Two halves, two different stories. Indiana Men’s Basketball fell flat on their face in the second half in what was one of their biggest home games of the season. The Hoosiers were nearly doubled up in the second half, ultimately losing by 17 to Illinois, the first place team in the Big Ten. “You gotta give them credit,” Woodson said after the game. “They put a solid 40 minute ballgame together, and we put a 20 minute ballgame together.” After having a week off to prepare for this game, Indiana got off to an excellent start, leading by as much as eight points in the first half. The Hoosiers went into the locker room up 36-34 despite Trayce Jackson-Davis only playing four minutes. The All-American accumulated two fouls in the span, but the Hoosiers were still able to hold Kofi Cockburn to just five first half points, a big reason for their success. The second half was a completely different story. Indiana was outplayed, outcoached, and outworked by the Illini, who outscored Indiana 32-11 in the final 13 minutes of the ballgame. The Illini took the lead with 11:54 remaining and never gave it back, running away with it. Trent Frazier and Cockburn were unstoppable, combining for 26 second-half points. For reference, Indiana as a team had 21 second-half points. Frazier finished with 23 points and Cockburn ended the game with 17. “I thought for the most part we did a good job on the big guy, until late,” Woodson said. Cockburn was a menace down low in the paint, and although that wasn’t apparent in the box score, he was causing fits especially defensively for both Jackson-Davis and Michael Durr. Woodson was very critical of Jackson-Davis’ play, and mentioned that Durr ended up fouling out. Indiana struggled mightily from beyond the arc, a theme that Hoosier fans are familiar with this season. Indiana went 3-13 (23%) from behind the arc. The Illini, in comparison, shot 10-23 (43%) from deep “When we’ve lost games, it’s been either rebounding or not defending the three point line. I thought we were pretty good on the boards, but the three point shot got away from us again,” Woodson said. Just like the snow in Bloomington on Saturday, Indiana melted late in this game. Thompson and Xavier Johnson were the only two Hoosiers in double digits. Indiana’s starting five has been very up-and-down the entire season, and today they finished with just 40 points as a unit, provoking some questions “on the starters’ composure” in the direction of Woodson after the game, who declined to answer them. Indiana falls to 16-6 overall and 7-5 in the Big Ten. Next up is a trip to Evanston, Illinois for a date with Northwestern on Tuesday night. It will certainly be a homecoming for Miller Kopp, who transferred from the Wildcats to the Hoosiers before the season. Kopp started but didn’t attempt a single shot in Saturday’s loss. Tuesday’s game will tip off at 9 ET with Griffin Epstein and Max Rezek-Te Winkle on the call for WIUX 99.1 FM. The online stream can be heard HERE. PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
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Here is WIUX Music Team's first weekly picks playlist of the semester. We'll be making a new one each week so stay tuned! LISTEN HERE
We've all been traveling a lot lately with the holidays and coming back to campus, so here's a playlist we put together to help make your drive a little nicer.
We all love cooking, but sometimes it's fun to spice things up with some music! Here's a playlist of WIUX Music Team's favorite songs that are food-related and/or good to listen to while cooking!
Winning can occasionally come at a cost. Indiana pummelled Penn State 74-57 Wednesday night inside Assembly Hall to avenge a three-point loss to the Nittany Lions three weeks ago. But, the headline of the game was the injury to guard Rob Phinisee, who was helped off the court late in the first half with an apparent achilles tendon injury. “I really didn’t see the play,” head coach Mike Woodson said after the game. “I just saw him come up limping and he wasn’t really moving so I figured he had done something. I’m sure he’ll be evaluated tomorrow.” Given the inconsistent point guard play for this team, he would be a major loss if he were to miss an extended period of time. Point guard Khristian Lander has been absent from the lineup since December 22nd , and despite “we want Lander” chants from the student section late in the game, he remained on the bench. Woodson was asked about Lander’s availability after the game, and his response was that “his physicality” was holding him back. He would have been inserted if healthy. Phinisee’s injury was really the only negative in what was a bloodbath from the very beginning. Indiana dominated from the get go, taking the lead 13 seconds into the ballgame and never giving it up. The Hoosiers built a 17 point lead in just 8 minutes. In comparison, the previous seven games saw Indiana go down a combined 49 points in that span, which sparked some debate about changing the starting five. Woodson opted to go with the same five he’s gone with all season long. “We took it personally,” said Race Thompson when asked about whether there was pressure on the first unit. “It was really about playing with more energy, but at the same time being composed.” The Hoosiers certainly proved that the loss in Happy Valley January 2nd was just a fluke. They went into the half up 46-17, their largest lead since November 2020. Xavier Johnson, Race Thompson and Trayce Jackson-Davis all had double digits after the first twenty minutes. They finished with 19, 18, and 15 respectively. The dominance from the starters was something we had not seen in a while, as the bench has lifted Indiana to many of its Big Ten wins this season. But, it was a good sign for the Hoosiers to see someone like Tamar Bates nail both of his three-point attempts. Indiana as a team shot a season-high 10-13 (77%) from beyond the arc. “The ball was moving. We got good looks and what we like to call quick strikes for three,” Woodson said. “We gotta shoot them when we’re open.” For Penn State, a thoroughly disappointing result given how much they controlled the tempo at their home against the Hoosiers. They did come out much stronger in the second half, highlighted by a 13-0 run late in the second half to cut the lead to 14. Jalen Pickett scored all 14 of his points in the second half and John Harrar added 13. Woodson was displeased with the fact that Indiana didn’t play for a full forty minutes, as they were outscored 40-28 in the second half. Indiana did miss Michael Durr from the box score. The 7’0 big man has seen an uptick in minutes of late, but didn’t see a single minute tonight. Strictly a “coaches decision,” said Woodson. Indiana’s depth will be tested if Phinisee has to miss some time. But, in the grand scheme of things, Wednesday night was a dominating performance in response to a lackluster one just three days ago. Indiana goes 2 for 3 on the homestand while improving to 15-5 on the season and 6-4 in Big Ten play. They will travel to Maryland to take on the Terrapins Saturday at 2:30 PM ET. The game can be heard on WIUX 99.1 FM and the online stream here with Jace Dery and Zak Ibrahim on the call. PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
Quentin Arispe The Spiritual Waiting Room February 10, 2021 The Spiritual Waiting Room by Quentin Arispe takes you on a journey through EDM, R&B, and Soul to a yearning feeling that seems eternal. With bright guitar riffs and shimmering keys cutting through raw vocals, this labor of love captures something unique. The lyrics are pleading to get through to an absent listener. With a heavy build-up that ends in a false satisfaction, the album ends in a gasp for air. Everything about this album is heartbreaking in the best way and I find something new to love every time I listen. -Bella Brown-Sparks Pale Waves Who Am I? February 12, 2021 Pale Wave’s February 2021 release Who Am I? can be described as liberating, emotive, and slightly heartbreaking. It encompasses the liberation of lead singer Heather Baron-Gracie and the band’s drummer, Ciara Doran who both recently came out--Doran as nonbinary and Baron-Gracie as queer. This album could very well be a lengthy love letter to Kelsi, Heather’s girlfriend, and she exudes proudness in being out as a queer woman. She is no longer afraid to speak, or sing, about being a woman who loves women. She shows this in the numerous songs about her love life, such as in "She’s My Religion" and "Easy". These tracks focus on the happier aspects of relationships, but Baron-Gracie doesn’t shy away from the darker sides of the powerful drug called love. In "Change" and "Fall to Pieces", she channels the emotions of heartbreak and frustration that also come with being in a relationship. The band also shows their growth musically. In their previous album, My Mind Makes Noises, many of the tracks flowed together in similar sounds, making it hard to distinct one song from the other. With this release they prove their capability in creating unique sounds to each track, giving the songs a separateness in sound, but cohesiveness in the lyrical storyline about romantic and platonic love. The closing track, which the album is named after, highlights the overall themes of the album as it touches on mental health and the hardships Baron-Gracie and her bandmates have faced over their life and musical career. It reiterates the darker aspects of life and love after the heartwarming songs about growth that precede the track. -Hope Gerber Slowthai TYRON February 12, 2021 This is my favorite album of 2021. Admittedly, I listen to the softer second half of this album far more often than the more aggressive first half. The first half is still incredibly dynamic, with unique song structures and vocal experimentation. Although the louder songs are catchy and feature some wonderfully creative production, the quieter songs are just beautiful and keep me coming back. They’re introspective and vulnerable, showing us a side of Slowthai we haven’t really seen thus far. The production on them is suitably low-key and muted, letting Slowthai’s inner musings and self-reflection shine through beautifully. Some of my favorite songs are "push", "nhs", "feel away", "focus", "I tried", "VEX", "MAZZA", and "CANCELLED". -Nick Zidarescu 1 Trait Danger 1 Trait Bangers March 5, 2021 1 Trait Danger creates a new genre of music that no one asked for! Andrew Katz makes white boy rapping funny and good instead of cringey and rhyming banana with orange (bornana). Their third album continues the story of making fun of themselves as well as the whole industry of music reviews, so I guess I am contributing to the problems that they face by reviewing this. I’m not going to dwell on that much longer. TikTok took “Timmis” out of context and ran with it, and rightly so, that chorus is perfect and provides perfect backstory to Tim Schenectady of Pitchfork News. “Rocket Ship” makes fun of now-ex-power couple Elon Musk and Grimes, especially the absurdity of their relationship. “TOO FAMOUS” ends the album exactly where it started, with Andrew Katz waking up after falling asleep due to blackout curtains. Notable lyrics include: “Kurt loves 2% for his vocals, he said it gives him a little extra tang” “Blah blah blah, yeah but it takes YOU years of training but I’M a woman of space" “Who’s mowing my lawn? Uh oh, it’s Elon!” It’s perfect dumb dance music that has perfectly hilarious lyrics if you decide to take the time to listen to it. -Charlotte Jones Lake Street Drive Obviously March 12, 2021 After not releasing music for three years, Lake Street Dive’s new album, Obviously, did not disappoint. Keeping their classic jazzy-soulful feel throughout their album, the band delves into several different genres, taking listeners on a journey all across the music spectrum. Consistently writing lyrics and arrangements of perfection, Lake Street Drive showcased they are anything but a one-trick pony. Lead singer Rachael Price’s voice of honey enthralls listeners, dancing from one song to the next. The first track on the album, and their lead single, “Hypotheticals,” perfectly encapsulates the band’s groovy feel that fans know and love. Reminiscent of their past hits, such as “Good Kisser” or “You Go Down Smooth,” the song has an upbeat, 70s vibe. “Know that I Know,” a personal favorite, continues this same sweet soul-pop. The band of 14 years also touches on social issues, with their progressive songs like “Being a Woman,” explaining the struggles of women in the patriarchal 21st century, or “Making Due,” an apologetic ode to younger generations for the climate crisis. Lake Street Drive even includes an a capella song, “Sarah” to end the album with a lush, emotional ballad. If you are looking for an album with retro-soul, R&B, alternative, rock, indie-pop, folk, jazz, and everything in between, then this is the album for you. Obviously has become one of my favorite albums of all time, and after listening, it could be one of yours too. -Eva Remijan-Toba 454-4 REAL March 16, 2021 In the current world of the underground where trap music is ruled by certain synths (such as high-pitched sin patches) and Pi’erre Bourne inspired 808’s, 454 creates a completely different path for himself to craft his own sound and stand out amongst the crowd on his debut album that released earlier this year, 4 REAL. One of the first things that anyone will notice while listening to 4 REAL for the first time is how most of the songs are split into two parts: The first half of the song is played at a high tempo and pitch, a signature to Florida DJs, while the second half repeats the song but in a slower bpm and pitch, signature to Southern DJs like DJ Screw. This structure is used throughout a majority of 4 REAL’s catalog of 12 songs. In writing, this production tactic can have one think that songs can become repetitive and redundant since the listener is essentially hearing almost every song twice. However, the change in tempo and pitch, usually complimented by a well-crafted transition, brings an incredible amount of depth, giving 454 a unique style that no other artist has. 4 REAL is at its finest with highlights like the intro “LATE NIGHT,” along with other tracks such as “FACETIME,” “PISCES,” “ANDRETTI,” and “CAPRICE.” These songs in particular bring out the best in how 454 intertwines his melodic and auto-tuned rapping with dreamy beats layered by transformed soul samples, smooth pads and melodies, and trap drums. The album has a great structure over its 43 minutes of listening time, with the pacing never seeming off in between songs while keeping a cohesive and focused sound. What is most exciting about 4 REAL is how obvious it is that this is merely just the beginning of 454’s potential. 4 REAL feels like a blueprint or foundation for what is possible for 454’s career. If he continues to grow as an artist and use his unique style of production and melodies to his advantage, he is bound to have a bright future for his career. With cosigns from today’s biggest stars like Frank Ocean (4 REAL is featured on the website for Ocean’s jewelry company Homer), 454 is an artist that should be under any music listener’s current radar if he is not already. -Aidan Smith Briston Maroney Sunflower April 9, 2021 Briston Maroney has released several singles and EPs over the past few years and Sunflower is his debut album. With just ten tracks, the album is just 34 mins long, but manages to tell a complex story about finding who you are through love and disappointment. The lyrics of Sunflower focus on the confusion and uncertainty of navigating relationships and figuring out who you are through that process. Maroney makes this album feel very personal and crafts his lyrics in a way that takes the listener on a journey of feeling lost and the resulting self-discovery process. This creates an emotional connection with the music and listeners relate to his struggles. The album is mostly upbeat, and I would consider the style to be alternative or indie-rock. This upbeat tone represents his optimistic realization that self-discovery is a process, and we are all constantly learning and improving. One of my favorite details in Briston Maroney’s music is the way his voice seems to strain at perfect moments in songs that emphasize the emotion in the lyrics. One of the best tracks on the album is “It’s Still Cool If You Don’t.” The third song on the album focuses on uncertainty and fear of vulnerability within relationships. The track also incorporates unique musical elements in place of a bridge which could reflect the theme of being afraid of saying too much. Another great track from Sunflower is the sixth song “Why.” This is one of the most vulnerable songs including lyrics like “But why can’t I be someone else tonight? / I’d give anything to make this right.” These lyrics truly convey feeling lost after losing love and the confusion of one’s own emotions. Combined with the accompanying guitar and drums it communicates the intense waves of emotion felt in these words. -Grace Farruggio Greta Van Fleet Battle at Garden’s Gate April 16, 2021 Greta Van Fleet’s second studio album Battle at Garden’s Gate is a world within itself. The band members set out to tell a cohesive story with this album, each song pushing the plot right along. The album is full of imagery drawn from mythology, philosophy, and religion. There are twelve songs on the album along with twelve symbols, representing empowerment, freedom, community, and love for Mother Nature. One of the symbols, the ‘Tau", is believed to be the Mark of Cain. The lead singer Josh Kiszka revealed that he pulled inspiration from literature as well, such as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Their goal was to tell the story of mankind destroying the natural world. Although this applies to our current reality, the band members made it clear that this was set in an almost alternate universe, which permitted them to take creative liberties with their story-telling. The album is reminiscent of the age of classic rock, where writers did not necessarily follow a three-minute format for their songs. This allowed the band members to be as organic with each song as possible. They followed no guidelines and instead allowed the album to unfold with no creative restrictions. Their longest song, “Weight of Dreams,” clocks in at nearly nine minutes—an impressive feat especially by today’s standards. This is a drastic change from their previous albums. In the past, the band wrote shorter songs with the predictable format of “verse, hook, verse, hook, bridge, hook.” However, with a few years under their belt, the band has evolved creatively. Their formats are unpredictable, their solos are much longer (allowing each band member to showcase their incredible talent), their lyrics are deeper and tell a much larger story. They have truly found their sound. The only thing to do now is wait for what is next. -Grace Salzer Bladee The Fool May 28, 2021 For years now I’ve struggled to understand the appeal of Swedish rapper Bladee. It’s not that his music is necessarily unpleasant. The production is enjoyable if you enjoy the sounds of trap and cloud rap. The icy autotune, the mumbling delivery of the bars, these qualities serve to build a musical atmosphere that, while polarizing, isn’t unprecedented in the rap world. Still, clearly there is something seriously compelling about Bladee and his contemporaries, considering the existence of the drainer/sadboy subculture that sprung from their music. With the release of The Fool, however, I’ve realized that the ultimate appeal of Bladee is that it's really not that serious. Yes, a close reading of the lyrics and motifs reveal a deeply spiritual core, with references to mysticism and gnosticism. The title itself, The Fool, is likely a reference to the tarot card meaning new beginnings. There’s even a little bit of Freudian psychoanalytic theory, with a track referencing the idea of the ego. Despite the Gen Z internet meme associations with Bladee’s music, there’s obviously a lot of thought put into the construction of his musical universe. At the same time, though, this album is genuinely hilarious. My favorite bar comes from the third track, “Hotel Breakfast.” As Bladee dispassionately relates, “I'm a good boy on the track, no cussing / Please do not give me any more flak, I am struggling / I'm about to start crying in my bed.” Therein lies the ultimate strength of The Fool, and ultimately Bladee’s musical project as a whole. The vast, sprawling, areligious spirituality of The Fool reminds me of philosopher Alain Badiou’s Fifteen Theses on Contemporary Art, where he writes that “art is the impersonal production of a truth that is addressed to everyone.” But, accompanied by this search for universal truth is a dry humor that reminds the listener to laugh, to not take things too seriously. Bladee’s artistic project is ambitious in its spiritual depth, but searching for life’s meaning doesn’t entail never being able to have fun. Now it’s no wonder to me that such a passionate fanbase has coalesced around Bladee and his collaborators. But Bladee has no desire to play any sort of spiritual guide-type role to his listeners. As he reminds fans on the eleventh track, “Trendy,” “I'm not holier-than-thou / But we're trendier than them.” Or on the first track, “The Fool Intro”: “I'm just the fool, I don't know anything.” This is only his beginning. -Kia Heryadi Japanese Breakfast Jubilee June 4, 2021 Jubilee, Japanese Breakfast’s first album in 4 years, instills a feeling of joy that feels much needed as 2021 draws to an end. While lead singer Michelle Zauner conserves much of the sound that Japanese Breakfast is known for, this album still feels very fresh. Since 2017’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet, the band has expanded into a much richer sound, with orchestral flourishes and new instruments, most notably the saxophone solo on "Slide Tackle". The first half of the album builds in excitement, starting with the marching, hopeful drive of “Paprika” and the 80’s-pop-inspired “Be Sweet to Me”. The album rides a high wave of energy for most of its 37 minutes, but has a bit of a slow and anticlimactic ending with “Tactics” and “Posing for Cars.” Each song seems to deal with a theme of intimacy, whether it be positive or negative, so anyone can find a song to relate to on this album. Standout tracks are “Slide Tackle”, “In Hell”, and “Paprika”. -Ben Spector Lucy Dacus Home Video June 25, 2021 I chose to review the album Home Video by Lucy Dacus because of Lucy’s ability to convey stories through her songwriting that depict the feeling of being in two stages of your life or remembering a past one and all the emotions that come with that. Because of the album’s general tone and my general stage of life, the experience of listening to it for the first time stood out to me over any other this year. Dacus is not new to diving into her childhood and reliving her experience as she abandons Christianity and experiences heartbreak. Dacus opens the album with a pre-released song, "Hot and Heavy", that gives a glimpse of what the content of the rest of the album will be without revealing the entire tone. As the title "Hot and Heavy" goes, the whole album feels heavy like a long day at summer camp and the air is heavy with Southern humidity. Though this weight that the songs have and "Hot and Heavy" opens with sets up for the uncomfortable-ness of the stories she is telling, unique to remembering the embarrassing things you did in your youth. Throughout the album we are taken back to Lucy’s experiences with unknown people in her life, somehow Lucy is able to put the listener into the exact experience and feel her emotions so vividly. She takes common experiences like watching your friend in an unhealthy relationship but then makes it so personal, “He can be nice, sometimes / other times, you admit he is not what you had in mind.” and the heart wrenching visual of “But if you get married, I’d object / throw my shoe at the altar and lose your respect”. It paints a picture in your brain that is telling you your own worst nightmare. In the song "Brando", Lucy depicts being in a relationship as a teenager she sings “You called me cerebral / I didn’t know what you meant / but now I do, would have it killed you / to call me pretty instead?” which is one of my favorite lines in the entire album because I think it perfectly describes the experience of being a young girl and looking back on a relationship that wasn’t necessarily bad but the whole thing was a show, as simple as the line may be. With this album coming out the summer before I went to college I have been able to have a special connection to the way that the songs depict remembering the uncomfortable, embarrassing, and sensitive parts of growing up. While I have not had much of a religious childhood the aspect of feeling out of place and wrong for your feelings are very relatable. All in all, the album is perfect for the hot summer nights spent with your childhood best friend who has grown apart from you but still feels like home. -Camille Brinson Ginger Root City Slicker August 20, 2021 Ginger Root’s City Slicker is a laid-back drive through the neon streets of the big city’s downtown. Full of groovy bass, harmonic synth, and some great saxophone riffs, the various songs each help to create an atmosphere of nighttime splendor and fun. Notable songs from this short but sweet album are “Loretta” which carries a beautiful air to it with the synth and saxophone playing off each other, and “Juban District” which is the perfect song to stroll down the market alleys and bar-hop to in your best shades and suit. If you like city pop or if you just want a nice night of chill, neon vibes, then City Slicker is the album for you. -Zach Eason Westside Gunn HWH8 August 27, 2021 The eighth and final installment of one of hip hop’s most legendary series receives the glorious ending it deserves. On this double album, hip hop’s king of curation Westside Gunn takes coke rap to grand new heights. Gunn, the Griselda crew, and a plenteous cast of A1 features fill this project to the brim with lyrical grandeur layered upon the label’s iconically opulent instrumentals. “Mariota”, “Spoonz” and “Free Kutter” are Gunn’s newest jewels to line his gem-embellished crown as he undoubtedly sits atop the throne of contemporary boom bap. -Abhinav Kotaru Blu The Color Blu(e) September 24, 2021 In a world of near infinite colors, the color blue is the most interesting of them all to me. Blue takes on so many forms and dimensions: it is both serene and somber, the ocean and the sky, water and ice. Rapper Johnson Barnes III, better known by his stage name Blu, explores the range of meanings that makes the color blue so compelling in his 2021 album The Color Blu(e). Barnes passionately characterizes blue as the state of being marginalized on the politically charged “You Ain’t Never Been Blu(e).” He adopts blue as the color of booming self-confidence on the song “Everyday Blu(e)s.” He embraces blue as the color of Black pride, heritage, and excellence on the song “We Are Darker Than Blu(e).” If listeners had never realized that the color blue could be so meaningful, they’ll realize as soon as the first verse of the album is finished. All of this heartfelt content is packaged in a jazzy and groovy medium that is refreshing from front to back. The Color Blu(e) is a truly special album. It conveys the richness of the human condition in a captivating yet sonically pleasing way. In short, this album reminds you just how meaningful the color blue, and all of humanity, really is. -Kemal Perdana James Blake Friends That Break Your Heart (Deluxe) October 8, 2021 James Blake’s 2021 album Friends that Break Your Heart (Deluxe) has a nostalgic sadness that is perfect for when you’re in a moody mood. While the sound is similar to Blake’s past albums, there is a marked softness that is unique to the 2021 release. Personally, “Coming Back” with SZA is my favorite song on the album. The intro has notable similarities to that of “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi, which I thought was interesting because the artists are so different. SZA adds a depth to the song that brings together R&B and Indie aspects of their music. This album is perfect in my eyes and can be listened to on repeat for hours. -Rebecca Gross PinkPantheress to hell with it October 15, 2021 Internet sensation PinkPantheress crafts a world of teenage fantasy through raw expressions of passion and pain on her short-but-poignant debut album. to hell with it boasts a sort of pixelated and ethereal feeling that the digital-age thrives on. Despite gaining fame through social media gimmicks and TikTok superficialities, the 20-year-old singer is rather absent online. She prefers to let the music speak for her. It is within songs like “Pain” and “All my friends know” where PinkPantheress confesses intimate feelings over melancholic, catchy melodies. While drifting in and out of alt-pop, liquid drum & amp, bass, and jungle music, the singer is a master in her ability to push beyond singular genres. to hell with it is like a dive into the depths of a young woman’s personal diary. The revelations might break your heart, but you’ll come out the other side feeling euphoric and inspired. -Erin Stafford Young Thug Punk October 15, 2021 Punk offers a perfect glimpse into the career and style that Young Thug brings to the table as an artist. Upon my initial viewing, the first aspect that struck me was the album cover itself. It depicts two side profiles of Young Thug, however upon further inspection it is seen that these faces are composed of two or more pictures of Young Thug. Each version of himself is different on the cover, with different hair and outfits. To me, this represents the different version of himself as a person and an artist. It also emphasizes his vast musical abilities, with his songs branching into many different genres which is on full display in this album. The album cover is based off the famous painting “Forever Always” by Octavio Ocampo, which depicts a pair of elderly lovers. Their faces are made of pictures of themselves as young adults, signifying how they have changed as people over time, but their love has persisted. Young Thug’s sound has changed significantly over the years, and he acknowledges this through the album cover and song choice of “Punk”. Listening to the album in full and in order does not add any value to the listening experience in my opinion. Each song is disconnected from the others, and I believe this is intentional. Young Thug has had an influence on many artists throughout his career, who all have their own unique style. Songs on the album such as “Icy Hot” and “Bubbly” are upbeat trap songs which have similar sounds to the music produced by Gunna and Lil Baby, two artists Young Thug helped thrust into the spotlight. Other songs like “Love You More” show a softer and more melodic side of Young Thug’s music, similar to the style of music made by Unfoonk, a new artist signed to Young Thug’s label. My favorite song on the album was “Scoliosis” where Young Thug shows once again that he is one of the juggernauts of the Trap genre. The album itself is a testament to his career and offers a plethora of songs that fans of many different genres could come to enjoy. -Noel Fary Lana Del Rey Blue Banisters October 22, 2021 When speaking of influential songwriters of this past decade, it is hard not to mention Lana del Rey. Not only did she arguably bring alternative-pop to the mainstream, throughout del Rey’s discography she has made a point to paint mental images in the listener’s brain of a glittery and glamorous California lifestyle set in the 60s, abusive relationships littered with mascara tears and comparisons to cult leaders, and young lovers living the glorified “American Dream” in an often drug-fueled haze. On Blue Banisters, del Rey erases that narrative (for the most part). She speaks of quarantine blues and Black Lives Matter protests, and it is refreshing and welcomed (as is the folk-pop and jazz-influenced production). It is almost as if she is speaking off the top of her head, stating her wishes for a boyfriend to “to eat ice cream with and watch television”. But, this does not mean that the album lacks imagery and description. In “Arcadia”, she compares her connection to her lover simultaneously as California roads and her very own arteries, singing that they “get the blood flowing straight to the heart of me”. This connection could also be likened as her connection to a dark time in her life, and she is trying to “escape to Arcadia”. These sorts of metaphors and open-ended interpretation are not lost on this album, and it continues the complexity and overall melancholic atmosphere from her other works (because hey- it is still Lana del Rey). Except this Lana is living in the present, continuing her story-telling legacy. -Kyle Martin Babytron Bin Reaper 2 October 29, 2021 Bin Reaper 2 is Babytron’s second solo project of 2021, following the excellent Luka Troncic, and is also the sequel to 2019’s Bin Reaper, an album I consider to be Babytron’s magnum opus thus far in his young career. For those familiar with Babytron, this album is another slice in the life of the Scampire himself, and for those who aren’t familiar with the rapper that calls himself Sleeve Nash, I will attempt to convey the experience. Babytron is a member of the Detroit rap scene, the most famous export being Tee Grizzley, with other rappers from the area such as Teejayx6, Sada Baby, Kasher Quon, and Baby Smoove also enjoying some degree of success nationwide. Their music shares elements like fast paced beats steeped in 80s pop and the techno and house scenes from the city’s history, and rapid flows to match these tempos (“Whole Lotta Choppas”, the Sada Baby song that was pretty popular on TikTok around this time last year is a very good example of this). Babytron meets the template of Detroit rap and goes beyond it with his ridiculous and unique swag. He has confessed himself on a song that people say he looks like Drake Bell (he kinda does), and his flow, which remains effortless sounding even at a breakneck pace, taken with his looks, only enhances his uniqueness. He is also extremely funny, with every song he makes having at least one bar that makes you want to pause and go back to make sure he said what he said. Bin Reaper 2 is another excursion into his world, and at 24 songs gives one a lot of material to work with. Not every song is perfect, unlike the original Bin Reaper, but if you like Babytron’s unique approach to rap, you will not hate a single song. The best starting places include “Half Blood Prince”, with its Harry Potter sampling beat and lyrics, and “LaVar Ball”, a song especially unique for its feature from Michigan native RTB MB, better known as NBA player Miles Bridges. The braver will enjoy the entire hour-plus long trip to Tron’s world, but the uninitiated may be better out trying the shorter masterpiece that is the original Bin Reaper, or Luka Troncic, a project I find to be slightly more consistent. Babytron may not be for everyone, but if he’s for you then he is your next favorite rapper. -Griffin Hinton Courtney Barnett Things Take Time, Take Time November 12, 2021 Courtney Barnett’s 3rd studio album, Things Take Time, Take Time, presents a slightly more structured approach to the singer/songwriter’s signature style. While she mostly retains her laidback speak-singing approach, it’s clear that these songs are more polished than what we’ve heard from her in the past. Not only is there a noticeable change in production value, but this set of songs has a melancholic feel that I wasn’t expecting when I first listened to the album. Possibly my favorite song is “Take It Day by Day”, the most upbeat and humorous song on the album with lyrics like, “Don’t stick that knife in the toaster/Baby, life is like a roller coaster”. Another great one is the opening song “Rae Street”, in which Barnett describes the activities happening on the street outside her window. With a loose strumming guitar sound and catchy chorus it perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the album. Overall I think Things Take Time, Take Time is a mellow and endearing listen that gets better with each play. Even with a more refined sound, fans of Barnett will be happy to hear that her music maintains every bit of its charm. -Eve Elliot Honest Men Field of Vision November 12, 2021 There is no difference between cardinal and mental direction on this record. Physical senses and spiritual viewpoints are treated as one and the same. What drives you and gives you motivation in your mind moves you forward in reality. Hailing from Austin, TX, Honest Men are built on observation of the psyche and how it impacts what we do everyday. Writers Seth Findley and Brooks Whitehurst (vocalists and guitarists) explore their mental journeys in life through physical locations and states, going beyond classic metaphor to nearly create a concept album with recurring themes and phrases. While Findley and Whitehurst describe their individual songwriting processes as completely independent of one another, they mesh perfectly into a creative spectacle. The songs (two of the strongest in production) “Pullstring Jacket” and “Blurry Eyes,” which appear consecutively in the album, seem so lyrically and sonically intertwined while being born out of two completely different situations. Matrimony and uncertainty in relationships are two of Field of Vision’s main focuses, with Findley going through divorce and Whitehurst being married to his wife both happening over the course of the album’s conception. Findley’s feelings find themselves perfectly encapsulated on “The Ropes,” the most isolated track of the featured 12, with nothing but a drifting and somber piano, reverbed vocals on the verge of tears, and a strong connection to Honest Men’s most popular song to date, "Rose". The song embodies falling out of love and opening up about negative emotions, having your life not just feel, but truly be on the ropes. In contrast, the opening track “On My Own” is entirely about allowing oneself to receive help from others, especially in marriage. The track also seemingly foreshadows “The Ropes,” in the lyrics “The rope seems worn, I can see that the last man fell.” Sonically, the album is a synth-guitar-drum extravaganza that focuses on grandeur in minimalism to assure the listener feels physically moved in regard to the lyrical content. In “Weight of The World,” Whitehurst’s vocals, a mellow guitar and bass combo, and drummer Zach Solomon’s exceptional performance make for a ballad that asserts the same emotions onto the listener with impressively simple lyrics. “How lonely and sad, can’t get this feeling off of my mind / The weight of the world is hanging on my shoulders.” Solomon’s drumming also drives home the band’s magnum opus “Facade,” with a showcase of technical mastery on the drums along with the band’s engineer Michael Guillot demonstrating his skills perfectly. These matched with an astounding vocal performance from Findley, gorgeous synth choices, transcending harmonies, and intelligently imaginative lyrics such as “Pulse flat in the mezzanine, when you dared to hold my hand, cold sweat when you're listening, what's it take to be a man?” this song is certainly one of the best works to come out of indie-rock in recent times. Understanding yourself, your emotions, and your opinions while being gaslit and misled in a relationship is an unfathomably difficult task and far too prevalent in modernity, and “Facade” is a poetic and musical gift to anyone who has had to experience such a terrible thing. While the album occasionally suffers from attempts to have a bit more flare and wisdom than it’s due, such as on “Helpless,” and can seem gimmicky on a song like “Stuck!,” Field of Vision is a phenomenal feat of musical ability and talent in the indie-rock and indie-pop scene and deserves far more attention than it currently has. Neither is their commitment to the craft anything to scoff at, with the song “What If We’re Wrong?” affirmatively showing Findley’s, Whitehurst’s, and Solomon’s acceptance and acknowledgement of the worth in following a passion regardless of the practical outcome. “The line is drawn, we’re stepping over.” Materialistic gain is not at the forefront of their minds, and it fully shows. Honest Men are a diamond in the rough, and it is a great thing that they’ve stepped over this line. -Shane Sparks Taylor Swift Red (Taylor’s Version) November 12, 2021 Taylor Swift’s Red (Taylor’s Version) is her second re-recorded album furthering her quest to gain control over her music. With the addition of new material including the highly anticipated and gut-wrenching “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”, it is clear that Swift has become a master of her craft. The updated production alongside Taylor’s more mature sound transformed the 2012 album into an expressive display of her tales of love and loss. As someone who grew up with the album, an overwhelming sense of nostalgia hit as soon as the drums started playing in “State of Grace.” Taylor’s ability to connect with her audience after all of these years proves that she is a musical genius. “Nothing New '' featuring Phoebe Bridgers shines with its relatable lyrics that pair with the comforting combination of the duo's harmonies and a simple guitar. The album feels like a warm hug and is the perfect addition to the polished Fearless (Taylor’s Version). -Halie Jasinover Here are some other albums from previous years that we discovered and loved in 2021: Jamie xx In Colour May 29, 2015 After driving the xx to the forefront of the indie-pop scene and remixing renowned poet and musician Gil Scott-Heron’s album I’m New Here, London-based producer Jamie Smith (Jamie XX) offers the world an eclectic, ethereal, and entrancing debut album. He never sings in his tracks but nevertheless his personality shines through, reflecting a mixing pot of influences ranging from the UK underground to Detroit soul. A frequent solo visitor to famous nightclubs around the world, Smith takes the enveloping and immersive feelings of a dark dance floor and translates them into different emotions, offering a sadness in one track and then a joyful relief in another. Compiled over the course of five years in his downtime, its background music that demands and deserves to be listened to in the foreground. The album feels like a rollercoaster and admittedly it wasn’t one that I enjoyed on my first ride. “Gosh” felt too harsh and “Just Saying” felt too unorthodox but when combined with the other tracks, including an impressive Young Thug feature in “I Know There’s Gonna be Good Times”, In Colour is a masterpiece. It’s layered and compelling and even though I think you have to listen to it more than once to really appreciate it, I can’t get enough of it. -Jacob Rowland Porridge Radio Every Bad March 13, 2020 With an opening line as strong as “I’m bored to death, let’s argue,” Porridge Radio sets the bar high for their sophomore album. Showcasing their effectively repetitive lyricism and driving drums, this somber indie rock band creates a very sway-inducing ambiance that is unique to them. The album kicks off with a churning chorus of “thank you for leaving me, thank you for making me happy,” which perfectly sets the tone for the album. The band creates this melancholy mental space that entirely adds to the experience. As “Nephew” comes around at track five, the beautiful and heart-wrenching vocals pull the listener back in to the slight monotony of the songs before it. “Pop Song” is the second of the stellar mid-album three song run and is not even remotely close to what is considered a pop song. The vocals whine and grind and evoke raw emotion that showcases the band’s strengths in harmonies and lilting backing guitar. This run is concluded by “Give/Take,” the easiest song to listen to off the album. It is definitely a much more jammable song than the rest of the album, creating a much-needed happy dance break in the midst of a gut wrenchingly beautiful bout of sadness. It perfectly captures the feeling of wanting to love someone despite knowing it will destroy you in the process, utilizing those all-too-perfect begging vocals. “Lilac” marks the beginning of the end of the album with the trademark repetition of screamed wishes for the world, in this case “I don’t want to get bitter, I want us to get better.” The rising desperation in her voice is perfectly paired with an increasingly heavy drumbeat. “Circling” continues the theme of desperation, and that is well pulled through the rest of the album. It almost seems like the band is losing their minds while trying to finish this project which is incredibly fun to listen to. “Homecoming Song” ends the album perfectly, cutting off at the last possible second. I love this album very much. It is perfect for reconciling with emotions as well as just needing to sit and take a break from dealing with frustrating people all week. -Charlotte Jones
In one of college basketball’s most historic rivalries, Indiana and Purdue certainly delivered a game to remember for years to come. The Hoosiers snapped their 9-game losing streak against No. 4 Purdue 68-65. Indiana improved to 12-0 at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall in their first season under Mike Woodson. This was a huge win not only because the Hoosiers knocked off the Boilermakers for the first time since 2016, but also to bolster their resume for the March Madness committee. The Hoosiers have been near the bubble most of the season so this will certainly help their cause. “It's huge. It's really huge,” Indiana guard Rob Phinisee said. "They're the fourth ranked team in the country, so it's really a schedule booster at the end of the season.” The Boilermakers had a chance to tie at the end, but Jaden Ivey’s stepback jumper hit the backboard, then the rim, then off the backboard, then back off the rim. The Hoosiers stormed the court in what was probably the biggest win at Assembly Hall since Christian Watford hit a buzzer beater three, in December of 2011, to knock off No. 1 Kentucky. This was Indiana’s highest ranked win since they knocked off No. 3 North Carolina in November 2016. However, the Hoosiers biggest spark came off the bench from Rob Phinisee. He scored 20 points, 17 of those coming in the first half including a few spectacular layups and big-time shots to keep the Hoosiers in it. Phinisee also hit the game winning three with 17 seconds remaining. That is his second game winning shot with his first coming against Butler at the 2018 Crossroads Classic where he hit a buzzer-beating three. The breakout performance for the senior started before the game.
Winning when wearing white. That’s been the theme for Indiana men’s basketball halfway into the season, as they defeated the No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes 67-51 Thursday night inside Assembly Hall. The Hoosiers improve to 11-3 on the season, 10-0 at home, and even their Big Ten record at 2-2. Indiana put together by far their best performance in the Mike Woodson era against a team considered to be one of the best in the Big Ten. “This is probably the best game we have played this season,” Woodson stated. “We did a lot of good things on both sides of the ball.” Despite trailing by 8 early, Indiana slowed things down while forcing 15 Buckeyes’ turnovers. Indiana had just 9 turnovers. If it was not already evident, now it is: Winning on the road in the Big Ten is difficult. Very difficult. Indiana lost to a weaker Penn State side Sunday 61-58, whereas Ohio State squeaked past Nebraska in Lincoln, 87-79 in OT. The Buckeyes did not fare as fortunate against Indiana inside a packed Assembly Hall. Ohio State shot just 16-52 (31%) from the field, and 8-27 (30%) from beyond the arc. OSU entered the game second in the Big Ten shooting at nearly a 40% clip from 3-point range. Moreover, their Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, E.J. Liddell, finished with just 11 points while playing 34 minutes. Malaki Branham led all Buckeyes with 13 points. Meanwhile, Indiana’s Big Ten Player of the Year candidate, Trayce Jackson-Davis, played like an All-American. The redshirt sophomore dominated, finishing with 27 points and 12 rebounds for his fifth double-double in 14 games this season. “I expect him to play like that,” Woodson said. “I was kinda harsh on him more than anybody coming out of Penn State,” pointing to the fact that he only had 5 rebounds given his size and athleticism. Arguably Jackson-Davis’ most amusing moment of the game was when he knocked the ball off the head of Ohio State’s Joey Brunk and out of bounds midway through the second half. Brunk was a former Hoosier in the 2019-20 season before transferring to OSU. Jackson-Davis said he will text his “brother”, apologizing for what happened. The bench has been a big part of Indiana’s success this season, and the return of Trey Galloway made a huge difference. Galloway broke his wrist in the first half of the St. John’s game nearly two months ago, and although he didn’t tear up the box score, he played 19 minutes and had 2 big layups late to seal the deal for Indiana. Despite the stellar showing overall, the 3-point performance was poor. Indiana shot just 13% (2-15) from downtown. “We didn’t shoot the three ball again tonight,” Woodson said. “We gotta go back to the gym and start shooting more, a lot more.” Indiana needs to knock down more deep shots if they want to be considered a true threat in the Big Ten. When at their best, the Hoosiers are a top-25 team given their stout defense. But, the question that is still to be answered: Can this team put it together on the road and find a way to win a Big Ten game away from home? Their next chance to win their first true road game comes in a week against Iowa. But first, the Hoosiers have the Minnesota Golden Gophers at home on Sunday (1/9) at 12 PM ET. The game can be heard on WIUX 99.1 FM with Zak Ibrahim and Jack Edwards on the call. PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
Revenge is a dish best served cold. For the No. 2 North Carolina State Wolfpack, they redeemed themselves Thursday night at Assembly Hall, winning 66-58 against the Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. NC State was upset by Indiana in the Sweet 16 of last year's NCAA Tournament. NC State’s top two scorers, Diamond Johnson, 19 points, and Kayla Jones, 17 points, didn’t play in March when NC State was bounced by Indiana. Johnson was not on the roster and Jones was out when the teams played in San Antonio. “Diamond Johnson is a hard guard,” head coach Teri Moren said. “She’s exceptional with the ball. She can make you pay if you miss or don’t fight hard over ball screens. She has a lot of stuff to her game.” The game got off to a very slow and sloppy start in terms of scoring. Indiana led 25-21 at the half despite shooting just 25% from the field. Moren emphasized that her team got the looks they wanted throughout the game, but they did not fall. Indiana went 7-24 from beyond the arc and missed 12 layups, something she said is inexcusable. Something that may have contributed to the slow start is the fact that both teams had not played since the Baha Mar Hoops challenge Saturday. Both teams also played against ranked opponents on Thanksgiving in the Bahamas. The Wolfpack, now 7-1, turned it up in the second half, scoring 45 points. All 17 of Jones’ points came in the final 20 minutes. The dagger was a Jones 3-pointer with under 3 minutes remaining as the shot clock was winding down. Mackenzie Holmes led all scorers with 24 points, but Indiana’s bench could only muster 8 points, a key reason the team fell short in their biggest non-conference game of the season. No. 6 Indiana will drop in the rankings for the second straight week. They fell last week after losing to the then-7th ranked Stanford Cardinal on Thanksgiving. NC State, who lost their first game of the season to the top team in the country, South Carolina, haven’t lost since collecting wins against two top-10 Big Ten Teams, Maryland and now Indiana. Indiana will begin Big Ten play on Monday at home against Penn State. Tip off is slated for 6 PM, and the game can be heard on WIUX 99.1 FM with Josh Bode and Sammy Connors on the call. PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
The Indiana Hoosiers Men’s Basketball Team improved to 3-0 last night, defeating St. John’s Red Storm 76-74 in the Gavitt Tipoff Games. This win was totally a team effort, and it is evident that the chemistry this team has with each other is carrying them in close games like last night. Team captain Trayce Jackson-Davis had only compliments for his fellow teammates. “Coach [Mike] Woodson says when your name is called you gotta be ready to play, and those guys stepped up and we needed them for this win,” Jackson-Davis said. His praise was worthy as the bench combined for a total of 66 minutes and 20 points. Their energy and defensive-minded intensity proved to help give the Hoosiers the edge. Khristian Lander’s five minute stretch in the second half allowed some other players to get a breather, and allowed his fresh energy to help the team. Jordan Geromino’s energy off the bench continued to be a spark for the Hoosiers’ momentum throughout the entire game; that included his stellar defense in the last eight seconds of the game which allowed the Hoosiers to hold on for a victory. Not to mention, the energy inside Assembly Hall was electric; it definitely gave the Hoosiers strength and fire when they needed it the most. With this team’s chemistry and competitiveness, it is clear that the team all wants the same thing- to win. The Hoosiers will take this energy into their next game against Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns this Sunday at 7:30 PM ET in Assembly Hall. The game can be heard on WIUX 99.1 FM with Zion Brown and Jace Dery on the call. PHOTO COURTESY OF IU ATHLETICS
This past month, WIUX had the privilege of sitting down with indie pop artist Still Woozy to discuss the release of his debut LP, If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is The artist, whose real name is Sven Gamsky, began making music under the Still Woozy moniker following the disbandment of the alternative rock band Feed Me Jack, in which he was involved from 2011 - 2016. In the following years Gamsky would release a series of highly popular singles beginning with 2017’s “Vacation”. These singles showcased a much more soulful, bedroom-pop sound compared to the work he had done before. After 3 years of buildup and a cancelled 31-stop tour in 2020, The new album is finally here for all to enjoy. The songs on If This Isn’t Nice explore a wide array of musical influences. Gamsky expressed that one of his purposes as a musician is to avoid being put in a metaphorical box - there are too many musical influences and not enough time for one to lock themself into a particular sound or aesthetic. Channeling the vibes of fellow musicians like Steve Lacy and D’Angelo, many of the songs on this album contain the same warm, electronic textures that fans have come to expect from Still Woozy’s previous releases. But the album does not get lost in this world of hazy lo-fi beats. The opening track “Rocky” introduces itself with a choppy guitar riff, and later on in the track “Drake” the entire song is carried by the somber tune of an acoustic guitar. Gamsky revealed that the latter track was written as a tribute to the 1960s musician/guitarist Pete Drake, whose song “forever” had a particular influence with its swinging 6/8 time signature and dreamy, “Motown-y” feel. Specific influences from Jack Johnson and John Mayer carry on the same acoustic undertones throughout the album While Gamsky denies that there is any general theme to the album, he admits that the mental challenges he faced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on his creative process. Several tracks explore complex emotions that are not otherwise found in the artist’s discography. He gets particularly deep in the track “Kenny”, where the lyrics express what it feels like for someone to pull themself together and put on a strong face when the world is seemingly against them. Although this song was inspired by events personal to the artist’s life, it is written in a manner that feels applicable to most people, making it relatable on an individual level for each listener. Gamsky also expressed that he is most proud of the track “All Along”, on which he claims to have gotten more personal than on any other piece he’s written. Most songs he writes are about his romantic partner, but that is not the case here. He also employs a sort of yell-singing on the track in an attempt to expand his vocal acrobatics. Although the past year and a half has been difficult, Gamsky is optimistic for the future. Kicking off his tour on September 21st in LA, Still Woozy is finally hitting the road and is excited to “get rowdy” on the stage (mosh pit included). He is especially excited to perform the high-energy track “Get By”, which has already become a fan favorite. In terms of recording, Gamsky is looking forward to expanding his musical palette even more, likely with an increased focus on acoustic and straight-ahead rock sounds. In the meantime, for those who are still struggling in their personal lives, Still Woozy wants those who listen to his album to find solace in it, and also to take themselves a little less seriously. “When I perform live, I have to make a fool out of myself before I can enjoy myself” said Gamsky. If This Isn’t Nice, I Don’t Know What Is can be streamed on all major platforms. For more information on Still Woozy and his North American tour, go to https://www.woozystill.com/
This past month, WIUX had the opportunity to attend a virtual press conference with up-and-coming singer/songwriter/producer Max Leone in anticipation of his latest EP, Malleable. Coming off the release of his first single “First Grade” in January 2020, Leone has been making a name for himself in music circles across the internet as a particularly exciting figure in the alternative pop scene. Heralded as “one of pop’s next young stars” by Pigeons and Planes, Max Leone is certainly an artist that you should be keeping an eye on in the years to come. Raised in Portland, OR, and having served a brief stint at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Leone now finds himself residing in Los Angeles. And while L.A. is known to have a propensity for bringing out the worst of a person’s ego, Leone has clearly found a way to maintain his modesty. Sitting upon a chair in front of his webcam monitor in his home studio, he maintained a very calm, perhaps even shy demeanor throughout the whole conference as he spoke openly about his inspirations, struggles, and hopes for the future. 2020 may well have been the most difficult year in recent memory for artists when it comes to searching for inspiration. Leone worked to circumvent this prolonged creative slump by stirring his creative intuitions on long drives through the hills of Calabasas. He also drew inspiration from the works of other musicians - particularly Phoebe Bridgers, Dominic Fike, Kid Cudi and Frank Ocean, while revealing a soft spot for prominent acts of the 2000s like Coldplay and Bon Iver. In lieu of touring, Leone has been keeping in touch with his fan base primarily through TikTok, which he uses to give his listeners the chance to take part in his creative process by allowing them to give feedback on what aspects of his songs they most associate with. And while he certainly believes in taking into consideration the opinions of his fans, Leone has his own personal philosophies as to how he presents himself. One of his most prominent traits is his avoidance of loops and samples. His approach to songwriting and production is to create a sound that is new to the listener, but wrapped in an aura of nostalgia and familiarity. Through this method, he believes that his music attains the most deep and genuine reaction possible from the listener. Because of this dedication to creating new sounds, there have been a number of different genre labels attributed to Leone across the internet and in different media outlets. One of the most prominent ones is “Anti-pop”. When asked if this is a label that he relates to, he frankly stated that he does not know what it means. Although he did admit that he “likes the Spotify playlist” of the same name, he does not seem to care too much one way or another about what genres people want to throw him under. Ultimately, Leone sees musical genres as a very fluid and abstract thing. Music enthusiasts appear to be locked in a battle of how many different words they can throw in front of “pop” and thereby create an entirely new genre, but, ultimately, it is not sustainable to contain genres within hard-set boundaries. This attitude is reflected in the very name of his newest EP - Malleable. Put together over the course of a year and a half, the EP explores the concept of changes. For Leone, 2020 has been a period of rapid maturation (just as it has been for most of us). People have been exploring how they want to change their lives, which, for many, is equally inspiring as it is frightening. The title track to the EP specifically delves into the feelings that arise from the loss of a relationship - and not explicitly a romantic one. For the listener, this song acts as an open letter to any person who has changed and moved on to another chapter of life. Introspective and melancholy “Malleable” serves as hard evidence of Leone’s professionalism and maturity as an artist, even at the outset of his career. Leone finished the conference by treating those in attendance to an acoustic performance of two of Malleable's songs: “in case (there’s a change of heart)” and “untitled”. Both of these tracks brandish a distinct indie-folk influence; either of them sound just as likely to have been written by Phoebe Bridgers if not by Leone himself. Sung with a vulnerable, trembly voice, “in case (there’s a change of heart)” expresses feelings of being lost and insecure, with lyrics like “I don’t want to waste your time” “I apologize for taking it too far” “I can’t find the line I drew in the sand”. On “untitled” Leone further explores his fears of girls, tattoos, and growing old, leaving us with the line “my greatest fear is feeling nothing at all” Malleable can be streamed on all major streaming platforms. Follow @itsmaxleone on Instagram to get updates on Max Leone’s touring schedule
Lightning strikes yet again! We are just about 24 hours away from WIUX's most anticipated event of the semester - the 34th annual Culture Shock Festival. Even though this year's events will take place virtually, the day will be full of fantastic music with exclusive performances from both local and national acts. Not sure where to get started? Not to worry! This article will act as your definitive CS 2021 guide with all the information you will need to be ready for Saturday's festivities! Who will be performing? This is our lineup of performers, in order of their stage appearance: Herzig Teacher Band Manic Pixie GraceKellie Rosegirl Russian Cowboy TROLL Kate Bollinger Kyle Dion Nissim Black Okay Kaya When does the stream start? The livestream will open at 1:30 pm on Saturday, April 17th, with performances starting shortly after at 2:05 Where can I access the stream? You can stream directly from the Culture Shock website. Be sure to explore the page to view entries for our art contest as well as exclusive interviews with performing acts! How long is each set? Local acts will be performing for 20 minutes each. The four headliners will perform for 45 minutes each. Between most local acts, there will also be performances from the WIUX DJ team, with each one lasting 10-15 minutes Is there an in-person aspect? All performances will take place online, but WIUX will be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1-6 pm to sell sweatshirts, t-shirts, water bottles, and discounted vintage WIUX gear! (CASH ONLY) This sounds great! Where do I sign up? The show can be streamed from anywhere, but we ask that you fill out this form if you plan to come to Dunn Meadow. The form can also be filled out on-site Looks like you are good to go! Get pumped - we are excited to share Culture Shock 2021 with you!
TROLL is the stage name of Troy Michael, a Bloomington-based DJ with roots in house music. His DJ career spans over the past decade, and he has opened for the likes of Chris Lake, Liquid Stranger, and Ganja White Night. More recently, he has started producing his own tracks. How did you first get into DJing? It came from multiple years of going to festivals since 2007. I was the lead singer of a band in high school, so I’ve always loved music, and I didn’t have any other hobbies I was super passionate about. I bought everything I needed for DJing all at once – controller, speakers, lights, and a new computer – so that I could be a one stop shop for any venue. So, DJing preceded producing? Absolutely. You can an awesome producer, but if you don’t know how to mix, all that effort you put into making your songs can be ruined if you can’t transition properly. So I thought it was a lot smarter for me to learn how to use turntables and a mixer before diving into production. Starting production from scratch has a big learning curve. How long have you been doing the production side of things? I started producing two and half years ago, but I released my first track on all platforms about a year ago. My second track release is coming very soon. I wasn’t as productive during quarantine as I hoped I would be. Being away from the energy of live shows made me feel stagnant. I’m excited to go full speed into production again. How did you find inspiration during the pandemic? At first, I set up a nice area in my house for livestreams and I was doing them several times a week. We would have a select few people over to listen, but eventually it just became me jamming out on my own with 1 or 2 people watching. It was fun, but it just can’t compare to having a huge crowd all on the same page as you. How did you decide which genre you wanted to produce? What first got me into electronic music was a heavy bass music show back in 2010 at the Bluebird. Then I went to a festival that catered more to house music, and that made me realize how much of a journey a house DJ set can take you on. It’s about creating a mood that guides the crowd, and it fits more settings than some more intense styles of electronic music. It’s great if you know how to dance, and it makes for nice background music. Once I started mixing with house, the transitions became more extended, and I started having more fun. What are some of the biggest gigs you’ve played? My first big show was opening for Ganja White Night at the Bluebird. Since then, I’ve played back to back with Liquid Stranger, Manic Focus, Dirt Monkey, and SubDocta. My personal favorite show was getting to open for Chris Lake. I also played a small festival in Grand Rapids called Bass Country where I opened for Walker & Royce. Is this a full time gig? That’s the goal. Before the pandemic, I was averaging one show per week. That’s not enough to make a living, but it was a nice side hustle. If I’m at the point where I don’t have to worry about another job, that would be amazing. I actually work a 9-5 now and I was in the restaurant industry for 10 years. I just became a beer distributor, so I’m driving around a lot – which is great because I can research music while I’m working. What are your goals for the future, say, five years from now? I’m hoping to get on the lineups of some of the top electronic festivals. If I start releasing enough tracks that gain attention, it will be very possible because I’ve made a lot of contacts with big name producers over the years. I started an LLC awhile back called TROLL Presents. I was bringing big name artists to my house. I would pick them up from the airport and host a show for them with my own lights and sound. Picking that back up could put my name on the map. From DJ to DJ, what are your thoughts on the sync button? The sync button is fine to use if you’re a newer DJ since it takes some time to train your ear for proper beatmatching. I only use it in situations where my tracks aren’t lining up as they should. I might tap it to get the BPM right, but I’ll still nudge the outside of the jogwheel to get the downbeats where I want them. I know some good DJs that use it, but for the most part, if you use it around DJs that have been mixing for a long time, they might be a little judgy. I just try not to use it as much as possible. The full interview is available now on YouTube. https://youtu.be/P0GJAKkBtP4 TROLL will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 2:45 pm EST. His performance, along with all others for this year's festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 - 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.
After recording their set for the 2021 Culture Shock music festival, Russian Cowboy sat down with us and talked about their inspiration for their name and music, what they have been up to in quarantine, and what lies ahead for the group. As we chatted, members of the group pulled out and snacked on different types of cereal, complete with dairy-free milk alternatives, and purple cabbage for bowls. First thing I want to know, where did you come up with the name ‘Russian Cowboy’? Luke (singer, lyricist, rhythm guitar): There was a sandwich I really liked! It was the sandwich I ate at Function Brewery. It was like a Reuben type of sandwich, I don’t think they have it anymore! How long have you guys been performing together? Roscoe: We’ve been performing together for quite a while, probably about three years I think! Luke: I mean, we haven't played a bunch of shows because right when we finally got ready to play live shows, COVID hit. So basically, everything got shut down. We're hoping to, you know when outdoor shows and stuff opened back up, get out and start playing again. Speaking of quarantine, did any of you guys pick up any weird hobbies or habits during quarantine? Luke: I don't think they developed one really. I've probably slept more than I ever have on the weekends, but that's about it. Roscoe: Work, hiking, cereal. Usually at the same time! Alex: I’ve been doing some art stuff but other than that, I guess just relaxing avoiding downtown like the plague because of all the people. Ryan: Nothing really changed for me. Life in the pandemic is pretty much the same for me, I'm not really a "leave the house" type of person. I know you guys kind of mentioned that you just started real live performances and then covid shut down everything but, do you guys have any kind of favorite memory from, you know, rehearsing together or performing together? Ryan: We started off practicing in Luke’s, (points) your parent's basement, and I think that getting to know each other and the early stuff was cool. It started off as Luke, had like basically a singer, songwriter, solo- project type deal and he reached out to these two guys to turn it into a band and then they were looking for a drummer just through Craigslist. So we all met through the band. I think maybe the best times for me were just getting to know each other in that basement and just, you know, hang out. What are your hopes for the future? Luke: I don't know, Start playing live again I guess. I would say we probably like recording just as much as we like playing live, so that's lended itself well to our current situation. Ryan: I will say with the pandemic we've written so much music. Luke: One of the hardest things, probably about playing tonight was just that finding 5 songs. Because as it currently is, if you count stuff that's like not finished or just partial songs, what would you guys say, right now we have about 50 songs. It's just been like writing two or three songs a week for the past year and a half. Roscoe: We have one album recorded and so, we are trying to choose stuff that's not recorded. I really like your sound; you have a ton of different instruments and combinations. How did you guys put these together? Ryan: I had the idea to make a country Western-themed album and I actually wanted to get a lap steel but then Roscoe ended up beating me to it and getting and getting good at it. So every once in a while when Luke’s, you know, coming up with a song he’ll just pull out the lap steel if we don't have like a clear idea on the electric guitar or if we want a softer thing. We've got a lot of stuff with lap steel that hopefully will you know, metastasize into some kind of album. Alex: I know that, for the most part, it's been a very curious thing going on because we all kind of have our own certain feel. Like with Roscoe and I, when we were starting out before we met these two guys were doing some kind of psychedelic-ish stuff, or 60s stuff because I grew up with a lot of like Beatles and other stuff. Then when I started playing bass because I was a craft guitarist, I started listening to heavier music and I probably like pick harder than I knew should have, but he's got like kind of like the 60s vibe with his like guitar playing and then Luke. I know he also likes punk stuff and he's been around in the other music scene for a while. Ryan’s like a hardcore or at least you know experimental or a bunch of different things. I think the sound is just the way it all blends together and something that's unique, which I'm really, I'm happy about. I've always wanted to be in a band and have something that's not only like super unique, but I mean something that you know has little bits of elements that you can pick out, you know, and we listen again, and you find you almost rediscover the music, it’s a nice touch. Is there any other specific groups that you'd say you draw inspiration from? Ryan: Any material by Parquet Courts is good, and The Velvet Underground. Roscoe: I like Natural Child. They're kind of punk but also like a country. They have country tones and some of the stuff we have with like guitar and lap steel. Luke: I started writing music when I started listening to David Berman really heavily probably three years ago. I remember he had this lyric that said all of his favorite singers couldn’t sing, and I've never been a singer. I still can't really sing, but that kind of inspired me just to try and I'd kind of stopped playing music for maybe five years with a group and I started listening to him and I thought I could try to emulate kind of writing Lyrics that really meant something and Trying to sing along to them as best I could with my very limited both for managing daily. Russian Cowboy is hoping to perform some outdoor shows this summer, and their self-titled album is out now. The full interview is available now on YouTube. [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Zi6y-GCByg&ab_channel=WIUX[/embed] Russian Cowboy will be performing at the 2021 Culture Shock Music Festival on Saturday, April 17th at 5 pm EST. Their performance, along with all others for this year's festival, will be streamed live on the Culture Shock Website. The festival will begin streaming at 1:30 pm EST. WIUX will also be set up in Dunn Meadow from 1 - 6 pm selling shirts, sweatshirts, and other merch.