Sunday, April 29, 2012

Virtual Virtuosos: Molly Lewis

This week's featured artist is Molly Lewis, also known as "sweetafton23." She originally rose to fame with her ukulele covers of pop songs and eventually went to win the third edition of Masters of Song Fu competition. Many of her original songs have internet-related topics, like this song about an imagined relationship with Wikipedia:

That song's from 2009, so for an example of her more recent stuff, check out "An Open Letter to Stephen Fry:"

Molly is very involved in the YouTube musician community, and is a regular performer at w00tstock. If you'd like to see more of her, you can "like" her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter or check out her official website.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fenster on NPR

Frequent readers of the blog already know that WRMC is a huge fan of Fenster, a band featuring Midd alumna JJ Weihl.  They came to our studio a couple weeks ago and performed an awesome in-studio session, which you can listen to here.  Today, Fenster's song "Oh Canyon" is being featured as NPR's Song of the Day!  Definitely check out the song as well as the great write up, and DEFINITELY check out Fenster's debut full-length album, Bones.

NPR's Song of the Day - Fenster: A Dark Pop Song, Under Construction

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Sepomana in Pictures

Annual post of pictures from Sepomana. In descending order: Big Troubles, Sandro Perri, The Felice Brothers, prom king and queen. to be relived for ages to come.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Video(s) of the Week!

Because I'm indecisive and because both these videos are awesome there are two videos this week.

"Marathon Runner" by Yellow Ostrich is quite a bizarre video, yet there's something about it that makes you keep watching. They take a hint from Animal Collective in the production of this video with the ambiguous plot line and short takes. As one youtube user says, "It's quite simple. They're karate ninja children guarding the sacred milk." See for yourself...

"Black Girls" by Chester French couldn't be a more different video. With the aesthetic qualities of a glossy high fashion magazine, the video oozes with sensuality. Clearly, the video plays with the black and white film complimenting the black and white models. The concept is simple, the song is witty and catchy. What more can we ask for?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tunezday! Info on Record Store Day exclusive releases!

This coming Saturday is the fifth annual Record Store Day, a celebration of over 700 independently owned record stores across the country.  On this great holiday, independent record stores collaborate with artists to bring us unique vinyl and CD releases made exclusively for this day and found only in these stores.  Instead of providing you with links to stream the best new albums online, this week on Tunezday you can find information on some of the most exciting Record Store Day exclusive releases. 

St. Vincent - KROKODIL
“KROKODIL” is Annie Clark’s first release since her incredible album Strange Mercy, and it features two tracks: “KROKODIL” and “GROT.”  She is only releasing 2500 copies and they are exclusively on 7” red vinyl.  Those who have previewed the tracks say that Clark shows off her “avant-garde shredding chops” and that it is a “rocker.”  Definitely a must find!

Mastadon/Feist – Commotion/Black Tonue
Months ago word got out that Leslie Feist might team up with metal band Mastadon for an exclusive Record Store Day release; however, I don’t know if anyone thought it would actually happen.  To all of our surprise, the unlikely collaboration now known as Feistadon will be releasing two tracks: Mastadon’s cover of Feist’s “Commotion,” and Feist covering Mastadon’s “Black Tongue.”  They are releasing 5000 copies on 7” vinyl exclusively to participating stores.

Animal Collective – Tranverse Temporal Gyrus
In March 2010, Animal Collective teamed up with visual artist Danny Perez to put on an installation at the Guggenheim Museum in NYC.  Each band member made individual sounds and songs and during the two three-hour performances the tracks were randomly ordered and sometimes combined and played from various directions in a 36 speaker surround sound system at the top of the Guggenheim.  Animal Collective is now releasing some of the original tracks from the “Tranverse Temporal Gyrus” exhibit, as well as live recordings from before the exhibit was opened to the public.  They are releasing 3200 copies of it exclusively on 12” LPs.  They are also launching a website that recreates the computer program used in the actual exhibit, which will give a unique creation of music every time the program is run.  Awesome. That is all I have to say.

These are only three of the hundreds of exclusive releases for Record Store Day.  You can find a full list and more information on the event at the Record Store Day official website, and don’t forget to find participating record stores in your area!

Friday, April 13, 2012



Dear WRMC DJs, listeners, and community members,

Today is the day: Sepomana 2012 is upon us! The show begins at 8:00 p.m. in McCullough Social Space. Don't be late, you don't want to miss the first act! Make sure your feet are ready to dance and your cheeks are ready for face paint! After-party at the Mill; don't run out of energy! Non-stop fun from 8 to whenever! The best night of the year! Tickets are $5... go/sepom right now to secure yours! Get your friends to come! The more the merrier!

Below, watch videos from each of the three bands who'll be there tonight -- folk-rockers The Felice Brothers, noise-poppers Big Troubles, and experimental singer-songwriter Sandro Perri.

The Felice Brothers, "Frankie's Gun"

Sandro Perri, "Love & Light"

Big Troubles, "Sad Girls"


Thursday, April 12, 2012

A new My Bloody Valentine LP????!!!!!!!

Okay so I'm sorry to bombard the blog, but not really, because this is the most important pop-related rumor (let's not get carried away calling it news) I can remember ever hearing (I've decided including Ivy Blue in such contests is just unfair) and the possibility that you, dear reader, might have missed it is simply too disturbing to bear. My Bloody Valentine, the Irish alt-rock band whose 1991 masterpiece Loveless is one of the best albums of all time (mean it!) as well as the high-water mark for the blissed-out, feedback-swathed subgenre known as "shoegaze," just might have another album in 'em after a 21-year hiatus (barring a few recent reunion shows)! According to hermetic, perfectionistic, brilliant, and notoriously difficult MBV main man Kevin Shields, this possible new LP would be comprised of songs that were begun way back in 1992. That's basically all he had to tell us in this recent news item on Pitchfork, but you have permission to freak out LIKE I AM DOING RIGHT NOW. "You never know, we might finish it really quickly!" Shields said. Which, I mean, is just not true, 'cause, you know, it's been, like, 21 years and all. But let's not let that get in the way of faith in the veracity of the basic idea: THERE MIGHT BE A NEW MY BLOODY VALENTINE ALBUM! Phew my exclamation mark key is getting a workout here.

What they hey, listen to "Only Shallow," the brain-meltingly loud/wonderful opener to My Bloody Valentine's classic Loveless, below (turn yr volume wayyyy up for maximum effect):

Fenster! Live! In OUR STUDIO!

I'm not sure if many people are aware of the momentous event that occurred last friday (April 6) but let's all take a second to recap. Our Special Prods room was used and boy was it used for the coolest of things!

The band Fenster came in to sing a couple songs and do a quick interview with me and Anjali. Look how cute they are:

Fun Fact:  JJ (center) is not only a Middlebury Alumna but a WRMC Music Director Emeritus

Fenster is a 3-piece band based out of Berlin. . They started playing together last September and by the time they came around to Middlebury were just finishing up a 5-week tour through the states. Already having generated some buzz around the blogosphere (Consequence of Sound) they kindly came and played 4 songs here at WRMC.

Check out the tracks and the full broadcast below

Fenster In-Studio 4/6/12

Fenster In-Studio 4/6/12

photocreds: DJ D$

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Video of the Week

Literally, a crazy psychedelic nightmare/fairytale. This video is crazy and mesmerizing and incites countless viewings just to figure out what the f*** is going on. The well-done animation in it adds a whole other element. Prepare for some serious sensory overload...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Stockholm Syndrome artist spotlight: Mr. Little Jeans

There's no actual mister in Mr. Little Jeans, the electropop solo project of Norwegian Monica Birkenes -- she actually named her act after a character in the classic Wes Anderson film Rushmore (OMG). In 2011, Mr. Little Jeans covered Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs" in a truly remarkable fashion, transforming the straightforward, Springsteen-ish piano rock of the Montreal indie rockers' original anthem for the disillusioned into a sinister specter of a pop song, with a stale drum-machine sputtering along and creepy organs drifting up form the reverb'd deep. The result is strikingly fresh, and it was featured on (my...) Scandinavian-themed WRMC show "Stockholm Syndrome" this very evening; listen to and download it over at Pretty Much Amazing.

I bring it up because Mr. Little Jeans has recently released a new single, the original song "Runaway," and it's also pretty dang good -- I suggest her to you now as a Scandinavian pop star to watch! The music blends New Wave and synthpop with witch house's low end and the druggy haze of chillwave. Birkenes's voice, though beautiful, sounds worn and weary -- the content of her choice of Arcade Fire song to cover couldn't be more appropriate to her sound! "Runaway" is sure to appeal to an even wider range of listeners than "The Suburbs" -- it's much faster, a gorgeous, lush anthem.

Check out the kinda gothed-out video for "Runaway" below, as well as the Spike Jonze-directed video for Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs," and DEFINITELY watch that Rushmore link above.

RIYL: Phantogram, Washed Out

Friday, April 6, 2012

Virtual Virtuosos: Sam Hart

This week's featured artist is Sam Hart, a.k.a. "blinktwice4y". He first achieved YouTube fame in 2008 when his original song, "Mario Kart Love Song" was featured on the front page:

While many of his covers and originals have a nerdy spin on them, his more serious attempts at songwriting reveal that he really has talent:

Sam has yet to put out an official album or EP, but you can check out all of his work on his YouTube channel, follow him on Twitter, and like him on Facebook.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Better Version of Fiona Apple

First came the rumors -- she might be back. Then came the 22-word album title (The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do). Then came a relatively soon release date (June 19). Then Fiona Apple took Austin's annual SXSW festival by storm.

Apple came to fame as the histrionic, anorexic, pretentious ("This world is bullshit," began her VMA acceptance speech...) '90s heir to the thrones of both Tori Amos and Liz Phair. She cut a curious figure in the pop landscape of the late 1990s. Onlookers found it hard to distinguish her literary language, rebellious sentiments, frankly related tales of childhood rape trauma, eating disorder, high-profile relationships, forceful vocals, moody piano style, lewd music videos, and ultimate innovative creative powers fro m one another; it all sort of became mushed up together in a complex, contradictory, and polarizing persona with no boundary between artist and art, private and public. Some called her a joke; some took her too seriously; some pretended not care. In other words, Apple was the ideal 2010s pop celebrity, stranded in the era before internet-enabled "oversharing" became the cultural M.O. and doomed to a kind of chronic inscrutability. She was initially so easy to criticize, if one were so inclined, because she had barely left her teenage years behind when her 1996 debut album, Tidal was released. Her 50-cent words and tough-love attitude seemed, to her detractors, like transparent affectations of a pretentious girl. These criticisms lost their merit somewhat as Apple put out more albums, but her lyrical fixation on toxic relationships and refusal to repeatedly don expensive lingerie as she had in her striking, vaguely pedophilic Mark Romanek video for 1996's "Criminal" meant that she would never achieve widespread acceptance from the critics or the public. She was too young to seem authentic, and too old to seem appealing.

By all accounts, Apple is not going to let herself be seen as that person anymore. After a long hiatus since her incredible 2005 album Extraordinary Machine, Apple is back with a new album and, so concertgoers insist, a new sense of self. Blogger Matthew Perpetua called her physical appearance "genuinely intimidating," noting that the formerly waifish singer-songwriter was now bursting with coiled muscular tension (her arctic gaze probably helps too). The shows she played at SXSW and on her subsequent comeback mini-tour have blown minds across the continent with the sheer force of emotion and the crackling energy Apple generates. Songs that, sung by a 20-year-old, seemed overly dramatic have been lent new weight by the credibility that experience affords. It turns out, as of course it had to, that Apple was never faking the emotions she shared through her music. Now, however, she's able to sell her vitriolic put-downs (my favorite: "It won't be long until you'll be lying limp in your own hand," from 1999's "Limp") with the veracity of someone who, at 34, really has seen a lot. She means what she sings, and it's raised hairs on the backs of necks from L.A. to Austin to the Bowery. Apple was one of the first contemporary celebrities who was deconstructed (rather than constructed, as had been the trend previously) by the public until there seemed to be no real person left; in 2012, she's picked up those pieces, reassembled them, and won't let them go at any cost. "You're imaginary," she told a SXSW audience last month, waving her hand dismissively at the crowd. "You're not real!" It was simultaneously the most powerful statement of selfhood and the most vicious fuck-you ever delivered by an artist notorious for both -- and she didn't even have to shred her vocal chords delivering it.

Dismissed as she has been over the course of her career, Apple has never lacked for fans. In 2004, when they learned that Sony would not be releasing Extraordinary Machine, they mobilized en masse. And in 2012, they've treated her shows like religious experiences, a reaction that makes sense. If Apple was derided as immature once upon a time, she can now only be hailed as one of the most mature pop stars around, and those fans who have grown up alongside her now see themselves, grown up, in her newly dynamic performances. Don't forget what you've heard about Fiona Apple in the past, if you're not already a convert to her cult, but don't even think about dismissing her on the grounds of who she once was.

"Here it comes, a better version of me," she sang back in 2005, and now, in response to herself, she sings "It's happening, it's happening, it's happening now" on new song "Anything We Want." As Pitchfork writer Lindsay Zoladz states movingly in her recent piece on Apple, those lyrics are very true: Fiona Apple is happening, NOW. "At the moment she seems... hyper-alive, working at a level of intensity that is rare and generally so temporary that you just have to be glad you got a look at it," writes esteemed music critic Nitsuh Abebe, after calling her "incandescent" and before calling her the best singer currently working in popular music. So here's to Fiona Apple, who is currently showing us all that growing up really can happen, and that it's worth it.

This comeback has inspired a great deal of writing from pop music journalists. Below are some of the most interesting and moving pieces from the past few weeks:
"Mind is Your Might: Fiona Apple and the Politics of Oversharing," by Lindsay Zoladz, Pitchfork
"This Mind, This Body, and This Voice," by Matthew Perpetua, Fluxblog
"Yes, Fiona Apple's SXSW Performances Really Have Been Mind-blowing," by Nitsuh Abebe, Vulture

Fiona Apple, "Criminal," Tidal (1996)

Fiona Apple, "Paper Bag," When The Pawn... (1999)

Fiona Apple, "Anything We Want," live at SXSW 2012

Video of the Week

Hold on, hold on. Alabama Shakes are really doing something good here. First of all, I didn't even know the lead singer of the band was a woman until I watched their music video because her voice has this awesome soulful androgynous quality to it that doesn't lend itself fully to either gender. Brittany fits somewhere in between Janice Joplin and the lead singer of tUnE yArDs, and I'm loving it. This video isn't necessarily groundbreaking video-wise, but "Hold On" off their just-released album Boys and Girls is one of the best new songs out there.

Alabama Shakes are coming to Burlington's Higher Ground on April 14 and it's gonna be a great can buy tickets here.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tunezday! Feat. Lotus Plaza, Of Monsters and Men, Bear In Heaven

UPDATE: If some of the links didn't have audio last time you tried, try again! They should be up now!

INDIE ROCK: Deerhunter guitarist, Lockett Pundt, is releasing his second solo album as Lotus Plaza this week.  The album, Spooky Action At A Distance, is already being heralded as one of the best indie rock albums of the year.  While Pundt’s first attempt at a solo album fell to the wayside as another album of looped guitars and vocals that culminate in background noise, Spooky Action is catchier, more immediate and refuses to drift out of your mind. 

FOLK POP: Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men releases their first full-length album, My Head Is An Animal, today.  If there is one thing I love in an album it is dual vocals and with the beautifully complementary voices of Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar “Raggi” Þórhallsson, Of Monsters and Men had me hooked from the start.  With a plethora of instruments building up to melodic chants, every song on this album exudes an undeniably joyful energy, coming out just in time to get us through the mud season.

ELECTRONIC: If you are dying for some synths to dance to this week, check out Bear In Heaven’s new full-length album, I Love You, It’s Cool.  “This album is sort of like Wild Beasts meets The Horrors in the best way possible” says WRMC DJ Ben Goldberg.  It is dark, ambient, dancy, electronic. Woo! Highlights include: “The Reflection of You,” “Sinful Nature,” and “Warm Water."