DJ Highlights

An Intrusion of Roaches

Deep in the realm of interesting but somewhat useless information is a list of the correct names for groups of animals. Google it some time. The images these names bring to the mind’s eye makes the time wasted well worth it. A group of barracudas is a battery, a group of ferrets a business, and a group of weasels a gang. Most important to us is a group of roaches: an intrusion.

An intrusion. Perfect. For decades, these songs have been lurking behind pop rock’s radio facade, out of sight and out of mind. Now, on Saturday mornings, the Mystery Roaches intrude. They crawl up your walls. They sample your scraps. These songs hide under your wall hangings and swing on your nose hairs while you sleep. There might be one sucking on your toothbrush at this very moment.

This entry marks the first of what will be a weekly post about Mystery Roach, WKNC’s weekly look at progressive, fusion, psychedelic, and garage rock from the 1960s and 1970s. Posts will be short, and they won’t follow any particular format; they might contain thoughts on a song, album or artist I found or became obsessed with that week. They might contain the text with comments of a call or email from a listener that week. They might contain a story of how I almost spilled split pea soup on my computer as I was putting the show together (which just happened as I was typing this, a cautionary tale to anyone who tries to be thrifty with a ham bone).

You just never know.

Listen to Mystery Roach Saturday mornings from 8:00 to 10:00 am, and check the WKNC blog weekly for posts about the show.


-La Barba Rossa


Cookie Monster of Death

Many people refer to the vocal style used in death metal as “Cookie Monster vocals.” As a metalhead, I don’t usually use this term, but I am aware of the similarities between the voices of death-metal-ers like Chris Barnes (Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under) and the ravenous blue Muppet.

Although I haven’t watched “Sesame Street” in many years, I do remember Cookie Monster…and I believe there may be other links between Cookie Monster and Death Metal music.

Both Cookie Monster and death metal bands are obsessed with particular subjects. But instead of incessantly blathering about cookies, death metal bands tend to stick to their lyrical guns (knives, ice picks, etc.) and write sinister and disturbing music about destruction, mutilation, and of course, death.

This got me to thinking: are cookies evil? Maybe not, but, I know firsthand that they can definitely be used for evil.

When I was a kid, every winter my mom would buy those assorted butter cookies that come in a big blue tin. I always thought it wasn’t much of an assortment because four out of the five varieties tasted exactly the same (though they did come in different shapes).

The only cookies in the tin that I could tolerate were the chocolate chip ones; they were better than the taste-alike ones, but were poor representatives of the chocolate chip cookie ilk. My sister, on the other hand, liked the cookies, and chocolate chip were her favorite, too – they were always the first to go. Just like when we got Neapolitan ice cream: the chocolate portion always disappeared first.

Anyway, one early winter afternoon, I came home to find the first cookie tin of the season sitting on our kitchen table and I had an idea. I grabbed the tin and ran up to my room, emptied its contents onto my bed, and waited for my sister to get home. When she arrived, I snuck back downstairs with the empty tin under my shirt. I caught a glimpse of my sister reclining on the living room couch as I ran into the kitchen.

I placed the cookie tin on the stove and turned the burner on high. After about a minute I figured that the tin was hot enough and I removed it from the flame with potholders and put it on the kitchen table where I had first found it.

I strolled into living room with a satisfied smile on my face and informed my sister that there was a tin of cookies in the kitchen. She immediately headed for them, as I knew she would. Seconds later, I heard a scream and the sound of a hot aluminum hitting dirty linoleum.

Why did I do it? Well, because I was a kid and it seemed hilarious at the time. But…were there any underlying factors at play? Did I do it because my mind had been corrupted by years of listening to death metal?

Nah. I think the real reason is something that crazy blue Muppet knows all too well…those butter cookies are evil.

DJ Highlights

David Menconi on Afterhours Reunion Show

Just a special thanks to David Menconi, who helped promote the Afterhours Reunion Show on his N&O blog, On The Beat.  And just in case you were wondering, the show is tonight from 6pm-midnight.  Be sure to tune in to WKNC and kick back to the best Afterhours reunion show yet!

Concert Preview

The Beast with Natalie Stewart of Floetry January 23, 2009

The Beast will be at The Brewery with Yo Majesty, Natalie Stewart Of Floetry on January 23, 2009

Armed with keys, bass, drums, and an emcee, The Beast makes revolutionary music – revolutionary in its genre-defying compositions, imaginative lyrics and political content. Tapping into the rich wellsprings of a conscious musical tradition, one could think they were listening to Bob Marley, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Gill Scott Heron or Public Enemy, at any point during a Beast performance. Infusing the best in jazz composition and improvisation with Hip-Hop poetry and soulful grooves, The Beast is North Carolina’s own independent revolution. Beautifully rebellious and refreshingly conscious, The Beast creates music to engage/enrage one’s mentality, and impassion all bodies to get up and move.

Hailing from the city of Durham, The Beast started as a chance encounter between Pierce Freelon (of local hip hop duo Language Arts and the Blackademics blog) and his old high school friend, drummer Stephen Coffman. In deciding to hold a casual jam session with local bass phenom Pete Kimosh and award-winning jazz composer Eric Hirsh, they had no clue what journey was in store for them. The musical connection and spontaneous creation that day were so powerful that one year later, entire pieces of music and lyrics remain unchanged from their original, improvised form.

Music News and Interviews

Kooley High’s “One Day” Trailer

“One Day,” the soon to be released documentary movie about Raleigh-Durham Hip-Hop act Kooley High (directed by Napoleon Wright for Becauseus Films) is set to come out soon. The release date is January 24th at the Galaxy Cinema. Here is the official trailer:

“One Day” Movie Preview from Kooley High on Vimeo.

WKNC Underground alum, DJ Ill Digitz, will be spinning at 7pm when doors open.

Music News and Interviews

Give the Gift of Music

The Raleigh News & Observer recommends filling your loved one’s stockings with awesome local tunes this year. If you can only choose one, I recommend Violet Vector and the Lovely Lovelies’ EP-1.

Band/Artist Profile

Q-Unique – Between Heaven and Hell

Q-Unique’s long history in the hip-hop music world includes revitalizing the legendary Rock Steady Crew, fronting the rap rock group Stillwell with Fieldy of Korn, membership with hip hop super group the Arsonists, and his own critically acclaimed solo album “Vengeance is Mine.” In 2008, Q-Unique is putting out his best work to date : Between Heaven and Hell. A true hip hop album in a time of watered down commercial fluff.

Music News and Interviews

Win Tickets to See Cowboy Mouth

Tune in to win tickets to see Cowboy Mouth at the Lincoln Theatre on December 28, 2008.

Music News and Interviews

John Darnielle, Bon Iver, & Alina Simone In USAToday Top 100

Perhaps its time to stop placing Bon Iver and Alina Simone in the Local category, but its not time to stop giving them any attention.   And hey, we can still call John Darnielle our own right?  All three cracked the top 100 of USATodays Pop Candy 2008 People of the Year poll, compiled by Whitney Matheson.

The purpose of USAToday’s Pop Candy is to “unwrap pop culture’s hip and hidden secrets."  No secret to us or our listeners though, these three can all claim some citizenship to WKNC and the Triangle.

Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) comes from DeYarmond Edison, transplanted band from Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Vernon left the band a year after moving to Raleigh, and Megafaun was born of the remaining members (Brad and Phil Cook, and Joe Westerlund).  We are still thanking Justin for that, and also for his latest release For Emma, Forever Ago which has scorched the airwaves all over America in the past year (I still listen to "Blindsided” about once a day).  Matheson put the band at #88 on her list with the kind words:

“The band, led by singer-songwriter Justin Vernon, transfixed fans of all ages with a winning debut, For Emma, Forever Ago, and must-see live performances. ”

Look for Bon Iver’s Blood Bank EP to hit the shelves January 20th (if you havnt already gotten an illegal copy that seems to have found its way to every wanna-be pirate website on the net- just google it).


Alina Simone claims to preside in Brooklyn, but we in North Carolina know better.  Her unique brand of alternative folk/indie/ukrainish-punk (whatever it is) can be heard many times live throughout the Triangle during any given year.  Lets all convince her to just move down permanently.  Matheson made her #83 on the list saying:

“It’s true that I can’t decipher what Simone sings on her latest record, Everyone is Crying Out to Me Beware. But the singer’s emotions come through on this powerful tribute to Russian punk/folk musician Yanka Dyagileva. ”

Not familiar with John Darnielle?  How about the Mountain Goats?  Thats what I thought.  Darnielle concieved the Durham based band in 1991 while in college in California.  Interestingly enough, he didn’t make Matheson’s list for his music, but rather for his book Master of Reality.  He is #79 on the list:

“While he’s best known for his band, The Mountain Goats, this year the musician grabbed my attention with his book about Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality. Instead of delivering a dry history of the record for Continuum’s 33 1/3 series, he penned a moving, fictional account of a metal-loving teen trapped in a mental hospital. By the end, readers get a sense of why the music matters – and feel an overwhelming urge to spin some Sabbath.”

Matheson forgot to mention that Darnielle used to work as a psychiatric nurse.

As of today, there are still 50 more spots to go, and while I normally disregard polls such as this, its always nice to find those North Carolina gems getting some hard earned recgonition.  So congrats!

Concert Preview

New Year’s Eve Electronica at Berkeley Cafe

Berkeley Cafe is hosting a New Year’s Eve party with electronica DJs.

$10 / 9pm – 3am / 18+

Drink Specials / Party Favors / Super Special Suprise Amenities

SsMaxx aka. Shade & Vertical

Shyguy & Tommy L



Hard Science

Jeremy Granger