Sunday, December 11, 2011

Seasonally Appropriate

As 2011 winds down, you may be taking a moment or more in the next couple of weeks to reflect on all the great music you heard this year. Remember James Blake's debut LP? That was in January! Everything since then has all been this year! Many, many great albums and singles were released in 2011. I've never tried to compile a list of favorite songs from a year before, but I decided to do a two-week special highlighting my top 50 songs of the year on my radio show this January. Making that list turned out to be a lot harder than I'd expected -- firstly, because I couldn't believe that songs I was really into by solid artists such as Lykke Li, Blouse, Radiohead, the Rapture, Tennis, Dirty Beaches, and Panda Bear didn't make the cut; secondly, because qualitatively ranking songs turned out to be really hard. How is any music fan supposed to reconcile that music which falls nearer to being "high art" with music that's satisfying because it's just dumbly glorious pop? In others words, do I really like Colin Stetson more than Beyonce? Or the other way around? Why -- and how can I justify that? Then I remembered reading, a little over a year ago, this essay by Mark Richardson, and I reread it, and realized that such dilemmas just plain don't matter. If you, too, have anxiety about compiling a year-end list, or if you enjoy perceptive writing about pop music, you may find it of interest. It's also very concerned with the meaning of sharing music you love, which ideally any DJ with a music show is doing at least once a week (on his/her radio show, get it?), so it's probably of interest to everyone who might for some reason be reading this blog.

Speaking of the art/pop dichotomy that may or may not exist, you may also want to read this excellent review of Fuck Death, the new album from Frog Eyes/Swan Lake frontman Carey Mercer's side project Blackout Beach, by Cokemachineglow's Conrad Amenta. It's extremely well-written and contains some important thoughts that pertain to the practice of music criticism in general, not just to the record at hand (which is amazing -- listen to one of the best songs here). It makes for an interesting pairing with the same website's review of Drake's newest full-length, Thank Me Later.

Lastly, on the subject of year-end lists, here's an unusual one for 2010, from I Was Young When I Left Home, a strange and beautiful (aesthetically, poetically, sentimentally) little music blog whose posts are rare but often deeply gratifying to read. If you're working on a "Best of 2011" list of your own, perhaps it will provide inspiration for a new way to go about an old project.

Best of luck with Finals Week!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

MONDEGREEN: New issue out now!

Hey DJs and WRMC blog enthusiasts!

The brand-new Fall 2011 issue of MONDEGREEN, Middlebury College's very own music and culture magazine, hit the stands (?) today! You can find stacks of Mondegreens in strategic locations all over campus. Take one, read it cover to cover multiple times, tell all your friends how great it is, and then lend it out, bring it back for another to enjoy, or covet it for its interesting contents and gorgeous binding until it's worn to tatters. This issue features: interviews with Chamberlin and Apollo Run; reviews of new albums by current WRMC rotation favorites such as M83 and Real Estate; a helpful map; pretty pictures; essays on subjects you care about like teen angst and censorship; Eminem's face; and Goat Pack. Don't miss it!


a word or phrase resulting from a misinterpretation of a word or phrase that has been heard.
Compare eggcorn.
See also malapropism.

1954; coined by Sylvia Wright, U.S. writer, from the line laid him on the green, interpreted as Lady Mondegreen, in a Scottish ballad

Interested in contributing to Mondegreen? We accept writing of all kinds about music and popular culture, as well as 2D visual art. OR are you interested in helping out with the publication process next semester? In either case, email the editorial staff at!

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Future Is Not What It Used To Be

Once simply a (frighteningly addictive) anonymous mix exchange, Tiny Mix Tapes is now one of the foremost online publications about independent music and popular culture currently running. Its contributors' broad-ranging tastes run more toward the experimental and esoteric; this, as well as their seriously well-read, probably college-educated (hey!) backgrounds in philosophy, sociology, and literary theory (references to thinkers from Freud to Foucault abound in their reviews), set TMT writers apart from their colleagues at other major online music publications. TMT can be counted on to remember, when other music publications do not, that true cultural criticism is a serious intellectual endeavor, not -- as their review of Lars von Trier's new film Melancholia argues -- the "simple criticizing" of a cultural text, despite the apparent kinship between the two concepts.

I bring this up now because, as it happens, TMT contributor Jonathan Dean has just published an incredibly intelligent, perceptive, and rather bleak essay on TMT entitled "2011: Dispatches From the Pop Museum: The Future Is Not What It Used To Be." The essay sharply assesses the state of contemporary popular music/culture -- and if you're not a regular TMT reader, take note of how much more substantiated its criticisms are than those of essays posted on more popular, less theoretically well-versed music sites such as Pitchfork. "The Future Is Not What It Used To Be" follows in the wake of preeminent British pop music historian Simon Reynold's excellent new book Retromania as an academically credible work unenthused by pop culture's recent obsession with nostalgic reenactment of itself. If cultural theory interests you -- and if you play pop music on the radio, it probably should at least a little! -- I recommend Reynolds' book. It'd be a good pick if you've got time over the upcoming break...but in the meantime, please check out Dean's truly wonderful essay (note: I am not proposing that these two works make the same points) here.

PS. And here's Pitchfork (I know I just kinda said they're intellectually inferior writers who pander to the masses but whatever) editor-in-chief Mark Richardson's interview with Simon Reynolds about his book Retromania: Pop Culture's Addiction to Its Own Past. AND here's a now-notorious anti-chillwave article by Wire journalist David Keenan that deals with similar themes and was one of the most talked-about pieces of music criticism during the summer of 2009, when what Keenan calls "hypnagogic pop" was initially in ascendancy -- featuring, among other things, a few words from Zola Jesus' Nika Roza Danilova, which is reason enough to read anything! Although, really, Keenan is a distressingly reactionary critic unwilling to grasp the pervasive postmodern logic described by Dean, and Reynolds' book does little except clarify a very interesting but ultimately obvious just read the Dean essay! It's great, I prooomise. It's only three pages. That's a mere fifth of the length of the paper I should be but am not writing right now! So short!

Bon Iver's Video Epic

Last week, Bon Iver released the deluxe edition of their 2011 self-titled album, featuring 10 videos corresponding to each track on the cd.  Bon Iver's official website described the videos as "the comprehensive vision for the record captured in moving picture.  The visual works both complement and enrich the audio on the album...while not music videos per se, these visual accompaniments are striking in their distinctive atmosphere, and compelling works in their own right."  Each video features stunning cinematography done by various artists, including Bon Iver's own Justin Vernon, who brings a whole new dimension to one of this year's best albums.  Check out the video for "Holocene" below, and head to Bon Iver's official YouTube page to see them all.  -Diane Martin

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Pet Radio

You might not realize it, but you could be broadcasting to more than just people. Recently Uzoo, the #1 source for animal videos, released a clip about DogCatRadio, a radio station for pets. It's been around for a few years now, though its current status remains a little ambiguous. I'm thinking this will provide some inspiration as we start thinking about programming for the spring. Watch the video here.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Music Video: YACHT "I Walked Alone"

The new YACHT seems to at first to be a mere epileptic fit, but it quickly evolves into something much more. The video is supposed to convey a sense of community, and for that there are many circular camera pans that create a sense of gathering around a central figure--YACHT's newest song. By starting the video with a vast and empty landscape, YACHT contrasts the end nicely with the stark colors and enclosed spaces that characterize the latter half. This is definitely worth five minutes of your time. -Steph Roush

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So Organic: A Show Profile of "Bitter Gourd," WRMC's One and Only Botanical Talk Show

Bitter Gourd is Anjali Merchant and Carly Shumaker’s talk/music show about plants.

It’s on on Saturdays from 10-11 am.

This is its first semester on air.

Anjali and Carly describe Bitter Gourd as a “botanical talk show interspersed with college rock music.” It is perhaps the only show of this kind on radio anywhere. I set out to find out how it came into existence. Here you have it.

Discussed: anthropomorphized plant friends, opposite vs. alternate tree branching, the favorite musical genres of plants, the true value of organic beginnings...

WRMC: Ok so, why plants?

CARLY: One year when I was a kid a pumpkin plant unexpectedly grew in my garden. And I decided it was going to be like my child, my plant child. I loved this pumpkin plant. And she grew up and her name was Henrietta and I took care of my pumpkin plant. And then I believe I went away for a little and when I came home Henrietta was dead. And I was so upset. And then from that moment on I just loved plants.

C: Anjali how did you get interested in plants?

ANJALI: Sam Safran, Abigail Borah and I had to do a research project last semester and we chose to do it on invasive species. So we went up to Breadloaf and we were walking around a power line that ran through a forest and there was a small sapling growing in a clearing near the power line and it was the most symmetrical tree I have ever seen. It was opposite- you can either have opposite branching (A, below) or alternate branching (B). It was opposite all the way up. We spent like an hour admiring this sapling. We took a lot of pictures. We didn’t know what kind it was. We found out it was an ash sapling, and that was the moment when I knew I wanted to study trees and plants. I wish you guys could see it.

W: Anjali you’re a bio major, right?

A: Yeah. I take a lot of plant classes.

W: Is there a specific area within plants that you’re interested in?

A: After volunteering at the organic garden, I’m interested in the how biology interacts with food. Food is such a crucial part of our lives and so much is governed by biology. I’m really interested in that.

W: So how did you decide that you want to have a plant show? I mean, you guys are both interested in plants but lots of people have interests that they don’t end up making talk shows about. Why a plant talk show?

C: It was so organic…

A: I worked in the [Middlebury organic] garden this summer.

C: Anjali and I were friends before, but I wouldn’t say we were good friends and then she showed up to Middlebury the last three weeks of summer and started volunteering in the garden every day with me and we worked together and bonded over our love of plants.

W: So you have this deep connection where like…plants connect you.

C: So organic, right?

W: So who suggested a plant talk show? Was it a joke at first?

A: No…

C: No…

W: Does the music relate to the talk?

A: It’s the kind of music you would want to play to your developing plant.

C: A combination of classical and heavy metal does the best. That’s true. Anjali did a study on it.

A: We did this project where we grew plants in the green house. There were four treatments: one of them was a Mozart treatment in which the plants listened to Mozart continuously, one was a metal treatment, in which plants listened to metal continuously, one was a Mozart and metal treatment in which plants listened to Mozart for six hours and then metal for six hours, and one was a no-music treatment. And the plants in the metal and Mozart treatment grew significantly higher than the plants in all the other treatments.

W: So that was your first coming together of music and plants.

A: The first time when my passions collided I’d say.

C: Also cows benefit from music…

M: What kind of response do you get to the show? Is there anyone that’s ever like “I really have been wondering that about soybeans for so long!”

C: Martin Sweeney said he learned more in one radio show in one hour than he learned all week.

A: As a kid you’re really only interested in animals because they’re moving and you can anthropomorphize them, where as with plants that’s a lot harder to do. So there’s not a whole lot of interest in plants I guess unless you’re really into the environment. So we just wanted to make plants more accessible– accessible and exciting.

C: Plants are awesome…

A: A lot of our inspiration comes from my plant bio class.

C: And a lot of it also comes from our summer at the garden.

W: So the show kind of grew out of this academic interest in plants, and then both of your love for plants, and then your bond over plants and that all came together to be Bitter Gourd.

C: It all came together and this is the pinnacle…

W: And you can hear it every Saturday at 10.

(From left to right: Carly Shumaker, some girl, Anjali Merchant)

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Late, but...

...Here's an informative New York Times article about the changing shape of college radio in our increasingly digital era. (Thanks, Mom!) It includes a little college radio history, some bleak prospects, and the definition of shoegaze. A worthwhile read to catch up on the state of things and understand the pressures that we're up against.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music Videos Recap: 11/15/11

There were some dope music videos released today.  First, WU LYF (World Unite Lucifer Youth Foundation) dropped a video for the standout track "We Bros" off of their stellar LP, Go Tell Fire to the Mountain.  It features teens running away from a decrepit cityscape, through a forbidden forest, eventually making their way to an ocean.  Additionally, The Black Lips released their video for "Raw Meat" off of their latest, Arabia Mountain.  They pay corrupt NYC cops riding around, causing havoc.  Both videos are embedded below:

Black Lips - "Raw Meat" from Urban Outfitters on Vimeo.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Interview: The Milkman's Union

A couple weeks ago two great bands came to Middlebury for a fun show in the Hepburn Zoo. One of these bands, The Milkman's Union, spent some time with yours truly shooting the breeze about their awesome name, Maine lobsters, east vs. west side, and how to skin a cat. Ok, not that last one. They also played an acoustic version of their song "The Dog with the One Red Ear," which includes Jeff drumming on a piece of styrofoam. No joke, it's amazing.

The interview will air in it's entirety

Thursday 11.10 @ 4pm
during BedRock with Peter DiPrinzio.

Don't miss it - but we may post it here after it airs! In the meantime, check out their new single: Texas Hold Me ft. Lady Lamb the Beekeper

Stream Los Campesinos! "Hello Sadness"

Right now you can head over to NPR's webpage to stream Los Campesinos! latest LP, entitled Hello Sadness, in its entirety.  The 40 minute album finds the band in the same snarky mindset of their previous three efforts.  While it may lack the more abrasive, harsh sounds of 2008's Hold On Now, Youngster, this decisively more polished effort finds the band maturing and graduating from their LiveJournal-esque rants to a more melodic, catchy effect.  Head over to NPR's site HERE to stream Hello Sadness.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Photos: Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps

In case you missed it last Friday, here are some pictures from the set in the Hepburn Zoo.  Shout out to all the bands that played: Caroline Smith & The Goodnight Sleeps, The Milkman's Union, and Middlebury's very own Alpenglow.  It was a fantastic show filled to the brim with great folk music.

Check out the rest of the pitures at WRMC's Flickr: HERE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Music Video: Beyoncé - Party feat. J. Cole

What does Beyoncé like to do at a party?  Apparently mow the lawn, wear yellow fur coats, and change her hairstyle about a dozen times.  Solid.  Check out the embedded music video below:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Show Profile: Second Hand Groove Machine

DJs: Erik Benepe 13.5, Jebb Norton 13.5
Time: Monday 1:30-3:00am
Semesters on air: Three

Discussed: Mysterious text messages, Abraham Lincoln, Orc blood, Parlament Funkadelic’s influence on De La Soul.

WRMC: Your show is on late at night, what’s the strangest call you have received while on the air?
Jebb Norton: Erik’s brother’s really weird.  He’s done some weird stuff.
Eric Benepe: Once, a long time ago, I was with my brother and I got a text from a number I didn’t recognize.  There were no words; it was just a picture of somebody’s eye.  Then, last year, he called me when I was at the station and used one of those online voice modifiers and was like, “Hello, I sent you a picture of my eye a few years ago.”  I was pretty freaked out.

WRMC: Are you guys proud of any certain segments in your show’s history?
JN: We were covering your show (“Nixxon.OK”—Fall 2010) at eight o’clock on a Friday night and we decided to download a bunch of speeches from various people and eras, and then we did an all instrumental set with a lot of hip-hop beats, and then we played the speeches over it.  And that’s kind of, since then, become a staple.  Something that we’ve done a decent amount is, like, speeches or movie quotes and clips—all played over beats.  And a lot of times it’s cool because you can play contrasting music.  For example, you could do, uh, Abraham Lincoln’s speech over Bob Marley.  And then it seems like the speech and the music are synced up a lot of the time.
EB: I think it works well because speeches already have a certain rhythm to them, and they have a lot of space and clear diction, which works really well.
WRMC: Like, on Kanye’s latest album he has Gil Scott-Heron speaking over a bunch of his beats, so I guess that’s kind of a thing now.
JN: Yeah, he consulted us on that… He called up and asked if we would help him.
EB: I forgot to mention he’s one of the random callers we get.

WRMC: Can you give me five nouns that accurately describe your show?
JN: Cactus and grapefruit.
EB: Yeah, and Pyramid, The Joy of Cooking, and Orc Blood, for sure.

WRMC: What has been your favorite album of the past year?
JN: The Wild Hunt by The Tallest Man on Earth
EB: LCD Soundsystem’s This Is Happening

WRMC: Do you guys have a favorite older record?
EB: Electric Ladyland is up there, Jimi Hendrix.
JN: I got Paul Simon’s Graceland.
WRMC: And you guys, on your show, play a mixture of older stuff and newer stuff, right?
JN: Yeah, it’s cool when you can play someone that was active in the ‘60s and ‘70s then right after that someone modern.
EB: It’s nice to see a connection like that.  You can, for example, that this song by Parliament Funkadelic then follow it up with De La Soul or, like, some rapper who samples them, you know?

WRMC: Do you remember the first record you ever owned?
EB: Americana by The Offspring
JN: Hell yeah, that was one of mine too.  That and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket by Blink-182.
EB: Also, White Blood Cells by the White Stripes, that was great in middle school.
JN: Shaggy, for sure.

WRMC: Do you guys have a favorite song of all time?
EB: I’m gonna go with “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix.
JN: I’ll say “Fireworks” by Animal Collective.

WRMC: What’s one band every WRMC DJ should know and play?
EB: Television. Word, they’re dope.

WRMC: Dubstep: friend or foe?
JN: Um, friend.  I don’t think we’ve every played it on the show, though.
EB: Friend for the first five minutes, then it’s dubious.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Radio on Radio: Virgin Mobile Live

Who wants a radio station that plays new music, doesn’t repeat songs all day, and has personality and character – that, in short, doesn’t SUCK? Well, WRMC, duh, but what about when we’re on break, like this upcoming long weekend?

Here at WRMC have some recommendations of other radio stations that we like almost as much as our own, and that’s why we’re going to be posting these live aural gems once by one in a series we like to call: Radio on Radio. Check back before each break this fall (Fall Break, Thanksgiving Break, and Winter Break) for tips on where to tune your ears while WRMC dj’s are too busy stuffing themselves with grandma’s Turducken to play any jams. First up: Virgin Mobile Live

Virgin Mobile Live

Honestly, I have no idea where Virgin Mobile Live came from, who listens to it, or why it exists. My best guess is that it is the world’s best airline radio station. It would be reason enough for me to fly Virgin for my next weekend in Paree.

Regardless, the music selection on VML speaks for itself. Here’s a random sample: Vetiver, Dirty Hands, The Drums, Reptar, Ludacris, Mayer Hawthorne, Florence and the Machine, Twin Shadow, Clubfeet, Kid Savant, Two Door Cinema Club, New Young Pony Club, Body Language, Jet.

It’s an incredible and sometimes eclectic mix of genres that trends towards upbeat and new music. They’re not afraid to play bands nobody’s heard of and sprinkle in classics to keep it interesting. If you can’t deal with jumps from rock classics, to the newest indie band, to a sweet hip-hop remix, it may not be for you. What you will get is a non-stop stream of quality tracks that keep you guessing and up-to date in new, non-top 40 music.

Then there’s Abby. The first time I listened to Abby Braden’s show between 12pm and 2pm weekdays, I thought it was a WRMC dj. Compared to bland top-40 djs that say the same crap err’ day, Abby keeps it fresh and picks her own set every day and posts it on her blog. She is smart, fun, and does great live in-studio interviews with bands almost every day. For the twitter-inclined, she also live-tweets the show, asks for requests, and responds to fans (like me, once!).  There’s also an encore broadcast of her show every night from 9pm-1am.

It’s too bad this isn’t broadcast over the airwaves, only online here: I’ll tune in while WRMC is run by the robots this weekend, and you should too.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Show Spotlight: Something to Talk About

Every Saturday morning I scramble out of bed at 11 and have a fantastic day.  This is, obviously, due to the fact that "Something to Talk About" is the best start to a Saturday morning I could ask for.  Hilarious banter, poignant cultural observations, and general tom-foolery is the status quo.  Peep the promo video, embedded below, to see for yourself.  "Something to Talk About" airs every Saturday from 11am to 12:30pm.


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Releases: 10/5/2011

Feist's fifth LP, Metals, was released on Tuesday.  After her fourth album, The Reminder, brought her mainstream media attention, Leslie Feist took a four year hiatus from writing music.  Now, she is back with a collection of songs that is not as pop-driven or immediately accessible at the now-infamous "1234," but instead a grittier, more hard-hitting sound that Pitchfork describes as [LINK] "a refreshing and slyly badass statement of artistic integrity."  KCRW recently recorded a live session with Feist featuring some of these new songs.  It will be released in its entirety on October 28, but for now check out the stripped down version of her single "The Circle Married the Line."

In other news, Zola Jesus also released a new album on Tuesday entitled "Conatus."  The best way to listen to this CD, which I have done many times since getting my hands on it approximately 36 hours ago, is to listen from start to finish without interruptions.  The raw emotion of the vocals set with the backdrop of intense synths and drums just isn't something that can be turned off halfway through.  Highlights include "Vessel," "Seekir," and "In Your Nature," but again...just listen to the LP in its entirety.  You won't regret it.  The official video for "Vessel" was also revealed on Tuesday and is being featured on the New York Times Style Magazine blog along with an interview.  Click here to check it out.

-Diane Martin

Monday, October 3, 2011

Stream Future Island's "On The Water."

Two posts back-to-back--way to be, NPR.  Future Islands, the Baltimore band who killed it at Sepomana 2010, will release their third LP, On The Water, October 11th.  More subdued than 2010's In Evening Air, the album makes full use of the Samuel Harring's melancholie lyrics and gravely vocals.  You can stream On The Water in its entirety at NPR's First Listen website.  Click here to listen.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Wilco Live: Merriweather Post Pavilion

As you should already know Wilco just released their album, The Whole Love.  A LP that finds the band squarely back in their Yenkee Hotel Foxtrot sonic realm, it features beautiful melodies and grating sounds that combine to form a delicate and complex soundscape.  NPR recently recorded Wilco performing a two hour set full of both new cuts and classics from as far back as 1995's A.M.  Obviously this recording is something special.  Click here to stream.

Art of Almost
I Might
Black Moon
I'm Trying to Break Your Heart
One Wing
Bull Black Nova
One Sunday Morning (Song for Jane Smiley's Boyfriend)
Impossible Germany
Born Alone
Handshake Drugs
Jesus, Etc.
It Dawned on Me
Box Full of Leters
Standing O
War on War
A Shot in the Arm
Via Chicago
Whole Love
36 Inches High
Heavy Metal Drummer
I'm the Man Who Loves You

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Leave Me Alone, Mom!

So, I guess I should start off this post with a disclosure: I'm good friends with two members of this band.  However, if I has stumbled upon their EP on my own, I would still be writing this post.  Based out of Oberlin College--Leave Me Alone, Mom brings a fresh face to the scene of "Surf Punk."  With tracks entitled "Beat Me Up" and "R.I.Pet" it's easy to get an image of their sound before even downloading it.  They are tough but with a hint of vulnerability.  Self-doubt runs through the album, giving it a feeling of self-loathing reminiscent of Weezer's Pinkerton.  Despite this, the album still hits hard due to it's fuzzed out guitars, mottled vocals, and aggressive drumming.

"Pool Boy,"a song featuring a Mrs. Robinson-esque suitor and a sexually inexperienced protagonist, is lofted by self-deprecating lyrics, "Please don't make me cry / I've only kissed one girl before," as a chorus adds the decisive, "She thought I was someone else."  This lack of esteem runs throughout the album; on "Creep by TLC," a woman is quoted as saying, "I'm trying to sleep so stop calling me now / And I try to leave when you're hanging around / And you're such a sleaze when I see you in town / So don't call me / I'm not your f****** girl."  Heavy stuff.

The EP is free at their bandcamp; stream and download below:


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New Releases: 9/13/2011

A post to keep y'all in the loop this Tuesday night: There have been some killer releases today.  St. Vincent released "Strange Mercy."  Her third effort, the LP is held down by singles "Surgeon" and "Cruel."  She has received numerous favorable reviews, including a "Best New Music" nod from Pitchfork.

Additionally, Neon Indian's sophomore LP, "Era Extraña" was released today.  Tracks to check out include "Polish Girl" and "Hex Girlfriend."  The just-released music video of the former is embedded below.  A collaboration between The Creator's Project (Vice and Intel) and director Tim Nackashi, it tells the story of "a futurist romance between a data-mining outcast and the woman he loves."

Finally, several notable music videos were unveiled today.  Scroll down to view Cut Copy's "Blink And You'll Miss A Revolution" and a director's cut of Das Racist's latest single "Michael Jackson."  The videos feature post-apocalyptic monkey-men and a Michael Jackson impersonator respectively. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Video: "Holocene"

Bon Iver's latest, self-titled LP is superb. Evoking strong emotions and visions, the layered tracks are serene yet jarring. The recently released music video for the single "Holocene" is beautiful. Consisting of only a young boy exploring the natural beauty of Iceland, each scene fits into the track like a puzzle piece. As the clip progresses, nature subtly changes: rocks grow, a stone turns into a bird, and ripples move strangely. This departure from reality creates a visual accompaniment to the off-putting, droning synthesizers that reach into and throughout the song. The video is worth a watch if only for the Planet Earth-esque scenery, let alone the fact that it's a Bon Iver video.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

summer programming

oh la la summer programming has begun!

Tune your car dials to 91.1 fm and your interweb to for some supreme beats hosted by your favourite deejays. Note that summer time at Middlebury also means language school (!!!), so be sure to expand your musical palette with some world music and/or improve your listening proficiencies with Spanish, Hebrew, Chinese, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, and Russian school throughout the week.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

WRVU and College Radio

WRVU out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville (which also broadcasted on 91.1) played its final tune last Tuesday--the station's license was sold by the Vanderbilt Student Communications organization to the local public radio station. Freddie O'Connel offers some good commentary on the station's end and the value of college radio in today's NYT.

There’s a false but widespread image of college radio as a pointless, narcissistic exercise — that it’s nothing more than a crew of campus oddballs who like playing D.J., even though no one is listening.

WRVU demonstrated how wrong that image is. Not only did it command respect and interest on campus, but, thanks to a longstanding and farsighted policy, it allowed and encouraged members of the off-campus community to volunteer as D.J.’s — and so drew on the rich cultural heritage of Music City U.S.A. as well.

My co-host and I shared the airwaves with Ken Berryhill, who calls himself the world’s oldest D.J. and played country classics; the encyclopedic Pete Wilson, who spun a mind-bending mix of old R&B, rock ’n’ roll and blues on his show “Nashville Jumps” (and had the sad honor of playing the last song on WRVU, Johnny Thunders’s “You Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory”); and countless college students, balancing their awkward moments of dead air with delightfully original musical sensibilities.

The result was a cornerstone of the local community. Students learned from veterans, townies got to know Vanderbilt and Nashvillians got access to a chunk of the public commons otherwise dominated by big business: the airwaves.

It's sad to see the plug pulled at another college (and community) radio station, but discussions on the issue like this piece help reiterate their special value. For what it brings to a campus, town, its broadcasters, and its listeners, I see the unique college radio format as explicitly irreplaceable.

Monday, June 6, 2011


Slow, hazy, and somewhat unremarkable, the first minute of "July" recalls the torpor of summer. Don't be put off, as the song rewards patience. With the gradual addition of a triangle, keyboard, guitar, and tambourine, the layers coalesce until the sharp crack of a drum at 2:50 brings the glory of summer suddenly into focus.

July by Youth Lagoon

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Not Dead: An Interview with Diego Russell, WRMC's 'Best Solo DJ of the Year'

Show name: Jammin' High
Is in it's: Sixth semester running
Genre: Jazz (one of the proud few on WRMC)

So I set out to see what Diego Russell, who was just awarded the title of WRMC's Best Solo DJ of the Year, could tell me about his show—the process behind creating it and its history—and that took us a few places, from his childhood sorting through his dad's CD collection to science fiction to his favorite trumpet players. When I walked into the studio Diego was advertising a fake lima bean festival going on in Middlebury on air, so I pretty much immediately counted on our half hour together being interesting, and it was. This is Jammin' High:

Discussed: Space Jazz, mail order pop compilations, the vitality of jazz in the modern age, BIO 145, and New Orleans jazz radio, among other things...

Me: Can you tell me a little bit about how you conceptualize or structure the show weekly?

Diego: Every week I'm just constantly gathering music. I'll be looking around and I'll find something that is new to me and I'll just start playing it. I'm a big fan of jazz and blues and funk and hip-hop and I'll pursue those genres.

One time I had this theme space jazz. There's a really good artist, Ornette Coleman, who does free jazz and he's really into space-themed songs. Sun Ra is another great and he has this album called The Heliocentric Worlds of Sun Ra. So those two guys got into space jazz. Also Herbie Hancock and his use of electronic music, that type of shit in the 80s, all that compiled into one show to become space-themed.

But I don't know, last week I was reading science fiction and I came across this opera that was based on a science fiction book by one of my favorite authors, Phillip K. Dick, and so I just started playing opera music, even traditional opera music, on my show. It's kind of spontaneous what my show's about for the most part, but I like it to have some kind of theme.

M: So do you see this as a jazz show or more just as your thing?

D: I predominately play jazz. But I don't think I can call it a jazz show anymore, but I wouldn't call it any other specific type of music either.

M: It's pretty rare to hear Jazz on college radio shows. (There's only one other Jazz show on WRMC). How did you get into the genre?

D: Mostly through my father's taste in music. A lot of the music I listen to comes from him. He's a fan of a lot of different kinds of music, but jazz kind of just took me. I've been listening to it since early high school and trying to kind of just accumulate as much jazz music as I can. What it means historically to musical development in this country I think is beautiful.

M: Did you start listening to a couple guys and kind of branch out from there? Or did you start listening mostly to the guys your dad listened to? I guess, where did your relationship with jazz start and how did it evolve?

D: I remember listening to Stanley Clark's album School Days really early on. I remember listening to Billie Cobham's Spectrum. I'll play a song from there called "Snoopy's Search." That's one of my earliest memories of weird music. I remember dancing to this when I was maybe eight or six. It has a really funny beginning that I would just freak out at and then it got into this really sick rhythm. The guy who wrote it is a drummer, it's just awesome. Hearing that on my dad's stereo system turned up really loud was really cool. [In the studio: fiddling with the aux cable, changing computers, some static, and then...]

M: When did you start discovering music on your own? And how?

D: Being at home alone, I had an older brother. My dad had a really large collection so we would just rove through that and play stuff. But also, I don't know if you remember this, but there used to be those ads in magazines like '21 CDs for 1 cent.' We would get CDs that were poppy and stuff, I remember Alanis Morrisette and Green Day and stuff, but that was more for my brother and that kind of wore off. Really where my music developed was from my dad's collection.

M: Do you play jazz yourself?

D: I play a little trumpet. I'd love to play a lot, but it's hard to find time. And I play a little trombone, which I just picked up this year. I love horns and brass music. Recently, as in this semester, I've really been listening a lot to this radio station streaming out of New Orleans called WWOZ. Check that out.

M: Has playing horns influenced what music you've looked for?

Yeah, I tried to pay attention to more trumpeters, like Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, those kind of bop, post-bop guys. Who else is good in that sense? Donald Byrd, Miles Davis, but he's not just a trumpeter you know. But yeah, listening to trumpet and kind of knowing how it works more so than another instrument that I've never touched before definitely makes me want to pursue that sound and understand the goodness of it.

Also, there's a jazz festival in my town. I live in Cape May, New Jersey, and there's a jazz festival there every spring and fall. I haven't been since I left high school, but that was also really, really awesome as a kid, seeing some awesome groups. Like I saw McCoy Tyner and Bobby Hutcherson play there.

M: Has the show always been Jammin' High?

D: No, it's evolved. I forget what they used to be, man. I had so many.

M: So has the idea for the show changed over the semesters?

D: It's just what I've been listening to. That's changed a lot or gotten enriched you know. It's always been around jazz, but I've gone off in different areas of it. Latin jazz; to some New Orleans jazz; to jazz from California— cool jazz kind of stuff; jazz that's influenced by samba— Brazilian stuff. There are so many different types of jazz.

M: What's your interaction with the Middlebury community like in terms of the show? Do you get calls or people talking to you about the show?

D: I get calls every once in a while from people. The time I got the most calls was when I had a slot like 6-8 and all these people would call and be like, 'we were listening during dinner and it was awesome.' There's this one guy, who I know other DJs have gotten calls from—his name is Peaches, and he suggested some cool music that I listened to. He called every week for seven weeks one semester.

Right now BIO 145 listens to my show. I think they decided to put on the radio one time and I was playing some real funky stuff and the professor liked it a lot and was like we should listen to this all the time.

M: Anything else you want to say?

D: I'd say listen to jazz. It's still alive. There's plenty of young artists. To give out one name, one trumpeter who's awesome: Jeremy Pelt. I saw him in Philly a month or so ago. It's not dead.

-Interview by Moss Turpan

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New York in the Summatime: Land of So Many Good Concerts

So since it seems like people flock to NYC over the summer for internships and jobs and such things, I thought I'd share links to the few websites that will direct you to most of the good live music in the city over the summer. The idea was born out of a conversation I had in the library that literally went something like "Oh you're going to be in NY this summer for the first time? You're going to hear SO much good music. Here are the websites that can tell you where and when:"

For all things indie:

(The feature where you can choose what bands you like and get e-mails when they announce new shows is great, but a lot of the summer shows have already been announced so I'd recommend looking through the listings for the time you'll be there. There's a nifty 'save this show' feature so you don't forget which ones you want to see).

For many of the same things indie, from a different source:

(A lot of the big indie venues of the city— all the ones owned by Bowery Ballroom group— are listed on this website. Sometimes I end up coming across stuff here that I don't see on Ohmyrockness, but if you don't feel like spending the time, Ohmyrockness should have most of it).

And for Jazz, check out:

(There are a zillion shows listed, so you definitely have to pick and choose the ones that you think sound best. To pare it down a little, it might be worth checking individual venue websites if you find/hear about venues that sound good.)

Have awesome, music-filled summers all of you who are there! I'm jealous!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Middlebury Presents: Martin Sweeney

My hall-mate, Martin Sweeney, has a talent that he kept hidden from me until the final week of school. A talented producer and standout WRMC DJ, Martin has made several solid mash-ups and remixes. Standouts include a mash-up of Crazy Town's "Butterfly" with The xx's "Intro" and an original remix of Phoenix's "1901." They're both embedded below.

Butterfly/Intro by shweeneypeas

1901 - Sween Talk Remix by shweeneypeas


It's hard to be disappointed about Wolf Parade's hiatus with imminent releases by both Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner. While Krug will be releasing Organ Music under the moniker Moonface on 2 August, the third album from Boeckner's Handsome Furs, Sound Kapital, drops on 28 June (zomg so soon). Below is "Repatriated", the second single from Sound Kapital, a track that embodies the one thousand and ten reasons why I heart a synthesizer.

Handsome Furs - Repatriated by subpop

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Soak it Up

To commemorate the beginning of summer, I mixed a tape of songs. RIYL: sand in the bottom of your backpack, air conditioned libraries, swimming to the buoy, and multiple tan lines.

Download the zipfile here:

  1. Star Slinger – Mornin’
  2. Saskatchewan – Dreamboat
  3. Beat Connection – Silver Screen
  4. Taragana Pyjarama – Ocean
  5. Houses – Soak It Up
  6. Washed Out – Eyes Be Closed
  7. Mood Rings – Indian Hills
  8. How to Dress Well – Ready for the World (Star Slinger Remix)
  9. Washed Out – Feel It All Around
  10. Summer Heart – Please Stay
  11. Sun Airway – Oh, Naoko
  12. Broken Social Scene – Shampoo Suicide
  13. Foxes in Fiction - School Night

Monday, May 23, 2011

The World at Large

Although Broken Social Scene ranks amongst my favourite bands, a BSS cover of “The World at Large” had me dubious. Given that Issac Brock’s lisping vocals are what define the sound of Modest Mouse, any attempt to emulate the whistling, bah-bah-bahpping glory of “The World at Large” seemed risky. Yet pared down to a snare, saxophone, and guitar, “The World at Large” becomes Broken Social Scene’s own. Slightly longer than the original song, the sparseness and sprawl of BSS’ rendition imparts a hazy yearning absent in the Modest Mouse version.

Check it:

Broken Social Scene » Modest Mouse from The Voice Project on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

WRMC Presents: Top 91

WRMC DJs have voted and the powers that be (read: the exec board) have tallied. Before you sits the top 91 songs of the past 365 days. If you missed the live broadcast from The Mill last Sunday night, shame on you. However, WRMC holds no grudges. If you know what is best, make a playlist with the following 91 songs and dance unabashedly in your room. There's no reason that the soundtrack to your summer can't be the best songs of this past fall, winter, and spring.

91. Matt & Kim - Cameras
90. Cee Lo - Fuck you
89. Das Racist - Rapping 2 U
88. Flo Rida - Club Can't Handle Me
87. Radiohead - Codex
86. J. Cole - Blow Up
85. Peter Bjorn & John - Second Chance
84. Radiohead - Lotus Flower
83. Rihanna - Only Girl In The World
82. Tallest Man On Earth - Like The Wheel
81. Tyler, The Creator - Yonkers
80. The Radio Dept. - The One
79. Twin Shadow - Castles In The Snow
78. Young Galaxy - We Have Everything
77. Smith Westerns - Imagine pt. 3
76. Girls - Heartbreaker
75. Patrick Wolf - The City
74. Oberhofer - I Could Go
73. Summer Camp - Jake Ryan
72. Architecture In Helsinki - Contact High
71. Balto - The Lover
70. Adele - Rolling In The Deep
69. Baths - Apologetic Shoulder Blades
68.Childish Gambino - Freaks And Geeks
67. Yuck - Operation
66. Star Singer - Mornin'
65. Toro y Moi - New Beat
64. Skrillex - Scary Monsters
63. Robyn - Indestructible
62. Kanye West - Lost In The World
61. Panda Bear - Slow Motion
60. Kanye West - Runaway
59. Peter Bjorn & John - Lies
58. Lil Wayne feat. Cory Gunz - 6 Foot 7 Foot
57. Panda Beat - Jetty
56. Robyn - Fembot
55. Lord Huron - Mighty
54. Rihanna - What's My Name?
53. Small Black - Despicable Dogs
52. Patrick Wolf - Time Of My Life
51. Kurt Vile - Jesus Fever
50. Kanye West - Devil In A Dress
49. James Blake - The Wilhelm Scream
48. Destroyer - Kaputt
47. Destroyer - Chinatown
46. Fleet Foxes - Ocean Grown
45. Deerhunter - Coronado
44. Cults - Oh My God
43. Ceo - Come With Me
42. Britney Spears - Till The World Ends
41. Big Boi - Shutterbugg
40. Best Coast - When I'm With You
39. Arcade Fire - Half Light II
38. Akron/Family - So It Goes
37. Yuck - The Wall
36. Wye Oak - Civilian
35. Wavves - King Of The Beach
34. Tennis - Marathon
33. Sufjan Stevens - Get Real Get Right
32. Robyn - Call Your Girlfriend
31. Oberhofer - Away FRM U
30. Janelle Monae - Cold War
29. Dirty Gold - California Sunrise
28. Destroyer - Suicide Demo For Kara Walker
27. Cults - You Know What I Mean
26. Braids - Lemonade
25. Best Coast - Boyfriend
24. TV On The Radio - Will Do
23. tUnE-yArDs - Bizness
22. Small Black - Photojournalist
21. Robyn - Hang With Me
20. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Heart In Your Heartbreak
19. Oberhofer - oO0OoO0O0
18. Janelle Monae - Tightrope
17. Cut Copy - Take Me Over
16. Crystal Castles - Not In Love feat. Robert Smith
15. Smith Westerns - Weekend
14. Lykke Li - I Follow Rivers
13. Fleet Foxes - Helplessness Blues
12. Deerhunter - Helicopter
11. Cults - Abducted
10. Arcade Fire - Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
9. Duck Sauce - Barbra Streisand
8. Yuck - Get Away
7. The Strokes - Under The cover Of Darkness
6. James Blake - Limit To Your Love
5. Delicate Steve - Butterfly
4. Kanye West - Monster
3. Kanye West - All Of The Lights
2. Delicate Steve - Wondervisions
1. Cut Copy - Need You Now

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Final Radio Event of The Year

So WRMC's Top 91 will air this Sunday at 9pm. The top 91 songs of the year as decided upon by the greater WRMC DJ community. Tune in to hear some of the best music of the past 365 days (yeah, we adhere to the school calendar, Jan. 1 is meaningless) hosted by a slew of WRMC DJs.

The annual WRMC Awards will also be given out in the following categories:

Best Show Name
Best Duo or Group
Best Solo DJ
Sexiest Radio Voice
Strangest Radio Voice
Best Show Concept
First-Year Award
Most Attractive DJ (pair or singlet)
Most Attractive Programming Directrice
Best Non-Music Show Award
Worst Attendance Award
3-5 AM Appreciation Award
WRMC Lifetime Achievement Award

Lastly, there has been some talk of senior week programming by graduating seniors, so if any of your favorite DJs won't be coming back next year, keep your ears perked!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Study Bands: Diamond Rings

For everyone here at Midd it's a tense time of year. But, as everyone knows, finals go a little bit easier with some solid background music. However, not all music is designed to sit in the background without distracting while still remaining interesting. For me, Diamond Rings fits the bill perfectly. While 2010's album Special Affections isn't necessarily hot off the press, I feel that it deserves a shout-out over this finals week. John O'Regan, the creative force behind Diamond Rings, hails from Toronto, Canada. He takes the stage alone and recently finished a tour with Robyn.

His synth backed, droned-out songs sit perfectly in the background of a study sesh and his melancholy lyrics fit into the mix well. On "It's Not My Party" O'Regan straightforwardly sings, "And if you wanna throw a party I can cry tonight / You would cry too if it happened to you right / I keep falling in and out of love with you / I never loved anyone the way I do you." I don't know about you, but I can write a paper to that.

Check out the videos for "It's Not My Party" and "Something Else" embedded below.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Balls of Steel - Acidstep EP

Hello radioheads,

Yours truly, Balls of Steel, has just self-released his debut EP, the Acidstep EP. It's acid (the music, not the drug)-influenced dubstep. The first track is a dubstep stomper, and the second is some weirder late night business featuring the sultry vocals of the mysterious "Messmore" (who could this Messmore be?).

Acidstep EP by Balls of Steel

You can stream or download the tracks above. Do with them what you will.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In Case You Missed Sepomana...

If you weren't at Sepomana this past Friday, I'm going to assume that either: a) You were west of the Mississippi, b) You were in jail, or c) You made a terrible decision and have subsequently learned a valuable life-lesson. In case you missed it, your kind bloggers here at 91.1 WRMC-Middlebury College Radio have decided to round up the best Sepomana-related videos the internet has to offer. Check out Peter's post below for pictures from the event itself.

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Only 40 short hours since the final beats of Sepomana 2011 echoed through McCullough Social Space, THE PICS ARE IN!!

Courtesy of Elma Chapin Collins Burnham IV.

Check 'em out, and relive your Friday night...or see what you missed!



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Curren$y's New Mixtape

Curren$y, the weed-rap expert from New Orleans has released a new mixtape today. Peep the date--of course he would.Covert Coup features some great guests and showcases Curren$y's flow. The mixtape is a collaboration with producer The Alchemist, from Beverly Hills, who is currently Eminem's touring DJ. The beats on the album are as lazy and laid-back as Curren$y's flow--just make sure to invest is a system with some bass to get the full experience. What really makes the mixtape are the guest artists. While Curren$y's flows are always solid, his laid-back tone fits well against the harsher verses of all his collabs on the mixtape. Check the standout track "Scottie Pippens feat. Freddy Gibbs" for a great guest verse by the Indiana rapper. The beat in "The Type feat. Prodigy" is slow and churning while Curren$y and Prodigy boast about how they "bust these raps like we bust these gats." Scary stuff.

Download or stream the mixtape HERE.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Friendly Fires Single

St. Albans' dance punk crew, Friendly Fires, have a new album, entitled Pala, coming out May 16th. You can check out the new single, embedded below. "Live Those Days Tonight" fits in well with their previous sound: dancy and synthy with strong beats. The new single feels well produced and is anything but down-tempo. It sounds like a Chromeo lyric met up with the synths from Cut Copy's album Zonoscope and then took Miike Snow's production team out to a futuristic-themed '80's underground club. Maybe you should just listen to it...

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Are You Missing Coachella?

Never fear. Check out the live stream HERE. If you click it right now you can watch Best Coast playing a new song--of course it's about dank. "...I wish she was my girlfriend."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

TV On The Radio's Movie!

As you probably know, the Brooklyn band TV on the Radio have released their latest LP, Nine Types of Light. This post, however, will skirt around a review of the album. Instead, I would like to focus on the movie that TVotR have released, composed of a separate music video for every song on the album.

Each individual music video was directed by either friends of the band or filmmakers they admire. The general concepts were developed by Tunde Adebimpe, frontman of the band. "The movie is ment to be a re-imaging of the record" states the band's youtube page, and that truly seems to be the case. For example, the song "Forgotten" (34:19) does not immediately bring to mind zombies, celebrities, and guns--but somehow it fits.

The most powerful parts of the film, however, are the interviews framing each song. Local New Yorkers were interviewed and presented in short snippets speaking about such topics as: "dreams, love, fame, and the future." These real-world viewpoints tie together the extreme imagery presented in the musical segments. Overall the video is a great way to get a first or second listen to the album. Even if it does seem claustrophobic and cluttered at times, there are some real gems. Look into "Will Do" (24:47) for a heartbreaking take on virtual reality and "Killer Crane" (39:29) for a documentary-style video of the band touring followed by a haunting scene depicting the band meeting up, post-haitus, for the first time in ten years (45:36).