The Week’s New Music Highlights

Joyride! from their Bandcamp page

Some of the best musicians from a year or two ago are coming back around.

Fred Thomas

Fred Thomas’s new song, “Brickwall,” is one of his best yet. If it sounds familiar, it may be from his fantastic 2015 shows. His album Changer follows up 2015’s amazing All Are Saved, and is out January 20, 2017 on Polyvinyl. More info can be found at the Fader

Continue reading “The Week’s New Music Highlights”

Meshuggah Is Coming To Tear Philly Apart


— by Ebonie Butler

What’s up, ‘KDU kids?  Ebonie from Metal & Coffee here. If you haven’t heard already, Sweden’s finest Meshuggah are set to stop by the Trocadero Theatre on November 4th to wreck havoc on your not-so-innocent eardrums. These extreme metalists have been around since 1987 so if you are a metalhead and have not heard of them, that’d be kind of strange. But for the not-so-familiar and generally willing to have their cherry obliterated… here’s the scoop.

Meshuggah just released their 8th full-length album, The Violent Sleep of Reason, on Nuclear Blast records and they remain closely honed into the intensity and chaos that alone pioneered the djent-ish standard of mainstream metal today.

The first album I heard by them was Catch Thirtythree (yeah, I know. Late to the party) and opening track ‘Autonomy Lost’ threw me into an instant love affair with machinic prog-metal.  

Not to mention that High On Fire is supporting them on this tour… a lineup that has caused many metalheads to climax simply off the thought.

So make sure to get your ticket for the show here and I promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

And listen into Metal & Coffee [+ other metal shows] for a ticket giveaway!

Punk Turns 40: The Buzzcocks at TLA

Maren Larsen

If the Buzzcocks were a person, that person would be right on schedule to hit its midlife crisis. It might buy a shiny car or quit its job and burn all its ties. Or maybe it would go on an international tour for its 40th birthday, just to prove it can still rock and rage.

Their most recent album, The Way, which premiered in May of 2014, contains “People Are Strange Machines”: a tune I would rate in their top ten. The opening track, “Keep On Believing,” has the kind of restless, unstoppable energy that only a bunch of perpetually angry, aging British punks could muster.

The Buzzcocks will be playing at Theater of the Living Arts Friday September 30, presented by yours truly and your fellow punks from WKDU. It’s a good venue for loud noise, and despite several rotations of band members and various breakups and reunions over the years, the Buzzcocks haven’t lost their good vibrations. I hope to see you there.

7 Reasons to Get Up and Go the New Alternative Music Festival


The New Alternative Music Festival (NAMF) is September 16-18 in Asbury Park, NJ. Running by Don Giovanni Records, NAMF is a one-time event meant to be an alternative to the obstacles and backwards thinking presented the music industry. The result is a diverse lineup spread across three days, with no overlapping set times.  It’s one of the most significant musical events of the past several of years. Continue reading “7 Reasons to Get Up and Go the New Alternative Music Festival”

New Music Roundup

I’ve been listening to a lot of good new releases lately.  Some are by bands I’ve known, and some by bands I’ve never listened to before. There are some albums, and some singles to get you ready for the fall. In case you haven’t been able to listen to my show (Mondays 7-830AM), here’s a digest of my favorite tunes right now:

New Bellows (Brooklyn) single is very different than Blue Breath, with a lot more synth, auto tune, and chaos. It took me a listen or two to warm up to it, but after seeing them shred on the big state at UT last month, I’m ready for what’s next.

Debut SOMNIA record How the Moon Shines on the Shit. It features Spoonboy (DC) & Erica from RVIVR (WA). I saw RVIVR a few weeks ago and they blew me away. I like Somnia recording even more.

The Cowboys are a band from Bloomington that I saw last night in a West Philly basement with Purple 7. They shared a lot of members, and have some 60s and Western undertones.

New Outer Spaces (Baltimore) record sounds like the sequel to The Execution of All Things. They released an EP a couple years ago on Salinas, and push forward on Don Giovanni Records.

There’s a new Krill (Boston) EP that they recorded before they broke up. It warms my heart.

And a super hot LVL UP (Brooklyn) jam that manages to one-up the rest of their catalog.

The new Martha (Durham, UK) album is fantastic! I don’t know when they’re returning to Philly but I hope they do soon and maybe I’ll just follow them around the country.

I slept on the new The So So Glos (Brooklyn) album a little bit but Chris Gethard said it was his favorite album of the year, and it truly is great. It makes me want to throw blueberries at the wall.

Permanent Body is a new band based in West Philly. They’re led by the man behind Ghost Light, one of my favorite bands I never got to see play.


Toilet Radio – an UPDATED Manifesto


By Esmail Hamidi


As FM radio began to advance technologically in the late 1960s, it was common for radio stations to invest in an FM license to augment their AM signal.

At the time, AM was the dominant force in commercial radio – FM was experimental, unproven and new. Its higher fidelity meant that it would be suitable for all kinds of music, not just loud wall-of-sound 45s. Also, at the time, it was really hard to fill a full 24/7 week of programming, because radio automation was limited to creepy, finicky electromechanical systems.

With the AM station serving as the primary revenue stream, programming on FM was often less of a concern for station management.  As a result, a lot of FM programming came out of the gate unencumbered by program directors, ratings, and other stifling nonsense. These new FM stations needed people to independently pick and play records, while tolerating late hours and little pay. With little oversight, these people had to be DJs, music historians, and entertainers. On the FM, they created freeform radio.

A radio format describes the typical “sound” of a station. Radio formats are defined inside the industry by radio station program directors to describe their audiences to prospective advertisers, not to describe genres or styles of music for the sake of art. When a station adopts a format, they take control away from the DJ, and formalize the process of picking music. It becomes less organic, less personal, and more commercial.

Freeform radio contrasts with the glossy inhumanity of commercial radio, and the fumbling ineptitude of some college radio. Freeform radio isn’t just the absence of a format: The idea of freeform radio rebels against any notion of what “should” be played, thumbs its nose at advertisers trying to quantify its audience, and places complete control in the hands of the DJ. He or she is your friend, playing records for you on your living room stereo. It’s a tasteful, intimate, trusting connection. They’re not barking at you about “today’s hottest music,” they’re not telling you about this Sweet New Product they just endorsed — they’re just hanging out and playing records. And that is…beautiful.

So where’s Toilet Radio come into this, you ask? My previous Toilet Radio Manifesto outlined the finer points of rediscovering the crappiest, cheesiest parts of the 1970s. As Nick and I have done more radio shows under this nom de guerre, they have led me to more revelations on what Toilet Radio is, and what I want Toilet Radio to be:

  1. An updated version of the classic freeform/progressive radio programs of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Think Joseph “Butterball” Tam­burro and Jocko Henderson on WDAS, Michael Tearson on WXPN and WMMR, or Alison “The Nightbird” Steele on WNEW. What would they play if they were my age in 2016? What would they find notable in today’s indie music slushpile, and in WKDU’s hulking vinyl library?
  2. Where Nick and I discover music new to us live on air, in real time. Sometimes we’ll play something only having heard a few seconds of it. Sometimes our guesses and risks pay off; sometimes they don’t. This is okay. We’re not just DJs – we’re music fans too, and discovering music is just plain fun. We’re also both just really busy guys, and it’s hard to find the time to bounce music off of each other. This is that time.
  3. A weekly, radio-based teleportation to an imaginary living room. This living room is outfitted with thick shag carpet, wood paneling, two turntables, a 10,000 watt soundsystem, and an assortment of ugly but comfortable chairs. On the walls, there are amateur oil paintings of Hall & Oates next to ratty, screen-printed posters from punk shows. You take a seat and sip whatever you’re drinking on a muggy Monday night.At 8 PM sharp, your friends Nick and Es drop the needle on a record. You haven’t heard it before, you may never hear it again, but damn, those 1970s studio musicians could play…. 

After a 9 month hiatus, Toilet Radio is back on WKDU tonight, June 27th, 2016, at 8 PM EST.