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.
Molchat Doma, Monument
GENRE: Post-Punk, New Wave, Synth-Pop
RIYL: Buerak, Utro, Ploho
American pop culture has long been interested in the post-Soviet aesthetic; from television shows (Stranger Things, Queen’s Gambit, Chernobyl), to Brutalist architecture (like our very own Mosse Humanities building) that was pioneered by Eastern European architects. Today, Molchat Doma’s music is the new focus of America’s post-Soviet obsession. Combining dark synths, throbbing bass lines and moody Russian lyrics, the trio create a dystopian-yet-danceable album that keeps you grooving from start to finish. Self identified as part of the ‘darkwave’ genre, Molchat Doma’s vibe would fit perfectly at a rave in an abandoned factory or at a late night music festival. Fortunately, since raves and festivals are in a purgatory of continual postponement, listening to Monument also makes for perfect late night listening while you let your mind wander. I know I’m adding a Molchat Doma concert to the long list of things to do as soon as society safely resumes…
If you want to jam out to more electronic music, but don’t know where to start, tune in to Anti Rave Rave Club every Thursday at 3 PM where DJ Sensitive Shell Collector guides an in depth exploration of an electronic subgenre! — Ethan Cook
Pink Siifu and Fly Anakin, FlySiifu’s
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Open up Shop,” “Rick James,” “Time Up”
GENRE: Hip Hop, Lo-fi
RIYL: Knxwledge, Madlib, Georgia Anne Muldrow, Starker, Earl Sweatshirt
Fly Anakin and Pink Siifu’s joint project FlySiifu’s brilliantly conveys the anxiety of 2020 through its gritty, mournful tone, its incisive lyrics and the darkly funny narrative established by a series of skits depicting impatient customers calling into a fictional record store demanding their orders be delivered. Instrumentally, FlySiifu’s is a beautiful work of art, alternating between an electric lo-fi feel built with heavy synth, drum machine beats and high register keyboard runs, and a seedy 1980’s jazz vibe with brash horn sections, upright bass, and a live drum kit. The album’s production quality is exquisite throughout, maintaining a dark, cerebral tone which carries genuine emotional depth. While FlySiifu’s remains fairly consistent with its tone, it is saved from monotony by tracks like “Open up Shop,” which drops the surreal feel of many of its peers for a more energetic vibe, and “Creme’s Interlude,” with its mournful guitar distortion and Fousheé’s haunting, intimate, open-mic style vocals. The two artists’ voices also keep this project interesting– Fly Anakin and Pink Siifu have an obvious chemistry, displayed by their distinct but complementary vocal styles.
FlySiifu’s other highlights include “Richard Pryor,” featuring some inventive sampling by producer Playa Haze, “Rick James,” one of the instrumental high points of the album with its full jazz band backing track, and “Spades” which really captures what lo-fi hip hop should feel like and sound like thanks to Graymatter’s production skills. Special shoutouts are also in order for Fousheé’s brilliant vocal work on Creme’s Interlude, and to Time Up, who’s frenetic, stormy feel and full sound bare the fingerprints of its legendary producer Madlib. — Sam Landes
Henriette Sennenvaldt, Something Wonderful
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Clumsy,” “New Skill,” “Not Only Ours”
GENRE: Alternative, Soft Rock
RIYL: Thirteen Senses, The Verve
Danish musical artist Henriette Sennenvaldt gives us an ethereal and beautifully dimensional album that everyone should take a deep dive into. The album consists of eight songs of soft and melodic quality paired with eerily calming vocals that essentially transport the listener to an alternate reality. The songs teeter on the edge of soft rock while maintaining the sense of unglamorous fragility through raw and powerful lyrics. “New Skill” is especially excellent at doing so, as the poetically heartbreaking lyrics describe a rejuvenation of appreciation for the surrounding world.
Besides “New Skill,” I especially love both “Clumsy” and “Not Only Ours” due to their slightly more upbeat tone via jazz-inspired guitar strums and piano riffs. The jazz elements were carried over from Henriette’s previous band “Under Byen,” with favorites such as “Af Samme Stof Som Stof” and “Jeg Er Din Mand” that exemplify the idea of combining soft rock and jazz elements. The entirety of Henriette’s first solo album reaches far into the depths of human existence, which allows for Henriette to distinguish herself from her former band, although similar elements remain constant. The entire album is definitely worth the listen for those of you who wish to enter a state of otherworldly contemplation, or if you just like soft rock and/or alternative music. — Alexandra Beckman
Little Hag, Whatever Happened to Avery Jane
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Tetris,” “Facebook,” “No More Dick Pix,” “The Woods”
GENRE: Pop-punk, noise pop, indie rock
RIYL: Chastity Belt, Cayetana,Mannequin Pussy, Girlpool
Whatever Happened to Avery Jane? is the debut album of New Jersey’s Avery Mandeville’s band, combining songs from her solo ventures with new compositions in 10 incredibly heartfelt tracks. The band combines pop-punk’s fuzzy guitars with Mandeville’s grungy low vocals and realist lyrics to place us into her own shoes. In tracks like “Predator” and the amazing “The Woods” deal with heavy topics like abuse and sexual harassment, as Mandeville retracts her own gut wrenching experiences and observations into emotional freeing compositions. Both of the tracks evolve into crescendos culminating in innovative guitar arrangements, they’re cathartic experiences we experience vicariously through Mandeville’s work. In the catchy “No More Dick Pix,” my personal favorite song, she follows up the album’s themes on toxic masculinity and complicated relationships. The track combines the heavy topics with undoubtedly fun instrumentation, ending on a freeform jam as the band members interplay with each other. Little Hag’s debut album is extremely genuine, Mandeville’s emotions and talent produced a heartfelt album, where the artist’s past experiences are used towards the band’s original extremely cathartic sound. The definite highlight of the record are the lyricism, it is hard seeing a band be so successful in this realist tense approach. I highly recommend this record for pop-punk fans, and I know for a fact I’m going to keep going back to these 10 fantastic tracks. — Arthur Machado