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Weekly Adds: 2/15

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Tue Feb 15 2022

Every Tuesday at WSUM, our Music Director, Arthur, chooses his favorite new releases to add to our music library. Here are this week's favorites, presented to you by WSUM's Music Journalism Club.

Animal Collective, Time Skiffs

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Prester John, Dragon Slayer, Strung with everything 

GENRE: Experimental electronica, indie rock 

RIYL: m83, MGMT, the grateful dead, beach house

Animal Collective's eleventh studio album ending their six year hiatus, Time Skiffs, is a beautifully written epic about the passage of time and the subtle pull of despair. Being recorded remotely lends to the ambivalent ambiance and nonchalant undertones which beautifully contrast with the energetic harmonies found throughout the LP. After years of comparison to The Grateful Dead for the ‘noodly' melodies and shared tie dye aesthetic, this is the first instance where Animal Collective truly embodies the character of a jam band. Walking the line between playful and profound while simultaneously pushing them closer, this masterpiece easily contends for a spot at the top of Animal Collective's consummate discography.

Carter Ewen

Birds Fear Death, Livestream Death Compilation

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “pretty girl snuff film,” “nsfl,” “bodies”

GENRE: Noise Pop, shoegaze

RIYL: Weatherday, My Bloody Valentine

A short but effective work made by Kelly Wilhite. Absolutely drenched in distortion. Noisy and lo-fi as ever. Incredible energy here, the whole thing feels like it's going to fall apart at any moment (in a good way!) An edgy midwest emo/hyperpop EP at its core, but the production elevates this project into shoegaze/noise territory. The first track throws you right into it with auto-tuned vocals and an explosion of over-processed, blown out instruments. The next three tracks follow with a similar style of wall-of-noise rock. Suddenly, you're hit with the last track, an emotional acoustic piece, and the album is over as quickly as it started. This EP is sure to make your ears bleed.

— Karl Hahn

Yeule, Glitch Princess

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Too Dead Inside”, “Bites on My Neck”, “Flowers are Dead”

GENRE: Dance, electronic

RIYL: Sega Bodega, Alice Longyu Gao, Eartheater

Through disorienting synth beats and echoey vocals, Glitch Princess by London-based artist Yeule is a cosmic journey unlike any other album in existence. In a fight to keep their own sanity in a forever-evolving technological world, Yeule tells the story of modern love, metaverse and the decompensation of beauty. With the autobiographical opening track “My Name is Nat Cmiel”, Yeule uses a decaying robotic tone to translate their mental health struggles and gender identity into a beautifully-woven opening. Tracks such as “Flowers are Dead” and “Friendly Machine” make use of rising angelic chords and monotone vocals to show the many paradoxes within Yeule's morose relationship with technology and the Internet. Through Glitch Princess, it is unclear if the listener is meant to love or hate the online persona, the “Glitch Princess”, that Yeule has created for themselves. The mind-bending 4-hour long finale, “The Things They Did for Me Out of Love ” encapsulates Yeule's acceptance of their fate as an eternal online entity. Glitch Princess is not only a collection of genre-bending tracks that leave the listener craving more but also a beautifully heartbreaking tale on the pain of modern love in a technological world.  

Saffron Mears

Black Country, New Road, Ants From Up There

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Bread Song”, “Concorde”, “The Place Where He Inserted The Blade”

GENRE: Indie rock, alternative

RIYL: Black Midi. Parannoul, Sufjan Stevens

Following their critically acclaimed 2021 debut album For the first time, Black Country, New Road quickly rose to musical stardom as one of the most exciting emerging bands of the new decade. Now, the future of the band may be at risk. Ants From Up There, the sophomore album by Black Country, New Road is a classic breakup album, and a great one at that. This album's strongest suit is it's lyricism and storytelling. Tracks like “The Place Where He Inserted The Blade” and “Bread Song” tell a sorrowful tale of a painful breakup, while “Mark's Theme” discusses topics like loss during the current global pandemic. During this album's rollout, Black Country, New Road's band leader, Isaac Wood, announced his departure from the band so he could focus on his mental health. With the future of Black Country, New Road now in limbo, this album's theme is even more poignant. 

Quentin Holle

Cate Le Bon, Pompeii

Pompeii | Cate Le Bon

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Moderation,” “Pompeii,” “Harbour,” “Remembering Me”

GENRE: Art pop, rock, psychedelia, avant-pop

RIYL: Jenny Hval, John Cale, Fiona Apple

On the sprawling, synthesized soundscape Pompeii, droning, melancholy bass lines and dulcet vocals soundtrack an introspective trip into Welsh art-rocker Cate Le Bon's psyche, where she grapples with power and powerlessness, past and present, death and rebirth, faith and guilt. Pompeii revels in discomfort – a woozy, disoriented feeling reverberates throughout the album, and lyrically, Le Bon masterfully plays into rather than swerving to avoid absurdism. She has long since established herself as a musical iconoclast, playing with genre conventions and often willfully ignoring them, illustrated by the folksy grooves of Me Oh My (2010) and post-punk playfulness of Crab Day (2016); Pompeii, in that sense, is nothing new. But in terms of the trajectory of art pop, especially in an age where the fear pervades that every good song has already been written, Pompeii is a finger solemnly pointing away from the rubble, having taken what it needs from the greats that came before, and reminding itself as much as others that the old will always be there, enshrined in ash. As for the new: “with nowhere left to go,” Le Bon writes, “you just run away;” in other words, leave fear behind, and dive fearlessly into the unknown.

– Anna Thompson

A Place to Bury Strangers, Hologram

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “I Might Have,” “Playing the Part,” “In My Hive,”

GENRE: Shoegaze, noise rock, experimental rock, post-punk

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Molchat Doma, Joy Division, Ringo Deathstarr, Swirlies, Drop Nineteens

Lauded by many as “the loudest band in New York,” A Place to Bury Strangers has captivated listeners since its formation in 2002. Over the course of a decade, the group has evolved to reflect several lineup changes, developing a devoted following due to chaotic, mesmerizing live performances and ambitious sonic endeavors. Hologram, the band's newest EP, manages to turn a brief 22 minute length into an echoing auditory experience. With a blurred, heartbeat-like drumline, “End of the Night” serves as a brilliant introduction. Complex instrumental components ebb and flow to highlight Oliver Ackermann's cavernous vocals, raw with vintage glamor and silvery melodrama. As the opening song slows to a psychedelic conclusion, “I Might Have” taps into a different frequency altogether – this rapid, futuristic piece is propelled by Ackerman's guitar track. “Playing the Part” adopts exuberantly angry lyrics and an assertive bassline to deliver an extra layer of emotional depth. “In My Hive” makes use of reverberated, crystalline chatter, alien-like distortion and swirling ambiance to induce a sense of futuristic confusion and wonder. “I Need You” provides a bittersweet ending, lingering like a farewell or a final glance at something beautiful yet fleeting. It leaves listeners with the sense that something immense and irreplicable has been shared. 

— Claire Borgelt 

Loveseat Pete, God Damn, Give Up (EP)

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Harry / New Song, Feed the Ducks

GENRE: Pop-punk, indie rock

RIYL: The Strokes, Weezer, Parquet Courts

Asbury Park, New Jersey is a small beachfront city with a population of just over 15,000. On the surface, the city is a boardwalk destination with vintage arcades and old-timey buildings. However, Asbury Park has had an oversized impact on rock music's history. Artists like Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen cut their teeth in the city's legendary music scene. Loveseat Pete is one of the latest groups to emerge from Asbury Park's thriving underground. At times, this 4-song EP recalls the minimalist post-punk of bands like The Strokes and Interpol. The twin guitar attack on songs like “Harry / New Song” is exhilarating, as the band transitions between atmospheric guitar passages and driving rock and roll. Other times, Loveseat Pete sounds just like Pinkerton-era Weezer. On the song “Ceiling,” explosive pop-punk guitars match with the lead singer's dejected lyrics. God Damn, Give Up is a fantastically catchy EP. The next Bon Jovi? It's hard to say. But it's clear that Loveseat Pete has a ton of potential.

— Jeff Deiss

Hippo Campus, LP3

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Ashtray,” “Semi Pro,” “Boys” 

GENRE: Indie Rock, experimental pop, car-ride vibes'

RIYL: COIN, Dayglow, Weston Estate

Starting with whirlwind, electronic, distortion and ending with a soft, melodic ballad, Hippo Campus' third studio album, LP3, is a vibrant ten-track project, showcasing both their best work and some of the best elements of modern indie rock. Laced with lyricism that is concrete in concept and inviting in intonation, the album covers themes of love, loss, growing up, and confronting mortality. Balancing messages of idealism and pragmatism in “2 Young to Die,” dueling notions of freedom and the fading excitement of youth in “Boys” and melding both superficial sweetness and sincerity in the record overall, this album manages to retain the band's earnest energy while allowing them to evolve in sound and content as a result of the pandemic. The juxtaposition in story is matched by production, with bright, synthesized, infectious tracks being promptly followed by slower, more traditional, indie-pop tunes. Still, the album as a whole manages to retain a cohesive sound, one that boldly tries to capture the tumultuous transition into adulthood. Compared to prior projects, this album favors vulnerability in its storytelling, showcasing how band members are reckoning with conflicts of both fame and identity. Hippo Campus is maturing, not giving up on their world, but growing up: recognizing that the world has flaws, and that there's still some “good” worth pursuing. As they figure it all out, we're enjoying being along for the ride, relating to stories, replaying all the sound. 

-Ria Dhingra