Aural Wes resident cutie Alex Richwine shows us what he got at the WESU record fair.Read More
last weekend before fall break and there’s some good good music happening on High St!! we’re talkin Earth, Movement, Alpha. Big stuff.
Sargasso // Flaccid Ashbacks
200 High. Friday 930 PM
Private Facebook Event. (dm Aural Wes on fb if you need to be invited)
Sargasso is Maria Campos Saadi, Thomas Hagen, Noah Goodman, and Soledad Teja—four young people from three cities on two continents. On their EP Inlets, they present a mix of alternative, pop rock, and lo-fi garage rock, translated into concise songs full of warmth, sparkle, and ~jazz~.
Vibrant, melodious, rock&roll, music,
Renata Zeiguer // Saint Something // SOUP
Earth House Saturday 9PM
Renata Zeiguer is a Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter. Her debut album Old Ghost is the sound of someone finding and losing herself in the endless dance of fear and forgiveness. With secretly wise melodic constructions, she tempts the listener toward forbidden insights, resurrecting her childhood fascination with classical and jazz music. The ghosts of Ravel, Debussy, and Gershwin run through her veins, whirling with Billie Holiday, Os Mutantes, The Pixies, Yo La Tengo and The Beatles.
Saint Something has a band name that’s like you’re trying to think of the rest of St. Vincent’s name but you can’t remember it. But they’re better than St. Vincent (or at least better than that last album she put out) !!
SOUP - Janak with shifting cast of instruments and samples. This time ft. Wurlitzer.
Like a season of High Maintenance or that one episode of Master of None, MICHELLE’s debut album HEATWAVE is a love letter to NYC; “more like a collection of stories than one overarching narrative.” MICHELLE is the project of Charlie Kilgore and Julian Kaufman, with vocals and songwriting courtesy of Jamee Lockard, Layla Kuriloff, Isa Reyes, Sofia D’Angelo, Emma Lee, Rix Chan, and Aidan Ludlam. Claiming to be more than just another bedroom pop project, MICHELLE spent two summer weeks crafting the songs on HEATWAVE in Julian’s bedroom, just after finishing their first year at college. Within each track, MICHELLE captures “snapshots of youth in a New York summer, all immediately recognizable to those who’ve lived them.”
The opening track “GET OFF UR PHONE” is a criticism of our generation’s obsession with phones that doesn’t come off as stodgy or distant. The track embodies the frustration of someone whose date won’t get off Snapchat, or the oddness of organizing your social life around group chats. The song addresses our age’s uneasiness with social media, like its creepiness—“don’t show your location, keep it to yourself”—and rejects its artificiality: “tryin’ to get connected, I don’t need no Wi-Fi.” The track’s subtle orchestration fits the song perfectly - a melody like a dial tone repeats throughout the piece; “hello, hello” echoes quietly in the background.
Romance courses through HEATWAVE in songs like “LOVE UR NAME” and “STUCK ON U”, albeit in different forms. “LOVE UR NAME” is sweet and ballad-y, about that moment you admit you like someone and hope they feel the same. “STUCK ON U”, the catchiest song on the album, is a clever ode to summertime in the city, smoothly drawing comparisons between a summer fling and New York: “Wish I could say goodbye but no, I’m stuck on you.” It’s not strictly a love song - more like a love/hate song, with complaints like having “only satellites to wish upon”. The track combines electronic beats with jazzy piano riffs that sound deceptively simple. It could have gone on a minute longer. Be sure to check out the music video for “STUCK ON U”, which was filmed, directed, edited, and animated by Aural Wes’ Manny Unger.
HEATWAVE embodies feelings wrapped up in a time and place, instead of a clear storyline. “IDEAL” feels like a fever dream, opening as wishful thinking about the ‘ideal’ summer fling: “Kissin’ by the fountain in the moonlight”. Sweet, right? Abruptly it shifts to a weirder version of an escapist fantasy, featuring a sound bite of someone rejecting the rat race to join the rats. It’s bizarre and just odd enough to jolt you out of the smooth dreamlike quality of the rest of the album.
Overall, HEATWAVE tracks span a wide stylistic area without losing the overarching feel of the record. “MANGO” has a sexy, bossa nova vibe, while “THE BOTTOM” would fit in as dance pop, and you could find “KIP” playing at a jazz club. In other words, the album defies strict genre categorization, surprising you in each track with an attractive mix of electronic and acoustic instrumentation.
-Irene Westfall and Allison Hsu
Every food can be categorized as a soup, salad, or sandwich.
Princess Nokia - “ABCs of New York”
“This is the melting pot, and the soup is never cold.” - Princess Nokia
Television - “Carried Away”
Picture this: it is last week. It is raining, no, pouring. You are eating soup (tomato from Red and Black, what else?), wondering how you have the Sunday scares on a Tuesday. The Tuesday scares? This song comes on shuffle and it’s unclear if you feel better because of the soup or the song. Or maybe you don’t? In any case, you get carried away.
Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky - “Potato Salad”
My little Jewish heart sang when I heard Tyler released a song called "Potato Salad." And then I listened and realized my favorite bagel side salad plays a pretty minor role. Even so, I think this song is capital-C Cool. The lyrics showcase the best of Tyler and Rocky, fast-paced and witty as ever. Many references to Wang$ap points to more collaboration in the near future, and I can't wait. Peep the music video below for some SICK word art.
Also Jaden Smith casually hopping into the backseat is a permanent mood.
Bill Withers - “Sweet Wanomi”
This song is so freaking wholesome it’s a warm bowl of soup on a cold ass day.
Bombay Bicycle Club - “How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep”
A beautiful song from London-based band Bombay Bicycle Club, who were really making their best songs when this one came out in the early 2010s. The club might be disbanded by now though, who knows. Most of their songs, but this one especially, have such an ethereal and floaty but also poppy/dancey sound, catchy yet confusing. From the verb "swallow," I'm assuming that sleep here is being considered a soup; sandwiches and salads are just a little too crunchy, and dreams always seem made of some soft soupy substance.
Cherry Glazerr - “Grilled Cheese”
From being the Most Reliable Option at Usdan lunch to a much anticipated drunken snack on a weekend night, grilled cheese is a staple on Wesleyan's campus. Clem Creevy of Cherry Glazerr shares this fondness for cheese and carbs in the song "Grilled Cheese", off of their second album Haxel Princess: "Try and steal a bite / We'll get in a fight".
Aural Wes is back with the Weekend Preview!!! (Did you miss us?) Get pumped for Friday shows at MAC650, Earth House, and 200 High (fka Movement House fka Music House fka Eclectic) and a v special show on Wednesday at Earth House.
Lady Pills are Boston-based babes making sad music you can dance your heart out to!!
Dead Tooth (fka taotss)
Spit-take is a 3-piece DIY punk band outta New Haven, CT.
MEG is playing again after not playing for a long time. There will be Money, Energy, and Gumption without question.
The Draculas will NOT suck yr blood but they will play some raucous tunes and Declan WILL run around shouting things. A live spectacle. Crazy energy
Son of Paper // cicero Presley // Dontay // DJ Fuck What’s My Name
MoveHo Friday 10PM
Son of Paper is Kyle Jae Shin. He's a 4th generation Chinese-American and 2nd generation Korean-American and all about his origins. His MC name is "Son of Paper" because he's great grandmother came to America via Angel Island as a "Paper Daughter" in the early 20th century. He finds great pride in having Asian-American roots.
Dontay and a few friends singing some soulful songs. Expect chords and laughing, smiles and enchanting. Feel free to sing along because Kai loves to repeat stuff.
DJ Fuck What’s My Name - It’s Tomás. That’s his name
Earth House Wednesday 8PM
Dear Nora is the nom-de-plume of West Coast songwriter Katy Davidson. After a string of cult-beloved records and decade of touring from the late 90's through the aughts, Davidson retired the Dear Nora moniker in 2008. As the 2017 reissue of their 13-year-old record, Moutain Rock, received great acclaim, they revived the Dear Nora name, forming a new backing band, and touring the US. Spurred by the momentum, Davidson decided to create the first album of new Dear Nora material in a decade, Skulls Example. It was released in May on Orindal Records.
Summer is officially over, but before we break out the corduroy and pumpkin-flavored beverages, Aural Wes looks back at our favorite albums from summer 2018: Yes, the pics ARE hyperlinked :)
Mitski - Be the Cowboy
Mitski’s 5th album Be the Cowboy creates a cutting sense of heartbreak embedded with raw musical power. Could we expect anything less? The first single off the album, “Geyser” reminded us immediately of Mitski’s ability to develop a deeply emotional musical experience in just 2 and a half minutes of her haunting voice backed by garage-rocky instrumentals. “Nobody,” showed an unexpectedly poppy side to Mitski with 70’s disco vibes and a hypnotic yet catchy chorus. My favorite song on the album, “Old Friend” was nostalgic and heart-wrenching, a beautiful homage to the solace of diners. Overall, Be the Cowboy was a wonderfully listenable album, perfectly combining her indie-rock sensibilities with her powerful ballad-ready voice.
Parquet Courts - Wide Awaaaaake!
Parquet Courts weren’t always the extra-political, eccentric punk band with soft-rock sensibilities that they are now. Their first record was filled with abrasive Ramones-inspired tunes that made up for a lack of melody with a ferocious intensity and a jangly guitar sound that managed to evoke the arid landscapes of their Texas beginnings. Fast forward 5 years and they’re working with legendary producer Danger Mouse on an album that sounds like the first compelling statement of the contemporary state of punk since…..Jay Reatard?? The tunes sound great, due in large part to the nimble bass-work—at times reminiscent of the glorious dance-punk DFA Records was putting out in the ‘00s—as well as the versatility the band showcases throughout the record. But in interviews leading up to the record’s release, singer Andrew Savage said that the songwriting was informed to a large extent by the harsh and unidealized themes on the album, which I think really sets this apart from the pack this year. Even on tracks like “Before the Water Gets Too High”, the lyrics are portraying a grave state of affairs—namely, the rapid onset of climate change—and chiding the political elite for their complicity. It may sound more like a dub-inspired haze than a punk song, but it carries the torch of punk music far better than most do [Bad Brains would be proud, i think]. The new “punk” is drawing attention to the manifold oppressions in society, while at the same time mocking those who think themselves high-minded for being aware of these social injustices, which the band does hilariously on the album’s title track.
Wide Awake! is truly a contemporary punk album too, an album filled with the existential dread of late capitalism and consequently, a mix of anger and restlessness. The boys of Parquet Courts have read the stats, watched the news, and seen the people around them succumb to the cruel forces of urban life; they know how absolutely screwed we are as a society. The reaction to this somber revelation often amounts to anger (“Almost Had to Start a Fight”), or sometimes a forceful call to action (“Total Football”), but it always leads to songs with something to say, which is why the melodies and riffs are on-point throughout the duration of the record. You certainly can’t write a song like “Total Football” without a subject matter as grandiose as the need for a massive, liberatory revolution against the powers that be (as well as a staunch anti-Tom Brady stance that we can all surely get on board with). Parquet Courts are not singling themselves out when they say “we are conductors of sound, heat, and energy”; this is a characterization of the working class, the everyday person, the power of collective action, and it’s clear that these crucial themes awaken a level of songwriting prowess not seen before from PC.
KIDS SEE GHOSTS - S/t
June saw the release of a seven track self-titled album by Kids See Ghosts, a project from the minds of Kanye West and Kid Cudi. KSG is as easy to listen to as it is deeply emotional. This intensity comes as no surprise to longtime listeners of both Kanye and Cudi—and neither does the clear distinction of stylistic differences. Nonetheless, the product synthesizes their best elements damn near perfectly. It’s impressive how this album balances the artists’ talents. Cudi’s signature sounds and delivery do more than hold up to Kanye’s raw power and sampling; they make it better.
Kids See Ghosts debuted a mere week after the release of ye. This was just the beginning of a Kanye-heavy summer, packed with heavy production and passion running high. KSG is, by design, in conversation with ye—in fact, “Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)” is a direct parallel of “Ghost Town,” off of ye. The two share not only a title, but several production patterns. No surprise, as Cudi is actually featured on “Ghost Town.” A standout track for me is “Reborn,” a brief respite from the general ominous tone of the album. Speaking of movin’ forward, I can’t wait to see what the duo churns out next—I expect to see it sooner than later.
Blood Orange - Negro Swan
On Negro Swan, Blood Orange (Dev Hynes) delves into his own self in a redefined manner. The record ranks as the #1 “riding the bus home in August” set of tracks, perfect for a late night in the summer. Hynes takes an introspective take on this newest album, stressing his own insecurities, hinting towards his depression and childhood turmoil. In its completeness, Hynes’s album is genuine like no other; it makes a statement in veering from the stereotype of how black male musicians are so often portrayed in hip-hop and R&B. Instead, Blood Orange’s newest work is exposed, cohesive, and heartfelt. In addition, Negro Swan marks Hynes’s first use of features on his albums. Hynes’s guests are not exactly “underground”; he impressively features Diddy and A$AP Rocky on “Hope” and “Chewing Gum,” respectively.
Negro Swan does many things right--it can be praised for its rhythmic mastery, variety of instruments and sounds, contemplative thought, and its soft nature (among other things). Most of all, Blood Orange’s lyrical prowess stands out; he traces his album with beautifully-thoughtful verses: “Sixteen-year old boy/To feel so numb it’s deafening,” Hynes sings on “Orlando”. On “Charcoal Baby,” he writes “No one wants to be the odd one out at times/No one wants to be the negro swan/Can you break sometimes,” diving into personal issues with his outward persona. His album is interwoven with the words of Janet Mock, a transgender writer and activist. The track “Family” features Mock responding to the question of ‘what family is,’ responding that she “think[s] of family as community”...“I think of the spaces where you don't have to shrink yourself/Where you don't have to pretend or to perform/You can fully show up and be vulnerable.” Timely, political, and contemplative, Negro Swan tells the story of Blood Orange’s own hardships and the vulnerability inherent to his musical and personal identity.
Snail Mail - Lush
Snail Mail’s debut album Lush was a summer album appropriate for multiple occasions, whether you felt a little somber or were looking for contagious guitar instrumentals appropriate for bopping around with friends. Lindsey Jordan takes her listeners through a painful romance with “green eyes.” In “Pristine,” she expresses anger over parties, weekend after weekend, with her significant other, feeling looked over and asking in her chorus, “Don’t you like me for me?” In “Heat Wave” and “Stick” she continues to express frustration. “Green eyes” cannot commit to Jordan like Jordan commits to her. In “Full Control,” she realizes that love should never be this frustrating. She chooses to love herself instead of waiting for someone to love her back.
On the surface, Lush may sound like another album about teenage love and angst, but Jordan clearly demonstrates that she is a strong-willed, passionate, nineteen year old female indie rocker who can convey profound emotion and supply strong instrumentals. Keep it coming, Lindsey!
Teyana Taylor - K.T.S.E.
“I want my name to be a household product.”
Prior to the release of K.T.S.E. (short for Keep That Same Energy), I had not heard of Teyana Taylor despite her being featured on one of my all-time favorite albums, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. K.T.S.E. sets itself apart from the other albums in Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. summer series with its soulful R&B sounds (reminiscent of Old Kanye).
In many of her songs, Taylor sings about love, sexuality, and vulnerability, and her airy vocals are interspersed with signature Kanye samples. The combination of laser pew pew pew noises and samples from GQ’s “I Do Love You” in “Issues/Hold On” especially stand out, as well as the strings that accompany Taylor’s powerful verses in “Rose in Harlem”. The highlight of K.T.S.E., however, is the closing track “WTP” which hearkens back to the 1980s Harlem ballroom scene, sampling dialogue from the documentary Paris is Burning and Ellis D.’s classic “Work This Pussy”.
While there are some more disappointing moments in the album (“3Way” is easily skippable and Kanye’s verse in “Hurry” is cringeworthy to say the least), Taylor describing her partner’s premature ejaculation in “Hurry” as “rocket-rocket-rocket-rocket ship blast like it’s Jimmy Neutron” makes it all worth it.
Father John Misty - God’s Favorite Customer
Father John Misty’s newest album, God’s Favorite Customer, features the haunting melodies, folky accompaniment, and smooth crooning we’ve come to expect from him. This album, inspired by Tillman’s struggles with depression, often strikes a self-deprecating, brutally honest tone about the tolls that mental illness takes on him and his relationships. A good example of this, “Please Don’t Die” alternates between Tillman’s and his wife’s perspective narrating the lyrics. As he realizes the effect his depression and suicidal ideation has on her, she begs him, “please don’t die.” She doesn’t go easy on him, either (or he doesn’t go easy on himself, considering that he’s really writing this): “Oh my god, you’re so naive / You’ll leave this world in a drunken heave / Who’ll make the arrangements, baby, them or me?” This subtle lyric, referring to Tillman’s own funeral arrangements, is Father John Misty at his most morbid and clever.
If you’re in a lighter mood, try listening to “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All” for some comically unorthodox metaphors about love (“like a pervert on a crowded bus / this glare of love bears down on me”); or “Mr. Tillman”, which was inspired by the two months Tillman spent in a hotel writing this album and losing his mind. (This one’s pretty dark, too, come to think of it.)
Despite the overall quality of God’s Favorite Customer, it has a few shortcomings. Father John Misty remains stuck in his own head - gone is the political commentary prevalent in Fear Fun (2012), his best album to date (in my humble opinion). In that same vein, the album lacks contrast - each song has, at most, a soft-rock feel, but nothing you could swing your hips to. So if you want to chill out and commiserate about life’s struggles, let Father John Misty’s gorgeous melodies sweep you away.
The Internet - Hive Mind
Hive Mind is like the irresistible, suavé individual you see on the other side of the room at a party. The piece steals the show for the #1 “on the way to the party” album of Summer 2018. The Internet’s fourth studio record marks a progression for the band’s discography towards a new type of sound, one that will serve as a guide for the group’s predecessors. This album is undeniably sexy; it has beats that will make you want to dance in an elevator, lyrics from Syd and Steve Lacy that will make you want sing to a mirror, and guitar solos from Patrick Paige II that will make you want to do nothing else but pick up an air guitar with your friends.
In 2017 and 2018, members of The Internet took some time off to work on their own projects. Syd introduced us to her world with Fin, Steve Lacy made love to our headphones with Steve Lacy’s Demo, Matt Martians got funky on The Drum Chord Theory, Patrick Paige II explored his soulful voice on Letters of Irrelevance, and Christopher Smith did ...something... on LOUD. After the release of these masterful, soul-finding projects, The Internet’s comeback is syncopated and smoother than any record the band had produced prior.
Hive Mind gets rolling with the gentle chords of bass and Syd’s breathtaking voice on “Come Together.” The band displays itself with a newfound confidence from the get-go: the members construct a jazzy beat on “Roll (Burbank Funk),” followed by the seducing pleas of Syd on “Come Over,” and a classic groovy hit on “La Di Da” where Steve Lacy confesses that he “just came to dance/I’m on the move.” The album takes a moody turn with “Stay the Night,” where Syd dips into her gentle self, continuing into the feel of a softly-lit bedroom scene. “Bravo,” “Mood,” and “Next Time/Humble Pie” continue in a melodramatic, post-breakup trend, revealing the more vulnerable side of Hive Mind. “It Gets Better (With Time)” escapes from the mid-album funk and takes on a stronger, powerful persona that segues into the memorable beats on “Look What U Started.” “Wanna Be” acts as a stabilizing interlude before the album finishes on a loud, self-assured note with “Beat Goes On” and “Hold On”. The final songs of the album reiterate the ultimate cohesive and multi-faceted boldness that has become inherent to the sound of The Internet. Hive Mind marks the successful collaboration of five wildly talented individuals reuniting after some time alone. Most importantly, it will make your pregame.
Real Friends - Composure
Composure, the third album from Chicago-based pop-punk band Real Friends, is arguably the band’s most progressive and most musically evolved release. The album comes about a year after lead singer Dan Lambton suddenly took time off from the band to focus on himself as his struggles with bipolar disorder continued to worsen. Composure highlights many of the trials Dan faced, ranging from anxiety, loneliness, and losing loved ones, as well as how his bandmates reacted to Dan’s mental illness. Overall, the lyrics on this album are more mature than previous albums and EPs, and the songs demonstrate the healing process for those struggling with mental illness. Composure also differs from other Real Friends releases as there are no slow songs on the 32 minute album.
For me, the song that sticks out the most is “Get By”. This song in particular highlights the high times of Dan’s life and how he truly felt that writing and getting back into music helped him work through his conflicts. The song is the happiest on the album and a good contrast to many of the other songs. I had the privilege of seeing Real Friends live on the day the album was released. I bought a signed copy of the CD from the guys in the band, and heard many of the new songs performed for the first time. The album is amazing live, and when mixed with songs from older albums, makes for an incredible live performance. Give this album a listen!
Joey Dosik - Inside Voice
You really can’t beat Joey Dosik and a piano. Dosik’s first album Inside Voice is a perfect contemporary take on the full spectrum of soul, with notes of gospel, R&B, and everything in-between. Best known for his collaborations as songwriter and instrumentalist with neo-funk group Vulfpeck (and for being a nice guy), Dosik’s smooth vocals and groovy melodies shine through in his solo work. His music exemplifies the art of minimalist funk arrangements with big nods to the traditional soul of Marvin Gaye and Otis Redding, but still presents a modern twist, all of which will draw in fans old and new.
Title track “Inside Voice” is undoubtedly sultry and dreamy, driven by snapping fingers and a fantastic string section. Dosik draws from more aspects of pop with duet “Don’t Want It to Be Over,” which completely makes you want to get in a cheesy dance battle with your ex in a mid-century modern apartment. The piano riff in “In Heaven” is irresistibly bright and bouncy, whereas ballads “Grandma Song” and “Emergency Landing” slow things down with beautifully stripped down arrangements. No one’s complaining with the album’s conclusion, the fifth version of “Game Winner,” one of Dosik and Vulfpeck’s most popular tracks. Joey Dosik brings innovative and suave musicianship to the field with Inside Voice for a great debut album.
Playboi Carti - Die Lit
On the surface, Playboi Carti may seem to be your run-of-the-mill, mindless trapper. He exudes the same sort of bottomless braggadocio with which his contemporaries have stumbled through the doors of pop culture. Coming up through A$AP Rocky and various other connections following his move to New York City, Jordan Carter made his breakthrough with the hypnotic “Magnolia”, a swerving, trance-inducing ballad of drug-running and self-pronouncements akin to everything else we have heard from the rap world throughout the past 25 years. However, if we abandon judgement just long enough to listen to “Long Time - Intro,” the first track on Die Lit, then we see why Playboi Carti is the enigmatic genius that he is. His flows, his interplay with the woozy beats of Pierre Bourne, the sheer bravery to utter a line like “I fuck yo bitch like a tick”, everything about him, all make for a wildly enjoyable album filled with one-liners, and beats made for jumping off a building, just like the album cover. “Choppa Don’t Miss” with Young Thug is rapid and wistful, “RIP” makes me want to through my self through a burning building, and “Fell in Luv” makes me want to marry myself and then divorce myself. In sum, Die Lit is an album not made to be experienced through an album review.
Aminé - ONEPOINTFIVE
REVIEWFORYOU: Aminé is a GENIUS when it comes to his career, hear me out. He turned his one hit wonder “Caroline” into a legitimate career with savvy song drops culminating in GOODFORYOU, an album filled with equal parts artistry and songs that slap. Despite clearly trending towards songs with meaning, Aminé is very aware that bangers hold an audience. ONEPOINTFIVE, the EPLPMixtapeAlbum, is meant to fulfill that desire. It is a halfway point between GOODFORYOU and whatever well-crafted project comes next (it’s right there in the name). The album is playful, narrated by comedian Rickey Thompson, and relies heavily on sharp trap beats. The introductory track, “DR. WHOEVER,” bares his soul while also spinning a ironic, bouncy hook. “These intros ain’t meant to be bangers,” Aminé says, but the song still bangs. The album continues on the same wave, not faltering, but also not going anywhere. “REEL IT IN,” the album’s high point (and is still charting), comes as the third track and causes all the tracks following to appear low-energy in comparison (they’re not).
None of this is to say that Aminé’s new album is bad. It is certainly not. Full of playlist-perfect songs, it does EXACTLY what it is supposed to do (slap). See it as something to hold you over for whatever Grammy-competitive body of work he is sure to put out. If you only like Aminé for music in the vein of “Caroline,” this is album is for you more than anybody else; savor it.
Aminé is a king. Know how to pronounce his name: AH-MEEN-AY
The National - Boxer Live in brussels
This spring, The National released a live performance of their classic album Boxer in celebration of its tenth anniversary. But while Live in Brussels was nothing new, a front-to-back recording of an album I've listened to dozens of times, it provoked in me a nostalgic, self-reflective joy, one categorically different from the kind of intensely current pleasure you might expect in a list like this. Boxer was one of the first albums I really listened to, and it defined its era in indie-rock. But in a culture of innovation and originality, when indie music has seemingly moved on to more experimental and subgenre-specific sounds, listening to Boxer in 2018 feels almost anachronistic. Like albums of the time by The Shins or Arcade Fire, it is a product of a bygone musical era. However, the value of Live in Brussels lies not in its newness but in its ability to evoke the individual and collective memories that listeners bring to it. The National was among the first bands I really loved, from my initial exploration beyond my dad's library, when I was discovering what music really meant to me. What live or studio re-releases do is resurrect both cultural and personal histories to be relived and reexamined, and for that Live in Brussels doesn't have to be new or different, it just has to be.
Tony Molina - Kill the Lights
“Kill The Lights” is simultaneously a very traditional and an unorthodox album. This is an album that draws influence from a time when melodies reigned supreme, from familiar sources like 60’s power pop and 90’s sad rock (think the Byrds or Elliott Smith) - with songs that already feel, on first listen, like classics you grew up on. Except the 10 track album clocks in at a bare 14 minutes. Tony Molina distinguishes himself through brevity - songs average just over 1 minute, but are so finely, and so delicately crafted that they whiz by in no time. And while some tracks may admittedly read as Byrds rip-offs (extremely faithful ones at that), others are actually quite progressive in their cute little 2 minute runtimes. Because the songs are so short, all parts of each feel essential—tracks somehow hit highs and lows within this mini timeframe, and manage to stay impactful and emotional throughout.
Pusha T - DAYTONA
Compact, succinct, vicious. That is Pusha T’s Daytona. A seven-track track, 21-minute project entirely produced by Kanye West, Daytona proves that Pusha T is one of the most underrated, clever and economical rappers in the game. Despite being his shortest album to date, Daytona is saturated with the most drug references of any album in Pusha T’s career and despite luxury drug rap being Pusha’s domain, songs like “The Games We Play” raise the bar considerably. On this song he raps,
Oven's full of cakes that he bakes, still spreadin' paste // The love just accentuates the hate // This is for my bodybuildin' clients movin' weight // Just add water, stir it like a shake
Not a single word is wasted on Daytona from Pusha’s part and Kanye’s production matches, with its hard and gritty simplicity; from the harsh guitars on “Games We Play,” to the ominous and cinematic piano on “Hard Piano,” to the spare 808 on “Come Back Baby,” Kanye’s production matches Pusha’s focus perfectly.
There are no bad songs on this project, but the highlights include “Games We Play,” “Come Back Baby,” and “Santeria”. Although much of the buzz surrounding this project might have been due to Pusha’s beef with Drake, this album stands by itself in launching Pusha T back into the spotlight as one of the best rappers in the game.
-Nathan Baron Silvern
Drake - Scorpion
It’ll be a while before I forget the night this summer when some NYU kid I barely knew announced to my apartment that Drake’s Scorpion dropped as he swiftly hijacked the aux for a rather forced impromptu listening party. Not that I minded too much at first. I’m done with hating Drake. There’s no point in fighting it. He’s like a force of nature. Accept it. Give into it. Maybe sometimes you’ll love it.
Things heated up when “God’s Plan” came around, a song that had already run its course through most people’s listening cycles at this point. I had almost forgotten about it—at least enough to not expect it on the album. When it came on, I suddenly felt like a kid whose parents took him for a surprise trip to Toys R Us.
In my moment of childlike joy, our nameless NYU Drake elitist decided to air his grievances with the song which he found to be overrated. I’m not one to say people’s music tastes are wrong. But he was definitely not correct. “God’s Plan” is a banger. It hits where it should. It doesn’t go on too long. And it’s got enough variation to keep the listener engaged.
The same cannot be said for the rest of the album. After realizing how long the album was (around when we got to the B-side and our focus began to drift and every song we thought was the last song somehow was not) we promptly gave up. It wasn’t until later that week that I finished it.
Scorpion is a haystack with more than a few needles. Jump in. Find the needles you can. Get out. Some of my favorite Drake songs are on this album, and they provide me with really fun listening even a couple months out. Maybe it’s not the best album, but it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s like a stupidly long diner menu. There’s something there for everyone, but some of it is definitely not safe to eat.
All that being said: Drake will never get better than Houstatlantavegas…
Back 2 School !!
we are all very excited to begin our academics again. It has been too long without homework and exams. aural wes is officially pro-homework
Modest Mouse - “Bankrupt on Selling”
"Well, I'll go to college and I'll learn some big words."
-Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse)
-Allison Hsu (Aural Wes)
Talking Heads - “Artists Only”
The Talking Head’s incessant self-consciousness, especially seen in Artists Only, is a good song for starting at a liberal arts school. The pressure to prove yourself as unique and interesting seems almost unbearable in college orientation. But Byrne's adamant declaration "I don't have to prove...that I am creative!" is a truly comforting one. The hypnotic and disconcerting melody in the intro of the song accurately paints a picture of the discomforts of starting college, not knowing anybody, and attempting to create a new image.
Mom Jeans - “jon bong jovi”
I feel like this song has no relation to going back to school, but it does talk about independence and learning to rely less on others and trust yourself more, while still understanding your roots and knowing how to ask for help from those you're close to! Also Mom Jeans has never put out a bad song, and their newest album is a 10/10 must listen!!
Zoot Sims - “So Long”
I’m seriously vibing with some late afternoon jazz on my balcony, for as long Mother Nature makes it possible. I think the Zoot Sims quartet was in that same headspace when they recorded “So Long” in 1983, with its bright piano and laid-back sax solos. Cool stuff. I’m into it.
MICHELLE - “STUCK ON U”
during my ride back to school, I decided to give a listen to the much-hyped and personally anticipated sophomore album from The Lemon Twigs, Go to School. didn't love it tho. STUCK ON U by Michelle, on the other hand, was the perfect smooth jam for that tricky seasonal transition. mmm
NF - “Why”
“Nothing to me's ever good enough, I could be working for twenty-four hours a day and think I never did enough.”
I think this song captures my feeling of not trusting the people I'm around, including myself, and just having so much going on in my mind.
Pretending I can do it all on my own.
Belle and Sebastian - “Wrapped Up in Books”
For high-school me, Belle & Sebastian’s brand of twee pop was a portrayal of what I could expect from college life (this was mostly incorrect). I fell in love with If You’re Feeling Sinister, Tigermilk, and virtually all of B&S’s output circa 2000 because you hear a bourgeois restlessness in these songs. The characters have to go school and experience a gnawing sense of alienation as they are forbidden from fulfilling their true aspirations and deepest desires. There’s a universality to these silly romantic quarrels and stifled prurience too. “Wrapped Up in Books” is a track—relatively in-your-face for B&S—that drives forward as Murdoch portrays a tale of frustrated desire. This potential relationship isn’t going anywhere because the characters are, as the title says, wrapped up in books and unable to carry on a real romance. Though the scenario is melancholy for sure, B&S manage to infuse it with some of their signature optimism and that’s certainly something college life could use more of.
Not a lot of big shows this weekend but make sure you're at 200 High on Thursday for BATTLE OF THE BANDOS.
Girltype Behaviors <3 <3 <3
BOSSY is a lil more brash and here for a fun night.
Dink-182 + Red Hot Lily Peppers
Psi U // Friday 10:30 PM
Psi U has taken up the mantle of hosting a battle of the cover bands this year and the bands this year will be taking on the music of two alt-rock stalwarts: RHCP and Blink-182. If you're a fan of either, or even if you just like Californication a little bit, you won't wanna miss this one.
Student DJs @ 10:30PM
Red Hot Lily Peppers @ 11:00PM
Dink-182 @ 12:00AM
Post Concert: Karina Caban's Bat Mitzvah Celebration
Earth House // Saturday 9 PM
Gobby makes some good electronic music and has been described as an avant beat terrorist.
the natural fluid, fluid content, or liquid part that can be extracted from a plant or one of its parts, especially of a fruit.....
Palm (+ the good lonely & Barbara Shop)
Music House // Friday 9:30PM
Palm plays music unlike anything you’ve heard before. A first listener might notice their disregard for respecting expectations. One second you might think you’re listening to a relaxed Beach Boys song, but then it breaks into something that feels like music from another planet. Formed in Bard College, they all learned their instruments specifically for this band - the result is anything but conventional - what they call “rock music backwards.” Pretty melodies sit atop interesting, unusual instrumentations - at times jarring rhythmic sections that are constructed intricately with choppy guitars and steel drum effects. It keeps you from staying comfortable for too long and keeps you wanting more. It’s this distinct sound that makes them truly unique and their sound one that’s currently pushing indie music forward. They’re especially known for their transcending live show; the sound achieved with their lineup of only four is baffling - two guitars miraculously create massive electronic soundscapes. Palm has received a lot of praise and hype in the last year for their fantastic new album Rock Island - tons of press on NPR, and so many awesome live sets.
For a limited time only! Don't miss the Good Lonely!!
Zonker Harris Day
Westco Courtyard // Saturday 12:00PM
Aural Wes has finely curated a juice selection that corresponds to each of the musical acts playing Zonker this year. Enjoy!
12:00-12:20: Good Morning Connecticut - orange juice
12:20-12:30: JR + An
12:30-12:50: the good lonely - green juice
12:50-1:00: DJ Scales
1:00-1:20: Barbara Shop - pineapple juice
1:30-1:50: Saint Something - pomegranate juice
1:50-2:00 DJ Timmy Turnhim
2:00-2:20: Goo - aloe vera juice
2:20-2:30: Cobey + Dylan
2:30-3:10: Baby! - mango nectar
3:10-3:30: Laz - jus de citron
3:30-4:00: Jean Deaux- grapefruit juice
4:00-4:20: Badabing - fruit punch
4:20-4:30: Olivia + Nola
4:30-4:50: BOSSY - cranberry juice
5:00-5:10: Nate Ko - carrot juice
5:20-5:40: Flaccid Ashbacks - onion juice
5:40-6:00: Drobakid - apple juice
Anxiety! at the Function
Alpha Delt // Saturday 10:00PM
Anxiety! at the Function is a Panic! at the Disco cover band playing its first ever show here at Wesleyan! If you like pop punk, high energy, great harmonies, and songs you can both dance and headbang too, this is the band for you.
Johnny Hayes - Vocals
Nick Ticali - Vocals, Violin
Sam Petersen - Vocals, Trumpet
Jana O'Donnell - Vocals
Ben Russman - Bass
Clara Babbott-Ward - Trombone
Eli Solomon - Guitar
AJ Girard - Drums
Max Scanlon - Piano
Dani Smotrich-Barr - Cello
Ramsay Burgess - Sarah who Smiles
Payton Millet - Melodica
Eyehear // DJ audio.nymous // Johnnie Gilmore // Bloomsbury
Music House // Saturday 10:00PM
eyehear is a contemporary jazz quintet formed by NYC-based trumpeter and composer David Acevedo, which plays mostly his original music and arrangements. Influences to the group's music include but are not limited to jazz, hip-hop, modern classical, metal, and funk, creating a unique mix of idioms and sounds. Come hear some original music played by some groovy guys!
DJ audio.nymous - a native DMV sound artist spreading the chaos
Johnnie Gilmore - fresh from his capstone recital!
BLOOMSBURY - Jace Arouet '21 on bass guitar, electronic production, ukulele, and vocals; Emma Minges '21 on keys and vocals
It's fuckin nice out for once. Forget about your work, relax, and come to some of the chilllll shows happening this fine weekend.
Foss Hill // Friday 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Jace, of Cicero Presley fame, is teaming up with Emma, of Minges name. If all goes according to the Facebook event, you will be treated to some Andalusian classical music. If not, who knows.
You may know him for his electric-bass stylings. And that’s exactly what he’ll be doing on Foss this Friday. Look forward to some Wooten-like virtuosity on the bass.
The first of TWO gigs that the young, fledgling band will be playing this weekend. I have it on good authority that this is the one they will be “less drunk for.”
"Simultaneously dreamy & screamy poetic lyricism combined with multi-faced funk. The sun is shining upon you, waves lapping at your toes / you're swimming against the current and aren't quite sure what just grabbed your ankle."
They’ve got a sound some have described as,,, “Boom”
Declan is a real pal. He is the nicest guy you will ever meet and, as anyone who went to his intimate OutHouse show earlier this semester can tell you, he’s got an unparalleled charm with a guitar in his hands. Look forward to hearing some delightful acoustic tunes.
SOP's goal is to be a role model and inspire young Asian-Americans to explore the arts & music. His new album "Fuzzy Orbit EP" is trying to expand the definition of Asian-America by reclaiming stigmatized words & celebrate family.
Westco Cafe // Saturday 11:00
A Westco disco with live music
Come wearing all of the tie dye you own
Featuring Fat Mama Kick, DJ Shaga, DJ Scales, Baby Jeremy, and J Berg
Crowell Concert Hall // Sunday 7:00
The GRAMMY Award-winning Kronos Quartet returns to Wesleyan to perform a wide-ranging program of music from around the world, featuring adventurous string quartets either written for or arranged for the legendary group, including the world premiere of Jacob Garchik's arrangement of the John Coltrane tune "Alabama."
This event is SOLD OUT but we trust that if you're a true fan, you will find a way.
An old friend returning to Alpha Delt, some new friends playing a show at Music House, and some pastoral vibes courtesy of BOSSY at Farm House.
Good Morning CT is an on-campus band that we love and admire. Despite what you may hear, they are NOT Mini-Chef.
Zikina // Hex Grrls // Ceiling Star // Sugar^3
Music House // Friday 9:00
Zikina is a bold medley of international styles. Uganda native Gideon Ampeire draws you in with a variety of traditional East African instruments rarely found in the US, including enanga, agungu, and kalimba - all of which he builds himself. Mike Cardoze (guitar) weaves intricate melodic conversations with Gideon and dances through the beat with punchy rhythmic lines. Roston Kirk (bass) and Kade Parkin (drums) weave a sonic landscape that flows seamlessly from intense grooves to joyous dance beats to dreamy textures.
Ceiling Star are Zach Turner (‘20), Alex Richwine (‘20), Zander Medrano (‘21), and Matt Winchester (‘18). They are noisy babies. They may be playing a Weezer cover. They will most certainly rock your sox off.
Hex Grrls are Kelsey Gordon (‘18), Angel Riddle (‘19), and Lily Landau (‘18). You can probably relate. Think punky, funky bass, annoyed vocals, and jazzy drums.
Sugar^3 are Dontay Downer (‘19) and friends. There’s gonna be a lot of delay. There’s gonna be a lot of. There’s gonna be. There’s gonna. There’s.....
Blooper is super. They’re our favorite group-er.
Friends are Brien + Sophie + Sarina. With “extra-special-secret-guests” as well.
Thanks to an invaluable, anonymous source on the Spring Fling Committee, Aural Wes has managed to get our hands on the lineup this year and oh boy, is it a doozy! Possibly one of the greatest lineups in Wesleyan's history and we're freaking….OUT!! May 10 cannot come soon enough folks.....
Also for those of you late to the party, check the date on this post ;)
Their “Little Dark Age” is finally over; Wesleyan’s most prized alum band MGMT is going to be returning to campus for the first time since this poorly-lit Beckham show circa mid-2000s. Armed with a bevy of new psych-pop hooks for people to sing along to, don’t think they won’t break out some classics too. Personally, Aural Wes is hoping for a return of the ‘03 Zonker classic “Funky Legal Beats”. Suffice it to say that people are gonna lose their shit for this performance.
It looks like Spring Fling Committee has succumbed to the engrossing appeal of meme-rap. Rumors are that Ugly God ran into contract issues with the committee but we think Wesleyan will be more than happy to play host to the viral London rapper known as Big Shaq. A once-in-a-lifetime talent, we expect his appeal to endure for years and his career to flourish and match, if not surpass, the success of previous Spring Fling headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. Who could have gotten through 2017 without falling in love with his hit single “Man’s Not Hot”, in which he insists upon keeping his fur jacket on in the studio booth—an utterly classic bit. We’re hoping he stays jacketed up on Foss this May 10!
Esteemed Music Professor Neely Bruce
Our source on SFC tells us that because the budget was all spent on the above two artists, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce is playing for free. It's definitely odd that he's taking the slot normally reserved for a student band but you won't see us complaining! You've seen his face strewn across posters all over campus advertising parts I-XV of This is It! The Complete Piano Works of Neely Bruce throughout the past few years, which makes us wonder—is this really it? An auteur renowned for his unique interpretations of serialism, grand orchestrations and early collaborations with John Cage, Professor Bruce will surely fit right in with bacchanalian spirit of Spring Fling. Join Neely for a two-hour long recital of all of his original piano music, along with—fingers crossed—a hologram of his musical idol, Charles Ives.
Check out this playlist to get acquainted with these rising acts, with a few of our personal fav tracks:
Spring is upon us! Spring Fling announcement is almost upon us. Until then, enjoy some good shows, including the much-awaited return of Bossy!!
Palehound // BOSSY // Saint Something
200 High // Friday 9:30
Don’t be sad, Jake! Palehound is coming back to Middletown to play at 200 High this Friday!
BOSSY is back! Catch them walking around Weshop matching with your best friend.
Saint Something released a new single!
Ossa is a Rhode Island-based band who grew from the solo project of Sam Mayer. They play slick 90’s-inspired rock, with vocals that sounds Parquet Courts-y. Check out their single on Bandcamp - some real nice guitar work and tasty keys.
Baby Jeremy is a pop-punk/emo band who's probably headlining Warped Tour this summer. They just released a new EP on Bandcamp. Musical influences: Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World.
Badabing has a new single (Badabingle??) out too! Check out their set at E-Ho this Friday!
Surf & Malcolm
200 High // Saturday 11 PM
Come thru to MoveHo for a "litty" time
We're gonna bet that midterms won't keep people homebound this weekend. After Friday's celebration of sophomore musical excellence, the hip-hop show at Psi U on Saturday will certainly be a final flicker (read: lit) of weekend joy before Spring Break.
Earth House // Friday 5:30 pM
Subtle Degrees will be blessing us with an early evening avant-jazz show. Possibly the first of its kind. Don't miss it!
Saint Something is Carina Rosenbach '20
Barbara Shop is Ezra Kohn '20
Panini Girlfriend — A friend of Bram’s is a friend of Aural wes :)
NXGN CBNT // Whet // LAZ
Psi U \\ Saturday 10:30 PM
NXGN CBNT— NXGN is a New York based rap collective that consists of members TyBass, Fresh The Prophet, Nohri, JonBoyIce, and CHRISMELH. The Facebook event has a very comprehensive write-up of the members. It's gonna be a very dope performance, we can assure you of that.
Declan Moy-Bishow’s (‘19) music is straight out of a late 1950s Florida nightclub. With shiny guitar licks, Buddy-Holly-Harmonies, and those funny little intermediary song sections where the singer speaks directly to the listener, this is classic surf-rock, but with a modern, grungey, East-Coast twist. This is Ace & The Gulls latest album, GET IT OUT.
Declan, who is an all-around crazily creative person (he’s an illustrator for Lucid Color, and created the album’s wild cover, and though he plays drums for A&G, can also get on the guitar, keyboard, and air organ,) formed the band in his Freshman year at Beacon High School, Queens.
Declan: Right before a high-school Battle of the Bands we decided to name ourselves Ace & The Gulls. It was between that and The French Guyana, and the Lonely Geisha. My mom wouldn’t let me do that one. We were called ‘The Gulls" for a long time. Over the years there have been 6 members, but now it’s boiled down to 3. Andy on guitar, Declan, me, on drums, and Matt on the bass. Andy and myself do vocals. And sometimes Matt, kinda like Y in the alphabet.
Aural Wes: where’d the Ace come from?
D: Matt had a bass strap with a bunch of playing cards on it, and I said, “you can’t wear that.” So we started calling him Ace. We used to be really strict about performing. We would only wear white button down shirts, jeans, and play fender guitars. I suppose we loosened up. Later on, we’d play with my dad’s old band. He plays the drums, like me, or I like him. They had this reunion in my senior year, and we played a couple shows. It was bizarre.
AW: What’s your dad’s band?
D: They’re called The Mosquitoes. Their sound definitely influenced us. They were into Early Beatles stuff.
You can clearly hear those early rock n’ roll influences in GET IT OUT, but on second listen, there’s also a clear nod to 90s and early-2000s grunge, and A&G’s lyricism strives for more than anything on albums like Twist & Shout. Take the fourth song on GET IT OUT, "Love a Girl". From the title to the jingly upbeat guitar and shaker, as well as the fun dancey lyrics (feels like I’m dancing/I wanna stand still/but I can’t ever with you,) this song could just be 50s esque cover. But halfway through the song (which are all around 2 minutes, in classic early vinyl LP fashion,) the minor power chords get a little heavier, the lead a little more ghostlike, and the lyrics much darker: "kill, me, now/right now/surfing on weeknights/I’m watching their lives/and I can’t figure it out at all." But then it jumps right back into a poppy rhyme: "when I’m in the clouds/you bring me down now." The incongruities between innocence and alienation are starkly juxtaposed, with just one line between “kill, me, now” and “surfing on weeknights,” perhaps in an effort to show how close the two feelings really are, like the inseparable mega-highs and torturous lows of an adolescent crush.
This isn’t to say that GET IT OUT is trying to be all commentary. Songs like Do the Gull and She’s So Cool are fun, bouncy, and consciously not serious. During She’s So Cool’s final repeated choruses, we hear, “she plays laser tag… she’s from Staten Island… she let me hold her pet snake.”
My favorite tune is definitely "Ten O’ Nine," with its folky, Simon & Garfunkel feel and rising harmonies. The lyrics aren’t complicated, and they don’t seem to be about anything in particular, but they excellently convey the feeling of a day idly passing out of your hands, some strange melancholy stuck in your head like a catchy song, just staring out the window. And I love its sad final lines: nice guy/he said goodbye/he messed me up, he messed me up, he messed me up.
AW: Why’s it called GET IT OUT?
D: Because we had to get an album out. Or it might be because of all that kooky stuff in your brain, and you gotta get it out. Isn’t that how it works?
AW: and the album artwork, what’s that all about?
D: It’s influenced by Yuichi Yokoyama. Yuichi taught me everything. The two guys wearing sunglasses are me and Andy, and then the chopstick walking clowns are maybe the ideal Ace & The Gulls. Are we looking over there, or to the future?
AW: does A&G have plans for the future?
D: I have no. Make some more songs. Tour, with our parents.
Declan is playing an acoustic set at Outhouse on Friday February 23rd, 7-8pm. He’ll be playing some songs from GET IT OUT, as well as some other cool tunes too.
- Ezra Kohn '19