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Sofar Sounds Chico

In this dawn of a public age, I think we all take the gift of intimacy for granted. Whenever something cool is happening right in front of us our instinctual reaction is to grab our phones and document it. This was never how life was experienced in the past, but it is our current status quo. I don’t know if it’s good or bad, and I’m definitely not one to pass judgment on the cultural implications of mass social media (especially since I’m an actively participant.) But, I do know that when people come together to create a special intimate moment together it is like a breath of fresh air I didn’t even know I needed.

Sounds From A Room, or as conveniently abbreviated as SOFAR, has been putting together beautiful intimate shows all around the world. The secret to their success may just be that, a secret. They never reveal the location of the show until shortly before it begins. Attendees also don’t know who they came out to see until they are literally playing. It sounds strange considering we’re used to huge international marketing campaigns for massive music festivals. Even the smallest bands do the most they can to promote. SOFAR has captured something special that no PR firm can pay for, word of mouth.

I was told about this event from one of my fellow interns at KCSC. As I arrived at the address I was given about an hour prior, I was a little confused but definitely excited. I walked into the backyard of a beautiful home in Chico. The yard was decorated with twinkling lights all around. Soft music and excited chatter filled the air of the space. Blankets were thrown out across the yard along with various stools and chairs for people to snuggle up on this cool March night. It was announced right before the first act came on that this was supposed to be an intimate and quite show. Little to no phone use and no talking to the people around you. Everyone who was there was to take a break from all that, sit back and just enjoy the music.

Each act that came out was an absolute pleasure. MAWD started the show with her eccentric and bubbly energy and beautiful voice. Her poppy folk music set the tone for the rest of the artists we were to shear that night. Next up was Kyle Williams and his tiny guitar. He began every song with a touching story and followed with an even more touching display of his amazing acoustic talents. Last, but definitely not least, was the hilariously charming John Craigie. His dry, simplistic humor was complimented by his simplistic approach to the guitar and harmonica. His relatable jokes made the whole crowd laugh and his folky tunes kept everyone’s ears occupied.

All in all, it was such a special moment between music and the people there to appreciate it. SOFAR captured the lost art of intimate moments and served it right to everyone in that room. I think the best aspect of the whole event was that people were there just too genuinely enjoy music. There were no headliners and no special effects. Just a small intimate crowd and some songs from a room.

Written and reviewed by: Taylor Kurupas

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Goldlink – At What Cost

Ever since his debut mixtape The God Complex in 2014, GoldLink has proven himself to be outlier in terms of production, lyricism, and overall sound. He then outdid himself following the release of his sophomore mixtape And After That, We Didn’t Talk in 2015, showing progression to an even newer overall sound. Now, in 2017, GoldLink has outdone himself again. This time, he has still progressed, but also has flipped his sound, straying away from the undeniable dancehall vibe delivered in his first two projects. In his debut album At What Cost, GoldLink stays true to his roots and shows a lot of influence from one of D.C.’s most original genres: go-go. He delivers not only a heavily go-go influence vibe, but there is also a higher quality of production than either of his projects had. At What Cost comes fully equipped with a wide range of features (such as fellow D.C. natives Wale and Ciscero and fellow 2016 XXL freshman Shy Glizzy), some of the best up and coming producers (such as KAYTRANADA and Steve Lacy from The Internet), and the variance in flow and adaptability that GoldLink always brings to the mic.

His first two projects started with some sort of car crash, but this album starts off with something different. It appears to be a lot of industrial noise followed by some sort of five-line monologue, in which GoldLink talks about how he cannot be stopped. The second track (and first song) on the album Same Clothes As Yesterday is led by Ciscero, and he speeds all over the track during his verse before GoldLink steps in with his classic quick-switching flow.

Some Girl featuring Steve Lacy and Meditation featuring Jazmine Sullivan follow the somewhat funky vibes that D.C.’s go-go music brought in the 60’s and 70’s. The album, taking mixed influences from rap and R&B, has songs that reside on either far end of the spectrum. His remix of Hare Squad’s Herside Story really showcases his talents on the R&B end of the spectrum, while the first part of Kokamoe Freestyle is (in my opinion) the most solid rap song on the album. When Summatime comes on, the album switches gears and takes a much more intimate and personal turn, as GoldLink’s lyrical content on this track is mostly filled with talks of women and love. One of the singles released off the album, Crew featuring Shy Glizzy and Brent Faiyaz, is a very radio-fitting fast paced cypher between the three, and it was a great selection to release before the album. Pray Everyday (Survivor’s Guilt) is the perfect song signing off the album. It is very reminiscent of what J. Cole did at the end of 2014 Forest Hills Drive, it is very gospel-sounding like Chance The Rapper did on Coloring Book.

GoldLink’s main focus and perspective of his debut album is what makes it stand out most to me; he’s giving the listener a closer look into his life, who he’s loved, who he’s lost, and where he is from than ever before. It has that classic GoldLink flow, with a more nostalgic and somehow familiar vibe than his previous works.

By: Casey Elton

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SiR – HER TOO

Picture yourself on the road, going home after a while of not visiting, let’s say your home is Los Angeles (because in reality who wouldn’t like to live in L.A) the EP HER TOO is coming along with you. SiR, the newest member of TDE came out with his 6th song project titled HER TOO. It’s a mixture of R&B, hip hop, soul, and mellow sounds with amazing features. You can see why T.D.E decided to make him part of their family.

On the way to L.A you start to think about the new changes you might see, and start to questions if you’ll see more gentrification, diversity, hipsters, rallies, but SiR’s song New LA targets something more specific: women. He sings, “She don’t even wanna to know my name

These new LA girls are all the same.” New LA, has an upbeat R&B flow which is accompanied by the voices of Anderson Paak. and King Mez. Which makes one wonder have LA women really changed?

As you’re almost approaching home you see what you’ve been missing or as SiR sings,”He probably told you life was black and white, he was only trying to dim your light I’m just here to add a little color to the canvas, baby, red is for the heart.” Los Angeles is known for a lot of things especially artists, SiR is from Inglewood, CA and his album is surrounded with that type of vibe.

You’re off the 110 (One ten, for all my LA people) freeway, and you hear your phone ring, you are five minutes away from home, your boss calls you, or your classmates calls you for questions on the group project, or someone calls you that you don’t FW, and your feelings are clearly depicted in Don’t Call My Phone: “If I offend you, bro I promise that I really meant to…So don’t call my phone no more, I ain’t picking up.” In this song it’s obvious SiR is not here for the drama.

Home, that is where you’re at now and I bet you want to relax after that long road trip. But you realize you only have a little of time in LA so you hit the clubs and you meet someone, Ooh Nah Nah’s sound is a romantic melody. Lyrics like,”May fall in love again if I stay too long. What we did last night, oh it was amazing,” reminds one of that special connection one has to home. The next song, Sugar is relevant to the previous song, “Feeling so empty I’ve been away. I’ve been away for so long and I know sugar misses me. Didn’t know it would be this hard to be strong, honey tryna convince me.” These lyrics are talking about a lover, and following my L.A storyline  I’m using it as a connotation for missing LA or wherever home is to you.

Finally, as you leave LA, you realize you will always be a W$ boi or W$ girl (westside boy/girl) despite the violence you underwent. The song W$ Boi sheds light on the phrase: You can take the boy out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the boy. “I grew up on the other side of Figuero, Figueroa, mama’s mama came to California from Louisiana. Never banged, never claimed a set, but if they gonna try to put me in a coffin I’m gonna hit them with the… I’m a west side boy, I’m a west side boy.”

Like SiR, stay humble. His EP HER TOO is a great listen! Check him out!

By: Vall Flores

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