Album Review: Kings of Leon – WALLS


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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.

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The Moments that made TBD Fest


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My good friend Jerel and partner in crime for TBD Fest just put up his all encompassing TBD wrap up blog, which you can check out here. In it he covered all the broad strokes of the festival experience, highlighting all the different bands we saw, food we ate and artistic installations we witnessed. So in interest of not covering the same ground I bring to you a more microscopic look at TDB through the lens of my favorite individual moments of TBD. Each festival is a collection of miniature moments forged by the fires of the collective consciousness and frenetic energy that is unique to each individual event. This is a celebration of those moments which helped to make the second annual TBD Fest the powerhouse of artistic expression it ended up being.

I’ll start with the first and altogether funniest moment I experienced at TBD. During Joywave’s entire set they had kept the crowd entertained, not only with their killer and perfectly sequenced set but also with the jokes and witty charisma of lead man Daniel Armbruster. However, nothing that came before it was quite as funny as when Armbruster began the chants of “one more song,” essentially calling for his own encore. Armbruster feigned surprise at such an outpouring of support and proclaimed that this had to be the very first encore in TBD Fest history. Having got his laughs and the “encore” he wanted, Armbruster and his fellow band mates kicked off the last song and tore down the house in magnificent style.

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The next moment comes to you in the form of a song, more specifically a cover song. Even more specifically Tears for Fears cover of 1992 Radiohead mega-hit “Creep”. Now this moment really resonated with me for two reasons, even outside of how brilliantly it was performed. First and foremost, as any good rock historian will tell you, there is no way in hell you will hear “creep” performed by it’s original makers. With all the vitriolic hate Radiohead have for for the song it might even be best experienced as a cover. Despite all of the negative vibes surrounding this song it still holds a special place in my musical history and I’m glad to have seen it live in one capacity or another. Secondly and perhaps more deeply, I could not help but feel a sense of a changing of the guard occurring. No Tears for Fears are still clearly a cultural powerhouse being able to headline festivals in 2015 and Radiohead aren’t exactly the new kids on the block anymore but to me this cover signaled a nod of respectful appreciation from the 80s to the 90s. A retroactive vote of confidence and plea of appreciation for carrying the tradition of odd outsider music for the next generation. Perhaps that’s me just being sentimental though.

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This next chewy morsel of festival good will has less to do with a particular artist and more to do with the festival goers themselves. Allow me to set the stage. The Black Lips had been putting on quite the show for their whole set, talking in weird voices, shouting out to their potentially imaginary friend Luna, and generally being quality showmen. A bit of a light mosh pit had been forming and had slowly been gaining speed as the set went on. This caught the eye of someone who I assume was The Black Lips roadie, as he was up on stage with them at one point. This man, who was a larger individual, came down off the stage to provide a buffer between the rowdy moshers and the people near the front of the stage who had no interest in moshing. As The Black Lips counted off their last song Jerel and I jumped into the pit, correctly predicting it would be the final mosh of the festival. As we aggressively pranced about I noticed a particularly wild mosher continually slamming around and getting pushed back by the resident “larger man” mosh boss. As the song continued on they began exchanging heated words and I immediately smelled a fight brewing. The tension did not subside but managed not to boil over for the remainder of the fight. As The Black Lips said their goodbye and the crowd began to disperse, before I even knew what was happening both men were in an lovingly respectful embrace! I could not quite hear what they were saying but I imagine it was along the lines of “thanks for keeping me in line man, I really respect that,” “I respect you too man, take care of yourself and have a good festival.” Now that might be a little far off but the crux of why I liked this moment so much was the way in which festivals can bring out each person’s camaraderie and I certainty felt that camaraderie at TBD.

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Lastly but not leastly we come to none other than Chicago native Chance the Rapper. My personal favorite performer of the entire weekend. This moment ends up being a bit more aqueous than the previous moments but it started as soon as Chance kicked off his set. Bringing an energy and closeness to the audience unmatched throughout the whole festival, Chance immediately had us on his side. Even though I was not familiar with every Chance the Rapper cut, I would sing along every time that I could halfway catch on to the choruses.  The crowd seemed to be giving all the energy they had and Chance was dishing it right back at us in a monumental showing of skill and passion. Suddenly the mood slowed down as Donnie Trumpet and The Social Experiment began to chill down and vibe. Chance then proclaimed he was gonna play a song we never heard before but one we all knew the words to. I immediately assumed it would be an old school rap/R&B throwback, one of which I was hoping I would in fact know the words to so that I would not let my new found hero Chance the Rapper down.  However, I could not have been more wrong as Chance began to sing “And I said hey.” Now I will give you a second to ponder what that line might be from…but I myself immediately recognized it as being the Arthur theme song. For those that are not in the know Arthur was a PBS kids show in the 90s era and it had arguably one of, if not the best theme songs of the decade. Along with being a killer tune, the Arthur theme song has a wonderful message of learning to work and play and get along with each other. At this point I am ecstatic along with the rest of the crowd as Chance the Rapper, Donnie Trumpet, and The Social Experiment throw down a deconstructed and all around awesome rendition of one of my favorite childhood memories. Needless to continue to say, that was my favorite moment of TBD Fest.

Lights: Little Machines


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Lights has always been a favorite of mine, from The Listening to Siberia, she has always managed to capture my imagination and transport me to a world of imagination. Well-crafted lyrics with musicality to die for, there is really no reason not to love her music. So, rather large shoes to fill with her 2014 album Little Machines. But the question remains – did Lights live up to the extremely high standard that she set for herself with her previous album releases? In a word, yes.

The more that I listen to the album, the more I realize how much attention was paid to track placement, musicality, lyrics and overall production of the record. The level of detail and passion that has clearly been poured into the album is evident from the first moment of listening to it, all the way to the end.

There is a certain ebb and flow to this album, where each song seems to lead so perfectly into the next, and there is a rhythm to the album as well. Starting off slow and gradually building up, than drifting off again until the end, which (especially on the deluxe album) seems to tie everything up so nicely.

While I love the whole album, there are a few songs that stand out to me as especially noteworthy, and let me just say right now that I am not all that knowledgeable about music production and sound, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

One song that I feel I must mention is Child, a song off the deluxe edition. This song is a bit slower that most on this album, but captures the listener much like Light’s earlier song Pretend, off her album The Listening. There is an innocence to this song, and while listening to it, I can’t help but be a little nostalgic for my own childhood. And, as with everything on the album, the song sound amazing as well.

Another few songs that I want to single out are around the middle of the album. They are The Same Sea, Speeding and Muscle Memory. These three songs are seemingly related and based on their placement on the album (all together in the middle) I have, for some reason, associated them with each other. They do have a similar sound and meaning (of course, meaning is often subjective) but I think these three songs are about love, as well as moving on to new and exciting things. Like I said, all subjective.

There is really no way to describe the album in full, as I feel like I would never be able to do it justice. You will have to listen to it in order to fully appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship that has clearly gone into the new record from Lights. If you are already a fan, or new to her music, Little Machines is absolutely well worth a listen, and if you are anything like me, it won’t just be one listen, it will be quite a few.

David Moore is a dj with KSSU

The Zombie 5 Tour Review


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Last Sunday, I went and saw (in order) Secrets, Born of Osiris, Word Alive, and the Devil Wears Prada at the Ace of Spades in Sacramento. The name of the tour was the “Zombie Five Tour” because it has been five years since the Devil Wears Prada released their “Zombie Ep”- one of their greatest achievements. There was laughing, crying tears of joy, and a lot of sweat in a human sardine can. Here’s how my night went.

Started off with the usual tradition- Dutch Bros. drive thru coffee in Davis. Got myself a strawberry and lime iced Rebel, which is their trademark energy drink, so I was ready for the long night ahead. Accompanying me was my girlfriend while the rest of my crew was saving us a spot at the front of the line. Walking to our spot in line, I could feel the teenage angst staring me down while everyone is decked out in gear ranging from Goth streetwear to gym clothes with band logos. I myself went in some nice khakis and a windbreaker. After hanging out in line and farting on some teens behind me, we quickly hurried inside the venue when the doors opened.

Usually, Ace of Spades has a band open up for the other bands, but Secrets was the first band to go on. The last time I saw Secrets was also at the Ace of Spades, but when they had their old vocalist. For being the first band, Secrets did great. They played some classics, some new stuff, and even a song that has yet to be released. Aside from some ear-piercing highs from the singing, they did a good job.

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Born of Osiris came next and they straight up murdered the stage. Stage presence out the ying-yang, sound effects on point, and the heavy/technical guitar skills from Lee McKinney reminded me why Born of Osiris is one of my favorite bands. Born of Osiris was like a shot of espresso after the creamer, started off sweet and escalated to a level of strength that even Goku would be impressed by. Well done BOO, well done once again.

The last time I saw The Word Alive was at Warped Tour, and they were all hyped about their newest release, the “Real.” Album. Some of those songs are pretty light, so I thought, “Aw man, I’m gonna see the same performance twice.” I was proven wrong. The Word Alive played a lot of heavy songs, including oldies like “2012” and “House of Anubis”. Before the breakdown to 2012, Telle Smith (the frontman) split the whole entire front half of the crowd like the Red Sea and told them that when he counts the breakdown in, that everyone run at each other as fast as possible. This is what we call a “Wall of Death” and the last Wall I partook in ended up with my shirt getting ripped in half, fighting some fat guys, and almost passing out in the crowd. Fun fact: that was also during a Word Alive set in that very same venue.devil wears prada

Last but certainly not least, the men of the hour, The Devil Wears Prada. I thought that TDWP would only play their EP and a couple more songs. Then I found out from an outside source that their set list was 16 songs. 16 SONGS. The first five were some classics, then the next five were the Zombie EP all in order, all with the sound effects in between the songs as well. After the EP, I did not stay for the whole set list, but I was okay with that. Also, the stage had crazy light displays, including a giant symbol from their album 8:18. The Devil Wears Prada was the very first band that got me into Metal, and to see them live almost eight years after I heard their first album made the night all worth it. They were the best band up on that stage, and I cannot wait to hear what they have next.

Speaking of that, I heard a rumor (which has yet to be confirmed) that The Devil Wears Prada is back on Rise Records and is going to release a Space Ep.

We will just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading my lengthy memory written onto this blog! If you want to hear more music from these bands and bands alike, or if you know of a band you want on my show, listen in on Tuesday mornings at 8 o’clock on www.kssu.com or contact me via Instagram @gingerbeardthefoot

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

Super Smash Bros. For Wii U, A Smashing Good Time


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I know the game has been out for a while, but I just wanted to give credit where credit is due. The older Smash Bros. fans will shout “Super Smash Bros. Melee was the best and will always be the best”, but what Nintendo did for SSB for Wii U has taken this series to another level. Enhanced graphics, new characters, different combo options, even more dangerous maps, and 8-player mode all come with the new and improved Super Smash Bros. Also, a player can still use regular Wii remotes on the Wii U, so this makes it easier for lazy people (like me) who do not wish to adapt to the new Wii U controller, which has a screen in the middle of it in case you wanted to use the bathroom without interrupting the game for everyone else.

A list of the new characters include: Mega Man, Wii Fit Trainer, Animal Crossing Villager, Rosalina & Luma, Little Mac, Greninja, Customizable Mii Fighters, Palutena, Robin, Shulk, Lucina, Pac-Man, Dark Pit, Bowser Jr. (with all other koopa kids), and the duck and dog from duck hunt. Also, Zero Suit Samus is available as a starting character as opposed to Regular Samus from SSB Brawl, where you would need to hit a “special ball” in order to become zero suit samus. As for DLC characters, there is only one: Mewtwo. Mewtwo from Melee and Lucario from Brawl had very, very similar attacks so I hope that this new Mewtwo comes with new attacks or other surprises. I personally only got to play as Palutena, Little Mac, Bowser Jr. and Shulk. Palutena you have to get used too. Little Mac is HIGHLY powerful and if you can hone in on timing his attacks, you will be unstoppable. I played as a Bowser Jr. who had a cannon and could also detach himself from his little vehicle thing to place a bomb inside it before returning, which killed my friend about eight times. Shulk is a swordsman character, but his “B” move allows you to use a sort of perk with choices of speed, power, or defense. Trust me, they really do help.

This is pretty much the extent of my knowledge because I just spent thirty minutes in a GameStop doing a trial run of the game and now I wish i wasn’t a broke student so I could purchase a Wii U just for this game. If you live a life without regrets, buy this game and you will not be disappointed.

Thanks for reading! To hear some awesome music and more shenanigans coming straight from my pie-hole, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” Tuesdays at 8am only on http://www.kssu.com!!!

Much love,

DJGingerbeard

Album Review: “Lost Isles” by Oceans Ate Alaska


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is a metal-core band the United Kingdom with a unique taste. Some flavors of Djent, Thrash, Death, Pop Punk, and even Electronica float around in this UK Combo. When I first listened to Oceans Ate Alaska, they were a scene/emo kid band performing the class “screamo” music with open note breakdowns. This album “Lost Isles” has been a metamorphosis for Oceans. They started out as puny, long-haired caterpillars and evolved into fire-breathing dragons. Here’s my take on “Lost Isles”.

The intro, “Four Thirty Two” is an instrumental with some radio and television broadcasts on natural disasters playing in the background. Great work done in this song, piece and also in the instrumental interlude. The pure talent and raw sound during these pieces show how the band has progressed in accordance to music theory. Tempo changes, experimental tuning, drum variety, all sorts of vocals (both clean and screamed), and of course some master guitar shredding amplify this bands talent ten-fold. You can tell how much work they put into this album just by these pieces alone.

But wait! It gets even better. Oceans Ate Alaska released three tracks before the actually full length release date, which was February 24th. These songs are “Blood Brothers” (Lyric video), “Floorboards” (Lyric Video), and “Vultures And Sharks” (Music Video). One thing you will notice is how thick the accent is coming out of the front-man. It works really well because with the knowledge of where these guys came from, you can match up the style with the accent. With technical drops, crazy good melodies, and use of techno in the background (but not overdone) made me so excited for the release of the full length. Maybe a little too excited because I listened to “Blood Brothers” about five times a day for a week.

Other songs worth mentioning are “High Horse”,”Linger”, “Entity”, and the debut hit “Lost Isles”. “High Horse” is heavy as frick and is similar to Attila’s lyric style. Basically, we are better than you and will hurt you if you try to take us down. With a little bit of Djent influences, this song made me sweaty and flexed out while just sitting in class, which probably made it uncomfortable for the shy girl next to me. “Linger” and “Entity” cannot be fully appreciated without deciphering the lyrics. I will not ruin the surprise, but your mind will be blown. Also, “Linger” as both clean and distorted guitar throughout, which is strange for metal, but it worked out fantastic! Last but certainly not least is “Lost Isles” which is pretty much everything I have just written, but precisely placed together in one masterpiece. I feel like this should have been on the last song on the album just to give listeners those last tears of joy and bliss before popping the album out their car radio.

To hear some new stuff from Oceans Ate Alaska and a variety of other bands, go listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on http://www.kssu.com Tuesdays at 8 o’clock!

Thanks for reading, DJGingerbeard out.

“Shred the Gnar” Version 2.0


For those of you who do not know me, my name is DJGingerbeard and I have a metal/random show Tuesday mornings at 8am called “Shred the Gnar” on KSSU. When I started at KSSU, I wanted to play music that people would not typically hear in the mainstream, or music that when it comes up in conversation would make them cringe. Examples are metal, death metal, post-hardcore, Djent, etc. Last semester I found myself sticking to one type of metal and even replaying songs from already popular artists. My original intent on becoming a DJ had vanished. Two events made me realize i must return to my Alpha Form.

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I was checking out some bands on Instagram when I saw a band that I thought was already great and pretty well-known had released a new album. That album is titled “The Night God Slept” by a Southern Californian Metal band called “Silent Planet.” The lyrics are all direct quotes, paraphrases, or interpretations of the vocalist cited from historical events, intellectual books, and scriptures. I was blown away by the awesome creativity on this album so I looked up an interview with the band. I found out that this album was their first album ever and they just got signed to a record label (which happens to be Solid State Records). That’s when it hit me. One of the things I wished to do as a DJ was to find great bands in the heavy music industry that are not well known and give them exposure.

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The other event that made me realize what I have become was a few days ago in my girlfriend’s car. We were having a nice day going out to eat, when two songs back to back played in her radio from a mix CD. One was from Underoath in their more recent years, so the music was not that heavy. The other was a pop-punk song by a band called “Knuckle Puck”. I loved both songs so i told my girlfriend “I would play this stuff, but it’s too light”. She replied, “You tell your listeners that you play a wide variety of metal and other stuff, but you seem to only stick to a select type of music.” She was right, so now I am changing my ways.

“Shred the Gnar” version 2.0 will not have just metal, but also thrash, djent, hardcore, punk, post-hardcore, electro-metal, pop-punk, and all other sub-genres. Not only that, I will try harder to find not-so-known bands like “Silent Planet” and play them on my show to give them the credit they deserve. I promise you fellow musicians and music lovers alike, Spring Semester for DJGingerbeard will be better than ever.

Listen in for some great stuff at http://www.kssu.com

Tuesday mornings at 8am

Much love, DJGingerbeard

The Kooks: Someone to Love, Someone to Listen


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Listening to an album in its entirety has become a sort of “chore” as of late: between what passes off as A-list material and what is simply re-hashed sheep fodder, mainstream music seems to have lost its soul.  The popularized music that characterizes most FM broadcasts, in this critic’s opinion, tends to become redundant fast: it leaves me questioning why the bass always has to build/drop at the same portion, why choruses sound so cliché, and why artists essentially copy/paste another’s work.  When did blatant plagiarism become the norm? It’s understandable that tunes need to be crafted in a way that immediately captures an audience’s attention (and keeps it for that matter); however, it is inexcusable for an artist to forsake their own creative processes: they should strive to challenge themselves time to time.  The Kooks on the other hand succeed in breaking out of their comfort zone: they challenge their established Brit-Pop formula and once again place themselves in an area that makes them feel like amateurs.  The result is a glimpse into musicianship genius that not only has its moments of aesthetic beauty, but also captivates listener’s raw, innate desires to let loose.

The Kook’s have come a long way since the departure of bassist Max Rafferty and drummer Paul Garred.  While Indie Brit-Pop remains at the forefront of the Kooks’ sound, their fourth studio album, Listen, offers a smorgasbord of lush melodic textures, polyrhythmic sections doused in counterpoint, and syncopated hand claps and percussion.  In short, this is the Kooks on another, more advanced level.  The first track, “Around Town”, erupts in a groove that emulates early beat groups (i.e. the Beatles), yet there is a groove element to it that incorporates the rhythms of Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones.  It’s characterized by a backing gospel choir, of which juxtaposes a charismatic, old-time soul quality with Frontman Luke Pritchard’s nasal, shouting vocals on the forefront.  Track number 2, “Forgive & Break”, erupts in an upbeat orgy of syncopated rhythmic groove and percussion.  Each element of musical timbre (e.g. synthesizers, extended piano chords, and even the wooden block) empathize the dance element that clearly pays homage to early funk music of the 1960s.  Track 3, “Westside”, in response brings the tempo down a notch and embraces the electronic timbres of the present day.  There is an emphasis on legato synth and less guitar (think of Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix), that establishes a smooth, danceable contour, albeit is relaxing enough to lounge to.  This electronic quality is again addressed in the latter song, “Are We Electric” (note the obvious nod to the track’s composition).  Instead of following the more elaborate groove rhythms that characterize the beginning of the album, the Kooks opt to go for a straightforward pop sound carried by sustained synth, which surprisingly manages to retain a degree of polyrhythmic devices and melodic lines.  These qualities not only make the album fun to “Listen” to; they also demonstrate that the Kook’s know how to attract and keep a “Listener’s” attention.

The subsequent effect is an undeniable temptation to embrace the raw, animalistic side that lay dormant in each of us.  The track, “Bad Habit”, perfectly encapsulates this theme of risky, reckless behavior that people exhibit when temptation prevails.  The chorus “you say you want it, but you can’t get it in.  You got yourself a bad habit”, on the surface presumptuously refers to a woman’s lack of self-respect as she engages in promiscuous behavior.  Lyrically speaking, Pritchard makes no effort to hide the blatantly obvious.  There is simplicity in Pritchard’s vocabulary that is not meant to be overanalyzed; however, careful “Listeners” begin to pick up on something more meaningful: an underlying contextual theme guiding the album’s songs.  There are clear references to human sentiment and heart, not just how it can be lively, but how it can be void.  The album cover itself details a picture of an actual human heart, presumptuously blue in color due to a lack of oxygen: a heart deprived of life in short.   It’s an expression of voice, a call to attention: a concept that is perfectly expressed in the track “See Me Now”, a eulogy written for the late Bob Pritchard, Luke Pritchard’s father.  “Listeners” are enticed to focus on the warm and soothing tonalities of jazz-variant piano chords, yet it becomes clear that it is a glimpse into the thoughts and longings of Luke Pritchard himself: we empathize with his desire to make his dad “proud”, and we sympathize with his tragic inability to do so.

Great artists tend to deliver material that satisfies a variety of audiences.  That being said, Listen is titled “Listen” for a reason.  The album is far from simply music: it is an expression of life’s many joys as well as its many tragedies.  The Kooks offer more than enough variety in their latest installment while retaining the Brit-pop identity that has placed them in the spotlight.

Listen earns a deserved 4 out of 5.

Kanye Vest is a DJ for KSSU, the only student-run radio station at California State University – Sacramento.

The Ghost Inside/ Attila/ Volumes Album Reviews.


I want to take a moment and talk about some news albums that came out recently, and by recently I mean within the last six months. The Ghost Inside, Attila, and Volumes all dropped some heavy stuff and I checked out all their new albums. Holy snap crackle and pop, they were extravagant. The Ghost Inside with some hardcore melodies, Attila with their IDGAF in-your-face attitude, ad Volumes with a melodic change for the better.

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Once again, the Ghost Inside have proven themselves to be one of the leading bands in the hardcore scene. To all those who say they went “mainstream” and are not underground anymore, I say to you, screw that. If a band can make it big and get paid more so they can actually afford nice things instead of sticking to the underground and getting paid diddly squat for a run down apartment, I say go for it and get big. The first song “Avalanche” straight up pumps up the mood for everybody with a nice build up in the beginning and gang vocals to breakdown as a finisher. The debut song “Dear Youth” covers all aspects of a great song; powerful riffs, relatable lyrics, empowering breakdowns, and a harmony that is off the chain. Well done The Ghost Inside.

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First off, Attila is not a band meant to be taken as “meaningful” or important to your life goals. They are a party hard, DGAF kind of band with a new album called “Guilty Pleasure”. With a mix between brutal exhales and rapping, Fronz (vocalist) has multiple virtuoso moments throughout the song. Some tracks make me shake my head and say “what the heck is this” but tracks like “Guilty Pleasure” and “Horse Pig” get me throwing chairs and flipping tables. Again, they are not very deep and philosophical, but they kill it live. I speak from past experiences when i say they put on a fantastic show with lights, and 8O8 drops. This new album will take their concerts to the next level. I saw an Instagram video of a huge wall of death to one of their new songs and that is enough to convince me that this new album is worth purchasing.

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Last but certainly not least, Volumes. Volumes is a Djent band well-known for their breakdowns, but their album “No Sleep” was not what fans expected this album had a lot of lighter, more melodic tracks on it. Don’t get me wrong, the tracks are amazing and I am happy to hear that Volume’s use of music theory and desire to do less heavy music in their future, but Volumes received a lot of fire. In their song “The Mixture”, the lyrics say “you can have metal back” and in an interview, the vocalists said they are dropping from their label to pursue music on their own path. The album “No Sleep” is the first step in Volumes new style and wave of music, and I love every bit of it.

Thanks for reading, I am DJGingerbeard and to hear music from The Ghost Inside and Volumes (Attila is too vulgar) tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” every Thursday at 9am on http://www.kssu.com.

Album Review: “Hesitant Alien” By Gerard Way


Gerard

Gerard Way is back and ready to kick some butt with his brand new solo album Hesitant Alien. This album steps away from Gerard’s previous work My Chemical Romance, but at the same time still brings in a little bit of the MCR style into Hesitant Alien. This album made it’s debut on September 30th of this year but it’s taken me until these past few weeks to finally listen to it.

I’ve been in denial about My Chemical Romance breakup; they were, and still are, my favorite band. When I heard that Gerard would be coming out with a brand new album I thought to my self “No, this can’t be. MCR is just playing a prank and this is just a way to get some attention.” As soon as I heard that Gerard signed to Warner Bros. Records, I realized what was actually happening and that My Chemical Romance was not getting back together. When his first single “Action Cat” made its debut, I hesitated to listen to it. I hadn’t gotten halfway though the song and i instantly disliked it. I knew it wasn’t going to sound like MCR, but I desperately wanted it to.

When I finally decided to listen to the album, I told myself I would listen to the whole album before I made my final critique about it; I have got to say, after listening to it the first few times, I absolutely love this album. The first song in the album ” The Bureau” starts off sounding like just a bunch of random instruments getting into tune and Gerard warming up his vocals which discouraged me right away into thinking that the whole album was going to sound this way but I was completely wrong. Action Cat, the song that I originally disliked, instantly put me in a better mood about this album. I’m not sure what it was before, but now I love the song.

Gerard Way has really outdone himself with this album. He now has a lot more freedom to explore what he really wants to do with his music, while with My Chemical Romance, he was stuck to staying to the emo-driven style of music that we have come to know of MCR. Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys was the closest Gerard got to expanding his own musical liking while still in MCR. Hesitant Alien has a very similar feel as Danger Days due to both being very poppy. The style of this album is very Britpop with a mix of alternative and a dash of punk. The energy from this album is incredible and much better than most of the stuff he did for MCR. Lyrically, Hesitant Alien is also similar to the albums Gerard did for MCR.

Although it is far from being a continuation of My Chemical Romance, Hesitant Alien is an amazing album that everyone should give a listen to. My Top three Favorite songs from this album would have to be Action Cat, Brother, and Juarez. If you are a big fan of Gerard Way and his wonderful voice, I definitely recommend this album.

 

Josh Rios plays the music on KSSU remember to TuneIn!