#MusicMonday Covers Your Listening Needs Until Arts Crawl
Arts Crawl is this weekend, and it’s shaping up to be an exciting one. Ramona Falls is headlining the event, and plenty of local bands will be rocking out around the arts buildings on campus. In fact, this year there’s even going to be a few DJs performing. But until then, you might need some new jams to occupy your mind. We offer this set to help you out. This week’s suggestions come from Shawn Christ, Meghin Moore, Sam Cooper and a pair from Matthew D’Ippolito.
Besides a seven song “iTunes Session” filled with cover tunes, “Biloxi Parish” has been the only taste of new music from the Gaslight Anthem to satisfy fans who eagerly await the band’s upcoming album. The riff driving this song is pure Gaslight bliss. Lead singer Brian Fallon brings the heartache and soul through his voice and lyrics with lines like “I love you more than I can tell you and when you pass through from this world / I hope you ask to take me with you or that I won’t have to wait too long / But until then I’ll be with you through the dark / Yes, until then I’ll be with you through the dark.” It will be interesting to see how commercially successful the Gaslight Anthem’s new album will/won’t be since they just signed with Mercury Records in October. However, mainstream success won’t matter. They’ll continue to produce their own blend of music that honors Springsteen’s lyrical genius and praises the melodies of everyone from The Clash to Tom Petty. If you don’t believe me, check out any of their previous work. They will restore your faith in rock and roll.
Fresh off of a tour with The Elwins and Jukebox the Ghost, I present to you Austin, Texas natives SPEAK. The band jammed at SXSW this year, and is an up-and-coming band in the scene. The song ‘Carrie’ is incredibly energetic live, not to mention extremely catchy. The band has a wonderful synth-pop sound, which will blow your mind, because it’s not cheesy synth-pop like hellogoodbye’s “Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!” album, or anything new from Cobra Starship. Did I mention that the lead singer has the most fantastic name ever? Troupe Gammage. Gammage looks like a boyband heartthrob, with eyes that make you melt on the spot, but rocks out on his synth like a badass, and has a killer falsetto. The band in general is just full of ridiculously good looking people, including a skinnier, hipster version of fun.’s Jack Antonoff! Of course, looks don’t define a band: their talent does. You should give this band a listen, especially if you’re a fan of The Strokes, Cut Copy, Daft Punk, or even Prince. You should also give them a listen if you just enjoy dancing in general, because they kept the crowd movin’ and groovin’ on their tour. Their album, “I Believe in Everything” is out now, and “Carrie” is the debut single off of it.
Shad is the best rapper alive. If you haven’t heard of him, I’ll fill you in on what you’ve been missing. Shadrach Kabango was born in Kenya to Rwandan parents and raised in London, Ontario, Canada. He has released three critically acclaimed albums. His most recent release, TSOL, won the Rap Recording of the Year at the Juno Awards (Canadian version of the Grammy’s), beating out the absurdly popular wheelchair Jimmy from Degrassi. Unlike most popular rappers these days, Shad actually says meaningful things in his verses instead of rhyming about money and bitches. “Live Forever,” a collaboration with Dallas Green of City and Colour (formerly of Alexisonfire) that was released last year, is a perfect example of Shad’s evocative lyricism.
That’s right, this week’s playlist includes a song from the world’s most controversial hip hop collective. Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA) released their “debut studio album” last week, “The Odd Future Tape Vol. 2,” a followup to their 2008 mixtape, as well as various other bizarre releases from the group’s numerous solo acts and subgroups. And once again, we find the large group being as strange and controversial as ever for the sake of strangeness and controversy. I made an attempt to review this album upon its release, although I see it as impossible to accurately grade. “Sam (Is Dead)” is one of the more sane tracks on the album, musically speaking, featuring Domo Genesis and frontman Tyler, the Creator. It’s got a pretty simple piano and drumkit beat that sounds almost like it came off an easy listening album. But don’t let that or the slow tempo fool you. This song is made very dark by the harsh, edgy lyrics, low, ominous horns and a creepy electronic tune that sounds like early video game music. The soldier chants of “Your left! Your left! Your left, right, left!” and the reference to Kurt Cobain’s suicide add to the creep of this song that’s all about OF dealing with their newfound fame.
Ramona Falls will be headlining Arts Crawl on Friday. This band is the project of Brent Knopf, formerly one-third of Menomena. The band is named for a waterfall near Mt. Hood, where Knopf used to like to hike in his home state of Oregon. Ramona Falls is kind of what happens when classical and rock meet, with Knopf’s deliberate vocals layered on top. “I Say Fever,” the hit from the band’s 2009 debut, “Intuit,” features a powerful brass section that adds a strong symphonic feeling to the angry guitar and drumkit and the multiple piano moods. When that brass climbs during the bellows of “I Say Fever” the first time you hear it, shivers might run down your back.