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A decade later: A conversation with Aly & AJ

06/07/18 4:47pm | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Aly & AJ is still the sister-powered pop rock group from the golden age of Disney, but Aly and AJ Michalka are no longer under anyone’s creative control.

They make their own decisions.

Last year marked an entire decade since the duo’s last album, “Insomniatic,” an appropriate time for Aly & AJ to release their first independent project “Ten Years.”


Fowl play: Andrew Bird rocks the CFA


Andrew Bird did just about everything one can do with a violin on Saturday night. He bowed, strummed and plucked the strings, played it clean and distorted with pedals, and looped his own sound back to build on himself.

The genre-bending virtuoso made every note count.

Bird took the audience through the evolution of his music career that started when he was just four years old.


Showcasing and celebrating black excellence

02/26/18 2:09am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Saturday night’s Black Explosion was more than a fashion show; it was a celebration of art, culture and black excellence.

This year’s show, “Chateau Noir,” or Black Castle, was named in honor of the Black Student Union itself and the work it does, in commemoration of its 50th anniversary on campus.


Living in “F.E.A.R.”: a discussion with Marillion’s Steve Rothery

02/25/18 1:22pm | By BRIAN EVANS

After 18 studio albums, Marillion shows no signs of slowing down.

The band’s latest full-length offering “F.E.A.R.” is hailed by fans and critics as its best work in years, while also reaching number four on the UK album charts.

The Spectrum sat down with lead guitarist Steve Rothery to discuss the new album, its influences and the next steps for Marillion.


Melodies for days: Q&A with singer and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Bird

02/22/18 5:14am | By HANNAH STEIN

A glockenspiel, violin, guitar –– Andrew Bird plays them all.

Bird, a multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter will perform at UB’s Center for the Arts on Saturday as part of his “Echolocations: River” national tour.

The Spectrum spoke with Bird before the concert about his latest album, “Echolocations: River” and his extensive music career that began when he was four-years-old. Bird has 14 albums and “Echolocations:River” is his second installment in his “Echolocation” series, where he takes inspiration from various landscapes.


February movie guide

02/19/18 1:31am | By DAVID TUNIS-GARCIA

February is traditionally known in the film industry as a dump month, the time in which studios take a steamy, hot, collective crap on the proverbial chest of theatergoers around the world.

With Oscar season in full swing and winter weather keeping people indoors, studios put out unmemorable dreck and the movies they secretly hope nobody will see with only a handful of exceptions.

Lay down the Seran wrap and avert your eyes, because this month is already prairie dogging.


Pushing boundaries: An interview with Lights

02/19/18 1:30am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

In an industry where some regulars don’t write their own songs, Lights can write her own comic book series.

The award-winning Canadian pop star is no stranger to venturing outside of the norm. Lights’ pure electronic pop sound has seen all four of her studio albums land on the Billboard 200. She’s won Juno Awards and pushed boundaries for what’s expected in the industry.


Highlighting what’s important

02/08/18 4:34am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Arthur De Araujo has improved on pen and paper with his most recent iOS application, Lecture Buddy.

The app translates the lecture into text by using a continuous speech recognition program. Students can enter keywords to look for in the text, such as “important,” “remember” or any word of choice.


Welcome back, Aaron.

02/05/18 12:27am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Selling 10 million albums worldwide is an accomplishment not many can celebrate.

But at 15 years old, pop star Aaron Carter did just that. He had magazine spreads, concert films, his own doll and of course an unforgettable “Lizzie McGuire” appearance.

Carter, now 30, is making his way back into the music industry after a 15-year studio album hiatus. With the release of his upcoming record “Love,” Carter hopes to incorporate his new look and EDM sound into his comeback album.


Nursing student makes noise

02/05/18 12:20am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Kari Quimpo is an accelerated nursing student and for the last year, she’s been tackling 59 class credits, intensive studying and a seemingly never-ending workload.

But she still finds time for her music.


Spring semester album guide

02/01/18 1:37am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET , BRIAN EVANS

Spring semester just started, but spring is certainly not in the air. If anything, we haven’t seen the worst of Buffalo’s winter. So before your fully charged phone dies from barely stepping foot outside this semester, it’s time to explore some new music. 

Take our advice and keep an eye on some of our recommended upcoming releases this semester.


Totally not 'Justified'

02/01/18 1:34am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

After 14 years, Justin Timberlake is making his return to the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

But I don’t think he deserves it yet.

He’s proven himself time and time again musically, except for his recent string of lackluster singles. But as a celebrity and public figure, Timberlake doesn’t deserve to grace the halftime show stage.


Q&A with Beanie Feldstein

02/01/18 1:28am | By BRIAN EVANS

The future is Beanie Feldstein’s to own. The actress, who recently appeared in the critical sensation “Lady Bird,” is lending her talents to theatre with the Broadway incarnation of “Hello, Dolly!” Feldstein spoke with The Spectrum on Thursday regarding “Lady Bird,” her work with Netflix as well as her thoughts on working on Broadway.


Free flow: Sade Cinco brings no restraints to the rap game

12/09/17 6:36pm | By BENJAMIN BLANCHET

Oren Sadeh took the stage in front of a crowd of 800 people over the summer. It was his first time performing for a crowd.

The senior exercise science major and SoundCloud rapper wasn’t nervous. He barely broke a sweat.

Sadeh embraces spontaneity. His carefree attitude is reflected in his infectious hooks and carefree persona.


Holiday blues: a playlist for coping with sadness around the holidays

12/08/17 3:54pm | By MADDY FOWLER

Memories of Christmas spent with the person I thought I would spend every holiday with for the rest of my life. A friend stolen away from me in her youth. The death of a grandmother who practically raised me. An aunt and godmother lost to early-onset Alzheimer’s. The ever-present absence of a father who didn’t know how to love me.

I carry this pain with me always, but the holidays bring it into sharp, unavoidable focus –– and I think the sadness I feel at this time of year is often exacerbated by the idea we’re supposed to be cheerful.

I know I am not the only one who struggles with feelings of sadness during the holiday season. So, I made this playlist to say it is OK to be sad at Christmas time. I hope these songs can help to soothe your holiday blues.


A discussion with Snoh Aalegra

12/07/17 5:08am | By BRENTON J. BLANCHET

Aalegra dropped her debut and second independent project “Feels” on Oct. 20. Her self-described “romantic soul record,” executively produced by Grammy-nominated producer No I.D., is already making waves.

Aalegra will open for rising R&B star Daniel Caesar from Dec. 16 through Dec. 20 at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall. The soul singer spoke with The Spectrum about her upcoming shows, her debut album and her friendship with the late, great Prince.


Underrated holiday hits


It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless your family insists on forcing “White Christmas” and “The Christmas Song” down your throat.

We at The Spectrum believe that holiday music is a sacred art that shouldn’t be soiled by repetition or unavoidable air-play. Here are our picks for the season’s best underrated classics.


December movie guide

12/07/17 4:40am | By DAVID TUNIS-GARCIA

The holidays are a time to stay home and spend time with family and friends. It’s also a time to trek to the nearest movie theater and pay to sit in silence with a bunch of strangers for a few hours.

At first glance, December appears to be a light month for releases but a closer look reveals a few gems hidden among whatever dad-movie Steven Spielberg is putting out these days. Oh, and the biggest movie of the year.