Concert Review

Concert Review: The Mountain Goats (12/18/2021)

If you live in the Triangle and are into music, you’ve probably found that the Mountain Goats are more than just a band. They’re a force of nature, whose mere name being mentioned causing any fan in the room to talk about how good they are. I’ve enjoyed their music for awhile but never to the point of considering myself a diehard fan. So when I saw they were coming to Cat’s Cradle, I figured I should check it out and see if the hype was worth believing. That was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while.

It turns out the presence of the Mountain Goats overshadows even other artists in the lineup of their own shows, as it felt like even opener Bowerbirds just wanted to see the band play. This was maybe the only slight downside as I think it took the air out of what was a great opening set; singer Phil Moore brought the kind of brooding yet energetic vocal performance that was perfect for their indie folk sound and songs like “Moon Phase” were quite beautiful while also displaying a steely guitar line. I’m not at all saying that Mountain Goats intentionally took attention away from Bowerbirds; lead singer John Darnielle made it very clear that he was a big fan of their work and went into detail about how Moore in particular greatly influenced certain songs, it just felt kind of awkward when the loudest cheer by far came when Moore said they only had a few songs left.

When the Mountain Goats finally came in, anticipation had reached a fever pitch, especially as their stage entrance came on the back of a dramatic dimming of lights and instrumental intro. This fever pitch was answered with a fiery rendition of “Michael Myers Resplendent” that turned that anticipation into joyous celebration. Throughout the show they got as loud as the best of them but what really stood out were individual moments, a steely guitar attack or an individual drum line, dislocating themselves from the cacophony to make a statement.

Much like the history of the Mountain Goats, the center of this sonic universe is John Darnielle and the wondrous narratives he spins. These are not straightforward arena-ready bangers, but winding tales filled with despair and hope, with concepts ranging from intricate descriptions of wrestling moves to fantasy quests. Before the show I was concerned that the subtleties of the songs would be lost in the roar of a live show but it was the exact opposite: seeing the Mountain Goats live is the absolute best way to experience their work. I have never seen an audience so transfixed that they had to be told when to clap. At one point, I was so locked in to Darnielle’s words I didn’t notice that keyboard player Matt Douglas got up, walked away and came back with a saxophone until it came in with a thunderous line. The versatility of instruments on display here was impressive; after putting down the saxophone Douglas picked up a guitar and Darniella used at least three different guitars throughout the show and sat down at the keyboard himself. Everything about the performance was extremely fluid, with songs blending seamlessly into one another and everyone onstage clearly having a blast being around the crowd and each other.

As the Mountain Goats have over 20 albums to draw from the songs played were extremely varied. Darnielle specifically described artists who rigidly adhere to the same setlist every night as “the forces of evil” ahead of the “middle section” of the show, which for the uninitiated is where the rest of the band leaves and he plays whatever comes to mind. With every spotlight trained on him Darnielle went dark with his time alone onstage, with “Maybe Sprout Wings”, “From TG&Y” and “Isaiah 45:23” serving as an introspective and brutally honest trilogy. The spontaneity could be felt in every word and note played and what could have been just a gimmick was elevated into an unforgettable experience.

The Mountain Goats have been located in Durham for about 15 years now, and the roots they’ve put down in the Triangle were tangible in the performance. This was the last performance of a three-day stint at the Cradle and there wasn’t just an air of finality but of pride at having the opportunity to play there. Darnielle took every opportunity to thank the audience for their support and it was apparent what the roar of the crowd meant to him and the band as a whole. I saw some amazing live performances this semester but I think this one in particular is going to stick with me for a very long time.


Concert Review

Concert Review: Wednesday (12/16/21)

Concerts come in all shapes and sizes, and what I’ve found from my (limited) experience is that I prefer small shows to bigger arena events. A crowd that can fit into Cat’s Cradle is my preferred upper bound, as this allows for intimate and personal experiences you just can’t get in a stadium.

This was my first time in the Cat’s Cradle Back Room, a second stage you can find to the right of the main entrance to the Carrboro venue. I expected a much smaller version of the main stage, but I was surprised at how big it was, especially with how unassuming the outside made it look. This combined with an upstairs level for seating that overlooked the rest of the room made the Back Room feel like its own thing rather than a scaled down, lesser version of the Cradle. Here, the stage was lower down and closer, I was standing maybe 5 feet from the microphone and could feel the air displaced by the speaker with every kick of the bass.

The show was a masterclass in how to manage energy levels. The first act out the gate was BANGZZ, a very high energy act that brought everyone in from the back corners of the room to get the show going. BANGZZ are characterized not just by their hard hitting drums and attack guitars, but also the stream of consciousness interludes by lead singer Erika Kobayashi Libero, talking about everything from discrimination faced by people of Asian descent in America to how marriage shouldn’t be viewed as a achievement, the latter segueing perfectly into the song “Never Speak of Marriage as an Acheivement.” These interludes add a feeling of spontaneity that keeps the audience clued in and on their toes, perfect for a first act that wants to not just play good music but to prime the audience for what’s to come. The themes of standing up to unjust systems and taking care of oneself are on full display here, and they’re delivered with an eloquence and careful simplicity that really allows it to resonate even through the instrumental maelstrom.

Now BANGZZ could have been followed by an even more high energy band, but Truth Club was the perfect compliment to an aggressive punk opening as they slowed things down and created a palpable contrast that felt like its own instrument. Oh they could get loud, but Truth Club’s loud is more of an icy hot than a raging inferno, with Travis Harrington’s understated vocal delivery being the perfect conduit for the band’s songs. Truth Club’s stage presence was also a highlight, with members going back to back for instrumental sections and a general manic quality that felt like a continuation of the down to earth vibe of the show.

Which brings me at long last to Wednesday, the headline act of the show. If BANGZZ and Truth Club set the audience up for something special, Wednesday had to deliver on this potential. Spoiler alert: it did, and it did so in a way that synthesized the best elements of the opening acts while adding its own spin. The songs played out in a more restrained way like Truth Club’s, with the emotions bubbling under the surface, but also came through in massive freakouts that went toe to toe with BANGZZ’s opening performance. One several-minute long instrumental moment really stood out for me and was one of the best moments I’ve had at a concert, this perfect union of moshable energy and a crowd that was matching it beat for beat.

Wednesday’s heliocentric stage presence was a captivating element of their performance. Lead singer Karly Hartzman acted as this central presence, a constantly smouldering sun whose every word was captivating, and even through full instrumental barrages she shone through as the focal point. This isn’t to say the other performers were lacking at all, they were amazing, but it felt like they all orbited around the main mic in a way that maximized everyone’s contribution to the overall performance.

And what really allowed me to experience all of this in its raw potency was the intimacy of the venue. The merch table was several feet to my left and when Travis mentioned it he specifically called out my “coachable” clap in response. These are the kind of magic moments you get at these kinds of venues, a connection with local artists that you can’t find anywhere else, and one that was especially hard to find over the last couple of years.



WKNC’s Top Tracks of 2021

We’re back with another yearly tracks playlist! You can check out our 2020 post on our blog or on our Spotify.

For those that are new here, we reached out to our staff and DJs and asked them to submit their three favorite songs that came out in 2021. We made a Spotify playlist of all the tracks, but note that not all songs are available on Spotify, so we only added what we can. Songs with an asterisk (*) denotes songs that aren’t available on Spotify, so they aren’t in the playlist.

Click on the links with each staff member’s name to view their content and/or their WKNC DJ sets.

With this out of the way, let’s get into it!

Maddie; General Manager, occasional DJ

  • Spellling – “Boys at School”
  • Wednesday- “Cody’s Only”

Jamie Lynn Gilbert; Station Advisor/Station Mom

  • CHVRCHES – “Good Girls”
  • American Aquarium – “John Deere Green”
  • Michigander – “Let Down”

Molly/dj mothball; Program Director, DJ

  • Beverly Glenn Copeland – “Let Us Dance (Arca Remix)”
  • * Secret Boyfriend– “Ladies Who”
  • Xeno & Oaklander – “Raingarden”

Grant “Eubanks” Eubanks; Promotions Director, DJ

  • boylife – “amphetamine”
  • Parcels – “LIGHT”

DJ Lazuli; Daytime Music Director, DJ

  • Squid – “Pamphlets”
  • Parannoul – “Beautiful World”
  • Turnstile – “Blackout”

Marshall; Underground Music Director, Content Contributor, DJ

  • Tyler, The Creator – “JUGGERNAUT (feat. Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell)”
  • Turnstile – “DON’T PLAY”

Calcifer; Afterhours Music Director, DJ

  • Azealia Banks – “Tarantula”
  • Arca – “Prada”
  • CFCF – “Life is Perfecto”

Harlan/DJ HRLN; Assistant Afterhours Music Director, DJ (Find non-WKNC DJ mixes/sets here:

  • FJAAK – “Basement”
  • LSDXOXO – “The Devil”

Gibson; Chainsaw Music Director

  • Green Lung – “Graveyard Sun”
  • Drune – “Giant’s Blood”
  • * Bloody Keep – “Mourning Dawn”

Whippo/Whippopatomus; Assistant Local Music Director, Content Creator, DJ

  • Jooselord – “Quarantine”
  • 1pump – “GOAT”
  • TiaCorine – “Pancakes”

dj mozzie; Assistant Daytime Music Director

  • Phoebe Bridgers – “That Funny Feeling”
  • Beach House – “New Romance”
  • Sufjan Stevens, Angelo De Augustine – “Back To Oz” 

Plover; Content Creator, DJ

  • Rezz, PVRIS – “Sacrifical”
  • Ruth Mascelli – “One For The Voyeurs”
  • Wild Pink – “You Can Have It Back”

Kyle; Podcaster

  • Earl Sweatshirt – “2010”
  • Spellling – “Little Deer”

Caitlin/carbon copy; Blog Content Creator, DJ

  • Taylor Swift – “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”
  • Indigo de Souza – “Die/Cry”
  • The Mountain Goats – “Lizard Suit”

Elle; Video Content Creator

  • Injury Reserve – “Knees”
  • Wednesday – “Three Sisters”

Owen/hermajesty; Interview Content Creator, DJ

  • thanks for coming – “Free Willy”
  • Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers – “AHHHH!”
  • Pist Idiots – “Juliette”

satyr summer; DJ

  • KETTAMA – “Saint Laurent”
  • NANORAY – “Tempest”
  • * Against All Logic – “Cus I’m Different Now”

Deethony Jaythony; DJ (Graduated May 2021)(we miss him)

  • Porter Robinson – “Look at the Sky”
  • Japanese Breakfast – “Paprika”
  • Injury Reserve – “Top Picks For You”

President Shrimpo; DJ

  • IDLES– “Car Crash”
  • Amyl and the Sniffers – “Hertz”
  • Pip Blom – “It Should’ve Been Fun”

Fullmetal Racket; DJ

  • Jeff Rosenstock – “Airwalks (Alt)”
  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy… – “Life as a Soap Opera Plot, 26 Years Running”
  • Undo K From Hot – “Missing Information”

Your Friendly Local Bird-Themed Noise Maker; DJ

  • voljum – “café mañana”
  • Bent Knee – “Queer Gods”
  • Efterklang – “Åbent Sår (feat. The Field)”

Ewan; DJ Off Belay

  • Paris Texas – “Bullseye”
  • Earl Sweatshirt – “2010”
  • Clairo – “Amoeba”

Eddie; DJ Osiris

  • Madlib – “Road of the Lonely Ones”
  • Isaiah Rashad – “Headshots (4r Da Locals)”
  • Yeek – 3000 Miles (Baby Baby)

H.W. Longfella; DJ

  • Lil Ugly Mane – “porcelain slightly”
  • Fievel Is Glauque – “Goodbye”
  • Bruiser Wolf – “Use Me (I’m Dope)”

toad maiden; DJ

  • Webbed Wing – “Taylor’s Theme”
  • Turnstile – “HOLIDAY”
  • Fuzz – “Earthen Gate – Live”

johnny ghost; DJ

  • Shannon & The Clams – “Midnight Wine”
  • Des Rocs – “Ruby with the Sharpest Lies”
  • La Luz – “The Pines”

young iowa; DJ

  • Knocked Loose – “Permanent”
  • Spiritbox – “Hurt You”
  • Gulch – “Bolt Swallower”

Lise Nox; DJ

  • Arlo Parks – “Eugene”
  • HAIM – “Los Angeles”
  • SEB – “god of the sunsets”

T-Time; DJ

  • SeeYouSpaceCowboy… – Misinterpreting Constellations
  • Pinegrove – “Orange”
  • Origami Angel – “Neutrogena Spektor”

Brice; DJ Snapdragon

  • Smino – “I Deserve (w/ NOS.)”
  • Bad Bunny – “Lo Siento BB:/”
  • Father – “Let’s Kick His Ass!”

Zen; DJ

  • The 8-Bit Big Band, Tiffany Mann – “Snake Eater (From “Metal Gear Solid 3″)”
  • H ZETTRIO – “風待月”
  • La La Lars – “Det Blev Sent”

DJ Zoink

  • Dumb – “Pretty Sick”
  • TV Girl, Jordana – “Summer’s Over”
  • Xiu Xiu – “A Bottle of Rum (ft. Liz Harris)”

DJ lil witch

  • Kero Kero Bonito – “Well Rested”
  • Japanese Breakfast – “Be Sweet”
  • Rosie Tucker – “Ambrosia”

space cadet; DJ

  • Wednesday – “Cody’s Only”
  • Shame – “Snow Day”
  • Black Midi – “Ascending Forth”

DJ Ethanol

  • Stan Christ – “Trepidation”
  • UNIIQU3 – “Microdosing”
  • L Major – “Can’t Do It”

Ben; chef

  • DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ – “Spirit”
  • Lael Neale – “How Far Is It to the Grave”
  • Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Augustine – “Back to Oz”

Wild Waste; upcoming Chainsaw DJ and Podcast Creator

  • Mastodon – “Pain With An Anchor”
  • Animals as Leaders – “Monomyth”
  • Gojira – “Sphinx”

dj carabiner

  • Hand Habits – “Clean Air”
  • The Weather Station – “Tried to Tell You”
  • Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen – “Like I Used To”

DJ Head Hunter

  • Jessie Ware – “Please”
  • Doss – “Puppy”
  • Hiatus Kaiyote – “Red Room”
Concert Review

Circle Jerks Concert Review

The chance to see Circle Jerks in 2021 felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, let alone seeing them with Negative Approach and Municipal Waste at a venue like Cat’s Cradle. The sold-out show was easily one of the best of the year for me, and believe me, it had some tough competition.

Negative Approach

As soon as singer John Brannon took the stage, I knew what this set was going to be like; loud, aggressive, and everything you would expect from a legendary hardcore punk band such as Negative Approach. The nonstop set was accompanied by the start of a mosh pit, though it seemed the venue was not at capacity at this point, and the pit was nowhere near as large as it would grow to by the end of the night. Despite the seemingly smaller crowd, the band was on fire, with Brannon’s ferocious vocals on classics such as “Evacuate” and “Hypocrite” standing out.

Municipal Waste

Seeing Municipal Waste on this billing took me by surprise, but I am certainly not complaining as I’d been waiting for a chance to see the Richmond-based thrashers. They did not disappoint in the slightest, going straight into the rapid fire riffs and short songs the band is known for. A mosh pit opened like the parting of the red sea next to me and eventually led to a circle pit around a support beam in the middle of the room (a suggestion from singer Tony Foresta). The standout moment of the set was “Wave of Death ” in which Foresta commanded us in the crowd to crowd-surf a kid who couldn’t have been more than 12 years old for the entire song. Though material from their debut album has been absent from their recent sets, the band broke out “Substitute Creature” (with guitarist Ryan Waste sharing vocal duties) at the request of members of the crowd. The set finished off with a wholesome dedication to Foresta’s family, who apparently had been able to see the band perform only a handful of times over their 20-year span.

Circle Jerks

I want to preface this by saying that Circle Jerks started in 1979, and Keith Morris sounds the exact same as he did then. While the stage show may not have been as energetic as they were 40 years ago, I’m more than willing to let that slide given just how great they sounded after such a long time playing together. The Jerks started off with “Deny Everything” the opening track to their debut album Group Sex, and throughout the night performed the whole album with the exception of the title track. The pit for the Jerks was shockingly intense, and I quickly jumped in when my personal favorite song, “Stars and Stripes” was played 4 songs into the set. The 33 song long setlist was broken up by breaks where Morris talked to the crowd, making jokes and some comments about the Tar Heels, before usually being cut short by the rest of the band continuing with the show. The band finished out their set with an encore featuring classics “What’s Your Problem” and “Question Authority” to a cheering crowd.

I’m incredibly grateful that Cat’s Cradle was able to arrange having me as a press guest for this show, and I really cannot put into words how incredible the night was. Not only were the performances stellar, but I also got to meet some new friends in the punk community, which is personally one of the best things about shows finally being back after so long.

-Ezra Kinsch

Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 12/14

1PARQUET COURTSSympathy For LifeRough Trade
2BLACK MARBLEFast IdolSacred Bones
4MAKTHAVERSKANFor AlltingRun For Cover
6TOBE NWIGWECincoriginalsSelf-Released
7BLACK MARBLEFast IdolSacred Bones
8NARROW HEADSatisfactionRun For Cover
9MAGDALENA BAYMercurial WorldLuminelle
11PLANET GIZADon’t Throw Rocks At The Moon [EP]Self-Released
12ILLUMINATI HOTTIESLet Me Do One MoreSnack Shack Tracks/Hopeless
14LIILYTV Or Not TVFlush
15PRETTY EMBERSUnderSelf-Released
16SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE“The Door Is Open” b/w “The Door Is Closed” [Single]Saddle Creek
17BEACH HOUSEChapter 1: Once Twice Melody [EP]Sub Pop
18JIMMY EDGARCheetah BendInnovative Leisure
19MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSpacebomb
20MINI TREESAlways In MotionRun For Cover
21SPIRITUALIZED“Always Together With You” [Single]Fat Possum
223AMSOUNDIt Gets Dark SometimesSelf-Released
23BRAINSTORY“Bye Bye” [Single]Big Crown
24CHURCH GIRLSStill BloomsAnchor Eighty Four
25BLONDE OTTERBlonde OtterSelf-Released
26MAKTHAVERSKANFor AlltingRun For Cover
27ILLISMFamily Over EverythingThe CRWN
29MITSKI“Working For The Knife” [Single]Dead Oceans
30HISS GOLDEN MESSENGERO Come All Ye FaithfulMerge
Weekly Charts

Underground Charts 12/14

2LAVA LA RUEButter-fly [EP]Marathon
3BUTCHER BROWNEncore [EP]Concord Jazz
6PLANET GIZADon’t Throw Rocks At The Moon [EP]Self-Released
7INJURY RESERVEBy The Time I Get To PhoenixSelf-Released
8LITTLE SIMZSometimes I Might Be IntrovertAGE 101
10MCKINLEY DIXONFor My Mama And Anyone Who Look Like HerSpacebomb
Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 12/14

1PORTRAYAL OF GUILTChristfuckerRun For Cover
2KROSSFYRERites Of ExterminationHell’s Headbangers
3RIVERS OF NIHILThe WorkMetal Blade
4NOVA SPEISequentisBam&Co. Heavy
6CHARREDPrayers Of MaledictionEntertainment One
7ANATOMY OF HABITEven If It Takes A LifetimeSelf-Released
8BONEHUNTERDark Blood Reincarnation SystemHells Headbangers
9VALRAVNESome Kind of VampireSelf-Released
10GREEN LUNGBlack HarvestSvart
Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 12/14

1MAGDALENA BAYMercurial WorldLuminelle
2ROSS FROM FRIENDSTreadBrainfeeder
3SOFIA KOURTESISFresia Magdalena [EP]Technicolour
5ROCHELLE JORDANPlay With The ChangesYoung Art
6LONEAlways Inside Your HeadGreco-Roman
7LEON VYNEHALLRare, ForeverNinja Tune
8YAEJI AND OHHYUK“Year To Year” b/w “29” [Single]XL
9BLAWANWoke Up Right HandedXL

Song Recommendation Guide: Book Edition

Howdy Y’all! I hope your finals week has been good and manageable. With the semester wrapping up, the beautiful urge to read thaws out from within. Here is the song recommendation guide: book edition. These are a handful of songs that I believe pair well with the books I’ve read lately. I like to imagine that a book has a corresponding soundtrack, and here is what I think some would sound like. Hopefully you get the chance to try one of these books over break.

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Song of Achilles is a beautifully moody love story set in the Greek Heroic Age. It is an adaptation of Homer’s Iliad told from the perspective of Patroclus. This was my favorite book of the year. Be prepared to have your heart ripped out. 

  • Achilles Come Down by Gang of Youths
  • PATROCLUS MEETS HIS FATE by Andrew Achilles DiMestico
  • Anchor by Novo Amor
  • To Be Alone With You by Sufjan Stevens 
  • The Night We Met by Lord Huron

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer

Annihilation is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy and centers around a team of four women’s journey through Area X. The book is better than the movie adaptation!

  • Deep End by Holly Humberstone
  • My Heart Goes Bum Bum Bum by Flatsound
  • To Build A Home by The Cinematic Orchestra and Patrick Watson
  • Cherry Wine by Hozier
  • Oceans by Seafret

One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

One Last Stop was a great LGBTQ+ read. Casey McQuiston, author of Red, White, & Royal Blue, pens a perfectly crafted sapphic love story with some twists.

  • mom i think im gay by Boyish
  • Space Song by Beach House
  • Shut Up Kiss Me by Angel Olsen
  • Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by The Smiths
  • Her by Dizzy Fae

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People was another one of my favorite reads of the year. Great for the hopeless romantic turned realist. 

  • All I Want by Kodaline
  • You’re Somebody Else by flora cash
  • Like Real People Do by Hozier 
  • Icarus by Fana Hues
  • Wash. by Bon Iver

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars was an easy read. This book is very last-great-american-dynasty-esque, following a girl from a wealthy family and a tragic summer. 

If you read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, try…

  • Home for the Summer by Sara Kays
  • As the World Caves In by Matt Maltese 
  • Things We Lost In The Fire by Bastille
  • Our Time is Short by Gang of Youths
  • Royals by Lorde 

I hope you enjoy this song recommendation guide: book edition and have a safe and happy break/holidays!

<3, dj mozzie


Songs I’ll Never Skip

Howdy y’all! You know those songs that, when they come on, you’ll never skip past? Maybe you’ll even go back and listen to it again as soon as it ends? I wanted to share a list of my never-skips with you and a tidbit about why. I hope you have had a great holiday weekend and I wish you the best with finals!


Kokomo by The Beach Boys

  • My boyfriend and I used to sing this in the car, so whenever I hear it it’s like a happy memory. 

Bloom by The Paper Kites

  • Reminds me very much of 2014 Tumblr

baseball by Hippo Campus

  • What I imagine people who like sports feel when their team does well.

It’s My Party by Lesley Gore

  • 1960s delightfulness


A Sunday Kind Of Love by Etta James

  • Not necessarily melancholy, but not necessarily upbeat either. Makes me wish I was living in New York City.

Tommy’s Party by Peach Pit

  • So sad yet so good.

I Found by Amber Run

  • Another 2014-esque sad song.

By and By by Caamp

  • I love Caamp, and By and By is probably one of my favorite songs from them.

Turning Page by Sleeping At Last

  • This song reminds me of Twilight and brings tears to my eyes. I love love!

That Funny Feeling by Bo Burnham (BUT the Phoebe Bridgers cover)

  • While Bo Burnham’s version of his own song is grand, the Phoebe Bridgers’s version takes the cake for me.

Savior Complex by Phoebe Bridgers (or any other song off of Punisher)

  • Must I say more?