AN INTERVIEW WITH
JONATHAN MAYERS PG.26
UNITED NATIONS CLASS OF 2014 PG.22
AN INTERVIEW WITH NO AGE PG.32
RAP LIKE A GIRL PG.35 OH, CANADA PG.42
northeastern students on music No 36
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President Dinorah Wilson
Staff Writers Catalina BiesmanSimons Aaron Decker Tim DiFazio Tom Doherty Siena Faughnan Leslie Fowle Anna Glina Amanda Hoover Nick Hugon Elizabeth Johnson David McDevitt Cara McGrath David Murphy Mackenzie Nichols Max Oyer Kelly Subin Jackie Swisshelm
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Art & Design Ally Healy Eric Lee Stephanie Lee Cara McGrath Amanda Pinsker Marissa Rodakis Brandon Siu Marketing Martin Au Alexandra Batal Emily Good Shreya Gurubacharya YJ Lee Adela Locsin Sarah Maillet Nikki Makagiansar Carolina Rapta Carisa Tong Contributors Alex Rochefort
Tastemakers Music Magazine 232 Curry Student Center 360 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115 email@example.com ÂŠ 2014 tastemakers music magazine all rights reserved
The Cover Photo Ryan Mastro
Meet the Staff
Joey Dussault Position Interviews Editor Major Journalism Graduating Spring 2017 Favorite Venue The Middle East Tastemaker Since Fall 2012
Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else Crying Get Olde
“I think I want to be Bruce Jenner… subconsciously?”
Kyary Pamyu Pamyu “Saigo no Ice Cream”
Abbie Hanright Position Art Director Major Graphic Design Graduating Fall 2014 Favorite Venue One Longfellow Square (Portland, ME) Tastemaker Since Fall 2010
Goodnight, Texas A Long Life of Living
“I loved little house on the prairie so hard.”
Ben Kweller “In Other Words” R Kelly “Ignition Remix”
Leslie Fowle Position Staff Writer Major English/Journalism Graduating Spring 2014 Favorite venue Paradise Tastemaker Since Spring 2011
Weezer Pinkerton The Hold Steady Boys and Girls in America Mac Demarco Salad Days
“Whenever something really sad happens I feel like Bette Midler’s ‘Wind Beneath My Wings’ should be playing. Did you ever know that you’re all my hero?”
Caitlin Kullberg Position Marketing Director Major Marketing Graduating Spring 2014 Favorite venue Paradise Tastemaker Since Spring 2010
Danny Brown Old Pity Sex Feast of Love The Handsome Family “Far From Any Road”
“Well I have to pee… but that’s probably the worst thing I have going for me right now.”
Photo by Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Table of Contents Cover Story
Bonnaroo Interview Tastemakers sits down with Bonnaroo co-founder Jonathan Mayers
Show Reviews Jonathan Richman, We Were Promised Jetpacks, DJ Cutman
How to pair the perfect track with the perfect dish
The Concert Population
The Final Playlist
Live Music: the Perfect Accessory
Album Reviews Reviews of Liars, Cloud Nothings and Pharrell Williams’ new albums
Randy Randall and Dean Spunt chat about DIY punk, stage diving and the nature of art
Artist Undercover Aleksey Nelipa, a local Boston sketch-artist, discusses his craft
06 Calendar 12
A who’s who guide of concertgoer personas
All the music you need to make it through Finals Week in one piece
When the worlds of high fashion and live performance collide
Interviews No Age
I Now Pronounce You Food and Music
National anthems as seen in your high-school yearbook
Rap Like a Girl
Skinny Bones Profile of the Boston-based folktronica duo
Is Nicki Minaj’s reign finally at an end?
Bieber isn’t the only musician to come out of Canada
Just a Taste of
United Nations Class of 2014
One writer’s walkthrough of Beck’s diverse catalogue
Landing Feet First
Calendar May Su
Boys Noize Royale
Deadbeat ft. Mark Karan Brighton Music Hall
Gord Downie The Sinclair
Nickel Creek House of Blues
James Blunt House of Blues
Dance Gavin Dance Brighton Music Hall
Against Me! Royale
Bombay Bicycle Club Royale
Ben Kweller Brighton Music Hall
The Aquabats Paradise Rock Club
Angel Olsen The Sinclair
The 1975 Royale
Foals & Cage the Elephant Orpheum Theatre
MIA House of Blues
Rodney Crowell The Sinclair
Foster the People House of Blues
Liars Brighton Music Hall
Television Paradise Rock Club
Hoodie Allen Brighton Music Hall
Chet Faker Brighton Music Hall
Daniel Avery Middlesex Lounge
The Afghan Whigs Paradise Rock Club
Tokyo Police Club The Sinclair
SOHN The Sinclair
HAIM House of Blues
Woods / Quilt The Sinclair
Haymakers for Hope House of Blues
The Faint Royale
Augustana House of Blues
Lana Del Rey House of Blues
Anvil Brighton Music Hall
Uh Huh Her Brighton Music Hall
X Ambassadors The Sinclair
Mirah Brighton Music Hall
Manchester Orchestra House of Blues
Eric Hutchinson Paradise Rock Club
Julio Bashmore The Sinclair
Reckless Kelly The Sinclair
Fu Manchi The Sinclair
Steel Panther House of Blues
The Weeks The Sinclair
Tamar Braxton Paradise Rock Club
The Feelies The Sinclair
Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings House of Blues
Black Breath The Sinclair
Boston Calling Government Center
Danity Kane House of Blues
Rockommends James Blunt May 3 @ House of Blues
Foals & Cage the Elephant May 4 @ Orpheum Theatre
Together 5 May 11–17 @ Various locations
Want to see James Blunt’s face in a crowded place? Want that crowded place to be the House of Blues? Want to hear him tell you you’re beautiful? Want to feel beautiful? Turn your dreams into reality on May 3.
In a tasteful blend of Oxford inspired indie rock and Kentucky roots summer time rock, Foals and Cage the Elephant will be taking on downtown Boston May 4th. With such strong performers teaming up for a show, there is no doubt Downtown Crossing will have to prepare itself.
Together is an annual festival celebrating art, music and technology. For a week every year, the festival brings an impressive lineup of electronic artists, DJs and producers to venues scattered around Boston and Cambridge. Check out togetherboston.com to view the rest of their massive lineup!
Cara McGrath (Graphic Design)
Max Oyer (Health Sciences)
Carisa Tong (Mathematics)
Yann Tiersen The Sinclair
Old 97’s The Sinclair
Kishi Bashi The Sinclair
Sevendust Paradise Rock Club
Ingrid Michaelson House of Blues
Ingrid Michaelson House of Blues
King Khan & the Shrines The Sinclair
Quantic Brighton Music Hal
Peter Murphy Paradise Rock Club
Viceroy The Sinclair
Sharon Van Etten The Sinclair
Bonnaroo Manchester, TN
Patty Griffin House of Blues
Tyler the Creator House of Blues
House of Blues
Governor’s Ball New York City, NY
William Fitzsimmons The Sinclair
tUnE-yArDs The Royale
The Jezabels Brighton Music Hall
Courtney Barnett The Sinclair
Man Overboard The Sinclair
Tyler Ward Brighton Music Hall
Buffalo Tom Paradise Rock Club
Lindsey Stirling House of Blues
Meshuggah House of Blues
Everclear House of Blues
Camera Obscura Paradise Rock Club
Marissa Nadler The Sinclair
Joe Henry Brighton Music Hall
Goldroom The Sinclair
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine Brighton Music Hall
Ozric Tentacles Brighton Music Hall
Billy Joel Fenway Park
Say Anything House of Blues
Kishi Bashsi June 3 @ The Sinclair
Deafheaven June 8 @ The Sinclair
Bonnaroo June 12-15 @ Manchester, TN
Seeing Kishi Bashi is sipping a glass of 2006 Bourgogne Pinot Noir on a mild Boston afternoon while sailing leisurely in your Sloop across the length of Jamaica Pond—and then dropping acid. If the dense violin loops are enough to spark your interest, his ethereal vocals and sincere lyricism will seal the deal.
San Francisco black-post-metal-gaze crew Deafheaven are still riding high on the release of 2013’s stunning Sunbather, and they’ll hit The Sinclair in June as a part of their exhaustive summer tour. With Arkansas doom quartet Pallbearer supporting, this is one of the heavy highlights of the summer.
Get your sunscreen ready for Bonnaroo’s four-day music marathon with Elton John, Kanye West, Neutral Milk Hotel, Disclosure, James Blake and many, many more. Flip to our cover story on page 26 to read an exclusive interview with a founder of the Tennesee festival!
Ryan Kehr (English/Journalism)
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Carisa Tong (Mathematics)
Calendar July Su
Bruno Mars TD Garden
The Martinez Brothers Bijou Nightclub
Township Middle East
King Buzzo Brighton Music Hall
The Felice Brothers The Sinclair
O.A.R Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin with the Guilty Ones The Sinclair
Cage Middle East Downstairs
Pitchfork Festival Chicago, IL
Yes Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Mutual Benefit The Sinclair
Turnpike Troubadours Paradise Rock Club
Little Microscopic Clouds Egleston, Jamaica Plain
Camera Obscura Paradise Rock Club
Deathwish Fest with Converge and Trap Them The Sinclair
Grieves Middle East
Newport Folk Fest Newport, RH
Queen TD Garden
Quiet Riot Wilbur Theater
Gogol Bordello House of Blues
Flume Royale Black Breath The Sinclair
Justin Timberlake TD Garden
Owls w/ Hop Along The Sinclair
Ladi6 Middle East
31 Slightly Stoopid w/ G. Love Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Camera Obscura July 20 @ Paradise
Deathwish Fest July 22â€“23 @ The Sinclair
Dream-pop veterans Camera Obscura are coming to Boston! Upbeat and guitar-driven, the lush sounds of Camera Obscura promise a blast of nostalgia for fans of She & Him, Belle & Sebastian and Asobi Seksu. Check them out at Paradise on July 20.
New England's foremost metal and hardcore record label Deathwish, founded by Converge frontman Jacob Bannon, will host a two-night extravaganza at The Sinclair this July with 2 headlining sets from Converge themselves and appearances from Trap Them, Code Orange Kids, Doomriders, Modern Life is War and many others. It's a monumental gathering not to be missed.
Dinorah Wilson (Journalism/Law and Public Policy)
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Lollapalooza Chicago, IL
Boris Paradise Rock Club
Dick Dale Middle East
Panic! at the Disco
Katy Perry TD Garden
Outside Lands San Francisco, CA KahBang Bangor, ME
Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Katy Perry TD Garden
Anda Volley Middle East ZuZu
Rebirth Brass Band The Sinclair
Goo Goo Dolls w/ Plain White T’s Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Basement The Sinclair
Johnny Lang House Of Blues Royksopp w/ Robyn Blue Hills Bank Pavillion
Burning Man Black Rock Desert, NV
KahBang August 7–10 @ Bangor, ME
Outside Lands August 8–10 @ San Francisco, CA
Only a 3.5 hour drive from Boston, KahBang allows you the festival experience without having to leave New England. For those of you with a wider range of interests, over the course of four days KahBang packs in not just a wide variety of both nationally recognized and local bands but features film, art and brew fests as well.
Even in August, be prepared to have the hot California sun lighting your face in one moment and be shrouded in fog at this festival set in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The lineup this year is just as diverse as the weather will be with Kanye West, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Atmosphere and CHVRCHES performing.
Abbie Hanright (Graphic Design)
Carisa Tong (Mathematics)
Reviews Jonathan Rickman
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Jonathan Richman March 20 @ Middle East Upstairs
As former frontman of The Modern Lovers, one of the most quintessentially Massachusetts bands of all time, Jonathan Richman is understandably regarded as a local legend. In 2013, a group of Massachusetts politicians even set a piece of legislation in motion to make the band’s 1976 single “Roadrunner” the official state song, cementing Richman’s status with a government decree. Strangely, it seemed that Richman himself was the only one not backing this particular initiative. “I don’t think the song is good enough to be a Massachusetts song of any kind,” read his statement on the matter. Despite a prolific output of more than 20 albums in the past three decades, Richman has become as well-known for his eccentric, reclusive and sometimes contrarian nature as he has for his music. He rarely grants interviews, and a statement on his record label’s website specifies that he “does not participate in the internet on any level.” All of this might paint Richman as a guy who wouldn’t be much fun on stage, but for three consecutive nights at the Middle East Upstairs in March, he still packed in sold-out crowds. The rapidness with which all of one’s presumptions melted away when Richman began to play at these shows was remarkable. In a live setting, Richman is anything but withdrawn or curmudgeonly. He hopped up on stage in the most unassuming manner possible, battered guitar case in hand, with a smile on his face that stayed there the entire night. Accompanied only by longtime
collaborator Tommy Larkins on drums, Richman strummed on a nylon string guitar and delivered a freewheeling, thoroughly charming set. He had a rare sort of stage presence that felt genuinely unique, ad-libbing lyrics, monologues and jokes between or in the middle of songs in such a way that the entire hour-plus set felt like one seamless, spontaneous, stream-of-consciousness creation. He sometimes broke into song in another language; he sometimes danced enthusiastically with maracas; he even called out an audience member for cell phone use mid-song and still managed to be genial about it. It was an unconventional performance from start to finish, eschewing both an opening act and an encore and ultimately giving off the vibe of a living room show which happened to include a very short stage. Richman’s approach was relaxed and casual, which lent the show an intimacy uncommon even for a venue this small. There were singalongs (a particularly enthusiastic one for “I Was Dancing in the Lesbian Bar”), there were laughs, there were moments of poignant nostalgia, and the crowd hung on his every word. In the end, there was something definitively old-fashioned about it all; a sincere, no-frills performance that enthralled purely on the strength of personality and songcraft. The set-closing “Old World,” the sole Modern Lovers song of the night, felt like the perfect choice to cap it off. Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
DJ Cutman February 23 @ Middle East Upstairs Disclaimer: Our beloved MBTA prevented me from catching the first and last acts of this show. I missed opener Spunky Brewster due to an exceptionally slow Orange Line train, and I was forced to leave before DJ Cutman took the stage so as not to miss the last train out. This was just a few weeks before the T began running late on weekends. C’est la vie. Sam Mulligan appeared to be the Blink-182 of chiptune, every ounce as catchy as he was kitschy. Mulligan’s novelty songs, such as crowd-favorite “Shark Party,” are chuckle-worthy, but the humor grew stale fairly quickly. I often found myself wishing— and this is a strange revelation as a regular chiptune listener—that he would take himself more seriously. With serious vocal chops and a bombastic chip-punk sound, Mulligan sells himself short performing novelty songs. Still, Mulligan earned serious props for his relentless stage presence. I’ve never seen someone so hellbent on getting a fifteenperson crowd worked up on a Sunday night. Then came the welcome black sheep of the night. Fronted by a baby-faced Brian Wilson lookalike, complete with mop haircut,
We Were Promised Jetpacks March 5 @ The Sinclair
Scots officially took the Sinclair on Wednesday, March 5 when novice duo Honeyblood climbed the stage, facing the nearly filled venue. Following in the footsteps of headliners Were Were Promised Jetpacks, along with record-mates The Twilight Sad, Frightened Rabbit, and PAWS (FatCat Records), Stina Tweeddale and Shona McVicar are quickly rising to Glaswegian rock stardom. As is expected from a DIY rock band that started out recording from their Glasgow kitchen, Honeyblood’s minimal sound filled the Sinclair, but didn’t exactly ~rock~ it. The audience seemed entertained, but not engaged. Though, Tweeddale’s vocals were ultra-twee and on pitch, her lyrics were indistinguishable underneath their lo-fi, fuzzy sound. It was not surprising, then, to learn that the two actually paired up out of a mutual love for Best Coast, from whom they obviously draw inspiration.
Cathode Rays occupy a niche to themselves. Replace members of The Ventures with Link, Mario and Bomberman, and you might get something close to Cathode Rays. Their summery surf-rock aesthetic seemed to debunk the notion that nerds don’t like the sun. As an instrumental act, the Boston three-piece offered meticulous musicianship. If you’ve never seen a person rip multiple solos on a SNES controller, this might be a band to check out. One rather long equipment breakdown suggests that the band could afford to tighten up their chip component. But hardware malfunctions are expected in a chiptune set, and the audience seemed not to mind. 8bit bEtty came out of apparent retirement for a blistering set. The stocky, surgical mask-wearing artist known as 8bit bEtty never once spoke to the audience, but instead opted to communicate via crude construction paper signs and hand gestures. When the vocals did come through, it was courtesy of a Stephen Hawking-eque vocalizer. 8bit bEtty used a xylophone mallet as a pointer while he held up lyrics scrawled in marker—“I will never be as hardcore as you want me to be”—which, though resembling a rote schoolhouse lesson, was really an impassioned singalong. Aside from his clear proficiency as a DJ, 8bit bEtty used
cutesy instruments like a toy xylophone and a ukulele to a decidedly crushing effect. Voiceless and faceless, 8bit bEtty had the audience every bit as psyched as he seemed to be. Br1ght Pr1mate was unparalleled in technical wizardry. The duo’s use of Gameboy was impressive—as much a sequencer as it was a synth. Lydia Marsala’s rich natural alto was refreshing in a bill that was heavy on synthesized vocals and nasally punk aesthetic. The set strayed from “true chip,” borrowing sound palettes from dance and drum ‘n’ bass to great effect. Onstage dancing was notably awkward, which might have been fine if it were a little funnier. Perhaps I might be asking for a bit much from a genre that has its roots in basement-dwelling nostalgia. You might think such a small scene might result in some discouraging exclusivity. You’d be wrong. At one point in the evening, three slightly inebriated newcomers stumbled in. They were apparently under the false impression that a hip-hop show was scheduled that night. They stayed, and danced right along with the nerdiest of them. Apparently, Boston’s chiptune scene is nothing if not welcoming. Joey Dussault (Journalism)
But unlike their punky muses, such as PJ Harvey, Honeyblood’s set never really peaked. Their performance needed something—a brief screaming/squealing vocal, a memorable guitar solo, any hint of onstage enthusiastic presence. The pair played songs that blurred, some from their most recent EP Bud, produced by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol), and some from their upcoming full length debut. Next up was We Were Promised Jetpacks: five Edinburgh natives with a band name that’s hard to overlook. Though the band formed in 2003, and their last album, In the Pit of the Stomach, was released in 2011, Jetpacks played as earnestly as ever, mixing throwbacks from These Four Walls (2009) and tracks from an anticipated new album, due out in fall of this year. Opening with some newer tunes, called “Know It All” and “Human Error,” WWPJ displayed their knack for building this focused intensity, concentrated like lighting in a bottle. Their post-punk, fuzzy guitar riffs were loud, but didn’t overshadow the singer’s ranging vocals. The band made sure to
include fan favorites “Roll Up Your Sleeves” and “Keeping Warm,” but these songs were by no means the highpoint of their set, especially alongside echoey, rumbling “Peace Signs,” which will be featured on their upcoming album. Although many of their songs feature long intros and a strictly anthemic verse-chorus structure, by song #13, “It’s Thunder And It’s Lightning,” the crowd was actually dancing to the post-punk music—a rare feat for any band that plays without a synth. It may have been the pure fervor that seemed to course through the veins of bassist Sean Smith, drummer Darren Lackie, guitarists Stuart McGachan and Michael Palmer that amped up the crowd. It could have been vocalist Adam Thompson’s loud lyrics, highlighted by a Scottish accent that seeps into every track. But the way the quintet played together, rehearsed but not at all rigid, really stood out onstage in a way that their studio recordings don’t quite capture. Their live energy made the audience part of the show, not just spectators. Jackie Swisshelm (Journalism)
St. Vincent House of Blues, February 2014
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Deafheaven Royale, February 2014
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
Mac Demarco (opposite page, top) Middle East Downstairs, April 2014
Ben Stas (English/Journalism) Mals Totem (opposite page, bottom) Middle East Upstairs, April 2014
Leah Corbett (Digital Arts)) Avett Brothers (left) TD Garden, March 2014
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)) Dinoczar (bottom) afterHOURS, March 2014
Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
SKINNY BONES The album artwork for Skinny Bones’ Skinni Dip EP
Local Talent Spring 2014
features a young gentleman perched on a cliff, his feet dangling into the ocean. Below him, a diver explores a different side of their surroundings. Whether it’s intentional or not, this visual serves as a metaphor for the Jamaica Plain duo’s approach. While similarities can be drawn between Skinny Bones and other “folktronica” acts such as Alt-J or Crystal Fighters, a dip beneath the surface shows that they have their own thing going on. Skinny Bones’ Jacob Rosati and Christopher Stoppiello (a TMM alum) met at Northeastern University and started playing together in April of 2012. Since then, they’ve released both Skinni Dip and a full-length entitled Little Meat, the latter of which is not available online. Rosati contributes hushed, Andrew Bird-esque vocals, along with samples, keyboards and guitar. Stoppiello, on the other hand, provides organic percussion and original sounds. With other acts, the combination of folk and electronic elements can be less than desirable, or come across as a novelty. It seems as if these bands might do well to pick one side or the other. Skinny Bones, however, seem to have found the right balance. The electronic elements are certainly there, but at no point do they overshadow Rosati’s infectious guitar riffs or Stoppiello’s percussion. Instead, the electronic and the organic work together to create a warm, listenable sound.
What really sets Skinny Bones apart, though, are their lyrics. While many artists pair this kind of sound with far-out, metaphorical lyrics, Skinny Bones take a different approach. Instead, the lyrical content is honest and situational—at times, even relatable. For example, on the gentle, understated “Him,” Rosati murmurs that he feels “more selfish than I used to be” and admits to “wondering if you guys will get coffee / And leave me sitting on my hands.” Then, on the kinetic “Shake Your Shoulders,” he plays the role of jilted ex-lover/friend: “I don’t think you would be anything without me.” It’s this type of lyrical honesty that makes what Skinny Bones are doing feel like something special. The band has been touring sporadically, including a considerable amount of local shows in and around Boston. They’ve also been teasing Noise Floor, a new release (with at least one accompanying video), which should be dropping sometime late this spring. A new track, called “Wanderlust,” has very recently been released, and is available for streaming on the band’s Soundcloud. At any rate, Skinny Bones are a great example of the wealth of talent and originality in Boston’s local scene. Aaron Decker (Communications)
Jacob Rosati (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards, Samples) Christopher Stoppiello (Percussion, Recorded Sounds) sounds like
Crystal Fighters, Bombay Bicycle Club r eco m m e n d e d t rac ks
“Shake Your Shoulders,” “Undress,” “Him” albums
Skinni Dip EP check out skinny bones
I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU FOOD AND MUSIC
Modern scientists have determined that a human’s five senses are not quite as independent as many believe. Most people have heard of synesthesia, but very few can truly experience its magic. How far are people willing to go to experience the effects of combining the body’s sensations?
It turns out that some have put in extreme effort to evoke just such an occurrence, and others have responded with large amounts of money to take part in the experience. Recently in Detroit, Kyle Hanley, a chef, with the help of Joseph Allerton, a beverage director, created a ten-course meal based entirely on the ten tracks of Radiohead’s fourth studio album, Kid A. As each song played, guests enjoyed a coinciding dish and drink. Tickets for the meal went for $125, and though the concept of pairing music with food and alcohol has existed for years, the event received national attention. Hanley and Allerton’s menu was quite upscale and presumably very delicious. But it’s hard to pretend that it wasn’t wildly overreaching. Few people ever splurge on a
$125 for dinner for one, and far fewer can even appreciate the combination of one’s senses on such an advanced level. Nonetheless, the concept’s appeal is widespread. Matching music with food and drink is by no means groundbreaking. Websites, restaurants and other services have long offered such combinations, or suggestions on how to make them. Whether the music is played while cooking, eating or both, the merge is one celebrated by many. But to enjoy this union frequently, and for it to be done easily in one’s home (home being a generous word for a college apartment), one cannot possibly be as excessive and over-inspired as this Detroit-based chef.
Radiohead’s Kid A was certainly chosen by Hanley with good reason. The album’s ambiance consumes the listener, and, when enjoying a delectable meal, I can imagine it becoming part of the setting that one hardly even notices, and yet becomes completely enhanced by. So is it music like this that goes best with food and drink? Can all music be paired with something one can physically chew, swallow and digest? I suppose the answer varies depending on how pure one feels about the union of the senses of taste and hearing. While Hanley and Allerton paired Kid A with ten dishes and ten beverages, the light and comical drinkify.org merely suggests that the reader drink a Fat Tire—a popular line of amber ale by New Belgium Brewing Company—alongside Radiohead’s music. Searching any artist in this website’s database churns out a quick, but typically
solid drink suggestion. Could just as much thought have gone into these pairings? No, probably not. Does that make them incorrect? No, probably not. Happy mediums between these casual and extreme instances do exist, and one interesting service is called Turntable Kitchen. This website, with its founders based in California, offers a unique way of marrying food and music: a “Pairings Box.” Each of the company’s packages, delivered to your door, provides a limited edition vinyl record, instructions for cooking original recipes, and a few dried ingredients necessary for those recipes—without going overboard and without draining your wallet. Websites and professional chefs, however, are not the only ones who can determine these unions. Pairing music with food or drink is something that can be done by anyone. While enjoying a song or a dish, ask yourself, what adjectives describe this?
Is it comforting? Rustic? Harmonious? Bland? Words like these, while not wildly specific and limiting, can overlap in both categories and begin to guide you on your way. Pairing music with food or drink does not have to become a huge ordeal. I would like to think that the connections could be made from either side first, because frankly, it is debatable which is the chicken and which is the egg in this situation. Though a homegrown coupling may not be quite as pure as a professional one, ultimately, it is all about what tastes and sounds right. • Cara McGrath (Graphic Design)
United Nations Class of 2014 How many national anthems do you know? Hopefully, the answer is at least one. Feature
Realistically, it’s likely closer to four or five, depending on where you’re from. Or maybe you’re a weird Portuguese ex-pat who grew up going to international school in Singapore and Abu Dhabi (your dad probably works for OPEC), you summered in Seoul and wintered in Rio, and, as a result, you can faithfully recite at least 15 national hymns. Well, guess what? Depending on your politics, there are somewhere around 193 to 204 states in the world, with 194 national anthems between them. And when you put something like that in perspective, these songs prevail in everyday life far more than any other type of music. Take your top selling album of every year, for example—more people probably encounter “The Star-Spangled Banner” every single day than the million-or-so people who purchase that album. So, in the spirit of something not dissimilar to inclusiveness, the following constitutes a survey of the world’s national anthems, carefully organized and upsettingly pigeonholed in the style your high school yearbook superlatives. • Nick Hugon (International Affairs)
“Argentine National Anthem”
“National Anthem of the Republic of Colombia”
“O, Bright Dawn of May”
THE ONE THAT DOESN’T END
BEST SURPRISE ENDING
THE SOUNDTRACK TO THE VILLAIN YOU ALWAYS THOUGHT YOU COULD HAVE BEEN
SOUNDTRACK TO THE ALTERNATE ENDING OF POCAHONTAS WHERE JOHN SMITH DIES
“Land of the Free”
“One Single Night”
“National Anthem of the Republic of Azerbaijan”
“The Thunder Dragon Kingdom”
“Let Us Tread the Path of Our Immense Happiness”
“Strum Your Koras, Strike the Balafons”
MOST LIKELY TO BE THE TITLE OF A LAMB OF GOD DEEP CUT
SHOULD NOT BE LISTENED TO BY CHILDREN UNDER 4, PREGNANT WOMEN, OR PEOPLE WITH HEART CONDITIONS
“Paraguayans, The Republic of Death”
“National Anthem of Chile”
MOST COMPLETELY NORMAL
COSTA RICA “National Anthem of Costa Rica”
ESTONIA “My Fatherland, My Happiness and Joy”
BEST ACCOMPANIMENT FOR YOUR NEXT P-90-ZUMBA-CORECRUNCHAEROBICS WORKOUT SESH
SLOVAKIA “Lightning Over the Tatras” 23
The Concert Population Editorial
There are always those people at concerts, the ones that you elbow your friend to make sure they’ve seen. The overzealous partier escorted from the scene, the kid screaming all of the lyrics off-key or the vivacious dancer; if you’ve been to a music event you’ve seen them all. But just in case you’ve repressed those mildly disturbing memories of that fifty-year old man trying to twerk in the audience, or forgot to record the incident on your phone, here’s a helpful roll call. • Catalina Biesman-Simons (Undeclared)
They are the pair far more interested in each other than the soundtrack to their public make out. Their hands and tongues are roaming all over the place, and if a Catholic school teacher were present, she would have just enough time to exclaim, “leave room for Jesus!” before passing out from the sight of so much PDA. Warning: love songs are hazardous in this couple’s presence, inspiring the slurred murmuring of clichéd lyrics while staring deeply into each other’s eyes.
This person resembles either a homeless person or a prep school kid who wishes he were Bob Marley. They’re not worried about dying in the mosh pit, what their last name is, or their Marley identity crisis. If it’s a small venue, you might want to worry about the ratio of air to this kid’s stash, because—you know what…whatever, let’s just like, chill, be open to the moment, you know?
A resigned father is usually playing the role of shepherd to a flock of middle school girls out past their curfew; he is a beautiful example of patience to which we should all aspire. Every once in a while he might try and revive a few dance moves from the seventies, but mostly he just wishes he thought to bring earplugs and a leash for his legion of hormonal teenagers. This breed of chaperone is identifiable by their begrudging tolerance for “this noise” and the anguished look of boredom in their eyes.
The Stoic Security Guard
Prepare for all of your attempts to convince him that you’re the lead singer’s beloved cousin to be ignored—you will not be allowed backstage. He’s like a hybrid between a bouncer and the unfeeling British soldiers that stand rigidly outside of Royal residences. This is a creature with no apparent emotion—until a band member threatens to crowd surf, at which point the pure desperation in his face is unmistakable as he tries to salvage both the bodily safety of his wayward musician and his future employment at the venue.
This person is way too excited to be here. Often clad in band merch and a layer of perspiration, this person has more flexibility and ingenuity than you knew was possible to exercise in a cramped space. They get bonus points for intense dancing from the comfort of their assigned seat, and you get bonus points if you follow them into the mysterious realm of interpretive dance. Warning: if you’re squeezed next to this person where there’s standing room only, beware miscellaneous flying limbs.
The Unwilling Significant Other This person is clearly here against his or her will. Every once in a while, to placate their other half, they’ll execute a few feeble dance moves or nod enthusiastically. This person can be found hiding at the bar, conspicuously checking the time after every other song, and muttering misplaced idioms like “All’s fair in love and war.” A sure sign of the unwilling S.O. is the stream of expletives that escape them when the band returns for an encore. Despite their flaws, admire this person, because their loyalty outweighs their dislike for whatever music they’re sitting through.
The Manic Media Monster
The Monster is instantly recognizable by its repetitive behavior and determination. This person is trying really hard to show that they’re having more fun than everyone else is, and they’ve got the Facebook pictures—and Snapchat spam—to prove it. If you’re concerned that you or one of your loved ones may be a Monster, here are some symptoms to watch out for: a constantly updated feed on every media platform (even Google Hangout has been informed that this person is attending a concert), aggressively taking selfies with every person they meet and/or anxiously asking their friends if the tweet they’ve spent twenty minutes constructing is clever enough to publish.
Illustrations by Francesca Maida (Undeclared)
an interview with
For one weekend a year, Bonnaroo becomes the seventh largest city in Tennessee.
This June marks the 13th edition of the music and arts festival, where over 80,000 attendees will make the trek to a 700-acre farm in Manchester, TN. A celebration of world-class music, it is also a vibrant presentation of art and comedy, all pervaded by a community spirit that can only be understood once experienced. Four college friends—Jonathan Mayers, Rick Farman, Kerry Black and Rich Goodstone—founded Superfly Presents in 1996, and in 2002 they sought to create a new kind of metamusic event from scratch. Tastemakers sat down with Jonathan Mayers to discuss the history and culture of Bonnaroo. • Alex Rochefort (Music Industry)
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): Can you tell me how you and the other co-founders started Bonnaroo? Jon Mayers (JM): Superfly was based in New Orleans, and we were doing concerts throughout the city. A lot of our focus was around the special event timeframes like Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest. We weren’t doing all that well. We were doing a lot of shows, but we weren’t making any money… we were actually losing a lot of money. We were really excited about what we were doing and felt like, “Shit, we’re building something.” People were seeing the name Superfly, but we weren’t making any money. So we knew we had to change our plan and strategy. Simultaneously in the industry there was a lot going on. There were a lot of the big independent promoters getting bought up by a company called SFX at the time, so there was this consolidation of all of these regional independent promoters. A lot of the bands we were booking at the time, especially in the jam band genre, bands like Phish, were doing their own festivals and attracting huge audiences. Things like the iPod were just coming out so people’s listening was becoming more eclectic. Looking back, we didn’t know a lot. But being naïve sometimes to all the things, all the different factors, can be a good thing because, if you knew all that you may be intimidated to just do it. We were like, “Fuck it, what do we have to lose? Let’s give it a try.” We looked at a bunch of sites and got directed to our current site— the site we always have used—through a vendor. They said, “Hey, go take a look at this site, there’s a place in Tennessee. There was an event there and it failed, but it’s a great site.” Honestly, we didn’t even know 100% what we were looking for, but we drove up on it and it just felt right. We announced, but did it in kind of a non-traditional way. It was in a passive way. We didn’t buy advertising, we sent out one email blast. And it just kind of took off. It was the right timing, and it hit a nerve and just took off. That was the story. TMM: Where does the name Bonnaroo come from? JM: Well, we were thinking about a lot of different names. What’s the identity of this festival? What’s something unique? And we went through all different kinds of names. Me, personally, I went through the dictionary and was looking in all these different places for names. What it came back to is, “What inspired us? 27
Why call anything anything?” So we were trying to think about something that is part of our story. We started looking at records, and we came across a record by a famed New Orleans musician—“Desitively Bonnaroo” by Dr. John, who is amazing. That name, “Bonnaroo,” was visually really interesting. It looked fun. I was like,“What the hell does that mean?” We looked it up, and it was a Cajun slang word for “good stuff.” I was like, “That’s it.” People thought it was wacky at the time, but it made us stand out and gave us personality, and it had ties to where we came from and what inspired us.
We looked [Bonnaroo] up, and it was a Cajun slang word for “good stuff.” I was like, “That’s it.” Spring 2014
TMM: What do you think sets Bonnaroo apart from the thousands of other music festivals that happen each year? JM: I think the camping element, and the fact that it’s on this farm in the middle-ofnowhere type place. It’s this real escape from reality. You’re not going back home, you’re totally immersed in this experience. It’s also the journey to get there, and the preparation, but I think all of that is part of this deeper engagement. The art and visual design and personality are unique. It’s the names of our stages: This, That, Other, Which, What. There’s a playful nature about it. It kind of feels like summer camp for me.
An aerial shot of the festival and campgrounds (previous page).
Douglas Mason Bonnaroo runs from June 12-15 in Manchester, TN and expected to draw in more than 80,000 people.
Adam Macchia Radiohead headlined the festival in 2012.
C. Taylor Crothers
TMM: In 2013, The New York Times published an article about rising drug related deaths at music festivals. They were referring specifically to electronic music festivals, but also mentioned multi-genre ones like Bonnaroo. What do you think of this problem, and how do you combat it during the festival? JM: Any time you get that many people together, there’s going to be these kinds of issues, and there is a certain level of personal responsibility. I think for us it’s providing the safest environment possible, educating people to take care of themselves, and also that you can have a good time at something and be responsible. I do feel like there is a responsibility for us to highlight those issues, but we are all individuals. I believe in the power of coming together and enjoying music. That’s a really positive thing. Festivals should happen. I don’t think that festivals are causing [drug issues]. I think it’s individuals. But I think [a festival like Bonnaroo] can be a platform for raising awareness and understanding that there is a way you can act and have a great time. TMM: Is it hard to balance the lineup wishes of music fans of every genre? Do you place any importance on one genre over another?
JM: The lineup has opened up over the years. Maybe we were more concentrated on certain genres in the beginning. The fact is, we set out to put on a great music festival. It is amazing. Anytime I ask, “What are you listening to, what are you listening to?” people always say, “I listen to everything.” I think that’s also been a reflection of how people consume music now. When I was a kid, you were listening to radio and it was much more formatted by specific genre. Now its Spotify or YouTube or these things that allow much more taste and opportunity to listen to different things, and that’s been reflected in the festival. It’s hard to have a wide range of different genres, but what’s challenging is how do you keep it fresh each year? You can’t say “yes” to everything… there’s a lot of great talent out there, and it’s hard to say “no.” You only have X amount of slots and you’re gonna have to make certain decisions. TMM: From D’Angelo and Questlove covering Led Zeppelin, to R. Kelly performing with Jim James and John Oates, the SuperJams are some of the most anticipated shows every year. How did you come up with the idea, and how easy is it to get musicians to collaborate? JM: SuperJams started in our days in New Orleans and that was when we were just doing club shows. We were trying to figure out what
were our signature things, what can we do that’s different. We also wanted to be involved in the creative [aspect]. We didn’t want to just book a band that was touring through town and [be] kind of, “Here they are, here’s the programming.” We wanted to get involved in that process, and New Orleans is also known for the different collaborations and jam session, and we were very much inspired by that. TMM: What is the first thing you do after Bonnaroo is over? JM: One of the things I’ve started to do is to both drive down there as a road trip and then drive home. It was because I wanted that experience of a road trip, and I needed that period of decompression, because it’s such a rush that it’s like, “Did that just happen?” If you go to the airport you can jump on a plane and you’re home. I needed this transition period. So that’s a ritual.
For an interview with one of Bonnaroo’s other founders, visit tastemakersmag.com 29
A dr e fina aded m ls w ark ee eage rly w k loom on any its b s lik one aiti l e ’ som ade. In ng for s a guill s calen tude otin thes dar etim , e n unli e kely es comp darkes ts to ta , s can t sym sources anionsh of days te stud path . Oft , ip ar y e i com group. ze mor n, a sim ises fro e m p stag rehens The Fin than e ple son v g e a each of you ive emo l Playl en the b is r t e app momen finals p ional gu t is you st ropr repa r t of i d e t ia an ra •M o ax O te tune guish o tion, li each . nkin r joy yer g (He to a alth n Scie nce s)
denial Everybody starts finals the same way—“knowing” in our hearts that this time around will be different. This time we will begin studying weeks in advance, we will form groups to collaborate with, and we will settle for nothing less than a 100%. While this string of unbridled confidence and glee is obviously nothing more than delusional hyperbole, it nevertheless deserves an appropriate musical pairing. These tracks are upbeat and carefree, symbolic of a world void of the horrors of finals. As you settle into their warm embrace, you will find yourself more focused on how sweet the fresh cut grass smells, or how the sunlight sparkles through the budding leaves sprouting from the trees, than impending doom.
Electric Light Orchestra Mr. Blue Sky Vacationer Good as New The Kooks Junk of the Heart (Happy)
As the days melt away, suddenly the notion of skimming through the notes does not seem adequate. The chapters keep taking longer, and the practice problems evolve into indications of soon-to-be-failure. Clearly the professor is out to get you—there is no way memorizing all this information could possibly be legal. In such times of wrath, only a few hard-hitting songs will satisfy; music that strikes as hard as you against the wall, or explains the fury that you cannot. This part of the playlist features all the sounds of anger: abrasive synth and bass from a couple of leather-clad foreigners, gunshots and rhymes spit from a bulletproof gangster, and heavy drums and guitar from a band looking to wreck everything in their path.
Justice Stress 50 Cent Many Men (Wish Death) The Dead Weather Treat Me Like Your Mother
BARGAINING BARGAINING During thisthis delicate precursor to realizing thethe true extent of your During delicate precursor to realizing true extent of your predicament, you will try to find a way out. Maybe the professor willwill predicament, you will try to find a way out. Maybe the professor provide extra credit, or allow you to take it on the last day of exams, provide extra credit, or allow you to take it on the last day of exams, giving youyou a couple more days of precious study time. “If only I can giving a couple more days of precious study time. “If only I can getget through this exam,” you promise to anyone who will listen, “I swear through this exam,” you promise to anyone who will listen, “I swear I will never procrastinate again.” These songs willwill listen. They willwill I will never procrastinate again.” These songs listen. They sympathize. In fact, each hashas a plea of its own, as the artist seemingly sympathize. In fact, each a plea of its own, as the artist seemingly finds themselves in a similar position. Whether begging for selffinds themselves in a similar position. Whether begging for selfpreservation, trying to explain thethe reason behind their plight, or simply preservation, trying to explain reason behind their plight, or simply attempting to find a friend to enter thethe abyss with, youyou willwill notnot be be attempting to find a friend to enter abyss with, alone with these songs. alone with these songs.
Reptar Reptar Please Don’t KillKill MeMe Please Don’t Phoenix Phoenix Trying to Be Cool Trying to Be Cool Violent Femmes Violent Femmes Blister in Sun Blisterthe in the Sun
depression depression Well thisthis is it, lastlast moments before thethe endend of the world. As As thethe Well isthe it, the moments before of the world. sunrise pokes into the library and spills across the cubicle that hashas sunrise pokes into the library and spills across the cubicle that served as home for your last moments, the despair arrives in full force. served as home for your last moments, the despair arrives in full force. With each passing second the exams loom ever closer and further With each passing second the exams loom ever closer and further studying seems futile. Surely another poor soul must brave thethe same studying seems futile. Surely another poor soul must brave same gloomy ocean? It would appear you are not the lone ship, as the ill- illgloomy ocean? It would appear you are not the lone ship, as the fated individuals in these songs croon through their sadsad tales. Losing fated individuals in these songs croon through their tales. Losing love, oneself, and even society within these blue melodies, the artists love, oneself, and even society within these blue melodies, the artists provide relief only in accompaniment, mirroring your friends who provide relief only in accompaniment, mirroring your friends who findfind themselves with a comparable fate. Though they do do notnot provide themselves with a comparable fate. Though they provide encouragement or reassurance, perhaps you may find comfort encouragement or reassurance, perhaps you may find comfort through their melancholy chords andand lyrics. through their melancholy chords lyrics.
The National The National Don’t Swallow the Don’t Swallow Cap the Cap The Tallest Man on The Tallest Man Earth on Earth TheThe Wild Hunt Wild Hunt The Low Anthem The Low Anthem Charlie Darwin Charlie Darwin
Acceptance It’sIt’s over. Whether youyou aced it orit guessed every question incorrectly, over. Whether aced or guessed every question incorrectly, there is nothing that can change what is now the past. With thethe there is nothing that can change what is now the past. With conclusion of finals grows unrivaled relief and joy, and also brings conclusion of finals grows unrivaled relief and joy, and also brings about thethe most feel-good part of the playlist. These tracks exude about most feel-good part of the playlist. These tracks exude happiness. They demand celebration. Forgoing the route of happiness. They demand celebration. Forgoing the route lingering of lingering depression, they produce smiles. Now blast these songs andand feelfeel freefree depression, they produce smiles. Now blast these songs to throw your notes into a grand bonfire, perhaps while dancing with to throw your notes into a grand bonfire, perhaps while dancing with such intensity that youyou begin to eerily resemble thethe ceremonial rituals such intensity that begin to eerily resemble ceremonial rituals of some forgotten jungle tribe (or whatever normal students do to to of some forgotten jungle tribe (or whatever normal students do celebrate). Remember, there is always next semester. celebrate). Remember, there is always next semester.
Flogging Molly Flogging Molly Drunken Lullabies Drunken Lullabies Chance thethe Rapper Chance Rapper Favorite Song Favorite Song The Wombats The Wombats Let’s Dance to Joy Let’s Dance to Joy Division Division
an interview with
NO AGE Northeastern students filled afterHOURS on St. Patrickâ€™s Day Weekend to see
Tastemakers Presents Spring headliner, Los Angeles-based punk band No Age. Eight years after the release of their first self-released EP, DVD No. 1, guitarist Randy Randall and vocalist/drummer Dean Spunt have carved out a niche for themselves as experimental punk and indie rock intermediaries by contributing Spring 2014
to a number of highbrow art house projects while staying true to their D.I.Y. roots. The Grammy-nominated duo sat down with Tastemakers Magazine to discuss their beginnings, confrontational audiences, stagediving etiquette and the importance of being oneself.
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): Thank you guys for coming out and performing for us. Starting with a little on your background and how you formed, were you friends before or did you come together just for the music? Dean Allen Spunt (DS): We formed in Los Angeles. No Age started in 2006. We were in a band prior to that in 2001. We primarily met because we wanted to play music together with another person for the old band but became friends quickly after that. Randy Randall (RR): Yeah when that band broke up, we were like, “Well, let’s start something different. Let’s start another band, just the two of us.” That’s where No Age started. DS: But music is still a big part of what gets us together, our language. TMM: Over the course of performing over the years, what would you say would be your most memorable experience? DS: Well, all the touring really adds up to be quite remarkable. The years and years of traveling, going to different cities, different countries. Seeing different cultures, different music scenes, different everything. I think for me it’s kind of why we still do it. Staying at weird people’s houses, all that stuff. RR: Yeah, it all starts to blend together in ways. But I think if we were trying to chase down a show, on the drive out here we were thinking of all the Boston shows we’ve played. It all sort of comes right back. DS: It’s better to be in the moment and keep going forward. It’s not really all about one show. We did play a show in a basement out here in Boston, probably in 2005. It was when the Red Sox won the World Series. Is that ’05? TMM: ’04, I want to say. DS: That makes sense, ’04. That game was on while we were playing a show and we were in Boston. We were playing in someone’s basement. They came down and were like, “Alright guys, the game’s gonna start. So you guys are going to play during the commercial breaks.” No joke. TMM: [Laughs] DS: Okay, so we’re waiting. There’s no one in there and we’re like, “This is weird.” Then they ran in and they’re like, “Go! Play a song!” We play a song then they’re like “No! Stop!” Then they ran back out and we had to wait, because we don’t really care about baseball. RR: It’s funny, yeah. In L.A., the punk show would, you know… DS: That would trump the baseball game. RR: It goes beyond punk, being from this town. It doesn’t matter if you’re an anarchist peace punk who only rides fixed-gear bicycles and doesn’t eat, you’re still into baseball. DS: We don’t have that culture so much. But that was a funny show, quite memorable.
RR: People have shut the lights off, turned off the PA off. DS: Yeah, like in Big Sur. We played a show in Big Sur, in California on the coast. Really beautiful. We played a little lodge, Barefoot Lodge, something like that? Little tiny lodge, all woodsy. We started playing and there were a bunch of people there. The owner came up and started yelling in my face, “Shut the fuck up!” Unplugged us, turned the lights off, turned everything off. We were like, “You invited us to play.” RR: I think it was more of an issue with the promoter not keeping the show on schedule. We didn’t go on until 1:45 and they wanted the show done at 2. We were contracted to play an hour, we were just doing what we were told to do. DS: We tend of roll with the punches. There’s not too much we can’t handle. RR: There’re so many funnier challenges. It becomes a game. Like, “Okay, how do we get there? How do we do this?” DS: Sometimes people spit on you. That hasn’t happened in a while. TMM: [Laughs] In a while?
TMM: On that same note, have you guys faced any challenges beyond the norm? Beyond minor equipment problems or delays? DS: We’ve missed flights and haven’t gotten to shows. We’ve dealt with aggressive people who didn’t think that we should be performing at the time, who thought we were too loud, yelling for us to stop. 33
“We just wanted to make it, let you figure it out, feel it out while you’re listening to it.” Interview
DS: Well, yeah. I mean when we first started playing, especially in 2006, no one knew or cared about our band. People were coming to just check it out and I feel like at the time, in those couple years, our music was a little weird, maybe more unsettling. I think this shift, it’s a little different now. It’s more acceptable to play this kind of music. We’ve been on TV. I think back then it would’ve been like, “This band is too weird for that.” So I think sometimes we’d play and people would be like, “What the fuck?”
All photos by Ben Stas (English/Journalism)
TMM: Was the spitting a show of disrespect or more a demonstration of the person’s punk cred? RR: You never know. Like some people with crowd surfing. You want people to have a good time but at some point, you’re just like “Oh my God, that looks painful.” Yeah, enjoy yourself. I love wild shows but someone’s gonna get hurt. When that happens once, you’re like “Okay.” But from our perspective, every night, it becomes tedious. TMM: Have you ever stage dived yourself? At your own shows? DS: Yeah, I have. I would never tell them not to do it. Usually they don’t get hurt. There’s so much adrenaline usually, there’s a kid getting kicked in the face and they don’t really care. After the show, they’re bleeding and they’re like “That was amazing!” They’re so pumped the next morning. I’ve been that guy.
TMM: Are you guys always so interactive with your audience? Or does it depend on the venue? DS: It depends on the venue, the vibe. RR: Sometimes people don’t want to talk. DS: Sometimes we play in front of thousands or hundreds of people. There’s that energy and you don’t really need to talk or there’s no space for you to really give that much. But tonight felt pretty mellow and open. RR: You’re looking everybody in the eyes like, “Okay. This is us. We’re the group together here.” It’s important to just be in the moment, I think for us, no matter what that is. Whether you’re in a bad mood, a good mood. DS: You don’t want to fake it. RR: Wherever you’re at, being in front of people with a bunch of energy. If you’re not feeling it, people know. If you are, people know. It’s easier to just be honest with whatever it is. It’s kind of like going on a date. Like that first date, you want to break the ice and try to create something. You put your best foot forward but at the same time you’ve got to be yourself or else you look like a creep. DS: Sounds easier just to relax, be yourself, pop a breath mint and let it ride. Let it go. TMM: You guys like to do your shows on your own terms, being yourselves. For An Object, we wanted to get the backstory behind putting together the materials yourself. DS: It actually wasn’t that hard. We packaged 5,000 LPs and 5,000 CDs ourselves. Printed them, shipped them all, made the boxes for the records to go in. Sent them to the distributor, pretty much everything that goes into making a record without actually pressing the vinyl. RR: If you’re going to pay for something, what is it that you’re really buying? We felt like we wanted to physically make something that you’d buy. We made this and you’re buying it versus these big gaps in your understanding of where things come from. For us, as artists, we’re gonna go through the effort to really put this in your hand, if you want it. If not, there’s a million other ways to get it. But we know that you bought something that we believed in, that we made. There wasn’t this feeling of disconnect. DS: It’s not a big political statement. Just an idea, more of a question to put out there. How does it make you feel? To get something we made, with our signature on it? We just wanted to make it, let you figure it out, feel it out while you’re listening to it. RR: It’s really in the eye of the beholder. The audience can come up with their own conclusion. • Dinorah Wilson (Journalism/Law and Public Policy)
RAP LIKE A GIRL A few fierce females are here to revolutionize the game As Nicki Minaj sits comfortably on her platinum throne, a mob of “bad bitch” rap princesses are threatening her eight year reign. Having said that, the coup d’etat hasn’t been a swift takeover. In a genre historically capitalized by males it would be nice to see some diversity among females, but with quantity overriding quality it’s tough to pin down Minaj’s worthy competition. Kreayshawn’s 2012 single “Gucci Gucci” earned close to three million views on YouTube and a contract with Columbia Records, but her studio album crashed and burned. Others with successful singles have been hesitant to release their studio albums, leaving a handful of talented female rappers on the outskirts of the mainstream. A long awaited comeback from powerhouse Missy Elliott may be what these
ladies need to jump-start their confident creativity, but in order for them to capitalize and hit platinum like Minaj they need to lead as legends, not follow as prodigies. These bad girls must revolutionize female hip-hop by setting themselves apart from each other and from their predecessors while also establishing a healthy community amongst them. The ‘90s-’00s were dominated by female rappers like Lil Kim, Missy Elliott, Eve, MC Lyte and Lauryn Hill who succeeded by doing exactly this; they respected each other and collaborated together, while maintaining their unique images and personalities. Yes, Lil Kim is notorious for her aggressive impulsivity, but that’s all part of her rebel persona. Unlike Kim, Minaj has constantly “beefed” with her colleagues for the sole purpose of
omnipotence, and this may be in part why the upcoming girls have been brushed aside. Minaj has instilled a reign of terror, perhaps, that has stunted the rap community from banding together to create a collaborative of talented artists. One competitor who has struck gold has been M.I.A., who released her successful fourth album Matangi this year. She has since collaborated with Missy Elliott and Azealia Banks on a remix of her hit “Bad Girls” which could inspire more females to collaborate with one another. The 38 year old mother from the UK has been around since the mid-’00s, so it may be time to pass the torch to younger acts who will move the genre forward. Here are some of the fine ladies who have a shot at twerking Nicki off her hip-hop throne.
• Mackenzie Nichols (Journalism / Music Industry)
Azealia Banks From Harlem, NYC Label Interscope This 22 year old Harlem native is not one to be messed with. Her twitter personality will eat you alive; her lyrics will slap you across the face. She repeats “I’ma ruin you cunt” on her single “212” and has discussed a studio fist fight with DJ Diplo. She battles cops and raps through horrifying “mouth-eyes” in her nightmarish video for “Yung Rapunxel.” Her “seapunk” themed video for “Atlantis” is comparable to a Tumblr session on acid. Banks started rapping when she was 14, around the same time she moved out of her mother’s abusive control to live with her older sister. She was 17 when she started rapping over Diplo’s beats and released her first song “Seventeen” under XL Recordings, based in London. Since then she has uploaded singles, videos and covers to YouTube, and has recently announced that her studio album, Broke with Expensive Taste, is finished and should drop this summer.
Check out 212, Yung Rapunxel, Liquorice Has collaborated with Missy Elliott, M.I.A., Lady Gaga, Kanye West
(Amethyst Amelia Kelly)
From Sydney, Australia Label Island Def Jam Feature
Iggy is the Australian Brigitte Bardot of hip-hop: platinum blonde with a booty that she could probably trademark. Known for her overtly sexual lyrics, the Aussie babe is much tamer in interviews. Although she has gotten a lot of help from rapper T.I., she wants to be taken seriously as an independent artist. When asked if she’s the “valley girl giving blowjobs for Louboutins” (as referenced in her most popular single “Work”), she laughs and rolls her eyes. Her quiet confidence and sharp wit prove that she’s all business, even though her song “Pussy” urges listeners to “taste the rainbow, taste her skittles.” The 23 year old was 16 when she left her family to travel to Miami with money she made cleaning hotels and holiday houses. By 2011, she had moved to Los Angeles and signed a deal with Interscope. Her mixtape Ignorant Art was released that year, followed by a music video for her song “My World.” In 2012 she started working with rapper T.I. on her upcoming debut, The New Classic, which just released its pre-order on iTunes. She was nominated as an “Artist to Watch” at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards.
Check out Pussy, Work, Fancy Has collaborated with Charli XCX, T.I. Diplo, Steve Aoki
(Raykeea Angel Wilson)
From Detroit, Michigan Label Universal Republic, Island Records Self-proclaimed introvert Angel Haze uses music to release her “demons” and bring out the “bad bitch” personality hidden under her shy exterior. Her raps are fast and steeped in cultural allusions, like this bit from “Echelon (It’s My Way)”: I’m in that new school G5 wagon Color Komodo dragon My bitch looks like she Jasmine My nigga looks like Aladdin NKOTB, bitch - all these bitches is has beens I CPR’d the game and now all these bitches is gasping Haze was raised under the Greater Apostolic Faith, a cult-like religious community that restricted its followers from listening to music. After leaving when she was 16, she discovered Eminem and drew inspiration from his writing style. Her cover of Eminem’s “Cleanin’ Out My Closet,” performed once and only once at a London show, recounts graphic stories of sexual abuse when she was 7 years old. She has collaborated with Iggy Azalea on a cover of Kanye West and Jay-Z’s song, “Otis,” and has worked with Sia on the song, “Battle Cry,” released this past Valentine’s day. Her debut album, Dirty Gold, leaked online earlier this winter and earned less than optimal sales despite positive feedback from critics. Spring 2014
Check out Werkin’ Girls, Echelon (It’s My Way), Battle Cry, Cleaning Out My Closet Has collaborated with Sia, Bassnectar
OTHER NOTABLE ACTS
(From rap group Die Antwoord) From South Africa Label Zef Records, Cherrytree, Polydor, Rhythm Records Sounds like a 17 year-old hyper-sexualized mouse with a quick tongue. She owns 50 rats and recently had her eldest stuffed after it died. She is equally horrifying as she is sexy, which can stump and intrigue any average listener. Check out: Cookie Thumper, Rich Bitch, Evil Boy Has collaborated with: Her partner in crime, Ninja, and Diplo
Junglepussy (Shayna McHale)
From Brooklyn, NY Sounds like Kelis with a bit of Missy Elliott punch to her delivery and a Lil Kim sass in her tone. Her mother is Trinidadian and her father is Jamaican, which she says has made her “aggressive” and “expressive” in her career and general behavior. Junglepussy is a relatively new project; her provocative first single, “Cream Team,” was released in 2012 and her other singles were released just this past year. Her debut, Satisfaction Guaranteed, is expected to drop this summer. She opened for Lil Kim recently at a Brooklyn show. Check out Curve ‘Em, Cream Team, Stitches, and her hilarious Vine and twitter accounts @JUNGLEPUSSY aka BLACK POWER Has collaborated with Lil Kim, Tink, Shy Guy
Brooke Candy (a.k.a Freaky Princess)
From Oxnard, California Label RCA Sounds like the hip-hop Lady Gaga: her explicit nature and groundbreaking style screams “no fucks given.” In her video for “Everybody Does” she is naked, covered in gold metallic paint and twerking in platform sneakers. She has several tattoos including “Everything Dies” across her forehead, a sofa on her right bicep, and a pot leaf with the words “White Trash” on her asscheek. Candy is a founding member of “Fag Mob,” a group of gay performers who collaborate as artists to promote equality. Candy is bisexual, and has briefly discussed her experience as an exotic dancer. Her father is CFO of Hustler magazine, but she says that she is “self-made” and has not received aid from him to forward her career. Check out Das Me, Everybody Does Has collaborated with Grimes, Charli XCX 37
Live Music: the Perfect Accessory Music has been an integral element in runway shows since their creation, which fashion history experts claim could have been as early as 1903. It creates a desired atmosphere, adds theatrics to the show and supplies a steady rhythm for models to saunter to. Usually, the music choice is electronic, bass-heavy, and without lyrics, so as not to deter from the true focus of the show: the clothes. Recently, however, designers have been shying away from the conventional instrumental soundtracks in an attempt to diversify their runway shows. For designers with enough resources and star power, this means throwing in a live performance. This trend has been popularized by legendary brands like Chanel, as it’s a way to unify two vastly different, yet equally important art forms: fashion and music. Here’s a look at some of the more famous and successful partnerships between the two industries.
Florence Welch Chanel Spring 2012
If Karl Lagerfeld asks you to perform in a giant white clam shell, you do it, no questions asked. This was the case when Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine was asked to perform at Chanel’s Spring 2012 ready-to-wear show. The runway was transformed into an underwater fantasy world, complete with coral and sea horse set pieces, to accompany the ocean-inspired clothes. The true pièce de résistance, however, was Florence rising from a colossal clam shell to sing “What the Water Gave Me.” Only a genius like Lagerfeld could pair pearly, aquatic themed fashions with Florence’s powerful vocals for a runway show success.
Sonic Youth Marc Jacobs Fall 2008
Marc Jacobs has always been the creator of all things cool, and his Fall 2008 runway show was no exception. Jacobs enlisted alternative noisemakers and avant-garde royalty Sonic Youth to perform alongside his ready-to-wear line. As the band kicked off the show with “Jams Run Free,” models strutted the runway in muted colors and shapeless, slouchy garments, contrasting greatly with the loud and slightly manic Sonic Youth. Dim lighting and ominous black and white photographs displayed on a screen behind the band only added to the unconventionality of the show. Well into their 50s, Sonic Youth still gave a magnetic performance, something Marc Jacobs definitely forecasted when he chose them to perform.
Janelle Monáe Rebecca Minkoff Spring 2014
Janelle Monáe is a fashion icon in her own right. In addition to her vocal abilities, Monáe is renowned for her signature pompadour hairstyle and menswearinspired style. Perhaps that’s why Rebecca Minkoff recruited Monáe to perform live during the debut of her 2014 ready-to-wear collection. Monáe belted tracks like “Tightrope” beside an exuberant live band, complete with backup singers who appeared more like go-go dancers. Rebecca Minkoff’s Latin American-inspired collection was both feminine and bohemian, contrasting with Janelle Monáe’s androgynous look. Both Minkoff and Monáe, however, are experts in their own right at putting on a show, and this show demonstrated that.
St. Vincent Diane von Furstenberg Fall 2014
Diane von Furstenberg’s New York show honoring the 40th anniversary of her signature wrap dress was more of a celebration than a runway show, and the designer saw nobody better to help pay tribute to the innovative garment than Annie Clark, a.k.a St. Vincent. Clark serenaded the audience with tracks from her self-titled album that came out in February, including “Digital Witness,” “Every Tear Disappears” and “Prince Johnny,” as models strutted the runway in von Furstenburg’s iconic wrap dress designs. St. Vincent had von Furstenberg herself dancing at the disco-inspired show, as glitter fell onto the gold and black runway.
Animal Collective Alexandre Herchcovitch Spring 2006
The funky, floral-obsessed Brazilian designer recruited experimental psychedelic band Animal Collective to perform alongside his Spring 2006 ready-to-wear collection. Although Herchcovitch’s designs ultimately proved to be lacking in “wearability,” his collaboration with the Brooklyn-based band was successful in delivering the psychedelia the designer was aiming for with his “freedom movement”inspired collection. Animal Collective sang about hallucinogenic experiences while surrounded by a runway sprinkled with plexiglass mushrooms. The frivolous designs left a lot to be desired, despite a kaleidoscopic performance from Animal Collective.
Although these live performances at runway shows proved rewarding, not all fashion/music collaborations have enjoyed such success. Kanye West learned the hard way to stick to music when he made his fashion debut with a womenswear line in 2011. Not even performances by Common, Mos Def, Big Sean or Azealia Banks could keep critics from describing it as “painful” and a “fashion fail.”
Artist Undercover ALEKSEY NELIPA
A Q&A with
By Leslie Fowle (English/Journalism)
By day, Aleksey Nelipa is the senior software engineer at Alphasimplex, an investment research and management firm in Cambridge. By night, Nelipa is an artist. His chosen expression is more akin to graffiti than to fine art, though his medium is usually just pen on paper. It’s the relationship between Nelipa and his subjects that makes his art unique: Nelipa spends at least a night a week at small concerts and open-mics in Boston, sketching the musicians in secret. At the end of the performance, he usually gives his drawings away—often without a word of introduction or explanation.
Nelipa’s sketch of Jacob Rosati and Christopher Stoppiello—members of the band Skinny Bones. Flip to page 18 to check out our feature on them!
Nelipa’s guerilla drawing has caused a buzz in Boston’s music scene. A Google search of Nelipa’s name reveals dozens of musicians who have posted the anonymous sketches on their pages, asking the public for a name so they can thank their mysterious portraitist. Many have used his art on t-shirts, album covers and in music videos. Despite the generally positive reception of his work, the 36-year-old Brighton resident prefers to keep his persona on the down-low. As Nelipa puts it, music, for him, is about “just experience.” His sketching attempts to capture this experience as it’s happening— to encapsulate a moment in time in 2D. Tastemakers sat down with Nelipa recently to discuss his art, his past and his anonymity.
Leslie Fowle (English/Journalism)
Tastemakers Magazine (TMM): So you were saying you don’t know that much about music? Aleksey Nelipa (AN): That’s to put it lightly. I come from a long line of completely musically-challenged people. I mean my parents listened to some music, but we’re from Moscow, so it was never really a big deal. They were not really into it. We listened to some French [music], and some disco. People are always like, “What did you listen to?” And I always say, “I never listened to anything.”
years after, that things would be different. Art might have been a major thing for me earlier on in life. I might have pursued art as a career.
TMM: How did you get your start drawing? AN: At one point my parents sent me to an art school during my childhood. But the Soviet Union was on its last legs at the time so it was a strange environment. I had to skip my regular school to art school, and the art school teachers would not be there. I was really not enjoying it. I actually got expelled because I couldn’t keep up with both regular school and art school.
TMM: What is your ideal work/hobby balance? AN: The most exhausting thing is openmics because it’s all different musicians, and there’s no room to rest between them. But, I also noticed that if I keep quiet, and don’t go to as many shows, I don’t necessarily feel more rested. Sometimes, it’s just the opposite. I need to go to at least one show per week. There was a period in my life where I would see five shows a week.
TMM: You didn’t enjoy art school more than regular school? AN: I didn’t enjoy art school at all. It was mostly because of the teachers. I often think that if I was born a few years before, or a few
TMM: Tell me about the first time you sketched a local band. AN: I was out of a bad relationship, and in a new apartment. I moved from Fenway to Brighton. It was just this big apartment with
TMM: Do you feel like your art side and your computer science side every came together in any way that was satisfying for you? AN: They were separate in a way, but to my mind, one is a lot like the other. You can write beautiful or you can write ugly code—in the same way you create art.
all these cardboard boxes—really not feeling like home. I just decided to do something different than my old pencil sketches. I went out to a bar nearby—Great Scott—and decided to draw people there. TMM: What’s your favorite kind of music? AN: Like I said, I’m very musically challenged. So for me it’s about just experience. If it’s to sketch, then I like to sketch singer-songwriters probably the most because I think to me it’s very honest. You know how people in life wear masks? It’s very honest. If something makes you sad, you write a song about it. For me, I try to capture the essence. I mean, that’s all I’m going for— to capture the inner essence of the singersongwriter, because that’s where people get the chance to really be honest about what they feel about life. TMM: Why do you give your drawings away— often without introducing yourself? AN: Sometimes I try to. But, well, my hobby is bothering people at work.
Fall 2012 Spring 2014
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER JAROMÍR JÁGR
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER SIDNEY CROSBY
Arcade Fire is the superstar of the group. With its arena-suited indie rock, the band burst onto the scene with 2004’s Funeral and has been a mainstay as one of the genre’s biggest and most successful acts ever since. The band has released a new album every three years since Funeral, with each revealing a slightly different and more nuanced sound. In 2010, Arcade Fire released the 16-track The Suburbs and the album hit #1 in the U.S. and U.K. before winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. Even Kanye was happy for them. Arcade Fire is the best Canada has to offer, their reigning MVP, and there is no sign that they’ll be stepping down anytime soon after 2013’s Reflektor impressed critics and pleased fans.
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER MILAN LUCIC
Little known outside of Ontario, Arkells formed in 2006 determined to do justice to raw, guitar-heavy rock music. Their debut record, Jackson Square, earned the Hamilton group the Juno award for New Band of the Year in 2010 and a major record label deal. The band is known for its energetic, foot-stomping live shows, which feature leather jackets and covers of The Clash. Their second and most recent album, Michigan Left, was released in 2011. Arkells have more of a rock presence than their teammates, similar to the physical play of the (also underrated) power forward Milan Lucic.
The veteran twins of pop from Calgary have been making music for nearly two decades now. After finding success at the age of 18, winning Calgary’s “Garage Warz” contest, Tegan and Sara spent the following 16 years building a large and loyal following by blending pop, punk and indie music. Tegan and Sara have been accused of selling out on Heartthrob, their latest 10-track LP on which more than half of the songs could be pop radio singles. While they may not be what they once were, they’re still producing at a high level.
But thankfully, hockey and curling is not all Canadians have to root for. There are bands from our northern neighbors making good tunes. In fact, a musical Team Canada might even be just as talented as the groups that brought home gold in the Olympics.
When Nickelback released the compilation album The Best of Nickelback, Volume 1 (that’s right, this is just the first) in 2013, Canadians surely thought things could only get better. Then Justin Bieber capped off a year of minor run-ins and started off 2014 with a bang—getting arrested twice before February was over and fish bowling his private jet so badly that birds were getting contact high.
Tegan and Sara
by Tom Doherty (Journalism & Linguistics/English)
Music worth listening to from our northern neighbors
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER TUUKKA RASK
Leslie Feist garnered recognition as a teenager as the vocalist of a punk band called Placebo before blowing her voice out. She moved on to play guitar for By Divine Right and toured with electro-punk singer Peaches, performing with a sock puppet and licking a bicycle in the “Lovertits” music video. Feist eventually released her solo debut record, Monarch (Lay Your Jewelled Head Down), in 1999 and has continued to make grownup pop music on her own ever since. She’s churned out incessantly catchy tracks like “Mushaboom” and “1234” alongside toned-down pieces such as “Let It Die,” while also performing in the indie collective Broken Social Scene. A promising career delayed by injuries before solidifying herself as one of the most consistent and talented at what she does, with just a small dose of crazy? That sounds like a certain goaltender from Boston.
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER CAM FOWLER
Ethan Kath titled his experimental electronic project Crystal Castles after the home of She-Ra from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, so it was off to a brilliant start. Kath teamed up with vocalist Alice Glass and released the Toronto-based duo’s self-titled debut, laden with lo-fi electronic music fit for your Gameboy Color. Crystal Castles then shifted towards clarity and polish, even on 2012’s aggressive (III). Kath’s project is relatively young and has shown great potential, just like the Anaheim Ducks’ young defenseman Cam Fowler.
The instrumental group out of Montreal formed back in 1994, released their debut album in 1997 and has consistently been one of post-rock’s best outfits ever since. Their extended tracks, often longer than 20 minutes, feature inflections of metal and patient builds to arching crescendos. The Quebecois band went on hiatus following 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O. and, after years of speculation about whether they had broken up, reconvened with live shows in 2010 followed by the excellent 2012 release ’ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! Regularly accepted as one of the best at what they do, GY!BE still don’t get the recognition they deserve.
COMPARABLE NHL PLAYER RYAN SUTER
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK Emperor
Album Reviews Foster the People Supermodel Release date March 14, 2014 Label Columbia Genre Pop Tasty tracks Best Friend, A Beginner’s Guide To Destroying The Moon, Are You What You Want To Be
Reviews Spring 2014
It’s hard to look at Supermodel, Foster The People’s sophomore album, without looking at what brought their career to the light. I remember going to work in 2011 and hearing “Pumped Up Kicks” played at least three times a shift. That song was catchier than the Black Plague. In fact, the appeal of their debut album Torches was rooted in the fact that it was a 40-minute earworm filled with chant choruses and foot-tapping melodies. The success of the lead single and album took the trio from recording in their garage to the pop limelight of the Grammys in a matter of months. If I could look at Supermodel independently, without the glare of Torches, I would; no good musician wants or deserves to be remembered for their only pop hit. But the impact of that sudden fame pervades the entire album, from the album cover to the last line. The album is a bit of a thematic journey, with the experiences of the band channeled through the perspective of a washed-up Supermodel, beginning with a period of self reflection over the past few years with “Are You What You Want To Be?” and “Ask Yourself”, with the line “Is this the life you’ve been waiting for? Well ask yourself” repeating itself throughout the song. The self-reflection is followed by a bit of maturing and adjusting to the new lifestyle, and ending with an oddity where the story’s protagonist seems to run out of steam. Throughout this journey the band demonstrates its newfound maturity and perspective, adding layers to the album that were previously less visible on Torches with tracks like “Coming of Age” and with that pristine realization we see a band with a different emphasis. We see a band less focused on sing-along pieces with catchy chants permeating their singles and more focused on instrumentation and demonstrating their musical abilities to the audience with mixing that focuses on the guitar and bass combination with distortion nostalgically mimicking 60s psychedelic bands like Grateful Dead with plenty of reverb. The contrast is best seen in the track “Pseudological Fantastica”, which is permeated with heavy guitar effects and
zoned out vocals, containing multiple points where the vocals have stepped aside and let the guitar and bass take over. A curious moment occurs near the end of the song, where the bridge gives way to a small piano interlude. At first listen, I expected a loud chorus to follow the interlude. I was surprised when the resurgence wasn’t accompanied by a sing along moment, but an extended guitar break while the vocals only maintained a background melody. The things that made Torches such a fun album to listen to haven’t been buried underneath this new found musicianship. The catchy beats, the sing-along choruses, are still there, and the album itself is still extremely enjoyable to listen to. Songs like “Best Friend” remind us that despite the shift in focus that you’re still listening to a band that you can dance to. There are a few reservations that make this album a good one instead of a great one. The archetype of “dealing with fame” is a bit of an overdone one; it’s a feeling that may be uncommon to the everyday person, but the everyday person has definitely heard the perspective done before with another band. More importantly, the album ends in a bit of an unsettling matter. Shortly after
“Best Friend”, my prediction for future most successful single on the album, we are a met with a bit of static in “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” followed by a dropoff in energy, enthusiasm and the band’s quintessential positive vibes (which still persisted through the coming-of-age parts of the album), resulting in a final three songs that aren’t necessarily unenjoyable, but feel very disconnected and almost seem like they belong on a different album, ending with the sour taste that whatever story Foster The People was trying to tell finished with a burnout. Despite the burnout and the stereotypes, I’m happy with what the band put forth. Is there going to be another “Pumped Up Kicks?” No. Is this the same band we knew in 2011? Yes, but a band that has gained a few years of valuable experience. Definitely not a sophomore slump, and giving hope for a bit of longevity in Foster The People. David McDevitt (International Affairs/Economics)
Pharrell Williams GIRL Release date March 4, 2014 Label Columbia Genre R&B/Pop Tasty tracks Hunter, Marilyn Monroe, Happy
With his new album, G I R L, Pharrell Williams is trying to make it clear to everyone exactly how he feels about the fairer sex. Given that his two biggest recent hits—“Get Lucky” with Daft Punk and “Blurred Lines”
Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else Release date April 1, 2014 Label Carpark Records Genre Indie Rock/Noise Rock Tasty tracks Now Here In, No Thoughts, I’m Not Part Of Me
“I can feel your pain, and I feel alright about it,” Dylan Baldi sings on “Now Here In,” the opening track of Cloud Nothings’ fourth album, Here and Nowhere Else, signaling to listeners that the band hasn’t lost touch with the anger that has made their past material seem so immediate. The angst and teenage nihilism evident in the band’s work has always felt preternaturally youthful, part of which may be due to the band’s youngest member also being its frontman (Baldi started the band at 18 and is now 22, whereas bassist TJ Duke and drummer Jayson Gerycz are 31 and 27, respectively). On Here and Nowhere Else, the band continues to explore the anger and anxiety of youth. The record continues down the path set by 2012’s Attack on Memory, on which Cloud Nothings shifted from a lo-fi solo
with Robin Thicke—have spurred on numerous cries of “misogyny,” it’s easy to see why P thinks that he has some damage control to do. In the wake of G I R L’s release, he stated “There’s an imbalance in society, in my opinion, and it’s going to change. A world where 75 per cent of it is run by women – that’s a different world. That’s gonna happen, and I want to be on the right side of it when it does.” Lyrically, the album hits the mark that Williams is aiming for. Instead of objectifying women in the way many of his contemporaries do, he instead celebrates their inherent powers—especially the sexual ones. Indeed, the album is primarily made up of sex jams. Whether courting a prospective one-night stand on songs like “Hunter” (“Duck Dynasty is cool and all / But they ain’t got nothing on a female’s call”) or worshipping the woman on “Lost Queen,” one main point is made on G I R L—Skateboard P loves sex. The most notable exception to this notion is lead single “Happy.” If you somehow haven’t heard this song yet, allow me to fill you in. It’s essentially the sonic equivalent of a caramel macchiato with three extra shots, and sent the crowd at the recent
act to a bona fide ‘rock band’. Baldi’s vocals are as raw as they’ve ever been and nearly every track is a headlong rush of woundup intensity. “Psychic Trauma” opens at a more moderate tempo, seeming at first to be bucking the trend, only to take an abrupt turn forty seconds in. Elsewhere, “Pattern Walks” describes the unnerving sensation of feeling like you’re being followed, either by somebody else (“Another person, feels like he is right behind me”) or by memories of your own actions (“I’m moving forward, while I keep the past around me”). Listening to much of Here and Nowhere Else can feel a bit like being a character in an Edvard Munch painting, trapped inside your own head by anxiety or struggling with emotions that seem too huge to contain. Here and Nowhere Else does, however, offer a release from that sensation. Just like Attack on Memory, the album’s best song is its eighth and final track, but where their last album had the vituperative “Cut You”, this one ends with the optimistic “I’m Not Part of Me.” While both songs grapple with a broken relationship, “I’m Not Part of Me” has replaced much of the selfish vitriol with introspection on personal development:
World Indoor Bowls Championship in Great Yarmouth, England, into a state of ecstatic fervor. Basically, it’s like watching a Target ad without the visuals; a track seemingly made to be commercialized. Williams is a renowned producer, but G I R L sounds decidedly different from his previous efforts. He’s done away with much of his distinctive, minimalist production style and brought in elements that wouldn’t sound out of place on Justin Timberlake’s most recent album or at any given senior prom pregame. This means a lot of horns and strings (the latter are courtesy of Hans Zimmer). It’s not that the album as a whole isn’t listenable—there’s plenty of hook-laden ecstasy to be had here. But, when looking back at P’s previous projects, there’s a lot about G I R L that feels a bit forced. It seems like this is an album designed to sell. It most likely will, but the fact still remains that this is not an album for the longtime Pharrell fan. It’s listenable, for sure, and the star-studded features roster keeps things interesting. However, if you’re looking for early 2000s Neptunes vibes, it’s probably best to look elsewhere. Aaron Decker (Communications)
“I’m learning how to be here and nowhere else, how to focus on what I can do myself.” When Baldi sings “You’re not what I really needed,” it doesn’t sound like an insult but an acknowledgment that other issues need to be addressed. The song still carries resentment and a bit of a youthful sneer, but to hear that mixed with a search for self-reliance and maturity makes the latter feel all the more relatable and, perhaps, achievable. Nathan Goldman (Sociology) 45
Liars Mess Release date March 25, 2014 Label Mute Genre Electronic-Indie Tasty tracks Pro Anti Anti, Mess on a Mission, Perpetual Village
Liars’ musical journey has ever been one of reinvention and personal rebranding. After a debut that fit comfortably on the fringes of early 2000s post-punk revival (They Threw Us in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top, 2001) the Brooklyn trio revealed a tendency for curveballs with the widely reviled follow-up They Were Wrong So We Drowned. Since then fans have been more forgiving of Liars’ change-ups, if anything reveling in them. The group’s ability to jump from garage-rock (Liars) to unsettling no-wave (Sisterworld) to Kid A-inspired electronica inspires comparisons to other innovators like Radiohead and Wilco, and quality-wise Liars aren’t far off (if not quite there. I mean, it’s Radiohead). That electronic sound mentioned above first appeared on Liars’ last record WIXIW, where the band dipped its toes in the water with synth sighs and tentative pulses. Comparatively Mess is a cannonball. Opening song “Mask Maker” sets the tone with a violent groove and a sinister disembodied vocal encouraging the listener to go Buffalo Bill and remove its face. If that sounds bizarre and potentially frightening, welcome to the wonderful world of Liars. The group’s never strained themselves too hard to
make listeners feel at ease, and their often abstract lyrics aren’t exactly inviting. But on this new record of theirs, Liars’ auditory unfriendliness is grounded by an EDMleaning change in sound—possibly of the moment, but knowing Liars more likely born on a whim or three. As a result the pleasures of Mess are some of Liars’ most immediate to date. “Pro Anti Anti” is pummeling in much the same way a Skrillex show might be, though without his banal drops and shrill synths. Aggressive bass drives tracks like “Vox Tuned D.E.D.” as well, and “I’m No Gold” is a six-minute odyssey of clicks, pulses and wordless vocals. The mellow “Can’t Hear Well” is an outlier amongst these barn-burners, but functions well as a breather before the exciting “Mess on a Mission,” an album highlight with howling high-register vocals and an earworm of a hook. In this run of songs Liars make the kind of deranged dance music that WIXIW hinted at on its excellent penultimate track “Brats,” and the look suits the trio well. It’s on the second half of Mess that Liars’ Liars-ness takes center stage. Instrumental “Darkslide” is all slippery pitter-patter beats and whistles, evoking Harry Potter’s Forbidden Forest after dark. “Boyzone”
features disinterested vocal moans reminiscent of stranger Liars records than Mess, and on “Perpetual Village” electric drum beats and swirling synths propel the song through its epic nine-minute run. It’s bold, and what’s more that song and many others on Mess display Liars’ hitherto unexplored ability to be both creatively engaging and, surprisingly, easy on the ears. Throughout the record Liars successfully balances both, as bands like Wilco and Radiohead have done before them, and in doing so have crafted their least alienating album yet. “Least alienating” sounds like damning with faint praise, but when it comes to Liars that phrase is practically an openhand gesture. Mike Doub (Psychology/Journalism)
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When Beck returned this year with Morning Phase it felt like hearing from an old friend for the first time in a while. Not one that you had a falling out with necessarily, more like one with whom you gradually lost touch over time. In a sense, we all did with Beck. His last record before Morning Phase dropped in 2008, and a few short tours and production credits aside he’s been relatively silent since. Part of that has been attributed to a serious back injury, one which reportedly left Beck unable to dance his usual stage dance and severely impaired his movements. It’s easy to see Beck’s departure as a response to his diminishing role in a lane he helped to foster, too. Over the course of his career, the California native has gone from promising upstart to an indie elder statesman, but it wasn’t the smoothest of transitions—there are a few good-not-great albums of his from the mid-2000s which prove this point. Maybe that pause was a blessing in disguise. 2013 proved the value of the comeback for artists ranging from Daft Punk to Justin Timberlake to Queens of the Stone Age, who all released their first albums in years to critical and commercial success. Doing so also got these artists back in the conversation in ways they hadn’t been previously, and in a sense that’s what Beck’s done here. He’s touring again, he’s headlining festivals, and he’s also receiving some his best reviews since the incredible Sea Change (more on that one later). People are talking about him again. What better time for us to discuss him here then? Beck’s had one of the more interesting artistic careers in the last 20 years. He sprouted seemingly out of the ground and went from nobody to somebody without compromising his music at all. That music—a beguiling patchwork quilt of styles and instruments—isn’t one we’ve seen from an artist besides Beck, as, wisely, no one’s bothered to try to replicate it. At his best, he bridges a catchy chorus and thought-provoking sonics, and at his worst…well, we haven’t really seen his worst yet. We’re lucky to have him back. • Mike Doub (Psychology/Journalism)
“The New Pollution” // “Novacane” // “Where It’s At”
One Foot in the Grave
Where to start
Asking a Beck-spert (I flatter myself) which Beck album to start with is like asking someone which Radiohead album produces the best eargasm, or what the best ice cream flavor is. It ultimately comes down to your personal preference, and whatever that preference is, Beck’s catalog rewards. As for ice cream, these are the kinds of questions meant for think tanks and higher powers. If you read the Beck summary on the previous page and thought “man, weirdpatchwork-quilt Beck sounds like my cup of tea!” (or something) Odelay is your gateway. It’s an album-length everything-but-thekitchen-sink affair, and what’s more: all the
disparate elements work as a hot mess together. Stuttered drum loops are paired with sitars (“Derelict”), vocoder shrieks with harmonica (“Hotwax”), and on the album’s best song (“Where It’s At”) the listener is treated to a sample heaven including everything from sex-music-saxophone to Beck complimenting the preceding drumbreak. Odelay presents the most consistent coupling of Beck’s oddball tendencies with his ear for melody, but if either sounds more appealing than the other Beck has you covered. 1994’s Mellow Gold is sprinkled with a few anthems (“Loser,” “Pay No Mind (Snoozer)”) but often borders on weird
seemingly for the sake of being weird— just look at those song titles. And Midnight Vultures is full of sugary hooks and Beck’s best Prince impression, something you didn’t know you needed in your life but something you won’t know how you got on without after a listen. Beck’s discography folds neatly in two stylistically, with the oddball Midnight Vultures functioning as one bookend and 2002’s somber Sea Change as the other. The latter record, a stark collection of songs inspired by Beck’s then-recent break-up, is Beck’s last and best curveball: normalcy. Where previous albums prompted head-scratching through
“Morning” // “Wave” // “Waking Light”
“Orphans” // Chemtrails” // “Profanity Prayers”
“The Golden Age” // “Lonesome Tears” // “Lost Cause”
“Sexx Laws” // “Peaches and Cream” // “Debra”
Where to not start lo-fi quality and a loose treatment of the word “genre,” Sea Change is an acoustic blues record in the vein of greats like Dylan and Young. That he had a conventional record in him was a surprise in itself, but that he had another in this year’s Morning Phase (nearly as excellent as the first, I might add) was an unexpected pleasure. Include 1994’s folk-blues-indebted One Foot in the Grave and 1998’s tropical, blissed-out Mutations and you could make a strong case for Beck as one of the best singer-songwriters of his generation. Not that he would ever be content to restrict himself so.
The albums that follow Sea Change aren’t by any means bad, but on Guero and The Information Beck’s missing the fire and innovation that made his earlier albums so exciting. He has his moments, intermittently on Guero and on the entirety of 2008’s excellent Modern Guilt. Beck’s batting average since Sea Change isn’t what it once was though, which is partly why the recent Morning Phase feels like such a breath of fresh air. The pre-Mellow Gold albums—of which there are
three—aren’t recommended listening either. On all three Beck hadn’t yet figured out how to wield all of his influences at once and the result is something of a disjointed mess thrice over. And for what it’s worth you probably shouldn’t start with Mellow Gold if you’re looking for something like first song and ubiquitous ‘90s single “Loser.”
TASTY RECIPE Throughout my life, I have considered myself a rather well-to-do man, a creature of simple pleasures. Then one day, I was introduced to a dirty delectable: the Slutty Brownie. As my teeth glided through what I wrongly perceived to be a common brownie, they were greeted by a gooey Oreo followed by a fluffy cookie. Now my mind is filled with dark temptations. Wherever I hide at home, school, or church, the cravings never cease—the yearnings are ever-present.
1 Mix and prepare the ingredients for the cookie
2 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
Any type is permitted
portion of the dessert
1 teaspoon of baking soda
Slutty Brownies Type of dish Dessert Preparation time 20 minutes Cook time 9–11 minutes Difficulty Medium
2 Line the cups of the muffin pan with a cupcake paper
1 teaspoon of salt
3 Fill the bottom of the cup with cookie dough
1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter
4 Place an Oreo on top of the cookie dough
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup water
5 Mix and prepare the ingredients for the brownie
¾ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup vegetable oil
portion of the dessert
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 Fill the remainder of the cup with the prepared
2 large eggs
2 cups chocolate chips (if desired)
7 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees C 8 Bake for 9-11 minutes 9 Remove, allow to cool, and enjoy!
ZOOMED Can you tell which six album covers we’ve zoomed in on here?
Drake Nothing Was The Same, Cloud Nothings Here and Nowhere Else, Beck Stereopathic Soulmanure 2nd Row:
Liars Mess, Deafheaven Sunbather, Captain Murphy Duality 1st Row:
FIND BIEBER We’ve hidden Justin Bieber somewhere in this issue. Find him and maybe something cool will happen...
, B OT K N
T I B H C —Angel Haze
Issue 36 of Tastemakers Magazine. Spring 2014.