Concert Review

The Sign of Evil Existence

Rotting Christ

Rotting Christ is one of my all time favorite bands in the metal world. I have been to all of their Lucifer Over America tours, which have been their only American tours as well as own all of their cds. I have guitar picks from both shows as well as autographs and photos from all of the band members. I got to both shows about 3-4 hours early.  Needless to say, I am a fanboy of Rotting Christ. However these guys are one of the purest and truest metal bands in the scene. They put so much emotion into both their studio work as well as their live shows. The band members treat all their fans like they were truly brothers and sisters. I have been honored to sit down and talk with Sakis, the lead vocalist, rythmn guitarist, and founder of the band.  He is one of the nicest guys I have had the chance to meet in the metal world. The show, at Volume 11, was top notch. I didn’t much care for the opening bands, even though I was excited to see thr opening band Epicurean, they disappointed vocal wise. Their singer couldn’t seem to hit the notes that he sang on the album, he was very badly off key. Mantic Ritual I had never heard going into the show, but they played some good old fashioned thrash metal. However none of these guys mattered because I was front and center for the band I had been waiting since they announced they would be touring here again, Rotting Christ. If you are a true metal head, you need to experience this band live. They are truly masters of their craft writing such beautiful music and heavy lyrics. They played with so much energy that the crowd was acting just as crazy as they were. They played a multitude of tracks from many albums, though most of their tracks came off the recently released Theogonia. They played, what I considered their single and probably best track, “King of a Stellar War”. They also touched on my favorite all time album of theirs, Thy Mighty Contract, and played “Turn All Sufferings Into Plauges” and “Sign of Evil Existence”. Truly this show was a sign of evil existence as we were shown metal in it’s purest form. Anyone should go see Rotting Christ just because they are one of the greatest metal bands out there.


The Sign of Prime Creation
Kervanos Kivernitos
Athanatoi Este
Enuma Elish
King of a Stellar War
The Sign of Evil Existence
Transform A Suffering Into Plagues
The Fifth Illusion
In Domine Sathani
Phobos Synagogue

Non Serviam


DJ Highlights

Top Electronic Albums of 2008 (plus a rant if that’s your thing)

It’s that time again: at the beginning of the year, every year, everybody offers their opinions about the music/books/movies/events of the past year.  Personally, I love reading other people’s opinions about the best music of the past year.   However, I also think that it’s a fairly ridiculous practice.  Ultimately, it’s just an opinion, and nobody really cares about anybody else’s opinion anyway.  Even the biggest award show in music, the Grammy Awards, is full of shit, and pretty much everybody knows it.  So, in order to avoid putting together yet another meaningless top-10 list, I’m going to parody those stupid awards by giving you 10 top-1 lists.  Yes, the commentary you are about to read is satirical (I’m only putting this under the assumption that if I don’t, moronic fanboys will be upset that I trashed their favorite album of 2008), but the albums I’ve chosen are actually some of my favorites (except for whichever section of commentary offends you most – that one’s serious) of 2008.

Best album nobody put into their top-5/1o/20/25/50/100 list of 2008:  Radio Retaliation by Thievery Corporation – personally, I think that this was a great album.  The first half is a world-tour of incorporating the music of various cultures into an upbeat-downtempo format that Thievery Corporation is known for, and the second half is a bit more reminiscent of their previous work.  That sounds basically like they put out yet another album of the same shit you’ve heard before, and it is.  (Also, this album wins 2 more awards: best packaging and worst packaging for the cardboard sleeve and poster liner notes – it’s catchy and environmentally friendly, but you’ll never be able to actually use it to package the album once you open it).  Actually, I don’t think it was a great album.

Best “more-hipster-than-thou” album of 2008: Crystal Castles by Crystal Castles – another album I greatly enjoyed (if only we could have kept it in the studio for more than 48 hours), this award is somewhat pointless because everybody already knew that this was the hipster album of the year (Passion Pit’s Chunk of Change E.P. being a close second).  Which is oddly appropriate, seeing as how pointless this album was.  The best song on here was “Courtship Dating”, which is basically a dance song with repetitive lyrics (which are screamed, by the way) that don’t make a whole lot of sense, as if we’ve never heard that.

Best album put out by a band from Australia of 2008: In Silico by Pendulum – it seems like Australia puts out a good album about once a year.  Last year, we were blessed with the “albums” known as Attack Decay Sustain Release by Simian Mobile Disco and Guns Babes Lemonade by Muscles (and maybe a few others as well, but who knows).  This year, we in the US got Pendulum’s sophmore effort.  Is it just me, or are they actually trying to make music for video games?  The first time I heard them was when I heard their song (from their first album Hold Your Colour) on Dance Dance Revolution, and several songs here sound like extras you could buy for Rock Band or Guitar Hero (though none of them are good enough to be included, and you’d be better off saving the money anyway).  Sophmore slump much?

Best album of 2008 by a bald vegan in his 40s that has long lost all cultural relevance: Last Night by Moby – to be honest, I kind of feel like this album was like Play-lite(to the point where the title seems a bit unintentionally ironic), but it’s still a fun album overall with a few songs that actually approach being listenable.  I like to joke with a few of my friends who are also avid fans of electronic music that I enjoy listening to “American techno”.  And we (my friends and I) laugh about it because American techno (that is, good electronic music from this side of the Atlantic) doesn’t exist, and this CD proves it.

Best album of 2008  that proves Americans are uncultured: Mardulce by Bajofondo – pencil this band in under “artist/band with the most commonly mispronounced name” (next to Björk).  This is also the only band (on this list, or possibly anywhere) that features a member that plays the … bandoneon.  Now, I’m going to be honest with you: I don’t consider myself to be a stupid individual, but I don’t even know how to pronounce that instrument, let alone what it actually is.  Judging from the album, something that sounds like an accordion.  God damn, that doesn’t even need a punch line…

Best album of 2008 that relates drugs to electronic music: Fucked Up Friends by Tobacco – Not only is the artist’s name an addictive substance, but the album title is a suggestion for both how and with whom you should listen to the album (for the dumbfucks out there, you should listened to it while you’re fucked up with your friends).  Not only that, but the album itself, from the time you see it, is addictive.  It comes with a crazy cover that looks like a broadcast of Tobacco himself getting electrocuted, as viewed through a malfunctioning cheap TV built in the 70s.  Also on the packaging front, the tray for the CD itself isn’t the usual black, white, or clear – Tobacco or whoever packaged this aural version of herion opted for a very subtle hot pink instead.  The music itself sounds like something god-awful from the 80s, using only analog tape devices and synthesizers (along with the equivalent of a First Act talk box), that’s been cut one too many times with bleach and cement mix.  This album actually wins several other awards, such as: Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require rehab, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require therapy, Best album of 2008 for which I’ll require medication, and Best album of 2008 for which I’ll be pleading temporary insanity.

Best Album of 2008 which could have and probably should have been made in the 80s: In Ghost Colours by Cut Copy – The best band whose name consists of actions you can take in Microsoft Word (even though they got things kind of backwards – if you cut, you don’t have anything to copy, so you should probably copy before cutting, but that’s getting a bit technical) released this tribute to yuppies and disco this year that’s been getting a lot of acclaim.  Frankly, I don’t see why this whole “80’s” thing has been a trend for the past couple of years – is our creativity as a culture really that bankrupt?  If this is all we had to go on, the answer would undoubtably be a most-emphatic “yes”.

Best Album of 2008 that used only screechy guitar riffs and various noises that sound like animals growling and snarling: LP3 by Ratatat – this is the sort of sound that Ratatat has been cultivating for their entire musical career, and even I have to admit that it’s really come into its own on their third crime against humani… err, album.  On the other hand, being the best in the world at creating “music” that consists of what sounds like a 5’5" hipster wearing Converses and girl pants savagely beating squirrels into his amplifier with a Fender Squire is a bit like … well, it’s not really like anything else, which is the only reason why Ratatat will win anything this year (assuming they’ll win anything, which is dicey to begin with).

Album with the Best Bullshit Story behind their sound on their one-sheet in 2008: Never Trust the Chinese by Mr. Meeble – Basically, the fabrication here is that this band was hired by a French cosmonaut to create this album for him or her to listen to while in space.  I wouldn’t really call this the best bullshit story in the sense that it was the most plausible or the most entertaining (although it’s up there for the latter), but it’s certainly the best bullshit story in terms of how ludicrously ridiculous it is.  A French Cosmonaut?  Do the French even have a space program?  According to the wikipedia category “French Astronauts”, there have been 9 French astronauts who are noteworthy.  This compares to 362 noteworthy “American Astronauts”.  Now, if we compare the populations of France and America relative to the number of noteworthy French and American astronauts there are on Wikipedia, we find that American astronauts are about 8.5 times more common than French astronauts.  Now, let me ask you something: how many astronauts do you know?  That’s what I thought; the answer’s a big fat zero isn’t it?  Now that means that you’re 8.5 less likely to come across a French Astronaut, thus proving that French Astronauts do not exist and making this story officially impossible.  Oh, and did I mention the offensive album title?  Seriously, I could go on and on about this thing.

Best album of 2008 that’s electronic but tries to bill itself as so-called “instrumental hip-hop”: Magic Monday by Michna – C’mon, this album was produced by a god damn trombone player for Christ’s sake.  I’ll be up-front about it; I don’t know anything about hip-hop, and even I know that nobody plays trombone in hip-hop.  Hell, people haven’t played trombone in popular music since at least the 50’s.  Even then, did anybody anywhere ever front a band as a trombone player?  I honestly have no idea, but my instincts tell me “probably not.  probably fucking not.”

So that’s it, my ten top-1 lists for 2008.  I hope that the swearing and what not didn’t offend people (I only do it because the FCC doesn’t want me to).  So, before I conclude this post, I’d just like to add a few honorable mentions of 2008 (for which I primarily didn’t have any jokes):

Brightwhitelight by Sounds from the Ground

Thought So… by Nightmares on Wax

Hercules and Love Affair by Hercules and Love Affair

Saturdays=Youth by M83

Apocalypso by the Presets


UPDATE: This blog took forever to get posted because it took me a long time to come up with the material I used for it.  That and Caid took forever approving this blog (something about providing links to the artists – it’s all really murky to be completely honest).

DJ Highlights

Skip the AV Geek on Mystery Roach 1/17/09

What do you do when bombs fall from the sky?  Who do you call in an emergency?  How should you act in the lunchroom?  All these questions and more have been answered in educational films: the movies you (and your parents) watched on whirring projectors in darkened junior high classrooms and gymnasiums.

Skip Elsheimer (known to some as Skip the AV Geek) has gained notoriety with his huge collection of educational and industrial films from decades gone by.  If you’ve ever been to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences on First Friday to see the Natural Horror Picture Show, Skip is the guy who runs it. This week on Mystery Roach, we will be talking about the music and history of these films and playing music from audio and video compilations he has put together.

Skip Elsheimer founded and maintains the A/V Geeks Educational Film Archive, an archive of over 22,000 educational and industrial films which he screens for audiences across the country. He curates film programs and presents them at such venues at the American Museum of the Moving Image, Coolidge Corner Cinema, Anthology Film Archives, Aurora Picture Show and Chicago Filmmakers. Recently, Skip co-wrote an article with film professor Marsha Orgeron entitled “Something Different In Science Films – The Moody Institute of Science and the Canned Missionary Movement” which was published in The Moving Image – Journal of the Association of Moving Image Archivists. He has released several DVD compilations based on his collection through Fantoma Films and Alpha Video and makes many of his available for viewing online at the Internet Archive and at his website,

So listen to Mystery Roach this Saturday, January 17th from 8-10 am, where we’ll be talking with Skip and listening to his clips and music for the full two hours.  We will also be doing some giveaways.

Talk to you then.

-La Barba Rossa

UPDATE (1/17/09):  Skip has provided links to a lot of the films discussed on today’s show.  (Some of the films aren’t online.)  Thanks to all the callers.  I’m glad you enjoyed the show.  Thanks again to Skip for coming on and for the links below.

Duck And Cover (Department of Civil Defense)

Crash, Bang, Boom

Drugs Are Like That

Malapakadoo Skip Two



Shake Hands With Danger

Live and unplugged version of “Shake Hands with Danger” by the song’s composer, Jim Stringer

Clip of “Shake Hands with Danger” singer, Charles Oldfather, on “The Day After”

Jim Stringer’s website

VD is for Everybody

Lines Are Fun

Magnificent Major

Teeth (ADA)

Skip’s Site (A/V Geeks)

NASA/Space Program site

Skip’s NASA fan site

Local Music Music News and Interviews

Brett Harris Interview Today at 12:20


Today at 12:20, Local Lunch will have its first interview of 2009 with Durham based singer/song writer, Brett Harris.

Brett Harris will be playing at WKNC & Tir Na Nog’s Local Beer, Local Band Night tonight starting at 10pm with The Jackets and members of Bright Young Things.

For information about more great shows, check out the WKNC Rock Report.

Local Music Music News and Interviews

Red Collar Featured in Yes! Weekly

If you haven’t heard Red Collar, this article by Yes! Weekly will give you a solid idea of who they are and what they are about. If you have seen them before you should know exactly what the author, Gus Lubin, means when he says “In fact, a lot of situations involve going hardcore”.

Keep a lookout for Red Collar on the WKNC Rock Report so that you can see for yourself what this Local Lunch favorite is all about.

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