'Nostalgia For Infinity' Review

'Nostalgia For Infinity' Review

A review of the debut record from Colorado's own Sound of Ceres.
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My first experience with the dream pop duo Karen and Ryan Hover dates back long before they took on the name Sound of Ceres. Around 2013, I was introduced to an album that sounded like nothing I had heard before. I was just starting my love affair with dream-pop/ shoegaze and I had the pleasure of stumbling across Candy Claws’ album Ceres & Calypso in The Deep Time. The album shook off the typically cold and distant sound prevalent within the genre in favor of a tropical flourish, sounding like I imagine the Mesozoic era to be. The album was warm and lush and hugged its listener with a fierce intensity. I fell in love with the sound almost immediately. Strangely enough, I found the album through an online web forum. I was completely unaware that this amazing band could be found right in my own backyard.

It wasn’t until a year or so later that I was able to see them live, and by that time the band I had come to admire was falling apart. From that show I walked away with their debut album, In The Dream Of The Sea Life, and it has been a staple in my car ever since. This is also when they announced that they would be forming a new group, and the band was to be called Sound of Ceres. They were going to take on members of Apples in Stereo and The Drums and would be releasing an album under that name soon enough.

Let’s move forward to March 10th of this year. Sounds of Ceres released their debut album, Nostalgia for Infinity, with a show at the High Dive (they also played another release in their native Fort Collins days earlier). Sadly, I was unInable to make the show, but from what I have heard, the night was a resounding success and was able to showcase the songs off the new album well.

I have had Infinity on repeat for days now since it became available to stream. I enjoy the new album immensely. The opener, "Pursuer", places the listener in a sort of mystic head space. The crashing drums and twinkling guitars, along with the ethereal vocals and humming synths set the tone for the rest of the album. Instrumentally, this is a calypso album at its heart, a calypso album that has been washed in reverb and viewed through a psychedelic lens. This becomes apparent upon listening to the first couple of tracks, specifically the track "Bryn Marina" (which has a fantastic video directed by David Jude Harris). The fourth cut off of the album, "My Spiral Arm", is a groovy throwback, that has a hazy lounge feel to it that's perfect to listen to while spending a lazy summer afternoon laying in the sun. The song is warm and inviting and extremely satisfying upon replay. The same groovy sense can also be felt on the track Side A, a personal favorite of mine.

Lyrically, the album suffers from the inherent nature of the very genre they work themselves into. Karen finds herself fighting for space in the mix and often looses to a mass of synths and guitars, making it difficult to decipher the extremely lofty concept that this album strives toward. Infinity finds itself looking to the stars for inspiration.Whereas Candy Claws was concerned with matters here on Earth, such as the expansive ocean in In The Dream Of The Sea Life and the dense forestation of Ceres and Calypso, Hover aims for something higher with Sounds of Ceres. We also get to hear a lot more of Ryan, like on tracks such as track Side A, which adds a nice contrast to Karen's voice.

Finally, we have been gifted "Dagger Only Run" as a closing track. This is one of the greatest thrill rides I have had the pleasure of listening to in a long time. The track kicks off with spacey synths, the likes of which you can't help but move to. The composition of this piece is flawless, and it serves as a fitting bow on an already wonderfully unexpected gift. With a few minor exceptions, Nostalgia for Infinity delivers on everything I have come to expect from the people behind Candy Claws and proves to be a great debut record. I highly recommend this record to anyone and everyone.

Cover Image Credit: Nostalgia For Infinity

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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