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Here is the new format for Matt on Music. Rather than just reviewing one new album, I’ll review several older albums with a connection to a new release and then finish with a review of said new release. This may manifest itself in partial discography reviews, or just a series of reviews of albums in similar genres. (My reviews already feature so much exposition, so I might as well use it to comment on more than one album.)
Eminem, Marshall Mathers, Slim Shady—whatever you want to call him, the man is a genius and one of the most important artists in the history of American popular music (at least before his lame last couple albums). Here is a list of his 15 best songs:
Mainly based around John Flansburgh and John Linnell, alternative rock band They Might Be Giants first formed in 1982. They became popular on college stations and over time became one of the few college rock bands to become a household name along with R.E.M. and The Smiths. Since releasing their debut album in 1986, they’ve never gone more than three years without releasing an LP.
Spring is in the air, and Eastern Michigan University’s music students have a lot in store for the campus community. The American String Teachers Association is holding a fundraiser concert in the Alexander Music Building Recital Hall Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. The concert will feature music arranged in the pop and rock style for string instruments.
Several bands paid tribute to the influential band The Replacements at Woodruff’s bar in Ypsilanti’s Depot Town on Saturday.
The early ’90s was one of the best times for alternative rock and the late ’90s was one of the best times for pop singles. The ’90s were just an awesome time for music overall, so here are my 15
favorite songs of the decade.
Bastards of young, dope smokin’ morons, girls who play make-up and wear guitar. If any of that describes you or you’d just like to hear a group of bands pay tribute to one of the greatest American rock groups of all time, come to Woodruff’s, located at 36 E. Cross St. in Ypsilanti, on Saturday at 9 p.m. for ‘Mats Fest.
“Mormons can’t rock. There, I said it,” a friend of mine quipped about Low after I posted my overview of the band on Facebook. In response to that statement, I must bring up the Butler brothers of Arcade Fire and New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane, as well as the fact that Low isn’t a particularly rocking band. Their style is mainly based around minimalism, harmony and beauty; three things that many people, including my friend, love about The xx, and what I love about Yo La Tengo’s “Fade.”
Low is a Duluth-based slowcore band fronted by married couple Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, both practicing Mormons. Although Sparhawk and Parker have been consistent members since the band’s formation in 1993, they’ve changed bassists three times.
Guitarist Donald Lajiness, a sophomore at Eastern Michigan University, steps to the front of the Alexander Music Building’s auditorium to a burst of ecstatic applause. He sits down in the proper classical guitar position— foot up, fretboard raised —and begins to strum the opening chord of the mysterious-sounding “Koyunbaba,” a modern piece with Turkish influences composed by Carlo Domeniconi. After a nearly flawless recital, the musician basks in the glow of his fellow music majors’ collective cheering and praise.
Awful album covers are incredible. For every “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or “The Velvet Underground & Nico,” there’s a few amateur (or even, sometimes, mainstream) artists whose album cover designs are just absurd. Sometimes, this turns out quite disturbing (every Cannibal Corpse album cover) or just creepy (“Julie’s Sixteenth Birthday”).
Travis Jarosz is a pretty common name in the Ypsilanti music scene. He’s been involved in a few musical projects, ranging from metal bands to some short-lived jazz projects. He’s currently working with indie band Walk Your Bike, electro-punk Crochetcatpause and his electronic side project, Watabou. Watabou started in April 2009 as a general outlet for Jarosz’s musical ideas. He was involved in a couple of bands, but many of his bandmates were focused on the sound their band was creating or weren’t able to fully dedicate themselves to being in a band.
While it’s often believed (especially by people who hate pop music) Justin Timberlake first came into his own as an artist with 2006’s “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” that can really be traced all the way back to ’N Sync. If not on their debut, Timberlake at least began to come into his own on “No Strings Attached.” It was there that he began to stand out as not only the finest lead singer in the boy band scene, but one of the finest singers in music.
Virginia-based rockers Corsair initially seemed like the type of group whose every idea represented something I dislike. They are typically described as heavy metal, their name is boring (although, to be fair, so are the names of the majority of bands I like), the cover of their self-titled album appears to be a failed attempt at epic imagery (which, in heavy metal, is often used to compensate for a lack of imagery and epic qualities in the songs), and they open the album with an instrumental called “Agathyrsi” that nears six minutes in length. Everything was in order for me to hate this band.
Music will be in the air this Friday, and this time it’s an Eastern Michigan University faculty member creating the melody. Professor Joel Schoenhals, an EMU music professor of piano, will be performing part two of Beethoven’s Sonata No. 32 at Pease Auditorium.
The title of country singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves’ new album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” comes from her acclaimed country hit “Merry Go ’Round,” which was released in September 2012. It was a surprising masterpiece, displaying a blunt kind of cynicism rarely seen in country music. It was such a contradiction to the genre’s rural obsession that it might as well have called “Miserable in a Small Town.”
Thousands of concertgoers packed Eastern Michigan University’s Convocation Center Wednesday night, in various stages of undress and states of mind (some of which probably weren’t legal), to get lost in the heavy bass lines and thumping beats of electronic music powerhouse Tiësto.
While researching this list, I had a stunning realization: The music-buying public is not stupid. This was a hard list to research, mainly for that reason. When an artist stops being good, they typically stop having hits. This list, however, is about the flukes—the strange instances where an exceptional artist’s biggest hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was one of their worst songs. These are the 10 greatest artists (whose greatest hits suck).
It’s interesting to look into what happened to all of the ’90s indie bands after the ’90s ended. Pavement broke up, of course, while Modest Mouse’s success continued to grow. A lot of them lost much of their popularity, but how their later discography held up varies from band to band. R.E.M.’s later music never held a candle to their older stuff, while The Magnetic Fields released many great albums after their 1999 classic “69 Love Songs.”
For electronic dance music fans all across Michigan, the anticipation to see Tiësto has been building since tickets went on sale last summer, but the wait is finally over. The famous Dutch DJ is coming to rock the Eastern Michigan University Convocation Center next Wednesday.