Albums to plug-in for Dusk Music Festival 2019
KAMP Student Radio contributes album reviews on the most recent releases from Dusk 2019 artists.
Artist: A R I Z O N A
Genre: Electro-pop, dance-pop
KAMP Radio reviewer: Bennett Tolar
The New Jersey band A R I Z O N A has a lot going for them. The easy-going pop melodies on their second and most recent album ASYLUM lend a relaxing air to the project, belying the heavy emotional undertones. The lead single from the album, “Nostalgic,” is led by a chorus of “Ok, fine, maybe I’m a little nostalgic/Cause the memories are flooding my mind.”
Who doesn’t relate to the shame of wanting one more taste of a dismantled relationship?
It’s easy to see why A R I Z O N A fits so strongly into the canon of the late ‘10s era lackadaisical dance floor material. It’s not difficult to step into the groove of band member David Labuguen’s keyboard on “Trouble,” or lead singer Zachary Charles’ Bastille-esque vocal refrains on “Freaking Out.”
A R I Z O N A clearly has a future in the realm of Top 40 groovy hits. Their debut GALLERY charted at No. 24 for U.S. Alternative, and with sufficient good press. ASYLUM could easily outperform that.
Sounds Like: The 1975, CHVRCHES
RELATED: Dusk 2019 lineup
Album: All the Feels
Artist: Fitz and The Tantrums
Genre: Pop, neo-soul
KAMP Radio reviewer: Nate Smith
Let’s start with a quick caveat. As a metalhead and only previously knowing “Handclap,” I wasn’t expecting anything spectacular from this new Fitz and The Tantrums album. That being said, I do feel that I can still provide a quality, unbiased take on the new record.
Starting with the lead single “I Just Wanna Shine,” what first struck me was the top-notch production and how much it reminded me of Cage The Elephant’s “Tell Me I’m Pretty.”
Layered instrumentation and interesting production choices obfuscate what is essentially a very basic pop song. Uplifting lyrics and some great melodies really make this song a true banger, despite it not being the most groundbreaking thing out there. “I Just Wanna Shine” is definitely the best song on the album.
The final song, “Livin’ for the Weekend,” is a strong closer for the album. The melody feels oddly familiar and it is very groovy. It sounds like a song Panic! At the Disco would do, which is not a bad thing. Second best song on the album.
Throughout the album, the band nods to soul roots with cool piano samples and catchy horn lines. While I wouldn’t consider the album’s sound electronic, it has a lot of samples and I don’t think I heard any real drums. I would have liked a bit more guitar or acoustic instruments, but that is personal taste. Vocals are a strong point of the album, mixing pseudo-spoken lines with high poppy melodies and very sing-able choruses. I’m sure there is some autotune in there, but it’s never too obvious.
Once again, nothing super original here, but this isn’t a huge issue. Lyrics in pop songs aren’t required to be intellectual, but it would have been interesting to see some deviation from the norm.
Overall, this album isn’t amazing, but it is enjoyable. Catchy tunes abound and the album flows well. I don’t think Fitz and The Tantrums was trying to produce a groundbreaking album, and that’s okay. The songs are well done, if a little uninspired at times. If you want a fun, easy pop album, look no further.
Album: Arkade Destinations Iceland
Genre: EDM, House
KAMP Radio reviewer: Matt Ingargiola
Arkade Destinations Iceland is a brand new addition for Kaskade’s series called “Destinations.” The series itself is a compilation of various artists streamed from said location(s) featuring artists such as Mr. Tape, Late Night Alumni, Classic Unknwn and more.
Kaskade started the series in Tulum, Mexico, back in 2018, but this time it continues in Iceland. This recent album primarily focuses on House. To simply describe the album in one word: “chill.”
The album has a mix of ambient and electronic rhythms that release pure eccentric vibes. Going through my first listening, it gave me the impression that the series itself wants us as the listener to feel as if we are a part of the location it’s set in. There are songs that are simple and have buildup, making it more intricate.
This album, in my opinion, serves two different functions for listeners — dance or chill — and it definitely shows through each track, which transition well into one another. I definitely would suggest giving this a listen; this is a set guaranteed to make you move.
Sounds Like: Finnstagram, Lipless, Frankie Shakes
1. "Sneaker Wave"
2. "It’s Raining Pretty Hard"
Album: False Alarm
Artist: Two Door Cinema Club
Genre: Pop-rock, electro-pop, new wave
KAMP Radio reviewer: Ruby Fulford
False Alarm is one of those wonderful albums that is undeniably fun to listen to the whole way through. It’s poppy and dance-able, but with interesting lyrics and musical twists and turns that make it unique and stand out from more generic indie-pop contemporaries.
The album makes excellent use of synth and electronics, blending a variety of tones and effects from soft ambient chords to sharp riffs to pretty chime-like noises. The electronics are mixed with distorted guitars and thumping bass, creating an album with layers and depth.
The wide range of sounds used on this record is one of my favorite things about it – there’s even a sampling of birdsong at the beginning of “Break.” I liked how the vocals switch tones, sometimes quite suddenly, from cleaner lower and mid-range vocals to lofty falsetto. Vocal distortion was used well, most notable on “Think” and “Dirty Air.”
I was surprised by Open Mike Eagle’s feature on “Nice To See You.” It admittedly felt a bit out of place, seeing as there aren’t really any other hip-hop elements on the album, but I still appreciated the unexpected addition to the song.
Another element of the album that surprised me was the ending.
The last song cuts off abruptly, right in the middle of a phrase, with no resolution whatsoever. The first time I heard it, I checked Spotify multiple times to be sure I hadn’t accidentally played the album on shuffle or unintentionally skipped a part of the song. I was frustrated at first, as the closing track “Already Gone” had been one of my favorites, and I was disappointed to be left without a satisfying ending.
However, after coming to terms with the lack of closure, I feel that this ending was an interesting and bold decision. The sudden stop provides a definite end point that demands the listener’s attention and leaves them wanting more. I’ve never heard an album that ends like this before and I certainly think it was a worthwhile creative risk.
Overall, Two Door Cinema Club’s False Alarm is loads of fun, perfect for a sunny weekend day or for times when you need some tunes that will put you in a good mood.
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