State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Olivia Price

ICYMI: Wyndwood Releases “Be Something”


At the very core of the punk genre is the jaggedly beautiful mentality to create solely for yourself – to disregard conventional standards and adopt a self-fulfilling path. A little over a month ago, Philly-based artist Bill Magerr (AKA Wyndwood) released a 5-song EP that adopts this purist approach to writing, using both gritty vocals and reflective lyrics to convey a journey of self-discovery. Laced with folk undertones, “Be Something” possesses a sense of awareness. The confessions and realizations of Magerr are familiar ones we can all identify with and hear coming from the lips of our closest friends and loved ones.

It’s the product of 1+ years of modestly writing and recording in various basements, bedrooms, and attics across the Philadelphia area. Relatively speaking, he didn’t make much of a fuss about its release, so it easily may have undeservedly slipped under your radar. The nonchalant nature of its presentation to the world reflects the man behind it in full. Magerr, for all intents and purposes, appears to be your average guy. Decked out in blue jeans and a t-shirt, his down-to-earth demeanor causes initial shock once he takes the stage. His musicianship has a presence that begs to draw attention to it.

With the exception of mixing/mastering (credited to Philadelphia’s QQQ),  Magerr’s multi-faceted skills were in full display throughout the creation of “Be Something.” Not only is every aspect of the vocals/instrumentation all him, the lyrics involve personal subject matters, so by the end of the last song, you’re left with an unresolved intimacy. Whether that derives from an empathetic understanding of the emotions outlined in the lyrics or from a respect for the honesty-cradled words, listening to it just feels right.

In a brief interview with the 20-something, I felt as though I got to see a snippit of just how impassioned he actually is about his work: “I work on my songs like persuasive essays or something. I feel like I have to get this point across to you in the best way possible so maybe I can help you feel something like I feel if only for a minute.”

As his comforting raw voice sings soulful self-convictions over the steady guitar, it’s impossible to deny Magerr knows how to speak to an audience on a personal level.  He admits that the songs featured on this EP are happier-sounding than older ones, but that this new stylistic direction still complements the apathetic and melancholic emotions that have always driven his writing process.

“I make this music to understand and accept myself . . . I don’t concern myself with trying to write something “new” or “fresh” I just want to write stuff that I like to play and stuff that I like to hear.”

Wyndwood will be performing these lovely songs at his upcoming cassette release party (under the wing of Milkbeard Records) this Sunday, January 31 in Philly. Click here to join the event.

“Be Something” is currently available for streaming/downloading/purchasing on Bandcamp.

Shawn Fox Releases “Apricity”

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.

TAWA Releases New Track “Ours to Own” ft Zach Kramer

Local electronic musician, Keegan Tawa, has quite literally just released his last original piece as a Penn State student. The senior teamed up with Mute Cities drummer Zach Kramer and lyricist Myles Billard once again to end on a brilliant note.  Listen closely to the lyrics, and you’ll hear allusive references to past songs.  We’ll miss you, Tawa! Keep making beautiful music!


Lenina Crowne EP Release Party

Lenina Crowne has been busy off creating its secret weapon this semester, and after a lot of hard work and a lot of assistance from Kickstarter funding, the band is finally ready to unleash it.

Come on out to Chronic Town this Friday, April 24th to celebrate the release of Lenina Crowne’s long-awaited EP, Try a Gramme! An $8 charge at the door gets you in for the good times and sets you up with a digital download key code.  If you’re feeling extra supportive, bring extra cash to get your hands on some fresh, funky Lenina Crowne merch.



Songwriters Club Presents: An Evening with Shane Henderson & Mark Rose


Much like the Koffee with Koji event Songwriters Club held last semester, this event is sure to be a wonderful, intimate night of cafe-style food/beverages, music, and great conversation.  The night will be headlined by solo artists Shane Henderson (of Valencia) and Mark Rose (of Spitalfield,) with student openers Nicole Schaefer and Jake Baker.  Henderson and Rose will be performing original acoustic music amidst an industry workshop for aspiring musicians.

Mark Rose, former frontman of the indie/emo rock band Spitalfield, is the co-founder of an original music commissioning website, called Downwrite.  Topping the successes of his previous band may be difficult (Spitalfield toured for 10 years alongside  major acts, such as Fall Out Boy and Minus the Bear) However, he is well on his way to becoming a highly regarded singer-songwriter, with Alternative Press Magazine calling him a musician with the “style and emotion of a John Hughes movie soundtrack.” (Trust me, that’s a compliment.)

Shane Henderson is the former lead singer of rock/pop-punk band Valencia.  Hits like “The Spaces in Between” and “Where Did You Go” allowed the band to tour alongside Blink 182, Billy Talent, We the Kings, and the Cab.  Henderson continues to excel in his solo career, with AbsolutePunk lauding his first EP for “the quality guitar work, the melodic intricacies, the crisp percussion, and all the other details that make Control an essential listen.”

These two have a lot to say about their experiences with the music industry, so make sure to mark this on your calendars. All are welcome!


This Week In Music [April 14]

//Featured Singles\\

Best Coast – Feeling Ok

Erik Hassle – No Words


//Album Releases\\

Tyler, The Creator – Cherry Bomb

Mt. Wolf – Red [EP]

Calexico – Edge of the Sun

Villagers – Darling Arithmetic

Sunset Sons – The Fall Line [EP]

The-Dream – Crown

//First Listens\\

Alabama Shakes – Sound and Color [via NPR]

Joywave – How Does It Feel Now [via Spotify]

San Fermin – Jackrabbit [via NPR]

Speedy Ortiz – Foil Deer [via NPR]