WSUM’s Weekly Adds: 4/3

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.


Waxahatchee, Saint Cloud

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Lilacs,” “Arkadelphia,” “St. Cloud”

GENRE: Indie pop, alt rock, Americana

RIYL: Black Belt Eagle Scout, Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers

Saint Cloud marks Waxahatchee’s first release since committing to sobriety in 2018. In an interview with Rolling Stone she described how writing the lyrics for Saint Cloud was like “pulling teeth” and how much harder it was to bring her creative visions to fruition. The ending result, however, is a rich yet delicate album that marks a total 180 from her previous work in terms of style. Where before she used to opt for gritty lofi guitars, she instead chooses twangy country-esque guitars that sound like a hot Texas summer. Although I do miss the more raw, DIY production of her earlier releases, such as her 2012 debut American Weekend, there’s something to be said for the more polished sound she achieves here with the help of Bobby Colombo and Bill Lennox of the alt-country band Bonny Doon. The tracks on this album have a lot to bring to the table, from the Bob Dylan-esque talk-singing and excellent pop songwriting of “Lilac” to the ethereal, introspective piano backing and dense lyrics on “St. Cloud:” “Virtuosic, idealistic, musing a fall from grace / I guess the dead just go on living/ At the darkest edge of space.” Let yourself get lost in her dreamy, sun-drenched world —  you certainly won’t regret it.  Shelby Len


Sufjan Stevens and Lowell Brams, Aporia

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Palinodes,” “Climb that Mountain,” “The Lydian Ring”

GENRE: Electronic, experimental

RIYL: Susumu Yokota

I love Sufjan Stevens, so I was excited when I found out that he was releasing a work with his stepfather, Lowell Brams. This album highlights Sufjan’s experimental side. The tracks showcase his artistry and versatility, contrasting his more folk-leaning albums such as Illinoise and Michigan. When I first listened to the album I was unable to think of an artist that it reminded me of. I don’t usually listen to music like this and was shocked that I couldn’t place my finger on what it was similar to. Then it was clear: Susumu Yokota’s Acid Mt. Fuji! The two albums make you focus on each sound that is introduced and pull you in. I’ve listened to Acid Mt. Fuji so many times, and most of the time I’m just stuck there thinking about the music. Aporia is similar, it makes you think. — Izzi Bavis


Little Dragon, New Me, Same Us

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Hold on,” “New Fiction,” “Another Lover”

GENRE: Dream pop, soul

RIYL: Kero Kero Bonito, Gorillaz, Flying Lotus

I first happened upon Little Dragon when listening to their feature on one of the best Gorillaz songs of all time, “Empire Ants,” from their 2010 album Plastic Beach. At this point I was also a huge fan of Kero Kero Bonito and couldn’t help but notice the similarities in the line up between KKB and Little Dragon. Amazingly talented half-Japanese singer? Check. A couple of white European dudes making dream pop beats? Check. While KKB and Little Dragon may be similar in appearance, their sounds are quite different. Little Dragon’s Yukimi Nagano has an astoundingly soulful voice, which soars and dives over the down tempo and reverby instrumentals provided by the rest of the band. Together, these two aspects make a peaceful and rich atmosphere, enticing the listener to sink and spiral into a deep trance, losing themself in the glistening synths and dreamy vocals. — Ayden Schultz


Exbats, Kicks, Hits, and Fits 

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Funny Honey,” “Doorman,” “Wet Cheeks,” “Florida”

GENRE: Garage rock, power pop, jangle pop

RIYL: Royal Headache, The Exploding Hearts, Blondie, Big Star 

Kicks, Hits, and Fits is a vibrant and bittersweet love letter to multiple musical avenues, including garage rock spanning from the ‘60s to now and old school power pop in the vein of Alex Chilton. The songwriting on the record hits a very wistful and nostalgic groove. A track like “Funny Honey” and its reverb filled approach demonstrate this point. Other tracks such as “Doorman” are much less subtle and filled with defiant garage punk energy. The track “Wet Cheeks” is melancholic and longing, featuring some of the album’s best songwriting and riffs. Towards the later half of the album, the track “Florida” is one of the most bright and playful tracks with its bubbly and peppy instrumentation. If you’re in need of some well put together retro-stylized garage rock, Kicks, Hits, and Fits should more than suffice.  —  M. Jarosinski


Baxter Dury, The Night Chancers

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “I’m Not Your Dog,” “Slumlord,” “Sleep People,” “Carla’s Got A Boyfriend,”

GENRE: Synthpop, new wave, spoken word

RIYL: Bertrand Belin, William Shatner, Tom Waits, Fat White Family

From the start of The Night Chancers, Baxter Dury’s sixth album, the artist sets the synth heavy nihilistic mood for the entire album. InThe Night Chancers we experience what it’s like to be Dury amidst his insecurities about himself, others, technology and society. He growls his lyrics in a deadpan tone in contrast to his soft spoken background singers. We spend the verses extremely engaged in Dury’s gritty storytelling as he expresses his thoughts on love and society in a post-Instagram world. The verses climax in extremely catchy melodic hooks sung by angelic background singers, giving us a break from the monotone delivery.  I can definitely see how this album wouldn’t be for everyone, but under these stressful times of quarantine we can all relate to Dury’s message in this album: life is bleak, solitude is pain, technology sucks. The Night Chancers is a 30 minute immersive dive onto a delusional man’s psyche accompanied by groovy 1980 Casio synthesizers. — Arthur Machado


NNAMDÏ, BRAT

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Flowers To My Demons,” “Wasted,” “It’s OK” 

GENRE: Hip hop, rap, electronic

RIYL: Cautious Clay, BROCKHAMPTON

This is a weird one. If you’re familiar with any of NNAMDÏ’s earlier releases, you know that his talent is hard to define. Genre labels are arbitrary in any case, but NNAMDÏ positively refuses to be boxed in by simple terminology. On BRAT, he borrows from rap, contemporary R&B, electronic and folk guitar styles. These influences, along with incredibly layered instrumentation, give the album a patchwork feel. “Wasted” and “Flowers To My Demons” are the most straightforward tracks on BRAT, and NNAMDÏ’s sweet voice on these songs reminds me of his contemporary, Cautious Clay. He invokes BROCKHAMPTON-inspired beats on “Gimme Gimme,” while “Glass Casket” takes on a slow and atmospheric tone. I take issue only with the godawful water drops sound effect on “Really Don’t,” which gives me flashbacks Noah Cyrus’ “Make Me (Cry).”  —  Zoey Knox

*Editor’s note: the water droplet sound effects on “Really Don’t” are actually the sound of NNAMDÏ’s mouth sampled through a Casio SK-1 sampling keyboard. Thank you to him for sharing this fact with us.


Check out our playlist for this week’s adds on Spotify below.