My thoughts on KSSU


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KSSU – Sacramento State’s very own student run radio station. What I have learned and experienced from my time here has truly been amazing, and I wanted to take this time to talk a little about my time here at KSSU.

I am not sure what exactly made me apply to be a DJ in the first place, however I am sure it had to do with my love of music and people. This seemed like sort of a perfect fit for me to share my passion and enthusiasm for music with all of you. I was also drawn to the station because I had initially done some research on KSSU before applying and it looked like an amazing group of people who enjoy working together, as well as being a part of the Sacramento State community.

I was a bit intimidated as well, however, given this impressive work record and prestigious place in college radio. Nonetheless, I decided to apply and see what happened. So I did, and here I am. The process was rather straight forward, and I have no complaints. I think that the hiring process (if it can be called that for unpaid folks like me) was as easy and logical as it could be, and from the moment that I set foot in the KSSU offices, I was made to feel right at home.

But then came the first day. That day when you realize that you actually have to fill an hour with content and think to yourself, dear god, what have I gotten myself into! But after the first few shows, I began to find my groove. I started to experiment with what music I played, what order I played PSA’s and talked, or even changing up the ratio of talking to music for a particular show.

I am still not one hundred percent confidant about my show, but I certainly have come a long way from that first day when I timidly entered the studio with a USB drive of some music and a vague idea of what it was I wanted to accomplish. I think, perhaps, that the point of KSSU is exactly that. The ability to find your own voice and to pave your own path. The very anxiety of that first show transitioned into the competence of my shows now.

There is still a ways to go, for me at least. Twelve shows is hardly time to find my footing proper. I do hope to continue my show over the summer, but we’ll see. Since I am a graduating senior, this may just be goodbye. I hope that this goodbye will not be an end. While I may no longer be on the air Tuesday afternoons, KSSU will most definitely continue to broadcast from the tiny studio in the University Union of Sacramento State. Brave new DJ’s will take my place, build up their own shows and audiences, and share their message with the world. That is, I think, the greatest thing about KSSU. The ability for us as students to share our voice with whoever will listen, and to shape the very future of a little internet radio station known as KSSU.

 

David is a DJ with KSSU

Stress & Summer Bods.


Tostada is vegetables right?

A Tostada counts as vegetables right?

So, that time of the year is coming. The season where weather starts getting out of control, clothes start shedding, and pool parties start happening and guys and girls everywhere start showing off their Summer Bods. I started working out this month at Crunch Gym (9.95 a month, what??!) and I know that once I get into the swing of things, I’m going to have to be consistent. My dad keeps on telling me that consistency is key, and he’s right. Luckily, I have found a reliable gym partner who is there to motivate me to do better. My so-called gym partners in the past have only liked the idea of having a gym membership and wanted to take selfies in the mirror with “#GymFlow” in the caption. But anyways, as mentioned before, my dad believes that I need to be consistent and keep pushing towards my goals. He has been pretty concerned about my health as of late.

Storytime!!!

About a month ago, I was having really bad cramps, so I took a hot shower with hopes that it would soothe them. However, it wasn’t working and I began shivering, so I kept turning up the heat. The hotter the water got, the colder I started to feel and the more I started to shiver. The shivering kept intensifying and I started to feel the walls closing in on me. Yeah, I was having a panic attack. Luckily, my mom was home and she heard me hyperventilating and crying and helped me out. College is kind of evil…It helps you get an education and opens you up to so many opportunities, but if you let it, it will BREAK you at times. This is the second time I’ve ever had a panic attack in my entire life and it was just as terrifying as it was the first time. Ever since then, my dad found out about it and he started looking up ways to ease stress and stuff. Of course, the number one cause of my stress was my unhealthy diet.

I mean, I am pretty active already. I am seriously the most active lazy girl you’ll ever meet. I dance, walk, and I workout from time to time BUT, that doesn’t really mean much without a proper DIET. So now, my dad is cracking down on what I eat. He wants me to incorporate fruits and veggies into my diet and start eating more healthy and stuff…but this is so HARD. I mean…have you tried my mama’s cooking? Nope. You have not. If you did, you would understand why it’s hard to not eat what I eat. But, it’s something I have to do. I can’t be sent to the ER again…not again. I’m still young and I can change my life. I know I can. I just need to focus and NOT spend every dollar i get on fast food. I can do this. And for anyone who is reading this blog going through the same struggle and journey that I am going through, you can do it too.

xoxoBrandiMarie. is a dj with KSSU

“Matriarch” by Veil of Maya Album Review


 

Veil-of-Maya-Matriarch-artwork-600x600So here I am, chilling in my philosophy class before the professor shows up. I whip out my iPod and check out the channels I am subscribed too. I mostly use YouTube for finding new music and cool skate videos. Browsing through the videos, I noticed that Sumerian Records put out the whole new Veil of Maya album “Matriarch” and I about exploded. I had to sit for an hour and fifteen minutes anticipating the awesomeness of VoM. Luckily, I only stayed in class for about twenty minutes because class today was an optional Final Exam Study session. Who needs to study for finals anyways? I’ll just wait until the day before my finals.

So I had already heard a few songs from the Album and had already been in love. The rest of the album was fantastic as well. I did not even need to listen to the entirety of each song before clicking to the next and welcoming in frission (where you get goosebumps from good music). There was the usual VoM stuff; technical math-core (complicated song structure), drop tuned guitars, and ominous background sound effects. VoM threw in some new stuff such as clean vocals (in comparison to the low gutturals from the “Common Man’s Collapse” Album), guitar melodies in the higher registry, and an overall album theme, hence the name “Matriarch”. Before the album was released, my favorite of the leaked songs was Mikasa, which also had a music video. There was heavy breakdowns, awesome never-before heard clean vocals, and an overall empowering feeling brought forth by the entire band.

Looking at the track listing, each song is named after Matriarchs or powerful women, both fictional and non-fictional. In one of the YouTube comments, someone even mentioned that one of the song names is a very threatening character from an action anime. I took the Youtuber’s word and moved on to the music. I will have to say that my favorite song, other than the leaked ones, would have to be “Daenerys”. I have no idea where the name Daenerys comes from, but it did not spell check me on Microsoft Word, so it is legit. Anyways, the song starts out really light with some nice moving around on the guitar. It then goes into a two-measure guitar solo before the vocalist pops in and the song takes a more serious turn. With some power chords blasting right into a heavy breakdown, Veil of Maya shows off what they are known for. Right after are some clean vocals from their new vocals, which were pretty impressive by the way. The chorus is repeated throughout with some technical instrumentals in the background, before closing the song with a guitar solo build up to more cleans and a mini breakdown. Finally, a guitar playing a riff in the higher register ends out the song.

Most of the time I listen to music on YouTube except for when I really like a whole album, which I purchase to support the band. Veil of Maya, I’m going to support you and buy your new album “Matriarch” when I get home tonight.

Thanks for reading everyone!

I may or may not have a show during finals week due to, well, finals. However, check out www.kssu.com and listen to other DJs do their stuff!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Sylvan Esso – A Concert Experience


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Just a couple weeks ago I went to a concert I think you guys should know about. And I’d like you to know that I will check my jazz snobbery at the door. The group is called Sylvan Esso, an indie pop duo from Durham, North Carolina composed of Amelia Meath on the mic and Nick Sanborn producing, and they are currently blowing the socks off of the indie AND dance scene. Their eponymous record has been out for a year and it is easily my favorite record of 2014. It’s unique beats, harmonic complexity and utter danceable nature made me watering at the mouth to see these two at the Fillmore Theater in the city.

For starters, the Fillmore is an awesome venue. It fits about 1,200 underneath the many chandeliers in a mostly standing room space so no spot is a bad spot. However, my lady and I got there early and snagged an excellent piece of front row real estate.

The opener was a group from Oakland called Naytronix. They were a quirky duo sporting jump suits and playing spacey, trance, yet oddly danceable electro-pop perfect for your music loving buddy. Being right in front, this means you bear the full the brunt of the speakers so if you don’t want your ears to sound like there’s a mosquito stuck in them, bring a pair of earplugs along to dampen the noise – or stuff paper towel in them like yours truly.

Then Sylvan Esso came on and absolutely nailed it. Their tunes were even cooler with all their improvised sections and additional layers that made the air wet with sound. It was especially neat to see the two of them look up and smile at each other when they did something the other hadn’t heard before. It gave the music a fresh quality. I walked away with a whole new appreciation for their music. At the end, everyone in the place was dripping with sweat because they left you with no choice but to get down.

But let’s not forget Amelia’s stellar dance moves. Damn, that girl can work it.

Devan is a dj with KSSU

An Unexpected Inspiration


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Beginning Drawing, a class of few limitations. Never would I have imagined a college level art course to be as simple and as daunting as the one that I’m enrolled in.The class itself is founded upon freedom of expression–a concept that I have yet to master. I realized early on that this class would potentially be one of the more challenging courses I would take in my college career as an International Business and Pre-law student. Our final project quickly approached as we were given the requirements of a completely open ended assignment. We were to create a piece using any medium we desired of anything we desired.

Out of the endless avenues to choose from, how was I supposed to pick only one thing that inspired me? Thousands of inspirations find their way into my mind each and everyday, and now I was forced to channel one of them. Being the impulsive, ambitious, and impatient person that I am, I had much difficulty discovering a way to approach this nightmare of an exam. I went into this final project without a single clue as to what I wanted to create; I figured I should wait for inspiration to strike, however, I’ve found that inspiration only strikes when one allows it to. Like most assignments I take on, I realized I had to distract myself from directly analyzing the possibilities for this final, which would dig me in to a deeper hole. Once I began the in-class assignment of an unrealistic twist on an object in the class room, it occurred to me that I was trying too hard to make something that was not at all reflective of me. I was not pushing an idea that allowed me to express myself as an individual nor was I pushing an idea that I was completely comfortable with. In this, I had the opportunity to reflect on a manner of art I related to—one that I felt comfortable presenting as my final accomplishment in this course.

Historically, I gravitated to pieces that depict strong women in an unusual harmony with wildlife. While consulting with a fellow classmate regarding the endless possibilities of this project, I was given the idea to use my zodiac sign, Sagittarius, for inspiration. My mind had burst out into several directions; I had finally hit something that would satisfy my personal taste in artwork. The inspiration had finally struck. I began brainstorming different takes on the half-man/woman half animal properties of a Sagittarius by looking to sea creatures and potentially rearranging the traditional idea of this zodiac. I ended up playing it rather safe by going with a half woman, half deer  by utilizing black ink markers and water color paints to add contrast to the whiteness of the paper—a technique that I commonly visit. As demonstrated in the piece, I wanted to incorporate the sense of movement among the Sagittarius—demonstrating their desire for action, independence, and incessant ambition. The woman depicted in the piece is seen with her arms in the air which symbolizes her in pursuit of something unforeseen, a natural sense of curiosity and hunger for life. Being the impulsive, ambitious, and impatient person that she is, I realized that the Sagittarius that I had created was a twist on a portrayal of myself born from an unexpected inspiration.

 

When Mia isn’t drawing portraits of half deer half humans she’s a DJ for KSSU

Death Cab For Cutie: Kintsugi Review


death-cab-for-cutie-kintsugiKintsugi def. is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver, or platinum, a method similar to the maki-e technique. As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

 

It’s also the title of the latest work from indie rock giant, Death Cab for Cutie. It is the first album released from the group since the departure of founding member and guitarist, Chris Walla. Walla’s exit from the band and the title of the album are not at all unrelated. The band is broken, but frontman Ben Gibbard refused to let that hinder their musical ability. And boy, did they deliver.

The whole album is laced with an undertone of sadness and distance most likely related to Walla’s departure and Gibbard’s love life – possibly still recovering from his divorce with Zooey Deschanel in 2012. Gibbard’s ability to convey his emotions musically and lyrically is absolutely unparalleled. For this album this is especially true for the tracks, “No Room in Frame” and “Hold No Guns.” Both are incredibly sincere and you can hear the intent behind the lyrics in the timbre of his voice alone.

Their album prior to Kintsugi, Narrow Stairs, Death Cab made it a point to create a less guitar-centric record. Kintsugi, however, is definitely a departure from that. It still plays with cool sounds and pushes the limits of electronic textures in a standard rock band setting. Something Ben Gibbard is not uncomfortable with based on his side project, the Postal Service.  New textures aside, Kintsugi is still so inherently Death Cab. Their mark is left in all the tracks and it makes you nostalgic for “The Sound of Settling” and “We Laugh Indoors.” The guitar lines that pop, the brilliant Ben Gibbard pre-chorus, and the memory of their 90’s grunge days are all things I love about this band.

Like most of my blogs, this leads me to a nearly unrelated diatribe. Death Cab for Cutie continues to produce music with a certain factor that a lot of modern bands don’t: authenticity. This is something I feel very strongly about and so I end up discussing it a lot, and this is mostly a criticism of the modern pop music machine. A lot of “artists” perform a song, it gets publicized, tons of radio play, and the record company makes a killing. The song goes out of style and the artist is chewed up and spit out by the public. This has cultivated a one-hit-wonder culture in our country that is ruining the music business. A Top 40 artist might produce an album, but that’s only used as a vehicle to deliver their single to our ears. Kintsugi is so carefully stitched together by the band, you can hear every sound, every bass drum hit has a purpose. That’s the kind of music industry that I’d like to see put in place. And there are artists out there that I can make it happen. I believe in you.


Devan is a DJ with KSSU; thoughts and opinions of the DJ may not reflect the station as a whole.

Zelda Over Finals


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The best way to prepare for finals is not at all.

Just kidding.

That’s terrible.

I only have two “real” finals. “Real” meaning using scantrons, studying from a study guide, and bringing in a notecard. The real finals are for philosophy and geography, so it is probably a good idea to study and bring in notecards. However, I work two jobs, so studying does not really seem like a good idea when I could be sleeping or getting music for my show or even playing Zelda, because Zelda: Skyward Sword is taking too long to finish. I will probably study an hour before my classes and put some chicken scratch writing on a tiny index card. Seems like the best option.

For my other two classes, Music and Theatre, we have “different” assignments. “Different” meaning not using notecards, scantrons, or formal study guides. In theatre, we all passed around papers, writing one entry on a paper about a given dialogue. You cannot write your name, and you have to write about whatever the professor says. For example, he says write a name and greeting and you write “What’s up, my name is Gregorio.” You can make it normal or comedic. We did this for ten entries, then opened up the paper. There are a bunch of ridiculous things written, but for our final we have to tie in all ten entries and turn it into a monologue that makes sense. We then perform the monologue in front of the whole class. Good thing I have some experience acting, or else I would die. As for Music class, we have a choice of playing a solo or a duet. The duet has two options: two moderate songs or on hard song. The solo is just a choice of three hard songs.

So yeah, my finals are not going to be too hectic. I just have to make sure I beat Zelda before finals week so I can focus. If not, I will be tracing and retracing my steps trying to find the next dragon in my mind while I’m sitting in class.

Thanks for reading! For more shenanigans and random subjects to talk about (along with some great music) listen to my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com every Tuesday morning at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Dissecting The Plot In You


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Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of “The Plot In You” because one of their new songs popped up in my feed on YouTube, and I opened up my brain to see what I can recall of TPIY. Basically, I liked one of their songs a whole lot, but never took the chance to really check them out. The Plot In You is a four piece metal-core band from Ohio, with One EP and two Albums out. Notorious for their harsh lyrics and calling out particular groups of people while keeping that metal vibe, TPIY quickly gained fame after releasing their debut song Wifebeater from the EP “Wifebeater” (which one could assume was about his father). The Plot In You is signed onto Invogue Records, and will be releasing a new album which currently has an unknown release date.

The song that popped up in my feed was called “Crows”, which is about Landon Tewer’s (the frontman) life and how he has changed, but so has everyone else. The “Crows” symbolizes death and how in the end, everyone faces it. This is emphasized with the line “The crows are waiting on me”. This song was an unreleased track from the b side a 7” they never released. My curiosity took me further, so I played the album stream from “Could You Watch Your Children Burn.” I had already heard tracks from their album “Firstborn” a long time ago, but this album really got to me. Most songs consisted of talking about how people who are hypocrites and live a mundane existence should separate themselves, or simply die, from society. Tewers talks about religious folk, lustful males, rapists, and his own family very unkindly. One of my favorite songs is “Troll” which I also saw live when TPIY was on the “About That Life Tour” with Attila. The song basically empowers the listeners individuality and gives the belief that you are a juggernaut and will not take any flack from anyone. Another song that was a favorite by TPIY on YouTube was the song “Premeditated”. In this song, Tewers talks about his plan to kill a rapist who violated someone very dear to him. With clean vocals, dark breakdowns, and the usual “I will destroy you” moments from TPIY, I could easily see why this was a favorite by fans.
All in all, TPIY is a very angry band. Their song “My Old Ways” that was released in a music video on February 23rd seemed to be quite lighter in comparison to “Troll”. To hear that kind of change and it still be a good song makes me very excited to hear their upcoming album. To make a long explanation short: The Plot In You is a band full of angry dudes, relatable stories, great songs, and a uniqueness that I have not heard from any other band. They are probably not sane people, but hey, who is really?

Thanks for reading you lovely people! If you want to hear music from The Plot In You and other bands that I just so happen to enjoy, tune into my show “Shred the Gnar” on www.kssu.com Tuesday mornings at 8 o’ clock!

Much Love,

DJGingerbeard

Soul Stealing Puppets, and other “Avenue Q” talk…


Avenue Q

I have a friend who is scared of puppets. So, of course, I invited her to Avenue Q. And, I think her fear may have rubbed off a little. There were some, normally inanimate, objects that sang. The way the mouth and eyes looked was scary, and resulted in title of this piece. Avenue Q is a musical for adults featuring puppets, which is a really strange mix. The show takes its look from Sesame Street. There are 3 types of characters: Humans, puppet humans, and puppet monsters. For this blog entry, I will refer to the actors that are not puppeteering as actors. I will refer to the actors that are puppeteering in this show, as just puppeteers. That’s just for simplicity’s sake, they are all talented actors.

Avenue Q is an exception to puppet shows being for kids. It is, delightfully, not for children. A lot of puppet shows I can recall don’t show the puppeteers, so I don’t know how much this is thought about: But, are the puppeteers doing their job if I’m focusing on them, or if I’m focused on the puppet? On one hand, the puppets are meant to be characters in the musical. The puppets are having the conversations. Kids are visually fixated on the colorful fuzzy characters. But, speaking for me, I look at the actors usually. It was a difficult transition for me to look at puppets, instead of the puppeteers. I remember consciously trying to focus on the puppets. The puppeteers in Avenue Q are all in black, so it seems I should be focused on the puppets. But, these are talented people, who are characters in plays and musicals. The focus would usually on them. Also, if they didn’t put energy into the performance, the puppets wouldn’t have it either. And, I can remember the body language that some of these puppeteers had, and it seemed like it was adding to the limited body language that the puppet could show. Taylor Grossman, for example was very kinetically emotive. The puppeteers used the same body language that their puppets had. I ended up watching the puppeteers a lot, because I liked their performance so much. So, they did a good job. But, did they do their job, as it pertains to me looking at the puppet?

Speaking of body language, some of the puppets were handled by two puppeteers. But, only one could be the voice of the character. The other puppeteer would provide just the body language of the character. This was odd but necessary. Having someone on stage doing only the body language of a character, while the character is talking, is a special kind of entertainment. I loved taking some time to watch the other puppeteer. I think this supports the idea that the puppeteers added lent their body language to the puppet. They had the facial expressions, the character movements, and all while puppeteering.

And, about that puppeteering, it looks brutal. Having one person puppeteer one puppet, that doesn’t seem too bad. But, add one more person, and I was amazed at their lack of falling. Have you ever watched ice skating, and were in awe that they don’t trip all over each other? That was me every time I saw two puppeteers and one puppet. Just puppeteering the puppet seems ridiculous. The puppets’ mouths open up, so at least one of them controls that. And, each of the puppeteers use one of their hands for the puppets hands. So, the person on the left is the puppet’s left hand. The person on the right, is the puppets right hand. I can’t think of how I could manipulate the puppets hand, and make it look like it was connected to the same body as the other hand. Also, the hand movements would be strange. Then, you have to move around like that. There are song and dance numbers, and the two puppeteers need to be connected at the hip. Some of the choreography had them moving around quickly, and moving back and forth around other puppeteers. The whole thing amazed, and perplexed, me.

I did just enjoy the show. Avenue Q is a great show, and this cast and crew did really well with it.

Tracy is a DJ with KSSU

National Poetry Month Recommended Read: Verses From Above


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For those that have no clue, April is National Poetry Month. A month dedicated back in 1996 to raise awareness and appreciation for the art of poetry in the United States. What better way to celebrate this art then by actually reading some poetry.  If you have no idea where to start, here is a book of poetry that you may want to pick up: Verses From Above by Salvin Chahal. Verses from Above is an amazing book of poetry, hitting many subjects that may leave readers wondered. With each poem, Chahal creates vivid scenes and worlds with much detail. He equips the literary device of metaphors well to his advantage. The comparisons made are ones that readers may have never thought of. Poem long metaphors such as treating his sister or women as museums or one liners like,

My mother’s love is rich like the soil in Egypt when the Nile would flood.

Another favorite is

Boil every moment you fell in love, in a pot molded by your hardened façade.

This book challenges any reader to really think and dive into every poem. Not just skim through. That’s what’s great about Chahal’s first book; every read through could be a different experience. Each poem contains many layers that scream out to be known, it is our job as the reader to find out the message. Chahal writes from his core, everything that he has experienced and seen. Even though the author is only 20, don’t be mistaken, he has done a lot of growing up. His thoughts may reflect our own or it may challenge, but that’s one of the main goals of the art of poetry. Chahal writes about the many aspects of cultures in his writing: his heritage, our generation, school, the system, etc. Harsh and honest, beautiful and fulfilling, this book must be checked out.

At the end of the book, Chahal has written “workshops” for readers to explore their own minds, mapping it out onto paper. The book immediately becomes an interactive experience. There are many blank pages to add personal content, and it doesn’t even have to be poetry. The workshops include experiences such as writing a letter to your 6th grade self, thinking of personal traits and weaknesses and writing about them, regrets, role models, and the list goes on. After reading a thought provoking book, this author urges you to look within. The workshops are definitely a challenge, but for any reader that is up to it, they may find themselves expressing thoughts that haven’t been thought about before. Which is poetry in itself. You may unknowingly find your words and sentences forming into beautiful poetry.

What started from a daily poetry series became a book. It was officially launched with a special event at creative art space Sol Collective in Sacramento back in February 13th of this year. The momentum hasn’t stopped for the young author / emcee yet. Salvin Chahal recently performed and was part of a SXSW official showcase, as hosted by Sol Collective. He’s not new to the festival or showcase scene either, he was a poet mentor and a 2012 SAYS Slam team champion. His work is far from finished, Chahal is currently working on a musical project right now, taking his poetic skills to the mic. For more information follow his social media accounts :

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SalSuave

Instagram: @_Salvin

tumblr: sal-c.tumblr.com

The author of this blog, Jerel Labson, is a current radio host at KSSU.com. His show, the 30/30, is every Wednesday from 4pm-5pm. 30 minutes of music, followed by 30 minutes of talk with special guests every week.

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