Every Tuesday at WSUM, our Music Director, Amany, chooses her favorite new releases to add to our music library. Here are this month’s favorites, presented to you by WSUM’s Music Journalism Club.
boygenius, the record
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “$20,” “Cool About It,” “Not Strong Enough,” “Letter To An Old Poet”
GENRE: Indie rock, indie folk
RIYL: Haley Heynderickx, Tomberlin, Soccer Mommy
Indie rock supergroup boygenius kicked off the month of April right with the release of their much anticipated full length album, the record. The group, comprised of Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker, had released a three track teaser earlier in the year with the songs “$20,” “Emily I’m Sorry” and “True Blue.” Each song highlights a different member, remaining consistent with the sound of their previously released self-titled EP back in 2018. “$20” features Baker with a majority of the lead vocals, giving way to a guttural scream from Bridgers to close out the song with the raw emotion that the three command with their powerful lyrics. “Not Strong Enough” features all three singers with powerful harmonies that are integral to the group’s sound. My personal favorite on the album, “Letter To An Old Poet,” pays homage to the track “Me And My Dog” off of their self-titled EP with many lyrical parallels that blend their discography in a beautiful and heartbreaking manner.
— Elliot Novak
A Certain Ratio, 1982
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Samo,” “Waiting on a Train,” “A Trip in Hulme”
RIYL: Magazine, The Fall
1982 by A Certain Ratio, has numerous unique and intriguing songs. A Certain Ratio is an English band that formed in 1977 made up of three core members and some additional members throughout their journey. Their newest album 1982 consists of 10 songs, my favorite being “A Trip in Hulme.” I enjoy this song specifically because of the funky introduction music and the repetition of the lyrics. The entirety of the album has distinctive background music that makes the album more intriguing and fun to listen to.
— Kate McGrann
Kara Jackson, Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love?
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “recognized,” “no fun/part,” “d******d blues,” “lily”
RIYL: Angel Olsen, Laura Marling, Phoebe Bridgers
Why Does The Earth Give Us People To Love? is Kara Jackson’s debut album, consisting of 13 songs. Kara Jackson is a U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate. Throughout the entirety of the album, Jackson shows raw emotion and vulnerability. “lily” is emotional and serene. “no fun/party” highlights Jackson’s tone and vocal variety.
— Kate McGrann
Louis VI, Earthling
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “IT’S OK,” “ORANGE SKIES,” “F*CK HOW YOU FEEL,” “WHEN I BLOW”
GENRE: Hip-Hop, jazz, rap
RIYL: Lucky Daye, Mac Miller
Louis VI’s Earthling is an experimental and contemporary album that mixes classic jazz sounds and modern hip hop. This album offers enough versatility for everyone to find something they enjoy. Some songs highlight classic jazz drums and trumpet, whereas others provide a newer rap and hip hop sounds with electric undertones. Louis VI mixes gentle music, with electric beats and contemporary alternative mix of singing vocals and rap verses. Earthling also samples various natural sounds, including rainstorm sounds and the sound of a fly buzzing, as Louis VI is a big advocate of the planet. Overall, this album is groovy and has a fresh enjoyable newness anyone can enjoy.
— Taylor McCaa
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Angel,” “Heaven,” “Woe,” “Shlut”
GENRE: Experimental Pop, Electronic, Dance
RIYL: FKA Twigs, Arca
Nymph_o is Shygirl’s deluxe sequel to first album Nymph. Nymph_o provides new remixes to some of the songs initially released in the artist’s first album. Both albums provide lively electronic pop songs that have an ethereal undertone. Songs and this album are upbeat and rave inspired, but also provide R&B and hip-hop undertones. Overall, this album is encapsulating and something anyone can dance to.
— Taylor McCaa
Lael Neale, Star Eaters Delight
HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Must Be Tears,” “Return to me Now,” “In Verona”
GENRE: Lo-fi, indie pop, indie folk
RIYL: Aldous Harding, Katy Kirby, Julien Baker
Virginia-born musician Lael Neale’s third album Star Eaters Delight, released by Sub Pop, is a continuation of the sparse, lo-fi style of her 2021 release Acquainted with the Night, which was created entirely with an Omnichord and a cassette recorder. The songs on Star Eaters Delight center on Neale’s warbly, folk vocals, with experimental but minimalistic instrumentals. Neale wrote the album while staying at her parent’s farm in rural Virginia in 2020, and the lyrics often evoke the beauty and presence of nature, with vague Biblical allusions serving as metaphors for interpersonal relationships. The 8-minute track In Verona, referencing Shakespeare’s most famous work, seems to best encapsulate the album’s motifs. Other highlights include Must be Tears and Return to Me Now.
— Diti Belhe
Highlight Tracks: “Races,” “Unholy Appetite”
Genre: Indie pop
RIYL: Kate Bollinger
Barrie released new EP 5K on Winspear, her third EP release ever and her first since her second album Barbara in 2022. 5K contains the second portion of songs written with her second album in mind and maintains Barrie’s signature upbeat, synth-pop sound that accompanies the majority of her work. This EP was written with running in mind, and that can be felt in the faster tempo and more upbeat lyrics of the five songs when compared to her last album. Her song “Ghost World” was recorded entirely by Barrie, performing on the drums, guitar, bass and vocals while proving herself to be a multi-faceted artist with a truly unique sound.
— Gabby Maxwell Kirkmeyer
Felt Out, Until I’m Light
Highlight Tracks: “Closer,” “Road Trip,” “Room”
Genre: Alt-pop, synth-pop
RIYL: Men I Trust
Felt Out is a dreamy, synth-pop-esque duo made up of Sowmya Somanath and Walter Nichols. The friends originally performed under the name Emme but rebranded during COVID and found their sound in self-released second album, Until I’m Light. The album is made up of 10 songs marked by unique synth, soothing guitar and smooth vocal melody. Their track “Closer” builds up suspense and draws the listener in with alluring lyrics that build into an upbeat and anticipatory refrain. The rest of the album draws upon Nichols’ alluring instrumentation and his ability to complement Somanath’s vocals without drowning out her voice.
— Gabby Maxwell Kirkmeyer