MJC’s Records of the Week: 4/12

Every week at WSUM, our Music Director, Izzi, chooses her favorite new releases to add to our music library. In turn, WSUM’s Music Journalism Club shares what records they’ve had on repeat. From new releases to classic albums, here’s what the members of MJC have been listening to.

The Walters, Young Men

Self-released, 2015

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS:  “Sweet Marie,” “City Blues,” “Sweet Leaf”

GENRE: Indie 

RIYL: Twin Peaks, Mac Demarco, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Wallows

I wish I was in an indie movie all the time. I imagine that the movie would be this major coming of age film and it would be the movie to watch amongst the indie crowd. It would be an A24 film directed by Greta Gerwig. The soundtrack would include “Sweet Marie” by The Walters. I’ve been listening to this song on repeat. I pretend I’m not in quarantine and that the charming love interest is confessing his love to me in this song. I know it all may seem cheesy, but when you are trapped at home what else is there to do? I’ve created my own indie movie surrounding the various songs on Young Men. This album has everything an indie album should have: ballads, heartbreak, quick melodies and a somewhat boring male lead vocalist. This album, although five years old, could have come out last week. It is indie through and through.  — Izzi Bavis

P.O.S, Chill, Dummy 

2017, Doomtree Records

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Bully,” “Faded,” “Thieves/Kings”

GENRE: Rap, punk, hip hop 

RIYL: Doomtree, Black Flag, Aesop Rock

Anyone who knows me is aware that I have a passion for Midwest rap, especially that which comes out of the Twin Cities area. It’s a strangely niche genre, I’ll admit, but time and time again the city proves to be a hub for the most interesting and innovating musicians to produce their best work. Case in point, the most recent P.O.S album, 2017’s Chill, Dummy. More traditionally ‘beautiful’ than some of P.O.S.’s earlier more punk inspired efforts, this collection still manages to maintain a grit to it that keeps it electric and engaging. The combination of more melodic, introspective tracks like “Faded” and “Thieves/Kings” and rough, punk-esque cuts like “Born a Snake” and “Bully” make for a rollercoaster of a listen. It bears the mark of a punk kid who grew up into a sophisticated punk adult. All of the objections to society’s norms are still intact, just packaged into a more accessible final product. If anyone came asking for a good introduction to P.O.S’s discography, I’d point them to this album in a heartbeat. —  E.J.S. DeWeese

illuminati hotties, Kiss Yr Frenemies

2018, Snack Shack Tracks

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “(You’re Better) Than Ever,” “Cuff,” “For Cheez (My Friend, Not the Food),” “Patience,” “boi”

GENRE: tenderpunk, indie pop, indie rock

RIYL: Beach Bunny, Sidney Gish, girl in red, Mitski

It has been a long time since I have become completely obsessed with an album. That changed with Kiss Yr Frenemies. Before the single “(You’re Better) Than Ever” showed up in my Spotify recommendations I had never heard of Sarah Tudzin and her songwriting project. Tudzin is more widely known as an audio engineer who worked for Logic, Macklemore, Porches and even the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. In her first venture as a singer-songwriter she released an album full of super melancholic tunes with aspects of lofi, prog-rock and punk rock. The smooth transition between the gloomy lead “Kiss Yr Frenemies” and the energetic punk inspired “(You’re Better) Than Ever” marks the lyrical theme of the album: the highs and lows of relationships in your early adulthood. Tudzin masterfully blends catchy pop choruses and deep themes in her songs and the outstanding audio engineering is the cherry on top of this amazing album. After several listens to their debut I am excited to see what their next release will be like. Until then, I’ll be listening to the breakdown of “For Cheez (My Friend, Not the Food)” on loop. —  Arthur Machado

Deerhunter, Halcyon Digest

4AD, 2010

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Desire Lines,” “Helicopter,” “Coronado”

GENRE: Indie rock, psych rock

RIYL: Women, Animal Collective, The Microphones

After listening to this album once or twice a few years ago, I finally got around to digging into it over the past few weeks when a friend bought me a vinyl copy. Since putting it on my turntable, it’s been nearly impossible to take off. This album is some of the best indie I have ever heard. Deerhunter’s sound on this album isn’t especially progressive or divergent, but the immaculate songwriting the group puts forth makes it impossible not to love this album. From the driving indie rock guitar tones on “Desire Lines,” to the dreamy and melancholy psych sounds of “Helicopter,” Halcyon Digest never fails to get you to sing along. There’s a spectacular variety of sonic textures on this record, and not a single one falls flat or seems out of place. I firmly believe that out of the past 10 years of indie, this is the cream of the crop.  —  Ayden Schultz

Stuck, Change Is Bad 

2020, Born Yesterday Records

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Invisible Wall,” “Era,” “Plank II,” “Bells”

GENRE: Post-punk, art punk, noise rock, post-hardcore

RIYL: Idles, Savages, Protomartyr, The Hecks, Gang of Four

Change Is Bad, the debut record by Chicago’s Stuck, is driven by a very tangible anger. The record’s instrumentation and lyrics are sharp, aggressive and combative. Tracks like “Invisible Wall” and “Era” deliver surprisingly catchy guitar lines that accompany  jerky rhythms and seething vocals. Lyrically, I would like to highlight the track “Plank II,” which features lines which become seemingly more relevant and poignant every day: “You pass a law and people die. / You slash some funding and people die. / You tell a lie and people die. / You do nothing and people die.” These are the track’s central lines, and the song’s brazenly political lyrics progress with lines such as “These people don’t deserve your respect. / Every bad faith pundit, every compliant resistor, / when they call for civility, what they mean is docility.” The song culminates with the line, “We are living in a death cult.” All of these lines truly speak for themselves. Change is Bad is one of the most well crafted and smartest post-punk records of 2020 thus far. I can’t recommend it highly enough and believe with the utmost certainty that come eight months from now I will be holding this record in high contention for my album of the year.  —  M. Jarosinski

Sewerslvt, Draining Love Story

Self-released, 2020

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Ecifircas,” “Lexapro Delirium,” “Mr Kill Myself”

GENRE: Breakbeat, plunderphonics

RIYL: Death’s Dynamic Shroud, DJ Rozwell, DJ Sabrina the Teenage DJ

I won’t beat around the bush here —   this album is just as depressing as the song titles, such as “Mr. Kill Myself” or “Lexapro Delerium,” suggest. This hardly detracts from this album, which happens to be one of my favorites of this year. I love the way the layering of shimmering synth suspensions over the breakbeats is done with moderation and restraint in mind, as it makes for something that’s packed to the seams with emotion. The more minimal instrumentation also makes the album very palatable if you don’t normally listen to EDM. The sampling is fantastic despite the borderline campy samples, and the songs themselves still remain dead serious in tone. I wouldn’t recommend Draining Love Story to everyone due to the heavy themes of suicide and depression, but if you’re up for it I highly recommend listening to it, as this has become one of my favorite records of this year.

Check out our playlist for this week’s picks below.