State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Category - Penn State News Reviews and Interviews

LOCAL SPOTLIGHT: My Brother, The Hunter

The Philly/Jersey area is a breeding ground for pop punk darlings. Over the years, these two neighboring cities have given rise to some of the hottest acts in the genre—The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Major League, The Front Bottoms and Modern Baseball, to name just a few—and the scene shows no signs of slowing down.

Cut from the same cloth is My Brother, The Hunter, a band who clearly idolizes their hometown heroes. Their debut album, World Weary Youth, plays like a stripped-down greatest hits set from any one of the aforementioned groups. In fact, the group’s only cover song on the album (The Story So Far‘s “Clairvoyant”) blends so seamlessly into the mix that an unfamiliar listener might mistake the track for an original piece.

World Weary Youth is wonderfully sad, naive and personal. An acoustic mix of melancholy instrumentation backs lead vocalist Connor Gebhardt as he croons about being jaded by the thriving local scene (“Another pop punk show/I can’t relate to all these band’s lyrics that I don’t know”), confused by society’s facade (“All the picture-perfect people pass perfectly by/leaving the rest of tired and wondering why you bother with your masks/What have you got to hide?/Who are you trying to impress?”) and beaten down by painful heartache (“I used to love your writing/Now it’s the last thing I wanna see/Now it’s never about me”). My Brother, The Hunter is quite a mess, and that’s exactly what keeps things interesting.

Check out World Weary Youth below. If you like what you hear, make sure to visit My Brother, The Hunter on Bandcamp for a name-your-price download of the album.

State In the Real Interviews The ‘U’ & Eddie Heartthrob


On Tuesday December 2nd, Eisenhower became the showcase for a rap spectacle. The headliner, Kid Ink, and opening for Kid Ink, was Penn State’s own The ‘U’. Performing for what initially was a very stagnant crowd, the PSU alum got everyone going, and the crowd suddenly sprung out of their seats and moved to the front of the stage where they bounced along to the stylings of The ‘U’ and Eddie Heartthrob. Back by the always fun Keegan Tawa, they trio put together a tight set that everyone could vibe to. They even took the time out of their set to take a moment to recognize Ferguson. After the concert, I had the opportunity to interview the two rappers after the show. Take a peek below.

Matt Fell: Catch Him If You Can

Following the modest success of his pop/hip-hop duo, Heyyo, Matthew Fell (junior telecommunications major, music tech minor) has recently debuted three songs from a promising self-entitled solo project.  Earlier in the month, the local artist prescribed us all a taste of two originals: “Best Thing So Far” (folk-pop) and “Walking These Streets” (electronic indie-pop.)  However, what sets his latest release, “Catch Me If You Can,” apart from the rest is the degree to which it showcases the very thing that drove Heyyo to obtain its immediate 50,000+ plays: Fell’s catchy vocal riffs and amazing production skills.

In a brief interview, Matt expressed that “Catch Me If You Can” was written to both lyrically and melodically convey the breaking of routine to achieve a goal on your own terms.  Perhaps a commentary on society at large, the lyrics illustrate the well-known discouragement that derives from falling into a seemingly generic way of life.  Especially at our age, it’s so easy to just follow the path that has been placed before us, even if we know it’s not the one that will truly make us happy.  Matt Fell inspires us in the chorus to reject what society tells us should make us happy and pursue the thing that could fulfill our own, unique lives.  He exceeds at proclaiming his admirable message sonically by experimenting with his songwriting, showing the world that he really is stepping outside of his comfort zone.

I’m an advocate of pursuing your dreams, I’m an advocate of going against the grain, and I’m an advocate of Matt Fell and the talent he has yet to share with the world.  Catch him if you can because he’s about ready take off.

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Here at State In The Real, we would like to take a moment, during this busy thanksgiving holiday, to appreciate all of the songs that each of us is thankful for. Take a moment to read about which songs we chose and why we are thankful for them. Then, have a listen to the playlist.

Eric Dowling – For this year, I am thankful for “Wonderful Everyday” by chance the rapper. I am thankful for it because it brings a sense of nostalgia to a genre that is conceived of being about drugs and women, and this song celebrates the greatness of life.


Ben Rappaport – For this year (and every year), I’m thankful for “Runaway” by Kanye West. I am thankful for it because everyone needs a time to reflect on themselves and listening to “Runaway” allows you to look deep within yourself and be consumed by a ballad that connects your emotions to your actions. Also pianos in rap songs are dope.

Olivia Price – I’m thankful for “Fake Empire” by the National because it challenges listeners to view our generation from a third party perspective. It sheds light on how we distract ourselves with artificial, superfluous things to avoid thinking about the bigger issues. It was really eye-opening for me the first time I heard it, and it still reminds me to value the finer things in life.

Cris Gutierrez – For this year, I am thankful for “Take Me To Church” by Hozier. With music becoming more and more superficial, Hozier is one of the few remaining bright spots. He embodies what music is all about and he’s an artist full of passion. To put it simply, “Take Me To Church” is a work of art, the song is all about a perfect moment with someone you love, but not being able to truly express yourself with the influence of society’s judgment. This break, just be yourself and stand up for what’s right.

Stephanie Davis – I’m thankful for “Out Getting Ribs” by King Krule. Though it seems simple at first listen, the song has a hauntingly beautiful guitar tune and bittersweet lyrics about desire and longing. King Krule (aka Archy Marshall)’s creative genius at the young age of 20 & his unique combination of punk rock, jazz, and even some elements of hip-hop makes him, in my opinion, one of the most exciting artists in music right now.

Henry Ulysses Englert – I am thankful for “Clique” by Kanye West, ft. Big Sean and Jay-Z. This song is about true friendship, a thing Ye, Jay, b.i.g, and I value more than anything. But when I am not with them doing donuts in Ye’s orange Lambo Mercièlago, I also enjoy spending time with my poorer, more homely friends in the city. They are the real MVPs, as genuine, non-hating, dope azz, 03′ Honda Accord-owning people are hard to find in this crazy post-industrial world. My crew deeper than Wu Tang.

Jonathan Lui – Seahaven’s “On The Floor” is a song that I will always be thankful for. The whole composition of the song lends itself to a hauntingly sad atmosphere. While the subject matter may not be ground breaking, the band manages to uniquely describe the process of dealing with an unhealthy relationship/past through their lyrics. If you love yourself go listen to more Seahaven.

Tariq Rashid – I’m thankful for “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake feat. Majid Jordan. This heartfelt Drizzy ballad has become a standard when I want to get in my feels. Everyone’s dealt with tender tale of seeing the potential in someone who people disregard as bad for you. You look past the criticism and through to love. I’m sniffling as a write this. Thank you Drake. I want this played at my wedding.

Emily Foster – LCD Soundsystem’s “All of my Friends” is a song I am always thankful for. The song accuratey represents what it’s like to be at this weird transitional stage in life. I can listen to it no matter if I’m happy, sad, confused and it still somehow explains what I’m feeling.

Aizya McGee – I’m thankful for “Clouds” by One Direction, and their whole album really. It never fails to put me in a good mood, and sometimes I like upbeat pop music to be playing in the background of everything I do (homework, driving, procrastinating). Plus, their first album came out my freshman year, so it’s like they’ve grown with me these past three/four years. Or something.

Collin Edgar-Smith – I’m thankful for “They Want My Soul” by Spoon. The title track from their latest album, this song takes a jab at shallow people living hollow lives. Britt Daniel provides a much needed check for a music scene overpopulated by soulless, educated folk singers.

Leya Ramer – As I look forward to the next month and my impending graduation in December, I am thankful for the song “Drinking Class” by Lee Brice. This song reminds me of my roots and how hard my family has worked to allow me to get where I am today. Not to mention the drum piece in this song is killer.

Artist To Watch: Goldsmith

Former Penn State student, and rapper/ DJ Goldsmith, has released a new album. To coincide with the release of his new album, Goldsmith has remixed the incredible Chvrches song “The Mother We Share” adding his own lyrics to the song while sampling Laura Mayberry’s extremely distinct vocals from the song. Goldsmith’s lyrics bring a whole new element to the Scottish electronic/ Alternative group. With Chvrches being huge hip hop fans themselves, the addition of rap is something that seems very natural. With Goldsmith’s new verses, the song has added depth. Rapping about a lost and complicated love, Goldsmith’s flow is very distinct, with heavy breath rapping, the whole atmosphere of the song adds to his vocals. The song is 100% worth checking out, and is a definite for anyone who is a fan of Chvrches and rap.



PSU Hip-Hop Artist Releases "One-Take" Video To End Year Long Hiatus

After taking off more than a year and a half from releasing, the King of Prussia native and Penn State student Malik Elarbi is back with one of his most intricate videos to date. Directed by Miles Cable, the single take video will have you going back over and over looking for all the hidden messages Elarbi leaves in the background. Combined with the always-impressive production from Aaron Cipala, the opening piano line will have you hooked from the get-go. Not to mention the phenomenal engineering from Nick Kermelewicz that will have you humming the hook in your head for days to come.


Following two co-ops at Unilever and Johnson & Johnson to support his field of studies in Finance and Supply Chain, Malik has finally found a way to balance his interest in business along with his love for music. Starting in January, Malik will be heading to Seattle for a third co-op with Amazon before returning to The Smeal College of Business in Fall 2015 for the final two semesters of his senior year. In the off time, Elarbi also launched Malik Elarbi Studios to support undercover artists in his hometown of King of Prussia, PA. Keep an eye out for more releases from Elarbi in the near future!

He might have taken a break, but in true Penn State fashion, Malik is back and better than ever.

Go check him out on social media: