Leaving us with high expectations and wide-eyed anticipation, Alt-J’s first album, An Awesome Wave, burst onto the music scene making a name for the English indie rock band with singles “Breezeblocks” and “Fitzpleasure.” Living up to and exceeding our expectations, their sophomore album, This Is All Yours, was released Tuesday offering us a different side of Alt-J that had not been shown in the past.
For those of you there on that fateful afternoon in Rand almost two years ago, you remember it as one of the oddest sensory juxtapositions in your Vanderbilt career.
It was, at first, an ordinary lunch hour for the students in our campus dining hall. Some were studying, their laptops and notebooks strewn about, taking up four-person tables all by themselves. Others were casually munching on their Randwiches and “gourmet” Chef James meals and chatting with friends. Many were multitasking.
Then, the music started. At first, it was just a rush of distortion in the background, barely registering in ears so unaccustomed to hearing it. But it soon became clear that this was no mere technical accident. The speakers in Rand were playing metal–replete with screams and growls of vocals and guitars and lacking any consistent melody or rhythm.
On August 16, 2014 this mysterious blimp, sporting the iconic Aphex Twin logo and “2014″, appeared over London. Soon after, the same logo appeared in street art graffiti-ed onto the sidewalk in front of New York’s Radio City Music Hall. While many refused to buy into the hype, discussion exploded in the music community about the possibility of a new Aphex Twin album this year, which would be 43-year-old beatsmith Richard D. James’ first full release since 2001′s Drukqs. Just two days later, Syro was announced via James’ twitter, and just one month after that music fans found themselves experiencing an Aphex Twin comeback.
On September 18th, virtuosic bass player Victor Wooten premiered his unprecedented electric bass concerto entitled “The Bass Whisperer: Concerto for Electric Bass and Orchestra” with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The concert attracted an interesting conglomeration of regular symphony-goers as well as jazz and R&B fans, which for someone like Victor Wooten, who has preached how music is the perfect medium for peace, love, and even diplomacy, must have been the ideal sight to see. However, for us concert attendees watching someone who many believe is the best bassist of our generation, maybe of all time, perform with such soul and passion, that was the ideal sight to see. In the spirit of Wooten’s complete disregard of “genre” for the sake of musical exploration, it is only appropriate to try to learn from him and maybe delve into the orchestral world ourselves for a little bit.
An album two years in the making finally presented itself this past August. Dry the River’s Alarms of the Heart exudes a confidence that wasn’t as obvious in listening to the band’s first album. Actually, in a lot of ways, the two albums are super different.
Anyone familiar with the name Opeth most likely knows the Swedish band for being innovators in the progressive metal genre. Their extremely unique sound has led them to worldwide acclaim in the metal community, and the band has had much praise from the modern progressive rock community as well. Albums such as Blackwater Park and Still Life have become some of the most heavily-praised metal albums of the modern era. Many fans, myself included, love Opeth for their ability to change from an extremely heavy metal riff to a beautiful acoustic guitar with the creativity and skill that few bands can even manage to pull off a few times, let alone as consistently as the band has proved. [Read more...]
Sixteen cellos, one piano, and four dads from Utah. Together, they’re The Piano Guys.
Best known for their YouTube videos in which they combine classical music with pop songs, The Piano Guys played at the Ryman last weekend to a very enthusiastic crowd. [Read more...]
So you’re a brand new DJ. A little excited, a little nervous to talk aloud to who knows how many listeners. You know the words to every song on The Essential Billy Joel, both discs. In high school, you rode shotgun down two-lane country roads in your friend’s doorless Jeep, sticking your bare feet out the side while the first Mumford & Sons album drowned out the cicadas. No one else in 11th grade had heard of The Decemberists or Regina Spektor. You thought you were pretty cool; you went to public school. But now, in college, the older DJs in WRVU are intimidating, and you don’t know any of the bands they’re talking about. You’re me, freshman year.
Two years ago, I spent a lot of time hunting for new music, though I wasn’t very efficient at it. Pitchfork was the only music journalism site I’d heard of, and I spent lots of time there without understanding the context of most of the articles. If I could do it all over again, here’s the resources I’d have used.