Exec Files: Vol II
by WRMC Middlebury College on October 1, 2014
Posted in: Eclectic, Electronic, Hip Hop, Music, Pop, R&B / Soul, Rap, Rock, World
The WRMC executive board presents their favorite tracks, albums, artists, and/or music videos of the week, old and new, but mostly new.
ALBUM: Aphex Twin – Syro (2014)
Label: Warp // Genre: Electronic
Mr. Twin – no, sorry, Mr. James’s first record under the Aphex Twin moniker in 13 years! Holy cow. Anyway, given the nature of this album, that it was collected from tracks made who knows when, one could be forgiven for thinking that the Aphex bag of tricks has been recycled. But we must not overlook – the sheer length of “Xmas Evet10” and its beautiful ending percussion – what a glorious deep house track that must have happened! Or did it? And his fresh take on vocals, from smeared or near-extradiagetic sounds on “Windowlicker” and “Girl/Boy Song” to the heavily processed and exalted takes we find in “Minipops 67” and several others. “180db” is a pure stomper, sounding like Richard’s take on fellow British mystery electronic auteur Zomby‘s retro album Where Were U in ’92?, maintaining the bombast but adding some extra brain-tickle. The penultimate track, “S950tx16wasr10 (Earth Portal Mix)” sets a beautiful mood. What does the future hold for Richard D. James? Clearly, fatherhood is first and foremost in his mind. Enjoy! -Eric Hass, Tech Director
ALBUM: SBTRKT – Wonder Where We Land
SBTRKT has released a bunch of awesome singles off of his soon to drop album Wonder Where We Land. A couple of my personal favorites are “The Light” (feat. Denai Moore) and “Voices In My Head” (feat. A$AP Ferg). A$AP Ferg’s performance in “Voices In My Head” is one of his best yet and certainly worth a listen. -Aaron Slater, Concerts Committee
TRACK: Vince Staples – “Hands Up”
It’s hard not to see “Hands Up” as one of the defining songs of 2014—because of both its impeccable timeliness and just how freakin’ good it is. It’s always been easy for the intersection of hip-hop and current events to be preachy (Lupe Fiasco), corny (Macklemore) or shoved down your throat (Immortal Technique), and Vince Staples deftly sidesteps all those tropes to cut to the core of the issues at hand. The hard-nosed Long Beach MC’s first line, “North Division tryin’ to stop my blackness / I’m watchin’ for them badges when out in traffic” is jaw-droppingly blunt, and the rhymes only get better from thereon out. All of this is placed over eerily wailing police sirens that morph into a bouncy hook unlike any other song you’ve heard this year. Keep an eye out for Staples’ Def Jam debut, Hell Can Wait, dropping on October 7. -Charlie Dulik, Concerts Committee
TRACK: FKA twigs – “Pendulum”
RIYL: James Blake, The Weeknd, Beyoncé
It’s about time everyone got on the FKA twigs bandwagon, (if you’re not already there). The British musician and performer released her first full-length album called LP1 this August, and the result is a sensual, dark, and magnetic experiment somewhere at the fringe of R&B, electronic, and pop music. Check out her larger-than-life single, “Pendulum” -Julia Welsh, Programming Director
TRACK: “Raat ka Nasha Abhi Aank Se Gaya Nahi”
Part of the soundtrack of the 2001 Bollywood movie Asoka, this song promises arouse your senses. The movie traces the early life of emperor Aoska who ruled over most of the Indian subcontinent in 3rd century BCE. It goes from gory battle scenes to the embracing of Buddhism. The gist of “Raat ka Nasha” is that the enchantment of the night has not left the heroine’s eyes (oooooooooooh dam). Check out the video if you like watching women dancing on a bamboo boat of sorts. -Aashna Aggarwal, Business Director
TRACK: The Box Tops – “The Letter”
Hard not to chant along to the lyrics of The Box Tops‘ 1967 hit “The Letter” featured on the album The Letter/Neon Rainbow. Deep, rough vocals, constant hi-hat, and “aeroplane” sound effects have kept this one highly played in my library, even after nearly five decades. For further listening, ch-check out Joe Cocker‘s cover. -Halley Lamberson, General Manager
TRACK: Julian Casablancas + The Voidz – “Human Sadness”
Julian Casablancas has done a lot of growing up since his days as an indie Wunderkind in the early 2000s–and much to many fans’ chagrin: last year’s Comedown Machine was uncharacteristically polished for a band that was loved first and foremost for its devil-may-care attitude. But with five new collaborators in his company, Casablancas has managed to keep a hold on his youthful abandon that garnered him so many followers with 2001’s Is This It, all the while showcasing a confident musicianship and astute ear that the Strokes never quite perfected. His most recent effort, Tyranny, is as adventurous as it is ambitious. The eleven minute epic, “Human Sadness” takes cues from Casablancas’ 2013 collaboration with Daft Punk, opening with an atmospheric dissonance that quickly evolves into an irresistibly dance-y bass rift. Seven minutes in, the band whips out a guitar solo fit for Brian May. For a less-seasoned musician, the track could have easily come off as indulgent, pretentious even, but Casablancas pulls it off with a blasé flick of the hair sure to make any Strokes fan swoon. –Dylan Otterbein, Music Director
ALBUM: LVL UP – Hoodwink’d (2014)
Label: Double Double Whammy, Drowning In Sound // Genre: lo-fi slacker rock // RIYL: Porches., Frankie Cosmos, Spook Houses, Built to Spill, Weezer, J Mascis, Real Estate, Alex G, Conroy Blanc // Best Tracks: 8, 9, 7, 6, 5, 12, 4, 13, 14 // Grade: B+
LVL UP have been bopping around the New York DIY since the release of their all caps, in your face debut, SPACE BROTHERS, back in 2011. An impressively cohesive and catchy collection of demos and B-sides (available for free download on bandcamp!), SPACE BROTHERS showcased short songs with fun names like “BRO CHILLERS” and ” *_* “. While their debut was full of light hearted, hard hitting teen spirit, their most recent release, Hoodwink’d, arrives as a more thoughtful and deliberate package, and is their first release on an official label. LVL UP have shaved off some of their fuzz in favor of slower, sweeter and smarter songs in the vein of Double Double Whammy label-mates Porches. and Frankie Cosmos. As always, LVL UP’s lyrics are deadpan and delightfully straightforward. On the super short title track, Mike Caridi sings, “I think I need a soda and an order of fries / to get by“. Amen. Sonically, the band owes a lot to good ‘ol 90s lo-fi slacker rock, but then again, what *~*Brooklyn-based*~* band these days doesn’t. It’s all about the art of the sophisticated steal–digesting the old and synthesizing it into something sort of new and creative–pulling off a well executed hoodwink, one might say. -Kate Leib, Creative Director / Social Media Manager
- Halley Lamberson rules WRMC with an iron fist and hosts a show called Punk n’ Funk 9-11 PM on Wednesday nights.
- Eric Hass pushes buttons and makes noise Tuesday nights 10-11:30 PM on Kicks and Snares: The Reckoning.
- Dylan Otterbein thinks Paul Westerberg is god.
- Kate Leib likes bands that try hard to sound like they don’t try hard.
- Chad Clemens is MIA. No, not like the rapper, he’s actually missing. Let us know if you see him around.
- Charlie Dulik is strong.
- Aashna Aggarwal is not sari and she never will be.
- Julia Welsh loves lanyards.
- Aaron Slater is the frontman of an all-male Sleater-Kinney cover band called Slater-Kinney. They perform live on WRMC every Wednesday night from 11 PM-1 AM.
You can find these people plus the rest of the WRMC general board in the station lounge every Monday at 5 pm.