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Frank Ocean & The Stages of Grief | 38

From Springsteen To Dropkicks: A BRIEF HISTORY OF MISUSED MUSIC IN

Stadium Tours | 20

Hearing Loss | 30

northeastern students on music

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Staff Writers Mackenzie Nichols Kelly Subin David McDevitt Jason Levy Clarissa Cooney Audrey Cooney Anika Krause Anu Gulati Sarah Kotowski Taylor Piepenbrink Jonathan Vayness Raquel Massoud Emily Arntsen Mallika Malkan Peter Giunta Joseph Bondi Spencer Bateman Alexander Wetzel Christopher Miller Timothy Fetcher Matt Sherman Alexander Frandsen Mayeesha Galiba Akosa Amenechi Jonas Polin Youssef El-Sheikh

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Tastemakers Music Magazine 232 Curry Student Center 360 Huntington Ave. Boston, MA 02115 tastemakersmag@gmail.com © 2014 tastemakers music magazine all rights reserved

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Photo Director Ben Stas

Art & Design Allison Bako Fiona Galey Vanessa Gregorchik Madisen Hackley Jennifer Heinz Mary Jac Heuman Nicole Maalouf Dan Mondschein Marissa Rodakis Rebecca Still Sara Trosky Abby Walker Grace Woodward Marketing Jae Lee Kelsey Eng Kim Mecca Nate Hewes Rami Mccarthy Shreya Gurubacharya Sofia Benetiz


Meet the Staff

About

Listening to

Jonas Polin Position Staff Writer Major Undeclared Graduating 2019 Favorite Venue North American Mammal Hall at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Tastemaker Since Fall 2015

Grimes Art Angels Grimes Art Angels Grimes Art Angels

Quote

“Shoot for the moon; if you miss you’ll waste millions of dollars of taxpayer money and get your entire department fired.”

Abby Walker Position Designer Major Marketing and Interactive Media Graduating 2017 Favorite venue Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel in Providence Tastemaker Since Fall 2015

J. Dilla The Shining Instrumental

“So I can say anything and it’ll go in the magazine?”

The Kooks Listen Tame Impala The Moment

Emily O’Brien Position Art Director Major Interaction Design Graduating Spring 2017 Favorite Venue The Sinclair Tastemaker Since Fall 2012

Justin Bieber Sorry

“I had to Google how to spell juice.”

Chvrches Every Open Eye The Cowboys’ Christmas Ball The Killers

Marissa Rodakis Position Designer Major Graphic Design Graduating Fall 2015 Favorite venue The Sinclair Tastemaker Since Spring 2014

The Maine Coast of Maine (Ivory Cover) The Wonder Years You in January Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness Maps for the Getaway

“I never say anything funny”


Braids, Great Scott

Photo by Peri MacRae (Political Science)


Table of Contents Cover Story

Editorial

26

18

From Springsteen to Dropkicks A brief history of misused music in political campaigns

Reviews

08 32

Album Reviews Grimes, Keith Mlevhu, Raury, Majical Cloudz

Show Reviews Glass Animals, Chris Cornell, Gary Clark Jr. and The Lone Below

Local Talent

17

Tipling Rock and Jacob SS Chris Miller on the crowd’s and judges’ top picks at this year’s NEU Battle of the Bands

06 Calendar 14

Local Photos

30 38

Decades in Sound Tracing prevalent genres in popular music and the cities that fostered them

Turn Down For What The not-so-sexy truth of hearing loss

A Guide to the Five Stages of Grief Frank Ocean Edition

40

Features

11

How the emo revival is shaping up in 2015

20

42

In Defense of

43

BandCamp Jams

23

44

I Can’t Be No One Else Learning what makes North America’s preeminent Oasis cover band tick

Chance the Rapper: Why Family Matters Matt Sherman reports from Chance’s communal 2015 tour

35

What in the World is Zamrock? Investigating the psychotic, psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll of 1970s Zambia

Job For A Cowboy’s Doom EP

Surveying the web’s finest musical obscurities

Stadium Touring: Where Rock Bands Go to Die The drawbacks of large-scale tours for both artists and fans

Stick it to the Scalpers How artists are solving the ageold problem of greedy resellers

The Current State of Emotional Rock Music

Etcetera

46

Emotional Landscapes

50

Just a Taste of

A Bjork Discography

Mediseasin


Calendar January Su

Sa

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2 The Roots House of Blues

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9 Metz The Sinclair

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Ratatat House of Blues

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Rozamov Middle East Upstairs

Muse TD Garden

Guster House of Blues

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The Knocks The Sinclair

Miami Horror Royale Boston

Torres Great Scott

Mr. Carmack The Sinclair

Graveyard Middle East Downstairs

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27

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Neon Indian Paradise Rock Club Wilco Orpheum Theater

Rockommends

The Roots January 2 @ House of Blues

Metz January 9 @ The Sinclair

Why not spend the Saturday night after New Year’s with the legendary hip-hop/late-night talk show band The Roots? Black Thought, ?uestlove and the boys are known to get pretty jammy live, but when you’re as good at playing your instruments as they are that is a very good thing. Don’t miss your chance to see Philadelphia’s greatest contribution to rap since DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince.

Metz are loud. Metz play furious, overdriven noise rock in the proud tradition of mclusky and The Jesus Lizard with a serrated edge and a mad glint in their collective eye. The Canadian trio are also a tight, pulverizing live band who throw themselves headlong into every set. Furthermore, rising Nashville rockers Bully will join them on this winter tour. Shake the ice from your frozen bones and be sure to catch one of January’s better Boston bills.

Terence Cawley (Biology)

Ben Stas (Journalism/English)


February Su

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Sa

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Grizfolk Great Scott

Lupe Fiasco Wilbur Theater

Baio Brighton Music Hall

The Devil Makes Three House of Blues

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Ryan Bingham Royale Boston

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St. Lucia Royale Boston

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Killing Joke Paradise Rock Club

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Coheed and Cambria House of Blues

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Janet Jackson TD Garden

Jason Isbell House of Blues

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Mr. Carmack January 20 @ The Sinclair

Neon Indian January 28 @ Paradise Rock Club

Mr. Carmack is one of the internet’s most celebrated producers. His unique brand of instrumental hiphop will make you marvel at its construction while you dance your ass off at The Sinclair.

You will very rarely find a electronic dance/ pop artists whose work manifests itself as an album rather than a collection of cool sounding moments. Alan Palomo accomplished just that in his latest Italian-disco influenced album Vega Intl. Night School. Seeing how it translates to the stage when it comes through Boston this year would be magnificent.

Jonas Polin (Undeclared)

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David McDevitt (International Affairs)


Album Reviews Grimes Art Angels Release date November 6 Label 4AD Genre Synthpop Tasty Tracks “California”, “REALiTi”, “SCREAM”

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Grimes’ latest work is everything we love about Grimes. Art Angels has Grimes’ distinct electro-fairy-pop sound at its most coherent, catchy and fun. Underneath the pop sheen there’s also bona fide Grimes badassery in the form of some heavy production, Chinese rappers, screams and lyrics that set Art Angels apart from other records in the same genre. Grimes gives us the sonic and lyrical themes of the album from the very beginning. The cinematic opening track segues into “California,” an extremely poppy song in melody and production, but with dark and substantive lyrics; the kind of combination Grimes does better than anyone else. On “California,” Grimes sings a bright melody in an almost Britney Spears-sounding voice about what it feels like to be an artist who is most admired and appreciated when she is airing out her pain for the public. “Cause I get carried away/ Commodifying all the pain,” she sings. This may even be a specific reference to the song “Oblivion” off of her 2012 album Visions. “Oblivion” is a song about going through the world as a survivor of sexual assault, and it ended up being the biggest hit off Visions. Having to perform such a song over and over to remain in good favor with fans could have brought about the feeling Grimes sings about in “California.” A lot of the tracks on the album are similar in production and tone to “California.” One of the official singles from the album, “Flesh without Blood,” has a similar structure: catchy melody, guitar, splashy drums and Grimes making her voice more accessible than she has on previous works. The title track, “Artangels,” uses a guitar rhythm and melody that sound like the pop hits of the ‘90s, but under a blanket of Grimes production that sets it apart from something out of the Legally Blonde soundtrack. Alongside the happier-sounding tracks on Art Angels are tracks where Grimes brings an aggressive edge that makes the album more well-rounded and complete. Songs like “SCREAM,” “Kill V. Maim” and “Venus Fly” give moments that make you want to sneer like

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Billy Idol, but at the same time jump around and dance. “SCREAM” features Taiwanese rapper Aristophanes rapping over a dark and aggressive beat produced by Grimes. “Venus Fly” features Janelle Monáe as they take on the topic of leering and objectification. Grimes again brings heavy percussion and bass to the production side, while we hear Monáe say things like ‘Why you looking at me again? What if I pulled my teeth? Cut my hair underneath my chin?’ Grimes was quoted in The FADER as saying “Venus Fly” is about being “too scary to be objectified,” a theme you can feel in the song. Some of the tracks do at times sound repetitive. On the song ‘Pin,’ the instrumentation sounds formulaic relative to other songs that have similar sounds but better melodies and choruses. And after multiple listens to the album, some songs continue to pack a punch with each new listen, while others start to sound like filler. Grimes described her state of mind on Art Angels as “happy and angry,” and this definitely shows throughout the album. You can feel the anger in her voice on a lot of the tracks, and it’s

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exhilarating. While not a perfect album, with Art Angels Grimes has again shown how the female producer in the music industry doesn’t have to take shit from anyone and given us a record that will go down as a model of how electronic indie music can crossover into pop and still be true to its roots. Jonathan Vayness (Psychology)

We publish album reviews online too! tastemakersmag.com


Keith Mlevhu The Bad Will Die Release date August 3 Label Strawberry Rain Media Genre Zamrock Tasty Tracks “Rich & Poor”, “I Am Your Warrior”, “Dzikolino Ni Zambia”, “The Bad Will Die“

Strawberry Rain Records has earned its reputation as one of the leading labels to reissue some of the world’s strangest and most obscure psych rock. With bona fide classics such as the Indonesian psych masterpiece The Lizards Years and Nigeria’s legendary BLO in its catalog, it is only fitting that they put together the first ever official reissue of Zamrock star Keith Mlevhu. The Bad Will Die is an anthology of Mlevhu’s hardest Zamrock years, spanning from 1976 to 1979, when the scene was at its peak. Mlevhu’s particular style of Zamrock is interesting in that it is a nice mesh of the genre’s biggest bands. Mlevhu can rip guitar and instrumental tracks like on “I Am Your Warrior”

similar to Paul Ngozi or Chrissy Zebby Tembo. At the same time, his lyrics can be political like those of Musi-O-Tunya. Often, he ranges outside of the standard four-piece band structure. Keith is the only credited musician on all of his albums, which is great because as a musician he is equally talented at shredding a guitar solo as he is at laying down a nice drum break. The Bad Will Die is full of classic Zamrock hits that any fan of the genre will enjoy. Tracks like “Dzikolino Ni Zambia” and “Love & Freedom” make this anthology essential for anyone who is a fan of world psychedelic rock. The title track sounds as if it could have been taken straight off of an unrealized Hendrix album, with some of the best guitar of the entire compilation. Despite these positives, there are quite a few setbacks that plague the album. Mlevhu has neither the wonderfully catchy songs of WITCH nor the aggressive instrumentation of the Ngozi Family. His vocal performance, although somewhat experimental for his time with the use of megaphones, reverb and dubbing, quickly grows old and uninspiring. His lyrics are often beyond corny, which doesn’t help either: “The drums are making you dance, and you dance all night long, it a beautiful song, it is a beautiful song.”

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This anthology does a successful job at featuring yet another great Zambian artist who has not been paid the attention they deserved. The Bad Will Die succeeds in covering the many styles of one of the most popular artists of his time and place. Any fan of the psychedelic rock scene of the 1970s can get pleasure out of it. For everyone else, this may not be the best introduction to the psychedelic Zambian scene.

Tim Fetcher (Political Science)

Raury All We Need Release date October 16 Label Columbia Records Genre Folk hip-hop Tasty Tracks “Forbidden Knowledge”, “Revolution”, “Peace Prevail” The Atlanta based folk hip-hop artist Raury Deshawn Tullis, better known as simply Raury, followed up his debut project, 2014’s mixtape Indigo Child with his first full length LP, All We Need. The 19-year-old manages to

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prove once again that he has a wisdom and awareness beyond his years. Addressing issues on global, national, local and personal levels, Raury demonstrates a deep understanding of the world while intertwining creative wordplay and memorable choruses. Raury opens with the track “All We Need” and boldly poses the question “Who can save the world, my friend?” Here, as well as in the following track, “Revolution,” he tells of evils and struggles in the world: hunger, poverty, greed, pollution, racism and violence. Continuing to paint the picture of the dying earth in need of change, on the track “Forbidden Knowledge” he raps, “Busy cities much alike to a tumor/ too many cells, the residents, the body’s polluter.” This dark metaphor, comparing humans to a cancer, predicts humans will destroy themselves as they take too much from the earth. The self-proclaimed “Indigo Child” walks a fine line as someone so young presenting the world with the injustices he has observed. Despite the potential, Raury avoids being sanctimonious and is instead a good-hearted kid who has made mistakes in his past but wants to lead in improving himself as well as the entire world. In the track “CPU” Raury admits this imperfection, singing about how he cheated

on his girlfriend. Instead of justification, he explains how he let her know of his slip right away and begged for her forgiveness. As the album moves farther along, in the songs “Peace Prevail” and “Trap Tears” Raury sings of the dangers of the trap lifestyle that he has seen firsthand growing up in Atlanta. In the second verse of “Peace Prevail” he tells of his close friend who got caught up trying to chase this and ultimately ended up dead. Even through Raury’s often monotone voice when he raps, hints of frustration are apparent in seeing his friend’s preventable decline. The production and instrumentation on All We Need is even more interesting than that on Indigo Child. The sound is much cleaner on this record, and it manages to blend genres on each track better than Indigo Child could. Raury’s vocals on this project are by no means noteworthy; however, they do not seem to detract from the album and actually fit his overall style quite well. While not flawless, Raury manages to create an album that is both enjoyable and inspiring. Alex Wetzel (Business Administration)

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If you would like to submit a review to be considered for publishing in print or online, e-mail: tmreviews@gmail.com

Majical Cloudz Are You Alone?

Reviews Fall 2015

10

Release date October 16 Label Matador Records Genre Indie/Electronic Tasty Tracks “Are You Alone”, “Control”, “Silver Car Crash” Devon Walsh’s heart is so full of love that it is constantly on the verge of exploding, and he needs you to know this. As the auteur behind the Canadian electronic art group Majical Cloudz, Walsh, with producer Matthew Otto’s assistance, has devoted Are You Alone? to the expression and examination of this allconsuming love. Together, they have crafted an album of paradoxical beauty in which sparse, intimate music conveys feelings massive enough to fill canyons. The basic sonic components of Impersonator, the 2013 album which broke Majical Cloudz, have been retained for Are You Alone?, albeit with subtle yet significant alterations. Walsh is making greater use of the higher end of his vocal range, allowing him to write more melodically varied songs than on Impersonator, where he generally stuck to a deep baritone. Meanwhile, Otto continues to craft keyboard and synthesizer backdrops which swell and recede sympathetically without ever becoming loud or busy enough to divert attention from Walsh. The viola and piano flourishes contributed by composer Owen Pallett, along with Otto’s embrace of soaring organ and synth lines and neat production touches like the xylophone on “Game Show,” add colorful embellishment to Majical Cloudz’s skeletal minimalism. Together with Walsh’s more confident singing, these changes have opened up the group’s sound, an appropriate complement to the open-hearted worldview Walsh brings to Are You Alone? Between their intense, often interactive live shows and their painfully sincere lyrics, Majical Cloudz have devoted themselves to tearing down the psychic barriers that keep people from forming profound, meaningful connections. There is no ironic distance on Are You Alone?, and even metaphor is used sparingly. Instead, Walsh prefers to share his emotions in the most direct language possible, so that there’s no mistaking his intentions when he promises “I’ll try not to be so blue” or begs “You gotta learn to love me/Cause I am what I am.” That’s not to say that the words are artless or needlessly solipsistic. Sublimely melancholy lines like “Crash your car, lie down in the street”

from “Are You Alone” have the power to stop listeners dead in their tracks, and Walsh spends much of Are You Alone? striving to reassure and comfort lovers, friends or simply “you.” Some listeners will find Walsh’s earnest sentimentality maudlin, while others may deem his lifting of the romantic-death-by-automobile-accident conceit of The Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out” for “Silver Car Crash” unforgiveable. However, the stark sensitivity of Are You Alone? is so extreme as to push Majical Cloudz past cloying into surreality, as if Walsh were an alien visitor from a planet where it was impossible to withhold or disguise one’s feelings. If all of that planet’s residents possessed the steadfast hope and compassion with which Walsh combats his loneliness and sorrow on Are You Alone?, listeners might find themselves hoping that this

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strange, beautiful place has reasonably relaxed immigration policies. Majical Cloudz make music for late nights, when the day has worn down peoples’ defenses and they are left alone with their raw feelings. Are You Alone? is the soundtrack for when your car is stalled outside your friend’s house but the conversation is so truly, fantastically real that neither of you wants to stop talking, and it’s a companion for lying awake in bed wondering how to tell someone that you love them. Nobody is making music that occupies this emotional space as completely and powerfully as Majical Cloudz right now, and for that Are You Alone? earns the space it will carve out in listeners’ hearts.

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Emotional Rock Music the current state of

Photo by Steven Pisano / CC BY

For fans of emotional rock music, watching the progression of bands that represent this style has been like an emotional roller coaster.

A genre born from the lyrically emotional punk music of bands like Rite of Spring and Embrace in the late 1980s, emo peaked in critical acclaim when bands such as Cap’n Jazz, American Football and Sunny Day Real Estate expanded the emo style to the rising sounds of posthardcore, indie rock, and math rock. After this golden period, fans became wary when a second wave of bands in the early 2000s strayed uncomfortably from the roots of emo music by incorporating elements of pop punk and by signing to large record labels and commercializing their sound. Despite this, fans are currently celebrating an “emo revivial� brought on by a recent wave of young groups playing emotional rock music heavily influenced by the prominent emo bands of the 1990s. The sheer amount of bands and the young audience for this style has allowed independent labels such as Run for Cover and Topshelf Records to come to the forefront. This revival is a dream come true for emo fans, but the musical movement may be going off course.

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1998 Feature Sunny Day Real Estate, How It Feels to Be Something On, Sub Pop

Pianos Become The Teeth, Title Fight and The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, three leaders in the respective styles in the emo revivival, have recently moved away from the pack. They signaled this change with their decisions to sign to larger labels: PBBT and TWIABP signed to Epitaph Records, while Title Fight signed to one of Epitaph’s sister labels, ANTI- Records. Screamo band PBTT was the first to stray away when they released Keep You in 2014, which saw the band quieting down the screams and moving into the realm of post-rock. Post-hardcore band Title Fight also abandoned ship by heading into slower and dreamier indie rock territory with their new album Hyperview in early 2015. Most recently, indie rock and post-rock band TWIABP toned down the passionate yelps and nostalgia, moving in more of a pop punk direction on their album Harmlessness. With three leaders in the emo revival no longer at the head, this revival has lost some of its main stayers that kept the movement afloat. Although the band’s motives for these stylistic changes are unclear, the jump to larger labels and abandonment of some of the core characteristic of emo music may be pointing to a desire to move away from the revival to appeal to a larger audience. The movement has seen other problems as it has aged over the past seven years. With so many bands taking influence from a small group

1998 “ History is notorious for repeating itself; emo music might just have a habit of musical oscillation.

Cap’n Jazz, Analphabetapolothology Jade Tree Records

1999

Fall 2015

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American Football, Self-titled Album Polyvinyl

of bands, many groups in the emo revival have similar sounds or lack the innovation needed to keep the movement going. Although initially this adherence to the roots of emo was celebrated, these imitators might be halting the revival’s evolution. And then there’s the fact that some bands that seemed to be advancing the sound of these emo forefathers, such as emotional math rock bands Snowing and Crash of Rhinos, unfortunately stopped recording music. Are these circumstances unique? No. Actually, these shifts in the movement echo the changes in the original emotional rock movement of the 1990s as it transitioned into the 2000s. The fall of emo in its purest form in the 90s was due to the short careers of many of its luminaries: Cap’n Jazz released a single album in 1994, American Football only released an EP and an album in 1999, and Sunny Day Real Estate ended its run in 2000. Bands operating around this time needed to commercialize their sound in order to stay relevant into the 2000s. Take for example Dashboard Confessional or Jimmy Eat World, who found success in the mainstream and opened the gates for pop punk and mainstream alternative rock marketed as “emo” music, when in reality it did not stick to roots of emo. Many of the bands in the emo revival have lived a short lifespan as well. The revival’s main stayers have survived and have sought to move away from the traditional emo sound or make their own more appealing to listeners outside of the style. This sounds strikingly similar to what the bands of the early 2000s did, and is evident in


2014 This idea brings up two questions: is this new music still “emo”? And is this wave of bands evolving from the “emo revival” just a coincidence? Pianos Become The Teeth, Keep You Epitaph the recent stylistic shifts in the three aforementioned bands. Other relevant emo acts like Joyce Manor and the Front Bottoms have signed to larger labels and have smoothed out their sound; the Front Bottoms just recently signed to Fueled by Ramen, a Warner Bros. subsidiary label where many bands labeled as emo in the 2000s were housed. The wave of groups in the 2000s were often labeled post-emo because they took the lyrical side of the genre and moved away from the hardcore punk and indie rock roots of the genre. In a similar way, these three bands and others are doing a similar stylistic shift in regards to the emo revival, making their new music possibly a second wave of post-emo. Bands like Seahaven have made a move into dreamier rock music similar to Title Fight, so there is a possibility that these post-emo bands are already bringing others away from the revival. The emo revival may actually be coming to a close, but like other musical movements, it is merely making way for new bands to branch out. This idea brings up two questions: is this new music still “emo”? And is this wave of bands evolving from the “emo revival” just a coincidence?

2015

2015

Title Fight, Hyperview Anti-

In regards to the first question, many would argue that emotional rock music is lyrically based, but it is rooted in punk music and 1990s indie rock; bands that move away from these styles or try to commercialize the idea of the genre are no longer “emo.” Also, there are plenty of bands from the past and present that use “emotional” lyrics that are not emo bands. To most emo fans, the emo genre is heavily based in lyrics, but it is rooted in certain rock styles and must be to be considered truly “emo,” hence why these new bands are getting this “post-emo” tag. To answer the second question, history is notorious for repeating itself; emo music might just have a habit of musical oscillation. If many bands moving away from the emo style end this revival, will there be a new group of bands trying to bring emo back to its roots in the coming years? Like the emo fans of the early 2000s, we will just have to wait and listen. • Chris Miller (Music Industry)

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Harmlessness Epitaph 13


Local Photos

James Bay, House of Blues

Seb Herforth (Engineering)


Marina and the Diamonds, House of Blues

McKenna Shuster (Graphic Design)


Circa Survive, House of Blues

Nola Chen (Computer Science)

Fuzz, The Sinclair

Ben Stas (Journalism / English)


Local Talent

Tipling Rock and Jacob SS

Photos by Justine Newman (Health Science) At Northeastern’s 2015 Battle of the Bands, four bands competed to earn both the judges’ and the audience’s pick. The four bands competed and created a diverse night of music. Rock group Tipling Rock earned the judges’ pick, while hip hop artist Jacob SS won the audience’s vote. It was a tough competition, with Tipling Rock only winning one point over Jacob SS for the judges’ pick, which demonstrated the high amount of talent on display this year. Tipling Rock is a indie rock band featuring Ben Andre on vocals and guitar, Dillon Salkovitz on bass, Matthew “Lewy” Lewin on guitar and keys and Tommy Schubert on drums. The band’s songs bring “high energy music with strong melodies and dance-y rhythms.” The band displayed this mix as well as strong musicianship during their set. They played originals off their debut EP, Punch Lines & Good Times, which came out on August 25th of this year. They also did a crowd-pleasing cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel.” The band released a music video for the EP’s title track on November 19th.

The band frequently performs at various events at Northeastern and around the Boston area, so be sure to check them out. Jacob SS is a hip hop artist from Brooklyn who is a freshman at Northeastern. Jacob wowed the crowd with his stage presence and memorable songs; he even taught the a few choruses to the audience. Jacob strives to bring a message in each of his songs that “create a sense of familiarity to the listener.” Although he mainly raps and sings using autotune, he says he is “just a fan of great art,” whether it be music or any other form of media. His transition to Boston has affected him greatly, as he is making hip-hop in a “mainly indie/garage town.” This transition, however, has pushed him to want to “make even better music and visuals that tell more in-depth stories.” His newest EP, For Your Convenience, came out on December 1st, and he feels it best captures his new life in Boston and hopes that people who listen love it as much as he does. • Chris Miller (Music Industry)

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Editorial

decades in Looking back at the last part of the 20th century, each decade has come to be associated with a certain genre of popular music in America. The prevalent musical style often both reflected and shaped the culture of the time. These important genres often became associated with a certain city. These cities were home to musicians and record labels, and often their pre-existing characteristics contributed to the new genres.

SIXTIES & SEVENTIES Fall 2015

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As the Red Scare came to a close in the 1960s, protest songs and their traditional performers, folk singers, began to gain prominence. At the hub of the movement was New York City and in particular Greenwich Village, long a safe haven for misfits of all sorts. Inspired by Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger, folk musicians flocked to Washington Square Park to play together in a sort of “unorganized, free-form kind of social club,” as folk performer Happy Traum recounted in his memoir. Woodie Guthrie had a huge impact on one folk artist in particular. Bob Dylan had read Guthrie’s memoir in 1960 and quickly became entranced by the older performer and decided to move to New York like him, telling an audience “I been travellin’ around the country, followin’ in Woody Guthrie’s footsteps.” As Dylan’s popularity grew, so did New York City’s status as a destination for folk music. And yet, Dylan would also play a crucial role in ending New York’s folk scene. His inclusion of electric guitar in his performance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival was derided by purists who insisted that folk could only be acoustic. However, other New

York folk groups such as the Lovin’ Spoonful and the Mamas and the Papas soon imitated the new folk rock, signaling the decline of New York’s folk scene. As folk’s popularity diminished, disco stepped up to fill the void. Having started as a trend in the capitals of Europe, disco got its start in the US in the clubs of New York, fed largely by the city’s gay scene. Still a hotbed of counter culture, New York was the perfect place for the rise of disco. Underground gay dance clubs like the Loft, Tenth Floor, 12 West, Infinity and Flamingo soon spawned their own culture, which promoted copious drug use, casual sex and, of course, all night dancing. New York’s large population of African Americans and other racial minorities also gravitated towards this liberated new style and embraced it as a rejection of the white dominated mainstream. Disco remained mainly within underground clubs until the last part of the decade, when the release of Saturday Night Fever made the genre mainstream. It experienced a rapid ascent but suffered an even more hurried decline, and it’s popularity plummeted going into the 1980s.


sound

by Clarissa Cooney (International Affairs)

" I been travellin' around

the country, followin' in Woody Guthrie's footsteps. " - - Bob Dylan

EIGHTIES The 80s sought to increase the spirit of excess that the 70s had brought to the forefront. Heavy metal had begun in London a few years earlier, and American bands simplified the sound and focused on theatrical performance to create a new genre, known as glam metal. The new sound started in Los Angeles, particularly along the Sunset Strip with its plentiful recording companies and music stores. The area was peppered with famous venues like the Forum, Long Beach Arena, and Universal Amphitheatre, as well as clubs like the Whisky, Starwood, Troubadour and Roxy Theatre, all of which contributed to the new style. LA clubs were reluctant to book hard core heavy metal acts because of the violence that tended to follow, and glam rockers eagerly filled the void. It’s said that Los Angeles’s gay scene played a large role in crafting glam metal’s overdone, feminized look. Performers wore makeup, jewelry, scarves and brightly colored spandex, mimicking the male transvestites present in the clubs. Eventually, the extreme excesses of glam metal lost their appeal, leading to the stripped down nature of grunge.

NINETIES Grunge is inextricably linked with the city of Seattle, and the genre was very much a product of its environment: the relative isolation of the Pacific Northwest. Although deeply influenced by punk, grunge was able to develop its own unique style. Apathy, DIY ethics and flannel were all part of the culture surrounding grunge, a far cry from the glitz and glamour of New York or Los Angeles. It was also free from major record labels that quickly commercialized bands in the previous decades. Most of the earliest grunge bands initially signed with the independent Seattle label Sub Pop, including Nirvana, the Melvins, Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Tad. The Melvins were a Seattle based band that took the aggression of heavy metal and slowed the tempo to create the sludgy sound of grunge. Their slow, leaden style inspired bands throughout the Northeast. The focus of particular genres of music in particular cities is important because it allows that music to spread prolifically. Folk music has of course existed for centuries, yet it was when it came to New York City that American folk music became more broadly popular. Its presence in a major city was the catalyst for it reaching a wider audience. Or, in the case of grunge in Seattle, genres can be shaped by their environment and reflect elements of the city in which they originated. Either way, urban centers have a huge influence on how genres arise and which become popular. 19


Feature

R U O T

M U I D A T S

e i d to o g s d n a B k c o R e Wher

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You’re already late and there’s a lot of traffic getting into the city—it’s rush hour after all, you didn’t think about that when you bought the tickets. Now you’re looking for parking - what’s that? Well, you can park there for $20, or you can keep driving into the distance, the large sports arena that you drove so far to get to slowly sinking in the distance. Pulling up to a corner in a run-down neighborhood you park, and you walk to the venue at last. Going through security, you watch with envy as people begin filing through a door with a sign marked “Floor.” Of course you didn’t have $150 to drop on tickets at the time of the purchase, so no, you do not have floor access, and security guards are there to make sure that income brackets are preserved. You slowly make you way to your seat, climbing stair after stair until you reach your destination: Section 22 row J seat 3. From here you can see the jumbotron and can slightly make out some gear that remains on stage after the first opener. The show is over quickly and you cannot help but feel a sense of disillusion. You aren’t even really sure what you were just a part of. You just experienced The Stadium Tour.

Stadium tours are almost as old as rock and roll itself. The Beatles were one of the first rock groups to stage huge venue tours and in turn one of the first groups to be fed up with touring. A 1966 tour including their iconic Shea Stadium performance would be their last. The Beatles quit touring because, for one, it was often too hard to hear the music over their screaming fans, but it was also difficult to connect with their audience in a meaningful way. They felt detached, and believe me, the detachment goes both ways. Touring life is hard on a band, and one can understand why stadium touring is initially more appealing from a band’s perspective. You have bigger green rooms, you have a bigger tour bus, and oh yeah, you’re making way more money. But bands like The Clash, Oasis, Rage Against The Machine and Black Sabbath have still ended in fights or stress often caused by being on the road too long. For those bands that have survived though, how does stadium and arena touring affect their art? Stadium tours were having a big moment in the 70s and 80s due to artists like Kiss and Alice Cooper peddling spectacle, volume, and attitude. But since the collapse of mainstream rock in the late 80’s and now the revitalization and popularization of indie rock since the late 90’s, touring has been reinvented again. At the beginning of the 2000s, garage rock burst into the mainstream. Bands like The White Stripes, The Strokes and The Black Keys were not necessarily doing anything new with their sound, but what was new about their act is that with them, rock n’ roll had come full circle. With the 80’s come and gone, “Stadium Touring” for rock bands was now a territory to be re-discovered and conquered again. The Black Keys’ first arena tour did not happen until January 2012 to support their latest release El Camino. The band had been together since 2001 and had released a number of albums together before this headlining tour began. The Black Keys had a very defined and initially acclaimed heavy blues-inspired sound, but many popular music critics in the last few years have panned both El Camino and the Black Keys’


G N I R most recent release Turn Blue as being records that did not live up to the band’s older work. A cynic would call The Black Keys’ last two records money grabs—attempts to reach a large numbers of new fans by licensing out their music to movies and car commercials and by playing larger venues with a larger capacity and an opportunity to raise ticket prices. But The Black Keys making a bad album is not the result of deciding to tour arenas, and they didn’t make a bad album so they could do an arena tour. It comes down to the fact that stadium tours are often indicative of a time in a band’s life when they have become reserved, no longer interested in pushing the envelope, and more interested in gaining as many fans as possible. One doesn’t cause the other, instead they are the result of deeper issues that have been exacerbated by

the touring atmosphere or the recording studio. Either way, it doesn’t make for a satisfying concert experience. “The Black Keys’ arena tour I went to last year was arguably the worst show I have ever seen,” Northeastern student Nick Flanders told Tastemakers. In a completely opposite spirit, The Strokes have systematically refused to tour even though they have had the fan base and support to begin touring since before their first record was released. The Strokes as a band took a hiatus after the third album was released and they are now sporadically found headlining random b-class festivals. A main distinction to make between festivals and stadium touring however is that at a festival everyone is on the floor. Sure there may be people who have VIP passes, but their views are often worse than the truly dedicated fans who just get there early to stake it out. Festivals tend to have a sort of magical aura around them. They require a certain level of commitment that people who are rich and just happened to want to buy front row tickets to The Black

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JACK WHITE FELT LIKE HE HAD CHEATED HIS AUDIENCE

Fall 2014

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Keys are not ready to commit to. Those people want to drive up to the venue, have their car valet parked and sit at the bar the entire time and order drinks. They don’t want to hang out with a bunch of sweaty 20-somethings in a tent in the desert or in the middle of the woods, and camp that night only to find a snake in their tent. The Strokes’ appearances at these festivals have been a way for them to connect closer to large groups of their fans, more so than if they were headlining arenas. Both The Strokes and The Black Keys are bands that have survived the turmoil of rock ’n’ roll in the 2000s. Other groups, like The White Stripes, have not been so lucky. The White Stripes broke up in 2011. Many factors contributed to this but it would be naive to say touring had nothing to do with it. They had been on an incessant touring schedule for a long time and the amount of pressure they put on each other and the increasing size of the venues that they were playing all played into the band’s eventual dissolution. It might be that band leader Jack White felt like he had cheated his audience. He has stated in regards to The White Stripes performances towards the end of their run, “If we’re not doing

this, we need to put an end to it right now.” In more recent years Jack White has been known to try to connect to his audience in very personal ways and take what he does very seriously. I’m sure his younger self shared these sentiments and was moved in part to end the White Stripes because the experience of playing shows was becoming too impersonal. Touring is hard on a band, that much is certain, and there seems to be no magic potion for staying together, but it is in these volatile relationships that some of the greatest music has been made. I guess you just have to try to see your favorite band before they take the stage in an arena. • Spencer Bateman (Computer Science & Music)


Chance the Rapper: Why Family Matters

Chance the Rapper pictured at Pitchfork Music Festival, July 2015. Photos by Ben Stas (Journalism/English) Chance the Rapper has two fingers placed firmly on the pulse of the millennial culture, not out of investigation as to what they will consume, but because of his total immersion and formative experiences growing up a member of it. There is a direct relationship between him and the fans who listen to his music. There is no middle man, a luxury that being a hugely successful independent artist has afforded him. Chance is playing music for an audience that not only likes his music, but appreciates and understands his lifestyle and values. He shrugs off the pursuit for individual grandeur, and instead puts family first. This is the reason the Family Matters tour worked so well on multiple levels. Chancellor Bennet, a.k.a Chance the Rapper, has not released a solo project since 2013’s universally acclaimed, Acid Rap. In the time period since he has covered magazines, headlined festivals, provided guest verses across multiple genres, garnered huge endorsements, starred in a short film, released a mixtape of freestyles with the Based God/Powerful Wizard, Lil B, dropped an album with his band, The Social Experiment, had a daughter, and is now the marquee artist on a nationwide tour. Not to mention the numerous community outreach initiatives he has been involved with in Chicago. Feeling a need to help, to love, and share with a culture that he is so firmly rooted in is the underlying principle of the Family Matters tour, and on Oct. 27th he made the House of Blues Boston his family. I was there to document. Hiatus Kaiyote kicked off the night soulfully with their mixture of jazz/funk and unconventional lyrical patterns. Hailing from Australia, the band is fronted by vocalist/guitarist Nai Palm accompanied by Paul Bender (bass), Simon Mavin (synthesiser) and Perrin Moss (drums). They are in the genre of neo/future soul but have influences

deeply rooted in hip hop, actually landing a Grammy nomination for a song featuring Q-Tip, “Nakamarra.” The show was already packed partly due to Kaiyote’s presence as a limited appearance act on the tour and partly due to the faithful hordes looking to stake claim in the already brimming crowd. Their mellow, groovy vibe was the appetizer to a five-course meal that only ramped up in energy and satisfaction. Up next was Towkio, Chance’s SAVEMONEY affiliate and hometown compadre. Preston Oshita is a half-Mexican/half-Japanese rapper who grew up in Chicago, falling in with like-minded individuals of SAVEMONEY, a creative collective including Vic Mensa and Chance. This sets the bar incredibly high for Towkio, and that may have contributed to the ferocity with which he performed. He is fresh off a 2015 free release of .WAV Theory, a 12-track album blending hip-hop with electronic dance elements, featuring guest verses from Chance and Vic and production from the Social Experiment, Kaytaranda, and Lido. Towkio tore across the stage, long hair in pigtails, and shirtless in a numerical patterned jacket. He flailed frenetically and rapped with hoarse excitement, performing over Kanye’s “Jesus Walks” and Flosstradamus’ “Original Don Remix” - two songs whose influence are no doubt present in .WAV Theory. He concluded by shouting out the lineup of artists and eliciting “SAVEMONEY!” chants from the crowd. D.R.A.M. took the stage next, long dreads concealed beneath a beanie, with a smile that could be seen from any viewpoint in the house. He grabbed the mic and began to tell the crowd exactly why family matters, sporadically asking them to echo “Spread love!” He then got down to the Family Matters theme song, hitting his Steve

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Urkle dance with great passion. D.R.A.M. might be best known in 2015 from the controversy surrounding similarities between Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and his song “CHA CHA.” That aside, D.R.A.M. is an incredibly talented artist from Virginia who has been carving out a niche in the music industry through genuine endorsements from artists like Beyonce and carefree, catchy music. His voice sounded magnificent live, and captivated those in the crowd who weren’t familiar. Throughout he would call upon the crowd, “If you love your momma say ‘Yeah tho!’” to unanimous replies. His newest EP Gahdamn! was released only the week prior to this performance, yet the crowd was grooving along willingly. He sang soulful love songs that, upon deeper inspection, were vulgar and hilarious. At one point he cut the music, smiled, and brought out Boston rapper Michael Christmas, who ignited the crowd with “Hate,” a banger that had Boston locals losing their minds. D.R.A.M. undoubtedly was the sleeper hit of the show. This was no more evident than when he capped off his set with a climactic and euphoric performance of “CHA CHA.” Sonic joy reverberated through the crowd and rhythmic strobe lights entranced. D.R.A.M. left with a final “Spread love!” and asked who was ready for “Metro Boomin want some mo?” Metro Boomin’s inclusion in this tour took many by surprise. In 2015 he has become one of the most sought after producers in hip-hop. From 2009 to the present he has collaborated with artists including Gucci Mane, Future, Wiz Khalifa,

Chief Keef, YG, Meek Mill, Travi$ Scott, Young Thug, Rich Homie Quan, Migos and countless others. He has produced hit singles like Future’s “Karate Chop” and “Commas” and ILoveMakonnen’s “Tuesday,” and severed as executive producer for Drake and Future’s What a Time to Be Alive. Needless to say, he had plenty of material for a DJ set. Metro took the stage in a Larry Bird Jersey, scoring easy points with a Boston crowd, and went on to play a 45 minute set of hit after hit after hit. He functioned as a bonafied crowd pleaser, playing many of his songs and peppering in hits from the past decade. During Future/ Drake’s “Jumpman” D.R.A.M. ran back on stage to turn up spastically. Metro Boomin closed out his set having done his job: getting heart rates elevated for Chance the Rapper. After a 15 minute intermission the stage had gone black. The Social Experiment, Chance’s Band, could be seen making their way to their places on stage and even that

caused the crowd to go wild. “Ooowoo!” was heard omnisciently over the speakers and the crowd instinctively echoed back. Suddenly, LED panels illuminated the stage to a cacophony of instrumentation from the Social Experiment. Chance the Rapper took the stage and with a momentary breath of silence, “Everybody’s Something” began to play and for the first time of many during the night, the House of Blues shook with the yell of the crowd. After shouting out the Social Experiment he flowed into three cuts from Acid Rap: “Pusha Man,” “Smoke Again” and “Lost” which showcased the synchronization and choreography that has turned his set into a polished performance, worthy of a headliner’s title.


Throughout the show, Chance was engaged in an ongoing dialogue with the crowd, explaining the motivational reasoning behind the “Oowoo!” He then tested the loyalty of the crowd by performing three back to back songs from his first mixtape 10 Day. They passed with flying colors. He rewarded them with universally loved, “Juice,” and rapid fire verses that dared them to keep up on “Favorite Song.” Inclusiveness was the theme of the entire performance, from the crowd, to the performers, to the city. From the wing, Chance welcomed out Boston rapper Cousin Stizz, making it a true family affair. They played the resonating trap anthem “No Bells” with earlier performers D.R.A.M. and Michael Christmas joining in the festivities. Stizz told the crowd that it was his first time at the House of Blues, making the moment extremely gratifying for everyone involved.

Next were two songs that epitomize Chance’s values: “Sunday

Candy” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” songs that praise the strong maternal archetypes that are the foundation of family and inflict heart-wrenching blows of nostalgia and empathy.

Killing the lights, the LED background demanded “Do you want more?” and the crowd’s boisterous yelling led into a four-song encore. The day before the show Chance debuted a new song on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, “Angels,” and then treated the crowd to its first concert performance. Next were two songs that epitomize Chance’s values: “Sunday Candy” and “Cocoa Butter Kisses,” songs that praise the strong maternal archetypes that are the foundation of family and inflict heart-wrenching blows of nostalgia and empathy.

His final song, “Chain Smoker,” was a capstone of energy for the entire night. Ears were ringing and the floor was vibrating from the sound of 2,000 voices, and when the set was finished, Chance promised to be back as soon as possible. Chance didn’t have to name the tour “Family Matters” to get the point across. He included personal friends as guest performers. He squeezed in Hiatus Kaiyote for four shows out of admiration, put his hometown friend Towkio in the national spotlight, brought along D.R.A.M., probably because anyone would want to be D.R.A.M.’s best friend, and included Metro Boomin as a way to make this an allinclusive show. During his set you would be surprised if the person standing next to you in the crowd wasn’t family. Every song was a shared experience that transcended individualism. The distance between fan and artist has never been shorter. The internet has allowed that. Anyone who is aware of their own interests is able to explore and share them all at the click of a button. Chance the Rapper/Person employs this to explore and share his own interests and values, inviting anyone who empathizes to be included. There are incredibly important artists at the moment labeled as “cultural icons” - The Kanye Wests and the Drakes, who recognize and overthink their statuses as cultural symbols and plot their moves based on a sort of performance art and self-awareness. Chance, on the other hand, is at a level where he just puts himself out there. “Out there” is firmly in the middle of an actual culture. Chance the Rapper may not be the most culturally significant artist right now, but it can be certainly argued that he is the most culturally authentic. • Matt Sherman (Business)

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Cover Story

From Springsteen To Dropkicks: A BRIEF HISTORY OF MISUSED MUSIC IN

Fall 2015

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KIM DAVIS & SCOTT WALKER

< Illustrations by Marissa Rodakis (Graphic Design)

When Kim Davis emerged from jail to Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” she reignited a slew of controversies, including the use of an artist’s song without their permission, for a cause the artist does not support. Davis, a county clerk from Kentucky, spent five days in jail after denying a court order that she issue same sex marriage licenses. Members of the band took to social media to express their displeasure, claiming that neither she nor Mike Huckabee, who was also present, had obtained the necessary legal permission to use their song. Founding member Jim Peterik went a step further, tweeting that the use of his song at the rally was not a reflection of his political views. This trend has been around for decades, with Davis being only the latest example. In 1984, Ronald Reagan famously used (or misused) Bruce Springsteen’s hit “Born in the USA” for his reelection campaign. “Got in a little hometown jam so they put a rifle in my hand, sent me off to a foreign land to go and kill the yellow man” doesn’t seem like the type of sentiment candidates traditionally want to convey to potential voters. Yet, the song has been almost routinely appropriated, with politicians seemingly unable to grasp the song’s bleak, anti-government lyrics

Springsteen has also run into tension with fellow New Jerseyan Chris Christie, governor and long-shot presidential hopeful, with whom he has maintained a long, sometimes awkward and usually one-sided relationship. Christie has publicly professed his admiration for Springsteen and his music, claiming to have attended over 130 (!!!) of his performances, and that he cried after shaking the rocker’s hand at a charity event to benefit victims of Hurricane Sandy. In contrast, the steadfastly liberal Springsteen has refused to allow Christie to utilize his music on the campaign trail since well before the launch of the governor’s presidential campaign. In 2009, he declined an invitation to perform at Christie’s inauguration as governor of New Jersey, likely a source of awkwardness for Springsteen and his most famous fanboy. When Christie announced his presidential bid this past June, the gymnasium of the North Jersey high school that played host to the event rang with the music, not of the Boss, but of another Jersey hometown hero: Bon Jovi. The scuffle over “Eye of the Tiger” wasn’t the first time Huckabee has encountered some friction with artists over the use of their songs. During the 2008 primaries, the amateur bass player took to concluding his rallies by performing “More 27


Cover Story

SCOTT WALKER

Than a Feeling” with his band, Capitol Offense. (Side noteMike Huckabee has his own band. They’re called Capitol Offense.) Former Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau endorsed this, occasionally joining the candidate on stage during the performances. However, founding member Tom Scholz objected, writing Huckabee an open letter in which he condemned both the use of the song and Huckabee himself, saying the candidate “is the polar opposite of most everything Boston stands for.” In January, Scott Walker clashed with Dropkick Murphys when he used the band’s song “I’m Shipping Up to Boston” as an introduction to a speech he made at the Iowa Freedom Summit. The band, whose members have never been shy about their liberal politics, tweeted at the Wisconsin governor, “we literally hate you.” In 2012, the band posted a caustic admonishment on their Facebook directed at Jeff Fitzgerald, then the Wisconsin Assembly Speaker, for using the same song. Knocking Fitzgerald for being anti-union, the band compared his use of a Dropkicks song to “a white supremacist coming out to gangsta rap!” Fall 2015

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Donald Trump, the Republican forerunner for president, seems to be having a difficult time finding an artist who doesn’t object to their music being associated with his campaign. In June, Trump used Neil Young’s “Rockin in the Free World” as he announced his bid for the presidency. Despite being a Canadian citizen, Young felt compelled to offer his opinion on the U.S. presidential race, offering his support to Bernie Sanders, arguably Trump’s polar opposite. He also claimed that Trump had failed to obtain the legal authorization to use the song, which the candidate denied. Days later, Sanders used the song on his own campaign trail. In September, members of R.E.M. took to Facebook to slam Trump for his use of their song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” during a rally against the Iran deal. “While we do not authorize or condone the use of our music at this political event, and do ask that these candidates cease and desist from doing so, let us remember that there are things of greater importance at stake here,” they wrote. “The media and the American voter should focus on the bigger picture, and not


DONALD TRUMP

allow grandstanding politicians to distract us from the pressing issues of the day and of the current Presidential campaign.” They also took to Twitter, with frontman Michael Stipe using bassist Mike Mills’ account to issue a statement that, unlike the one posted to Facebook, apparently escaped the watchful eyes of any PR team. “Go fuck yourselves, the lot of you--you sad, attention grabbing, power-hungry little men. Do not use our music or my voice for your moronic charade of a campaign.” said Stipe. In October, Aerosmith officially requested the Trump stop using their iconic ballad “Dream On” at his rallies, despite the candidate’s insistence that he had obtained the proper legal go-ahead. Representatives for frontman Steven Tyler sent the Trump campaign a cease-and-desist letter, claiming the use of the song at Trump’s rallied “gives the false impression that he is connected with or endorses Mr. Trump’s presidential bid.” Tough luck, Trump The trend of politicians using songs without permission has remained largely isolated to Republic candidates, with a few exceptions. In Trump’s case, it might never have occurred to

him that a musician would object to their song being used for his campaign. This is the same person, after all, who proposes building a giant wall on the US/Mexico border, but maintains that “the Hispanics love me.” For candidates with fewer delusions, there simply might not be enough prominent artists with fitting music who endorse the conservative viewpoint. Rock musicians seem to be an overwhelmingly liberal group, and not every GOP candidate can walk out to Ted Nugent. Unless Bruce Springsteen or Neil Young abruptly develop conservative viewpoints, Republicans may have to make do with their limited options.

• Audrey Cooney (Journalism)

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Editorial

turn DOWN

for whaT

THE NOT-SO-SEXY TRUTH OF HEARING LOSS BY EMILY ARNTSEN (ENGLISH)

Fall 2015

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Caught in limbo between sleep and wake, you hear the crescendo of your God-forsaken alarm. You toss a hand at your nightstand to silence the beast, but it’s too late and you’re awake and you notice something’s not quite right. The room is quiet, yet you hear a distant ringing. The sound of your alarm is replaced with muffled buzzing that swirls around your head like water in a flushing toilet, and everything sounds as though you have marshmallows lodged in your ears. For musicians and music-lovers, this is typically the sign of a good night spent at a loud concert, but something much more menacing lurks beneath last night’s reverie and your ringing ears: the not-so-sexy truth of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most common health problem in the United States and affects more than 31 million Americans, 20 percent of whom will permanently damage their hearing noise by the age of 19, according to the American Academy of Audiology. Musicians are the most at risk group for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) in America and even more than military personnel exposed to wartime explosions.

Adele Sandberg of the Save Your Hearing Foundation explains how NIHL occurs: “Each of us has approximately 18,000 tiny hair cells in our inner ears that transmit sound via the auditory nerve to our brains. When exposed to dangerously loud sound, some of these hair cells become damaged and die. This is usually pain-free and often happens so gradually that we are not aware of our hearing loss,” according to her interview in The Huffington Post. Musicians are especially susceptible to NIHL due to prolonged exposure to dangerously high decibels, the measurement used to determine loudness. Generally, conversations clock in around 45dB, but loud rock concerts jump to 110dB. Any sound that resonates above 120dB can cause permanent hearing damage, according to the Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention. To put it in perspective, most portable stereos range between 85-108 dB, according to the Stony Brook University School of Medicine in New York. According to Medline Plus, a National Institutes of Health information site, a standard pair of headphones turned up to full volume will flood 110 dB into your ears, which is the same

as a chainsaw. Experts suggest keeping music between 60 and 80 dB and limiting exposure to 60 minutes at a time. One symptom of NIHL is tinnitus, an irritating neurological affliction that causes people to hear sounds that aren’t actually happening. When ringing, buzzing or hissing occurs in the ear from no external source, the person is likely suffering from tinnitus and the brain is translating damaged ear cells into these minute sounds. It’s common to experience tinnitus after exposure to loud noises, such as a concert, but symptoms can last much longer than just the day after, and can even be permanent. “The exact biological process by which hearing loss leads to tinnitus is still being investigated by researchers,” according to the American Tinnitus Association. They further explain that, like hearing loss, it’s incurable. NIHL is easily prevented. For musicians and music-lovers, it’s important to minimize headphone use and be wary of the volume levels. Using noise-canceling headphones is one way listeners can reduce volume while still enjoying the full sound.


NOISE

METER

SOUNDS LIKE...

dB=decibel

faint sound, whisper portable stereos lawn mower, truck traffic motorcycle, powersaw chainsaw, stereo headphones jackhammer, helicopter snowmobile baby’s cry, football game rock concert, sandblasting gun shot, jet engine

Wearing earplugs at concerts is stigmatized as dorky or wimpy, but for anyone who cares more about health than style points, it’s an effective habit for preventing hearing loss. A common misconception about wearing earplugs at concerts is that it will lessen the experience by blocking out or dulling the music; however, even cheap earplugs can protect ears without severely altering the sonorous experience. In fact, some people claim earplugs enhance concerts by obstructing white noise from the audience or the environment. “Our ears need about 10 hours of rest in between bouts of extreme noise,” according to an audiologist from the earplug company, Phonak. This can be problematic for musicians who play back-to-back shows without giving their ears a rest.

30 dB 85 dB 90 dB 95 dB 100 dB 105 dB 110 dB 115 dB 120 dB 140 dB

A strange taboo surrounds musicians with hearing loss. Although it’s a common occurrence, admitting to hearing loss is, for some reason, shameful or embarrassing. The mindset seems to be that if a musician can’t hear, he or she must be an incompetent artist. As Beethoven put it, “For two years I have avoided almost all social gatherings because it is impossible for me to say to people ‘I am deaf.’ If I belonged to any other profession it would be easier, but in my profession it is a frightful state.” A handful of famous musicians have broken that stigma, however, by publicly admitting to hearing damage. Results of an ear-splitting rock-n-roll era, Neil Young, Ozzy Osbourne and Pete Townsend have all confessed to suffering from tinnitus. That’s not to say that tinnitus exclusively affects

head-bangers, though. Grimes, will.i.am and Chris Martin have also expressed their struggles with the affliction. Grimes canceled her entire European tour in 2012 due to tinnitus. She tweeted, “Hey guys, so sorry 4 the cancelled shows. im having trouble w hearing loss, tinnitus & am trying 2 stay away from loud music 4 a bit.” In an interview with Time Out, Grimes explains, “I’ve been developing tinnitus since I was, like, 12. I’ve always listened to music that’s too loud. And being a touring musician on top of that does not help.” The inevitable truth is that life becomes quieter with age, and avid music listening only expedites the process. The sad irony is that music can only exist because of our ears, while our ears will fail to function under music’s persisting damage. So wear those earplugs with pride and your ears will thank you some day.

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Show Reviews Glass Animals October 17 @ House of Blues

Reviews

With a degree in neuroscience and a guitar in hand, Glass Animals frontman David Bayley set out to create ‘cerebral’ music when this bedroom project started a few years ago. Now, the band has played sold-out shows worldwide and sleepily snuck onto the charts with the hit ‘Gooey.’ It was easy to see the mind-melting impact of Glass Animals when they took the stage at the House of Blues on Oct. 17. The show aimed at a holistic experience that engaged the eye, ear and, of course, brain. Opener Empress Of fit with the night’s focus, with a mane of curly hair, an enormous pink fur jacket and a collection of dream pop tunes that left the crowd bubbling with anticipation. Akin to hazy four-piece Tennis,

Empress Of played a series of eerie songs with minimal lighting that caught the crowd’s attention. Despite a few technological hiccups, she delivered a clean and hypnotic set that perfectly prepared listeners for Glass Animals. In contrast to Empress Of’s simplicity, Glass Animals took the stage with a blaze of lights and stepped out onto a hypersymmetrical set of floating lanterns, palm trees and enormous lamps against the backdrop of the cover for Zaba. Methodically mellow, the Oxford natives started the night with their drippy ‘Honey,’ then transitioned through the entire album with minimal conversation and artful instrumentation. In

Chris Cornell October 21 @ Schubert Theater

Fall 2015

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Chris Cornell could have retired after Soundgarden’s breakup and he would still be one of rock’s truly great singers. Instead, he has continued to record music, constantly exploring new stylistic territory but always keeping that golden voice at the center. With his sold-out acoustic show at the Schubert Theater, Cornell gave a career-spanning performance which in its diversity and generosity allowed the Seattle icon to touch on everything his enthusiastic fans love about him. Hemming, aka Philadelphia singersongwriter Candice Martello, established the evening’s tone with an acoustic set of fiercely personal lyrics and downcast yet hummable melodies. Martello has powerful pipes and she knows how to use them, holding and bending notes to gut-wrenching effect. She has a knack for evocative, direct songwriting, especially for someone who just released her debut album this summer. Every song was a winner, but the bittersweet bounce of “Some of My Friends” particularly stood out. At 9 p.m. sharp, Chris Cornell entered to thunderous applause, used a turntable to cue the backing track to his 12 Years a Slave soundtrack contribution “Misery Chain” and sang over the record. The unconventional introduction reinforced how Cornell’s solo

material largely eschews dramatic screaming in favor of mellower crooning. He then picked up one of the many acoustic guitars behind him and spoke to the audience, as he frequently would throughout the night. Cornell’s stage-side manner was goodhumored, and the stories he shared offered insight on his career, with a special emphasis on his new, stripped-down album Higher Truth. The show felt like a live taping of “VH1 Storytellers,” and Cornell’s affability seemed genuine. After performing two solo songs, Cornell strapped on a harmonica and did a version of Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin” with changed lyrics and the new title “The Times Are A-Changin’ Back.” He may have overreached by attempting to modernize Dylan, but his rewritten protest verses, while somewhat lacking in subtlety, held up fine. Talented multi-instrumentalist Bryan Gibson, who Cornell could not stop gushing about, played mandolin on Higher Truth lead single “Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart” before picking up a cello for the evening’s first Soundgarden song, “Fell on Black Days.” Having often been compared to Robert Plant, Cornell chose to face those comparisons head-on by covering Led Zeppelin’s “Thank

contrast to the average set list, they played their hit ‘Gooey’ mid-show as opposed to setting it up as a much-anticipated encore. The eight-minute manipulation of the tune delivered all of the ‘peanut butter vibes’ promised. The set then melted into the soulful and seductive ‘Black Mambo,’ and the night continued as an ebb and flow of energy that left the crowd swaying. Finally, the audience was treated to two encores, featuring covers of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Gold Lion’ and Kanye West’s ‘Love Lockdown,’ with the latter cover arguably rivaling the original. The band put a definitive cap on the night with their haunting ‘Pools,’ which fittingly told listeners to ‘smile because [they] want to.’ The audience certainly left smiling, spilling into a ‘Hazey’ Boston night with neurons firing on all cylinders. Anika Krause (English/Secondary Education)

You,” which he followed with an elegiac cover of Mad Season’s “River of Deceit” which felt like a tribute to Cornell’s fallen comrade Layne Staley. Cornell sustained the mournful mood with a song by Temple of the Dog, the band he formed to honor late Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood. Over the years, Cornell has accumulated an insanely deep catalog of songs, and he spent the rest of the concert showing off this embarrassment of riches. An Audioslave hit was followed by a looping pedal-enhanced “Blow Up the Outside World,” followed by a gorgeous new song, followed by his trademark “Billie Jean” cover and so on. The crowd adored Cornell, cheering his every yell and giving him multiple standing ovations. Other highlights of the 22-song set included the Johnny Cash version of “Rusty Cage,” Cornell reprising the singing-over-a-record trick for Euphoria Morning ballad “When I’m Down” and a Gibson cello solo on “Black Hole Sun” so nasty that Cornell stopped the song to compliment him. After finishing the main set with two Temple of the Dog songs, Cornell returned for a two-song encore ending with “Higher Truth,” during which he created layers of vocal and guitar loops which repeated as he left the stage. By honoring his legacy while still pushing forward with engaging new material, Cornell delivered an excellent concert. Terence Cawley (Biology)


Gary Clark Jr.

Matt Sherman (Business)

Gary Clark Jr. October 31 @ House of Blues Gary Clark Jr. took the stage Halloween night in a fur-lined hooded jacket bathed in a red glow. The House of Blues was jam packed with a variety of age groups and a hodgepodge of costumes. Clark opened with “Bright Lights,” a standout song that made it onto his two EPs in 2010 and his debut LP, 2012’s Blak and Blu, in which he declares, “You’re gonna know my name by the end of the night,” although everyone at the House of Blues undoubtedly knew his name by this point. In fact, the music world has come to know his name since his debut LP, a breakout blues-rock revival that has cemented him as the savior of the blues and earned him performances alongside Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, B.B. King, Foo Fighters and even a performance at the White House. Clark’s influences range from the blues to rock, R&B, soul and hip hop. This national tour is promoting his second LP, The Story of Sonny Boy Slim, where he focuses on combining these influences and alleviates some of the pressure of being hailed as the next great guitarist. On his second song, “When My Train Pulls In,” his distinctive

guitar distortion and passionate solo set the tone for what was to be an electrifying set. The set was comprised mostly of Blak and Blu songs like the quick succession of the upbeat “Ain’t Messin ‘Round,” the Texas outlaw composition “Travis County” and the heavy, distortion-laden “Numb.” Clark throughout grimaced at the heavier parts, throwing back his head in a pain that hurts in the good way; a guitar solo face as passionately distorted as the notes from his guitar. Clark then moved into a chunk of Sonny Boy Slim tunes where his vocal range was showcased as he flexed his falsetto on “Our Love” and “Hold On.” He invoked the persona of the late, great Curtis Mayfield on “Cold Blooded,” a soulful tale of female repudiation. He then picked things back up with “Can’t Sleep,” a buoyant funk number, before riding into “You Saved Me,” another hit from Blak and Blu. He closed out his set with the ‘50s dancehall rock-sounding “Please Come Home” and the opening track from his newest LP, “The Healing,” where he proclaims this music is his healing, a feeling shared by all who listen. With that he thanked the crowd and exited the stage. Among the crowd various wails, shouts, whistles and

claps were heard slowly combining into the chant, “Gary! Gary! Gary! Gary!” until he finally relented, grabbed the nearest guit-box and got down to a massive encore. He began with a B.B. King cover, ‘Three O’Clock Blues,” which is featured on Gary Clark Live and had eyes closed and heads nodding the entire song. He transitioned into “Next Door Neighbor Blues,” a Mississippi Delta-inspired lick with slow, repeated verses as is American tradition. He closed with the near ten minute “Third Stone from the Sun/If You Love Me Like You Say,” where he held the guitar extended as if being pulled by an invisible force, led around the stage of the House of Blues by the untamed will of the guitar. Finally, breathing heavily, he stopped, let the guitar fall flat and exited into the Halloween night. Matt Sherman (Business)

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Reviews The Lone Bellow

Taylor Piepenbrink (Music Industry)

The Lone Bellow November 11 @ House of Blues

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The Lone Bellow were back in Boston on Nov. 11 on their fall tour, and it was only logical for the folky trio to upgrade from The Paradise’s 900-person venue to the House of Blues’ 2,500-person hall to support their growing success. This time around, the band found support from not one, but two Tennessee-based openers: Hugh Masterson and Anderson East. On their last stop before two hometown shows at Webster Hall, the Americana folk band left it all on stage for their New England fans. Leave it to them to make a show at a venue that large feel intimate. With their foot-stomping, perfectly-synced three-part harmonies, it’s very easy to see how they’ve been able to win crowds over time and time again. Opening with “If You Don’t Love Me” from their latest album, Then Came the Morning, it was clear that the audience was in for an astonishing set. While the venue limited the band’s typical crowd interactions, that certainly didn’t stop lead singer Zach Williams from hopping onto the barricade to rouse the crowd during the call and response of “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home.” The set mostly featured the newer songs off of Then Came the Morning, though they were sure to throw in their original hits “Green Eyes and A

Heart of Gold” and “Teach Me to Know” from their self-titled album for the older fans. Their modified version of “Into the Woods” blew the audience away with the full band’s involvement. Williams, Kanene Pipkin and Brian Elmquist seamlessly switched the role of lead vocalist several times throughout the set, allowing the other members breaks from the spotlight. Multi-instrumentalist Pipkin continually impressed the crowd with her unique and pure vocals, which were particularly highlighted in “Call to War,” while guitarist and vocalist Elmquist got to show off his solo style in “Watch Over Us.” When it came time for the set’s closer, “Then Came the Morning,” they came out with horns blaring—literally. East’s trumpet and saxophone players came out to accompany the band. Despite the fact that there are only three of them, The Lone Bellow’s booming voices and flawless harmonies demand the audience’s attention. The pin-drop silence during “Into the Woods” and new song “Lovely in Blue” showed how captivating their performance was. After a 17-song set, the band, tired and sweaty though they were, came back out for an encore of the seldom-heard “Looking for You” from their debut album under the venue’s disco ball lights as well as a rendition

of Prince’s “Purple Rain” with help from both openers. Hopefully, The Lone Bellow will bring in a full house with their next release. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Listening to their albums does not do the band justice. You really have to hear them live to fully get what they’re about. As far as musicianship and honesty go, The Lone Bellow are the real deal, and anyone who can appreciate good live music should absolutely make the trek to see them next time around. Taylor Piepenbrink (Music Industry)


WHAT IN THE WORLD IS

What do you get when you combine Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones, James Brown and thousands of years of classical Southern African rhythms? Zamrock, the psychotic psychedelic rock and roll music of 1970’s Zambia.

A young country with new independence in the middle of an oil recession produced some of the most raw and beautiful music in the world psychedelic-rock scene. Influenced by the Western music of the 60s and 70s and West African rhythms, Zambia created its own rich culture of rock music that unfortunately has now been largely forgotten by the public. In the 70s young Zambians were moving out of their rural roots and quickly becoming the first generation to have an urban population. Zambia had the second highest GDP in Africa due to its rich copper mines and the youth was spending money on music, clothes and clubs. The music industry was booming thanks to a few labels that were pumping out Zamrock bands and records that were being consumed by the public. Zamrock groups were going on state-wide tours, selling out clubs with wild stage antics and even wilder music. But there was trouble in paradise. After independence the country dipped into a recession and Zambia was starting

to experience the beginning of its “Resource Curse.” The first government had nationalized its copper mines and inequality was skyrocketing. Zamrockers were also looking outside their country’s borders and seeing a continent crippled with poverty, colonial dictators and civil war. To the south there was extreme repression in Rhodesia (modern day Zimbabwe), and apartheid-stricken South Africa. To their east Mozambique was in flames as they were trying to achieve their own independence, and to the west Angola was in the midst of one Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars. The Zamrockers reflected their frustration in their music, often having songs in a few different languages depending on whom the message was directed towards. The music was simultaneously chaotic and orderly. Heavy rhythms in the back with intricate and sharp guitar playing was the focal point of the songs. It was fairly simple rock and roll, but the fuzz and hard drums created a darker sound than most of the popular Western music of that time. Eothen

Alaplatt, owner of Now-Again Records, one of many labels reissuing some of these holy grails, describes one Zamrock band as being able to handle “Velvet Underground-esque laments and charging hard rock songs with equal facility.” This is characteristic of many bands of that period and their style of playing. Unfortunately, by the mid 80s Zamrock was all but dead. The country’s music scene followed in the global direction of disco and soul, and the country was hit hard by the AIDS epidemic. Zamrock has been all but forgotten for the last 40 years, as Zamrock records became scarce and the few that did survive Zambia’s tremulous history since 1970 were beyond playable. Luckily there has been a huge boom in labels that make it their goal to reissue these almost impossible to find albums. Leading the crusade is the aforementioned Los Angeles-based NowAgain records, which has reissued many of the legends, including Paul Ngozi and the Ngozi Family, Amanaz, Rikki Ililonga and WITCH.

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Feature Fall 2015

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Paul Ngozi

Amanaz

One of the most successful Zamrock artists, Ngozi was able to break the Zambian border with his music and went on several tours around the Africa and Europe. His style is grittier and fuzzier, with an obvious connection between his music and early Black Sabbath. Ngozi is interesting not only because of his style of Zamrock but because his lyrics range from demonizing those who are not Christian to telling the world that all we really need is peace. For example, on his 1977 album The Ghetto, the opening track In the Ghetto Ngozi pleads to his fellow man on the titular opening track, “Take care of your kids, reduce your drinking all the time.” A nice, simple message, but his earlier works contradict this saintly attitude. In another title cut, “Day of Judgement,” Ngozi exclaims, “Day of Judgement is coming, All sinners will go to hell.” Overlooking some of his questionable lyrics, his music is some of the hardest hitting while most accessible of the genre.

Amanaz, an acronym for “Ask Me About Nice Artists in Zambia,” was one of the darker bands in the Zamrock canon. Lead singer Keith Kabwe would often emerge form a coffin on stage at the beginning of sets, and his voice is deep and raspy, almost what one would expect a strung-out, African, Louis Armstrong to sound like. Amanaz is another great example of how Zamrock excelled at keeping heavy rhythms while still staying melodic and catchy. Although they only released one mysterious album, the band was able to make enough of a name for itself that it opened up for some of the biggest names in Africa at the time including a sellout stadium show. Perhaps their most famous track, which can be heard in several films, is “Khala My Friend.” The song is sweet and quiet in comparison to another song “History of Man,” a fuzzy anthem with the characteristic loose guitar and a tight woodblock and tambourine beat.


Rikki Ililonga A true pioneer of the Zamrock scene, Ilionga is often given credit for creating the genre and merging the fierce guitar licks of Jimi Hendrix with the funk of James Brown and the rhythm of many Afro-Beat acts out of West Africa at the time. Ilionga possessed the ability to keep songs pleasant and sweet, like “Sheeban Queen,“ and then follow them up with hard tracks like “Zambia,” which features sharp guitar solos and deep funk rhythms. As recounted on the Now-Again Records Dark Sunrise release, Rikki was a kind and generous musician who loved all his peers’ music and could draw from their styles. One thing that differentiates Ililonga from his counterparts is that his style is more similar to West African musicians Fela Kuti and Ebo Taylor. Much of the Zamrock canon contains short, intense tracks with wailing guitars, but Ililonga would break that structure and offer melodic, more afrobeat style tracks characteristic of the mid-1970s. Ililonga’s “Musi-OTunya” also includes a horn section which no other Zamrock band had.

WITCH Considered the most popular band out of the Zamrock scene, WITCH (We Intend To Cause Havoc) was also one of the first. Their sound leaned more towards the Rolling Stones than anything else, and as such, lead singer Jagari Chanda was appropriately given his name by the Zamrock lovers of at the time. Singing and lyrics were more of a focal point for them instead of instrumentation or complex rhythms. This is not to underscore the fact that they were still filled with fuzzy guitar solos that could send shivers down Keith Richard’s spine. Although most of the band is now deceased, Jagari still keeps the legacy of WITCH alive. Today, you can hear WITCH on Adult Swim where they are frequently used in their bumpers, in ads on TV, and are sampled by Hip-Hop producers such as Madlib. • Tim Fletcher (Political Science)

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A Guid

: f e i e to the 5 Stages of Gr

Editorial

FRANK O N O I T I D C EA N E gy) ciolo o S / rnalism By Alex Frandsen (Jou

You were lied to–we all were. Frank Ocean promised an album in July, and as the days of that doomed month ticked by, our anxiety grew. August passed without even a word from Ocean, and deep worry began to set in. Now, on the verge of winter, more than three months after the slated release date, we are still without the sequel to Channel Orange. We are all victims and we are all suffering. We here at Tastemakers understand your anguish. So, with that, we present a guide to navigating the five stages of Frank Ocean grief, complete with an album that actually came out this year to get you through each stage.

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1. DENIAL “It can only be a matter of time, right? It ’s dropping any day now no 2. ANGER “WHAT IS HAPPENING. WHY HAVE doubt.” I BEEN HURT SO. HOW CAN I The number of fans in this stage is dwindling by the day, but they are still out RELEASE ALL THIS DEEP RAGE?” there. Buoyed by a false dream that Frank Ocean is just playing a fun little waiting game, the griever in denial is defined by an inexplicable sense of hope. They wake up every morning and check the “New Releases” section on Spotify to no avail, and begin their day disappointed. But as the day goes on, they deceive themselves and cling to their preferred alternate reality. Small Talk by rising British pop and R&B singer MNEK is the ideal companion for this stage in the process. Short and sweet at six songs, this EP mixes beautiful vocals with danceable beats, perfect for a listener looking for something to keep them distracted and happy in this dark, empty world. “Suddenly” is the most similar sonically to Ocean, but “More Than A Miracle” is the highlight. And coincidentally, that’s what an album release from Ocean would require.

Once out of denial, the griever is filled with the anger of a jilted lover, and understandably so. Numerous questions fly through the head of the fan, from “Why me?” to “Who can I lash out at to feel better about myself?” The trust has been broken, and the victim spurns the very idea of Ocean’s music. Ocean is dead to them, at least for the time being. Who better to turn to in this situation than rival and (maybe) mortal enemy Miguel? There is no better way to lash out at Ocean than listening to the R&B artist he has notoriously feuded with, and Miguel’s Wildheart is an easy transition. Raw and crackling with energy, Wildheart is an exercise in passion and emotion. With heavy usage of electric guitars and wailing vocals, this can make you forget all about the Liar-Who-MustNot-Be-Named. “Coffee” is the most popular and catchy song, but “Leaves” and “What’s Normal Anyway” are the ones you don’t want to miss.

isen Hackley (Experience Design) Illustrations by Mad


3. BARGAINING “Maybe if I stay in my bed and cry long enough the album will come out.” This stage is all about figuring out ways to avoid the inevitable. The bargaining griever will search for any way to escape the unavoidable, including finding other artists remotely similar to Ocean and pretending they are him. In some ways, this is the saddest stage because the sheer desperation of the listener is so apparent. The Ocean fan will definitely want to turn to Elijah Blake’s album Shadows and Diamonds for this stage. The unheralded secret weapon of the R&B world, Blake takes mellow lyrics and lays them over original and incredibly appealing beats to create one of the most slept-on R&B albums of 2015. And when his voice goes high, and if you separate yourself from reality just enough it almost feels like Ocean himself. Who needs Frank when you have someone who sounds like him and doesn’t tear your heart out?

4. DEPRESSION “I could go outside but I know the rest 5. ACCEPTANCE of the world is going to disappoint me “I will be cold and decomposing in just like Frank Ocean did.” my grave before Frank Ocean releases anything.” If the listener is in this stage, it may take a while for them exit. Characterized by an overwhelming sense of despair and a refusal to stop listening to all of Ocean’s library on shuffle while eating sleeves of Oreos, most in this stage would prefer to sit inside and wallow in their misery. The best aide for this stage in the grieving process is You Should Be Here by Kehlani. Long enough to last many crying sessions, Kehlani brings a gentle but simultaneously assertive sound to the music world, while maintaining that smooth traditional R&B sound. Plus, Chance the Rapper and BJ the Chicago Kid make some perfectly incorporated guest appearances. The title is also exceptionally appropriate to the griever’s main wish.

Look. It’s not happening. No album is coming out, no single is coming out, and Ocean will probably never again say a word to the public. So might as well get used to the idea of finding another artist to fill the void. The listener in this stage can be identified by an eerie sense of content unknown to the rest of Ocean’s fan base. Bryson Tiller is the answer here. No one can fill Frank Ocean’s shoes, but listening to T R A P S O U L will quickly make anyone forget about Ocean, at least for a while. The album name serves as both a title and the name of a completely different genre of music, where Tiller flips from crooning to rapping multiple times without a hitch. “Don’t” is the star of the album, but almost every song on the work is unique and above average. And once the listener has finished all 14 songs, the process is complete. The grieving is over. Thank us later. 39


Editorial

Stick it to the

Scalpers Sitting in front of you is an iPad, a smartphone and a laptop all in ready position, with LiveNation, Ticketmaster or some other ticket server flashing across the screen. The tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. — you know it, other fans know it and, most importantly, the hundreds of ticket scalpers waiting to scam you out of your money know it. For any show with a high demand for tickets, especially in venues with a small capacity, the pressure to buy them before they sell out is extremely high. Sometimes it’s a matter of minutes, and regardless of how prepared you are, luck just might not be on your side. And what’s the only option then, other than forgoing seeing your favorite band? You turn to resale sites, often laden with tickets acquired by scalpers. We all know scalping sucks. Tickets on StubHub can go for many times face-value, and often there is no way to know whether or not they are legitimate. The friendly neighborhood scalpers selling desperate fans tickets outside the show could be handing them an overpriced pass into a sensational live music experience, or they could be handing them a worthless piece of paper that won’t make it past the first security guard. The real question is: what are people doing to prevent, or at least dissuade, this phenomena? And how do they do it without infringing on those who just want to sell their ticket because they simply can’t attend?

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Ticketmaster has developed a paperless ticketing system that requires anyone who buys a ticket to show their ID at the box office in order to access them. Some artists have adopted this feature as their primary ticketing mode, like Bruce Springsteen who is a major critic of scalpers. Ticketmaster also created a resale feature that adds an added level of security. Here, buyers and sellers can access a platform for tickets being resold without having to shift to an outside source like StubHub or SeatGeek. You know the tickets are legitimate because a seller has to first buy the ticket through Ticketmaster and then choose to resell it, all within the site. Though this doesn’t totally cut out the scalping problem, as paperless ticketing are only one percent of ticket sales, it definitely works to keep it within control. Aside from ticketing websites, certain artists are working to make sure that the tickets sold for their concerts go to those who really want to be there, whether it be selling through their own website or through their fanclub. Lorde collaborated with Artist Arena to create a fanclub that her fans could buy tickets for. It required a sign up process, and then they were given login information to buy their tickets on presale. Some artists took paperless ticketing to heart, like country music star Eric Church who made his entire arena tour in 2014 paperless, requiring both a credit card of purchase and ID to pick up the tickets. Along with that, he also did random sweeps to make sure no one household bought more than eight tickets, and reserved a certain amount of special tickets to be sold at face value through Ticketmaster. He really cracked down on his policies, as he wouldn’t even let people change the name on the ticket, but offered those who couldn’t go a refund if they requested it in advance.w

In 2013, Kid Rock sold his Best Day Ever tour concert tickets for significantly under face-value at $20, and made them paperless with required ID wherever he could. He would also hold 1,000 seats to sell through LiveNation as platinum tickets, and the prices for those would be higher. The first row is reserved for super-fans who might be lucky enough to get a free upgrade, all in the spirit of keeping the show as geared towards the fans as possible. By making the experience as cheap as he could, Kid Rock has a marketing advantage in that people will likely want to spend more on merchandise and concessions, which he gets a chunk of. He brought back the $20 ticket for his tour earlier this year as well. Even superstars One Direction worked in collaboration with an application called Twickets that only allows fans to sell their tickets at face-value or below for the european leg of their On The Road Again Tour. On the Twickets website you can join an online queue that will notify you when you are next in line to buy tickets. There is no guarantee more tickets will become available, but this a safe and reliable way for fans to both sell and buy tickets without getting ripped off. There’s no formulaic way to prevent ticket scalping, no algorithm or sophisticated CAPTCHA can completely keep the bots away. However, the steps taken by artists and ticketing websites alike can ameliorate the system. Artists are becoming increasingly concerned about the fan experience, because they know if the fans aren’t happy then they won’t spend their money in the future on what the artist puts out whether it be another tour, merchandise or even new music. To think that scalping will disappear is much too idealistic a notion, but we can hope with continual precautions and prevention the ticket buying experience will only improve. • Mayeesha Galiba (Journalism)

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Job For A Cowboy’s Doom EP might just be the most polarizing 27 minutes in the history of 21st century metal. Released in 2005 to acclaim from fans of Myspace-era deathcore and sledging reproofs from old-school death metal aficionados, Doom drew every possible reaction from the gamut of critical response. For better or for worse, it will be remembered as a release that got people talking; on the internet and elsewhere, Doom has sparked endless squabbles about the rightful place of breakdowns in metal, the acceptability of allowing “scene kids” into the genre’s circle of exclusivity and whether the increasing hybridization of metal’s subgenres is categorically a good or bad thing. As someone who has chosen to rise to the defense of Job For A Cowboy’s debut EP and deathcore - heavy music’s equivalent to Marmite - mine is truly a thankless task. I have taken on this labor of love, however, because the first release from this talented five piece from Glendale, Arizona still holds up as one of the best examples of deathcore during its finest hour. “Catharsis For The Buried,” Doom’s 55 second intro, is the only respite that the listener gets from the fusillades of blast beats, tremolo picked riffs and demented shrieks that form the central elements of Job For A Cowboy’s early sound. It is an unnerving, haunting piece that segues nicely into the next (and most famous) song on the EP: “Entombment of a Machine.” “Entombment” is an excellent track that showcases Job For A Cowboy’s original line-up at the height of its creative powers. Jonny Davy’s vocal delivery is particularly worthy of mention on this song. His distinctive, blood curdling high screams are contrasted effectively by his use of mid-range growls and the “pig squeal” technique (you’ll know it when you hear it). During the slower-paced sections of the song, the vocals are synchronized with drummer Elliot Sellers’ tom rolls and the guitars grind to a halt, almost giving an instrumental representation of the song’s lyrics. The lyrics, which revolve around death and horror, match the brilliance of Davy’s vocals throughout the EP. They are filled with morbid imagery, cryptic

refrains and on the iconic “Knee Deep,” quasi-biblical allegory. If you want to get the full experience out of listening to Doom, read the lyrics and allow them to evoke images from the regions of your mind that you ought not to often visit. Job For A Cowboy’s greatest achievement on this EP was proving that the simple combination of frenetic bursts of speed and welltimed, memorable breakdowns can make deathcore as enjoyable to listen to as death metal. They didn’t revolutionize extreme music with Doom, but what is there not to enjoy about the beautifully harmonized guitar melodies, inventive rhythm work and soul-shredding screams exposited throughout? Even Doom’s less celebrated tracks, such as “The Rising Tide,” “Entities” and “Relinquished,” display some of the band’s most dynamic and intelligent compositional ideas, the likes of which we didn’t see consistently from them until their next EP, 2011’s fantastically underrated Gloom. In the estimation of many critics, Job For A Cowboy succeeded in shaking off the “deathcore” tag and crossing the gangplank into legitimate death metal territory only late last year, thanks to the warmly received Sun Eater. Sun Eater is their latest full length and most mature work to date, but why does a band that has been putting out high quality releases for the past 10 years have to constantly make amends for a single dalliance with deathcore it had when its founding members (all but one of whom has left) were still in their senior year of high school? Let us remind ourselves that Job For A Cowboy is not the only metal band that started off with a sound rooted in mid-2000s deathcore. The Black Dahlia Murder, The Faceless, Fallujah and Abigail Williams are all guilty as charged, yet none of these bands have had to pay musical reparations for experiments they tried in their songwriting infancy. Job For A Cowboy deserves to be recognized alongside the aforementioned bands as one of the titans of modern metal, and the Doom EP does not detract from that claim in the slightest. • Akosa Amenechi (Undeclared)


Bandcamp Jams

STONE HEALER genre: post-black metal release(s): He Who Rides Immolated Horses (2015) recommended tracks: Unconditional, The Scythe in My Heart sounds like: Autolatry, Hope Drone, Deafheaven

The New England Black Metal scene lost one of its leading lights when Autolatry disbanded mid-way through 2015. With three stellar releases (and one split) behind them in the last five years, and a new four-track EP in the works, the break-up of this progressive black metal outfit was as untoward as it was mystifying. Then, in another unforeseen twist, the spirits of Autolatry fans were (partially) lifted when Dave Kaminsky, the brains behind the band’s fluid and dynamic sound, announced that he would be immediately moving on to writing material for a new project of his called Stone Healer. I’m glad to report that with Stone Healer’s first effort, He Who Rides Immolated Horses, Kaminsky produces a worthy evolution of Autolatryís previous work by infusing it with layers of anguish, atmosphere, and non-metal elements. Mansfield native Kaminsky understands what it means to create cavernous, brooding sounds that take long-term residence in

the listener’s memory. He draws palpable influence from shoegaze and doom metal, but the aggressive drum work (supplied by Dave’s brother Matt) and coarse vocals are reminiscent of past Autolatry compositions, which proves that Stone Healer isn’t a complete departure from black metal. The lyrics are drenched in emotion and seem to be inspired by personal experiences more than anything- they are at their most potent when sung cleanly by Kaminsky. Overall, there is plenty to praise Stone Healer for and I can’t help but feel that there is a lot more from them in the offing. Dave Kaminsky is looking to assemble a full band and bring Stone Healer into the live arena; let’s hope he succeeds in this endeavor and attracts some well-deserved recognition for his music along the way. • Akosa Amenechi (Undeclared)

MUMBLR genre: fuzz punk release(s): Super! Premium! Deluxe!, Full of Snakes recommended tracks: Father’s Day, Yo, Nobody Gives a Feel sounds like: Weezer (Pinkerton), Rozwell Kid, Fuzz

Take one look at the Philadelphia based rock group Mumblr’s Facebook, and you can immediately tell the guys have a sense of humor. Past profile pictures of theirs include photos of Creed and Dwayne Johnson. Even their latest album features the four of them standing naked in the shower on the cover. But Mumblr is far more than a silly joke band. White Jesus, Black God, Mumblr’s first full length album, is a combination of previous EP’s White Jesus, more alternative sounding tracks, and Nutter, a set of four fast paced punk influenced tracks, bringing together their best works to date. Their most recent LP, Full of

Snakes is even more musically diverse, while still retaining a fuzzy DIY sound. The emotion in lead vocalist Nick Morrison’s voice perfectly complements the even more gripping lyrics. Songs like “Greyhound Station” and “White Devil” address racism, “Masturbation” deals with hardships in a relationship, while “Sober” talks about the scariness of reality. Mumblr is continuing to evolve, and all of their music is worth a listen. • Alex Wetzel (Business Administration) 43


Editorial

I Can’t Be No One Else Learning what makes North America’s preeminent Oasis cover band tick Objectively, cover bands are a pretty bizarre institution. Sure, it’s good fun to watch a band break out someone else’s song now and again and put their own spin on it, but a dedicated covers act greatly elevates the intensity of that notion. It’s not just a song, and it’s not just a night; these are musicians who embody the music and mannerisms of others day in and day out, bringing surreal approximations of stadium-sized acts back to the world’s clubs and bars. In exchange for a suspension of disbelief, they can take an audience back in time and connect them with music that has long since become inaccessible in an intimate setting, or in many cases, inaccessible altogether. Enter Supersonic: North America’s foremost tribute to Oasis. Hailing from Toronto, the band has been “spreading the good word” of ornery brotherly love since 2009. Erstwhile high school bandmates Dylan Shepherd and Steve Nyarady occupy the respective roles of the oft-quarrelling Liam and Noel Gallagher, and their foray into the strange world of the touring tribute act began with the simple realization that they could actually pull it off.

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“We were doing ‘Wonderwall’ at the time,” Nyarady says of the band he and Shepherd formed in their spare time some 20-odd years past their early days as musicians, “and it was like man, you really sound like Liam.” The spark escalated from there, and within a few months the pair had put together a solid lineup and began learning the catalog. Six years onward, they’ve found themselves returning to the United States for the second time on a three-date tour of the East Coast, seated across from me at the hallowed Great Scott on an autumn Thursday night. A well-received date at New York City’s Mercury Lounge in 2014 was motivation enough for Bowery Presents to ask them back to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Oasis’ Britpop-defining smash (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?, and the band naturally jumped at the chance. “We’ve always wanted to break into the U.S. and spread the good word,” Shepherd says, “on Oasis’ behalf obviously.” Shepherd and Nyarady approach their source material reverently. It doesn’t take long for a conversation with the duo to reveal a genuine affection for the music that extends far beyond the desire to strum “Wonderwall” that has possessed many an adolescent. They rattle off favorite B-sides and deep cuts and alternate versions and discuss Noel’s strengths as a songwriter with the ease and thoughtfulness of true diehards, and they take pride in making that a part of the act. “We’re gonna do [“Some Might Say” B-side] ‘Headshrinker’ tonight,” Shepherd tells me. “There’s Oasis cover bands in the U.K., none of them do ‘Headshrinker.’” Naturally, the band takes its actual performances just as seriously as the song selection. “We try to recreate, like literally recreate the experience,” Shepherd says, “so I actually try and recreate how Liam actually acts on stage.” Sometimes he almost does it too well. “A lot of the feedback we got after the first show was, ‘why is Dylan being such a dick?’ Nyarady says later, referencing perplexed friends and family in the wake of Supersonic’s debut. “I’ll get up there and if you didn’t know me, you’d be like, he’s acting like a real asshole,” Shepherd adds. “Just like Liam Gallagher.”

Watching the quintet step on stage, the resemblance truly is uncanny. The look, from the clothes to Shepherd’s sunglasses and tambourine, is just right, and his detached, despondent rockstar mannerisms are matched by the steely, Noel-esque glint in Nyarady’s eye. None of this would mean much of anything if the band didn’t deliver the goods sonically, but they nail the Oasis formula: muscular and soaring with just a slight twinge of psychedelia in their stride. And damned if Shepherd doesn’t have Liam’s distinctive yowl down pat. The turnout at Great Scott this night is not immense, but the band doesn’t seem to mind. As Shepherd matter-of-factly put it at the beginning of our conversation, “We’re not in this for the money.” They surely played to a more tightly-packed crowd for their sophomore showing at Mercury Lounge the following night (a gig that, in an ironic little Britpop Wars twist, could’ve served as an after-party for Blur’s big Madison Square Garden show), but one gets the sense that Shepherd and Nyarady are happy to share the music and the experience with whatever sized audience wants to listen. It’s this that makes a band like Supersonic such an admirable institution. There’s no cynicism here, no cash-grabbing tendencies; there’s five guys who love Oasis and want to share their connection with a particular strain of music with others who feel it too. Why dress up as a pair of feuding, millionaire rockstar brothers who are barely on speaking terms time and again? Because someone in that crowd is just as excited about hearing “Rockin’ Chair” as they are about playing it. They’re in pursuit of a feeling and a vibe. “It’s gonna be loud, it’s gonna be rockin’ and people are gonna be drinkin’,” Nyarady says, surveying the gig ahead. “Hopefully they’ll feel like they’re back in 1995.” • Ben Stas (Journalism/English)

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Emotional Landscapes A

Discography

by Peter Giunta (Biology)

Etcetera

Debut 1993

For Iceland’s experimental singer-songwriter turned activist-actress and all around darling Björk, it might be strategic to approach the breadth of her work microcosmically. In the music video for Homogenic’s “Bachelorette,” Björk finds a magical book that writes a bestselling memoir in her likeness and takes it to a publisher, who takes her from a book tour all the way to a Broadway prose-play until “Her Story” has been monetized into oblivion. In a grand gesture of defiance, she cuts ties with her publisher/partner, turning him into a hedge-sculpture and the city into a burgeoning forest. She is a “fountain of blood in the shape of a girl,” fraught to the point of nearformlessness in her self-destruction. From this performance a dichotomy emerges that is central to the understanding of Björk’s discography: She is driven to reconcile her own country’s natural and technical wonders, with plumes of emotion unparalleled by many artists of the past two decades. Like Iceland’s Þríhnúkagígur volcano, her music is disastrous at close range, but breathtakingly beautiful behind plexiglass. This seismic signature runs rampant through her albums, and is a hallmark through which we can begin to make sense of her world. At its heart, Björk’s discography is one of reconciliation between humanity and the earth, lost-love and self-love, violence and happiness.

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Debut is a deceiving name for Björk’s first true solo record, because it ignores the extensive creative output she amassed pre-1993. Before her 25th birthday she had formed a jazz-rock fusion group, an allgirl punk outfit, several post-punk bands and the surrealist “Medusa.” She saw considerable success with her post-punk band the Sugarcubes, who remain one of Iceland’s most popular rock groups to date (mostly thanks to the 1988 single of the year “Birthday”). She even recorded a jazz record with the trio Guðmundar Ingólfssonar called “Gling-Glo,” which remains her best-selling record in Iceland. In that sense Debut feels like a reboot of her image, and a strange prophecy for her influence. The album aligns itself under house and un-house, taking influences from London club culture and Bollywood soundtracks alike. The more danceable tracks put the Sugarcubes firmly in Björk’s past. Synth lines from tracks like “Big Time Sensuality” and “Crying” are the payoff of a collaboration made in heaven with Nellee Hooper, punching just hard enough to bookend the more gentle “Like Someone in Love” and erotic “Venus as a Boy.” The record deftly expands on the erotic tracks “Venus” and “Big Time Sensuality” to connote beauty in all things, and draws equivalence between happiness and lust. The sheer energy and optimism of this record is difficult to ignore, and nearly vanishes in Björk’s later work. Recommended Tracks: “Big Time Sensuality,” “Human Behaviour,” “Venus As a Boy”


Homogenic 1997

Post 1995 Post is another near-total reinvention. The opener, “Army of Me,” connects Post to its predecessor in direct refutation, every bit as defiant as Debut is playful. The beat is drainage-system industrial, resembling polar bears “tramping over a city.” The track is the first of many in which Björk’s voice is the primary source of emotion, commanding an “army” with stunning and strategic power. And yet what makes this album so important to her discography is its emotional versatility. Post allowed Björk to explore media from big band to trip hop, creating an innovative record in the context of single power. Its six singles are admittedly beguiling to the uninitiated, with “It’s Oh So Quiet” raising questions about a larger narrative that could somehow include a Betty Hutton cover amid gritty electronics. But the track makes perfect sense as a counterpoint to “Hyperballad” and “Possibly Maybe,” painting the beginning, middle and end of a relationship as equally exhausting. Recommended Tracks: “Army of Me,” “Modern Things,” “Possibly Maybe”

Björk completes this near-holy trilogy with an album that sounds about as resolute as it looks. Homogenic draws more heavily from her heritage, through extensive research into traditional Icelandic folk music. As such, Homogenic sets the organic beauty of “all the modern things” to the fearless electronics on “Army of Me.” Any hint of aimlessness on Post is replaced by “a warrior who had to fight not with weapons, but with love.” Iceland’s influence is written throughout the album, boiling the production elements down to tectonic beats and strings played out on a grand scale. On tracks like “Hunter,” the strings are tied hopelessly to the beat, the old world and the new driving the album forward (how Scandanavian!). Björk’s collaboration with Mark Bell of LFO proved to be a masterstroke of innovation, each feeding off the other’s energy to shuttle her wildest concepts into reality. And though Bell may get slightly too much production credit, Homogenic succeeds on just about every ambition that it purports to have. The crunching bass drum and flat-lined chip tune on “5 years” explain in no uncertain terms just how badly her then-boyfriend Tricky screwed up. The synth figure on “All Neon Like” is as luminous as the bassline on “Alarm Call” is alarming. And to paraphrase overlord Yorke, the string section on “Joga” might just be the most beautiful thing ever written. Homogenic is the height of Björks emotional maturity, falling in and out of love with stunning ease. The fragility of “Unravel” is shattered to pieces by “Bachelorette,” and scattered into oblivion by “Pluto.” “All is Full of Love” skillfully ties her love poetry to Iceland, reminding us that love exists between any two things on this earth. At her best, Björk delivers an album that rejects her fame, all while solidifying herself as one of the most influential electronic musicians of the past two decades. Recommended Tracks: “Joga,” “Unravel,” “Alarm Call”

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Vespertine 2001

Etcetera

Vespertine was designed to build on the fragile budding love of Homogenic’s “Unravel,” coming in part from Björk’s new relationship with Matthew Barney (as a prophetic companion to Vulnicura, which catalogues their equally dramatic demise). The result is a track listing that ranges from precious to over-precious, with varying degrees of success. The microbeats featured on songs like “Cocoon” and “It’s not up to you” feel so delicate that they might dissipate if you could ever look at them. Combined with a near-crackling voice on “Cocoon,” the work marks a major turning point in Björk’s career, who has stated that this album was meant to be an introvert to Homogenic’s extrovert. Unfortunately, the character that Björk assumes for Vespertine may also have been too reserved to push the melodic envelope. The beautiful cadences in “Aurora” and “Unison” bookend a particularly drab melodic section of the album, with “An Echo, A Stain” being the worst offender. To that end, the vibraphone on “Sun in My Mouth” (and especially “Frosti”) does little to drive the melody. In context, Vespertine, while stunningly composed and quietly sexual, didn’t quite innovate so much as it basked in the glory of Björk’s previous innovations. Recommended Tracks: “Cocoon,” “It’s Not Up To You”

Medulla 2004 “Oceania,” the lead single from Björk’s 2004 LP, may be the strangest song ever chosen for the opening ceremonies of an Olympic games. Picture for a moment Björk telling the whole of Athens “every pearl is a lynx” while her stadium-sized dress unfolds around her. The song doesn’t even have much in the way of single power, with the closest thing to a chorus being the “your sweat is salty” refrain. Yet the track underscores exactly what makes this album so interesting. It manages to deliver something so wholly Björk without a single stitch of familiar electronics. In fact, the album is composed with almost no instrumentation and just several guest a capellas as well as backing vocals from Björk herself. Most of the features (from Robert Wyatt, Dokaka and Mike Patton, to name some) excel because of the attention that is paid to each and every gasp. The raspy vocals that lurk in the background of “Pleasure is all Mine” assign exhaustion to childbearing that is almost mythical. On “Submarine,” Robert Wyatt’s craterous exhales have a similar effect, only with a hint of sleepwalking. Still more of these beats just seem like triumphs of the human voice, like the throat singing on “Where is the Line,” and the beatboxing on “Who is It.” Overall Medulla was a giant a capella sigh of relief for Björk’s fanbase, because it proved she could still innovate even after sifting through three years of live albums. Fall 2015

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Recommended Tracks: “Where Is the Line,” “Who Is It”


Volta 2007

Biophilia 2011 The stage of Björk’s career that spans from the lead-up to Volta to the aftermath of Biophilia is best organized as “pre-hype” and “post-hype.” The hype for Volta stemmed from whispers about a collaboration with Timbaland, and the potential R&B influences that would creep in as a result. In fact, Timbaland himself referred to the album as “Hip-hop,” all while her label was promoting its unprecedented accessibility. Post-hype, the album fell victim to the promises it made. In the end Timbaland’s handiwork touched only three tracks, and only “Earth Intruders” and “Innocence” bear any traceable influence. Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons also provides vocals on two of the songs, but her influence is relegated to that of “The Conscience.” The result is a crooning tortured voice ignored like so much of America’s consciousness. The extra-album mythology surrounding Biophilia was still more convoluted, ultimately overtaking pure songwriting in favor of something that could capture its accordion-like volleys between the cosmic and the atomic. When the universe doesn’t fit in a digipak, the rest goes into a sprawling 10 app galaxy. As David Attenborough alludes to in the title sequence, it allows users to “investigate and discover the elusive places where we meet nature.” With the incredible degree of interactivity in the project, Biophilia remains an effective educational tool for creative research in Europe. With the ability to drum on bacteria and play rocks like an accordion, each interaction with the app feels like a discovery. Yet the music of Biophilia does not, and possibly could never reach the atmospheric strata that are the core of its source material. The arpeggios on “Thunderbolt” feel more like static electricity than a defiant crack, and her question of “am I too often craving miracles?” seems dubiously humble for a record of this magnitude. The organ on “Hollow” feels strangely like someone futzing around before the churchgoers arrive. Though the album falls short of its own impossible standards, it’s stunning literacy and engagement as a multimedia project has allowed Biophilia to age extremely well. It is also yet another example of Björk’s continued effort to reconcile her fascination with technology and the natural world. As it turns out, music is the very thing missing from that dialogue, and Björk has every intention of bridging that gap. Recommended Tracks: “Earth Intruders,” (Volta) “Crystalline” (Biophilia)

Vulnicura 2015 Björk’s latest record Vulnicura came without so much as a peep from her label that it would be another dance-pop record. Thanks in part to inspirational collaborations with Venezuelan producer Arca, the album traces Björk’s split with longtime partner Matthew Barney with painful, emotional precision. This time, Arca’s stammering production style fits perfectly over Björk’s string and vocal melodies. The thudding downbeat on “Family” eschews cracked violins, which slowly meld with a warm wall of synths. Björk moves from asking where she can mourn “the death of [her] family” to “rais[ing] a monument of love.” The gradient of hysterics to healing plays out throughout the album, delineated by the months pre- and post-breakup in the liner notes. Björk stops recording the months after “Atom Dance,” perhaps in reluctant admission of her own healing. The track feels in many ways like a revision of Biophilia, allowing her dialogue with nature to continue even in near-darkness. The strings feel more organic than the percussion on, say, “Virus,” and even Antony Hegarty’s vocal range is used to its proper eeriness. “Atom Dance” reveals that for an artist like Björk (of which there are none), cohesiveness on a discography-wide scale is not calculated by the sum of motifs. The albums feel unified because they are an extension of the self, and an extension of the questions she has that will never be answered. Björk is an emotional savant; capable of setting every microfeeling she has to a melody. With the whole of Iceland at her fingertips, Björk’s creative output has been moving faster than the speed of genre convention and technical limitation from the outset. But for those rare moments when we can glimpse her world in real time, just hope that you’re looking closely enough to see it unravel. Recommended Tracks: “Stonemilker,” “Black Lake,” “Atom Dance”

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Etcetera

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TASTY RECIPE Eggnog Truffles Type of dish Dessert Preparation time 3 hours Cook time 10 minutes Difficulty Easy

Moldy

Stale

Edible

Fresh

Tasty

Ingredients

Instructions

2 cup sugar

1 In large pot, bring sugar, eggnog and butter to a boil

3/4 cup eggnog

for 2 minutes.

1/2 cup butter

2 Remove from heat and mix in rum flavoring and 1 tsp nutmeg.

1 tsp rum flavoring

3 Pour mixture into a bowl, add in marshmallow and white

1 tsp nutmeg

chocolate morsels. Blend until combined.

1 cup marshmallow cream

4 Pour into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

3 cup white chocolate morsels

Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

2-16 oz pkgs vanilla candy coating

5 When set, cut into bite size pieces. Roll each piece into a ball

1 tbsp nutmeg, for garnish

and return to cookie sheet. Put in freezer for one hour. 6 Using a toothpick, dip each truffle into melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with a tiny pinch of nutmeg. Allow to set about half an hour in refrigerator. 7 Serve cold and enjoy!

ZOOMED Can you tell which six album covers we’ve zoomed in on here?

Snoop Dogg Bush Modest Mouse Strangers to Ourselves Arca Mutant 2nd Row:

Janet Jackson Unbreakable Ratatat vvMagnifique Miguel Wildheart 1st Row:

CRYPTOQUOTE

FIND BIEBER We’ve hidden Justin Bieber somewhere in this issue. Find him and maybe something cool will happen...

“MIF I K

F X A G

OM

K P Z N V OM

V I

D AT T E N A K

T I L AT

D J T T

O A

Y N I K A M I F

—Drake

TJ V A

K A A G 51


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