Tag Archives: music

Five Bands I Took Away From My Scene Phase

 cds

-Rache’ll Brown

I spent my adolescence rocking black hair and wearing way too much eyeliner. I attended the rocker-filled Warped Tour five summers in a row, and I protested the radio like it was the number one cause of death in the world. For years, my walls were plastered with posters of bands no one else had ever heard of, and I reveled in the fact that I had some sort of musical superiority over others my age. I went through stages where I only listened to metal, punk, pop punk, or alternative—basically whatever was the most obscure to my peers at the time. Looking back I’m a bit embarrassed at my snobbery (and appearance! I like to show my sorority sisters the pictures for a laugh), but in the long run I have been left with a diverse repertoire of music and love for lesser-known artists that most of my friends have never heard of. These are the bands that made the most impact on me, the bands that I still listen to today.

The Dangerous Summer

It’s safe to say this is my favorite band. They always put on a fantastic live performance, and they have such a raw and beautiful sound I don’t see how anyone could dislike their music. They just released a new song called “Catholic Girls that encapsulates the sound I admire, and I’m glad I can still call myself a fan years later.

City and Colour

Dallas Green has the voice of an angel and is one of the most talented lyricists I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing. Before venturing on a solo-career full time, Green was the lead vocalist of post-hardcore band Alexisonfire. The band broke up in 2012 (and was the first band I ever saw live in April of 2007). Although City and Colour is opposite from Green’s previous work, the first time I heard “Sleeping Sickness,” I fell in love.

Say Anything

If I play their music and someone recognizes it, we are automatically best friends.  “Alive with the Glory of Love is probably my favorite song in existence, and their album …Is A Real Boy is one of my “top ten’s” (ten albums that have influenced my music taste/appreciation for music).

Senses Fail

When I first left the realm of country and pop music, I found myself watching Fuse television and listening to a lot of Senses Fail. Playing “Buried a Lie made me feel so hardcore when I was in middle school, and I still feel a little B.A. when I play them now.

VersaEmerge

I love a good female vocalist, but for me, the right one is hard to find. However, Sierra Kusterbeck blows me away every time I hear her sing. “Moments Between Sleep was my anthem, and this song is worth some attention.

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Flux Playlist: About Time For A Montage

Sometimes you just need three to five minutes to turn your life around—it sounds like it’s time for a montage. Need to study for that big test? Need to run a 10k? Need to beat that fighter in the ring? Need to clean your apartment (or yourself)?

Really, any aspect of your life can be improved with the motivational tune of a good montage song. Go run up some stairs to a government building. Slam that textbook shut. Swirl out of the dressing room in the fifth pantsuit. It’s montage time.

 

Sam

Push It To The Limit – Paul Engemann
Hung Up – Madonna
Holding Out For A Hero – Bonnie Tyler

Casey

The Final Countdown – Europe
You’re the Best – Joe Esposito
Now You’re a Man- DVDA

Marissa

Hungry Eyes – Eric Carmen
Never – Moving Pictures
Married Life – Michael Giacchino

Rache’ll

Let’s Hear It For the Boy – Deniece Williams
Watch Me Shine – Joanna Pacitti
Why Can’t I – Liz Phair

Sarah

I Wanna Rock – Twisted Sister
I Want You To Want Me – Cheap Trick
Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

When the Music’s Over: R.I.P. Ray Manzarek

The Doors album

-Casey Klekas

The Doors has been one of my favorite bands since I was old enough to have favorite bands. I don’t remember the first time I heard them because they were the soundtrack (along with Cream and Creedence) to my early childhood. My memories stream “Light My Fire,” “Break On Through,” and “Soul Kitchen over the weeks in Lake Powell, inside speedboats fitted with more speakers than life-jackets.

My special connection with The Doors continued through my pubertal awakening. When I was eighteen and in Paris, I ducked out of my class’s day-trip to Versailles and made the pilgrimage to Jim Morrison’s grave inside Père Lachaise, the famous cemetery home to Balzac, Chopin, Jacques-Louis David, Eugène Delacroix, Merleau-Ponty, Proust, and Oscar Wilde, to name just a few. It was truly a religious experience for me. My Blessed Sacrament was performed with Jack Daniels, and my sacred hymn was “When the Music’s Over.”

I am one of those who think that The Doors were a foursome, not just three guys behind the vocals of Jim Morrison. Jim died in 1971 when he was only 27-years-old. His band members, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, and Robby Krieger, have long outlived him. On Monday, Jim was finally given some company.

Ray Manzarek played organ and piano, among many other instruments, for The Doors, and it was apparently his conception to start a band in the first place. Manzarek’s battle with cancer ended Monday, May 20th. He was 74.

I often play the thought experiment of substituting band members out of my favorite groups to find which are essential and which are disposable. I’ve done this with The Beatles, and I’m sorry to say Ringo is as indispensable as George. I’ve come to realize that most truly great bands are so because of the unique fusion of their members. This is true of The Doors.

Ray Manzarek first recognized the poetic talent of his film school classmate Jim Morrison in Venice, California. Manzarek was a musical genius of extraordinary talents, and when they formed a band with Densmore and Krieger he took on more roles than one. He often used one hand to play bass on a piano and the other hand on his VOX Continental organ. Indeed, sometimes he would have to combine this with lead singing, such as when Morrison accepted a few too many psychedelic offerings before a show in Amsterdam.

The Doors were a band that mastered the solo. This is evident in the poetic incantations of Jim Morrison and the slide guitar of Krieger. But Manzarek’s notes are the ones that I seem to remember best, the ones that define the sound of The Doors. If you know The Doors well, you’ll know exactly when the organ breaks into an orgiastic solo.

Manzarek’s organ is as essential to The Doors as Morrison’s voice. He set the tone for the music of the Doors, something wholly unique and hence immortal. Here’s to a man that still makes me pound my fingers on the dashboard in an ecstatic want of mimicry.

Flux Playlist: A Disney Disco

What do we want to be when we grow up? Obviously, we want to be college students who still listen to Disney songs. And, hey, we’ve achieved our dream!

This playlist was difficult to make: how on Earth are we supposed to pick just three Disney songs each to represent the bulk of our childhood? How can such a tiny number of songs properly convey the memories these lyrical tunes inspire in each of us? From The Little Mermaid to Ducktales to Bambi, we hope our choices are able to bring you back to a simpler time, a time of mom cutting your spaghetti and tee-ball practice. A time of Disney.

Sam

A Whole New World – Aladdin
My Lullaby – The Lion King II: Simba’s Pride
Part of Your World – The Little Mermaid

Rache’ll

Colors of the Wind – Pocahontas
Kiss The Girl – The Little Mermaid
Almost There – Princess and the Frog

Sarah

I’ll Make a Man out of You – Mulan
Hakuna Matata – The Lion King
Go the Distance – Hercules

Emily

Little April Shower – Bambi
So This Is Love – Cinderella

Marissa

Everybody Wants To Be A Cat – The Aristocats
The Circle Of Life – The Lion King
When You Wish Upon A Star – Pinocchio

Casey

Rescue Aid Society – The Rescuers
Stand Out + Eye to Eye – A Goofy Movie
Duck Tales Theme Song – Ducktales

Don't Worry Be Healthy: Turn Down the Music!

headphones

-Marissa Tomko

If I had a nickel for every time I got a text that said, “I just screamed your name and you didn’t answer me,” I’d be very rich. As it stands though, I don’t have any nickels for the times that I am oblivious on account of the fact that I don’t have a nickel guy.

But that’s another story.

I can never hear anything happening around me when I’m on campus because I, like many other students, wander from class to class with my earbuds in and the volume up. Way up. I love my music loud no matter what I’m doing: working out, studying, lying on my bed pondering life; none of it seems right without blasting my ears out. I’ve always known it isn’t a good idea, but lately I’ve been wondering how not-good of an idea it is.

According to a study published in Time, around 16 percent of adults in the US have a hard time hearing people speak, and over 30 percent of people over twenty have lost some high-frequency hearing. Doctors believe that hearing loss is contributed to by an increased use of headphones.

But how loud is too loud? Time suggests that if you’re listening to your volume at 80 percent for an hour and a half during the day, you should be fine. They suggest that full volume should be listened to for only five minutes a day—that’s crazy!

Even though hearing loss is a concern for everyone, no two ears are the same. What is going to affect you one way is going to affect that woman on the treadmill next to you in a different way—some ears are just stronger than others. But it’s hard to know whose are weaker until after hearing loss has happened, according to Brian Fligor in Time.

I’m no audiologist, but if you ask me, being conservative is probably a safe bet here. So for those of you who like to pulse music into your ears (see what I did there?), let’s vow to take it down a notch! That way, when we’re 80-years-old (Unless you’re already 80, in which case shout out to you!) we will be able to hear the things our kids say about us behind our backs with full clarity!

Image by Brainsonic.

Flux Playlist: A Classical Cacophony

We don’t mean to brag, but we’re pretty classy people.  We enjoy beverages with our pinkies out; we curl our mustaches when we’re deep in philosophical thought; we tut disapprovingly at things we find displeasing. The list goes on. Another super classy thing we partake in on occasion is listening to classy classical music. This week’s playlist gathers together some of our favorite forays into lyric-less, instrumental music. Sit down, back straight, fold a napkin on your lap, and enjoy.

Sam

Bach: Sonata No.1 for Solo Violin in G- BWV1001 – Nathan Milstein
Violin Concerto in C minor, RV 199 ‘Il sospetto’ – Itzhak Perlman
Flight of the Bumblebee – Rimsky-Korsakov

Sarah

Somewhere in Time – Sergei Rachmaninoff
Main Title (Game of Thrones) – Ramin Djawadi
To the Stars – Randy Edelman

Rache’ll

La Campanella – Franz Liszt
Bella’s Lullaby – Carter Burwell
Transatlanticism – Vitamin String Quartet

Casey

Moonlight Sonata – Beethoven
Hungarian Dance – Johannes Brahms
Ride of the Valkyries – Richard Wagner

Marissa

Attaboy – Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile
Waltz #7 – Chopin
Lake Erie Rainfall – Jim Brickman

Emily

Daphnis et Chloé: suite nº 2 – von Karajan and Berliner Philharmoniker
La Vallée des Cloches (Miroirs, No. 5) – Sviatoslav Richter

Great Expectations Fulfilled: Baz Luhrmann’s “The Great Gatsby” Soundtrack

The+Great+Gatsby+Soundtrack+PreRelease+EP+gatsby

-Emily Fraysse

Director Baz Luhrmann has become infamous in the cinematic world for reworking, rejuvenating, and remixing old songs into a refreshing rendition. His latest film, The Great Gatsby, is no exception.

On May 2, the entire album was leaked to the public for listening-only. Combining an all-star collection of artists like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Florence and the Machine, Jack White, The xx, and Fergie, the album captures the fame and glory of the main character, Jay Gatsby, and the over-the-top ragers he throws at his mansion in New York City during the roaring ’20s. The book, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, states that, “the tempo of the city had changed sharply. The buildings were higher, the parties were bigger, the morals were looser and the liquor was cheaper. The restlessness approached hysteria.” The soundtrack reflects this imagery.

Luhrmann’s post-modernistic style leaves the soundtrack with a juxtaposition of classic jazz and current styles of rap, pop, and hip-hop. NPR explains that by, “distilling the essence of the Jazz Age though never completely reflecting it, this soundtrack is as much an event as is the film that inspired it.”

This left many people in the NPR community and beyond disappointed because of the lack of the traditional Jazz music that was the epitome of that era. So, why did Luhrmann stray away from period music? Don’t get me wrong—there’s a bit of the ’20s sprinkled through a few of the songs. In the text, Fitzgerald makes references to jazz-influenced pop songs that capture the amplification of the parties Gatsby throws and the lusciousness of his filthy-rich lifestyle. The soundtrack portrays the period of music that we are in right now—the “hip-hop age.” The mixture of talented artists, ranging from rap to alternative, exemplify how hip-hop is deeply embedded in rock and dance music. With the juxtaposition of the roaring twenties period shown on the screen, the viewers get to feel the impact of modern-day music, just as Fitzgerald did for the readers of his novel when it was published in 1925.

The question is: will the work of a variety of artists reflect the work of this brilliant writer, or will it take away from the film? I guess we’ll have to wait and see when the film opens May 10.

Grade: A-

Image from http://last.fm.

The Epic Journey of an Accidental Sports Anthem: “Seven Nation Army”

-Casey Klekas

I should have been doing homework. I was watching sports on a friend’s computer, instead. F.C. Bayern Munich was playing F.C. Barcelona and after each of Bayern’s four goals played the song “Seven Nation Army.” Since its release in 2003 that song has become a global sports anthem. How did that happen?

Well, I’ll tell you.

Picture, if you can, a band of Belgians drinking beer. The year is 2003 and the sport is football (not the one with pads and pigskin and Peyton Manning). The Belgians were in hostile Italian territory to support their own F.C. Brugge against A.C. Milan. Legend has it, the Belgians were boozing up in a local pub, numbing the pain of an expected loss, when The White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army came on the jukebox. If you haven’t heard the song or you ain’t got no soul, you should beware its invigorating effects, especially when played on drink-sodden ears. Soon, the Belgians were singing in the streets, beckoning the power of a Jack White guitar riff as they marched into the football stadium. F.C. Brugge pulled off a very unlikely victory, and “Seven Nation Army” followed them home as a lucky charm.

Three years later, Brugge blasted the song while hosting A.S. Roma in a UEFA Cup game. They lost to a triumphant soundtrack. However, “Seven Nation Army” made its way back to Italy where it was adopted as something of a national theme song. Italy went on to win that year’s World Cup and “Seven Nation Army” blared over the ensuing Roman riots. Asked about his song’s sports success, Jack White said, “I am honored that the Italians have adopted this song as their own. Nothing is more beautiful than when people embrace a melody and allow it to enter the pantheon of folk music. As a songwriter, it is something impossible to plan, especially in modern times. I love that most people who are chanting it have no idea where it came from. That’s folk music.”

America reclaimed the song later in 2006. Inspired by the events in Europe, the song started playing in college stadiums around the country. I always knew where “Seven Nation Army” came from. As a matter of fact, it was the first song I ever bought on iTunes. I guess I just didn’t know where it had been.

Visually Oriented: The Lost Art of Commissioned Album Artwork

-Emily Fraysse

On November 22, 2010, hip-hop artist Kanye West released his fifth album titled, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a collection of different musical components like baroque and soul with underlying themes of excess, celebrity, ego, race, drinking, drug use, and consumer culture. What gained a lot of attention, however, was the artwork album artwork. Kanye announced on Twitter that not long before it was released, the album had been rejected by major chain stores because of the graphic artwork.

The portrait, by George Condo, shows Kanye being straddled by an armless winged female. Both are nude. Condo’s Picasso-meets-Looney-Tunes style artwork was described by the New York Times as, “tasty, erudite stuff, freaky but classy, a Mixmaster version of old master, with a big glop of Pop tossed in.”

After the album came out, Condo announced that Kanye wanted a cover image that was risky and would be banned. He eventually created eight or nine different paintings for the album including a disfigured portrait of Kanye and a painting of a crown and sword in a grassy landscape. A second cover was made featuring a ballerina, which at the last second Kanye changed it to a photograph of a ballerina instead.

On the completely opposite end of the album-artwork spectrum lies a lonely, weary traveler by the name John Mayer. After disappearing from the public eye for about two years due to the surgical removal of a granuloma near his vocal cords, he returned with a brand new album and a brand new look. The fifth album for the singer/songwriter, Born and Raised, was his shot at redemption. And, he succeeded. On May 22, 2012, he released his folk and county rock album with an exquisitely designed cover. The recording companies Sony Music and Columbia Records had commissioned David A. Smith to design the cover at the beginning of 2012. Although they never met in person, Mayer and Smith talked regularly via Skype and on phone in order to get the exact look that Mayer was looking for. Smith specializes in traditional, ornamental reverse glass signs and decorated silver and gilded mirrors.

The handcrafted piece was first drawn out separately before vectoring and finishing it in Photoshop in only twenty-eight days. Smith documented the process and success of his work on his website and later in a video.

Both of these artists, Kanye West and John Mayer, did something that not many artists do these days: commission artwork. In John Mayer’s commission, people are claiming that he revived a type of lost art that is slowly coming back into popularity. These special commissions can add a certain uniqueness, beauty, and distinction for artists today.

Flux Playlist: Guilty Pleasure Songs

We’ll admit it: we’re not proud of some of the contents of our iTunes library. We have songs that make us wary of having our iPod set up at a party or in the background of a study session with friends. Some songs have us scrambling for the “next” button, a hasty “I don’t know how that got on there!” on our lips.

But we won’t take these songs off because, in the privacy between two ear-buds, we (secretly) like them. So here we stand, honest—and only slightly embarrassed—next to our Guilty Pleasure Playlist.

Guilty Pleasure by FluxBloggers on Grooveshark

Sam

TiK ToK – Ke$ha
Sorry For Party Rocking – LMFAO

Marissa

Want U Back – Cher Lloyd
Teenage Dream – Katy Perry

Emily

Come Clean – Hilary Duff
The Way You Love Me – Faith Hill

Casey

Old Fashioned Love Song – Three Dog Night
Missing You – John Waite

Sarah

Too Close – Next
Holla Back Girl – Gwen Stefani

Rache’ll

Come & Get It – Selena Gomez
Kiss You – One Direction