K-POP: TWICE - The Story Begins: TWICE is by far my favorite rookie group that emerged in 2015 under JYP Entertainment. The group is composed of nine members (Jihyo, Nayeon, Jeungyeon, Chaeyeon, Dahyun, Mina, Sana, Momo, and Tzuyu) who were put together through reality competition Sixteen. This mini album is very straightforward sonically with the girls singing songs about love with all nine girls singing the choruses especially on “Like Ooh-Ahh” and “Do It Again”.Each of the members’ voices are distinguishable from each other, so when they blend into a singular chant is a fascinating occurrence. Each of the album’s tracks attack love from a different angle, with “Like Ooh-Ahh” being the young girl falling in love, while “Do It Again” has the members being more demanding, which is obvious in their delivery. “Like I’m Crazy” is a redux of “Like Ooh-Ahh”’s falling in love it takes a cuter approach. “Like I’m Crazy” is by far my favorite song on the album with its dreamlike synths. “Truth” is mostly a miss, as it tries to blend a variety of styles in a hodgepodge of styles. “Candy Boy” is the closest that they come to making a hip-hop track and while it is enjoyable the lyrics are not as catchy as the preceding tracks. The compulsory ballad, “Like A Fool” initially will not faze the casual listener, but especially within such an upbeat album it is a necessary reprieve. While this album is not the newest sound the personality of each of the members makes this album really fascinating. The Sixteen versions of“Do It Again” (Major /Minor) and “Like I’m Crazy” are worth checking out as they are excellent and give interesting comparison points to their appearance her, especially as there a would have been members performing the songs in addition to the final lineup (excluding Momo). TWICE is an example of the next generation of K-pop artists that are likely to lead the next Hallyu-wave and give a great indication for things to come. ZADDY
RIYL: Miss A, Sonamoo, Red Velvet
Recommended Tracks: “Like Ooh-Ahh” (1), “Do It Again” (2), “Like I’m Crazy” (3), “Candy Boy” (5), “Like I’m A Fool” (6)
K-POP: 2NE1 - Crush: 2NE1 (composed of members CL, Park Bom, Dara, and Minzy) debuted in 2009 under YG Entertainment as the female version of legendary Korean hip-hop group Big Bang. Since they have touched on a variety of genres including reggae, bubblegum pop, as well as electronic. Crush is the culmination of this genre experimentation with the base being EDM-infused hip-hop. The lead single, “Come Back Home” is the best example of this with the track’s verses utilizing a Caribbean rhythm before dropping into an epic dance floor-filling chorus. The group’s leader, CL, is above average as a rapper, vocalist, and lyricist (with writing credits on five of the album’s ten tracks) with her style proving integral to this album’s sound. The title track, “Crush” as well as her solo “MTBD” showcase CL’s rap skills and her ability to ride cross-genres beats. Vocally, while CL is a great vocalist, Minzy and Park Bom are the real anchors of the group vocally, with Bom having the most distinctive voice of the group and Minzy having a beautiful alto that fits perfectly into all of the album’s tracks. This is best shown on “Gotta Be You”,the album’s best pop track – the others, “Happy” and “Scream”, being the album’s missteps. Finally I would be remiss to not mention“Baby I Miss You”, the minimalist, jazz-y unofficial finale of Crush(with a bonus acoustic version of “Come Back Home” following). Even though Crush has only been around for about 3 years it has already proven influential for the new generation of K-pop artists. Since this release the group has been on hiatus as CL preps to release her debut American album, after a series of collaborations, so definitely be on the lookout for that later this year. ZADDY
RIYL: Big Bang, Diplo, 4Minute, Hyuna
Recommended Tracks: “Crush” (1), “Come Back Home” (2), “Gotta Be You” (3), “MTBD” (6), “Baby I Miss” (9)
Animal Collective - Painting With: At this point when you put on an Animal Collective record you know what to expect. The warped vocals, psychedelic arrangements, muffled lyrics that Pitchfork explains to you the meaning of, but you still do not fully understand. For a band whose early career was characterized by wilding changing soundscapes from album to album Animal Collective’s sound has become predictable. OnPainting With all of the expectations of an Animal Collective album are met, but with a surprisingly high payoff that was absent fromCentipede Hz. While that album wallowed in pyschedelia, this album feels like the sun hitting your face, while wandering around a valley.Painting With feels invigorating, even if creatively the band seems to be in a slump. Painting With is a great addition to Animal Collective’s catalogue and is a must listen for their fans, but is still nowhere near their peak. ZADDY
RIYL: Animal Collective, Black Dice, Dirty Projectors, Black Moth Super Rainbow
Recommended Tracks: “FloriDaDa” (1), “Hocus Pocus” (2), “On Delay” (8), “Golden Gal” (11), “Recycling” (12)
Quilt – Plaza: Plaza, the third studio album from psychedelic indie rockers Quilt, effortlessly minimizes the potentially annoying parts of indie pop/rock while non-obnoxiously infusing pleasant psychedelic chords and arrangements. It also contains a mellow touch of Mac Demarco surf vibes which I won’t get fully sick of as long as I can still visit the beach. Outstanding performances include Anna Fox Rochinski’s pure and unassuming vocals, which are at times arranged in beautiful trippy harmonies. She and Shane Butler make for a talented pair of guitarists, creating chord progressions and rhythms tending between Alabama Shakes and Tame Impala. The group also however at times incorporates a dream pop type feel. At the end of the day, Plaza reflects a group of musicians who are clearly wizards at all things indie/pop/rock and have also clearly consumed at least threshold amounts of LSD at some point in their life. Normally, I’m a real grinch about indie due to my affinity for metal and Satan, however I can truly admit that Quilt has won me over with this album. Give it a listen, worst case scenario you will have more chillin music for the pool/beach. THE BONE DADDY
RIYL: Tame Impala, Alabama Shakes, Empire of the Sun
Recommended Tracks: "Passersby" (1), "Your Island" (9)
The Cave Singers – Banshee: The Cave Singers' writing is unfettered; their songs possess a quality of deliverance. The Cave Singers' melodic harmonies pull the body to the present, demanding our attention beyond all of the other noises of the world. Their new album Banshee brings a new thirst, one that can be attributed to the combination of the band taking a year off to work on other projects Pete Quirk's solo album and the Kodiak Deathbeds debut record and their return to songwriting from distanced correspondence. Their appreciation of varied sounds, the writing process, and performing in every type of venue, house and festival possible allows them to connect with those they speak to. Their passion for their craft translates from their recordings and resonates through their performances. DYLAN
RIYL: Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Of Monster and Men
Recommended Tracks: "Who's Well" (4), "Cool Criminal" (6), "The Swimmer" (7)
Mothers - When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired: This is a really pretty album. The 8 tracks on the band's debut all fall somewhere on the spectrum between being more folky and more rocky. Just personally, I'm more inclined toward the latter so the recommended tracks below are three of the more upbeat songs on the album. The slower tracks on When You Walk A Long Distance, however, are gorgeous. Simply arranged opener "Too Small For Eyes," for example, is a heartbreakingly lovely self reflection, and if you're really tryna cry tonight, I'd recommend "Nesting Behavior." The lyrical content of the entire album dives right into tackling the human condition, and Kristine Leschper's delivery, which sounds something like a higher-pitched Angel Olsen, is full of nuance that seems to breathe greater weight into the words. Mothers' debut is beautiful and evocative from beginning to end. I listened to it while lying out on the lawn between Bing Theatre and Thornton on a sunny afternoon and would say this was the optimal listening experience for this album and recommend you do the same. NIPPLE MAMA
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Pavement, Deerhunter
Recommended Tracks: "It Hurts Until It Doesn't" (2), "Copper Mines" (3), "Hold Your Own Hand" (8)
Sidestepper - Supernatural Love: World music is generally not a genre that I dive into too much, but Sidestepper’s latest release Supernatural Love might have convinced me to do so more often. The band has been around for a long time, but they actually haven’t released an album in eight years. I haven’t listened to their earlier music, but from what I know this release follows the band’s usual footsteps. The sound of this album reaches far beyond traditional world, despite incorporating these aspects into the music. There are lots of shakers, flutes and chants, but there is also a bit of an electronic dub sound from the guitars and synth. The groves on each track are very unique, creative and despite how different they all can be they sound like they are part of the same project. One of the most fascinating thing about this album is the vocal style because of its crazy range. On the opening track “Fuego Que Te Llama” the vocals are very dragged out and foreign sounding, while on songs such as “Supernatural Love” they are oddly pop-rock based. I’d recommend that anyone give this a try no matter what your typical genre interest is. HARRY
RIYL: Bomba Estéreo, ChocQuibTown, Atercopelados
Recommended Tracks: "Fuego Que Te Llama" (1), "On The Line"(3), "Come See Us Play" (4), "Hear The Rain Come" (10)
The Dirty Nil - Higher Power:
SSSSSSCREEeeEEeeEEeeEEeeEEeeeech. Power chords. Angry yelling man. More "punky" guitar. Angst angst angst. WHHHHHHIIiiiiiiiiiiiirrrRRR. More Distortion. Did the angry man just growl? Yes. Clashing cymbols everywhere. Neow neow neow newo Neow neow neow... angsty '90s alternative-tinged melody. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH. Repeat eleven times. Now you have listened to this album, too. I liked it alright. THRASHLEY
RIYL: Japandroids, Cloud Nothings
Recommended Tracks: "Fugue State" (8), "Zombie Eyed" (2), "Wrestle Yü to Hüsker Dü" (3)
CLASSIC: Pink Floyd - The Dark Side of the Moon: In light of recent adds to the Classics Wall I feel obliged to restore balance to the universe. So allow me to be the old man who finally adds Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon. I’ve always hesitated to add this album to the Classics Wall because, well, it’s like The Beatles; it doesn’t need to be brought to your attention because it’s so obvious. Right? The Classics Wall is all about recognizing and promoting influential albums that we think you guys should know about, so why add an album that everyone already knows about and appreciates? Well, I’ve come to the baffling realization that people don’t actually know about this album. Sure, you’ve all heard the name. I mean Dark Side is so ingrained in western pop culture that it’s practically unavoidable if you grew up anywhere other than under a rock. But, have you ever sat down and listened to this album all the way through? Chances are you haven’t, and for that you have done yourself a great disservice.
The Dark Side of the Moon has sold as many as 50 million copies, ranking it in the top 5 selling albums of all time, and it is regularly ranked by music publications as one of the greatest albums of all time. It has become a definitive work of guitar-driven music and a cornerstone of western contemporary art. It also happens to be my favorite piece of music ever made. I know; pretty boring right? Shouldn’t a music director for a college radio station have more eclectic taste? I have listened to a LOT of music from an array of genres, and I am constantly reassessing my tastes and the value that I assign to certain musical works. As my tastes have evolved, and music I once considered great has fallen by the wayside, one thing remains – my love of this album. Even in considering to finally add this album to Classics, the skeptic in me forced me to assess my admiration once more. So this morning, I put on Dark Side, cranked up my stereo, and lay down on the floor of my room… And as the music washed over me, as Gilmour’s guitar careened through infinite black space and Clare Torry’s vocals soared over Wright’s understated piano, I wept.
The Dark Side of The Moon touches something deeply human. Each note, every beat exactly as it should be. The result is orgasmic. Upon witnessing the first ever performance of the material that would become Dark Side Michael Wale of The Times described the piece as “bringing tears to the eyes. It was so completely understanding and musically questioning”.
Dark Side is one complete piece of music. The album begins with a faint heartbeat, suggesting a child in the womb. As the heartbeat gets louder we are thrust into a montage of some of the themes to come – greed, insanity, and the passage of time. It all culminates in a series of screams like the first shrieks of a newborn child. The second track takes us through development – themes of youth, conformity, and the bitter realizations that come with maturity. With “On the Run” we lunge into adulthood. We are literally on the run, flitting from one task to the next, overrun by fear and anxiety, haunted by perceived expectations. The great farce finally comes to a head when we go crashing into a wall of feedback like two planes colliding mid-air. The explosion is sure to evoke an autonomous sensory meridian response if you allow it. The collision plunges us into a deep albeit brief slumber.
As “Time” begins, we are wrenched from our stupor by the most horrible alarm clock ever imagined. For this part, Engineer Alan Parsons actually recorded individual clocks in an antique clock shop and then played the tracks together in quadrophonic sound. Parson would receive a Grammy for his work on Dark Side and go on to form the prog rock group The Alan Parson Project. As the clocks fade Nick Mason launches into an incredible roto-tom drum solo. Gilmour then goes shredding through the rest of the track both on guitar and with strained vocals. “The Great Gig in the Sky” is perhaps Dark Side’s most beautiful moment as Clare Torry channels her muse and belts out a gripping 4 minute vocal track that rips through you like a chainsaw through cedar.
I could go on for the rest of the album, but if you’re still with me at this point it’s probably because you already love Dark Side. Later tracks explore love and greed, insanity and death. It all ends exactly where it began, with a heartbeat. The heartbeat fades into silence and it’s all over. We have followed our protagonist through the trials of life and join him in blissful death. This is the most complete and utterly perfect concept album ever created. Do yourself a favor and listen to it, all of it. And watch this awesome video of the band in thestudio. Then go watch Live at Pompeii. And THEN if you need more I can possibly lend you any of Pink Floyd’s other albums or any of the movies for which Pink Floyd created soundtracks, because I own it all. SHILL
Recommended Tracks: All