10 Songs That Make Me Cry

By Esmail Hamidi

So there’s this thing going around on Facebook where people post about 10 albums that make them cry. In the post, they tag a bunch of their music nerd friends, who do the same thing. Participants bare their soul on social media, everyone discovers a lil’ more music, it’s a good time.

I was recently nominated to do this by WKDU DJ Maren Larsen. In her post, she listed songs instead of albums. By doing this, she brought up a good point, and maybe I’m projecting here, but who wants to sit through an entire album, let alone sit through an entire album crying? Is any album consistently cry-worthy?

Like any good book or fine meal, an album is traditionally sequenced with introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and conclusion in mind. Musical intensity that may or may not provoke crying can occur during any of these parts of an album, but not all. A song that is cry-worthy may be on an album that is very much not. It is for this reason that I’ve opted to choose 10 songs, not albums, that make me cry.

These songs are in the order they occurred to me. I definitely wouldn’t play all of them on KDU, but they are all significant. Hold on to your hankies, fair readers.

1. Fuck Buttons – Sweet Love For Planet Earth (2008)

It’s hard to nail down why, but this is the first song that I thought of. I guess it might be attached to some old memories. Over this ten minute track, Fuck Buttons uses swampy electronics to build a hulking groove.

2. The Rolling Stones – Shine A Light (1972)

The penultimate track from the Stones’ drugged out, ambling, classic album: Exile on Main St.

Mick Jagger delivers a great vocal performance. True fact: Shine a Light was written about ex-Stones guitarist and 27 Club member Brian Jones’ worsening drug addictions in the late 60s. Cut with the Rolling Stones Mobile truck, a legendary thing among studio nerds and musicians alike.

3. Weekends – Camp Nowhere (2008)

The final track off Weekends’ first, self titled album. The coda features an oscillating snippet of the drummer yelling “Hey!” in a way that some may find annoying, but I interpret as exploding with emotion. It’s the musical equivalent of a thought loop, emerging from the background while life continues in the form of the duo bashing away on their gear.


4. The White Stripes – The Air Near My Fingers (2003)

“Life is so boring/it’s really got me snoring/wearing out the flooring in a cheap hotel”.

Jack White said that the album, 2003’s Elephant, was a commentary on “the death of the sweetheart” in American culture. In a New York Times interview, White elaborated, saying that “The sweetheart, the gentleman — it’s the same thing. These ideas seem to be in decline, and I hate it. You look at your average teenager with the body piercings and the tattoos. You have white kids going around talking in ghetto accents because they think that makes them hard. It’s so cool to be hard. We’re against that.”

I take this to mean that with this album, the Stripes rally against the lack of emotion in early-oughts American culture. Emotion can be good or bad, but is always powerful. This song is sniffle-enducingly powerful.

5. Jimi Hendrix – Bold As Love (1967)

The final track on Jimi’s sophomore effort Axis: Bold As Love.

The final “underwater” section guitar solo, featuring the first example of flanging on a studio recording, is incredible.

“My red is so confident that he flashes trophies of war, and ribbons of euphoria/Orange is young, full of daring, But very unsteady for the first go round”

6. Mumblr – Sober (2014)

The first time I saw Mumblr was under the Greys Ferry bridge, with my friend Nick. We talked to some Temple freshmen girls, drank out of red Solo cups, climbed on the abandoned rail bridge, and got really hurt in the dusty, dirty moshpit. With broken glass underfoot, surrounded by skateboard-swinging punks, huffing generator fumes, my mind went to a really beautiful place.

This song is on their upcoming album Full of Snakes, which comes out September 16th.

7. The Plugz – Reel Ten (1984)

This is off the soundtrack to Repo Man (not Repo Men), the 1984 film about Otto, a young Cali punk played by Emilio Estevez. There’s space travel, secret agents, and great music, often all in the same scene. The lesson to be learned here: when punks grab synthesizers, good things happen.

This track is surfy, spacey, eerie, and jubilant. Many chills to be had.

8. PILE – The Jones (2012) 

“tried to keep up by running in place/tried to keep my cool but all that blood went in my face/now i’m cold”. 

I could go on about PILE forever. They’re my favorite band you can bum a cigarette off of. Their KDU live session was awesome. Rick’s lyrics are about as abstract as you can get. That means they have a wide appeal, but are still cutting-edge intellectual.

My thoughts are racing as my body is transformed into a sweaty mosh alien, feeling the air of the Golden Tea House thicken with the essence of fifty other people having the same exact experience.

9. The Front Bottoms – Skeleton (2013)

“Who was I kidding? I can’t get past you/ You are the cops, you are my student loans”

It’s desperate and ragged, but chugs on and on, like a drunk kid making his way home. Drug abuse, feelin’ loose.

10. Double Dagger – Rearranging Digital Deck Chairs (2007) 

Double Dagger is special to me because they were more or less my introduction to basement music, waay back in 2009. Yeah. While this song was never one of their live favorites, it still holds significance because it was pretty much the first Double Dagger song with introspective, philosophical lyrics that are more thoughtful than pissed off. This song is the moment where Double Dagger ceases to be a joke band about graphic design (see also: this song), and becomes the most dangerous band in the land.

“It’s always a problem/when the weight of the world/it’s always a problem/is outweighed by the girl”

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Some observations about this list: 7 out of 10 bands on this list are post-2000. 2 are from Baltimore. 1 hails from Philadelphia. 5 are bands that I’ve seen live. 4 are bands that cease to exist. Take from this what you may.

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5 More Quick Hits from Ultrasound Radio USA

Last time I did this, I picked out five songs that were informing the beats and beeps you hear on Ultrasound Radio. This time? A few quick words about new and recent albums. Music that moves me becomes music that moves you:

  1. Cocksure, TVMALSV—Chris Connelly’s new Wax Trax!/Metropolis outfit picks right up where Revolting Cocks’ brand of intense, irreverent industrial music left off.
  2. Cabaret Voltaire, #7885 (Electropunk to Technopop 1978-1985)—Richard H. Kirk continues reissuing his electro group’s work, and this serves as a very good greatest-hits primer.
  3. clipping., CLPPNG—As sad as Death Grips’ disappearance was, this laptop-rap trio’s new album is a fine replacement. Dare I say they stole the recent Shabazz Palaces show?
  4. deadmau5, While (1<2)—Don’t let the name scare you. This deep double album is a restrained take on EDM’s bombast, embracing tinkling techno and dark ambient swooshes.
  5. The Bug, Angels & Devils—This British bass-music dude finally (for me) finds the right formula to back up aggressive, sinister dancehall rap.
 (Adam B and Ultrasound Radio USA are currently on hiatus through the summer term break.)

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Concert Review: Perfect Pussy + more at First Unitarian Church

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Perfect Pussy @ First Unitarian Church, August 28

by Carolyn Haynes

On Thursday August 28, The Love of Everything, Potty Mouth, Perfect Pussy, and Joanna Gruesome played a show full of raw, dominating sound. The four bands from Western Massachusetts, Brooklyn, Chicago, Cardiff, and England played their third night of tour at the First Unitarian Church. The opener, Joan of Arc’s Bobby Burg began his set as The Love of Everything with a mix of catchy, lo-fi punk, dream pop. A solo act, Burg presented an interesting and inviting segue between the slow crawl of show goers filtering in and the high energy acts that were to follow. With a technical malfunction quickly overcome in the beginning of their set and a few minor timing issues, Potty Mouth played their way through fan classics (from Bad Bad, to Sun Damage, to Hell Bent) and a few new, well received songs.

With a new split coming out this fall on Slumberland/Captured Tracks/Fortuna Pop, Perfect Pussy and Joanna Gruesome made a great closing duo. Both bands had the audience screaming and thrashing along. In good taste, Alanna McArdle made an announcement before their set to have fun but don’t get out of hand. From the cheers that followed, the crowd happily obliged. As a swarm of sweaty, overheated show-goers heaved themselves up the stairs of the basement, the overall atmosphere was one of a Thursday night well spent.

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Lil Sean gets his very own day @ PhilaMOCA

Lil Sean is probably the most beloved 12 year old in Philadelphia.

He’s the unofficial mayor of the Eraserhood and now even has his own mural to prove it.

The mural, prominently displayed on the exterior of PhilaMOCA at Ridge Avenue and Spring Garden, was only one part of the festivities for Lil Sean Day, which also included the premier of his film and a selection of his favorite local bands.

Lil Sean

Lil Sean humbly addressing his supporters at PhilaMOCA after his mural was unveiled.

So how exactly does a 12 year old go about getting themselves their own day?

Sean has been a fixture in the neighborhood for years – he can usually be found hanging out around PhilaMOCA, saying hello to passersby, and doling out fist bumps and signature handshakes to his many friends. I remember when I was finally cool enough to get a fist bump from Sean – it felt like I had earned my citizenship to the neighborhood.

Bigups to PhilaMOCA for continually providing unique and quality programming, and putting on such a solid day.

While you’re waiting around for the 2nd annual Lil Sean Day, be sure to go check out the amazing mural done by artist Karli Cox (who also plays Sean’s love interest in his film – WE SEE YOU, SEAN).

Dr. Plotkin and Sean

Dr. Plotkin, friend and former neighbor to Sean, poses with the young icon and his freshly unveiled mural.

 

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2014 CMJ Nominations are Open!

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Are you a person involved with CMJ/College radio? Do you like us at all? (just a little?) Then consider nominating us for the 2014 awards! Whether it’s “Best use of limited resources,” “Most creative programming,” or “most likely to inappropriately hit on me,” we’ve got to qualify for something that last one, at least.

Additionally, and more excitingly, the 2014 artist line-up for the festival has just been announced, and includes the Wytches, 2:54, Juan Wuaters, Porches, Saint Pepsi, and even GERARD WAY among others!

We’re #stoked.

Gerard

See you there! 

 

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In-Studio: Clipping. Live at WKDU 8/22/14

Before Clipping.’s Union Transfer gig with Shabazz Palaces last week, the LA-based trio came into the studio for a live session with us. The monster set includes seven songs separated into two tracks on our bandcamp site.

The session will be available to download for one week, and will stay streaming afterwards. Listen below!

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In-Studio: Tweens Live at WKDU (6/13/14)

Tweens came into the studio for a live session with us in June, and played five songs including a new unreleased track! Listen & download below.

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