Music News and Interviews

Strange Ranger on WKNC’s The Lounge

Strange Ranger stopped by The Lounge to play a few songs off their latest album “Remembering the Rockets” 0:04 “Rockets” & “Ari Song” 4:32 “Living Free” WKNC is a student operated, independent college radio station, playing the best of indie rock, metal, electronic, hip hop, local music and more. The Lounge sessions are live recording sessions with bands and recording artists that visit the station. by WKNC 88.1 FM HD-1/HD-2

New Album Review

ALBUM REVIEW: Tacocat – This Mess is a Place

BEST TRACKS: Crystal Ball, Hologram

FCC violation: Grains of Salt

Tacocat is a guitar-based pop punk group out of Seattle. However, Tacocat’s most recent album, This Mess is a Place, leans significantly more towards bubblegum pop than some of their previous albums. Tacocat rose to success as a band in the early 2010’s, at a time where everyone wore rainbow loom bracelets and nyan cat ruled the internet. Though Tacocat sharpened and refined their sound over the decade, the early 2010’s influence is still prevalent in their pastel music videos and peppy songs.

A word of caution to crust punks, metalheads, and people who love to suffer: this album is SWEET- have too much and you might find yourself with a cavity. Songs on this album feature velvety background choruses and saccharine guitar. You could say this album sounds similar to Chris Farren’s Can’t Die, or Remember Sports’ All of Nothing but with way less grit. Overall, This Place is a Mess is light and breezy, easy listening. I enjoyed listening to it in the mornings while I was in the shower to get pumped for the start of a new day.

Despite having underlying existential themes, this album refuses to wallow in misery. This Mess is a Place is about finding hope and light despite the bleak state of the world. The first track, Hologram, reminds you to take a step back and enjoy life’s simple moments, with immersive imagery of beaded curtains in the purple dark. The third and most popular track on the album, Grains of Salt, is about living for yourself and dropping the weight of other peoples’ judgements from your shoulders. Major props to Tacocat – say what you will about them, but their cup is undeniably overflowing with mettle.

If you like sunshine, you’ll probably like this album. Just don’t forget to brush your teeth!

-Safia Rizwan

Weekly Charts

Afterhours Charts 8/27

Artist Record Label
1 KAYTRANADA Nothin Like U/Chances [EP] RCA
2 TORO Y MOI Outer Peace Carpark
3 CHROME SPARKS Be On Fire [EP] Counter
4 SATIN SHEETS St. Francis 100% Electronica
5 CHANNEL TRES Black Moses [EP] Godmode
6 SWEELY Nice Archive Traxx, Vol. 1 Lobster Theremin
7 TILMAN Love [EP] Fine
8 HOT CHIP A Bath Full Of Ecstasy Domino
9 FLOATING POINTS LesAlpx/Coorabell [EP] Ninja Tune
10 DJ SEINFELD Lilium [EP] Young Ethics

New Album Review

Album Review: Tobi Lou – Live on Ice

By far, the most creative album I’ve heard in a long time.

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been listening to Tobi Lou for a while now, but how I discovered Tobi Lou is actually quite interesting. A producer that I was extremely fond of named YOG$ had just got done doing a collaboration project with another artist I thoroughly enjoy, and upon finishing that project, did a track with Tobi, and I hated it. It took me about around 3 months and 15 listens to actually come around on the song, and I was still pessimistic listening to the rest Tobi’s music. I finally started coming around to Tobi’s music because of the dichotomy between lighthearted fun and melancholy teenage emotions within his songs. Not to mention his incredible lyrical creativity, singing ability, and downright fantastic production, mixed with actual interesting ad libs. Tobi Lou quickly became one of my favorite artists to follow, and Live on Ice does not disappoint.

Something that makes this album truly interesting and separate from other hip-hop/r&b/pop albums is that many of the songs can be thrown into any of those genres, and possibly others. From the first track on the album, 100 Degrees, it would appear to be a hip-hop album, but as you head down the track list, you find songs like Sometimes I Ignore You Too and That Old Nu-Nu that are so far from hip-hop in a traditional sense, and that argument can be made for just about every song on the album. Tobi even collaborated with K-Pop artist Vernon on the track Looped Up, arguably making for one of the most creative and ambitious songs on the album.

I have been trying to think of a good comparison for Live on Ice, and from a musical perspective, I haven’t been able to find one. It’s just that unique and creative. But, I believe an argument can be made that Acid Rap by Chance the Rapper and Tobi Lou’s Live on Ice have very similar impacts on the audience it reaches, essentially accomplishing the same goal, connectivity. Acid Rap, is arguably one of the most influential factors for the type of music I listen to, and many others my age. Live on Ice accomplishes the same effect, but for a slightly different audience. Acid Rap was influenced by extremely prevalent themes being love, friends, following your dreams, with the biggest theme being heavily based around drugs. All of these elements combine for one of the most successful mixtapes ever made, as well as being responsible for Chance the Rapper’s massive popularity. Live on Ice is similar to Acid Rap in a way, due to how Tobi effectively connects the themes of the album to the listener. While it might not be as successful as Acid Rap, Tobi Lou has created a project that will touch the lives of many people in the same way Acid Rap did. Themes like finding love, dealing with depression, being comfortable with who you are, and heartbreak are expressed throughout the album extremely effectively through fantastic production, Tobi’s ambitious vocal layering/editing, and lyrical creativity. Personally, I love happy music, and when I heard tracks like Favorite Substitute, Like My Mom, and Ice Cream Girl, I immediately fell in love with them because they connected with me in a personal and interesting way. The use of non-traditional hip-hop instruments, catchy choruses, unique vocals, and actually interesting ad libs (seriously no one ever has good ad libs) make songs more lively, and help to set a mood for the album overall.

Live on Ice is genuinely in a league of its own, and I think it should be treated as such. It took me almost a month to fully understand and interpret this album, and I hope others get as much out of this project as I did. I truly haven’t listened to an album this interesting since Healy’s Subluxe in 2017. I highly suggest you give this album a shot, even if you don’t like hip-hop/r&b/pop because it is such a different experience.

Suggested Tracks:

-100 Degrees

-Sometimes I Ignore You Too


-Cheap Vacations

-Looped Up

-Favorite Substitute

-Ice Cream Girl


New Album Review

EP REVIEW: Josh Mullen – Lemon’de

EP REVIEW: Josh Mullen – Lemon’de (8/23/19)

BEST TRACKS: Fine, Lemon’de

FCC Clean

Meet Josh Mullen, who is just now dipping his toes into the world of songwriting with his first EP, Lemon’de.

This 18-year-old grasshopper from Youngseville, NC is an unashamedly self-proclaimed indie boy who draws his inspiration from the likes of Mac Demarco and Neutral Milk Hotel, which is evident in this EP by the mellow vocals and dominant use of acoustic guitar. Mullen admits to recording this entire EP in his bedroom using Audacity, but to be fair, who doesn’t record their first EP on either Audacity or Garageband? Despite not having the greatest means of production, for a first EP, it’s pretty good.

The song “Fine” kicks off the EP and immediately blasts you into the 5th dimension of consciousness with high energy strumming and a nicely complimenting bassline. The vocals are easily the most impressive part of this song. Mullen’s voice is soft but not completely mushy, carrying a pleasant amount of grit and intensity while still remaining soothing to the ears. The heavily reverberating vocals will penetrate their way into the center of your brain and settle down there. The reverberating, softly warped vocals make their appearance again on “Brown Recluse” and ‘Punch”.

Another highlight of this EP is the title track “Lemon’de”. For this lighthearted number, Mullen sets aside the guitar and picks up a sweet little ukulele. I feel like I’m in the Curious George universe when I’m listening to this song, dreamily floating down a river in a rowboat on a sunny day. Eating a banana. This song will ‘whistle’ your worries away.

Josh Mullen is a talented guitarist and vocalist with a lot of potential. Josh Mullen, if you’re reading this, keep making music! Everyone starts somewhere. Thank you for being a fan of WKNC and I hope to see you making waves in the future.

You can listen to Lemon’de on soundcloud here:

-Safia Rizwan


Obviously, Fake Top 5 Most Shocking Moments in Music History

Obviously, Fake Top 5 Most Shocking Moments in Music History

5. When Ozzy Osborne ate an entire horse on stage 

The undisputed king of classic doom has been relegated to docile geriatrics as of late.  Following his exploration into reality TV at the turn of the millenium, Osborne has become somewhat of a parody of himself with his cartoonish antics and increasingly unintelligible ramblings.  That being said, it’s crucial to remember Osborne as an absolute legend of classic rock. As he popularized playful occultism, sludgy romantic doom, or just general head banging goodness, Ozzy was a key player in transforming rock into a liberated art form.  Nowhere is this more clear than the infamous occasion wherein Osborne participated in a horrifically graphic equine feast. While on a solo tour after leaving Sabbath, the band was halted mid-set by their leader; Osborne first looked out into the audience in silence before finally opening his lips.  “Bring her outttttttt!” he screamed as Randy Rhoades and company scrambled backstage before bringing out, well, you guessed it. A giant horse. For the next three hours, the audience stood stark horrified as Osborne slowly sliced through the beast and consumed it piece by piece, blood dribbling down his chin and onto innocent concert attendees who just wanted some good-down-to-earth-metal-music-itellyawhat.  The show was, of course, cut short as Osborne proceeded to shit himself and die after eating so much raw horse meat. Classic Ozzy, he’s quite a clown, huh? 

4. When Mick Jagger Didn’t Die 

How is this guy still alive? Like, I don’t wish ill on him.  But it seems like a natural violation that the Rolling Stones are still a thing.  I’m pretty sure him and his bosom buddy Richards have done it all: smoked poo skeletons, injected specially radioactive gas poison, writhed around in the River Styx while occasionally shouting “yeah baybay” to each other as their tight leather pants grazed death water. It doesn’t matter, I guess, though. 

3. When Billie Idol Invented Punk Rock 

When the words “poonk rok” first creep past your ears with their spindly digits, the first images that pop into your whimsical head may be of dingy clubs occupied by New York’s darling quartet of hideous grandmas, but they, sadly, were posers.  Wha…? Posers? Posing as whom? Iggy Pop? Nope. The MC5? Nope. Lou Reed?! Nope again. See, they were actually following what could essentially be distilled down to an elaborate marketing campaign designed by one Billie Idol. Idol, originally a marketing consultant for Viacom, spent years researching what could set off what he identified as a powderkeg of untapped teenage angst. Several years of looking at graphs, gathering disgruntled testimony, and co-opting avant-garde aestheticism into white-consumerism later, Idol emerged with the hit single “White Wedding” which fundamentally altered the course of music history.  Idol would go on to enjoy a long and successful career as punk’s most vital contributor, eventually giving birth to two sons: Henry Rollins and Ian Mackaye. 

2.  When The Beatles Headlined Woodstock

Imagine this, Woodstock has already been going on for nine-days, your one pair of super hip homemade jean shorts have been absolutely soiled by mud and human feces, and the acid jell-o isn’t enough to keep you going.  It’s about time to leave, the sun is rising, but wait. There’s one more act. Who could it be? You think, lids nearly crusted over from sleep and probably a little pinkeye too, the headliner has been kept a secret from us this whole time.  Who is it who is going to come out and end the show. Also, this was New Year’s Day 1970. Then, you see it, a lanky figure with a severely unbrushed beard begins making his way towards the stage. Sunlight is still soft, you can’t see exactly who it is but the anticipation is beating against the inside of your head as another figure steps forward.  This time, it’s a greasy guy with no shoes and a round face who is tailed by a guy with an impressive mustache wearing like robes and then another guy. Of course, it was the Fab Four appearing to close out both the now-legendary music festival and the 1960s as a whole. Who could forget their classic renditions of “Hey Jude”, “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”, “Octopus Garden”, “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”, or Ringo’s fifteen minute drum solo rendition of the National Anthem.  You had to be there, man. 

1.  When the guy from Def Leppard Grew An Extra Arm to Drum Harder 

Deep in the bowels of 1985, Def Leppard was perched gracefully upon international charts and drew tens of thousands of rabid fans who were interested in seeing what was, simply put, the worst band of all time. During one of their famously shitty performances which drew attention from Rolling Stone writers who were baffled at the sheer magnitude of their diarrheal soundscarpes, drummer Rick Allen began to sweat profusely as shapes began to appear in underneath the skin of his sweat-drenched chest.  Audience members wretched as the shapes began to take more tangible figures and it became clear that what was being formed was none other than a horrible bundle of fingers. Fountains of bile streamed down the floor of the jam-packed stadium as the fingers flailed helplessly into the air as they were painfully pushed out of the now swollen and putrid body which housed them. Eventually, the arm was fully generated, picked up a drum stick, and laid down the worst drum solo of all time.

– Cliff Jenkins 

Concert Review

Jonas Brothers Concert Pictures

Short Stories

Nightmare of a Softboy Chapter 2

Nightmare of the Softboy Chapter 2

I’m uncomfortable marking my infidelity as an aberration of bad choice.  Maybe I would have before the accident, before I became who I am today or, I should say, realized a piece of my own figure which was given inadequate attention.  It seems, one could posit, that this lack of attention is what subsequently led to a frustrated transgression, a rebellion which gives too much agency to its master when considered as a lapse in judgement.  I cannot claim my body; my body claims me. As such, moving against the grain in a refusal to acknowledge an inalienable part of my being was destined to end in supposed catastrophe. 

Just as I would start any day, the morning in question began at 1:00 PM.  I must admit that my personal life had deteriorated severely in the preceding several months, and I must admit that I do not have a job.  My days are, or were, understandably free. There is no use in explaining whatever semblance of a routine I had here in this narrative. It would be useless.  It would be infinitely difficult because my days were spent inwardly, exploring tangential realities that the mind is left free to explore when material is lost with social interaction. This is why WKNC was so important to me, to us, to an entire world that has essentially disintegrated into will.  Whenever the opportunity presented itself, or whenever I could be bothered (these two are operationally the same), I would switch on my house radio, which was always set to 88.1 It wasn’t me who switched it to my trusty station originally, or if it was I couldn’t remember. What was important is that I became a subject beneath it. 

Such subjectivity breeds alienation, anger, hopelessness.  The apparent viceroy of unbias would here point to me, or what was me, or what has always been me but historically more so, and screech with an obtuse digit that “it is your own doing, you cretin! It is (or was) you who switched to WKNC! If not, then it was still you who remained under it! Whose life was built around it!” after  which I would retort, “Yes! Yes! Exactly that! I am only it and so I cannot without!”.

But, of course, rebellion creeps slowly.  And I had nothing but time. It doesn’t matter how long before that morning I was listening to WKNC, the reader just has to trust that it was long enough to question my own vacuous existence.  And so, in an action which was no more prophetic than it was a mistake, I tuned my dial to 102.9.

Weekly Charts

Daytime Charts 8/20

# Artist Record Label

1 PEAERA Healthy Earth Tiny Engines

2 MARIKA HACKMAN Any Human Friend Sub Pop

3 FLORAL PRINT Floral Print Tiny Engines

4 OH SEES Face Stabber Castle Face

5 PURPLE MOUNTAINS Purple Mountains Drag City

6 BLESSED Salt Pirates Blend

7 MANNEQUIN PUSSY Patience Epitaph

8 PSYCHEDELIC PORN CRUMPETS And Now For The Whatchamacallit Marathon

9 SLOW PULP Big Day [EP] Self-Released

10 CRUMB Jinx Self-Released

11 MUNYA Munya Luminelle

12 SHARON VAN ETTEN Remind Me Tomorrow Jagjaguwar

13 NATHAN BAJAR PlayroomIn Real Life

14 PIP BLOM Boat Heavenly/PIAS

15 PALEHOUND Black Friday Polyvinyl

16 RARE DM Vanta Black Self-Released

17 STEF CHURA Midnight Saddle Creek

18 SASAMI Sasami Domino

19 PENELOPE ISLES Until The Tide Creeps In Bella Union/PIAS

20 TEEN BODY Dreamo Broken Circles

21 STRANGE RANGER Remembering The Rockets Tiny Engines

22 NOTS 3 (Three) Goner

23 BELLS ATLAS The Mystic Tender Loving Empire

24 POW Shift Castle Face

25 PINHEADS, THE Is This Real Farmer & The Owl

26 YOUNG MAMMALS Lost In Lima Wallflower

27 B BOYS Dudu Captured Tracks

28 A BEACON SCHOOL Cola Grind Select/House Arrest

29 KIM GRAY Plastic Memory Buzz

30 CHERRY GLAZERRStuffed & ReadySecretly Canadian


1 TROPICAL FUCK STORM Braindrops Joyful Noise

2 HANA VU “At The Party” [Single ]Luminelle

3 BLACK BELT EAGLE SCOUT At The Party With My Brown Friends Saddle Creek

4 LUNCH LADY Angel Danger Collective/Upset The Rhythm

Weekly Charts

Chainsaw Charts 8/20

# Artist Record Label

1 DEVOURMENT Obscene Majesty Relapse

2 AS I LAY DYING “Shaped By Fire” [Single] Nuclear Blast

3 SKINLAB “Overcoming” [Single] Art Is War

4 WAGE WAR “Prison” [Single] Fearless

5 STICK TO YOUR GUNS “Dove and Fist” [Single] Pure Noise

6 SLIPKNOT We Are Not Your Kind Roadrunner

7 BANSHEE The Madness Visionary Noise

8 OPETH “Dignity” [Single] Moderbolaget

9 LIFE OF AGONY “Scars” [Single ]Napalm

10 BEING AS AN OCEAN “Find Our Way” [Single] Believe