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
1 THE MEN Tomorrow’s Hits Sacred Bones
This ramshackle Brooklyn group has come quite a long way since their 2010 debut Immaculada, a gut-punch of fast, hard-hitting hardcore punk. In the past four years, they’ve experimented with Crazy Horse -esque fuzz rock, acoustic jangle pop, and even twangy pedal steel. Their latest, Tomorrow’s Hits, experiments with explosive, grandiose rock n roll akin to Bruce Springsteen, even featuring some killer sax licks. This album is massive and downright triumphant, a fitting release for the ever-evolving Men.
2 REAL ESTATE Atlas Domino
Real Estate’s sombre follow-up to 2011’s Days is an absolute treat, a relaxing and contemplative exploration of reminiscence. Their previous releases, though equally reverb-coated, found the band at a decidedly more “chill” moment, a place of joyful and summery presence. Atlas, however, seems to be a reflection of what comes after, the teary-eyed but necessary reflection of those perfect days that came and went.
3 ST. VINCENT St. Vincent Loma Vista
St. Vincent has always been noodly and always will be noodly. The Berklee-educated guitar virtuoso has a serious knack for licks and riffs that seems to take over a song and become a long lasting ear worm. Her latest self-titled record, however, finds her experimenting like never before, transferring that spirit of riffage to vastly new instruments and forms. It’s a fascinating exploration of unlimited pop possibilities of the synth, opening St. Vincent up to a whole new plane of musical experimentation.
4 AXXA/ABRAXAS Axxa/Abraxas Captured Tracks
Psychedelic pop is never just what it seems. Axxa/Abraxas, the solo-project of North Carolina’s Ben Asbury, proves this right off the bat on his debut album’s kick-off song, a rather vast and meandering musical field that begins with a spacey, asymmetric tonal atmosphere, only to evolve into the album’s catchiest tune. These spacey and distorted songs are sure to get stuck in your head, but it’ll be an absolute treat.
5 BLACK LIPS Underneath The Rainbow Vice
The Black Lips’ latest record, a follow-up to 2011’s Arabia Mountain, seems to have come right out of nowhere. Though these Atlanta weirdos certainly aren’t at their catchiest, a plane reached back in 2007 with Good Bad Not Evil, they’re still got it, whatever it may be. Underneath The Rainbow‘s second track “Smiling” is a poppy head-nodder if I’ve ever heard one, and from the Black Lips alone, I feel I’ve heard many. Don’t let their seemingly never-ending career put you off; The Black Lips latest is exactly what it should be, which is rather great.
– Ethan Hill
1 NATURAL CHILD Dancin’ With Wolves Burger
This follow-up to 2012’s Hard in Heaven has been a long time coming. At least it’s felt that way for me, a hopelessly devoted and childishly obsessed Natural Child fanboy. And goddamn if Dancin’ With Wolves is not every bit as groovy and hopped-up as you could hope for. From the angsty drunken twang of “Saturday Night Blues” to the downright Brazilian glow of the loungey “Bailando Con Lobos,” Dancin’ With Wolves is quite simply a pleasure. Who needs Kevin Costner when you’ve got Natty Chile?
2 TACOCAT NVM Hardly Art
These jangley palindrome and internet lovers are quite a bit more than meets the eyes and ears. Singing about everything from the surfy joy that can be your period to a quinciñera on acid, Tacocat seem to always find the perfect catchy melodies to fit their playful and distinct sense of humor. From overdriven riffage to playful lyrics about toxic shock syndrome, Tacocat have a distinct and endlessly enjoyable personality that the polished NVM showcases so well.
3 CHERRY GLAZRR Haxel Princess Burger
There is something doubtlessly pretty and oddly spooky, it seems, about every song on Haxel Princess, Cherry Glazrr’s sophomore release on Burger records. Cherry Glazrr’s brand of guitar pop is uniquely unsettling, continuously shifting, and really really impressive. It’s impossible not to mention that these guys still have one more year left of high school. It’s certainly a part of their identity. But Haxel Princess is a seriously cool and great record regardless of any condescendingly “cute” assumptions of age and talent. One thing’s for sure; these weirdos are here to stay.
4 ETERNAL SUMMERS The Drop Beneath Kanine
Equal parts shimmering and fuzzy, Virginia’s Eternal Summers are reminiscent of their good buds Bleeding Rainbow as well as a plethora of scuzzy ’90s guitar bands, all of which comparison with is purely flattering.
5 MICHAEL KIWANUKA You’ve Got Nothing to Lose 7″ Third Man
Unfortunately for the clearly talented English soul singer Michael Kiwanuka, it’s quite impossible to mention a release like his on Third Man Records without talking about Jack White. Kiwanuka’s Richie Haven’s -esque spirited voice is undeniably sweet, reminiscent of the may rallying crys of singers of his musical ilk during the ’60s, but White’s production on both the A side single and the backing Townes Van Zandt cover is rich, spectacular, and absolutely necessary.
– Ethan Hill
1. SMITH WESTERNS / Soft Will
2. CURT SMITH / Deceptively Heavy
3. DAFT PUNK / Random Access Memories
4. BOARDS OF CANADA / Tomorrow’s Harvest
5. CFCF / Music For Objects
6. ROBERT POLLARD / Honey Locust Honky Tonk
7. ALL TINY CREATURES / Dark Clock
8. SYNCHRONICE / Countdown – EP
9. JAMES ZOLLAR / It’s All Good People
10. GOLD TOP / “Uh Oh” [Single]
11. MOLLY VENTER AND EBEN PARISER / Goodnight Moonshine
12. ELLIS / Wherever You Are
13. BOZ SCAGGS / Memphis
14. TRAVIS BRETZER / Making Love – EP
15. OXYLICE / Signs (feat. Katie’s Ambition) – Single
16. SPEEDY ORTIZ / Major Arcana
17. JIM JAMES / Regions Of Light And Sound
18. BENNETT & BRUBECK / The White House Sessions
19. BUDDY MONDLOCK / The Memory Wall
20. ALICE GERRARD / Bittersweet
21. ROBOKOP / Therapy
22. BIG STAR / Nothing Can Hurt Me
23. ALEX BLEEKER AND THE FREAKS / How Far Away
24. VARIOUS ARTISTS / Verve Remixed: The First Ladies
25. YAMANTAKA / YT//ST
26. DOUGH ROLLERS / Little Lily
27. HOT CHIP / Dark And Stormy
28. PART TIME / PDA
29. BASS DRUM OF DEATH / Bass Drum Of Death
30. ROSE WINDOWS / The Sun Dogs
(aka: What decade is this? Fleetwood Mac & ELO in the WESU top 30!)
WESU Top 30 for the week ending July 18, 2013:
1 STEPKIDS / “The Lottery” [Single]
2 BROTHER SUN / Some Part Of The Truth
3 SMITH WESTERNS / Soft Will
4 FLEETWOOD MAC / Extended Play
5 HOUNDS OF FINN / Gravity Pulls
6 CSS / Planta
7 SIMONE STEVENS / The Beautiful Old: Turn of the Century Songs
8 JAMES LEE STANLEY & JOHN BATDORF / All Wood and Stones
9 BETSE ELLIS / High Moon Order
10 GUIDED BY VOICES / English Little League
11 BEPPE GAMBETTA / The American Album
12 LONE BELLOW / The Lone Bellow
13 UNKNOWN MORTAL ORCHESTRA / II
14 LAURA MVULA / Sing To The Moon
15 DEERHUNTER / Monomania
16 POKEY LAFARGE / Pokey LaFarge
17 BOZ SCAGGS / Memphis
18 CAROLINE DOCTOROW / Little Lovin’ Darling
19 BECK / “I Won’t Be Long” [Single]
20 KARYN OLIVER / Magdalene
21 ARI AND MIA / Land On Shore
22 GOGOL BORDELLO / “Maladrino” [Single]
23 ALEX BLEEKER AND THE FREAKS / How Far Away
24 RONNIE EARL AND THE BROADCASTERS / Just For Today
25 ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA / Live
26 VAMPIRE WEEKEND / Modern Vampires Of The City
27 HOT CHIP / Dark & Stormy
28 SHANE ALEXANDER / Meet Me in the Hurricane
29 BASS DRUM OF DEATH / Bass Drum Of Death
30 SHANNON & THE CLAMS / Dreams in the Rat House
1 AOIFE O’DONOVAN Fossils
2 TIM ISMAG Anthem – EP
3 BIG STAR Nothing Can Hurt Me
4 CHASER EIGHT Up And Up
5 BOB ANDY Love Is Sure – Single
6 STEEL WHEELS No More Rain
7 I-OCTANE Stay Above Crime – Single
8 GREGORY PEPPER & MADADAM Big Huge Truck
9 VARIOUS ARTISTS True Blue
10 BARRELHOUSE CHUCK & KIM WILSON’S BLUES ALL-STARS Driftin’ from Town to Town
11 THOMAS SNOW Friends
12 NOISITRON You [EP]
13 VARIOUS ARTISTS Decibels Riddim
14 THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS Nanobots
15 DIRT MONKEY Bussitup – EP
16 SHANNON MCNALLY Small Town Talk
17 BRIAN MCFADDEN The Irish Connection
18 RED TAIL RING The Heart’s Swift Foot
19 DAVID EGAN David Egan
20 ERWIN HELFLER Erwin Helfler Way
21 KARYN OLIVER Magdalene
22 GOLD TOP “Uh Oh” [Single]
23 JAMES COTTON Cotton Mouth Man
24 HOW TO DESTROY ANGELS An Omen
25 SWIM feel
26 ABOUT GROUP Between The Walls
27 DAUGHN GIBSON Me Moan
28 BRIAN IRVING Radiant Things
29 BOSNIAN RAINBOWS Bosnian Rainbow
30 DEADLY GENTLEMEN Roll Me, Tumble Me