BY MIRANDA WHEELER ’19
Mount Holyoke’s student-run radio station, WMHC 91.5 FM South Hadley, has a long history of playing independent artists that might not otherwise make it to mainstream airwaves.
Small music labels, independent producers, independent artists and self-distributors from Northampton to Los Angeles send promotional CDs to WMHC and other college stations in hopes of making it to air. These CDs become “requireds,” which DJs must play around four to eight times per show.
When requireds have run their course, whether from being overplayed or expiring on a shelf quickly filling with a sea of new submissions, the CDs are never discarded. Instead, they make their way to the Mount Holyoke community. A free bin, sometimes a cart, dedicated to retired requireds lingers just outside of the locked station doors of WMHC on the third floor of Blanchard — not far from the newsroom.
As the station is caught up in renovations, including the digitization of its vast music collection, the huge stacks of CDs are particularly tempting. After digging through some of the weirdest, wildest and surprisingly catchy jams in the bin, we’ve curated a playlist fondly and aptly dubbed, “free bin bangers.” One DJ’s hand-me-down is another music lover’s treasure. Here’s a sampler of what WMHC’s freebie reserve had to offer:
“New York Graffiti”
A positive, upbeat song of the heart. May or may not make you want to get a bus ticket and take off for big city dreaming. Infinitely likeable.
Just a croony dude and his guitar.
“Marianne (20,000 Acres of Moonlight)”
The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer
A desperate dance-off in the world’s happiest gospel blues club. Recommended if you have ever wanted to hear a cover of “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” by The Killers for a remake of Dirty Dancing.
“Fly On The Wall”
Moody, soothing, not-quite-real. Recommended if you love Daughter. The entire album was gold in the CD haystack.
“Dance of Frankenstein”
Ruby Rose Fox
The Hozier and Stevie Nicks-esque duet you never knew you wanted to cure your broken heart and add to your Halloween party playlist. Also, a music video that combines 2009 Lady Gaga and Monster High. How much better can it get?
“When I Get to Tennessee”
Old school Taylor Swift covering Mumford and Sons, but better. Maybe the theme song to the next Nicholas Sparks blockbuster. The only tune of the list that’s not offered on Spotify — luckily, a Youtube music video fills the gap. Enjoy.
“Ring Them Bells (Carrion Crow)”
Strangely enchanting. An unearthly voice from an earthy band. Possibly sung on a mountain.
“Cut the Body Loose”
Someone is playing a hip-hop ballad in an empty gym after a long night. Imagine Macklemore covering indie blues. Noteworthy cover art — there’s a fighter’s robe, a well-earned shiner and surely a great story.
“Spectre of the Past”
Your 15-year-old garage band fantasy. Ready and waiting for the ultimate summer mischief montage. An album cover ripped from the pages of “Where The Wild Things Are.”
“To Have You Back”
A strange, atmospheric combo of an astronaut in space, a well-timed piano and modern remix vibes straight from any top 50 list. A world where electronica and actual magic can coexist.
A heartfelt, cinematic techno mystery track somewhere between Nine Inch Nails and Kerli’s “Walking on Air.” Your inner emo teen will love it.