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DJ Highlights

Thank You For Everything, WKNC

The Saw’s first DJ shift at WKNC.

As we approach May, final exams are beginning and seniors are excitedly waiting for graduation. Very exciting times! I am a senior here at NC State, and I have a bittersweet feeling about leaving the Wolfpack. On one hand, I am excited to start my next journey in adulthood and see where that leads me. But on the other hand, I will miss NC State, specifically, WKNC – the place that I have called home for 4 years. 

I first heard about WKNC from my dad. He was telling me that NC State has a radio station that plays metal and it automatically caught my interest. Once I was on campus, I went to the WKNC interest meeting and from there I applied to become a Chainsaw Rock DJ. From there, I became the Chainsaw Rock Music Director and later the Content Manager. It is crazy to see how much I have grown during my time at WKNC. I went from having a show from midnight to 1AM, to being on during prime time on Friday’s from 5pm-7pm. 

I’ve gotten to see my show grow and transform into something that I want to do for the rest of my life. I went from being “DJ Saw” to The Saw, host of The Saw’s Butcher Shop where I play the heaviest metal on the planet. I then got to showcase my Local Butchers when I created the Bone Cruncher – an hour set where I played local NC bands. The sense of community that derived from this was so inspiring. I love playing music and seeing band’s reactions when they hear themselves on the radio. It’s such a surreal feeling. 

While at WKNC I had the honor of emceeing the North Carolina State Fair and introducing Between the Buried and Me, emceed the first ever Chainsaw Presents show, attended and spoke at two CBI conventions, and had the honor of interviewing Myke Terry from Volumes, Dee Snider from Twister Sister, Trevor Peres from Obituary, and Andreas Kisser from Sepultura.  

WKNC is what made my NC State experience. I am so thankful for the people I have gotten to meet and for the opportunities and experiences I created.

 I want to thank my parents for always being my number one supporter and for always tuning into my set to jam with me. You have helped me way more than you both know. 

I want to personally thank Jamie Gilbert for everything she has done for me. Thank you for believing in me and in The Saw’s Butcher Shop. None of this could have happened without you.

And finally, I want to thank YOU, the listener. It has been my honor to hand out beatings, and you kept coming back for more! Thank you. 

If you want to stay up to date with The Saw, all of my information can be found at www.thesawsbutchershop.com

This isn’t goodbye, but a see you later. The Saw’s work is never complete. 

Stay Metal, 

THE SAW 

The Saw’s last DJ shift at WKNC. Photo by Courtney Breen @chewing.glass on Instagram.

Categories
Playlists

Local Coffeeshop Soundtrack: Heirloom Coffeeshop

If there’s one thing I love doing around Raleigh, NC, it’s going to coffeeshops alone to drink good tea or coffee. Even if I usually wear my earphones to focus on what I’m reading or working on, if good music is playing, there’s a great chance my drink is going to taste better. I can’t help it. I’m just sensitive to the music playing around me. Since I’m that sensitive, I thought it’d be fun to make playlists inspired by the music I hear at every coffeeshop I go to just to recreate their atmosphere — starting with Heirloom.

Heirloom is a cute Taiwanese and Laotian café in Downtown Raleigh that serves amazing tea and vegan mochi donuts. Their playlist mostly revolves around new electronic music and indie stuff. I don’t really listen to electronic music anymore, though I used to dig this genre a lot on Soundcloud a few years ago. The thing is, every time I go to Heirloom, the music mesmerizes my brain and I can’t help Shazaming every song that comes on. The music always plays louder in the bathroom, so in case you want to Shazam a song while you’re there, you know where to go. Here are five songs that illustrate their playlist most accurately. You can listen to the full Heirloom playlist I made here.

“All In Me” by Jerry Folk

This is one of the first songs I ever Shazamed when I went to Heirloom. Jerry Folk is known for his hypnotizing and chill electronic songs, often accompanied by a female voice. The intro takes some time to build up the general atmosphere of the song, and once you get to the “chorus”, it gets addictive. I’m always so impressed by electronic music producers that can make you feel so many things with so little lyrics.

“No More Love Songs” by Harrison Brome and Pomo (FCC: explicit language)

I would describe this song as sweet, slow and electronic R&B. It’s the perfect balance between the amazing work of producer Pomo and Harrison Brome’s soothing voice. Just add to that romantic lyrics and you get your perfect indie-electronic love song (quite ironic, given the title).

“Winter In Tokyo” by Kazam

Speaking of artists who make you feel things without lyrics, Kazam is one of them. Each song by this young French lo-fi producer makes me feel like I’m floating on a cloud. The instruments he uses closely resemble traditional Japanese music. The mix between traditional Japanese instruments and his own is what makes his music so unique and I’m obsessed.

“Tied Up” by LEISURE

Another song I’ve Shazamed at Heirloom before. It’s indie, alternative, pop, a little R&B, a little electronic — genres are too confusing for me to put a label on LEISURE, because they truly do it all. All you need to know is that this song is both sensual and uplifting, and its enchanting aura is addictive.

“All Yours” by APRE

Soapy cheesy romantic lyrics are the best lyrics, but they’re even better when they’re written for good alternative indie songs. “All Yours” is one of them. The repetitive notes played on the synthesizer are in perfect harmony with the bass and the drums, and it really makes for a catchy 90’s inspired love song.

— Lise Nox

Categories
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
New Album Review

YUKIKA- timeabout Album Review

A young Asian woman in a pink outfit posing for a promotional image
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Yukika Teramoto, known by her stage name YUKIKA, is a Japanese pop singer, model, and actress working in Korea. From that description, most Americans generally know whether her music is something they are going to vibe with, and if you are stridently against K-pop I don’t think she will be what converts you. However, if you are at least K-pop curious there are some unique elements to this new ep that might appeal to you.

Yukika is working from well within the mainstream South Korean music industry, but her solo career is not quite as closely tethered to the tentpoles of the genre. Her music incorporates a slightly unusual range of stylistic influence, drawing both from the Pop of her home country, creatively titled J-pop, as well as more Western retro styles like synthpop and nu-disco. There’s a strong impulse here in America to categorize anything from East of Europe into nationality-based buckets, but Yukika’s music is a little too broad to categorize in this way.

This new ep sounds immaculate, even if there are no radio hooks. She sings mostly in English, her songs all have English titles, and the sound is more oriented to Western ears than the average K-pop artist, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this is ep is trying to introduce her to Americans in anticipation of a crossover attempt, but we will have to wait and see about her next full-length album. If this is your genre, or if you’re like me and you just like to see what’s new in the genre every now and then, give Yukika a listen.

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: Death – The Sound of Perseverance (1998)

You already know that Death is one of the original Death Metal bands out of Florida, and you already know that they are one of my favorites (and one of the “OG’s” Top Five Favorites)! The Sound of Perseverance is Death’s seventh and final studio album, released August 31, 1998 by Nuclear Blast. You really can’t go wrong with any of the Death records, and I’ve already reviewed my favorite (‘90s, Spiritual Healing) and rated it 10/10!! But The Sound of Perseverance is different and special.

So, Chuck Schuldiner (vocals, guitars) IS Death, and just about every album has a different line-up (except for Leprosy [1988] and Spiritual Healing). Here, Chuck is joined by Shannon Hamm (guitar), Richard Christy (drums), and Scott Clendenin (bass) for one Hell of a performance. When Chuck signed with Nuclear Blast, he agreed to do one last Death record before moving on to his new project, Control Denied. And what a Swan Song The Sound of Perseverance is for Death. 

If you’re paying attention, you’ll notice the evolution of the band Death, but also the man, Chuck Schuldiner, as you listen to the Death discography. From the stunning first record (‘87s, Scream Bloody Gore), where Chuck breaks new ground in Metal, to The Sound of Perseverance where it all culminates in a technical, melodic masterpiece. His vocal patterns, lyrical content, and voice (itself) changes as you move through Death time-space. But the musical content progresses also, from pure Death Metal in the first three albums, to a serious challenge to the status-quo during the next three (Human [‘91], Individual Thought Patterns [‘93], and Symbolic [‘95]), and finally to the high and lofty tones of The Sound of Perseverance. 

Marked by Death’s signature tempo changes, soaring guitar solos, thunderous rhythm sections, and in your face (yet, clean) lyrical content, The Sound of Perseverance is the perfect closing recording for a truly great band.

Song Listing of the 1998 release:

  • Scavenger of Human Sorrow 
  • Bite the Pain
  • Spirit Crusher
  • Story to Tell
  • Flesh and the Power it Holds 
  • Voice of the Soul
  • To Forgive is to Suffer
  • A Moment of Clarity
  • *Painkiller (Judas Priest cover)

Rating: 10/10!! Just a great record!

Favorite Song: I could just point to the list above, but Spirit Crusher is my favorite (though it is not “better” than any other on the album)! 

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

Categories
Music Education

Behind the Beat: Rising Producers

Photo of a Recording Studio by David Bartus. Free to use with Pexels.

When we discuss rising talent, it is not often that up-and-coming producers are mentioned. Producers hold a vital role in the creation of the music we enjoy and crafting the sounds that define Hip-Hop culture. Thus, it is important that we shed some light on the talent behind the beat.

ENRGY Beats

ENRGY Beats is a producer out of Michigan who has taken the sound of Detroit and Flint to the next level. His beats contain trunk-rattling 808 and a bounce that is infectious to people nearby. ENRGY is known for his production on tracks such as “Triple S” by YN Jay and Louie Ray, “Free Joe Exotic” by BFB Da Packman, and with artists such as Lil Yachty, Rio Da Yung Og, and many others.

Producer Tag: “ENRGY Made This One!”

Low The Great

Low The Great is a producer from Los Angeles, California that has credits with numerous artists from the city. He creates bright piano melodies with drums that punch hard through your speakers. Low The Great is known for songs such as “Mafia Bidness” by Shoreline Mafia, “Proud of U” by 1Take Jay, and has worked with artists such as Drakeo the Ruler, Blueface, and others.

Producer Tag: “Low The Great”

ATL Jacob

Coming from Atlanta, Georgia, ATL Jacob is a force to be reckoned with. He is a master of the trap sound and knows how to make beats that will move a crowd. He is known for his works on songs such as “Get Ugly” by Lil Baby and “Sup Mate” by Young Thug. He also has a number of works with artists such as Future, Lil Durk, Juice WRLD, and a number of other major artists.

Porducer: “ATL Jacob, ATL Jacob”

Groove

Coming out of Durham, North Carolina, Groove made an impact on music with the production of “Sacrifices” off of the “Revenge of the Dreamers 3” album by Dreamville. Groove creates tracks that enhance emotion and are very soothing to the ear. He also recently produced a song for the hit movie, “Judas and The Black Messiah.” One thing is for sure, Groove is a producer to watch out for this year.

Categories
Playlists

Underground Discoveries: 4 Songs to Add to Your Rotation Pt. 3

Never Lose You – Kalan.FrFr (2021)

California artist Kalan.FrFr is an influential and major part of the current sound on the west coast. In this song, Kalan describes his feelings for a special someone over a bouncy and melodic beat. This is a great track for a sunny and relaxed day.

Southside Fade – reggie (2020)

reggie has the wonderful ability to give listeners a taste of the musical culture in Houston, Texas. The song “Southside Fade” is perfect for a day on the porch with friends and a glass of lemonade.

Into the Sun  – Zilo (2019)

Hailing from London, Zilo gives us a groovy track to bop our heads to. With smooth guitars and bouncy drums, “Into the Sun” is a great track for a laid-back day. It is also a great song to be introduced into Zilo’s other great works.

Fight!!! – AG Club (2020)

AG Club is a music group from The Bay Area in California with a very versatile discography. The song “Fight!!!” is one of many sounds the group is great at crafting and provides a very heroic feel. This track is great for a pump-up or mood boost.

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
Band/Artist Profile

Artist Highlight: Shinki Chen

Something I love about the counterculture movement is how far its influence could be felt around the world. Though it’s easy to have a very Eurocentric view when looking back at 1960s and ’70s rock, artists were experimenting with the blues, psychedelia and hard rock in every corner of the globe. Some of the most notable movements include Zamrock from Zambia (which you can read more about in DJ Chippypants’ recent blog) and Tropicália in Brazil. Japan also had an incredible psychedelic rock scene, featuring bands like The Mops and Flower Travelin’ Band. But one of the most iconic cult bands to emerge from the Japanese acid rock stages were Speed, Glue & Shinki.

Led by Shinki Chen on guitar, the trio only released two albums before they went their separate ways in 1972. Before their breakup, Shinki put out a fantastic self-titled solo album. Only being 21 at the time, his guitar skills gained him comparisons to Jimi Hendrix, and with good reason. “Shinki Chen” (also known as “Shinki Chen & His Friends”) is a revolutionary album. Though only seven songs long, each one is rich with fuzzy riffs and heavy basslines. Shinki’s powerful, raspy vocals flow across the entire record like smooth butter. After starting off with glittering, ambient strangeness in “The Dark Sea Dream,” Shinki quickly shifts between Sabbath-like force and sludgy blues throughout the album. It’s a great balance between the dreamy feeling of psychedelia and the intensity of old-school metal.

Oh, how I wish it were longer! The only downside to Shinki Chen’s solo work is that it was so short-lived, but I guess that’s part of what makes him such a special artist. Give him a listen!

– DJ Butter

Categories
Band/Artist Profile

Lucinda Williams: Country’s Goth Aunt

I’m not trying to make any presumptions about the type of person who reads this blog, but I’m going to hazard a guess that most of you haven’t heard of Lucinda Williams. Modern Country is about as far away from the “Independent/Alternative” ethos of WKNC as you can get. The genre is, in the opinion of most outsiders, directed by radio executives, skews towards a very young audience, dumb, and not especially risky. However, it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, for most of the history of Country music, it had the reputation as the most adult of genres. And not “adult” in the sense of safe or inoffensive, but adult in the sense of emotionally complex and preoccupied with serious problems and difficult subjects. This is the domain of Lucinda Williams.

Williams was atypical even in her time. She began her career in earnest at the age of 39, which is far from unheard of in country music, but for a woman in any kind of entertainment debuting at that age is still remarkable. Prior to then, she had released a few obscure traditionalist records in the early 80s, and when I say traditionalist, I mean like country circa 1930 when the genre hadn’t yet been segregated from the blues. Her self-titled 1988 album was released on Rough Trade. If you aren’t familiar with that label, it was founded by U.K. punks in the late 70s and was most known for releasing abrasive post-punk and obscure indie bands prior to signing their flagship band, The Smiths.

By the late 80s, Country had mostly made its peace with them long-haired hippies and their rock and roll, but this ceasefire did not extend to punk. This prejudice didn’t hurt Williams too much, as her music is only punk in spirit, but it should give you an idea of where she’s coming from. She has very little reverence for good old family values, which was a barrier long since broken down by the likes of Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire, but Lucinda took this a step further by just being relentlessly sad. Country music has a long history of deeply unhappy music, but usually, it takes the form of a bad relationship or a family tragedy, Williams denies any such histrionics in her music. She just sounds depressed, to be honest. Even when she sings about love and relationships, there’s a kind of wistful yearning that doesn’t let up. She asks at one point on her debut “Am I too blue for you?” The answer was yes, evidently, as it would take a number of years before success finally chased her down. She never really had a top 40 country hit, though many people would find success covering her songs, her stature has grown in recent years, especially in the Americana and Alt-Country movements she helped pioneer.

If you’re interested in Lucinda Williams’ music, I would recommend either her 1998 masterpiece “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road,” or, if you aren’t up for a whole album, her song “The Night’s Too Long.” The song is a strange piece of songwriting. It’s in the third person, telling the story of a thinly veiled author insert named Cynthia who can’t take no more small-town living and sells all she has to move to the city. The song is honest in a lowkey way. There’s a happy ending, but there’s no closure, no grand sweeping statement on what Cindy’s story means as if a person’s life could mean anything at all. There’s just that lingering sense of wanting something more and deciding to settle for being happy anyways.