Exec Files: Vol. VII
by WRMC Middlebury College on November 7, 2014
Posted in: Album Review, Eclectic, Electronic, Music, Pop, Rap, Rock
The WRMC executive board presents their favorite tracks, albums, artists, and/or music videos of the week, old and new, but mostly new.
CONCERT: Big Freedia
The Queen Diva Big Freedia is coming to campus THIS FRIDAY and I’m all too excited about it. I’ve been bumpin to Big Freedia all week in anticipation and I suggest you do too. Perhaps start out with “Explode,” a great song of his, and then move on to “Duffy” or “Y’all Get Back Now.” Tickets are going fast so buy them now at go/bounce! I hope to see you there! -Aaron Slater, Concerts Committee
ALBUM: Ariel Pink – pom pom
Ariel Pink is something of pop savant. Writing and recording some five hundred songs in two decades is a freakish feat itself; that some (like myself) would venture to call even 20% of them at very least good is other-worldly. Holed up in dusty lofts along LA’s sun-bleached streets for most of his creative career, he’s been better than everyone at rescuing nostalgic sounds of bygone eras with one part endearing charm and two parts disconcerting weirdness, churning out some of the best tracks of the last decade in the process. His last release, 2012’s Mature Themes, featured a scaled-back, even-tempered and clean shaven sound, though still baring the immeasurable heartache and dark goofiness that pervade Pink’s eternally-yearning style. With his upcoming release pom pom due out in less than two weeks, he’s shedding the long-standing ‘Haunted Graffiti’ moniker and diving headfirst in to the widest pool of sonic influence to date, to incredible results.
While he evokes 1950s commercial jingles with “Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade” and Sabbath-era metal with “Sexual Athletics,” he hits his stride when doing his very best Ariel Pink impressions – refining the melancholy-guitar-jangle-with-buoyant-chillwave-coating sound he’s all but trademarked by now. Outstanding tracks like “Put Your Number in my Phone,” “Picture Me Gone” and “One Summer Night” are ripe with pitch perfect portrayals of the innumerable feelings and sensations pop music loves to bring out in us—the cuteness of gently brushing a new crush’s hand, the conflicted stubbornness of fighting with a best friend, the sweet sadness that comes with the ending of – you guessed it – one lovely summer night, Pink pretty much understands our hearts better than we ever could.
In reaching the culmination of his bedroom pop aesthetic on this record, Pink consciously keeps his humorous edge in tact with cuts like “Exile on Frog Street,” “Jell-o” and the middle section of the stellar “Black Ballerina” to provide some reprieve from the simultaneously exhilarating yet exhausting 17 track, hour-plus emotional roller coaster that is pom pom. Altogether, Pink essentially places a purple-tinted lens over the Golden Coast’s sunny horizon and channels its glittering rays of luscious, shadowy light into one hell of an album and surely one of 2014’s best.-Chad Clemens, Music Director
TRACK: Shamir – “On the Regular”
Yes! Shamir has just released a single called “On The Regular” with accompanying music video and it is FUN. Shamir, a dorky, androgynous, and captivating 19 year old hailing from a “cookie-cutter suburban” neighborhood (his words), debuted earlier this year with the excellent Northtown EP. This is his first release since switching labels to XL Recordings, and by the sound of it I am pretty sure he is going to blow up. This song sees him experimenting with stronger beats and sassy rhymes, and paired with the surreal and kooky music video this one is sure to be a show stopper. -Julia Welsh, Programming Director
TRACK: Funkadelic – “Can You Get to That”
Funkadelic‘s “Can You Get to That” off the group’s third album Maggot Brain (1971) is a digestible funkalicious number. It’s not too crazy, but still has plenty of spunk, with involved layers of vocals (lots of back-up), and ranges that run the gamut. Sound familiar, esp. in the beginning? The track is sampled in Sleigh Bells‘ “Rill, Rill” (2010). Interested in more history? “Can You Get to That” is a new take on The Parliaments’ earlier release “What You Been Growin.” -Halley Lamberson, General Manager
ALBUM: STL – Sound Transmission
This record is the latest in Stephan Laubner‘s self-funded messages of murkiness. He uses impenetrable pads and chords, like usual, to deliver a few discordant beauties. What’s really remarkable about Laubner isn’t necessarily how he taps into the beatdown sound of the third wave of Detroit techno producers all the way from Germany, or that his plates find a place in many different record bags – it’s how he’s able to pull this off with such alarming frequency! The Something vinyl series kicked off over a decade ago and to my knowledge there’s been no dips in quality, within reason. He seems to have a mental radio dial locked onto nothing but the most haunting melodies and dusky rhythms available. Be careful, though: it’s easy to overdose on his magic and end up not listening to his stuff for months. So stay away from his albums and don’t let those locked grooves play too long. Enjoy. -Eric Hass, Technical Director
http://www.something-records.com/vinyl_series.html (first release on the page)
TRACK: Clark – “Winter Linn”
As winter begins nipping at our noses, it’s important that we begin curating our post-apocalyptic playlist for traversing the barren landscape of Vermont. If that’s something you do or are interested in doing, UK producer Chris Clark’s discography is a good place to start. His latest of seven full length albums, Clark, is a beautiful batch of dark, swirling electronic music that could serve equally well as the soundtrack for an avante garde sci-fi flick or the next Batman movie. The album’s best track, “Winter Linn”, begins with a sonic boom of sorts, whoosing the listener into an atmosphere thick with static and distortion. Despite its many layers, “Winter Linn” maintains a beautiful clarity aided by the continuous pulsing of an ominous beat and the addition of shimmering synths throughout . Clark was recently quoted in an interview saying that he is endlessly fascinated and inspired by the task of making inanimate machines sound human, “like making a synth sound like a human cry or laugh” At this point I’ve probably played this album so many times in the past 2 weeks that if my laptop could cry, it would. Laptop tears of joy and mechanical commiseration. Other highlights to check out include; “Unfurla”, “Strength Through Fragility”, “Snowbird”, “The Grit In The Pearl” and “Silvered Iris.” The whole album is a must listen for fans of Clark’s recently active Warp label mates Flying Lotus and Aphex Twin. -Kate Leib, Creative Director
TRACK: Mt. Olympus – Big K.R.I.T.
My favorite response to the infamous “Control” verse came from the least known name on Kendrick‘s list—Mississippi rapper Big K.R.I.T. Whereas other artists bemoaned going unnamed, nitpicked the semantics of K.Dot crowning himself the King of New York or proved his point by rapping less well over the same beat, K.R.I.T bided his time before turning the spotlight back onto the media whipping the rap world up into a frenzy.
K.R.I.T. doesn’t fit into any of the boxes currently around in Southern rap. He doesn’t use autotune, rarely focuses on the turn-up and isn’t even from Atlanta (shouts out to Meridian, MS), and was therefore outrageously slept on until Kendrick name-dropped him. “Now they wanna hear a country nigga rap / five albums in, I swear a country nigga snap / thought they wanted trap, thought they wanted bass / thought they wanted molly, thought they wanted drank / Fuck them niggas,” K.R.I.T. spits on the chorus of the track. He goes on to further lambast music media’s hypocrisy (“Now I’m lyrical all of the sudden / well last year they claim they ain’t understand me“), give a full history of Southern rap as the unnoticed innovative backbone of the genre, take shots at less creative and hard-working rappers and discuss the morality of responding to Kendrick’s challenge (“What’s good for hip hop may not be good for my soul / so, I keep flexin’, wreckin’, for the people that respect it / check it, fuck a Control“). K.R.I.T. was one of the few artist to see Kendrick’s challenge for what it was—a call to raise the bar lyrically and creatively, not a just literal declaration of kingship to be debated.
Unfortunately, the sample for this track didn’t clear, so the song had to be reworked to make it on the album. Revisit the original version of the track before Cadillactica drops on Nov. 11., and don’t ever sleep on K.R.I.T. again. –Charlie Dulik, Concerts Committee
Stream Big K.R.I.T.’s sophomore studio album, Cadillactica, via NPR.
- Aashna Aggarwal is not sari that she didn’t write a exec file this week.
- In his free time, Charlie Dulik pretends that he’s a southern rapper.
- Kate Leib doesn’t know much about electronic music but likes to keep the millions of readers of this blog on their toes, so she tried to review an electronic track this week anyway.
- Halley Lamberson likes Funk and Punk.
- Julia Welsh loves lanyards and dancing.
- Chad Clemens has a way with words.
- Eric Hass pushes buttons and makes noise Tuesday nights 10-11:30 PM on Kicks and Snares: The Reckoning.
- Aaron Slater is the frontman of an all-male Sleater-Kinney cover band called Slater-Kinney. They perform live on WRMC every Wednesday night from 11 PM-1 AM.
You can find these people plus the rest of the WRMC general board in the station lounge every Monday at 5 pm.