Short & Sweet: Back to School Playlist

Although many of you may think, “Hey It’s not back to school season anymore,” my body is still lacking productivity – I’m nostalgic for winter and itching for summer.  In turbulent times such as these, I need my daily dose of chill and buttery to counteract the cynicism and anxiety. To confront this problem I have made a habit of starting all my school semesters with a remedy playlist to cure all moments of panic, stress and academic insecurity. In this post, I share this playlist with all of you in the hopes that it will satisfy your chill needs and maybe introduce you to some new, great artists.

  1. “Basta Ya” – The Marias

  2. “Gum, Toe and Sole” – Gus Dappertone

  3. “Some” – Steve Lacy

  4. “Warm (feat. Mia)” – Dre’es, Mia

  5. “bellyache” – Billie Ellish

  6. “FACE” – BROCKHAMPTON

  7. “Chronic Sunshine” – Cosmo Pyke

  8. “Night Ride” – The Growlers **

  9. “My Favorite Part” – Mac Miller feat. Ariana Grande

  10. “Whatever You Want” – Sports

  11. “Young” – Frankie Cosmos

  12. “Free Room (Feat. Appleby)” – Ravyn Lenae

  13. “Foreplay” – Jalen Santoy

MGMT’S BIZARRE COMEBACK

Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, better known as the synth-pop/psychedelic rock band MGMT, are making their well-deserved comeback. They are best known for their songs “Kids,” “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel,” which all still play on top hit radio stations. After releasing their debut album “Oracular Spectacular” in 2007, the band hit the top of the charts.

Little do people know, MGMT was actually formed as a joke. Andrew and Ben weren’t even trying to form a band. If anything, they never meant for their band to become big. They originally wrote their music during jam sessions they had as freshman in their free time, while they studied at their small town university in Connecticut. Artists such as Katy Perry and Frank Ocean began to sample MGMT, and the band even did a few collaborations with artists such as Kid Cudi and Beck. Their original joke was taken seriously, as was the infamous line “I want to parachute some heroin and f**k with the stars,” from “Time to Pretend.” Then, Andrew and Ben changed things up.

With their second album, “Congratulations,” MGMT moved toward a punk rock vibe, like the British artists of the late ’60s to early ’80s. With their self-titled record from 2013, the band hit the brakes, slowed itself down and moved back toward those funky but melancholic synth songs. The band has always featured lots of piano, but with their singles from 2013, they moved toward a Grateful Dead vibe with more guitar and just pure jamming out. Now, they are rediscovering their roots with a new freakishly unique twist. Their single “When You Die” is a perfect example of this, with angry singing, happy tones and solemn lyrics. “Hand It Over,” their single released in January, captures MGMT’s usual underground spooky feelings, featuring a gorgeous melancholy sigh of not trying hard but trying just enough. One of their singles, “Little Dark Age,” brings that spooky vibe back, and their new album will be titled that as well.

With their newest single, “Me and Michael,” released Feb. 7, the band transitions back to those ’80s vibes we know and love. The video for the song follows the band as they rise to success in an absurd universe with euphoric and hallucinogenic tones. It’s quite psychedelic, and I would recommend it to anyone trying to understand MGMT’s inherent satire. According to their interview with Rolling Stone Magazine, “Little Dark Age” was shaped by MGMT’s break up, and how Andrew and Ben tried to stay in contact after. Their relationship was distant but they later decided to meet up and express their surprise and dismay at Donald Trump being elected President. They used their feelings toward him as inspiration to write pop music, to try and get rid of the “evil that took over the world.” MGMT’s new album, “Little Dark Age,” was released on Feb. 9. I suggest that anyone looking for cool, refreshing, pop-synth music that might make you feel better about yourself, (according to the band) listen to the album.

MGMT will also be going back on tour in support of the album, and will be coming to San Diego on May 19, 2018, at the San Diego Civic Theatre.

 

Harry Styles 24th Birthday Tribute

On Feb. 1, fans around the world celebrated Harry Styles 24th birthday. Harry Styles has built a strong, reputable self-image, starting with his role in British boyband, One Direction.  Over the past decade, he has completed many achievements, whether in the music or film industry.  Let’s look at some of his accomplishments in honor of his birthday:

Styles’ career began in 2010 when he auditioned for the U.K. “X Factor” and was placed with four other solo musicians, who would then become the phenomenon, One Direction. The band consisted of fellow members Louis Tomlinson, Niall Horan, Liam Payne and Zayn Malik.  Although One Direction placed third in the competition, this did not stop them from taking over the world.  In 2011, their first album was released and their single, “What Makes You Beautiful,” reached number one on the Top 40 charts.  Within the next few years, One Direction would come out with a documentary, do countless performances on television and on award shows, release five albums, go on four world tours and win 62 total awards.

After the One Direction hiatus began in 2016, each of the band members started solo careers, with Styles’ career specifically standing out.  Styles made his acting debut when he was cast as a main character in Christopher Nolan’s film, “Dunkirk.”  Later in 2016, Columbia Records signed Styles for an $80 million solo record deal for three albums.  The first album came out in April 2017.  This  ten-track album called “Harry Styles,” featured the lead single, “Sign of the Times,” which hit number one on the Top Tracks chart in 84 countries on the same day it was released.  A week after the album release date, Styles made his solo debut as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live, alongside host Jimmy Fallon.  Styles performed “Sign of the Times” and “Ever Since New York.”  In 2017, Harry Styles was nominated for three Teen Choice Awards, which consisted of choice male artist, choice rock artist and choice song, for “Sign of the Times.”  Harry Styles’ career is far from being over and fans cannot wait to see what he is going to come up with next.

 

Featured Image: Harley Weir/Columbia Records.

Wallows at The Observatory Orange County

On Feb. 3, Wallows performed at The Observatory Orange County  with Precious Kid and The Downer Party opening. As The Downer Party walked out for their set, I realized the audience was comprised mostly of people under twenty, a lot of them screaming tween girls. Despite this, the night turned out to be one of the most fun concerts I’ve ever been to.

The recently formed Downer Party was on first with a lively and Britpop inspired set, followed by the female fronted Precious Kid, who borrowed the Downer Party’s frontman to be their lead guitarist. Justine Dorsey, frontwoman, and Kassie White, bassist, were glitter clad as they rocked out with the unreleased “Jackie in a Fur Coat” before shedding their own jackets to cover the Psychedelic Furs’ “Love My Way” and play their own released songs, “Jaded” and “Dirty Disposition.”

The audience then got what it was waiting- and chanting- for. As the Wallows’ light up palm tree set was turned on, high pitched screams filled the room. When the members sauntered out in matching-but-not-matching floral shirts, the screams only intensified. I had never seen The Observatory Orange County so empty for a headliner, but the screams made up for the lack of crowd. The unexpected upside to less people was the extra room for dancing- which I made full use of! The Wallows followed an unreleased song that featured an extremely well-received trumpet solo with their extremely popular “Sun Tan.” As fans heard the first few notes, the yells echoed throughout the room, strengthening when co-frontmen Clay Jensen (of “13 Reasons Why” fame) and Braeden Lemasters smiled or glanced at the crowd. Both insisted that the group has new songs coming out “sometime soon” throughout the show.

They played a heartfelt cover of The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” before telling the crowd to stay safe out there and launching into their people pleasing song “Pleaser,” which ignited a raucous mosh pit and some crowd-surfing. Wallows left the stage after receiving a banana from a dedicated fan and returned after a chant of “ONE MORE SONG” shook the building.  Braeden played a solo, “1980s Horror Film,” while his fellow band members lounged on the stage before they all thanked the crowd for coming to the biggest show they’ve ever played. They finished the concert with a cover of “Blister In The Sun” that morphed into a “Boys Don’t Cry” cover with Precious Kid’s Dorsey returning to sing along. Then the song returned to the cover of “Blister In The Sun.” After asking fans to drive home safe, all band members blew kisses and threw guitar picks into the crowd as they left the stage.

Altogether the three bands have only released a handful of songs and didn’t manage to sell out the venue, but the Wallows’ strong fan base made the concert a memorable and enjoyable one. The complete lack of pretension in a crowd that didn’t care what they looked like was refreshing and will be hard to beat with any other band’s audience.