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Oso Oso Interview
  Blog, Interview  /    Nov, 20 2017 

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Oso Oso is an indie pop/punk band from Long Island, New York. With local influences like Tomahawk Chop and the Atlantic Project and big influences like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday, it’s obvious how the band got their combination of indie rock, emo, and pop/punk sounds. I had the pleasure of interviewing frontman Jade Lilitri after Oso Oso’s opening set for Sorority Noise, the Hotelier, and Citizen in Austin, Texas on November 10th, 2017.

We started things off with flash round in order to get to know Jade a little:

Beer or Liquor? Wine

Joint or Blunt? Prefers blunts, but smokes joints more often

Netflix or Hulu? Netflix

Oso or Oso? Oso

Punk or Rock? Rock

Butts or Boobs? Booty 

Austin or Dallas? Austin

iPhone or Andriod? iPhone

Prince Daddy & the Hyena or Mom Jeans.? Prince Daddy (Feel like his children)

Coke or Pepsi? Neither, but given the choice, Pepsi. 

Diving into deeper questions, I wanted to discuss the ‘pop punk’ genre and how Oso Oso is influenced by this style of music. There seems to be a developing negative connotation associated with having one’s music labeled as ‘pop punk’, so I asked Lilitri what he thinks of people placing Oso Oso into this genre:

 “It doesn’t bother me if someone listens and is like ‘oh yeah, that’s pop punk’, I just think that there is a connotation with [pop punk bands] that all sound alike and I wouldn’t want someone to be like ‘oh, it’s just a pop punk band so I’m not going listen.’”

Oso Oso isn’t just another pop punk band. The rhythms and strummings of the guitars resemble the pop/punk genre, but the indie/emo lyrics that compose the Yunahon Mixtape and Real Stories of True People Who Kind of Looked Like Monsters… really reach listeners personally. The outcome is music that is both fun to dance to as well as easy to connect with on a deeper level.

The first time I saw Oso Oso play was at a house show during SXSW in 2017. The house show was intimate, but I had a fun time dancing to the music and listening to their new songs. At this show and the Empire Control Room, even more people knew Oso Oso’s lyrics and I was surrounded by people all jamming out to their music. While their music expands to reach more people, Oso Oso has been invited on an increasing number of tours. I asked Lilitri to talk about the differences between playing larger venues while touring and playing more intimate house shows:

“I don’t have a preference [between house shows and large venues], but at this point in my life I have played so many house shows so to play something like this is really cool. So right now, it’s like ‘oh yeah, this is so sick’ but if I was getting to do this all of the time I feel like I’d say house shows. As long as people seem like they enjoy [the music]… Any place where people enjoy the music.”

As Oso Oso’s audience continues to grow and the band continues to produce music that people can dance to as well as connect with emotionally, there is no doubt in my mind that this band is going places.

Big thanks to Jade Lilitri for taking the time to sit down and talk with us.

 

Written by Grace DeChant | Blog Manager

Mild High Club Concert Review
  Blog, Concert Recap  /    Nov, 16 2017 

As I pulled up to Cheer Up Charlie’s, I couldn’t help but smile. I stared in the direction of the neon glowing entrance sign for a lingering moment. It was my first time at the venue, and more significantly, it would be my first time seeing one of my favorite bands in the entire universe—Mild High Club.

The intimacy of the outdoor space established the perfect setting for the occasion, modestly decked out with low hanging string lights, a delicate, cloud-like canopy overhead, and the friendly company of fellow music lovers. It was nearly impossible to contain my excitement.

Mild High Club is the psychedelic pop project of musician Alex Brettin. Their music is the ultimate trip through a broad range of feelings and emotion, whether nostalgia, elatedness, or pure tranquility. The ways in which their songs have been described often touch upon topics of ethereality and surrealism, or perhaps more mundane descriptions such as “stoner elevator music”, as one attendee of the show phrased it. Nevertheless, Alex Brettin is a technically gifted artist, and incorporates the ideal mix of sentimentality and charm. His music indulges in the strange just enough to provoke a persistent wonderment.

The band kicked off the night with “Club Intro”, the legendary start to their debut album, Timeline. The set was pretty fairly divided between their debut album and sophomore album Skiptracing (a perfectly even distribution, in fact). Alex Brettin’s melodic complexities were never once compromised, and endured throughout.

The first three songs off of Skiptracing, which have been described as a “psychedelic triptych”, were thankfully included in the set. I cannot think of a better description. The songs—“Skiptracing”, “Homage” and “Carry Me Back”— seamlessly blend into one another, heightening the proposal of appreciating the body of music as coalescing elements of a whole.

Other favorites like “Tesselation” and “Kokopelli” were also played. The man of the hour, Ariel Pink himself, even joined the band onstage to perform “The Chat”, a song that they collaborated on. Brettin made the unfortunate call of not playing one of their gentler tunes, “You and Me”, due to an overbearing sound-storm, courtesy of the band playing next door. Although a personal favorite was skipped, the decision did not at all take away from the overall beauty of the night.

Ethereal sounding synths and dreamy instrumentals fostered a visceral experience. In many instances, I simply felt as if I were elsewhere, a vivid, beautiful place beyond my present surroundings. For a band’s music to have that kind of effect is something special.

Hearing these songs live was a surreal experience, to say the least, and I know everyone around me felt it too. The band ended the night with “Chapel Perilous”, a magically smooth departure. It is difficult to think of a more melodically chill way to spend a Sunday evening in downtown Austin. Mild High Club exceeded all possible expectations.

 

Written By Gianni Zorrilla

Photo by Isaac Sterling

Take Me Apart by Kelela
  Blog  /    Oct, 30 2017 

The power of Kelela’s voice is her ability to do more with less makes her take on club or R&B slow jams provocative and sensual. The album, Take Me Apart, is an ode to break up-hook up tropes while allowing for introspective evaluations of the costs. She has definitely invested herself in these relationships so ending them is not taken lightly, which you can clearly hear on the first song Frontline. The song brings up how realizing you are better off moving past someone who can’t make you want to stay. Not a trivial decision in any regard, but if you don’t understand her perception, Kelela doesn’t give a shit, “See you wasn’t lookin’ when I pushed / Hold away, you fucking with my groove.”

When reading up about her, Kelela has carved out a very worthy career. Kelela got her start in 2013 with CUT 4 ME, earning a top ten spot from the Guardian’s albums of the year as well as featuring on Scales by Solange and a spot on Gorillaz new project Humanz. The albums production was done primarily by Kingdom a co-creator of LA label Fade to Mind of which Kelela is apart. Additionally, production was done by London’s Night Slugs who helped create CUT 4 ME when they launched as a label in 2013 after years of underground club traction.

This album has a lot of range, but “LMK” holds my attention with warm synths as the landscape for rolling hi-hats and evocative risers and claps. Another favorite of mine that roll under the radar is “Onanon” that takes on a rolling UK minimal beat. Lastly, the two shortest songs, “Bluff” and “Jupiter” have a lot of heart in terms of the explicit messaging that Kelela has throughout the album on autonomy and handling relationships.

 

By Henry Anthony-DuScheid

Image by Scott Legato/Getty Images

 

  Blog  /    Oct, 23 2017 

I get really excited about new music from my favorite bands. The first listen is very important to me. I want to absorb it all at once. Often I will lock myself in my room and put it on and just listen to it. If it makes me want to dance, I will get up and dance. If it makes me want to cry, I’ll do that too. I just want to hear the entire album from start to finish without distraction.

I first became a fan of The Technicolors when they ended up going on tour with another of my favorite bands, The Maine, on tour. The first album I listened to was Ultraviolet Disguise and I was hooked. I loved the guitar parts, the lyrics, and of course Brennan’s voice. I’ve been waiting for another album since 2015 and here it is.

Metaphysical came out July 7th and I had been counting down to this for weeks. So I did what I often do. I went in my room, closed the door, put on the album, and just listened. I heard the first few notes and smiled. Neon Roses begins with a fuzzy guitar riff and just goes up from there. Soaring as the bass, drums, and vocals join in that catchy riff. It builds perfectly, and sets a great tone for the rest of the record. It’s rare that I listen to an album and genuinely enjoy all of the songs. There are usually fillers somewhere in the middle that are easily skipped, but Metaphysical doesn’t have these. All twelve songs have their own unique feeling that make it into the balanced compilation it came out to be.

The record slides from one track to the next. Not quite picking up where the last song left off, but definitely building on it. The synths in songs like Fall Off the Moon add depth to the otherwise guitar-heavy sound.

I knew I loved the album the first time I heard it, but this was cemented when I listened to it on a long drive to Austin. I planned on only listening to it once, but as it came to an end I couldn’t help but go back to the beginning and listen to it again. Sweat stuck with me even though I’ve heard it before on one of their EPs. It was just at the right point in the album. The song just feels like the dog days of summer when everything is harder to do and the air is thick. It’s slow and rhythmic at the beginning and grows with a soaring chorus, but the vocals keep a thick smooth tone throughout. The final song on the record, which also happens to be the title track, Metaphysical ties it up perfectly. It has the roughness from Congratulations, You’re a Doll, and the smoothness of Sweat wrapped up into one song.

It’s not just the vocals, or the lyrics, or the guitar, or any one thing that makes me want to listen to this album over and over again. It’s the perfect combination of every aspect. The production with the synth and the effects push it to another level. It is a fully thought out and planned piece of work. From the first song to the last, no song feels like it is missing anything. It is the kind of sound that you can feel when you listen to it. It surrounds you like a thick fog.

I want to be able to tell you the technical reasons I love this album. To be able to explain the musicality, to put it into a description everyone can understand. But that’s not how music works. The reason I love this may be the same reason someone else doesn’t. This goes for any band and any album. You will always be able to find someone who loves it and someone who hates it, and both of them may even have perfectly sound arguments. My only request it that you take time to listen to records all the way through, and maybe you could start with this one.

 

 

 

By Corinne Bates

  Blog, Concert Recap  /    Oct, 19 2017 

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I called into The Morning X with Jason and Deb a few weeks ago hoping to win tickets to see Manchester Orchestra and Foxing at Stubb’s on September 9th. I never actually expected someone to pick up the phone, let alone to win the tickets, but my lifetime of bad luck changed that day. I scored myself two free tickets to the show and I was pumped. After spending the next 3 weeks prepping for the show, the night finally came and I walked into Stubb’s to a packed house.

Due to my friend’s inability to be on time to anything, we ended up missing the opener, All Get Out. We made it just in time to see Foxing take the stage. Foxing is an emo indie rock band from St. Louis, Missouri. Their debut album under Triple Crown Records The Albatross reaks of the emo revival, and I love it.

The lead singer (and trumpet player!), Connor Murphy, sings about ex-lovers in a way that instills nostalgia and longing to be loved. Murphy’s strained voice gives off the impression of instability, but his vocal performance was impressive from the beginning of the first song to the end of the last. Hearing “The Medic” live was healing for me in a totally personal way.

“She says “You don’t love me you just love sex

But I can’t wait around for something better than this

Because you’re the best that I can do

And I wish I could leave you.”

These lyrics still haunt me in a totally normal emo kid way.

Manchester Orchestra played a long headliner, filled mostly with songs from their newest album, A Black Mile to the Surface. Manchester Orchestra is an indie/alt. rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. Formed in 2004, Manchester Orchestra has emo roots, which are evident in their albums Cope and Simple Math. The rest of their albums, especially A Black Mile to the Surface, is influenced by their emo sound, but relies mostly on indie/alt. rock to appeal to a wider range of people. I guess it proves that no one can truly stay emo forever.

Manchester Orchestra is one of those bands that sounds exactly the same recorded and live. They have evolved to be one of the best rock bands of our generation by consistently producing music that not only reaches their listeners but stays relevant as time progresses.

 

By: Grace DeChant | Blog Manager

  Blog  /    Oct, 04 2017 

My feet are still tapping. Grin on my face. Iglooghost has challenged my feelings about Drum and Bass, or just rave music… in a beautiful way. The way his symmetrical style flows between tones and uplifting samples makes for a technically sound ride through wonderlands of colorful shapes. Honestly made me think of Froopy Land from the new Rick and Morty Episode! Or like Dr. Seuss on acid. 

A lot of influences are present throughout the album with auto tuned deep rap chops to chipmunk’d alien voices singing songs of their homelands in an unintelligible language; this blend of genres helps me to create my own narrative to the album. Each song frequently changes within itself, with the common theme being the entropy of virtual textures originating out of thin air.  

Igloo provided an instruction manual for how to listen to this album on twitter (https://twitter.com/IGLOOGHOST/status/913450688193196038)

It includes gems like: “Rehearse the spell: White Peach. Hot Gum. Chalk Grid. Mint Sun.

Neo Wax Blade Cover: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/2Y1rWasqPMA/maxresdefault.jpg 

By: Henry Anthony-Duscheid

  Blog  /    Oct, 03 2017 

The Sound on Sound anticipation in Austin is palpable. The posters are plastered just about everywhere, from bedroom walls to lampposts, concert venues to boutiques, porta potties to billboards: this town is ready for the second coming of last year’s most buzzed about festival. Even though the 2016 event was not without hiccups (read: busses running late and weather delays) the fest is still very fondly remembered by those who attended.

The lineup this year is stacked. The headliners include industry icons like Iggy Pop, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and The Shins; acts with hopelessly devoted followings. Of course, there are other bright spots on the lineup besides the big names. Relative newcomers like Blood Orange and Noname are sure to attract large, emotive crowds. Bands like Cherry Glazerr, Boris, Girlpool, and Mild High Club are throwbacks to the electric-indie vibe of last years lineup. This year’s is a tad bit more diverse, drawing on all genres, including pop punk and emo throwback outfits like The Story So Far and Taking Back Sunday. Here are the shows I’m the most excited for:

Vince Staples is sure to draw a big crowd. Staples’ new album Big Fish Theory came out over the summer on June 23rd to the general chagrin of the rap community. Collaborating with everyone from Kendrick Lamar, to Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, to producer SOPHIE, to fashion and film darling Hari Nef. The album certainly houses some concert bangers, specifically “Yeah Right” and “BagBak.”

Ariel Pink, also just released a new album entitled Dedicated to Bobby Jameson. “Feels like Heaven,” a particularly dreamy but emotionally visceral standout, is sure to deliver audience hype as well as impressively engaging visuals. Pink’s frequent genre-bending utilization of conflicting themes (nostalgia vs. escapism, for example) will produce an interesting live show: perhaps leaving the crowd crying, perhaps cheering.

Lastly, Hoops will hopefully prove to be a wildly entertaining show. Their music carefully toes the line between saccharine pop gloss and lo-fi garage fuzz. The quartet’s debut album, “Routines,” features boppy saturated tunes like “Sun’s Out” while balancing out the mirth with more sedate numbers like “Underwater Theme.” If their show is anything like I imagine, it’ll present like Mac Demarco and Sports had a normcore love child.

Regardless of who you end up seeing at the fest, however, it’ll be near-impossible to miss out on good music. Sharpen your swords and tighten your bodices: the fest is coming.

 

By: Reilly Cardillo

  Blog  /    Sep, 12 2017 

Topper Radio is psyched about this upcoming semester. We’ve got a few new things in the works that we’re excited to announce within the next few weeks. All of these things will make it easier for you, the listener, to listen and interact with us. We’ll also have our new schedule up soon so that you can start listening to your favorite Topper Radio shows once again (yay!)

Are you interested in joining Topper Radio??? (hill yeah you are!) Applications to join the Topper Radio team are now available! Applications are due September 15th, so don’t wait! This semester, we are adding an interview portion to our applications. Interviews will be casual and will allow you to really stand out and let us get to know you! Come join the Topper Radio family!

http://rgauthie.create.stedwards.edu/topperradio/index.php

 

By: Grace DeChant | Topper Radio Blog Manager

  Uncategorized  /    Jun, 16 2017 

Hey guys, it’s Katy with Topper Radio and I’m here with Jared, Ben and Jon from FOXTRAX. Where did you guys all get your start?

Ben: Jon and Jared are bros by blood, but also for fun. Jon and I went to high school together and we became a band in a very unorthodox way, we just went to a cabin in the woods of North Carolina for fun, we were terrible. When we left there we were slightly less terrible, but still mostly pretty bad. We somehow stuck with it for a couple months after that and people started to respond immediately to a lot of the songs we were writing and the energy we were bringing on stage and that was cool. We also kind of knew we had something good going. It’s been great.

Where are you guys originally from?

Ben: Oceanside, Long Island, New York.

What is your inspiration for your sound and how would you describe it?

Ben: I mean I would say that we’re an amalgamation of the rock and roll triage, but also a lot of soul, funk and blues. Jeff Buckley is a singer I love singing to. Have you ever seen The Last Waltz? It’s a movie about a band; Martin Scorsese directs it. There’s a weird scene in the movie where they ask, “Oh what do you guys play?” and he’s like “Oh a little bit of Blue Grass, a little bit of folk, little bit of funk, this, that, and the other.” The other guy replies “so what is that?” to which they reply “Rock & Roll,” and I agree with that.

How is the tour going so far?

Jon: It’s been amazing. Every city we’ve gone to the response has been really good. It’s amazing to be on tour with someone like Barns Courtney as well, another young artist I think we relate to each other a lot. We learn a lot from each other. It’s really great to see him as he is developing in his career as well. He’s been around more than us, he’s opened up for Ed Sheeran, he knows the ins and outs of touring, it’s great being with them because we’re able to learn a lot from them.

Ben: It’s so wild because we’re just starting, everything is kind of happening so quickly now. There was a period in our band’s career where everything happened really slowly. We would play a show and a couple people would talk about it, and maybe a month later we would play another with a little bit more people. Once you start touring, you see much bigger crowds. Things are starting to happen very fast, it’s very gratifying to play music and lay the groundwork and then actually start to see the fruits of your labor.

Jon: People in Dallas starting cheering for one of our songs, they heard us on Good Morning Dallas and that night people were chanting for “Underwater” which is a really cool experience because they know one of your songs and they’re all singing back the lyrics and it’s really cool going to a place you’ve never been and seeing something like that.

What’s your favorite and least favorite things about being on the road?

Ben: I think my favorite thing is Whole Foods Juices, they got a lot of nutrients which I dig about them. Whenever we’re going from one city to the next we’ll plug in along the route a Whole Foods and that’s how we get our nutrients throughout the day.

So I saw that you guys had a run in with a Bison, tell us about that experience.

Ben: Well we went to this preserve in Salt Lake City, and we saw a lone bison. So we pull over the car and go over, we walk up pretty slowly and it seems pretty chill at first, but these things are humongous, they’re giants. Jared the whole time was like “guys this thing feels threatened by us” but the rest of us were like, “No, it’s fine, Jared doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” Sam was doing social media stuff for us out in front with his Polaroid, ready to go and it just turns and looks at us and then it just starts sprinting at us. After it was over and I was no longer afraid for my life it turned out to be pretty hilarious.

What have you guys been doing in Texas so far and how do you like it?

Ben: It’s been a pretty amazing experience, it’s so different. We’re from the East Coast originally and now we live in LA. Both of those cities for how different they are on the whole pretty similar, the way people think, their mentality. People in Texas are almost from a different country, for us. Just the way they go about life is a slower pace, more laid back, everyone is really nice and considerate and it’s kinda nice.

Jared: I love Texas, there’s a different energy here and everyone is so hospitable. That’s one way to describe our experience so far: just how nice people have been to us and how welcoming and they’re just doing anything they can for us to have a good time and that means the world to us. You don’t get that in New York, you get something else, something that’s beautiful but you don’t get that Southern comfort.

Which place has been your favorite on tour so far?

Ben: Austin, *chuckles*. We’ve been to Austin before, we played SXSW so I have a special place in my heart for Austin. I’ve had some great experiences here, but if you exclude Austin, I would say that I loved Seattle. I’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest before this tour so it was kind of a cool experience. It’s always so sunny in LA and I don’t know if I would love to live in the gloom all the time but it was a nice change of pace to see the rain, clouds, and trees.

Do you have any pre-show rituals?

Jon: We actually gather around and have you ever seen “Rocket Power”? You know how they used to do the “woogitys”? We do our woogitys before every show.

Ben: We huddle up, say some inspirational words and then we just woogity it up and we’re out.

Do you guys have anything else you would want to say or for people to know?

Ben: We’re honored that Barns (Courtney) has asked us to come on the rest of the tour. We’ll do a little headline up to New York, record a new EP which we’re super excited about and then after that, we have about 10-15 dates with Barns around the rest of the country. It has been a crazy last minute, moving around, shifting of things but we’re excited, there’s good stuff to come.

Jon: We just released our really fun cover video. We are actually big fans of Harry Styles’ release ‘Sign of the Times’ but we wanted to take that and put our own FOXTRAX spin on it. We just released the Youtube video for “Sign of the Times” and we’re really proud of it, so if anyone out there wants to see a nice cover of that song, check it out.

This has been FOXTRAX, check them out and thanks for reading and be sure to listen to Topper Radio!

 

  Blog  /    May, 07 2017 

Mississippi born indie-rockers The Weeks stopped in Austin last Wednesday night and played to a full house at Antone’s. I’ve been wanting to see this band for a while now, and I knew I had to make it out when I saw that the The Lonely Biscuits (Nashville, TN) were supporting them on tour.

One of the best things about this show was the obvious camaraderie between the two bands. Members from The Weeks joined The Lonely Biscuits on stage when they performed “Ma’am” for the last song of their set. It only makes sense that these two Southern rock bands would be friends and enjoy playing music with each other. During The Weeks set, The Lonely Biscuits could be seen on the side watching and jamming out with the band the whole time.

The Weeks are Cyle Barnes (lead vocals), Samuel Williams (vocals, guitar), Cain Barnes (drums), Damien Bone (bass). Aside from all being quite tall and having great shoes, the band had a really warm stage presence. They played a mix of crowd favorites and new songs from their latest album “Easy” which was released just last month. The new songs were great to hear live and their energy was contagious. The band played a full set that exceeded an hour and the crowd loved every moment of it. At one point, the band made everyone in the crowd get low and then jump up and dance. The moment was explosive, which is a good way to describe the band’s set that night. 

Some of the highlights for me were their soulful performance of “Hands on the Radio” from their new album, the jam session that followed “Mississippi Rain” and their encore which included “Buttons” — one of my favorite songs since I first heard it in high school. The Weeks have been around for a while, but they are one of those bands that never get old. They left it all the stage at the end of their set – they rolled around on the floor, on each other and completely shredded their instruments. 

The Weeks are currently on tour for the rest of month around North America, hitting a lot of the west coast and then back down to Nashville to finish the tour off at the famous Ryman Auditorium. If you know what’s good, you’ll check out their latest album and see them when they come around again.

By: Kanya Maliwan / Pants Optional