Aural Wes presents you with some tracks that have caught our ears for various emotional or physical reasons since the start of the semester.
"BAPTISM" - CRYSTAL CASTLES
On October 8, our worlds were shaken when vocalist Alice Glass announced she was leaving Crystal Castles to pursue a solo career. In memoriam, I’ve been listening to a lot of their songs and torturing myself with what I’ll never be able to see live. “Baptism” is one of my favorite tracks, with mostly unintelligible lyrics and a ravey beat. It’s impossible not to dance to, but there’s a deep sadness to it that makes you wonder if it’s appropriate to be dancing. RIP, Crystal Castles–gone too soon.
- Anne Leonardo
"FELICIDADE" - JOE HENDERSON
Another week, another bossa nova coming from me. I came across this track this weekend when I went home. Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do was take a drive in the swag-wagon and listen to the only thing I listen to in my car: Dave Brubeck. When I got in the car, all my cassettes were missing (I had put them in my room before I left; wish I could understand my logic here). Goddamn. So, I put on the only tape in the glove compartment which was labeled "Joe Henderson." This song came on. After two seconds of listening, my jaw dropped. After five, I felt extremely giddy and as the title of this song suggests, very happy (and now Pharrell is in my head; freak up Pharrell). I'm lucky I didn't get into an accident. Tip: don't listen to this while operating a moving vehicle.
- Leana Paymar
"HANNAH HUNT" - VAMPIRE WEEKEND
When Vampire Weekend released Modern Vampires of the City in May of last year, it received an abundance of praise from the critics of nearly ever music publication, and then the record went on to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album in 2014. Aural Wes even ranked the album 10th on its list of the top 20 albums of 2013. As the weather finally began to cool down and the leaves changed into their familiar fall colors, I rediscovered this incredible album. While I have always been a fan of Vampire Weekend’s quirky mélange of sounds, thoughtful lyrics, and Ezra Koenig’s charming yet sometimes haunting voice, experiencing Wesleyan’s campus during the changing of the seasons has further drawn me to the NYC band. “Hannah Hunt” perfectly echoes the feeling of walking to class on a chilly, rainy day. Vampire Weekend crafts this satisfying autumn song with clever transitions and pleasing melodies.
- Kelsey Gordon
"I WANT TO BE BAD" - HELEN KANE
Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that even our grandparents had a little fun now and then. Helen Kane's ode to youthful rebellion is just what you need to get hyped before heading out.
- Bryan Schiavone
"ICY (CHINDAMO TOO ICY REMIX)" - GUCCI MANE
“Icy” is one of Gucci Mane’s worst songs in my opinion (I love Gucci though), but leave it to elusive 15 year old boy wonder Chindamo to turn it into a hypnotic masterpiece so icy that Gucci himself couldn’t deny its brilliance (he has an ice cream cone tattoo on his face—he knows icy). Whirling bells and “Drop it Like it's Hot”-esque tongue clicks transform the overworked original into a chilling atmospheric experience. Let it envelop you while you shiver away in your unheated room, reevaluating the past five years of your life because a 15 year old made this song(!!).
- Page Nelson
"IOTA" - ANGEL OLSEN
This song is one of the simpler ones off this album, but for some reason I really dig it. Basically, Angel Olsen is a babe and I want to be serenaded by her.
- Ava Davis
"SHELTER SONG" - TEMPLES
Early Floyd meets late Beatles meets cool middle eastern vibes. Neo-psychedelic gold! I can't stop listening to this album.
- Rebecca Zegans
"SPECIAL SNOWFLAKES" - PILE
Pile are one of the best-kept secrets in the New England indie-rock scene. Since 2009, they've dropped 3 LPs, each one better than the next. Although they received some critical recognition for their superb 2012 Dripping, they've yet to really break into the spotlight they deserve. With a new LP on the way, their time may be near. Pile's post-hardcore/post-punk sound swings between abrasion and melody, often with the two melting together into a glorious mass of angular guitar strokes and driving drums and bass. "Special Snowflakes," the band's latest single, shows them working their distinctive sound into a longer, more complex composition that may be Pile's best song yet. It's a promising step forward, affirming the band's consistent musical progression towards greater things. Rick Maguire (guitar/vox) muses on imagery of boots and their laces, expanding his metaphor with a gruff and oblique lyricism. As pounding drums and screeching guitars kick the song into a higher gear, Maguire's disparate imagery begins to conjure something profound, painting around the edges of troubled psyche coping with handicap, absence, and liminality. Pile controls energy and dynamics on "Special Snowflakes" to amazing effect. Multiple builds ascend to crushing levels of screamed/distortion guitar-seared power and draw back into skeletal transition sections without ever feeling redundant. Pile are seriously onto something here. Gahh, what a song.
- Chris Gortmaker
"THIEVERY" - ARCA
There's a lot of hype currently circulating Venezuelan producer Arca, from the imminent release of his debut Xen to an announcement that he's the project man behind Björk's 2015 album. Alejandro Ghersi's résumé also includes Kanye West, Hudson Mohawke, and FKA twigs. Pre-album single "Thievery" twitches and shines with industrial electronics while scoping wide sonic territory as illuminated by its briefness, attention to timing, and cleverly subtle vocal sampling. The track's video features a computer-rendered, slightly-androgynous, amorphous-appearing dancer, who, according to its director, is emblematic of Ghersi's "sassy, confident, feminine [...] kind of ghost spirit." Check hir out.
- Zander Porter
"FORGIVE" - PORCHES
This song has the best chorus I've heard in a long time.
- Zack Kantor