Remembering Andy Kotowicz

Here at WKCO, we were saddened to hear of the untimely death of a Kenyon and WKCO alum, Andy Kotowicz. However, the degree to which his friends cared for him felt truly heartwarming when we received an e-mail from alums George Stone and David Bee who planned and held a memorial for David in the WKCO booth this past weekend. Andy, who graduated Kenyon in 1995 and went on to work as an executive at Sub Pop records, was described to us as having a truly inspirational love of music and WKCO. While in WKCO today we never got the chance to know Andy and surely cannot fully grasp the depth of loss felt by his friends and family, we are inspired by the bonds of community and love, strengthened by a mutual love of music and urge to spread that love, that continued to surround Andy after he graduated and left WKCO. We would like to thank David and George for teaching us this lesson and ask that everyone take a moment today to appreciate Andy’s life.

The Frankie Cosmos Project, Part I: affirms glinting

by Maddie Farr ’18

This post is the first in a series of reviews of Frankie Cosmos’s albums on Bandcamp.

During those awkward middle school/early high school years, most of us emptied our angst into diaries or friends. Greta Kline, known by her stage name Frankie Cosmos, emptied it onto the internet — specifically, her personal Bandcamp page. Since 2009, Kline has been recording songs on her computer about loneliness, relationships, and her dog and posting them online in what now consists of a total of 49 albums. Some of her songs are more developed, while some consist of unidentifiable mumbling and poor recorder skills. But for a Frankie fan, these albums are gold. It’s so cool to be able to listen to her voice grow and hear how she experiences the everyday. Each song is like a short poem discovered in the back of someone’s long-abandoned journal.

However, the prospect of sifting through 49 albums is daunting. So, I’m doing it for you! All you have to do is read and listen, as I uncover the ~gem~ that is Frankie Cosmos’ Bandcamp collection.

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Breaking Down Band Camps: Reviews of Various Music Camps

by Lydia Felty ’17

As a trombone player who went to not one, but two summer music camps during my high school years, I consider myself an expert on the subject. Sure, one of them was the week-long camp my marching band mandated, and yeah, maybe it was only a few hours a day because we didn’t have a football team, so we only marched in parades. But it was music camp nonetheless.

Likewise, I have another area of expertise as a self-proclaimed connoisseur of free Bandcamp albums. Today, I’ve decided to bring my two areas of expertise together and present you with reviews of summer band camps I have never been to.

French Woods Performing Arts Summer Camp

Location: Hancock, New York
Ages: 7–17

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Yes, the graphics on this page are awful, as are the special effects in the promo video, but you can tell those kids are having fun, and their programs sound amazing. Campers have the option to focus on one interest or design a program that encompasses a myriad of areas. From music to theater to rock and roll to circus, this place has it all. One camper said, “They really just make me want to do my best.” That speaks to me personally, as my parents always just wanted me to do my best, but I didn’t always care enough at, say, my marching band camp to do my best. Here, however, I believe I would have thrived due to the programs and culture, as well as in knowing that Zooey Deschanel and Adam Levine had gone to the very same camp.

Older than 17? Want to be a counselor? Check it out here.

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Alabama Shakes Paint a Different Sound on Sound & Color

by Adelaide Sandvold ’18

Screen Shot 2015-04-30 at 11.35.18 PMSound & Color, Alabama Shakes’ sophomore release is, well, different. It’s not a “slump” per se, but it feels incomplete. It’s almost as though the band members aren’t giving themselves credit for how talented they actually are. Perhaps it’s just because of the album’s contrast with the unequivocally lush and heart-wrenching sound of Alabama Shakes’ debut record, Boys & Girls, but almost every track sounds bare and underproduced — not in a minimalist style, but in a way that makes it sound like a poorly recorded demo.

On the other hand, this is by no means a bad album. Songs like “Don’t Wanna Fight” and “Miss You” sustain the classic Alabama Shakes energy, allowing lead singer Brittany Howard to demonstrate her virtuosic soul vocals. But what appears to be the problem with the album is that it’s hard to determine which of the tracks are definitively “good” or “bad.” Some might argue that this is a positive quality, but ultimately it’s confusing.

For example, “The Greatest” begins with a harsh, teen garage-rock sound imparted by the guitars, but it is paired with a gorgeous melody that carries the lyrics. This is an unfortunate circumstance because if the guitars were different, this song could be intoxicatingly beautiful. Another problem with this song, as well as “Guess Who”, “Shoegaze”, and “Over My Head”, is that Howard’s vocals seem to be muffled or pushed to the back in production. Why would someone do this to one of the greatest rock vocalists of this time? Her voice adds so much to the tracks in which it is presented foremost (like it was on Boys & Girls) and had this been the case on this record, the album would have improved exponentially.

Then there are songs like “Dunes” and “Gemini”. These have trippy/hippy flavors which seem to be an unfortunate departure from the exquisite southern rock at the core of Alabama Shakes. Musical evolution is undeniably important and crucial to the success of any artist, but in these cases, it seems like they followed the wrong path.

Despite all else, this album is an intriguing vision and perhaps a prediction of what Alabama Shakes is soon to become. Though not as good as it probably could be, Sound & Color proves that Alabama Shakes aren’t afraid of exploration and experimentation. They have put fans and listeners in a place of not knowing what to expect next, which will only benefit them in the future. Though it is no Boys & Girls, Sound & Color deserves time to be listened to, thought about, and appreciated. Who knows where it will carry the band next.

Highlights: “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “Future People”, “Guess Who”, “Miss You”

Check out the band performing “Don’t Wanna Fight” on Saturday Night Live:

Playlist: Summer Breezes

by Stephanie Holstein ’18

It’s almost here, guys. Summer breezes are slowly but surely creeping their way across the globe to grace us with all the warmth and sunshine we deserve after a long, dreary winter and an unpredictable spring. While I am tempted to *exclusively* choose songs with the word “summer” in the title, I’ve decided to be a little original and just choose some songs that have that summer feeeeling.

1. “Summer Breeze” – Seals and Croft

Okay, so I lied. But you cannot deny yourself the pleasure of swaying to this song at least once in the next three months. So go ahead —enjoy that sweet, sweet guitar riff that sets off these three minutes of absolute paradise.

2. “Champagne Coast” – Blood Orange

This is a nice track to play on a summer night. After I heard it for the first time last summer, this song became the soundtrack to many nights when my friends and I would sit around someone’s screened porch, breathing in that humid Ohio air, talking about the future.

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DJ Spotlight: Erin Delaney ’16

By Teddy Farkas ’16

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Name: Erin Delaney ’16

Show: “Music For Menstruating Women” on Mondays from 11 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Hometown: Bronxville, NY

Major: English

Where did you come up with the title for your show? Based on your title, would the show be lost on males, pre-pubescents, or menopausal women?
A decent question. I don’t actually remember where I came up with the idea for my show. [But] a couple of people have asked me if they can listen to the show if they’re male or not menstruating, I mean, I would think yes. How I like to think of my show is that it’s like if the new side of Peirce [Dining Hall] were enclosed in pink satin and all the women at Kenyon menstruated at once and we just sat there and had pizza fed to us.

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DJ Spotlight: Annie Sheslow ’15, Eileen Cartter ’16, and Lydia Felty ’17

by Julia Waldow ’17

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Names: Annie Sheslow ’15, Eileen Cartter ’16, and Lydia Felty ’17

Show: “Boyz II Dads” on Mondays from 12 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Majors: English (Annie and Lydia), English and American Studies (Eileen)

Hometowns: Wilmington, Delaware (Annie), West Hartford, Connecticut (Eileen), New Knoxville, Ohio (Lydia)

How did “Boyz II Dads” start?
EC: We have an origin story.
AS: It was a late Tuesday night.
LF: A late, late Tuesday night.
AS: We were all in the Collegian office, as purveyors of journalistic integrity.
LF: I had been talking about how I went to the WKCO meeting but didn’t know if I really wanted to do anything with it.
AS: It coincided with the fact that we found Niall Horan of One Direction’s playlist.
EC: He made a Spotify playlist of his favorite tracks, but they were all dad bands.
LF: It’s like dad music, and “Steal My Girl.”
AS: And like “Moondance” by Van Morrison and “Romeo and Juliet” by Dire Straits! Like, what’s he trying to do?
EC: And [we were] thinking about guys our age who are really into music that dads like. Shout out to the sad boys of Kenyon that just sit around and listen to Nico all the time. [laughs] There was a play on that in the sense that young guys are desperately sad and listen to sad music.
AS: I think it’s also the Barenaked Ladies joke, like neither of us are dads or boys. So there’s some play on that.
EC: And I love generalizing about men.
LF: This is why we need meninism, Eileen.
EC: Men going their own way.
AS: Calling it another lonely day.

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Playlist: Hungover/Sad Blues

by Maddie Farr ’18

Did you go a little too hard at Sendoff? Do something embarrassing that will haunt you for the rest of your life/maybe a week max? This playlist is here to commiserate with you. So, cocoon yourself in your blankets, get some water, and don’t leave your bed until 4 pm.

“too dark” – frankie cosmos (affirms glinting)

Frankie Cosmos ~understands~ your blues.

“I Can Never Go Home Anymore” – The Shangri-Las (Leader of the Pack)

Angsty 60s girl groups always put things in perspective.

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Why Everyone Should Take Off! with the Flying Hounds: A Review

by Adelaide Sandvold ’18

Based out of Chicago and comprised of three members, two of whom are Kenyon students (Tom Cox ’17 and Ned Vogel ’15), the Flying Hounds prove they are much more than just another college band. Their debut album Take Off! with the Flying Hounds showcases gorgeous chord progressions and lyrics and gives listeners a clear idea of the Flying Hounds’ identity as a band. The album is cohesive but by no means stagnant—each song offers a different look at the elements that seem to comprise the inspiration behind the Flying Hounds.

From the moment it begins, Take Off! with the Flying Hounds presents an explosion of beautifully sneering surf-rock guitars and soulful vocals. These two elements stay present throughout the album yet evolve and adapt in order to fit the tone of each track. For instance on “Bottle Kids,” the guitar becomes more plucky and distinct, while a whinier, more punk-like vocal technique is employed.

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