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.
Alice Phoebe Lou, Glow
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Dusk,” “Mother’s Eyes,” “Heavy // Light As Air” and “Dirty Mouth”
GENRE: psychedelic, indie folk and blues
RIYL: Lucy Dacus, Biig Piig, Angel Olsen and Devendra Banhart
With Glow, Lou steps out of her comfort zone and reveals her true, confident self. Merging themes of the present with sounds of the past, Glow leaves listeners with fresh déjà vu of familiar love, a memory you have already made and a song you think you might have already heard. An exemplary arrangement for these trying times, Glow embraces the spirit of self-reflection that only comes from a year of solitude. With “Mother’s Eyes,” Lou takes an intimate dive into her past and romantic life by examining her emotions and coming to the familiar, relatable conclusion that often the best course of action is to ponder inside one’s mind. And with the album’s climax, “Dirty Mouth,” a refreshing breakthrough is highlighted as this punk-inspired anthem encourages listeners to be proud of themselves, their bodies and their dirty mouths. If you are looking for music with a cohesive blend of sounds that will allow you to escape reality and stream your subconscious, this album could be your glowing pot of gold. — Rebecca Perla
Citizen, Life In Your Glass World
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Death Dance Approximately,” “Blue Sunday” and “Pedestal”
GENRE: emo punk and indie rock
RIYL: Turnover, Trophy Eyes, Alkaline Trio and Movements
Life In Your Glass World’s music is rock without the roll. Pushing genre boundaries without sounding tryhard, Life In Your Glass World emerges from a delicately cracked egg that only Citizen could lay. The opener, “Death Dance Approximately,” brilliantly takes a vibrant, foot-stomping electric rhythm and combines it with an unholy, pop-punk sound. Talking about isolation and being stagnant in your life, “Blue Sunday” is like a welcoming hug with an eclectic, almost psychedelic beat for those nighttime drives. Incorporating elements of the 1980s new wave, early 2000s dance-punk and the poppier side of alt-rock radio, the band has become more direct and accessible, like early Bloc Party or Arctic Monkeys with an emo slant. — Rebecca Perla
Kishi Bashi, Emigrant EP
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Wait For Springtime,” “Those Days Are Gone”
GENRE: Indie folk
RIYL: Sufjan Stevens, Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine
Sometimes you don’t realize that you have been in a listening rut until a good release shakes you out of it. For me, Emigrant by Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist Kaoru Ishibashi (a.k.a Kishi Bashi) was a breath of fresh air. The timeless, well-composed, well-performed and well-written indie folk tracks on Emigrant are a perfect compliment to the brisk spring atmosphere of these early April days.
Kishi Bashi’s Emigrant draws a very obvious comparison to the work of 50-states-era Sufjan Stevens with its whimsical, textured folk approach and Ishibashi’s gentle vocals, yet the EP retains its own unique character in its instrumental performances. While the lyrical and compositional aspects of Emigrant are excellent, Ishibashi diverges from the typical do-it-all-yourself folk musician by giving a masterful performance on every instrument – not to discredit his contemporaries by any means.
With its beautiful, instrument-appropriate arrangements and moving instrumental breaks, I certainly would have assumed Emigrant was performed by a group of session musicians and not a single composer. This is exemplified by tracks like “Wait for Springtime,” which features both a charming banjo track and a tender violin solo from Ishibashi.
With its killer performances and quality arrangements, Kishi Bashi’s Emigrant will likely be staying in my rotation for quite some time. — Gunnar Schmitz