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Opinions

Dive into summer with these five easy reads

There is nothing better than sitting by the pool with a cold drink, sunshine and a good book.

With the semester slowly coming to a close and the summer heat (hopefully) approaching, readers are looking for fluffy romances to ease their minds after the stressful school year. 

While rifling through the romance section and summer tables at Indigo, I compiled recommendations ranging from coming-of-age to fluffy romances—there’s truly a book for everyone!

Now what doesn’t scream summer like a romance by the lake? Every Summer After by Canadian author Carley Fortune is the perfect book to sit by the pool with. Persephone spent every summer lounging by the lake gazing at Sam, but after one mistake that ruined everything, she hasn’t returned in 10 years. When she receives a call prompting her to go back home, it’s her chance to make things right. Told over the span of six years and one weekend in the present, Every Summer After is a dazzling romance highlighting themes of teenage regret and everlasting love. 

Visiting Cape Cod this summer? Do I have the book for you. Elle Bishop is a 50-year-old woman happily settled with her husband Peter. But after being reunited with Jonah, her childhood best friend whom she spent every summer running around the cabin with, she must decide if she is happy in the life she has chosen or is ready to go back in time. A Reese’s Book Club pick, The Paper Palace is a coming-of-age story that jumps from past to present and will have you hooked the moment you crack the cover. 

Reading Malibu Rising almost convinced me to buy a surfboard and join four famous siblings on their next surf trip (unfortunately, that was unrealistic). Set in 1983, the four Riva siblings are getting ready to host their annual party at their sister Nina’s mansion. Over the course of one evening, secrets will be told and relationships ruined, making it a night they will never forget. By morning, the house will be burnt to the ground. Taylor Jenkins Reid paints an unforgettable story highlighting the consequences that come with family dynamics and unwanted fame. 

Lizzy Dent’s laugh-out-loud rom-com The Summer Job is the perfect combination for lovers of both Beach Read by Emily Henry and the movie The Holiday. Have you ever wanted to be someone else just for the summer? When her best friend Heather runs off to Italy to find love, destitute Birdy takes Heather’s job at a world-class hotel in the Scottish Highlands and pretends to be her wine-expert friend. The problem is, she hasn’t told Heather, and she knows nothing about wine. The Summer Job is a hilarious tale with a hint of romance centred around a woman on a quest to find herself, even in the strangest of circumstances.

It wouldn’t be a summer book recommendation list without the mention of Emily Henry now would it? Harriet and Wyn broke up months ago, but with their yearly getaway accompanied by all their best friends just around the corner, they make a pact to pretend to be together. After years of dating, how hard could it be? Shifting away from Emily Henry’s usual grumpy/sunshine tropes, Happy Place presents readers with an unconventional romance featuring fake dating and second chance romance tropes, a story that will pull at any reader’s heartstrings. 

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Music

Remembering Bobby Caldwell

 “What You Won’t Do For Love” singer dies at 71

The R&B music scene has lost one of its stars. American singer-songwriter Bobby Caldwell passed away on March 14, 2023 at the age of 71.

Caldwell, who’s known best for his hit “What You Won’t Do For Love,” died in his sleep at his home in New Jersey, according to one of his representatives.

While no cause of death was provided, his wife Mary Caldwell announced on Twitter that the cause of death was due to long-term complications related to antibiotics.

“Bobby passed away here at home. I held him tight in my arms as he left us. I am forever heartbroken. Thanks to all of you for your many prayers over the years,” she wrote.

Over his four-decade-long career, Caldwell experimented with various genres ranging from R&B, soul, soft rock and jazz. He dropped his signature song “What You Won’t Do For Love” in 1978 which propelled his career and landed as number 9 on Billboard’s Top 100. The hit song was covered by numerous artists, such as Boyz II Men, Snoh Aalegra and Michael Bolton.

Caldwell’s label at the time, TK records, tried to hide the fact that he was a white singer in order for the hit to succeed on the R&B radio stations. To further hide his race, they decided to silhouette him on the cover of his self-titled album. Nevertheless, once Caldwell began making public appearances, his adoration from his Black audience only grew.

Not only did Caldwell compose his own music, he also wrote for many other artists, such as Roy Ayers, Chicago, Natalie Cole and even Neil Diamond. He also wrote the classic “The Next Time I Fall” for Amy Grant and Peter Cetera which became a Billboard number one hit in 1986.

Surprisingly, Caldwell received most of his recent success from hip-hop artists, like Tupac Shakur, Kendrick Lamar and Notorious B.I.G. who sampled his songs. 

Caldwell was a major contributor to the world of R&B and will be greatly missed and remembered for his contribution to the music industry.

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Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: This Is Why – Paramore

After five long years, Paramore treats fans with a new album

The past few years have been a rollercoaster for all of us, including the rock band Paramore. After five long years, Paramore has dropped the explosive album This Is Why in response to the world’s recent pandemic.

After dropping their lead single “This Is Why” in early September of last year, lead singer Hayley Williams has been teasing fans for months about the release of their latest album.  

The multi-layered hit “This Is Why” has been a rock anthem for fans since its release. In comparison to the softer tempo at the beginning of the song, Williams kicks off with the jarring lyrics: “If you have an opinion, maybe you should shove it, or maybe you could scream it, might be best to keep it to yourself.”

These bold words can be felt by the listener throughout the entirety of the track.

The second song (and most notable, in my opinion) is the track “The News.” The lyrics “Shut your eyes but it won’t go away, turn off the news,” clearly speak to the band’s experience during the pandemic and their inability to escape reality. This radical piece is yet another example of Paramore’s talent in the rock industry.

Paramore has been an inspiration in the world of punk rock since the early 2000s. Their sound has influenced a lot of today’s pop stars such as Billie EiIlish, Willow, and Olivia Rodrigo’s 2021 hit “Good 4 U.”

Although most of the album is made up of memorable work, the song “C’est Comme Ça” felt like a recycled beat from their 2017 album After Laughter. The song simply felt random and was inferior when compared to the other pieces.

This Is Why takes a dramatic turn halfway through with the song “Liar.” The combination of acoustic guitar, which isn’t often included in Paramore’s music, and Williams’ gentle lyrics truly make for a heartfelt piece outside the band’s usual vibe.

The album concludes with my favourite piece “Thick Skull.” While the beat keeps a slow, melodramatic rhythm at the beginning, it picks up halfway through with the addition of the drums and electric guitar. Paramore seems to be dipping their toes in the indie world with this one and I’m definitely here for it.

I by no means think This Is Why is Paramore’s best album, but I do think it satisfied fans for the time being. While Paramore’s music has clearly evolved since their first album in 2005, their songs will forever be infused with their punk attitude.

Trial track: “Thick Skull” 

Score: 7/10

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Concert Reviews Interview Music

Erin Marcellina and Hank’s Dream at Quai des Brumes

The musician debuts their newest EP “Book of Open Tuning” in concert 

Erin Marcellina and the band Hank’s Dream came together last Friday, Jan. 27, to create an unforgettable experience for their fans at the bar Quai des Brumes located in the Plateau Mont-Royal.

Unlike most performers who stay backstage before their shows, Erin and the band were at the front of house. They were greeting guests and introducing themselves to their dedicated fans, who consisted primarily of supportive family and friends. If they were nervous, there was no indication of it. The group couldn’t have looked more in their element.

“I was super nervous before the show. Everything was racing. But the moment I started performing, it was so much easier,” said Marcellina.

Marcellina kicked off their performance with the important piece “I Should’ve Told Him” on their newest EP. Inspired by one of their close friend’s suppressed memories of being sexually assaulted, the acoustic guitar paired with Marcellina’s soft vocals made for a tear-jerking performance and the perfect way to start the show.

This was followed by a noteworthy rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s hit “I’m On Fire,” which created a feeling of nostalgia for the older demographic and revisited personal memories for Marcellina’s father since they listened to this song religiously during a family trip in Ireland.

“I’ve been playing this cover my whole life.  It’s a childhood song and very nostalgic to me. It was easy for me to place it in the set because I know I’m going to play it well,” Marcellina said.

They broke up their performance by entertaining fans with the song “Mommy” that has yet to be released. They expressed to the audience how the song stemmed from them being recently rejected.

Marcellina also sang a spectacular cover of “Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall, which animated the crowd as they began to dance in groups on the compact dance floor.

“I chose this one because I had recently watched The Devil Wears Prada and this song was on the soundtrack,” said Marcellina.

Marcellina concluded their set by playing “Your Drug,” the last song on their latest EP, along with a special feature by Hank’s Dream who played accompanying instruments. The combination of Marcellina and the band created a unique take on one of their most popular pieces and demonstrated an undeniable connection between the band and themself.

“Hank’s Dream is made up of such talented musicians and they’re such nice guys,” Marcellina said. They added that this was their first experience performing one of their songs with a full band. “It felt like everything fit really well,” they said. 

As soon as Hank’s Dream walked on stage, the crowd gravitated towards the front rows to watch them perform some songs from their self-titled debut.

They delighted their fans with an exceptional performance of Miley Cyrus’ hit “Party in the U.S.A” which caused the audience to break out into song, almost making it hard to hear the band at all.

This was Marcellina’s third concert and second time at Quai des Brumes. By the end of this show, they had definitely left their mark that evening. 

With the hope of performing once again with Hank’s Dream and a single on its way, Marcellina is truly making a name for themself.

Photo by Alexandra Blackie

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Interview Music

Jacob River Milnes and his Footprint to fame

Concordia student proves his talent once again with fresh new album

Concordia music student Jacob River Milnes has recently dropped his second album,  Footprints. With the songs falling under varying genres such as folk, rock and even country, this album is truly for anyone. Milnes sat down with The Concordian to talk about his work and his passion for music.

Given his proficient recording technique and obvious talent, it is clear that Milnes has been working at his music for a long time. Just last year, he released his debut album I’ll Be Waiting Here which was inspired by a past relationship while the message behind Footprints is left up to the listener. 

“There’s not really a message behind this one. My songs come from my own experiences with the world. The message is up to the listener. I’m sure if they listen to it, they’ll come up with something that is true to them and that’s what’s important to me.”

“Footprints,” Milnes’s favourite song on the album, differs from his other pieces as it is clearly more sentimental. The track stemmed from his experience of moving away from his hometown, Val -des-Monts, to come to Montreal to study music. The heartfelt lyrics of the track paired with his all-consuming relationship with the guitar provokes an undeniable feeling of nostalgia among listeners.

“I grew up in the country and for a long time I’ve been wanting to get out of there and move to the city. Finally, I’m in Montreal now and “Footprints” was written right before I left,” Milnes said.

But “Footprints” is not the only track with a story. “Theme From ‘Don’t Let The Bull Defeat You’” is the last song on the album, composed for a short film that Milnes and his friends created over the summer. The artist wrote and directed the entire soundtrack for the film. Considering it was Milnes’ first acoustic song, he definitely didn’t disappoint.

The rock and roll tone within the two tracks “I Won’t Do It” as well as “You Could Pretend” on Footprints were inspired by some of Milnes favourite artists.While his main inspirations are The Beatles and Bob Dylan, most recently he has started listening to Olivia Rodrigo and Billie Eilish.   

“I do listen to a lot of old music but I try to stay connected with modern music as well. So, I was inspired by those two artists [Rodrigo and Eilish] to write more modern sounding songs,” Milnes told The Concordian.

Milnes also has a number of family members that have been guiding him throughout his career.  

“One of the biggest inspirations for me is the man who introduced me to Bob Dylan and introduced me to all music which was my grandfather. He was the one who got me interested in music.”

Although the most notable instrument in Milnes’ songs is the guitar, he first started out on the drums when he was ten years old. He didn’t originally intend to be a singer-songwriter but starting off on the drums for a band, he quickly realised after playing a few shows, he wanted to be actively engaging with the audience.

“I would see the people in front of me on the stage and I was behind the stage playing drums and I realised that I wanted to be upfront playing guitar and engaging with the audience more. This side came out of me through showmanship. When I picked up the guitar, I slowly realised that I could write.”

Jacob River Milnes is definitely capable of becoming a known name in the music industry and Footprints is a clear indication of that. While letting fans enjoy the new album for the time being, he has some new projects to treat his fans with in the upcoming year.

“There’s definitely going to be a next album. I’m always writing and I have a few songs that will probably be on the next one.” 

Categories
Interview Music

 Erin Marcellina drops powerful new EP

The Concordia student has treated fans with the incredible EP Book of Open Tuning

Erin Marcellina has treated fans with the incredible EP Book of Open Tuning that she just released at the beginning of November. After struggling with writer’s block and trying to perfect her sound, she has taken yet another step into the indie/folk world. Erin sat down with The Concordian to talk about the meaning behind her powerful lyrics.

While her 2020 album Wait for You is about a love story inspired from the relationship she was in at that time, Book of Open Tuning deals with deeper subject matter. The EP starts off with the song “I Should’ve Told Him.” This track may be mistaken for a breakup song but is actually inspired by a story dear to Erin’s heart. A close friend of hers had recently confided in her about some suppressed memories of being sexually assaulted by one of their close friends. Immediately, Erin was impacted and wanted to use her music in order to help her friend heal.

“She was telling me about this story and she had texted me these words which are the lyrics of the bridge; He was my best friend, how could he do this to me, it was a year ago, how could he? These words just hit me in a very powerful way and all I wanted to do was turn this into music to allow her to heal and have her story told,said Marcellina.

Like all musicians, she wanted to create music that would touch people and that they could relate to. “I Should’ve Told Him” is not only a song that can help her friend heal from her experience, but can also help so many women who have been through the same trauma feel less alone.

Being inspired by her friend’s courage to share her story, she created the last song on the album, “Your Drug.” 

“Your drug is pretty much about putting everything on the line and wanting to become something more. The two songs are basically affiliated with one another.”

Differing from the two other songs on the album, “Hot In Here,” Marcellina’s favourite song on the EP, is a transitional piece discussing the matter of seasonal depression. This track stemmed from a simple conversation with her roommate about the temperature in their apartment and the acceptance of change. Although present throughout the entire album, the acoustic guitar paired with the layering of Erin’s beautiful vocals resulted in the feeling of comforting loneliness.

“It was inspired by me and my roommate talking about the heating in our apartment. We were asking ourselves why it was so hot in our apartment yet so cold outside and why can’t people live with the fact that things change. We had this discussion and I thought that it was a good idea for a song.”

Although both of her albums were released just two years apart, they couldn’t be more different. Not only is the subject matter vastly unrelated, her recording skills have developed greatly over the past couple of years.

“I think I’m the most proud in the growth of my mixing and my recording. It’s still the same me that wrote Wait for You but I’m mature and I’m better at what I do. It’s still the same style, just better.”

Marcellina is completely independent when it comes to producing her music and does most of her recording from her bedroom. Although not the most conventional equipment, for optimal sound proofing, she records her songs underneath her duvet cover and recorded “I Should’ve Told Him” entirely in her bathtub.

There is no lack of talent within Marcellina’s family, her mom being a music teacher and her dad being a member of the Ontario metal band Shock. She began her musical career when she was three years old with classical piano and then eventually taught herself the guitar. When she performed at a school concert at the age of fourteen, she knew this was a path she wanted to continue on.

“I think my biggest inspiration would be my dad in his forties still going to rehearsals every week and practicing his guitar every day. It was no way in a professional way, it was just for the love of it.”

While giving Book of Open Tuning the appropriate amount of time to receive the appreciation it deserves, Erin is working on some new content for her fans with the possibility of features from other artists as well. If this new EP is any indication, this is just the beginning of her break into the music industry.

Categories
Concert Reviews Music

Concert Review: Cigarettes After Sex at MTELUS

Cigarettes After Sex burned their way into the hearts of Montrealers

Romance was in the air at MTELUS on Tuesday, Oct. 4, as the sold-out theatre swooned with their loved ones awaiting dream pop band Cigarettes After Sex to appear.

The show was opened by The Furniture, an experimental duo from Baltimore, who played a sequence of synthetic (and almost robotic) sounds, awakening the audience’s senses. Although there were no lyrics to their songs, the crowd was in awe.

The duo performed their self-titled debut album which consisted primarily of the synthesiser, the drums and small sprinkles of unconventional instruments (like a necklace to make twinkling background noise.) Even though this was a peculiar production of sound, it made for a unique experience and a good way to begin the show.

After a quick intermission, two of the Cigarettes After Sex members teased the audience with an instrumental intro. Moments later, lead singer Greg Gonzalez made his way on stage and kicked the show off with the crowd pleaser “Crush.”

With the band having only released the albums I. in 2012, Cigarettes After Sex in 2017 and Cry in 2019 the setlist, although short, was packed with fan favourites.

The group was complimented by a very minimalistic background consisting of a black and white flame in order to have the audience truly focused on the music.

Contrary to the music, the crowd was deafening. The audience shouted the lyrics to every song which made it hard to hear people calling for help when two girls were injured.

Luckily for them, Gonzales stopped in the middle of performing to make sure everyone was alright and went so far as to restart the song from the beginning.

They ended their setlist with “Sunsetz,” one of their most beloved songs from their 2017 album. The audience illuminated the stage with flashlights and lighters, creating a romantic ambiance.

After the band made their exit, the crowd wept and cheered. Running back on stage, they stated that they don’t usually perform encores but that we had made for such a great audience they simply couldn’t resist. The group began with “Apocalypse,” which made the crowd fall in love with the band all over again. The first row held out their hands as they sobbed for Greg. 

Finally, they ended the show with a haunting rendition of “Dreaming of You.”  A disco ball dropped from the ceiling, beaming through the smoke above the audience.

If the crowd’s reaction and the sold-out show is any indication, their next concert will definitely take place at a larger venue and I highly suggest you check them out!

Graphic by James Fay

Categories
Concert Reviews Music

Concert Review: The Killers at the Bell Centre

The Killers murdered their performance in Montreal

Downtown, the streets flooded with fans of all ages. From Gen X to Gen Z, the crowd rushed into the stadium in anticipation of the intoxicating performance they were about to see.

The Killers opened their show with none other than Johnny Marr, an English singer and songwriter who was previously lead guitarist of the ’80s rock band The Smiths. Brandon Flowers, lead singer of The Killers, has previously cited that he was heavily influenced by The Smiths and was thrilled to have Johnny join them on tour. 

Marr started off his act with songs such as “Spirit Power and Soul” and “All These Days” from his newly released album Fever Dream Pts. 1-4. His performance consisted of a great mix between classic British rock and an electronic vibe which kept the crowd roaring for more.

After bantering with the audience about what song he should play next, Marr decided on two classics from The Smiths; “How Soon Is Now?” and “There Is A Light That Never Goes Out,” creating a nostalgic experience for the older demographic. 

After a lengthy intermission, The Killers warmed up their crowd with “My Own Soul’s Warning” from their 2020 album Imploding the Mirage, which was accompanied by the breathtaking art from their album cover splashed across the big screens in the background.

Two albums, four years, and no tours, The Killers expressed their excitement and gratitude to their audience. “It’s been four long years,” Flowers stated to the crowd. 

Flowers was all smiles throughout the entire show, laughing and chatting with his band members and those in the front rows. His energy was infectious. 

Although the group stuck to hits from their new albums, they broke up the rock and roll with a heartfelt rendition of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” which brought tears to many. Definitely a performance I will never forget.

They ended their setlist with “All These Things That I’ve Done” from their 2004 album Hot Fuss. Their performance was exhilarating. The band was able to unite the audience through their music, having the crowd scream lyrics back at them. 

Finally, after 10 minutes of cheering and stomping, the band jumped back on stage to treat the audience to an extra performance with Johnny Marr before ending the show with a seven-minute version of “Mr. Brightside” which was the perfect way to wrap up the night. 

Graphic by James Fay

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