Author Archives: shannengaffney

The Most Slept-on Records of 2014

by Glasses // @NiceTryBill

image1 It’s Christmas time for the Western world: the time for folks with way too much white privilege to go out drinking in the streets while families go out and fill their voids with vapid consumerism. This is also the time for year-end lists, where savvy music listeners seek out top album countdowns that most fit their already set tastes in hopes of some vague form of reinforcement. In response to forgettable sad boys with guitars singing about marijuana cigarettes and aimless feelings, here is a brief list of the top 10 records that you slept on in 2014:


1. Battle Trance – Palace of Wind

Four tenor saxophones. Circular breathing musicians. All playing at once. Weathered jazz musician Travis Laplante (Little Women) woke up from a dream to assemble a quartet with three musicians he had never played with before and record an album based on spiritual meditation and eastern healing. The results are astounding. There is nothing quite like this record, the best way to describe it is picturing Terry Riley and Pan Sonic meeting each other outside of their local spiritual acupuncturist on a windy autumn morning. Rhythm and melody rise from obscurity and cacophony to form beautiful moments, only to be consumed by the noise once more in a matter of seconds. Palace of Wind is an experience, and it is not one to miss. 2. Giant Claw – Dark Web Vaporwave might have faded back into the vast ocean of the collective unconscious, but that has no bearing on the dark, moody beats of the new album from Giant Claw. Roland 808s fuse with echoes of public domain pop music you once overheard that time you found yourself lost in a shopping mall. At once exultant and foreboding, Dark Web challenges the listener to grow comfortable with its dance floor beats before tearing them away with samples from an all-too-familiar past. 3. Rind – Understudy Mastered by breakcore legend Lauren Bousfield (Nero’s Day at Disneyland, Strip Mall Seizures), Rind’s newest work lives up to its underground pedigree in every way. Eerie, hungry, and downright vicious are apt descriptions for Understudy’s raw, constantly undulating sound. Reminiscent of Karin Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray, Emperor God Queen of Mankind), Lee Ralva’s voice is a force to reckoned with, shapeshifting and surprising at every turn. 4. Ancient Astronaut – Ancient Astronaut A dance record for the end of days. Ancient Astronaut’s debut seamlessly blends noise, drone, and dance in a pleasant panoply of beats. Ancient Astronaut is also one of the newest members of Nicoals Jaar’s (Darkside) subscription based label, Other People, which has seen acclaim for its wide array of exciting new electronic artists. 5. LE1F – Hey The remaster of 2012 breakout hit “Wut” is worth the price of admission alone for this fire EP from Concord Academy/Wesleyan University trained dancer Khalif Diouf. The production hits harder, the punchlines cut deeper, and LE1F’s flow continues to evolve further into a force exceeding any rapper on the scene today. With a rumored full length for early 2015, this EP best serves as a reminder to keep LE1F on the radar as he continues to blow up. 6. Have a Nice Life – The Unnatural World Follow-up record to the 2008 masterpiece, Deathconciousness. Reuniting Dan Barrett (Giles Corey) and Tim Macuga (The Flowers of St. Francis, Nahvalr) for more sadass jams emanating from what sounds like a god forsaken cave at the end of the earth. World takes its listeners to a former youth mental asylum before launching them out of a sonic cannon into outer space with an all-out lo-fi assault on the listeners. Check out this track about how having emotional expectations is akin to the act of murder by being thrown out of a window below: 7. XiuXiu – Angel Guts: Red Classroom 8. Oneohtrix Point Never – Commissions Daniel Lopatin has had quite the busy year. Not content with touring in place of Death Grips on the Nine Inch Nails summer tour, Lopatin also opened a boiler room set for Hudson Mohawke & Lunice and performed a live rendition of an all-new soundtrack he composed for the classic anime, Magnetic Rose. Commissions is a short EP clocking it only three tracks, but the sweeping choral pads and deep drones are sure to win over any jaded electronic erudite. The record delivers stunning aural landscapes and panoramic vistas at every turn, sure to leave the listener with a tantalizing slice of oneness with the universe by the end of twenty minute run mark. 9. Swans –To Be Kind Not exactly slept on, but still demanding of a mention, To Be Kind is the second post-reunion record of industrial trailblazers, Swans. Annie Clark (St. Vincent) cameos throughout the record to provide powerful noodling behind Michael Gira’s intense performances depicting scenes of suffocation, death, and decay. Swans is a band that would cave roofs in while playing gigs in the 80s. The energy is still there, and the band shows no signs of slowing down their abrasive, glorious sound any time soon. Swans has been touring extensively behind their latest releases, so be sure to catch them if they are nearby, their live shows are known to be test-beds for improvisational new material. 10. Poemss – Poemss Aaron Funk (Venetian Snares) teamed up with Joanne Pollock for this mid-year collab project. Pollock whimsical style takes the forefront here, but is deeply enhanced by the more eccentric elements of the typically harsh Funk’s production. The result is a relaxed record that explores elements of 90s jungle in a noncommittal, non-confrontational manner, lovely for the winter time. is our current Music Director and hosts the weekly program Jet Set Radio 

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Adam B & Ultrasound Radio USA present: Our Top 20 albums of 2014 (in 140 characters or less)


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by Adam B. & Ultrasound Radio USA 

 

from bottom to top:

20) Godflesh – A World Lit Only by Fire

Forsaking industrial for doom with spectacular results.

19) Various Artists – 8-Bit Operators Enjoy the Science: Tribute to Depeche Mode

And I just can’t get seem to get enough of…

18) Tricky – Adrian Thaws

More than just a brotastic pat on his career’s butt. Beautiful arrangements and great guests (Bella Gotti!).

17) Squarepusher x Z-Machines – Music for Robots

Electro-jazz jams for 78 fingers, 22 arms, 46 chromosomes.

16) Johnny Cash  Out Among the Stars

Even lost recordings too glossy for his taste kick most other music’s ass.

15) The Glitch Mob  Love Death Immortality

Jason Statham’s nextTransporter screenplay run through Ableton and Reason.

14) Pattern is Movement – Pattern is Movement

A swirling cloud of earnest, complex music. Want them to be the next Kurt Vile/War on Drugs.

13) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Following Laura Jane Grace’s new normal = punk anger skillfully applied to autobiography.

12) clipping. – CLPPNG

Slides neatly into Death Grips’ industrial-rap void. When Sacramento closes a door, LA opens a window.

11) A Sunny Day in Glasgow – Sea When Absent

In the shadow of MBV’s ’13, standing along Slowdive in ’14, holding it down for neo-shoegaze.

10) Sun Kill Moon – Benji

But Mark Kozalek can still suck my cock.

9) Cocksure – TVMALSV

Chris Connelly rips open time and space, delivers us back to the days of RevCo’s Beers Steers & Queers.

8) Eno/Hyde – Someday World

Ambient legend + Underworld leader = artsy Afrobeat? I could get used to this new math…

7) Com Truise – Wave 1 EP

Dude makes 1980s beats/pads ripe like Jersey tomatoes.

6) Neneh Cherry – Blank Project

Dark horse contender for Comeback of the Year. Subtle, smart, jazzy electro-balladry.

5) Lee Bannon – Alternate/Endings

Sacramento fella born at the wrong time, assembling straight-up d’n’b to make the Metalheadz proud.

4) Todd Terje – It’s Album Time

Is it possible to improve on Daft Punk’s space disco formula from last year? All signs point to YES.

3) Run the Jewels – RTJ2

Holding the political, the personal, and the partying, this was the only rap album you needed in 2014.

2) Saintseneca – Dark Arc

Restores the creaky, creepy patina of indie-folk lost amid the pop stomp of the Lumineers and the Mumfords.

1) Aphex Twin – Syro

Having written this up in 84 places beforehand, just know this: It’s funky, it’s fun, and it’s constantly changing.

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“New” Matt’s top albums of 2014

by Matt Scottoline

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The following are the albums released this year which I spent the most (or at the very least, some) amount of time with. The list is numbered, however, if I’m being honest, after about #4 or #5, they all fall into the category of “albums where I’ve enjoyed songs but don’t really feel an affection for on any deeper level.”

To say I really loved 10 or however many albums this year would be untrue. But I also always find myself going back to albums from any given year and finding that love in places I wouldn’t have expected. I guess what I’m really trying to say is none of these lists matter that much. Or at least mine doesn’t. But you’ve already read this far, so it would be kind of silly to stop now, right?

 

So, here is my list for 2014. Some of these albums I really love (#1 and #2) others I’m very fond of (#3 and #4) and the rest had –at the very least– songs that I enjoyed.

 

1) Real Estate – Atlas

 

2) Parquet Courts – Sunbathing Animal

 

3) Ex Hex – Rips

 

4) Allo Darlin – We Come From The Same Place

 

5) Spoon - They Want My Soul

 

6) The Vaselines - V For Vaselines

 

7) Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make My Head Sing

 

8) Eno + Hyde - High Life

 

9) Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business

 

10) Eternal Summers - The Drop Beneath

 

11) Thurston Moore - The Best Day

 

12) Bob Mould - Beauty and Ruin

 

 

The New Matt Show is Tuesdays from 4-6pm.

 

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A Playlist from The Wytches

English three-piece surf-psych band The Wytches dropped the killer Annabel Dream Reader this August on Partisan Records, and stopped by at WKDU on November 21st while on the tail end of their US tour.

Check out their playlist below featuring Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Esperanza Spalding, Converge and more!

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Costume Contest Ends Tonight!

It’s not too late to enter our ‪#‎hallowkdu‬ costume contest! All you have to do (on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook) is tag us in your costume photos and use the above hashtag. Here’s an entry from our Personnel Director Maren!

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Prizes will include a WKDU T-shirt and comp cassette, this Cloud Nothings slip mat sticker & pin, and this Twin Peaks tour poster!

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Winners will be announced tonight so get on it!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

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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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