Looking for new music? DJs at WVAU share their thoughts on a range of recent releases.
Sufjan Stevens | Silver and Gold
Songwriter/composer delivers a six-disc Christmas compilation, which ranges from melodic to truly bizarre.
Let’s face it: this massive 59-song Christmas compilation has at least a couple of songs to offer for Sufjan fans of all perspectives.
“Gloria” does Christmas like “The Avalanche,” lead by uplifting choral vocals, a banjo and swelling string compositions. “Christmas Infinity Voyage” and “Christmas Unicorn” bear the closest resemblance to Sufjan’s recent work, layering bizarre beats over auto-tuned vocals and glitchy experimental electronics to create sprawling 10+ minute Xmas pop epics.
“Let It Snow” channels the bombastic yet melancholic multi-instrumental, quasi-classical pop approach of “All Delighted People.” All this clocks in over three hours, and there’s still time for a Joy Division cover halfway through the 12 minutes of “Christmas Unicorn.”
“Silver and Gold” is an accurate microcosm of Sufjan’s last decade of work: inventive, uplifting, satirical and, at times, absolutely bizarre.
Recommended If You Like: Andrew Bird, Christmas
By Maxwell Tani “Climax!” on Mondays, 10 p.m. - midnight
Roc Marciano | Reloaded
Long Island underground rapper favors old-school, verse-centered sound.
Rather than building his songs around a catchy hook, Roc Marciano focuses more on layering laid-back but intelligent verses over trippy, turntable-heavy beats.
The album strengthens its ties to mid-90s style with clips of people talking and samples from movies and TV that create a street-wise story arc throughout the album.
Marciano doesn’t do a lot of acrobatics with his voice, which is essentially a low monotone throughout, with most of the sonic motion in the songs coming from heavy use of turntable scratching and reversing.
The fluctuating volume and heavy use of backmasking can be a little overbearing, but overall, Marciano’s rhymes rise above the electric guitar and synth screams.
RIYL: Raekwon, Nas, Danny Brown, early Outkast
By Sean Meehan “We’re Hilarious” on Saturdays, 6 - 8 p.m.
Ex-Cult | Ex-Cult
Ex-Cult goes beyond the usual threshold for punk with powerful results.
This self-titled release is more complicated than your usual brand of punk rock, as Ex-Cult members pull from their varied musical backgrounds for influences along with some from their producer, Ty Segall.
While there is a hazy effect over the album as a whole, it allows for certain sounds to pop, like the melodic guitar and energetic percussion on “Knives on Both Sides” and “Young Trash.” It’s not hard to tell that every sound and effect has a purpose on this album, from the mild echo to the distortion.
Running a little over a minute, the deceptively basic “Post Graduate” is a prime example of this. They don’t waste a second on bringing the track to the energy level they want and developing it with explosive guitar and vocal combinations. Their thoughtfulness goes well with how tight they are as a unit, which is what makes this release worth listening to.
RIYL: Ty Segall, Black Lips, Jay Reatard
By Leigh Hopkins