PHOTO GALLERIES: LAUV GRAYSCALE & MORE!
UNCOVERING EMERSONâ€™S MUSIC SCENE
Â˘ 5 Editor-in-Chief Allie DiGennaro Managing Editor Danielle Ducharme Creative Director Kristen Cawog
Editor Hanna Marchesseault Writers: Ian Vidal Danielle Ducharme Ashley Onnembo
Live & Local:
Editor Molly Goodrich Writers: Jack Barnes Nick Pullara Paulina Subia
Around the World: Editor Katrina Dizon
Writers: Clarah Grossman Cassandra Yany Tripp Rams
Check us out online:
Writers: Isaiah Anthony Zachary Greenstein Dylan Hearn
Photo Team: Alessandra Guteriez Emily Cerutti Sydney Matzko Hanna Marchesseault Graham Wheeler-Nelson
Editor Dylan Hearn
Editor Lily Hennessey Writers: Ayesha Lal
Design Director Sam Kiss Design Assistant Meghan Hockridge Illustrator Natasha Arnowitz
Marketing Director Abigail Gutowiskii Marketing Team Claire Kong Emily Cerutti Elizabeth Enright Nikki Baptist
Lead Photographer: Elaine Tantra
Web Director Joy Freeman Writers: Nicholas Gemma August Gladstone
Head Copyeditor Julia LaRosa
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IN THIS ISSUE Features: 6 King Princess // Ashley Onnembo 10 Health and Industry // Ian Vidal 12 Don’t Make A Scene // Danielle Ducharme
Live & Local: 24 Bitz and Pieces, Cravings and Curses // Paulina Subia 26 Still in Love with What I Wish You Were // Nick Pullara 28 It’s All Shades of Gray // Jack Barnes
Around the World: 36 Punk Rock Anarchists and Political Hooligans // Clarah Grossman 38 The Healing Power of Music // Cassandra Yany 40 Hip Hop in Humanity’s Homeland // Tripp Rams
Reviews: 48 Detrimental Nature on There Existed an Addiction to Blood // Isaiah Anthony 49 Can You Feel Hollywood’s Bleeding? // Zack Greenstein 50 TOOL’s Fear Inoculum // Dylan Hearn
Culture: 55 Tik Tok on the Industry’s Clock // Ayesha Lal
Our Five Cents: 56 Editor’s Playlist 57 Staff Playlist 58 Winter Concert Schedule
DEAR READERS, Five Cent Sound’s Fall 2019 issue marks a sea of change. It was my intrinsic mission to utilize this year in pushing FCS in a new direction, challenging preconceived notions, and illuminating those both on and off staff as to what possibilities we had available. These changes, as they always do, start in these pages. Magazine making is no small feat and I want to take this time to applaud all of our staff writers, editors, and creative members for the craft and patience they bring to the magazine. Shifting our focus to the local and niche moments of our community has been a special opportunity from intimate one-on-one interviews with Paul Lemos and Emerson’s own Sunsetta and Bonnie Parker, to capitalizing on the ever-present, and ultimately unconditional representation of King Princess in transcending the music industry. As FCS reinvents who we want to be and how we operate, our digital presence creates an indepth, in-the-moment, underground, experience of Boston’s concert scene, providing a variety of mediums and perspectives for the informed listener. The scope of what our staff hopes to accomplish in these next months extends beyond a physical copy of a magazine to encapsulate the dynamic shifts and out-of-box creation one expects from a magazine built from musicians and consœurs. I have no doubt that as FCS moves forward we will only get greater and better and louder, our irresistible notion of music perplexing to those who do not understand. But this magazine isn’t for those people. It’s for the ones that drive two hour each way to listen to a band they loved in the fourth grade, for the ones that have a closet full of merch shirts to look at but not to wear, for the ones who sing on the train unaware of the judgemental eyes. And if you are one of those people…
Thank you. Five Cent Sound Editor-in-Chief, Allie DiGennaro
Features. Features. Features. Features. Features. 4
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Art by Natasha Arnowitz
Mr. Queen Ms. King King Princess: The Relevant Oxymoron Our Generation Needs By Ashley Onnembo
Mr. Queen, Ms. King, King Princess: the nicknames that she created for her on-stage persona started out as innocent plays on gender norms, yet eventually morphed the distinct reservations and feelings King Princess associates with her music. Through this, she was able to curate an unconventional yet completely self-expressive sound that highlights her personal beliefs and mantras. Nineteen-year-old Mikaela Straus embodied free love and radical feminism from the moment she released her hit single 1950. This breakthrough within an industry that was lacking boldness caused managements across the United States to applaud her rich insight and refreshingly original position. From there, her contemporary and
imaginative spirit blossomed as she began to broaden her platform to any individual who resonated with her sound, experiences, or overall outlook on life. Straus had no anticipation or idea that her candid and unrestricted presence would develop into the worldwide phenomenon that is her reputation today. 1950 came to Straus naturally. In an interview with Alma, Straus explained that the basis of what is now known as the queer anthem of the century was written immediately after the idea dawned on her mid shower, causing her to begin the creative process with her hair still dripping wet. In this single, she debates the hidden desire of homsexuality that existed during this constricting time period while
The image of inspiration and acceptance she projects onto her audience with every live concert has created a completely new space, and in a sense genre, that speaks volumes for a large portion of the modern queer community. emphasizing the important factors of LGBTQ+ history that were once publicly unaccepted, yet encompassed an incredibly rich culture. As her sound developed, she declared that mainstream music created with the sole purpose of landing on top charts would not determine the path that her future music would follow. Instead, she placed the majority of her focus on the empowering aspects of music that did not conform or create a monotonously unvarying sound. Lulu Kesin, a freshman journalism major at Emerson College, chuckled softly to herself as she recalled the moment her admiration for King Princess’ sprouted. “Harry Styles tweeted one of her lyrics, and she freaked out in the sense where she was like ‘wow, a really really big celebrity just recognized me’. But you didn’t see her personality change, you didn’t see a shift in her ego or her music or her way of life; she was really appreciative of that and stayed the same throughout the fame,” Kesin said. As her music evolved and her recognition in mainstream media grew, Straus began to manifest and explore the specific image of King Princess.
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Through this intimately honest representation, she continually pushes the boundaries that exist within the concept of femininity. Straus unapologetically delves into and embraces her quirky character, which unveils the purest forms of beauty: self love and acceptance. She floods her social media profiles with images that showcase her ability to compare and contrast her risky and tomboyish nature. Whether her post focuses on her fishnets and lingerie or features her in football shoulder padding, it shows that Straus utilizes her platforms as an outlet. She has a bold ability to challenge and mock the damaging constructs of beauty that a male preference placed upon society, allowing her audience to recognize where the true definition of beauty lies. Kesin’s eyes lit up as she explained the unique sense of confidence King Princess harnesses in relation to the perceptive image she casts onto her loyal audience. “She’s kind of a badass. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that women are told to be polite or fit social standards of not cursing or not wearing certain types of clothing,” Kesin said. “I think with her song and album titles alone, like having someone my age have a song called Pussy Is God, has made me realize you really don’t have to hold back.
You really can be not just yourself, but can show a raw, authentic side of you even in a culture that is so taken over by mainstream music and superficial ideas.”
her transparent vulnerability through lyrics, song subjects, and EP themes has led fans across the globe to idolize the authenticity that she consistently incorporates.
Kesin voiced her appreciation for King Princess’ laidback style and simplicity in life, stating that there is no need to impress or distract her audience with outlandish performances— Straus, unlike most in the mainstream music scene, possesses the effortless ability to connect with her audience through her unfiltered sound. When asked about Straus’ impact on the current generation, Kesin emphasized her uniquely prevalent position in the music industry. “I think that young girls hearing a female artist write a song about another girl, either in a friend or romantic sense, is super powerful. It’s nice that we have this different sort of taste where we’re not just hearing about the classic guy and girl love story and that there’s a push in a different and really good direction.”
Joey Polvere, a freshman journalism major at Emerson College, has a deep connection not only to King Princess’ music, but to her energetic liberation towards societal norms as an artist.
Kesin made it very clear that King Princess’ ability to project a favorable and inspiring image onto her audience is not one obsessed or reliant on coercion.“She doesn’t preach— she’s not standing on stage and saying ‘you have to be yourself’ or ‘find your truest form’. Her campaign isn’t ‘be yourself’: she naturally pulls that out of people.”
“She’s fearless when it comes to breaking out of the mold that we’ve decided as a society as normal for a pop artist,” Polverehe said energetically. “I love how she isn’t afraid to use the pronouns associated with her sexuality in her songs. I think it’s really important to have LGTB representation in music. Most artists would be really afraid to be so outspoken in the fear that it would end their careers or make their fans stray from them, but I love that she’s not afraid to do what she wants and show who she is,” he stated with approving admiration.
“She’s fearless when it comes to breaking out of the mold that we’ve decided as a society as normal for a pop artist.”
King Princess’ on-stage persona elevates the intensity of her personality, every intricate detail of her collected yet epic confidence exposed through each performance. Failing to hold back permits her energetic yet goofy deliverance to be a mainstay throughout the entirety of her setlists. The image of inspiration and acceptance she projects onto her audience with every live concert has created a completely new space, and in a sense genre, that speaks volumes for a large portion of the modern queer community.
Up to this point, they’ve had no true representation of themselves in American pop culture. Although icons like Madonna and Britney Spears may represent LGBTQ+ values, neither of these figures are part of the community. Straus, however, continually displays her eagerness to explore concepts that go beyond her experiences in order to ensure versatility and inclusiveness. The ability to showcase
Polvere’s passion and reverence for King Princess was truly unveiled as he began to describe the progressive work she continually advocates to and for our current generation. “A lot of times when there is LGBT representation in the media, it’s sexualized, especially in music, too. I really admire how she’s showing the softer and more realistic sides of LGBT relationships when you don’t usually get to see that.” King Princess’ title has crowned her royalty among her fanbase that she deserves. Her reliability and unashamed attitude, paired with a charismatic energy and husky voice, represents a role model that resonates within the souls of those who have tirelessly sought out this type of inclusion in mainstream media their whole lives. The music she produces brims with talent and creativity; the influence of the unreserved advocacy that she embodies provides an outlet of empathy for an audience who has yearned for representation. It is imperative that we as a generation embrace her inexplicable yet essential vibrancy when so many others in the current political climate are concerned with refuting the openness that accompanies queerness and individuality.
Health & Industry by Ian Vidal
The sharp clang of metal, the harsh buzzing of a motor saw, and the incessant rattle of a jackhammer. These sounds are generally associated with construction sites and factories. Places seen and heard, but whose inner workings are but means to an end. The motor saw is a machine which must buzz in order to cut; the jackhammer must thunder in order to break. However, for members of the original industrial music movement, these sounds are means to a different end: tools to be used in creating a new sound, which mimics the realities of the artist’s inner workings. For those who know about the first industrial movement in music, which occurred between the late 1970s and early 1990s, a few names might come to mind: Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Coil, P-Orridge, Christopherson, and many more. All of these are British artists. All of them share one same incestuous gene pool. A feedback loop of sound created by and for Thatcher’s England. An oscillation of continuous cultural and political affront toward the conservative tendencies of that time. However, these sounds were not endemic to the Britannic wasteland. Across the sea, deep within the confines of the New York sprawl, there was a concrete studio wherein primal scream therapy was being put to tape. The man screaming was Paul Lemos. The album would be titled Knees and Bones by the band Controlled Bleeding. The reason for these high volume therapy sessions was “pure venting.” Lemos was releasing frustrations which were, in part, due to the disintegration of Controlled Bleeding’s original line-up, chiefly comprised of Lemos and his friend Gary Pecorino on organ. “The music was kind of like a combination of the Ramones and Mahavishnu Orchestra,” Lemos said. This line-up was only able to release a seven-inch record before its eventual split. “I had put a lot of sweat and blood into that group,” he said. “After that group imploded I took a long break from music, then embarked on experiments in sound that would evolve into the line-up of Controlled Bleeding that recorded Knees and Bones.”
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On this record, Lemos was accompanied by vocalist Joe “Joey” Papa who became his constant collaborator up until his death. Together, they began crafting what Lemos described as a “personal diary in sound.” At first, the entries of this diary were “pure aural violence,” he said. For Lemos it was a way of releasing his pent up rage and frustrations. To execute this, there was no composition. “Just bruising layers of feedback and as much distortion as possible,” Lemos said. “Recorded live to cassette at full blistering volume.” This approach would be augmented through further avenues of experimentation. For their follow up, Body Samples, Controlled Bleeding mixed noise tracks with “textured pieces,” which were created through experimenting with primitive analog electronics, found percussion, and vocals. The rawness of these initial records would not be the only thing archived in Lemos’ sound diary. “Soon, I would get back to doing more conventional things, and that was the point when Joey and I really worked well together. He was a great singer and a really solid drummer, but he only enjoyed very musical stuff.” As the duo evolved, the rage of Knees and Bones and Body Samples would eventually give way to the meditative chants of Headcrack. “It was a natural intuitive development, finding Joe’s voice and creating the sounds we imagined at the time,” Lemos said. Headcrack was a contemplative exploration of sacred music, recorded minimally on four-track tape. Lemos employed the use of traditional instrumentation, such as drums, guitar, and bass, but expanded on this with found recordings, sound processing, and Papa’s idiosyncratic vocals. Hearing it now, you can find vague traces of its initial instrumentation, but it sounds more like an archive of monastic chants and medieval themes layered with subtle hints of the band’s dissonant industrial pedigree. Headcrack and its sister albums represented a better time for Lemos. “Headcrack, Between Tides, and Curd were developed in a much happier time when I was given free reign to experiment night and day,” Lemos said. “I was consumed by the recording process, and Joe and
I were getting closer to what we wanted to achieve, better able to capture our vision.” The vision wasn’t premeditated, however, it was instinctual. “Joe and I would delve deeply into sacred music on later records,” Lemos said. “There was just a need to create these recordings.” This same instinct would later lead the band to add thrash metal and ambient dub to their eclectic sound journal, swapping membership as the music changed. What remained consistent, however, was Lemos’ drive for catharsis. “The different records certainly captured the emotional tone of life at the time,” he said. “I think the feelings they might evoke indicates what we were going through when they were put to tape.” Additionally, Papa remained a part of Lemos’ sonic excursions up until his death in the late 2000s. With over forty years of prolific activity, Controlled Bleeding remain active today. For the entirety of their career, the band has been able to survive without depending on any label to fund their projects. If you ask Lemos: “I have no complaints.” The band never intended to make money from records. “I was always a high school teacher, as I still am today. This way, I never had to prostitute myself for a record company or follow trends to sell records.” Additionally, Lemos records all of his material at his private studio to cut costs. This independent, self-sufficient approach is one of the main reasons the band has survived despite their experimental and wide-ranging body of work. To date, Lemos and the others have experimented with a variety of sounds, genres, and approaches. Like many of their contemporaries, they explore the harsh extremes of sound often within the same song. These experiments, alongside notions of sacred music, emotional purging, and sound archiving leads one to question what it all means for the listener. One might recall the sociopolitical commentary of Throbbing Gristle’s insidious electronica, or the spiritual purposes Coil’s mantric deviations into drone music. From here, the question becomes: Is there a purpose to Controlled Bleeding’s discography? To quote Paul Lemos, “No. There is not a deep concept to any of the records.” Just sound and silence.
DON’T MAKE A SCENE UNCOVERING EMERSON’S MUSIC COMMUNITY
BY DANIELLE DUCHARME
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SUNSETTA AT THE PARAMOUNT THEATER 10/24 PHOTOS BY KRISTEN CAWOG
On October 4, I was added to the Emerson Musician Mafia Facebook page, pulled into a world of musical talent on campus. My knowledge of the supposed “music scene” at Emerson until this point was the underattended monthly open mics. However, this page was home to a plethora of artists from almost every genre, calling into the void of the Emerson music scene, either to form bands, advertise shows, or put their music out to be heard and critiqued by other musicians. I wanted to know who they were and what their opinions were of the music scene at Emerson. These are their stories, dun dun. Sophomore Thomas Chadwick arrived on campus last Fall with the dream of playing music. He started the band Sunsetta with fellow sophomores Karthik Ramaswami and Amogh Matthews, who both also posted in the Musician Mafia group looking to play. Chadwick says their name was inspired locally during a trip home on the T. “I was on the T going over the bridge at the Esplanade and there’s a building on the river called Sunvesta. I was like, yo that sounds pretty sweet. Sunvesta, Sunvesta, Sunsetta. I came up with Sunsetta like that,” explained Chadwick. When it comes to inspiration and sound, the group says they flow between genres such as pop, garage rock, and R&B, explaining their unique sound as “an alternative indie pop band with punk and R&B influences.” “My favourite band is The 1975. One of the first things we talked about was how we genuinely love their whole aesthetic of them just doing whatever they want to do and not really caring about sticking to a certain sound. We look to them as an inspiration, but I also really like Tyler and Frank Ocean,” said Ramaswami. For Chadwick, the inspiration comes from an alternative/hip-hop lens. “My favorite band is Peach Pit, so that’s where we form the guitaralternative side. I have also been producing music for four years, making hip-hop beats for people as well as pulling elements from psychedelic music.” While Sunsetta has been heavily involved in the Emerson on-campus music scene, most recently playing alongside Diet Cig at the WECB concert in October, they believe that the presence of Emerson-based bands could be a lot stronger and better supported. “There are a ton of musicians at this school that are very talented but there are very few places to practice, unless you pay money. This school has a mentality that if you want to do music then go to Berklee, and it’s a pain in the ass to even do that,” said Chadwick. “Nobody cares, or maybe it’s that nobody knows about the tiny scene we have here.”
While Sunsetta formed their band during their time at Emerson, Andrew Muccitelli, a junior VMA major, knew he wanted to pursue music from the time he was a toddler. “When I was three years old I saw Cher on TV doing her farewell tour and the theatrics of her live performance, and I knew in that moment, as a literal baby, that this is what I want to do.” Self-taught on the piano, guitar, and ukulele, Muccitelli began to further pursue music at the age of eleven by posting YouTube covers. “When I was eighteen I put out an album titled Fear of Intimacy under my own name, and I felt like it wasn’t reaching the right people because in everyone’s minds I was this twelve-year-old Justin Beiber-type-YouTube little boy singing Adele,” said Muccitelli. With the idea of changing his sound to experimental alternative rock, he came up with the stage persona Bonnie Parker, an homage to Bonnie and Clyde. This new persona would allow him to incorporate elements of drag to blend the gender binaries, something that he felt he didn’t see enough of in music. “I wanted to do something for the LGBTQ community that I wasn’t seeing a lot, so rather than it being a band, I had a vision for it to be an art project with cool visuals, photoshoots, music, and videos,” said Muccitelli. “I wanted to write music for gay people or anybody and give a platform for the experiences of a young, gay person from the suburbs.” When it comes to inspiration, Muccitelli draws from not only other artists, but his personal life. “I draw inspiration from what I am listening to in that moment because there’s so many artists that have inspired me. When it comes to lyric writing, Fiona Apple is a big one. Visually, I love what Sky Ferreira does in her photoshoots,” explained Muccitelli. “I am also just really inspired by, like, romance and my personal experiences. The music is just so aggressively personal and vulnerable, but I feel like that makes it relatable.” Under the persona of Bonnie Parker, Muccitelli has since released four songs, dubbing their genre as indie pop. Going forward, however, Muccitelli wants to aim for a more diverse rock sound. “I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want the sonic palette to be for my debut album as Bonnie Parker, and it’s a fuzzy indie rock that you would hear on Puberty 2 by Mitski but with elements of experimental music and electronic music that you could hear on a Sophie song.”
While Bonnie Parker leans to a softer sound, the band Snoozer describes themselves mostly with one word: loud. When junior James Ammirato came to Emerson, he already had a solo project as a singer-songwriter under his belt. “I don’t even wanna say what it was. It was a phase, I got it out and I thought ‘I want to be in a band now because I want to make music that I actually like,’” says Ammirato. When a bassist and a recruited drummer from the BU pep band joined Ammirato, who writes the songs and plays the guitar, in his quest to begin a band, they came to form the current lineup of Snoozer. As for musical process, Ammirato writes the lyrics and the guitar before it’s brought to the rest of the band to “hash out” their parts for a full song. “The overall sound is rock. I am influenced by a lot of punk, with the whole ethos of that movement and the mindset of a punk band—loud and fast or loud and slow. Just loud stuff in general. The louder the better,” said Ammirato. With loud in mind, the band has come to describe their genre as “running-with-scissors punk.” “Can we say we carved out our own trail? I don’t know if we can legally say that, but I think that’s what we did,” joked Ammirato. As for their opinion of the music scene at Emerson, they explained that it feels like everyone is disconnected. “A scene implies that there is artists and space. Emerson has a ton of artists and no space,” explains Ammirato. “We have a scene, in terms of there’s a large group of people that play music, but there’s no unity or collaboration.” Before I began this deep dive into the world of music at Emerson, I was not aware of the amount of bands and genre diversity on campus. While there is clearly no shortage of musical talent at Emerson, the issue seems to lie in the lack of connectivity between the artists and bands. It’s gonna take some unifying to create a true music scene here. Come on Emerson, it’s time.
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“EMERSON HAS A TON OF ARTISTS AND NO SPACE. WE HAVE A SCENE, IN TERMS OF THERES A LARGE OF PEOPLE THAT PLAY MUSIC, BUT THERE’S NO UNITY OR COLLABORATION” - JAMES AMMIRATO
EDITOR DANIELLE DUCHARME SAT DOWN WITH ANDREW MUCCITELLI, A JUNIOR VMA MAJOR WHO GOES BY THE PSEUDONYM BONNIE PARKER.
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PHOTOS BY GRAHAM WHEELER-NELSON Dani: In terms of genre, what would say you lean towards?
Andrew: So the songs that I have out right now, I would say like indie pop. Going forward, I think it’s going to take on more of a rock sound. I’ve been really inspired by like garage rock and alternative rock but I don’t want to necessarily adhere to that. I’ve been thinking a lot about the “sonic palette” of what I want my debut album as Bonnie Parker to be and I think I’m leaning towards that fuzzy indie rock that you hear on Puberty 2 by Mitski but then incorporating elements of like experimental music and electronic music that you could hear on like a fucking Sophie song.
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D: So performance and aesthetic-wise, what is Bonnie Parker’s aesthetic? A: Oh God, the phrase that I used to describe it a lot as is femme-trash. It’s hard for me to pinpoint where drag is incorporated into this project because it’s kind of just whenever I feel like it. Whenever I’m feeling particularly like a woman, I guess, then the visuals become a lot more feminine and light. When you look at our single artworks, they are very delicate in their own way. I love film photography, I love camcorder video and all sorts of vintage film, meaning like the 80s and 90s. I try to incorporate those as much as I can. I also try to add goth elements into the visuals as well For my photoshoots when I’m working with people, I tell them I want to make it look like a memory. Evoking the feeling that it is something you’ve been there for.
D: Where would you say that your inspiration for your music comes from? A: I draw inspiration from a lot of what I’m listening to currently. There are so many artists that have inspired me. When it comes to like lyric writing, Fiona Apple is a huge inspiration for me. Visually, I love what Sky Ferreira does in her photoshoots. I’m also just really inspired by romance and my personal life. The music is just so, so aggressively personal and vulnerable but i feel like a lot of people can relate to the experiences that I’ve gone through. It’s very real. I don’t very often write about completely fake shit. Sometimes I do, but writing about my own experiences is therapeutic songwriting and I feel like it only comes to me when I feel like that emotional push to get something off my chest.
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Live & Local. Live & Local. Live & Local. Live & Local. Live & Local. 22 Five Cent Sound
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Art by @5ylv13
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BITZ AND PIECES, CRAVINGS AND CURSES BY: PAULINA SUBIA
On Halloweekend night 2019, the once quiet Quint Street in Allston comes to life, with people donned in costumes flocking towards the basement of The Tourist Trap and an assortment of pop culture icons filling the space. The only evidence of there being a show is the sound of the bass coming from downstairs. The crowd takes up almost the entirety of the basement floor, anxiously waiting for the acts to take the stage. Queen Crony steps up—a five-piece band hailing from Boston—dressed as The Mystery Gang from Scooby Doo. They command attention from the crowd, who are all the more eager. Keyboardist Rubin Hohlbein is the backbone of the band, carrying each song and adding the fun, pop-like character that defines the group. The contrast between vocalist Jolee Gordon and her band is perhaps the most memorable. Gordon inherently separates herself and enters her own world while singing: waving her arms, staring up at the ceiling, spinning in circles. Her vocals are comparable to that of Kat Bjelland of Babes In Toyland, with less grit and more airiness, complete with light and uplifting, yet heavy instrumentals that get the crowd jumping and moshing. Their cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” uplifts the crowd & gets everyone singing, especially the one guy dressed as Kate Bush. It’s a true bonding moment between the band and the crowd, collectively singing a power ballad beautifully led by Gordon and the band.
Ostrich Foot is the last to go on for the night. A three-piece from Amherst, they are men of few words, focused solely on their sound. By now, the crowd is fully energized, yearning for music that will get them hyped and craving more, and Ostrich Foot surely delivers. I couldn’t help but compare them to Nirvana in their Bleach era—full of angst; heavy guitars; simplistic, varying vocals; and, overall, a strong, angry energy that radiated from them to the crowd. The band jumps seamlessly from song to song, with no mention of titles in-between, in their own trance within the music. The crowd was unmatched at this point, thrashing wildly, jumping around, a collective mass of wild energy. Ostrich Foot’s cover of The White Stripes’ “Fell In Love With a Girl” was the climax of the night, with people running inside upon hearing the opening riff of the song, the crowd and the lead singer screaming words in each other’s faces. The liveliness of the night made the experience all the more memorable; it was apparent that everyone was there looking to have a great time, to participate in that collective feeling felt amongst the crowd—a common understanding of unity and enthusiasm. A crowd can either make or break a show, but thankfully, the crowd at The Tourist Trap did not disappoint, making the most of the Halloween festivities and a memorable introduction to house shows for myself.
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“ Still In Love With What I Wish You Were” 26 Five Cent Sound
“He has the kind of voice one finds familiar, a voice of a friend.” By: Nick Pullara Walking up the grand staircases and into the dimly lit venue of the Royale, I am met by a multitude of flannel shirts; the crowd a mixture of lumberjack and skater aesthetics. Everyone sways on the dance floor with a respectable distance from their neighbors. I walk into a welcoming vibe. The opening act is a five-man alternative rock band from Boston named Morningbird. The crowd cheers the lyrics to a Beatles cover back at the boys as they jam classics, and the night’s intoxicating tempo is set. There is one final roar of applause, some full-hearted waves of gratitude, and then the stage is evacuated for the headliner: Mt. Joy. Violet smoke crash along the vacant stage like a current, then the lights black out before honey-drenched light unveils the silhouettes of tonight’s five stars: Matt Quinn, the lead vocalist; Sam Cooper, guitarist; Michael Byrnes, bassist; Sotiris Eliopoulos, drummer; and Jackie Miclau, keyboardist. There is a melodic humdrum of strings and keys, then the beat pours into the room. Quinn’s opening line, “Kids get high in the basement sometimes,” hits heartstrings instantaneously and everyone begins harmonizing. He has a 70s-style haircut, a straight swoop of long brunette hair, which is perfectly matched with a faded tie-dye tee. Plucking his black lacquer guitar strings, the show gains momentum. The stage production is simplistic, as not to draw attention away from the musicians. A backdrop of almost unsettling doodles overlap one another in a collage of vibrant colors. The band’s name, Mt. Joy, is printed in the center. Lights flash and fade between hues of fall. Rose, creamsicle, and sky blue cast down on dissipating clouds of smoke. Quinn’s vocals have a smoothness to them that are juxtaposed with a sharp ache in his tone. It carries the heaviness of the blues by which he is illuminated. He
has the kind of voice one finds familiar, a voice of a friend. There is no showboating in his range, no theatrical pitches or complicated tongues. He sings the kind of music anyone could sing along with and feel somewhat confident about because it is humble; it is human. It is the same kind of welcoming country music fans feel with their anthems. The band operates effortlessly in sync. They play in a blissful trance, communicating with each other on a plane audience members could never reach, only admire from afar. The crowd chants lyrics, whistling and whining. Conversations of strangers overlap. Greetings, goodbyes, confirmations of returns from the bar or bathroom. I find myself perpetually swaying my hips, nodding my head with emotional resonance. There is no pressure to dance, it is merely a side effect of the music. The crowd embraces the movement, and the booming swirls of strings and keys and bouncing drums encourage it. The desperation in Quinn’s voice during “Dirty Love” strikes cords within the soul. His cries create a contagious emotional movement throughout the audience. It is a performance that makes one nostalgic for the alternative bands of the late 2000s—a show that is centered around the live instrumentation and emotions reverberating with the echoed lyrics. There was a contained catharsis in the Royale that night. An audience singing the songs that play repeatedly in their playlists, the tracks they’ve shouted alone in their cars, an unrehearsed but perfectly executed choir. If it was ever unclear how the up-and-coming band Mt. Joy has gained such a powerful following, selling out over half of their debut album’s tour, the performance at the Royale crystalized their talent in the hearts of all fans.
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ITâ€™S ALL SHADES OF GRAY BY JACK BARNES
GRAYSCALE AT BRIGHTON MUSIC HALL 10/2 PHOTOS BY KRISTEN CAWOG
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By the time Grayscale had taken the stage, a good portion of the crowd was already dripping with sweat from kicking each others asses for two hours. The other portion of the crowd was thirtysomethings standing maturely in the back of the room. Grayscale is a relatively young and new group, despite their debut EP having dropped in 2015. The album they’re touring behind, Nella Vita, is only their second Fearless Records release (other bands signed to Fearless Records include Pierce the Veil, Mayday Parade, and August Burns Red). Nella Vita is also their first album in roughly two years. It was hard to imagine that a band with this small of a catalog was capable of selling out the Brighton Music Hall on it’s own, even with it being a venue with a capacity of less than 500. Grayscale opened with “In Violet,” off of their new album. It’s an interesting song that incorporates Collin Walsh screaming the chorus and a horn breakdown towards the end that is somewhat reminiscent of a Of Monsters and Men song. Their follow up was “Baby Blue,” which is a pure pop song off of Nella Vita with a somewhat The 1975-like sound. The pit energy that had beaten much of the crowd to a pulp for most of the night returned with the deepcut “Palette,” off of 2016’s What We’re Missing, a simplistic pop punk song that the band used as a chance to bring the volume. However, this is where a separation in the band’s stage presence became apparent. It seems like with Nella Vita, Grayscale has found a new sound featuring less punk, an uptick in the positivity of the lyrics, and a dancy quality to the majority of their tracks. They feature a pretty lead singer and an incredibly loud and powerful drummer, and that’s their identity. They are not one of those bands that relies on complex guitar parts, especially on Nella Vita. The middle of the set was highlighted by the song “Forever Yours” off of 2017’s Adornment, which is lyrically their best track. It functioned as a stereotypical pop-punk acoustic song to give the crowd a minute to get it together and reflect. “Forever Yours,” slowed the tempo and gave Collin Walsh yet another chance to flex his range. At this point the crowd was thoroughly enthralled and willing to take anything the band gave them. Grayscale played through a few songs off of Adornment and Nella Vita before ending with another one of their bests, “Atlantic,” which was all but written to close a show. The lead up to their final song of the night featured many uptempo tracks that had driven the crowd to smashing into one another once again, but their reaction to the opening chords of “Atlantic” may have been the highest energy crest of the night. The song is a comedown, opening with Collin Walsh screaming before breaking down to a much quieter and more thoughtful tone, then once again building allowing Walsh and drummer Veno to be at their most powerful, loudest selves. After seeing Grayscale perform, the idea of them having sold out the Brighton Music Hall made much more sense to me. Despite their catalog not being that large, it is fairly diverse and very accessible. None of their songs are tremendously thought provoking, but most of them are pleasing, and they certainly have mastered performing them. Having partaken in the violence of the pit, I left the concert sore and fairly sweaty—a sign that I had fun. It will be interesting to see where Grayscale goes from here, after completing a headlining tour and having sold out a good amount of their shows along the way, if they are to continue the way that Nella Vita suggests they may, I would not be surprised for them to make a radio run with their next album. If they can individualize their pop sound while finding a way to utilize Nick Veno the way he deserves to be used, they could become a viable chart-making pop act in the near future.
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Around the world. Around the world. Around the world. Around the world. Around the world. 34 Five Cent Sound
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Art by Natasha Arnowitz
Pussy riot: Punk anarchists & political hooligans by Clarah Grossman
Pussy Riot originated from an anarchist performance art collective called Voina. Female members of Voina were outraged when Putin was re-elected for president, and, in August of 2011, they formed Pussy Riot. On October 1, 2011, Pussy Riot released their first single, “Kill the Sexist,” and continued to make themselves known not only in Moscow, but in all of Russia, and eventually the world. Following “Release the Cobblestones,” Pussy Riot’s first public appearance wherein they sampled the 1978 Angelic Upstarts’ song “Police Oppression,” the band scaled and stood atop scaffolding and trolley cars while singing to the Russian people. The band told them to throw cobblestones in protest and quoted that the Russian ballot was “used as toilet paper” in elections. Since then, they have had many more public performances, each one more extreme than the last. Pussy Riot wrote on their website that “the concerts were held in public places for wealthy Putinists… Performances included arson and a series of musical occupations of glamorous areas of the capital.” In 2012, three members were arrested during their performance of “Punk Prayer.” It was Pussy Riot’s fifth public performance and required five members to sneak into the Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which is a Russian Orthodox church in Moscow. The performance interrupted a church service as the five members danced around the altar, urging the “Virgin Mary to help get rid of Putin.” The lyrics of the song linked together the church and Russian intelligence service, the KGB. One of the three arrested, Nadia, is quoted saying, “This Cathedral symbolizes the union of church and state. That’s not how it should be.” The arrest and trials of Pussy Riot members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich reached international news and introduced them to a progressive audience. The
women were charged with hooliganism and served their time, exiting prison to find a global fanbase and endless opportunities from the West. Since rejoining society, Pussy Riot has played “conventional gigs,” such as performing with Madonna, festival appearances, and albums. Along with a change in public demonstrations, Pussy Riot’s music became less punk and more electronic. Though the lyrics are still political, they focused on other countries’ struggles and general injustice. Pussy Riot’s first release, “Kill the Sexist,” has a very rough opening with a quick guitar rhythm and an offbeat yelling of lyrics. Members sing back and forth to each other, finding a melody in the harsh edge of their words. The transition to their current sound can be traced to two songs: “I Can’t Breathe” and “Chaika.” “I Can’t Breathe” was released in 2015 along with a poignant music video after the death of Eric Garner in New York City. The song starts out very grim and slow with a repetitive, heavy drum beat. The lyrics are haunting and provide warning as the drum gradually picks up and then lowers for the introduction of more percussion. The instruments find harmony together, similar to the aggression of previous singles. With a dramatic finish, distortion brings home the punk elements of the song. Pussy Riot didn’t put out any music for one year after “I Can’t Breathe” before releasing “Chaika” in 2016. There are remnants of Pussy Riot’s original sound in their newer music, but it seems that through anger, they have found a sophisticated passion. Unfortunately, Pussy Riot has not put out an official album, only singles and one EP in 2016. In 2018, Pussy Riot released “Bad Apples,” which brings together political lyrics and the electronic patterns exhibited in other songs to create an anthem to which our generation can march.
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The Healing Power of Music: How South Korea’s Daytime Discotheques are Restoring Senior Citizen’s Youth by Cassandra Yany In South Korea, music is proving to have healing effects on senior citizens. Similar to how young adults go to dance clubs or concerts to be uplifted and escape from life’s issues, South Korean daytime discotheques provide hours of careless fun. They give the country’s older residents an environment where they can forget the struggles of their daily lives, such as loneliness or illnesses. For an entrance fee as low as 1,000 won (90 cents), adults over the age of sixty-five gather at these dance parties and let the music’s magic do its work. Dancing has helped reverse the negative effects of growing old for the disco’s guests. Organized by the local government, daytime discotheques across the country open their doors to hundreds of guests each day, providing them a cheap way to get out of the house and have some fun. These discos, also known as “colatecs” (a combination of cola and discotheque), are aimed specifically at helping South Korea’s oldest citizens combat feelings of loneliness as well as side effects of dementia. According to a 2018 Reuters article, “South Korea is aging faster than any other developed country,” and, in recent years, the country’s elderly suicide rate has been the highest among the thirty-six countries within the intergovernmental economic organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, far exceeding the average. In videos capturing the scene of the discos, there is dim overhead lighting with party lights lining the ceilings and beams of red, blue, and green running through the room. Different days will have different themes, such as glow-in-the-dark or masquerade. Guests can be seen donning masks over their eyes or wearing light-up headbands while moving their bodies to the 1960s local hits resonating through the speakers. On the dance floor, partners grab each other by the hands, stepping to the beat of the music and enjoying each other’s company. When guests need a break, there are seating areas and inexpensive non-alcoholic beverages available for purchase. Despite the name, the most popular drink served at these colatecs is probiotic yogurt. Two suggestions to help slow the impact of dementia on an individual are to remain physically active and
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socialize with others, according to the website Dementia Care Central. These discotheques allow their elderly guests to exercise while mingling with others their age. As stated in a Today’s Geriatric Medicine article titled “Music Therapy in Dementia Treatment—Recollection Through Sound,” music helps dementia patients access their subconscious emotions and tap into forgotten memories. The recollection of these memories can encourage communication and give dementia patients a new or renewed sense of identity. Music has proven to positively change the mood and emotional state of dementia patients, give them a sense of control over life, and help them manage pain and discomfort without drugs or medication. Dancing and listening to music can also help prevent the loss of both cognitive and physical skills as a result of dementia, as well as restore physical functions that have been lost. Along with slowing the effects of dementia, the discos also help prevent loneliness by giving their senior attendees a community full of people experiencing similar changes in their lives. At this age, many people have lost their partners and closest friends. Instead of being alone in their homes, guests now have a place where they can be surrounded by people their age with whom they can relate to, giving them the opportunity to turn dancing partners into friends. For many, attending the discos has become a weekly ritual, giving them a reason to leave the house and escape boredom. Guests say that their bodies feel healed after attending the discos. Their aches and pains temporarily disappear, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the music and just enjoy the dancing. One guest told BBC that he is energized for two or three days following a disco. It seems like South Korea won’t be the only country implementing these daytime dance parties for the elderly, as similar activities have popped up in other areas of the world, in places such as London and New York. Guests across the globe are able to let loose and feel the remedial power of the music. Not only do these discotheques help individuals over the age of sixty-five fight loneliness and the effects of diseases, they also allow them to move as if they are young again.
Art by Natasha Arnowitz
Around SECTION the TITLE World3939
Hip Hop in
humanity's Homeland By Tripp Rams
Even though Hip Hop was created as a form of Black expression, the continent of Africa has been left out of the movement. Recently, however, this is beginning to change.”
After Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie took home the first “Best International Flow” award at the 2019 BET Hip Hop Awards in October, he urged viewers to “go home” and visit Ghana. Sarkodie is one of the biggest names in the history of African hip-hop, but many have never heard of him. It is no new phenomenon for an international rap star to be unknown to most in the American market; this is the case with many African hip-hop musicians. However, unlike many other international rap stars, African musicians are still fighting for the attention of their own local audiences. Popular American artists often do not include largely populated African cities on their world tours. Even though hip-hop was created as a form of black expression, the continent of Africa has been left out of the movement. Recently, however, this is beginning to change.
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Some of the largest markets in Africa for hip-hop are Ghana and South Africa. Similar to what has happened with grime music in the UK, African artists adopted hiphop over the past couple of decades and added their own cultural influences, creating a new sub-genre. In Ghana, this style of music is called hiplife. Hiplife took American rap influences dating back to the 1990s and added Ghanaian hiplife and Nigerian Afrobeat samples, regionalizing the sound. The lyrics took on more traditional African storytelling and are spoken mainly in Twi, a regional dialect. Much of Afican hip-hop is rapped or sung in different regional dialects, which earned it the name “dialect rap.” Another large market in African hip-hop is South Africa. Johannesburg is one of the largest cities in
Ghanaian rapper Sarkodie. Photo by Owula Kpakpo. License: https://tinyurl.com/q9q73p5.
the continent and has given rise to many new, young rap artists who are beginning to claim global attention. One of these artists, Nasty C, released a song titled “King” with American rap star A$AP Ferg on his most recent album, Strings and Bling, which was released in 2018. Hip-hop in African languages is also being taken beyond simple musical enjoyment. Nigerian rapper Falz is an example of African rappers using their music as a form of political protest. Falz made a Nigerian remake to the famous Childish Gambino song and video “This is America,” titled “This is Nigeria.” Like the original video, its aim was to point out the many injustices and issues that people are facing in their countries. Many countries in Africa have suffered horrendous injustices over the generations. The beauty of hip-hop can often be its use as a political agent. Most of the popular rappers in Africa right now create flashy, braggadocious music, but there is also a wide spectrum of styles and content over the large continent. American artists have not all done their part in integrating Africa into the global hip-hop scene. In 2008, American rap legend Nas gave a press conference
in South Africa about why more US artists didn’t tour in Africa. “People are scared. There’s horror stories about Africa.” He believes there are many misconceptions spread about the current state in Africa as it pertains to crime and poverty. He thinks this is caused by the fact that Africans and African Americans do not communicate. This raises the question: Would African hip-hop gain more global notoriety if it were included in the US market? It also pokes at a grander question over the intercontinental, intra-racial relations between the US and Africa. African hip-hop currently has to fight an uphill battle because it exists as a very niche genre in its own local markets. The genre, which began by emulating old American rappers, has now integrated with local traditions and musical influences to give rise to new sounds that are very specific to the region. This makes the globalization of these sounds more difficult, but also gives a unique identity to all of its artists. As it stands, hip-hop in Africa must grow to become more popular in its own backyard before there can be thoughts of globalizing.
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LAUV. House of Blues, October 8, 2019. Photos by Elaine Tantra.
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CLIPPING’S THERE EXISTED AN ADDICTION TO BLOOD
BY: ISAIAH ANTHONY Experimental hip-hop trio Clipping (stylized ‘clipping.’) has a track record of nonconforming resonance with their piercingly esoteric and captivating sound. Their methodology of musical deconstruction and abstract storytelling has allowed them to burrow a niche for their unique sound and establish an identity of eerie narrative disconnection. At their best, Clipping’s music is akin to a car crash:; a wild, chaotic mess that is as unnerving as it is captivating. It’s difficult, but so infectiously engaging, honing in on a sadistic auditory voyeurism in their listeners’ minds that makes them want to listen to a screeching alarm clock sample with lyrics on top. Three years after Clipping’s space-opera concept album, Splendor & Misery, which brought forth a new level of cohesion to Clipping’s eclectic storytelling and erratic production, the trio returns with their fourth full-length project, There Existed an Addiction to Blood, which unfortunately fails to reignite the resonate flame that burned so bright on previous projects. There Existed an Addiction to Blood is a step backward for Clipping. Its horrorcore, pseudo-nihilist themes are eye catching, but feel detrimentally hollow, lacking meaningful depth that the subject matter is deserving of. “Nothing is Safe,” the album’s lead single and first main track, is the highpoint of the project, seemingly setting up an exciting project to come. Telling a story of a police raid on a drug operation, lyricist Daveed Diggs’ emits a vocal energy on a level not seen before. From the first bar, Diggs’ commands undivided attention amidst the chaos of the track’s ambient production. Clipping’s relationship between production and lyrics has long been a fluctuating symbiotic dynamic; neither
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aspect emerging as dominant, existing as support for the other, occasionally yielding to allow the other to take center stage. On ”Nothing is Safe” however, Diggs command is never in doubt. There is a palpable confidence and power in his flow is utterly exhilarating. No bar falls flat or comes across as lyrical filler, a common symptom of that previous give-and-take relationship. “The Show,” a more literal approach to voyeurism, which tells the story of a deep-web red room where viewers decide how a subject should be tortured and killed, is a standout in the later parts of the album. Diggs delivers solid bars with an appealing flow and rhythm that creates a truly memorable and engaging track. These tracks allude to the potential for seismic evolution in Clipping’s sound that they simply fail to deliver on in the remainder of the album. Apart from these songs, the production never quite gains its footing, in part due to Clipping’s unwavering dedication to deconstructionism. In every instance where a song is allowed to develop and establish itself, the legs are ripped out from under it, devolving into bland, indistinguishable noise that feels generic and manufactured, lacking the key quality that excelled on past projects. The result of this irritating production is an album with select quality moments, but few quality tracks. At no point is this more aptly demonstrated than on “All in Your Head,” an overall forgettable song other than the last fourth where it morphs into a cross between an evangelist hymnal and an Usher song—a welcome variation from the typical deconstruction into white-noise that bookends tracks. While Digg’s lyricism is the strongest element of There Existed an Addiction to Blood, the Hamilton star’s slam-poetry style of rapping grows fatiguing in the latter half of the project, and with the production doing little in terms of supplementation, the album drags well before even reaching the 18-minute outro of the sounds of a piano burning. Sprinkled with highlights and interesting moments, There Existed and Addiction to Blood’s scattered and inconsistent quality results in a project that warrants technical admiration but fails to capture and engage its audience to effectively deliver its message.
Post Malone spent the first few years of his career trying to convince everyone that he was a rapper, but his third album, Hollywood’s Bleeding, sees him making the transition towards being a bona fide pop star. However, this isn’t to say he’s gone full bubblegum; he’s brought along the moody and introspective vibe of his previous work but repackaged it into something more pleasantly digestible. The album is far from perfect, but it’s a marked improvement that hints at better music from Malone in the future.
POSTMALONE HOLLYWOOD’S BURNING
BY: ZACK GREENSTEIN
A major part of this growth can be credited to the production. Tracks like “A Thousand Bad Times” and “Allergic” have a punching bassline and indie rock drum groove, which is a refreshing sound for Malone that As good as these moments are, they can get lost in draws comparisons to fellow genre-blenders Twenty the album’s seventeen songs, many of which are runOne Pilots. Even the songs with more heavy rap influenc- of-the-mill club anthems. That isn’t to say these songs es like “On The Road” are filled with more adrenaline and are all bad; one of the album’s best songs is “Wow,” an vigor, which is provided undeniable ode to debauchery, by more aggressive 808 opulence, and worldwide domibass and trap grooves. It’s nation. However, this song along as if each song is soupedwith many others on the album up sports car, and every don’t do anything to elevate the stuttering hi-hat is a foot central theme he created, and on the accelerator driving end up feeling like filler. the beat forward. In this way, Post Malone plays Much like the producit too safe. While he could have tion, Posty’s delivery is put out a ten-song classic album more refined and dynamthat stuck to the central idea of ic this time around. His heartbreak and the plasticity of voice breaks into a growl Hollywood, he instead released and even a scream on an easily-digestible-yet-disjoint“A Thousand Bad Times” ed pile of songs. Fans could lisand “Goodbyes.” There’s ten to the album on shuffle and a lot less autotune and not miss anything. As a major compression dragging pop act, it’s completely underhim down, allowing standable why Malone built more vocal imperfecHollywood’s Bleeding like this: tions to shine through. he’s a single-oriented artist who This makes him sound gravitated towards radio-friendso much more expresly hooks, filling the album with sive and emotional, like he truly believes in every word as many songs as possible to boost streaming numbers. he sings. While the melodies of previous albums were It just would have been nice to see him take more risks catchy, the monotonous droning grew old before the with a longer and deeper story progression. song even ended. On Hollywood’s Bleeding, Malone Despite its flaws, Hollywood’s Bleeding is still a pretty provides fresher vocal lines with more tonal variety and great album. What’s especially impressive is how it came harmonic complexity, which stay fresh with each listen. barely a year after he spat out Beerbongs & Bentleys, The improved production and vocal performance rein- yet it doesn’t feel like a rush job to capitalize on that alforce the darkness and intensity of the lyrics, which have bum’s success. It’s a fresh sound for the rapper-turnedalso seen improvement. The majority of the album seems pop star, one that sets him up to be the biggest musician to focus on his recent breakup; song subjects range from of the 2020s. Still, there’s much to do that could tightconstantly breaking up and reuniting (“Allergic”) to spi- en up the project and make it a more focused and sucraling out of love (“Circles”) to finally reveling in his an- cinct listening experience launching Post Malone into ger (“Goodbyes”). Malone includes some key details and the pantheon of great singers. As it stands, Hollywood’ clever metaphors to advance his themes, like the lyric Bleeding is a wonderful injection into the bloodstream “city up in smoke, it’s only ash when it rains / howl at the of modern-day pop music. moon and go to sleep in the day” from the title track.
doesn’t quite reach the heights of the band’s earlier work, it delivers some of the most explosive songwriting on the entire album.
Tool’s Fear Inoculum is the alt-metal rock band’s first release in thirteen years, as well as their fifth album overall. And yet, even for a release that most thought would never come out, perhaps the most surprising aspect is how little their sound has changed—which works both for and against them. Ultimately, this isn’t an album that will win over new fans, however, it will most likely be welcomed by old ones. First, the good. In many ways, the album took the best elements from each previous record and turned everything up a notch. Instrumentally, they’ve melded the meditative, trance-like sections that were introduced in 2003’s Lateralus with the aggressiveness of 1996’s Ænima. Nearly every song has evocative, guitar-driven soundscapes peppered with unconventional tribal percussion and downright bizarre sound effects, only to be broken up partway through by violent, machine-like instrumentation that sounds akin to some of the more traditional modern-metal bands. In particular, bassist Justin Chancellor and drummer Danny Carey have developed a rhythmical reciprocity that’s simply unparalleled in any contemporary group; whereas most rhythm sections follow the foundation set by the guitars or vocals, Chancellor and Carey are often at the helm of the album’s most poignant ideas. One of the most successful changes is vocalist Maynard James Keenan’s decision to forego his aggressive yet melodic approach, and instead adopt a delivery that almost sounds angelic. This, in turn, creates a brilliant contrast between the instrumentation and the vocal delivery that, simply put, should not work as well as it does. The second track, “Pneuma,” exemplifies this fantastically; even when the drumming is powerful and frenetic, Keenan’s vocals soar above the chaos in a way that few vocalists would attempt, let alone pull off. The one exception to Keenan’s softer approach is in the closing track, “7empest,” wherein he briefly returns to a more aggressive, albeit subdued, style that compliments the song’s ferocious climax. While the track
Yet the explosiveness of the songwriting—or lack thereof—is where some of the flaws begin to appear. Though there aren’t any songs that are outright terrible, it often feels as though they’re plagiarizing their earlier work. This isn’t to say the band didn’t take any chances with their songwriting. In fact, they took a massive gamble by increasing song length; while not having shied away from longer songs in their previous outings, every song on this album—aside from the interludes—exceeds ten minutes, with several reaching nearly fifteen. While longer run-times aren’t automatically a detriment, it certainly doesn’t help when almost every song has sections that feel blatantly tacked on. Admittedly, repeated listens will reveal nuances and details that one might grow to appreciate, but the band’s newfound overreliance on decent-to-subpar guitar solos and palm-muted chugging may prove tiring for most. One of the most baffling changes is the album’s atrocious synthesizers. Though seasoned fans will be quick to note that the band has previously incorporated some degree of electronic elements, the ones present on this album are oddly reminiscent of an early-80’s dystopian sci-fi B-movie. While this might not have been a problem two decades ago, it sounds decidedly out of place given the album’s otherwise stellar production. Case in point: “Descending” was already a contender for the weakest track on the album, and their decision to place synths atop the guitars in the middle of its most boring section certainly didn’t make the song any stronger. Interestingly, some of the most missed elements are Tool’s sarcastic tone and amusing interludes. For a group whose previous outings had been hilariously irreverent, South Park-esque humor sprinkled about, the interludes—as well as the album itself—are decidedly serious. While the change in tone isn’t expressly a detractor, it’s hard to justify the roughly eight minutes of annoying sound effects interspersed between songs. Perhaps the only attempt at humor is the title of the track “Chocolate Chip Trip,” which is just a four-minute drum solo and synth jamboree that the band has insisted isn’t an interlude. Though that determination is their prerogative, it doesn’t change the fact that the track is evidently just as useless as the interludes. For better or worse, Fear Inoculum is unmistakably Tool. There are enough changes to warrant the album’s release, but the largest ones don’t always pan out. While the album won’t generate much fanfare outside of the band’s core audience, longtime listeners should be able to at least appreciate the band’s uncompromising artistic integrity.
BY: DYLAN HEARN
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IN REAL LIFE PHOTOS BY ELAINE TANTRA
SONIA IN CAMBRIDGE, OCTOBER 16, 2019.
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In Real Life
Culture. Culture. Culture. Culture. Culture. 54 Five Cent Sound
On the Industry’s Clock by Ayesha Lal
I was first introduced to TikTok when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to record a cover of a duet with her in March. I was a little perplexed by her question because TikTok was primarily for lip-syncing random songs, or so I thought. It’s the year 2019, and TikTok has over 800 million active subscribers around the world, with 950 million downloads as of this year and 42% of the app’s revenue being generated from the US. For those of you who have been living under a rock, TikTok, formerly known as Musical.ly, was launched in 2017 and became a popular social media video app for bite-sized lip-sync and talent videos. Due to the smartphone era, Gen Zers and Millennials are mindlessly addicted to social media. It’s rewriting the way we communicate, so why can’t it change the way the music industry operates? Well, it already has. For the past year, singing clips of unknown artists have been popping up on TikTok’s search engine, and people have been using this platform to become “internet famous.” Stars like Jacob Sartorius, Baby Ariel, and Loren Gray have established themselves on TikTok and have several singles already on YouTube with 11 to 55 million views on their music videos. Due to the influx of music videos, critics suggest that most artists are using TikTok to cultivate their fandom and carrying it over to larger platforms once they are more established in the industry. From middle schoolers watching 20-second videos of their friends lip-syncing a Lizzo song to crazy college students posting meme content, one might ask what TikTok is doing differently than other social media platforms. TikTok gives anyone and everyone a chance to be famous by posting low effort, short videos for whatever purpose. While the app may
have started as lip-syncing videos, funny clips to binge-watch, and even to “hate-watch,” these videos became highly addictive. Now, videos pop up on Instagram’s Discover page with the “foryou” hashtag. Unlike YouTube’s algorithm that pushes videos of channels that post more frequently, the algorithm of TikTok is yet to be disclosed. All of this works in favor of young musicians who want to get their voice out there. As for established pop artists like Lil Nas X with his song “Old Town Road” and Y2K and bbno$ with their song “Lalala,” who seemingly used the app as a breeding ground to popularize their music, TikTok’s marketing collection of hashtags, influencers, memes, and challenges seem to guarantee viral success for budding artists. But TikTok has moved past being an app of musical convenience to become something of a record label in its own right, where the app and its users are publicized, their content marketed for them. After this, TikTok does what it does best and blows challenges out of proportion through its users, and, as a result, the songs experience explosive digital growth, making TikTok a zeitgeist for Generation Z— in both its structure and its culture. This new method of popularizing music culminates in a cross-pollination of ideas and is changing the way we discover music. However, it raises the only issue this up-in-coming app has: the youth of its audience. If TikTok’s aim is to foster change and become as prominent as Youtube is, it needs to cater to a wider audience. The content and the way the app is used restrict the older generations to join the bandwagon. But, who knows, TikTok could continue to take over the music scene in 2020 with its immense fluidity and ingenuity.
EDITOR’S PLAYLIST 3:00 AM Bags Chlorine Bend Your Mind Broken It’s a Doll Revolution True Affection I Believe In Symmetry Between the Bars Rock Star Don’t Look Back Into the Sun Common People Razorblade May Day Stephanie Says
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Finding Hope Clario Trophy Eyes Elysian Fields Lund The Bangles The Blow Bright Eyes Elliott Smith Hole The Libertines Pulp The Strokes UNKLE The Velvet Underground
STAFF PICKS PLAYLIST Title
Baby Blue Streetcar
Mouth of Ghosts
Puddle Splashers Less Than I Do
Let’s Fall in Love for the Night
What a Feeling
Like We Did
Held By Your Master We Shall Overcome Breaking Apart
Season of the Witch
Lights Up Sims
hot girl bummer This Side October
And I Am A Woman
The Sonder Bombs - Kristen Cawog Grayscale - Dani Ducharme Daniel Caesar - Ayesha Lal Alvvays - Joy Freeman
Harry Styles - Julia LaRosa
Ritt Momney - Hanna Marchesseault
The Dillinger Escape Plan - Dylan Hearn Erykah Badu - Emily Cerutti Cap’n Jazz - Jack Barnes
The Band CAMINO - Nikki Baptist Finneas - Cassandra Yany
Kendrick Lamwar - Katrina Dizon One Direction- Abby Gutowski
The Maine - Alessandra Guarneri Fantasmes - Ian Vidal
Pete Seeger - Sam Kiss
Kingsburry - Zack Greenstein Donovan - Isaiah Anthony
Harry Styles - Ashley Onnembo Lauv - Elaine Tantra
Lana Del Rey - Paulina Subia
blackbear - Clarah Grossman Earthgang - Tripp Rams
Alessia Cara - Molly Goodrich
Angie McMahon - Meghan Hockridge
Playlists SECTION TITLE 57
December Concerts 5
House of Blues
House of Blues
Pile w/ Pet Fox Boston Music & Lady Pills Awards
Hong Kong Harvard Brighton Music
Pet Fox, Mister Goblin, Littlefoot, Squitch
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4 Paradise Rock Club
Homesafe, Kyak Jones, Young Culture, Keep Flying
The Menzingers Manchester Orchestra
january Concerts 5
House of Blues
Motion City Soundtrack
Bonnie Parker & Trash Rabbit
Chris Farren & Retirement Party
26 Brighton Music Hall
Hands Like Houses
Illiterate Light Hall Miniature Tigers
Winter Concert Schedule 59
Join our team. Send a resume to email@example.com
Five Cent Sound is hiring new staff for our upcoming spring issue. This is your chance to pitch that article you’ve always wanted to write. To photograph that show you’ve always wanted to go to. To share that playlist you dance to in your dorm every weekend. We’re more than just Emerson’s only music magazine. We also run a blog, curate playlists, and even organize shows. Joining the Five Cent Sound Team is a great opportunity to build a portfolio, gain publishing or marketing experience, and just make really cool friends. We are hiring for all positions, but we’re especially on the lookout for: • Illustrators • Photographers • Writers (for print and blog) • Social Media Managers • Copyeditors Interested? Email your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WQDE @fivecentsound Scan to apply!