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Music News and Interviews

Some of WKNC’s Top Adds recently!

Hello everyone who browses our blog,

I’m Buzz, and when I’m not DJing my own personal sets, I’m working as the Daytime Music Director. What this means is that I choose songs that play on-air at WKNC when a live DJ isn’t in to play their own music. I specifically choose songs to play during our Daytime segments, which are indie/alternative rock.

Here’s some artists and tracks I’ve added recently.

The Beths- If you don’t listen to The Beths, what are you doing? They’re so good. This song has been stuck in my head a lot recently. RIYL Charly Bliss, illuminati hotties, eating ice cream outside during summer, the like.

Madeline Kinney- For those of you that like the more chill, slow indie stuff in the vein of Big Thief and Phoebe Bridgers. Check out this song.

Fontaines D.C.- I only recently jumped on the hype train for these guys, and dang I was missing out so much. This is the coolest song I’ve heard recently. RIYL Ought’s song “Beautiful Blue Sky,” which is also a super cool song.

IDLES- Grounds. Definitely my favorite of the three singles they’ve released so far from their upcoming album, Ultra Mono, out late September. Y’all know I’ll be adding a ton of stuff from that new album. RIYL the song above (I have gotten so obsessed with all this new (post?-)post-punk stuff recently), pretending your a British person in the 1980s fighting against inequality or something like that.

Dream Nails- Vagina Police. I actually hadn’t ever heard of this group until like, a day ago, when I was getting a ton of emails about it. Good stuff. RIYL if you like punk songs that are under two minutes long, and local Triangle punk legends The Muslims and BANGZZZ. 

I hope you found your next favorite band on this list!

-Buzz

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Music News and Interviews

Bossa Nova Delights

If you tune in to 88.1 on Tuesdays right before noon, you may hear the sweet sounds of Stan Getz, João Gilberto, or Antônio Carlos Jobim. I like to end my show on WKNC with a sendoff from one of my favorite genres: bossa nova.

Bossa nova literally translates to “new wave” in Portuguese. Mostly stemming from Rio de Janeiro in the 1950s and 60s, it is a fusion of samba and jazz. The genre is recognized by its steady beats, classical guitar, and light percussion. Popular among the young, growing Brazilian middle class, it gained notability through João Gilberto and his 1958 single “Chega de Saudade,” composed by Antônio Carlos Jobim. The two would later go on to collaborate on several more albums, all laying the foundations for making bossa nova an international genre. Jobim also worked with saxophonist Stan Getz on their most notable album “Getz/Gilberto,” which contains one of the most popular songs of all time, “The Girl from Ipanema.”

Bossa nova also has a really fascinating political history. Under a new military dictatorship in the 1960s, bossa nova was slowly censored and eventually banned. Bossa nova lyrics, which typically focus on light topics such as love and Brazilian beaches, were seen as unfit for the times and therefore left in the past. Out of this social unrest, musicians formed new styles of music that better reflected the feelings of the Brazilian people, most specifically the working classes, based on the sounds of bossa nova, modern rock, and traditional Brazilian music. Some of these include tropicalia and música popular brasileira.

My mom’s side of the family is Brazilian, so I grew up listening to bossa nova. I have fond memories of my grandpa teaching me how to dance while we listened to “Aquarela do Brasil.” It is a comforting sound and something I consider part of my own cultural heritage. If you’re interested in listening, here are some classics for easy listening:

1. Insensatez – Stan Getz & Luiz Bonfá
2. Roda-Viva – Chico Buarque
3. Mas, Que Nada! – Jorge Ben
4. Carta Ao Tom 74 – Vincius de Moraes, Toquinho, & Quarteto Em Cy
5. O Grande Amor – Stan Getz & João Gilberto Quintet
6. Corcovado – Stan Getz, Astrud Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, & João Gilberto
7. Aquarela do Brasil – João Gilberto
8. The Girl from Ipanema – Stan Getz & João Gilberto
9. Chove Chuva – Jorge Ben
10. Chega de Saudade – João Gilberto

All sources for this blog can be found here, here, and here.

Feliz escuta!

DJ butter

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Music News and Interviews

Creativity in Quarantine

Quarantine got you down? Join the club.

We’re all dealing with our newfound solitude differently. Some make sourdough, some go on long walks, some spend hours in front of their Zoom camera, trying to stay undistracted during online classes (me).

As a designer and artist, I’ve found it really hard to stay motivated over these past five months. I have had crazy bursts of creativity where I’ll spend all day working on a piece, followed by weeks of not even wanting to pick up my sketchbook. Considering freelancing has been my only source of income this summer, it’s been stressful to keep up a consistent schedule amidst feelings of impending virus doom.

I came to the realization that it’s perfectly okay to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated right now. Staying creative in isolation can act as both a way of coping and a burden. Because of this, I also have enormous respect and appreciation for the artists who ARE producing great work despite the circumstances.

Here are some of the highlights from my quarantine playlist, all released this year:

1. Flatbush Zombies: now, more than ever – EP, Afterlife – Single 

Both of these pieces are amazing reflections of the Black Lives Matter movement. They are incredibly powerful and I 10/10 recommend.

2. EARTHGANG: Powered Up – Single, End of Daze (feat. Spillage Village, Jurdan Bryant, Mereba, & Hollywood JB) – Single

End of Daze is perhaps one of my favorite songs right now. A really stand-out lyric that captures this year in a nutshell is “Mask on, mask off/ face the future/ like high noon.”

3. Khruangbin: Moredechai – Album

Mordechai has given me a break from the craziness of the world and a nice background sound to relax too. They are the ultimate masters of smooth tunes.

4. Orions Belte: 600m per minute – EP

Though only comprised of three songs, they’re all equally tranquil instrumentals played by the same band that released “Joe Frazier” in 2018.

5. Thundercat: It Is What It Is – Album

I would like to say that it is absolutely insane that this album came out four months ago; it feels like two years have gone by since April. Nevertheless, Thundercat is at it again with his bass skills.

6. Mike Moon: Radnotsad – Song from jopippin’s album “Digital Native”, Wild West (feat. Renzo Suburbn)

Mike Moon, Renzo Sububn, and jopippin are all Raleigh locals! Otherwise known as being some of the members of Dotwav Media, their unique rap-punk style is fantastic. Vocalist Mike Moon in particular has a real great sound to his solo work.

 Peace,

DJ butter

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Music News and Interviews

Kanye West Alignment Chart

Are you a Kanye West fan that also likes Dungeons and Dragons? If so, welcome to the club – there’s several of us! Below is my take on 9 Kanye albums according to the DnD alignment system:

Jesus is King (Lawful Good)​: This album represents Kanye at his most (self) righteous. Every year marks the emergence of a new Kanye, and in 2019 he announced he was committed to rapping for God and God only. Perhaps it was an early onset of the manic episode fueling his 2020 presidential run, but I believe his intentions were pure on Jesus is King.

Graduation (Neutral Good)​: On this album, Kanye spends more time celebrating his achievements than criticizing the establishment. For this reason, Graduation is aligned with Good without any leanings towards law nor chaos.

ye (Chaotic Good)​: In my opinion, ye represents Kanye at his most vulnerable, and it is undoubtedly chaotic. This album ranges from the manic highs on “Ghost Town” to introspective lows on “I Thought About Killing You”. All of this paints a vivid picture of Kanye as a highly flawed superstar who, deep down, still has a lot of heart.

Kids See Ghosts (Lawful Neutral)​: With tracks like “Kids See Ghosts” and “Reborn”, KSG is one of Kanye’s most meditative projects, and balances the forces of good and evil.
808s & Heartbreak (True Neutral)​: By far Kanye’s most depressing work. There is no preoccupation with good nor evil, law nor chaos on 808s – just heartbreak.

The Life of Pablo (Chaotic Neutral)​: As the album that Kanye famously released multiple times, it’s easy to see that TLOP is chaotic. It also has a healthy balance of good (“Ultralight Beam”, “Real Friends”) and evil (“Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1”, “Freestyle 4”) that cancel out for a neutral alignment.

Watch the Throne (Lawful Evil)​: The power trip that gave us My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is still evident of 2011’s Watch the Throne with Jay-Z. This album is all about being at the top and staying there by any means necessary.
My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Neutral Evil)​: MBDTF oozes decadence and indulgence. If this album were a period in Roman History, it would be the late period. Songs like “Hell Of A Life” and “POWER” exemplify why this album aligns with Neutral Evil.

Yeezus (Chaotic Evil):​ Yeezus found Kanye at the height of his God complex – case in point: “I Am A God”. Furthermore, the jagged, industrial production throughout lends itself to the chaotic alignment.

That’s it! What do you think of my Kanye West alignment chart? What do you agree with? What would you change?

– DJ Mango

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Music News and Interviews

Top Choice: Japanese Artists

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As I’ve entered my senior year at NC State and am taking my final Japanese class of college, I am reflective on all that I’ve gotten to do and learn so far during my college experience, especially getting to take courses in Japanese language and history that has led me to appreciate the culture more deeply. I have always been a fan of non-Western artists and wanted to share some of my favorite Japanese musicians. Hopefully you can be led to some cool new music. 

Awich

An Okinawa native who married a New Yorker, Awich weaves together Japanese and English language to create her own unique style of music. She seamlessly switches between genres throughout her discography between rap and pop, and any other genre she wants to explore. Most recently she created her own Tokyo Drift freestyle which you can find on 88Rising’s YouTube

Hikaru Utada

Hikaru Utada is an extremely popular Japanese artist, loved by a wide variety of fans including my Japanese professors at NC State and my 30-year-old uncle. I first fell in love with Utada’s voice in her track “traveling” – which is still to this day one of my favorite Japanese songs. 

Moka Sato

Found on music streaming platforms as “satomoka”, Sato generally creates bubbly, sweet JPOP that is perfect for a relaxing listen. With vocal talent and a melodious background, I especially recommend giving her a chance if you enjoy dreamy pop. Aside from her music, Sato generally has an impeccable Instagram aesthetic and is delightful to follow there. 

CHAI

A badass Japanese girl group – what more could you ask for? CHAI self-describes their band as “redefining kawaii” and promoting women empowerment with their lyrics. Their songs are musically complex and vocals maintain your interest. I especially love their utilization of the electric guitar, which gives their soft voices a harder edge. 

I hope you enjoyed my list. Keep on the lookout for more of my top choices in music. 

– Miranda

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Music News and Interviews

JEOPARDY: But Make it Metal

What’s going on Butcher Crew? It’s ya girl, The Saw, and I have a very fun game for us to play! I never liked Jeopardy because I could never get the questions right for the answer that was given. But, this one I WILL be successful at, not only because I am formulating the questions and answers, but because it is about metal!!

Let me first explain how the game will be played:

·      First, I will make a statement and your response will be something along the lines of “Who is _______?”  

·      Second, the correct answers will not be listed below (because I know y’all will be looking for an answer key. The Saw knows all of your moves, because I am, in fact, The Master Butcher. Hehehe). Next week, I will give out the answers to the questions in another blog post.

Let the games begin!!

1.    This band, is originally from Buffalo, New York, but moved to Tampa, Florida to be enveloped in the emerging Death Metal scene.

2.    This band (could it be said) is the RUSH of death metal? (Hint: RUSH is a three-man band).

3.    This band influenced The Saw’s DJ name. (This is easy, if you get this wrong… well… I am disappointed).

4.    This Canadian Death Metal band won a Juno (equivalent to the U.S. Grammy) for best album of the year in the “heavy metal” category in 2015.

5.    This legendary guitarist lost the tips of two fingers in a factory accident.

6.    This band, played one of their final shows at the Carolina Rebellion in 2017.

7.     This band, told you to “Steal This Album!”

8.    This band, created a publicity stunt for their upcoming record back in 2014, where they made it appear that their lead singer was kidnapped and held hostage.

9.    After the death of their original singer, this band got a new singer and released a self-titled album which was not popular amongst fans.

10. This band’s original name was Naked Toddler before they changed it to the name that they currently have now.

How do you think you did on these questions? Would you want more Jeopardy questions?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

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Music News and Interviews

Black Contributions to Music: Blues

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In continuing my Black Contributions to Music series, which explores the many ways Black individuals globally have contributed to different genres of music, I wanted to cover one of the most iconic Black-created genres, blues music. 

Blues first originated in the American Deep South. The genre began with influence from African musical traditions, Black work songs, and spirituals. Blues uses a specific scale and chord progressions and is characterized by the call-and-response pattern. Call-and-response in music can be traced back to African music styles, and blues itself is closely related to spirituals, the religious music of Black Americans. Many early blues songs reflected a narrative on some topic and as blues singer Charlotte Forten is famously quoted, “can’t be sung without a full heart and a troubled spirit.” The genre is diverse and dynamic, able to be appreciated and played by all people of any socio-economic status. Blues is especially important within African-American history because it’s associated with the end of slavery in the United States, the genre is thus bred out of a “celebration of freedom.” The dynamic nature of the genre allowed former slaves to chisel out their own corner of American culture while celebrating their African ancestry. 

The blues genre has evolved to encompass more sound influence and has mixed with other genres to create new styles such as electric blues and blues rock. The genre has continued to influence modern music in America and throughout the world. Blues had a significant impact on early country music and country pop, whose genre’s artists often borrowed the blues scale and tones for their work. The format of most blues music including call-and-response and the blues scale is utilized by and influences jazz, rhythm and blues, and rock and roll genres. Many prominent modern musicians like Louis Armstrong and Bob Dylan  have performed in blues style. 

If you want to learn more about the contributions Black musicians have made to music, please check out the tags below for more posts in the series. 

– Miranda

Sources: I, II

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Music News and Interviews

North Carolina Music Hall of Fame

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The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame was created in 1994 to “recognize, promote and commemorate the musical heritage of the State of North Carolina.” This organization showcases the artistic talent of N.C. musicians through their Hall of Fame installations, historical exhibitions, and more. The NCMHOF showcases the talents of extraordinary artists like Shirley Reeves and Doris Jackson of The Shirelles, Nina Simone and Ben E. King. When open, the Hall of Fame offers free admission. 

On August 5, 2020, the NCMHOF announced their 2020 Hall of Fame Inductees. The six inductees include The Briarhoppers, Donald Lawrence, Charles Whitfield, The Squirrel Nut Zippers, Jermaine Dupri, and Michael Mauldin. The NCMHOF additionally awarded previous inductees Roberta Flack and Tony Brown Lifetime Achievement Awards for their achievement of lifetime success in the music industry and their impact on American music. The induction ceremony has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic but is expected to be held in 2021. 

The North Carolina Music Hall of Fame has also recently launched a new live series called “Listening to Legends,” which interviews Hall of Fame inductees. Anyone is able to share questions and comments for these individuals, and the series is streamed live to the NCMHOF’s Facebook and YouTube pages. I definitely recommend checking the series out, you can find out more about it on their Twitter or website. 

– Miranda

Source: I

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Music News and Interviews

Thirsty Curses Debut Music Video for “Bruises on Your Shoulders”

If you’ve been following WKNC’s coverage of local artists then you’re no stranger to the name Thirsty CursesThis Raleigh rock band has been prominent on the scene since 2017 and has made quite a name for themselves rather quickly. They have received dazzling reviews from Yes! Weekly, Vents Magazine, and many more. These well-documented accolades can be found on the Thirsty Curses website. Among these reviews is a blog post from WKNC Assistant Daytime Music Director Safia Rizwan.

Safia’s review covered Thirsty Curses’ self-titled album which includes their top song, “Bruises on Your Shoulders,” for which a music video was released today. In it, the band performs as a young couple goes through several life changes (i.e. marriage, working and being fired from a corporate job, therapy, drinking problems), ultimately resulting in a failed marriage. The song discusses this concept, as frontman Wilson Getchell sings, “One day you wake up and you’re a completely different person. Same name, same face but it’s like someone else is doing the work.” Though the concept of the video follows the couple’s complicated personal lives, it’s a song to which almost anyone can relate. 

The music video itself is filmed in a single shot– think the style of early 2000s OK GO videos– and pivots between the band themselves performing or the silent reenactments of the actors playing the young couple. For accreditation purposes, the video was filmed and edited by Isaac Anderson at the Boykin Center in Wilson, N.C. (further production details can be found in the description of the video on YouTube). Anderson does a great job of keeping the audience’s attention, relying on feelings of nostalgia and familiarity to engage the viewers. The set, which was a simple construction mimicking that of an old children’s cartoon, was able to be moved and removed as the video was filmed– despite the fact that the entire thing was shot in one room. 

Ultimately, what I perceived as the greatest takeaway of this video was the timing of its release. As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, this same feeling of disassociation and shell shock from rapid changing events is captured by “Bruises on Your Shoulders.” It seems as though Getchell, without even knowing what kind of landscape we’d find ourselves in months later (as this song was written and released in 2019), was able to tune in to exactly what the population was feeling… and needed to hear.

You can connect with Thirsty Curses on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and their music is available on all streaming services. More information about the band can be found on their website, or through their previous Local Beat session podcast

– DJ Beowvlf

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Music News and Interviews

Top Choice: Indie Artists

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Anyone who knows me or has read my posts knows that I am a big fan of indie artists. I include in my definition of “indie” any artists who are not readily discoverable, artists who are or were unsigned or independent artists, and any artists who heavily influenced modern indie genres. Today I’m sharing some of my favorite indie artists of all time and what work by them I enjoy. 

Sonic Youth 

One of my favorite 80’s bands, Sonic Youth, helped shape a generation of modern indie artists and created some amazing music in the process. Now a very popular band, they extended their influence despite humble beginnings within the American underground, and went on to influence the sound of indie rock for years to come. 

Neutral Milk Hotel 

Jeff Mangum and his band created some of the most interesting albums in this world. “In the Aeroplane Over the Sea” is a quintessential indie album. I had the pleasure of seeing NMH on their very last tour and can attest to the raw talent the band has and the amazing experience provided by their artistry. Definitely check them out if you haven’t already. 

Elliott Smith

Smith was a very talented musician and songwriter who also helped shape the sonic environment of indie and related genres. Smith also definitely created some of the most somber and melancholic discography of related artists. I recommend both his “Either/Or” and “Elliott Smith” albums. 

Sufjan Stevens 

Sufjan Stevens is one of the best artists of our time. Much of his discography is entirely produced, written, and played by him solely. His albums typically follow complex concepts, some of the best of which reflect religion, the grieving process, and childhood. The artist began from nothing and has built up enormous success in the indie genre. 

of Montreal 

I have mentioned this band a lot in previous posts but want to ensure that they are recognized. Their music is extremely compelling – emotional lyrics, shifting musical influence, and entertaining media and live performances make the band incredibly unique. Their best album, hands down, is their electronic-based “Innocence Reaches,” but I also really enjoyed their newest release “UR FUN” which has more rock & roll influence. 

Honorable mentions include: They Might Be Giants, Toro y Moi, King Krule, Angel Olsen, and Soccer Mommy. 

– Miranda