For a limited time, we’re offering a streaming archive of Teri Noel Towe’s 12-hour Philadelphia Orchestra special. This program originally aired on Thanksgiving Day of 2012. Use the player below to stream the program, which is divided into two segments. Click through for a complete playlist and Teri’s notes for the program.
They say that Christmas comes just once each year. Maybe this is true. But I urge my reader not to be boxed in by Decemberistic definitions of that magical gift-giving day. For once every April, there comes a glorious day for audiophilic vinyl junkies and music snobs alike. I speak, of course, of National Record Store Day. It’s exactly what it sounds like, folks. A celebration of that obscure, hole-in-the-wall record store in your hometown that you’ve probably heard of but never actually seen, much less ventured into. On this day, the best of indie acts and classic rock figureheads put out exclusive vinyl releases and other novelties priced too high yet seemingly so valuable in the right hands. On this day, devoted fans line up outside their favorite local record store, sometimes camped out all night, to get their hands on that ever-elusive RSD-only release. I can only liken it to the sort of crazed Star Wars fans of the ‘70s lining up outside the movie theater, some decked out in full costume, waiting for the premiere of the next movie. Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville represents the ultimate Mecca for many record lovers, with such Willy Wonka-esque creations as the liquid filled record and the record-within-a-record. But for those who can’t travel to Nashville every April 21st, there’s always some bud of hope popping up just north of campus this time of year.
For those of you who think that this article, and Record Store Day itself, belong only to those whose favorite book and movie is High Fidelity, I implore you to consider the weight that Record Store Day carries with it. In so many ways, RSD represents the national celebration of the underdog. A gathering of perhaps otherwise unrelated Average Joe’s championing the small business, the homegrown, close-to-the-heart sort of tradition that runs like a vein somewhere through American cultural consciousness. In the most perfectly timed spring awakening, we get to be like the kids in the candy store yet again, celebrating with complete strangers what may as well be the thrill of the chase, the grabbing of that elusive record and blowing your allowance in one morning. There is no trampling of fellow patrons like Black Friday. No, instead there is a sense of sanctity, respect, and just plain fun that culminates in the happenings of National Record Store Day.
I myself looked forward greatly to participating in this year’s Record Store Day, in a new environment, with new places and faces. I had spoken briefly to Princeton Record Exchange general manager Jon Lambert about the “big day,” and there was nothing short of sheer enthusiasm and excitement in the conversation between the two of us. He of course spoke of “the big day” with a sort of business owner’s professional excitement that can only come when fandom and work intersect. Added he on one email, “The [release] I am most interested in is the Flaming Lips double LP “The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends” featuring Nick Cave, Erykah Badu, and a slew of others.” With all this anticipation in mind, I ventured over to the Princeton Record Exchange on Saturday afternoon and found that very familiar sight of a long line snaking through the stacks of CDs and records. Outside sat other devoted representatives such as the great WPRB and the ever popular “free stuff” table, and the general hustle and bustle surrounding PRex was clearly a very welcome sort of heavy traffic for a Saturday.
I waited in line with my girlfriend, pointing out various albums that I enjoyed and cool album artwork that we saw, all the while hoping to convey to her, an eager rookie to the magic that is Record Store Day, the excitement that surrounds this glorious occasion. With an excited thumb-twiddling anticipation, I awaited my turn to pick through the coveted RSD-only releases, everything from elusive box sets to crazy vinyl collaborations to otherwise unattainable B-sides from everyone’s favorite bands. When I got my chance to look into the great trove that Prex held, a lot had already been picked through, I guess by those truly devoted vinyl-heads who camped out at 6:00am, but the search was nonetheless rewarding. To use yet another Willy Wonka analogy, it felt something a little like Charlie Bucket ripping open countless Wonka bars to finally find that golden ticket, a sort of Golden Fleece kind of find that is well worth the year long wait. I came out of there with a couple solid 7” records (one Jack White, the other Mikal Cronin) and one oldie 12” (the Byrds’ Greatest Hits), but I could have easily emptied my wallet and more in there.
With a few precious records and a couple free posters (the “free stuff” may be the best part of RSD), I headed back to campus to catch a quick nap before the fun continued that evening. Any respectable local record store usually has some live music playing as part of Record Store Day, and the Princeton Record Exchange was no exception. The plaza outside Princeton Public Library was graced with the presence of Grammy-nominated jokesters They Might Be Giants, and what a spectacle it was. Sure, the stage was tiny, and the underwhelming sound system got lost in the outdoor atmosphere, but, ah, to see so many people come together, seemingly out of nowhere, to unite on this day of days for the Average Joe and his average little passions! I didn’t even know that many people lived in Princeton, but the sight of grown men, bobbing and singing along with their young daughters on their shoulders, struck a chord that really summed up the whole glorious occasion. Record Store Day has been, is being, and will continue to be. The small business, the average Joe, and the music junkie have cause to celebrate. Because maybe, just maybe, Christmas could come again in April.
by Jake Sanders
Ah yes. Like a national holiday for those who aren’t quite patriotic, The Pitchfork Music Festival comes around but once a year…however, I don’t have the money to attend. No, I’m not bitter or jealous. After all, there’s a ton of music blogs to choose from that give an group-by-group account of the festival, plus all the really juicy stuff that happens off stage. That should be almost as good as being there, right?
Trying to get to a concert of this size is the same story almost every year. The ads show up around the beginning of spring for the summer shows, there’s a lot of hype, there’s a lot of bands listed, and even the price is affordable. And I think, “Yes, this will be the year I’ll get to see at least one, get out there and really jive, y’know?” Yet I wonder.. “How will I make it there? I don’t think I know anyone who lives in East Sussex, and I’m not sure if there’s even a hamlet nearby where I could rent a room.” So I become resigned to looking around for local shows, or if the money’s really tight, watching The Last Waltz at home.
Thankfully, the blogs are there for people who couldn’t go to Pitchfork. You can skip a rock on the internet and hit a music blog covering it. If you’re quick enough, you can catch the live streaming videos during the performances, but if not, there are the write-ups that some blogs do. It’s not exactly the same as hearing the band live, but if you know them well enough it’s kind of interesting to read what they sounded like, and to check out some pictures too. And for bands that you’ve never heard, it’s good to read about what their performances were like, and to check them out some other time. To be fair though, sometimes they can leave something to be desired. I would like to know how Neko Case and Fleet Foxes played, but reading on Pitchforks’ blog that an out-fit looked like it was from a yard-sale and how there were five beards were on stage seems a bit like reading tips from Vogue or GQ.
One thing that I do love about reading the blogs is checking out the pictures. I’d like to think that I’m a purist and couldn‘t care less about what a band looks like. But, I know that I’m really not, and that I do like to see the funny faces that musicians make and the like. Like, scrolling down a list of pictures on onethirtybpm.com and Brooklynvegan, then seeing Robert Pollard performing a high-kick without any context or without actually having been there is hilarious to me. Or, seeing Ariel Pink putting three fingers in the air and grimacing. “He looks so angry here,” I think to myself, “and yet he makes such pleasant music”.
It is a stretch to think that a combination of pictures and a short description is any substitute for seeing a band live. But I found out about a lot of new groups looking over all this stuff, so thanks to all those who went and wrote about it. Then again, it could be that the bloggers are just flaunting how much fun they had, just callously rubbing it in our faces. Just giving us little tidbits of information to keep us mildly interested, but really laughing themselves silly thinking about all those who couldn’t go.
But no, I’m not bitter at all, really.
DJ Name: Lance Loud
Show: “Peacock Dreams” Wednesdays from 10:00PM -12:00AM.
Type Of Music Played: “Far out stuff.”
Reasons for Being a DJ: “Seemed like a good idea at the time, and apparently it was.”
Day Job: Student (and Summer Station Manager for WPRB).
Hometown: New York.
Listening To Now: Sun Araw, Alice Coltrane, Dr. John, Incredible String Band.
Favorite Summer Food: Sushi.
Currently Reading: Myths, Dreams and Mysteries by Margaret Eliade
Favorite City Visited: Tokyo.
Anything else?: “Dreams sweet.”
This is the second of WPRB’s four part review of the Pitchfork Music Festival held on July 15-17 in Chicago, Illinois.
by Griffin Winton-LaVieri (WPRB Music Director)
Having realized it was worth it to be up front and thus arrive at the gates early; Ravi and I spent two hours waiting outside the festival grounds on Saturday. However, that day, instead of going to the Green stage where Fleet Foxes would headline, we opted for the nearby Red Stage. Our fellow early arriving Pitchfork attendees were generally more interested in Fleet Foxes so we had no trouble making it to the barrier.
The first act on the Red Stage was Woods. Woods are a pretty solid freak folk band. I haven’t really gotten into their music so I didn’t really recognize their songs but nonetheless enjoyed my self. One of the members of Woods sang through a pair of headphones, which is a rather novel way of making music. The lead singer sang in a pleasing falsetto.
After Woods, on the Green stage was Cold Cave. Thanks to the positioning of the stages and a jumbotron, we could observe the band though either a video feed or as tiny guys on a relatively distant stage. They were dressed in black and performed with remarkably high energy considering it was not only incredibly hot out but it was likely earlier than they would be ever expected to leave their apartments. I really like Cold Cave’s first record so I enjoyed hearing tracks like “Youth and Lust”, “Hello Rats”, and of course, the title track. As mentioned above, the members of Cold Cave danced wildly around the stage (in a cool way, though) and I was ultimately unsure how much of the sound they were actively producing themselves.
Up next on the Red Stage was No Age. I’m a big fan of No Age and so I was particularly excited to rock out to them. Dean and Randy ripped through songs off of all three of their records and the crowd ate it up; bodies were pressed against each other, water was flung overhead to cool us down, and crowd surfers flowed regularly over the barrier. No Age covered a Black Flag and the Misfits but the highlight of the set was “Everybody’s Down” which featured Dean leaving the stage and joining the crowd. No Age are a quality band who write good songs and put on fun shows. Fun Fact: The picture that heads the Pitchfork article about the festival was taken during No Age’s set and I’m the kid wearing red in the front row.
Destroyer played next on the Red Stage. Naturally, Bejar’s epic jazzy jams were a stark contrast to No Age’s punk songs but it was now late afternoon and chilling out was in order. Destroyer make enjoyable music and they performed their tracks well so it was a good set, even Dan Bejar, who is notoriously moody, seemed like he was having fun. I had the part in “Bay of Pigs” where Bejar sings “Magnolia’s a girl/ her heart is made of wood/ as apocalypses go/ that’s pretty good/ sha-la-la/ wouldn’t you say?’ and the synths come stuck in my head all day in anticipation of hearing it live so I was quite pleased when that song concluded Destroyer’s set.
After that, Ravi and I grabbed dinner and headed to the Blue stage for Nika Roza Danilova, who is better known as Zola Jesus. With barely any trouble we were able to make it to the front, which made me happy because Zola Jesus is actually one of my favorite musicians and I had never been able to make it to one of her shows before. Although I had read about how small a stature she has, it was surprising to see her in real life and realize that, yes, she is 4’11”. Her size didn’t inhibit her performance in the least as she danced and pranced across the stage as she sang tracks from her Stridulum and Valusia EPs. The standout song was probably “Manifest Destiny” which is an incredibly powerful track in terms of Danilova’s vocal performance. Zola Jesus is an artist to watch out for and I am incredibly excited to hear her new record Conatus, which will be released in October.
Fleet Foxes were headlining that night but neither Ravi nor I are particularly familiar with their music so we left after Zola Jesus. Instead of being satisfied with a day’s worth of live music, we ventured to Chicago’s Lincoln Hall for an unofficial after-show. Shabazz Palaces opened the show. I’m not a big fan of rap or hip-hop so they weren’t exactly my thing but I definitely acknowledge that they could be a quality act. It was entertaining to watch the two members perform as many of the songs featured synchronized dance routines. The headlining act was Moonface, which is Spencer Krug’s new project. It was an interesting performance as Krug played keyboards and sang and another fellow played marimba and drum machines. It was fun and worth going to but after two days of standing on metal barriers, I was tired and my feet were incredibly sore.
Photo Credit: Ravi Prakriya
by Griffin Winton-LaVieri (WPRB Music Director)
Every year the Pitchfork Music Festival seems to book the best bands. Last year as I watched the artist announcements (Broken Social Scene!) come out (LCD Soundsystem!) through out the spring (Pavement!), I was all too aware that there was no way I could make it. But 2011 was different; with orientation for college in Wisconsin, a trip to Chicago would fit perfectly into my summer and thus the trip was meant to be. When Animal Collective was announced as a headliner, I ran through the halls of my high school to tell my best friend, Ravi, who would be going to the festival with me. It was going to be the high point of my summer.
Since we arrived the day before, Ravi and I had nothing in particular to do midday Friday. As I’m a big fan of being early to concerts (a result of my short stature and subsequent love of being in the front row), we arrived at the festival gates at noon- approximately 3 hours before they would open. This was, in retrospect, one of the best decisions of the weekend because it allowed us to think about our priorities and prepare to realize our goals; namely, we decided to get through gates quickly and sprint to the Green Stage and stay there the whole day so we could see Animal Collective up close.
The first band on the Green Stage was Battles. Despite the fact that Tyondai Braxton no longer numbers among their ranks, they rocked through “Atlas” and other songs with the help of prerecorded vocals and a screen on stage displayed the guesting vocalists. Their set up was gear-intense as it featured such remarkable aspects as a cymbal elevated to the height of approximately 7 feet, effects pedals lining key board stands, keyboards angled at 45 degrees, and the machinery which built the loops that built the songs.
After Battles was Guided By Voices. If one band epitomized rock’n’roll that weekend, I’m pretty sure it is GBV; first off was Robert Pollard, the lead singer, who proudly took swigs of rum between songs and did multitudes of leg kicks as he performed. The guitarist took the prize, though, as he chain-smoked through the set; always needing a cigarette, he had a stagehand behind him whose sole role was to light new cigarettes and place them in his mouth. I have never gotten into GBV’s extensive catalogue so I recognized only a few songs that they play, but any set with “I am a Scientist” is a good set, right?
At 8:30, Animal Collective finally took the stage. In the break after GBV, an elaborate set was built featuring a giant head behind the band, huge glowing crystals in front of the band, and illuminated plastic bats hanging down from the rigging. The set consisted of almost entirely new tracks and the first song they performed was especially special as it was “Change”, one of the new tracks, which is the first Deakin sings on. As for the new songs, they generally the rhythmic and aggressive, more like Water Curses than Meriwether Post Pavilion. Then again, it by the time they come out in the form of a new record they will probably not only have different names but new directions as well. AnCo did play several old songs and each time they did, it seemed more euphoric; They worked their way through “Did You See the Words”, “Brothersport”, a slower, heavier version of “Taste”, and ended on an incredibly high note with the much loved “Summertime Clothes.” Despite the fact that they had 10 minutes before the Chicago curfew, they didn’t play an encore. Although the time they spent playing was magical, I’m sort of glad they didn’t. They couldn’t have topped “Summertime Clothes.”
Photo credit: Ravi Prakriya
Name: Dan Buskirk
Show: “Jazz with Dan Buskirk” Mondays 11:00AM -1PM.
Type Of Music Played: “Post-Coltrane era jazz.”
Reasons for Being a DJ: “I think I’m a frustrated musician and this is my way of getting that out.”
Day Job: Writer.
Listening To Now: Roswell Rudd, “The Incredible Hunk.”
Favorite Summer Food: Oysters.
Currently Reading: Kingdom Under Glass by Jay Kirk (biography of Carl Akeley, an American taxidermist for the Museum of Natural History).
Favorite City Visited: Paris.
Anything else?: Dan ”Enjoys taking advantage of the freedom at WPRB to play funky and free jazz that stretches beyond polite boundaries. Hail Sun Ra, hail William Parker, hail jazz’s past and future…”
Happy Summer from WPRB 103.3 Princeton!
The whole crew celebrated the season at WPRB’s annual summer BBQ by grilling hamburgers, hot dogs, corn, even pineapple. Special thanks to our friends at Vitamin Water for cooling everyone down by providing us with an ample supply of our favorite flavors!
Stay tuned for info about submitting to our T-Shirt Design Contest for this October’s pledge drive!
When much-loved “Nocturnal Transmissions” host Doctor Cosmo passed away in early April, it was decided soon thereafter that a fitting, lasting tribute would be to name the station’s Production Studio after him.
Since first coming to WPRB in 1991, Cosmo recorded bands of every possible shape, size and sound here and all future sessions will be engineered in a space bearing his name.
Today a laser-etched piece of metal was mounted outside of the studio door.
The Doctor Cosmo Production Studio
20th Floor, WPRB Communications Complex
In Memory Of George Mahlberg
I hope that future DJs will see this sign, wonder about the mustachioed madman looking back at them and ask a veteran member of the air staff who Doctor Cosmo was – opening their minds to the limitless possibilities of radio in the process.