Charting the music guidelines
- 1 Overview
- 2 Preparation
- 3 Creating the article
- 4 Ending the article
- 5 Various Artist Compilations
The goal of a "Charting the Music" article is to introduce the KDHX online audience to new music by spotlighting a recent release that has been performing well on one of our charts.
The structure of these articles will follow a listicle style, combining factual information with clever writing and observations.
Click here to view an example of the basic structure.
- Note: Do not merely mimic the above example or any other example. These examples are provided for context, not as a template. Each new "Charting the Music" article should have a fresh and informative take on the album being featured.
Authors will consult with the Music Director on which album to highlight in any given week. The author will then do research and prep the article, sending the copy to the Web Editor for editing and publishing.
Because these articles are fact-based, it is vital that the author double-check spellings of all names, and all other fact-based information, including release dates, titles, news, credits, etc..
Also, because these articles are fact based, the writer will do research for the piece, however must not merely rephrase or rehash an outside source. If a writer relies heavily on an outside source, the writer must fully digest that material, express it in his or her own words, and provide proper attribution of the source -- even if that source is an official biography or a Wikipedia page. Avoid using the biography on Spotify or iTunes.
Attribution format which follows the text in question (and the name of the outlet should be linked to the actual page you relied on):
The producer: Best known as the guitarist and vocalist of the Black Keys, Auerbach specializes in raw, rootsy sounds, but he has produced for a wide range of artists from Dr. John to Lana Del Rey. Being a native of Akron, Ohio, Auerbach's rust-belt upbringing shines through in all his works. He derives much of his inspiration from blues great Junior Kimbrough, the supposed root of Auerbach's decision to drop out of College (Dan Nishimoto, Popmatters).
What the critics say: "'All or Nothin' simply sounds like the work of a performer who knows when to embrace her contradictions: classic and modern, iconoclastic and approachable, country and rock, urban and rural. That may make her somebody's outlaw, but let's get at least this much straight: Nikki Lane is nobody's songstress" (Stephen Thompson, NPR).
About the band: PHOX was born in 2011 after band member Zach Johnston took his newly written songs to singer Monica Martin. Together they formed the band with a group of friends from PHOX's hometown of Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since the release of their "Confetti" EP in 2013, PHOX has played at several large music festivals including South by Southwest, Lollapalooza and London's iTunes Festival. Currently the band is touring throughout the United States, followed by a European tour at the end of the year (Wikipedia).
Creating the article
Use Google Docs to write and format your article. If you are unfamiliar with Google Docs, talk to the Music Director and/or the Web Editor before you begin.
By the end of your work, you will have a Google Doc that looks roughly like this.
Important: You must create your text and save your text in Google Docs. Do not upload a Pages or a Word doc to the cloud.
Important: Save your Google Doc with the same title convention as the final article: Charting the Music: Artist Name, 'Album Title'
For example: Charting the Music: Father John Misty, 'I Love You, Honeybear'
Insert relevant links by highlighting key words in your text and using the Insert Link icon in the Google Docs toolbar.
Make sure you use the full and correct URL, and use "http://" when inserting the links.
Text should be single spaced, with an extra line break between each item in your article.
When you are done with your article, share the Google Doc with Nick (nick at kdhx dot org). Important: Before you write, review these Wiki docs on Style and Plagiarism:
Provide a short, engaging, snappy lede
Each article will have a lede sentence used to draw the reader in. The lede should be no more than 30 words. Ledes should reference the artist and the album name, and be written in a clever, engaging and imaginative style, but should not be over-the-top with flowery or obtuse language.
- Examples of good ledes:
- What's a sure-fire method of putting a fresh spin on an album? Try recording it in a 200-year-old barn. Ha Ha Tonka did just that for its newest release, "Death of a Decade." -- Joshua Edwards
- Collaborating with big names from Jeff Beck to Kid Rock, Trombone Shorty creates cross-genre appeal with his seventh full-length album, "For True." -- Laurel Morris
- Punk rock pros Janet Weiss and Carrie Brownstein of Sleater-Kinney tone down their aggression and angst in their latest project "Wild Flag." -- Laurel Morris
- Shilpa Ray and her Happy Hookers' "Teenage and Torture" unleashes all of the angst and tortured thoughts of the teenage years with a musical prowess developed in adulthood. -- Joshua Edwards
- If San Francisco didn't exist, Chuck Prophet would have had to invent the city -- in all its wild, soulful, rock 'n' roll glory. And he does just that on "Temple Beautiful." -- Roy Kasten
- Like a fast-paced action montage, New York City-based, electronic rock group Battles' newest release, "Gloss Drop," immerses the listener in a seemingly non-stop audio assault. The album will leave you wondering, "What are they making that sound with?" -- Reiner Timbas
Write a short, engaging body text
After the lede, write one or two sentences of body text that further describes a bit of the album's sound, style, songwriting, singing -- as relevant. The writing should be concise and clear, but also imaginative, without being convoluted or overblown. The goal in the body text, as with the lede, is to not hype or promote the album. The goal is to engage and inform the reader in a lively and appealing voice.
- Examples of short body text:
- The album is a celebration of traditional folk music re-imagined by Neil Young and longtime band Crazy Horse in an attempt to reflect the gamut of struggle and pride inherent in the American experience. -- Magdalene Linck
- Whether it's an upbeat number or an intimate serenade, Edwards seems in her element. The album itself offers musical variety. Several of the tracks are folk-influenced rock tunes featuring full-band instrumentation. Still other tracks are stripped down and driven by pianos, clean guitars and most of all her voice. -- Joshua Edwards
- Traditionally, Smith has recorded with small ensembles, showcasing his unpredictable trumpet improvisations and take on free-jazz expression, often involving long, droning notes. While the trumpeter maintains his individual style with plenty of pleasant yet screechy notes and extended rests, he adds a 14-piece electric backing band, Organic, to his latest recording. -- Laurel Morris
- In a post-Braxton era the remaining Battles members Konopka, Williams and Stanier have taken the sound in a direction truly their own, shedding the need for constantly pitch-shifted vocals and the injection of random audio samples. The instrumental sound is definitely more refined than their debut album, "Mirrored." -- Reiner Timbas
After the body text, the author may choose 12-16 items from a list of article items found below, or come up with other topics as relevant. Some items are mandatory for each article, others are optional. Formatting for these items should be exactly as shown, especially in terms of capital letters, bolded text, date formats, etc.
These items are essential to include in your article.
1. 88.1 KDHX chart position: [# and NAME OF CHART] and [# and NAME OF CHART] for [DATE].
- example - 88.1 KDHX chart position: #2 Adult Album Alternative and #2 CMJ Top 30 for February 11, 2014.
- - Select an album from the top 5 of any chart listed here: kdhx.org/radio/charts
- - Include the URLs for the charts, this will save the Editor time later on. You must use the actual, specific URL for the specific chart, not just the general chart category.
2. Record label, release date and producer:
- example - Record label, release date and producer: "Wig Out at Jagbags" was released by Matador Records on January 7, 2014; it was produced by Remko Schouten.
3. Can be heard on: [Name of KDHX Show with host name], [Name of KDHX Show with host name], and [Name of KDHX Show with host name]
- example - Can be heard on: "Rocket 88" with Darren Snow, "Bittersweet Melody" with Allen and "Coin-Operated Radio" with Ryan.
Don't forget to put show names in quotation marks.
- - 3-4 show listing maximum
- - Include the URLs for the shows, (this will save the Editor time later on).
- - You'll find all of the KDHX shows listed here: kdhx.org/radio/shows
4. RIYL: This stands for "Recommended If You Like." Here you may mention one, two or three other related artists, and say something interesting or engaging about the comparison. Have fun developing something creative here. Don't just list the artists, but include at least one sentence that will engage the reader in the comparison. If you absolutely can't come up with any interesting text to enrich the comparison, then you may just reference the RIYL artists.
- Examples: -
- RIYL: The Velvet Underground, especially the sweet, strange pop side of "Who Loves the Sun" and "Sunday Morning."
- RIYL: The White Stripes and early Black Keys, but wish there were more harmonies and horn charts.
- RIYL: Going to a party, spiking the punch bowl, turning off the Fountains of Wayne Pandora station and putting on a scratchy Roy Orbison album.
- RIYL: The lo-fi, summery sound of the first Best Coast album.
- RIYL: The Beatles, before multi-tracking and LSD.
- RIYL: Brian Eno and Bread. "Bon Iver" somehow marries both electronic and soft rock sounds.
- example - Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Optional article items
The items below provide further options. Choose 6-8 more from this list, depending on relevance and interest.
Standout tracks: Highlight one or two songs that have been getting significant airplay (if any) or name one or two songs and briefly explain why they are of interest.
About the band: or About the artist: Identify band members and any other notable projects or facts.
This producer: Provide an interesting fact or facts about the producer.
This label: Provide an interesting fact or facts about the label.
About the guests: If there are notable guest artist appearances, list their names, who they are (if necessary) and the songs that they perform on. If possible, include info on the collaboration.
Notable lyrics: Quote an especially inspired or engaging lyric and, if you wish, explain why it is noteworthy.
Play it while: This is a creative item based on where, when or how to listen to this album.
- example - Play it while: Santigold's latest is best enjoyed loud, with bass EQ set to 11, while driving down your favorite clubland strip.
About the album art: Give a brief description of the artwork and include link to a good quality image of the album cover. Whenever possible, include extra info on the artwork or the artist.
Did you know?: Provide a surprising fact that you discovered while doing research.
How they got started: Describe the band's origins: Year and Place, with some interesting notes.
Awards and accolades: Could be for this album or, more likely, for a previous release.
Recently in the news: Search Google news, the band website, and/or blogs for a newsworthy topic about the artist, aside from the album’s release. Include your references.
What the critics say: Find a good short quote from a blog or music site. Include the name of writer and a link to the site.
What the artist says:' Find a good short quote from the artist about the album. Include the source at the end with a link to the site where you found it.
Playing St. Louis: Will be in St. Louis at [VENUE] on [DATE]. Include only if this artist has an upcoming show in the St. Louis area.
KDHX coverage: Include previously published KDHX in-studio sessions, artist album reviews or features. Do a search on KDHX.org for the band. It is highly recommended to include any previously published content.
Ending the article
Streaming audio or music video
At the end of the article, you will need to include the embed code for a track from the album. If the whole album is available on an official SoundCloud page, locate the embed code and paste in the embed code for the whole album at the end. If you are pasting in embed code from a YouTube video, change the iframe width from 560 to 516
- - Pick one piece of media from the album, either from YouTube or Vimeo (preferably from an official artist or label channel), or from SoundCloud (preferably from an official label, publicist, or artist channel).
- - You may also use an official Bandcamp or other official embeddable stream, if preferred.
- - If you are taking media from a non-official source, make sure that the quality is good and does not sound distorted, warbly or degraded.
- - Avoid embedding media that begins with an advertisement.
Last sentence of the article
The following sentence will be included at the bottom of the article, right after the embedded media.
- Discover more new music on all the 88.1 KDHX charts.
- - the sentence should be italicized, (but not bolded.)
- - the text "88.1 KDHX charts" should be linked to kdhx.org/radio/charts.
The reverse URL for kdhx.org/radio/charts is:
If you are happy with the article, and you have double-checked all facts, spelling and AP Style issues to the best of your ability, you may share it with Nick (nick at kdhx dot org).
Various Artist Compilations
Follow the same format as detailed above, but vary the artists and songs that you choose for each category.
Don’t just stick to a couple of artists. Find the category that works best per artist or song.
You may opt to do a track by track, one to two line review of each song and only include the categories below. If it is a tribute album, make insightful comparisons to the original.