Featured Article: Who is Nick Hakim?

Get to know singer-songwriter Nick Hakim in advance of his solo performance at birnCORE Live, Friday, April 19 at the Red Room at Cafe 939.

Nick Hakim has made it, or at least he is on his way to making it. The 26-year-old musician and songwriter has had a unique path to get to where he is now. The Berklee graduate has reached millions of SoundCloud and Spotify users and is now signed to ATO records, which is home to the Alabama Shakes, Emily King and David Grey, to name a few. Nick’s success, however, is not by just luck. His upbringing and the struggles he faced as a teen directly lead to his raw talent and a strong drive to succeed.

Hakim’s parents emigrated from Lima, Peru, to New York City in the early ’80s after his father received a Fulbright scholarship to study economics at the New School in Manhattan. His family moved to Washington D.C. shortly after, where Hakim was born and raised. “He was surrounded by a diverse array of sounds at home,” said an interviewer from Pitchfork. “There was the Nueva cancion—political folk music—of his mother’s native Chile; ’60s and ’70s touchstones like the Beatles and Al Green; D.C. hardcore bands like Fugazi that were beloved by Hakim’s older brother—though Nick preferred the reggae-infused Bad Brains, especially since one of his teachers performed regularly with the band’s vocalist, HR; and Latino rappers like Big Pun and Fat Joe”(Moreland, assistant editor of Pitchfork).

Nick Hakim and Danielle Ponder play birnCORE Live at the Red Room on Friday, April 19!

We are very excited to announce an amazing lineup for birnCORE Live’s spring 2019 edition, at the Red Room at Cafe 939 on Friday, April 19 at 8:00 p.m. ATO recording artist Nick Hakim will headline the show, performing a solo set, with vocalist and songwriter Danielle Ponder as the support artist.

Tickets are now on sale here. Admission is $20 with student discounts available. Get your tickets before this show sells out!!

There is still time to enter our ticket giveaway for this show. Send your name and phone number to NickHakimLive@thebirn.com by April 1 to be eligible to win tickets to this must see event!

Good luck!!

2018 in Review: Top 10 Prime Slices of the Year

Compiled in no particular order by Music Directors Erin Ober and Curtis Heimburger

Thirdstory – Cold Heart (soul pop)

This album is heart wrenching and painfully well thought out from start to finish. The lyrics are flawless in message and flow, and the vocals are simply insane. You will want to cry and dance and call your ex (maybe don’t act on that last one) upon hearing Thirdstory’s luxurious harmonies and consistent connection. They remind me of a more soulful and sensitive One Republic with a much heavier focus on lyrical content and storytelling.

Haley Blais – Let Yourself Go EP – (indie folk)

Haley Blais is an indie folk artist hailing from Vancouver, B.C. Let Yourself Go is her first release with Rumpus Room Records, engineered and mixed by Trevor Lang. The EP starts out slow and sweet with soft vocals and ukulele and quickly picks up to an almost ABBA inspired vibe. The record has a nice balance of Haley’s personal side of life and her natural ability to write a catchy song. Her style is easy to love and even easier to relax to.

Continue reading “2018 in Review: Top 10 Prime Slices of the Year”

Erin’s Prime Slices (12/9-12/15): Alice Merton, Down Dirty Shake

Alice MertonMINT (power pop)

Alice Merton’s newest album, MINT, is a whirlwind of edgy pop jams that pack a serious punch. Her writing style is unique and memorable, and although she has had her fair share of skeptics, Merton has stayed true to her vision and sound. One of her more recognizable songs, “No Roots,” has a phenomenal hook and some really great, heavy guitar lines grounding the whole arrangement. “Why So Serious” is Merton’s own personal anthem about how music is supposed to be fun and creative rather than so focused on popularity and money. Check out the official music video below!

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (12/9-12/15): Alice Merton, Down Dirty Shake”

Erin’s Prime Slice (11/25-12/1): Speedy Ortiz

Since this week will be cut short by Thanksgiving, I only had one prime slice pick: Speedy Ortiz’s newest album Twerp Verse. Although beginning the recording process all the way back in the fall of 2016, the band decided to rethink a lot after election day (for obvious reasons). As a band that prides themselves on releasing politically driven music from their very first project, Speedy Ortiz felt that they couldn’t release some of the tracks that had focused on more frivolous topics. The title “Twerp Verse” is a phrase coined by front woman Sade Dupius to describe “when a musician guests on a track and says something totally outlandish – like a Lil Wayne verse – but it becomes the most crucial part.” This album acts as one big “Twerp Verse” for Speedy Ortiz, holding some pretty substantial messages about the struggles faced in the current, skewed world we live in.

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slice (11/25-12/1): Speedy Ortiz”

Erin’s Prime Slices (11/11 – 11/17): Joji, Charles Bradley

Joji – BALLADS 1 (dark electro pop)

After receiving this album in my inbox, I suddenly started seeing a ton of Spotify video ads promoting Joji. Although I had already given each track a brief listen, like any good millennial, I decided to revisit the album after realizing people online thought it was a big deal. And it totally is! BALLADS 1 opens alternating between a simple piano line and distorted heavy bass in its first track “ATTENTION” grabs just that from the listener. “CAN’T GET OVER YOU (feat. Clams Casino)” is super unique, relatable lyrically, and probably one of my favorite tracks off of the album. Definitely check out Joji and keep up with him as I am sure this is not the last we will hear from him. Besides, when is the last time you listened to an album with song titles in all caps that didn’t turn out to be a complete success??

Continue reading “Erin’s Prime Slices (11/11 – 11/17): Joji, Charles Bradley”

Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/13 – 10/20): Johnny Payne, Sune Rose

    Johnny Payne – Johnny  (pop indie rock)

Something I’ve noticed about most modern pop-based groups is the lack of hooky innocence that a lot of 50’s and 60’s bands used to have. Perhaps I’m old fashioned but I love a good song about holding hands. Which is why when I heard Johnny Payne’s new EP Johnny, it was like a breath of fresh air. Known previously as the co-frontman for The Shilohs, Payne has decided to leave and pursue a career of his own. This release gives off feelings of hope as he discusses trying to find comfort in letting go of the past. Songs like “Lazy Love” and “Alice On the Other Side,” are great examples. To sum up Johnny’s sound, as described by himself, it’s chipped champagne glasses, smeared bathroom mirrors and a lone romantic standing under the disco ball waiting for a slow dance.

Continue reading “Curtis’ Prime Slices (10/13 – 10/20): Johnny Payne, Sune Rose”

Show Review: Liz Phair at Royale

By Curtis Heimburger

Last night at 10:15 on the dot, Liz Phair took the stage during her fourth to last show of her tour, as thunderous applause filled the venue. This tour being a recognition of the 25th anniversary of her influential debut album Exile In Guyville, there was no shortage of old tunes as it made up almost half of the setlist. This tour was definitely one for her fans and they couldn’t have been happier.

Before her ’93 debut release, Liz was living and playing in Chicago. At the time, the indie rock scene was heavily male dominated, making her stand out from the crowd quite a bit. Exile In Guyville was an instant hit in the underground, selling just under half a million copies in only a few years. Soon after her success, labels started signing and recording more singer-songwriter type acts that might’ve been viewed as risky before. Even today her influence is still prevalent in bands such as Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy. Continue reading “Show Review: Liz Phair at Royale”