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Welcome to the University Union Blog! Here we will be posting about various topics from music and entertainment to events on campus.

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Rock the Dome

The only way is up when it comes to concerts at ‘Cuse. Rock the Dome is back after a five-year hiatus and will certainly bring some magic to the table. Right before the dreaded winter and stress of finals, Rock the Dome will light our lackluster lives with energy and joy. It’s a relieving lineup and if you haven't heard about the roster, let me fill you in.

The 1975: Hailing from the U.K., “The 1975” has been killing the indie rock game for years. In recent years their music has traveled to the U.S. and is equally well received. After an impressive self-titled album “The 1975” skyrocketed, their next project I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it has been parading the surface since it’s drop in February of 2016. I last saw “The 1975” at the Barclays Center in May. The least I can say is that this show should blow your mind in terms of creation. “The 1975” is a different kind of band in the scheme of things.They have music that is indescribable but will simply make you smile ear to ear. It’s easy to catch on musically as a fan because there is something about the chemicals released in your brain when their songs play. After selling out shows all over the world, their tour will now expand to our campus in just three weeks.

Oh Wonder: The talent in London always has more gems than rocks. Another gem heading to Rock the Dome this year is “Oh Wonder”. Broken down, “Oh Wonder” is Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West singing in complete unity. Since releasing their DIY debut album, they have seen international success and broke through to the U.S to give us that same flavor. When you look at the blueprint of their first album, they truly did something revolutionary. “Oh Wonder” recorded one song each month for a year and at the end, blessed our years with a project. Musically they are sure to set the vibe of strong before “The 1975”.

K. High

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Weekly Music Review

New Projects

NxWorries (Anderson Paak & Knxwledge) - Yes Lawd!

Many got their first taste of rising star Anderson Paak from his collab with producer Knxwledge, “Suede,” a gritty old school sounding track released last year. Together, the rapper/singer Anderson Paak, and producer Knxwledge make “NxWorries”, and on Friday they released their debut project, “Yes Lawd!”. Knxwledge, a producer who has worked with rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Action Bronson, Earl Sweatshirt and more brings a heavy old school hip hop feel to the project, and Anderson Paak showcases his versatility once again by gliding over the production, half rapping, half singing. “Yes Lawd!” marks the second stellar album released by Paak this year alone; if you’re not a fan by now you’re already late.

Favorite Track: Get Bigger/Do U Love

By: Lucas M

Artists To Look Out For

YG TUT

Let me take it down to Chattanooga, Tennessee for this one. Interestingly enough, TUT just makes that feel good. I first heard him on a track called “Sunday Service” featuring Isaiah Rashad. The flavor of his lyrics and calm delivery had me shook in itself. As I listened through his entire tape Preacher’s Son, I couldn’t help but feeling like I was in the south, sitting on the porch with my homeboy; just thinking. TUT’s beats are like Chance’s in the sense the entire band can be heard creeping behind the bars. I’m telling y’all, this is the music I live for. Let him take you to the other side of the south.

By: K. High

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D.R.A.M Interview

Luckily I got the opportunity to speak with D.R.A.M after his epic performance at Juice Jam. He took control of the stage with his large presence and charisma that reflected directly onto the crowd. Broccoli particularly got the crowd going and everyone went wild as their anthem filled the Juice Jam air. It truly completed his set with a bang. D.R.A.M was later asked by one of the reporters if he changed his approach to making music after Broccoli blew up on the charts. He responded that it hasn't changed his approach at all it has just made concerts more “Lit”. D.R.A.M was also asked to describe what his perception of “Real Ass Music” is. He said that “Real Ass Music” is all the music that is authentic to him and his experiences. D.R.A.M says that all of his music is based on events that actually happened. Finally, I asked what band inspired him the most a developing artist. Without a stutter, he replied “Parliament-Funkadelic. D.R.A.M definitely did not disappoint and I think we can all agree we hope to see him sometime again on our campus.

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Chatting with James Franco

Last Sunday we were honored to host the legendary, James Franco. His quick humor and charming stage presence all held us captive as he spoke in Goldstein auditorium. Lexi did a wonderful job at moderating the event and asked questions that prompted humorous yet insightful answers from Franco. The question that triggered the biggest response  was, "What emojis would you use describe your life?". Franco replied, "A baby, a comedic character face, a heart, a heartbreak, and a big smile. I thought the baby emoji was quite clever.  The talk with Franco was littered with his quick humor but also filled with countless stories about his life and career. He spoke about his role in Freaks and Geeks, which Franco said was "the first thing I ever did that was good". We all know Franco as a comedic actor, typically alongside his good friend Seth Rogen (the perfect dynamic duo), but Franco said he used to be more interested in dramas (*gasps*). He realized years after Freaks and Geeks that comedy was his calling; it simply got a better response from his audiences and critiques. Franco also gave advice on nerves and made the point that "If people don't like this, it is not my fault". He explained that sometimes the scripts are not any good, which is out of his control and sometimes people just have a different opinion on his work. Franco's biggest advice was to invest everything you have and obsess over your work until you have done your best. Why do it if you're not going to do it the best you possibly can?

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Juice Jam 2016

Marshmello

Marshmello is an EDM artist who rose to prominence after beginning to mysteriously release songs on SoundCloud. He is known for always being masked, hidden behind the face of a marshmallow. This, along with his music, which he describes as “deep, fluffy, hybrid melodic sexy trap house” has earned him quite the cult following; don’t be surprised to see some fans rocking homemade Marshmello masks at Juice Jam. Lucky for us, what Marshmello is really known for is his live sets, which never fail to be a crazy time.

Stephen

Stephen is an electronic producer, singer, and songwriter from California. He is a unique artist in that he is known equally for his electronic production as he is for his songwriting and singing. This combination should make for a compelling live show experience

By: Lucas M

D.R.A.M

The comeback has been real. What does it do to an artist when they don’t even get credit for their biggest hit? We all know “Cha Cha” was an original song by D.R.A.M, but when people connect the dots, they trace the hit to Drake’s “Hotline Bling”. I mean, this is what happens in the music industry but only the best artists prevail. After selling out shows across the entire country with Chance the Rapper and recently knocking Drake off of the Billboard 100 for the #1 spot, D.R.A.M is simply put, killing the game right now. I don’t even have to go into his discography, just click the links below and vibe with us at Juice Jam next Sunday.

By K. High


Fetty Wap

If you haven’t heard of Fetty Wap in the past two years, feel free to crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under. With one of the fastest and most startling come-ups in hip-hop, Fetty has displayed his stone cold hustle and capability to create banger after banger after banger. His signature raspy tone sits his music somewhere between accessible pop and rap and, much like the pies he’s been cooking with his “Trap Queen”, the world has eaten it up completely.

By: Rachel B

Tove Lo

Tove lo is a Swedish singer-songwriter. She has recently made the transition from songwriter to solo artists. Her debut EP, Truth Serum, went Top Twenty in her own country and “Habits”, her  most successful track, can be heard on the radio in the U.S. Tove Lo is a star on the rise, and we are lucky enough to have her performing live at Juice Jam September 25th

LOLO

LOLO is a show stopping artist who not only has a great stage presence but is also considered an incredible songwriter. Her newest album “In Loving Memory of When I Gave a Shit” reflects her journey from Tennessee to the stages of New York to London and back. She has everything to offer, from her experience on broadway in “Spring Awakening” to her unparalleled songwriting skills. LOLO is a fiery soul that will be taking on our stage in less than a week.

By: Genna Schindel

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Best New Albums

Freetown Sound-Dev Hynes

Freetown Sound is a soothing and enticing personal document that embraces black culture and emphasizes the pains of oppression. The album was released June 28th, 2016 and has since received a flood of positive reviews. Freetown Sound is Hynes’ third album as Blood Orange and arrived days after 25-year-old Freddie Gray was fatally injured while in the custody of the police officer Caesar Goodstein Jr. The police officer was found not guilty and chants of racism roared across the nation. On the same day, another police officer was found not guilty for slamming a black teenage girl on the ground at a pool party. Although these events aren’t specifically documented in this album, Hynes’ views of black culture are coded into every beat and lyric of the album. 

Birds in the Trap Sing Mcknight-Travis Scott

September 2, Travis Scott released his second studio album, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, a honed follow-up to his first album Rodeo. BITTSM is a consistent and crucial project for an artist who has found his niche as the tie that binds trap with dark, innovative production inspired by the likes of Kid Cudi and Kanye West. Each song is a cohesive addition to the one before. Scott expounds upon the themes within his production in a skilled, stylistic manner. He ensures that there is more to even his most lighthearted song than meets the eye with layers that add depth beneath the surface and take each banger to the next level. 

Blonde- Frank Ocean

In 2012, Frank Ocean released his official debut album Channel Orange. Though he certainly had built quite a following due to his self-released Nostalgia, Ultra and affiliation with Odd Future, Channel Orange took his public notoriety to the next level and received much critical praise. Following the release, Frank stayed quiet, completely out of the news, for the most part, giving no interviews and using social media minimally. After various false release dates, he unleashed a burst of material; the audio-visual Endless, magazines, a music video, and his long-awaited album Blonde. The intro track “Nikes” begins with teasing, pitched up vocals, before Frank’s voice finally comes warmly gliding through as the song nears its end. It’s a moment that gives a great start to the album, contrasting suspense with a fresh air of calmness in the same way he released his latest batch of material. Upon first listen, the album could seem bare to some especially compared to his previous work, but with every listen new details and meanings are uncovered, which along with the personability of his lyrics makes the album an engaging listen every time.

P3-PARTYNEXTDOOR

The PARTY wave has been kind of crazy ever since he dropped his first official tape back in 2013. From then on we got two more brief tapes and some notable Drake features but still no studio album. We got tastes of PARTY all over but each song led to more excitement about his releasing a full project so when it finally came, please believe we were ready. The album was actually on point but where I think PARTY missed is where he failed to create those “Break From Toronto”/ “Recognize” type songs. Even when a song is heavy, PARTY always adds that extra boost of musicality but all of these songs stayed on the same tide. This album kind of reminds me of Miguel’s ‘Wildheart’ in that sense that PARTY took us down an alley of reflection and reminiscence and instead of making music for the people, made music for himself and his journey.

He uses vocal clips and spoken word poetry to craft his narrative. “Hand up” refers to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin in Florida, where George Zimmerman- a neighborhood volunteer- shot and killed the unarmed teenager. Hynes specifically warns the listener, “Keep your hood off when you’re walking… Sure enough, they’re gonna take your body”. The anguish and frustration conveyed through these lyrics alone are unparalled. Hynes’ raw emotions are consistent throughout the entire album. Although this particular political and cultural issue in the United States is sensitive, Hynes has artfully and appropriately expressed his views through his masterfully crafted music.

~Genna Schindel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With features from heavyweights such as Andre 3000, Kendrick Lamar, and Kid Cudi, Bryson Tiller, The Weeknd, 21 Savage and more, Travis Scott plays to every artist’s strength, yet never loses sight of his own presence. For a project hyped as heavily as this one, it can be easy to disappoint. However, in this case, the hype is valid and fulfilled. There is not a track on BITTSM that doesn’t hit, doesn’t fit, or isn’t lit. Bravo, Travis Scott on an excellent album.

~Rachel Blackman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Such is the case on album centerpiece “Seigfreid”, whose minimal, floaty, guitar-based instrumental allows room for various sound effects and instruments to be introduced, warping the song into new directions as Frank’s vocals hold prominence. Songs are formulated similarly across the album, such as on “Skyline To”, whose minimal production morphs into a trippy outro that sounds like a modernized version of something off of The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour. Much of the album’s sound is psychedelic, sounding inspired by the Beatles in various aspects, including both the production and Frank’s melodies and harmonies, (he interpolates melodies from The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” on “White Ferrari.”) Usage of drugs is explicitly mentioned in the lyrics, and the effect of these drugs on his lyrical mindset seem apparent as well. Much of Frank’s overarching lyrical themes seem based on finding a calm place in between the contrasts of life. This sentiment is reflected in the album’s name, which is spelled “Blonde” in its iTunes listing, but is spelled “Blond” on the actual cover, (Blonde being the feminine form, Blond being the masculine form in french.) A professor once told me that the beauty of legendary songwriter Joni Mitchell’s songwriting is that she perfectly captures the beautiful feeling of “happy-sad”, and I think that is what Frank has done on Blonde. Time will tell just how much Blonde will stand out from other releases in this era, but it has the potential to become a timeless record.

~Lucas M

 

 

 

A lot of people are still saying that they still  can’t get into it but don’t sleep, there’s actually a lot of fire on this album. If the wave doesn’t match that’s one thing but when it does, it’ll hit just as hard as anything else he’s ever dropped. As dreamy and sedated as the tracks are, they will still have your brain feeling colorful. You can’t help but to feel joy when music really hits and trust me, this will hit you at some point; good music is good music. Also noting that PARTY is one of the few artists who are pulling off dancehall samples and actually killing it like he did in “Not Nice” or “Only You”. From track 1-16, I can’t say every song was a hit and he definitely could have diversified the songs more but this project wasn’t a failure like everyone thought it turned out to be; it just represents a different kind of trip…

~K.High

 

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James Franco

Thanks to University Union's Performing Arts team, James Franco will be making an appearance on campus, September 17th. The award-winning American actor had his breakthrough role on Freaks and Geeks (1999), but it wasn't until the TNT movie James Dean (2001) that Franco truly became a fan favorite and got to show off his real talent. Franco has 90 nominations and clenched 31 wins across a variety of award ceremonies, which is quite an impressive resume in anyone's book. Luckily, we will be graced by his presence in a few short weeks, but tickets are selling fast. Buy your tickets at the Schine box office for 10$ with an SU/ESF ID. Doors open at 7:15pm in Goldstein Auditorium on September 17th, 2016. Be there or be square. 

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