Opinion

A Theory of Album Epistemology

I have a theory for why people don’t listen to albums all the way through. Anthony Fantano recently addressed the ongoing “death of the album” discussion—he argues that albums have in fact saturated the market, but people rarely listen to them cover to cover because they rely too much on the strength of their singles or repeat monotonous formulas song by song. Nevertheless, artists still need more than singles to support tours, and labels ultimately can’t decide which song ends up a hit—so the album persists.

Primitive Man Delivers the Most Aptly Titled Album of 2017 with Caustic

(From Primitive Man’s Bandcamp)

Primitive Man is a band that’s always specialized in creating dense, incredibly harsh textures. 2013’s Scorn, the band’s debut full length, is about as sonically oppressive and ugly of an album as you’re likely to find in modern metal, and it introduced the heavy music world to Primitive Man’s unique blend of noise, sludge, death metal, and blackened doom. But believe it or not, Primitive Man just came through with an even uglier and more oppressive release with Caustic.

The Front Bottoms Succeed—But Also Fail Miserably—With Going Grey

Going Grey, released October 13th on Fueled by Ramen

I guess I missed the day in class when we learned that “Going Grey” was synonymous with “Selling Out,” but thankfully The Front Bottoms (TFB) caught me up on that lesson with their album release earlier this month.  Gone is the TFB known for their trademark gritty sound, lyrical depth, and endearing awkwardness.  The new era of TFB is under strict dictatorship by their label, Fueled by Ramen, and it definitely shows in their catchy, over-produced pop-punk album, Going Grey.

Eminem’s BET Freestyle: Some Thoughts on His Beard

(Photo via Twitter)

First and foremost, it would be downright irresponsible of me to make any substantive claim, analytical, theoretical, or otherwise, about Eminem’s BET freestyle without first addressing the obvious. Like the pristine river that guides an untamed eye across the canvas, through dark mountain valleys and up into the great blue unknown—that archetype of the transcendental, that ineffable sublime—Eminem’s beard is nothing. And yet it is everything.

King Krule Triumphantly Returns with ‘The Ooz’

King Krule’s The Ooz will be released October 13th.

King Krule’s The Ooz starts out modestly with “Biscuit Town,” leaning more towards the jazzy, hip-hoppy, slow-talking side of his elusive persona than the urban stoner aesthetic he embodies on, say, “Bleak Bake” from his 2011 self-titled album. Its quiet and enticing first track is a good palette cleanser for the rest of the album: The Ooz meanders through a staggering hour and six minutes of pleasantly cohesive yet disparate directions, taking us from peaceful piano to ethereal cacophony and back again. It’s, in fewer words, nothing short of beautiful.

BROCKHAMPTON Soars with SATURATION II

Members of Brockhampton (Photo by Ashlan Grey)

BROCKHAMPTON returned with a bang on their third release, Saturation II, off their own label Question Everything, Inc this past August 25th . The group has a sound as unorthodox as their origin story, the majority of the members having met on a popular Kanye West forum before ever meeting in real life. Coalescing under leader Kevin Abstract and taking up the all-caps moniker BROCKHAMPTON, the group of 15 moved to South Central Los Angeles in 2015 to be the next great American boyband. Following their two previous releases, Saturation II creeps, crawls, and roars its way into your sonic sphere with the youthful energy of a group of 19-23 year old men that have something(s) to say.

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Listen to ‘Always Foreign’ on Repeat for the Next Month

From Epitaph Records

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (TWIABP) has been a powerful presence in the ’emo’ community since the release of their debut full-length album Whenever, If Ever (2013).  Last week, the band released their third album, Always Foreign, a phenomenally composed album overflowing with cynicism, chaos, and an unadulterated sense of vulnerability.  

The Complexities of Love as Displayed by Daniel Caesar’s Freudian

(courtesy of NOW Magazine)

Freudian, Daniel Caesar’s debut album, released August 25, 2017 on Golden Child Recordings sparked discussion among music fans across all genres. It’s variety of production, a seamless fluctuation of emotion between subtle elegance and bold passion, is reflective of the intricate message the love-ridden Caesar is trying to convey. Throughout the 10 song album, Daniel Caesar spills his heart out about the complexities of love, ranging from despair to pure ecstasy.

Five Metal Albums for People Who Don’t Like Metal

Deafheaven (Photo by Ben Stas)

Metal seems to be one of those things that most people either really love or really, really hate. While I definitely fall into the former camp, I get why it turns a lot of people off. Today, I want to provide a few possible starting points for people who, for whatever reason, don’t like metal or haven’t gotten into it yet but want to. So here are five metal albums you might like even if you don’t traditionally “like” metal.

The Philosophical Narrative of SZA’s Ctrl

(courtesy of RollingStone)

SZA’s Ctrl, released June 9th, 2017 on Top Dawg Entertainment, is widely about the endless personal journey towards understanding and balance in life. SZA, born Solána Rowe, writes about her own personal challenges, blessings and limitations and how they’ve each shaped her ability to maintain her autonomy. Reflecting on the advice and support of her mother and grandmother, provided for listeners in the form of audio clips interspersed throughout the length of the album, SZA navigates tides of uncertainty.

COACHELLA =/= BEYONCÉ

(via Beyoncé’s Instagram)

Due to her doctor’s recommendation, Goldenvoice announced on February 23rd that Beyoncé would not perform at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Instead, she would headline in 2018 when she is not in the third trimester of twin pregnancy. Despite being replaced by her “Telephone” partner, Lady Gaga, ticket buyers are angry and want refunds. Do these ticket buyers deserve a refund?

Birth, Death, and Rebirth of Rock ‘N Roll

(source: Billboard)

Little Richard quit rock ‘n roll for Gospel in October 1957. Elvis was drafted in March 1958. Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old cousin and was blacklisted from radio in March of 1958. Buddy Holly died in a plane crash in February 1959. Chuck Berry was arrested in December 1959 for soliciting a prostitute. Thus, rock ‘n roll died, and a vacuum was created in American music in the early 1960’s. The youth simply lost their sound. However, rock ‘n roll and the blues were abroad, being marketed to a foreign audience and growing outside the American musical garden.

“Shining” and the Art of Making Another One

 

(via 991Nation)

Released in the after-hours of the Grammys on February 12th, DJ Khaled’s “Shining” is definitely one of the best songs in its genre of this very young year, and just about everything about it works. It’s Khaled’s trademark pop production firing on all cylinders, and its arrival after last year’s “For Free” is evidence of Khaled’s sustained return to form as a hit-maker.

Altering Tracks: A Perspective

no-x

 

Originally, this blog post was going to be a review of Tinashe’s newly released commercial mixtape Nightride. While I quite like the mixtape, something so atrocious happened during its production that it entirely consumed the contents of this post.

Young Thug was removed from “Party Favors”.

5 Reasons Why I Love The End

download-1

The End is such an ominous title for a concert venue. I remember my freshman year when I did my very first in-studio interview. The band I was interviewing was telling me all about their show tonight at The End. Being a clueless freshman, I of course asked ‘at the end of what’?

Three years later and infinitely wiser, I’ve grown to love that concert venue on Elliston. Here are five reasons why:

Illegal Inspiration? Sampling in Music

Image result for sampling music laws

Source: http://vlaa.org/sampling-music-even-one-second-is-too-much/

On my long drive home over this past weekend, I wound up listening to a lot of NPR. The drive was over twelve hours long, and while I have a lot of music on my Spotify account, I’m not sure I have quite enough to last me for a twenty-four hour round trip. As I browsed through the different featured podcasts, I stumbled upon a program inspired by a TED talk on originality. Intrigued, I decided to give it a shot.