Category Archives: Uncategorized

Artist Profile: Let’s talk about Doja Cat

Whoaaaa, so I’m completely out of my element.

Actually, I was really wanting to share with you another reallyhippie indie, guitar playing artist that “seemed incredibly raw” as I like to
say. But enough of my uppity attitude, we should switch it up sometimes, you know?

Let’s talk about Doja
Cat
.

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I’m not super into hip-hop or rap so when I became intrigued
with Doja Cat, I was a little inspired. Not much is known about her, really, but
born Ami Zindale, she’s an 18 year old singer/rapper and L.A. based. She’s
young and she’s new, but she’s got this weird trippy vibe about her, and I
really just dig it.

This EP Purr! that
Doja Cat has out is relatively new, released in August 2014. It’s got 5 tracks,
and I’m not a fan of all of them, but her sound is just so different and airy and
so blended with soul vibes, I can’t help but like it.

“So High” was a single Doja Cat released prior to her EP, in
April, and is one that definitely gives off the impression of being high. It’s
dreamy, kind of psychedelic with the beats she uses, and her voice is kind of
just this high lilting mystery that pulls you in. It’s not a catchy, boppy
song, but definitely when she sings over and over again “You get me so high/You
get me so high” I catch myself grooving along to her.

It’s good, listen. It’s really trippy.

Okay, so then we continue on to the rest of the EP and it’s
pretty much along this vibe. She has this absentminded, lazy, spacey way of
singing, but once in a while, she dips into smooth straight rap like in “Nunchucks”
get this slower, soul Nicki Minaj
feel to her tracks.

Honestly, I have no idea why I like this, but I just do. I
listen to a track like “Beautiful” and it’s dreamy and mixes her smooth rap with
hippie beats in the background.

I really like “No Police.” She mixes her rap stylings with
some really chill beats, and her overall style makes it one of the best tracks
on the EP. But I also like “Control,” with her slow builds and real, breezy,
echoes that just relax you.

Doja Cat is consistent within her EP and that’s good, but
she’s definitely different. I think that’s what it is. She’s weird. She’s
different, I’ve never really heard anyone like her before and her originality
of mixing soul, rap, and R&B together is intriguing. She mixes her little
cat references into her rap and just randomly purrs or meows in her tracks, so
you definitely can’t escape Doja Cat’s identity. It’s weird. It’s cool.

Or maybe I’m the weird one. Either way, check her entire EP
out here:

Ariana Rivera

TBT: TURN UP DA SYNTH

I know it’s not Thursday but it’s never too late to throw it back for a super rad musical innovation of the past. On January 31st, 1955, the Radio Corporation of America debuted Victor: the world’s first electronic synthesizer! 

A synthesizer is an electronic instrument that can produce and mimic a wide range of sounds, from a guitar or a person’s voice to a bird chirping to sounds that can’t even be heard in nature. Nowadays, you might associate them with music that sounds like this: 

Or this: 

Electronic duo Daft Punk is well-known for playing around with different digital synthesizers. “Da Funk” is a super catchy example of their signature synth sound.

But wait, there’s more! Electronic and house music definitely don’t have the monopoly on the synthesizer. 

Mmmmm, sounds like the ‘90’s.

In the years since Victor’s introduction, synthesizers have progressed in leaps and bounds to the point where they can now be found in pretty much every genre of music. The quality of sound produced by a synthesizer can be changed by a number of factors–whether it uses analog or digital signals, for one, or how the signals are filtered and processed. Synth sound can be programmed or controlled with the voice. They can also be used to sample music, or take a sound from one song/recording and use it in another, with or without alteration. There is nearly nothing a synth can’t do. The RCA really did us a solid with this one.

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malz

Outlander in the Emerald City: Record Store Tour Part I

For as long as I can remember, each time I would travel to a new city I would automatically be able to rate its “coolness” factor by the amount of record stores were housed in its depths.  Thankfully for us music lovers, Seattle is teeming with a variety of shops of this nature, and I’ve decided to compile a list of my favorites from various neighborhoods.  

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For the first installment, I’m focusing on Sonic Boom Records.
For indie rock lovers especially, Sonic Boom on Market St. in Ballard is a necessary spot to check out frequently.  It is large enough to house an insane amount of music without reaching the size that can cause copious amounts of stress to those of us who often spend hours browsing for our favorite albums. It’s organized into the (new and used) vinyl section on the left side of the store, with the (new and used) CD section found on the right. 

The 45" singles section is always full of random-yet-awesome singles and splits. The local music section is one of my favorite aspects of Sonic Boom. Set up in the very front of the store, one is able to find a menagerie of old and new releases from artists originating from the greater Seattle area, including (but not limited to) samplings from Olympia-based K Records, Sub Pop, and many others. For those of you into music other than indie/alternative rock, Sonic Boom’s jazz, R&B, reggae, and world music sections are well-stocked, although it’s safe to say Sonic Boom’s main attraction is of the indie variety. 

Albums and CDs are very reasonably priced ($15-$25 for a new record, $10 $15 for a new CD). The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable about the music selection. A final perk: Sonic Boom often holds live local artist showcases on Saturdays!  Easily one of my favorite record stores in Seattle by far, make sure to give Sonic Boom a chance if you haven’t already.

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Katie Hanford

George Ezra’s Grand Debut

English singer/songwriter George Ezra blessed the United States with the release of his debut album on Tuesday, January 27. Don’t be fooled by his baby-face, though; Ezra sings with a voice deeper and more complex than the ocean itself.

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The 21-year-old’s debut studio album, Wanted on Voyage, can be found here on Spotify. This album was released in Europe last June, so you may have heard “Budapest,” the album’s biggest hit, being overplayed on radio stations nearly everywhere.

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Ezra has been compared to other male solo artists such as Sam Smith and Ed Sheeran, but I think he deserves vast distinction due to his shifting musical style and the creativity and detail of his lyrics and music videos.

George Ezra’s hard-to-define style kept me on my toes while listening to Wanted on Voyage. For example in his track “Stand By Your Gun,” Ezra reminds you of the ‘80s by using his deep, thunderous vocals to contrast beautifully with an array of groovy synth sounds. As a whole, Wanted on Voyage is rather unpredictable, but it’s Ezra’s deep, sweeping voice that connects the tracks and completes the album.

On another note, George Ezra’s music videos are thought-provoking and beyond creative. The video for the first track on this album, “Blame it on Me,” tells a story alongside the song’s audio that will make you laugh, cry and feel incredibly thankful that you aren’t in George’s position.

You can find more music videos from Wanted on Voyage on Ezra’s YouTube channel here.

He has a great voice, catchy songs and killer music videos. George Ezra is a contemporary jack of all trades. What’s not to love?

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nilorap

birthday shoutout: Jermaine Lamarr Cole

it’s January 28th, so you know what that means.

and if you don’t know what that means, it’s rapper J. Cole’s birthday!

i’ve been following J. Cole since he released Friday Night Lights in 2010, so when he dropped 2014 Forest Hills Drive, i was ecstatic (probably an understatement).

and, with good reason. the album grew on me a lot, and i still listen to it pretty religiously, though it’s been out for over a month now.  i’ve gotta hand it to J. Cole, this album is, in my mind, a classic. i’m a sucker for clever wordplay, catchy beats, and Cole-style oversharing, so i guess it’s no surprise i feel this way.

since the album came out, i’ve been trying to write a “review” of sorts. i’ve jotted thoughts on each song, analyzed lyrics, yadda yadda yadda. and i have GIVEN UP. i can’t do it. it’s so hard to review something that you feel like no matter how many times you listen to it, you learn more about it and recognize new things, because whenever you start to review, you feel like you’re shortchanging the artist (i promise this is not just me).

so i’ve decided to “review” the album in a different way that speaks to its strengths: i’ve chosen my favorite* lyrics from each song. and i’m gonna share them. i’m doing this because if you haven’t listened to the album, you will definitely want to after catching this quick peek into the songs.

*my favorite for now, that is

here goes:

1. “Intro” 
“do you wanna be, free / Free from pain, free from scars / Free to sing, free from bars”

2. “January 28th”
“What’s the price for a black man life? / I check the toe tag, not one zero in sight”

3. "Wet Dreamz" 
“I’m thinking how that body look naked when you laying on the bed / Teacher, please don’t make me stand up”

4. "03’ Adolescence”  
“I got food for your thoughts to soothe your soul / If you see my tears fall just let me be /Move along, nothing to see”

5. "A Tale of 2 Citiez"  
“Anybody is a killer, all you gotta do is push ‘em to the limits / Fuck being timid in the Civic politicin’ with the pushers and the pimps”

6. "Fire Squad”
“While silly niggas argue over who gon’ snatch the crown / Look around, my nigga, white people have snatched the sound”

7. "St. Tropez" 
“Lately / It’s been hard for me to smile”

8. "G.O.M.D.“ 
"Why every rich black nigga gotta be famous / Why every broke black nigga gotta be brainless”

9. "No Role Modelz"  
“But then I thought back, back to a better me / Before I was a B-list celebrity / Before I started callin’ bitches "bitches” so heavily / Back when you could get a platinum plaque without no melody"

10. “Hello”  
“Reflection bring regrets don’t it / Rejection makes you defensive / So you protect your pride with your reflexes”

11. “Apparently" 
"Keep up, never sure where the words would take me / Niggas eat em up, and regurgitate me”

12.“Love Yourz" 
"It’s beauty in the struggle, ugliness in the success / Hear my words or listen to my signal of distress”

13. “Note to Self" *** 
“I don’t mind cuz I don’t matter”

*** side note: this is the, as Cole calls it, role credits. so it ends in a long monologue and he references Jonah Hill & Dale Earnhardt Jr. as playing a part in the album, and right after says:  "I’m just fuckin’ playin’, I don’t know either one of those two dudes. I don’t know either one of them niggas, I was in the moment. I just lied, I don’t give a fuck.“ that’s my favorite part of the whole album because he is so damn goofy, even after how awesomely deep and real the other songs were, and it’s just cool to see his personality displayed through talking, not even rapping. <3

hopefully this makes you want to listen to the album, or if you already have, maybe you like it more now. 😉 

happy january 28th! 

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xoxo, gnovs

ASUW & Rainy Dawg Radio Present: Moses Sumney + Shaprece & Crater @ UW ECT TOMORROW

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The Associated Students of University of Washington Arts & Entertainment and Rainy Dawg Radio (yours truly) has invited Moses Sumney to play at the Ethnic Cultural Theater TOMORROW, January 28.

Sumney’s lighthearted demeanor lets his music envelop the listener. Seamlessly flowing between his drawn out ooo’s and aah’s and falsetto lyricism, his music is faded. In listening to Moses sing, we are forced to concentrate on more than just the initial comfort he brings.

During the show, expect plenty of meditations and sudden realizations as Sumney brings his heart to the stage. His music, as well as songs from the whole lineup, are available for streaming on ASUW A&E’s SoundCloud.

Playing before Moses will be Crater, one of Seattle’s most danceable experimental electronic acts. Band members, CBG x KFG, are joined onstage by Gomez, Gordon, Roth, Umble, according to the band’s facebook page. The craterbabes (as they are known on social media) rely on guitars and ambient electronic sounds strung together to generate an existential groove. Plus, they seem pretty excited about performing for us:

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Shaprece will also be making an appearance as she sheds her general collection of instruments for a more “stripped set”. In her previous acts that I’ve seen, the sheer amount of sound from her band provided the perfect driving force behind Shaprece’s amazingly talented vocals. For this performance, however, she’ll be leaving most of that sound behind. It will be exciting to see how this change affects her sound and dynamic range!

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Don’t miss out! RSVP on Facebook or buy your tickets now on Brown Paper Tickets ($5 for students, $10 for everyone else). If you can’t make it, no worries! Like ASUW A&E and Rainy Dawg Radio on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest in local music and events.

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DJ Desman

Sleater-Kinney is back!

I was born in the 90s, but, more importantly, so was Sleater-Kinney.

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Just over 20 years ago Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss got together in Olympia, Washington and joined their musical forces and created the punk rock genius that is Sleater-Kinney. By converting their riot grrrl movement experience into music, this Pacific Northwest-based girl group was known for proudly vocalizing their feminist and liberal perspectives. The band released seven studio albums before (unfortunately) announcing their indefinite hiatus in 2006.

Luckily, though, they’re back! After nearly a decade of silence, Sleater-Kinney came back to life on Tuesday, January 20 and released their eighth studio album, No Cities to Love. Listen to it here.

Sleater-Kinney’s lengthy hiatus made room for some fresh collaboration and resulted in an empowering, catchy-as-hell album. I love this album because it combines Brownstein’s outrageous guitar skills with Tucker’s intense vocals in a way that will make you want to dance around and dismantle the patriarchy at the same time. The distinctive sound of No Cities to Love will allow long-time fans to reminisce on the good old days and give new listeners the opportunity to step outside of their contemporary comfort zones.

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“The core of this record is our relationship to each other, to the music, and how all of us still felt strongly enough to about those to sweat it out in the basement and to try and reinvent our band,” said lead vocalist Corin Tucker.

The band is currently on a world tour, too. If you like what you hear and you want to see Sleater-Kinney live and in the flesh check out their website for tour dates here.

Thanks, Sleater-Kinney, for reigniting the fiery grrrl power in all of us.

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nilorap

TBT: Belated HB to Baby Spice!!!

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On January 21st, 39 years ago, the universe was blessed with the gift of Emma Bunton–1/5 of the raddest group of girls around. She’s the second Spice from the left in the photo above, precious and pigtailed as ever.  

Emma was the last of the Spice Girls to join the group at just 18 years old after the departure of Michelle Stephenson (who doesn’t get a cool nickname because she wasn’t around long enough). As the youngest, girliest, and generally most adorable of the five, she was dubbed Baby Spice by Top of the Pops magazine in 1996. The rest, as they say, is history. 

If you don’t get down to this song, you’re lying. 

The Spice Girls, formerly known as Touch, released three albums–Spice (1996), Spiceworld (1997),and Forever (2000)–before splitting up in December 2000 to pursue independent careers. Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice) probably garnered the most media attention afterwards by marrying British soccer superstar/god among men David Beckham, but I know the burning question on all of your minds: what has Baby Spice been up to since then?

Emma Bunton released three solo albums–the second of which, Free Me, was the most successful–it was praised as being the best of the solo Spice releases for its unique incorporation of Motown/1960’s-era sound. On top of that, she had cameo appearances in two Bollywood movies, started a family, and now hosts a British radio show every Saturday. 

You can also find Baby Spice on Twitter (and on MySpace, in case anyone besides Baby Spice still uses it. I do appreciate her efforts to keep that social media dream alive)–where it is comforting to see that our favorite group of gals still hangs out on the reg. 

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And they’re just as weird as you and me. (from left to right–Baby Spice, Scary Spice (Mel B), and Sporty Spice (Mel C).

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malz

Baby Artists are Adorable: Alex & Sierra’s “It’s About Us”

I’ve never really been a fan of vocal competition shows, especially in today’s day and age, just because I tend to fall in love with a lot of artists, and if they don’t make to the top of the show, or on the pop charts, they fall off the grid and I never hear from them again.

But that being said, a lot of shows have brought some good artists. Which leads me into topic of the week, some pretty people singing pretty songs.

I was just minding my own business the other day, listening to Andy Grammer, getting ready for his show in February, and while checking out the show, I decided to take a listen to the opener, just to get a feel for them before the show.

And I feel a little grimy, and very white girl right now, but I had a bit of a fling with a folk pop duo. Please try not to cringe tooooo much.

Gang, meet Alex & Sierra.

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They won season three of The X Factor USA last year, and just this year in October released their debut album It’s About Us. And I’ve gotta say, it’s got some good tracks on it.

Let’s just start off with my favorites, because we all know I’m some weird moody, soulful ballad lover.

The first track off the album, Little Do You Know. Sierra has this incredibly beautiful velvet voice that has a pretty limited range, but I still think is very pretty. We’ve seen that I am not particularly prone to having a preference for female artists, because for the most part, little whiny girl voices tend to annoy me, but Sierra’s vocals when she intoned “Little do you know I’m still haunted by the memories/Little do you know/I’m trying to pick myself up piece by piece,” honestly draws me in. In this track, Alex doesn’t come into the song until the chorus, which he sings himself. The two don’t harmonize until the second crack at the chorus, and they fit together nicely (Thank god for that, because they’re dating, so…). But regardless of this point, it’s still a pretty mournful, song. It’s soft, a little sad, not very creative lyrically, but the two sing well together. Harmonizing well is difficult, but I think, just going off this first track that Sierra’s vocal are going to take lead in this vocal duo.

Let’s move on. “Bumper Cars” is probably my favorite track in the entire album, and probably because there’s a lot of simple piano melody throughout, and because the duo start off the track singing together, which highlights more of the chemistry and just well round harmony skills between the two. They know what they’re doing. This is also a sad love song, with a bridge that Alex cries out, “This was supposed to be fun/ This was supposed to be the one,” to which Sierra responds, “Maybe we stayed too long/Maybe we played all wrong.”

Okay, so yes, for the most part, this album is very piano pop, with a lot of love ballads (cue the track “I Love You”) that are unimaginative in lyrics, but very clean and pure in vocals. There are some other great songs on this record though! “Just Kids” is the one track on this album that seems to gain a little bit more of a mainstream pop feel, and I get a hint of LIGHTS or Ellie Goulding or something like that from Sierra. I liked this track because Alex takes some of the lead vocals here and he does some great things with the arrangement. It’s also a little different from the rest of the album because they’re not just expressing love or heartbreak, so I’m glad they experimented there a bit. “Broken Frame,” also a great track, has some more interesting instrumentals, and a little bit more overlay of vocals rather than choppily cutting up verses per person.

The record takes a weird turn when they hash out this country inspired track “Cheating,” which just seemed really strange and a little creepy since the lyrics were literally “Do you ever thinkabout cheating on me?” Honestly, that’s a strange song to write with someone you’re dating. They finally end the entire album on this jazzy, saxophone laden tune, that I like, but seemed very out of place. But they really used their vocals on this track, so good for them for trying something different there on the end.

By the way, you can listen to the whole album here:

Okay, verdict.

I like them. They remind me a lot of James Morrison or Kris Allen and Lenachka in their “Prove it to You” duet on his record Horizons. When they keep it simple with their voices and some piano, I think they do what their voices are good for. They definitely try to attempt every genre possible in this record with hints of indie, folk, pop, country, and jazz, and for some parts it works, and for other parts it doesn’t. Overall though, as a debut album, they did a solid job, and I’m excited to see what kind of future music they’ll create when they mature a little as artists and come into their own.

And hey, at least now I know I’m not going to see a crappy opener.

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Ariana Rivera

Outlander in the Emerald City: MegaFlora Records (my Hometown Heroes)

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I am sure I am not alone in saying the few weeks of winter break gave us some much needed time away from the hustle and bustle of UW life and a return to the relaxed comfort of home.  For many, home resides somewhere within Washington state or its surrounding areas; however, for a small number of us, going “home” meant traveling thousands of miles to a distant land, where culture and customs are quite different from those in Seattle.  For myself, home is a small town outside of Philadelphia called West Chester.  During my high school years I was lucky enough to be a part of WC’s small but mighty music scene, catering to a diverse set of genres that included (but was not limited to) indie/garage rock, hip hop, electronica, and a multitude of singer-songwriters.  When I was involved, the scene was kicking but remained primarily localized due to the lack of a cohesive entity to bring us all together and display us to the public.  I always thought some sort of, I don’t know, record label would do the trick.

Well, my dreams have finally been realized – two buddies of mine, Branden Bauer (of the Absolute Sky) and Ian Solonsky (Is the Rapper) have decided to put together MegaFlora Records, a compilation of the best talents hailing from West Chester and the greater Philadelphia area.  MegaFlora’s catalog is a fitting representation of the diversity of the WC scene itself, featuring indie rockers such as The Absolute Sky, the classic hip-hop styling of Is the Rapper, the poppy (and somewhat off-kilter) electronic ramblings of Pleb Mahogany, and many, many more.  It’s a rare and beautiful thing to see the talented musicians you know and love successfully promoting their own music, and an even greater feat when a number of them decide to collaborate for the common good of their musical careers.  If you dig getting in on the “ground floor” of a scene, MegaFlora is guaranteed to have something that fits your taste, coming at you in a localized, fresh package.  

Below are a few of my favorite tracks from MegaFlora’s most recent release, the Garden Showcase compilation.  Although I honestly dig the whole album and highly recommend checking it out in its entirety, I feel these tracks display the diversity of MegaFlora’s catalogue quite nicely (and also just kick ass).  Check out MegaFlora’s Facebook and bandcamp for more information!  Happy listening 🙂

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line leader – “East Coast Beach Ghost”: Lo-fi lovers rejoice, this surf-rocky tune by West Chester natives line leader shows those west coast beach bums that us east coasters know a thing or two about the beach, damnit.  With its darker, fuzzy twist, this track would make Ty Segall proud.

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Jason McCue – “Come to Me”: This song makes me melt.  Jason’s voice weaves in and out of the spacey acoustic pickings with the precision of a needle through fabric, while his beautiful lyrics paint pictures in your brain.  Although elements of the tune carry an Elliott Smith influence, the feeling of chills running up your spine when that three-part harmony kicks in is only something a Jason McCue original could make you feel. 

Is the Rapper  “Arcade” (feat. Pleb Mahogany): Featuring a menagerie of classic video arcade bleeps and bloops, frequent collaborators (Is) and Cameron (Pleb Mahogany) combine forces to bring you a hip hop track that is equal parts innovative, nostalgic (who doesn’t love arcade noises?), and tight as shit.  These clever fellows are guaranteed to show you a good time.

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Katie Hanford