By Jason Kreloff
In a small town like Oberlin, it’s not often you get the chance to hear a queen of underground rap. So when it was announced that BKTHERULA would perform on Friday, February 21 as a part of WOBIE FEST 2020 at the ‘Sco, devoted fans such as myself were quick to secure a ticket.
BKTHERULA is a blossoming Atlanta artist with hundreds of thousands of streams and tens of thousands of listeners who tune in every month. Her breakout hit, Tweakin’ Together, had the internet buzzing, giving her the coveted title of the “female Duwap” — a serious responsibility, but one which BK won’t let box in her art. At the time of this review, Tweakin’ Together had 370,000+ views on YouTube alone.
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By Maisie Sheidlower
The self-proclaimed “vintage Cleveland establishment” has two sections: a wine bar and a dive bar. Though each space has its own entrance, some patrons opt to walk beyond the twee singer crooning in the wine bar to access the dive bar, which is decorated not unlike a dorm room. Jack Daniels labels and crude paintings of Jimi Hendrix clutter wall space not taken up with fairy lights and sports jerseys. This is The Brother’s Lounge.
The bar boasts nightly performances, and February 13th offered up The Bad Boys of Blues. The group ascended the stage, and wished a vague “happy birthday” before launching into Fire on the Bayou by The Meters. Mike Barrick, donning a top hat that looked like it had been hit with a mallet, gave a fun yet overindulgent bass solo before goateed, greasy poney-tailed drummer Jim Wall took a turn. Luke Pernicci then slightly pursed his lips as he shredded his blue and white guitar, gently shaking the instrument to indicate the notes he wanted us to nod our heads to.
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By Maisie Sheidlower
Frank Zappa’s Sheik Yerbouti opens with his provocative, gravelly voice calling me “baby” and reminding me of the time we spent inside each other. A masterful lyricist and musician, Zappa can make any character the sexiest, most abhorrent person I’ve ever had the pleasure of learning about, and any riff the most gut-wrenchingly beautiful piece of music I’ve ever had the misfortune to discover.
I dub this 71-minute collection, released March 3rd, 1979 by Zappa Records, an “after album,” meant to be listened to once a task has been completed. Turn on Sheik Yerbouti post-breakup, post-blunt, or post-barbershop. It’s an album to grieve with, to feel connected to, and to be flattered by, but it does require a level of concentration that Zappa veterans are familiar with. I worry that as background music, listeners might miss, for example, David Ocker’s jovial clarinet, or the flawless yet flippant one-liners in the instrumental songs (my favorite, found in the titular “The Sheik Yerbouti Tango,” being “Why don’t you take it down to C-Sharp, Ernie?” — a quip directed to saxophonist Ernie Watts).
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By Megan McLaughlin
A variety show of unexpected wonders for voice and piano, Art song, etc. is a powerful and uplifting reminder of what this generation of classical musicians has in store for the world. The program was created and performed by Oberlin Conservatory second-years Kenji Anderson and Julia Alexander as their project for Winter Term 2020, and took place in Stull Recital Hall on Sunday afternoon, February 16. The duo’s program set out to break down borders between genres and redefine what is acceptable performance material for students in the modern-day conservatory. They aimed for inclusivity, and followed through successfully.
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By Damani McNeil
Tucked away in the sleepy San Francisco hills, Larry June has quietly been putting together one of the most exciting tears the rap industry has seen in recent memory. Fresh off the heels of a year in which he released five full-length projects, Larry has linked back up with his friend and producer extraordinaire Cardo Got Wings, to release a new tape called Game Related. Despite the understandable focus on Larry — he and Cardo are the only artists on every song — the tape should definitely be regarded as a collective project: it also relies heavily on contributions from Payroll Giovanni and Kid HBK, two of Cardo’s long time collaborators.
The tape is imbued with the same energy that makes Larry’s solo projects so appealing. Game Related recalls the days of Too $hort and Mac Dre, speaking about the experiences of pimps and drug dealers as they move through their lives, both business and personal.
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By Lilyanna D’Amato
Shimmering with sunny, psych-pop jams, Routines, the 2017 debut album from Indianapolis outfit Hoops is a summer album if there ever was one. The foursome, made up of longtime friends Drew Auscherman, Kevin Krauter, James Harris, and Keagan Beresford, effortlessly weds 70s jangly guitar to relaxed lo-fi reverb, crafting an album bubbling with buoyancy and, every so often, a lick of wistful introspection. Reminiscent of early Twin Peaks, the eleven-song project is the sonic equivalent of a hungover Sunday cruise down the coast.
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By Quentin Zimbalist
At the beginning of most Lucki songs, a beat plays and the 23-year-old West Side Chicago native throws out a sprinkling of half-hearted, syncopated ‘ayys’ and ‘woahs.’ Listening to him feel out the beat allows you to become completely immersed into the sonic backdrop before Lucki begins to recite his often poetic, always deep lyrics.
The opening track on Freewave 3 (2019), “Politics,” starts this way. Lucki ad-libs over a euphoric beat produced by “Oxy,” then dives right into the album’s themes. He indirectly discusses his current perception of life throughout this song, which serves as a loose thesis for the whole project. His paradoxical dream world is void of everyday bullshit and comprises a powerful yet delicate balance between addiction and love.
By Megan McLaughlin
It’s a rare and beautiful thing to find an album that fulfills all expectations, and then a little more. Upbeat and slower songs and provocative lyrics are a must, but when those are combined with a swarm of cellos in “Dilaudid” and references to Russian literature in “Love Love Love,” they create an album that never becomes tiring. This describes The Mountain Goats’ The Sunset Tree.
Released on April 26, 2005, The Sunset Tree is often overlooked among the band’s sixteen more widely-praised albums, , but it is truly a masterful middle child. Based on the lead singer’s childhood, John Darnielle’s lyrics transcend language into memory, each song a vignette of some place, moment, or feeling from his youth. “Broom People” gives a tour of the house in which Darnielle grew up, as well as introduces the album’s major characters: his mother, sister, and abusive stepfather.
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By Jason Kreloff
Happiest People in the World Wide Web (2019) is Adé Hakim’s second full-length record following his 2018 On To Better Things. The album features short, concise songs with bulletproof songwriting, addictive beats which twist old melodies into completely new textures, and lyrics that stay with you.
Hakim is a producer and rapper from the Bronx, New York with a musical style and positive message exclusive to him and his frequent collaborators. Also known as sixpress (or 6press), Hakim has his own distinct production style which involves glitchy and rich soul and jazz samples — a cornerstone of the new wave of rap coming out of the New York City area.
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By Cole Johnson
Anyone who came to the ‘Sco on February 7th for the sole purpose of moshing will tell you that Xiu Xiu’s performance was not meant to cater to the audience. Within the first few songs, most unsuspecting listeners realized that this concert was not the kind of event to attend plastered, and filed out, leaving only fans and the few whose interest had been piqued.
Continue reading “Pumpkin Attack on the ‘Sco: Concert Review”