Green Key Guide 2018: Tinashe leads a promising lineup
On May 1, we began to prepare ourselves for the arrival of R&B pop star Tinashe on Dartmouth’s campus for Green Key. Since she is the first woman to headline the festival, her performance will undoubtedly be historic — but for many, the artist’s music and even the pronunciation of her name has yet to be imprinted on their minds.
For those who are familiar with the California singer-dancer, though, it was no surprise that she was chosen. With training in the ballet, tap, hip-hop and jazz dance genres, Tinashe has enjoyed consistent online buzz for her skillful choreography and energetic live performances. Her discography is filled with radio hits and certified bops that have, in some ways, overshadowed the artist herself.
For this reason, it is quite likely that you’ve found yourself dancing to a Tinashe song at some point within the last four years and simply did not know who she was. Maybe you’ve listened to “2 On” featuring Schoolboy Q, “All Hands on Deck” or “No Drama” featuring Offset, just to name a few of her most popular party songs. With growing music chart success, these songs tend to be the most played in her catalog, but it is her ongoing rejection of any particular genre which has shaped her fluidity as an artist.
With last month’s release of “Joyride,” her third studio album, it is clear that Tinashe is continuing to embrace her musical range. My personal favorite tracks, “Stuck with Me” featuring Little Dragon and “Salt,” are welcome divergences from her mostly trap-influenced sound. Latching onto the listener with an indie-pop grip and a soulful guitar ballad, “Stuck With Me” and “Salt” are reminders of the artist’s wide range of talent. At Green Key this Friday, I expect that the 25-year-old singer-songwriter will bring all of her flair to the stage. For the sake of concert-goers looking to dance hard and fast, her go-to tracks will set an undeniable and infectious backdrop. All you’ll need to know is how to move.
Emerging indie pop sensation Mikael Temrowski — better known as Quinn XCII — has a name that’s a bit of a puzzle. Quinn stands for “Quit Unless Your Instincts are Never Neglected,” an acronym the artist picked up from his professor at Michigan State University. And “XCII” is said “ninety-two,” signifying the year Temrowski was born.
Quinn XCII blends pop, EDM, hip-hop, electronic music and reggae into a distinctive sound that appeals to a wide range of audiences. His songs also contrast upbeat, cheery background tracks with melancholy lyrics, concealing the gloom of breakup and heartbreak with a cheerful sound. The conflicting feelings present in Temrowski’s lyrics reflect a common experience that makes it easy for fans to relate to his music.
Temrowski began making music in high school with his childhood friend, electronic dance musician Ayokay (Alex O’Neill). He continued collaborating with O’Neill even after starting college at Michigan State University, where Temrowski’s hip-hop mixtapes became wildly popular and his music career began to soar. Quinn XCII released a hip-hop mixtape titled “Shlup” in 2013, but it was his 2015 pop breakout EP “Change of Scenery” that put his music on the map.
“Kings of Summer,” a song by O’Neill that featured Temrowski, became an instant hit in the summer of 2016 and officially brought Temrowski mainstream fame. It climbed to number one on Spotify’s Global Viral Charts, made regular appearances on Top 40 radios countrywide and was played over 50 million times on Spotify. Some of Quinn XCII’s other hits include “Flare Guns” and “Straightjacket,” which will hopefully make an appearance at Green Key.
Quinn XCII played at 70 shows nationwide in 2016 — notably Billboard’s Hot 100 Festival in Long Island — and has been known to excite audiences with his energetic sound and enthralling lyrics. Coming up, Temrowski’s tour includes the Governor’s Ball in New York and Lollapallooza in Chicago, among many more locations. Even in small town Hanover, Quinn XCII’s dynamism promises to entertain at Green Key.
L.A. duo Luke Atlas and Coleman Trapp of Coast Modern bring a beachy, indie-pop sound to Green Key. Scoring tours with groups like The Temper Trap and BØRNS before their first full-length record was even released, Coast Modern has millions of streams on Spotify and promise an exciting show. The duo’s well-received debut single, 2015’s “Hollow Life,” established their upbeat electro sound. Their self-titled first album was released in 2017 under 300 Entertainment/+1 Records and features an ambitious 18 tracks. Covering everything from alt rock to electro to indie pop, the album is an impressive undertaking.
The record starts out strong with “Going Down,” an upbeat surf rock piece that combines the breeziness of the Beach Boys with catchy power chords reminiscent of Weezer (whom the group cites as an influence). In “Tiny Umbrella” and “Guru,” Coast shows off their production skills with tight beats that give off a Twenty One Pilots vibe. “Yemma” features an interesting rhythmic interlude before “Run It Up,” which returns to the brightness of the beginning of the record. The acoustic guitar on “Wild Things” provides a nice break from the poppiness of previous tracks. Moving into hit singles like “Hollow Life” and “Groovy,” the group evokes a West Coast vibe with an emphasis on synth. The only divergence from an otherwise exciting and diverse record is “Pogs and Slammers.”
Coast Modern’s attempt at a Cake-esque slow rap that, while intriguing, doesn’t quite fit. The album finishes on a high note with “The Way it Was,” which evokes Cage the Elephant, and closes on “Frost,” a sweet acoustic track that rounds out the record nicely.
Hit tracks like “Guru,” “Dive” and the more contemplative “Wild Things” should be exciting live. Atlas and Trapp may even break out their new cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel,” which adds bass to the indie favorite while maintaining Coast’s playful vibe. The Green Key concert looks to feature Coast Modern’s signature summertime sound in an intimate space.