Lit&Live with Luke James Shaffer

By: Kate Klajbor and Jackie Reed

American singer-songwriter Luke James Shaffer stopped by WGMU’s on-air studio to reflect on his experiences making covers and original songs, tour life, living in New York and DC, current projects, and future plans. He will be performing at Volition’s Open Mic on March 8.

Follow Luke James Shaffer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their official website for updates.

To stream/buy Luke James Shaffer’s music, tune in to his iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, and YouTube pages.

Feature Photo By (Luke James Shaffer/Official Website).


Volition Open Mic – Music Industry Night

Featuring Mannywellz, Luke James Shaffer, & Sydney Franklin

FREE FOOD & SWAG

Thurs, Mar 8

7:00pm-10:00pm

GMU’s JC Bistro // Fairfax, VA

Lit&Live with Mannywellz

 By: Jackie Reed

Nigerian-born and Maryland-based artist Mannywellz stopped by WGMU’s on-air studio to share insight about his debut album Soulfro (2018), tour life, his DACA experience, and future plans. He will be performing at Union Stage on March 5, and at Volition’s Open Mic on March 8.

For interview and in-studio links, go to https://soundcloud.com/wgmu/sets/litlive-with-mannywellz/.

Follow Mannywellz on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and their official website for updates.

To stream/buy Mannywellz’ music, tune in to his iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and YouTube pages.

Feature Photo By (Mannywellz/Official Website).


Union Stage & Songbyrd Present: Mannywellz

GA: $15

Tickets

Mon, Mar 5

Doors 6:00pm

Union Stage // Washington, DC

Volition Open Mic – Music Industry Night

Featuring Mannywellz, Luke James Shaffer, & Sydney Franklin

FREE FOOD & SWAG

Thurs, Mar 8

7:00pm-10:00pm

GMU’s JC Bistro // Fairfax, VA

Tyler, The Creator at The Anthem

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

Photo By (Sasha Toophanie/WGMU).

On February 25, all hell broke loose.


By: Jackie Reed

On February 25, all hell broke loose.

The Anthem hosted an epic, mind-numbing show with Taco (of Odd Future), Vince Staples, and Tyler, The Creator.

Taco shared a DJ set of hip-hop tracks that embody radio charts today – think Drake’s “God’s Plan”, Kendrick Lamar’s “Backstreet Freestyle”, and Goldlink’s “Crew”. What a fantastic start.

About 20 minutes after Taco’s set, a red microwave countdown pierced the stage. When the countdown reached the end, Vince Staples came through. The Compton rapper dropped tunes off his most recent album, Big Fish Theory (2017). In-between songs, news gathering footage mingled on the screen. Video static filled the auditorium inevitably, like white noise. Lyrics and chants from “745”, “Yeah Right” (feat. Flume, Kendrick Lamar, Kučka, and SOPHIE), and “BagBak” echoed in the crowd, along with older tracks like “Prima Donna” (feat. A$AP Rocky) and “Norf Norf”. To conclude, Staples’ live set was atypical, offbeat, and immeasurable in style.

By that time it was 9:30p.m. Upon Vince Staples’ opening, stage crew adjusted the set, prepping for Tyler. Though the stage was small, its colors and natural elements truly brought it to life, even from afar. Green turf wrapped along the floor and realistic trees were placed kindly at each direction.

At around 10:05p.m., all was dim. The cinematic interlude of “Where This Flower Blooms” (feat. Frank Ocean) started to loop. And then there he was. Tyler, The Creator. That is when all hell broke loose. Time gone stagnant. There was nothing but joy, but anxiety, but love for his appearance. Thousands of music lovers sang along in unison, to “Where This Flower Blooms” and to those following. Though he only dropped a couple verses from “Pothole” (feat. Jaden Smith) and “Boredom” (feat. Rex Orange County and Anna Of The North), the flow was still there. At points, he continued his rap flow without musical accompaniment – just the sound of thousands of voices following along. Along with his expected Flower Boy tunes, fans got a listening glimpse from the archives, with icons like “SMUCKERS” (feat. Lil Wayne and Kanye West), “Tamale”, and “IFHY” (feat. Pharrell Williams).

During breaks, he addressed his mood to the crowd – he was sick yet continued to thrive. Likewise, his character came through when acknowledging everyone in the crowd – those in the pit, in the stands, and in transit (those in attempt of meeting him by pushing through the already crammed space).

Without an encore, his send-off was “See You Again” (feat. Kali Uchis). A fitting departure.

Overall, Tyler, The Creator is an unconventional character that’s made a name for himself in the hip-hop industry over the years. He is best known for his connections to Odd Future (aka OFWGKTA), his GOLF fashion line, his silly YouTube videos, his artist collaborations, and recently, his Grammy-nominated rap album Flower Boy (2017). Last night at The Anthem was one for the books. It was a collection of everything that Tyler is made of, and so much more.

 

 

Jordan Rakei at Union Stage

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Photo By (Jackie Reed/WGMU).

Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.


By: Jackie Reed

Jordan Rakei performed at Union Stage on Saturday, Feb. 24. His show was a jazzy set which emulated his most recent album release, Wallflower (2017).

Moroccan-singer Dounia opened up the show at around 10 p.m. She sang tracks off of her debut album, Intro To (2017). Her vocals surpass hazy tones and youthful attitudes, similar to singers Halsey and Willow Smith. Her cheerful and bopping performance was complete with fresh songs like “Status”, “Casablanca”, and “So Cool”. Dounia impressed a relatively tame crowd, and audience members ultimately came to appreciate her bubbly, high-energy character when she took the spotlight.

Thereafter, Jordan Rakei kickstarted his show. This was his first appearance in Washington, D.C. and at Union Stage. Though Rakei is well-known for his collaborations with artists like Disclosure and Tom Misch, this show exclusively fronted his own works, rather than reminiscing along to his previously successful singles with such deejays.

His R&B vocals share chords with other soul artists, like Sam Smith, Sampha, and Khalid. In this performance, Rakei shared Wallflower intimately and with a more streamline interlude of jazz, guitar, and piano-driven songs. Rakei opened with “Eye To Eye”, following with other tracks like “Goodbyes” and “Chemical Coincidence”. Overall, Rakei’s performance as a multi-genre artist excels as he continues to build himself around a community of music lovers that actually care and take notice.

 

Album Review: MGMT’s Little Dark Age (2018)

mgmt1

MGMT show they aren’t done writing beautifully trippy pop songs.

Top Tracks: Little Dark Age, Me and Michael, TSLAMP, Hand it Over

Rating 9.1/10


By: Mikey Bamarni

MGMT did something a little different when they released their first single “Little Dark Age”, the title track, to the world back in October. They went 80’s goth. The decade is clearly making a huge comeback, but the band went about it a little darker, with eerie lyrics and musical tones and a music video inspired by The Cure. It is their most pop friendly single since they released the now-classic Oracular Spectacular (2007) singles 10 years prior.

Two months later, they released the much trippier song “When You Die”, reminiscent of Congratulations (2010) – another “pop” song that has enough originality and MGMT weirdness to make it stand out. The next pre-album single is the beautiful and Beach Boys influenced “Hand it Over.” It’s the slow jam off the album and perhaps the best track of the bunch.

Other fantastic songs from the record are “Me and Michael,” which feels like it was George Michael inspired, due to its vocal production, delivery, and the name George Michael. It’s destined to be a hit. The hilariously-meta music video even predicts that it will be popular. There is also the groovy and psychedelic “TSLAMP” or “Time Spent Looking At My Phone.” This is a definite jam with lyrics that may hit some a little too close to home.

With all that said, the album isn’t perfect. “Days That Got Away” leaves something to be desired, and at times the album can sound a bit monotonous.

Overall Little Dark Age shines immensely. It’s a great introductory to the band for new listeners, as well as those who enjoyed the pop appeal of Oracular Spectacular and the experimentation of Congratulations.

Feature Photo By (MGMT/Facebook). 

STRFKR at 9:30 Club

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

Photo By (Jesse Benitez/WGMU Radio).

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.


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.

 

Album Review: Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods (2018)

 JTDespite a horrible album roll out, Man of the Woods 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.

Feature Photo By (Justin Timberlake/Official Website). 

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.