WFMU : Freedom is Freeform!
WFMU-FM is a listener-supported, non-commercial radio station broadcasting at 91.1 Mhz FM in Jersey City, NJ, right across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. It is currently the longest running freeform radio station in the United States.
The station also broadcasts to the Hudson Valley and Lower Catskills in New York, Western New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania via it's 90.1 signal at WXHD in Mount Hope, NY. The station maintains an extensive online presence at WFMU.ORG which includes live audio streaming in several formats, over 8 years of audio archives, podcasts and a popular blog.
Rolling Stone Magazine, The Village Voice, CMJ and the New York Press have all at one time or another called WFMU "the best radio station in the country" and the station has also been the subject of feature stories in The New York Times and on the BBC. In recent years the station has gained a large international following due it's online operations and counts Simpson's creator Matt Groening, film director Jim Jarmusch and Velvet Underground founder Lou Reed, among others, as devoted fans of the station.
WFMU's programming ranges from flat-out uncategorizable strangeness to rock and roll, experimental music, 78 RPM Records, jazz, psychedelia, hip-hop, electronica, hand-cranked wax cylinders, punk rock, gospel, exotica, R&B, radio improvisation, cooking instructions, classic radio airchecks, found sound, dopey call-in shows, interviews with obscure radio personalities and notable science-world luminaries, spoken word collages, Andrew Lloyd Webber soundtracks in languages other than English as well as Country and western music.
All of the station's programming is controlled by individual DJs and is not beholden to any type of station-wide playlist or rotation schedule. Experimentation, spontaneity and humor are among the station's most frequently noted distinguishing traits. WFMU does not belong to any existing public radio network, and close to 100% of its programming originates at the station.
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modsant on 05/02/2013 at 08:45AM
It was as great week for international punk with three awesome bands coming through to play WFMU.
France's Youth Avoiders have put out some amazingly catchy Scandinavian-influenced punk anthems. Their fast-paced, frenetic and honest music leans towards a more thrashy and visceral punk sound than a melodic one.
Puerto Rico's Los Vigilantes bring a juvenile delinquent garage-punk that'll make you headbob. Their sound is heavy on the '60s side, with a healthy dose of droopy '50s doo-wop back-up vocals, rocked with additional organs, tape loops and swagger. (Slovenly Recordings) You also may wanna check out the playlist from their 2012 visit.
San Juan's Las Ardillas are a garage punk band sharing members with Davila 666. Their in-your-face style has been compared to late-'70s and early '80s punk. Their latest release also out on Slovenly Recordings.
ange on 04/30/2013 at 03:53PM
For this month's Revitalize Music Contest, artists from Lisbon to Austin dug through public domain songs, got inspired, and submitted their creations to our contest repository. Our talented judges from the music, radio, and public domain worlds loved hearing the wide range of incredible entries, but eventually had to select a winning song.
OUR WINNER IS CROWN THE INVISIBLE
Crown the Invisible created an incredible power pop rendition of the 1911 revenge anthem "The Spaniard That Blighted My Life" by Billy Merson. The song tells the story of a man whose girl is charmed away by a Spanish bullfighter.
'Twas at the bull fight where we met him
We'd been watching his daring display
And while I went out for some nuts and a programme
The dirty dog stole her away
The band's been around for about a year, and are a blend between a studio compositional project and a raucous psychedelic band. They are all grizzled rock dudes who live and work in East Williamsburg warehouses, where they've been cultivating their space/stoner rock sound. They describe their band as "if Rick Wakeman played with Ride, but the songs were written by The Pretty Things while they watched Planet of the Apes and listened to Hawkwind." That is to say, they all grew up on early '90s and '60s British stuff.
TAKING A SONG FROM 1911 AND MAKING IT SOUND 2013
When the band began working on their arrangement they describe the process as "vibe hunting." There was a lot of stomping and clapping involved, which is how they ended up deciding to keep the waltzy 3/4 time signature without over-emphasizing it. This also how they found the song's distinctive sound, a swirling whistle made by playing a hammond organ sample on a keyboard through a guitar amp.
During this process, singer CG Foisy says he kept waking up in the middle of the night with the lyrics stuck in his head. He says it's a terrible song to have in your head because, "it's cheeky, evil and weird. It's a portal into male territoriality. How men are these vindictive monkeys."
Overall, the challenge was good practice for the band. This summer CG is traveling to Beijing, where he'll play a few shows, and then spend a week traveling the silk road looking for music along the way. What he finds will eventually be adapted into song challenges for the band. Whenever he travels, CG loves to pick up a new instrument. You can even hear (kinda) one of these instruments in the winning song. It's an Indian instrument he bought in Singapore called the gopichand. It sounds part sitar, part mouth harp.
Participating in the contest speaks to the bands' interests in being part of a community through their music. Some bands get really into making an album, then going on tour, then making another album, then going on another tour, and hoping to be signed by a label. CG says, "That works well for some bands, but other bands like to take on weekly assignments, making videos and vignettes, and to have different kinds of conversations with their fans."
Crown the Invisible includes Jared Barron, CG Foisy, Steve Schwadron, with a guest appearance in this recording by Gabriel Berezin on bass. Check out their summer series Fantastic Planet, which installs different bands in different warehouses, merging live noise rock with visuals. You can also see them play live on May 9th at Don Pedro (90 Manhattan Avenue), where they might be performing their winning song.