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Tag Archives: a cappella

Sherman Ave Homecoming Court Voter Guide: Gaurav Kikani

23 Sep

Sherman Ave sat down with each of the 2013 Homecoming Court nominees for wide-ranging discussions in order to better prepare NU students for the most important election of the next 15 days. Voting for Homecoming King and Queen begins soon!

Evander Jones: Just to start things off with, some people say that Homecoming Court is a meaningless popularity contest that doesn’t accurately reflect the student body. I don’t have a question here, I just wanted to inform you that there may be dissent among your potential subjects.

Gaurav Kikani: Sure, thanks. I really appreciate that.

Evander: Now that we got that out of the way, if you were elected would you rule the Homecoming Court like John Roberts on the Supreme Court, or LeBron James on the Homecoming Court? 

Gaurav: I’d probably be Roberts on the Supreme Court. You know, LeBron is kind of a beast, but he’s a bit of a diva, and I don’t see myself as much of a diva as he is.

Evander: Who would you say has had the biggest influence on your life in the past 14 minutes?

Gaurav: You.

Evander: I’m so sorry. 

Gaurav: You know, absolutely. The warmth of your body right now on this crisp Fall day is really warming me up. I can take off this jacket right now, actually, if you’d like. We need more of you around.

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Album Review: Brown Sugar’s “Zamaane”

22 May

Zamaane

Some say that a cappella at Northwestern is like the TV show Glee. But that can’t be, because the kids on Glee bagged football players and couldn’t drink for shit, which we all know doesn’t hold true for acca-biddies and acca-bros at Northwestern.

Others posit that a cappella at Northwestern is more like Community. Marginally popular–but not enough to get people to care enough to watch every performance–and irrationally beloved among the theater community.

While all these theories and more may be true, it’s clear after the first listen that Brown Sugar‘s latest album Zamaane situates Brown Sugar as the Mad Men of a cappella at NU: Genre-defining, poignant, sexy in all the right places, and best after a glass of scotch or five.  Just so long as you ignore the fact that the Mad Men cast is more white-washed than Mitt Romney’s book group and Brown Sugar is, well, the nation’s premiere co-ed South Asian collegiate a cappella group.

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Album Review: Northwestern Undertones’ “Rock Paper Shotgun”

20 Apr

A cappella is not for everyone.  Some people don’t like the overly-peppy feel.  Some people think a cappella ruins their favorite songs.  Some people simply prefer to keep their “dows” in the stock exchange and their “joos” in the synagogue.  But regardless of whether you love, like, or even appreciate a cappella music, you should seriously listen to “Rock Paper Shotgun,” the 4th studio album from Northwestern University’s Undertones.

The Undertones provide a selection of eleven unique, but cohesive songs.  Each song brings something new, innovative, and orally aurally pleasing, and yet each song maintains a remarkable level of technical skill, musicality, and soul.  Each arrangement was clearly crafted with a wealth of expertise, thought, and vision; each soloist sings with emotion and finesse; each song fits the pieces together perfectly.

The album starts with the smooth, intriguing voice of Eliza Palasz, the soloist on “Plain Gold Ring,” originally performed by the offbeat and weird-as-shit Kimbra.  Her voice is soon complimented a rich alto section and etherial hums in the male sections.  The song, though starting out serene and mysterious, reaches some impressive dynamic peaks, giving way to the soloist’s breathtaking high-range belt, which she casually whips out like Lyndon Johnson at a press conference.  The track comes again to a soft close, ending with a reiteration of a clever recurring tribute to “Settle Down,” another one of Kimbra’s songs.  Overall, this opening track showcases top-notch musicality and attention to detail, as well as an uncanny ability to create an atmosphere for a song that draws the listener in immediately. Continue reading

Tour Guide at Loss to Explain Student Protest

28 Feb
What is this, Berkeley?

What is this, Berkeley?

EVANSTON — At approximately 2:07 pm this afternoon, student tour guide Jane Woodward remained at a total and complete loss as to how best to explain a developing student protest to her tour group.

According to eyewitness reports, Ms. Woodward (Comm, ’15) was unable to adequately respond to questions addressed to her regarding the hundred-plus students gathered at The Rock to protest the hegemonic culture of white privilege and institutional racism at Northwestern University. Nor was Woodward able to cast the protestors’ claims that Northwestern perpetuates racist and sexist ideals in a manner that would entice prospective students to apply for undergraduate admission to NU.

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Other Potential Uses for the NU Emergency Notification System

17 Jul

The Wanted are coming for Dillo Day!?

Ever since Northwestern started calling us more frequently than biddies desiring a triple-x throw down dial 1-800-MIX-A-LOT, we’ve been trying to come up with other uses of Northwestern’s Emergency Notification System to utilize when the system isn’t busy notifying students and parents every time that the Fiji brothers spike the water supply with acid. Possible ideas are as follows:

Regrettable Hookup Notification
If only there was somebody besides your wingwoman frantically gesticulating in the corner of the Keg to warn you that the dude currently grinding into your junk looks like a cross between Joakim Noah and a Ringwraith. But with the Regrettable Hookup Notification system sending you voicemails every five minutes to alert you that your potential hookup is a 5.5 or worse, your second cousin, or a mechanical engineer, you’ll never shamefully hookup with a Sherman Ave writer again!

Open Bar Bulletin
One of the few text-message forewarnings you’ll actually heed. North campus has been overrun with zombies after an electrical fire in Tech released them from captivity? Eh, text me when the moat is fixed. Free booze all night? I WANT TO GO TO THERE AND DRINK UNTIL I HAVE ALL THE ALKEHOLZ AND DANCE TO ALL THE ONE DIRECTIONZ AND OMIGOD I LUUUUUUVE WHISKEY SOURZZZ!!!

Racial Controversy Alarm
Sample University-authored alert messages include, “University Police report there is a racial controversy brewing in the basement of SAE,” “EMERGENCY UPDATE: Officials are currently working to prevent painful reminders of this nation’s sensitive racial history from surfacing in some of the most uncomfortable ways,” and “Please, for the love of God, can we just cool it with the blackface?”

Hot Cookie Bar Release
This communique serves multiple functions, both alerting undergraduates of the sexual release that is waiting for them in Hinman while simultaneously warning of the impending stampede of Freshman already lining up to indulge in sweet half-baked orgasmy goodness.

CA-dar
It may not take Freshmen too long to recalibrate their gaydars to Northwestern, but in the meantime their CA-dars will be woefully underdeveloped. For all those who haven’t already studied up, Northwestern should send out text messages, emails, and automated phone calls to all students and their parents whenever a CA suspects that the a cappella renditions of The Script’s “Breakeven” and the smell of Burnett’s escaping from underneath your door is grounds to disrupt your Wednesday night viewing of National Treasure 2 party.

Caution: Bitches be p-trippin’

Power Trip Alert
The University needs to protect the physical and spiritual welfare of its students, which has been placed in grave danger by the number of p-trips rumbling through the northern suburbs. Expect emergency notifications whenever a Freshman correctly navigates his or her way through Tech, somebody accidentally takes Sherman Ave seriously, or every time Mayor Tisdahl wakes up in the morning. As if that would save you…

2011 Sherman Ave Reader’s Poll: Results

19 Jan

With 122 responses and a wide variety of exceedingly gruesome responses,* we were absolutely thrilled with the success of this year’s poll. So, after much anticipation (drumroll please), we present to you: RESULTS!

The hanging chad of our generation

Most Heinous Event of 2011
With 24% of the vote, the winner was: Rebecca Black’s “Friday” Strikes Youtube. This is undoubtedly the most atrocious non-majority victory we’ve seen since November 2000.

Best Place to Find and Enjoy a Hookup
Also with 24% of the vote, the winner was: A Frat House. Notable write-ins include “Baby Bash ski trip concert” and “Deer season in Indiana.” Surprisingly enough, nobody mentioned Sherman Ave HQ…

Favorite Sherman Ave personality?
With 30% of the vote, the winner was: Sir Edward Twattingworth III. We at the Ave have not a shred of doubt that this will result in a power-trip of unprecedented magnitude, but with Sir T-Worth, we’re used to it. Anything less than Putin-esque levels of self-aggrandizement would be a disappointment.

Best Song of 2011
With 15% of the vote, the winner was: “Someone Like You” by Adele. This can easily be understood by anyone who has ever been within a 5-mile radius of any intoxicated Sherman Ave writer. Or felt love.

Most Mouthgasms per Bite
With 33% of the vote, the winner was: Hot Cookie Bar. Notable write-ins include “your mom” and “Pippa Middleton.”

DAMN YOU HIPSTERS FOR RUINING THE BEANIE FOR ME!!!!

Best Coffee Shop
With 52% of the vote, the winner was: Kafein. This would probably not go over well with one of the respondents who wrote in the answer, “Hipsters are sub-humans.” Ross Packingham intends to use this landslide victory as a clear mandate to bring his Buddhism-influenced beat poetry to Kafein’s stage, supported by Brother Jürgen and Eleanor Kinkervoss on the bongos while Evander Jones attacks the chastity belt around his waist with a chain saw. Sadly, it will only the fourth-most heinous act on stage at that week’s open mic.

Best Place to Get Intoxicated in Public
With 27% of the vote, the winner was: Cozy Noodles. Among the many notable write-ins were: “Barnes and Noble,” “10am MENU class,” and “sidewalk.”

Best A Cappella Group
With 26% of the vote, the winner was: There is no such thing as a good a cappella group. A ruefully valid statement indeed.

Best Movie of 2011
With 29% of the vote, the winner was: Harry Potter 7.2. Notable write-ins include Twilight: Breaking Hymen and Pippa Middleton, both of which feature Morty Schapiro and Kate Upton in starring roles.

Best TV Show of 2011
With 17% of the vote, the winner was: How I Met Your Mother. Apparently people identify with drunken assholes frittering away the golden years of their lives chasing after unsatisfactory one-night stands. Far and away, the most heinous write-in was: “Is The Hills still on? I pick The Hills.”

Please Describe Morty Schapiro in 10 Words or Less
This one was actually too much for us to emotionally process. Top answer: “Why limit it to fewer words than his penis length?” Maybe once Ross Packingham’s poetry career takes off, maybe he’ll compose a sonnet using only these responses and youtube video comments.

What’s Up the Evanston City Council’s Ass?
With 35% of the vote, the winner was: a 14-inch dildo made of molten gummy bears. If that’s not already true, it can certainly be arranged.

Ever wonder how I got the name "Packingham?"

What is your Gender?
With 58% of the vote, the winner was: Female. AWWWWWW YEAHHHHHH!!!! Hey ladies, how’d you like to spend the night with the fourth-most popular Northwestern-centric blog? No?** Haaaaaaave you met Manua?

What Brings You to Sherman Ave?
With a staggering 70% of the vote, the winner was: Facebook. Needless to say, notable write-ins included “Pippa Middleton” and “all of your fucking Facebook posts.”

In conclusion, a huge thank you goes out to everyone who took this poll. We couldn’t do it without you. We hope that you were pleased with our unnecessary heinousness in 2011, and we will do everything in our power to take it to the next level in 2012. Most importantly, we’re comforted to see in the responses that the people who read Sherman Ave are just about as fucked up as the people who write for it.

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*Allowing for a standard error of approximately 69%.
**Fun Fact: The first time Sherman Ave was ever used as a potential pickup line occurred in line for the bathroom at an off-campus party. It was not successful.

Album Review: Extreme Measures’ “Extremities”

6 Sep

It's rumored that Sherman Ave's own Ross Packingham was the leg model for the album cover

Some say that Radiohead’s Kid A was the most important album of a generation. Other music aficionados declare that the Beatles were the best band or that Sam Cooke was the best singer modern music ever saw. These debates have raged for years and will continue far into the future, but nobody doubts that all of the aforementioned artists look and sound like tone-deaf taintfaced 12-year-olds playing “Louie, Louie” at a midday suburban block party when compared to the debut album Extremities by the renowned a cappella group Extreme Measures.

Founded four years ago by Dan de la Torre, Extreme Measures follows in a long line of successful, talented, and unbelievably peppy a cappella groups here in Evanston ever since the Northwestern University School of Music dean Peter “That dude who won’t stop belting Journey covers in Burger King at 1 am each Saturday” Lutkin popularized a cappella in America with the founding of the A Cappella Choir in 1906. Extremities is the exquisitely angelic culmination of a year of recording by the group (with production by Ben Lieberman), and is the greatest thing that my ears have had the good fortune to hear since “Born to Run” on vinyl. Featuring covers of acclaimed artists like OneRepublic, Gavin DeGraw, Yellowcard, Christina Aguilera, and the Backstreet Boys, Extremities has the power to transport you to a wondrously magical time in your life — right around 6th grade — and keep you there until the album finally ends, an experience you won’t soon forget.

The enchantment starts right from the beginning.

There are certain moments that occur right at the opening of truly great music: the rimshot before Dylan launches into “Like a Rolling Stone;” the riff of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” that channeled every conceivable emotion of a generation; and that moment when the beat finally drops in Beethoven’s 5th Symphony all immediately come to mind. But the opening line of Extremities, a cover of Yellowcard’s “Breathing,” is so stunning that it immediately warrants consideration as one of the best album-openers of all time. In the first few bars, Extreme Measures already establish themselves as the most illustrious a cappella group in America since four insufferable pricks from Yale first donned tuxedos and formed the Whiffenpoofs — who incidentally only have the second-most obnoxious name among a cappella groups at Yale.

But what makes this album so bewitchingly radiant is the caliber of the rest of the tracks furnished by Extreme Measures. Stunning and sublime songs like “Brand New You,” “I Don’t Want to Be,” and “The Call” all exhibit more pop sensibilities than if Hall & Oates got together with Huey Lewis to cover Rihanna’s discography. Each of the ten songs are probably catchier than the hypothetical musical lovechild of Michael Jackson and Will Schuester, and any random song you select will display more technical virtuosity in a three-minute auditory frenzy of delightful harmonies and resplendent melodies than John Coltrane could ever hope to produce in an entire gig. The vocal percussion is ravishing, production on the album is supurb, and the vocals mesh in only the most tantalizingly mesmeric combinations that make your heart (and groin) go pitter-patter.

Clearly, upon my first listen of Extremities I experienced a slight tingle in a particular extremity of my own. But multiple listens of the album can prove invaluable, providing a deeper sense of the true meanings behind Extreme Measures chipper vocals. In “The Voice Within,” for instance, the line “dum dum dmmmmmmm da da” subtly hints at a hidden darkness lurking in the hearts of man, which we all feebly try to cover up by surrounding ourselves with material goods and unsubstantial romance, while in “Ignorance” the interplay between lyrics about how much Hayley Williams likes change and more incomprehensible lines like “sjaw dot du chaut jot sjaw dot du chaut jot” evoke the inner turmoil that can arise in your soul when former loved ones start treating you like a stranger.

When the album comes to a close with “Sound of Silence,” you will probably be left with only your thoughts about the astounding beauty you just experience and a pool of your own urine — an unfortunate side-effect of aural pleasure as powerful as that produced by Extremities. Luckily, this predicament can easily be cured by purchasing more copies of the album. Scientific studies have already determined that owning a copy of Extreme Measures’ Extremities will make you five times cooler, six times more intelligent, and last at least 12.78 minutes longer in bed.

OVERALL RATING: Drip drip drop there goes an eargasm

Extremities by Extreme Measures can be purchased from iTunes HERE.