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Band/Artist Profile Concert Review

The Mystery of Authenticity and The Pale White

Yeah, the guitarist and the drummer are brothers. Once I realized this small, yet crucial fact after a quick wikipedia search, their entire performance made sense. 

The Pale White are a three-piece rock band from the United Kingdom. I saw them play as the opening act for the Pixies at the Olympia Theater in Dublin, which I was lucky enough to visit with my mom on her birthday trip. We bought the tickets last minute the day before the show, as we had previously thought it wouldn’t even be worth trying to attain them. The Pixies were playing a three show stint and the first two nights sold out instantly. We were thrilled to get seats in a stroke of fortune and went in blind about the opener. I had never heard about The Pale White. 

We went early to the venue, and it wasn’t quite full yet. Our seats were up on the balcony. The Olympia Theater is beautiful, with French-style plaster flourishes in white on the maroon walls, chandelier, and a large red, velvet curtain half-hoisted behind the stage. 

In a chaotic burst, the drummer came first onto the stage to hype up the audience. His presence was instantly frenzied as he raised his arms for applause and cheers. I think the entire audience instantly got the sense that this guy was wildly intense about his craft and meant serious business. Then, in succession, emerged the lead singer and guitarist, as well as the bassist. 

Instantly, my mom leaned over and whispered, “Who’s band do you think this is?” 

Categories
Music Education New Album Review

Faye Webster’s “Underdressed at the Symphony,” Is A Quintessential Breakup Album

Relationships are often marked by the music shared with people. There are songs I can’t listen to without remembering certain points in time, points in relationships, or points in states of mind, whether it brings pain or pleasure. 

The worst breakup of my life left me turning to the grounding capacity of music. Japanese Breakfast’s new album “Jubilee,” had just come out, and I spent all my free time wallowing and projecting onto the song “Kokomo, IN.” 

To this day, I can’t listen to that song, or a myriad of others without thinking about that specific person and stretch of time. I think of “Kokomo, IN,” as a capsule holding all of my emotions towards that relationship. They’re placed there for me to return to whenever I want, or to discard with appreciation for how it helped me process a difficult moment. 

It was empowering for me to mark the song as a memorial for my relationship. I never considered that it must be even more empowering to create your own album as a form of remembrance, and Faye Webster’s new album feels just like that. 

With her smooth voice and beautiful accompaniments, Atlanta based singer-songwriter Faye Webster quickly became a household name for indie music lovers. While I knew her new album would be good, I didn’t expect it to resonate so hard with my past experiences. 

Her highly anticipated new project “Underdressed at the Symphony,” is full of nostalgia and lost love. The album is lush and graceful, featuring Webster’s recognizable crooning and lengthy jam sequences. It is, unmistakably, a breakup album.

Categories
Classic Album Review

Rei Harakami’s “Lust,” Makes For Addictive Listening

The only time Spotify has ever recommended anything worthwhile is when the first track of Rei Harakami’s “Lust,” began playing on autoplay while I was sitting in a coffee shop studying. Instantly, I was transported. 

With simplistic sounds, Harakami captured a whole mood within his last album. It sounds like laying in a field of flowing grass in early June. The sun is hot, but not too hot, glossing over your skin. You’re in the middle of a big cityscape, possibly central park, listening to the sounds of happy kids playing and shrieking in the background while your eyes are closed, soaking it all in. You walk home the long way, feeling a soft wind against your skin. Maybe you stop and get ice cream from a truck, a chocolate drumstick like when you were little. The sky is bright blue and you feel at peace.

I immediately added the album to my library and it’s been on repeat ever since.

Rei Harakami got his start making music for student films. He preferred the simple sounds of electronic devices over computer-generated sounds, creating the entirety of lust with a Roland SC-88 synthesizer. These intentional, repetitive sounds contribute a lot to the magic of “Lust,” creating sounds that are almost meditative.

“Lust,” was Harakami’s last album, and perhaps his most masterful. My favorite tracks from the record include “come here go there,” “joy,” and “owari no kisetsu.” 

Harakami recorded the vocals for “owari no kisetsu” himself. Translated to “season of endings,” the song is a melancholic portrait of leaving something that no longer serves you. “The dawn burns through the horizon,” Harakami sings, “and leaves me with a feeling of salvation.”

These lyrics, to me, perfectly capture why “Lust,” is so addictive to listen to. Harakami has created something that feels like a new day and a new beginning. 

If you’re a fan of electronic music and soothing sounds, I’d highly recommend giving this album a spin.

Categories
Miscellaneous

How Wim Wenders’ “Perfect Days” Shows a Love for Music

Recently, I went to see Wim Wenders’ new film “Perfect Days.” You may be familiar with the director for his work on the movie “Paris, Texas,” which is widely regarded as a classic, featuring a spectacular performance from the late Harry Dean Stanton and sprawling shots of the Texas countryside.

“Perfect Days,” has the makings of a classic in its own right. It follows Hirayama, an aging man who feels content with his life cleaning toilets in Tokyo. He focuses on the quiet beauties in life, cultivating plants, listening to his cherished cassette tapes, and taking photos with his small point-and-shoot camera. Every moment of his day is carefully routinized, almost like a meditation, as the entire first hour of the movie follows his routines. However, encounters with other people and his estranged family leads him to reflect on his simple style of living.

One aspect of the movie that stuck out to me was Hirayama’s cassette tapes. He listens to one tape every day on the ride to and from work, and the music settles him. Hirayama has collected hundreds of tapes ranging from The Kinks to Otis Redding.

There’s a point in the film where his younger colleague, Takashi, needs a ride because his bike has broken down. Hirayama is forced to give Takashi and his moody girlfriend, Aya, a ride. While Takashi frets over his bike, Aya is drawn to the stack of cassette tapes on the dashboard. She picks up Patti Smith’s album “Horses,” and asks if she can play it.