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WSUM Weekly Adds: 5/22

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Fri May 22 2020

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.

ARTHUR, Hair of the Dog 

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Eight Melodies,” “I Don't Want To Talk To You,” “Epic,” “Biz”

GENRE: Hypnagogic pop, indie pop, neo-psychedelia, zolo 

RIYL: Palm, Enjoy, Puzzle, Ariel Pink, Joy Again

Hair of the Dog is the third album from the Philadelphia artist, ARTHUR, a member of the lo-fi outfit Joy Again. What I find most important to note about this album is that while the songwriting is uber melodic and pop inspired, this album is anything but straightforward. Overall, Hair of the Dog is often disorienting and hypnotic, its songs exist in a space of hazy synths and guitars as well as vocal effects that often feel like they are floating and swirling around you. The opening track, “Eight Melodies,” demonstrates this point clearly. In addition, it's worth noting that “Eight Melodies” is a cover of sorts from the soundtrack to Earthbound, a 16-bit JRPG that indulges in the same kind of bright surrealism that ARTHUR employs on this album. “I Don't Want To Talk To You” is one of the album's more lethargic cuts and while the production is sleek and bright there is almost a tangible malaise all over the song, in a way it sounds like a warped record jutting back and forth from joyous to despondent. “Epic” is groovy and smooth, its funky bassline and warm high pitched synths propelling the track forward. Nearing the end of the album, the track “Biz” applies a more nocturnal and bittersweet approach to the zany pop of this album and while the lyrics are as odd as many cuts on the album it's still a pretty touching song. Hair of the Dog, is surreal, uncanny, charming and intriguing. It's an album that should heavily resonate with you if you're in search of pop that is not afraid to be unusual and unorthodox. M. Jarosinski

Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Temple

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Phenom,” “How Could I,” “I've Got Something” 

GENRE: Future-Soul, Indie Rock, Art Pop, Singer-Songwriter

RIYL: Tropical Fuck Storm, Tune-Yards, Rubblebucket, Coma Cinema

After four years, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down is back with a jittery oddball pop album perfect for the start of a quarantine summer. Temple covers all the emotions most of us are feeling right now, from stir-crazy anxiety to glistening freedom. The song “Phenom” (which is accompanied by a fantastic Zoom themed music video) brings in slithering bass riffs and guitar passages that clash with one another in the best way possible. “How Could I” provides a sense of release with wide open synth pads and light floating choruses. Finally, “I've Got Something” solidifies the later half of the album with its minimal, glitchy instrumentation and sense of mystery. All throughout Temple, Thao Nguyen's dry vocal delivery jumps effortlessly between gentle falsettos and searing screeches, adding the final touches to this beautiful fever dream. This album is a wild mix of sounds and emotions that definitely should not work as well as it does. Maybe it's this sense of clash that makes this album so appealing, maybe not. Either way, I would absolutely recommend Temple to anyone interested in the more experimental sides of pop and soul, or just to anyone looking for some wild quarantine listening! Sean Horvath

Lady Legs, Off Days

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “City Slickers,” “Run with the Fade,” “Learning From Myself”

GENRE: Alt-rock, indie

RIYL: Martha, Diet Cig, Vampire Weekend, Mac Demarco, Twin Peak

Lady Legs is groovy. I was captivated by the peculiar name and intriguing cover, and after spinning this record a few times I found myself lost in the world created by Lady Legs. This album tastes like summer, tracks like “Wasted Emotion” and “City Lickers” make you feel like you are surfing in California. The riffs are drenched in sunshine and salt water. Lady Legs beautifully creates an album that combines the rock and roll of Twin Peaks and the sheer vocals of Diet Cig. The album has range. “Learning From Myself” is angst filled and dreamy, very different from upbeat tracks like “Idle Hands.” The album is perfect for summer, so grab your lawn chair, your headphones and enjoy the sun with a healthy dose of Lady Legs. — Izzi Bavis

Mark Lanegan, Straight Songs of Sorrow

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “I Wouldn't Want to Say,” “Ketamine,” “Stockholm City Blues”

GENRE: Hard-Rock, Indie

RIYL: Screaming Trees, Thom Yorke, Queens of the Stone Age

Former Screaming Trees frontman, Mark Lanegan, has released his 17th solo album, Straight Songs of Sorrow. A prolific musician, Lanegan has dabbled in all sorts of sounds during his career, from acoustic blues to synth driven ballads. On Songs of Sorrow he makes use of his entire repertoire. Some songs such as “Internal Hourglass Discussion” are synth driven, minimal and in some ways industrial. Similar in texture to some of Thom Yorke's solo work. Other songs like “Apples From A Tree” are entirely acoustic. The only through line in this album is Lanegan's extremely haunting, tobacco ravaged voice, which is just as crackling and enticing as it was during his time with The Screaming Trees. — Ayden Schultz