WSUM's Weekly Adds: 2/21

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Fri Feb 21 2020

Every week at WSUM, our Music Director, Izzi, chooses her favorite new releases to add to our music library. Here are this week's favorites, presented to you by WSUM's Music Journalism Club.

Riki, Riki

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Napoleon,” “Earth Song,” Come Inside,” “Monumental”

GENRE: Synthpop, darkwave, new wave 

RIYL: (Early) Cocteau Twins, Depeche Mode, Drab Majesty 

Once a member of Santa Barbara based deathrock band Crimson Scarlet, Riki's self-titled solo debut takes a stab at the cold and occasionally distant genres of darkwave, minimal synth, and EMB. While much of the synthesized instrumentation sounds frigid, Riki's vocal performance is impassioned. Her reverb drenched vocals help create the backdrop of driven and energetic yet icy tracks such as “Napoleon” and “Earth Song.” This synthesized instrumentation, which sounds appropriately sterile and otherworldly, truly helps make many of the surreal and off-kilter songs such as “Come Inside,” where the dominating synths create a vibrant yet queasy sound. Lastly, the album closes on the appropriately titled “Monumental,” a testament to Riki's ability at inventing brilliant ethereal soundscapes that could easily soundtrack anything from nightclubs to the very turning of the earth itself. — Matt Jarosinski

Six Organs of Admittance, Companion Rises

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS:: “Pacific,” “Two Forms Moving,” “The Scout is Here”

GENRE:: Noise-folk, neo-folk

On Six Organs of Admittance's, the solo project of Ben Chasny, new album Companion Rises, he presents a sound that I can only describe as noise-folk. The songs on this album are primarily driven by intimate acoustic guitar riffs and warm vocals commonly heard in the folk genre. Beyond these qualities, Companion Rises diverges from the folk genre completely. This can be heard on the opening track “Pacific,” which features no guitar at all, but rather glitchy and atmospheric synths in an orchestral arrangement. The next track, “Two Forms Moving,” is primarily dominated by acoustic guitar. The twangy and warm riffs on this track float in a sea of deep synth pads interrupted by a boisterous and overdriven guitar. The rest of the album continues to blend distorted or low key guitar with noisy synths, consistently providing a strange but flavorful sonic palette. While this strange collage of sounds doesn't always work, this album is worth listening to solely for its ambition. — Ayden Schultz

Lucy, Radio Edit

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Can You Feel the Beat Tonight,” “Inlove With Love,” “Fix It Up”

GENRE: Experimental indie pop

RIYL: Kilo Kish, SOPHIE, Dorian Electra

Cooper Handy's project Lucy makes you think. On his most recent release, Radio Edit, Handy explores love and self expression through a mix of acoustic and electronic sounds. The record is raw: Handy's voice is forceful as he chants “Is anybody here?” on “Work Hard Play Hard Keep Your Eyes Peeled.” Throughout the record he focuses on his pure emotion. On tracks like “Can You Feel the Beat tonight,” Handy delves into feelings of isolation and anxiety as he sings, “I don't want to talk / There are not a lot of things I want to know.” Handy is honest and the production enforces this energy. The music is sporadic but charming, if you're a fan of Kilo Kish I would take a listen. — Izzi Bavis

Caroline Rose, Superstar

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Feel The Way I Want,” “Freak Like Me”

GENRE: Indie pop

RIYL: Jenn Champion, Miya Folick

The first scratches of Superstar's opening track, “Nothing's Impossible,” set the mood for the whole album. Caroline Rose delivers old school, dance-influenced, synth-heavy indie pop that fans of Loner will know well. She hits her stride in that place between personal and danceable, a talent that reminds me of Shura's forevher, one of my favorite albums of 2019. On Superstar, Caroline Rose derives interesting textures from interrupted melodies and spoken phrases over layered beats, crafting a complicated composition that you can still nod your head to. Smoother, jazzier tracks contrast with pop tracks like “Feel The Way I Want,” where Caroline Rose proves she is just as all-around cool as she seems. For insight into the album's themes, a look at the song titles is all it takes. Titles like “Freak Like Me,” “Go My Own Way,” “Feel The Way I Want,” and “Feelings Are A Thing Of The Past” reveal the album's only rule: first you feel, then you dance. — Zoey Knox

*Superstar is set for release on March 6, 2020