STRFKR at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

By: Jesse Benitez

Indie electro pop band, STRFKR, made waves through D.C. during their sold out show at the 9:30 Club on Saturday, February 17. They began their performance with “Hungry Ghost” off their third-studio album, Reptilians (2012). Commencing in utter darkness, with merely a captivating display of their iconic Jupiter (2009 & 2012) logo as a backdrop, it was evident that this show would eventually take a drastic angle. A fourth of the way through their set, the level of simplicity and sophistication was easily recognizable in “Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second,” from their first and self-titled album, Starfucker (2008). In a matter of minutes, however, the numbing dreamscape synths spliced into electrifying energy, along with beautifully synchronized patterns and projections blazing among the crowd.

Accompanied by their touring band, the Reptaliens, the audience rejoiced to the bouncy beats of “Millions” while the Reptaliens froliced across the stage, dancing provocatively with one another, all while wearing eccentric astronaut suits. It was interestingly bizarre, but quite an indulging sight to witness, particularly when they blasted confetti onto the mass of concert-goers. The lively bunch went on to retrieve props, one of which happened to be an inflatable raft shaped like a swan. One by one, they crowd surfed through a pumped crowd while “Girls Just Want to Have Fun (2009)” reverberated off the walls of the venue.

STRFKR ended their set with the title track from their fifth studio album, Being No One, Going Nowhere (2016). Initially, a delicately nostalgic and melancholic tune such as this one seemed almost inappropriate to end the night with. But upon further reflection, they proved themselves to be truly unforgettable and it was undoubtedly a clever move from their part. This ignited the crowd to demand an encore, to satisfy their crave for one more galvanizing gimmick and fuel them with one last drop of exhilaration. And surely, it worked.

Lit&Live with Viniloversus

 

Photo By (Viniloversus/Official Website).

Photo By (Viniloversus/Official Website).

Viniloversus

Sun, Feb 11
Doors 7:30 pm
Black Cat // Washington, DC

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Venezuelan alt-band Viniloversus stopped by WGMU’s on-air studio for a conversation revolving around their debut English album, Days of Exile (2017), tour life, advocacy, and future plans. They will be performing at Black Cat DC on Sunday, Feb 11.

Interview, co-hosted by WGMU’s Kate Klajbor and Jackie Reed:

Part One:

Part Two:

 

In-studio Acoustic Performance, featuring songs off Days of Exile:

“So Many Stars”

“Disintegrate Me”

“So Long Schoolboy”

“Broken Cities”

 

Follow Viniloversus on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates.

To stream Viniloversus, tune in to their iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and YouTube pages.

 

REVIEW|Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods (2018)

JT

Despite a horrible album roll out, Man of the Woods (2018) hits almost all of the right notes.

Top Tracks: Man of the Woods, Higher Higher, Flannel, Livin Off The Land

Rating: 7.2/10


By: Mikey Bamarni

Now, with over 20 years of Justin Timberlake in our lives we have made it to Man of the Woods (2018); an album he described as his most personal and best yet.

What’s great about MOTW is that it isn’t trying hard to be anything other than JT. Bieber follows the EDM trends while Bruno Mars creates songs that people swear they’ve already heard. People can say he’s appealing to the country market, but he already showed signs of interest in the genre with 2013’s “Drink You Away” and through his help in pushing Chris Stapleton’s mainstream success.

At the end of day, it should not be a debate: Timberlake is the current living king of pop.

With the opening single “Filthy”, the listener is treated to a fun and more robotic, but sadly not as catchy, “Sexyback”. Why this was chosen as the lead single instead of the super fun title track, I’ll never know. “Breeze Off the Pond” is a nod back to the Justified days and “Flannel” has a melody with harmonies so layered that you might think you’re listening to a long lost *NSYNC song.

You’ll find next level production courtesy of The Neptunes and Timbaland. Songs like “Livin off the Land” and “Morning Light” shine in particular thanks to this team, who are just as much a reason for the record’s enjoyability as JT is.

At the same time, with all the positive things said, this is still Timberlake’s second worst album, only superior to the horribly unnecessary The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2 (2013). A lot of these songs get lost in their own attempt of sounding unique and ultimately come across as fake and bland. “Sauce” “Wave” and “Hard Stuff” are all filler. Other tracks also seem like they could be omitted.

Critics will hate this album, they’re going to say it’s fake, it’s easy to. A bad rollout, poor lead single selections, and confusion over how an artist that got famous through R&B music one day decides to go country. The truth however is that this album is much more Marvin Gaye than Hank Williams.

Give this record as many listens as you can, because with each extra journey you’ll find more and more to enjoy in the woods.

 

Lit&Local with Bell’s Roar

By: Jackie Reed

New York-based R&B artist Sean Desiree, under the stage name bell’s roar (namely after American social activist bell hooks), called into the WGMU on-air studio on Monday, February 5. They spoke with WGMU’s Jackie Reed about their advocacy for LGBTQ and QTPOC artists, their recent album We Carry Us (2017), and touring the Art Funds Art Tour.

 

Phone Interview with Bell’s Roar:

 

Follow Bell’s Roar on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

To stream Bell’s Roar, tune in to their Bandcamp and Soundcloud, and YouTube pages.

For businesses and organizations interested in being involved with the AFA tour, email: artfundsarttour@gmail.com

To donate, follow the link to their Patreon.

Feature Photo by (Bell’s Roar/Official Website).

 

 

Cold War Kids Set To Perform At GMU’s Homecoming Week

 

Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Photo By (Student Involvement/Official Website).

Cold War Kids

Students: $20, $30
Faculty, Staff, Alumni: $30, $40
Guests: $40, $50

Tickets

Thurs, Feb 8
Doors 7:30 pm // Show 8:00 pm
GMU’s Center for the Arts // Fairfax, VA

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By: Jackie Reed

For over a decade, California-based soul rock band Cold War Kids has performed on countless stages, made festival appearances, released viral singles, and taken the indie scene to uncharted territories. Now, they will be the first-ever performance group at Mason’s Homecoming Week.

Anthony McLean, marketing and communications coordinator for the Office of Student Involvement, shared that having a concert for Homecoming Week was in hopes of acclimating new students to Mason, whilst maintaining consistent awareness about what their office offers. “We’re trying to think of new ways that would be more exciting to students”, said McLean. To keep a constant flow of programming between Welcome Week and Mason Day, they figured that adding a show in-between these large-scale events is another opportunity for students to explore their campus in a way unseen before.

Cold War Kids started their musical career with their debut album Robbers & Cowards (2007), a hidden gem completely trickled with anthems and coffeehouse classics. The band made attempts to change their style between albums Loyalty to Loyalty (2008) and Mine Is Yours (2011), but it was not until hits like “Miracle Mile” and “First” to where the band started to top indie charts. It’s all thanks to their fourth album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts (2013) and fifth album Hold My Home (2014), for their greater audience reach. With influences from Modest Mouse and Florence + the Machine, their newest album, LA Divine (2017), is a piano-ridden setlist that plays off of familiar guitar riffs and beach pop undertones. They recently finished up their LA Divine tour in the U.S., and are taking their tour overseas and to music festivals later this year.

Go to Homecoming Week’s event page for full ticket information.

 

 

Angel Olsen at 9:30 Club

By: Nick Wodzinski

Alternative and folk-rock queen, Angel Olsen, performed at 9:30 Club on December 14th during her winter tour. Her unique vocal performance along with her vintage rock style filled the room with ease, pleasing the ears of every fan and newcomer alike.

Although her onstage presence was static, the chilling and electric guitars shook the room. Her psych-rock melodies combine with her quivering vocal so well on her albums, but to see that combination transfer to a live performance was thrilling.

Each of her band members wore matching suits and all contributed to each track in a major way. The extra guitar work was catchy, the drums were full and punchy while the synth work created a gorgeous layer on multiple songs.

Overall, her performance was fulfilling. She played her popular rock tunes but also performed her attractive folk influenced songs.
Olsen played many tracks from her critically acclaimed album My Woman (2016) along with some cuts from her latest release, Phases (2017). Both of which you can stream on all music platforms.

Feature Photo By (Angel Olsen/Official Website).

Mikey B’s Top Five Albums & Songs of 2017

By: Mikey Bamarni


Best Albums of 2017


phoenix5. Ti Amo – Phoenix

In June of this year, I reviewed this newly released album by Phoenix; yet here we are in December and the record is still just as amazing. It’s even more incredible due to the fact that the album has vibes reminiscent of summer. The more listens you give it, the more you notice the small little details that make this 10 track tour de force so griping. It’s the ultimate indie rock band release of 2017.

 


alvvays4. Antisocialites – Alvvays

Before this year, I had never heard of Alvvays. When I did stumble upon them on the World Wide Web I instantly disliked them. Alvvays?? V’s?? Do you want to be CHVRCHES?? Their name alone made me blood red mad. Since the album artwork was particularly enticing, I decided to judge an album by its cover, and it ended up being a great call. This record is the background music to your favorite dream and most relaxing happy place. Definitely recommend that you listen now.

 


visions3. Visions of a Life – Wolf Alice

Wolf Alice have been on my radar since their debut album released in 2015. Their music sounded like it was straight from the 90’s, but with modern production and less depressing lyrics. The combination was something special. This year they released a phenomenal album. It has many standout songs and fantastically expands the sound they started to show the world two years ago.

 


The_xx_-_I_See_You2. I See You – The XX

The XX is an excellent band. They have three albums that I highly recommend giving a listen to. Their third record, which they released this year, is probably their most up-tempo release yet. It’s always interesting to see this band explore new sounds, as they always end up succeeding. You must listen to the album all the way through at least once. I See You may be the best introductory album for this group, as it’s their best yet.

 


268x0w1. DAMN – Kendrick Lamar

Everyone was stunned by the jazz and political lyrics of the 2015 Kendrick album, To Pimp a Butterfly. While it was clearly a musical masterpiece, it was a hard listen for the more mainstream rap fans to grasp. Especially for those who loved the beats and production of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, it was hard to get into the more instrumentally driven follow up.

DAMN, however, does the trick of combining the political and personal lyrics of the 2015 album with a production that is even more beat driven than M.A.A.D City. It is a journey of a record, with each track focusing on a single aspect of what Kendrick Lamar wants to discuss in 2017. This is truly a masterpiece.


Best Songs of 2017


5. GOLD – BROCKHAMPTON

When I was on Twitter one day, I noticed a lot of talk about BROCKHAMPTON. At first I thought it was a TV show, or perhaps a cool indie rock band. But, to my surprise, found out that they were a self-described rap boy-band. With this niche classification, I knew I had to be check them out. The stand-out song out of the vast amount of tracks they released in 2017 is this heavy bumping jam. With a catchy chorus and lyrical swag, this song is truly golden.


4. PRIDE – Kendrick Lamar

DAMN was a darn good album (scroll up to see my thoughts). The standout to many critics would be HUMBLE or DNA, but for me, it’s PRIDE. The song is incredible in all aspects. Musically unique and mid-tempo, the lyrics are incredibly poetic and detailed, complementing Lamar’s silky-smooth vocal delivery. It’s a fiery track worthy of your peep.


3. Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

When 1D reached its peak, I was a Zayn Malik kind of guy myself. Mostly due to our similar ethnic backgrounds and shy guy personalities. When Harry, the other arguably most talented member of the bunch, released his debut single, I didn’t have super high hopes. But, I was interested and gave it a listen. This song floored me. The incredible thing is how it’s a straight rocker, yet still reached number 3 on the Billboard 100. Harry went solo with with a huge risk, and he hit it out of the park.


2. Say Something Loving – The XX

They released this song on January 1st, and thus making it a contender for song of the year. The XX did something beautiful with this track. They made a song as infectious and catchy as it is introspective and deep. With fantastic sampling and beautifully mellow vocals, it’s a song you need to listen to before it slips away.


1. The Man – The Killers

The Killers had an epic comeback in 2017. They released their best album in about 10 years, which included the ultimate pop/rock song. With influences from the Bee Gees, David Bowie, and a sample of Kool & The Gang, it was destined for greatness. It exceeded that predicted strength. Although the lyrics may seem cocky and arrogant, a quick watch of the music video explains that the song is mocking the guy who thinks he’s the king when, in reality, he’s just a human (or maybe a dancer).


To see Mikey B’s top picks of 2016, click here.

Lit&Local with Samantha Haas (HAAS)

Local singer-songwriter Samantha Haas (HAAS) joined WGMU’s Jackie Reed in the on-air studio on Friday, December 8. From Manassas, Virginia, she’s done covers from WALK THE MOON, Harry Styles, and Lukas Graham, all while creating her own music too. Her rock and pop-alternative covers are inspired by artists like Fleetwood Mac, PVRIS, and Paramore. Haas stopped by to talk about her upbringing in music, the stories behind her songwriting, and her upcoming EP.

Interview with DJ Jackie Reed
“Never Let Me Go”
Behind “Home”
“Home”
 Follow Samantha Haas on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

 

Jaws of Love @ DC9

Photo By (Julie Luu/WGMU).

Photo By (Julie Luu/WGMU).

By: Julie Luu

You know Local Natives and now you get to know Kelcey Ayer. Kelcey Ayer has been a key member of Local Natives since their beginnings in California but now he takes his piano and vocals to step aside from the band to stand behind Jaws of Love.

Jaws of Love. visits our nation’s capital for his first solo tour on December 6th. DC9 was the percent venue for Kelcey Ayer. The venue matched the artist and his music perfectly, allowing the fans and the artist to connect on a more intimate level.

The show’s opener was COMBAT!, an experimental electronic solo artist, Mark Nieto, also doubled as the second half of Jaws of Love. Both from the LA area, the playful and intimate banter between Kelcey and Mark kept the atmosphere light and enjoyable throughout the show.

Ayer tours his debut album titled, Tasha Sits Close to the Piano (2017), named after his and his wife’s dog. The album possess heartfelt lyrics accompanied by his unique vocals and strong piano driven ballads. There are times I would get lost in the music and grow nostalgic of Local Natives’ Hummingbird (2013). Even though that feeling is present, Ayer proves that he can stand on his own two feet as Jaws of Love. The entire album is so pure offering a look inside Ayer’s heart in a way no other musician has done before.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Jaws of Love. live. Ayer embodies an essence reflected in the album and live that makes you cherish how special love is from the simple and difficult moments in life.

 

Cut Copy At 9:30 Club

By: Jackie Reed

Australian electropop band Cut Copy stopped by 9:30 Club on Wednesday, November 29. Their show was beautifully constructed; it featured a mixed bag of old and new synth tracks, an elaborate light setup, and a fan base that has clearly developed over the years.

Coming from an ill-informed music enthusiast and “blind” ear, Cut Copy put on a concert experience that truly amazed – their set was hyped up with methodical transitions, well-cued lighting, and offbeat symbolism that celebrated their most recent album, Haiku From Zero (2017).

Though their performance mainly highlighted tracks from Haiku From Zero (2017), nostalgia still beamed with classics like “Pharaohs & Pyramids” from Zonoscope (2011) and “Future” from Bright Like Neon Love (2004). Some songs were more recognizable than others, but transitions kept things interesting throughout. At points, it was even difficult to discern when a song ended and when another one began – it was like one, elongated story that Cut Copy successfully told.

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

In addition to the energetic setlist, visual elements kept gazing eyes peeled to the stage. Seeing “Free Your Mind”, the second song off of Free Your Mind (2013), was a trip to watch. It was epic beyond capacity. Strobe lights circulated the crowd and the verse “free your mind” morphed across the backdrop, dancing with intentional dysfunction. This is a prime example of how their visuals went down in correspondence with the night – contrasting black-and-white blocks, chromatic patterns, and geometric visuals palpitated the human psyche.

Overall, Cut Copy’s musical compass is a distortion of imbalanced sounds and earthly undertones. With unwavering swagger and an animated charisma, their upbeat nature and off-key style set them apart from other EDM shows.

Feature Photo By (9:30 Club/Official Website).