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TEST SPIN | Rostam — Half-Light

Don’t act like you weren’t even just a little bit sad when Rostam Batmanglij announced over twitter in 2016 that he was leaving Vampire Weekend.  The New York based indie band who had brought hits like “A-Punk” and “Holiday,” as well as released one of the most compelling coming of age albums of the 21st century, Modern Vampires of the City, had lost their production mastermind, and to us fans who knew how critical his talents were on tracks like “Diane Young,” perhaps they had lost their essence, too. I was devastated, to say the least. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLr6glYSzgcG2_GS0spAV9zvJiOSZx9N7F

Lucky for us though, not only has the frontman Ezra Koenig been gracing us with consistent social media updates for a new Vampire Weekend LP — working title Mitsubishi Macchiato — but Rostam Batmanglij is also confirmed to be collaborating with Koenig on parts of the new album. What’s more, Rostam has found enough free time to release an effort of his own: Half-Light, his first solo record.

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TEST SPIN | Fleet Foxes — Crack-Up

A lot has happened during Fleet Foxes’ six year hiatus — just ask former drummer Josh Tillman, who split from the band shortly after the band’s second LP, Helplessness Blues, with time to release three records of his signature brand of misanthropic folk rock before the remaining Fleet Foxes produced one. Not to say the other members of the band were lazy on their time off — lead singer Robin Pecknold was pursuing academia at Columbia University and guitarist Skyler Skjelset spent time touring with dream pop duo Beach House. Well finally, the Fleet Foxes long anticipated third album, Crack-Up, has come, and while this new LP certainly reflects a band that has changed since their last record, everything that defined the Fleet Foxes on their previous two albums — nonlinear song structure, reverb-soaked vocal harmonies, layered instrumentation — is all very much there. This album still certainly evokes the rustic respite of a backcountry sojourn, but it is also processed enough to remind you of the smartphone you rely on to take pictures when the landscape most precisely captivates you. Crack-Up serves as loosely defined concept album that explores the theme that “no man is an island” to varying degrees.

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TEST SPIN | Miley Cyrus — Younger Now

I’d like to invite you to take a moment and really reflect on what you think of when you first hear the words “Miley Cyrus.”

I’ll tell you what comes to my mind — of course Hannah Montana is up there, along with twerking, smoking pot, Liam Hemsworth and a collection of iconic hits. And really everyone knows what songs I’m talking about. They range as far back to her Disney days, all the way up to the more recent “Wrecking Ball.”

But as I was sitting in the TCAT yesterday getting ready to stream her new album, Younger Now, I realized something about our beloved ex-role model. Miley Cyrus doesn’t have a sound. She’s no riffing goddess like Ariana Grande, and she’s not the queen of candy-pop like Katy Perry; Cyrus just lacks musical identity, which is an amazing feat considering that throughout her career she has never NOT been associated with music.

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SUN SONGS | 9/29/17

This week’s playlist features music by artists A Boogie, Demi Lovato, Echosmith, Ibeyi and Miley Cyrus, among others. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s music stands out from the rest of this week’s playlist due to its bold, raw energy, unique even to hip hop or trap music. Demi Lovato’s new album has been highly anticipated and does not disappoint. Echosmith had not released an album since 2012, from which the vastly popular track “Cool Kids” came, but they have kept their ambient, indie sounds in their new EP Inside a Dream. French-Cuban duo Ibeyi has a unique fusion of styles consisting of jazz, Cuban beats and traditional instruments and rhythms. They sing in English, Spanish, French and Yoruba.

The Districts play The Haunt in March.

The Districts Release New Album, Return to The Haunt

The Districts released their new album Popular Manipulations August 11, featuring their former indie rock sound, but richer and more developed. The band hails from Pennsylvania and earned their modest fame during their high school years. The album opens with the song “If Before I Wake.”  The lyrics open with “thunder woke me up, it was storming in the city, I was suddenly wide awake.”  The song is the perfect introduction for the lyrically exciting album, as it acts as a wake up call for the band’s new success. The lyrics “too blessed to be depressed” and “god, I’m bending over, love me” perfectly exemplify Rob Grote’s raspy and addicting voice that captures and keeps the listener’s attention. “Violet” is the second song on the album that touches on past memories.

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TEST SPIN | Macklemore — GEMINI

To be a Macklemore fan nowadays is to beget ruthless harassment. Ruthless, but honestly much deserved. With his gauche dad-like demeanor, often bluntly unaware lyrics and ostensibly supra-woke politics, Macklemore is undoubtedly the most uncool artist to have ever graced the Billboard Top 100. Maybe it’s because of my proclivity for irony turning into genuine interest, or maybe it’s because of Macklemore’s charming awkwardness, but I’ve stayed a fan since that fateful day that someone sent me the YouTube link to “Thrift Shop.”

Yeah, I said it. I like Macklemore.

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TEST SPIN: The Killers — Wonderful Wonderful

I’d be lying if I said The Killers didn’t have a massive influence on the music I listen to today. I still remember the first time I listened to The Killers, back in the third grade when Guitar Hero III was all the rage and “When You Were Young” by The Killers was in the game. Essentially, if it weren’t for The Killers and their 2006 album Sam’s Town, y music taste would not be what it is and I know that they have also influenced many other people, especially after “Mr. Brightside” became an anthem for sober and drunk karaoke, late night drives and most of all, middle school through high school days. However, they had not released an album since Battle Born in 2012, which was not up to par with 2008’s Day and Age. Contrastingly, Wonderful Wonderful seems to hold promise.

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A Special Evening with Dawes

When I was younger, I didn’t really like going to concerts. I wanted my favorite bands to come in, play all of my favorite songs and get out. I wanted their songs to sound just like on the record, and I hated when they jammed. Performances, like the one Dawes gave Tuesday night, were the reason I outgrew that opinion.

The lively atmosphere in the Fall Creek and Northside neighborhoods proved testament to the growing popularity of Porchfest.

Musicians Bring Songs to Stoops for Porchfest

There were several planned street closures in Ithaca on Sunday for Porchfest, but crowds gathering to watch people singing and playing instruments on Fall Creek and Northside porches blocked off many more. As 180 bands played throughout the afternoon, people were watching, dancing and singing in the streets. Porchfest made Ithaca feel like any small town in America, despite also having a uniquely Ithacan feel. Considering Porchfest has grown to include more than 60 cities and towns in the U.S. and Canada, in a way, it really could have been anywhere in America. The quantity of artists at Porchfest was staggering; it would have been physically impossible to see and enjoy every act.

Black Thought onstage as The Roots close out the first Cayuga Sound Festival.

Cayuga Sound Festival Rocks Stewart Park

Local and national artists came together Saturday at the first Cayuga Sound Festival, delivering quality music to the unique Ithaca community and creating a one-of-a-kind experience that can only be found here in Ithaca. There was something special about the laid-back attitude of the Ithaca community, the musicians, the familiar location at Stewart Park, and the local businesses selling food. The familiarity and friendliness added comfort to the experience, breaking the stereotype of chaotic music festivals. There were two stages set up next to each other and artists alternated between them. Businesses and radio stations had tents set up along the park, with food trucks serving most of the local food found at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market.