Friday, January 30, 2009

WTBU Interviews: BU in the Morning/George Evelyn of Nightmares on Wax

Annie Berman, DJ on WTBU's daily morning show, BU in the Morning, sat down with George Evelyn of the band Nightmares on Wax on Monday night before their show at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston. Below is their transcribed conversation!

It’s been 20 years since your first album has come out. Throughout the span of your career, your music has been classified as electro/techno, to hiphop is now considered trip hop. What has the evolution of your music been like for you and what were your inspirations at the beginning of your career and what are they like now?

Do you know what? I’ve grown up with all these labels and genres, but really at the end of the day its about making music that you enjoy. That’s what it’s about. When I started out it was all about trends. When you get older, it’s not really about that anymore it’s about being passionate. Yeah, I mean, to think it’s 20 years, doesn’t really fit into my head. Everyone talks about it but it doesn’t feel like that even though there’s a lot going on. But my inspiration I would say that I’ve come full circle now cause inspiration is obviously, really, that music inspires music, there’s no doubt about that. Your environment inspires you as well, but my environment not the same anymore. Its realizing and recognizing over the years that there are times when the music is good and when it’s inspiring. Those are the moments that I’m trying to tap into now.

That’s really cool. So, you’ve very much matured, and I think it shows through your music.

Well yeah, it is an adventure, it isa journey. Just like any adventure or journey, you go off the beaten-track from time to time. And then you come back around again. I feel like I’ve come back ‘round again, but with a lot more knowledge if you know what I’m saying. I probably don’t approach things in the same way as when I started out.

I’ve been listening to the new album, “Though So” and I think it has a much more live feel, as if the album was recorded in a venue, rather than a studio. There are a few tracks in there where you hear people clapping and banter from other people who were there during the recording sessions. Is that true?

We recorded it on a road trip from Leeds to Ibiza…I think the track you are talking about is “Be There”. Actually halfway through the road trip we rented a 400 year old Spanish finca and there was only about eight of us. But it felt like the house was full. We were just jamming and recording stuff. I mean the great thing about our road trip was that we didn’t plan it we just completely had the vision and the idea to do the road trip but made the statement that the music would just be whatever it would be and would just go with that and be part of the journey. It was totally organic, totally free. I’ve spent most of my career talking about “journey” music being a journey. And here we are on a journey making music!

I’m really curious, where did the name Nightmares on Wax come from?

The name was born in 1984 actually. I used to do these mixtapes. I was 14 at the time and there was a guy who was a few years older than me, a guy called John Alinon, he used to make these. He had all this equipment and I couldn’t afford equipment so I used to go to his house and make these mixtapes using all sorts of stuff. We came up this quote about turning your wildest dreams out on vinyl. And in them days, vinyl was called wax. So we basically came up with the name Nightmares on Wax. So it actually means the opposite of what it actually says.

Well, how do you see yourself in the future, maybe in the next twenty years?

Doing this! I don’t mind thinking about my career as twenty years long. It just doesn’t really register…the time is not really a part of it. I mean now because we are into this 20th year, and obviously there is a lot of hype around the idea of “The 20th year”. So we are doing a lot of parties and stuff. So I’m like, you know what? We need to get the full band back on! We would have loved to bring the whole band here, but that’s really expensive. But that will happen in the future no doubt! For now, we are doing the live shows, wow! We are going to be performing 20 years of our music! There is so much reinventing to be doing. So that’s like another 10-20 years! There’s even more music to make. I’d like to just see more and more of that, you know, from a personal side. I’ve started a record label, Wax On Records. That’s the next generation of kids who have doubly inspired me as well. I’m actually doing more now than I’ve ever done in my life. IT just doesn’t feel like it.

Congratulations on being in this industry for so long. I mean, so many musicians fade out so quickly.

I don’t even feel like I’m in the industry!

I know, but I mean you are a part of it.

I know that I am. But as far as making music, I don’t pay attention to the industry. In this industry you start out and you think you are part of club scenes or you’re part of trends. There’s all these different things you think you are part of. But really, it’s about making music. Is it about scenes? Clubs? IS it about you? Ultimately, it’s about you. And to deliver that on stage and not even aware that all of that has anything to do with what you’re doing. That’s what I mean about being off the beaten track. Start looking around and thinking it needs to go there or there, it’s not really.

You have worked with a lot of different people for your tracks. Of the major people is DJ Kevin Harper. How did that come about?

When I started out with Nightmares on Wax with John Alinon he actually packed in the whole DJ thing to build tennis courts. Weird story. But I was in a break dance crew called Soul City Rockers this goes back to ’83 or ’84 and Kevin was in that break dance crew. Me and Kevin were pretty tight. At the time before doing Nightmares on Wax I was in a group called Unique Free. I left there, did Nightmares on Wax. Kevin left Unique Free, moved to Leeds and me and him were just the Nightmares on Wax DJs. Me and Kevin did the first Nightmares on Wax record together and the first album. Kevin is a massive, massive part of the birth of Nightmares on Wax. We’re very, very tight.

I have a question from a fan: what was your inspiration for make “in a space, outta sound” How do you feel this is different from your other albums in terms of your other influences or what you were trying to accomplish? For me as a listener, it was definitely the most powerful in comparison to your other albums like “Word of Science” and “Carboot Soul”.

It’s amazing how much heat we got off of “In a Space Outta Sound” in the states. Especially when we’ve never been here. I wasn’t really knowledgeable of the album’s success in the states until about a year and a half ago, which is a bit bizarre. It was just one of those things you know, hang on a minute! What the, wha? “In a Space Outta Sound”, I mean, really the title, this is always me and titles of records, there’s always some kind of meaning in there. So basically, to be in a space, to be in a particular space and then come out with that sound…that’s what it means basically. It goes back to what I was saying earlier. I feel like I’ve come full circle and have come to understand that my magic moments in music is when I can bring in that space where it’s unquestionable. I’m just doing it. There’s a complete free spirit in it. I’m not there going “oh, where does this fit in? What does that do?” None of that. Stuff is just free and that’s what the album brought. And things going on in my personal life at that time made me realize that I have this magic at my fingertips which was the music. And that’s what the reflection of that was in the album and that’s why to me, I’ve said this has been a big journey going through making all the albums from Word of Science, Smoker’s Delight, Carboot Soul, then to Mind Elevation. Mind Elevation was a different album for me and I know why! Because I was different and it was the first stage in my life where I was totally comfortable financially. That wasn’t something I was used to. I was living in a house bigger than I’d ever lived in. I became a father, I was touring. You know, I was all over the place. I basically was in so many different elements of being, that I wasn’t me. Do you know what I mean? That’s no disrespect to the album, but I understand why the album is that and then going into “In a Space, Outta Sound”, I realized what is reflective in your music is the state of mind you’re in. And that’s what is poignant in “In a Space, Outta Sound”.

Ok I’d just like to ask you a couple of silly questions quickly since we are running out of time and you need to go to sound check! Ok, what’s your favorite color!

My daughter asks me this all the time! Today it’s green.

That’s my favorite color too! Ok, what was it like the first time you heard your music played by someone else?

It was actually at an illegal warehouse party in 1989 in a place called Blackburn. 10,000 people and it was New Year’s Eve and we all sat down on our faces on this sweaty floor and the tune “Dextrous” came on. That’s the one that comes to mind now!

Thanks to George Evelyn!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Click HERE to check out WTBU's NEW official calendar, complete with on-air interviews, upcoming show dates, and goings-on with the station on campus and around Boston!

New dates and events are always coming up, so be sure to check back often!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Perpetual Groove on The Ocarina of Time, Fri 2-4pm

Tune in to The Ocarina of Time (with Hannah and Emile) on WTBU this Friday from 2-4pm EST to hear an interview with the Athens-based jam band, Perpetual Groove! The interview precedes the enviro-conscious band's March tour of Boston, so listen in and get educated, people!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Review: Modern Skirts - All of Us In Our Night: "They’re Modern All Right"

The southern saunter and spunk of these Athenian musicians glazes over listeners like a humid, relaxing breeze. Modern Skirts’ sophomore album, All of Us in Our Night, made its debut in October 2008. Its goal was perhaps prematurely ambitious, but nonetheless admirable. From one track to the next, the boys aimed at incorporating every musical genre possible, giving the album new spins and unexpected shifts.

The steady rhythms pushed the eclectic record into many of the industry’s hearts, including R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, who helped produce “Motorcade,” a pleasant acoustic anthem, proudly proclaiming that “it doesn’t matter how the tide breaks, we’re gonna make it back to the shore.” With clear optimism, the Modern Skirts dove into concocting one of the most contrasting albums to date.

“Soft Petals” offers an intoxicated escape into a surreal world where all you need is a “knife and a merry-go-round.” The light and hypnotic drive of this song clashes with blatant hints of various vices. Also somewhat dark, “Chokehold,” combines the synthetic sound similar to the Postal Service with cool, Coldplay-like, lyrical vocals to create a reminiscent piece about life and mistakes.

“Radio breaks,” one of the CDs most genuine gems, tells a story of a romance unlike any other. A soulfully sweet piano breaks the good, or bad, news that “just in case you missed me, I’m leaving my bills for you to pay, I will love you dearly, for breaking the pain for me each day.” This song feels nothing short of simply right, emanating dedicated vocals, an instrumental break, and the classic fade.

The flavor quickly shifts in “Face Down,” a Weezer-ish rock ballad resonating with the usual heart-wrenching guitar motifs and heavy, dramatic drum-work. In contrast, “Conversational” cuts in as next track. This song radiates with Bright Eyes’ emotionality in search for identity, proclaiming, “’cause lately I’ve been likely, to be somebody like me, someone who’s really not me.”

Stitching together the sounds of OK GO and gypsies, “Astronauts,” is definitely the track that goes the extra mile on this record. Opening with a slick voice and sly guitar, it quickly captivates attention. Going along with the dark yet light trend, Modern Skirts infuse the track with more mischievous and delightful lyrics by adding “of all the things I leave behind, I want to die and leave my teeth, so you can keep a bright smile.”

The album’s scattered ambitions might signify that perhaps the Modern Skirts have spread themselves too thin. Yet their steady rhythms hold the diverse tracks like super glue. All of Us in Our Night takes time to chew, and only gets better with time. Before you know it, you’ll be mouthing, “I can’t shut off this stereo.”

- Tetyana Pecherska

Monday, January 26, 2009


Come on out and find out what WTBU's up to this semester at the Spring Activities Expo!

GSU Metcalf Ballroom
tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 27

Get your copy of this semester's show schedule, some free SWAAAAAG, and the update on our sweet upcoming sponsored shows! Can't wait to see you!

the wtbu pr dept.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

WTBU Dies Another Day

Come party with WTBU and SMG at the annual Casino Night!

This year, the charity event will donate all proceeds to the Boston Medical Center. Let's get fancy and bet! (Cocktail attire is required.) Your ticket buys you chips to play Blackjack, Roulette, and Craps. You can use your "winnings" to bid on prizes at the end of the night!

What's more, WTBU will be there, broadcasting live and playing jams all night!

(and now, for the silly name plugs...)

YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE… so buy your ticket before you DIE ANOTHER DAY and let us know if THE MAN WITH THE GOLDEN GUN could keep you away--or if you're shaken but not stirred enough to come!

*Cash Bar*
*Free Appetizers*
*Lots of prizes: Tiffany's, Sephora, Side Kicks, Bruins tickets, & more!*
*Performances from various student groups*
*CFA art showcase*

Contributions from: CAS Forum, Student Union, Sargent Government, and SMG Government.
Tickets: On sale starting Jan. 19 in the GSU Link and the SMG Atrium. $15 for BU students, available in advance. $20 at the door.
When: Saturday, Jan 31, 2009, 8pm-midnight
Where GSU Metcalf Ballroom (775 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd floor)

Who to Contact:
1. For More Info:
2. Contact SMG Student Government
3. Contact or

Come on and party with us...because you know what he'd do.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Top Adds for 1/19: Animal Collective, Antony and the Johnsons, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Loney Dear, AC Newman +++

Our top five adds for the week of January 19:

1- ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, Merriweather Post Pavilion: Merriweather is a beautiful album. It has already been deemed the best album of 2009 by some blogs, for good reason. If you haven't heard it yet, you are missing out! The songs are more melodic and there seems to be more emphasis on the lyrics than on the previous eight Animal Collective albums. My favorite tracks are "My Girls", "Summertime Clothes". Also check out "Daily Routine" and "Brother Sport".

2- ANTONY AND THE JOHNSONS, The Crying Light: The follow-up to I Am a Bird Now, for all Antony fans who enjoy his soft melodic voice accompanied by the piano. Best track is "Another World."

3- PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart: Lo-fi noisy dream pop, recently self-released by this band from NYC. The songwriting and guy/girl vocal harmonies are consistently GREAT! Listen to "Come Saturday" and "Everything With You".

4- LONEY, DEAR, Dear John: Very Swedish from Stockholm and easy to listen to! They're touring with Andrew Bird this year. Check out tracks one and five!

5- A.C. NEWMAN, Get Guilty: A second album from the New Pornographers front-man, featuring appearances from members of Mates of State, Magnetic Fields, & Nicole Atkins. Catchy songwriting. Listen to "The Palace at 4 AM". Don't play track 10 on air (FCC violation).

-Liz Pelly & Jen Brown

Friday, January 23, 2009


WTBU is excited to announce that we will be helping to sponsor some awesome upcoming shows at GREAT SCOTT in Allston.

Saturday, February 7
9 PM 21+ $10
Buy tix here


Thursday, February 19
Buy tix here
9 PM 18+ $8

Look out for upcoming in-studios and interviews with some of these bands! ALSO, come say hi to us at these shows, as we will be present with programming schedules and cool giveaways :)


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In Case You Missed It...

WTBU was featured in BU Today's Arts and Entertainment section last week! Click here to see the story!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

WTBU Interviews: Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter

Up-and-coming band Automatic Loveletter has been touring for the past two years in support of their EP, Recover. With a stop at last year’s Bamboozle Festival, a run on Warped Tour this summer, and a new album coming out this May, it’s surprising that lead singer Juliet Simms had time to answer some questions for WTBU during their Fall tour with Secondhand Serenade…

How was it being one of the acts on this past summer’s Warped Tour?

It was an experience of a lifetime. Everyday you get to play music, hang with musicians you look up to, meet and hang with fans, and have a blast! It’s like summer camp for rock stars; how could it not be insanely fun?!

I was stoked to see our good friends All Time Low, Between The Trees, A Cursive Memory, The Audition, and From First to Last. Getting to see Jack's Mannequin was AMAZING! I always enjoyed catching Mayday Parade, We The Kings and All That Remains’ sets. I think the coolest thing about Warped is getting to watch bands you love and then hangout after with them.

We hung out with all the above, I got to chill with Tom from Angels and Airwaves (that was pretty tight). I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, that guy is FUNNY! Hung out with Katy Perry (I love her). I ate lunch with Josh Freeze one day and that was surreal.

How’s touring in general?

I LOVE touring so much! But it does have its ups and downs. For instance I love being in the van for long periods of time, but when its time to pee the hassle of pulling over kind of gets annoying, or the fact that you’re having to constantly lug your luggage in and out of hotels and into venues, unpacking repacking etc… gets to be tiresome… but on the flip side I get to hangout with my best friends everyday… play music every night and do what I love…so it pretty much makes up for anything that’s not entirely ideal.

What are the things you love that fans bring you?

Fans have brought us some very cool things in the past… a few of my faves have been sweet mint orbit gum, socks, bracelets they make, DVDs, blankets, candy and spitz pumpkin seeds. One time I even got a whole case of miso ginger salad dressing! The best is all the artwork and paintings that people actually take the time to make.

How did you end up on your current tour with Secondhand Serenade, Cute Is What We Aim For, and A Rocket To The Moon? What did you expect before the tour started?

Earlier this year we toured with SHS and the band became BEST friends with us. We all wanted to tour again so that was a big part of it. Last year during ‘07 Warped I stayed on Cute's bus for 4 days while I did acoustic appearances, so I became friends with them then... but how it really happened is John from SHS called me on Warped and he said that a GREAT tour was being put together for the winter and would I be interested? I don’t think he finished asking before I was like "uh yes!"

We expected packed rooms, crazy crowds, awesome venues and all around good times… and every expectation has been met… above and beyond! So far my favorite/crazy moments of the tour have been when Shaant from Cute wore my pink Long John Onesie out on stage during SHS set. He ran across the stage ballet dancing the whole time in front of like 2000 kids!

The first time we played a House Of Blues, the crowd was so insane that at the end I decided to crowd surf and it was probably the funnest thing I’ve ever done! Also every night Shaant brings Nick (ARRTTM singer) and I out on stage for the last song and we sing and then jump down into the crowd! And its pretty crazy every time... Last night in Chicago the crowd was so intense the barrier almost broke!

In other interviews, you have mentioned a full-length album. How is the progress on that? Who have you been working with or plan to work with? What can fans expect from it?

Like I said the record is coming out in May =D. It’s actually almost completely done… I have one more song to lay vocals down on and then its done! I’ve been working with Curt Schneider for half of it and Matt Squire did the other half. Mix n' up..ya know? an omelet with everything in it and a chocolate banana shake on the side...and then for dessert oreo cookies with peanut butter and milk..mmmm

What are your plans for the upcoming New Year? Are you currently booked for any other tours/festivals (cough cough…Bamboozle. cough cough)?

Hahaha we actually find out about Bamboozle and Warped in the next few days...We start out on our headlining tour January 15th! Our good friends A Cursive Memory are direct support... and 2 more unannounced bands.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell WTBU listeners/fans?

Yes..I don't like you…I love you!

You can find details of Automatic Loveletter’s headlining tour at They drop by Harper’s Ferry in Allston on Wednesday, February 11 with A Cursive Memory, The Friday Night Boys, and The Appreciation Post.

-Adam Azahari
DJ of “Wow, That’s Legit!” on Sundays from 8-10 AM

You can read more of this interview at

Monday, January 19, 2009

Review: Anya Marina, Jenny Owen Youngs and Greg Laswell @ Great Scott, 1/14

Not all acoustic singer-songwriters are created equal. And boy, are there many! A guitar is usually the weapon of choice with the ins and outs of romantic drama making up the plan of attack. So how does a female artist stand out among countless others in an already overpopulated genre?

If you're Anya Marina, you add some rock 'n' roll and keep us laughing the whole time, always sweet and never taking yourself too seriously. (Being featured on Grey's Anatomy a few times doesn't hurt either.) Then again, easier said than done; being that cool isn't for everyone. Anya manages to hit the bulls eye that falls somewhere in the middle of relatable, likeable, catchy, and funny. She's also darn cute.

Last Wednesday night, Anya reeled in the crowd from the start with the title track from her debut LP and featured track on the Grammy-nominated Grey's Anatomy soundtrack, "Miss Halfway." She kept things moving with new material from her upcoming album, Slow and Steady Seduction: Phase II, which drops this Tuesday.

A former radio DJ in her native Cali, her DJ roots especially showed between songs. Anya hit every punch line in her bizarre story about the seemingly "nice college girl" seated next to her on the plane who was afflicted with—wait for it—Restless Leg Syndrome! Don't let the lame name fool you, because if there's any truth to Anya's story—kicking, moaning, twitching, rocking and all—Restless Leg Syndrome is serious business.

She ended with her current single, "Move You," in which she doles out her frustration on a guy who can't seem to get it right. Anya could only do so much with her songs playing on her own, but it was her winning personality that made the biggest impression. She'll be back at Great Scott with a full band on February 7th with The Virgins.

Jenny Owen Youngs came next, the main draw of the night. Her strong following is justified; she has a way of nailing the nature of all things heartbreak. Pair that with a pop sensibility and a pretty voice and we have the stuff acoustic/indie/pop dreams are made of. Jenny kept things light between songs, always the jokester. Then, she would hit us with the lines that hurt so good: "I'm developing my sense of humor/ 'Til I can laugh at my heart between your teeth..../ Maybe I'll be the lucky one that doesn't get burned/ What the f*ck was I thinking?"

Greg Laswell was scheduled to play next. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay for his set. I'm sure he wooed with my favorite from him, "Sing, Theresa Says," though.

You can't ask for a more fun or more solid bill of indie acoustic artists than these three friends. Keep a watchful eye and ear out as you are bound to catch a song by any one of them in an intense scene on your favorite drama sometime soon.

- Jessy Bartlett

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Because We Did: WTBU to Broadcast Live from Inauguration Celebration

Come on down this Tuesday night to the Howard Thurman Center (in the basement of the GSU) at 8pm to eat, drink, and dance in celebration of this monumental occasion. The HTC invites you all to "a moment to congratulate both President Obama and the Boston University college community on helping to make its mark on the political process. No matter who you may have voted for, this election marked the first time that the youth voters made their voice heard on such a large and transformative scale."

As for us, WTBU will be broadcasting live from the party, starting at 7:30. Hope we see you there!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

LA's INDIE 103.1 - The Lastest Victim of Corporate BS

In a letter addressed to "Indie Activists," the fine men and women at LA's premiere Indie radio station, INDIE 103.1 ceased broadcast today, according to the radio station's statement.

Sadly, INDIE is just another example of the recent and rapid decline in the size of radio audiences as well as the general decline in consumption of other traditional mediums like film, T.V., and print.

In their online statement, the station vowed to stay true to the music and abandon corporate haggling:

We have decided not to play that game any longer. Rather than changing the sound, spirit, and soul of what has made Indie 103.1 great Indie 103.1 will bid farewell to the terrestrial airwaves and take an alternative course."

The "alternative course" the station mentioned will be accessible on their station website where visitors can also read up on the situation, see DJ profiles, and look at a schedule of shows.

Thank you INDIE 103.1, for fighting the good fight.

"The End of Radio" - Shellac (2007 Touch & Go) Excellent Italian Greyhound

Monday, January 12, 2009

“Infidels and Hussies”… Drew Danburry Attracts Them All

Drew Danburry convinces you to “love the crowded Utah valley” in his latest album, This Could Mean Trouble, You Don't Speak For The Club. Danburry’s third full-length album includes his signature characteristics fans love (like his comforting, raw vocals), while incorperating new sounds as well, such as the dreamy piano melody on the intro song, “Weezer.”

The singer infuses the record with personality, especially on the track “Residents in Orange County,” in which he says quite boldly, “tripping over dumpsters is the only way to come home after dark.” Background noise also peaks through parts of songs, whether it’s in the form of shouted phrases, clapping, or an entire musical hodgepodge like the one created in the track “Accident.”

Clearly Danburry knows how to stir the hearts of listeners. His choice to cover his friend’s song “Take Me Home” was a wise one, with its catchy tune and fun word play that together tug on fans’ heartstrings. “L'ecole” is another track on the album in tune with the emotion of listeners, with story-telling lyrics projecting moral values and prompting people to question how they live their lives.

The two-minute track “Billboards” has been a gem on Danburry’s setlist for a couple years now and is finally featured on this album. It speaks of the harsh reality humans face daily. His attempt to explain society is noteable in that his words don’t bug listeners; he manages to come off experienced, knowledgeable, and still humble.

The ending of the album is sort of a joke for Danburry’s fans, although it may confuse first-time listeners. It’s a southern twist on part one of “Tonight I Was Trying To Read.” Danburry uses a twangy accent, reinforcing his ability to make unconventional decisions, which at the end of the day is what sets him apart from others in the large category of modern indie music.

--Jen Brown

WTBU DJ Interviews All Time Low

At the recent "Jingle My Bells" Festival, WTBU's own Adam Azahari sat down backstage with All Time Low's lead singer Alex Gaskarth to discuss the past year of the band's success, as well as their upcoming album.

In the past year, All Time Low (who were recently named 2008's Band of the Year by Alternative Press) have been had video premieres on MTV, sold-out a headlining tour, played on Warped Tour, and worked hard promoting their 2007 release So Wrong, It's Right.

If you're a fan of All Time Low, check out Adam's show "Wow, That's Legit" on Sunday mornings at 8 a.m. on WTBU.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

2008 - The Music Year in Review

As 2008 comes to a close, we wrap up a particularly whacky year in music. There was much of the familiar—Britney Spears ruled the charts (and our hearts), Coldplay solidified their spots as worldwide rock superstars, and Radiohead made headlines with their seventh full-length release—and then there was the downright weird. Top album lists saw indie folk records saddled up cozily next to F*cked Up and just below TV on the Radio, whose sound is harder to figure out than Kanye's decision to trade in samples and puns for a whole album's worth of auto-tune singing over 808 beats. And to top it off, Lil Wayne is up for Album of the Year! Whoa, whoa, whoa.... Lois, this isn't my Batman cup.

So what does it all mean? If we learned one thing in COM 101, the world of communication is changing! There is more music out there than ever before and all of it is virtually just a click away; it seems like this musical sonic boom was more apparent than ever in 2008. Generation X is in the building—we know our way around the internet and, with so many choices, we will have it our way.

With so much competition and so much that's already been done before, artists have been forced to think outside the box, underground, through the wire, back inside the box and then some. The result: genre-mixing, label-bending sounds; innovation brought to us by an increasingly diverse and offbeat cast of characters.

The biggest story of the year has to be that of Lil Wayne, one of the hardest working and most eccentric acts out there. Love him or hate him, his rise to fame and acclaim has been nothing short of amazing. With every bizarre verse, he is making mainstream hip-hop interesting again by appealing to the masses without compromising his art. In all of his sizzurp-sipping glory, an unmatched ear for rhythm and a creative eye for hits make Lil Wayne the fascinatingly unpredictable megastar he was in '08.

Other popular artists have made careers out of crossover genre appeal—Linkin Park, Rihanna and Chris Brown come to mind—but it takes something extra to excel to the point of explosion in the ranks of Lil Wayne and other big time players. Coldplay reached new heights with rock hybrid Viva La Vida, and TV on the Radio made some noise with their indie rock/soul/electronic/rap/everything-else you-can-think-of album, Dear Science. And then there was Erykah Badu, with her neo-soul snapshot of a warring New Amerykuh that demands our minds and hands. Meanwhile, Lady GaGa rocked the pop world internationally with her dance/ disco/80s-influenced The Fame, which regularly features such delightfully trashy lyrics as "C-c-c-crazy, get your ass in my bed" and "Our hair is perfect / While we're all getting sh*twrecked."

For me, 2008 was a year of outstanding individuals who defied categories, a blending of styles, and many variations of what it means to live in these high times. 2009 will only see more cross-genre excitement and originality, which I am all for. Because I don't know what to say when people ask me what kind of music I like the same way I don't know what to put down when a form asks me to choose an ethnicity. And it's looking like I'm not the only one! God bless America.

- Jessy Bartlett