WKNC supports Artsplosure

This past weekend the promotions team at WKNC ran a table at Artsplosure.  The two day event at Moore Square in downtown Raleigh was celebrating its 31st year of free art and concerts, and WKNC was on hand to support the music on the North Carolina Stage.  One of three stages set up for the event, the North Carolina Stage featured music from a variety of genres including jazz, zydeco, hip-hop, and even mariachi.

WKNC gave out koozies and stickers and took donations in support of the Visual Art Exchange for copies of the local music compilation, Hear Here.  The event was a great success and helped show why Raleigh is such a great town for art and music.  Stay tuned to the promotions blog for where WKNC will be next!

Local Music Miscellaneous


Friday night, WKNC promotions team members headed out to DesignBox Gallery in downtown Raleigh in order to provide a presence at the PBaRt Show and Concert, part of Raleigh’s First Friday.  The event was a partnership between Pabst Blue Ribbon and Paul Friedrich, during which local music and other art were showcased.  Kellie Ann Grubbs, Monologue Bombs, and Lake Inferior all took turns putting on amazing performances while artists created new works and the WKNC team got the word out about our great programming and support for local creativity.

WKNC koozies were especially popular during the evening, but the promotions team also gave away t-shirts, stickers, and Hear Here compilation CDs with all proceeds going to the Visual Art Exchange.  Everyone had a great time and the event seemed to be a great success.

Catch the WKNC promotions team out and about again downtown next weekend, May 15 and 16 at Artsplosure in Moore Square!


Opinion: N.C. State Football making a mockery of local music

The following opinion is not reflective of that of North Carolina State University or WKNC 88.1. (Though it should be)

Independent Weekly’s music blog, Scan, did an article on local band Airiel Down who recently just recorded a new rock n’ roll version of N.C. State’s fight song combined with the Red & White song.

Listen: Airiel Down’s N.C. State Fight Song Airiel Down’s NC State Fight Song

As a student at N.C. State and longtime fan of the football team, not to mention an avid follower of all things local music related, Airiel Down’s relationship with our football program does not come as a surprise. The fact that N.C. State endorses such an obtrusively meretricious band seemingly coincides with the recent state of our football squad: less than mediocre and still unabashedly brazen. And also much like N.C. State football in more recent years, Airiel Down is arrogant, flashy, and has all the makings of a solid generic-sounding rock band, yet lacks talent and foresight. I am not surprised in the least that we play their song, “Gunslinger,” during every halftime (much to the dismay of my bleeding ears). But to have the ear-splitting and deprecating cover of the fight song displayed prominently for N.C. State fans to see and hear is almost too much. (It sucks)

As those who follow all of the amazing bands in the Triangle know, we have some truly unbelievably talented bands and musicians in our area and while I hate to disparage any local band, Airiel Down is not among them. As someone who spends a great deal of time promoting the good local bands that play in our area and the amount of fantastic music that our local artists create, to have the university I attend choose one that is as strepitous as Airiel Down is not only a slap in the face to myself, the football team, and the entire student body but most importantly the local music scene here in the area that we all cherish and try to support. Here I am: a student at NCSU, local music director on the student-run radio station, and a knowledgeable local music supporter. I could have suggested 25 other bands that would have fit the same genre mold but accomplished significantly more in any realm the marketing department was trying to reach before Airiel Down. All those in charge had to do was reach out to me and ask. To have a band like this represent anything that I genuinely care about is a mockery and a shame for what I stand for and support.

The fact that those in charge of marketing and media attention in our athletic program keep on committing the same judgment errors in not only the athletic aspect of things but also in regards to our student body – Cougar Magnum was recently invited to play on campus – says a great deal about the state of things happening within our university. I question every decision made and ponder at the future that beholds us all here. What scares me most about the decision to have Airiel Down represent our state’s music scene and our football squad to 57,583 screaming fans is that 1. people will stereotype every band in the area from this one exposure as pathetic and amateur or 2. someone might actually like it.

You decide which is worse.

On a side note, you gotta love the El Che shirt Michel Barbachan is wearing during the National Anthem rehearsal.  Nothing could be less American than that.  Stay Classy N.C. State Football.


Remembering the Walkman

My dad had told me it was the iPod of its day. He had told me it was big, but I hadn’t realised he meant THAT big. It was the size of a small book.

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Sony Walkman. As someone nearly that old myself, I felt it necessary to share this BBC article in which a 13-year-old boy trades in his iPod for its much older, distant cousin.


Why Hate On The Power?

Ok, this has been bothering me for a while. I get crap from the prisoners, from strangers, hell even from our own Caid. WHY THE HATE ON POWER METAL?!?!?!? Seriously, I don’t understand it. Is it because they sing about dragons? Is it cause they sing about fighting in medieval Europe alongside King Arthur? What, what is it? People say power metal is not “brutal” enough, or is “pansy” metal. Why? Is it because they can actually sing and play their instruments with good skill? I enjoy listening to death and black metal as much as the next guy, but sometimes I actually want to be able to understand what my vocalist is singing about, not Cookie Monster vocals with maximum distortion on them. I want to be able to hear a guitar solo that actually uses all six strings on the guitar, not just the one. Is that too much to ask? And I can guarantee you that power metal has been around longer than these other genres and will continue to exist even after those have gone.

Let me give you a brief history of the great genre of dragons. Power metal is a style of heavy metal music combining characteristics of traditional metal with speed or thrash metal, often within symphonic context. The term refers to two different but related styles: the first pioneered and largely practiced in North America with a harder sound similar to speed metal, and a later more widespread and popular style based in Europe and Japan with a lighter, more melodic sound and frequent use of keyboards.

Power metal is today associated with an epic sound tempered by characteristics of speed metal, power metal’s musical forerunner. Power metal’s lyrical themes, though as varied as metal itself, typically focus on fantasy, mythology, camaraderie, hope,  personal struggles, emotions,  war, and death.

Power metal is highly focused on the vocalist, with “clean” vocals being much more prevalent than the growling vocals. The majority of the genre’s vocalists sing in the tenor range, capable of hitting very high notes. There are however many exceptions such as Pyramaze / Iced Earth frontman Matt Barlow, Falconer frontman Mathais Blad, and Sabaton frontman Joakim Broden; they sing in either baritone or bass range, though in certain songs like Creator Failure, Barlow hits very high notes reminiscent of Rob Halford. Power metal vocalists Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray, andHansi Kurch of Blind Guardian record multi-layered vocals reminiscent of Queen, creating a choral effect.

Power metal guitarists and bassists generally play rapid streams of notes, but change chords comparatively slowly, with a harmonic tempo of once per measure or slower. Fast and demanding guitar solos, however, are almost guaranteed.

A number of power metal drummers generally play with two bass drums for added speed, utilizing them to play a constant stream of sixteenth notes with snare drum accents on the beat. This style is fairly common in power metal as in other heavy metal subgenres, though it is by no means universal. Power metal though has become the most prevalent in the use of this technique.

Power metal bands often incorporate keyboards into their musical arrangements, something popularized by Jens Johansson of Stratovarius, though their usage varies from subtle accents to a full-blown melody line. Some symphonic power metal bands such as Rhapsody of Fire, Fairyland and Nightwish have also been known to record with more symphonic elements, and as such, they utilize a full orchestra to fill the role a keyboard plays in other power metal bands.

Notable Power Metal Bands:

3 Inches of Blood



Black Majesty

Blind Guardian


Circle II Circle

Demons & Wizards


Dream Evil







Freedom Call


Gamma Ray

Grave Digger



Iced Earth

Iron Fire

Into Eternity

Jacob’s Dream

Jag Panzer



Lost Horizon



Mystic Prophecy



Nocturnal Rites

Pagan’s Mind



Rhapsody of Fire



Sonata Arctica

Steel Attack


Symphony X


Vision Divine


For More See Here

Aid for History Came From Wikipedia


The 88 Hottest Women in Indie Rock

We’d hate to be shallow, but these women are not only physically good-looking, they’re also immensely talented. Here are my 88 Hottest Women in Indie Rock:

1. Jenny Lewis

Not only is the #1 hottest woman of indie rock the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, she’s also sung with the Watson Twins, and DNTEL & Ben Gibbard in the iconic Postal Service. Oh, and she has her own solo career too, proving that not all childhood actors go the way of Macaulay Culkin. Put on your Rabbit Fur Coat and Rise Up With Fists, this fiery redhead Las Vegas native is hot enough to sustain lava. Her latest, “Acid Tongue” brings all the boys to the yard to test out that acid tongue for themselves. And hey, I’m into her. She’s hella hot.

2. Zooey Deschanel (She & Him)

For an actress turned “she” of She & Him, she makes crossovers look good. With acting chops in The Good Girl and the recent Yes Man, her soothing croon and huge seafaring eyes, Zooey marks number two on the list. Too bad she’s engaged though. According to Stereogum, Zooey is Ben Gibbard’s (Death Cab for) Cutie. Which gives hope to all hefty bearded soft men everywhere.

3. Joanna Newsom

It’s not difficult to mistaken Joanna Newsom for an angel. Her voice is this weird folky and entrancing slice of heaven. Also, she plays the harp.

4. M.I.A.

M.I.A flies like paper. If Beyoncé were into indie rock, she’d be M.I.A. Her blue hair and giant, corny sweaters has inspired many a Halloween costume, but not in a scary Dick Cheney kind of way.

5. Marnie Stern

Yeah, Marnie Stern is hot. and This Is hot and I Am hot and You Are hot and So Is That and He Is hot and She Is hot and It Is hot and That Is That.

6. Feist

Canadian Goddess of Ipod commercials, Feist played an angel on A Colbert Christmas and had the muppets humming “1, 2, 3, 4”. How cute.

7. Cat Power

Chan Marshall’s breathy seduction of a voice has made her the #7 contender on the list. Her stage name is also my favorite euphemism of lower girly parts, interestingly enough.

8. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth)

She’s so hot, it’s almost barbaric. Kim Gordon is the smokin’ female bassist behind the holy Sonic Youth and one of the frontrunners of indie rock. Now approaching her late 50’s, this is one cougar I wouldn’t mind being jumped by in the forest.

9. Emily Haines (Broken Social Scene)

Indian-native, Canadan-raised Emily Haines is probably one of the hottest women to come out of Canada and India at the same time. Her looks are as delicate as her piano and vocals with Broken Social Scene. She’s like if Kiera Knightley was in a kickass band but could probably still be that girl in your Spanish Diction class.

10. Tift Merritt

Tift Merritt looks more like a model than your average country singer-songwriter (think Reba). But don’t be fooled, this Carolina chanteuse can sing a gorgeous Americana piece like no other.

11. Santogold

She’s dropped her first album in her mid-thirties, opened for Coldplay, and co-wrote songs for Ashlee Simpson. And though the latter two seem to contradict each another, there is no doubt that Santogold can belt out beats to the likes of M.I.A. and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

12. Madeline

This DIY acoustic star has soft, approachable looks reminiscent of her quiet, honest songs from such albums as “Kissing and Dancing” and “The Slow Bang.” She’s as delightful as the cartoon french girl of the same name.

13. Kaki King

A pretty girl with sweet vocals and post-rock instrumentals? That deserves to be mentioned.

14. Kelly Crisp (the Rosebuds)

A local Raleighite, Kelly Crisp taught English at a community college before forming the Rosebuds. She’s also a comedian, (will her talents ever stop emerging?) which undoubtedly caught the eye of the charming Ivan Howard. And he’s not bad-looking either.

15. & 16. CocoRosie (Bianca Leilani and Sierra Rose Casady)

Twins! Bianca and Sierra Casady make for a pretty hot pair in their band CocoRosie. Bianca (Coco) and Sierra (Rosie) oftentimes wear elaborate makeup on stage, making it hard to figure which one is which. Luckily, they’re both hot sisters who make beautiful, psychedelic sounds.

17. Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females)

She’s so tiny, I feel like I could put her in my pocket. But when this girl screams, she screams. With her mouth. It’s so evil and delicious.

18. Karen O. (Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

Part Korean. Part Polish. All hot woman. Her quirky, orgasmic-like vocals leave her an enigma as the centerpiece of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

19. Jill Andrews (The Everybodyfields)

Frontwoman of Tennessee’s The Everybodyfields, Jill Andrews, is a gem. Her soft country twang intriguing many a bearded male in plaid.

20. Mel Draisey (The Clientele)

So hot she makes the rest of her bandmates look bad. Her pouty eyes and sultry violen make Gwyenth Paltrow sulk.

21. Nicole Atkins

This “pop-noir” singer from Jersey, with her so-short dresses and duotone hair, can wear Old Navy and still look hot.

22. Anna Spence (The Annuals)

Raleigh’s own Anna Spence is the folksy next-door neighbor. You figure she’s cute, but really, you just want to court her and hold her hand.

23-25 The Pipettes (Rosay, Gwenno, RiotBecki)

Their kisses are wasted on you. Though the original members may have severed ties to the band, they were hot while they lasted. Their hits were catchy; their charm, infectious.

26. Thao Nguyen

27. Lykke Li

28. Beth Tacular (Bowerbirds)

29. Ladyhawke

30. Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers)

31. Nicole Barille (Mr. Gnome)

32.& 33. Camera Obscura (Tracyanne Campbell, Carey Lander)

34. Charlotte Gainsbourg

35. Þórunn Antonía (Fields)

36. Kazu Makino (Blonde Redhead)

37. Neko Case

38.-40. Au Revoir Simone (Erika Forster, Annie Hart, Heather D’Angelo)

40-44. Sleater Kinney (Carrie Brownstein, Janet Weiss, Corin Tucker, and Lora McFarlane)

45. The Ettes (Maria “Poni” Silver, Lindsay “Coco” Hames)

46-48. Pink Flag (Princess Ojiaku, Betsy Shane and Jessica Caesar)

49. Goldfrapp

50. Khaela Maricich (the Blow)

51. Kristin Gundred (Grand Ole Party)

52. Nikki Monninger (Silversun Pickups)

53. Eleanor Friedberger (The Fiery Furnaces)

54. Analee Fery (Monsters Are Waiting)

55. Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond)

56. Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond)

57. Satomi Matsuzaki (Deerhoof)

58-59. Tegan & Sara

60. Victoria Legrand (Beach House)

61-61. Midtown dickens (Catherine Edgerton and Kym Register)

62-64. The Vivian Girls (Cassie Ramone, Kickball Katy, Ali Koehler)

65. Belinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)

66. Joan as Policewoman

67. Katrina Kerns (Sufjan Stevens)

68-70. Ladytron (Helen Marnie, Mira Aroyo)

71. Jolie Holland

72. Lovefoxxx

73. Nico Vega

74. St. Vincent

75-77. Tilly and the Wall (Kianna Alarid, Neely Jenkins, Jamie Pressnall)

78. Annie Hardy (Giant Drag)

79. Sia

80. Bat for Lashes

81. Gabriela (Rodrigo y Gabriela)

82. Anita Robinson (Viva Voce)

83. Emiliana Torrini

84. Mirah

85. Inara George (Bird and the Bee)

86-88. All Girl Summer Fun Band (Kathy Foster, Jen Sbragia, Kim Baxter)


Cookie Monster of Death

Many people refer to the vocal style used in death metal as “Cookie Monster vocals.” As a metalhead, I don’t usually use this term, but I am aware of the similarities between the voices of death-metal-ers like Chris Barnes (Cannibal Corpse, Six Feet Under) and the ravenous blue Muppet.

Although I haven’t watched “Sesame Street” in many years, I do remember Cookie Monster…and I believe there may be other links between Cookie Monster and Death Metal music.

Both Cookie Monster and death metal bands are obsessed with particular subjects. But instead of incessantly blathering about cookies, death metal bands tend to stick to their lyrical guns (knives, ice picks, etc.) and write sinister and disturbing music about destruction, mutilation, and of course, death.

This got me to thinking: are cookies evil? Maybe not, but, I know firsthand that they can definitely be used for evil.

When I was a kid, every winter my mom would buy those assorted butter cookies that come in a big blue tin. I always thought it wasn’t much of an assortment because four out of the five varieties tasted exactly the same (though they did come in different shapes).

The only cookies in the tin that I could tolerate were the chocolate chip ones; they were better than the taste-alike ones, but were poor representatives of the chocolate chip cookie ilk. My sister, on the other hand, liked the cookies, and chocolate chip were her favorite, too – they were always the first to go. Just like when we got Neapolitan ice cream: the chocolate portion always disappeared first.

Anyway, one early winter afternoon, I came home to find the first cookie tin of the season sitting on our kitchen table and I had an idea. I grabbed the tin and ran up to my room, emptied its contents onto my bed, and waited for my sister to get home. When she arrived, I snuck back downstairs with the empty tin under my shirt. I caught a glimpse of my sister reclining on the living room couch as I ran into the kitchen.

I placed the cookie tin on the stove and turned the burner on high. After about a minute I figured that the tin was hot enough and I removed it from the flame with potholders and put it on the kitchen table where I had first found it.

I strolled into living room with a satisfied smile on my face and informed my sister that there was a tin of cookies in the kitchen. She immediately headed for them, as I knew she would. Seconds later, I heard a scream and the sound of a hot aluminum hitting dirty linoleum.

Why did I do it? Well, because I was a kid and it seemed hilarious at the time. But…were there any underlying factors at play? Did I do it because my mind had been corrupted by years of listening to death metal?

Nah. I think the real reason is something that crazy blue Muppet knows all too well…those butter cookies are evil.