Archive | February, 2012

WLFM’s Top Albums of 2011

Posted on 27 February 2012 by landon

This is well overdue, but we only had eight lists submitted- and I guess I had hoped for more. Either way, eight DJs/shows had their opinions assigned arbitrary point values which were then added together to form this list:

 

1. tUnE-yArDs – w h o k i l l

2. Bjork – Biophilia

3. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

4. Radiohead – The King of Limbs

5. Grouplove – Never Trust a Happy Ending

6. The Rapture – In the Grace of Your Love

7. Kurt Vile – Smoke Ring For My Halo

8. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

9. Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges

10. Tim Hecker – Ravedeath, 1972

(tied for 10.) M83 – Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming

 

 

 

Get to know your newest Top 200 MD!

Posted on 14 February 2012 by Peter Raffel

As the newest, youngest, and most innocent employee at the great WLFM, I – Peter Raffel, of On Patrol, Mondays 7-9 PM CT, decided to introduce myself to those who seem me as merely a question-mark-cog in the machine that is our amazing station. And in order to do so in a manner that will help my fellow music snobs trust my judgement in deciding what is good and what is bad (with not as much dilemma as Rachele seems to be having), I’ve decided to give you all a brief list of ten albums that have changed my life over the course of my broad nineteen years. Note the difference between “favorite” and “life-changing” here (for example: I’d argue that Ciara’s Goodies changed my life, but wouldn’t include it on a top 1000 list). And so, without further ado, I give you ten albums that brought me to the humble abode that is WLFM:

  1. Abbey Road, The Beatles – It’s an obvious favorite album of all people with ears and a brain in their head, but Abbey Road was my first foray into the ideology that an album could be more than simply a handful of songs. Beautifully crafted, and amazingly executed (as well as being the Beatles best album – that’s right, the BEST), Abbey Road taught me about great music, great struggle, and great love during the course of its forty-seven minute majesty. At the ripe age of five, I was already on the road to what would eventually bring me to where I am – telling people that what they like is terrible and what I like is awesome.
  2. The Wall, Pink Floyd – Although I would consider Animals to be the greatest Floyd album, my dissection of The Wall had escaped me until this year when I brushed the dust off of its placid cover and plunged into its depths once again. The utterly desolate and incredibly exquisite double album is the quintessential concept record, that drains the listener more and more with each listen. I was memorizing the ideas of loneliness at the young age of eight, and learning that great music needs to be full of great emotion.
  3. Speakerboxx/The Love Below, OutKast – I could obviously go on and on about Outkast for years, but Speakerboxx/The Love Below was the defining point in which my music career switched from 70s Rock ‘n Roll to everything else – because, essentially, Outkast’s two-solo-albums-in-one can’t really be categorized into one genre, and it’s what makes Andre 3000 in particular one of the few geniuses of our generation.  Taking concepts that feel repeated constantly on modern rap albums, OutKast turned them into something tangible, vulnerable, and most of all, sexy as all hell.
  4. Illinoise, Sufjan Stevens – Perhaps it’s a bit of a cliche to put Stevens’ best-known album on a list like this, but I probably picked apart this album more than any I ever had. I’d listen to it endlessly in middle school, trying to decipher what was Stevens and what was fiction – and I never really got the answers, which is part of the genius of Stevens as a musician and an artist. History, emotion, love, loss, all encompassed within one album – when you look at it this way, it makes a lot more sense that he never completed the 50 States Project, because he completed it with Illinoise, particularly the harrowing “John Wayne Gacy Jr.,” which combines the sickness of mankind with the softness of humanity.
  5. Late Registration, Kanye West – During an era in which rap was essentially minimalistic beeps-and-boops (see: D4L) or ambitious insanity projects (see: Missy Elliott), West brought it back to the classic with his follow-up to The College Dropout, and this album was essentially the road the paved the way for what he is today. Great beats, mixed with great rhymes, West took a page out of OutKast’s book by tearing song structure apart and teaching a white seventh grader that being into rap was cool as long as you knew that Gil-Scott Heron was being sampled on “My Way Home.”
  6. Skelliconnection, Chad VanGaalen – Probably one of the most underrated singer-songwriters of our generation, VanGaalen’s Skelliconnection is his masterpiece, which combines his harrowing voice with a variety of musical styles, from acoustic pieces to explosive jams (especially the opener, “Flower Gardens”). It was a time in which the eeriness of the world could be matched with “Wing Finger,” the sadness matched with “Sing Me 2 Sleep,” and the amazement matched with “Dead Ends.” And maybe it was because I was graduating middle school, and because Harry Potter was ending, but something about VanGaalen stuck, and this album has been on repeat ever since.
  7. Microcastle, Deerhunter – Bradford Cox and company have had a bizarre roller coaster of a musical career, but the beauty that is Microcastle essentially wraps up what they’re all about in a tight album – there’s no real arc or beginning or end, and in the final moments of “Twilight at Carbon Lake,” one knows that no matter how many times they listen to the album, they’re going to be listening again. And in the times before I was able to drive where I wanted to go, it made the most sense to plug in to “Agrophobia” and simply become one with the album that knew me better than I knew myself.
  8. Person Pitch, Panda Bear – I’ve considered on countless occasions that Person Pitch may be my favorite album of all time, despite the varying levels of my enjoyment based on track (I used to go by Strawberry Jam as my favorite and “Bros” as my favorite song, but that changed (more on that later)), and I think it’s very telling that I’ve chosen this album as the one that stays with me no matter where I end up. The amazing comfortability of “Take Pills” (no pun intended i.e. “Comfy in Nautica”) on early morning bike rides, and the insanity that is “Bros” and “Good Girl/Carrots” is a constantly changing beast no matter how many listens, and Panda Bear is at the center of it: one man with a vision, a heart, and a place in a teenager’s mind as a hero.
  9. This Is It…, Marnie Stern – Although Marnie Stern’s music tends to ride the fine line between utterly wild and utterly wholesome, I probably listened to This Is It… more than any album in 2008 strictly because of how catchy the songs were, matched with the awe I felt for her as a guitarist – and Zach Hill as a drummer, who I still can’t even believe is a person. I’d do Art History homework for hours on end listening to the album over and over again, and I immediately fell in love with Stern (probably for real). And although it isn’t nearly as personal of an album as her self-titled 2010 effort, it sinks into you the more you listen to it – and considering how much I listened to it, I’d say it stuck.
  10. Public Strain, Women – As with growing up, Women’s Public Strain has taken on a different face over time, so much so that I cannot explain its grasp on me. I’ve listened to it countless times and yet it always seems new – it’s been changing my life from the day it came out until now (I’d call “Eyesore” my favorite song of all time – there, I said it). It’s an album full of hopelessness, but more hope than anything else, and something about the way these guys weave their guitars together, as well as their poetry-esque lyrics, makes me feel like there’s hope for music overall. And even if there isn’t, we’ll always have Public Strain, an ode to everything that is great about music and will continue to be great.
Well, there it is. I hope I gained your trust at least a little bit. Now I’m going to go cry after thinking about all of these beautiful albums. And, for the record, yes, Goodies did change my life. I mean, how could it not?
Your Trusted Top 200 DJ,
Peter Raffel
On Patrol With Peter Raffel
Mondays 7-9 PM CT on WLFM

I can’t stop listening to Meshuggah

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Jphish12

I’m sitting in the WLFM office right now, rocking out to Meshuggah.  As I’ve been doing this for the past hour now, I came to a realization: Meshuggah has been the only metal band I’ve been listening to for a while. Like nonstop. I can’t help it! They’re too good. I’ve been trying to figure out how to put this into words. All that usually comes out is something like, “They’re just…ahhh!” I don’t know. So let’s see if I can make something happen by telling you a little bit about the men who I think make up maybe the most metal band out there right now…Okay, maybe not as metal as Slayer. I mean, who is more metal than Slayer?

Meshuggah came to be in 1987 in the town of Umea, Sweden (the “a” in Umea has some sort of symbol that I don’t know how to pronounce. Just imagine it’s there). Still consisting of two of it’s original members, vocalist Jens Kidman and guitarist Fredrik Thordendal, Meshuggah has grown into a powerhouse in the metal genre.  Known for their extremely complex poly-rhythms and sound that hits you so hard you go blind, Meshuggah has released six full-length albums with their follow-up to 2008’s ObZen due out on March 27th of this year. By the way, ObZen is fucking fantastic and you should give it a try. It’s hard to sit through and by the time you finish it, you probably won’t want to listen to anything for the rest of the day. But it’s an unbelievable album.

This is really hard, you guys. I have no idea where to go from here. Their sound is an immense juggernaut. Just an unstoppable for that continues to pummel you into submission but keeps you wanting more.  I’m clearly not going anywhere special with this right now. So here is a video while I regain my thoughts.

Meshuggah – Bleed

OH MY GOD WHAT A HORRIFYING VIDEO.

But seriously, Bleed is a perfect example at what Meshuggah is capable of doing. You don’t need the video to know that Meshuggah is scary. Scary good, too. The precision in Bleed is unbelievable as well as incredibly difficult to do. Pick up a guitar and try playing that rhythm. You can’t. Okay, so their using 8-string guitars. But that’s besides the point. You still won’t be able to play that shit even if you did have 8-string. It’s a monstrous riff that is not easy to pull off on any of the instruments used by Meshuggah.  And that’s something that sets them apart from the rest of metal. Heavy Metal is a genre that is centered around dexterity and accuracy, which culminates in the technicality of what makes the music so enticing.  But Meshuggah’s music has so many complexities to it that they sound like no other band around.

Shit, my shift is almost up and now I’m listening to Cee-Lo and Clipse. Listen to Meshuggah. Just not for too long. I keep finding myself taking Advil after about an hour because their music provokes my brain to explode out of sheer awesomeness. Look for their new album Koloss, dropping March 27th, 2012.  Koloss has been highly anticipated and according to Meshuggah’s website, it will “pulverize your being”. So if you’re like me and you get excited about music that will apparently obliterate your very existence, let’s hang out on march 27th and get pulverized into oblivion.

Final Scores!

Posted on 07 February 2012 by Jphish12

Final scores for the Great Midwest Trivia Contest XLVII are finally up. Sorry for it taking so long. You can find the scores on the Trivia blog. Here is the link:

http://blogs.lawrence.edu/trivia/

Thanks again for an amazing contest,

Jake

WLFM Presents…..Tim Hecker!!

Posted on 07 February 2012 by landon

Determined to outclass Big Event Committee (although as you can probably imagine, topping Gym Class Heroes was a difficult task), WLFM is ecstatic to be able to announce that we’ll be bringing Tim Hecker to perform here at Lawrence on March 31st!!

Hailing from Montreal, Tim Hecker has been creating beautiful ambient music under his own name for about a decade now (before that he released music under the name ‘Jetone’). Last year he released Ravedeath, 1972, fifty mesmerizing minutes of sound that constitute some of his best work to date. And in October he followed this album up with Dropped Pianos, a series of the original sketches recorded for Ravedeath. Much more organic in nature, these pieces are mostly piano-based- but with the amount of reverb used, it’s sometimes hard to distinguish them stylistically from his prior work. Ambient, soothing, and preferably played at high volumes, Hecker continues to push the limit on how much emotion can conveyed simply through soundscapes.

Listen below, and make sure to save the date!

Of Universal Importance

Posted on 06 February 2012 by Rachele

This morning, the swallowing of peanut butter and toast triggered more than just digestive juices in me. Thanks peanut butter and toast, how quaintly you relate to my argument.

I’m not just rambling about toast here because I love peanut butter (even though ohmygod I love peanut butter more than most things). I’m actually rambling about music and movies and life and stuff. I swear.

I’ve been noticing a trend in music and movies and life and stuff lately…or really, I should I say I noticed the trend over toast this morning. I was reading an article about Bjork’s new album, “Biophilia,” in the New York Times which I found to be quite helpful, as I often completely miss the point of albums until I have listened to them ten or twenty times. I wouldn’t totally call “Biophilia” a concept album, but it is definitely an album with a concept. In this case the concept is the universe. And viruses. And the body. (Yeah, yeah, I know it’s called biophilia. Like I said, I’m slow). More importantly the album is about how the self is just a reaction and interconnection to and within these larger forces. She sings about the planets in a way that make it seem as if they are human bodies with as many feelings as you or me or anybody. She talks about viruses as if she is crooning about love and flowers. Maybe it is because Bjork is from Iceland, which has always seemed like another planet to me. It’s a country where there are still volcanoes and glaciers, and yet,  you have to walk out your door everyday and find meaning to life amongst untamed nature. Pretty intense shit.

I have also seen this theme in a 2011 album by Jenny Hval entitled, “Viscera.” Please do yourself a favor and listen to this album. It’s like Lush infused with Laura Marling and a smutty 13-year old’s diary. It’s incredible. But it’s uncannily similar to Bjork’s album in the way that it makes everyday bodily functions seem like the most monumental events. It’s a bit more blatant than “Biophilia.” You can easily pick out the word “erection” at least four times within the first three tracks, and the first track sounds like it could be a passage from Cosmo magazine with all of its scandalous talk of clitorises (clitori?) and electric toothbrushes. But it’s just so EPIC. The third track, “Portrait of the Young Girl As An Artist,” explodes with a Bark Psychosis-like energy that gets me every time. I don’t know how you transition from boners to epicness. Or maybe, I just never though of it before. Hval teaches us to celebrate our human qualities. They’re not gross, they’re beautiful.

Last but certainly not least (or, idk, maybe it’s just as irrelevant as everything else in the whole universe) is “The Tree of Life,” 2011. I watched this movie way too late. And by that I mean I should have watched it everyday since I’ve been born. It would have saved me so much hell through high school and hormones and so many other equally tragic events. Terrence Malick succeeds in telling a pretty normal story about a boy’s life in the context of the whole universe, and all of creation. Scenes of growing up are juxtaposed with scenes of dinosaurs. Science. Biology. Puberty. The Big Bang. Texas. At the same time that we feel like everything is insignificant we also feel like our whole existence should be celebrated. Who the fuck can do that? I don’t think the Bible could even achieve that.

I think I have to stop. It’s 9:30 in the morning and I have Spanish in 20 minutes. I could go on. I could talk about the book I recently read called “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”  by Milan Kundera where the characters have urges to empty their bowels in the midst of sexual interactions. But, I think you get the point (and I guess I’m only technically supposed to write about music on here). I don’t know why it took me so long to realize this theme was a trend and why it is important. I know it isn’t really a new theme either…I think “Unbearable Lightness” was written in the ’80s (that date could be really wrong). From taking tons of art history I know that there is usually also a social or political context for most recurring themes in art. I’m not sure I know the context this time. The world is fucked up? Sure. The point is I’ve been seeing this theme a lot lately, and I need to see it. We all do. Just remember: your life is important. So is the universe, and so is your strep throat. But in the end, none of it’s that important.