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Let’s Talk About Our Feelings: Brand New, The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball at Ithaca College

For those who don’t know, the revival of emo is upon us. In a recent article titled “Modern Baseball and How Emo Grew Up,” Pitchfork’s Dan Caffrey describes how a torrent of bands have emerged over the past few years who bear the influence of the emo acts of the ’90s and 2000s, while eschewing the lyrical immaturity, and bitter misogyny characteristic of those earlier waves. These bands sound far less like the “emo” bands that are freshest in our memories — mainstream acts like Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and My Chemical Romance whom genre purists wouldn’t consider emo in the first place — and much more like their more indie-influenced predecessors. How appropriate it is then, that two prominent bands of this resurgence — Modern Baseball and The Front Bottoms — have joined emo veterans Brand New on their final tour?

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Bull In The Lo-Fi Rock: West End China Shop at 660 Stewart

When I stooped into the basement of 660 Stewart on Saturday night to catch the debut performance of Cornell’s own West End China Shop, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Going to Fanclub Collective and Ithaca Undergound shows, one sees their fair share of lo-fi rock bands. While there are many standouts, far more common are the acts which are perfectly forgettable. Would West End China Shop be yet another half-serious, irony-soaked project by a group of 20-somethings who, at the end of the day, probably had something better to do? Another whiney, soul-bearing emo band?

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Believe Me When I Say: Real Estate at The Haunt

In the two years since I first saw Real Estate play The Haunt, I have done a lot in the way of growing up. In 2014, I was a naïve sophomore with a head full of possibilities and uncertainties. Now I am a senior with one eye toward graduation and the “real-world” beyond; probably still naïve, but much more settled in my views and plans. Real Estate, in contrast to my development, has remained fairly static. The band hasn’t released so much as a Single since 2014’s Atlas: the record which they were supporting on that previous spin through town.

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PEGAN | Views From the Mosh Pit Two: The Dabbler

In her Sept. 14 piece “Views from The Edge of the Mosh Pit: Making Peace with Periphery,” Sun columnist Jael Goldfine ’17 approached the topic of moshing from the perspective of an observer, and ended up tackling a more general subject: what it’s like to be at a punk or hardcore show, and how the experience is different for everyone.  “I’ll leave the space of a column about moshing,” wrote Goldfine, “to someone/anyone who a.) semi-regularly inhabits mosh pits and b.) engages a perspective somewhere in the vast space between the belief that moshing is the salvation from the crippling boredom of the postmodern condition…and [the belief] that it’s a feminist nightmare …” I match these two criteria, and like Goldfine, believe moshing to be a subject fraught with multiple levels of socio-politics, and well worth writing a column about. To call myself even a “semi-regular” inhabitant of mosh pits would perhaps be a stretch, but I’ve moshed a handful of times in my life, and as recently as last month at the Pig Destroyer concert at The Haunt. Of all of my moshing experience, however, the only one that was truly significant was my first at the age of 14: an all-day, body-ravaging bender at, of all things, a Christian music festival in New Jersey.

COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK TIMES

PEGAN | Free Weezy: An Ode to an American Icon

Would I ever think about retiring? I look at retirement like… you retire out when you die out… because you never retire at what you do, meaning… if what you do is your life like mine… like my career is my life… I could never retire out… even if I stop rapping I’m going to be in some form or fashion in it, know what I mean? –Lil Wayne, 2006

It’s been a hectic month in Wayne’s world. It all started when the 33-year-old hip-hop legend took to Twitter to announce his retirement, declaring himself “DEFENSELESS AND mentally DEFEATED.” The tweet was just the latest in the ongoing saga of Wayne’s legal feud with former mentor Birdman: a disheartening, gridlocked dispute which is itself the latest in a long series of adversities Weezy has faced over the past eight years. The tweet doesn’t mark the first time Wayne has publicly alluded to hanging up the mic — it has been public knowledge since 2012 that his long-delayed album Tha Carter V will be his last — but it obviously came from a place of deep personal despair.

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PEGAN | One in a Million: The Forgotten History of Hard Rock’s Most Shameful Moment

Guns N’ Roses is apparently on tour this summer and, for the first time in over 20 years, their classic lineup is more or less intact. Against all odds, Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagan have mended their longstanding rifts and are appearing onstage together for the first time since 1993’s Use Your Illusion Tour. The group is of course legendary, and it’s great to see them back together. Like most rock fans, I enjoy songs from their debut Appetite for Destruction, as well as subsequent hits such as “November Rain,” and their Dylan cover “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Doors.” These are the songs that constitute the bulk of their set list this summer, and for good reason. This column, however, is concerned with a song not on that set list: a nasty little piece from 1988 called “One In a Million.” The song caused great controversy in its day, but is now largely forgotten.

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TEST SPIN: Xiu Xiu — Plays the Music of Twin Peaks

To all the trendy kids out there who still appreciate the darker side of things — all the goths who brightened their wardrobes after high-school but could never quite part with the misanthropy or thick eyeliner — it’s here, the fetish object which perfectly encapsulates your particular blend of angst and hipness. Released April 16 as a record-store day exclusive Xiu Xiu Plays the Music of Twin Peaks is a collector’s item for fans of Xiu Xiu, and fans of Twin Peaks, but most especially for that undoubtedly large intersection between the two sets. Adding, in my mind, to the album’s mystical quality is the fact that I can’t for the life of me track it down. My hunt started with a trip down to Angry Mom, which ended in disappointment when I learned that the album had sold out. After this, I assumed that I would simply end up listening to it through Spotify, as I would any other album these days, but as of yet, it is not available on Spotify, iTunes or any other digital outlet.

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Spinning Singles: DMX, Nick Jonas

 

“Moe Wings ft. Big Moeses and Joe Young” — DMX

Despite almost dying in February, DMX came back in March with “Moe Wings,” his first single in almost three years. The track finds X continuing his career-long tradition of sounding like an enraged pit bull, gnashing its teeth and growling at you from behind some sorry-ass chain-link fence. Rapping over a low-chord string arrangement and crashing drum-kit beat, he spends the first verse bringing down other rappers by asserting his masculinity over theirs, and the chorus declaring himself to be “hot like moe wings.” Such belligerence is certainly what gives DMX his appeal, but as he gets older, his bark makes him sound more and more like an angry old man yelling at you to get off of his lawn. Nevertheless, “Moe Wings” has vital signs.

CAMERON POLLACK / SUN PHOTOGRAPHY EDITOR

Jersey Invasion: Fanclub Brings New Brunswick to Ithaca

Though Ithaca has a thriving basement scene, the undisputed DIY capital of the U.S. is another college town: New Brunswick, N.J. Advantageously situated within an hour of NYC, the scene attracts alternative acts from across the globe, and has spawned an impressive number of punk and indie bands, a small sample of whom found themselves on Saturday night, playing to a modest crown in the cozy, polychromatic basement of 660 Stewart. On their ninth day of touring, the bands were tired and apparently low on funds, but their spirits soared nonetheless, and each put on a high energy performance. The band originally set to open the show, Hoboken’s Rest Ashore, unfortunately had to cancel, but were replaced by Cornell’s own _____: an instrumental math-rock outfit with a name not meant to be pronounced. Jersey City’s Kadian Quartet followed, playing a progressive jazz-rock set, and though their music made them an outlier, both for the night and among the set of bands brought to campus by Fanclub Collective, they managed to be an audience favorite, generating eruptions of applause after each impressive piano and guitar breakdown. To those weary of what sometimes feels like the cookie-cutter DIY punk sound sported by so many of the bands brought to Ithaca by Fanclub and IU, the quartet came as a breath of fresh air.