Tag Archives: Dinosaur Jr.

The Place of Music Scenes

I’ve been spending a lot of my recent ‘free-thinking’ time on the subject of music scenes, specifically about how they form and what effect they end up having on music as a whole. When a music scene has developed it means that there’s suddenly a new type of sound which is starting to get more attention and exposure for artists playing it, with that sound also occasionally being tracked to a specific location or region as well. For some examples, there was the Grunge movement in the Northwest in the late 1980s, a new definition of Alternative Rock emerged in the mid-90’s with bands such as Pavement, Dinosaur Jr., Archers of Loaf, Guided By Voices and The Pixies gaining popularity, and recently there was a defined new-wave rock scene in New York City which spawned artists like The Strokes and Interpol. So how do these scenes actually start? Theoretically I can think of a few ways, but they all share some common points.

  • A new artist emerges and plays a sound which sounds so different from anything else that is currently being played, and so it inspires imitation and new methods of thinking. (Example: Bob Dylan)
  • An artist with an already established following and influence has a sudden drastic sound shift which worked incredibly well for them. (Example: Radiohead)
  • Multiple artists get inspired from the same source, bringing extra attention to an artist who’s music left a significant impact and is just now being remembered. (Example: The Velvet Underground)
  • An awesome local music scene emerges to draw a crowd, and somebody from that local scene emerges into the national spotlight. (Example: Neutral Milk Hotel)

There have to be other scenarios as well, but you’re probably starting to understand what I believe has to be present for a successful music scene to form. The sound has to be new and unique to the other options out there, and somebody within the scene has to grow in popularity enough so that they can spread the word around about it. It’s an interesting dynamic to think about, but that theorization is only the beginning point to this article.

Smaller music scenes get defined constantly and the study of these is basically what it means today to be current with modern music, and the people who get to define what these smaller scenes are work for the music media. Their job is to try and define these different music scenes and report what’s happening within them from a specific mindset, and this effects their opinion on who deserves to be recognized and how releases should be rated. This approach makes some sense from their perspective because if you’re covering music on a day-to-day basis then I imagine you wouldn’t be very keen on viewing every new release as a blank slate, but it’s a flawed approach towards rating music.

That’s because while music scenes are real and potentially valuable, they can also be a mirage which only displays the sounds which share common qualities with each other. Where’s the space for creativity and new ideas within this mindset, and what solutions get missed if you’re stuck looking for the answer in the same place repeatedly?

When it comes to new music, I think it’s best to just compare it to the total product rather than how it fits into the modern music scenes because of this. How well does the band or release stand alongside the successful sounds which have come before it, and how likely is it to inspire the sounds which will follow? That’s the ultimate question right there, and with all of the different genres and stylistic differences which have made an impact in music history I would think it’s safe to say that there’s never going to be a sure-fire answers to those questions. It’s just something that time decides, but keeping an open mind towards what could leave an imprint is an important step.

WCDB Secret Santa

How do you run a Secret Santa at a radio station where we’re all tight on money? Easy, make it a musical Secret Santa, where everybody gets entered into a pool and randomly gets assigned to make a suggestion for what a fellow WCDB’er might like to listen to. Check out all the recommendations below!

For Kyle -

Speedy Ortiz–I just started listening to them myself but I’ve been digging it and wanting to share it, and if you end up liking it then i would also recommend Waxahatchee if you don’t already know her. Speedy Ortiz has female vocals and kind of a hazy indie rock sound, the album that just came out is good: Major Arcana, tracks I would start with are “No Below”, “Tiger Tank”, “Hitch”, but basically the whole album is pretty cool.

For Ted -

My suggestions for the secret Santa are wye oak- dogs eye and Mac Demarco- ode to victory

For Noah-

It’s a band called Lust for Youth. And I recommend listening to the newest LP NIGHT SINS- To London or the Lake

For DJ Kim Kelly-

I’m giving Chrissy Keaton Henson. Specific tracks: “Beekeeper”, “Lying to You”, “Kronos”, “Don’t Swim”, “In The Morning”, and “Sarah Minor”

For The Finch-

Celebration – The Modern Tribe

Celebration is more on the psychedalic side of indie rock from 2007, and this album is awesome from front to back.  Singer’s voice is somewhat androgenous and strange, which I hope Meg will dig based on her love of Panic! At the Disco. Upbeat pop melodies interspersed with some catchy horn lines and fuzzed guitars, really cool stuff!

Tracks:  “Tame the Savage”, “In This Land”, “Wild Cats”

For dJ bANANAS iN pAJAMAS-

Band: Voxtrot (Raised by Wolves EP to start, the track, “The Start of Something” has a very Smithsy/Strokesy feel.)

Track: “Water Me” by FKA Twigs. Cool electronic jam that I have loved recently, and don’t think most people have gotten into.

For DJ Milky-

1) Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap

2) The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight

3) The Woodentops – Giant

4) Martha & the Muffins – Metro Music

5) Haircut One Hundred – Pelican West

*all available on grooveshark.com Merry Christmas

For DJ Riggs Linus-

I’ve decided to give Brian Bev a song by Vega. It’s the project Neon Indian had before Neon Indian. I hope he already has not heard it. I also hope he doesn’t hate it. He can return it if he wants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqJ2d_mSDPM

For DJ Gabzilla-

Cocteua Twins, start with “Heaven or Las Vegas”

Cold cave start with “Catacombs”

The replacements start with “bastards of young”

For Andy-

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Flume+Deluxe+Edition/9377955

I think Andy would enjoy this.

 Recommended tracks: “Stay Close”, “Holdin’ On”, “Change”, “Space Cadet”, “Sleepless”.

For John Gentile-

“Mystery Skulls – EP” While Mystery Skulls has a few songs on Spotify, their best material can be found on their EP, which is found on their bandcamp. Electronic in the sense that it has some funky, different beats, Mystery Skulls also has some alt rock blends in it that is all too reminiscent of a darker Passion Pit, especially with such humble beginnings. I’d recommend the EP above all else, which you can download for the cost of a dollar (or possibly less) online. A great band that deserves some play. Check them out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mSBjAcBQIg

For DJ Eric-

Hello. I don’t really know you well but I creeped your DJ playlists. I noticed you play a lot of current, popular mainstream indie rock music (Indie Rock 101, as I like to call it). I was going to recommend you lots of more obscure things to listen to, but I had no idea where to even begin. I did also notice that you haven’t really played anything that was released before the year 2000, save for one Elliot Smith song and one Echo & the Bunnymen song – so here is a short list of essential albums that came out in the 80s and 90s, and some RIYL’s based on artists you’ve played, for your xmas listening pleasure. Apologies if there’s any band on here that you’ve heard already, I’m recommending solely based what the wcdb.org archive tells me you’ve never played before.

Cocteau Twins- “Heaven or Las Vegas” (4AD, 1990). Tracks: “Iceblink Luck”, “Heaven or Las Vegas”, “Cherry-Coloured Funk”. RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

New Order – “Substance” (this is a singles / ‘greatest hits’ album) – (Factory Records, 1987). Tracks “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “Ceremony”, “Blue Monday” RIYL: Metric, (new) Arcade Fire, The Postal Service

The Pixies – Dootlittle (4AD, 1989). Tracks: “Debaser”, “Wave of Mutilation”, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” RIYL: Best Coast, Metric

Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand (Scat Records, 1994). Tracks: “I Am A Scientist”, “Tractor Rape Chain”, “Echos Myron” RIYL: Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse

Jawbreaker – “Dear You” (DGC Records, 1995). Tracks: “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault”, “Accident Prone” RIYL: Brand New, The Front Bottoms

For Luuk-

the band: White Denim

tracks: “At Night in Dreams”, “Pretty Green”, “Drug”

For Liv-

Artist: Alex Winston

First track I heard by her: “Sister Wife” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzObsfboaJ0)

Personal Favorite track off the album King Con: “Choice Notes” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNT_KGweANU)

And an awesome version of “Locomotive”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKt7hiE-xvc

Artist: Bear Hands

Listen to

1) Crime Pays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97W_mgA8Ytg)

2) What a Drag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtUrU5Csevk)

3) Tablasaurus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd6WUL111Po)

For Enzo-

Enzypeny,

Ho ho ho, bro. Santa recently got a better Internet connection at the North Pole, and he has been listening to your show every week! Santa likes your show, and noticed that you’re into a lot of British stuff. Well, Santa also has a major hard on for British music, so here are three different artist recommendations… From me! F***ING SANTA!

1. The Young Knives.

The album Voices of Animals and Men is one of the absolute best albums to come out of England. It’s not as popular because it came out in 2006, when bands like the Futureheads, the Enemy, and the Babyshambles had already captivated the British folks. Santa argues however that this is a quintessential album that perfectly embodies the British music scene from 2004-2008.

Stand outs on the album are

- “Another Hollow Line”: a great sentimental song about how all women are just a waste of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LPEqD_18fE

- “She’s Attracted To”: a song about meeting your girlfriend’s shitty parents.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fulTIh3toMQ

- “Here Comes the Rumour Mill”: a song about how rumours (yes, santa is purposely using the British spelling) are annoying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDX_–a9XDI

After this album the Young Knives inexplicably lost a lot of their spunk. It’s a damn shame.

2. Art Brut

Very similar style to the Young Knives. This is another band that never really lived up to the expectations after their first album (even though their later releases are still very good). They have a fun, ‘cheeky’ style, and the lyrics are very enjoyable. Pitchfork praised these guys as the second coming of Christ in 2004 when they released Bang Bang Rock & Roll, and that album still holds up today. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Standout tracks by Art Brut are:

- “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”: “I CAN’T STAND THE SOUND OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND”. A great energetic and satirical song about the state of rock and roll.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wFXhxhZxKY

- “Emily Kane”: a fun song about that one girl that got away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvA0UBesfbY

- “People in Love”: this is Santa’s favorite breakup song of all time. Off Art Brut’s second album It’s a Bit Complicated this song has a very refreshing and pragmatic take on break ups. Listen to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBxu939PoVI

3. The 1990s

Another fun little band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, this time from the year 2007. The 1990s are notoriously hard to google, and the lead singer is quite… Ugly. However, their debut album Cookies is a masterpiece filled with upbeat songs and lots of references to drugs. Santa believes that the 1990s are also very under appreciated.

Standout tracks:

- “You’re Supposed to Be My Friend”: Have you ever had that one annoying friend, who’s a notorious flake and never hangs out with you? This song is about that guy/girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh4Y3MW1jwI

- “See You at the Lights”: this song will instantaneously make you sing along. It’s catchy, it’s happy, it’s just an all around good time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EURfmrWJcPY

- “Cult Status”: I won’t ruin the surprise, but around the 3 minute mark you will probably laugh very hard. It’s also musically a solid little symphony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc2lnf25eSo

Hopefully you enjoyed reading all this! Santa rather enjoyed writing it, as he takes any opportunity to ramble endlessly about British rock, while making lots of sweeping generalizations! Anyway….

MEEEEEERRRRYYYYYY CHRIIIIISMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

For Robby Red-

Roses are red,

And so is Robby.

That is all that matters.

Merry Christmas fgt.

CRMNL HYGNE LP by Criminal Hygiene.

Its a free download at: http://criminalhygiene.bandcamp.com/album/crmnl-hygne-lp-2

I recommend the tracks “Rearrange”, “Blak Water”, “Dirty Knees”, “Summertime in October”, “Alan I’m in Love”, and “Andrew’s Song”.

For Zsa Zsa Couture-

Jets to Brazil- Perfecting Loneliness

For Cassie-

Based on your radio show, I feel like you like (maybe funky) electronic-influenced indie music. My first recommendation for you is one of my favorite acts – Blood Orange. They have a new album (2013) but their older stuff is gold. I recommend the song “Sutphin Boulevard.” Also, on the off-chance that you are familiar with them (him) already, I highly recommend Cold Cave. It doesn’t seem exactly like your cup of tea but I can see you digging them – try the song “Catacombs.”

For Nicole-

Heavens – Patent Pending

For FatMan-

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Kidnap Kid, and C2C

For Mike-

To Campana,

You are like Yoda while I am Jabba the Hut. What celestial sounds could I possibly grace your ears with? You are so all knowing while I am a fat trapezoid. I can’t help but think that you have most musical gift so I thought long and hard (~20min) to find some artists that might suit your fat suit. So, here are a few gifts that I managed to secrete from my oozy crevices:

-Bohan Pheonix – http://bohanphoenix.com/

-Chewing on Tinfoil – http://chewingontinfoil.bandcamp.com/

-Calls – http://calls.bandcamp.com/album/booster-pack

-Dark Horse – http://www.darkhorsesmusic.com/

-Whitehorse – http://www.last.fm/music/Whitehorse/The+Fate+of+the+World+Depends+on+This+Kiss

-dEUS – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9OILKwaFNA

They are not in any particular order. Enjoy or eat coal.

~Santa

For DJ Hillary Clinton-

First off I’ll say Sleater-Kinney since you haven’t played them yet this year and they’re a classic all-female punk rock band; suggested tracks: “One More Hour”, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone”, “Turn It On”
Next I’d say Dinosaur Jr. since they fit the description of guitar-dominated rock very well and helped to define the alternative rock scene; suggested tracks: “Freak Scene”, “Kracked”, “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”

More of a shot in the dark to give something more current: Dananananaykroyd. They’re an inconsistent listen and they’ve already packed it up after releasing two albums, but they have some awesome singles mixed in; suggested tracks: “Infinity Milk”, “Black Wax”, “Song One Puzzle”

And for the sake of a change of pace, early Black Keys. Pre-Brothers they were one of the best modern blues-rock bands you could find; suggested tracks: “Meet Me in the City”, “Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be”, “She Said, She Said (Beatles Cover)”

For Nora-

For Nora the nicest grimey lady I know.

The Art of Sleeping – Shoulders

Thelma Plum – Rosie EP; “Around Here”, “Father Said”

Loon Lake – Gloamer; “Carolina”, “Cherry Lip”

Tapes N’ Tapes – Outside; “Badaboom”

Bored Nothing -Bored Nothing; “Popcorn”

The Rubens- The Rubens; “Lay It Down”,”Don’t Ever Want To Be Found”

Have an amazing time in Pana gurllll

Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

The Governor’s Ball music festival is taking place this weekend, and I am super excited for this. The festival boasts a consistent and impressive lineup that features some of the top artists from alternative music, hip-hop and EDM, with ticket holders having to choose between two artists for each time slot. Fortunately I’m familiar with a decent amount of the artists playing at this festival, and in this post I’ll let you know which artist I’m going to try to see during each time slot this weekend and why.

Friday

12:15-12:45: Swear and Shake vs. Pacific Air

Pacific Air is brothers playing indie pop. They’re a relaxing listen and well-traveled as they’ve opened for high profile acts before like Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club. Swear and Shake seems like it’d be a fun show as well but they’re more folky and seemingly conventional, so I’m planning on starting the festival with Pacific Air.

12:45-1:30 Solid Gold vs. Bear Mountain

We got Solid Gold’s 2012 release Eat Your Young at CDB last year and it wasn’t anything special, I’d say it’s alternative rock with a lot of electronic qualities mixed in to it, again more relaxing than danceable. I hadn’t heard of Bear Mountain before this year’s lineup, but their music seems like it would lead to a better live show then what I’ve heard from Solid Gold, Bear Mountain’s sound is more danceable and upbeat electronic so it should be a fun set to attend.

1:30-2:15 St. Lucia vs. Reignwolf

St. Lucia will put on a good electronic pop show, but my interest is in seeing what Reignwolf does during this time slot. He’s a multi-instrumentalist who seems like he’d put on a sick show, check out the video below where “Bicycle” sounds White Stripes-esque with him covering both Jack and Meg’s parts. This guy’s going to be a hit at governor’s ball for sure.

2:15-3:00 Polica vs. The Knocks

Electronic rock/R&B vs. Electronic Pop. I’m not overly excited about Polica, so The Knocks seem like a safer bet for enjoying the set but either way I don’t view this as a decision you can mess up, the options are pretty similar.

3:00-3:45 Dinosaur Jr. vs. Holy Ghost!

I’d be psyched to see Holy Ghost! over either of the past two artists, but in this slot there’s no way I can see them. I’m an alt-rock kid, and Dinosaur Jr. is one of the bands that defined that genre in the 90s, making the fact that they still release awesome albums like last year’s I Bet on Sky even more impressive. I have to go with the classic artist in this spot to get my fill of actual alternative rock.

3:45-4:45 Best Coast vs. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs

I might regret this and be stuck watching a girl on stage sing to me about how great California is, basically the only premise of 2012 release The Only Place, but I’m going to gamble we get the distorted energetic Crazy For You tracks that would make the set amazing. If you were completely off-put by her last release, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs won’t be a bad consolation prize.

4:45-5:45 Of Monsters and Men vs. Dillon Francis

I saw Of Monsters and Men perform last year in Albany and they put on a good show, but I’m a bit bored of their sound now(and the mini-genre as a whole to be honest). I’m not overly into EDM but my friends who are recommended this artist, so I’m going to go with a new experience here rather than attending a show where I know I’ll be indifferent about the band.

5:45-6:45 Crystal Castles vs. Local Natives

This is another big contrast in sound between the artists, so I’d say it depends on your mood. Crystal Castles will definitely be more upbeat and danceable, and apparently she’s very good live, but I’m probably going to give Local Natives a shot here as I find their music easy to enjoy.

6:45-8:00 Feist vs. Young the Giant

This one is based entirely upon the Broken Social Scene rumor if nothing else. BSS is booked in the city to do a late-night gig on Thursday night, and a rumor is going around that Feist’s label mates might help end the BSS hiatus by doing a collaborative set or maybe even taking the stage for their own set after Feist. If it happens it would be probably the most notable story from the festival.

8:00-9:30 Beach House vs. Erykah Badu & the Cannabinoids

I feel like I’m making a mistake on this one so don’t let me sway you away from Erykah Badu, but I loved Beach House’s 2012 release Bloom and am hopeful that they put on the most relaxing show ever performed for their set. Can’t pick wrong between these artists though as they’ll both put on great shows.

9:30-11:00 Kings of Leon vs. Pretty Lights

Finally the headliners, neither of which I’m overly enthusiastic about unfortunately. I’m going to go with the same mentality I had for Dillon Francis in giving the artist who I know less about the shot here. I enjoy some Kings of Leon songs, but Pretty Lights seems like a more fun way to enjoy the end of the first day to me as I’ve heard good things about their live shows.

Continue reading Kyle’s Governor’s Ball Preview

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.


Continue reading DJ Survey: What’s Your Favorite Long Song?