Check out this list of WSUM’s 10 favorite releases of the week. Make sure to go through, and check out what our DJ’s and staff-members have to say about our official ads this week.
Kyle Roam: Jpeg Mafia, All My Heroes Are Cornballs
The digital age has made music of all genres much more accessible for artists to incorporate in their own music. This is made very apparent in JPEGMAFIA’s junior album All My Heroes Are Cornballs. JPEG once again finds a way to make you absolutely uncertain over how to feel when listening to his music. Songs like “Kenan Vs. Kel,” “BBW,” and “Papi I Missed U” are oxymoronic; the production of songs like these takes influence from jazz, synth, and old school hip hop, creating a soothing, consoling sound for the listener. However, JPEG’s vocals do not match the tone of the music; they completely oppose it. This is a big component of his contemporary style in hip hop, as not many artists in the genre decide to make this stylistic choice that JPEG thrives off of. Many of his songs include incredible audio engineering; “JPEGMAFIA TYPE BEAT,” “PTSD,” and “PRONE!” are incredibly dynamic in the many sounds that make the songs up. It almost seems like these are more auditory experiences, or purely transcriptions of JPEG’s thoughts directly into music. These songs in particular had very distinct tones that the sound design did a better job at establishing than the vocals or basic instrumentals. We also saw a lot more singing from JPEG in this album in comparison to his 2018 release, Veteran. The vocals intertwined with his bars throughout the album is a very contemporary development for JPEG, as he continues to push the bar on what “normal” hip hop is with his experimental style. All in all, JPEGMAFIA is on another level of consciousness that I can not quite decipher through his artistry. This album is more of an experience than a casual listen. There is no set tone for the entire album, or even each individual song, for that matter. The majority of songs are found switching flow or production at one or multiple points. If you want to explore the possible direction hip hop can go towards, or have a look into the chaotic brilliance that is JPEGMAFIA’s mind, then buckle yourself in and experience All My Heroes Are Cornballs.
Ayden Mahoney Schultz: Daedelus, The Bitterendeers
L.A. based producer Daedelus presents an eclectic mix of atmospheric, experimental, and challenging compositions on his new album The Bittereindeers. This album is more a collection than a cohesive LP, as the sonic texture changes drastically from song to song. From the synthesized orchestral opening of “Deep Concentration” to the drifting horns of “The Irreconcilables” and the industrial beats of “Veldt,” Daedelus continues to surprise and immerse the listener from track to track. Fans of atmospheric and sonically challenging electronic music might enjoy this strange and dark experience of an album.
Sophia Abrams: Les Louanges, Expansion Pack
Les Louanges is the indie-pop solo project of Vincent Roberge. Through Roberge’s composing and writing, the Québécois has crafted a lo-fi, bedroom pop sound, whose contemporaries include Bane’s World, Still Woozy, Cuco and Rex Orange County. On his latest EP, Expansion Pack, Roberge packs sentimental imagery into 15 minutes of synth-infused, groovy pop. Singing in French and featuring rappers Marky Lavender and Robert Nelson, Roberge adds a refreshing Québécois texture to his blended sound. Through Roberge’s mellow EP, one can explore the Québécois terrain of the DIY lo-fi universe in 15 minutes.
Jane Lazzara: The Good Ones, Rwanda, You Should Be Loved
The Good Ones is a trio from Rwanda. They formed after the Rwandan genocide, each member from the three groups of the country —Tutsi, Hutu, and Abatwa. Their music is rooted deeply in their lives in an agricultural district, their instruments consisting of guitars and unique percussion, including their tools. Their style is frequently described as “worker songs from the streets,” and they sing in their local dialect. On their new album, Rwanda, You Should Be Loved, the three weave together haunting melodies that tell melancholy stories of the last few years of the members’ lives. The band is currently on tour in the U.S. for the first time. Rwanda, You Should Be Loved will be released on November 8th.
Kayla Chung: Bakar, Will You Be Me Yellow?
Bakar is a rising English artist that released his EP, titled Will You Be My Yellow?, in September, 2019. His music embodies the fusion of different music genres, including hip hop, indie, rock and even punk. He labels his music as “schizophrenic,” as he wants to explore all music genres and not box himself into one category, as most modern artists have a tendency to do. Bakar’s experimental EP shows his potential as a musician to effortlessly merge different sounds into one project; the 11 tracks all sound different and are almost poetic in a sense when he expresses himself through his lyrics and funky backtracks. Bakar’s sound is authentic and distinguishable among other artists, but the closest comparison would be to Saba or Smino.
Daniel Palmeter: Alessandro Cortini, Volume Massimo
Dense and experimental, Alessandro Cortini’s Volume Massimo is an ambient album with a kick — guitar licks and elements of noise weave in and out of the predominantly synth-driven melodies which have defined Cortini’s sound up to this point. He has but one request for first-time listeners of this album, that they listen to it at “a very loud volume.”
Shelby Payton: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib, Bandana
In this second collaborative project between Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs and California producer Madlib, it is proven yet again that like peanut butter and pickles, even the most unlikely combinations can go so uncannily well together. Ranging from soulful and sweet in “Crime Pays” to abrasively defiant in “Flat Tummy Tea,” the two deliver fierce verses and beat changes that go down smoother than honey — just as two artists at the top of their game should.
Jessica Hall: Automatic, Signal
Signal is Automatic’s debut album. Automatic is an L.A. based band that features rock-esque beats with pop sounds by combining drums, bass and synth. Overall, the album does a good job at balancing dark undertones and bright sounds in perfect length tracks to keep the audience drawn in. Signal features a variety of catchy tunes, some of the most notable being the title track “Signal,” “Calling It” and “Too Much Money”.
Teddy Larson: Rituals of Mine, Sleeper Hold
Rituals of Mine’s new EP Sleeper Hold is another strong electronic and R&B installment from the Sacramento group, this time taking a darker and glitchier approach. Throughout the three tracks the synths take influence from darkwave and are backed by a glitch pop production style in order to make an ominous yet attractive atmosphere. Some of the beats on the record sound closer to trap than trip hop, especially with the modern R&B type song structures and hooks. While darker and less poppy than previous efforts, each song is still very infectious as the group continues to perfect their moody downtempo vibe.