Blue Robot

Music for the Waning Summmer Days

Posted by Christopher Will on 08/01 at 12:15 PM

Just because the summer days are fading, doesn’t mean you can’t still add to your summer soundtrack.  Here are 10 fantastic new songs that have dropped recently, all viable summer tunes even as fall is just around the corner.

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Summer 2012 Playlist II

Posted by Christopher Will on 06/13 at 12:05 PM

About a month ago we posted a summer playlist full of pop songs to get your summer started with a bang.  Now we’re in June, summer is in full force, and a whole mess of awesome new music has dropped.  Therefore, an update is in order.  Here are 10 new songs that have come out in the past month that you need to hear.  This time, there’s a mix of rock, rap, pop, dance, and even (dare I say it) a little bit of country. Enjoy!

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Album Review: Marina & The Diamonds - Electra Heart

Posted by Christopher Will on 06/01 at 12:00 PM

Grade: A

Wide U.S. Release Date: July 10

Marina Diamandis made her name as a legitimate artist through the release of her freshman album The Family Jewels in May of 2010.  Under the moniker “Marina and the Diamonds,” she took her fans and listeners through a tirade of quirky, clunky, 80’s influenced coffee house pop.  But instead of filling her first album with sweet love songs and cutesy, summery ballads, The Family Jewels had a strange, cutting, introspective feel that automatically set Marina apart from her contemporaries.

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Summer 2012 Pop Playlist

Posted by Christopher Will on 05/04 at 03:18 PM

What would summer be without a summer playlist?  And I don’t mean the same 6 songs they blare on the radio. I’m talking about fresh cuts of music.  These should be the songs that remind you of calm summer nights, bright summer days, the shining sun, road trips, summer romance, and the good times that the season brings. So if you need help finding some new songs to get your summer started, here’s a good place to start.

Below are 15 new songs that I recommend, that would make up a solid summer playlist. Here you’ll find bits of hip-hop, pop, dance, and just about everything in between. There are tracks from fresh-faced newcomers to the pop music scene, as well as songs from those well-established radio artists.  Check them out, pick the ones you like, and start off your summer with a pop

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Concert Review: The Avett Brothers at PSU Movin’ On 2012

Posted by Christopher Will on 04/30 at 12:14 PM

It was 9:30 on a Friday night, and the wind bit against the crowd’s coats and faces as they waited patiently for the headliner of Penn State’s Movin’ On 2012 spring music festival.  They had been taken through the brawny, dark dance music of Keegan Tawa, the spunky ska of The Wondershop Showdown, the countrified folk of The David Mayfield Parade, the atmospheric, awe-inspiring alternative rock of Young The Giant, the bright, positive reggae-rock of Michael Franti & Spearhead, and the raucous rap of Ludacris.  Now, a gaggle of people of all shapes, sizes, and ages crowded around the barricades as the lights lit up and a half-dozen ragged-looking musicians took the stage.  Without pause, The Avett Brothers took up their instruments and launched into their folk-based-country-brushed-indie-pop-rock.

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Movin On’ Act Profiled: Keegan Tawa

Posted by Christopher Will on 04/25 at 07:49 PM

If you’re a Penn State student, you might have seen Keegan Tawa around campus, walking to class or eating lunch in the HUB, dressed in his Air Force ROTC uniform or his civilian clothes.  But on Friday at 3 p.m., you’ll see him standing on the Movin’ On Stage, tearing through the air with deep, guttural, basslines and jaw-dropping dance beats.

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Album Review: The Avett Brothers’ - I And Love And You

Posted by Christopher Will on 04/23 at 01:16 AM

Grade: A-

Never before has the world of music been introduced to an act like The Avett Brothers.  The band, fronted appropriately by Scott and Seth Avett, went from relative obscurity to national prominence practically overnight.  Though they have not quite made as substantial of a dent in popular music as fellow folk-rock musicians Mumford & Sons, their major label debut, I And Love And You, is one of the most surprisingly complex and prolific albums of the 21st century.  The album spent almost 30 weeks in the Billboard top 200 album chart, peaking at #16 back in the fall of 2009.  So yes, while I And Love And You has been around for quite some time, that doesn’t make it any less relevant or striking.

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5 Pop Songs You Need To Know

Posted by Christopher Will on 04/13 at 05:55 PM

Top 40 Radio can be both a blessing and a curse. It does a near flawless job of keeping its ridiculously large audience in sync with the hottest pop songs, particularly from those emperors and empresses that reign unchecked over radio waves and billboard charts. If Katy Perry has a new single, you’ll definitely hear it. If Lady Gaga has a single that hit #1 eight months ago, you’ll STILL hear it. If a previously unknown artist releases a single that manages to drag itself into the top 40, you’ll hear it, and if it happens to hit #1, you’ll never unhear it (“We Are Young,” I’m talking to you).

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Local Artist Profile: Maura Westerlund

Posted by Christopher Will on 04/06 at 11:04 AM

You could argue that Maura Westerlund is one of the head honchos of Penn State’s local music scene, as the president of Penn State’s Songwriter’s Club, as well as a veteran singer, songwriter, guitarist, and pianist.  The Pittsburgh native has been writing and playing her own original compositions since she picked up a guitar and a notebook in middle school. “I started playing the piano when I was six years old, but having to practice piano for like an hour a day at six years old is really tough.” she explained.  “It wasn’t until I was 13 and started playing guitar that I started taking what I knew and turning it into songs.”

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Artist Breaking Out in 2012: Madeon

Posted by Christopher Will on 03/20 at 12:51 AM

When you hear the phrase “Top 40 radio,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind (OTHER than Adele)?  Probably dance music, and for good reason.  With mainstream recognition of electronic dance music (EDM) skyrocketing over the past few years, it is clear that America wants to dance its problems away.  Thus, the public is turning its attention to those artists who swath their music in house, dubstep, and electro to tend to its needs.  One need only check the Billboard Hot 100 for proof.  DJs and producers like Skrillex, David Guetta, Calvin Harris, and Avicii currently reign supreme, maintaining steadfast positions in the top 40 and beyond with their club-ready singles.  With so many diverse and unique EDM artists in the mainstream spotlight, it’s hard to imagine anyone else breaking into the public eye.  We have David Guetta’s ubiquitous electro-house, Calvin Harris’ minimalist, icy dance-pop, Martin Solveig’s alternative rock inspired house, Skrillex’s dark, aggressive dubstep, The Cataracs’ sexually charged video-gamestyle electro, Avicii’s iconic sampling and more. How could there be any more room for creativity? Enter Madeon, the 17-year-old French electro-pop prodigy.

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My top 5 songs from the show Glee

Posted by Christopher Will on 03/13 at 12:57 AM

Glee.  It was once associated mostly as a synonym for “happy” and an ellipsis for the numerous glee clubs that pepper high schools and universities. Today, that word is packed to the brim with pop culture prominence. It is a massive television movement, almost three successful seasons deep and with a fan base that rivals that of some of pop culture’s biggest phenomena. Today, Glee has given some of pop music’s most innovative and recent artists the push they need to break into mainstream notoriety.  Today, Glee has re-awakened the classics and theater to a generation that was once thought lost to the timeless roots of modern music.

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“Some Nights” by Fun. - Album Review

Posted by Christopher Will on 02/27 at 05:00 PM

Grade: A

Brooklyn-based indie-pop trio Fun., released their sophomore album Some Nights this past Tuesday, and it stands as one of the most diverse and innovative pop albums to come out of this decade thus far.  While Fun.’s freshman debut, Aim & Ignite, was an album layered heavily with 70’s classic rock influences, Some Nights takes bits and pieces of multiple genres and clumps them together into a perfect musical mess.  Though some may see Some Nights as Fun.’s attempt to “sell out” for radio audiences, the more musically intellectual will step back and realize that the album as a whole is too unique and breathtaking to be a “sell out.”  Some Nights is Fun. doing what they do best: making thought provoking and mind blowing music that is, for lack of a better term, ridiculously and indescribably fun.

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Valentine’s Day Playlist

Posted by Christopher Will on 02/14 at 07:33 PM

Valentine’s Day is a holiday filled with love, longing, and little candy hearts.  This Valentine’s day, here are five songs that you can enjoy while cuddled up with your better half, or in the comfort of your own solitude.

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Jon Simmons SPA Noontime Concert Review

Posted by Christopher Will on 02/06 at 07:55 PM

Jon Simmons of Balance &Composure graced the HUB-Robeson center with his presence this past Friday, playing a 40-minute acoustic for S.P.A.’s Noontime Series.  For those who don’t know, Balance & Composure is a five-piece indie rock outfit from Doylestown, PA.  Burrowing themselves within the roots of the emo rock music of the early 2000s, they channel some of the most influential bands of that era, such as Taking Back Sunday, My Chemical Romance, Saves The Day, and Senses Fail.  Those influences were made even more palpable on Friday, as Simmons stood with an acoustic guitar, churning out slow, bruised acoustic ballads.  His wounded vocals, backed by the guitar, gave added power to the lyrics of his songs.  His confident stage presence also spoke to his legitimacy as an artist.

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Jon Simmons to play Friday SPA Noontime Concert

Posted by Christopher Will on 02/03 at 09:00 AM

Who: John Simmons (from Balance and Composure)
When: Friday, February 3, 12PM
Where: Penn State HUB-Robeson Center, Study Lounge (above Panda Express)

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