TBD Festival: Under the Radar

TBD Fest has just wrapped up this past weekend and I for one had a lovely and rip roaring good time listening to music, hanging out with friends and supporting local businesses and culture. For me the draw of any good music festival is two fold. One being the promise of seeing some of your favorite and typically well established head liner. Personally, this year’s festival’s most enticing lineup eye candy were MSMR, Danny Brown, and The Drums. All of whom delivered on their unspoken promise of fulfilling my desire see them perform live and perform well.

However, this blog is not about them. It is instead abut the second fold I mentioned earlier. An aspect that is equally vital, if not the direct line to the heart of any successful music festival. I speak of course, of the bands you didn’t know you wanted to see; but now that you have, you could not imagine having gone to this festival and not have their set be apart of your experience. This blog is about those bands who make festivals more than just an extra expensive way to see your favorite bands and turn it into a Pandora’s box of musical discovery.


The first such band I would like to highlight is Male Gaze. This band had my attention as soon as they announced their name, as I presume it is a reference to film theorist Laura Mulvey’s idea of “the male gaze” in cinema. Which, as a film student and theorist nerd, I appreciate immensely. But name aside, Male Gaze was killer. At first listen they appeared to be a n extremely tight and fuzzy lo-fi punk band. But as their set goes on and you begin to listen to their songs more in depth, they are revealed to be an extremely tight and fuzzy lo-fi punk band, with an ear for pop. Beneath the layers of pristine fuzz and feedback laced punk angst are some well crafted layers of surf pop and 80s Bowie infused pop hooks.

The second band I feel deserves some praise and greater recognition is quirky electro synth funk group French Horn Rebellion. Now, this band was recommended to me by my friends and colleagues here at the station, so I was expecting and hoping for a quality performance. But what I was not expecting was the explosion of frantic awesomeness that was French Horn Rebellion’s dance inducing, charisma infused set. As the name suggests front man Robert Perlick-Molinari lays down funky melodies on his French horn, as well as, taking up most of the singing, sequencing, and synth playing duties. The highlight of the set came when Perlick-Molinari burst off the stage and into the crowd to serenade a lucky female audience member with a sexy horn solo. For those of you who happened to miss the epicness that was this performance, fret not, for French Horn Rebellion will be back in Sacramento playing at LowBrau restaurant on Sunday November 2nd.MSMR

Last but not least is Small Pools, a band that  is on the up and up in the pop scene, getting a nice bit of radio play and love for their recently released self titled EP. Small Pools is probably the most well known group out of this bunch, but one that I had not heard of prior to stumbling upon their set, in the hopes they could provide some entertainment while we waited for MSMR. However, after their set was over, I came away more than pleasantly surprised at Small Pools paradoxical mix of crisp musical polish and charmingly awkward in between song banter. For me, their music bridges a sonic gap between fun, and Two Door Cinema Club. Blending shiny guitar lines with sparkling synths, party pop hooks and a subtle nostalgia for pop punk, Small Pools are able to capture the raw energy of a late night house party. It seemed that with each song their set just kept getting better and by the end, both me and my friend, were happy residents of the Small Pools fan base. Be on the look out for the drop of their LP, which is rumored to be coming out some time soon.coil

So if the festival scene has never seemed like your kind of thing, I hope this blog has shown you that the music festival has much more to offer than the glimmering appeal of big time headliners. That they offer a chance to poke around and explore the world of the bottom half of the lineup and maybe, just maybe you’ll find your new favorite band.

This blog has been brought to you by DJames, be sure to listen in to my shows each week from 3-4pm and 6-7pm, only on KSSU

Chromeo’s “White Women” Album Review


Released this year on May 12th, “White Women” by electro-funk duo Chromeo proves to be a jam packed album filled with many hip swinging tracks. This album features contributions from artists such as Toro Y Moi, Solange, Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney and Fool’s Gold duo Oliver. You can expect to get a full dance workout with this album because it is nonstop fun! It is the fourth studio album released by Chromeo, and it offers a blend of synth-pop, disco and electronic sounds to groove to.

Chromeo consists of Canadian childhood friends, Dave 1 and P-Thugg who jokingly describe themselves as “the only successful Arab and Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture.” Dave 1 provides the lead vocals and guitar while P-Thugg dishes out the talk box, keyboards and synthesizers. This duo manages to provide earnest songwriting with each track that they make. Influenced by artists like Prince, Rick James, Michael Jackson and George Clinton, it is no wonder that Chromeo would out their own modern twist on such a legendary brand of music.chromeo_may_truong_2

“White Women” starts with “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”, the fourth single released for the album. It is very uplifting and easy to dance to even though it touches upon a hard subject like jealousy within a relationship. Like all of the tracks on this album, it has superb lyrical honesty with lines like “And is i t really my fault/I get a shiver when I see you with those other guys/Wearing the jacket I bought/I can’t help but lose my temper and I don’t know why.”

Another golden track would be “Lost On The Way Home” featuring sultry songstress Solange. It is the first slow song on “White Women”, but adds to the tension of the album without sedating the tone. Also, the smooth synth contrasts with the guttural bass also compliments the soft vocals of Solange and Dave 1. Solange also adds an intimate feel to the track with her signature sound and voice as there are hints of her compilation album “Saints Heron.”

Lastly, I thoroughly enjoyed the tracks “Hard To Say No” and “Somethingood”. They both touch the heart as they exude good messages about relationships while also happening to be over a dance track. “Hard To Say No” is shorter, slowly paced and more synth heavy; however, “Somethingood” is more bass heavy and features a delightful breakdown. As the title suggests, this track is definitely something good. Although they have opposing elements, they both deliver a strong punch.

“White Women” doesn’t disappoint as there aren’t any low points on this album. My only complaint is that it ends too soon! Chromeo describes this album as getting back in touch with their original sound so it is a joy to listen to for new and old fans alike. You can catch Chromeo on tour now. They will be closing their tour mid-October in Austin, Texas; move fast in order to see them in action.

This review was brought to you by Briana Swain. You can listen to my show every Friday at 11 a.m. here or you can search for KSSU DOTCOM on the TuneIn radio app.

Album Review: Menace “Impact Velocity”

impact velocity

Released earlier this year on March 18th, freshman album Impact Velocity, by metal band Menace, is a unique blend of metal and rock. You can expect an experimental nature to the album, but in the best way possible. American guitarist and back-up vocalist for Napalm Death, Mitch Harris is the brain behind the sound. Although this album was created as a solo project for Harris, he considers it more than that. “The band is called Menace, but to me, it is more than just a band or a solo project,” states Harris in a blabbermouth.net interview. “It is the result of my life’s work. It’s a concept that has been in production for some time with most of the songs and intense work being done in the last two years.”

[Read more…]

The Dr. J Show

kssu studio

The Dr. J Show on kssu.com is a versatile show that truly dives into the depths of music that you rarely hear. It is every Monday Morning at 11am and it is a great way to start the week.

[Read more…]

Flappy Bird: Just a game, or a critique on society as a whole?

flappy bird

For the readers out there who haven’t heard, there’s a web-sensation following a game that goes simply by “Flappy Bird.” Don’t let the simplicity of the name fool you: after downloading this free app from your IOS store (whatever they call that) or the Android market place, you will find on first observation that this game had some heavy influences drawn into it from Super Mario.

[Read more…]

Concert Review: Drake Ft. Miguel and Future- Would You Like Tour

drake would you like a tour

On November 18th, 2013, Canadian recording artist and rapper Drake made a stop in the city of Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena in support of his third studio album, Nothing Was The Same. Produced by Live Nation, the tour also included rap and R&B singer Miguel and rapper Future and the opening number also included PartyNextDoor and a guest performance with Drake by Jhene Aiko.

[Read more…]

A Nightmare Everyone Can Enjoy

nm on bs

As the music industry has grown to embrace the genre of electronica, Sacramento State will be hosting its first known genre specific dance event in the past recent years.

On November 1, Sac State’s student-run radio, KSSU – in association with Associated Students Inc. – will present “Nightmare on Bass Street” from 7-9 p.m. in the Redwood Room of the University Union.

[Read more…]

Why I’m Buying an XBOX ONE Instead


On November 15, Sony’s Playstation 4, and on November 22, Microsoft’s XBOX ONE, will be released in the US. The dilemma between which console to buy hits millions of gamers from all around the world. Including this one. For some, this decision is easy. For many, this decision is the PS4. Not a single person I asked, from my fellow DJs at KSSU to my coworkers, said they were buying the XBOX ONE (except my co-host, TEX). For about a week, the over-all push from gamers to go to the PS4 almost convinced me to get, but then I remembered why I currently own an XBOX 360.

[Read more…]

Breaking Bad: The Music (No Spoilers)

no bb spoilers

The only Breaking Bad spoiler in this post!

Lights were dimmed, dinner was eaten, drinks were poured,  and we were ready for “Felina,” the last episode of TVs greatest drama: Breaking Bad. It was a fantastic episode. All the loose ends were tied up, and some have even called it the best finale ever (I wholeheartedly agree). But while most tv critics are writing about the amazing episode Creator and Executive Producer Vince Gilligan wrote and directed, I want to take a moment to talk about another aspect of this show: the music.

[Read more…]

The Comfortably Numb Hour

comfortably numb 

College radio is a symbol for subculture, underground music, and ideas outside the mainstream.  Without creative thinkers who have a place to express themselves, life would be boring and tedious.  When I stopped by the KSSU table at orientation last summer, I was surprised to see we had a student run radio station, and that it was free form – which means the DJ’s can create their shows any way they want, as long as basic rules and regulations are followed.  I have fancied myself as someone who embraces most forms of creative expression, so I jotted my contact info down and hoped I would be given the opportunity to at least speak with the director and maybe even – gasp – get my own show.

[Read more…]