Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Album Review: Ron Contour and Factor, "Saffron"

This guy (an alter-ego of former Swollen Members MC Moka Only) is apparently MF Doom's non-union Canadian equvialent. I say that with all due respect; he shares Viktor Vaughn's mumbly yet smooth flow and acrobatic wordplay. The beats here are great too, Factor provides a slightly jazzy De La Soul like old school sound. Plus, Ron Contour raps a lot about food. I love food! Play all!

Play: 1+++, 3++, 5++, 6+++ and 8++ (love the beats here), 10+ (goes to Japan), 12++ (great guest verse)

Album Review: Free Energy, "Stuck On Nothing"

RiYD: Classic Rock (a la Thin Lizzy), LCD Soundsystem, cowbell

This record is just good. Big sound, bigger emotions. It's the kind of stuff you want to roll all of your windows down and drive real fast to. I've never been old but I think this is the kind of music that encapsulates what it is to be young; nostalgia pop, maybe.

James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) produced this record, continuing his infatuation with updating everything that was great about music in the '70s for today. Maybe the title is a little off, then, because, if anything, this album is stuck on the past. But I'll be darned if that's a bad thing.

PLAY ALL!! I'll let you figure out what you want to play. But please do play this record. It's that good.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Album Review: Eddy Current Suppression Ring, "Rush To Relax"

Another great one from Memphis-based Goner. Proto-punk riffs and vocals (think the Troggs, maybe Art Brut), that sometimes get stretched into Joy Division style drones. Really fun, toe-tapping stuff. PLAY ALL, but esp:

1+++(yeah, yeah, yeah!), 3++, 4+++(best track, hilarious lyrics), 5+++(short but sweet), 6, 7++ (catchy, poppy), 8+

10 is thirty minutes long.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The future of rock and roll

This morning, I, like many others, awoke to discover that the long revered had been shut down. This is a massive blow to independent music and media, both of which we at KWUR hold dearly - but beyond that, we've also lost an outlet for great music, which I have turned to time after time for the very best tunes, new and old. Needless to say, I'm bummed out about the whole thing. As Matt Shiverdecker, WOXY's music director and a good friend, said, "It is, to be perfectly honest, quite a kick in the dick."

I had the great fortune to discover WOXY back in 2007, when I was writing an article for my high school newspaper about interesting places in Cincinnati. On a whim, a friend and I decided to head down to Longworth Hall, where the station was located at the time. Shiv, Mike and Joe were incredibly welcoming and kind, and answered all of our questions and let us hang out for an Lounge Act performance they hosted that day with David Vandervelde. I was blown away by the place and the experience - it was the coolest place I had ever seen, run by the coolest people I had ever met - and on my way out, I asked if they needed any help around the station. One thing led to another, and soon after, I was at the station once or twice a week, reviewing CDs and editing old Lounge Acts.

Meanwhile, I was listening whenever I could, damaging my hearing with all sorts of incredible new music. Shiv and everyone else there became the hip older brothers I never had. After I graduated and moved to St. Louis for college, I immediately located the radio station on campus and since then I've spent as much time here as I possibly could. As I became more involved, I constantly looked back to my experience at WOXY, and the station itself, as a guide. Stack Sessions, which we kicked off over the summer, is based largely on the Lounge Acts I used to watch and still listen to. Music has been an extremely important part of my life, and probably always will be, and I owe much of that to the folks at WOXY.

So, what does all of this rambling add up to? I know that lot of people are saddened and frustrated by Future Sounds' decision to take WOXY off the air; I count myself among that group. And while I cannot see a bright side to this situation - I don't think there is one - I want Shiv, Mike, Joe, Bryan Jay and everyone else that worked there to know that you have been a huge inspiration to me and many, many others. I hope with my entire being that WOXY finds its way back on the air - it's happened before! it can happen again! - but even so, the hard work you all put in over so many years has had an immeasurable impact on so many lives, mine included. Thank you, viva la WOXY, and viva la musica.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

This post is 4 days too late.

Last Wednesday (March 17) marked the death of one of pop music's less-heralded legends. Alex Chilton, you shall forever be missed.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

She Loves My Car

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Album Review: A Faulty Chromosome, "Craving To Be Coddled..."

Pretty much textbook chillwave (Neon Indian, Memory Tapes). Alternatively, a lo-fi, sometimes atonal Architecture in Helsinki. Some deej will love this. Parts are good, but overall didn't really hold my attention. I just don't care that much about your middle class childhood.

Play: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Album Review: Anaïs Mitchell, "Hadestown"

So this is the music from a "folk opera" Mitchell wrote around 2006, performed by Mitchell and several relatively big voices (Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, Ani DiFranco, Petra Haden & the other two Haden Triplets). Putting the Orpheus/Eurydice myth into a post-apocalyptic yet Depression-like setting, this brings together a ton of great sounds: tin-pan-alley, ghostly folk, Waits-ian narrative, Appalachian bluegrass, and some terrific songwriting.

At times, the lyrical content gets a little wrapped up in narrative and therefore loses a little focus as a recording, but this is really a captivating release.

A very nice touch is that Vernon, as Orpheus, is usually the only singer with multi-tracked vocals, emphasizing the beauty of Orpheus's song - it works wonders to utilize both his soulful baritone and his haunting falsetto. Mitchell, as well, has a fascinatingly strange voice, which is beautifully used here.

Try: 1+, 2++, 3+++(a burner!), 5+, 7++, 8, 10++(Ani!!!!), 11+++(Gorgeous), 13+, 16++, 19++(beautifully dark), 20+

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Album Review: The Ruby Suns, "Fight Softly"

New Zealand based band (mostly the solo project of Ryan McPhun) continues to expand their joyful sound, this time with a move towards electronics. This is definitely an immersive experience with some excellent sonic texture. If you liked "Merriweather Post Pavilion" but wanted a little bit more in terms of [slightly more] conventional structure/killer hooks, this is a record for you. It's an early-summer record, if you will.

The Ruby Suns, on "Fight Softly," continue to develop an amazing balance between interesting sounds and pop-music chops and it continues to work wonders. There's also a lot of great world-music influence here, so check it out!


1++(Nice beat, chill); 2+(groove); 3++; 4+++(synth-y hook, tropical); 5 (loping); 6++(fun); 7+++(killer midsection, synth EXPLOSION); 8+(afro-pop guitars); 9++(neat percussion, build); 10+(title is "Olympics on Pot" for crying out loud!, great instrumentation/production)