Since the dawn of the digital age, the music industry has succumb to a new form of shoplifting – online piracy. While pirating music is not a new concept along with the Internet, downloading music without paying for it is occurring at a much greater magnitude than the pre-internet days. As an Economics major, I wonder how much this phenomenon affects the music industry. So I ask the question: Should you really be torrenting?
Fans of metal are most likely very familiar with Mastodon and Tool, two bands that have created loyal fan bases centered around rather unique sounds and styles. Just today, Brent Hinds, lead guitarist for Mastodon, and Danny Carey, drummer for Tool, have made their new project, The Legend of the Seagullmen, known. After releasing two songs via their website (theseagullmen.com), immediately music news sources began to speculate as to the long term goals of the new supergroup. The band is nautically-themed, as evident by their name and the names of the first two released tracks by the band, and they also include OFF! frontman Dimitri Coats in the lineup.
With the Grammy’s less than two weeks away, there is lots of speculation surrounded who will win. I’m here to tell you who (in my humble opinion) should be taking home those golden statues on February 8th.
Record of the Year
Nominees: Fancy (Iggy Azalea feat. Charlie XCX), Chandelier (Sia), Stay With Me (Sam Smith), Shake It Off (Taylor Swift), All About that Bass (Meghan Trainor)
My Pick: Chandelier
In terms of overall song quality, Chandelier is the song that encompasses the best lyrics, music, and overall performance by Sia. It also seems like Sia is a bit overdue for some recognition – she’s been making music (really really good music) longer than any of the other nominees in the category, especially considering 3 out of the 5 nominees are newcomers. Overall, Chandelier takes the cake for me.
Album of the Year
Nominees: Morning Phase (Beck), Beyoncé (Beyoncé), X (Ed Sheeran), In the Lonely Hour (Sam Smith), Girl (Pharrell Williams)
My Pick: Beyoncé
With it’s incredibly successful surprise release, Beyoncé’s self-titled was undoubtedly one of (if not the most) buzzed about albums of the year. Not to mention Beyoncé managed to do what few artists do anymore – focus on creating songs that work together as a cohesive album, not just a few hit singles. If this is the direction music is headed, I’m all for it.
The other day I was scrolling through the Internet and I passed an advertisement asking me to watch a new Smashing Pumpkins music video. For a solid two minutes, I stared at Billy Corgan’s round, bald head wondering when the Smashing Pumpkins would finally call it quits. Looking at the 90s band in 2015– middle-aged men in raggedy t-shirts and jeans with patches– I felt uncomfortable.
Big shout-out to William Doran for the creative design seen throughout this tournament. The Round Three/Elite Eight vote results are below, as well as previews of the Final Four matchups. But more importantly,
The Sweet 16 round of the Album of the Year tournament has come to a close. The round featured some very close finishes, with two matchups determined in tiebreakers. Click the box to find out what remains.
The remaining eight albums can be called elite, but they’re by no means champions. For that, they need to win three more times. Let’s take a look at this round’s matchups.
Mac Demarco – Salad Days and Beck – Morning Phase face off for a spot in the Final Four. Salad Days’ popularity in the nominations indicate it as this matchup’s favorite, but don’t count out the Grammy-nominated Morning Phase.
Swans – To Be Kind and its small, loyal following look to derail R&B star FKA Twigs’ LP1.
Run the Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 looked strong in the first two rounds of voting. We’ll see if it can maintain its momentum against Aphex Twin – Syro.
St. Vincent – s/t takes on Flying Lotus – You’re Dead! in what may be a close matchup with no clear favorite.
But you already know who you’re voting for, don’t you? Go on, then.
For us college kids, 2014 was consumed by late nights studying, barely passed exams, countless job and grad school apps, and maybe a few parties, concerts, and vacations to keep us sane. 2014 meant we were one year closer to the real world, except we didn’t feel older.
For music fans, 2014 meant a continuous stream of new music to sift through: a lot of it good, more of it bad, and some of it downright confusing. At the end of the day, it’s the good we remember, and 2014 had plenty. A pop left turn from America’s best-selling artist. A disconnected folk artist’s rumination on aging and death. Celebrated hip-hop producers and emcees honing their craft. These artists all made it to WRVU’s collection of the 32 best 2014 albums, but now they compete to be crowned album of the year.
Tournament seeds were awarded based on rankings from our DJs. Higher ranked picks received more points. Over 100 unique albums received votes, and the top 32 appear in this tournament. 16 will advance past the first round. Your favorite albums need your votes to advance. Your least favorite albums need your votes against them to be stopped. At the end of the day, only one will remain: the 2014 WRVU Album of the Year.
It may be surprising to see a retrospective of a nine-year-old nu metal album on this blog, particularly from a writer who has vented at length about the overall lack of quality of mid-2000s popular music. Then again, everything about System of a Down’s music, from the band’s ability to mash together disparate and seemingly irreconcilable influences to their shocking success on the mainstream airwaves, is a bit surprising. System’s landmark 2005 album Mezmerize happened to be on my mind as I put together a discussion for my psychology class, and revisiting it as I worked resulted in three dominant trains of thought, none of which dealt with my homework: 1) nostalgia for the days when my biggest concern was whose backyard trampoline the neighborhood kids would be hitting up after school, 2) amazement at how irresistibly fun the eleven songs are, and 3) wonder at System’s ability to somehow maintain this fun amidst livid, highly caustic lyrics and guitar riffs. In conjunction, these concurrent streams of consciousness brought me to the crucial question: how the hell did a band like System of a Down hijack the popular music consciousness?
I think the answer boils down to two factors: perfect timing and the group’s ability to infuse its thrashing songs with elements that made them palatable to mainstream listeners.
I’m sure by now you’ve all heard the news: Taylor Swift has removed all of her music from Spotify. As in, everything. Not just 1989. The only track you can find that even features Swift is “Safe and Sound,” her collaboration with The Civil Wars. Go now and listen while you still can, before we have all been forsaken by the great blond goddess of our musical age.
On this day nineteen years ago, four of Blind Melon’s five members woke up expecting to play a show that night at Tipitina’s in New Orleans. The fifth, lead vocalist and chief songwriter Shannon Hoon, never awoke. He had died of a cocaine overdose at age 28. Today, to honor Hoon’s memory, I’d like to take a look at Blind Melon, a terribly under-appreciated member of the grunge pantheon.
For this week’s article I’m trying something new. Thinking about music and how it fits into my life, I thought about how I relate to a lot of my friends and family through music. My dad and I like listening to Neil Young on long drives, my best friend and I love going to see Manchester Orchestra whenever they come to town, and I’ve made a lot of close friends based on our mutual affinity towards certain artists.
Everyone has some sort of preference for music, it’s a very human process, and it can help them to relate to others. Going off of that idea, I thought, “I wonder what sort of music Vanderbilt faculty and staff members listen to.”
Today, Vanderbilt will host its most esteemed musical visitor, excluding Rites and Quake, since Billy Joel (and Michael Pollack) captivated a sold-out Langford Auditorium almost two years ago. Matisyahu burst onto the scene in the mid-2000s, delivering a powerful reggae sound laced with traces of rock, hip-hop, and his trademark Judaism-inspired lyrics. It was a wonder to behold him commanding the stage in traditional Hasidic dress, complete with yarmulke and full beard, while performing in a style that broke the mold of Jewish orthodoxy and tradition. We listened in awe as “King Without a Crown” leapt to #28 on the Billboard Top 100, easily the highest a song with explicitly Jewish lyrics has ever charted. We sang along to the powerful “One Day,” which was remixed with new verses by Akon. And then those of us outside the reggae community allowed Matisyahu to slip from our consciousness.
The Matisyahu who will be walking around West End today looks far different from the Matisyahu of ten years ago. Gone is the beard, as is the yarmulke–he wears a clean-shaven look topped by a mop of graying hair. The music, while it still contains Judaism at its heart, has become more secular and more diverse in style, reflecting the man’s continuing spiritual journey. But Matisyahu is as active as ever, having released his fifth studio album Akeda in June and touring extensively in support of the LP. In light of this metamorphosis, let’s take a closer look at some of the highlights of Matisyahu’s decade-long career.
It’s rare that you find a prodigious band coming out of Vanderbilt. Vampire Weekend met at Columbia and Tom Schulz met his Boston bandmates at MIT, but here the music scene centers around singer-songwriters—Belmont produces the bands, they say.
With Kid Freud, though, Vanderbilt may have these rock titans’ future equals on its hands.
Despite forming only four months ago, the three-piece outfit is taking its place at the head of the burgeoning music community on West End, regularly packing venues like The End and fresh off earning the opportunity to open Rites of Spring after winning the festival’s Battle of the Bands.
Sometimes I don’t know why I love the things I love. I was sitting in my room and doing homework this weekend while blasting through Interpol’s 2004 album Antics, singing along to the track “Length of Love”. It’s a great track, starting around a sinister guitar part before it shifts into the kind of ersatz-punk-disco that Interpol is known for. Naturally I’m singing along, but when I get to the chorus I stop and ask myself, “What in the world did I just sing?” See, I had to ask this question because the chorus is just a three word motif sung in Paul Banks’ ALL CAPS monotone. The words? (And I’m not making this up) “COMBAT SALACIOUS REMOVAL”.
It’s that time of year again at Vanderbilt. The Student Alumni Board is passing out free shirts at Rand; there are dozens of garbage bins lounging pell-mell on Alumni Lawn; the fraternities are gearing up for their crawfish boils and pig roasts; fierce debate regarding 2 Chainz’ arraignment echoes across campus. What else could it be but Rites Week?
Love it or hate it (and, as always, there’s been a lot of both emotions in reaction to this year’s lineup), the week of Rites of Spring is the best time for music at Vanderbilt every year. Though the main event will be an epic spectacle that should trump last year’s in terms of debauchery and Dionysian life force–after all, NEEDTOBREATHE probably played before the most sober Rites crowd ever–my favorite part of the week is the Battle of the Bands, which will take place this Thursday at 7:30 PM in Rand Lounge/Dank New Rand. The Battle of the Bands is easy to overlook, especially with the winners’ prize being the chance to play on Friday afternoon before most students will want to arrive, but it’s a great showcase of some local talent (including a number of Vanderbilt-based acts) and winning would be a tremendous affirmation for any of the competitors. And this year, you as an audience member have an opportunity to play a pivotal role in determining the battle’s victor, as the crowd’s vote will account for two-fifths of the final decision (alongside the three judges). The idea seems to be that the winner should be able to draw a crowd to Rites as early as possible, with the ability to do this on a Thursday night supposedly predictive of the ability to follow suit the next afternoon. So if you are friends with one or more of the contestants, the most important thing you can do for them is to show up at the battle on Thursday night and bring a pack of friends along for the ride.