Just By Chance: Chance the Rapper’s Rise to Stardom

Kaitlyn Koegler

WGMU Blogger

chance the rapperIt was an unprecedented event; a rapper with no record label behind him winning three Grammys.

Becoming the first artist to win a Grammy for a streaming-only album, Chance the Rapper (born as Chancellor Bennett), is a 23 year-old rising star with three mixtape releases under his belt.

Releases all pioneered by none other than himself.

Chance, unlike most big names in the industry, is not signed by any record label, releasing his music on Soundcloud to avoid the restrictions that come with being signed to a huge company.

Not to say that he isn’t wanted by any; he is. Big time. Pagesix reports that the artist is reportedly turning down 10 million dollar offers just to stay out of what he believes is a pointless deal.

“It’s a dead industry,” said Chance to Rolling Stone. “What’s an album these days, anyways? ‘Cause I didn’t sell it, does that mean it’s not an official release?” 

Despite his criticism of labels, he continues to prosper. With 1.39 million followers on Soundcloud and all-star artists like Justin Beiber and Kanye West featuring on his tracks, it doesn’t look like Chance will be slowing down anytime soon.

If you’re interested in seeing Chance live, tickets for his summer tour are currently on sale at ticketmaster.com. He will be making stops in Bristow, Virginia Beach, and Baltimore.

Mike On The Mic’s Top 5 Albums & Songs of 2016

Michael Bamarni | Top Five Albums

  1. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

e3c43867Radiohead’s first release in five years will stand the test of time as being one of their best releases ever. For a band that has been around for over twenty years and with multiple classic albums already in their discography that is quite a great feat.

It also might be their most personal album to date. Thom Yorke’s lyrics throughout are full of sadness and openness not seen by many current artists nowadays. With all that being said the album isn’t just a tear fest, the music’s simplicity keeps the listener fully engaged and there are some crazy string sections, guitar solos, and choir chants to keep you rocking too.

Stand Out Tracks: Burn The Witch, Daydreaming, Identikit, True Love Waits

  1. Frank Ocean – Blonde

frank-oceanOne of the biggest music jokes on social media over the past few years has revolved around the release of Frank Ocean’s follow up album to the wildly successful Channel Orange. Release dates were switched so many times, whether by the man himself or just the media reporting inaccurate information. Finally though, four years after his last album, Blonde was released and it did not disappoint.

Much like Radiohead’s album, Blonde does more by doing less. There are very few songs with actual drumbeats or loud production; instead you get more guitars and pianos. It’s a great release because while it is an R&B album at heart, Ocean is not afraid to explore other genres and sounds. If Ocean’s going to continue to release albums of this high quality, I don’t mind waiting another four years for a follow up.

Stand Out Tracks: Ivy, Self Control, Nights, White Ferrari

  1. The Growlers– City Club

maxresdefaultThis is the album that might get the most polarizing response out of any on the list, but if you give this new Growlers album a proper listen, and maybe even a few more listens after that, you will see why this album is as high on this list as it is.

An album that sounds modern and also extremely reminiscent of 60’s/70’s rock, it gives the listener an incredible mix of funky bass lines, catchy choruses, and somber ballads. Brooks Nielsen’s voice is incredibly unique, and his lyrics are no joke. It may not be the stuff you hear on the radio, or an album you hear much about in general since the truth of the matter is that rock music that is this upfront with its influences isn’t as commercial as it was maybe 20 years ago, but that doesn’t stop the fact that it is still heavy on killer tracks, and few on the filler.

Stand Out Tracks: City Club, I’ll Be Around, When You Were Made, Too Many Times

  1. The 1975 – I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it

the-1975-i-like-it-when-you-sleep-for-you-are-so-beautiful-yet-so-unaware-of-it-2016-officialTake a rock band creating an album over an hour long, plus an album title longer than anything seen in modern music, an album full of instrumental tracks, and that’s being released in the year 2016, what could go wrong? A lot is the answer, especially since it was coming from the same band whose debut album was shut down by many critics for being too poppy and radio friendly just three years prior.

The 1975 went bold, and as what might be the biggest musical surprise of the year, it paid off. The album is a journey that is almost better to listen to in it’s entirety instead of just picking and choosing songs. The lyrics are very self aware but also very poetic. The genre changes are constant and invigorating. Overall this album is fantastic, and even if you’re not the biggest fan of “rock” music, that doesn’t mean this album won’t work for you. It has it all. You’re bound to like some of it. You might even like it when you sleep.

Stand Out Tracks: Love Me, Change of Heart, Somebody Else, The Sound

  1. Kanye West – The Life of Pablo

ca9xf0eweaapibgThis man doesn’t stop. Call him anything you want, but you definitely can’t say he’s lazy. Kanye West had a year for the record books. He released and rereleased the same album at least three times, each time with mixing changes, added tracks, added vocals, etc.

First the album was solely available on Tidal, then eventually went on all the big streaming services (yet there is still no physical copy available.) Then he created a tour stage unlike anything ever seen before. Not only that, but he returned to the Yeezus-era Kanye by going on huge concert rants which while fun at first, ended up being a sign of mental exhaustion along with who knows what else, but here’s the thing, with all that being said…the album is fantastic.

With 20 tracks to its name, it is by no means a quick listen.  That doesn’t stop it from being amazing. It has influences from all of his other albums, while still pushing his sound forward. To some it may not be his best album-there are some tracks here that are really unnecessary, but that’s kind of what makes it work. The album fits the person, a genius, but one with flaws and mistakes that even he can sometimes admit to having. This is Kanye’s White Album. It has a little bit of everything and for the most part, it’s all incredible.

Standout Tracks: Ultralight Beam, 30 Hours, No More Parties in LA, Fade

 

Michael Bamarni | Songs of the Year

  1. Burn The Witch

You ever hear a song for the first time, and think to yourself that you’ve never heard anything like it before? That was how Burn The Witch was for me. By using a string instruments instead of guitars and also building a slow but steady intensity that ends up reaching it’s climax just as the song ends, you never really get a chance to breathe. It’s okay though, because suffocating never sounded so good.

  1. Miracle Aligner

For those who don’t know, Alex Turner is one of the greatest musical minds of the past 10 years. His albums with the Arctic Monkeys show that he not only knows how to make a catchy song, but that he is an incredibly intricate and detailed lyricist who can make you laugh or cry at a moment’s notice. Miracle Aligner, the stand out track from the overall somewhat disappointing second Last Shadow Puppets album is a beautiful track that has an extremely fun chorus and lyrics throughout that make you think how a man who just hit 30 years old can be so lyrically creative.

  1. Somebody Else

Many people thought The 1975 were a joke after their first album. They were even voted worst band by NME back in 2013 so to see them ranked as the number one album of the year by the same magazine is quite incredible. The song on the album that stands out the most is the R&B inspired Somebody Else. It’s on the longer side and is definitely not super loud or energetic, but what it does have going for it are beautiful lyrics and an overall vibe that is hard to describe, but once you hear it you know. It’s almost as if Matt Healy is aware that he has created his own unique sound on this album, and this song in particular does the best job of showing off the sound.

  1. Oblivius

What side you standing on? I haven’t heard Julian Casablancas sing this impassioned on a Strokes song since 2006. Clearly a comment on the current political climate of  mid-2016. He asks the listener to make a decision on what they want out of their country.  Not only do the lyrics stand out, but the breakdown might be the best musical moment of 2016. It builds and builds until you reach that loud chorus once more. Then it ends with a Casablancas yodel. What else could you ask for?

  1. I Feel it Coming

Daft Punk have a gift. The gift is that they make really good songs, and I mean REALLY, REALLY good songs. Sadly, they don’t release much music nowadays. So when Starboy dropped, the lead single from The Weeknd’s new album, and it had (feat. Daft Punk) at the end of the song, it was good news.

I Feel It Coming is a better Get Lucky, and it has Daft Punk written all over it. In an interview with The Weeknd he admitted that the song was finished when he entered the studio and that it was really just a matter of writing lyrics and a melody. While The Weeknd might not be the best lyricist in the world, his voice is so soothing and reminiscent of Michael Jackson, that you can’t help but smile while listening to the track. It’s the song of the summer, guys.

 

Lit&Local: The Strokes’ Valensi, Sheds “New Skin” With CRX Tour

14909901_1667412903570447_7619501183182998757_nNick Valensi, NY-native and Frontman of CRX joins WGMU staffers Jackie Reed and Mikey Barmani in an exclusive phone interview to talk about his fall tour. Known as the guitarist for headlining band The Strokes, having him a part of WGMU is something that Reed and Barmani assumed to not just let go, or “Give [It] Up”, if you will. The album, New Skin (2016), is a cutting-edge presentation, with an abundance of deep basslines and pop undertones, and a diverse expression of creativity reminiscent of discographies’ the band members have built up over the years. Literally an “On Edge” collection of pop hits and colorful mixes, the new album is an experience Valensi will surely enjoy, something that will keep him musically active during his time off with The Strokes.

Below is an interview with Nick Valensi, facilitated by Local Music Director Jackie Reed and Assistant to the Program Director Mikey Barmani:

 

CRX’s “Ways To Fake It”

CRX is performing at U Street Music Hall, Wednesday, November 16th. Tickets are $15, Doors open at 7pm.

The Streets of Laredo and The Gloomies will be opening the show.

Link to show: http://www.ustreetmusichall.com/event/1338683-crx-washington/

Social Media Sites:

Facebook/YouTube: https://www.facebook.com/CRXmusic/?fref=ts / https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHSvaQrqHSVrHuHy6mGmLPQ

Twitter/Instagram: @crxmusic / @crxmusic

Snapchat: @crxmusic

Website: http://www.crxmusic.com/

WALLS Kings Of Leon Album Review by Mikey B.

walls-30Kings of Leon have been around now for quite a while. Their debut album was released all the way back in 2003 when rock music was popular and able to reach pop radio stations. Many radio stations and magazines said they were like the Southern Strokes due to their melodies that could fit perfectly on The Strokes first two albums. They also added twangy guitars and country vocals, making them unique.

The band’s popularity for the first five years came mostly from overseas. They released two more moderately successful albums and maintained enough fame to keep making more records. However, their low-level status wouldn’t last. The band blew up in 2008 when they released two monster songs that got huge radio play around the world. “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody” made Kings of Leon a household name and one of the biggest bands of the year.

Unfortunately for the band, having an album with such successful singles led to a hype that few bands can maintain. Their next album Come Around Sundown was full of half-hearted attempts at creating another rock anthem in the vain of U2. The result was a throwaway album with only a few tracks worthy of checking back on. After that came the 2013 album Mechanical Bull, which was a solid album that combined all of their other albums’ styles into one record. Some of the songs missed the mark, but it showed signs of band improvement.

This October the band released their 7th album, WALLS, which is an acronym for We Are All Like Love Songs, which fits the album very well considering how many slow, love songs there are on the LP. Overall the album is fire… “Sex on Fire”.

The album starts off with the infectious “Waste A Moment”, hitting all the marks that “Sex On Fire” did, while maintaining a chugging guitar riff that shows that rock music is still at their core. Other highlights include “Muchacho”, a slower song which is dedicated to one of the band’s dear friends who recently passed away. It has a beat in the style of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and a guitar solo that wouldn’t sound out of place on a George Harrison album; it’s a combination that you wouldn’t expect to work, but does so well. Another highlight is “WALLS”, the album closer, which pulses at a steady speed that builds in such a slow and gradual way that once you reach the end, you can’t help but be blown away. No song on this album is horrible, but if one track has to be called out I would probably say “Wild.” It isn’t memorable or unique, and does nothing for the album.

Overall, this album might actually be Kings of Leon’s best yet. They no longer sound like they are trying to find themselves, or that they are trying to prove themselves. It might not be an album for everyone, especially those that miss the loud and fast songs of their first two albums. It is full of catchy, somber tracks that make you want to look at WALLS over and over again.

Rating: 4/5

Lit&Local: ErinleBeats’ Release of New EP “Beat EP Vol. I”

ErinleBeatsDavid Erinle (his stage name, ErinleBeats) is a producer from Maryland who strives to become the new face of hip hop. His new EP, “Beat EP Vol. I”, was released last week, and it features a collection of songs reflective of his unique style and musical passion. The EP is a rendition of beats inspired by producers like Kanye West, Travis Scott, 40, and Boi-1da. David formulates his songs based on his musical knowledge, technical skills, and what he finds altogether interesting. As a multi-instrumentalist and music producer, he takes his experiences and transforms his interests into what is now his own created content.

Currently balancing his time as a full-time Mason student, marketing intern, and audio engineer, he believes his devoted priorities in production work will be heard in the clarity of his sound. Songs like “Diss Track”, “Future”, and “Echelon (BONUS) [feat Mom]” are all a part of WGMU’s local music playlist, used by volunteer DJs for live airplay. All songs feature great mixing techniques, crafted with cutting-edge artistry that would impress any new listeners passing through. It’s the kind of music that can be heard in any setting: on the car ride home after a long day, during a study session when concentration is necessary, at a party where everyone is dressed to the nines, etc. Now and in the future, he hopes to reach a greater listenership and influence the music industry through his disk jockeying and technical knowledge. “Beat EP Vol. I” is Erinle securing his spot in the iconic collective of hip hop producers, a far from amateur victory against the musical giants. Easy-going structure, with a mix of his distinct sound, David’s work is a narrative abundant of talent and virtuosity, and his catchy selection of songs will generate energetic audiences full of vivacity and flare.

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/erinlebeats/sets/beat-ep-vol-i

Twitter/Instagram: @daviderinle / @daviderinle

Snapchat: @deadgoliath

Interview with Local Music Director, Jackie Reed:

 

Album Review: Rain and Laura by Wylder

Album-cover-blue-square

Indie-folk band Wylder has continued to impress me with their beautiful and catchy music, and this new album is no exception. Rain and Laura was released about a week ago, and the songs are awesome.

“Sunstroke”, “Bayhouse”, and “At the End (Pt. 2)” are songs that we’ve had on the station, and that listeners have loved. This album only adds to that love. The 10 songs on Rain and Laura are equally relaxing and also make you want to dance.

Songs like “Lantern” and “Snake in the Grass” make you think more, they’re songs you’d want to listen to in a car ride while you’re deep in thought, maybe it’s raining outside (just trying to create a visual here). They’re more relaxing songs, more emotional songs.

Alternatively, songs like “Sunstroke” and “Swells” are more upbeat, dancing songs. While still thought-provoking, they’re more head-bobbing smiling songs, maybe songs to jam to in the car while sun is out (another visual for you). The balance on this album makes it great and fit for whatever mood you’re in. This album is the love child of Mumford and Sons and Death Cab for Cutie. Which in my opinion, is a fabulous thing.

 

Get tickets to their album release show on April 22 here.

Listen to the album on SoundCloud here.

Like Wylder on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and listen to my interview with them last semester.

The Ar-Kaics self-titled album

The Ar-Kaics self-titled album was released in 2014, which means I’m way behind the times. Hailing from Richmond, the Ar-Kaics label themselves as “trogdolyte teanbeat 60’s-style punk”. I label them as the lovechild of the Beatles and the Arctic Monkeys.

The voices and guitar in some songs, such as “Get My Way” and “You’ll Be Mine” heavily reflect that of the Beatles. You can practically hear the teenage rock fans squealing when they perform. Alternatively, other songs such as “Ain’t Gonna Hold Me Down” sound a little more indie-rock, reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys.

Then there are other songs, such as “Be My Baby” and “This Time Tonight” that are completely unique to their own sound, combining emotionally-charged lyrics with hard rock instrumentals. They go from rock, to mellow, to grunge-punk.

However, no matter what way you turn it, the Ar-Kaics music will make you want to bang your head to the music or jump around in circles. They will make you reminisce over other rock bands, then obsess over the songs that sound like nothing else you’ve heard.

Check out the Ar-Kaics on Facebook here, and check out their Bandcamp here.

 

Album Review: Fight Night Underground EP

My last review of this group was before the release of their whole EP. Call Me Back and Follow Through were already released, and both were flawless. The release of Fight Night’s EP Underground comes with three more songs: Living a Lie (ft. ChooKy), Forever, and Keep Me in Your Heart (ft. ian).

Now I don’t know anything about ChooKy, or ian, but god bless their addition to these songs. They would have been great songs regardless, but adding more talent never hurts.

Living a Lie is a song about a relationship falling apart, two people no longer knowing each other. It’s about abuse and how it came between them, about how they aren’t what they were. A super uplifting theme, right? Whatever, it’s really good. The passion behind the singers voice is incredible and will absolutely get you caught up in your feelings (in a good way). This is one of those “post-breakup listen to loudly in your car” kind of songs that sometimes you just really need to hear.

Keep Me in Your Heart starts with a more uplifting beat, then with the artist recognized as “ian” coming in with her stupidly great voice. I don’t know much about her, but I’ll definitely figure that out. The contrast between her voice and singer Andy Gruhin’s is absolutely beautiful. The connection between their lines and their voices is incredibly moving. About the song, music blog Milk Crater says “Keep Me in Your Heart catches your ear from the very first beat and holds on tight until the final vocal run, where it leaves you wanting more.”

Forever is the last addition to this EP, and it’s really pretty. The song starts softer, not as much power as the other ones. It’s about the singer thinking about getting their life together, and hoping everything workds out. Kind of like a lot of us do, especially in college (except maybe with a little less intensity).

“The two have developed a really dope and original sound by combining punk-inspired vocals with lush, electronic-influenced instrumentals.” – Good Music All Day says about Fight Night musicians, Josh Grant and Andy Gruhin.

“With under 3k fans on Soundcloud, Fight Night is the definition of upstart. These early cuts are a sign of big things to come.” – EDMTunes on Fight Night being up and coming.

 

When I hear EDM I want to hear super cool beats, and moving lyrics, which is exactly what this EP delivers. Read my last review on Fight Night here, and download their EP for FREE on their website here.

Review: Oh, Hello with Nick Kroll and John Mulaney

Originating their characters on The Kroll Show on Comedy Central, Nick Kroll and John Mulaney decided to take their two-man show on the road. Oh, Hello features Nick Kroll as Gil Faizon and John Mulaney as George St. Geeland, two older gentlemen from the Upper West Side of New York City. On Gil and George, the New York Times said,

“They are angry, insular, out of touch, egregious cultural stereotypes who perceive the rest of the world in similarly stereotypical terms.

What’s more, they think they’re really funny, which they’re not. Which is exactly what makes them really, really funny.”

This show is essentially a two-man stand-up theatre show. Which sounds confusing, because it’s a really weird concept. They go along a plot and they have some lines, but a lot of it is improv. And it’s absolutely flawless. The fact that these guys can go two hours speaking in these absurd accents, interacting with the audience, and keeping all of their jokes hilarious is something I was not expecting. One hour, maybe an hour and a half, but two hours without losing the crowd is something I wasn’t ready for.

Background knowledge of their characters on the Kroll show is recommended, but not required. I personally did not know much about their characters on the show, but still found the performance to be incredibly funny. Perhaps I’m biased because John Mulaney is my favorite and Nick Kroll is perfection in The League, but perhaps that also means my expectations were set high. Their witty banter, sarcasm, and ability to stay in character kept me laughing for the entirety of the show.

If you have the chance to see this show, do it. If you don’t have the chance, then sorry but you’re certainly missing out.

Up To Eleven – Matt’s Favorite Albums of 2015

My name is Matt, and I do a rock/metal show on WGMU Radio called Up To Eleven. I wrote about my five favorite albums of 2015. They are listed below. Being a companion to my show, this article is only about rock/metal. Sorry, Kendrick fans! Do yourself a favor and read what I have to say, then go buy these albums!

5. Ghost – Meliora ghost-meliora

So much to be said about the theatrical Swedes that are Ghost. Their artistry is represented in their live performances just as much as in their studio recordings – and Meliora has continued this practice. Composed of the enigmatic Papa Emeritus and a groups of Nameless Ghouls, Ghost has once again released a work of art that challenges government, religion, and commercialism. Ghost knows their audience well, giving them more than the average experience with a studio album. The booklet comes with beautiful artwork, accompanying each song with a detailed miniature painting acting as visual aid to the story and interpretation (reason #132 why I still buy CDs). The album is a work of melodic and lyrical force, leaving behind what could be considered “distracting” as far as technicality in doom/black rock. Perhaps the biggest reason this made my Top 5 list is the experience I got after their live performance. Seeing Ghost in costume with all of their stage theatrics gave their music a whole new light (or darkness), and hearing Meliora again after its live performance was like hearing a completely new album. It was a sort of awakening, thanks to the charisma and fluency from Papa Emeritus on stage. I had the pleasure of interviewing a Nameless Ghoul last fall, where we spoke about their artistic vision and execution (found here on wgmuradio.com). While he adds the disclaimer that they are in fact merely entertainment, his description still heightens your interpretation of Ghost’s music and performance art.

In the end, this is an unusual album to be in the “Top 5” since its accompaniment by live performance is what made it stand out. However, if I can’t use my experience with the music as grounds for judgement, is it even worth paying attention to? Listen to Meliora. Go see Ghost live. Listen again. You’re welcome.

Matt’s Favorite Tracks: “Cirice” & “He Is”

Marilyn_Manson_-_The_Pale_Emperor4. Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

“What ever happened to Marilyn Manson?”

This was a question asked to me by a friends mom, who remembered him as the frightening shock-rocker (and media scapegoat) of the late 90s. With a catalogue of blatancy such as Antichrist Superstar and The Golden Age of Grotesque, Manson certainly has plenty of tracks preaching everything your parents wanted to keep from you in grade school, from sex to violence and everything in between. Flash forward to 2015. Manson is 46, he’s gained some weight, and no one is scared of him anymore. We’ve been exposed to Miley on a wrecking ball and…well…whatever it is that Gaga wears. You can’t shock us anymore. So what does he do? He completely flips his approach. Enter The Pale Emperor. Manson brings in strong essences of Bowie, combined with an incredible dosage of blues influence. Distinguishable drum and guitar tones. Kiss the nu-metal goodbye, and feast your ears on my (second) biggest surprise of 2015. This album is the closest to Marilyn Manson you have ever been, after two decades of artistry. The album artwork features Manson in a buttoned jacket, with his face blurred out. This summarizes the album perfectly. It’s not about what he looks like anymore, what he stands for. It’s about a new age of Marilyn Manson, one where the music takes you by storm. No longer are you hearing an agenda. You hear a person, and one who has a lot to tell you. All hail The Pale Emperor.

Matt’s Favorite Tracks: “Warship My Wreck” & “The Mephistopheles Of Los Angeles”

3. Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und DrangLamb_of_God_-_VII_Sturm_und_Drang

Heavy metal band Lamb of God has had quite the last few years. Back in 2012, frontman Randy Blythe was imprisoned in the Czech Republic on manslaughter charges and had to stand trial. Once released, the band went on hiatus. Blythe took a long period of reflection. When they returned, they crafted what is their best album in ten years. Opening with “Still Echoes”, Sturm Und Drang begins to tell the story of Blythe’s thoughts while he sat in a European prison cell, knowing his life as he knew it could be forever changed. Acting as catharsis, the album releases his fears, anger, and sorrows track by blistering track. On top of Blythe’s ever insightful lyrics, he is accompanied by some of the hardest-hitting musicians in the business. Each song is filled with furious drum patterns and guitar riffs. This creates a sound that, combined with Blythe’s coarse, passioned screams, is and only can be Lamb of God, the best band in metal right now. You can even hear clean vocals, showing a different side of the roughened frontman in “Overlord”, in addition to guest vocals from Chino Moreno (Deftones) in “Embers”. This album brings an energy and passion that is not easily found in popular metal music anymore, as well as difficulty finding any flaws.

Matt’s Favorite Tracks: “511” & “Overlord”

2. Gary Clark Jr – The Story of Sonny Boy Slimgary-clark-jr-sonny-boy-slim-album-listen

This list acts as a companion to “Up To Eleven”, a rock and heavy metal show. GCJr’s new album is rooted in rock music…and then takes you places you have never been before. Opening up with the familiar blues rock sound of “The Healing”, Sonny Boy Slim then guides you through a tale of folk, soul, R&B, and more. Even months after its release, it gets better with every listen. You find a new vocal harmony in place, a guitar lick so very faint in the background. If Clark didn’t impress us enough with his technical skills on Black & Blu and Gary Clark Jr. Live, he gives us the gift of beautifully crafted music that melts down the idea of genres and puts it all into one piece. Keep an eye on him, because he’s taking the world by storm with his work.

Matt’s Favorite Tracks: “The Healing” & “Wings” (Honestly, every song on this album is a masterpiece. Buy the whole album. Listen to it over and over again.)

1. Bring Me The Horizon – That’s The Spiritthats-the-spirit-55bd3aab74242

I got into BMTH in 2009, just after they released the blistering metalcore full-length Suicide Season. If you told me then that they would release an album that would receive mainstream radio play and contain electronic arena-rock anthems, I would have laughed in your face. Remember when I said The Pale Emperor was the second biggest surprise of 2015? That’s The Spirit is number one. It also happens to be my favorite album of the year. Musically, they have grown into a completely different band than how they got their start. The addition of eerie textures, boisterous group vocals, and electronic samples couldn’t have done more for BMTH and their music. Oli Sykes has turned to clean vocals, softly hitting high notes while bringing melody into his passioned screams. The album takes you all over as you hear emotional ballads, hard-hitting-screw-you-let’s-all-jump anthems, and even poppy tunes with dance beats. Syke’s lyrics have skyrocketed in maturity, dealing with familiar subjects such as addiction, loss, self-loathing, and pleads for help, but in an entirely new way. Plan on hearing this album a LOT during Up To Eleven, and you can probably plan on hearing it in other places such as movies, television, and maybe even on store speakers while you’re shopping. Well done, lads. Well done.

Matt’s Favorite Tracks – “Doomed” & “Happy Song”

Do you dig the music featured on this list? Do you disagree entirely and want to express your frustration towards the writer? You can tweet Matt at @UpTo11_GMU and tell him what you think. You can hear all of these artists and more on Up To Eleven, back on air in just two weeks, brought to you by WGMU Radio.