Top Choice: Literature

Written By Miranda

As NC State finals are coming to an end, students are all anxious to finish their classes and get ready for winter break. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite recent reads so you have something to fill your days until the spring semester begins. 

  1. Nemesis by Isaac Asimov 
  2. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  3. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn 
  4. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami 
  5. Do No Harm by Henry Marsh
  6. The Shining by Stephen King
  7. The Lord of the Rings Collection by J.R.R. Tolkien 
  8. Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut 
  9. Breaking Night by Liz Murray 
  10. The God Project by John Saul  
  11. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn 
  12. The Game of Thrones Series by George R.R. Martin

Hope you enjoy my recommendations and find something new to read over your winter break.

Band/Artist Profile Miscellaneous

Best of Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers has entered the radar of many indie lovers this year upon the release of her second album “Punisher.” Her diary-like storytelling, sorrowful disposition, smooth vocals, and folky melodies combine to make top-tier indie music. So, join me on my journey to parse out the best of… Phoebe Bridgers.

  1. “Motion Sickness”

What would a Best of Phoebe Bridgers be without her most well known single, “Motion Sickness”? This song, a mild expose of a toxic relationship, is one of her most melodically potent songs, and has a catchier chorus than most of her other works. Despite the upbeat sounding percussion and springy guitar, the song conveys the hurt that Bridgers went through during her relationship and her liberating herself from that hurt.

Favorite Lyric: “You said when you met me you were bored / And you, you were in a band when I was born.”

  1. “I Know the End”

The closer on her sophomore album, “Punisher,” “I Know the End” is one of her more experimental tracks. The song starts out like most of Phoebe Bridgers’ tunes, a soft whisper of longing, but it builds up to be a metal song, complete with blood-curdling screams and heavy percussion toward the end. This ballad about Bridgers’ mental health and struggle with depression is chock-full of noteworthy and breathtaking lyrics, and is by far one of the best album closers I’ve ever heard.

Favorite Lyric(s): “I’m always pushing you away from me / But you come back with gravity” and “Windows down, scream along / To some America First rap country song.”

  1. (cover of) “Friday I’m in Love” by the Cure

This isn’t technically a work of Bridgers herself, but her cover of “Friday I’m in Love” by the Cure is a refreshing take on the hit 90s rock song. Her soft vocals and the calming instrumentals feel like a breath of fresh air after a long day.

Favorite Lyric: “Dressed up to the eyes / It’s a wonderful surprise / To see your shoes and your spirits rise.”

  1. “Kyoto,” “Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version)”

“Kyoto” would be the song I would recommend to anyone looking to get into Phoebe Bridgers’ music. This unusually upbeat track is juxtaposed with lyrics about her rocky relationship with her father. This horn-heavy track is perfect to scream-sing along to in the car with friends, and is my personal remedy for hard days. More recently, Bridgers came out with a strings only version of the song with Rob Moose. This more melancholy take on the song makes the lyrics all the more powerful and is definitely a tearjerker. 

Favorite Lyric: “Born under Scorpio skies / I wanted to see the world / Through your eyes until it happened / Then I changed my mind.”

  1. “Funeral”

This is definitely one of Bridgers’ saddest songs, as it is about the death of a close friend. This song seems to capture the darkness and light of grieving, and the feeling of celebrating a life publicly and mourning a death privately. This duality of grief is perfectly captured in the intro of the song, which starts out with a gritty reverbed electric guitar that flows into a melodic acoustic guitar. This track is one of my favorites from her debut album, “Stranger in the Alps.”

Favorite Lyric: “And I have this dream where I’m screaming underwater / While my friends are waving from the shore.”

  1. “Garden Song”

“Garden Song” is exactly what it sounds like it would be, a melodic and warm song about hopes and dreams– an unusually positive theme for Bridgers’ discography, but a welcome one. This leading single is what drew me to her discography, although not thematically on par with the rest of her music, it most definitely is sonically typical of her work.

Favorite Lyric: “The doctor put her hands over my liver / She told me my resentment’s getting smaller.”

This is merely an overview of my personal favorites, so if you’re just getting into Phoebe Bridgers, by all means don’t stop there. If you’re dying to listen to my picks now, check out this playlist. She has worked on many other projects including Boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center. She has also collaborated with Fiona Apple, The 1975, Lord Huron and quite a few others throughout her career. Bridgers did just announce on Nov. 10 that she is releasing an EP of songs from Punisher with string instrumentals, which we got a sneak peek of with her releasing “Kyoto (Copycat Killer Version).” Although I am definitely late to the Phoebe Bridgers scene, I am just glad to be here and that I can absorb her artistry.

Check out her website and Instagram!



Miscellaneous Playlists

30 Ways to Practice Self-Care During Finals

I am a true believer that self-care is one of the most important things to incorporate into our daily routines. Now that the stress of final exams is piled on top of election panic, COVID anxiety, social upheaval, taking care of ourselves emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally is crucial. I try to do one thing every day that brings me joy and comfort. Self-care looks different for everyone, but here are some ways I like to wind down to make sure I don’t get too burned out. Some might work for you, some might not. Some take more time than others, and may only be accessible to you after finals are over. The important thing is to recognize what you love to do and make a little bit of time for it every day!

  1. Re-read your favorite book.
  2. Go on a long walk in nature. Even if it’s a short one, walking every day has been found to be very beneficial for our mental wellbeing.
  3. Buy a plant and watch it grow.
  4. Watch your comfort show.
  5. Call a friend.
  6. Make a collage.
  7. Take a really really really long shower.
  8. Set a schedule for yourself and stick to it.
  9. Go to bed early.
  11. Buy yourself something you’ve been wanting for a long time.
  12. Bake something sweet and share it with people you love.
  13. Clean your room.
  14. Organize your closet and donate your old clothes.
  15. Paint or draw, even if you’re bad at it.
  16. Dance around your room.
  17. Dress up for no reason.
  18. Journal, journal, journal! Writing out all the things I’m stressed about helps clear my head.
  19. Redecorate your room/home.
  20. Watch concerts of your favorite artists.
  22. Find new music and update your playlists.
  23. Buy some new skin/hair products.
  24. Light a candle.
  25. Make some tea, hot chocolate, or any warm beverage.
  26. Take a bubble bath.
  27. Exercise in your preferred way.
  28. Breathe deeply.
  29. Remember this too shall pass.
  30. Listen to this playlist I made you!

The Saw’s Guide to “Butcher” Your Final Exams!

What’s going on Butcher Crew it’s ya girl, your Master Butcher, The Saw and finals are creeping up on us!! It’s like this semester flew by and we are now almost on break. Thank God. BUT one thing stands in our way of being stress-free and relaxed… and that is FINALS; one of the most stressful times in a student’s academic career. But have no fear, the Saw is here to survive finals week; aka, “Hell Week.” Now, when I say “butcher,” I don’t mean failing your exams. I own a Butcher Shop, so I need to use some play-on words sometimes. You know how people sometimes say, “I killed it,” or “I crushed it” when they finish something that took a lot of time? Yeah, that’s what I mean by butcher. 

            I have several papers and final projects I need to finish and I have started them this week. I know finals can be a very stressful period for students during this time. It’s also so easy just to tell yourself “you have more time” and you will “do a lot of work tomorrow,” but end up staying on your phone, watching a movie or a TV show, or talking to your friends and family. Trust me, I have been there; but I have a few tips that I have been practicing that has helped me prepare and finish my finals with less stress! 

Plan ahead: I look at the days all of my finals are due and write them down in my calendar. When the deadline gets a little over a month away, I start to write down when I am going to start researching and working on my finals. This reminds me that I need to start looking at ideas and topics to use for my assignments. I would also write down the days that you want to begin working on your projects. I usually do research two weeks before the assignments are due, I then write and do more research a week before due date, and finally the week they are due, I will make some final touches before I turn them in. Professors usually have assignments in the course that help you plan for your finals. It’s better to plan ahead so you can have more time! 

Have a research week: Usually, a week before I start the writing process of my final papers, I will take a week to read textbooks, articles, primary sources, secondary sources, and any texts that will provide information to my topic. I take notes on these readings and this helps me begin thinking about how I want to form my paper and which way I want to go with it. This also helps you begin to write your paper; you will already have ideas that you can go ahead and write about (don’t forget to cite your sources in the correct citation format). It’s okay if you don’t get all of your research done that week! You will have more time to do more research if you need to.

Begin with the first thing that is due: After your week of research, the following week When having so many assignments to look after, I usually start with the first thing that is due since I will have less days. Then, I will work on the next thing that is due, and so on. I have an easy hint that will help you finish your assignments in a less stressful manner: divide the assignment throughout each day. For example, I have a 15-page papers due one week. Now, this isn’t so bad because I am going to write 3 pages a day for 5 days (I usually do Monday – Friday). That is a piece of cake! It doesn’t make the workload seem that big when you are writing a few pages a day. Do this with each of your assignments and you will have your assignments done a few days before the deadline in no time! By doing this, you will have time each day to do more research for your papers while you are writing. You can also use the weekends to do extra work if you need more time to work on your assignments. Then on the day your assignments are due, all you will have to do is turn them in! 

Listen to a final exam playlist: Music makes everything better. Especially working on finals, it will help you concentrate on your work since you won’t get distracted by the things around you. I have a few playlists that I like to listen to while I am working. Sometimes I like to listen to metal because there’s just something about it that keeps me productive and glued to my work. I also like some more lo-fi/R&B playlists that also soothe me while I am writing. 

Take breaks: It’s okay to take some breaks here and there! You gotta eat and use the bathroom at some point! I like to work for an hour/hour and a half, without getting distracted, and then take a 30-minute break. This will help me relax my mind so it is refreshed to do some more work. This is also when I will talk to my roommates, text my friends and family back, and get on social media. I set a timer so I know when to get working again. I usually put my phone across the table from me so I am not tempted to get on it. This has worked so much. 

Don’t be too hard on yourself: Hype yourself up and tell yourself you’ve done a good job. You are doing the best you can and performing at the best of your ability and that’s all that matters. You’re getting it done and you are killing it! Be proud of yourself and everything that you have done. You can either be your biggest fan or worst enemy. 

Finals are a stressful time, but hopefully these tips can help you survive finals and be less stressed. And always remember, finals week isn’t as stressful and terrifying as The Saw’s Butcher Shop 😉 

What are some tips and tricks that have helped you survive finals? 

You got this! 

Stay Metal, 


Some of my favorite albums/playlists:


Komo no Chomei: Cottagecore King

Thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, systemic police brutality and other unprecedented events, never has it been more enticing than in 2020 to abandon civilization and live in a cute hut in the woods, befriending forest creatures and making homemade soap. Yes, it would seem the “cottagecore” ideal is alive and well, but what if I told you its aesthetics are nothing new?

Enter Japanese recluse literature. Like cottagecore, this genre embraces living in harmony with nature, separate from society, but unlike cottagecore, it has no interest in romanticizing neocolonialism. Buddhist disciple Komo no Chomei was rejecting modernity in a time that would now be considered antiquity – around the turn of the thirteenth century to be exact – making him something of a hipster in the cottagecore scene.

Chomei’s masterwork, An Account of my Hermitage, establishes its themes from the get-go:

Though the river’s current never fails, the water passing, moment by moment, is never the same.  Where the current pools, bubbles form on the surface, bursting and disappearing as others rise to replace them, none lasting long. In this world, people and their dwelling places are like that, always changing.

By equating us to the flow of water, Chomei brings into question the ephemeral nature of life. This comparison sets the tone for the rest of the piece, as he recalls several natural disasters – fire, windstorms, floods, earthquakes and famine – that spelled catastrophe for thousands of people. He also recalls human conflicts, such as the war between the Minamoto and Taira clans, but to him these are inconsequential when in the face of mother nature. To this end, Chomei paints a rather bleak picture of the human condition, and raises the question: “Where can we live, what can we do, to find even the briefest of shelters, the most fleeting peace of mind?” This is a question that I think is especially relevant today.

The remainder of the memoir is tasked with answering that question. Chomei’s solution was simple: since the source of man’s despair is his attachment to worldly desires, he would abandon them. In practice, this meant leaving the home he inherited from his grandmother and building a ten-foot square hut in the mountains where he would spend the rest of his days. With no connections to other humans and no attachment to material possessions except his hut, Chomei devoted the rest of his life to following the Way of the Buddha.

Buddhist monks were living with no attachment to the outside world long before the Western construction of cottagecore. By possessing little they suffered little; by rejecting desire they embraced enlightenment. You don’t have to be a Rinzai Zen master to see that sometimes, it’s the little things that matter the most.

Read Komo no Chomei’s memoir here.

– DJ Mango


Top Choice: Locket by Crumb Music Video

Finding a good music video is always a treasure, especially if the song itself is already great. Crumb, the indie rock band known best for their song “Locket,” which was released in 2017, really exceeded expectations with their music video for the hit single. Filled with hidden gems that remind one of a psychedelic I Spy book, it is a fantastic representation of “Locket.” Haoyan of America, a creative development agency famous for their use of 360 cameras, directed and edited the music video.

The video takes place in what looks like a cozy apartment, filled with Lila Ramani (lead vocals and guitar), her bandmates, and other friends. After having a steaming mug of tea, which is presumed to be some sort of hallucinogen, Ramani and the group experience the psychedelic effects. While holding a small glass orb as the “tea” starts to kick in, Ramani notices the world around her starts to change. This is where my absolute favorite part occurs: By using a 360-degree camera to film, the video turns into this awesome flowing, circular impression that leaves you completely fixated. When the 360 camera is not in use, you can see objects around the room melting together and dancing around as the party embraces the trip that they’re experiencing. Another gorgeous part is when we’re able to see Ramani’s silhouette, smoke billowing behind her.

The camera cuts to other random oddities as well, such as the chopping up of a plastic dinosaur and the petting of a friendly cat. There is an endless amount of things to notice. It’s the kind of music video you would have to watch over and over again to truly be able to appreciate all it has to offer. I’m not usually the type of person to watch music videos really at all, but I truly believe that this one only enhances the song and shows how creative Crumb is as a band. If you’re interested in watching, which I highly recommend doing, here’s the video just for you!

– DJ Butter


Top Choice: Horror Movies

Written By Miranda Owen

I am a big fan of film and have watched hundreds of horror movies. My parents both love scary stuff and so I’ve grown up loving crime shows, horror movies, crime podcasts, and all the slasher movies I can handle. The following are my favorite horror movies, hopefully you can check some of them out for tomorrow’s Halloween festivities!

  • The Shining (1980) 
  • Us (2019) 
  • Get Out (2017) 
  • Midsommar (2019) 
  • Psycho (1960) 
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil (2010) 
  • Cloverfield (2008) 
  • Silent Hill (2006) 
  • Bird Box (2018) 
  • Alien (1979) 
  • Train to Busan (2016) 
  • Hereditary (2018) 
  • It (2017) 
  • Pet Sematary (2019) 
  • Gerald’s Game (2017) 
  • The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016) 
  • The Babadook (2014) 
  • Mama (2013) 
  • It Follows (2014) 
  • Case 39 (2009) 
  • The Ring (2002)

Friday Favorites

Written By Miranda Owen

This week my Friday Favorites are composed of the best spooky/Halloween-themed songs perfect for the season on the eve of the best holiday. Be sure to check out these songs at more on WKNC’s Spotify page here

1. Season Of The Witch by Lana Del Rey 

Lana produces some amazing cover songs and this is one of my favorites, which happens to be perfect for the Halloween season. 

2. House of the Rising Sun by Lauren O’Connell 

Another cover song, this one is great because it has a more creepy, spooky vibe than the original making it perfect for your Halloween enjoyment. 

3. Sisters of the Moon by Fleetwood Mac 

This song is great for your Halloween/Blue Moon Celebration with an upbeat melody great for dancing. 

4. Spellbound by Siouxsie and the Banshees

A perfectly unique song for your art-punk loving friends during the holiday. 

5. I Put A Spell On You by Creedence Clearwater Revival 

A great mix of spooky vocals, witchy theme and intricate melody that’s perfect for the full moon. 

6. Batcaves by Kap Bambino 

Loud and spooky, just like we like it. 


Top Choice: Indie Folk Album Covers

Written By Miranda Owen

Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron & Wine 

Every Iron & Wine album has unique art, but this one is probably my favorite as it has the most interesting detail and linework. The album art is vibrant and covers the full spectrum of the rainbow. I love how accurately the theme of the artworks reflects the theme of the album. 

The Flying Club Cup by Beirut  

I absolutely love the vintage and minimalistic album covers used by Beirut. This one is cute and vintage, perfectly encapsulating the timeless feel of the album. Truly a special album deserving of such a unique album cover. 

Hozier by Hozier 

This album cover is unique because it was painted as a portrait of the artist, by his mother, and the artist Hozier chose to have his face painted out of it to keep with the theme of his other album covers. 

Bon Iver by Bon Iver 

Bon Iver also utilized the work of an artist for his album covers. My personal favorite cover is his self-titled album, Bon Iver, created by artist Gregory Euclide. This work is a beautiful contemporary painting that’s perfectly suitable for the simple, pretty tones of the album. 

Fleet Foxes by Fleet Foxes 

This 2008 indie folk album utilizes the work of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a famous piece of work created in 1559. Overall the painting appears beautiful, but as you look into it more closely, you’ll realize the intricate weirdness it contains.


Film Highlight: This Is Spinal Tap

I am not exaggerating when I say “This is Spinal Tap” is the most underrated movie ever. I was allowed to watch it at way too early of an age, but after revisiting it recently, I have found an incredible new appreciation for it.

If you’ve never heard of it, imagine Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same” documentary but satirized and completely ridiculous. The film is a “mockumentary” that follows a (fictional) fading rock group on their tour across America, aka Spinal Tap. The band encounters one unfortunate situation after the next. Their drummers are always dying of strange, unexplainable circumstances, some of which including spontaneous combustion, being eaten by a pet python, and gardening accidents that the police said were “better left unsolved.” They can’t sell out a show to save their lives, the guitarist’s astrology-obsessed girlfriend slowly takes over the band’s livelihood, and their bassist somehow gets trapped in a giant egg on-stage.

The entire movie mimics the rise of rock groups in the 60s and 70s, like The Beatles, Aerosmith, and Led Zeppelin, whose successful beginnings often ended due to misfortune or division. Spinal Tap even mocks their evolution from psychedelic hippie groups to long-haired rockers. Though “This Is Spinal Tap” wasn’t an immediate success after its release in 1980, it has come to be a favorite cult classic.

All in all, it is absolutely hilarious, and I highly recommend giving it a watch if you’re into classic rock or just need a little comedy relief!

I’ll leave you with my two favorite scenes from “This Is Spinal Tap”:

The egg scene, as I described earlier. Their poor bassist doesn’t make it out until the end of the song.

“But this one goes to eleven” is one of the most quotable lines throughout the whole movie. Nigel, the lead vocalist and guitarist, gets really excited that his amp goes up to 11, while the others only go up to 10.

Take a watch, and let us know what you think!

– DJ Butter