“Vow” by Sales

A short review I wrote!

Five Cent Sound

saless

By Alexandra Fileccia

Take the sounds of Lenka and Tegan & Sara, add a hint of Churchill and a pinch of The xx, melt them down into one, and you get Sales’s new single, “Vow.” There’s a familiarity to the song; it sits on the tip of your tongue, but you can’t quite put a name to it. That’s what makes “Vow” so appealing to the ears.

“Vow” starts out with a slow, somber guitar progression then quickly picks up with a bouncy beat. The catchy guitar riffs will have you bopping your head from side to side as Lauren Morgan sings, “Looked at you too long at last/ Fell apart in the lows of a laugh/ In those times you will vow (you will vow)/ That’s why you try to quit thinking aloud.” The lyrics have a darker sentiment than the up-beat guitar; they embody the feeling of being…

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“Singles” by Future Islands

My latest review is up on the Five Cent Sound magazine blog! Stay tuned for more awesome reviews this summer!

Five Cent Sound

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By Alexandra Fileccia

Baltimore’s new-wave trio Future Islands released their new album worldwide on March 25. Recently recorded on the famed indie label 4AD, Singles celebrates the band’s debut to their new career direction. The band, previously signed to Thrill Jockey, found a balance in Singles between a mainstream indie sound and their usual eccentric, soulful sound. Some may call it selling out because of the upbeat tempos and overall pop feel, but it’s a new take on Future Islands’s already distinguished sound. And it’s something worth taking a closer listen to.

Singles pulls from images of nature to create one long, emotional poem. The progression of tracks on Singles tells the story of a breakup. The album takes the listeners on a date with heartbreak that most of us are familiar with and afterwards leaves us to reminisce.

The album opens with “Seasons (Waiting on You).” The leading track…

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Benefits of laughing

Published in Atlas Magazine

By Alexandra Fileccia

Before Jordan Perry, president of the comedy troupe Jimmy’s Traveling All-Stars, walks on stage, he takes a deep breath and clears his mind. He gets into the character of his first skit. The audience roars with laughter. Typically when you are laughing, you are reacting to humor or comedy. For Perry, laughter is a way to feel good. Though the purpose of laughter is not to improve your health, there are some side effects that are conducive to your health.

Laughter is a major combatant to stress. When you are stressed, you release hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and cortisol. Cortisol diverts energy from other functions in the body, such as the immune system, in order to use and conserve it for the stress stimulus. Laughter, which releases endorphins, suppresses stress hormones. When stress hormones are reduced, it allows for an improvement in immune functions because cortisol is no longer deterring the energy that the system needs. Studies have shown that women who are characterized as optimistic see less cancer growth because they are able to laugh and make light of their situation, which in turn optimizes their immune system and creates more antibodies.

When you have a really good, deep laugh, your whole body is involved. Your head may tilt back, arms swing, and stomach muscles contract. Some people laugh until they are rolling around on the ground, some even cry. These are all responses to the hearty, belly laugh. During intense bouts of laughter, your heart rate significantly increases, mirroring what happens during exercise. William F. Fry, humor research pioneer who experimented with heart rate and laughter, noted that one minute of a strong, jovial laughter produced the same heart rate as ten minutes of rowing on an exercise machine. Intense laughter can result in muscle soreness, similar to the sore feeling after a heavy workout. However after laughing, your heart rate returns to a relaxed state faster than it does after exercising. Robert R. Provine, psychology professor at University of Maryland, Baltimore County, says laughter can be a gentle form of exercise though the calorie cost has not been determined yet.

Laughing also improves your mental health, mostly due to the positive emotions associated with laughter. It serves as a distraction from anything negative in your life. Humor researcher Rod A. Martin says laughter is a coping mechanism. The positive emotions tied to laughter temporarily replace those of anxiety, depression, or anger. This is why people sometimes laugh at inappropriate times or break out in bouts of nervous laughter. It is a way to emotionally deal things that make us uncomfortable—a defense mechanism.

Laughing is contagious; it’s part of human nature. When a person sees laughter, their instinct response is to laugh as well. “The neural mechanism responsible for laugh epidemics replicates behavior that it detects, producing a behavioral chain reaction,” says Provine in his novel Laughter: A Scientific Investigation. The contagiousness is one way laughing strengthens relationships. People who laugh together form a certain connection and comfort. Laughter can diminish stress in social situations, which enhances social interactions. “I like to try and make people laugh,” Perry says, “because I believe laughter brings us together.”