The song sounds like a video game boss battle plus dubstep. It makes me imagine people kicking things. If I was making a getaway in a sleek red rocket ship I would blast off blaring this song and laughing at the humiliated faces of my pursuers. Producer/DJ Jennifer Lee (Tokimonsta by moonlight) is a beastly woman who probably knows a lot about sleek rocket ships. I am content in the ominous power of my beastly womanhood when I jam out to this jam.
“The Gambler,” Kenny Rogers
I’ll be honest, I’m new to Kenny Rogers. It was actually a car insurance commercial that I saw last week that introduced me to “The Gambler.” Kenny sits at a poker table, singing in his now raspy and wavering voice “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away.” He didn’t sell me car insurance (I’d need a car for that), but I was sold on the song. A lonely stranger on a train, a poker’s advice for the world weary, and a bottle of whiskey—oh yeah.
“Shut Up,” Blink-182
Nothing gets you through hard times like Blink 182. In this profane pop rock classic the curtain drops on a couple, where one partner is going to leave the other. They are stagnating on the couch and his punk band is no good. What starts off as a romantic accost, and an iceberg of a relationship cracking at the seams, soon begins the second phase. In its place the anti-parent anti-authority album “Take off your Pants and Jacket” the song starts to reminisce of an escape. “I’ll run away” says the disappointed lover, yet also the angry insubordinate child, who will take his punk band to happier concrete where the sound will bounce into smiles and icy mosh dreams.
“Come Monday Night,” God Help the Girl Soundtrack
I am absolutely obsessed with God Help the Girl, the passion project of Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian. His side project was recently made into a film which is a quirky indie pop musical combined with uber hip Wes Anderson-esque costuming and since seeing it at the Apollo I’ve been listening to the soundtrack nonstop. “Come Monday Night” is a favorite of mine, a melancholy, pop ballad with sugary vocals by actress Emily Browning. I think my aesthetic is God Help the Girl and I’d be happy with it as the soundtrack of my life. Why isn’t my everyday life like a quirky musical?
You may have been hearing this song popping up here and there. This band is new on the scene, but they are already starting to get popular. It is easy to see why, with their highly catchy pop/electro/funk/dance melodies. It is an odd mix of indie pop girl-singer themes and throwback dance beats, but somehow they make it work. Or, at least they make it work well enough to get their song “Reflections” tenaciously stuck in my head. I’m excited to see what this band has in store for their next works. They have a lot of space for evolving and I don’t think they’ve reached their full potential yet. Hopefully they’ll get weirder, but keep giving us some of these fun feel-good jams.
“The Flower Called Nowhere,” Stereolab
Like many indie music fans, I’ve been barraged with Stereolab name drops for many years. I tried to listen to them a bunch in high school and stuff, but I was never really able to connect with them until very recently. Dots and Loops, the album this track is off of, is just a solid showcase of deliciously hypnotic rhythms, harmonies and textures. Sure, it can feel a little alien and uncomfortable in the beginning, kinda like sitting in a really weird doctor’s office as a little kid or something, but once this song comes on, the album really starts to resonate with me. So much detail and touch exist in this music, no matter how dry and mechanical everything seems externally. Something about the way the strange melodies lightly go by and the rhythm section plods along like a flock of commuters just affects me in the strangest way, and it’s giving this song and this album a lot of re-listens for me. Frenchpopkrautrockaliciousgrooveathon!
The first show paper of the year is here! It’s no surprise, we know, but it’s a completely jam-packed week of music. Thought we missed one? An e-mail to music at wobc dot oh-are-gee will do the trick.
The World is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die plays at the Oberlin ‘Sco on Friday, Sept. 26.
Tuesday, Sept. 23
Oberlin Sinfonietta, 8 PM, Warner Concert Hall [link] – FREE
The absolutely-not-to-be-missed-highlight-seriously-we-mean-it: legendary French composer Olivier Messiaen’s breathtaking Couleurs de la Cité céleste. It’s not every day you hear this wonderful piece. Chen Yi and Zhou Long, both composers-in-residence, will be residing in the concert hall for their pieces Happy Rain on a Spring Night and Bell Drum Towers, respectively. Also, Oberlin Percussion Group, eternal favorites, play Mantle Hood’s Implosion.
Wednesday, Sept. 24
Deafheaven / No Joy, a drive’s away to the Grog Shop in Cleveland – $10
Two critically acclaimed bands: One, a trailblazing metal band “with shoegazing influence”, and the other 100% concentrated shoegaze.
Also, it’s Rosh Hashannah.
Thursday, Sept. 25
Okkyung Lee & Maria Chavez, 8 PM, Fairchild Chapel [link] – FREE
Two very special musicians collaborating for what should be a special night. Okkyung Lee is at the forefront of contemporary cello improvisation; we will bet some substantial amount of money that she will make sounds come out of the cello you did not think were possible to come out of a cello. Maria Chavez is a sound artist and DJ with a highly unique turntable technique.
If you’re tight with the Teutons, you’ll love the Chamber Orchestra’s all-German program. It begins with some drama: music from Beethoven’s Fidelio overture and Wagner’s Seigfreid and Forest Murmurs. That’s right, Wagner in the concert hall, not in the opera house – not an every day occurrence. It closes with Felix Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” symphony, no. 5, if you’re keeping count.
Mount Eeerie / Hundred Waters, 10 PM, The Oberlin ‘Sco [link] – $7 w/ OCID, $15 w/o
Mount Eerie is the the captivating project of Washingtonian Phil Elverum. It seems to occupy some manageable area (indie folk; avant-folk; contemporary folk; singer-songwriter folk) and then quickly spreads its musical tentacles to many fascinating regions. Meanwhile, Hundred Waters compliments them – we hear from an inside source that they are “very talented musicians”.
Friday, Sept. 26
Contemporary Music Ensemble, 8 PM, Warner Concert Hall [link] – FREE
It’s CME time again! Contemporary classical music! Composers-in-residence Zhou Long and Chen Yi have two more of their pieces performed. Also featured, a very recent (2013) bassoon concertino called Bassoon Concertino by Augusta Read Thomas and a quite old (1974) collection of scherzi called Scherzi by Bernard Rands.
The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, 10 PM, The Oberlin ‘Sco [link] – $5 w/ OCID, $8 w/o
Yeah yeah yeah, it’s a long band name, but by the time you say their name, it only takes that short amount of time to fall in love with this band. They’re sometimes called “emo-revival”; they have 8 members; they have a cellist. What else do you need to know?
A pre-20th century free program for the Orchestra – a 1954 piece by Alberto Ginastera, a world-premier (!) of Ricardo Lorenz’s “Olokun’s Awakening” and… surely America’s favorite piece of music ever written for the orchestra, with the possible exception of the theme from Jaws, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue! They’re playing it! Faculty piano soloist Sanford Margolis plays the trombone. Just kidding, he plays the piano.
The Fall 2014 programming season is now underway, and that means a new staff to get to know! Here are the first staff picks of the year – some of their favorite tunes from their respective genres.
Mayowa and Marcelo from International: The AfroBeatles – Get Back vs. Colonial Mentality
In Mayowa’s words, “It’s part of a larger project called the AfroBeatles, which is sort of an alternate reality where Fela and the Beatles merge and travel across the world promoting peace, freedom from political corruption, and lots of other dope things.”
Ivan from Freeform: U.S. Maple – Letter to ZZ Top
Nate from Classical: Leontyne Price sings Samuel Barber’s “The Monk and his Cat”
Star of VFiles’ What The F*shion?!, Status Update guru, pioneer of the comedian avatar, and the brains behind Aboveground Animation, Casey Jane Ellison is an artist, comic, curator and bicoastal bisexual born and raised in Los Angeles.