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.
Damaged Bug, Bug On Yonkers
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “I Tried,” “The Thunder Speaks,”Goodby Sunball”
GENRE: Psych rock, art rock
RIYL: Guerilla Toss, The Oh Sees, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
John Dwyer, mastermind of The Oh Sees, has released his fifth studio album, Bug On Yonkers, under the alias Damaged Bug. The record is a collection of covers of songs by Michael Yonkers, who pioneered drone and noise guitar styles in the ‘60s. Dwyer makes sure to add his own flair to each cover. Songs originally recorded with a few guitars and an organ like “I Tried” and “Sold America” feature a wide range of sounds in Dwyer’s renditions, from bubbly synths to slippery guitars and groovy brass. These sonic features parallel those found in much of The Oh Sees discography, but Dwyer’s solo arrangements are much more synth heavy compared to the guitar-centric garage rock sound of The Oh Sees. This expressive use of synths makes Bug On Yonkers even more awry and weird than some of The Oh Sees’s strangest work. Needless to say, this record is a trip. — Ayden Schultz
Day Wave, Crush
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Starting Again,” “Potions,” “Empty,” “Crush”
GENRE: Dream pop, indie pop, jangle pop
RIYL: Alvvays, Beach Fossils, Jay Som
Jackson Phillips’s brand of uber-melodic indie pop returns with the Crush EP. Kicking off the EP is the bittersweet yet optimistic “Starting Again,” a track which basks in a dreamy atmosphere that feels very yearning and nostalgic. Following this track. “Potions,” is my favorite on the EP, its overall vibes both triumphant and youthful. The song “Empty” is laden with jangly guitars and bright chirpy synths. Lastly, the title track of the EP, “Crush,” is equally the most melancholic and withdrawn track on this release. This ballad features hushed vocals and somber piano. Crush features a blissful yet dejected approach to songwriting and should definitely resonate with fans of dream pop or indie pop. — M. Jarosinski
Hazel English, Wake UP!
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Shaking,” “Like A Drug,” “Milk and Honey”
GENRE: Dream pop
RIYL: Hatchie, Jade Bird
Wake UP! is the first full-length release from Hazel English, a follow-up to her 2016 double EP “Just Give In / Never Going Home.” Wake Up! was produced in part by Justin Raisen, whose previous collaborators include Sky Ferreira and Angel Olsen, and the comparisons to English’s powerful contemporaries are clear. She describes the album as a “call to arms,” an attempt to “make people become more aware and mindful.” Hazel English isn’t pulling any punches, as becomes clear on “Shaking” when she croons, “Get down on your hands and knees / Baby beg for me / Tell me that I am your queen / Maybe I’ll set you free.” Layered vocals, light percussion and keys keep English’s daydream pop grounded, and there’s just a hint of Nashville twang in the background of “Five and Dime” and “Like A Drug.” On the latter, she sings as if to a brash lover, putting them in their place with the scorching line, “Do you think you know me / ‘cause I share my body / You think it’s the same.” Vulnerable but never weak, English demands attention in the same manner as the album’s title. — Zoey Knox