Top Tunes ’18: Nancy Epling

Posted on:

< < Back to

Wow! 2018 has come and gone, and it’s about time we reflect on our favorite sounds of the past year. Leading up through the end of the year, WOUB Culture will be spotlighting what various music-centric people throughout the region have been enjoying the most for the past 12 months.

(A picture of Nancy painting a collaborative portrait by Troy Goins, of Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs for Nelsonville Music Festival 2018 at Passion Worls Studio/Creative Foundations Athens)

Nancy began her life in central California prior to moving to Yellow Springs, OH where she was raised by her mother and grandparents. After undergraduate in Studio Art she moved to Athens, OH because all of her best friends were living there at the time. During this transition she found Passion Works Studio and was immediately captivated by the mission and model of the program. Nancy is now the Program Director of the integrated day program Creative Foundations within Passion Works Studio. She is dedicated to her work but still finds time to experience her love of music, often bringing musicians to the studio. Rumor has it she is the fourth member of the international pop sensation Style$tar. She recently joined the Appalachian Hell Betties! Number ’97- Spice Whirled. She takes pride in calling both Yellow Springs and Athens home.

Masterpiece Big Thief
Song – “Mythological Beauty”
Big Thief is able to create that perfect equation of sound that brings about a very visceral feeling of pure joy and nostalgia. She is constantly bringing you back and forth on the spectrum of emotion. I cried the first time I saw this song performed on the main stage at sunset at the Nelsonville Music Festival.

Soul QueenAretha Franklin
Aretha has been one of my favorites since I was a small child. Her passing was really hard for me. She has been and I know always will be in my top five loved and played artists.

I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private LifeTune-yards
Song – “Home”
If anyone knows me or follows me on any form of social media they know that I am absolutely in love with Merrill Garbus. I’ve seen tUnE-yArDs perform every chance I’ve had. The first time I saw her perform this song was at Thalia Hall in a Chicago neighborhood that is rapidly being consumed by gentrification. The box balcony seats of the venue were filled by old white men that probably purchase those seats weekly. During the song she sang the words “I came to get down but you’re not telling my story man” blatantly towards the balcony at those very men. The performance was so powerful and the whole experience of the show was both invigorating and maddening. All kinds of contradictory moments and that is part of why I love her and her music so much.

Ten FlowersKalbells
Song – “Bodyriders”
Kalmia (from both Rubblebucket and Kalbells) has become a friend of mine over the past two years and it has been a true pleasure. This album to me is much more tender and diverse, exploring parts of her music that maybe did not get the space in her other projects. It’s magical and dissonant with waves of warmth intertwined.

Sun MachineRubblebucket
Song – “Habit Creature”
I’ve been a huge fan of Rubblebucket’s sound and live performance since 2012. I think I’ve seen them perform around 18 times. Sun Machine grew on me slowly and seeing it performed made it impossible to not come back to. The lyrics in my favorite song off the album go “habit creature you’ve got to touch yourself, to feel what you’re feeling, it’s nice to meet you but you should meet yourself, to begin what we call healing.” It resonates with me and the current state of the world we live in.

Worldwide UndergroundErykah Badu
No particular song- Badu is my go to, always. She is probably my most listened to artist because she has such a plethora of sounds as well as large catalog of music. It’s the kind of stuff I feel deeply in my soul.

MilanoDaniele Luppi, Parquet Courts, Karen O
Song – “Talisa”
Parquet Courts are great but I had been WAITING for Karen O to release anything new. What a treat this album is! Conceptually interesting to say the least.

Dead End DaysGaptooth Grin
Song – “Down With Me”
My good friend Rory has been one of my favorite musicians since I heard him play back in the day with Wheels. The evolution of his music has been full of adventure and heartache and being so close to all of it has given me the privilege to feel and understand it on an even more intimate level.

House DownBrenda’s Friend
I wish I had known about Brenda’s Friend a long time ago. This the kind of band teenage me was looking for and trying to create. Two best friends making music in their bedroom about their experiences and growing up. I wish they were still playing music!

What’s Goin OnMarvin Gaye
Marvin Gaye is one of those classics that is always relevant and on my heavy rotation. I have special love for his music. What’s Goin On is timeless! This album is still extremely relevant today. Even almost 50 years later we are still dealing with the same questions and issues. Everyone could take a moment to listen or re-listen to this one.

Door GirlShilpa Ray
Song – “Revelations of Stamp Monkey”
Thank you Scott Winland for consistently bringing Shilpa through Athens! What a powerhouse! She is an incredible performer and writer. When this album came out I don’t think I listened to anything else for a few months.

Song – “We Hate Cops”
Spooktober is my favorite local band of all time. It’s a hot and sweaty Athens house show — screaming all the words and pushing your friends around meanwhile having the time your life. Spooktober makes me feel like friendship. It sounds like two best friends making music. And the song “We Hate Cops” — it resonates with all of us… A LOT.

So LongSport Fishing USA
Song – “Busted For Grass”
My favorite hometown band from Yellow Springs, OH. Another band that just makes me feel like I’m hanging with my best friends having a good time. It nostalgic and warm. It feels like home.

Come Away With ESG – ESG
Song – “My Love For You”
ESG is the kind of band I want to start today! It’s dancey, it’s fun, it’s groovy! A group of badass POC women from the Bronx created their own sound and have been absolutely crushing it and influencing others ever since. I’ve never heard anything quite as good. I’m in love.

Wide Awake – Parquet Courts
Song – “Violence”
I was impressed by Parquet Courts previous albums but this one blew me away. It is pure poetry and conceptually relevant for today. It’s one of those albums that I won’t be putting away anytime soon.