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Music News and Interviews

Sarah Kingsley “The King” Song Review

When I first “The King,” it was like something I had never heard before. 

Sarah Kingsley’s talent as a producer is so powerful. The way she makes an indie bedroom-pop song sound so majestic with her vocals.

The consistent piano and drumming instrumental melodies and harmonies in the background of the song add a component to this song that is reminiscent of an ABBA song.

If you’re a fan of Maggie Rogers or Mitski, then Sarah Kingsley’s style will be a familiar one.

Sarah Kingsley is a strong advocate of women producers being able to share their work and be praised for their talent as much as their male counterparts are. This is where the concept of being “The King” comes from. 

As a student who was studying music theory at Columbia University, Sarah really gave her all with this song. Being able to recreate such cinematic musical swells while still incorporating a touch of classical music to it. 

The song itself is about Sarah’s coming of age and how she feels about adulthood. Her journey of self-discovery as she gets a chance to explore more about herself as a musician.

This is seen throughout the song with lyrics such as “So tell me |  Before we get older let’s do everything |  You’re scared of when it’s over | You’re still young and you’re still free.“ This verse is her talking to her younger self essentially telling herself that before she gets old she wants to do everything that she dreams of. 

During the song, she is talking to her younger self and it’s almost sentimental to see the way the recalls her memories “I built a castlе far away in the sand |  We were higher than we knew with nothing to lose |  Until it washed away in our hands |  And you said you could never love again | Well it must’ve been fate then | ’Cause I know exactly how it ends” 

Having that childhood innocence before realizing how difficult achieving your dreams can be, especially if you are a soft-spoken introvert that might not be confident in your skills. It’s the way she describes this through her lyrics that I find to be so impactful. 

In the song she says “I want to be the King of your heart” and a quick listen might make the audience think she means in a romantic sense, but she actually means to say that she wants to be the King of her own heart and reach the top of the hill through hard work.

Though the lyrics are somewhat serious, this song has such European summer vacation energy. Something you’d listen to while biking in Greece or walking in an Italian village under the sun.

Check out the music video for “The King.”

Categories
Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 6/28

#ArtistRecordLabel
1FLY ANAKINFrankLex
2DIZUltra.VioletSelf-Released
3ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
4MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
5SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
6LAVA LA RUE“For You” [Single]Marathon Artists
7LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
8MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSelf-Released
9SKIIFALLWOIIYOIE TAPES Vol. 1 [EP]Self-Released
10ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
Categories
Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 6/28

#ArtistRecordLabel
1TDJTDJ123Disques Durs
2RANGE, THEMercuryDomino
3SHYGIRL“Come For Me (Prod By Arca)” [Single]Because
4LIONEL BOYUP AT 4/DOWN AT 8 [EP]Innovative Leisure
5PHFPurest HellDanger Collective
6SIMON ADAMS, MAX MILAN“Mr. Franklin (Miguel Migs Salty Rub)” [Single]Salted
7TIMKOVBIATCH“Alertness” [Single]Self-Released
8COL LAWTONJordi LOVE Groove [EP]Salted
9CLAUDIA BOUVETTEThe Paradise ClubBonsound
10FLUMEPalacesFuture Classic
Categories
Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 6/28

#ArtistRecordLabel
1BAKERS EDDYLove Boredom BicyclesIvy League
2BIG ORANGE“Love’s Not Enough” [Single]Self-Released
3FOOTBALL ETCVisions [EP]Self-Released
4GUERILLA TOSSFamously AliveSub Pop
5PAPERCUTSPast Life RegressionSlumberland
6SKY FERREIRA“Don’t Forget” [Single]UMG
7THE CURLSsmothered & coveredTruth Zone
8ASTRAGALPure CashmereThe Nothing Song
9BOBBY BLAZEHighs & LowsElite Empire Worldwide
10BREANNAEpiphanySelf-Released
11CADENCE WEAPONParallel WorldMNRK
12DINO SMOKESThe IgnorantVSR
13ELUJAY“1080p” [Single]OneTime!
14GIRLPOOLForgivenessAnti-
15HAVIAH MIGHTYStock ExchangeSelf-Released
16KIPP STONEFaygo BabySelf-Released
17MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
18POST ANIMALLove GibberishSelf-Released
19PUPThe Unraveling Of PupTheBandRise/BMG
20REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
21SASAMI“Tried To Understand” (feat. J Mascis) [Single]Domino
22SEEYOUSOONVIDÉSelf-Released
23SOCCER MOMMYSometimes, ForeverLoma Vista/Concord
24SOUND OF CERESEmerald SeaJoyful Noise
25SUNFLOWER BEANHeadful Of SugarMom+Pop
26VEROUnsoothing InteriorPNKSLM
27YAYA BEYRemember Your North StarBig Dada
28YELLA BEEZY“I Guess” [Single]Asylum
29ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord
30AESOP ROCK AND BLOCKHEADGarbologyRhymesayers
Categories
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 6/28

#ArtistRecordLabel
1CRYPTOPSYDivine CouncilEVP
2BUMMERDead HorseThrill Jockey
3TALLAH“The Impressionist” [Single]Earache
4LORNA SHORE“Sun//Eater” [Single]Century Media
5FROMJOYIt LingersSelf-Released
6LIVING WRECKAGE“Endless War” [Single]M-Theory
7JINJERWallflowersNapalm
8GULCH“2019 Promo” [Single]Creator Destructor
9BLOODY KEEPO Vampire Of The Night [EP]Grime Stone
10LOATHE“Dimorphous Display” [Single]Sharptone

Chainsaw Adds

#ArtistRecordLabel
1FUNERAL CHIC“Roman Candle” [Single]Prosthetic
2CRYPTOPSYDivine CouncilEVP
3THUNIIEat Lead and Die
4IN FLAMES“State Of Slow Decay” [Single]Nuclear Blast
Categories
Miscellaneous Non-Music News

Movies, Music and the Deaf Community

In the past few years, the deaf community has been given more representation on the big screen in American cinema.

Whether it was with the sci-fi movie “A Quiet Place”, 2021’s Best Picture winner “CODA,” or 2020’s nominee “Sound of Metal”: deaf stories are being highlighted on the silver screen.

The latter two films, “CODA” and “Sound of Metal” gave the audience two unique perspectives about the deaf community and how music can play a significant role.

Ever since I watched the two movies, I knew I wanted to write about them. Not only were they a huge step forward in representation in the movie industry, but the movies themselves were phenomenal. 

I didn’t necessarily want to do a movie review, but instead, just start a conversation about these films, specifically regarding how they impacted me and what I learned from them.

CODA” –

The title of the movie itself can be taken two different ways. CODA stands for Child of Deaf Adults as well as a music theory term that refers to the end piece of music.

This movie was interesting to me because it focused on a hearing girl, Ruby, whose mom, dad and brother are deaf. It showed aspects of her life that made her family reliant on her: such as acting as a translator for the family, helping keep their family fishing business running, and daily tasks like conveying their personal medical concerns to doctors. On the other hand, she wanted to pursue her interest in music and be involved in her school choir, and eventually go to Berklee Music school. 

It’s a simple coming-of-age story at heart.

A movie about Ruby trying to find her identity and essentially finding out what she wants to do with her life outside of her family. As she begins focusing on her passions and getting more involved with singing, she realizes that her choir rehearsals start coinciding with the duties she has for her family. It’s to the point where she really has to choose which path to prioritizing – her passion for singing or her love for her family.

What I loved about this more specifically is the charisma of all the characters. Her parents and brother were all amazing and were played by deaf actors. When “CODA” won Best Picture at the 2021 Academy Awards, it was a huge win for deaf representation. 

“CODA” is an adaptation of the French film titled “La Famille Bélier.”

It made me emotional watching it, and I recommend giving both movies a watch.  There are so many aspects of being deaf or hard of hearing that I was opened up to.

 “Sound of Metal” –

“Sound of Metal” is the story about a drummer for a heavy metal band, Ruben, who starts losing his hearing on tour and how he decides to deal with it.

The film does an amazing job of putting the audience in Ruben’s shoes by at times modifying the audio of the movie to make it sound like Ruben’s hearing ability. This stylistic choice allows us to really experience the progression of his hearing loss up close, first gradually and then all at once. 

Conversations are heard as muffled or muted as Ruben hears them, however the silences in the movie never feel empty and add to the piece as a whole.

Throughout the movie, we were able to experience Ruben’s character development firsthand. Initially, he doesn’t want to accept that he is losing his hearing at all. He plays show after show, not being able to follow along with the music of the band, till one show he can’t hear a thing. After a meeting with a doctor, he finds out he has already lost a majority of his hearing and that the only solution in his eyes is a cochlear implant. 

His journey of finding money to afford the cochlear implant is a majority of this film.

His girlfriend introduces him to a community for addicts that teaches them how to live with their deafness. It’s during this time that we really understand the importance of music no matter if you are a hearing person or hard of hearing. He eventually begins teaching the kids in this community to drum and use percussion instruments. 

What’s beautiful about this specifically is that the vibrations in the drumming and in music are how people in the deaf community can interact with music. It’s how Ruben learns to interact with music given his new condition.

The last scene of the movie is the most impactful to me.

After Ruben gets his cochlear implant, he realizes that it’s not at all what he expected. Instead of getting his hearing back, everything he hears is distorted and staticky. His girlfriend thinks he is healed now and their band can start touring again, but Ruben realizes his music career is over.

“Sound of Metal” comes to a close as we see Ruben aimlessly walking down the streets of Paris trying to adjust his implant.

Then he removes the device and we are left in silence. We experience Ruben accepting his deafness.


Although these are wins for the deaf community, in terms of representation there is always room for improvement. I really think these two films are worth a watch for their entirety. 

They are both big teaching moments as well. Moments that force people to understand that deafness is not something that needs a quick fix but it’s something to accept and take time to grasp and accommodate to.

The charisma of the casts, the acting talent, the writing, and the musical performances – it’s all impactful.

If you haven’t already be sure to check out “Sound of Metal” and “CODA.”

Categories
New Album Review

“Ugly Season” by Perfume Genius Album Review

ALBUM: “Ugly Season” by Perfume Genius

RELEASE YEAR: 2022

LABEL: Matador Records

RATING: 5/10

BEST TRACKS: “Hellbent”, “Photograph”, “Pop Song”

FCC: None

Experimental artists like Perfume Genius are always creating new sound combinations for our ears to devour, but sometimes their music doesn’t quite land. At least that’s how I feel about “Ugly Season”. 

Perfume Genius (Mike Haderas) constantly revises and adds to his unique sounds, and usually I cannot stop listening to his releases. For me, “Set My Heart on Fire Immediately” was an instant success. The lyrics and slow nature of the songs were my favorite parts, but I didn’t find that comfort in “Ugly Season”.

Best Bits:

I did end up enjoying a few tracks on this album, but they really don’t compare to the joy I get from listening to any of Perfume Genius’ earlier works. 

Pop Song”, even though it has a boring name, is one of the most upbeat songs on the album. The glitzy electro beats that introduce the song promise electric dance beats to ensue. The discordant instruments on this track are another reason I like this song. They flash in your ears and call you to listen a bit closer to the chaos.

In “Photograph” there is a deep dark undertone throughout the track. Haderas also uses a deeper, more somber voice to increase this dark presence. Also, I am not sure why but this track reminds me of the Radiohead song “Paranoid Android”. “Photograph” does what I wish the entire album could do, and that is use Haderas’ lovely voice with the heavy, melancholic sounds that permeate the album. 

I think “Hellbent” is my overall favorite track from the album. The warbling reverb beat and eerie noises create a fun creepy atmosphere that I would not mind sinking myself into. Perfume Genius’ voice left me feeling like I was in a car that was constantly breaking so quickly my head would snap back and forth between the headrest and dashboard. There is so much fun chaos on this track compared to the monotony of the rest of the album. 

The Rest of the Album:

Honestly, the rest of the album is so similar to itself that it makes it difficult for me to pick what I didn’t like the most. 

The last half of the album is stronger than the front end. Maybe if “Just a Room” wasn’t the introductory song I would have been able to “click” with the sounds more. I can’t invest myself into an album if it doesn’t strike out and grab my attention immediately. 

A lot of the tracks felt like they went on too long. Don’t get me wrong, I love extremely long songs (like Klaus Schulze’s “Dune” album). In “Ugly Season” I didn’t want to listen to anything over 5 minutes long (except “Hellbent”). 

Conclusions:

I wish I enjoyed this album more. Perfume Genius makes amazing music and all of Haderas’ early works are easily revisitable, but I don’t think “Ugly Season” will be one of those albums for me. 

There are definitely a lot of appealing sounds and decisions made in this album that  many people besides myself could enjoy. Some sections of “Ugly Season” were too quiet or too discordant, and I love Death Grips but their discord has rhythm. “Ugly Season” fails to add meaning behind the sounds for me.

I am excited to see where this album will lead Perfume Genius’ music in the future because it holds so many possibilities to branch off of.

Categories
Blog Music News and Interviews

Some New, Magical Tracks by DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ

What is it about DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ that gets me excited to pour through her entire discography? Is it the hypnotic dance tracks that fill my body with an overwhelming electric buzz, or is it the insane premise that the soundbytes used to create this music is from the TV show “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”?

While I am still trying to figure those questions out, I can enjoy these three new tracks DJ Sabrina released this year:

Under Your Spell

While I didn’t find this track to be the most glamorous or explorative track that DJ Sabrina released this year, it does have the consistency of her previous work. DJ Sabrina mixes beautiful beats that get me hyped to dance and the cold hitting lines from “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”.

Call You

This song is one of the longer mixes where DJ Sabrina captures the entirety of my attention. It has a playtime of 8 minutes and 35 seconds, and starts out muted and slow. Then, the beats start bumping. I am still bopping my head up and down writing this because that is how intoxicating this track is. 

“Daddy Didn’t Want Me To Sing (DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ Remixes)”

This remix of Sandy Hawkins’ song “Daddy Didn’t Want Me To Sing” is pretty fun. I like when DJ Sabrina is able to branch out from taking audio clips from TV and apply her skills to remix other artists’ work. I think this is a prime example of how powerful DJ Sabrina’s beats are. 

There is definitely something witchy happening behind the scenes of DJ Sabrina’s music production. I am enchanted by the beats and feel-good tunes that appear magically when I need them most. I cannot wait to stuff myself with whatever DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ serves up next.

Categories
Music Education

Live From the Clink: Bad Brains and “Sacred Love”

I Against I

While Bad Brains’s debut studio album, aptly titled “Bad Brains,” is indisputably iconic, “I Against I” possesses a special kind of charm.

Bad Brains, considered among hardcore punk’s original pioneers, released “I Against I” in November of 1986.

Despite the band’s original background in jazz fusion, the album presents a riveting blend of various musical elements including funk, alternative metal, rock and hardcore punk.

Consisting of ten songs, “I Against I” traverses a broad scope of musical sensations.

Unlike “Bad Brains” or the band’s demo album “Black Dots“, each song in “I Against I” has a unique feel, making for a truly dynamic listening experience.

The cover of Bad Brains's album, I Against I
Cover of Bad Brains’s third album, I Against I

“Sacred Love,” the album’s eighth song, is particularly special. Unlike the album’s other tracks, “Sacred Love” has strikingly lo-fi vocals. The song sounds like a fuzzy, crackly voicemail, the lyrics barely comprehensible.

Upon first hearing “Sacred Love,” I assumed the audio effects were a stylistic choice. However, further research revealed the truth.

The Recording of “Sacred Love”

According to testimonies from the album’s producer, Ron St. Germain and Anthony Countey, the band’s long-time manager, “Sacred Love” was performed from a D.C. correctional facility.

An excerpt of an interview from Howie Abrams and James Lathos’s novel, “Finding Joseph I: An Oral History of H.R. From Bad Brains” details the circumstances which led to the song’s unorthodox recording:

Shortly before Bad Brains was set to record I Against I, D.C. law enforcement arrested lead singer H.R. (short for Human Rights) for marijuana distribution.

According to St. Germain, the band successfully recorded nearly all of the songs in I Against I’s discography before H.R. was due to enter jail.

All songs, that is, but “Sacred Love.”

With an unfinished album and an incarcerated vocalist, Germain and Countey had to improvise.

In what St. Germain referred to as a “communal effort,” the band organized for H.R. to perform “Sacred Love” through a collect call at the jailhouse.

The setup for the recording was makeshift at best. When the initial plan to facilitate a direct patch from the phone to the recorder failed, St. Germain undertook a more DIY-style approach.

According to St. Germain, he ended up taping an Auratone monitor to an analog telephone and swaddling both in a sound blanket.

In the studio, a second phone connected H.R. directly to the rest of the band. On that phone, St. Germain taped a microphone over the receiver.

The whole process took less than two hours. The result?

Listen for yourself.

– J

Categories
Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

The Resurgence of a 1980s Classic

“Stranger Things” is one of Netflix’s biggest shows and is set during the 1980s.

This show is no stranger to dropping 80s movie references and including tons of iconic and classic songs from the 1980s to add to that effect. Not to mention, the show is about a group of teenagers that live off pop culture.

Music was as big a part of 80s culture as it is today, and due to the popularity of the show, songs from the 80s are on the charts once again. To be more specific, “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush. 

The song has more significance in the show than just being a part of the soundtrack.

*Spoilers Ahead about Stranger Things Season 4*

“Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” was an influential part of saving the life of a character named Max, portrayed by actress Sadie Sink.

If you’ve seen the season, you know how important finding the right song was to save the lives of characters that were targeted by Vecna. Max had a strong connection to the song “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” by Kate Bush which led to her life being saved.

It was this concept that your comfort music can reach parts of your brain that a human’s voice isn’t able to. 

Not only was this her favorite song but the lyrics were highly significant to Max’s history, knowing her trauma. Her brother, Billy, had been possessed by a creature called the Mindflayer and was eventually killed at the end of season 3.

After Billy’s passing, Max blamed herself and had this overwhelming guilt and trauma from witnessing his death. This is reflected throughout the song as seen with the lyrics “And if only I could | I’d make a deal with God| And I’d get him to swap our places” 

Max spends day after day thinking about Billy’s death and if she could have saved him. If she could have taken his place. She’s seen wearing headphones connected to a Walkman, constantly listening to music as an escape from her reality.

The resurfacing of this song led to a lot of fans discussing what their favorite songs are and essentially what songs would “save them from Vecna.” It’s cool to see how a TV show can cause a music trend to arise.

The scientific aspect of how music activates all parts of your brain is so fascinating to me. The fact that there can be one or two songs that you have an emotional connection to can literally save your life.

I might not make it out alive if I was ever in that situation. I am too indecisive when it comes to choosing a favorite song. One day I like one song and the next I’m religiously listening to another song.

What I love about the power of the internet when it comes to popular shows is that fans do not hesitate to make edits. The song has been used in over 1.5 million edits and videos and has finally hit #1 on multiple charts after 20-ish years.

Plus, what makes that all the better is that Kate Bush wrote, sang, and produced the entire song all on her own. 

Check out “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)” if you haven’t already, you won’t regret it.