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Miscellaneous

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.

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Miscellaneous

Miranda’s Must Reads

Written by Miranda

I never imagined my last day at WKNC would be working from my couch across the country from North Carolina. COVID-19 changed a lot about my senior year of undergraduate. Reflecting on all of this has me reminiscing about all the things I’ve created during my time and WKNC and what I’d most like for anyone who hasn’t seen my work to read. Hope you enjoy.

  1. Friday Favorites Series – I created the Friday Favorites series in order to openly share all the new music I’ve enjoyed each week. I love being able to listen to a years’ worth of music from the playlist I created while making these posts.
  2. Review of Scott Avett’s Exhibition at NCMA – This was my first post for WKNC and still one of my favorites. It was a great exhibit of a cool local artist and musician.
  3. Album Review: Which Way Is Forward? – A beautiful album that I only discovered through my job at WKNC. I still listen to this artist frequently even over a year later.
  4. COVID-19 and Musical Experiences – Something that really interested me was shared experiences in music when people are separated. Researching for this was fun and eye-opening.
  5. A Greater Understanding: Educational Resources Relating to #BlackLivesMatter – The ability to actively participate in important social movements is one of the best features of working at WKNC. These still-relevant resources helped me increase my understanding of the BLM movement and the systemic racism in our country that must be dismantled.
  6. Black Contributions to Music Series – Doing the research for these posts not only helped me appreciate how much the Black community has done for popular culture, but also how much of these accomplishments are glossed over by mainstream media.
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Miscellaneous

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:

Headliners

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.

Categories
Concert Preview Festival Coverage Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

Bonnaroo 2021: Who I’m Excited to See

After much anticipation, Bonnaroo is back in business. After rescheduling from last year (I think there was some sort of pandemic or something), Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee will be flooded with tens of thousands of fans from all over the world. And for good reason too. The lineup for 2021 is definitely going to be one for the books. The headliners for each day include Foo Fighters, Lizzo, and Tyler the Creator, who I would shovel out any amount of money to be able to see. Beyond the bigger names include a modge podge of artists ranging from folk to indie to rap, providing a unique taste for everyone there. Among these names, here are a few that I am especially excited to see. 

Megan Thee Stallion 
I’ll be honest, at my first glance of the lineup for this year I was a bit surprised to see Megan on there. When I usually think of Bonnaroo, artists like Tash Sultana, Cage the Elephant, and Tyler Childers come to mind. But the more I think about it, the happier I am to have the chance to see her there. All of Megan’s music has such an upbeat flow to it and I’m sure it will be a tough challenge for any artist to get the crowd more hype than she does. 

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard 
This just seems like the kind of band that would be amazing live. With their eccentric guitar riffs and mellowed out lyrics, they make for a perfect midday vibe to bring the crowd together under the sun. 

Caamp
This band definitely holds a special place in my heart. I’m not a huge folk fan, but Caamp has a perfect balance of bluegrass with just a hint of modern rock sprinkled in. The main singer’s voice is raspy, but not too raspy, and their lyrics remind me of a life I used to dream of when a more adventurous writer occupied my mind when I was younger. 

Tame Impala 
Have you guys heard of them? It’s super underground, super indie, you probably wouldn’t like it. All jokes aside, Tame Impala is known to be amazing live and I would love a chance to see Kevin Parker shred the guitar. 

Resistance Revival Chorus 
This group has some of the most amazing harmonies to date. I’d say it’s a mixture of blues and folk. Their lyrics speak to a wide audience and they send a good message. 

Remi Wolf
The last one on this list goes out to Remi Wolf. Her music is a bit reminiscent of Still Woozy, with a funk bass to compliment her wide vocal range. Any song of hers could easily get the crowd dancing. 

These artists are only a few on this incredible lineup. Words cannot describe how excited I am to be in the middle of a tightly packed crowd all there to get the same, beautiful experience of a music festival. Rain or shine, Bonnaroo 2021 is happening and you’re not going to want to miss it. 
-DJ Chippypants

Image Creds: https://edmidentity.com/2020/09/16/bonnaroo-virtual-roo-ality-lineup/

Categories
Miscellaneous

Music Video Spotlight: Flunkie’s “Collapse // Rebuild”

Hailing from Copenhagen, Anna Degnbol is an illustrator whose work has appeared in projects both large and small. To be honest, I’d never heard of flunkie until I saw Degnbol’s animated music video for her song “Collapse // Rebuild.” Nonetheless, I was in complete awe as I sat through the short video, mesmerized by both the track and the animation. I’ve truly never seen anything like it.

Dengbol’s illustrations are colorful and surreal, focusing on themes of nature, dreams and identity. Though she mainly works with colored pencils, her work can be found in a variety of mediums. I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while now, but I only stumbled across the “Collapse Rebuild” video recently.

In an interview with creative blog “It’s Nice That,” Degnbol points out that her “lack of knowledge about animation [contributed] to some cool things.” She was given complete creative freedom by flunkie for the video, leading her to use her hand-drawn style to her advantage. The animation is done frame-by-frame, giving it a rudimentary yet organic impression. Even though there’s not much animation technically happening, watching the video makes you feel like everything is humming.

What’s so interesting to me about this video is how beautifully simple it is. It’s a short narrative, following a dreamlike sequence of different objects falling apart and reforming. Plants wilt and grow, candles melt and reshape. It all seems to be happening inside a girl’s dream, where she also meets a sun-like figure. It’s clear that her background in comic art shows through how the video is directed. She reflects the feeling of the song perfectly by balancing detailed closeups and airy landscapes.

It’s honestly so relaxing to watch and ridiculously beautiful. Degnbol’s animations really highlight how calm and lush “Collapse // Rebuild” is. Give it a watch!

– DJ Butter

Categories
Miscellaneous

Nick Cave vs. Gay People

Alright so before we get to this far too long article, I’ve got to lay down my bona fides. I absolutely adore Nick Cave. I am also gay. This presents some problems because uh… well Nick Cave has a bit of a pattern with his treatment of gay people, specifically gay men, in his lyrics. We’ll get to the specifics of this in a minute, but I want to get the fact that I do not hate Cave or dislike his music out of the way first. I’m going to say some unkind things about a few of Cave’s songs, but he has made a lot of music I enjoy, and he has an engaging public presence through his website where he shares insightful thoughts about the world, and his newest music is some of the best music of his or anyone’s career.

I had privately given up on writing about such a cliche “Cancel Culture,” topic as Nick Cave and gay people until I found this Reddit thread, Asking queer fans for opinions about Cave’s more troublesome lyrics. The responses were… interesting, and it made me think that perhaps there were more people like me wondering how to process Cave’s work. It also signified something that I’ve suspected for a while, which is that Cave’s fanbase does not just happen to contain some gay people, but is perhaps disproportionately gay, something Cave has alluded to as well. So, for the two other people that still care about this topic, let’s get into it.

Categories
Miscellaneous Music News and Interviews

The Weezer Fandom: Van Weezer is Coming

So y’all know Weezer right? Radio rock band from the mid-90s, Buddy Holly, Say it Aint So, Island in the Sun? Well did you know that Weezer has been active and releasing music more or less continuously since then? They are releasing their fifteenth studio album “Van Weezer,” here in a couple of weeks, and their ride-or-die fanbase couldn’t be happier.

This thing really sucks! Thanks Weezer!

WZRFAN43

This doesn’t mean the fans are expecting a great new album. In fact, the fanbase is eagerly anticipating a train wreck of monstrous proportions. The Weezer fandom is perhaps one of the most masochistic groups of people I’ve ever seen, taking in each new horrifying set of lyrics, bland instrumental, and bonkers musical idea with awe. One of my longtime friends is a Weezer fan, and she has been forcibly subjecting me to these horrors for about the last 5 years, to the point that it’s become a recurring constant to follow along with every new album. Let me show you what I mean, here is a quotation from their magnum opus Smart Girls:

“Where did all these smart girls come from? I don’t think that I could choose just one. Where did all these smart girls come from? Someone tell me how to get me some. On the floor, in the car, on the seat at the bar, wherever I go, that’s where they are. SMAAARRT GIIIRRRLSSS.”  

This song has been stuck in my head continuously since the 9th grade and I’m not sure if I can live like this any longer.

Even the good music Weezer released in their post-relevancy has been tinted with madness. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which albums are actually good, because nobody agrees on which albums are good. If you liked Weezer in their heyday, I can almost guarantee that you will like something they’ve released in their weird stage, but I cannot tell you what. The line between good solid music and unquestionably horrifying catastrophe is surprisingly fine. I personally love 2008’s “Weezer (The Red Album)” my friend enjoys 2014’s “Everything Will Be Alright in the End.” And both of us agree that 2010’s “Hurley,” is the worst album in recorded history. Needless to say, I’ve listened to Hurley many times more than I’ve listened to anything good they ever released.

Anti-fandom is a strange beast. In the internet era, it’s difficult to unironically like something. Every corner of the internet is filled with hipsters singing the praises of The Room, Cats, The Shaggs, etc. But the Weezer fandom doesn’t actually remind me of those irony poisoned talking points. They remind me most of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Rocky Horror is, objectively speaking, a terrible movie. It’s poorly paced, the music is cheesy, the “point,” if it ever had one, is completely lost, is contains Meatloaf. However, the fandom around Rocky Horror does not love it ironically or poke fun at it because they think it is trash. No, no, while it may be trash, it is our trash, and there will be no bratty hipster “so bad it’s good,” in the Rocky Horror fandom. When Time Warp plays, you will pelvic thrust with force and gusto.

The Weezer fandom works in a similar way. Yes, this is terrible, but it’s only terrible because throughout all their albums there is sincerity and a genuine effort that has been lost by most 90s teenage rock stars. There’s something genuinely uncomfortable about Rivers Cuomo trying and failing to imitate Kesha. I mean, just compare Green Day’s latest, well, I guess you would technically call it a “song” Here Comes the Shock. The self-cannibalizing irony has seeped so deep into their music that it ceases to even be bad. It’s just, the absence of good. So, while I may think 75% of everything Weezer has ever made is absolute garbage, I respect that they have always made the garbage they wanted to make. Except for Pinkerton, screw that album.

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Miscellaneous

Madonna, Sonic Youth, and Her Upcoming Biopic

A woman in a black dress signs autographs
Madonna at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011. Image by Ed Van-West Garcia. CC BY-SA 2.0

I’ve always liked Madonna. That’s not really a deep admission or anything, but amid her increasingly poor reputation, failed ventures into Hollywood, and just generally embarrassing behavior, I think it’s worth reminding ourselves of the obvious that Madonna’s music is just good on its own merits. And who better to remind us of that than Thurston Moore….. wait wut?

Okay, so to understand why one of the most uncommercial, prestigious, and pretentious indie rock bands is giving interviews to The Guardian simping for Madonna, it helps to look at where Madonna comes from artistically. Unfortunately, I can’t do that because Madonna has repeatedly maintained her legal right to “tell her own story,” as it were. Yes, any biopic about her life is going to be written and directed by one woman only, and that woman is Madonna. On the one hand, it seems a little narcissistic, on the other hand, she’s been an aspiring director for years, and there is a big trend of musician biopics right now about so fair enough.  However, the censure on high-profile accounts of Madonna’s life means that there is very little information on her artistic beginnings that hasn’t been run through this very narrow filter of “A Star is Born,” style romanticization.

Okay, so why care about that? The world is hardly aching for more information about Madonna’s personal affairs, she leads one of the most well-documented lives in human history. Well, despite the public obsession with nearly every aspect of Madonna’s life, I don’t really think we consider her music in much detail. Music critics practically fall over themselves to declare every new pop album is high art, but there are some musical figures that are a little too larger than life. What value is there in analyzing Madonna? You might as well critically review the hamburger or the idea of the social media, it’s just a de facto part of our culture, with no positive or negative value attached to it. However, our impressions of these things (and yes in this context Madonna has unfortunately become a thing) may not be accurate, and this is where that Thurston Moore interview comes in.

According to Moore, Madonna did not appear from the void into stardom, she was an active member of the New York City art scene for years before mainstream success hit her. Her name was Madonna Ciccone, she lived a normal insufferable starving artist lifestyle, and she was in a band with the original backing members of Swans. Swans, if your unfamiliar, at the time were a band of angry noise bros growling about sexual assault atop two chords. This contradicts Madonna’s public image in a way that is both flattering and unhelpful. Her career has been based on a tightly controlled perception that she is the new Marylyn Monroe, a woman catapulted to fame from humble origins on beauty and star power alone. Many people might see Madonna more sympathetically knowing that she created a variety of music and chose to make dance-pop intentionally, but being sympathetic and being sellable are two different things, and it can often benefit someone more to play an unsympathetic archetype. I can’t predict the future, but based on the BBC article, I’d be surprised if these details make it into her new picture.

So why did I bring all this up, was it just a long-winded excuse to talk about a personal diva of mine for five hundred words? Yes. Yes, it was, but to leave you with my ill-considered and probably incorrect thoughts on the world around us. I think it’s important to remember that celebrities maintain intense control over their public image. This is a rare case when a celebrity might, in some small way, be covering up something endearing about themselves, but obviously, this is not the norm. A biopic about Madonna, Freddie Mercury, or Elton John will only represent a very narrow window into that person’s life, and an even narrower window into their art. Celebrities, even dead ones, maintain very tight controls on their own personal stories.

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Miscellaneous Music Education

Zamrock

In the 1970s a cultural wave was preparing to wash over an entire nation. It wasn’t disco, the Vietnam War, or even anything to do with America. This wave of change was happening in Zambia, a country in the heart of Sub-Saharan Africa. Following their independence from England, Zambia was about to create a new, beautiful style of music that was almost lost forever to the turbulent fallout of the post-colonial African instability. 

Zamrock is a blend of western psychedelic rock with a strong native Zambian influence. In the time that the country had been under English rule, bands like The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd had grown popular in the UK, whose music eventually made its way over to Africa. Musicians initially learned to play the guitar through listening to this music, from which they incorporated their own style to blend the two major characteristics of the music. 

After independence Zambia quickly took advantage of their ability to export copper, which allowed for a bit of economic stability in the country. As younger people found themselves with more money in their pockets, they flooded to bars and nightclubs where Zamrock musicians showcased their work. At this point the genre was so underground that the only way to hear it was to see the bands live. However, this would change as Zambia attempted to strengthen their national identity, part of which involved the mandate that 95% of music over the radio had to be of Zambian origin. As the genre grew, so did the craving for strictly Zambian music. People loved the idea of supporting something that they could call their own, and within a few years Zamrock had tied the country together through its unique and original sound. 

Around this time is when the genre peaked. As the 70s progressed, Zambia saw more and more instability due to external conflict with neighboring countries, the reduced price of copper, and the outbreak of the AIDS crisis. Almost every member of the original Zamrock bands have died because of AIDS, however their legacy lives on through the work that they did to unite a country through music. 

Some of my favorite Zamrock songs include “You Better Know” by Witch, “Khala My Friend” by Amanz, “Running” by Blackfoot, “Changa Namwele” by Machine Gunners, “Born Black” by Chrissy Zebby Tembo,” and “Musi-O-Tunya” by Musi-O-Tunya. 

Hope you guys enjoy the tunes, 
-DJ Chippypants

Sources: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czrPRJehmdA

Categories
Band/Artist Profile Miscellaneous Music Education

Carolina Beach Music

When you bring up the topic of beach music, most people immediately think of The Beach Boys and perhaps lesser known bands such as Dick Dale, The Ventures, The Lively Ones, and The Tornadoes. However, there is a distinct difference between these styles. The Beach Boys had a much more profound “doo-wop” sound to their music. In fact, lead singer Brian Wilson even said that he disliked when people described the Beach Boys as “surfin’ music” just because they were from California. Is his mind, they were their own subset of beach rock. 

The “surf music” that Brian Wilson was so ready to be detached from was pioneered by Dick Dale in the early 1960s. Around this time, Fender had just incorporated the reverb sound into their amps, allowing electric guitars to mimic the sound of a wave. This can be heard in almost every surf rock song. Dick Dale popularized this effect, while adding Mexican and Middle-Eastern influences to give us the surf rock sound we know today. 

While this was all happening on the west coast, a much lesser-known style of beach music was taking hold on the east coast, particularly in North and South Carolina. This style of beach music found its influences through blues and rock R&B. While surf rock exhibits the use of electric guitar, Carolina beach music incorporated more brass instruments, such as the trumpet and the French horn. All of this music was closely associated with “the shag,” which was a popular dance at the time. 

I was first introduced to this music by my parents, so some of my favorites that they used to play include “I Love Beach Music” by The Embers, “Give Me Just a Little More Time” by The Chairmen of the Board, “Ocean Boulevard” by Band of Oz, “Mrs. Grace” by Tymes, “Myrtle Beach Days” by The Fantastic Shakers, and “Summertime’s Calling Me” by the Catalinas. 

Hope you guys enjoy the tunes,
-The DJ Formerly Known As Chippypants

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beach_music#History
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surf_music