Plugged In Collaboration with 91.5 KRCC

We’ve recently started a new limited-run collaboration with KRCC about music we’re listening to. The posts will be shared on both the SoCC and KRCC websites; check out the first post below.

Plugged In is a limited-run web series for 91.5 KRCC Music in which contributors from Colorado College’s student radio station, The SOCC, tip us off to great new releases, under-the-radar favorites, and other music they can’t live without. 

Hey 91.5 KRCC listeners & readers. I’m Paulina Ukrainets, the online content manager for The Sounds of Colorado College, CC’s radio station and music blog. I’m also an intern with 91.5 KRCC’s Air Check. Below are some songs I’ve been listening to lately (though they’re not necessarily new), and a little bit about why I like them.

Saba ft. Chance the Rapper –– LOGOUT

Usually I’m not a big fan of the currently super-prevalent “trap” style of hip-hop production, but this song is different in its beautiful amalgamation of piano, sax, synth and the standard trap percussion beat. When I listen to most music (but especially to hip-hop) my attention instantly gravitates to the lyrics, and here they don’t disappoint: “look at how much fun I’m havin’/ain’t no beauty in the absence of broadcastin’ to your followers” are just two of Saba’s lines from the ridiculously catchy chorus. This is a hip-hop anthem for the age of Instagram––the age in which young, up-and-coming artists like Saba can get the recognition they clearly deserve, but at the price of the complete destruction of their privacy in the name of online presence/promotion. As my professor Idris Goodwin would say, LOGOUT is pure bars.

 

Frankie Cosmos –– Ur Up

This song is only 36 seconds long, so I kinda feel like I’m cheating with this one, but it’s full to the brim with the kind of sincerity Frankie Cosmos fans (myself included) adore her for. The lyrics and title of this song refer to a meme-esque phrase that gets used by teenagers as a sort of shorthand booty call… or so I’m told. Here, Greta (FC’s lyricist/frontwoman) mirrors the shorthand/meme-culture form of the phrase in the song’s brevity, but totally inverts the concept the phrase refers to. It rings honest and sweet, especially in the studio outtake at the beginning. I’m super grateful for this little Frankie Cosmos-shaped window into their creative process.

 

Honour Council –– Olingo

Honour Council are a Colorado Springs band that I’ve been a fan of since their formation, but this is the first recorded song they’ve shared with the world; I’m so excited to expose people to them! I find it hard to pin their sound down to a single word or genre––some people say they fit into the shoegaze realm, but I say you should just listen. If you like what you hear, come see them play a donation-based Cloud Factory show on May 5that local house venue, The Bump! They’re supporting Dead Sullivan, a really awesome indie band from Texas. Find more details of the event here.

Taylor McFerrin –– Degrees of Light

If this artist’s name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the son of Bobby McFerrin (if you’re bad with names, he’s the “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” guy). Taylor’s music couldn’t be more different from his father’s––this song is totally instrumental, relying heavily on synths and electronic percussion that take you on a journey through what does feel like thousands of different degrees of light. Listen to this song, and you’ll hear how the sounds shimmer and reflect off each other. It’s the most multi-sensory listening experience I’ve had in a while.

Porches at Larimer Lounge 2/26

  I first saw Porches at a Pitchfork after-show in 2016 at the Empty Bottle in Chicago. I had never heard of them, but my friend had an extra ticket, so I decided to go. In a darkly-lit dive-bar filled with Dickies, jean jackets, and dirty-baseball-cap-cladden patrons, I stood stage left for a band soon to be one of my favorites to see live. Their sound is melancholy synth pop backed by house style drums, and fronted by a strong, high falsetto and sometimes auto-tuned voice from lead Aaron Maine. Though I had never seen Porches before, their sound no doubt gave me a nostalgic vibe for a time or musical space I still can’t quite place my finger on.
        Upon my two year hiatus of seeing them live, their sound this time brought me nostalgia for my first time seeing them. They played a sold out show at Larimer Lounge on February 26th and featured tracks not only from their new album, “The House,” which came out this year, but also from previous records––“Pool” and “Slow Dance in the Cosmos”. Between 2016 and 2018, the ambiance of their shows has stayed roughly consistent. Larimer Lounge is a small bar with a stage in the back that was lit like a middle school dance. The soft greens and pinks matched well with the many high-school and college-aged attendees that wore their share of early 2000’s clothing.
        Listening to their recorded music, for the most part, gives me the night time bedroom bump headspace. This translates to a live performance that is very calmly presented, but emotional. There isn’t a whole lot of dancing or motion from anyone on stage, but the unifying soft vocals and strong chord progressions are where the emotion really comes from. Most of the crowd seemed to love every bit of the show, as call out requests were semi-frequent and sing-a-longs were plenty, especially to the chorus’ of tracks like “Car” and “Be Apart”. Most songs were accompanied by head bobs and mellow sways from the crowd, but more house-inspired tracks like “Pool” got most people, especially myself, dancing with a large grin on their face.
        A personal favorite moment of mine was during the encore. At the beginning of the show, Aaron mentioned that two people had flown into Denver to see this show, and someone had gifted a pair of cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat to match, to the band. During the encore, the rhythm guitarist came out donning the white hat, which looked extra goofy on him as it was clearly too small for his head. The hat made its way around to most of the members, fitting some better than others, all giving the crowd a memorable ending to the show.
        Though Porches’ overall aesthetic and fanbase are rooted in the sad, lo-fi realm, their emotion, cohesion, and crowd interactions make for consistently pleasing shows that give plenty of good energy.

SONG OF THE WEEK: THE STAVES – “IN THE LONG RUN”

The Staves have a talent in their live recordings of simple and sweet harmonies. I love this version of “In The Long Run” (in support of the online project Taschenkonzerte.com) which is filled with bittersweet lyrics. I want to be the fourth Stave but probably will never get that chance, so instead I’ll listen to their lovely voices to lift me from my fourth week blues.

Song of the Weekend: Crack Mountain – Natural Child

I JUST WANT TO SMOKE CRACK WITH MY FRIENDS! Ok… that’s definitely not what I want to do but that is one of the quality lyrics from Natural Child’s song, Crack Mountain. Crack Mountain is a crisp blend of garage rock with a southern twist. Like most Natural Child songs, it has refreshingly straightforward lyrics. Its upbeat tempo is nearly irresistible and as the weather gets warmer, Natural Child will make you feel like it is already mid-summer. You should definitely listen to Natural Child this weekend and you should certainly avoid their advice.

CONCERT PREVIEW: Keys N Krates @ Boulder Theater, February 9

Welcome back to school and reality, everyone! With the new year comes a host of dope concerts. The SOCC will be posting previews of shows we think are worth checking out. If you’re looking to enjoy a good night off campus, you can catch Keys N Krates with NYC’s DJ Jubilee at the Boulder Theater on Friday, February 9th.

Toronto’s Keys N Krates have established themselves as one of the biggest names in electronic music, with their song “Dum Dee Dum” achieving RIAA gold status without radio airplay. Party-makers in their own right, KNK also throw an annual festival in their hometown Toronto booking acts like Virgil Abloh, River Tiber, AraabMuzik, and Lunice. More recently, they released “Glitter” ft. Ambré which saw them break the conventions of the dance world and explore R&B. On their forthcoming album Cura they continue to explore sounds outside of the electronic world, a genre that they have led for several years.

One of the inconvenient realities of living in Colorado Springs is that most big names tend to pass us by. While it’s not too hard to get up to Denver or Boulder for a show, most tend to fall on weeknights. Luckily, the Keys N Krates show is on a Friday night, so you don’t even have to worry about making it to class the next morning.

You can buy tickets online here. Check out their single “Glitter” below!

Song of the Week: Daddy issues – “Dog Years”

 

Dog Years is a “heart-shaped box”-esque slowburner. Its lyrics steam with hate. Dog Years reveals the vitriolic aftermath of a relationship. In its soul-crushing relentlessness, the song captures how the subject of the song meticulously ruined life’s simple joys. Jenna Moynihan begins by singing, “If you could do anything / You would ruin the best things / You would spoil the ending / You’d dissolve cotton candy.” Later on she seems to find sadistic pleasure from imagining the death of whomever she is singing about. The pain and disgust are palpable.

Concert Review: Thoughts on Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza’s experiment as a four day festival needs to end. Aside from the obvious burden the festival puts on Grant Park and the residents of Chicago, the addition of a fourth day compounds the issue that all festival-goers know very well… the bands we want to see are now spread out even more than they were before. Fuck you Perry Farrell. I don’t know if you are responsible for this but as the creator of Lollapalooza, you deserve the blame. Do you think I want to drag myself through hordes of drunken teenagers in 90 degree heat for another day just to see one good band at 3pm and another at 8pm? No. There is only so much of that any sane human can handle.

This issue is trivial compared to the affliction that “rock festivals” everywhere are suffering from. Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza. All of their rock lineups are garbage. Rock music is not dead but festivals like these are accomplices in murdering it. Lollapalooza’s 2017 lineup has marginally improved from last year’s disgrace but all three festivals are trending in the wrong direction. I have attended Lollapalooza five out of the last six years but I have little intention of going this year. Sure, I like Arcade Fire and the Shins and even Cage the Elephant (even though they’ve sold out) but they are not worth spending roughly $400 to see. I’ll preserve what hope I have for Lollapalooza and wait for another year.

Song Review: Black Lips- “Can’t Hold On”


I truly hope that the Black Lips’ recently released single, Can’t Hold On, is not an accurate representation of what the rest of their upcoming album will sound like. Their last album, Underneath the Rainbow was mediocre at best and a huge disappointment following their awesome 2011 release, Arabia Mountain. There is not a distinctly good or bad feature of this new single. It simple sounds substanceless. It is as though it may have been a recording the Black Lips disregarded from one of their previous sessions. Can’t Hold On is five minutes of unremarkable noise and will likely let down any Black Lips fans.

SONG OF THE DAY: JOHN LENNON – HOLD ON

This song has been coming on my shuffle lately. Its funky beats and simple lyrics keep me listening and its a love song for Yoko so what more could you ask for? But I think this track off of Plastic Ono (1970) also appeals to me as fourth week in my impossible math class and spring break approach. It’s not too much of an commitment, over in less than 2 minutes, so go ahead and give it a listen. John also gets away with growling “cookie” halfway through.

Pitchfork Pitchfork: Vagabon Infinite Worlds Album Review

I’ve found that pretentiousness in music seems to be most despised by people who are extremely pretentious about music themselves. In order to fully embrace this phenomenon, I have created Pitchfork Pitchfork, a column in which I review Pitchfork.com articles based on their pompousness.

To start things off, I’m going to take an in-depth look at Pitchfork’s review of Vagabon’s latest release, Infinite Worlds. The ‘fork gods were generous enough to bestow the highly coveted “best new music” label upon this album, anointing its 8.5 score with the red glow usually reserved for legends. Normally, Pitchfork’s scoring system is their downfall. The seemingly arbitrary assignment of decimals to various music can lead to outcry from spurned fans and artists alike. It’s made Pitchfork’s writers seem like that one friend you have who refuses to listen to anything that has over 10,000 plays on Spotify because it’s been tainted with mass appeal at that point. For Infinite Worlds, however, the 8.5 score is well-earned. I can’t argue with it. Points for you, Pitchfork.

The review goes downhill from there, unfortunately. The first sentence raises some eyebrows. The writer, Kevin Lozano, claims to have been so struck by one of Vagabon’s lines that he “had to remove my headphones and take stock of my surroundings.” Really? Really. I get that Vagabon’s lyrics are powerful, but I highly doubt Lozano was so shaken that he had to check to make sure he was still in his studio apartment or ultra-mod Pitchfork cubicle. Infinite Worlds is certainly potent, but it hardly transported me from the broken futon in my living room.

Another aspect of my grading rubric is readability, with specific regards to vocabulary. I get that music writers don’t want to be just another idiot with a WordPress account and opinions (haaaaaaa), but Jesus Christ, if I have to look up half the adjectives in the dictionary in order to understand what they’re trying to say, then it’s gone too far. Case in point: Lozano described Vagabon’s work as “pyrrhic”. That is some shit I haven’t heard since my 9th grade ancient Greek history class. I get that a pyrrhic victory is one where the winner loses so much they’re practically defeated, and I recognize that it’s totally a phrase. But dropping that in an album review is just showing off.

The review goes on to a track by track overview, and the writer describes the song “The Embers” as a “paean.” I have literally never heard that word in my life. Maybe I’m uncultured and illiterate, but to me it seems like this guy is struggling to put his useless English degree to good use.

All in all, this review isn’t bad. The score is reasonable, and aside from a few five-dollar words, the author does a good job summarizing the emotional content behind Vagabon’s album. Not bad, Kevin.

Pitchfork Pitchfork Score: 7.2

Now, go listen to Vagabon’s new album below.