Categories
Playlists

Comforting Music

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Something that I’ve realized while being under quarantine inside my house is the need for hours of self-care, including music that helps relax and comfort me. This blog posts includes some of my favorite comforting albums and songs as well as a playlist to help keep you well during times of concern and anxiety. 

Oncle Jazz – Men I Trust (2019)

This album is the epitome of relaxation with soothing melodies and calmness that is perfect to keep you feeling light even when things are difficult. I particularly like this album because it remains upbeat and cheerful in its lyrics which is perfect when paired with the soothing beats found throughout the album. 

Duke Ellington & John Coltrane – Duke Ellington, John Coltrane (1963) 

I am not a fan of jazz, however, this album could put me to sleep with its relaxing saxophone and piano notes. My favorites from this album are In A Sentimental Mood and My Little Brown Book, two tracks I listen to quite often while focusing on work. 

Carrie & Lowell – Sufjan Stevens (2015)

Most of Sufjan Stevens’ albums include relaxing tracks, but Carrie & Lowell is likely the most melancholic. Although this album is sad, its beauty overshadows the grimness of the topic (the loss of Stevens’ mother and his childhood as the focus of the album). Can’t recommend this album enough. 

This Is All Yours – alt-J (2014)

I’m a big alt-J fan, especially since seeing them live and seeing how amazingly well their music transfers to an in-person experience. This album has some of the more relaxing, less tonal electronic and more instrument- and vocal-based tracks of their discography. All are beautifully made and have vocals which are sure to comfort you.

Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes (2008) 

The vocals and soft guitar strumming on this album help it remain one of my favorite comforting albums. Something about it is so inspiring, like warmth in the middle of a cold winter. 

You can find my favorites from all of these albums as well as other comforting tracks from artists like Keaton Henson, Beach House, and Elliot Smith on the Spotify playlist linked here. Hope you enjoyed this blog post!

– Miranda 

Categories
Playlists

Friday Favorites (3/20)

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Hello everyone, I hope you’re all doing well and staying indoors(!!) and healthy during this crazy time. One of the best ways to take control of your own self-care and occupy your time well is to listen to new music. Hopefully my Friday Favorites for this week inspire you to find some new tracks to check out. 

9 to 5 (ft. Freddie Gibbs & Tedy Andreas) – Adam Snow 

I am a really avid follower of Freddie Gibbs and adore his music, which led me to finding this recent release. I like Andreas’ voice and the beat created by Snow. Definitely a must-listen especially if you like rap or R&B. 

We Got Love (ft. Ms. Lauryn Hill) – Teyana Taylor 

I was a Teyana fan back in middle school, and this song is so cute. Lauryn Hill is also one of my absolute favorite artists of all time, so this song is instantly good to me. Lauryn Hill’s verses on this song are so melodic and lovely. 

I Wanna Ride – Porches

This track is my favorite from the new Porches album, I think it’s a pretty sweet song about ~young love~ with a cool beat. “I wanna ride with you/ wherever you are.” It’s also a bit different from the typically sound we usually get from Porches, which is probably why I like it. 

Je disparais dans tes bras – Christine and the Queens 

This one is nice because it somehow meets in the middle of electronic and pop in an appealing way that is actually pretty underrated. Very unique in its sound, and the French adds an elegance to the track. 

Climb That Mountain – Sufjan Stevens, Lowell Brams  

This song is a comforting instrumental made by Sufjan Stevens along with his stepfather, Lowell Brams (referenced in his absolutely fantastic album Carrie & Lowell – which I highly recommend). The singles that the two have been releasing have me extremely excited for the release of their collaborative album. 

If you’re interested, you can find all of my Friday Favorites since I began writing them for WKNC on a playlist at this link. 

– Miranda 

Categories
DJ Highlights

My Best Concert Experience

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One of the best bands I’ve ever seen live was Cults. Cults is an indie pop/synthpop band from New York City which was formed in 2010 by Brian Oblivion and Madeline Follin. Their track, Go Outside, helped them get on the map, and they have gained more popularity over the years with exposure from their appearance on the new Stephen King’s Carrie remake and the release of their most recent album, Offering, in 2017. I’ll go ahead and say that if you haven’t heard of the band or haven’t gotten a chance to listen to them, definitely look them up. 

Before Cults released the album Static, they were pretty underground. I’m not sure how I even discovered them, but regardless they quickly became one of my favorite bands. I’m sure I listened to Cults (their first album) over a hundred times. I really adore their sound and to this day I appreciate them as one of the most unique bands out there. In 2015, after a lot of begging, my parents took me to The Fillmore in Charlotte (on a school night!) to see Cults. The concert was memorable to me especially because it was one of the first times I’d ever seen a band live. Cults put so much energy into their performances and have a live sound that was very similar to their recordings. I loved the high energy and all the excitement in the room that night and it was such a good way to be introduced to the music scene. The highlight of the night was afterwards, my dad somehow helped me get backstage to meet the band. I had just gotten their album and shirt, and Madeline Follin signed my Static CD and chatted with me briefly. It was a really great experience for me as a young woman to meet such a cool, down-to-earth female musician. She really inspires me and I think it definitely helped make that concert even more memorable to me. 

If you haven’t checked out Cults yet, definitely do!

-Miranda 

Categories
DJ Highlights

Top Choice: Movie Soundtracks

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Her (2013)

The main melody that plays throughout Her is such a nostalgic sound to me and it ties in all of the emotion encompassed throughout the film. The music has such a heavy hand in making the film what it is, a heart-wrenching romantic story, which is why I fully believe Her has one of the best music soundtracks. I love the simple piano melodies created to enhance the movie. The score is credited to the band Arcade Fire, and it was nominated for an Academy Award. I also absolutely adore The Moon Song by Karen O and am so glad it was included as a duet with Ezra Koenig. 

Electrick Children (2012)

If you haven’t seen this movie yet, definitely do. It is such an interesting indie film that I happened upon while browsing Netflix. Somehow, nearly six years later I still find myself pulling up the soundtrack to it because it is so compelling and well-put-together. The soundtrack helped me find some new favorite artists, and I won’t spoil too much, but the song that is most important in the film is really cool. *Please note that some content in the film may be triggering.* 

Juno (2007) 

I actually adore Kimya Dawson and loved hearing her music in Juno. I also think it’s a pretty iconic coming-of-age movie, especially its humorous (but very real) tone. I love the inclusion of such a wide variety of musical influence from The Velvet Underground to Barry Louis Polisar. The soundtrack is so cute and romantic and I definitely listen to it outside the context of the movie. 

Donnie Darko (2001)

This movie is definitely a weird one and will have you walking away wondering what you just watched – BUT the soundtrack will keep you coming back. It is such a well-mixed selection of music with the best of songs by Tears For Fears, Nine Inch Nails, and Brian Eno. It is definitely one of the most interesting soundtracks on this list. 

Harold and Maude (1971) 

Okay, as I’m making this list I realize I like some pretty dark films. This one is certainly no exception – but I wanted to include it because I think Cat Stevens is such a cool dude and was really surprised to know that two of his songs that I like most, Don’t Be Shy and If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out, were composed and performed by him specifically for this film. 

Thank you all for reading! I hope to eventually come out with a part two to this series because I have such a deep love for movie soundtracks. 

– Miranda

Categories
Playlists

Friday Favorites (3/6)

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Spring break begins after this week, and in anticipation I (and I’m sure thousands of other State students) have been listening exclusively to the most upbeat music I can find. Typically I tend to gravitate toward indie and electronic music but this week I’ve mixed in some more popular music as well as some tracks that are spring break-esque that I’ve been looking forward to sharing. 

The Other Side (from Trolls World Tour) – SZA, Justin Timberlake

SZA is one of my favorite vocalists and so this track gets an instant heart from me. I also appreciate Justin Timberlake’s harmonious addition to the chorus on this song. I feel like this song is great for a dance party or even the drive home from school, it definitely makes me want to get up and move.

ringtone (Remix) ft. Charli XCX, Rico Nasty, Kero Kero Bonito – 100 gecs

This song is so addictive. The chorus, sung by Charli XCX, has been stuck in my head all week. I love the verses by all of the artists and think this is such a bubbly pop song perfect for listening to during a vacation. It’s a bit all over the place, chaotic, but that only makes me adore it more. 

Boogie – BROCKHAMPTON

I’m sure any BROCKHAMPTON fans reading this know and love this song already, but in case you haven’t heard it yet, this track is one of the most hype songs ever made. Every time I listen, I want to go crazy and dance. It also has a chaotic element, but I freaking love this song so much. Definitely perfect for your spring break party. 

Hot Girl (ft. Kari Faux) – Yung Baby Tate

I love Yung Baby Tate and Kari Faux and think this song has near-perfect lyricism. Just like Kari raps, I’ve been dreaming about getting tan lines and visiting the Bahamas. Anyway, this song has a nice beat and both singers add soothingly smooth vocals to the track. 

100 Degrees – Rich Brian 

This song is one of my favorites because it’s so refreshingly different from most Rich Brian songs (though I enjoy a majority of his discography). It’s such a bouncy song and features both rap verses and singing by Brian. It has such a warm-weather vibe that is sure to warm you up, even during unpredictable North Carolina weather. 

Hoping you all enjoyed this list, and am wishing you all an exciting and hype spring break!

– Miranda 

Categories
New Album Review

Album Review: Miss Anthropocene by Grimes

My favorites: New Gods, You’ll miss me when I’m not around, IDORU

Listen if you like: Crystal Castles, Purity Ring, Kap Bambino 

Grimes’ most recent album, Miss Anthropocene was released a few days ago. Grimes is known for her ethereal electronic melodies and otherworldly vocals. This album is no exception, though there is a saturnine quality to the entire album; in complement with the themes of climate change and human destruction Grimes attempted to portray. The last track, IDORU contrasts with all of that – its lyricism is all based on love, and has a softer tone than the other tracks. Some of the other main themes of the album include depression, self-destruction, and the recent experiences Grimes has been through (such as her relationship, pregnancy, and focus on ethical issues). 

I have followed Grimes since I first gained an interest in synth-pop/electronic music in my teens. Her albums Visions and Geidi Primes are among my top favorites of all time. Although nothing will meet the novelty of Visions as an album truly unlike any other, Miss Anthropocene is a delicious complement to Art Angels. Her music is unparalleled by any other electronic or art-pop artist, and since her entrance into the music scene in 2007 has gained prominence and prosperity. Throughout the many years, she has Grimes has evolved alongside her music. Now 31, she is pregnant with the child of the billionaire Elon Musk and has gained much more of a celebrity status. Miss Anthropocene shows the growth of Grimes as an artist as well as a reflection on the changes within her life. Grimes shows a  motivation to break out of her previous more pop-influenced albums and pull from different influences and genres, like the influence of Korean music in We Appreciate Power and Bollywood in 4ÆM. I love to see the progression in sound reflected on this newest album. 

– Miranda

Categories
New Album Review

New Music: The Magnolias

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Listen if you like: Bon Iver, Cigarettes After Sex, spookyghostboy

The Magnolias are a band based in Chapel Hill/Mooresville composed of members Sam Gatlin, Bryton Shoffner, and Danny Knutelsky. They began writing and playing together as The Magnolias last year. With the help of UNC’s Grammy-nominated music production professor, Jason Richmond, the band was able to begin recording in a professional studio in late 2019; thus allowing them to put out their most recent tracks, on An Invitation

An Invitation features the songs Goodnight, I’m going to sleep and Blood in the Sink. The Magnolias show a clear talent in the multiple instruments they play. The melody of the songs is intricate and their sound is incredibly developed, especially for a band so new. I adore the lyricism in both of the singles, and especially enjoy the layered vocals in both songs. I definitely recommend giving this up-and-coming band a try, you won’t be disappointed. 

I was able to interview band member Sam Gatlin about the band and their recent releases, which are available on Spotify and all other major streaming platforms. Gatlin told me that some of the main sources of their music come from personal topics like depression and self-harm; and musical inspiration from artists like Moses Sumney and Jeff Buckley. The band is passionate about these recent additions to their discography and they are ready to make more. According to Gatlin, The Magnolias plan to release more singles in the upcoming months. 

The best way to find out about upcoming music and shows is their Instagram, @magnoliasband. 

– Miranda 

Categories
Playlists

Friday Favorites

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Hi everyone, it’s Miranda back again with my favorites from the past week! Hope everyone is managing to keep warm during the cold weather. 

Run – Joji 

I absolutely love Joji’s music and witnessing his evolution as an artist. This song is melancholy and perfect for the cold week we’ve been through. I’m a sucker for songs about lost loves and this one is no exception. It’s quite similar to melodies and content of his first album. Regardless, it’s a great song and the music video is well-made. I am definitely eagerly awaiting Joji’s sophomore album based on the singles he’s released so far. 

Hot Tub Time Machine – tobi lou 

Tobi Lou is consistently creating vibrant, interesting music which mixes the best parts of rap and anime beat-type music. His songs are truly unique and this one is no exception. As a recent release, it caught my attention because the vocals are distorted, use interesting adlibs, and a basic rap beat combined to create something different from most hip-hop/alternative artists. 

One and Only (ft. Ella Mai) – J Hus

British rap is an underrated genre and both J Hus and Ella Mai have such beautiful voices that this song feels completely natural. J Hus is an artist who constantly surprises fans by changing his style and flow with every song, this one is great because it kind of throws back to 90’s British rap, which I adore. Definitely listen. 

BUSSIT (with Ari Lennox) – Dreamville 

I absolutely love Dreamville and Ari Lennox, and together they made such a cool, sensual song. I love the gospel-style harmony Ari Lennox plays with in this track. It’s flirty and the beat is really calming, and I’m a sucker for any kind of love song. 

Stoned Again – King Krule 

This song just came out but I’ve already been listening to it on repeat. It’s a really interesting mix from King Krule’s newest album which is overall more complex and has more sound depth than some of his past music. I really enjoy the album in general, especially this track. 

Thanks for reading.

– Miranda 

Categories
DJ Highlights

Best Video Game Soundtracks

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Video games have a great cultural impact for people across the world. Their importance to different cultures has increased as more game technology has developed throughout the years. One piece that is crucial to the success and longevity of games is the soundtrack that is paired with them. Today, I’ll be discussing some of my favorite game soundtracks and why I enjoy them so much. 

Legend of Zelda Franchise 

Legend of Zelda is a game franchise of Nintendo which has produced some of the most beautiful soundtracks of any video game. Legend of Zelda OSTs consistently include intricate melodies, calming songs, and ones with an adventurous spirit. The most recent addition to the franchise is Breath of the Wild, which has beautifully evolved from the original more simplistic tunes to having a more orchestral base.  

Undertale 

When Toby Fox created Undertale, it became one of the most popular indie games ever made. One reason Undertale gained so much popularity was the complex soundtrack Toby Fox designed which perfectly pairs with each area of the game. For example, in the area called Snowville, Toby Fox created a bright and soft melody that perfectly represents falling snow. The soundtrack for Undertale is so beautiful and musically interesting that I often play it in my car during long drives.

Stardew Valley 

Stardew Valley is a farm simulator and adventure game published by Chucklefish in 2016 and developed by Eric Barone. Barone (also known as ConcernedApe) created the Stardew Valley Original Soundtrack. The soundtrack is incredibly relaxing – just the first few notes of the opening theme give me a wash of nostalgia. I’ve also found that the soundtrack is excellent for studying or doing homework to. 

Year Walk

Developed in 2013, Year Walk is a Swedish mobile horror game. Although the game is nearly a decade old, music from the soundtrack still occupies spots on my playlists. Daniel Olsén, the composer, most recently created the soundtrack for Sayona Wild Hearts in 2019. Since Year Walk is a horror game, many of the songs are eerie and they are completely perfect for Fall or Halloween. Would recommend both playing Year Walk and enjoying its soundtrack with headphones for a truly immersive, spooky experience. 

Thank you for reading!

– Miranda  

Categories
New Album Review

EP Review: Something You Needed by flipturn

My favorites: Savannah, Something You Needed, Poppies 

Listen if you like: Fleet Foxes, Leland Blue, The Alabama Shakes  

Something You Needed, an EP by flipturn was released earlier this month. flipturn is an indie/alternative band that has slowly increased in popularity throughout the years.  

The EP is short but very complete. I absolutely love this EP and can’t sing its praises enough. The vocals remind me of something between Neil Young and the Fleet Foxes. The lyrics are emotional, filling the listener with a deep sense of nostalgia. I swear, listening to the first two tracks on the album knocked loose memories I’d buried deeply, in such a beautiful way. There is an unshakeable raw emotion to each song on the EP. Just read the lyrics from Glistening: “Sweet thing, if I’m losing you/Know my silver linings typically hit me in the afternoon.” This emotional song reminds me of some of the metaphors of Fleetwood Mac. The whole EP also shares the same kind of simple type of pretty melody, infused with plucked guitar strings and soft piano notes. 

The melancholic tone of Did I Love You (Like I Promised) most reminds me of my favorite Fleet Foxes songs. Absolutely love this type of indie band, especially because it pairs so well with the transition from winter to spring. Soft, sad notes paired with happy lyrics, and vice versa. The contradiction always reminds me of the changing seasons; the EP couldn’t have been released at a better time for the association I have with it. 

Definitely recommend that anyone reading this listen to this album ASAP, and let me know what you think. I personally can’t get enough, and have already added some of the best songs to my playlists. In addition, flipturn is coming to The Pour House in Raleigh April 22nd. You can check out this event and more here

– Miranda