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Cole Plante Keeps the beat for Neon Lights Tour

by Ashley Winward | April 16, 2014

His story is one which is noteworthy; at the age of 17, he’s done more than most people my age, from playing at the Rain Nightclub in Las Vegas to Lollapalooza and slots on tour with some of the current EDM greats. Cole Plante, albeit young, is not just “good for his age” though, he’s great; regardless of how old he is.

Cole Plante (Photo obtained via Facebook)

Cole Plante (Photo obtained via Facebook)

I got a chance to talk to him on the Neon Lights Tour with Demi Lovato, Fifth Harmony and Little Mix. The tour was a perfect fit for him as his remixes of Demi’s “Neon Lights” and Fifth Harmony’s “I Don’t Wanna Dance Alone” have been very popular amongst their fanbases. “(Demi) approached me and of course I had to say yes!” said Plante.

The tour has been going very successfully for the DJ. “Very busy but very fun,” Plante told me of the three day nonstop leg they were currently running. It has also been a very interesting tour for him because of the age range he’s been catering to. “The crowd has been a lot of younger girls…ages 12 to 17 which means you have to be careful,” Plante warns.

There is no defined set when he goes out to perform and, because of the crowds, there’s a lot of trial and error in his approach highly focused in Mainstream radio hits and dance music.

The life of a DJ is always changing, though, as the lifespan of a song can be a few weeks to a month. Plante tries to stay relevant by being current on blog sites as well as using beatport.com for new sounds and tracks to use. His many influences also keep him trying new and interesting things such as using both classical and alternative samples. It also doesn’t hurt to be able to play a traditional instrument and he breaks out his trombone during sets from time to time. “It’s advantageous to play an instrument. It expands your tastes and is unique to add to pieces. It also helps in production to understand the different sound and layering them,” Plante said.

Genre bending mashups were one of the topics on the rise, so we took time to discuss them. Rock mashups are a personal favorite of Plante’s for their high energy and ability to hook people. He even enjoys overlaying some accapela tracks in his music now and then. “A year ago I would have said I’d never mix in country,” Plante said. “But looking at ‘Wake Me Up’ by Avicii and Aloe Blacc, everything’s fair game now. The genre has come a very long way.”

When asked about how people view electronic music, Plante is looking to break the stigma. “Our genre is musical just like any other song or artist performing today. There are so many different layers just like layering instruments over a melody. For my personal music, I try to think like a listener when I write so I’m not hearing the same thing over and over in the scene. We need to show people that this stigma is just that.”

Looking towards the future, get ready for new music and remixes from this talented young DJ. Besides going back into production there are remixes coming your way of Demi Lovato’s “Let It Go” from Frozen and some work on Beatrice Miller’s (of X Factor fame) new single. It was a pleasure talking to Plante and I can’t wait to hear more from him in the near future!

 

Shakira’s still got it

by Katerina Sperl | April 16, 2014

A review of Shakira’s new, self-titled album.

Shakira is proving she’s still got it twenty-four years from the release of her first album with her new self-titled album. She returns stronger than ever with her unique voice and amazingly diverse collaborations.

Shakira (AP Photo)

Shakira (AP Photo)

Perhaps the hottest thing you’ll hear, or see the music video for, this year is “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” ft. Rihanna. The lyrics promise that women are addicted to you; every man’s fantasy, but the video displays them caressing each other in a bed and skimpy outfits. How does she still have that body and those hips that “don’t lie” post-pregnancy?

The album also features “Nunca Me Acuerdo de Olvidarte,” which for those who don’t speak Spanish, translates to “Can’t Remember to Forget You.” However, the Spanish version does not feature Rihanna.

“Cut Me Deep,” ft. MAGIC! may just turn out to be one of the songs of the summer with its Jamaican party vibe. I had never heard of MAGIC! before, but his vocals can keep up with Shakira’s. The voices blend together beautifully and I am a new fan.

The mix of Shakira and her fellow Voice judge, Blake Shelton, in “Medicine” had me a bit confused and I was correct when assuming that this track would be a little awkward sounding. The message, that this person is medicine to them instead of drugs or alcohol, is unfortunately way too overdone and cliché.

There are plenty of songs where Shakira proves, by her lonesome, why she is such a sexy, popular star in the first place. However, there are also quite a few time when she tries new genres and falls short. The first track, “Dare (La La La),” has already become the official Brazil FIFA World Cup song. As always, it is a ridiculously catchy tune, but the tribal percussion separates it from being just another dance song.

“The One Thing” sounds almost like one of the old Hilary Duff songs. It does not embrace Shakira’s talent and persona, but instead settles for way too mainstream.

As a rock & roll fan, I appreciate the guitar in “Spotlight.” However, the voice does not sound like Shakira at all, but instead Avril Lavigne. It is a song about no regrets, but I’m not so sure this is one of the best things she has ever done. It falls slightly short of expectations.

“You Don’t Care About Me” adds a techno-like feel with electric guitar strumming and xylophones. The lyrics state that he doesn’t care about her because he won’t let her go. Escaping from the usual sensual messages, she reveals an inner battle. She wants to stay; she wants to go. She wants him to make this decision for her.

“Empire” is a surprising change from her usual beats. The song starts like a slower ballad, but don’t worry, her signature trill is ever present. The song at first seems uncharacteristically innocent for Shakira, but the lyrics hide a message about coming alive when he touches her. This one is a bit peculiar at first, but definitely not bad.

 

Album review: Dan Croll—Sweet Disarray

by Ileana Alvarez-Diaz | April 16, 2014

Do you ever have one of those days where you’re just indifferent with the world? Dan Croll, British singer/songwriter, just released his debut LP, Sweet Disarray, and I’m indifferent with it; truthfully, I’m up in arms as to how I should feel about this album. Granted, the album juxtaposes countless electronic and folk elements and it’s an adventure, but it feels like it’s missing something — to me at least.

Opener “From Nowhere” is catchy. I love all the melodies infused: polyrhythms here and there, and everything falls into place. Croll’s vocals have this echo lingering and it’s all nice.

However, as you progress, it’s as if that mere glimpse of magic shown earlier goes back into hiding. You then hear it again in “In/Out,” where it feels like you’re in a video game or at grand central station dancing in a flash mob — this song is perfect for that. Guitars hook you in, unleashing waves of euphoria, and the chorus is beyond exhilarating. Not only is this song uplifting with sweet pop quirks, when you hear Croll’s lyrics, it’s something that I can’t fathom. He sings, “Sometimes I, never let you know/That I still sing the songs wrote down on my bedroom wall/And somehow I, always fail to show/The appreciation you crave cuz I’m a fool for you.” When I first heard that, not only did I swoon due to Croll’s clear vocals, but I grew attached to this song.

Following is “Compliment Your Soul,” which is where the audience can hear those heavy Afrobeat-influenced sounds again and again; more dazzling and captivating than ever.

But then I feel indifferent again with “Can You Hear Me,” which is heavy on percussion and takes away from what Croll is singing – not completely of course.

“Sweet Disarray” is lovely. The track illustrates Croll’s Grandmother and the struggles she faces with dementia; it’s absolutely heartfelt. A sweet acoustic track that captures your heart and takes you through all the vibrant dimensions in the universe. Cascades of rich orchestral accompaniment are revealed and there are no words, you’re just left feeling complete.

“Must Be Leaving” is another track that shines, and if you’re a fan of Local Natives, listen to it.

“Always Like This” is absolutely festive and filled with indie-pop quirks. Croll’s vocals truly captivate one here.

Ending with “Home” is beautiful. It becomes this grandiose mix of rich melodies and you no longer feel indifferent. Croll incorporates steel drums and you’re swooning over everything that’s happening; I was.

If you want to question his album, and then be pleasantly surprised, listen to Sweet Disarray; you’ll be glad you did.

 

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | April 16, 2014

Midlake – the new One Direction? Decide for yourself.

Midlake (photo obtained via Facebook)

Midlake (photo obtained via Facebook)

Midlake is a band that originates from Denton, TX. They were formed in 1999 and have continued to grow ever since. I was able to talk to Midlake’s guitarist, Eric Pulido, about their latest album release, Antiphon, and how they felt about their upcoming tour with Neil Finn! Their first show started this past week in New York, and our interview was a few days before the madness began for the band.

I had to ask about the inspiration behind Antiphon, (an•ti•phon: in traditional Western Christian liturgy, is a short sentence sung or recited before or after a psalm or canticle) because of course I could see how the title pertained to music, but I wondered how it pertained to Midlake.

“I found the word in a liturgical setting used for a call and response style of singing or spoken word,” said Pulido. “The literal meaning in Greek is ‘opposite voice’ nerd alert,” he mocked himself. “For us, we thought it was the perfect title for what this album meant to us; a response to not only to Tim (former vocalist, guitarist, and songwriter for the band) leaving, but to where we’re at musically and lyrically.”

It is not too often in today’s industry where we hear about bands breaking-up. In the 1970s, if someone left a popular band it would be on the news that night. Today, it is more about the music than the drama of the band mates, and I think in that aspect we’ve come a long way as a music-loving world. Midlake really encapsulates this idea with their mature and positive take on such a huge change for the band.

I think as someone who spends her Monday mornings researching, listening to and writing articles on the band’s she’s interviewed the past week, I need to ask questions that aren’t only informative, but inspirational — questions that I believe will make someone who has never heard of the band want to really listen, which is why I tend to always ask which song means the most to the artist I am with. The song that has the most significance behind it for the artist is the one that will speak volumes to the listener.

“‘The Old And The Young,’” Pulido stated with no hesitation. “It’s a simple song about not lamenting the past, but rather embracing where you are and what lies ahead.” This is a song I feel anyone can relate to and learn from.

When I asked who Pulido’s largest influence was, both musically and personaly, he answered differently than any other artist I’ve spoken with. “My dad,” he said for both. “He got me listening to bands of yesteryear at an early age. I’ve always been a fan first and it helps give perspective. He’s also the greatest man I know, so I hope that’s rubbed off some!”

Well, Pulido, I think it’s safe to say with an answer like that, the greatest definitely rubbed off a little!

I asked Pulido if the band felt like pioneers of the “folk-rock” genre; something every Internet source feels the need to categorize them as. “I’m not a big fan of genre monikers, although I understand their purpose,” he answered. “We’ve been categorized in several different genres and I think we’re currently having an identity crisis. And no, I don’t believe we’re pioneers of folk-rock. Now indie-psych-folk-rock, maybe!”

After only a short time, I could have expected Pulido’s answer to reinvent the question. That’s the number one sign of a talented musician with a lot of imagination.

Lastly, an answer that I will leave you all with, one that will probe you to listen to Midlake, because after reading Pulido’s responses so far, his last one may shock you. I asked for a mainstream band that they could compare themselves to as a group, because in previous interviews they had said they didn’t want to become a “Radiohead knock-off band.” Pulido answered as if he had thought about the question all day long, “One Direction, because at the heart of it, we’re really just a boy band.”

 

Hidden References in the Winter Soldier

by Scott Iwaniec | April 16, 2014
All Marvel films have references and Easter Eggs from start to finish. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has so many that I thought it would be fun to take some time and talk about a few. I may not have all of them, but that’s the fun! – It gives you a chance to go look for yourselves.
Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, in a scene from Captain America: Winter Soldier  (AP Photo).

Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson, in a scene from Captain America: Winter Soldier
(AP Photo).

In the very beginning,  we see Steve Rogers has a notebook of this that he needs to catch up on what he has missed since he’s been sleeping, including Nirvana, Apple etc. Supposedly, there is a different notebook for each country the film is theatrically released in.
Look closely at Black Widow’s necklace and you’ll see her pendant is an arrow. Ring any bells? If you remember she is best friends with Hawkeye. Even though he isn’t in the film, we have him in spirit.
Think back on the scene where Capt. and Widow kicked the HYDRA member off the roof. He says names like Bruce Banner and Stephen Strange when revealing what targets are to be killed. Stephen Strange is in fact Dr. Strange: The Sorcerer Supreme. Marvel has been hinting at his future involvement in the cinematic universe, and his film is supposedly going to be the final phase 3 film.
Think right before that scene when the same HYDRA member crosses paths with the Secretary of Defense who whispers in his ear: Hail HYDRA. Notice the face? It’s the same secretary of defense from Iron Man 2. With him being arrested at the end of the film, this could open the door for Tony Stark to become secretary of defense, just like the comics, as also hinted in Iron Man 2.
Towards the end we see the three Hellicariers zoom in on their targets. One of them is Tony Stark standing in Stark Tower.
Nick Fury’s gravestone reads a famous quote that Samuel L. Jackson said in one of his most praised films, Pulp Fiction.
The SHIELD council members who we see in the film are supposedly the same council members who Nick Fury speaks with on the screens at the conclusion of The Avengers. Funny enough, we never actually saw their faces in The Avengers.
Finally, remember when Steve steals his WWII suit from the museum? The security guard is none other than Stan Lee himself.

Hit the Ground Running – April 16, 2014

by Scott Iwaniec | April 16, 2014

Here is some quick news from the past few weeks that is important to know:

Michael Bay reveals that Transformers 4 is actually the first film in a new Transformers trilogy, and Bay makes it clear he is not guaranteed to direct the next two. Mark Wahlberg is signed on for two more films, so we can expect to see him in there, along with the Dinobots, of course.

AP Photo

AP Photo

When asked about Marvel’s Black Panther, Chadwick Boseman smirks and hesitates to give a phony answer to the interviewer. Not to jump to conclusions, but it’s pretty obvious that he was in some interaction with Marvel concerning to role. I’m not saying he IS the Black Panther, but he knows something we don’t.

2016’s X-Men Apocalypse is revealed by director Brian Singer to be “somewhat based on the 1980s storyline Age of Apocalypse.”

The Rock reveals he has signed on for a role in the DC universe, and primarily hints that his character will be Black Adam, but we do not know this for sure.

Star Wars Episode VII will be filming some scenes in the desert. It is theorized that this will be Tattooine, the home of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.

The 1994 film, Timecop, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme will be remade.

At a Captain America press conference, Anthony Mackey and Samuel L Jackson trash talked DC films claiming, “Marvel has the heroes and DC has a few interesting villains.” DC fans have been in rage since.

Staff Second Chances

by Scott Iwaniec | April 16, 2014

 

staff second chances - bw

Staff second batman and robin

DJ Anski: The Pulse of SigGLO

by The Charger Bulletin | April 9, 2014
The brothers of Sigma Chi put on their stunning finale to Derby Days this past Friday with their SigGLO event. The week of events, ranging from banner designing and derby hat swiping to fear factor and minute to win it challenges, was all to support their philanthropic efforts towards the Huntsman Cancer Foundation. The SigGLO event a “thank you” to the University of New Haven community for their continued support of the Sigma Chi fraternity as they complete their fifth recognized year on campus.
Students celebrating the end of Derby Days at SigGlo in the German Club/ Photos by Joe Adams and Tyler Prigionieri

Students celebrating the end of Derby Days at SigGlo in the German Club/ Photos by Joe Adams and Tyler Prigionieri

“I’ve always been into music, I know everyone always says that. My family’s been into music for a long time, honestly I wanted to interact with music on a much deeper level than just listening to it. Put my hands in it and create new things with existing content. That’s what really drew me into DJing,” said DJ Anski, whose career skyrocketed in less than a year. Anski was soon flying across the country like the DJ “Rock Stars” he had once been idolizing.
Anski truly makes sure he has his hands in everything, running the business Fundraver, which offers more than just a performer, but an experience. In a time where EDM is so often paired in the minds of parents with danger and drugs, Fundraver offers “Parties for the Common Good” priding themselves on a safe and positive environment and a way for organizations to use it as not only an event, but a fundraising effort, making this the perfect way to end Derby Days.
While this event has been in the works for a while to be a celebration in the residential quad, threats of rain changed the venue to the German Club barely a day before the event. Fundraver’s flexible approach, however, made this no struggle at all. “It doesn’t change the essence of it, everyone is coming out to dance and have a good time. It might change the technology aspect of it a little bit, but we come to it knowing that we might need to be flexible; we try to prepare for that as much as possible,” Anski explained. “In [the German Club] we have a flat stage where as outside we knew we were going to have to build a structure to re-project the sound. It’s all about planning ahead of time. The technology is a small aspect of it; people are going to have a good time no matter what.
 With the atmosphere all set up, the focus shifts to the music. When asked how he prepares for a show musically, he offered a very investigative approach. “I do quite a bit of research of where I’m going to be going, especially with schools. There’s a similar age demographic to myself so I know what they grew up listening to, I know what I want to drop in and surprise people with. I try to stay into with what’s most popular in electronic dance music but I like to have that additional nostalgic element, drop in some random Blink 182 loop or something. People get singing along and it gets them pumped up. I’m one of those people that’s out in the crowd so I know what people want.”
When asked  how to get a dead crowd really going, Anski brings it right back to the nostalgia. “Even if I’m in the middle of a horrible train wreck mix, all the audio cuts out, something like the horn intro to Jump Around and everyone just loses it. Those 90’s jams always pump people up.”
Sitting down with Anski, it was very clear that he was different than most DJs out there. When I talked with him about it, he offered what makes him unique, “I think I go at it with a much different mindset; a lot of DJs are going at it because they just want to be famous, get the girls and the money out of it. I go at it because I’m personally passionate about it and the way I go at it is almost cunning in a business stance. I treat Fundraver and my DJ career as a company instead of me as a struggling DJ earning my chops. I had a different approach and that’s really what sets me apart. Having a more holistic view of the event.”
He even had some advice for up and coming DJs looking to turn their skills into a career. “Start being professional, develop a logo. It sounds silly to think about presenting yourself visually when music is all you want to do but having a good logo, website, information and mixes online is going to make yourself visible. I found opening DJs for this event by researching online and looking at what they had to offer. Start being creative with what you’re doing, build a fan base because they are going to carry you where you want to go.”
SigGLO was a huge success, bringing in big crowds despite the cold and rain outside. The winner of Derby Days was announced; “Talk Derby to Me,” defeating TeamREC by a margin of 150 points — the closest race in the history of UNH Derby Days.
Over $5,000 was raised for Huntsman Cancer Institute. “Fundraver was awesome, they truly threw a great party” said TeamREC derby team member Mary Perucci, “and I’m so proud of what we all accomplished for this great cause!”

Dan + Shay: Where It All Began Album

by Elyse Von Der Fecht | April 9, 2014

Dan and Shay is an American country duo composed of Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney.

Dan + Shay / Facebook Photo

Dan + Shay / Facebook Photo

The duo is signed to Warner Bros. Records Nashville. They released their debut album, Where It All Began, April 1, 2014, and will also be releasing their debut single, “19 You + Me.” This is what I had to say about their new album:

“Show You Off:” It was a great way to start off their album. This song has a lot of potential and really gives you a positive vibe.

“Stop Drop + Roll:” There is a strong sense of energy while listening to this song. It has a soothing kind of melody to the way the music is being played.

“19 You + Me:” This song sets back a little and has a slower tempo. The lyrics are incredible and the meaning’s filled with affection.

“What You Do To Me:” As I listened to this, I had to listen carefully at certain parts. They were very touching.

“Can’t Say No:” This song has a slower pace and you’re able to let the music flow to the beat of the song. I feel as if this song fits well as a slow tempo with the words or the lyrics.

“First Time Feeling:” We all know that first time feeling you get with the one who you can do everything with and feel magical inside. The lyrics to this song are incredible and touch your heart.

“Nothin’ Like You:” When you see that other person and you feel that they are perfect and no one can be better. That person who just takes your breath away and you don’t know what to say.

“Somewhere Only We Know:” At one point in the song, the tempo gets fast and then suddenly drops and gets slower. I thought it was a great change within the song.

“Parking Brake:” As I started this song, I felt the rhythm of the song making me want to move to the melody.

“I Heard Goodbye:” This is one of their slower songs, and it gets very intimate as they say goodbye to someone special to them. You can feel the sadness by the way Dan and Shay sing the lyrics.

“Party Girl:” Another slow and steady song, saying how there is that girl they see who is someone who likes to have fun. She is the only one you think about.

“Close Your Eyes:” The song portrays how you just want to imagine how life would be with that special someone, when it’s just you and them. There is nothing to worry about in life; just the two of you.

You don’t want to miss these guys in action, so if you have the chance to catch them at a show, I suggest you go.

Livewell’s Latest

by Shannon Livewell | April 9, 2014
Flagship/ Photo provided by Shannon Livewell

Flagship/ Photo provided by Shannon Livewell

Flagship LIVE @ The Space

After sitting down to have a conversation with the band Flagship from Charlotte, NC, I realized that these guys were different from all the rest; in fact, I can honestly say they were the most personable, and charismatic group I have ever had the pleasure to sit down with.

When I first arrived at the venue three hours before their set, I expected them to be sleeping or eating and uninterested in starting our interview. Not to my surprise they were doing just that, sleeping and eating. However, instead of being uninterested+, they invited my photographer, Courtney Kresge, and I into their tour van, offered us Oreo’s and woke up eager to answer my questions.

The band consists of Drake Margolnick, Grant Harding, Matthew Padgett, Michael Finster, and Christopher Comfort. Once we were able to gather all of the band mates, because some were exploring the wooded area around The Space in Hamden, Conn., we moved into the venue to start the interview. Knowing that the band was a merge of two different groups, I had to ask how they formed into one, and Padgett was quick to answer. “There used to be two,” he began like he was telling us a bedtime story, “there was Campbell the Band and Flagship Brigade.”

“I came up with the idea of Flagship forever ago,” said Margolnick. “I just really liked the word and what it stood for.”

“Drake went solo after the other two bands fizzled out, and we all supported that. Joining him on his journey, we felt inspired. It was incredible, and soon we were just…Flagship.”

The band is currently on the “Three of Clubs” tour, which Finster explained to me, “It’s been a long-standing tradition where three bands are asked to go on a tour together. It’s the same three bands for the entire length of the tour, and we switch up the order we play in depending on the city. We get along so well with the other bands, it’s really cool, but there are some drawbacks,” he said, “I need to be able to be alone, that’s just the type of person I am. Therefore, never having that option becomes difficult at times.”

“Snoring,” Padgett and Margolnick said simultaneously. “Some people just snore so loud, it’s difficult to sleep when we’re actually able to,” Padgett finished.

“And alcohol,” Harding laughed. “We can never afford alcohol.” I actually felt like I was in the middle of a Saturday Night Live skit, it was beyond fun to spew out questions to these guys.

It was definitely a challenge to get a general consensus from the group. They all have different songs that mean the most to them, and different influences both musically and personally, but I was able to get them to agree on one thing. “We’re all really influenced by The National, and Radiohead,” said Padgett, “and my boys here in Flagship, they influence me a lot.”

I have never met a more humble and brother-like group of guys with such a story to tell. Their sheer personalities make their music that much more desirable, and I feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to sit down with them and chat about the methods behind their musical madness. This is definitely a band to watch out for in the months to come!

 

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