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Cartel Brings Revamped Sound to Campus

Observer Scene | Thursday, November 13, 2008

Many modern musicians would claim that their calling has a certain inescapable control over their life. This claim has probably never been truer than in the case of up-and-coming pop-rock group Cartel.

In the summer of 2007, the band spent nearly three weeks encased in a “bubble” – a 1600 square foot fiberglass studio, where they recorded their most recent album under constant video surveillance.

“We were trapped in there,” drummer Kevin Sanders said. “You couldn’t go anywhere without people seeing you. Cameras were everywhere, broadcasting our every move live online, which was kinda crazy.”

The self-titled release, which hit stores in August of 2007, has reached as high as No. 20 on the Billboard Top 200 music chart. Written in only 20 days, “Cartel” is the band’s most complete work to date. According to frontman Will Pugh, the album covers the band’s coming of age since their debut album “Chroma”: “You’re not going to get whatever people probably would’ve expected. We’re trying to do something ambitious… A lot of different things about being a young adult come to play in this record.”

Fresh off the Croc’s College Tour 2008, Cartel brings their revamped sound to Notre Dame on Friday for an exclusive concert. The concert promises to be an energetic affair as Cartel steams to campus with the momentum of significant airtime on popular radio as well as MTV. The national acclaim that the band has received from the likes of Rolling Stone, USA Today and Alternative Press hasn’t hurt the quintet either.

The Georgia natives team their progressive pop punk style on Friday night with the unrivaled musings of folk hipster Citizen Cope. Cope arrives in the midst of a national tour featuring both acoustic and full band performances.

Citizen Cope, whose real name is Clarence Greenwood, encapsulates his audiences with his masterful verbiage and indefinable sound. Known for his tendencies to traverse varying genres, Cope has achieved his success through live performances and airtime on several major television programs including the sitcom “Scrubs” and the popular dance game show, “So You Think You Can Dance?” Since the times of his hip-hop origins in Washington D.C., Cope’s sound has evolved, earning him an underground cult following.

Though it is very difficult to classify Cope into any single genre, those who are familiar with his work maintain that his sound is unique and influential. “I guess it’s been a blessing and a curse,” Cope told the Pittsburgh Tribune before a February performance. “It has probably kept me away from a certain radio format. Also, it’s been a thing that’s kind of distinguished me. I think it’s kind of kept me away from mainstream popular music. But to me, I’ve got a verse, a chorus and melodies, and it’s essentially pop music.”

Cope’s most recent album “Every Waking Moment” reached as high as No. 69 on the Billboard charts. His next project, entitled “Acoustic Tapes Vol. 1,” is set for release in December.

The dual headliners perform this Friday at 9 p.m. in the Stepan Center thanks to the most recent efforts of the Student Union Board. Unlike past shows sponsored by SUB, the format for this concert provides patrons with plenty of general standing room near the stage, similar to what you would find at a typical rock concert. Seating will be available on the outer areas of the venue.

Tickets are on sale now at the LaFortune box office for $15. Each student may purchase as many as four tickets at a time and students must provide a valid Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross I.D. at the doors.

Contact Patrick Griffin at pgriffi3@nd.edu.