Every week at WSUM, Music Director Amany chooses her favorite new releases to add to our music library. In turn, WSUM’s Music Journalism Club shares what records they’ve had on repeat. From new releases to classic albums, here’s what the members of MJC have been listening to.
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Intro,” “Clouds,” “Woah”
GENRE: Indie soul, experimental jazz
RIYL: The Sweet Enoughs, Mort Garson
A wonderful album to listen to when you’re waking up on a Wednesday morning. I start or end my day by putting “Intro” on repeat 2-3 times a week.
— DJ Bean / Ben Dimenstein
Patti Smith, Horses
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Gloria,” “Free Money,” “Break It Up”
GENRE: Punk, rock
RIYL: Television, The Velvet Underground, The Doors
As a huge fan of Patti Smith’s writing, it’s astonishing that I hadn’t heard Horses in its entirety until now. This album is just as groundbreaking and influential as it’s been said so many times to be. Her poetic lyrics combined with head-banging drums make the listen reminiscent of beat poetry. A master of building intensity and breaking it down to perfectly reflect the emotional complexities of everyday life in tandem with relatable concepts, perhaps most noticeable in “Free Money.” Her unique and visceral vocals have been replicated so intensely through punk, it’s amazing to realize this was from 1975. Through all of its beauty and sophistication, this album remains as punk as ever, with the very first line blaring “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine.” A celebration of life, through all its misery and wonder.
— Evie E
Houndmouth, Little Neon Limelight
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Sedona,” “Darlin’,” “Otis”
GENRE: Folk rock, americana
RIYL: Shakey Graves, Mt. Joy, Wild Child
Little Neon Limelight has been in heavy rotation ever since I first heard the album opener, “Sedona.” Although it is not my favorite song on the album, “Sedona” acted as the gateway to getting hooked on Houndmouth. This 2015 record perfectly blends Americana, soul and folk rock genres to create their unique sound which feels simultaneously retro and modern. This is a no-skip album, but the highlights are “Sedona,” their biggest hit, “Darlin’,” my personal favorite and “Otis” which showcases their lead female vocalist, Katie Toupin. This is Houndmouth’s final album with Toupin, as she left the band in 2016 to pursue a solo career, so this collection of songs is extra special and nostalgic. On top of the incredible sound, the emotive lyricism adds dimension to the songs to create complex and interesting tracks.
— Claire Zimmerman
Air, Moon Safari
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “La femme d’argent,” “Sexy Boy,” “Kelly Watch the Stars”
GENRE: Electronica, dream pop
RIYL: Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada
Moon Safari is an album with a luxurious and lush sound. While listening you might feel like you’ve been transported to an elegant dinner party in outer space. Even though the album is marketed as “electronica,” there is no way it would be played within a one mile radius of a rave or dance club. It is aspects of 70’s easy-listening radio hits combined with their layered synths and electronic vocals that makes this album so unique. The accompanying organic instrumentation like the bass and acoustic guitar also contribute to the album’s ability to be genre-bending because of its cohesive mixture of both mediums. Moon Safari does not sound like anything I have ever heard and although it is compared to other electronic duos like Daft Punk, there is a sense of grace and gentleness that keeps the album on a whole other plane of music.
— Sophia Pietan
Maggie Rogers, Surrender
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Anywhere With You,” “That’s Where I Am,” “Begging for Rain”
RIYL: boygenius, MUNA
Maggie Rogers unlocked a whole new world of music with her most recent album, Surrender, released in July of 2022. It is a reflective and introspective record that is bigger, bolder and more vulnerable than anything she had previously released. Written entirely solo, Rogers infused each song with passion. There are heavy influences of dance music within the album, but she also holds onto her powerful singer-songwriter lyrics that address big topics of love, loss, hope and fear. “Anywhere With You” and “That’s Where I Am” are the two biggest hits off this album and arguably two of the best songs of her entire discography. The entire album is impressive and beautifully showcases Maggie Rogers’ expansive musical skill sets.
— Claire Zimmerman
Tiny Voices, Where the Time Went
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Anything, Anyone,” “I Don’t Even Like Lobster”
GENRE: Midwest emo, emo
RIYL: Ben Quad , Excuse Me, Who Are You?, Kule
From the twinkly guitar sounds that are a midwest emo staple to the emotional, raw lyrics that almost border on screamo, Tiny Voices mastered it all on their debut EP, Where the Time Went. Released in 2021, the entire album covers the full range of emotions one can experience when going through any kind of loss, whether it be a breakup or you’re just really in your feels. In “I Don’t Even Like Lobster,” vocalist Ben Ludens counters the lighthearted sounding song title with a series of introspective lyrics, asking if his current state is real or if he’s simply imagining it. Tiny Voices recently announced their second EP will be released in spring 2023 and it’s already become one of the most anticipated releases of the Wisconsin DIY music scene. Even though it clocks in at under 11 minutes (only 10 minutes and 46 seconds), Where the Time Went is one of the best contemporary emo albums to come out of the Midwest and is a stellar representation of the current Wisconsin music scene.
— Elliot Novak
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Low Era, Fantasies / Survival
GENRE: Post-punk, alternative
RIYL: The Cure, Foo Fighters
Projector by Geese is a project that showcases punk and alternative influences put on by a young band with new ideas. Placing heavy emphasis on their guitar and bass melodies yet not letting the vocals fade to the shadows, Projector offers the listener a very solid mix of musical layers, using fresh and sometimes experimental sounds while still keeping true to the style of those who walked the path before them. Give it a listen and see for yourself. (btw my friend is the bassist)
— Jack Mincheff
Heart To Gold, Tom
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Gimme A Call,” “Overwhelmed,” “Wave,” “Mary”
GENRE: Punk rock
RIYL: Hüsker Dü, Title Fight, Joyce Manor
BLURB: Minneapolis punk-rockers Heart To Gold come through with their second full length, following their 2018 album, Comp. Tom combines catchy, straightforward punk-rock songwriting with bigger, gazier sounds akin to something off Title Fight’s Floral Green, culminating in one of the best records to come out of the Twin Cities DIY scene. “Gimme A Call” starts the project with frontman Grant Whiteoak showcasing his ability to incorporate reflective lyrics with fast, fun riffs. A solid ten track list ends triumphantly with “Mary,” the band’s answer to, “what if we wrote a six minute track?” If fun, DIY punk rock is the game, Tom scores high.
— Cole Smith
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Monkey Ball Gatekeeper (Cinnamon),” “Talk to Strangers” “My Birthdays Lately”
GENRE: Emo, pop punk,
RIYL: Charmer, Ben Quad
Coming to terms with aging seems to be a consistent theme for a majority of the emo music that’s been coming out recently and I’m not ashamed to say that I eat it up every time. After Equipment put out two singles earlier this year, there was a lot of hype for the Ohio-based band’s fourth EP. While there’s a lot of emo elements on this album, the more pop punk oriented tracks, namely “Talk to Strangers,” are a refreshing call back to the sounds one would associate with the peak 2000-2010s alternative scene. Overall, this EP is five back to back tracks that I would highly recommend to anyone that even dabbles in the emo/pop punk genre.
— Elliot Novak