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“The Chief” by Jidenna

By April Latham

Does anybody remember “Classic Man” and how big of a hit it was? Well that’s exactly how it feels to listen to Jidenna’s debut album, “The Chief.” Released February 17, it is already making news on social media. Just after listening to the first couple songs, I can already tell that this is a whole new side of Jidenna and I love it.

In the beginning of the album, the woman speaking tells Jidenna, “Jidenna, you are a stubborn bull…just like your father.” Already, that tells me that he is ready to prove something, and it’s that we’re in for greatness. We had a sample of the album from his hit single, “Long Live the Chief,” but little did we know that wasn’t going to be his best work. There are so many songs just as good or even better than LLTC that I felt like my head was going to explode.

A song that really stood out to me was “Helicopters/Beware.” They basically have the same meaning, but it’s told in two different styles and I find that so interesting. What I got out of it was that you need to be mindful of your surroundings and who you let in your circle. “Helicopters” is the hype part of the song, while “Beware” comes in to mellow everything out. All in all, I have to say that I am incredibly impressed with Jidenna’s debut album, and I’m excited to see where the future takes him.

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“Plural” by Electric Guest

By Jimmy Sears

A five-year absence brings about the return of Electric Guest, who released their first album in 2012. Their latest album, “Plural,” is the result of scrapping an entirely different album, which had to have been a huge toil for the band. Regardless, with immense effort, they return with a huge heart in hand hoping their music will get those who are down and turn their world upwards to lift their spirits.

My first impression was that the first track, “Zero’s” light, easy piano play and slow pace along with Asa Taccone’s high-pitched vocals felt somewhat conflicted, however the song picked up towards the end. As the song reaches its end, it concludes with a peaceful chord. This serves as a transition to “Glorious Warrior,” which is a bright track outlaid with a fast-paced tick along with a smooth beat that resembles a Florida sunset in the 80s.

Transitioning into track 3, “Back and Forth,” it becomes apparent that “Plural’s” strength lies within its variety and attempts to mix things up with its track placement, and each track tries to be original from the last. Perhaps my favorite track is “Sarah,” which may best resemble Capital Cities’ “Safe and Sound”; Synthesized drums, whistles, violin plucks, along with Toccone’s excellent vocal performance adorns this track to make for an astounding fair. Overall, I’m happy to say that “Plural” proved to be a good round-about, because each track brings something different, which makes me appreciate “Electric Guest’s” craft.

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“No Plan EP” by David Bowie

By John Samuel Mecum

David Bowie would have turned 70 last year. His final album, “Blackstar,” was released on Bowie’s 69th birthday. Two days later, Bowie unfortunately passed away after losing a longstanding battle with cancer that had been kept hidden from public knowledge. The first posthumous release from Bowie, a four song EP, titled “No Plan,” contains the final three songs recorded by Bowie, along with “Lazarus,” the single from “Blackstar.

The songs were recorded during the “Blackstar” sessions and reflect a certain acceptance of one’s fate and perhaps a little inspiration from it. Bowie sings, “This is no place, but here I am, this is not quite yet” on the title track for the “No Plan EP,” pondering his soon to be non-existence. On the song, “Killing a Little Time,” Bowie confronts the steadily approaching darkness with the line, “I’m falling, man/I’m choking, man/I’m fading, man/Just killing a little time.” “The No Plan EP” reveals an artist at his most vulnerable, with four very sincere last gasps of breath before crossing over to the other side. This is something all of us must confront at some point, and Bowie, once again, manages to do it with a certain style all his own.

 

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“Actually, Extremely” by Snooze

By Landen Winkles

Are you bored of the same progression in pop? Does it feel like rock and your favorite bands of the past haven’t quite whetted your whistle? Do you miss the fluid intricacy that you used to hear through the same old headphones? For my artist and album pick of the week, I found something that took me out of the normal standard for any sub-genre of rock I’ve heard before.

Snooze, a relatively new band dropped their album “Actually, Extremely” early this year on January 29. The band has been referred to as a project similar to Chon, You Blew It!, and Hail the Sun to name a few. The hard-technical sounds of this post-hardcore project meld throughout this album and truly give Snooze a unique flair. The album begins with “Hoo Boy,” an electronic and ambient track with no vocals that stands out as an intro that truly shows the band’s wide mix of flavor and heavy math rock tendencies. After the intro, we follow into my personal favorite song off the album, “Schrodinger’s Dimebag.” Here we’re introduced to the vocals of Peter Pappas, Logan Voss, and Cameron Grom. The soft and melodic singing shined its way into this album with wonderful accompaniment by the hard progression of each chord. Every song that follows feels like it builds into the one following it all the way to one of the best finishes to an album I’ve heard in years. “Hands Up” brings every piece in the album that found its way in this collaboration.

If you’re looking for a band with new and fresh taste with a more progressive and unique sound, Snooze is most definitely the project for you.

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“FRVR” by Two-9

By April Latham

On February 9, the Atlanta group Two-9 released their album, “FRVR.” Even though this group isn’t new to the music scene, this is the first time Two-9 has officially released an album. Much work went into this album, and you can tell that a lot of effort was put into it: Every song on the album features at least two artists. This lets listeners know that talent is everywhere in Atlanta.

I’ve never listened to Two-9 before this project, but after listening to the first track, “None of These,” I knew I was in for something great. The beat is mellow, yet strong at the same time. It reminds me of old school hip-hop with a splash of new age thrown in there. As the album goes on, it is consistent with that old and new feeling, but I will say that it progressively gets more intense with the production.

My favorite song on the album is “None of These”—hands down. I think the track’s placement is perfect because it snatched my attention. My second favorite song is “Family,” a song that has the potential to be a hit single. All in all, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoy this album.