Categories
Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 5/10

ArtistRecordLabel
1FLY ANAKINFrankLex
2JPEGMAFIALP!EQT
3HIATUS KAIYOTEMood ValiantBrainfeeder/Ninja Tune
4SAMM HENSHAWUntidy SoulDorm Seven/AWAL
5AUDREY NUNAA Liquid BreakfastArista
6DENZEL CURRYMelt My Eyez See Your FutureLoma Vista/Concord
7MILAN RINGI’m Feeling HopefulAstral People/PIAS
8REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
9SKIIFALL“Bloodclarrt Business” [Single]XL
10AJ TRACEYFlu GameRevenge
Categories
Playlists

Ringing in Spring: April Edition

It’s been quite some time since I’ve updated the “Ringing in Spring” playlist, but don’t fret, it’s finally April. Where February’s installment was indie-rock and March’s was folk-ish but still reliant on big horns and electric guitar, April’s is a more acoustic kind of folk. Think, time spent by a campfire with your friends, the first 75 degree days of the season and swimming in a lake. 

Without further ado, here are the final 15 songs of “Ringing in Spring”:

  • “鬼ヶ島” – Ichiko Aoba
  • “I’ll Come Running (To Tie Your Shoe)” – Brian Eno
  • “The Sun Surrounds Me” – Beachwood Sparks
  • “The Gold” – Manchester Orchestra, Phoebe Bridgers
  • “Otter Shadows” – Bibio
  • “Means Something” – Lizzy McAlpine
  • “A Love of Some Kind” – Adrianne Lenker
  • “Ships in the Night” – Kate Rhudy
  • “Phase” – Bloomsday
  • “Concession Stand Girl” – Naomi Alligator
  • “Lion’s Jaws” – Neko Case
  • “California Open Back” – Gregory Alan Isakov
  • “I Don’t Mind” – The Greeting Committee
  • “Humming” – Turnover
  • “The Big Country (Alternate Version)” – Talking Heads

I hope this playlist carries you through this spring and many springs to come. As always, you can find this playlist on Spotify.

– Caitlin

Categories
New Album Review

“Turning Red” Soundtrack

I recently had the pleasure of watching “Turning Red,” the new Pixar film. I went into the movie pretty blind and thus had no idea what to expect other than the one song I had seen going around TikTok. The plot of the film is that a young Chinese-Canadian teenager discovers a secret her family is hiding and has to find the balance between pleasing her family and having her own personality. A big safe haven for the main character, Meilin Lee, is her friends and their collective love for the boy band 4*Town. The sound I heard going around TikTok was the main song that 4*Town sings in “Turning Red,” “Nobody Like U.”

Sibling duo Finneas O’Connell and Billie Eilish wrote the three songs that 4*Town sings throughout the film: “Nobody Like U,” “1 True Love” and “U Know What’s Up.” They struck pop music gold on “Nobody Like U.” You know that scene in “Easy A” where Emma Stone’s character can’t stop singing “Pocketful of Sunshine” by Natasha Bedingfield all weekend after she got that birthday card? That’s been me with “Nobody Like U” since I watched the movie. 

The highly talented Ludwig Göransson was responsible for the film’s score and he did an excellent job at making a Pixar film score (which are always top notch).

The film and its soundtrack really brought me back to my tweenhood of being obsessed with One Direction and feeling like my whole world was ending all of the time (which for Meilin, was somewhat true but that’s neither here nor there).

If you’re looking to reminisce on middle school in a more positive light or if you just want a cute movie to watch, I highly recommend “Turning Red.” Or at the very least let the earworm that is “Nobody Like U” grace your ears.

Until next time,

Caitlin

Categories
Music News and Interviews

Three Releases to Check Out This New Music Friday

A lot of new music has come out this week, and in case it’s hard for you to keep up, here’s a list of some of the new releases to listen to in the wide world of indie music. The three releases I’m highlighting this week are folky, but all in vastly different ways.

“That’s Where I Am” by Maggie Rogers

Maggie Rogers made a sweeping return with her single “That’s Where I Am.” It’s the lead single for her new album “Surrender” that she announced is coming out July 29. Produced by Rogers and Kid Harpoon, this single is simultaneously Rogers branching out into new realms whilst staying true to her folk-pop roots. I will definitely have this single on repeat all summer

“Chloë and the Next 20th Century” by Father John Misty

Speaking of folk, “Chloë and the Next 20th Century” is Father John Misty’s brand new album. It’s jazzy, lovely, folky and definitely a contender for my personal album of the year. He announced that he’s going on tour in support of this album (and will be stopping in Asheville and Durham this fall). Father John Misty is insanely talented and did not disappoint with this release.

“five seconds flat” by Lizzy McAlpine

Lizzy McAlpine also released a brand new album, titled “five seconds flat.” This former Berklee student is a talented lyricist and knows how to craft beautiful melodies. The album features collaborations with Jacob Collier, Ben Kessler, Laura Elliott and FINNEAS. It touches on themes of love and loss, and is perfect for those who are big fans of Phoebe Bridgers.

What are your favorite releases so far this year?

– Caitlin

Categories
Short Stories

Memories with Albums: Edition One

The year is 2012, I’m 11 years old and in desperate need of braces. However, I have five baby teeth that won’t budge and thus the dentist is going to rip them from my skull. I’m young and scared, and am told that for the duration of this appointment I can listen to music really loud in my earbuds so that I don’t have to hear the tools that are ravaging the insides of my mouth. I have an iPhone 4 and a pretty hefty iTunes library that I had been building for the last couple of years on my iPod touch. I ponder what to listen to, but eventually land on One Direction’s then-brand-new album “Take Me Home.”

As I’ve touched on in previous blog posts, I was a huge fan of One Direction (or as we called it back then, being a Directioner). I was solid in my choice and thought it would be a good time to memorize some of the lyrics better since it had just come out the month before. I don’t remember how long the extraction of my teeth took, but I do remember getting through all of the songs at least once and also being told that some of my teeth were “stubborn.” Did the album succeed in drowning out the dentistry noises? Absolutely not. 

I also remember listening to the album a lot in the week or so after my teeth were pulled in the recovery process. This is my first vivid memory with an album that I chose of my own volition, and I hope to share more memories with albums in the future.

– Caitlin

Categories
Miscellaneous

What’s Your WKNC DJ Name?

Whether you’re a long-time WKNC fan or you just started listening this morning, I bet you’ve wondered what your DJ name might be if you were a DJ here at WKNC. There have been thousands of DJ names over the years: some creative, some weird and all awesome. The day is finally here where you can determine what your DJ name would be if you were one of us… and who knows? One day you might be. And when asked how you came up with the name “DJ Baby Spoon” you can know it’s because your name is Paula and you were born on October 1. 

This graphic will also be posted on our Instagram, so let us know over there what your assigned DJ name is.

— Caitlin

Categories
Blog

My Favorite Portrait Album Covers

An album cover is something that can truly make or break the listening experience. Oftentimes, an artist/band will use a picture of themselves to be the album cover, and while that may sound boring or self indulgent, the possibilities can be endless. Let’s explore some of my favorite portrait album covers. 

“Jubilee” – Japanese Breakfast (Photographed by Peter Ash Lee)

Michelle Zauner, the head of Japanese Breakfast, poses amongst persimmons in this album cover. Persimmons, a rather sweet fruit, directly reflect the saccharine sweetness of Zauner’s vocals and the general joy of the album’s themes. Zauner, known for speaking and singing openly about the passing of her mother, said: “After spending the last five years writing about grief, I wanted our follow up to be about joy.” Not only is this a beautiful album cover (and one of my favorites of all time), it belongs to one of my favorite albums of 2021. 

“What Do You Think About the Car?” – Declan McKenna (Photographed by Matt Lambert)

The colors in this portrait of Declan McKenna that serves as the cover for his debut album “What Do You Think About the Car?” are subtle and gorgeous. This album feels like a gateway to a simpler world, and the simplicity of the cover mimics that. I’m also a fan of subtle details like the car chain McKenna is dangling across his mouth.

“Night Time, My Time” – Sky Ferreira (Photographed by Gaspar Noé)

Other than being a stunning portrait of Ferreira and a wonderful photograph in general, this cover is one of my favorite pop album covers of all time. I’d be interested in seeing if she could top this cover (which is my way of saying, “Sky Ferreira– please drop an album this year).

“Smiling with No Teeth” – Genesis Owusu (Likely* photographed by Riley Blakeway)

Another one of my favorite albums from 2021, the cover for Owusu’s “Smiling with No Teeth” is stunning. I love how the photo of him smiling big and wide contrasts with some of the heavier themes explored on the album.

*I cannot find a definitive source for who photographed the album cover, but Riley Blakeway did a lot of work with Owusu surrounding the album including a music video


I had such a hard time choosing just four album covers to highlight; obviously there are thousands of portrait album covers to choose from, these are just some of my favorites from recent years. What are your favorite portrait album covers?

Until next time,

Caitlin

Categories
Miscellaneous

Overcoming Writer’s Block

Having been a writer for the WKNC blog for over a year now, there are times in which I feel like there’s nothing to write about. I scroll through my Spotify, look at old lists I’ve made and read my colleagues’ blogs and nothing strikes my inspiration. These blocks can be annoying at best and paralyzing at worst, especially when held to a deadline.

But there’s one tip that I’ve heard and practiced that I feel has been instrumental in getting past writer’s block and creating blogs that I’m proud of.

Live your life.

Going about life as normal presents me with so much creative inspiration. Rather than hole-ing myself into my room until I can think of an idea or come up with something I feel is worthy of creation, I try to do activities (not even necessarily related to writing) and those provide me with inspiration.  Whether it be just going on a walk, being extra intentional about spending time with my friends or paying attention to the music playing in the grocery store, inspiration has struck me far more when I’m doing something rather than just telling my brain to create an idea from thin air.

Creative blocks are a nuisance, but sometimes they are necessary.

– Caitlin

Categories
Blog

What’s the Deal with Spotify Blends?

Despite Spotify not being a good platform for artists to make money, Spotify does have a lot of cool features for its users. This includes being able to make your pets personalized curated playlists, Spotify Wrapped, Discover Weekly, and more. A feature I recently discovered a few months ago is Spotify Blends.

Blends, according to Spotify, are “shared playlist[s] that combine the music you and a friend listen to.” This playlist updates daily. At first, I thought it was cool and made Blends with both of my roommates, my sister and some other friends. But yesterday, when I was looking at my playlists I saw all of these blends and thought: “When have I ever listened to these?”

I thought of a few ways Blends could be useful, outside of the initial excitement of making one to see what you and your loved ones have in common, but I can’t tell if they’re actually worth it or not. 

Blends can be useful if: your friends listen to a lot of different music than you and you’re wanting to branch out, you are going on some sort of road trip with a friend and want a good mix of your music to listen to, you literally have no other option but to listen to this playlist.

Music is a deeply personal thing and everyone has their individual tastes and preferences, I don’t really see the point in adding other people (algorithmically) into the equation.

Maybe there’s something I’m missing and Blends are a lot cooler and have more utility than I think they do. But until that’s proven to me, I will not be listening to Spotify Blends unless I’m desperate.

– Caitlin

Categories
Playlists

Songs to Frolic to: A Playlist

At this point in the semester, I fantasize a lot about what my life could be like in some alternate universe where I wasn’t in college. My escapist fantasies often involve me running through a meadow and befriending all of the creatures outside. To indulge myself in those fantasies, I decided to make a playlist to be the soundtrack to this feeling. As all of my favorite playlists do, this one has folky undertones and is perfect for sitting outside on a warm spring day, going on a walk with an old friend or, like the playlist title notates, frolicking.

Without further ado, here are 15 songs to frolic to:

  • “Serpientes” – Los Valentina
  • “Time Escaping” – Big Thief
  • “Blue Coupe” – Twin Peaks
  • “Amoeba” – The Doozers
  • “Bryter Layter” – Nick Drake
  • “Pára-Raio” – Djavan
  • “Conditions” – Rozi Plain
  • “Sometimes I Forget” – Tex Crick
  • “Cheers” – The Slaps
  • “书夕一” – Keiichi Sokabe
  • “Crazy” – Spiritualized
  • “I’m the Sky” – Norma Tanega
  • “Greycedes” – Jessica Pratt
  • “I’m Down, Whatever” – JW Francis
  • “If I Am Only My Thoughts” – Loving

As always, you can stream this playlist on Spotify.

Here’s to frolicking,

Caitlin