Friday Five: Joe Hertler, Modern Lady Fitness, DFRNC & Alexa Kenny, zagc, BigPlanet

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features an Ann Arbor-filmed video by pop-rockers Joe Hertler and the Rainbow Seekers, artsy indie by Modern Lady Fitness, hip-hop R&B by DFRNC featuring Alexa Kenny, percussive techno by zagc, and hip-hop by BigPlanet.

Friday Five: Kelly Moran, OVVR, Mirror Monster, Electrifying Audiences, Dre Dav

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features emotive piano by Kelly Moran, R&B hip-hop by OVR, electronic instrumental pop by Mirror Monster, post-punk synths by Electrifying Audiences, and rap by Dre Dav.

That Old Boom Bap: The Prop Shop's DJ Chill Will has been spinning bangers on WCBN for 35 years

MUSIC PREVIEW HISTORY INTERVIEW

A fan looks on as Chill Will deejays in a club.

Photo courtesy of DJ Chill Will.

Toward the end of the 2004 smash “Time’s Up” by Jadakiss, a voice came on the radio as a familiar new beat was blended in:

“World-famous Prop Shop. DJ Chill Will in full effect. That’s how it goes down. Saturday nights, 9 to 12 o’clock Eastern Standard Time right here on WCBN-FM Ann Arbor. You can also check us out live on the world wide web at WCBN dot o-r-g and radio dot net backslash WCBN. It’s Saturday night, y’all. We got about an hour and a half left in the show. Sit back and relax, you know we got the classics coming. Prop Shop. Chill Will. Let’s get it.”

I was tuned into 88.3, the University of Michigan radio station, while driving down a darkened stretch of Island Lake Road outside of Dexter. It was a little past 10:30 pm on September 9, and as the DJ concluded his talk-up, I got goosebumps when the bassline thumped.

It was EPMD’s 1988 jam “You’re a Customer,” which has that “Fly Like an Eagle” sample from the Steve Miller Band, but the head-nodding beat is built off a drum sample and bass riff from ZZ Top’s “Cheap Sunglasses”—and it’s deep.

I leaned over and turned up the volume, feeling the vibration rattle my windows. The temp was hovering around 60 degrees, and with nobody else on the road, I opened the sunroof and rolled down the windows so the song could fly from my car and fill the late-summer air.

The Prop Shop has been rattling glass since 1988, and “Chill” Will Higgs has been at the helm for almost the entire time. 

It’s also one of the oldest continually running hip-hop radio shows in the world.

The nearly 55-year-old Higgs mostly plays slappers from the late ‘80s through the mid-2010s, with occasional splashes of dancehall reggae—and virtually nothing from the post-trap world of hip-hop and its cymbal-driven songs with light snares. To quote A Tribe Called Quest’s 1993 song “We Can Get Down,” The Prop Shop is all about artists who “with a kick, snare, kicks and high hat / [are] skilled in the trade of that old boom bap.”

For the commercial mixes Higgs sends out to radio clients such as KRYC and KPAT in California and WJZE in Toledo, Ohio, he does play contemporary rap.

But for The Prop Shop, it’s strictly classic hip-hop for the heads from the eras Higgs loves. Other artists I heard that night include Smif-N-Wessun, Run the Jewels, Jay-Z, The Diplomats, Baby Cham, Dr. Dre, Paul Wall, 50 Cent, and Jeru the Damaja.

The true window shakers. The essence of hip-hop. The real boom-bap.

Friday Five: Nadim Azzam, Oren Levin, Fangs & Twang, Erin Zindle, Annabella Paolucci

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the music featured in this Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features hip-hop pop by Nadim Azzam, a silly song by Oren Levin, a roots rocker by Fangs and Twang, a ballad by Erin Zindle, and Latin folk-pop by Annabella Paolucci.

 

Friday Five: JTC, Tyvek, C.R. Odette, .SSJ, Zilched

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features leftfield acid house from JTC, garage-punk by Tyvek, quiet synth psychedelia by C.R. Odette, forward-looking R&B by .SSJ, and noise-pop via Zilched.

 

Friday Five: First Tone, Liam Charron, Verzer.ren/Thynk, DÆmons, The Strange Theory of Light and Matter

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features drift music by First Tone, piano jazz from Liam Charron, minimalist techno via Verzer.ren/Thynk, and technical metal courtesy of DÆmons and The Strange Theory of Light and Matter.

 

Monday Mix: Low Pony, Merekat, MEMCO, Mercury Ulia, DJ Bayb33, DJ Sphinx, Amber Gillen, Jonathan Taylor, WCBN Local Music Show live, We're Twins Halloween comp

MUSIC MONDAY MIX

Cover art for the compilations featured in the Monday Mix.

The Monday Mix is an occasional roundup of mixes, compilations, podcasts, and more by Washtenaw County-associated artists, DJs, radio stations, and record labels.

For this edition, there's Michigan Electronic Music Collective Exposure electronica mixes by Low Pony and Merekat as well as an 11-track comp of original music by MEMCO members; Immaculate Conception Fruits of Our Labor dance mixes by Mercury Ulia, DJ Bayb33, and DJ Sphinx; an all-over-the-place Moods mix by former WCBN-FM DJ and Interdimensional Transmissions visual director Amber Gillen; a new Sounds and Silence podcast from Ann Arbor's Canterbury House featuring drummer Jonathan Taylor; a WCBN Local Music Show studio performance collection; and a resurrected Halloween comp by the We're Twins label.

 

Friday Five: Chill Place, Doogatron, Ahmad, Opius, Fred Thomas

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features R&B by Chill Place, techno from Doogatron, drum 'n' bass via Ahmad and Opius, and Fred Thomas live on WCBN-FM.

Friday Five: Taproot, Tension Splash, Kool Ade Kam, Child Sleep, Drew Graham

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Art for the albums and singles featured in this week's Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features nu-metal from Taproot, grunge by Tension Splash, hip-hop by Kool Ade Kam, indie rock by Child Sleep, and rap by Drew Graham.

Friday Five: Justin Walter, fling ii, counter magic, The City Lines, Nightkin

MUSIC FRIDAY FIVE

Cover art for the albums and singles featured in the Friday Five.

Friday Five highlights music by Washtenaw County-associated artists and labels.

This week features evocative electronics by Justin Walter, modular synth miniatures by fling ii, indie rock by counter magic and The City Lines, and blackened death metal by Nightkin.