DJ Spotlight: DJ Slava’s “Top 10” Playlist

Meet DJ Slava of “Americana.” 

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DJ Slava

DJ Slava has been a loyal KSPC volunteer since his first year on campus, acquiring his own show by only his second semester.  DJ Slava’s show began as an underground show; however, when he started playing some folk, bluegrass and country music he decided to change the name of the show and focus on Americana.  DJ Slava has also enjoyed exploring the local folk music scene around Claremont, attending street fairs as well as a festival at Mt. Baldy that featured local artists. He also makes a note of having seen Caetano Veloso at the Hollywood Bowl in September.

“I get a lot of nice comments about my show. It’s cool to hear that people have been listening to it,” says Slava. “It’s funny; it feels like a secret identity. People wouldn’t know me if they saw me in the grocery store and absolute strangers can get something good out of this.”

One of the things Slava has said he most appreciates about being a part of KSPC is the sense of community at the station.

“There are a lot of events where people can come down and hang out,” he said. “I feel like I don’t go to as many of those as I should. I like that people can come here and review CDs together.”

Although he’s not yet sure how his interest and experience in college radio will continue to fit into his life, Slava is considering pursuing radio in his future.

Check out DJ Slava’s “Top 10” Playlist Below!

1. Ohia, “Farewell Transmission”

Jason Molina gets a band and the result is an epic. Long dark blues, indeed….

2. Mountain Man, “Animal Tracks”

I discovered them after seeing them as the opening act for The Decemberists. Probably the best experience with an opening act I’ve ever had. So yeah, I was pretty excited to find that KSPC had them.

3. Sharon Van Etten, “Give Out”

I’ve had an urge to listen to this song while driving at night, many times. Somehow,”the only ones shining, the only ones I’d met in years” makes me think of the occasional other car’s headlights. Beautiful slide guitar, too.

4. John Fahey, “In Christ There Is No East Or West”

John Fahey, whom I’ve probably played more times on my show than anybody else. What can I say? He made an album of Christmas music that I’m actually willing to listen to voluntarily. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is!

5. Sufjan Stevens, “Casimir Pulaski Day”

Just a gorgeously sad and beautiful song about cancer. I have a similar reaction to many of his songs: they’re profoundly sad, but I don’t cry. Instead I feel like I’m in the room with the subject of the song, who IS crying.  Which is much more poignant.

6. Neko Case, “Christmas Card From a Hooker in Minneapolis”

Sometimes minimalism REALLY works. Neko’s voice and a soft organ drone work wonders on Tom Waits’ song.

7. Bonnie “Prince” Billy, “Cursed Sleep”

I’ll give some credit to Dawn McCarthy for this album’s being my favorite of Oldham’s albums (besides “I See a Darkness”). It’s a perfect match: the voices blend, but without sounding too lush. Also, I can joke about Oldham being my second-favorite Icelandic musician, after Sigur Ros (guess where this was recorded?)

8. Johnny Cash, “I See a Darkness”

Speaking of Will Oldham, a part of me still doesn’t believe that this is the cover version and not the original. No offense to Mr. Oldham, of course (he sings a great backup harmony on this version, actually), but I think Johnny Cash’s biggest strength was as an interpreter, and this was the peak of that, I think.

9. Olivia Buntaine, “Living in Abandoned Homes”

It’s been a while since she put this album out (and I still haven’t had the chance to see her play), but this song still resonates with me. I suppose it’s the song that reminds me of sadder times, in a way that puts the rest of life in greater perspective.

10. Devendra Banhart, “Little Yellow Spider” 

Just about the perfect song. Catchy, and yet off-kilter: Banhart’s guitar playing isn’t totally “round”, the lyrics are like a surrealist mural, and the instruments just come and go as they please. And I love it that way.

Honorable Mentions (favorites that KSPC doesn’t have):

Odetta, “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Allright”

My favorite Dylan cover, by a large, large margin, and definitely the most soulful.

Indigo Girls, “Gone Again”

I know they’re probably too mainstream to be played at KSPC, but the line “Sister, all this is to say, every dog don’t got it’s day, if we take the love we’re given and we throw it all away” has stuck with me.

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