Weird Al’s New Tour Rocks Ithaca

Growing up as I did (with a father who loved to constantly relive his glory days), I listened to Weird Al a lot. I watched the music video to “Trapped in the Drive-Thru” a million times, played “Virus Alert” on my iPod shuffle and knew all the lyrics to “EBay.” My dad listened to the classics, reminisced about listening to Weird Al on Dr. Demento’s radio show and told me over and over again the story about how, when he was in college, he and Weird Al got lunch together. So when Weird Al’s Ridiculously Self-Indulgent Ill-Advised Vanity Tour came to The State Theatre, obviously my dad and I got tickets. I’ll admit, while I’ve listened to a few of Al’s more recent singles, I hadn’t truly listened to him since the days of my iPod Shuffle. The tour was also self-described as “scaled-down,” featuring older, original songs rather than parodies.

GUEST ROOM | The San Francisco Sound

Walking down Haight Street in San Francisco, it is hard to see that this place was once the heart of the “hippie scene” in the 1960s. The sidewalks of modern-day San Francisco are littered with boutiques, internet cafés and modern restaurants. Nevertheless, there are a few image-evoking shops and buildings hidden away behind the high-end clothing stores. These smoke shops, novelty emporiums and record stores are the best modern-day glimpses into the times of tie-dye and LSD. During the ’60s, new fashion and new ways of thinking emerged in the Bay area.

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A Review of Deer Tick Live at The Haunt

Deer Tick does a pretty good job of subverting your expectations. Judging from the album cover of their first full-length album, “War Elephant,” which includes nothing less than the band members sitting on a sand dune in front of two women in bikinis holding a shotgun and an AK-47, you might not expect the mellow fingerpicked guitars that follow. Moreover, after hearing Deer Tick’s infectious blend of tender folk and rollicking roots rock, you might not expect it to be something you could mosh to. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what we did at Deer Tick’s March 3 show at The Haunt. The night began with comedian Solomon Georgio taking us through his life as an African immigrant and “professional homosexual,” interweaving narratives of childhood bullies with social commentary on racism and homophobia.

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SPINNING SINGLES: Kurt Riley, “Love is in My Heart”

Kurt Riley ’16  just released a new single for Valentine’s Day. “Love is in My Heart” represents the importance of love to Riley, as well as his musical inspirations. Riley’s performances feature bright letters spelling out his name, which is very similar to the way that The Killers — one of his biggest musical inspirations — tend to put a K on the stage when they perform. Additionally, just as The Killers do on holiday season, Riley has released a single today. However, this does not mean that Riley is simply following what The Killers do.

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TEST SPIN | AWOLNATION — Here Come the Runts

I was fortunate enough to discover AWOLNATION early, and I continued to listen until their first album, Megalithic Symphony, caught the attention of the masses. With this, I abandoned them out of pretentious spite. Years later, I am happy to say that Aaron Bruno and company haven’t lost their ability to create unique, genre-noncomforming music. If AWOLNATION was a lesser band, they may have simply tried to recreate the sound and success of their smash-hit “Sail.” However, Here Come the Runts sees Bruno dramatically shift his instrumentation, following in the footsteps of ’80s-era rockers. This is echoed in the album’s thematic focus — Bruno’s “runts” are the successors to Springsteen’s working-class Americans, those that are pushing on despite the stress and struggle of modern America.

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TEST SPIN | Coast Modern — Coast Modern

Fifty years ago, people from across the country gathered in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate music. The Summer of Love hosted music from many different genres, both mainstream and underground, but the highlight of the festival was the new genre, born in California’s Bay Area and brought to life by bands such as Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. 1967 was the year of psychedelic rock. Despite its immense influence on the 1960s and 1970s counter-cultural movement, psychedelic rock has largely disappeared from the limelight. Those, like myself, who still crave the unorthodox guitar riffs and new chord progressions, must plop down an ancient record onto a turntable for a chance to listen to the wild sounds of the genre.

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GOLDFINE | Indie Rock is Girls: What Dave Longstreth Got Wrong About Indie Rock

As an arts writer, they tell you not to beat dead horses. We are told, when we get the keys to a one-bedroom flat of internet article space to dispose of our thoughts in, not to belabor on topics where debate is no longer generative; where a cultural consensus has been reached, or all viable arguments have been made. When Kim comes out with receipts incriminating Taylor for using Guys-Kanye-Called-Me-A-Bitch-Troops-Assemble feminism for personal gain, we are not supposed to shout into the crowded internet void about it, because the internet is a highly effective instrument that responds at hyper-speed to such events — and there are literally offices full of 20-something bloggers in every major city paid to sit around and wait for stuff like that to happen, and produce appropriately snarky takes on it. So, if you’re not one of those people paid to stare out at the internet and write that first “Taylor Lied and Here’s Why She’s The Whitest and Lamest Feminist Who Ever Lived, Who Gives Me Existential Doubt and Acid Reflux About The State of Feminism” article — don’t. I’ve shouted a lot about indie rock in the past few days.

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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.

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GUEST ROOM | It’s Different (Worse) for Girls

There’s something almost incestuous about the way song titles are reduced, reused and recycled. When Lupe Fiasco sings about a rapper who is coping with his newly acquired fame and The Carpenters sing about a groupie who falls in unrequited love with a musician, and both of these tunes are called “Superstar,” it throws you off kilter. And yet, “Superstar” as a song title is far from the most hackneyed option. The corresponding Wikipedia page lists over 200 songs entitled “Hold On” featuring a sundry of artists, from the Jonas Brothers to Alabama Shakes to The Beekeepers. “Changes,” “Beautiful,” “Breathe” and — of course — “Love” are used just as often.

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TEST SPIN: _____ , Paralanguage

“Our music doesn’t have words and neither does our name,” ______ write on their Bandcamp, and often state at their shows. Last Friday, the duo (comprised of Brad Nathanson ’17 and Carsten Thue-Bludworth ’17) released Paralanguage, their second album following August 2015’s the linden sessions on Ithaca’s student-run Electric Buffalo Records. Recorded at the same Linden Avenue home as their previous release, Paralanguage offers 37 and a half minutes of complete sonic immersion. It is, at points, soothing, angular, sprawling, concise and susceptible to having many more descriptors tacked on to it. Yet, I offer a slight modification of _____’s mantra-of-sorts: not only does their music “not have words,” it doesn’t need words to convey interesting, intricate ideas and overwhelming moments of beauty.