SCAD Radio http://scadradio.org More than Music Thu, 17 Aug 2017 02:00:55 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.1 http://scadradio.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/cropped-15844751_10157973088380282_1722021642859959004_o-32x32.png SCAD Radio http://scadradio.org 32 32 The Black Lips… made a concept album. Trust me it’s not what you think. http://scadradio.org/2017/07/27/the-black-lips-made-a-concept-album-trust-me-its-not-what-you-think/ http://scadradio.org/2017/07/27/the-black-lips-made-a-concept-album-trust-me-its-not-what-you-think/#comments Thu, 27 Jul 2017 20:37:26 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2699 The undisputed kings of the underground Punk scene are back and weirder than ever.

I’ve been a fan of The Black Lips since I was 13, that may contribute in large as to why I might not be all there.  They were loud, crude, snotty, did not apologize for their behaviour and best of all they had a sense of humor.  Imagine if the characters from Blazing Saddles were in a punk band and that’s basically what you get from these folks. I’m not even hyperbolising  here, we’re talking about the guys who have been banned from India because lead singer Cole Alexander mooned the audience, as well as the infamous hijacking of Gene Simmons’ Huffington Post live interview, where they jokingly suggested that he “surrender the Kiss Army”. Yeah that happened. Throughout the years  the band have grappled with various styles  from 60’s soul  to 80’s hardcore punk, but one thing has remained constant in their career, which is their commitment  to playing energetic, no BS Rock n’ Roll.  

On their Eighth studio album, Satan’s Graffiti or God’s Art? the band have definitely flipped the script on what has been perceived to be their formula in many ways, most notably in the decision to record a concept album or rather a mock-concept album depending on which member of the band you talk to. Don’t expect them to ever have their stories straight.  This change might have been inspired by the recent departure of drummer/songwriter Joe Bradley or that Sean Lennon (yes he’s John Lennon’s son, get over it) was over seeing the production of this latest effort. I admit, initially I was skeptical as whether or not  their sense of danger and sporadicness would be compromised but it actually turned out worked exceptionally well. In fact it suits the band perfectly in the sense that Black Lips are a weird group of guys and gals. The album sounds like a soundtrack  to a lost  John Waters film, with a feeling for campiness and absurdity.

This is particularly apparent on tracks like ‘Crystal Night’ , a twisted 50’s bubble gum pop number about two lovers during the Holocaust and   ‘Rebel Intuition’  a satirical country song about not giving a fuck.  This isn’t to say that the band are incapable of being serious or sincere, those moments shine through on songs like ‘The Last Cul de Sac’ ,  sung in a close to heartfelt  manner by former Black Lip bandit, Joe Bradley. There are  some rare moments like this on the record but for the most part you can expect the same amount of silliness and tom foolery  the band has been known for.  

Side note: some the other slower numbers on this album might actually just be all jokes, could’ve fooled me. In terms of instrumentation the band have never sounded more tight and somewhat in tune than on this record, they actually know how to play their instruments now, but this doesn’t stop them from having fun and experimenting.  

Although this album actually doesn’t  have a concept per se, it could be suggested that perhaps it does have an overall theme, which is  experimenting, trying  something out your comfort zone. This album has a lot that, from trippy Jazz breakdowns to straight fuzz-freakouts and Anti-Folk undertones. I could harp on and on about the many facets of this album that help define it as modern masterpiece (which would be a gross exaggeration) but in the end all you need to know is that Satan’s Graffiti Or God’s Art ? is a big ol’ ball of fun and bewilderment.

If you’re looking  for a straightforward Punk rock album in the vein of Iggy & The Stooges’ ‘Raw Power’  or  Bad Brains’ first full length  LP, you’re not going to find that here go back to their previous efforts (especially Let It Bloom and Arabia Mountain). However if you’re someone who likes  art-rock albums that aren’t too arty, and will either make you laugh or want to send the band death threats, then this is the perfect album for you!  I personally rank this a ⅘ , the album hits hard but might not always be consistent.

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In Urgency talks new album, “The Holy Ghost” music video http://scadradio.org/2017/07/15/in-urgency-talks-new-album-the-holy-ghost-music-video/ http://scadradio.org/2017/07/15/in-urgency-talks-new-album-the-holy-ghost-music-video/#comments Sat, 15 Jul 2017 13:00:12 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2689 SCAD Radio recently had the opportunity to get on the phone with Californian rock band In Urgency.

 

The band has released their first full length, Painting Parallels, the highly energetic follow up to their 2015 EP, The Vice Volumes. In Urgency plays driving and emotionally powerful music that playfully mixes pop punk and post hardcore to bring something truly fresh to the scene.

 

Here’s a look at SCAD Radio’s interview with Sam Mountain and Javier Caudillo of In Urgency.


Kush with SCAD Radio: For those who haven’t heard of In Urgency, what would be a good song to serve as a starting point into your music?

Sam Mountain from In Urgency: It’s hard to choose one. Especially now, with having 16 songs to chose from instead of just 6.

Javier Caudillo from In Urgency: I would say that a good one is “Angel,” the third track from our new album, and “All You Need,” the second track. I think both of these songs are a good representation of our current sound.

Sam Mountain: “Dear Lovely” as well.

Javier Caudillo: Those three if you asked us to choose our top three. And of course The Holy Ghost, the one we did the music video for. It’s kind of hard when we have all this stuff, we’re really excited for the record as a whole. I would say if you needed to pick one, then it’d be “All You Need” or “Angel,” the second and third tracks on the album.

Kush: How would you describe the experience of releasing your first full length, Painting Parallels?

JC: Oh man, it’s a long story. But to sum it up, it’s the most exhilarating and stressful thing to happen all at the same time.

SM: It’s amazing.

JC: I had a question asked that was asking what the most difficult thing we had gone through as a band and that in and of itself is releasing an album as a whole independently. Making sure all the aspects of the album and making sure it gets out there and that people see it are the most difficult aspect for sure. You know, like reaching the outlets, press, media, and video and this and that and it’s just all over the place when you’re really just trying to play music. We’re starting to get back home and perform live.

SM: Unfortunately, we did postpone our CD release show because Chris (Anderson) had to have an emergency due to his appendix. We haven’t really had the opportunity to experience the fruits of our labor in playing most of these songs yet but we will soon — hopefully by the end of the summer.  

JC: We’re set to be scheduled in the middle of August, so this is a very exciting opportunity that we have coming up. Hopefully we get to share it soon.

K: Is there anything else that was different for you guys in recording this album?

SM: The whole process. So this time around we had Daniel Wonacott from Finch come out and take the lead as producer. We worked with Daniel before on our EP but he just did a little bit of co-production but he wasn’t the upfront guy. So this time around he was the only producer working and we got to make the record the real way. The way the real professionals do it as far as pre-production, and getting the good working relationships together and getting the songs really together before we ever set foot in the studio. Daniel literally came out every writing session and rehearsal.

JC: For 6 to 8 weeks — at the least — he would sit with us for 3 to 4 hours. We’d tear through the songs and rip them apart and build them back up and all that in between. Like who does that before they even get paid? I guess it’s a matter of him really believing in what we’re doing. It was a really cool experience from start to finish.

K: So would you say that working with Daniel Wonacott was more of a hands on experience than working with other producers?

SM: Oh, it couldn’t have been more that way. Specifically, he plays it himself a little bit. Like, he’ll hop on bass or decide to do vocals himself or play guitar for a bit. Because he lent his universal knowledge from top to bottom to us he was able to communicate every change and every idea he suggested very well. And us, as a band, were able to take it in the right direction. So, very hands on but not controlling. At all. He was always like, “Here’s what I think is a good idea, what do you guys think?”

JC: Right. For the most part, he left it up to us for what ideas to go with and what not to. And for the ideas that he insisted on, I was like “F—k yeah!” They were some of my favorite parts of the record. He’d be like, “You’ve gotta try this,” and we’d try it out and it’d come out better than we expected.

K: What kind of message are you trying to send through this latest record?

JC: I think Chris has a heavy hand in the writing along with Sam, with them both being vocals and guitar. It’s a lot of introspection and self-evaluation. It’s kind of taking a step back from where you’re at and identifying what’s going on and digging up some stuff that isn’t the easiest to dig up from the past and facing it in real time. He wrote a song about his little sister and he wrote a song about his mom and his hometown. It’s all this really, really inner personal stuff that I’m proud of him for pulling out and not being superficial about anything and putting everything on the table. And Sam, of course, his his own touch on things with bridges and things like that as well as other things that are personal to him. It’s not all just, “Oh, be positive.” This is the real s—t. The real deal.

K: When you guys write do you tend to focus on lyrics first or do you tend to set out the framework through your music first?

SM: It’s different for every song. I’d say lyrics usually come afterwords, at least for me.

JC: The thing that happened this time around is that I think Chris had a ton of material ready to go for the writing process. He was laying things on top of each other and we didn’t realize it until the end of it. I think he does it as he goes. Sam does it in a slightly different sense, but it all worked out. To me it was a nice surprise to hear it all at once. It was really fun to feel it out and jam it out with Daniel who was really hands on with the drums, bass, and guitar. So I had a really fun time writing and getting down and sweaty and getting into the nooks and crannies of the writing process. It came out a lot better and I’m really grateful for everyone pushing themselves.

SM: I think vocals are the one thing we focused on more in the studio. Pre-production was more on instrumentals and the arrangements. There’s a lot of stuff we didn’t hear until we got in the studio and put it together.

K: One of my favorite parts of your music is how emotionally intense it can be. Can you tell me a little bit about what you do in order to preserve the emotional intensity?

SM: Just be real. I feel like on all the songs, the lyrics really come from the heart. Like in terms of Chris’s writing, he delves really deep on this record. There’s no way for it not to come across as super emotional and super gritty. I think this is an issue that some bands have in expressing their vocals. If they’re not singing from the heart and it’s not real, then it doesn’t come across that way. One of the things that Daniel really stressed was the fact that if it’s hard to talk about then it’s probably one of the better topics to write about. I think Chris really took that to heart. In the moment, watching Chris through the booth it was intense. There is just no other word to describe it. It was just intensity. If you take some time to listen to some different songs like “Dear Lovely” and “The Holy Ghost”, he’s really up there in terms of vocal register and something he didn’t do in quite the same way on the previous record. It just translated perfectly. The intensity of the overall record captivates, like you said. It just came out the way we wanted it to.

K: You guys recently released a video for “The Holy Ghost.” Can you tell me a little bit about your experience in recording this video?

JC: It was fun! This is probably one of the most fun shoots we’ve done being that this is probably the third or fourth shoot that we’ve done with the same crew. We started off a long, long time ago with a good friend of Chris’s, a childhood friend. His name is Aaron Alps, he does a lot of crazy stuff. So those guys grew up together and went into different careers and linked up one day. So we started off with a video three years ago and since then we’ve done a video just about every year. Each time it’s gotten more and more smooth. We know how each person works and we know what to do and the shots that he likes to get. So this was the shortest shoot that we’ve done due to the fluidity, but it still took like 12 or 16 hours straight to shoot.

SM: This time we started in the morning and ended in the night, rather than the other way around. The thing that was cool as well was that we just built that entire set in our practice space. Our practice space looked nothing like it does on a daily basis and became a soundstage with all the wood pallets and lights and some of that stuff still hasn’t been taken home. [laughs]

JC: We made a little mini-set, after the fact, to keep the vibe and it’s really cool. It was a really intense backdrop, as you can see in the video. We built it really fast as well. We did the same thing for our very first video, which I mentioned, “Stitches”. We built that set ourselves, and I love the way we do things. It’s really, really rewarding. So yeah, built up from the ground up and you shoot on it and it just looks epic.

K: Why did you choose “The Holy Ghost” as the song for the first music video?

JC: I think it was a preference of Chris’s, in terms of just song. It was the first song off the album and it was just fitting and was the perfect way of opening up the way we wanted to come across in terms of new sound. It’s definitely a different representation than our first record and we thought it was be a good song for the first video.

SM: Obviously, there’s more to come but I think this is a nice transitional song. It keeps the vibes that people are used to but also introduces new elements that were incorporated with the album.

K: What’s next for In Urgency?

SM: Playing a show. [laughs]

JC: We’re really excited to get into the performance aspect because we’ve had people that are waiting nice and patiently for that show we were supposed to have and we’ve rescheduled it. So, that’s looking like the middle of August and we’re going to hit the major venues in our area soon after that. Definitely big fans of playing the Glass House. We’ve played the Rocks a few times in the LA area. It’s always a good time. It’s just the concert experience that we want to bring to everyone. We’re excited to play a nice, long 9 or 10 song set that we were just supporting an EP. I think we’ve gelled together more than we have before so that’s going to be an exciting thing to bring to the stage. It’ll be a more cohesive set of songs rather than just bam, bam, bam. I think this is where we can come into our own sound.


Be sure to visit scadradio.org for more interviews and music news.

 

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Halsey’s New Album Gives Pop Something to Praise http://scadradio.org/2017/06/17/halseys-new-album-gives-pop-something-to-praise/ http://scadradio.org/2017/06/17/halseys-new-album-gives-pop-something-to-praise/#respond Sat, 17 Jun 2017 16:21:07 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2677 Early June, Ashley Frangipane, also known by her stage name as Halsey, released her second full-length studio album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Two years ago, she released Badlands; the album that made me fall in love with the witty and emotional starlet. I personally find each and every song on Badlands important and incredible in their own way, with substantial support from producer and musician Lido. I have listened to an instrumental version of the album, and still enjoy it just as much as when Halsey blesses the tracks with her voice. Because of this, I had high expectations for Hopeless Fountain Kingdom; I was not disappointed.

Just like Badlands, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a conceptual album based around a story; this time, the story involves Romeo and Juliet personas of star crossed lovers, with the album intro being a narration from Shakespeare’s play. My best friend and I listened to this album together and annotated the instrumentals and lyrics, song by song. “The Prologue” sets the stage for Halsey’s concept, a story that unravels throughout the entirety of the album. It is obvious that she pulls inspiration from many sources in her tracks of this album: The Weeknd, Rihanna, and even early Brittany Spears.

Halsey touches on several topics in HFK, relating to love, lust, heartbreak, and the realness of emotions throughout her life. “100 Letters” is one of my favorite tracks, immediately following “The Prologue,” making it the first song on the album. It is introduced with instrumental beats that make the listeners ears perk up. “Eyes Closed” and “Now or Never” were two singles that were introduced before the album release. Both tracks anticipated the release of the album for her fans. Then, she released a stripped version of “Eyes Closed,” making me wish she had added that version to the album. A significant song on this album is “Strangers;” this song was the first song Halsey wrote with female pronouns, talking about the love of a woman and opening up about her bi-sexuality. It is a duet sung alongside Lauren Jauregui of Fifth Harmony; a long overdue milestone that opens a door to a side of Halsey she has chosen to hide through most of her career.

A significant track on this album is “Sorry;” a beautiful piano ballet reenacting a real world apology letter, one that Halsey wrote to the people she has hurt in her life. She opens up the doors and windows (and perhaps the skylights) to her soul with this track, and the listener can truly hear her words not just spoken, but felt. In “Don’t Play” and “Hopeless” it seems as if Halsey gives her producers more creative control with the instrumentals; something I absolutely love to hear as an artist.

Although I give her substantial praise, I do feel like Halsey fell short with a few songs. I understand that she was experimenting and finding herself as an artist, but with some tracks, the concept of the album doesn’t shine through. “Lie” featuring Quavo seems to blur the story of the album somewhat, along with “Alone,” which can be seen as a great experimental tune; however, when put in place with the concept and sequence of the album, both songs seem to veer off in an unknown direction.

With that being said, Halsey is set apart from female pop artists because of her eccentric ways of painting vivid images of stories from her lyrics. “I woke up to another mess in the living room, broken bottles all around my feet, they came again in the night under crescent moon, didn’t wake me in my sleep.” Lyrics like these aren’t only part of the dynamic story of the song, but part of the intricate fabric of this conceptual album and love story.

Overall, this album carries on the intergalactic, out-of-this-world feel that Halsey has created for herself throughout the years. She takes on a new concept and shows her courage to truly open up to her fans. She works with talented producers who help lay down beautiful, intricate instrumentals behind her piercing, rough tales about heartbreak and unconventional love. She is a force to be reckon with, and Hopeless Fountain Kingdom is a fast and prominent start to her career as a musician.

 

Rating: 4.5/5

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SCAD Radio Chats with The Parasites http://scadradio.org/2017/06/10/scad-radio-chats-with-the-parasites/ http://scadradio.org/2017/06/10/scad-radio-chats-with-the-parasites/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 12:30:02 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2642 SCAD Radio recently had the chance to sit down with legendary pop punk band, The Parasites, ahead of their show at The Wormhole in Savannah, GA.

 

The band, originally from New Jersey, was one of the most influential pop punk bands to have ever played. Starting off with a 7-inch in 1987, the band has continued making some of the finest punk rock and has played alongside acts such as Grenn Day, Rancid, NOFX, Bad Religion and The Buzzcocks.

 

Here’s a look at SCAD Radio’s interview with The Parasites.


Kush with SCAD Radio: For people who might not be so familiar with the Parasites —

Dave with the Parasites: You mean…everyone?

Kush: [laughs] What would you say would be a good entry point into your music?

Dave: By us or by someone else? [laughs] We’ll go for the Solitary album. I think that one’s good and we have a whole bunch of them in our merch bin. But it’s because there were a lot of them, not because nobody bought them.

Charlie with the Parasites: So we have both quantity and quality.

K: Is there a sort of message you’d like to send through your music?

D: Generally, it’s been, “Please, someone, will you go out with me,” for the past 32 years. I’m working on it. Really, that’s kind of about it.

K: It’s fun though!

D: Not for 32 years it isn’t. [laughs]

K: So what are the biggest changes you’ve seen affect the pop punk scene over the years?

D: That nobody buys stuff anymore because music is free. Seriously. And although inflation has gone up steady in that time, shows are still, a lot of times, five bucks. This means we’re playing 87 cents in 1987 dollars. Gas is expensive. Food is expensive. Shows are still cheap.

K: Are there any bands that kind of embody what it used to be like in the past?

D: You mean bands that are doing well now like they were back then? Well, the Descendents are about a hundred times more popular now than they were back then. I mean, they played little places back then. I mean now they play like —

Charlie: Arenas.

D: Arenas.

C: I think the trick is going away for an extended period of time. A lot of bands get back together and their reunion shows are much better than their original shows ever were. But you’ve been doing it straight for 30 years. You shot yourself in the foot. [laughs]

D: Well. considering the current lineup, I shot myself twice in the foot. [laughs] There was one period of a year and a half or two years where we didn’t play any shows. I moved somewhere and I just wasn’t doing it. But it was very short and we weren’t missed, so we just decided to keep going regardless.

K: And since you guys have done a few covers over the years, was there one in particular that you found to be the most enjoyable to do?

D: I think the Leonard Cohen cover was unusual for us and it came out pretty good.

K: Is there anything you do on these covers to put your own spin on it and make it your own?

D: Completely destroy them. [laughs] And we’ve been successful so far. Like with the Leonard Cohen one, there’s guitars feeding back and we took the guitar stand and threw things at it. And that’s really one of the tracks. Like, for real. We played it with a screwdriver. Then we started throwing stuff at it. So, that was successful.

K: So you guys were born out of the New Jersey/Tri-State punk scene. How would you say that influenced the direction of the band starting out?

D: I was looking to go west to California and that direction from early on. In New Jersey it wasn’t a big thing. There was the Blisters, the Fiends, and us. We were the least popular then and are probably the most popular now. But that’s in 2017 popularity and is nothing like it used to be. So, we still lose. We’re just the ones that are dumb enough to keep going.

K: For those of you who are newer to the band, what do you bring that brings something new and fresh to the band? 6.11

Patrick with the Parasites: Drug use. [laughs] No, we’re younger people so I guess…germophobia?

Alex with the Parasites: Really bad taste in music, according to Dave.

C: Bad puns, I think, is a thing. It has always been a part of the band —

D: Not like now.  

C: It’s gotten to proportions that it hasn’t prior.

D: It’s almost equal to corporal PUN-ishment at this point. [laughs]

K: So what would you say led to the meteoric rise in puns in the Parasites?

Alex: None of us are cool?

C: Yeah none of us are cool.

D: I don’t know. Charlie just happens to be weird in some of the ways that I’m weird. We started off combining band names. “Grateful Dead Kennedys” and things like that. The entire trip we’d do that.

C: “AeroSmiths.”

D: Our drummer at the time didn’t understand what we were doing and he would just go “Madonna Weezer” [laughs] and think he’d have one. He never understood how to play, so we fired him.

C: It passes the time.

K: So how has the tour been for you guys?

Patrick: It’s been peaceful.

A: We’ve listened to Walter Brennan a lot.

D: No one is going to have any idea who this guy is at all. It’s a guy that was on this TV show in the 50’s that was like this hokey country thing and for some reason he put out records. He doesn’t sing, he talks. There’s people behind him singing. There’s an old cowboy song called “Cool Water” which is about looking for water and being thirsty.  And he just goes, “Cool. Clear. Water.” He sounds like he’s about to die. [laughs] It’s really funny. Alex laughs about it when he just thinks about it. That’s been on a lot. But nobody will know who he is. It’s on YouTube if you look for it. You should find it funny.

K: What would you say are big differences between Dave and the newer guys in the band?

D: Uh, age. [laughs] Age, intelligence, and my ability to remember insults for the rest of my life and hold them against the person who said it.

A: Dave just knows everybody. He knows pretty much every band and has been all over the country more than any of us. Experience, I guess.

C: He came from a time before GPS, so he has internalized maps and atlases and he sort of knows where he is at all times. And all of our directional skills have atrophied because of the advent of map apps. So, he knows where we are. And we don’t know. We’re in…uh…Georgia, right?

D: Charlie actually got lost in the van yesterday. We couldn’t find him for about 3 hours.

C: I did lose my shoe earlier today. When I was back at the van and gone for a little while I was actually looking for my other shoe. I was waiting for the other one to drop.

D: So we did luck out in that Charlie doesn’t drive. Thank goodness.

K: So what’s it like to be in a band with someone so influential to pop punk as Dave?

P: It’s cool. All of us are from Chicago but it’s not like any of us are from the same band or anything. So it’s just one of those things where we’re all in the punk scene and met Dave separately. We all joined up because seperately we were fans of the band and it’s a lot of fun to play songs that we’ve been listening to for a long time.

C: Speak for yourself, I’m not a fan of this band. [laughs]

D: In reality, Charlie was recruited through an ex-drummer who drove our van into a pole at a WhatABurger and got it stuck there. He made his parents pay for the van damage. I knew Pat through an ex-girlfriend, who was also the ex-girlfriend of the guy who messed up the band names game. She told me that he plays drums but that he sucked so I never called him. I found out that he didn’t. Alex, I met through our regular bassist who tours when work allows. He has a band that Alex and I both ended up being in. He doesn’t really do anything so I had him do this so he can do something. So, that’s more of the factual side.

C: Which is far less interesting, to be perfectly honest.

D: Or to keep it simple, I lost three bets. [laughs]

K: So, what’s next for the Parasites?

D: Something to eat, then we’re playing here. A nicer, cleaner house to stay in than we did last night. The first beach that we can run right into because the water’s not too cold.

C: [towards Dave] This guy’s writing songs. I have it on good authority that the next album will be quite good.

D: The songs are about them and it’s called “I Hate My Bandmates.” [laughs] It’s going to be great. Four songs apiece, all the ways that I hate them.

C: And you can of course reach us at www.facebook.com/officialparasites, @parasitesnews on Twitter, and parasites_official on instagram.


Stay tuned to scadradio.org for more music news and interviews.

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Machine Gun Kelly Introduces a New Sound In His Third Studio Album, Bloom http://scadradio.org/2017/05/22/machine-gun-kelly-introduces-a-new-sound-in-his-third-studio-album-bloom/ Mon, 22 May 2017 15:27:06 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2551 I jumped on the MGK train about a year and a half ago, when General Admission was released. Kelly has two sides: the hyped up rock/rapper that lays down a rat-a-tat progression over his angry style of rowdy, high anxiety performances, and the exposed, tell-all man who raps about some of the hardest experiences in life, opening a window to his past and letting his fans see through him at the most vulnerable level. This is why I love him, and why General Admission meant so much to his fans as well as myself. The raw, crazy Kelly is shown in “Till I die” and “World Series,” whereas his past is uncovered in “Spotlight” and “Story of the Stairs.” The whole album is so important to him as an artist. He stayed away from publicity and radio attention with this work, and in turn, delivered real, connected music.

This review isn’t about General Admission, it’s about Bloom. However, I feel it’s important to discuss his second studio album (and remember all of his previous works), because in my opinion, Bloom is far different than what we would expect from MGK. We don’t hear the fast rap of “Alpha Omega.” We don’t hear the vulnerability of “Gone” or “Story of the Stairs.” I was expecting Kelly to dig deeper in relation to his last album. Instead, he switched gears. We hear a little of his high-register sound in Bloom. “The Gunner” is one of the best, having some resonance of “Alpha Omega” pairing elite lyrics with an elite beat. No other song compares to this one on the album in relation to that side of MGK. “Bad Things” competes for the top song, as Kelly duets with Camila Cabello to give a catchy modern love song, with the chorus based off of Fastball’s 1998 “Out of my Head.” This song is a radio hit, detailing sexually charged intimacy between two passionate people, lyrics that are laid over a sexy melody and beat.

There are many rappers who try to sing as well as rap on their tracks. Some succeed, most don’t. MGK has done a small amount of this before, but not to the amount we hear on Bloom. We first hear Kelly do this in “Go for Broke.” In my opinion, Kelly delivers decent vocals. He has a sense of pitch and it’s obvious that it’s his own voice, not the usual auto-tune that many rappers rely on. He continues this pattern throughout multiple tracks on the album, including “Kiss the Sky,” “Rehab,” and “Let You Go.” Because of this, and the introduction to more instrumentals—Kelly has taught himself guitar these past few years—it’s hard to categorize this album under one genre. This could be seen as refreshing or disappointing, depending on your personal music taste and whether or not you are comparing this to MGK’s previous works. In my opinion, Kelly may be letting down some fans by not keeping up with his unique flow, yet he could potentially appeal to a broader audience with this new sound.

Throughout this album, MGK takes a journey through descriptions of the fast life, partying too hard, love and loss of relationships, and his thoughts on success and how he got to where he is now. These topics are common, and I wish Kelly gave it all a little more time to really make each line and each song count. I feel as if he did so in General Admission. On the other hand, perhaps MGK is taking a completely new route with his sound, and this is just the beginning. “Let You Go” is something new from him, and if he continues to grow on sounds like that, he could be jumping to a new genre altogether. “27” is a strong way to end the album, with Kelly talking about proving the world wrong with his success, and having hopes that if he were to die young, that he would be remembered through his music. It is a powerful ending to a contemporary turn for Kelly, and although it may not be a growth when comparing to his well-known sound, it could be the birth of a new path for him as an artist.

My hopes are that he will create his next album not only with this new form that he is exploring, but also remember to take it back to his roots a bit more. I dig the crazy, high intensity MGK, and although that side of him was introduced in small amounts with Bloom, I would love to see him bring it back and merge it altogether for the next time around. Perhaps Bloom means a new era, and as an artist myself, I respect his exploration of new ideas, new sounds, and new art forms. I am eager to see what’s next for MGK.

Machine Gun Kelly, Bloom

3.5 out of 5 Bloom’s

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Your Weekly Horoscope http://scadradio.org/2017/05/21/your-weekly-horoscope-6/ Sun, 21 May 2017 15:46:21 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2564 Here’s your horoscope for the week of May 21 – May 27.  We took the stars out on a date.  Took them dancing, had a nice dinner.  Got to know them better, you know?  We hope this reflects that.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Try something adventurous with your hair this week. You won’t regret it at all.

 

Taurus (april 20 – May 20)

This week you’ll have romance. Oh, wait, no! I meant radiation! I’m so sorry!

 

 

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

The pizza will be spicy, and you’ll be upset about it, but you’ll continue eating it. This could also represent your love life.

 

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Don’t fear death. Fear the monster under your bed that’s reading your diary. Those are private thoughts!

 

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Reply to all compliments this week with “Thanks, I know!”

 

 

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Remember that horror film you saw months ago? Think about it again at 2 am the night before finals.

 

Libra (September 23  – October 22)

Closing time
Time for you to go out go out into the world.
Closing time
Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.
Closing time
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time
You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.

 

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

The demon in your mirror just wants to say hello. Why not let him come in and hang out?

 

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Just because you can climb up a tree doesn’t mean you can climb down a tree.

 

 

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

You’re making the sun kinda jealous, so wear extra sunblock. 😉

 

 

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

You’re gonna read a really bad horoscope this week. It may or may not be this one.

 

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Something smells a little fishy. There’s a Pisces amongst us.

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Un-BEAR-able Workplace Environments: The Bear Squadicles http://scadradio.org/2017/05/18/un-bear-able-workplace-environments-the-bear-squadicles/ Thu, 18 May 2017 08:30:53 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2509  

Leave the AC on or off?

When everyone fights over the air conditioner in the office or room, nobody wins. Everyone is either boiling hot or freezing cold, so someone takes it upon themselves to change the situation, which in turn sparks an all out war. Farenheit or Celcius? Doesn’t matter, I’m miserable either way.

Stealing food

We get it, you’re hungry. And sometimes, I am also hungry. But it is the most annoying thing ever when I am hungry myself, and I go to get my own food, and find that it is magically gone. Who could have done this? Have I started sleep eating? I don’t think so, Derek. Come on Derek. Give it back. (I say this, but there is a game called “The Banana Game” where you gather as many bananas as you can before being told to put them back. I may or may not have played this once or twice or every week. It costs ten dollars for me to eat a salad. I’m bringing some bananas home with me. I earned these.)

Cramped spaces

Yes, YES Derek, I understand to optimize space in our little dorm, we set our desks next to each other. However, my dear Derek, that does not mean that you now have an extra long desk. This space over here is yours, and over there is mine. See? Yours here, mine there. Not to mention the countless projects strewn across the floor, making the dorm a warehouse of clutter and distractions. That sparkly tissue paper on the floor is more compelling than my art history flashcards will ever be.

Thin walls

If your neighbors decide that 10pm on finals week is the best time to have a dance party when you have an 8am exam the next day, the responsible thing is to get an R.A. or to knock and ask politely to quiet down. But it’s more fun to bang on your shared wall and proceed to blast music louder than theirs. I hope Sarah McLachlan helps to turn your party up to the next level (or, even better, she shuts your party down and leaves your friends crying on the floor. Why are the puppies so sad, Sarah? Somebody has to help them.)

Spray Paint

I’d say more, but I’m hallucinating from the fumes and I have a disciplinary meeting in ten minutes for doing my homework in the same place all my hallmates have worked for the past two weeks. Why did I get caught and they didn’t? Because God hates me, Derek.

No Access to Quality Nourishment

Our last Bear Squadicle talked about the food, or lack thereof, that we have access to on a daily basis. Now imagine trying to be a functioning human being while running off of ramen and Lentil Snaps. That’s what I thought.

Bear Squad

Bear Squad is a fun time to get ideas out and flowing and for everyone to work with each other, but only when people are actually working! Sometimes, a half an hour of work for the group turns into a 2 hours, a distracted gathering of life stories, random Googling, and a lot of pizza eating. We didn’t even finish this article in time because we got so distracted. Here at SCAD Radio we admit no fault, except for all the time.

But, hey, we’re trying our best, right?

 

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Cat People: Dated, yet Ahead of It’s Time http://scadradio.org/2017/05/17/cat-people-dated-yet-ahead-of-its-time/ Wed, 17 May 2017 08:30:03 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2434 SCAD Radio’s In-House Classic Movie Aficionado, Ellen Gillespie, is back at it again with a review of Val Lewton’s 1940 Cat People.


Imagine being approached to make a film, and only having the title as your jumping off point. Sound a bit crazy?

Well back in the 1940’s, Val Lewton was approached by RKO Motion Pictures to produce nine horror movies, and all he was given to work with was the names of each picture. The first being 1942’s Cat People starring Simone Simon.

Taking place in New York, Serbian immigrant Irena Dubrovna, (Simone Simon) meets young and handsome marine engineer, Oliver Reed (Kent Smith), and instantly falls in love. The two marry, but Irena’s fears of an old Serbian superstition about evil witches turning into cats causes major friction between the lovebirds. So much so, that Oliver’s coworker, Alice (Jane Randolph) makes a move on the married man. Oliver asks Irena for a divorce, leading her to terrorize the man she loves and anyone who gets in her way.

It’s all a giant metaphor for a woman’s burgeoning sexuality.

I’m not reading too much into this.  The film makes it very clear from the beginning. A quiet and shy girl who’s never had a friend meets and falls head over heels with a good ol fashioned red blooded american boy, but when the wedding night falls upon her, she gets cold feet and begs him to wait. Later, she loses the man she loves to a woman who’s more in control of her sexuality. Only when tossing her cares away and becomes a bit of a b word—for lack of a better term—does she become empowered and in control.

For the hour and thirteen minute long film, it takes a while for the plot to really get going. The film makes up for it though by moving fast enough that you don’t mind. I wasn’t fully engrossed with the movie, but it did hold my attention.

The real jewel of the movie has to be Simone Simon as Irena. Playing up the pure and naive aspect of the girl’s personality, Simon does her best with a character that could have come off as incredibly annoying. She almost plays it too well. I really hated her husband for leaving her for Alice, and Irena is suppose to be the bad guy.

One moment that really speaks to Simon’s acting is when Irena plays with her pet bird.  It seems sweet and comedic until she accidentally kills it, then feeds it to a panther at the local zoo. Ms. Simon’s face after realizing what she’s done goes through so many layers of denial, sadness, regret, then acceptance of what she is, and what she has done. All the little things that Simon puts into her role are what really sell her as Irena. The icy daggers she shoots at Alice, the chipperness she uses as a mask to hide all the pain inside, I admit I choked up a bit at the little wave she gives to Oliver as she escapes near the end of the film, which he doesn’t see.

Another amazing moment of the movie is the stalking scene. Irena, after seeing Oliver and Alice run into each other, gets suspicious and follows the couple down a dark alley. Alice leaves Oliver, and it’s just now her and Irena. The whole film we’ve been teased of what could happen to Irena if she becomes mad or jealous. Now we’re starting to get some payoff. We watch Alice as she walks alone, all the while hearing Irena’s high heels clicking far behind her. Suddenly, the heels stop. Alice, along with us, becomes weary. We wait in silence to hear the heels again, but nothing. A faint noise of what can only be described as a cat lurks in the darkness, but it’s suddenly juxtaposed by an extremely loud bus. A very well done jump scare. Just like Alice, we want to get out of the situation as fast as possible.

The ending, however, was lackluster to say the least. I don’t want to give the final moments away, but it really left a bad taste in my mouth. I was angry that Irena was treated so horribly by everyone in the film.

Yet after spending some time away from the movie, I realized that no one in the film was really all that innocent. They all dealt with some sad and hard decisions. Irena’s dark past kept her from living a life she wanted. Oliver tried his best to love someone that just could not be saved. Alice had to watch the man she loved marry another and then watch him slowly fall apart when it didn’t work out. Everyone’s a sinner, and no one is a saint.

The film’s minor characters are laughably bad. They are so indicative of the time that there is a character whose lines almost all consist of, “Gee whiz” and “Dearie”. Then again, with how some of the dialogue is written, I don’t think the actors had much to work with. It is bad enough though, that it’s kind of endearing. It’s the kind of bad that you can get a giggle out of just because they seem so serious, but sound so ridiculous.

The cinematography definitely has it’s moments, especially whenever Irena is in her cat form. The last fight of the film is done beautifully, playing with shadows rather that flat out showing all the gorey details.

Costuming is fine, as I am not a big fan of 40’s clothes or their shoulder pads. I do have to hand it to the film. There is some seriously subtle costume changes for Irena. Her clothes get darker and darker throughout the film, and it’s a little on the nose that her coat oddly enough looking like panther fur.

It is a very cheap looking film. Almost all the action goes back and forth from two different sets: Irena’s apartment and the zoo. I don’t hold it against the film though as it works with what it has.

My main problem with the film is not exactly the film’s fault. I’m talking about the time period in which the film came out. The idea of divorce or annulment was almost blasphemous to talk about in a 40’s picture. Even today, it’s still a little problematic; therefore, I applaud the film for addressing it. My issue is that back in the 40’s, there were certain rules in film that kept the bad guy from having a happy ending. (That’s why in the original Italian Job, the film literally ends on a cliffhanger.) They couldn’t show the bad guys getting away with their ill gotten gains. I hoped that Irena would not be seen as the bad guy, and in the last five minutes of the film, the story tricked me into thinking that I would be right. Alas, it was not meant to be. Irena still gets a sad ending to her sad life. Now, if her character were in a modern film, she might be spared such a tragic ending as she is a likeable character. Therefore, I submit my honest opinion:

I think this film should be remade.

Yes, it’s already been done as in 1982. RKO changed up parts of the story to make it a bit more interesting. Along with giving it a killer theme song done by the late and always great, David Bowie. And the newer film wasn’t that bad. It’s wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad.

The idea can still have another great rendition if put into the right hands. Perhaps, instead of making the film about sexuality, it could be an allegory for depression.  A young woman who hates her own existence and tries to move on from her troubled past and find happiness, but only to spiral downwards into self-hatred and despair? In the ‘42 version, you definitely read that Irena is depressed, and may have thought of suicide to end her cursed existence. I know it’s a bit harsh, but it could work.

The film still holds up pretty well. It definitely has it’s hokey moments. It looks a little cheap, the writing is really dated, and the message may not be read too well for a modern audience. A woman who is afraid of what she’ll become if she enters into a sexual relationship and becomes an evil murderous beast when she fully accepts herself and her sexuality? I don’t know. It’s a little mean spirited towards women; however, the film still has something about it that makes it worth a watch.

So dim the lights and settle in for a chilling night, go enjoy Cat People.

3.5 out of 5 Black Cats

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Paramore’s After Laughter is an Evolution of Sound http://scadradio.org/2017/05/16/paramores-after-laughter-is-an-evolution-of-sound/ Tue, 16 May 2017 08:30:25 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2505 Paramore’s newest album, After Laughter, was released on May 12, and might just contain the 2017 Song of the Summer.

“Hard Times” was the first single from the album and with its upbeat sound was an instant hit. The music video has a very 80s vibe and is reminiscent of “Saved By the Bell.” Other than being a little too short for my liking, it is probably the most dance song they have ever recorded with an extremely catchy riff. And thematically, it fits perfectly into their previous work. If Song of the Summer is what they were going for, they got me.

The second single, “Told You So”, is a callout to those who thought Paramore would fail when they moved away from their pop-punk beginning. The feeling is a back and forth between Hayley Williams and an unknown adversary. The song, like “Hard Times”, is infused with synths, making it more electronic than any of their previous sound. One downside is that it’s very repetitive, but it’s nice to know that this 80s sound is something that will pervade the entire album.

The lyrics are still very Paramore, but the vocals are definitely more like their last album than any of the others. Aside from the distressed lyrics, the songs sound like a triumph. The album is very much a throwback to the 80s with its funky sound but also following the path of club-pop revivalists that have been sprouting up.

Ignoring “Forgiveness”, which is a ballad of a different calibre, the first real ballad doesn’t show up until halfway through with “26”, a song of a mellow, hopeful, yearning nature. “Forgiveness” is very much in the vein of Haim, whose sound is soft and staccato. “No Friend” is a constant monologue from Aaron Weiss (MewithoutYou) that replaces Williams’ voice.  “Pool” floats. “Idle Worship” explodes. “Caught In The Middle” goes reggae, or at least as much as Paramore would ever delve into the genre. The vibrancy of this album cannot be argued.

Using a ballad as the ending of the album was a gamble for Paramore, but the piano riff beautifully underscores the vocals. It’s absolutely stunning. It’s a goodbye song.

The grit of Paramore that so many people loved is gone, lost to the synthetic machine sounds, but Hayley Williams’ voice thrives in the best way. The instrumental is much smoother and inconspicuous, as 80s pop would be. It may come off as uncertain for a band such as Paramore, but I think the opposite. They decided to change their rhythm and did not back down.

Paramore is a little bit of an enigma of a band. They seem very willing to take the risk of being a crossover rock band in a world where that sound doesn’t really make the list of popular music. And it paid off. They’ve expanded their sound and though this is definitely their most pop album ever, they haven’t entirely forgotten their roots. After Laughter is an experiment in whether a rock band can make it in a pop world. It’s a success story.

paramore, after laughter

4 out of 5 After Laughter‘s

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Mac Demarco’s This Old Dog is Fresh, But Not Fresh Enough http://scadradio.org/2017/05/15/mac-demarcos-this-old-dog-is-fresh-but-not-fresh-enough/ Mon, 15 May 2017 08:30:18 +0000 http://scadradio.org/?p=2500 As the type of person who has always pretended that they skateboard, whilst never actually skateboarding, it goes without saying that Mac Demarco and I have a storied history.

 

I first heard 2, Demarco’s aptly named second release, whilst in a friend’s bedroom back in 2014, late enough after the album’s 2012 release to cleanly shear any final threads of hipster credibility I may have had left. This fateful day launched a love affair with the Pepperoni Playboy that persists to this very day.

However, with every release following 2, I’ve found myself slowly growing disinterested in his work. With every single, every mini-LP, the clear formula to his tracks has become increasingly apparent, and the focus on his general aesthetic more pronounced. Now, it’s entirely possible that I’ve simply grown older, and slowly lost the certain brand of despondency that Demarco’s work truly resonates with. Regardless of whether or not this is true, it has always seemed to be generally agreed upon that Mac Demarco isn’t much one for pushing boundaries with each release.

What sonic development that has presented itself seems—to my ears at least—have mostly come from nicer recording spaces and technicians and some limited lineup changes. Most notable among these lineup changes is the departure of guitarist Peter Sagar, who is currently pursuing a solo career as Homeshake, a really fantastic slacker rock outfit that is definitely worth your time.

But what about This Old Dog? Does Demarco finally develop his sound into something new? In short, the answer is… kinda.

Starting with the big attention grabber regarding the new album, Demarco’s usual backing band is notably absent. Much of the instrumentation to Mac’s albums has always been at least somewhat provided by others, but this is no longer the case. Everything we hear on the album is Mac himself, using only a keyboard, drum machine, and his guitar.  This change certainly presents itself in the mix of the album.  In previous releases, the vocals found themselves nestled in a pocket of instrumentation, softly crooning out from beyond the droning guitar. This is no longer the case, however, as Demarco’s saccharine voice takes center stage this time around, mixed far in front of each track. This is especially noticeable in the softest tracks, with both “Sister” and “One More Love Song” serving as sleepy respites among an already gentle album.

Thematically speaking, the album isn’t exactly a far cry from the rest of Mac’s discography, but differences are still present. Previous releases have almost entirely focused on a young, passionate and somewhat goofy romance. Tracks like “Chamber of Reflection” or “Ode to Viceroy” always interrupted the love songs with brief moments of self-reflection. These reflective moments seem to be the focus this time around.

This Old Dog is about growing up, and really becoming the adult the world expects you to be. Tracks like “Wolf Who Wears Sheep’s Clothes” deal with the feelings of fake-ness that can come with adulthood, and “My Old Man” rationalizes Demarco’s feelings about seeing a lot of his father (absent for much of Mac’s childhood) within him, both very mature topics for the often times goofy rocker. Mac is getting older, and he knows he can’t remain the hopeless romantic of albums past.

That being said, while there are some noted and greatly appreciated departures from tradition, it never really goes far enough. While the ingredients have changed, Mac seems to be making the same meal. Hooks come right when you expect them, chords are hit the same as always, and Mac’s vocals are as monotone as ever. Demarco had a huge chance to really change it up this release, and it really seems like he only went halfway. All of the changes were so nice to hear, that it ends up being frustrating when there simply aren’t enough of them.

In summation, I like this album. I really do. It hits pretty close to home thematically and there’s a few tracks that I really enjoy. However, I like Mac Demarco. If you don’t, this album simply fails to innovate enough to really change your mind.

mac demarco

3.5 out of 5 Gap-Toothed Smiles

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