State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Renae Gornick

Sounds Set To Host New Event on Friday, May 2nd!

Sounds‘ next event will be a combination open mic and band showcase on Friday, May 2nd in the Community Room (Room 201) of the State College Municipal Building. For the first hour and a half, musicians will be invited to perform for 5-10 minutes in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Then, stay and enjoy some great music with local band Here All Week!

We’ll also be featuring art for sale: whether it’s jewelry, wearables or colorful prints, it’s all local and affordable. Visual ARTISTS-Please submit your art by bringing it to the Community Room between 5-7pm on May 2. All art should be priced under $20. 50% of proceeds will go to the artists and 50% to Sounds to help us keep rockin’ 🙂 Event tickets are $4. For more information, please email Hope to see you there!

For more information about Sounds, check out the website or Facebook page!

Sounds is a local nonprofit organization that hosts music and art-centered events for young adults, 14 and up. We’ve been around for about a year and have had several local bands and musicians perform, as well as a couple of open mics. We encourage local artists to display and sell all kinds of art, from sketches and paintings to jewelry and other wearables, at events.

Because we don’t have a permanent space, we have events in various places downtown. So far we’ve had events at Webster’s Cafe, The Attic in the State Theatre and the Fairmount Avenue Building (Delta Program) auditorium. Our long-term goal is to have a space of our own that will be open all week after school/work. This place will have a variety of spaces, including a cafe, study space, pool table and dart boards, big screen tvs, a space to jam with house instruments, group study/art project space and a flexible stage that can accommodate anything from solo performers to full-size bands. We encourage and seek out input from current and potential audience members so that we can create the kind of events they will enjoy.

Trophy Scars Exceeds Expectations With New Album 'Holy Vacants'

Trophy Scars is a four-piece experimental rock/blues band originating in Morristown, New Jersey. Since their inception as a post-hardcore group in 2002, they’ve gone through several line-up changes, as well as a few drastic alterations in sound.

Their latest effort, the beautifully orchestrated, thematic Holy Vacants, was originally intended to be the band’s final effort; an epic coda. But what was initially expected to be their farewell release, instead morphed into a launching-off point of sorts, opening doors for the band that they once thought were soon to close. As vocalist/lyricist Jerry Jones stated, “When we started doing all the pre-production on Holy Vacants, we realized how much more we had to investigate in ourselves and what we were capable of.”

It’s been nearly three years since Trophy Scars’ last release, their Never Born, Never Dead EP; an exquisite half-hour slice of neo-psychedelia drenched in lysergic blues, which was triumphantly referred to by critics as “the kind of record that can make you believe in music again.”

Never Born, Never Dead, along with 2010’s Darkness, Oh Hell EP, was an assertive departure from their previous works, both musically and conceptually. Never Born, Never Dead focused on the cyclic nature of love and existence; employing reincarnation as its main lyrical theme, reaching far beyond the scope of their past albums, most of which were glaring accounts of turbulent past relationships and the physical loss of loved ones—sometimes cloaked in easily discernible metaphors, other times not—that vocalist Jerry Jones endured.

Never Born, Never Dead’s narrative revolves around the souls of two lovers fixed in time who have discovered the secret to life; that it never starts and it never ends. After bodily death, their souls reincarnate into a different body at a different point in time. The couple spends entire lifetimes trying to find each other once again, only to die, be reincarnated, and forced to start the search over; each song on the EP is seemingly representative of a different lifetime.

Hailed by critics as one of the best albums of 2011, Never Born, Never Dead may have left many wondering where Trophy Scars could go from there. Had they perhaps reached their apex? Holy Vacants answers that question simply: no, they have not.

Holy Vacants finds Trophy Scars borrowing sounds from a range of disparate genres, cultivating their own unique blend of progressive rock, classic blues, and a pinch of their post-hardcore roots crushed up and cut into the mix.

While Never Born, Never Dead traversed the idea of everlasting life through reincarnation, Holy Vacants explores the finite nature of existence, and how to combat it; in this case, through means of mercilessly slaughtering angels in an attempt to procure and drink their blood which contains the key to the fountain of youth, allowing the imbiber to not grow old and live forever.

Like its predecessor, Holy Vacants plot centers around two lovers. But instead of endlessly searching for one another in time, the renegade couple in Holy Vacants spends their eternal life cannibalizing angels and drinking their blood to stay young and in love forever.

The entire album is written with such careful detail that—coupled with the explosive, rock-opera-esque theatrics of the instrumentation—it almost feels as though you’re watching a film; which is befitting, as the album’s concept was adapted from  a 35-page screenplay written by Jerry Jones.

The brooding, post-rock intro track “Extant” kicks off the story in medias res, with Jones singing, “You were feasting on the body of an angel in a taxi cab / though the driver was scared / we paid him not to care.”

The gloomy opener transitions seamlessly into the overdriven “Qeres”, which again finds Jones utilizing his hyper-vivid writing style—which remains present throughout the entire album—singing, “Every angel inside your gut / Aching for your soul to suck / Screaming for their bodies back / In your digestive tract” with a croon that’s reminiscent of a frenzied Tom Waits.

The rest of the tracks on the album lie comfortably between bombastic, sleazy prog-rock and old fashioned blues; slowing down at times for songs like “Archangel” or “Everything Disappearing”. The album comes to a close with a short reprise sung entirely by vocalist Gabrielle Maya Abramson.

Holy Vacants will be available digitally and in stores April 21 in Europe and May 6 in North America, via UK-based label Monotreme Records.


Written by Mike Hassick

Get to know GDP: King of the underground

King of the Underground and quintessential do-it-yourselfer, GDP currently posts up a block from his lab in Brooklyn, but he hails from and represents West Orange, New Jersey. Between touring and cranking out jams on Run For Cover Records and his self-made label Smoker’s Cough, GDP stays grinding.

GDP’s been hustling CDs and rocking over 100 shows a year from the Jerz to Australia since 2007.

If you ask around, you’ll find out from fans and venue managers that GDP is the man in Jerz. G is a local giant and his voice radiates much farther than the Garden State. After hundreds of shows, GDP has amassed fat pockets of fans in cities across the country and around the world; he’s been everywhere.

Besides his diligence, startling rhymes and inventive wordplay, GDP’s most impressive quality is his range. Not many rappers pour themselves out with lines like “I’m haunted by your memory, everything you said to me, I let you get the best of me, but I was so temporary” in one song then blurt out something like “Tell your mom she left her pussy at my house” in another.

When you listen to his older albums like Involvement, Realistic Expectations, and Useless Eaters, you realize GDP is different than the average rhyme writers. The dude is college educated; he’s got ingenuity and informed opinions, but he also has street wisdom. G has written about everything from the corruption of politics and class inequality, the corporate world, drug addiction, troubled relationships, broken relationships, to the laughable and tragic products of human behavior.

GDP also raps about ladies and a variety of other vices, like one might expect from the typical spitters. However, there’s a different kind of realistic rawness in the way GDP hocks loogies. GDP caters to fans of traditional rap debauchery, but he strays from the same tired rhymes and easy clichés that many popular rappers use like crutches.

Not only does GDP transcend the lines of rap, his style expands borders. This excerpt from the song “Lawn Seats” illustrates that point:

“G’s style’s like, five different genres and Shape man the fort like Hotel Rwanda” “Rewind us. See if you can find us. Redefine what a rhyme was, son, wisen up.”

I wouldn’t consider those among GDPs most impressive lines, but they were too relevant to leave out.

If you follow any of the hyperlinks above, you might see that GDP is a couple shades different than what you’re probably used to. Here’s a couple more links to help you dive deeper into underground enlightenment.

Here is some of what GDP cranked out just in 2013.

Here is GDP’s Soundcloud.

Here is where you can listen to and download all of GDP’s official releases.

Here is his label Smoker’s Cough’s website, where you can find out more about GDP and other dope artists like Rosegold, Shape, Space Jesus, Aoi, DOS4GW and The Man From Somewhere Else or you can cop gear from the web store.

Speaking of cop, here’s what GDP did to a popular Rick Ross instrumental: BFF

Be aware, GDP is coming to a venue near you.



Written by Mark Evangelista

Come and "Rock your art out" Saturday April 5th!

“Rock your Art Out!” is Saturday, April 5th, and will feature nine local bands/musicians as well as a variety of local visual art for sale. Performers are: Cole Hons, LullaNAs, Talking To Strangers, Deb Gilmore, Soviet Bibles, Olivia Price, Here all Week, Sticker Kids and Mute Cities.

ARTISTS: All kinds of visual art are welcome, including wearables, and there is still have plenty of space for more art! Artists get 50% of profits and 50% goes to event co-host Sounds to help keep us rockin’! Please provide a pricetag, your name and a description of the art (if you’d like) along with your pieces. There will be volunteers to collect payment, keep track of different artists’ sales & distribute profits to artists at the end of the night.

Drop off of art to display and sell is between 1:30-5pm this Saturday April 5th (day of event) & pick up of profits/unsold pieces is between 10-11pm the same night. The drop off (and event) location is at the Fairmount Avenue Building Auditorium on the corner of Fairmount Ave and Frasier St in State College. The address of the building is 154 West Nittany Ave, State College, PA 16801, but the entrance to the auditorium/event is be on the Fairmount Avenue side of the building.

Email or call (814) 933-6731 with any questions. Sounds is online at and


"Rock Your Art Out!" & sell your art on Saturday, April 5th!

Get ready to “Rock Your Art Out!” on Saturday, April 5th from 6:30 – 10:30 p.m. at the Fairmount Avenue Building Auditorium.

The local non-profit organization, Sounds, will host the event along with a team of Penn Staters in a special event planning class, and will feature live music performances as well as local art for sale.”Rock Your Art Out!” will include performances by Cole Hons, LullaNas, Here All Week, Deb Gilmore, Soviet Bibles, Olivia Price, Talking To Strangers, Sticker Kids and Mute Cities.

Although performer spots are filled for the event, Sounds is still welcoming submissions of local art of all kinds to sell. Participating artists will receive 50% of the profits from their sales and food and beverages will also be available for sale. Tickets are $5 and are available in advance from performers or at the door.

Sounds is adding to State College’s live music scene by providing a variety of fun and alcohol-free late night music and art-centered events for community members of all ages. The organization currently holds music events in established venues, but aims to acquire a permanent venue where guests can hand out and enjoy a variety of music and art-centered events and activities.

Following two successful events held this year at Webster’s Bookstore and Café, and The Attic at the State Theatre, Sounds plans to begin offering monthly music-centered events in established downtown locations, with a goal of increasing to bi-monthly and weekly events.

Cleveland’s ultimate goal is for Sounds to have a permanent location with dedicated spaces for a café, studying, pool and darts, TV, house instruments to play, space for art projects, group study and gaming, a dance floor, and of course a flexible-sized stage featuring high quality sound. Other future aspirations are to have space for musicians to record, holding rock camps after school, and offering apprenticeships to learn how to run sound and lighting.

For more information about Sounds and to keep up with future events, check out their website or Facebook page Contact Misha Cleveland with questions at or (814)933-6731.

A Day Without Love releases two new tracks through 'Confessions of the Innocent Mind'

Emerging from their 2013 debut EP, Island, A Day Without Love announces the release of a new A/B side single on March 18, 2014. Confessions of the Innocent Mind is the product of a successful Kickstarter campaign led by songwriter and frontman Brian Walker, and features two songs (“Save”, “Exposed”) that redefine the band’s urgent introspection. Walker, a previously acoustic act now surrounded by a steady lineup of musicians, is quick to place heavy emphasis on the collaboration and co-writing that led to the final form of these songs.

The single was produced and engineered by lead guitarist Jake Detwiler (Josh Miller, When Ships Collide, Little War Twins) at Fresh Produce Studios and mastered by Ryan Schwabe (Hop Along, Algernon Cadwallader, Restorations) at Manic Mansion, both in Philadelphia.

Shortly after the release of the single, A Day Without Love plans to premiere their music video for the song “Exposed” in conjunction with Philly film collective, Downhill Productions. Listeners can expect a stretch of shows in venues, bars, and basements across the Tri-State area for the remainder of 2014.

Be sure to check out “Save” and “Exposed” below!

Keep up with A Day Without Love on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud and Bandcamp!