color theory by Soccer Mommy Review

by Lukas Da Silva

image of Soccer Mommy promoting her new album, color theory, from npr.org

Sophia Regina Allison, aka Soccer Mommy, has been putting in a lot of work these past couple years to make her own place in the music scene. She has been doing everything from putting out single after single to touring all around the world in an attempt to get her name out. Now with her new album, color theory coming out, she has finally cemented herself as a staple of the indie scene right now. This album was a great success that not only built upon what she created on her previous albums, but also improved on it with new elements on her instrumentation and lyricism. With a clearer sound and focus, beautiful instrumentation that sounds even richer than her previous work, and her unique and instantly recognizable vocals, Soccer Mommy has presented us with an album that is truly a culmination of years of work. 

From songs such as “circle the drain” to “lucy”, Allison brings back the passionate and emotion filled lyricism from her previous works such as For Young Hearts while enriching the instrumental sounds she touched on in past songs. Hitting heavy topics such as her mother’s terminal illness, her own mental health, and the happiness lost as you slowly become an adult, Allison seems to be showing off the growth she has gained since becoming an artist and making her debut album.

As you listen to this album, expect to hear a wide variety of sounds that Allison has cultivated over the years, as some of the best tracks from this album are sure to stick with you even weeks after listening to them. The infectious and ear catching “circle the drain,” with its 2000’s sounding instrumentals, is sure to leave you humming it long after it ends. The melancholy inducing “royal screw up,” with its soft drumwork and pensive lyrics, leaves listeners questioning their own insecurities. Finally, the tear-jerking ode to Allison’s mother “yellow is the color of her eyes” is a tribute to the pain caused by terminal illness. These songs show the broad range of emotions and ideas the album has while still maintaining a consistently beautiful sound. These songs are some of the best that Soccer Mommy has ever put out and it’s easy to hear the amount of time and work that was put in each track. While these three songs might be the best of the album, that doesn’t mean the album is lacking in the other songs. Each song tells its own story and further propels you into the mind of Soccer Mommy, so take your time to enjoy this beautiful album.

American Football: how midwest emo lives on

by Brooklyn Fellner

Nate Kinsella, Matt Kinsella, Steve Lamos, and “the mysterious” Steve Homes, all poured themselves a glass of red wine in the lounges of the Union Transfer. Their band, American Football, was reuniting after a much anticipated comeback. Here is what they had to say about touring, writing, and getting the band back together. 

American Football had played last in Philly at the UT two years ago, “give or take.” Although the band enjoys touring on the east coast, they said they “enjoy anywhere they’ll have us.” 

They decided to do a deluxe release of their self-titled album after proclaiming “huh people wanna hear us.” This came as an exciting announcement, as the original album, first released in 1999, has been revered as a breakthrough for midwest emo music.

Their first record seems to be a timeless token of late 90s alternative. The band described how it just keeps getting passed on and on in every decade since its release. At every show, 60- 70 percent of their audience are in their 20s or younger and they are still surprised, but enthused by how relevant their music is today.

“it  just seems like it keeps getting passed from generation to generation, it’s neat to be that for someone… even though they should be listening to different bands,” they said.

The revamp of the band is credited to Steve Lamos, who was rummaging through an old box of cassettes in his dad’s home, where he found old recordings of American Football. This rediscovery sparked an interest in playing together again, which led to their reuniting in after years of breaking off and starting families, new jobs, and adulthood. From this, came the American Football LP3 which was released in 2019 and was followed by the tour. Featured on this LP is none other than the queen of alternative herself, Hayley Williams. She lends her outstanding vocals on the song “Uncomfortably Numb.” Nate recalled this only took her three takes to nail.

In high school, the bandmates were in the homegrown punk scene. From there, this lifestyle extended further in college, when there were clusters of shows popping up in Champaign, Illinois. There were opportunities for people to play wherever they were allowed to be loud, so this usually happened in basements and garages. This idea of having DIY shows started to spread, and even if there is no end goal, the band said how they were enjoying their time in the basement regardless of the future of their music.  Through the scene, their band got more and more popular and through “dumb luck,” as described by the band members, American Football caught on.

Fast forward to now, American Football still pulls loyal audiences to every show they have played on their reunion tour. The deluxe release of their self titled album has, without a doubt, inspired an even greater appreciation for midwest emo music.

Kiss My Super Bowl Ring by The Garden

by Dominick Baglivo

Image from https://www.spin.com/2020/02/garden-kiss-my-super-bowl-ring-album/

On their fourth studio album, The Garden absolutely excel at what they have always done best—getting weird as fuck.

Kiss My Super Bowl Ring, the fourth studio album by Orange County duo The Garden, sees them build upon their weirdo-art punk sound to create their most adventurous and impressive output yet. 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 know nothing and everything at once. 

Synth-heavy, bass-heavy, loaded with screams, Kiss My Super Bowl Ring thrives off 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.

Launching Off with Rave Scout Cookies founder Salman Jaberi

During these crazy times, it’s comforting to know that people like Salman Jaberi, founder of new multimedia platform Rave Scout Cookies, are out there fighting the good fight.

Rave Scout Cookies represents everything we’re about here at WKDU: devotion to the community, quality underground taste, and uplifting underrepresented marginalized folx who enable and create amazing art.

We caught up with Salman to get the scoop on some of their most memorable rave deeds, how to create safe & inclusive events, and why dancing in itself is a political act. 

Be sure to check out this bangin’ mix from New York duo Fatherhood as well!

Continue reading “Launching Off with Rave Scout Cookies founder Salman Jaberi”

Injury Reserve at The Foundry

Image from soundcloud.com

By Lukas Da Silva

Injury Reserve played at The Foundry on September 26th and it was a jaw dropping performance. The show started off with the duo “Body Meat,” a group that started as the solo act of Christopher Taylor. He eventually paired up with the drummer named Infinity (named because of his other group “Infinity Dance Complex”) to begin making their post-punk R&B amalgamations. 

This duo really brought their all to the show, creating an atmosphere of unchained imagination and sounds. Taylor was unleashing on the vocals, using autotune to further the crazy energy that he brought with his singing, while Infinity was making some really intricate and unique beats with his electronic drum pads. They blew away everyone in the audience as people looked dumbfounded that you could combine so many different noises and make it sound phenomenal. People looked taken aback by how good of an opening act that Body Meat was.

The second act, “Slauson Malone” was strange to say the least. To describe his music as experimental would be an understatement. The man used barely any lights and used some of the weirdest samples I’ve ever heard. These included flies buzzing and Amazon’s Alexa talking about the end of the world commencing. 

His music contains some of the darkest vocals I’ve heard in a long time and it genuinely scared me at times. 

Then finally, Injury Reserve came on and they brought the house down. The lighting had a chaotic yet controlled feeling that made me think the lighting was its own entity. The beats created by Injury Reserve member, Parker Corey, were so energetic and infectious that it didn’t take long before people were bobbing their heads to the music.

To top it all off, the vocals and flow of both Stepa J. Groggs and Ritchie “With a T” were top notch and filled with intense energy. The group brought so much energy that it didn’t take long before the crowd was moshing and chanting with them.

They had some awesome bangers like “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe”, “Jailbreak The Tesla”, and “Three Man Weave”. By the end of the concert, I felt like I had gone through a very intense workout and was still feeling the rush from it. My body was physically tired from rocking out so hard but mentally, I felt as hyper as ever. I left the concert very satisfied and felt that I had made some memories that would last me a long time. It was easily one of the most energizing shows I had ever experienced. 

 

Electronic artist CVN Drops Emotional New Album “i.c.”

 

Today, Nobuyuki Sakuma (former member of Jesse Ruins) released his second full-length album as CVN. Though it feels like a logical departure from the darting techno doom-scape in Sakuma’s preceding album, Matters, the huge breadth of emotions channeled in i.c. makes for an unpredictable listening experience. Track by track, Sakuma calls for us to rely on our sense of imagination rather than direction, and follow him, unhurried, through the “mutating” cityscapes of Tokyo.

Kicking off i.c. with a pop track, “成分” consists of lullaby-ish melodies and kind, female vocals by NTsKi. It is followed by “Excuse” feat. Cemetery, which builds a sense of tension and curiosity through its steady beat, ambient diffusion of vocal samples, droning strings, nature sounds, and colorful synth blips. The track eventually wriggles free from its forward marching drums, as if to give us a chance to look around at the diverse soundscape that Sakuma has built before moving onwards.

With an ominous chorus and an abundance of industrial whirring, “You Argued for Justice” delivers a dark catharsis to the prior track’s buildup. Though the begin of “Snippets of Heaven” might lead you to believe we’ve reached a glitchy techno destination, it resolves to another moment of sonic reverence. Next, “Local Pain” feat. Le Makeup uses bright guitars to take an unexpectedly upbeat turn, and so it goes. Sakuma purportedly allows his mood to dominate the direction of each track. As a result, i.c. moves between heaviness and zen, while often finding a way to balance the two elements within the same track.

i.c. resembles its predecessor, Matters, through intricate and inventive synthesized sounds, and an untethered, winding, sense of motion. Both albums are experimental in their own right, but i.c. find chaos in moments of stillness, and each track’s organic undercurrent to shine through. Each beat finds a flow that is interesting and rhythmically unique, but not so heady that it requires technical appreciation in order to be enjoyed.

Like walking through Tokyo, there is always something new waiting to be discovered in i.c. Every layer that is peeled back gives us another clue about the place from which Sakuma is sending us his message.  

When he’s not making music, Sakuma works as an editor at the online music magazine, AVYSS, and curates a mix series called Gray Matter Archives. So while the more avant-garde aspects of this album are likely inspired by Japan’s experimental electronic scene, tracks like “Excuse” and “下丘 Kakyu” utilize traditional Japanese instruments and reflect the juxtaposition of hypermodernity and history that exists within Tokyo.

CVN will be performing in Philly on June 19th at Berks Warehouse, along with label-mate Koeosaeme

Stream i.c. by CVN below!