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Weekly ADDS: 3/7

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Tue Mar 29 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.

Vylet Pony, can opener's notebook: fish whisperer

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “the yak song,” “i've still got something to teach you,” “there's a pony and sea's selling sea shells,” “good grief!”

GENRE: Indietronica, progressive pop, alternative rock

RIYL: Porter Robinson, underscores, Cats Millionaire, dltzk

I really never thought a My Little Pony fan album would be my album of the year so far. But after a chance encounter with this album, I decided to give it a shot, and, oh my god, it's really fucking good. can opener's notebook: fish whisperer is a stunningly consistent album — each song seamlessly concocts an aquatic atmosphere evocative of the album's main character, Can Opener, who's a marine biologist unicorn with a magical ability to summon a tiny golden fish. Hear me out: thanks to (not despite) this album's very niche concept, it's oddly relatable and touches on everything from art block to transparency through the vehicle of Can Opener's story. And drawing on every genre from prog to hyperpop, this album is just so sonically impressive that I think everypony (sorry guys my hand slipped) should give this a chance. It's quite possible that this album has sent me back into 2012 (do NOT ask me how many Vylet Pony scrobbles I have amassed over the past week). But, with an album as great as can opener's notebook: fish whisperer on repeat, I'm proud to be back in the saddle (I am so sorry).

— Amelia Zollner

String Machine, Hallelujah Hell Yeah

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Touring in January,” “Gales of Worry,” “Your Turn”

GENRE: Indie rock, chamber pop, psychedelic-folksy-rock, “bonfire music”

RIYL: Neutral Milk Hotel, Motion City Soundtrack, Arcade Fire

Pittsburgh's seven-piece collaborative indie rock group String Machine kicks off 2022 with their third studio release: Hallelujah Hell Yeah, an inventive indie rock album that ambitiously works to turn heartbreak into hope. The project begins by taking frontman David Beck's feelings of helplessness amidst both the pandemic and a breakup and then relying upon soundscape to transfigure turmoil into something joyous–an emotional triumph. A maximalist sound resulting from the band's large lineup produces an album littered with intricate orchestrations of blaring horns, twanging strings, crescendoing keys and electronic synthesizers. Still, the album as a whole manages to remain grounded, presenting vulnerable lyrics free of frills or complicated metaphors. Conceptualized and recorded in bedrooms, basements and home studios, an element of “home” is reflected in each song, sentimentality elevated by Beck's raw vocals. Together, the simple lyrics layered under complex sound creates a cohesive body of songs that carefully tethers just on the verge of sensory overload, on the cusp of something great. It's that feeling standing on top of a big hill, charged with potential energy, knowing you could roll down it. Or leaning in close to talk to THAT person, knowing either of you could tilt forward and close the space between you. String Machine relies upon this build, elevating universal nostalgia and misery into a musical vehicle, creating a project that can easily serve as a soundtrack to the upcoming summer: scoring first road trips with college-aged friends and late night philosophy in front of fire pits. Bittersweet, emotive and buzzing with potential energy, String Machine bravely echoes something we've been missing: hope.  

-Ria Dhingra

King Pari, Mary

Mary - Album by King Pari | Spotify

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Y'allright,” “Snowday,” “Mary (ft. Velvet Negroni),” “Sunshine”

GENRE: Lo-fi R&B/funk, indie pop

RIYL: Khruangbin, Thundercat, Men I Trust, Ginger Root

King Pari's first full-length EP Mary opens with a promise: to make you feel happy, sad, helpless, trapped, misunderstood, scared, and euphoric. Bookending that list of emotions is the truth: each and every element of Mary, from the gentle vocals reminiscent of Thundercat and Ginger Root to the fuzzy, groovy beats, comes together to create a bouncy, carefree soundscape guaranteed to elevate the mood. The EP's primary blend of the Minneapolis indie sound with sunny Californian imagery and West Coast soul evokes a perfect day spent soaking up the sun without leaning into cliche, bolstered by the goofy, chill, and lighthearted vibe that acts as a throughline connecting the myriad of other influences and sounds the duo throws into the mix, which range from 90's R&B to bedroom pop. To no surprise, this kind of freewheeling creative approach keeps the EP anything but dull and repetitive. Whether you're chillin' out, maxin', or relaxin' all cool (or, better yet, all three), King Pari's Mary is an irresistible musical dose of sunshine and dopamine.

Anna Thompson

Quannnic, Kenopsia

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Sorry Days,” “What does this room look like,” “Gesture gesture gesture”

GENRE: Shoegaze, Indietronica

RIYL: My Bloody Valentine, Sweet Trip

Since the rise of digital music, the notion of audio compression has caused controversy. Some audiophiles may complain about low-bitrate music or scoff at the idea of anything that isn't lossless digital or analog. However, the world of digital audio has also brought some interesting glitchy textures along with it resulting from severe audio compression. In this release, Quannnic has purposely used this knowledge to create something beautiful instead of viewing it as an undesired side effect. The first thing you hear on this album is a thin, autotuned voice degraded by some pretty heavy digital artifacts. This production technique is employed all through the album to create a sea of twinkly, stray sine waves and broken radio transmissions. Layering that on top of dreamy, abrasive shoegaze riffs is an award winning combo which Quannnic executes masterfully.

— Karl Hahn

Caroline Loveglow, Strawberry

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Patience Etc…,” “Happy, Happy,” “Strawberry,” “Zenosyne,” “On Earth”

GENRE: Dream pop, shoegaze, chillwave

RIYL: Clairo, Japanese Heart Software, Vitesse X, George Clanton 

Inspired by late-night loneliness and introspection, Los-Angeles-based producer and songwriter Caroline Loveglow began crafting dreamy, emotive songs in her teenage years. In 2021, she formed a connection with 100% Electronica after sharing a demo version of “Patience Etc…” with George Clanton, the label's founder. A longtime fan of Clanton's masterful collaborations and production, Loveglow was dissuaded from initial plans for an online release in favor of a more proper reception alongside Strawberry, her debut LP. The album picks up with a fully produced version of “Patience Etc…,” featuring bouncing drums and echoing, moody synth, and silvery vocals. “Happy, Happy” features a wistful, uncertain chorus backed by new-wave riffs – a swirl of questions about the fleeting nature of attachment. “Strawberry,” the title track, lets steady drumbeats and ambient guitar compliment bruised lyrics and bittersweet honesty.  Glinting shoegaze elements and crackling vocals mirror discussions of dazzled distraction and miscommunication on “Zenosyne.” With whispered, brittle vocals, “On Earth” serves as a final tribute to the space between emotions – a fitting conclusion for a work of art so glowingly liminal. 

— Claire Borgelt