DJ Highlights

New Show Alert: The Mellow Yellow Marsh

New semester, new show, new DJ name! What better way to kick off being officially halfway done with college than to do a classic WKNC rebrand?

The Tangerine Hour with DJ Butter was by far my most successful show. I had call-ins all the time and found that it was so rewarding to give some classic rock to the station. One day, I got a call from a fellow DJ at WQDR 94.7. I forgot his name but his enthusiasm for music and WKNC will live in my heart forever. He mentioned to me how Shaw University used to have a Funk Friday show on WSHA 88.9, and he wished that there was some more of that groove on the college radio stations around Raleigh. Well, WQDR-DJ-whose-name-I-don’t-remember, your wish has been granted.

As toad maiden (my new DJ persona because DJ Butter was starting to annoy me), I decided to bring back the Tangerine Hour but with a funky twist. The ’60s and ’70s were such a prime era for fantastic music from all genres, and the influence that blues and funk had on popular rock was so important. In The Mellow Yellow Marsh, I want to highlight songs from those groovy decades that are entirely based in soul, funk and the blues. Whether they be from well-known artists like Jimi Hendrix that completely shook up conventional rock ‘n roll, or underground acts like Shinki Chen, The Mellow Yellow Marsh will include both familiar favorites and rare gems.

Intrigued? Tune into HD-1 every Friday from 1-2pm to hear me spin the funkiest tracks from the funkiest era. Here’s a sneak peek at my first setlist if you missed it:

1. One Room Country Shack – Shuggie Otis
2. I Need You So Bad – Magic Sam
3. What A Way to Die – The Pleasure Seekers
4. One of These Days – Ten Years After
5. Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake – Small Faces
6. I Want You – The Troggs
7. Flying Bird – The Doves
8. Physical Love – Eddie Hazel
9. Buzzsaw – The Turtles
10. Eddie’s Rush – Ultimate Spinach
11. I Wanna Know If It’s Good to You – Funkadelic
12. Pali Gap – Jimi Hendrix
13. Let Me Ride – Ginger Baker’s Air Force
14. The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair – Led Zeppelin

Happy listening,

toad maiden


Where The Crawdads Sing Book Review

There’s honestly nothing better than sinking your teeth into a fantastic book over summer break. I picked up “Where the Crawdads Sing” at their airport before a family camping trip on a whim and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Published in 2018 by Delia Owens, the novel, set in the late ’50s and early ’60s, follows the life of a girl named Kya. Left to fend for herself by her family, she lives completely alone in the marsh of North Carolina, surviving off mussels, fishing, and her love of nature. Around Barkley Cove, the small town she lives by, she’s known as the “Marsh Girl,” and is generally shunned by the community. Her isolation continues until her teens and early twenties when two young men stumble upon her shack hidden in the marsh. When one of these men is murdered, Kya is suspected immediately. As quoted by the New York Times Book Review, “Where the Crawdads Sing” is a “murder mystery, coming-of-age narrative, and a celebration of nature” all at once.

Kya is a fascinating character. After being abandoned by her family members one by one, her complete isolation leaves nothing but nature alone to raise her. As a result, she is highly intelligent to the environment surrounding her, despite her inability to read and having never gone to school. But, as all humans do, she craves love, touch and companionship, leading her to enter into two relationships with the boys from the Barkley Cove. She learns trust, heartbreak and love from these encounters, but it is apparent the neglect she faced throughout her life will forever mark her as “different.”

Delia Owens, a wildlife scientist by profession, wrote “Where the Crawdads Sing” as a reflection of her time spent in Africa, where she was completely isolated for months on end while doing research. Though “Where the Crawdads Sing” is neither about Africa or wildlife scientists, Owens wanted to write about what would happen to a woman left utterly alone for nearly her whole life.

The way she crafts the novel is fantastic, jumping back and forth between the murder investigation in 1969 and Kya’s adolescence in the ’50s. It all comes together in a satisfying, heartwrenching and completely unexpected way. I won’t say any more on that, but just know that your pulse will be racing and your jaw will be on the floor.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” is by far the best book I’ve read in a long time. It has a little bit of something for everybody and is beautifully written. If you’re looking for your next summer read before fall officially sets in, look no further.

Happy reading,

toad maiden


Walking-Around-Campus-Feeling-Weird Playlist

Coming back to campus has been an absolutely insane experience. For me, after living at home for over a year, just seeing so many people in one place feels so surreal. I know I’m not the only one that’s going to have to adjust to this transition, so what better way to cope than with music? In times of great change, I often find that music is really the only constant that I can depend on. Having my set at WKNC is especially helpful for finding a sense of grounding during all this back-to-school craziness. Our studio feels almost like a weird little sticker-filled haven amidst a chaotic campus atmosphere. If you haven’t been by, make sure to come check us out on the third floor at Witherspoon Student Center.

Here’s a playlist of the songs I’ve been blasting through my headphones on the bus, while walking to class and just otherwise hanging out around campus:

1. I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You – Funkadelic

2. New Zealand Spinach – Babe Rainbow

3. Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin


5. Stay All Night – The Black Keys

6. Spoonful – Howlin’ Wolf

7. When I – Steve Lacy

8. An Idea – IAMNOBODI

9. Honey Moon – Mac Demarco

10. Jenny – John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers

11. Corcovado (Quiet Night of Quiet Stars) – Stan Getz & João Gilberto

12. Raspberry Jam – Allah-Las


The Book Nook Pt. 1

If you look inside my closet right now, I have three full shelves dedicated to my collection of books, records and magazines. I know this doesn’t sound like a lot, but my closet only has four shelves total. Meanwhile, my clothes are haphazardly shoved into the remaining drawer and crammed onto coathangers.

I’ve invested a lot of time, energy and, to be frank, money into my little library. As I was reorganizing it last week, it seemed a shame that it was banished to the inside of my closet, never to reach the light of day. That’s why I decided to start this little series on my favorite books that I’ve collected over the years. Since most of them are music-related, I figured the WKNC blog would be the perfect place to do it. Without further ado, here’s this week’s installment of The Book Nook:

Book: Crossroads—The Experience Music Project Collection

Date Published: 2000

Rating: 9/10

Summary: Described as a “time capsule” by the Experience Music Project’s (now known as the Museum of Pop Culture) Director of Curatorial and Collections, Chris Bruce, this fantastic coffee table book is a glimpse into the history of modern pop music that defined cultural movements. The Experience Music Project was originally founded by Microsoft Co-Owner Paul Allen in 2000 as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix. His success at Microsoft along with his passion for classic rock allowed him to acquire an amazing collection of rock n’ roll memorabilia. This book is a compilation of essays written by the Experience team and photos of the most notable memorabilia the Experience has to offer. From the birth of rock in the 50s to the emergence of hip-hop in the 80s, “Crossroads” catalogs pop music in a fascinating way. Now, the Experience Music Project is known as the Museum of Pop Culture, and its exhibitions range from sci-fi movies to rare audio recordings of famous musicians throughout time.

Best Part: “Crossroads” first captured my attention when I saw Jimi Hendrix’s lyrics to “Belly Button Window” scrawled over the front cover in his signature messy handwriting. The third chapter, which is dedicated to Hendrix specifically, has to be the best part. After flipping through the pages, I was immediately hooked. I’m such a geek for anything Jimi Hendrix, and they dedicate a huge portion of the book to showcasing his many guitars, outfits and writing samples. Not only are the photos impeccably arranged, but also thoughtfully paired with informative essays.

Choice Photos:

From the chapter, “New Day Rising: Punk and the Birth of Alternative Rock”
From the chapter “Northwest Passage: All Roads Lead to the Mountains, All Driveways Lead to the Garage”
From the chapter “Experiencing Hendrix: Two Curators on the Meaning of Jimi to Experience Music Project, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Modern Culture”

Happy reading,

DJ Butter


Top 10 Tyler, the Creator Tracks

If you haven’t listened to “Call Me if You Get Lost” yet, then what are you doing? Close your computer, pop those earbuds in and give Tyler the undivided attention he deserves. When you’re done you can come back and read this blog. I promise we won’t get mad at you.

It’s been honestly so wonderful to see how much Tyler, the Creator has grown as an artist since his debut in 2007. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve been a ride-or-die fan throughout his whole career, especially that first album, but his arc as a producer, art director, rapper and all-around icon has truly done a full 180.

His discography is so rich and extensive that it makes it difficult to rank, but I’ll try my best. In honor of his newest album, here’s a look back at some of my favorite tracks from Mr. Baudelaire himself:

This track is by far my favorite from “Call Me if You Get Lost.” At nearly ten minutes long, it’s a relaxing, rollercoaster ride of a song. Tyler himself has expressed how much he loved creating it. From Bossa Nova-type beats to steady lyrical flows, it’s impossible to listen without feeling the heart behind it.

2. OKAGA, CA – Cherry Bomb
Another soft, romantic ballad, “OKAGA, CA” is the best kind of song to share with your lover. The lyrics alone make this is my favorite song off “Cherry Bomb,” but his use of synths and layering take it to a whole different level.

3. November – Flower Boy
I could listen to this song a million times over again, and honestly, I probably have. Tyler’s ability to communicate seemingly incommunicable feelings through music is evident in “November.” His use of poetic lyrics, snippets from conversations, and beat switches creates such an atmospheric, nostalgic song.

4. She – Goblin
Being one of the few soft songs from his first album, this one is an obvious favorite for most Tyler, the Creator fans. Frank Ocean is a constant feature in his discography, but he really stands out on this track.

5. PartyIsn’tOver/Campfire/Bimmer – Wolf
“Wolf” seemed to be a real turning point for Tyler, as his songs started to move away from the ferocity of “Goblin” and into something a bit softer. This three-part song is full of his signature dark yet almost childlike humor. “Campfire” especially is reminiscent of some sort of twisted Boyscout trip.

“IGOR” is such an interesting album for so many reasons, but this song really struck me. The melancholy nature of it is a fantastic mixture of heartbreaking and sentimental.

7. 2SEATER – Cherry Bomb
Another gem from “Cherry Bomb,” this is one of the first Tyler, the Creator songs I ever heard (besides “Yonkers”). I was amazed by its softness and romantic nature.

8. Treehome95 – Wolf
If Erykah Badu’s feature isn’t enough to make you want to listen to “Treehome95,” I don’t know what is. That’s all.

This high-energy song is a wonderful little ode to real love and deep feeling. The lyrics “I think I’m falling in love, this time I think it’s for real” echo throughout the entire track, making it both heartwarming and energetic.

10. WILSHIRE – Call Me if You Get Lost

“WILSHIRE,” a simple track that sounds like a freestyle more than anything, is chock-full of raw emotion. Tyler narrates the story that he had been alluding to throughout the album, one of heartbreak, rejection and love. Though it lacks his signature complex production style, the depth of his lyrics is enough to make this one of the best songs from “Call Me if You Get Lost.”

Happy listening,

DJ Butter


Proto-metal Starter Kit

If you’ve kept up with my blog posts, it’s pretty obvious how obsessed with the 1970s I am — the fashion, the design trends, the hairstyles (can I get a cheer for shags anyone?), but most of all, the music.

Though hard rock was born in the ’60s, it truly reached its peak in the early ’70s. These two decades both proved how music and current events were deeply connected. Mainstream America was starting to become more and more cynical surrounding our involvement in the Vietnam War. There was a massive sense of government distrust, especially among younger people. The flower-child, happy-go-lucky, swingin’ 60s were over, and a rawer, more honest cultural movement slowly took its place. This change was very much so reflected in the music that came out of the early to mid-’70s. Rock shifted into something heavier and darker. Heavy blues were mixed with psychedelia, down-tuned guitars and leather. Hence, proto-metal was born.

Now you might immediately jump to thinking of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple when you hear the words “early metal,” but there were tons of lesser-known groups experimenting with heavy rock around the same time. There’s a lot to sift through (and not all of it is that great), so that’s why I’ve laid out some of my favorite proto-metal tracks, both mainstream and underground:

The Obvious Picks:

1. Communication Breakdown – Led Zeppelin

2. Sweet Leaf – Black Sabbath

3. The Ostrich – Steppenwolf

4. In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida – Iron Butterfly

5. Rock Me Baby – Blue Cheer

6. Into the Void – Black Sabbath

7. Black Night – Deep Purple

8. Freelance Fiend – Leaf Hound

9. One of These Days – Ten Years After

10. Master Heartache – Sir Lord Baltimore

Lesser-Known Gems

1. Guts – Budgie

2. Lions, Christians – Bang

3. Toxic Shadows – Lucifer’s Friend

4. Magic Potion – The Open Mind

5. Chocolate Piano – Orangutan

6. Long Tall Sally – Cactus

8. Plastic Man – Bodkin

9. MOTHER GREASE THE CAT – Ancient Grease

10. Hunter’s Moon – Yesterday’s Children

Enjoy the thrash,

DJ Butter

Concert Preview

Concerts We’re Looking Forward To

I could not be more excited (though albeit a little anxious) to get back into concert season. Even though I think it’s going to take a hot minute for me personally to feel comfortable enough to be squeezed up against hundreds of sweaty strangers, it’s nice to know that live music is slowly creeping its way back. Here are some of the concerts I’m looking forward to most, all within the Triangle area:

1. Japanese Breakfast

Date: July 26

Venue: Cat’s Cradle

The Cat’s Cradle in Chapel Hill really has an incredible lineup of concerts for this summer and fall. If you’ve been paying attention to our weekly charts, Japanese Breakfast has been at number one for the past two weeks, and for good reason. Her new album, “Jubilee,” is a work of experimental, indie-pop magic. The intimacy of the Cradle will only enhance the beauty of her discography.

2. Dead and Company

Date: August 13

Venue: Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek

Even though Jerry Garcia isn’t around to bless us with his sweet turtle face and otherwordly guitar skills, it’s pretty incredible that the Grateful Dead (and guests) are still touring. You’ll find all kinds at a Dead & Co show: ageing hippies, dad rockers, new age yogis and pretty much everything in between. I consider myself to have a little bit of all those personalities, so you can bet I’ll be there.

3. Jack Harlow

Date: September 14

Venue: The Ritz

The Ritz is one of my favorite venues in Raleigh. Any place that’s just one giant pit is absolute gold to me. There’s no doubt that seeing Jack Harlow in a place like that will result in some moshing injuries, but it’ll definetely be worth it.

4. Crumb

Date: October 16

Venue: Cat’s Cradle

Another gem at the Cradle. Crumb, best known for their hit single “Locket,” is one of the mellowest, most psychotropic bands on the indie scene today. If you’re interested in hearing more about them, DJ Psyched just did an interview with them last month on their newest album, “Ice Melt.”

5. Khruangbin

Date: October 23

Venue: Red Hat Amphitheater

This has to be the show that I’m most excited about. Khruangbin has been one of my favorite bands for the past couple of years, and seeing the trio at Red Hat will be even better. That’s where I experienced my first concert (Cage the Elephant in 2013), and I still feel that good energy every time I go there. The combination of their lo-fi psychedelia and the spacious lawn at Red Hat will make for a perfect concert experience.

I know it’ll be a little scary at first to get back into seeing live music, and I truly encourage everyone to stick to their comfort level. Some have already jumped back in, but I think it’s important to engage in big group activities like that at your own pace. Even though North Carolina is starting to open up again, there’s no shame in waiting for some of those later concerts to roll around.

Happy listening,

DJ Butter

New Album Review

Tyler, The Creator Returns with “Lumberjack”

The day has finally arrived. Since “IGOR” dropped in early 2019, Tyler, the Creator fans have been itching for a new album. “IGOR” will always have a special place in my heart because it was the soundtrack to a really lovely time in my life, but I couldn’t be more excited to see what he’s been cooking up.

Sure, we haven’t been completely left in the dark. Tyler released several singles over the past two years, including “Best Interest,” “Group B” and “Tell Me How,” his playful track made for a Coca-Cola commercial. It was only a matter of time before he returned with his usual gusto, full-length album in hand. After releasing a teaser video on June 14, his new single, “Lumberjack” followed shortly after. It’s filled with his classic production style: quick beats, bright yet ominous synths, and that unmistakable baritone voice. “Lumberjack” has more of an old-school feel than “IGOR,” playing off the sounds of early hip-hop.

The music video that accompanies the track has all the delight of Tyler’s impeccable visual taste. Though it’s short at only a minute and 18 seconds long, his trademark humor, artistic originality and incredible fashion taste are all present in a way that highlights the mood of “Lumberjack” perfectly.

After the “Lumberjack’s” release, Tyler officially announced that the full album, titled “Call Me If You Get Lost,” will be released on Friday, June 25. Each of his albums sounds so different in a way that really shows how he’s grown as a rapper and producer over his 10-year-long career. For now, we can only speculate what his sixth studio album will sound like, but don’t doubt that it will be full of his usual goodness.

Music Education

Why Independent Radio Matters

There’s nothing like turning on the radio and hearing one of your favorite songs, especially if said song is not a Top 40 hit or “Highway to Hell,” which for some reason seems to be the song that every commercial rock station loves to air every ten minutes. No wonder we turned to other ways of finding new music. It’s pretty hard to discover fresh artists when the same handful have been played on repeat since 1975.

Steaming services have completely dismantled and redefined the music industry. I wrote a blog about this phenomenon a while back, but algorithms have changed the way we pay artists, listen to music and even write songs. With thousands of curated playlists at the tips of our fingers, it’s beyond easy to find new music nowadays. But where’s the human aspect? That lovely, warm feeling of requesting a track and then hearing it played for thousands of people is impossible to recreate on Spotify. Heck, that feeling is why I decided to become a DJ at WKNC (and why I love getting phone-in requests during my show).

Independent radio has an incredibly rich history. WKNC (then WLAC) started in 1922 as an experiment in NC State’s Communications department. From there, it’s morphed into a hub of community engagement and one of the only public sources of alternative music in the Triangle. Other college radio stations, such as KALX 90.7 for the University of California and Ithaca’s WICB 91.7, have had similar impacts in their own communities. Non-commercial stations that aren’t affiliated with a college or university still remain popular, some of the most notable being those with NPR programming.

Although, when it comes to music, indie radio has seen a significant decline. Stations to the left of the dial are commercial, and most likely owned by one of the major broadcasting companies, such as iHeartMedia or Entercom. These for-profit stations air commercials very frequently and generally stick to playing Top 40 and classics, pandering to the widest audience possible to increase listenership. Many of these stations have forgone live DJs and opted for customized, pre-recorded air breaks instead to cut costs. Turning on the radio doesn’t really feel like turning on the radio anymore. What’s the point of listening to the same songs over and over (with commercials breaks at that), if that personal, human feeling is lost? These types of stations threaten the beauty of radio as we know it.

WKNC has remained one of the most popular stations in the Triangle because we’re keeping the ridiculous, unique fun of independent radio alive. Yes, you may tune in and hear a new (or experienced) DJ fumbling over their words. There might be random, brief silences when someone forgets to turn the “aux” button on. And yet, we all come together for the music. Never mind hearing the same song twice in one day, it’s almost impossible to hear the same song twice in one week. Each DJ is unique in their style and truly takes pride in their sets. We’re a random, silly hodgepodge of alt college kids, but you’ll always find something new on 88.1.

New Album Review

New Album Review: Delta Kream by The Black Keys

If you’re like me, you despised “Let’s Rock,” The Black Keys’ most recent album behind “Delta Kream.” It lacked all the gritty, garage blues of their previous releases, and seemed to indicate that the rock duo was moving closer and closer to pop. Needless to say, I was not necessarily looking forward to listening to “Delta Kream,” thinking it would be comprised of the same kind of stuff.

Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised. “Delta Kream” could not be more different than their previous album. It’s a magnificent homage to the Mississippi Delta blues that Patrick Carney (drums) and Dan Auerbach (voice & guitar) drew their original musical inspiration from. Comprised of covers from classic artists like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Johnny Lee Hooker, it’s a masterpiece of slow, crawling blues. In fact, Burnside’s bassist (Eric Deacon) and Kimbrough’s slide guitarist (Kenny Brown) play alongside the duo throughout the entire album.

Recorded in just ten hours at Auerbach’s Nashville studio, it has the spontaneous energy of a jam session, rather than a meticulous, drawn-out album. Studio chatter and little mistakes fill the gaps between songs, reminiscent of a true rock ‘n roll spirit. You can tell that there were no rehearsals and little planning, just a group of amazing musicians coming together. Nevertheless, each song is incredibly nuanced. The addition of Deacon and Brown creates a sound that is wonderfully layered and free-flowing, unlike the usual hard-hitting simplicity of the Black Keys’ work. Though I’m a real sucker for their original sound, “Delta Kream” is a refreshing pull in a new, yet classic, direction.

Some would argue that there’s not much variation between the songs, but it is a tried and true tribute to country blues. Many of the tracks are classics that have been covered and re-covered for decades. Originally performed by Big Joe Williams (but made famous by Johnny Lee Hooker) “Crawling Kingsnake” is made into a muddy, six-minute-long jam, contrasting the twangy ’60s rock version by The Doors. “Going Down South,” a Burnside track, stands out with a rare falsetto appearance from Auerbach and some truly amazing sliding guitar work.

You can really sense how passionate Carney and Auberach are about country blues, especially the work of Junior Kimbrough. Their 2006 album “Chulahoma” is comprised entirely of his work, and “Delta Kream” is nearly the same. The song “Do the Romp,” one of Kimbrough’s originals, also appeared on The Black Keys’ first album. It’s incredible to hear the difference in their style and how they’ve matured after nearly two decades of fame.

Yes, better covers of the songs in “Delta Kream” exist. It is certainly not the best blues album in the world, but The Black Keys’ spirit and passion is tangible. It’s clear that their hearts lie with country blues, and they sure are good at it.