At WKDU we receive new music every week from a huge variety of labels. We keep all of our new releases in our main control room (the room out of which our DJs do their thing) on our “New Music Shelf”. Our DJs pull from this shelf quite often, because our goal is to serve you the freshest underground cuts–FDA certified 100% organic, grass-fed, farm to table, FRESH. With “Off the Shelf”, our goal is to dive deeper than ever into our “New Music Shelf” favorites, and to share our thoughts with our community. Here’s hoping we inspire you to check out something NEW.
By Matt Squires
Parquet Courts’ new album, Wide Awake!, is a diverse collection of raw rock and rolls sounds, familiar to the American ear, yet unique and refreshing. The production is minimalistic, to focus the listener on the melodic and rhythmic aspects of the songs, which are undeniably catchy. The vocals are raw with minor imperfections as if performed in a live setting.
“Total Football” kicks off the album with a classic rock style sharp slow chord progression. Soon the beat speeds up and the bass riff kicks, forcing the listener to bounce back and forth, a feeling used many times on this album including, “Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience” and “Extinction”. Growly vocals are introduced, seemingly untrained and raw, their voices fit the aesthetic perfectly. This riveting intro song ends like the streets of Philadelphia after the 2018 super bowl, “F___ Tom Brady!!”.
“Violence” shows the more serious side of this album. Smooth groovy rhythms and catchy riffs over a yelling monologue until coming in with the chorus “violence is daily life.” Parquet Courts makes their way around the genre spectrum while maintaining the same production aesthetic with the slowed jam, “before the water gets too high”. The repeating riff is memorizing and the organ-sounding synth chords hold the song together.
Next stop on this journey is a flashback to 90s alternative rock. Sounding like Pavements “Range Life”, “Mardi Gras Beads” takes the album to very familiar place. The smooth lush reverb-filled verse contrasts with the rigid power chords that come in the chorus creating a rich texture. “Almost had to start a fight” channels the bands Proto-Punk aesthetic with riffs sounding like MC5, the vocals match the rhythm to create a concrete, energetic jam. Merging into “In and out of Patience” with the phrase “If it stops i’m having a bad dream”, the pattern changes, putting another involuntary step in the foot of the listener.
The aptly named, “Freebird 2”, lives up to its name talking about drugs and getting older with pentatonic blues scales. The title song, “Wide Awake” combines a groovy bass riff with a dance party vibe. The use of Auxiliary percussion on this track makes it stand out from the others. A straight rhythm blues jam ends the album out with a piano melody doubling the vocals, making for an upbeat vibe. The chord progression is a mixture of simple chords and unusually dissonant chords that give an excellent texture to this familiar groove.
Parquet Courts have maintained their progressive classic rock style. Innovative yet so familiar and easy to latch on to, this album is an instant classic filled with songs that capture the last 50 years of rock music.
The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last […]
The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last week’s most relevant announcements and drops. Our review spans multiple genres and scenes, so chances are, you’ll find something new that you can bop to. Check it out below.
mewithoutYou – Untitled EP Mitski – Be The Cowboy Trevor Powers – Mulberry Violence
Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning (October 19, 2018) Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (October 26, 2018)
Ian Sweet – Crush Crusher (October 26, 2018) It Looks Sad – Sky Lake (November 2, 2018) Justus Proffit and Jay Som – Nobody’s Changed EP (September 28, 2018) mewithoutYou – Untitled LP (October 5, 2018) Saves The Day – 9 (October 26, 2018) Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate (October 12, 2018) Young Jesus – The Whole Thing Is Just There (October 12, 2018)
Just about to turn one year old, Pittsburgh-based label is / was has already made quite the impact with fresh and timeless releases from heavy hitters and new names alike. We had a chat with label boss Tony Fairchild after he turned in this bangin’ set for the Hot Mix.
Tell us a little about the mix — what was the idea behind it?
It’s a collection of records I’ve bought over the past month or two with maybe 3-4 that have been in my collection for some time. I think I’m starting to get to a point where my personal definition of house music is starting to congeal and define itself. This mix is another step in the distillation process.
You’re a new imprint — how’d this all get started? Is it “is / was” or “was / is” ?
Yes, the labels (is / was & was / is) will turn 1 in April and they are my first labels. It all started with my desire to present music from the 90’s that has maybe fallen out of the spotlight to dance floors of today. Currently the curatorial ethos is simply releasing whatever I feel is timeless and important music. It helps to have a kick drum too!
Looking across the state from Philly, Pittsburgh packs quite the punch with its scene / labels / parties. Tell me a little bit about the scene and what you think makes it special / different.
I think what makes Pittsburgh great is what makes Midwest techno great in general. Heads-down, no frills, hyper-devoted people who involve themselves in dance music simply for the love of it. It’s an example of the beautiful things that can happen to art and culture when you take money out of the equation. What I’m most proud about is how cohesive the scene is and how supportive everyone is of each other. All the contributors to our scene have their own hustle yet are able to come together to lift each other up and put wind in each other’s sails.
How do you come across some of these older projects and go about re-releasing them? What can we expect the rest of 2018 ?
Usually it starts with a record I have, or am aware of (and wish I had!), that I think has something to offer current dance floors. Often its just a matter of contacting the artist and asking if they are interested in working together. Facebook is a big help!
As far as what to expect from the label, there will be 4 more pairs of is / was & was / is records dropping between now and the end of the year. Expect tunes from Mark Ambrose, Archetype, BPMF, Dar Embarks, a couple of top secret surprises and the debut of the insanely talented Teakup. I am also launching a new label, “TerraFirm”, this spring via Subwax Distribution. Its a very conceptual project focusing on a melodic, utopian, futuristic strain of techno. Look for 2 releases or so this year on that imprint.
Tell me something distinctly Pittsburgh that I should know about.
I’ve only lived here for about 2.5 years so I’m not the most qualified cultural ambassador! Our museum has a sick gem room that should be one of the first stops on any tour of the city.
What’s your favorite / least favorite thing about electronic music right now?
Favorite: watching the DJ’s and producers of my generation evolve as they mature in the scene. I see my cohort getting more nuanced, skilled and discerning. We aren’t the ankle-biters anymore!
Before throwing down at Rumor’s All Natural party, we sat down with German dance duo Mat.Joe for a chat about living in Berlin, their hip hop roots, and highlights of a crazy successful 2017. Be sure to check out their #1 Beatport house smash “Love Stream”, if you haven’t already.
WKDU: What were your first favorite hip hop and electronic artists respectively?
Mat: Oh I guess my first Hip Hop favorites were Wu Tang and Dr. Dre…it started with Yo! MTV Raps..oh damnnn, miss those times! Electronic-wise it was Ricardo Villalobos back in the minimal days.
Joe: My first Hip Hop tape was Jeru the Damaja’s “Wrath of the Math”. It blew me away! House-wise, crossover hits from Stardust, Phats & Small, Bob Sinclair, Armand Van Helden, and Daft Punk found their way into my ears when I was a teenager.
WKDU: How did hip hop / skateboarding background lead you to electronic music?
Mat.Joe: We both went to some crazy underground raves back in the days. Guess that the lovely vibes and different energy made it something special. House music is really similar to Hip Hop, Soul and R&B. Skateboarding is a big sub-culture…same with electronic music back in the days….maybe because of this, haha. We still love all those things and ride our boards in the hood as often as possible.
WKDU: What are the differences in your own two personal tastes and styles of music?
Mat.Joe: Haha…this question is in any interview we get. We both have a really similar taste and started with electronic music production in late 2011, right after we froze our Hip Hop project. It’s way more relaxed in the studio and when you play back2back if you share the same taste.
WKDU: Tell us about an ‘only in Berlin’ kind of moment you’ve had since moving there – it seems like you guys like it as a homebase.
Mat.Joe: Oh so many moments…but we guess besides the good food and the lovely cloudy sky (baaahhhh) the parties are crazy wild and they don’t stop! One time at Sisyphos we realized, ‘Oh we’re partying for 3 days already!’…Berlin is Berlin! <3
WKDU: Closing out the year, what have been some of your most memorable moments from 2017?
Mat: Got a lot of amazing moments with a lot of cool people, great parties in different places around the world plus a successful track in “Love Stream”.
Joe: The festivals were incredible, the Brazil tour, the marathon sets we played at Lost Beach Club and like Mat said, it’s all about the moment and about connecting with the people.
WKDU: What can people expect when they see you DJ live?
Mat.Joe: Some lovely crazy boys with Mat.Joe necklaces and lots of ice cream…haha, but seriously we want to have a good time and enjoy partying with people. So come to the party and don’t be shy. Let’s drink some shots and have some breakfast at the DJ booth. Cheers!
Catch Mat.Joe in a DJ booth near you and stay “crispy” !!
Our friend & anonymous producer Deeper Kenz just put out a fantastic tape on the always-excellent LA-based label 100% Silk. They put together a disco-laced mix for us and we chatted about wandering, relationships, and of course, Kensington.
Peep the mix & our discussion below:
KDU: Where did the Deeper Kenz alias come from?
Deeper Kenz: The name of the project was meant simply to pay homage to the place in which the music was made. I first moved to Kensington in 2007 and was 19 at the time. I feel like I became an adult there. I owe a lot to the neighborhood and its different residents.
KDU: How did Philadelphia influence the sound of this tape?
Deeper Kenz: The Sound of Philadelphia is a wonderfully dense landscape and so many parts of it have affected me deeply- the city’s towering contributions to Soul, Disco, and Hip hop, the Experimental and Noise music communities of which I was a peripheral part, the Saturdays of Caribbean music on WKDU, the talented people I DJ’d with at clubs and parties, the dancers there- I felt so connected to and inspired by all of this while I was working on the tracks that would end up on the tape. I spent so many hours wandering around the city but I was always most attached to Kensington. The track names were an attempt to create a map of some of the details of the area that were most important to me.
KDU: Were there any artistic influences that went into Deeper Kenz?
Deeper Kenz: I was obsessively digging for Techno, House, Disco, Funk, and Soul tunes at the time I was working on these, so I’m sure I was fully processing my education. I also was trying to make music I could play out Djing and would fit in the context of my sets. I was also inspired by the personal relationships I had at the time and the inexhaustible current of music flowing through so many of them. I hope the gratitude I feel shows in the music.
KDU: How did you get involved with 100% Silk?
Deeper Kenz: I got in touch with 100% Silk through some mutual friends- Britt Brown had written a review of another project of mine and we first began corresponding about that. He was interested when I told him I had some music that sounded vaguely appropriate for the label and I was ecstatic when they agreed to release it. I hadn’t exactly intended for these recordings to come out- they were just for myself and my friends. All this comes as a pleasant surprise.
DJ Sega is one of the most unique and groundbreaking artists to come out of Philly. He was one of the original artists signed to Mad Decent and has remixed the craziest variety of songs with the Philly club sound that he helped pioneer (e.g. Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Theme – DJ Sega remix). His set at the EMM was absolutely INSANE. My jaw was on the floor as he pulled out track after track of unexpected / WTF goodness. Sit back and listen to his set and read our chat about the start of his career, current projects and the original Mad Decent HQ.Yeah, we talked about the Diplo beef too…
DJ Sega: I’m alive…that’s what counts. Right now, I’m in my hometown Philly. I’ve been staying in South Philly lately.
CB: How did you first start getting into music?
Sega: I was born into music. My parents were choir directors and my father was a DJ in the Nicetown area for almost 40 years, playing classic soul, funk, hip hop and other feel good music. My little sister and I grew up being a little competitive when it came to the music we collected. We competed on who would get an album first. My first tape was James Brown 20 All-Time Greatest Hits and the first album I had was Bad by Michael Jackson.
CB: Were you DJing before you started producing?
Sega: My production came before I took DJing seriously as a career. I received an email survey asking for feedback on this music production software called Acoustica Beatcraft. I gave my ideas and then received an email saying that not only did they use my ideas, but that they were giving me the software for free also. I cut and edited samples in a wave editor and made music for my own entertainment. I was going through a lot in that year and needed an escape. That’s where my imagination and the producing came in. This is my 10 year anniversary of producing!
CB: What was some of the first club music you listened to?
Sega: Baltimore club of course. I first heard it in my Dad’s car. He ran into the bar and left me with the radio on for a few minutes, and that’s when I first heard “Doo Doo Brown” by 2 Hyped Brothers & A Dog. I must’ve been about eight! Later, I was in disbelief when I went to a teen night at an arcade up by Erie Ave and they were playing club music. They had the events in the laser tag area – so it was neon paint and black light all over the place.
I knew the sound, but to experience it in a club for the first time with a sound system was incredible! The bass under my feet, the breaks in my face, the girls on my lap – but we won’t talk about that. I still remember the songs that were played that night but I had no idea I’d be making it myself.
CB: Then you started spinning gigs? How did you learn to DJ?
Sega: I’ve always played in front of a live audience and never really “practiced” before. Not because I’m on some Allen Iverson stuff – I’ve just never owned equipment to practice on. You have DJs out there that have all the equipment and only want to look good having it – they don’t really love this stuff.
CB: How did you take your career to the next level?
Sega: I always heard my mixtapes being blasted out of cars and houses, but they were only being sold at one location, one day a week. I started getting my mixtapes into some stores downtown like Armand’s. That’s where I met Dirty South Joe. He introduced me to Diplo and we talked about this new label he was starting at the time (Mad Decent). I became one of first artists signed to Mad Decent and invited their crew to come check out my regular party. Diplo, Switch, Joe and his girl all came to check it out. Switch bought all of my mixtapes that night.
CB: What were those initial vibes like at Mad Decent?
Sega: It was a big creative family – Diplo, Derek (DJA), Paul Devro, Blaqstarr, Rye Rye and me. It was fun and productive and we all shared ideas and helped each other out. Those initial block parties were crazy – 2010 in particular. It was the first year the block party was on tour and also the last time it was at the mausoleum at 12th and Spring Garden. I guess my set ran a little over my allotted 20/25 minutes and I was told to cut the music off. The crowd was in a frenzy, chanting my name and wanting an encore. After that show, I was put on the lineup for NYC.
CB: What do you think it is that drives people wild for SEGA?
Sega: I think that I’m reaching into a part of people that they forget all about. For example, I flipped the Power Rangers theme and when I’d play it out, I’d just see the smiles come on people’s faces. That theme song was how I got into rock and metal. In 7th grade, I caught Headbanger’s Ball one morning and saw the video for Mudvayne’s “Dig”. I ended up remixing that track and when I met Dirty South Joe, that was the song that motivated him to partner up so fast. People couldn’t believe my rock and metal remixes because of the way that the sound was manipulated and even more so that it was coming from a black kid from Philly. That’s what my latest HellaSonix project is about. I decided that since I’m in my 10th year producing, I would go back to my roots and remix everything from Yes to Aphex Twin.
CB: Let’s talk about ‘the tweet’ from Diplo – give me the context around that whole thing.
Sega: I take care of my disabled family members and have been doing so for years. My mother was in two car accidents and my uncle is deaf and mute. I used to come to the mausoleum late and Diplo would ask me why wasn’t I there earlier or more often. I would tell him there’s some shit going on at home. Recently, the city condemned the house my family was living in and I had to move everything out, literally overnight. I was raising money to help – didn’t ask Diplo for any money – and then he tweeted at me what he did. I didn’t even know he had a problem with me. I was just trying to take care of my family with a crazy situation.
CB: And you’ve heard nothing from him since the tweet, correct?
Sega: There was a little bit of back and forth and talks from people telling me he’s contacted them for my number. I got contacted by everybody except from him. People asked what happened so much that I got sick of it and posted everything on a blog in chronological order. I wanted to get past it, but at the same time I refuse to be in that long list of people that bow down or fold to someone, no matter how much power they have. However, I don’t want people to think that everybody at Mad Decent is evil because they aren’t. In fact, some of the crew that works for Mad Decent donated to my GoFundMe page to help my family.
CB: I’m sorry to hear about the whole situation.
Sega: I feel like I had to show that people that no matter how low you think you may be, you still can fight. I’m just glad for the experience. I’ve always been on the DIY tip as far as my career and I can only imagine what will come next. Me going from being Diplo’s first “protege” to a “bum” is an achievement in itself. But why would somebody that high up on the power ladder come at me in front of millions? All while I’m going through shit? There must be something he knows that I don’t…
CB: So what do you currently have in the works?
Sega: I’m always working on music. I have three projects I’m working on right now: the next volume to my Sixer series, a special edition of HellaSonix and my second EP of all original material called, “Is That Your EP Too?” I also play big events and last minute gigs. You have to stay tuned to catch me out because anything can happen at the drop of a hat. One minute I could be here in Philly and the next I could get a call to come out to Tokyo. I love Japan. STAY TUNED!
The 2014 Electronic Music Marathon was a SMASHING SUCCESS.
This was our 11th year of the EMM after 7 years on hiatus, and my first year involved in the event.
Before I get into this post, I want to give a big shout out to one of my radio inspirations – Jenn Louie. For many years, Jenn had an amazing house and electronic show on KDU called Foundation, and organized many of the previous EMM’s. Some of my first beat matching and set building lessons were from watching her mix using our cruddy CUE speaker and CD players with rudimentary pitch controls.
I’m so honored that I got to pick up the history of a 10 year event, and continue the tradition of connecting Philly DJs of all kinds through electronic music.
Part of me wants to just dive in and rave about how RAD everyone’s sets were, but I’ll have to do that later when we get all the audio sorted to go with.
I want to tell a story.
We have one caller who ALWAYS calls our station to say hello. I’ll be in the mix on my show, see his name come up on the caller ID, and then get a little grin on my face.
I know that he’s going to suggest some rave track for me to check out, or talk about how I should check out this particular Kung Fu movie (not even kidding), or mention how another DJ earlier in the day was killing it.
He damn well knows his house music – but when I talk to other KDU DJs, they also tell me about how he knows his jazz, his psych-rock, and so on.
His support of the entire KDU DJ roster is really amazing, but his main message is even more awesome.
Whenever I ask him his name, he simply says, “SPREAD LOVE!”
We refer to this caller as SPREAD LOVE, and have taken his message to heart.
I TRULY believe that the Electronic Music Marathon SPREAD LOVE through ALL kinds of electronic music this past Columbus Day Weekend, as we rocked the airwaves for 75 hours of CONTINUOUS ELECTRONIC JAMS.
From electro to disco, boogie to gritty, Italo to techno HOLY MOLY the 2014 EMM DJ lineup absolutely KILLED their sets.
From talking with King Britt about Sun Ra, to chatting with Billy Werner about how he went to high school with Ron Morelli, to hearing about how Dave P spun at KDU to promote his first ever Making Time – our studio was BLESSED with the energy of some truly amazing DJs who donated their time and resources to make this a SMASH.
We received the kindest words from Dave P, who is definitely one of the RADDEST DJs around.
He posted this photo from his closing set of the EMM on his Instagram and really blew me away with his words….
“Last nite I had the honor of playing the closing set on @wkdu‘s Electronic Music Marathon and….it truly was an honor. It was also one of the most positive and inspiring musical experiences I’ve had in years. I have not seen such genuine positivity, true love of music and excitement about music and being involved in music from a group of people like I did last nite in the WKDU studios in a very long time. They really are a MAGICAL group of people who are doing great things for the right reasons. It makes me think that the music “industry” should be learning from these kids and gaining inspiration from them and people like them as opposed to them learning and gaining inspiration from the music “industry”. One of the staff members was talking to me about some of the DJs they wanted to have play who didn’t ended up playing for them. One DJ’s manager, who will remain nameless, told him he would need a minimum of $10,000 to have him play. C’MON…..REALLY ??? The music “industry” and the people involved in it….artists, managers, agents, labels etc should be doing everything they can to support these kids and others like them and like I said….probably learning from them and gaining some inspiration from them too. (Hey….look how much DAVIDE taught and inspired me while I was in Positano and…..he was younger than me.) Anyways….They’re doing this for the right reasons and so should all of us !!! This IS supposed to be FUN….remember ??? Here’s to a group of college kids who put together what was basically a 4 day DJ festival on their RADio station with no budget while, in the words of one of the staff, “hopped up on falafel and red bull” !!! Congratulations WKDU and thank you for allowing me to have such a MAGICAL and inspiring experience last nite !!! I can’t wait to do it again next year and…..hopefully DAVIDE can join me next time. He has some really rad olde ITALIO-DISCO records.”
We can’t thank Dave and everyone else who helped us out enough!!!! DAVIDE, come back with those Italo records ANYTIME!!