State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Tina Letter

The Lumineers Release Music Video for New Single "Stubborn Love"

The Lumineers are a folk band that is taking the music scene by storm in a very “Mumford and Sons” like fashion. They released a new music video for their second single “Stubborn Love” off their debut self-titled album.

The music video explores most of life’s big moments (new love, fights, break ups and breakdowns) as they pass by the car window of a young protagonist. The little girl is suggested to have just watched her parents go through a divorce as she silently plays with her mother’s wedding ring in the back seat.  The band makes an appearance at one point in the song as the car drives by them cameo-ing as street performers. At the end of the video the young character dances her hand out the window and smiles at the sun on the horizon. Beautifully directed by Isaac Ravishankara, the music video is a perfect backdrop to the bands next big single.


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PS-U Oughta Know Artist : Olivia Price

Photo Credit: Tina Letter


This week’s local artist spotlight features a young singer-songwriter who is quickly becoming one of Penn State Songwriters’ Club’s most talented members. Olivia Price quietly joined PSUSWC in the beginning of this year as a sophomore with a secret weapon. She quickly won over the hearts of all members, including veterans like myself and some other senior members, with her honest songwriting and pure vocal talents.

Olivia has been singing and making up little jingles as far back as she can remember, but three years ago she picked up guitar because she wanted to get more involved in the actual production of songwriting. The first time she performed a song she wrote live was at her high schools talent show, which she described as “really rewarding.” She enjoyed being able to perform something that was close to her heart. If you sit and listen to Olivia sing over her soft guitar playing, you’ll see she has an amazing ability to make the experience an intimate one for her audience.

Olivia’s songwriting style can be described as acoustic songs straight from the somber pages of a private journal.

“I write songs by sitting on my bed, picking a melody, humming along and trying to get into a mellow somber mood. My best songwriting tends to happen late at night.” Olivia said.

She also described part of her creative process as a “word storm.” This is where she just pours out all the raw emotion she is feeling through random words, and then she strings them together into beautiful poetic melodies. If you are the type of person who likes to unwind, and listen to a quiet Sara Bareilles or Ingrid Michaelson song in order to reflect on lost love or a tough time, Olivia’s songs are definitely ones to add to your collection.

Photo Credit: Tina Letter

While Olivia’s songwriting may be on the more somber side, Olivia herself is a bright, exciting, lively girl who has contributed an amazing amount of time and love to Penn State Songwriters’ Club.

One of Olivia’s originals can be found ready to listen to on the Penn State Songwriters’ Club’s Bandcamp page, or on her SoundCloud page. And if you want more after listening to that, Olivia is currently in the studio working on a special treat for her audience that should be available sometime in April. Olivia also frequents the local Open Mic night scene so if you want to see her live, you should be able to catch her performing an original or collaborating with another musician there!

Concert Review: Chords for a Cure

On Saturday, January 19th, 2013 the Eisenhower Auditorium rocked out to the sounds of WALK THE MOON and Boyce Avenue for THON’s first ever benefit concert.

After purchasing my tickets as soon as they went on sale, I had my front and center seats waiting for me when I arrived at the venue. Eisenhower Auditorium is one of my favorite places on campus to see live musical acts and distinguished speakers, with thousands of seats available in the orchestra pit or one of the two levels of balcony seating.

WALK THE MOON was the first act to walk on stage and, as a huge fan, I was super excited when they played their traditional opening song “The Liftaway”. This song is not on their more popular self-titled album, but can be found on their independently produced debut album I Want! I Want!. Nicholas Petricca (lead singer, keys and floor tom enthusiast) revved the audience up with a heavy dose of synth sounds which held true to the electro-pop sound that makes this band so catchy.  If you missed the concert and want to get an idea of how to properly open a concert, watch the live video below of the band performing “The Liftaway”

The second track that the band performed was “Lisa Baby” which can be found on both I Want! I Want! and their self-titled album. With lyrics alluding to getting hung up on a girl at the young age of twenty, most of WALK THE MOON’s songs target the college aged crowd.

“Next In Line” followed shortly after, which gave Nicholas a chance to go crazy on his notorious drum that never leaves his side at shows. At this point, the crowd couldn’t get enough of the band’s quirky little dance moves, or the way that Kevin’s (the bassist) notorious curly locks bounced around on stage. It was clear that WALK THE MOON won their audience over early in the night.

Other memorable moments from the concert included the “Mario Theme” intro that Eli (guitar) used to transition effortlessly into one of the bands racier songs “Shiver”. With lyrics that include “marks up on my neck” Nicholas (lead singer) was woo-ing all the girls in the audience with his trademark “hips don’t lie” dance behind his keyboard.

The band gave a heartfelt shout out to THON stating that they were “Upset they couldn’t make it to the Dance-a-THON” but dedicated their cover of David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” to all those dancing at THON.

The band also used the opportunity to promote the release of their EP Tightrope, which was released today on iTunes, and performed a few tracks off of that. The single “Tightrope” may sound familiar to anyone who has watched the HP commercial for their latest laptop.

During their performance of “Quesadilla” the band got the crowd to clap along, and during a rare performance of their lesser known song “Me and All my Friends” they got the crowd to sing along.

WALK THE MOON slowed things down for a second in order to allow screaming fans (aka me) to catch their breath, only to completely take it away again during an out of this world performance of their song “Iscariot”.

The band picked up the pace again by performing “Fixin’” which Nicholas once again belted out flawlessly while banging on his drum and swaying his hips to the song. The next song “Jenny” was a crowd favorite that had everyone jumping up and down. If you stood still for a moment, you could feel Eisenhower Auditorium shaking.

By this time, the entire band was covered in sweat from dancing, playing, and singing their hearts out on stage. The next to last song was one that I know the lead singer Nicholas holds dear to his heart. “I Can Lift a Car” is his favorite song to perform live. With lyrics that everyone can relate to, the lead singer tells a tale of a failed relationship, the feeling of almost losing yourself, the importance of feeling strong as an individual, and then moving on to finding new love.

The band closed their set with the fan favorite “Anna Sun”, and coming from someone who has watched their catchy music videos, live performances and interviews on YouTube over and over again, there is nothing like seeing WALK THE MOON perform “Anna Sun” live. The band gave their last song everything they had, which ended up being slightly damaging for the drummer, who at one point got hit in the face by his boom mic, leaving a mark that he later posted a picture of on Instagram.

After the band left the stage, it was clear that the audience needed the half hour break between sets to rest from dancing their hearts out to the catchy electro-pop sounds of WALK THE MOON. As someone that was hooked to the band after only discovering one song on YouTube, I can guarantee their contagious sounds will start spreading around to Penn State parties like wildfire.


It was clear from the way the crowd reacted to the lights dimming for the second act, that most people were there to see the YouTube sensation Boyce Avenue. The three brothers Daniel, Alejandro, and Fabian Manzano, were made famous by their acoustic covers of all different genres of music on YouTube. But after seeing them perform their originals live, I am now a converted fan of their original music.

Boyce Avenue’s lead singer, Alejandro, was the one who jump started their career by singing his heart out on YouTube. Using the money and popularity they received from being one of YouTube’s most popular channels, they turned their focus to putting out some of the most heartfelt songs I’ve ever heard.

While it was clear most people were there for the cover songs the band performed, which included Rihanna’s “We Found Love”, Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite”, and, my personal favorite, Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”, there were still fans there that were singing along to some of their originals.

Some originals that stuck out were the ones that had stories behind them.

“Briane” was a song that the crowd really quieted down to listen closely to. The song was written about the band’s close friend’s wife who took her own life. The lyrics in the song were meant to reflect what the brothers believe she would have said to her husband.

“Broken Angel” was another song with a deep meaning that really resonated with the crowd. The band was inspired by a close friend who turned the negative aspect of her life’s hardships into a positive by helping other young girls.

Boyce Avenue appealed to all the single hopeless romantics in the crowd by performing a song they wrote called “On My Way,” which was written about how they believe that everyone has a soul mate, and that all the events that happen to you in life eventually bring that person to you.

As a musician and member of Penn State Songwriters’ Club, I was blown away by the bands’ ability to write songs from their heart. I was also blown away by the amount of extremely impressive equipment that the band had on stage. At one point, Daniel switched from one acoustic Taylor guitar to a different Taylor acoustic guitar. Most musicians are lucky to own one of those in their life.

Overall the concert was a huge success with both bands bringing something special to the stage. While WALK THE MOON had people up on their feet dancing the entire time, Boyce Avenue gave the audience time to reflect and think on their beautifully written originals, and sing along to their perfectly crafted covers. I can’t wait to see what kind of line up THON will put together for next year’s Chords for a Cure.

Penn State Songwriters' Club Presents Two Night Concert Benefiting THON

Come out to support the Penn State Music Scene and help raise money for THON at Songwriters’ Club Two Night Concert Benefitting THON!

Kicks off Friday with acoustic acts by wonderfully talented SWC members, then back again Saturday with rockin’ local bands including: Port Vue, Flashback Forward and one of the bands that will be performing at THON 2013: The Wondershop Showdown!

Doors @ 6:30PM, Show @ 7:00PM both nights!

Tickets are $5. All sales benefit Penn State Dance Marathon.
Purchase tickets Tues-Thurs next week in the HUB, or at the door.
Questions? Email Songwriters’ Club at:

Songwriters’ Club is a Penn State organization that meets Wednesday Nights in 205 Ferguson at 7:30. If you are interested in meeting fellow Penn State musicians stop by one of their meetings!

Snowfall Sounds [Staff Pick]: Bon Iver


Even before I was a freshman at Penn State, I was warned about the harsh winter weather. I was told that by the time I graduated I would never want to see snow again. While this may be the way some feel, I’ve discovered a way to transform what could have been a long miserable season, into one of my favorite times at Penn State. All that I needed was the right soundtrack.

My musical winter jacket is the warm vocal styling of the Grammy award winning folk artist, Bon Iver. Led by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, this band’s unique falsetto harmonies accompanied by simple rhythmic acoustic melodies complement the soft blankets of snow that coat the grass and trees around campus. This defrosting remedy works best after a freshly fallen snow, or on a quiet stroll at night downtown beneath the twinkle lights on Allen Street.

For best results try listening to the following off of his latest self-titled Grammy winning album:




If those aren’t keeping you warm, try one of the band’s tracks from their first album For Emma, Forever Ago

“For Emma, Forever Ago” – Take Away Show Version


“Flume”- A Take Away Show Version

“Lump Sum” – One of my Personal Favorites


And the stand by favorite “Skinny Love”

Add these songs to your winter playlist and fall in love with the winter weather at Penn State.

Penn State Songwriters' Club November Big Onion Open Mic Night


This Wednesday night, the Big Onion in East Halls will take a break from being forced to listen to one of the employee’s sub-par ipod playlists and will be graced by talented Penn State musicians. Songwriters’ Club gives Penn State students an opportunity to come out of their bedrooms and meet other musicians on campus that they otherwise would have never had a chance to collaborate with. The club has had a history of extremely successful Open Mic nights, some of which have resulted in the formation of musical collaborations!

If you ask any active member, they will tell you that Songwriters’ Club feels more like a family than a club. The club hosts biweekly meetings in 205 Ferguson at 7:30pm that give members opportunities to share songs they have been working on, fine tune their songwriting skills through workshops, or do other creative songwriting activities. On the off weeks, the club hosts events on and off campus or “jam sessions” in the same room. For more information on the club visit our Facebook page.

Also make sure to RSVP to the Open Mic Facebook Event Page if you plan on coming.

This is a definite must see if you have been craving free live musical talent!