Tag Archives: 2013

Metro Tracks: Single Tracking with MS MR

The idea for Metro Tracks started last summer when my iPod somehow shuffled a tiny fraction of my library into a blissful commuting mix. It reached aimlessly across genres and generated sonic perfection by combining bhangra, Sigur Ros, Bright Eyes, Keith Urban (?!?!), and lots more – it somehow all yinned and yanged, despite the weirdness.

This is NOT one of those playlists.

I’ve known about MS MR for a while, but for whatever reason, in the past 48 hours, I’ve listened to nothing of note other than their Secondhand Rapture (released May 14 on IAMSOUND). I don’t hate it.

The singer-producer duo is a futuristic Florence and the Machine with slightly less spook and a bit more sex. From vocals to music to presence, there’s the depth of Florence, but it’s all a bit more organic and less guarded. Below, there’s a list of the best songs from Secondhand Rapture. You’d be crazy not to check these out. (Go to Spotify for better audio quality on the YouTube songs.)

MS MR at Sweetlife 2013

MS MR at Sweetlife 2013

Head is Not My Home is the single track that launched this recent obsession. Its first verse seems fairly tame; if you aren’t listening on good headphones, you might miss the foreboding bass drum. Lizzy Plapinger’s talent really reveals itself for the first time in the chorus. The lyrics themselves, their percussive delivery, that faint “oh” paired with a well-placed boom of that cannonlike bass drum – it all makes for a truly epic chorus, one that shows itself even better in the final minute of the song, as Plapinger lets go of all inhibition and just belts. Delicate keyboards and perfectly placed backing vocals accompany the whole ride. It’s invigorating, exhausting, and 100% addictive.

“Hurricane” – MS MR’s first single

“Ash Tree Lane” – Slightly more low-key as a whole, but you won’t get away from a big, textured chorus.

Think of You has some lyrics that could have come from any angry 15-year-old’s diary. That doesn’t mean it’s not catchy as hell.

Salty Sweet – Handclaps, sliding vocals, minimalism. Irresistable.

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Returning for Business

It’s been a long, long time. Between managing the station (and writing a couple things for our blog, The Rotation), training for my race, and forcing myself to finish a particularly ugly bunch of classes, spring semester was a blur. Writing about – even listening to or playing –  music was less of a priority than I wanted it to be. Fortunately, it’s summer now, and while I wouldn’t quite say that I have all the time in the world, I have much more of it to devote to devouring music both new and old.

My tastes haven’t changed much since my December love letter to Sharon Van Etten. I still listen to “All I Can” and the rest of SVE’s work quite often, though I have finally found some other female vocalists over whom to obsess, like those in CHVRCHES, HAERTS, and MS MR (and other bands whose names are in all caps, of course). I did let go of some of my pickiness about vocals, studying every intricacy of Alt-J’s An Awesome Wave. Exploring beyond what I learned in an ethnomusicology course, I fell in love with old Brazilian music to the point that I spent an hour during study days digging through Sergio Mendes and Tom Jobim scores in Lau, when I really should have been researching Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba for a final paper.

The biggest difference this semester was in how much live music I heard and how much of that came from student bands. More than ever before, I was in awe of the incredible musical talent surrounding me at Georgetown. I am so privileged to be friends with the members of Danny and the Dark and Betsy and the Bicycles, not to mention those musical people who just seem to be everywhere always – people like Gianfranco Nuschese, who plays with more energy than anyone I’ve ever met at Georgetown, and one of my best friends, Catherine DeGennaro, whose lyrics and melodies have gotten stuck in my head on more than one occasion in the past 48 hours. It hasn’t yet hit me that many of these musicians have graduated or will be abroad; I’m not ready to accept the reality that the campus music scene will be undoubtedly and markedly different come fall.

Another big development came later in the semester in the form of an idea for my senior capstone project. About a month ago, I was laying on the grass by the Georgetown waterfront on the most beautiful of days when the idea came to me, and I haven’t been able to fully stop thinking about it since. I have a strong uniting theme for what I’m imagining as a multimedia project. Gaining inspiration for the theme was amazing, and I don’t think I’d ever before been so excited about one of the crazy ideas that’s popped into my head. I have a feeling that composing/performing/recording/whatever I end up doing will be more challenging, so for now, I’m checking out a few library books on architecture and trying to keep track of my lyrical and musical ideas before they all escape me.

As for the direction of this blog – well, it’s a little up in the air. This summer, I hope to see as much live music as I can within reason; unpaid internships aren’t entirely conducive to paying for tickets. But in addition, I’m sure you’ll see a return of the Metro Tracks playlists as I commute downtown four days a week. You may also find reviews of books about music or profiles of DC artists. Thanks to my newfound vinyl collecting habit, I may pick up a random $1 record from CD Cellar every week and write about it for shits and giggles, or do the same with a CD from one of my local libraries, which have proven to be an absolute goldmine.

Though some things have changed, I hope to keep AMPlify as a platform for a non-intimidating introduction to new music and lesser-known music, with the hopes that someone else might like it too.

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