Weekly Adds: 10/27

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.


The Mountain Goats, Getting Into Knives 

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Get Famous,” “Picture of My Dress” “As Many Candles As Possible,” “Getting Into Knives”

GENRE: Indie folk, indie rock, folk rock

RIYL: The Weakerthans, The Decemberists, The Hold Steady

Get Famous is The Mountain Goats’ 25th album and is also the first full band Mountain Goats album released since last year’s In League With Dragons, an album that leaned upon it’s often fantasy and D&D inspired lyrical content. Getting Into Knives does not offer a consistent lyrical theme, instead it offers a series of bittersweet yet often uplifting stories which is certainly familiar territory for the band. One thing that you may notice about this album is that it offers some bombastic energy at its start and throughout its runtime. “Get Famous” is a particularly strong example of this, with its biting and cynical lyrics backdropped to a Springsteen-esque heartland rock instrumental with flourishes of horns and classic rock inspired electric organ. In a similar vein the track “As Many Candles As Possible” is much more claustrophobic than the average Mountain Goats track exploding into a gyrating and tense bridge around halfway through the song. However, if sentimental is what you desire, Getting Into Knives also delivers it in spades. Take for instance the track “Picture of My Dress,” the lyrics of this track detail the introspective road trip of a recent divorcee as she travels around the country taking pictures of her wedding dress in a wide variety of seemingly odd places, from the parking lot of a Burger King to a truck stop. Musically the track gives off the same kind of optimistic yet bittersweet freedom that the concept suggests. I’d also like to highlight that the closing and title track might possibly be the most unassuming song about enacting brutal murderous revenge with a knife that I’ve ever heard and also has some of the album’s most astute lyrics. So if you are in need of either some folky ragers or tender songs Getting Into Knives should not disappoint. — Matt Jarosinski


Sir Chloe, Party Favors

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Squaring Up,” “Easy on You,” “Too Close,” “Sedona”

GENRE: Alternative rock, grunge, shoegaze

RIYL: Snail Mail, Mitski, Pixies, Cage the Elephant

Following four amazing singles, Dana Foote’s grunge rock project Sir Chloe released their awaited debut album with the melancholic Party Favors. The album combines catchy guitar riffs with Foote’s intense voice that comes in waves into an interesting approach to a break-up album. Throughout the record we are immersed into moments of Foote’s different relationships. The TikTok viral hit “Michelle” uses distorted arpeggios and harmonies to depict the singer’s inner monologue as she struggles to not fall in love with someone without clear intentions. Or my personal favorite, “Easy on You,” shows Foote attempting to give someone hints that the relationship is over and not being listened to, all that with some beautiful syncopation between the bass and lead guitar, as if the instruments are mirroring the discussions Foote is singing about. Party Favors does not disappoint as Sir Chloe’s first full record, although the themes of the album are not that different from any indie songwriter who experienced heartbreak, the fluctuating intensity of Foote’s voice accompanied by the distorted lead guitar melodies provide the band with a unique sound. I have been following the band for a while and after seeing this debut I am looking forward to seeing how their sound will evolve now that they have a clear voice. Party Favors is overall a well produced modern grunge debut, and the short 27 minute runtime is absolutely worth your time! — Arthur Machudo


Gorillaz, Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (Deluxe)

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “The Valley of The Pagans,” “Pac-Man,” “Momentary Bliss,” “MLS”

GENRE: Rock, pop, alternative, hip-hip, electronic

RIYL: ….. Anything?

Featuring enough guest spots to violate Dane County’s social gathering restrictions twice over, the latest project from Gorillaz is a much-needed festivity. Sole recurring Gorillaz member Damon Albarn brings an increasingly large and diverse class of guest artists on Song Machine, including the likes of Elton John, St. Vincent, JPEGMAFIA and Unknown Mortal Orchestra to name a few. The album is expectedly all over the place, both pushing the boundaries of the project and also giving the listeners sounds that hark back to the Gorillaz of 15 years ago. Giving us one of the best Beck verses in decades, “The Valley of The Pagans” sounds like it could have been ripped straight from 2005’s Demon Days. “Pac-Man,” with a vibe reminiscent of the band’s self-titled album, features an absolutely heated freestyle from ScHoolboy Q. Other tracks, like “Momentary Bliss” experiment with the genre-blending capacity of the project, bringing in a chorus-drenched indie rock sound that quickly cycles to electronic, rap, punk and back again. With seventeen tracks, Sound Machine is a relatively long collage of genre-defying tunes that aims to be almost as strange as our current circumstances.  — Gunnar Schmitz


Wallows, Remote

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Virtual Aerobics,” “Coastlines”

GENRE: Indie rock

RIYL: COIN, THE DRIVER ERA

In the Wallows second album, Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston give an in-depth perspective into their complex ideas about relationships. The album is high energy, immersive and memorable. The upbeat album juxtaposes their last album, Nothing Happens, which was more raw and emotional. But beneath the fast paced songs and rhythms are beautiful lyrics about relationship struggles. “Virtual Aerobics” reads like a diary entry, reliving some of the best parts of a relationship. “Nobody Gets Me (Like You)” speaks to the longing of wanting to be with someone again and again. The album is a total of 16 minutes and if you like indie rock or their past music, it is a great quick listen. Sydney Tepner


Songhoy Blues, Optimisme

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Barre,” “Pour Toi,” “Bon Bon,” “Worry”

Genre: Desert Blues, Alternative Rock, African R&B, Afro-beat, Dance-Rock

RIYL: Exuma, Gary Clark Jr., Sonic Youth, Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, John Mayer

Songhoy Blues has always been a fascinating group. As far as band mythologies go, theirs is something special. Formed by four political refugees exiled from northern Mali, a region of Northern Africa landlocked in the middle of the Sahara desert which the Ansar Dine jihadist group took control of in 2012, the band took on the goal of reclaiming the music of their native region for themselves and their fellow refugees. Initially touring locally in Bamako before breaking out onto the international scene with their debut LP in 2015, Music in Exile, effectively marrying the rhythms of the traditional music of northern Mali with western electric blues in a concoction they themselves termed “desert blues.” Their second album, Résistance, brought them on international tour, eventually to the Sett at Union South where yours truly first became aware of them in 2017. “Sahara” is still an absolute banger to this day. This latest release, Optimise, leans further into alternative and dance than anything the group’s put forward in the past. Don’t be put off by the Songhai lyrics or the admittedly underwhelming cover art, most of the tracks here are impeccably structured and feature some of the most interesting blends of electric blues, alt-rock and dance punk you’ll hear this year. “Fey Fey” has an almost Talking Heads feel to it while “Barre” channels Jimmy Page in both its sparkling background progression and its heavy biting riffs throughout. “Pour Toi” in its first half is standard protest anthem material but halfway through breaks down into a whumping afro-beat dance groove. Absolutely a standout on the project. “Bon Bon” manages a similar dance aesthetic but tempers it with a sincere edge. “Worry,” the only English language track here, might be their catchiest to date. “Dournia” is a blues track in the key of Gary Clark Jr. The variation on this album is insane. Hands down it’s tremendously more adventurous than a majority of its contemporaries in the blues-rock genre, and with such a unique backstory the group is absolutely worth a half-hour of your time. —Griffin Blue Emerson