When You Lower Your Expectations: Beck Album Review

by Dwayne Sullivan

When you’re 13 albums in a storied career such as Beck’s, you need to take pause and have fun with the music you once felt so passionate about. Colors isn’t a genre defining audible masterpiece that will nest a place in your mind for decades, but rather Beck just wanting to put his own take on the pop music of today. Some of the melodies you’ll find packaged inside Colors hint of Beck pushing for chart relevance and casual listening for the commoner.

On my daily commute I was carpooling with a friend trying to absorb this new record, when she turned to me and was surprised that Maroon 5 came out with another album. There was an intense 20 minutes that followed of me struggling to withhold my laughter, “Adam Levine just never knows when to stop, huh.”

Although the Beck that innovated when least expected doesn’t return here, there is still a lot to vibe to when not taking the project so sternly. Beck’s vision for this LP seems to translate for the “easy to digest while driving back and forth from occupation to home” crowd.

However, Colors is not without its weakpoints. On the uninspiring track “Wow” it’s easy to pick up on the haphazard writing that would’ve had even longtime fans accentuating an eyebrow or two. It is indeed “right now” when you physically feel the quality bottoming out at a feverish pace.

Once more, there are definitely bright spots to soak in that make you realize the more simplistic tonality of the record can still add up to some ear-catching waves. “Dear Life” returns me to a time when Beck could revive your sense of place in the universe. The angst is still there, 30 years later, just more dormant than prior. The rough is always coming, but we’re still holding on for the oncoming monsoons.

Overall Colors is one of his easiest listens without too much to wrap your mind around— just a feel good pop record to keep the feelings of freedom and joy abound for the afternoon.

6.5/10

Rock’n Reed Reviews: 10,000 Days by Tool

by Rock’n Reed

It’s been more than 11 years since Tool has released an album.

The band’s last album was 10,000 days in 2006. 10,000 days would debut number one on the Billboard 200 chart. By the end of 2007 the album sold 2.5 million copies worldwide—Platinum certified by the RIAA.

The album has 11 tracks. With Maynard James Kennan on vocals, Danny Carey on guitar, Justin Chancellor on bass, and Danny Carey on drums, this album will keep any rock fan occupied. Vicarious, The Pot, and Jambi, the three singles, help clarify that the band’s evolution. With more upbeat rifts, and strong vocals, the album shows how Tool has evolved over the years.

Right now, Tool is on tour. With Manyard’s other long-time band A Perfect Circle releasing their new single “The Doomed” it would be exciting to see Tool release their own single in the next couple of months. With rumors of the unique rift “Descending” playing at live performances, a new album might be approaching soon.

 

Artist Profile: Muse

By DJ Jazzy John

Over the past several years, the members of Muse have molded their band into one of the most influential progressive rock bands of the 21st century. From the humble beginnings of their harder sound in Showbiz to the more electronic, “space rock” style found on albums such as Black Holes and Revelations and The 2nd Law, Muse has most certainly started a legacy that should continue on for years to come.

Earlier this year, lead singer Matt Bellamy stated in an interview that the band plans on releasing their eighth studio album sometime in 2018. Since then, they released one single from the project, “Dig Down,” which may remind listeners of a track Muse released a few years ago called “Madness.” This could indicate that the band is putting together another futuristic sounding album as compared to their most recent effort, Drones, which showcased more of a heavy style of progressive rock.

No matter what type of album Muse decides to create, one can expect to hear more of the same passionate vocals we’ve all grown to love over the past decade. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the band continues to construct material that revolves around the idea of a post-apocalyptic society, especially with all the political tension that surrounds the world on a daily basis.

I’m  looking forward to them releasing another single from the new album. Expectations are high, as they always seem to be when Muse puts out a new record, and I certainly hope they are able to pull through as well as they have since their inception.

Imagine Dragons Dazzles in Cincinatti Show

by Amelia Hicks

Imagine Dragons performed in Cincinnati on Saturday, October 21 during the North American leg of their world tour promoting their new album, Evolve. And in typical Imagine Dragons tradition, there was no shortage of showmanship or confetti.

The openers of the evening were K. Flay and Grouplove. K. Flay is most noted for her single High Enough. Grouplove is known for their hits Tongue Tied as well as Ways to Go. However, the opening acts shied in comparison to the headline.

Imagine Dragons opened the show with a song from their most recent album, I Don’t Know Why, setting an upbeat and energetic tone for the night. What followed was a mix of songs from all three of their studio albums including hits such as It’s Time, Gold, Rise Up, and even an acoustic version of Amsterdam.

The production value of an Imagine Dragons concert is what sets this band apart. The visuals drew your eye to the stage while the lights set an atmosphere that matched the tone of every song. Large balloons bounced around the arena, and they even released confetti onto the crowd.

Twice.

What is truly astonishing about this band however, is that no matter the size of the arena, they always attempt to connect with the audience on a personal level. They went out into the crowd and performed acoustic versions in the middle of the audience. The arena felt a little bit smaller that night.

The show closed with one of their most iconic songs from their Nightvisions album, Radioactive. All hands were on deck as every band member played a drum and the audience belted out those irresistible lyrics. If you have the opportunity to see this band live, you’d be absolutely foolish not to take it.

Weezer: Moving Forward

by Spencer Campbell

Weezer released their new album, “Pacific Daydream,” on October 27th. I decided to look up some of their new songs and noticed that they sound different than the previous albums.

As it turns out, that’s exactly what the band is going for.

Lead vocalist River Cuomo expressed interest in changing the band’s sound in the newer album. Cuomo started by closely studying modern pop music. The band has been experimenting over the years and had some issues which then influenced a break in the bands career, but Cuomo is still going through with it.

Weezer’s old format featured repetitive guitar chords and distortion, and the band made great use of pop culture references like in Beverly Hills, and Buddy Holly. The new album features more diverse musical dynamics that you might find in contemporary pop music. Happy Hour has dropped distortion in favor of background vocals and piano, which shows the influence Cuomo’s research has had on the band.

Weezer hasn’t completely changed their sound, as they still weave in all the good pop culture references and the iconic vocals they’re known for. Weezer seems to be going all out with this change. The question is how long they’ll run with it.

Slothrust EP features Britney Spears’s “Baby One More Time”

by Sarah Schulte

Slothrust is a gritty alternative rock band hailing from Boston, Massachusetts. The three-piece, consisting of Leah Wellbaum (lead guitar, vocals), Kyle Bann (bass), and Will Gorin (drums), came together back in 2010 after Gorin and Wellbaum met through their music studies at Sarah Lawrence College. Since its formation, Slothrust has released three studio albums and one EP, with a covers EP titled “Show Me How You Want It to Be” due out November 10th.

The band recently released two singles to give listeners a taste of the upcoming EP. The first is a cover of Marcy Playground’s smooth groove “Sex and Candy.”

 

 

Slothrust is a 90s grunge and blues brew, and this cover compliments their sound perfectly. Leah’s edged voice weaves between the loud personality of her guitar, ripping into the

instrumental bridge and chorusing to a balladic solo that, despite the seemingly shallow title of the song, tugs at the listeners’ heartstrings. Gorin’s heavy drums compliment the guitar in an almost-duet, while Bann keeps the melodic theme going on bass, and the abrupt tempo changes that somehow blend together seamlessly are reminiscent of the band’s tune “Crockpot” from their album “Of Course You Do.”

 

The band’s cover of the 1998 Britney Spears’s hit “Baby One More Time” commands attention in the first second of the song – yes, it hooks you that fast. The well-known introduction sounds indescribably cooler when you throw it on some steel strings and back it with a grooving drum beat. Slothrust’s stamp on the song is so simple, yet so wildly refreshing, all while paying tribute to an icon we all know and love.

 

Slothrust’s covers EP “Show Me How You Want It to Be” is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and will be accessible to stream on Spotify on November 10th.

AJR at the Kiss 107.1 Just Show Up Free Concert

AJR picture

by Wittney Hardin

AJR is an up and rising alternative/indie pop band. The band consists of three Met brothers: Adam, Jack, and Ryan. The name AJR comes from the first initials of Adam, Jack, and Ryan. The band writes, produces, and mixes their own material.

On September 3rd, The band accompanied Judah and The Lion, Hey Violet, Skylar Stecker, and Spencer Sutherland at a concert in Cinncinatti. Turnout was amazing, filling up a good portion of the field at Sawyer Point, on the Hubert’s Lemonade stage. The crowd was full of energy as the band played songs from their new album, The Click.

The Click is an album about the insecurity that comes with growing up into an adult,” bass player  Adam explained. “It’s about both the mundane, unimportant problems and the bigger, more profound issues facing a twenty-something year old.”

The concert was an amazing promotional booster. It included various food trucks and fun for people of all ages. All in all, the concert was an amazing final blast of summer. The alternative fans in Cincy were able to get together and enjoy their Sunday afternoon.

RedZone Radio: Perspective on WKU Volleyball

by Caleb Sweeney

Last week on RedZone Radio, Sam, Leroy, and I debated on the NCAA Volleyball Standings and the reasons why WKU is not in the Top 25 in the nation.  The WKU Volleyball team is tearing up records and win streaks that C-USA and WKU have never witnessed before.  They have won 19 straight games and 32 Conference USA games in a row.  Currently they are sitting at 34 in the nation, when they should clearly be higher.

20882040_757724844399513_401712519906904648_nThis team is legit, headed by Alyssa Cavanaugh and Jessica Lucas.  They have the most sweeps in the nation.  They have 22 straight sets won.  They are putting up numbers this season that deserve to raise more eyebrows than what they are sitting at 34th in the nation.  Although, while the stats are in their favor, their strength of schedule is not.

WKU started out the season 2-2 before picking up the pace and winning their next 19 games.  Two consecutive losses to Louisville and Illinois (who are both in the latter half of the Top 25 teams in the country) set the team back.  These games were must win games for the team, but they were only come out with 1 set from both these teams.

This whole scenario for WKU is like that of Gonzaga, a basketball powerhouse in the West Coast Conference.  Gonzaga is ranked every year, but doesn’t play a strong schedule.  Every now and again they will lose to a St. Mary’s or a BYU.  Although the teams they lose to aren’t ranked, they somehow remain ranked after losing to an unranked team.  This should be the same for WKU.  WKU has won 3 straight Conference Tournaments and made appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

When it comes down to it, the volleyball team needed to win one of those games to be ranked.  Even though they didn’t win those games, they were able to beat Ohio State and Pittsburgh.  Both of these teams are in the fight for a top 25 position alongside Western.  If Western is able to steamroll the conference like they have been, by the end of the season I am guarantee they’ll be ranked come tournament time.

This group of ladies is dangerous and fun to watch—if you haven’t seen them, check them out later this season or at the Conference USA Tournament held in E.A. Diddle Arena this fall.

Portugal. The Man and Freedom of Speech

by Ryan the Lion

We’re as excited about Portugal. The Man as you are. Their song “Feel It Still” comes with a groovy backbeat and a catchy chorus. But there are more than a few political “Easter eggs” that shed light on some of the issues in today’s world while inspiring reform, more specifically through #theresistance movement.

If you didn’t notice in the music video, such tidbits include “a direct dial to the White House, a video explainer of the legal rights of protesters, donation sites for Planned Parenthood and the ACLU,” as Billboard reports.

The song has been praised for its revolutionary themes. Lead singer John Gourley says he was “trying to write music that would help people feel they’re not alone, even if they’re angry or feeling lost. This video is our way of saying that we’re all in this together.”

However, critics like Uproxx have labeled Portgual. The Man a sellout, calling the band’s newest release a “blandly peppy song” that plays “endlessly in movie trailers, airport bars, and casinos because it won’t inspire a passionate reaction, just mental and emotional blankness.”

What do you think? Do musicians have the right to express their opinions on political and social climates of the world, or should it stay out of controversy to keep us entertained?

A Look Back on John Carpenter as Composer

news-14-10-john-carpenter

by Cliffhanger

Last Friday marked the release of Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998, a collection of re-worked theme music from the films of John Carpenter. To celebrate, we’re looking back on the musical legacy of the Master of Horror himself.

Though filmmaking was his first love, director John Carpenter had music in his blood. His father, Howard Carpenter, was a music professor at WKU, and headed the department from 1965 to 1975. John spent his formative years in Bowling Green before moving to Los Angeles to study film.

Carpenter made his early films on low budgets, opting to score them himself to save money. Despite coming from a musical family, John had no classical training and had never learned to read sheet music. Therefore, he created his films’ soundtracks in the most primal way possible: by sitting in front of a keyboard and seeing what sounded good.

There’s perhaps no better example of John Carpenter as composer than his 1978 masterpiece Halloween. Following the cult classics Dark Star and Assault on Precinct 13, Carpenter’s third film Halloween became his breakout success, and influenced a slew of similar “slasher” films to follow. Central to the movie is its famous main theme, a dissonant, repetitive piano riff in 5/4 time and performed by the director himself. During Halloween’s credits, Carpenter lists himself as “The Bowling Green Philharmonic Orchestra,” in a tongue-in-cheek shout-out to his hometown.

Carpenter continued to score his own movies throughout the ‘80s and well into the ‘90s. The dark, atmospheric vibe of his themes became synonymous with ‘80s cinema. From the bleak dystopia of Escape from New York to the fast-paced action of Big Trouble in Little China, no Carpenter film was complete without a well-crafted soundtrack.

John Carpenter went on hiatus from filmmaking in 2001, returning to the director’s chair just once in 2010 for The Ward. More recently, his time off from the film industry has allowed him to focus on his music in a whole new way. In 2015, at the age of 67, Carpenter released Lost Themes, his first album of non-soundtrack material. A year later, he returned with Lost Themes II, and even began touring festivals with a live band.

Alongside his legacy as a filmmaker, John Carpenter’s impact on music has grown more prevalent in recent years. Two of Carpenter’s biggest fans are Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein of the synth band SURVIVE. These two producers are best known for their original score to Netflix’ Stranger Things. In a 2016 interview, Stein discusses John Carpenter’s influence on modern music: “People refer to things as John Carpenter-sounding when they’re synthy or a certain way. . . There’s a way he plays and a dissonance that was adapted in a lot of rap. Especially modern stuff is very influenced by the Halloween thing.”

Today, John Carpenter is celebrating the musical side of his career with the release of Anthology: Movie Themes 1974-1998. A “greatest hits” of sorts, the album features new versions of 13 classic Carpenter themes, all performed by the man himself with help from his son and godson. In addition, Carpenter and his band will embark on a U.S. tour from October 29 through November 19.

Tickets for John Carpenter’s U.S. tour go on sale today and are available on his website.