Classic Album Review

Retro Review: Funkadelic

As the British-blues-flower-child era came to a close, new sounds filled its place: heavy rock, funk, soul, metal. The music that arose in the early ’70s was filled with a raunchier sort of angst that left the doo-woppers of the ’60s to cower in their flower crowns. Psychedelia would still reign supreme, but it became twinged with a glamorous grit.

Funkadelic’s debut album encapsulates this transition perfectly.

Having been a part of the Parliaments, a Motown group, George Clinton found himself at a crossroads. His talent still lay in classic Motown, but psychedelics and hard rock were calling to his spirit. After breaking from the Parliaments, (which would later become Parliament, Funkadelic’s sister band) Clinton brought together a new group of musicians. Thus, Funkadelic was born.

Their first album is an incredible mishmash of soul, funk, classic country blues and acid trips. The opening track, “Mommy, What’s A Funkadelic?” is an ode to the sultry nature of funk itself. Clinton’s voice, as well as several other “funkadelics”, can be heard crooning over a slow, bluesy track, whispering sermons and shouting in a true Motown spirit. “I’ll Bet You” is more upbeat, a perfect example of the “true funk” that would come to be in the mid to late ’70s.

The entire album is both an ode to traditional Black country music and the changing, drug-fueled culture of the late ’60s. “Music for my Mother” demonstrates this exquisitely. Listening to Clinton murmur the words “Sit down by old beat-up railroad train/ And get me, get myself a little of that old funky thang/ Can you all feel what I mean?/ This is what you call way back younger funk” over harmonicas and steel string guitar shows how perfectly they infuse both psychedelia and soul.

It is truly one of the greatest albums to come out of the early ’70s. Gloriously unapologetic, terrifyingly experimental and filled with soul, “Funkadelic” is worth taking a listen to.


Yearbook: Seth Rogen’s Hilarious Autobiography

Comedian, actor and writer Seth Rogen is one of those people that always manages to make a film funnier. Whether it be through his early work in “Freaks and Geeks” and “Superbad,” or in his more recent films like “The Interview” and “An American Pickle,” he is endlessly endearing. You get the feeling that he’s not an extravagant, ridiculous celebrity, but more like a “normal” person. His new book, “Yearbook,” proves this.

As final exams ended and summer began, I found myself craving a nice read. I’d heard that Seth Rogen was releasing a new book, and I was super excited to get into it. I decided to listen to the audiobook, which I highly recommend. It’s narrated by Rogen himself and features over 80 different voice actors including Snoop Dogg, Nick Kroll, Sacha Baron Cohen and Billy Idol.

I know I said “Yearbook” was an autobiography in the title, but I lied for the sake of conciseness. It’s more of a collection of essays about Rogen’s childhood and acting career. He touches on growing up Jewish, his early comedic flops, the insane drama behind “The Interview” and tons of other horrifying, hilarious stories. Read in his signature wit, he dives into the delights and challenges of adolescence, being famous and drug-fueled escapades.

Each essay is wonderfully engaging and ridiculously funny. My personal favorite is the time when he, as a 14-year-old, had to perform standup right after Jerry Seinfeld at a comedy festival. Another great part is when he tells about how Kanye West forced Rogen and his wife to sit in the backseat of his limo with him while he freestyled for two hours. The book ends on a spectacularly dramatic note as he recounts a near-death camping experience from his childhood.

It’s truly one of the best audiobooks I’ve had the pleasure of listening to in a while. If you’re looking for a laugh, give “Yearbook” a read (or a listen).

DJ Highlights

DJ Butter’s New Digs on WKNC: Goo Lagoon

Every semester, WKNC DJs have the option to keep their old show or start a completely new one. My ever-shifting music taste has, once again, led me to do the latter. The Tangerine Hour will be missed, but I’m absolutely stoked to delve into a wider mix of genres with Goo Lagoon, which you can catch on-air every Friday from 2-3pm.

Before you ask, yes, Goo Lagoon is the beach from Spongebob. No, I am not playing anything from the Spongebob soundtrack, though I’d like to think Sandy Cheeks would headbang along with me in the stu.

So then what on earth is Goo Lagoon about, you may ask? I’ll mainly be exploring sludgy surf, heavy rock and psychedelia, save for some sneaky funk, soul and blues tracks. However, unlike the Tangerine Hour, this show will encompass every era from the ’60s till now. Though classic rock is by far my favorite genre, I found that restricting myself to that decade was hindering me from playing some really great tunes on-air.

Wanna see exactly what kind of music to expect Friday afternoons on 88.1? Here are some songs I played last week that perfectly encapsulate Goo Lagoon:

1. HazeMaze – Fuzz

Fuzz lives up perfectly to their name. This song is a great example of how they take modern proto-metal into new directions through fuzz-pedals and electric riffs.

2. Reverberation – 13th Floor Elevators

13th Floor Elevators are one of those bands from the ’60s that I just can’t get enough of. This song is a classic psychedelic anthem.

3. Beer Good – The Electric Peanut Butter Company

I couldn’t even find this song on Apple Music, but the extra digging around on YouTube was worth it. I am obsessed with this heavy, surfy instrumental track.

4. Good Thoughts, Bad Thoughts – Funkadelic

I saved this song for the very end of my set, tieing it all together on a mellower note. Though I didn’t play the full nine-minute-long track, the entire thing is a relaxing, spacey, guitar-filled dream.

5. Stalking Legs – The Shivas

We all know that The Shivas are masters of modern-day surfy punk, but this song really stands out as one of their best. Their garage-like guitar is to die for in this track.

6. Looking Ahead – Monophonics

Though it’s only about a minute long, “Looking Ahead” is one of those songs that should be ten times longer. It’s a slow, wah-wah-filled trip that’s sure to put you in a daze.

7. Fresh Air – Quicksilver Messanger Service

I apologize to all the people who regularly listened to The Tangerine Hour and heard me play this song every other week. I just can’t get enough of it. It is by no means a deep cut, but it was a hit for good reason.

New Album Review

New Album Review: Changing Colours

ALBUM: “Changing Colours” by Babe Rainbow


LABEL: Eureka Music

RATING: 8/10

BEST TRACKS: “New Zealand Spinach,” “Rainbow Rock” and “The Wind”

FCC: Clean

In the sea of Australian psychedelic rock bands, Babe Rainbow will always stand out to me as the most dreamy. You may recognize their hit song “Peach Blossom Boogie,” a track that testifies to their talent in surfy doo-wop type music. However, their newest album, “Changing Colours,” has a nice range to it. It’s obvious that they are just beginning to branch out from their classic sound.

“Changing Colours” is the sunny beach rockers’ fourth album. Just by listening to this release alone, it’s clear to see where they get their inspiration: nature, weed and surfing. Hailing from Byron Bay, the foursome is known for their signature dream-like melodies. Though their membership has changed considerably since the band’s start in 2014, they’ve stayed relatively true to this style.

But it seems like Babe Rainbow is dipping their toe into the pool of possibilities. Their popular single “Imagination,” which is included on this album, features Jaden Smith. A definite stretch away from the band’s usual rhythm, if you ask me. This particular track, which appears to be inspired by “Pure Imagination” from the 1971 “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” does have that signature relaxing tone, but Jaden’s spoken word takes it to new levels.

Speaking of the early ’70s, listening to both “California” and “New Zealand Spinach” feels like being transported back to that glorious musical era, especially in the latter. Guitarist Jack Crowther takes on a twangier sound, creating sounds reminiscent of Woodstock. Meanwhile, “Ready for Tomorrow” and “Rainbow” Rock” stray into the funk realm, providing a glimpse into just how upbeat these mellow hippies can be.

Though “Changing Colours” is a great album, you can sense the shift the band is going through. The last song, “Different Stages of Life,” confirms this. It’s nice to see a new voice from them, but it feels like they’re fighting against it in an attempt to preserve their loyal, serene fanbase.

Babe Rainbow, I say just go for it.


What are Liminal Spaces?

Picture the birthday party room at a roller rink. The ’90s-patterned, black carpet floors, the plastic foldout tables, the florescent lights. Now imagine this room completely empty, out of context and slightly dark, probably after closing time.

Uncomfortable, right? Just imagining it in your head gives you a queasy feeling, even though there’s nothing inherently unfamiliar or dangerous about the environment. This is an example of a liminal space.

The word “liminal” comes from the Latin word “limen,” which translates to “threshold.” Liminal spaces are environments that we pass through but aren’t usually long-term destinations or places where we live. Public bathrooms, hallways, classrooms and maybe even party venues could be considered liminal spaces. However, where that off feeling comes from is when these places are empty or viewed at an unusual time.

A deserted mall at night. Hallways that seem to lead to nowhere. An abandoned, drained waterpark. These spaces are only meant to be temporary experiences, so perceiving them at moments where it seems like you’ve outstayed your time there feels unnerving. When we see these areas out of their usual context, it makes us feel as though we’ve entered an alternate reality.

Liminal spaces bring about an odd mixture of nostalgia and unease. There’s uncertainty behind all these places. Looking at photographs of liminality is like being trapped in an uncertain waiting game. Because of this unique feeling, there’s been a growing cult following of all things liminal. I, for one, could look at these photos all day because I find them endlessly fascinating. Love feeling slightly off-put? Check out these Reddit and Twitter pages filled with thousands of people contributing photographs of liminal spaces.


Top 10 Led Zeppelin Deep Cuts

I try not to write *too* much about Zeppelin, considering they’re the biggest, greatest rock band in history, and there are about 1,000,000 other blogs out there dedicated to them. Then again, they are the BIGGEST, GREATEST rock band in history. It would be shameful of me not to give my favorite group a little love every once in a while.

“Stairway to Heaven” is one of the most played songs of all time. To this day, it’s on constant repeat on nearly all commercial rock radio stations. You’re sure to have heard the screeching “Immigrant Song” (even just from “School of Rock”) or the thundering “Kashmir.” Tracks like “Whole Lotta Love” and “Black Dog” fall in the same category: wildly popular and played millions of times.

But what about the songs in between their hits? To me, these are the tracks that made Led Zeppelin so great. From their early bluesy rock to soft acoustics, there are tons of gems throughout their discography that receive little recognition today. Here are some of my favorite that I just can’t let fall through the cracks:

1. How Many More Times – Led Zeppelin

This is the last track on their first album and my all-time favorite song. Ever. It takes so many twists and turns that it keeps you on your toes throughout the entire eight minutes.

2. Out On The Tiles – Led Zeppelin III

You’d never guess this song is off their “acoustic” album. Featuring a heavy, upbeat riff, it’s some of Jimmy Page’s best guitar work. Something I love about this song is how you can hear him saying “Stop!” in the background (1:23), which was accidentally left in during one of their takes.

3. The Rover – Physical Grafitti

The riff in this song is INSANE. It was a favorite concert performance for the band but didn’t get much recognition beyond that. The last minute of the track takes a crazy turn as Jimmy Page switches rhythms.

4. When The Levee Breaks – Untitled (Led Zeppelin IV)

For most fans of Zeppelin, this isn’t so much of a “deep cut” per se, but it definitely wasn’t performed live very often due to its highly produced nature. Using layering and the natural acoustics of the old house it was recorded in, it’s one of the most atmospheric tracks they’ve ever produced.

5. Trampled Under Foot – Physical Grafitti

This is one of the funkiest songs on their discography. Pulling inspiration from Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition,” bassist and organist John Paul Jones really shows off his skills on the Clavinet.

6. Boogie With Stu – Physical Grafitti

This song was recorded as a jam session with Rolling Stones road manager, Ian Stewart, who happened to stop by the country home Zeppelin was staying at to record their album. There was an old piano in the house, which Page tuned his guitar to while Stewart played.

7. Tea For One – Presence

“Presence” was one of Led Zeppelin’s least celebrated albums, but released at a very difficult and harrowing time for the band. The emotional intensity of the album really speaks to this, especially in “Tea For One.”

8. I Can’t Quit You Baby – Led Zeppelin

Back from their bluesier days, this cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You, Baby” was included on their original performance lineup. It’s a fantastic song that highlights their ability to take the blues to new levels.

9. I’m Gonna Crawl – In Through the Out Door

“I’m Gonna Crawl” is the last song on their last album (excluding “CODA,” which was a collection of archived tracks released after the band broke up). It’s a melancholy yet beautiful track.

10. Travelling Riverside Blues (29/6/69 Top Gear) – BBC Sessions (Live)

If only there were more live albums like this. Though it was recorded in 1969, this song didn’t make it onto any studio albums until “CODA.” It’s a great, romantic little blues track 100% worth taking a listen to.

Image courtesy of Tony Morelli, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.


National Clean Your Room Day

It’s officially May 10. For NC State students, that means the end of exams and the beginning of a much-needed summer break. Hallelujah! But today also marks something else: National Clean Your Room Day.

I know it seems silly to have a holiday commemorating something so seemingly mundane, but did you know that cleaning your room actually has incredible benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing?

This year, a lot of us have been confined to our rooms more than usual. That being said, it’s so important to create a space for yourself that’s both comforting, clean and enjoyable to spend time in. For me, even just organizing my desk or picking up the clothes off my floor makes me feel 100000% better after a stressful day. But don’t just take my word for it. Immunologist and wellness expert Jaya Jaya Myrna has entire podcast episodes on the subject, as well as TEDx speeches.

In her own words, here are the best ways to start decluttering today to celebrate National Clean Your Room Day:

Tip #1: Start Small

Pick the room you spend the most time in. Commit to keeping your it clean and clutter-free. Once you do this it will become easier to tackle those other places that need more work.

Tip #2: Identify How Stuff Makes You Feel

Take time to feel how things in your space make you feel. If something you have doesn’t make you feel good, for any reason, get rid of it to make space for something that does. This could be a piece or art, furniture, clothes, dishes, or just about anything. The stuff we have becomes a trigger for different emotional states, so when you choose to only have things around that evoke happiness or contentment, you create that in your life.

Tip #3: Breathe

Even cleaning your space can be daunting, so take a moment to breathe deeply and focus on the space you want to create for yourself. Breathing is connected to good mental health and lowering stress levels, so take a deep breath or ten before you start. It will help you focus and get motivated.

Tip #4: Create Beauty

Committing to creating beauty in your space is a powerful way to ensure you focus on feeling good and keeping your mood up. Maybe this is a bouquet of flowers or potted plants, a beautiful piece of art, or something handmade. Whatever you find beautiful, add it to your space. This will help you create what you want and be willing to let go of things no longer serving you.

Classic Album Review

Retro Review: Freedom Flight by Shuggie Otis

ALBUM: “Freedom Flight” by Shuggie Otis


LABEL: BMG Music Entertainment

RATING: 10/10

BEST TRACKS: “Sweet Thang,” “Strawberry Letter 23” and “Purple”

FCC: Clean

Even though Shuggie Otis isn’t a name you probably know off the top of your head, his famous song “Strawberry Letter 23” sure is. After being covered by the Brothers Johnson in 1977, the song’s popularity skyrocketed. However, despite its success, many forget who the original artist was.

From an early age, Shuggie Otis showed incredible talent. His father, Johnny Otis, would let him perform with him at clubs when he was just a teenager. He released his first album, “Here Comes Shuggie Otis” at only 16 years old. His second album, “Freedom Flight,” which contains the original “Strawberry Letter 23,” came out only a year later.

I can’t even imagine being 17 years old and producing such a sophisticated album. If Jimi Hendrix and Prince had a lovechild, it would be Shuggie Otis. Not only did Otis have unreal chops on the guitar, but his songwriting, singing, and production skills were incredible too. “Freedom Flight” is a dream-infused journey through OG rhythm and blues.

Even though Shuggie’s claim to fame is “Strawberry Letter 23,” the rest of “Freedom Flight” is just as rich, if not more so. It starts off with the funk ballad “Ice Cold Daydream,” an upbeat, layered track with a hint of Otis’s young yet confident vocals. Where things really start to pick up is with the sultry song “Sweet Thang.” The way he layers the bluesy guitar with the piano is exquisite, creating a slow yet funky atmosphere. He twangs a similar mood in “Purple,” a fantastic instrumental. “Me and My Woman” and “One Room Country Shack” really drive home the liveliness of the blues. The second to last song, “Freedom Flight” is a jazzy, psychedelic epic that’s sure to send you into astral projection.

Though Shuggie Otis is far from being forgotten as one of the pioneers of classic R&B, he definitely deserves more recognition. “Freedom Flight” is an amazing album with unreal range.

Classic Album Review

Retro Review: Master of Reality

ALBUM: “Master of Reality” by Black Sabbath


LABEL: Vertigo Records

RATING: 10/10

BEST TRACKS: “Sweet Leaf,” “Solitude” and “Into The Void”

FCC: Clean

The year is 1971. The “flower child” era is coming to a close, the Vietnam War is raging on and the people’s distrust in their governments grows stronger by the day. The music that arose at the beginning of the 1970s was no doubt fueled by this cultural shift. Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin had already begun to pave the way for a new, heavier version of rock, and Black Sabbath took it to the next level.

Today, “Master of Reality” is heralded as one of the earliest, and most prolific, metal albums to ever have been released. Sabbath’s first two albums could be considered the true beginning of heavy metal, but “Master of Reality” was an obvious turning point for the band in terms of sophistication. Unlike their earlier releases, it was recorded over the span of a luxuriously long three months. This gave them time for experimentation and re-recording.

The range on this album is impeccable. Part of what made Black Sabbath’s sound so unique was guitarist Tony Iommi’s finger injury, which he got while working at a sheet metal factory. To make playing less painful, he created fake fingertips that made a rich, heavy sound on his instrument. In “Master of Reality,” he also down-tuned his guitar to make it easier on his injured fingers. The result was otherwordly. Filled with the sludgiest sounds you can imagine, the album proved to be a staple of stoner metal with its leaden riffs.

But Iommi wasn’t the only standout. Singer and frontman Ozzy Osbourne truly came into his voice in “Master of Reality.” Ranging from high-pitched screeches in the classic “Sweet Leaf” to a soft, melancholy croon in “Solitude,” he really pulls out all the stops.

“Into the Void” is a six-minute epic with so many rhythm changes it’s impossible to sit still while listening. Iommi’s guitar solo in the last minute of the song is absolutely insane. “Children of the Grave,” another classic, is a powerful ode to the needless tragedies of the Vietnam War.

“Masters of Reality” stays true to its name. Sabbath’s goal was not to keep the carefree and idealistic visions of the 1960’s alive, but instead reflect the harshness of a new era with power and force.


DJ Butter’s Ideal Festival Lineup

Even though it doesn’t look like concerts will be back anytime soon, a girl can dream, right? I’ve actually never been a real participant at a music festival before (both of the ones I went to were when I was super young), but I really look forward to the day when I can be in a super sweaty mosh pit for days instead of just a couple of hours. Until then, simply to amuse myself, here’s my dream music festival lineup:


1. The Black Keys
I am a firm believer that the Black Keys are the best rock band to grace this generation. I’ve heard that they’re fantastic to see live, which is no surprise considering how powerful and hard-hitting their music is.

2. Tyler, The Creator
I actually have seen Tyler live and it was the best concert I’ve ever been to. His stage presence is absolutely insane. Even though his studio music is heavily produced, he manages to create a really organic and cinematic feeling in his live performances.

3. Khruangbin
Crossing my fingers that the world will be in a better place by Khruangbin’s show at Red Hat in October. I cannot imagine a better group to vibe to while sitting out on the lawn.

Secondary Acts:

1. Solange
This woman owns my heart and soul. Apart from her live shows being musically fantastic, the videos I’ve seen show a high level of on-stage art direction. She’s a must-see!

2. Mac DeMarco
One of my favorite videos that exists on the internet is of Mac DeMarco climbing to the top of a 20ft balcony and jumping into the crowd during one of his shows. His live performances are apparently full of surprises and weirdness, despite his music being so laid-back. I’ve also heard he does awesome covers, including ones from bands like Steely Dan and Metallica.

3. Thundercat
Seeing NPR’s Tiny Desk show with Thundercat was enough to convince me that I needed to see him live. I would lose my mind hearing “Dragonball Durag” in person.

4. Allah-Las
Allah-Las has to be my favorite modern surf rock band. They seem to combine so many genres of music together so perfectly. Their guitarist is an absolute beast with the surf-guitar style and I would love to see it in the flesh.

5. La Luz
The ladies of La Luz are the certified queens of spooky, creepy, crawly surf. I’m obsessed with all of their discography, especially their most recent album “Floating Features.” Seeing “California Finally” live is a personal goal of mine that I hope to accomplish sometime soon.

6. Babe Rainbow
Babe Rainbow will always stand out in my mind as being one of the most relaxing bands to bless us with their music. Even though I’m a bigger fan of their earlier work, I think going to one of their shows would be a fantastic experience.

7. Mystic Braves
It would be a sin for me not to include them in this lineup. No, I’ll never be able to see The Sonics or The Rolling Stones (in their prime) live, but the Mystic Braves come pretty close. Their take on psychedelia and surf rock is reminiscent of early ’60s bands yet with a darker, modern spin.