Every week, WMSE reports its airplay charts to the College Music Journal (CMJ), tracking what our DJs spin the week prior (you can check out the weekly, updated list *here*). Part of the business of tracking involves ‘adding’ what we think will get lots of spins right out of the gate. Whether we think these new releases will grow to be popular because of the general buzz surrounding the music and musicians or it’s a reissue of something we just know the WMSE DJs will play the heck out of, or something we hope that’ll get a ton of spins, WMSE picks five ‘adds’ each week from several add choices.
In addition, the musician’s promoters or labels do their job of telling us what’s what, who’s been getting praise and why we should add their releases. This past week’s adds feature a couple veterans as well as a couple newbies. How did the promoters convince us? Just read what they had to say, below. Then, listen to a track from each artist and make your own decision. Will these albums be popping up on WMSE’s charts over the next three months like nobody’s business, or will they be a flash in the pan?
School of Seven Bells, “Windstorm”
School of Seven Bells: Disconnect From Desire / Ghostly Int.
Canada from Pirate says, “In other news add the new School of Seven Bells this week!” Nice, Canada, nice. Lucky for him, WMSE already digs this band, and latched onto the band’s 2008 release Alpinisms with airplay energy. We think the new album will be a solid chart contender, featuring the same beautiful vocal harmonies and electronic noodlings from twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (On!Air!Library!) and Benjamin Curtis (Secret Machines) on guitar.
R.E.M., “Life and How to Live It”
R.E.M. – Fables Of The Reconstruction [25th Anniversary Edition] / (EMI/I.R.S.)
Cora from Distiller Promo says, “After the release of two landmark albums, R.E.M. decided to switch things up for the recording of their third album, Fables of the Reconstruction.
Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills and Bill Berry left their home and comfort zone in the south to record with renowned folk rock producer Joe Boyd (Fairport Convention, Nick Drake) in London, England. This trip marked the first steps in what would become a sea change for the band, and, of course, produced yet another groundbreaking album in R.E.M.’s now inimitable thirty year career.
“The jangly guitar sound and unintelligible lyrics for which the band had become known start to be replaced and modified here. (Indeed, the mumbles that open “Feeling Gravity’s Pull” feel a world away from the clear, poetic “Wendell Gee.”) Acoustic instruments and string arrangements complement lyrics touching on their extensive travels and rural southern lore. Indeed, R.E.M.’s first major trip away from the South may well have sparked their most direct sonic exploration of it to date, as the darker tone on this album is now understood to have come from homesickness and unrest amongst the members of the band, and was exacerbated by a terrible London winter.
“The version you have here has been digitally remastered and bolstered by 14 previously unreleased demo recordings cut in Athens, GA prior to the album’s studio sessions. “Throw Those Trolls Away” (which would become “When I Was Young,” which would become the spectacular “I Believe”) is a long sought-after track that has *never* before been released! Other demos include songs that would eventually find their way onto R.E.M.’s fourth album, Lifes Rich Pageant. Long-time R.E.M. favorites and bests such as “Feeling Gravity’s Pull,” “Life and How To Live It,” “Driver 8” and “Wendell Gee” sound better than ever on this collection. Even if your album play count for this record is in the hundreds, you’ll find plenty to love, adore, cherish, and obsess over!”
Stornoway, “Boats & Trains”
Stornoway: Beachcomber’s Windowsill / 4AD
Hector from Beggars Group says, “Beachcomber’s Windowsill is an album that has taken more than five years to make; a labor of love that includes over a hundred different instruments, the chimes of a Dutch church bell, one Morse Code message and the sound of several carrots being chopped. It is an album that features as many bedrooms as there are songs, as well as ruminations on the computer age, ornithology and first love. More importantly, it is an album of extraordinary beauty, that is by turns fiery and wistful and exuberant, and that marks out Stornoway as Britain’s most talented young band.
“Stornoway began quietly one freshman week at Oxford University, when lead singer and principal songwriter Brian Briggs approached Jon Ouin (keys/banjo/electric guitar/cello) and asked if he happened to like Teenage Fanclub. They began playing music together soon afterwards, in the dining hall of Wolfson College and immediately set to work on their own fledgling compositions. A short while later they were emboldened enough to enter the college talent competition, where they were runners-up to a group of Norse singers, and received a consolation prize of a large bowl of fruit.
“Spurred on by this success, they recorded a handful of demos on Ouin’s 8-track, and placed an ad for a bass player in the local paper. The sole respondent was Ollie Steadman, then still a sixth form student, who sent Briggs and Ouin a strikingly formal application for the position of bassist, and turned up to the audition armed with a screwdriver, lest his new bandmates turned out to be dangerous thugs. The final addition was Steadman’s younger brother, Rob, who was finally given an opportunity to audition after the band had endured a succession of woefully bad drummers. (Live performances are augmented by Briggs’ brother Adam on trumpet and Rahul Satija on violin — both of whom als o make appearances on Beachcomber’s Windowsill). They practised, then , in freezing cold garages and crowded around the bed in Briggs’ bedroom; they played live around the venues of Oxford, often to the smallest of audiences, and soon they caught the eye of Tim Bearder, a DJ from BBC Oxford who was so instantly smitten that he devoted an entire show to the band.
“For there is something about Stornoway that inspires a quite feverish devotion; an adoration conjured by the charm of their songs, and the kind of rousing live performances that are capable of stirring even the most sceptical hearts. Their self-promoted shows in Oxford grew to the extent that last year they sold out the 800 capacity Sheldonian Theatre while still basically unknown outside the city. In the last 12 months alone they have acquired the support of UK’s Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, played Radio 1’s Big Weekend, wooed the crowds at Glastonbury, found themselves shortlisted for Radio 1’s Sound of 2010, played a sold-out UK tour and appeared on Later…With Jools Holland.”
Kylie Minogue, “Closer”
Kylie Minogue: Aphrodite / Astralwerks
Jerry at Vitriol says, “Yep! I love me some Kylie!! And this album is just sooooo fun. The positive press has been pouring in and I’ve had some really nice reaction from you guys as well!! Early Top 5 RPM Adds last week, unsolicited IMs about adding the record, even an MD that is adding all nine songs I recommended to rotation, thanks Xander! I gotta tell you, I LOVE hearing it! If you are a fan of Royksopp, Annie, Goldfrapp, Robyn, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Scissor Sisters…. you need to give this record a listen! There is a LOT to love here and if you are a fan of plain old pure pop… unabashed, unapologetic, euphoria-inducing, giant grin-causing pop, then check this record out!”
Eastern Conference Champs, “Bloody Bells”
Eastern Conference Champs: Santa Fe EP / S/R
Greg from Planetary says, “The band originally hails from PA but have since relocated to LA, and are poised to blow up with their inclusion on the most recent Twilight soundtrack (so you’ve already had one of their songs). They’re already receiving praise from the likes of NME.”