Gone Girl Review

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By Neil Hazel | Follow @IamNeilHazel 10.17.14 While most of the years biggest blockbusters come out in the summertime, fall and...

Death From Above 1979 “The Physical World” Album Review

Death From Above 1979

The Physical World

By: Neil Hazel (@iamneilhazel)

10/8/14

Death From Above 1979 is back in the game with the release of their new album, The Physical World. After releasing their first album back in 2004 and then breaking up in 2006, the Canadian duo took a long break from writing and performing. Despite the time away, the band hasn’t forgotten how to write tracks that immediately grab you ear and hold your attention through the entire album.Death-From-Above-1979-The-Physical-World

 

With The Physical World, Death From Above 1979 have shown that they can perfectly walk the line between pop and hard rock. Some segments are straight and to the point, with pounding drums and hard hitting guitar chugs, while others are filled with clean fills and smooth riffs. Almost every song has a catchy chorus that will have you singing it in your head days after you listen to it. “Right On, Frankenstein!” is impossible to listen to without wanting to sing along and nod your head as it moves along at a breakneck speed. “Always On” is a track filled with solid rock licks and roughly crooning vocals. “White Is Red” starts off as a ballad like song, slowly building into a noisy rock chorus before suddenly dropping back into calm. “Government Trash” stands out as one of the coolest tracks on the album, moving quickly from one section to the next with a slick guitar lead and blasting drum beats lining the whole song.

 

The best thing about Death From Above 1979 is their ability to craft songs that you will want to listen to over and over again. Upon each listen it is easy to identify a new, exciting part of each song. A vocal melody, a guitar lick or a drum fill all start to pop out to make The Physical World worthy of many repeat listens. It sounds as if the two members sat down to write the album and just began violently thrashing on their instruments, and then went back and added in layers of heavy rock precession, before finally implementing the catchy hooks into each track. For the most part, this back and forth is pulled off extremely well. However, there are some transitions that seem a little off, and some of the songs may seem a little out of place.

 

The Physical World is a solid, fun-to-listen to album. It won’t require too much effort to enjoy all 11 tracks on the CD.  Death From Above 1979 has created a pure rock album that pulls from multiple facets of the genre. The album is many things: punky, poppy, noisey, heavy, exciting, and really well put together. Let’s hope the band can avoid calling it quits for a second time and continue to produce jams for years to come.

 

4/5 Fake Elephant Noses

Karen O “Crush Songs” Album Review

Karen O

Crush Songs

By: Erin Ben-Moche

10/1/2014

“When I was 27 I crushed a lot. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever fall in love again,” Karen O, singer of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, expresses on the inside cover of her debut album, Crush Songs.

This record is extremely short, clocking in at just over twenty five minutes. The length of the songs range from 57 seconds to 3 minutes, but all capture her feelings of each “crush.” She starts each song with “One…Two…Three…” to set the tempo, but her soft voice sets the mood for the songs. Karen O’s Karen-O-Crush-Songscalming melodies and airy vocals perfectly describe who she is as an artist: simple and to the point. Her poetic lyrics don’t have to be over the top in order to be romantic. Each song’s minimal instrumentation and vocal percussion adds to the simplistic nature of the album.

“Ooo” opens the album with the words “Don’t tell me they are all the same.” This song provides an introduction to the album, showing that each person she fell for was different and each one made her feel a certain way. “NYC Baby,” only 57 seconds in length, discusses how O loathed leaving her former crush and letting their long-distance relationship consume her.

Crush Songs also includes a cover of “Indian Summer” by The Doors. It is a beautiful cover that mixes classic rock with O’s own unique touch of Indie soul. It gives the song a new perspective coming from a female’s point of view.

“Native Korean Rock” is another highlight from the album, providing an anthem for those having a hard time getting over their own soured romantic endeavors. Fortunately, it leaves a silver lining of hope towards new beginning.

What is interesting is that Crush Songs took four years to record and produce. Recording started in 2006 and ended in 2010. During this time, Karen O released three albums with The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and was also nominated for her Oscar winning work “Moon Song” from the film Her.

If you need a slow playlist, or are in the mood for love, heartache, and raw emotion, you should check this out this album. Karen O should be celebrated for her raw, breathy sound and smooth guitar melodies that are haunting to listen to. Anyone who has ever been in a head-over-heels relationship, brutal breakup, or yearned for hope will enjoy this album. Karen O leaves us wanting more of her and the passionate lyrics that tell the story of her search for love.

4/5 Rating

Iggy Azalea and Magic! Concert Review

Iggy Azalea and Magic! at Meadowbrook Music Festival

Photo Credit: Lelia Cotton

Photo Credit: Lelia Cotton

 

Written by: Music Director Anthony Spak (@Spakdaddy)

Photos by: Music Director Anthony Spak

Program Director Lauren Barthold (@bylaurenb)

SVP President Lelia Cotten (@RhymesWTequila)

9/14/2014

Rochester, MI – Iggy Azalea and Magic! warmed up Meadowbrook Music Festival on a chilly Friday night at the Student Program Board’s annual Fall Concert.

Attendees began to congregate outside of the venue an hour and a half before doors opened. Most of the early arrivers were OU students.

The WXOUmobile

The WXOUmobile

While they waited in line, concert-goers were treated to music and free-giveaways from three local radio stations: AMP 98.7, Channel 95.5, and 88.3 FM WXOU, Oakland University’s on-campus station.

At 6:30 the doors opened and fans quickly filed in to the outdoor venue. Not long after, Magic!, the opening act, took the stage. The Canadian band’s first few songs were brimming with their energetic blend of reggae and rock. Magic!’s rhythm section immediately got the crowd to wiggle in time to their deep grooves. Drummer Alex Tanas laid into his golden-sparkle Gretsch kit with cutting, half-time beats and funky offbeat fills that were reminiscent of another famous reggae-rock drummer, Stewart Copeland of The Police. Bassist Ben Spivak (sporting a vintage Grateful Dead t-shirt) laid on deep, thick reggae bass lines alongside Tanas’, and together they got the crowd dancing.

After three songs and a bit of a temperature drop, lead singer and guitarist Nasri complimented the audience’s enthusiasm, saying “You guys are really warming this place up!”

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After playing a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 anthem “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, dedicated “to the ladies” by Nasri, the front man took a moment to address the crowd on a more personal level. “Can I say something serious? Positivity is the key to happiness in life,” he said.

Magic! closed their set with “Rude”, their hit song that spent six straight weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts in the USA this past July and August. The crowd erupted as the opening chords sounded and sang along to the familiar tune.

The minute Magic! left the stage, the young and rowdy crowd immediately began asking for more music, chanting “I-GGY! I-GGY!” After a half hour wait, the main act finally walked onto stage to thunderous applause.

Amethyst Amelia Kelly, better known to the world as Iggy Azalea, took the stage around nine p.m. The Australian-born rapper has been riding a hot streak of popularity since the release of her debut album, The New Classic, which spawned four hit singles, including her ubiquitous mega-hit “Fancy” that also went to the top of the Billboard Hot 100 charts over the summer.

Iggy was much taller than expected. The Aussie towered over her four backup dancers as they shimmied and twerked through a short, highly-choreographed set.

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Azalea and her onstage crew of four dancers, two backup singers, and a DJ played through 17 songs, including her four singles from The New Classic. Azaela spoke very little during the show between songs, only instructing the DJ a number of times to “drop that shit”, or begin the beat for the next song.

While Iggy’s music is popular and the crowd sang along to the hits, the music was not the main focus of the crowd or the performer. Azalea’s butt was her greatest weapon in terms of controlling the audience; her

Azalea's greatest asset

Azalea’s greatest asset

backside has taken on a life of its own with help from social media networks like Twitter and Instagram, where advertisements and pictures of “Iggy Azalea’s Ass” are shown and shared regularly.

Azalea was certainly aware of her valuable asset, and knew how to work the crowd with just a simple shake of her hips. Fans went into frenzy when Azalea would slowly bend down mid-song and shake her butt, more so than they did for any line or beat of any of her actual songs. Simply put, it was all about the booty for Azalea.

The rapper’s voice was raspy through most of her set, which may seem to negate recent accusations by Buzzfeed of her lip-syncing onstage during a performance with Jennifer Lopez. Still, her performance suffered a bit because it appeared that she was losing her voice the longer her set went. Again, the audience didn’t seem to mind as long as Azalea and her dancers continued to twerk on and around each other.

Azalea closed her set with “Fancy”, her biggest hit. Friday night’s version seemed watered-down, which is understandable considering that her backup singers had to sing the hook, rather than Charli XCX, who sings on the recorded version. Azalea saved a special gesture for the last song, waiting until the last few minutes of the set to actually touch her own behind. The audience roared its loudest at this moment when Azalea grabbed her own butt cheek and briefly fondled it. Soon confetti shot out of the side of the stage over the crowd, Azalea thanked the crowd “for the support”, and exited the stage without an encore.

In terms of popularity and current relevance, the Student Program Board landed a great headliner that created lots of excitement around campus. In terms of talent, character, and musical quality, however, one has to wonder whether or not Iggy Azalea was the right choice for the Fall Concert. Sure, Azalea’s music is bumpin’ and easy to drunkenly bob one’s head to. But should we as a student body support an artist who

Azalea's set list

Azalea’s set list

so shamelessly relies on her own fake sexual gestures in order to garner attention from the media and applause from a crowd, rather than from her actual music? Should we support a female entertainer who reinforces negative stereotypes of both woman with her hyper-sexualized performances and hip-hop artists with her lyrics that focus on cash, ass, and nothing else?