MEET THE EXEC BOARD – JEFF HOLLAND (’19)
by Jeffrey Holland on July 21, 2018
Posted in: exec
Sup radio freaks. I’m Jeff, your programming director for next fall and co-general manager with Maddy in the spring. This summer I’m living and working in Brooklyn. I spend part of the week interning at music promotion company Terrorbird Media, where I perform office tasks with hip Brooklynites while internally crying to Big Thief; and the other part of the week at freeform radio station WFMU, where I stuff t-shirts into envelopes, and sometimes indie rock stars walk in unannounced. I’m super psyched to work with Maddy, the rest of next year’s exec, and all of you wonderful DJs at our luscious radio station. Stay tuned for more “Meet the exec board” blog posts in the coming days and weeks.
Let me tell you about some tracks I’ve been digging. Check out the full playlist at the bottom; it flows pretty well, I think.
Superorganism – Nobody Cares
Superorganism is an eight-piece pop band with members from all over the world. Their 2018 self-titled debut showcases their knack for playful, bouncy electro-pop songs with unpredictable twists and a uniquely modern feel. The psychedelic production on this song, with its processed country guitar, multilayered backing vocals, driving kick, and insistent sneezing sample, is a great example of the band’s creative spontaneity and humor.
Joan of Arc – Vertigo
On Joan of Arc’s latest, 1984, Melina Ausikaitis’s strikingly expressive, rootsy vocals are bathed in ambient and experimental instrumentals, resulting in an album that keeps you constantly in a tug-of-war between worlds. To me, this song feels like being pushed into a pool in slow motion; feeling the surface of the water smack against your body, then letting bliss wash over you as you sink into the cool blue chlorine.
SOPHIE – Ponyboy
On this killer track from SOPHIE’s full-length debut, OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES, a hard kick drum and a buzzing monotone synth bass synchronically hammer out the same rhythm over and over again, mirroring the spoken phrase: “Pony / boy / he’s a little pony boy.” It zigzags in the space between playful kink and psychological terror, forcing the listener to ponder the meaning of those boundaries, and how power dynamics and violence can come into play in the bedroom.
Mouse on Mars feat. Amanda Blank and Zach Condon – Foul Mouth
Celebrated German electronic duo Mouse on Mars return in 2018 with Dimensional People, a maximalist tour de force filled with collaborators from all over the music world. On this song, vocal samples from Zach Condon (of the band Beirut) are chopped up, multiplied, and arpeggiated, giving a sense of wonder and urgency to the track. Meanwhile, rapper Amanda Blank delivers a casual verse, her voice layered at different pitches.
People Like Us, Matmos, Wobbly – Dolly Pardon
Four beloved experimental producers – People Like Us, Wobbly, and the duo Matmos – came together in 2002 to create a live performance based on a country/western theme. It was recorded and is now being reissued in 2018. The result is Wide Open Spaces, an absolutely bonkers recording, full of lushly detailed sonic tapestries as well as outrageously funny moments. On this track, a wistful country ballad emerges from a clamor of glitched-out samples, pedal steel guitar, and pure spontaneity.
Oneohtrix Point Never – We’ll Take It
Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) is known for his texturally harsh, thematically morbid sound collages. His soundtrack to the gritty 2017 crime film Good Time underlined the film’s fearful intensity and paranoia. This year he returns with Age Of, a sample collage opera that once again explores themes of paranoia and terror with harsh noise, ominous synths, and lots of processed samples. This track sounds to me like a mad scientist constructing a gigantic contraption for purposes of unspeakable horror.
Death Grips – Hahaha
Death Grips have a reputation for being a harsh, angry industrial-punk-rap group, earning approval from critics and confused horror from many audiences. But I think people take them too seriously and pigeonhole them too quickly. Death Grips don’t get enough credit for their sense of humor, spontaneity, and fun. That spontaneity reigns more than anything on their new album Year of the Snitch. This track’s oddball production, with Zach Hill’s ever-manic percussion and Andy Morin’s ever-unpredictable sampling, provides an appropriate backdrop for MC Ride’s absurd lyrics.
Container – Drain
I like music that combines catchy rhythms and melodic hooks with harsh textures, dissonance, and weirdness. Thus, I’ve been jamming the new album from Rhode Island techno producer Ren Schofield (Container). I like the way this melody jumps around maniacally but also goes nowhere, while the rhythm sounds like a malfunctioning robot going haywire on an assembly line. It’s just the right combination of insanity and consistency.
Eartheater – Not Worried
This drifting composition, from Alexandra Drewchin’s (Eartheater) stunning new album Irisiri, is filled with strings, piano, light percussion, various samples, and mesmerizing, drowsy vocals. It wanders from one musical phrase to the next with a sagging looseness, giving the impression of walking through a world of ghosts, dreams, and anxious imagination. “Not worried about time / Not worried about my clock,” Drewchin chants, as if beckoning us further into a world beyond time and space.
Kate NV – дуб OAK
The best minimalist pieces, such as this one off Kate Shilonosova’s (Kate NV) new album для FOR, are hypnotically beautiful. This track begins with a repeating vibraphone melody, upon which layers of other elements build gradually. The soundscape grows slowly but surely, eventually becoming large and majestic like a great oak tree. See what I did there?
Eric Benoit – Black Currant
Eric Benoit is like a Swiss army knife: he’s got about 40 different kinds of musical talents, and he can use them in hundreds of different ways. His voice can be smooth, gentle and tranquil, or it can be powerful and desperate. His songs can be introspective and ambient, or they can be hard-hitting dark dance ragers. This versatility especially shines on his latest EP, Black Currant. This track, with its detuned synths, uncertain bassline and jittery breakbeat, foregrounds the emotional vulnerability of the lyrics while also giving a slippery and mysterious aura. Stay tuned for another EP from Benoit coming in August.
Park Jiha – Sounds Heard From The Moon
Ambient? Jazz? Korean folk music? These are some of the partially accurate but completely reductive genre labels that have been lobbed at Park Jiha’s new album Communion. Park is a complexly talented composer who uses the instruments at her disposal, both Korean and western, to create powerful, meditative music. On this track, as Park’s yanggeum (a kind of hammered dulcimer) gradually intensifies, we hear more and more of its intricate timbre. We zero in on the faraway transmissions, the “sounds heard from the moon.”
Want to listen to them all? Here’s the playlist!