Fresh Tunes – Something Soft, Something Hard

Nothing+band

Close to the Glass
The Notwist

The-Notwist-Close-To-The-Glass-608x608Anyone can make electronic music. Every necessary bit of hardware or software, every bit of knowledge, every tip or trick or tutorial is available to everyone now- and for relatively little money. And with that ubiquity of knowledge and access to all the necessary tools comes a sort of over-saturation, “If everybody knows all the tricks, it’s no more magic” says Thomas Bangalter of Daft Punk. So the game has now become one of separation; of being absolutely and totally unique among thousands of new artists. The Notwist has fully realized this shift in the electronic music paradigm and has crafted something that genuinely separates them from other artists with their ninth and newest album.

During the first moments of Close to the Glass, one gets the impression that this could just be another head-nodding rip off of electro from the 90s; an arpeggiated synthesizer texture embellished with random rings and beeps and a skittering snare beat. But then the vocals enter. The voice is untreated: no vocoder, no auto-tune, calmly speaking about hideous signs and something about screaming. There’s some strange subtle terror waiting underneath these tracks, something unexpected or unnoticed, or combination of sounds that shouldn’t theoretically work together when discussed soberly.

And that really is the greatest strength of this album- its ability to defy expectation. “Kong,” the third song, for example, would almost seem completely out of place on this album were it not for its development into an absurd and oddly cohesive mash of orchestral layers, acoustic guitar, electronic glittering, and raucous bass. The marriage of these elements, electronic or otherwise, imbues Close to the Glass with the magic Thomas Bangalter feels is lacking in much of recent music. Anyone can make electronic music- but few can make it like this.

Guilty of Everything
Nothing

a3943802535_10There’s a hot, twisting frustration and rage in those who feel disconnected from or overwhelmed by reality. Everything moves too fast and too slow, there’s nobody to talk to, there isn’t enough time, there’s energy with nowhere to go. “I’m caught between a beggar’s teeth,” sings Domenic Palermo of the band Nothing. The newest album from the Philadelphia quartet seems- to us at least-to be exploration of that frustration with detachment from a world out of time with one’s own rhythm. From this exploration, Nothing has made something dark, loud, and beautiful.

The landscape of each track is very similar; the vocals are treated as a musical instrument fully engulfed by the haze of incredibly loud ambient guitars, bass, and drums. Instead of lyrics that are heard, Palermo’s singing is more of a texture that is felt. It draws one in, trying to decipher the already cryptic lyrics Nothing has buried under heavy, leaden sonic layers. But perhaps that’s the message itself, trying to make sense of something that would be easy were it just a bit different. The themes in Guilty of Everything, then, are embodied by the music itself, a masterful and nuanced act on Nothing’s part.

But despite whatever nuance one discovers in the way Nothing has orchestrated Guilty of Everything, it’s important to remember that this band is loud. The tender, ambient moments give way to hysterical paroxysms of dissonance and consonance. Nothing sounds like they are collectively exorcising whatever demons of the past that may still haunt them. Even in their liner notes the quote, “To all things we’ve ever hated. To all things we’ve ever loved. Thanks for making this possible,” punctuates pages of lyrics juxtaposed with black and white pictures of a prison shower, a junkie spiking his vein, and other-almost ominous- photographs recreating bleary-eyed memories and recollections. We still don’t know entirely what Nothing is trying to tell us, but we are entirely sure it is important.

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Shows of Note – The Boys of Summer

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With humble beginnings in the basement of one member and dive bars all over the world, The Ataris have eighteen years of experience under their belt and have definitely paid their dues as a punk rock band.

The+Ataris+_With five full-length studio albums under their belt, So Long, Astoria in 2003 was their first platinum album selling over a million copies. The album included “The Boys of Summer,” which was punk rock song even your mom liked.  More recently, the band has released Welcome the Night in 2007 and a two song release in 2010 which has fans dying for more. The two songs released in 2010 will be on The Ataris’ new album. The Ataris’ next album is set to be named “The Graveyard of the Atlantic,” but no official release date has been announced.  The two songs released in 2010 will be on The Ataris’ new album.

The Ataris’ “So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour will mark the first time in a decade the original Ataris line-up will be together. Like most bands, The Ataris have had their share of band members coming and going. The Ataris will perform the whole So Long, Astoria album from start to finish at every show and they claim this is the last time the founding members will perform together.

The Ataris will be coming to the northwest on March 11 at Hawthorne Theatre in Portland, March 12 at The Showbox in Seattle and March 13 at the Knitting Factory in Boise. The ‘Burg is giving away tickets to the Seattle show so be sure to tune-in to the All-Star Rock Show with Chuck Taylor tomorrow (02/24) between 3 and 6 p.m. for a chance to win!

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Shows of Note – Another Lady Killer

GEazy+GEasy0033

Raised in Oakland, California, G-Eazy has gained recognition as part of the growing hip-hop scene in the bay area, alongside artists such as Lil B and The Cataracs. Interested in making music since a young age, G-Eazy put together a local group known as the ‘Bay Boyz’ who released a number of songs on their Myspace page. He began to produce a number of singles as a sophomore while attending Loyola University of New Orleans.

G-Eazy

G-Eazy

With success from his earlier mix-tapes, G-eazy continued to release songs, such as “Waspy” and “Candy Girl“. In 2009, G-Eazy won the NAACP Best Music on Campus Woodie. G-Eazy has had the opportunity of appearing to open for Drake and in recent years, he opened for Lil’ Wayne and Snoop Dogg.

In August 2011, G-Eazy released the mix-tape The Endless Summer  that is full of samples and his full length album Must Be Nice features another artist or sample on almost every track. The album was released in 2012 and the arguably most popular single, “Lady Killers” features Hoodie Allen who has been featured on our blog before.

G-Eazy will be performing in the northwest to a SOLD OUT show in Seattle at The Showbox on March 7 and in Portland at the Roseland Theatre in March 9. Tune-in today (2/21) between 1 and 3 p.m. for a chance to win tickets to the SOLD OUT Seattle show!

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Shows of Note – Dope its Dom

Dom+Kennedy

Dom Kennedy reps the west coast with his simple yet narrative style of lyrics and delivery. The rapper originally born Dominc Hunn has released 5 independent mixed tapes, and his first commercial studio album From the Westside With Love II dropped in 2011. Along with Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q, Dom Kennedy is helping redefine the West Coast hip-hop scene.

Dom Kennedy

Dom Kennedy

Kennedy’s most recent works, Get Home Safely, was released in October of last year. The album includes tracks featuring Skeme, Nipsey Hussle, Teeflii and Krondon. The top single from the album is probably “Still Callin,” but we also recommend checking out “All Girl Crazy” and “A Intermission for Watts.” “Most underrated rapper ever,” “great storyteller” and “California’s best kept secret” are all phrases being used to describe Dom Kennedy. XXL Magazine said this about Kennedy’s most recent work:

What makes Dom a master of words is his ability to take you through the common man struggle and not have it wear you down…The Left Coast natives ability to transition from light hearted stuff to serious content with ease gives this album great replay value and surprising depth.”

Dome Kennedy will be performing in the northwest March 2 at The Showbox in Seattle and the WOW Hall in Eugene. Tune-in today (2./) for a chance to win tickets to the Seattle show!

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Throwback Thursday – February 1970

1970-black-sabbath

What is this that stands before me?
Figure in black which points at me
Turn around quick, and start to run
Find out I’m the chosen one
Oh no !

These dark, mysterious lyrics open up an album that would spawn an entire genre called “heavy metal.” These lyrics are from the first track on the self-titled album Black Sabbath released  on Feb. 13 1970, the song encompasses the entire genre of what would become heavy metal. It features a chord progression known as “The Devils Third” which was actually illegal to play during the Medieval age because it was believed to conjure up evil demons. The heavy guitars on the album come as a result of an industrial accident which lead to guitarist Tony Lommi’s loss of two fingertips. Lommi’s loss of fingertips would require him to play slower and to slacken the strings by tuning his guitar down, creating Sabbath’s signature dark style. Adding to the heavy guitars are the dynamic duo of bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward, who provide ambient blues-rock lines that fully enrich and embellish their “satanic” lyrics. “Look into my eyes you’ll see who I am, my name is Lucifer please take my hand” from the song “N.I.B.” is a prime example of the content that caused mother’s to worry about their children. The combination of dark lyrics and the vocals sang in the dark menacing wails of a mad man, (Ozzy Osbourne) completes the sound of the band.

black-sabbath_black-sabbathAccording to Allmusic‘s Steve Huey, the album ”transcends its clear roots in blues-rock and psychedelia to become something more”.The songs on the album’s first half feature simple but dark blues licks and deal with themes that would become the main characteristic’s of heavy metal,evil, paganism, and the occult. The second half of the album transitions to Cream like blues-rock. In the September 17, 1970 issue of the Rolling Stone Lester Bangs wrote “The whole album is a shuck — despite the murky songtitles and some inane lyrics….They even have discordant jams with bass and guitar reeling like velocitized speedfreaks all over each others musical perimeters yet never quite finding synch — just like Cream! But worse.”

Despite the album not being critically acclaimed at the time of its release, Sabbath appealed to the underbelly of society, the misfits of the world that had felt disenfranchised. People wanted heavier music that was more representative of what their generation had seen growing up in a post WWII England filled with industrial factories and rubble of buildings that had been bombed during the war. Black Sabbath was dark and that is what they capitalized on, there was nothing like them, they made people think. The darkness and the occult that surrounded the band made them mysterious and it attracted a following. Black Sabbath pushed the boundaries of how dark a group could be, and Ozzy Osbourne would become the outline of  the quintessential lead singer and go on to have a very successful solo career. Impressively, the band has been highly active throughout the years with various front-men such as Ronny James Dio. Even more impressive this band, who debuted some 44 years ago in 1970 is still alive and kicking, in fact just a few weeks ago their album “13” was nominated for the “Best Rock Album” Grammy. We’re willing to bet that the there were a few bands nominated that were influenced by Black Sabbath.

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‘Burg Stuff – January DJ of the Month

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Milagro Castilleja aka Audiophilo Milo CAM01597

Hometown: Grandview, Wash.
High school: Grandview
Year: Freshman
Age: 18
Major: Film &Video studies
Favorite Color: Dark Green
Favorite Food:Yes
Favorite Song: “Once Upon A Dream
Favorite Artist: Maroon 5
Relationship Status: “I Plead The Fifth”
Twitter: @AudiophiloMilo
No one knows that Milagro… has weirdly double jointed thumbs and has never seen Top Gun

Castilleja has become a a valued fixture at The ‘Burg. Castilleja often roams the halls of the station with a smile on his face and an infectious “can do” personality. He was selected by his piers as January DJ of the month by a landslide vote. Castilleja’s work ethic shows not only on his show but also off the mic at various promotional events.

Castilleja joined The ‘Burg team last quarter after he hearing about the station from a close friend that was already a DJ. He decided to join because he was interested in getting involved at all levels of the station and sharing music with people from “all across the board”. Castilleja has done his best to be highly involved here at The ‘Burg by volunteering at events, helping screen music, and even interviewed Mary Lambert! Castilleja currently has a top 40 show called “Across The Board” on Fridays from 10-12 am. Castilleja’s goals are to be the best DJ he can be and to spread a positive message through music to the students of CWU.

 

 

 

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Shows of Note – Never Gonna Stop the Funk

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We have to admit that funky, jazzy marching band music isn’t necessarily what we regularly play here at The ‘Burg, but MarchFourth Marching Band is so awesome we just have to promote their show.

MarchFourth Marching Band

MarchFourth Marching Band

MarchFourth Marching Band’s name does a pretty good job of describing them. The 20 + member group includes a 5-piece percussion section, 7-part brass section and elaborate marching band themed costumes. Although their music is almost too funky to bear, it’s their choreographed dance moves and energetic live shows that make the band really worth watching.

The influence of traditional marching band music is very apparent in MarchFourth Marching Band’s sound but they definitely aren’t close to traditional. Their sound is anchored by a funky electric bass and they draw influences from rock, jazz and even African tribal music.

Originally from Portland, Ore, the band has released two studio albums along with a live album. Their most recent work Magnificent Beast was released in 2011 and they have since produced one single, “Shindig.”

“Shindig” is nothing short of wonderful. The song features an early flute solo, driving brass and appropriate drum solo. A circus themed music video accompanies the song. Anyone who was ever in any sort of jazz, marching or concert band will appreciate MarchFourth Marching Band’s excellent style and desire to keep marching band music cool.

MarchFourth Marching Band will be in Leavenworth at Leisure Games,  Feb 15, The Showbox in Seattle on Feb. 28, Admiral Theatre in Bremerton, March 3, Wild Buffalo in Bellingham on March 2, and the Crystal Ballroom in Portland on March 4. Tune-in to News Central tomorrow between noon and 1 p.m. for a chance to see one of the most entertaining musical acts in America.

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Shows of Note – Lets Talk Politics

New+Politics+NP

Call it rock, call it rap rock, call it indie, whatever you want to call their style, New Politics is an awesome band. Out of Copenhagen, Denmark, the trio made up David Boyd, Soren Hansen and Louis Vecchio has made their mark on the American college music scene. The band’s hit songs “Harlem,” “Dignity,” and “Tonight You’re Perfect” haven’t gotten old yet and the tunes frequent our airwaves as well as student run stations all over the country.

New Politics has two albums to their name, but the most recent A Bad Girl in Harlem dropped in May of last year. The album has received pretty solid reviews and the band is currently on tour promoting the record. Thefirenote.com said this about A Bad Girl in Harlem:

New Politics

New Politics

“With their sophomore album, New Politics breaks away from their gritty, indie roots, trading it in for a pop rock, punk sound.”

With a different sound in their sophomore album New Politics has shown they aren’t a one-trick pony and can evolve their sound over time.

New Politcis will be performing in the northwest in Portland on Feb. 25 at Aladdin Theater and Feb. 26 in Seattle at Neumos. Don’t miss out on seeing this awesome foreign powerhouse rock Seattle!

 

 

 

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Fresh Tunes – Something Old, Something New

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Electronic music has never done anything but change. What began in the ’70s as a sort of novelty has now become a pervasive force with scores of subcultures, styles, and the ability to infiltrate most any musical genre. Daft Punk released their carefully crafted (and divisive) record last year, and now The Crystal Method, another welterweight duo from the nineties, is taking their turn to re-image themselves in this new and incredibly diverse landscape of electronica with their recent, self-titled release.
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Aptly named “Emulator”, the first track on The Crystal Method’s new album is an undeniable throwback to their Vegas days, erecting simmering sonic slides and bumps around spoken vocal samples that build to towering grooves. The true trademark of TCM comes from their vast spectrum of synth textures and percussion. Like a circus with a dozen different acts being performed at once, there is always some new sound, some new melody or pattern to turn your ear to pay attention to. On track six, “Jupiter Shift”, it becomes almost a game trying to follow any one melody or texture as a dozen others crash, rumble, shriek, and buzz all around. It would be exhausting were it not for Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland’s ability to inject vitality and energy into most everything they craft.

And it’s that energy- that visceral how-do-you-like-me-now attitude balanced with slow, fresh moments of sonic space that makes this album special. A surge of adrenaline only lasts for a few moments before the crash, and likewise Jordan and Kirkland have smartly paced this album to not be completely exhausting to listen to. That being said, only thumping these tracks through a pair of headphones, alone, is a lot like hammering a nail with the blunt end of a knife, that’s not what the tool is for and you are going to hurt yourself. Truly, this album belongs in a place where just as much energy can be expended as what it was constructed with. And that place is a dance floor.

thumpers_galore_album-500x500There’s a powerful sort of magic in the bright memories from childhood, and Thumpers are well aware of it. Friends since the age of 11, the musical duo seem to have harnessed their rose-colored past and crafted something full of smiley, giddy energy in their debit album Galore.

The first track, “Marvel,” acts as a thematic overture for the rest of the album; creative and powerful drum beats, hazy vocals, and synth textures that add fullness to the band’s sound. Even its very first lyric, “stay young”, is an idea this whole album appears to be focused on- almost obsessed with, actually. Throughout Galore the lyrics, “I wish you were sixteen,” “bed jumping, him and her are full of passions tonight,” “we’re tired but ripe,” and, “two beating hearts,” makes the impression Thumpers is aching for you to make your sunny summer memories, which is funny since this album is being released in the middle of February.

Though this is their debut as Thumpers, Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. are not new to indie music. Collectively they have been a part of the bands Antihero, Pull Tiger Tail, Noah and the Whale, and Friendly Fires. Their experience certainly shows. Galore is full of enough energy to send it bouncing off every wall in the room, but is seems to be done purposely. The sound of each track is similar, but never feels overworked or tired. Through their experience, Pepperell and Hamson have learned control over the atmosphere of each track and the atmosphere of the album as a whole.

Making music while doing a thousand-yard-stare into the past is not new. What’s special about Thumpers is they have managed to craft something without any eye roll-inducing cliché that usually comes with nostalgia. Galore is creative and lively, and most importantly, it’s just fun.

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Shows of Note – Indie Accents

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Lately, The ‘Burg hasn’t been able to get enough of the British indie music scene. There must be something in the water overseas because a lot of our favorite indie acts come are from the U.K. One of these acts is Glasvegas. The four-piece band is from Glasgow, Scotland which is made apparent with the thick accent of lead singer, James Allan.

Glasvegas

Glasvegas

Glasvegas made their debut in 2008 with the release of their self-titled album which featured what is probably still their most popular single “Geraldine.” Since their self-titled album, Glasvegas has produced two more albums, Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ in 2011 and most recently Later…When the TV Turns to Static. The latter dropped in September of last year.

If” is the top single off of their recent release but we also recommend checking out “Neon Bedroom Blues” and “All I Want is My Baby.” Popmatters.com said this about the most recent Glasvegas album:

“The new album is technically proficient and features more than its fair share of impassioned crooning by lead vocalist James Allan and driving walls of indie-rock sound. However, the album overall fails to retain the interest of the listener. This is, in part, due to the fact that with a few sonic exceptions, the songs largely sound the same, with Allan crying out (often impressively) over his cousin Rab Allan’s driving lead guitar work or light, light piano on track after track after track with not much variation to make Later… When the TV Turns to Static a terribly challenging or engaging listen.”

Is Glasvegas’s new album too mechanical to listen to or is it a stroke of genius? You can decide for yourself because The ‘Burg is giving away tickets to see Glasvegas live in Seattle at the Columbia City Theater on Feb. 28. The band will also be playing in Portland on March 1 at The Ceremonies. Listen tonight between 6 and 8 p.m. for a chance to see them live in Seattle!

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