Each week, WMSE reports its airplay charts to the College Music Journal (CMJ), tracking what our DJs spin the week-prior (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 releases will grow to be popular because of general buzz, 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 chooses five ‘adds’ each week from several add choices that promotes and publicists throw at us.
The musician’s promoters or labels tell us what’s what: who’s been getting praise and why we should add their releases. This all helps in the decision-making process. How did it all add up this past week? Read some of their convincing words, 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?
Destroyer, Kaputt / Merge Records
“Savage Night at the Opera”
Destroyer’s new album is a bit disco glitter, a bit slow-dance saxophone hazy, and a bit epic novella, glued together with layers and layers of intrigue. Dan Bejar’s (Destroyer) trademark nasal, bookish crooning has mellowed and deepened with its undeniable 80’s appeal, heavy with the headiness of that particular decade and light with it’s whimsical, nearly-kitschy qualities.
Social Distortion: Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes / Epitaph
“Gimme the Sweet and Lowdown”
Social D’s seventh album in about six years, Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes was produced by band ringleader, Mike Ness and has the band landing on Epitaph Records’ soil. Epitaph says of the new album, “Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes builds on singer Mike Ness’ twin footings, one in the haunted American landscapes of Hank Williams and the other in the raw swagger of Exile-era Rolling Stones. While these twin pillars have always been behind Social Distortion’s anthemic songs, on Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes they come roaring to the fore, in one of the hardest rocking, most soulful, albums of Ness’ career.”
Fujiya & Miyagi: Ventriloquizzing / Yep Roc
“Sixteen Shades of Black and Blue”
The Brighton, London band has been around since 2000, but finally are solidifying their sound and audience base. In regards to their latest, Ventriloquizzing, Yep Roc Records says, “After two years experimenting in the shadows, minimalist-funk heroes Fujiya & Miyagi are back with their darkest and most propulsive set yet. The band’s fourth album, Ventriloquizzing has a dark heart, via its throbbing electro-glam beat and menacing lyrics. For the first time the band enlisted the production chops of famed producer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver, Pernice Brothers) to create a mystery swirled atmosphere perfectly exemplified on “Sixteen Shades Of Black And Blue”. Written in Brighton, UK and recorded in Sacramento, CA; Ventriloquizzing is likely the first (and last) black comedy you can dance to, and we warmly welcome you to.”
Fergus and Geronimo: Unlearn / Hardly Art
Hardly Art’s latest duo of greatness (Fergus and Geronimo) makes a good case for simple appeal in their album, Unlearn. Nobody should mess with Texas, and F&G take this notion and use it as a forcefield of sorts, even going so far as to flippantly name themselves after the rival child gang leaders from the 1994 movie War Of The Buttons. Jason Kelly and Andrew Savage make their music nice and easy, filling it with the audio influences of (according to their PR) “Black and Chicano doo-wop, the energy and atmosphere of classic soul, the precise control of Frank Zappa, psychedelia, and a thought to nearly everything in between.”
Cage the Elephant: Thank You Happy Birthday / I Jive
Cage the Elephant may have a bit of a nostalgic, 90s rock feel to them, but the band doesn’t rest staidly on any rock history laurels. The Kentucky quintet’s recent release is full of plenty of relate-able fire and charm, and according to their release for their latest Thank You Happy Birthday, the band is “Following the notable success of their 2008 debut record, [and] is now gear[ing] up to release their second critically-acclaimed album, which the LA Times describes as, ‘ripping rave-ups and effortlessly tasty sing-a-longs.’ Thank You, Happy Birthday is an innovative work of alternative-based new wave indie rock, highlighted by constant raw energy and bold vocal delivery.”