Album Review: Feral Trash’s “Trashfiction”

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Fronted by Eric Neurotic (Fear of Lipstick), Feral Trash plays dark, melodic pop-punk, and they do it well.  Especially on the opening four tracks.  In fact, “Seventeen”, “Dead Weight”, “Loser”, and  lead single “Obey” would have been a front-runner for EP of the year.  One of the coolest things about this introductory four is that “Dead Weight” was previously released on Feral Trash’s debut 7″, but the version on Trashfiction is different; and it’s way better.  It sounds bigger, fuller, angrier, more passionate.  It all but makes the original obsolete.  In addition to that, it transitions seamlessly into “Loser”, a new song previously unreleased.  When you them together, it’s hard to believe these songs weren’t always companion pieces.  Together, they make for the strongest 6 minutes of this album.  “Obey” keeps things strong as a short burst of infectious energy, with a great melodic quality and a simple, but effective hook in “I won’t obey“.

Trashfiction is a great, raw-sounding pop-punk album with huge riffs, huge hooks, and passionate vocals.  That’s not to say that is free of slip-ups.

After “Obey” comes “Beth”.  “Beth” is the only real offender here.  It opens with rather lazily written “dark” piano, which perhaps is supposed to create a sense of “moodiness”, but ends up coming off as cheesy due to its simplicity and lack of any real emotional weight behind the playing. It also makes heavy use of a verse technique I affectionately refer to as “British Bass & Space”. This sequence will usually start off with a single guitar chord strum, followed by lyrics until the chord’s echo dies.  Then, audible bass will fill space (I use the word “fill” because it achieves pretty much nothing) until the next guitar chord comes in.  It’s a technique that was especially popular among British indie rock/punk bands last decade (still is to a degree).  It drives me absolutely crazy. “Beth” ends up sounding like if Arctic Monkeys circa-Favourite Worst Nightmare tried to force one of their slower songs into being slightly faster and being slightly more hard-edged.  Whereas almost every song here works on almost every level, this one feels out of place and confused about its own identity.

After “Beth”, things fall back into place.  No entire song quite reaches the heights of the first four, but moments do, and no song after this point is anything less than good.

Really, Feral Trash’s only problem on this album is their very occasional tendency to feel that they must break up monotony that isn’t there with ideas that they don’t seem to really care about themselves.  “P.A.R.A.N.O.I.D.”, for most of its duration, is one of the best songs on the album, but when the female vocals come chiming in after the instrumental drop with “They’re all laughing at you” repeated over and over, it throws me back to middle school (granted, when Eric comes back in to join her, the effect is pretty cool).  This is an angsty album, but the way the angst is presented is almost always effective when Feral Trash stick to their general formula.  When they deviate, usually when they open up cracks in their wall-of-sound approach, things get troublesome.  I’m talking about this disproportionately with how often it occurs (not often) because it’s something that should be taken into consideration with future work.  Stick to your guns, or get new guns and learn to aim them before shooting.

“Where We Go” serves as a promise of the future.  It’s distinct without resorting to parlor tricks.  It’s the slowest on the album, the longest, relies on repeated mantras and features the best vocal performance from Eric, along with the best implementation of the second, female vocalist.  “Tell me where we go from here” seems like an easy enough question to answer.  You build upon your many strengths and hide your few weaknesses until they become strengths.

Despite its occasional hiccups, Trashfiction is a great debut LP for Feral Trash.  Some bands will turn out a record like this and it’ll be their peak, while Feral Trash will almost certainly improve upon this album with their next one.  I look forward to them blowing my mind probably sometime next year.  Until then, I’ll pull this out for a spin every once in a while, skipping “Beth” when it come on.

B

Posted in Albums, Bands, Coog Radio Updates, Music, New Releases, Reviews

Beyonce Delivers Again With TWO New Tracks

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Beyoncé never fails to impress, managing to give the fans new music when they least expect it. Songs “7/11” and “Ring Off “display two very different sides of Queen B, both of which we have grown to love.

Friday morning became a lot brighter when Beyoncé dropped two new singles from new deluxe edition of her most recent album, Beyoncé. The Beyoncé Platinum Edition will include a More collection filled with remixes and unreleased tracks, such as these two. The songs “7/11” and “Ring Off” build up the anticipation of the album, and give fans something to look forward to from the new release.

“7/11” comes in blazing, percussion hitting as soon as the song comes on. Beyoncé immediately commands the listener to “smack it in the air…legs movin’ side to side,” showing that this is a good ole’ dance track, intended to be a song one simply has fun and dances to. The track puts the listener in the mindset of her previous songs like “Yonce” and “Flawless,” as she delivers lines in her cocky, rapid-fire tone of voice. The rap persona is back once again, allowing the rawness of Beyoncé to once again come alive. Lyrically, this song is not her strongest body of work, but that is not the intention in putting it out. Beyoncé wants the listener to just have a good time and just dance to the beat.

“Ring Off” is the type of song that makes you listen to “7/11” as a quick pick me up. This is a much serious single, as Beyoncé finally addresses the divorce of her parents, from her mother’s point of view. Discussing marriage, cheating, and despair, this song reflects on the past while shining a positive light on the future. Lines like, “mama, put your love on top…you gon’ shine and put your love on top,” display a more gentle side of Beyoncé as she encourages the woman who raised her to love and be loved. A sense of overcoming presents itself as the song ends with Beyoncé’s mother stating that “if you’re going through it…you’re gonna survive,” which was from a speech she gave discussing the trials and tribulations of her life.

Almost a year after Beyoncé was released, Queen B, manages to create the same excitement for her new project as she did before. Both singles are great and can be enjoyed down below!

Posted in Artists, Music

Too Many Coogs – Episode 6 – David Guerreraaadaalalaaa

Hang on, folks.  Too Many Coogs is a podcast presented by Coog Radio that is about… well… who knows, really?  Tune in every Thursday at 1pm Central to listen in!

Michael, Justin, and famous EDM producer / cheese maker “David Gouda”discuss World of Warcraft, reality TV, The Hashtag That Shall Not Be Named, Dragon Age, and more.


Review: The Mistress II by Jay Sean

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“The Mistress II is a return to my musical roots. I needed to make music that meant something; music that had substance again…” -Jay Sean

After leaving Cash Money Records last month, Jay Sean has been trying to make a strong comeback into the industry and started off his independent movement by releasing his new project “The Mistress II” on November 18th. Stacked with 10 songs, fans will be happy to only hear Jay Sean’s voice since there are no features on this project. I have been a fan of the British artist’s music for many years now, starting from his days with the Rishi Rich Project (circa 2003). Sean teased his fans with the release of one the mixtape’s songs “Tears in the Ocean”, along with a music video to accompany it. I fell in love with this track with the first listen, since it really brought back the artist’s original R&B roots within it. Listeners claimed that it sounded like his 2008 single “Ride It” with its slow and sensual beats, but no one seemed to be complaining about this! When the mixtape dropped on Tuesday morning, I patiently waited for the project to download onto my iTunes library before diving into Sean’s hopeful comeback into the R&B world.

Track 1: Under A Veil
Sampling “The Scientist” by Coldplay, Jay Sean is painting a picture of an end to an affair with a mistress and all the emotions that come with reflecting on a relationship with a side piece. Sean’s voice simply floats along the Coldplay sample and compliments its gentle rhythm to break down his emotions with the situation he has at hand. Sean even incorporates some of Coldplay’s lyrics such as, “nobody said it was easy”, which directly correlates with the overall meaning of this semi-ballad.

Track 2: The Artist
In this track, Jay Sean is talking about a girl he interested in and how she is “an inspiration for this piece [he’s] painting”. The beat drop at the beginning is a smooth R&Beat that transforms into a slightly more electronic rhythm during the chorus. The lyrics are a bit more explicit than we are used to from Sean, but truly fits the tone he tries to set for the track.

Track 3: All I Want
Four days prior to releasing the mixtape, Jay treated his fans with this second single. He also released the music video to this song with the mixtape release, which can be viewed here. The song elaborates on the theme from the first single “Tears In The Ocean” as he continues to pay the price for cheating on his girl, but will do anything to get her back. There is a certain South Asian vibe to the beginning of the track, which takes back some of his original fans to his earlier work. Sean shows off his vocal range in this track and gives his listeners the perfect R&B vibe we have all been waiting for.

Track 4: Tears in the Ocean
On October 22nd, Jay announced his departure from Cash Money Records and that a new mixtape would be released the next month. In promotion for the tape, he released this track as his first single off the mixtape, along with a music video that can be viewed here. The song is, obviously an R&B record, where Sean professes his love for the girl that he has done wrong. This track kind of mimics the vibe of “All I Want”, which is also about getting his lost love back. Coincidence? I think not. This is definitely a fan favorite from the tape and will hopefully be playing on the radio waves very soon!

Track 5: Jameson
From what I inferred, this track is about Sean encountering a girl who left him without warning and broke his heart. The chorus includes classic R&B (with some pop) production with Sean’s molasses-like vocals coating the track with despair and raw emotion. A bit repetitive, but not too much to make this great track turn sour.

Track 6: Slow Down
This sensual track is most likely the most risqué one of the tape. You can listen to the track yourself and figure out what I mean, dear readers. The chorus consists of smooth R&B beats and Sean’s fluttery falsetto alongside his confidence shining through with the girl he’s singing about. Definitely worth a listen, if you’re a fan of Trey Songz’ or Usher’s slow jam tracks about their lovers.

Track 7: Take That Off
Most people do not know that this track was released on January 1st of this year and has been waiting to be fully released on this mixtape for more than 10 months now. You can tell from the track’s title that it is yet another sensual R&B record from Sean talking about his mystery girl (hopefully his wife) and how she looks “so much better with nothing at all”. The static drum-like beat in the background keeps this track on the upbeat side of songs off the tape.

Track 8: Sex With The Ex
Oh boy. The title of this track worried me a little bit when I first saw it, since we all know that getting involved with a past lover is always a bad idea (even Jay admits it). However, the British singer brings us another sensual yet upbeat track with more pop beats incorporated into the production. A sample of a classic song (that I cannot quite put my finger on) plays in and out of the track and adds  the R&B twist we all long for from the artist. Definitely one of my favorites off the tape!

Track 9: Stop Cryin’ Your Heart Out
We hear more of Jay’s softer side with this track clearly about trying to make a crumbling love work out. You can hear the artist’s raw emotion in this record as he tries his best to keep the passion alive in their relationship. “So take what you need and be on your way and stop cryin’ your heart out” aka telling the girl to be strong and not let this love affect her in the long run. Personally, this track blended in with the tape and did not stand out too much for me.

Track 10: Pyrite
Jay Sean closes out his mixtape, “The Mistress II”, with a beautiful ballad about being able to tell the difference between a true lover and a person whose love is slowly fading away. He compares pyrite (more commonly known as “fool’s gold”) to 24 carat gold as a direct allusion to the real passion in his life. Sean’s pure vocals and orchestral instrumentals in the background really bring it out the colors in the artist’s voice. A great track to complete this amazing project!

Overall, Jay Sean has completely outdone himself with this mixtape. I can honestly say that he is one of the most underrated R&B artists in the game, but he is back and better than ever. I give this project a solid 4 out 5 for Sean staying true to his classic R&B roots and incorporating many different vibes and beats without becoming too repetitive. Definitely a must-listen for fans of Usher, Trey Songz, Chris Brown, and other classic R&B artists. Welcome back, Jay!

Intrigued yet? Listen to the mixtape in its entirety right here.

Posted in Albums, Artists, Coog Radio Updates, Music, Reviews

Smoker’s Club Tour Brings Dope Artists

The talent shined through the clouds of smoke on Monday as the Smoker’s Club rolled through Houston. With a gang of artists such as Trademark da Skydiver, Mick Jenkins, Berner, B-Real and headliners like Method Man, and Redman, it is easy to see why there was such a good turnout at the House of Blues. Concert goers were graced with plenty of jams and were pleased to hear classics like I Want To Get High and Dr. Greenthumb as performed by B-Real of Cypress Hill. Method Man and Redman put on the finale with tracks from the Wu-Tang clan and had a whole portion of the show dedicated to the great ODB. All in all, hip-hop heads will hold on to this show for quite some time.

Posted in Artists, Concerts, Coog Radio Updates, Music, Reviews

So Long, Farewell: 106 & Park’s Top 10 Greatest Moments

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After a 14-year long run on cable television, BET’s daily video countdown show 106 & Park will air its last episode in December convert to an online-only production in 2015. BET hopes that with the switch over to digital-only, they will be able to better engage with its core audience. Since the end of an era is inching closer to us, I’m here to share some of my favorite moments from the show with my dear Coog Radio blog readers:

1. Chris Brown Performs “Run It”

In light of Brown’s upcoming tour with Trey Songz next year, let’s travel back to 2006 when a young Breezy took the 106 & Park  stage to perform his debut single “Run It”. At this moment, America knew that there was a new R&B superstar in the making with all the killer dance moves Brown showed off on the show.

2. Bow Wow and Tyra Banks Share a Smooch 

Who could forget when Bow Wow and Tyra shared an on-camera kiss on that 106 & Park stage in 2013? The then 39-year-old supermodel and then 26-year-old rapper reenacted some lip-locking PDA from their pasts. This was the second time the duo shared a kiss on camera; they also kissed on The Tyra Show months before!

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3. Michelle Williams Takes a Fall

Back in 2004, when Destiny’s Child was at their peak, they were invited on 106 & Park to perform their world-famous single “Soldier”. Who could ever forget when the trio took the stage and Michelle ended up on the floor while Beyonce and Kelly Rowland did not miss a beat and continued on? Williams still remembers this embarrassing moment up to this day! Check out the first 7 seconds of the video below to see Michelle’s tumble.

4. Lil’ Kim Disses Rocsi 

We all know about the beef between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj as it has been well chronicled throughout the past few years. During a 2012 appearance on the show, former host Rocsi tried to get the Lil’ Kim to open up about her thoughts on Minaj. But the Brooklyn rapper was sick and tired of talking about their ongoing beef and chided the 106 & Park co-host for being disrespectful in her questioning.

5. Lil’ Wayne Kisses Birdman

We have all heard the rumors that Lil Wayne and Birdman have kissed before but when Cash Money appeared on 106 & Park, we saw it for our own eyes. During the interview, Free asked Birdman, “When you kiss a girl, right?” and before she had a chance to finish her question, Lil Wayne said “I’m the only one he kisses” and kissed Birdman in the mouth. See it for yourself below!

6. Kanye West vs. 50 Cent

Back in 2007 when going platinum in a week was doable, 50 and Kanye came to 106 & Park to announce their bet: to go head-to-head for their albums ‘Curtis’ and ‘Graduation,’ respectfully. Both albums were dropping on September 11 of that year and 50 Cent waged that if Kanye outsold him, he would retire from ever releasing an album again. Well, one week in and Yeezy sold 957,000 units while 50 pushed out 691,0000. It was a close race, but Yeezy came out with the win in the end!

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7. Aaliyah’s Last Interview

In 2001, we lost an amazing and talented singer when Aaliyah died in a private plane crash while leaving the Bahamas. She flew to the exquisite island to shoot a music video for her single “Rock The Boat”, but just four days before she boarded the doomed flight, Aaliyah made what turned out to be her final appearance on 106 & Park. RIP Aaliyah.

8. Michael Jackson Passes Away

On June 25th, 2009, the world was shocked to learn of Michael Jackson’s untimely death. Many people remembered exactly where they were the moment they found out the news. For former 106 & Park co-hosts Terrence J and Rocsi, they found out at work on the air. The co-hosts were understandably shocked and at a loss for words reporting the “Thriller” singer’s death.

9. First Lady Michelle Obama Stops By

First Lady Michelle Obama graced the set of 106 & Park last year. With a goal in mind, the coolest FLOTUS opened up about how education played a pivotal role in her life. She shared some of her favorite pastimes as a teenager and how her husband, Mr. Barack Obama, is working hard every single day to improve America’s education system.

10. August Alsina Throws Shade at Keisha

And finally, saving the best for last! Up-and-coming R&B artist, August Alsina, swung by the 106 & Park stage earlier this year to join current hosts Bow Wow and Keisha Chante to promote some new music. Even though Alsina made it clear before the show that he did not want to be asked about his beef with Trey Songz, Keisha asked him on live on air anyway.  This resulted in Alsina calling the host out for going against the grain” and still bringing up the situation. He would later apologize for the on-air shade, but Bow Wow received a lot of flack for not backing up his co-host.

 

Well, that does it! We here at Coog Radio will miss this iconic show, but know that its legacy will carry on for many years to come. Don’t forget to watch the final episode of 106 & Park on December 19th on BET!

Posted in Coog Radio Updates, Features, Staff Picks

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