Tuesday Tubin'

Per tradition, in this final post of our 2015-2016 season, we are pleased to present the reigning ICCA Champions, The Techtonics performing Labrinth's "Earthquake." 

And, as a bonus, we also present to you The Techtonics' full championship winning ICCA set.

Thanks for joining us this season! The ACB will return to regular posting in the fall.

Let My Love Open The Door

Tuesday Tubin'

This week, we present University of Utah Infrared performing Peter Townshend’s “Let My Love Open The Door.”

On The Rocks That Girl/Pusher Love Girl

CD Reviews

The a cappella world has its share of groups that have enjoyed long-term success—thriving in the recording studio and in competition, crossing over to garner mainstream attention beyond the confines of the a cappella world.

When we think of groups like that—groups with a wide range of successes, groups that sound great, and groups that have been hitting landmark after landmark over a period of years, there are few that hold a candle to On the Rocks.

The group was founded at the University of Oregon in 1999 by Leonardo de Silva and Peter Hollens (yes, that Peter Hollens who has gone on to mad success as a solo YouTube sensation). In 2002 and 2003, the group would place at ICCA Finals, and 2004, 2006, and 2009 would see them land tracks on the Best of Collegiate A Cappella compilation.

In 2010, the game would change. First, On The Rocks uploaded a video of them “Rick-rolling” a New York City Subway that grew wildly popular. From there, they released a music video to their new recording of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” Well arranged, well sung, well produced, and wildly entertaining from a visual perspective, the video was a smash success, instrumental in the a cappella boom that continues to this day, not to mention wildly influential in so many other all-male groups covering Lady Gaga  and other female pop artists in the years to follow. The video also paved the way for On The Rocks to find their way onto The Sing-Off, reaching a truly national audience via multiple appearances on NBC.

But what has the group been up to since?

Though On The Rocks hasn’t been operating at quite as high a profile, they’ve exploded back onto the scene today with the release of a brand new single, a mashup of Justin Timberlake’s “That Girl” and “Pusher Love Girl.”

The tracks opens with a pristine take on “That Girl”—largely stripped down, driven by a powerful rhythm section led by vocal percussionist Donovan Cassell, featuring a super clean lead and backing vocals soaring over it. Two minutes in, the group seamlessly crosses over to “Pusher Love Girl,” pushing the tempo ever-so-slightly, employing a fuller sound and letting a falsetto lead really shine over the course of the song, leading up to a beautiful fallout moment for the leads to operate unaccompanied on the final lyrics. The solo work by Nick Grant and Ethan Alvarez across the track really shines.

It would be easy for a track like this too run too long, or to feel like it represented two disparate pieces wedged together, but between a slick arrangement, execution by the group, and production (recorded by Russell Kamp and Peter Hollens, mixed by Ed Boyer, and mastered by Bill Hare), this mashup is a huge success in terms of feeling cohesive, and consistently communicating the overarching sense of easy, sexy swagger, intrinsic to Timberlake’s original songs.

The single is available now on iTunes, Loudr, and directly from the On The Rocks website.

Minority Affinity Groups

Campus Connections

College campuses offer a full slate of resources that might further an a cappella group’s artistic accomplishments and exposure. Who should your group reach out to? How? What do you have to gain? Campus Connections is here to answer those questions.

This column is targeted specifically toward collegiate a cappella groups, though some of the principles and ideas we discuss may transcend that sphere and be useful to high school and non-scholastic groups as well.

In this edition of Campus Connections, our focus is on: minority affinity groups.

During my junior year of college, I roomed with buddy Will. In a strange twist of fortune, despite being an ostensibly white man with western European roots, he was enamored with Asian culture—an active member of the Chinese student union and a practitioner of martial arts who decorated his side of the room with a Bruce Lee poster and assorted East Asian paraphernalia. Meanwhile, despite my half-Chinese heritage and blatantly Chinese last name, the most overtly Asian thing that I did was to eat my Chinese takeout with chopsticks rather than a plastic fork. Without fail, when I had a visitor to the room who didn’t know Will, he or she would assume that his side of the room was mine and vice-versa.

My roommate was one in a small percentage of students who saw across cultural and racial lines to embrace cultures that he just happened to be interested in, regardless of his own background. I say all of this to get at the point that, regardless of your a cappella group’s racial or ethnic composition, there can be a lot to be gained from reaching out to minority affinity groups on campus.

Minority affinity groups are typically in place to provide support and opportunities to socialize and network for students who might otherwise feel underrepresented or marginalized on campus. Students who do not belong to the minorities represented may be predisposed to steer clear of groups like this because they don’t feel that they will fit into them, or are concerned about the potential to offend someone else.

Just the same, students who engage with these groups—provided they do so with respect, humility, and a willingness to listen—are often surprised at how much perspective they can gain from the experience and the understanding that they walk away with, not just regarding the experience of fellow students who belong to that minority, but also themselves.

I say all of this not so much as a public service for people to see what they can learn from minor affinity groups and their events, but also to set up the value for a cappella groups networking with minority affinity groups. It’s easy to say that your a cappella group is open-minded and inclusive; it’s much more challenging and enriching to actively seek out opportunities to perform at events that minority affinity groups might put on, as well as to actively raise awareness of your group and recruit for future members from these organizations. Not every organization will end up being a perfect match for your group, but you may be pleasantly surprised with how wide an untapped audience and potential new member base exists out of people who may not have felt comfortable coming to you, because they don’t already see their brand of diversity represented within your ranks.

Think broadly about whom you might connect with on campus, and don’t be afraid to build a relationship with minority affinity groups.


Tuesday Tubin'

This week, we present Missouri State University Hibernotes performing Twin Atlantic's “Dreamember.”


200 Reasons To Love A Cappella

Reason #110: Sweating

Years back, I had ongoing, tongue-in-cheek debate with a friend about whether a cappella could be considered a sport. Certainly, the form has plenty of common ground with the sports world, what with breath control, the increasingly physical world of choreography, teamwork, and the emphasis many groups place on competition.

And then there’s sweat.

Sweating may not seem like an integral part of a cappella and, indeed, when groups sings just one or two non-choreographed songs, in a cool environment, perspiration may never come into play. But when the stakes are high, the movement is frenzied, and the sheer effort is there, I wholeheartedly believe that a cappella performers should sweat. It’s a reflection of hard work. It’s a demonstration of how much a group cares. And while it may not appeal to conventional visual or olfactory aesthetics, it’s a natural byproduct of so many great performances.

Groups that let loose and give their all to a performance sweat.

I love it !

Next Page
Let My Love Open The Door
On The Rocks That Girl/Pusher Love Girl
Minority Affinity Groups
The Release
Sunday Morning/I'm Not The Only One/Stay With Me
ICCA Finals 2016
Event Review: ICHSA Finals 2016
Sugar, We're Going Down
Fake Outs
Student Media
Story of my Life
Large Men Who Can Work The Stage
Trap Queen
The Battle
LPs vs. EPs
Gone In The Morning
The CMU Originals’ Boat
20/20 Cover Art
Listen to New Music
Pretty Hurts
​The Cornell University Chordials Surface
Paper Airplanes
ICCA Northwest Semifinal at George Fox University
Witnessing Someone’s First Solo