Music On The Brain

Music has a powerful effect that can change the world. As humans, we use music for many different purposes. We seek entertainment by going to concerts. Find joy in listening to a song or album that we particularly like. Music can also help us in ways we need. Who hasn’t cried to a good break-up song when you feel as if your heart has been ripped out of your chest?

Music helps get us through all of our problems and helps make life a little more tolerable.

Studying With Music

As a college student I find myself constantly listening to softer music when I am studying. It helps me put away the distractions. All over campus you will see students with headphones on, listening to music, trying their best to concentrate.

Have you ever noticed listening to music will help you relax and reduce stress? This can be a big plus when studying for a test, or finishing some big project that’s coming up.

The Mozart Effect

The Mozart Effect is a popular theory, that suggests that music can enhance your cognitive abilities. The effects can change depending on the person and type of music they are listening to. For many people listening to heavy metal won’t be ideal when studying but others enjoy loud and noisy music to help them concentrate.

I suggest more indie or classical musical. It relaxes you and can really get you in the zone for some studying.

The Brain and Music

In your brain you have your cerebellum. This is considered the mini brain because it breaks down the initial sensory stimulus. The stimuli then goes to the thalamus which interrogates the signals for any signs of danger. It does this by communicating with the hippocampus, the brain’s memory center, for stored historical sound/danger associations. The thalamus links to the amygdala to initiate an emotional response, e.g. fear if a danger signal is detected or tranquility if the signal is familiar. The amygdala works out how one feels about the sight of someone brandishing a knife compared to the sight of puppies. It is through this same interaction between the low-level and high-level processing units that the brain categorizes sound into music. 

Playlists for Studying

Here are some tunes on Spotify that might help you get that A.

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/0PRs1Xaui4zCv9LdIIt20X

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DX8Uebhn9wzrS

https://open.spotify.com/user/spotify/playlist/37i9dQZF1DWXLeA8Omikj7

 

Smashing Pumpkins; A Smashing Success!

Super Smashing Bros.

Smashing Pumpkins made their return to Salt Lake Tuesday night in all their glory. Its almost Halloween, so who wouldn’t want more pumpkins in their life right now? With electrifying sounds that stunned the crowd, this concert was nothing short of phenomenal. It isn’t a surprise that when the Smashing Pumpkins announced an original line up tour, tickets would sell out and, sell fast. It’s been almost 20 years since the Pumpkins reunited with a tour. Through break ups and rough patches, dedicated fans lined the arena with a sense of excitement like children on Christmas morning.

Crowd in an Uproar

As I watched the people take their seats, I noticed an enormous age range, from teens to long-time parents. The large scope of devotees created a rare occurrence that not many bands are able to achieve. Different decades of people filled the arena from die hard fans donning original black “ZERO” tee shirts to today’s rock and roll youth. Either way the audience thrived at the spectacle.

The concert opened with a short video promoting important icons throughout the bands career, album art from Siamese Dream and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness plastered the screen. 

When a bright light peered through a curtain of smoke to reveal one bald head and a shiny guitar, screams erupted that shattered the calm and destroyed the silence. This was it! Beginning the show was Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness  (the song). Behind lead singer Billy Corgan, was a film reel of photos that defined his past and illuminated his childhood.

 Dances of the Audience

Older fans waved drinks of beer and cocktails as their hips swayed to the sounds of mellow beats. It was songs like “1979” and Landslide that inspired people to wave phone lights like lighters- reliving the good old days in 21st century fashion. While songs like Cherub Rock and Mayonnaise  thrilled the audience. In addition, the stage provided energetic strobe lights of red and green with immaculate guitar solos that lasted for days! The stage choreography was like something out of a dream, wrapped up succinctly in the overall performance. This was a band at the top of their game. 

All the songs were praised by the audience in a storm of hand claps and foot stomps. Echos of lyrics paraded through the arena. Concert goers filled open spaces with dancing of 90’s angst and countless head bangs while rock horns saturated the crowd. The concert adrenaline voiced a roaring cacophony that transcended the stadium walls.

Return of the Pumpkins

The three hour concert consisted of twenty eight original songs with classic Pumpkin covers in between. With the founding members Billy Corgan, James Iha, and Jimmy Chamberlin united once again, the Smashing Pumpkin’s sound was on par with the original recordings. The band’s return to Salt Lake City gave a concert that united generations of grunge and a true alternative rock vibe to modern day fanatics. Indulging in a 90’s daydream, this performance will give Pumpkin lovers a night to remember.

 

Album Review – Astroworld

After a ridiculously long 3 year waiting period, Travis Scott has finally released his new album Astroworld. This project is named after Six Flags’ Astroworld, an amusement park that used to be a Houston landmark. The park was regularly attended by Scott as a child until it was closed and demolished in 2005. Scott has mentioned that he wants this new album to sound like “taking an amusement park away from kids”. He then went on to say “We want it back… That’s why I’m doing it. It took the fun out of the city”.

Travis Scott has been a figure in the hip hop scene for about 6 years now, gaining prominence and notoriety from everything to the vibes and atmosphere he brings on his tracks, to the wild live performances that he is quite proud of. He is known mainly for his popular tracks including “Antidote”, “Butterfly Effect”, and “Goosebumps”.

Now that he is finally in the mainstream eye, it is time for Travis Scott to deliver another progressive new album that sees him discussing new topics and continuing his experimental style. Let’s dig in and see what he has given us this time around.

First impressions

  • The Good: During my first listen through this album, I was absolutely amazed at how well-produced and well-thought-out each song was. The production was absolutely beautiful and contained quite a bit of variety, and each track flowed together really well. Travis fit very well over every beat on this project. The features were perfect as well and didn’t outshine Travis, they only added value to each song.
  • The Bad: Even though every song is very good and fun to listen to, the project isn’t perfect. I don’t see too much of a theme so far, even though this project is billed up to be “a look at what goes on inside Travis’ mind”. Maybe this will change with more listens, but right now I don’t see the concept very clearly.

Lyrics/Flow

  • The Good: If you’ve listened to or even heard of Travis Scott before, it is quite obvious that he isn’t exactly known for being the best lyrical rapper. But on this album, we hear him use different flows from his usual couple that we’ve heard quite often. We also hear him discuss new topics that we’ve never heard him speak on before. Topics such as his love life, his daughter, and things that he has experienced in his life are high points of this project. Some of these introspective and deep tracks on this project that bring out Travis’ best side are “STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, “COFFEE BEAN”, and “ASTROTHUNDER”.
  • The Bad: Even with the new topics and flows that we hear from La Flame on this project, I didn’t expect him to completely stray away from what he’s been doing for quite some time. He stays heavy on the ad libs throughout the project, as well as similar flows and lyrics on some of the songs. Examples of the not-exactly-experimental songs on this album include “5% TINT”, “NC-17”, and “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”.Score: 8.5/10

Beats

  • The Good: In case you didn’t realize this at any point over the past 6 years of Travis releasing music, he is an amazing producer himself and also works with amazing producers. The beats on this album are where it shines the most, and that is no insult to Travis’ or any of the featured artists’ lyrics. The beats are seriously that good. There are so many layers to all of them, along with a crazy amount of beat switches on different tracks. This project will keep you on the edge of your seat while listening, purely by the anticipation of what the next track will sound like. Some of the producers that contributed to this project include Travis himself, Hit-Boy, 30 Roc, CuBeatz, Sonny Digital, Tay Keith, Mike Dean, and WondaGurl.
  • The Bad: Once again, I didn’t expect every single track on this album to be a brand new style of production that we’ve never heard Cactus Jack over before. There are a few tracks that aren’t as experimental or out there as others. Some of these similar tracks include “HOUSTONFORNICATION”, “NO BYSTANDERS”, and “CAN’T SAY”.Score: 9.3/10

Replayability

  • The Good: As I mentioned before, this is an album that contains a lot of sound variety. There is something for every mood and setting; from partying, chilling, raging, etc. It’s the full package in that regard. There are things that we have never heard from Travis before and we hear him being experimental and being true to himself. This album is definitely one you’ll want to listen through in its entirety more than once.
  • The Bad: In my past reviews, I often knock artists for having too many tracks on their albums and Travis is no exception to that, unfortunately. If I had to cut this album down to about 14 tracks, I would probably remove “5% TINT”, “BUTTERFLY EFFECT”, and “CAN’T SAY”. These tracks aren’t necessarily bad, but they are definitely the weakest tracks on the album in terms of the concept that Travis was going for. I’d still recommend listening to the full album more than once, but it is understandable if it is a bit long for your taste.Score: 7.7/10

Standouts

  • This is always the hardest part of a review, especially when you have such an amazing album like this one. If I had to choose the tracks that stand out from the rest, they would have to be “SICKO MODE”, STOP TRYING TO BE GOD”, “ASTROTHUNDER”, and “R.I.P. SCREW”. We see Travis at his most ambitious on these tracks; switching beats, covering new topics, and dropping new flows.

Final thoughts

I’m going to say this right now, Astroworld is not perfect. But I’d be lying if I say that it isn’t 100% what I wanted to hear from Travis Scott after his lackluster 2016 sophomore album Birds In The Trap Sing McKnight.
On this new project, we hear him at his most experimental since his mixtape days. He stays true to himself in every way and shows growth and maturity by talking about his personal life and struggles that he has had, all while making it sound incredible. This growth and maturity is always important for any genre of artist, but it seems especially important for hip hop artists.

The album does suffer a little bit from the use of similar concepts, song structures, and beats reminiscent of his last few releases, but this isn’t nearly a big enough problem to warrant a bad final score. Just by listening to this project, you can tell that La Flame really pushed the artistic envelope and truly gave it his all, while also creating tracks that fans of his old work will love too.

I won’t say that Astroworld is an instant classic, but I do believe that it is on the same level as his stellar debut album Rodeo, if not slightly better. Rodeo has stood the test of time and still sounds as quality as the day it released, and I believe that the same will be true for Astroworld. This is an absolutely amazing project and definitely one of the top 3 hip hop releases of 2018.

Final Score: 8.8/10

Image property of Travis Scott/David LaChapelle/Epic Records

Ron Pope at the Utah Arts Festival

 

In today’s music culture, Ron Pope may not be a popular household name. However, it should be.  As a fully independent artist, Pope has been navigating the music industry without record label restrictions. This makes the Pope his own boss. It gives him a genuine, original sound that can not be found in any other band.

Ron’s Roots in the South

Because of his background in the South, southern blues and folk roots are heavily represented.  An accompaniment of rock and roll rhythm gives Pope’s music and upbeat blues a vibe that encourages everyone to clap and sing along. Songs like “Ain’t No Angel” and “Can’t Stay Here” have a southern rock sound that screams Willie Nelson and Creedence Clearwater Revival. As a large number of his songs are in a high tempo rock genre, Pope has an opposing side that slows the speed down as he performs beautifully composed love ballads that make your heart sing, songs including “A Drop In the Ocean” and “In Your Bones” are perfect demonstrations. Therefore, with every song having a completely different attitude and individuality, Pope’s insanely powerful voice is as smooth as scotch.

Pope Performing at the Utah Arts Fest

However,  you can count on there being something for everyone in his music. Ron Pope play a killer set at the Utah Arts Festival. He displayed a personality that was funny and charismatic. He told us jokes and stories that filled the crowd with laughter and joy. If the concert goers of last night don’t remember the music, they will surely remember the quirky stories. Like about how Pope’s pick throwing skills are better than his instrument skills. He says that “he’s been practicing pick throwing since Ronald Reagan has been president”. Between heartfelt lyrics, smooth sax sounds, and blues riffs of the guitar, there’s everything to like about Ron Pope.

 

A Festival Newbie’s Take On Bonanza Camp Out 2018

Bonanza Campout 2018 is coming up quick, and as someone who’s never been to a festival of any kind, I couldn’t be more stoked. I will be surrounded by hundreds, even thousands of people, hanging out and listening to music together. With acts such as Wiz Khalifa and Halsey, Bonanza is sure to bring together a good amount of people excited to jam out and have fun.

What fifteen-year-old me is so excited about:

I can see myself back in sophomore year of high school; sitting at my desk in my room, procrastinating on my homework, and indulging myself in synth-packed, indie music remixed by the likes of artists such as Snakehips and Hippie Sabotage. In fact, I distinctly remember binge-listening to Snakehips remix of BANKS’ “Warm Water while I was playing obscure Steam games instead of doing homework. Those kinds of memories I have with songs from Snakehips, Hippie Sabotage, and Oh Wonder that are really making me excited to experience Bonanza.

However nostalgia aside, I have broadened my musical palette since my SoundCloud phase where I discovered those artists. This really makes me appreciate the chill, crisp beats paired with the multitude of different synth sounds and production techniques that I loved so much years ago. Not only that, I’ve also noticed that revisiting artists after not having listened to them for a while is generally a different kind of experience. This only makes me more excited for the live sets.

What thirteen-year-old me is so excited about:

I generally try not to talk about middle school, and I’m sure everyone can relate to some extent. But I do remember that Wiz Khalifa was poppin’ back then. And I would ALWAYS hear people bumping Black and Yellow during lunch. Or at those awkward middle school dances.

I used to listen to O.N.I.F.C. and Blacc Hollywood a lot after having been exposed to Black and Yellow, and while I’m pretty sure I haven’t listened to him since then, it’ll definitely be fun to hear what could be the pop culture anthem of the early 2010s, Young, Wild, & Free.

What regular old me is so excited about:

Here’s where I make a big confession: I don’t listen to any of these artists in the lineup now. So you’re probably asking why I’m even going, and I totally get that. Just hear me out.

Music festivals offer more than just being able to see so many of your favorite artists within the span of a couple of days. Of course, that’s a great aspect of it, but no one there knows all of the artists performing. One of the major things about these festivals is exposure. Being able to discover artists at the capacity a festival allows for is a huge aspect for the artists and the audience, and that’s what I’m really excited about. This is an opportunity for so many people to potentially discover their new obsession, and that’s a special feeling that I love to experience. On top of that, festivals are a place to let loose and have fun. If anything, that alone is a pretty good reason, but don’t get me wrong, I’m pumped to be in that crowd when Phantogram comes on, they’re pretty sick.

Women of K-UTE

Happy International Women’s Day 2018!

Here at K-UTE, we greatly appreciate the powerhouse women on our team – few though we may be. This year has seen the most female involvement at the station as far as I’m aware and that warrants some recognition. Here are a few of these amazing ladies and what they enjoy most about being involved with the radio station.

Click on each person’s name for a link to their Instagram page!

Sage Holt

Sage is one of our freshman DJ’s and wasted no time in getting involved with our station. She doesn’t quite know what she wants to pursue as a degree, but she’s thinking of testing out music production to see if that’s what she’d like most. When I asked her what her favourite part of K-UTE is, she said “I LOVE that K-UTE radio has given me a family on campus.” She then continued by saying “It’s people like you who make it what it is and I can’t imagine my life without you. You’ve already made my college experience with memories I’ll never forget … also I love you.” She was trying to make me blush with that last bit, but I return those sentiments wholeheartedly. She also writes blogs! Check out her first year reflection here.

Tomey Fox

Tomey (seen here with her boyfriend Sterling) is a freshman and hopes to major in civil engineering. You can often catch her drawing in her sketchbook while in the studio between choosing phenomenal songs to play. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is “all the opportunities you can take advantage of just by reaching out.” She makes a good point with that – there are tons of concerts, conferences, positions, and friends all available if you ask. We aren’t a part of the station just to say we’re involved with something. We’re a part of the station to be involved and get the most out of our time here.

Sophia Chartrand

Sophia is a sophomore going for a major in writing and dwells mostly in the land of the W.A.R. Room – K-UTE’s EDM time block. One thing that she enjoys about being a DJ is “being able to play whatever I want for everyone… and I’ve met some dope people while doing it!”

 

Sarah Bischoff

Sarah is a senior and English Literature major who exists  within K-UTE as a valuable member of The Booket List. She shared that the podcast “gives me the ability to argue with an audience about what I love … it’s a highlight of my academic experience.” She’s involved in other organisations on campus such as the English Student Enrichment Association and writing resource center. We will also soon be publishing pieces together under the title of “Morahnic Satire” wherein we shall satirise anything and everything. Nothing is sacred. Nothing is real. Nihilism.

Jessica Sandrock

Jessica is also a senior and English Literature major. As one of our front desk / secretary people, she has come in clutch many times by printing off assignments for me to pick up while running to class. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is the people. “It’s great to be affiliated with a group of passionate music lovers. I’ve had a blast blogging about concerts and hanging out at the Twilight Concert Series.”

Ellen Lewis

Ellen is a senior and double majoring in Film & Media Arts and Gender Studies in addition to being one of our DJ’s and a member of Studio200. Her favourite thing about K-UTE is “a tie between (1) getting to talk to other music lovers on campus about our favorite artists and (2) forcing everyone tuning in to listen to French pop music from the early 1960s.” When she’s not hard at work on something cool/artsy, she’s probably haunting estate sales. Speaking of her cool/artsy endeavors, mark your calendars and schedule time to get to her art show opening reception!

Morgan Parent

Finally, here’s me! I’m a junior and am getting a degree in Communication, Strategic Communication to be exact. I’ve been involved with K-UTE since January 2017 and I’ve been the Social Media Manager all this time. I’ve also been a DJ on the Midday Mix, conducted in-person & phone interviews, and written blogs (my first one can be found here). My favourite parts about this organisation are the people I’ve met, events I’ve attended, and opportunities I’ve found.

 

It’s an honour to work alongside these angels, but my goal for next year is to get even more women involved! We all have different backgrounds and parts in the organisation but are alike in our ambition and love of music. There is a place for anyone in K-UTE and that’s another reason why it’s so great.

Some other phenomenal gals on our team that weren’t featured include:

  • Allison Allred – another essential member of The Booket List
  • Elena Payne – one of the best front desk people known to humankind
  • Elly Smith – impending blog writer and barista extraordinaire
  • Helen Finch – a new name in the station who is in training to do a podcast

Follow my grrrl gang anthems playlist on Spotify to keep the girl power going!