Humble Opinion on Modest Mouse

 

Cover art for upcoming Modest Mouse album
Cover art for upcoming Modest Mouse album

Over the past month, Modest Mouse has released two singles off of their highly anticipated upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves. It has been nearly eight years since the release of their last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which was either Modest Mouse’s best album or worse album depending on who you ask. Naturally, there was a lot of excitement and anxiety over the direction Modest Mouse would take with this next album, which warrants us to take a closer look at the releases.

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The Decemberists – “What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World”

We know, we know, we belong to ya.
We know you built your life around us.
And would we change? We had to change some.

And with that, the Decemberists begin their 7th album with a knowing wink, a sad and insightful look at the relationship between a band and its audience. And sure enough, the Decemberists have changed: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World” is their poppiest, most buoyant album yet. Unfortunately, it’s also their least ambitious and exciting.

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Rapchat: Now YOU Can Join the Underground Rap Scene

Here at WRVU, we’re all about the underground music scene, whether we’re introducing you to fresh new songs or interviewing artists who may not even be college graduates yet (in fact, my show is entirely the latter). Recently, though, I discovered an app that is destined turn the entire Vanderbilt campus into amateur rappers. It’s called Rapchat, and it’s the long-awaited messiah of the Vanderbilt rap scene.

Drake consults with his ego before sending a diss Rapchat to Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, and Big Sean.
Drake consults with his ego before sending a diss Rapchat to Kendrick Lamar, Diddy, and Big Sean.

The app is simple and very easy to use. All you have to do is pick one of the pre-packaged beats (there are a few dozen from which to choose), hold the phone to your ear, press record, and spit some dope lines into the mic. Then you send your killer freestyle to your friends, who are connected to you via Facebook. The beats are actually not a total joke–it seems the developers crowdsourced them from Soundcloud beatmakers, and indeed you can check out the Soundcloud page of each of the beats’ creators. It’s a brilliant symbiotic relationship that provides Rapchat with its production and the beatmakers with an audience for their material.

Deep down inside, everyone wants to be a rapper, and I’m no exception. I started from the bottom of Rapchat over winter break and the rhymes have been flowing ever since. I make them everywhere; honestly, it’s hardly more obnoxious to rap into your phone than it is to take a shameless Snapchat in public, and will become less so as Rapchat inevitably takes over, following in the mythical footsteps of Yik Yak, Tinder, and Instagram. Of course, however, the most creative juices come out in the bathroom, where Rapchat becomes Crapchat.

Much of my fraternity now uses the app, and I’m proud to say that our brotherhood has never been tighter. The ability to instantly compose a diss track and send it to the entire chapter means that no one can really rise above the rest. We will come up as a crew or not at all, and if anyone breaks the code, they will certainly be cut down to size by some of our more caustic tongues: C-Flow, Blumin’ Onion, etc. Today you might not know these names, but tomorrow they will be the next A$AP collective, busting out thirty second nuggets of lyrical gold and shooting up the universal musical consciousness of the country.

The future of the Vanderbilt music scene--and college rap game everywhere.
The future of the Vanderbilt music scene–and college rap game everywhere.

The real beauty of Rapchat, though, is that none of your rapt listeners can tell if you’ve freestyled your lines or if they were meticulously prepared. I find that leaving this particular mystery unsolved builds up my intimidating aura more effectively; it leaves my audience with the force of my words ringing in their ears, bouncing around their brains, bamboozled by my dope rhymes with no choice but to assume that I invented them on the spot. Of course, I am sure to maintain a healthy distance between myself and any haters for the time being; I don’t yet feel as though I could take down Supa Hot Fire in verbal combat, and he is naturally the standard to which any good rapper must hold him or herself.

Anyways, the moral of the story is that I’ve been fighting to expand the Vanderbilt music scene since the fall of 2012, and now the tool by which this will happen finally exists. I want everyone reading this to download Rapchat and tell their friends to do the same. With any luck, Vanderbilt will soon be not only the happiest campus in the country, but also the dopest.

Billie Joe Armstrong is a Mom in a Crop Top

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.

 corgan

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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.

AOTY Tournament: Recap and Individual Lists

aoty

When WRVU announced the winner of 2014′s edition of our annual AOTY (Album of the Year) tournament, hardcore rap duo Run the Jewels emerged on top. Run the Jewels joined the ranks of Vampire Weekend and Tame Impala, who won the tournament in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

The tournament isn’t the whole story though. While its an exciting way to narrow down an overall winner, it doesn’t completely explain why we liked what we did. Additionally, there’s a worry that popular voting is biased against niche releases; it’s certainly not required that voters listen to each and every one of the 32 contenders to better inform their decision.

In the interest of calling out as much great 2014 music as possible, this post compiles the individual top 10 lists from our DJs. But first, a few tournament-related consolation prizes.

The Alternate Universe WRVU-AOTY Award

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Run The Jewels 2 Wins the Album of the Year Contest

aoty

The results are in! Run the Jewels – Run The Jewels 2 has bested FKA Twigs – LP1 by a slim margin of 3 votes.

Arguably the second most popular album during nominations (Mac Demarco - Salad Days being the first), Run the Jewels 2 claims its spot as the top dog of WRVU this year.  This is hardly surprising, given Run the Jewels’ sold-out concert at Exit/In earlier this semester and the sheer hype the album generated upon release.

Run The Jewels 2 Album Cover
Run The Jewels 2 wins 20-17

Killer Mike and El-P have outdone their previous self-titled success with a sequel that hits harder, shouts louder, and tackles tougher issues in its rapid-fire verses.  Whether it’s the club-ready bangers like “Oh My Darling, Don’t Cry”, the more solemn and serious tracks like “Crown”, or the silly tracks littered with El-P’s jokes and sci-fi references like “Lie, Cheat, Steal”, there is something on here to scratch every hip hop itch.  Check out my full review published around its release.

Thank you to everyone who voted in the contest!  You all made this tournament possible.

El-P and Killer Mike
El-P and Killer Mike