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    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Mon Mar 04 2024

Every Tuesday, WSUM's Music Director, Claire, chooses new releases to add to our music library. Here are some recent highlights, presented by the station's Music Journalism Club.

Little Simz, Drop 7

Drop 7 - Album by Little Simz | Spotify

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Mood Swings,” “Fever,” “Torch”

GENRE: Dance, alternative hip-hop, reggaeton, brazilian funk 

RIYL: Rosalía, Azealia Banks, M.I.A.

Departing from her usual style of neo-soul inspired hip-hop, Drop 7 by Little Simzis a fantastic EP that bridges hip-hop with the contemporary sounds of dance around the world. “Mood Swings” is my favorite track on the EP, sharply resembling the classic sound of M.I.A.'s early work. This track features brilliantly programmed reggaeton-inspired drums that are the craftwork of Drop 7's sole producer, Jakwob. On “Fever,” Little Simz embraces one of the most exciting modern musical movements- Brazilian funk. Little Simz recounts a trip to Brazil while rapping in both English and Portuguese, over a fantastically minimalist beat that highlights the overdriven percussion and repetitive vocal chops common to the genre. Despite Drop 7's overwhelming focus on dance, Little Simz's trademark lyricism is not lost. “Mood Swings” discusses themes of mental strife and personal identity while the remainder of the tracks on the EP are anthems for self-love and acceptance. Drop 7 might not be what audiences have come to expect from Little Simz immediately following her neo-soul classics Sometimes I Might Be Introvert and No Thank You. In spite of this, Drop 7 is an innovative deviation from Simz's usual sound that cements her status as an icon in the world of alternative music.

Quentin Holle

Huron John, Indigo Jack & The New World Border

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Blood Diamond Ring”, “3D Pictures”, “Pick A Face For It”

GENRE: Indie electronic/alternative/R&B

RIYL: Brockhampton, Joji

The third album from Nashville-based artist Huron John is a whirlwind of soundscapes and groovy beats. Most of the songs are inventions of a million different sounds all mixed together, however, some seem more intimate and close. A standout track on the album is “Blood Diamond Ring” which includes the most infectious bassline, outlines a recent relationship that Huron John had and how he feels about it. The track, sonically, is reminiscent of 2020 lockdown music (if you know you know). Overall, Indigo Jack & The New World Border, is a great album for grooving out.

Jordon Stangland

Courting, New Last Name

New Last Name | Courting

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Flex,” “Babys,” “We Look Good Together (Big Words),” “The Hills”

GENRE: Indie pop, indie rock, electronic

RIYL: Jockstrap, Phoenix, Joyce Manor

Black Country, New Road. Jockstrap. black midi. Squid. I can't get enough of the British independent music scene. Courting is my most recent discovery out of the UK- and their sophomore LP New Last Name is one of the country's greatest exports as of late. Combining a broad range of influences that range from pop to rock to electronic to country, New Last Name is adorned from front to back with spectacular tracks. “Babys” is a personal favorite of mine- a country-adjacent cut that can be best described as some sort of weird amalgamation of the atmosphere of a MJ Lenderman track with the autotune-tinged vocal stylings of Jockstrap. “We Look Good Together (Big Words)” is yet another striking track, with a fantastic guest vocal performance by DJ Sabrina The Teenage DJ and a vibe reminiscent of the best of early 2010s indie-rock. The rich instrumentation of “Flex” is another highlight, complete with dazzling saxophone, trumpet and piano arrangements à la Black Country, New Road in their Ants From Up There era. Beyond the general sound of the LP, New Last Name is a brilliantly written album that tackles what it is like to come of age, with themes of love, naivety, friendship and childhood penned through a slightly cynical and ever-so-humorous lens. New Last Name is my favorite album of this young year, well-deserving of a listen from any fan of indie music.

Quentin Holle

Frances Chang, Psychedelic Anxiety

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Body of the Lightning”, “Eye Land”, “Sci-Fi Soap Opera” 

GENRE: Experimental indie, psychedelic rock

RIYL: Lil Yachty's Let's Start Hear., Pink Floyd

Frances Chang's Psychedelic Anxiety is nothing short of ethereal. Chang delivers soft and comforting vocals reminiscent of Faye Webster while guiding the listener through a journey of intense and sometimes overwhelming introspection. “Spiral in Houston” sets an appropriate tone for the entirety of the album, with its spunky and erratic sound creating an unfamiliar environment, but one I needed to explore further. Chang capitalizes on contradicting sounds in “Eye Land”, with the song beginning with comforting acoustics being abruptly interrupted by electrifying guitar and drum play. Psychedelic Anxiety tells a familiar lost love story, but in a profoundly personalistic way many musicians cannot quite obtain. Chang finds revelations about the incoherent realities of love throughout, showcasing poetic verses in “Sci-Fi Soap Opera” and “Rate my Aura” especially. Intersectionality of the human experience and passion is a recurring theme and is uniquely pleasing in a way that only Chang can explain. This album takes you to the edges of the atmosphere, the deepest part of a mattress, and into new, suspiciously familiar dimensions. I would highly recommend checking out the accompanying music videos for “Eye Land” and “Ya a Mirage”, both being enduring and wonderfully peculiar. Please, do yourself and your ears a favor and enjoy the distinctly cognitive experience that is Psychedelic Anxiety; I promise you won't regret it. 

Aidan Biemeret