A few weeks ago, when I was doing my first DJ shift for the Spring semester, I got a call on the hotline requesting I play a song by Grace Jones. I didn’t recognize the name, but never one to turn down a request, I pulled up a song called “Pull up to the Bumper,” and hit play. What came out of the speakers stumped me for categorization. It was clearly dance music, but there was an edge to the guitars that reminded me more of punk, and it was capped off with just an instantly recognizable vocal performance. What I didn’t know then was that I was about to be pulled into a crazy world of one of the iconic divas of the era.
Grace Jones started out as a fashion model and got her break as a disco singer in the 70s. She only achieved minor success, and while dance music seemed like a safe investment in 1977, the anti-disco backlash would take out her hopes of being the next Donna Summers. She, and a whole lot of artists like her, needed to find a new career, and fast. Jones would find her route in one of the strangest career moves possible… she went punk. Now I don’t mean this to sound like Jones took a turn towards the Dead Kennedys, in fact, her music remained fairly danceable. The correct term for it sonically is probably New Wave, but her music adopted a rebellious and challenging air that sets her apart from the likes of Duran Duran or even Blondie. Always gender-bending in her fashion career, Jones became outright androgynous, trending towards masculine both in her appearance and her vocals. She also blended in more influence from her home country of Jamaica, working with the then-obscure Reggae duo Sly and Robbie.
Her 1980 album Warm Leatherette consists entirely of covers, but they’re drawn from such a variety of artists and so warped that despite knowing several of the songs, I initially assumed they were written for Jones. She covers Smokey Robinson, Tom Petty, and industrial synthpunk act The Normal, a collection of artists so unlike each other they might as well be drawn randomly out of a hat. Despite this eclectic taste, the album is extremely coherent, brought together by the sheer tour de force that is Jones’ vocal style. Later albums would see her move back into dance music and incorporate more elements from her home country of Jamaica. But she would never lose the weird edge that makes her such a unique musician.
What surprised me the most about Jones’ life, more than her music, her appearance, anything, was how successful she was at the time. While she wasn’t quite a household name, she had several hit songs, and such an alien woman would have certainly made an impression on the public. So why isn’t Jones a better-remembered singer? While she’s hardly obscure, there aren’t nearly as many articles about her as I expected, and I’ve never seen a music critic or magazine reference her in regard to the myriad artists that take inspiration, knowingly or otherwise, from her aesthetic.
Part of this is a general bias against artists who don’t fit a movement or genre well. While everyone knows artists like David Bowie or Blondie, genre-blurring artists without a massive catalog of hits can get short shrift in a music press obsessed with microgenres and local music scenes. Her race is probably also a factor. White America was extremely hostile to black music in the time between disco and Prince, and punk rock is one of the whitest genres around. But regardless of the reason her notoriety has faded, I hope you will take time out of your day to check out this early goddess of dance-punk.
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, and goodnight to Christopher Plummer, who played Baron von Trapp in the classic movie “The Sound of Music.” Growing up, the sound of music was my favorite movie. It was a beautiful tale about a woman named Maria, a nun who challenges herself to take care of seven unruly children. Their father, Baron von Trapp, is initlaly unimpressed with Maria and nearly fires her. However, through music, the characters grow closer and learn to express themselves. Maria and von Trapp eventually get married and the family lives happily ever after once they escape Austria from the invading Nazis.
This movie is very dear to my heart. As a child, I was never truly taught to appreciate music until I watched this movie. While the genres of music I listen to now may be far from Julie Andrews bolting “The hills are alive” on the top of a mountain, it was the passion and joy I saw in the characters that made me realize how special music really was. Music was able to fix a broken family, allow the children to express their feelings in songs, and was able to wash away the cold heart of Baron von Trapp. His character is especially sentimental because he showed me how a “big strong man” like himself could open up to his softer, more tender side of his personality. He showed that men didn’t have to conform to one part of their personality, and that singing with the ones he loved didn’t make him any less of a man. Christopher Plummer may no longer be with us, but his music will live on forever.
Sound and color. Color and sound. The euphoric group from Australia called Rüfüs Du Sol has dominated and influenced the music scene since 2010. They recently blew up in 2019 and started their expedition of touring around the globe. The meaning of “Rüfüs Du Sol” is “the sun”. Each and every one of their songs create an emotion that I have yet to experience anywhere else. One that simply cannot be put into words. Only experienced. The trio’s creativity and passion can especially be noted in their 2018 Joshua Tree National Park set. The crowd of this secret set.. you may ask? Absolutely no one. Just the Earth, their sounds, and inner-beings. This set took place at 5 AM with an indescribable sunrise that rose among the trio. They compared this experience to an exploration of an ‘alien-like world’. I highly suggest checking it out on Youtube.
I had the absolute honor to see the group at Okeechobee Music Festival. It was Day 1. I hadn’t slept in over a day (due to traveling), was extremely sunburnt, blisters covered my shoeless feet, and was definitely severely dehydrated. It was a 12:35 AM-2 AM set. After my group decided to hit the hay, I knew that I would live the rest of my life with extreme regret if I did not stay. I met two people (one of which is still one of my close friends to this day) and danced the night away. I forgot about the severe pain that I was in. I forgot about everything. I was there, in that moment. Hands down, one of the best live sets I have ever experienced. From beginning to end; the crowd was filled with love, acceptance, and passion.
I am going to quickly touch on some of my favorite tracks by Rüfüs Du Sol. I definitely suggest going on a hike, or just sitting in the grass, and listening to every single song they have ever created. I could write an entire novel to express my love for this group. Their nine minute and 38 second, “Innerbloom” is one of their most popular songs. In their interviews that I have watched via Youtube, they discuss how this song was one of the most instinctive and natural masterpieces that they have ever created. Throughout the entirety of their liveset, it was evident the impact that this song has had on people’s lives. People were kissing, people were crying, people were finally being their authentic selves. I will never forget that feeling. I have never felt so true and refreshed in my entire existence. A song that I have always felt a strong drawing to is called, “Talk To Me”. This track was released in 2013 and has navigated me through extreme times of pain and isolation. Now, I look back and only feel an overwhelming feeling of contentment.
Join me in this fantasy realm and give them a listen. I hope you have the same journey that leads to a never-ending state of sound, color, and inspiration.
XOXO. -Caitlyn <3
Written by Miranda
Amaarae is an artist who fully expresses herself through her music. Amaarae is an artist who is never afraid to meld different genres and try new things. Not only is she a singer with a talented voice, she writes her own music and often produces it. She is vocal about many issues and uses her platform to further causes she believes in. Her music often focuses on equal representation and freedom of expression. She often uses social media to advocate for important causes such as gender issues and police brutality. She is also expressive using her clothing: she has been featured in Vogue Magazine online and received an award from the Glitz Style Awards in Ghana.
Amaarae’s newest single release, “Leave Me Alone – A Colors Show” (stylized in all caps), is an older single by Amaarae performed on the COLORS studio platform. COLORS is a social media platform that focuses on minimalism, showcasing artists all over the world for their talents without distraction. This version of Amaarae’s single is stripped, allowing complete attention on her vocal talents; she also raises awareness of ending SARS and police brutality in Nigeria at the end of the song. You can watch the COLORS show video here. And, if you’re interested in hearing my review of Amaarae’s most recent album, The Angel You Don’t Know, check it out on the WKNC blog here.
Did someone say they wanted some fresh-pressed juice? I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Nashville-based rock group, Fresh Squeeze, whose mission is to give rock a “breath of fresh air.” Made up of Leo Faillace (bass), Max Marotta (drums), and Victor Arruda (guitar), the trio and I sat down to talk about musical inspirations, upcoming albums, and record collections!
How did Fresh Squeeze get started?
Victor: It started out in college when we all went to App State. I was in music doing the recording program. Max came in and started doing the marketing program, and then Leo was always hanging around the studio. It’s funny because everybody would be like “Dude, there’s this guy that looks just like you.”
Leo: We were both like, “Who the f*** is this guy?” And then, sure enough, I finally met him. And we’re both Brazilian too.
Victor: So, we met in college and became friends. We started jamming and playing a couple shows here and there. Eventually it just evolved into the band when we started writing music.
Leo: Technically, they had another group. I was just friends with them for a couple of years because they had a group called The Daze.
Max: I’ve known Victor for a while. We were friends with Leo when we were with The Daze because our bands would play shows together. I remember I didn’t like him at first and I thought, “This guy’s an a**hole.” But one time we played a show together at Deep South when it was still open and it was really cool. Then Leo started coming around the house when we first moved to Boone and we just became really good friends, watched anime together, and, you know, played lots of music. It wasn’t until The Daze fell apart and Leo stuck around until we said, “F*** it. Let’s just make a band.” We officially started at the beginning of 2020 and it’s really grown in just a year. We were actually called “Tres Leches” at first and we would play little frat parties. We kept saying to ourselves, “This is hitting hard. Like we could definitely do something.”
How did you guys get into music? Where does that passion come from?
Max: I was in the car coming home from hockey practice in seventh or eighth grade and I heard Cream’s “White Room” and it was like a lightning bolt hit me. And I was like “Yeah, this is what I want to do.” I wasn’t really very specific on what I wanted to do, but I had a guitar at home so I just started playing and taking lessons at this place called the Clayton Music Academy. That’s where I met Victor. From there we just started playing a lot and we would jam, but there was never a drummer, so I said, “I’ll play drums.” Ten years later, we’ve toured and had lots of practice and here we are.
Victor: My story is a little weird. I started young playing piano. I was in band playing clarinet. I was just like, “What is music? What do I like? I don’t even know. 50 Cent? Heck yeah.” It wasn’t until I was in middle school I got into Green Day and I was like, “Wow, there’s this instrument called the guitar and it makes you look really cool.” Much better than clarinet, you know? I got a guitar for my birthday and I started listening to Red Hot Chili Peppers. And then I was just like “Wow, this is real guitar now.” And then, you know, from there it spiraled into Led Zeppelin, and I started going back to all the good s*** and just obsessing over guitar. I’m constantly learning Van Halen, Slash, Led Zeppelin, all that stuff. Then I was like, “I hate everything but guitar now and that’s all I want do with my life.”
Leo: For me, it was playing violin in fourth grade. It was purely out of the fact that my parents told me I had to learn an instrument, and I didn’t like it that much. I would try to learn these folk songs, but I couldn’t get sheet music because I didn’t have money because, I was like, in fourth grade. One day my dad got my mom The Beatles “Love” CD and I took it into my room and just started listening to it constantly. I would just be singing and my sister would be there too. We would try to figure out the harmony. We didn’t even know what harmonies were. We were just like, “I’m just gonna sing this high part and you’re gonna sing the low part.” Then that developed into me saying, “I just need to get a guitar now.” So, I got a classical guitar and I learned all the Beatles songs on that.
Who do you find yourselves listening to the most? What kind of artists inspire you?
All: Jimi Hendrix!
Max: Jimi Hendrix. Huge one. You know, Zeppelin, the major guys from like the late ‘60s early ‘70s. But lately I’ve been really into the hip-hop broken beat stuff like Knowledge, J Dilla, lots of Thundercat too. Really just a lot of the modern, jazz-funk stuff.
Victor: We listen to a lot of Hendrix and we collect a lot of vinyl. Our music tastes are scattered from Miles Davis jazz to Mahavishnu. We just search for new sounds, new albums that we like. We’re not really molded to one style. You know? It’s all over the place and we love everything. Even Mozart.
Favorites from your vinyl collection?
What’s your music-making process like?
Max: It’s very equal. Usually, one of us will have an idea and then we all do our thing with it. It’s always different because sometimes we might be jamming all together and play something that’s sick. Other times, Leo and Victor will have an idea together and I’ll come in and tweak some of the arrangements and stuff.
Victor: We like to put songs together right there on the spot. Even if it’s like Leo’s idea or Max’s idea, we want it to be all of us coming together and making something cool. We can all make music on our own, but it’s like, it’s whatever you know. But this really put everyone’s brains together and we come out with something really creative.
Leo: The thing that’s special about how we write is that we never decide we’re gonna write something. It just happens, it’s never planned. It’s spontaneous. It’s comes out of whatever’s in our head at the time. We’re not thinking about it, we’re just doing it.
Victor: Now, sometimes we’ll be straight up jammin’. Those are the best ones when we just start playing and then we’ll hear an idea. One of us will grab an iPhone and turn on voice memos to record it. Voice memos saves our a*****. It really lets us go back and be like, “Oh that sounds cool, let’s go with that.”
Max: There’s a lot of methods, but it’s usually jamming, you know, improvising together. We’ll formulate an idea and grow it like a plant. It’s very harmonious process. It’s really fun. I mean, we just wrote one yesterday and it’s the most complex song we ever written. We’re lucky that it’s really easy. This has been the easiest group to write with that I’ve ever been a part of. We just click.
Victor: As long as we’re having fun, having a good time, that’s all that matters.
Leo: We’ll get into some little arguments, but they’re pretty much irrelevant. It’s always the little things and they never last more than five minutes.
Max: We have a system. Since there’s three, if it’s two against one, we’ll just use the winning idea, which actually works really nicely. Because four people, you got two and two. There’s too much division. There’s something magical about just the trio.
Where would you like to see the band go in the future?
Victor: We definitely want to tour the U.S. and I feel like that’s our nearest goal to achieve short-term. We’re releasing music and putting out our album. We’re doing a couple live bids too and we just did one with a studio here, which is really cool. But short-term goal is just to try to tour the U.S. as soon as possible.
Max: But ultimately, we’re going to be one of the best rock bands in the world. That’s no bull****. We’ve dedicated our lives to it for a long time and that’s definitely what we’re trying to do. Every band wants to be that. We want to revitalize the rock genre because I feel like it’s very kind of like neutral black-and-white, very dark.
Victor: It’s become this weird thing nowadays, especially here in Nashville. Like what the f*** happened to rock n’ roll? Rock has been boxed nowadays, and we just want to break that box.
Leo: You listen to music from the ‘60s and ‘70s and it’s so much more creative. It goes different places. We want to break that box, but not be a nostalgia act.
Max: We’re not trying to be what was, like Greta Van Fleet, or like a lot of other bands who are trying to be “vintage.” We love that stuff, but we’re trying to really reinvent it. We want give rock a breath of fresh air. We love every type of music. All these great rock bands that we love, they loved every type of music, so they tried to incorporate it. That’s kind of what we try to do. Music is so vast nowadays, there’s so many sub-genres, so we really try and pull from everything and just make it one thing. But ultimately, it’ll always be rock and how that’s we feel the spirit and essence of it.
Any new music on the way?
Victor: Yeah, we got some juicy stuff coming.
Max: The album comes out February 14. We did a live session at this place called Castle Recording Studios in Nashville and we filmed seven choice songs from the album. We’re working on just putting out really nice content videos. We set up microphones here in our living room and we do these weekly jam things where we’ll improvise and we post it on our social media.
Leo: We have basically most of the next album written and planned out. We’re just finalizing those and we’re going to record them probably in the next couple months.
Max: And then hopefully a tour in late May. We’re planning like maybe a week or two long tour and around Athens, Nashville, North Carolina, kind of just in the South East.
Victor: Our main thing is really just getting this album out there. We’re in the middle of mixing up this Castle [Recording Studio] live session so that’ll kind of coincide with the album release. We’re thriving over here. We’re also able to, you know, not spend a bunch of money on these things just because we have connections in these recording studios.
Leo: They believe in the music too. They want people to see it so they’re just trying to give us what they can.
Victor: And everybody needs help now, you know, even Castle Recording Studio. We’re helping them by giving them our services and our money while they’re helping us. So, there’s just this symbiotic growth of beauty and jam goodness.
Max: Jammy goodness always.
It’s hard to capture how awesome this trio’s spirits are with words, so that’s why you should check out the full interview coming shortly to our WKNC podcast, “Off the Record,” which can be found here! Tune in to hear us talk more about spirit animals, our shared Brazilian heritage, and terrible band names.
If you want to check out Fresh Squeeze for yourself, you can follow them on Instagram and listen to them on Spotify, Apple Music, and Youtube. As they said, their new album, “Not From Concentrate,” comes out on February 14, so make sure to give it a listen!
A lot of people think of Pond as Tame Impala’s cousin, which is an easy assumption to make considering Jay Watson is a core member of both touring bands. However, Pond has a lot more to offer than what meets the eye.
Based in Perth, Australia, Pond is a psychedelic garage-rock band made up of Jamie Terry, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jay Watson, Nick Allbrook, and James Ireland. Pond actually began as a collaborative project that existed in order for Allbrook and Watson to make music with as many guest artists as they pleased. Though they’ve traded members with Tame Impala several times, they’ve managed to release eight albums since 2008.
You’ve probably heard Pond’s “Paint Me Silver,” but the rest of their discography, especially their early work, is a treasure trove of grooviness. Their first album, “Psychedelic Mango,” is psychedelic indeed. It echoes the strangeness of 60s underground psychedelia bands like Ultimate Spinach and 13th Floor Elevators. Pond’s 2012 release, “Beard, Wives, Denim,” adds a bit more grunge, especially with songs like “Moth Wings” and “Sorry I Was Under the Sky.” Things for Pond only got better from there. Their popularity skyrocketed as Tame Impala’s success grew. Their fourth studio album, “Man It Feels Like Space Again,” added a playful, poppier element to the psychedelia they already mastered. “The Weather” followed the same trend, but also produced their hit song “Paint Me Silver.”
Personally, I’m a much bigger fan of Pond’s early work. Either way, I appreciate the growth they’ve experienced as a band. They’ve made huge strides after coming from being viewed as Tame Impala’s spin-off to having their own unique identity.
- Psychedelic Mango – 2009
- Corridors of Blissterday – 2009
- Frond – 2019
- Beard, Wives, Denim – 2012
- Hobo Rocket – 2013
- Man It Feels Like Space Again – 2015
- The Weather – 2017
- Tasmania – 2019
- Moth Wings – Beard, Wives, Denim
- Medicine Hat – Man It Feels Like Space Again
- Don’t Look At the Sun or You’ll Go Blind (Live) – Psychedelic Mango
– DJ Butter
Who are the Burkharts? The Burkharts are a new band that sounds like an old style of 50s doo-wop beach music. With angelic background harmonies, a fast drum beat, and a light bit of guitar, this band seems to mimic almost everything the Beach Boys stood for. However, that’s not to say that the Burkharts are a carbon copy of them.
The Burkharts started in Buffalo, NY around two years ago. They have described themselves as not too sleepy, not too spicy. I honestly couldn’t put it any better than that. Their music keeps you engaged, but it’s not too overwhelming. It’s the kind of music I could do homework to or listen to while I walk around a park on a Sunday afternoon. Right now they only have two EP’s and a few singles out, but my favorite songs are “Our Rockaway,” “Pretty Words,” “Oh, Dreamer,” and “Flower City Nights.” Their second EP contains the latter two of my favorites and has more of an indie feel to it than their most recent EP, however you can still hear their trademark old-beachy-sound.
Hope you guys enjoy the tunes,
-The DJ Formerly Known as Chippypants
Sunshine, good vibes, and relaxation are what The Babe Rainbow delivers. The Australian neo-psychedelic group is one of my personal favorites. They’re one of those rare bands that never seems to have a “dud” song; You can listen straight through every album and enjoy each track.
Drummer/lead singer Angus Dowling and guitarist Jack Crowther originally met when they were in high school in Byron Bay, a place known for it’s organic, back-to-nature culture. Influenced by ’60s surf rock and the counter-culture movement, The Babe Rainbow creates music that feels like walking through a magic garden at sunset. In an interview with Beat Magazine, Crowther speaks to how the band uses the hippie movement to inform their discography:
“I really like the back to the earth movement, putting a really high value on the appreciation of nature, all the resources that we use. There was a real movement around where we live in the ‘70s, people were coming from Sydney and Melbourne up here to live that life. For me, it’s got a lot to do with that, and lots of other things link up with that.”Jack “Cool Breeze” Crowther (guitarist) Source
In their early years, The Babe Rainbow caught the attention of Stu Mackenzie from King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, who offered to produce their debut self-titled album. Mackenzie’s influences are strong in “The Babe Rainbow,” but The Babe’s work following their original 2017 release is their own. Though it’s easy to compare them to other neo-surf bands like The Growlers and King Gizzard, The Babe Rainbow offers a unique, more relaxed version of psych-rock. Their music makes you feel centered and happy, almost like a meditation of sorts. The Babes are truly one-of-a-kind.
“The Babe Rainbow” (2017)
“Double Rainbow” (2018)
Bella Luna – Double Rainbow
Peace Blossom Boogy – The Babe Rainbow
The Wind – Single
Aloe Vera – Single
Something New – The Babe Rainbow
– DJ Butter
You know those times when all of a sudden it feels like you’ve been hit with a wave of new, really good music out of nowhere? It’s the best feeling in the world. Finally, you can get yourself out of the same five-song rotation and expand your music taste, treating your ears to the soothing sounds of something new. I just recently happened upon this feeling for the first time in a while, and I would like to share it with you all. So, here is what I’ve been listening to lately.
“My Cousin Greg” by Houndmouth
You might know this band from the song “Sedona,” but if you dig deeper into their discography you can find that they actually have an array of songs that match “Sedona’s” energy. “My Cousin Greg” is like one of those songs that starts out smooth but eventually gets more and more exciting as it goes on. Perfect for any car ride with friends.
“Evil Ways” by Santana
I heard this song for the first time in a while last weekend while I was in Wilmington. It was a beautiful day and I was driving to the beach with friends when this song came on. The sun was shining through the Spanish moss and illuminating the car as a wild guitar riff spun through the car. And now I think of that every time I listen to this song.
“Blue Magic” by Kelly Hogan and Bill Taft
This is one of those songs that is perfect for laying in bed at 3 AM and staring up at the ceiling. It has an echoing guitar with a vocalist to match it perfectly. It sounds very similar to “White Rabbit” by Jefferson Airplane.
“Miracle” by Jurassic Shark
Jurassic Shark is a nice little surf rock band that came out with the album “Miracle” back in 2014, however I’ve only just recently been getting into them. My favorite song off of the album is “Summer.” The sound of the song definitely lives up to its name.
“Above Water” by Felly
This song encapsulates the feeling of trying to make it through the first week of classes. No matter how stressful it gets to keep everything up to date, you just have to keep your head above water.
Well I hope you guys enjoy the tunes,
-The DJ Formerly Known as Chippypants