State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

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”

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.

Q&A: THE ABSOLUTE SKY DISCUSSES THEIR SENTIMENTAL SOUND

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This is the first installment of IndieU’s column in State in the Real. IndieU, similar to State in the Real, is a company that is dedicated to connecting college students to their local music scene. With its online music magazine steaming website (www.IndieU.com) and mobile app [download on iTunes & Google Play], IndieU offers a unique and valuable music-sharing platform that connects independent artists to college students. Keep an eye out for more IndieU column posts in the future!

If you want to learn everything there is to know about Penn State’s music scene, download the IndieU app TODAY.

This article originally appeared on IndieU’s website on October 7th:

http://www.indieu.com/article/entry/q-a-the-absolute-sky-discusses-their-sentimental-sound

 

By: Lauren Duncan and Kelly Xiang

Though founded in 2014, The Absolute Sky is a group years in the making. The friends-turned-bandmates formed from the ashes of a collection of high school projects, learning to make music together amidst weekend sleepovers and adolescent antics. Their brand of indie rock is reflective of their youthful spirit: vibrant, wild, and larger-than-life. The five-piece put out their debut album, Rurala, last March, and released their first single since the project, “August In Orange,” earlier this week. We recently caught up with their Penn State-based branch, drummer Joffrey Hoy and guitarist Jamie Lyons, discussing their mishmashed sound, the meaning behind their name, and what’s in store for the future.

How was the band first formed?

Jamie Lyons: We’ve been together since the summer of 2014, but have been kind of on and off being in bands with each other.

How would you describe your sound? Are there any artists in particular you would cite as an influence?

Lyons: Everyone asks us what our sound is all the time, but I never know the answer. I’ve been told we sound like Cage the Elephant, The Who and The Cavemen. Kind of like a ’90s sound. We try and make big, nostalgic music. We’re inspired by Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens and Kurt Vile kind of sounds.

Joffrey Hoy: In the simplest form, it’s rock music. We all like different music, so we try and combine those sounds.

What’s the significance behind your band name?

Lyons: Basically, the whole concept is that our singer [name] wanted to created a collective group where all of his friends could work together. He saw a picture of this guy with Absolut Vodka, and the word Absolut kind of stuck, and then the sky is obviously a huge kind of collective thing so it worked. He’d be able to explain it better, but that’s the main idea. Our original idea was Headshots for Happiness.

Hoy: We’ve had so many band names in the past, The Stowaways turned into Basement Culture and then we’ve had a few other collaborative things like Jesus on Rollerblades.

What were you listening to while making your past release?

Lyons: I was definitely listening to Radiohead at the time we made our new single. We were listening to nostalgic music. Atmospheric, intimate, melancholy music.

Hoy: We recorded this at Temple University’s recording studio, and in my garage I have a little loft area where we can record a lot of this stuff. We have a friend in another band called Reflexes, and he also helps record and produce a lot of our work.

You’re both seniors. Is there anything that you would want your freshman selves to know?

Hoy: I would tell myself to take a year off, save some money and think about a few things before rushing into college and switching my major around. I felt a lot of pressure trying to continue in a straight line.

Lyons: Think about what you want to do more, and try not to worry so much.

What can we expect from you in the future?

Lyons: For our next release, our writing process has been kind of scattered just because of school. We want to add more sound and make it bigger. We’re thinking of maybe brass or strings. We want it to be full.

Hoy: Our lead singer, Branden, has a few notebooks just full of future songs and ideas and lyrics. We’re working on a lot right now.

Lyons: As far as inspiration, our lead singer wrote some of the new stuff while he was going through some intense personal things, so the tone may be a little different than in the past. A lot of the music we’re making for it has been written over the last few years, so it varies.

Hoy: We’re planning on having another album coming out within the next year.

Anything else?

Lyons: Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams and do what you love. Support indie music.

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Dive Into This Shark Week Playlist

But seriously. What are you doing? If you have yet to catch an episode of Shark Week on Discovery Channel, at least celebrate with a shark week inspired playlist. The new playlist, released by Columbia Records, includes a variety of songs like Pharrell’s new track “Freedom” and Calvin Harris & Big Sean’s hit “Open Wide.” The playlist is sure to have you jammin’ out on the beach like Katy Perry’s Left Shark, so take a listen for yourself.

Jam on left shark. Jam on.

Los 5 Has The Perfect Summer Jam

Los 5 has made it to the top without even being signed. This is a credit to their infectious sound. The Latino pop group, all born in Mexico/Argentina, began making their mark in the U.S. after releasing their single “Manaña.” If you haven’t caught Los 5’s music bumpin’ on SiriusXM yet, you have probably heard them playing live shows and opening up for large artists like Fifth Harmony. Their ear catching music and good looks are even gaining them serious fan girl attention, which is well deserved. “Manaña” is easily the top-pick jam that will be hitting all the summer playlists faster than you can say “Me encanta!

In a sure fire summer song, check out their latest single, “Manaña” from the Latin pop group. Also we put together a small summertime playlist to get you in the mood for lounging out by the pool sipping on refreshing beverages.

Los 5 members

Los 5 members

 

 

Album Review: At.Long.Last.A$AP

 

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At.Long.Last.A$AP is A$AP Rocky’s first album as an established rapper. In the obvious sense of that statement, the album is Rocky’s second major label LP, and first after a breakout 2013 that featuring a hugely successful album and a monster single. In another sense, this album serves as Rocky’s chance to prove that he’s not like other rappers classified under trap rap, a genre that’s hit or miss at best.

A$AP Rocky knows this, and addresses it through the first track of the album. On “Holy Ghost”, A$AP spits “Satan’s givin’ out deals, finna own these rappers, the game is full of slaves and they mostly rappers”, setting himself apart from the obvious materialism that’s associated with mainstream rap today. “Holy Ghost”, along with the next three tracks on the album, open the listener up to A$AP’s hazy, acid-soaked world; his rise to and subsequent embracement of newfound fame. “L$D”, an honest love song to a drug that heavily influenced the album, also acts as Rocky admitting his love for his new life without obnoxiously boastful lyrics.

Throughout the album, Rocky balances out this new life by addressing his past, an angle that’s becoming more and more common in hip-hop (most notably through Kendrick Lamar). The one-two-punch of “Max B” and “Pharsyde” slows the album down to a thoughtful pause as the listener wades through intense lyrics and live instrumentation. The latter, one of four tracks produced by hip-hop and rock genius Danger Mouse, features some of the album’s most intense imagery. Rocky raps “back in my younger days or razor blades with gangs who bang and never stood a chance” over an eerie beat like an aged war veteran, but as he states, “If you seen the s**t that I’d have seen in 26 years of livin’, that’s how many f**ks I’ve given”.

A.L.L.A does offer a few less-introspective and club-focused tracks. “Electric Body”, which features an intense Schoolboy Q verse, and “M’$” contrast the albums slower moments with faster and louder ones. But At.Long.Last.A$AP isn’t complete without a few missteps. A rare subpar Kanye verse on the Ye-produced “Jukebox Joints” ends a song with beautiful production and great A$AP verses on a less-exciting note. Weak tracks include “Everyday” and “Excuse Me”, which interrupt a couple of great track-runs.

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And of course, it’s hard to think about A$AP Rocky without taking a moment to consider the recent death of A$AP Mob founder, A$AP Yams. The final track of the album, “Back Home” features a postmortem Yams monologue that ends with a proud, yet slightly bittersweet “A$AP B***H!”. Both a fitting end to the album and a necessary final goodbye, Rocky honors Yams’ life without focusing too much on his death.

On this album, Rocky does exactly what he needs to in order to remain relevant: he distinguishes himself and his sound, uses heavier subject matter, and continues to work with and learn from a group of legendary features and producers. While it’s not perfect, At.Long.Last.A$AP proves that Rocky is one of the more interesting mainstream rappers today, and one who’s best years are hopefully ahead of him.

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