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Blushing Monk: Serendipity (album review by Christa V.)

Blushing Monk is a modern jazz band from Grand Rapids in Michigan! Their style explores a number of different sub-genres within jazz, from the melodic opening tune “Urban Rush” to songs with clear free jazz influences like “Frankenstein” and “Rumble.” A lot of this variety can be seen on the single track “Working Title” which starts off melodic and goes into powerful solos from the piano and trumpet before finishing. Best song though is definitely the title track, “Serendipity,” which starts off with a gorgeous piano solo and includes an incredible saxophone part. Definitely fun to listen and fun to groove to! Favorite tracks: 3, 6, 8

Arctic Monkeys: Live at the Royal Albert Hall (album review by Christa V.)

Back in 2018 the Arctic Monkeys did a performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London, which was eventually released as a record in 2020. It consists of 20 different songs that span all of their recent albums and top hits. Not totally sure what else to say here, if you like the Arctic Monkeys then you will love to hear them live. And being able to hear the audience sing along with them is a ton of fun in and of itself. Writing this in the middle of a pandemic, it really makes me miss live concerts and being able to see bands perform live. But until then, I guess that this is the next best thing. Favorite tracks: 1, 4, 7, 17, 20

Mare Berger: The Moon is Always Full (album review by Christa V.)

Mare Berger is a queer artist whose music focuses on interconnectedness through this album about the moon. They typically have sparseinstrumentation, primarily strings, piano, and sometimes guitar, under gorgeous vocal harmonies. The simplicity allows for the vocals to come throughclearly, without making it sound stuffy and classical. This is best highlighted in the opening track “Even When We Forget” where some incredible vocalharmonies take the song from a very peaceful lullabye to a more funky groove. This is also shown on “Stardust” where the voice sounds practically ethereal.“The Moon is Full” is another track that goes from a mournful piano into an amazing chorus that makes you want to move somehow. The range of moodspresent, and Berger’s ease with moving through them, is also shown on “Wondering” which starts with very calm backings, transitions to a chorus oversparse instrumentation, and goes into an instrumental section featuring an electric guitar over a string section. This album is quite unlike any other that Ihave heard, it manages to make you want to sway while also radiating peace. Definitely worth a listen! Favorite tracks: 1, 5, 7

Nikki and the Phantom Callers: Everybody’s Going to Hell (But You and Me) (album review by Christa V.)

At first listen Nikki and the Phantom Callers is your typical indie band. But there are some real gems in here, the lead vocalist has a beautiful voice that isperfectly complimented by the backup singers. This is highlighted on the song “They’ve Never Walked Through Shadows” which starts out a capella andsounds completely different from the rest of the album. It’s a neat way to feature the vocals. The rest of the songs definitely keep that indie feel with therough guitar parts, but they often straddle other genres as well. “Howl With Me” is spookier and more atmospheric, while “Love Me Tender” is clearly an Elvis reference and more classic rock, “Motor Run” starts punk but ends folk, and “New Year’s Day” has clear country influences. Definitely a band to payattention to with that range! Favorite tracks: 3, 5, 6, 8

Slow Pulp: Moveys (album review by Victoria A.)

This is a wildly biased review, because I'm friends with the boys in the band. They generously let me crash on their couch for way too long even though it was inconvenient, because they were recording a pre-Slow Pulp album in their closet lined with mattresses. They listened to nothing but Tame Impala on repeat which started to drive me insane. I tried very hard to get them to eat vegetables. They are nice, and you should listen to their band. 2020's Moveys is situated firmly in post-punk, with a lot in common with the wave of other female-led shoegazy bands right now: Soccer Mommy, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker, Big Thief, etc. I think I still hear those Tame Impala days in the rollicking riffs and funky flourishes on the more energetic tracks. There has never been a better time for thoughtful, bingeable, melancholy rock. It flirts with hopelessness in a way that reflects our current pandemic situation. Give it a listen!

Split Moon: Slow Satellite (album review by Christa V.)

Split Moon has a really unique instrumental sound with lots of atmospheric and almost droning synth, guitar, and vocals. It makes for great music to just vibeto. The lyrics aren’t audible for the most part, you can really only hear them on tracks 5 and 7, but they are pretty simplistic. Track 3, “Let’s Leave LA,” isprobably the best track, it has an almost melodic piano part and pretty cool oscillating distortions. The opening track is also very good with a mesmerizingdroning synth that meshes really well with the droning voice. It also has a really long fade out that leads down to a vibrato-like synth.
 Favorite tracks: 1, 3, 5

Yves Tumor: Heaven to a Tortured Mind (album review by Christa V.)

Yves Tumor is a queer experimental musician who utilizes unsettling percussive loops to create different moods. A lot of their songs feel as though you are loston a strange planet or in a new city, there’s plenty of dissonance and sometimes vaguely industrial noises in the background. This album is their fourth and it’s a masterpiece of shifting moods from harsher to softer. The opening track, “Gospel for a New Century,” is one of the best examples of this, the opening is dissonant and repetitive, but it has high energy and a really cool sound. Track 4, “Kerosene!,” is also incredible in that it creates contrast by being softer and more melodic. The repetitive loops on the word “kerosene” are very catchy and hypnotic. Finally “Strawberry Privilege” (track10) also has a very different sound with a cappella background noises setting up a chill groove. A very diverse and mesmerizing album!
 Favorite tracks: 1, 4, 10

Thank You Donors!!

Thank you to everyone who donated for our fundraiser this year. With your help we raised over $20,000! This will all go to improving the quality of our station and the product that we are able to put out. Thank you for helping preserve freeform radio, every year we are blown away with the loyalty and generosity of our listeners. For those who ordered premia along with their donation, you can expect it by fall of 2021. Thank you again, and keep it tuned in on WCBN! 

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