SHOW SPOTLIGHT: WRMC Automation

by on March 25, 2014

Posted in: Eclectic, Music, My Shows

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Have you ever wondered what’s playing on WRMC when no one’s on campus? Ever turned on your radio at 4 am and wondered why in god’s name someone is playing such a—dare I say it—“eclectic” playlist featuring Ricky Martin followed by Grimes followed by a Nigerian Funk song?

Odds are, if you’ve tuned in during either of these times, you were probably listening to WRMC automation, an expanding and contracting playlist of songs, station carts, and PSAs curated by past and present general managers and summer managers.  Automation fills the void whenever DJs aren’t in the studio, assuring that WRMC is broadcasting music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it’s a new song on rotation, an old classic, an obscure gem, or the unfortunate fluke of three Matchbox 20 songs in a row, you never know what you’re going to hear.  In spending many late nights doing work while listening to WRMC, I’ve heard the full range of the automation playlist, become way to familiar with the corny PSAs, and heard “Banshee Beat” more times than I could count.
Here are some highlights:

Cowboy Junkies – “Sweet Jane
Cowboy Junkies are a group of three siblings from Canada plus one other guy, and I think covering the Velvet Underground was the most success they ever had.  Instead of covering the more popular version Cowboy Junkies channel the mellow vibe of the Velvet Underground’s downtempo live cut from 1969, replacing Reed’s speak-singing rasp with soft female vocals, making “Sweet Jane” even sweeter than before.

Evenings – “Babe
“Babe” has been floating around the internet since 2010 when Nathan Broaddus began posting songs under the moniker Evenings, but was officially released last year on Yore, Broaddus’ beautiful full length album on the Friends of Friends label.  This is a great song to hear on automation at 4 am when you feel like no one else exists and Midd feels like a post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Bat For Lashes – “Laura” 
I heard this one way too many times working late in Johnson during the fall, but I can’t help but belt out “OOOOOOHHH LAURAAAA. You’re more than a superstar” every time it comes on the radio.  A great song, albeit a bit melodramatic and not a great pick me up during an all nighter if that’s what you’re looking for from automation.

Bastille feat. Ella – “No Angels (TLC vs The XX)”
Tune in to automation at the right time and you might just catch a conversation with Norman Bates straight out of Psycho. Stick it out and you’ll hear the building orchestration of The xx’s “Angels” paired with the familiar lyrics of “No Scrubs” by TLC sung by Bastille (the British band sometimes stylized as B∆STILLE–ugh) and Ella Eyre, an up and coming British singer/songwriter.  Somehow, Bastille manages to weave lines of secondhand audio samples from Psycho throughout the song to produce an eery yet catchy cover/mashup.  If you can’t get enough of   1990s/early 2000s throwbacks dappled with film quotes, check out Other People’s Heartache, Bastille’s 2012 mixtape of the like.

Jackson Scott –  “That Awful Sound
Based in Asheville, North Carolina, Jackson Scott would not have been out of place two decades ago in Athens, Georgia.  “That Awful Sound”, off Scott’s 2013 debut album Melbourne, channels Elephant 6 bands like The Gerbils, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Elf Power, continuing the tradition of 4-track minded bands.  The smoldering slacker anthem is complete with downtempo guitar hooks and barely audible lo-fi lyrics like; “guarantee, reality is killing me” and “this atmosphere is a little lame“.  Even on first listen this song already feels like a well-worn and washed out classic.

Moon Hooch – “Mega Tubes
WOMP WOMP WOMP WOMP. This is my favorite song on automation EVER.

Other automation all-stars:
Austra – “Lose It
Pallers – “Humdrum
Tanlines – “All of Me
Fang Island – “Daisy
Allo Darlin’ – “Tallulah
Big Troubles – “Sad Girls
Cloud Control – “Dojo Rising
Buke and Gase – “Houdini Crush
Julianna Barwick – “Prizewinning

Listen to the Spotify playlist here:

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You can catch automation:
This semester Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays 3-5 am, Thursdays 2:30-5 am, Saturdays 6-8 am, Sundays 4-5 am, fall break, winter break, spring break, for a hot second when DJs are transitioning between shows, and any other time there are no DJs in the studio.

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  • David

    Kate, great post, and great playlist, but almost none of the favorites I’ve come to know and (mostly) love from listening in the evenings, especially 10:00 PM on. Is this playlist, and archives of former playlists available?