Chillwave: Has The Next “Big Thing” Arrived?

In the past decade, a new style of music has wormed its way onto the music scene. While dubstep rose in popularity late in the first decade of the new millennium, with its driving, syncopated rhythms and epic bass drops, a completely opposite subgenre of quasi-electronic music also became popular. Chillwave, also known as glo-fi or shoegaze, is a much more ambient style that is reminiscent of popular music from the 1980s. It incorporates a lot of effects processing, sampling, use of synthesizers, and ambient background noise. Its slower tempos, light, ethereal vocals; relatively simple and singable melodies, and ample synthesized effects remind its listeners of the sounds of the summer, especially since its sudden explosion in popularity occurred during the summer of 2010.

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No, the Other LA

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Neutral Milk Hotel

What comes to mind when you think of music from Louisiana? For most, probably not a whole lot. You may be aware of New Orleans as the birthplace of jazz, or the Southern Louisiana favorites of zydeco and Cajun music if you are especially shrewd. Although it is true that these genres have a huge impact on the musical culture of Louisiana, there are a surprising number of artists that do not adhere to these more “typical” Louisiana genres and can hold their own against bands and artists across the nation. I find out more and more about the rich and diverse music scene in my own backyard all the time, and just recently I was informed by a Louisiana musician and friend that many of the members of Neutral Milk Hotel, who just recently sold out the Ryman, are in fact from the quaint town of Ruston, LA. Just to give you all a little taste of what I am talking about, I have compiled a list of five artists/bands that I think give insight into a different spice that Louisiana offers.

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Top 5 Electronic Songs for the Month of Love

courtesy of soundisstyle.com

The month of February is inevitably linked to Valentines Day, a holiday most college students (or at least the ones at Vandy) love to hate on.  Nobody likes to see unnecessary PDA or patiently listen to how their roommate received the cutest yet cheesiest gift from their significant other. So to help us all get through these next few weeks, here are my top 5 electronic songs that feature the word “love” in the track title. Who says you can’t spend Valentine’s Day swooning over some good tunes and indulging in chocolates?

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A Much Delayed Top 5 Songs of 2013

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2014 is over a month old now, the Grammys have finally aired, and it’s high time for me to compose this before the moment passes and 2014′s release schedule starts to heat up as the year pushes into spring. And what better time is there to catch up on music than a rainy Nashville February?

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Top 10 Most Anticipated Music Releases of 2014

In a ranking of the months by number of great albums released, January would be right there with December at the bottom. That trend has been proven especially true this year, since there’s been a severe lack of releases that anyone will be listening to a month from now. Between disappointing releases from the promising young artists of today (Warpaint, Young the Giant) and disappointing releases from artists who were promising and young in 1997 (Crystal Method, Mogwai), January 2014 has gone down in music history as a good time to catch up on music from another era.

Fortunately, the rest of 2014 should be jam-packed with great new music. I now present the top 10 upcoming releases most worthy of hype, starting with…

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Five Side Projects Turned Supergroups

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The diverse members of Gorillaz

Despite plenty of success and years of experience, some artists just want to mix things up. This motivation creates what we may call side projects or musical supergroups. Take all the best qualities of similar, or not so similar, musicians, put them in a recording studio, and watch the magic happen. In the past decade or so, five projects in particular have redefined the expectations of musical collaborations. In fact, some of the names may even surprise you.

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Let’s Get The Album-Of-The-Year Countdown Hype Started: My Albums of the Semester

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2013 has been a year of marvelous releases.  A few personal favorites have been Kanye’s Yeezus, James Blake’s Overgrown, Streetlight Manifesto’s The Hands That Thieve, and Daft Punk’s triumphant return with Random Access Memories, but these don’t even begin to comprise a complete highlight list.  Coming up with my list of Top Albums for the year is going to be an intensive process and I’m looking forward to it; in between debating the merits of different albums, I get to listen to all of them again.  It’s going to be something truly magical.  A much easier list to make, though, is my favorite albums of the semester.  While a lot of the heavy hitters for the year were released outside of that time period, there’s a great amount of quality for just these ~3 months.  In my opinion, these were the cream of the crop (presented in alphabetical order by artist). [Read more...]

8 Songs to Play at a Halloween Party That You Might Not Have Thought Of

My fellow staff writer Lucas Kunsman recently wrote a very good list of songs that are hauntingly beautiful. A few of my favorites — “Oh Comely” and “Kasimir Pulaski Day” — made the list. But it got me curious: what are 8 songs that are actually appropriate for a Halloween party? Now, these aren’t all Halloween songs, I know, and a lot of them aren’t really that dark or scary; I didn’t want to give you a list filled with horror-film scores and industrial metal. I also didn’t want to give you a list of songs like “Monster Mash” and “Thriller”, so I tried to pick songs you haven’t thought of.

So here are a few songs that are vaguely sinister and festive, but still fun enough to justify playing at a party. No one wants to hear the theme from Psycho while they’re sipping a beer and trying to hit on the girl in the inappropriately revealing costume.

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