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Over 13X, I would often walk into Alpha Chi Alpha fraternity and be aurally bombarded with the sound of snare drums, guitar solos and random lyrics. At the time, I did not know too much about the four AXA ’15s who would soon come to call themselves “Burn the Barn” (a name attributed to the fraternity’s lore). However, they seemed like an established enough band given that I happened to overhear their melodious jam sessions almost any time I was in or around the green house near the end of Webster Ave.
This past Friday, campus country sensation CHUCK released their first original single "Stella," now available on Soundcloud.
First off, anyone who has ever streamed music from the Internet should go read Eric Harvey's Pitchfork'scover story from last week. Questions like "In what ways are the non-stop interactions between databases and algorithms shaping our musical tastes?" and "Should speculative capitalism be the driving force for large-scale innovations in music technology, and is there a feasible alternative?" are posed and unpacked in the article. Thought-provoking, I know. The design team also did a really awesome job, so avoid the plain-text version (unless your computer is older than my car).
Last Thursday night at the Brooklyn Barclay’s Center, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame held its 29th induction ceremony honoring Kiss, The E Street Band, Peter Gabriel, Hall and Oates, Cat Stevens, Linda Ronstadt, and Nirvana. In the words of The New Yorker’s Sarah Larson, the evening “united a crowd that doesn’t hang out together much.”
If you’re lucky enough to have even one person in your life that sends you music suggestions that you actually like, you’re lucky enough. The music video for “Marathon Runner” by Yellow Ostrich was sent to me by someone who pretty much nails my music taste every time. The song (and the two albums I immediately bought after I fell in love with it) is killer. Check it out live above or watch the original music video here.
Record labels and their contracts have a long history of making artists’ lives more complicated. Signing with a label often means a great deal of artistic sacrifice; labels both hold rights to artists’ songs and can push the artist to be more marketable by shaping their sound and reputation. Conflicts are almost always centered on trying to generate the most money and figuring out who gets what portion of proceeds. And the payment hierarchy is imperfect. Artists are the last ones to get paid — after the advertisers, promoters, recording engineers and the label executives themselves. Some of the most famous disputes have included artists like Prince, Pink Floyd and Kenny Rogers.
Saturday will mark the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's death. As an icon for the misunderstood, Cobain struggled with drugs, depression and his ailing health before committing suicide at age 27. Nirvana, formed over the course of 1988, paved the road for Seattle grunge to travel from local basements to the Billboard charts. To date, Nirvana alone has sold over 25 million records in the US, and over 75 million worldwide. In 1992, Rolling Stone called Nirvana a voice for Generation X and compared Cobain to John Lennon. As a critical figure in music history, Cobain's legacy is indisputable and this week’s playlist features music of his, those who impacted him and those he inspired.
When I decided to be on campus for spring term, I imagined greeting my friends in shorts and flip flops and walking across a Green corded off to keep us away from those weird chemicals maintenance puts on the grass. Instead, I trudged through the snow while moving boxes and wore Under Armour beneath my jeans (I can’t be the only one that does this) on the first day of class. I get it – we are always griping about the weather. We’re in New Hampshire where people love to tweet screenshots of their weather app showing subzero temps. But I signed up for spring term…can I get my money back? The only upside I can create here is the possibility of this week’s column remaining relevant for a marginally longer time.
Another 10 (nine?) weeks, another term. In keeping with tradition, I will share 10 albums released this term for my last column of 14W. As if you needed one more thing to distract you from finals studying.
While almost all songs have a chorus, some of the best ones don’t.
Those who know me personally know that I've called New York home for the past six months, and I can't believe that will come to an end in two short weeks, bringing me even closer to my return to Dartmouth. (From what I read online, I feel like now could be a weird time to come back, but I'll save those thoughts for a place that isn't my music column.) I realized that I was about to leave here without really using New York for column material, save for a few concert reviews this fall, so I guess here's my chance.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but music videos pretty much suck these days. It’s not even worth the three clicks it takes to find the video for anything from Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” which features a pyramid of Twinkies in a bedazzled Egyptian wonderland to Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty,” with its nearly naked girls pretending to play the trumpet (okay. you’re right, no one expected that video to be worth watching at all anyway).
Great Caesar describes themselves as a “chamber rock band,” which may leave some people scratching their heads, but their talent as musicians makes categorizing feel unnecessary. The Brooklyn-based band has existed in a variety of forms since a few of the members met in high school 10 years or so ago. It took all of them graduating college and moving to New York to realize their dream as a group. Great Caesar is comprised of lead singer John-Michael Parker, bass guitarist Adam Glaser, saxophonist Stephen Chen, trumpet player Tom Sikes and guitarist Mike Farrell.
Week seven of term, and we’re all so deep into study mode that Winter Carnival seems like nothing more than a fleeting memory that is becoming increasingly buried under the carnage of midterms, readings, labs and papers. Everyone is over the cold weather and short days, and spring seems impossibly far away. While we may not have much time for anything outside of schoolwork or any desire for anything other than centrally heated buildings, we can always listen to music during this period when we see more of the library than our beds.
Sometimes, a band’s evolution just so happens to align with your own life. You fall in love with them in 10th grade while they’re still singing sappy pop-punk, and then you find yourself blasting their latest album in your car on the way to the Copper Mines during 13X.
The Sochi Olympics have created quite a stir, from the unfinished city infrastructure and hotel accommodations to reports of the government-sanctioned extermination of stray dogs to public scrutiny of Russia’s extreme hostility toward the LGBTQ community (GQ magazine recently published English professor Jeff Sharlet’s excellent coverage of the issue. Not to mention that Sochi is the warmest city to ever hold the Winter Games; the highs this week are in the 50s, making it difficult to maintain passable course conditions for some events.
If you’re looking for original alternative music right here on Dartmouth’s campus, you should check out the new student band Some Kind of Jet Pilot.
It’s rare that I end up going to a show and falling in love with the opening band. More often than not, I awkwardly nod my head to the bass line and sometimes even pretend to know the lyrics. Two exceptions to this rule stick out in my concert-going memory. The first being when fun. opened for Jack’s Mannequin at the Electric Factory in 2010, long before the album Some Nights had even been released – I know, it’s hard to believe. The second was this November when The Front Bottoms toured with Manchester Orchestra.