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Will Butler: Generations (review by Christa V.)

Will Butler is probably best known for his work as a member of Arcade Fire, but he has also been making solo albums since 2015. Generations is Butler's thirdsolo album. While all of them represent the variety of music he can produce, Generations is particularly hard to pin down. The song "Bethlehem" could befrom an 80s punk band, while "Close My Eyes" is all folk, and "Surrender" showcases gospel influences. Another theme of this album is creating catchy,upbeat songs about very dark themes. "Promised" captures this the best where the lyrics are about being betrayed by a lover, yet somehow it is just so fun andcatchy. The fact that Butler can sustain this balance primarily with his vocals speaks to his talent. "Not Gonna Die" is similar where it sounds like a ballad atthe beginning, but then hits its stride as a gospel chorus number. But the lyrics are also all about death. Other songs with great contrast are "Outta Here" and"Hide it Away."  Favorite tracks: 2, 5, 8

Aly Lathrow Reviews 'Evening Grooves'

Evening Grooves was a virtual concert hosted by student organization Empty Mug Records. It featured 6 different acts, 3 openers and 3 headliners. Of course, because it was hosted on Friday the 13th, something had to go wrong. 

 

The first 5 acts went well, the stream quality was great and the sound was impeccable. Ferris Hill stated off strong with a soulful solo song. Next was Dreamboyshey with a…. interesting… hip hop inspired song. He was laying on the ground for a good part of the set and the audio was mixed a little weirdly. The 3rd, 4th, and 5th sets were all great with a range of brass and acoustic jams featuring SMTD students Madelyn&Logan, Kektus, and Moodswing. The final act, Sabbatical Bob, had some pretty big tech issues. The audio was never stable for their full 20 minute set. You win some ya lose some I guess. There were a good amount of views and the club made $135 to distribute to the artists. Overall a success!

 

Written by Aly Latherow

 

Deerhoof: Love-Lore (album review by Victoria A.)

Deerhoof has been turning out solid art pop for 20 years, but this pandemic cover album takes it in a new direction. It is a live recorded mashup of 43 different midcentury hits in 35 minutes in spurts as short as 5 seconds of spoken word over the Knight Rider theme and as long as 2 minutes of Wonderful by the Beach Boys over that bit from Star Trek that sounds like space lasers. It has elements of the old Deerhoof in its always surprising compositions, unraveling of melody into noise, and the ethereal vocals of Satomi Matsuki. Iit is one of the more accessible Deerhoof albums for someone not into their usual dissonance, and makes a great intro to the genre while appealing to fans.

Stay tuned for more music reviews by WCBN staffers!

'songs' by Adrianne Lenker review

‘songs’ Review

 

Big Thief frontwoman Adrianne Lenker has returned with another solo release, a two-part LP titled ‘songs’, with a subsequent tape of two towering instrumentals. Fans of Lenker like myself have been far from deprived of material recently. Big Thief has established their presence in the indie-folk scene following their incredible debut record Masterpiece and 2017 effort Capacity. 2019 was a busy year for the band as they released 2(!) full length LPs, U.F.O.F and Two Hands. Following the critical and audience success of their 2 2019 albums, Big Thief was planning to tour prior to, you guessed it, COVID. Yes I know fans everywhere were deprived of seeing one of the most unique yet consistent bands in concert and that is a drag, but newfound free time allowed Lenker to isolate in a cabin with an acoustic guitar and flesh out this new solo material, which turned out to be one of the most beautiful albums released this year. 

 

Lenker was successful in her efforts to keep this album as bare bones as possible, mimicking the environment she cooped herself up in, “The one-room cabin felt like the inside of an acoustic guitar, it was such a joy to hear the notes reverberate in the space.” said Lenker when asked about her surroundings during recording. Sonically, the album's simplicity is its best friend, each song featuring Lenker’s chilling voice with minimal effects and an acoustic guitar, this minimalism helps emphasize her lyrics and contribute to the thematic ideas throughout the listen of loss, emptiness, and longing. Lenker’s heartbreak is palpable immediately as she cries out on the first track, “two reverse”, “Tell me lies. I wanna see your eyes. Is it a crime to say, I still need you? Crime, wanna feed you.”. Lenker continues to refer to this person in the second person, as if they are too locked in isolation with her as she pleads for them to stay by her side. On ‘anything’, she repeats “I don’t want to talk about anything… I wanna witness your eyes looking”. The first half of the album is largely a reminiscent version of Lenker expressing her desire for how things used to be. This is until the thematic climax of the album, “zombie girl”, when she begins to question and ponder on the nature of her emotion. She asks, “Oh emptiness, tell me about your nature, maybe I’ve been getting you wrong.”. When she finally begins to question her emptiness, the purpose of the record begins to shine through.

 

This record describes Lenker trying to answer the nature of her emptiness to no avail. In any attempt to discover this origin, she continues to revert back to longing for what was. Above all else, this is an album which highlights Lenker’s humanity, she doesn’t pretend to know the answers, she does what all people do, she copes. Lenker heals through ‘songs’, this was an album that was equally as important to her as it is for those who can feel as empty as she does during these trying times. “songs” is Lenker coping with her issues and inviting us to do the same with her, to be her “lap when I’m crying”. This is 39 minutes of critical exploration of herself only to realize there are things that she cannot understand, things like emptiness that she must “Cover with questions, cover with explanations, cover with music”.

 

- Michael Barnes

 

Favorite Songs: two reverse, ingydar, anything, heavy focus, half return, zombie girl

 

7/10

WCBN stands with the BLM

WCBN stands with the Black Lives Matter movement and black community. We will continue to support black voices in the radio and music industry and everywhere else. Please consider donating to these local organizations front and center in this movement:

[UPDATED 4/25] That's right folks, don't touch that dial!

WCBN temporarily halted regular live broadcast operations on March 11, 2020, due to the global pandemic.

We are thankful to have stayed active to every degree feasible during this uncertain time. We have continued to occupy 88.3 FM in Ann Arbor playing our years of marvelous archives, we began sporadically broadcasting new content from remote last week, and we are moving ahead with plans for a new remake of wcbn.org!

Listeners, check back for more updates on new content and scheduled programming! If you are a WCBN DJ interested in contributing remote broadcast content, email website@wcbn.org!

We'll get through this, as long as we all continue to give...Power to the Transmitter!

FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of Von LMO @ AAFF

The Ann Arbor Film Fest will be streamed this year!

WCBN is the community partner of FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO

Feature in Competition

7pm 

FUTURE LANGUAGE: The Dimensions of VON LMO is a distorted portrait of an artist that explores storytelling, ego, delusion, conviction and memory. VON LMO is a musician/artist and self-proclaimed alien hybrid who was a part of the late ’70s New York No Wave music scene. Between trips to his home planet of Strazar and multi-dimensional travel, VON has also spent some very real time in prison and on the streets of Earth. Challenged with translating his Future Language for audiences across the galaxy, director Lori Felker, filmmaker, and VON LMO fan, gets sucked into VON’s orbit and finds herself lost in his story.

For more information & streaming, visit aafilmfest.org!

EARTHGANG Makes a Large Bang - St. Andrew's Hall 2/6/20

We went to a concert. 

 

The crowd was exclusively 5’7’’ white college students, 120-130 lbs. EARTHGANG was headlining, with Mick Jenkins, Wynne, and Jurdan Bryant opening. 

 

Jurdan Bryant went first. He was really good. He is a part of Spillage Village, and met the high expectations that come with such a membership. He engaged the crowd.

 

Wynne was really interesting. She hails from Portland, OR and looks it. The crowd was a bit taken aback by the white woman saying many words fast. However, the crowd, or at least the two boys next to us, quickly decided she was “like 30 times better than Iggy Azalea.” Wynne said many words, and here are some of our favorites:

  • “Beauty and the Beast, why can’t I be both though”

  • “If I may, then I mighty”

  • “Eenie meenie miney moe I don’t wanna kill a h*e”

 

Mick Jenkins was after. He was good. He was very comfortable on stage, almost to a fault. Great songs though. 

 

EARTHGANG was the most awesome. Great interaction with the crowd, we felt like they were singing to us. We say this because when they were performing “Proud of You”, they pointed at us. Johnny Venus was more engaged, but Doctur Dot was cool too. 

 

WARNING: this concert is not friendly to people with light sensitivities. 

 By Audrey Jacobsen and Tess Wakefield 

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