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.
Gotts Street Park, Volume Two
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Favourite Kind of Girl,” “Everything,” “Change My Ways”
GENRE: New soul, funk
RIYL: Natural Child, Khruangbin, Allah-Las
On their newests release, Volume Two, Gotts Street Park weaves together a unique mix of mellow soul, early hip hop and funk. Based in Leeds, England the band employs analog recording techniques to capture the murky, reverb soaked tracks as the fourpiece plays them live in their home studio. On Volume Two, the group collaborated with nearly a half dozen guest vocalists, and the album is at its best when it serves as a foundation for the vocalists, whereas some of the solely instrumental pieces can come across as repetitive or underdeveloped. Tracks like “Favourite Kind of Girl” and “Everything” shine with layered instrumentals backing up the airy lyrics, often invoking feelings of a groovier – and grittier – New York of the 60’s. WIth Volume Two, Gotts Street Park delivered a well grounded sonic aesthetic as well as a continuation of their unique artistic vision. — Ethan Cook
Redi Hasa, The stolen cello
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Cherry Flower,” “Shadows Drown on the Street”
GENRE: Classical, Middle Eastern-ish
RIYL: Yo-Yo Ma, The Band’s Visit vibes
The Stolen Cello, on its own, is a beautiful album. Albanian cellist, Redi Hasa, highlights every dimension of the cello in his playing, making the cello sing in a way only gifted musicians can. However, when you look into the history of the album, the ever-present voice of the cello is lifted into a story without words.
Expressed through a clash of classical and Middle-eastern style, the album recounts growing up in Albania during the civil unrest in 1989, when the Berlin wall fell. One song in the album, “1990 Autumn Escape,” with it’s fast-paced, dramatic opening, reflects his escape from Albania to Italy. It is here where the name The Stolen Cello is explained, for when he left Albania he stole the cello he rented from his school to bring to Italy.
The Stolen Cello is Hasa’s first solo album after years of playing for the Ludovico Einaudi band. “It is time to tell something about myself,” he remarks about the album, “My memories, my land, my childhood. My memory is like a dream. I want to go back to that dream.” — Britta Wellenstein
Karaoke, Blood, Piss, Religion, Pain
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Ride Off Into The Doom,” “Bad Christian,” “Baby”
RIYL: Grimes, Fiona Apple, Cults
Based in Atlanta, Karaoke released Blood, Piss, Religion, Pain and did not leave anything out. Each track is a maze of soundscapes, percussion and synths. Lyrics are thrown on top and draw you further in. The first time I listened to this album, I just sat and took it all in. The second track, “Ride Off Into The Doom,” sets the tone for the album by combining mysterious lyrics with eerily noises. Blood, PIss, Religion, Pain falls perfectly between alternative and experimental, it pushes the limits just enough. What I admire most about this release is the way each track flows into one another without making the album seem like a blur. Each song stands on its own, but fits beautifully together. I recommend listening to this album when you need an escape, especially with finals on the horizon and family time approaching, Karaoke will help ease your anxieties. — Izzi Bavis
Wilson’s Prom, Wilson’s Prom
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Love Fool,” “Manifest Protagonist”
GENRE: Indie rock, folk rock, dream pop
RIYL: Big Thief, Soccer Mommy, Jay Som, Pinegrove
The self-titled Wilson’s Prom is a six track EP that has a little something for every indie-loving listener.
While I was initially disappointed to find “Love Fool” was not a cover of the 1996 smash hit by The Cardigans, which dons a similar but non-spaced name, the disappointment ended there. The track is a commentary on human expression in the digital age, sounding a bit like how I imagine a crossover between Big Thief and Beach House would be, with rootsy verses and lush, layered choruses. The band quickly changes pace with “Smaller Disaster” a waltzy do-wop tune peppered with themes of longing. The refrain “He’s prettier than I’ll ever be,” hits heavy amidst the washy cymbals and churning guitars. Passing the midway point, “Intermission” is a headphone-immersive skit that features what seems to be a tender bar-room performance. The listener makes a quick run to the bathroom, where they wash their hands, returning to the performance as music starts swirling and warping, providing a segue into the next tune “Manifest Protagonist.” Featuring a performance credit from Pinegrove Drummer Zach Levine, “Protagonist” is a highly 90s-inspired tune filled to the brim with hooks. Just about every melody on this tune has the possibility to get stuck in your head, and the transitions between sections are pure catharsis.
Clocking in at just under twenty minutes, Wilson’s Prom is an easy-listening gem for the indie apt listener. — Gunnar Schmitz
Highlight Tracks: “Always On My Mind.” “Blue Velvet,” “Ladybird”
Genre: Retro pop, alternative pop
RIYL: Night Cap, Sir Woman, Mamalarky
Nané first debut album, Nané features deeply enriching lyrics and groovy instrumentation, spinning a new take on retro pop. Their inspirations for intrusmentionation can be seen stemming from rock, soul, funk and pop, creating an upbeat and fun style. The emerging band has been producing music since 2019 and already built up an image for themselves. Their most celebrated song on the album, “Always On My Mind,” features groovy rock instrumentation with deep vocals, almost reminiscent of John Mayer’s groove. Incredibly upbeat and playful, “Always On My Mind,” is definitely a catchy hit. “Blue Velvet” follows the same path in terms of its playful nature, yet features some funky chords and an upbeat tempo. I thoroughly enjoyed “Ladybird” as it featured the same technique but with a slower tempo, making it a perfect song to unwind to. As a whole, each song follows the style Nané set out, yet each song is unique and characteristic, allowing the album to remain engaging. While retro pop isn’t a genre I specifically seek out and listen to, I appreciate their fusion of different genres into one cohesive style. While Nané is a very new band, their groove is underrated and definitely deserves more praise and attention. — Vicky Durachta