Event Review: Slander – Headbangers Ball


Don’t let the name fool you! Headbangers Ball is not what you’re thinking. MTV’s classic late-night television show is long forgotten. Instead the heavy bass duo, Slander adopts the name to headline their own US tour.

Image courtesy of Headbangers

Prior to the 2-week long campus closure, I had the pleasure of stopping by the San Jose City National Civic Center to attend their show. With it being titled “Headbangers Ball”, it did not disappoint. The show feature supporting acts by Wavedash, and Eprom. Both supporting acts were able to live up to the event’s name by spinning nothing but heavy bass tracks, mixed with melodic dub-step and even some Future House records.

The venue itself reminded me of a mini-scale Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. It featured a large floor area filled with bodies head banging all night long, and the seating up top on the 2nd floor was no different. Upon arriving I was shocked to see the diversity in the demographic of the audience. I noticed a wide variety of ages, some looking like young college students attending their first rave, while others looked to be in their early to late twenties.

After making it past ID and security check points I was pleasantly surprised to see how packed the venue was. Up first was EPROM.

EPROM was a refreshing, yet heavy sound. Most notably he dropped his own remix of Porter Robinson’s “Sad Machine” that set the tone for the rest of his set. I was most impressed by the way EPROM was able to shuffle the pace of his set by bouncing back and forth between heavy Trap and Bass sounds, to melodic dub-step and house music.

Fallowing EPROM was Wavedash. I had little to no knowledge on what kind of music this duo puts out, but I found it to be a little too heavy for my taste. Wavedash played a set filled with what felt like, all Dubstep and Trap records. Within the first two songs of his set, there were many mosh pits going on all around the dance floor. While his set was over the top for my taste, I found it to be enjoyable after retreating to the balcony to avoid getting sucked into a mosh pit.

Now let’s talk about the headliner, Slander. I have been following their music since the release of their “Nuclear Bonds” EP that featured the track “Gud Vibrations” with the artist Nghtmre. “Gud Vibrations” was the summer festival anthem for the year 2015 and since then I have fallen in love with all the remixes that they have put out. Slander is a unique combination of emotional lyricism and HEAVY drops. The stage production would switch between heartfelt images during their softer records, then would immediately switch to a darker, almost devilish themes for their harder tracks.

While Slander began his set, I sat in the balcony seats. I was in awe at the production value. The crowd had so much energy, I almost felt as if I could feel building shaking every time, I heard a bass drop from his records. Seeing the crowd collectively singing along his remix of Post Malone’s “Fall Apart” was something I’ll never forget.

Overall, the Headbangers Ball did not disappoint! Originally, I was a little worried that I wasn’t going to have a good time, but I was glad that I attended. It was such a positive way to bring in the start of my birthday.  

GRIMES: Bracing us for Robot Takeover One Song at a Time


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Grime’s new single, “We Appreciate Power” is an ode to Artificial Intelligence and how our future might look pretty soon.

In this technological age, progression is happening at turbo speeds, making our measly mortal bodies seem so primitive in comparison to the infinite potential of mechanization. In this track, Grimes seems to be propagating the fatalistic attitude of a future where AI will have unbounded power over us silly little human beings.

Now, I love Grimes and everything she does, but I personally don’t know if I’ll ever want to upload my consciousness onto a computer drive to last for all of eternity. I’m kinda just cool with having my brief human experience and peacing outta here when it’s time for me to go, ykwim? But then again, who knows what we’ll discover if we do choose to stay.

The eeriness of her vocals encouraging us to submit to our robot overlords is amusing in the best of ways. We’re meme-ifying and laughing about it now, but maybe in a few years when the robots finally do take over we’ll be looking back on this track thinking, “Damn, she was right. Oops.”

The industrial sounds on this track have drawn a lot of comparisons to Nine Inch Nails, which is understandable. People are questioning if this is going to be the catalyst of a nu-metal revival, and judging by the responses to the lyric video, they’re not mad about it.

A lot of fans were hesitant to embrace the energetic pop-nature of Grimes’ last album, Art Angels, but this new single was so left-field that you can’t help but be drawn to it. Grimes’ recent media attention with her new boo, Mr. Elon freaking Musk the billionaire certainly had some influence, but longtime fans will know that she has always been one to discuss AI progression and its integration with our own species. Despite the new sounds she’s experimenting with, the Grimes DNA in this track is evident in Claire Boucher’s high-pitched, melodic, alien vocals. The way she layers her tracks in the production process has always been innovative, and she has mentioned that she likes being an engineer more than a singer.

As a forever Grimes stan, this post is obviously biased to a degree. Still, Grimes will always be an artist to be admired as she continues to push new boundaries in her music. I love her so much because she’s never been afraid to explore her creativity in her usual nerdy, quirky, techie ways. If this is gonna be the new age of cybernetic punk rock, there’s really no one better than Grimes to ring it in.

Overall, this is one catchy-ass track and will definitely be on heavy rotation for my gym playlist. Sure, the lyrics might be questionable but I take it as a tongue-in-cheek statement towards our future synthesis with the technology we have created. Or maybe we really are destined to be engulfed by the superior Artificial Intelligence Gods, and in that case, oh well. We had a good run here on earth I guess. ¯\_()_/¯

You can listen to the track down below:

Shoutout to Lucy for encouraging me to write this post! This was my first time writing about a new music release so hopefully it was somewhat palatable lol. Good luck on your finals everyone!

-Ezzie

Travis Scott – Sicko Mode (Skrillex Remix) Review


Skrillex just guaranteed that “Sicko Mode” will be played at every club, festival and party.

Not too long ago, he remixed Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble” and transformed it into heavy rotation-track.  The remix feels more like 4 edits on the drums with a remixed middle part that has more of the Skrillex-sound we know. It feels very minimal and that works in this track’s favour because it will guarantee more plays in the clubs for its lack of experimentation. The best part has to be the Jersey Club section that comes in at 4:25.

The Jersey Club section has me wondering if we’re going to hear some Jersey Club collaborations with Skrillex. It would be a smart move and hopefully, he has something in the works with DJ Sliink or even some other producers from the Club community. Skrillex is definitely smart and obviously will benefit from riding this wave, but it feels much more like one of those shout-outs to the culture of Club sound.

The placement of the Club section of Sicko Mode is placed at the end; ensuring that it got the last attention of the listener. Overall, this track was already good and we all have been playing this song multiple times. Thankfully, you can now add to your party playlist an even more uptempo remix. This song will do well with those people who like to dabble in EDM (there’s a difference) and those who like the Heavy Bass, Jungle Terror, Jersey Club and Dubstep elements.

If you haven’t heard the “Humble” remix yet, well you need to. Skrillex has much success with his Rap remixes, and we saw how successful “Wild for the Night” with A$AP Rocky was, So we can only expect even more of this style to come out.

///Victor M.

Lil Wayne adds to his legacy with Tha Carter V


 One of the greatest rappers of our generation, Dwayne Carter, has given us plenty of classic songs, albums and mixtapes. His new album “The Carter V” adds to his legacy. 

The Grammy Award rapper who has been called, “The Greatest Rapper Alive”, now has another number one album on the charts. This isn’t anything new for the legendary spitter who gave us hit like “No Ceilings”, “Carter II”, “Carter III” and “Da Drought 3” to name a few, but some thought the rapper wasn’t capable of delivering good music anymore. 

As a long time Lil Wayne fan, I thought that his good music was behind him. In my opinion, it has been a bad year for older rappers like Nas, Eminem, Kanye and Jay-Z who all gave us mediocre albums.

Carter V isn’t a classic album in my eyes but it is still pretty good and the best rap album of the year in my opinion. I think this album was just as good as J. Cole’s KOD, Nipsey Hustle’s Victory Lap and better than Drake’s Scorpion. 

Lil Wayne doesn’t even write his music, he is basically memorizing his freestyles which is even more impressive when you listen to this album.  This album was packed with 23 songs and features from Kendrick Lamar, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj and Snoop Dogg to name a few. 

I think the best song on the album is “Mona Lisa” and features the great Kendrick Lamar. The two Hip-Hop icons do notdisappoint on that track. Kendrick might have stole the show with his verse on that song but Wayne was impressive as well. 

There are plenty of other good songs on this album like “Uproar”, “Dark Side of the Moon”, ‘Let it Fly”, “Hittas” and “Let it all Work Out.” There are gems throughout the album, so if you haven’t listened to it yet, I suggest you do. 

Reason Impresses on Debut Album “There You Have It”


On a September 29, Top Dawg Entertainment’s Reason dropped his debut album “There You Have It” and it did not disappoint.

The Del Amo native showed impressive lyrics on and displayed that he has what it takes to be the next big thing in hip hop. Reason tweeted in regards to the album saying, “This is not a TDE production project, this is a project that Top discovered me off of that he felt was so good, he did not want to rob you guys of this experience of hearing it. Remixed and Remastered, There You Have It.”

Top Dawg Entertainment is the biggest label on the West Coast with Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and SZA to name a few. In my opinion, adding Reason just makes the roster a bit deeper. 

The album is unique because it gives you a West Coast vibe that you can hear it in the beats and his flow. A lot of rap albums (especially mumble rap) nowadays are starting to sound the same and have little substance. This album talks about all kinds of different topics like relationships, encounters with gang bangers, murder and much more.

This isn’t pop rap or mumble, this is music that will last and that you can connect to. The best songs on “There You Have It” in my opinion are “Kurupt”, “Drive Slow/Taste Like Heaven”, “Situations” and “Summer Up”. 

If you have yet to listen to this lyricist, you need to give him a listen because this is classic rap music flowing over cool beats, storytelling and spitting bars. Jump on the bandwagon now before he blows up. 

Discover & Download


This segment is a special article on new music and artists to check out. I will feature submissions and artists that we have on circulation at Sacramento State’s student-run radio KSSU.com. This post will focus on Acid Dad, Fine China, and The Rubens.

Acid Dad:

Acid Dad consists of Kevin Walker (Drums), Sean Fahey (Guitar/Vox), JP Basileo (Bass) and Vaughn Hunt (Guitar/Vox). The upstate New York quartet delivers a Psychedelic Indie Rock sound with Punk elements in their music. Acid Dad’s self-titled release features some amazing music with conflicting sounds. The music starts out aggressive and changes style halfway through. It almost feels as if there were two EPs combined together. Overall the music is great and songs like 2Ci show the indie mellow vibe, while songs like Mistress show that indie punk aggressive sound. Some similar artist styles include Las Rosas, Ty Segal, Tame Impala, and King Tuff.

Fine China:

Fine China offers a nice indie rock sound that uses elements of 80’s pop and modern indie sound. The band is comprised of three members Thom Walsh (Drummer), Greg Markov (Bassist), and Rob Withem (Keyboardist/Vocals). The band originates from Phoenix, AZ. Songs like The Hymnal 1982 offer elements of dreamy synths and aggressive chords that work well together. Then you have songs such as Iron is Your Love, which showcases their 80’s indie rock tendencies.

The Rubens: 

The Rubens is comprised of band members Sam Margin (lead vocals), Elliot Margin (Keyboards), Izaak Margin(Guitar), Scott Baldwin( Drums), and William Zeglis (Bass). Yes, they are brothers and close friends hailing from Australia. The Million Man EP features previously released tracks such as the hit My Gun which has that alternative rock sound that features many elements of aggressive bass and guitar with soft pop vocals. The band plans to continue on their successful momentum to release a full-length album following the Million Man EP. Songs like Hoops give a good taste of the Rubens band we love and enjoy. The songs have that bass and keyboard synth that give emotion to the vocals. If you’re a fan of  The Black Keys and Cage the Elephant, then you will enjoy this band very much.

///RaspadoPapi

The Weeknd: My Dear Melancholy,


The Weeknd just dropped his latest musical project titled My Dear Melancholy, which comes out just in time for his headlining performance at Coachella weekend. The EP’s title shows a possible message towards Tesfaye’s former lover Selena Gomez, with whom Tesfaye had a tumultuous relationship. There are many points being made that the title of songs, the lyrics, and the timing of the release refer to Selena Gomez.

This latest release shows a change from the more pop-centric sounds that we are known to hear from The Weeknd, yet keeps the style seen on Starboy. The sound, in general, keeps a darker R & B sound while keeping a similar style to the Daft Punk produced tracks.

The opening song Call Out My Name sets the tone with lyrics such as “I helped you out of a broken place,” which is possibly a reference to former girlfriend Gomez dealing with a breakup and dealing with Lupus. Then goes on to say “Falling for you was my mistake” which reflects the hurt that The Weeknd felt. The song is currently number 4 on the Billboards top 100.

Tracks like Hurt You have a similar sound to Starboys’ I Feel It Coming and it makes sense. Gessalfelstein and Daft Punk are often collaborators in music, we noticed this in the production credits for YEEZUS album. The sound seems like a transition from The latest album and Tesfaye’s first mixtape.

Every track from the EP is charting on the Billboard top 100 and there is no doubt as to why. Every song delivers a hit with a range of emotions such as regret, anger, sadness, and acceptance.  The production speaks as much as Tesfaye’s words and the credits on this EP include Mike Will Made it, Skrillex, Guy Manuel (Daft Punk), Nicolas Jaar, Frank Dukes, and Gesalfellstein.

 

///BIGTAPATIO

Bay Nite: Event Review


The new Bay Area rave Bay Nites recently occurred on March 31st in San Francisco’s famous Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. The event had a bit of everything from Rap to Electronic Dance Music. The venue lacked any real parking structures and San Francisco offered little to nothing of available street parking, but going into San Francisco I wasn’t expecting much in terms of parking. As I entered the venue and scoped out my surroundings, I noticed the mixture of attendees from Hip Hop heads to full on Rave goers. The diversity in demographics showed that these events thrown by Insomniac have something for everyone and inclusive of all people. This is something that Insomniac productions have done across the board from Electric Daisy Carnival to all smaller events.

YEHME2 went up and just killed his set. Formerly a member of the famous Flosstradamus duo, YEHME2 played new music and some classics from his earlier Flosstradamus days such as Roll Up and the many rare remixes that many don’t know about. The set featured a lot of Rap, Trap style EDM, and even The Beatles.

The next set was JOYRYDE who brought that European sound of Garage House, Bass House, RIDDIM (Fancy word for Dubstep) and even some classic Electro. His performance definitely woke everyone up and we even got some explosions that were synchronized with the music’ bass drops.

Lil Yachty took awhile to come out but that didn’t matter because Lil Yachtys’ DJ was dropping a mini set that got the crowd going crazy by playing songs by tons of currently trending songs. Lil Yachty performed all his hits and new songs off his new album Lil Boat 2 and the crowd went crazy. Lil Yachty then had his entourage throw over a hundred water bottles in the crowd and when the Bass Dropped, instructed everyone to toss the water in the air. It was literally one of the most “LIT” moments of the night and showed us how great a performer Lil Yachty and his DJ are.

The performance I was most excited for was NAV, who is a member of the XOXO label headed by The Weeknd. The performance was amazing because NAV played his songs and songs he was featured on. At one moment Nav asked if anyone was a fan from the beginning and then went to play one of his first songs titled Fell In Love, which is a love song about California and particularly Los Angeles and The San Francisco Bay.

The last performance was by Los Angeles native DJ SAYMYNAME and he brought that heavy hardstyle music mixed in with Rap and Trap. The performance was the last one of the night but it showed no sign of stopping. The crowd was still there until the end of his set and it was one of the most aggressive sets the whole night. A memorable moment is when SAYMYNAME dropped A$AP Ferg’s Work remix.

Overall the night was epic with a great lineup. I went in with an open mind and the performances I was least excited for were probably the ones I enjoyed the most. Till next time…

 

///BIGTAPATIO

CUCO @ Sacramento State


Unique Programs really stepped up their game with their recently announced show with CUCO at Sacramento State on Thursday, April 26. The artist known as CUCO is from a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Los Angeles known as Hawthorne. His upbringing in Los Angeles has led to major influences in his style of music. CUCO is an artist that blends Future R&B, Indie Rock, and Spanish lyrics all in one style unique (no pun intended) to his upbringing. These influences seem like they would clash but actually compliment his style. The use of Ableton production software and bilingual lyrics help him to create these amazing songs of love, sadness, and infatuation that clearly reflect a style of the Indie culture associated with Los Angeles.

 

CUCO is probably most famous for his hit song Lo Que Siento, a bilingual love ballad that is a gaze of a daydream of young love and infatuation with a special girl he’s in love with. The song features elements of very dazed out synths and sing-a-long lyrics that everyone can get down with singing. Lyrics such as “Oye Carino solo pienso en ti” its hard not to dedicate this to that special someone in your life just for the well thought out and contemplative lyrics.

 

CUCO has other follow up hits such as Lover Is a Day and One and Only, which show his range in different sounds, but consistently staying his own style. Again, the lyrics are deeply reflective of friendship and pursuance of love and happiness. We see through his lyrics that ultimately the message is playful and youthful love and affection of another.

With over millions of plays on his SoundCloud and his Spotify profiles, we see that CUCO is fastly rising in success and popularity and it will only continue to grow as CUCO makes appearances on many youtube and radio outlets across the coast.

Make sure to pick up your tickets as they become available and check out the Facebook page [Here].

 

///VICTOR

Introducing: Metropolis Festival


Sacramento isn’t known as the haven for electronic music, but times have been changing. San Francisco isn’t the only place in Northern California for forward-thinking Electronic Dance Music. The events production company Torque has been expanding its reach and is producing the highly anticipated event, Metropolis. The lineup includes Funtcase, Gentlemen’s Club, Ray Volpe, and many more supporting acts. The sound of the nights will be bass music driven and offer an immersive electronic music festival experience. The Metropolis music festival will be taking place March 9-10 at Sacramento’s CWH Center, which features free water stations, full bars, and 21+ VIP sections. Make sure you buy tickets [here]

 

Check out some of the music you can expect to here below:

The lineup is extremely bass driven and the sound will be heavy. One can definitely expect dancing but also a good amount of mosh pits. Funtcase, a UK producer will be leading the assault of bass on your ears and we can even expect to hear Drum N’ Bass and possibly a heavy rock song thrown into the mix. MUST DIE! is another act that has heavy dubstep with the heavy screeches and even heavier bass drops. MUST DIE! isn’t just all dubstep but has been known to drop some bouncy and fun bass house tracks that get the floor dancing. Even the supporting acts have quality tracks and mixes, that this lineup is so stacked and will be an amazing lineup from start to finish.

Thanks to events like this, we will see a prospering music scene in Sacramento that wasn’t here a few years ago. We can expect to see more events by Torque and others that are sure to make Sacramento a powerhouse for not just music, but more specifically Electronic music such as Riddim, Dubstep, House, and future bass. I look forward to being a part of this growing scene and I hope you do as well! See you there in March!

 

///VICTOR