Wanted to let you know about some ~exciting~ new albums we got in this week:
1. Julien Baker – Turn Out the Lights
2. Fever Ray – Plunge
3. Ora Cogan – Crickets
If you have a chance check these out and play them on your shows!
Your MDs x
It was fall break last week but we are back in the office listening to everything that was sent in over the past fourteen days. Thank you so much to the wonderful person who finally sent in MASSEDUCTION. We are so happy :’)
Here are the five best things that have come into WESU:
1. St. Vincent – MASSEDUCTION
2. Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice
3. Torres – Three Futures
4. King Krule – The Ooz
The Zombies – Odessey & Oracle
Check these all out!!
Your MDs x
Hello WESU staff and listeners!!
We are Helly & Ruth your music directors this year. One of our main goals is to revamp the music director’s blog that has been obsolete for quite some time. So here we are!!!
We wanted to kick things off with our three favorite albums from this week:
1. Beck – Colours
2. Kauf – Regrowth
3. Roz and the Rice Cakes – Devotion
Check these out! We will be posting on Mondays with updates so stay tuned.
your MDs x
PS: If anyone reading this distributes the new St. Vincent album send our way ASAP 😉
Soft Hair, the duo of New Zealand psych-pop artist Connan Mockasin and electronic singer-songwriter Samuel Eastgate, a.k.a. LA Priest, have released one of the most bizarre and unique albums of the year with their self-titled debut. Before even giving it a listen, one can anticipate the oddness ahead by looking at the cover, which shows the two members with their arms around each other holding a snake, their creepily red-painted bodies naked down to the torso. Yet the disarming eccentricity of the group might be their greatest strength; they take structurally conventional funky tunes and add something extra, whether its the bleeping electronic voices on opener “Relaxed Lizard” or the warbly, washed out instrumentation of “i.v.”
As if that weren’t enough, they add fun but off-putting lyrics to the hooks of their catchiest tunes. Standout single “Lying Has to Stop” could act as an international smash hit on a different planet with its irresistible groove and smooth falsetto crooning from Mockasin, but lyrics like “I’d like to watch to you run but I’ll never touch your bum” make one ponder the merit of singing along to it mindlessly. Second single “In Love” is a spooky midtempo jam with a great vocal turn from Eastgate and blissfully phased out guitars, but has an even more questionable chorus, “In love with the Japanese girls/in love with the Chinese girls,” which is then accompanied by a wildly disorienting saxophone interlude.
These guys are most definitely out there, and this album certainly isn’t for everyone, but what shines through all the odd production touches, band appearances and quasi-predatorial lyrics is an amazing songwriting sensibility, a quality that trumps all. The fact of the matter is that these are simply wonderfully constructed pop-funk songs that will stick in your head like a sweaty itch, or an itchy sweat, or whatever makes your skin crawl in awe. It is most certainly worth a shot to figure out if you like this feeling or not.
The Michigan-based funk group Vulfpeck have developed a cult following in recent years for their electric live shows and irresistible grooves, paying homage to the great funk in-house studio bands such as the Wrecking Crew and the Funk Brothers while maintaining a constant energy on stage. They have never taken themselves too seriously, and their latest album, The Beautiful Game, does nothing to change that perception. Their growing popularity has resulted in a much more polished studio sound than their earlier EP’s, and they have added more featured vocalists to their typically instrumental catalogue, but the zany, infectious spirit of the band still shines through. Truthfully, the lyrics for Vulfpeck have always been a way of expressing their weirdness and clear preference for the groove over meaning. Longtime contributing singer Antwaun Stanley croons random sports euphemisms on “1 for 1, DiMaggio”, and standout “Conscious Club” features a bizarre skit about looking for a mysterious club in Berlin, none of which adds up to any sort of sense. However, this is clearly intentional by the group, as the surrealist lyrics add to the party that the quartet cook up with their instruments. “Dean Town” is a showcase for bassist Joe Dart, who has seen his reputation grow as one of the most talented bassists in popular music today, as he stutter-stops and chugs through a rollicking bassline that is rhythmic enough to drive the entire tune.
The album can’t exactly be considered a major step forward for the band, but it doesn’t seem as though they care about that fact. It doesn’t really hurt them, because their formula is such a winning one, but on the few tracks that act as a departure from their typical sound, we find that there is exciting territory for them that has yet to been fully explored. “Margery, My First Car,” updates an instrumental from an earlier release, with a beautifully haunting three-part harmony echoed by contributing vocalist Christine Hucal added to give the song a crossover-alternative sound. It is one of the first Vulfpeck songs to sound like something other than pure funk, and it is an intriguing glimpse into the future if they choose to go further down that path. Similarly, “Aunt Leslie,” sung by Stanley, is a rare minor-key effort that sounds like something that could be taken out of a crucial scene from an 80’s action movie. The song has arguably the best production to date on a Vulfpeck song, with cutting guitar from contributor Cory Wong adding perfect atmosphere, along with flamenco flourishes and horns and strings thrown in for good measure. Some of the solid instrumentals which would typically be par for the course on a Vulfpeck album, like the simmering “El Chepe” can’t measure up to these more daring sonic attempts, despite being the solid ground that the group excels in. All in all, this is an album that highlights the best of Vulfpeck while simultaneously giving listeners a sense that the best has yet to come.
– Will Jacobsen
Hey all! Here is our charting from this week!
There’s music exploding out of someone’s head, there’s young Katheryn Bigelow looking through a massive camera and there’s this blog. What connects them all? What is the thing that if we dive deep, we can discover? The missing link, the unknown variable, the mystery association?
Music Directors. Boom. Blowing minds (and ears) since 1939. Just kidding, I don’t think we had MDs back then….. but we have them now and this is our blog and that’s all that matters right now!
We’ll be trying to hit all of our beloved readership with our sexy sexy charts every week (we’re talking about you too promoters), we’ll hopefully have reviews of music – we are the music directors after all – but most of all we want to give YOU, the reader a way of telling us what you want, and what you don’t. Hit up that comments box or send us an email (just kidding about the comments box, just email us: firstname.lastname@example.org) and let us know what music you want that we don’t have, let us know what you want from us and we will do it for you. Chiller lighting in the studio? We’re trying. Easier access to new records? We’re on it. Bringing dope tunes to 88.1? It’s happening. Welcome to the new MD blog.
Welcome to this year’s first installment of the WESU Music Director’s Blog! We had a large number of adds this week, and Zach Ezer and Ethan Hill are here to tell you about a few of our favorites.
Zach’s Pick: Heems – Eat, Pray, Thug from Megaforce Records
Coming from the brink of near bankruptcy, the dissolution of his Greedhead label, and some deep personal issues, Himanshu Suri (Wesleyan alumnus and former member of Das Racist) returns with a very soulful, incredibly personal record that strikes a counterpoint to his ironic and distant work with Das Racist. Heems brings in more direct references to his Hinduism as well as an R&B soundscape to the table on this record in order to make a name for himself as a solo artist distinct from his former bandmate Kool A.D. and the “hipster-rap” of his past.
Ethan’s Pick: Jeff Rosenstock – We Cool? from SideOneDummy Records
The former frontman of underground heroes Bomb the Music Industry! returns with a fantastically poignant album chock full of heart-wrenching tunes. The album screams of sentimentality for lost youth, the sort of retrospective longing for those moments of idiotic high school summers that we love remembering but hated living. We Cool?‘s scuzzy guitars and overdriven, chanted vocals make you want to jump around with all your angsty suburban friends and just feel something. According to Rosenstock, “malt liquor doesn’t make you young,” but listening to We Cool?, you can at least fool yourself for a couple of hours.
Other Great Adds: (Band Name, Name of Album, Record Label)
ELEL – 40 Watt, Mom and Pop Records
Riley Walker – Primrose Green, Dead Oceans
Jack Ladder and the Dreamlanders – Playmates, Fat Possum Records
Ecid, Pheromone Heavy – Fill in the Breaks
Ewert and the Two Dragons – Circles, Sire Records
Beto Hale – Rebirth, Lalo Records
Lady Lamb and the Beekeepers – After, Mom and Pop Records
Diamond Drugs – Cosmetics, Sycamore Records