Mel Hsu ’13and Josh Smith ’11filled earth house last night with the warmth raw warm and creatively unique melodies. Even decked out in Halloween attire, the crowd was hushed and pulled into the poetry of their music. Mixing spoken word, the deep pizzicato of Mel’s cello, and the musical talent of their friends Jessica Best ’14, Tory Mathieson ’14, Yatta Zoker’14, Gabe Gordon ’11, Louis Russo ’11 and Nate Mondschein ’12, one could not help but feel that they were also a part of the friendship music making. (Mel and Josh dropped an album last May. Check it out here.)
They were followed by DRMS, a band from the Bay area, self-described as “if David Lynch curated a band with Billie Holiday.” The Earth House living room was still jam-packed, and the mermaids, pirates, and 80s disco divas danced on to the rolling aerial and smoky vocals of their music. Bandcamp here.
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.
A little over a month ago, we covered efforts by Mel Hsu ’13 and Josh Smith ’11 to gain financial support for their first album together via Kickstarter. And support there was! They overshot their goal by over $900!
Mel and Josh released the album a couple days ago. Titled Analogue, it is incredibly moving, combining beautiful vocals, acoustic instrumentation, fluid rap, and spoken word.
A number of Wes students and recent alumni contributed to the album, including Jard Paul ’11, Jessica Best ’14, Tory Mathieson ’14, Gabe Gordon ’11, Louis Russo ‘11, Nate Mondschein ’12, and Mike Rosen ’11.
Mel Hsu ’13 and Josh Smith ’11 met during Mel’s freshman fall at an open mic in Music House. Josh (known to many as Wordsmith) approached her about collaborating and a wonderfully fruitful friendship was born. Throughout the years and in a number of intimately crowded living rooms, the pair combined Josh’s fluid rap with Mel’s amazing cello skills and emotive singing to perform beautiful and unique shows that at times sent shivers down our spines and tears to our eyes. The duo is now hoping to release an album that, in this blogger’s opinion, is sure to make the world a more beautiful place.
If you’ve attended a living room show, you understand how important it is that this album becomes a reality. If you’ve never heard of Mel or Josh, it’s all the more important that you get a chance to experience this incredible musical Wes-born phenomenon. They’re hoping to distribute the album for free, but need some money to help produce it. It will for sure, no question, undoubtedly be worth your investment.
Wesleying has received an exclusive plea from Jared Paul ’11, Wesleyan’s own recording engineer alumni extraordinaire. Today Paul spends his days recording err’one from Mad Wow to Lioness (who??) in Brooklyn and his nights floating through clouds with a boombox and Gibson SG.
You may remember Paul from his debut LP Ubeatquitous, which esteemed colleague A-Battelikened to “Obama-sipping-whiskey-with-dinosaurs.” If that descriptor grabs your fancy, consider signing up to be his next recording victim; details appear below:
I’m a Class of ’11 grad working as a freelance audio engineer and producer. Although I’ve done the whole graduate-and-move-to-Brooklyn thing, I am trying to keep recording Wes people as often as possible! Among the Wes artists I’ve recorded and mixed projects for in the past year are Mel Hsu ’13, Mad Wow, Josh Smith ’11, Fly Machine,The New Group, Grand Father, Lioness, and The Rooks. Some samples are here. If you like what you hear, consider having me record your next project!
Josh Smith & The Concert G’s are a Wes-born band who, since their formation three years ago, have played consistently sold-out shows here, and nothing less. Today, they have something to share with you:
After months of hard work (and three years of hoping, wishing, and talking) we are thrilled to let our debut album, The Reach EP, out into the world – but especially to Wes, the community that made this band what it is. Wesleyan has been our home for so many years, and if it wasn’t for the love we found there — from our early shows in Music House to the final 450+ person blowout in Beckham last spring — we probably wouldn’t still be doing this. We can’t thank you enough for your constant support and inspiration.
We’d like to think the album sounds something like New Orleans’ French Quarterhad a play-date with the darker side of neo-soul, and instead of staying home and playing video games, they took a field trip to Brooklyn and learned how to rap. You can download it on our Bandcamp site. And head over to our homepage to read our bio. Hope you enjoy! And look for us back on campus sometime in late fall.
Josh Smith & The Concert G’s are hip hop funk collective formed from 11 Wes students. By the end of last year, they had fostered some of the most sought-after sounds in 21st-century Middletown, as well as some of the most powerful and energetic concerts. While many of the group members graduated last year, the collective assures us that they are more alive and kicking than ever:
We, Josh Smith & The Concert G’s, are thrilled to let you know that our album, The Reach EP, will drop in exactly one week on Monday, October 3rd. We’re amped to get it out.
Last winter, we came together in a converted church near Woodstock, NY, and recorded an album that captures the sound this band has worked towards since we first started playing together in the hallways of Clark back in 2007. So what doesthat sound like? We’d like to think it sounds something like New Orleans’ French Quarterhad a play-date with the darker side of neo-soul, and instead of staying home and playing video games, they took a field trip to Brooklyn and learned how to rap. For us, though, the most important characteristic of this album is its honesty: it doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not — Reachis the album we’ve always wanted to make.
Emily Weitzman ’14 and Randyl Wilkerson ’12 performing “Eyes,” which won Best Persona Poem.
Emily Weitzman ’14, a member of the Wesleyan Slam Poetry Team, writes:
Spending a week in Michigan surrounded only by poets and poetry may have been the furthest from reality I have been in a while. But at the same time, I experienced more emotions in a short period of time than I ever thought possible. One poem would punch you in the face, the next would gently hold your hand, then you would be hiding under your chair in fear, and finally, you were crying from hearing a line that let you feel something you never knew you could. I have never felt more strongly that a poem can change your life.
Between April 6th and April 9th, weSLAM competed against 36 other teams in the College Unions Poetry Slams Invitational, the national spoken word competition at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. weSLAM advanced to the semi-finals and snagged both the Spirit Award and the award for Best Persona Poem, ultimately becoming the 7th-highest-ranked poetry team in the land of the free and the brave. But this is not what’s important here.
The weSLAM team is currently in Ann Arbor, Michigan at CUPSI (the national collegiate slam). This is a short film following the team from its inception and growth to its victory at the Wade Lewis Poetry Slam Invitational (WLPSI) and preparations for CUPSI in April 2011. Big ups to everybody who helped out, the weSLAM family, and all the students at Wes who have supported the team and come out to the slams here. Good luck!