(Biased and Preemptive) Top 10 Rap Albums of 2015

Real Riff

We live in a world where Riff Raff can make this claim. Does it matter whether he follows through on his Panther Album Series? I personally would download any Riff Raff album or mixtape immediately post-drop, regardless of panther-color and regardless of when it happens. This is what truly matters in hip-hop nowadays: Internet buzz.

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Even More Humble Opinions on Even More Modest Mouse

For those of you keeping track, yes, this is the third Modest Mouse article I have written in a row. If that may seem weird to you all, imagine how I feel. Little did I know 4 weeks ago, when I first reviewed “Lampshades on Fire” and “Coyotes”, that the band would release another single just two weeks later with “The Best Room”. With three singles out and only a few weeks left before the release of their album Strangers to Ourselves, I assumed the band would just ride it out and let those songs generate the hype they wanted. To my disbelief, just this past week I saw on my Facebook newsfeed that the band was set on having a surprise release of a song to reddit users on February 16th. For the sake of consistency, here’s my opinion on “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box”.

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Electronic Trumpets from Brooklyn


You may be wondering, what kind of a name is Moon Hooch? Well, they are a trio of extremely talented musicians straight out of Brooklyn that specializes in something one could call “jazz fusion.” The genre right now is still just hitting the mainstream, but I wanted to put the spotlight on this group that I think, or at least hope, will make it big time.
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11 Minimally Cheesy Love Songs For Your Valentine’s Day

Originally this was going to be titled “12 Non-Cheesy Love Songs” but as I have come to realize, there is no such thing as a completely non-cheesy love song. Here are my picks for the best love songs to listen to this Valentine’s Day.

1. The Moldy Peaches - “Anyone Else But You”

Anyone who is a fan of Juno probably added this to their playlists the second the film ended (I know I did).

2. Ryan Adams – “When the Stars Go Blue”

A lot people may be familiar with Tim McGraw’s recording of this song, but the original Ryan Adams version is a lot more stripped down and romantic.

3. Coldplay – “Yellow”

This may be one of the more cheesy songs on the list, but there’s no denying that it’s beautifully written.

4. Vance Joy – “Georgia”

Not as upbeat as his hit “Riptide,” but definitely more sincere.

5. The Lumineers - “Dead Sea”

Almost any Lumineers song could easily fit on this list, but “Dead Sea” is by far my favorite from their album.

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More Humble Opinions on More Modest Mouse

Two weeks ago, I reviewed Modest Mouse’s two releases off of their upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves, set to release on March 17th. This past week, the band dropped another single, “The Best Room”, giving more insight into the upcoming album to fans that have been waiting for nearly eight years. Like most bands that have found commercial success, Modest Mouse has polarized fans between their “pure” early works, and newer well-produced material. Whether you are looking for the Modest Mouse from recent albums like Good News For People Who Love Bad News (aka the album with “Float On”) and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, or hoping they can incorporate more of their edgier sound from an album like The Lonesome Crowded West, these singles are much needed messages from a band who has not been responding back for far too long.

 

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2015 Grammy Awards – Who Should Win?

grammys-624-1368462679

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.

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Elastic Heart: Artistic or Inappropriate?

As many of you may already be aware, Australian musical artist Sia recently released a rather controversial video for her song Elastic Heart. Like her previous hit Chandelier, Elastic Heart featured twelve-year-old dancer Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms fame. The video depicted Ziegler dancing alongside actor Shia LaBeouf. Almost immediately after its release, the video came under fire due to accusations of pedophilia and abusive overtones. The bulk of this criticism stemmed from the fact that LaBeouf and Ziegler both danced in nude clothing while “trapped” inside a cage.

 

Elastic-Hearts

 

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Record-breaking records: a look at the fastest released albums

In the craziness of life, sometimes tasks and the time that they take to accomplish can be a little overwhelming. As a college student, I find it almost impossible to get all my work done, sleep enough and enjoy my friends. It’s the old adage “Social life, good grades, sleep: Choose two.” So when I have work to do and the insurmountable load just keeps piling up, I begin looking for shortcuts. What, say, would be the quickest way to do this reading? How quickly can I get my article written for the WRVU blog? What is the fastest way?

The following artists have done the same thing; although, I imagine their motivations differ from my own. Recognizing the value of a minute, these artists pride themselves in creating the fastest-made records of all time. I must point out that these are in no particular order, as no one really agrees what should count for the fastest record release, whether it should be studio recorded or a live performance, whether it should be a whole album or simply a song for sale on vinyl.

 

1.     Jack White “Lazaretto”

jack white

In early April of 2014, Jack White announced his intent to break the Guiness World Record for fastest album release in celebration of Record Store Day, April 19.

At 10 a.m. on April 19, White took the stage in the Blue Room at Third Man’s recording studio in Nashville, TN where he played the title track of his then-forthcoming album, “Lazaretto.” Then the recording was sent to United Record Press, where they immediately pressed the recording into 45s. White then accompanied the albums back to Third Man and sold the records to fans, both of Jack White and fast albums. The album was only available at Third Day that one day. According to Third Man Records, the label Jack White started, the entire process took 3 hours, 55 minutes and 21 seconds.

2. Vollgas Kompanie “Live”

vollgas

The world record that Jack White sought to break, was held by Swiss accordion band Vollgas Kompanie, who recorded their album on August 15th in 2008 and released it in Switzerland the very next day. Whether White’s attempt to break their record remains to be seen, as Guiness still lists them as the World Record holder for Fastest Album Release.

3. Plus 48 Records “24”

24

While not nearly the fastest on our list, nor the most recognized, it is definitely the most album-like attempt for fastest record release. On January 10, 2015, York-based music label Plus 48 Records enlisted the help of local musicians to record, mix and release a studio album in 24 hours to be sold to raise money for Martin House Children’s Hospice. The project finished ahead of time, clocking in that same day at 14 hours and 48 minutes.

 

Notable Swifties

1. *NSYNC “No Strings Attached”

Fastest Selling Album

nsync

The popular #throwback band sold an unrivaled 2.4 million copies of their album “No Strings Attached” in a single week in 2000. The artist to come closest to accomplishing the feat as of late was Taylor Swift, selling 1.287 million copies of “1989” in one week in November 2014, falling just short of Eminem’s 1.3 million copies sold in one week of his 2002 release, “The Eminem Show.”

2. Earache “The World’s Shortest Album”

The title says it all

earache

Also in celebration of World Record Day, in 2013 Earache Records released a compilation of 13 “grindcore” songs clocking in at a grand total of 83 seconds. The shortest song on the album is the World Record holder for Shortest Song called “You Suffer” by Napalm Death. The album’s song build in length and end on the longest track by far, Insect Warfare’s “Street Sweeper,” which is an arduous 13.5 seconds.