Beards. This is the post you never knew you wanted, dedicated to beards. Here are twenty of our favorite bearded bands you should be listening to, in order from ‘that’s some nice facial hair’ to ‘can I marry your beard.’
The Smiths formed in 1982 fronted by their lead vocalist Morrissey, who before the formation of the Smiths fronted a project named The Nosebleeds for a short period of time. The rest of the Smiths lineup consisted of drummer Mike Joyce, guitarist Johnny Marr, and bassist Andy Rourke. With this lineup The Smiths went on to compose four studio albums in addition to many singles, and The Smiths became a surprise success story. Morrissey describes himself at this stage of his life by saying:
I never had a social life, I never left the house, I just simply sat in and read and watched television, and done all the things that in life are generally considered to be quite negative and quite soul-destroying. The only way that I could find any mental realisation was to simply go out and walk, and to walk around these streets. Which can seem quite depressing to most people and seem quite laughable simplistic. But for me it was perfect fuel, because then I would go home and I would write furiously. And I found that for me it was brilliant, it was the thing that helped, but also you have to have a grain of hope which is a very difficult thing to have.” (source)
That hope gave rise to the fame which The Smiths would later go on to achieve, first releasing a few singles before going on to release their albums with the first of which being “Hand in Glove” which received a fair amount of praise upon its release.
The Smiths released their first album titled The Smiths in 1984, and backlash followed the release due to several songs touching upon the subject of the Moor murders. The Moor murders took place over a few years and ended with five children being murdered, and when one of the victim’s grandfather happened to hear one of these tracks chaos ensued. However, once the grandfather was able to meet Morrissey the conflict was able to be smoothed over fortunately.
“Over the moor, take me to the moor/ Dig a shallow grave / And I’ll lay me down / Lesley-Anne, with your pretty white beads / Oh John, you’ll never be a man/ And you’ll never see your home again/ Oh Manchester, so much to answer for/ Edward, see those alluring lights?/ Tonight will be your very last night”- The Smiths- “Suffer Little Children”
In the following year of 1985, The Smiths went on to release their second album titled Meat is Murder. The opening lines of the first track “The Headmaster Ritual” sparked controversy once again for The Smiths as Morrissey sings “Belligerent ghouls run Manchester schools”. In an interview after the album was released Morrissey discussed his problems with Manchester education by saying, “they’re there to be attacked really if they’re not really serving their pupils well” (source). The first track was just the beginning of the controversies which would become presented in the album as The Smiths used Meat is Murder in many ways to spread their political and social messages to the public. For instance, Morrissey, an animal activist and vegetarian, proudly declares “And the calf that you carve with a smile/ Is MURDER/ And the turkey you festively slice/ Is MURDER” on the album’s title track. The album also went on to challenge the English monarchy, and this topic along with animal rights activism are still major issues which Morrissey remains very opinionated on
1986 would prove to be a big year for The Smiths as they had another new album out, The Queen is Dead, and a change in members. Rourke left The Smiths due to drug use and was replaced by Craig Gannon, however this would prove to be a temporary change as Rourke soon rejoined The Smiths and Gannon would switch to guitar, and the group had also changed record labels from Rough Trade to EMI. The Smiths didn’t switch labels before leaving Rough Trade with a clear message however, as they sang “Frankly, Mr. Shankly, this position I’ve held / It pays my way, and it corrodes my soul/ I want to leave, you will not miss me / I want to go down in musical history” on their track “Frankly, Mr. Shankly”. The Smiths included a few tracks within The Queen is Dead which slandered their old label, and the new album peaked at number two on the UK albums chart.
Unfortunately though it appeared that the end of The Smiths was coming, as in 1987 The Smiths continued to release singles including “The World Won’t Listen” which showed that Morrissey was growing listless at the rest of the world’s indifference to The Smiths’ messages. Morrissey and Marr had an ongoing riff about clashing musical styles which lead Marr to leave The Smiths and attempts to replace Marr proved unsuccessful, meaning that The Smiths were essentially over. Strangeways, Here We Come was released the September after the band had gone their separate ways, and the album peaked at number fifty five on the US chart and number two on the UK albums chart before going platinum in the UK.
The Smiths music remains popular, and despite rumors there has been no reunion yet and it’s unlikely that there will be one in the near future. They’ve left their influence on the music scene undoubtedly though and are one of the most played artists in the history WCDB.
Our blog is still eyeing progression, but one of the primary goals of the year has just been accomplished. 2013 is officially the most viewed year that Airwaves, WCDB Albany’s official blog, has ever had, and we haven’t even entered December yet! Stay tuned in the upcoming months in order to see
The finale of Kyle’s Favorite 100 songs countdown. Expected Arrival: Sunday
The End-of-the-Year lists our DJs come up with. Expected Arrival: Early-Mid December
WCDB’s congregate Album of the Year list. Expected Arrival: Late December
A special, and eagerly awaited ‘Top 100 Alternative Songs’ from a more historical perspective, provided by my dad Thomas Ryan (author of American Hit Radio and host of radio show “American Hit Network”). Expected Arrival: January
There will also likely be the addition of more ‘Essential Albums’ posts under different parameters, more DJ surveys, more album reviews, and possibly a new segment to cover artist’s discographies from album to album. Thank you to all the readers for helping make this our best year so far, we’ll continue working hard to improve our product.
It doesn’t take a genius to know that the internet and mobile technology is changing the media industry as we know it. The ease of broadcasting anything on the internet without having to deal with problems like buying high-tech broadcasting equipment, a limited signal, and FCC regulations makes an actual radio station, comparatively speaking, a hassle to operate. In addition, the mere fact that streaming can be done through smartphones only increases the ability to listen to the station anywhere where there’s a cell tower, without the worry of hearing static and leaving the station’s transmission range.
So given these two realities, why do we continue to broadcast the old fashioned way on the frequency 90.9 FM?
As a news personality at the radio station for little more than two years, and as an avid radio listener for much of my young life, this question in one form or another has pondered me. WCDB for instance has a website in which practically anyone with an internet connection can listen to broadcasts online that are of better quality than over the air through an analog radio. In fact many college radio stations, including the one at the College of St. Rose, do all their broadcasts over the internet.
It seems given the massive technological advances I’ve seen at least during the past decade (not to mention many of the regulations governing over-the-air broadcasts) that radio ought to be as dead as a Dodo. But, practicality and efficiency doesn’t always make right (at least in this blogger’s eyes). Here are some reasons why I think WCDB 90.9FM – still serves a useful purpose.
1) Not everybody has access to the internet:
Although it seems implausible, the reality is that there are a significant chunk of households without internet (about 1 in 5 to be exact). For those people without access to the internet, it wouldn’t be fair for WCDB to abandon those people. Especially considering the fact that we’re one of the few non-commercial entertainment outlets in this area, and part of even fewer number of non-commercial alternative outlets.
2) Many people still listen to the radio in their cars:
While cars are just now beginning to add outlets for portable devices such as MP3s, I-Pods, and other streaming devices; the vast majority of cars have radios as the sole means of entertainment. So for the out-of-tower that might be passing through the Capital District, they might be able to tune into our station and get a taste of what some of the creative minds here at WCDB have to offer.
3) Real-World Training in Radio
WCDB, just like any other commercial radio station, has to deal with malfunctions, regulations, financial managements, etc. Therefore, probably the most important contribution this station has to offer is the training in the many aspects of running a radio station to the students and community members that work here. Despite the quality alternative entertainment that WCDB might offer to the Capital District, we provide the training ground for the DJs and broadcasters of tomorrow. And in order to provide real-world, quality training (in my opinion of course) a functioning, over-the-air radio station is crucial.
But, what do I know? I’m just a blogger here. Do you guys have any thoughts on this? Share them in this poll.
WCDB is holding a General Interest Meeting to find new DJs today, Wednesday, September 25, at 7:15 PM. The meeting will take place at EDU 021 which is in the basement of the Education building at SUNY Albany, and after a short meeting there we will relocate to our studio on the third floor of the campus center. Join us if you’ve got a love for sports, news, or alternative music within any genre, and you should be able to find your home at WCDB Albany, The Capital District’s Best Radio Station.
If you’re interested in joining, and can’t come to our General Interest Meeting email our training directors Luuk Visser and Ted Cost at email@example.com.
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!
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”:
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.
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++++++)
Everyone keep an eye out for us today, we’ll be tabling outside the campus center at the small fountain from 10 AM-4 PM trying to find some future DJs! If you’re into Alternative Music within any genre or would like to get involved with our Sports or News department, stop by and introduce yourself to our current DJs.
This is especially true if you’re going to be in the Albany area over the summer and have interest in hosting your own radio show, because we’re determined to get good programming out to our listeners during summer break!