Essential Albums: The Pixies- Doolittle

I was to young to experience 90’s college rock as it was occurring, but in hindsight it’s easy to see that a new alternative rock sound emerged with bands like The Pixies, Pavement, Built to Spill, Archers of Loaf, The Smashing Pumpkins, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr. and Modest Mouse all helping to define it. The Pixies had already had an extremely popular release with the album that some view as their best in their debut Surfer Rosa, but it’s their 1989 release Doolittle which holds that title for me with no hesitation. I’m a believer that Doolittle is one of the best albums ever made within alternative rock, which had me questioning if it was worthy of covering here since I’m under the impression many will already be aware of it. If you aren’t, then this post is for you and  you’ve got some listening to do.
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DJ Survey: What’s Your Favorite Long Song?

On the radio playing a long track can be a death sentence to your listenership, but there are still those tracks that are so great that they need to be played either way. This time we checked in with our DJs to ask them what their favorite long song is and got some terrific responses. A song had to be at least eight minutes long to be considered.

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Jed Davis: “Stairway to Heaven”

Just kidding.  Shellac- “The End of Radio”.

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Robby Red: The Velvet Underground- “Sister Ray”

The studio version of “Sister Ray” by the Velvet Underground is seventeen and a half minutes long. When the Velvet Underground played it live they would make it last anywhere from twenty to forty minutes long. Runner Up: “Marquee Moon” by Television

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Andrew: William Basinki- “d|p 1.1″

If I exclude things like full sided cassette rips, mixes, and anything that might be more then one song strung together I get rid of lots of favorites like Yard’s 37mx (1 hour 14 mins) which I guess is technically a mix.
But if I have to pick a favorite that is really just one song it is probably William Basinski’s d|p 1.1 from The Disintegration Loops. d|p 1.1 weighs in at 63 minutes and I have played it in its entirety on WCDB before. Basinski is playing at EMPAC in the fall.


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Essential Albums: The Unicorns- Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?


Alternative music usually just receives the label because the songs are aimed at to narrow of an audience for the mainstream radio to play. This isn’t meant as a slight towards the genre, which is basically the only thing I listen to, but the casual listener really just wants something to be immediate and catchy along with a chorus that they know. This is where a lot of the best alternative music emerges, when a band does provide the immediacy of pop/rock cravings but they decide to intentionally fuck it up a bit for their own brand of unique experimentation. This is the best way I can describe what The Unicorns do, and it’s why they’ve become such a wildly popular band for alternative music fans who can appreciate these aspects; the broken voices, the perfectly out of place flute/recorder(?) solo, and the randomness which ultimately morphs it’s way into the songs’ rhythm. These qualities define The Unicorns just as much as the catchy choruses, and Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone is undoubtedly the album that captured the band’s gigantic potential the best.
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Yazen Hits Up: Skate and Surf Festival at Six Flags Great Adventure (5/18/13)

Skate & Surf Festival made its return this spring after John D, the founder of The Bamboozle Festival, announced that Bamboozle wouldn’t be making a return in 2013. When the details about Skate & Surf were announced, the main attraction would be Fall Out Boy headlining the festival after their four year hiatus. Along with Fall Out Boy, some other bands played at the smaller stages who have been nothing short of phenomenal.

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((SHOW REVIEW)) THE BABIES, Party Boat, & Birthdays at Valentine’s 5/3/13

It was one of the first days of spring — white flowers were blooming hard all over Albany and people were driving by with open windows spilling music on to the streets. At the time of this writing, Albany Medical Center has not taken over this block where Valentine’s stands and hopefully if you are reading this in the future, it has not done so!

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It is Friday night, May 3rd, with locals Birthdays and Party Boat opening for THE BABIES. We were all really excited to see The Babies play live – A lot of the rock DJs have played the hell out of Our House on the Hill since it was released in November 2012. One concert-goer proclaimed, “MY HEART IS A JITTERY BUTTERFLY” while we waited for them to start and I forced a “Kodak Moment”:

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THE BABIES – I had so much fun during their set – They had lots of energy and played all the hits! Their live show translated well from their studio albums — Seeing them live made me love their songs even more because the instruments sounded bolder all around and it really did it for me. I hope one day I can see them play a basement show. There were a lot of dancers in the audience which made the set even more fun.

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They had Our House on the Hill on record, cassette, and CD, their self titled CD, Moonlight Mile/Places 7” (review below), T-Shirt, and an AWESOME TOTE BAG (A++++++)

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Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

“In a world dominated by Avicci and David Guetta, Daft Punk steps in once again to show us what we need to be hearing”

NOTE: This album releases worldwide May 20th.

Turn it off. Turn off the mindset of all the current trends, the music you currently like, and be ready to listen to something completely different. It’s electronic too, but nothing like you’ve heard in the past. I’m not saying it’s a masterpiece and superior to everything else, but rather blows you away in how radical the sound is. I truly believe a new standard has been created in the music space, and Daft Punk has once again innovated the world of electronic music.

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Essential Albums: The Magnetic Fields- 69 Love Songs


Quick Band Bio: The Magnetic Fields are a Boston band that formed in 1988 and released their first album Distant Plastic Trees in 1991. They became known for their use of unusual instrumentation in pop songs, frequent inclusion of synthesizers, and Stephen Merritt’s songwriting style (short and clever). 69 Love Songs was the sixth album released by the group, and the one that served as their breakthrough as the triple album excels despite asking it’s audience to give them your patience for the nearly three hours of music. A three hour concept album sounds a bit scary, but this concept doesn’t end up limiting the band nearly as much as you’d expect given the title, in fact Merritt clarified upon the release that 69 Love Songs is not remotely an album about love. It’s an album about love songs, which are very far away from anything to do with love”.

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DJ Survey: What’s Your Favorite Summer Album

We’re in Finals week here at SUNY Albany, and with summer approaching we decided to check in with our DJs before they bolted to see which albums they think they’ll be playing during the upcoming months!

DJ Milky [Alt-Rock]- “DJ Milky’s Music Hour for Dumb Babies” Monday 4am-6am

I generally like listening to jangly stuff like the Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Anything that would be a good soundtrack to riding a bike in shorts while drinking a slurpee.

Metal Tony [Metal]- “The Metal F’n Show” Saturday 10pm-midnight

For me, it would have to be For the Sake of Revenge by Sonata Arctica. The music is very upbeat, plus the live aspect of it reminds me that summer season is concert season.

DJ HEAT [Alt-Rock]- “Let the Good Times Roll” Monday 6pm-8pm

Jay Reatard Blood Visions: CRANK THAT with the windows down and you will feel like you drank 10 cups of coffee in a good way (R.I.P. Jay Reatard)

Bruce Springsteen – All 3 parts of the Live at Passaic bootleg from 1978. Also… I think “Thunder Road” by Bruce Springsteen is the quintessential summer song

Sleater-Kinney All Hands on the Bad One

1 CURRENT song that is a definitely summer song is “Quotidian Beast” by Phosphorescent

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Essential Albums: The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots

Quick Band Bio: The Flaming Lips are a psychedelic rock and pop group from Oklahoma. When the group originally formed in 1983 it consisted of Wayne Coyne, Michael Ivins and Mark Coyne, the original lead vocalist before he left the band in 1985. This left Wayne, Mark’s brother and the lead guitarist, to assume lead vocals as well. This is where the Flaming Lips of today truly started: The band began to form their reputation through the combination of a breakthrough single in “She Don’t Use Jelly”, great albums and the bizarre antics that the band performs. Within the last 2 years, the Flaming Lips have a role in the following news stories: They’ve released music in an anatomically correct chocolate heart, vinyls containing samples of the artists’ blood, a USB in gummy shaped like a fetus and a 24 hour long song shipped in real human skulls; while also mistakenly taking a grenade into an airport, posting a music video of Erykah Badu’s sister naked which lead to a feud between the artists as permission wasn’t received, and setting the Guinness World Record for most concerts played in different cities in a 24 hour period. These are good examples of why the Flaming Lips are absolutely insane, and Wayne Coyne is the most interesting musician today who’s still releasing music.

These stories could scare someone away from listening to The Flaming Lips, but the truth is that the band actually makes very accessible music. A lot of thought goes into their releases, and they deserve a lot of credit for creating albums around completely developed ideas. Oddly though, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots isn’t the best example to use for this as Coyne has stated that this album really just seemed to come together as a story after they started creating the songs. How they got tied together into the story is still wildly entertaining though, as Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots presents the listener with a Japanese girl who is the only hope of saving her people by defeating the evil robots that have arrived, and this ends up being a terrific setting for the Flaming Lips’ bouncing guitars and philosophical lyrics to capture your imagination.
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