Body Farm by The Angies

by Emily Fedon

The Angies, a local Philly alternative band, released yet another amazing EP this year, titled “Body Farm.” This is their second EP, following 2021’s “Civil Dusk.” At only fourteen minutes, it’s a quick yet potent listen that leaves you with a strong desire to seek out more of their work. It’s unknown when they’ll release their first album, but their current catalog of music makes it a highly anticipated announcement. However, we’re not there yet, so let’s get into “Body Farm.”

The EP starts off with their single “Killing is a Bore” that gives a punchy intro to “Body Farm.” The singing style reminded me of some of the heavier Mannequin Pussy songs, and the constant and fast drums give you a rush as you listen. There’s also a sick guitar solo in the middle with fast shreds that match the quick pace of the song. The next song, “Squeal,” follows with a similar sound and features cathartic yelling reminiscent of 90’s riot grrrl and classic punk acts, which act as clear influences on the band.

“Full Time Sex Machine,” the third track, is a song that was also featured on their 2022 “Bloodhound” single. The two versions are pretty similar, with lyrics that match each release, but the sound is still different in this version. The singing is a little more raw in the “Bloodhound” release, with the newer version sounding a bit more crisp. The instrumentals also sound like they’ve evolved since the 2022 single. It’s really cool to compare the two versions of the same song and see the way that the band has grown in just 1.5 years. For this reason I think I prefer the 2024 “Body Farm” version of “Full Time Sex Machine.”

“Bed of Thorns” slows the quick pace just a bit with a catchy guitar riff and gives the vocalist Tara a chance to show off her skills as a singer. This is my favorite from the EP, bringing to mind comparisons to various female-led 90’s alternative bands such as Hole. However, these comparisons aren’t to say that this band is creating carbon copies of previous sounds. They do a good job of building upon their influences while still adding their own twist, and this skill only improves the longer that the band works together on music. The final single of the EP is “She Takes the Guts.” It’s a terrific end to “Body Farm,” bringing back the quick pace of the earlier songs while taking the time to pause and repeat lines for emphasis as the guitar rings in the background. Overall, this is a no-skip EP that shows off a few of the many talented musicians Philly has to offer.


Only God Was Above Us by Vampire Weekend

by Noah Kossowsky

Photo by Michael Schmelling, Instagram @Michael_Schmelling

It’s been five years since NYC indie golden boys Vampire Weekend released their fourth album, Father of The Bride. FOTB deviated a bit in the sound and atmosphere fans and critics were used to and wound up being received with the most mixed reception of their careers so far. While it was mostly positive, part of me thinks Ezra Koenig and Co. missed the near-unanimous praise their original trilogy was lauded with when making their fifth record, Only God Was Above Us.

It’s remarkable how Vampire Weekend has managed to recapture the sound of their best work. They even find the time to make call backs to the classics (catch the “Mansard Roof” groove on “Connect”). They’ve always had one of the more unconventional and creative combinations of pop genres and elements from across music so I’m glad to see them return to and continue to expand upon it here. Cycling, busy drum grooves, winding guitar riffs and intricate layers of pianos and strings underscore pristine pop melodies in a display that shows the band’s understanding and mastery over their unique sound.

If I were to describe this record metaphorically, I’d say it’s like walking through an art museum. Each track is so perfectly arranged and placed behind a layer of bright reverb like a glass frame. Choices feel very deliberate and meticulously crafted. This extends to the lyrics as well, which range from observational and narratively-driven to vaguely philosophical, but always descriptive and vivid.

At this point in their careers, you aren’t going to hear Vampire Weekend making anything as simple as “Campus,” nor as frantically energetic as “Cousins.” Even on songs with flashier, fast-paced moments, the band takes the time to breathe and flesh out more intricate song structures. This isn’t necessarily a negative. I appreciate a chill listen, but in the case of Only God Was Above Us, it leaves the slower tracks feeling lethargic by comparison. This is especially true in the case of the lengthy and tedious closer “Hope,” as well as “The Surfer,” which you can find in the dictionary definition of the word schmaltzy.

This record is certainly a return to form for the Ivy League legends. The tracklist may have a slower pace, but this leaves the band time to flesh out each song with gorgeous arrangements and uncommon structures. It reflects a group of songwriters with the patience and willingness to continue mining into the mountain of their own creativity. On Only God Was Above Us, they’ve struck gold once again.

Favorite track: Classical


Essential Albums: Q1 2024

Hello everyone! After a 2 year hiatus, we’re finally bringing Communiqué back. YAY!!! For our first entry, we’ve asked a few of our DJs to share their favorite albums of Q1 of 2024. Keep reading to see what DJs Noah, Leah, and Lukas have been loving 🙂

Noah’s Picks

100% Prod I.V. by Lucy (Cooper B. Handy) 

Massachusetts-based artist Lucy drunkenly delivers consistently catchy hooks over quirky, minimal and unconventional plugg and trap style beats. His very matter-of-fact lyrical style ranges from cutesy to achingly honest. Some might be thrown off by the whiny, mumbled vocals but if you can appreciate their uniqueness, you’ll be rewarded by a record that shines in its simplicity and boyish charm. 

Recommended track: Substance 

Mirage by Hooky 

Philly band Hooky is on the cutting edge with their dreamy combinations of glitchy electronics, soft noise and tender indie songcraft. This is a record that’s as indebted to Nintendo soundtracks as it is to Alex G. For just 33 minutes, it’s an expansive listen that covers a wide range of sounds while still remaining cohesive. These guys have captured something creative, emotionally affecting and beautiful. 

Recommended track: Shrinkmaster 

The Pilgrim, Their God & The King Of My Decrepit Mountain by Tapir! 

Tapir! out of London comes through with a lush and conceptual record that blends an array of influences from indie folk and art rock past and present. The welcome touches of electronic drum kits juxtapose the otherwise organic instrumentation to create effective, unique arrangements. Fantastical lyricism accentuates the majestic melodies. It’s a serene and soothing listen with a lightly dramatic atmosphere that you don’t want to miss. 

Recommended track: My God 

Two Star & The Dream Police by mk.gee 

There’s a really unique atmosphere coming from mk.gee’s blend of alternative R&B and bedroom pop. He takes these influences and works them into his surreal, underwater-sounding production style. Despite the obscured nature of these soundscapes, the songwriting shines through. This record has hooks for days as mk.gee can’t help but bring the catchy melodies even on the record’s most indirect moments. You’ll catch some really sick guitar licks all over this thing as well. Just a very cool and original album. 

Recommended track: Rylee & I 

A Million Easy Payments by Little Kid 

For some of the most emotionally devastating indie folk of the year thus far, look no further than this record from Toronto band Little Kid. Songwriter Kenny Boothby delivers a masterclass in excellent storytelling. He knows how to keep the listener engaged even on songs as long as 10 minutes. Rustic arrangements and organic production allow these tracks to sprawl outward and slowly build without ever feeling stiff or repetitive. Overall, a really beautiful listening experience that will be sure to put you in your feels. 

Recommended track: Bad Energy 

Bright Future by Adrianne Lenker

On Bright Future, Lenker continues to cement herself as one of the songwriting greats. She consistently finds new ways to write gorgeous music with near-infinite emotional depth. While it’s a bit less cohesive than some of her previous solo efforts, this record sees her branching out into piano-based songs and denser arrangements. That being said, it still finds the room to deliver those devastatingly simple guitar and vocal singer/songwriter tunes that remain unmatched in quality. 

Recommended track: Sadness as a Gift

Leah’s Picks

Plastic death by glass beach

Glass Beach have been touted as pioneers of fifth wave emo, and 5 years after their debut the group returned in full force with plastic death. A complete sonic overhaul from the previous record, plastic death refuses to lose your attention for its full hour runtime. The intricate and unpredictable instrumentals soar over abstract lyrics from J McClendon about existentialism and life as a trans woman. The DNA of rock greats are all over this record, as J cites Nirvana, Pixies, and The Beatles as some of their inspirations for the album. It’s a truly maximalist album, but in a way that doesn’t overwhelm.

Favorite track: coelacanth 

Where We’ve Been, Where We Go From Here by FRIKO

Chicago indie rock duo Friko released their debut this February, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Their style harkens back to the heavy hitters of 00s indie rock like Arcade Fire and Japandroids with its well earned musical bravado and heartfelt lyrics. They strike a great balance between rockers like “Chemical” and “Get Numb To It!” and tender ballads like “For Ella” and “Until I’m With You Again.”  Friko have already seemed to carve out their sonic identity with this record, and I won’t be surprised if we’re talking about Friko as one of the best breakout bands of the decade. 

Favorite track: Crimson to Chrome

I Got Heaven by Mannequin Pussy

Missy Dabice wants to be heard. Newly single and extra feral, I Got Heaven sees Mannequin Pussy at peak confidence both musically and lyrically. The hometown heroes continue to cement themselves as a quintessential modern punk band with range to span from Port Richmond to Walnut Hill, as they seamlessly weave glitzy indie pop jams like “I Don’t Know You” with absolute hog crankers like “OK? OK! OK? OK!”

Favorite Track: Loud Bark

QWERTY II by Saya Gray

If I had to choose a single artist to invest all of my hypothetical life savings into, it’d be Saya Gray. After coming across her debut, 19 MASTERS a couple months ago, I was immediately drawn in by her one-of-a-kind sound. Gray’s music is structurally ambiguous, refuses to adhere to a genre, and proves to be the kind of music with such clear artistic direction that it simply has to be made without collaboration. The writing on this album is simultaneously confessional and artful, and its pairing with Saya’s innovative style allows you to visit a new mental island for its succinct 30 minute runtime.

Favorite track: 2 2 BOOTLEG

Lukas’s Picks

Wall of Eyes by The Smile 

Thom Yorke shows yet again that he has what it takes to create a successor to the Radiohead moniker. Subtle and methodical with their instrumentals and use of vocals, this band feels like the concept of OK Computer taken to the natural extreme. From filling the empty space with synths and wind instrumentals to meaningful yet obscure lyrics, the album feels like an alternate timeline that Radiohead would have gotten to if Kid A wasn’t created. I know it might seem unfair to compare this band to Radiohead but when it comes to finding music this polished, it’s hard to find another example

Favorite Track: Friend Of A Friend

Theodore & Andre [EP] by Hit-Boy & Alchemist

Nobody could have seen it coming. The Alchemist and Hit-Boy are two of the best rap producers right now. These are people who had exclusively made a career out of making beats for other people. Yet they’ve teamed up and dropped one of the best rap collaborations I have heard. Short and powerful, this EP manages to not only to highlight each producers surprising skill at rapping but also show off what they are capable of with their own beats. It’s insane to think this duo managed to hide this talent for so long and still manage to remain humble around so many rappers. Now that the cat’s out of the bag, I can only hope we can hear more in the future. 

Favorite Track: DON’T BE GONE

What Now by Brittany Howard

I’ve never deeply followed Brittany Howard’s career with the Alabama Shakes but when she began to perform by herself, I couldn’t help but be captivated. Translating a strong stage presence through her recorded music and managing to meld genres such as funk, rock, and soul, Brittany Howard has really blown me away with how much she has evolved. Whatever expectations I had for her after her amazing debut solo album, they were shattered by Howard’s commanding presence and ability to work around any instruments in her presence. Few artists manage to land a successful solo career and fewer manage to surpass the works of the band they were previously a part of but Brittany Howard has done just that.

Favorite Track: What Now

Loss of Life by MGMT

After the incredible marvel that was Little Dark Age, we waited many years for MGMT to follow up that record with something that would push the boundary of indie pop even more. Little did we know that MGMT was preparing for a more reserved and contemplative record. One that tackles the idea of loss and the slow deterioration of the mind. From tracks like “Mother Nature” to “Nothing to Declare”, we hear the group question their place in this world and what makes life even worth living. It’s these deep philosophical questions that makes this record different from Little Dark Age. If their previous album was the outburst from learning the harsh reality of life, this album is the growth and slow realization that we are the ones that need to create meaning and love in our lives. 

Favorite Track: Nothing to Declare

If you read this far, thank you and we appreciate you <3 Stay tuned for more blog posts!

Interview with glaive, aldn and midwxst

a WKDU interview by Ryce Salazar and Max Mega

photos by: Hasan Taleb @_hasantaleb_ on Instagram

This is WKDU interviewing glaive, aldn, and midwxst at The Foundry. Thank you for having us.

Max: How are you guys today?

glaive (Ash): Cold.

aldn (Alden): Good.

midwxst (Edgar): Cold as f*ck.

Max: Have you guys eaten today?

Ash: I ate a little bit but not much. 

Alden: I drank coffee. 

Edgar: I ate a slice of pizza. 

Ryce: So is this your first time in Philly?

Alden: Second time.

Ash: First time.

Edgar: Second time. 

Ryce: Did you guys do any sightseeing?

Alden: No, sadly. 

Ash: No. 

Edgar: None, at all.

Alden, Ash, Edgar: *laughs*

Ryce: Have you guys tried any authentic Philly cheesesteaks while you were here?

Alden: I wish.

Ash: We had Starbucks.

Edgar: I had a burger. 

Ryce: Well if you guys do, my personal favorite is Steve’s. It’s in Center City.

Ash: Oh, we’re here tomorrow! 

Alden: Yeah, we are. 

Ryce: Oh! Okay, so there’s two locations. There’s one in Center City but there’s also one in Northeast Philly. If you guys are willing to drive that far, you should check it out.

Ash: We’ll just get an Uber regardless. 

Max: D’Alessandro’s is also fire. 

Ryce [to Max]: But I’m from Philly, you’re not. (I’m sorry Max *crying emoji*) 

Max: Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?

Alden: Um, we hum. 

Ash: I get so nervous I almost throw up every time.

Alden: We fight each other.

Edgar: We fight each other to the death.

Ash: We fight each other and then sometimes on rare occasions, we kiss. 


Alden: Butt-naked.

Edgar: And we cuddle.

Ash: Yup!

Edgar: A lot. 

Max: So how has the tour been so far?

Edgar: It’s been good.

Ash: Dope!

Alden: So fun.

Edgar: Very fun.

Alden: I don’t wanna go home. 

Ash: Yeah, I have to go home after this. It’s gonna be very depressing. 

Ryce: What has been your favorite city? Are there any cities you guys are looking forward to playing? 

Alden: Boston, because I know people there. 

Ash: I’m really excited to go back to Chicago. I think it’s, like, a good city. It’s gonna be fun. 

Alden: I’ve never been there. 

Edgar: I’m excited for Detroit and Chicago. Both because I’m from the midwest so those are both states that I have like- my sister goes to school in Michigan so it’s gonna be fun. 

Max: You guys have been together for the past month or so. How has working with each other and essentially living with each other been? 

Edgar: Chaos.

Ash: Fun. It’s been really fun. *laughs*

Alden: Fun. Really fun, yeah.

Ash: We’ve had some good times. 

Edgar: I’ve had some very good times. 

Alden: I feel like most of the time it’s Ash and I because Edgar has a different bus-

Edgar: Yeah, I have my own travel-

Alden:  -But we are together most of the time

Edgar: But we are together a lot. 

Alden: Yeah, and we have a lot of fun.

Ash: *laughs*

Ryce: I know you guys are really young, so in high school, during Covid times, did you feel outcasted? Like did you feel like you missed out on being a normal teenager? Not just with Covid getting in the way of making those social connections but also blowing up at such a young age and going on tour?

Alden: I feel like that’s more for Ash. 

Edgar: Ash, and me.

Ash: I haven’t been to in-person school since freshman year so I don’t really know. I went for a few months and it was really weird but right now I just do online school. So I can’t really say tbh.

Edgar: I was in physical school and then it went online like junior year and it was kinda like a rough patch for me because junior and senior year were both supposed to be like “the best years of high school” for me and I didn’t get to experience them fully and I had to wear masks inside. It kinda sucked but it was decent because I was able to pass my classes.

Alden: Yeah, I mean, I feel like when school went online I just cheated so I kinda liked it. 


Ryce: *Laughs* I think we all did. 

Edgar: Real as f*ck. I think we all did. 

Alden and Ryce: Yeah. 

Alden: And then I dropped out. 

Max: It’s hard not to. 

Ash: Amazing! 

Max: I know you guys have done some work with Overcast. I work with Tom The Mailman (@tomthemailman), if you know him. 

Ash: Yeah, I f*ck with him

Edgar: Shout out Tom.

Do you guys have any strong connections over there at Overcast?

Edgar: Tommy (@fixedfortommy) is on my team for my label. And also this man right here, Hasan, he’s been filming everything on tour. 

Alden: Tommy is also on my team. 

Ash: Yeah, we all love Tommy.

Edgar: Yeah, we all love Tommy. We all love them.

Alden: And we f*ck with Hasan.

Ash: We f*ck with Hasan more than life itself.

Edgar: We f*ck with Hasan more than life.

(Editorial Note: Tom the Mail Man is an artist affiliated with Overcast, and @fixedfortommy or Tommy Bauer is with Overcast Arizona)

Max: Why should people pay attention to you?

Edgar: Because we’re ourselves. Like we know who we are, we have an identity, and we make good music at the end of the day. 

Ash: There’s literally no reason. It literally doesn’t matter. If you like my music, listen to it but if you don’t I literally don’t care. 

Alden: Yeah, I don’t care but I produce all my own stuff so I work a lot on my sh*t. So thank you. 

Check out glaive’s old dog, new tricks if you haven’t already! You can catch glaive, aldn, and midwxst on all streaming platforms <3

WKDU 2021 Picks

Our favorite albums from this year!

Dominick // Partly Cloudy

pick #1: For the first time by Black Country, New Road

pick #2: By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Injury Reserve l

pick #3: Bright Green Field by Squid

pick #4: Smiling With No Teeth by Genesis Owusu

pick #5: Drunk Tank Pink by Shame


pick #1: Gouldian Finch 4 by bitbird

pick #2: Wahala Edits Vol. 1 by salute

pick #3: The Fool by Bladee

pick #4: FOR YOUR EYES ONLY by DJ IKEA CANADA, “this is just one song but warrants its own place”

pick #5: Absolutely by Dijon

Derek H // Where’s the remote?

pick #1: Hayday by Feeble Little Horse, “awesome new band from pgh and dc, ffo tagabow, swirlies, spirit of the beehive”

pick #2: Garden Bed by 22º Halo “local, intelligent soft spoken guitar music for cold crisp fall mornings”

pick #3: Something to Look Forward to by Hooky, “local, one of my favorites, drum machines and detuned vocals like indie rock gameboy”

pick #4: Guttering EP by MJ Lenderman & Wednesday, “asheville nc, lofi w/ a southern rock feel and powerful vocals”

pick #5: Dogfood by MAH KEE OH, “texas, the first half of this album starts with quick and dark tracks, finishes with some heartfelt slowcore”

Kiva K. // The Ghoul Disco

pick #1: Here in Heaven-Flesh of Morning, “dark/synthwave”

pick #2: Badtime vol. 1 & vol. 2, “realllllly good dark post-punk”

pick #3: birdfeeder- A Country Western

pick #4: Quale Futuro? Qlowski

pick #5: Only Sleeping-Vaguess

Bart Jaskulski // SLAPB0X

Pick #1: Tako Tsubo by L’Impératrice

“I haven’t ever heard of this group before this year, but I was clearly missing out. They keep being labelled as the “alternative to Daft Punk”, but I got to disagree. Tako Tsubo is an album that really defines on its own merit, creating such a spacey landscape while keeping it electrifying the whole way through! Favorite Track: Submarine”

pick #2: A Tiny House, In Secret Speeches, Polar Equals by Sweet Trip

“Back after 14 (!!) years, Sweet Trip is a band that I’ve grown to love in these past couple of years 🙂 Their newest album “A Tiny House” secures that position for me. Building off of their second album “YWNKY”, they keep the same genre space while expanding across the board on what they’re capable of. Favorite Track: Walkers Beware! We Drive into the Sun”

pick #3:

Butterfly 3000 by King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

“Easily one of my top 5 King Gizz records, this was the perfect summer album for me. They get into such a melodic, dreamy state while keeping the rhythm of what they’re known for throughout all of their albums. Favorite Track: Shanghai”

pick #4: mesh by mesh

“This EP is exactly what I want out of a punk EP. It doesn’t strive to make anything over the top, but it’s just so fun to listen to as a whole, blending elements of post, psych and punk altogether. Favorite Track: CIA Mind Control”

Alina // Sonic Rendezvous

pick #1: Alkisah by Senyawa

pick #2: Valdez by Birds of Maya

pick #3: Chart For The Solution by Writhing Squares

pick #4: White Dwarf by Heavenly Bodies

pick #5: How to Moonwalk by Emily Robb

brooklyn // let’s talk about boys

pick #1: GLOW ON by Turnstile

“This band has just been growing and growing, both in popularity and sound; I am always eager to hear what they come out with next.”

pick #2: birdfeeder by a country western

“Philly slowcore, how can it get much better than that?”


pick #4: Violent closure by Gel, “jersey hardcore”

pick #5: Cabalcade by black midi, “they never cease to confuse and excite me”

Alex aka djq // In My Bag

pick #1: Cinema by the Marias, “feels like a sonic movie”

pick #2: Space 1.8 by Nala Siniphero, “Spacious but bright modern jazz”

pick #3: The House is Burning by Isaiah Rashad, “unapologetic and honest hip hop with song-for-song bops”

pick #4: Nine by Sault, “cmon fam this project was a breath of fresh neo-soul air”

pick #5: Vince Staples by Vince Staples, “8 songs, 22 minutes, no skips, just raw”

Sam Axelrod // fair trade radio

pick #1: Hayday by feeble little horse

pick #2: Twin Plagues by Wednesday

pick #3: Cool Dry Place by Katy Kirby

pick #4: ALEXALONEWORLD by alexalone

pick #5: Marriage Material by Lorkin O’Reilly

Cameron // Dog Daze Radio

pick #1: Vince Staples by Vince Staples, “Favorite track: Take Me Home”

pick #2: Play With the Changes by Rochelle Jordan, “Favorite track: Love You Good”

pick #3: SURE SHOT by OSSX, ” Favorite track: UNDERNEATH THE STARS (OSSX Edit)”

pick #4: Bigger Than Life or Death by EST Gee, “Favorite track: 5500 Degrees”

pick #5: BLK VINTAGE by BLK ODYSSY, “Favorite track: FUNKENTOLOGY”

Amy Carson // Music for Pseudo-Intellectuals

pick #1: For the first time by Black Country, New Road

“Every year, the indie scene seems to pick a few albums to hype into oblivion, but BCNR’s debut is actually deserving of it all. Blending post-punk with that huge, anthemic sound only achievable by having way to many band members, every song is guided by lyrics that simultaneously feel deeply insightful and like you are witnessing a mental breakdown happen in real time. Absolutely exhilarating and feels like it was made to specifically fit my taste in music lol.”

pick #2: Ignorance by The Weather Station

“Somehow I missed this when it came out earlier this year, but I’m so glad I finally listened to it! Absolutely beautiful orchestral folk/pop, with incredibly meticulous arangements throughout. The whole album also just sounds amazing from an engineering perspecive, making it such a warm and enjoyable listen.”

pick #3: Seek Shelter by Iceage

“I’m a sucker for Iceage. This album feels so ambitious and big, while still retaining an underlying aggression from the band’s earlier, punkier albums. Plus, I love how they threw in a random, dorky 70’s AM-pop-inspired song smack in the middle with the song “Drink Rain”

Lukas // Windows Down

pick #1: By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Injury Reserve

“Few records capture the destructive nature of loss in such a raw and unique way. As the final work of Injury Reserve member Stepa J. Groggs, this record serves as a surprisingly close examination of the unexpected repercussions of sudden loss. However, it also gives us a look into the creative originality of Injury Reserve as a group. While songs can come off as rough and even violent, it reflects the mindset of its creators as they came to wrestle this sudden loss. This record is a tough listen but a project that fully encapsulates why death is so destructive isn’t suppose to be an easy one to ingest. This is not for everyone but if you can handle this record, you can find true beauty within the group’s mourning process.”

pick #2: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz

“Little Simz has reshaped the landscape for female rappers and with her sophomore record, I am awe stuck by just how much better this record is than her last. Not only does it expand upon her lyricism but the grand and orchestral production allows Little Simz to stretch her wings in a new and exciting way. She manages to touch on sexism, love, abandonment, and so much more in a potent hour long record. It’s an amazing continuation of her previous work and makes me confident in saying that she is the best female lyricist right now.”


“I don’t know how she did it but Backxwash has somehow exceeded every expectation I had for her follow up album. Taking everything she demonstrated on her past record and refining it, Backxwash has created songs that surpass the rest of her discography. While I still believe “God Has Nothing To Do With This Leave Him Out Of It” is the stronger overall project, it’s hard to disagree that this record doesn’t have better individual tracks than the original.”

pick #4: A Martyr’s Reward by Ka

“Ka’s last record was an amazing conceptual dive into religion and his responsibility to his family. But Ka elevates past his previous peak by tackling his survivor’s guilt around his success and the unjust appropriation of Black culture. It’s an incredibly deep album that is pulled off amazingly by a master lyricist and outstanding use of sampling. Everything about this record is somehow superior than Ka’s last and it’s a truly surprising feat.”

pick #5: Private Space by Durand Jones & The Indications

“I loved this band’s previous album, “American Love Call”. It was the perfect love letter to 50’s music and with this new record, the band tackles 60’s soul and funk. Few albums have so perfectly paid homage to its influences while feeling wholly original. Everything from the smooth vocals, retro production/instrumentation, and lyricism that tackles modern day issues come together to make one of my personal favorite albums of the year.”

Philip Gross // Clangour

pick #1: Pollen by Superbloom

“This was far and above my favorite album of the year. On top of it just generally being an amazing album, it also gave me nostalgia for music I grew up hearing on the radio in the late 90s and early 2000s.”

pick #2: Comfort to me by Amyl & The Sniffers

“Favorite Tracks: Hertz, Snakes, Security”

pick #3: Spare Ribs by Sleaford Mods

“Favorite Tracks: Nudge It, Mork n Mindy, Spare Ribs”

pick #4: Too Much Nothing by The Weep

“Favorite Tracks: Sophie Said, No Cold Winter, Widow’s Weeds, You Won’t Wonder”

pick #5: Sweep It Into Space by Dinosaur Jr.

“Favorite Tracks: I Met The Stones, And Me, Hide Another Round, N Say”

DJ Roo // Politics of Dancing

pick #1: Black Halo by Hybrid

“6th studio album and it sounds better than ever, gets better after every listen.”

pick #2: 2021 Remix Collection by Framewerk Framewerk

“Available as individual downloads on Bandcamp, each track is a gorgeous take on a later 90s/ early 2000’s Progressive anthem- spectacular!”

pick #3: Quattro II by John Digweed

“Spectacular production from a true master, 56 tracks not to be missed!”

pick #4: The Luzoscura Collection by Sasha

“3 sets epically crafted! A brilliant journey by DJ collection that is everything a late night set should be !”

pick #5: SOS [Charity Compilation] by Asymetrik

“Available through Bandcamp ,and produced by Asymetrik this beautiful compilation on Bandcamp is a charity album for those communities effected by this summers wildfires in Europe.”

Joshua Patton // Glass Cannon

pick #1: Sympathetic Magic by Typhoon, “Favorite Track: Evil Vibes”

pick #2: Astro Tough by audiobooks, “Favorite Track: First Move”

pick #3: Sometimes I Might Be Introvert by Little Simz, “Favorite Track: Protect My Energy”

pick #4: Deep England by NYX & Gazelle Twin, “Favorite Track: Better in My Day”

pick #5: io by Circuit des Yeux, “Favorite Track: Oracle Song”

Carolyn // The Music of Sound // Art of The House

pick #1: GLOW ON by Turnstile

pick #2: Heaux Tales by Jazmine Sullivan

pick #3: ULTRAPOP by The Armed

pick #4: Celestial Blues by King Woman

pick #5: Black to the Future by Sons of Kemet

pick #6: NINE by SAULT

Scott Kelly aka DJ Kel // The Nod

pick #1: @0 by Various artists

“ompiled by Coldcut @ Mixmaster Morris. A great variety of wistful, sweet, and calming ambient music featuring both new and old names.”

pick #2: Rift by Martinou

“Hypnotic dusky deep techno without the monotony, instead it gets better and more detailed with each listen.”

pick #3: A User’s Guide To Existence by Curved Light

“Playful sequencer-based music with a slightly retro flow to it, like old soundtrack or library music.”

pick #4: Angel Tears In Sunlight by Pauline Anna Storm

“Completely unique, engrossing ambient music with amazing texture and detail in every minute.”

DJ Junior // Eavesdrop Radio

pick #1: Mindfuckfulness for Self​-​helpless Cognitive Misers by Helsinki Headnod Convention

pick #2: Abstractions by Zo! & Tall Black Guy

pick #3: An Insight To All Minds by Kaidi Tatham

pick #4: Aspects by STR4TA

pick #5: Power Of Soul (The Music of CTI) by Kosmos Jazz

Sean Lavery // Music That Kills Puppies

pick #1: Product of my Environment by Jarhead Fertilizer

“The Midatlantic has been pumping out death metal for hardcore kids for most of the past decade, but Jarhead elevated the form. This grindy slab of caveman riffing death metal is the butt wiggler and toe tapper of 2021.”

pick #2: Tales of Othertime by Stormkeep

“Yet another gem of a band from Denver (ft members of Wayfarer and Blood Incantation), Stormkeep delivers perfectly executed Dissection worshipping melodies, lyrics of wizards, and dungeon synth interludes.”

pick #3: Exhumed Information by Fulci

“These Italian death metallers take a step away from their slam-oriented roots to deliver a gore-laden gem of an album, with a B-side filled with soundtrack instrumentals worthy of their horror namesake.”

pick #4: Pale Swordsman by Kekth Arakh

“Lofi bedroom black metal executed superbly. Melancholy, with borderline romanticism woven into the sound.”

Hot Mixing w/ Sorry Records’ Nick Boyd

Brooklyn’s Sorry Records has been a bright spot for new electronic music in these wild-ass times we’re living in, serving up everything from tender break-beat groovers to full throttle giddy-up, let’s rave bangers & beyond.

We caught up with label manager Nick Boyd after grabbing this b2b deejay set from Nick & Sweat Equity co-founder Alien D.

Press play & sink into the chat ▶️

Chris B: Nick, thanks so much for linking up to do this mix, chat, etc! I feel like you wear a lot of different ‘hats’. For the uninitiated, can you walk us through who you are and what you do?

Nick B: No worries Chris — thanks for inviting me to do the show and all your hospitality!

I’m from Winston-Salem, North Carolina originally — moved to New York when I was eighteen or so for school and have been just generally doing as much music stuff as I can since. I run Sorry Records, interview NYC artists for the great Love Injection fanzine, write about music every now and then for places like Crack and Bolting Bits, DJ, and run two radio shows on The Lot Radio and Newtown Radio here in Brooklyn. I used to go out dancing a lot too! I try to approach all the stuff I do with that mindset. 

A festive cake for the new Tony G – Pianoman EP, featuring remixes from Bored Lord & DJ Delish

How have you been hanging in there this past crazy year? What a time to be alive, right? Any new Covid hobbies ? How have you been coping and getting through this all?

Not quite sure how well I’ve been hanging in but I’m still here! It’s been just an insane sludge of a year — finding it difficult to find any consistency between bright highs and new lows. Outside of a weekend or two, I’ve been in New York non stop since this whole thing started. I’ve been very lucky to have held onto my pre-pandemic day job which wasn’t the case for so many folks so I really can’t complain though. Besides long aimless walks through Brooklyn and combing through the David Morales remix catalog, I’ve been coping by throwing myself into running Sorry. We’ve probably “signed” 10 records in the last year and significantly ramped up the frequency of our releases. That first month of pandemic I think I commissioned like six remixes. 

What is the ethos behind Sorry Records? Why did you start the label & where were you when you started it? Was this like a back of the napkin kind of thing or had been premeditated for a while or … ?

Definitely wasn’t premeditated. We’ve grown and changed a lot since our first records in 2015. Sorry started back when I was living with Tony G and Nick Dalessio (Figur fka Stick Figure) in college. They started a band and made an indie rock record with our friend Noah Engel from ART DLR on vocals and Drummy on drums. The label was initially started to promote that record but I’d wanted to start a label since I was in high school.Those early releases were all over the place, predominately music from my close friends, and genre wise everything from Dalessio’s experimental IDM leaning breaks stuff to the aforementioned indie rock and pop punk stuff from our friends Trash Boy in Philadelphia. 

Drummy & Nick Boyd at The Lot Radio in Brooklyn

Our original ethos was completely open format — really just any music I liked of any genre period. As time moved on and I myself got heavy into disco and subsequently house, techno, going out raving, the Sorry Records as it exists today cemented as a label primarily focused on the diverse sound of the dance floor and dance music history as a whole. I’ve always been in love with dance music as a curatorial genre developed via DJs who pieced together music from all sorts of genres and eras in their own new vision. I feel like all you really need to know was pretty much laid down by David Mancuso before Disco even had a name, you know? Lead with love, community, and play whatever feels right for you and the dancers. 

Must admit I’ve had a lingering frustration with what I perceive to be a loss of that spirit from current DJs and dance labels. From house to techno, there’s tons of labels out there putting out record after record with the same tone, same sound, same artwork… You hear stories about folks like Anthony Parosole ending a set at Berghain with Frank Sinatra and people being legitimately mad! That mindset sounds like hell to me. 

Ahh, to get lost in the fog again — soon enough! Figur enjoying a moment in the dance at the 2018 Sorry Records Halloween party

Sorry Records is also super influenced by the diversity of the New York dance music sound and we definitely want to champion our community where you can go to Bossa on like a Wednesday night and hear ballroom mixed into gabber into Detroit techno into reggaeton. I want to turn the techno kids onto house and vise versa. Would love to help people my age be more familiar with the history of this music and community within our city and the rest of America. I also want to make music that is fun to dance to. As far as ethos goes, these things are always in mind when I approach our label. 

What are some of your favorite labels & why? Maybe include a favorite label growing up, an all-time favorite and some contemporary labels you’re feeling…

I could go on and on so this will be an incomplete smattering but I’d be remiss to not mention a trio of labels that actively and directly inspired me to start Sorry.

I’ve been a humongous fan of Jeff Rosenstock and his community-oriented/anti-capitalist DIY approach to his collective Bomb the Music industry! and Quote Unquote Records was hugely influential on just about everything I do. He made so many decisions that completely shifted my understanding of what was possible for a musician and record label. Every record he’s put out since 2005 is available for free download online even since he’s signed to larger labels like Polyvinyl. Almost every Bomb show was all ages, under $10, and instead of selling merch you’d just bring a blank t-shirt to the show and Jeff would spray paint a stencil on it for you in the parking lot. To me I guess Jeff proved that idealism and honest commitment to DIY ethics was not only possible but fun. I’ve strayed pretty far from the punk world since but his words and approach are always in mind — “So write some songs with lots of hooks / Remember why you wrote songs in the first place / Let’s start a band / This is all that you can do.” 

Another label that inspired a similar realization of “wow I can do this” was my old friend Nathan Romano’s cassette label Personal Records based out of Greensboro, NC. I met Nathan when I was 16 at a summer filmmaking program and he is an insanely creative person who spent high school releasing dozens of folk/experimental/rock type records via this cassette label he ran out of his bedroom. Nathan was the first person I knew personally that ran a record label, booked shows, built his own world via DIY… He pushed me way more than I think he realizes. 

Lastly I just generally wouldn’t be running a label if it weren’t for A. G. Cook and PC Music. What they did with that label especially between 2013 and 2016 just bowled me over. They created their own world and changed the world at large in turn — legitimately the most thrilling and impressive record label in my lifetime, you know? PC Music taught me so much about intentionality, curation, presentation, and the overall possibilities of what you can do with a record label especially as it relates to digital media.

In interest of brevity, here’s some other labels I adore divided between past and present:

Strictly Rhythm are HUGE for me and everyone. Salsoul, Fania, Ze Records, West End, Philadelphia International, Prelude, Nice ’N’ Ripe; MOTOWN, Sleeping Bag, Emotive, Movin Records, everything Power Music especially Sex Trax, Nu Groove, Nervous, Easy Street, King Street Sounds, T.K. Disco, Suburban Base, Dance Mania, Teklife, Warriors Dance…

Sweat Equity, Haus Of Altr, Moveltraxx, Naive, Juke Bounce Werk, Future Times, ONE PUF, Sneaker Social Club, Kiwi Records, Allergy Season, EAT DIS, Mood Hut, Incensio, Timedance, The Bunker NY, Knightwerk, Scuffed Recordings, Most Excellent Unlimited, TWIN, Super Rhythm Trax, N.A.A.F.I., BFDM, Mister Saturday Night, TraTraTrax, Frendzone, ROOM, Off Me Nut, Local Action, Dark Entries, Balkan Recordings, Fixed Rhythms, T4T LUV NRG, Intedimensional Transmissions, Loveless Records, Planet Euphorique, Swing Ting, Kindergarten Records, Super Tuff, Twin, Hooversound, Illegal Afters, Honey Soundsystem, Loveless, Local Action…

If you had to give someone advice for starting a label today, what would it be?

My advice would be if you’re thinking about starting one, just start one. Work with your friends at first, really think about what you can do for the artists you work with that they can’t do by themselves, and never prioritize money ever. Also just email me — I don’t have enough friends who run labels and would love to help any way I can. 

Escaflowne rocking it at Good Room for a livestream

What’s one thing you love and one thing you don’t love about electronic music right now ? (not being able to do parties aside)

Octo Octa said “good DJs make dance music still feel like a secret.” That’s my favorite part about electronic music. 

Something I don’t love? The fact that not a single publication or platform is even coming close to properly covering even 10% of the beautiful stuff going on right now. 

What’s in the pipeline for you, Sorry Records, and beyond?

We’ve got a ton of projects in the works for the next year or so on Sorry Records. Records and remixes from Escaflowne, C Powers, PlayPlay, Bored Lord, John Barera, Brian Abelson, WTCHCRFT, Amal, X-Coast, Xhosa, UNIIQU3, Interplanetary Criminal, Chrissy & Maria Amor, Bianca Oblivion, Alien D, Tony G, DJ Girl, Sonia Calico, Drummy, zorenLo, Nick Leon, Figur, Loraine James, They Hate Change, NIGELTHREETIMES, Olive T, Martyn Bootyspoon, Overland…

Our next record is from Miami bass duo Basside and produced by the late genius SOPHIE 

 We’ll get around to our first vinyl release sometime as well. Besides that I’m just going to continue to try to do as much radio, DJing, music writing as I can while I can. 

What’s one thing you found out about yourself through this crazy period?

I’m addicted to YouTube and TikTok in a profound and concerning way.

What’s your favorite post-rave meal / snack ? (For whenever that happens again….)

Whatever’s available but I do have a fond memory of walking home from a DJ Harvey all nighter years ago and passing Bergen Bagels on Flatbush Ave just as they were opening and getting a plain bagel w/ lox and cream cheese. In a dream world my favorite post-rave meal would a BBQ tray w/ red slaw from whatever they call the original Little Richards in Winston-Salem, NC. That or a Cookout tray — burger cheddar style, fries & a corn dog, with a Cheerwine float.

We’ll all be in the dance rocking it to awesome peeps like Sorry Records soon enough! Be well & spread love y’all <3

WKDU Picks: 2020 Selects

Our smooth blend of 2020 selects have notes of electronic, slowcore, hip hop and powerviolence, among other delicious genres. Perouse our list, keeping in mind these albums have been hand selected to best suit the taste of true enjoyers and listeners of music. As you read through our list, please note the DJs associated with their pick. Although they may enjoy a range of music, one may expect these albums to make an appearance on their show. Pair these albums with friends, a candlelit dinner, or scaring off fascists. We at WKDU hope you enjoy our delicately chosen selection.

Bart Jaskulski // General Manager 

NO – Boris


I wanted to finally dip my feet into the genre of metal this year, and NO was such a great album to start that out with! I’ve heard little about them before this album and I regret not finding them sooner. A killer, raging album from start to finish, no track disappoints. Fave track: Anti-Gone

Inner Song – Kelly Lee Owens


This album surprised me with how it combines genres together! One track will sound like a “dreamy electro” sort of song, and the next track can go into a moody house+techno combo. The whole project is so satisfying to listen to. Fave track: Night



Yaeji went towards a more relaxing setting with this album, but it still makes way for some heavier tracks. Listened to this album a bunch during the Spring and Summer and it really set a good mood. Fave track: WHEN I GROW UP

DEEWEE Sessions, Vol. 1 – Soulwax


A side project from Soulwax, they created a roughly 30 min album with a sound that is unlike theirs. Think of Jean Michel-Jarre blended with Soulwaxes’ unique mixing and that’s what makes this album. Fave track: Movement 6

Derek Hengemihle // Station Manager

Something Nothing – Clothesline from Hell


Latest release from a Toronto DIY artist, lots of murky acoustic tracks with hints of somber prog rock influences in the likes of Pinback and Elliot Smith and Sebadoh.

The Three EP – Pulsr


Debut release from a trio based in New Haven, CT. Comprised of members and collaborators from beloved CT bands like waveform* and sundots, this is an exciting sneak peak of the swirling rock tracks to come from this powerhouse of a band.

Moral Panics – Peel Dream Magazine


An early 2020 release from NYC’s Joe Stevens. A hearty tribute to 90’s dream pop legends like Stereolab and Yo La Tengo complete with driving harmonies and tight drum tracks.

Brooklyn Fellner // PR Director

Kiss My Superbowl Ring- The Garden


I think this is the best album to come out this whole year…. Or literally any year that I have been alive. It is unapologetically angry, fun and genre switching. You can literally listen to it all the time, anywhere and scare everyone but also leave them intrigued.

A Country Western (Self Titled) – A Country Western


Slowcore has never sounded so gritty yet romantic. This nostalgic genre of choice was incorporated into the album which was created completely over quarantine by two of WKDU’s DJs (no bias here, I swear). Hit Derek and Garret up for a tape and get engulfed by the hypnotic bass tones and cryptically delightful lyrics. 

Perfect Break- Squat!


This is a lovely surf album released by some lovely Jersey people. A surf album is what we needed at the end of the summer of no fun. It leaves a hopeful taste in everyone’s mouths, remembering sunny days at the beach and excitement for the future when we can roadtrip to this album on full blast. 

Madeline Avarese // Program Director

Charm and Mirror – Kitty


Ok so not a full album but EP, but I definitely danced to this in my room while getting ready 🙂

Perception is/as/of Deception – ADULT.


The first song I heard off of this album was Why Always Why through one of our new DJ’s songs during her on air test. After listening to the rest of the album much later it is definitely the electronic pick-me-up I needed with Second Nature and Controlled By being my second and third favorite songs off of this album.

This is my Beloved – Mort Garson (single)


I found this song through someone who I liked and honestly it is the cutest little romance song for 2020. Hints of video game-like sounds add a nice touch!

Cameron Vickens // Development Director

Alfredo – Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist

“God made sell crack so I’d have something to rap about.” Freddie Gibbs is the gram that finds himself in the pocket of Alan The Chemist’s instrumentals on Alfredo. This album is the fusion of elite lyricism and perfectly warm, cohesive, and tightly stitched beats. Alfredo is a crystal clear lens into the backstory of Freddie Kane and is the unintentional blueprint to the sound of the hip hop revivalist movement.

F*** The World – Brent Faiyaz

F*** The World provides a small peek into the world of Brent Faiyaz characterized by excess, luxury, and Earthly pleasures over a landscape of smooth, sultry instrumentals. “…Some of the qualities that make up the people that relate to my music is like an empathetic narcissism or attention to detail and over-indulgent personality when it comes to sex and drugs. And if you get it, you get it because you live it.”

SAD (She Already Decided) – Smino

SAD hearkens back to a time when mixtapes were comprised of rappers spitting over contemporary, popular instrumentals with originals sprinkled throughout the project. Smino gives new life to beats from the early 2000s and 2020 with standout originals and remixes from Groove and Phoelix. This project feels like Shasta Tiki Punch washing down a bag of Red Hot Riplets. It feels like a freshly oiled scalp. Pass the most(k)accioli.

Ioana Racu // New Member Coordinator , PSA Director

SAWAYAMA – Rina Sawatama

One of the best pop albums of 2020. Every time I was sad, I would listen to this album and I would instantly feel better. XS is the first song I am going to play at a party post-corona

Nightmare Vacation- Rico Nasty

I have been really into hyperpop this year and Rico Nasty dropped one of the most creative albums of the year.

Charli XCX- how i’m feeling now

Another hyper pop album that talked about quarantine and it was released at the perfect time. Charli XCX has the perfect combo of extremely energetic instrumental and meaningful relatable lyrics.

Dominick Baglivo // Music Director

Kiss My Super Bowl Ring – The Garden


On their fourth studio album, The Garden absolutely excel at what they have always done best—getting weird as fuck. Following up 2018’s Mirror Might Steal Your Charm, which saw the duo of Wyatt and Fletcher Shears adopt jester aesthetics, the two have now enlisted the help of what can only be described as green goblins. Whether you credit the green goblins or natural artistic progression for this is up to your discretion, but there is no doubt The Garden have never embodied their own artistic vision of “vada vada” as well as they do on Kiss My Super Bowl Ring.

From The Garden’s website, “Vada Vada is a term that represents total freedom of expression without boundaries or guidelines of any sort.” If we are discussing the boundaries of Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, let’s be very clear—there are none. The album starts out rather tame for the duo with lead single, “Clench to Stay Awake”, which—save for a mildly chaotic midsection—describes feelings of helplessness and subsequent struggles to cope over light instrumentation. From there, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring quickly transforms into the most impressive musical clusterfuck you might ever hear, in which The Garden seemingly knows nothing and everything at once.

Synth-heavy, bass-heavy, loaded with screams, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring thrives off of chaos and unpredictability, shifting from one extreme to another at a moment’s notice. Perhaps the biggest surprise, and a shining example of the duo’s unpredictability, is the extent to which they have incorporated more aspects of electronic music to their already eclectic sound. Littered throughout the track list, most notably “Sneaky Devil” and “Please, Fuck Off”, you can find instances where the song evolves into or simply is based around breakbeats and drum ‘n’ bass. The duo’s willingness to experiment has always been their calling card, and they appear to have mastered it on Kiss My Super Bowl Ring by injecting electronic music into their musical backbone of fiery and chaotic punk.

N O D R E A M – Jeff Rosenstock


Jeff Rosenstock’s fourth solo studio album, N O  D R E A M, continues his streak of creating chant-worthy pop punk hits. Subtlety is largely out the window as Rosenstock comes crashing in and never lets off the gas, creating short and punchy tracks that directly address issues he has always stood for throughout his lengthy career. 

Looking back through Jeff Rosenstock’s catalog – whether that’s with The Arrogant Sons of Bitches, Bomb the Music Industry, his prior solo efforts, or any number of his side projects and collaborations – you will almost always find lyrics that are shrouded in uncertainty and anxiety. Rosenstock has never hesitated to offer political takes in his music either, as they are inevitably linked to the feelings of existential dread he is constantly dwelling on. On N O  D R E A M, these feelings of uncertainty and confusion feel more pressing than ever, both in his lyrics and the context in which they were released.

In 2016, we got WORRY., the aptly-titled record addressing the corporatization of society, our growing dependence on technology, increasing levels of gentrification, police brutality, and more…all the while having been released just a month prior Donald Trump’s election as president. Talk about things to be anxious about. January 1st, 2018 saw Rosenstock surprise release POST-, ringing in the new year with an album that directly addressed the fallout of said election and the subsequent hopelessness it evoked in much of America.

Four years removed from WORRY., it would be hard to argue that N O  D R E A M — based off title alone ­– paints a brighter picture. While certainly packaged beautifully with catchy hooks, infectious energy, and colorful instrumentals, the core of N O  D R E A M consists of an overwhelming sense of helplessness and frustration.

The title track features Jeff shouting the words, “The only framework capitalism can thrive in is dystopia,” which ultimately functions as an overarching theme for the album. In Rosenstock’s eyes, and in the eyes of many, the current structures that exist have failed to protect us and have failed to provide for us. Systemic inequality, abuse of power, and widespread injustice are constantly occurring around all of us, and we have continually failed to make progress against these issues. And while Rosenstock’s gripes against structural issues (capitalism) are plenty, the kicker of N O  D R E A M, and what makes it so relatable is his ability to reflect on his own apathy. Getting out of bed is a struggle of its own, but how do you muster up the energy to fight back against a system designed to discourage you from doing so? Rosenstock does not seem to have the answers, and maybe no one does. But if you feel similarly to Rosenstock, the revolution will be worth the fight.

Heaven to a Tortured Mind – Yves Tumor


Yves Tumor’s fourth studio album, Heaven to a Tortured Mind, is an ambitious genre-bending record that only further solidifies them as one of the more innovative artists of recent years. The follow up to 2018’s Safe in the Hands of Love sees them adopt a more lavish and elegant aesthetic as they build upon sounds of traditional pop with the fusion of psychedelic soul and glam rock. Throughout Heaven to a Tortured Mind, Yves weaves through hazy, soulful, and extravagant instrumentals—delivering impassioned vocal performances that detail stories of love and desire.

Pain Olympics – Crack Cloud


Pain Olympics is the debut album from Vancouver-based, DIY collective Crack Cloud. Most of the members met each other through recovery programs amidst Canada’s rising opioid crisis — something they have openly embraced and incorporated into the ethos of their work.

“Based On True Shit” is a reoccurring phrase that you’ll find in each of their recent music videos and on the artwork for the album’s singles. The more you listen to their music, the more you hear the message they’re conveying on Pain Olympics, the more that indicator almost feels unnecessary. It doesn’t need to be said, you can simply feel it and hear it at every turn.

Pain Olympics has a chaotic nature to it that feels like a calculated representation of what can only be described as troubling times, brought to you by those who have battled some of the worst of them. Crack Cloud loses a smidge of their intensity and is significantly less jarring on their debut LP when compared to their previous work, but they trade this for a more refined and purposeful sound.

Pinning down genre identifiers to this can get a bit murky and feels rather redundant — post-punk, art punk, experimental rock, whatever. Across 8 tracks, Pain Olympics manages to sound jarring and abrasive, raucous and chaotic, bouncy and danceable, dark and depressing, beautiful and uplifting — covering so much ground in less than 30 minutes and often incorporating a trifecta of these descriptors in any given track.

This album is about pain, addiction, the failures and abuse of those with power and so much more — it is about all the fucked up and very real shit that often feels out of control. There’s no question. But at the heart of Pain Olympics is the search for acceptance and inner peace. And it is very much a reflection of many of the members’ experiences in recovery programs, both as former addicts and as current frontline workers amidst an overlooked crisis.

And if we are to learn anything from their teachings, it is the importance of collective togetherness and supporting one another through our struggles. In the darkest of times, show compassion and show empathy.

Kirby Bell / Alumni Liaison, Philly Haps Director

In This House – Lewsberg


Okay let’s get this out of the way – yes, this band sounds A LOT like the Velvets. You could even say they are derivative AF and you would not be wrong. However, unlike a lot of the VU’s acolytes, Lewsberg (Rotterdam, Netherlands) actually channel that vibe (think the VU’s post-Cale work) to the point where you forget about comparisons and just groove along. While never scaling the heights of the VU (few, if any, bands do) you will find yourself listening to this album only to arrive at the end and saying “Dang, it’s over already?” RIYL: VU/Lou Reed, Cate Le Bon, Television

Brain Drugs – Brain Drugs


Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, the duo of Pete Warden (drums, percussion) and Michael Beach (guitar, keyboards) have made an all instrumental album that is cerebral, trance inducing, and (at times) mysterious. RIYL: Terry Riley, Eno, Kraftwerk

A Golden Brain – Kraus


A one man band from New Zealand, Kraus, makes psychedelic electronic music for the 21st century. A Golden Brain is an all instrumental album that meshes analog synths, tape loops, drum machines with standard rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums) to produce music that is ambient (with a tinge of rock), but that also rewards deeper listening. Like peeling away the layers of an artichoke to get to heart, A Golden Brain, reveals more with each listen. RIYL: Eno, Pierre Henry, Suzanne Ciani

Amy Carson // New Member Coordinator, Librarian

What’s Tonight to Eternity – Cindy Lee


This album feels like it was made for me. Somehow perfectly blending the sounds of 60’s girl groups, harsh guitar noise and feedback, and John Carpenter-esque synths, the end result is an album that is haunting, beautiful, ominous, and deeply sincere all at once. It makes me feel like I am dancing alone in the dark, smoky bar of a run-down 60’s desert motel at 10 pm, blissfully unaware that I am about to be murdered in the next 20 minutes, and I mean that as the highest of compliments.

Island – Owen Pallett


Owen Pallett is one of my favorite musicians of all time. Even though their hands have seemingly been in every indie project with strings over the past 20 years, Island was dropped after a 6 year hiatus from recording solo work. The songs balance the lush, orchestral string arrangements Pallett is known for with intimate songwriting and delicate, fingerpicked guitar The whole album feels like a retrospective of their past work, spanning back to the Final Fantasy days and up to their more modern scoring work, and they even bringing back the character of Lewis from 2010’s Heartland. And while it’s definitely an album you just have to sit down and listen though in one shot, Fire Mare (version) is by far my favorite individual song released this past year.

Various Artists – Louis Wayne Moody High


Numero Group compilations are always a treat, often focusing on capturing specific feelings rather than just a time or place. A compilation of songs recorded by high school garage bands from the 60s and early 70s, the songs are all catchy and full of amateur charm. However, instead of the poppy dance tracks the niche is known for, the songs on Moody High all have an underlying theme of sadness, loneliness, and heartbreak that can only be expressed with such earnestness when you’re a teenager. Haunting, genuine, and danceable (in that sort of sad, swaying way), it really is a testament to the wisdom of youth.

David Juro // Production Engineer

Live Forever – Bartees Strange


This debut album is the manifesto of a proud Black artist in an overwhelmingly white indie scene, bucking simple genre descriptions and pulling no punches. Bartees experiments with styles ranging from indie to hardcore to hip-hop to house as means for expressing his unique voice and often gritty production style, hooking listeners from start to finish.

Songs – Adrianne Lenker


Even though it’s musically bare and stripped back, featuring only Lenker’s voice, acoustic guitar and minimal shaker percussion, this album is hypnotic. It’s lyrics are introspective, personal, and sometimes surreal, while the guitars are constantly weaving a melodic tapestry. All this paints a haunting, lonely, and intoxicating picture.

Long Haired Locusts – Godcaster


Godcaster committed their frenetic and dynamic musical chemistry to tape with this exciting debut record. Their brand of funky psych rock, showing off commanding vocal performances, propulsive rhythms, and gorgeous harmonic textures, makes me REALLY miss the carefree fun of packed house shows.

Moveys – Slow Pulp


I was waiting for this debut LP from Slow Pulp for a while, and it was a great addition to their shoegazey indie rock catalogue.