Caveman visited the WVAU studio before their Black Cat gig in April, supporting their second, self-titled record, and filled the tiny space with their expansive, shimmering melodies.
Guitars surfed on waves of reverb as the punchy melodic bass provided a sonic floor to the cloud of sound. Synths danced in time with other instruments, a smooth counterpoint to the trebly, yet reserved percussion. Multiple-part vocal harmonies acted as bursts of color to the airy grooves.
The exercise seemed like a moment of relaxation for the band as they allowed themselves to get lose in the blanket of sound. The entire experience sounded great in the studio, and I know that I speak for more than just myself when I say I’m excited to see what the band’s next move is.
Alicia Keys and Maxwell. Together. When I first saw that they had a track together on Key’s latest album, Girl on Fire, I was elated. I knew that I was not going to be able to handle the sensual experience that was, without fail, going to occur. In my head I was thinking, could this rival her 2004 duet with Usher? When I first heard “Fire We Make,” I was lying down with headphones on, completely overtaken by the music. Once I heard about the music video, I was ready for a rush of sexual tension and mystique. The video did not disappoint, but it did take a different path from what I initially had envisioned. This video told a story, giving more background to the song.
It first lays out the scene with a bit of a monologue by Keys: “It was an amazing time, an amazing time to be in new Orleans, the heat, the French Quarter, and him and we fell in love.” She is working in, what I assume is, a family-owned hotel in the French Quarter. After she sees that Maxwell is entering the hotel, she runs down to see him. The sexual tension between the two is unbelievably powerful. She shows him to his hotel room, and they go their separate ways. Both take double takes of the other before they part.
The song then starts moving into the forefront of the music video, veering away from the actual plot. Alicia Keys starts off the song with “Hey baby/ how you doing tonight/ I wanna let you know/I wanna tell you just how I feel/I wanna love you baby.” During her entire section, she is sitting on the floor in front of an air conditioning unit sweating, rubbing herself with ice cubes, thinking about Maxwell in the other room. She is twisting her body around while in a tight white dress. She is in the middle of an internal struggle. Should she go over and see Maxwell or stay away from him? By the end of her section, the bowl of ice cube is just a bowl of water.
During this time, both seem to be getting ready to go to sleep. Maxwell is unpacking while Alicia is stripping her clothes off. The following scene shows Maxwell singing on stage in front of a room full of dancing people, presumably guests at the hotel. Everyone has a dance partner besides Maxwell up front and Keys in the back of the room dancing by herself up against a wall. This is my favorite part of the song and video. The two start to harmonize together and react to each other’s vocal lines. They exclaim how they cannot stay away from each other: “No no no, No no no, Can’t stay away.” The desperation that their body language shows, which also mirrors their vocal lines, is phenomenal.
After Alicia Keys leaves the dance floor, Maxwell tries to follow her. He ends up wandering the streets of New Orleans, wearing a bright red suit with a black dress shirt, the top button undone. He waits for her in front of the hotel until she arrives. They do not exchange any words. The two simply hold each other’s faces. Then, they walk through the front door together, about to rekindle their love.
The video is shot artistically. Flashbacks were thrown in throughout and images of Alicia Keys rubbing herself with ice in front of the A/C Unit added to the sexual longing and picture of a hot Louisiana day. The constant cuts between how Alicia and Maxwell were feeling individually brought a lot to the parallelisms between the two. They both wanted to see each other, but each lacked the guts to make the first move.
Finally, the outfits. I loved Alicia’s white dress and Maxwell’s textured, collared shirt at the beginning of the video. However, when they put their dancing shoes on, I was overjoyed with the outfits. Maxwell’s crisp, red suit complimented Keys’ colorful patterned top with her red skirt. The reds also symbolized the passion that they feel for one another.
The first time that I watched this video, my thought was that Keys and Maxwell were just two people, both full of angst who happened to be at the same hotel, experiencing similar emotions. This music video, though, has such a deep and interesting plot. Nothing is truly straightforward. Throughout, there are photos of the two together. There is an aspect of history present between the two that keeps the story interesting throughout.
I know it’s finals week and no one could possibly have time to go out to a movie, nonetheless a concert, but there are such cool things happening in D.C. this week that I had to let everyone know about them. I’m sure if you actually did your work instead of looking at pictures of cats then you could find plenty of time to go out (or not, if you’re a serious student). Either way, I hope you guys enjoyed this column as much as I did writing it. It may return for the summer, but if it doesn’t, H.A.G.S.!
Tech N9Ne, Krizz Kaliko (Fillmore Silver Spring, $32)
Yes, there was a brief time in my life where I thought Tech N9Ne had one good song and might have been a cool person to invite to the imaginary musicians and celebrities party in my head. If you too think that songs about cannibalism are cool, then snatch up some tickets and head to the Fillmore.
Next Level Showcase (Empire, $5)
Empire and Indie Media Lab invites anyone who thinks they can rap or DJ to enter in the showcase. Judges are DopeMusicBlog, DJ Soundwave and J-Scrilla. First place wins three hours in the studio with an exclusive producer, a free photo shoot, free single artwork, 500+ blogs bloggin’ about you and free apparel from Prosper Clothing.
Trace Bundy (Jammin Java, $15-$18)
Our second guitar pro is Trace Bundy. While I usually try to refrain from sending people to Jammin Java because it’s hard to get to, it’s the place to be on Thursday if you want to be blown away by some guitar magic. Apparently his fans like to call him the Acoustic Ninja, and I can see why.
It’s that time of year where the dorm rooms are cleared out, finals are completed, and paths diverge as the summer holidays roll in and the semester comes to a close. Feelings of relief, nostalgia and regret mix in the air as friends hug, enemies shake hands and crushes receive a final awkward nod. The [...]
Where should I begin with these guys? Maybe I should start by explaining that they were a gateway to an infinitely wide ocean of great new music that I would have never discovered without their influence. Or maybe that they put on the most fun live shows I’ve ever seen. Or maybe that they created [...]
Justin Bieber featuring Ludacris. Enrique Iglesias featuring Pitbull. Katy Perry featuring Kanye West. The mere suggestion of a guest rap sounds … enticing. They promise more bang for the buck, two for the price of one. They’re economically savvy. But are they artistically savvy? Not really. Most songs would function the same or better without [...]
This is an edited version of a story originally published on USA TODAY College. Deerhunter’s art-rock noise reverberated off the domed ceiling of D.C.’s Sixth & I Synagogue, under which the capital’s college radio community united for a first-ever collaborative concert this week. WVAU in conjunction with University of Maryland-College Park’s WMUC and George Washington [...]