And to help you celebrate, we come bearing a dope playlist:
And to help you celebrate, we come bearing a dope playlist:
By Justin Hermstedt
2016 ended over two months ago, and just when you thought you were caught up on that year’s music, 2017 comes around and brings a whole new lineup. There are truly no off-days allowed in the pursuit of good music, but we’ll give you a pass just this once. Here are a few albums you may have missed this year already. Now keep your ears to the streets so you don’t miss any more.
Process – Sampha
Sampha built up hype for his debut album through his collaborations with popular artists such as Drake, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Solange. Big names, one might say. Released early in February, Process is an intimate introduction to Sampha.
The first few songs reveal the pressure and anxiety Sampha experiences: “It’s so hot I’ve been melting out here / I’m made out of plastic out here.” This feeling builds until the fourth track, “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano,” an endearing ballad dedicated to Sampha’s mother, who died in 2015.
The album has a very special way of finding highs and lows from song to song. The quiet songs build a desire in the listener for something danceable, which eventually comes in “Reverse Faults” and “Timmy’s Prayer.”
Process solidifies Sampha as a pop artist with unrivaled soul.
Plural – Electric Guest
Plural is Electric Guest’s sophomore album, arriving five years after the commercially successful Mondo.
As in Mondo, the music in Plural is characterized by tight, dancy percussion and synth. Electric Guest seems to draw influence from, say, Depeche Mode and your common elevator music. Plural leans slightly towards the elevator music side of the spectrum compared to Mondo. Plural is notable for its optimistic tone. Songs like “Dear to Me” and “Sarah” are more smiley than we’ve seen Electric Guest in the past.
Although Plural is generally high-tempo, there’s still a hint of the uneasy brooding of Mondo, like in the opening track, “Zero.” The best new development in this album is a more diverse vocal performance, aside from the band’s signature mellow falsetto. Check out the surprising passion in “Back For Me.”
By Justin Hermstedt
2016 was a standout year for music. New Kanye, Beyoncé, and Frank Ocean barely scratch the surface. What were your favorite albums of 2016? Here are some personal favorites from the staff at Style on the Hill.
A Seat at the Table – Solange
This album is soulful and spiritual and imaginative. Solange is too often overshadowed by her sister, and this album showcases her incredible musical talents. Her music is powerful.
Starboy – The Weeknd
A pretty sexy album. It’s r&b and electronic without being too overbearing. The album seems to flow better when I listen to it as a whole.
Holy Ghost – Modern Baseball
I came for the witty, angsty expressions of social hijinks/struggles which highlighted Modern Baseball’s first albums, but I stayed for the honest, introspective stories of surviving in the face of loss and mental illness. This album kicks ass.
Disappear Here – Bad Suns
Bad Suns had an awesome EP a couple of years ago and followed up this year with a dope album; Disappear Here is the perfect amount of peppy and artistic.
Call Him a Doctor – GFOTY
GFOTY (Girlfriend Of The Year) created the EPOTY with Call Him a Doctor. Rarely does an artist’s magnum opus manifest as an EP, but with Call Him a Doctor GFOTY infuses her signature wit/bombast with an unexpectedly refined pop-punk and PCMusic electronica.
The Ride – Catfish and the Bottlemen
Their first album was absolutely killer and this followed it perfectly. I honestly just don’t have any words for how great this band is.
Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
This album is so different from anything Childish Gambino has done in the past, and a lot of people don’t like it for that reason. I thought it was spectacular. I think his voice was made for this kind of music.
Blackstar – David Bowie
David Bowie hadn’t died in 2016, Blackstar would still be a top ten album of the year. But nothing exists in a vacuum, so the compelling narrative behind Bowie’s last LP secures an already enchanting album its place as my second favorite album of 2016.
How to Be a Human Being – Glass Animals
Each track on How to Be a Human Being tells the story of a real person who Glass Animals have encountered in their travels. The unique narratives of these colorful characters coalesce into a uniform anthology, just like how the diverse and whimsical sounds form an awesome, melting pot of an album.
Centerfold – MOTHXR
MOTHXR explored the decadent basin of New Romantic dystopia’s pits and excavated a dark, amethyst gem with Centerfold.
By Jaden Nussbaum
Retrieved from: diymag.com/2016/01/23/kanye-west-drake-collab-in-the-studio-larry-graham
In case you haven’t heard by now, Kanye West disclosed some inside details regarding his current schemes and come ups in an interview with Vogue magazine back in early September. You can Keep Up With Kanye and read the entire article here, even though I can save you some time and tell you the one truly important piece of information bestowed upon us by our beloved Yeezy: a Kanye/Drake collaboration is in the works. This is not a drill; not enough people are talking about this.
We aren’t talking about some B-list collab. This is Drake, Drizzy, 6 God, AUBREY GRAHAM combined with Yeezus himself. What we did to deserve these blessings is beyond what my lowly feeble brain can understand, but I’ll accept them with no dissent.
The thought of this album really, for some reason, excites the hell out of me. The two most (opinion warning) culturally impactful hip hop artists of the decade are grinding away to grace our humble, undeserving souls with an album that will change the face of America.
Okay, it’s probably not that serious – but it is a really big deal. I know I’m not alone in saying this and I really feel like an entire generation is hinging on the release of this album. We’re hungry. The anticipation makes us all tense; can you feel it? You didn’t know it was there until I pointed it out, but you feel it. We’re all the same.
My point: modern hip-hop has taken the genre and transformed it into a social and cultural empire. Meaning we are putty in their hands. We live our lives in accordance to them, oftentimes unconsciously. These impacts may be positive or negative, but even the fact that they exist confirms the pop rapper’s reign.
Think about it. Rap and hip-hop artists were once treated like thugs and degenerates. They are now treated like royalty – and they didn’t get that treatment on accident. Some of the industry’s biggest stars made some moves, did some low-key “gangsta shit”, and purposely propelled the hip-hop namesake into relevance that can almost be equated to mass worship.
So whether you’re bouncing between music streaming services in an effort to culture yourself with the newest album or mixtape, buying merchandise, or even checking a Kardashian snap story, you are contributing to the ascension to godhood experienced by these artists and their associates.
When did this happen? When did I start separating contrasting portions of my life by album releases? Does anybody remember the exact moment we all fell under the complete control of a handful of pop-rappers? They have us hooked; why else would we obsess over their families, significant others, and personal lives?
I used to always feel indifferent about rappers and the music they produced. Some of it was good, but most of it was repetitive and cliché. None of it gave me that euphoric tingle I sought and expected out of the music I listened to.
While I’ve always been a fan of Drake, I had never considered myself a true hip-hop enthusiast. My taste in music has always aligned with songs and artists that have a ritualistic effect on culture, AKA I’m a basic b!tch. I listen to what is popular. So, as a self-described basic, I can tell you society was totally and completely devoured by the world of hip-hop the day Kanye West released The Life of Pablo.
Hip-hop has always been huge, don’t get me wrong but something changed in the air that day. TLOP struck a chord with the world. It did this by being different, by feeding our collective a need to feel chic, manic, and a little spiritual. Rap and hip-hop are restricted to themes of parties and drugs no longer, and making hip-hop music that can get you in your feels has ceased to be a Drake-specific anomaly. Sorry, Drizzy.
Funky beats and ethereal choruses are cool now, and this trend has no end in sight. Chance the Rapper took advantage of our newfound curated taste for a more spiritual rap experience and slapped us in the face with Coloring Book. Along with that, Drake kept us dancing with Views. Will we ever get a break?
We are now cogs in a machine. Are you okay with it? I think I am. As long as these artists continue shelling out content that makes me want to chug a pot of coffee and get my life together: I’m obsessed. I am the property of the rap industry, and I know you feel the same. Let’s stomp on our dignities, cast away our doubts, and together we will blindly allow hip-hop to drag us into the future.
By Maria Rodriguez
Do you enjoy art, fashion and music? Well, look no further than Kansas City. First Fridays are full of pop culture and entertainment. And now, thanks to the University of Kansas, students are able to attend this amazing monthly event without wasting any gas money. Every First Friday (weather permitting), a bus takes students from Lawrence to Downtown KCMO.
I was able to attend for the first time ever, and it was by far one of the best events I have been to. From food trucks to art galleries, the night was full of picture opportunities.
For the 21 and over crowd, I highly recommend Up-Down bar. If you are into photography, I also recommend checking out the vintage shops on the West Bottoms.
Considering the current weather, it’s a little difficult to believe that the Autumnal equinox is already upon us. Let’s welcome the new season with open arms! Here are some tunes to help you shed your summer skin:
By Elias Medici
The purgatory impatience finally ends for Frank Ocean to release new music. On August 20th, 2016, his next project Blond was available for the world to drool over after four years of being silent. His last album, Channel Orange, brought worldwide attention to the young artist, perhaps contributing to his hibernation from the music industry. But the wait is over, and Blond blesses our ears with a re-defined sound and an inspiring story so well crafted by the mastermind himself, Mr. Ocean.
Four years is a long time. The struggle of waiting can be explained by a leap year baby trying to celebrate their birthday and turn one year older. His distinct style favored by the masses can be enjoyed throughout the album and provides a depth into his personal life. In the first song, “Nikes,” it takes around three whole minutes to finally hear his voice. He as well incorporates a tribute to Pimp-C, A$AP Yams and Trayvon Martin, who all in-explicitly died at different times. He as well mentions a tribute to Hurricane Katrina in “White Ferrari,” which connects the death tributes to a common theme of never forgetting personal devastation suffered in the past.
As seen in the album cover, there is no immediate signal of anything “blond” especially since he has Chia-pet green hair and is hiding his face. However, Spotify and Apple Music have displayed the album as Blonde, which the public determined as misspelling all over social media. In the English dictionary, the term “blond” is defined as a “fair-haired male” and “blonde” is “a fair-haired female.” In 2012, Frank posted on Twitter an open letter about his true self and the answers he is seeking for in the matter of love. He explains about his relationship with a man. He stated that four years ago he “met somebody, I was 19 years old. He was too.” He then goes on saying, “by the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant. It was hopeless. There was no escaping, no negotiating with the feeling. No choice. It was my first love.” This may be a contributor to collaborate with the streaming services to define his sexuality in the ways he feels. He as well encourages listeners to do the same and be open about it with tracks such as “Be Yourself,” “Good Guy,” and “Facebook Story” which provide a calm, holy-like instrumental, with a speech as lyrics from different sources. They all support staying true to oneself and not letting any influence change real identities.
Ocean’s album involves an array of writers including Kendrick Lamar, Pharrell, and even The Beatles. The song “White Ferrari” includes lyrics provided by Paul McCartney and John Lennon in their song “Here, There, and Everywhere.” He as well incorporates Rostam Batmanglij from Vampire Weekend for lyrics on the second track “Ivy.” The strong support of writers provides a sensible tone to enjoy throughout the album and a new choice of words not present in previous works by Ocean.
The wait is well worth it. All expression of a struggling person in society is found throughout the album and triggers an enormous emotional response listening to its entirety. The public has yet to acquire the knowledge for the reasoning behind the release delay, but it’s here to enjoy. Blond can hopefully be recognized as a generational masterpiece and reach historical significance. Effective music embodies a personal narrative with political ideals and consistency to present a message, which this album successfully does. Take 40 minutes uninterrupted out of the day to listen carefully and learn something from the album.
By Ellie Milton
Ask anyone on campus: the KU football team hasn’t had the best of luck in the recent years. Yet, that definitely doesn’t mean that Jayhawks don’t know how to throw a tailgate! Whether you’re from Kansas or you’re here from out of state, there are a few things you should know about game day here at the University of Kansas.
By: Darby VanHoutan
There’s nothing quite like good music. High Waisted, a band led by singer and all-around badass Jessica Louise Dye, is going to bring an entire night of good music to Lawrence. Currently on a Summer long tour, the band will be in Lawrence at the Jackpot Music Lounge on Thursday September 1.
Lawrence is one stop of many on the band’s tour for their debut album On Ludlow that was released in March of this year. The album, in summation, sounds like Summer and is appropriately classified as a surf rocker album.
Along with Dye is Jono Bernstein on drums, Jeremy Hansen on bass, and Stephen Nielsen on guitar. Over the past year the group has received praise from numerous publications around the world as well as being named Best Party Band by GQ Magazine. If there’s any band I make room to see – it’s one holding this title.
If you can’t wait for their concert, you can find their music on Spotify, Soundcloud, or on their website which appropriately ends in .party instead of .com. After listening to a few of their songs and realizing the only thing better than dancing to them in your room is seeing them in person, join us on Thursday night to watch them live.
Stay tuned for updates and rock on!
By Logan Gossett
The intrigue is gone. Walking to class is a burden. Class A’s room is going to be suffocatingly warm. Class B is a 50 minute class that goes 50 minutes too long. Class C is a type of motorhome. Class D is too easy and class E is too difficult. And I couldn’t think of anything to say about class F, so let’s assume it’s okay. With the exception of the hypothetical class F, all of the above are thoughts of someone ailing from the second week slump.
The second week slump, or SWS as I just arbitrarily decided to abbreviate it, is a malady that plagues college students entering their second week of classes. Syllabus week won’t prepare students for the gauntlet of the following semester of stress, and the most notable victim of the post-syllabus week life isn’t grades or mental stability: it’s the quality of outfits.
Laundry has to get done at some point and, when it inevitably doesn’t get done, students end up dressing like every day is laundry day. That mysterious orange stain may objectively ruin the beige top that matches with everything, but sometimes the stain’s obscured by denial, so that helps. For the most part everyone’s already made an impression on one another, so solemnly walking into class wearing a hotel bathrobe to open week two feels mostly harmless anyway.
To paraphrase an amateur life coach, everyone is thinking about themselves too much to judge people as viscerally as people judge themselves. That being said, everyone probably notices the mysterious orange stain loitering on that dynamic beige shirt. And everybody better notice those spotless triple white Adidas Ultraboosts (I’m not paraphrasing life coaches anymore; I just really love my Ultraboosts.) SWS can’t be cured. SWS doesn’t have a single remedy. Nonetheless, those who suffer from SWS have two options:
Fortunately Style on the Hill is here to help assuage the second week slump! We’ve prepared a playlist that’s sure to be the oil to your squeaky wheel.
Spring Break is HERE. Hallelujah. Midterms week may have been a near-death experience, but now we finally get to breathe. Or party! However you celebrate break, you’ll need something sick to spin in your stereo and we’ve got just the thing. Our latest staff curated playlist features our favorite songs for Spring Break, including hits from The Griswolds, The Lumineers, Miley Cyrus, and more. Be sure to follow us on Spotify to get a sneak peek of our playlists!
Valentine’s Day is this weekend. For some of you, that may include cute Valentine cards, dressing up and having dinner with a significant other, and maybe heart-shaped chocolate (yay!). For others, it’s another Sunday night spent binging Netflix and eating french fries, and maybe heart-shaped chocolate (yay!). Whatever your weekend calls for, we’ve got the playlist for you. This week we’re bringing you two staff-curated playlists to cater to your inner romantic, or your bitter cynic. If you’re anything like us, you’re a bit of both. Enjoy, and Happy Valentine’s Day!
Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify!
Finals are around the corner…but that means the end of the semester is, too! We’re counting down the days. For everyone that has to shut themselves in their room with headphones on to get any real studying done, we made a playlist for you. A nice combination of chilled out songs and motivational jams, this playlist will help you through whatever hell finals week threatens to bring you. Featuring some favorites from Twenty One Pilots, Robert Delong, and Ellie Goulding, plus a couple re-imagined covers, you can spin this playlist until you pass out on your textbook.
Hang in there, guys. And good luck!
HALLOWEEN IS TOMORROW.
Get the vibes right with our latest staff curated playlist. It’s the perfect mix of Halloween and party, featuring classic themes like “Time Warp” from Rocky Horror, and modern pop with a creepy feel, like “Beggin For Thread” by Banks. We’ve got you covered this Halloween. Be sure to follow us on Spotify to keep up with the latest playlists!
It’s finally Fall Break. It is just us, or was this the longest week ever?
Whether you’re traveling or staying in town, you can’t go wrong with a killer playlist for the weekend. Today, we bring you our latest staff curated list, featuring some of our favorite songs at the moment from Cold War Kids, Head and the Heart, Years & Years, and more. Plus, we can’t get enough of the new CHVRCHES record Every Open Eye. They’ll be in Kansas City at the end of the month, so be sure to catch their show!
Today officially marks the autumnal equinox, or what’s more commonly called the first day of Fall. Fall is one of our favorite seasons around here—the weather finally cools off, which means it’s a prime time to add layers to our favorite outfits. Plus, Fall means apple cider, carved pumpkins, and seeing the leaves change color on campus. This week, we’re bringing you a staff curated playlist featuring some of our favorite fall songs from artists like Twin Forks and Bright Eyes, plus everything else we’re jamming this week. Have a listen and don’t forget to follow us on Spotify!
By Colin Murphy
Not Like Igor drummer Nick Fredrickson leans against the wall of his basement and practice space as we both watch guitarist and singer Maxwell Moore pace the floor. The two are contemplative in their speech, reserved in their manner. “The best shows I ever have are when I can just let go of every thought—just let go, just be in that space,” says Nick. “Forget about your worries, just give it your all.”
Not Like Igor lets go onstage, where the Lawrence-based band’s persistent energy ebbs from dancy and upbeat into driving, heart wrenching swells. Moore’s voice holds softer melodies with childlike vulnerability, but on the constant brink of growing into a scream—which he often does. Personal and poignant, Igor’s lyrics hit home like Moore has been reading your diary and is giving you the words you wish you had been able to articulate, all while telling his own story. Their album This is Just To Say is “One-hundred percent autobiographical,” Moore said. “The entire LP was mostly to do with my girlfriend at the time, and her role in bringing me out of a really shitty period in my life and making me feel like it’s okay to care about people.”
Math rock inspired guitar spins an intricate backdrop to frame Igor’s songs before settling into grooves that are guaranteed to get their audience moving. Nick’s drum style is primal yet calculated, innovatively driving the songs forward with a presence that is hard to tear your attention from. His demure manner sheds completely as he really loses himself to the music, which encourages the audience to do the same. With the addition of bassist and younger brother Andy Fredrickson, who creatively fills out what space was left open in the songs that were first written for two, Igor’s music has become layered and rich. All throughout Not Like Igor’s dynamic performance, you can’t shake the sense of sincerity and urgency that comes through at every moment. Every hit of the drum, every word mumbled or yelled is there because the band needs to put it out there, and they need you to hear it.
“That kind of show is not expected, but it’s inevitable, because that’s what people in the emo community are doing,” Moore says. “They’re baring their soul, and they’re showing that it’s okay to have them, and be vulnerable and get up on the stage with people who are going through the same shit you’re going through every day. So it’s been wholly cathartic to have my friends and the people in the Lawrence and KC music scene to get up right next to me, and to bare their soul along with me.”
Seeing it live feels as authentic as Moore claims, but it wouldn’t be so if not for the support of Igor’s fans, and their ability to be vulnerable back. “It helps that people come up to us afterwards and tell me that the lyrics and music touched them in some way,” Moore says. “When I first started playing shows it was so hard for me to get up and do that, it was so scary for me to get up there and talk about things like my parents divorce . . . The fact that people tell us that it’s relatable and that it’s getting them through shit and that it’s helping get through things in their lives that I’ve been able to relate with, then it’s hugely inspirational to me and it completely affords me the strength to do it once every week or once every two weeks like we’ve been doing.”
This connection to fans is what gives their style of music purpose, the band believes, and something unique to the genre. Moore continues, “I think that if Nick and Andy and I were to play shows and afterwards no one said anything then it would seem like what we were doing wasn’t relatable, and that would scare the fuck out of me—I don’t think I would be able to play music anymore if that was the case. Because it is very vulnerable to go up and not sing about going drinking on the weekend, but instead singing about things that are sometimes deep and dark and would otherwise be a total secret to those people.” Deep and dark aptly describes the tone of the band’s lyrics, but Not Like Igor is also relentlessly clever. Their particular brand of heart-heavy dissatisfaction is convicting, breaking down any barrier between the band and their audience, pushing everyone in attendance into the same headspace.
The band took their emo influence south last January when they toured through Texas, coming back with nothing but praise for the house shows going on in that region. “The shows were exceptional,” Fredrickson and Moore agreed. “Playing a house show in Houston where our style of music does thrive and house shows happen often, and people come without it feeling like you have to pull their teeth because they’re coming and they’re bringing money to support touring bands and bring their own beer to drink, and they treat their house shows like we treat our parties here. Instead of people just congregating and drinking beer, people are congregating and drinking beer and listening to great music. I’ve been watching videos and seeing this sort of things for years and it was so great to finally go and be a part of it.”
Not Like Igor hopes to release a second full length album this coming winter. Their current releases are available at notlikeigor.bandcamp.com for streaming and download, and be sure not to miss their October 28th show at Davey’s Uptown Bar in Kansas City, Missouri! If you can’t make it out (or can’t plan a month in advance) keep an eye on Mass Street—this band comes with a live show you can’t miss.
Happy Labor Day Weekend! We’re stoked to celebrate the holiday, even if it does mark the end of summer. We put together a new playlist featuring some new favorites from Halsey and the X Ambassadors to keep your stereo on all weekend long.
Follow us on Spotify (styleonthehill) to stay updated with all our new playlists!
Welcome back to the hill, Jayhawks. We are beyond excited to start this semester! To kick it off right, we gathered the staff for another awesome playlist to keep you pumped all day long. Featuring the bouncy and addicting 80s pop style of The Griswolds and our favorite songstresses Demi Lovato and Beyonce, these jams will put some spring in your step on the first day back in class.
Don’t forget to follow us on Spotify (styleonthehill) to stay updated with all our new playlists!
It’s only Thursday, but we’re kicking off the weekend early with a brand new staff-curated playlist. It features some of our favorite artists, like BORNS (who will be playing in Kansas City at the Starlight Theater with Charli XCX and Bleachers in two weeks!) and Vinyl Theatre. Pretend it’s Friday with us and turn up the music!
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