TDP Recommends: Atlantic Manor- “Pull”

Atlantic Manor – a collaboration between BHS Devils’ Playist’s very own   and BHS alumnus, and lead singer of Grandview, Billy Restivo – digitally released their first track “Pull” earlier this week. The song’s lyrical depth presents cries of altered love, pleas for strength of action, and expressions of self questioning. The alternative sound starts slow, paralleling the wistful longing present in the early lyrics, and progresses to a powerful crescendo of percussion that culminates with frustrated questioning layered over a subtle screaming. Somehow simultaneously soft and loud, angry and affectionate, well crafted oppositions permeate the song and reflect the conflicting emotions present in changing relationships. The track, recorded at Billerica’s Kennedy Studios and engineered by BHS alumni Chris LaRocque and Nick Stewart, is a fantastic listen. Dig it, Devils!

TDP Recommends: ‘Side of the Road’ by Big Black Delta

Big Black Delta is the solo project of former Mellowdrone vocalist Jonathan Bates. In the 2013 song “Side of the Road,”  Bates creates this well balanced electronica/ indie masterpiece, which displays great creativity and a unique sound. Dig it, Devils!

TDP Recommends: “I Stand Corrected” by Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend is a New York based indie rock band that formed during all the members’ college years at Columbia. The song, “I Stand Corrected,” is from their 2008 debut album, the self-titled Vampire Weekend.  “I Stand Corrected” is a song asking for forgiveness and the desire “to be in perfect harmony.” A violin is beautifully integrated into the song as well as a smooth baseline, which provides a steady rhythm for an easy and relaxing listen. Dig it, Devils!

TDP Playlist: Indie Rock/Electronica

Trying to listen to new music? Check out this Indie rock/electronica playlist!

TDP Review: Arcade Fire- ‘Reflektor’

For Fans Of: The Shins, Grizzly Bear and Sufjan Stevens

Arcade Fire recently released their fourth LP titled Reflektor. The critically acclaimed album Suburbs, released in 2010, was thought to define their style of music. However, Reflektor is an album that exemplifies the many different styles of Arcade Fire.

The album opens with the title track “Reflektor,” which is an interesting listen. The light techno beat in the background emphasizes Arcade Fire’s electronica vibe, and serves as a fitting backdrop to the thoughtful lyrics. Lyrically, the song centers on the problems implicit in developing an individual identity and finding connections with others. The line “If this is heaven I need something more, a place to be alone,” highlights the need for self discovery. While the lyrics, “I see you on the other side, we all got things to hide” suggest the presence of duality in everyone. The song also displays the problems of a judgmental society with the lyrics, “I want to break free, but will they break me.” While expressing the idea that the connections and understanding we search for are not easily obtained, the song emphasizes insecurity and the fear of showing an authentic self. When we find what we think is authenticity, it is “just a reflektor.”

As the album progresses, another standout song, “Here Comes The Night Time,” displays questioning for religion and an exploration of conflicts many face when considering faith. The lyrics emphasize the selectiveness of entering a higher and better world with lines like “behind the gate they won’t let you in,” which acts as a soft critique of religion. This tone continues when the band asks,“If there’s no music in heaven, then what’s it for?”. The lyrics, although serious in nature, are masterfully paired with playful, almost tropical piano, chords. This incongruity reflects the disharmony people feel when addressing these questions.

The style of the album shifts slightly with the next few tracks. “Normal Person” is a true rock song with a heavy guitar presence and an emphasis on drums. This rock sound continues with the song “You Already Know,” which has a solid baseline and pleasing chorus. Another rocking track with a killer baseline is “Joan of Arc.” The soft and melodious French phrases interspersed with empowering lines like “tell the boys I’ll follow you,” displays an admiration of a true heroine.

Another focal point in the LP is Greek mythology, which is most evident in the song, “It’s Never Over (Hey Orpheus).” Orpheus, a legendary figure in Greek myth, was such an amazing musician and poet that he was said to have the ability to enchant all living things with his music. The song’s electronica sound and layered lyrics work to reinforce the essential and enduring nature of music.

My personal favorite song, “Afterlife” is towards the end of the album and nicely balances a mix of electronic and rock sounds. The song displays love, especially love staying strong through difficult times. The prominent chorus begs the question “Can we scream and shout, till we work it out,” displaying the desire to heal an important relationship. Then, the realization of the relationship’s end becomes clear, and the questioning takes a philosophical turn.  “When love is gone, where does it go?” The ambiguities in the song, which uses language typical of love songs and questions regarding religion, provides a spiritual subtext and has a lasting impact.

Overall, I was impressed with the album. Arcade Fire made a bold statement with the choice to make use of varying styles of music on Reflektor, and somehow it worked out very well. Infusions of a jazzy saxophone throughout a few of the songs, the incorporation of electronic sounds typical of the band, and some straight up rock resonance make the album an admirably diverse collection. Reflektor represents a wide variety of music for many different fanbases. Arcade Fire has put out a variegated piece of music that does not disappoint.


Dig it, Devils! TDP Recommends: “I Am Not A Robot” by Marina and The Diamonds

Marina and the Diamonds became well known in Britain after releasing their first album, The Family Jewels. The song, “I Am Not A Robot” is a playfully emotional track. The speaker in the track asks her significant other to have a much less dominating and powerful presence in their relationship. A theme of individuality is present as well, with the lyrics, “better to be hated than loved for what you’re not.” The song has simple piano chords at the beginning, and is a fun listen. Dig it, Devils!

TDP Music News: Kanye West Comes to Boston

Kanye West, who is currently touring for his new album Yeezus, played the TD Garden in Boston this past Sunday. Luckily, BHS alumnus Mark Steinbach, class of 2013, was there to catch the show and share his thoughts on the experience. Here is what Mark, guest author for The Devils’ Playlist had to say about Kanye’s performance:

From the moment we entered the TD Garden, it was clear that the Yeezus Tour would ambitiously set out to present a concert as visually stunning and shocking as the album itself. After a fairly uneven performance from Kendrick Lamar, the staff at the Garden went about constructing Mr. West’s awe-inspiring stage, fit with a mountain at the back and a cliff-like structure at the fore of the stage. Twelve expressionless women (dressed in practically nothing) then took to the stage. These twelve women would be only one of many bizarre motifs that would come back again and again during the performance. Finally Yeezus himself took the stage at about 8:30, setting off a two hour clash of energy and art, the likes of which I had never seen before. There were few surprises in Kanye’s setlist. He hit all ten tracks on Yeezus, older favorites like “Jesus Walks” and “Runaway.” He gave his fans just what he wanted. Admittedly my expectations weren’t too high for some of the songs from Yeezus translating to the live venue. The energy would of course be there, but some of the very intense industrial sounds on the album struck me as potentially grating when in a large venue like the Garden. But I was completely wrong. Songs like “Blood on the Leaves” and “Hold My Liquor” just brought the house down. Older favorites like “Good Life” and “Flashing Lights” were particularly fun for the live crowd. From a personal standpoint, hearing “Lost in the World,” my favorite Kanye song, made it all worthwhile. Add in a classic ten-minute Kanye rant and a plethora of religious imagery, and you have an unforgettable night that only Kanye could truly do justice. By the end it was clear that everyone in the building just saw a two-hour showcase of an artist in full control of his powers ‒ bold, brash, experimental and nothing short of genius.

TDP Recommends: “Bad Religion” by Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean, a passionate artist with a powerful voice, radiates in his exceptional song “Bad Religion.” The track, which was released on his Grammy winning album “Channel Orange”  in 2012, is one of my personal favorites. “Bad Religion” is a commanding song that explains Ocean’s problem with religion and its “unrequited love.” Ocean uses a simple organ to highlight the entire mood of the track. The isolation of the organ and Ocean’s voice creates a personal and relatable quality to the song. “Bad Religion” is an emotional listen that really spotlights Ocean’s compelling vocal capabilities. Dig it, Devils!

TDP Music News: MMLP2 Released

The wait is over for millions of Eminem fans across the globe; Eminen’s 8th studio album, “The Marshall Mathers LP2” (MMLP2), was released Tuesday, November 5th.  Eminem brought in famous producer Rick Rubin, and long-time friend and “big brother” Dr. Dre to help develop and create the album. Features on “The Marshall Mathers LP2” include latest hip hop phenomenon, Kendrick Lamar; Skylar Grey; Rihanna; and lead vocalist of Fun., Nate Ruess. With artists of all different genres, “MMLP2” is an interesting listen. Eminem has always been one to stir up controversy with his lyrics, and “MMLP2” is  no different. The album, likely one of Eminem’s final solo projects, is methodical, well produced, and controversial.

TDP Review: King Krule “6 Feet Beneath The Moon”

 For fans of: Tom Waits, Panda Bear, Kwes.

London native Archy Marshall, better known as “King Krule,” released his much anticipated first album this past August, on his 19th birthday. King Krule has been attracting a lot of well deserved attention since the release of that debut, “6 Feet Beneath the Moon.” The album displays Marshall’s fiery passion through his untamed and unconventional voice, thick with a London accent.  With minimalistic, simple melodies and powerful vocals, this LP is seemingly the beginning of a successful career for young Archy Marshall.

“6 Feet Beneath the Moon” is a varied and complex album that highlights the real range in Marshall’s talent. It opens with “Easy Easy,” a song marked by simple strumming patterns that remain constant. This commanding song displays his raw, baritone voice. The album takes a quick shift on the second track, “Border Line,” in which his often gruff vocals become softer, presenting a more velvety sound. This gracious melody is followed by one of the most emotional tracks on the album – “Has This Hit?” – in which a bashing drum punctuates his stirring and potent voice. Marshall really hits deep in this track with the question: “Why is it when I look into the sky there is no meaning? Girl, I’m the only one believing.” As the album progresses, Marshall includes the standout track “Neptune Estate,” another soft number with great character. The incorporation of saxophone works both to highlight Marshall’s voice and offer an unexpected, yet welcome change in sound. The closing track, “Bathed in Grey,” pleases with its background piano and synthesizer sounds tying together the variety of notes Marshall hits throughout the LP, and solidifying for listeners that this artist is a great talent, someone to watch.

The album is raw and unrefined, which is not surprising considering Marshall’s young age and “music immaturity,” but it is solid. Although the album lacks unity, it has scattered moments of excellence impressive for any artist, let alone a nineteen year old just starting his career. This album displays a very promising future for King Krule; ” 6 Feet Beneath the Moon” is an interesting album, definitely worth a listen.