Music Review: Currents

CurrentsArtist: Tame Impala
Album: Currents
Released: July 17, 2015
Genre: Psychedelic rock
Rating: 5/5
Favorite Song: Eventually

Tame Impala’s new album Currents was one of my personal Most Anticipated Albums of the Year. I wasn’t expecting to be blown away – I’m a fan of Tame Impala, and I’m familiar with their signature sound. However, as the album took my hand and led me away, I fell deeper and deeper into that type of coma only induced by rock-your-socks-off music. Currents is the musical equivalent of that film which succeeds at the indie film festivals and then blows up later when the rest of the general public catches on. It is textbook hipster, but in the best possible way. Read More

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Concert Review: Froot

“One, two, three, four, five, six?”

The sound check was greeted by a roaring cheer. Young women in white crop tops and doc Martens grabbed their phones and shuffled to find a spot where they could snap a shot of tumblr’s patron saint. The crowd, almost exclusively aged 15-20 and about 80% women, buzzed with excitement.

“Ten more minutes”

“At least…maybe fifteen?”

“Do you think there’s time to get a drink?”

Judging from the college t-shirts, many had probably come from far away like we did, spending a long day driving to Pittsburgh, finding a place to park, finding a place to eat, walking to the venue, standing in line, and fidgeting through a bit of a lackluster opening act. We were ready for Marina.

We waited for what felt like hours afterwards, and the speculation turned to which songs she might play. I wasn’t sure what to expect. For me, listening to an album like Froot is a little like those dreams you’d have as a kid after watching the Neverending Story and eating too much ice cream. It’s fun and dramatic, filled with intense emotions that you don’t quite understand, and leaves you with a weird mixture of sadness and relief when you wake up. I like her music a lot, but I’ve always felt more like I’m listening to her stories from the outside, rather than connecting with them on a personal level. I wondered if after tonight I would feel differently.

All at once the curtains opened and the crowd rushed to the front, hoping to score a place with a better view and louder bass. Marina jumped out on stage in a flowing pink cape and a sparkly cherry on top of her head, and from that moment on it was pure fun. You could tell she was having a great time, and there was an awesome synergy between her and the crowd. She played songs from all three of her albums and even debuted one for us. My favorite moment came about halfway through: she cued my favorite song, “Lies” from Electra Heart, and everything quieted and focused on her voice for a moment. Then the bass sounded so loud that I felt like it would supersede my heartbeat. For the duration of that song, I felt like I got what she was trying to say.

In an interview with Rookie magazine, Marina says, “I’m not a musician who necessarily gets super excited to play a beautiful piano or a beautiful trombone… I’m more geared towards melody, the timbre or tone of a voice, and the lyrics are the number one thing.” I think that comes through in her music, and it’s one reason why so many people adore her.

So while I don’t know that I’ll ever consider Marina’s songs anthems of my life, I’ve been finding myself flipping to Froot more than any other album these past few days. So who knows? I might be a Marina mega fan in the making. Regardless, I had a great time seeing her on stage, and I would recommend you see one of her shows in the US this fall.

Music Review: Blurryface

Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Album: Blurryface
Released: May 17, 2015
Genre: Indie pop / Alternative hip hop
Rating: 4/5
Favorite Song: Hometown

What would you say if I told you I wanted to combine alternative rock, ukulele, and rap with subtle undertones of reggae and ska? Allow me to introduce you to a band that does this much better than I could ever hope to: Twenty One Pilots. The group hails from Columbus, Ohio, and blends all your favorite styles in ways you never dreamed could actually work.  I might liken them to Beck, with wild creativity and a strict policy of not adhering to any genre norms, yet still managing to feel relevant and with obvious unparalleled talent. And as if that isn’t enough to intrigue you, their lyrics are creative and clever, often offering a complex introspective philosophy.

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