Short Stories

Selena Gomez or Céline Dion?: The Story of My First Concert

When I was in 7th grade, at the awkward age of 12, I got the opportunity to go to my very first concert. I went with my older sister, and to be honest, I don’t remember any of it. However, what I do remember is how we got the tickets.

One morning, I was awoken by my dad way before I was supposed to get ready for school. I was groggy and confused, but once I gained awareness of my surroundings, I realized he was on the phone with my mom. They were frantically trying to tell me that my mother had won tickets to a Selena Gomez concert coming up in October. I was excited, confused, bewildered, but more than anything, I was tired. Thus, I shrugged it off and tried to go back to sleep.

When I woke up for the second time that morning, I quickly remembered what had happened earlier. Had my mom actually won tickets to a Selena Gomez concert? How had she done that? Why did she want tickets to see an emerging Disney star? 

On the way to work on that early morning in 2013, my mom was listening to a local radio station and they were giving away two concert tickets to see Céline Dion. Or, at least that’s what my mom thought when she called in to try to win. Miraculously, my mom was the lucky winner, and in the process of securing the details of when and where she would receive the tickets, she found out that she had won tickets to see Selena Gomez, not the beloved singer of “My Heart Will Go On.”

She figured that her 16 and 12-year-old daughters would be excited to go, as neither of us had gone to a concert before, and boy was she right.

Although I don’t remember a thing from that night, I love telling the story of how a mistake, some luck and a coincidence led to me and my sister going to our very first concert.

Until next time,


New Album Review

“Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” New Album Review

ALBUM: “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” by Bleachers


LABEL: RCA Records Label

RATING: 7.25/10

BEST TRACKS: “Chinatown” “How Dare You Want More” “Stop Making This Hurt”

FCC: None

“Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night” is finally out after over a year of teasing by Jack Antonoff, who said at the beginning of 2020 that his third album would come at some time that year. 

With a total of 10 songs that clock in at nearly 34 minutes, this album contains collaborations with Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent), Lana Del Rey and Bruce Springsteen. The three singles “45,” “Chinatown” and “Stop Making This Hurt” are indubitably three of the strongest tracks.

As a fan of Antonoff, I was somewhat surprised by how reminiscent of Bleachers’ previous album, “Gone Now,” this release was. To Antonoff’s credit, he did experiment more than usual on this record, as seen with an instrumental solo in the back half of “How Dare You Want More” and strong vocals in the opening track, “91”. However, he seemed to fall back into his own tropes of big jazzy instrumentation and writing about the same themes he’s been writing about for his entire solo career (shadows, heroes/being saved, and waking up being just a few of the tropes he falls back on). What once felt like a refreshing take on pop music is now starting to feel somewhat trite.

What some may see as repetitive, others may interpret as cohesive and consistent, so it’s a matter of how you frame the context surrounding the album. Criticism aside, the album is good, and definitely worth the listen, but simply not what I was hoping to see from Antonoff. 

Track 9, “Strange Behavior” (previously known as “Behavior”), is a cover of a song he had written in Steel Train, a former band of his. The new rendition is more soulful and intimate than the previous, but I’m partial to the rock instrumentation and the overall execution on the Steel Train version.

As always happens with a Bleachers record, the album’s themes and generally upbeat nature left me feeling hopeful, which is a rare and beautiful gift that Antonoff possesses, and is one that just can’t be taught. Although I definitely prefer Bleachers’ two previous records, “Strange Desire” and “Gone Now,” I appreciate the artistry and love that clearly went into “Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night.”

Band/Artist Profile

An Ode to Mallrat

Mallrat (in her personal life known as Gracie Shaw) is a 22-year-old Australian pop singer and songwriter that has been releasing music since 2016, with the debut of her first EP “Uninvited.” I mentioned Mallrat on my “Australia Favorites” blog back in April. Her discography includes three EPs and a handful of singles. With earnest and angsty lyrics, she brings a refreshing perspective to the world of pop. She has collaborated with artists such as Cub Sport, Allday, and producers like Konstantin Kersting and BJ Burton. 

My favorite of her projects is her 2018 release, “In The Sky.” This five-song EP intertwines the familiarity of streamlined-sounding pop with teenage uncertainty, hope and despair. However, if you’re not a fan of vocal chops, I would stay away from this EP (it’s covered in them). “In The Sky” also has killer cover-art, one of my favorites of all time. 

“In The Sky” – Mallrat (cover art)

My favorite (and in my opinion the best) track by Mallrat thus far is “Charlie” off of her 2019 EP “Driving Music.” She has said that “Charlie is about a lot of different things, but mostly just loving people so much, regardless of whether it’s reciprocated or not.” This song was at the top of my 2020 Spotify Wrapped, and is overall an amazing song about the beauty of the human ability to love. 

I’ve been listening to Mallrat since 2016, and I hope to one day see a full-length album from her. I also think she has a voice suited for soft rock, and would love to hear her experiment in that realm as well.

Sources for this blog include:


Tips and Tricks for Moving

I have lived in the same house my entire life, so when it came time for me to go to college in the late summer of 2019, I had never moved before. Granted, I have an older sibling who also went to college, and my parents have moved a countless number of times in their lives, so they were able to help me with that process. However, because of the pandemic, I had to transfer all of my belongings six (soon to be seven) times within the span of two years– and although the process never gets any less stressful, I have learned some tips and tricks along the way.

1. 30 Gallon Trash Bags are your best friend.

Especially if you’re not spatially aware (like me) it’s nice to have giant bags you can just throw random stuff in. They are especially useful for bedding (even when it’s folded, it takes up so much space) or clothing. I would advise against putting anything fragile in one of these but for fabric items, they work just fine.

2. Your belongings are probably not going to be organized the way you want them to be, and that is okay.

Once you come to accept that the whole process is going to be extremely stressful no matter what you do, it takes a lot of the pressure off. Obviously there are things that you can do to make the process easier (as that is the goal of this blogpost) but chances are, logistics will get in the way of perfect organization, and that’s alright.

3. Collect cardboard boxes in the few weeks/months before you’re about to move out.

If you don’t have room for boxes or don’t want them cluttering your space, collapse them and then reconstruct them when it’s time to start packing. 

4. Storage units are also your best friend.

If you’re going back and forth between two places (as is common for college students), the ability to not have to lug non-essentials back and forth is amazing. They can be somewhat pricey, but if they’re within your budget they are 100% worth it. 

5. Distract yourself with podcasts, television and music.

The process will not be fun, so you may as well make it bearable with media of your choice. Just be sure it’s not something you want to pay too close attention to, because you will be packing/unpacking your belongings and thus won’t be able to watch the screen the whole time.

6. Ask for help.

Along the same vein as the last tip, having help from family, friends, and/or roommates is indispensable. They can serve as a distraction, help or even just companionship along the way.

I hope these tips are helpful, and if you’re in the process of moving right now just know that you’re not alone. Hopefully one day we’ll finally invent teleportation and that’ll make everything 100% easier. 

Until then,



2000s Film Soundtrack: A Playlist

Certain songs give off a very particular energy, and I’ve decided the energy I like most in a song is the following: songs that sound like they could be in the soundtrack coming of age film via the early 2000s. To indulge myself and to share the wealth, I’ve compiled a playlist of songs released in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s that radiate that vibe. Granted, upon some research a couple of these songs were in films from around that time, but not any that I’ve seen, so it seems like I might just have a good radar for soundtrack songs. 

“You You You You You” – The 6ths

“What Will Give” – The Radio Dept. 

“The Future Pt. 1” – Voxtrot

“You Are My Face” – Wilco

“The Good That Won’t Come Out” – Rilo Kiley

“Get Me Away From Here I’m Dying” – Belle and Sebastian

“Another Travelin’ Song” – Bright Eyes

“Across The Universe” – Fiona Apple

“Blue Flower” – Mazzy Star

“The Morning Sad” – Veruca Salt

“I’ll Believe in Anything” – Wolf Parade

“Magic 8 Ball” – Cub

I’ve made a Spotify playlist of this list just for you. If you check it out, I hope you enjoy it.

Until next time,


Classic Album Review

“Stranger in the Alps” Album Review

ALBUM: “Stranger in the Alps” by Phoebe Bridgers


LABEL: Dead Oceans

RATING: 8.5/10

BEST TRACKS: “Funeral” “Smoke Signals” “Scott Street”

FCC: Explicit

Released in 2017, “Stranger in the Alps” is Phoebe Bridgers’ debut album. This record was a remarkable launching point for Bridgers, and is everything a debut album should be. With themes ranging from loss, loneliness and depression, the album is sad, honest, but not overly cynical.  The album’s title is in reference to “The Big Lebowski,” and the way a line of the movie was edited for the TV (clean) version of the film; irony is clearly never lost on Bridgers and her humor peeks its way through her lyricism throughout the album.

On tracks “Georgia” and “Motion Sickness” she lets her vocals shine, although they stand out on every track. As I said on my “Best of Phoebe Bridgers” blog post, Bridgers’ “diary-like storytelling, sorrowful disposition, smooth vocals, and folky melodies combine to make top-tier indie music.” 

Bridgers, no stranger to collaboration, worked with Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes on this album. Track 9, titled “Would You Rather,” contains vocals from Oberst, whom she later would collaborate with on Better Oblivion Community Center. She keeps her inspirations and predecessors tangible in her work, with references to the deaths of David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister in the record’s first track, “Smoke Signals.”  The penultimate track of the album “You Missed My Heart” is a cover of a song by the same title originally by Mark Kozelek, released in 2013 on “Live at Phoenix Public House Melbourne.”  

“Stranger in the Alps” is sonically and thematically cohesive, although sometimes it does fall victim to repetitiveness. Totaling 11 tracks and clocking in at 44 minutes, the album feels like a good length and tends to be more refreshing than it is redundant. The final track of the album, “Smoke Signals (Reprise)” ties the album together with a callback to the first track.

Although I definitely prefer her sophomore album “Punisher,” which was released in 2020 (be sure to check out Lise Nox’s review of it), “Stranger in the Alps” certainly gives that album a run for its money.


The “Rosyln” Mystery

The “Twilight” movie series recently got put onto Netflix, and to celebrate, I decided to listen to some of my favorite tracks from the soundtracks. A fan-favorite track from the “Twilight: New Moon” soundtrack is a song called “Rosyln” by Bon Iver and St. Vincent. This song is often referred to (incorrectly) as “Roslyn” (with the letters “y” and “l” flipped around from the soundtrack’s spelling). I’ve always regarded the original spelling as strange, but figured there was some explanation behind it; some “Twilight” or Bon Iver lore that I hadn’t quite grasped.

When I looked into it last week, I quickly found out that there is no clear-cut explanation. Let me relay what I’ve found out to you.

When you search up the title of the song, Google immediately tries to correct you, because as far as I know, there is little else in this world named “Rosyln” and it thinks you’re making a spelling mistake.

Justin Vernon (the man behind Bon Iver), has referred to this song in live performances as “Roslyn, Washington.”

Video begins at 0:22, when Vernon announces the name of the song they will be performing. He clearly says “Roslyn” and not “Rosyln.”

Fans have pointed out that Vernon loves the show “Northern Exposure,” and that it has had a large influence on him (including commissioning a fan for a tattoo related to the show as well as naming his band and a record label after aspects of the show). The show, although set in Alaska, was primarily filmed in Roslyn, Washington. They think that the title is a nod to that.

So why is the track spelled “Rosyln”?

Some fans mistakenly thought that the song was merely misspelled on Spotify, and that the original soundtrack CD was spelled “Roslyn.” That thought, although the most convenient explanation, is incorrect. The original CD’s packaging spells the track as “Rosyln.”

Long story short, we don’t know for sure. My personal guess is that a typo was made at some point in the publishing process of the soundtrack, and once it was noticed it was too late to fix it. There is much debate between fans whether it should be referred to as “Rosyln” or “Roslyn,” and my personal stance is that it was published as “Rosyln” and should be referred to as such.

Classic Album Review

My Favorite Albums, 3 Years Ago

Long ago, my main interest in music heavily focused on pop music. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, (stuff is usually popular for a reason) my music taste has really strayed away from that as I’ve gotten older. I recently found a picture of an old journal entry from when I was 16 that chronicled my favorite albums from the time, and I wanted to reminisce on them and share how I feel about them nowadays.

My journal entry from June of 2018.

“Gone Now” – Bleachers

I still deeply love this album, and revisit it annually, but it’s no longer in constant rotation like it used to be. Bleachers was a gateway into more of the “indie” music that I am into nowadays. This album will forever be my favorite thing that Jack Antonoff has put his magic touch on.

“Shawn Mendes” – Shawn Mendes

This journal entry is from June of 2018, and that album came out in late May 2018. I most likely last listened to that album in August of 2018. It was definitely a temporary love, but I remember it being good pop music.

“The Human Condition” – Jon Bellion

This album definitely is a product of its time. It just feels very 2016. It was one of the first albums I ever deeply fell in love with, and eventually even went on to see Jon Bellion in concert. It’s definitely not something I would still listen to nowadays, but it meant a lot to me back then.

“What Do You Think About The Car?” – Declan McKenna

This is still one of my favorite albums of all time. If you like “Brazil,” the most popular song off of this album, then you should definitely give the rest a listen.

“Death of a Bachelor” – Panic At the Disco

This isn’t even their best album (in my opinion their first album takes the cake). Again, definitely not something I currently listen to, but it was important to me back then.

“Oh Wonder” – Oh Wonder

This is an extremely underrated pop album. While I rarely ever revisit nowadays, I still love it dearly. Maybe the nostalgia I have associated with this album makes me see it through rose-colored glasses, but it was the first album I properly listened to from beginning to end all on my own. 

“Conscious” – Broods

This is another underrated pop album, and I don’t think nostalgia is fueling my views this time. Broods’ 2019 release “Don’t Feed The Pop Monster” is an album I revisit more often than this one, but both are amazing and in my opinion, stand the test of time.

“Melodrama” – Lorde

This is the best pop album of the 2010s. I felt that way then, and I still feel that way now.

“+” – Ed Sheeran

I remember wanting to make both sides of the list even, so I kind of added this one as a last-ditch effort. I loved this album in 2013, but I seldom revisited it when I wrote this entry 3 years ago and don’t now.

“Dream Your Life Away” – Vance Joy

What I said about “+” applies here, except I do revisit this one nowadays.

There isn’t anything wrong with the albums I don’t listen to anymore, they just belong in that period of my life. I can’t help but wonder what I’ll think of my current favorite albums three years from now. Only time will tell.

Until next time,


Miscellaneous Music Education

How to Find New Music

Sometimes, I get in a rut and feel like I’m tired of all of the music I like. I know I’m not alone in this, so I’m going to share with you all of the different methods and mediums I use to find new music.

ONLINE is compatible with most streaming services and can keep track of all of your streams (or as they call them, “scrobbles”) across platforms.

The platform is pretty much designed to recommend different artists and bands to you. The home page suggests artists similar to the ones you listen to, and will even recommend specific tracks for you to listen to.

There are dozens of ways to find new music on, and I often use it as a tool to build sonically coherent sets as a DJ for WKNC.

CONS: The mobile app is glitchy and is not robust like the site is, however the site is compatible on mobile devices, so I would recommend just using the site rather than the app.


Spotify also is constantly recommending music to you. Whether it be via playlists like “Discover Weekly,” “Daily Mixes,” artist/song radios or genre-specific mixes, Spotify definitely leans heavily into recommending music to it’s users.

Even when making playlists, Spotify will recommend songs for you to add, based on the general vibe of the playlist you’ve set so far.

CONS: The algorithm can and will recommend a lot of the same songs over and over again. There have been many people online who note that Spotify recommends “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” by Carolina Polacheck over and over again.


There are a bunch of subreddits for specific genres, artists/bands, it’s just a matter of finding the right ones. This platform requires more digging than the previous two, but if you find groups that pique your musical interests, you should join them.

CONS: It takes some pretty active searching for subreddits that align with what you’re looking for.


At WKNC we pride ourselves on playing a variety of different music. If you like indie, rock, electronic, hip-hop, R&B and/or local music, then you’re in luck. DJs and Music Directors work hard to provide the best of the best for our listeners. If you’re interested in finding out when your preferred genre(s) are playing, check out the HD-1 and HD-2 schedules. You can tune into HD-1 and HD-2 on our web-stream and the Radio-FX app. HD-1 is available on all FM radios within range, and HD-2 is accessible via HD radio. 


Ask your friends

People listen to a lot of different music. I have found numerous different artists, bands, and songs just by asking for recommendations from my friends.

Pay attention to soundtracks

There have been many times I’ve discovered a song because it was played in a movie or TV show. If there’s a song playing in the background that show you love and it actually kind of rocks, use Shazam to find out what song it is.

Live music

If there are venues by you that you know you love to go to, check out who’s playing there soon. Tickets for smaller artists are usually cheap, and you never know, they could be your next favorite band. If you don’t have the time, money, or energy to go to live-shows all the time you can use this tip as a search-engine of sorts. Find out who’s playing at your favorite venues, and then stream their stuff to see if you like it.

At the end of the day, music is everywhere, we just have to keep an eye out for it.

Until next time,


DJ Highlights

DJ Profile: Rainbow Riot

DJ Name: Rainbow Riot

Show Name: The Riot Hours

Show Description: The Riot Hours with Rainbow Riot airs every Wednesday morning only on WKNC 88.1 FM. Playing you the very best in music from all decades, including all the hits, back catalogue tracks, and forgotten tunes your speakers can handle. Tune in from 7 to 10 every Wednesday morning to experience The Riot Hours.

Without ruining the magic of it all– can you walk me through the process of how you curate your sets?

Sure, oh my gosh, it’s so much listening to radio. It really is. It’s a very organic process. For me, if I hear something that really catches my ear, I’m like, “oh, that’ll be in the set.” …At any given time, I’m working on three or four sets at a time, just because I hear so many different songs, because I’m always kind of looking. And I think that’s maybe part of the process, is the insanity of it. I would say each set is curated, based off of one singular, fleeting, I guess we’ll use the word “magical” moment when you hear a song. And it’s like, that’s what that song is.

From the Beatles to Lily Allen, a lot of different types of music live within the Riot Hours Realm, how do you determine if a song is up to par to be included in a set?

I am really bad about this… because I have a third hour that’s solely for requests in my show. The first two hours, I kind of make those sets without anyone else in mind. So it’s, it’s very, very selfish and very narcissistic. But it’s all kind of it really is a joy to make every playlist because that’s me in it and so it just kind of feels like almost like character development in a really weird like way. Like for a writer, that’s kind of what it is for me. So I guess it does just kind of click and I figure it’s almost like the, like Marie Kondo method of like, does it spark joy? And if it does not, it does not go in the set. 

Is there a story behind your DJ name and show name?

I really wanted to do a drive-time show. […] My DJ name I got from a Herbie Hancock song. And I loved it. I was like, this is amazing, because I think one of the songs is called “Rainbow Riot,” I was like– wait, not Herbie Hancock, I’m so sorry, BB King. It’s a BB King song. And it’s got a big fat cake on the cover of the album and I just thought that was so lush and so cool and very, like, almost Sofia Coppola’s Maria Antoinette. Like I just love the lusciousness of it all. It’s kind of both of these things where it’s like really chaotic and crazy, and kind of runs off the rails sometimes and is also a burst of joy and color. That’s where Rainbow Riot comes from. And I just thought it fit, I felt like Rainbow Riot. So it’s pretty natural and The Riot Hours kind of transcended from The Riot Hour because I was originally doing one hour but I didn’t want to do anything too complex or abstract. Because my DJ name was already a little bit weird so I figured I’d just make it you know be the blank hours and riot fit in. 

What is your aspect of being a DJ?

I love becoming a completely different person. It’s second-best only to talking to listeners which is so fun. Because the best to hear that kind of be back. I feel like you have a really solid degree of narcissism to be a DJ because it’s just kind of like constant reinforcement. But I am normally pretty introverted, unless I really know the people by which I’m surrounded. It’s difficult to love performing, but hate performing in front of other people. Which is something that I definitely struggle with. Yeah it’s the worst combination. And so to just shut the door, have that light turn on on the outside and be like, I’m going to be this person for two hours, and they have jack sh** idea that I’m not this person. And that’s so funny to me. So it’s an element of transformation that I really get a kick out of.

Were you expecting such a dedicated listenership?

This is so nuts because I didn’t realize they were there, literally. […] And so I was kind of chugging along, you know, I was doing my show, and then out of nowhere, like maybe my 16th or 17th set, I got a bunch of calls. And it was like, I don’t know why this is happening. But up until that point, I mean, I’d get like one or two calls during my other sets, like my mom, being like, “What do you want for dinner?” You know? I mean, and it wasn’t even, it was like 10 calls. And I was like, “Oh, I really like that.” It’s really good to hear people being like, this reminds me of that memory, or this person or whatever. And so it just kind of hit all of a sudden, and it just kept climbing and climbing and I form bonds with people and you start to recognize people’s voices who call? It’s easy. Yeah, that’s kind of how that happened. And I completely did not see it coming.

Do you hope to do radio after college?

I do plan on it. I won’t lie. Right now I’m applying for my doctorate. But I would really love to, I think a part of me that loves neuroscience, which is what I’m applying to, is also really communication inclined. So yeah, I could definitely see myself continuing this. And I feel like it’d be such a waste. Because two years ago, Rainbow Riot did not exist. So I don’t want to throw her to the wind and be like, “Okay, I graduated and so I’m done. So, you know, there goes all that.” So yeah, I definitely want to continue this.

How has your show evolved over time?

It was a hot mess. [During my first set] … I was red in the face and so, so nervous. I had stayed up all night writing this script. And I remember I played “Custard Pie” by Led Zeppelin and was like “this is going to be the very first song of my set.”  And I wrote out this huge dribbling monologue about who wrote it, and you know, the different studio versions. And so I went in the studio…and I just started talking and then I hit play. And then Jamie came in the room. And she’s like, “Are you okay?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I’m fine.” I had just delivered the best friggin opening of my set. She’s like, it was two minutes of dead air. I never turned my mic on.  I looked at my phone and I had texts from my parents who were like, all the sudden worrying if I was dead or passed out. And I was like, “No!” It just felt like such a waste. […] I think it’s all kind of the part of the humiliating learning curve that you go through, when everybody kind of starts out not fantastic…but it’s kind of just transformed, based off of experience, and really finding a niche that I love making kind of kind of similar linked playlists that aren’t all the same, but have kind of the same idea.

Do you have any guilty pleasure music?

I had to make a promise to Jamie that I would never play Wham! I love George Michael and really love Wham!  And I also really, really loved bachata and Selena Quintanilla. I’m a massive Selena fan. I don’t even feel embarrassed about her. But I just don’t know where I would even fit that in my set. Yeah. But yeah, Wham! is a really big one. I really do enjoy some early 80s synth-y bubblegum pop.