When you think “punk” it is likely that images of garage bands, spiked hair, and lyrics about anarchy and disestablishment come to mind. However, when you think “reggae” you may conjure up images of the beach, slow beats, and lyrics about peace and love. After taking a closer look, the two seemingly opposite genres are in fact not all that dissimilar. While the two originated in different times and in different ways, they have since been brought together to make some groundbreaking tunes that we now usually refer to as “ska.”
The great metal band Mastodon finally return to Nashville after recording and releasing their sixth studio album, Once More ‘Round the Sun, in nearby Franklin, Tennessee, and this time around they’ve brought some friends, Norwegian metal band Kvelertak and, a band that I’ve really been getting into in the past several months, the French band Gojira. When I was looking at going to the concert, I actually hadn’t heard of Kvelertak, but a friend of mine described them to me as “blackened hard rock” before the show started. However, I was excited just to see Mastodon and Gojira on the same bill, and I was not disappointed in the least.
If you’ve been in Urban Outfitters recently, odds are you’ve seen some vinyl records. These dinosaurs of the music world have been making a comeback in slightly more hipster circles for a while, hence their appearance in one of the most hipster clothing stores of them all. These records aren’t just the oldies that your parents listened to either. In fact, new albums are still being released as vinyl records as well as in more contemporary formats. So in honor of this resurgence, I hereby present to you a history of music formats, from vinyl to MP3.
Most likely many readers are already familiar with the famed “feud” between Sun Kil Moon frontman Mark Kozelek and the indie-rock band War On Drugs. For the most part, the exchange between the two groups has been grossly over-scrutinized, with no shortage of music websites and blogs commenting on this issue. The overall vibe appears to be that some people do not find any kind of humor in Kozelek’s attack and see him as an immature jerk, or people that believe that he is simply tired of how media loves to sensationalize things out of context for the sake of a story. As demonstrated from the lyricism in Sun Kil Moon’s Benji, Kozelek has no problem in painting surprisingly honest, introspective, and strikingly vivid images of what is going on in his mind, so something about hoping the War On Drugs “don’t have lice”, and other uncharacteristically juvenile lyrics in his songs about the War On Drugs make it clear that Kozelek’s original intentions in this “conflict” were not to bring about the demise of War On Drugs, but perhaps simply to poke fun at the entire situation. To contrast, we will look at 10 songs, in no order, where the intention of the artist is clearly to call out a target.
It’s that time in the semester. Things are starting to get crazy. Those projects are piling up. Finals are just over the horizon. Right now you’re probably halfway through an intense study session, your study playlist is exhausted, and you find yourself checking WRVU for your emerging music needs.
Luckily for you, I have some great artists to bolster the ranks of your depleted library as you take on the end of the semester. As a general rule, these artists don’t feature many lyrics in their songs as I generally find lyrics to be distracting from my work. If you can get into the studying zone while listening to music with prominent lyrics, then I envy you.
This week was a whirlwind of school loads getting way too much to handle, the CMA Awards taking over Nashville and to top it off my friend had ACL surgery. With all of the busy-ness this week, I wanted to put a few songs together, new and old, that bring me peace and comfort in the hard, negative and stressful times.
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.
The most elaborate musical prank of this week is no doubt the Aphex Twin/Taylor Swift mashup album. The cartoonist who put Aphex Swift together put forth an astonishing amount of effort to link two totally different artists. The most shocking thing isn’t the choice of artists, however, since there are already endless examples of absurd mashups floating around the web. No, the shocking thing is that this WTF pairing is so well done.
My initial reaction is that there’s no way Aphex Swift works at all, but on several subsequent spins I have to admit that there’s something going on here. “Starlightlicker” is the song that gets the closest to working in any traditional sense, no doubt because “Windowlicker” is the closest Aphex Twin has come to any sort of pop crossover. It’s surrounded by “T4ouble” and “We Are Never Getting Girl/Boygether”, both of which pace hectic breakbeat productions from Richard D. James Album with two of Swift’s most massive pop smashes. Initially I’m convinced that these two tracks speed up the tempo on “4” and “Girl/Boy Song” because they sound impossibly complex underneath Swift’s one-line-at-a-time delivery, but on further review the tempo is unchanged. The juxtaposition serves as a vivid reminder of just how unique and unhinged each of Aphex Twin’s pseudorandom productions is.