Author Archives: shannengaffney

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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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
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– 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
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– 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!
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Get Stoked for the Electronic Music Marathon!

The first round of DJs have been announced:

See here to donate/enter.

wiig

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Another 10 Songs that Make Us Cry

Happy first week of classes!

Happy first week of classes!

by Shannen Gaffney

As a last little hurrah as music director, before the reigns are handed off to DJ Glasses, I decided to follow DJ Esmail’s lead in listing ten songs that make me cry. It’s the perfect time to listen to this kind of playlist anyway, Back 2 School time!  I would also like to just clarify that there are many, many more than ten songs that could make me cry under the right circumstances. Here’s a fraction of those.

1. Built to Spill – “Carry the Zero” (1999)

I nearly failed Math 101. But carrying a zero is a simple enough concept, even for me, to compare to a relationship gone wrong – and BTS do it just right. Those opening chords alone just strike a nerve. This song comes from my favorite album of all time, Keep it Like a Secret. If you don’t know them and need an album to start with, listen to that one!

2. Elliott Smith – “Between the Bars” (1997)

We’re going there. There’s loads of reasons why this song makes me cry from the lyrical content, delicate vocal timbre, and Elliott Smith’s story in general. Though many of his songs are, this song in particular is clearly about the struggle of overcoming addiction, and it’s utterly heartbreaking, as is everything this man is associated with.
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3. Jose Gonzalez – “Heartbeats” (2006)

This song was originally by The Knife, which is a much livelier, synthtastic (yup) version, but the way Gonzalez reforms this song with nothin’ but guitar arpeggios fits perfectly with its solemn lyrics and theme of broken promises. (This song works great on a sleep playlist.)

4. Sinéad O’Connor – “Nothing Compares 2 U” (1990)

I couldn’t leave this classic song out. Sinéad is an artist and activist and a heroine despite any mental breakdowns or illnesses she’s experienced, and this song is indisputably heartbreaking. Even Miley Cyrus was inspired by this music video, and tried to pay homage to it with “Wrecking Ball,” which, was not as good.

5. Ben Kweller – “Old Hat” (2009)

I grew up listening to every Ben Kweller album. His older songs stick with me the most, but this one off 2009′s Changing Horses is a beautiful tune about avoiding the pitfalls of boredom in a long-term relationship featuring a giddy little piano line and heartstring-pulling lap steel guitar.

6. The Cure – “A Night Like This” (1985)

In 2014 there’s almost nothing more existential and sad than watching the Cure live. They aren’t the performers they once were, but in 1985 they were #sad for other reasons. Those perfectly timed and striking opening chords paired with in-your-face hollow drums open up the song with a void that rips through you, and just keeps pulling. Pure goth sadness.

7. Waxahatchee – “Catfish,” “Lively,” “Blue Pt. II” (2012-2014)
(Also P.S. Eliot’s “Diana”)

It’s scientifically impossible to pick just one Waxhatchee song that “makes you cry.” I had to include all of these, and even one from P.S. Eliot (Katie and Allison Crutchfield’s older band; you won’t be sorry). I’m assuming you’re having a horrible day since you clicked on this article, so wallow in these intimate tearjerker songs (and all of American Weekend) and you may feel a little better.

8. Kevin Devine – “Ballgame” (2003)

It only takes three chords to make a great song and Kevin Devine may just be the king of this rule. With three simple chords, “Ballgame” explores alcoholism, war, regret and growth in one of his most poignant songs ever written.

9. Drake – “From Time” ft. Jhene Aiko (2013)

I’m putting a Drake song on here. Sue me. Though I’ll admit a good portion of his lyrics are a bit elementary, tunes like “Furthest Thing,” and “Pound Cake” have that yearning, apologetic quality that we can all relate to – and an aural emptiness Drake cultivates extremely well. Aiko’s beautifully fragile voice carries this one, and Drake’s reflections on his relationship with his father add to the drama.

10. Bright Eyes – “Poison Oak” (2005)

Bright Eyes is up there with Waxahatchee in that the whole discography is emotional as hell. Oberst is a known existentialist, of course, his effective and assured recipe being a simple song structure, steady acoustic guitar and a philosophical debate, the piercing lyric in this one: “I’m glad you got away, but I’m still stuck out here, my clothes are soaking wet from your brother’s tears.”

CHARLIEBROWN

Listen to more cry-worthy jams on Shannen’s Rock Bottom Radio, Wednesdays at 2pm.

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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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