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Thank You Donors!!

Thank you to everyone who donated for our fundraiser this year. With your help we raised over $20,000! This will all go to improving the quality of our station and the product that we are able to put out. Thank you for helping preserve freeform radio, every year we are blown away with the loyalty and generosity of our listeners. For those who ordered premia along with their donation, you can expect it by fall of 2021. Thank you again, and keep it tuned in on WCBN! 

Slowthai - TYRON review

Hailing from Northampton, Britain, Tyron Frampton, better known as Slowthai, burst on the scene in 2019 with his politically charged debut album “Nothing Great About Britain”. To the delight of critics and (newfound) fans alike, “Nothing Great About Britain” was a brutally honest assessment of the political and social culture in Britain often coming to the grim conclusion that, well, there’s nothing great about it at all. Sonically, the record forced an impression on the listener. Slowthai was absolutely vicious throughout the entire record, attacking beats with unmitigated passion and intensity, the album featured little detours from this sound. As a result, it was an album chock full of grimy bangers backed with instrumentals driven by hard hitting snares and guitar chords reminiscent of the British punk scene in the 1980s. Tracks like “Doorman”, “Inglorious”, and “T N Biscuits” immediately gave Tyron a significant platform that typically demands a far larger catalog. After going on tour with BROCKHAMPTON, Slowthai effectively established himself as an artist that was here to stay, and forged heavy interest as to what he would do next. 

 

In the year following the release and subsequent tour of“Nothing Great About Britain”, Tyron struggled with his newfound fame and notoriety tremendously. Struggles with his mental health and temper, exacerbated by the spotlight, culminated during the NME awards in the United Kingdom. Frampton, clearly very inebriated, got into it with several fans and heckled the presenter, Katherine Ryan. Frampton openly shares the hardships and severe depression that he battled with during this time in his life. Being forced into a place of fame and notoriety commonly comes at the expense of one’s mental health, and Frampton’s quick ascension to immense popularity was clearly overwhelming. In the midst of this lowpoint, COVID hit, and Frampton was forced to isolate as were we all. Nothing forces one to do some pretty serious introspection quite like being locked in a house alone for months on end. Frampton took to pen and paper to help himself heal, and created a truly fantastic, personal, and mature body of work aptly titled “TYRON”.

 

While Slowthai’s brain, pen, and creativity all shined on his first record, his personality did not. Upon completion of that record, the listener really has no better idea as to who Tyron Frampton is as a person. Aside from “Toaster”, he avoids getting too personal throughout the record; on “TYRON”, he completely flips the script. This album is split into two discs, the first of which is far more energetic and boisterous than the second, much more in line with Slowthai’s previous work. The album starts on a chilling note with “45 SMOKE”, which transitions into “CANCELLED” which features British rapper Skepta and alludes to the NME incident directly. The first disc is remarkably consistent and keeps the high energy from the start. “MAZZA (feat. A$AP Rocky)”, “DEAD”, and “PLAY WITH FIRE”, are my favorites on the first side, they all showcase different instrumentals than he has ever rapped over and the sound really works to say the least. 

 

The second half of the album is what makes it for me. Starting with “i tried”, Slowthai pulls the blinds back and pours his heart out to beautiful and melodic sounds which sonically are a complete change from what we have come to expect. The last 7 tracks on the record discuss his struggles with personal relationships, his disdain of fame and longing for a simpler life, and his outlook on life in general having made it to the other side of some pretty dark times in his life. I was so impressed with his ability to be thoughtful and contemplative to the extent that he was on the second half of this album. Songs like the leading singles “nhs”, and “feel away”, along with “push” and “adhd” are some of my favorite songs that have come out all year, everytime I listen to these tracks I hear something new whether it be an instrumental change or a line I missed about something he’s trying to get off his chest; this back half is incredibly dense. “Nothing Great About Britain” was a painfully honest assessment of his environment, and the second half of this album is a painfully honest assessment of himself. Despite him picking himself apart for much of this back half, the overall feeling given off is one of hope and calmness. He seems to be in such a more stable head space than ever before in his music career. His ability to make such incredible lyrical and thematic songs reflects that he is much more centered and in tune with himself. If you are a fan of hip hop or new wave music in general you have to check this thing out. This album has so much to offer, not a second of the 35 minute run time is wasted; if your music taste is anything like mine this album will keep you crawling back for more.  

 

-Michael Barnes 

 

Rating: 8.5/10 

 

Favorite songs: 45 SMOKE, MAZZA, DEAD, PLAY WITH FIRE, i tried, push, nhs, feel away, adhd

 

THE WCBN FUNDRAISER IS UPON US (FEB 19-28)

Hello listeners of WCBN! 

Our fundraiser is live! To donate, click the "Donate" tab in the top right corner, browse some of our new merchandise, and make a donation! To make a custom donation, choose one of our pre-established donation amounts and change the quantity (If you want to make a $100 donation, choose the $10 option and change the quantity to 10, for example). Your merchandise will be shipped by fall of 2021. Thank you so much for your donations, your generosity does not go unnoticed. 

Scroll down to see some of the critical upgrades we have made to our station with fundraiser dollars! Help us keep freeform radio on the air in 2021, and as always, continue to free your mind with WCBN! 

We can't thank you enough!

 

Check out A Little History of our Fundraiser

WCBN would be nothing without the donations of our listeners. Your generosity allows us to continue playing what we want on air, which is an increasingly rare and special privilege to have. Nobody knows this better than our Chief Engineer, Jim Campbell. Jim becoming our engineer was fate hard at work: “Ever since I got out of college I have listened and done a donation every year - 11 years ago I rode my bike down here and asked to talk to the station engineer, to which they responded “we don’t have one,” and that's how I got my start here at WCBN.” Bringing him on board came at the expense of the budget that WCBN used to receive from the university, so every single dime that he has spent has come from our fundraising. Everyone involved with WCBN, whether listening or creating, should consider themselves lucky that Jim hopped on his bike 11 years ago, because ever since he has relentlessly improved our station operations using your fundraiser dollars.

(See Image 1)

Our new transmitter was quite possibly our largest project since Jim has come aboard. In three years, $80,000, all from fundraisers, were spent to extend the boundaries of our programming to Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, and up to Whitmore Lake, allowing more people than ever to free their minds with freeform radio from WCBN.

(See Figure 2 for images of our transmitter and our new range!) 

Another recent purchase of note is our new board in Production Room A! Aside from the noticeable improvement in quality that the board gives our DJs, it also opens our recording capabilities to many more microphones which we did not have the ability to do before. This board is great for podcasts and talk shows, and our DJs can’t wait to use it once we are able to get back down to the station.

(Take a look at the board below, figure 3) 

Fundraiser has also allowed us to continue broadcasting during COVID times. Jim was able to create the robot pictured below, which receives pre-recorded and live-from-home broadcasts from our DJs and broadcasts them over the air. Without our fundraiser, we would not be able to air any content at all during the pandemic!

(Robot pictured in figure 4)

I cannot go without mentioning that our entire music library, which is just about infinite, comes from--you guessed it--fundraiser dollars. Donations have allowed our DJs to explore, discover, and expand their tastes and for our listeners to do the same! We pride ourselves on the variety of content that we put out, which is only made possible by donors like yourselves.

These are just a few of countless ways that fundraising has improved our station. Our 2021 fundraiser goes from February 19th to February 28th. If you are able, we would greatly appreciate a donation; your generosity allows us to keep doing what we love and allows for you to keep listening! To keep freeform radio on the air, visit wcbn.org and click the “Donate” tab at the top of the site. WCBN cannot thank you enough!

 

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