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.
Jeff Rosenstock, NO DREAM
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Nikes (Alt),” “N O D R E A M,” “f a m e,” “Ohio Tpke”
GENRE: Pop punk, power pop, indie rock, skate punk
RIYL: Bomb the Music Industry!, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, The Ergs, Worriers
It’s hard to exactly quantify the influence of Jeff Rosenstock on the current state of punk influenced indie rock, with some of his projects such as Bomb the Music Industry!, The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, and his current solo work with his band Death Rosenstock changing the landscape of modern pop punk, indie rock, and even genres outside of his own such as emo. For the past 20 or so years, Jeff Rosenstock and his spirited, exploratory, and passionate take on punk has been ever present and widely acclaimed.
Following the release of 2019’s Post-, NO DREAM could be described as a return to form for Jeff Rosenstock. Whereas Post- featured more than a few sprawling and gargantuan-sized indie punk songs, NO DREAM is Jeff Rosenstock’s most straightforward punk album since 2007’s Scrambles, an album by the aforementioned Bomb the Music Industry!
With all this being said, the songs of NO DREAM are as intricately crafted as ever, the same catchy melodies, indefatigable instrumental and vocal performances, and sharp and smart lyrics are all present. The songs on this record are infectious, tracks like “Nikes (Alt)” with its crunchy guitars and downtrodden and cynical lyrics serve as proof. Jeff Rosenstock is no stranger to political lyrics and themes, however, the title track of the record is one of his most pointed songs yet, with lyrics about the state of violence and capitalism in America being delivered by Rosenstock all while his band blasts away in a hardcore influenced frenzy. The track, “f a m e,” is triumphant and dynamic with its instrumentation becoming noticeably dance punk influenced halfway through the track while Rosenstock repeats the line “You will not control” with a blissful and fiery energy. The closing track, “Ohio Tpke,” is one of the record’s most sentimental and bittersweet tracks, it builds over its five and a half minute runtime ending with an explosive yet somewhat downcast ending.
NO DREAM is just another piece of evidence that Jeff Rosenstock is one of the most talented songwriters of this era and his brand of hardened and impassioned power pop should resonate heavily with fans of indie rock and pop punk. — M. Jarosinski
Deerhoof, Future Teenage Cave Artists
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Future Teenage Cave Artists,” “Fraction Anthem,” “New Orphan Asylum for Spirited Deerchildren”
GENRE: Noise Rock, Experimental Rock
RIYL: Daughters, Guerilla Toss, Battles
Experimental Rock group, Deerhoof, have released their 16th studio album, Future Teenage Cave Artists. This album is just as kooky as the title suggests. Filled to the brim with off-kilter guitar noise and strange, alien sounding vocals, this record is a trip from start to finish. Despite being active since 1994, Deerhoof manage to create an interesting and refreshing sound on par in experimental bravado with some of their newer contemporaries, like Daughters or Guerilla Toss, with this new release. On songs like “New Orphan Asylum for Spirited Deerchildren” there are jarring tempo and time signature changes that force the listener to dig into the music and give it their full attention. “Zazeet” features manic and stringent guitar riffs, stumbling along below babelling vocals. This is definitely not easy-listening, which is really a good thing. This level of musical skullduggery is not something encountered very frequently, and when it is done well, it deserves to be celebrated. — Ayden Schultz
Dakota Theim, Somewhere Under the Sun
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Better Unsaid”, “Knocking at Your Door”, “Don’t Forget to Love Me (When You’re Gone)
GENRE: Indie, indie-folk
RIYL: Elton John, The Beatles
Somewhere under the sun, hidden under the gloomy rain clouds of Portland, Oregon, and in the quiet reverie of memories made and times passed, is the peaceful strum of guitar strings, a piano melody, and sincere lyrics that make up Something Under the Sun. Somewhere under the sun, in your own little corner of the world, you can listen to this album and escape into the puzzles of love, of simple feelings that are somehow too complicated to explain, and of the small marvel of where the time has gone as you get older.
Dakota Theim’s album not only touches on these themes, but explores them in each track. From the confusing enchantment of love in “She’s a Mystery” to the sad longing in “Waiting on the Rain,” the songs pose an inner reflection that differs for each listener as they place themselves on that same sidewalk of home, watching the leaves of the trees blow as the skies cloud over. The majority of the songs on the album are happy, with similar bouncy guitar patterns. The last two songs, “Waiting on the Rain” and “Don’t Forget to Love Me (When You’re Gone),” are more introspective, slower and more ballad-like, with their lyrics taking on the same wistful tone as the music would suggest.
Pleasant and easy to listen to and enjoy, Dakota Theim gives us an album full of the music that tugs at the heartstrings for the small joys in life as we sit wherever we are somewhere under the sun. — Martha Kowalski