Two WOBC DJs, Ariel Miller and Rachel MacLean, report on a recent concert visit…
I’m not sure what sort of crowd we expected at Alt-J’s show in Detroit on November 10th. I guess we expected more college-aged folks with undercuts, but the crowd seemed to be in their late 20s-30s with pretty average hair cuts. Maybe it was because they were tall and took up the most space, but there seemed to be a lot of tall white dudes. Suddenly we started to worry if we were, in fact, edgy and cool, or just as mainstream as the chicks in front of us obscuring our view with their flower crowns.
Some Mikky Ekko fellow opened for Alt-J. Things Mikky Ekko is into: how high he can sing, listening to himself sing, rain/leaving/love/smiles/the sun. His beat was fairly predictable, as were his lyrics. There was nothing about him that really pushed boundaries. We were bored, and this reinforced our sense of superiority. We were cool. Mikky Ekko was not.
Alt-J! Alt-J! Alt-J finally came on, accompanied by scores of e-cigs and vaporizers booting up around the room. Triangle hands all around! ∆∆∆∆∆∆∆∆
Alt-J is great. Their new album, This Is All Yours, is indistinguishable from their old album, An Awesome Wave, but we don’t even care because both have the same weird, catchy, danceable sound. At the concert, they played it safe, balancing the old and the new. It would have been nice to actually see them through their obscuring shroud of fog and lighting, and even nicer to see some energy or movement. But overall, they sounded just like they do on record, which was good enough for us.
The international workgroup playlist – part 1 – is here! Check out: a Belgain rapper whose video has more than 200 million views; beautiful Korean folk pop; toetapping “electro-cumbia” from Mexico; a 60s French classic; and breathtaking Russian throat singing.
1. Stromae (Belgium) – Papaoutai
Belgium’s finest rapper and pop auteur takes a trip to the uncanny valley.
A playlist of meticulously chosen tracks from your very own WOBC workgroup directors.
1. Orly, punk director: The Raincoats – No One’s Little Girl
“Always a favorite, I’m pretty sure I’ve played at least one song by The Raincoats each week on my show.”
2. Louis, jazz director: Art Tatum – There Will Never Be Another You
3. Marcelo, co-international director: Yelle – Complètement Fou
“This is an easy one for me. I have been completely obsessed with Yelle’s new release. Their big hit is the appropriately named Complètement Fou (“totally crazy”). As if the song weren’t good enough, the video is just to die for. As this article puts it, ‘Yelle is unusual for finding a fan base in the stubbornly monolingual American market, even though their shoulder-waggling, schoolyard taunts are still completely in French.’ I went to her concert at the Grog Shop, and if it wasn’t sold out, it was almost there.”
4. Mayowa, co-international director: Average White Band – Pick Up the Pieces
“This is one of my all time faves. Average White Band formed in Scotland, but they quickly gained international attention. My parents used to play them a lot when I was little, so this song definitely evokes some nostalgia.”
5. Galen, hip-hop director: Rich Homie Quan Ft. Young Thug – Chainsaw Massacre
“New track from Rich Homie and Young Thug, who have been putting out some of the weirdest and most exciting hip hop out of Atlanta right now. Rich Homie Quan called his relationship with Young Thug the hottest duo since Andre 3 stacks and Big Boi, and I’m inclined to agree..”
6. Mark, metal director: Imperial Triumphant – Goliath
USBM never sounded so French. Imperial Triumphant are based in Brooklyn, but their skronky, helter-skelter interpretation of black metal reeks of Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. Goliath is riddled with swampy grooves and schizophrenic slides, antagonistic to the core; the EP manifests truly biblical levels of aggression. It only makes sense that the EP was produced by Colin Marston, New York’s patron saint of dissonance. FFO: Pyrrhon, Ulcerate, Abigor
7. Isaac, electronic director: Sub Luna City – 2 Cats (Interlude) / Weed and Warfare
“smooth vibes from a king krule side project”
8. Jackie, co-pop director: Richie Aldente – Take My Party Serious
“This gem we found during pop workgroup recently. They are essentially a modern S Club 7 in sound, but possibly more ironically bumpin? Get down to this if you’re trying to have a real goofy night.”
9. Chuck, co-freeform director: Neel – The Secret Revealed
10. Ivan, co-freeform director: Palm – Fleshtones
“Palm are simply one of the best bands around today. always pushing forward with structure, dynamics and rhythms in a rock band context while never losing momentum and originality. they excite me in ways i can’t even begin to describe. soon the masses will understand the greatness of Palm. soon.”
11. Max, vinyl director: Vulfpeck – 1612
12. Mia, folk director: Johanna Warren – We Fell
“From her kickstarter: ‘Back in April 2014, my beloved engineer Bella Blasko and I borrowed some recording equipment from friends and fashioned ourselves a makeshift studio in an empty apartment unit on the surreal and wintry shores of Wildwood, NJ. We tracked for nine days…stopping when the dogs upstairs went into barking fits.'”
13. Sivan, music director: Howard Skempton – Simple Piano Piece
“Howard Skempton is a British composer whose music is sometimes referred to the ’emancipation of consonance,’ a play on Arnold Schoenberg’s ’emancipation of dissonance’. Very informed by the experimental traditions and chance procedures of composers like John Cage and Cornelius Cardew, Skempton developed a style of hyper-simplicity – every note seems to be in exactly the right place in an utterly exquisite way, and yetit’s never predictable and each new listen sounds different.”
The Cooper International Learning Center – find them at Peters Hall – blogged about the many international and multilingual shows on the WOBC schedule. Whether sung on record or from the mouths of DJs themselves, there are a ton of opportunities to hear languages other than English on WOBC! Check out the list supplied by the CILC below:
Mondays 11am – 12pm
Modern/Contemporary East Asian ethnic/minorities Folk music. :::: DJ KarmaKa$h
samba esquema sonsual
Mondays 1pm – 2pm
Music from Brazilian POC greats from the golden age of musica popular brasileira. :::: Samantha Spaccasi
Black Conciousness Movement
Mondays 9pm – 10pm
Black Conciousnessment Movement is a show that brings an eclectic mix of sounds from Africa and the African diaspora. The show will move across time and space and genre, from traditional African music forms like Secousse and Pantsula to modern Afrobeats to Raggae and African-American hip-hop and RnB
zazous et plus
Tuesdays 7am – 8am
Fresh French music for all. Covering a vast array of genres– from early 20th century blues inspired ‘chanson realiste’ to french rap, punk, house, & disco. The title of my show ‘zazous’ comes from the French youth music movement during WWII that incorporated flamboyant clothing style & swing/jazz music as a means of expression & political resistance, later culminating in the ye-ye pop sensation. :::: Sanjana Iyer