Tremaine Album Review


For this heavily anticipated new album Trey Songz comes back with a pretty solid album named Tremaine. Tremaine is an album Trey Songz wanted to show the listeners that he is still one of the best if not the best R&B artist in the game today. Trey Songz expressed in his interview with the Breakfast Club that he named his first track on his album named Playboy because of his current situation with women. He explained that being at the stature that he is in he feels that he can not trust a woman with his heart because, there is always more calling and does not fill the urge to be committed in one relationship.  The interview with the Breakfast Club he discussed his issues with Nicki Minaj and simply put he felt that it was weak on Nicki’s part to get at him for no reason over the allegations claimed in the Shether song. Once the interview was over the anticipation of this album has gone up. There are 15 total songs on this album. I will review the once that are highly recommended to check out and listen to on rotation.

#2 song- Come Over: This song is one of the best songs on this album that brings fans right in to show exactly why Trey Songz is one of the best in his group. A must download with great vibes, hooks, and chorus throughout the whole track.

#5 song- Playboy: A song with context and understanding where Trey Songz is coming from I feel that this song is a great song to listen to in certain moods. I enjoyed the sound the message of the song and Trey Songz delivered well on this track.

#6 song The Sheets…..Still: To me this best song on the album, with how great he switched up his flow and how smooth his voice changed talking about the experience with the woman in the song definitely makes this a favorite song on the album to me.

#10 song 1×1: This song instantly is a summer vibe song that could be a great radio song to play. Nice vibes and high upbeat rhythm to this track makes you want to vibe. Highly recommended song for those looking for a summer jam.

#12 song: What Are We Here For?: One of my favorite songs on the album that is an instant radio play. With the beat and rhythm this is a quality track that will be played a lot more in the summer.

Review Score: 7/10 Very solid album that will be played from time to time.

-DjLeodawnus

Joey Bada$$- All Amerikkkan Review


The heavily touted single Land of the Free from Brooklyn’s own Joey Bada$$ made the anticipation of his All Amerikkan album sky rocket in expectations. Coming to towards this album I knew that Joey Bada$$ is on of the most lyricist rappers in the game today. My expectations for this album before listening to it, was that it was going to have a political standpoint of how Joey sees the world within his eyes. Once listening to it couple times that is something was accomplished. With features of TDE’s own ScHoolboyQ, Styles P, J. Cole, Flatbush Zombie’s own Meechy Darko, Nyck Caution, Kirk Night, and Chronixx. I had an idea of what type of sound that Joey Bada$$ kinda like old school melodic deep lyrical type music. The songs that i really enjoyed and recommend on this album.

Land of the Free: A song that has a Biggie sample that I felt he used very well in what he feels the status of being a black person with a voice in society.

Rockabye Baby: My favorite song on the album that has a great sound rhythms and lyrics. ScHoolboy Q came in hard and had a great feature on this album that makes this song come together to be one of the best songs on the album.

Y U Don’t Love Me?: Most interesting and very insightful track from Joey. He puts this song as a message of being in a relationship with the country he lives in. Very good insightful track.

Legendary: With having J. Cole on this song he fits very will with the sound and hook. Both J. Cole and Joey Bada$$ fit very well together and just feel good music that has a very good message in it.

Devastated: To me has the best rhythm sound that has a very good radio value. Joey made on of the best beat on this song that is instantly catchy and has a lot of replay value.

Temptations: A song with a heavy message that comes with a very good up tempo beat. Having insight of the media is hurting the cause and it was a plot to have all this outrage to push certain agendas.

Rating: 8/10 Very good album has a lot of replay value.

-DJLeodawnus

Demon Hunter “Outlive”


“Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” – Dalai Lama XIV

For the band Demon Hunter, the above-mentioned quote defines the message behind their eighth studio album, “Outlive”.

In the three years between their last album, “Extremist”, and this release, the band has gone through their own set of trials and tribulations, yet through all that, the veteran Christian metal act came out of those tragedies an even stronger, tightly threaded unit. Nowhere does it show more than in the songwriting in the album.

Ryan Clark, the vocalist and founder of Demon Hunter, pours out his soul in the opening song, “Trying Times”, a song written about taking a stand and uncovering the truth behind our existence. The opening, which serves as a connecting gateway to “Jesus Wept”, shows the maturity the band has made with each passing album since their self-titled album in 2002.

Patrick Judge, who joined Demon Hunter as the lead guitarist back in 2008, was finally given a chance to contribute as a primary songwriter, and he made the best of it, contributing five songs to the record. If you’re a longtime fan of the band, you can tell the difference in songs like “Cold Blood”, “Cold Winter Sun”, and the single “Died In My Sleep”, where the guitar is among the most technical work in their entire catalog.

The songwriting has also taken a more personal approach for the band, as well. While Demon Hunter has always been known for their uncompromising Christian faith, the band has also grown, welcoming five children into the fold between “Extremist” and this album. The songs “One Step Behind” and “The End” are examples of how parenthood has made an impact on the band and their families. Whereas the former was written as a message from a father to his daughter (Ryan’s daughter, Ryan), the latter speaks of the struggle of being a first-time parent and always being concerned over the smallest thing.

The band also recorded their longest song to date, “Slight the Odds,” which, according to Ryan, they didn’t know whether it would be the closing track on the album until the end. The song, which talks about how the odds are stacked against those who manage to keep their faith strong, is a perfect ending to what is otherwise a cathartic release.

Overall, “Outlive” is Demon Hunter’s most personal and strongest album to date. With no shortage of inspiration for the album, the band stuck true to their roots while enhancing their message of hope and faith. If you are a new listener to Demon Hunter and this is the first album you have heard, then welcome. If you’re a longtime follower, then you will be pleased with the growth that this record shows.

Tracks to listen to: Cold Winter Sun, Died In My Sleep, One Step Behind, Slight the Odds

Thanking A Tribe Called Quest…


tribe

A Tribe Called Quest is known for being both legendary and innovative for their epic contributions in hip-hop. Since releasing their last album 18 years ago, many fans feared that the group would refrain from ever releasing new music. This seemed especially true with the unfortunate passing of Tribe’s master rapper and co-founder, Phife Dawg, in March. New music from ATCQ seemed highly unlikely then, until the recent release of their sixth and final album, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service. The album not only reminds listeners of their classic 90s style, but also reinvigorates the group’s collection of work without using nostalgia as a crutch. There are tons of songs on this album worth listening but I have picked the moments that have most impacted my experience the most with this new ATCQ body of work.

The album starts eerily with, “The Space Program”. This recalls back to the essential beginnings of Tribe. The song is organized and arranged specifically to flow and blend the past of jazz with the intergalactic noises of the future. Jarobi rhymes “We takin’ off to Mars, got the space vessels overflowin’/What, you think they want us there? All us ****** not goin’”. Though the lyrics concern traveling to space and landing on Mars, the song is about the future of hip-hop and staying relevant while from an older generation of this genre. Tribe is stating that although they are not based in the new generation of hip-hop, they encourage the future of the genre and are reminding all listeners of their style and skills as artists.

Along the journey listeners are given powerful messages. On “We the People…,” Q-Tip’s hook specifically calls out the political ridiculousness of Donald Trump while also predicting a false vision of a Clinton victory this recent election. The most impressive collaboration from Tribe is their partnership with Jack White and Elton John for “Solid Wall of Sound,” while “Ego” serves as a both vulnerable and passionate confession.

“Dis Generation” uses a sample of Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie”. The most exceptional moment in the song is when Q-Tip refers to Joey Bada$$, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole as “gatekeepers of flow/They are extensions of instinctual soul.” Tribe continues throughout the album projecting wise messages in a form similar to Yoda projecting wisdom to young Jedi.

“The Donald,” is a homage to Phife Dawg and how he will not be forgotten, while also stamping the late MC’s strong influences and contributions to the album.

We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service serves as another A Tribe Called Quest album that has gone right. This is not an album that demands closure or legacy. The work actually seems as though, in a perfect world, the group will band back together and Phife Dawg will magically come back to life and continue working on another album and eventually go on tour. However most times music lovers cannot get what they want, and this may be one of those times where we have to be okay and accept that this is a magnificent and epic ending to the group’s extensive line of work. I mean we could not expect Jarobi and Q-Tip to continue without Phife Dawg. So for now, and for always we will have to accept this beautiful last gift and thank them for their service…

Album Review: Kings of Leon – WALLS


kingsofleon-walls-album-2016

The year of 2016 has marked the beginning and the end of a plethora of items and people.  Over the course of the year we have lost music icons such as David Bowie and Prince to name a few; however, we have also seen new releases by formidable artists and performers such as Green Day, The Weeknd, Metallica, Radiohead, etc.  One of such releases comes from American alternative-rock band Kings of Leon with their seventh studio album titled “WALLS” (We Are Like Love Songs).  Although arguably not a masterpiece, WALLS delivers familiar Kings of Leon staples reminiscent of their material eight years prior that are both energetic and relaxing.
Alternative-rock as a genre itself can be dismissed as one that is characterized by an overuse of delay, distortion, fuzz, power chords, and underdeveloped melodies that are forgettable; however, WALLS takes these familiar elements and blends them smoothly with subtle embellishments and instrumentation to offer a bit of variety.  In the opening track, “Waste A Moment”, listeners are presented with an upbeat, almost pop-oriented single that is full of energy and announces the band’s presence with their signature overtones and gain-filled rifts.  The result is a simple, yet fun way of demonstrating that this in part is the band listeners have come to enjoy over the years, yet they have changed slightly since the last time we have heard them.  The latter effect becomes apparent at the album’s midpoint with tracks such as “Find Me” and “Muchacho”, which introduce synthesizers, rhythmic sampling, whistling, and other subtle instrumental embellishments that diversify each individual tune.
Despite these small innovations, the tracks themselves are still characteristically Kings of Leon tracks that do not stand out among the discography that they have established over the years.  “Find Me”, for example, is primarily driven by a semi-complex guitar riff that appears at the track’s beginning and makes subsequent appearances with each chorus.  This is not particularly a bad thing; however, this focus on familiarity and on what we have come to expect is exactly what makes a majority of the tracks rather predictable.  Though the synthesizer usage is present briefly in the beginning and sporadically though each verse, it is a lack of utilization of these devices that makes tunes such as “Find Me” fun but relatively forgettable.  Aside from this, active listeners will also recognize a familiarity in structure.  Yes, I refer to the typical Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus.  Though there is not necessarily anything wrong with this standard format, this additional limitation does not serve the band justice in these instances.  In this listener’s opinion: “I get that it works, cool, but I am getting bored”.
The Kings of Leon have always been a band that strikes me as not too innovative in regards to new styles of music, but rather, one that seeks to improve upon a genre that is adored and enjoyed by thousands throughout the world.  They have demonstrated time and time again that they are good at what they do, and I commend them for that; however, it is time to change.  What else does the Followill gang have to offer?  Until that time, enjoy more of the Kings of Leon you have come to love.

I give WALLS, a 3 out of 5.

Album Review: Danny Brown – “Atrocity Exhibition”


atrocityexhibition

Back in October, fans of hip hop collectively laughed at a young mother who uploaded a video in which she discussed at length how aghast she was over hearing rapper Vince Staples’ song “Norf Norf” on her local radio station. As ridiculous as this video is – she at one point sobbingly recites the song’s explicit lyrics with her young children present – Vince later came out with a set of statements defending the mother and her right to state her opinion even if the opinion was off base from the original message of the song. This video, after quickly becoming a meme, finally dissipated into the ether of internet lore, but not without creating some discussion on the artistic merits of rap and hip hop and their possible glorification of drug use, misogyny, and violent imagery. While there are many advocates who believe rap and hip hop are glorifying these types of lifestyles, there is something to be said about a growing number of rap artists currently showcasing these lifestyles as snapshots of where they’ve been as if to warn others not to go down the same route they did.

Such is the fact with Detroit rapper Danny Brown who recently came out with his fourth album, Atrocity Exhibition. Every track on this album showcases various personal stories of sex, drugs, and situations far from rock n’ roll, but never once does it glorify these types of lifestyles. Rather, Danny showcases these songs as “cautionary tales.” If someone happens to misconstrue it as anything but, Danny lays out his mission statement with complete sincerity in the closing lines of the last song on the album: “So my task is/inspire your future with my past/I lived through that/So that you don’t have to go through it.”

Brown’s writing is on point here as he tells little pieces of his backstory from song to song, and it’s definitely a hard listen when one digs into the lyrics. On “Tell Me What I Don’t Know,” Brown details his past escapades with friends getting in trouble with the law and dealing with drug deals gone wrong. On “Rolling Stone,” Danny Brown details his drug dependency and how hard it is to break out of the cycles of the highs and lows it brings about even if he is completely aware that this is happening: “I’m on a road that never ends/Don’t know opposite of sin/Some people say I think too much/I don’t think they think enough.” Every song on this record showcases his growing ennui of the lifestyles that he had chosen to immerse himself in, and it’s an engrossing listen through every turn.

Before going further, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that this album is not for everyone. For fans of Danny Brown’s earlier albums, this is not Old. Neither is it XXX. It is Danny Brown by way of Death Grips and clipping. Certain beats contain punk rock-like elements, such as on the guitar-driven “Golddust.” Things turn toward the deliciously abrasive on album highlight “Ain’t It Funny” where a horn section blares to no end as if to signal an incoming tornado. However unconventional and experimental the instrumentals and samples are, it plays into the albums themes perfectly. It’s the musical equivalent of a bad acid trip with the listener riding the highs and lows.

In terms of features, other than Petite Noir, Kelela, and B-Real all singing hooks on their respective songs, “Really Doe” is the only track with guest features rapping over the instrumental, and it’s stacked with Ab-Soul showing some passion for the rap game, Kendrick being Kendrick, and Earl Sweatshirt showcasing some brash, brazen verses that cements his top billing on the song. With a line-up such as this with the performances given on the track, it’s crazy to think that this might not be the best song off the album. There are many highlights on Atrocity Exhibition, and it’s thanks to Danny Brown’s lyricism and fiery delivery. There are instrumentals on this album that Danny has absolutely no business sounding as good as he is when he raps over them – especially on a track like the album’s second single, “Pneumonia,” where Brown spits bars over an idiosyncratic industrial beat with a time signature that should make spitting bars over it humanly impossible. Songs like this one shouldn’t work, but they just do thanks to Brown’s technical ability.

To say Danny Brown reinvented his sound with this album is an understatement. Many of the tracks here – other than “Really Doe” – are a far cry from anything you’d hear on mainstream radio. However, the album is well made, well produced, and very much so a rewarding listen – no matter how weird or how long it is. Although this album is soon going to be measured up to other strong rap albums that came out this year – like Schoolboy Q and Anderson Paak’s new records – Atrocity Exhibition is a different beast entirely. It’s most akin to Kendrick

Lamar’s turn last year with the politically driven, jazz-influenced To Pimp a Butterfly. Both records showcases two highly skilled rappers at the top of their game – artists who switched up their styles and showed why they’re the best at what they do. They accomplished this because they both made strong, entertaining, and experimental album experiences with a message rather than their records being just vehicles for hit singles. They were both risks, and those risks paid off. And while Atrocity Exhibition isn’t on the same level as Kendrick’s masterpiece, it’s still an important piece of music and an enjoyable one at that.

I highly recommend this album to lovers of industrial, experimental, and alternative hip hop, especially for those that dig artists like Death Grips, clipping., Shabazz Palaces, and Run the Jewels. And to rap and hip hop listeners who usually stick with more traditional artists and sounds, this may be a challenging listen, but I implore you to give it a chance. It may just surprise you in ways you could never expect.

Allegaeon – “Proponent for Sentience” CD Review


a1216811115_10To all the geeks and science fanatics: your new favorite band is here.

With Allegaeon’s new album, “Proponent for Sentience”, the five-piece brings forth an aural assault of seven/eight-string guitar mastery, six-string bass and drum symmetry that almost resembles a marching band, and vocals that range from the depths of the abyss to the highest gates of heaven.

While always known for their scientific lyrical content, what a lot of non-metalheads do’t know is that the group is also known for their classical guitar work, which is featured prominently on their single from the record, “Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassionata Ex Machinea“, which features exquisite flamenco guitar playing from guitarist Greg Burgess (for the exclusive flamenco-only performance, click here).

The band confirmed in interview that a lot of the lyrical content on this album comes from the idea that robotics are not just a novel idea, but an eventual future that may be too much to contain. In a press release from the band’s label, Metal Blade, vocalist Riley McShane gave a bit of insight as to what the album is about.

“With this record we’re bringing ideas to the table that corroborate the fact that at this juncture, robotics as a field is moving forward at an alarming rate,” explains McShane. “This story is dotted with examples of real-life scientific advancements, and it is also perforated with details of humanity’s flaws. Overall, the record tells a story that is still a bit too far fetched to be based in reality, but isn’t too far beyond the scope of imagination to see occurring within the not-so-distant future.”

That concept is explained in great detail in the three-part trilogy sprinkled in different parts of the album, with the magnum opus of the album being the end of the trilogy, “Proponent for Sentience III – The Extermination“, which features guest spots from Bjorn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork and Benjamin Ellis of Scar Symmetry.

The instrumental work speaks for itself on the record, but one of the main highlights actually comes from the vocal work of Riley McShane, the ‘new’ vocalist. Although he has been touring with the band since 2015, the new record is his first with the band. While longtime fans of Allegaeon are used to the low, guttural vocals of former vocalist Ezra Haynes, they need not worry: McShane has that covered. For fans of higher-pitched screams, I recommend you listen to “Of Mind and Matrix”. And, if you’re one of those “I can’t get into metal because it’s too rah-rah and not enough clean vocals”, the band has you covered.

For the first time n the band’s history, they incorporated clean vocals into their material, which is a positive considering McShane’s expansive vocal range. The cleans on “Cognitive Computations” will give you goosebumps. And if you’re looking for a song with nothing but cleans, their cover of “Subdivisions” by the legendary prog-rock band Rush will more than satisfy your hunger.

Overall, I recommend this album if you’re a fan of movies like “The Terminator” or “The Matrix”. And while this record has its chock of singles, it will make more sense if you listen to it from front to back. Prepare to put at least an hour and a half of your day aside; this record is going to put your mind to work.

ALL HAIL SCIENCE!

 

Blog Review: Jackie Gage”Live at The Commons” 3-song EP


If you love Neo-Soul and Jazz, I recommend giving Jackie Gage a listen. Gage grew up listening and singing to icons such as Billie Holiday and Dionne Warwick. She has always been a fan of big bands and odd-structured melodies. To be unique she mixes their modern sound into her own style of what “Jazz” is today.

She recently moved to New York City where she is growing and shaping her craft. Gage has opened for The Brand New Heavies and El Debarge. She has also performed  with Marc Cary. Her music is heard internationally on the airwaves on KCRW, KCSM, Jazz FM in England, and Hawaii’s CUH. She has performed at well-known venues such as Yoshi’s Oakland/The Sound Room in Oakland, The Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. She has been seen at annual festivals such as San Jose Jazz Summer Fest (2016, 2013, 2012), Fillmore Jazz Festival (2015), and Berkeley Juneteenth (2015, 2014).

She recorded her 3-song EP at The Commons in San Jose, California in May 2016. She delivers a soulful and smooth sound and vocal. Her first song, “Let me know” consists of herself and William Bohrer. It is an upbeat song with intricate drumming and feel good guitar solos that leave you feeling mellow and chill. She engages the audience with “repeat after me” lyrics.

Her song, “Afro Blue” is the definition of Jazz music. It is my favorite on the EP. The instrumentals encompass all the right instruments, that leave you feeling relaxed and enjoying life. Her vocals are soft and delicate, but delivers a strong Blues vibe.

Her song, “Sweet”, consists of herself, William Bohrer and Timothy Wat. It sounds like a relationship song. Pull at the heart even more, with this song, it will make you reminisce about past loves and hurts, but love is always worth it.

Also, on the new EP is Tim Wat, a Bay Area pianist and keyboard player. Wat has been performing with The Floorshakers for two years now. He is an active member of the Northern California jazz community. Wat plays frequently in San Jose, San Francisco, and the East Bay. His first love is jazz, but also has experience playing rock, pop, R&B, funk, worship, progressive rock, country, classical and even goth music throughout California and the United States.

As well as Wat, William Bohrer is a bass/guitarist, who is known for being a part of 7th Street Big Band from San Jose, California. 7th Street Big Band is an 18-piece jazz band that plays high energy songs that range from Funk, Latin, and Jazz.

Jackie is a well-rounded singer and songwriter that is making waves in the music industry. She is making a name for herself in Jazz music and making Jazz more mainstream and relevant. I thoroughly enjoyed the “Live at The Commons” EP. I think she has grown as a vocalist as I listen to each song. Her range is versatile and unique. You don’t hear her sound everything. I love finding unique artists that bring a new style or ingredient to the table.

You can follow Jackie Gage’s music at her website JackieGage.org.

 

Album Review: Tacocat – Lost Time


TacoCatAt first glance, Tacocat seems like a very innocuous thing. The four-piece band’s name comes across as disarming and playful with sunny instrumentation to match.

Yet, to overlook the depth of Tacocat’s music, their “bubblegum rock,” is to do the band a disservice.

“Lost Time,” an album made up of 12 poignant looks at life, picks up where Tacocat last left off in every regard.

The instrumentation on “Lost Time” feels largely similar to the band’s last album, “NVM,” it’s the writing that has become blunter. Singer Emily Nokes’ skill for introspection and observation elevates Tacocat where so many other bands falter.

In a perfect world we’d receive a balanced expression of both sides of gender politics within music, but in our messy reality Nokes’ willingness to address the social issues that others dance around or weakly acknowledge is refreshing.

“Lost Time” is never pandering and never hits you over the head. In fact, it’s fun through and through. Even as the world ends on “I Love Seattle,” as the city falls into the ocean succumbing to earthquakes and tsunamis, Tacocat will joyously tell you the city feels so much like home they’d never want to leave.

Though, the importance of what Tacocat is doing comes from their social commentary.

“Men Explain Things to Me” says it all starting with its title and carrying into its lyrics (“Don’t tell me what to do / My feelings won’t subdue / Just because you told them to”). Nokes directly addresses the clichéd roles of gender through smartly employed metaphors, such as moving off of a walkway for men who take up the entire sidewalk, and voices her frustration (“We get it dude / We’ve already heard enough from you / The turning point is overdue”).

Tacocat confidently offers a female perspective on topics we typically see addressed by men. “You Can’t Fire Me, I Quit” (a reference to the Nirvana song “Scentless Apprentice,” similar to their last album’s title paying homage to Nirvana’s “Nevermind”) involves Nokes asking for a past relationship to take her back, but only so she can break up with them in return.

Nokes’ gaze then falls on “The Internet.” Here, the “Hate from the basement / Hate from the insecure,” from the anonymous and from the “mosquitos” is addressed. It’s a song with a rhetorical question, asking what right a random individual has to make a judgement over another they’ve never met.

Conversely, “Talk” looks at the disconnect between two individuals within the same room (“Together, together, alone / Stay true, true to your phone”) and the all-too-common inclination for two individuals to sit next to each other entrenched in their own phones. Nokes points out that she simply wants to use the time to talk, maybe even dance if the situation allows.

“Lost Time” culminates in the song “Leisure Bees,” a well-executed metaphor reminding the listener to “Take your time because / It’s your time to take.” Here, Nokes wisely explains that success in life is an entirely subjective term. Success doesn’t have to be based on work, it can be something as simple as your happiness.

It’s a fitting closing to “Lost Time” because Tacocat is ultimately using the album to communicate the importance of the individual. After all, “the values that you want / Are the ones that you can make.”

 

Emiliano is a DJ at KSSU

Weekly Staff Picks #3


Hello hello wide world web! We have congregated here again to choose on your behalf  what you should listen to. I know, how kind of us to do. No need to thank us, we do this for the sake of finding something we love and nothing more.

 

Staff Pick 1: Claudia Rivas

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect, Aviation

The Last Shadow Puppets have finally released their sophomore LP, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, eight years after debuting, The Age Of The Understatement, in 2008. The brilliant collaborative duo of the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and former The Rascals’ front-man Miles Kane have a new batch of songs ready to take on their scheduled upcoming tour. Turner and Kane have created a LP that not only mixes guitar-rock and classical-violins seamlessly, but also rendered a collection of songs that clearly serve as a soundtrack for dangerous summer romance. In their single “Aviation”, these themes are clearly portrayed. Backed by somber strings, the tune plays out like a dramatic vintage spy film. The opening graduation of noise and dissonance of heavy guitar riffs and fluttering string arrangements that give it a Bond-like quality. Sounding like music that would be the centerpiece for a early-00s’ spy movie similar to Mission Impossible, “Aviation” is the opening song that sets the dramatic romantic tone for the entire LP, well worth the listen.

 

Staff Pick 2: Emiliano Martin

Frankie Cosmo – Fit Me In, Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos’ EP “Fit Me In” shouldn’t be overlooked in light of her newest album this year, “Next Thing.” The track “Young” and the EP itself are a departure from her earlier work with its drum machine and synth combo in place of her earlier bedroom-recorded guitar and microphone. Like a lot of her songs, “Young” is simple but serves to communicate a thought Cosmos had in a particular moment. Her music is able to deliver a sense of comfort while contemplating what it means to be “young,” “fun,” and “alive.”

 

Staff Pick 3: Lucy Morales

Club Cheval – Discipline, Legends

When you gather different and brilliant minds together into one collective, the end result is either disastrous or exceptional.  Canblaster, Sam TibaMyd and Panteros666 are four French DJs who have conjoined their electronica expertise to form the dynamic Club Cheval. Their track “Legends” is an exceptional place to start for those new to their R&B and house blended sound. The smooth croonings of Rudy seamlessly interchanges with swaggering beats and deeply penetrating basslines. What propels forward the energy and eventually settles the the direction of the track is the premature climax of dark chorus of children boldly announcing “fight for life… live to fight… ”. Easily, “Legends” has all the necessary elements to cross into American EDM territory.

 

Staff Pick 4: Lucas Oliveira

Quilt – Roller, Plaza

Are you as sick of hearing new music that sounds like updated versions of the schlocky pop songs of the 80’s as I am? Well, lucky for us, Quilt draws its inspiration from an earlier time, shirking the shotgun-snare synth-pop that many indie bands are turning to in favor of tremolo-heavy psychedelia. But while their last album wore its Jefferson Airplane and Syd Barrett influences on its sleeve, their latest release is less obviously indebted to the late 60’s. The first thirty seconds or so of “Roller” would sound perfectly at home on a Spoon album, with its chugging guitar and bass and wavering vocal-like synth harmonies. Come the chorus, the noodly bassline and chiming guitars reveal that Quilt hasn’t completely abandoned its psychedelic roots. The result is a sunny, swaying mid-tempo track that merges the music of the late 60’s with 21st century indie, and I definitely recommend it.

 

Staff Pick 5: Andrew Garcia

Tacocat – Lost Time, Dana Katherine Scully

The three words I can find to best describe Tacocat’s sound are feminist, bubblegum, punk. They harness the power of all three of these adjectives to create my new favorite song “Dana Katherine Scully,” a musical letter of adoration for the fictional FBI Agent of the X-Files department. Tacocat groove out to the charming sonics of surf punk affability and the hilarious yet fully sincere nerd love usually reserved for the most dedicated of fan-fic writers. However, they skirt obsession, in favor of endearing respect of the way in which Agent Dana Scully sees the world through logic and rational. As Tacocatputs it, “She wants to know what’s out there/but she need to know why”. It’s a groovy good time.