Logic – “Under Pressure” Album Review

by Andrew Katsiris

Logic – “Under Pressure”

When you hear the words “under pressure,” the first thing that may pop into your head is the catchy bass riffs, the rhythmic clap/snap combination, and Freddie Mercury’s vocals from the class Queen and David Bowie record.  However, October 2014 brought with it a new hip-hop album that’s better than pumpkin-spiced lattes.  Twenty-four year old Maryland rapper, Logic, is the “young Sinatra” behind said album.

Released under Def Jam Records, his debut album did not disappoint the large fan base Logic had acquired in the underground rap scene.  And he is not new to the pressure, release, and reception of feature-length tracks; with four mixtapes under his belt, Logic had the confidence to drop a twelve-track album, including a fifteen-track deluxe edition.  While the norm for many artists in modern hip-hop would be to have many other artists featured on their songs, Under Pressure lacked any kind of feature, save for the deluxe edition (Childish Gambino featured on “Driving Miss Daisy,” Big Sean featured on “Alright”).  Without any features, he had the freedom to show off his skills without any comparisons.  In his tenth album track, “Nikki,” he seemingly raps about a complicated, love/hate relationship with a girl, but reveals at the end that Nikki is short for nicotine, and he had been rapping about a cigarette the entire time.  Logic, or as he is credited as a writer by his full birth name, Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, does his share of producing the beats he raps on, specifically, “Nikki,” “Under Pressure,” and “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Like I said, Logic is not new to the hip-hop world; he released his first mixtape, Young, Broke, and Infamous, for digital download in December of 2010.  Following up, he released another installation of his Young Sinatra mixtape series every year, the most recent being in May of 2013.  With nearly a year and a half of touring with Kid Cudi and not releasing any new music, it is impressive that he was able to sell 71k copies in his first week.  Ironically, rapper J Cole told Logic the day before the release of Under Pressure to “not worry about first-week sales”; in retrospect, he really didn’t need to worry at all.  Check out Logic’s album on iTunes, available now.

Tracks on Under Pressure I found most notable were “Soul Food,” “Buried Alive,” “Nikki,” and “Alright” feat. Big Sean

Find out more about Logic!

And make sure you catch Andrew Mondays at 1:00 PM only on WIUN!

Paper Lights – “Caverns” Album Review!

by Julia Barrera

cav

Paper Lights — “Caverns”

When I originally came across Paper Lights album Caverns, I immediately assumed it would be the type of sound I would hear in the background of a café, or while doing homework, or a place like a mall, as a kind of filler. The sound I expected was easy listening, with perhaps little complexity. I soon realized upon listening to the album, admittedly while doing homework, that I was dead wrong.

Peppered with gradual builds, a variety of instruments, relevant lyrics, and an expansive sound, Caverns quickly distracted me from my work. The band, in some effortless way, catapults the listener into the vast expansions that the album title would suggest. The album cover is this vast terrain, with almost surreal rays of light shining down, and if this portrait could have a theme song, Paper Lights has captured this sound with skill. Delicate tones that generate a sense of inspiration, to soulful crescendos, and talented musicians, Paper Lights takes the listener from the expansiveness of the universe to trials within themselves. As it were, this is their aim.

Melanie Annabelle, the female vocalist, states in an interview with Michael Dawain from Taken by Sound, “We’d just write about things that were inspiring us, honest questions we were wrestling with, and all of a sudden…” Then all of the sudden they had this whole epic concept album. The band consists of 6 members, which likely attributes to the rangy sound and intriguing lyrics, with themes rooted in philosophy that bleed through. Seemingly enthusiastic about life, they present the listener with large cinematic sound, dreamy and etheric, while substantial enough to touch on darker themes. Some might say music itself, as an art, may have the power to expose certain truths and break down barriers within to speak to the soul. If so, Paper Lights is its embodiment. Battling apathy and isolation with raw, divine tunes that draw out the strengths in all scenes and individuals. So initially, when I thought this would be great background tunes, I was right, but my attitude about the whole thing stuck the band in a supporting role when it wanted to take the lead. My bad!

Once I gave it a chance, however, they, like any good artist, lured me in and showed me what I did not even know I wanted. Paper Lights considers themselves a family, and it shows. The genuine and inspiring sound that follows is what has gained them an enthusiast in me. Somehow, that is the best kind of journey. It is unexpected and reminds us not to hold too fast to our preconceived notions; to step outside our comfort zone and push beyond the walls that perhaps keep us safe, while simultaneously sheltering us from new experiences. I believe Paper Lights would respect the journey, and be pleased to see exactly the kind of transformation they hope for take place as the result of their wonderful sound

You can find out more about Paper Lights at their website!

And listen to Julia Tuesdays at 1:00 PM CST at WIUN!

Editor’s Note: Big Things are Coming!

Hello!  If you’ve been following us, you probably noticed that we stopped posting on…oh I don’t know…roughly April 24th.  Now, almost six months later, we’re back with big reviews, big music, and big news.  Let’s dive in.

WIUN radio is now live, not pre-recorded.  We have a fantastic group of DJs that include the three whose reviews you may have just read or will read.  This may seem like silly thing to be excited about, but for a station that’s been fighting for this to happen for as long as we have, it’s a big deal.  Be sure to listen in at iun.edu/wiun!!!

We have a costume contest coming.  It will be open to all Indiana University Northwest students and–possibly–outside listeners and readers. More details will be coming in that in the coming days.

INDEPENDENT ARTISTS! We’re looking for YOU!  We simply cannot be college radio without having new and exciting artists sending us music.  Send it to us at wiun@iun.edu or my own e-mail youngbj@indiana.edu!  We’ll review your album and put you on the air.  Publicity for us, air time for you!  What more can we all ask for?!

Finally, we had three great reviews go up today and even more on their way.  Check them out by scrolling down!  Or click the links if that makes your life easier!

Aphex Twin–“Syro”

Perfume Genius–“Too Bright”

Thom Yorke–“Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”

That’s all for now, readers!  I’ll be in touch!

And now for a shameless plug!  Ben can be found on Twitter @benwiun!

You can also listen to him Mondays at noon on the WIUN TOP TEN for a chance to win a gift card!  Just click the link!

ALBUM REVIEW: Thom Yorke “Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes”

by Andrew Katsiris

From Radiohead.com

From Radiohead.com

Chances are, if you’ve been scrolling through Tumblr sometime in the past month, you may have seen Thom Yorke dancing.  While his age is no secret, thanks to his children, he does not shy away from anyone noticing.  No cover-up would be used to disguise his appearance, and he seems to like it that way.  With his second solo album, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, he shows us that while he may seem to age, his voice certainly has not.

With the Internet making the availability of free music more common, Yorke seems to have beaten the system by selling his album through BitTorrent.  Many music-lovers have used websites like BitTorrent to illegally “steal” entire albums, and by relation they are stealing from the artists themselves.  Despite how rich your favorite rapper may say he is, chances are he did not make all of his money from people illegally downloading his mixtape.  Yorke however, does; at a mere $6, you too can download his album through unconventional ways and still support the man himself.

Yorke is not the first to release an album in an unconventional way.  Hip-hop legend Jay Z released his 2013 album, Magna Carta, Holy Grail a month ahead of his intended release date, by providing one million digital copies of his album to Samsung users.  He had justification to say on “Somewhere in America,” “million sold before the album dropped…”  Very recently, rock band U2 attempted to do the same, but for iPhone users, and for free.  However, they were quick to receive negative comments from anyone who does not appreciate a free album.  Although it does not help that it took up the memory space I needed to update to iOS 8, so their/our negativity may have some reasonable support.

For his first solo album since 2006’s The Eraser, Yorke seems very modest.  In my personal opinion, the album has potential but does not capture my attention as a great album.  In a way, it is seems to be more of a teaser; the way movies have modest trailers to tease the future release of a blockbuster hit, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes feels like a teaser for something more to come (perhaps more from Radiohead..?)  All in all, Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes is definitely an album worth listening to; the tracks “Interference” and “Brain in a Bottle” stood out to me the most.  Enjoy listening, and tune in to WIUN every weekday for more music!

Thom Yorke doesn’t have a website of his own, but he has a Twitter!

So does Andrew, @fromWIUN!

Okay!  You can go back to listening to WIUN now!

ALBUM REVIEW: Perfume Genius “Too Bright”

by Ari Starks

From Matador Records

From Matador Records

Perfume Genius’s “Too Bright” is an album that is full of ambiguity and wonder.  Released September 2014, it’s absolutely perfect timing for the season.  This album fits autumn due to it being sparse, empty, and transitioning into something new.  “Too Bright” probably is not for a listener who is not willing to understand Perfume Genius’s message throughout his eleven tracks.  Being that it was my first time listening to Perfume Genius, this album didn’t leave the impression that I was hoping for.  I personally did not feel like this album did not live up to the hype that it was given.

Listening to this album for the first time was difficult for me.  As a music lover, I tried to understand Perfume Genius’s artistry and aesthetic towards this album. I found appreciation for the scarcity at some points throughout “Too Bright”.  Those few times of vastness pushed me to try to comprehend the various choices of words in his songs as well has how he sang them.  Unfortunately, the only way that I could try to attempt to understand the story for each song was to look up the lyrics.  Even though Perfume Genius has a very neat and unique voice, the strong vernacular made it a little challenging.  Also, the album is only thirty-three minutes long which made me feel like it was too short.  It is a possibility that Perfume Genius did this in order to make a statement to the listeners—a way to draw us in and take a closer look and achieve an understanding of the story that Perfume Genius gave through his vocals.

Overall, the album “Too Bright” is an album that takes multiple listens to achieve a connection to Perfume Genius. Like I said earlier, this album is not for a person who wants meaningless lyrics to dance to. Even though it was difficult to understand the point of  “Too Bright”, I wouldn’t mind listening to it again in the future.

Perfume Genius’s website is right here!

Ari’s on the air Wednesdays at 3PM and her twitter is @sorryitrhymes!

WIUN Radio is always on!!!!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

ALBUM REVIEW: Aphex Twin – SYRO

by Carla Gaviola

syro cover

Aphex Twin, “Syro”

The release of Syro was heralded in the most ‘Aphex Twin’-est way possible: by a blimp featuring the Aphex Twin logo and the year 2014 floating over London last August, as well as graffiti scattered all over New York City and the album’s tracklist hidden in the deep web. It has been 13 years since the prolific electronic musician Richard D. James released his last full-length album, Drukqs, and Syro marks another milestone in the evolution of the Aphex Twin sound.

The beauty about Aphex Twin is that the music sounds like nothing else, but it still retains the trademark Richard D. James touch–whatever that is—that keeps it engrossing despite being something that almost seems alien. However, Syro, in comparison to his other works, appears as something more palatable and accessible, almost something that you can hear playing in your car radio (albeit maybe in a more underground music sort of station?). This could possibly be attributed in part to James’ family who provided edited vocal tracks in songs such as CIRCLONT14 and XMAS_EVET10.

The tracks may seem disjointed and chaotic, not following a single theme and seeming like merely a collection of songs tied up only by the sublimity of their arrangements, from the glitch-hop dance-floor friendly minipops 67 [120.2] to an almost jazzy electronic produk_29, to the jungle music of PAPAT4. The album ends with a characteristic uncharacteristic somber piano piece in the vein of Avril 14th with the warm Aisatsana, providing a fitting end to one of the best albums of the year as well as the beginning to the next metamorphosis of the Aphex Twin sound.

One can’t really only listen to Syro once, for each repeated listen unveils so many more intricate details, from a rubber duck to an out of tune piano, lying beneath the cacophony.

Standout tracks: minipops 67 [120.2], XMAS_EVET10, PAPAT4, CIRCLONT14, Aisatsana

For more information on Aphex Twin’s new album, visit his website!

And you can find Carla on Twitter @CarlaWIUN and on her show Thursdays at 11:30 AM on WIUN!

WIUN LIVE!

Today, April 24th at 12 PM CENTRAL TIME, WIUN will have a special showcase bringing you all up to speed on what we’ve accomplished this semester and what we plan on accomplishing next YEAR!  We will also be discussing world, local, pop, and music news!  Make sure you give us a listen!  How do you get there, you ask?

SIMPLY CLICK HERE!!!!