It's fuckin nice out for once. Forget about your work, relax, and come to some of the chilllll shows happening this fine weekend.
Foss Hill // Friday 12:00 - 1:30 pm
Jace, of Cicero Presley fame, is teaming up with Emma, of Minges name. If all goes according to the Facebook event, you will be treated to some Andalusian classical music. If not, who knows.
You may know him for his electric-bass stylings. And that’s exactly what he’ll be doing on Foss this Friday. Look forward to some Wooten-like virtuosity on the bass.
The first of TWO gigs that the young, fledgling band will be playing this weekend. I have it on good authority that this is the one they will be “less drunk for.”
"Simultaneously dreamy & screamy poetic lyricism combined with multi-faced funk. The sun is shining upon you, waves lapping at your toes / you're swimming against the current and aren't quite sure what just grabbed your ankle."
They’ve got a sound some have described as,,, “Boom”
Declan is a real pal. He is the nicest guy you will ever meet and, as anyone who went to his intimate OutHouse show earlier this semester can tell you, he’s got an unparalleled charm with a guitar in his hands. Look forward to hearing some delightful acoustic tunes.
SOP's goal is to be a role model and inspire young Asian-Americans to explore the arts & music. His new album "Fuzzy Orbit EP" is trying to expand the definition of Asian-America by reclaiming stigmatized words & celebrate family.
Westco Cafe // Saturday 11:00
A Westco disco with live music
Come wearing all of the tie dye you own
Featuring Fat Mama Kick, DJ Shaga, DJ Scales, Baby Jeremy, and J Berg
Crowell Concert Hall // Sunday 7:00
The GRAMMY Award-winning Kronos Quartet returns to Wesleyan to perform a wide-ranging program of music from around the world, featuring adventurous string quartets either written for or arranged for the legendary group, including the world premiere of Jacob Garchik's arrangement of the John Coltrane tune "Alabama."
This event is SOLD OUT but we trust that if you're a true fan, you will find a way.
An old friend returning to Alpha Delt, some new friends playing a show at Music House, and some pastoral vibes courtesy of BOSSY at Farm House.
Good Morning CT is an on-campus band that we love and admire. Despite what you may hear, they are NOT Mini-Chef.
Zikina // Hex Grrls // Ceiling Star // Sugar^3
Music House // Friday 9:00
Zikina is a bold medley of international styles. Uganda native Gideon Ampeire draws you in with a variety of traditional East African instruments rarely found in the US, including enanga, agungu, and kalimba - all of which he builds himself. Mike Cardoze (guitar) weaves intricate melodic conversations with Gideon and dances through the beat with punchy rhythmic lines. Roston Kirk (bass) and Kade Parkin (drums) weave a sonic landscape that flows seamlessly from intense grooves to joyous dance beats to dreamy textures.
Ceiling Star are Zach Turner (‘20), Alex Richwine (‘20), Zander Medrano (‘21), and Matt Winchester (‘18). They are noisy babies. They may be playing a Weezer cover. They will most certainly rock your sox off.
Hex Grrls are Kelsey Gordon (‘18), Angel Riddle (‘19), and Lily Landau (‘18). You can probably relate. Think punky, funky bass, annoyed vocals, and jazzy drums.
Sugar^3 are Dontay Downer (‘19) and friends. There’s gonna be a lot of delay. There’s gonna be a lot of. There’s gonna be. There’s gonna. There’s.....
Blooper is super. They’re our favorite group-er.
Friends are Brien + Sophie + Sarina. With “extra-special-secret-guests” as well.
Thanks to an invaluable, anonymous source on the Spring Fling Committee, Aural Wes has managed to get our hands on the lineup this year and oh boy, is it a doozy! Possibly one of the greatest lineups in Wesleyan's history and we're freaking….OUT!! May 10 cannot come soon enough folks.....
Also for those of you late to the party, check the date on this post ;)
Their “Little Dark Age” is finally over; Wesleyan’s most prized alum band MGMT is going to be returning to campus for the first time since this poorly-lit Beckham show circa mid-2000s. Armed with a bevy of new psych-pop hooks for people to sing along to, don’t think they won’t break out some classics too. Personally, Aural Wes is hoping for a return of the ‘03 Zonker classic “Funky Legal Beats”. Suffice it to say that people are gonna lose their shit for this performance.
It looks like Spring Fling Committee has succumbed to the engrossing appeal of meme-rap. Rumors are that Ugly God ran into contract issues with the committee but we think Wesleyan will be more than happy to play host to the viral London rapper known as Big Shaq. A once-in-a-lifetime talent, we expect his appeal to endure for years and his career to flourish and match, if not surpass, the success of previous Spring Fling headliners like Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper. Who could have gotten through 2017 without falling in love with his hit single “Man’s Not Hot”, in which he insists upon keeping his fur jacket on in the studio booth—an utterly classic bit. We’re hoping he stays jacketed up on Foss this May 10!
Esteemed Music Professor Neely Bruce
Our source on SFC tells us that because the budget was all spent on the above two artists, John Spencer Camp Professor of Music Neely Bruce is playing for free. It's definitely odd that he's taking the slot normally reserved for a student band but you won't see us complaining! You've seen his face strewn across posters all over campus advertising parts I-XV of This is It! The Complete Piano Works of Neely Bruce throughout the past few years, which makes us wonder—is this really it? An auteur renowned for his unique interpretations of serialism, grand orchestrations and early collaborations with John Cage, Professor Bruce will surely fit right in with bacchanalian spirit of Spring Fling. Join Neely for a two-hour long recital of all of his original piano music, along with—fingers crossed—a hologram of his musical idol, Charles Ives.
Check out this playlist to get acquainted with these rising acts, with a few of our personal fav tracks:
Spring is upon us! Spring Fling announcement is almost upon us. Until then, enjoy some good shows, including the much-awaited return of Bossy!!
Palehound // BOSSY // Saint Something
200 High // Friday 9:30
Don’t be sad, Jake! Palehound is coming back to Middletown to play at 200 High this Friday!
BOSSY is back! Catch them walking around Weshop matching with your best friend.
Saint Something released a new single!
Ossa is a Rhode Island-based band who grew from the solo project of Sam Mayer. They play slick 90’s-inspired rock, with vocals that sounds Parquet Courts-y. Check out their single on Bandcamp - some real nice guitar work and tasty keys.
Baby Jeremy is a pop-punk/emo band who's probably headlining Warped Tour this summer. They just released a new EP on Bandcamp. Musical influences: Paramore, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, Jimmy Eat World.
Badabing has a new single (Badabingle??) out too! Check out their set at E-Ho this Friday!
Surf & Malcolm
200 High // Saturday 11 PM
Come thru to MoveHo for a "litty" time
We're gonna bet that midterms won't keep people homebound this weekend. After Friday's celebration of sophomore musical excellence, the hip-hop show at Psi U on Saturday will certainly be a final flicker (read: lit) of weekend joy before Spring Break.
Earth House // Friday 5:30 pM
Subtle Degrees will be blessing us with an early evening avant-jazz show. Possibly the first of its kind. Don't miss it!
Saint Something is Carina Rosenbach '20
Barbara Shop is Ezra Kohn '20
Panini Girlfriend — A friend of Bram’s is a friend of Aural wes :)
NXGN CBNT // Whet // LAZ
Psi U \\ Saturday 10:30 PM
NXGN CBNT— NXGN is a New York based rap collective that consists of members TyBass, Fresh The Prophet, Nohri, JonBoyIce, and CHRISMELH. The Facebook event has a very comprehensive write-up of the members. It's gonna be a very dope performance, we can assure you of that.
Declan Moy-Bishow’s (‘19) music is straight out of a late 1950s Florida nightclub. With shiny guitar licks, Buddy-Holly-Harmonies, and those funny little intermediary song sections where the singer speaks directly to the listener, this is classic surf-rock, but with a modern, grungey, East-Coast twist. This is Ace & The Gulls latest album, GET IT OUT.
Declan, who is an all-around crazily creative person (he’s an illustrator for Lucid Color, and created the album’s wild cover, and though he plays drums for A&G, can also get on the guitar, keyboard, and air organ,) formed the band in his Freshman year at Beacon High School, Queens.
Declan: Right before a high-school Battle of the Bands we decided to name ourselves Ace & The Gulls. It was between that and The French Guyana, and the Lonely Geisha. My mom wouldn’t let me do that one. We were called ‘The Gulls" for a long time. Over the years there have been 6 members, but now it’s boiled down to 3. Andy on guitar, Declan, me, on drums, and Matt on the bass. Andy and myself do vocals. And sometimes Matt, kinda like Y in the alphabet.
Aural Wes: where’d the Ace come from?
D: Matt had a bass strap with a bunch of playing cards on it, and I said, “you can’t wear that.” So we started calling him Ace. We used to be really strict about performing. We would only wear white button down shirts, jeans, and play fender guitars. I suppose we loosened up. Later on, we’d play with my dad’s old band. He plays the drums, like me, or I like him. They had this reunion in my senior year, and we played a couple shows. It was bizarre.
AW: What’s your dad’s band?
D: They’re called The Mosquitoes. Their sound definitely influenced us. They were into Early Beatles stuff.
You can clearly hear those early rock n’ roll influences in GET IT OUT, but on second listen, there’s also a clear nod to 90s and early-2000s grunge, and A&G’s lyricism strives for more than anything on albums like Twist & Shout. Take the fourth song on GET IT OUT, "Love a Girl". From the title to the jingly upbeat guitar and shaker, as well as the fun dancey lyrics (feels like I’m dancing/I wanna stand still/but I can’t ever with you,) this song could just be 50s esque cover. But halfway through the song (which are all around 2 minutes, in classic early vinyl LP fashion,) the minor power chords get a little heavier, the lead a little more ghostlike, and the lyrics much darker: "kill, me, now/right now/surfing on weeknights/I’m watching their lives/and I can’t figure it out at all." But then it jumps right back into a poppy rhyme: "when I’m in the clouds/you bring me down now." The incongruities between innocence and alienation are starkly juxtaposed, with just one line between “kill, me, now” and “surfing on weeknights,” perhaps in an effort to show how close the two feelings really are, like the inseparable mega-highs and torturous lows of an adolescent crush.
This isn’t to say that GET IT OUT is trying to be all commentary. Songs like Do the Gull and She’s So Cool are fun, bouncy, and consciously not serious. During She’s So Cool’s final repeated choruses, we hear, “she plays laser tag… she’s from Staten Island… she let me hold her pet snake.”
My favorite tune is definitely "Ten O’ Nine," with its folky, Simon & Garfunkel feel and rising harmonies. The lyrics aren’t complicated, and they don’t seem to be about anything in particular, but they excellently convey the feeling of a day idly passing out of your hands, some strange melancholy stuck in your head like a catchy song, just staring out the window. And I love its sad final lines: nice guy/he said goodbye/he messed me up, he messed me up, he messed me up.
AW: Why’s it called GET IT OUT?
D: Because we had to get an album out. Or it might be because of all that kooky stuff in your brain, and you gotta get it out. Isn’t that how it works?
AW: and the album artwork, what’s that all about?
D: It’s influenced by Yuichi Yokoyama. Yuichi taught me everything. The two guys wearing sunglasses are me and Andy, and then the chopstick walking clowns are maybe the ideal Ace & The Gulls. Are we looking over there, or to the future?
AW: does A&G have plans for the future?
D: I have no. Make some more songs. Tour, with our parents.
Declan is playing an acoustic set at Outhouse on Friday February 23rd, 7-8pm. He’ll be playing some songs from GET IT OUT, as well as some other cool tunes too.
- Ezra Kohn '19
Porch | pôrCH | (noun) a covered shelter projecting in front of the entrance of a building
Nat and Allison review the Wesleyan porches you know and love.
- Columns definitely compensating for something
- Still a great porch though (we are biased, we live here)
- There is a swing!
- Spacious and functional
- Might be a deck
- Jake Abraham said this was his favorite porch
- Somewhat questionable furniture
Center for the Americas
- Yellow. Good.
- "Only porch I've ever thrown up on." —Allison
- The best columns at Wesleyan University
- Our favorite porch!
M. Roth's house
- Nice but pretentious
The first official weekend banger of 2k18. After a slow stretch of weekends, we're back. with Porches. Plus, TYGAPAW and lots of cool on-campus bands making their spring semester debuts!
Porches (+ Goo and Girltype Behaviors and Kfeelz)
Movement House // Friday 8:30 PM
Porches is one of the most important indie rock bands in recent memory. Formed in 2010, the band gained significant exposure in early 2016 with the release of Pool, an indie-electronic album that maintained singer/songwriter Aaron Maine’s signature intimate DIY styling while also being irresistibly danceable. Porches’ newest release, The House, creeps closer to pop than any of Maine’s prior releases at times, but stays grounded in themes of anxiety and loneliness.
Goo are sneaky, sick, and strictly surreal. They’re back for the semester, so expect more well-written, hard-not-to-love tunes from them.
Girltype Behaviors are post-punk, unparalleled, and support cross-pollination.
Kfeelz brings the tunes you want and the energy you need.
Saint Something is Anjali Desai '20 on vivacious vocals and baller bass, Ginger Hutchinson '20 on krazy keys, Carina Rosenbach '20 on that goodgood guitar, and Luisa Bryan '21 on dank drums. Carina is gluten-free.
Psi U // Saturday 10:30 PM
Born and raised in Jamaica, Dion McKenzie aka TYGAPAW is a Brooklyn-based, multi-disciplinary artist, DJ, and producer. TYGAPAW infuses her Jamaican ancestry into deeply lush beats and mixes that are diverse and experimental sonic representations of her life, experiences, and struggles. TYGAPAW is founder and curator of Fake Accent, a monthly queer club night that is host to an eclectic and open-minded community. This year TYGAPAW saw the release of her debut EP, Love Thyself, with tracks that move from baile funk and swelling synth work to New York Vogue and Baltimore club.
Songs to Die to
Whether you want to go out in a fiery explosion or peacefully in your sleep, you might have thought about having some tunes playing. Here are ours.
William Basinski - "dlp 1.1"
If William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops were the last thing I heard before dying, I would certainly have a lot of time to ruminate; the main track “dlp 1.1” lasts a little over an hour. It consists of a brief horn loop that repeats a few hundred times over the course of the track’s runtime. The beautiful thing about it is that the tape loop is gradually disintegrating during this time and I can’t think of a better sonic metaphor for the slow onset of death. I like to imagine that this is playing while I’m in the hospital after sustaining fatal injuries from an ill-advised hot-air balloon excursion, circa age 75. I ask the nurse to put this on as I take my last breaths, thinking about my life while this decaying tape loop plays in the background. By the end, I’m close to my final moments and all that’s left of the track is a sputtering, crumbling remnant of the track’s initial content. Then I say peace out.
Curve - "Perish"
This is probably one of my favorite songs I've ever heard... It wrecks me. It's lyrics really speak to this week's theme: "Surely our souls will perish / Surely, surely, surely, surely, surely, surely".
Watsky - "Conversations"
George Watsky, most likely my favorite lyricist and rapper I've ever listened to, delivers this heart-wrenching song off his 4th studio album x Infinity about the impermanence of life. Accompanied by pretty piano riffs, Watsky discusses two big conversations he's had in his life with his father about similar subjects. He raps his first conversation about how as a nine-year-old, he asked his father, "What happens after we die?". The second conversation occurs 20 years later, as now Watsky has to talk to his elderly dad about writing his will, where he wants to be buried, and other trivial things about moving on after he passes away. The whole song includes Watsky's existential stream of consciousness as he narrates the struggle within his mind concerning life after death and what loss really means. Yet the song still preaches an uplifting message about staying positive and living life to the fullest, as Watsky reminds us, death "isn't for a long, long, time"...
The National - "Bloodbuzz Ohio"
One of my all time favorite dad bands, The National constantly churns out songs that make you confront the dark side of life. The track “Bloodbuzz Ohio” from their 2010 album High Violet is a triumph of existential dread. The surrealist lyrics about bees and midwestern states are the perfect slate on which to project your own contemplations of death. Forlorn trumpets at the end feel like a sort of swan song, pushing you closer and closer to the edge of existence. It’s love, and loss, and debt, and drunkenness; making the perfect soundtrack for slipping into oblivion.
Modest Mouse - "Edit the Sad Parts"
Over the summer, I would listen to "Interstate 8" a lot while driving to work because the length of the album was the same as my commute. There was one day it was raining heavily and I couldn't see the road and I got into an accident and the first thing I thought was "If I die right now, this is a perfectly ok song to die to."
Nine Inch Hails - "Ghosts I-1"
NIN's Ghosts is a 36-track experimental saga of an album, and "Ghosts L-1" is probably my favorite song. There's something deeply sorrowful in this piece, but in a kind of detached way. It makes you feel like you're floating (buoyant on that slowly-rising synth choir) in some massive and empty darkness. It makes you feel cold. Trent Reznor says that Ghosts is "a soundtrack for daydreams," but I personally find that Ghosts L-1 is less like a daydream and more like a death — a gentle transitioning into death, a loss of corporeality, the acceptance of a ghost.
The Antlers - "Epilogue"
My uncle once said this album sounded like the music angsty kids play when they kill themselves. If I had to go it might as well be to a sadboi anthem, right?
DeVotchKa - "How It Ends"
Catharsis: noun. the process of releasing, and thereby providing relief from, strong or repressed emotions.
Blondie - "Call me"
Only if I get murdered in the woods while this song plays muffled from a house party in the distance
If 2016 was the year of “realizing stuff”, 2017 was certainly the year of transformation. Streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music transformed the music landscape by making new music more readily available than ever. The rise of Bandcamp and Soundcloud have made it possible for up-and-coming artists to release their music to the masses without the need for record labels. 2017 was not an easy year, as the music scene was rocked by an unpredictable political climate and allegations of sexual assault and harassment (a cultural moment that was difficult yet necessary), but some of our favorite artists dropped surprise releases that kept the year interesting, to say the least. Kendrick Lamar got political and took on Fox News and the Trump administration on his fourth LP, DAMN. Lorde made evident her status as pop’s poet laureate on her second album Melodrama. The California-based boyband BROCKHAMPTON dropped not one, not two, but three new albums in one year. The indie rock scene was dominated by female and non-binary performers like Vagabon, Jay Som, Girlpool, and Adult Mom.
Here were our favorite albums of 2017.
Every so often an album comes around that mirrors my emotions and sparks self-reflection—this was Lorde’s Melodrama. A stellar sophomore follow up, it is no surprise Melodrama affected me this way. The honest way in which she describes life after ending a long-term relationship is universal. Songs such as “Writer in the Dark”,” “Supercut,” and “Green Light” speak to adapting to such a dramatic life change and the reality of letting go. Contrastingly, “Sober,” “Homemade Dynamite,” and “Perfect Places” celebrate this rebirth, highlighting and challenging the way in which we move on. My favorite track, however, is “Liability.” With this ballad, Lorde shares a fear many of us have—being “too much” for those in our lives. With “Liabilty,” Lorde gets me. The production on the album is also to be noted. With Lorde, Jack Antonoff masterfully expands upon traditional pop sounds, pushing musical boundaries to reflect deep emotions.
St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION challenges pop music in a similar way. A reflection of letting go and being left, with MASSEDUCTION Annie Clark doesn’t try to top previous albums but turns inward, bravely expressing her vulnerabilities. From an emotional perspective, this album feels closer to St. Vincent’s audience than her previous albums, but she achieves this feat without sacrificing the glamorous style for which she is known. Annie Clark is a talented songwriter and guitarist and MASSEDUCTION is a display of her artistic growth.
Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy had a lot of hype and it lived up to the hype. A testament to personal and artistic growth, each track on Flower Boy is a banger, but they also explore themes such as isolation, youth, and contemplation. Tyler distorts the boundaries of what we consider rap and hip-hop while showing us another side of himself.
2017 was the year of SZA. Having previously collaborated with artists such as Rihanna, with her debut album CTRL, she steps into the spotlight. The album dazzles, flowing seamlessly and highlighting her uniquely talented way of weaving together poetry and R&B. CTRL showcases SZA’s talent as a songwriter. Over two hundred songs were created during the recording sessions of the album, all recorded freestyle. This method led to a beautiful album, confessional and emotional with stellar production.
What to me is one of the most underrated albums of the year, Julien Baker’s second album, Turn Out the Lights, is an honest meditation on spirituality and internal conflict. Through piano, guitar, and voice, Baker speaks to the challenges faced in relationships: with oneself, with others, with spirituality. On “Sour Breath,” Baker addresses the difficulty of loving someone who is affected by substance abuse. The song ends with her repeatedly singing “the harder I swim, the faster I sink,” an acceptance of the fact that sometimes the effort we give feels like it will never be enough, an expression that resonates with such a universal emotion.
Honorable Mentions: DAMN. - Kendrick Lamar, Big Fish Theory - Vince Staples, Powerplant - Girlpool, SATURATION I-III - BROCKHAMPTON, YOUNG - Overcoats
My New Year’s resolution for 2017 was to listen to more new music which resulted in me regularly checking my Spotify Release Radar, and I’m so glad I did. According to Spotify, I listened to about 40,000 minutes of music this year, and I think that about half of that was just Lorde’s Melodrama on repeat. I was underwhelmed when I first heard “Green Light” as a single, but the album as a whole exceeded all of my expectations. The first time I listened to all of Mount Eerie’s A Crow Looked at Me, I had to pull over on the side of the road because I was crying so hard thinking about how death is so real. It’s truly the saddest and most heartbreaking album, and it’s some of Phil Elverum’s best work. Vagabon released Infinite Worlds at the end of February and I remember immediately texting Manny saying “I know it’s only February but this is The Best Album of the Year.” Most of the songs on Infinite Worlds are songs from her 2014 EP Persian Garden re-recorded and retitled, and you can really see how Lætitia Tamko has mastered her unique sound and evolved as an artist. Jay Som’s Everybody Works is groundbreaking due to the fact that Melina Duterte plays all of the instruments on the album. It’s easy to simply label her music as bedroom pop, but Everybody Works is so much more than that, blending indie pop with shoegaze, folk, and grunge. (Sandy) Alex G’s name change was (Awkward) to say the least, but Rocket was a stunning album that established him as one of the most preeminent songwriters of today, and seeing him perform in a gymnasium was one of the highlights of the year for me. Overall, 2017 was a great year for new music, and I’m looking forward to what 2018 has in store.
Honorable Mentions: Big Fish Theory - Vince Staples, Soft Sounds from Another Planet - Japanese Breakfast, Collection - Soccer Mommy, Phases - Angel Olsen, Need to Feel Your Love - Sheer Mag, Saturation I-III - BROCKHAMPTON, Powerplant - Girlpool, You’re Not as ____ as You Think - Sorority Noise, YOUNG - Overcoats
2017 seems to have been the year of TDE—both Kendrick and SZA delivered memorable favorites. SZA jumped out from behind the scenes and knocked it out of the park on her major label debut. A few tracks stand out in particular: “Doves in the Wind,” “Drew Barrymore,” “The Weekend” and, especially, “Normal Girl.” Also, guitar in R&B is always welcome. The first time I listened to DAMN. I was really pleasantly surprised with the direction Kendrick had taken. Except for the songs that sounded like pop Drake knockoffs, the songs were musically so captivating, so intricate and so mature. Props to Kendrick for getting the best U2 feature (/sample?) of all time. I love the slow burners like YAH., PRIDE., and XXX., as well as the hype stuff, like DNA. and HUMBLE. I’ve had those tracks in particular on repeat ever since the album was released.
With Hang, Foxygen’s eccentricity remains, but that’s about it. They totally ditched their lo-fi, crunchy sound for a slick and unexpectedly grandiose, theatrical style. I like it just as much. Everything feels huge and all the more impactful when backed by a 40-piece orchestra. The album retains their vibe, though—it’s totally frantic, now genre-hopping and as good as ever.
Alien Sunset is so pleasant. It’s the best vintage, throwback little collection of songs that’s not just vintage-sounding for the sake of being vintage-sounding. Max Clarke a.k.a. Cut Worms recorded it all on an eight-track, so it’s got that crusty vintage tape warmth and sounds super old-school. Yes, it really does sound exactly like music from the year 1960 (e.g., Everly Brothers, Peter and Gordon), but earnestly. I believe that he made this album not just as an exercise in retrograde, but because they are just great, timeless songs—and they stand up regardless. Plus, he’s a lowkey shyboy in interviews.
My favorite album of the year, though, has to be a collaboration between two of my favorite artists from the last few years. As soon as I heard that one of King Gizzard’s 5 albums in 2017 would be a collaboration with Mild High Club, the hype was instant and real. Mild High Club is just what King Gizzard needs to chill them out. The album brought about something even more interesting than what I would’ve expected. It’s jazzy, carefully orchestrated, progressive and trippy—but part of the reason it’s so enjoyable to listen to is all the little details tucked within the songs. The way the album keeps returning to the same musical themes at scattered points throughout really gets to me, and kept me listening over and over.
Honorable Mentions: Crack-Up - Fleet Foxes, Flower Boy - Tyler, the Creator, Somersault - Beach Fossils, Star Stuff - Chaz Bundick Meets the Mattson 2, Steve Lacy’s Demo - Steve Lacy, Apricot Princess - Rex Orange County, This Old Dog - Mac Demarco
Not to be a downer/snob, but I found 2017 a little bit disappointing compared to 2016 and its slew of incredible albums (A Seat at the Table; Untitled Unmastered; 22, A Million; A Moon Shaped Pool; Telefone, etc.) Nevertheless, this year delivered some phenomenal records by well-established artists and newcomers alike. The best of these, of course, was DAMN., a minimalist meditation on fame and religion that should cement Kendrick’s status as one of the all-time greatest musical artists, let alone rappers. As for newcomers, I’m cheating and including all of BROCKHAMPTON’s superb SATURATION trilogy, a string of indie-rap records that balance unabashedly fun bangers with surprisingly poignant tracks like “SWIM” and “BLEACH.” (I rarely become enamored of a new artist or group like I did with BROCKHAMPTON—4 of my 5 most-played songs of the year on Spotify were tracks from their first two entries in the trilogy.) Process is the debut LP from British singer Sampha, a record whose intricate production and moving vocal performances met the hype preceding its release. On Big Fish Theory, Vince Staples expertly blurred the lines between electronica and hip hop, finding the perfect instrumental canvas for his razor-sharp lyrics. The third album from Venezuelan producer Arca, and perhaps the most underrated record of the year, is a collection of haunting electronica ballads sung by the producer himself. In 2017, musicians like those in my top five – as well as Tyler, the Creator, Mount Kimbie, King Krule, and plenty of others – managed to defy our expectations of genre by drawing from a range of unexpected sources (see: U2 on “XXX.” by Kendrick). Can we really call Flower Boy rap? Is Process actually R&B? What about The OOZ? I don’t know, but hopefully we will be asking more of these questions in 2018.
Honorable Mentions: Love What Survives - Mount Kimbie; The OOZ - King Krule; Flower Boy - Tyler, the Creator; Take Me Apart - Kelela; Drive It Like It's Stolen - Injury Reserve; Gang Signs & Prayer - Stormzy; World Eater - Blanck Mass; Beautiful Thugger Girls - Young Thug; Harmony of Difference - Kamasi Washington; At What Cost - Goldlink
You’d have thought it would have been the year of revivals, “2009 but better.” Or at least I did. All my favorite bands from when I was entering high school came out with new albums: LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Phoenix, Grizzly Bear, Mac DeMarco, The xx. You remember 2009, right? “VCR” on repeat, “Two Weeks,” “1901,” fuck! Merriweather Post Pavilion? Even the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs were good. Yeah, it was Best-New-Music-core but this was pre-Condé Nast Pitchfork. I’d being lying if I didn’t say that every year since then I’ve been waiting for a year that felt that overwhelming, chock full of freshly-discovered bands that I still call my favorites. But, notably, none of the releases from late-00s bands made it to my 2017 list save for LCD Soundsystem, who I feel a deep personal connection to despite the fact that I usually hate when bands rescind their farewells (it didn’t feel like it was for money, it felt like it was for music, that sounds trite, whatever).
For the most part I find the albums in my top 5 to be inseparable from 2017 itself, for better or for worse. I feel that music thrives when its emotional core is oozing at the seams; I like when artists struggle to keep their cool, when the cracks show. This is true for many of my favorite albums this year, including the (I’ll say it) underrated This Old Dog and truly amazing Phases. That being said, I think 2017 will be remembered for its singles (“Boys,” “Mask Off,” “Slide”) rather than its albums, not because we’ve lost the capacity to listen to an artist’s whole project, but because of their quality and staying-power.
Honorable Mentions: Love What Survives - Mount Kimbie, Rocket - (Sandy) Alex G, Slowdive - Slowdive, Phases - Angel Olsen, Pure Comedy - Father John Misty, This Old Dog - Mac Demarco
2017 was one of my favorite years in music in a long, long time. And yeah you’ve probably noticed my top album list isn’t similar to anyone else’s here. But as a freshman at Wesleyan, one thing I’ve grown to love about this place is that everyone and their music tastes are so different that I shouldn’t feel alienated if I don’t listen to the majority of music people like. After all, music is very personal, and no matter what the Grammys or Rolling Stone magazine or your neighbor that hears you playing tunes at 2am say about your favorite albums, they’re still your favorite because they speak to you on a level that no one else can quite understand.
That being said let’s get started on my list. #1 we got a banger. I’m talking every song on the album will get stuck in your head for weeks kind of banger. The 18 year-old Brit finally released his debut album nearly 2.5 years after debuting the lead single of the album. Declan McKenna’s lyrical prowess at such a young age shows major promise as he continues as a musician, while combining beautiful instrumentation and catchy pop hooks with biting social criticisms (such as the government's treatment of trans kids in Paracetamol and the widespread xenophobia in media shown in Isombard) created a beautiful happy/sad thematic album. Coming in after is a groovy, surf-punk band, the Buttertones, with their third album. While every song on the album has its own style, they combine to create a sensational feeling as if you have been transported to the wonderful, nostalgic, cinematic-western world they’ve created. The Canadian indie-rock group Arcade Fire’s latest album comes in at #3 with Everything Now, an '80s nostalgic, feel-good vibes album that still contains the bittersweetness that the band is known for. The dark yet beautiful Sleep Well Beast comes in next, showing how much the band has matured over their 18 years of existence, while newcomer Ron Gallo dazzles with his quirky, head-bangin' album that gives hope to the future of the garage punk genre. In conclusion, 2017 had its ups and downs, but the music that came from it was unforgettable, and I already got a couple albums on the radar for 2018 that will definitely be something to look forward to.
2017 was a fine year for music. More importantly, it was a watershed year for exposing the shameful and harmful effects of male domination in the music industry. I for one realized this year that placing any male musician on a pedestal, past merely admiring their music, is a bad idea that will just make the tearing-down of their lofty status that much more difficult. We, as a society, also learned this year to believe women and to confront patriarchal systems of subordination in the music industry and beyond. But let's get to the tunes.
At my #1 spot, it’s an artist who continues to defy conventions in his genre, while delivering tracks that consistently serve the BASSSSS. I’m of course talking about Sprite spokesperson Vince Staples, an MC who, throughout his latest LP Big Fish Theory, addresses a variety of current issues over a selection of beats that go hard as hell. These beats are sinister but, unlike most chart-topping hip-hop beats, they pack a rhythmic punch that’s urgent and rife with some nasty industrial drum timbres. Second place for me belongs to Lorde, a kickass, BDS-supporting, New Zealander whose new album combines bangers and emotional ballads at a level I haven’t seen from a pop album in years. Shoutout to Jack Antonoff too on the production here; moments like the midpoint of “Supercut” or even the subtlety of the drums in general are master strokes in terms of weaving emotion into a pop record.
Kendrick’s latest is genius as always but it’s a shame that a few languid moments on this project weighed it down somewhat. Girlpool released a criminally underrated album this year that showcased their superb melodic abilities in tandem with a new beefed-up sound that suits them well. Rounding out the top 5 is Arca's self-titled which is just.... you gotta hear it. We still hear his characteristically aggressive, haunting production but now with vocals that are elegiac in the most spine-tingling way possible. Honorable mentions to Remo Drive for putting out a super fun record and for putting on an excellent show in Middletown, BROCKHAMPTON for being the most exciting group around in a year where King Giz released five (5) albums, and I would be remiss in not dedicating a shoutout to all the up-and-coming independent female artists of color who are shaking up the scene in the best possible way. Vagabon, Yaeji, Jay Som, Japanese Breakfast, and Kelela all released projects I thoroughly enjoyed this year and I know they’re all going to continue making waves in years to come.
I feel like every few weeks I look at my music and think to myself that I need to listen to more new music. Going through the albums I liked this year, I realized that’s not true. At this point everyone’s hopped on the “Fuck 2017” train, and this year for sure deserves that. However, fuck most years; at least we got some good music in 2017. First off, I did not expect CTRL to take my number one spot. The first time I heard it, I liked it but it didn’t shatter my world like Blonde did last year. Then, all of a sudden, it was the thing I listened to most. Whenever I had nothing to listen to, I always ended up back on CTRL (or Blonde honestly). It became a fun conversation with friends, talking about our favorite songs from the album and singing along. Beyond it just being an easy album to listen to, CTRL is a goddam incredible album, from the effortlessly catchy compositions to the amazingly vulnerable and strong lyrics. The OOZ is a pretty different album. King Krule was like a true bona fide rockstar when I saw him live over fall break. I thought I was heading out of my King Krule phase, but The OOZ pulled me back in. Flower Boy is far and away Tyler’s best album in my opinion. Unfortunately, people didn’t talk too much about the music and spent more time talking about Tyler’s sexuality, which he didn’t seem to purposefully make the centerpoint. The album is just banger after banger. Kendrick Lamar can’t produce a bad album. DAMN. is no exception. It’s so different from his other projects and yet still masterful in its own right. Green Twins is a deep meditation on sex, love, relationships, having children and everything in between. This fifth spot was the only one I wasn’t sure about, but I just couldn’t leave this album off. For some reason listening to it feels nostalgic to me, and I am such a sucker for that familiarity in music.
Honorable Mentions: Aromanticism - Moses Sumney, No Shape - Perfume Genius, W/ Love - Infinite Bisous, Infinite Worlds - Vagabon, pleasure suck - The Spirit of the Beehive, Rocket - (Sandy) Alex G, I’m Not Your Man - Marika Hackman, Crack-Up - Fleet Foxes, Capacity - Big Thief, American Dream - LCD Soundsystem, Love What Survives - Mount Kimbie, If Blue Could Be Happiness - Florist, RINA - Rina Sawayama, Antisocialites - Alvvays, Visions of a Life - Wolf Alice, Phases - Angel Olsen, Saturation III - Brockhampton, Under the Electric Blanket - Goo
Looking back on what I listened to this year, I was a bit underwhelmed by 2017’s releases compared to 2016 and 2015. I spent most of the year listening to old favorites instead of new albums, but there were still some great albums this year with songs I played on loop for days.
Sheer Mag sounds like a post-apocalyptic version of The Jackson 5, if you shrunk The Jackson 5 really tiny and had them play inside of a tin can. As weird as that sounds, it works—Sheer Mag’s lo-fi, high-energy take on rock is unique and completely addictive. The shouting vocals and incredible riffs on “Just Can’t Get Enough” never fail to put me in a good mood. Sheer Mag was probably my favorite music discovery in 2017.
I was in charge of the music in the store I worked at this summer, and half the times people asked me what song was playing, it was “Dark Red” from Steve Lacy’s Demo. Even though the demo isn’t technically an album, I had to include it since Steve Lacy is one of my favorite young artists right now and the fact that he made his demo almost entirely on his iPhone amazes me. The catchy bass lines and layered vocals that define his sound on this demo are irresistible. I could go on and on about him (and if you’ve ever mentioned him around me, I probably already have), but I’ll just say he’s one year younger than me and about a thousand times cooler. Going by his demo, I can’t wait to hear what he comes out with in the future.
I’m very late to the BROCKHAMPTON party, but I’m glad I finally got around to listening to them before the year ended. I didn’t expect to get hooked as much as I did—all three of the albums from the SATURATION trilogy are packed with amazing quality tracks.
To be completely honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by King Krule’s latest album. It was impressive on first listen, but I only found myself being drawn back to a few of the tracks. However, the range of styles Archy Marshall tackles through his different projects never fails to impress, and this album was no exception. “Half Man Half Shark” and “Dum Surfer” in particular are catchy and addictive yet unlike anything I’d ever heard—jazzy, grimy, and soulful, the two most energetic tracks on the album sound like the music I imagine a band of very talented zombies would come out with.
While I didn’t really care for most of Play the Songs You Like, it was a source of some of my most played songs this year: “Out of Mind,” “Nothing Nice,” and “Dance Number” among others. Short and sweet, these tracks are more on the pop side of what I normally listen to and feel familiar and nostalgic in a way I instantly loved.
Honorable Mentions: Phases - Angel Olsen, Is Everything Okay In Your World? - Yellow Days, Love What Survives - Mount Kimbie
2017 brought a great amount of choice to the music world. Indie, rap, and rock, among other genres, flourished, with tons of new content released alongside demo recordings and re-releases (shouts out to Whitney and Sufjan Stevens). There was an uptick in songs with activist aims, a welcome shift in the entertainment business at large. The fall of formerly-queer punk PWR BTTM reflected a piece of the music industry’s struggle with ethical production and promotion alongside a consumer refusal to literally buy into sexual assault. However, this did not take away from soaring accomplishments in indie releases. Jay Som and Adult Mom both released their sophomore albums (Everybody Works and Soft Spots, respectively), each full of swelling joy and melancholy. Tyler, the Creator continued the rising trend of genre-bending on Flower Boy, mixing rap and R&B with diverse sampling. Meanwhile, Lorde and Kendrick Lamar prove again their prominence in pop and rap -- Lorde delivers exactly what the title suggests and even deeper sorrow on Melodrama, while Kendrick’s DAMN. allows listeners to indulge in his poetry by stripping down formerly heavy production. The influx of releases at the tail end of the year leaves me particularly excited for 2018 -- looking at you, Car Seat Headrest. I can’t wait to see more records released with the same or more vigor than this year.
Honorable Mentions: If Blue Could Be Happiness - Florist, american dream - LCD Soundsystem, Powerplant - Girlpool, Routines - Hoops, James McAllister, Bryce Dessner, Sufjan Stevens, Planetarium - Nico Muhly, Ctrl - SZA, Record Time! - Lexie
Though 2017 was filled with many anticipated albums that disappointed audiences (i.e. Arcade Fire’s Everything Now), the year was just as packed with albums that absolutely exceeded my expectations. It has become quite the trend to scorn the new music of 2017, but I will not succumb to this. I thoroughly struggled to sift through the plethora of new albums I liked in order to assemble my list. Any year of music that requires that effort is a good year, in my opinion. 2017 was especially a great year for hip-hop, with newcomers and veterans alike putting out albums that undoubtedly live up to the excitement preceding them. DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar, Flower Boy by Tyler, The Creator, and Big Fish Theory by Vince Staples are just a few examples of some excellent albums that obliterated my expectations. However, the only hip-hop album that made it to my top 5 is Renaissance by The Underachievers. This album houses what I would consider this East Coast duo’s most lyrically refined work. The album takes a minimalist approach to the instrumentals on most of the album, with the vocals being the main focus. The first track of this album, is certainly an exception. “In My Zone” features a sample-packed intro and a complex beat that do a great job of opening the album. The most anticipated album on my list is certainly The OOZ by King Krule. This album was a masterpiece of lyrics and instrumentals. Every song on this album has such a unique flavor to it that really signals a newfound maturity since 6 Feet Beneath the Moon. With lyrical highlights like “Czech One” and “The Locomotive” as well as instrumental highlights like “Vidual” and “Half Man, Half Shark”, this album certainly did not fail to impress. Phillistines by Pro Teens was a fitting runner up to their last album Accidentally, which made it onto my list for 2016. This album has maturity in the songwriting and youthfulness in the execution. A perfect cocktail of an album. I was also enraptured by Multi-Task by Omni as it is truly one of the funnest albums of the year. Omni probably has one of the most specific sounds of any band I found this year. With chorusy, tape warbling guitars and a matter-of-fact vocal style, Omni is a band to watch out for in 2018. I gave the crowning spot on my list to New World Pregnancy by Boy’s Age. This dreamy alt-pop masterpiece blew me away the first time I heard it. The ethereal and complex instrumentals of the album absolutely sweep you off your feet as you feel yourself melt into the music. Though this album came out in December, it absolutely stole the spotlight for me. In conclusion, I was very pleased with the music of 2017 but I expect even greater and more fantastical things from 2018.
Honorable Mentions: Don't Let It Be - Playboy Manbaby, Sketches of Brunswick East - King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizzard and Mild High Club, Big Fish Theory - Vince Staples, Flower Boy - Tyler, the Creator, Fresh Air - HOMESHAKE, Hang - Oxygen, This Old Dog - Mac Demarco, Stranger in the Alps - Phoebe Bridgers, Love What Survives - Mount Kimbie
2016 had better music, but 2017 had MORE CAPS LOCK.
Honorable Mentions: Infinite Worlds - Vagabon, Gang Signs and Prayer - Stormzy, Pop 2 - Charli XCX, From The Fires - Greta van Fleet
so many concerts this weekend that sound co-op may self-implode
Mac Ayres + psalm
Movement House // Thursday 7:30 PM
Mac Ayres - Dilla, D’angelo, Stevie Wonder come together to make Mac Ayres. Its smoooooth. You can read about him on Pigeons and Planes here or TIDAL here. His EP, Slow Dive, was released through Fête Records, a Wes-affiliated record label.
Like Mac Ayres, psalm is a member of Fête Records. Smooth RnB, self-describes as "sound."
The Spirit of the Beehive. (+ blooper & Baby Jeremy)
Art House // Friday 10:30 PM
the spirit of the beehive. (Philadelphia, PA - Tiny Engines)
- Here to slowly rot your brain with sad, beautiful pop songs and sweet melodies buried under noisy, psychedelic rock.
- Released a new album earlier this year.
-Recent tourmates of Palm, Japanese Breakfast, and the Districts.
- It's their inaugural show!
- Pop/post punk kinda stuff
- Regina Melady ('18), Helly Manson ('19), Ona Lepeska-True ('19), Rafe Forman ('20), Carina Rosenbach (‘20), Luisa Bryan (‘21)
-4 dads playing rock and roll for the very first time
-Geoff Minet ('20), Jeremy Mopsick ('20), Zack Hersh ('20), Lance Lepelstat ('20)
WestCo Cafe // Saturday 2 PM
Barbara Shop - they play too much
Badabing - they frosh
Jahmir - he raps
Saint Something - angel olsen
“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. My grandmother used to tell me stories about the old days, a time of peace when the Avatar kept balance between the Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, and Air Nomads. But that all changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar mastered all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless firebenders. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years have passed and the Fire Nation is nearing victory in the War. Two years ago, my father and the men of my tribe journeyed to the Earth Kingdom to help fight against the Fire Nation, leaving me and my brother to look after our tribe. Some people believe that the Avatar was never reborn into the Air Nomads, and that the cycle is broken. But I haven't lost hope. I still believe that somehow, the Avatar will return to save the world.”
Juliana Huxtable (+ DJ Bebe)
Psi U // Saturday 10 PM
Juliana Huxtable is a trans artist, musician, performer, and writer based in New York City. Through diverse mediums – photography, digital art, and performance –Juliana explores themes of the body, text, queerness, and the intersection of race, gender and identity, drawing inspiration from Afrofuturism and science fiction. Juliana has exhibited her work at a variety of prestigious galleries and museums around the world, including Reena Spaulings Gallery, MoMA, the New Museum and Guggenheim. She is also a member of the NYC queer arts collective, House of Ladosha. She'll be doing a DJ set, but also come to her discussion before at 4:30 PM, also at Psi U!
DJ BEBE is a New York based DJ. Most recently DJ BEBE created the soundtrack for VAQUERA’s (NYC fashion label) SS18 show and collaborated with Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.
Kitty + Ricky Eat Acid
WestCo Cafe // Saturday 10 PM
Kitty’s music has undergone a sizable shift since her days of doing tracks with RiFF RAFF and rapping over MF DOOM beats. Her newest release, Miami Garden Club, is an album full of genius pop songwriting and some stellar production. At times the record is woozily hypnagogic, as on the album’s opener, and at at times it’s synthpop bangers that deserve to be on the radio, like Running Away or Mass Text Booty Call. Regardless, it’s gonna be dope.
Plus, one time she talked to Narduwar:
Ricky Eat Acid is Baltimore-based musician Sam Ray, known for his many musical projects, which span a variety of genres. These include Teen Suicide (currently undergoing an inevitable name-change) and Julia Brown among others. On Saturday, he’ll be bringing his stellar electronic side project Ricky Eat Acid to WestCo Café. While admittedly more ambient than his other projects, it’s difficult to pin down Ricky Eat Acid’s exact sound. Ray's latest release under the moniker boasts a beautiful mixture of ambient music, dance music, noise music, and anxiety-ridden driving music. Basically, if the following two endorsements don't make you wanna check out Sam’s set this Saturday, then I don’t know what will:
WESU Free Form Feast & Festival
Beckham Hall // Saturday 6 PM
Support free-form radio this Saturday at the WESU Free Form Feast & Festival. Student tickets cost $10 and include a buffet meal plus a variety show featuring performances by Noah Baerman, Joe Flood, Old Lonesome Dave Downs, Kelvin Young, Frank Critelli, Dana Merritt, Robert Nasta, The Basukes, Gag Reflex, Babe & Beth, Slavei and Olivia Backal-Balik!
tHhis wekend is gonna be a GUD one
Bizarre Love Triangle + Badabing + Boogie Night Sweat
Movement House // Friday 9:30 PM
Bizarre Love Triangle is Beth Townsend '19, Chris Reed '19, Sam Dewees '19, Sam Friedman '18, and Ginger Hutchinson '20. This new band is undoubtedly going to be at the top of the Wesleyan charts just days after this show. I mean look at this line-up. That's wild. These are all amazing people with amazing talents. How could you miss this? You'd have to be a fool.
Badabing is the hottest, newest freshmen band. They pack a nice, tight sound together - Nick Cantrambone (guitar, vocals), Jamee Lockard (bass, vocals) and Charlie Kilgore (drums, guitar, vocals). Their second show, tonight will be a blast and a half!
Boogie Night Sweat is Chris Reed '19 and Kendall Kinney '20, who will deliver grooves into your spine.
Diet Cig (+ Flaccid Ashbacks)
Alpha Delt // Saturday 10:00 PM
Diet Cig is cool. The angst in their music is probably what high schoolers think college is like. With poppy-punk vocals over frenetic instrumentals, they are angry and perky and jovial. Perhaps they say it best: “Diet Cig is here to have fun. They’re here to tear you away from the soul-sucking sanctity of your dumpster-fire life and replace it with pop-blessed punk jams about navigating the impending doom of adulthood when all you want is to have ice-cream on your birthday.”
Flaccid Ashbacks is Henry, Charles, Jefferson, Jake.
Their live show’s so hype it’ll keep you awake
To go is the best decision you can make
IF YOU DON’T GO… you’re fake.
Kodomo (+ Kodachrome, Purple Windsounds)
Movement House // Saturday 10 PM
Kodomo is an Emmy award-winning video game composer who also makes electronic music. His ambient techno is based on his travels in the US and abroad. He’ll be playing new songs off his EP Divider with a totally new live setup.
Kodachrome plays deep, dark, nocturnal electronic music perfect for night driving and vibing.
Purple Windsounds is an apocalyptic noise-pop band that uses electronic synthesized sounds, along with acoustic instrumentation to create upbeat songs about love, loss, and the end of the world!!
Happy November! We're kicking the month off right with some great performances from on-campus and off-campus bands, so be sure to check it out. Maybe even bring your parents.
DT & the Nasty Star Hermit Band w/ MEG
Music House // Thursday 7:00 PM
David Thompson ('11) and the Nasty Star Hermit Band is an overgrown, shockingly vain excavation and re-working of high school angsty tunes processed thru a zillion synths and at least one telephone mic, executed by a powerhouse supergroup of Wes alums who know exactly which buttons to hit to make you want to dance on the dance floor: Sam Long ('12), Mel Hsu ('13), Eric Sherman ('10), Jess Best ('14) and then plus two guys who didn't even go to Wesleyan- Keith and Bob.
MEG is Meg. They just hit 100 likes on Facebook. This is their first Thursday show, and they’re super excited!!!
Eclectic x EMG Present: Dynasty Handbag
Cross Street Dance Studio // Saturday 2:00 PM
Presented by Electronic Music Group and Eclectic Society, this performance features an LA-based performance and video artist Dynasty Handbag. Her lively performance will be accompanied by a workshop on the same day. During the workshop, she will share some footage of her own work, speak about her practice, and lead some exercises. This is open to any interested students.
Strange Ranger, Spit-take, The Foresters, Dawson (Grass Stains)
MAC650 // Saturday 7:00 PM
Strange Ranger (formerly known as Sioux Falls) is an indie rock band from Portland, Oregon who just released a new album called Daymoon, which was recorded in a bedroom during the winter of 2016/2017. Give it a listen.
Spit-take is a punk trio out of New Haven, Connecticut. Their arrangements frequent moments in which the vocals and guitar line up powerfully, giving their punk arrangements an up-front characteristic. With a dynamically effective use of vocal inflection to put their presence over the top and a backdrop of compelling punk bass and drums, Spit-take brings their talent to Middletown for the second week in a row.
The Foresters is a Bethany, CT and Purchase, NY-based indie rock-type band consisting of three brothers and assorted friends.
Dawson is a member of Grass Stains, a self-professed “maximalist dumb fi” rock band out of Newtown, Connecticut with wailing and bleating vocals. Their songs feature many melodic riffs over intricate bass and drum lines which sometimes follow "mathy" rhythms. RIP Grass Stains.
Crumb // Barbara Shop
Earth House // 10:30 PM
Crumb is one of the most exciting bands of the year. The members all met in Boston, two of whom were staples of the Tufts music scene. Their music is trippy, funky, soulful, and transportive. Beautiful soothing vocals provided by Lila Ram ani (also the guitarist) are supported by a tight rhythm section, giving an often funky hip-hop feel. Picture a mix of Hiatus Kiayote, Broadcast, Tame Impala, and Grizzly Bear - and yes, that’s every bit as good as it sounds.
Barbara Shop is a self-described “nü-punk” group consisting of Aural Wes members Adam Manson ‘19, Ezra Kohn ‘20, Neel Madala ‘20 and Lucas Cereijido ‘20. Known for their hook-laden garage rock tunes, as well as their w-w-w-w-wacky social media presence, Barbara Shop is one of the best new bands of the 2017-2018 school year.
Queen Moo is bare, a little upset, and undeniably catchy, even when screaming lyrics like, “you’ve got a lover, and I hate her,” in their under 2-minute “What It Comes To”.
Thrashy, 2000-emo influenced and “performing rad tunes for U!,” Prince Daddy & The Hyena will surely awaken the confused 14-year-old within you.
Kississippi is an airy, echoey, bouncing off the walls indie rock quintet that “writes personal, relational songs.”
Super technical, like an angry math-rock version of the Spin Doctors, Cheem writes the kinds of songs you love to belt out on the highway.
Laszlo Feher ‘20, who performs under the name LAZ, has been rapping and making music for over two years. He started the year off strong with an energetic performance at the MASH, and then opened for LA-based hip hop artist YEEK. Known for his beaming personality and eccentric fashion sense, LAZ has established his place within Wesleyan's music community as a prominent musician and performer.
Allison Hsu '20 interviewed the Belgian-American-Parisian rapper, discussing his newest mixtape, his musical influences, and his plans for the future, while waiting in the Pastabilities line at Usdan.
Laszlo, who never strays from the unconventional, ordered white pasta with a mix of the arrabiata sauce and the cream sauce, to which Tom, the Pastabilities guy, scoffed and responded “No, absolutely not. Why the hell would you want to mix that?”
While some might be critical of his choices, it is Laszlo’s penchant for experimentation and blending sounds (as well as pasta sauces) in unexpected ways that set him apart.
Tell me about your new mixtape - what can we expect?
So there are 7 songs, two of which are already released - “Come on Babe!!” and “WES” - and the songs are arranged in an order that really flows. All of the songs are currently finished and recorded. Some of the songs have actually been done for about a year, but I don’t want to release the entire mixtape at once, so the next song will be released in the next week or so.
And you released a music video for “WES”. What was the process behind that?
Yeah, so all of that video is shot in different places in Paris, and it features all of my close friends. Part of it was filmed at my best friend’s house, and a friend of a friend directed and did the editing. I wanted it to be very fun and goofy, you know? And Parisian.
So the song is called “WES”, but is it about Wes?
No, actually it’s called “WES” because it’s a Wes Montgomery sample, but I guess it’s easy to make it about Wesleyan too.
What’s it like to be a rapper at Wesleyan?
It’s so fun. Amazing. My original plan at the beginning of last year was to get a band together, but everyone is kind of doing their own thing. I’ve been talking to my friends who are in bands (Flaccid Ashbacks, Barbara Shop, Good Morning Connecticut) about potential collabs, so we’ll see. I’ve also been working with producer Sam McCarthy (‘20), and we have really great chemistry.
Who do you want to work with on campus that you haven’t gotten the chance to?
I would love to pull a Chance the Rapper move and collaborate with an a cappella group. That would be really cool.
This is a question we really like to ask at Aural Wes - what are you listening to?
I’ve been listening to a lot of R&B. Berhana has an EP called “Berhana” which is incredible. Daniel Caesar too. And last summer I listened to SZA a lot. Also SiR who’s a TDE artist. I’ve been listening to him a lot, and he’s great.
Who are your biggest influences?
Kendrick Lamar. He’s the best rapper of all time, in my opinion. Also Busta Rhymes. There are a lot of French rappers and artists that have been really influential - L’entourage, S.pri Noir, Nekfeu, and there’s this new guy Krisy who’s amazing. And also Noname, Mick Jenkins, and Smino.
Do you think your musical/songwriting style has changed at all this year?
Yeah, I’m trying to get my shit together, and I want to be more political.