Tag Archive | "Music"


Top Music for Valentine’s Day

Posted on 12 February 2009 by Nicole Schneider

“Angel Superior”
By Cadillac Blindside
Off of their 2002 final album “These Liquid Lungs,” this song is the perfect end to their CD and a great way to tell that special someone how you feel. Imagine a cloudy day with a storm coming. You are by a giant fountain all alone until your love meets you there. Suddenly, nothing matters but him or her. It is like heaven and endless.

“(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”
By Bryan Adams
A classic, I could not forget Bryan Adams. This song embodies true love with piano, guitar, vocals and beautiful lyrics. It is an epic love tale that will make anyone weak in the knees at the right moment.

“Ready and Waiting to Fall”
By Mae
This song puts words to all those feelings you find so difficult to describe when you fall for someone. Just imagine feeling so light, like you are floating and being serenaded by beautiful music and words.

“Knows My Name (Dado)”
By Days Away
Perhaps the most upbeat song ever written by Days Away, this song is just cute and fun. It is exactly like the happy and exciting feelings when you are with someone and the magic is just beginning.

“Ms. Vandersanden”
By Split Habit
This song was once dedicated to me at a show five years ago, but there is no bias because of that. It is an adorable little ditty to sing to your sweetheart or maybe just play for him or her. Its pop-punk sounds and catchy lyrics are sure to leave you smiling.

“Steal Me”
By Jupiter Sunrise
Imagine sitting around a campfire with extremely talented people playing the most beautiful melody and harmonizing their voices. Only it is not nighttime in the woods, you are actually in an enchanted wheat field on a perfect sunny day cuddling with your lover. That is the essence of this song.

“In Your Eyes”
By Peter Gabriel
Another classic love song, but not overdone in any way. I do not know how anyone could not fall madly in love with someone playing this song for him or her. After all, it worked for John Cusack, right?

“Glory of Love”
By New Found Glory (Originally Peter Cetera)
New Found Glory’s cover of this song is done quite tastefully. It added just the right amount of pop-punk rock riffs to the classic to make the song more magical. You will feel as if your Prince Charming is rescuing you from all of your problems or you are escaping to a secluded castle with your princess. There is a happy ending here.

“Honorable Mention”
By Fall Out Boy
This is an oldie but a goodie, at least as old as you can get with Fall Out Boy. While not the best song quality-wise, it makes up for it with catchiness, cleverness and just overall meaning. It is like a John Cusack movie, complete with a name drop. I sure am a sucker for John Cusack…

10. “Tongue Tied”
By October Fall
This slow song with a beautiful piano melody is accompanied by adorable lyrics that one would say to someone they deeply care for. This song is also spectacular because it encourages dancing, so if you play it for your special someone, hold them close and show off some of your skills.

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Best Albums of 2008

Posted on 29 January 2009 by Victoria Caswell

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have many favorite songs. Knowing this, you can see how it was nearly impossible for me to compile a list of the top albums released in 2008. However, I did my best to come up with a well-rounded list, and here it is for the public to know what I am listening to as I walk down Wisconsin Ave. on my way to class. I took some suggestions, but as I did not have time to sit down, listen to the whole album and then write my review, I decided just to have an honorable mention section at the end. Also, as always I’m open to suggestions, so contact [email protected]

Belle and Sebastian- The BBC Sessions, Matador Records
I’m going to be completely honest and say that I have always loved Belle and Sebastian. Even though I already have most of the songs that are on this compilation of (mostly) previously unreleased songs, the quality is slightly different, which makes it new and exciting. Although it is not too new, it is like meeting an old friend. Since the band has not put out an album since 2006’s The Life Pursuit, this was somewhat eagerly anticipated since it is unknown whether or not the band will put out another album. For my sake I hope they do.

Elvis Costello- Momofuku, UMG Recordings
Who doesn’t love Elvis Costello? I mean, honestly, what can’t that man do? Although he has apparently been threatening retirement for decades, thankfully, it has yet to happen. My personal favorite song is “No Hiding Place,” which features Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis on supporting vocals.

She and Him- Volume One, Merge Records
She and Him is a side project of M. Ward and Zooey Deschanel. Although the album mostly consists of covers, Deschanel’s beautiful voice and Ward’s unmistakable husky voice form a perfect duo.

Jenny Lewis- Acid Tongue, Warner Bros.
A follow up to 2006’s Rabbit Fur Coat, Acid Tongue is definitely edgier than indie-country. Elvis Costello was featured as a back-up vocalist on “Carpetbaggers,” which is pretty cool, but my indisputable favorite song is “Black Sand.”

TV on the Radio- Dear Science, Touch and Go Records
This is just a great album, there is no getting around that. The songs are catchy without losing their former edge.

The Ting Tings- We Started Nothing, Sony BMG Music Entertainment
All I can say is “Shut Up and Let Me Go” is my ring tone. I’m not one to pass up a good electronic dance song. And “That’s Not My Name” is insane.

Beyonce- Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It), Sony BMG Music Entertainment
Since I don’t have the whole album, there isn’t much that can be said, but Beyonce’s vocals are amazing. I love this song, it is arguably one of the best.

Honorable Mentions: Taylor Swift, Fearless (Big Machine); Jason Mraz, We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things. (Atlantic);
As a side note: I think I need to add that in doing research for this article I looked up the Billboard charts for 2008 and was saddened when I found that the Twilight soundtrack was at the top of the charts.

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Marquette Symphonic Band Certainly Doesn’t Struggle Towards Triumph

Posted on 21 November 2008 by Thomas Klind

On Sunday, November 16, Dr. Erik Janners and the Marquette University Symphonic Band presented their second, and finest show of the semester. The concert, titled Struggle and Triumph, highlighted various pieces relating to the themes of successes and struggles. In perhaps the most well known piece of the concert, the band opened with the brass section standing on the floor of the Varsity Theater belting out a great rendition of Bugler’s Dream by the Frenchman Leo Arnaud (perhaps most well known as the Olympic Theme Song used during NBC broadcasts). The concert itself lasted just over an hour, which was a nice adjustment from the overly long 2 hours of the previous concert, which focused on marches.

Amanda Myer, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences, and first year flautist in the MU Band, says that the band has practiced about 15 times since their last concert, for about two hours per rehearsal.

Their hard work and dedication to the pieces shined especially brightly in the band’s fourth piece, Paris Sketches by Martin Ellerby, a four-movement selection. The flute section was especially excellent.

However, perhaps the most mesmerizing and mystical moment was during Dance of the New World by Dana Wilson, where a myriad of Afro-Cuban inspired drums really stole the show. My only regret for the entire concert was that there was not an entire song devoted to the incredible sounds coming from the percussion section.

Unfortunately for the Marquette Symphonic Band (but perhaps more so for the Marquette Community) attendance was sparse.

According to Peter J. Merkel, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, and second year bass clarinet and baritone saxophone player, “As per usual, the turnout seemed to be mostly parents and other family of the band members, but I was glad to see at least a few students in attendance.  It is disappointing that we perform at our best for a few hundred at our concerts.  The thousands of people at basketball games hear very little of our repertoire and skill.”

Merkel also remarks that, over the past couple of weeks, the band has been balancing both their symphonic and pep band rehearsals during their allotted two hours on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the Varsity Theater.

Look for the Pep band at all home Men’s and Women’s Basketball games, and know that their repertoire is not simply limited to a rousing rendition of Chicago’s 25 or 6 to 4.
The next concert is the Marquette Music Area Holiday Concert on Sunday, December 7 at 2 p.m. in the Varsity Theater.

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Conor Oberst or Bright Eyes? Singer goes “solo” and develops a more folksy sound

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Victoria Caswell

I’ve always liked Bright Eyes, so naturally when I heard that Conor Oberst was coming to the Turner Hall Ballroom, I was excited. I saw Bright Eyes, his “band” at the Pabst Theater in Spring 2007 and the show was sold out—my friend and I even got there early so we could stand in the front by the stage. We were an hour or two early and still had to stand in a long line that wound around the building.

This time, I just assumed it would be the same way, so we got there an hour early so we could again wait in either a line or at least be closer to the stage. However, the show was nowhere near sold out.

My reasoning for his drop in ticket sales is that people are unaware that Conor Oberst and Bright Eyes are the same thing. Yes, the same thing. Not that Bright Eyes was entirely a solo act, but still it was about as close as it could get. After all, it wasn’t like he had a consistent band that was always touring with him.

Apparently Oberst’s new thing is “just hanging out with his friends.” (Maybe it’s not a new thing, but I read that on his new website, www.conoroberst.com.) The new band is officially titled Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, and it features five other musicians, most notably (to me) is Jason Boesel of Rilo Kiley (I saw Rilo Kiley over the summer and they did not disappoint me at all). However, I heard rumors that M. Ward was also supposed to be a member and I’m very disappointed that he did not want to join Oberst and his group of friends on tour.

I’m being completely honest when I say I really like Conor Oberst’s new self-titled album. I’m generally not the kind of music connoisseur that writes something off because it is new and different (like most Rilo Kiley fans did when the band came out with their latest album “Under the Blacklight.” Yes, I actually loved it even though I am a fan of the older stuff too), although I was surprised that he chose to use his real name.

The album itself was recorded in Tepoztlán, Morales, Mexico over a one month period. According to the website, they “crafted a lush and beautiful record that evokes the deep sense of harmony in which they lived and worked during that month.” I believe it. Some of the lyrics remind me of scenes in The Doors when Jim Morrison is wandering through the desert.

The next statement is not in anyway saying that I did not enjoy Conor Oberst masquerading as… himself, but I think I had a lot more fun when he was still Bright Eyes. The difference: back in 2007, I don’t know what was going on with him (whether it be drug or alcohol related), but he wore an all white suit, had the stage decorated in brightly colored daisies and then he proceeded to ramble incoherently about the opening band, Oakley Hall between every song. The show went on to end with him being carried off stage because he was so out of control. At one point, he jumped into the audience (to the dismay of the backstage crew) and I actually touched him (not in a creepy way). He tried to give away his guitar several times, which he claimed at the beginning was lent to him by a friend. I’m not saying his apparent drug use was a good thing, but I had the time of my life.

On Thursday I was glad to see that he’s cleaned up his act, but he barely talked in between songs and he seemed to have lost some of his spunk (which I hope wasn’t just drug induced ramblings). They also played a lot of songs that have never been heard and he lost the suit and wore jeans. I would have liked to know some of the songs before hand, but it was still enjoyable.

A good friend of mine believes this is because he’s “just having fun with his friends” and “is trying to be casual.”

Going into it, I thought he would play at least one Bright Eyes song, but he didn’t play any. Is he trying to shed his former image? Also, his voice is a bit different. My question: is he happier being himself than he was a Bright Eyes? He’s definitely folksier than ever, but I’m not complaining about that.

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“It’s True Love”: Razia’s Shadow

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Nicole Schneider

Since their debut full length CD “Wonderland” in May 2006, Forgive Durden has toured, taken a break, and lost all but one member. Finally, they have released a new album and are on tour now (with a slightly different lineup).

The new album, “Razia’s Shadow: A Musical,” is not like the music made by most indie rock bands these days. The album is in the form of a musical: telling a story, complete with narratives. It took Forgive Durden front man Thomas Dutton a year to write and record “Razia’s Shadow,” and after listening to it, you can see why. Along with the elaborate storyline, the tracks are accompanied by a nearly 30-piece orchestra and countless guest appearances. Among these guest singers are Max Bemis (Say Anything), Chris Conley (Saves the Day), Danny Stevens (The Audition), Dan Young (This Providence), Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco), Greta Salpeter (The Hush Sound), Nic Newsham (Gatsbys American Dream) and Shawn Harris (The Matches).

“Razia’s Shadow” tells the story of a gifted man that believes he can change the world but feels that his talents are not being recognized by anyone but the woman he loves. In his frustration, he makes a rash decision that tears the world into a division of darkness and light. For a century the world remains divided. Among those living in darkness were brothers Pallis and Adakias. Pallis was heir to the throne and Adakias was a romantic dreamer. He believed he was the one that was meant to fulfill the prophecy to reunite the world. Against his brother’s wishes, Adakias goes into the light and finds true love. But nothing is ever that easy; his love was a princess and of course the king would not approve. From there, things rollercoaster up and down, but are still accompanied by beautiful melodies.

It ends with a wonderful parting message: “Live for your love everyday.” And don’t forget, this entire story is set to music that matches the tone of the tales as they enfold.

For a loose comparison, think back to the days of rock operas. Think The Who’s “Quadrophenia.” But as so eloquently stated, “Razia’s Shadow” is a musical, so think “Quadrophenia” mixed with “Man of La Mancha.” There is just something about epic sagas put to music that you could picture played out on a stage or a movie screen that makes it catchier than an annoying pop song. Filled with metaphors, deep meaning, love, regret, destiny, death and ridiculously amazing music, “Razia’s Shadow” seems to be the whole package. It also has a clever storyline that pulls you in with characters you can relate to and even dream along with. After all, “Don’t you ever feel that you’ve been destined for something bigger than your skin?”
If I am giving it a rating, it is somewhere around ten stars. Four thumbs up. This album has blown my mind, and I do not mind.

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Noise Fest: Everything it could have been

Posted on 09 October 2008 by Victoria Caswell

When I first stepped into the Bord Ward, 823 W. National Ave., I didn’t know what I was going to experience. I had never heard “Noise” music, and I had definitely never seen it performed. However, after my first Noise Fest, I can honestly say I was not let down.

Entering the dimly lit room was an experience of its own. A friend of mine claimed that during the day, the entry way was a museum, but I don’t think there was any artwork to be found; it lacked all of the qualities of any museum that I had ever seen, and it looked more like an abandoned warehouse to me.

Then we entered the actual festival. Believe me when I say, I have never heard anything like “Noise” outside of a monster similar to Grendel (at least what I imagined when I read the book) or a sci-fi movie. Don’t get me wrong; I had the time of my life. But call me old school when I say that I think music needs lyrics and some sort of melody to even be considered music. And yes, in case you were wondering, I’m not a big fan of the “Stomp” craze either.

I can’t even begin to describe “Noise.” Peter Wood, MU alum and organizer of the festival, said that Noise was a removal of all structure of music. Until I experienced it, I didn’t know what he meant. It seemed like there was a lot of pounding on a synthesizer and an occasional scream or two, but there were no discernable lyrics. It was everything that Woods told me that it would be. Starting with Anal Hearst, a one man act, and ending with Peter Woods himself.

Although it was not my taste, I can honestly say that I don’t think I was let down at all. Since fans of “Noise” openly say that it has no “catchy lyrics” or structure, I don’t think they are trying to put up any fronts about being pretentious and not needing structure. More, it is an exploration of what can be done without following the norms that is dictated at us from an early age. After all, who was the first person that decided music needed structure? By saying this, I’m not admitting I went home and downloaded any “Noise,” but I can say, I had a great time experiencing something that was different from anything I had ever been to before.

If you would like to learn more about “Noise,” check out Experimental Milwaukee.

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Marquette grad organizes music festival focused on sound instead of catchy lyrics

Posted on 10 September 2008 by Victoria Caswell

In 2005, after playing “noise” music for several years, Peter Woods, a 2008 Marquette Arts and Science graduate, decided to put together a show for local bands of the same genre. “I decided to try to run with it and see how far I could take it,” Woods said. Three years later, Noise Fest is a three-day experimental music festival featuring 29 acts from around the country.

What is noise?

According to Woods, it is a focus on sound rather than, as in other genres, an obsession with hooks, or catchy melodies. Noise does not rely on specific structures.
“Noise breaks down the precedents and opens up a lot of avenues that people don’t think about in music,” Woods said. “Expect to hear a lot of strange music, it is all out there and weird.”
This year is big, Woods said, because the influential Milwaukee band Boy Dirt Car is reuniting on September 27. Boy Dirt Car is an influential local industrial band that has been around since the ‘80s, but has not played in more than 20 years. Promoting its new album, Spoken Answer to Silent Question, the band’s sound has matured since their last tour, but will still provide the same intensity as in the past.

The festival is September 26-27, is all ages and is $10 per night and $21 for a three-day pass. It is located at the Borg Ward, 823 W. National Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

Woods is director of the local arts organization FTAM, with is sponsoring the event along with 91.7 WMSE.

For more information, feel free to contact Peter Woods at 414-861-7216 or [email protected] E-mail is the preferred method of communication.
Look forward to the review of Noise Fest in the October 8th issue.

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Local Band, Planet Dastardly, to perform at Conways

Posted on 16 April 2008 by Jenna Richardt

Looking for great music by a local Marquette band of familiar faces? Well this coming Friday, April 19, Planet Dastardly comprised of three Marquette students will be playing at Conway’s Bar on Wells Street.

Some of their major musical influences include Victor Wooten, Led Zeppelin, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and 88.9 FM radio Milwaukee. They described their flare in music to be a mixture of punk, reggae, rock, jam bands and jazz.

One of their songs is called “Whirlwind” which is kind of “a hard funk, a little loud, with some smooth jazz” said guitarist/vocalist, senior Todd Michalek.

He described another song of theirs called “Calypso Sun” as having “a Spanish/Latin vibe.” A different one of their songs, “A Gulf Coast Prince” was described as fun and “bouncy.”

Each one of the guys takes turns singing as well as all together which makes each song outstandingly different. They have a bunch of great voices, which makes for very unique harmonies.

Planet Dastardly primarily writes their own music, which, before they invested recently in a drum set, was mainly acoustic. The band members consist of a trio of Marquette seniors including Todd Michalek on guitar and vocals, Joe Genova on bass and vocals as well as Drew de Lutio on drums and vocals.

Drew played percussion in high school, as a freshman Todd played in a band and then mainly played solo, and Joe actually won two battles of the bands concerts in high school. Collectively they have about 24 years of musical experience.

Most recently they took second place at Battle of the Bands held in the Weasler Auditorium. They heard about it simply by word of mouth, and decided to participate because they thought they could do well even only after their fifth time playing. They sure were right.

Their first performance was last year at the Annex for a Diabetes Awareness fundraiser.

Although the band only got together about a year ago, completely by coincidence, they have a bright horizon ahead of them.

In addition to their gig at Conway’s this weekend, they will open for the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Speakeasy on Saturday, April, 26, and headline a fundraiser at the Milwaukee High School of the Arts on May 30. In the more distant future, A Planet Dastardly will be playing at Jigglefest, a free outdoor concert consisting of bands with current Marquette students and alumni, at Bradford Beach on September 30, 2008.

Each member feels a strong spiritual connection to the music. Todd even commented that he has “a passion for the way music should be played and that each of us has an influence on what the music should say.”

Music is the voice of the soul and theirs certainly speaks of their enthusiasm. Music comes from the heart and “it is an art form with everyone’s own style” said Todd. Additionally, music brings a sense of community to a group of people listening, as they share the same “highs and lows” as Todd put, it in the music.

A Planet Dastardly’s show starrs at 9:30 p.m. this Saturday at Conway’s Bar on Wells Street. There will be a $4 cover charge, and you must be 21 to enter.

They will be playing a mixture of their own creations as well as popular covers. When asked what music meant to him, Michalek said that it “boosts my day when the days get tough.”

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The (not) so glamorous rock star life

Posted on 10 October 2007 by Nathan Sawtelle

For the vicariously living rock star, road trips, guitars and parties seem like the ideal life. For Milwaukee band The Saltshakers: this stereotype proves only to be skin-deep. “It’s way less exciting[than expected],” said lead singer Chad Curtis. “I guess if we were Pearl Jam or something it might be exciting.”

Lead Singer Chad Curtis, bassist Cory Rawson, drummer Jon Strelecki and guitarist Tim Peck, have come a long way from 2002 when they first started playing together. Known for their distinctive sound, the band describes themselves as “blazing, insistent powerpop – a testament to the joyful escapism at the heart of rock n’ roll.”

“The live performances go above and beyond other bands and they sound better live than other bands that only sound good after they are recorded,” said Allison Curtis, the lead singer’s cousin and a senior in the college of Arts and Sciences.

With their new CD “Up All Night” out in stores, a full touring schedule and a recent front-page feature in MKE Magazine, they are on their way to living the dream.

The band began as a group of friends getting together to play music. They could barely play their instruments. “It’s funny to think how far we’ve all come over just 5 years now,” said Curtis. “I never started a band to ‘make it,’ I just think it’s fun to do.”

Their first live show was at a small bar in Fond du Lac with no stage.

“We opened for a friend’s band and I’m sure we were pretty mediocre… It was a drunken good time, barring a few times when we unplugged each other’s equipment.”

When writing a song, said Curtis, “[I] usually make sure there’s a hook. I want to make the listener hit repeat on the stereo. Once the hook is there the jist of the song is complete… it’s just a matter of streamlining it so there’s no filler.” When finding inspiration, Curtis usually looks to the opposite sex.

“Like many people, I mostly write about girls,” said Curtis. “I sometime write about an experience rather than a person… Going to a good show or really getting into a new album sometimes inspires me to write more songs,” said Curtis.

Although he’s not out to “make it,” Curtis has learned a thing or two along the way.

“Learn how to take criticism. You’re not going to make music that everyone likes, it’s just not possible. The sooner you can deal with the fact that some people aren’t going to like you, the better… If you can take criticism, you’re not only likely to write better songs, but you’re going to last a lot longer as an artist,” said Curtis. Find out more and get their new CD “Up All Night” at the band’s website: http:// www.thesaltshakers.com Their next performance will be on November 3 at BBC bar, located at 2022 E. North Avenue in Milwaukee.

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This summer, tan from the light of the computer

Posted on 25 April 2007 by Aaron Morey

As the weather gets warmer, college students look forward to summer activities like playing frisbee, grilling or sitting on the porch and listening to some music. Here’s what you might want to know about downloading music this summer:

Apple recently announced that it will be releasing music from the EMI Group on the iTunes store without DRM, or digital rights management, security on it. In the past, the iTunes store has sold music with a security system that allows only the user who purchased the songs to listen to them. There were also limits to the number of times a particular playlist could be burned.

Most record companies have insisted on the use of DRM to prevent listeners from illegally distributing their music. But many users feel restricted by the security system and wish they could use their purchased music however they choose, without subjecting it to hacks that circumvent the DRM (hacks which are technically illegal under both American and international law).

Under a new agreement with EMI, Apple will distribute music through the iTunes store without any DRM at all. This will allow consumers to use their music in any way they see fit without having to use technical tricks to gain access. It will, however, still be illegal to share music, unless you own the copyright to the song. The reaction to this change has been almost unanimously positive.

Keep your eyes open for more labels to jump on the bandwagon in the near future. Another side note to consider is that EMI owns the rights to the Beatles’ music, which has never been released legally online before. There are rumors that Apple is negotiating to bring John, Paul, George and Ringo into the 21st century.

Colleges and Illegal Downloading
In spite of DRM security on iTunes purchases, online file sharing is still prevalent. Programs like LimeWire and Kazaa are available for users to share files, frequently copyrighted MP3s. These programs are especially prevalent on college campuses, where students have little money to buy music with and plenty of access to high-speed Internet connections.

Sales of CDs have been falling steadily for several years, including an 8 percent drop just reported on April 18. Some of that drop is due to factors such as legal online music purchases, but a significant portion is due to illegal file sharing. The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) is looking for ways to fight back.

Recently, the organization has begun suing people who download music. Because many downloaders are on college campuses, there are not always names associated with the file sharing. Frequently it can be seen coming from a college network, but there is no individual information. The RIAA then subpoenas the college for the names of the students. So far, some colleges are resisting, but many have already handed over the names of downloaders.

This summer, you will hear warnings about applying sunscreen or not swimming for two hours after eating. But take my advice: practice safe downloading.

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