April 22, 2011

Staff Picks

STAFF PICKS Cropped

September 2016

Jeanette Sweetman, Program Director

Moderat III – Moderat

It has been a few years since we’ve heard anything from the trio of genius from Berlin that is Moderat. The groups Apparat and Modeskeletor banded forces in 2002 to create Moderat, a brilliant electronic supergroup. Last April, KRUA got their newest album, III, and it is still blowing my mind! Their past albums have an industrial sound that is always wonderfully cohesive and is best listened to as a whole. Their latest release is much more noticeably energetic and delivers some serious electronic intensity. The album has been described as more accessible (good article here ), which I can agree with. Much of the album leaves behind an ambient/experimental sound for lyrics and gigantic building percussion. In layman’s terms, it’s a little less weird. This music is gorgeous for night drives. Some of the tracks that make me lose it are Intruder, Animal Trails, and Finder. There is not one track that is dull on this whole album. When the apocalypse comes, you can bet that I will still have this CD in my car.

 

Joshua Bezona, Marketing & Underwriting Coordinator

Human Performance – Parquet Courts

Parquet Courts is like the South Park of rock bands – bringing current social issues to question with satirical, yet incisive lyrics. Human Performance, their fifth studio record, is easily their most vibrant release yet, including one of their first love songs, “Steady On My Mind”, and a track with some Houston-inspired rap in “Captive of the Sun”.

Parquet Courts has become one of the most notable rock bands of today, all while maintaining this off-the-grid, DIY type of mentality. Frontman Andrew Savage created the album artwork up until just recently, they abstain from social media, and their first albums being releases by Andrew’s own microlabel, Dull Tools.

After the first time listening to the title track, Human Performance, I understood the artwork. It was ME on the floor. ☹ Don’t be fooled by the awesome beat, this song screams Häagen-Dazs. Check out the lyrics below.

I know exactly where I was when I
First saw you the way I see you now, through these eyes, waiting to retry
Those pristine days I recall so fondly
So few are trials when a life isn’t lonely, and now if only
I’d never felt it, I’d never heard it
I know I loved you, did I even deserve it, when you returned it?
There’s no suspicion, no hesitation
Believing through the eyes of sore, adoration
Witness and know, fracture and hurt
Eyes in the fire, blink unrehearsed
Shield like a house, closing its doors
Curved in the dark, rinses of yours
Ashtray is crowded, bottle is empty
No music plays and nothing moves without drifting, into a memory
Busy apartment, no room for grieving
Sink full of dishes and no trouble believing, that you are leaving
Mid-sentence tremors, mind at its weakest
One way of shaking off the thoughts that it sleeps with
Witness and know, fracture and hurt
Eyes in the fire, blink unrehearsed
Shield like a house, closing its doors
Curved in the dark, rinses of yours
In walks the darkness, I pitch without you
Asks me do I realize what I’d done and who I’d done to, indeed I do know?
It never leaves me, just visits less often
It isn’t gone and I won’t feel its grip soften, without a coffin
Breathing beside me, feeling its warmness
Phantom affection gives a human, performance
Witness and know, fracture and hurt
Eyes in the fire, blink unrehearsed
Shield like a house, closing its doors
Curved in the dark, rinses of yours

 

My favorite tracks are “Human Performance”, “It’s Gonna Happen”, “Berlin Got Blurry”, and “Steady On My Mind”.

“Sometimes the press does have the attitude that we’re indebted to them because they’re giving us attention… but really, I figure it’s not up to them to decide whether people pay attention to us or not. People are going to listen to us regardless.” said Brown in an interview with The Guardian. And he’s right, we will. I’m excited to see what they’ll come out with next.

 

Adrian “AJ” Colding, Volunteer Coordinator

Lemonade, Beyoncé

While Lemonade isn’t my first choice of drink, it is one of my top choices when it comes to Beyoncé’s discography. Lemonade (Yoncé’s newest album), is the soundtrack to every relationship. No matter who you are with, you will experience hardship in a relationship. This album showcased the rollercoaster ride of emotions from the start of infidelity to forgiveness and finding the love again. There was some stipulation that Beyoncé was singing from personal experience. However, I learned that this is not just personal, this is just an open diary; a voice for all women who go through trials in a relationship. I personally found that incredible. The creativity and the thought that was put into this project is beyond amazing. This album is not only for the ladies; men can also align with the wave of emotions one goes through when dealing with infidelity.

For me, this is a different approach for Yoncé. She is normally singing about women empowerment and fighting the odd’s women face on a daily basis. This album showcases a more vulnerable Beyoncé. It gave us a chance to get to know, feel and align with her more. Even if you are not a Beyoncé fan, I recommend you watch the motion picture so you can see the visual stories told with the music.

“I was given lemons and I made lemonade”. – Hattie (Jay-Z’s grandmother)

 

Wright Franklin, Station Manager

Blonde, Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean returned!!!! Praise Yeezus!! (I don’t know how much he was actually involved). Blonde is everything I was hoping it would be. Definitely listen from start to finish, but Nights is probably my favorite song. Enjoy it thoroughly, it might just be the last time we hear from Frank Ocean for another four years or so.

 

Dylan Blankenship, Production Manager

I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware, The 1975

Noteable Songs: Somebody Else, A Change of Heart, Love Me, The Sound

So first off, yeah, the name of this album might be a mouthful, it might even be a tad on the title IX side of things. Don’t be stingy, this album means well. Poppy, dreamy synths replace a bass guitar and keep the tempo for these songs. Although drum kits and guitars are not abandoned, just more specific. Almost reminiscent of 80s pop, the vocals are irresistibly catchy. But, Dylan isn’t leading you astray. This isn’t radio trash… I mean sure at first it totally is but  I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware is incredible in the sense that one song will be incredibly upbeat, and it will flawlessly transition into a melancholy song that has you staring out the window thinking about the fact you’ll never be quite in love like you were at 16 again. In fact, the entire album has a very nostalgic aesthetic to it, like a deja vu, you swear it’s happened before, but you are only experiencing it now.

This one goes out to all the girls reading this

 

Max Jungreis, News Reporter

Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda

I didn’t choose Hamilton because it’s the first successful hip hop musical on Broadway. I also didn’t choose it because it’s set in one of my favorite periods from history. I chose Hamilton because it was the best thing I listened to all year.

Using a catchy mixture of hip hop and show tunes, show creator Lin-Manuel Miranda de-stultifies the life of Alexander Hamilton, the founding father that dragged himself out of an impoverished childhood in the Caribbean to become one of the figures that shaped early America. The story is narrated by Aaron Burr, Hamilton’s friend and eventual killer, as the two men rise and fall in revolutionary times.

The rhymes are deep and sublime. Miranda displays a prodigious command of the English language, layering puns into his lyrics that require several listens to catch. There’s plenty of war and chaos, but Miranda manages to bring even boring cabinet meetings to life by turning them into cutthroat rap battles between the nation’s leading intellectuals. It’s hilarious and fascinating at the same time.

Hamilton is a story about working hard and placing ambition above all else. If you’re the kind of person who wants to get ahead in life, you’ll emphasize with the titular character as he struggles to rise from the streets to the top of the colonial pecking order in a life tailor-made for a hip hop narrative. By the time his aspirations lead to his own self-destruction, he’s already risen higher than he can fall. It’s unspeakably inspiring. I listen to this album when I can’t remember why I work so hard.

 

 

July 2015

Dylan Blankenship, Sports Reporter

L’anarchiste – Giant

Do not be discourage by its unfortunate and unpronounceable name, L’anarchiste (meaning ‘the anarchist’ in French) is audible gold. Taking the bittersweet nostalgic folky influence of bands like Iron & Wine and Radical Face, L’anarchiste adds synths and even electric guitars creating a genre I would dub awakening. Deceitfully upbeat, this sound is like a memory from a younger summer; painfully sweet.

 

Kjersti Andreassen, Marketing & Underwriting Coordinator

My Morning Jacket – Waterfall

My Morning Jacket (MMJ) has been one of my favorite bands for years, and I was excited to see their new album Waterfall in our stack of new CDs. Waterfall does not disappoint. Like previous albums, this one has a distinctive upbeat, folky, and electronic sound to it, but retaining the classic Americana sound I’ve come to love. The first song sets the album off with a nearly stadium rock-feel, with the anthem Believe (Nobody Knows). The rest of the album goes deeper into the same sound, which is so many kinds of satisfying. Under the surface there are definitely darker themes in this album than MMJ has explored previously, like in Get The Point, but it doesn’t wallow in them. This album is on point, and if you like folk, Americana, rock, or steel guitars as much as I do you should take a listen.

 

Anna Lande, News Reporter

Ratatat – Magnifique

There’s many things you could say about Ratatat’s Magnifique, and all of it would be good. It’s smooth. It’s diverse in sound. It’s the kind of album Captain Kirk would play to initiate sexy times with green alien ladies. One song that really stood out from the album is Cold Fingers. Cold Fingers in a broad sense is electronic chill wave, but the well placed, rocky ambient sound made it stand out, as being re-playable. Magnifique truly is magnificent.

 

Taylor Hodges, Music Manager

Ezra Furman – Perpetual Motion People

I’d never seen an album include a map of the streets of Chicago until I saw Ezra Furman’s Perpetual Motion People. The map is marked with locations, presumably places where the album was written, and set the tone for the album. It’s quite unique, a little alt rocky, a little folky, a little poppy, which makes for a diverse listening experience. Wobbly almost sounds like it belongs in a children’s show segment about adjectives, but Restless Year is a throwback to surfer vibes from the 60s with lyrics about pre-revolutionary Russian authors. Yeah, you’ve kinda gotta listen to this one to see for yourself.

 

 

November 2014

Alejandra Buitrago, Station Manager

Fairy music, man, it’s so good it hurts. Hippie Sabotage caught my ears attention with “Quit Wastin Time.” I’m not the biggest fan of Dubstep or strange little techno-esc beats that somehow have created their own subgenre, but credit where credit is due when a 1 minute and 10 second song catches my attention.

Hippie Sabotage has the perfect balance of vague lyrics with head bobbing beats that can be turned up or turned down and still make you feel good either way. And come on, with elections just finishing up, doesn’t it make you think, “Huh, people sure do put a lot of faith, money, and time, into endorsing complete strangers.” I’d endorse Hippie Sabotage. I have no idea what their politics would be, but at least it would sound good.

Also, track 3 on their album The Sunny Album (Deluxe Edition), will make you say, ” ya, F*** em.”

Enjoy.

 

 

Connor Keesecker, News Director

When Panda Bear’s new EP Mr. Noah begins I was totally unsure of where it was heading, not that I particularly cared about that.

The experimental artist starts with a swirling psychedelic beat that only truly gains coherence with the vocals, which present an interesting and surprisingly catchy beat with a world music twist,. The result something like a tropical John Lennon trapped in the Phantom Zone from Superman 2. The first song off the new effort from Noah Lennox, Mr. Noah, is able to ride a nice groove between psychedelia and a catchy beat. It’s my kind of music and exactly what I would expect from the Animal Collective member. While the first and titular track struck me the most, the other three songs on the preview were fantastic. Each sound like variations of the first but take on a life irreconcilably unique from one another.

So if you find yourself in a world twisted by unfamiliarity with foreign fruits and wondrous surrealistic colors, you’re probably listening to Panda Bear. So relax, unwind, and let the beat take you on a trip.

Track one Mr. Noah is my definite favorite, immediately followed by the second song Faces In the Crowd.

 

 

Madeline Hall, Marketing Director

Now, I’ve never been a huge fan of EDM, but Magic Bronson’s album Wildlife just may change that. Michael Nicastro’s vocals are deep and sexy, and well-complimented by a fresh bass line. The beat is subtle, but hits hard. The first track “Clouds” is mesmerizing. It starts out with a simple bass line, adds some weird voices and sound effects and then segues smoothly into Nicastro’s dreamy and euphoric vocals. From the opening line “people around were asking us how to live in the clouds/ take yourself to the moon,” this song has me wanting to “start it over” with these guys. “Fences” is the third song on this album and it keeps to the dreamy melodic beat that grabbed my heart from the beginning. Invest in some quality headphones or speakers and play this album loud. The sixth track “Let Us Grow” just makes me feel cool. I want to blast it from my car speakers and pretend it’s summer in LA. This album is smooth and low key, but definitely makes me want to get up and dance. Check it out, yo. It’s fantastic.

 

 

Jessica Owens, Production Manager

My album pick of the month is the new Mystery Skull’s album, “Forever”. The whole album is something you can nod your head to. If you enjoy a mix of electronic and some traditional instruments, with some hard beats, you’ll definitely enjoy Mystery Skulls in general, but this album especially.

 

Even their ‘slower paced’ songs are definitely more upbeat than not. There isn’t a single song I don’t like on this album, though much of it can’t actually be aired due to FCC violations, and the same is said for my absolute favorite off the album, “Ghost”.

 

TL:DR, This album is a perfect mix of electronic and traditional, and I highly suggest it.

 

 

Ammon Swenson, News Reporter

Emma Hill has been at it for a while now. I’ll admit that when I first saw her play live, it was easy for me to write her off as just another singer songwriter in a sea of mediocre acoustic guitar slinging chumps. These days, with the hipster folk revival, I’ve been increasingly jaded towards this trend of musicians trying to portray themselves as down home and earthy, when in reality they’re probably the exact opposite. Emma Hill’s new album “Denali” has helped restore my faith in homegrown folk music.

While the album isn’t really breaking new musical ground, it’s evident that this album was a labor of love. All I can really ask of music these days is for sincerity and this album delivers.

The title track starts out sounding fairly generic, but quickly sucks you in with Emma’s velvety-smooth vocals, minimal approach and spot on production. References to Alaska abound and it’s easy to make this album your own.

Without going into too much detail, I’ll just say this:

Go for a long drive and put this album on. You’ll see what I mean.

 

Michael Stormo, Production Assistant

With the semester in full swing, I’ve had a lot less free time to spend scouring the internet for new music, as I like to do. I had seen the tracklist for Kindness’ sophomore album Otherness about a month back and was super stoked to check it out when it released because of the features listed (namely Kelela and Dev Hynes, who I am a huge fan of). Alas, I got lost in the pages of my textbooks and the album’s October release slipped right by me, all but forgotten. BUT as luck would have it, the album ended up in our rotation, so I finally got that listen in!

All-in-all, the album fell between a strong-okay and a light-good for me. As beautiful as the production was on every track, the album lacked a powerful vocal presence from Adam Bainbridge (Kindness) to support it. I went through peaks and valleys of interest in the album as I listened. The highs came with the features, the lows in-between. The album starts off on a high note with the very funky, jazzy tune “World Restart”, but trails off a bit in the tracks following until showings from collaborators on tracks like “8th Wonder” and “With You” liven things up.
My favorite track came near the end of the project, where Bainbridge is joined by soul singer Tawiah along with Dev Hynes  (a.k.a. Blood Orange, who if you haven’t listened to, do yourself a favor and get on that). “Why Don’t You Love Me” is indeed as sad as the title sounds.  That being said, I can’t take it off repeat.  Give it a listen:

Wright Franklin, Music Manager

My staff pick is Theophilus London’s new album, Vibes. It is a sultry and delicious mix of RnB singing and rapping and it was produced by Yeezus himself. Ye even features on track 4, “Can’t Stop”. I wish I could include Emojis here because the heart-eyes one perfectly sums up how I feel about this album. It is good from start to finish and provides exactly what the album title suggests, great vibes.

This content was removed from YouTube. Sorry about that!

 

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