**all opinions author's own//duh, that's the point**
Review: Nothing Bad Ever Happens to Me - Brett Staggs
I’m ashamed to admit that Brett Staggs is from my home state of Pennsylvania. Although the country artist knows how to play his instruments well enough and the song “Nothing bad ever happens to me” is certaining catchy, I just can’t take it seriously. The lyrics just seem as though he’s bragging that his life is so great, let’s hope it’s ironic. Or is this just his particular niche of Country Music? Notable lines include “I’m always on time / never drink too much wine / I never hang out in a bad neighborhood” and “The babysitter never cancels on date night”. The song “Home is where the party is” is just as promising as it sounds. As catchy as it is, I can’t get over the lack of interesting lyrics. The songs are repetitive and unoriginal which only makes me want to listen to it less. Even if country music was my prefered genre, this is still hardly bearable.
- Kaycee McKee
Review: Apple Pie - Rafferty
One of the first things I thought of this song was “goddamn this dude likes the Black Keys”, and although that’s not the worst thing in the world, it’s a little too similar. Rafferty is clearly influenced, both aesthetically and musically, by hard-rocking leading men like Lou Reed and Tom Waits but lacks the substance to back up the persona. “Apple Pie” is a simple jam about the timeless struggle of trying to have sex with someone that you like. The instrumental aspects of the song are pretty good with a nice clap-drum percussion set-up and a nice crunchy guitar to add some flavor to it. The subject matter of the song is nothing new and the lyrics aren’t going to win any awards, but they’re easy enough to sing along to if you’re drunk enough. Overall, this is a nice song but not something I would listen to again.
- Jimmy Randall
Review: The Grove and the Thrive - Jason Scolnick
My first impression when listening to the album “The Grove and the Thrive” by Jason Scolnick was that it was lacked any depth or creativity. There were generic guitar solos and loud, forceful exhales on the sound “Ah” at the end of each phrase. His lyrics had no point. In one song he just listed a bunch of musicians that he liked. He came across as the type of guy who starts every sentence about music by saying, “Listen, I’m a rock n roll guy...” That’s how I viewed him until I scrolled through his website, down past collage of awkward photos, all from the same dumb photoshoot, down to his bio and did a complete one-eighty. In the first sentence of his bio he says that he has, “Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic Features.” He then talks about how he went to Harvard and is a genius. So ignoring the probability that his bio is completely made up I’d like revise my review. These songs that all share the same four chords with the same tempo and time signature are actually the work of a misunderstood genius. I just don’t have the perspective to see that yet.
- Billy Behman
Review: So They Say - The Mysterious They
The album begins with an atmospheric song, Dawn, that features an angelic voice which makes you feel like you are transcending into heaven. Around a minute into the song a mysterious language is sung which contrasts with the woman singing. At first it feels almost unnatural but then the differentiation between the voices’ pitches becomes extremely soothing. The next song, Always Free, begins with a calming stream trickling as well as an inspirational saying about life followed by an assertive, “for real” which adds enthusiasm to the woman’s message. A rhythmic tribal beat then comes in almost out of nowhere and is surprisingly catchy. The instruments are mostly woodwind which makes the song feel folk-like. Creator Destroys is next which has a much different feel leading with a violin as the main instrument. Gracefully Dancing Energy sounds just as you would expect. There is a soothing aura carrying through the song combined with brass instruments such as a trumpet which again is a surprisingly satisfying combination of sounds. The woman chants words over the melody in the middle of the song that adds to a melodramatic feel. Gratitude and Awe closes the album with a euphoric vibe that makes you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. Although the words are almost unidentifiable, you somehow feel like you understand everything the woman is singing. A rainstorm closes the song making you feel reborn. Again, there is a man chanting a poetic verse that paints a beautiful picture. Overall, this album is about combining sounds you would not typically think blend together with the main goal of surprising its audience with how great it ends up working together.
- Elisabeth Steinberg
Review: The Sedonas - The Sedonas
“Their music revolves around a mixture of various Rock and Americana roots. Their sound: organic and pure. They are The Sedonas out of Knoxville, Tennessee. One would think a band needed more to accomplish such a unique sound. However, The Sedonas pull it off with only the bare essentials, a minimalist stance in a complex world.” This description pulled from the Sedonas’ website would make you think that you would be listening to something completely new, but that would be a stretch. The band features members Connor Wike on vocals, Travis Anderson on bass, Rondo Johnson on guitar, and Casey Green on drums. From listening to their first album one can see the Tennessee influence as all their songs do have an underlying country vibe, with a strong guitar coming through every song. What is harder to see, however, is how their music qualifies as “organic and pure”. All of their songs have a very similar sound to them, so much that they all begin to blend together without any clear beginning and end. The album does offer a nice mix of slow and faster songs to give the listener an idea of what they have to offer; even though the offering is limited. A notable exception, “Better than the same” features a solid guitar solo that allows the track to stand out amongst the otherwise homogenous album. There also is a nice range of instruments and sounds to the songs with what appears to maybe be a harmonica in “Blues ‘16” and keys in “Light”.
- Scout Watkins