,” Cook says in an interview with Spin. When “Lies” first went online, the demand for live shows was higher and more voracious than anyone could have imagined. The group hadn’t really practiced for a live gig yet, but they started performing a few tentative underground shows as a sort of litmus test. Turns out, they could do it. Nurtured by the local music scene and eventually pushed into global spotlight, it all began close to home. Their first performance was in their native Scotland at the Stereo club. They were so nervous; they practiced at the venue days before the actual event. PR people from tons of local and

international labels were there, causing heightened anxiety for the band, but the show was a success. In March 2013 they released Recover EP. The band embarked on a US tour before even releasing a full debut studio album. Eventually, The Bones of What You Believe was released on September 20, 2013. Guitars crept back in to the music, but the sounds were distorted into something else. Shifting their comfort zones from skuzzy guitars and more rocktinged melodies to merciless electronic beats, the band is exuberant as ever. “I’m

having more fun on stage than I did with previous bands,” says Doherty in an interview with Pitchfork, “When you play aggressive rock music… you’re expected to act a certain way on stage because you can’t just be smiling and jumping around.” No longer subscribing to rock traditions, the odd trio of musicians is having a lovely time (and so are their listeners on both sides of the pond).


november 2013 // 31



Should Be listening -to



know that I am not the only person who gets sick of hearing the same 20 songs on repeat on the radio. When is Ryan Seacrest going to come up with new jokes, or stop caring about Justin Bieber like the rest of us? BBC Radio 1, the UK’s top pop/top 40 radio station, is the cure to these annoyances. It features great DJ’s like Nick Grimshaw and Greg James and

32 // Five cent sound

has the Official Chart every Sunday that can be compared to American Top 40, but with way better tunes. These DJ’s play a variety of music, joke around and interact with the people of the UK on a daily basis. They all have great personalities that draw you in to what they are talking about and have that ability to make you want to be friends with them. Radio 1 puts a different spin to the way radio works around here and they do it without any commercials. While some of the songs you definitely hear on our own radio stations, for example Katy Perry’s “Roar,” you are sure to find some great new songs that won’t make it to American radio and that fit your musical taste. For example, Nick Grimshaw hosts the daily morning show, called the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Every morning, he interviews famous celebrities from all over the world, adding his own style to the interview. He often plays a game titled “Call or Delete” where he and whoever he is interviewing must take out their phones and scroll through their contacts until the other says stop. Whichever contact is selected, the guest has the option to call them, or delete the contact. Additionally, the contact cannot know that it’s all part of a game. He brings his own personality to the show everyday and keeps it relevant for listeners of all ages. If you are going to

start listening to BBC Radio 1, I suggest you start with Grimmy, he will entertain you, bring you closer to your favorite celebrities and to the music. Many know the BBC as the British news station, or as the creators of classic shows like Doctor Who and Sherlock. The British Broadcasting Corporation is the largest and oldest broadcasting organization in the world. Not only does the BBC provide news, television shows, and orchestral music productions, but they have over ten different radio stations that can be listened to all around the world online or on your phone. This past January, I got the chance to visit the BBC broadcasting house and sit in the audience for a radio game show called Wordaholics. It is a panel game show that is aired on BBC Radio 4 and it was unlike anything I had ever witnessed. I had been to radio tapings previous to this, but never one with so much energy and interaction between the hosts and the audience. For this show there is a host and a panel of well-educated comedians. First the host picks a letter for the theme of the show and gives the panel strange words that start with that letter. They then have to make up definitions and histories of that word. The British comedy was dry and intellectual yet understandable and hilarious to the audience. This is one of the many sides to BBC Radio that can often be overlooked by our age group. While most of the time BBC Radio is all fun and games, they do know when to get serious. After every show or couple of hours of music on Radio 1 they have a 15 minute news segment called Newsbeat. Here they have the top

news stories from around the world. For those tired of listening to the Hollywood gossip that American pop radio fixates on, Newsbeat give its listeners important and relevant information so they can be informed about the world but without getting dry and boring.

You should check out the radio stations BBC Radio has to offer, and enjoy the rap and hip hop, alternative music, news shows, comedy shows, and sports stations that they have. You can find these stations online at

november 2013 // 33

Reviews Silence On The Streets

Black and White Boy Works His Shit Out, Encourages You To Do The Same by Ari Anderson


ndrew Nicol doesn’t want you to dance. The Glaswegian singer-songwriter, under the name Black and White Boy, just released his debut album Fragile, and it isn’t going to make you clap your hands say yeah. As the name suggests, Fragile is an intimate, introspective album, released by indie interlopers Acre Records (which, hey, Nicol founded) just about a month ago. The release has been met with about as much fanfare as can be afforded a folky indie band in Scotland and for good reason: Fragile’s a keeper, y’all. If Ryan Adams of The Cardinals and Elliott Smith of Elliott Smith had a chain-smoking son who was going through some major shit right now, it would sound like Black and White Boy, roaming Glasgow at night trying to work it all out. The rhythmic strumming patterns showcased throughout Fragile even echo the sound of footsteps. In the confines of 11 tracks, Nicol’s sweet, raspy voice wrestles with heartbreak, betrayal, and isolation as moody guitars churn in the background. Death even makes an appearance, on the gorgeous “Thorn In Your Side.” The song is one of the best on the album, written after the death of

his grandmother. Nicol questions if we can “feel it turning / Twisting like a thorn in your side” before the strumming pattern breaks into the gentlest fingerpicking this side of Bon Iver, and he nearly whispers “We lay you down / We lay you down / We lay you down.” The sound of the album is pretty deeply rooted in guitars: sometimes they’re echo-y and vast, and sometimes they’re acoustic, but overall, it’s hypnotically waltz-y folk, full of little flourishes that reveal the album to be the carefully crafted labor of love it is. The saxophone solo on “Silence on The Streets” and the harmonica in the background on “The City Sleeps” are notable examples. So please, if you Can’t Stop, if the Ceiling Can’t Hold You, consider Stopping and Letting The Ceiling Hold You for however long it takes to listen to Fragile. This is music to sit with, to lie with, to take walks with, and listen to on the train—don’t diminish its cathartic power and subtle beauty by throwing it on in the background to avoid silence. B&WB goes trawling through a gray city, walking through heartbreak, looking for solace. Do yourself a favor—stop dancing and go with him.


34 // Five cent sound

Anamanaguchi breaks big with

Endless Fantasy by nick stalford


ith the release of their second studio album Endless Fantasy, Anamanaguchi caused a stir in the electronic and dance music scenes, giving voice to the 8-bit or “chiptune” genre of music. Chiptune emulates the sound of 8-bit video games and computers of the 1980s, producing a distinct retro-arcade sound. Anamanaguchi creates its chiptune sounds through the use of hacked Nintendo systems such as NES and Game Boy, combining this with guitars, bass, and drums. Anamanaguchi was previously known for its two albums Power Supply (2006) and Dawn Metropolis (2009), with its most popular work being the videogame soundtrack for “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game” (2010). The evolution of the band’s music is evident when listening to and comparing these three albums, which possess a raw and experimental instrumental sound focusing on the chiptune element. Songs such as “Fast Turtle” of Power Supply, “Mermaid” of Dawn Metropolis, and “Another Winter” from the Scott Pilgrim videogame soundtrack are good examples of this early sound. By 2010, with the release of singles such as “My Skateboard Will Go On,” the band’s sound shifted to a clean and more mainstream electronic pop sound, marking the direction that would be pursued in Endless Fantasy. Originally, the band had hoped to find a label to help fund and support the release of Endless Fantasy, but after failing to find a good match, they decided to use Kickstarter. They were very hesitant of this approach at first, not wanting to appear exploitative by asking for money, but within 11 hours, it became clear that fans would gladly support the band. Although their early work was well received, Endless Fantasy shattered the band’s prior records, raising well over $200,000 in funding

on Kickstarter, the website’s second most profitable music project. Released on May 3, the album quickly rose to number one on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart and number two in Dance/Electronic Albums. Endless Fantasy consists of 22 tracks, showcasing the band’s signature sound but also placing a strong emphasis on a new and more polished electronic pop sound. Although traditionally instrumental, Anamanaguchi included guest vocalists on both “Japan Air” and “Prom Night,” featuring M33sh and Bianca Raquel, adding dimension to the band’s already distinct sound. With the exception of these two songs, the album is purely instrumental, allowing the sounds to speak for themselves in danceable and up-beat songs such as “Meow” and “Space Wax America.” One particularly interesting track is the interlude, an abridged chiptune cover of turn of the century French composer Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1,” providing an eerily beautiful transition into the second half of the album. In addition to this, there are plenty of new sound bits employed in the music. “Planet” samples “Epona’s Song” from Nintendo’s classic Zelda game “Majora’s Mask” which accidentally (and humorously) features the distinct 64-bit mooing of a cow. The mixture of these new and classic elements results in a sound that is more appealing to general listeners without forfeiting anything from the band’s original musical intentions. The success of the album has proven the chiptune genre to be more than gimmick–––people like it. They want to hear more. Endless Fantasy is a truly remarkable album made by talented musicians, not just 8-bit hacker nerds. Anamanaguchi proudly bears the flag for the chiptune genre, carrying electronic, dance, and alternative rock music in a new and exciting direction.


november 2013 // 35

WILD NOTHING Photos by from the September 26 concert at The Middle East By Amy Smith  

36 // Five cent sound

november 2013 // 37

PLAYLIST // THROWBACKS Is there any other generation so obsessed with nostalgia as we millennials are? We’ve managed to devote a whole day to sharing gems from the past all over our timelines, feeds, dashboards — whatever social media platform is your preference. I’ll admit it, I don’t really care about your baby photos or post summer snapshots (how long does one have to wait before something counts as throwback?) But a good song that you still know all the words to even though its been years since you heard it last? Thats a #tbt I can get behind. So get everyone off the phone and dial up the AOL to listen to our throwback playlist.

Fall Out Boy Grand Theft Autumn/Where is Your Boy Taking Back Sunday Cute Without The E Blink-182 First Date Senses Fail Buried A Lie Brand New Okay I Believe You, But My Tommy Gun Don’t My Chemical Romance Thank You For The Venom Evanescence Bring Me To Life Beck The New Pollution Daft Punk Around the World Blur Coffee & TV Elliott Smith Angel In the Snow Stereolab Cybele’s Reverie The Breeders Cannonball Story of the Year Until the Day I Die The Starting Line The Best of Me Primal Scream Movin’ on Up N’Sync Bye Bye Bye

l1x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 38 // Five cent sound

december: concerts SUNDAY


Bombino with Billy Wylder The Sinclair 8:00



Dinosaur Jr. The Sinclair 8:00



Cass McCombs Joseph McArthur The Sinclair The Great Scott 8:00 9:00


Phantogram Paradise Rock 8:00




v 16


s 23

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve in Boston TD Garden 7:00






The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Hometown Throwdown House of Blues 6:00

Soulive Paradise Rock Club 8:00

Bad Rabbits The Sinclair 8:00







Lucius The Sinclair 8:00

Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds/ Rustic Overtones The Sinclair 8:00





Anthony Green The Sinclair 7:00

Monster Magnet The Sinclair 7:00

Queens of the Stone Age Agganis Arena




Their/They’re/There The Great Scott 9:00

Beyoncé TD Garden 8:00

Street Dogs House of Blues 8:00

The Breeders Paradise Rock 8:00

The Sheila Divine The Sinclair 8:00

Blue October House of Blues 7:00






Common House of Blues 7:00

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ Hometown Throwdown House of Blues 6:00

David Wax Museum The Sinclair 7:00



1lx1lx1 All of the music. lx1lx1lxl1x1lx1lx1 1lx1lx For all of the people. 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx 1lx1lx1 All of the time. lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 november 2013 // 39


lx1lxl1x1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1l 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1l lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1l 40 // Five cent sound

Five Cent Sound Vol 2. Issue 1: November 2013  

Five Cent Sound is a student run music magazine based out of Emerson College. It aims to give it’s readers a comprehensive guide on all thin...