We’re giving away a pair of weekend passes to Shaky Knees Fest! Give us a follow and an RT on Twitter to be entered to win! No purchase necessary. Winners will be chosen on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. Good luck!
We’re giving away a pair of weekend passes to Shaky Knees Fest! Give us a follow and an RT on Twitter to be entered to win! No purchase necessary. Winners will be chosen on Monday, May 2nd, 2016 at 5:00 PM EST. Good luck!
We are incredibly excited to partner with Slingshot Festival this year to present Angel Olsen and New Madrid!
As part of our partnership, we’re giving away passes to our sponsored shows and 3-day festival passes! Stay updated on our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram and on 90.5 FM to find out when and how and we’ll be giving them way. A tweet, an Instagram post, or maybe just even a plain ol’ call into the station during your favorite specialty shows – we’ll keep you updated on our social media! Deadline for any and all entries is by 5pm EST on April 1, 2016, by which point we will have chosen and directly contact all of our winners. Anyone is eligible.
On Friday, Jan. 29, I was given the opportunity to sit down with the Atlanta based rock trio Kick The Robot before their show at the Caledonia Lounge. Upon entering the shoebox venue a few hours before their show, I was greeted by Dan, bass and vocals, Dylan, drums and vocals, and Jesse, guitar and vocals, finishing up their sound check.
I was first introduced to Kick The Robot on Collective Soul’s “See What You Started By Continuing” tour when the 90’s classic rock band invited Kick The Robot to open for them for their southeastern run. After completing their tour, the trio of best friends immediately went to work on their new album, “Black Magic Radio Static”. Gearing up for the release of their second baby, the group is excited for new material, updated sound, and expanding their audience.
CFN: So you’re working on a new album I hear? It’s been almost 3 years since your last one. So this is much anticipated.
Dan: Yeah, “Black Magic Radio Static.” It’s o-fficial.
Dylan: I guess we can officially say the name now. We just finished tracking the record and we are just getting it ready to be sent out and mixed and everything.
CFN: Awesome, yeah, I noticed on your Instagram and Twitter that you guys have been cranking out the video shoots and photo shoots in preparation for the release.
Dylan: Yeah we are gearing up for it and I think people are going to be really stoked about it. It’s definitely a step up from our last thing.
CFN: Yeah, you guys were young when you released your first album, around 17. So do you think this one sort of shows how you’ve grown and matured as artists?
Everyone: Yeah, we hope so!
Dan: We hope it’s well received, yeah. We feel really good about it. The music is just –yeah—since the first record we’ve aged like four, three or for years?
Dylan: Yeah since we wrote the songs at least. Actually, earlier than that because we wrote a lot of the earlier songs while we were still in high school. So it took us a while to get the first record done because we were in high school and had no money. So we had to wait to do those songs. It’s funny, because when this record comes out, we will already be looking for the next thing to do. So I think it’s a good thing, you know. We don’t want to be stale and we don’t want to be in the same place every time. So it’s interesting that the crowd is going to pick up this record and it’s going to be the snapshot of a time that we’ve already past.
Jesse: It’s like once the album comes out, we’re past that moment.
Dylan: It’s the strangest thing. For the band, the record is the last part of that experience. Like oh, we’ve written, we’ve finished, we’ve recorded, and then now you perform it. But that’s the last part of everything.
Dan: And then when that first person takes the CD home, that is the first time they’ve heard it. And we’ve heard it like 2 million times, you know? And every little part.
CFN: Then I can only imagine how excited you guys are for this release. I mean it has been years since your first album came out, and so you have been pretty much playing what’s on that album along with a few new singles here in this last leg before “Black Static”, right?
Dylan: Yeah! There are a few tracks that the fans haven’t heard yet. We’ve purposefully left out some stuff to give them something new. Like our solid fans that are at every show, they know the new tracks that we have played, but even then, I think they are excited to hear the new stuff and take them home and here a different, sonically, different than the live experience. Because in a live environment, there’s so much more energy going on. And then with the record, you have to kind of simulate that –making sure the energy is there.
Dan: Which I feel like we captured well. It’s hard though because with a recording, you can back it up and play bits and bits over and over. You can’t exactly do that live, you know, like, “Hey, stop really quick, go back to that one spot. I want to hear exactly what you did there.”
CFN: I have noticed that there is a big push from you guys on supporting live music. Why is that so important for you?
Dylan: Well for us, we love the old stuff. Like ‘60s and ‘70s stuff. And EDM artists have like these massive laser shows –
Dan: Which I wish we had, those are so cool!
Dylan: Yeah! But we don’t have all of that, so we have to replicate that energy with each show. Like we are playing a gig like this at Caledonia, it is a super small intimate venue. But we have to keep that energy. It’s like when we were kids, we would tell each other “We have to play like we are playing in an arena.”
Dan: It’s always been whether there’s 2 people or 2 thousand, you play the same show with the same energy each time. There’s been times where there’s like 4 people.
Jesse: Yeah, like when we first started and there was only 4 people, we were like, “Oh, fuck that.”
Dan: Yeah, but now it’s like, “Hey guys, how’s it going? Are you having a good time? Alright let’s go onto the next song.” And you just play like there’s a million people in front of you.
CFN: So now that you established yourselves and the “jitters” of being a new band have sort of dissipated, does it not really matter how many people are in the audience, or is it just easier for you to enjoy yourselves while you’re onstage now?
Jesse: I think it’s definitely the second one. We have a good time doing it and before when we were kids, we took it a little too seriously. I mean, you’re kids. You want to be serious. You want to be rock stars. I think we’ve embraced the not-so-serious side of it and that definitely helps us just loosen up for the entirety of the show. We laugh a lot more now.
Dan: Yeah, like if something goes wrong on stage, they’re the butt of the joke for the next 30 seconds. The other two jam out while the third one takes care of it. We just laugh it off.
Dylan: We just love being on stage with each other. It’s freaking awesome. I think now with all of us, like you said, we’ve gotten past that part and now we can just have fun, and these people are having fun. People respond to authenticity. While, we aren’t the best players out there any of us will admit to that, our audience likes how authentic we are. They can tell that we enjoy what we are doing.
Jesse: The audience responds to our energy and we respond to theirs.
Dan: In the words of Nirvana, we are playing catch with our energy.
CFN: So you toured with Collective Soul for their southeastern run. What was that like? I know you guys said you dig the old classic rock, even though they are more 90’s, they’re considered classic.
Dan: Oh yeah, well we all grew up with them. Me, you, them. I mean when I was a 2-year-old baby my parents were jamming to “Shine” and “December”. For it to come full circle is incredible. For me and my parents. We’ve had talks where we’ve said that at no moment did we ever see this coming.
Dylan: It was a fantastic experience. We learned a lot. This was our first actual tour. The experience of being out there for two weeks was really surreal. I remember when we were about to go out for the first time and I was shaking in my boots –like shitting myself.
Dan: Oh that’s nice. I never smelt it in the van.
Dylan: Oh yeah. It was crazy because like the first night of the tour at the House of Blues in Orlando, the playbills didn’t mention that there was going to be an opening band. So we had people coming up to us after the show saying, “Yeah, I had my back turned to you for the first couple of notes, but then immediately turned around and was focused for the whole time.” Night after night people were digging it. We had no clue that we were going to have that much impact to that audience.
Jesse: You don’t know if you’re going to be palatable to that audience. Soul is kind of a classic thing, but it’s not a ‘60s-‘70s kind of classic.
Dylan: Like yeah we are completely different sonically than Collective Soul. But we somehow worked well together. The guys were some of the nicest people we’ve met, and Jesse even got an amp from Ed Roland out of it.
Dan: Playing for those huge crowds really stuck with us and having that experience definitely helped make us more comfortable on stage. It was incredible
Dylan: Yeah it really gave us a taste –you know, this is what it’s like! It was great! We were able to play all three nights with them at Ed’s charity show too. They really kept us under their wing. Incredible. There was a thing on their van that said, “If this is as good as it gets, at least it got this good.” That’s definitely how we feel.
Dan: Yeah, and you never know who is in the audience.
CFN: Like Elton John?
Jesse: Yeah! We were playing at this dive bar one night. And we looked at each other and we were like “Okay guys, this is a throw away show so just play it like an arena”. And one of the few people in the audience was good friends with Elton John and was like “Can I send this video to my friend?” That friend ended up being Elton John.
Dylan: Yeah, random little bar that we got pushed back on with our time slot. Then Jess is getting a call a few days later. It was all a dream.
Dan: I walked into Elton’s place and just said ahh [imitates church choir]
Jesse: It was just an overwhelming feeling of wealth as you walked in. The place was like an art museum.
CFN: What did you take away from that experience? Did Elton provide any sort of advice that circles in the back of your mind?
Dylan: Man, actually no one has ever asked that.
Dan: I mean we got a direct command.
Dylan: Yeah, like Jess with that guitar. We were just talking about some gear that we really wanted. [looking to Jesse] Why don’t you tell it, it’s your fucking life.
Jesse: Yeah, like he said. I must have talked a pretty good game about the guitar I wanted. Elton just leaves with no words. He comes back, slaps a thousand dollars and says, exact words, “Get that guitar and go write some fucking songs.”
Dylan: He just told us to keep writing. That has really stuck with us. It has steered us away from bad deals that are trying to change us. We want to be authentic. If our first record can put us in Elton John’s living room—
Jesse: Let’s wait and see where this next record will take us.
Dylan: Yeah like I’m so excited. Some of our songs have some really somber notes to them on this record, but their melodies are fun as shit. You’re going to have a really awesome time listening to it.
Jesse: We try to bring that emotion with out being so serious.
Dan: Like yeah, man, cheer the fuck up.
Dylan: I know that whenever we are writing, we live for that moment where an audience member connects so hard with one line.
CFN: Yeah, like let’s see how many emotions we can cram into 3 minutes and 50 seconds.
Dylan: Yeah! Exactly! And that moment comes for people at different times. Each song means something different to everyone.
Dan: The song’s meaning changes with you. It evolves with you.
CFN: Alright and as a closing question to sort of lighten things before you hit the stage. If you were on death row—
Everyone: Oh, God. A lightener, huh?
CFN: Just hear me out. You’re on death row, and you have one last meal. It can be anything. What is it?
Jesse: Ohhhhhh. Steak. Fucking Steak.
Dan: I’m surprised you didn’t say Taco Bell.
Jesse: Well it’s my last meal. If I wanted to go out with diarrhea –
Dan: No you should! And just leave it on the chair for them to clean up.
Jesse: Okay fine, a steak taco.
Dan: There’s this really kick ass Cuban sandwich at this restaurant in Lawrenceville that changed my life. The first bite, I get chills.
Dylan: My uncle actually runs a super good restaurant in New Orleans. So really anything on that menu. You’ll take one bite and you’re like “I didn’t know I could experience these flavors!” So that would be it.
“Black Static Radio Magic” is slated to release this spring, and Kick The Robot has a few more shows lined up in Atlanta in February. It was truly a pleasure to sit down with this group of musicians who sleep and breathe their craft. They are a breath of fresh air to the rock scene, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Kick The Robot.
The undying question: What is the ticket to success? How can I make it big? I’ve only got a film/journalism/music production/any other art degree. Arts students are the epitome of the digital age’s starving artist and for good reason –we don’t have a detailed, step-by-step method to a secure job, unlike our S.T.E.M. and pre-law comrades. No matter, we are arts students. We thrive off of unique ways of going about things. Allow me to introduce you to arguably the biggest independent film festival in the U.S: Sundance Film Festival.
Nestled in the quaint town of Park City, Utah, the festival was built on the idea of independence. Independent films, that is. The festival features films made outside of the Hollywood, big business, one-for-the-money realm for a refreshing take on the passion and the art of film. Because isn’t that what it’s all about? We aren’t pursuing –insert art major here—for the sake of stability and monetary gain. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t have the best of both worlds.
The film festival platform is the perfect playing field for art grads for the very reason that film is an all inclusive medium. Depending on your interest, whether it’s music, graphic design, marketing, art direction, or even –gasp—filmmaking, a film cannot operate without each of these components along with several others.
Fast forward to the completion of post production on your film that you were a part of, now what? Ride the festival circuit. Several festivals across this great nation accept submissions from students and beginners, and some are even geared specifically for this age bracket, such as: Delta Moon Student Film Festival and The Shortie Awards.
Film festivals get your film and name out there for public viewing. You never know who is going to be sitting in that audience seat and who believes your set dressing is a work of art or your soundtrack selection skills are needed on the team of some major elite/executive/CEO/producer. You simply never know.
This past summer I worked on a film entitled “The Intervention” as the key set production assistant. I got to work with an incredible cast and crew for an entire month seeing a range of talents and skills working together like a well-oiled machine. On Jan. 26, that film’s world premier was at Sundance Film Festival. Nothing beats seeing your name roll in the credits on a major motion picture. Two days later, the film’s worldwide rights were signed over to Paramount Studios for $2.5 million dollars.
Sundance Film Festival is the end all be all of independent film festivals in this country, but that does not mean that your submission is far-fetched or wont get in. Simply attending film festivals could also be what you need to get your foot in the door and compile your team. By attending, you can meet with producers, filmmakers, or just experienced film lovers who would be willing to steer you in the right direction or partner with you on a project. Film festivals provide an avenue of connections that could be the launching pad for your career that you never saw coming. Experience and exposure open doors. Consider this as an answer to your elder relatives’ questions regarding what you are going to do with your film degree.
It just takes one film to be launched into success and have the entire county buzzing.
Hey guys! After collecting top ten lists from WUOG staffers and DJs, an editorial board of current music directors Brett and Trevor, current local music director Jonny, incoming music directors Camilla (and Jonny again) and incoming local music director Frances tallied the votes and created the WUOG top list. The list reflects what people at the station liked the most this year. The top ten each got their own write-up and the full top 50 list is at the bottom.
Modern Baseball – The Perfect Cast
To whet the musical appetite of fans, Modern Baseball released the surprise EP The Perfect Cast last month. The pop-punk group is set to release their third LP, Holy Ghost sometime next year. The new EP feature three previously released singles (The Trash Particle, Revenge of the Nameless Stranger, and Alpha Kappa Fall of Troy the Movie Part Deux). As an album, The Perfect Cast is a comfortable bridge between Sports and You’re Gonna Miss It All. In comparison to past releases, the instrumentals tend to have a wider sound on this EP with double-tracking guitar and noisier drums. The lyrics are as witty and painfully honest as usual, keeping the appeal of MoBo’s music. “The Thrash Particle” is a treasure off this EP, with a slow and quiet start before breaking into an emo-punk energy, all while delivering a painful narrative in the lyrics. Off all the tracks, “The Waterboy Returns” sounds most like MoBo’s “early period” with an explosion of full-band chaos for the chorus. “The Waterboy Returns” also has incredible lyrics about singer Brendan Luken’s most recent struggles. “And Beyond” starts off with a gaffe on the vocals, but then floats into a dreamy guitar part. As usual, Modern Baseball’s release has a nervous energy and addicting punk sound, making their upcoming LP even more exciting.
Sports – All of Something
All Of Something, the sophomore full length release from indie rock act SPORTS, features a collection of jaunty pop-serving tracks that are sugary in texture, but bitter in lyricism. Vocalist Carmen Perry brings natural and unaffected vocals to the instrumentation, exploring themes of approaching maturity, taking responsibility, finding a purpose, and other trials of early adulthood with a comforting vocal inflection that makes the music inviting and danceable without sacrificing urgency, engaging the listener with wide range, addicting vocal melodies and a fast-paced backing. These tracks are short, namely one to two minutes, which only does more to serve the linear, verse-based form that the band approaches , offering an advising message or self-expression that makes these tracks substantial while remaining catchy. Combining the raw rhythm guitars and fast-paced drum patterns of punk with the melodic leads and vocal tonalities of indie rock and indie pop, SPORTS create a relatively independent sound for their field, and encourage a catchy, expressive atmosphere that will have anyone tuning in on their feet dancing, and learning about Carmen at the same time.
The Moonlandingz – Expanded EP
Sean Lennon, Lias Saoudi and Saul Adamczewski (Fat White Family), Charlotte Kemp Muhl (The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger), and members from the avant-garde group the Eccentronic Research Council have teamed up to create psychedelic analog-synth music on the latest Moonlandingz release. The group pulls most of their electronic instrumentation from their extensive collective of old synths, including some from Pink Floyd and old EMS recordings. It can be poppy in songs like “Sweet Saturn Mine” and more experimental in the shorter synth based interludes. “Blow Football with J. Carpenter” is a nice instrumental combination of both. This release is spacey and dreamy, and its spooky synths create an interesting avant-garde album.
Jeffrey Lewis returns with his famous narrative, monotone vocal inflection that meanders through soft instrumentals with wordy, vivid passages that play out like a diary of sorts. Lewis details the routine of life from the mundane, like watching skateboarders in his hometown Manhattan, to the intense, like his battle with his past in “Screaming Old Man”, where he wrestles with the fear of growing up unaccomplished and unhappy, or otherwise not realizing his full potential. This theme of self-deprecating introspection runs parallel to his classic storytelling, giving the album a brilliant sense of being immersed in Lewis’s mind as he undergoes such events. Jeffrey busts out with his storytelling talent primarily on the opener “Scowling Crackhead Ian”, offering us a character profile for his schoolmate Ian in painstaking detail, so much so that the listener becomes empathetic with Ian despite his criminal misdoings. It’s a gripping, speculative point of view that questions what makes someone “bad”, and how much of it is actually their fault, from a very human, subjective perspective that engages the listener with its ambiguity and challenges the schema for morality. “Manhattan” takes a more narrative, objective approach to the stories, reminiscing on a walk to Brooklyn with his girlfriend, who he’s seemingly on the rocks with, that places you in its shoes with a lengthy duration and meticulous detail of graffiti, people, and the sun. The track is mostly descriptive, until Lewis’s perspective creeps in with incremental details of his relationship status(“But now you’re mostly quiet, so I guess I’m done talking”, followed by “here come some joggers”), wedged in between this collage of scenery, making for an immersive listening experience that takes multiple listens to lay out and pull apart, but well-rewarded with an emotional, relatable sense of awkwardness.
Though not every track is so dense and substantial that they become exceedingly weighty; Lewis is conscious enough to flavor these with a relatable deadpan humor, like on the track “Support Tours” that marvels at the trials of being an underground musician, groaning that he’d “hate to leave his home for a tour with crummy pay, but if you get asked what are you really gonna say?” This is just one highlight of Jeffrey’s poker-faced malaise, and even at times the sense that he laughs carelessly at his misfortunes. Instrumentally this album is a much more rock-oriented direction than past Lewis records, and while generally denser still remains a folk-inspired steady backing to emphasize the lyricism. There are a lot of low-mixed keyboard melodies, simple drum patterns, and guitar strings that waver erratically with a twee-inspired melisma in a more indie rock tonality. Though these guitars aren’t unadventurous, showcasing concise, comfortable licks and nicely bent notes that any Mac Demarco fan could get into. And on the closer “The Pigeon” they even grow into a distorted solo that sounds like something Lou Reed would’ve strung out with Velvet Underground in the 60’s, and it makes for a great finish.
Manhattan is a tastefully self-aware collection of indie rock-borrowed anti-folk tracks that cultivate a vivid description of Lewis himself in a portrayal that everyone can see at least a little of themselves in. He paints pictures in an obscured black-and-white to which he fills in the colors of his choosing, and through it offers his own perspective while simultaneously allowing for the listener’s own to be interpreted. If you are a fan of wordy, introspective folk music with a comfortable instrumental timbre and affinity for malaise-laden realism, Manhattan is an album you will enjoy digesting.
Joanna Newsom – Divers
Divers is the fourth studio album from singer/songwriter and harpist Joanna Newsom. Newsom’s previous album Have One on Me was a 2 hour-long feast and, comparatively, Divers is a much more easily digestible batch of songs. The instrumentation is a lush exhibit of baroque and folk sounds and the arrangements are exceedingly complex. Newsom’s voice remains a polarizing force, and she seems to rarely take a breath as she chirps lyrics of tremendous imagery and power. One highlight on this album is “Sapokanikan,” which references a former Native American settlement in the location of current Greenwich Village. The song seems to rarely repeat a melody, but many of them are infectious enough to burrow their way into your brain nonetheless. Another standout track is the title track, which starts off with an incredibly moving harp section that seems to spiral downwards and soon builds into a piano driven orchestra of a song. Divers is sure to be one of the best albums of the year.
Neon Indian – Vega Intl.Night School
Chillwave connoisseur Neon Indian moves into groovier territory with his third album, Fly International Night School, drawing on the synthesizer patterns and song structures of synthpop and the bass-heavy grooves of p-funk and nu-disco music to create an addictive collection of danceable songs regulated by interludes of synthesizer arrays of almost ambient quality that keep the record unpredictable and vibrant . Alan Polomo flavors his vocals with a watered-down murkiness similar to Unknown Mortal Orchestra that make the tone of these tracks almost psychedelic at times, while maintaining that catchy groove that could have anyone in the building on their feet. “Glitz Hive” is a highlight of this, which dives straight in with a Funkadelic-inspired bass line and an 80’s vocal pattern that hops in and out, detailing a meeting with a girl in a club, which perfectly complements the jaunty tone of the track, and is cut with a clever ambient outro that cuts the sugariness of the chorus-based song form. This is a recurring theme that Polomo utilizes all over the record, giving us enough chorus to rave to while also offering meticulously crafted measures of dense synth melodies and distorted electric guitar phrases that bring a tasteful palette conducive to active listening. Fly International Night School uses this to appeal at all levels, and culminates into a boundary-pushing, cohesive listen that invigorates as much as it sedates. If you enjoy the density and vibrancy of Washed Out or the danceable choruses and sparkling keys of Passion Pit, this record will fit nicely in your library.
Computer Magic – Davos
If I was ever stuck in a space sci-fi film, I would want my scene to be set to Computer Magic. With dreamy vocals, danceable synths, and clean machine drums, Danz (aka Danielle Johnson), creates spacey synth-pop that sounds whimsical and airy. Computer Magic is wildly popular in Japan, and Davos, Danz’s first full length album after many EPs, keeps the unique and recognizable sounds of classic Computer Magic. Each track is masterfully layered, and her hypnotic coos over simple electronic beats create a noteworthy mix of songs. The opening track “Fuzz” is upbeat and danceable, “Be Fair” is full of catchy oos and ahhs, and “Chances” really features her bright vocals.
By Charlotte Fox Norsworthy
Monday News Show
What is money? Most would say currency or a means of purchasing something. It obviously holds value, right?
Not necessarily. Money alone is worthless. We instill the value it possesses. In our economy, we control its value. However, the definition of money is changing as decentralization of trust in traditional banks decreases. The greatest contributors to a newly defined currency are brands like Starbucks and Nike.
Nike has set up vending machines that can only be used by those who wear their Nike Fuelband, a wearable fitness tracker. You rack up points and you can redeem them at the Nike FuelBox for stuff like hats, shirts and socks.
Starbucks has a similar deal set up –if you download their loyalty app, you can collect Stars that lead to discounts and straight up free coffee.
We, as millennials, are also in control. Generally speaking, there has been a major shift in perception of monetary value. Corporations beginning to use their brand to build currency is a concept that has already been widely accepted by this age bracket. A study conducted by Contagious last year found that 45% of 24 to 35-year-olds in the United States say that they would approve of the idea of traditional currencies being replaced altogether. Corporations see this huge proportion and use it to their advantage.
Maybe in the future we will be asked if we want whipped cream instead of cash-back.
More info on Contagious: http://www.contagious.com
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