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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for December 2011

Weekend Energy Preview 12-31

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Here’s what’s in the mix for this Saturday night’s Weekend Energy.  This week’s show is so festive, it’s like writing a contrived romantic comedy with a suitably generic holiday title, featuring a series of interwoven vignettes of first world problems that culminate in the collective celebration of the holiday in which it was named! Yeah! You guessed it, it’s the Weekend Energy best of the year New Years Eve Blowout!

Uhhhh exactly like this!

Highlights

It’s the best of the year mix, that means like every song is a highlight and I’ve written about most of them on this ol’ blog before. Here’s what I said about the songs, I’m pretty sure most of it is in English. That’ s about all I can promise…

Morgan Page, Sulton, Ned Shepard, BT – In The Air (feat. Angela McCluskey) – It took an army of great DJs to put together the song In The Air featuring Angela McCluskey and it sounds… breathtaking. The production is top notch prog house, among BT’s best and as good as Morgan Page’s best repertoire (I might be biased). What really makes the song soar though is Angela’s voice. Unlike 98% of the female vocals in this genre, it actually sounds like she cares about what she’s singing. Her voice sounds weathered and, to that effect, grateful for the subject matter of the song. The lyrics may be superficial standard, but Angela makes the words, and feelings, seem important.  For some more BT, check out Suddenly. I’ve got a Sultan and Ned Shepard track called Past Dreaming that sounds awesome. For Morgan Page, anything from the album Elevate (seriously, just listen to all of it).

33Hz – Nightspot – “Wow” pretty much sums up my reaction to Nightspot after like 45 seconds. This New York trio blends modern electro with classy disco resulting in a sonically smooth audio milkshake. Nightspot hits the sweet spot. Their other stuff is good, too. The B-side to Nightspot, Stephanie All Night, is more of a percolating rocker with an intense harmonized chorus. If you in to softer jams, check out the video for Under The Sun. But before you do anything else, before you even finish reading this sentence, check out Nightspot on their website.

Ill Saint M – Carnation –  This fall, I stumbled across the EP “Carnation” by Ill Saint M and… was… floored. Carnation opens up like a bouquet of flowers containing live active grenades. It’s got a nice slow rising build that bursts into a total rage with a super catchy beat. Despite its title, it’s not very flowery – pretty basic. But that’s what makes it so great. No-frills, no-holds-barred, massive tune that will have you pressing repeat over and over. His other original release on the EP is titled “I’m Another,” which is a whole different monster entirely. Lots of diverse sounds happening at once, with a similar rhythmic backbone to Carnation. It’s an aural onslaught that is just dissonant enough to be melodic – my favorite place to be musically.

Justice – New Lands – See this week’s “Album of the Year” below.

Monarchy – You Don’t Want To Dance With Me feat. Britt Love (Dusk Remix) – Almost every single by British group Monarchy has been on Weekend Energy, beginning with The Phoenix Alive from Kitsune Records back in April 2010. Their new single, You Don’t Want To Dance With Me, is a brooding atmospheric masterpiece. The lovelorn male vocals are great, but the addition of Britt Love’s sharp, mousy voice is what launches this song to the stars. I love the original mix, but I’m a bigger fan of atmosphere, for which I turn to the darker and more confident Dusk Remix.

Kidstreet – X – Kidstreet is a family synth-pop band (two brothers and a sister) hailing from Waterloo, Ontario. My favorite thing about the group is their poppy staccato atmosphere that carries through each song, whether it’s a heavy-hitter like X or Birthday Cake or a shoegazer like Nineteen Ninety Three or Song. That they transcend all genres and just create their own feel-good sound is all I really needed to be sold on Kidstreet. Also, their album is like 6 dollars on iTunes – totally worth it if you’re in to trendy indie-pop, not unlike something you might hear at an Urban Outfitters. If you love X for its driving, heavy, plastic-y synth-pop sound, I should caution that all of the other songs on the album sound different with maybe the exception for Penny Candy. Fuh Yeah is so diverse and original, though, you’ll love it anyway. Sample it, download it. Kidstreet captures the moment, and it’ll be a moment worth having and worth re-discovering years later as you shuffle through your music mix.

Sneaky Sound System – Big – Sneaky Sound System is one of my guiltiest musical pleasures. This Australian electropop band is vastly… vastly… underrated. They’ve just released their third album and for some reason have hardly any exposure. Their music isn’t complicated, it isn’t underground or even particularly indie. On the contrary, their music is the most mainstream thing I’ve ever heard – way way way way way off the mainstream track. It’s extremely catchy, trendy, sing-a-longable, top-of-the-line vocals by Connie Mitchell, great lyrics, cool music videos, and a gazillion music awards. Their debut album from 2006 still ranks among my all-time-favorites in terms of every song (or nearly every song) being a total success. Their new album From Here to Anywhere already has two singles. I played We Love a couple weeks ago and this week I feature their second single, Big, which has a really great 90′s retro vibe, and lyrics that sound 70% uplifting and 30% desperate.


Album of the Year

“Audio, Video, Disco’ by Justice

French group Justice is the Daft Punk of the 21st century. Their debut album Cross was a legendary soundscape. They’ve just put out their follow-up album Audio, Video, Disco, and dare I say it’s flawless? Since it came out, I’ve played five stand-out songs from it… How many albums can you list with that many or more stand-outs? Justice isn’t even crafting their songs for some commercial radio output. This is musical art. The songs flow together, breathe together, live side-by-side together. So me even playing them is taking them out of context. This album is more retrospective than Cross, it’s more saturated. Cross sounded like a new group trying to gain attention – it was brash and boisterous. Audio, Video, Disco is more comfortable in its skin. The rocker “New Lands” is probably my favorite and in the mix this week. The other songs I’ve played from this album are the title track Audio, Video, Disco; Helix; On’n’On; and Civilization. I highly recommend picking this up on iTunes if you’re into an audio experience rather than party songs or one-shots.

There’s no video for New Lands, so check out this epic video for Civilization instead:

Second Hour Rewind

The second hour rewind is the previous week’s first hour. Last week was my Annual Dubstep Chrsitmas Extravaganza, featuring The Crystal Method, Ellie Goulding, Atari Teenage Riot, Skrillex, Figure, Subvert & Datsik, Calvin Harris, and more! One of my favorite tracks in the mix is probably the most wicked: it’s the Oscillator Z remix of “Lights” by Ellie Goulding. Her songs have been remixed to death, and a few months ago I swore to take a break. But…. This… Is so… Good! It’s the innate catchiness of the track (the original version kills), plus the syrupy sweetness of Ellie’s voice lends itself the perfect subject to the whirring, sludgy, grinding mess of dubstep. This remix treats her well, then turns the whole song upside down, dumps it all over the floor and rolls in it. It’s absolutely sick and crescendos into a superbly sophisticated melody at the end.

“Crank up your stereo, bust out the strobe light and kick up the bass.”

Weekend Energy has been blowing out car stereo systems, upsetting the neighbors and enhancing the night life of western Kentucky every weekend since July 2007 on WKMS. Host Matt “McG” Markgraf pours through hundreds of songs each week to create “the loudest show on public radio” featuring the best techno, dance and electronica from around the world. Weekend Energy airs Saturdays on 91.3 WKMS from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. Stream it live on wkms.org Saturday nights.

Hear the show streaming online or else.

Written by Matt Markgraf

December 31, 2011 at 9:00 am

Datebook: December 30 – A Skipped Day in Samoa

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One day closer to the new year for Samoa, a tiny South Pacific island nation. When the clock struck midnight last night, the country skipped over Friday, December 30 and moved right into Saturday, December 31. Samoans gathered around a clock tower in the capital, Apia, to celebrate the historic moment. The purpose of this was to align their time zone with key trading partners in the Asia-Pacific region by shifting west of the international date line. They will now be the first nation in the world to ring in the new year, rather than the last (Kiribati was previously the first). Happy New Year Samoans!

It’s Friday, December 30

Paris Landing State Park hosts the first hike of the New Year on Sunday at noon. The two-hour family-friendly hike starts and ends at the Park Inn. Hike along the river’s edge, stopping at the old swim beach for refreshments and a bonfire. For more information, call 731-641-4465.

Recycle Now of Paducah will be open tomorrow from 8AM until noon, accepting cardboard, plastic, aluminum cans, glass, electronics, and batteries. For more information, including volunteer opportunities, visit recyclenowpaducah.com.

The Murray Calloway County Hospital Center for Health and Wellness offers a 13-week Cooper-Clayton Method smoking cessation class starting this Tuesday. The program provides weekly education sessions in a warm, accepting support group environment. The class meets every Tuesday at 5:30PM. To register or for more information, call 270-762-1348.

Tune in Sunday morning at nine to hear the Front Page Year in Review. See more at wkms.org.

the morning cram [you’re young and got your health, what do you want with a job edition]

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If the stats are correct, half of you are reading this while at your job. Quit lollygagging and get back to work!

NPR reports half the workforce must go to work during the week between Christmas and New Years. And surprisingly, we’re happy about it!

Kentucky~    The Paducah Expo and Convention Centers are setting a new fee structure. Fatal motor accidents are on the decline in the Commonwealth. Beshear told Democrats he’s going to make it rain.

Illinois~  A new law requires landlords to give a heads up on radon levels in their buildings.

Datebook: December 29 – Inventor of Chicken Nugget Turns 90

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Robert C. Baker was born on December 29, 1921 (and died March 13, 2006). He was a professor of food science at Cornell University who invented the chicken nugget as well as many other poultry related inventions. He was considered the “George Washington Carver of poultry.” McDonald’s is often falsely credited for inventing the chicken nugget, but in fact, Baker published his chicken nugget recipe in the 1950s as unpatented academic work and McDonald’s patented theirs in 1979.

Do you want to make Baker’s chicken nuggets? Here’s his recipe: http://cornellsun.com/node/17066

It’s Thursday, December 29

Maiden Alley Cinema presents the psychological thriller “Martha Marcy May Marlene” starring Elizabeth Olsen, Hugh Dancy, and John Hawkes, rated R. The film shows at 7 and at 9 tomorrow night. For additional weekend showtimes, visit maidenalleycinema.com.

The Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park invites you to celebrate the New Year on Saturday night. The park’s package includes dinner, a dance, and a continental breakfast on Sunday. For information and reservations, call 1-800-325-1711.

Paris Landing State Park hosts “Shiver on the River” this Sunday at 2:30 at the Marina boat ramp. The event raises money for the REAL Hope Youth Center. Individuals making a minimum contribution of $25 will receive a t-shirt and a free buffet after the awards ceremony. There’s an award for the best costume. The event will be held rain or snow. Find more at shiverontheriver.com.

Visit us online at wkms.org, where you can find more community events. Thanks for listening.

the morning cram [you’re so money and you don’t even know it edition]

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The Big Easy is making a comeback!

NPR reports New Orleans is enjoying an influx of start-ups. Good music, oysters and successful business opportunities anyone?

Kentucky~    Officials are investigating a Marshall County wreck involving a police cruiser. The State Board of Elections fired its director.  A Graves County Board of Education member is running for a State House seat. Beshear is doubling down on expanded gambling. The Governor says the state needs to tighten its purse strings.

Illinois~  The state is getting a  $15M performance bonus for its work with uninsured children .

Datebook: December 28 – Godfather of R&B Turns 90

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Johnny Otis was born on December 28, 1921 (still alive). He’s an American musician commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues.” The son of Greek immigrants, he grew up in the ethnically mixed neighborhood in Vallejo, California and identified himself with the culture of his black neighborhood friends. He founded his own band in 1945 and became a hit with the song “Harlem Nocturne,” followed by a long string of R&B hits. He discovered Big Jay McNeely (“Barrelhouse Stomp”), Etta James (“Roll With Me, Henry”), He also produced the original recording of “Hound Dog.” In 1958, he recorded his best-known recording “Willie and the Hand Jive.” He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

It’s Wednesday, December 28

This Sunday St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1620 West Main in Murray opens a Free Warming Center. Its hours are 6 to 8 p.m. through Saturday March 3. The Center provides dinner and breakfast as well as lodging. No pre-registration is required, but arrival should be before 10 p.m. Call 270-753-1881 for more.

The Art Guild of Paducah meets for the first time in 2012 next Tuesday. Regular guild meetings with a program are the first Tuesday monthly — from 6 to 8 p.m. at the McCracken County Public Library. The Library’s at 555 Washington Street.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park near Cadiz hosts the Nashville band Pink Cadillac for Saturday’s Barkley Bash. The Park’s package includes overnight lodging in a lake view room, dinner buffet for 2, Barkley Bash dancing, drinks during dance and breakfast buffet for two. This is an age 21 and older event with no outside alcohol permitted. Call 270-924-1131.

Hear A Season’s Griot 2011 tomorrow at noon. See more at wkms.org. Thanks.

the morning cram [The insanity runs in my family. It practically gallops edition]

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Following Click and Clack’s example, Newt and Mitt decided their future health care radio show monikers would be ‘Flip and Flop’.

NPR reports Gingrich and Romney were all for universal healthcare before they realized that position may not get them to the White House.

Kentucky~  Beshear wants you to gamble in-state. The Bolden murder case is being sent to the grand jury.  Here comes Morty the Mortarboard!

Tennessee~  Four Obion County Law Enforcement Officers have been suspended.