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  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Wed Mar 20 2024

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

Molto Morbidi, String Cheese Theory

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Das Geschenk, Leo, So Far, So Good, 

GENRE: Avant garde, pop, synth

RIYL: Stereolab, The Voidz

This album offers interesting instrumentation and features some beautiful melodies, often grounded by unique basslines. The beats and synths make it a very enjoyable listen. Swan Wisina's vocals sound quite Kate Bush-esque in songs like “Leo” and then reminiscent of Victoria Legrand (of Beach House) in “The Wait ” both of which are lovely. This release shows that Wisina has some potential to make great music, especially if there is time to develop lyrical maturation and enhanced vocal experimentation to really grow into her sound and make it stand out. 


Baby In Vain, Afterlife

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Afterlife”, “I Hate Everything”, “Anyone”, “Parasite”

GENRE: Psychedelic alt-rock, indie rock

RIYL: Slow Pulp, Snail Mail

On their third album, Danish rock trio Baby In Vain delivers a solid alternative rock album that is very reminiscent of early psychedelic rock. The title track, “Afterlife”, opens with a smashing drum part and is melded with a dreamy guitar riff, until the lead singer comes in with a mesmerizing and haunting voice. On the track “Parasite”, the band starts the song with an ad-lib in Danish followed by the most beautiful acoustic guitar riff going into the rest of the track. The song “I Hate Everthing” ends with a momentous reverbed vocal track that feels like going underwater. With grand guitar solos and a dream-like aesthetic, this album feels like drifting away to another world.

Jordon Stangland

Glitterer, Rationale

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: The Same Ordinary, Certainty, No One There

GENRE: Slacker rock, power pop

RIYL: Title Fight, feeble little horse, Tony Molina

Building off the sounds found on Life Is Not A Lesson, Glitterer lays a foundation of heavily distorted guitars and driving synth leads, making the perfect base for frontman Ned Russin's matter-of-fact, introspective lyrics. Rationale differs from its predecessors in finding a balance between the synth-pop influence and Russin's post-hardcore background, resulting in an experience not sonically dissimilar to Title Fight's Floral Green. Coming in at just over 20 minutes, Rationale hits the listener with track after track of intense, but easy-to-listen-to songs, making this album one of the best he's put out post-Title Fight's hiatus.

— Cole Smith

Hazlett, Goodbye to the Valley Low

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Blame the Moon, Mama's Boy, Slow Running 

GENRE: Indie folk with Americana influences

RIYL:Hozier, The Lumineers, Novo Amor, Gregory Alan Isakov, Rayland Baxter, Chance Peña 

There is a certain type of artist who always seems to possess the unique ability to unearth otherwise suppressed emotions, and in his new EP, Hazlett exemplifies this ten fold. Goodbye to the Valley Low may be short, but it is undeniably sweet; in six beautifully written songs, the listener is brought through a journey of love, loss, and self-discovery. Hazlett's voice brims with deep soul and emotion throughout the EP that I could feel from the first to last track, reminiscent of the sounds in Hozier's Wasteland, Baby! or Chance Peña's “Sleep Deprivation.” Cultivating an extremely wistful and yearnful tone, while simultaneously using lots of words of love, he elicits a general conflicted and almost hopeless reaction from the audience. “Slow Running” stands out as a personal favorite of mine, adorned with strange and beautiful imagery, one of the many instances in which Hazlett connects to his listeners as humans with strange  and beautiful emotions. Overall, Goodbye to the Valley Low is an incredibly lovely testament to humanhood, and Hazlett has done a truly wonderful job of creating an EP that can resonate with all listeners, a witness to his artistry. 

– Adeline Fielding 

Late Bloomer, Another One Again

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “Self Control,” “Video Days,” “Mother Mary” 

GENRE: Indie-rock, pop-punk, rock

RIYL: blink-182, Foo Fighters, The Goo Goo Dolls

Late Bloomer an alternative rock band out of North Carolina uses past influences to tell a melodic story on their fourth record, “Another One Again”. They continue to push the boundaries of modern day rock with tracks that delve into the past with a sense of perseverance. Late Bloomer's Another One Again encases listeners into the nostalgic sounds of the early 2000s with its pop-punk roots. A constant collision between scintillating lyrics and powerful melodies takes place on this record. Coming in at almost 40 minutes, Another One Again hits its listeners with an emotionally robust pop-punk record that is a testament to looking back at the past with security and confidence. 

– Samantha Markus 

Yard Act, Where's My Utopia?

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “We Make Hits,” “Dream Job,” “Petroleum,” “When the Laughter Stops”

GENRE: Dance-Punk, Art-Punk

RIYL: Gang of Four, Talking Heads, Geese, Wire

Yard Act's second full-length project Where's My Utopia is all over the place, but in a way that really works for the group. Sometimes you might get a very danceable riff reminiscent of some of the early dance-punk bands back in the late 70s and early 80s like on “Dream Job.” Sometimes you might get an extremely catchy hook like on “We Make Hits.” Sometimes, frontman James Smith might just riff on and on about some random story over an ever changing instrumental like on “Down by the Stream” and “Blackpool Illuminations.” No matter what you might get on any given song, the aloof, yet somehow emotional delivery is always pulling you in, and the album continues to flow like the mood hadn't just taken a 180 degree turn the song before, the song before that, and the song before that, as well.

— Gio Simonini

Faye Webster, Underdressed at the Symphony

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: “But Not Kiss”, “Lego Ring”, “eBay Purchase History”, “Tttttime”

GENRE: Indie rock/R&B/country

RIYL: Clairo, Weyes Blood

On the follow up to her critically acclaimed 2021 release I Know I'm Funny haha, Faye Webster delivers a album full of experiments through sound. The first single released for the album, “But Not Kiss”, opens with a muted repeated strum of a guitar and Webster's signature wispy voice and then bursts into a crescendo of piano, drums and bass. On the third single and most experimental track on the album, “Lego Ring”, she teams up with Lil Yachty to craft a song that goes back and forth between driving melodies and vocals, to a more laid back sound with Lil Yachty's auto-tuned vocals wavering in the background. This mix of fast paced and slow burn create a well rounded and ultimately beautiful song. Overall, Webster has really experimented with her sound and refined many of her previous sounds to birth a gorgeous album.

Jordon Stangland

Mannequin Pussy, I Got Heaven

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS: Loud Bark, OK? OK! OK? OK!, Softly

GENRE: Punk, power pop

RIYL: Heart to Gold, Screaming Females, PUP

Mannequin Pussy crafts an electrifying, deeply varied album in I Got Heaven. Ranging anywhere from hardcore to synth pop and exploring areas of power pop in between, this record is exhilarating from back to front. “Loud Bark” showcases the band merging many of these ideas together to form something that's sum is certainly greater than its parts, where “OK? OK! OK? OK!” is a no-strings-attached hardcore track thrown in the middle of this album's 30 minute runtime. I could go at-length about every track here, but I would be remiss to not just say, “Give it a listen.”

— Cole Smith

Psymon Spine, Head Body Connector

HIGHLIGHT TRACKS:  Boys, Wizard Acid,  Ketamine Hot Tub

GENRE: Psychedelic pop, groove, alternative rock

RIYL: Djo, Gorillaz, Unknown Immortal Orchestra

Psymon Spineseamlessly combines powerful driving baselines with a unique fusion of alternative indie rock and electronic groove to create the distinctive sound found on their newest album: Head Body Connector. The fun, eccentric combination of sounds on the track Ketamine Hot Tub can be compared to that of Groove is in the Heart (Deee-lite), while maintaining a lo-fi grunge feel. The crunchy, high-gain guitars and distorted vocals help to accentuate this feel as well, but the punching groove of the bassline and upbeat tempos help to make this album more fun. I would highly recommend this album to anyone looking for some new tracks to add to their dance playlist. 

— Reagan Andrews