WSUM’s Weekly Adds: 5/8

Every Tuesday 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.

Hala, Red Herring

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Turn Out Right,” “Making Me Nervous,” “Why Do You Want Anything To Do With Me?”

GENRE: Indie rock, pop

RIYL: Rex Orange County, Grapetooth, Her’s

I have been a fan of Hala since I heard his infectious bop “Sorry” in the summer of 2018. The musical moniker of 22-year old Ian Ruhala, Hala delivers this same energy on his debut album Red Herring. Making upbeat songs with simple lyrics is what Hala does best. Tracks like “Turn Out Right,” which channels the sound of his previous releases, are where he truly delivers. This is a feel good album; persistent keys and nearly spoken vocals on “Nobody-Body Knows” channel Rex Orange County’s light bedroom pop feel. Hala’s lyrics are easy and uncomplicated, and what he might lack in cleverness he more than makes up for in percussive and vocal grooves. — Zoey Knox

Dead Ghosts, Automatic Charger 

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Drugstore Supplies,” “Holdin’ Me Down,” “Blackout,” “Turn it Around”

GENRE: Garage rock, psychedelic rock, country rock 

RIYL: Ty Segall, Oh Sees, Moon Duo, Meat Puppets 

With their fourth full-length, Vancouver’s Dead Ghosts return just in time with the changing of the seasons to deliver some vivacious, warm-blooded garage and psych rock. Songs such as “Drugstore Supplies” waste no time in delivering their balmy and energetic energy with both  reverb soaked vocals and instrumentation. “Holdin’ Me Down” is one of the jangliest tracks on the album containing a 60’s fueled edge that I can only liken to The Byrds. Directly after this track is “Blackout,” a track propelled by its dense wall of guitars and bouncy main riff. While there are little hints of country early on in the album, towards the later half of the record the songs become much more twangy and rustic with songs such as “Turn it Around” featuring some prominent uses of the classic steel guitar country sound. Overall, Automatic Charger is a well put together album that should be of interest to any modern garage rock fan. — M. Jarosinski

Cléa Vincent, Tropi-Cléa 2

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Tropique Ouverture,” “Sans Dec,” “Bahia”

GENRE: Jazz, funk, disco, bossa nova

RIYL: Jorge Ben, Vulfpeck

Cléa Vincent is cool. Her vocals are soft, it seems like she is whispering in your ear. The French singer created a beautifully crafted EP full of dance, life, and relaxation. What I like most is how each track feels effortless. With bossa nova influences, Vincent constructs songs like “Bahia” to make you feel like it is summer time. When I was listening to all the music I was sent, this track stuck out to me. I rarely get French music sent to me, and when I do I often don’t like it. But this EP changed that for me, I fell in love with her voice, the chord progressions, and the production. If you want an escape I recommend listening to Tropi-Cléa 2 on repeat.  — Izzi Bavis

Chicano Batman, Invisible People

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Color my life,” “Manuel’s Story,” I Know It”

GENRE: Garage Rock, Indie Rock, Psych-Funk

RIYL: Parcels, The Voidz, Tame Impala

With Spring in full bloom, it’s no surprise that Chicano Batman’s latest album brings about the sunny vibes just right for getting out of that quarantine slump. The LA group’s latest album combines upbeat funk stylings with spacy synths and in your face garage production to create a shining indie rock gem. The album kicks off with the instantly catchy “Color my life” whose choppy guitars rest atop sporadic bass hits and blocky drums. Singer Bardo Martinez’s dry tenor floats above the musical pavement with an instantly gratifying sense of whimsy and curiosity. “I Know It” continues this formula in the form of a love song about getting back together with one’s ex. Later on, “Manuel’s Story” takes a tonal shift with a rather detailed account of how Martinez’s uncle escaped being killed by the cartel. While lyrically very serious, you still can’t help but move along to the driving beat. Everything about this album makes you want to dance out in the sun. I challenge anyone who listens to Invisible People not to move along to the grooves it brings! — Sean Horvath

Diet Cig, Do You Wonder About Me?

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Flash Flood,” “Worth the Wait,” “Thriving”

GENRE: Indie rock, power pop

RIYL: Beach Bunny, Lala Lala, The Frights

The latest from indie rock duo Noah Bowman and Alex Luciano is a message of defiance: it’s full of their signature danceable, alt rock and punk influenced melodies while also being chock full of lyrics that sound like a dozen middle fingers to a dozen terrible exes. Take the opener “Thriving,” which begins the entire album with the Bowman crooning “Do you wonder about me?/Do you think that I’ve been losing sleep/Over what you did to me/[…]Did you think that you could bring me down?” If you’re looking for something that will not only make you feel empowered but will also make you have an impromptu dance party, look no further. — Shelby Len

Houses of Heaven, Silent Places

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Dissolve the Floor,” “In Soft Confusion,” “Pathwork”

GENRE: Synth-wave, Industrial

RIYL: Nine Inch Nails, Boy Harsher, The Soft Moon

On their new album Silent Places, Houses of Heaven present a dark and bleak mix of synth wave and industrial sounds. Some of the percussion on songs like “Dissolve the Floor” sounds like something off a Tom Waits project, what with its clunking and banging. This percussion, alongside the omnipresent abrasive synth patches, makes for a rather evil sounding album. The vocals are rather low in the mix, adding to the cold and distant atmosphere the album is already projecting with its industrial sounds. If a factory could dance, it may sound something like this. — Ayden Schultz