Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Update

Before I get started writing about the new Wonder Years album, I just wanted to give an update about Genre Buzzword. I am planning on overhauling the website at some point in the near future so it looks a little more professional, and I hope to update more regularly. As some of you may know, I do reviews for a site called The New Scheme now, and I plan on using Genre Buzzword to be a blog where I write about music in a little bit of a different way and try some new things. That's about it, and hopefully I can get Genre Buzzword looking better soon!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Looking Forward

I am finally done with college after taking my last final Thursday afternoon! I can't believe how fast my years in college have gone by, it seems like it was just yesterday that I was packing up to move on campus. I am pretty excited to be finished and start my new job as a reporter.

I have been kicking an idea around about what I wanted to do with Genre Buzzword now that I no longer need it for a class requirement, and I came up with a few ideas. I don't want to spill the beans just yet, but I have some pretty big goals of what I want to do with the blog. I am pretty excited to get started and hopefully everything works out. I will keep this entry short and sweet, but since today is rainy and crummy, I wanted to post the perfect rainy day song (in my opinion anyway). Enjoy!

Gregor Samsa "Jeroen van Aken" from r. alverson on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

This is it!

Finally! The last week of classes is about to start and I am only a few classes and some finals away from finally finishing up my undergrad degree. I am feeling a mixture of excitement and uneasiness as I prepare to leave SUNY Oswego, a school that felt like a perfect fit the first time I stepped on campus as a transfer student almost 3 years ago. This summer I will be getting married to my fiancee who I met on campus, getting my journalism degree, and working full-time. After always saying "I can't wait to be in college/out of college" through my teenage years, that day is finally here. It is both extremely exciting and terrifying all at the same time.

I enjoyed writing music posts to share with everyone in CRW 408, but this marks the final blog entry for that class. I am glad we had to keep these blogs because it helped keep me writing at a time where it would have been easy to simply stop. I plan on using this experience as a stepping stone to continue this blog and also continue writing album reviews like I used to do in the past.

Since it has been a habit of mine to post music videos/songs with my entry, I felt it would only be fitting to post this to sort of tie in to finally graduating from college :

Around graduations it's tradition for people to feel nostalgic about high school, college, friends and everything that comes with leaving simpler times behind for a world full of new responsibilities. That being said, here is a playlist that represents my time in college and high school and all the memories that go with those times.

Unfortunately there wasn't an official video for this song.

I wish everyone luck on their finals and congratulations to my fellow seniors!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Songs To Get Through The Last Few Weeks

The last few weeks of the semester is the most dreaded time amongst college students. It is when many major projects and assignments are close to being due and still many more assignments are given out. Whether it is writing lengthy research papers, preparing for final tests and exams or simply fighting off fatigue, the end of a semester is when most college students hit maximum stress levels and simply put their heads down and plow through the last few weeks as best they can.

Music is many college students' best friend during these stressful times. When you are spending hours in front of your computer screen working on assignments, nothing makes time go by faster than opening up iTunes and listening to music. It helps make the homework process a lot more bearable and takes your mind off of how much work is still left to be finished. When choosing music to listen to while doing work, it is best to choose something unobtrusive in order to maintain your focus on the task at hand. Below is a list of songs and/or artists I listen to in order to get through large amounts of homework.

American Analog Set - American Analog Set was an Austin, Texas based indie band that created lush, acoustic driven soundscapes that seemed to wrap the listener in its organic sound. This is the perfect study music in my opinion and I have written numerous papers with their albums on repeat. You cannot really go wrong with any of their albums or songs, but here is one of my favorites:

Ryan Adams - Although I said to pick music that does not make you lose your focus (anything really energetic, loud, etc), it is important to have some music that is relatively upbeat to help bring you out of the doldrums of the end of the semester. My go-to Ryan Adams album for studying would have to be Gold. The perfect blend of quiet songs and upbeat rockers that make you sing along, Gold will help wake you up if you are fighting off late-night fatigue. Here is my all-time favorite song off this album

Elliott Smith - Elliott Smith's early material had all the feeling of home-recorded songs that seemed to be little more than a man and his guitar. His soft vocal delivery and hushed music is excellent for studying. A lot of his songs are depressing to a degree, but that will at least relate to the stress of knowing you are so close to the end of the school year, yet have so much work to do.

What are your favorite artists to listen to while studying? I know that when the semester is over, I will celebrate by listening to this.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Getting The Band Back Together

It seems that in the past few years, many older bands have decided to dust off the cobwebs and reunite. Whether it be for new shows, new recordings or both, there is nothing more exciting then bands you love getting back together. This especially applies to people who became a fan of a band long after the band has broken up and finally gets to see that band perform or older fans who always longed for new recordings of their favorite band. This week I want to look at some bands that I grew up listening to (and in some cases still do) that have reunited.

Braid - Easily the greatest news so far of 2011 is the fact that Braid is reuniting to record new songs for an EP, their first release since 1998's Frame & Canvas. Although there is much debate on what genre they fit into, for better or worse they are seen as one of the greatest emo bands to come out of the '90s. They are back in the studio with producer J Robbins and to say I am excited to hear the new songs would be an understatement. This is one reunion I hopes lasts for awhile and brings about another full-length records.

Further Seems Forever - While many people reading this blog may not recognize this band, they will recognize the name of the original lead singer - Chris Carrabba, who most people know through his project, Dashboard Confessional. The band originally formed with Carrabba as the vocalist in 1998 and released their debut The Moon Is Down to positive reviews. Carrabba eventually left the band in 2000 in order to focus on Dashboard Confessional, but still recorded The Moon Is Down, which was released in 2001. Over the course of the band's next two albums, each album featured a different vocalist. Finally, Carrabba rejoined the band in 2010 and has been performing shows with them and writing new material.

I am super excited about this reunion as The Moon Is Down is one of my favorite albums and I always liked their material with Carrabba the best. I cannot wait to hear how the new songs turn out. For any who absolutely hate Dashboard Confessional, I would still give this album a chance, the music is vastly different.

Taking Back Sunday (Tell All Your Friends line-up) - When I heard that John Nolan and Shaun Cooper would be rejoining Taking Back Sunday after leaving the band in 2003, my younger teenage self went absolutely crazy. I listened to Tell All Your Friends from start to finish thousands of times since it came out and it served as my soundtrack for much of high school. I knew every word of every song by heart. I am still unsure of how excited I should be though. Although I still love Tell All Your Friends, I am worried that I may have "grown out of" the sort of music that Taking Back Sunday plays. I am also worried that the new songs won't be as good as Tell All Your Friends was. Not that I am expecting them to recreate that album, but I am hoping they can at least recapture some of the energy that really made that album special. After hearing the studio version of "El Paso", I am a little worried because it just didn't do anything for me, but the live versions of other new songs sound great. I guess I will find out on June 28th when they release the new, self-titled album

Are there any bands you wish would get back together and perform again? Share them in the replies!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Black Flag, Henry Rollins, and Storytelling

After debating whether or not I would ever get a tattoo since I turned 18, I finally took the leap this weekend. After much thought I decided to go with a design that actually fits within the scope of this blog: The iconic bar logo of 80's hardcore band Black Flag. The reason I decided to get the tattoo ties both into how much I enjoy the music and what it means to me and how much I respected the members for their contributions to music. I could spend days writing about the history of Black Flag and everything they endured over their career, but I will stick to the basics. They basically blazed a trail for underground bands and played all over the country, even in states where they may not have drawn a large crowd. Their sound influenced a slew of hardcore bands and grunge bands and their legacy is still felt even today. They ran their own label and endured touring conditions that would send most bands packing. They had things thrown at them constantly, people would hit them during sets, and yet they never relented and gave everything they had each show.

I finally had the opportunity to get the bars tattoo and I jumped at the chance and never looked back. Although I know many people reading this blog may not enjoy the music, I hope that there is at least an appreciation for the legacy the band has left behind. They are basically responsible for creating a DIY touring network that many underground bands still utilize.

Vocalist Henry Rollins went on to write numerous books, release spoken word albums, record music under the Rollins Band moniker, and appear in movies. You might have even seen him in "The Chase" with Charlie Sheen, the "Jackass" series, Bad Boys 2, etc. I love Henry Rollins' spoken word performance, he is an excellent storyteller and has some incredible stories. Below is one of my favorite stories, where Henry details his audition for "Death To Smoochy" and reading for the part in front of director Danny DeVito. You may be surprised at the outcome, I know I was. Even if you just scan this entry, if nothing else please, please, PLEASE watch this clip. It's hilarious and if nothing else you will gain insight into what it is like auditioning for movie roles.

 Do any of you have any tattoos that mean something special?

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blog Spotlight: Daytrotter

Today I chose to write a blog entry that spotlights one of my favorite music websites, Daytrotter. There are tons of music blogs out there all trying to gain your attention and pitch the next big band, but Daytrotter stays away from all of that. The idea behind Daytrotter is band's who are on tour will often stop by the Daytrotter studios and record four songs that are then posted on the website free of charge, along with superbly written articles by Sean Moeller and illustrations of the musician by Johnnie Cluney. All songs of the songs are recorded live, without overdubs, at The Horseshack studio in Rock Island, Illinois to analog tape which is later transferred to an MP3 file. The result of these sessions is often a raw, unfiltered glimpse of the band at that particular moment. Rather than talk your ear off about the history of the site, here is a trailer of a documentary about the website and studio:

While many of the artists on the site a smaller, indie bands that you may be unfamiliar with, Daytrotter has also done Daytrotter Sessions for Death Cab For Cutie, The Avett Brothers, Ok Go, Old 97's, Pete Yorn and Rooney. Here are my three favorite Daytrotter Sessions:

The Avett Brothers - This is one of my all-time favorite Daytrotter Sessions. The band's take on bluegrass and emotional lyrics are best suited in a live setting in my opinion, and this session captures everything that is great about this band. Listen to the live version of "Laundry Room".

Bon Iver - This one made the list for the same reason as The Avett Brothers session. For those who do not know the back story of how Justin Vernon recorded his debut album For Emma, Forever Ago, Vernon moved into his father's cabin in the woods of Wisconsin. During the winter at the cabin, where he was by himself, he recorded the album. His songs are introspective, largely acoustic affairs and I like to think these Daytrotter Sessions sound like what the songs must have sounded like in that cabin as he wrote them. "Re Stacks" is a must listen.

The Hold Steady - The Hold Steady are easily one of my favorite rock bands and I would love to see them in a small venue someday. However, until that happens, this session is the closest I will get. The live recordings fits their style of bar-room worthy rock and roll well and these songs are in constant rotation on my MP3 player.

I hope everyone enjoys these sets or finds some that they like on the site! They post new sessions almost daily, so check back frequently!