Figuring It Out! with Sonia Universe

Hey guys! Welcome back to another semester at UIC and UIC Radio.

This year, along with blogging, I am hosting my own show, affectionately titled “Figuring It Out!” with Sonia Universe. Why? Because every week, you never quite know how the show is going to go . . . but we’ll figure it out.

I did a few test runs over the summer and have resumed my weekly shows during the semester, which is also my last semester at UIC!

I’m back again to serve up some conversations and tunes: alternative, indie, rock, electronic, and of course, k-pop. So be sure to tune in every Wednesday from 2-4pm here at uicradio.org for your weekly dose of jams!

Icelandic Rock Band Kaleo Has More To Offer Than Hit Single “Way Down We Go”

As of late, I’ve been fangirl-ing pretty hard about the Icelandic rock band Kaleo. It all started with the songs “No Good” and “Broken Bones” off their most recent album A/B. Most radio listeners probably know this band because of their song “Way Down We Go”, but since I very rarely drive my car anymore, I also don’t listen to the radio and had no idea this song was so popular.

Regardless, “No Good” and “Broken Bones” are much better songs than “Way Down We Go”, and their album as a collective whole is even better than any of these songs on their own. This is important because A/B is an amazing album, and that is often very hard to come by. It has everything you could possibly want: a song that everyone knows and is played on the radio, so you skip over it unless you’re play through the album in its entirety; songs that are powerful and I dare even say, “headbangers”, or at the very least capable of raising body temperature; songs of the balladic type, and there’s even a song with lyrics in a different language.

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The fact that Kaleo has a song in Icelandic on the same album as the hit single “Way Down We Go” is super exciting to me because there’s a greater chance that more people will pick it up. I think it’s important to be exposed to all kinds of music, and not understanding the lyrics shouldn’t deter anyone from doing so. Also, I just think it’s very cool they included the track on the album. It shows their culture and language is important to them and that they want their audience to know where they’re coming from. I also think it brings pride and joy to Icelandians having a band from they’re country see success.

This past weekend I’ve given A/B a deeper listen, and after air drumming to “No Good” and “Broken Bones” the past couple of weeks, I’ve been paying more attention to the slower songs like “All The Pretty Girls”, “Automobile”, and “Save Yourself”, which have become my new favorites. All in all, A/B is a great listen and I’m super excited for finding an album I can listen to all the way through as a work of art. Hope you enjoy it just as much as I do.

2013 Rocked

Well, we did it guys. We survived another year. And what a great year it was for music. There are so many great albums that came out this year that really made 2013 rock (pun intended). So I thought I would share my personal top 10 favorite rock/alternative albums from 2013:

10. We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic – Foxygen
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Foxygen’s album We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic has a retro-rock sound and kept my attention throughout the entire thing. It’s a great good-mood setter, too, and good to listen to with a group of friends.

9. The Next Day – David Bowie
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I was super stoked when this came out. It still sounds like classic Bowie but also has a new kind of flair that keeps us interested.

8. Pure Heroine – Lorde
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I was hooked on Lorde since I first heard her hit “Royals.” I love her voice, her lyrics, and especially the fact that she wrote all her own songs – all at 16 years old.

7. The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars
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I was introduced to The Civil Wars a couple years ago, and their folk-rock sound had me obsessed ever since. This year, their self-titled album completely blew me away. Have you heard their cover of The Smashing Pumpkins’ song “Disarm”?

6. Days Are Gone – Haim
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This album is very Fleetwood Mac-esque. I love the retro sound, and the sister trio girl power act hooked me right away. Haim has quickly become one of my favorite new artists of the year.

5. MGMT – MGMT
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Basically a trip for the ears. This is also one of the most creative albums I’ve heard all year. MGMT maintains their 80s style rock while adding a twist in their self-titled album.

4. AM – Arctic Monkeys
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AM quickly became one of my favorites of the year after I first heard the single “Do I Wanna Know?”. I love the combination of rock/funk on this album, and throwing a little romance into the lyrics sold me on this one.

3.  Modern Vampires of the City – Vampire Weekend
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Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City keeps the band’s classic style, while adds a more evolved sound that intrigued me right away. Nonetheless, this album was playing in my ears for quite some time this year.

2. AMOK – Atoms for Peace
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With Radiohead’s lead singer Thom Yorke, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ bassist Flea, Atoms for Peace is a hard band to overlook for me. AMOK has an addictive combination of electronic-rock and funk that I can’t help but immerse myself into while listening. This was yet another great album that I couldn’t stop listening to for days.

And, my top album of 2013 is….

1. Reflektor – Arcade Fire
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I had heard that former member of the band LCD Soundsystem and music producer, James Murphy, was going to produce this album, and this news immediately made me anxious for the album’s release. Hearing the single “Reflektor” only made my anxiousness intensify. When the album was finally released, I had listened to it on repeat for at least two weeks. This album shows how the band has evolved, yet it still somehow has that Arcade Fire sound that I love. (I could honestly go on about this album for hours, if you asked me to. But I think I’ll leave it at this.)

So that’s my list of my top 10 rock/alternative albums for the year 2013. Know of any that I missed? Feel free to reply and let me know about them!

-Sonia