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¢ 5 Sound May 2014

Keeping cultured why french radio clings to its nationality

The Maine!

the incandescent imagery of

FKA TWIGS

pat kirch and garrett nickelsen give us the scoop on their first acoustic tour

Transgender

Dysphoria Blues against me! newset album since laura jane graces’s coming out

Boston Calling what’s in store for its second year?

h

it w w e i v inter

ROL

E T I H AND W

eer n o i p s s bluegra


2 // Five cent sound


letter from the editor Hello, Dear Readers. I’ve known for two years that one of our writers was related to a Grammy award-winning mandolin player, who has been a part of the music scene his entire life. As I’ve been running this magazine for the past two years, I’m embarrassed to admit I only thought to have our writer interview him this semester. Our feature on Roland White takes us through the early years of bluegrass and the folk scene. This issue’s photo spread takes us through other eras of music past, from a lonely Jazz Age pianist to a groups of Nirvana-loving ’90s skate punks.

A number of our founding members are graduating this year, including myself and our creative director Melanie Cohen. In a way, it’s the end of our own era. It’s hard to imagine what life will be like without this magazine occupying my brain, and giving me the most random inspiration at the most inconvenient times. I think I’ll probably send a lot fewer emails. I leave this magazine in the capable hands of Victoria Menson and Mackenzie “Z” Kuester. I fully believe that they will make this an even greater publication, and I’ll be eagerly watching from the background to see what they come up with.

Ashley Alongi Spring Editor-In-Chief

Executive Board Editor in Chief

Features Editor

Ashley Alongi

Domenica Perrone

Victoria Menson

Tori Bilcik, Thaddeus Bouska, Josh Park, Ben Sack, Jasminne Young

Assistant Editor Creative Director Melanie Cohen

Managing Editor

Mackenzie ”Z” Hall Kuester

Live and Local Editor

Lauren Moquin

Writers

Kathryn Conner, Julia Ferragamo, Zoë Matthews, Kat Westbrook

Entertainment and Culture Editor

Taylor Markarian

Writers

Allison Flaherty, Matt Kane, Dan Taverner

Writers

Around the World

Photography Director

Nick Stalford

Photo Team

Paola Camago, Juliana LaVita, Kendall Paul, Adam Reynoso

Design

Editor

Director

Writers

Design Team

Carrie Cabal

Devan Norman, Nina Corcoran

Reviews Editor

Alexandra Fileccia

Writers

Ari Anderson, Rachel Dickerman, Nick Stalford, Courtney Tharp

Copy Editors

Dan Manning, Gabriela Phillips, Madeline Poage, Elizabeth Rule

Megan Seabaugh

Angie Lin, Olivia Billbrough, Jessica Colarossi, Adam Reynoso, Hannah Skibbe

Web

Web Editor Ashley Alongi

Web Team

Ashley Alongi, Olivia Billbrough, Jessica Colarossi, Dan Taverner Hannah Skibbe

May 2014 // 3


Live and Local

Bold ,

and

Bright,

e

unexpected

5¢ Sound Q & A With The Maine Kat Westbrook  6 Boston Calling   Julia Ferragamo 10

A bluegrass life: Roland White   thaddeus Bouska 30 Profile: Nick Santino   Tori Bilcik 34

Entertainment and culture

Around the World

I’m gonna score some grammys only got $20 in my pocket   matt kane 13 Bow Down Bitches: How beyoncé Changed the Game   Allison flaherty 15 Drill music in Chi-Town   Dan Taverner 18

photo spread   Decades of style 20

features

The Incandescent Imagery of FKA Twigs    Ben Sack 27 Jack White and His Third Man   Jasminne Young 29

Commemorating Alice herz-Sommer   Devan Norman 37 Keeping cultured: Why French radio clings to its nationality   nina corcoran 38

Reviews

True Trans Soul Rebel: Against Me! Finds a brave new world   Ari Anderson 41 do not engage this album   Ari Anderson 42 Drowners’ first album promises redux love and retro heartbreak   Rachel Dickerman 43 Sound city: capturing “real” sound through analog   Nick Stalford 44 Playlist // unwine’d // 46 Calendar // May // 47

May 2014 // 5


Live a n d

Local

The Maine founders Pat Kirch (right) and Garrett Nickelsen (left) (photo courtesy poisonivy.tv)


q &a

THE MAINE with

by Kat Westbrook

On Wednesday, February 26th, The Maine kicked off the second leg of their acoustic tour at the Brighton Music Hall. The Arizona natives, having just put out an acoustic EP, Imaginary Numbers, decided to treat their fans with a purely acoustic set list of songs from older and newer records. Brighton Music Hall was filled with fans excited to hear their favorite songs in an entirely different way. I sat down with founding members Pat Kirch (drums) and Garrett Nickelsen (bass) to get the scoop on their first acoustic tour! Five Cent Sound: How are you guys enjoying being on tour so far?

Pat: Good, this is the first day of the second part of the tour, so we’re having a good time. Garrett: It’s really awesome!

That’s great.

Pat: It’s kinda like the in-between of first day nervousness and at the same time you’ve done it before.

Are you guys looking forward to any particular destination on tour, or pretty much just the entire thing?

The Maine: John O’Callaghan, Kennedy Brock, Jared Monaco, Garrett Nicelsen and Patrick Kirch

(photo courtesy therisinghollywood.com)

Pat: The whole thing! I mean we’re just playing a ton of places, and every place that we’re playing is one of our favorites, so they’re all going to be good I think. Garrett: I agree!

What made you guys decide to choose this time for an acoustic tour? Revisiting some of your older stuff?

May 2014 // 7


photo courtesy wired965.com

Garrett: Well we just put out our acoustic EP a couple of months ago. Pat: Yeah the idea for the tour and the EP just kind of came together as one bigger idea. I guess we just finally had the time! And we’ve been wanting to do an acoustic EP and tour forever now, so it just kind of made sense.

Awesome, and I know you guys have some acoustic tracks on your other albums, I was listening to the acoustic version of “Right Girl” on the way over here actually! Have you guys had any kind of crazy experiences getting ready for the tour, or has everything run pretty smoothly?

Pat: Well I wasn’t in the van, but the trailer fell off yesterday when we weren’t there. Garrett: It was weird! Pat: Yeah that’s never happened. Garrett: Things did fall off.

You definitely wouldn’t want all of your gear to get destroyed! Garrett: Yeah that would be so bad. Pat: Yeah that was the only thing, but it’s only the first day.

So there’s still plenty of time. Hopefully everything goes well from here on out! Are you guys psyched to play any song in particular? Garrett: I’m really liking the last song, it’s kind of

8 // Five cent sound

like a secret track off of our record Pioneer. Pat: Yeah it’s like a hidden track. Garrett: We’ve never really performed it very much, but we have played it one other time. It has like a treat at the end, we really like playing it. Well I do, Pat doesn’t like playing it. Pat: No I like playing it; it’s just not that fun for me. I don’t really get to do much. Garrett: He doesn’t get to Travis Barker it. Pat: Yeah that’s exactly what I was trying to go for.

As far as musical focus goes for you guys, I know you’re re-visiting some songs from your older records, what has helped you guys develop to where you are now? Pat: Time, ya know, and being older. Having broader music tastes. Garrett: Studying music.

That definitely helps.

Garrett: Yeah lots of people go to school and study music, and we just went right into it. We learned a lot from going on tour.

Do you guys have a dream tour lineup? Any artist dead or alive that you’d love to tour with?

Pat: Wilco, Tom Petty, the Foo Fighters, The Rolling Stones, and the Replacements. Garrett: People would be pumped in that show! And then we open and everyone is like “Who the fuck is this?!” (Laughs) Pat: Yeah they’d be mad, but we’d be pumped. Garrett: Honestly if we got booed every night I’d


be totally fine, I wouldn’t give a shit.

So basically as long as you’re fed you’d be fine?

Garrett: Man I wouldn’t even need to be fed, it’s whatever! Pat: Yeah getting to see Keith play guitar every night, it’d be — Garrett: It’d be awesome! (Laughs)

Do you guys have a proudest moment as a band?

Garrett: There’s definitely a few, the Tempe show felt pretty awesome. We played at a really nice venue in Phoenix called the Tempe Art Center. It’s like a full-seating theater, and our friends and family came out. Pat: It was definitely more relaxed. It was cool to switch it up and play in front of everyone like that. Garrett: Yeah it was a lot different than playing in a sweaty rock club.

Right, so how does that compare to tonight? I’ve been to a few shows here and it can get pretty hot. Pat: I don’t think it’ll get too hot tonight!

Hopefully not, and I was just outside it’s frigid. Gotta love that New England weather. Another “favorites” question here, do you guys have a favorite record that you’ve worked on? Pat: That’s really hard. Garrett: I kind of think about that a lot. The new one’s songs I think I like the best, but for experience it was Pioneer, it was a big one for us. Pat: It kind of made it so that we could make the new record. Garrett: Yeah, we would probably have gone down a diff-erent path had we not made that record how we made it. Pat: There’s tons of emotional attachment to that record, because we know it’s what has gotten us to where we

are now because of the things that we fought through to make that record. Garrett: Yeah, like the process of recording was awesome. Pat: We’d gone from making a record where we were with this big time producer and we did things by the book, and it was super you’re going to work from this time to this time. And then we went and made a record and did whatever the hell we wanted.

Speaking of awesome, I just noticed your lovely galaxy socks, those are pretty awesome. Pat: Why thank you!

Any big plans after this tour for you guys?

Garrett: Well we are going to Europe, specifically we’re going to tour the UK. Pat: Then we go to Brazil! Garrett: And then we do Warped Tour.

I’ve actually never been to Warped Tour!

Pat: Definitely go there this summer! It’s the first time in five years that we’re going to go.

Alright, so last two guys, game time, are you ready? Are you guys excited for tonight? Both: Yes!

It was already pretty full downstairs when I got here. Pat: Hopefully everyone is psyched for this!

So besides the little treat you guys have planned for the last song, any other surprises planned for tonight?

Pat: Yeah well this is the first time on this tour that we’re going to have anyone else open, it’s been us the whole time. Hopefully the entire thing is just a treat. Garrett: John and I end up talking too long, Pat gets mad. (Laughs) Our set will end up being two hours and it’s only supposed to be an hour and a half.

So it could come down to a time crunch with you guys talking eh?

Garrett: No — well, we haven’t been cut off yet, but he’ll just start playing a song because we just start talking about stupid shit, like the dumbest stuff that no one else thinks is funny but we do so we’re laughing. Pat: Hopefully we’ll remember all of our songs! (Laughs)

May 2014 // 9


B OSTO N CA L L I NG by julia ferragamo

“It was such a crazy fun experience,” says Megan Cathey ’17. “People were dancing and just having a really good time.” Megan was one of the more than twenty thousand other students and Bostonians who attended the Boston Calling Music Festival this past September. Founded by friends and former coworkers, Brian Appel and Mike Snow, Boston Calling is back again for its third program. Now with three days of shows on May 23rd, 24th and 25th, the festival will bring a diverse array of genres to the city of Boston. Although “[not] looking to start his own business” when the WFNX radio station where Appel and Snow previously worked shut down, the two seized an opportunity to start their own festival. At the same time, they also started their own production company, Crash Line Productions, which has enabled them to bring music into the city. Working alongside Aaron Dessner of The National, Appel and Boston Calling organizers hope to achieve a “balanced show.” The newly released lineup makes this clear, with big headliners like Jack Johnson, Death Cab for Cutie, Modest Mouse, and Bastille— plus a few lesser known and local groups like Magic Man, a synth rock band founded in Boston. Other new groups to look out for include

10 // Five cent sound

TigermanWOAH! of Atlanta, Georgia, and Lynn, a Massachusetts-raised band that classifies their genre as “drunken, cultish, group-work-oriented, always woah singin, growlin grind folk with TOO MUCH HEAR.” With this year expected to be even more of a success, Appel maintains that “public safety is the number one priority.” He claims that although holding a concert in downtown Boston presents its challenges, the organization will have Boston Fire and Emergency Medical Forces present on location to ensure everything goes as planned. Appel explains that his favorite part of working on the event is the sense of contentment that comes from everything running smoothly. Describing last year, he said “When everyone filed out neatly and orderly and it was like how everything was supposed to go. It was just like the moment of like alright we got on in the books…” He continues, “So that for me was my best memory, seeing all the people come in orderly and excited and leave just as excited as when they came in ‘cause they had a great weekend.” With this spring’s lineup, there’s no doubt that concert-goers will be just as excited.


Nanna Brynd铆s Hilmarsd贸ttir, Of Monsters and Men, Boston Calling, May 2013 photo by Andrew Francke, courtesy franckedesign.com

Solange, Boston Calling, September 2013

photo by Cassandra Chemin, courtesy ftwelvemusic.com

photo by Mike Diskin, courtesy metro.us

May 2014 // 11


Entertainment a n d

culture


I’M GONNA SCORE SOME

GRAMMYS ONLY GOT $20 IN MY POCKET by Mat t K ane

Those who watched the Grammy Awards might agree with me when I say that Macklemore was the most talked about artist of the night. Not only did he feature a mass wedding of LGBT couples during his performance of “Same Love,” but he won four Grammys out of the seven he was nominated for, including Best New Artist and Best Rap album. But did he deserve to be the star of the show? That’s the question on many people’s minds. Viewers took to the Internet shortly after the awards ended, and it seemed like most of them had an opinion on Macklemore. Many were enraged at his Grammy wins, from music critics to the social justice warriors of Tumblr. Some believed that the awards should have gone to Kendrick Lamar, a rapper whose album good kid, m.A.A.d city was critically acclaimed, and nominated for many of the same categories as Macklemore’s. Macklemore himself Instagrammed a text message he sent saying that Kendrick had the best rap album of the year and should have won. He claimed that Kendrick “got robbed. [Macklemore] was going to say that during the speech. Then the music started playing and [he] froze.” It’s one thing to be humble, but many people believed that Macklemore’s apology came off as insincere — even Drake, who slammed Macklemore’s post in an interview with Rolling Stone: “I was like, ‘You won. Why are you posting your text message? Just chill, take your win, and if you feel you didn’t deserve it, go get better — make better music. It felt cheap. It didn’t feel genuine. Why do that? Why feel guilt? You think those guys would pay homage to you if they won?”

May 2014 // 13


Others were even more critical of Macklemore. Queer rapper Le1f slammed Macklemore for trying to be a proponent of LGBT rights without recognizing the fact that he has certain levels of privilege as a straight white man. The Washington Post went as far as pulling up a tweet he made several years ago as an attempt to portray him as homophobic. The tweet, which stated “watching dykes vs. drag queens play baseball on the hill...this sucks,” was actually referring to a charity baseball game in Seattle, and was not an example of Macklemore being homophobic. I think Macklemore is being sincere in his support for the LGBT community, but I’m not sure if he should be getting so much attention just for being a decent human being. It’s admirable that he used a platform like the Grammys to raise awareness, but who did he raise awareness for? Himself, or the LGBT community he’s trying to support? I think he drew more attention to himself judging by the headlines that came out after the show. A lot of publications focused on how he won many coveted awards and stole the show. It didn’t seem like there was as much coverage on the performance itself without mentioning Macklemore. To be fair, it’s not entirely his fault that the media chose to focus on him rather than the underlying issues at hand. After all, the Grammys are an award show, not a contest to see who can be the best activist. At the end of the day, the truth is that the Grammy committee decided that Macklemore’s album was the best in certain categories. Does that mean the process of choosing winners is corrupt? Possibly. There are many conspiracy theories within the

industry, one of them being how the Grammy winners are chosen. When the Grammy were first formed, the entire 10,000 strong committee voted on who would win each award. In 1994, however, a secret committee was established that had the power to edit the nominations for the biggest four categories: new artist, song of the year, record of the year, and album of the year. They also have the power to take out nominations that could potentially embarrass the Grammys and replace them with artists that are more deserving – or, those who will bring in ratings. One such controversial decision they made this year was overturning the rap committee’s decision to disqualify Macklemore from the rap nominations. This raises the question of whether or not the Grammys wanted Macklemore to be the star of the show all along. It’s a sinister thought, but it’s understandable. His album was one the most popular albums of last year, and the Grammys are under pressure to bring in viewers ever year. It’s understandable that they would choose to make the night about Macklemore. But that doesn’t mean we have to pay attention. Sure, the Grammys seemed like they were all about Macklemore. There might have been hidden motives behind the decision to give him so many awards. It doesn’t mean that we have to let the opinion of one group influence our decision on what music we listen or what albums and artists we like.


Do you remember where you were when BEYONCÉ dropped? It’s a question for which a whole generation of pop music fans has an instant answer. I was working on an essay, firmly in the grip of finals anxiety, when I took a moment to check Twitter and found that my feed had exploded. It was as if Queen Bey had heard the cries of my homework-induced anguish and delivered a gift to lift me out of my despondency. Everyone from Snoop Dogg to Josh Groban was fangirling over the surprise visual album, BEYONCÉ. On December 13th, 2013 Beyoncé dropped a full album of fourteen tracks and seventeen music videos that hit the Internet with the impact of a sexy nuclear bomb. Among the celebrities to publicly praise the album were Demi Lovato, who wished Twitter a “happy Beyoncday,” Lily Allen, who labeled it a “#gamechanger,” and Kendall Jenner, who tweeted a simple and succinct “Beyonce!!!” Even though “David Bowie, Kanye West, and My Bloody Valentine pulled off stealth releases earlier that year,” as Rolling Stone points out, it was Beyoncé’s visual album release that had a stunning impact. Why? Because she’s Beyoncé.

Bow Down Bitches how BEYONCÉ changed the game by Allison Flaherty


MTV puts it in perspective: “Beyoncé nearly sold more than Katy Perry’s Prism (286,000), Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP (258,000) and Britney Spears’ Britney Jean (107,000) did in their first week combined.” Pitchfork calls it “her darkest and lushest yet,” and Billboard says “it’s as impressive an accomplishment creatively as it is for shifting the industry towards a more nontraditional take on the ‘single-album-tour’ strategy.” The pop megastar’s self-titled fifth studio album wasn’t just a smash hit, it redefined smash hits when it became the fastest selling album on iTunes – ever. Coming off the stage after a performance of her Mrs. Carter tour, Beyoncé did what no mere mortal could do; she sat down with a glass of red wine and decided to drop a full album on the unsuspecting world. Whether the release was really as spontaneous as she claims, we’ll never know or care. Here, social media came into play in a massive way. Bey’s shock drop technique worked perfectly with the second-by-second nature of Twitter and microblogging sites. Would this feat have been possible before Facebook and Twitter were ubiquitous? Probably not. In an impressive year for pop music — with notable albums from Lady Gaga, Jay Z, Lorde, Justin Timberlake, and Miley Cyrus — a 2013 release from Beyoncé was still only a hopeful rumor as Christmastime rolled around. That’s why the timing of the mid-December drop was “Flawless.” Holding out until the very end of the year built a hazy anticipation for what was up until then an airtight album. But the incredible success necessarily relied on the album’s content. A decade after “Crazy in Love”, Mrs. Carter replicated the pop culture potency of that song in “Drunk in Love” which, like it’s predecessor, features her timeless and talented husband, Jay Z. “Drunk in Love” is the stand-out hit off the album because of the audacious riffs and fearlessly organic, gyrating video. But this is not an album of hit singles, nor is it a seamless, inaccessible concept album. BEYONCÉ feels like the artist’s lovingly crafted second daughter. For a celebrity so notoriously private, this album is astoundingly sensual and revealing. It

16 // Five cent sound


includes the sensual songs “Partition”, “Rocket”, the overtly sexual “Blow”, and, of course, “Drunk in Love” makes us envious of what must be the greatest married sex life on the planet. Thanks for rubbing it in, Bey. The seventeen short films that come on the album really set it apart. Each video is distinct due to the use of different directors whose styles range from campy to ghetto to art-house. And while the album isn’t full of catchy radio singles, each song is evocative in its own way. She is successful in her goal of making 2013’s answer to Michael Jackson’s release of “Thriller” in that she has produced an immersive and unifying experience. The videos are stunning and each tells a unique story. Though the album doesn’t break the mold musically, it’s a visceral, visual, and supremely personal experience. The one thing nobody in music has an explanation for is how Mrs. Carter managed to keep this project a secret, especially when she walks through a crowded Coney Island in the “XO” video, confusing fans by mouthing lyrics along with the song playing from her inconspicuous earbuds. With so many people working on the titanic project, keeping just the stylists quiet presents a challenge, especially in the Internet-age of perpetually leaked albums. It’s a testament both to the team Beyoncé assembled and to her entrepreneurial skills. The catalyst for the album is contained in “Ghost” where she sings, “All the shit I do is boring/ All these record labels boring.” BEYONCÉ represents a career breakthrough for the songstress. She says she “wanted to follow in the footsteps of Madonna and be a powerhouse and have [her] own empire and show other women that when you get to this point in your career you don’t have to go sign with someone else and share their idea of your success, you do it yourself.” “Flawless” features samples from

We did it, and not only did we do it — it’s my company. And I’m very proud of that.

feminist scholar, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie bringing powerful womanhood front and center to inspire women, especially mothers. Bey wanted to show her fans how they “can have a child and still have fun, and still be sexy, and still have dreams, and live for yourself.” The thesis of the song “Superpower” featuring Frank Ocean is that women can derive power from their sexuality. Beyoncé replies to the critics who call her antifeminist by saying unequivocally that sexuality and power are not contradictory, but rather, coexist in women. Beyoncé is a singular artist in that she has remained relevant in music for seventeen years, and that kind of sustained success is not accidental. She is a savvy, hard-working and talented powerhouse who’s been building to what may be the height of her career in this album. Even though the project seemed impossible, she says of the record; “We did it, and not only did we do it — it’s my company. And I’m very proud of that.” Bey’s description of the album as a personal journey to embracing sexuality and motherhood in her husky-voiced sincerity is either raw and real or a carefully measured marketing tactic — and, coming from someone who is equal parts business woman and artist, I would like to think it’s both. Ultimately, content may not matter as much as the unprecedented style with which she released the album. BEYONCÉ represents a benchmark, not only in a career, but also in pop music. Beyoncé ingeniously circumvented the 99-centsa-single standard by demanding as much time and sensory energy of the audience as she puts in as an artist. How will pop stars release music going forward? How can they top this album in its innovation and impact? I don’t know how you beat it, but I think we’re all excited to watch the pop world try to catch up.

May 2014 // 17


Violence is a characteristic found deep within the veins of Chicago. From Al Capone to the Black Disciples, The Windy City has had a very intimate and very bloody relationship with gang violence and murder. Called the murder capital of the United States, Chicago’s reported homicides once peaked at 970 homicides in 1974. Chicago’s South Side — specifically neighborhoods such as Humboldt Park, Lawndale, and Englewood — have been riddled with crime and violence since the early 1980s. While a breeding ground for violence, Chicago has also played a significant role in the evolution of hip hop. Rapper Common first put Chicago on the map with his 1992 release Can I Borrow A Dollar? A fellow native of Chicago’s South Side, Common (then releasing tracks under the name Common-Sense) rapped less about the violence he saw in Chicago and focused more on lyrical style and the technical aspects of rapping. Since then, Chicago has held its own in the rap game against cities such as Compton and New York City. Rappers like Crucial Conflict, Do or Die, Twista, Kanye West, and Lupe Fiasco all hail from Chicago, creating a deeply rooted and distinct Chicago rap-scene. Despite Chicago’s decrease in homicides, violence is still an everyday threat throughout the city. In 2013, Chicago police reported a total of 415 homicides in the city, the lowest statistic since 1965, still a horrifying number. With so much violence and bloodshed still present it is no surprise that Chicago would be the birthplace of an equally violent and rage-fueled genre of rap: drill. Defined by its grim and violent lyrical content, drill music is the angry, emotionally abused lovechild of gangster rap and trap music. Spearheaded by young, South Side Chicago rappers and producers, drill has quickly become, as Lauren Schwartzberg describes in an issue of Dazed & Confused, “An extension of life on the South Side, the clearest view into the happenings of impoverished, marginalized Chicagoans.” Most notable among these young lyricists is 18-year-old rapper Chief

18 // Five cent sound

DRILL MUSIC IN CHI-TOWN by Dan Taverner

An extension of life on the South Side, the clearest view into the happenings of impoverished, marginalized Chicagoans.


Keef who, after receiving millions of hits on his homemade YouTube videos, signed to Interscope Records in mid-2012. Keef, after dropping out of high school at age fifteen, began recording music videos while under house arrest for a weapons charge. Between two locally successful mixtapes and videos for songs “Bang,” “3Hunna,” and “I Don’t Like” (a Billboard chart-topper), Chief Keef caught the attention of Kanye West as well as the mainstream rap media. He became an internet sensation and a household name in today’s rap world. Along with his cousin and fellow drill rapper Fredo Santana, Keef established his own record label, Glory Boyz Entertainment, a subsidiary of Interscope. Keef and Santana brought with them Chicago drill rapper Lil Reese and producer Young Chop, both of whose popularity have skyrocketed in recent months. Drill rap, like many other do-it-yourself music genres, has become a genre exclusive to its city of origin. Without the violence in the streets of Chicago, drill music has little context. However, the notoriety that this genre has been receiving is impressive. These drill rappers, many of whom are still teenagers and even more of whom have lengthy criminal records, are reintroducing the outside world to the warlike conditions in many Chicago neighborhoods. It would seem that these drill rappers are not instigating the violence but rather reporting on what they see, trying to shed light on what is really going on in Chicago’s South Side. “Violence is everywhere,” Chicago rapper Lil Durk says, “but we’ve got known violence in Chicago.” There have

been many emerging voices in the drill scene that are attempting to pull their city up with them, maintaining a hometown connection with fans. Following the controversy behind Keef’s violent lyrical content fellow Chicagoan rap artist ProbCause explained, “Obviously [Keef] has lyrics that some people may not agree with, but that’s his experience. He’s speaking from what he knows. So you can’t knock anybody for that, whether you agree or disagree with what they’re saying.” It isn’t as if violence in rap or more specifically violence in Chicago is anything new. The violence was already there; these young drillers are just bringing it to light for what it really is. As explained in a December 2013 issue of the Chicago Bureau, “Drill rap seems the most explicit response to the city’s off-and-on title as the murder capital of America. It features nihilistic, hyperviolent lyricism, heavy synth, and loud snare drums that sound like a machine gun firing off rounds.” Drill rap consists of firsthand accounts of violence. It may be a violent genre, but it isn’t necessarily prompting violence. Drill rap, like any music genre, is what you make of it. Listeners are not required to take the lyrics as gospel. Music is a form of entertainment; whether that entertainment comes from intricate trap beats or songs about “fat asses” and “big clips” is up to the listener.

May 2014 // 19


20 // Five cent sound


DECADES OF ROCK

photos by nick stalford and adam reynoso

May 2014 // 21


Strange Brew by Cream

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sixties


Cherry Bomb by The Runaways

seventies

May 2014 // 23


Let’s Go Crazy by Prince

24 // Five cent sound

e i g h t i e s


Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana

May 2014 // 25


photo courtesy sidewalkhustle.com

Jack White at Third Man Studios • photo courtesy npr.com

26 // Five cent sound

Nick Santino • photo by Christine Gunn • littlerockermedia.com FKA Twigs •

Features


The

Incandescent Imagery of

fka twigs By B e n Sac k

FKA Twigs’ “Water Me” London recording artist FKA Twigs is of a rare breed of musicians more concerned with imagery than with image. Case in point: when another musician calling herself Twigs complained about the former using her name, she simply affixed “formerly known as” (FKA) to the front of her moniker and kept releasing music. The world’s first exposure to the singer/songwriter/dancer was as a background performer in a few of Jessie J’s music videos, including her 2011 hit “Price Tag.” It is strange to watch Twigs performing in the background of anything, because one listen to her music and it becomes clear that she is working from a deep well of star-power. She operates with enough individual talent and style to make anyone seem instantly iconic. Twigs has only released eight songs to date, in the form of the innocuously named four-trackers EP1 and EP2, but it is already easy to pick out a Twigs song when you hear one. Her music is electronic, ethereal, soulful, and occasionally heart-breaking. Her latest EP was co-produced by Arca (who also collaborated on Kanye West’s Yeezus). One of the best tracks on that EP, “Water Me” sounds like the inside of a dark room with very high ceilings, the perfect setting for Twigs’ lyrics, which is some of the most vulnerable poetry I’ve heard in a long time. “He won’t make love to me now,” she sings amidst a flurry of clicks and samples. “I guess I’m stuck with me.”

“Water Me” is accompanied by a music video, as are all but one of her other recordings, and like the rest, it focuses on one subject throughout and carries out an intense effect on the viewer. This is what I mean when I say Twigs is concerned with imagery — none of her videos would be out of place in a contemporary art gallery. The video for “Water Me” starts on a close-up of Twigs’ face, twitching like a metronome — and stays there for the duration. Halfway through, one metallic tear drop falls from her eye. The central theme of the song is vulnerability, and I can’t think of an image that conveys that theme better than being uncomfortably close to the face of a crying girl. Most of Twigs’ music and videos are intended to challenge the audience, to make them feel uncomfortable in the face of overwhelming beauty. One example is the sexually aggressive “Papi Pacify,” also from EP2. The black and white video for this song finds Twigs, undressed and covered in glitter, caught in repeated loops of forceful erotic actions with a much larger male dancer. His hands wrap around her neck and cover her mouth, and at one point his fingers worm their way down her throat. The song is ostensibly about sexual longing, but when juxtaposed with such consensually ambiguous actions, the meaning totally explodes, landing somewhere in the realm of art, to be discovered on an individual level.

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Twigs and a male dancer in “Papi Pacify” (left); a body-like figure shifts amorphously in “How’s That” (right)

Another sexually challenging music video accompanies the song “Hide” from EP1. The song is about escaping a former lover, but the music video represents a different aspect of the struggle: not love, but gender. In the video, a dancer (probably Twigs, but we don’t see her face) stands against a red background, wearing only a lace bra. Her crotch is covered by a sculpture, a red oval, maybe a rose petal, with a white projection, maybe a thorn, shooting upward like an erect penis. She dances suggestively and caresses herself. For a heterosexual male viewer, this music video carries a heavy conflict between sexual attraction and socially constructed disgust brought on by topics like menstruation and transexuality. It is only one image, but an undeniably powerful one. Some of Twigs’ videos deal with one of the prevailing themes of 21st century art: the conflict between digital reality and our physical one. The video for “Weak Spot” from EP1 features a nude wireframe model of a woman dancing in front of a laser light show. In the second half of the video, more layers get added on to the woman, until eventually she becomes real-life Twigs. This video incites a series of reactions. First, it makes the viewer uncomfortable that a non-living thing has just become real. Second, the viewer must question whether “real” Twigs is actually real at all, considering she is still just a projection of our computer monitors. A spiritual successor to the “Weak Spot” video accompanies “How’s That” from EP2. This video, like its counterpart, focuses on a 3D model of a nude woman, but this time she is covered in a glossy

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black texture. Then, the form distorts and convulses into a series of glitches. Eventually, the model transitions to a white marble texture, and the viewer sees her as more grounded in reality, like a roman statue. Then the marble deflates, a surprisingly unsettling thing to watch. This distortion of the human form is artistic by itself, but when accompanied by the sounds of “How’s That,” one of Twigs’ most sexually explicit songs, (“That feels good / In my…”), the meaning becomes stranger. It could be that Twigs is communicating the feelings of sexual pleasure by showing us bodies that no longer feel like they’re occupying a physical space.

FKA Twigs’ career is still in its infancy, and she recognizes that. Her name, her album titles, all reflect a period of growth. In an interview with Red Bull Music Academy, she said “I still very much feel like a novice and that I’m growing every day as an artist… I just want to keep it simple and keep it honest.” By focusing solely on the art of her music and imagery, Twigs has crafted an identity, style, and artistic purpose that is exactly that — honest, a stark contrast to the manufactured nature of some other musician’s personas. Twigs is Twigs, formerly known as twigs, and forever to be known as Twigs, one of today’s most intriguing acts.

The dancer in FKA Twigs’ video for “Hide” undulates provocatively, anatomy obscured suggestively by an anthurium flower.


Jack White and his

Third Man by Jasminne Young

We all know that Jack White can come across as pretentious. Like remember that time he stormed off stage early during a performance because he saw people using their cell phones? Or that other time when he called out his audience at a Dead Weathers concert in New York because they weren’t excited to see him? But maybe these so-called acts of pretension are slightly justified. Maybe he’s just being the artist he was born to be? Rated as one of Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time, White has used his artistry to record over 20 albums and has received dozens of awards throughout his career. Heck, if I had half the raw talent that he does, I’d probably be obnoxious too. But besides being incredibly talented, slightly annoying, and one half of the infamous White Stripes duo, what else has Jack White done? The answer is: everything. He’s been featured in 2008’s music documentary, It Might Get Loud, has had multiple successful “side projects” like the band The Dead Weather, and maybe most importantly, founded Third Man Records in his hometown of Detroit, Michigan back in 2001. The first office location of Third Man Records was established in Nashville, TN on March 11, 2009. The Nashville location has a vinyl store as the facade and houses a production office in the back. Fully tricked out with a recording studio, rehearsal stage, photo studio, and darkroom, Third Man Records has become Jack White’s haven. This is where pretension (and it’s justification) comes back into play. White and the rest of The Dead Weather made their debut as a band by performing for a small audience at the opening ceremony of the Third Man Records office. Since the label is an independent company—and White is in charge—his solo works, as well as the music of his various bands, get a ton of attention. White also has control over anything he produces: how many vinyls he wants to create, and how much he sells them for. This kind of emphasis on originality and limited supply creates a desire for Third Man Records goods and ultimately creates a strong market for the business. So, when White decides to sell goods like a “limited edition” box set of the best hits of The White Stripes for $200, it’s really just a perk of owning his own record label. White also profits by creating innovative ways to present and sell his products. By personally hosting special events, such as his Willy Wonka-inspired “tour of Third Man

Records,” fans are attracted to come to the store for the novelty of not only having the chance to find a “golden ticket” for free merch, but also for the sole purpose of seeing Jack White in person. Even Third Man’s Rolling Record Store—which is like a taco truck for vinyl records—has been contributing to sales as White drives around, appearing at different musical festivals or music events throughout the country, selling his products. So although White’s marketing strategies may seem too detailed—he doesn’t allow shoppers to take pictures inside the store, and he makes all of his employees wear black suits with ties that match the color scheme of the band they’re currently promoting—the products of Third Man Records have been remarkably marketed and sold. The success of Third Man Records speaks for itself as it serves as its own venue, store, and studio. Needless to say, White took a major risk when deciding to establish the Nashville office. In addition to opening a shop that only sells vinyl, he chose to establish a new audio brand during a time when the music industry was at its lowest and digitized music was becoming the norm. White can seem like the ultimate condescending hipster, but is anyone really that offended?

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a bluegrass life : an interview with

Roland White by Thaddeus Bouska

Roland White has lived a long and successful life in the bluegrass business. A pioneer on the mandolin and a man who has been around the genre since almost its start – White’s story covers the breadth of bluegrass music’s history. Roland plays the mandolin primarily, but has also played the guitar and the fiddle at different points in his career. He’s toured with his brothers as The Country Boys and later The Kentucky Colonels. He’s played with Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt’s bands, played with The Country Gazette, toured the world, won Grammys with the Nashville Bluegrass Band, and now he teaches and plays his own music.

Q: How did you decide to get into the music business? Well I was born in the state of Maine – my dad played the fiddle and strummed the guitar and sang pitiful country songs. One day – I was probably six and a half or seven years old – I got his fiddle out of the case and tried to play it. The fiddle is a very difficult instrument – it’s really two instruments. You have the fiddle itself, and then you have the bow, which is something else. I just triedand tried to play it and he told me to keep it up, maybe I’d get better. So one day I came home from school and I heard this instrument playing out in the living room. I asked my dad, what do you call that thing? He says, ‘that’s the mandolin.’ He told me it was still just like the fiddle – only you had the frets and played with a guitar pick. He played a couple of tunes, then handed it over to me and said ‘here…’ and I started playing tunes. Since the day I was born my dad would play tunes on the fiddle around the house. I just grew up hearing the stuff, and so did my brothers.

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One day, [my brother] Clarence ran by me when I was in the kitchen just strumming on the guitar playing something and he stopped and looked at me funny. He said “I wanna do that!” and pointed at the guitar. He got on my lap and I showed him a little something, and after that whenever I had an instrument out he wanted to play. I told my Dad, and my dad gave him a ukulele and that’s how it started. The middle brother Eric joined in a little later with a banjo, and my dad would take us to grange halls around the state of Maine – not as many as I imagined at the time – but we did this probably several times and played for a lot of family functions – outdoor picnics and stuff. So, in 1954 when I was sixteen we left for California. We moved out to Burbank with my mother’s family and one day when we were playing around the house, my aunt told my dad “Oh, Eric! You need to take these kids to the talent show. Every Sunday afternoon they’ve got a talent show KSLA Pasadena, which is a big country music station which had a talent show every Sunday afternoon at the Riverside Ranchero which was a great big country music dance hall. So we went down there for our audition, and we’re about four bars into the tune when the guy said, “You’re on.” So we went up there, we won the talent show. The guy asked us if we had a name and we said no, so he said “How bout the three little country boys?” And we stuck with the Three Little Country Boys through 1963 – through the Andy Griffith Show. That’s where our career started.

and pianos and guitars and such. So I asked them how I could get some records and they told me to try the catalogue they had – I ended up ordering a 45-RPM of “Pike County Breakdown,” on the other side was “Voice of Love.” Anyway, I finally got it into the store and went home after school, picked up the record. It was pretty funny – she handed me this 45-RPM and I thought “My goodness, music on both sides! How can they get music on a little disc like this?” After I heard Monroe, we started playing those kind of songs. I heard Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs on the radio and when down the store to order that.

The Three Little Country Boys went on to attract attention locally. They played for many local television show, including Squeskin’ Deacon’s Show, The Old Riverside Rancho Show, and Cal’s Corral. During these days, Roland was on mandolin, Clarence on guitar, and Eric was on tenor banjo and bass. Their sister, Joanna, would sometimes join them singing.

The band had their line-up. Eric on bass, Roland on mandolin and sometimes fiddle, Latham on banjo, and Clarence on guitar. They also hired LeRoy Mack, who played the dobro (a resonator guitar). Clarence began studying the work of Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian under the tutelage of Joe Maphis.

When we started we weren’t really playing bluegrass music. One of my uncles out there asked me if I’d ever heard of Bill Monroe. He’s a mandolin player on the Grand Old Opry – and he’s fast. So I went to the music store in Burbank but they only sold sheet music

Attention grew, in particular from country guitarist Joe Maphis. Maphis was known as the “King of the Strings” in the 50’s for his flashy guitar style – playing a two necked guitar. He was admired by and a friend of Johnny Cash. Maphis helped the band to get several appearances on the popular Southern California country music TV show Town Hall Party. After hiring a banjo player in 1958, they shortened their name to The Country Boys. The Country Boys even ended up appearing on several episodes of the Andy Griffith Show. I couldn’t believe the sound they were getting from a five-string banjo. I ordered a five string banjo from the same store and we started looking for a banjo player so that we could have a real four man bluegrass band. We found a banjo player named Billy Ray Latham in 1958.

I went into the army in 1961 but the band continued on. While I was gone they recorded an album and decided they couldn’t keep going by The Country Boys – it was too generic, and besides, Jimmy Dickens’s band used The Country Boys. So the record producer suggested we become The Kentucky Colonels. We

thought it was kind of a strange because none of us were from Kentucky. The closest thing we had to being from there was the banjo player Billy Ray Latham who was from Arkansas. They responded – well, but this is Kentucky music – Bill Monroe is from Kentucky. And that’s the way it went. When I came out of the Army, this guy named Walt Pittman who was an engineer of some kind and a big fan of bluegrass music told us one day you know there’s this beatnik club – this folk music club – called the Ashgrove down in Hollywood and he says, “the guys’ name is Ed Pearl – I’ll give you his phone number.” So I called him up and he invited us to come play in his office, and he hired us. I think we played there probably every other month. That kind of opened the doors to the folk scene for us, ’cause the folk scene was still pretty hot and through him we got to meet some influential people like Ralph Rinzler and Mike Seeger. Through them we got our first tour, in 1963. We went to the East Coast and played Gerde’s Folk City which was big in the village in New York City. We played right on Boylston Street in Boston. We played in a folk music club in Cambridge. We went on to Baltimore, then to Washington. We even played in Minot, North Dakota.

Q: How long did that first iteration of The Kentucky Colonels last? By 1966 the folk scene had kinda played itself out, so we disbanded. Clarence and I had a little country band that played at a dance club sometimes. I had an electric mandolin, Clarence got himself a new telecaster guitar. We just sung what was popular in the day, the mid ’60s. In 1967 Bill Monroe, who we’d known since 1958, his bus broke down in Dallas Texas. He had to get to LA to play at the Ashgrove and some other places and called Ed Pearl and says ‘I’m going to fly out there; I don’t have my band, just my new fiddler Byron Berline. You think those white boys could help me out?’ So Ed called me and asked me – “Bill Monroe’s going to need a guitar player. It’s going to be a couple days till his band gets here but he’s getting here tonight. You wanna start tomorrow and play through the week?” So me and my brother Eric were Bill Monroe’s band for a few days.

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Roland was finally back on his main instrument – the mandolin. Some of the best work of his or any mandolin player’s career can be heard on his recordings with Flatt. Roland is one of the few musicians who had the opportunity to play with two of the founding members of the 1946 Bluegrass Boys, the group which more or less invented the genre.

Bill Monroe asked me to stay on for a while because the guitar player was a college student he was going back to the University of Michigan soon because he was on break. I talked to Bill about the job and he hired me, so I moved to Nashville in 1967 and I’ve been here ever since.

Q: Is it true what they say about Bill Monroe — that he has a… controlling personality? Well… he had a style of music. His music was like no one else. When you hear a Bill Monroe tune you know who it is. Anyway, he didn’t want anybody to try to make changes to his music. We just played his music, and played it like it was recorded. I knew a lot of his songs because we sang ‘em all the time. I studied his mandolin playing for years. I played with him for a year and nine months. Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were going strong at the time and were also at the Grand Old Opry, and the money wasn’t very good with Bill Monroe. Just after Thanksgiving 1968 I met Lester Flatt early one morning in a TV studio where he used to play and he asked me what I was doing up so early. We got to talking and I told him I’d already turned my notice to Bill Monroe and I said “You haven’t had a mandolin player in your band in a long time, would you ever consider hiring a mandolin player? I know all of your songs.” One day I got a call from Lester and did a little audition with the band and they hired me. Bill didn’t speak to me for a couple of years — he didn’t like it at all. His banjo player at the time, Vic Jordan, got called up too and took the job so Bill Monroe lost two men to Lester Flatt. Actually, part of the reason I got the job with Lester is that I had learned to drive a bus with Bill Monroe, I drove his bus. That was always a big help, they wanted both [mandolin] pickers and drivers. Lester was a really nice gig because you had a weekly salary, so I did that for almost four years up until 1973.

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I’d been with Lester for four years and Clarence, who and been playing with The Byrd’s and been doing a lot of session work in California. In 1972 The Byrd’s gave up and disbanded and Clarence called me up and told me he wanted to play more acoustic guitar. He asked me how things were going with Lester Flatt and I told him pretty well but four years is about enough. I asked him what he had in mind and Clarence said “Well, we can get a tour to Europe.” And sure enough he had connections to some festivals. The same people that got The Byrds started in 1966 were managing Clarence at the time. I said count me in, turned my notice over to Lester, went out to California, and tried out different players. We tried to get Billy Ray Latham to join us again but he was doing something else so we got this guy by the name of Herb Peterson – he’s got a great voice and he’s recorded with Linda Ronstadt – so we called him up and went over a few tunes and got him on the tour and off we went. We did quite a few concerts in Holland and one of those was recorded and I held onto it for years until just recently when we got it mastered and sold a few thousands. Rounder Records out of Boston released an album for us,


The Kentucky Cornels, in a studio that Ed Pearl got for us. In June of 1973 we finished up the tour with a festival in Indian Spring Maryland and all went home.

Rounder Records also released a live album, The White Brothers (New Kentucky Colonels): Live In Sweden, 1973. This album gives a painful look at what could have been – The White Brothers playing together again but with so much more experience and musical maturity contained such fantastic promise — promise that was cut tragically short. Back in California, Clarence was working on an album for Warner Brothers records and wanted me to help. One day we went to the Lancaster/Palmdale area, which is twenty minutes away from Los Angeles, to play in a dance club with our brother Eric on electric bass. That night we’re coming out of the club and went out to the car, which was on a busy highway. We were parked just on the street there and we went out to the car. I had Clarence’s guitar and he had his amplifier. He went to the back of the car and opened up the trunk and said “Man we’re going to have to get out of here” because the cars were just whizzing by. So anyways I stepped around the car and he gave me the keys. We were standing on the driver’s side on the street. I don’t remember anything else from that point. Apparently this woman came up, she’d been drinking. She hit the bumper of his car, hit him. From what we figured threw him into me and dislocated my shoulder and threw me

over the car. He was up the street about fifty feet away. My brother Eric came out and asked what was going on, but I was stunned. I couldn’t remember anything. There was a paramedic who came along and told us not to touch him. There was blood coming out of his mouth and nose and everything there was shouting “Clarence, Clarence” and they took him to the hospital where he died that night. Just like that, gone. After, at the funeral, it was Roger Bush who was in a group called Country Gazette at the time (they had recorded a couple of records for United Artists records and had just come back from Europe) asked if I was going to go back to work with Lester. I said, ‘no that’s kind of stepping backwards.’ He said that they were needing a guitar player in his band and I said yes right away. I knew I had to be playing music, and I already knew Alan Munde because he was playing in Nashville when I first came here in sixtyseven. It was Alan Munde, Byron Berline, Roger Bush, and now me. I did that from the fall of 1973 until 1986. About thirteen years. I left the Country Gazette in 1986. I had a 16-year-old son, was going through a divorce, and the band soon disbanded anyways. In 1989 I joined the Nashville Bluegrass Band till 2000.

The Nashville Bluegrass Band incorporated elements of black gospel, something novel to the genre. The band became successful both in America and abroad – they toured in twenty countries and were the first bluegrass band

to play in China. Two of their albums, 1993’s Waitin’ for the Hard Times to Go and 1995’s Unleashed, won Grammy Awards for Best Bluegrass Album. In 2001 I started my own band – The Roland White Band, with Diane Bouska [my second wife]. I met Diane when I played the Station Inn, this bluegrass club, and she used to come down there and listen to the music. We started a national bluegrass music association, which turned into the international bluegrass music association, which is pretty big right now. It got to be way too much work, putting out newsletters, calling up musicians, organizing concerts. Diane was a volunteer in that organization. We met through music.”

Q: That’s quite a career. Any part in particular that you remember fondly? It’s all been great, all of it. All the bands I’ve been in and all the places I’ve been – from Japan to Africa to South America and all over Europe. In 1985 we had Billy & Terry Smith who lived in Nashville we would play with occasionally. They got this deal through USIS – United States Agency, I dunno – anyways, their banjo player didn’t feel like he could go to Africa so they called me and it just so happened that the Country Gazette wasn’t doing anything for a couple of weeks. They put us on a cargo plane, a military plane. They flew us down to the Equator and we played around there, the Congo and the West Coast. We played not so much for an audience but just for the politicians.

Roland still plays music with his wife and the rest of the band, touring across the country and even playing at a reunion of Andy Griffith Show fans. He’s also achieved success as a teacher of the mandolin, and makes instructional booklets on the difficult instrument that has made him highly respected in the educational community of bluegrass. Alan Munde, who worked with Roland for thirteen years, had the following to say about White’s career: “I got a chance to see up close the extraordinary talent that is Roland, how he could take a song and move it to places I would never have dreamed. The poignancy he brought to the music is rare in bluegrass...Roland has had, and continues to have, a wide and varied and influential life unequaled by anyone in our music.” (Alan Munde, in Mandolin Cafe June 13, 2010)

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Profile: Nick Santino text and photos by Tori Bilcik

I sat on the couch of the green room at Brighton Music Hall. It was February 26th, and The Maine had stopped in Boston on their “Acoustic Evening with The Maine” tour in celebration of their new EP, Imaginary Numbers. To my right were stairs that led to the stage, where the band could be heard performing for a sold out crowd. To my left sat the opening act of the night, cracking jokes about being the only musician in Boston that would ever be caught wearing boots and a cowboy hat these days. His name is Nick Santino, and as we sat down to discuss his incredible journey as a musician hailing from the suburb of Braintree, Mass., he told me that he started out his musical career as a 10-year-old kid taking acoustic guitar lessons from a family friend. But his love for pop-punk acts like Blink 182 drove him to move to an electric guitar, and by the time he entered high school, he was well on his way to making his dreams of being a professional musician a reality. Over the course of his middle and high school careers, Santino was in a few different bands with his classmates, including Waiting for Later, The Bad Year, and The Midway Class, all of which were heavily influenced by the pop-punk music Santino was listening to at the time. While making music with these bands, their style of music was popular in the Boston area, allowing them to play

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their fair share of local shows and fit right in with the scene of the city. “When music is your thing and that’s all you do, you listen to a lot more,” Santino said. “It’s like if you were to do any job, you do things that relate to that job a lot more. So for me, I’m always listening to new music and that’s what helps you grow. So you’re always learning from the past. You’re always going to be what you were, just a better version of it.” But after his high school bands parted ways, Santino decided to take a musical turn that would stretch outside the boundaries of what was popular in the Boston music scene. In 2006, he decided to start A Rocket To The Moon as an experimental project and produced two records on his own, Your Best Idea and Summer 07 EP. These two releases were much more experimentally and electronically driven than any of ARTTM’s more popular material ever was, and drastically different from his previous bands. After learning how to make electronic music on his computer, Santino decided to pick his guitar back up and change gears again from electronic music to a more pop-rock sounding style. But after nearly two years of making music independently, and struggling to find his place in the Boston area music scene again, he was contacted by a manager named Tim Kirch, who manages a band from Phoenix, Arizona called The

Maine. Kirch told Santino that he wanted to work with him, and asked him to go out to Arizona to meet him and The Maine. They hit it off and became close friends immediately. They introduced Santino to Eric Halvorsen, Justin Richards (who was and still is making music under the name Brighten, who Kirch also manages), and eventually Andrew Cook, who joined Santino to form the full band that ARTTM would become. After seven studio releases and over five years of touring the world, including playing Vans Warped Tour, Bamboozle, the Take Action Tour, Alternative Press’ AP Tour, Bazooka Rocks festival, and touring with major acts like Motion City Soundtrack, Cute Is What We Aim For, All Time Low, Hanson, Boys Like Girls, and Fun, the band decided to call it quits. “We were kind of going through some headaches with our label [Fueled By Ramen], and it was kind of taking the wind out of our sails,” said Santino. “We were kind of at this point where we were like ‘is the fight really worth fighting?’ None of us were winning any of the battles we were trying to fight, so we just decided we’d call it a day for now.” The band struggled with the label for nearly all of 2012 and the better part of 2013, before unanimously deciding they’d rather quit the uphill battle that was keeping ARTTM alive and pursue the various side projects that the members of the band had already started. For


Santino, that meant focusing full time on his alternative rock/country influenced solo pro-ject, Nick Santino and The Northern Wind. Santino and Richards co-wrote most of ARTTM’s music, and what they produced together was radically different than anything either of the two would produce writing on their own. So the material performed by Nick Santino and The Northern Wind now consists largely of songs written by Santino independently over the last three years or so. He released his first EP, Going Home, with the new band on July 30, and his second called The Ones You Meet Along The Way just three months later. Since then, he’s toured with The Maine and This Century on the Philippines run of the 8123 tour, opened for This Century on their headlining Up Close And Personal tour, and opened for The Maine on select dates of their Imaginary Numbers acoustic tour. Santino says that A Rocket To The Moon’s fans are responding well to the change, although it did take a bit for them to adjust to the changed sound. The hardest part, he said, is trying to win over new fans while making sure the old fans know he’s still the same person they know and love from ARTTM. But overall, the response to the solo project has been positive, as far as he can tell. “I don’t think I’ve lost too many followers on Twitter,” he said with a laugh. “That’s how I can gauge every-thing, so I guess I’m not unpopular yet.” Santino is working on releasing a full length album by early June, and plans on dropping “And The Northern Wind” to release it as simply Nick Santino. He says that hopefully he’ll assemble a permanent band to play with him eventually so they can become Nick Santino And The Northern Wind again. “The songs that I’ve been recording definitely have a full band sound to them,” he said, “so I need to fill in those spaces. I can’t just do it acoustic forever.” But until then, Garrett Nickelson and Pat Kirch, the bassist and drummer of The Maine, have sometimes acted as Santino’s backing band thus far. Santino also hopes that Halvorsen will also visit him in the studio in Arizona to play bass on some of the recordings he’ll be working on for his next album. Growing up in a musical city like Boston impacted Santino’s career in the mere accessibility to music he had as a child and young adult. It allowed him to experiment with different genres, and watch up-and-coming acts grow right in front of his eyes. The diversity of Boston’s music certainly does reflect in his diversity as an individual musician, and Bostonians seem to love watching this city’s hometown heroes find success.

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Around t h e

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World


Alice

Academy Award Winning Documentary

The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Commemorates

Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and oldest known survivor of the Holocaust, passed away at age 110 in London on February 23. A documentary sharing her life story, titled The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life, won Best Short Documentary at the recent Academy Awards. Audiences have been entranced by her narrative, which as suggested by the film’s title, highlights the fortifying influence of music. The talented pianist helped emotionally transport fellow internment camp prisoners to a better, universal place through her adoration of classical music and the moving power of performance in a time of dire need. The short is available for purchase online and, according to Entertainment Weekly, has been recently acquired by Netflix (although no release date yet). Her story provides new insight into a tumultuous period of history. Born in Prague to a Jewish family in 1903, she grew up in a “cultured and loving family,” according to the film’s website. The same site reveals one of her favorite sayings was “I am Jewish, but Beethoven is my religion.” She was raised with an emphasis on Jewish “cultural and ethical values rather than religious dogma.” Her loving and open-minded upbringing encouraged her pursuit of a career as a concert pianist. Before the occupation of Czechoslovakia, she was granted the honor of performing as featured pianist for the Czech Philharmonic on several occasions. Alice married Leopold Sommer in 1931. Leopold was a businessman, but also an amateur violinist. A connection to music was essential, especially in married life. Their son, Stephan, was born in 1937. As Nazi occupation gained power, her husband and mother were sent to be die in Auschwitz and eventually Dachau in 1942, while Alice and her son remained in Theresienstadt (also called “Terezin”), a transit camp that the New York Times calls “part ghetto, part concentration camp.”

Herz-Sommer By Devan Norman

Terezin had an orchestra, as many of its inmates were significant fixtures in Czech performing arts. The orchestra bought its members time. As Alice says in the documentary short, “It was completely life saving, because as long as they wanted music they couldn’t put us in the gas chamber.” Nazi prison guards and residents/inmates of Terezin alike would sit and listen to the orchestra play beautiful classical music.

Life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.

Through her appreciation for music against all odds, Alice recalls she was “always laughing” during concerts fellow inmates organized while interned at the Terezin concentration camp, according to BBC News. These moments provided a brief respite, when the guards would sit quietly and the music of Bach, Chopin, and many others would take over. As a mother figure to more than just her son, she was greatly loved and performed more than 100 of these concerts for mixed audiences. Sometimes, visiting members of the Red Cross would listen to the concerts; she says in the short that this was a form

of propaganda used by the Nazi Party. Despite the out-of-tune piano, the joy she found through making music kept spirits up and helped protect herself and her son from the horrors of her surroundings. Although he died in 2001, her son recalled very few dark memories of imprisonment, saying, “his mother somehow managed to protect him from the worst realities of life at the mercy of the Nazis.” He once wrote that his mother “managed to create a Garden of Eden for him in the midst of that hell.” She and her son remained in the camp for two years until May 1945 when the Soviet army liberated the 20,000 people still there. They returned to Prague, only to find their apartment inhabited by strangers after the Nazis confiscated all of the family’s property. She and her son immigrated to Israel, hoping to find other survivors, which they did. Her son went on to become a concert cellist and she taught music classes in the “promised land.” On the film’s website, Alice says, “I have lived through many wars and have lost everything many times… Yet, life is beautiful, and I have so much to learn and enjoy. I have no space nor time for pessimism and hate.” Her hope for humanity and gratitude for all the music surpassed any hatred felt, which is incredible in itself. When the short’s director Malcolm Clark accepted the Oscar, he spoke very fondly of Alice and dedicated the victory to her inspirational story. Along with her remaining musical recordings and devoted family, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life pays further tribute to the legacy of a wonderful woman. In the true spirit of an appreciator of music, above all, Alice “continued playing the works of Schubert and Beethoven until her final days.”

May 2014 // 37


keeping cultured

why french radio clings to its nationality

With the influx of users on Spotify, Grooveshark, iTunes, and other streaming websites, millions of Americans tune in to radio stations intentionally and unintentionally every day. The radio is on in most stores, from Starbucks to CVS, enforcing constant exposure. That’s not going to change anytime soon. What’s on the airwaves, however, will — well, at least in the U.S. Over the Atlantic lies a country with quite the sultry language, world of cheeses, and arguably most iconic structure in the world: France. It conjures up dreams that it’s somehow able to meet, rocking its culture like none other. Yes, we do picture the average Parisian as a snooty, tight-lipped elitist with their nose (and glass of wine) in the air, but when it comes to preserving culture, they win. Thanks to the Toubon Law, 40% of music played on French radio has to be in the French language. Period. The law, put in place in August 1994, has been heavily enforced for years. A country so set in tradition — one that has the right to sue any beverage company not based in Champagne for labeling its sparkling wine “champagne” — will restrict the contents of its radio stations in order to make sure their music isn’t overridden by the Westernization that we so proudly stampede around the world.

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“The radio’s hands are pretty tightly tied at the end of the day. As with all French media, they receive a lot of funding from the state,” says Mark Thomson, France 24 and CNN reporter. When not writing headlines, Thomson is busy operating France’s popular music website Gigs in Paris and being called up by journalists and publications to give his views on the state of France’s music scene. He has, as expected, the knowledge of any local who knows the ins and outs of a budding music scene. Unfortunately what they’re able to uphold in terms of language, they lose in terms of edge. “There’s lots of classic cheese, chanson francais, and British rock,” says Thompson, “but for a country which so cherishes anything French, there’s not much room for new, and especially independent, music. There’s a blossoming indie music scene here and a number of upcoming singer-songwriter types, but despite Francois and the Atlas Mountains and Concrete Knives being signed to strong international labels, they haven’t got much traction yet.” Hold your breath before asking about this year’s Grammy all stars. “Everyone will point fingers at Phoenix, Daft Punk and M83 as successful French acts,” said Thompson, “but the truth is there is an air of snobbery here and many don’t even


class such artists as French any more.” Two problems stand at the top of this issue: the French’s slow claim to their own bands, and French bands reaching beyond their country’s radio to be discovered. “Whereas the British will cling on to any success a fellow Brit has, there isn’t quite the same relationship here,” explains Thompson. The only French bands that come to mind, like the ones previously mentioned, are ones who wave their hometown flag high in the air. France doesn’t like to claim French bands as their own. It’s up to the band to do that. As Thompson pointed out, some of 2013’s hard-hitters’ nationalities went unnoticed, such as Savages, a London rock band whose singer is trés French. “The success of Savages last year is probably a good recent example of that. If they were a French band with a British lead singer [instead of the other way around], you know that they would have taken all the credit.” As a result, the French bands who aren’t singing in French find it hard to promote themselves in their own country. If they sing in a language that isn’t French, they’re competing against everyone who fits into that category, from Miley Cyrus to Drake to James Blake. If they do sing in French, they’ve got to

make their sound fit whatever style that station is looking for, all while sacrificing the comprehension of their lyrics — what many artists believe to be a crucial part of music — by limiting their audience. As an overflowing melting pot of cultures, America doesn’t have this problem. There are plenty of sacrifices to be made if you want your song to chart, but language isn’t one of them here. There’s a slim chance a song written in Swahili will make it, but it’s in the same pool as all the other contestants. In France, that same Swahili song would have less of a chance, fighting to be the one band in 60% allowed to sing in a language other than French, as opposed to countries that don’t restrict languages that go on the radio, such as the U.S. The problem our bands struggle with is making their song catchy enough, friendly enough, poppy enough — and so does every other band looking to land on the charts. Foreign bands often make a decision starting out of whether or not they will sing their lyrics in English — a question that boils down to whether or not they want to be “successful.” Imagine if we took the Toubon Law to be our own in the 60s and 70s. The first few bands that come to mind, the bands that define those years, aren’t ours at all: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones,

The Who. If America and England spoke different languages, our definitive scene sure would have sounded pretty different without those boys. The French still allow American and English bands on their radio; they just have a smaller chance of making it since 40% of the radio airplay must be comprised of songs sung in French. As a result, many French bands feel the need to sound like generic bands, ripping off The Strokes or Coldplay, Mark Thompson explains. There’s nothing wrong with this sound. What is worrisome is the resulting suffocation of creativity, making it harder for an alternate sound to make it when the spots reserved for French music will most likely go the route of pop. So if this law is keeping the French from hearing—and potentially being shaped by—foreign music, will they be looking to change it soon? “Whether it’s because of unions, attitudes or traditions or a mixture of all three, nothing happens quickly here. French media websites are still hugely behind the times — or to put it another way, I think dub-step and drum and bass might just be about to land in Paris — that’s how long it takes for things to change here,” said Thompson. “Will it change soon? Nothing in Paris changes soon.”

May 2014 // 39


Reviews


True Trans Soul Rebel against me! finds a brave new world by Ari Anderson The lead singer of notoriously political punk group Against Me! came out as transgendered in 2012, gave up her birth name, and set to work on the fearless Transgender Dysphoria Blues. The newlyminted Laura Jane Grace has a lot to get off her chest, and she is calling everybody out as she rides the pounding kick drum of this album straight to freedom with her middle fingers in the air. The album isn’t perfect. What it is is alive. Against Me! haven’t made any daring musical choices on the album —it’s still Against Me!’s go-to melodic punk. The guitar riffs are often static and simplistic, like on the underwhelming “Paralytic States.” The real change has come from their lead singer’s transition, and the lyrics that have come out of that. The band has steered away from their usual political commentary, and the album is so much richer for it. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is everything that Laura Jane Grace been meaning to say for who knows how long, and the frantic, cathartic energy that comes from finally getting a chance to speak carries the album. In fact, Grace’s urgent, exuberant intensity is really what makes the album worth listening to. Her voice is really on display on the album, screaming, chanting, wailing into the microphone as if she was twenty feet away from you. Really, the only thing that can keep up with her are the relentless, pounding drums showcased throughout the album. When that adrenaline marinated vitality is lost, the songs fall flat, like “Dead Friend,” in which Grace remarks “I miss my dead friend” in a line that is probably supposed to sound pared-down and simplistically beautiful and comes off as casual instead. You miss your friend. How quaint. Transgender Dysphoria Blues reaches its most compelling when it delves into Grace’s struggles with being transgender. The word compelling doesn’t really do it justice--Grace’s anxiety, shame, rage and misery roiling and rippling both on and

photo courtesy loudmag.com

under the surface make songs like “True Trans Soul Rebel” and “Fuckmylife666” the best parts of the album. Compare these to “Paralytic States,” an unsatisfying remnant of Grace’s initial idea for an LP about a transgendered sex worker, written before coming out to the rest of Against Me!. “A lot of that was feeling uncomfortable with what I was doing, trying to shift it as if it was not autobiographical,” Grace said in an interview with Rolling Stone. “Oh, these songs aren’t about me. They’re about some other conceptual character.” When Grace dares to really go there and show us what it really means to live in a body that isn’t your own, she is unstoppable and irresistible. It is fucked up and breathtaking. When she takes us to a place that is so steeped in raw, intense emotion, she owns her struggle and gives it voice. The album becomes more than her story — it becomes anthemic, folk-punk battle songs for anyone has ever felt confined. In “Fuckmylife666,” a letter to her wife, Grace confesses her fears about trying to become the person she really is, whether it’s the right decision, and her hope that she won’t lose the woman she loves in pursuing who she really is. Referencing her wife’s tattoo on her ring finger, Grace reveals “Silicone chest, and collagen lips / How would you even recognize me? / I don’t have the heart to match / The one pricked into your finger.” Not only are the lyrics moving in their intimacy and honesty, the

instrumentation on ‘Fuckmylife666’ is some of the best on the album. The punktinged drums churn in the background and harmonies underneath the chorus give LGJ’s clear, glam-rock confessions both structure and energy. The songs on Transgender Dysmorphia Blues that don’t suffer from Grace’s trademark overly-verbose lyrics are even more powerful, like the title track, in which she cries with a bitter edge a mile wide: “You’ve got no cunt in your strut / You’ve got no hips to shake / And you know it’s obvious / But we can’t choose how we’re made.” Damn. Drop the mic, Laura Jane Grace. She says everything she needs to say, without being selfpitying and without explaining anything. Okay, so the album isn’t perfect. Grace’s wordy lyrics make songs like “Paralytic States” and “Unconditional Love” cramped. The waltzy chord progression on “Two Coffins” is repetitive and soporific. The heavily political “Osama Bin Laden” seems incongruous on such a deeply introspective album. Transgender Dysphoria Blues feels like a first draft in some places, but it is overwhelmingly alive. It is as flawed and unfinished as the person who wrote it, and that’s what gives it breath. As Grace cries on “Fuckmylife666,” “There’s a brave new world that’s raging inside of me.” It’s that brave new world’s transition to the outside that makes Transgender Dysphoria Blues the real-life story of a true trans soul rebel.

november 2013 // 41


Do Not Engage this album the pack a.d. fails to impress with their fifth studio album

by Courtney Tharp Becky Black and Maya Miller embody the perfect underground punk-girl group. Miller hits you in the stomach with her reckless, abandoned drumming skills, and Black doubles as guitarist and brash vocalist. The Canadian duo breezed through the release of their previous four studio albums but hiccupped with Do Not Engage, released late January. Do Not Engage gallops into “Airborne,” the opening number, with an off-kilter drumbeat and falls into an easy, dreamy tune. It’s decent to say the least, but not a fantastic hook for a garage rock band. Harder guitar riffs don’t rear their head until the third track, “Animal,” and even then, Black’s vocals are not up to par with The Pack’s 2011 release, Unpersons. Throughout Unpersons, Black remains unpredictable and uncontainable; by contrast, Do Not Engage just sounds dull. The same attitude-laced lyrics from Unpersons exist in Do Not Engage, but there’s just something different—a lack of emotion perhaps. The first half of the album lacks the energy and enthusiasm that the second half delivers. However, Black consistently throws her cares to the wind, fitting snugly with her indifferent vocal appearance, considering you can hear flat notes and grungy voice cracks that were not edited out. But still, the songs sound tired and repetitive, as though they ran out of ideas but kept writing songs. “Stalking is Normal” is a worthy track purely for its dynamic. After six songs of what sounds like the same drum pattern and lyrical monotony, “Stalking is Normal” offers an exciting drum introduction as well as echoes, pitch changes, and stop-starts. If you listen closely, the lyrics present a comical stalker situation and Black’s wavering dryness makes it even funnier. Following “Stalking is Normal” is the

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first somewhat toned down tune of Do Not Engage: “Loser.” The introspective “Loser” resonates with introspective lyrics but still sounds quirky and a tad sad. But it also follows the course of human emotion, in terms of the musical structure, with lyrics such as “I’m alone because I chose to be/ so when I’m lonely I have nobody to blame but me/ I do it to myself/ I do it to myself.” The Pack did include a slow jam, “Needles,” oddly placed at the end of the album. It would’ve made more of an impact as an intermission, with its acoustic lullaby qualities. Nonetheless, it’s a beautiful melody with an ironic

finish — the track abruptly ends as Black sings, “And when I feel like this I wish I wish I/could shut it off.” With some rearrangement and less repetition, this album could’ve ripped you apart. But Unpersons produced such fantastically unhinged tunes it’s hard not to expect the same from their new release. Standing alone, Do Not Engage is a decent rock album. But in comparison with their 2008 release Funeral Mixtape or Unpersons, it sounds monotonous and a little boring. If you want the feel of rock wriggling through your veins, work your way backwards through their discography, it’ll be a more exciting trip.


Drowners’

first album promises redux love and retro heartbreak

By Rachel Dickerman New York-based alternative, post-punk band Drowners, fronted by Welsh model Matt Hitt, released their self-titled first album January 28. The album is a clean and polished demo of thirteen short and peppy tracks, most under three minutes. Some songs encompass a grungy nouveau-punk sound with fuzzy guitar while others offer a more melancholy dreamlike aura with lyrics that lament heartbreak. Their resemblance ranges from that of The Ramones to The Cure—the urgency of the head-bangers seamlessly fuses with the delicacy of the goths. That certainly doesn’t detract from each track’s hook value—I was enamored the first time I heard them via a tumblr audio post of “You’ve Got It All Wrong” over the summer. I ate up those few singles, including “Unzip Your Harrington,” “Long Hair,” and “Shell Across the Tongue.” Each track is graced with Hitt’s dreamy Welsh crooning and downto-earth lovesickness. In the chorus of “You’ve Got It All Wrong,” Hitt sings, “And somewhere in the corner / He’s telling her a joke / And I had to stick the boot in / ’Cause that’s not how it goes.” The listener can imagine the scene playing out in a bar as the song blares from a jukebox its upbeat New Wave reminiscence. In “Unzip Your Harrington,” Hitt drones, “I’m gonna hang around / Long enough to be part of the furniture,” yet another testament to his poetic turn-ofphrase in one of the album’s mellower, slower, perfect-to-sway-to tracks. Having seen the band perform at Allston’s Great Scott in January, the live experience enhanced my opinion of the album even more. The performance allowed for more of the grittiness and noise to come through whereas the album boasts precise riffs and enunciated lyrics.

During the mic check, Hitt referenced Beyonce’s single “Flawless,” mumbling, “I woke up like dis” to test, immediately garnering the approval of those who weren’t previously familiar with the band. Their set consisted of every song on the album played in chronological order. The crowd, consisting of eager college kids, leather-clad twenty-somethings, and even dads who seemed to be comrades of the older members of the opening act, danced enthusiastically, cheered raucously before and after every song, and begged for an encore. Every song is danceable, a huge plus in my book. “Long Hair” features a hook that repeats both the lyrics and a jaunty guitar riff that eases into the chorus, while others like “A Button on

Your Blouse” utilizes guitar that holds its notes out longer with a concise and staccato drum line. Hitt’s voice has a smooth tonal quality with hints of that Welsh accent. “Ways to Phrase a Rejection” focuses more on a punchy and jangly distortion both instrumentally and lyrically. Here Hitt employs more of a crooning whine, fuzzy and washed out. Overall, the album alternates between a raw, stripped down sound of polished tunes with no synthesized effects and a rougher, dirty, high-speed whirlwind not unlike their live performance. If you get the chance, do not miss out on these talented musical babes and their leather jackets. They will make your heart melt, make your heart break, and make your heart race.

May 2014 // 43


capturing “real” sound through analog by Nick Stalford Sound City is a music documentary film released in 2013, directed and produced by rock star Dave Grohl, former drummer for Nirvana and current vocalist and lead man of Foo Fighters. The film follows the legendary history of Sound City Studio, an analog recording studio owned and operated by Joe Gottfried and Tom Skeete from 1969 to 2011 in Van Nuys, California. Upon hearing of its closing, Grohl purchased the fabled studio and was inspired to produce both a film and a record in the old studio as an ode to analog recording. The music industry has featured many changes in the past few decades, but one of the most notable was the switch from analog to digital recording. Despite being developed in 1937, digital formatting was not popularized until the 1980s with the newly invented “compact disc,” or CD. Music artists and professionals were attracted to this new technology as it offered an easier and more flexible audio editing process, replacing the messy reel-to-reel audiotape process of splicing and gluing. But although the analog process presented more challenges within the editing process, many believe that it produced a superior quality sound. With his purchase of the Sound City Studios, Grohl became the proud new owner of one of the most famous recording studios of the past several decades — and he couldn’t resist

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the urge to return life to the studio. The newly recorded music became the soundtrack for the film, featuring all original new songs from an entertaining mix of artists who had worked in the studio in the past who recognize the “special” quality in both Sound City Studios and analog recordings. Conceptually, the album is unarguably brilliant and unique, but upon listening, some of the songs are disappointingly unoriginal in both lyrics and sound. But don’t let this initial let down stop you from enjoying the many well-crafted tracks and the overall positive attitude of the project, which was aimed at honoring the past of rock and roll, not creating a platinum record. Tracks one through five are a bit of a flop, sounding more like a mixture of previously unrecorded Foo Fighters songs mixed with aged rock star vocalists such as Stevie Nicks, Lee Ving, and Bruce Springfield. But with more time (and perhaps a swig from the fountain of youth) these tracks may have been more successful, such as “You Can’t Fix This,” featuring Stevie Nicks on vocals. Nicks had worked with Sound City Studios in 1975 to record the band’s tenth album, self-titled and often referred to as the “White Album,” which was the band’s first album to feature Nicks on vocals and Lindsey Buckingham on guitar. Owning much of her success to the legendary recording of the studio, Nicks presents a raw and emotionally charged


song inspired by the loss of her godson to a drug overdose. The potential for greatness is there, but the prose is clumsy and unoriginal and Nicks’ voice is just not what it used to be. But right around the midpoint of the album, the quality begins to change, namely with the sixth track, “From Can to Can’t,” featuring Slipknot and Stone Sour vocalist Corey Taylor, who had worked with the studio in 2001 to produce Slipknot’s second and critically acclaimed album, Iowa. In this song, Taylor delivers a rare falsetto performance in a highly emotional narrative, backed up by the expressive guitar playing of Rick Nielson of Cheap Trick, which recorded its third album with the studio, Heaven Tonight, in 1978. From here on the collaborative tracks begin to fulfill expectations, leading to a number of other strong tracks. Other standouts include “Centipede” and “A Trick with No Sleeve,” both beautiful and surging rock songs featuring Josh Homme and Alain Johannes of Queens of the Stone Age, and “Mantra,” an electro-influenced song with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails. And again, these musicians are a part of Sound City

Studio’s history, recording two albums each at the studio between 2000 and 2008. But the real gem of the album is “Cut Me Some Slack,” featuring Paul McCartney of the Beatles alongside the remaining two members of Nirvana in a grungy electro-blues collaboration that does not disappoint. Created in a spontaneous three-hour jam session, the song encompasses the authentic spirit of rock n’ roll that Grohl so desperately wanted to capture and share through McCartney’s ragged hard rock vocals alongside the raw and energetic playing of Grohl and Novoselic. Despite the importance of the album, the real focus of Grohl’s project is the film, as it is here that he is able to best describe and honor analog recording and the studio’s historical role in the predigital music industry. In the film, Grohl discusses the studio’s critically acclaimed recording equipment and repertoire of more than 100 gold and platinum records. Despite a janky and rundown appearance, the studio developed a reputation for recording a very particular and desirable sound, especially for drums tracks, due to its acoustics and rare custom-mixing

console—the Neve 8028. With this reputation, the studio recorded albums for many now iconic bands and musicians such as Neil Young, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Nirvana. Chances are that Sound City recorded one of your favorite albums. As a musician of over 20 years, Grohl has been exposed to both the analog and digital styles of recording music. Some may call it nostalgia or hipster, but many people, including Grohl, consider analog capable of capturing a sound that digital cannot, a sound that Grohl describes as the “human element.” His intention behind both the film and the record was to prove that the “old” way of making music is not an outdated and underperforming process, but rather a more natural and realistic way to capture sound. Grohl further defines the mission of his two works by saying, “I wanted to show the next generation real music and inspire them to make real music,” meaning that he hopes to inspire current day and future artists to capture the raw sound heard in analog recordings and live performances.

May 2014 // 45


PLAYLIST // unwine d We at Five Cent Sound understand the importance of relaxing when the job is done. After all, putting together a magazine take a lot of hard work (ps. thanks to our amazing staff who make it possible). So no matter what’s stressing you out from a rough day at work or group projects that feel like they’ll never end, well, we’ve got the playlist for you. Kick of your shoes, close your eyes, relax and listen up. We’ve put together our unWINE’d Playlist, a combination of songs designed to take your mind off the stress. Reward yourself after a long week. This playlist pairs perfectly with a nice glass of red.... tea, for our younger readers.

Let It Happen – Jimmy Eat World A Day To Remember – If It Means A Lot To You This Is All Now – Taking Back Sunday Home By Now – Bombay Bicycle Club Swing Lo Magellan – Dirty Projectors The Light by Blackmill and Siberia – Lights “Shadows” – Au Revior Simone Masterfade – Andrew Bird West Coast – Coconut Records Breathe Me – Sia Under The Gun – Electric Guest Good Times – Latch Key Kid Airplanes – Local Natives Temporary Health – Mezzanine Owls 5 Years Time – Noah and The Whale

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May: concerts SUNDAY

MONDAY

TUESDAY

y 4 Broods Great Scott, 9pm Melissa Ferrick The Sinclair, 8pm

WEDNESDAY

e 5

v

THURSDAY

FRIDAY 1

2

3

Little Barrie Great Scott, 9pm

Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival The Sinclair Cambridge

James Blunt House of Blues, 7pm

Nickel Creek House of Blues 8pm

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7

8

9

10

Lana Del Ray House of Blues, 8pm

Floor, Hot Victory, and Darsombra Great Scott, 9pm

Ozomatli, The Royale, 8pm

Foster the People House of Blues 8pm

EMA, Downtown Boys Great Scott, 9pm

16

17

The Faint The Royale 7pm

Augustana, House of Blues, 7pm

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24

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31

The Feelies The Sinclair 8pm

Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings House of Blues 7pm

VNV Nation with Whiteqube The Royale, 8pm

The Ballroom Thieves with the Ghost of Paul Revere The Sinclair, 8pm

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11

12

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White Hills Great Scott 9pm

Sohn The Sinclair 8pm

Haim House of Blues, 8pm

Woods, Quilt The Sinclair 8pm

Blood Red Shoes, Radkey Great Scott, 9pm

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19

20

21

22

Julio Bashmore The Sinclair 8pm

Reckless Kelly The Sinclair, 8pm

MORCHEEBA The Royale 8pm

Steel Panther House of Blues 8pm

The weeks, The Apache Relay, Shelly Colvin The Sinclair 8pm

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26

27

28

29

New Young Pony Club, Confessions Great Scott 9pm

SATURDAY

s

h

Tokyo Police Club, Geographer, Said the Whale The Sinclair, 8pm

1lx1lx1 All of the music. lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1 1lx1lx For all of the people. lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx 1lx1lx1 All of the time. 1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx1lx november May 2014 2013 // 47


i

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Five Cent Sound Vol 2. Issue 3: May 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...