West End China Shop

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?

COURTESY OF POLYVINYL RECORDS

The Sun’s September Concerts Preview

G-Nome Project
Wednesday September 7, 9 p.m.
at the Haunt
When was the last time you went to a concert that was billed as “Israeli Livetronica?” Probably never, I’d assume. Or at least in a really, really long time. Well, if you’re interested in changing that, you should check out the music of G-Nome Project, Israel’s premier electronic band. They’ve been filling bills in their home city of Jerusalem and building a name for themselves as one of Isreal’s hottest live music acts. But don’t assume that you’ll be out of place at their show at the Haunt even if you’ve never heard of a single band from Israel: G-Nome wants you to be rest assured that fans from any anywhere and any background will be at home among the good vibes and hardcore dance moves at any one of their concerts.

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TEST SPIN: Inspiraling — Resolve Yourself

Released with minimal hype by Electric Buffalo Records at the end of a blustery April, Resolve Yourself, the first release from Inspiraling (aka Gil Israel ’16), seems far divorced from landlocked Ithaca. The album occupies a beachy vein that tenuously falls under the surf-rock heading, but mostly rides its marriage of keyboards and hazy guitars into a nebulous realm. Few of Resolve Yourself’s tracks channel powerful momentum. Rather, they slowly drift along like musings from a lazy, sun-drenched afternoon. Resolve Yourself resembles early releases from slacker-rocker Mac DeMarco.

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Out of this World: Kurt Riley Rocks Klarman

Playing an album live, end-to-end, can prove arduous for many artists. Rather than tailoring a set list to crescendo, climax, and resolve for a given night, the performers must trust that the same progressions that worked on the album will similarly thrill live audiences. The same challenges that can sink such a play-through, however, can also elevate a concert. A performance can offer testimony to the narrative and vision that inspired an album rather than simply offering up a smattering of tracks from an artist’s career. Kurt Riley’s Kismet proved to be a viable work to bring to Klarman Auditorium, in its entirety, on Friday night.

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Talking with Electronic Musician Beau Mahadev ’18

On the surface, it might appear that Beau Mahadev ’18 spends their time wearing two pretty different hats: that of an engineering student on the one hand, and that of an active member of Ithaca’s sprawling DIY scene on the other. On the former front, Beau studies computer science here at Cornell; on the latter, they’ve immersed themself in the music of Ithaca on multiple levels. As an active volunteer for Ithaca Underground, as the Vice President of Fanclub Collective and as a burgeoning local musician and performer in their own right, Beau has carved out what might seem like a respectable side project apart from their engineering studies. But Beau doesn’t use guitars, drums, keyboards or anything else most people would associate with traditional instrumentation; Beau uses the tools of their trade. Crafting experimental noise music with synths, circuits and gadgets galore, Beau is part of a larger Ithaca community — itself a subset of an international experimental movement stretching back to at least Varese’s work of the 1920s — of noise-makers and barrier-breakers.

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You’ll Always Be a Loser: Titus Andronicus at the Haunt

Titus Andronicus play their own music to warm up the crowd. This is fitting; Titus Andronicus don’t seem scared of over-indulgence. Their breakthrough album was 2010’s The Monitor, an hour-long kitchen-sink explosion of punk riffs, honky-tonk piano, a bagpipe solo and lyrics that used the American Civil War as a metaphor for personal strife and alienation. Their latest album manages to surpass The Monitor in grandiosity; 2015’s The Most Lamentable Tragedy runs an hour and a half long with several intermission tracks and two tracks titled “No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant” and “No Future Part V: In Endless Dreaming.”

Luckily, Titus Andronicus balance the pretension of their album formats with unpretentiously great songs. At their best, they meld arena-rock riffs with a ferocious punk attack.

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Speak For Themselves: An Interview with _____

Five underscores and no letters seems like a questionable name for a band; everything has to be called something, right? Not according to Brad Nathanson ’17 and Carsten Thue-Bludworth ’17, the two members of _____. Their band name doesn’t have any pronunciation; you’re not meant to say it. And while on the surface this might seem like a gimmick, they have the music to back it up. Their recorded output is limited so far to one promising EP, The Linden Sessions, which jolts and tumbles with a compositional vivacity and surety of form indicative of a band much deeper into its career than _____.