Seasaw, Canceled Plans, Young Ritual Local Show at Mac’s Bar

If you’re having summer concert withdrawals and are looking for the perfect fall show, look no further! As soon as I heard the news that Seasaw, Canceled Plans (solo set), and Young Ritual would hit the stage at Mac’s Bar in Lansing on October 3rd I’ve been buzzing with excitement! I spoke with Michaela Stock of Canceled Plans and Dylan Grantham of Young Ritual to get the scoop on the upcoming show.

Both Stock and Grantham are excited about the gig and are eager to share the stage with some new faces. “I’ve never shared the stage with seasaw or Young Ritual, but I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve been gigging since April of 2017, and I’ve never gotten to share the stage with another girl who runs the show. I’m a big fan of seasaw and their work, so it’s an honor to have this first and this show alongside two talented and beautiful women.” Stock writes. It’s remarkable to see such genuine support for other female artists in a male-driven industry. One of the things I love most about supporting my local music scene is seeing the interactions and friendships forming between artists that share the stage whether it’s for a single gig or for a tour.

IMG_3108Not only are Stock and Grantham ready to play with some new faces, but they are also thrilled to get back to Mac’s Bar. For Grantham, this is his first time in performing in Michigan’s capital. “This will actually be my first show in Lansing, so I can’t wait for that part. I definitely have some tricks up my sleeve to make a good first impression.” I’m eager to see what kind of tricks he has to make this show a memorable one. Grantham has been working on finishing up his first EP, and released the first single “Prime” last month! He’ll definitely be playing some new music at the upcoming show along with old favorites.

Stock, on the other hand, is a Lansing native and she’s pumped to get back to her hometown and play at one of her favorite venues. “The last time I played at Mac’s was in September of 2017. It was my first full-band show, and I was opening for Michigander, a band I had followed as a fan since high school. That was for sure a night I’ll never forget. Every time I walk through the doors at Mac’s I’m hit with gratitude and nostalgia for the space. I have so much more to say, but I’m going to leave some stories for the show!” I’ve never seen

IMG_7791While remembering Mac’s Bar and what the venue means to her, Michaela lights up and goes into every detail of the venue and how much she loves it. “I spent the latter half of my teenage years studying the scribbled walls in Mac’s Bar at shows. It was my first “dream venue” to play a show in because I had some of my first experiences with live music in that space. I even met my best friend at Mac’s at a concert. We screamed all the words to the headlining band’s set, and it’s been history ever since. Mac’s Bar did, in fact, end up being the first place I’d ever played a billed gig with tickets, a sound-check, and other artists back in April of 2017. I remember wearing a black dress, carrying my guitar case and pushing open the big wooden door thinking, “What the HECK has my life come to?” (For the record, I’m still figuring that question out.) It was so special.”

Do not sleep on this concert! Each of the acts has a different energy to bring to the stage and it’s sure to be a good night. Get tickets to the show here!

-Swaggie Maggie

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The Story of My Summer (part 1)

 

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Hey! Welcome back to Swaggie Maggie’s View from the Pit. After a quick hiatus, I am back with more stories to tell than ever. For those who know, I spent the last four months interning with Live Nation in their Detroit office as a production assistant. It was the best, craziest, most life-changing experience I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

If you don’t know, Live Nation Entertainment is the global leader for live entertainment. More often than not, if you’re going to buy tickets to a show it will be on Live Nation’s website. Back in 2010, when Live Nation only did event promotion, they merged with Ticketmaster to become this all-in-one company that resulted in a massive industry powerhouse that covers everything from ticketing to promotion, to production, to management. When I say that Live Nation (and the people who work for Live Nation) does it all, I mean it!

When I applied for my job with Live Nation’s Detroit office, I didn’t know what I would be getting myself into. I had heard about the opportunity from a few previous interns who were certain that I’d be a great candidate for the job. I applied, sent in my resume, and I was hired on the spot in my interview. I had to patiently wait from December until May to begin my adventure. This was my first shot at making it in the music industry. Everything I had was riding on this experience.

Over the past few years, I had changed my mind about going to graduate school immediately after undergrad. I had changed my major from arts and humanities to professional writing. For the past two years, I have been telling people that my dream was to write for Rolling Stone Magazine, and I was always met with excited responses and congratulations for something I hadn’t even achieved yet.

Of course, my excitement was also plagued with uncertainty. What if I wasn’t good at it? I’d be crushed. What if I didn’t like it? I’d have to start over from square one, again. I’d have to change my hopes and dreams, and figure out new ones. I don’t know if everyone else has this kind of anxiety at the start of something new, but I was just as terrified as I was excited.

Everything I thought I knew changed last summer. Isn’t that dramatic? I always thought people who said crap like that were full of it and trying too hard, but I get it now. Sometimes you just experience something so magnificent it changes you completely. Over the course of 3 months I grew in ways I didn’t know possible. I watched myself change from a girl with a dream to a young woman with drive and the tools to make those dreams happen. I grew professionally and realized that I didn’t have to have just one career goal. I grew personally and learned that I am still so much stronger than I think.

I can’t wait to share more of my experiences and stories with you so come back next week for Part 2 in my new series!

-Swaggie Maggie

Hit Reset – The Julie Ruin

In 2016, American garage-rock band The Julie Ruin released their second album, Hit Reset. This hidden gem is reminiscent of lead singer, Kathleen Hanna’s days in Bikini Kill and the Riot-grrrl movement, while staying on point with the cultural, social, and political aspects of life in 2016 to 2018. After releasing a solo album under the alias of Julie Ruin in 1998, Hanna decided to make the band a full time project. In 2010, The Julie Ruin was formed in New York City by Hanna, Carmine Covelli, Sara Landeau, Kathi Wilcox, and Kenny Mellman.

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Hit Reset was received well by music sources and critics, and received an 8.2 out of 10 in a Pitchfork review, making it clear that the record is definitely worth listening to. Since the music falls into the punk-sphere, the album is not commercially known due to the popularity and demand for pop and rap music. I had never heard of Hit Reset or The Julie Ruin until just a few weeks ago, and I consider myself musically diverse, especially in the rock world. After listening to the album on repeat for a few weeks, I’m positive that everyone in The United States needs to hear it. They need to hear Hanna screaming, and feel her pain, and realize her triumphs with her.

I believe that music is powerful, in any capacity. That’s why it makes me upset when pop music on the radio is mindless and inappropriate. Musicians have a huge platform and they should use it to promote positive messages, and stories about their lives that people can relate to and learn from. Hanna uses Hit Reset to tell her story, and I think that people would gain a sense of empathy towards people by hearing this record. By traveling through Hanna’s journey, listeners are able to share her experiences with her, and feel for her. In a review from Pitchfork, the album is described as “The chance to tip her experiences onto a sterile surface and assess each memory’s impact before dropkicking it into oblivion; the kind of process that’s often only possible when you’ve looked death in the face. It’s Hanna’s most personal work” (Snapes). Hanna proves her power and “she triumphs at every decibel” (Powers).

Hanna has Lyme disease and has been battling it for years. It has forced her to take time off from making music, but she has never backed down from a fight. A review from NPR Music describes Hanna as “both the dissembled survivor and the furious avenger” (Powers). In 2013, a documentary titled “The Punk Singer” was released about her life, and that experience rings through Hit Reset. When I first listened to the album, I was a little conflicted. I was immediately reminded of sounds from the 90’s, and of my best friend. My best friend from home has a voice kind of similar to Hanna’s, being that it isn’t perfect or pristine. It’s not technically good, but it’s interesting and passionate. There were songs that I didn’t like at all, such as “Be Nice”, because I couldn’t understand the lyrics through Hanna’s frenzied screams. I’ll be honest, I got a little bit of anxiety as I listened to the album for the first time. That doesn’t mean I didn’t like it, but the music was definitely anxiety inducing.

I’d listen to this album when I’m pissed off. Maybe I’d be in my room or driving home from work, but this is the kind of music you listen to when you’re so angry but you may not know how to express the anger in a constructive way. This makes me want to scream at the top of my lungs, kick things and cry until I calm down. I think that it’s important to feel those emotions every once in a while. Emotions make people human.

While we have learned in class that the Riot-grrrl movement was not perfect, I think it was a great place to start in terms of getting everybody to notice women, see them as legitimate human beings, and understand that every woman is equal to every man. The Riot-grrrl movement only encompassed straight, white, middle class, women, and the documentary is pretty reflective of that. It seems as though most of the women interviewed and showed in the film are white and supposedly middle class (They all met in college, so they could afford a college education). Women of color, transgender women and men, and members of the LGBTQ+ community also needed a voice, as well as members of lower classes. It is unfortunate that so many people were not included in the Riot-grrrl movement, but it is understandable that the very first step in a movement is not perfect. There is no possible way for something to be perfect upon conception, but the important thing is that a first step was taken.

Hit Reset is reminiscent of 90’s punk, and combines techno-rock influences with classic punk attributes such as fuzzy guitar riffs, strained vocals, and manic rhythms. At first listen, tracks can be split up into two categories. The first kind of song you’ll hear on the album is wild, all over the place, and frenzy-inducing. These songs mimic classic punk and bring about a manic style. The second type of songs are almost monotone sound, following one rhythm, have repetitive lyrics, and could be classified as punk ballads. After listening to the album a few more times, it is obvious that each song follows a similar style that is unique to The Julie Ruin. The “New-wave romp didn’t lack energy, some of Hanna’s lyrics were unusually tentative” (Snapes). The album is cohesive, and follows Hanna’s experiences and thoughts as a female artist.

There are a few running themes that are apparent and maintained throughout the album, and tell a story. Love, being feminine, feminism, and identifying as a dreamer, can be found woven throughout the lyrics of each song. While Hit Reset cannot necessarily be considered a rock-opera like The Beatles’ Sgt. Peppers or The Who’s Tommy, it definitely follows a theme and tells stories. The lyrics all seem autobiographical and personal, even in the songs where many of the lyrics could not be understood. They still felt unique and distinctive, because  “Hanna faces down the abuse she’s suffered in her own life” (Powers). Half of the songs, such as  on the album sound manic, and anxiety inducing. The lyrics are screamed with a high-pitched-frenzy and the instruments are all over the place, creating a craziness. The other half of the songs, such as “I Decide” and “Time is Up” sound almost monotone and flat, but not boring by any means. They seem so much calmer than the other songs on the album. Both of these styles work together to create a unique record.

A song that immediately stood out to me on the album was “Rather Not. It sounded so familiar, and I could have sworn that I’d heard it before.I think that my subconscious knew it was a song I personally needed to hear. The low, catchy bass and guitar riffs that are continued throughout the song are reminiscent of Pixies’s “Here Comes Your Man, and they compliment Hanna’s unique vocals perfectly. Hanna’s voice is one-of-a-kind. She’s no opera singer, but in her context and situation, there is no other way these songs could sound and still have the incredible weight that they possess. With lyrics that are pointed and deliberate, “Rather Not follows a disastrous relationship that has ended. Although there is significant history, Hanna sings about throwing all of that history away for the sake of moving on and feeling comfortable and alive again. She sings “If you love me I’d rather not know” over and over throughout the song, which resonates with anyone who has fallen out of love and the relationship keeps coming back to haunt them.

Another interesting song is “Mr. So and So”. It starts with a catchy guitar riff and then Hanna comes in with a monologue. The lyrics up until the chorus are spoken as a speech, detailing an awkward and inappropriate encounter she had with a male fan. When the chorus starts, the lyrics echo “You can’t say goodbye until I get my hello. Mr. So and So. It’s all just for show.” It’s heartbreaking and makes me angry to hear about the uncomfortable things male fans have said to her.  “Mr. So and So” is “an anti-ode to an entitled male fan” (Powers) that allows listeners to feel the same disgust that Hanna does.

 

Works Cited

Powers, Ann. “Review: The Julie Ruin, ‘Hit Reset.'” NPR Music, NPR, www.npr.org/2016/06/30/480605934/first-listen-the-julie-ruin-hit-reset. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

Snapes, Laura. “The Julie Ruin Hit Reset.” Pitchfork, Conde Nast, 16 July 2016, pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/22073-hit-reset/. Accessed 2 Mar. 2018.

-Swaggie Maggie

10 Love Songs We Love to Hate — BLOGGing February 2018

They’re notoriously cheesy, sometimes they’re cringeworthy, but they’re also our guilty pleasures. There’s no shortage of love songs in this world, and sometimes we become painfully aware of that, especially in February when this idea that cliché, movie-style, romance is the only way of showing affection is shoved down our throats. While there are plenty of delicate, beautiful love songs out there, there are definitely more than a few that are so bad you have to love them. Here are 10 love songs that we just love to hate. Be sure to listen along with the playlist!

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“I Really Like You” by Carly Rae Jepsen

This gem off of Jepsen’s 2015 album “Emotion” is one of the catchiest songs in existence, but it’s also one of the cheesiest. The lyrics are incredibly basic, and the chorus repeats the word “really” 6 times, which to many, is a writing faux pas. If you’ve heard the song, you understand that even if you don’t want to sing along you end up doing it anyways. And that’s why we love to hate the song!

 

“Smile” by Uncle Kracker

As a staple of Midwest pop radio stations, Uncle Kracker is an artist that we grew up listening to. Any Michigander has known the lyrics to “Smile” since they knew how to speak, and it’s honestly a cute song. The easygoing melody is pleasant, but the use of simile in the lyrics is overwhelming and sickly sweet. It doesn’t take too long for something so cute to become annoying, yet we can’t help but sing it when it comes on the radio.

 

“Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber

If you didn’t live under a rock during your adolescence, you’ve heard “Boyfriend” and you loved it at first. When it was released Bieber was still a sweet teen-heartthrob, and this was his first move towards the “bad boy” cliché. Now, as young adults, we fully understand just how cringeworthy the line “I don’t know about me but I know about you so say hello to falsetto in three, two, swag” is, and we claim that we never listened to Beiber to begin with.

 

“A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

The 2004 film “White Chicks” is an accurate portrayal of the widespread obsession of Vanessa Carlton’s hit song, “A Thousand Miles”. Groups of girlfriends scream sing it together, and boys claim to hate it, but somehow know all the words. If the catchiness and the vulnerability of the heartfelt lyrics aren’t enough to get stuck in your head for days, the widespread popularity of the song is sure to create a situation in which you’re going to have to sing along and like it.

 

“Girlfriend” by Avril Lavigne

We all went through our angsty tween phase where we wore pink and black graphic tees and worshipped the queen of pop-punk, Avril Lavigne. I know we all loved to sing “Girlfriend” and scribble our crushes name in a notebook while drawing hearts around it, but those days are over. The repetitive nature of the lyrics are annoying, and nobody wants to actually be in a love triangle. Though if the song comes on at any moment, you’re still going to know every single word.

 

“We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by Taylor Swift

If the story of an on-again-off-again relationship wasn’t annoying enough, immature lyrics and country-turned-pop star vibes make this Taylor Swift song eye-roll worthy. Everyone has at least some opinion on Taylor Swift, and whether you love her, or you hate her, you know the song and you’ve heard it one too many times.

 

“Perfect” by One Direction

Like Justin Bieber, every girl loved One Direction at some point, and whether they admit that or not is up to them. Now that the guys have all gone in different directions, it’s fun to reminisce and sing their old pop hits while getting ready for a night out with the girls. While we all know that nobody is perfect, it’s still fun to imagine Harry Styles telling us that he thinks we are.

 

“Somebody To You” by The Vamps featuring Demi Lovato

Whenever this song comes on, I imagine a group of fun, hipster-ish, teenagers sitting around a bonfire on the beach singing along. The beat is addictive, and the vocals featured by the boyband are so smooth and innocent. The lyrics are playful and bring a youthful energy that can seem cringeworthy now that we’re older. Still, you’re bound to be singing along with the chorus before the song ends.

 

“Black Magic” by Little Mix

Little Mix is a badass girl group that doesn’t take anything from anyone. That being said, their song Black Magic was definitely a pop favorite a few summers ago. This is another one of those songs that is just so catchy it’ll get stuck in your head for at least a week. Not only is the tune catchy, but the lyrics are just fun! As much as some people wouldn’t want to admit to singing along, it’s inevitable!

 

“Out Of My Limit” by 5 Seconds of Summer

It’s no surprise that another boy band made it onto this list. 5 Seconds of Summer has a special place in my heart, (I swear I was going to their shows before they even released their first full length album) but some of their jams are adorably immature. Their song “Out of My Limit” has lyrics that will remind you of having a secret crush in high school, but it’s so upbeat that you can’t help but dance along!

 

Maggie Morgan is a junior majoring in Professional Writing with a concentration in Creative Writing. Hobbies include: spending all of her money on concert tickets, trying to convince Green Day to let her be their friend, geeking out about music history, dreaming of writing for Rolling Stone. You can follow her on instagram at @swaggie_.maggie.