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just look at

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an h t i w w e i interv

S I W E L Y E R JEFF

an evening with

SUICIDE SILENCE


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letter from the editor Hey babes,

It’s been a long haul from point A to B. I started on this magazine as a Section Editor almost three years ago. I’ve been with it ever since and I wouldn’t change a moment of it all. Through the stress, the hysterical laughter, and all the other bumps in the road, Five Cent is a part of me, a second family. And I couldn’t be prouder of the issue produced under my direction.

I’m sad to leave so soon, I feel like we all just got here, but I have absolute faith in the staff I’ve been working with so closely all semester. While the first era of Five Cent is beginning to end, we’ve got another one starting. This is the first semester for most of our writers and their excitement and dedication lets me know I’m leaving the magazine in good hands.

We’ve got so many great articles, taking us from music made with plants — yes plants! — to two amazing articles talking about a feminist’s place in music, to “oh my god look at that Nicki Minaj,” to in-depth articles about Boston based on Transit. Music is such a diverse area and our staff reflects that in their genrespanning articles. We enjoyed writing it; I hope you enjoy reading them.

Executive Board

Features

Victoria Menson

Jasminne Young

Mackenzie Cummings-Grady

Ashley Tenn, Ben Sack, Connor Dial, Josh Park, Phillip Morgan

Editor in Chief

Assistant Editor in Chief Managing Editor Mackenzie “Z” Hall Kuester

Treasurer Ben Sack

Live and Local Editor

Heather Mulgannon

Writers

Kat Westbrook, Michelle Krigsfeld, Natalie Echeverria, Rebecca Rozenberg, Schae Beaudoin

Writers

Blog Writers

Around the World Editor

Neyat Yohannes

Writers

Alexia Halsey, Isabel Crabtree, Mae Toohey, Sam Royall, Sophie Schoenfeld

Reviews

Clare Fuller

Aidan Connelly, Christopher Gavin, Kirby Brennan-Riddle, Nic Damasio, Sophia AbbeyKuipers

Copy Editors

Head Copy Editor Madeline Poage

Copy Editors

Alyssa Capel, Isabella Dionne, Kaitlyn Johnson, Lucy Wildman, Paulina Pascual, Roma Dash

Editor

Design team

Writers

Paulina Pascual, Laura Porat, Victoria Menson

Alexandra Fileccia

Taylor Markarian

Photography

Annie Armstrong, Chris Idzal, Rachel Fucci, Samantha Harton

blog team

Blog Editor

Ari Anderson, Courtney Tharp, Matt Benson, Nicholas Stalford, Jailene Adorno

Writers

Victoria Menson Editor-In-Chief

Editor

Entertainment and Culture Editor

I’ll miss you all,

Designers

Director of Photography Nicholas Stalford

Photographers

Adam Reynoso, Mae Toohey

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Live and Local

taking a ride with transit Rebecca Rozenberg  4 home sweet home, please never drink along Rebecca Rozenberg  6 interview with jeffrey lewis natalie echeverria  8 lykke li: a concert review michelle krigsfeld  11 an evening with... suicide silence schae beaudoin  12

Entertainment and culture

pretty ugly annie armstrong  14 gerard way sam harton  16 an ode to the fangirl rachel fucci  18 drowning on the open ocean chris idzal  20

features

pretending to be dead Phillip morgan  22 forget being original ben sack  24 nicki, look at her song josh park  26

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Bold ,

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unexpected

5¢ Sound

how to hear better conner dial  28 female punk ashley tenn  29

Around the World storming the bastille Isabel M. Crabtree  31 the brigitte bardot effect sam royall  33 budding beats, sprouting sounds mae toohey  34 cumbia uncovered sophie schoenfeld  36 family comes first in the korean music industry alexia halsey  38

Reviews

Disgraceland nick stalford  40 one man bass drum courtney tharp  42 vance joy’s dream your life away jailene adorno  43 back to the garage: weezer’s blue album twenty years later matt benson  44 Playlist // amp’d up // 45 Calendar // january // 46


live and local Taking A Ride WITH By Rebecca Rozenberg

You only have to look at their logo to know that these dudes love this city. Growing up nine miles north of Boston in the Mass’ burb of Stoneham, Joe Boynton, Tim Landers, Daniel Frazier, PJ Jefferson and Torre Cioffi, started Transit as a garage/basement band. After officially forming in 2006, these current pop-punk superheroes were quickly recognized as standouts in a sea of emo-punk and metal-core that dominated the North Shore music scene. After five years of bouncing around from different record labels, they were signed to powerhouse record label Rise Records in 2011. Transit has a unique, alternative pop-punk sound that incorporates the vocals of traditional pop-punk with a higher-paced—or “more fun,” if you will—beat than what is heard in a majority of the genre. Tossed in with the energetic heaviness are some real slow-downs in beat. A shining example of the seamless incorporation of these two musical concepts is the title track to one of the band’s albums, “Young New England.” With lines like, “If you’re too drunk to walk along the streets of cobblestone / you know Boston never drinks alone,” and “Always working through the weekend / an uphill battle for a few good nights,” the song quickly became a hit for the nearly 250,000 students attending college in Boston. The song has two versions: one for the full-length album and one for the EP Futures and Sutures, in which the band revamped some of their more popular tracks. The full-length version is slow and drawling, reminiscent of a bar crawl (see: “Young New England” music video);

and the EP version is quick and heavy, like the whirlwind of a night-out combined with the morning after. Both versions of “Young New England” show exactly how excellently Transit uses their pop-punk musical innovation. They successfully pair good-time lyrics and sound that audiences can dance to with a deeply emotional understanding of the places and people they call “home” that listeners will appreciate. Lead singer Boynton’s voice, which is deep, plain and conversational, simultaneously carries a personal intensity within it that rings with the hollow sound of those we have left behind in our lives. While a lot of bands say they never forget their roots, Transit makes it obvious how important Boston is to them. Their first album, Listen & Forgive transforms very specific memories into lyrics. The entirety of their last album Young New England was dedicated to

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the places and people they grew up with. Though not well received by fans because of its shift in sound from Listen & Forgive, the album stands as a testament to their dedication in continually incorporating the theme of “home.” After listening to these two major albums, listeners begin to understand that Transit’s music is about the ones we rush home to see. After guitarist Tim Landers announced he was leaving the band a few months back, fans wondered whether Transit was strong enough to weather through another album, especially after the unfortunate reaction to Young New England. Their newest album Joyride was set to drop in a short amount of time, and Landers had apparently contributed to the album only slightly. Though heavier on the pop than the punk, Joyride became nothing more and nothing less than an enjoyable (pun-intended) album. A majority of the songs are danceable, a personal favorite being “Nothing Left to Lose;” and the one ballad-esque song entitled “Loneliness Burns” takes enough of a step back from the lackadaisical beat and tone from the rest of the album to make you remember the true emotional strength of Boynton’s voice. The latter, though, is not featured as often as it has been in previous albums, which becomes the new release’s fall from grace. Boynton has admitted that a lot of people

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from his hometown don’t listen to his music. That, as much as the songs are about them, they likely haven’t heard them. Sadly, a lot of people from where he and the rest of the guys lived who were into music and were into his music have fallen into a life of drugs. He is now living a life completely focused on art and they are now lost. Images of old friends, lost loves and missed family also become apparent within the album but not as much as usual for Transit. No mention of Boston specifically, nothing about the North Shore or the Charles. It’s for fans to guess at, at this point. And maybe it could be signifying a change in attitude, but I would think (or perhaps hope) that the guys wouldn’t give up or grow out of their little town that is just nine miles north of the beating heart of this city. Likewise, I was hoping that when they did come home, they would act that way, like they really did miss Boston. When Transit comes to Boston it becomes not only something for the band to look forward to, but quite a special occasion for fans of their music as well because they know how great the show is supposed to be. The band played The Middle East Downstairs on October 19th as a part of their promotional tour for their new album, Joyride. But I don’t think they (or the fans) really fully expected what ended up happening at this very special tour stop. (See page 6 for more details!) e


Home Sweet Home, Please Never Drink Alone A Night With Transit BY Rebecca Rozenberg “People with flannels!” My friend shouted when we were just across the street. “I know we’re getting close!” The Transit concert on October 19th initially had a definitively more laid-back tone to its crowd than what I had been used to with most of the pop-punk shows I’d been to. I could say it almost mimicked the informal tone of Transit’s music: flannels, baggy crewnecks, beards, ball-caps, loose jeans, beat-up sneakers. Everyone seemed quite friendly with one another too, giving everyone a wide-breadth of space within the concert hall as they milled about and waited for the music to start. The floor of The Middle East Downstairs is large enough to do this and I guess that was the selling point here because, understandably, a large crowd was expected. The opening bands were a mix of different punk sounds; pop-punk bands like Transit are not particularly picky about what bands they play with. Based on the sounds of the first three hours of the concert, Transit chose to continue this tradition. However, they just seemed to choose the wrong mix of bands. The sexy, old-school rock Young Pop Cherries were smooth and powerful; Driver Friendly was a wonderful, bouncy combination of pop-punk and ska. Such Gold, a heavier pop-punk band though, proved themselves to be a game-changer. The mood quickly shifted when they came on stage. This is when everything headed downhill. Let me just say that I understand moshing. And I did expect it for this band, but this was something else. The majority of the rowdy crowd got the moshing out their system after the first song, and a lot of people weren’t into the moshing at all. But there was one group of guys that would just not quit. By the end of the set, it was just one guy in there spinning and knocking around by himself and he ended up getting clocked in the jaw and thrown out by security. Transit was on next and my adrenaline was pumping from the scuffle mixed with excitement for the headlining band. The people at the bar had sufficiently boozed-up and everyone on the main floor was just waiting for Transit to finally come on. Joe Boynton rushed out on stage and the band immediately began playing “Long Lost Friends,” a hit track from their beloved album, Listen & Forgive. The entire crowd surged forward and began singing along, reaching towards the stage. With every word, the crowd would punch their hands in the air.

Pausing for a few seconds after the song, Boynton told the crowd how excited the band was to be back in Boston. There was a wild uproar, cheers coming from all sides of the venue. I can’t deny it, for all of the upand-down that occurred so far during that night, there was a suddenly amazing atmosphere of home. Just a completely pervasive feeling of pride and togetherness: that we all lived here in this city that we loved so much, and here was this music and this band joining us and singing about how amazing it is to be here. Up next came “Listen and Forgive,” the title track

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to that album. And, much to the audience’s pleasant surprise, the band also performed a song off a split they recorded with Man Overboard, “Please Head North.” There was crowdsurfing, there was jumping, people got really close—and it was fantastic. For the few new songs Transit played off Joyride, the audience actually knew the words. Which is pretty rare, especially considering that the album wouldn’t even technically drop for another two days. What became unfortunately obvious, however, was that the tumultuous behavior of the crowd before (and somewhat during) Transit’s set prevented them from playing many tracks from the album Young New England. Especially upsetting was the fact that they didn’t play the title-track at all. It is understandable, for safety purposes, not to play a song about drinking in Boston for a room full of young people buzzed on adrenaline and alcohol in Boston, but it would have been fantastic to hear, to experience. As it is, a group of drunk dudes barreled completely through the audience during “Weathered Souls,” which has the words: “beating hearts on the North Shore of Boston.” The band stopped playing and was obviously standing in awe at what had just happened. As the guys got dragged away, kicking and screaming at security, Boynton said, “Whoa, calm down dudes!” In any case, I still maintain that hearing “Young New England” played live would have been great. I was expecting it at this concert and I was disappointed the band didn’t perform it. The way Boynton introduced the last song of the night, “Skipping Stone,” went to back-up how much Transit does truly love and respect their fans. It was the one song the band

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finally paused for. It almost seemed like Transit had been running through the whole set without a break, none of them saying a word because they were just trying to match their music to the energy of the fans. He introduced “Skipping Stone” by saying that the song itself is “about a song that got me through a lot when I was younger.” And that he hopes the music they write does the same for their fans. “If at least one of our songs has helped you through a tough time,” Boynton said, “then I consider our part done.” The crowd roared in response. Both as musicians and people, Transit becomes so relatable for their listeners because they spare nothing in terms of honesty. All of their words have that crisp sound of coming straight from the heart. Boynton’s voice carried this throughout the concert perfectly, just as it does on the band’s records. The constant pleading in his voice to not be forgotten—because he himself can never forget—was so palpable, and the sincerity in this emotion is so cleanly felt. That’s what Transit does so well: keeps the lost remembered. They put on no airs of making it big, of never thinking of loves and friends they have lost. Instead, such thoughts are featured prominently in their music. We have all been lost, we have all lost, and we all remember the ones we have lost and in this way, we, as an audience, connect to the band on stage in front of us. Boynton cemented this idea by jumping into the crowd to join us during the final dredges of the concert. He let the fans carry him all the way to the end of the floor. And he stayed for the rest of the night to talk and catch up with his old friends, his fans. e


By natalie echeverria Jeffrey Lewis—musician, comic book artist and purveyor of goods—rolled on through Great Scott with his band, the Jrams, on October 19th for an intimate show filled with jokes, self-produced low-budget films and a whole lot of love. I got to sit down and talk music, palm readings and flea markets with him. Five Cent Sound: As a pioneer of anti-folk, how would you describe the genre? Jeffrey Lewis: Well, I mean, I never heard of it before I started playing music. I was just writing what I thought of as folk songs inspired by artists I really liked—you know Daniel Johnston, the Violent Femmes, the Velvet Underground, Yo La Tengo, Stereolab, Sebadoh—it was all stuff I was really into. And a lot of 60s stuff—Dylan and the Rolling Stones. And I just was making songs as well as I could and started playing on Avenue A in New York City. So everybody started saying, “Oh, you’re part of the anti-folk scene” and I was like “All right, sure.” It felt nice to be part of something. I met a lot of other really cool musicians. I kinda don’t feel like the anti-folk word really means anything other than just whoever happens to be hanging around playing at that place Sidewalk. And they still have the open mic every Monday night—I still go sometimes and just check out what’s going on and test out new songs and stuff. But you know, it’s just kind of open for anybody to come in and play

songs, so it doesn’t have any specific stylistic preference. Although the weird thing is, you know, now that I’ve been doing this so many years and I keep encountering the phrase anti-folk, people are always asking me about it. I don’t really hear anybody else that it makes sense for other than me, so in a certain way, I identify with it, even though it came about accidentally. I feel as though if I had to be described as something, it kind of makes sense. I don’t necessarily think it makes sense for what anybody else does, so I don’t like it as a term that associates me with any other artist that I feel as though my music is like pretty different from, but I don’t mind it certainly as a term for myself. It’s like kind of weird and cool and nobody knows what it means, so it has sort of like a mysterious aura. You’re a comic book artist and you have a lot of story songs—do you feel like your passion for comics has influenced that approach to songwriting? Definitely because I feel as though there’s a lot of narrative in the comic books and in the songs. I have a tendency towards not being abstract in both. A lot of comic book artists and a lot of visual artists and a lot of songwriters and musicians can go in a very abstract direction with all those things. And that’s just not what I do, whether in my comic books or in my songs. It’s very straightforward. If it seems like it’s about something, it’s probably about that thing. You know? There isn’t

that much ambiguity. I don’t know, maybe that’s not something that some people are into. You know, I just read those—do you ever read those 33 1/3 books on different albums? Yeah, I love those. Yeah, I’m always stumbling across them and people lend me one or something. So I’ve read a few of them. I just read the one on Guided by Voices’ album Bee Thousand. And I like Guided by Voices—you know I have Bee Thousand and Alien Lanes, which are like the two most well known albums. They’re like the only ones that I really know. The 33 1/3 album goes on and on about how brilliant Robert Pollard’s lyrics are because they’re so random and meaningless, that he’s such a genius and that’s nonsense to me. Yeah, he just throws some words together. It’s not about anything. And that doesn’t really appeal to me. But you know, of course for Guided by Voices fan, he’s this genius. He’s so abstract and it’s so ambiguous. It avoids meaning and to somebody who’s into that, my stuff would just seem like garbage. It depends what kind of perspective you’re coming from, but for me, for my comics and my songs, I think they’re both connected by this sense of—that I’m not very abstract in my approach to either one. Both are very literal and specific in what I’m trying to get across. Are there certain topics you feel like you can open up to in your music that you can’t in your comics? Or vice versa? Yeah, it’s a very different way of expressing yourself. There’s a very different kind of audience interaction. I can do things in comics that I wouldn’t do in songs, you can go much longer in a comic book and have an open-ended narrative that continues from issue to issue. I feel like I could go either way with something. Somebody could say, “Do

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yhyhyhyhyhy something about cows.” You know, I can make a comic about cows or I can make a song about cows. But it would require a really different part of my brain. Yeah, it’s hard to say. Because in music, the sound has so much meaning on its own, like you can write a line that is really enveloping because the way words rhyme or because of the way the beats line up. Or if they don’t rhyme or if the beats are disjointed in it, that all has an effect on you in a way that written words don’t. There’s a hypnotic element in singing and music and lyrics that’s very different than the way you envelop somebody in a story and comic books. I feel like you can really weave a web of sound around a listening audience. Do you feel like growing up in New York has influenced your music? Yeah, tremendously. I think the sounds and the atmosphere and the environment of New York City—I think it has probably influenced me in ways that I take for granted and I don’t realize how much because I’ve just lived there my entire life. Now, what I think is weird that I’ve noticed is that most rock bands in New York are not from New York. The big thing as a rock band is to move to New York— everybody from Lou Reed to Patti Smith to Richard Hell. The classic New York story is to come to New York and become this cool person. So as a rock guy, and I’m essentially like an indie rock guy more than a folk guy. Although, I’ve got sort of one foot in both worlds. As a rock guy from New York City, there’s something that kind of disconnects me from that element. And I think that has kind of a been in a weird why my band has never really been considered part of, never really gets mentioned along with the New York scene. I’m just kind of existing in this parallel universe where I’m not like people are like “Oh yeah New York rock bands” and I’m just never in that sentence. But that’s the opposite for rap— like rap is very much like you’re about the place that you’re from like and you’re not about the place that you move to. Like a rapper doesn’t move from, you know Illinois to Los Angeles and start talking about Los Angeles. It’s like you talk about where you’re from. And that informs your expression in a really fundamental way. And in some ways, I have more in common with the New York rap thing than I do with the New York rock thing. Because rap is sort of about where you’re from and rock is more about going somewhere new and being somebody else that we weren’t before. And my rock doesn’t have that reinvention element to it. And part of that is just like

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I’m still just Jeffrey Lewis and I’m not, you know, Vampire Weekend. I don’t have a cool name. I’m not reinventing myself into anybody than who I am. Who I am is part of the music I make in a way that I hope is interesting and that’s not really part of rock and roll. It’s more like folk or rap, if you look at it that way. What’s the story behind “The Last Time I Did Acid, I Went Insane?” Well, it’s all just very true. I feel like any song that sounds pretty straightforward, it just is what it is. You know, that’s a song—that’s like a good example of taking something that was actually a very sort of personal and frightening and embarrassing event in my life and realizing if I could turn it into art in some way and turn it into a song. You take it out from this sort of deep, dark, scary part of yourself and craft it in some way that now has a beginning, a middle and an end. And now it’s like a thing that’s outside of me and not just inside me. And I feel like that is really important about artistic expression, which some might say is self-indulgent—to use art as therapy in that sense. And I don’t do it with every song or every comic, but once in a while there’s stuff like that. I’m working on a comic right now that has a similar kind of “I can’t, I can’t do a story about that, can I?” And I feel like every time I have that sense, I’m like “Well, I have to then.” Anytime there’s the uncomfortable things, well, that means there’s something there that maybe somebody else wouldn’t do or be able to figure out a way to…It’s like everything else that’s people have figured out how to translate into artistic expression. But there’s a lot of stuff in human life that hasn’t been translated into expression and that’s the interesting stuff to go for. You then provide other people with a sort of mental architecture— scaffolding and structures—to drape those thoughts around. I get that out of a lot of art, whether it’s novels or movies or whatever it is—poetry, songs, comic books. It just builds your brain. And I always think of it that way. It’s like conscious thought—it’s weird. You’re building your own brain when you’re thinking. And an artist can really expand your brain and let your thoughts go in a different direction. They’re sort of paving the path that allows you to think there, so it’s like I perform that for myself. It’s like what does this sound like when I express it? What does this look like when I express it? And then it becomes a thing and that’s like a weird sort of—I like that as a sort of transformative element.


yhyhyhyhyh You once said in an interview that you “still don’t feel like a musician.” Do you still agree with that sentiment? Well, I’ve certainly gotten a lot better at singing, playing guitar, expressing myself in front of people. And I’ve gotten a lot better at making comic books and booking tours. I know what to ask places before I play there. I’ve gotten better at every element of it—I’ve gotten better at driving. There’s so many things that the more you do them, the better you get at them. It’s true that I’m a lot more of a musician than when I started out, because when I started out I was a total novice. It was very freeing, but inevitably you start to learn more as you do it. So now, I wouldn’t really consider myself a musician in the sense of a skill set. It’s not really one of my skills, but if I fill out a working visa application to enter England, I have to write musician as my occupation. It just feels so weird to put that on the paperwork because I’m not really a musician. You’ve collaborated with a number of people—Kimya Dawson, Diane Cluck, your brother—do you prefer to collaborate or work solo? It can be pretty fun to collaborate. Sometimes it’s tricky because you might feel very strongly that one idea is better than another and you don’t want to express it because you’re also trying to be friends. You don’t want to be like my idea is better. Somebody’s says, “Why don’t we do this in the song?” And you’re like no, but you don’t really say. It’s a bit more inclusive. But that’s less of the case when you’re working with your brother. We have no reason to be polite to each other at all. Jack can totally feel free to be like that idea totally sucks or that song is stupid. Or I can tell him like I like the chorus of that, but the rest of it is stupid. That’s a very different collaboration when it’s your brother. Sometimes it’s very good to get your creativity moving, because you’re not just alone staring at blank page. You’re just tossing your ideas back and forth. It’s easier to get started that way. So. I’m going to change the tone of this conversation for those who aren’t familiar with your music and ask less serious questions. What’s your favorite cult classic? Street Trash is an 80s horror movie that’s one of my favorite all-time films. It’s almost like the definition of a cult movie because it’s just so weird and imaginative and smart. The problem with Street Trash, though, is that the version I really love is the VHS version, which is a very different edit, frustratingly, from the DVD version. So when you get it on DVD, there’s all these scenes and the pacing of the storytelling is

very different than the one you get on VHS. They included all these previously deleted scenes. It’s one of those things when I recommend it to people and they see it and they’re like, “Oh it’s not that great.” But if you saw that edit that I watched over and over again—it just works so much better than the other edit. The VHS was on lightning home video and their logo is a lightning bolt. My middle name is Lightning so maybe in some ways that made me subtly more fond of it too. It’s a very New York City movie. It’s really gross and funny and imaginative. But yeah, that’s a cult classic I love very much. Have you ever had your palm read? When I was in fourth grade, a friend of mine who probably didn’t know anything about palm reading at all looked at my palm and said, “Your lifeline ends at 45, so you’re gonna die when you’re 45.” Because of that incident, when we were like 9 or 10, I was like shit man, it’s my life’s mission to survive past 45 just so I can prove that palm reading wrong. It’s a life or death battle between me and that. But I have to patient—I still have all these years to go. In a certain way, maybe I should just kill myself now and disprove it that way. I’m gonna be so fucking frustrated if I actually die at that age. All these people are gonna be like, “See? There are mystical powers.” What’s the oddest job you’ve ever held? I’ve had a number of pretty low-level jobs at different times in my youth. I worked for my dad. He used to sell stuff at a flea market when I was growing up. That was like his job. I would work for him sometimes and it was just these crazy long hour days, like 13 hours days during Christmas season. And a normal day would be like 10 hours. And you’re just standing there in this very tiny booth behind this table at this indoor flea market in Brooklyn. My grandfather was also a Russian dress salesman. And he would sell dresses in flea markets and maybe his father before him in Russia did that too. I feel like I come from a long line of Russian Jewish flea market table guys and I realize recently that’s kind of what I’m doing too. I’m always at my gigs standing at my table and selling my CD’s and comic books. It’s the same dealing with the public like, “What is this one? And can I get these two for cheaper?” I’m like “Well, I have this slightly damaged one, if you don’t mind. The cover’s a little torn.” It’s the same stuff I did with my dad when I was 15 at a flea market. In some ways, it’s just in my blood [laughs]. I just added the element where I’m doing a little show first [laughs] and then I go back to my flea market roots to my merch table afterwards. e

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LYKKE LI: A concert review BY MICHELLE KRIGSFELD

Standing in a spooky-lit backdrop, Swedish indie pop sensation Lykke Li belted out her signature childlike voice as she danced around the stage in her galactic black kimono. The ambiance seemed to match her music perfectly; a spooky, somewhat melancholic stage production with the innocence and pop of her interactions and her audience. Lykke Li released her first EP “Little Bit” in 2007 and after critical success, she released her debut album Youth Novels the following year. She has worked alongside big names since her recognition, such as Drake, U2, and ASAP Rocky. Lykke Li’s unique blend of electronic and soul gathered a large fan following that lead to sold out shows. This year, Lykke Li released her third studio album, I Never Learn, which is based on a breakup, was received with much critical acclaim. Ian Cohen from Pitchfork said, “We’re used to breakup albums that assume you just want to crawl into a hole and die, but I Never Learn is for the times when heartbreak is so life-affirming that you want to share the feeling with the world.” Lykke Li’s show, at the House of Blues on October 3rd, seemed more like an appreciation of strong female vocalists than a concert. Mapei, reminiscent of a young Lauryn Hill, opened the concert. Her soulful voice infused with her rap was a crowd-pleaser even though her music style varied from that of Lykke Li’s. However a sudden ambiance was felt when Lykke Li entered the stage. The misty, dim lighting and ominous transitions between songs from the band gave a ghostly vibe that suited Lykke Li’s persona. With two costume changes, both being black-spacey kimonos, the Swedish singer looked like a sultry-singing witch. Lykke Li had an hour and a half show filled with nonstop singing. From powerful ballads like her hit, “Aint No Rest for the Wicked” to bubbly, upbeat songs like “I Follow Rivers”, to a surprising badass Bruce Springsteen cover, Lykke Li’s vocals were flawless. However, it was her presence and interactions with the audience that were surprising and seemed out of place with the ominous theme and ambiance of the show, since performers usually stay in character with the theme of their show. “I hope you don’t mind that I am drinking whiskey, I

am just so shy and a terrible dancer,” Lykke Li admitted as she sipped from a half filled glass of whiskey in her high-pitched voice. Even in her slowest of songs, the Swedish singer did not stop moving around the stage. Whether she was dancing, playing the drums, or even taking off her hot pink bra and throwing it to the crowd during “Little Bit”, Lykke Li was thriving off of the audience’s energy with innocence and pure fun. She would instruct the audience to jump or sing along in a way that is reminiscent of a children’s show. Lykke Li was full of surprises; the most surprising was that of her playful demeanor which contradicted the melancholic, eerie ambiance and musicality of the concert. Ly k k e L i , with her innocence and charm, was also unexpectedly sensual and sassy. With seductive dance moves and flirting with audience members, she was able to keep the crowd excited even though her set list was composed of slow, somewhat sad ballads. It seemed like the she and the crowd fed off each other’s energy, creating a great atmosphere. But it were the personal moments, the one’s when Lykke Li was vulnerable to her fans, which made the concert truly magical. “I don’t know if you know this, but I am Swedish,” Lykke Li said to the crowd before singing a sexy, Swedish song during her encore. She encompassed every type of persona needed to make a show great. From her spooky vibes, to her sensual and innocent playfulness, Lykke Li’s concert is one you cannot miss. Regardless of whether you are a fan, Lykke Li is an exceptional performer and one of the strongest female vocalists of today. e


An evening with...

Suicide Silence

by schae beaudoin

The deathcore scene has been slowly gaining popularity, especially within the past few years. The genre is characterized by growling and screaming vocals, blast beat drumming, chugging bass, and down-tuned guitars. Listening to an album front to back is designed to make the listener feel exhausted by the end. Now imagine how a live show feels. The intensity, emotional release, and sense of community that characterizes the genre was evident at Suicide Silence’s show at the Paradise Rock Club on October 8th. Suicide Silence has been at the forefront of the deathcore scene through its growth. The band formed in California in 2002. With time they gained a bigger following, releasing 3 albums under giant metal label Century Media, and earning a spot on the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival in 2008 and 2011. 2011’s The Black Crown even reached #28 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, quite an achievement for a band with such a brutal musical style. The aggressive and abrasive music resonated with metal fans looking for something newer and heavier. Unfortunately,, tragedy struck the band at the most successful point of their career. In 2012, vocalist Mitch Lucker was killed in a motorcycle accident on Halloween night. The future of the band was uncertain for much of 2013. That is, until they decided to recruit now-former All Shall Perish vocalist Eddie Hermida. Suicide Silence jumped on tour and put out their latest album You Can’t Stop Me, which became their highest charting album to date, and overcame an obstacle that ended many bands before them. The

new album features tributes to Lucker throughout, and shows the fans that although they’re moving on, they won’t forget where they came from. Suicide Silence stopped by one of Boston’s most well-known rock clubs to spread the word that they have no intentions of going anywhere. The band opened with “Inherit the Crown,” the opener of You Can’t Stop Me. The song was just one of a few unspoken tributes to Lucker. The lyrics, written by Hermida, are clearly a message to the band’s original singer: “I’ll wear the mask if I have to/I will inherit the crown.” The second the chugging guitar riff kicked in, the crowd opened in the middle and a mosh pit broke out. The shoving and running is customary at just about every metal show, in spite of the “No Crowdsurfing or Moshing” sign posted on every wall in the venue. As an introduction to their new blistering single “Cease to Exist,” Hermida exclaimed to the crowd “You guys are falling asleep on us!” and demanded a circle pit. The

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moshers happily obliged, but quickly became tired. Hermida berated the crowd by the second verse, pointed to the fans and commanded them to quit standing around. With a simple twirl of his finger, the center of the club ran faster and shoved harder than before. “There we fuckin’ go!” praised Hermida, proud of the rejuvenated crowd. Hermida acknowledged the newer songs then announced an older song, one he didn’t originally sing on. Regardless, the crowd gave an enthusiastic response, showing that Hermida is welcomed into the Suicide Silence family. The band launched into “No Pity for a Coward,” surprising the audience with guest vocalist Alex Koehler of Chelsea Grin, currently on tour with the band. As the song wrapped up, Hermida solicited the audience for cheers when he mentioned Chelsea Grin and Alter Beast, the opening band on tour. The crowd responded with weak claps and scattered cheers. Unsatisfied, he laid into the crowd again. He expects more respect for the bands he shares the stage with. “Let’s try this again. Let’s give it up for our friends in Alter Beast!” his signature growl crept into his speaking voice. The crowd gave a stronger reaction, again with Hermida’s chastising motivating them, like a coach pushing his players beyond their limits. The band started into another older song, one of their most famous: “Wake Up.” Hermida split the crowd down the middle, engaging them in a battle. He screamed “Wake up!” then pointed to one side and they responded with the twin chant, “Wake up!” Then band then kicked into “Disengage”, Hermida showing off his range between his high shrieks and low growls. Through the contortions of his reddened face, the sweat dripping off him and his grand gestures commanding the audience, it’s evident that Hermida’s physicality onstage is as intense as his vocals. Suicide Silence then unashamedly blasted into one of their most brash songs, “Fuck Everything.” Hermida demanded the audience put their middle fingers in the air—and many followed orders, including guitarist Mark Heylmun. The

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song is representative of many Suicide Silence songs, combining aggressive yet empowering lyrics. The simple phrase “If you hate the world around you/ And it makes you sick what you see/ Then follow me,” recognizes the parts of the world that disgust and upset us, but acknowledges that many people see things the same way. It encourages listeners to speak out against what they feel is wrong. Hermida once again commanded the crowd to pick up their energy. “The more you give us, the more we give to you,” he explained before the band started into “Bludgeoned to Death.” He ordered the crowd to split down the middle and prepare for a wall of death. Usually reserved for large outdoor festivals, Hermida decided to pump aggression into the audience by orchestrating a split down the middle, and on the count of three, demand the audience run from each side to meet in the center, ending in a massive mosh pit. It sounds barbaric. Hell, it is barbaric. But in the spirit of a metal show, fans and bands alike do anything to get their aggression out. Hermida smiled proudly at the end, calling himself “Dr. Eddie” and prescribed the crowd to work on their partying by “drinking one beer a day.” Other displays of their attack-and-defeat style of songwriting, “Slaves to Substance” and “Disengage” drove the live show forward. Hermida’s wild eyes searched the crowd while Heylmun, guitarist Chris Garza and bassist Dan Kenny headbang in sync, and drummer Alex Lopez’s arms flew wildly behind his drum kit. However, the next song threw a twist in the display of aggression that’s been common through the night. “Sacred Words” is off You Can’t Stop Me, and is perceived by fans to be the most melodic (and least aggressive) song the band has released so far. As the opening guitar riff started up, Hermida demonstrated what he wanted the crowd to do, something that has probably never seen the light of day at a deathcore show: clapping. The thumping, rhythmic song provided a change of pace from the typically aggressive, beat-down style of the band’s catalog. Nevertheless, the crowd

still gave energy and enthusiasm, higher now than at some points during the heavier songs. Suicide Silence proved that sometimes, tweaking the formula can be successful. The final two songs of the night are the climax the audience and Suicide Silence alike have worked towards. “You Can’t Stop Me” uses Lucker’s final lyrics, another reminder that his impression upon the band and the scene is lasting. The lyrics tie in with the next song, the anthem for Suicide Silence fans: “You Only Live Once.” Both songs push a care-free spirit, telling fans “You only live one life/For a very short time/So make every second divine” and “If you’re reckless and free/Speak up, sing this with me.” The crowd exploded, sang the songs everyone knows and gave any bit of energy that is left within them. As the show ended, Hermida graciously thanked the crowd, showing that the band is appreciative of sharing the night with the fans, despite the sometimes-low energy of the crowd. A smiling Heylmun gave a high five to every fan who pushed the front with their arm out, also thanking fans several times until he is the lone band member left on stage. With that, the crowd exited the Paradise Rock Club bruised, sore, sweaty, soaked with spilled beer, and still on the high that only a metal show could give them. e


entertainment PRETTY

Why

Ba d

M usic

U G LY

Ca n

S o u n d

S o

G o o d

By Annie Armstrong My obsession began in my room back at home. I was lying on my bed, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, when I decided to finally listen to some song a friend had sent me with the message, “I think you’d be really into this guy.” The song was “True Love Will Find You In The End” by Daniel Johnston, and by the end of it I was paralyzed. I must have stared at my ceiling for half an hour just hitting “replay”. The song wasn’t even two minutes long, had maybe four guitar chords choked out through a non-existent progression, and the lyrics - which aren’t sung but wailed - read like poems I wrote when I was six years old. When I examined the song closer, it seemed like it should be a painful, almost

un-listenable song. So why did it resonate with me so intensely? How could it be so good if the groundwork was so bad? Another favorite band of mine is The White Stripes. I’ve loved them since my middle-school-drum-lesson days. Do you remember the last time you went to a football game and didn’t get amped up by the “Seven Nation Army” riff? The White Stripes have a powerful yet simplistic impact, and it’s not just Jack White’s guitar that creates that effect. Just one month after Meg White first sat down at a drum kit, The White Stripes played their very first show in Detroit. “When she started to play drums with me, just on a lark, it felt liberating and

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o culture refreshing. There was something in it that opened me up,” said Jack White on Meg’s amateurism in their rock doc, Under Great White Northern Lights. Meg’s uncomplicated beats have been endlessly criticized and her skills called into question, yet somehow The White Stripes’ music is catchy enough to be played by marching bands at college football games across the country. So how could The White Stripes be so successful if one third of the act is still an amateur? Legendary Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl praises Meg White as a drummer, fanatically as well, saying in an interview with Rolling Stone, “Nowadays, I think it could be hard for a kid to find a favorite drummer, because a lot of that personality is being robbed from these musicians for the sake of perfection, and it’s kind of a drag. It’s nice to hear drummers like Meg White – one of my favorite fucking drummers of all time. Like, nobody fucking plays the drums like that. Or the guy from The Black Keys. Watch that guy play the drums – it’s crazy…Like, if any of those people went to the Berklee School of Music they’d never be accepted, because they’re not considered technically proficient. But their music has totally changed the world.” It’s that childish simplicity that makes for Meg White’s fantastic drumming. It’s unpretentious and elementary, and that’s why it connects. Bob Dylan is probably the most prime example of making ugly sound beautiful. Arguably the best singer-songwriter of all time, Dylan’s voice is reminiscent of a goat’s bleat, and critics constantly comment on the technical imperfections of his voice. The debate over his voice polarizes fans of his genre. Famed American critic John Updike once described it as “a voice to sour a skillet with.” David Bowie encapsulates it perfectly in his “Song For Bob Dylan”: “With a voice like sand and glue/ His words of truthful vengeance/ Brought a few more people on/ And put the fear in a whole lot more.” Bob Dylan’s voice is rough and raw. It isn’t pretty or easy to stomach. His sound gets deep inside of your head because it’s real and it doesn’t coddle you. It is the sound of sorrow. It is suffering personified. It doesn’t try to make you feel better, it just understands, and that is uplifting in itself. Self-proclaimed “Dylanologist” Stephen H.

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Webb feverishly praises his voice in his article “In Defense of Dylan’s Voice” for the Huffington Post: “Complaining about Dylan’s voice is like complaining that your scotch tastes too peaty. If you want something sweet, get a colorless spirit that easily surrenders to the overwhelming invasion of fruit juice. Otherwise, let his voice burn your ears just as it sounds like it is blistering his throat when he sings.” Imperfection and ugliness are inspiring through their genuineness. In a society striving for perfection, ugly music is a raw form of self-expression and individuality. As popular music becomes more electronic and auto-tuned, the human connection seems to get lost. The concept of dissonance has been alive in music since Beethoven’s days, and with good reason. 20th century composer Charles Ives’ symphonies exemplify dissonance, and he used it to become one of the foremost leaders in experimental music. The concept of dissonance and general murkiness in music is hauntingly powerful, because it mirrors the dissonance of life itself. This dissonance is a widely felt emotion, and one that is experienced with a lot of intensity by most people. Sometimes what sounds bad is what makes a song impacting and unique, but most of all, relatable. After all, what’s the point of music at all if not for the purpose of human connection? e


GERARD Way by sam harton

The ultimate nightmare for any avid music listener, diehard fangirl or fanboy, or record shop rat is the news of their favorite band breaking up. A breakup means no more new albums, no more live shows, and essentially the end of an era. The breakup of My Chemical Romance, an emo rock band that gained an enormous following throughout the late 2000s, was no exception. When they announced their split in 2013, warped tour attendees and 2007 scene kids were beside themselves, heartbroken that they would never see some of their favorite artists perform together again. On that fateful March day, fans flooded Twitter with tweets expressing their distress because of the breakup, saying that they got “extremely depressed” when they remember the breakup. Even fellow artists such as actor and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto sent out tweets, saying “Sorry to hear MCR broke up...Our hearts go out to all those that are sad.” Lucky for diehard MCR fans, the members of the band decided to keep making music after the breakup, just not with each other. In September 2014, fans were given the next

best thing from a fifth MCR record—a solo album from lead vocalist Gerard Way. Way had been working with Warner Bros. Records since the split and developed a cohesive, 11-track album called “Hesitant Alien.” Naturally, Way’s solo career has not followed the same path or criteria as the sound of MCR. Gone are the theatrical screams and complex harmonies of The Black Parade, replaced by a raw sound dominated by the guitar. Way has spoken out in many interviews about the enormous influence that Britpop had on his new creation, which may have come as a surprise to many MCR fans, as Britpop and emo punk are on opposite sides of the rock spectrum. But in an interview with Fuse, Way says his love for British pop music began before MCR was even a thought, and only grew through his time in art school. He describes his situation after art school as a dark time, in which he took a break from the optimistic riffs of Britpop and “trusted his inner artist” to discover a new sound: the sound of My Chemical Romance. “And when the time for that was done, it was almost like being under a spell for 13 years, and then the spell broke, and I’m that person from

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art school again.” This “person from art school” has created a new sound and aesthetic that MCR fans have never seen from Way. The persona that Way has created within the past year could not be further from the vampire-esque Way of 2005. He has traded his tight pants and eyeliner for a blue suit and red tie. His live shows are no longer the dramatic, theatrical performances that were created during The Black Parade era, but rather a toned-down, intimate experience that he shares with his audience in smaller venues. His music has become a part of a completely different genre, and so has Way. It is not surprising that it has been hard for fans to come to terms with the split. Yes, Way is touring and making new music, but I still hear MCR fans reminiscing on the days of “I’m Not Okay” and see people tweeting at Way, begging for a reunion. No matter how good Way’s solo music becomes, fans will always have a longing for the days of excessive eyeliner and vampiric themes. When discussing the nostalgia of MCR fans, the quality of Way’s album is almost irrelevant, because no matter how much fans enjoy his new music, it just won’t be the same as the MCR songs that hold such a special place in their hearts. I recently attended a Gerard Way concert in Boston, and heard numerous people discussing their wish that Way would play just one MCR song. I even found myself trying to deny that I had the same thought forming in the back of my mind. But why are we so reluctant to let go? Do we just long to relive the heyday of our favorite band? Nostalgia is one factor, but it is even more than that. MCR was not just a band to most of its fans. It was a part of their identity. They didn’t just listen to the music, but developed its aesthetic and allowed its

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themes to become a part of their “self.” MCR, along with its contemporaries like Fall Out Boy and Panic! at the Disco, created a phenomenon throughout the mid to late 2000s that gave outsiders a place. These outsiders became known as “scene” or “emo” kids, and there were thousands just like them. MCR was a common interest and aesthetic that united people that didn’t have a place, which is why Way’s music, no matter how successful his solo career becomes, will never hold the same resonance with fans. During the peak of its career, MCR appealed to a younger demographic, preteens and teenagers. Those listeners have grown up, and most still possess a wistful love for Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge. Listeners, myself included, will always feel a pang of nostalgia when listening to The Black Parade. Those albums remind us of our youth, our struggle to find our identity, and our search for self during the years that shape who we become. Numerous Tumblr users have written posts saying that MCR “saved their life,” because the sound of My Chemical Romance did not just affect its listeners’ ears, but their minds and hearts. It is unlikely that Way will ever be able to disassociate himself from the title of “frontman of My Chemical Romance,” whether he wants to or not, because MCR was a musical phenomenon that gripped people throughout the entire world. That isn’t something he can just delete with a new sound and a new suit. The band means too much to too many people. The end of My Chemical Romance was not just the end of a rock band, but the end of an era which will always mean something special to emo rock listeners. My Chemical Romance may have broken up, but to most if its fans, it will never die. e


An Ode to the Fangirl Why the Female Fan Shame Needs to Stop

By Rachel Fucci She’s up late at night, listening to her favorite band’s latest release over and over in an effort to learn every lyric by heart. She’s at your go-to record store, thumbing through the vinyl copies of albums she already owns on CD and in their digital format. She’s at every show you’ve ever been to, screaming at the top of her lungs. She’s your friendly neighborhood fangirl and – as you assure all of your peers – you hate her guts. Urban Dictionary defines the term “fangirl” as, “a female fan, obsessed with something (or someone) to a frightening or sickening degree. Often considered ditzy, annoying and shallow.” This definition should come as no surprise. After all, the media has done an excellent job of labeling all of the aspects of being a teenage fan (who just happens to be female) with negative connotations. Images of girls crying at a One Direction concert flash across our TV screens with headlines about their hysteria. Bands with a predominantly female fanbase are often discredited by journalists. In some cases, artists have decided to mock the girls who love them in their own music videos (thanks Blink-182, All Time Low, and fun.). But why does this happen? Why do female fans receive harsh criticism and misrepresentation for expressing their interests while male fans are rarely attacked for doing the same? According

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to Alternative Press Magazine’s Web Content Manager, Cassie Whitt, the answer is rooted in misogyny. She denounced the term “fangirl” altogether in a 2012 article entitled “Suggested New Year’s resolutions for artists and fans” saying that it was, “a stupid term for many reasons, the greatest of which being its implication that there’s a hierarchy of ‘genuine fandom’ with men perched firmly at the top.” In this so-called pyramid of worth, male fans are seen as having the “correct” opinions about music and pop culture- what deserves taking the time to listen to and what can be brushed off as a passing fad or an attempt to please the masses. Meanwhile, female fans are accused of jumping into their interests headfirst and blind, taking little care to analyze what content they’re absorbing. Australian

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music journalist Anwyn Crawford said it best in an essay where she described society’s perception of fangirls’ behavior as “wordless, intensely emotional and undeniably sexual – this is the state in which teenage girls are understood to connect with music, and with those performing it. It is all in their bodies: they do not intellectualize; their opinions are instinctive rather than considered.” This concept devalues all that young girls are interested in and perpetuates wrongful stereotypes about them. It strips them of any dimension and leaves behind an image of them as mindless music robots- ingesting hits and sobbing inconsolably without any thought behind what they’re doing. It might be easy to continue giving fangirls a bad rap when these ideas have been in place for so long, but the reality is that teenage girls are actually essential to the music industry. They hear the music, they tell their friends about the music, they blog about it, they buy the albums, the tickets, the merchandise—they keep the system running. They, in part, are the reason that bands become famous. It’s obvious that One Direction’s combined wealth of $41.2 million could not have been attained if girls from all over the world refused to buy t-shirts with their faces on them. There’s no chance that Justin Timberlake would’ve had enormous success as a musician-turned-movie-star if girls hadn’t supported *NSYNC with the ferocity that they did in the ‘90s. For that matter, the musicians now regarded as actual talent by countless numbers of elitists only reached their legendary status with help from the teenage girls that supported them in their heyday. It was these women who introduced us to the Smiths, Led Zeppelin, and David Bowie. It wasn’t a bunch of middle-aged music critics who sculpted the lore behind the Beatles, it was the girls that screamed loud enough until the rest of the world listened. Plus, although these female fans are consumers, it’s important to remember that they’re also teenage girls, meaning that they’re under constant amounts

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of scrutiny and pressure from every corner of society. From the second they wake up until the moment they fall asleep, they’re being told how they should look, think, and feel, often in ways that contradict each other. They’re expected to live up to a whirlwind of expectations. So what if they find some comfort by surrounding themselves in their preferred music? If re-blogging a few too many pictures of their favorite member on Tumblr and yelling along to the lyrics at every show is what makes them feel okay, then what say does an indie dudebro have in the matter? The answer is, quite simply, none. At the end of the day, all that these girls are doing – whether it be buying merchandise, making artwork, waiting in line for hours to see a concert – is loving. They’re channeling the variety of emotions they feel on a day to day basis into expressing a raw and real devotion for the music that makes them feel understood. What’s more, this intensity could be indicative of teenage girls’ abilities further down the line. As contributor Kelly Brody said in an article for the Miami Hurricane, “While a fangirl may be absurdly passionate about a certain band, movie or book, it can transform into a passion for a profession or charity later in life.” If we choose to shame these girls for being open about their interests now, we could be limiting their desire to speak their minds and pursue larger goals in the future. And really, how cool is it to think that the girl screaming about 5 Seconds of Summer today could be the woman screaming about social injustice tomorrow? So here’s to you, fangirls. Buy the vinyl copy of that CD you already own, keep on dancing like uptight dudes standing next to you in the pit can’t see you, and most importantly, don’t let others get in the way of you telling the world what you love. After all, you’re brave enough to express the way that all of us feel about our favorite music, and isn’t that something to celebrate? e


Drowning ON the Open Ocean by chris idzal

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We’re all pirates now, aren’t we? Sure, some people avoid doing the dirty work themselves and just get their music off their buddies’ computers, but most people have at least some illegally downloaded music tucked away in their library. On top of that, most of the stuff they’ve bought is from years ago, and they’re using streaming services—such as Spotify, Pandora, etc.—to get all of their new music. It’s cheap and it’s practical, but most of these services pay the artists close to nothing for the plays their music receives. Only the mega-famous have any real chance of making money. If you don’t have that level of success, how can you make money doing what you love? Find ways to cut out the unnecessary. Luckily for artists, indie is trendy right now and it’s keeping the business alive. Many groups still have strong followings that do support them and buy their physical releases—especially since vinyls have resurfaced in popularity—but it’s becoming less common. We live in an age where everyone wants to feel as connected as possible to celebrities and other icons. We follow them on social media, we watch their interviews on TV, we love reality shows

about what’s going on in celebrities’ lives, and we all flip through tabloid magazines in line at the supermarket blowing up their affairs. Bands are recognizing this trend and bringing it to a new demographic. They’re making a personal connection with their fans by taking their money directly; instead of relying on a label or any other middleman, the Internet is their main tool. Classic record labels really are hurting. It’s always been hard to make money on musical artists considering labels usually lose money on nine out of 10 bands they sign, but the entire business has plummeted around $10 billion in the last decade or so. As a result, labels are pretty stingy with bands and their money, considering it takes quite a bit to break a new band. If a band does start making money, labels have a history of locking them down with suffocating contracts, which can lead to legal disputes like the one between A Day to Remember and Victory Records a couple of years ago. The band filed a lawsuit claiming that there were issues with the royalties they were owed, but the label claimed the band just didn’t want to finish out their five record contractual


agreement, something the band thought they had already satisfied. After a long running legal battle, ADTR decided to crowdfund their next record on their own, which ended up being a massive success. The band made sure the lawsuit was made extremely public so fans would feel like they were personally aiding the band in their fight against “the man” by helping them fund their record. They sold 98,000 copies in the first week, between digital and physical sales, without needing the support of a restrictive label. Isn’t this what playing music has always been about? You write music you’re passionate about, not what some expert thinks will be famous. If we throw our money at artists we believe in, we’re increasing the possibly of a more authentic product, while also allowing ourselves the pleasure of feeling involved in the process. For example, A Day to Remember was able to write a song titled “This Document Speaks for Itself” with lyrics “I gotta get out, I gotta get out./ Why can’t we just go our separate ways?” entirely about their lawsuit against their old record label because the chains of their contractual obligations no longer weighed them down. The musical direction of the album was praised, and fans really loved it. The label released a statement claiming it wouldn’t sell because of a lack of proper marketing, such as they would provide, but that was completely disproven. Another example of releasing music without a label popped up when Thom Yorke (Radiohead) released his new album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes straight to the torrent service BitTorrent, a service that’s been the reason so many musicians have ended up without a satisfactory paycheck. This isn’t totally free like most torrents are, though; you can sample one of the songs for free, but the whole album will cost you six dollars— not a bad price tag compared to what most record stores will charge for a full-length

album. Yorke and his producer Nigel Godrich released a letter announcing the new album and explaining their logic behind the distribution choice in which they said “If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of Internet commerce back to people who are creating the work. Enabling those people who make either music, video or any other kind of digital content to sell it themselves.” Admittedly, it’s unfair to demonize an entire business that has been responsible for bringing so much great music to us. As the crowdfunding trend grows, labels are finding ways to work with it, which could prove to be a win-win for everyone. Due to the crowdfunding provision in the US JOBS Act of 2011, labels, through some business tricks, will be able to crowdfund money to pay for the bands they’re signing which actually allows them to spend way less money on the bands themselves, and give them far more artistic freedom. It even makes it possible for labels to sign more bands and give their A&R reps greater opportunity to find new and exciting music that may have otherwise been passed over for the more blatantly profitable. This DIY attitude could be the change we need in music right now. There are so many incredibly creative and talented people out there working on this wonderful medium of entertainment that’s just lost its feet. Maybe crowdfunding is the future of it. Classically set up contracts and manufactured pop stars will always exist, but the little guy may have more of a chance now. It’s time we were inspired to leave behind our peg legs and eye patches and remember that music is not only something worth enjoying and believing in, but something worth paying for. e


features PRETENDING TO BE dead

Why the term ‘Emo Revival’ is a Horrible Misnomer By Phillip Morgan

The beginning of a new decade has brought with it a modern renaissance for several members of the punk family, most notably emo and post hardcore (often called “screamo”). In the wake of the oversaturated, whiny-voiced pop-punk bands that hijacked emo for much of the 2000s, the late 2000s and early 2010s saw the rise of a truly staggering number of bands ready for innovation on a grand scale. True, nearly all of them still wear their influence from 90s indie rock on their sleeves, but that hasn’t stopped them from altering the formula. From the math-rock passages that permeate the work of bands like Into It. Over It. and You Blew It!, to the darker, more grounded pop-punk sound found in acts like Citizen and The Menzingers, to La Dispute’s unique blending of spoken word, jazz, and blues into their post hardcore template, the mass resurgence of emo and post hardcore to the forefront of underground rock has given us one of the largest and most diverse movements indie rock has witnessed in years.

Unfortunately, a large portion of established music authority isn’t quite on board. Many music review sites that focus on indie music (Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, Alternative Press, The Needle Drop) have criticized these bands immensely for relying too much on their 90s predecessors, who are constantly lauded as the superior and most original practitioners of the genre. As a result, the phenomenon of all these bands rising to prominence around the same time, and at such a rapid pace, is now referred to by many music critics as the so-called “Emo Revival”—a buzzword in indie rock circles that usually leads to heated debates over who the “true” emo bands are. While the comparison between the generations is not without merit, hardly any reviews found in the past few years reflect on the alterations made to the established style or on what the new bands did to musically distinguish themselves from the pack. Instead, they constantly assert how similar the newest wave of emo acts can sound to their predecessors


and how that means these artists have no originality and, therefore, no identity as their own band. In the nostalgia-obsessed culture that we face today, the attachment music critics have to the new bands’ keen awareness of their genre’s history is largely unsurprising. Worse still, it detracts from what these bands have accomplished as musicians of any genre by saying nothing they’re doing has any sort of freshness to it, which is simply not true. Today’s generation of emo bands have access to a much more advanced array of production equipment than their forefathers, allowing them to tweak their sound in ways the 90s bands never could. These younger musicians also have the added benefit of listening to 90s emo from a retrospective position wherein it was accompanied with other types of music, giving them more insight on how to play with the established formula and possibly incorporate other styles into the genre. The biggest distinction between the two generations, however, is the new wave’s ability to evolve beyond the flaws of the old guard. For instance, the newest line of post hardcore acts have abandoned the generic ‘screamo’ aesthetic from the 2000s that consisted of either a) pig squeal noises or b) bear grunts, and are opting instead to their own types of guttural vocals. Complete with full lyrical articulation and distinct voice patterns, today’s howlers, such as Touché Amoré’s Jeremy Bolm and Xerxes’ Calvin Philley, are infinitely more eclectic in their approach than any bands of their ilk before them. And best of all, even when shrieking at the top of their lungs you can usually tell which band is howling in your face that particular day. More importantly, the number one issue with the label Emo Revival is that in order to revive something, it has to die first, and it is extremely difficult to kill any one genre of music, especially in the internet age. While it’s true that nearly all the bands that created emo and post hardcore imploded and faded into obscurity by the early 2000s, the genres themselves didn’t cease to exist. Even amidst all the

pseudo-emo power pop and wannabe goth kids yelping like strangled muppets, the 2000s also gave rise to several emo/punk stalwarts like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and Circa Survive. Moreover, a good number of bands from that era are still active today, and are often credited with helping build the foundation for the younger bands to grow and flourish on. So then, it’s time to hang up the Emo Revival label. This is not a revival of a dead art form, it’s a renaissance of a previously ignored art form that has now taken center stage in the indie rock community. And with this renaissance has come as slew of talented and innovative bands who are even now pushing emo past its former boundaries in order to make a name for themselves. This type of music may not be your cup of tea, but this new generation of bands has worked tirelessly to bring respect back to a sect of punk that was close to sinking into oblivion. Only when music critics can be convinced a strong set of influences does not translate to music plagiarism can these bands finally get the respect they deserve as their own generation’s artists. e


Forget

Being Original by ben sack

Originality is one of the foremost criteria by which we criticize music. Our musical culture is plagued by a pervasive fear of being derivative, a paranoia justified by our review columns and our courtrooms. Artists must always be careful not to infringe on the sounds of other artists for fear of a bad review or a lawsuit—in the past year, musicians ranging from Robin Thicke to Tame Impala have been accused of musical plagiarism. But in a world with a musical history as rich as ours, is it the responsibility of a musician to avoid sounding like their predecessors? In a musical landscape where the same chord progressions and song structures have been recycled for over 100 years, is it necessary for a modern artist to make something totally “new”? Listening to Girls’ 2011 album Father, Son, Holy Ghost is a time-travelling experience. The songs jump from pastiche to pastiche, surf-rock (“Honey Bunny”), to Pink Floyd era psychedelics (“Vomit”), to Buddy Holly rock ‘n’ roll (“Magic”). Some songs walk a finer line between pastiche and plagiarism—the central riff in “Die” sounds just like Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” and the beginning of “Jamie Marie” echoes pop classic “You Belong with Me.” Singer/Songwriter Christopher Owen’s lyricism isn’t always poetic (“You have a lovely smile/ I could spend a while/ with that smile”), and the songs are often punctuated by musical maneuvers most people would consider cheesy. “Vomit” for example, spirals out of control until, out of nowhere, it is being sung by a gospel choir. Yet, Father, Son, Holy Ghost was a huge success Stereogum named it best album of the year, and it also placed on the year-end lists of Pitchfork, Paste, Q, and Mojo. Why would an album that owes so much to the past be received so well? I believe it is because of the band’s utter fearlessness of unoriginality. It is so refreshing to hear music that ignores the inhibitory impulses of “does this song sound too much like…?” and “has this been done before?” Instead of being afraid of the sounds of past generations, this album embraces them and improves on them remembering all the while that there’s a reason they were so popular in the first place. Girls bassist/producer Chet “JR” White has spent some of his time since the band’s breakup

discovering new talent. One of these prospects is Canadian singer/songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. In the summer of this year, Jesso Jr. uploaded a couple of demos to YouTube, and they struck me instantly as having the same lack of fear as Girls’ best songs. My favorite of these demos is literally named “True Love.” It is just Jesso and his piano, uploaded in a grainy 240p, a striking ballad about a struggling yet sturdy relationship that could easily have been recorded by Jackson Browne or Harry Nilsson. There is nothing “original” about its hook (“That’s what they call true love...”) but it is beautiful, and I implore you to listen and see just how close to tears you get. Mike Powell at Pitchfork summed up the song best “Hail the sensitive confessor: Our parents knew we’d make it here eventually.” This philosophy of not fearing imitation is as useful for listening to music as it is for making it. Letting go of “originality” as a deciding factor for whether I like a song has allowed me to enjoy music I might have previously dismissed. Try an experiment - go listen to the song “Say You Love Me” from Jessie Ware’s new album Tough Love. Listen, and try your hardest not to compare it to songs you’ve heard before, songs you probably thought were sappy. When I tried it, this song which shares a title with a Fleetwood Mac track, this song whose final verse is sung by a “We Are the World” sounding chorus, became a lovely, emotional, affecting piece of music.

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sounds of the past// sounds of the future “die” \\ girls // “true love” \\ tobias jesso jr. // “vomit” \\ girls // I am not trying to discount the efforts of musicians who are making brilliant new music. I still find immense joy in listening to a song that sounds like nothing I’ve ever heard before. However, I give equal credit to musicians who create music that sounds just like something I’ve heard before, but better. And yet there is an immense amount of skill and bravery required to ignore our impulse to shy away from old sounds, to relieve ourselves of the obligation to not imitate the past, to make something that our parents might have listened to, because, face it, they had good taste too. In a world where we have a limitless archive of music at our fingertips, there is no sense in fearing imitation of the past.I say imitate, incorporate those sounds, free yourselves from the burden of originality. Like Christopher Owens sings on “Forgiveness” the centerpiece of Father, Son, Holy Ghost, “No one’s gonna find any answers/ If we’re looking in the dark...And I can hear so much music/ And I can feel everything now.” e

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“say you love me” \\ jessie ware // “beth/rest” \\ bon iver // “repeat pleasure” \\ how to dress well // “just a dream” \\ tobias jesso jr. // “forgiveness” \\ girls //


Nicki, look at

her song by josh park

Right now, I’m watching the “Anaconda” music video by Nicki Minaj. To be honest, I’m amazed. I’m amazed not only because of Nicki Minaj’s butt, nor because of Drake’s reaction that universally describes how all of us feel about said butt. In all honesty, I’m simply amazed of the music video itself. Actually, scratch that, I’m stunned. But this doesn’t stun me in a very grandiose, revolutionary way as perhaps it should when one is observing a piece of art. I’m stunned because I can only ask one question: What exactly did I just watch? There’s no surprise that music videos can offer a completely different frame of context in comparison to the music of the song. I think the “literal version” music video of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” can enhance that observation. As much as I’d like a love song to be about ninjas and dumb fencers, I’m very sure that’s not what the song is about. Music videos and songs aren’t necessarily like peanut butter and jelly, but more like cheeseburgers and sake. It begs me to answer the question of whether music videos are supposed to even be related to the song at hand. “Anaconda” the video, does correlate to the song to a certain extent. It’s clear the song is about butts, but again, up to a certain extent. The theme is there, but listen to the verses, and slowly you start to realize the song isn’t necessarily about big booties at all. In fact, “Anaconda” is just another run-of-the-mill song by Nicki Minaj about aggressive, upfront acts from a woman’s point of view. Could an average song like “Anaconda” sell with an average video? Probably. Nicki Minaj is a very popular and deserving MC who has

crossed into the pop star atmosphere. But in comparison to the actual video? Not well at all. The sin lies in knowing that the song “Anaconda” has the potential to be essentially worthless. Was “Anaconda” a great song? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. It’s made in a verse-chorus-verse fashion, there’s some great lines, the sample is bumpin’ and there’s definitely a very controversial and funny part at the end sans Drake. But is this what people talk about at the college party or the cocktail party? No, not at all. The cultural phenomenon isn’t the song at all. It’s the video. So then what’s the point of having a song, especially for pop artists? I could argue that Nicki Minaj could’ve put out the same video with synced up to Barry Manilow, and it probably would have caused the same conversation about butts, about suggestive imagery, and how the video had a great feminist agenda to it because Nicki slapped away Drake’s hand before he touched it without consent. In fact, I bet if she put Barry Manilow over the video, the masses would have praised her for being in touch with the concept of irony. Nicki Minaj might be the genius of this quarter-century, she might even find the cure to Ebola, or stop ISIS, or she might even convince Doritos to put a wet towel in every bag they make. It doesn’t matter. It won’t change the fact that her video was more important than the art she actually is professionally known for. The counter-argument is that this is simply a performance video, and that performance videos can deviate from having to make sense from the song. Sure, but for pop artists, this simply isn’t the case.

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Performance videos have gone a long way since “Lucky Star” by Madonna. That video was simply Madonna singing and dancing in front of a white background. The video had nothing to do with the song, but again, the video was only complementary to the art. It wasn’t meant to completely disregard it. Most performance videos actually do go along with the theme of the song. “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera was a song about how Christina Aguilera can be a dirty girl. There was a performance video to it. Sometimes the video would create scenes that simply wouldn’t make sense in association to the song, and that’s okay, because the song doesn’t really make sense in the first place. The thing about “Dirrty” though, is that, again, the video does not disregard the meaning of the song. The song is about being dirty, and while the video might throw some imagery that does not relate to that theme, most of the time the video does a good job of making Christina Aguilera “Dirrty,” if not “goddamn disgusting.” I’m sure videos from other genres suffer from a similar problem of not relating to the theme of the song. Still, the popularity of genre-specific artists in comparison to pop artists declines this fact from ever coming into obsessive scrutiny. Most rock artists know they aren’t going to be appearing on SNL to be a host, rather than the guest, any time soon. So there is a weighted argument against the pop acts on this subject. “Anaconda” bothers me especially because of the potential for the song to be forgotten. I remember watching a VH1 Countdown and Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” was the subject. The panelists did talk about the video, extensively. How could they not? The whole set was made of ass. Yet, despite this and through the test of time, if you wipe away all the dust, the true artifact of the song still remains. “Baby Got Back” is still remembered most of all as a song. The lyrics are especially remembered, as a longing nostalgia for the 90s butt. “Anaconda”, the song, remains yet to be talked about in the same praise as its video in both popular and critical discussions. If anything the most memorable line is the sample that is ripped from “Baby Got Back.” Perhaps the trend of catering pop songs towards a new theory from its original intent was the undoing of the MTV generation of the past. Madonna, and the likes, allowed there to be a visual package along with the audio. From there, the science of the music video, and its consumption only became more advanced and hyper-stylized. It stemmed from the past. Yet, even the past had the music come first. Madonna had to have made a great song before she made a great video. Even Nicki Minaj made decent videos succeeding her more quality music. But before “Anaconda” one thing about pop music was always clear: the flash didn’t deafen the music. e

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How to

by conner dial

hear better Ten years ago, all I had was Radio Disney. Of course, my dad played his Johnny Cash records and loved the Beatles, but my introductions to the modern artists were honestly chosen by Radio Disney—whose playlist consisted of Hilary Duff’s singles. Today, the prevalence of internet driven software has allowed a more accessible platform for music to spread to audiophiles. The landscape of music has evolved, and my hearing with it. It’s as if my ear has reworked the complexities of its membrane system to absorb the diversity of 808s and synths, or guitar strums and piano riffs, that I stumble across. I can connect myself with more grassroots musicians and individuals who don’t appear on the radio’s playlist (or even on Pitchfork’s reviews.) Music streaming softwares like Soundcloud and 8tracks don’t force me to

bow down to them, though. They simply give me more opportunities to dictate how I want to listen: this is how you hear better. The rise of streaming services like Soundcloud, Spotify, Pandora, DatPiff, and countless other applications have incited a fear-mongering of sorts. Traditional journalism has deemed these innovations as “the death of album making,” implying that a music apocalypse has occurred. As the phonograph and radio directed music production into new waters, music streaming has carved a new current in music technology. The idea of singles is embedded into the core of internet music streaming. We’ve seen this within radio schematics, who loop popular pop singles endlessly on its playlists—generating both revenue for these artists and our own weariness. But with experimental artists, singles give musicians more freedom to compose and play with styles on singular songs, without the pressure of filling an album. Additionally, artists can upload music as soon as they produce them. The Norwegian electronic duo Röyskopp announced that their album “The Inevitable End” will be the their last LP—though according to them, they are “not going to stop making music, but the album format.” For musicians like Röyskopp, mediums like Soundcloud negate the complex web of logistics, financial planning, and management stresses that are put into the formulation of an album. Artists and their fans are able to have a more streamlined connection than before. The increasing focus on pop singles suggests that albums are becoming archaic, but this is contradicted by the sheer amount of quality albums that continue to be released. Though the physical medium of albums is often traded for the accessibility of digital formats, artists still prefer to utilize the LP format for their music. Artists like Grimes, Darkside, Timber Timbre—and more mainstream artists like Lady GaGa, Taylor Swift, and Lana Del Rey—continue to create albums that test the attention of their audiences

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with a focused concoction of themes, stories, and sounds. A well-produced LP demands a production style more suited to artists with a clear and concise vision of sound. In the same vein, albums ask that listeners be fully engaged in the mastery contained in that album. The qualities that make the album format so effective have also been replicated within these online streaming mediums. The mixes available on Soundcloud, often taken from the live sets of DJ’s, harness the unique prowess displayed in albums. Through their sets, musicians have greater control in evoking a specific mood and feeling within their listeners. Though their mixes are from established tracks they’ve created, the majesty comes from how well the DJ is able to connect their songs. Portions of tracks are layered over other ones, elements disappear and reappear but with new textures later in the set. Soundcloud isn’t the only outlet for artists to release a longer set of music. DatPiff offers a multitude of hip-hop and rap mixtapes at no cost. In early October, Childish Gambino dropped STN MTN, an eleven track mixtape on the site. The next day, the artist released the Kauai EP on online music stores. For lesser known albums and artists, Youtube has a wide-range of audio infused videos that are hour-long pieces. We’ve come a long way from Limewire and Napster. These two listening styles, naturally, must embody two different mediums. For listeners, shuffling a playlist constitutes an entirely different focus than does listening to an entire album or mixtape. Soundcloud, Spotify, and other digital mediums harness the qualities of LP music making, while giving voice to the civilian artists that lack the resources to produce an entire album. These platforms generously allow for more creativity, while LPs can often be too big

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of an investment for experimentation. The album is not dying, nor are these digital mediums a sign of a music apocalypse. With the absolute plethora of musical content that exists, we ask ourselves how we should listen—and neither answer to this question is wrong. e


female punk My friend Louis and I were lying on the floor together listening to sports., a Boston-based punk trio. Sports’s mopey tunes had been coddling us through messy breakups, ironically with the kind of mopey punks that make this type of music. That irony wasn’t apparent to me until this moment, on the floor with all our art supplies, when “On Grass, On Grass” was reaching its conclusion. “You’re such a fucking disease!” vocalist Kris yelled over the rest of the band, and here Louis paused with a pen in hand to say, “Hey, leave her alone, dude. Maybe YOU’RE the fucking disease.” And for the first time I considered that maybe this male-perspective-only kind of punk wasn’t the healthiest coping mechanism for a twenty-two year old feminist. You can tell a lot about people from the way they talk about their exes. You can find out much more by listening to the music they use to cope. Punk has always been the noisy, aggressive Band-Aid I’ve turned to to soothe the hurts of lost or unrequited love. I know I’m not alone in saying that bands like Taking Back Sunday, Saves the Day, My Chemical Romance, and all their three-letter-acronym-forshort boy band contemporaries have been my best friends through heartbreak and more ambiguous crush-related anger since 2002. I also know I’m not alone in saying my dependence on this testosteronedriven sobbing music still really informs my musical taste now, more than a decade later. I’ve always been pretty proud of that. But recently, while jumping on my bed, post-breakup, to Fall Out Boy’s anthemic “Chicago Is So Two Years Ago,” a thought occurred to me: it would really suck to be one of the girls Pat Stump seems to always be singing about. And then another thought followed: how many of my exes have had similar thoughts about me? I abruptly sat down and found myself frantically scanning lines of all my favorite songs, old and new.

by ashley tenn You want apologies? / Girl you might hold your breath / until your breathing stops / forever. She’ll destroy us all before she’s through / and find a way to blame someone else. So why did you turn around / when we both know there’s nothing left? / Was it just to tempt me to make a decision that I’d regret? These maliciously savory lines have always been my go-tos when angrily driving late at night but suddenly, they seemed very obviously aimed at blaming and hurting the women who inspired them. It’s hard to overlook the fact that Jonny Craig’s words on every song on Downtown Battle Mountain II come at me through the speakers in a shrill but still distinctly male voice. Girl punks have to do a lot of projecting to make the male voice fit their perspective on their failed relationship. It was written by an aggressively emotional man for other men to brood to; their situation is the same, or so they think, and so this song I really love suddenly twists me into a villainess. The first time I listened to Waxahatchee’s album Cerulean Salt, I cried. Not so much because of the stupid, boy-related issue I’d been projecting onto it when I’d found it by chance on Spotify, but because of the power in Katie Crutchfield’s voice on the album’s closer, “You’re Damaged”: “We’ll cut our hands agape and manifest / compassion we’ll lose

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girl jamz // \\ boy jamz “swan dive” waxahatchee // “dear emily dickinson” chumped // “dust in the gold sack” swearin’ // “serious things are stupid” cayetana // “stalemate/spud” whatever, dad // “shut the fuck up” the coathangers // “sleep through summer” now, now //

“on grass, on grass” \\ sports. “chicago is so two years ago” \\ fall out boy “collector” \\ i kill giants “stuttering time theory” \\ juneva “cute without the ‘E’” \\ taking back sunday “elder goose” \\ dance gavin dance “apology not fucking accepted” \\ dikembe

“damn, damn leash” be your own pet // “paws” fourth wanderers // “tibetan pop stars” hop along // “slayer” giant drag // with time and test.” The album was exactly what I needed. It was unapologetically emotional, but had two things my old punk pals had never been able to give me—a feminine perspective to relate to, and a space to consider that sometimes (most times, really) the failure of a relationship is the responsibility of both parties. Where a lot of male-fronted lyricists refuse to accept that responsibility, bands with female lyricists and vocalists sound more self-aware, and therefore able to talk about failed relationships in a healthier way. Take another example from Waxahatchee’s Cerulean Salt, this time from a gorgeously understated song called “Swan Dive:” “you hold onto your past, you make yourself miserable / and I’m ruled by seasons and sadness that’s inexplicable / and we will find a way to be lonely any chance we get / and I’ll keep having dreams about loveless marriage and regret.”

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www In addition to being more introspective than male-fronted punk (this is where the acceptance of responsibility comes from!), the relationship failures of girl-fueled punks also seem more varied, which means less work making a song fit my situation when I need to cry. Listen to Chumped’s “Dear Emily Dickenson” when you’ve ruined something by coming on too strong, and Cayetana’s “Serious Things Are Stupid” when your drunken ex is doing everything in his or her power to crack your determination to go home alone. Female-fronted punk has all the benefits of male-fronted punk—the anger (The Coathangers’ “Shut the Fuck Up), the sadness (Fourth Wanderers’ “Paws”), the openness about having feelings that sometimes can’t be explained (Now, Now’s “Sleep Through Summer”), the driving aggression behind even soft vocals (any and every song by Hop Along)—but benefits the sad post-breakup feminist by staying respectful. You know, unless the ex just doesn’t deserve it. e


around THE WORLD storming the bastille B R ITI SH B A ND M AK ES STRID ES IN IN T ERN AT IO N AL P O P U LARI T Y By Isabel M. Crabtree

“EH EH-OH, EH-OH. EH EH-OH EH-OH.” Do you hear that sound? I bet you know it. Even though some people might be getting sick of the refrain that has become the trademark of Bastille after their song “Pompeii” exploded as a huge hit, the British band hasn’t seemed to slow down. The positive reaction after the release of “Pompeii” made Bastille and their debut album, Bad Blood, gain popularity and rapid success. People who have listened to songs other than “Pompeii” and “Flaws” know that Bastille are part of a trend in new pop coming out of the UK. I call them pop, but it can be argued that this is in-correct, or it could have, before “Pompeii” was heard being blasted out of every radio station that plays Top 40 hits. The characteristics of Bastille’s music add something different, perhaps a slight edge that shies away from allowing them to be considered full-on pop. Maybe this is why their genre is not quite classifiable, and they have been called everything from rock-synth to in-die pop. One thing that is certain about Bastille is that their songs are intriguing. They tend to have a sulky,

dark tinge to them, from subject matter to tone. Part of this is the creativity seen in the content of their songs. “Pompeii” is a conversation between the corpses buried beneath the ash of Mount Vesuvius. “Skulls,” off of the extended album All This Bad Blood, is another dialogue of the dead, where singer and frontman Dan Smith croaks out his wishes as if he and his companion had just died. These slightly foreboding songs have a refreshing effect; they are a nice change from the romance/party/drug heavy songs that every artist seems to be obsessed with producing. This difference is probably due to Bastille’s modesty — they’re not some hugely ambitious band trying to squeeze the most out of every song they create; they’re just doing what they love. This definitely leads to some unique lyrics, and has affected Bastille’s success in a decidedly positive way. After releasing Bad Blood in the UK the spring of 2013, it was released in the US the following September. However, it was not an automatic success. With a slow start, Bastille gained popularity gradually until making large breakthroughs,

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starting with landing a spot as Saturday Night Live’s musical guest in January. Since their debut on American television, Bastille have blown up, spending the year touring the US and Europe. It seems to be a hit or miss type of thing — people either don’t know any of Bastille’s songs, or they are complete fanatics. This might not seem too strange, especially for a band that some people call “indiepop,” but it is not necessarily the usual pattern in music these days. That is, until you delve deeper into similar artists, like To Kill a King or CHVRCHES. Both of these British bands hold dedicated fan bases similar to those of Bastille, albeit these days they’re much smaller. Why, then, are Bastille more popular than these other bands? One answer is that they have a great live presence. Some bands are disappointing in concert, be-cause you realize that the singer doesn’t actually have a good voice, that their music is auto-tune heavy, or the band seems rushed and the set-list is a mess. With Bastille, however, none of these are the case. I was lucky enough to go to their concert at Boston University on Columbus Day, and it was one of the best I have ever been to. After the opener, the lights dimmed, and a triangu-lar screen behind the instruments lit up, flashing “feature presentation” and static at the audience. Then, as Bastille mounted the stage, the crowd collectively cheered, and Smith started singing their first song “Things We Lost In The Fire.” After just a few seconds, I could tell how musical-ly talented Bastille actually are. Though they rely heavily on electric sounds, Smith’s clear

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and distinct voice was just as good live as recorded, the mark of a great performer. It seemed like mostly everyone in the audience was a huge fan, and the energy was one of a collected, electric crowd. It stayed this way for a majority of the concert; people were totally immersed in their personal experience with the music, focused on the band. Videos of bands make their live presence just as important as their recorded sound, because now anyone can see if a band is good just by looking them up on YouTube, even if they’re from a dif-ferent continent. Bastille has tons of videos online, even just amateur ones that show how good they are live and set them apart from bands that rely too heavily on traditional methods of gain-ing popularity. Also, Bastille’s strange inability to be classified definitely adds appeal because it captivates a wide range of people. For example, bands like CHVRCHES and To Kill a King have specific demographics that make up their fan bases. CHVRCHES uses a lot of electronic beats and seems to attract more people from the pop fan base, while To Kill A King is very unique and doesn’t use as much electronic or synth music, thus engaging a different fan base. While Bastille does use lots of electronic sound, it also mixes songs in that don’t rely on synth-sound, as well as do-ing acoustic versions of songs, or versions using string arrangements instead of just electronic backing. This creates a well-rounded repertoire that draws in people of diverse musical tastes, and has contributed greatly to their growing popularity. e


THE BRIGITTE BARDOT EFFECT

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We’ve seen her time and time again. The sultry singer, the muse, and the epitome of sexual prowess—the sex kitten. The sex kitten inspires. She inspires women to embrace their sexuality and look their best. She inspires women to ooze sexuality under the ruse of innocence, to be playful and flirty at all costs. And it is this image of both seduction and perfect femininity that inspires men as well. Now, in spite of the extremely degrading, objectifying, sexist tenants that the image of a sex kitten employs, the fact that sex sells has stood the test of time. It is this very desire for sex and all that goes along with it that has made so many performers so successful, the primary example being Brigitte Bardot. Many have tried to emulate the image of this iconic French performer, perpetuating the status of a Sex Kitten and the consequent Brigitte Bardot Effect. Brigitte Bardot was certainly not some floosy who promoted the degradation of women. No, that could not be further from the truth. Bardot merely knew what she had, and she worked it. She was even considered to be

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the most liberated woman of post-war France in Simone de Beauvoir’s 1959 essay, “The Lolita Syndrome.” This liberation is clearly seen in the way that Bardot has lived her life–completely unabashed and unconcerned with what the world thought of her image. It’s this very understanding of the power of sex and female sexuality that has furthered the careers of women across the globe, proving that Brigitte Bardot and the consequent sex kitten movement have weathered both time and culture. The modern form of the sex kitten is seen in female singers ranging from Canadian to Japanese, but all are clearly modeled in Brigitte Bardot’s image. Bardot was born into a wealthy Parisian family in September of 1934. As a child, she was trained as a ballerina. She then continued to pursue a modeling career that led to a career in film and later introduced her to the world of music. While all of these industries led her to some form of fame, Bardot earned her title as a sex kitten through her role as Juliette Hardy in And God Created Woman.

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It’s this film that made her a world-renowned idol as of industries, similar to Brigitte Bardot and Haifa well as establishing her as the very first sex kitten. Wehbe. While Shakira might be characterized as This persona is also maintained through her music. more of a “sex lion” as opposed to a sex kitten, it’s Bardot’s music is innately seductive, from the clear that the same principles Bardot once used in breathy delivery of her lyrics to her low and sultry her career are emulated in Shakira’s. voice. Her refusal to take herself or her music These three women prove that perhaps the sex too seriously furthers her image as a playful and kitten persona is more than just an inspiration or an flirtatious sex kitten. There are even what seem to be idol. All three of these performers have illustrated sex sounds at the end of her song, “Moi, Je Joue,” the fact that while sex is a big money item, it is which is French for, “Me, I Play.” talent that reigns supreme. These women are not Eerily similar to Bardot is the Lebanese singer, just inspirations in regards to physical attractiveness Haifa Wehbe, who was born in March of 1969, into or the mind games and flirtation associated with a small farming town in the south of Lebanon. She sex kittens, they are inspirations in terms of what a went on to win the title of Miss Southern Lebanon successful career really is. Even though this concept and then became the runner-up in the Miss Lebanon of the sex kitten image is more than half a decade competition. This competition led her to a career as old, it’s apparent that this construct of femininity will a model, then as an actress, and finally as a singer. never die. As long as people are drawn to sex, and Interestingly enough, Wehbe and Bardot have there continue to be highly talented performers who almost identical know how to pasts. Haifa Wehbe flaunt what clearly embodies the All three of these performers have they got, the seductive image of kitten illustrated the fact that while sex sex Brigitte Bardot, as persona will she is known for her is a big money item, it is talent that last forever. incredible beauty, So whether reigns supreme. sex appeal, and or not you provocative image. have Brigitte Just as Bardot is known for her signature, tousled Bardot’s voluptuous hair and legendary sex appeal, updo, Wehbe’s stunning curvy hourglass figure is Haifa Wehbe’s perfect curves, or Shakira’s neverequally legendary. lying hips, we’ve all got a little sex kitten inside us, Also known for her stunning body (but just waiting to come out and play. particularly her hips and enviable dance moves) is If you want to hear some sweet jams by these the Colombian singer, Shakira, who has also used ferocious ladies, I highly recommend listening to this sex appeal to her benefit. Born in February “Moi, Je Joue,” by Brigitte Bardot, “Maliket Jamal 1977, the singer-songwriter, dancer, record producer, El Kon,” by Haifa Wehbe, and of course, “Hips choreographer, and model is well-known in a variety Don’t Lie,” by Shakira. e

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Budding Beats,

Sprouting Sounds PERFORMING MUSIC WITH PLANTS

BY MAE TOOHEY As you’re walking through the woods you hear the sound of branches creaking above you and leaves rustling and crackling under your feet. Maybe the wind rustles some bushes making a unique swishing sound. Have you ever thought about the sounds plants make? People have been harnessing sounds from plants for quite some time now, since around the 1950s. By using the frequencies that occur throughout the plants, scientists that have studied sound and plants are able to build audible sounds from the plants! Melodie Fenez, a 36 year old musician from Berlin, is putting on live performances using plants as her instrument. I had the chance to talk to her in depth about her project, which she is calling “A.Melodie” and discover the allurement of these plant performances. A.Melodie really got started after she had been working for Ausland, a venue in Berlin, for a few years as part of the collective that runs it. Melodie attended a workshop about biotechnology that was part of Corrective Climate Festival celebrating Ausland’s 10th anniversary. Fascinated by the ideas presented in the workshop Melodie decided that she wanted to do something like that. This is when Melodie met a man named Karl who showed her that oscillators could be plugged into plants. The process for creating the sounds from the plants is an interesting one. Oscilators are plugged into the leaves of the plants with little wires. The oscillators pick up the frequencies of the plants. Every living thing has frequencies- electricity running through it- and so the oscillators translate the frequencies into sounds. You can also hear electronic pulses that the plant sends to communicate—Melodie explains that this sounds like “pock pock” noises. You also hear the noises of the plant reacting to the oscillators being plugged into them. “I mean the way it reacts is pretty much like the way it reacts when bugs eat it so it sends some acid or

hormones to fight against a bug or whatever that could be eating it” says Melodie, this completely changes the frequency and in turn, changes the sounds that you hear. Melodie makes her own devices with the oscillators to plug into the plants. They’re basically just a bunch of very simple oscillators assembled in series so that they are connected. What changes from device to device in the on and off button. She has created devices from old keyboards that used to make animal sounds and other things of that nature. Growing up in the South of France Melodie was always surrounded by music. Both her father and brother are musicians and her mother an artist. Melodie dabbled in drums and guitar for a little bit but she couldn’t really find an instrument that she was passionate about. She studied communications in school and has been organizing events for the past 10 years. Through this job she has continued to be surrounded by music and musicians and loves talking to them about their art. Melodie has always felt a very strong connection to nature, and especially to plants, “I’ve never liked to cut flowers or stuff like that.” This comes from her grandmother who was always quite fond of plants. “[She] would talk about plants the way you would talk about people and so for me, nature was like a person.” recounted Melodie. Having studied communication, the communication with the plants is something that Melodie finds to be special to her in terms of this project. “I make music with the sounds, it’s really an interaction with the plants. They give me something and I make something out of it.” says Melodie of her project. When she puts on live performances at venues like Ausland she brings all of her plants with her, piling them into a basket on her bike and carries all her gear on her back. When performing she processes some of

background Image by Krzysztof Kundzicz


the sounds through FXSound software but leaves some of it raw. “When I perform I have two or three devices and the sounds that I get through my synthesizer I process through pedals and ones that I run through the mixing desk the sounds are not changed or processed its like the real sounds and I play with all that really” says Melodie. When it comes to the plants Melodie usually always has a Hibiscus to perform with and two green plants. She likes to switch things up and work with new plants all the time. Her most recent performance included a banana tree and a little monni tree. “For me there’s no plants that work best, they’re all different and I get different sounds out of them and they react differently” notes Melodie. She enjoys being able to work with each plant and it’s unique sound. Finding a stage name was a little difficult for Melodie-- she didn’t really want to use her name, specifically not her family name. Her friends convinced her that she had to use her first name as it is so related to music in sounds. Because the music that Melodie creates and performs with the plants doesn’t actually have a melody she named the project “A.Melodie”, using the greek prefix A to mean “non.” People really love the project and the feedback Melodie has gotten is wonderful. Since it’s so experimental and essentially just noise, Melodie was surprised at the accessibility people had to her project. Because the plants are there during the performance, the

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audience is able to have some sort of connection with the sounds and the plants to a certain extent. Melodie ] loves that she is able to create a new connection between people and plants that they may not have existed before, “people are like wow I won’t look at my house plants the way I used to or ya know, like, it changes something in the way they see nature and that pleases me.” She feels that she is doing something more than just performing for people. As for the future of A.Melodie, Melodie has already started collaborating with other artists. Melodie has collaborated with other experimental musicians including one of her friends that also works with plants using a different technique. She has also tried working with a pianist and guitarist. The collaborations don’t always work- sometimes it simply just doesn’t sound right. Melodie hopes to continue with various artists in the future. Due to her performances having been such a success thus far, Melodie plans to travel on a tour and keep spreading the magic of plant sounds. This is where things become a bit complicated for her. Because the plants are such a huge part of her performance, she has to create a way to bring the plants with her along the road. When it comes down to it, it proves to be quite tricky. Melodie wants to make sure that the plants can stay healthy and that she can take care of them properly while on the road. The tour will mostly be focused in Europe but is still very much just in the works. e


cumbia uncovered An exploration in the rejuvenation of the genre by sophie schoenfeld

“What’s that electric riff doing in the middle of this salsa melody?” “Is it just me, or did I hear an Eastern European tune playing in this Colombian song?” These may be the sort of questions that strike you when you first tune into the diverse sound that is Cumbian music. And trust me, you’re not the only one to ask, “What’s Cumbian music?” Cumbia is a type of Latin American music that developed in the early 1800s. It may not be so well-known here in the United States, but in other parts of the Americas, it’s very popular. Its distinct, culturally diverse sound is a unique genre that has spanned centuries of music history. The rich sound of Cumbia comes from the wide variety of music that has influenced it over the last few generations, thus reflecting an important historical context. When I first heard this genre of music, I had a difficult time pinpointing the instruments used, as the unusual instrumental arrangements add a very complex rhythm. I was fascinated by the sound and wanted to know about the origins of the music as well as more about the prominent figures in its Colombian revival, headed by the band Frente Cumbiero. The origin of Cumbia is very complicated, which is understandable when considering the complicated nature of the music itself. I had a hard time understanding it, even after listening to so much of the genre. It has changed a lot since its origins as a courtship dance in

19th century Colombia’s coastal region and Panama. To really understand what this meant at the time, here’s the documented first account of Cumbia dance as experienced by Panamanian Don Ramón Vallarino Obarrio: “In the evenings, Creole families would gather to recite poetry and perform music typical of Spain and other parts of Europe…. Among the favorite African dances was...the Cumbia. For this one, the couples advanced to the center of the room, both men and women, and gradually formed a circle of couples. The dance step of the man was a kind of leap backwards as the woman slid forward carrying a lighted candle in her hand holding a colored handkerchief.” The sound of the music is incredibly rich. Panamanians, Colombians and slaves from Africa, as well as the Spanish who had colonized South and Central America, all heavily influenced the genre. A lot of the instruments are different now, but some originally included drums, originating from the African tradition brought over when Spanish colonized Colombia. Cumbia also featured the accordion, which has been replaced by assorted percussion instruments over the decades, along with claves as well as European guitar. The musical instruments of the Native tribes in Colombia also eventually merged with this African cultural music to create a new sound. Later, the Spanish guitar was added, which was a key melodic component. Even through all of this, the rhythm of Cumbia has remained at 2/4. When I listen to Cumbia music, I can hear this basic, classic Latin beat in the mix. So it’s clear how the evolution of this music tells us a lot about not only the history of the time, but the struggles of the people. Cumbia music is all about the voice of the people. This style of music was a way for them to preserve and share culture in new lands; it had

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a real cross-cultural ideology. It’s always meant to be performed for people to enjoy and come together over, much like other Latin American genres. It is a sound of happiness, community, and finding the love in the dark. Strangely enough, after the 1970s, there was a decline in Cumbia in one of the places that birthed the music to begin with, Colombia. This seemed to do injustice to the genre, so performers, such as Mario Galeano, stepped up and sought to revive this sound so embedded in their culture. Galeano’s band, Frente Cumbiero, is made up of four young men in their early thirties who all have the vision of bringing Cumbia back in a modern way. The leader of the band, Galeano, is from Bogotá, Colombia. He is an innovative and multi-talented musician, which is evident when his voice comes over the speakers. He’s a massive talent. His approach to Cumbia music is unlike anything that has been seen in the past, especially when considering other genres, such as reggaeton, that have recently become big in the Latin American music industry. You can hear the musical orchestra of Latin sound in every song by Galeano. Frente Cumbiero’s album, Meets Mad Professor, was first released in 2011 and became a huge hit. The album highlights the resurgence of this music genre in Latin America, especially Colombia. Mario Galeano’s music career started when he was a music composition student at Javeriana University. He soon moved to Holland, where he finished his university career and met Dick el Demasiado, an innovative Cumbia artist known for blending the Cumbian sound with electronics. Galeano used Demasiado’s style as well as the slow drum beat of Mexico’s Cumbia Rebajada to form his own very distinct and culturally integrated take on Cumbia. This culturally integrated sound was the start of a new revolution of Cumbia in Latin America, one that embodies its use today. Mario Galeano and his band are just some of the many faces involved in the revival of this music with such a rich, diverse history. Both women and men alike have taken up the sound of Cumbia and incorporated their own fun rhythm into it. As of now, the genre is going strong. Whether or not the instruments change or the sound is dynamically different, the liberating, inclusive energy evoked when hearing this music has been experienced and will continue to be experienced by listeners for generations. So next time you turn on the radio and find yourself listening to a seemingly odd fusion of Afro-Caribbean and Latin music, just take a moment to stop and remember the voices of Cumbia. Appreciate that electric guitar riff. Close your eyes and hear the alternative Latin beat, for it was a lot of time and struggle in the making. Cumbia is meant to free the oppressed and capture the love. e

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V

Americans love to boast about their i n d i v i d u a l i t y, especially in the entertainment industry. Everybody wants to be in the spotlight. They all want to be superstars and run the scene with their hip beats and flashy style. This industry is a little different in South Korea. Sure, there are still plenty of hip beats and glamour, but there is also far more emphasis placed into which record label an artist is signed. What label signed Ariana Grande? Who else is signed to that label? Does anyone really know without reasearching it? In South Korea, it’s obvious, because record labels become a part of each musician’s identity, and their fellow artists are seen as their family. YG Entertainment is one of the “Big Three” record labels in South Korea. Their roster includes acts such as BIGBANG, 2NE1, “Gangnam Style” singer, Psy, and many other extremely popular performers. These artists are considered a part of the “YG Family,” and it’s common to see the acts work together the way any family might.

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These artists collaborate mostly for the YG Family Concerts, where all of YG’s artists not only take turns performing on the same stage in the same night, but also occasionally sing each other’s songs and perform together. These concerts market all sorts of group-related merchandise as well, such as calendars and photo books. These are almost more like merchandized family albums with pictures of all the YG acts. Of course, this family dynamic also bleeds directly into the music produced by the company’s acts. YG artists generally produce and help write each other’s songs, and they also sing on their fellow family member’s songs regularly. Park Bom, a member of the popular girl group 2NE1, has been featured in many early BIGBANG hits such as “Always” and “Forever With U,” and CL of 2NE1 and Teddy of the now inactive group 1TYM each performed with G-Dragon on his song, “The Leaders.” YG has also been known to take these features a step further and create full-on collaborations of artists. The largest YG collaboration occurred in 2009 when BIGBANG and 2NE1 worked together on a very bouncy and colorful song titled “Lollipop.” The song was initially used as a promotion for a new LG Cyon phone of the same name, but was also released as a single that hit the top spot on various online charts. Collaborations as large as this one don’t happen that often, but there have been a good handful

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of smaller ones with only a few members from various groups. SM Entertainment is another huge record label in South Korea that presents a very similar family feel. The company is home to many popular K-Pop acts, such as SHINee, TVXQ, and Girls’ Generation. SM Entertainment is slightly different from YG Entertainment. Instead of a family, SM Entertainment simply keeps its artists in the same community, referring to them as SM Town members. This name difference doesn’t change the overall dynamic, though. SM Town is still boasting to be just as big and loving of a family as YG. SM Entertainment’s artists used to come together and perform in a summer music festival. In the past, this festival has lasted up to six whole hours and included performances from each SM Town act, as well as a few collaborative performances. In 2008, these festivals were replaced with the SM Town Live tours that traveled across Asia and later managed to expand to other parts of the world, including a show at Madison Square Garden in 2011, which was a major accomplishment for a South Korean record label. The SM Town members have also worked together on full albums. These albums usually alternate between Christmas albums and summer vacation albums. Each include a single by each act and often a song by most, if not all, SM Town members. Their most notable collaboration was for the song “Dear My Family,” which0 was used as the theme song for a documentary made about SM Town’s journey to their Madison Square Garden performance, I AM. SM Entertainment markets the same type of community feel as the YG Family, but the concept doesn’t come across as being nearly as strong. This may be because of the large number of

controversies seen by the company. Most of these controversies revolved around contractual disputes that involved artists not being paid what they were promised, which allowed the public to think that maybe the SM Town members were not being treated as well as they should be by their label. Togetherness and teamwork are a direct reflection of the South Korean culture. The focus is not so much on the individuality of each person, but more on how each person benefits the group. However, while collaborations and an overall feeling of community are popular within each record label, it does not transfer between them. It is rare to see an artist from one record label feature on the song of someone from another. That doesn’t mean there’s all-out war between the companies, but it’s unlikely to see anything like when Nicki Minaj was featured on the Justin Bieber song, “Beauty and a Beat.” Artists from different labels in South Korea just don’t tend to mix. The label with which Korean artists are sign is seen as an important part of their image. Sure, artists are still allowed to be individuals through their music and in each of their performances, but they are each individuals who are part of a team. This is seen more in the American music industry through collaboration teams, such as those that Drake and Lil Wayne have started setting up and exploiting, but it hasn’t really gotten to the point of this full-on family feel. Additionally, American artists still don’t really focus on the label that brought them all together. South Korean record labels don’t just work in the shadows and collect revenue. They build a home for artists to grow together. e


reviews

Disgraceland Disgraceland WHAT’S WHAT’S LEFT LEFT FOR FOR PUNK PUNK ROCK? ROCK?

By nick stalford Nowadays, the phrase “punk rock” seems to be paired hand and hand with the somber phrase, “punk is dead.” This presents a major problem for the future of the genre, whether or not the claim is true, as it reinforces a negative attitude towards growth. The album Disgraceland, released in June 2014 by the garage punk rock revival band, the Orwells, works as an eerily accurate representation of the genre’s frustration over its inability to produce meaningful and original content. The Orwells are not alone in this predicament, as many iconic modern punk bands have started making shitty albums due to a lack of inspiration, such as Weezer’s Hurley and more recent Everything Will Be Alright in the End, or the Strokes’ RCA Comedown Machine. The traditional punk rock attitude and philosophy have lost their edge through overuse and been deemed tame by the general public, leaving the genre without its most defining tool. It seems that punk rock has run out of ideas. The Orwells follow typical punk framework—formed the band in high school, wore leather jackets, and produced counter-cultural music—but when they began rising as musicians more quickly than expected, the band was prematurely forced to carry the burden of the genre’s static growth. Within a year of their formation they were signed to an independent label, listed by MTV as “one of the most criminally overlooked bands of 2012,” and had a single reviewed by the trendy and well-revered online music

publication, Pitchfork. After gaining further popularity with the release of their first full album Remember When in 2012, the Orwells began crafting their most recent album, Disgraceland. The phrase “punk is dead” truly began to loom over the band when they were invited to play The Late Show with David Letterman. The Orwells had intended to shock viewers by playing quickly and poorly, being noncommunicative, and having front man and lead singer Mario Cuomo stop singing mid-song to flop onto the ground and

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thrust his pelvis into the air. But instead of being appalled, Letterman cheered on the punk theatrics and insisted on an encore. Letterman’s extremely enthusiastic reaction to the Orwells’ misinterpreted stunt performance was a wake up call for punk rock, signifying the urgent need to drastically redefine punk rock to reclaim its position as the bluntly spoken, “fuck the establishment,” and “I don’t care what you think” genre. Disgraceland opens up with the upbeat track “Southern Comfort,” a stereotypical teenage rock song about girls, grass, and a full glass. These concepts may not be original, but Cuomo’s simple and direct approach to writing lyrics embodies the spirit of punk rock—he doesn’t care that his lyrics and subject matter are unoriginal. The second track, “The Righteous One,” directly supports this attitude of carelessness and nonchalance, as Cuomo continues to sing about girls and drugs, repeatedly stating, “I don’t have a care,” in juxtaposition to the band’s pressure to become the next big thing. “Dirty Sheets” represent the climax of this trio of pop party songs. Cuomo opens with the lines, “From the East Coast to the West/ We ain’t the worst, we ain’t the best,” a refreshingly honest opinion that hints at a confession of the album’s lack of originality and the genre’s stale state. The next two tracks generate an emotionally charged atmosphere of discouragement and despair. “Bathroom Tile Blues” conveys this through imagery of vacant rooms and empty bottles, and Cuomo frankly states “I’m not the only man” and “that’s the best that I can do,” alluding to the fact that the Orwells never agreed to bare the genre’s burden—someone else can do it. “Gotta Get Down” verges on nihilistic as Cuomo gloomily sings, “I wanna have faith in/ Something I don’t kill,” speaking to the idea that he believes in punk rock’s message, but by releasing unoriginal content he is contributing to the genre’s death. Cuomo’s dark confessions continue as he expresses a desperate yearning for numbness and stupidity, while flirting with suicidal thoughts in the lyrics, “My daddy’s got a twelvegauge/ I hope I don’t find it.” But from this gloom suddenly emerges anger and rejection, as both “Let It Burn” and “Who Needs You” draw upon the stereotypical punk rock “I’m too young to give a fuck” attitude. In a punk-Eureka moment, the band comes to the realization that they can ignore the genre’s needs and just doing their own thing. “Let It Burn” delivers this message straightforward as Cuomo sings, “How many times do I got to tell you/ When will you ever learn/ I’ll just let it burn,”—the band is content to sit back and watch

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the genre fall apart. “Who Needs You” is undeniably catchy, providing marketable radio content as well as some deeper meaning. Cuomo discusses antiauthoritarian sentiments, in a similarly mocking way to the Sex Pistol’s “God Save The Queen,” with insincere pledges of allegiance and a fervent disassociation from the American responsibility to “save the country” or “join the army.” In addition to rejecting the government, these lyrics speak to a rejection of the expectations set by the music industry. The remaining four tracks bring the album full circle, as they return to the more lighthearted subject matter of the first three tracks—love and drugs—only tinged with tragic endings—perhaps foreshadowing the band’s crash and fall if they continue to ignore the responsibility of leading the genre. “Norman” narrates the aftermath of the “Southern Comfort” party in some horrible alternate universe within Cuomo’s demented mind where the typical morning after party hallmarks of vomit, hangovers, and trashed apartments are replaced with blood, death, and chaos. In turn, “Always N Forever” unfolds a cliché retro-teenage love story that seems to parallel the passionate relationship described in “Dirty Sheets,” but “Always N Forever” concludes with the grim and not so cliché death of the male sweetheart in a motorcycle crash. “Blood Bubbles” tells a second possible ending to the relationship from “Dirty Sheets” in which the female sweetheart commits suicide, and finally the last track, “North Ave.,” describes yet another ending to “Dirty Sheets.” But the love story in “North Ave.” diverges from the pattern of depressing deaths set by “Always N Forever” and “Blood Bubbles,” instead recounting an open-ended school love story. Cuomo evokes nostalgic memories of his younger days running through the streets and holding hands with his puppy love. But behind Cuomo’s seemingly pleasant reminiscing lurks darkness and loneliness in the lyrics “headed to the graveyard” and “crying by myself.” Although Disgraceland does not provide the desperately needed paradigm shift in the punk genre, it does offer a commentary on and reflection of the genre’s stationary condition. Many well-respected music review sources criticized Disgraceland as unoriginal, labeling the album as a cliché “cycle of boozin’ and cruisin’ for ‘a handful of ass,” but this lack of innovation relates directly to punk-rock’s dire situation—no one knows how to advance the genre. Instead of attempting to reconfigure the genre, the Orwells are satisfied with simply modernizing the commentary on subjects such as love, drugs, parties, death, authority, and government that punk music has always revolved around. e


One Man Bass Drum New release from Bass Drum of Death is a garage rock staple BY Courtney Tharp In case your eardrums haven’t heard, Bass Drum of Death dished out a new album. The band is relatively young and is run by one man. John Barrett, the only constant member of BDOD, began his twisted D.I.Y. rock in 2007 and performed and recorded his own albums until 2008. Barrett plays bass drum and guitar and sings vocals. Currently, the touring band consists of two guitarists and drums. But in the studio, it’s solely Barrett, creating his own impressive cohesive sound. His 2014 release, Rip This, starts off with an ear-catching rock beat and fast guitar riff, obviously claiming to which genre it belongs. Barrett’s voice has just enough of an 80s punk twinge without sounding too much like the Sex Pistols. There’s a dollop of distortion to his vocals but it gives off an edgy, ragged feel, enjoyed by all garage-rock and punk fans alike. BDOD uses a lot of repetitive tunes and riffs, which makes the tracks easy for listeners, both old and new. And that repetition makes transitions seem effortless. Barrett includes such spontaneous pauses that the end of one song simply sounds like the beginning of another. BDOD makes sure to include all the components of a typical rock formula without making it terribly obvious. Each track has a blast of color. Usually it comes in the form of a change in volume or a particularly fancy guitar trick. For example, in “Everything’s the Same,” Barrett suddenly switches gears, ups the tempo and his pitch, making you think it’s the end of the song. It’s actually not. “Sin is a 10” rings true to the garage-rock feel with its odd time signature and deep, grungy strums, while “Better Days” provides that sort of acoustic (as acoustic as you can get with an electric guitar) track that every rock album needs. The guitar riffs are so catchy and addicting, probably because they mimic a vocalist’s melody and range, it’s strangely satisfying. Even with the varied parts in Rip This’s machine, the gears fit together quite cohesively. Each song has different elements, instrumentally and audibly, that make it slightly different than the next. There’s no one standout song but you can put this album on during your daily commute and you wont even realize you’ve reached your destination. e

KKK

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Vance Joy’s Dream Your Life Away Joy Rides the Wave of Folk Revival Effortlessly By Jailene Adorno

James Keogh, commonly known by his stage name Vance Joy, is an Australian indie folk musician with an amazing voice and an ever-present ukulele. His hit single “Riptide” climbed its way into the Top 40 charts making it the perfect summer song. Joy’s album Dream Your Life Away was released on September 8. In addition to “Riptide,” the album also includes an awesome variety of songs that fans are guaranteed to fall in love with. The album starts with “Winds of Change,” which gives listeners a taste of what is to come. Joy sings about his yearning for his lover to return home to him. The song incorporates a lovely melody that gives it a more light-hearted tone. Lyrics such as, “Well I have been alone far too long/ When are you coming home, my love,” will definitely have fans swooning. Another great song from Dream Your Life Away is the single “Riptide,” which is a folk-infused serenade. Interestingly enough, Joy started to write the song back in 2008. However, after coming up with nothing more but a couple of lines he decided to put it away for a while. It wasn’t until he started to perform open mic around Melbourne, Australia that he finally finished the song. The mesmerizing chorus draws fans in with lyrics such as, “Lady, running down to the riptide/ Taken away to the dark side/ I want to be your left hand man.” As he continues to sing, the words pick up new meaning for listeners. Joy drives the song with a beautiful melody from his ukulele. Joy changes things up in the middle of the album with “Who Am I,” where he questions who he is without the one that he loves. It starts off slow, but as the song rises into the chorus, the tempo speeds up and creates an echo. Lyrics that will really resonate with fans are, “Lay my dreams down at your feet/ Baby, watch out where you step/ And there’s no need for us/ Knowing all the answers yet.” “Georgia” opens with the vibrant lyrics, “She is something to behold/ Elegant and bold/ She is electricity/ Running through my soul.” Once the tone changes from slow to swift melancholy, so does Joy’s singing as he rushes through the lyrics and his apology for all the things he shouldn’t have done. His sorrow becomes more and more evident with each word and guitar strum.

Dream Your Life Away ends with “My Kind of Man” as Joy slows things down. The sound of his soothing voice slips into falsetto as he gets into the chorus, “You could be my kind of man/ Will you do the best you can.” He then starts to sing about a very tender moment in which a relationship starts to form. While listening to the songs, fans will fall in love with the sound of Joy’s voice and become better acquainted with who he is as a person. His use of the ukulele creates the perfect atmosphere in forming an indie folk tone and allowing his songs to flourish. Dream Your Life Away will give listeners an exclusive look into Joy’s soul through his beautiful lyrics. e


back to the garage

WEEZER’S BLUE ALBUM TWENTY YEARS LATER BY Matt Benson

The last ten years have been rough for Weezer fans. Every recent album release sparks a new round of retrospectives on the band’s steady decline into mediocrity, a ritual that has become as depressingly necessary as it has cliché. As irresistible as this call-to-arms might seem after October’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End, it’s more cathartic to remember what made Weezer so memorable in the first place. It’s lucky, if strange to think, then, that their debut title album came out twenty years ago. Not only did the Blue Album (as fans came to know it), or later, Pinkerton, help establish emo as a genre, it illustrates why people love Weezer, how they won our hearts and set our expectations so high. All albums speak to the time that they are recorded, but Weezer could only have made the Blue Album when they did; it’s so earnest that it feels like a small miracle that it was made at all. Every song feels personal and occasionally-painfully sincere in a way that a lot of music, particularly rock and its many subgenres, didn’t know how to be in 1994. Weezer has always had a very traditionalalt three-chord garage-band sound, but that worked to their advantage because Rivers Cuomo’s songs sound like the nerdy neighborhood kid playing around with his guitar. Songs like “Buddy Holly” or “My Name is Jonas” have a goofy playfulness that transcends the simple instrumental qualities of the songs, the same being true for the fairly innocent honesty of “In The Garage” or “No One Else.” This same un-self-aware quality makes the album one of the first quintessentially emo albums; Cuomo was singing about playing Dungeons & Dragons in his garage and angsting about girls while grunge was rolling its eyes at the world and the cocky vestiges of 80s glam and metal were still bleeding into mainstream rock. This innocent, un-cynical quality manifests musically across the entire album, with each song demonstrating some kind of experimentation on the band’s part; whether instrumentally with a harmonica and lo-fi guitars in “In The Garage”, with the Beach Boysinspired tempo and stylings of “Surf Wax America”, or with the longer-form “Only In Dreams.” The latter stands out as unlike the rest of their work in many ways, while still embodying their sound and spirit. The lengthy (longest in the discography by over a minute) track shows Weezer’s talent, free from the creative boundaries imposed by their later pop-rock identity. Rivers Cuomo confidently exudes

his teenaged classic-rock fandom by focusing heavily on instrumentals for the bulk of the song with thick, patient bass riffs and good-old-fashioned guitar solos; while the concise vocals are angsty without being insipid, showing his capacity for poignancy as a songwriter and a restraint that his later songs lack. The Blue Album’s personal quality stands out specifically because it established the persona of the band, which itself extended from how damn angsty and adorkable Rivers Cuomo was in 1994. As important as the other members have been to the band’s success, Weezer would not be Weezer without Rivers Cuomo. The Blue Album first introduced him, and the autobiographical and inner-emotional voice that he uses to such great effect in Pinkerton. Songs like “Say It Ain’t So” or “Only In Dreams,” feel like the roots of the later album, where Cuomo is at his anthemically-angsty best. Cuomo’s solo albums, Alone Vol. 1 and 2, have the same effect, cementing that it’s Cuomo and his gosh-darned earnestness that give the band power. The Blue Album distills that earnestness into sweet emo nectar. “The World Has Turned And Left Me Here” and “Undone – The Sweater Song” in particular capture a kind of innocent angst specific to young adulthood that’s tricky to pull off while still being taken seriously. Weezer managed it by being honest, and as their fame grew, that honesty became a snarky sense of irony. Since then, the band has lurched toward an intense self-awareness to a degree that, even when they do broach the same playful or earnest spirit of the early albums, it feels forced, decidedly un-fun. Their snark has soured into a kind of bitter hollowness that rings through their later discography. But maybe I’m the one who’s bitter. Weezer won’t ever be the band that they were in 1994, and they realistically can’t. Whatever honest part of himself that Cuomo was able to channel into the Blue Album or Pinkerton was special to that moment in time, which is fine and totally human. We, the fans, are the ones who put so much of our hope in them after all, and a band can only be so responsible for how disappointed their fans are. Twenty years later, the Blue Album is still as phenomenal as ever; it’s just a little more depressing to listen to. e

fall 2014 // 47


AMP’d Up We all need that extra kick in the butt to get through finals or just generally getting over the hump. Deadlines pile up, motivation bottoms out, and all we really want to do is curl up in bed with some nice Netflix to keep us warm. Whether it’s that twenty-page paper that you forgot about until the week before it’s due, or a boss slamming you with deadlines, these songs will help you gear up and get ‘er done. Compiled by our lovely staff, this diverse playlist will give you the right injection of motivation to get everything done.

“I’ll Believe in Anything” by Wolf Parade “Bonfire” by Childish Gamino “New Radio” by Bikini Kill “Debaser” by Pixies “Wicked Ones” by Dorothy “Happy Idiot” by TV on the Radio “In My Way” by The Belligerents “Weary Eyes” by Augustines “Kick Ass” by MIKA “Remedy” by State Champs “Mt. Diablo” by The Story So Far “Chaser” by The Wonder Years “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” by Four Year Strong “When You See My Friends” by Mayday Parade “Rejects” by 5 Seconds of Summer “Forever Stuck in Our Youth” by Set It Off

48 \\ five cent sound


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Adam Ezra Group @ The Sinclair Soulive @ Paradise Rock Club

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Future Islands @ The Royale

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Future Islands @ The Royale

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Yacht Rock Revue @ The Sinclair

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Power of Love, Heart Attack Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack, Go Bang! @ The Sinclair

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Tallahassee, Hallelujah the Hills, Parks, Cask Mouse @ The Sinclair The Devil Makes Three @ House of Blues

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Rustie @ The Sinclair

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Holy Ghost! @ The Sinclair Cracker, Camper Van Beethoven @ Middle East Downstairs

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Seether, Papa Roach @ House of Blues

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Cardiff Brothers @ Middle East Downstairs August Burns Read @ House of Blues

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London Grammar @ House of Blues

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Ben Howard @ House of Blues

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Wild Child, You Won’t, Cheers Elephant @ The Sinclair

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Giraffage @ Brighton Music Hall

Reel Big Fish & Less Than Jake @ House of Blues

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Kingsley Flood, The Grownup Noise, The Lawsuits @ The Sinclair Motion City Soundtrack @ Paradise Rock Club

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The Vaselines @ Brighton Music Hall

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The Tragically Hip @ House of Blues

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Cherub @ Paradise Rock Club Dr. Dog @ House of Blues Billy Idol @ Orpheum Theatre

fall 2014 // 49


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Five Cent Sound Vol. 3 Issue 1: Fall 2014  

Five Cent Sound is a student-run music magazine based out of Emerson College. It aims to give its readers a comprehensive guide on all thing...