Four for the Summer

April showers brought the May flowers, and now the June sunshine and Dog Days of July are around the corner. Is it me or is everything better with lots of sunshine? With the official start of summer less than a month away, I’m excited about a lot, including the music … It’s gonna be a massive summer for electronic artists! As always, the global stage of electronic dance music pulses with life, and many ambitious forward-looking albums are on their way or were recently dropped—the sounds are futuristic, the grooves killer, the tunes huge. So what are some of the things that I will be listening to?

1. Kikomoto Allstars “House Music LP”

Dance music has a globe-spanning history, and right now few encompass that spirit more than Cam Farrar. Hailing from Melbourne, Farrar takes his moniker from Tadao Kikomoto, the guy at Japanese synth-giant Roland behind the TR909 and the TB-303. Of course these instruments landed in Chicago and helped to set new directions for the emerging house music sound, perhaps most famously in the case of the 303 whose growling baselines defined Acid house. (It ’s called acid because the 303 is a bass machine…get it?) This release is all original material, but also very much a tribute to the roots of electronic dance music. All the original instruments are used, and tracks such as “I’ll Make You Jack” and “Jack the House” conjure bygone days of nightlife as do “Can’t Stop the House” and “Warehouse Days.”

2. Louie Vega and Dj Pierre “Da Jungle EP”

This EP features nine different versions of “Da Jungle,” a colloboration that is itself special because Vega and Pierre are two pioneers of dance music. Vega is one half of the legendary duo Masters at Work, and a solo marvel for his soulful, Nuyorican flavored NYC house, fitting for the nephew of Hector Lavoe. Similarly, DJ Pierre is also a superstar of house music, a certified institution of Chicago House, responsible for bringing Wildpitch and Acid styles to that city’s house sound, and so to the world. Pierre’s Afro-Acid label grew out of a party in Chicago, and this collaboration is another remarkable track from what has quickly become one of my favorite labels in dance music.

3. Kris Menace “Idiosyncrasies 3-Disc” LP

Um, wow…just, wow. Kris Menace’s is my no doubt going to be my fav album of the summer. This one is a 3-CD release—two albums of original tracks and a third that’s a DJ mix. An embarrassment of riches, and almost too good to be true—this one is for anyone who likes airy and melodic synthesizers airy or dance music inflected by the eighties hold the cheese. Lots of that here, all spilling over tightly knitted beats, some of them in collaboration with others—Felix Da Housecat, Spooky, Alan Braxe, Fred Falke, Hexstatic all show up to lend different directions to these 26 tracks. The album certainly has a “sound”–one that after so many tracks remains surprisingly fresh, and non-repetitive.

4. DJ Hell “Teufelswerk” 2-Disc LP

I’ve been waiting for this record since I heard DJ Hell’s guest appearance on Tom Wax’s radio show in Berlin. There’s been a lot of hype around this one… It. Is. All. True. Hell’s third full-length artist record is brilliant. Dance music at its best. The double CD is split into Day and Night. “Day” is somber, melodic, and in places experimental–“Carte Blanche,” “Action (Interlude),” and the extended opening of “Germania” each sound like something out of Karlheinz Stockhausen; this dance music is one of ideas, extended languishing tracks filled with color and atmospheric subtlety. “Night” gets down to the brass tacks of the dancefloor. For this one, Hell enlists P. Diddy and Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music as vocalists as well as a number of other producers including Frankfurt’s Anthony Rother on “Bodyfarm.”


Top10: Birds of Avalon

Ever wonder what your favorite local artists are listening to?  What inspires them to make the music we enjoy?

Let us introduce you to a new feature here at WKNC that introduces you the music that our artists listen to!  From here on out we will be regularly be bringing you into the headphones of local bands and friends of local music!

This week the members of Birds of Avalon have graciously sent us lists of what they have been currently rocking out to!


Craig Tilley- Vocals

  • Led Zeppelin- Down by the Seaside.
  • Chicago- 25 or 6 to 4
  • Joe Jackson- Steppin Out
  • Sparks- Nothing to Do
  • Van Halen- Little Guitars
  • Steely Dan- My Old School
  • Clipse- Ride Around Shinnin
  • Benji Huges- The Mummy
  • The Cherubs- Stag Party
  • And now and for the rest of my life: Brenton Wood- The Oogim Boogum Song

David MuellerBass

  • Cut Copy- Unforgettable Season
  • Lyres- How Do You Know?
  • Bob Dylan- The Gates of Eden
  • A Tribe Called Quest- Award Tour
  • The Horrors- I Only Think of You
  • DOOM feat Empress Starhh- Still Dope
  • Fever Ray- Dry & Dusty
  • Franco- Mambu ma Miondo
  • Kurt Vile- Freeway
  • Crystal Stilts- Departure

Scott Nurkin- Drums

  • Sarolta Zalatnay – Hadd Mondjam El
  • Bonniwell Music Machine – Astrologically Incompatible
  • Carlton and the Shoes – Never Give Your Heart Away
  • Alphonse Mouzon – Mind Transplant
  • The Millineum – The Know-It-All
  • Buffalo Springfield – It’s so Hard to Wait
  • Joe Jackson – Friday
  • Love – You Set the Scene
  • Masters Apprentices  – War or Hands of Time
  • The Paragons – Left with a Broken Heart

Cheetie Kumar- Guitar

  • Harmonia-Monza-Rauf Und Runter
  • Neu-Hallogallo
  • Deerhoof-Tears and Music of Love
  • Brian Eno-Sky Saw
  • Wizzard-French Perfume
  • Wire-French Film Blurred
  • Pretty Things-She’s A Lover
  • George Harrison-I Dig Love
  • The Germs-Lexicon Devil
  • Gong-You Can Kill Me
  • King Crimson- Great Deceiver

Paul Siler-Guitar

  • The Band-King Harvest (has surely come)
  • The Bee Gees-I Close My Eyes
  • Dungen-Gor Det Nu
  • The Beatles-Blue Jay Way
  • Polvo-In This Life
  • Bob Dylan and the Band-Katie’s Been Gone 
  • Charlie Parker-Bluebird
  • Lets Active-Talking to Myself 
  • Joni Mitchell-Free Man in Paris 
  •  Free-Oh I Wept
  • Flaming Lips-In the Morning of the Magicians 

Birds of Avalon fans should be excited to know that their new album, Uncanny Valley, is coming out June 23 with a tour kicking off at the Local 506 on June 13th.


In need of an (almost) infinite playlist

In less than a week, I will be going on a long trip. When I say long, I mean that I will be flying from Raleigh to Chicago, from there to Frankfurt, Germany and finally to Prague, Czech Republic. Needless to say, I’ll be riding in planes for multiple hours. Although I’ll be staying in Prague for about six weeks, I’m more concerned at the moment with making a monster playlist to sustain me during these ridiculously long flights than with packing clothes for the trip.

I know I’ll have the chance to finally listen to the The Decemberists’ April release, “Hazards of Love,” all the way through, which I have heard good things about. Also, I just got “Telekinesis!” by, of course, Telekinesis, which was released in April as well and seems highly upbeat at first listen.

As for the rest of my million-hour playlist, I’m not sure. If you know of any good traveling music, post it, or shoot me an email at Suggestions would be much appreciated!