The Classroom Series – Hannah Norris

The KSDB McCain Studio and listeners were graced with the live performance from singer-songwriter Hannah Norris on April 10. Norris hails from Hays, Kansas and is just 16 years. The day after she performed for KSDB, Norris was attending her high school’s prom. During the live performance, she played songs from her new album, Red Winter, and from her 2014 Heartland E.P. To hear more from Hannah Norris you can check out her bandcamp page or on youtube.

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Tyler the Creator – Cherry Bomb

cherry bombBefore you read the rest of this review I’d like you to do me a favor. Somehow get access to the song “Deathcamp”, put it on whatever mobile musical device you use, walk anywhere with the volume up, and try not to pretend you’re walking away from an explosion.

Tyler the Creator’s previous album, Wolf, features more than one track that I would consider to be among my favorite hip hop songs of all time. It was constantly swinging back and forth between deeply personal tracks, such as “48” and “Answer,” to wildly angry and violent tracks, like “Pigs” and “Thrashwang.” All of the songs on Wolf were fantastic in their own right, but never could perfectly meld together. Cohesively, it didn’t work as well as when listened to full than it did when listening to a couple of songs at a time. Regardless, I absolutely loved it.

When you play the first track to Tyler the Creator’s newest album, Cherry Bomb, you are immediately confronted by a track that sets the tone for the rest of the album. The distorted pounding beat of “Deathcamp” coupled with Tyler’s boastful, furious lyrics sets the scene for everything else that is to come.

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Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell

Not often in a world oversaturated with simple singer-songwriters do we ever get to experience something as raw and emotional as Sufjan Stevens’ latest release, Carrie & Lowell. Much of Sufjan’s past works have been introspective, but this particular record seems to find its way deep into the soul and core of his being. It’s quite possibly one of the most devastating and disheartening records of the past year, but still radiates a bizarrely comforting sound.

Sufjan_CarrieThe record is named after his mother, a bipolar, drug abusing schizophrenic, and his stepfather, who currently runs Sufjan’s Asthmatic Kitty record label. For the most part, however, Carrie & Lowell is focused on the relationship or lack thereof between Stevens and his mother, Carrie, who abandoned him as a very young child. This record is a testament to how much his mother affected his life in his growing up and, eventually, in watching her die. All of the most horrifying experiences Stevens has had come to the surface in this record. It’s so personal and emotionally distraught that even if it was your best friend telling you these things, it would undoubtedly be a difficult, awkward, and very concerning experience.

Maybe it is the uniqueness of Sufjan’s painful experiences that make this record as beautiful and almost reverent as it is. In the song, “Fourth of July,” he delves into the final hours of his mother’s life and how she felt about leaving him as a child. “And I’m sorry I left, but it was for the best/Though it never felt right,” refers to his mother’s choice to leave him, knowing she was unfit to raise children. In this unimaginably difficult situation, Stevens does not blame his parents for the traumas they put him through, claiming this record is not meant to make others feel sympathy for him but rather “to honor the experience.”

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