State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Category - Penn State News Reviews and Interviews

Penn State Loves Kanye Like Kanye Loves Kanye

The hype for Kanye West’s show has been building up for months, since the news was released that Yeezus himself would be gracing Penn State with his presence once again.

I’ve never attended a Kanye show, but heard nothing but insane reviews of his performances. After seeing bits and pieces of his tours from the Kardashian’s and other celebrities’ Snapstories it was a no brainer that I had to attend a tour that was clearly making history.

I arrived at the BJC at 8 p.m. and it was mass chaos. Hundreds of students piled up at every single gate, many sporting very Yeezy like outfits with tall boots and dresses or the large oversized sweatshirts. Upon walking into the BJC crowds of people swarmed around the Merch booths, trying to get some hands on Kanye’s exclusive tour line.

Kanye Saint Pablo Merch

Kanye Saint Pablo Merch

Finally I was able to shuffle through the crowd and get to my seat, only to find an insane amount of people on the general floor section. At 9:15 p.m. on the dot, the BJC went black, and an ominous figure walked onto the platform on the far end of the floor on the BJC. The sides of the stage began to glow and Kanye was lifted above the floor spectators as the BJC erupted with applause and praise. Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 began to blair and everyone broke out into song with Kanye as he began to float over everyone.

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I heard rumors prior to the show that Kanye’s set list included 40 songs, but I thought there was no possible way he could even get close; I was absolutely wrong. He actually performed 32 songs in total, which is still a crazy impressive amount.

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Not only did he hit a ton of the tracks off his new album “The Life of Pablo” but went back to his iconic tracks like “Stronger”, “Jesus Walks”, “Touch the Sky” and a ton more I can’t even begin to list. The crowd completely lost it when he did a covers including “Pop Style”, “N****s In Paris”, and “FourFiveSeconds.” Kanye’s interesting performance style made the show even more unforgettable. He stopped songs multiple times after starting them and said “eh no bring it back, bring it back,” and would restart the song.

The entire concert was more like a spiritual experience rather than a show. Everyone around me suddenly became some of my closest friends, yelling every word of each song. Kanye’s concert defying stage and lighting took the show above and beyond my wildest expectations. Each movement of the stage was set perfectly for each track, my personal favorite being when he performed “Only One.” The floor of spectators filled up with smoke and the stage began to glow with one single light on Kanye, which made him look like he was in heaven.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Kanye’s Saint Pablo Tour is easily one of the greatest tours that hit the BJC this year. Between the stage and set, his setlist, and Yeezus himself the show was an unforgettable experience that will have me blaring Kanye weeks after.

If you want to relive one of the greatest Penn State concerts this year, check out the playlist below.

 

Shawn Fox Releases “Apricity”

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Earlier today, sophomore Shawn Fox released his anticipated freshman album, Apricity. It made its debut only a few hours ago; however, it’s been making waves since it was announced last month. Following the release of well-received singles, curiosity skyrocketed after Fox announced that 75% of album sales would go directly to the Four Diamonds Fund. While his dedication to the cause is a good reason all on its own to invest in the music, I do want to focus more on why you should support it because of the pure talent evident in the piece. He’s only 19, but his instrumentation and composing skills are completely beyond his years.

I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Shawn since his high school days. Writing with his talented brother, Ryan Fox, allowed me to get introduced to Shawn’s music, and being able to watch him grow as a songwriter gives me such a feeling of pride, as if he were my own little brother. He’s 4 years younger, but I will always look up to his remarkable ability to leave listeners feeling excited and fulfilled.

Something Fox has always been good at is writing catchy vocals that will get stuck in your head for days, and that gift is extremely evident throughout Apricity. His Brendon-Urie-esque vocals are powerful; however, what’s really impressive is how he uses dynamic instrumentation to take the pop genre in so many different directions. It’s a feel-good album – full of catchy vocal/synth lines and positive, reassuring lyrics – that makes you want to cruise down a tree-lined, fall-embellished highway. While each song gives off its own vibe (folk, beachy, rock, electronic), they all complement one another and create a sound that is solely owned by Shawn Fox.

A few months back, I asked Shawn what the inspiration for Apricity was, to which he responded:

“At the end of the day, I strive to write authentic and memorable songs that resonate with
people of all ages. I think music connects people in ways that merely talking does not.
Throughout the next couple years I hope to further develop myself as a musician and share my
music to the world. If one of my tracks can make you feel something and tap into that innate
sense of emotion many of us have, then I’ll know I’ve done my job.”

Well, Shawn, I can safely say that goal was met because I am one person who hears that lyrical authenticity and the emotional cohesiveness between the instruments and the lyrics. Some songs speak to the highs in life; others to the lows, but they work as a package to reflect the wonderful ride we can all relate to. So, hey, go and support a fellow Penn Stater, and support a lovely cause while you’re at it!

Apricity is now available for purchase on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify.

A Solid Debut: Tapestries

With their debut single, Colliding, Tapestries has hit the ground running since coming together. You may have seen this indie folk-rock trio around the State College area. The group is comprised of Olivia Price, Rashmit Arora and Zach Kramer.

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PHOTO BY KRISTIN CONSORTI

If you have not listened to Colliding, you’re behind schedule. Sometimes there is just nothing better than a softly played indie-folk song like this one. The lyrics are full of the groups poised smooth vocals. You see it all the time when production and instruments overpower talented voices. I can say confidently this did not happen in Colliding.

This is not a song, that you role down your windows, scream at the top of your lungs, and speed down the highway in, but this is the type that’s enjoyable laying by tree with your favorite book and some apple cider. With Tapestries, it’s not about virtuosity or overt intensity, it’s about the human element, the story, and the lives of people. This is a group you will surely want to look out for.

They were one of many acts to perform in the Palmer Art Museum this past May at Arts Crawl. Each has been playing their own music for awhile now, and have successfully merged into writing music together. You may have even recently seen them earlier this week at Picnic at the Folk Bazaar. Make sure you check out their Facebook page for upcoming events and listen to their song posted in this article!

The U: “For the Love of It”

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Penn State alum, The ‘U’ is back at it with a new music video, “For the Love of It”. The second single off of his debut album #NoDaysOff. The music video, directed by Randy Troy of Conviction Studios, is grand and fun music video that truly embraces the moniker of #NoDaysOff. The ‘U’ can be seen having a good time in a baseball stadium, shooting hoops in the park and at a party. With crisp visuals, this song and video will be a testament to those that work hard for what they have in life. Check out the video below.

 

For more details on The ‘U’ and his upcoming album go to his new website here. If you want your very own The ‘U’ T-Shirt and other merchandise, go to the website and cop yours before it is too late.

New Music Alert: Stuart Little

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Article Written By: Sydney Sweeney

 

With countless artists releasing new material and making waves, this year has undoubtedly been impressive for the quickly growing State College music scene. However, not many can parallel the success of Stuart Little, the hip-hop trio that just released their third single, “Let’s See.”

The story begins last year in Stuart Hall, where then freshmen floormates Joe Woodson and Mike Druhot met. They quickly began to record music together under the name Didier & SMG. With influences from Childish Gambino and Chance the Rapper,heir music began to attract attention  This past October they were invited to audition for the newly formed Happy Valley Music Label (HVML), the latest addition to an ever-growing roster of music-centered student organizations in Penn State’s DIY scene. Performing with only two microphones and prerecorded music on an iPhone, Stuart Little’s sound left a lasting impression on the HVML and the duo was signed to the label.

As the year progressed, the duo continued to evolve by changing their name and developing their sound. The most notable change came in the form of singer and fellow sophomore Leah Anderson, who was added to the mix this year. Her clean and powerful vocals provide balance and contrast to Woodson and Druhot and take their sound to a new level.

Despite it being their first official show with all three current members, Stuart Little was definitely a crowd pleaser at Movin’ On’s Battle of the Bands this year. As the audience surged forward to get as close as possible to the front of the stage, any doubts regarding their future in Penn State’s music scene were quickly resolved. Since then, the trio has appeared on PSNTV and played a multitude of shows, including an event for Penn State’s Homecoming Legacy Celebration.

“Let’s See” is a step in a different direction for Stuart Little as they continue to evolve as a group. The instrumental backing has become more minimalist than in their previous work, but “Let’s See” doesn’t feel empty as the trio’s vocals take center stage. While the track is closer in style to popular radio artists than their original influences, don’t assume that Stuart Little is “selling out” by any means. “Let’s See” is proof of their versatility as artists and their potential to continue growing. The rest is up to you, but one thing is certain: Stuart Little is quickly becoming one of State College’s most promising up-and-comers.

STUDENT RUN LABEL SEARCHING FOR NEW BANDS TO REPRESENT

 

HVML

Are you an up-and-coming band in the State College music scene? Well if you are, you’re in luck. Happy Valley Music Label, Penn State’s first student run music label, is looking for bands/artists to represent for the upcoming year. HVML was founded in 2014 in order to give local bands and artists the chance to get exposure both on campus and in the local community. After a successful first year, the label is looking for new bands/artists to represent. HVML is comprised of four committees: booking, promotions, A&R and a business team. These committees, whose members are all students, work to book artists in local venues, gain publicity in the campus and local community as well as oversee and help artists record their original music.

HVML currently represents some of State College’s most popular local artists. Their roster includes Keegan Tawa, Lenina Crowne, Mute Cities, Port Vue and more.

If you are interested in being represented by HVML, please visit their website!