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!

The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in Alphabetical Order)

From hazy break-beats, to pumping acid techno, to hands-in-the-air Detroit diva house, 2018 was another great year for dance music. So many upstart labels shined and delivered great releases, countless new names floated to the top of lineups, and some of our favorite artists continued to bring the goods.

jlo champ

Bearing in mind that year-end lists tire everyone out and usually suck, here are forty tracks that heavily sound-tracked my radio show, club gigs, car stereo, and beyond — presented in alphabetical order because any ranking would be completely arbitrary.

Tune into WKDU one last time in 2018 for the ‘Resolutions Show’ from 8:30 – 10:30 pm, where we’ll read your resolutions on air, play some of the tracks below, and prepare you for a brand new year!


The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2018 (in alphabetical order)

Artist Track Label
Waajeed After You Left DIRT TECH RECK
Hugo Massien Alien Shapes E-BEAMZ
Videopath And So Do Eye Peach Discs
Sa’D Ali Asylum (Louie Vega Deep In The Underground) Nulu Electronic
Steffi Between Form & Matter Air Texture
Pangaea Bonesucka Hessle Audio
Sami Bright Blue feat. ZSY 1432 R
Dj Steaw Celestial Vibrations Rutillance Recordings
Leo Pol Dark Outside Bass Culture
J. Albert Deep State Riddim Trilogy Tapes
Marquis Hawkes, Ursula Rucker Don’t U (Dubbed Out Vocal) Aus Music
Roza Terenzi Electronique Oscillate Tracks
Almaty Gennaro (Endian Remix) naïve
Moodymann Got Me Coming Back Rite Now Mahogani Music
Lady Blacktronica How I Learned Meda Fury
Omar S featuring Simon Black I’ll Do It Again FXHE
Scott Richmond and John Selway Keep On Climbing Firehouse NYC
Teakup Lose My Mind is / was
Heckadecimal Murder Tape Great Circles
Brother Nebula Parting Infinity Legwork
DJ Koze Pick Up Pampa
Hoshina Anniversary Pimp Jack Dept.
Batu Rebuilt XL Recordings
BMG & Derek Plaslaiko Rendezvous (NWB Mix) Interdimensional Transmissions
DJ Dre Respect These Things Take Time
Galcher Lustwerk Rules Meant to Be Broken Lustwerk Music
Djrum Sex R&S Records
D. Tiffany Sip & Savour Planet Euphorique
AceMo Speedn N Smokin Vanity Press
Will Dimaggio Steppin W Friends Future Times
Universal Cave Take Your Time (Universal Cave’s 909 Rubdown) Universal Cave
Omar S & Brian Kage Thru The Madness Michigander
Antemeridian Tuesday AM The Bunker NY
Alex Falk Upp International Black
The Horn Villager (Luca Lozano Remix) Klasse Wrecks
Scott Grooves We Move…We Have To Natural Midi
Marie Davidson Work It Ninja Tune
Shawn Rudiman Works On Paper Pittsburgh Tracks
Cassy X Pete Moss You Gotta Know (Ron Trent Remix) Kwench

Thank you to all the labels, artists, PRs, etc for the great music!!! See you next year — SPREAD LOVE <3 <3 <3

Catch the Hot Mix on Tuesday nights at 10 pm for a preview of The Top 40 Dance Tracks of 2019 ; )

Week in Review–August 13-17

The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last […]



The week of August 13th was overwhelmingly busy from a music lover’s perspective. While every week contains a multitude of new releases and announcements of new music, this week was a dream for any fan in the indie and underground music world. In case you happened to miss anything, we’ve compiled a review of last week’s most relevant announcements and drops. Our review spans multiple genres and scenes, so chances are, you’ll find something new that you can bop to. Check it out below.

Album Releases

mewithoutYou – Untitled EP
Mitski – Be The Cowboy
Trevor Powers – Mulberry Violence

Album Announcements

Cloud Nothings – Last Building Burning (October 19, 2018)
Daughters – You Won’t Get What You Want (October 26, 2018)
Ian Sweet – Crush Crusher (October 26, 2018)
It Looks Sad – Sky Lake (November 2, 2018)
Justus Proffit and Jay Som – Nobody’s Changed EP (September 28, 2018)
mewithoutYou – Untitled LP (October 5, 2018)
Saves The Day – 9 (October 26, 2018)
Say Anything – Oliver Appropriate (October 12, 2018)
Young Jesus – The Whole Thing Is Just There (October 12, 2018)

Song Premiers

Bosse De Nage – “My Shroud”
Cloud Nothings – “The Echo Of The World”
Daughters – “The Reason They Hate Me” 
The Field – “Who Goes There”
Fucked Up – “Normal People”
It Looks Sad – “Light”
Ian Sweet – “Hiding”
Joyce Manor – “Think I’m Still In Love With You”
Lonely Parade – “Olive Green”
Low – “Disarray” 
Madeline Kenney – “Overhead”
mewithoutYou – “Julia (or ‘Holy To The Lord’ On The Bells Of Horses)”
Saintseneca – “Beast In The Garden”
Saves The Day – “Rendezvous”
Say Anything – “Daze”
Swearin’ – “Untitled (LA)”
The Spirit Of The Beehive – “D.O.U.B.I.E.U.R.O.N.G”
Young Jesus – “Deterritory”

Nick Manna’s Favorite Music of 2015

— by Nick Manna

Year-end lists are fun, in theory. Often they seem to be a practice in confirmation bias. So instead of listing albums you may or may not have heard, here are some unforgettable experiences from this year. I wish I could include about 40 more things. Maybe you’ll find something you like. Maybe you were there. Hopefully you’ll be there next time.

Hop Along – Painted ShutPainted Shut cover art
Painted Shut is Hop Along’s third album, and they take a huge leap. Frances Quinlan touched on very emotional subject matter in previous work, but brings it together with superior musicianship in a more cohesive effort on Painted Shut. Quinlan’s voice steals the show, but the guitar work of Joe Reinhart moves to the foreground at points. I feel as though I am doing the album a disservice if I try to multitask while listening. I stop to make sure I don’t miss the transcendent moments, which are shockingly frequent. Some are big, like Reinhart’s soaring solo in “Texas Funeral.” Some are smaller, like Quinlan’s delivery of the word “sun” toward to the end of “Horseshoe Crabs.” During “Happy to See Me,” I always think back to the performances at Union Transfer and Philamoca – Quinlan standing alone on stage, armed with a quiet guitar and mic, a silent crowd transfixed. I heard “Waitress” before the album’s release, and I knew it was special, but never could I have known that every song on the Painted Shut would grab me in a way that few other songs ever have and never let go.

Radiator Hospital, Quarterbacks, and Girlpool at Hazel House: January 11, 2015
Sam Cook-Parrot performed two solo Radiator Hospital shows at Hazel House early this year – once supporting Yowler, and once supporting Quarterbacks, as Radiator Hospital are wont to do. On this January night, Girlpool opened the show. They sat in the bay window with an acoustic guitar and bass and delivered their fantastic songs in the most intimate setting imaginable. They even played their heartbreaking cover of RH’s “Cut Your Bangs” – the only time I have seen them play it. Dean of Quarterbacks was up next and played a quick and witty set of songs that were on his self-titled album. Finally Sam came up and played the best Radiator Hospital set I have seen. He asked for a song to play and we suggested “I’m All Right,” which is a very important song to me. He delivered it flawlessly, before finishing with the agonizing “Shut Up and Deal.” Just listen to the last 30 seconds of that song and then imagine it being screamed, perfectly, right in front of your face. Everyone in the living room was in shock.

Fred Thomas
Fred released one of my favorite albums of the year, All Are Saved, and went on a couple of tours to promote it. I had not heard any of his music before this, but it seemed that All Are Saved had a more official release. His lyrics are smart, poetic, and thought-provoking. He played a show at LAVA space in May with Quarterbacks and Radiator Hospital, and seeing him perform “Bed Bugs” by himself in this bare space, and adding lines as he saw fit, felt like the absolutely perfect way to listen to music. He played LAVA again in November, noting something like “Here I am, approaching my 40th birthday, eating a burrito and playing music in anarchist bookstore, and I couldn’t be happier.” Thirty or so people were at the show. Bonny Doon played too, and I felt incredibly lucky: having the chance to stand feet away from my favorite artists while they perform down the street from my home is a true blessing.

Goodbye Party at Kat Frat: July 8, 2015
We got to this show early, so we walked down to Clark Park and had some ice cream sandwiches. Small Wonder played a great solo set before the Goodbye Party set up their gear. This was their first full-band show in a basement. The Goodbye Party is led by Mikey from the Ambulars, and comprised of Sam from Radiator Hospital, Joey from Pinkwash, Kyle from Swearin’, and Chrissy from Thin Lips – a West Philly all-star ensemble. I felt as though I was continuously hit by a wall of sound, instruments and voices (Sam singing back-up) in perfect harmony with each other. Goodbye Party’s album, Silver Blues, is fairly quiet. The band plays the more upbeat songs, but “Louder than Summer” left me frozen in place. Here I was, in a basement in West Philly with about 20 other people, flooded with sound beautiful and full enough to fill a theater. I could hardly believe what happened that night.

Sidekicks, Cayetana, and All Dogs at Golden Tea House: January 24, 2015 Sidekicks had, by this point, outgrown house shows, but came back just for fun. All Dogs were my favorite band to have yet to release an album at that point, and Cayetana had one of my favorites of 2014. Minutes before doors opened, hundreds of people crowded the block and began to flow into the house – I was a lucky one who made it in. “Who Let the Dogs Out” played over the PA before All Dogs’s set. This was a special show. They played some classics, some unreleased songs, and finished with Nirvana’s Breed (noted as “Kid Rock” on their setlists). Cayetana performed a stellar set as always, before the Sidekicks nearly tore the house down. Forty-five minutes of blistering rock (including a break for “1940’s Fighter Jet”) had me moving to the back for fear of my safety by the end, though it didn’t get too bad. Golden Tea House stopped doing shows just days later.

Also Memorable:
Seeing Weezer play the Blue Album and Pinkerton, in full, back-to-back nights at Riot Fest Toronto
Sufjan Stevens’s latest album, Carrie and Lowell, and his somber performance at Academy of Music
The output of Maryn Jones: Yowler – Yowler / All Dogs – Kicking Every Day / Saintseneca – Such Things
The music video for “Bad Ideas” by Saintseneca
Eskimeaux – O.K.

Glasses’ Top Albums of 2015

by Sam Robinson


Does anybody listen to music anymore? Or do we just kind of pretend to have listened to the latest high-concept journalism-bait records and quote bot-generated thinkpieces about them to impress our friends who have also only pretended to listen to the albums in question. Last year I tried listening to music, and only came up with ten items to fill my listicle’s distended sac. So I gave up on that. Below are six albums I heard about in passing from cool people in 2015 – I hope you get invited to some killer New Year’s parties to quote these reviews at.


6. Black Wing…Is Doomed 

From the ashes of Dan Barrett’s (Have a Nice Life, Giles Corey, Married), failed Drive-inspired synthpop project, Dan Barrett and the Cruisers, comes a bombastic, pop tinged electronic romp through the mind of one of the most exciting musicians working in shoegaze today. The effects driven guitars may be gone from this record, but there is no absence of emotional soundscapes in their wake. Heavily processed synth drum kits scintillate across the soundstage and vocal tracks dip into hyper-compressed clipping collages that can best be described as aural car wrecks. This might not be a strictly shoegaze record, but Barrett’s pedigree still manages to shine through.

Continue reading “Glasses’ Top Albums of 2015”

5 Riffs That Humans Wrote

Good day, readers. Inspired by fellow DJ Nick Myers’ late-night accusation that “all the good riffs have been written,” I give to you 5 examples of perfect riffage that will hopefully inspire the guitarists in all of us to turn up the ol’ Peavey and make something beautiful.

While this list is far from comprehensive (and totally ignores guitar solos, a totally different concept that I hope to address in a future post), I hope that it provides a good sampling of riffs for your heads to bang to.

A note: Two of these groups are playing shows in Philadelphia tonight, and if you have Facebook and a nose for guitars and basements, I bet you can find them.

 1. Sleep – Holy Mountain 

The lonely, droopy guitar line at the 4 minute mark is my jam. Last heard on John Sinclair’s show “Cosmic Debris.”

 2. Painted Ship – And She Said Yes 

Painted Ship were a legendary garage punk band from Vancouver. Active from 1965-68, they put out several dynamite 45s. 1966’s “And She Said Yes” was a ripping B-side. No bassist and a hollering lead singer is clearly the way to do things.

Continue reading “5 Riffs That Humans Wrote”