When I first started at WHFR, I thought I knew new music. I always purchased music by bands I didn’t know. The weekly ads from Best Buy, Target, and Circuit City were my road map.
Now I was also smart enough to realize that the big box stores also had connections to big labels who were working together with the businesses, so they weren’t my only music sources.
I made weekly visits, at least, to both Switched on CDs in Novi, Michigan and Dearborn Music in Dearborn, Michigan. These were the true sources of my new or almost new music as well as back catalog purchases—especially the used section.
As hard as I worked at staying on top of the music scene, it was nothing close to what happens at a College Radio station. I would say that upwards of two hundred albums a week comes into the station as a physical release or digital file, and that includes all genres.
I have no idea whether that’s a lot or low on the new release scale, but I think it’s a pretty good cross section of any current music scene.
As a new DJ, it takes a while to get up to speed at a station that emphasizes new music.
So, I would sample as many new albums as I could any time I was there, and started latching on to artists I liked—usually through a song or two that caught my ear. It was similar to the way that I listened to music in my personal life. I had a Pioneer 6 CD player which usually provided enough material for me, as well as the variety I crave by using the random function.
I listened to music that way for many years. And why not? Hadn’t all of the great albums already been made? Why should I listen to an album all the way through?
I kinda retained that flawed attitude until I became the music director at the station. At that point, I had been there for awhile, knew DJ style preferences, and had to talk to promoters about their “product.” Of course, that means albums and I very much dislike the phrase. Just like I hate when I hear a DJ say that they audition songs for their shows. Trust me, there are very few artists out there that make music to pass an audition for any radio DJ. And one wonders, if the roles were reversed, how many DJs would pass their audition, myself included.
This long introduction was to get to this point: In my weekly “album faves” lists, I state that I changed the way I listen to music, and now listen to albums all the way through.
“Out From the Door” by Dylan McDonald and The Avians was the album that caused that change.
This is Day 6 of my “New Rotations: Albums” list! These are albums that are still in my listening rotation beyond what I would consider to be a normal run on my music player. They are post influence forming, but are awesome nonetheless! They should have been deleted long ago to make room for other music, yet I like them so much, I break my own rules for this music.
I first discovered it at the station in January 2013. It was part of a new promotion for an album that had been recorded a couple of years prior, but that me have been it’s first “push.”
I liked a couple of the songs, and played them.
“Welcome to the Land of the Avians” was the first song I played and also the first track. I liked the prog rock sci-fi vibe. It was dramatic. The track starts out with people talking as background noise, similar to “Sgt. Pepper.” Daniel DeMonico’s crying guitar lines reminded me of Dave Gilmour’s! The strings were a very nice added touch!
It was catchy, so I went to my next pick, “Send Me Back to Earth.” Soaring harmonies over a great melody that sounded like it could fit on Pink Floyd’s “Meddle” album, was more than I needed. And it describes someone who’s homesick because Mars wasn’t what they thought it would be. His family is back on earth.
After that gem, I went back looking for more. As I worked my way through the album, I noticed the high level of consistency of the songs as well as the similarity of textures, just like classic albums from those classic years of the 60s and 70s!.
It finally dawned on me, that, hey! Great albums could still be made today!
I picked it as my best album of 2013, when the Philbys were in their development stage.
So it was Dylan McDonald that changed my style of listening to albums, and I thank him for that!
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to “Out From the Door.” It still fascinates me after probably hundreds of plays!
Here’s a couple of samples of songs from the album:
Here’s a live clip of the band sounding a lot like Tom Petty on the title track. This is to show you that the band can deliver playing it live. I also like the fact that drummer Joshua Cobb gets singled out for smiling a lot! Guitarist Emmanuel Garza of Jim McCarty and Mystery Train says you can’t beat a happy drummer! Keyboardist Will Brown does a great job adding organ flourishes and such!
Just as an aside, Dylan McDonald and the Avians second album “Fueled By Dreams of the Future” (Philby Award winner) provides the same wonderful musical vibes!
Here’s “Stone Tree Fairy” (Philby Award winner) from that album!:
I think the two albums together are two of the best albums of the 21st century, so far!
Check out my radio shows, “Theme Attic,” heard Wednesdays, 10A-12N ET, or “Prime Time Theme Attic,” heard Mondays, 8P-10P ET!
Listen live: https://whfr.fm/streamer/
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The List so far:
Day 5: “All Your Favorite Bands” by Dawes: https://philmaq.com/2018/05/day-5-of-new-rotations-list-all-your-favorite-bands-by-dawes/
Day 4: “Revolutions” by The Liquid Scene: https://philmaq.com/2018/05/day-4-of-new-rotations-list-revolutions-by-the-liquid-scene/
Day 3: “Vandenberg’s MoonKings” by Vandenberg’s MoonKings: https://philmaq.com/2018/05/day-3-vandenbergs-moonkings-by-vandenbergs-moonkings/
Day 2: “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You” by Phil Lee: https://philmaq.com/2018/04/day-2-of-new-rotations-list-so-long-its-been-good-to-know-you-by-phil-lee/
Day 1: “Brill Bruisers” by The New Pornographers: https://philmaq.com/2018/04/day-1-of-new-rotations-list-brill-brusiers-by-the-new-pornographers/
New Rotation List Introduction: https://philmaq.com/2018/04/phils-maqs-ten-rotation-albums-new-introduction/