By RUTH BORDETT
The size of the University of Mary Washington’s student body and the small town feel of Fredericksburg are two factors that make our school a unique and welcoming place. However, it is undeniable that these positive aspects are not particularly conducive to a flourishing and lively music scene for our community of students.
Ethan Stackpole, a senior business major and economics minor, dedicated himself to providing quality live music to the UMW community. Serving as the president of Giant Productions, the student club that organizes and puts on live music events on campus, Stackpole said he enjoys the intimate setting that the school provides for these events, allowing the audience to observe up close the special relationship musicians have with the music they create.
Drawing attention to the importance of seeking out new musical finds, Stackpole believes “there is no excuse to not find good music.” This comment serves as a reminder that everyone should take advantage of resources that provide unlimited access to music in this modern age.
“Beware the Dog” – The Griswolds, Be Impressive (2014)
Despite his typical aversion to music that is “almost too catchy,” Stackpole found himself drawn to this energetic Australian band after a friend from Giant told him about them. Their upbeat energy is an undeniable presence in this particular song, with an optimistic message about avoiding negativity in life.
“To Young Leaders” – Guante and Big Cats, You Better Weaponize (2012)
After being educated about Minnesotan Hip Hop by a friend from the region, Stackpole came to admire this group’s “strange Midwestern rap vibe with complex lyrics,” that he said reminds him of other rap acts like A Tribe Called Quest or Aesop Rock. Stackpole pointed out the song’s thoughtful lyrics, like the line: “In less than one hundred years, every single one of your Facebook friends will be dead. Your life, your impact upon this planet, upon your community cannot be measured in likes, in plays, in CD’s sold,” clearly encouraging listeners to focus on what’s important, rather than the approval of others.
“Latch (Acoustic)” – Sam Smith, Nirvana (2013)
Solidifying his interest in a variety of music genres, Stackpole believes that Smith, a fairly new mega force in pop, “has to be on any list of good new music.” The clarity and honesty of Smith’s incredible voice comes through in each of his songs, Stackpole said.
“Jolie Coquine” – Caravan Palace, Caravan Palace (2008)
As a French electro swing group, Caravan Palaceincorporates electronic vibes with a fun performance element. Stackpole said of their live performances that they have “the feel and energy of electronic music, but you’re not just watching a DJ on turntables.” Stackpole raves of the band’s incorporation of the synth, upright bass and electronic and real drum kits.
Eldar Djangirov, Eldar (2005)
Despite the lack of new talent present in the current jazz scene, Djangirov is an innovative and young musician whose presence has added relevancy to a less modern genre. Placing emphasis on the album as a whole, Stackpole encourages those interested in exploring jazz to listen to Djangirov’s self-titled album in its entirety, his own preferred way of listening to the genre.