Monday, December 7, 2009

Jackson Alexander Templeton Smith: The Rockstar Deckhand

Jackson Alexander Templeton Smith, or Jack as he is more commonly known, has been playing music his entire life. He can play just about any instrument set in front of him. But he is not your average musician. Jack has been playing in the celtic-punk ensemble, The Righs, for a number of years now but along with pursuing his music dream, he is also on track to become a captain on the Oklahoma River. He's what one could call a rockstar deckhand.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Finding New Music

In the past, the only way to find out about new music was either by word of mouth or on the radio. But now, with the internet there are a million and one ways to find the music you love. One of the most widely used and well known music discovery outlet is the website, Pandora allows users to create an account and then lets them build, in essence, custom made internet radio stations complete with the artists they choose as well as a variety of artists that make music similar to the song or band that the user originally searched.
There are many different sites similar to Pandora but are more genre specific. For example, Mike Zambrzuski a Marketing Sophomore, uses the site to get the inside track on new hip hop music before it comes out.

"I like to use it because I'm such a big fan of hip hop, and It's good to find new artists that sound like the people I already like.
Aside from using the internet, its also fun to go to live shows. Usually there is an opening band that is similar to the headliner. Also, with the emergence of Twitter, musicians are able to put up links in their statuses that update their followers with information about new songs.

So, whether its genre specific or you just want to get exposed to new music in general, there are nearly endless ways for you to discover the music that moves you.

Photo: Jam Band, Tortoise
Taken by: Justin Goff

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Why we like what we like...

Why is it that some people like the fast paced, poppy rhythm of Britney Spears and others prefer the often nonsensical, fun-filled melodies of Regina Spektor? The reason why people like what they like stems from a variety of different variables that haven't all been thoroughly explored yet.

According to Daniel Levitin's book "This is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession", the reason we prefer certain types of music can be traced all the way back to our time in the womb. Levitin discusses an experiment in which pregnant women played a song for their children while they were still in the womb. When the infants were a year old, they were placed in between two sets of speakers and the song they had heard throughout their mother's pregnancy was played in one set of speakers while another track was played in the opposite set. It was discovered that the babies recognized the song and crawled towards the song that they remembered hearing while inside their mothers.
What parents listen to around their children during their early years also contributes to developing tastes in music. OU junior, Tyler Quance, who prefers the style of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top, said that his father constantly had that music on.

"I was just always around it. My dad always played it when I was little"

The message that certain types of music convey can also attract or deter listeners. For example, a large portion of hip hop music focuses on getting money, girls and fancy cars. The overall message is to get all of those things by any means possible and if anyone stands in the way, it's alright to take matters into your own hands. Not all people are going to necessarily agree with that particular method of thinking so they may be inclined to lean more towards a genre that matches more with their views.
So, the next time you are listening to a song, ask your self 'why do i like this?'. You may be surprised at the answer.

Photo: Regina Spektor playing the "Which" Stage at Bonnaroo
Taken by: Justin Goff

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Festivals, Festivals, Festivals

Love music but don't want to pay to see all your favorite artists separately? Music Festivals are the perfect answer to this question.
Typically, most music festivals are held during the summer months and showcase a variety of bands that spans the entire music spectrum.
Zac Holly, who has frequented many music festivals, including South by Southwest (abbreviated SXSW) says that they are definitely a rewarding experience
"I really liked the environment because the shows were in really different show i went to was in the back of a barbershop and another was in a park."

The locations of festivals can vary greatly. For example, SXSW is held in downtown Austin, Texas whereas, the super festival known as Bonnaroo is held in rural Tennessee on a five hundred acre farm. The main venue has 3 large stages and several smaller stages scattered throughout. It also boasts a large marketplace area where festival goers can purchase an array of items including the music of the artists playing the show. Guests are assigned camping spaces that are their home for the 3-day span of the festival.
It's a great experience for anyone who loves music and doesn't mind getting a little dirty.
Some people however, aren't exactly into sharing space with huge amounts of people.

Adam Saylor attended Wakarusa in Kansas and wasn't too keen on the environment.

"I went to Wakarusa and i loved seeing all the bands but i didn't necessarily like the idea of so many people in such a small space"

Going to festivals is definitely an acquired taste. It definitely takes alot of planning an preparation. Most festivals offer helpful hints and tips on how to get ready. Bonnaroo does a great job providing their guests with every possible item they could possibly need. There is a section on their website that lists all the necessary supplies to "survive" the experience.

So no matter what type of music you prefer there is definitely a Festival out there for you to attend. Dont let the price deter you(on average, tickets can cost upwards of 200 dollars) going to a festival is the best way to get all your favorite music in one place.

If you want to find a festival near you but don't know where to start, take a look at

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Indie Music Defined

What is independent music? For many music lovers, the term independent or “indie” music refers to a specific sound or aesthetic that a band possesses. In actuality, the real meaning behind the term refers to the way the music is produced and distributed.
Many upcoming bands start out by essentially being their own agents, promoting shows, selling merchandise and distributing music.
Now, with the explosion of media outlets like myspace, twitter, and facebook, groups are able to get their name out to the public and do relatively well although they aren’t necessarily enjoying the monetary success that major label groups may gain.
For a large percentage of independent artists, the simple fact that they are making music that people enjoy is enough to satisfy them and inspire the drive to continue producing music.
However, the line that defines independents music is starting to blur at an increasing rate. Heavy hitters on the indie scene like Deathcab for Cutie and Modest mouse have crossed over into the mainstream and taken it by storm. And while they are enjoying massive success and making way more than they did as true independent artists, to many, they have drifted away from the original ideals and goals of independent musicians.
So, as the barrier between mainstream and indie continues to break, the definition of independent music will inevitably change and many people will lose sight of independent music’s true origins. Many hope the transition is much later than sooner.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Music and our Emotions

Music can have a powerful effect on our emotions. Whether we are listening to music to change our mood or just listening for pleasure, it can affect the way we think and the way we feel.
Music can change peoples' emotions in a variety of different ways. For example, if one were to listen to music from the heavy metal group, Slipknot, feelings of high energy and possibly contempt for something or someone may come about. But if one were to listen to the happy tones and lyrics of The Beatles, a much different set of feelings arises. According to studies conducted by the Psychology Press, music is a complex acoustic and temporal structure which posses the ability to induce emotional responses in the listeners. Music with emphasis on heavy bass, percussion and brass instruments is known to affect emotions more rapidly than others.

Singer/Songwriter Jon Haverfield says that music definitely has an effect on his mood.

"If I'm in a down mood, i just turn on a song from the nineties. It reminds me of the good times"

Haverfield has been singing and writing songs for over 10 years and he says it definitely has the power to provoke certain emotions and thoughts.

"Music makes you think and gives you a better outlook on life."

So whether you are listening to the soundtrack to a Disney Movie, or rocking out to techno before a party, Music is, whether you think about it or not, changing your emotional state. We all have that one song that puts us in that place where everything is good.