POND at Johnny Brenda’s 10.16.2014

by Kirsten Becker

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Spearheading the neo-psychedelic rock movement, Australia’s Tame Impala has brought a fresh and exciting new sound to indie rock within the past five or so years. Their lesser-known, wild-partying young brother, Pond, has been doing just the same while staying just below the radar. With five albums already under their belt, the Perth-born and bred band is something of a cult favorite. Featuring both former and present members of Tame Impala, including at one point mastermind Kevin Parker, it’s no wonder Pond has garnered an incredibly loyal fanbase.

The October 16th performance at Johnny Brenda’s was their first time back in Philly in two years, having played at the same venue back in March 2012. Lead singer Nick Allbrook had fond thoughts about the city, pausing many times between songs to say he loves Philly because the city knows “how to let loose.” And let loose the crowd did that night. Leading the charge,Pond, visibly intoxicated the moment they arrived, brought a feverish energy that was reciprocated through the venue. Each song was played with a flawlessly rough vibe, with jarring solos and descents into musical madness interspersed in each epic track. Allbrook at one point went on about how he is terrified of America and his lack of knowledge of the Pumpkin Spice craze. The band also continued their love for Philly saying that most of their knowledge of the city comes from repeated watchings of Always Sunny.

The set included a composite of songs throughout their career, featuring newer songs from Hobo Rocket like “Xanman” to those of my personal favorite, Beard, Wives, Denim like “Fantastic Explosion of Time” and “You Broke My Cool.” They even reached into the archives and played some of their first songs recorded from Psychadelic Mango, including “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind.”

The rousing finale of “Frond” was filled with rocking anthems and wild crowd surfing and energy. Pond’s performance was one of the most energy-filled shows I have seen in quite some time and one of incredible creative and nutty genius. Pond is slated to release a new album, Man, It Feels Like Space in January 2015.

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Introducting ExCITeCast

By: Maren Larsen

ExCITeCast, the official podcast of Drexel University’s Expressive and Creative Interaction Technologies Center (ExCITe), is coming to WKDU!

The ExCITe Center houses a unique piano which has been retrofitted with an array of sensors and electromagnets. This allows it to produce music with the timbre of a piano and the creative capabilities of other stringed instruments, like vibrato and pitch bending. On it, you can play music that ExCITe’s beat-sensing robots can dance or play along with. Those robots are outfitted in sleek protective armor created on the digital knitting machines housed in the center’s Shima Seiki Haute Technology Lab. All of this is located at 3401 Market Street–right on Drexel’s campus.

The ExCITe Center also houses the Drexel App Lab, the Entrepreneurial Game Studio (known for its involvement in the Cira Center’s giant Tetris and Pong games), a digital inclusion lab, and space for various other multi-disciplinary, highly-collaborative projects.

Pretty ExCITing, right? (ed note: groan.)

ExCITeCast airs the first Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. on WKDU. I, Maren Larsen, Civic Innovation Co-op at the ExCITe Center and DJ of “What The Folk?” on WKDU, am the host of the program.

Each episode focuses on one of the center’s many projects. The first ExCITeCast, at the beginning of October 2014, highlighted the collaboration between the Shima Seiki Lab and our Hubo robotics researchers to create a technologically-advanced protective armor for the robots, allowing them greater mobility and durability. In case you missed it, it can be found on ExCITe’s SoundCloud.

November’s ExCITeCast will feature an interview with the Digital On-Ramps team, part of the Digital Inclusion Group based at ExCITe. Digital On-Ramps is in the process of developing an ePortfolio for jobseekers to store their resumes, work samples, and digital badges. They are also building career pathway maps for Philadelphia’s biggest industries so that those looking for jobs can see the next steps in their careers.

Join us on Tuesday by tuning in at 91.7 FM or wkdu.org!

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Not To Miss @ CMJ 2014

The CMJ marathon starts today! If you’re as confused as we are about how you’re going to make time for all the great artists this year, consult our list of artists we’re most excited for below. Will we see you there?

So many bands, so little time.

So many bands, so little time.

Repping Cheeseteaks: The PHILADELPHIA CREW
(ノ◕ヮ◕)ノ*:・゚✧

AMANDA X
amanda
 Moody post-punk from Siltbreeze Records
Catch their set:
Tuesday @ Cameo Gallery, Saturday @ Knitting Factory

DARK BLUE
blue
– Punk from members of Ceremony, Paint It Black, and Purling Hiss
Catch their set:
Sunday @ Rough Trade

BEACH SLANG

Alt-rock straight out of 1995 from Tiny Engines Records
Catch their set:  Saturday @ Baby’s All Right

PURLING HISS
PurlingHiss
–Lyrically poignant punk from Drag City Records
Catch their set: Thursday @ Cake Shop, Friday @ Baby’s All Right


BANDS FROM EVERYWHERE ELSE
(〜 ̄▽ ̄)〜


TWEENS

– Cincinnati trash pop trio singin’ about boredom, love, and weed. Listen our live session with them here.

Catch their set: Wednesday @ (the soon-closing) Death By Audio, Thursday and Friday @ Baby’s All Right

DUSKY
Dusky
– British house/techno duo
Catch their set: Thursday @ Verboten

MATTHEW DEAR
mdear
– 
Experimental dance pop from Ghostly International
Catch his set: Saturday @ Verboten

ONLY REAL

onlylex1
– Shoegazy rap from West London
Catch his set: Thursday @ Brooklyn Bazaar;
Thursday @ Rough Trade

FRANKIE COSMOS
mutualbenefit-21
– Fun and sentimental twee pop from NYC
Catch her set: Friday @ Brooklyn Bazaar


VULTURE SHIT
vs
– Brooklyn sludge punks
Catch their set: Thursday @ Shea Stadium


SLOWDIVE

slow
–Eighties British shoegaze pioneers return after 20 years of silence
Catch their set: (Sold out!) Thursday @ Terminal 5


THE WYTCHES
wytches
– Psych punk from the UK

Catch their set: Wednesday @ (the soon-closing) Glasslands; Thursday @ Baby’s All RightFriday @ Baby’s All Right

OBN IIIS
obn-IIIs
–Garage punk from Austin
Catch their set: Thursday @ Baby’s All Right;
Friday @ Cake Shop


PANEL AND SCREENING HIGHLIGHTS

TODAY:
Ripping off the Band-Aid: Why Feminism Matters in the Music Industry

WEDNESDAY:
The Color of Noise: Amphetamine Reptile Records Documentary with Q&A from director Eric Robel and Haze XXL

THURSDAY:
All Through A Life: Emo’s Revival

& of course, the College Radio Awards!
– Among the nominees for Station of the Year, Promoter of the Year and Best Taste in Music lies Best Community Resource. Check out what we’ve recently done for the Philadelphia community here and vote WKDU!

FRIDAY:
Beautiful Noise: Documentary screening and Q&A with Nick Chaplin and Simon Scott of Slowdive

See you in New York!
dog

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2014 EMM In Photos

The 2014 Electronic Music Marathon was one of the most gratifying experiences I have had as a member of WKDU. I was fortunate enough to spend a good chunk of time down at the station, catching many great sets and having the opportunity to chat with luminaries like King Britt and Dave P. Regardless of stature, I was struck by the humility and friendliness of all of our performers; it was truly a pleasure having everyone down at the station.

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Electronic Music Marathon Part 2: Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning

Day 2 of the Electronic Music Marathon kicked off with a heartwarming start from the Musicopia crew. Musicopia is one of our nonprofit partners who focus on arts education in schools. I wasn’t there but heard they were absolutely adorable and amazing overall. Stay tuned for the full write up.

I woke up late and unfortunately couldn’t come in for Musicopia’s set. Scandalous, I know, but I need some sleep otherwise I might never be useful to the station again. I woke up instead to multiple texts from my brother and sister both informing me that the DJ who got on afterwards was super dope. I found out that was Billy (M//R) from Great Circles, who once I threw on the radio got me motivated to take the quickest shower and make the fastest eggs just so I could get down to the station and see him during the performance. As I sit here writing this, I’m enjoying the hell out of the set, even though I missed most of the live performance. It’s a lot more progressive than the sets from last night, which I like because I feel like I’m being taken on a musical journey down in the station as opposed to just “untz-untz-untz”. Justin closed off the Great Circles set, keeping it abstract and weird. Much more mood music and less danceable stuff. Honestly I thought it was great, took me on a whole new level.

Nigel Richards from 611 Records came by next and once again I had a great chance to chat with him before he got on. He discussed his time spent on college radio at University of Rochester WRUR, how he learned the technical side of DJing, and more (I was a big fan of how he didn’t crap over me for relying on the sync button on modern DJ controllers: “Hey, no one can blame you for using technology. If they’d had that when I was coming up I probably would have used it too”). His set started in funky with some acid sounds, much more “hands in the air” than before. Brought the energy in the place back up real nice.

Nigel Richards going wild on the decks

Nigel Richards going wild on the decks

I spoke with James and Thom from Broadzilla and learned all about the difference between club DJ-ing and radio DJ-ing, how they came up, and what drives their current style. They also brought a guitar pedal with them, so they were able to get some really cool effects with the microphone (it’s the little things in life). They recorded some super whacky station IDs for us, full of pitch shifting, echo/reverb, and all around weirdness. Keep your ears tuned to the airwaves to hear them again. Their set had lots of synthesizers and some great 80s sounds. Sounding super cool Broadzilla took us on a musical journey until 7:00 PM.

Matthew Law, aka DJ Phsh (from Illvibe Collective) popped in next, and while he was really fun to talk to, everyone at the station went a little nuts over his shoes. He dropped the hip hop (trip hop?) beats, with a groovy (I keep saying that word but I really can’t help it all the DJs really have been) low BPM set. Matt pumped up the energy in the second hour of his set, going in a whole new direction. Not club style but definitely more danceable than his earlier set. The whole set overall was really good jamming music- I was manning the phones most of the time during that set, just nodding my head along. Best part though: Matt’s grandmom called in during the set, and let us know she was jamming along!

Passion of the shoes

Passion of the shoes

Jay, aka Telequanta came by to lay down his tracks in a special live set on the air. His stuff is supremely chill, reminds me of a trip-hoppier version of Gold Panda (and then he even played Gold Panda after his own stuff, too!) I now totally see why he was always tuning into my show last summer. After his live stuff, he just played some of his favorite songs, which were the ultimate chill out tunes to lead us into the beginning of the late night sets.

Telequanta rocking his own stuff live

Telequanta rocking his own stuff live

As I write this sometime after Telequanta finished, I’m starting to fade fast so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Patrick Richards stepped up to the decks at 11 PM (holy hell how is someone so young so freaking talented?) and rocked us until midnight. Tight transitions and a choice song selection, my favorite being when he played “Walking With Elephants” by Ten Walls and Tchami’sPushing On” remix.

Jansen and Sylo popped in for the midnight to 2 AM slot. They took it to a new level, with some dark tech house. I didn’t recognize any of their stuff but damn was it cool. I finally tapped out some time after 1 AM, struggled my ass to Wawa, and thankfully was able to nab a cab just before I stepped onto the subway platform #luxurious. I was still listening to the marathon the entire ride home until I finally passed out to the sounds of Enrique Villacis’s guest mix around 3 AM, ready to get refreshed for the next big day.

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SPREAD LOVE: My first exhale after the 2014 Electronic Music Marathon

WOW.         JUST, WOW.

We received the most amazing support from the Philadelphia DJ and local business community. Still can't believe how truly awesome this lineup is....

We received the most amazing support from the Philadelphia DJ and local business community. Still can’t believe how truly awesome this lineup is….

The 2014 Electronic Music Marathon was a SMASHING SUCCESS.

This was our 11th year of the EMM after 7 years on hiatus, and my first year involved in the event.

Before I get into this post, I want to give a big shout out to one of my radio inspirations – Jenn Louie. For many years, Jenn had an amazing house and electronic show on KDU called Foundation, and organized many of the previous EMM’s. Some of my first beat matching and set building lessons were from watching her mix using our cruddy CUE speaker and CD players with rudimentary pitch controls.

I’m so honored that I got to pick up the history of a 10 year event, and continue the tradition of connecting Philly DJs of all kinds through electronic music.

King Britt IN THE MIX

King Britt is an EMM alumni, and came to our studio on Monday for the final day of the marathon. He ended up doing 2 completely different DJ sets, and also gave us the WORLD PREMIER of his project with The Village of Arts & Humanities: Plackback Musik.

Part of me wants to just dive in and rave about how RAD everyone’s sets were, but I’ll have to do that later when we get all the audio sorted to go with.

I want to tell a story.

We have one caller who ALWAYS calls our station to say hello. I’ll be in the mix on my show, see his name come up on the caller ID, and then get a little grin on my face.

I know that he’s going to suggest some rave track for me to check out, or talk about how I should check out this particular Kung Fu movie (not even kidding), or mention how another DJ earlier in the day was killing it.

He damn well knows his house music – but when I talk to other KDU DJs, they also tell me about how he knows his jazz, his psych-rock, and so on.

His support of the entire KDU DJ roster is really amazing, but his main message is even more awesome.

Whenever I ask him his name, he simply says, “SPREAD LOVE!”

We refer to this caller as SPREAD LOVE, and have taken his message to heart.

I TRULY believe that the Electronic Music Marathon SPREAD LOVE through ALL kinds of electronic music this past Columbus Day Weekend, as we rocked the airwaves for 75 hours of CONTINUOUS  ELECTRONIC JAMS.

From electro to disco, boogie to gritty, Italo to techno HOLY MOLY the 2014 EMM DJ lineup absolutely KILLED their sets.

From talking with King Britt about Sun Ra, to chatting with Billy Werner about how he went to high school with Ron Morelli, to hearing about how Dave P spun at KDU to promote his first ever Making Time – our studio was BLESSED with the energy of some truly amazing DJs who donated their time and resources to make this a SMASH.

We received the kindest words from Dave P, who is definitely one of the RADDEST DJs around.

He posted this photo from his closing set of the EMM on his Instagram and really blew me away with his words….

The raddest man on the RADio: Dave P closing out the 2014 EMM.

Last nite I had the honor of playing the closing set on @wkdu‘s Electronic Music Marathon and….it truly was an honor. It was also one of the most positive and inspiring musical experiences I’ve had in years. I have not seen such genuine positivity, true love of music and excitement about music and being involved in music from a group of people like I did last nite in the WKDU studios in a very long time. They really are a MAGICAL group of people who are doing great things for the right reasons. It makes me think that the music “industry” should be learning from these kids and gaining inspiration from them and people like them as opposed to them learning and gaining inspiration from the music “industry”. One of the staff members was talking to me about some of the DJs they wanted to have play who didn’t ended up playing for them. One DJ’s manager, who will remain nameless, told him he would need a minimum of $10,000 to have him play. C’MON…..REALLY ??? The music “industry” and the people involved in it….artists, managers, agents, labels etc should be doing everything they can to support these kids and others like them and like I said….probably learning from them and gaining some inspiration from them too. (Hey….look how much DAVIDE taught and inspired me while I was in Positano and…..he was younger than me.) Anyways….They’re doing this for the right reasons and so should all of us !!! This IS supposed to be FUN….remember ??? Here’s to a group of college kids who put together what was basically a 4 day DJ festival on their RADio station with no budget while, in the words of one of the staff, “hopped up on falafel and red bull” !!! Congratulations WKDU and thank you for allowing me to have such a MAGICAL and inspiring experience last nite !!! I can’t wait to do it again next year and…..hopefully DAVIDE can join me next time. He has some really rad olde ITALIO-DISCO records.

We can’t thank Dave and everyone else who helped us out enough!!!! DAVIDE, come back with those Italo records ANYTIME!!

****************************************************************************************************************

Support WKDU and college radio

Support Musicopia and arts education in Philadelphia area schools

Support The Village of Arts & Humanities and community empowerment in North Philadelphia

Go to wkdu.org/emm to find out how you can donate and support three amazing causes.

THANK YOU !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Electronic Music Marathon Part 1: Friday night to Saturday morning

As I sit here recovering from my wisdom tooth surgery, doped up on oxycodone, I can’t really do much more in the running of things for our electronic music marathon and figured it would be a good time to do some write ups. Rob Paine and Will Putney from Worship Recordings kicked us off from 6-9 PM, with our favorite listener Spread Love calling in for the first time of hopefully many times.

Rob and Will from Worship Recordings

Rob and Will from Worship Recordings

Noah Beresin (Noah Breakfast) walked in at quarter to 9, for his triumphant return to the WKDU airwaves: the first time he’s been in the station since 2009. We talked a bit about what he’s listening to right now and he told me his favorite beat maker right now is Mr. Carmack- who I’ll be sure to check out ASAP. He gave us the low down on what it was like for him coming up making beats as a student and a bit of history of WKDU from before I even came to Drexel. He’s a pretty chill dude, and I really enjoyed the behind the scenes rundown he gave us before the show. And holy damn did he bring the noise!

Noah Breakfast bringing dancehall vibes

Noah Breakfast brings the dancehall vibes

Brad Henley AKA B-Rilla came next, for his first (but hopefully not last!) appearance on the WKDU decks. He played a set of drum n bass, a genre I know nearly nothing about. What I expected was something sounding like 90s Prodigy- what I got instead was fast paced, breakbeat goodness.

Next up, a name we’re all familiar with stepped up to bat: Chris B from The Hot Mix took the first all wax spin of the night. A few minor technical difficulties aside (hey this is college radio after all- it wouldn’t be any fun if it all worked the first time!) he threw one funk of a set. Slowing the grooves back down was the perfect lead up to Fich from Young Robots.

Michael Fichman, DJ Apt One from Young Robots, actually got here about 40 minutes early, which gave Sam and I some great one on one (on one) time with him. We talked shop about breakfast and fast food: who makes the best fries (the consensus seemed to be Shake Shack, though I still think Five Guys and their massive sized portions offer the most bang for your buck), and where you can get decent Mexican food in the north (apparently Norristown is quite good for that). Fich and I also swapped some painkiller stories. I won’t spoil the surprise or befoul his good name, but he definitely got into more trouble when he got his wisdom teeth removed than I did.

DJ Apt One gives us an education in classic italo-disco

DJ Apt One gives us an education in classic italo-disco

Did I say Chris threw down one funk of set? That’s totally true, but Fitch freaking KILLED IT on the funk and grooves. Going back to the roots of electro and synth pop he hit all the buttons to keep me dancing, painkillers and all. His set of italo-disco was the coolest thing I’d heard all night, taking the cake for my favorite set so far. Even more impressive was that he had come from a 4 hour set earlier in the night and still had that kind of energy until 2 AM.

Sam from Blueshift gave me a tour of his Vestax board, showing me all the cool shit he’s programmed into it. Really gave me a new motivation to get a controller of my own and start experimenting. His set was much deeper than Apt One’s, a lot more chill, but no less awesome. Really good jams for 2-4 AM (the best time for jams).

For the last few hours of night the pain in my jaw had been getting steadily worse (basically from B-Rilla’s set until Blueshift’s began), but I had been holding off more painkillers (I’m afraid of addiction/constipation). Eventually I just said screw it and took another pill, lay down for a few minutes, and arose feeling refreshed and ready to enjoy Blueshift’s set.

Maybe it’s the sleep deprivation or maybe it’s the drugs but I’m feeling pretty good about the state of WKDU’s Electronic Music Marathon. With the first night behind us, I’m ready to face the rest of the weekend. I’ll be back on the blogz daily over the next few days, and be sure to follow us on Twitter @wkdu for updates, giveaways, and more.

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