After an incredible Round 1 voter participation, it’s safe to say these winners definitely deserved their victory (credit to Will Doran). Now it’s time to see which albums will make…
With 2015 in the books, it’s time to look back at the year and see what songs stood out and are worth carrying into 2016. After tallying up the numbers, here are the top 10 songs of 2015 voted for by our staff here at WRVU.
Lattes, candles, lotions and liquor—as soon as the leaves begin to change, store shelves are mercilessly spiced with the flavors of fall, and we’re all hit with the pumpkin plague, ready or not. To help make the farewell to summer less jarring, I’ve created a playlist packed with autumn aesthetics that is certain to lull you into apple-cider serenity for the next three months—or at least the next 89 minutes.
Lady Lamb, also known by the name Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, is a singer-songwriter from Maine who has been hard at work for several years as an independent artist. Her first record on major label Mom + Pop Music is a testament to her genuine songwriting talent. Mom + Pop, the label that backs acts such as Wavves, Sleigh Bells, and Fidlar, is no stranger to scuzzy, fuzz-pedal-driven punk rock. This production trademark rings through much of the music, but the production brilliantly focuses on the warm, pure voice of Lady Lamb.
At the end of every Vanderbilt academic year, on the verge of finals, anticipation starts to boil over for the annual Rites of Spring music festival. Recent years have seen EDM juggernauts, hip hop stars, and stadium rock bands alike take their shot at Alumni Lawn glory. So what has The Music Group brought us this year? We asked WRVU DJs for their favorite tracks from this year’s Rites artists, and here’s what they had to say.
Artist: Young the Giant
Set-time: Saturday 11pm-Midnight
Key Track: “Apartment”
It’s hard to believe it, but 2015 is already a fourth of the way done. It was not a light musical quarter by any means: in the past month we’ve seen high-profile releases from Sufjan Stevens, Kendrick Lamar, Death Grips, and many more. But what tracks stood out above the rest? We asked our staff to tell us a little bit about their pick for favorite song of 2015 so far. Read on for their selections, and be sure to check them all out in the Spotify playlist at the end.
Dan Deacon — “Feel the Lightning”
“Feel the Lightning” by Dan Deacon makes you do just that — feel an electrifying force pass your entire body. It is the perfect mixture of upbeat and hypnotic, catchy but complex, and successfully maintains the typical “Dan Deacon vibe” of collectively bizarre, yet intriguing electronic music.
Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly is a confrontational affair, and the initial response from the general public reflected that. As one of the most commercially successful and critically lauded rappers of the 21st century, looking to follow up 2012’s classic-in-its-own-right Good Kid M.A.A.D City, Kendrick Lamar bravely ensured that To Pimp a Butterfly was too dense to take in with just a listen or two. Infinite tweets, reviews, and “thinkpieces” have attempted to pick this piece of art to the bone, but not a single one will do this labyrinth of cultural and personal meditation justice.
In retrospect, Twin Shadow/George Lewis Jr. always belonged on a major label, though this wasn’t obvious at the time of his 2010 new-wave-revival debut, Forget. On Forget, retro guitars and a lo-fi drum machine kept Twin Shadow grounded in New Order’s more restrained brand of new wave instead of something flashier. Also like a New Order single, nearly every song on Forget reached for lasting vocal melodies. Songs like “At My Heels” and “Slow” were slick ‘80s style exercises in part, but the striking vocalist and memorable choruses left the lasting impression. Twin Shadow’s next album Confess (2012) honed in on these features and jettisoned potential distractions. While some missed the relative subtlety of Forget, this kind of pop music can benefit from directness. The intoxicating “This isn’t loooooove” on “Run My Heart”, “Five Seconds” with its “can’t get to your heart…”, “Golden Light”: Confess blew relationship feelings into massive proportion. If Forget is the Breakfast Club kids developing meaningful ‘80s connections, Confess is John Cusack in your yard with a boombox.
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.
Early-career mixtapes are often exciting event releases with production quality indistinguishable from a studio album. Think Acid Rap, The Weeknd’s remarkable 2011 mixtape trilogy, or Drake’s own So Far Gone. Once the major label contract is signed, however, “mixtape” doesn’t really connote high-quality, important work. One can argue mixtapes are rawer versions of more calibrated studio releases, but it’s hard to shake the nagging thought that mixtape tracks weren’t good enough to hold over for the album. Often when it comes to mixtapes, only the most dedicated fans need apply. So what’s this mean for If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late?
Indie rock is a fickle playing field, rivaled only by rap perhaps, in terms of its endless hum of hyped artists rising up only to evaporate into the void. So in terms of indie longevity, The Dodos are doing pretty well it would seem. With six albums and almost 10 years of experience touring, recording, and writing music, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber have led a confident path of exploring the ranges of their own sound, while also releasing excellent music. 2013 saw the release of Carrier, a quiet stunner of a record, one that grappled with the death of Christopher Reimer, former guitarist of the terrific and now defunct Calgary band, Women. Reimer had joined the Dodos and his influence on the band can be heard in Carrier‘s precise electric guitar lines and its understated melancholy.
The farther you are from past events, the more they blend together. Time periods – years, decades, centuries – make for easy, automatic categorization of those events. “Take on Me”, “Just Like Heaven”, and “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” are distinctively “eighties” music in the public consciousness; today anything that sounds like synth-pop, from 1989 to “Seasons (Waiting On You)”, is an ‘80s throwback. Decades are efficient, well-defined genre descriptors, to the point where decades like the ’80s and ’90s feel so musically distinct that phrases like “1985-1994 in music” sound meaningless to someone who wasn’t around back then.