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Hopscotch Review: Friday

Check out DJ Coordinator John W’s weekend at Hopscotch!

"This past Friday night was a damn good night for music. Weather was good,Labor Day festivities had drawn to a close, and the Hopscotch music festival graced Raleigh with its sonic presence. When I arrived at the festival on Friday St. Vincent was already about halfway through her set. I’ve always been a fan of St. Vincent’s whacky and off-kilter style, and the second half of the set was full of this zaniness. Whether it was via her funky guitar playing, or via small dance steps that resembled the choreography of a Deerhoof set, St. Vincent helped start off my night in a weird sort of way.

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Following St. Vincent I stuck around the city plaza for a bit to hear the beginning of Spoon’s set. I am not too familiar with Spoon’s music, but I liked their style and I thought they played a solid show. Of particular note would be guitarist Alex Fischel, whose frenetic, spasmodic style of playing bore an odd resemblance to the style of Pere Ubu. While his performance may not have complimented that of the rest of the band, I couldn’t help but feel as if he added some much needed weirdness to the show as he skittered across the stage.

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Up next for the night was the band White Life, who played a very fun, and very danceable set at Tir Na Nog. White Life is another band that I knew next to nothing about before seeing, but I couldn’t help but have a blast while dancing to their synth-laden, bass fueled jams. Although their music may be lacking in originality, there is something to be said for vocalists Jonathan and Emily Ehrens, who would tag team vocals while the other went to dance amongst the audience.

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Following White Life was the act I was most looking forward to for the night: Circuit de Yeux. I must say despite the somewhat absurd expectations I had set for this show, Circuit de Yeux did not disappoint in the slightest. For a large duration of the set I was isolated in a realm of luscious acoustic noise and deep, undulating vocals. Circuit de Yeux brought it, and just when I thought I was in the clear that last track hit, and it hit hard. Somewhere between the point in the song where Haley Fohr (Circuit de Yeux) was sitting in a chair and strumming a guitar, and the point in which she was standing up bellowing down into the mic, I lost it. This was musical bliss. Growls and shouts were produced that I had never heard from a female vocalist, and the emotions conveyed in those final minutes were something transcending despair or anger or humiliation. There was something in that last song that was simply ineffable, some primordial force that cannot be named. And while that all may sound pretentious, its about as close as I can get to describing what was for me a near perfect set.

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After the Circuit de Yeux set I was simply at a loss for what to do. But after a few denied entries from the 21+ venues I decided to check out Mark McGuire at the Lincoln Theater. Let me set something straight, Mark McGuire is really good at what he does. His new age soundscapes are filled to the brim with vast expanses of meditative sound, and he had clearly perfected the methodical layering of his tracks. However, after about 30 minutes I was ready to move again, and Mark McGuire was not the show for that.

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So it was about this time in the night that I set my sights on Priests. Priests is a four piece punk outfit form the D.C. area that were loud and abrasive in all of the right ways. Performing around 45 minutes of fast, angry rock featuring politically charged lyrics and an energetic stage presence, the D.C. band had all of the makings of a phenomenal punk act and even a little more. Front woman Katie Greer revealed an impressive repertoire of whines, wails, and shouts that would make Kathleen Hanna blush, and the delivery as a whole never felt obnoxious or preachy. The sincerity of the act was made felt the entire set, and it was clear that this was a group that knew what exactly what they wanted so say and were knowledgeable enough to say it well.

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Finally I headed over to CAM to hear Nguzunguzu close out my night with an impressive of dance tracks. This was a set that ranged anywhere from faster footwork style tracks to slower, almost eerie post-dubstep experiments. What was most impressive was how Nguzunguzu would make these transitions between a broad range of styles in a way that was hardly perceptible. It was also interesting seeing the different styles that the duo bring to the set. The nuances of their performance styles and tastes kept the show more engaging and unpredictable.”

Hopscotch Review: Thursday

Read about Music Director Kat K’s raw experience at Ed Schrader’s Music Beat on the first night of Hopscotch

“…and he kept fucking whistling! And his mom wouldn’t stop him. GOD it sucked! That’s what this song is

about” [light off]

Neatly tucked in the midst of this looming hulk of a storm the Raleigh Contemporary Arts Museum

beckoned out of the downpour a dedicated group of frantic festival-goers running wildly through the

streets like rivers and sheets of rain. But whether we liked it or not, no matter how far we traversed, the

storm found us again. Inside, Ed Schrader’s Music Beat was a roiling squall in and of itself. Rocking the

crowd back and forth; from tumultuous intensity and pounding drums and both men’s echoing vocals

sent careening off the walls in thunderous echoes to stripped down, ominous builds crackling with tense

energy. It became difficult to discern between the chills of rain water dripping down the back of my neck

and the chills spreading on my arms from the raw and dynamic performance. And then the lights go

out…

“I can’t stop eating sugar…I can’t stop eating sugar…”

A simple drum pattern starts. Schrader’s yawning vocals kick in and the single low-angle stage light

floods the scene in monstrous, stooping shadows and golden angles sharply illuminated on Schrader’s

body and the wall behind him.

“See what it does…feel what it does…”

Then, perfectly on beat, at the moment when the collision of vocals, drum, light, and the pulsing

shadows of the crowd all align, the storm makes an appearance. From the high recesses of the museum

where the industrial windows were previously absorbed by shadow, lightning shatters the dark corner in

stuttering patterns of bright blue light.

“…but it’s always in my face…and it’s always been the cause…a tyrannosaurus rex and its goddamn

claws…”

This was the moment when my experience of Thursday night, Hopscotch 5, coalesced into what I’m

convinced is one of the most subtly perfect moment of music I’ve witnessed. This thirty seconds of Ed

Schrader’s performance is, to me, why we come to festivals. And why we run through the rain. This

threatening storm – which had been the cause of such an apparent discord in the events of our evening

– offered a moment of fleeting transference when the natural world became a part of our music festival

world. The storm performed for us. And y’all – it was only day 1.

One more Hopscotch lineup-dream-scape, what’s Business Manager Jonathan G. planning on seeing at THE BEST FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR ?

Hopscotch 2010 was by far the greatest feeling I’ve come across since the first time I opened my eyes. Broken Social Scene and Panda Bear at the plaza brought me to my knees in happiness. After a unexplained hiatus from the festival, I’m ready to go back Raleigh on Thursday night and hopefully be brought to my knees once more.

You could say Thursday’s when it all starts. I would die and go to heaven to see Blanko Basnet tomorrow at Tir Na Nog. I saw them earlier in Chapel Hill this year and was rightly transcended into guitar pop heaven. After wiping the tears from my eyes after their set, I face one of the toughest decisions in Raleigh Festival history: Tim Hecker or The War On Drugs? Possibly no one can answer this question, only time will tell. I’m making a choice, which one will you see? 

Friday my heart will probably return to the normal BPM, and I will proceed to scope out Circuit Des Yeux, Flesh Wounds, and then the last one’s whatever I’m feelin’. Cannot go wrong Friday after midnight, let it be known. 


If my knees still work by Saturday, I will traverse into Plaza Show World and catch Mastadon at 8:15PM, as a sort of gift to the spirit of life. After drinking an ice cold bottled water, How To Dress Well will bring some sort of “chilling out” before we get right back to the metal when High on Fire perform at Lincoln Theater, closing out the Hopscotch that I will only be able to describe with hand motions and closed eyes.

HOPSCOTCH IS ONLY A DAY AWAY, Check out what our lovely station manager Olivia B has to say about her Hopscotch experiences

The first year I went to Hopscotch – 2012—I remember being taken aback by the sheer amount of walking it took to get from venue to venue. It was the beginning of my second year at UNC-Chapel Hill, and since I’m from Oklahoma, I knew next to nothing about getting around the Triangle. My mental image of Raleigh at that time consisted of a hazy over-thereness punctuated by two or three specific memories of the rare trips I’d made as a first-year, while my notion of music festivals rested on grassy lawns, denim cutoffs, and several outdoor stages arranged within a more-or-less dedicated space. As such, I was confused and a little bit overwhelmed when the reality of Hopscotch – with its distances, detours, and 21+ venues – supplanted the vague expectations I’d brought with me.

Here is a thing about most music festivals: they are kind of about fashion, or about style. They are kind of about looking or acting or even feeling a certain way, all situated in the context of a specific niche (or intentional non-niche) of media culture. Fashion boutiques and conglomerates alike release lookbooks and special collections months in advance of these festivals. The bigger ones become objects of attention when celebrities show up, looking cool or fresh or offensive. More than centers of performance, such festivals are spectacles of a certain kind of experience built around seeing and being seen (even the way we talk about “seeing” musicians perform attests to the importance of visual proximity).

Here is a thing about Hopscotch: it is about the music. Save for the headlining shows, there’s no real heart of the festival grounds. For three nights, downtown Raleigh becomes Hopscotch. The wide range of club venues, and of course the often-longish distances between them, means there is no one ‘place to be’ at this music festival. You go where you want to go to experience what you want to experience. You have to make sacrifices; you can’t possibly attend every performance on your wish-list. Sometimes – if you’re really serious about seeing a role-model up close – you have to run between venues. And this is a great and wonderful thing. It means that you can see your favorite musicians up close, because there are ten other exciting performances going on at any given time in what might as well be any given place. We’re given the opportunity to experience a kind of intimacy with the performers that doesn’t seem to happen when all eyes are on… each other. The volume of venues and their locations in space decenter the festival, effectively preempting its development into the kind of pure spectacle I just described. In some ways, it’s the ideal setup.

And that’s why for this, my third consecutive trip to Hopscotch, I’m happy to embrace the distance.

Check out what Production Manager Tommy M.’s Planning on Hitting at Hopscotch!

Thursday

Guerilla Toss: Discovered them through WXYC, they sound totally in your face. Angular and awesome.

Tim Hecker -> Lunice: I have no idea what to expect from Tim Hecker. Virgins is a totally lurching, violent, beautiful piece of music and I’m curious to see what creative ways he comes up with to perform it live. Halfway through I’m going to probably run across downtown Raleigh to make it to see Lunice, who is one half of TNGHT, a “trap-rave” duo who are so so good and unfortunately possibly calling it quits.

Friday

St. Vincent: Second time seeing her; last time Annie spent an hour after the show talking with fans. I hope she plays KROKODIL.

Spoon: After seeing Spoon a few years ago, my dad remarked that “for a geek, Britt Daniel had some moves.”

Circuit Des Yeux: Another artist WXYC showed me, her album Overdue is raw and intimate even over recording; I’m really excited to hear it live in a small space.

Saturday

Mastodon: Just starting to get into this band from my hometown. This is going to be my first time hearing most of their songs, I am anticipating it greatly. An awesome band to be playing at sunset, too.

Zomes: Zomes sounds primordial, like microbes floating around on prehistoric Earth-primordial. Too cool not to see.

Jason Lescalleet: Songs About Nothing was one of the biggest albums of my freshman year. I skipped his show in Chapel Hill last year because I was studying for a test. Never again!

Jamie xx: Jamie xx is going to provide some very good vibes to finish the festival with.

Check out Outreach Coordinator Bridget Walsh Nerd Out about Hopscotch turning the Triangle into One Big Musical Family!

"Hey there readers!
My name is Bridget Walsh and I’m a senior studying graphic design at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication as well as the Outreach Coordinator at WXYC Chapel Hill 89.3 FM, a student-run, free-form, eclectic radio station.

As an out-of-state student, I’m constantly asked what brought me down to Chapel Hill. Considering I was 17 when I made the decision, I can’t really explain all too well how I wound up here (normally, I just boil it down to a childhood love of Space Jam). In retrospect, 17-year-old Bridget was darn lucky to have gone with her gut and the name recognition of UNC because the things I love most about this area weren’t told to me during a campus tour.
As of right now, my favorite thing about living in the Triangle Area is the community that surrounds the music scene down here. The diversity and the homegrown-ness is a pretty unique thing. Hopscotch Music Festival is a solid reflection of the incredible musical diversity that pervades North Carolina. Growing up in a pretty small suburb of Cincinnati, I had never been surrounded by other people that were as open-minded and supportive of so many different music scenes. Every year, Hopscotch has acts I’m excited to see and every year, Hopscotch has so many acts that I haven’t heard of but am excited to learn about. I love how many WXYC DJs come to Hopscotch, but better yet, I love seeing so many people that I don’t know at the festival. Dang, it brings a tear to my eye to be in a community that is so supportive of musical diversity and exploration!

As for the festival itself, I love the freedom of wandering around Raleigh to see different parts and venues of the city. I’m a nerd for seeing how space is utilized to foster community and I really like how Hopscotch goes about doing it. The Plaza gives you the bigger festival feel while there are all sorts of neat venues in Raleigh to give you a variety listening environments. Really good stuff all around.
I am also amazingly excited about is the addition of the Hopscotch Design Fest. I mean, if the musical festival wasn’t cool enough, let’s just add two days of forward thinking and innovating before it so we can get our creative juices flowing! I’m skipping class for this and after reading up on all of the speakers, I know that the benefit of this definitely outweighs the cost. Between the musical and design programming of the festival, the only way I could make Hopscotch more perfect for me is if one of the venues was dog park and there was a sand volleyball tournament ($portz forever).

Lastly, I wanna give a shoutout to Kat Kucera (Music Director at WXYC), Ryan Martin (Secret Boyfriend), and Miles Holst (Prisma Video) for putting together one heck of a day party. We’ve got some great local talent and I’m way stoked to see Joey Pizza Slice and Profligate perform! Check out the WXYC Day Show at Prisma Video on Saturday Sept. 6. Oh right, there’ll be pizza for sale. See y’all there!”
Follow Bridget on Twitter @a_bridged

Read Promotions Director Cozy B gush about Hopscotch and Raleigh, which is just about a week away!

"There’s something perplexingly special about a hometown.

Like a conceptual extended family, it’s not something you really get to choose, but it’s something thats culture and personality seems to jut into your life in very unexpected ways. It’s something you take for granted when you’re young, but eventually begin to appreciate in more complex ways as you mature.

Growing up in the Raleigh area, I’ve gotten the chance to ride the train around Pullen Park, spend a-many Sunday afternoons at the Flea Market, illegally sleep under the stars at Umstead Park, and savor Locopops under the bell tower.

And with the commencement of the first Hopscotch Music Festival in 2010, Raleigh emerged as not only a wonderful hometown, but also a unique cultural and musical hub.

Walking down Hargett Street six years ago, the potential for something “greater than” was definitely there. What, with states excellent design school, the influence of historical townie joints like Sadlacks, and the reopening of famed Kings Barcade, it seemed almost inevitable that something would emerge from the city of Oaks.

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(R.I.P.) 

When the first Hopscotch festival commenced in 2010, it seemed like a beautiful summation of all the artistic potential stowed away in the nooks and crannies of the capitol city. Hopscotch organizers have shown a dedication to booking and promoting musicians typically outside the pop-music eye. Another truly venerable aspect of the Hopscotch line-up is how many in-state musicians are represented. Some may think, compared to experimental or underground musical hubs like L.A. or New York, that the N.C. music scene is narrow or underrepresented. There is nothing further from the truth, and Hopscotch has done its part giving a stage to N.C.’s diverse and talented music scene.

Hopscotch has become an integral part of Raleigh’s culture while simultaneously expanding it. It’s just another reason for unashamed hometown love.

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(me @ Hopscotch last year, feat. Lonnie Holley) 

For the love of God go to Hopsctoch. “

Follow Cozy on twitter @tgicozy !

Harvest Records hosts Transfigurations II Festival and our MD Grant Bisher is all-about-it

From Thursday, August 28th through Saturday, August 30th, Harvest Records in Asheville N.C. will host a pretty-freakin’ phenomenal music festival called “Transfigurations II” to celebrate their tenth anniversary. What’s so “pretty-freakin’ phenomenal” about it? Let’s like our resident music director Grant Bisher fill us in…
"What’s the deal with music scenes these days?  Does anyone know what “indie” is?  How is it that there are massive bodies of musicians and artists that are somehow associated, but really have nothing to do with each other sonically?  I’m not sure, but I freaking love it.  Best of all, it leads to the formation of extremely exciting events with absolutely wacky, diverse programming that one can’t find one bad word to say about.  The latest installation in this history of musically varied festival-concerts in coming up in a few weeks in the western chunk of this lovely state.  Transfigurations II, an exciting series of concerts taking place in Asheville and Marshall, NC, is set to begin on Thursday the 28th.  Transfigurations II is an extremely special event; it commemorates the 10 years of existence of Harvest Records, an awesome record shop in Asheville.  The organizers no doubt put an appropriate amount of care into this festival to properly celebrate this pretty stellar achievement and it shows in the incredible line up.  From the rhythmic noise-techno of Providence’s golden boy Container to the gentle and fierce melodies of burgeoning folk superstar Angel Olsen.  Transfigurations is really programmed with something for everyone, but rather everything for everyone. 
Although I’m sure I’ll be faced with some very tough decisions when decided which shows to see and which shows to sit out, there is one artist I could not possible deny.  Michael Hurley is something of a living legend (does he really live in the basement of Mississippi Records?).  Starting with a STUNNING record with Folkways back in 1964, Hurley has been ceaselessly releasing highly idiosyncratic folk records with matching playful, hand-drawn covers.  Common themes among his homey, meandering tunes include wine, whiskey, biscuits, and werewolves.  A doofus will criticize his voice and guitar playing as imperfect, but you just ~have to~ yell at them.  When this veteran sits before you in Asheville at the end of this month, don’t listen for virtuosic plucking or stunning vocalizations; close your eyes and explore the history of an extremely special American artist who wrote some lovely tunes.  
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Check out the line up at http://harvest-records.com/transfigurations/ and see who your Can’t-Miss Artist is.”

Moogfest is in less than a week, so our production manager, Dacid Smith, made a playlist of some of his favorite Moogfest artists. It’s addictively good, so please listen responsibly.