Welcome to the Bulls Radio news page! The Bulls Radio News Deparment provides coverage of all the news and activity on the USF campus. Our mission is to provide the most up-to-date informaiton for the USF students. Listen live on Bulls Radio daily for news updates about activity on campus, where to get free food and the places to be each week.
On-Air (813) 974-9285
Office (813) 974-4906
For an album that was put together throughout the course of a Canadian winter, there’s an unbelievable level warmth and comfort to be discovered in the 11 tracks that comprise Untogether. The freshman album from Montreal duo Blue Hawaii, succeeds their Blooming Summer EP, released in 2010. From that EP, their prominent track Blue Gowns illustrates Blue Hawaii’s powerful and vivid talent for producing genuine shoe gaze/ experimental post rock that is enveloped in simple pop textures.
The duo of Raphaelle Standell-Preston and Alexander Cowan have produced a strong and mature return. With the pop influences lessened, Untogether thrives on introspection to the point of mirroring a Dostoevsky novel. This was an album built for headphones. Spacious and bass-heavy, there are moments that are felt more than heard. The opening samples of Sweet Tooth dart from left to right, while fluttering beats that sound like scissor snips do as they please. The low-end on following track Sierra Lift is so heavy it shakes the speakers. However, the most important aspect of the Untogether lies in the production of the single track “try to be” which makes you want to simultaneously lose yourself while begging someone to please find you again. Flooded with a variety of crafty synth and guitar loops that are layered to deliver an echo like experience, the track certainly displays what Blue Hawaii are all about.
It might’ve been easy to compare Blue Hawaii to the vocal distortion of Grimes or the beat twisting of Doldrums. But Raphaelle and Alexander have produced something entirely their own, far more melancholic and sedate than their contemporaries. Untogether is an album to escape into. A world of its own struggle, complacency, and sentiment, it’s more coherent and terse than its distant sound suggests. Simplistic, fluid, and at times utterly beautiful, the songs that make Untogether will never lose their novelty living on your playlist.
Cleveland-based rapper Kid Cudi has recently released his third full-length LP, entitled Indicud. The 18-track, double-disc album stands as Kid Cudi’s first attempt at serving as both rapper and producer. As a result, the record has a broad scope in terms of musicality. It features many of the classic elements present in his prior work – rapping in a slightly raspy, almost smoky voice with his unusual delivery of phrases. However, in comparison to his previous releases, there is a noticeable difference in the instrumentals that Cudi is rapping and singing over in this album. The tracks seem to be much more simplistic in their structure, in that the actual makeup of many of the tracks seem to be painfully straightforward. For example, the track Mad Solar begins with a slow-moving synth line accompanied by a downtempo drumbeat, upon which Kid Cudi opens with a verse. This synth line is looped throughout the entirety of the 4-minute track, without any major alterations or transitions. The song itself seems to have an almost drone-like quality, lacking any real passion or emotion. Granted, this is Kid Cudi’s first attempt at producing a record and this merits a certain amount of flexibility for him to explore musically (hence, the 18-track album); however, when compared to his previous work, the quality of production sounds rushed and unpolished, leading one to believe that not much effort was put into the finishing touches before the album was released.
Now this is not to say that the album as a whole is a lackluster collection of songs not worth listening to; there are certainly some standout tunes on this LP. Songs such as “Solo Dolo pt. II, “Cold Blooded” and “New York City Rage Fest” are a few personal favorites. These tracks in particular have noticeably catchy elements that struck me as being equally captivating and bizarre. The song “Solo Dolo, pt. II” has a recurring horn line that sounds like it may have been sampled off of an old record. At first listen, the sample sounded out of place, but with a dedicated listen, the sound snippet blends with the rest of the song and makes for one of the more interesting parts of the track. Another track that sparked interest was “New York City Rage Fest”. This short two-minute song begins with a quarter note kick that’s filtered through a phaser. A dark, melodic synth line is brought into the mix, along with a rhythmic snare drum that taps along with the beat. The song ends abruptly and leaves the listener wanting more. Personally, I feel like Kid Cudi could’ve developed this song more fully, yet I still appreciate his experimentation with instrumental electronic music.
As far as lyrical content, Kid Cudi does not delve into the introspective and contemplative verses that appear in some of his earlier work. Rather, Kid Cudi alludes to some of the rap themes that are all too common as of late – haters, partying, and the like. One appreciable feature of the album was the fact that Kid Cudi seems to be singing with more enthusiasm on this album, and is experimenting with his upper-register more so than listeners have heard previously; this is particularly noticeable on the tracks “Immortal” and “Cold Blooded”, which are laden with pop-infused choruses.
All in all, I felt that Indicud is an album that could have used further editing and enhancement in terms of musical structure and general production techniques. The potential for a well-crafted album is present, but the unclean production on this album affects the output of the overall sound. Perhaps an entirely solo-production effort such have been preceded by an album that he co-produced. However, Indicud proves that Kid Cudi is making music for himself; surely, this was not an album intended to satisfy mainstream appeal. I am a firm believer that progression as an artist only comes from experimentation, and with that, I am anticipating Kid Cudi’s next album, Man on the Moon III, set to release in 2014.
Matt Pond’s sound is evocative of 70s California folk music scene. His music is tends to focus on an effortlessly harmonic sound that often deals with relationships and personal struggle. Starting out in the late 90s, some of Matt Pond’s first shows involved opening for indie rock bands such as Superchunk.
Growing up in New York, Pond lived near the infamous Bearsville Records, where he would eventually record his own albums. Set against the trends and angst of the music of New York City, Matt Pond’s sound is largely inspired by The Band. His dream tour would involve opening for legendary musicians like “John Lennon and Harry Nillson.” After producing several acclaimed records, Pond made it clear that he is still honing his craft, “I just want to do one thing well, and I’m waiting for that one.”
His new record, The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand was released on February 5 was reviewed by Paste and Consequence of Sound. The release coincided with a tour with fellow New York-via-Philadelphia folk band Jukebox the Ghost.
I saw that you recently played on Jimmy Fallon with Orlando artist Tierney Tough [of The Pauses]. How did you meet her?
She did an interview with us years and years ago. I knew her on and off, and she promoted a few shows of ours. And then I spent a lot of time in St Augustine, which isn’t too far away from Orlando. It all made sense.
You’ve played with a lot of great and popular musicians over the years. Which artist has been your favorite to play with?
You know, there was this tour that we were on with a lesser known band called Dios Malos.
I love this tour that we’re on with Jukebox the Ghost. It’s mostly when you like the person’s music and their personality and they treat you with respect. Those are the greatest things you could look for in a tour.
Is there anything that people should know about you that they probably don’t?
I think everybody knows that I can only be myself. That it’s my best quality and my curse, that I’m stuck.
Do you consider yourself to be your own worst enemy?
Absolutely. I am the devil and I also have the ability to have a good heart.
Do you feel like it’s affected your career at all?
I push myself sometimes to do the right or the wrong thing. It’s only the next day that I realize ‘That was great’ or ‘That was awful’. I should use a little more forward thinking in some of my approaches.
What’s one of the weirder things to happen with your band on tour?
The xylophone jam session we had the other night was amazing. It was this installation of outdoor xylophone music. Our band and Jukebox the Ghost somehow collaborated and we orchestrated xylophone music. That was pretty cool at 2 in the morning.
You’ve recorded several albums in New York’s Bearsville Studios. The studio has also been used by famous artists such as The Band, Jeff Buckley, Cheap Trick, Foreigner, New York Dolls, REM and more. What got you involved with Bearsville?
Our management had good connections. I also went to school near there. So when there was a possibility of recording there, I jumped at it. Then of course, there’s the history of it. Recording up there is amazing, or it was. It’s all gone now.
Do you have a favorite Bearsville artist?
I’m going to go easy here and just say Levon Helm. I love The Band. I know it’s not a fashionable thing, they’re really one of my favorite bands of all time. Nobody could play the drums like him.
You’ve covered a number of songs over the years. What is your favorite song to cover? What is your aim when doing a cover?
The point of doing a cover is an homage, it’s out of respect. I think that it’s become somewhat of a lost art, in the way some people do covers as a joke, or really tongue in cheek. But if you have to cover a song, you should do it properly. Unless you’re like Weird Al or something.
I think that “Hollywood” was one of my favorites that we’ve done. It’s just one of those songs that people love so completely and then you get to change the gears on it. It’s not for everyone, but I’m proud of the direction we took with it.
And it was great the way that you did that with My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Ok (I Promise)”.
I actually like My Chemical Romance. Sure, they’re a huge pop band but they write good pop songs. I actually have a few of their records. It wasn’t tongue in cheek, we really like that song.
What is your favorite My Chemical Romance record?
I like the first one, and I like The Black Parade too. I’m not listening to it for introspection, but I don’t listen to music all in the same way.
Are you going to SXSW again this year?
We are not, we’re skirting around it. I love South By Southwest, but it’s also a cluster of madness. As much as I want to see other bands, and I love to play, sometimes it’s a relief do not have to deal with it all.
What inspired the title of your most recent album, The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hands?
I’m not the most comfortable with hugging. I like physical contact, it just doesn’t come as easy for me. There’s a lot of physical contact, and I guess hands on me. I guess there’s a certain point where you’re forced to reach out to other people and other people are forced to reach out to you.
“Love to Get Used” narrates a cynical view of romance. How much do you identify with the lyrics and how did they come to you?
I guess I do a bit of history bashing in that song, personal history bashing. People should approach their relationships without a lot of their historical baggage. We should keep out eyes open for the interactions that we have with people’s feelings, or my interactions at least.
Retro hard rock fans should enjoy the third album by the band Corsair. Their self-titled album stays consistent to the minimal approach of the band’s sound. Rarely using effects like reverb and echo (except vocals), Corsair keeps the format simple with very dry guitar sounds and a warm bass sound that sounds very retro and unaltered by any processing. The instrumental aspect of the band is the focus as the guitars 'talk' to each other and feel more of the lead of the band’s progress through the album.
Japandroids are a two piece rock band from Canada. After nearly giving up on music, the band’s release of Post-Nothing kicked them into high gear. Japandroid’s junior album Celebration Rock was titled ‘Best New Music by Spin Magazine and Pitchfork Media. The duo have also performed several times on MTV Live, Last Call With Carson Daly and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Aptly opening the album with the sound of fireworks, the track “The Nights of Wine and Roses” imposes a renovation on the typical pop-punk sound. Adding fuzzy post-punk vocals and stomping drums, the music aligns itself with the newer, raucous sounds of Titus Andronicus and the Cloud Nothings.
Japandroids’ career was actually given an early boost by pop-punk veteran Mark Hoppus (of Blink 182) back in 2009 when he featured the band as his Pick of the Week in Spin Magazine. Hoppus said that Japandroids “sound really different from anything out there”, citing the way that the guitarist splits up his signals with the amplifier.
Even though Rolling Stone Magazine named Celebration Rock one of the Ten Coolest Summer Albums of All Time, their music is still perfect for moshing and stage diving indoors. The band will be playing Crowbar in Ybor City this Wednesday night, tickets and information can be found here.
I Bet on Sky is Dinosaur Jr.’s tenth album release. With more and more bands choosing the alternative rock sound for their avenue of music, it is tough to stand out from the crowd. Dinosaur Jr. has laid their foundation since 1985. The trio from Dinosaur Jr. keeps their unique vocals and classic sound intact in their new release. Dinosaur Jr.’s sound is primarily high gain and feedback/distortion guitar sounds and the steady vocals of Joseph Mascis.
Dinosaur Jr. doesn’t stray too far from the true musician’s album. With varying dynamics (quiet-loud changes) being popular in alternative rock, it seems almost a must in Dinosaur Jr.’s discography. Panning of Mascis’ vocals and guitars give tracks like “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know” and “Almost Fare” an added dimension of depth that is missing in most popular music today. The simple droning vocals in “Stick A Toe In”, although natural and untouched by any reverberation, are very different and add to the appeal of Dinosaur Jr. The fifth track, “Rude” is a great example of Mascis’ vocals being put through a filter giving it a “telephone/radio” tone that reflects sound being heard back in the 70’s. Mascis’ singing style is very much like Neil Young’s but Mascis himself has said he is tired of the comparison. The song “I Know It Oh So Well” has a blend of catchy wah-wah guitars and a steady rhythm on the tom drum. While I Bet On Sky is new, it is not a new identity of Dinosaur Jr. The band stays true to their sound as their new album feels like a welcome addition to any alternative rock fan’s library.
Dinosaur Jr. is currently touring on their I Bet on Sky tour, but unfortunately does not come to Florida.
It seems almost recently that “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” was being cycled on the radio and shown endlessly on MTV. Ultimately that was nine years ago, back in 2003. The British classic and glam rock band, The Darkness, having had a seven year absence from the music scene since their second album, One Way Ticket to Hell… and Back, and featuring bassist Frankie Poullan once again from their first album, now release a new album called Hot Cakes. The Darkness stay to their roots of silly lyrics and “feel-good” rock jams with front man Justin Hawkins with his signature falsetto. Hot Cakes has some solid songs like the single “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us” which has an eerie resemblance to Queen’s sound, and “Keep Me Hangin’ On” with its catchy chorus. The radio friendly track, “Everybody Have A Good Time” has riffs similar to AC/DC and harmonies like KISS. “Forbidden Love” is the natural crooning ballad while “Concrete” makes a statement of ‘looking for love’, in a concrete jungle and concrete tundra.
The highlight on the album is the 10th track, “Street Spirit (Fade Out). “Street Spirit” is not The Darkness’ own creation since “Street Spirit” is Radiohead’s conception from 1996. The Darkness does Radiohead one better by doing a metal cover of the swooning song. It turned out to be a very bold move that paid off tremendously. Hawkins’ soaring vocals is reminiscent of Michael Vescera’s shrill screams on Yngwie Malmsteen’s “Seventh Sign.” Overall, Hot Cakes gets the job done of providing a good variety of The Darkness’ talents but in the end its effort doesn’t quite live up to the standard that the Darkness was known for back in 2003. Justin Hawkins’ sheer vocal ability is just not enough to carry the band’s ride to the top in a pop-infested music culture, especially having been relatively inactive as a group for over six years.
Georgia country stars Zac Brown Band are one of those occasional bands that benefit from a consistent sound: We know what to expect from every release, and, in such, they seldom disappoint. The band continues to support this notion with the release of their third major label studio album, “Uncaged.”
Released July 10, “Uncaged” has been the #1 album on Billboard’s Country Album chart since July 21, and held the top position on the Billboard 200 chart from July 21 to July 28, which is ranked by sales.
Admittedly, during a first listen of the album, “Uncaged” plays like standard, radio-friendly country fare, with the occasionally exceptional standout track (Such as the album’s exciting first single, “The Wind,” and the catchy build-up of “Natural Disaster”). It’s only upon further, more in-depth play-throughs that “Uncaged” becomes less of an album to be milked by producers for maximum radio-airplay, and more of a satisfying country experience.
“Uncaged” more resembles 2010’s “You Get What You Give” than their fast-paced major label debut, 2008’s “The Foundation,” in terms of instrumentals and songwriting. As the album plays, it becomes apparent the band is still discovering their place in the country music world, complemented by the artistic directions taken in “Uncaged.”
One welcome highlight of the album is the continuance of what can be considered a Zac Brown Band tradition: The inclusion of an overtly Buffett-esque “beach country” track, this time in the appropriately titled “Island Song.” The song, in much of the same vein as 2008’s “Toes” and 2010’s “Knee Deep” (featuring Jimmy Buffett on guest vocal duties), has less of a place in a honky-tonk bar, and more of an identity as a “beach-front, boat-drinks” single.
While “Uncaged” continues the general “slowing down” of the band’s musical style since their major label debut, that does not mean there isn’t a viable market for such songs within the country market; The band obviously knows the direction they’ve chosen with “Uncaged,” and they successfully reflect those decisions in their performances in the recording studio.
The only repercussion of those decisions is that they might alienate long-time fans, who can recall the fast-picking, hoe-down energy of earlier Zac Brown Band. It’s not that the band’s energy is abandoned in “Uncaged” (as seen in tracks “Jump Right In,” “The Wind” and title track “Uncaged”), but rather shows its rowdy face less often than fans might appreciate.
All in all, “Uncaged” is a solid, satisfying release from one of country music’s most notable rising stars. What sacrifices are made in the regards to the band’s true potential are done so to benefit stylistic continuity across the album as a whole. “Uncaged” is best served in the context of a full-package album, not a collection of singles.
Zac Brown Band will be co-headlining Pensacola’s DeLuna Fest September 21 through 23, along with Pearl Jam and Foo Fighters.
“Jump Right In”
Matthew Ward’s highly-anticipated seventh studio album and follow-up to 2009’s Hold Time, A Wasteland Companion, was released April 6, 2012. The album sees a welcome increase in energy from Ward’s previous releases, and builds upon Ward’s airy, folk/jazz vocal style.
A Wasteland Companion also features two tracks in collaboration with actress/musician Zooey Deschanel, only previously donating her voice to Ward’s side-project She & Him.
Admittedly, I’d never heard of The White Buffalo, led by singer-songwriter Jake Smith, before picking up their debut full-length album, “Once Upon A Time In the West”. At bare, first glance, the album matched many of my strict criteria for new musical obsessions.