We proudly present two album reviews by WOBC DJ Joseph Peek. Catch his show, “Underground Railroad,” Mondays from 6-7 pm!
D’Angelo – Black Messiah
This is an album for any fan of D’Angelo NOT to miss, buy it a sight unseen! You won’t be disappointed. I continue to be impressed with D’Angelo’s growth, I can’t say production, because D’Angelo only puts out a major release every decade or so, so far, but his musical compilations are worth waiting for. His albums only seem to get better and this is rare as artists usually burst onto the scene with their initial hit release only to fall into their “sophomore slump syndrome” aided and abetted as much by their record co. constantly wavering search for the next pop king. In fact, some never regain their debut level of success. D’Angelo’s third release, Black Messiah, should be an exception to this rule. Although I don’t hear the one clear cut 3min 45sec. cookie cutter commercial radio hit, the entire album did not disappoint. D’Angelo’s soulful, blues & jazz influenced musicality intertwined with his patently complex yet sensuous harmonies and gospel inspired vocals, coming straight out of the African-American church and experience, what’s NOT to like!
This Album is funky and catchy yet as bright and positive as D’Angelo’s compared to Voodoo which was dark and depressing. Some people might say there is an undeniable Prince derivative to his music but Prince, in MY humble opinion, never quite gets this consistently funky and locked in the pocket over the course of an entire album. Black Messiah by D’Angelo is consistently appealing, with a song for everyone’s fancy and an album uniquely funky, as only a few in the present diaspora of African American musical performers can do (save George Clinton, Stevie Wonder and a precious few others).
This is a real Funkadelic album, not a P-funk All-Stars or George and Friends, but a genuine Funkadelic musical sighting in the 21st century. It is hot off the press with original sounds, songs, and artwork; a three CD release with a song for every year since funkadelic dropped their last album… are you kidding me!?
Any “almost fan” should get this album, and anyone looking to get a late pass on the Funkadelic soultrain, this is as good a time as any with the release of “First Ya Gotta Shake the Gate.” Though much of the live rhythm section has been replaced by sequenced bass-n-drums, the album still manages to have that trademark Ole School Funkadelic feel.
George Clinton, one of my all time favorite musicians, incorporates the modern sound of rappers, experiments with electronics and everything from hip hop to dubstep and back again to his purest origins, an all live band “rocking out” with the best of them in hard edged classic 70’s rock forms. George STILL manages to deliver the funk as only he can, with zany lyrics, infectious hooks, and the most soulful vocals of Mount Zion Baptist Church. The gospel and blues origination of the harmonies and melodies is why even old folks will groove to this one….”Who da hell knows or cares what he’s sayin, right?!” The hits are too many to mention, as is often the case with sophisticated musicianship but some songs require a few reviews to fully peruse their genius.
*Funkadelic will also be touring this Spring and in Cleveland at the House of Blues on Friday, May 8th
While reorganizing the Metal Vault over the course of the last few years, Metal Workgroup got to chance to pick through a lot of forgotten favorites and new discoveries. The workgroup plans to continue featuring albums found in the vault over the course of the semester. Here are a few of the releases we’ve found noteworthy, written by the members of the workgroup:
Redemption – Snowfall on Judgment Day
Redemption are a power/prog metal band with no pretension. Let that sink in a second. Man’o’war: totally earnest power metal band with music about the pictures from DnD manuals. Dream Theater: so earnest about technicality that their name is a shorthand Guitar Center hell.
Even by the standard of sincerity for those groups, Redemption is honest. They have lyrics like “And in the solitude I’ve crafted for myself/I cry a single tear for beauty left unfelt.” Every song has keyboard solos that sound like a Final Fantasy game (Redemption are really a key player’s band). And it’s cool! It’s neat to listen to music that sounds like the people making it enjoyed it. Bonus, the drum performances are great! The technicality is there, but it avoids sounding like someone worshipped too long at the House of Peart.
The crispness of the production will be divisive. Snowfall has no dirt, and sometimes feels like it was engineered by a drum sequencer. If you need raw production, it’s not for you. Most of the songs drag a little; the median track length is about 6 and half minutes. The bloat comes from parts being repeated a few dozen times too many, so pace yourself. But the pearl is worth the price. Unironically liking earnest stuff is hard nowadays. Just give a track or two an honest shot.
Soilent Green – A String of Lies
Clocking in at 11 minutes and 26 seconds, this 1998 EP from grindcore mainstay Soilent Green packs a fierce punch. The band sounds tight as hell, and they have no trouble making split-second transitions from brutal, straight grind sections to slow, sludgey riffs that you can’t help but bang your head to. The vocals, split between high pitched shrieks and deep growls, are unrelenting, and their consistency ties the various changes in tempo/energy within each song together. A String of Lies sums up pretty well what I love about good grindcore: concise, no-frills songwriting, excellent musicianship and a fearless intensity which makes it a lot of fun to listen to. Favorite track: Cat With Nine Claws.
Ana Kefr – Volume One
2009 was a time of transition for new NWOAHM bands. Artists found themselves unsure how to present themselves, caught between the fading remnants of groove and metalcore, the derivative but ever-popular crush of deathcore, and the pretension of the burgenoning djent movement. The lack of a clear direction led bands to develop previously unheard-of genre-bending, for better and for worse LINK. LA’s Ana Kefr were one such band that successfully managed to cobble together seemingly disparate elements. Volume One, their 2009 debut, is technical but not ostentatious, melodic but not pandering, heavy but not contrived. Don’t let that make you think that the albumis an easy pill to swallow: it’s all over the place, sliding back and forth between gritty Animosity-esque breakdowns, baroque riffs & vocals that reek of Nekrogoblikon, and keyboards that wouldn’t be out of place on an Ovid’s Withering album. Unconventional and underproduced, Volume One might not appeal to all, but its unique blend of stylistic elements will undoubtedly resonate with those who do take the time to delve into the album.
Samael – Solar Soul
Samael are a Swiss black/industrial metal group. While on our dangerous excavation into the vault we stumbled across their album Solar Soul. As the genre would suggest, Samael combine elements of black and industrial metal. The instrumentals are slow but heavy, combining guitars and drums with elements of middle eastern music (such as the oud). The vocals are smooth and honeyed with just a few bees left in to pack a sting.
Cleveland’s own Pleasure Leftists are featured in this edition of Staff Picks.
Nandita, talk: Asha Bhosle – Dum Maro Dum
Just chill enough to make you wanna be a dirty hippie, just shrill enough to remind you that hippie culture destroys everything.
Becca, library: Tonstartssbandht – Shot To La Parc
The album Overseas by Tonstartssbandht has a crazy variety of wavey psych soothy sounds and knee-dropping rock N roll jams that are sure to please a wide range of list’ners for just zer0 bandcamp $bucks$. Also sure to please – library workgroup! Saturdays at 4! come help us redecorize the station’s immensely impressive music library, explore the vaults, eat snacks, and relish in the camaraderie of librarians who shall never be “shh!” ‘ed.
The WOBC staff are not just supernatural music processing machines – they have tastes and feelings and hearts too. And here are their first Staff Picks!™ of the semester – what they’ve been listening to, what they love, what they want you to hear. Staff Picks!™ part 2 arriving soon. Board Picks!® arriving soon after that.
Mayowa, international: Sevdaliza – Sirens of the Caspian
svedaliza, super dope artist from the netherlands, getting a lot of attention right now; noisey, redbull music academy, sxsw, etc. check out her ep The Suspended Kid. definitely listened to this song on repeat during winter term, can’t wait to blast it on air/at the ‘Sco
Marcelo, international: Wang Rong Rollin – Chick Chick
A member of international workgroup told me about this song and video. It accurately reflects my current mood. Spring is almost here.
Orly, punk: Beat Happening – What’s Important
Nate, classical: “An amazing interview with Argentinian pianist Martha Agerich”
Anna Rose, Traffic: Farin Urlaub Racing Team – AWG
Shani, R&B/Funk/Soul: Sonnymoon – Nothing Thought
i like em, they’re lovely… and versatile!
Galen, hip-hop: munnblock – StackBitchz I Go Remix
Mark, metal: Teeth – To Dream is to Suffer
New Drill from the munnblock team out of Newark, NJ. Newark’s club scene is popping off, but a lot of exciting drill coming out of NJ right now too.
Enough dissonance to fell a herd of mammoths. Slow, painful, and deliberating, with absolutely putrid vocals. For fans of: Ulcerate, Artificial Brain, Primitive Man
Sophie, studio B: Deerhunter – Helicopter / He Would Have Laughed (live)
Keep a ! look out ! for this outreach program organized by WOBC DJ’s to engage youth of the Oberlin community in topics of radio broadcasting, including radio as a tool for social justice, community development, and personal, creative, and critical expression. Student-DJs will gain skills in radio broadcast to complement and engage their natural artistry in critical-thinking and storytelling. The dream is that they’ll have the opportunity to experience the chills and thrills of freeform community radio, encountering new music & ideas while sharing their own gems, too.
¬ ¬ ¬ Tune in to the first episode of Turn Up! The Radio: Volume I this Wednesday at 5 PM to hear middle school DJ’s do their thing!!
In honor of Turn Up! we are getting musically pedagogical and sharing with you some of our most nostalgic educational, “school-related,” and academically-reminiscent memories in music. Here are some sublime submissions from members from the fall and spring installments of Outreach Workgroup:
When I was little my dad would often play to my sister and me the song Wake Up Everybody by Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes. While it’s not exclusively about school, it mentions teachers and children and stresses that future generations have the power to significantly change the world. This song is kind of cheesy but also inspirational and very catchy!!!
¬ Samantha Beetler: Tori Amos – A Sorta Fairytale
One of my favorite songs from my childhood/school days is Sorta Fairytale by Tori Amos. My mom brought me home the album when I was about nine, knowing that I loved her hit Sorta Fairytale after hearing it on the radio a number of times. Also, I would watch the MTV music videos every Saturday morning while helping my family clean house, and I got to see the video to that song. Simply put, that was my song, and I got to have the album. Sha-bang! I would listen to the album front to back, but Sorta Fairytale got played a lot more than the rest. If I had a bad day that was my go to song to cheer me up!