State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Steve K

Album Review: Kavinsky's OutRun

Kavinsky, the persona of French producer Vincent Belorgay, released his first full-length album today, OutRun. Continuing in the game of 80s-inspired electronica, the album delivers a barrage of funky, glitchy, and shiny sounds and textures over its 13-track length.

Opening with a narrative prelude, we are introduced to the character of Kavinsky. He’s a teenage boy who crashed his Ferrari Testarossa in 1986, but time-traveled to the present day as a phantom driver/electronic producer…

Yes, the cheesiness of 1980s B-movies is in full force. But don’t worry, the short narration is backed by some electrifying chord hits that preview the storm to come. We are led into “Blizzard,” which quickly became one of my favorite tracks, with its slapped-bass lines and this MONSTROUS chomping sound effect in the song’s chorus.

OutRun continues its solid beginning with “ProtoVision,” another driving groove with some distorted guitar wails, the slower “Odd Look” featuring some ghostly female vocals, and the ominous “Rampage,” full of dark horns and dizzying strings. Havoc of Mobb Deep provides some rap verses on “Suburbia,” lamely proclaiming, “I come to life in my fast, fast car” (as if the sounds from Kavinsky didn’t already conjure up images of high-speed driving explicitly enough). But then comes “Testarossa Autodrive” which pretty much only needs the song’s title to be explained. Following that is “Nightcall,” the track which most people will recognize as the opening theme from Drive (which contains the same 1980s imagery as Kavinsky’s music). This song fit so perfectly in Drive that I was immediately hooked upon hearing it.

It’s the second-half of the album that dies down a little in my opinion. The tracks just seem to blur together and lose a little bit of energy, but nevertheless they are still easy on the ears. The biggest highlight here is “First Blood” which showcases some more crazy vocals and guitar licks.

Overall, Kavinsky’s style of throwback dance puts him up there with the likes of Justice, College, and Chromeo. The album has some great tracks and some throw-aways, but will definitely be well-received in the world of electronic dance music. Stream it below via Spotify.

Electrified Indie Duo Ghost Beach Drops New Single

Ghost Beach is a synth-pop-surf-rock-indie-electro-I-don’t-know-what-to-call act with such a range between their tracks. This band is all over the place. With their new single “Close Enough” featuring Noosa, they showcase more of their electronic talents.

“Close Enough” begins with some funky vocal samples until the 808s kick in, taking this track somewhere else. The chorus featuring airy vocals from Noosa is nothing short of cinematic.

Other Ghost Beach tracks have included elements of surf rock and dream pop. While they have yet to release their first full-length, they are quickly becoming one of my favorite new indie acts. Check out some of their past material below.

“Miracles” (my favorite)

“Been There Before”

Keep these tracks in your back pocket until the weather gets a little nicer…

PA hardcore band Pissed Jeans' New Album is Raw, Angry, and Full of Energy

It’s not every day when you stumble upon a punk band like this. In a genre that some have argued to be “dead,” it can seem as though many current punk outfits are either going soft on us with their sound, or making a feeble attempt to recreate the energy and aggression of the early hardcore pioneers.

And along comes Pissed Jeans, an Allentown, PA act whose new album Honeys literally floors me.

Although the Jeans have been releasing material for 8 years, Honeys is their biggest and most anticipated album to date. The heavy grittiness of Bradley Fry’s guitar and Matt Korvette’s psychotic howls combine perfectly, making their music certified headbanging material for any fans of punk rock or hardcore.

All of Pissed Jeans’ characteristics come together so tightly on this album: wildly chaotic guitar riffs, drum beats capable of inciting a riot, and lyrics full of angst and the frustrations of adult life. If I had to choose one word to describe this album, it would be genuine. Rarely do I hear a punk band whose raw energy genuinely sounds intimidating (in a good way).

And despite their dark and gritty sound, the band is very conscious of the ideas behind their songs. They’re not screaming for the sake of being angry; they’re telling you it’s okay to live an adult life while retaining a youthful spirit. Their lyrics are built around frustrations with social evils that seem to go unnoticed in today’s life: prejudice, sexism, and being naive of oneself. Each song has a different message, and despite humorous undertones (take “Health Plan,” a song about being afraid of the doctor), the music makes you question things, and that is something all musicians should aspire to do.

The bottom line is: if you’re into heavy, the sounds on Honeys will hit you in the face like a brick.

Here are some of my favorite tracks:

“Bathroom Laughter”

“Cathouse”

“Health Plan”

Pick up Honeys from Sub Pop Records or iTunes.

Mash-up: Just When You Thought Smash Mouth Couldn't Get Any Cooler…

We all know 1999’s Astro Lounge propelled pop-rock band Smash Mouth into an untouchable state of coolness, and that many bands to this very day are still trying to reach that caliber of success. But I digress…

Included in a 6-track EP of EDM mash-ups, Philadelphia’s DJ Ego has reworked the the mega-hit “All Star” into a Skrillex-infused banger sure to make heads nod. Ego’s version builds on a earlier mash-up from Acetronik, adding signature vocal samples and melodies made famous by Skrilllex. You can’t help but smile when you listen to this.

You can grab this and the rest of the EP (which I reccommend) by liking DJ Ego’s Facebook page and following the instructions: DJ Ego Official Facebook.