Staff Picks: September ’16

Ba de ya, tell me you remember
Ba de ya, and your heart felt like September
You still had the joy and God was just a prayer away

This issue of Staff Picks is a special one for the team here at KRUA. After a long year without ’em, this month is all about favorites, new and old(ish), from your favorites (us).

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 _______ (I want to say South Park but I don’t want to ruin your first initial thought of this band because they’re great) 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, refined release yet; including one of their first love songs, “Steady On My Mind”, and even a track with some Houston-inspired rap in “Captive of the Sun”.

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

After listening to the title track, Human Performance, I understood the album artwork. It was ME on the floor. ☹ Don’t be fooled by the awesome tune, 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.

 

 

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