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Published in the April 24, 2012 issue of American University’s The Eagle. Found on The Eagle’s website here.

Aspiring librarian-turned-chillwave musician Ernest Greene took the sold-out Black Cat crowd on a loud, dreamy ride on April 18.

Paired with Canadian dream-pop duo and Sub Pop labelmates Memoryhouse as openers, Washed Out was able to transcend the chillwave performance stereotype of a dude and laptop on stage. Backed by Memoryhouse’s guitarist, a drummer with a fantastic porno-mustache, and his wife Blair sharing synth duties, Greene’s good looks and hip-hop-meets-ambient-inspired grooves left fans at Black Cat feeling woozy and warm by the end of the 12-song show.

A drawn-out intro to “Echoes” kicked off Greene’s set, comprised of songs from his 2010 EP “Life of Leisure” and 2011 debut LP “Within and Without.”

Whoever was working sound at the Black Cat that night disappointingly had the vocals set too low for the first few songs. Not that it made much of a difference; Washed Out’s vocals are meant to be more of an added hazy layer of melody than distinguishable words. The sound problems were only a major bummer on “Before,” which ultimately took away from the song’s characteristic cut-up vocal track.

The summery track “Soft” had the fairly lackluster crowd swaying at the set’s midway point, kicking up the vibes for the rest of the night. Greene gave songs off the “Life of Leisure” EP a facelift, most notably on the “Portlandia” theme “Feel It All Around,” opting to not sing the melody and giving the chillwave anthem an even more laid-back feel, while still keeping its groove factor. Greene predictably closed the set with “Amor Fati,” a track that was obviously (and successfully) crafted to be the “Within and Without” single.

The two-song encore was a complete tease. Greene retooled “Hold Out” to be even more danceable and ended the night with spacey album-opener “Eyes Be Closed,” filling up the room with its smooth sound as the speakers were surely turned up to near-top volume.

While lacking the smooth production value of the recording that suits chillwave’s brand of electronic music, few things beat hearing Washed Out live on pumping speakers as the synths swelled to every inch of the Black Cat.

mcetin@theeagleonline.com

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Published in the April 24, 2012 issue of American University’s The Eagle. Found on The Eagle’s website here.

The relaxed Thursday night crowd at the Black Cat was treated to an evening of lovely lady singers in the form of Eleanor Friedberger and Hospitality on April 19.

Brooklyn-based trio Hospitality opened the night, playing tracks off their 2012 debut self-titled album. Highlights include the sassy-and-sweet songs “Friends of Friends,” “The Birthday” and set-closer “All Day Today,” on which the poppy guitar riffs and bouncy bass lines complemented the playful vocals of lead singer Amber Papini.

While Hospitality’s set didn’t lack energy, the band’s performance fell a bit flat. This was impaired by the sound guy’s inability to up the volume on the too-soft vocals, the band didn’t take advantage of their obvious chemistry on stage.

Perhaps Hospitality could learn a thing or two from headliner Eleanor Friedberger; or maybe Friedberger’s mesmerizing stage presence makes all other acts pale in comparison.

One-half of brother-sister duo Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger showcased material from her first solo album “Last Summer,” released, well, last summer, and played new songs she said she plans to record in the coming months.

Live, Friedberger’s laidback sound took on a harder, classic rock edge, which added an energetic ‘70s vibe, complete with a fringe jacket and middle-parted, thick-bangs-ed wavy hair. Songs off “Last Summer” became sexier, more passionate and livelier than the lighter recorded versions.

Friedberger’s previous years of live experience were obvious in her commanding stage presence which mixed intensity and energy all while coming off completely down-to-earth. Only a seasoned performer can seamlessly transition into playing a beautiful acoustic while her phenomenal guitarist, who looked all of age “sweet 16” as Friedberger joked, switched and tuned guitars after a string snapped.

mcetin@theeagleonline.com

Published in the April 3, 2012 issue of The Eagle. This article can be found on The Eagle’s website here.

AU College Republicans and College Democrats are working to improve relations after more than a year of protests, resignations and tension.

College Democrats President-Elect Kathryn Tinker, and AUCR’s presumptive new president Josh Kaib both expressed a desire to collaborate and co-sponsor events, debates, panels and forums in the upcoming year.

“It’s important to work together,” said Kaib, a sophomore in the Kogod School of Business. “I look forward to getting the chance to meet with Kathryn and talk about next year.”

Tinker, a sophomore in the School of International Service, echoed Kaib’s hopes: “I think it’s important that AUCR and AU Dems serve as respectable ambassadors to either party and show that cooperation is indeed possible.”

Clashes between AUCR and AU Dems this year peaked after AUCR brought Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to speak in the University Club Feb. 24.

Brewer spoke for 15 minutes before protestors interrupted the Q&A session. The governor left the stage soon after the “mic-check,” The Eagle previously reported.

Among the protesters was then-AU Dems President Chris Litchfield.

After the governor’s speech, Litchfield, a junior in the School of Public Affairs, resigned as president of the AU Dems in an op-ed in the March 6 edition of The Eagle, explaining his disappointment with AUCR and his own organization.

“I resigned because I didn’t feel like the organization was doing what it should’ve been to stand up for the principles of Democratic Party,” Litchfield said in an interview with The Eagle. “But that’s not a criticism of the people in the organization, but the way the organization has developed.”

Litchfield criticized AUCR’s recent events for being politically insensitive, such as hosting a pig roast on the Quad on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, and the club’s posting of “Anti-Che Day” fliers posted on the first day of Latino History Month.

“I think it’s unfortunate because a lot of that editorial also attacked the Dems,” Kaib said. “Whenever you see a former president going after their own organization, it’s disappointing to see.”

Kaib also said there were “a lot of factual inaccuracies” about AUCRs in the op-ed.

Litchfield participated in Occupy protests in the fall, including a Nov. 4 incident when Occupy D.C. protesters barricaded a convention center, impeding a woman in a wheelchair from exiting the building, as The Eagle previously reported.

Political communications specialist Ed Frank posted a video on YouTube, in which Litchfield is prominently featured. The video had circulated on The Daily Caller and AU students’ social networks.

“The reason why I stepped back in a lot of ways wasn’t to concede on the things I believe, it’s because we had people busting their asses on things we cared about, and I felt pissed for them because they weren’t getting any recognition,” Litchfield told The Eagle.

The Right Wing targets Litchfield

Litchfield has been the subject of a lot of scrutiny for his involvement in protests on campus and off campus from AUCR and a conservative blog run by members of AUCR, The Right Wing.

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Published April 2, 2012 on USA Today College. Original article found here.

Internet killed the college radio station?

It’s actually just the opposite. In an age when Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, SoundCloud, YouTube, and other less legal on-demand platforms rule while college radio stations are losing their terrestrial frequencies, the internet has become a haven and enabler for these student-run stations.

No longer is college radio’s reach limited to the span of its airwaves. Now with live-streaming, anyone anywhere can listen to a university’s programming through the series of tubes that is the internet. (Parents of student DJs are surely grateful for this.)

That’s not to say that college radio is about the size of the audience. Of course, the more listeners, the merrier, but whether it’s a handful of close friends or hundreds of random strangers, college radio has always been about one thing: the music.

More specifically, how the music brings people together. This idea applies both outwardly on campus and to listeners all over as well as inwardly to the station’s members.

Discovering new music is always a treat. Sharing it with others is even more rewarding, and let’s not forget fun.

College radio stations receive new independent music from promotion companies and labels, and then DJs are encouraged to play the promoted records on their radio shows. Students involved at their college radio station hear the newest music first, a wonderful perk of the job considering they’re most likely music junkies.

An even better perk? Free concert tickets. Often times, promo companies will give college stations tickets to their upcoming artists’ shows in exchange for a published concert review and airplay. Not a bad deal.

Stations also host events on- and off-campus. WVAU, American University’s student-run online radio station, holds open mic nights and concerts that are open to the public and showcase student and local talent. WVAU also comes together to for music-related outings such as DJ picnics, local record fairs and Record Store Day in April.

Open mic nights, free concert and new music aside, what makes the college radio station great are the people. Students who choose to join the radio station are passionate about music, which, regardless of tastes, is a strong common thread. If not for enjoying music in itself, college radio allows DJs to enjoy music together, hanging out in the studio, laughing while playing the favorite song du jour and making fun of each other’s Last.fm scrobbles from their pop-punk phase in high school.