September 20, 2017 The Signal page 19
New Foo Fighters album goes for gold
The band’s head-banging record is a tribute to classic rock and roll. By Nicole Zamlout Correspondent
Foo Fighters, the ’90s postgrunge rock band, released its latest album “Concrete and Gold” and it’s the kind of head banging, guitar screaming and all-around rock album that continues the rock genre’s evolution from the days of KISS, to Dave Grohl’s work in Nirvana and beyond. The album’s songs contain
themes most rock songs cover — lost love, heartbreak, fond memories of simpler times and a few good middle fingers to ‘the man’. It’s not one coherent story — it’s more of a collection of snapshots the band is showing us so that we can understand how it got here today. However, the music and lyrics take these themes and make them new, which is quite a feat. The lyrics are full of passion and really stick to you.
The music makes you bob your head and rock out, but at the same time, the lyrics make sense and have a lot of meaning. Music these days is either get up off your seat or sit a minute and reflect, but this album is able to do both seamlessly. The quick pickup of beats is great if you need a song to cheer you up, but the soft moments still give energy and allow for a nice contrast. It’s good old fashion rock and roll with a new twist – it’s not just
screaming, it allows you to feel something a little different than the music of its predecessors. It’s this strange combination of calming and powerful that make this album one to listen to. The little bits of screaming vocals really help punch up the songs and brings attention to the beautiful instrumental tracks. The guitar and drums bring everything to life as each song unfolds its story into a nonlinear narrative. The music amplifies each emotion until you can’t help but understand what the artist is feeling, which is the integral part of why music is so compelling: it allows us to understand one another. This album proves that you don’t need a heartbreaking melody to be understood. Music as a whole is a world of understanding. “Concrete and Gold” is good for anyone who wants a new set of head banging songs. It’s also a good example as to why this type of music works — no matter what form it takes, it leaves you feeling soothed and heard. This may not be traditionally soothing, but it depends what you’re looking for in a song. The album is full of surprises. So, plug this in and rock right along. After all, who says rock ‘n’ roll can’t soothe the soul?
Brown Bag packs an educational lesson By Julia Marnin Staff Writer
The College kicked off its Brown Bag Series on Friday, Sept. 15, with alumnus Robert LaPlaca (’06) as the first speaker of the semester. LaPlaca was a graduate of the interactive multimedia program — before IMM became a department within the school of Arts and Communications. He is now a software engineer at Etsy. He has also worked for various big name companies including Barnes and Noble, R/GA, Nike, Verizon, Lexus and Pepsi. While on center stage in Mayo Concert Hall, LaPlaca presented his experiences working in New York City in the last decade. LaPlaca reflected on how his failures geared him toward his successes, and spoke of the insightful knowledge he gained along the way. Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Communications James Day introduced
LaPlaca’s lecture, and said he would gladly share “how he learned wisdom from failure and how he left his comfort zone in order to grow.” For LaPlaca, who previously lived on the Jersey shore, working in the city was completely new for him. “One day I made a weird decision,” he said of his decision to pursue work in New York City. LaPlaca began his journey in New York City with many interviews, including his first interview with Barnes and Noble, which did not go as planned. While he felt really comfortable with his software skills, LaPlaca was thrown a curveball during the interview when he was asked to write difficult code on the spot. LaPlaca admitted he couldn’t write the code. Following the interview, he proceeded to study that new skill afterwards. “What I learned was that interviewing is
LaPlaca’s admirable work ethic contributes to his success.
Jason Proleika / Photo Editor
tough but you have to go for it,” he said. “I’ve tried to adapt and learn from those mistakes.” Ultimately, the insight LaPlaca gained from interview failures helped him land a job as a software developer at R/GA. A position at R/GA involved having a “broad skill sets,” according to LaPlaca. While nearly 100 developers at R/GA were flash developers, changes in technology challenged the developers’ pre-existing expertise. “Things changed because in 2007 the iPhone came out, which didn’t support flash at all, and I wondered how we adapt and what to do,” LaPlaca explained. LaPlace believes in the importance of diversifying one’s skill sets. “If something is changing, learn to adapt,” he said. While working at R/GA, LaPlaca’s friend reached out to him regarding a job at Etsy. “Sometimes opportunities just appear,” he said. “You have to figure out if you’re ready for that.” Etsy was an opportunity he decided to pursue. During his interview for Etsy, LaPlaca asked to see the job description. Noticing there were various skills listed that he was not wholly familiar with, LaPlaca decided that honesty is the best policy. LaPlaca shared his concerns with his interviewers, and his honesty was rewarded. “The people I was talking to said ‘don’t worry about it we’ll teach you,’” he said. “If I didn’t leave my comfort zone, I don’t know what I would be doing right now.” At Etsy, LaPlaca is on the Maker Innovation Team, specializing in building software. Transitioning into the Q&A portion of the presentation, Assistant Dean Day asked LaPlaca how he viewed his potential career while he was a student at the College. “I don’t think I had a clear vision,” LaPlaca responded. “I never had a moment where I knew very young.” Miles Cumiskey, a freshman interactive multimedia major, felt that he benefited from LaPlaca’s presentation. “I thought (the talk) was really awesome,” he said. “Having speakers that create things and do code in this new age is really important for IMM majors.”
This week, WTSR Assistant Music Director EJ Paras highlights some of the best new music that the College’s own radio station, 91.3 FM WTSR, puts into its weekly rotation.
Band Name: Tigers Jaw Album Title: “spin” Release Number: 4th Hailing From: Scranton, Pennsylvania Genre: Alternative Rock/Emo Label: Black Cement Tigers Jaw’s latest album is a hit in the Philly alternative scene. It’s a solid combination of the jangle of old indie rock, the modern stylings of new indie rock, and the simultaneously introspective and communityminded concerns of the current emo scene. The band is continuing their “equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Brand New” trajectory that they laid out for themselves on 2014’s Charmer. Their song, “June,” was a big hit with their fans. Brianna Collins sings a chorus that adds a lot of power to the song. Must Hear: “Followers,” “June” and “Escape Plan”
Band Name: Portugal. The Man Album Title: “Woodstock” Release Number: 8th Hailing From: Portland, Oregon Genre: Psychedelic Indie Rock Label: Atlantic Records Some fans dub this “Sellout. The Man,” but with this release, Portugal. The Man have hit the stratosphere. Their hit “Feel It Still” is a colorful and polished release from the Alaska/Oregon band. With toe-tapping basslines and catchy choruses, the band never fails to keep their audience entertained. Combining modern rock glitz with EDM (at times) and lyrics about societal and political unease, you get “Woodstock.” Must Hear: “Feel it Still,” “Rich Friends” and “So Young”
The 09/20/17 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey’s student newspaper