Archives for April 2018

Thirdstory at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Rhema Johnson/WGMU).

Photo By (Rhema Johnson/WGMU).

“Tell me you want me, tell me you need me to love you. I’ve been searching everywhere!”

By: Rhema Johnson

“Tell me you want me, tell me you need me to love you. I’ve been searching everywhere!” Those memorable lyrics were written by an American band entitled Thirdstory who consists of artists by the name of Ben Lusher, Richard Saunders, and Elliott Skinner.

Thirdstory graced the 9:30 Club on April 12 at 9 p.m., a month after releasing their 11-track debut album Coldheart (2018) on March 9. Thirdstory is almost complete with their latest US tour with six shows remaining! The band is known for their remarkable harmonies and unique, electric blend of different genres which was very much shown throughout their performance that night.

At 8 p.m., the show opened with an artist named Grace Weber out of New York who made a fiery entrance with one of her tracks titled, “Through the Fire”. She was accompanied by her drummer, Alvin and keyboardist, Brandon Butler. Weber was very active with the crowd encouraging everyone to sing along with her while she showcased her dynamic vocal range. In addition, Grace premiered a song from her upcoming album with The Social Experiment called, “Water’s Edge”.  Finally, Grace ended her opening set covering Daniel Caesar’s “We Find Love” and incorporated an epic call and response with the crowd while creating a segue to the headliner of the evening.

Thirdstory began their set with “Hit The Ceiling” which is one of my favorite tracks from the album. The group’s harmonies were truly indescribable, and it is awesome to me how they found one another and their voices blend so well along with their notable instrumentation. Along with performing songs from their album, Thirdstory also took the crowd back to their youtube days by doing an amazing live acoustic rendition of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” which was definitely a crowd favorite. After paying a tribute to one of their inspirations, “Adrienne Lenker” and performing more songs from the album, Thirdstory ended the night with their beautiful song entitled, “Searching For a Feeling” which moved the audience into wanting an encore after they concluded. So, the band returned to the stage and performed their well-known song “Still In Love” ending the show in high spirits.

I recently just started following Thirdstory thanks to a good friend of mine and I cannot stop singing their songs especially after experiencing them live. Their lyrics, their harmonies, and their instrumentation is breathtaking, and I encourage each and every one of you who reads this review to listen to Coldheart and tell your friends!

Album Review: Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Sex & Food (2018)

UnknownMortalOrchestra+SexFoodIt’s one of those albums that made me wonder, how am I just discovering them now? 

Top Tracks: A God Called Hubris, Major League Chemicals, Hunnybee, Not in Love We’re Just High

Rating: 7.5/10

By: Jackie Reed

What a trip. Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Sex & Food (2018) is one jammer after another. These New Zealanders manage to fuse atmospheric jazz undertones, grunged-out guitar, and crisp drum samples into a master setlist.

“A God Called Hubris” is a quick slurred intro, acting like an open call for all ears. Then the second song, “Major League Chemicals” transitions with full force. This jazzy rock collaborative intensifies with reverbed guitar and complex drum riffs, even with a delayed first verse.

Songs “Ministry of Alienation” and “Hunnybee” follow. Though they don’t administer the same energy as previous songs, they do attain a chilled-out, catchy vibe. “The Internet of Love (That Way)” and “Not in Love We’re Just High” share a similar mood. Their experimental vocals and abrupt instrumentals are worth sticking around to.

As a new fan of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, this album made me wonder, “how am I just discovering them now?” Sex & Food is an admirable collection of psychedelic rock out to push musical thresholds, blow minds, and cultivate a greater following.


Album Review: Kali Uchis’ Isolation (2018)

kaliKali Uchis masters the art of collecting her thoughts in a lush jazz soundscape, typically an intangible skill to reach.

Top Tracks: Flight 22, Dead To Me, In My Dreams, After The Storm

Rating: 8.5/10

By: Jackie Reed

On April 6, Kali Uchis released her debut album Isolation (2018). The Columbian-born singer shines above her Alexandria, Va. upbringing. Instead of hiding her identity in the suburbs, Isolation remains as a vulnerable narrative characterizing what Uchis has, what she wants, and what she’s capable of.

Thundercat-produced single “Body Language – Intro” is a flute-heavy jazz number that initially invites listeners to dive in and hear Uchis out. Following the intro is fourteen other tracks, posed as either a memory, a full feature story, or a temporal feeling.

“Miami” feat. BIA is a sensual piece lathered in textured drums and a soulful attitude, similar to singers Lana del Rey and Amy Winehouse. However, the dark soul mood falls short and is instead replaced with more empowering tracks. Singles like “Just A Stranger” feat. Steve Lacy and “Tyrant” feat. Jorja Smith embrace emotions that are rather fleeting and in the moment.

Uchis succeeds in balancing short-lived pleasures with reflective anecdotes – take the velvet audio piece “Flight 22”, the remixed “Dead To Me”, and Tame Impala’s production “Tomorrow”. She juxtaposes raw lyrics with meticulous synth action and a generally upbeat pop tone.

Along with vocalizing her thoughts on running away, dealing with family and lovers, and monetary needs, all of this is intended to be reasons for moving forward. “After The Storm” feat. Tyler, The Creator and Bootsy Collins reinforces the idea that life goes on. For Uchis, this hopeful bop addresses how temporary distressing matters really are.

All in all, Kali Uchis produced a collaborative album that deserves immense recognition from music critics today. An ultimate step up from her mixtape Drunken Babble (2012) and Por Vida-EP (2015), it’s a mesmerizing album driven by bi-lingual lyricism, genre-bending undertones, complex soundbites, and an offbeat-yet-glamorous style. The fifteen-song listicle is easy listening to the ear, yet challenging to the mind.

Feature Photo By (Kali Uchis/Facebook). 

Album Review: Jack White’s Boarding House Reach (2018)

jack whiteWhat did I just listen to? A crazy brain at work.

Top Tracks: Corporation, Hypermisophoniac, Ice Station Zebra, Over and Over and Over

Rating: 9/10

By: Mikey Bamarni

Jack White was losing interest and appeal over the past five years with consistently underwhelming and uninspired music, painfully awkward interviews, and comments that made the greatest guitarist of the 21st century come across as a jerk.

Lazaretto (2014), his last full-length solo album from 2014, is the worst thing he has released with “White” in the album artist’s name. After that he released a disappointing record with one of his bands, The Dead Weather. What ended up being his best song in this musically rough time period was the Beyoncé jammer “Don’t Hurt Yourself” – which, ironically enough, this is something White might have been thinking about if he kept releasing records at the quality he was.

So when there was news of Boarding House Reach (2018) coming through, the excitement wasn’t all that high. Then, he goes on to release perhaps his cheesiest and worst lead single ever, “Connected by Love.” Granted, it sounds a little better in the context of the record as a whole, but it made many afraid that Jack White was about to kill-or at least damage-his own legacy. Thankfully, that song and the album it’s on could not be any more different.

Boarding House Reach is Jack White’s most experimental album in his now 20 year career. It does so much intense and crazy s**t that there is no way someone could claim it was done by anyone else. I am not, by any means, saying it is a perfect record. Many of the tracks are nonsense spoken words. “Why Walk a Dog?” is about how dogs have made us the pet (Jack. Relax, bud.) In many ways it reminds me of Kanye West’s album The Life of Pablo. It jumps around, but also gives you little glimpses of the artist’s genius brain. A man who in the future will go down as one of 21st century’s most creative and inspiring forces.

The good songs here aren’t just good, they are crazy good. They grab you by the throat. He experiments heavily with funk, rap, and even classical sounds. The 1-2-3 punch centerpiece of “Hypermisophoniac”, “Ice Station Zebra”, and “Over and Over and Over” perhaps is the best string of three songs that Jack has ever put to record. The last two tracks on Boarding House Reach “What’s Done is Done” and “Humoresque” also stand out due to their slow tempos. These songs still explore new ground like the other tracks do, but more so by gently grabbing your hand.

It is a polarizing album, one that some will not like. If you want to hear some straight up garage rock anthems like “Fell in Love with a Girl” or “Seven Nation Army” you won’t find that here. However, you will find a complete album that with all of its flaws, at its core, is brilliant.

Feature Photo By (Jack White/Official Website).

Lit&Live with Leon of Athens

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018).

By: Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise

London-based singer/songwriter Leon of Athens talked with WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Fielder Wise to share details about his most recent album, Xenos (2018). Leon added insight about his U.S. tour and future endeavors.

For more information, go to
Feature Photo By (Leon of Athens/Twitter).

Lit&Local with Ghoul Kids

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018).

By: Christian Hernandez

Bay-area based thrash punk duo Ghoul Kids talked with WGMU’s Christian Hernandez to share details about their most recent album, Dead Beat (2018). Taylor and Bailey added insight about local California scene and future endeavors.

For full artist discography, go to…0S-u4bBY1dzFgaA/.

Feature Photo By (Ghoul Kids/Facebook).

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