Discover more from WOBC Blog
Albums of October
Getting to know us, getting to know all about us
Nice to meet you world, We're Blog! We write music journalism pieces for our college radio station, WOBC 91.5 at Oberlin. Here each of our writers has picked an album that embodies Autumn for them. Sweaters on, earbuds in, leaves everywhere.
(In place of ratings, we have elected to choose three words to describe each album we review)
Foam - Ulla
Intricate, Soothing, Alive.
Catalyzing the genre’s convention of drifting waves of noise, Ulla produces an ambient album that refuses to be ignored. Yes, there is the characteristic shuffle of field recordings brushing against one another, but this white noise functions like soil from which the songs grow. Vocal samples and bulbous synths intertwine like leaves on a vine. There is an organic cacophony to Ulla’s work – chaotic and tender all at once. As Oberlin settles into Fall, Foam transports me to the thaw on the other end.
Fidelity - The Durutti Column
Whimsical, Funky, Trance-like.
I have been absolutely loving Fidelity by The Durutti Column, their 1996 venture into exploring a more electronic dance sound. There’s something really whimsical about this album as a whole. Its classic ambient electronic sound mixed with airy vocals and punchy drum kicks makes for a unique sonic landscape that everyone deserves to experience. The trance-like ambient groove in “Grace” and “Future Perfect” struck a particular chord with me and has made its way into almost every playlist I’ve made since.
Traffic Fiction - Tré Burt
Jubilant, Sorrowful, Triumphant.
Halfway through Traffic Fiction you realize you’re hearing a musician arriving at their prime. Here, the Sacramento folksinger trades in the sparse sound of his first two albums for what he's called “country-soul surrealism”. Written after a prolonged bout of writer's block and the passing of Burt's Grandfather, the songs here capture a sense of wonder, even in the wake of loss. Burt finds strength in his words and emotional howl, resulting in a rare thing: a set of songs in a throwback style that feels refreshing and clear of cliches.
Come Down - Pretty Sick
Numbing, Poetic, Satisfying.
A no-skip album… a rare find, and yet- I was lucky enough to have this one just handed to me. Combining artistic influences from Hole, The Breeders, and many other iconic groups, Pretty Sick is the grunge band of my dreams. Their 2021 album Come Down serves as a seamless transition into the cold and occasionally isolating fall feeling that Oberlin gives us. It’s hard to even think about picking a favorite track; in fact, in the two weeks that I’ve known about this album, each song has been my top pick at least once. Aside from being the ideal moody soundtrack, this album makes me feel like I finally get to witness a 90s band in their prime.
Javelin - Sufjan Stevens
Heartbreaking, Beautiful, Mystical.
I listened to this album lying in North Quad in the middle of the night, an experience I would wholeheartedly recommend. Javelin has Sufjan’s traditional sound and his usual heartbreaking lyrics, but the album as a whole has a more buoyant mood than his previous work. He dedicated the album to his late partner in a Tumblr post that had me crying. All in all, it’s a fantastic album that demonstrates Sufjan’s musical genius.
going…going…GONE! - hemlocke springs
Wacky, Promising, Cowbell.
For the last few weeks I’ve listened to going…going…GONE! by hemlocke springs an unhealthy amount. The 22ish min EP is full of catchy rhythms and honest confessions. Tracks like “gimmie all ur luv” capture your attention with synth pop and keep it with a strategic use of cowbell. The emotional core of the tracklist is “enknee1” with its cathartic longing that will have you melancholic while you dance (classic Thursday). It's the perfect soundtrack to wander campus in the crisp air after a stressful midterm.
I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet - Del Water Gap
Anthemic, Reflective, Polished
I’ve had Del Water Gap’s new album I Miss You Already + I Haven’t Left Yet on repeat. He has a talent for making indie pop anthems that hide dark undertones behind a glittery facade. The lyrics are blunt and honest, with a heavy dose of irony. In “Coping on Unemployment” he sings of a partner who told him, “I think your music got worse since you went fully sober.” I’d argue the opposite. Over these twelve tracks, he backs strong writing on struggling with addiction and the guise of fame with confident instrumentals and delivery.
Finn Saffel Sipes
Doolittle - Pixies
Cacophonous, Gritty, Floating.
I listen to the Pixies often, but I heard this album in full for the first time this month when I was listening to “Monkey Gone to Heaven.” The whole album is insane. It is angry and yearning and makes me feel like I am floating while also grounding me and rolling through my chest. The deep, rough guitar, bass, screamed vocals, and gentle harmonies strike a near-perfect balance as the reverberating chords play with silence and overwhelming sound.
A Boy Named Hexd - 999 Heartake Sabileye
HexD, Corecore, Triumphant.
This month I’ve discovered 999 Heartake Sabileye, a producer and remixer from Kentucky. Their 2022 album, A Boy Named Hexd, is an expansion of the HexD genre, featuring the use of sped-up and pitched-up samples from a variety of sources, as well as heavily bitcrushed vocals and distorted production. Overall, the album’s sound is a liminal, engaging take on music from the zoomer consciousness. Fave song: “(Yikes)”
MUNA - MUNA
Celebration, Gaiety, Reflection.
MUNA’s third studio album MUNA, released in 2022 under Saddest Factory Records, is an amalgamation of queer joy and queer grief. The declaration of “life’s so fun” on opener “Silk Chiffon” strikes a euphoric tone. Katie Gavin sings about healing from gay breakups and coming out as an adult; the band preaches queer peace through softer ballads about learning to persevere such as “Loose Garment” and upbeat hits I hear in the Airport like “Anything But Me”. By threading queer joy and grief together throughout the record, MUNA suggests that the two may not be able to exist without each other.
We Buy Diabetic Test Strips - Armand Hammer
Prismatic, Confounding, Gloomy.
This was, by far, my most anticipated album of the year. As soon as I heard the junkyard industrial single “Trauma Mic”, I was assured that the rest of the music would be easily their oddest in sound. There are so many songs that just tickle my brain with a mix of near-ambient and live instrumentation, and billy woods and ELUCID are no less cryptic than they were 10 years ago. Their lyrical puzzles are something that I never want to solve, because that means I’d have to stop listening.
Thanks for reading WOBC-91.5FM Blog! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.