NewsHouse Staff's Blog

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Anyone interested in contributing to this site, gaining some relevant experience and meeting some like-minded people should join us Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m. in the Collaborative Media Room (Room 253 of Newhouse 3). is one of Syracuse University's main sources of news, sports and entertainment –- on and off The Hill -– and now is your chance to get involved! 

We are looking for students with all interests and talents. Whether you are a writer, photographer, videographer, social media maven or tech guru, we'd like to get to know you and discuss how you can gain valuable experience with The NewsHouse.

  • The website features campus news, community events, sports coverage, entertainment, life and style and much more. Whatever your interest, we have a place for it. Whatever your project idea, we'll help you make it happen. 
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Stop by our Open House in the Collaborative Media Room (Room 253 of Newhouse 3), on Monday, Sept. 18 at 6:30 p.m.

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UPDATE: BØRNS appears set to play Juice Jam 2015

The Weeknd is not slated for University Union's Sept. 13 music fest as a music website posted erroneous tour dates.

UPDATE, Aug. 31:

Now that University Union has made its official Juice Jam 2015 lineup announcement with Big Sean as headliner, The NewsHouse reviewed its original reporting about The Weeknd as a potential act.

We've determined that the JammerZine article we referenced about the R&B musician's fall tour was paired erroneously with the actual fall tour dates for Juice Jam artist BØRNS.

We are aware that our article created excitement for some prior to today's UU announcement and apologize for any disappointment anyone has about The Weeknd not appearing at the Sept. 13 festival.

The Weeknd - Juice Jam 2015


It looks like if University Union has its way, you won't be able to feel your face after Juice Jam 2015.

According to a tour itinerary posted on JammerZine, R&B musician The Weeknd will play the semester opening music festival at Skytop Field on Sunday, Sept. 13.

University Union has not announced the Juice Jam 2015 lineup but, however, has promised on its social media outlets that that acts would be revealed soon.

The Weeknd has emerged as a top artist this summer based on the success of the Canadian artist's "Can't Feel My Face." His new album, Beauty Behind the Madness, will be released on Aug. 28.


Also joining The Weeknd, will be BØRNS, a singer-songwriter known for "1Ø,000 Emerald Pools" and "Electric Love."

According to the tour industry source Pollstar, BØRNS is scheduled to play at Syracuse on Sunday, Sept. 13, the same day as Juice Jam 2015.

Borns on

Juice Jam expanded to a musical format in 2013 and last year's semester-opening concert featured Dillon Francis and Schoolboy Q.

Originally from Michigan, Garrett Borns relocated to Los Angeles in 2013 where he took on the stage name BØRNS and wrote his first single, "1Ø,000 Emerald Pools," that was featured on his debut EP, Candy. His sound blends rock, electronics and folk as evidenced by his singles "Electric Love" and "The Emotion."

BØRNS' debut full-length album, Dopamine, is scheduled for Oct. 16.

Songs for the semester's end

NewsHouse staffers pick their favorite songs for finals and the end of the semester.

As a final Otto-Tune hurrah, the outgoing NewsHouse staff chose a few tracks as the soundtrack to the semester's end. Some silly and some serious, we hope these songs will get you through the last week of finals.

  1. Melanie Deziel, assistant executive producer: "The Final Countdown," Europe

  2. Meera Jagannathan, lead producer: "Faded," Soul Decision

  3. "Party All The Time," Eddie Murphy
  4. Joseph DiDomizio, lead producer: "Prom Night at Hater High," The Long Winters

  5. Nick DeSantis, staff designer/writer: "School's Out," Alice Cooper

  6. Emily Shearing, staff photographer/videographer: "White Doves," Young Empires

  7. Megan Paolone, lead producer: "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," Vampire Weekend
  8. Emily Slack, lead producer: "Knights of Cydonia," Muse

Turn of the century throwback playlist

In honor of Aaron Carter's After Party at The Westcott on Sunday, The NewsHouse staff compiled a list of our favorite songs from the late '90s and early 2000s.

Joseph DiDomizio, lead producer: "President of What?" by Death Cab for Cutie (1998)

In 1998, Death Cab for Cutie released their first LP Something About Airplanes on Barksuk Records, the current home of Ra Ra Riot amongst others. I had no idea this album existed until well after their second album was released and I was working at a Kinko's with my then-bandmates. MP3s were still way new, and Facebook was not even real.

Stumbling onto DCFC by way of Harvey Danger (both Seattle bands, and further explanation could be an essay in of itself) I found myself with "President of What?", a curiously titled track from DCFC's first album. When I played this song, I had my first music revelation. This was music I wanted to hear, to make, to live in. And I did for the most part. This track began the most fertile and exciting part of my music listening life, and the best part was that almost no one else was listening to them (on this coast) either. It was all mine, for a couple of years at least.

Their recent albums (excepting Narrow Stairs) haven't been as thrilling. There's nothing like the lo-fi analog sound of the opening and closing keyboards, the fuzzed out hard-rocking guitar, and throwback tape sampling in this song, and on that whole album. I still get excited when I hear those opening chords.

Meera Jagannathan, lead producer: "Another Dumb Blonde" by Hoku (2000)

You may remember the Hawaiian wonder Hoku from her song "Perfect Day," which opens up the 2001 movie "Legally Blonde." But, as more seasoned listeners will know, the singer lent her vocals to a far more important film before she went all mainstream: Nickelodeon's "Snow Day." Though I never could relate to Hoku's hair color (or any of her lyrics, for that matter), "Another Dumb Blonde" was incredibly catchy and somehow struck a chord with my sad, unibrowed 10-year-old self.

Melanie Deziel, assistant executive producer: "Back at One" by Brian McKnight (1999)

Though this song came out in 1999, it came into my world in 2002. I was in seventh grade and it was the last dance of the year. There I was, standing in a giggly wallflower circle with my friends, all decked out in butterfly clips and stretchy tattoo choker necklaces because, hello, it was 2002. Out of the not-so-dim lighting came some dreamy eighth grader with his hair gelled up in the front, and I danced my first dance while my friends OMGed. I probably wrote about it in my Lisa Frank journal that night, too.

Tyler Greenwalt, lead producer: "Sabotage" by The Beastie Boys (1994)

This song basically helped to push the rap movement that developed in the 1990s by combining elements of hip-hop and rock music into one awesome song. It also marked the beginning of the Beastie Boys descent into stardom in the United States.

Stephanie Diehl, staff writer: "Summer Girls" by LFO (1999)

"Summer Girls" has been a staple of my summer playlist since about 1999. Half the fun of the song was putting it on repeat and trying to figure out the words of the "rap." Plus, it's pretty much the only time when a band can get away with rhyming "hornet" and "sonnet."

Megan Paolone, lead producer: "I Try" by Macy Gray (1999)

Some of my best middle school memories come from singing into a hairbrush with my one of my girlfriends, trying our best to do an over-exaggerated version of Macy Gray's wonderfully raspy voice. There may also be a video of me online belting this song on the streets of Rome during high school, because my 17-year-old self clearly felt it necessary to grace Italy with my prodigious vocal abilities.

Nick DeSantis, staff writer: "War?" by System of a Down (2000)

The NewsHouse associates this chunk of late 90s/early 2000s with Aaron Carter, but for me, this era will always represent the peak years of a silly little genre called "nu-metal." Born on the backs of heavy metal progenitors such as Rage Against The Machine, Sepultura and Korn, nu metal's short yet lucrative reign at the top of the charts was characterized by downtuned chunky metal riffs, baggy pants, random smatterings of makeup and a total absence of guitar solos.

Most of these bands have thankfully faded into obscurity (Static-X, Dope and Mudvayne, we hardly knew ye), but System Of A Down embraced the silliness of the genre in a Primus-meets-Slayer sort of way. "War?", off of their self-titled 1999 debut, is a perfect example of the band taking the absurdity of nu metal to its highest level, complete with mind-numbingly simple riffs and just a taste of frontman Serj Tankian's "Cookie Monster" vocals.

Jillian D'Onfro, lead producer: "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy (2000)

We were beltin' out these lyrics when we had absolutely no idea what they meant. Our poor moms must have been horrified...

"He Loves U Not" by DREAM (2000)

This song fueled some great sleepover dance parties full of fake-microphone wielding moves and hair flips. I probably would have memorized the choreography from this video if my friends and I weren't all so uncoordinated.

The Art of Love

Arts Journalists pick some of their favorite art representing notions of romantic love.

Kartography by Kamila Shamsie

Happy Valentine's Day from
In her critically acclaimed novel Kartography, Kamila Shamsie writes a love letter to Karachi, Pakistan – her words framed by the beautiful, enduring love of Karim and Raheen. He loves logical maps, and she loves places full of memories. Yet somewhere deep within the marrow of their marrow, they are the same. Civil war, political tensions and family estrangements separate our heroes at 13, to be brought back years later after a fair amount of sacrifice and betrayal has been had.

Shamsie spins this oft-heard tale of childhood romance an extraordinarily beautiful web, one that is comfortingly familiar but marvelously inventive at the same time. Kartography is so haunting and lovely, the characters so resonant and engaging that love takes on a whole new meaning.

Together Raheen and Karim map Karachi in a way that helps someone hear the heartbeat of a place, and somewhere along the way find their own.

-Eesha Patkar

Amour Tour for Valentine’s Day

As love goes, romantic love is the least interesting. We can easily anticipate its moods and modes. But romance does operate interestingly with its physicality, the move that divides it from other loves. To celebrate this Valentine’s Day, spend some time on an Amour Tour through art that contemplates the body, and how we use it to fall in love. Click “Start Slideshow” on left to begin.

-Paige Cooperstein

Scrubs Finale: "Book of Love" - Peter Gabriel

Valentine's Day is here again, and with that comes candy, hearts, candy hearts, and cheesy songs about love and romance. My mind immediately goes to the television show "Scrubs", and specifically, the season finale for Season 8, and even more specifically the song playing over the last scene of the episode, which many thought would be the show's last. Peter Gabriel hauntingly sings "The Book of Love" while Zach Braff watches the rest of his life unfold, projected onto a sheet. It's romantic, but not in the way one would think. It's romantic because it's an idealized view of the rest of his life. Much in the same way, love gives people a sense of reality that only they can see.

-Nic Bell

"I'll Marry Your Stupid A--" sketch from Mr. Show With Bob & David [NSFW]

HBO's Mr. Show With Bob & David was the best sketch comedy show of the 90s, bar none. For proof of the show's timeless excellence, look no further than the sketch above, which is a perfect example of just how an otherwise hacky premise can be executed by alternative comedians at the top of their game. "I'll Marry Your Stupid Ass" begins when two trashy barflies played by Breaking Bad's Bob Odenkirk and Arrested Development's David Cross accidentally collide into each other in an explosion of testoserone and chest-beating. This unlikely meeting sets off a long-term, expletive-fueled game of one-upmanship, but unbeknownst to either party, every insult is actually a cupid's arrow. Taken as a whole, this is a prescient love story for the Jersey Shore generation that just happened to air on TV when Snooki was only in diapers. Oh, and definitely stay with it until the end: the last line in the sketch is by far the best part.

-Nick DeSantis

In the Mood for Love (2000)

Directed by the absolute romanticist Wong Kar Wai, In the Mood for Love creates a fantasy of forbidden love between two neighbors, both of whom are married to others. Their bond with each other, formed in the clichés of everyday life, is captured in the most subtle but beautiful way in the film. The gorgeous acting, costume, set and soundtrack come together to reproduce a delicious Hong Kong in the '60s. The New York Times calls it: "dizzy with a romantic spirit that has been missing from the cinema forever". True, true, true.

-Vinny Huang

“For Me This is Heaven” - Jimmy Eat World

It’s now a story known by every heart-on-sleeve romantic music fan: before they were aficionados of ready-made mall anthems and “Just be yourself” aural pats-on-the-back, Jimmy Eat World pioneered genuine, earnest music about love and heartbreak without veering into camp. On the seminal emo-manifesto Clarity, they used strings and synthesizers and made 16-minute-long songs and wrote self-vivisecting lines like, “I am but one small instrument” and “You are smaller, getting smaller but I still see you” and “Lead my skeptic sight.”

Jim Adkins and crew never wrote a song as incisive or soul-piercingly honest as “For Me This is Heaven.” It’s a song concerned with time and the inevitably fleeting, finite lifespan of love. “And the time, such clumsy time/ In deciding if it’s time”; “When the time we now have ends/ When the big hand goes round again/ Can you still feel the butterflies?”; “If I don’t let myself be happy now, then when?/ If not now, then when?” The verse slips into the chorus without a loud crash of cymbals or surge of guitar distortion. The riffs aren’t crunchy and the vocal hooks aren’t immediate. The emphasis is on the downbeat, drum clicks steady and unwavering like seconds falling off a clock—the music fluidly swells, disintegrates, rises into near-climax and disperses, both subtly and with subtle complexity—sort of like love.

-Greg Cwik

The Fountain (2006)

Darren Aronofsky's third feature film isn't always his best understood. It is a difficult and dark film for sure, going in circles for most of its running time when it isn't punching you in the gut with sadness, beauty, and jarring tone shifts. Rather than giving easy answers Aronofsky–intentionally or not–makes the viewer sit and mull over their notions of romantic devotion, love, life, and eternity. That's some heavy er, stuff.

Underneath all of the time jumping, conquistadoring, gene splicing, and tai-chiing, is an intimate story of a man and a woman and the simple act of keeping an eternal promise, even in the face of death.

-Joseph DiDomizio

"Overjoyed" & "I Just Called to Say I Love You" - Stevie Wonder

You can’t have a completely overly lovely-dovey Valentines day without a Stevie Wonder song. At least two. Because one is just not enough. If you’re wondering what two Stevie song's to dedicate to your lover, pretty much any will do. Wonder’s effortlessly stated ballads of love, and timeless melodies in “Overjoyed” or “I just called to say I love you,” sweetly profess a feeling that hopefully everyone experiences at least once in life—romantic love in it’s sweetest, rawest form. Add in some roses, chocolates, and candles and there you have—Valentine's Day.

However, if you not one for the amorously festooned holiday, a Stevie Wonder song still does the heart good. A little love can go a long way. And a Wonder song can make for a truly sweet day.

-Christina Riley

What we're waiting for: The most anticipated albums of 2013

The NewsHouse staff takes a look at the albums that we're looking forward to hearing most this year.

Joseph DiDomizio, Lead Producer

How To Destroy Angels, Welcome Oblivion

The early part of this year is looking mighty thin, by my musical tastes (Justin Timberlake notwithstanding), so what has me most jazzed, or rather curious, is the first full-length album from How To Destroy Angels. On March 5, Trent Reznor, his wife Mariqueen Maandig, Atticus Ross and art director Rob Sheridan will deliver the first taste of what this band can do on a long player. The couple of EPs released since 2010 and the work on The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtracks may give some insight into what to expect, which isn’t much different than some of Reznor’s Nine Inch Nails work. That’s OK, because since 2005’s “With Teeth” he and his collaborators have been making some great music.

Release date: March 5


Megan Paolone, Lead Producer

Lady Gaga, ARTPOP

With the release of her fourth album ARTPOP, 2013 will be the year of Gaga. She’s had a little break from touring, officially retiring the wildly popular “Monster Ball,” and announced in December that she’s already written 50 songs for ARTPOP (similar to how she’d written The Fame and The Fame Monster). Two other cool bonuses that will please her Little Monsters: photographer Terry Richardson is working on a documentary about Mother Monster and the creation of ARTPOP, which will also be available for purchase as an interactive app (likely similar to what Björk did on Biophilia). Though Gaga says that no marijuana was used in the making of ARTPOP, she claims it’s “very risky.” I can’t wait to hear what she’s created.

Release date: TBA


Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mosquito

In the last couple of days, details about the Yeah Yeah Yeahs mysterious fourth record have been released, making the album itself a little less cryptic but fans no less excitedly impatient. It’ll be released on April 16, and produced by TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek and producer Nick Launay, with one track by LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy. In a recent statement, frontwoman Karen O said the album’s songs (two of which the band premiered at a show in Pomona, Calif. recently) are “more moodier and tripped-out” than ever before, and that “you might catch some roots reggae and minimalist psychedelia influences.” Most of all, the cover art is terrifyingly awesome.

Release date: April 16


Devendra Banhart, Mala

Mala is Devendra Banhart’s first release since 2009, and it’s truly a DIY effort. Banhart, who is also a visual artist, painted the album artwork himself, and recorded the album in Los Angeles using a vintage Tascam recorder, playing all of its featured instruments with longtime bandmate Noah Georgeson. Mala consists of 14 tracks, one of which, apparently inspired by a 12th-century Catholic saint, is streaming at Pitchfork. The album’s name, which is an Eastern European pet name (and not the feminine Spanish word for “bad”), was inspired by Banhart’s fiancée, who is Serbian. Let’s hope Mala isn’t chock full of sappy love songs.

Release date: March 12


Emily Slack, Lead Producer

Local Natives, Hummingbird

After the fantastic Gorilla Manor (2010), Local Natives have been working on their highly anticipated sophomore release in between touring and finding a break from their home base in Los Angeles, Calif. If the album’s first single “Breakers” (released back in October) is any indication of what the new album will be like, the band is in for another success.

Release date: Jan. 29


Foals, Holy Fire

To be honest, I have a love-hate relationship with Foals. On one hand, I had no love for 2008’s Antidotes, while I absolutely adored 2010’s Total Life Forever. Based on the rich, upbeat indie rock single “My Number” released in December, the band’s third album Holy Fire just might keep the love for Foals going.

Release date: Feb. 11 (UK, no U.S. release date has been announced)


Greg Cwik, Writer

Queens of the Stone Age, TBA

It’s easy to single out the moment when Queens of the Stone Age transcended their robot rock/stoner rock moniker and became the sweatiest, balliest, booziest mainstream rock outfit of the aughts: Dave Grohl. When they put the former Nirvana skin-beater behind the kit—with his manic, primal pounding so fervid, yet somehow devoid of dexterity—the rest of the band had more space to fill. Josh Homme’s guitar never spewed so much fire. Then Grohl left the band and things got trippier. Era Vulgaris, the band’s most eclectic album to date, has electrical wiring for veins and a V-8 for a heart— it just goes. Like a drug trip minus the drugs, Era Vulgaris mingles Gary Numan synth-soaked weirdness with crunchy metal attitude, though Joey Castillo’s drumming is ludicrously bland and indistinct. And now the new QotSA album is being recorded and … wait for it… Dave Grohl is back! YESSSS. Homme said it’s going to sound like running a dream in codeine cabaret. With a vengeful force of nature on drums and Troy Van Leeuwan providing his eerie slide-guitar ethereality and cameos by former QotSA bassist Nick Oliveri, Trent Reznor and Jake Shears (!), the new QotSA album has me excited.

Release date: TBA


Nick DeSantis, Writer

Atoms for Peace: Amok

When Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke teamed up with Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and longtime collaborator Nigel Godrich for a few shows in 2009, it seemed like he was just simply giving his solo material the supergroup treatment. However, after lighting-fast concert sellouts and rave reviews, the band seems to have taken a life of its own, naming itself Atoms For Peace (after a Yorke solo track) and announcing their debut album Amok, set for release on Feb. 25 on XL Recordings.

If “Default,” the first single off of the album, is any indication of Amok’s sound, it will once again showcase the spare and skittish electronic roots of Yorke’s 2006 debut album The Eraser. However, other songs previewed during live shows aptly showcased Flea’s considerable talents on bass, which added some bounce to Yorke’s usual electronic noodling and feline vocals. With these new sounds applied, the prospects for Atoms For Peace to evolve away from Yorke’s solo material into its own distinct sonic signature seems promising.

Release Date: Feb. 25



David Bowie, The Next Day

Music publications and critics around the world widely speculated that he quietly retired. Rumors of declining health and crippling writers block seemed to give evidence as to why venerable music icon David Bowie went completely missing from the public eye for an entire decade, seemingly falling off the face of the earth after releasing and touring behind 2003’s Reality.

Evidently, the Thin White Duke has returned. On Jan. 8 (Bowie’s 66th birthday), he stunned just about everyone with the sudden announcement of The Next Day, a brand-new studio album that he had been secretly recording in New York City for over two years with longtime producer Tony Visconti.

The Next Day’s material is said to run the gamut from straight-forward rockers to experimental art rock reminiscent of his Berlin era. The nod to Bowie’s past isn’t evident only in the music: the album’s controversial album cover, which positions a large white box right smack in the middle of the classic cover of Bowie’s Heroes, is already creating controversy online, with many thinking the image is simply a prank. Regardless of the strange album art, fans across the world are thrilled that new output by Bowie is finally on the horizon.

Release Date: March 12



Dee Lockett, Writer

Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience

Often the most anticipated albums are the unexpected ones. On Jan. 14, the artist formerly known as JT (you know, the one that made music) dropped a bomb in the form of a new song "Suit & Tie" featuring the king of hip-hop Jay-Z. He then dropped an even bigger bomb: the announcement of his first album in seven years, The 20/20 Experience. His sophomore album FutureSex/LoveSounds was an instant classic. And considering JT's going back to his longtime producer Timbaland for his third release, artists from Justin Bieber to Drake should be shaking. We are about to witness the return of R&B.

Release Date: TBA

The AJ Holiday Playlist

A group of Arts Journalism grad students share their favorite songs for filling the air with holiday spirit.

“The 12 Pains of Christmas” – Bob Rivers

Although this song doesn’t necessarily capture the best feelings of Christmas, it’s a hilarious take on what my parents have to go through each year. This little jingle is the antithesis of seasonal joy, but yet somehow attests to the accurate spirit of what the holiday has become—a chore-laden month filled with grumpy, distant family members and yes, those damn AA batteries are NEVER included. It’s a subversive testament to those 10 lords-a-leaping. Don’t get me wrong, though: the whimsy, capering music behind the satirical lyrics put the joy right back into the holiday, and the 12 pains of Christmas are instantly at ease.

Besides, it’s time to start thinking about those New Year resolutions.

- Josh Austin


“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Remix)” - DMX

When it comes to Christmas music, crooners and crappy pop renditions are usually standard fodder. Who doesn't like Michael Buble's sultry voice or Bing Crosby crooning along? It's what Christmas is all about.

Except for now. I have found a new way to spend the holidays. Listening to DMX rapping "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." There are no words except, When is THIS Christmas album coming out?!

- Nic Bell


“All I Want For Christmas Is You” – Olivia Olson (from Love, Actually)

Go big with the warm-fuzzies during the holidays, or go home and bury your head in shame under your unhung wreaths and twinkle lights. Unabashedly, I will admit to loving LOVE and Christmas, so the rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You” in Love, Actually hugs my heart to pieces. It makes me feel good inside and I hope it will give you that same cozy feeling. Now, go get the you-know-what kicked out of you by love this season. Happy Holidays!

- Paige Cooperstein


“Oh You (Christmas Blues)” - James Murphy

Noah Baumbach’s Greenberg is an infuriating film, as irritating as a pine needle in your underwear but clever and keenly calculated. You can appreciate its austerity and artistry, but Baumbach loves to throw unlikeable characters at you, like a child throwing rocks and spreading a not-quite insidious smirk. Ben Stiller, who occasionally decides he wants to be a real actor and gives some solid performances in some very strange films, portrays the titular character, who is recovering from a mental breakdown (think of him as the less funny cousin of Bradley Cooper’s character in Silver Linings Playbook). The film exudes quirkiness, in typical Baumbach style. It lacks the empathetic, ironic sorrow of The Squid and the Whale, which sometimes feels like you’re watching scar tissue form over an open wound on the screen (Jeff Daniels, brilliant, has a way better time here than he does spewing Aaron Sorkin’s indulgent, would-be HuffPo puff prose); but Greenberg has a killer soundtrack, provided by Mr. Counter-Cool, James Murphy, of LCD Soundsystem. The film’s worth watching just so you can listen to the music.

In a profile that ran in The New Yorker a couple years ago, Murphy told of his odd, stubborn tactics: He uses an old microphone that cackles and hisses with ear-clawing static whenever he isn’t singing into it, so he plugs and unplugs it rapidly, maybe lustfully, into the amp—while dancing. The soft pop pop of the phallic metal joint sparking in the receiving end almost adds a strange secondary, syncopated beat to the disco-punk mania unfurling on stage. When a friend gave him a new mic that wouldn’t require such extreme measures, Murphy kindly accepted the gift, and continued to use old reliable.

This coolly-contrarian persona slips comfortably into Baumbach’s cinematic world. Baumbach’s writing is wry, but you don’t really laugh. Murphy’s music is infectious like the clap, but you don’t really rise and dance. So when Baumbach needed a Christmas-themed song, Murphy delivered. “Oh You (Christmas Blues)” sounds nothing like LCD Soundsystem—it’s steeped in wrecked, drunken pain, the somber song of a barfly with lead weights dangling from his heart. The bass kicks and sputters with anti-funk attitude, the piano clangs, a heavily-distorted guitar weaves piercing trills; Murphy sounds like someone is plucking those weights right out of his chest cavity, his voice ascending into a shrill, wavering howl by the end. “I won’t forget/ I won’t forget/ I got what I get/ These Christmas bluessssssss, hooooOOOOO!/ And that’s the TRUuuuUUuUUTH! HOOOOOOOO!!!” And then silence.

- Greg Cwik


"Intro + Deck The Halls With Parts Of Charlie" - Tales From The Crypt
In some ways, my childhood was a bit unconventional. Case in point: My sister and I watched way more HBO programming than we probably should have at a young age. At 11 and 12 years old, we parked ourselves in front of the television for every new episode of the adult-themed comedy Dream On and the late-night lampooning alternative sitcom The Larry Sanders Show. Our hands-down favorite, however, was the campy blood-soaked horror-fest Tales From The Crypt, based on the banned EC Comics series of the same name. The Crypt Keeper, a decaying puppet that regaled "boils and ghouls" with a pun-filled intro and outro to every schlocky episode, was the breakout star of the series, and his cartoonish voice takes center stage on this track from the long-forgotten 1994 Tales From The Crypt Christmas Album Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas. Hit play at your own risk: it's worse than you think.
I received the audiocassette of this album in my Christmas stocking as a kid, so at some point, my parents actually paid hard-earned money in order for me to be the owner of this yuletide mangling of much-loved Christmas classics. In retrospect, I'm sure this weird, terrible album helped fuel my love for the bizarre, so with that in mind, thank you Mom and Dad: I hope you both have a scary little Christmas.

- Nick DeSantis


“Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)” – Harvey Danger

For almost four years during undergrad and beyond I worked at the local Kinko’s, back when it was still actually called Kinko’s. Fun fact: The franchises were named after the owner’s curly red hair. In an amazing coincidence, I too have curly hair, and so does Sean Nelson of the Seattle-based rock band Harvey Danger. The band had one massive radio hit in 1998 with “Flagpole Sitta,” and that was enough to include them on that year’s holiday compilation put out by KROQ in Los Angeles. “Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)” was Harvey Danger’s contribution. A few years later the band released a video of the song online in the early 2000‘s and finally released it on an EP in 2005.

Another amazing coincidence: there’s a Kinko’s worker in the video! When I came across it, I was still working at Kinko’s, and thrilled that someone–my favorite band of all people–made a song about  a holiday that wasn’t awful and that I could relate with.

“Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)” is the most un-Christmasy Christmas song I know of that isn’t trying to be gross, mean, or dark. Nothing gets subverted or twisted here, instead Harvey Danger actually carves out a new kind of niche in the retread Christmas song genre: Isolation in the workplace. Instead of saccharine nostalgia, the song delivers tangible workplace loneliness (assuming you’re a christian, of course) and the unrivaled lameness of working on a day where you make more in an hour than the company takes in.

I didn’t have to work on Christmas. Those years at Kinko’s I spent working Christmas Eve instead, and each year I left a small present for our holiday workers to open the next day: a copy of this video with some snacks. I did have to work Thanksgiving, though. That counts, right?

Joseph DiDomizio


"Baby It's Cold Outside” - Esther Williams, Ricardo Montalban, Betty Garrat and Red Skelton (from Naptune's Daughter)

The duet is sweet, joyful, and funny of course, but don't be clouded by its gleeful appearance. My friend and I never catch the rhythm although we only tried to hum it! Anyway, the grooving is great. The former phrase hasn't ended yet and the next arises. They overlap a little bit but never come along together. The video includes two performances of the song: The second one reverses the roles of the first one.

- Xiaoran Ding


“Lonely Christmas” - Eason Chan

From South China, where I grew up, Christmas is pretty much another Valentine's Day of the year, or pre-game of New Year/Winter party season. "Lonely Christmas" is a classic by Eason Chan, the "King" of Hong Kong pop music industry. Every year around this time, in Hong Kong/Canton, you can hear the song playing in radio, karaoke, pubs, everywhere. Single people just love it: a celebration of loneliness.

- Vinny Ying Huang


"Candlelight" - The Maccabeats

"Candlelight" went viral during its 2010 debut on YouTube. The song is a spoof of Taio Cruz's "Dynamite" performed by Yeshiva University a capella group The Maccabeats.  The music video incorporates Jewish history, values and food, but most importantly provides a much needed alternative to "Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel." The music video skillfully splices reenacted Biblical stories and a contemporary Hanukkah dinner. The result is both humorous and reverential.

"Candlelight" provides a spot on the holiday playlist for Jews to celebrate their heritage without getting caught up in seasonal nonsense. Hanukkah does not carry the significance of other holidays and does not need comparison to Christmas. Jews are, or at least should be, capable of celebrating their own religion without the need to be included during Christmas time.

For me, the song ultimately teaches us it's okay to say "Merry Christmas" instead of "Happy Holidays," but wrong to not know how to flip a latke.

- Zach Marschall


Follow the official Goldring Arts Journalism Twitter to get the latest news about the activities of this year's cohort.

Happy Halloween from The NewsHouse

The spookiest day of the year has finally arrived and we have you covered from costumes to treats to movies that will provide an extra thrill this Halloween.

No subject is safe! Each Newshouse blog has gotten into the spooky spirit, providing some creepy content that will help enhance your Halloween experience. Movie reviews, Halloween treats, music picks and even sports venue stories are presented here for your ghoulish delight.

Explore the links below -- if you dare -- to create a Halloween experience this year that you'll always remember.



Last-minute Halloween costumes

We’ve got three simple (and cheap!) costumes for those of you who still need ideas.



Tricks for green Halloween treats

Try these frighteningly delicious Halloween treats that are healthier and greener than
conventional confections.

Trick yourself out in green garb

Dress environmentally-friendly this year with a green-themed costume.



Best scares in Central New York at Frightmare Farms

Just a 30-minute drive from campus, Fulton’s Frightmare Farms is our go-to haunted
house this Halloween.

The AJ Halloween Playlist

Arts Journalism grad students tell you their picks for spooky tunes this Halloween.



Korean vampire flick not your typical horror film

“Thirst” explores love and lust in an unconventional way.

Classic Halloween movies for scaredy cats

A throwback review of two timeless flicks you loved as a kid.

Scariest stadiums around the country

A list of the U.S.’s most intimidating arenas for players and fans.



The Great NewsHouse Pumpkin Carving of 2012

Two of our lead producers carve a very familiar logo into their pumpkin.





The Newshouse Staff's Hurricane Playlist

Our picks will keep you occupied while while you ride out the storm at home or in your dorm.

Although it's barely raining in Syracuse yet, Syracuse University has canceled classes through Tuesday. So, grab your flashlights and snuggle up at home with a steaming cup of tea to enjoy our list of songs to survive the storm:

Alyssa McKinley, lead producer: "Not the Sun" by Brand New

Nick DeSantis, lead producer: "Ride the Lightning" by Metallica

Stephanie Bouvia, lead producer: "Blame it on the Rain" by Milli Vanilli

Megan Paolone, blog editor: "Like a Hurricane" by Neil Young & Crazy Horse

Tyler Ruby, lead producer: "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" by Creedence Clearwater Revival

Melanie Deziel, assistant executive producer: "It's Raining Men" by Weather Girls

Sarah Taddeo, lead producer: "Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head" by BJ Thomas


For more recommendations from the NewsHouse staff, check out our Spotify playlist!

And, if you haven't already, check out the memes that have come out of this "Frankenstorm."


Photo via NASA/flickr

The AJ Halloween Playlist

A group of Arts Journalism grad students share their favorite songs for creating the perfect Halloween atmosphere.

The Cranberries – “Zombie"

Well, OK, it’s not an ominous song, but "Zombie" is the perfect pick for the looming man-eating apocalypse. It’s more of an emo-esque grunge piece based off of the deaths of two children during the Warrington bombings tragedy in Ireland in 1993. Yet, lead singer Dolores O’Riordan delivers to creepy perfection sob-like lyrics that would make Edgar Allen Poe shake. Aside from that, who doesn’t love to belt out the gusto-inducing “ZOOOOOmbie” while driving? Let the Halloween anthem for zombies ring everywhere.


Arthur Freed and Nacio Brown - "Singing In The Rain"

The classic song is extraordinarily cheerful. The brass section floats along with the flits of the woodwinds. In the film, the tap dancing is stellar and Gene Kelly is a goofy, happy-go-lucky man in love — he made dancing in the rain awesome. Yet, the song is now one of the scariest pieces ever — without the grandiose accompaniment. When you hear the chipper doorbell with the morose “Who on earth could that be?” You know what’s coming: rape and murder. Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange has ruined the treasured musical number by turning into a grisly, off-key slaughter piece — one that that with each beat is a new kick or slap to the face instead of a splash in a puddle.

- Josh Austin


The Avett Brothers - "Complainte D'vn Matelot Mourant (Lament of a Dying Sailor)"

The brothers Avett take a detour from their normal happy, jangly roots-rock to record this ominous track. They create an atmosphere of despair that you can feel on your skin. From the 2004 release Mignonette, an album about the sinking of an English yacht and subsequent cannibalism by the surviving members, this melancholy instrumental is rife with the slow picking of a banjo and the mournful wail of a cello. Halfway through the song, Seth and Scott Avett begin howling, making it all too real what it's like to be alone with nowhere to go.

- Nic Bell


Chavela Vargas - “La Llorona”

 A single Mexican-picked guitar haunts Chavela Vargas’ “La Llorona.” Complemented by Vargas’ rasping voice, the song creates a melancholy that builds to a hollering climax. Her song makes reference to the folkloric Llorona who drowns her children, in some versions for the love of a man, and spends the rest of her nights wailing for the children she’s lost. Evoking the bitterness in weeping to one’s death, Vargas’ “La Llorona” lends a contemplative creepiness to Halloween.


Warren Zevon - “Werewolves of London”

Warren Zevon would love to supply his “Werewolves of London” to any self-respecting Halloween party. His feel-good ‘70s piano jam demystifies werewolf culture, highlighting their predilection for Chinese food and piña coladas. In this highly danceable song, werewolves and humans alike can dig the guitar solo. Zevon’s “Werewolves” will have everyone howling the chorus: “Aaooh, werewolves of London.”

- Paige Cooperstein


Philip Glass - “Candyman Theme (It Was Always You, Helen)”

Philip Glass’ hypnotically repetitive score percolates, ascends and lacerates through the film’s opening scene, a handful of synth notes stuck in a Sisyphean trance while organs and strings swell. It’s as if Glass was asked to write the score for the film — "Hey, Philip, wanna score a horror flick?" — and, having little experience with the genre, decided to watch just a handful of films with well-regarded score—Carpenter’s Halloween and The Thing being the most obvious influences. Then Glass, reaching back into the vast catacombs of his mind, conflated Carpenter’s chilling synths with his own operatic proclivities. It’s a horror score written by someone who doesn’t know horror films but knows tragic music, knows the darkness looming behind every kind gesture and the dirty gears grinding inside all of us, and his music pervades every scene, birthing this brooding, dreadful atmosphere, trickles of blood frozen into crimson icicles rubbing against the base of your neck. Candyman is a strangely ambitious horror film, almost like a proto-Chan Park-Wook, with the compositions and framing immaculately calculated but exhuming morbidity; Glass’ score, which would significantly influence the music in Wook’s penetrating Vengeance Trilogy, is as much a star as any performer in the film.

- Greg Cwik


Marek Zebrowski & David Lynch - "Night - Interiors (Polish Night Music)"

This ominous track, from Lynch's most recent cinematic freakfest Inland Empire, builds an atmosphere of anxiety from the moment it begins. Scattered notes of hammered piano keys fall on top of droning synthesizer beds, making it very easy for the imagination to get lost within the creepiness. This is the perfect haunted house track, but if you’re looking for a quick fear fix, sitting alone in a dark room listening with a pair of headphones will work just fine.


Type O Negative - “Black No. 1 (Little Miss Scare All)”

If you like your Halloween music a bit on the hammy side, you can’t do much better than The Drab Four. Throughout the '90s, Type O Negative was great at humorously spiking Beatles melodies with Black Sabbath atmosphere, and this song exemplifies that approach with more of that extra wink and a nudge than usual. The late Peter Steele’s comically deep baritone sarcastically sings the praises of a goth girl’s choice of hair dye and sexual prowess (or lack thereof), simultaneously standing both as an indictment of his groupies and as a call-and-response anthem for his clove-smoking fanbase.

- Nick DeSantis


Michael Jackson - "Thriller"

Call it a cop out, but this song is classic Halloween. I distinctly remember the music video scaring the absolute crap out of me when I first saw it. Seeing it as an adult, it's hard to believe, but when my 7-year-old eyes locked with The King of Pop's shiny, cat-like, creeper peepers, I got my first real taste of Halloween fear. So call up some costumed comrades, stretch those undead digits and review this classic routine, because no Halloween is complete without a good "Thriller" dance-off.

- Melanie Deziel


Japandroids - "Evil's Sway"


TV On The Radio - "Wolf Like Me"

Halloween has a very obvious link to youth culture, but as those kids grow up, the holiday changes in ways that most parents, and kids themselves, may be unable to straight away deal with. That's why Blackboard Jungle and Rebel Without a Cause are just as valid fare to me as any Jason or Freddy movie when it comes to entertainment during this holiday's season. The trans-formative time of adolescence folds neatly into the transformation into another character, persona, or state as the seasons most visibly change from summer to winter. So I've selected two songs that deal with this dichotomy very well. Unrelenting beats with aggressive dark guitars, mix with a particular physicality in both songs to embody this subtext and make it visceral and danceable. They're not spooky; they're youthful, enervating, sexy and fun. Your Halloween party will thank you.

- Joseph DiDomizio


The Ting Tings - "Great DJ"

It's one of the few songs that REALLY haunts me for years. With simple chords and numb drumbeats, it drowns me. The layers that added to the idleness in the chorus easily excite me. Hopefully, it will drown and excite you too! It sounds great if you listen to it while walking alone in a big city at night.

- Xiaoran Ding


Juno Mak - "Becoming the Devil"

Juno Mak is a Cantonese singer from Hong Kong. This song is his first tryout on a more alternative and edgy style, back in 2007. It is about, well, you can probably tell from the title.

- Vinny Ying Huang


"Good and Evil" from the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde

Linda Eder makes this song very festive for the holiday with her chilling voice. To quote Stewie Griffin: "How deliciously evil!"

- Zach Marschall


Santana ft. Everlast - "Put Your Lights On"

This track, from Carlos Santana's album Supernatural, contains lyrics and themes easily applied to a Halloween playlist. When Santana sings, "Hey now, all you children, leave your lights on, better leave your lights on because there's a monster living your bed," it immediately takes you back to those days as a kid when you had to check under your bed before heading to sleep. And how your imagination of monsters and goblins only intensified during the creepy Halloween season.

- Alyssa Nappa


Nina Simone - “I Put A Spell On You”

If you're looking for something a little different than the traditional fun, pop Halloween songs, Nina Simone's "I Put A Spell on You" will do the trick. The eerily yet soulful executed vocals make this a unique track for any Halloween playlist. In the just over 2 minute song,  Simone sings each note with an air of disdain, passion and pain that encompass her signature elocutionary style and leaves listeners with a dark sense of love and passion.

- Christina Riley


Follow the official Goldring Arts Journalism Twitter to get the latest news about the activities of year's cohort.


Image by fmosca/Flickr