Students Release New Music Just In Time For Finals Week
With the semester coming to an end, the need for some new jams or a good study playlists is at its highest. Lucky for you, some of Penn State’s talented musicians released new music within the last month to satisfy that hunger until finals week is over.
Keegan Tawa – “Ours To Own” (feat. Zach Kramer of Mute Cities)
As his last single release as a Penn State student, Tawa called in fellow producer and Mute Cities drummer Zach Kramer to help on their second collaboration. “Ours to Own” has similar qualities to that of Tawa’s “Beautiful Motion,” using Myles Billard’s lyrics, piano chords, and mellow synths to carry Kramer through the song. On par with his rest of his catalog, “Ours To Own” is a fitting single to end Tawa’s Penn State career and helps open up a new chapter post-graduation for the talented producer.
Dossman Thomas – “Dossman, Thomas” EP
Audio engineering senior Thomas Dossman, known in the studio as Dossman Thomas, released his self-titled EP about a month ago via Soundcloud, and it includes some of the most creative hip-hop tracks heard in a while at Penn State.
I got a chance to talk to Dossman about the EP a month before its release, and at the time, he was trying to balance schoolwork and his love for recording music. But once it was released, the time was put in and “Dossman, Thomas” is very clear — he features the talents of Kramer, Olivia Jones from the band “Olivia and JR,” and fellow hip-hop artist Tino, to name a few.
“Every song is like a brick, and you just want to make a cool wall with them,” he said. “And if I don’t do my best now, I feel like I’ll be way behind in the long run.”
“Said A Lot” is one of the key tracks to the EP, as it serves as an outro to the album and features the guitar skills of fellow student musician Tyler Mitchell. The EP speaks to the multiple inspirations for Dossman, making a hybrid mix of rock and hip-hop. Overall, the EP is a good listen for those hearing the rising Penn State musician for the first time.
Mute Cities – “Strong Work” EP
One word – marimbas. If you want to read why I love Mute Cities’ debut EP so much, you can check out our review of it. The band will also open up for Movin’ On on Friday and will perform songs from the EP during their set.
Tino – “Negative Income” EP
Local hip-hop artist Tino dropped “Negative Income” a month ago. The EP features a chiller side to the hip-hop genre, reminding me of some early Lupe Fiasco. Of the three songs, “Lead The Way,” featuring Dossman, stands out the most — the trading of verses between the two showcases how talented the MCs are at spitting their own material.
Lenina Crowne – “Try A Gramme” EP
Indie-folk band Lenina Crowne gave its fans some new original music on Friday, dropping “Try A Gramme” at a release party at Chronic Town. Opening track “Angel Upstairs” kicks off the EP with a mellow intro but goes into an upbeat acoustic guitar solo before the rest of the band comes in. This was my first exposure to the band, and I must say, I am thoroughly impressed.
“Brave New World” and “Southpaw” provide a chill, jam-like session from the band, while “The Mayans” features the talented guitarists and string players in the group.
“I can’t say that say that I know / I’m captivated by the rest. I can’t say that I know your guilty traits / You always spoke to me with such confidence,” lead singer Eric Faust sings over “Southpaw.”
One of the things that I love about Lenina Crowne after listening to this EP is the blend of the jazz elements via saxophone and the folk sound. I drew connections to the Dave Matthews Band, as it also utilizes brass instruments to make their music stand out from the rest. That is exactly how Lenina Crowne is in the huge Penn State music scene — unique and identifiable.
Something about Faust’s voice over the band’s smooth sound brings such a calming effect, making it an easy listen — perfect for a playlist to study or get work done. It’s clear to me now after listening to this EP why Lenina Crowne was chosen as the opening act for Movin’ On last year.