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Cat in the Stax: What are you listening to?

By Ethan Shea

"man listening to music in headphones while reading"

Here at Falvey Memorial Library, we certainly emphasize the importance of reading. Film is also given a fair amount of attention, especially when a beloved book is adapted to the screen.

In fact, Falvey’s “Flick or Flip” series is dedicated to discussing exactly that. The art form that isn’t mentioned quite as much in literary circles is music, and personally, music is something I couldn’t do without for even one day. Whether I’m driving, studying, exercising, or just hanging out, I almost always have music playing.

I realized I may have gone a bit overboard with my listening habits when Spotify notified me back in 2017 that I had listened to a total of 108,455 minutes of music that year, which according to my calculations is over 75 days of constant music consumption. Keep in mind that these stats only include time spent listening to a single streaming platform.

I’ve since re-evaluated my admittedly excessive level of music consumption. Nevertheless, I stand by my belief that music is an indispensable art that can not only increase your productivity but bring countless hours of pleasure. On that note, here are a few albums released this year that I’ve been listening to.

"Album cover of the album 'Mood Valiant" by Hiatus Kaiyote"

“Mood Valiant” album cover

Mood Valiant – Hiatus Kaiyote

Hiatus Kaiyote is a group based in Melbourne that manages to pop up more often than you may think. Even if you have not heard the name of this band, you may have heard their music sampled by superstars such as Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and Anderson .Paak. Their most recent release, Mood Valiant, stays true to their self-acclaimed “genre-fluid” style. This album’s neo-soul influence creates a groovy blend of natural sound that often feels like it was recorded by Mother Nature herself.

With song titles such as Flight of the Tiger LilyRose Water, and Stone and Lavender, the group is not shy about how they are influenced by the natural world and indigenous aboriginal imagery. My favorite track on this record is And We Go Gentle. I just can’t get enough of the lush, layered vocals and catchy bass line. This album’s relationship with nature is the reason why I believe this album is best listened to outdoors, so grab a pair of headphones and take a walk around campus while you soak in the tight 42-minute tracklist of Mood Valiant.

CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST – Tyler, the Creator

"Album cover of 'CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST' by Tyler, the Creator"

“CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” album cover

Fortunately for his fans, the LA based rapper, producer, and fashion designer (amongst many other titles) known as Tyler, the Creator, releases an album every two years like clockwork. Tyler’s been on a hot streak for a while now, and CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is no exception.

Tyler takes on yet another persona in this album. This time he calls himself Tyler Baudelaire, a man of class and exquisite taste who enjoys eating brioche in France and traveling in luxury cars across Europe. The theme of travel is present in this record from front to back. Admittedly, this thematic choice is rather odd given the fact that we’re in the middle of an ongoing pandemic, but I’ll allow the fictional Tyler Baudelaire to do as he pleases. The narrative of a messy love triangle that appears here and there throughout the record culminates on the track WILSHIRE, a spacey track that gives Tyler room to speak from the heart for over eight minutes.

My personal favorite, SWEET/I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE, is two songs in one and blends smooth, soulful rap with bossa nova. Given the number of upbeat tunes on this record, I’d recommend playing this album at a party to give some life to the function.

"Album cover of 'The Turning Wheel' by Spellling"

“The Turning Wheel” album cover

The Turning Wheel – Spellling

The Turning Wheel is the first Spellling album I’ve listened to, and unfortunately, I have to admit that I never would have discovered the multitalented purveyor of progressive pop if it wasn’t for the famous internet critic Anthony Fantano giving her album a 10/10.

From the very beginning, in the opening track Little Deer, it is clear listeners are in for something special. Among an ensemble of strings and dreamy chimes, Spellling’s vocal performance is moving yet playful. My favorite song off The Turning Wheel, the 7 and a half minute track Boys at School, builds itself up with spiraling electric guitar riffs and eventually gives anxious audiences a breath of release with a triumphant bridge that makes use of a powerful horn section. This album is something you have to let marinate to fully appreciate, which is why I enjoy listening to it during long car rides.

Sling – Clairo

"Album cover of 'Sling' by Clairo"

“Sling” album cover

The second full-length album from Clairo, the 22-year-old songwriter who rose to fame after her single Pretty Girl went viral in 2017, is good news for her fans, as she stays true to her indie, bedroom pop roots while growing as a writer and vocalist alike. There is a healthy amount of folk influence in this album, which is especially apparent in the track Reaper. This track’s soothing guitar melody accompanies Clairo’s subtle and emotive voice. My personal favorite track, Amoeba, is in my opinion, the most danceable song on the record. I love the keys that are reminiscent of a ’70s funk song, and the flow of Clairo’s lyrics are unbelievably catchy. Because most of this album is relatively low-key, I’ve loved listening to it while studying. It can also set the tone for a relaxing night of playing board games with friends.

Now that I’ve shared a few recent releases I’ve been enjoying, it’s important to note that reading and music are not mutually exclusive. There is an entire section of Falvey’s subject guide dedicated to music, which can be found here, so rest assured that Falvey Library will have the answers to all your tuneful questions!

Feel free to share what you’ve been listening to lately in the comments below. I’m always looking for recommendations!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.

 


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Diversity and Inclusion Subject Guide: LGBTQ+ Resources for Pride Month

By Beaudry Allen, Laura Bang, Deborah Bishov, Sarah Wingo, and Kallie Stahl

Philadelphia Pride Flag.

June 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the first Pride march in New York City held June 28, 1970 on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Pride Month is celebrated every June in tribute to those involved in the Stonewall Riots of 1969, an uprising that occurred in response to a long history of police brutality. On the night of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village, which resulted in bar patrons, staff, and neighborhood residents rioting onto Christopher Street outside. (Note: a post on the Stonewall riots is forthcoming on the blog June 29).

Pride 2020 was already going to be different this year, with COVID-19 making large public gatherings, such as parades and other celebrations typically held for Pride, impractical and leading organizers to pivot to virtual events. Furthermore, in keeping with the roots of the LGBTQ+ movement, the community has mobilized to shift more of the focus of this year’s Pride to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement as protests are currently taking place all over the world. These current events intensify the importance of recognizing how nuanced and interconnected all forms of identity and politics are, and we hope this LGBTQ+ resource list provides more information.

At Falvey Memorial Library we believe that learning is a lifelong process that is essential for education and personal growth. We support and encourage exploration through respectful discourse and hope that our collections can contribute to this conversation. If you are looking for a specific work or for literature on a specific topic, please feel free to get in touch with our librarians at ref@villanova.edu.

Explore LGBTQ+ resources on Falvey’s Diversity and Inclusion subject guide—below is just a snapshot of the many resources available. Share your own content to the page using the Resource Submission Form.

LGBTQ+ Databases:

  • The National Archives: Gay and Lesbian History—”This guide will help you find records relating to sexuality and gender identity history.”
  • LGBT Thought and Culture—”An online resource hosting books, periodicals, and archival materials documenting LGBT political, social, and cultural movements throughout the twentieth century and into the present day.”
  • LGBT Magazine Archive—”A searchable archive of major periodicals devoted to LGBT+ interests, dating from the 1950s through to recent years.”

LGBTQ+ Books and eBooks:

LGBTQ+ Content Curated by the Villanova Community:

  • Trans Student Educational Resources—”A youth-led organization dedicated to transforming the educational environment for trans and gender nonconforming students through advocacy and empowerment.”
  • GLMA Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality—”A national organization committed to ensuring health equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and all sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals, and equality for LGBTQ/SGM health professionals in their work and learning environments.”
  • The Attic—”The Attic Youth Center creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to develop into healthy, independent, civic-minded adults within a safe and supportive community, and promotes the acceptance of LGBTQ youth in society.”

LGBTQ+ Resources Recommended by Falvey Subject Librarians and Staff:

Additional LGBTQ+ resources will be featured all month long. Check back weekly for news and updates. Be sure to follow VU Pride for more information on programs and campus initiatives to help create a welcoming community at Villanova University for all students, staff, and faculty.


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Last Modified: June 15, 2020