Hey, we’re back. That’s right, the writers here on wrvu.org are ready for another semester to report/analyze/fangirl/discuss musical topics that we find interesting. However, over the summer there was a full three months of activity that we left untouched. For this reason, I have outlined some of the interesting headlines and releases of the summer.
To most people familiar with this West Coast experimental rap group, the break up of Death Grips was more disappointing than surprising. Since its creation, Death Grips has always made it clear that musical inspiration was at the forefront of what drives the group. Perhaps what made this cliché seem finally real to so many fans was Death Grips’ unapologetic and unpredictable behavior, almost like an Odd Future for grown-ups. Cancelled shows, unannounced album releases, and what appeared as sabotaging their own record deal with Epic Records for strongly individualistic reasons seemed to so many people like “proof” that this group really was just trying to progress and explore an art form, as opposed to trying to capitalize on the naiveté of the public for the sake of a paycheck. What exactly “Death Grips as art” means is debatable, but nonetheless it is an important facet of the Sacramento trio’s body of work.
Keeping in line with their music and persona, the announcement for the breaking up of Death Grips was as unorthodox as it gets. The following message was written on a napkin , photographed, and posted on their Facebook page on July 2nd:
we are now at our best and so Death Grips is over. we have officially stopped. all currently scheduled live dates are canceled. our upcoming double album “the powers that b” will still be delivered worldwide later this year via Harvest/Third Worlds Records. Death Grips was and always has been a conceptual art exhibition anchored by sound and vision. above and beyond a “band”. to our truest fans, please stay legend
Although it has been an unconventional journey, it is hard to disagree that the ability of Death Grips to create experimental, innovative, and mostly non-derivative music that inexplicably relates to audiences on a nearly psychosomatic level is remarkable, and it will be missed.
Potential Super Bowl Performers Asked to Pay for Gig
The NFL approached at least one of the three potential performers for next year’s Super Bowl show to see if they would be willing to pay to perform in front of what could be over 100 million viewers. The request has been controversial, considering that the NFL is the most profitable sports league in the world. In related news, the three potential acts for next year’s SuperBowl are Coldplay, Rihanna, and Katy Perry.
Deadmau5 v Mickey Mouse
Speaking of large corporations that are scared of being exploited by musicians, a few weeks ago Disney began a legal battle with EDM artist Deadmau5 and his attempt to trademark his Mau5head logo, pointing out that it was too similar to their own trademarked image of Mickey Mouse. Their main concern was the fact that having this Mau5head logo (which has had approved trademarks in other countries and has had exposure here in America for nearly a decade) trademarked in America would be too confusing due to its resemblance to Mickey Mouse. I guess EDM is more prevalent in the 4-12 year-old demographic than we all think it is.
Weird Al is number 1.
For the first time in his 30+ years as a comedic singer, Weird Al Yankovic had an album on the top of the Billboard 200 list. His 14th studio album, “Mandatory Fun”, debuted at the No. 1 spot on August 2nd. This was the first comedy album to top the charts since 1963.
Whatever Happened to Fleet Floxes?
This Facebook update from April 23rd on the Fleet Foxes fan page by front man Robin Pecknold is pretty self-explanatory. I would like to note that this update was just typed, and did not require the medium of a napkin. Also, Pecknold edited the post twice with somewhat odd and minor changes, but here is the original post (thank you Facebook edit history button):
For anyone who’s curious, this is a short Fleet Foxes update – been a while! So, after the last round of touring, I decided to go back to school. I never got an undergraduate degree, and this felt like the right time to both see what that was about and to try something new after a while in the touring / recording lifestyle. I moved to New York and enrolled at Columbia, and I’ve mostly been doing that, but I’m working on songs and excited for whatever happens next musically, even if it’s down the line. Hope all is well out there.
Fleet Foxes cemented themselves in indie-folk history with two iconic albums, Fleet Foxes and Helplessness Blues. What made them so highly appreciated was their ability to captivate the casual listeners with their simple folk melodies and satisfy those looking for more with their lush, and at times haunting harmonies and deceptively intricate instrumentations. It will be interesting to see where Pecknold’s musical career will land him, whether it be back with the Fleet Foxes, a new band, or a solo career. Let’s just hope he is doing well in his classes so we can find out soon.
Artist: How to Dress Well
Album: “What is this Heart?”
Album: They Want My Soul
Artist: La Roux
Album: Trouble in Paradise
Album: To Be Kind
Album: Connecticut Casual
Artist: Wolves in the Throne Room
Artist: FKA Twigs
Artist: Death Grips
Album: Niggas on the Moon