WIBLT: Everything's Happening All At Once
What I've Been Listening To, 3/16/22
‘What I’ve Been Listening To’ is a bi-weekly series that highlights 8 projects, 1 song, and 1 video that have been on repeat for me. Be sure to follow the ‘What I’ve Been Listening To’ playlist that is always up to date with the eight standout tracks from all of these posts in 2022.
If the world’s got you down, this music will get you up.
I Could Get Used To This - Spring Silver
10 tracks, 38 minutes
Released: March 4th, 2022
From: Silver Spring, MD
Genres: Rock, Alternative, Punk
Recommended For Fans Of: Oceanator, Bartees Strange, NNAMDÏ
Silver Spring, Maryland is a city familiar with being misidentified. If you pay close attention to concert posters, there’s about a 30% chance that their date will get labeled as ‘Silver Springs’ on any given tour that comes to town. Spring Silver takes that idea even further as they create their own wave, and they’ve got plenty of names for their sound such as Nü-Gaze, shugazi, queer metal, and they/themcore. “In this era, you can just make a genre,” K Nkanza, the brains behind Spring Silver, told Chris Richards for the Washington Post. “It’s a signifier: ‘This is a specific thing. These are my pronouns. This is something you can know about me that might inform your engagement with the music.’ But also? It’s just fun. When you have the Internet, you can create culture almost immediately.” Returning with the first release since their 2019 debut album, I Could Get Used To This displays an abundance of talent and depth from Nkanza, and a cacophony of influences like MSTRKRFT, Elliott Smith, Phoenix, Weezer, Fleet Foxes, and more. Many tracks feature entirely different sounds than the one before it, yet they don’t feel out of place. Like the title and cover suggest, the project is an exploration of the current normal: doom scrolling, too much information all at once, being surrounded by chaos but unable to log off or look away. While there’s some nihilistic relief and amusement to be found in acceptance, Nkanza is at their best when they unleash the rage against all that, like on I Saw Violence, O Kristi, and the below linked Little Prince. Though you won’t see it in the tracklist, the album’s credits reveal features from Bartees Strange, Sad13, Mister Goblin, and more.
Standout Track: Little Prince
In the Sun in the Rain - Fieh
11 tracks, 44 minutes
Released: March 4th, 2022
From: Oslo, Norway
Genres: R&B, Soul, Psychedelic, Jazz
Recommended For Fans Of: Men I Trust, Michael Seyer, Hiatus Kaiyote
“Like D’Angelo’s the Vanguard, straight outta the rural Norwegian countryside,” is how Fieh introduces themselves, and they have the sound to back it up. The seven piece Norwegian group follows up their 2019 debut project with this continuation of their catchy, left-field R&B sound. Though they are a large band, with various sounds and instruments weaving in and out of these songs, the drum and bass always sets the tone with each one, creating a tight groove to lock in to from the first downbeat. Sofie Tollefsbøl, the band’s vocalist, casually croons lyrics about, “everyday life, incidents, people and love – real stories from real life.” Her soothing but powerful vocals sail across these instrumentals that are often breezy and bright, but there’s sounds for all occasions on here. They’ve got songs for parties (Grendehus Funkadelic), groovy tracks (Telephone Girl), and more subdued cuts (allthetimeevenwhen) scattered throughout the tracklist. If you’re the type of person to get your summer playlists ready in advance, you’ll want to be sure you give this project a listen. In the Sun in the Rain was recorded with famed Norwegian producer Lars Horntveth, and mixed by Russell Elevado, who’s worked with D’Angelo, Angélique Kidjo, and The Roots among others.
Standout Track: Allthetimeevenwhen
Delusion Spray - Eades
12 tracks, 39 minutes
Released: March 4th, 2022
From: Leeds, UK
Genres: Garage, Rock, Alternative, Punk
Recommended For Fans Of: Sports Team, Pom Poko, Parquet Courts
Delusion Spray is the boisterous debut album from a Leeds group with lofty ambitions. “We went in to record a classic,” said lead singer and frontman Harry Jordan on the studio sessions for the project. Those sessions included renting a remote farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales with just 15 days to convert it into a studio and record 16 tracks. With high stakes and expectations, the band smoothly brushes the pressure off their shoulders and delivers a thunderously fun and unique first project. From their first release in 2020, Eades wanted to show their versatility (Jordan told DIY Mag “I wanted to make that clear on our EP - that we aren’t a one trick pony”) and that continues onto this album. Together the five-piece band combs through influences of post-punk, punk, pre-punk (probably), garage rock, ‘indie’ rock anthems, and more before spitting their own recipe back in your face. Jordan’s vocals keep a commanding control throughout the tracklist, but he knows when to give way to some rowdy gang vocals, or even tap synth-player/percussionist Lily Fontaine to step up and do lead vocals on I’m Holding Back Your Hair (Eades is a side venture for Fontaine who fronts the band English Teacher). Speaking on the project, Fontaine said, “being stuck in a secluded place made recording the album a special experience. All sorts of in-jokes and memories flood in when I listen back. I hope that that joy comes across.” If this project is anything, it’s a good time, so mission accomplished. Delusion Spray is undoubtedly an impactful debut, so you’ll want to get on board now.
Standout Track: Backseat Politic
Everything All At Once Again - Slaters
13 tracks, 40 minutes
Released: February 25th, 2022
From: NYC / LA
Genres: Electronic, Pop, Dance
Recommended For Fans Of: Roy Blair, pinkpantheress
Slaters is the duo of Al Carlson and Alex Craig who are dropping their debut album here, though they’ve got a large body of work under their belts already. Their production credits include rising indie stars like Roy Blair, Claud, Sophie Meiers, Jelani Aryeh, and Binki to name a few. Now it’s their turn to step into the limelight with Everything All At Once Again, released through Fader Label. The production still takes center stage, as there are tracks scattered throughout the album that are almost entirely instrumental. That, paired with the electronic club ready production that’s stuffed with vocal chops and samples, gives the album the breathing and lively feeling of a DJ mix. In a similar sense, the tracks flow in and out of each other seamlessly. Together it all makes the project feel like you’ve stepped into a late night DJ set your friends have put together. As each track goes on it becomes clear the immense attention to detail that went into every aspect of the songs. This album proves outright that the duo has much more to offer artistically than just behind the scenes work.
Standout Track: Everyday
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Chain Of Command - Wifigawd
11 tracks, 25 minutes
Released: February 23rd, 2022
From: Washington, D.C.
Genres: Hip-Hop/Rap, Underground
Recommended For Fans Of: Curren$y, Lil Xelly, Lil Tracy
Chain Of Command is the latest in a long run of mixtapes, albums, and EPs for underground veteran Wifigawd, but it’s also a first in some regards. Partnering with POW Recordings and Vinyl Me Please, this is the DC rappers’ first ever vinyl release. In other ways though, he’s still the same artist many have grown to love as this project isn’t short on heavy bass, soulful samples, countless flows, some Tony Seltzer beats, and shoutouts to The Khan. Even with the enormous output, Wifigawd always taps into a different energy that makes each new project feel rare. With this one, he went back to the classics to get in the right headspace. “Recording this shit, I was just listening to a whole bunch of rap music — old rap music — that’s all I do just to catch any type of feelin’. I just look for the beats and do me,” he told Walker Armstrong for Passion Of The Weiss. “All I do is just tap into some new styles every time, but keep it in my own world, so this shit don’t get washed out — just always tryin’ to get some new shit.” Classics for Wifigawd include what his family introduced him too (a mix of reggae and rap like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Redman, & Wu-Tang) and the DatPiff mixtapes he was raised on (Curren$y, Kid Cudi, Chip The Ripper, & Raider Klan to name a few). As usual this results in some one of a kind sounds. I could best describe Chain Of Command as a mix of Curren$y and early Kid Cudi viewed through a Three 6 Mafia filter, but you’re better off just listening and deciding for yourself.
Standout Track: Flying Lotus
Crease - Kee Avil
10 tracks, 36 minutes
Released: March 11th, 2022
From: Montreal, Québec
Genres: Electronic, Experimental
Recommended For Fans Of: More Ease & Claire Rousay, Eartheater, Mica Levi
Crease is the debut project from Kee Avil, the Montreal based artist whose work is described as, “a singular expression of fractured dream logic concretized in chiselled postpunk guitar, sinuous low-end electronics, a panoply of organic and digital samples creating alternately twitchy and propulsive rhythm, and the anxious intimacy of her finely wrought lyricism and vocals.” It may be a bit hard to decipher that word-vomit, but it is difficult to describe that anxious intimacy that defines Avil’s unique sound. Crease is built with scattering, panicked production that Avil’s vocals crawl through unnaturally. The soundscapes are so intricate that they wouldn’t feel out of place as the score in an arthouse horror film. Even when a song’s surface level content isn’t that horrifying, there’s always a creepy element that keeps you a little on edge, be it a rumbling bass tone or a bug-like clicking in the background. The sinking feeling of something about to go horribly wrong looms over this album. And that’s not an easy feeling to capture. It’s a long quote, but I feel compelled to include this bit from Avil on their approach to writing music, as the result is like nothing I’ve heard before.
“Songwriting, to me, is like sculpting. It stems from an initial word, emotion or sound, which I then build on, molding it into a more refined shape, glued into an artificial structure. Other times, my role is to peel it, scrape at its exterior, to reveal its natural state and its part within the whole. I’m led by these initial ideas; not to polish but to translate abstraction into sound and imagery. This process of decoding can be tedious; other times it’s immediate, each idea giving birth to another, together building their own cohesion. I like raw, tumbling sculptures, sometimes held together by nothing more than intent.”
Standout Track: See, My Shadow
Basically Nancy - Basically Nancy
10 tracks, 31 minutes
Released: March 4th, 2022
From: Savannah, GA
Genres: Rock, Punk
Recommended For Fans Of: Bikini Kill, Sleater Kinney, Hole
Savannah rock band Basically Nancy comes through with their impressive self-titled debut album. The trio formed as high school seniors at the Savannah Arts Academy in 2018, and built up their repertoire through live gigs in the following years. According to the group, they were playing in bars before they could buy cigarettes, and ripping through punk covers in venues while rocking X’s on their hands. This debut album is essentially closing that first chapter of the band’s career, seeing the official release of many songs written in high school. “It’s exciting to finally move on to new stuff,” Alayna Bowen (bass, vocals) told Savannah Now. “A lot of these songs we’ve been playing since we started.” Though taking their time with the release and recording surely helped, this album sounds more mature than any project you’d expect high schoolers to have written. Heavy guitar tones and slap delayed vocals setup their ‘90s rock sound from the get-go. The vintage production supports the band’s personal lyrics that will foray into heavy topics like dissatisfaction and abuse. “Our lyrics are raw and angry and real. We scream about real shit we have had to deal with as young women,” Greta Schroeder (guitar, vocals) said for House of Strut. “I think of this album as kind of being playful with the relationship between innocence and love and this ‘fuck you’ energy.”
Standout Track: Misery
Werewolf Hair - Werewolf Hair
12 tracks, 33 minutes
Released: September 3rd, 2021
From: Ann Arbor, MI → Virginia
Genres: Alternative, Country, Punk, Lo-Fi
Recommended For Fans Of: Alex G, Gnawing
Last week, I discovered this project that slipped under my radar from last year (while it came out in Sept. ‘21, it looks like it just made its way to Spotify and other streaming services in Feb. ‘22). Werewolf Hair is the project of Andy Godwin, who makes all the music himself, and recorded much of this self-titled during a stint of homelessness. “I recorded a lot of those vocal parts in my car - I would drive to a McDonald’s parking lot or something like that and let it rip. I even did some guitar parts sitting at park benches if it wasn’t crowded. I’m not really proud of it but that’s just how it was," Godwin said. It’s not quite an album however that requires clean recordings and production, in fact that would almost defeat the purpose. There’s a lot of moments on this album that feel like they could be called ‘country punk,’ and I’ve never really thought that about an album before. Often these tracks will have all the intricacies of a country rock jam, with the ‘turned up to 11’ energy of a basement punk demo. Maybe you could even call it outlaw country in the way it refuses to abide by the rules of traditional recording with the abundant noise and clipping throughout. After the recordings were complete, John Dieterich of Deerhoof was tapped to mix and master the record, given the task to, “make it all make sense.” Sense might not be the right word for it, but these songs certainly all fit together and carry the same energy and feeling of lawless freedom from start to finish.
Standout Track: Crescent Moon
Twenty Dried Chilies - Babehoven
One of the best 7+ minute tracks I’ve heard in a minute (pun intended). Throughout their latest EP, Babehoven does a great job of using compelling lyrics and delivery to keep the listener engaged over generally soft and acoustic production. Was genuinely shocked to look down at my phone and see how long this song was when I got to the end of my first listen. Felt like a much shorter song, in the best way.
Sister 2 Sister - Ibeyi
The twin sisters behind Ibeyi dropped a beautiful ode to their sisterhood with some excellent choreography to boot.
Thanks for listening