Classic Album Review

Well, I Should Have become a Jazz Daredevil

A couple months ago, a friend of mine referred to me an album called “Well, I Should Have…*” by Jon Benjamin – Jazz Daredevil. The record was released in 2015 under Sub Pop Records, who have a track record of talented artists. I’m typically not much of a jazz listener, but I decided to give this a shot.

The Premise

H. Jon Benjamin is a comedian, writer, actor, and “musician” who decided to create a jazz album with some other professional musicians on drums, bass, and saxophone. Lacking any skill or practice on piano, Benjamin attempts to sell his soul to the devil and is turned down. The rest of the album is divided into 4 parts, each titled “I Can’t Play Piano”.

Portrait photo of H. Jon Benjamin at the 2022 WonderCon in Anaheim, California
H. Jon Benjamin at the 2022 WonderCon in Anaheim, California. Photo Courtesy of Gage Skidmore, under Creative Commons.

The first part begins with a lively saxophone led section, and actually sounds quite good. The drums and bass play together wonderfully, and the sax solos are dynamic and fresh. And then Benjamin comes along.

With no sense of rhythm, melody, or how chords work, Benjamin’s piano sounds like a dying songbird with its vocal cords swapped around. When playing as backup for the lead saxophone, he actually doesn’t sound that bad, all things considered. But, since he has to improvise his solos, he is hopelessly out of tune with the rest of the band. In fact, they just play over him as if there is no piano to begin with.

This pattern continues throughout the rest of the album. The professional jazz players try their hardest to create a satisfying, cohesive set while the Jazz Daredevil tries his hardest to keep that from happening. And that makes this album so fun to listen to. This album is the music equivalent of “The Room” or “The VelociPastor”, which I consider to be high praise as a comedy special.

The Skits

As a comedian, Benjamin can’t help himself from putting a couple of jazz-inspired skits in his album. “Amy’s Song (The Bum Steer)” is a raunchy song too explicit to describe here, and it has to be the worst of his three skits, so I’ll skip over it. “Deal With the Devil” and “Soft Jazzercise” are spoken word interludes performed by Benjamin that fit in perfectly with the musical tone of the album.

The first of these tracks actually features Kristen Schaal and Aziz Ansari, both well-respected comedians in their own right. The dialogue between Benjamin and Schaal may remind listeners of a conversation from “Bob’s Burgers”, since they voice Bob and Louise Belcher, respectively. Benjamin’s timid insistence on selling his soul is honestly endearing, especially through Benjamin’s deadpan delivery that makes him sound uninterested in the intricacies of soul-selling.

Benjamin uses “Soft Jazzercise” to ease the mind of listeners, giving them a break from his lack of piano skills. His class is easy for any listener to try out for themselves. Personally, I found it refreshing and comforting to listen to his voice lead me on a journey of self-improvement.

Closing Thoughts

This album might not be the most meticulously crafted. It might not sound as good as Thelonious Monk or Dave Brubeck. But “Well, I Should Have…*” is an incredibly creative and irreplicable album that I highly recommend listening to for any fans of music. Although, perhaps regular jazz listeners might find it too rough on the ears.

Promotional video for “Well, I Should Have…*” released by Sub Pop Records.

— DJ Cashew

Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 1/31

3MAGDALENA BAYMercurial World DeluxeLuminelle
4DIVINO NINOLast Spa On EarthWinspear
5LYZZAMosquitoBig Dada
7PENDANTHarpSaddle Creek
8FLUMEPalacesFuture Classic
10KY VOSSThe AfterPlay Alone

Afterhours Adds

1VTSSCirculus Vitiosus [EP]Ninja Tune
4OVERMONO“Is U” [Single]XL
Weekly Charts

Top Charts 1/31

1YOUNG WABOMirage [EP]New College
2SCUBADIVERGodspeed ToSelf-Released
3AKAI SOLOSpirit RoamingBackwoodz
4DENZEL CURRYMelt My Eyez See Your FutureLoma Vista/Concord
5MAMALARKYPocket FantasyFire Talk
6SOFIE ROYERHarlequinStones Throw
7BETCOVERTamago 卵Self-Released
10070 SHAKEYou Can’t Kill MeG.O.O.D./Def Jam
11DELLA ZYR모호함 속의 너 Nebulous YouLonginus
14LAVA LA RUEHi-Fidelity [EP]Marathon
15PERRY MAYSUNPainting Naked [EP]Self-Released
17SHY HIGHGoodbye Delicious [EP]Self-Released
18THEY HATE CHANGEFinally, NewJagjaguwar/Secretly Group
19TOMMY RICHMANAlligatorBoom
20ARMAND HAMMERHaramBackwoodz Studioz
21AUDREY NUNAa liquid breakfast DELUXEArista
22BUILT TO SPILLWhen The Wind Forgets Your NameSub Pop
23DARKSOFTBeigeificationLook Up
24DIFFERENT JANERoomsSelf-Released
27JUXTON ROY“Elephant” [Single]Self-Released
28MAVILaughing So Hard, It HurtsMavi 4 Mayor
30TEENS IN TROUBLE“I’m Not Worried” [Single]Asian Man
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 1/31

1OBITUARYDying Of EverythingRelapse
2HELLRIPPERWarlock Grim & Withered HagsPeaceville
3NIHILIST DEATH CULTDeath To All TyrantsSelf-Released
4DEIQUISITORApotheosisExtremely Rotten
5JESUS PIECE“An Offering To The Night” [Single]Century Media
6WICKED INNOCENCEOpium EmpireBurning Dogma
7DRYADThe Abyssal PlainProsthetic
8LEATHERWe Are The ChosenSPV/Steamhammer
9WINDS OF LENG“Into Leng” [Single]Self-Released

Chainsaw Adds

1DREAMS OF GRAYThe World After [EP]Self-Released
2FORETOKEN“Demon Queller” [Single]Prosthetic
3AND OCEANSAs In Gardens, So In TombsSeason Of Mist
4VISITANT“Dematerialization” [Single]Self-Released
New Album Review


By: Sumedha Somayajula

Electronic artist LORN put out a track titled “ENTROPYYY” in November of 2022. It was originally only released on YouTube, and its video was created in collaboration with Sagans. Both the track and the video are surreal experiences of their own: when combined, they’re either a source of visceral fear or tortured comfort (depending on who’s watching).

LORN is an artist who has perfected the skill of creating unnerving soundscapes and appealing to just the right demographic. In “ENTROPYYY,” he strikes the seemingly impossible balance between organicity and futurism: the concept falls apart when it leans too far into either direction. The introduction is warm and ambient, and the noise is intentionally apparent from the beginning. The initial sweetness is soon interrupted by crackly, sour notes that guide the ear to abrupt vocal chops, and in the background, an oscillating synth bearing an inquisitive quality.

Each new chord and shifting beat is coupled with cuts to brilliant AI scenes of writhing robot bodies, crowded streets of smoggy cities, and a cautiously beating heart, all crafted by Sagans, a group I haven’t been able to find much about. Their “about” page on Spotify notes that they are a group “made up of music artists, graphic designers, and AI researchers who create music and visuals with the help of artificial intelligence.” Their obscurity, however, is certainly not a testament to their creative abilities: just as dreadfully poetic as LORN’s music is, Sagans’ video offers itself as the perfect existentialist complement.

Pieces like “ENTROPYYY” as a result of harmonious collaboration between off-the-wall artists are arguably what keep the underground music scene exciting. Beyond the appeal of a wealth of  somewhat unexplored tracks is the thrill of constantly discovering new visions— now, LORN has been around for quite some time, with tracks like “Acid Rain” and “Tempered By Your Love,” but there is a constant evolution that manifests within his sound. Whether an abstract nightmare or an illustrious vision for the future, “ENTROPYYY” is, at the very least, a riveting experience. 

As of January 4, LORN’s single “ENTROPYYY” is available for streaming on Spotify.

Music Education

An Introduction to Japanese Rock

Since World War II, US and Japanese cultures have intermingled significantly, resulting in a large American market for Japanese media. While anime might be the most prevalent example, Japanese music has also gained a significant following among listeners in the US.

Personally, I’ve been drawn to Japanese rock (J-rock) as a rock style that sounds distinctly unlike anything I’ve heard from English-speaking artists. Several artists have impressive catalogs of work that deserve more widespread recognition. Now, I don’t speak Japanese, so I can’t say anything regarding the lyrical quality of most of these artists. However, the music itself is stellar enough to enjoy on its own merits.


POLKADOT STINGRAY was my first introduction into J-rock, and I think they provide a good jumping off point for deeper exploration into the genre. Their music primarily features a high-pitched, snappy electric guitar leading their songs and a very active bass guitar that’s just satisfying to focus in on. Much of J-rock also utilizes this type of guitar playing rarely found in the US, especially in popular, contemporary rock artists. Additionally, vocalist Shizuku’s rich, breathy singing allows the more intense instrumentals to shine through A significant funk influence also permeates their discography, like on the album “Nanimono (何者)”, which is my personal favorite.


If you’re looking for a more laid-back band, then Odottebakarinokuni (踊ってばかりの国) is up your alley. The band has a much softer sound than POLKADOT STINGRAY and features a more familiar, US indie rock style compared to other J-rock artists. Tracks like “EDEN” highlight the lead vocalist’s drawn out singing and a guitar with an almost overwhelming, yet quiet, overdrive.


Noise rock has also thrived in Japan as evidenced by bands like Melt-Banana. The punk band’s work has become especially popular in the US and UK, where punk often favors pure noise over the groove found in Melt-Banana’s music. Yasuko O.’s shrieking singing on tracks like “Lie Lied Lies” gets drowned out by a guitar that blows out speakers and drums that leave your head pounding in the best possible way.


CHAI is an uncommon example of a J-rock artist who frequently uses both English and Japanese lyrics and collaborates with English-speaking artists like Gorillaz and Duran Duran. While their music can be profoundly different to most other J-rock artists, they also hold a unique sound among US and UK artists. CHAI incorporates electronica and dance into their rock that makes their sound incredibly fun. When their groove is paired with that same snappy guitar popular in J-rock music, the result is catchy, experimental, and perfect to jam out to. I highly recommend “PUNK”, which captures their style perfectly.

Band/Artist Profile Concert Review

Quarters of Change at Cat’s Cradle — 01/22/23

Quarters of Change is an alternative-rock indie band from New York City. As a quartet from the lower east side, they are helping to bring forward a new wave of NYC alt-rock. The band, formed in 2017, is composed of Ben Acker, Attila Anrather, Jasper Harris and Ben Roter. 

What started as a group of high school guys playing music together has turned into a touring band with an exponentially growing fan base. The band’s debut album, Into the Rift, was released July 2022. The 11-track compilation exemplifies their versatile alternative sound. Four months later, they released the deluxe version with three additional tracks, one of them being a personal favorite, “Blue Copper.” 

With songs like “Jaded,” “Ms. Dramatic,” “Sex” and “Die in Your Arms,” they showcase this versatility in sound. They switch between electrifying guitar riffs, catchy refrains, groovy drum beats, upbeat tempos, and slow melodies. 

The band has had some newfound success in the past years with contributions from legendary producers Tom Lord-Alge and Mikey Freedom Hart. They have also had some songs, “Kiwi” and “T Love,” featured on indie and alternative rock Spotify playlists which have helped to expand their listeners. 

Quarters of Change North American tour poster
Quarters of Change North American tour poster

The first time I saw QOC was when they opened for Laundry Day in April 2022 at Irving Plaza in New York City. The show was almost sold out and the crowd was lively. I had no idea who they were at the time and was just there for the ride. I was impressed by their stage presence and vocals, but what made me an instant fan was the mesmerizing guitar riff in the crowd favorite, Kiwi. 

Now, Quarters of Change is currently on a North American headlining tour. Luckily, I was able to secure tickets for the Cat’s Cradle date before the sell-out. 

I had bought three tickets to go with friends earlier on in Jan., while coincidentally in Manhattan on a trip. 

On the day of the show at Cat’s Cradle’s back room, my friends and I settled in for the concert right next to the stage. Being familiar with Cat’s Cradle already, I was excited about the intimacy of the performance. 

The opening support, Savoia, an alternative indie rock band also from New York got the crowd going with their eccentric performance from the lead singer and their danceable songs. I enjoyed Savoia’s set and found myself doing some head-banging, although I felt some tracks were repetitive in structure. 

Yet they still successfully got the crowd warmed up for the main show. The crowd was mainly college-aged individuals and a semi-alternative scene.

QOC came out on stage to open with “Chloe”, a catchy song with a broken-hearted tone. Many of the songs the band performed were from their new album, Into the Rift.

While “Ms. Dramatic” and “Dead” seemed to be the two crowd favorites of the night, the audience was singing along and dancing to every song. It would be fair to say that the majority of the crowd was established supporters of the group already. 

The group also played iconic hits “T Love,” “Rift,” “Blue Copper,” “Sofia,” “Kiwi” and “Depression”.  

The lead vocalist, Roter, brought high energy and amazing vocals into the performance, while Acker and Harris played clean guitar and had great flow and Anrather carried with his beats. 

Despite being cut short on time by the venue, the group managed to play two more songs for the fans which was notable. The crowd definitely appreciated the gesture.

The band members were very kind and took the time to talk to fans as well as Leksie Fetrow and myself, the WKNC reps, after the show. We sat outside and chatted for a good 30 minutes with members of both Savoia and QOC. All of them were super sweet and carried a great presence off the stage as well. 

Overall, my friends and I had a lovely time. We sang, danced and thoroughly enjoyed the concert. I would definitely love to see Quarters of Change and Savoia again sometime soon.

Thanks for reading, 

Maddie H.


“Icky Mettle” by Archers of Loaf: Classic Album Review

In music communities there is always discourse about the best bands, albums, or songs of a certain genre and time period. In the 1990s indie rock fans argued over the best or most influential bands like Sonic Youth, Pavement, Pixies, the list goes on and on. These same debates still go on today, especially within a lot of online music communities.

Through online discourse about the best bands of the 90s, younger kids have been able to rediscover artists like Duster, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine. Internet discourse about music has been really important to the popularization of older artists with younger generations. 

In many of these discussions about the best or most influential indie rock bands from the 90s, I feel that Archers of Loaf rarely gets mentioned. I believe they never got the right amount of praise and attention they deserved in the 90s and today. According to my parents, who turned me on to Archers of Loaf, during the 90s there was a lot of discourse about Archers of Loaf vs Pavement, and who was better (which I feel like is an unfair comparison to both bands because they sound nothing alike). Growing up my parents were huge Archers of Loaf fans and I never fully appreciated their music until I was in high school and going through an “angsty” phase.

One day I put on their first album, “Icky Mettle,” in my room, and I remember not being able to stop myself from head banging to “Web in Front” and jumping around my room to “Might.” The album quickly became my go to album to listen to in the car, the album I listen to when class starts in five minutes and I’m ten minutes away and need something upbeat to get me to walk faster, an album I listen to when I’m frustrated, and so much more.

Archers of Loaf are a four-piece classic indie rock-outlet who formed in 1991 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The band is composed of lead singer and guitarist Eric Bachman, who has also had a solo career for over 20 years, drummer Mark Price, guitarist Eric Johnson, and bassist Matt Gentling, who is also the bassist for Band of Horses.  

I started writing this piece a while ago but was having trouble describing my love for the band’s debut record because nothing I could write would perfectly capture how amazing and important this record is to me, many other people, and how influential it would be to future indie rock music.

However, the band recently released their first new studio album in over two decades, “Reason in Decline” on October 21, 2022, which inspired me to revisit their discography more and dive back into “Icky Mettle.” 

Their debut album, which came out in 1993, combines elements of noise pop, power-pop, slowcore, and the slacker-aesthetic sound that was popularized in the 90s by acts like Sonic Youth and Pavement, is my favorite of theirs. “Icky Mettle” is a perfectly balanced record. It has just the right amount of angst and abrasive songs, tongue in cheek pop tunes, and slow burners. The opening track “Web in Front,” is one of my favorite songs and most iconic album openers.

The song is powerful and driving, has amazing guitar work, iconic drum beats, and lyrics you will find yourself instantly singing along to. The chorus of the song repeats the lines “all I ever wanted was to be your spine,” Bachman is crying out to be wanted and needed by someone, and he is instantly opening up and showing he is not afraid to be vulnerable on this record. 

The third track on the album, “Wrong,” has some of my favorite lyrics on the album. Lead singer Eric Bachmann sings, “I do not think that you could like me, anyway / Because you are inferior to me,” but when the chorus repeats, he changes the word inferior to “superior in all aspects to me” changing the emotions from hatred directed toward the subject to hatred towards himself, which is incredibly personal.

Bachman’s poetic lyrics always stand out to me and he has many changes in his songs that will hit you right in the gut. He has some of the most clever lyrics from this scene. The instrumental on the song sounds angry. Price bangs the drums as if this is the last time they’ll play the song and Johnson shreds some of the most interesting guitar parts in indie rock: nobody plays like him and he definitely created a signature sound on this record. 

“Wrong” is followed by another song fueled by anger and loss titled “You and Me.” It’s a sludgy and emotional track. It starts slow with just the bass line, it’s dark, heavy and consuming. The rest of the band kicks in after a few seconds with crashing cymbals, aggressive vocals, and screeching guitars. The energy on this record sets them apart from so many other indie rock bands in the 90s. This record made me realize how powerful and beautiful and emotional anger could be as Bachman seems to release all his repression and pours his heart into songs that ended up sounding so full and enormous. 

Towards the middle of the record lies one of my favorite tunes on the album, “Plumb Line.” It was one of the first songs of theirs I got into and it’s the perfect tongue-in-cheek pop song to break up the heavy hitting first half of the album. The song starts with a catchy and perfectly fuzzy guitar hook from Johnson and a driving bass line and drums from Gentling and Price.

The chorus is my favorite part of the song when Bachman sings, “she’s an indie rocker and nothings gonna stop her, plumb line says she’s a bitch.” He was clearly hurt by a really cool girl even though he tries to hide it by singing “clearly this is your loss, clearly it’s not my loss.” She’s out of his league, so she’s instantly a bitch. It’s really silly, and at the same time endearing, because it’s like the mental simplicity we all wish we could have, or at least I do.

You got to love a classic sassy breakup song for when you want to direct all your energy outward. This is honestly one of the most perfect break up albums, as Bachman goes through the bitter aspects of a break up and his inability to look inward. I find the immaturity of some of the lyrics comforting, because it can be hard to face our insecurities and downfalls.

Bachman also goes through conflicting feelings of self-hatred at times which is humanizing and grounds the record, and it’s refreshing to hear him admit his most vulnerable feelings. At the end of the song there’s a chanting part repeating “she’s an indie rocker and nothings gonna stop her” which is reminiscent of the chanting at the end of “Web in Front” and I love when Archers do that. 

The record closes with the song “Slow Worm” and the song is an earworm for sure, it’s a great ending track, it’s amazingly catchy, and leaves you wanting more from the band. Especially in the last minute of the song as the feedback swirls and rings out over consistent drum hits. 

After releasing their debut record, the band continued to release more projects full of energy and passion. They have an extensive discography, and another one of my favorite releases from them is a five track EP titled “Vs the Greatest of All Time,” which is another classic, yet overlooked, project from them. The EP was released a year after “Icky Mettle.”

The energy on the EP is so pure and raw, it’s impossible to recreate. Nothing makes me feel more unstoppable than listening to the opening track “Audiowhore.” They sure have a knack for setting the tone of their records in the first few minutes. The guitar parts in “Audiowhore” are swirling and powerful, carrying the angst of the tune. The other four tracks on the EP are equally as amazing, the next song “Lowest Part Is Free!” holds on to the energy of the first track and continues to build upon it.

Another classic song of theirs comes next, “Freezing Point.” This track is one of the closest comparisons to Pavement that I could see. It’s the perfect indie rock tune, more lo-fi, the chorus is super catchy, and I could easily see Stephen Malkmus singing the chorus. 

Their energy was (and continues to be) chaotic, consuming, inspiring, and authentic. Archers of Loaf created some of the most amazing music of the 1990s and are often forgotten about. They changed indie rock music and created a distinct sound and energy that nobody can replicate.

If you want to be cool and listen to who I believe to be an underrated band, you can check out their music on Bandcamp and other streaming services, you can also catch them at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on March 25 in support of their new album. And if for some reason somebody from the Archers of Loaf is reading this, or one of their friends sees this, can you please tell them to bring back the Archers of Loaf Pennants?

Classic Album Review

Bent Knee’s “Land Animal”: Dynamic Rock at its Finest

Bent Knee was founded in 2009 between Ben Levin and Courtney Swain as a mashup of the members names: Ben and (Cour)tney. They’ve danced between more industrial rock at their founding to hyper-pop inspired, avant-garde rock as of their most recent album. Here, though, I want to discuss their most popular album, “Land Animal”. I believe this to be the greatest amalgamation of the band’s talents, especially lead singer Swain.

Musical Versatility in Bent Knee’s Hands

Bent Knee has a knack for progression throughout the runtime of their songs, which is amplified by the average 5:03 minute length of tracks on this album. Starting with lead track “Terror Bird”, the song starts with some simple, low-key drumming and rhythm guitar led by Swain’s voice. Eventually, the song picks up as a heavy, overdriven electric guitar drowns out Swain’s beautifully quivering falsetto.

Music Video for song “Terror Bird” by Bent Knee.

Likewise, “These Hands” highlights the musical storytelling Bent Knee is capable of. The song never repeats itself in structure, and each new phase feels fresh and invigorating. The bridge towards the end of the song, especially, seems to throw guitars and drums all around your ears as it goes on, creating an incredibly dynamic soundscape.

The Haunting Holiness of Bent Knee’s Voice

“Holy Ghost” is probably where Swain gets to show off her vocal range best on the album. Her loud, nasally singing on the chorus feels straight out of 90s grunge bands like Hole. She perfectly encapsulates a work-induced loneliness that breaks her. Even her quiet singing on the bridge sounds like shes about to have a mental breakdown, especially with how her voice echoes with delay.

These qualities persist through the album, of course, but they take center stage on “Holy Ghost”. Despite their often heavy subject material, Bent Knee’s music also becomes incredibly cathartic to sing along to because of these qualities. I’ve actually found listening to “Land Animal” in my car, screaming choruses to no one in particular, to be a great form of emotional relief.

I am shrinking in the laptop light
Messages and blessings from each part of my mind
When I’m writing fiction I can shriek in real life

Lyrics from “Holy Ghost” by Bent Knee

Concluding Thoughts

Again, I highly recommend “Land Animal”, and the rest of Bent Knee’s work for that matter. If you’re listening to this album for the first time, I suggest giving it your full attention, letting the guitars wash over you and the lyrics penetrate you.

Rating: 8.5/10

— DJ Cashew


Top Charts 1/24

1SOFIE ROYERHarlequinStones Throw
2MAMALARKYPocket FantasyFire Talk
3DIFFERENT JANERoomsSelf-Released
4STELLA DONNELLYFloodSecretly Canadian/Secretly Group
5AKAI SOLOSpirit RoamingBackwoodz
7070 SHAKEYou Can’t Kill MeG.O.O.D./Def Jam
8REDVEILlearn 2 swimSelf-Released
10LUCY DACUSSpotify Singles [EP]Matador
11ROBERT GLASPERBlack Radio III: Supreme EditionLoma Vista/Concord
12ARMAND HAMMERHaramBackwoodz Studioz
13DENZEL CURRYMelt My Eyez See Your FutureLoma Vista/Concord
16AUDREY NUNAa liquid breakfast DELUXEArista
17GHAIS GUEVARAThere Will Be No Super-SlaveSelf-Released
19LAVA LA RUEHi-Fidelity [EP]Marathon
20MAVI“Chinese Finger Trap” [Single]Mavi 4 Mayor
22PERRY MAYSUNPainting Naked [EP]Self-Released
23SCUBADIVERGodspeed ToSelf-Released
24SHY HIGHGoodbye Delicious [EP]Self-Released
25STATUS/NON-STATUSSurely TravelYou’ve Changed
26TALEN MILLERBedroom SymphonySelf-Released
27THEY HATE CHANGEFinally, NewJagjaguwar/Secretly Group
28YOUNG WABOMirage [EP]New College
29ACTION BRONSONCocodrillo TurboLoma Vista/Concord

Top Adds

1DELLA ZYR모호함 속의 너 Nebulous YouLonginus
2BETCOVERTamago 卵Self-Released
3ANNA TIVELOutsidersMama Bird
4DARKSOFTBeigeificationLook Up
5YO LA TENGO“Aselestine” [Single]Matador
6A COUNTRY WESTERNAn Insult to the SportTopshelf