Song Roulette With World On Fyre’s Chris Newman

Special Extra-Descriptive Edition

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Not only is World on Fyre member Chris Newman talented enough to face a fierce drum-off with Neil Peart, he’s also a composer and a student artist at UNM where he’s learning to master the piano. This week he set his phone to “party shuffle” and this is what turned up.

Music Playlist

1) “Shoulders and Arms" • Tokyo Police Club • A Lesson in Crime

“I love this TPC record. It’s great to hear while walking around UNM campus because it has lots of mid-20s angst and disillusionment embedded in the pop beats and surf rock-esque guitar lines. Plus the shouting backup vox provide a nice threatening and urgent energy to an otherwise ultra-poppy song.”

Music Playlist

2) “Piano Quartet in G Minor, Op. 25, No. 1” • Johannes Brahms

“Brahms is one of my absolute favorite composers. He has this horrible, depressing atmosphere hovering around the music that always seems to struggle upward towards a brighter major mode, but inevitably gives up and descends into some really dark and thorny despair. It reminds me of something greater than anything I really comprehend, something more than my own life; that horrible and beautiful gift of existence and death and love and pain and hunger. Overwhelming hunger.”

Music Playlist

3) “Quintet for Piano and Strings in F Minor, Op. 34, No. 1” • Johannes Brahms

“This Brahms piece has more energy than the previous one. It was actually used for a PBS commercial where, at the end, the ensemble smashes their incredibly expensive instruments to thunderous applause, with some nice slogan like, ‘be more passionate,’ or ‘be more violent,’ or some life-affirming piece of crap. It has a totally metal quality to it, with lots of big-ass, loud, chunky chords, and dark minor tonal areas, and uneasy shifting meters. Totally brutal. I would love to play the piano part with a string quartet someday.”

Music Playlist

4) "Throne of Lunacy" • The Black Dahlia Murder • Deflorate

“What can you really say? The Black Dahlia Murder is totally testosterone-driven, angsty, obnoxious, satanic, kick-ass metal. The drummer is one of my favorites, and I really love all of the super fast and loud machine-gun style guitar and bass parts. This song especially has some really sick demonic vocals towards the end, and the singer doesn’t use too much of that really deep ‘I-need-to-hock-up-a-loogy’ belching sound. More like ‘screaming-out-all-of-the-pain-of-getting-knifed-in-the-taint’-style shrieking. Hail Satan.”

Music Playlist

5) “Hours” • TV on the Radio • Return to Cookie Mountain

“I really like the doubled-octave vocals in this song, as well as the drum-thumping, heavy-bass-mastering on this record. I don’t often listen to this track as much since it is right before ‘Province,’ which features the immortal David Bowie, but it is a very high-quality song in its own right. The real things that stand out every time I hear this song are the enormous drums pounding away like they did the recording in an aircraft hanger or a missile silo, the slightly eerie vocals and vocal melody, and the ‘ ’50s rock’ horn section nearing the end. I don’t always agree with the brass instruments, but when they fit well with the song, they really pack a powerful crotch-kick.”

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