With the return of Spring Carnival comes live coverage of the Buggy races on WRCT! This year’s Buggy coverage comes to you in cooperation with cmuTV and the CMU Buggy Alumni Association.
Live coverage of the races will be on air and streaming online beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. If you’ll be at the races, remember to bring your portable radios and tune in!
Regularly scheduled programming will be preempted during the Buggy broadcast. Listeners tuning in to hear “The Saturday Light Brigade” this Saturday can find a list of SLB affiliate stations and live online streaming at slbradio.org.
So there aren’t a lot of albums that I say “I feel like emotion x. I should listen to album y.” But The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me by Brand New is one of those albums. Lead singer and primary song writer, Jesse Lacey, wrote the album when he was feeling depressed and stressed out, and honestly it covers those emotions just about perfectly. This is definitely my “bummer/I don’t want to talk to anyone” album.
The album as a whole draws largely on the influence of The Smiths and other post punk bands of the ’80s. But don’t be deceived. This is a very modern sounding record that draws upon two main sources to formulate its sound. There is the older punk sound that Brand New captured in their earlier records fused with the finesse that bands like Manchester Orchestra and Say Anything promote. Essentially, (from my guitarist/songwriter perspective) there are a lot of creative guitar parts. Brand New plays with reverb and delay a lot and uses a lot of distortion and power chords for those big choruses.
The album focuses mainly on the concept of depression and struggling to find God in the scariest most brooding situations. The opening line of the album (from the track “Sowing Season”) sets the tone pretty quickly, as Lacey sings, “Losing all my friends / Just losing them to drinking and to driving.”
The album wanders on, hitting stand out tracks like “Millstone,” “Not The Sun,” and “Jesus” that use Brand New’s signature “LET’S USE A MILLION DIFFERENT VOCAL TRACKS AND HAVE IT WORK PERFECTLY” style.
One potential criticism of this album would be the fact that as it goes on through its 12 tracks, it is very easy to get a little lost and forget which track you are listening to. It is very easy for songs to be good, but not stand out enough for you to really be affected in a different way by a different song. However, this is just a minor flaw in an otherwise well crafted piece of art.
I will leave you with this YouTube video of “Luca,” with the side note that even as a fan of this album for several years, I still get scared when it comes in loud at the end of the bridge (You’ll know. I promise).
So, you like dubstep. Good for you. But have you heard of dub?
Before dubstep, there was a lot of good electronic music. In fact, there was even electronic before computers. You’re probably aware of reggae and Bob Marley’s music. But if you’re only aware of Bob Marley’s now-iconic music, you’re missing out on some of the most innovative electronic music.
Dub grew out of reggae in the late ’60s and was pioneered by artists like King Tubby, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Scientist. Reggae, which focuses on offbeat rhythms, staccato chords, and call-and-response vocals, is often criticized for sounding uniform in sound design; however, dub sought to resolve this problem. By removing vocals and emphasizing the drum and bass parts of the track, dub music focuses on the talents of producers and their ability to manipulate the now-archaic gear they owned. Before the invention and proliferation of the computer, electronic backbeats were incredibly difficult to generate, let alone fine-tune.
Through their extensive knowledge of their equipment (and ability to modify it), dub producers were able to add extensive amounts of echo, reverb, and delay. Creating dub versions of reggae tracks served as an opportunity for producers to differentiate themselves and showcase their labels’ equipment. Similar to the way The Velvet Underground influenced almost every rock band that followed it, these dub producers heavily influenced the originators of techno, jungle, drum and bass, house, punk, trip hop, ambient, hip hop, and dubstep.
To begin to appreciate and love this incredibly powerful type of music, I recommend getting a copy of Scientist’s Heavyweight Dub Champion, waiting for a sunny day, and letting the good vibes flow.