MARCH FOR BABIES 2014
Sep 22, 2014
The Notwist- Close to the Glass
RIYL: Radiohead, ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead, Foals
Track 1- Signals
Track 3- Kong
Track 5- Casino
Track 7- 7-hour Drive
If you want to know what life in an Ataris game is like The Notwist’s newest album, Close to the Glass, might be a good place to start.
The Notwist have been around since the late 1980s, but have been known to change their sound more than a little. The band has moved from Post-Hardcore early in their career to experimental electronic indie rock today.
As the first two tracks show, The Notwist aren’t afraid to experiment more than a little with tonality. The first track sounds like something straight out of a Super Smash Bros. game with some airy vocals and dis-tonal synth flourishes.
But on the third track, “Kong,” the band abandons their experimental side and dives into catchy, hook-laden indie rock. The track finds lead singer Markus Acher crooning, a little defeated but hopeful, “Are you coming in to drop us off in another spot?/ It's bliss cause I believe in this/ Cause I believe in this.”
Unfortunately some of The Notwist’s lyrics get lost in the air of the synths and spacy guitars, but they come through clear on the album’s ballad, “Casino,” where Acher sings, “After our life in the casino/ we know gambling is a joke/ but to say I’m not here for the money/ is just another word for broke.”
It’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming, full sound on Close to the Glass, but there’s a pop song at the heart of each track. The album may not strike you on first listen, but like the most rewarding records, it get’s more and more beautiful with each listen.
Check out these photos our assistant music director, Kirk Windus, took at a WSBU favorite Kevin Devine concert in Buffalo.
RIYL: Disclosure, Calvin Harris, Frank Ocean
Recommended tracks: 5. lay me down 3. Nirvana 4. Latch
English singer/songwriter, and BRIT critics' choice award winner Sam Smith is a talent that needs more recognition.
After listening to this sampler I'm convinced that everything Smith sings should be acoustic. With a voice like that, why is this man not well known in every household world wide? If you're a lover of quality R&B you would have such an appreciation for his vocals. He sounds like a John Legend/Sam Dew/Vince Kidd mash up and it's so addicting.
The fourth and fifth track on this sampler were especially amazing. Track 5, “Lay Me Down,” is the standout track. It's a typical missing-someone, wish-they-were-with-you, bed-is-empty-on-their-side kind of song, but it's also acoustic heaven. His voice just wraps you in a blanket of soulful emotion that you never ever want to leave.
The first two tracks don’t capture quite as much as the latter. They're still 100% amazing, but they're more up-tempo kind of pop. Smith's vocals are much more suited for soul and R&B than dance pop.
But this guy is definitely going somewhere, I guarantee you'll have him on repeat.
Savannah Smith Live at WSBU
Click the link below to hear the live session
RIYL- Youngblood Hawke, The Joy Formidable
Tracks to Recommend- all songs
There are a few trends that I’ve been noticing in the world of indie/alternative music, one of them being the use of synths. It’s obvious that the synthesizer is the future of the Indie genre. I can’t complain because I thoroughly enjoy the new sounds it brings to music and the new things bands have been able to do with their live performances.
Vinyl Thief utilizes the sounds of synths in a magical way. On Stop Motion, the band doesn’t rely on the synthesizer to define them; rather they let it accent their already full sound. Paired with the standout vocals of lead singer Grayson Proctor and the driving percussion of Andrew Broadway, the synth sounds on the album make it a success.
On a four song EP, there isn’t much time to make an impression. Vinyl Thief jumps right in on their first track, “Smooth.” I’ll be cliché here and say, yes, this song is in fact smooth. Although it’s not the strongest vocal performance on the EP, Proctor’s voice seems to soar above the rest of the instrumentation. On “Faces,” which is arguably the “danciest” song, the drums hit relentlessly throughout, giving it an infectious head-bop feel.
We are going to start hearing more and more bands with a sound like Vinyl Thief and Youngblood Hawke, who have seemed to transcend both electronic and alternative genres. This sound is the future of music and I’ll have to admit that I’m excited about it.
RIYL: HAIM, Broken Bells, Volcano Choir
Track 2- Keep It Healthy
Track 3- Love Is To Die
Track 6- Teese
There’s a reason that Warpaint’s self-titled made all kinds of most anticipated albums of 2014 lists. The female indie rockers have some serious chops.
The album’s not ridden with hooks, but it's easy to see that the band fully intended to create something that in no way conforms to current pop music trends. The record takes the listener on a sonic journey through spacey synths and ghastly vocals. The mix is incredible, and the layers upon layers of sound manage to create something both chaotic and comprehensive.
If you’re looking for something to sing in the car Warpaint not be the place to look, but that doesn’t take anything away from record. Warpaint is more than just an album. It’s an experience. Meant to be digested as a comprehensive work, the songs work together to create an absolutely hypnotizing 50 minutes.
Even Earl Sweatshirt wants to work with the band. And while it may not be the group’s catchiest or most captivating effort, Warpaint isn’t a record you’ll easily forget.
This album consists of one song. Well, that’s how it sounds at least. It’s difficult to tell the differences between each song from the one that comes next. Preeta’s lyrics are nothing more than elementary. She doesn’t provide much hope for the future of the pop music industry with immature insights like “Make love, not war,” and “In this life, we can find eternity.”
The message that she is trying to get across is obvious. It’s a nice message and I know that she means well, but it doesn’t come off as anything profound. She seems like a wonderful woman with a huge heart, but the record lacks a little substance. In the right context Preeta’s music is functional, but there’s nothing groundbreaking on the album and it seems to drag on from the minute the first Hawaiian beat drops.
RIYL: Gnarls Barkley, Amy Winehouse, Esperanza Spalding
Track 3- Hi, My Name is Ana
Track 4- Free Change
Track 5- Good Things
Track 9-Arbys and Sbarros
The mind behind Twinkie Jiggles Broken Orchestra, Sean McPherson, may be best known around the Minneapolis area for his work in the hip-hop group Heiruspecs, but his new project proves that he has a knack for writing really special music outside of hip-hop.
McPherson wrote all of the material for Too Big To Fail and enlisted some really great musicians and female voices like Ashley Gold, Chastity Brown, Claire De Lune and Aby Wolf to fill out the album. The result is something special. Too Big To Fail is one of those rare records that’s both fun and ridden with emotional depth.
McPherson’s arrangements are sparse and not overdone, but still sonically engaging. He employs really tasty piano and organ instrumentation accompanied by some fabulous guitar playing to soar over top of his trademark bass lines. Too Big To Fail sounds like it leaked out of the Motown record collection, mixed with modern influences and released itself.
Songs like “Good Things” are infectious soul-ridden, pop goodness. “Arbys and Sbarros” is another impossibly fun and catchy, yet emotional pop ballad with a hypnotizing groove and pulsing electronic piano sounds. “Hi, My Name Ana” is catchy enough for mainstream pop radio but engaging enough to find its niche in the more intellectual genres.
And that’s what makes this project so great. The songs are all pop at heart, but dressed up in a sentiment that’s more fitting in the soul genre. But don’t think that McPherson is riding the coattails of Bruno Mars or anything. He has more than enough songwriting chops by himself.
Lionize – Reality Check (Single)
After forming together in 2004, the Maryland-based band Lionize shows their passion in music as they prepare to release a new album. Lionize’s music can be described as an eclectic blend of styles, as the group creates sounds that are part stoner rock and part reggae while incorporating blues.
“Reality Check” is the band’s first single off their new album. The single is bluesier rock than the band’s previous album. Also, the heavy riffs and drumming in the song blends well with the lyrics and the voice of lead vocalist Nate Bergman. Not only is the song their first single, but it proves to their fans that they are more mature, becoming a more powerful group than before.
If you like rock and the blues, check out this song. It’s not a bad listen and it gives a preview into what their album will be like. Also, there might be a few songs here or there that have a touch of reggae to them. So if you are wondering what this band has to offer in their evolution of music, listen to “Jetpack Soundtrack” on February 18, 2014.
RIYL: Damien Marley, Bob Marley, Elephant Man
Track 1 – Sippin’ On Rum
Track 3 – Designated Drive
Alexander Star is a recording artist and songwriter whose balances R&B, Hip Hop, and Reggae. Star presents clever hooks and catchy melodies with songs that are relevant to today’s generation. His newest release, the Badd Habitz EP, consists of three songs written about the vices that many people turn to when having fun.
The first song is “Sippin’ on Rum, which features Jamaican singer, Toi. The song is an ideal combination of Star’s melodic rapping style and Toi’s gentle singing voice, creating a “chill” vibe. The song talks about the highs one can get from taking a draw of herb, which helps loosen the mind when trying to relieve stress.
There’s always someone who becomes a “Designated Driva” when another gets too much “buzz” in their system. The last song on the EP features flowing verses from Voicemail Music Group and Shaka Pow, reflecting on a typical night on the town that becomes out of control. However, Star raps/sings about taking the safe route as he illustrates a fun time that most people can relate to.
Star writes songs that merge fun with responsibility as opposed to reckless “habitz.” Between his lyrics and Jamaican beats from numerous of his inspirations, Star has potential to be a good reggae artist.