Saturday, February 22, 2014

Top 4 of February 16-22, 2014

By: Nadia Kurtz, Managing Editor

1. Modern Baseball – You're Gonna Miss It All
By Garrett Bower

A day may come when I stop ranting about Modern Baseball, but today is not that day. So I’m back to say just a little bit more about the gang’s bomb-ass sophomore album, You’re Gonna Miss It All, which was a fun and funky-fresh take on emo pop-punk. In hindsight, the record has gained a great deal of traction, reaching number one on the Billboard vinyl charts and premiering at number 84 on the top 200, which is even more awesome when you consider these guys are still in college and almost turned down a tour with The Wonder Years because of that. Great things are afoot for Modern Baseball and it’s thrilling to think this is just the start for them. So go listen to Modern Baseball right now.

2. Lobsterfest Lineup Is Here

It's finally here, everyone--we now know who is playing Lobsterfest this year! And luckily, it looks like a pretty great lineup. Along with some really awesome Athens staples such as Method Air and Small Steps, we are welcoming some great bands from the East Coast and Midwest states. Our headliner is the fabulous Deerhoof, an amazing pop/rock band from San Francisco. Based on what I've heard, they're pretty great, so don't you dare skip out on this one. I sure as hell can't wait to enjoy Lobsterfest with all you awesome music-lovers, so get pumped!

3. Lana Del Rey's New Album is Actually Happening

Lana Del Rey is one of my favorite recent stars, and I have been waiting for her to release a new album for a long, long time. Although news of the album was hinted back in December, it is finally evident that a new Lana gem is in the works--and along with none other than Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys! I'm not going to lie, that band holds a special place in my heart, mostly because they are from my home city, Akron. Besides, they make pretty great music. Anyway, Auerbach is evidently going to produce Del Rey's news album, Ultraviolence, and I am all sorts of excited.

4. Arctic Monkeys Add More Tour Dates

I was pretty bummed when I missed Arctic Monkeys' concert a couple weeks ago in Columbus. I was really looking forward to seeing them, but missed the boat when I tried to buy my ticket after they were already sold out. Luckily for me and all other AM fanatics, the band just released additional tour dates in Europe and North America. Even luckier is the fact they booked a show in Cleveland at Jacob's Pavillion. Now that is almost too convenient since it is really close to where I live. But, hey, I'll take it. Oh yeah, I guess I better go buy those tickets now.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Top 5 of February 9-15, 2014

By: Zack Baker, Editorial Director

1. Sun Kil MoonBenji 
By Sarah Weingarten

Benji is just a sad album. A mopey, depressed album about death and the fear of it. But Sun Kil Moon pinpoints unhappiness perfectly without being angsty. Listeners just have to be in a sad mood to listen to Benji and as a stressed college student avoiding responsibilities, that isn’t very hard. Sun Kil Moon eloquently depicts different varieties of sadness, giving Benji dimension, which is why this album deserves to be on loop. 

2. BehemothThe Satanist 
By Justin Silk

Five years passed between Evangelion and The Satanist. The longest break between Behemoth albums to date occurred because frontman and main songwriter Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia. Nergal overcame it and, with newfound motivation, was anxious to return to the studio. The Satanist truly sounds like the most inspired Behemoth album to date and is a culmination of the many different styles that the band has experimented with throughout the years. The tight selection of songs and even pace of the album makes it a joy to listen to, and the quality of the music is extraordinarily high. It is debatable whether The Satanist is Behemoth's best record, but it's hard to deny that it definitely feels like the band's most complete work to date. On its tenth album, Behemoth enhances its legendary status as a band and delivers blisteringly brutal, pure evil blackened death metal.
3. Dag SavageE&J 
By Travis Boswell

Exile and Johaz have only been working together for a few years now, but they sound like they've been collaborating for a decade on E&J. Johaz is a relative newcomer, but glides over Exile's beats effortlessly. He drops plenty heartbreakers about his formative years, but keeps it light with plentiful punchlines when necessary. Exile continues to be on top of his game with his soul-sampling, piano-laced beats. He's been producing classics for over a decade now, and E&J is another compliment to his great track record.

For fans of Exile's past collaborations, E&J has guest appearances from most of them. It does become a problem when they start to get more spotlight than Johaz, but with music this good it's a minor complaint. 

4. Kanye Remixed "Drunk In Love" 

I haven't even heard the original version of this song, but this remix was the perfect Valentine's Day gift. Not only do I finally understand the "surfboart" jokes now, but I also got to hear Kanye West turn "Little Drummer Boy" into a sexual innuendo. It's one of Kanye's most sexually graphic verses in recent memory, and he put out "I'm In It" last summer. 

5. Drake Said Things

First, Drake went off on Macklemore for his Grammy win. Calling him out not only for winning, but also for ignoring every nominee but Kendrick, Drizzy let The Mack know exactly what was on his mind. That was fairly honorable. When he lashed out against Rolling Stone for giving the cover they had promised him to the (late, incredible) Philip Seymour Hoffman, Drake drew some vitriol. Complaining about a lost cover isn't exactly good form, and even less so when it's to one of the most talented actors of our generation. Drake is on one, and regardless of how you feel about his comments, it's fun to sit back and revel in the aftershock. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Top 5 of February 2-8, 2014

By: Abbie Doyle, Copy Editor

1. Cities Aviv: Come to Life
by Sam Kayuha

Cities Aviv has to know that Come to Life is not coming anywhere near the Billboard charts—it is not going to earn him a seat next to Bey and Jay at next year’s Grammys, either. And after the fiasco that was this year’s The Heist over Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City for rap album of the year, that is a good thing--an album as creative and ahead of its time as Come to Life would never be in contention. Stocked full of heavily layered synth and sample-driven beats, Come to Life seems to predict what rap will sound like in ten years. Well aware that he is better known for his airy, atmospheric instrumentals than his lyrics, Cities drops his vocals low in the mix, so this LP can be enjoyed as much more than just a rap record. Cities Aviv’s music exists almost exclusively on the Internet—who knew such good music existed on this thing called the World Wide Web.

2. Isaiah Rashad: Cilvia Demo
by Xavier Veccia

This writer is about five minutes away from getting “TDE” tattooed on his rib cage. It was one thing when Top Dawg Entertainment had the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Jay Rock on the label. But now that it’s evident that their two newest signees, Isaiah Rashad and SZA, are just as good as the rest of the label, there’s no ceiling for the group.

Cilvia Demo is Rashad’s first release with TDE and it did not disappoint. The youngster of the litter fits right in, with mellow, jazzy beats and deep, personal lyrics. Songs like “West Savannah” and “Heavenly Father,” which both feature fellow newbie SZA, deal with topics like suicide and masculinity that one would be hard-pressed to find in many rap songs. Screw Southernplayalistic, like Rashad mentions in “West Savannah,” I want to fall in love with Cilvia Demo playing through the night.

3. DMX vs. George Zimmerman

The trial of George Zimmerman, alleged murderer of the now famous Trayvon Martin, garnered a huge amount of press coverage in 2013. Nearly all corners of the United States were following this trial, hoping to whatever deities that may be out there that Zimmerman would receive just punishment. When Zimmerman was found innocent, outrage was everywhere. The trial is just another example of the injustice prevalent in the US’s judicial system, so rapper DMX is serving his own form of just punishment: he’s entering the boxing ring with Zimmerman and he’s out for blood. For some completely asinine reason (Guilt? Has his conscience finally awoken?), Zimmerman issued an open challenge against anyone who wanted to take him down, and DMX was selected from 15,000 eager applicants. Just Google the two men and place your bets, please. It’s a bit unorthodox, but hey, if the American “justice” system isn’t going to hand Zimmerman’s ass to him, someone else definitely should.

4. Sasquatch!’s tear-inducing lineup

Man oh man would it be unbelievably rad to live in the state of Washington. The Sasquatch! Music Festival, which occurs over Memorial Day weekend and Fourth of July weekend, just released its line-up and, like almost all music festival lineups, it hurts the souls of those who are unable to attend (such as myself). Outkast, The NationalM.I.A., Soundgarden, and Queens of the Stone Age will all be playing the festival, along with Broken Bells, Neutral Milk Hotel, Tegan and Sara, Local NativesSpoon and Mutual Benefit, an Athens favorite. It’s going to be rad as hell in Washington and a hell of a bummer to remain in Ohio, watching all the shows on the interweb instead of in real life. But you can’t always get what you want, so I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be happy for (but actually secretly jealous of) those who will attend. If you are one of the lucky ones who is able to go, tickets are on sale now!

5. Illmatic is back in season!

Nas recently revealed that he's going to reissue his classic debut, Illmatic. Now this is an album nestling comfortably in my iTunes, but I'd never given it a listen until I heard he was reissuing it (I have an incredible knack for jumping on bandwagons about 20 years late), and hot damn. Not the style I typically indulge in, but this is only because I am a fool. The reissue is set to include previously unreleased songs and bonus tracks, and to promote it, Nas is heading for the road. Old and new fans may find it in their best interests to scope out a nearby venue that will be hosting the rapper, because this is an event you're not going to want to miss.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Top 4 of January 26 - February 1, 2014

By: Marlena Scott, News Editor

1. Ricky Eat AcidThree Love Songs
By Zack Baker 

Sam Ray makes music. He makes pop-punk, shimmering indie-pop, ambient electronic, songs that border on house--I could keep going. It's insane that he does it all so well. Three Love Songs is his "debut" album under the Ricky Eat Acid moniker, although he's already pumped out dozens of songs and a handful of releases under that name. Three Love Songs is sporadic, doesn't flow all that well and (intentionally) low-fidelity, but it still manages to hook you. You may not be putting it on repeat after your first listen, but it won't be long before you're going back for more.

2. Slowdive Reconvenes

The dreamy shoegaze staple is reuniting and while I'm thrilled for new music and possibly catching a show, I'm hardly surprised. The genre has gained a strong young adult cult following and there's a huge allure to reliving the fuzz of the '90s. I'm glad Slowdive is coming back for the people and they'll probably make some good money all the while. Maybe Lush and the Cocteau Twins will get the hint and we can save all of our dough for a fuzzy dream-pop summer festival.

3. Yeezianity

I'm sure by labeling himself "Yeezus" Kanye West did not realize this was an open invitation for a 23-year-old privileged dude from Westchester County, NY to build a religion around him. This same guy takes shirtless mirror selfies. He created what is possibly the most uncomfortable video I have ever watched highlighting his religion.

4. Macklemore Wins Best Rap Album

Who the hell votes for the Grammys? Who on earth was the deciding group that shifted the vote to The Heist winning best rap album? This guy is an absolute turd. I think taking a public stance on gay rights is fantastic, especially in such a highly publicized, mainstream position, but there's something about him that rubs me the wrong way. There are plenty of movers and shakers in the gay rights movement that don't wear ridiculous, gaudy coats.

What about The Heist was rap? I remember hearing "Thrift Shop" once and thinking it was a parody. I would consider "Same Love" to be pretty poppy. Just because a guy is speaking into a microphone rather than singing doesn't mean he's rapping..