Song(s) of the Weekend

I couldn’t decide on just one song to capture how I’m feeling on this second-to-last weekend of the year, so here are three to help you get through the end of 8th block:

“Friday Night, Saturday Morning” by The Specials
“Out of bed at eight AM / Out my head by half past ten / Out with mates and dates and friends / That’s what I do at weekends” and then the catchy refrain: “I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning.” This song is just like all of your eighth block weekends, except if your eighth block was taking place in England forty years and was narrated by a ska revival band.

https://open.spotify.com/track/66tyi2ix4ErbUBKFAVw98r?si=cXQP3reDSPCbOhsT5eyt4A

Credit: The Guardian

“On Some Faraway Beach” by Brian Eno
Maybe the most nostalgia-inducing song ever. When you drive or fly home in a few weeks, play this song as you stare out the window and you will probably cry. Very tender, very epic.

https://open.spotify.com/track/1ip0bzSgZsMrp7bSuxlKoa?si=aUN2TFwbQfGN6kQtDZba9A

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

“Saturday Night Inside Out” by the Avalanches

SO good! This song will mess you up emotionally and take you to another place. It’s basically a spoken word poem by David Berman of the band Silver Jews in collaboration with The Avalanches. Around 00:45, you start hearing an amazing beat and the song becomes so beautiful. I have a hard time describing what I feel when listening to this song, but I think it’s intended to be a reflection on youth and growing up – which is what we all deal with every day in college. Especially for you seniors graduating, this song is for you. (Also if you haven’t heard The Avalanches’ album Wildflower, it’s so incredible and this song feels so much more special as the last track on the album.)

https://open.spotify.com/track/3wWZfpPJXnW5cS6ULwdJqW?si=SM_yQr5cRKOt3xT7hJ0svA

Credit: Vice

CONCERT PREVIEW: Smino at Summit 4/1

Born and raised in St. Louis but heavily influenced by (and eventually instrumental in) the Chicago rap scene, rapper Smino has been writing music since high school, finding his greatest successes in 2017’s blkswn and most recently 2018’s NOIR. Coming from a childhood full of gospel and jazz, Smino’s catchy neo-soul choruses combined with gripping rhymes and lyrical skill make him an artist to continue to watch; in an interview with Rolling Stone, he says he already hates NOIR and is ready for his next release. Coming to Denver as a part of his HOOPTI tour, he will be performing at Summit on Monday, April 1st after a string of sold out shows. 

 

Photo: @smino on Instagram

SONG OF THE WEEK: Jessica Pratt– Moon Dude

LA-based musician Jessica Pratt’s music is often characterized as freak folk and beckons associations with folksy psychedelia of the 60s, namely The Byrd’s Fifth Dimension and the work of Vashti Bunyan. It is miraculous to me that “Moon Dude” achieves such an expansive, out-of-this-world sound given Pratt limiting herself to mostly just acoustic guitar and vocals. Her alien-like, gorgeous voice, her psychedelic inflection, carries this song so far beyond the sounds someone expects from a singer-songwriter playing an acoustic guitar. Take a listen: 

 

BLOCK 6 PLAYLIST

Kick off your spring break with an… eclectic! playlist from the SoCC writing staff! Featuring Leikeli47, John Maus, Patti Smith, Cardi & more !!!!!

Every block we shall be compiling a blockly playlist, so stay tuned for more!

 

(photo credits: https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/the-juice/6575635/leikeli47-diplo-skrillex-cosign-interview-edc)

SONG OF THE WEEK: Ty Segall – “My Lady’s On Fire”

Ty Segall’s music is typically pretty grunge-rock-y, but this song leans much more to pop and jazz than most of his other tunes. “My Lady’s on Fire” has been one of my favorite songs for the past few months, and despite the obscene amount of times I’ve listened to it, I still get excited every time it comes on. I first heard this song when I saw Ty play a live acoustic set which was really fitting because this song showcases how much more confident he’s become with his voice over his career. This song is a must-listen for anyone and everyone!

Sing along to the song here or on Spotify!

Ty Segall – credit Getty Images

SONG OF THE WEEK: The Hollies- “We’re Through”

The Hollies, Image Courtesy of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archive

In need of 2 minutes and 16 seconds of cathartic dancing-around-the-room-by-yourself bliss? Maybe you’ve been fiending for this feeling since the weekend ended. Maybe you’ve got some pent-up frustration because, hey, the block can suck. Maybe you just want to listen to a nostalgic bop. Fear not, The Hollies’ “We’re Through” will provide what you’re looking for. Though not one of The Hollies’ most popular hits, the number of listens to this song on Spotify has been climbing and climbing since its feature in an episode of Netflix’s most recent series, The Umbrella Academy (based on comics written by Gerard Way, lead singer and co-founder of My Chemical Romance). Its exposure in The Umbrella Academy was what brought me back to The Hollies and here I am now, listening to “We’re Through” on repeat this week.

The song, thanks to its deliberate bass, fingerpicking, and haunting, echo-y, but upbeat three-part harmonies, is perfect for momentarily letting go (of anything and anyone). Acknowledgement that “I should be better off without you…” is liberating! Get rid of toxic people and toxic relationships! Dance it out! (After a couple listens I begin to think this song is more likely to get me to make more changes to what ‘sparks joy’ in my life than Marie Kondo ever could.) The repetition of the mantra “We’re through, we’re through, we’re through” near the end of the song becomes therapeutic. The swell of the music and the shake of the cymbals at the end brings the sentiments of the song to a nice, final conclusion. Ultimately, we, as beings who want to be wanted and loved, sometimes have a hard time recognizing when others “never treat us tenderly.” Hopefully this song helps with a part of that realization process. If not, it’s still one hell of a bop—I hope you all enjoy. Cheers to t-minus 3 days until the weekend!


You can listen and groove to the song here:

 

SOCC DJ Profile: Hannah Bollen

DJ Cowgirl Pervert (AKA Hannah Bollen) moved out here to the Wild West from Nashville, TN. She’s studying Economics with a minor in Art History. As a senior this year, she’s been managing the SOCC radio DJs. Every Monday from 7-8, you can tune in to her show “Hoppy, Crisp, and Fizzy” to hear some indie tunes.

This weekend, I got the chance to sit down with her in the drawing studio and interrogate her for 40 minutes! So read on to find out what she had to say about the music in her life J

Mimi: Who’s your favorite artist from your hometown?

Hannah: Probably Sun Seeker. Although, can I have multiple? Have you ever heard of R. Stevie Moore? He’s from Nashville and has collaborated with Ariel Pink and he’s been doing lo-fi, weird music for like forever. I only found out about him a few years ago, but he’s so cool.

M: When did you first get into music?

H: Well, I played in band from 6th grade through high school and I think that playing an instrument really lead me to develop a love for listening to music. I played in the jazz band in high school, and I think people are like “Oh, band is such a geeky thing to do,” but it was so cool. I really miss playing – I played the alto saxophone and think I might join the jazz band next semester. Anyways, in terms of listening to music, growing up my dad would always have cool CDs in the car we would listen to. One was a band called Everything But the Girl, and he had a lot of Smashing Pumpkins in the car which I didn’t really appreciate when I was younger – I was always like “Eh this is just kind of annoying” but now I definitely appreciate it more. We’d always have a David Bowie CD in the car too. But I didn’t really have good music taste until late high school. I think one of the first artists I got really into was Fleetwood Mac.

M: How would you describe your show?

H: Well, I usually just put whatever songs I’ve been listening to in a given week and play from that. I feel like I like to think that my taste is somewhat eclectic, but then when you look at it, it’s really just not that eclectic, you know. It’s usually just a lot of indie and non-mainstream artists.

M: Do you ever talk about the songs you play?

H: Yeah, I like to give context to them. Sometimes I like to come up with a theme like “these are all songs that are special to me” and for each one I’d say why. For one of my shows that I did recently, I remembered what song was playing when I drove for the first time and it was “China Girl” by David Bowie. I also like to encourage people to say something in the DJ chatroom, that’s like my favorite thing about the show is when people participate.

M: What’s your favorite show you’ve ever done?

H: Well, last year I had a Tinder date on my show, so that was fun.

M: Do you have any famous DJs you look up to?

H: Peggy Gou. She does live house music… well I think you’d call it house music. Maybe club music. She’s so f—cking cool. Like look up a picture of her, she’s just so cool. And she has five songs on Spotify but there are a ton of remixes of them.

M: What were some of your favorite albums of 2018?

H: One of my favorite albums of the year was Sam Evian’s album You Forever. He’s really good, it’s kind of like ethereal but country-twangy a little bit. Also Sugar Candy Mountain’s Do It Right was a really good album – a lot more pop-y than their older stuff. Oh also Jerry Paper’s new album too, that was very good.

M: What were some of your most played artists and songs of 2018?

H: According to the Spotify Wrapped thing, Ariel Pink was my #1, which was not surprising at all to me. Then I think Sugar Candy Mountain, Sam Evian, Jerry Paper, and R. Stevie Moore. I think I’ve already mentioned them all before. Anyways, my top songs were:

“Pink Litmas Paper Strip” by R. Stevie Moore

“Hand It Over” by MGMT

“Sweet VA Breeze” by DRAM

“This Time Around” by Sugar Candy Mountain

“Escalator” by Good Morning

And I listened for 25,575 minutes!

M: What are your desert island albums?

H: Hmm, my immediate thought is Jim Sullivan’s album UFO. Ariel Pink’s album Before Today. And maybe a Steely Dan album, but I can’t decide which one. And ooh maybe an Amy Winehouse album – Back to Black I guess.

M: Do you have any favorite movie soundtracks?

H: Oooh, Napolean Dynamite. Elf, hahaha. And Boyhood. We grew up with the Elf and Napolean Dynamite soundtracks in my mom’s car. And in between each song, they’re like thirty seconds, there’s a quote from the movie. So yeah I think I can do the whole movie by now, haha. And the Elf soundtrack is definitely the best Christmas music soundtrack.

M: Do you think you’ll try to continue music in any way after college?

H: Yeah… I’m trying to figure out in what capacity I can, but one thing I want to do is join a local band, like a community jazz band or something. If there is a college radio station like KRCC or something nearby and they have volunteer DJ slots I would totally do that. On the more business side of it, I’ve looked into applying for some music analyst jobs that I’ve seen, but I’m not really sure.

M: Do you have a favorite music blog or any favorite music writers?

H: Have you ever watched Anthony Fantano videos on YouTube? He’s not my favorite, but I watch a lot of his stuff. He’s really annoying but I do watch his stuff all the time. Other than that, maybe like Consequence of Sound but not any particular writer.

M: How do you discover new music?

H: By stalking all of my friends, but stalking cool friends. Strictly cool friends, hahaha. And also just keeping my ears peeled wherever I go. And Discover Weekly on Spotify. Some people just poo-poo that because it just gives you more music that’s similar to your own stuff, but I find a lot of music that way that I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I also go down rabbit holes on Spotify and find a lot of stuff like that.

M: Where’s your favorite place to listen to music?

H: I think walking around campus and walking to class in the morning. I think when I’m listening to music at home a lot of the time I’m on my computer and not focusing on the music, but when I’m walking I’m not doing anything or talking to anyone, just walking and listening.

M: What’s the best show you’ve ever seen?

H: I keep bringing up Ariel Pink, but honestly he played such a good show last year in October in Denver. Afterwards, “I was like that’s the best concert I’ve ever seen.” Freshman year I saw Father John Misty in Denver and I don’t know if it was the orchestra hall but it was a really big, airy venue and it was really good. He’s such a good show person and all of the lights were timed perfectly. Oh, also Chicano Batman played in Nashville in 2017. They are so well practiced and they hit every note just right. That was a great show.

M: Okay, last question. Do you have any guilty pleasure music that you listen to?

H: “thank u, next.” Such a f—king good song. Although I don’t feel guilty about it. It’s so catchy. And then, well I also don’t feel guilty about this, but I think 80’s pop music is so cool. And early 2000s middle school songs. Like “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston. I mean, that’s a great song too.

SONG OF THE WEEK(END): Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds- “Burn You Up”

Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds performing at Globe Hall in 2016. Image Credit: Nikki A. Rae

This song has haunted me all week. From the deep, deliberate drum beat at the song’s beginning to the singer crooning, “You know it’s gonna burn you alive…burn you up, burn you up” at the bridge, listening to this track transforms me into a more melancholic version of myself. “Burn You Up” reminds me of a failed relationship and lost love I’ve never even felt nor experienced before. However, the song isn’t overwhelmingly sad. It’s tinged with sweetness, present in the way the guitar chords are somewhat reminiscent of bells ringing, the way the lead singer draws out certain words while keeping others short, and also for the way the lyrics “you called me darling when you broke my heart” are sung- simply, tenderly, and truthfully.

The simplest way I could explain this song to my friends in hopes they would add it to their Spotify queues went along the lines of, “Oh my god, it’s SO good. It goes through, like, three vibes during the song.” For lack of better phrasing, “Burn You Up” does go through multiple vibes. The song’s cyclical nature takes the listener through different technical and emotional sections of the song, only to return you exactly where you started. Listening to it feels somewhat like recounting a dream when you wake, sometimes the details are fuzzy, it might have been strange (but seemed totally normal), and you always end up back at the beginning.

Of all the tracks on the one album Mike Clark & the Sugar Sounds have on Spotify, “Burn You Up” stands out, for me, as one of their most dynamic, and more emotional, songs. This song, though not too good at hyping anyone up for Winter Break, still serves as a good, chill listen as we near the end of fourth Block. Happy studying, procrastinating, and listening. Hopefully you enjoy the bittersweet “Burn You Up” as much I do!


You can listen to “Burn You Up” on Spotify with the link below:

Concert Review: Kamasi Washington at the Buckhead Theater on Nov. 17

As the lights dimmed in Atlanta’s Buckhead Theater, James Brown’s “Get Up Offa That Thing” played overhead and members of Kamasi Washington’s band walked on stage and received a warm welcome from the audience.

Once Kamasi stepped on stage, we were all transfixed by his presence – immense, towering, powerful. The audience yelled and hollered and even I, being relatively new to his music, felt I was in the presence of a real demigod. In fact, Washington has been referred to as the “savior of jazz,” but he’s always been too humble to accept the accolade.

Photo credit: Krists Luhaers, https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:POS17_@Kristsll-409_(35194970423).jpg

FlyLo and Thundercat have made a name for themselves as more electronic musicians, but Washington doesn’t feel the need to stray too far from traditional jazz. He’s emulated and expanded upon the music of his jazz heroes and proved that he can do it bigger and better than perhaps any other jazz musician at the moment.

I was blown away by the power and energy that Washington packed into his performance. I was expecting a relatively mellow night, but Washington and his band delivered super funky bass jams, an epic drum-off between his two drummers, and soaring vocals from his vocalist Patrice Quinn that got the entire theater dancing.

After a few songs, he introduced Quinn by saying “Patrice is one of the best singers I know. You can tell some people are good by the way they talk, but Patrice, she sounds amazing even when she’s cursing at you.”

After Washington introduced Quinn, she launched into the most powerful song of the set: “Malcolm’s Theme,” from Washington’s debut album, The Epic. The songs lyrics come directly from Ossie Davis’ eulogy for civil rights icon Malcolm X. The moving lyrics, paired with Quinn’s emotional, powerful, and beautiful delivery gave everyone goosebumps.

My favorite part of the set was when Washington’s stand-up bass player, Miles Mosley, played his incredible funk epic “Abraham.” I was blown away by Mosley’s ability to create such otherworldly and groovy sounds. Here is a link to a performance of Mosley’s playing “Abraham” that I suggest you all watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c73NCDr5ACo (skip to 3:30 if you’re limited for time).

After being mesmerized by Washington for almost two hours of free-jazz digressions and thoughtful, intricate pieces, I felt like I’d been to a different universe and back. Just like the legendary Pharaoh Sanders who I had the chance to see earlier this year, Washington’s music transcended all of us to another realm of experiencing. Washington confirmed that jazz can be as lively, engaging, and fascinating as any other genre, if not more so.

ALBUM REVIEW: Khalid- “Suncity”

 

Khalid’s rise to fame has been slow and steady. His smooth sound and relatable lyrics make for versatile, chill music for a variety of settings.  But apart from being solid background music, his most recent album, Suncity, shares some words of wisdom about his journey to stardom as well as the unpredictability of life that we can all relate to.

Unlike his first album, American Teen, which centered on Khalid’s relationships and teenage experiences with catchy but simple songs like “Saved” and “Young, Dumb and Broke,” Suncity’s abstract feel is more of a focus on instrumentals. Apart from “Saturday Nights,” with the chorus “all the things that I know, that your parents don’t” which echoes the angsty teen of Khalid’s previous album, Suncity tackles life’s obstacles in a way that all age groups can relate to.

Suncity begins with “9.13,” a short instrumental which concludes in Khalid being given the key to his hometown of El Paso, Texas, or as he calls it in American Teen, the city of the 915. In “Vertigo,” Khalid reflects on his rise to prominence in the music industry among other accomplishments in a whimsical, dubious way. After going back to his roots with the somber, moody teen passion in “Saturday Nights,” he returns to a more reflective vibe with “Salem’s Interlude.” “Salem’s Interlude” revolves around life’s obstacles that we all face as well as the struggle of which path to take. Through the interlude, Khalid invites listeners to step back and contemplate their direction and goals in the craziness that is life. “Motion,” my personal favorite song on the album, is the most unique and has a dreamlike quality. The album ends with a note of pop in both “Better” and “Suncity,” definitely the most radio friendly of the album. “Better” is catchy, romantic and overall average. “Suncity,” featuring Empress Of, expresses Khalid’s tie to El Paso and the community he grew up in, ending back where he began in an upbeat, refreshing tone.

All in all, “Suncity” is both a continuation of Khalid’s style and an example of his progression into a variety of lyrical and instrumental genres. After being featured in songs with artists from Halsey to H.E.R., I was pleasantly surprised to see Khalid’s old style and growth reflected in Suncity.

See what you think!

Listen to Suncity here: