Ahoy! It’s been a good while since we’ve last heard of the long lost band The Rooks since they left Wes to the real world AKA “beyond the outer-rim,” but dry your eyes, don’t you cry, I come bearing good news and sugar treats! Above is a brand new video the Rooks released on New Years to reflect on 2012. It’s a Stevie Wonder medley the band performed at their live show in the ’92 in April, and it features the Mad Wow horn section and guests vocalists Claire Randall and Bridget Read.
The Rooks’ own Garth Taylor ’12, who says the Rooks will be releasing more material from that show in the coming months, comes bearing word:
We’ve performed pretty steadily in New York since we left M-town in May. We opened up for Talib Kweli at the Highline Ballroom in September, which was a total blast, and performed at the Bitter End and other NY hot spots. Gabe Gordon ’11 (keys) and I actually took a day trip today to perform an acoustic-y set at Midnight on Main, and took a little stroll around College Row. Our last live full band show was in October—we took three months off to prepare new material for an EP we’re going to be recording in January.
“Basically this album is about being in love, old American music, and Jesus.”
Continuing his ongoing quest to occupy something like 15% of my Top 20 Albums of 2012 list, Ben Seretan ’10 (I was going to write “of Duchampion fame,” but at this point I think “of Ben Seretan fame” is more appropriate) has got a new record on BandCamp. It’s called New Song, capping off a loose trilogy that includes last year’s New Music and 2012’s New Space, and it’s unsurprisingly fantastic, cycling through Americana-tinged originals, blues standards, and 48-minute boombox drones (okay, there is only one of those) with fluent ease. Between recording New Space, making a music video, dropping a collaborative LP with Portland band The Early, and materializing at Wesleyan to open for Oneohtrix Point Never in October, Seretan has stayed pretty busy in 2012. Somehow he has still made the time to take the audio of Grand Central with me next week. (Leave a comment if you want to join us.) (Serious inquiries only, please.)
Seretan recorded the album this summer, in a single afternoon (no overdubs), while in residency at the Wassaic Project. He wrote and rehearsed it in an old cattle auction barn. You’ll recognize a few of the originals from his performance on campus in October. According to Seretan, the setting strongly influenced the album’s thematic qualities:
“I’ve become in touch with my astrological signs. I’m a Cancer, and I’m a Pisces Rising for my moon [sign], so I’m pretty fucking watery.”
If you haven’t heard of the talented Wes AlumHimanshu Kumar Suri ’07, AKA Heems, you might still know that this powerful Wes grad has been posted about a lot here at Wesleying. Like, a lot a lot. No, really, we’ve posted on him a lot. Personally, I’m just jealous that he has that many cool pictures of himself that we can continue to write articles about him without repeating them .I wish I was famous…
The point is: fresh off his Reddit AMA, Heems has just dropped a new mixtape entitled Wild Water Kingdom, in which he raps not too much about hydrogen dioxide or monarchical governing systems but more about an eclectic mix of subjects that seems to be on his mind. (Check out the track “Soup Boys (Pretty Drones).”) Heems was supposed to release it a while ago, but his plans were delayed by Hurricane Sandy [insert witty water kingdom/hurricane joke here]. Keep reading for more, including the download link, after the jump.
The band is busily working away on a new album called Slightly Elevated, a follow-up to last year’s No Excuses Wednesdays. In the meanwhile, they’ve realized a tantalizing single, “Our Front Yard.” The soulful and syncopated track has been stuck in my head all day:
“Drink your school. Stay in drugs. Don’t do milk.”
Featherwood Bee is a group of lads that make rock music. They played at Yale last week, opened for R. Stevie Moore last month, and are opening an Aural Wes-curated show at Eclectic tonight, along with Yeoman’s Omen. Featherwood Bee’s rock/folk sound is infectious, so much so that it’s been hailed as “Partywave,” “MellowWave,” and “Bath Salts Rock” (by drummer Adam Johnson ’14). Also of note, all band members claim to have watched PBS as kids, so you know they’re nice and wholesome. Check out their eponymous two-song EP after the jump, along with a nifty poem and an interview with drummer and hype man Adam.
People, get ready! Not only is there a Mel & Josh living room show planned for this weekend, but it’s gonna get electric! If your life hasn’t yet been touched with this duo’s incredible tunes, make sure to check out their bandcamp and don’t miss this show! Mel Hsu ’13has a little something to say:
Word on the street is that Josh Smith ’11 and some of The Rooks are coming back to Wes on Saturday to play a Mel & Josh living room show with a special guest set from Bay Area band DRMS! We are incredibly excited to play songs off of our recently-released album: “Analogue.” This will be our first intimately electric show at Wes with a full band. We’ll be rocking songs from Analogue, some older favorites, and some new songs as well.
We will be joined by our good friends Jessica Best ’14, Tory Mathieson ’14, Yatta Zoker’14, Gabe Gordon ’11, Louis Russo ’11 and Nate Mondschein ’12.
“An album of songs about meaningful things”—almost entirely Wes-specific.
Over the summer, homegrown musical personalityZack Sulsky ’13 put out a call for submissions. In particular, he requested “original songs about meaningful things.” Each songwriter, he explained, would choose an appropriate charity for their song to fund. In so doing, the project will “contribute not only money, but also serious thought and discourse to the issues that we, the songwriters, care about.
True to promise, Sulsky’s project, “Songs for Something,” has come to fruition. As of last week, the compilation is available on BandCamp for free streaming and $12 purchase. (Remember: those dollars are going to charity.) More than half of its 13 tracks are by Wesleyan artists, and if you’re sick to death of all the post-chillwave hogwash nonsense about unmeaningful things, consider this compilation a pleasantly eclectic ramble through the folksier, rootsiercorner of Wesleyan’s student music scene. Particular highlights include “Mercury,” a majestic slow-burner from the recent Honey and the Sting release; “The Holder,” an impossibly soulful minimalist gem from the impossibly prolific Mel Hsu ’13; and “After the Heatwave,” a bittersweet solo cut by Bones Complex‘s Andrew Pfeiffer ’13. The album also contains original music by Julia Mark ’13, The Blooming Youth, Alma Sanchez-Eppler ’14, Sulsky himself, and the “Billionaire” remix we previously posted about. As Sulsky explains,
Dema first launched Bamenda, a solo electronic project, last April, when he dropped two tracks: “Contact” (featuring production and mastering by sometimes-bandmate Ethan Young ’13) and “Distance.” Using his Macbook and an apogee audio interface, Dema spent much of the summer recording two follow-up tracks: “Secrets,” a winding synth-pop track that culls from a grab bag of ’80s Casio tones, and “Medicine,” a moodier (and lengthier) showcase of thick synth pads and reverb-heavy vocal tracks.
Dema explained the project in a bit more detail via email:
What does the Wu-Tang Clan have in common with the Grateful Dead and Björk? Nothing. But Nat Leich ’12 doesn’t care. His recently released senior thesis album, Kaleidoscope, takes diffuse elements of pop scenery and welds them together in a thirteen-piece orchestra — you might even call it a Mixtape Orchestra — that travels down Memory Loss Lane.
The Artists Formerly Known As Friendsome celebrate three-year reunion with “Seven Year Itch Point Dume.”
Three hazy years ago this summer, three historic L.A. brosephs (and Dema) encountered each other in the WestCo Freshmen Musical Industrial Complex. They chose a name, and at some fateful Open Mic in the fall of 2009, Friendsome arrived, set on a path moving swiftly towards the opening set of Spring Fling 2010. Now, three years, two name changes, twopost-Linusprojects, and at least one hiatus later, drummer John “Slayder” Snyder ’12 graduates into the great beyond and the rest of Lioness ponders its future.
And releases more sweet unheard Lioness cuts.
“Seven Year ItchPoint Dume,” which you may recognize from the band’s April show in Eclectic, is the latest. With an epic vocals-into-drums-into-summer-fun intro,wailing guitar solo via part-time member Adrien “Belew” DeFontaine ’13totally cartographical cover art by member Dylan“MapQuest” Bostick ’13, and curious lyrics about slaying beasts and winning “the battle and the war,” discovering sunburns and reminiscing “of the rooooooad,” it’s also one of the greatest. As Bandcamp explains it, the track was produced by members Adrien and Ethan Young ’12 and recorded by Jared Paul ’11 in the Wesleyan music studios last fall.