Flyin’ in to D.C. like….

Flyin’ in to D.C. like….

Get tickets for the headline show at the new Entertainment & Sports Arena this Saturday, October 13th now.

📷: Citizen Kane Wayne

Why You Should Listen To: Björk’s Post

Why You Should Listen To: Björk’s Post

Daniel Lester 

October 9, 2018

Welcome to the weekly-series “Why You Should Listen to”, where we will discuss great albums worth every music lover’s attention. In today’s society, while we do have all the possible access to everything and anything on the Internet, it can often happen for us to miss some music we would love to hear. That’s why we will try to help you discover some awesome music in this series of articles. The focus will mostly be on studio albums, be it classics or underrated gems and records that have been forgotten by time. Our focus will also stretch out across the world, from the USA and UK to the African continent, Latin America and even the Balkans. The first in the series is Björk’s fantastic sophomore album “Post”. Enjoy!

The Icelandic singer and producer Björk Guðmundsdóttir, who is iconic in the underground and avant-garde music scene, is probably one of the few artists who has reached both critical acclaim and mainstream success. Most of us could agree that she is the type of artist you either “get” or “notget” (reference intended). Her music output over her long career has been nothing but vast and inventive. From an early age, she has been exposed to music via her classical piano and flute classes, and at 12 she had already released her first self-titled album. She was seen as a sort of wunderkind, a fact that her family wanted to use from this early age to their benefit, but Björk would only later reach that targeted level of success. After years of singing in many underground projects such as Spit and Snot, Exodus, JAM80, Tappi Tikarrass, Kukl and the cult Icelandic band The Sugarcubes.

Needless to say, the avant-garde pop queen has been busy with music throughout her life. We strongly recommend listening to her pre-solo work, especially The Sugarcubes, one of the rare instances you’ll hear Björk’s iconic voice paired with typical rock band instrumentation. However, she decided to distance herself from that sound in 1992 when she moved to London in pursuit of a new sound and a proper debut solo album. After being exposed to the sounds of house music, techno and trip-hop and meeting Nellee Hooper, she released her proper fantastic debut album, ironically titled “Debut”. Her new experimental blend of pop, techno, experimental and traditional Icelandic music would start to develop here. Her next album “Post” however, is when she really hit the ball out of the park artistically.

“Post” is a truly interesting listen, not just because of the myriad of influences and sounds, but also because of the stellar songwriting and melodies. The most known two tracks off this album are most definitely “Army of Me” and the cover of an old jazz song “It’s Oh So Quiet”, which Björk quickly made her own. The screams and overall vocal delivery on that song is a show of Björk’s eccentric and lovable personality. Not to mention the iconic music video paired up with the song. While her albums are usually coherent in sound and theme, “Post” sounds more like a fantastic collection of songs, that, despite their differences, gel together perfectly across its runtime. “Army of Me” is the industrial banger that kicks off this masterpiece of an album with a dark, driving synthbass, punchy drums and Björk’s angry delivery of the lyrics that deal with a relative of hers stagnating in life and pestering her for help to get his shit together. This aggressive side of Björk was not very present on “Debut”, so to have this as the opener on “Post” must have been a surprise for first-time listeners. 

The song that follows is called “Hyperballad”. Now this, this is truly a musical masterpiece, and for a variety of reasons. Not only is this one of her most classic songs, but is truly timeless and genreless. It is a song with so much power and beauty at the same time, the lyrics of which talk about a situation in which Björk and her lover live on a mountain. One morning she wakes up before him, and pushes random things off and watches them fall, reminding her that life is anything but safe and certain. She then blasts into a super-emotive chorus about how, despite this creeping feeling of uncertainty, she feels safe in her lover’s presence. A truly honest and one-of-a-kind love song. If you listen to nothing off this album, at least give this one a shot.

The song “Isobel” is another powerful, bustling song that combines more traditional instrumentation with Björk’s techno-tinged sound. It was composed by her on a portable Casio keyboard after inventing the melody on a Christmas visit to Iceland. She worked hard on the song, inventing the character of Isobel with the help of Icelandic poet Sjón. It’s a track about the clash of nature and modern civilization, this duality originating from Björk’s early life spent in nature and moving to big cities. Thus, Isobel is portrayed as a second Björk on the single cover art for this song. The sounds coming from the speakers when listening to this put you in a sort-of dark forest and you feeling a strong spirit approaching you, but you are not sure if it’s welcoming or hostile.

One of the most saddest songs I’ve heard in the longest time lands on this album under the title “Possibly Maybe”. It is such a chilling ballad about a break-up, it truly hits hard. It is quite mellow with a simplistic, bassy melody that echoes as Björk reminisces about a break-up with Stephane Sednaoui. Phones ringing in the background and Björk’s beautiful vocal harmonies in the chorus truly give this song its weight. “You’ve Been Flirting Again” is similarly dark-sounding, but a nice breather of a song in the constantly fluctuating tracklist. It is thematically about the playfulness of flirting and the game of push-pull with the person you’re attracted to. It’s a perfectly peaceful interlud between the hard-hitting mammoths that are “Enjoy” and “Isobel”.

Speaking of “Enjoy”, it is one of the heaviest songs on the album, with awesomely weird horn samples and Björk’s soaring vocal delivery. It seems to be about exploration with one’s senses, the ability of sensing things and dealing with what you feel, whether you like it or not. The message seems to be “just enjoy the sensations and explore them without fear”. “The Modern Things”, along with “Army of Me” is one of the first songs Björk created, even before “Debut”. These two songs, along with “Hyperballad” craft such a strong trifecta of intro tracks that will instantly hook you to this album and imprint it in your head and ears. “The Modern Things” combines English and Icelandic into a tune that deals with modernization of society, despite what has happened before. The modern things will always be on the horizon, meaning that humans will always continue to evolve their society, and she seems to be at peace with that.

“I Miss You” is another banger with tribal percussion and driving horn sections. It tackles the topic of knowing your perfect lover, despite meeting them. While the song itself is quite lovely, the animated music video (created by “Ren and Stimpy” creator John Kricfalusi) makes it even more special. “Cover Me” is the quieter moment of the album, dedicated to its co-producer Nellee Hooper, for helping Björk deliver not one, but two masterpieces to the world and leaving her fingerprints on music history. The closing track “Headphones”, co-produced by Björk’s ex Tricky, who is a trip-hop legend in his own right, is one of the most artistic moments on the album. If you want to get the most out of this beautiful song, you have to wear headphones. It is just that detailed and pretty, that it serves as a perfect finish to a near-perfect album.

This record, overall, is perfect for people who are open-minded and love groundbreaking music projects. Björk’s enchanting and unique voice may be the center of the album, but the instrumentation and lyrical themes keep this an amazing front-to-back listen. Sounds best in autumn or winter, especially at night. Hope you will enjoy it!






Brockhampton is raw and energetic on ‘Iridesce…

Brockhampton is raw and energetic on ‘Iridescence’

Sarah Beckford

“I’m so accustomed to flames I couldn’t tell you it’s fire.”

It’s a considerably ambitious line from Brockhampton’s opening track ‘NEW ORLEANS’ for their fourth studio album, iridescence. The highly anticipated record serves as the boyband’s major label debut for RCA, after a whirlwind year following last year’s SATURATION trilogy. Released via Question Everything/RCA, the album spans fifteen tracks, recorded in a window of ten days at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The real question is, does this body of work actually hold up aside from fan attention and praise?

This record is one that puts you into the band’s mindset. You feel their high points and their low points, and even some non-categorizable points, like the transition from ‘NEW ORLEANS’ to ‘THUG LIFE’. These two songs are practically fraternal twins in sound- the only thing holding theme together is Brockhampton’s self-sample of bearface’s ‘NEW ORLEANS’ verse. The frenetic energy in ‘NEW ORLEANS’ and ‘J’OUVERT’ is practically tangible. ‘J’OUVERT,’ the record’s surprise and singular lead single, takes its name from Caribbean tradition, with the main part of the beat hailing from Grenadian soca song.

Brockhampton’s willingness to make a record that’s experimental and honest both lyrically and emotionally is something that deserves applause. ‘WEIGHT’ serves as the dramatic climax of the album. It follows several high-energy songs, yet throughout its course, it journeys from reflection to genre-bending within its four-minute span. ‘SAN MARCOS’ and the previously introduced ‘TONYA’ also remain in the vein of reflective, raw songs, both of which make good use of quieter instrumental elements.

Much of the record makes use of some elements that don’t initially make sense, like the drilling drums near the end of ‘DISTRICT,’ but iridescence feels more conceptual in nature than purely cohesive at some points. (An example is JOBA’s giddy “Dollars!” refrain on BERLIN, which is followed by an instrumental reminiscent of something from alt-J’s Relaxer.)

Each performer of Brockhampton further displays their abilities and extends it on this record, and we get a few surprises as well. Bearface displays some newfound rapping skills, which is unprecedented considering we’ve only previously heard him sing singular tracks or interludes in songs-like Brockhampton’s summer singles, ‘1998 TRUMAN’ and ‘1999 WILDFIRE’. JOBA and Dom McLennon are the album’s heavy hitters, along with the album’s surprise feature appearances, like serpentwithfeet and Jaden Smith. Dom McLennon has a number of quotable lyrics, and needless to say, JOBA takes no prisoners with his verses- the prime example being J’OUVERT, in which one has little room to be left unimpressed. Surprisingly, Kevin Abstract steps into the background on this record, lending his voice to a few hooks and his ode to Jaden Walker, ‘SOMETHING ABOUT HIM’.

This is Brockhampton shattering expectations in the unique way that they only know how to. They have taken what we expect, what we’re used to, and elevated it. Having established themselves creatively, and also re-centering themselves as well, they’ve gifted us with a taste of their very essence- their driven work ethic, relentless creativity, and lyrical honesty.

Photo Gallery: The Growlers at Cat’s Cradle in…

Photo Gallery: The Growlers at Cat’s Cradle in Raleigh, NC

Madelyn Matthews

September 27, 2018

In Tha Mix 📸 @scottwillisphotography https://…

In Tha Mix 📸 @scottwillisphotography

Photo Gallery: Mothers at Kings in Raleigh, NC

Photo Gallery: Mothers at Kings in Raleigh, NC

Madelyn Matthews

September 27, 2018

😉📸 @scottwillisphotography…

😉📸 @scottwillisphotography