Author

James Grottola

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Few conflicts on this Earth resemble the conflict that I’ve recently had with Stony Brook Housing. In my many conflicts in life, this has perhaps been one of the greatest. Fuck Toll Drive. Let’s rewind to last April. There I am, a Stony Brook junior, not in the market to socialize with people I don’t have to socialize with, happily enjoying my second year in a single room in the massive shithole of a residence hall called Stimson College. But then a light emerged. Toll Drive, in its modern and renovated glory, was given to me as an option. Eventually a group of three picked me up as their fourth, and my suite was made. My group became the first to claim a suite in Toll Drive, the Promised Land. Then trouble struck. I was sent an e-mail over the summer saying that Toll Drive “might” not be done in…

Last night Hum showed NYC why they’re the undisputed kings of shoegaze. Along with a jaw-dropping co-headlining performance from Touché Amoré, Terminal 5 was the absolute place to be. Basement opened on an off-date from their headlining tour. The grunge-alt revival band sounded fantastic, proving that their album Promise Everything is some of their best work as well as an easy contender for one of the best albums of the year. Speaking of potential albums for the year, Touché Amoré’s set was their first New York performance in nearly two years after a brief “hiatus,” which spread from a need for a break from constant touring that included vocal rest for singer Jeremy Bolm. On the group’s “hiatus” his mother unfortunately passed away due to cancer, which was the main lyrical influence of their forthcoming album, Stage Four. All of the singles released thus far have been nothing short of…

Alright, cool. So you made it to Stony Brook. You’re straight chillin’ in the greatest town on Earth and now you’re wondering, “I’m a hobbyist musician and I’m pretty good at what I do. Why can’t I find a gig/audience/fan anywhere in this new place I’m going to college?!” Well, that’s because Long Island is a different place for music than wherever you’re used to. It’s not necessarily more difficult to get started as a musician here, but it’s definitely about more e-mails and Facebook invitations. Step 1) Doing Your Thing: To play shows and record music, first you need to, well, have something out there to work with. Whether it’s a band, you rapping over a beat, you and a guitar, a traditional band, a two-piece band, a nine-piece band, or just you doing some weird synth DJ stuff; you need somewhere to practice and record. That’s where…

Earlier this month, we had the absolute pleasure to watch Pinegrove show us why they’re going to be the biggest band in the world. Fresh off of a massive tour off their outstanding record, Cardinal, Pinegrove sold out the Market Hotel in Bed-Stuy nearly two months in advance. With a beautiful view of the J and M trains passing by behind the stage.  Pinegrove played with the might of an army to an equally impressive army of spectators, who sang along to every single word. Along with Sports (the powerpop band, not one of the other three), the Market Hotel was a sweaty and beautiful mess of youth who reveled in the magical alt-country tones that are so unique to Pinegrove’s sound that they need their own genre terms to describe them. Both bands, as well as the openers, Horse Jumper of Love and Half Waif, put together a show…

“Future? Shit is surreal, bro.” This year’s Brookfest had everything: dancing! Hot tunes! Drugs, probably, but on the record, I didn’t see any of that! As spectators walked in there was a prominent “Millennial Board™,” featuring the most prominent pictures of the most joyous seawolves celebrating their yearly ritual of listening to hard rap music in an arena. The whole time I was hoping somebody would post a titty and/or dick pic, and in a lapse of judgment, it would be aired on the big screen. Alas, that didn’t happen. Local rapper “Jus” kicked off the evening. I don’t really know how local rap works, but he did a lot of covers. People seemed to enjoy so that was pleasant. His mom was wearing a hat dedicated to his brand. I wish my mom cared that much. For a few songs, he brought out kinda local band Nice Shot, Kid…

When Justin Bieber’s new album, Purpose, dropped, I was shocked by how many of my friends were posting on social media about it. But my friends defy gender roles and stereotypes because they’re not boring white-bread people, so I figured it was just a typical “let’s defy conventions” type of thing. That all changed when I heard “Sorry” for the first time. I was blown away. The hook was absurd. It was spicy, it was fun to listen to and it was a song that made me want to listen to it again. My jaw nearly hit the floor when I found out this was the new J-Beebz hit. Unfortunately, Bieber is a noted asshole. I was hoping it was something that comes with being a teenager who is constantly in the public spotlight, but it seems to have carried over into his adult life. So when I say, “I…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a very good musician, but from years of watching other people be, at the very least, okay musicians, I’ve made some friends who are good enough to take those talents on the road. I spent two weeks over the summer heading to Boston, Buffalo, Philly and back with my friends in Sinai Vessel, a small DIY/indie band from South Carolina signed to Tiny Engines Records. Whenever a friend of mine is able to take their band on the road, the first thing that I want to hear when they get back are the stories that they have. Weird shit always happens: I’ve heard tales of my friends being assaulted by men in green morphsuits in Pennsylvania and stories about kids in the South taunting other kids by, saying that they “heard they don’t believe in God.” My stories aren’t as wild, and…

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not a very good musician, but from years of watching other people be, at the very least, okay musicians, I’ve made some friends who are good enough to take those talents on the road. I spent two weeks over the summer heading to Boston, Buffalo, Philly and back with my friends in Sinai Vessel, a small DIY/indie band from South Carolina signed to Tiny Engines Records. Whenever a friend of mine is able to take their band on the road, the first thing that I want to hear when they get back are the stories that they have. Weird shit always happens: I’ve heard tales of my friends being assaulted by men in green morphsuits in Pennsylvania and stories about kids in the South taunting other kids by, saying that they “heard they don’t believe in God.” My stories aren’t as wild, and…

Tucked away in a corner of the Stony Brook University Student Union building, where cracks in the open doors of a small hallway reveal the interfaith community in a subtle richness, a community soon to be moving from the Union once it closes. One open door lets gusts of wind, soft piano music and psalms drift down the hall from the interfaith chapel. Another door displays sights of young people sitting on the floor, hovering over notebooks, and laughing inside the Catholic chapel while just down the hall Reverend Zhe Huang can be seen advising young students from his office. Like a community layered on top of the larger Stony Brook constituency, the Union Interfaith Center is tight enough that they are their own fusion of faith. Like the now yellowed and faded construction plan pamphlet published in 1966 for the Union construction says, the building was built to house…