Lorde, the newest music sensation taking over the nation, features New Zealand singer Ella Maria Lani Yelich-O’Connor. After releasing her first EP a year ago, Lorde’s latest single “Royals” debuted as the number one single on New Zealand’s Top 40, eventually landing her a spot on the Billboard Hot 100.
She’s currently featured as one of Spotify’s top artist with a live version of her album available to stream (and yes, it’s amazing). As if that wasn’t enough, Lorde is also the first New Zealand artist to have a number one song in the United States.
Oh, and did I mention she’s only 16? Just let that sink in for a minute.
At a time when most of us we’re barely learning how to drive and couldn’t get into an R-rated movie without parent permission, Lorde is selling out tours based off of an impressively sophisticated album that one would expect from a twenty-something. She has drawn attention from high profile celebrities, tabloids, and music magazines.
When I was 16, I was probably perfecting the “duck” face and making sure my MySpace profile background was just right.
As far as I’m concerned, Lorde is way ahead of her generation. Her sultry sound doesn’t focus on partying and drinking, but is poetic. This sound is both surprising and refreshing to hear coming from that age group.
Lorde is just at the beginning of her quick rise to fame and hopefully we will see a long career from this emerging artist. I, for one, anticipate great things coming from her and can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.
Editor’s Note: The previous version of this article stated that the genre was bass and drum. The genre of Disclosure is actually synthpop or house.
Normally when writing I take solace on my over sized couch, my kitchen table, or (if I’m feeling frisky) a table at one of the various coffee shops scattered around campus.
Today, I am writing to you in my roommate’s car as we drive entirely too fast on our way to San Diego. We are taking a midweek trip to see UK electronic duo, Disclosure.
This synthpop electronic group stole my heart last year when they made their Coachella debut. Erase all of your preconceived notions about the genre “electronic.” You will need to reevaluate its definition after hearing these brothers.
Their sound acts as an audio-induced time machine that transports listeners directly back to the 70’s. This duo and their sound are proof that disco is back.
Disclosure’s innovative influence can be heard in the use of similar sounds by mainstream artists.
Listen to “Treasure” by Bruno Mars or “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake and you will hear the same funky undertones that make you want to throw on a pair of bell bottoms and shimmy.
Okay. Maybe not the bell bottoms, but definitely the shimmying.
Their most popular, radio ready, song “Latch” is not only extremely catchy lyrically but immediately makes me want to dance like an absolute maniac upon hearing the intro.
However “Latch” is only the beginning of the gold mine of songs that Settle, their debut album, showcases.
To say that their music is revolutionary, in my opinion, would be accurate. Disclosure introduces a freshness into the music industry that combines old school tempos and new school electronic and together the two create an entirely new sound.
Anyone who can appreciate innovation will appreciate the sound that Disclosure produces. Tomorrow night, I’ll be showing my appreciation by dancing my ass off.
All right, I know what you’re all thinking, not another Miley blog post. I know, it took a lot of convincing for me to write it and even more for me to listen to Miley’s new album.
After her traumatic appearance on the VMA’s where several papers and establishments said she molested Robin Thicke, it was safe to say that Miley had officially lost it.
She traded in her long, golden wig for short jagged hair and switched her country voice for hip-hop. Gone are the days of the beloved Disney icon and instead, we have new naked-wrecking ball-dancing teddy bear Miley.
Miley’s come a long way from singles like “7 Things I Hate About You” and “See You Again.” Her entire life has changed since those singles released. She’s gone a little nutty, but her music is at an entirely different place creatively.
However, surprising as it may be, I wouldn’t completely rule out her new album Bangerz. Creatively and musically, Miley is at her peak. While her moral decisions are certainly questionable, Miley has never before had this kind of freedom in her artistic style.
She could do anything –and I mean anything – at this point and she would catch the public’s eye. She may seem like she has no idea what she’s doing, but Miley is crafty. She knew that if she got on stage with those god-awful pigtails and changed the way everyone views foam fingers, she would become a sensation.
Now, whether she was receiving good or bad publicity didn’t really matter. It was the fact that she graced the headlines of major publications all over the country and I can almost guarantee that wasn’t an accident.
Miley is, undeniably, a movement of this generation’s time. Whether we like it or not, she’ll be a name that comes up in conversation for years to come. She may be a train wreck, but she’s the show everyone is lining up to see.
DJ, producer and electronic dance music artist ZEDD released a new music video last week featuring his latest hit song “Stay the Night.”
Hayley Williams of the American rock band Paramore lends powerful vocals to the beats provided by ZEDD. The combination of their talents in “Stay the Night” is a song catchy enough to make audiences feel like moving and singing along.
The Stay the Night music video is an effective visual adaptation of the lyrics which brings an emotional aspect to the piece. Ballet dancers representing a young couple are the center of the video. Williams also plays a large role, and ZEDD makes a cameo appearance playing a piano.
Using dancers is an element that makes “Stay the Night” a unique and interesting music video. Shortly after pressing play, viewers have their attention captured by the beautiful graphics and choreography. Because of the emotions felt through dance, it is possible for viewers to become invested in the story of the couple depicted in the video.
Not only does Williams have an impressive voice, she also has a stunning look of vibrant red lips paired with matching red hair. It is impossible to take one’s eyes off of her.
Born Anton Zaslavski, 24-year-old ZEDD is a classically trained musician raised by Russian parents. He began delving into electronic music in Germany five years ago. His first studio album Clarity was released one year ago on Oct. 2, 2012.
ZEDD is currently on a world tour titled the “Moment of Clarity” tour. Recently on Sept. 21, he played a concert in Phoenix, which many UA students, including myself, attended.
“Stay the Night” is smartly-crafted art visually and musically. Not only is ZEDD a talented musician, he also has an entertaining personality which can be detected from his many posts in various social media outlets. He is worth checking out.
So this is something that way too many people in America seem fixated on, and I hate to become one of those people, but I just want to know what Miley Cyrus’s deal is.
I don’t know her personally; I watched her grow up on television. My little sister loved Hannah Montana, and I watched it with her from time to time. I remember thinking, “Hey, this girl is my age. I could do this!”
I hadn’t seen her perform in years (I missed the VMAs and watch my t.v. shows online) until I watched the We Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball videos a few weeks ago. I kept hearing a lot of buzz about Cyrus, and I finally wanted to see what the fuss was all about.
I don’t think her new songs are all that great. They’re generic pop songs that could come out of the mouths of Katy Perry or Rihanna.
Something did chill me to the bone, however, Cyrus herself.
She blatantly over-sexualizes herself and does it without a hint of human emotion in her eyes. She doesn’t look happy or upset to be licking a sledgehammer or dry-humping whatever. Even the way she sticks her tongue out seems calculated. She knows that the more she self-destructs and acts like a hot mess, the more money she makes.
What freaks me out is that she is my age. We 20-somethings are supposed to be pulling stupid crap like this—dancing with our girlfriends, drinking to excess, being silly and trying to be sexy—but coming from her it feels jaded and cynical.
I feel bad for her. Maybe I’m making this up in my head because I can’t imagine being in her position. I can’t imagine trying so hard, acting that way for the world and my mother to see just so I can sell records.
The fascination millions of people have with her new image is frightening. It’s as if our collective society is pushing her towards the edge, encouraging it because we want to see the spectacular crash that will result.
I guess we’ll find out. In the mean time, I hope Cyrus is able to (pardon the pun) “twerk” things out.
Back in March of this year, during the second week of the Ultra Music Festival (for those that don’t know, the annually-occurring, end-all be-all festival for electronic music), Avicii brought country to electronic.
He trotted out live country and bluegrass vocalists as well as a violinist, a sight about as rare as it sounds. With Avicii on the mixer, this anomalous group of musicians proceeded to perform what would be songs off his upcoming album. While the audience was bewildered at the lack of drops, and the Internet backlash was palpable, “True” is a remarkable accomplishment.
The album combines the seemingly disparate genres of electronic and country to remarkable effect. “Wake Me Up”, the hit single that’s been making the rounds, uses the vocals of soul singer Aloe Blacc and contributions from Incubus’ Mike Einxinger create the soulful tale of someone who wants to sleep through the ‘growing up’ phase of life.
“Hope There’s Someone” is a cover of the Antony and the Johnsons’ song, with Linnea Henriksson” providing chilling, haunting vocals to make it the album’s ‘must-listen’ song.
All of the songs deal with some dark spin on love, as can be gathered by such titles as “Liar Liar”, “Shame on Me”, and “Addicted to You.” There is more lyrical content than one will usually find on an electronic album, making for an enriching listening experience.
“True” goes completely against the grain of the “Big Room House”/ electro-house styles that have thoroughly permeated the genre and is a breath of fresh air.
Hats off to Avicii, for not only making this unique album but for making the album extremely good. I recommend everyone, despite what types of music you like, to listen through all ten tracks of “True.”
Katy Perry returns with Prism, her junior album, after an almost two year hiatus following Teenage Dream, this time distancing herself from a trifling divorce still ripe with emotion.
“Walking on Air,” Perry’s latest song from her new album dropped somewhere in the wee hours of Monday morning. Considering the ‘90s house beats, MILF jam remix has me thinking it should’ve been released as a predecessor for “Last Friday Night.”
I am a Katy Perry fan to end all – a “Katy Cat,” if you will. I involuntarily begin to shake when I hear the simple guitar strumming in the beginning of “Teenage Dream,” and I have been known to listen to “Firework” before exams. So typing these words will take a lot out of me.
Upon first, second, and even third listen to “Walking on Air,” I’m not enamored. The heavily syncopated club beat doesn’t give me the same thrill as does “E.T.,” nor does the high BPM do the song justice like that of Roar. Simply put, I feel the song is more fit for an Abercrombie & Fitch playlist than in the hearts of Perry’s fans.
To have this song follow the last release of “Dark Horse” provides a strong juxtaposition. With a sensual, rhythmic sway, “Dark Horse” is the sexual side her Pentecostal parents were afraid of seeing all along. “Walking on Air” is a ’90s soulful song coupled with a distasteful Avicii remix.
With the album drop a mere 21 days away, “Walking on Air” isn’t the provocative reinvention of Katy Perry that many were hoping for. Simply put, this shouldn’t be the song that ushers the album to its grand entry.
Tucson has a long history of featuring uncommon, underground artists that have yet to make it big. With the city’s embrace of cultural events and art along with the student population’s desire for fresh music, Tucson is often home to never-before-heard sounds.
The Historic Rialto Theatre downtown is one of the many venues that have been home to bands on their way to the big leagues. The intimate venue provides artists a chance to connect with the audience with its limited space and romantic décor.
Last year, indie-folk rock band The Lumineers made their Rialto debut, and quickly rose to fame following that performance with folk music requests being at an all-time high. A year later, the band is set to have its premier concert in Phoenix at Comerica Theatre on Tuesday, going from an audience of a few hundred to several thousand.
The band has become well-known thanks to singles “Ho Hey” and “Stubborn Love” and popular tunes “Flowers in Your Hair,” “Submarines” and “Classy Girls.” Now with a dedicated fan base spanning across the globe, the band is bypassing the Rialto this year and instead graduating to play Phoenix venues.
The Lumineers’ vast popularity is undoubtedly due to their refreshing, unique sound that is unlike much of mainstream music these days. The lyrics go beyond the typical formula of violence, drugs and sex to convey real human emotion and actually connect with fans.
There will be much to expect and little to disappoint from week’s performance from The Lumineers at Comerica Theatre. For those of us in Tucson, we can only hope that they’ll one day return to the Rialto cycle and once again serenade us with their heartfelt folk tunes.
The radio has always been a part of my life. I remember being in the car as a kid and making my mom turn up the volume when the Spice Girls or Britney Spears came on.
My girlfriends and I got ready for school dances to the tune of Jay Sean’s “Down” or Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me”. Even now, when I hear the opening lines of “Party Rock” by LMFAO, I think of frat parties and the beginnings of independence that marked my freshman year of college.
I know people always say, “Oh, music these days sucks”, but for me, it’s a way of staying connected. Top 40 radio is a marker of what’s popular in society and an indicator of our collective state of being.
I never thought the day would come when I’d throw in the towel in favor of blasting music on my iPhone instead of tuning to a radio station. Recently though, I bought myself an auxiliary cable for my car so I could bypass the radio and listen to something more complex and innovative.
I finally got fed up. Everything I’ve heard recently is bland. Inoffensive. Insubstantial. I hate turning on the radio and hearing samples of good songs clumsily smashed in between a techno beat and unoriginal rap verses about partying and getting women.
Pitbull, I’m looking at you.
I believe that pop music and Top 40 radio is integral to our culture, but the people behind it—the artists, the producers, the distributors—need some tough love. I cannot be the only person who never wants to hear another horrible Pitbull remix again. Am I right?
Electronic music producer, Zedd double dips with his phenomenal Clarity album, this time adding four “new” songs. Of course these “new” songs aren’t exactly fresh from the studio, instead being released last year.
Three of them, including Zedd’s remixes of Skrillex & The Doors’, “Breakn’ a Sweat” and Empire of the Sun’s, “Alive” as well as his brand new single with Hayley Williams titled “Stay the Night,” can already be purchased.
The re-release is obviously meant to take advantage of the popularity of the single, “Clarity” which dominates both radio waves and stadiums. If you haven’t picked up the original album, which came out last September, I strongly suggest getting it now.
“Clarity” is the most listenable electronic album to be released over the past year, maybe longer.
The album boasts a healthy combination of vintage Zedd, employing hard-hitting electro house beats, breakdowns, and drops that made him originally known in the Electronic Dance Music community. This time around however, he also explores with a sound likened to pop, using catchy vocals that are easy to sing along to.
No album is complete without a list of guest artists, including: Ellie Goulding, Ryan Tedder and Matthew Koma, to name a few. I recommend all tracks on this album.
If you missed ‘Clarity’ the first time around, do not, under any circumstances, pass up this enhanced re-release.
What does the fox say? It’s a question many have asked and few can answer.
We all know that dogs say “woof” and cats go “meow”, but the elusive fox and its noises have managed to stay out of our collective consciousness … until now.
This video been floating around the Internet for about three weeks now and dares to answer that question—and give us so many more.
Why are men in suits wearing fox masks and doing synchronized dances in the middle of the forest? Do foxes really scat instead of make animal noises? Who did this amazing animation? How did they know we needed to know what sound a fox makes?
The originators behind this masterpiece are brothers and comedy artists Bård and Vegard Ylvisåker. The Norwegian duo have a variety show on TV Norge known as “I kveld med Ylvis,” similar to Lonely Island on “Saturday Night Live.” Just like The Lonely Island, they have other songs. “Stonehenge,” a winning ode to the British ruins, was their most famous until “The Fox.”
“This song is made for a TV show and is supposed to entertain a few Norwegians for three minutes — and that’s all,” said Bård Ylvisåker in a quote from the website ylvis.com. “It was done just a few days ago and we recently had a screening in our office. About 10 people watched — nobody laughed.”
“The Fox” was uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 3. As of Sept. 22, the video had over 47 million hits — that’s viral status right there. Radio stations have already started playing the song, and it’s currently at number 14 on iTunes’ Top Songs.
If you haven’t heard the song yet, your friends probably have. They may start yelping, “Ring ding ding ding ding ding ding” or “Hatee hatee hatee ho!” when you ask them about it. Be prepared to yelp along.
Keep an eye and an ear out for “The Fox” and Ylvis … though pretty soon, you won’t be able to escape them.
Sunday night I received a text from a friend alerting me that Drake’s upcoming album, Nothing Was The Same, had been leaked. Curious, I opened my laptop and immediately saw my Twitter feed blowing up with links to the leak.
As I continued scrolling, I was bombarded with 140 character soliloquies provoked by the artist’s infamously sentimental lyrics. As I continued to read both critiques and praise for the album, I found myself resisting the urge to click on any links that would lead me to the leaked songs.
Album leaks are not an uncommon occurrence in today’s music industry, especially when it comes to highly publicized albums. It is arguable that leaked albums help artists more than they hurt them. The buzz generated on social media provides hundreds and thousands of dollars worth of free marketing and advertising. Just search #NWTS on Twitter and thousands of tweets talking about the album will appear.
I will admit with zero shame that I was waiting with girlish enthusiasm for Drake’s 3rd album. So why is it that instead of jumping at the chance to listen to it a full 9 days early, I felt cheated?
There is something inherently exciting about the moment you listen to the first notes of an album you have spent months waiting to hear. It is the combination of timing and the tangible product created by the artist that creates an experience almost magical in nature.
For me, to listen to an album before the artist’s official release date ruins the excitement of the entire endeavor.
So until the 24th, this purist vows not to listen to a single song not officially released by Drake off Nothing Was The Same. What will you do?
I was driving home from a late shift earlier this summer, and my Pandora station began playing “Someday” by The Strokes. There I was, bobbing my head and wagging my finger, when the lyrics were suddenly all too familiar in describing my life.
I cursed Pandora for lacking a repeat button, and screamed the lyrics loud, “I’m working so I won’t have to try so hard. Tables, they turn sometimes.”
And I deemed this song my summer of 2013 anthem.
People love finding music that perfectly describes a moment in their life.
There are the girls at the club who risk snapping an ankle when a remix of “Treasure” by Bruno Mars comes on, because it’s Friday night and they feel like “golden stars.”
Or the drunk and broken-hearted men, courtesy of Molly Connelly, as the story goes in “Every Man Has A Molly,” by Say Anything.
We’re head over heels, as told in City and Colour’s “Northern Wind.”
We are a culture entirely consumed, obsessive and emotionally involved, with music.
Now, whether you’re working three jobs to make up for expensive habits, going through a breakup, or simply having a good time this summer, I encourage you to grab a song and glue it to your heart. Declare an anthem.
Sometimes it feels like some friend has a birthday every week, but it is the perfect excuse to gather ‘round in one big, shared experience that alternately warms the heart and slakes the sober tongue.
This week just happens to be my birthday, though, and in honor of this, I’ve compiled some songs that can either set the perfect tone for a birthday or destroy it completely.
“Birthday Gal” – The Replacements
I’m always game to plug The ‘Mats whenever I can, but this song is truly the perfect way to cap off a birthday fated to be like all the others that aren’t your twenty-first or eighteenth. Singing with the shaky confidence of a man who’s seen a few too many birthdays himself, Paul Westerberg croons excellent, scene-setting lyrics like “Wax is dripping from the frosting of the cake / We sang off key, and now this is turning blue.”
Throw in a perfectly ramshackle guitar solo and some world-weary contemplation about growing up, and you’ve got yourself the perfect birthday song for me.
“Birthday” – The Sugarcubes
Or is this the perfect birthday song? I guess it all depends on how deep one is into their celebrating, as Bjork’s elastic vocal performance and the wonderfully Cure-like composition serves as an inspiring sing-along for everyone.
Of course it might be difficult to hit the notes she’s hitting, but who needs notes when you’ve got birthday sentiments as maudlin or cathartic as “They saw a big raven, it glided down the sky, she touched it. / Today’s a birthday, they’re smoking cigar”? Just … amazing. Explicit birthday wishes be damned.
Now, the worst:
“Birthday Sex” – Jeremih
Admittedly one has to admire a song that unabashedly celebrates a uniquely specific part of the best birthdays around. By delivering such an oddly sincere ode to an experience no one else would ever write a song about, Jeremih has ensured that his auto-tuned washed “Birthday Sex” will forever remain in some sad, lonely crevice of the birthday-having public.
Unfortunately Jeremih’s unnervingly melancholy delivery of lines like “Don’t need candles or cake / Just need your body to make” and “We grinding with passion cause it’s yo birthday” do little to capture the rock n roll birthday we all deserve.
“Birthday Song” – 2 Chainz feat. Kanye West
The only thing worse than a birthday song that completely misses the joyous beauty of birthdays is one that further aggravates Kanye West’s astounding slump of half-assed guest verses and lame G.O.O.D. Music collaborations.
2 Chainz is up front about his desire for “a big booty ho” to make his birthday dreams come true, but Kanye is frustratingly elusive about what exactly anybody’s birthday truly means to him. Tossing off a line like “Last birthday she got you a new sweater / Put it on, give her a kiss, and tell her to do better” is hardly what I had in mind when I heard you were releasing a birthday song, Yeezy!
“Happy Birthday”-Stevie Wonder
That damn tropical synthesizer. It takes Stevie Wonder all of five seconds to ruin birthdays forever, but with this song he reveals the true sadism behind his 40 year career. What other explanation could there possibly be for making this song just shy of six minutes long?
This was the song that started it all, folks. The one that made me wonder what birthday songs could possibly be worse than this one. The answer? None. Not one of them. Congratulations, Stevie: this is already the worst year of my life.
On Monday night Cup Cafe and Club Congress were visited by a band from a combination of cities, such as Chicago and Minneapolis. Waiting for their time to come, their performance would show Tucson that such raw and recent talent can be sporadically created yet still sound amazing.
ON AN ON’s live act opened with a blend of electronic tones and loud but pure bass notes while a finger print projection danced around the stage. The music grew and was instantly contagious, impossible to not rock out to.
The band, who is best known for their single, “Ghosts,” has only been together since April 2012. The group has already opened for the likes of Geographer.
Two of the bandmates, Nate Eiesland, the lead singer and guitarist, and Alissa Ricci, the keyboardist and back-up vocalist, have been playing music together since a young age.
“I picked up the guitar when I was about 14, and as I was not the most astute student, I poured all my energy into learning the art of music, so it was really convenient to know exactly what I wanted to do when I got out of school,” Eiesland said.
The band’s third member is a recent addition. Bassist Ryne Estwing went to college and classically trained in guitar and jazz.
“I chose to study music because when I went to attend shows that I truly enjoyed, I genuinely wanted to give back that same positive energy to others as well,” Estwing said.
The combination of the three musicians coming together in such a short amount of time has created a sound that is hard to classify into one specific genre, considering all the different elements that can be heard in every song.
“We’ve come to realize that it is really difficult to describe our sound and influences”, Ricci said.
All three members join on a common front. Their collaborative writing has one purpose: the production of sincere and honest music.
“What we noticed in the studio was that we wanted to hone in these moments of vulnerability and capture that,” Nate said, “That is just more interesting to listen to, so we prioritized that over perfection. It was about how the music made you feel and not how it sounded.”
ON AN ON was also given the opportunity to be produced by such a talent as Dave Newfeld, a member of the successful indie post-rock band Broken Social Scene.
“A common saying we used a lot in the studio was ‘good vibes’, we were really looking for that saying to apply to this album,” Ricci said, further explaining their recording process. The result, of these “good vibes” has been their album Give In, released on Jan. 29.
Their tour for their first album has taken the band to places such as Austin and Seattle, but Ricci said Tucson has to be up there on the list of interesting stops.
“Hotel Congress is pretty kickass,” she laughed. While it may be a great location, it’s nowhere near a wonderful as the feelings ON AN ON’s music evokes in the listener, and the truly memorable show they deliver.
This past Wednesday, pop sensation and international superstar Lady Gaga brought her world tour, the “The Born This Way Ball,” to US Airways Center in Phoenix. Gaga’s most devout fans, or “Little Monsters,” camped out overnight to get access to the Monster Pit, as fans admitted into the Monster Pit have the opportunity to be picked out of the crowd to meet Lady Gaga after the show.
When I arrived at 8 a.m. there were already about 300 dedicated fans lined up in the cold for Monster Pit wristbands. After ten hours of waiting, fans were finally admitted into the Monster Pit and surrounding floor general admission area.
The crowd was filled with elaborate costumes replicating some of Lady Gaga’s most famous outfits. After waiting through two hours of opening acts, fans lost their minds when Lady Gaga finally entered the stage on a horse and chariot, kicking off the show with a hit from her album Born This Way, “Government Hooker.”
The next two hours consisted of a theatrical and extremely intricate performance by Lady Gaga and her dancers. The stage alone was enough to inspire awe: A life-sized medieval gothic castle, complete with moving gates, a catwalk that surrounded the Monster Pit and elaborate light displays that changed to fit the theme of each song.
Perhaps the highlight of the show was near the finale, when Lady Gaga scooped up a girl no more than six from the Monster Pit, dressed in an outfit identical to one of her own, and held her hand as they walked down the catwalk, waving to the crowd, and singing her hit single “The Edge of Glory.”
Another highlight of the show was when Gaga instructed audience members to take out their phones, and she did the same. One lucky fan then received a phone call from the pop star, who informed the fan, who was now in tears, that she had been selected to go backstage and meet Lady Gaga. After this, Lady Gaga serenaded the ecstatic and overwhelmed girl personally, as the rest of the audience sang along.
The performance was nothing less than spectacular. Lady Gaga is truly one of a kind, a rare gem in the pop music industry. Her performance was inspiring to say the least. After two hours of incredible music and choreography and two encores, Lady Gaga bowed to her screaming fans and disappeared on a moving platform that lowered into the stage. The performance, like Lady Gaga herself, was nothing short of phenomenal.
Whoever it was that first said hipsters don’t dance had obviously never been to a Generationals show at Club Congress. The Generationals’ funky bass lines got an exceptionally large portion of a pretty hip crowd dancing, and that is no easy feat. Not only did the Generationals get the hip dancing, they also attracted the elderly, as one particularly youthful senior danced and clapped the entirety of the opener Races and the Generationals sets.
This show was a blast. I had never been to Club Congress before tonight or heard of the band RACES. Both were awesome. Club Congress offers a really intimate experience as the inside stage is a pretty cozy space. At one point during the Generationals encore Ted Joyer, singer and guitarist, walked amongst the crowd as he played. The energy of the crowd probably would have been even higher, had the show not been on a Sunday night. Unfortunately this meant a more sober crowd and little less jumping.
But lets talk about RACES for a minute. This five-piece band from LA reminded me a lot of the band Margot and the Nuclear So-and-Sos. They performed songs from their album Year of the Witch. The drumming was great. It wasn’t just your run of the mill indie band overworking the crash-symbol-crescendo nonsense — it was more complex than that. You could tell RACES isn’t a band that is too concerned about image to have fun on stage. They all looked like they were having a blast, and that really lent itself to the crowd as a whole having a great time — the lead guitarist even soloed while on the ground. It was a really great performance and the crowd even chanted for an encore, which is rare for opening bands.
The Generationals were, simply put, fucking rad. They featured the aforementioned crowd interaction as well as climbing up amps and tons of jumping about. There is nothing worse than a dead stage performance, but the Generationals featured anything but that. They played songs from their first album Con Law and their new album Actor-Castor and their ever so popular EP When They Fight They Fight. They saved their smash hit for the encore when they gave the crowd what a large majority had been waiting for, and it went over insanely well. The songs from Actor-Castor featured a much more electric sound, and when coupled with what looked like a flashing triforce light show and a third eye behind the stage it was an intense experience.
Both bands performed excellently live and are worth seeing. If you haven’t yet, see a show at Club Congress — it’s quite the venue.
For anyone familiar with how bumping Club Congress can get on any given party night, it’s fair to say that Congress was something of an odd choice to play for a DIY-leaning indie punk band like Cult of Youth.
Taking the stage after a few solid hours of automatic DJs, at first it looked like the Brooklyn band was going to have no one watching them despite the plethora of people and costumes all around the property. Yet the band looked ready to rock. Every member except frontman Sean Ragon showed up with white and black facepaint, as if getting into the spirit of All Souls a few days early. As for Ragon, he strolled up to the microphone unassumingly with acoustic in hand, proceeding to light off the first song of the night despite only myself and a handful of other people in front of the stage.
Awash in red light Cult of Youth as a band sounded good and dangerous. The drums thudded away with a thunderous boom and the fuzzed-out bass plodded overtop Ragon’s fierce strumming like an aural pickaxe. By the time Ragon was starting their second song, Love Will Prevail’s fantastic “Golden Age,” the indoor audience area had already begun to fill up, soon reaching near-maximum capacity midway through the band’s ten song set. With every subsequent song it seemed that Ragon became more and more invested in the performance, which is to say he got wonderfully crazier as the night went on. For single “Garden of Delights” he bugged his eyes out at the audience and shook his head over his shoulder as if a dog ridding itself of water. In a leather jacket and the fastest acoustic strumming in punk rock, Ragon commanded the stage with a charisma rooted in DIY punk tradition than any kind of indie posturing, at times losing himself in the moment but never for a second seeming ungrateful or annoyed by the rowdy party atmosphere. Surprisingly enough, the ever-growing crowd responded quite well to Ragon’s guttural howls and emotive flailing, cheering and walloping along with the band in a way that seemed to feed the energy of their performance.
The sound itself was quite excellent as well, with “Garden of Delights” transforming into an apocalyptic death march that far outdid the more methodical approach on 2012’s Love Will Prevail. The points at which Ragon was joined by his fellow guitarists on gang vocals were particularly affecting and well-mixed, the “Love will prevail” cry of “Garden of Delights” or the backing chants on “New Old Ways” all making for great sing-along moments for anyone who happened to know the words. Perhaps the most breathtaking performance of the night, however, was an instrumental jam for which Ragon put down the acoustic guitar and wielded his trumpet like a maniac. I didn’t recognize the music from any track on their albums, so it could have been some kind of improvisational jam or new track, but wherever it came from the band played with a ferocity unmatched by any other song in the set. Jumping about like a shaman, Ragon leaned back and forced the trumpet into the microphone, his infectious movement threatening to knock the stand over for the entirety of the song as he squeaked and squealed scales of notes to the audience. Merely describing it as “avant-garde” or “free jazz” might do injustice to both the performance and the terms, but truly the bursts of sound Ragon coerced from the trumpet were astounding. Topping it all off, Ragon ran the entire trumpet part through a loop pedal which he proceeded to play and feedback through while still playing his main part, creating a wonderful cacophony quite alarming to anyone hoping for a relaxed Halloween jam.
Nonetheless Cult of Youth won over the crowd, and as Ragon told me after the show, “We’re just glad to be able to get paid to travel, play music, and party!” In true punk fashion, it was the people and the music that mattered tonight.
Steff Koeppen and The Articles will be plaything this Saturday, October 27 at Plush located on the southwest corner of 4th Ave. and 6th St. Enjoy your Saturday night out and celebrate after the Wildcats take down the USC’s Trojans during the afternoon game (fingers crossed).
If you haven’t heard this band before, come out and enjoy their unique sound of “raging jazz/pop.” The lead singer, Steff Koeppen and violinist, Alexandra Tuggle are both seniors at the U of A.
To learn more about the band and listen to some of their music, take a look at their website, steffkoeppen.com. Check out their new music video that just came out, entitled “Finding,” a single from their most recent album, “Stories You Can’t Tell.”
They will be going on at 9:30 pm followed by Roll Acosta at 10:30 pm and Kaia Chesney at 11:30 pm. For more information about Plush and their upcoming shows, visit plushtucson.com.
Hello all, Alex again. I first heard this record about forty minutes ago and immediately rushed to write this up so that I could share the beauty with all-“It Is Rain In My Face” by It Is Rain In My Face. Aside from having probably the best band name I’ve encountered all year, this is a fantastic record that somehow merges acoustic folk music, chillwave, and often club music to incredible effect. It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly gets me about this record. Is it the dream-pop of “Pagaul” that singer/songwriter Mat Jones inexplicably sings with a Southern twang? Is it the wild acoustic samples of “Moor As Uncle” and “Seven Eight Eight” that seamlessly fuse Delta lo-fi and dance beats? Or perhaps it’s the psych-rock guitar solo that spills out over glitchy hip hop drums in “Fighter Pilot In a War”?
It’s hard to say, of course, because it’s all that interesting. This album just sounds damn good. It’s very much a DIY affair, with the instrumental tones (particularly those of the acoustic guitars) often covered in a kind of murky haze that perfectly complements the backwoods harmonies that Jones puts together. There’s such a plethora of ideas going on in every one of these songs that at times it can seem like a few of the songs are half-finished, sketches of several songs that Jones smashed together for whatever reason. Yet even in the cases where this is true, this aesthetic never takes away from how excitingly diverse it is.
It’s available on bandcamp in the link below, either for a $7 digital copy or you can evidently purchase a cassette version too. Check it out! I guarantee It Is Rain In My Face has something for everyone.