Astronaut & Spacey: Friday Alternatives

It has come to our attention that the music selection of the general population is less than admirable. Nickelback isn’t cool. Gucci Mane isn’t icy. Ke$ha is ugly. Being the philanthropists that we are, we have undertaken the calling for the creation of a less shitty more diverse music scene here at Penn State. Ergo, we are proud to present to you: Friday Alternatives. Prepare yourself for a dive into the recesses of the alternative culture.

1. City Rain

Who?: City Rain’s “Better Now,” will absolutely have you feelin’ better now. The new wave style of Philadelphia natives Ben Runyan and Jarrett Zerrer offers a bass heavy, synth-driven shoegaze collection that will make you forget about those Coldplay wankers. Looking to get the word out, the duo has offered their most recent release, “Running Man,” for download on their myspace (via soundcloud).

Genre: Electro-Pop/Idm/Ambient

Selected Song: “Better Now”

Sounds Like: Cut Copy, Junior Boys, Boy Is Fiction

2. States

Who?: Out of the ashes of indie powerhouses like Lydia and Copeland emerges this hard-line, girl-fronted collection known as States (move over Paramore). With surf-influenced riffs and catchy pop choruses narrated by the gorgeous Mindy White (seriously, she is so hot, look her up, no wait, look here), this band is a perfect soundtrack for sunny days chillin’ on your preferred quad or stoop.

Genre: Indie/Alternative/Pop

Selected Song: “Falling For”

Sounds Like: Lydia, Copeland, Mae

3. Life On Repeat

Who?: Take the aggressively-driven pop-punk style of popular acts Four Year Strong and A Day to Remember, subtract the tough guy act, add in actual musicality, and you have this Salisbury, MD-based band. From catchy hooks to a relentless drumming onslaught to vocalist Patrick Purve’s solid range, this band’s debut EP, As I Grew, sets a bright future. Plus, their cover of “Party in the USA” blows Girl Billy Ray out of the water.

Genre: Rock/Pop Punk/Experimental

Selected Song: “Southern Girls”

Sounds Like: Conditions, Ivoryline, i Rival

4. Skrillex

Who?: From First to Last’s former front man, Sonny Moore, clashes house and dub-step in his solo DJ act, Skrillex. After recording a full-length EP with cult-trance DJ Deadmau5, Skrillex began getting noticed in the L.A. club scene. His dirty beats and party-friendly samples are a sure-fire way to get you dancing like it’s 1999.

Genre: Dubstep/House

Selected Song: “WEEKENDS (ft. Sirah)”

Sounds Like: Bassnectar, Rusko, DatsiK

5. Fleet Foxes

Who?: Despite their Seattle roots, this six-piece folk act sounds better suited for the Bible Belt. They describe their style as “baroque harmonic pop jams,” and you’ll find yourself having a strong inclination to become one with the Earth (e.g. stripping your clothes off, finding the mossiest tree in the farthest nether-regions of the woods, and nursing an abandoned fawn). If you dig this tune, Fleet Foxes have offered a free download of “Helplessness Blues” here.

Genre: Folk/Indie/Grunge

Selected Song: “Helplessness Blues”

Sounds Like: Local Natives, The Tallest Man On Earth, Elliott Smith

6. Vermilion Club

Who?: With a combination of acoustically-driven melodies and progressive synths and percussion, this relatively unknown pop duo transforms a kumbaya circle into an orchestra of sounds. Ladies are sure to love the smooth delivery of vocalist/song writer Dylan Campbell.

Genre: Pop/Easy Listening/Folk

Selected Song: “Odd”

Sounds Like: A series of sexts between The Secret Handshake and Mumford & Sons

I know we threw a lot of underground at you all at once, but Arcade Fire did win a Grammy. Any suggestions for next week’s installment? (Also, get ready for a new Astronaut & Spacey weekly music column starting next Wednesday).

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About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.

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