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Check out the new album review this week:

Chris Brown – X

Chris Brown: X

By: Jeff Burnett

            Chris Brown released his sixth studio album titled “X” courtesy of RCA Records on Sept. 15. The album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 selling over 100,000 copies in its first week.

             The album features the hit singles “Fine China”, “Don’t Think They Know” featuring Aaliyah and “Loyal” featuring Lil Wayne and Tyga. Multiple versions of “Loyal” were released featuring French Montana and Too Short. The letter “X” is the Roman numeral for 10, which marks the 10 year anniversary of Brown’s introduction into the music industry. The “X” also doubles as a meaning for Brown’s Birthday of May 5.

             “X” deviates from Brown’s previous projects, which had mostly revolved around pop and dance music. Brown clearly takes a different approach on this project by mixing classic R&B with a new age sound, yet he still manages to mix in influences of EDM and pop elements. While Brown does mix in some outside genres into this album, he still maintains an R&B direction. Brown brings all of these styles together and adds an old school touch that connects these different genres.

              Not only does Brown take the album in a different direction, but he also openly sings about his struggles in the spotlight. Brown shows true musicianship by giving perspective on his troubles that bring to light his realization of the mistakes he has made in the past. It also gives fans an inside look into how he has changed, both musically and personally. It shows that Brown is not only growing as an artist, but also as a person.

               Brown’s first single off the album, “Fine China,” resembles that of a Michael Jackson sound. He pays homage to the late Jackson by seamlessly using his style, but respectfully making it his own. Brown showcases his renowned R&B skills that give the song an old school feel with a timeless touch. The song peaked at No. 31 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

                Brown’s second single off the album “Don’t Think They Know” featuring the late R&B singer Aaliyah really stands out on the album. The song features Aaliyah’s signature soft vocals matched with Brown’s unique tenor voice. Brown croons about his appreciation for his fans, but the underlying theme seemingly could be directed at his past relationship with singer Rihanna. The single climbed to No. 29 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

                 Originally, the album was scheduled for release in 2013, but encountered a series of push backs due to label issues, as well as Brown’s legal and personal problems. The album features guest appearances from Rick Ross, Trey Songz, Kendrick Lamar, R. Kelly and many more.

-  Jeff Burnett

Rating: 8/10

Recommended tracks: “X,” “Add Me In” and “Don’t Think They Know”

Alt-J – This Is All Yours

Alt J- This Is All Yours

Taylor Bauer

            Once An Awesome Wave broke through mainstream alternative music, it felt as if Alt-J had been what the genre was missing. Their debut album was one single idea spread over 14 tracks, each one building on the energy and emotion of the last. After touring extensively from 2012 into much of this year, Alt-J posted on their website that new music was being written, and that bassist and founding member Gwil Sainsbury. If anything was certain about the future of 2012’s most pleasant alternative surprise, it was that expectations were useless.

Even before touring in support of their first album, the trio known as Alt-J (the keyboard code for a triangle on a Mac) met while studying at Leeds University, and all three connected musically. Drawing from retro folk and modern electronic music, the band crafted their own sound on their debut, and modify it further on This Is All Yours. Where An Awesome Wave was carried by upbeat, sporadic arrangements, This Is All Yours sacrifices volume for thoughtful progressions that let vocals and instrumentals shine from beginning to end.

The album’s tone is set from the first track “Intro”, as if to warn the listener that things have changed in the band. Guitarist/Vocalist Joe Newman and Keyboardist/Vocalist Gus Unger-Hamilton begin colliding their voices in odd harmonies as instruments build, but do not explode like on the first album. Everything on this record feels more controlled, not as if they abandoned the energy they built on AAW, but more like they have grown with their success into a fully functioning and directed rock band.

The progression of Arrival in Nara > Nara paints a picture of tranquility and peace, something the album is not lacking. Following the arrival are two of the album’s singles, “Every Other Freckle” and “Left Hand Free”. Both reached moderate success on alternative radio, and rightfully so; “Every Other Freckle” is an Alt-J standard sound with ferocious percussion, and “Left Hand Free” is the most pop-sounding track there is on the album. After sampling Miley Cyrus on “Hunger of the Pine”, the strongest part of the album guides the listener to the end of the album.

“Warm Foothills” is hands down the highlight of the album, both lyrically and with production. Newman and four of his closest friends from Leeds University trade off singing each word of the verses to create an odd structure that makes for a truly beautiful arrangement. “The Gospel of John Hurt”, another strong track that highlights the best features of Alt-J, leads right into “Pusher”, and then “Bloodflood Pt. 2”, which revisits lyrical highlights from their past album in a very nostalgic way for only two years, separating the album.

The album ends with “Leaving Nara”, and just like any great trip or vacation, the listener is left with a feeling of satisfaction that only encourages another run of the album. This album is the opposite of a sophomore slump; in fact, as a fan of this band since the beginning and multiple times seeing the band live, this album is a major improvement on downfalls from their debut, and has solidified the band into alternative royalty.

Rating: 10/10

Jhene Aiko – Souled Out

Jhene Aiko “Souled Out”

By: Khia Donald

Some of the best albums are great because they follow a storyline. One great storyteller is Jhene Aiko. In her new album entitled Souled Out, she takes us through a woman’s journey to enlightenment. Fans of Aiko know that all of her music and stories are deeply personal. For those who are just stepping into her world, its best to note that she puts her soul into her music. Aiko is a lyricist that writes all of her own songs. Typical topics she talks about are love, loss, depression, growth and overcoming difficulty. Her calming voice is very unique and distinct. She is an artist who can resonate with many.

Aiko has made her fair share of mixtapes, ep’s, and features with known artists such as Drake, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul and Childish Gambino; but Souled Out is her first official album. She has been making music since she was young but her success skyrocketed when she began working with producer NO I.D. on his label he runs through Def Jam Recordings.

The Souled Out journey begins with the song “Limbo, Limbo, Limbo”. This story talks about a girl (Aiko) who is trying to teach people that the most important thing in life is love. She refers to a lover who helped her realize that because of the in her stresses of life, she had to let him go to be happy.

Another great story on the album is “It’s Cool”. In this song she talks about the awkward place we’ve all been in when we’re not sure where a romantic situation is going. She divulges her feelings towards him while at the same time putting the cards in his hands and telling him that it’s up to him where things go. She also acknowledges that whatever happens is okay with her because knowing him at all is enough for her.

“Pressure” is the major single for the album. With this one she talking about the pressures of a relationship that seems to be going to nowhere and causing unnecessary stress; added to the pressures of making her album and trying to still trying to stay true to her real fans who have been following her since the beginning. The progression of the song is a prime example of her lyrical abilities. She talks about this while still keeping the song concise and cohesive. Her ability to let the songs verses flow into each different idea smoothly is also apparent and impressive.

Later in “Promises” the heroine finally reaches somewhat of a catharsis. The song features her brother Miyagi who passed away from an illness, as well as her daughter Namiko. She starts by talking about everything she’s missing out on with her daughter because of her job but acknowledges that everything Aiko does is for her daughter and her daughter will be alright in the end. She then goes on to talk about her brother and how much she misses him and how hard it is without him because her depression gets severe sometimes. However, she hears her brother’s voice reminding her that her daughter needs her and that she will be alright because he’s always with her. The catharsis comes in with the repeating idea that she just has to let go of the stress and sadness and everything will be alright.

Overall as someone who’s been following Jhene Aiko from the beginning, Souled Out is classic Aiko. She doesn’t disappoint because the storylines are similar to what we have been hearing from her. As a fan this is slightly disappointing because she hasn’t shown much growth from her mixtapes and ep’s. However, this is her first official album, so it’s basically a representation of herself and I highly suggest it to everyone; especially people who have never listened to her. She is an amazing lyricist. Not only does her music tell relatable stories but she deeply cares about her craft and it shows in all of the work she creates.
Rating: 8/10


Check out all our album reviews!

 

Area concerts happening in your neck of the woods!


Eric Church: The Outsiders World Tour

ECConcert

Eric Church: The Outsiders World Tour

The Peoria Civic Center Arena at 7:00 P.M.

201 SW Jefferson St., Peoria, IL 61602

November 21, 2014.

Ticket prices are $25, 39.50, and $59.50

http://www.ticketmaster.com/eric-church-the-outsiders-world-peoria-illinois-11-21-2014/event/07004C90B1835A8D?artistid=1020885&majorcatid=10001&minorcatid=2

 

 

 

The Avett Brothers- February 13, 2014

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U.S. Cellular Coliseum

101 South Madison Street

Bloomington, IL

(309)-434-2843

Doors Open: 6:30pm

Show Starts: 8:00pm

For Tickets, click HERE

Yellowcard: Ocean Avenue Acoustic

27-emd

 

Yellowcard

Castle Theatre

209 E. Washington Street

Bloomington, IL

Doors Open: 7:00pn

Show Starts: 8:00pm

For Tickets, click HERE

We The Kings

WE THE KINGS

 

We The Kings

w/ This Century & Crash The Party

The Castle Theater

Bloomington, IL

Doors: 7:00 p.m.

Show: 7:30 p.m.

For Tickets, Click HERE

‘Chicago’ – Live In Concert

CHICAGO

Chicago – Live In Concert

January 29th, 2014 @ 7:30 PM

U.S. Cellular Coliseum

101 South Madison Street

Bloomington, IL

Doors Open: 6:30pm

Show Starts: 7:30pm

For Tickets, click HERE



Full Concert Calendar

Request Line:
(309) 438 -1033

Main Office:
(309) 438 -5491

Location:
Fell Hall 007


Galt, Thunder edge Omaha in 4-3 shootout win.

NORMAL IL- Just over a week after scoring two goals against the Green Bay Gamblers, Ryan Galt continued his impressive start to the season as the Bloomington Thunder edged the Omaha Lancers 4-3 in a shootout last night.

The Thunder, who came off losses at Youngstown and Chicago last week, ended their two game losing streak thanks in part to Galt’s performance. Not only did he score the game tying goal in the third period as well as assisting one back in the first, but he  also scored the lone goal in the shootout that gave the Thunder the extra point.

Bloomington started out strong the first two periods by grabbing a 2-0 lead, thanks to goals by Jack Jenkins in the first and Matt Nuttle less than a minute into the second. But Omaha, who entered the contest 1-5-1, erased their deficit later that period thanks to goals by Jake Henderson and Jimmy Schuldt less than a minute apart from each other.

“A two goal lead is the worst in sports,” said Thunder head coach Dennis Williams after the game. “Especially in hockey, you can go up 2-1 or 3-0, but their team battled back.”

After Omaha took the lead on a power play goal by Niklas Folin in the third, Galt tied the game less than two minutes later after diving for the puck on a rebound. Both teams would battle it out in overtime to no avail before going to a shootout, the third the Thunder have been in all season.

After a scoreless first round, Galt scored on Omaha goalie Kris Oldham before Thunder goalie David Jacobson made the final save for the win.

“I give our guys a lot of credit,” Williams would go on to say. “We go down 3-2, but we didn’t quit. We kept battling and battling and I told them at that at the end of the year, never critique a win by that. Lets just take it now because that could be a big point in this league.”

The Thunder will play another pair of road games at Youngstown this Friday and Saturday, before returning home next week to host Green Bay at the US Cellular Coliseum with puck drop at 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

Illinois Coaching Icon Wayne McClain Dies

URBANA – The state of Illinois lost one of its most highly regarded basketball coaches Wednesday morning. Champaign Central High School head coach Wayne McClain passed away at 11:45 a.m. after being admitted to the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana Saturday morning. McClain was being treated for pneumonia and a lung infection. He was 60 years old.

McClain spent only eight of his 38 years coaching basketball as a head coach, but was wildly successful in that time. He served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Peoria Manual under Dick Van Scyoc for 18 years including a Class AA state championship in 1994. McClain took over the head coaching job the next season follow Van Scyoc’s retirement and led Manual to three straight state championships and a record of 94-5 in those three seasons. The four-peat was the first in Illinois basketball history.

McClain joined Bill Self’s staff at the University of Illinois in 2001 where he remained until Bruce Weber’s staff was let go in 2012. During his time at Illinois, the Fighting Illini made nine NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the National Championship game in 2005. McClain spent just one year coaching outside of Illinois when he joined Bruce Weber’s staff at Kansas State for the 2012-13 season.

McClain returned to the head coaching ranks last year at Champaign Central with his son Sergio (Illinois’ Mr. Basketball in 1997)as his assistant. The Maroons finished 18-11 and advanced to the sectional championship game just a year removed from a 5-20 finish.

In his eight years as a head coach, McClain finished with a record of 195-46.

Thunder get back on track, beat Green Bay 6-2.

NORMAL- After coming off their first loss of the season last Saturday to Youngstown, the Bloomington Thunder bounced back in a big way last night by defeating the Green Bay Gamblers 6-2 at the US Cellular Coliseum.

The Thunder were lead by Ryan Galt, who scored his first 2 goals of the season and in doing so, became the first player in franchise history to score 2 or more goals in one game. Vince Pedrie, Jack Jenkins, and Ryan Siroky also had 2 points each in the contest in a game that was dominated by the Thunder on both sides of the ice.

Before the game, one thing head coach Dennis Williams wanted his team to do was control the game. After the game, he was overall pleased with his team’s effort.

” I think we skated well,” Williams said after the game. ” I thought we supported the puck well, and for the most part, we stuck to our routes and we stuck to how we wanted to play the game.”

In the first, Alec Mehr scored on a fast break 4:46 into the period before Galt added a power play goal about 7 minutes later off a shot from the blue line. The biggest factor in the period came from the Thunder’s defense, who only allowed 5 shots that period.

In the second, Pedrie scored his first goal of the year on a backhand shot after being set up by Siroky. That goal ended goalie Jason Pawloski’s night for Green Bay. only stopping 13 of 16 shots he faced. Despite a goal from Brent Gates Jr. later in the period for the Gamblers, however, new goalie Jared Rutledge didn’t fare any better, giving up a power play goal to Jenkins 4 seconds before the period ended.

Galt, who assisted on that last second goal to Jenkins, had the biggest play of the night for his 2nd goal when he scored on a breakaway about 8 minutes into the 3rd just after pushing off a defender behind him.

” I knew the goalie thought I’d go to my forehand and try to drive it wide, so I thought I’d kind of chip it short side back to where he is and coming across too, and it worked out for me, ” Galt commented on that goal.

Logan Lambdin and Ryan Smith added a goal each for Bloomington and Green Bay respectively while Logan Halladay made 22 saves for the Thunder to improve to 2-0 on the season. Rutledge made 21 saves on 24 shots while Powloski was credited with the loss. The Thunder play at Youngstown against the Phantoms later today before returning home to host the Omaha Lancers next Saturday. The puck drop will be at 7 pm.


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Galt, Thunder edge Omaha in 4-3 shootout win.

NORMAL IL- Just over a week after scoring two goals against the Green Bay Gamblers, Ryan Galt continued his impressive start to the season as the Bloomington Thunder edged the Omaha Lancers 4-3 in a shootout last night.

The Thunder, who came off losses at Youngstown and Chicago last week, ended their two game losing streak thanks in part to Galt’s performance. Not only did he score the game tying goal in the third period as well as assisting one back in the first, but he  also scored the lone goal in the shootout that gave the Thunder the extra point.

Bloomington started out strong the first two periods by grabbing a 2-0 lead, thanks to goals by Jack Jenkins in the first and Matt Nuttle less than a minute into the second. But Omaha, who entered the contest 1-5-1, erased their deficit later that period thanks to goals by Jake Henderson and Jimmy Schuldt less than a minute apart from each other.

“A two goal lead is the worst in sports,” said Thunder head coach Dennis Williams after the game. “Especially in hockey, you can go up 2-1 or 3-0, but their team battled back.”

After Omaha took the lead on a power play goal by Niklas Folin in the third, Galt tied the game less than two minutes later after diving for the puck on a rebound. Both teams would battle it out in overtime to no avail before going to a shootout, the third the Thunder have been in all season.

After a scoreless first round, Galt scored on Omaha goalie Kris Oldham before Thunder goalie David Jacobson made the final save for the win.

“I give our guys a lot of credit,” Williams would go on to say. “We go down 3-2, but we didn’t quit. We kept battling and battling and I told them at that at the end of the year, never critique a win by that. Lets just take it now because that could be a big point in this league.”

The Thunder will play another pair of road games at Youngstown this Friday and Saturday, before returning home next week to host Green Bay at the US Cellular Coliseum with puck drop at 7 pm.

 

 

 

 

ISU Soccer Edges Evansville, 1-0

The Illinois State soccer team was able to pickup their second Missouri Valley win versus the Purple Aces on Saturday afternoon. ISU was only able to put one shot on goal in the first half, Evansville’s consistent defense had not given up a goal in six straight matches and over 600 minutes. The ‘Birds were at risk to continuing the streak, until sixty minutes into the game. Back Gabbi McArtor was able to move the ball to Hannah Leinert’s left side as the forward pushed the ball towards the goal line. Leinert was able to pass the ball to Mid-fielder Kelli Zickert who scored who second career goal and her first in which was a game-winner.

In the final 30 minutes, the Aces offensive attack tried to answer the Redbirds but was unsuccessful. Each team was able to put eight shots on goal while only one corner kick was attempted throughout the game which belonged to Illinois State. ISU goalie Aryn Newsom made two saves and recorded her 43rd win of her coveted career.

ISU moves to 8-5 on the season with a 2-0 conference start. Currently, the ‘Birds sit in first place of the MVC and will return to action this Saturday night when they take on the Loyola Ramblers in Chicago.

Illinois Coaching Icon Wayne McClain Dies

URBANA – The state of Illinois lost one of its most highly regarded basketball coaches Wednesday morning. Champaign Central High School head coach Wayne McClain passed away at 11:45 a.m. after being admitted to the Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana Saturday morning. McClain was being treated for pneumonia and a lung infection. He was 60 years old.

McClain spent only eight of his 38 years coaching basketball as a head coach, but was wildly successful in that time. He served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Peoria Manual under Dick Van Scyoc for 18 years including a Class AA state championship in 1994. McClain took over the head coaching job the next season follow Van Scyoc’s retirement and led Manual to three straight state championships and a record of 94-5 in those three seasons. The four-peat was the first in Illinois basketball history.

McClain joined Bill Self’s staff at the University of Illinois in 2001 where he remained until Bruce Weber’s staff was let go in 2012. During his time at Illinois, the Fighting Illini made nine NCAA Tournament appearances including a trip to the National Championship game in 2005. McClain spent just one year coaching outside of Illinois when he joined Bruce Weber’s staff at Kansas State for the 2012-13 season.

McClain returned to the head coaching ranks last year at Champaign Central with his son Sergio (Illinois’ Mr. Basketball in 1997)as his assistant. The Maroons finished 18-11 and advanced to the sectional championship game just a year removed from a 5-20 finish.

In his eight years as a head coach, McClain finished with a record of 195-46.



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Teacher Gives Non-Alcoholic Beer to Students *Idiot of the Week Nomination*

WHY WOULD YOU THINK THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA!

The teacher was trying to teach his students that people used to drink alcohol instead of water because their water was tainted.  Makes sense to tell your students about this, but you don’t need them to know how alcohol taste.  It is irresponsible as a teacher and adult.

Cruising Down the Street

Starting Monday you can rent a bike from the Student Fitness Center.

Full Story Here.

Would You Buy A Dog For 2 Million Dollars?

In China, a new craze has started for purchasing Tibetan Mastiff puppy.  They go for 1 to 2 million dollars.

I couldn’t bring myself to spend that much money on ANYTHING! How about you?

Full Story Here.

Lorde Wants Fans To Kiss Westboro Baptist Church

Taking to Twitter Lorde wants her fans to show their support for same sex marriage and kiss her protesters.

The church recently remade Lorde’s hit “Royals” and plan to protest her concert tomorrow in Kansas City.  At least some people will have fun…

Full Story Here.