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Month: January 2016

32 Songs I Loved in 2015 (In no particular order)

Here’s a non-comprehensive, unordered list of 32 tunes that I just really loved in 2015. They approximately go from fast and loud to quiet. Happy 2016, y’all.

Let’s Go Jump Into the Fire” – Devin James Fry and the Namesayers
Glass Heart” – Magic Giant
Seven Hells” – Quiet Company
Shiny Destination” – The Rutabega
The Fringe” – Sego
In the Woods” – Bobby’s Oar
Run with Me” – Heather LaRose
Don’t Go Quietly” – Light Music
Marina and I”  – The Gorgeous Chans
Bad Blood” – Fred Thomas
Golden Coast” – Billy Shaddox
Flare Gun” – In Tall Buildings
All This Wandering Around” – Ivan and Alyosha
See You Soon” – Valley Shine
Through the Night and Back Again” – Michael Malarkey
By the Canal” – Elephant Micah
Everglow” – Jared Foldy
Father’s Day” – Butch Walker
Muscle Memory” – Laura and Greg
Odell” – Lowland Hum
Waking Up Again” – Emily Hearn
Pilot Light” – The Local Strangers
Death Came Knocking” – B. Snipes
Hold On” – We are the West
Money in the Evenings” – Hermit’s Victory
California Song” – Patrick James
Winter is for Kierkegaard” – Tyler Lyle
Paperback Books” – The Pollies
Closet” – John Vournakis
Ein Berliner” – Jacob Metcalf
Spring” – Sam Burchfield
Vacation” – Florist

Patience: Jason Clackley’s Timeless EP

patience

Former frontman of The Exquisites, Jason Clackley, shows his tender side with his solo EP Patience. The release is quite the departure from Clackley’s alt-punk days, as emotive lyrics and exquisite piano playing make up why I love this EP.

“Eyes” opens up the EP with its slightly brooding sound as a result of Clackley’s lyrics, voice and piano playing. Throughout the song, the dynamics of the piano performance mirror the level of passion in Clackley’s voice. My favorite aspect of this song is the pleading lyrics: the chorus repeats “Open up your eyes/ and let the things we say come true.” The ending repetition of “open up your eyes” adds a moving layer of desperation.

“Stop Now” picks up the pace a bit more from the first song. The addition of a percussive element to the piano gives the song a driving beat. The first line, “Do you remember when/ we fell apart?” exposes the very passionate nature of the song. Clackley’s voice echoes that passion in the scream-like way he sings. Clackley spends the entire song belting notes at you, similarly to when Glen Hansard hammers those higher notes. “Stop Now” oozes punk rock intensity but leaves the anarchy behind.

In “Slow Motion,” Clackley slows things down in both his piano playing and singing. Clackley’s heavy use of the sustain pedal allows all of the primarily-lower notes to linger. This lingering element is also displayed in the way Clackley draws out his vocal notes. His final cry “is there anyone else that feels the same way as I do” is sung twice for emphasis and the song ends with a beautiful piano outro. “Slow Motion” has an overall calm, meditative sound.

“You” very quickly changes the relaxed mood of the EP with its very Rachmaninov-esque opening slam on the piano. The piano’s theme is then laid out and repeated so as to lay the foundation for the rest of the song. Clackley’s first lyric–“You’re one in a million–similarly sets the tone for the rest of the poetic ode to a beloved. The unique chorus of “You”’ is comprised solely of the lyric “and you”. The dynamic way the piano is played at the chorus gives “and you” even greater emphasis. The song then closes the EP with another elegant piano outro.

Every song off Patience combines heartfelt lyrics with graceful piano playing, giving off the sound of piano concerto meets singer-songwriter work. Both the piano playing and lyrics find equal emphasis and importance. Clackley’s EP feels like a timeless classic, and it has not even been out for a half a year.–Krisann Janowitz

 

The Final Electrovibrations of 2015

1. “Undercover” – Lane 8 (feat. Matthew Dear). How can one not resist the amorous Matthew Dear lyrics, “Dancing with you, undercover/Feels like there are no more lovers, lovers, lovers, left to discover”? This beautifully melodic house track embodies that magnetic energy pulsating between your mouth and the person’s lips you’re desperately trying not to kiss.

2. “World Away” – Kasbo. There are some songs in which the artist has injected emotion of the highest degree. Kasbo’s ambient, thrilling, intoxicating “World Away” is just that; the drops literally take your breath away, and the pulse pulls and pushes all at once.

3. “Turn Your Back” –  Colder (Patrice Bäumel Remix). I imagine my alien abduction to sound like this: a nebula of disorienting static and electronic pulsing that jolts me towards a black hole of deep house, where I’ll likely never return.

4. “Claim” – Jojee. “You don’t want my heart/You just want to claim me,” Jojee sings over catchy, indie pop that automatically enlists this track in the army of college ladies’ pre-game ballads.

5. “Step 2001” – Wiley feat. Zomby. If you have yet to listen to UK-based rapping, this should be the track to take that virginity. With industrial-sounding production that pops and grinds, like gun shots in a videogame, and tarantula-like vocals that dart with alarming speed, this is grime at its finest.

6. “Baila Como Yo” – District 78. Does this belong in the opening credits of a Western spoof, or a trap-inspired, Latin dance party? “Baila Como Yo” is like a Dillon Francis moombahton track during a birthday party, but with a piñata bursting open with bass when it drops to the floor.

7. “Take Two” – Dave Eleanor feat. Marena Whitcher. If you have a fetish for ____ pauses and heavyweight bass music, you’ve found your match in the slow-mo, dim-lit rattlesnake ring with “Take Two.”

8. “Someone in the Sky” – AFFKT feat. Sutja Gutierrez. Dizzying, disco-like vocals, and lively piano over a techno beat somehow gave me the best song deja vu I’ve ever experienced. It was like I heard this in a dream before…

9. “Kimono” – Submotion Orchestra. “Kimono” sounds like droplets dripping and ricocheting within a vibrating, electronic cylinder; majestic, wind-chilled, and mysteriously exotic; an electronic rainstorm. 

10. “On the Shore” – Luke Top. With brawny, retro-styled vocals similar to The Killers’ Brandon Flowers, Luke Top’s dream-pop track should be served chilled with a lime.

11. “The Parade” – Band of Gold. Alternative, Norweigan duo Band Of Gold radiates supreme optimism in this catchy, ‘90s-esque anthem. With a theme about determinedly “getting to the core,” this track should accompany your drunken scribbling of New Year resolutions.

12. “Love Dies” – Club 8. From the newly-released album Pleasure, “Love Dies” glimmers with a spacey pop sound, teenage nostalgia gliding through effortless female vocals, and a lullaby beginning that, instead of building, stays elegantly reserved in high altitude.

13. “Occasional Magic” – Yppah (Ulrich Schnauss Remix). Lush, frond leaf-type music, perfect for soaking in the natural hot springs of Costa Rica or lighting up in the comfort of your back patio, “Occasional Magic” twinkles and pulses with gorgeously hydrated sounds.

14. “Magic Johnson” – Max Graef & Glenn Astro. From the recently-released Magic Johnson, this throbbing title track has a Flying Lotus vibe, with its groovy bass and stylish synth work. The track creates bounciness and a chill-out atmosphere simultaneously.–Rachel Haney