Mod Sun Brings The Look Up Tour to Union South This Friday!

Mod Sun Flier

Tuesday, March 10th marks the long-awaited release date of Mod Sun’s debut full-length album “Look Up” on Rostrum Records!

Hailing from Bloomington MN, Mod Sun is known as the pioneer of “Hippy-Hop” – his unique blend of upbeat and colorfully flavored instrumentals in combination with uplifting, weed-laced lyrics. After a number of years playing drums in semi-successful post-hardcore bands (Four Letter Lie, Scary Kids Scaring Kids) as a teenager, Mod Sun (formerly Derek Smith) decided to pick up the mic and change his creative focus to making rap music. MOD SUN is an acronym for “Movement on Dreams, Stand Under None” – a mantra Mod embodies in all that he does. His personality is as infectious in person as it is in his songs, claiming that he “…has no fans, just friends”.

Look Up is Mod’s first official album after a slew of mixtapes and EPs dating back to 2009. The project boasts a number of heavy-hitting features including G-Eazy, Machine Gun Kelly, Dizzy Wright, Travis Barker, Riff Raff and even an unofficial interlude by Tech N9ne, a long-time friend of Mod’s. The album flows seamlessly with spacey, otherworldly interludes linking one track to the next. Keeping with the style of his last few projects, the production on this album leans more towards live instrumentation than the sample-based instrumentals common in his earlier work. Produced by Mod himself, lead single “Howlin at the Moon” is a trippy, synth-y foray into a 1970’s fever dream (seriously, check out the video below).

The album opens with a trippy introduction by Mod Sun, urging listeners to “find magic in the everyday” and segueing into the first track, “Headed Home”. The album doesn’t quite gain pace until the 3rd track, the garage-rock fueled “Free Love”, a party anthem perfect for any hippy on a summer’s day. G-Eazy steps up to the mic on “Goddess”, his lady killer flow mixing well with the sing-song chorus (“I just wanna run away with you”). The interlude by Tech N9ne is surprisingly one of the highlights of the album. Tech touches on the struggle to find happiness in one of his most light-hearted appearances on a track to date. Serving the role of the ‘club banger’ we get “My Hippy”, a track that’s been out for a while but reappears on the album with a new feature from Dizzy Wright. The heavy bass and hi-hat-laden track makes for a great opener to Mod’s live set. Another highlight on the album is “Shoot ‘Em Down” featuring Machine Gun Kelly. Mod and MGK trade off rapid-fire verses while Blackbear holds it down with a chorus that threatens to “Shoot ‘Em Down with a peace sign”. The instrumental doesn’t stand out as much as others on the album, but the acoustic guitar and live drum rhythm (common in a lot of Mod’s newer tracks) lets the rappers really take the spotlight and show off their lyricism.

As far as lyrics on the album as a whole, Mod doesn’t fail to impress. Although he often gets criticized for having a simpler flow (some even denying his style is “rap” at all), he seems to really have stepped up his game on Look Up. Tracks like “My Favorite Shirt is My Skin”, “Not That Bad (feat. Jody Highroller)” and “Same Way Pt. 2” really show off Mod’s lyrical ability. His verses are peppy and upbeat, telling psychedelic stories and sharing his words of wisdom. Although they may not be as complex or intellectual as some ‘conscious rappers’, it’s impossible to listen to a Mod Sun track without leaving happy and inspired. My personal favorite track on the album is “Same Way Pt 2”, a follow-up to “Same Way” which was a track off of his very first mixtape. The track features a children’s chorus singing the hook, and one of Mod’s most personal and touching verses yet – “I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a hero, I vow to make this world a better place before my child turns zero”. It’s a perfect conclusion to the musical portion of the album, fading out with ambient bell chimes and violins accompanying the eerie voices of children singing, like waking up from a dream.

As the music fades, the album changes pace and we hear Mod Sun begin to narrate a novel. Not only does Look Up include 15 tracks (long for an LP) of new original material, but Mod also decided to include his autobiographical book “Did I Ever Wake Up..?” with the bundle in the form of an audiobook narrated and scored by himself.

The album dropped TODAY, March 10th which happens to coincide with Mod’s birthday, to be celebrated with a hometown show at the legendary First Avenue in Minneapolis. Last month he embarked on his first national headlining tour, accompanied by fellow MCs Dillon Cooper, KR, and Karizma, his good friend (and co-producer on Look Up) Blackbear, and DJ Gnash. The Look Up Tour brings more production than ever before to Mod’s live set, adding onstage light-up set pieces and a live band to his show. The tour comes to Madison on Friday March 13th at The Sett in Union South!

WUD Music presents the Look Up Tour featuring Mod Sun, Dillon Cooper, Blackbear and KR

Friday, March 13th – The Sett in Union South

FREE SHOW!

REVIEW: Misterwives – Our Own House

Misterwives has had the right sound to burst out into the indie-pop scene ever since releasing their EP back in January 2014. I could not get enough of “Reflections” after I heard it. It captured the power and emotion that music is all about. The entire EP, titled Reflections, had a similar spunk to it. It was incredibly refreshing music, but at the same time it would be a challenge for Misterwives to successfully follow up the EP with a full length album that carried the same energy.

Fortunately, Our Own House took the energy of Reflections to another level. The first track “Our Own House,” rivals “Reflections” in terms of vocals and energy to set the album in the right direction. The next track “Not Your Way” continues with that energy and themes of independence and feminism, which is awesome to hear. Especially for an album that I believe can hit the mainstream, these kinds of themes are not voiced enough in music. After “Reflections,” the album slows down a bit, but it does so in the best way possible through “Oceans.” These first four tracks effectively set up a flow for the record to follow. “Our Own House” captures your attention immediately, and afterwards you won’t be able to stop listening.

Not only do the “slower” tracks on the record allow for it to flow, but they also create a time to allow Mandy Lee’s jaw-dropping vocals to really shine. The energy and passion of her voice brings the album together effectively. Listen to “Coffins” or “Queens” to really see this in action. She finds a way to bend her vocals in a different way for each track, and somehow they are all beyond catchy. I apologize in advance for your inability to get these songs out of your head.

If it is not clear by now, Our Own House does indie-pop incredibly well. This style of music is gaining quite a bit of traction now, and it will be interesting to see how Misterwives will follow up with their next record. They have shown an ability to be catchy, while also varying each track up and allowing the record to flow. In short, Our Own House will be tough to top.

5 Words to Describe Misterwives’ Our Own House: Refreshing. Spunky. Energetic. Accessible. Entertaining.

Must-listens for Misterwives newbies: “Our Own House,” “Reflections,” “No Need for Dreaming”

My completely arbitrary score for Misterwives’ Our Own House: 8/10

Tapedeck Tuesday: March 3rd, 2015

Happy Tapedeck Tuesday, everybody! Temperatures are finally getting back up into the 30’s, and we’ve all made it through our first wave of midterms. I think that warrants some celebration. We have a wide variety of shows in store for you this weekend, so be sure to come out and enjoy some free music! I promise your toes won’t freeze off in the process.

Check out this playlist featuring all of the artists playing this weekend, along with some others worth checking out:

On Friday, Lust For Youth brings his experimental electronic music to Der Rath all the way from Sweden, accompanied by Samantha Glass. The same night, Chicago hip hop ensemble/live band Sidewalk Chalk will be rocking The Sett with support from acoustic singer-songwriter Kiernan McMullan.

On Saturday, the punk scene takes over Der Rath with the self-described “sludgy jangly pop” stylings of Vundabar with Madison’s The Great Duck War.

The same night, rapper Wave Chapelle will be tearing it up at The Sett with some help from WUD-Music’s very own hip-hop prodigy Max Meridius.

Passion Pit teases “Kindred” with New Singles

Passion Pit has released new music! Rejoice!!

After 2012’s wonderfully phantasmal Gossamer, we’ve been waiting patiently for new material from Massachusetts’ indie/electric power group Passion Pit. The wait is finally over, because they’ve recently released two singles and are featured on a third with DJing/producing 20 year old prodigy Madeon. Their new album entitled Kindred is due out April 21st.

The first single I’ll look at is Lifted Up (1985). With a joyous beat and complex lyrics that I’m still trying to analyze, this song is what fans have been waiting three years for. It features a very catchy chorus and thus this is the single that could gain the most popularity. Also enticing is the chanting on the track. “1985 was a good year” indeed.

Listen to it here:

Next is Where the Sky Hangs, a slower and groovier tune than Lifted Up. This song is more bass driven with wavy synth undertones and more focus on Michael Angelakos’ vocals. There aren’t as many of Angelakos’ characteristic high notes on this track as Lifted Up also. This song has an overall disco-house feel to it.

Listen for yourself:

Both songs are very signature Passion Pit but don’t sound too similar to what they’ve done before. They stick to what they do best without sounding the same as they have on previous albums.

The final single I want to look at closer is their collaboration with Madeon, Pay No Mind. The song has a very typical Madeon kick and electro/house feel featuring Angelakos’ vocals. It also has a very signature Madeon instrumental break and closing. With Angelakos’ soaring vocals, this is very possibly an EDM hit and has already been hailed by producer/DJ Porter Robinson as the best song of 2015 so far.

Pay No Mind:

Based on the recently released singles, I have very high hopes for the rest of the album. They’ve kept to what Passion Pit does well without sounding too identical to what they’ve done before, and I hope this pattern continues on the full album. Make sure to check out Kindred when it drops April 21st 2015.

CakesDeck Tuesday 02.24.2015

This is about to be a big weekend kiddies. Midterms are almost over and I know everyone is looking for something to do, why not something for free!? This Thursday in the Sett there is a huge DJ set, Cakes Da Killa is headlining with Uniiqu3 opening starting at 9:00pm. Also on Friday there are two DJs in the Sett Jake, and Ian. In the Rath on Friday check out Echo Island, and Donny and the Robot. Saturday brings Rap with Klassik in Der Rathskellar, and Fire Retarded and Gonzo will be rocking out in The Sett. Plenty of shows and don’t forget to bring cake to celebrate!

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Tapedeck Tuesday 02/17/2015

It’s a cold weekend here in Madison, so instead of wandering miles on end to find parties. Join WUD Music at the Sett and the Rathskeller for some great weekend shows!

On Friday in the Sett is The Millenium and Whosah, while in the Rathskellar there is Tv Girl and Post Social.

Then on Saturday The Big Time and Stay Strong will be performing in the Sett while Rochelle Jordan, and JMSN will soothe your every need with their sensual vocals.  JMSN also looks like Jesus, so you can say that you were seduced by Jesus and maybe snap a picture with him this weekend.

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WUD Music Presents: Bryce Vine w/Chris Labella, Der Rathskeller at 8pm

The only way this Friday the 13th will be unlucky is if you don’t check out these young talented fellows. Chris LaBella, a local rapper will be opening for Bryce Vine all the way from LA! Check them out at Der Rathskeller tonight (Friday 13th) at 8pm!

I got to ask Bryce a couple questions during his busy route to town.

Where were you born, and what brought you to Los Angeles?

I was born in a small apartment in Manhattan. I moved to LA when I was about ten because my mother who was an aspiring actress at the time landed a role on a daytime soap opera.

Did you start as a rapper?

Actually, no.  I started as the lead singer of a punk band. 

How did you come about the name (of the new album)? 

Laissez-faire was the name of the little party boat my mom used to have.  My friends and I spent many summers on the lake drinking and rock jumping. The album title was a tribute to those memories.

Who is/are your biggest inspiration(s)

Stephan Jenkins of Third Eye Blind and Frank Ocean are some of my favorite writers.  Big fan of Kid Cudi, Brother Ali, and The Wombats, also.

Would you be looking for a girl to go see 50 Shades Of Grey with? 

I’d Probly rather go alone and pretend to weep next to happy couples.

kama-surfing-pigWhats your spirit animal?

Kama, the Hawaiian Surfer Pig…Google him. –>

What would you do to get some free sour patch kids?

Murder.

 What is your favorite thing about performing on College Campuses?

College students hold nothing back when they are feeling the music.  They go ape shit.

What is the weirdest talent you posses?

My perfect impersonations of Macy Gray and Shaggy.

Is there anything crazy we can expect from your show tonight?

Two words…Panda Cannon

Thank You

Saturday, February 14th in Der Rath: White Arrows w/ CHAPPO

Spend your Valentine’s day with a night of upbeat, feel good indie pop.

White Arrows have been described as “psychedelic pop” and that encompases a lot of their sound.  With electronic undertones and it will be hard not to dance as they play. This is what good pop music sounds like. Originally getting their start in New York but now based out of Los Angeles, they released their first album, Dry Land Is Not A Myth in 2012. Their newest album In Bardo was released in September of 2014. Previously they’ve toured with the likes of Cults, White Denim, The Neighbourhood, Santigold, and The Naked and Famous. Fans of any one of these acts plus fans of groups like Animal Collective and MGMT will LOVE this show.

Here’s a super cool/visually appealing White Arrows music video they released in the fall:

And here’s a live video so you can get a peek at how awesome this show will be:

Along with White Arrows, CHAPPO is playing. I swear you’ve heard their song Come Home before, it was definitely in a commercial or something a couple years ago. It’s infectious and poppy and is one of the most fun songs to get stuck in your head. It’s off their full length album Moonwater which was released in 2012. More recently though, CHAPPO released an EP entitled Celebrate in December.

Come Home:

Celebrate (lyric video that came out only a week ago):

Why spend money on a Valentine’s dinner when you can enjoy free fun indie rock music instead? 8:00 pm in der Rath in Memorial Union.

VUD Music Presents: A Vednesday Valentine’s Playlist

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Because alliteration guys! The smells of dating culture are in the air, and ve couldn’t help exercising our poor German accents to make a cool blog post about our collaboration playlist vith The Visconsin Union! Check the Valentine’s Day-themed tracks below, and have a Vonderful Vednesday!

Need more Valentine’s Week Music? Local favorite Ben Ferris is curating a special Valentine’s Day show in The Sett at Union South Saturday night at 5:00 PM. You can check you out the full event info by clicking anywhere on this sentence!

Tapedeck Tuesday 02/10/2014

Happy Tapedeck Tuesday Everyone! We have a lot of great shows coming up this Valentine’s Day weekend. On Friday you can check out Bryce Vine and Chris Labella at the Rathskellar. There is also another rap show in The Sett, Jahzel and Noelz are sweet and have links bellow.

For that Valentine’s Day fun, White Arrows and Chappo will be performing in the Rathskellar and there will be Ben Ferris and his love inducing quintet in the Sett. Find a friend or love at first sight and enjoy the shows!