Ashes by NateWantsToBattle: Song Review


Untitled

WARNING: Spoilers!!!

 

You ever have a song that you listen to one time, and end up keeping it on repeat until you get sick of it? Well, I’ve been a victim of this ever since I heard the song Ashes, by NateWantsToBattle.

Let me tell you a little about the artist, first.

His full name is Nathan Sharp, and he creates song covers. I’ve been listening to him for about a year now, and I haven’t hated a single song he’s remade. He is from Richmond, Virginia, and specializes in Alt/Indie and Rock songs.

This song- Ashes- in particular gives me chills because the lyrics are a mix of creepy yet have a beat that makes me want to head-bang in my car and sing out loud with the windows rolled down on the freeway.

I also really love this song because it’s actually about a video game. The game is called Undertale, and-for those who don’t know- it’s a “Choice” game.

This means that whatever choices you make in the game will determine how the game is played and how it ends. It can be played on PC, and is hours of fun with a very dark undertone. If you like that sort of thing.

One of the endings is called- SPOILER- “Genocide Route”, which can only be achieved if you kill everyone without mercy.

Pretty depressing, huh? But I promise; it’s a good game!

Anyways, one of the lines in the song is, “Made your decision now you’re gonna have a bad time.”

This line particularly stuck with me because one of the characters you meet and befriend is a skeleton named Sans, along with his brother Papyrus. Sans is meant to be the comic relief of the game; cracking jokes and making horrible puns. When Sans gets upset or angry, he tells others that they will have a “bad time.”

Near the end of the game, once you’ve killed everyone in Undertale, your last opponent is Sans.

In short, a talking flower manipulates you to kill all your friends.

NWTB’s song Ashes is about how you became this monster who only kills for enjoyment, rather than trying to see the good in people.

I honestly thought this song would be used in more AMVs on Youtube, but I wanted it for myself and ended up buying it on iTunes instead.

Anyways, I’ve had this song on repeat for the past 3 weeks, put it as my ringtone for everyone in my contacts, and made it my alarm song.

I regret nothing!

To further explain how much I enjoy this song, another like is, “And in the end they’re gonna fall and fall to your hand.”

This line is a direct description of the manipulative, talking flower- who’s name is Flowey. He tried very hard to get you to kill everything and everyone, but you do have the option not to listen to him.

If you enjoy listening to songs that sound like they would be played at the end-credits of games, I recommend listening to NateWantsToBattle. He’s a really great artist, and I hope this review has intrigued you even a little bit to go have a listen.

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The Sacramento Sound-A Local Band Review: Face the Horizon and Occupy the Trees


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The Sacramento Sound-A Local Band Review
Face the Horizon and Occupy the Trees

Sacramento boasts of being the birthplace of greats like Deftones, Cake, and Tesla, to name a few. If I try hard enough I can actually picture them on the cluttered stages of small suburban venues, fighting to differentiate themselves from the unceasing shuffle of sound. I am more than excited to be a part of sharing the beginnings of what I hope are the next generation of greats, starting with two bands I have some serious admiration for.

Occupy the Trees: A fun loving Sacramento Alt-rock band with curious deviations into the world of ska with a dash of skate punk

Charlie Sand-vocals guitar
Parker Barnes-lead guitar
Chris London-Bass
Nathaniel Wilson-Drums

Occupy the Trees held an opening slot in a recent local showcase at the Boardwalk; tasked with setting the tone, Charlie Sand and the band did not disappoint. They took to the stage with a gusto born of genuine boyish enthusiasm and it didn’t take long for the energy to catch on. Lyrically the band delivers an entertaining and relatable slice-of-life story full of satirical anecdotes. Sand on lead vocals has a catchy, adaptable style complemented well by a solid walking bass line and whimsical guitar riffs. Favorites of the night were the songs Words Like Bullets and Sorry, the latter was a blast live as the whole band joined forces to get the audience to sing along. Their musical style ranges from an upbeat punk/ska hybrid reminiscent of Sublime to the fast-paced melodic sounds of the early 90’s. Check them out on sound cloud!

https://soundcloud.com/occupythetrees

Face the Horizon: All the things you like from a heavy-experimental sound and none of the things you don’t

Robert Lynn-Vocals
Hal Trevor Williams-Guitar
Keywan Ryland-Drums
Chris Crimson-Bass

Front man Robert is right at home on stage, his charisma and obvious enthusiasm translates to the role of an entertainer well. He’s something like a heavy metal MJ, the passion for his craft is evident in every exaggerated move. Big kudo’s to the nod they gave the late Chris Cornell, pulling off an exceptional cover of “Like a Stone”. Cornell’s renowned range is not an easy one to replicate, let alone pull off with a grit and passion worthy of the man’s legacy. From twangy guitar solos and perfectly timed drum fills to the funk-rock heartbeat of the bass, Face the Horizon succeeds in putting the elements of their music together in a way that complement not competes. All in all they have made my ‘must see’ list and I encourage you to check them out when given the chance, you won’t be sorry. Check out a Face the Horizon original, “Cutthroat” on YouTube!

https://youtu.be/7JTubi_mOVk

-DJ Chy

 

 

 

 

 

 

p.s.

The journey each of us takes with music is an intensely personal one, my hope for this series is not to take away from your journey but to share my own. I will work hard to cultivate objectivity in the hope that it lends creditability to my opinion. But it’s just an opinion.

 

Album Review: Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?


Black Lips’ new album is just like any other album they’ve released in the past 15 years, exciting and very different than any other release out there right now. In Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?, they’ve introduced a full time saxophonist Zumi Rosow, while two long-time members, Joe Bradley and Ian St. Pé, left the band. Black Lips’ sound has been altered since the original drummer and long time guitarist have left, but their reckless and eclectic sound has shown itself in this album as well.

Points are given to their attempt of making Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? a conceptual album, but it wasn’t quite executed in a creative and consistent way. Had there not been short interlude tracks that feel like filler songs and no sense of consistency, it would have definitely exceeded expectations. Even though it was produced by Sean Lennon and had background vocals from Yoko Ono, it felt like they were just hanging out; you couldn’t feel their presence throughout the album. Maybe they were just there as a big names to get people to listen to this release?

As a conceptual album, I didn’t feel the vibe of a overarching theme or influence. Most of the tracks had okay vocals, but nothing throughout the album excited me to be a repeat worthy album. I would give “Can’t Hold On” and “Crystal Night” a listen when you first dive into the album. They’re easy listening tracks that had a road-tripping kind of sound but have them in the background at a party as well.

All in all, I didn’t love Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?. It feels like Black Lips need to evolve their sound and change it up a bit. A few songs are worth listening but definitely not my go-to for hot new albums of 2017.

 

 

Twombly, Twombly!!!


 

I recently visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. This is one of the exhibitions that caught my eye.

Cy Twombly was an American artist, who belonged to the same generation as Robert Rauschenburg. He was a painter, sculptor, and photographer. He was born in 1928, died in 2011. In 1954, Twombly served as a cryptographer for the U.S. Army. In 1957, Twombly moved to Rome, where he spent the rest of his life. His work was mostly Abstract Expressionism.

 

Second Voyage to ItalyCy Twombly, Second Voyage to Italy

 

Twombly lived in Rome after World War II. He ended up being among a generation artists, in 1950’s Europe, that were trying to forget about the war. For his inspiration, Twombly used his surroundings in Rome, combined with the new style of American painters. He used these sources, and combined it with his own emotional reactions to them.

His paintings mostly had a solid color background that was usually gray, tan, or off-white. On top of the solid color background, Twombly scribbled. A few of these, at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, resembled a chalkboard. And, what looked like chalk, was in the form of scribbling. Many of his paintings use this scribbling style, which sometimes resembles cursive handwriting (a calligraphy style). Other times, Twombly’s work resembles grafitti. One of the large paintings, at the Museum of Modern Art, looked like random chalk marks. But, some looked more like cursive handwriting. Though, there were no actual letters represented, just vague shapes that resembled the structure of letters. Later in his career, he would focus more on romantic symbolism.

Untitled Cursive-style piece

Cy Twombly, Untitled

Cursive-style piece

When I stood next to a large Twombly art piece “Untitled, 1971,” a museum employee told me that it was worth $1 Billion dollars. That intrigued me. I looked into why Twombly’s work would be worth so much money. Twombly was a big influence to generations of younger artists. He is considered a very important artist. He is said to have influenced Jean-Michel Basquiat, Anselm Kiefer, Francesco Clemente, and Julian Schnabel. Another reason that Twombly’s work is so expensive now, is scarcity. Twombly has a small body of work, only creating about 650 paintings. When compared to artists, such as Andy Warhol who created over 10,000 works of art, Twombly has a relatively small amount of completed works. If every major art museum in the world sought to acquire an important Twombly piece, there wouldn’t be any his artwork left.

 

Untitled 1971.jpg

 

Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1971

Me Next to a $1 Billion dollar art pieceMe next to a $1 Billion dollar art piece

I liked the artworks by Twombly that were more of calligraphic style, that looked almost like cursive handwriting. My favorite piece of Twombly’s, n the Museum of Modern Art, was a piece titled “Note I” from the series “III Notes from Salalah” 2005-2007. It had that chalkboard aesthetic, the forms that resembled cursive handwriting, and drips. The calligraphic-style faux lettering looked watered down. And, the letters were dripping.

Note I from the series III Notes from Salalah 2005-2007Cy Twombly, “Note I” from the series “III Notes from Salalah” 2005-2007

New semester, who dis.


The best part about starting a new semester is being able to curve people with a legitimate reason, such as, “Oh, sorry! I can’t make it today, I have a new school schedule!”

Okay I am totally kidding (well kind of), but here we are again in the semester where students scramble for classes like we are playing twister, bending over backwards, standing on our heads, reaching over our competition while trying to land our feet on without breaking our backs. However, during this chaos coupled with the insanity of finals, we forget about the opportunity for self-growth.

The transition between each new semester allows you to reflect on what you have learned, where you started, and where you are going next. It is amazing that we as students have the freedom to choose which classes we will take and use them as tools to discover ourselves, with very few limitations. For instance, if your major is still declared as undecided, you can shop an endless list of creative classes, such as art, social studies, and philosophy, which can assist in creating yourself and who you want to be.

One of the best parts about college is there are hundreds of GE courses that may have nothing to do with your major or your career, but the knowledge you gain from each professor, lecture, and project gives you a new perspective.

College should not be treated as a stepping stone to land a corporate job that will pay for your retirement; the worst thing a person could do is enter college just to find a good job. Higher education is revolutionary because it is an open space for self creation and enables you to cultivate your own individuality. The second worst thing a student could ever do is take a class for a mere unit filler and not grow from its content. Each class a student takes should be strategized based on what you want to learn, what you have not learned, and what will be useful for you.

Although some GE courses are required, as students we have every right to choose classes that nurture our own interests; we pay for the classes we take, therefore we are entitled to choose what material we will spend 9 hours of our lives studying each week. Hence, our schedules should be filled with courses that stimulate our curiosity.

College is also a playground to discover new ideas, cultures, and self-awareness. We as students should seek out classes that will give us a new perspective. Learning about different cultural experiences will not only expand our knowledge about the world around us, but will also lead to self-realization of our own consciousness.

This process of narrowing down classes should also be filtered by what is valuable to us as future world leaders. However, this should not be confused with treating college as a pipeline to the workforce; college should be a supplement to your future career and livelihood. A useful example would be a student going to college to become a doctor, but seeking out ethnic study courses to widened their knowledge about other people’s experiences to assist their craft in the medical field.

Again, it is fair to say that a new semester is stressful because finding the right courses can create so much anxiety. However, amongst all the turmoil, remember one thing: do not work for college, instead let college work for you.

Surviving The Devil’s Anvil: Staying Motivated & Healthy Until Graduation


As of April 12th, 2017, spring graduates are just about a month away from graduating from Sac State and either entering entering the job market or heading to graduate school. It seems like just yesterday, we were entering our freshman year here at Sac State or just transferring from our community college. Now, we’re just about to call ourselves alumni of this great university.

 

But don’t get too ahead of yourself, fellow graduate as we got a almost a month or so left to survive. That means that final or that late in the semester midterm could still make its mark on those final grades and if those final grades aren’t good enough, you may be having an extended stay at good ol’ 6000 J Street. Do not fear for you are not alone! For you, I have some advice on how you can survive what will possibly be the longest four or so weeks of our lives.

 

  1. Stay On Top Of Your Assignments & Study Well

 

You’re probably feeling the same senioritis that you were feeling in high school some time ago. Your motivation is probably slowly dwindling and your mind seems to float away in those early morning lectures. It may seem that your body and mind can’t take anymore of these factors and just wants to break down, but you’re a strong person and have the ability to keep pushing on. Allow yourself an hour or two each day to keep up on your reading and homework each night. I know having work, meetings, or a social life can interfere with this time, but even the smallest of commitment to some studying can make your grades survive the final push through the semester.

 

  1. Get Some Sleep & Eat Well

 

It may be hard to not stay up so late, but to feel revitalized for the upcoming commencement and summer season, it may be a good thing to get some adequate sleep and some good nutrition along the way. Instead of all of those all-nighters and sleepless nights (less than five hours of sleep), jump into the sheets and count some more sheep and shoot for six to eight hours of shut eye. It will allow your body to get that energy it deserves and keep you going strong through the day.

 

To accompany that sleep, try to get some healthier grub into your stomach as well. I understand that as college students, we don’t have the capital that can get us the freshest foods and healthiest ingredients, but it is still possible to make it work. Try to get some fruits and vegetables into your system and get some of those key vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Try to skip out on a panda bowl in the union and enjoy a delicious whole wheat sandwich with an apple as a lunch. Your body will feel more energized as you make your way through these last few weeks of classes.

 

  1. Get Some Exercise

 

Something some of us dread is a nice workout; something to get us off of our behinds and making our hearts pump a little bit. However, getting a little exercise can be therapeutic and serve as a break from the stress of exams, homework, and big term papers. Exercise doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights or running miles on end, but even a stroll through the park, a midtown bike ride, or even a swim can count as some exercise. Just 15-60 minutes of exercise a day can make the case and as someone who exercises on the daily, it contributes to my days being a little less stressful. Though it may sound dreadful, take the stairs, take a stroll around campus, or get your gym clothes and head for the Well.

 

  1. Enjoy Yourself

 

We’re in the twilight of our college careers and that time is quickly coming to an end as our final semesters is coming close to ending. Enjoy it while you can. Gather your closest friends and take some time to appreciate the moment. Go one a night out on the town and enjoy the company of your friends. Go on a hike, to a ballgame, or enjoy a board game night in your apartment, house, or dorm. We won’t get this time back so make the best of it all while you can.
As graduation looms, we will be leaving the comfort of our fellow Hornets and try to find a career or opportunity for higher education. We will join fellow alumni into making a difference in the world. However, until we walk the commencement floors and earn our final grades, we must stay strong, stay healthy, stay on track, and enjoy life. Congratulations on reaching this point and good luck with the rest of your semester! Stingers, up

Westbrook Enters In the History Books


On April 9, 2017 the people of Colorado witnesses a piece of history that is uncertain ever be broke again. Russel Westbrook Guard for Oklahoma City Thunder broke the long standing record for the most triple doubles in a single season with 42 triple doubles. Thunder vs Denver Nuggets was a highly anticipated game that it was a win or elimination from playoffs with the Denver Nuggets. Denver Nuggets came into this game with a lot of pressure of not being able to go to the playoffs if they lose.

With the highly anticipation of Russel Westbrook breaking the record it was a sellout crowd at the Pepsi Center in Denver. Russel Westbrook ended the game with a triple double breaking Oscar Robertson and a game winning shot to beat the Denver Nuggets. Which sends the Denver Nuggets fishing on vacation instead of going to the playoffs. This was a huge tip of the iceberg for Russel Westbrook to beat the record with a win finishing the game with 50 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assist to cap off an amazing game with a win.

Russel Westbrook puts his name in the hat of being heavily favored to win the 2017 NBA MVP for this year. Breaking the record of most triple doubles in a single season and have his team be contending for a playoff run at the 6th seed makes it very compelling. With one more game in the regular season to go. Russel Westbrook can continue this amazing run of excellence as the Oklahoma City Thunder will head into the playoffs this weekend. With the current standings in the Western Conference. Russel Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will face off his old teammate James Harden and the Houston Rockets in what will be an exciting match up with the two favored MVP candidates of the season.

-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

The Case To Renew Timeless


When it comes to shows on television, I’m not usually the one who is caught up on all the seasons, especially when it comes to the hour-long shows that require hours of commitment and time to fully enjoy.

 

While many of my friends were talking about the latest episodes of their favorite shows, I was out of the loop on most of the conversations because I either didn’t have time to catch up on the episodes of the show or I just didn’t care for the show. I get distracted easily so it’s easy for me to lose interest in a show especially with all of the options available these days with streaming and DVR capabilities.

 

However, on October 3rd 2016, I was caught by surprise and my perspective on television dramas changed when I watched the series premiere of Timeless on NBC.

 

To give you a quick background on Timeless, the show is about the “Time Team,” a crew consisting of history professor Lucy Preston, Delta Force Operative Wyatt Logan, and programmer Rufus Carlin. Together they are assigned on missions by the FBI to track and capture ex NSA asset Garcia Flynn as he travels through time attempting to change history. (Tried my absolute best to write this section without giving any major spoiler to the plot)

 

The show turned out to be spectacular and has rallied a large fan base through the course of its 16-episode season. Each episode presents a new time period with a historic moment at risk which if effected would change the entire course of history. Whether the Time Team is in 2017 or in 1937, the setting feels rich, authentic, and historically accurate. Each episode presents critical challenges for Lucy, Wyatt, and Rufus as their faith and trust in each other is put to the test. Each of them have interesting backgrounds and conflicts that they face and are constantly reminded of while completing their mission. After watching the first episode, I felt a connection to the characters because they embody ordinary people and you can feel for them in their situation. (SPOILER ALERT) For an example, Wyatt struggles to accept that his wife Jessica could never be brought back to life no matter what he does with history (END OF SPOILER ALERT) The show’s use writer’s, cast, and crew have created an authentic universe with realistic characters in critical situations that make for heart-stopping television entertainment.

 

However, even with Timeless’ fanbase and success, the show is still at risk of cancellation as NBC will have to decide which of its new shows they will renew and which ones they will discontinue. The cast and crew as well as fans of the show have taken their campaign to get the show renewed on social media using the hashtag #RenewTimeless on Twitter.

 

Season one of Timeless was outstanding, giving its audience a new kind of television drama. Its magnificent characters, and storylines reflect the hard work and passion that the cast and crew had to develop such a mysterious yet wonderful world.

 

If NBC cancels Timeless, it will cut the life of a show with wonderful storylines, relatable characters, and historically authentic settings that create an exquisite world that takes its audience’s breath away.

 

However, if NBC renews the show, it can keep that wonderful world alive and allow the cast and crew to continue to tell the stories of Rufus, Lucy, and Wyatt and their adventures through time. If the cast and crew remain passionate and continue to be passionate and dedicate their artistry to the show, Timeless doesn’t just have the opportunity to have the chance for a second season, but to be one of those television shows that comes once in a generation that people will appreciate for years to come.

 

For those who love Timeless, continue to to love and enjoy the show by showing your support on your social media. #RenewTimeless isn’t so hard to tweet. In days like this, it is up to we the audience to show passion for the shows that we love to watch and show the broadcast companies that they are shows worth keeping.

 

For those who have never watched the show before, my advice is to stream the first season where ever you can find it  (My best guess is Hulu or on NBC’s website). Watch the first two or so episodes and take a chance to immerse yourself into the’ shows universe and watch the character’s stories unfold and perhaps you may see why many people are passionate about their favorite time team.

 

I’ve never been too big on television dramas, but since I’ve seen Timeless, I see the potential that television shows can have. Like movies, they too can tell amazing stories that make us go into the state of wonder and ask questions about the show and about our own situations. I only hope that NBC could renew this amazing show and allow the shows story to unfold beyond its first season.
#RenewTimeless

Why Are We So Mean To Drummers?


Why are we so mean to drummers?
Feat. A random assortment of hilariously mean jokes about drummers.

Drummers get a bad rap, probably because they are so difficult to understand. I mean, how can you relate to a person who can do more than one thing at a time? You can’t, unless you also have that talent, in which case we are not going to be friends.

What does a drummer use for contraception? His personality!

Wooow. Okay, joking aside, drummers are actually pretty awesome and people should endeavor to appreciate them more. One of the oldest instruments known to man is an ancient drum which used the skin of an alligator as the membrane! Mad props to those who had to first kill a freaking dinosaur to make some sweet beats. Does it then stand to reason that drummers are classically minded people, who are better in touch with our ancestors? Yeah sure that sounds good.

Why does a drummer put drumstick on the dash of their car? So they can park in the handicap spot!

Digressing, so really, why are we so mean to drummers? My theory: If we interpret band members in terms of a cute coming-of-age story rife with social dissonance and high school drama, the lead guitarist is a jock and the drummer wears glasses and is not a well-adjusted human.  The stereotypical depiction of a Jock is a loud lout whom people tend to listen to for no good reason at all, and because of their allegedly small brains they are incapable of understanding the maladjusted supporting character type. Perhaps lead guitarists have given drummers a bad name for all these years because they are incapable of understanding the way a drummer thinks or operates.

Will the musicians please come to the stage? Oh, and the drummer too…

The drummer doesn’t misunderstand his bandmates poor attempts at beat-boxing their ideas, he/she just thinks they are freaking idiots who have no rhythm. Some study put on by some half-baked Harvard intellectual types found that a drummer’s internal clock doesn’t move linearly like a real clock, but in waves. A similar wave is found in brainwaves, sleeping heart rates, and the nerve firings in felines’ ears. So when a drummer slips up, they’re actually just matching the elemental beat of the entire universe. Also, to be fair, guitarist are pretty awesome too, a similar study revealed that a guitarist’s brain power is statistically more intuitive and matches the firing pattern of someone claiming to have psychic abilities.

Now, to fix the issue. What is the best way to go about—not only being nicer to drummers—but fixing the problem at its root? The answer is simple, start spreading some superstitious voodoo nonsense about a dire consequence to the back bone of your mother every time something mean and untrue is said about a drummer? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous…that isn’t the best solution I’ve got at all!

The solution is to be more tolerant and less awful, obviously.

But drummer jokes are fun.

Those may stay.

Just…don’t sound super serious when you say them.

Also consider doing something nice for a drummer afterwards, as a show of solidarity.