State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Atisha Lulla

High Hopes for Kodaline

Dublin based alternative rock band Kodaline released the music video for their song “High Hopes” a little more than a month ago, and it is already nearing a million views. Their music video features Irish Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham. The video starts off with Cunningham about to commit suicide, but is soon distracted by a runaway bride. They fall in love and seem to be living happily ever after, until they are both shot by the runaway brides’ ex-fiancé. As of now, their happily ever after does not seem to be that happy. The video ends making it seem as if they both survived, but I think there is a possibility that Cunningham is just imagining her presence. “How this world keeps spinning around” are the last words ending the song. Even though he will miss her dearly in order to live, he has to let her go and start again.

The purity of Kodalines’ music is so refreshingly honest. The way they write is somewhat magical, almost making you feel the feelings they have experienced. Steve Garrigan (vocalist) says that for them “music isn’t just music, it’s therapy.” “When we write music, the first thing we think of is, it’s therapy for us. Then we think of how we can use that feeling to touch as many people as possible.” They are a brilliant band and are beginning to become increasingly popular in the U.S. Check out some of their tracks below!

Kodaline – “High Hopes”

Kodaline – “All I want”

Kodaline – “Perfect World”

The Avett Brothers Release New Video!

The Avett Brothers are a folk/rock/country band from North Carolina. The band consists of brothers Scott (guitar/vocals) and Seth Avett (Piano/vocals), Bob Crawford (Double Bass), Joe Kwon (Cello), and Jacob Edwards (Drums). The Avett Brothers have just recently released their music video for their track “February Seven”, which is one of my favorite songs off of their Grammy nominated album, The Carpenter. Throughout The Carpenter, songs vary from being about relationships to reflections of the meaning of life. In an interview I watched, Scott Avett said that “February Seven” is about a lesson he learned on February seventh. He didn’t say much more, but I guess he is just leaving space for listeners to interpret it in their own way. The video begins with Scott and Seth arguing, making me hope that it was just part of the script, and I believe it was. The song starts off with the lovely finger picking and vocal stylings of Scott Avett, leading in Seth’s harmonies, the cello, and the bass, followed by a brilliant melody on the piano. Most of this video takes place at Cline’s Antiques, which is located in Mt. Pleasant North Carolina. Check out the video below!

Nina Nesbitt – "Just Before Goodbye"

Nineteen year old Scottish singer/songwriter Nina Nesbitt released the video for her song “Just Before Goodbye” from her Stay Out EP, which is being released April 8th. There is something so honest in the way she writes and sings her storytelling lyrics. When I first heard her sing, I thought to myself that she sounded like a girl version of Ed Sheeran, so simple yet so sweet. Little did I know, at the beginning of this year she actually got the opportunity to tour with Sheeran around Europe. Ed Sheeran then featured Nesbitt in his “Drunk” music video. Nesbitt started her music career by writing and recording songs and then uploading videos to YouTube. Once again the magic of social media has helped a well deserving artist get discovered. Check out her new track below!

Nina Nesbitt – “Just Before Goodbye”

Ed Sheeran – “Drunk”

Nina Nesbitt – “Stay Out”

Penn State Local Artist – Jeremy Fretz!

Jeremy Fretz is a recent Penn State alum who graduated this past December, with a degree in Supply Chain Management. He is 23 years old and just moved to Oregon with his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. Jeremy is now working for Intel. When I first saw Jeremy’s videos I was amazed by his finger picking skills on his guitar. His original songs are very uniquely refreshing compared to what you are used to hearing from a guitar. He is extremely talented, check out our interview and his amazing originals below!

SITR: How long have you been playing the guitar?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 (9 years).

SITR: Who are some of your musical influences?
I was involved in rock and jazz groups in high school. One day I saw a YouTube video of Justin King playing his song “Phunkdified,” which included guitar techniques such as slap/pop, two hand tapping, harmonics, flamenco strumming and was played in an open tuning. I learned the song, then started listening to similar artists such as Erik Mongrain (my favorite finger style guitarist), Antoine Dufour, and Andy Mckee. I started teaching myself to play like these guys and never really looked back; finger style guitar has always been the easiest medium for me to express myself musically.
Although these guys are all big inspirations to me, I rarely listen to finger style guitar music. It’s a strange musical genre since it is more defined by the instrument and techniques used, rather than the actual composition or feel of the song. I think this is really cool however, because you can be a ‘finger style guitarist’ and play folk, jazz, blues, classical, rock and anything else you might be able to come up with. Currently I’m listening to a lot of Grimes, Purity Ring, Dirty Projectors, Tame Impala and Joanna Newsom.

SITR: What is your favorite song to play? Do you prefer covering other artists’ songs or playing your own?
There’s nothing like playing your own composition, and I really enjoy playing my song “Goodnightmare”. Scott Joplin’s “Rags” is also really fun to play on piano though.

SITR: What are some of your musical goals? (Where do you see you and your music within the next few years?)
I competed in the 2011 Canadian Finger style Guitar Competition, where I was judged by some of the best and most famous finger style guitarists in the world. It was an unbelievable experience, but unfortunately I did not place. My #1 musical goal is to revisit the competition with some new material (Ambulanima) and walk away in the top 3.

SITR: Have you performed any shows at Penn State?
I used to play at Jamaica Junction frequently, as well as Webster’s, The Phyrst, some THON benefit shows, and I placed second in a talent show in 2010.

SITR: If you could open for any artist, who would it be?
Joanna Newsom.

SITR: What inspires you for your original music?
I know a lot about music theory, but when I’m composing I almost always use open tuning (where you tune the guitar strings to a chord instead of the standard tuning). This forces you to forget about all the chord shapes and scale patterns you knew, and just let your musical instincts find the right notes. It also allows you to use more harmonics in a song since they are all tuned to the same chord.
The most challenging part is finding that logical flow between bass line, melody and percussion. It’s like putting a puzzle together, there is usually a pattern that allows them to all coexist, but that doesn’t mean that it will be easy to play. It’s very inspiring to me when I learn, let’s say an Erik Mongrain song, which sounds impossible to play but turns out to be pretty easy. The genius is in designing the composition so that it can be played effortlessly.


Sphere of Nothingness:


Are You Ready For Valentine's Day?

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and I have the perfect song for you to sing to your Valentine!

American Singer-Songwriter Kina Grannis, launched her music career by being the winner of the Doritos Crash the Superbowl contest. This victory got her signed with Interscope Records. Grannis also had some previous success of her own, by building up over half a million subscribers on her YouTube channel. Her most recent stop-motion animated music video has gained much attention due to the use of over 280,000 jelly beans. The video took 22 months, 1,357 hours, 30 people, 2 ladders, and one still camera. Check it out below!

Of Monsters and Men Releases New Mystical Music Video!

Indie/folk/pop group, Of Monsters and Men, are most well-known for their song “Little Talks”, which is their lead song from their album My Head Is an Animal. Just several days ago they released their music video for another song off of that album called, “King and Lionheart”. The music video gives off a very mystically alluring vibe, as it tells a story of a girl following a light in a world full of darkness, in order to save her younger brother. The video keeps you on the edge of your seat, as you wonder if the girl and her brother will ever be reunited. Of Monsters and Men never seem to disappoint with their magnificent visual effects, check it out below!