Music News and Interviews

New Music from Peter Bjorn and John

Hard as it may be to believe, it has actually been nearly 2 years since swedish trio Peter Bjorn & John invaded our collective ears with the infectious whistle hook of their hit track ‘Young Folks.’  The follow up to their 2007 breakthrough album Writer’s Block will be released on March 31st.  The new album is entitled Living Thing and the band is offering a free download of the song “Lay it Down” in exchange for an email address.

Oddly enough, Kanye West actually broke some of the band’s new material first via his blog about a week ago. Commenting on the track “Nothing to Worry About,” we here at WKNC tend to share Kanye’s sentiments  that “SHIT IS DOPE!!”

Living Thing tracklist:

01 The Feeling
02 It Don’t Move Me
03 Just the Past
04 Nothing to Worry About
05 I’m Losing My Mind
06 Living Thing
07 I Want You!
08 Lay It Down
09 Stay This Way
10 Blue Period Picasso
11 4 out of 5
12 Last Night

PB & J’s video for ‘Lay it Down’

New Album Review

88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 1/13

Ladyhawke makes excellent debut with retro-flavored pop
Jon Gomes

A lot of things came out of the 80s. Some were good and some were terrible. As a distinct and influential genre, new wave music falls in the former category. Synthesizers and drum machines will forever be associated with the 80s, but they have found their way into modern pop music. Singer/songwriter Phillipa Brown, professionally known as Ladyhawke, has incorporated the best elements of new wave into her self-titled debut album. Fresh yet familiar-sounding, the album instantly makes an impression with its retro feel.

The first track, “Magic,” starts off with bubbling synthesizers and a dance beat on electronic drums—two quintessential new wave elements. Ladyhawke demonstrates her vocal prowess during the stripped-down verses. Her ability in writing pop hooks shows in the next track, “Manipulating Woman,” with its infectious chorus and subdued guitar riffs.

The most recently released single, “My Delirium,” is one of several addictive tracks on the album. The pounding beats and anxious vocals escalate into a shimmering, synth-heavy chorus. The end result is a powerful dance floor anthem with a hook that lingers in your head for days. The same effect occurs with “Another Runaway.” Though sugary, it is the perfect marriage of pop melodies and classic new wave tones. Rich synths and a lively rhythm section underscore Ladyhawke’s yearning lyrics.

A bit rawer in sound, “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” stands out with its crunchy guitar riffs and smooth vocal harmonies. It is followed by another upbeat number entitled “Back Of The Van.” Again, Ladyhawke takes the formula for a great pop song and improves upon it with beautiful, inspired synth and guitar parts.

The 80s influence is most apparent on “Paris Is Burning.” The main hook is reminiscent of “Cars” by Gary Numan—definitive new wave. The next track, “Professional Suicide,” almost sounds like it could be an old Depeche Mode song.

The album returns to a more modern sound for the next few songs. Another dance floor track, “Dusk Til Dawn” features sultry vocals and fat synths layered on a prominent four-on-the-floor rhythm. It contrasts with the airy mood of “Crazy World,” easily the most pop-oriented track. Things come to a close with “Morning Dreams,” a calm and swirling ballad.

In the end, Ladyhawke makes an impressive debut with this album. Her songwriting is solid and the production makes for a great listening experience. She also plays all the instruments on the album, and she plays them well. However, Ladyhawke’s true skill lies in her ability to weave retro elements into modern pop songs. Imagine if Cut Copy or Goldfrapp did an audio version of “I Love the 80s.” Add in a healthy dose of energy and the result is this album.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and

Non-Music News

Sports Revolution 1/13

Tuesday marked the return of Sports Revolution on WKNC. Hosted by Preston Boyles, Drew Gray and James Alverson, the weekly sports talk program will be posted here each week.

On Tuesday’s show the gang discussed a lot of N.C. State basketball, including their game that night against Florida State and how the hosts feel about the rest of the season. There was a little Tyler Hansbrough bashing and a quick recap of the women’s game against UNC this past weekend. Preston, Drew and James also gave their predictions for the Super Bowl and the upcoming Championship weekend. They all chose different teams so check out the podcast to find out who and keep listening to see who was right and who was wrong.

The Sports Revolution will be on the air every Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. and they talk strictly sports. They would love to hear your opinions so hit them up 860-0881 and tell them what you think.

Music News and Interviews

Ticket Giveaway: Dave Matthews Band with The Avett Brothers

Win them before you can buy them as WKNC gives away tickets to see Dave Matthews Band with homegrown heroes The Avett Brothers Wednesday, April 22nd at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek. All this week our DJs will be playing song clips from the bands. If you can correctly name the song title, you can win a pair of lawn tickets to the show.

Tickets go on sale this Saturday, Jan. 17 at

DJ Highlights

A Case-Study in Murphy’s Law: the Pink Flag Session

Last Sunday our most recent session was recorded. The band, Pink Flag, performed wonderfully, even without vocal monitors; a minor oversight on our part. The events leading up to the session didn’t go so smoothly. The day started off normally enough, I was riding my bike to the coffee shop to enjoy a caffeinated beverage and learn how to use my new digital camera which I had bought the previous day when I heard our esteemed local music czar Stevo shouting “Phil Collins” at the top of his lungs from a pickup truck. I decided I should skip the coffee shop and head straight to the studio to help in the loading and unloading of equipment.

After taking our recording equipment across campus to Caldwell hall we were greeted by locked doors. This was only a minor setback as a quick call to the campus police got is in within a half hour. We offloaded the equipment, and began hooking things up. It became apparent quickly that the Mackie Onyx firewire interface would not work with my linux notebook, yet another minor setback. Luckily we had a macbook at our disposal with which to do the recording.

Upon Connecting the vocal microphones and we noticed an annoying click noise in the headphones. It became apparent that the noise gate feature in the brand new vocal compressor was, ironically, making noise. We’d have to do without the vocal compression.

It was when noticed that our drum mic kit was missing that the shit really hit the fan. After searching the Caldwell lounge, and the Truck we used to transport the equipment, we frantically rushed back to Witherspoon, but alas, our mics were nowhere to be found. This was a major setback. We realized that our only option was to, as quickly as possible, procure replacement microphones. We rushed to my apartment, and got in my weathered, but mostly functional 1994 BMW 525i and began our journey to Sam Ash, leaving behind a cloud of tire smoke. In a mere 14 minutes we made it across Raleigh to the music store where a Samson drum mic kit was waiting for us at the front desk, after a few minutes we made our criminally fast journey back to campus where the band and our recording engineer were patiently waiting; disaster narrowly, albeit expensively averted.

Upon our return, our recording engineer, JC set up our brand new drum mics, and the rest of the session went without a hitch. After the session was over and we were returning to the studio we noticed our old drum mic kit on a chair in the lobby.

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Pink Flag, Sessions@KNC

Non-Music News

State of State #4: Windhover Open Mic

M.C. talks with Windhover editor-in-chief Joe Wright about N.C. State’s award winning literary magazine. The program also features a recording from the Nov. 22 Windover open mic night.

Tune in to hear State of State Mondays from 7-8 p.m. or subscribe to the weekly podcast. Wolfpack Women’s Basketball preempts State of State for the next two weeks, but the program will return with a new episode Feb. 2.

Click here for episode four.

DJ Highlights

Ghostface Killah & RZA Interview at 4:30

Wu-Tang Clan members, Ghostface Killah (aka Dennis Coles) and RZA (aka Robert F. Diggs), will be joining DJs Matticus Rex & Special K on WKNC this afternoon around 4:30-4:45pm.

Wu-Tang Clan is playing the Lincoln Theatre tonight, with The Movement, with the show scheduled to start at 8:00pm.  Though according to

A couple of things: just because it says the Wu-Tang Clan, this does not mean that you will actually get to see the Wu-Tang Clan.

There is *one* guarantee: the 8:00 p.m. listed start time is, ahem, overly optimistic. Add about 6 hours to that & you’ll be getting closer.

Be sure to tune in for the interview!

Concert Review Local Music

It May Not Be Metal, But You Can Still Head Bang If Ya Want.

Welcome to my first installment of the (at least biweekly) Local Music Picture Blog!

A Tin Djinn and Goner rocked out WKNC & Tir Na Nog’s Local Beer, Local Band last night (1/08/09), and if you weren’t there, you missed something great. The night started off with A Tin Djinn who lost a lot of their equipment recently in fire, but it didn’t stop them from jamming out with a strange mix of music that can only be described as truly unique. I couldn’t figure out if I wanted to get up and dance or sit back and chill with a cold brew. And if you can get past the polka-dot jump suit, face paint, and trench coat combination, A Tin Djinn may be the band for you.

A Tin Djinn: If you were to take The Pixies and Queen, extract their DNA and then cross breed them in some strange animal orgy, you would get A Tin Djinn. Think mellow, not quite hard rock… hard rock.

Goner: Think a high energy funk-tastic rock show, that urges you to get up and move. Goner has played Local Beer, Local Band several times now and they bring a set full of energy and excitement that you can’t help but want to get up and thrash around to, even though it isn’t the type of music you associate encouraging mosh pits.

DJ Highlights

Implements of Vengeful Deities

Gods, in general, seem to have bad tempers.  Seriously, mythology old and new, monotheistic or polytheistic, seems to be filled with countless tales of pestilence, death, and destruction, and for what? Some poor guy somewhere forgot to slaughter a goat? The nerve. One little slip up, and instead of thinking, “Well, they’re not gods after all, I should expect a transgression here and there,” they’re all, “Release the Kraken!” or “I’m gonna dump my frog collection all over their asses!” They act more like little children than all-knowing deities. “It’s my ball and I’m going home, and oh, by the way, I’m gonna kill the first born child in every house. Oops.”

Why do I bring this up? Because one of my favorite songs for this week’s show (1/10/09) deals with an angry god and his desire to rain down fire. It’ll get stuck in your head. You’ll listen to it over and over and over and over. Ask my wife. She’ll verify my claims.

The song: “Fire,” by Arthur Brown, off the album The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

You’ll recognize this song on one level or another. It’s been sampled and re-sampled. It’s been covered and uncovered, and for good reason–it’s a great tune. Let’s call it, “catchy psychedelic lounge.” I donno. Call it whatever you want, just make sure to listen to it. While you’re at it, the rest of the album is worth a listen, too.

Now watch your ass, deities have bad tempers. (And frog collections.)

-La Barba Rossa

DJ Highlights

New Raleigh: ‘WKNC’s Dance Dance Revolution Is the Best Show on Radio’

Our friends at gave the Dance Dance Revolution some love this week:

This Sunday I endured a long drive back from Atlanta at the end of the holiday weekend, and, serendipitously, I’d left my iPod in a friend’s car back in Cobb County, Georgia. So with no CD player, I cruised from station to station for six hours, suffering endless plays of “Heartless” and “Womanizer” in between classic rock and oldies. (Don’t judge; it’s all you can do through South Carolina to avoid Christian “rock” and pop country.) Then, on the last leg of the trip, scanning the stations outside Chapel Hill, my ears were suddenly greeted with a bit of bliss. “Finally!” I said to myself, then, “Of course!” as I looked at the dial. “This is 88.1 and I am listening to Dance Dance Revolution.”

Check out at the full article at New Raleigh