Welcome To The Jungle

Before this class, I had no idea that you could jump from genre to genre and have it blend together so well. I decided to choose songs that have resonated with me from elementary school to the present day. I also chose to change a large number of the tracks I picked for the weekly Songs I’m Listening To Now playlist to have a better, more meaningful mix with an improvement on flow.
For my Fun ID, I decided to create something that would immediately catch your ear while starting out with a bang. Finally, I came to the conclusion, what’s a better way to start off something than a gunshot? My intention all throughout this mix was to create the image of being stuck in the middle of a chaotic jungle; this is also why I utilized the Mountain Lions PSA to further immerse the listener inside the frenzied forest and start a journey using only sound.
The first song the mix starts out with is a reggae track called “Angie La La (Ay Ay Ay Ay)” by Nora Dean and is a genre I decided to add on top of the five that we were already assigned. The inclusion of this reggae track transitions greatly from the Mountain Lion PSA. However, what drew me to this track was the funky guitar riffs, the random screeches and moans, and bird noises dispersed all throughout the song. This distinguished it from any regular reggae song and turned it into a unique gem that I couldn’t compare to any other songs in my collection.
I then decided to fade out and go into my folk song, “Rockin’ The Cradle” by Judy Mayhan. I found out about this song in high school through one of my friends who was obsessed with 60’s music and spared no time in educating me about the era. Judy Mayhan released her first LP, Rockin’ The Cradle, in 1962 on Horizon Records. It was later reissued by Everest/Tradition Records, but the fact that the LP was recorded in one take is what truly makes it distinct from other folk records. The clear soprano voice is one that’s haunting and stays with the listener after one play through. This sparked an idea for me to add a delay and a fade out to the end of the song and turn her voice into a siren’s call before going into a frenzy.
I faded in my instrumental track, “Duel” by Gesaffelstein, and began at a lower tempo to create excitement and anticipation before the drums and synth fully came in. I discovered Gesaffelstein a couple of weeks before I went to Coachella in 2015 as he had announced that it was his last live set. After seeing him live, I was taken for a whirlwind of emotions and became particularly entranced by the Parisian electronic scene and the DJs and producers involved. Duel is a turmoil of synth and booming drums that pound in a rhythm reminiscent of a tribal ceremony thrown into the Blade Runner era. Gesaffelstein is also a prevalent producer who has produced for many artists such as…
Kanye West. When first released, Yeezus was an album that I played nonstop every single day for a straight month. “Black Skinhead” was the rap song I chose due to its anti-racism and anti-establishment themes. This is shown through the controversial lyrics; especially two lines in particular-
They see a black man with a white woman
At the top floor they gone come to kill King Kong
The drums in this track are also tribal, further subliminally engraving my jungle scenery, due to the song’s production being assisted by none other than Gesaffelstein himself.
For my punk song I decided to go with “I Wanna Be Your Dog” by The Stooges. While it didn’t fit into my narrative, I found out about this track after going to see my first live rock show. I’m grateful that I was able to see The Orwells perform a cover of this song in a church back in 2012-2013, because they spurred my journey into psych rock and punk music.
I wanted to have a little bit of fun with my weather forecast and mess around with my vocals a little bit, partly due to the fact that I used to produce music with my friends. I slowed and pitched down my vocals when talking about lows to create a double entendre. It was also my own fun nod to the chopped and screwed mixes of prominent Houston DJs such as DJ Screw.
My final song was a remix of the global south track “Marie” by Vybz Kartel. I found out about the Jamaican dancehall scene in 2015 and intently explored it for a couple of months due to the little hidden nuances in songs and the stories associated with them. Charged with two separate murder cases, Vybz Kartel was thought to have his career ended, but what actually happened was the complete opposite. He still continues to consistently release music from jail, and his reign on the dancehall charts has only improved. It was truly the best song to end with as the listener comes full circle into another song from Jamaica.
– Shayan V.

DJ Mae’s Personal ‘Best Of’ Genre’s Playlist

Vashti Bunyan

Upon hearing the lineup of my “Songs I’m Listening to Right Now” playlist, one may not see how the songs fit with one another. Aside from each song representing something or some time important in my life, there is a significance to each of their presence and the way that the songs fit in their order. The first half is a cultural mix, with a clear transition to the 2nd half, full of what I gravitate to now, alt/rock and electric, guitar-heavy songs.

First is the folk song “Diamond Day” by Vashti Bunyan, the musical bed to my Fun ID. When I was 7, my dad filled an iPod to the brink with the music he’d collected over 50 years. My brother and I took turns looking through as many songs as we could. For me, “Diamond Day” was my golden nugget. Independent of what my parents played, of pop culture, I found a song whose sound I loved, and I prize that honest selection from a time when I knew almost nothing about music. No other song could better lead into a playlist representative of my music choices.

My Fun ID is about how KZSC plays uncommon music, so I found it fitting to flow into my Global South song, “Kanawa” by Habib Koite. This was introduced to me around the age of 9, when my best friend’s mom would play Putumayo Presents: Mali. I’d only heard the album a number of times, but its sounds have proven unshakeable. They were like nothing I’d been exposed to before, being from such a culturally different place, yet they reached me immediately. To me, it is timeless music that can be appreciated anywhere, free of trends. It is music for the soul, for worldly grounding.

Helen Sung

In acknowledgment of my Chinese heritage, I chose a PSA about taichi, with ethereal, spiritual music. This perfectly leads to my next song, “Hidden,” in that it has the same long chime-like sonds, and that it is by a Chinese female jazz pianist, Helen Sung. One of my favorite parts of KZSC has been my mentorship with DJ Bluejay on her show Jazzkitty. When I was recently given the task of curating my own playlist of jazzy women, I was ecstatic to come across Sung’s album in our library’s jazz section. She was the first Asian person I’d seen in the jazz section, and she was a woman! I hope to someday have a show that highlights music of at least Asia– I love my Asian roots and finding Sung proved to me how amazing it feels to find something to identify with. I want others to find that in music too, and KZSC is the best place for that.

The playlist picks up in beat with the next song, “His Story” by TLC. Their vocalization of the common discrediting and misrepresentation of woman is apt, especially after Sung. While R&B is not a genre I often listen to, TLC prove special to me by being a popular female group of the 90’s who used their heard voices to bring light to something not often talked about or listened to in the mainstream.

After a weather break, I continue into the second half with louder music. My punk song choice is one of my all-time favorites: “Work” by Jimmy Eat World. It was this band, along with old-school Paramore, that harvested my love for punk/alt rock in middle school. Since then, that love has fanned out to encompass its mingling with folk, indie, synth, pop, etc., and most recently and importantly, shoegaze.

I found Yuck during what I think was my first identity crisis. In my sophmore year of high school, I imploded with disgust for the inauthenticity of my high school’s culture, of how important Instagram and Twitter were to people’s sense of belonging. I deleted them both, and dove into what some would probably call a pretentious trip into the world of “indie.” Foreign and independent movies paired with an endeavor to find eclectic and meaningful music enlightened me. Slow, steady, and instrumental, “Rose Gives a Lily” was in a playlist I entitled “Breathing Apparatus,” full of songs that I felt matched and supported a natural and calming breathing rate. Upon rediscovering the old playlist in search of that song, I realized that that love for songs I can breathe to has carried on with a new shoegaze love…


For my recently released song choice, I picked Slowdive‘s “No Longer Making Time.” I felt like I was cheating by getting to pick a song from a band big in the 90’s. I only found Slowdive last year, just in time for their comeback this year. Like “Rose Gives a Lily,” I love Slowdive for their ability to create an atmosphere. Their loud, continuous yet melodic tunes are like no other. And while they weren’t relevant for quite some time, I am lucky to be able to end my playlist with my favorite song off of their new self-titled record, an acknowledgment to where I’ve found myself in my music (and therefore life) journey, for now.


What Songs Are DJ AWKCUARD Listening To Tonight?

DJ AWKCUARD on Simply Simpin’

Over the past couple of weeks I was able to choose songs from different genres for the KZSC radio/broadcasting class -- this official project is called Songs I'm Listening To Now (SILTN).


A constant favorite of mine: Dear To Me by Electric Guest. Electric Guest just came out with a new album this year after a four year process of writing and producing. I've been following this group since high school, so this song really pays tribute to all of the memories I've made since then.

Some new artists I've found this past year include Charley Bliss and Oh Honey. I've actually seen Charley Bliss live at a Darwin Deez concert and immediately fell in love with Eva Hendrick's (lead singer) vocals. I don't think I'll ever have the ability to scream like she does, but I can certainly relate to their sound. Every once in a while I'll get into listening to punk and folk music. It was a great refresher to change my musical palate and also include female-identified artists that are currently on the scene. Black Hole by Charley Bliss focuses on the embarrassment of wanting to be in a relationship, while Lonely Neighbor by Oh Honey is a back and forth between to people who want to be together but don't know if the other person feels the same way (spoiler alert: the feeling is mutual).

I decided to also throw in a song that brings back nostalgia of car rides with my mom. Halik by Aegis is about not wanting to lose someone romantically and missing their kiss. Shake by Yeek brings about an opposite vibe. Yeek is trying to shake off the pain of someone breaking their heart. Both these Pilipinx artists are dealing with the pain of losing someone. The polar opposite reactions from Halik and Shake remind me that everyone has different ways of coping and recovering from a loss.

One sided relationships can be tough and tiring. Questioning the relationship, H.E.R. sings about how busy they've been pursuing their ambitions but they're putting in their fare share of trying to make the relationship work out. I always play this song on repeat when I'm figuring out the balance in some of the relationships I have with folx. It takes effort from all parties to make a relationship. Losing by H.E.R. definitely expresses the thought process of letting go of someone.

Lastly, I chose Belong to the World by ODDISEE. ODDISEE touches up on what it means to belong to yourself. ODDISEE discusses how they've never felt quite comfortable with themselves, so ODDISEE tried to find a place in the world to fit in and check off all of the appropriate boxes. Over time, Belong To The World unravels the truth about how important it is to belong to yourself and not get wrapped up in comparing or attaching yourself to others. At the end of the day ODDISEE has been their own number one support system all along, and it turns out that they have people still supporting what they do too. Belong to yourself and the world, because you're here contributing to it while also pursuing your passions.

I love reading into lyrics and trying to decipher what songs mean to the artist, myself, and others. This process was an awesome way for me to share a journey. It's important to remember those who you love and those who continue to support you no matter what. Let's not forget the feeling of being in love to getting through the pains after someone breaks your heart. Often times there is also a period of insecurity, of questioning whether or not you've been putting enough effort into a relationship but also finding a balance between your aspirations. At the end of the day, ODDISEE puts it best by reminding listeners to be confident and aware of themselves. Don't latch on to people, because no one person can support your needs. Love yourself (and the world), because we're all here helping each other grow.

I hope this playlist has helped you simp in a healthy manner. Thank you for tuning into Simply Simpin on KZSC Santa Cruz.

-DJ AWKCUARD aka Kimberly

Waiting For A Change: Sabre Covers Cooke

Maverick Sabre Covers ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’

The song 'A Change Is Gonna Come' was first released by Sam Cooke in 1964, and since has been covered by major-name artists in their careers. The song itself carries a timeless message of longing for change, and was originally inspired by events in Cooke's life that concerned racial divide in the United States. Although originally written to this perspective, the song has transcended to be an ode to change in the inequitable world we live in. A wide variety of covers by artists from Bobby Womack to George Benson to today's up and coming Maverick Sabre provide testament to this. Maverick Sabre, hailing from the United Kingdom, is a recent name in today's music world, and his cover goes to show how important and applicable Cooke's words are even today.
- John

Trying Not To Get Caught In The Jungle

Staying Hidden In The Jungle

Drake is from Toronto, Canada, so it's easy to assume that the jungle refers to Lawrence Heights -- a place known for heavy gang violence. Drake sings about a girl who is from the jungle and how they are struggling to stay together.

H.E.R. is from Vallejo, California. Having an unknown identity during the release of her new album "H.E.R. Volume 1", H.E.R. is actually Gabi Wilson. Gabi Wilson uses the stage name H.E.R. and chooses to stay anonymous as possible on her album covers, so that the focus stays on the music itself. Alongside the 7 tracks, H.E.R. lends her vocals to cover Drake's "Jungle".


Jungle || Drake

Jungle || H.E.R.

7 Seconds and Operation Ivy Walk In Nancy Sinatra’s Boots

Soooooo.  Nancy Sinatra’s hit “These Boots Were Made For Walking” is covered by more punk bands than any song. The only one I can think of that compares is 99 Red Balloons. “These Boots…” was written by Lee Hazlewood, originally recorded in 1966 by Nancy Sinatra and immediately covered several times by the end of that year. This was just the start of a trend which maybe made this the most covered song I can think of. From Megadeth to Jessica Simpson, to Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington. They’ve all done it. But 7 seconds did it the best, and they aren’t EVEN LISTED on the Wikipedia entry for their contribution to the heritage of this essentially communal track! SAD!

Either way all three versions (Sinatra, 7 Seconds, and Operation Ivy) have a special place in my heart!…Even though Operation Ivy had the arrogance (or genius[?] to call their version “One Of These Days”)

Feed Me covers Caribou

Feed Me - Back Home (Caribou Cover)

Caribou is a Canadian composer, musician, and recording artist that has been making music since 2001. Feed Me is an incredibly talented producer, and in his words, "I have loved Caribou's music for a long time so I sang and produced "Back Home" in my own way for fun."

From Crazy to Classical

For a lot of people, Taylor Swift is one of the first artists they think of when you mention modern pop music. I’ll admit, I found the video for her song “Blank Space” to be quite entertaining and the song to be catchy, so when I heard a classical remix performed by The Brooklyn Duo, I fell in love. I feel as though this is the perfect remix, as it changes (what I feel) to be the entire song’s meaning from crazy to one meant to be soothing. Check it out…let me know what you think!

A Younger and Acoustic Ellie Goulding Covers Midlake’s “Roscoe”

Ellie Goulding's Acoustic Cover of "Roscoe"

Midlake's "Roscoe"

Despite the establishment of herself in the indiepop and electronic music realm, Ellie Goulding can take folkrock songs like "Roscoe" and do it justice with just an acoustic guitar. In an interview, Goulding said it was her mom that was constantly playing the new hits, switching from record to record as they came out, which taught her to love simplicity, to always look for the hook. It was her uncle, who was a musician and performer, that showed her to artists like Fleetwood Mac, which explains her unusual choices in cover choices, in comparison to the music she makes.

In 2011, Midlake's Roscoe was 90th on The Rolling Stone's 100 Best Songs of the 2000's. The group actually used to be a jazz-funk band, inspired by John Coltrane, before becoming the classic and folk rock band that they are now.

I picked this cover because, first of all, Ellie Goulding has a special place in my heart, ever since my seventh grade teacher played her music while we were working on a science experiment and geeked out over how cool she was. Second, this cover of hers reveals her impressive guitar playing, something that inspires me to parctice myself, to be able to pull off really well produced songs, and add something to it. Third, after hearing her cover, I went to listen to the original version of Roscoe and now it's one of my absolute favorite songs, with it's storytelling, melody, bass, and more, it just takes me away.


The Isley Brothers’ Good Day?

Originally produced by The Isley Brothers as an R&B/soul track in 1977, the song "Footsteps in The Dark" was featured on their album "Go For Your Guns". Even though this specific track didn't make it on the billboard charts like some of their other work including "Groove With You" it was still always known for its laid back grooves and solemn lyrics. About 15 years later Hip-Hop artist and rapper Ice Cube used the instrumental music of the song to produce his breakthrough hit "It Was A Good Day" on his album "The Predator". Released in 1992 the song gives The Isley Brothers' fans a bit of nostalgic feeling when they hear this sample playing on the radio. -Mel