The Local Scene Review

The Local Scene Review

In this first edition, I review two groups of wildly different genres: metal group Fourth in Line and pop group Blue Skies and Death.

Every band starts small. There were times when even the most immense arena-filling groups were just an idea—a few basement recordings, a few errant riffs. We live in an age of great opportunity, but also one of oversaturation. Sometimes it feels like there's just too much music floating around to even grasp!

At times like this, we must turn to our local music scene. Odds are somebody you know is in a band, and I'd be willing to bet their music is worth hearing. Therefore, I have decided to review releases from two or three local D.C., Maryland, and Virginia-based bands and artists every two weeks. Welcome to my soapbox, and happy listening.

"Σ [Sigma]" (EP) by Fourth in Line

"Sigma" is Fourth in Line's debut EP. The Falls Church-based progressive metal band wastes no time on the seven-track release—each song is layered and bursting with personality. One of the most amazing accomplishments of this EP is its level of polish. The local music scene harbors a slew of hastily and sloppily recorded releases from heavier, more technical groups. In a refreshing display, "Sigma" is meticulous, careful, and exceptional.

The five-piece flexes their musical prowess on each track, but keyboardist Nik Hokaj steals the show. The opening track, "Rho," sets a mystifying atmosphere, and a barrage of buzzing sawtooth synths await on every following song.

The vocal tracks hearken to progressive metal band Opeth's brand genre-defying melodic movements. I'm reminded at times of contemporary death metal band Ghost, albeit with more active and involved arrangements.

Even if you're not a fan of this brand of music, the riding rhythms and melodies keep you from skipping a track. It's a local metal band's EP that dares to be more than the sum of its parts, and it truly feels momentous. Take the time to listen to this one.

Fourth in Line is quite active on Facebook, and "Sigma" is available for free on Bandcamp.

"Little Things" (Single) by Blue Skies and Death

If you've read my writings on Weezer, you'd know I'm a huge sucker for hooks and bridges. You might be able to guess I'm a sucker for syrupy powerpop. The surprise is that I freaking love synthpop. "Little Things" has all of this and more.

D.C. power-synth-electro-etc. group Blue Skies and Death comes off as an absolutely dominant twosome. "Little Things" oozes with textured keyboards and boomy drums, and the vocals literally soar through a larger-than-life chorus.

This is a huge track in its arrangement, its performance, and even its length. Most pop tracks rarely edge much over three minutes, and those that do usually overstay their welcome. Blue Skies and Death overcome this challenge by altering the song structure just enough to remain familiar but varied.

There's a level of nuance to this track that many bands at all levels fail to maintain. And really, I could write an entire article on how this song masters the art of an affecting bridge. It's straightforward and simple, but it leaves me feeling like something happened to me. I think that you experience this song rather than listen to it.

After hearing "Little Things," all I can really say is I eagerly await more upcoming releases from this duo. I'm also a bit curious to see a live set and how the arrangements compare. Ultimately, my interest is locked in. Any fans of pop, or just good music in general, should give this a shot.

"Little Things" is available on most streaming programs, including Spotify. Check out Blue Skies and Death on Facebook, and dig their interactive website.

Cover Image Credit: Blue Skies and Death

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The 7 Best Pieces of Drag Race Lingo Ru-vealed

Werk it, queen!

Season Three of "RuPaul's Drag Race: All Stars" just wrapped last week, but season 10 of Drag Race is scheduled to premiere on March 22nd. You might’ve turned on your TV and thought, “what the heck are they talking about?”. Some of the lingo is confusing and unclear, so here’s a guide to just some of the key catchphrases.

1. The library/Being read

The name of the mini challenge is “Reading is Fundamental, in which queens take turns reading each other. When it’s their turn, they “enter the library”, which just means putting on goofy glasses. Reading is pretty much pointing out flaws but in a funny or over the top way.

2. Shade

Throwing shade is similar to reading someone, but I think of shade as usually more blunt, insulting and less clever.

3. Tea

Derives from the letter “T” standing for truth. Tea refers to gossip, news or information. Commonly used in the sense of “So, what’s the tea?”, which means “girl, what’s the gossip?”. It’s commonly combined with shade, as someone might say “No, tea, no shade, but…” which is a preface saying “no disrespect”. Conversely, someone might say “all tea, all shade” meaning that they know exactly how they sound and don’t care if you’re offended.

4. Fish

A queen is said to be looking fishy/serving fish when they closely resemble a woman. Some of the fishiest queens include Tatianna, Courtney Act, and Farrah Moan.

5. Back Rolls

An insult used in season 5 when Jade Jolie told Alyssa Edwards: “Girl, you had rolls all over the place in the back, it was disgusting!” To which Alyssa responded

6. Snatch Game

A parody of the 1960’s celebrity game show “The Match Game”. On the original show, contestants write in answers to questions, hoping to match the guest judge. Snatch Game operates in the same way, but the contestants have to impersonate a celebrity. This is a challenge that has taken place every season since the second one, and it’s probably the most highly anticipated. This is one of the challenges that really establishes the top queens, as they’re judged based off of likeness and humor. Celebrities that have been impersonated range from Dame Maggie Smith to Britney Spears, Judge Judy, Anna Nicole Smith, and even RuPaul.

7. Comedy vs. Pageant Queens

This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Some queens are more specialized in makeup, costumes, and overall pageantry. Others are more campy and over the top. Comedy queens are usually stronger in acting or comedy challenges, but pageant queens have the upper hand in design focused challenges.

So there ya have it, a short list of Drag Race terminology. I RuPaulogize if you got a little lost somewhere, but if you managed to make it through this article….


Cover Image Credit: Daniel Dudek-Corrigan

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If The 12 Zodiac Signs Were Portrayed By 6-Second Vines

"It is Wednesday, my dudes." - Leo

So here's my third Vine article, and I wanted to do another one because it gives me an excuse to watch Vine compilations all day! So here it is, zodiac signs as Vines. I hope it makes you laugh as much as I did!

1. Aries

Aries are known for standing up for what they believe in, just like this woman!

2. Taurus

Tauruses are big on security and getting their job done, just like these cops are doing with a little bit more fun!

3. Gemini

Geminis are very fun-loving and all about communication!

4. Cancer

Cancers are very in touch with their feelings. If only they could have helped this pigeon :(

5. Leo

Leos are all about self-expression, and that's all I have to say about this one.

6. Virgo

One of Virgos' traits is attention to detail! This guy seems to have that.

7. Libra

Libras are incredibly charming and romantic. This one screams romance!

8. Scorpio

Scorpios are very intuitive.

9. Sagittarius

Sagittarius signs are very big-hearted and know what people need, like maybe some milk.

10. Capricorn

Capricorns are known for their patience in dealing with things.

11. Aquarius

Aquariuses are very friendly, and they want to make other people smile!

12. Pisces

Pisces can be very sensitive, so do not disrespect them!

I hope you enjoyed and have a fantastic week!

Song of the Week: "Never Be the Same" - Camila Cabello

Cover Image Credit: Jimmy Here / YouTube

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