5 Songs With Weird Backstories

Ever wondered about the story behind some of the world’s most popular rock songs? I did some research, and put together a small list of what I found were the most bizarre. I’ll never hear them the same way again…

“Every Breath You Take” – The Police

117898460Most fans assume this is a sweet love song about someone who’s beyond infatuated with their partner…so much so, that they simply cannot stand to be apart from them. But according to Sting, the track is a bit darker than that. He wrote it during the aftermath of his divorce from his first wife, Frances Tomelty, and during the beginning of his relationship with Trudie Styler. (The women were best friends — yikes.)

In reality, the song is about a possessive lover who is obsessed with his ex. He becomes jealous of everything she does without him, so as a result, he watches her every move.

“One couple told me ‘Oh we love that song; it was the main song played at our wedding!’ I thought, ‘Well, good luck’. I think the song is very, very sinister and ugly and people have actually misinterpreted it as being a gentle little love song, when it’s quite the opposite.” – Sting

So, if someone crushing on you sends you this song…run.

“Total Eclipse Of the Heart” – Bonnie Tyler

total_freakin_eclipse-1Written by composer Jim Steinman in 1983, this song, paired with its haunting music video (left), is actually about vampires. (I love vampires, so I now love this song even more.) The original title was “Vampires In Love,” as it was composed for a Nosferatu musical. When Jim first played the song for Bonnie, it sent shivers down her spine. She was eager to get in the studio and record it as soon as possible. The song was originally seven minutes at full-length, but Bonnie cut it down to four minutes for radio-play. Jim said in an interview that the song is about “the darkness, the power of darkness and love’s place in the dark.”

Why wasn’t this song featured in Twilight?! Talk about a missed opportunity.

“Smoke On the Water” – Deep Purple

1-QrmtM44Us4r6ihV69Btl6wOn December 4, 1971, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention were playing a show at the Montreux Casino in Switzerland. About halfway through the gig, some crazy person in the crowd fired a flare gun at the wooden roof. It immediately went up in flames, and panic ensued. All of Zappa’s band equipment was destroyed. Nearby, the members of Deep Purple were recording music for their upcoming album. According to npr, “They were forced out of their rooms by the fire, but memories of the smoke billowing out across Lac Leman, or Lake Geneva, gave them a song title.”

Turns out, this go-to guitar track has a more somber history than you might have thought.

“Never Learn Not To Love/Cease To Exist” – The Beach Boys

the-beach-boys-never-kearn-not-to-love-capitolCharles Manson was an American criminal and cult leader in the 60’s. Manson and his followers, known as the “Manson Family,” committed a series of seven murders, all part of Charles masterplan to spark a race war.

Before the murders, Charles was a struggling singer-songwriter living in L.A. He became friends with Dennis Wilson, drummer and founding member of the Beach Boys, and in 1968, the group recorded one of Manson’s original songs, “Cease to Exist.” The Beach Boys re-titled the track “Never Learn Not to Love,” altered some of the lyrics, and released it as their own.

Try listening to THAT song in the same way. Creepy.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana

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“Teen Spirit” was a popular deodorant brand in the 90’s, and you can still buy it! The title of this iconic song came from Kathleen Hanna, (a member of the band Bikini Kill) who wrote on Kurt Cobain’s wall one night. She gratified “Kurt smells like Teen Spirit,” teasing him and referencing the deodorant brand that Cobain’s girlfriend wore. When Nevermind was released in 1991 with this track on it, sales skyrocketed for Teen Spirit Deodorant.

 

“He actually didn’t know it was a deodorant. I felt like a bit of an asshole that I didn’t tell him, but I kinda thought it was funny. He just liked the ring of it, smells like Teen Spirit, but he also just had a good knack for picking out interesting phrases.” -Kathleen Hanna

Kurt Cobain totally gave Teen Spirit deodorant free PR without even knowing it!

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3 Songs I Wish I’d Written

As someone who writes poetry and short stories often, I appreciate the complexity and beauty of songwriting. Although I’ve never written a song myself, I’ve always wanted to. So when I hear a song that strikes me or reminds me of a situation I can relate to, I often think to myself, “dang, I wish I’d thought to write that.” Here are three of those songs.

b441ef-20170906-phoebe-bridgers“Motion Sickness” – Phoebe Bridgers

This track isn’t about motion sickness, but rather, emotional sickness. Although there’s no legitimate definition for “emotional sickness,” I’d say it can be defined as the feeling you get when you’re overwhelmed with love for someone, or on the flip side, flooded with grief after your relationship with them has ended.

Phoebe Bridgers tells a vivid story of the birth of an unusual relationship: “you said when you met me you were bored,” “and you, you were in a band when I was born,” and its chaotic end: ” I’m on the outside looking through. You’re throwing rocks around your room. And while you’re bleeding on your back in the glass, I’ll be glad that I made it out, and sorry that it all went down like it did.” The soft guitar reverb and subtle harmonies in this track compliment its lovely lyrics.

The driving lyric/phrase in this song, “I have emotional motion sickness. Somebody roll the windows down. There are no words in the English language I could scream to drown you out,” are what got me. Phoebe captures a very familiar experience– feeling trapped by your emotions, even dizzy with them, and wishing there was some sort of escape. We’ve all wished at one point or another that we could roll down the “windows” of life and take a break from reality.

e972fc17c9186112bbb962ee03762bb7.600x600x1“Lose It” – SWMRS

Any sentimental music-lover will connect with this song: “Tell me why’d you have to have such a damn good taste in music? Yeah, if all my favorite songs make me think of you, I’m gonna lose it.” I’ve been there.

The first verse intrigued me, as it told the story of two people who made mixtapes for each other, not knowing that the other person had done the same thing. You’d think that this would probably mean both of them have similar, strong feelings for one another. This may be true, but it’s revealed that something went wrong in the relationship and it ended.

“When I first saw you I made a mixtape. I didn’t know you’d do the same damn thing. When I said goodbye to you it went quiet, cuz I didn’t wanna feel any pain.”

This song has a prominent bass guitar, which adds to the mysteriousness of the relationship, situation, and two people.

Fun fact: Lead singer of SWMRS, Joey Armstrong, is the son of of Billie Joe Armstrong, lead singer and lead guitarist of punk rock band Green Day. Joey and his pals formed SWMRS after watching School of Rock in school!

500x500“Parma Violets” – Jealous of the Birds

The metaphors in this song are strikingly beautiful. There are themes of insects, light, colors, and death through out the whole track, which reminds me of some poems I’ve read in the past. This is why I chose “Parma Violets” to add to my growing list of songs I wish I’d written.

Parma Violets themselves are a popular British candy that fizz in your mouth. (We have a similar candy here in America called Zotz.) In this track by Jealous of the Birds, the main lyric is “Oh please, don’t you swallow those pills like Parma Violets again,” which alludes to someone who may have had suicidal tendencies in the past. Lead singer Naomi Hamilton suggests that this person swallowed pills as if they were candy–quickly and nonchalantly. The quiet piano and guitar in the track reflect its somber, delicate tone.

It’s interesting to me that Naomi would choose Parma Violets candy to use as a metaphor for prescription pills. Because this type of candy fizzes in your mouth, wouldn’t it be counter-intuitive (and uncomfortable) to pop one after the other into your mouth without much thought?

Naomi continues to describe her interactions with this person, using a moth as a metaphor for a secret shared between them: “Once you showed me a secret, delicate as a moth. It barely shivered, its wings were so soft. Then it flew up to the fluorescent light. I knew right then that you would be alright.” This is the only lyric that suggests the person Naomi is singing about may be doing better.

The second to last verse is my favorite. Naomi sings about every person in the world being connected by color. Light travels through us and we all reflect different shades of the same, “true” blue.

“Our lives are prisms, the light beams through. Refracting colors is what we do. We’re different shades of the same blue. But at least we’re true, at least we’re true.”

Whenever I write poetry, I always gravitate towards themes of light and color, so these lyrics really inspired me.

I made a playlist of every song that has struck a chord with me over the years. Check out the full playlist here:

 

-Sophie

Now Playing: Summer 2019

Hello, readers! Welcome back. 🙂

Huge life update for those who don’t already know: a little over a week ago, I graduated from the University of Oregon! Changes, changes.

Among others, one change is a shift in my music taste. Don’t get me wrong, The 1975 and alternative tunes will forever be my #1, but I’ve recently opened myself up to a few genres I’d never considered exploring before. Curious about what I’ve been jamming out to? Read on.

“Forever” – The Lonely Biscuits

This song hooked me with just the first line: “The car’s break lights sorta look like a heartbeat. Between the windshield wipes, wish you were in the front seat.” Paired with an alluring electronic guitar riff that eventually builds and becomes loud and biting, this lyric really struck me. It captures a familiar experience–driving through the city late at night with that one special person. The glow of  traffic/break lights illuminate their face in bursts, and you’re happy to just be there.

I consider this track to be a love song that was written after the death of a relationship. It features an echoey sound bite of a woman, seemingly on the other end of a phone line, saying “hello?” following the first verse. The sense of confusion yet eagerness in her voice makes me wonder if these two people haven’t spoken for quite some time.

Simple yet stunning, this track has easily become one of my summer favorites. The punk-esque vocals are definitely different from what I’ve listened to in the past, but the fantastic imagery and sick guitar keeps me coming back for more.

“Slip Away” – Perfume Genius

This song was featured in Booksmart during the pool scene. I love Perfume Genius, and I was thrilled to hear his voice make an appearance on the soundtrack! (Plus it’s perfect for that scene.) Like many Perfume Genius songs, this track builds up slowly and beautifully, then explodes with sound and color.

“Chest Piece” – Rome Hero Foxes

My sister and I went to see these guys perform at Lola’s Room in Portland a few weeks ago, and it was so fun. Followed by Heart Attack Man, Glacier Veins and Sincere Engineer, this was the first pop-funk/emo live show I’ve attended…and to my surprise, I loved it! The crowd was lively, the bands were engaging, and the music was LOUD. This song, “Chest Piece,” is off Rome Hero Foxes’ latest album, 18 Summers.

“A Part of Me” (ft. Laura Whiteside) – Neck Deep

This is another seemingly “off-brand” track for me. I came across it in sort of an unusual way–it was included in a playlist made for me during my last term in college when things weren’t going so well. Despite that, the song still makes me smile. I swoon every time I hear lead singer Ben Barlow describe the girl he loves, even after they are no longer together: “I like her ’cause she’s smart, headstrong and independent, she puts me in my place, but I don’t know where I stand.” You don’t hear  girls described this way very often in music.

The lyric that really tugs at my heart strings, though, is: “And if only I could find the words, or muster up the nerve to tell her…I’ll never forget her, and she’ll always have a part of me.” I’ve always believed that each person you meet who meant something to you leaves a part of themselves behind, even after things change or you no longer speak.

“Take Me As You Please” – The Story So Far

This is another new pop-punk favorite of mine. I found it on Spotify last month, and for some reason, it sounded super familiar. I couldn’t figure out why, until I texted a link to my friend, who I figured would also enjoy it. A few minutes later, he texted me back: “Sophie. I showed this song to you like 6 months ago and you loved it then.” Oops! I guess I forgot. It was fun re-discovering it, though. The harmonies are stunning.

“Atlas: Two” – Sleeping At Last

Have you ever taken the Meyers Briggs personality test? Similarly, the Ennegram test is “a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.” Sleeping At Last, a musical project led by multi-instrumentalist Ryan O’Neal, created a song for each of the nine personality types which he sings from the various perspectives. My song, “Atlas: Two” (I’m a type 2, the Helper) made me tear up a little. Want to know which song Ryan wrote for you? Take the test here, then find your song here.

 

Golden Days (album) – Haley Johnsen

Killer vocals, breathtaking lyrics, and a kind heart…that’s Haley Johnsen, a local Portland artist who is on the RISE and seriously KILLIN’ IT. (She recently toured the U.S. with band Joseph and later Big Wild, plus her latest album features a duet with Allen Stone!) If it’s not already obvious, I simply adore Haley.

I was stoked for the release of her brand new album last month, Golden Days. I attended her record release show at the Doug Fir, and was thrilled to see the entire venue FILLED with fans, family, and friends. Hearing her perform the dreamy new tracks from the front row was so much fun–a few of my favorites on Golden Days are: “Cinderella,” “City Of Me,” “Everything Comes Back Again,” and “I’ll See You Around.”

“Mausoleum” -Seryn

Absolutely in love with this track at the moment. It was used in a UO Graduation 2019 video, and I think of my school every time I hear it. Watch below!

Seryn is a four-person band from Texas, often described as having a “big sky” sound. What also drew me to this track was the song’s intro, which sounds a lot like another fave of mine, “Razor” by Foo Fighters.

 

Enjoy these tunes and your summer!

xoxo

Sophie

An Interview with Little Comets

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I’m thrilled to give you all this post! Little Comets, an English indie-rock band that formed in 2008, have been one of my favorite bands since high school. I’m ecstatic to have interviewed lead singer, Rob Coles, for my blog.

Little Comets, made up of brothers Rob and Michael Coles, plus friends Matthew Hall, Matt Saxon, and Nathan Greene, released their debut album, In Search of Elusive Little Comets in 2011. The next year, the band released their second album, Life is Elsewhere, (my favorite!) under Dirty Hit records. If you’re unfamiliar with Dirty Hit, they’re an award-winning, British, independent label (and happen to be my favorite record label), whose artists include The 1975, Pale Waves, Wolf Alice, The Japanese House, and more. Little Comets were signed with Dirty Hit until 2017. They independently released their third album, Worhead, that same year.

Matty Healy of The 1975 mentioned his friendship with the guys in an 2013 interview.  Little Comets even helped produce some of The 1975’s early tracks.

“Little Comets took us out on the road when we were in our very embryonic stages of our old band and just let us open up for them. We started getting fans off the back of that…Then they helped us produce ‘Sex’ the song, and ‘You,'” -Matty Healy

I discovered Little Comets in 2013 when they performed a show at a small, intimate venue in Portland. I got tickets to the show out of curiosity, and after just a few minutes, I fell in love with the band’s unique sound. Echoey, driving drums, beachy guitar riffs and vivid lyrics that can be interpreted in a variety of ways…that’s Little Comets.

Little Comets started out by playing small college gigs, cafes, and other unusual venues in the UK. Since then, the guys have come a long way. Just this last year, the band teamed up with Catfish and the Bottlemen (another fave band of mine) for a sold-out arena tour. After that, the band spent the winter writing and working on new music in none other than singer Frank Sinatra’s former summer home in California! These days, album number five is in the works, and the guys are planning out their next tour–it will be the first time they’ve hit the road in two years.

A Perfect Playlist: Tell me a little bit about how Little Comets got started. Have you all been involved in music-related projects since you were young?

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Little Comets (Rob Coles): Mickey are I brothers, so we’ve been writing songs in the house since we were very little. Once we’d finished Uni, we decided to see if we could make a living out of being creative, musically, so we set about finding other musicians to form a band. That was the start of Little Comets with Mark (our original drummer), and Matt, our bassist.

APP: One of my favorite songs of yours is “Bridge Burn.” It’s a super special song for me and a few friends. Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind it?

RC: Ah thanks, that’s nice to hear! That’s a song I wrote in my bedroom while Mickey was mixing songs for our second album. I kind of wrote/recorded it roughly and had lots of lyrics almost immediately for it. The coast is pretty great for providing lyrical metaphors. Theme-wise, it’s just about two people who realize that their time is up. When Mickey heard the song, he really molded the landscape. Initially, it was just a B-side, but in hindsight, we probably should have put a little more faith in it, as it seems to be a pretty popular song.

APP: Your sound/genre has been described as “kitchen sink indie.” Do you agree with that?

RC: Haha, I don’t really mind–as long as people are polite and constructive, they can describe our sound how they like. I suppose that it could mean, in terms of subject matter, that we write about kitchen sink-related things, which was certainly true of album one. In a sonic sense, though, we do use a lot of percussive instruments which are also kitchenalia, so if the cap fits…

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APP: If you could invite one artist/band to be in the crowd at one of your shows, who would it be and why?

RC: We got really excited once at a gig in Oxford because somebody asked that Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead) be put on the guest list. It spoilt the gig, though, because we spent the whole evening looking for Jonny Greenwood despite him not actually being there, and probably never having any intention of being there. So I would choose Jonny Greenwood because I haven’t said “Jonny Greenwood” enough in this answer.

APP: Your latest music video, “American Tuna,” is super creative and visually complex in how it was filmed. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience filming? How did you come up with the idea as it relates to the song?

RC: It was fun, but stressful. We had received an email telling us, despite our very polite request, that we explicitly couldn’t use the building. So the whole process was based around being very secretive. This definitely hampered the final product, as we couldn’t redo shots or control timing or lighting. Mickey was in a Paternoster lift in an 18-floor building with the camera. As the lift travels up, each floor is a different scene which tells the story of a relationship. Mickey was in that lift for about 6 solid hours while we chased him ’round the building, doing scenes in non-chronological order to avoid security cameras. We were happy with the final video, but I just wish that people could see the levels of effort and time that just three people were involved in executing. It looks pretty pro, and the DIYness doesn’t come through. I think that given the constraints, it’s amazing. But I’m biased.

APP: That’s mind-blowing. Writing music is super different from filming a visual interpretation of a song through a music video. Has that ever been a challenge for you as a band?

RC:  I think we’ve learned to separate the processes quite naturally. We also like learning new skills, so the challenge of making a video or a piece of artwork is an opportunity to do that. The only problem is time. We are three people, yet we have to record, write, and release the music on our own label, then promote it whilst making the videos and artwork. Because we are novices in many of these areas, it takes us longer to produce these assets. That often puts us behind, as artists at a commensurate level have teams of people and pools of financial resources that we don’t. It does make the task psychologically difficult at times as well, compounded by the fact that we are in a industry that gives credence to having a machine in tow. We often get overlooked and dismissed because we don’t have a manager, record label, publisher, art director, plugging team etc. I think this is where the real challenge lies for us.

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APP: You haven’t toured for two years, but you’re making plans to head back onto the road soon! Do you have a favorite/funny memory from being on tour in the past?

RC: Probably when Matt broke his foot in Texas. We spent the next five days telling him he was fine, but then talking privately about how he was really hamming it up. By the time we got to Missouri, he got an X-ray and found out he had a hairline fracture. We felt TERRIBLE! He completed the rest of the tour perched on a bar stool during the gigs, and he became my hero.

APP: Are there any songs you feel you’ve outgrown that now seem to stray from your current sound?

RC: Ah no, they are all our babies. They popped out for a reason and we can’t really turn them away even when they become slightly haggard/annoying. That would be bad song parenting!

 

Thanks for taking the time to chat with me, Rob!

Listen to Little Comets here:

 

8 Songs That Will Trigger the Deepest Depths of Your Memory

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Lately, there’s been a genre of posts going viral on Instagram/Twitter that feature pictures of old games, toys, movies, and TV shows from the childhoods of late millennials like me. People typically comment on them, saying: “woah, this just triggered the deepest depths of my memory.” These kind of posts inspired today’s blog post! I compiled a list of 8 songs that were a big hit on the radio a decade or so ago. You’ve probably forgotten about most of them, but you’ll remember as soon as you press play.

1. “Barely Breathing” by Duncan Sheik

This song was released in 1996, but I remember hearing it on the radio in the early 2000’s on the way to school. It was the first single off the debut, self-titled record by American singer-songwriter and composer, Duncan Sheik. Originally, it was a last-minute track added to the album to finish the record, but the song ended up becoming Sheik’s breakout hit, entering the top 20 of the U.S. Billboard charts, peaking at #16, and remaining on the chart for 55 weeks. It even landed him a Broadcast Music Incorporated Award for Most Played Song of the Year. Since then, Duncan has focused more on composing. In 2016, he wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical version of American Psycho. I heard this song in Trader Joe’s last week, and was instantly transported to 2006.

2. “Boston” by Augustana

This song was released in 2005 on Augustana’s debut record, All the Stars and Boulevards. It’s been used in quite a few TV shows, like Scrubs, One Tree Hill and The Big Bang Theory. Since then, the band split and reformed again in 2012. In August of 2016, Augustana’s social media sites changed their names to “Dan Layus,” which is the name of the founding member and lead singer/songwriter of the band. Their most recent record was released in 2016.

3. “Porcelain” by Moby

Moby, an American electronica musician, released this song as the sixth single from his fifth studio album Play in 2000. According to his website, “Its melancholic lyrics describe the break-up of a relationship based on Moby’s own reflections on past romantic affections. The song incorporates reversed string samples and piano rhythms into its instrumentation.” Moby’s real name is Richard Melville Hall. His middle name and his nickname/stage name, “Moby,” were given to him by his parents because of a distant ancestral relationship to famous author Herman Melville, who wrote Moby Dick. He was Hall’s great-great-great-grand uncle!

Fun fact: the song samples the song “Fight For Survival” from the 1960 film Exodus.

4. “Right Here Right Now” by Jesus Jones

This song, by British alternative dance band Jesus Jones, was released in 1990 on their album Doubt. It was semi-successful in the UK, but ended up being more successful in the U.S.–it reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July of 1990. It was even named the most played song on college radio in 1991! Jesus Jones is set to release a new record this coming April.

5. “Take a Picture” by Filter

This song, by American rock band Filter, was released in November of 1999 on their sophomore album Title of Record. In the beginning of 2000, it peaked at number 12 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Lead singer of Filter, Richard Patrick, has said that the song is about him getting drunk on an airplane and taking off all of his clothes. The band split in 2003, then reformed in 2007. They are currently working on a new record, but haven’t set a release date yet. I remember playing this song with my friends in middle school on the old video game “Band Hero.” 🙂

6. “Satellite” by Guster

This song landed Guster their first gold record just last year. It’s the second single from their 2006 album, Ganging Up on the Sun, which received a lot of radio play, but didn’t quite make it up on the charts. (I love the album artwork for this record.) I remember my local radio stations playing it a lot as a kid. Guster just released their a new record, Look Alive, in January of this year.

7. “Tom’s Diner” by Suzanne Vega, DNA

“Da da da duh, doo da-doo doo…” …That one lyric that gets stuck in your head every time you hear it.

This song was released in 1981, originally written by American singer-songwriter Suzanne Vega. The track was then remixed by British group DNA, which shot it up onto the charts. The song’s title and story is based off of Tom’s Diner in New York City, located on the corner of Broadway and 112th Street. (You may recognize it from Seinfeld.) “Tom’s Diner” been sampled in a ton of tracks since, like Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” and The Black Eyed Peas’ “Wings.”

8. “Hey Sandy” by Polaris

Were you a fan of Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete? (It first aired in 1989.) If so, you might recognize this one–it was used as the opening theme song for the show. Polaris, which was a band specifically commissioned and formed to create music for the show, released just one album during their time together in 2002, simply titled Music From the Adventures of Pete & Pete. (I highly recommend this album, by the way…there are some killer tracks on it that make me wish they were still a band!)

Fun fact: The intro to the song features a sound bite by actor Sorrell Booke. In the clip, he  discusses U.S. missiles designed during the Cold War. This sound bite is from “To The Moon: A Time-Life Records Presentation,” an 1969 audio recording about the first moon landing.

 

What songs did you remember? Tweet me!

College & Local Radio is RAD!

KWVA_905As many of you may already know, I have a passion for radio. When I was a junior in high school, I visited my (now) college campus for the first time, and I was immediately drawn to the student-run radio station, KWVA. I loved the idea of a community of like-minded, music-obsessed students talking about/ playing what they love on the air.

The station, at the time, a small hole-in-the-wall studio that was once a women’s bathroom, was covered in stickers and band posters. Promo CDs were scattered among stacks of cassette tapes and vinyl, and hipster-looking students rushed in and out of the studio, welcoming me with giant smiles. I knew I had to get involved.

giphyI’ve been a part of my college radio station for 2 years now, and I will be heading into my last year in the fall. (That’s me in the studio on the right!) Since my first visit, the studio has expanded and moved to a shiny new space in the student activities center, located at the heart of campus. While on my summer break from school, I haven’t strayed far from the radio biz. I’m interning with the Portland Radio Project, a local radio station in Portland. I’ve met so many cool DJs, learned about some crazy talented local artists, and made some great connections.

According to Pitchfork, “college radio can reflect what local broadcasting should strive for: freeform programming that’s community organized and unentangled in market-based obligation. It is also a continually replenishing talent pool for the industry at large, and every part of the musical ecosystem can count former college radio DJs among their staff” (2017).

Both student-run and local, community radio provides music-lovers and radio enthusiasts the opportunity to think outside of the box. It’s an outlet for up-and-coming artists to receive recognition, listeners to be exposed to new genres, and a place for community members to share their music knowledge on the air without corporate involvement. This is how it should be when it comes to sharing the music we love!

According to FRG, “community and local radio stations focus on local areas they are an opportunity to give the community a voice. Community Radio Station’ staff are usually volunteers, and they are nearly always not-for-profit organizations. Funding is mostly given through donations or would incorporate fundraising in the form of events, pub quizzes and advertising.”

Kirsten at KATUKirsten Nicolaisen, a Portland-based journalist working in the social media and digital world of TV news, is a KWVA alumn and DJ at the Portland Radio Project! (We have a lot in common.) 🙂 Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Kirsten made her way north for school where she spent four years working at KWVA Eugene. From production assistant, to DJ, to eventual News Director, Kirsten wore a number of hats at KWVA. A stint at Oregon Public Broadcasting brought her to Portland, which she now calls home. Now, Kirsten  works at KATU News. (Photo to the right.)

kirsten at KWVA“My favorite memories from KWVA are late nights and early mornings spent in the studio” Kirsten says. “KWVA was my library, my office space, my living room, and my little world tucked away down a long hallway at the student activities center. I loved diving into the music library in the wee hours of the morning when I first started DJ-ing during the Tuesday 4-6 AM shift, and sticking around afterward to catch up on school work… constantly distracted by all the messages and jokes scribbled on the walls. It was in those quiet hours that my love of music, radio and media truly blossomed.” (Left: Kirsten in the KWVA studio as a student.)

Kirsten believes that local radio stations like PRP provides music fans with the most unique music and best radio-listening experience.

“Without stations like PRP, I believe many talented local musicians would not have the platform to properly showcase their work. I feel lucky to be a part of a growing force in the local music community!” she says.

College and local radio is pretty rad. Let’s help keep it alive!

2014/365/351 On The Air At CFBX

Summer Spins

Summer is here again! I’m super excited to be interning with The Portland Radio Project during the next few months, a non-profit radio station in Portland committed to showcasing local artists and supporting small businesses. I’ll be doing graphic design and social media work for PRP, which I’m stoked about!

Meanwhile, I’ve been listening to a lot of new music. Listen along below.

Albums

51xW1wRspzL._SS500Twin Shadow: Caer

I discovered this album by chance on Spotify, and I’m so glad I did! With a sound similar to artists like Flume and ODESZA, lead singer George Lewis Jr. has an intriguing voice. It is often complimented by quirky instruments like synthesizers.

You may recognize a few other voices on this record, such as band HAIM and singer-songwriter Rainsford. By far, my favorite track on the record is “Too Many Colors,” mostly because of the super cool intro. When you first listen to the song, it’s easy to mistake it for a children’s song or something straight out of Disney–a xylophone dominates the beginning of the track, which then leads into the first verse.

bridge_leon_goodthing_101bLeon Bridges: Good Thing

This record came out just last month, but I already know every lyric. 🙂 Before the release of this sophomore album, Leon teased us with a little taste of what was to come. He released his two singles, “Bad Bad News” and “The Bet Aint Worth The Hand” back in March. Surprisingly enough, I’d say that the rest of the record is pretty different from these two tracks, though! Through a healthy mix of blues, jazz and soul, Good Thing is a compilation of Leon’s stories: forgiving someone who broke his heart, his mother and her childhood (a continuation of the last record), and the moment he realized he may have found the girl of his dreams. Overall, I think this record is so beautiful–my favorite tracks are “Forgive You,” “Beyond,” and “Mrs.”

Leon will be on tour this summer! See if he’s coming to your city here.

the-search-for-everything-b-iext48856379John Mayer: The Search For Everything

John released his newest single, “New Light,” just last month, and paired it with a HILARIOUS music video. He hired a low-budget Bar Mitzvah video company to produce it. As a result, the video features John singing in front of a variety of incredibly cheesy backdrops matched with wacky transitions. Through out the video, John dances awkwardly in  a pair of dad-esque, purple striped pants and a torn sweatshirt. If you’re in need of a good laugh, watch the video here.

The Search For Everything was released not long before this single. The record follows John’s traditional style of ballads and bops, my favorites being “Still Feel Like Your Man,” “Emoji Of a Wave,” and “In The Blood.” This is one of those albums that anyone who’s ever been in a relationship (and experienced its end) can relate to–you can cry to this record, belt to it, or dance, depending on the song. That’s one of John Mayer’s many talents–he produces a a versatile style of tunes that can fit any mood.

Singles

the-1975-give-yourself-a-try-1527789760-640x640The 1975: “Give Yourself A Try”

On Friday June 1, The 1975’s much-anticipated new single,”Give Yourself A Try” was released. During my 10 am lecture that morning, I snuck out my earbuds and tuned into the premiere on Capital FM, London’s most popular radio station. Obviously, I loved the track immediately. It strays pretty far from the band’s usual style–with repetitive, biting electric guitar laying down the foundation of the song.

“Give Yourself a Try” describes Matty Healy’s (lead singer) experience of “getting spiritually enlightened at 29,” dealing with a drug addiction over the past few years: “And you’ll make a lot of money, and it’s funny, ’cause you’ll move somewhere sunny and get addicted to drugs,” and subtle views on politics: “I found a grey hair in one of my zoots…like context in a modern debate, I just took it out.”

De0tQzKU8AAmJQdDespite what many fans thought, The 1975’s new record didn’t drop on June 1. 😦 Instead, the band released this new single and announced the beginning of a new “era” of music for the band, known as the “Music For Cars” era. The new album, set to release in October 2018, will be titled “A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships.”

Naturally, being the super-fan I am, I threw a The 1975-themed party with my friends to ring in the new era! I covered my apartment with pink, black and white themed decorations, as well as provided The 1975-themed games and snacks (pink Starbursts, pink glowing balloons, pink Goldfish crackers, black and white napkins and silverware, The 1975 album-themed cupcakes, and a game of Pin-The-Tat-On-The-Matty.)

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Betty Who: “All Things” (From Queer Eye)

This is my go-to feel-good song for the summer. This single is a cover of the opening theme for my favorite show on Netflix right now, Queer Eye, a reboot of the Bravo series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It features the new Fab Five: Antoni Porowski, food and wine expert; Tan France, fashion expert (my favorite!); Karamo Brown, culture expert; Bobby Berk, design expert and Jonathan Van Ness, grooming expert. In each episode, The Fab Five give straight guys across the country much-needed life, fashion, and home advice/makeovers. Queer Eye is incredibly touching, hilarious, and the Fab Five are beyond lovable. This song, covered by pop singer Betty Who, features Betty’s killer vocals, and the music video for it is EPIC, featuring all five guys!

a3462444518_10Florist: “Vacation”

I’m not entirely sure what it is I love so much about this song, but I’ve had it on repeat the past few days. “Vacation” is a combination of warm, childhood memories and the everyday thoughts of a girl going through life the best way she can. Through out the track, lead singer Emily Sprague sings about reminding herself of the good things in her life in the midst of finding herself. My favorite lyric is: “I don’t know how to be what I wanted to be when I was 5.” Everyone can relate to this line, and I think I speak for a lot of people when I say there are times when it feels like we’re simply coasting through life, unsure of what to do next. It’s easy to start wondering what the five-year-old version of yourself would think of who you are now, and whether or not they’d be happy with the things you’ve accomplished. Songs like “Vacation” are really important, because it reminds us that we aren’t alone in thinking these things. It urges us to examine the moments that have shaped us, and remember that every day we continue to grow and change. Another lyric I love is: “And at least I know that my mom is breathing when we talk on the phone. And at least I know that my house won’t burn down, down to the ground. Or maybe it will.”

Accept things that come your way, and never stop listening to music that means something to you.