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DJ Psyched’s First Set Review

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2k Indie didn’t have a name when it started on September 1, 2018, but it did have the same mission: showcasing great new indie music and artists. At the time, my music library was much smaller then it is now and I was way less familiar with the genre. Anyhow, when I was still in the DJ training course I decided that I wanted to make my first playlist the best playlist I could come up with, so I started making this playlist two months before it aired. Since it was put together so particularly I wanted to look back at the playlist and see how much the show has changed and go down memory lane a bit.

‘On Your Mind’ by Jaguar Club was the first song I ever played on air, I absolutely loved, well still do love, this track. The song has played on 2k Indie a few times since, such an amazing track having so little exposure just really makes me want to get it out there. The band hasn’t posted anything new since, at least not that I can find, but they sure dropped a banger two years ago. 

Looking back at this playlist I find a lot of other tracks that have made more than one appearance on the show, a lot of these tracks ended up taking spots on my personal playlists as well. The thing that shocks me most looking back is that I didn’t play Cecil Frena during my first shift, their album was the first I ever reviewed for WKNC and to this day it is one of my absolute favorites.

I’m happy that there was a decent amount of variety in this playlist, something I try to be conscious of (especially since I started as Daytime Music Director). ‘What’s so Great, Britain?’ and ‘End of an Era’ are definitely the ‘heaviest’ songs on the playlist. I’ve said it many times, but since ‘indie’ is such a broad and undefinable concept I sometimes test the genre’s limits and see what unique music I can get to fit in. I find a lot of different styles can fit nicely into an indie playlist without standing out too much, punk/grunge is definitely one of them.

It’s also pretty neat seeing so many artists that I play on my segment now/ put in rotation for WKNC, especially considering I didn’t really know many artists back then. Cape Weather’s tantalizing track ‘Never Say’ made the list, and they were also recently put into rotation for the full length record they just released. Modern Diet has also been releasing a lot of new music lately and was the ‘perfect ending’ I had in this playlist. I was really obsessed with starting and finishing this set with two of my favorites, and this habit has definitely stuck since, start strong and finish even stronger. Overall I’ll give this playlist a 7 of 10, and not for the music itself, but because I sent two months making it and a good few of them weren’t as ‘new’ as I aim for on the show. Though I give myself props for that cheesy meme above that I used as the playlist cover.

Until next time, Let’s stay Psyched about Music

– DJ Psyched

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TV Soundtracks

Though I am not an avid TV person, I can really get into shows that have great soundtracks. I’ll share some of my favorites below.

Atlanta

If you weren’t aware, the show Atlanta is created by and starring Donald Glover, aka popular musician Childish Gambino. The show mainly features songs by hit hip-hop artists, but also contains a lot of lesser-known gems, and there is a blend of genres within the tracklist. I especially love the songs they chose for the soundtrack by The Pharcyde, King Krule, and Death Grips. Really an interesting mix!

Insecure

I’ll be honest, I have actually not seen this show. Spotify recommended the playlist and it is basically all I listen to besides new releases. It includes artists I love like Blood Orange, Sampha, The Internet, and so many more. Again, a lot of it is top-200 music, but there are definitely some hidden gems.

Euphoria

This show by far has the best soundtrack. Watching it and listening to the playlist for it has introduced me to SO much new music, by artists I had never before heard of. It’s actually how I got first introduced to the icon, Megan Thee Stallion. The music on the show is really varied and enjoyable to listen to.

Twin Peaks 

The epitome of weird, ambient soundtracks comes from Twin Peaks. I adore the show itself and like to listen to its soundtrack while working or studying. Listening to it always takes me right back to the mysteries of the show.

The Stand 

Stephen King’s The Stand has a place in my heart because it’s one of the only King adaptations I feel is genuine to the story. The soundtrack to this show has a mix of music including truly beautiful piano melodies, bluegrass-style songs, and of course the iconic (Don’t Fear) The Reaper. All emotional and inspiring, and a perfect fit for the show.

– Miranda

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Favorite Music Videos of April ‘20

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I already did a list of my favorite tracks released (so far) in April last week, and we already have enough amazing new releases for another post. Not to be biased, because I definitely am, but this month has been my absolute favorite for releases this year (well so far). That being said I’ve continued updating my playlist with music released this month and while doing so I noticed something really cool, not only have a lot of my favorite musicians dropped tracks this month, but the vast majority have dropped videos with them as well. So this list is going to be a review of my favorite videos and tracks of the month so far, I highly recommend you check them out!

  1. ‘The Key to Life on Earth’ by Declan McKenna

As implied by the song title ‘The Key to Life on Earth’ focuses on what people value most in life, the unimportant trivialities. He showcasts this theme in the video by having two characters, one being the artist himself and one a look alike version of himself, who live mundanely together and seem to be in a feud over every boring event they do together. There seems to be a lot of focus on materialism as well, but I can’t explain why they are dressed in roach costumes in the end… so if you know please let me know.

  1. ‘Everyone blooms’ by The Front Bottoms

This video is full of blooming, both metaphorically and literally, and is insanely visually pleasing. The song is a sweet blend of the idea that we all grow and change at our own rate, and that there is no time frame for it, while also having undertones that acknowledge a relationship. The video shows a lot of faces on their own, but ends with two of these ‘blooming flower people’ dancing together. The message that comes across is one of self growth and what it’s like to bloom with another person, the beauty of what it’s like when those two things happen at the same time. The song is full of similar themes and it’s incredibly uplifting and thoughtful, really shedding light on the growth of the band.

  1. ‘XS’ by Rina Sawayama

I’ve talked about Rina a lot recently in anticipation for the release of her record SAWAYAMA, and I was very pleased to see she dropped a video for this track. I never really stopped to think too much about what this song meant, as it’s music and vocals are just extremely enticing on their own, but the meaning is made very clear in this video. Rina, much like Declan’s video, is mocking materialism, though to a much greater extent. ‘Rina water’ is the perfect way to symbolize the unnecessary and ridiculous things people long for, and I loved that she turned out to be a robot who got the life force sucked out of her in order to make this product. It’s a fun and original way of spreading her message that we sell ourselves, our energy, and our humanity when all we chase is more. 

Some ‘Honorable Mentions’ worth checking out: Level of Concern by Twenty One Pilots, My Friend by Hayley Williams, and Aries (feat. Peter Hook and Georgia) by the Gorillaz. 

I’m really excited to see what the rest of the month has in store for us music-wise. I recently realized that I don’t watch a lot of music videos anymore, but after viewing these releases I’ve started to really appreciate them more, so I’m going to be doing a lot more watching in the future. Until next time…

Let’s stay psyched about music,

– DJ Psyched

Playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6CHgt25jDtqy9eyIHKKP3n?si=XClaGgbJRHaGVXHkRHfmLw

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DJ Highlights

Podcast Recommendations

We find ourselves in unprecedented times so I curated this list of podcast recommendations of shows that will inspire you, provoke you, or make you laugh (or cry). With more of us (shout out essential workers) staying at home amid these anxious times there is need and yearning for connection. Let’s connect through the most fundamental human art form storytelling, stories provide us with a means to connect, inspire, and many more wonderful things. This list was curated with my personal favorite podcasts that I believe everyone will find interesting featuring shows about big ideas, to shows about the small interpersonal stories that tug at your heartstrings. So, let’s find a new podcast to binge!


Ministry Of Ideas

A small podcast about big ideas “that shape our society” from spiritual machines and transhumanism to the need to have an economy based on grace, this podcast tackles the big questions of society and definitely will engage you intellectually and broaden your perspective on various interesting topics.


Lore

A thrilling podcast about the dark side of history every two weeks host Aaron Mahnke explores true life scary stories. Well produced and well narrated this podcast is a very entertaining podcast that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


Myths and Legends

Jason Weiser brings humor to classic myths and legends that we may or may not be familiar with. Jason Weiser narrates myths from different cultures from classical Greek to India and everything in between, think you know these classic stories? Well, listen to these classic stories with a witty spin.


Serial/This American Life

This American Life is a podcast about stories specifically American stories with content so diverse it’s hard to put into a few sentences. Check this podcast out for great stories that can inspire you, make you laugh and can definitely make you cry.

Serial is a podcast from the creators of This American Life is another podcast about stories, Serial takes one story over a season exploring different angles and depths of the particular story making it an engaging podcast that millions of listeners have enjoyed.

Civics 101

A podcast about civics, civics is so important to our lives that a podcast refreshing us about how our government works is so important. Even if you do not consider yourself a political person you should at least have fundamental knowledge of how government works and this podcast is a great resource.

This Land

An assassination in 1889 and 1999 murder case crimes decades apart play into an important supreme court case in 2019 that involves half of Oklahoma and five tribes. This Land is a limited series podcast that explores the background of a supreme court case that could be the biggest tribal land restoration.

5-4

The supreme court sucks! According to this podcast anyway, From the people who brought you Slow Burn this podcast explores different landmark court cases that involve hot topic issues like affirmative action, gun rights, and campaign finance hosts Peter, Michael, and Rhiannon breakdown the ideological battles in the courtroom through a progressive lens.

Wolverine Podcast

A scripted podcast from Marvel featuring one of its cornerstone heroes Wolverine, for my comic book fans and non comic book fans Wolverine the Long Night is a great gateway into the world of scripted podcasts.

The Left Right Game

A scripted podcast starring and co-produced by Tessa Thompson, the engaging story is worth a listen but it is backed up by amazing production with immersive audio; this story offers not just an suspenseful mystery story but an experience.

Jemele Hill Is Unbothered  

An Original Podcast on Spotify featuring award winning journalist Jemele Hill. Jemele Hill interviews a who’s who in the entertainment industry but also politicians and activists to have interesting conversations.

Becoming Wise

In short episodes, most are less than 10 minutes, host Krista Tippett explores various topics that will make you wiser through the many interesting conversations she has with interesting people from Brene’ Brown to John Lewis become more wise with this podcast.

Optimal Relationships Advice

Optimal Living Daily is an audioblog where they narrate content to you and this particular audioblog is about relationships. And not just romantic relationships, although those are covered too, but other relationships everything from friendships and parenting. Get the best relationships content read to you for free, best deal ever.


How’s Work With Esther Perel

Couples therapist Esther Perel explores relationships at the workplace, from startups to family business and everything in between. In one time therapy sessions between co workers, co founders, and colleagues Perel unpacks the invisible forces that impact our relationships at work.  

Good For You

Comedian Whitney Cummings interviews guests (friends, comics, celebs etc) every week. These interviews are never boring as Cummings comedic background is in full effect with every interview, listen for laughs….and more laughs.

Good One A Podcast About Jokes

A podcast about jokes sounds funny right but it is funny and informative. What makes a good joke? That is what this podcast is all about as comics break down their best jokes and find out what makes a good joke, you might see your comedic skills improve too.

Zig Zag

A business podcast about the changing course of capitalism? Sign me up, this podcast hosted by Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant this podcast will help you understand a multitude of things from cryptocurrency to identity at work and how work is changing plus many more pertinent topics to the modern workplace and modern life.

-Shawn 

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Just Metal things to do while Self-Quarantining

What’s going on Butcher Crew?! It’s ya girl, your Master Butcher, The Saw and I hope you all are doing well during these times! I know most of us have cabin fever (and not like the movies, thankfully), and we want some fun things to do while being cooped up in the house! Well have no fear, because The Saw is here to give you some ideas as to what to do while being stuck at the crib. But you guys should be used to self-quarantine because there is no exit in the The Saw’s Butcher Shop. Remember?!

Here are some fun, but metal things to do while you are bored:

·      Metal musical chairs

This is a fun twist on the game musical chairs! This idea is self-explanatory, grab some chairs, get your family and play the well-known game, but with some metal! Bonus points if you head bang while walking around the chairs.

·      Try not to sing/dance/head bang

I really enjoy this game because it is so hard not to move to some metal songs!! They have some great YouTube videos of songs that you can try the challenge with and you can also create your own. What fun! I have done one of these over the air at the radio station and it was really hard not to move to the breakdown in Domination by Pantera. You can have some fun with this and segment the game into genres! I always lose to groovy death metal and hardcore. Some bands that I always lose to are Six Feet Under, Obituary, Kublai Khan, and Bent Life.

·      Practice your mosh moves

If you are like me, I don’t get in the pit often because I am not confident in my skills. But while locked in the house, you can stay in your room and practice your moves all night! I have gotten better at my 2 step and my crowdkilling moves. Y’all better watch out when shows start coming back, you’ll find me in the pit.

·      Have your own concert

Am I the only one that has shows and dance parties in my room? Don’t lie, I know y’all like to throw down in the comfort of your pjs. You can play some air instruments and jam out and even dance! And the best thing is that the bands sound the exact same and there is no one standing around to judge your dance moves or hit you in your own little mosh pit!

·      Have a Black Metal photoshoot

My house is surrounded by the woods, and that makes a great spot to get your black metal on! Put on some corpse paint, wear the blackest of black clothing that you own, and stand out in the woods and take some dark, gloomy, black metal photos! If you have people with you, remember to social distance! Hide behind some trees and see who can take the creepiest photo.

Remember to have fun and keep yourself entertained while in the house!

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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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 

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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

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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  

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Top Choice: Alt Hip-Hop Artists

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Since February is Black History Month, it is important that as music lovers we celebrate black artists and acknowledge the significant contributions and influence of African-Americans throughout musical history. This week, I’m giving attention to some of my all-time favorite alternative hip-hop artists. 

tobi lou

My favorites: I Was Sad Last Night I’m OK Now, Darlin’, Troop, Txt Me 

Listen if you like: Potsu, Doja Cat, BØjet, KYLE 

Tobi Lou is a triple threat of rapper, singer-songwriter, and record producer. Many of his music videos feature vibrant animation and his album covers display bright cartoon characters. Lou has produced three critically acclaimed EPs. Tobi Lou creates sounds reminiscent to me of Anime Beats, and he utilizes different adlibs and funky beats to create music unlike most other hip-hop artists. 

Berhana 

My favorites: California, Grey Luh, Lucky Strike
Listen if you like: Frank Ocean, Mac Ayres

Amain Berhane, stage name Berhana, released his first album HAN in 2019, three years after the release of his EP Berhana which first gave him traction in the R&B/alternative scene. HAN is a beautiful continuation of the dreamy, melodic music he previously put out. Most Berhana songs follow an in-depth narrative, sung soulfully, paired with subtle electronic influence that reminds me of Frank Ocean’s channel ORANGE

Tierra Whack 

My favorites: Only Child, Pet Cemetery, Waze

Listen if you like: Noname, BROCKHAMPTON

The most notable thing about Tierra Whack is her voice and output of creative and unique tracks. Her sound is unlike most other female rappers/singers and there is an underlying sense of humor and fun found in most of her songs. Her album Whack World reflects this with tracks like Dr. Suess and Hungry Hippo. I definitely recommend listening to her music. 

Kari Faux 

My favorites: Lowkey, No Small Talk, IN THE AIR

Listen if you like: Princess Nokia, Noname, Justine Skye  

I first found Kari Faux in 2016 after she was remixed on No Small Talk with Childish Gambino. This led me to finding her 2014 mixtape, Laugh Now, Die Later. Her solo version of No Small Talk was recently featured on HBO’s Insecure. As an artist, she has exhibited continuous growth, but is most known for her sultry, nearly-monotone rapping and vocal harmonies. Her latest release is a feature on Amindi’s new single, Love Em Leave Em. Her iconic vocals and always-fantastic wordplay are truly stunning, definitely give it a listen. 

– Miranda 

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2020 Music Resolutions

New year’s resolutions have gained a pretty rough reputation in recent years. A lot of people think they’re a lame excuse for not trying new things all year round and some people see them as setting yourself up to fail. I think it just depends on how you look at them. It is a bit unrealistic to pledge to like 10 new things overnight, but I do like the idea of them. That’s not what this is about though, so to keep things simple I just want to talk about some music resolutions I have for the upcoming year.

Last year I pledged to listen to at least one new song a day, I started a playlist for this but eventually it got tedious and I fell behind, I abandoned the project a few days in. Prime example of a resolution that was a bit too ambitious and failed. I also always try to pledge to practicing music more and making more music, but that’s not specific enough for me. I will say in 2019 I did better than the last few years, but there is still a lot of work to do.

This year I thought things through a little more.

  1. Play music at least one day on the weekends – far more realistic with my school and work schedule then daily practice.

  2. Listen to more new music once a week to make my DJ sets – also more realistic and i’ll have to do it anyways, once I choose a show day I’ll choose a listening day.

  3. Content making: Podcasts about music – thanks to my job at WKNC this is totally realistic and I’m very excited for it, I’ve been coming up with ideas and contacting potential guests all break, setting myself up to get it done.

  4. Work on recording music after I feel my practicing is suffice.

I think by setting only a few goals and not doing them all at once is really going to help maintain things. I also have thought into them more this year to make sure I was planning and preparing well. Do you have any music resolutions or resolutions in general? And what are you doing to make sure you’re setting yourself up for success?

– DJ Psyched