As we all know, Zach and I do a show where we often show the listeners bands that they’re never heard of. This is what I’m good at. When it’s not a band that I know personally, it’s an underground band that needs to be known, but instead they’ve got a small following such as only 3,000 followers on Twitter. So, in honor of our tradition of exposing awesome bands that no one’s heard of, our artist this week is Allo Darlin’. Allo Darlin’ is a little band from the UK with members that are half from London, and half from Australia. They’ve got a few elements that everyone loves: a girl singer, accents, and an extreme cuteness factor. I don’t often describe things as cute, but that’s the only word i could think of when listening to them. They’ve got jangly guitars, heartwarming melodies and lyrics that bring to you the nostalgia of your high school relationships. And all on top of that is a slight country twang. They’ve got elements of Camera Obscura and Belle & Sebastian. So if you like those artists too, you should definitely check them out. Watch the video above and see what I mean. This is a band for anyone who enjoys having their heart warmed, and a smile brought to their face.
There’s a really awesome band I know that nobody has ever heard of, and they’re called Yuck. Yuck is an indie rock band with members from New York, London, and Hiroshima. This band got their name from a venue accidentally putting a ‘Y’ instead of an ‘F’, if you know what I mean. They’re a mix of Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. with their swirly effects and echoing vibes that send notes bouncing off the walls and into your ears. They’ve only released one self titled album so far, but it’s perfection. If you have not heard of them before, you can check them out in the link I’ve posted. If you like what you hear, and you should, then check out their entire album. Yuck, by Yuck. They aren’t yucky at all, they’re actually pretty amazing.
WARG has always been regarded as an alternative station, and in honor of that I’d like to present you something that I guarantee you’ve never heard of. There’s this awesome band called Wilshire that I happen to know personally, and the world needs to know them. Zach and I have had a show together since we’ve been on radio, and we’ve been friends for quite a while now, but when we first met, I was introduced to his brother who I had found out to be a drummer in a band. I was immediately more excited about knowing Zach. We attended one of their concerts, and I’d discovered that they were called Wilshire, and also that they were mind-blowing. Wilshire is Vinnie Crisostomo (drums), Ben Arguelles (guitars, vox), Brendan Egan (guitars, vox), and newly added Dylan Epling (bass). They’ve been together for some time now, them being long time friends. They released their first triple-album last year, entitled “I’ll Speak in a Monstrous Little Voice”, and this year they’ve just released their newest album entitled “Loitering in the Meandering Tilted Skies.” The music they create is an explosion of enchanting sonic dissonance and beautiful confusion, only matched by the likes of Sonic Youth, Explosions in the Sky, and Dinosaur Jr. Ben’s guitar is always battling Brendan’s, as if the both of them are trying to drown one another out with their aggressive, eerie, complex notes that always sound like they’re floating in the outer atmosphere. They’ll forever battle each other, and no one will win: except for the listener. Underneath all of that is Vinnie’s drums, with his crashing cymbals and booming fills. His playing ensures the atmosphere is extra spacey. Next in the rhythm section is Dylan, whose bass booms and rumbles under everyone’s noise to create the perfect rattling foundation that you think may crack – but never does. On top of everything, I cannot forget to mention Brendan’s chilling vocals, with the type of mind provoking lyrics that leave us pondering the meaning of life itself. Wilshire is the perfect example of beautiful, complex dissonance that sounds like winter on the Moon. When you listen to their stuff, you’re easily tangled up and suspended in clouds of beautifully melancholic, heartbreaking melodies and rhythmic structures that are also in some way full of hope. They’re the type of band that can play with your heart, and alter your emotions with each listen. The music itself is as complex, ambiguous, and exquisitely detailed as the titles of the albums and the songs inside of them. Wilshire is a DIY artist operating out of DZ records in Ben’s basement, which he actually built with his own two hands. Wilshire is completely self created, and self maintained. These are just ordinary guys, who make extraordinary music. You may get the feeling that I’m just some pretentious hipster kid because I’m telling you to listen to an unsigned, DIY band. But, who needs labels nowadays when you can create anything you want all on your own? The fact that there’s no restrictions makes it so much better. Wilshire truly has no limits and they keep progressing further. In fact, they’re already working on their third studio album. So take my advice and listen to these guys – they’re the real deal. They operate locally, so maybe you can even come out to one of their shows. I’ve posted the link to their bandcamp page above where you can download their music, and you can pay whatever you want! You can even take it for free. So, if you have any sense of what music is even remotely good, you should listen to Wilshire. An even cooler part of this all is that three out of four of them are Argo Alumni, so they’ve once walked the same halls as all of us. Listen to them, because they’re a great band, and all around great guys.
Every year, around this time, we can all feel the holiday season. We feel it literally, because it passes through everyone of our senses. The lights are seen, the smells smelled, the songs heard. Since WARG is a radio station though, I’d like to focus on the songs heard. Everyone is used to the conventional songs, Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, Jingle Bell Rock, anything else with bells in it…And, honestly, conventional gets extremely boring, and it wears on you. Only certain artists such as She & Him throw twists on the usual Christmas songs to make them listenable. But, I don’t even want to focus on actual Christmas music. I want to focus on kind-of Christmas music. If you have never heard of Explosions in the Sky, they are an ambient instrumental post-rock band (that wording may be redundant), straight out of the heart of Texas. They make cinematic and emotional post-rock operas using nothing but the instruments in their hands. Their music consists of heart warming guitar melodies that also tend to be heart breaking at the same time, long droning experimentation with tone and effects pedals, and the biggest, most crashing and explosive drums you will ever hear in your life. This band can lift you up in an instant, and throw you down in the next second using their soft-loud, loud-soft dynamics. They can leave you with a teary eye, or a sense of hope. If explosions were actual happening in the sky, those explosions would be the product of this band tearing their heart out and presenting it to the world from the clouds above. Now that you have an idea of who Explosions in the Sky are, I must let you know that they are obviously not at all a Christmas band. But, one of their albums seems to fit for some odd reason. As I was driving in my car today, I put in a CD I hadn’t heard for a while. It’s called ‘All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone.’ As I Drove, I realized that the music fit perfectly. There was a sense of happiness in it, with sleigh bells being used by the percussionist, seeming to represent the holiday season and cheer, but also a sense of hopelessness that seems to come along with winter. These guys are experts at jerking the strings in your heart. And, that is the best part of this band. Because they are instrumental, nothing is written. The music is a blank canvas used to provoke your thoughts, and make you paint them all over it to make hypothetical art coming from pure emotion and heart. So, take a chance and listen to the album that is posted up above. You need to experiment and see what your outcome is. You may think it sounds kind of holiday-ish, but that’s not the point. The point is to listen, and see where it takes you. Maybe it’ll take you to a Winter-Wonderland in your head, or maybe somewhere void of hope. Where it takes you it does not matter, what does matter though, is that it does manage to take you somewhere. Most importantly though, this will take you away from the conventional slump of the Christmas music you hear every single year.
-Steve “Apprentice” Edwards
Everybody loves the end of the year for the holiday season, but I love it for more than just that. In my opinion, the best part about the year ending isn’t the presents or the partying, but the end of the year lists. At the end of the year, everyone is posting their ‘Best Of’ lists, from Rolling Stone, to SPIN, and now WARG. Starting on December 22nd, we will be counting down the 10 Best Albums of 2012. Also on that date, WARG will be counting down its 37 years in 37 hours, starting at 6am! Lastly, a week later on December 31st, tune in literally to hear the Top 88 Songs of 2012!
Though WARG is an alternative station, with music ranging all over the place and mostly focusing on the new releases of indie artists, I’ve been getting back to my roots lately. By roots, I mean the bands that started it all. I’ve really been into the old blues artists and Led Zeppelin lately, as I am watching “The Song Remains The Same” as I type. You can’t imagine a more perfect band than Led Zeppelin. But, my recent music endeavors and attempts to get back in touch with originality led me to a certain group of musicians that I believe to be the complete definition of originality. This group that I speak of, of course, is The Pixies. Now some of you may disagree, and some of you may not even have a clue as to who the hell they are. But, upon listening, you will probably agree. In the link above, their entire short but effective careers are summed up in one song, “Where Is My Mind?.” If you haven’t heard this one, you’re living in a cave, and you must do yourself a favor and listen immediately, because it is in every way perfect. When I say that the Pixies are the very definition of original, I say this because they are one of the only bands ever to come from nowhere, and be so completely different that critics can’t even match bands that they’ve drawn from. It’s nearly impossible to say who the Pixies draw from, because they were a totally new and different form of music. The way they made the music was so…..different, that even I have a hard time finding words to explain. The way Frank Black screams the lyrics, as if in agonizing pain, and the moments where is changes to a lull or simple talk that seems to calm us for a second until in a snap second he goes back into a full out scream is just amazing. And, the way that Kim Deal sings perfect anti-harmonies over her basslines, that somehow sound so perfectly harmonious under Frank Black’s singing with bipolar disorder also adds to the bands appeal. The next thing worth mentioning is Joey Santiago’s screaming guitar that always comes in, in a full out angry blaze, and the fact that he never seems to play an excessive note, or a note that doesn’t need to be there. Last but not least, is David Lovering and his perfectly primitive sounding drums, that sound like a pissed off caveman beating the hell out of an even angrier snare drum and cymbals. Nothing can describe their music better than one word: raw. It’s raw, it’s uncut, imperfect, it’s primitive, But, it’s also perfect in every way. Every artist from the 90s tried to draw on what the Pixies created, and the most famous of them was Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. He even once said, “I’m just trying to do what the Pixies are doing, but I’m scared I’ll get called out on being a Pixies rip off artist. I’ve even considered calling Nirvana a Pixies cover band.” When such a huge name, Kurt Cobain, says something like that, you know they’re the real deal. The Pixies were the coolest band that never even tried, which is strange, because that;s how they became so great. They never tried to be like anyone else. So do yourself a favor, and have a listen. You may disagree (though i doubt you will), but what’s the worst thing that can happen? That’s right, discovering an awesome rock band. That sounds like a plus to me.
— Steve “Apprentice” Edwards
Led Zeppelin, one of my favorite bands, and definitely the most definitive rock band of all time, will be releasing their 2007 live from London reunion concert in theaters this month. If you miss it in theaters (which you may, since it’s only at select locations), you can still definitely pick up a copy of the collector’s edition boxed sets that will be accompanying the big screen debut of the film. This humongous milestone in rock and roll history is not to be missed, as it was Led Zeppelin’s first reunion show in upwards of thirty years, and also probably the last concert they’ll ever play together (unfortunately). Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, and Robert Plant may all be 60+ years old, but they have yet to crack in any aspect. They tore through a set covering their entire span as the heaviest band of all time, with Plant’s bluesy soul filled vocals and harmonica, howling and twirling over Jimmy Page’s heavy riffing and soloing to perfection, all finished off by John Paul Jones and his groovy bassline, keyboards, and Jason Bonham, the late great John Bonham’s son, filling in on drums to almost mirror what his father would have done. This performance cannot be matched by any artist that I’ve ever known, seen, heard, or sensed in other way. For fans of rock music, and more specifically for fans of Led Zeppelin: This performance is to be celebrated. It damn sure deserves the title it’s been given, and we know it was truly a “Celebration Day.”
Though Taylor Swift is not part of the alternative format, and in no way part of our station, I’d like to take a minute to discuss what it means to sell out as an artist. All artists in their careers struggle with the idea of going mainstream, or going for a poppier sound to appeal to the masses. Some artists go from their original sound, to a more pop approach for mainstream appeal, and some do it backwards, shown by the likes of The Beatles or Radiohead. Then there’s some that stay consistent, like Led Zeppelin. But, as an artist it is a hard decision to make. Should I make the music how I feel it should be made, whether the fans like it or not, or should i try to make what I feel people want to hear, or expect me to make? This doing what is expected or wanted, is the complete opposite of what art is, and artists such as Taylor Swift are ruining the art that is music. She started as a country girl with a dream, and some catchy country songs, to the face of mainstream music plastered all over Superstores and iTunes. I can’t even go to Walgreens anymore without seeing a huge sign that says “TAYLOR SWIFT MERCHANDISE HERE.” She’s even gone as far as being sponsored by Papa John’s and having her face along with the album cover put on a pizza box. Though we all hate to admit it, her songs are really damn catchy. But, the question is whether or not Artists like Taylor Swift are ruining the art. My answer is yes, because when you give what is expected, there is no art to it. Taylor Swift is selling out more and more with each release. Now, what’s your opinion?
– Steve “Apprentice” Edwards
With the ongoing presidential campaign and the battle between Obama and Romney, comes the presidential debates. Tomorrow, Tuesday the 16th, you can join WARG for live coverage of the debate, as WARG’s resident pundits argue and discuss. The Steve ‘n Zach Show will be joined by Melanie Holden, and our new Gerald Regep III in order to discuss and debate, the debate. Tune in literally, all night tomorrow, at 88.9 fm WARG.
So a few months ago I was excited to find that UK indie rockers Two Door Cinema club were releasing their sophomore album “Beacon”, since a few years have passed after their first hit album “Tourist History” came out, and everyone was clearly hungry for more. Devin and I are obviously big fans, and were even more excited when we found that the band would be going on tour and coming to Chicago. Like all teenage procrastinators, we waited till Monday night to buy our tickets, but it was well worth it because the fees were less than what they would have been if we bought earlier for some odd reason. So Tuesday came, and Devin and I drove straight from school into the city, and after about a thirty minute ride and search for parking, we found ourselves in line, staring at a marquee that said “RIVIERA: Tonight- Guards – Friends – Two Door Cinema Club”, and like all concertgoers, we snapped a few pictures on our smartphones and uploaded them to Facebook. When the doors opened at 5:30, we looked at the merch table for a few minutes then walked directly to the stage, with only a few rows of people in front of us. After an hours wait (which definitely hurts when you’re wearing converse) the first band came out. They called themselves “Guards”. Just Guards, and they sure impressed the hell out of me. From their cool 1960s style, to their vintage pop-rock sound, everything about these guys appealed to me. They put on a 45 minute set, and were definitely the best opening band i’ve seen in my days. I’ll be sure to get their music at WARG very soon. After another 30 minute wait for setup and such, the second band emerged. At first though, it was not a full band, but a single (what i believed at first to be a woman) man, dressed in drag, howling and doing strange Egyptian style dance to the backing hipster stereotype on a bongo drum. We found ourselves in a full fledged weird fest. Needless to say, the crowd was confused. After the tribal ceremonies were over, the Brooklyn band performed their set, with their girl singer’s soul filled vocals layered over waves of funk, and afro beats. Their music was very dance-friendly, i probably wouldn’t have enjoyed at as much if it wasn’t for the stage diving drag queen named Sasha though. It was hilarious, and fun. After their set, they threw flowers to the audience and left, while they did this Devin and I weaseled our ways closer to the front of the stage and awaited. After around 35 minutes of more dreadful standing, they emerged from the darkness. There they were, two door cinema club. Without a word to the audience, over all of the mayhem and commotion, they busted into their most recent hit single, Sleep Alone. After that, they ran through undercover Martyn (my personal favorite). Needless to say, it was a strong opening, and the crowd was going so crazy that me and Devin actually lost each other. They kept their set consistently strong, going through much of their new record, with it’s dance friendly pop synth and groove basslines, but also a good mix in of their first record with songs such as ‘eat that up, it’s good for you’, ‘something good can work’, and ‘do you want it all?’. They kept the energy going all the way till the end, when they emerged with a four song encore, and finally ending it with a powerful ‘what you know’, which everyone does know, and love. The three fellows that look like they emerged directly from Hogwarts (Ron, Neville, and Harry) thanked the crowds in their accents and left the stage. Devin and I found each other and directly after the show the crowd stayed and erupted into a dance hall when Hall & Oates ‘You Make My Dreams Come True’ started playing. All in all, the concert was a very fun experience, and well worth $35. You should definitely check out the opening bands, and the new album by TDCC. Who knew a last minute decision to go to this (when i should be studying for midterms) would be such a good idea?
– Steven ‘Appretice’ Edwards