Any Plans For Halloween? BOO! SF 2018


With Halloween just around the corner, Insomniac Events returns to San Francisco’s Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Historically, Insomniac Events have been known to throw some of the best parties in California all year ’round. From ringing in the New Year with “Countdown NYE”, and a Valentine’s day rave called “Crush”, you can never go wrong with buying tickets to a party hosted by Insomniac.

This year’s Halloween themed rave “BOO!” returns for another year. Much like last year, it will be a two day event. Since the line up for this year’s event has been released there has been a clear divide on the types of genres being represented this time around.

Day One features some of the world’s most celebrated House DJs and producers. Featuring the likes of Habstrakt, the creator of last summer’s festival anthem “Chicken Soup” this first day is full of bass lines and House records that are guaranteed to have you dancing all night. What I find the most interesting is that Malaa is headlining the show and is scheduled to preform right before the well known DJ Afrojack.

Image courtesy of BOO!

Malaa is signed to the label Confession, pioneered by the French electronic producer Tchami. The Confession recording label has gained a reputation of putting out a number of House records which bring the exotic and seductive sounds of Europe to the United States. Making his debut to the electronic music scene with his single “Notorious”, it is no doubt that the western rave culture has taken a liking to the Future house sound.

I have noticed that a new trend is starting to take over in the Western Electronic Music scene here in Northern California. Around the time of my first rave in 2016, I saw the Trance and Progressive house DJ ATB. In 2016 Big Room House music was trending here in California through the sounds of Calvin Harris and Swedish House Mafia.

Fast forward to present day and in 2018 I’ve noticed a number of California raves and festivals are moving away form the Big Room House sound. Instead, there seems to be a trend of Bass House and Future House talent being booked for most of the events here in California.

I am excited to finally see a whole lineup dedicated to the House genre and I am the most excited to see Malaa live, as well seeing Afrojack closing out the show. BOO! SF’s day 2 line up is more of heavy, head banging sound with GTA and Flosstradamus. Be on the look out for my Day 2 preview. Till then, keep it locked here on KSSU.

A Nooner with The Ghost Town Rebellion


Today, Wednesday, August 29th, kicked off the first Nooner at Sac State.  Those of us that were not sitting through run-throughs of syllabi, or the awkward, “I’m (blank) from (blank), and my major is (blank)” speech, got to stop by the book store and hear The Ghost Town Rebellion perform.

The native Sacramento band ran through a solid fifty-five minute set playing mostly originals with some covers of songs by the Foo Fighters and Elle King. The set kicked off strong, with high energy, loud guitars, thundering bass, and banging drums.

Steven Martin, The Ghost Town Rebellion’s drummer, was quite the spectacle, slapping the cymbals and skins and then throwing his sticks away on multiple occasions.  For being in direct sunlight at noon in one of Sacramento’s hottest months, he did not stop or slow down his performance at all. Shawn Peters is the band’s singer as well as a guitar, trumpet, and kazoo player. He owned his chunk of the stage the entire set, and even strutted off the stage and took a solo surrounded by the crowd.

Speaking of the crowd, there was an issue I thought should be brought up.  Here we have a national touring band, local chaps that also play around town with big names, and the only advertisement I saw for this shindig were two signs that were easily lost in the sea of campus clubs and fraternity posters that are all over the place.

There was probably fifteen people there; tops.  The Ghost Town Rebellion brought their A-game too.  They kicked out the jams, threw out hats and shirts, gave away CDs and posters, poured out their heart and soul, and there were fifteen of us there. Bands playing at on our campus is an awesome experience that we get to have.  If we want more of it, we need to step up the attendance.

Now, sometimes it’s just impossible to make it to these events.  Luckily, for those of you that missed The Ghost Town Rebellion, you can easily find them online on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc.  They have a couple of EPs and an album out, and according to Shawn Peters, they have another album coming out in November.

There is also a video for their song “Silver & Gold” which can be found here. If you find yourself looking to find a new local band to check out, you can catch The Ghost Town Rebellion around town if they’re not out on tour. They also happen to have a couple shows coming up here in Sacramento: Saturday, September 1st at Chalk It Up! and Saturday, October 13th at Old Ironsides.

If you are into any type of rock, I suggest checking these guys out.  They killed (in a good way) “Everlong” by Foo Fighters, and turned Elle King’s pop rock hit, “Ex’s and Oh’s” into a high-octane rocker. Their original songs were well written, well orchestrated, and well executed.  I am definitely looking forward to seeing these guys again and in the future, let’s get up, get out, and support the acts that come and perform on campus!

Majid Jordan : The Space Between [Album Review]


Majid_jordan_the_space_between

Majid Jordan is one of the rising acts from Octobers Very Own music label. The label is headed by Drake, Noah “40” Shebib and Oliver El-Khatib. The roster includes such names as PARTYNEXTDOOR and Roy Woods. The roster is full of heavy hitters who specialized mostly in Hip-Hop and RnB. Majid Jordan is compromised of Majid Al-Maskati and Jordan Ullman. The duo was known for their atmospheric and darker tones of RnB. The basslines and smooth vocals usually float really well and have given Majid Jordan a unique sound.

Their sophomore album The Space Between features a more pop and spatial sound than their previous releases. The album features mostly productions by Jordan Ullman with a track featuring in-house producer nineteen85 but also features PARTYNEXTDOOR and DVSN. The sound is very spacious with deep percussions and smooth basslines.

Tracks like “Gave your love away” was featured on OVO’s radio station previous to the release and it was a much-needed hype to the album release. The smooth melodic vocals, deep rhythms, and smooth sounds make this a standout on the album. Then you have songs like “Body Talk” that features a Dembow percussive rhythm heard in reggeaton or dancehall. The song itself creates a slow and intimate vibe that increases pace as the song progresses. The perfect song for a slow dance with a lover. There is no doubt that “One I Want” featuring PARTYNEXTDOOR is the single that will be a commercial success. The song features a slow bounce synth and soft bass kicks; then you have PARTYNEXTDOOR singing the chorus and opening verse. Majid eventually compliments the first verse with his and amplifies the song with his ability to hit high notes. A clear love song that has everything for a pop RnB song.

Support from label mate DVSN on “My Imagination” give a simplified and yet complex song of spatial synths and bouncy percussions that compliment the singers’ smooth vocals throughout the song. Overall the album is an evolution of Majid Jordans’ sound and shows some growth. The lack of features from labelmates suggests that Majid Jordan is ready to make their own way out of the shadows of Drake and Noah Shebib. They create their own unique sound that complimentary reflects OVO’s sad boy RnB sound.  There is much growth in their latest project, but could their sound maintain this continuous evolution that reflects spatial sound and lyrics that reflect introverted thoughts? The album is not a party anthem album; it’s not even really a single loaded album. It’s an album with a theme that correlates to each continuous track that could stand alone on its own accord, but you wouldn’t want to do that. You want to start from beginning to end and go through this journey of emotions, thoughts, and reflections that are present throughout the album.

 

 

///Victor

Ashes by NateWantsToBattle: Song Review


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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.

Sacramento Local Bands & Shows


Lately, there hasn’t been an influx of recognition for local bands. Support the young and locals! Here are a couple of rad upcoming bands in the Sacramento area:

Rosemother

soundcloud.com/rosemotherr | instagram.com/rosemother

Rosemother is a fun loving Sacramento band. The band is fronted by Haley Junker on the vocals/keyboard/guitar, Carson Junker on the drums, Maddie Edel on the guitar, and new addition Avery Mcpherson on the bass. They incorporate aspects of indie, synth and psychedelic rock into their music. In many of their tracks, you can catch Mac Demarco and Mild High Club influences. A favorite track is “For One Thing”, with catchy vocals and a garage rock sound. Check out their Instagram & Soundcloud for show dates and new tracks!

Pierce and the Gals

soundcloud.com/pierceandsomegals | instagram.com/pierceandthegals

Pierce and the Gals is a funky rock and roll band from Sacramento. Within the past year, they’ve released a new single and self-titled EP. Musically, they’re inspiration comes from Pink Floyd. A favorite track of their’s is “Molly”, a song with funky guitar and melodic vocals. Their next show is with Enjoy and Wyatt Shears from the band, The Garden. It should be a rad show. Check out the info for it below! Check their socials for more details on show & new music.

Destroy Boys

destroyboys.bandcamp.com | instagram.com/destroyboysband

Destroy Boys is a female fronted, garage rock trio from Sacramento that joined together in early 2016. They signed to Uncool Records in August of 2016 and are kicking off their graduation tour this summer as the members graduate from high school. DB’s music encapsulates themes of feminism, relationships and growth during hard times. Check out their Instagram and keep up with their tour info!

Shows you should go to this summer:

Destroy Boys, June 9th @ Honey Hive Gallery, San Francisco

Rosemother w/ 1800 & Weird Fun, June 14th @ Naked Lounge, 1111 H Street, Sacramento (7 p.m.)

Pierce and the Gals w/ Enjoy & Cowgirl Clue, June 29th @ The Colony, Sacramento (4-7 p.m. $10)

 

 

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.

 

 

Tremaine Album Review


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-DjLeodawnus

Follow Me Into Sweet Fields of Blue: a Tennis Review


Tennis came back last month with there latest album Yours, Conditionally. After a months out at sea, facing nature and the isolation of the vast ocean they’re back at it making dreamy surf pop.

The duo had worked together with Urban Outfitters as they tracked their adventures writing the album out on the high seas. The married couple of Alaina and Patrick Moore along with one other person took to the ocean on a sail boat. The couple have sailed before, often a method in their writing process. The album is the end result of love testing it’s limits against outside forces and inner struggles.

The duo can’t help but make me think back to Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s relationship. Although their love ended with a separation, it’s the brilliant way the two complimented each other that reminds me of the former. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Tennis live twice during their last tour and could feel the love between them from across the stage. It’s easy to see how much they support and encourage one another.

This album is a lot like their other albums, it’s warm and invokes that desire to head to the islands with your loved one. The songs feel like sunshine on your skin the very first day of spring. Alaina wrote this album as the result of her exploring and learning the limits of her love. As a wife, a lover, a partner and a friend she found herself challenging the roles she’s come into. Her marriage has taught her what it’s like to share a life with someone else yet still remain true to herself and be her own person. They’ve become a team but at the same time she understands how necessary it is to still be able to function on your own.

Ladies Don’t Play Guitar was their first release from the album. The song is her reflection on her experiences in the music industry and how being a female musician has affected her. She believes in feminism and how necessary it is for us to stand up for our beliefs and this song came at a time in her life where she’s felt the most empowered.

Other songs like Matrimony and My Emotions Are Blinding and 10 Minutes 10 Years display how her marriage has affected her life and their music. Matrimony was written as a reflection of the day they were married. Lines in the song were thoughts that crossed her mind that day. It’s personal and so incredibly sweet you can’t help but smile and wish you had been invited to their wedding.

Fields of Blue, personally my favorite off the album was inspired by the logbook or as Alaina put it, “her teenage diary”, of their days out on the choppy waters. Her findings came out sounding very stream of conscious and like that of the diary of young romantic. She became inspired by one entry in which she had written, “Follow me into sweet fields of blue”. One can’t help but yearn for their love and the sea all at once while listening to her dreamy, sentimental voice.

It’s refreshing to hear an album so consistent with its theme and quality. Often more and more artist feel like they’re trying to release singles rather than songs that flow together in an album. Yours, Conditionally takes us on a trip and leaves us wanting love and adventure out in open waters.

9 out of 10, oh what’s the use in resisting?

 

SXSW 2017


IMG_5211It has officially been one week since I returned from Austin, Texas where South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival ran which through March 14 – 18. So, what the heck did I learn?

When you hear so much about a conference such as SXSW before your first trip, you start to wonder: How much of all the hype is true? Is this going to be worth my time? Is this worth my time? Why in the world do thousands of people around the world keep showing up after 30 years? What should I expect to get out of it? What questions am I not asking?

In 2016, according to SXSW, over 72,000 individuals registered for the 10 day event in Austin. If you include all the people who came for the unaffiliated sideshows and free events, they estimate that about 150,000 attended. That’s a really big number! I’m not even sure what the final count was for 2017 but I’m willing to bet it was close to that number and I was only there for the music parts.

Still, I wondered why do so many people show up? And I was determined to find out.

As KSSU Manager, I had the opportunity to attend SXSW to represent KSSU’s diversity and inclusiveness, I took this opportunity to navigate through Austin for a total of 4 days to understand these questions and learn as much as possible.

Here are some key observations that I want to remember and share from this experience.

Something to be said about meeting random people

Unlike other conferences that attract a selective audience from a particular industry; SXSW attracts everyone from technology, retail, film, music to art and they all come with different motivations.

This is a rare opportunity to see your entire world of networks clashing and connecting. It’s one thing to see mutual friends on Facebook or to introduce someone over email. It’s another to see how they all relate, interact and connect in person. I made a good amount of friends and the all came in ways I never thought was possible based off a general interest.

Austin has this laid-back atmosphere, it was hard for me not think of this as a vacation. But with so many opportunities to connect, it was hard to remember this wasn’t also work. I actually learned, worked and played with amazing people from all around the country and even from around the world. I can see why so many continue to go back and see this as a way to reunite and reconnect with friends and colleagues.

My favorite realization was when I realized that SXSW was the best way to meet bands, artists and professionals alike and find out who they were behind the scenes.

Yes, we tend to know more about certain individuals but when you meet in person; it’s just a great to add a face to the name during an age where we communicate so much digitally. I had great conversations backstage with Benjamin Booker, Judd Apatow during the last minutes of the Avett Brothers closing set at the Moody Theater, has word with Noname on my first day at the festival and finally was given some life lessons by Bardo Martinez of Chicano Batman. Overall, I think I accomplished quite a bit while standing on my feet for odd hours on end.

Best venue lineup?

I won’t say I didn’t enjoy following the Avett Brothers from the beautiful Paramount Theater (a documentary about them was being screened) to the Moody Theater where they hand down played the best show all week. After all, the Moody Theatre is famous for taking over recording duties from PBS Austin City Limits, original Studio 6A on UT’s campus. Moody Theater does not have one bad seat in the house, it is built up to create a 2,750-capacity theatre. The state-of-the-art venue attracts some 100 touring shows a year but for me the award had to go to Banger’s.

This year’s lineup represented a wide range of genres with rock, pop, hip-hop, electro-pop and indie, with artists from a dozen countries. Performances began approximately 2 p.m. each day and continued throughout the evening, allowing attendees to enjoy more than two dozen acts in an intimate venue, along with Banger’s famous homemade sausages, beverages and a relaxed outdoor setting. StudHub Live: Sound Stage was hosted at Banger’s Sausage House & Beer Garden. Banger’s had a very dynamic lineup of emerging and established talent includes Sleigh Bells, Hamilton Leithauser, Wild Belle, BANKS, Electric Guest, D.R.A.M., Talib Kweli and Benjamin Booker. I was able to catch the last three acts and they were phenomenal. Everyone was jammed packed Talib Kweli put on a hell of a show, Benjamin Booker continued his music take of social injustice in America and D.R.A.M. closed my Friday night and SXSW experience with a fun and almost innocent show that is his form of hip hop.

I want to thank ASI but especially KSSU for allowing me to do this. Here is to the rest of the year and hopefully more jam packed fun from your one and only Sac State Student Run Radio, KSSU.com

Album Review: Kings of Leon – WALLS


kingsofleon-walls-album-2016

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

I give WALLS, a 3 out of 5.