Chaotic But Cohesive-- Inner City Witches' HOOF!

This past April, a thunderous EP came crashing into U92’s rotation, injuring one DJ and strewing the studio with broken glass and goat hair. Created by Saint Louis, Missouri area punks Inner City Witches, HOOF! presents a unique blend of punk, post-punk, and jazz all fusing together into a sound equally cohesive and coercive. The band describe themselves on Spotify as “Post-Punk/Post-Hardcore,” but this barely scratches the surface. “One Hoof To The Head” opens the album with a heavy, energetic verse featuring hardcore punk drumming and a slower, heavier chorus. “Witch On Film” continues the heat, amping the manic energy up to eleven. “Cloven Hoof” has a calmer energy at first, but slowly builds to a climactic ending. Of the five songs on the EP, four are all time bangers in my heavy listening rotation, with the remaining one likely to join them. Clocking in at just over 16 minutes, HOOF! wastes not a single second or song, with each track unique enough to stand on its own while still sounding cohesive. Channeling equal parts post-punk and hardcore, this EP is one of my favorite releases of the year so far, and I’m excited to see the band’s next move.

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Underground Icon: The legacy of an alt-rock pioneer

Examining the history of rock music, it’s easy to identify some of the folks who belong on the “Mount Rushmore” of the genre. Such a topic has been found amongst music fans from record stores to bonfires to everywhere in between. I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent debating between friends who the best drummer of all time is (I’ve established a solid top three: Neil Peart, Dave Grohl, and Karen Carpenter, in no particular order, but that’s not why I’m writing this post). But during such discussions, many fail to bring up one of the most crucial cogs in the music machine: the engineers and producers. 

map drawing of a studioFor my two cents, I’d have to tip my cap to the late, great Steve Albini. Although known for his musical contributions, I actually first found out about Steve from his viral interaction with someone questioning his engagement numbers, but once I heard his songs, I could immediately point them out. The distinctive sounds of drums, the meticulous layouts to achieve some of the crispest sounds known to man. The sketch below is of the layout from the studio recordings of Songs: Ohia’s The Magnolia Electric Co. seems like that of a madman, but if you listen to that record, you’ll understand why such attention to detail was necessary. 

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The Sublime Rage of Bladee’s Cold Visions

A mere four hours after dropping the lead single, Bladee dropped his latest album at 5 p.m EST on a Tuesday. The shockingly consistent 30-track long Cold Visions is his longest release to date, clocking in at just over an hour long with an average track length of barely over 2 minutes. Despite the shortness of the tracks, none of them ever feel underbaked, with just about every non-interlude track sporting a few memorable lines or awe-inspiring production. Cold Visions is a move away from the happier, more whimsically meditative sounds of recent albums like 2022’s Spiderr and Crest, returning to the vibes of projects like Eversince, Red Light, Icedancer, and most noticeably Working on Dying, the 2017 mixtape built around production from the music collective of the same name (as said on the second track “WODRAINER,” “Working on Dying 2 - You thought I was lying it’s true”).

16 of the 30 tracks on Cold Visions feature production from Working on Dying member F1lthy, best known for the “rage” style beats he has produced for artists like Playboi Carti and Ken Carson, provides some of his best beats possibly ever, including the disorientingly aggressive “KING NOTHINGG” and the throbbing “ONE SECOND.” Other producers present on the album include RipSquad member Lusi, James Ferraro, and Drain Gang affiliates Yung Sherman and Whitearmor. Skrillex is also featured as a producer on the track “D.O.A,”  providing a poppier beat that seems to sample “Trendy,” a track from Bladee’s 2021 album The Fool.

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Julianna Pond's Review: ericdoa

The 21-year-old Connecticut-based producer and artist, ericdoa, electrifies on his latest album,“DOA.” Following previous success as an emo-rap, hyper-pop artist, ericdoa decided to blend more of a pop-rock soundscape in “DOA.” Opting towards more rhythmic tracks rather than experimental bass lines, ericdoa tends to trade memorable songwriting for a catchy mixtape.Songs like “lastjune” and “dancinwithsomebawdy” make you want to get up and dance, while also showcasing a slower, more emotional side with tracks such as, “biga**bearman” and “crisisactor.”

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Morgantown DIY Survival

For a while now, Morgantown has fostered creativity and artistic freedom. While we see new artists emerging all the time, this town’s recent wave of musicians shows promising security for the revival of the DIY scene. To name just a few of the bands that have contributed to this scene, and sparked my interest in it, there’s American Boxer, The BedHeads, Wizards Is Crazy, PorchCouch, Where Wolf, and so many more. As the scene continues to flourish, Morgantown’s sense of community and innovation will only grow too, as it has over the past few years. The ball’s rolling, we just have to keep pushing it, and at U92, we intend to do so. This one goes out to the bands keeping this town on top.

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"Wisecrack" An Album by Haley Blais

“Wisecrack” is Haley Blais’ confessional sophomore album released back in September of 2023. The album is dark and emotional and covers themes such as nostalgia, anxiety, morality, and ego. The Vancouver based singer-songwriter has just released the deluxe version of the album earlier this month with the newly added songs, “Somebody’s Son”, “Concrete 2”, and a live version of “Survivor’s Guilt”. 

The album starts off with the song, “Soft spot for monarchs” which is a repetitive yet captivating song with haunting harmonies. It uses many echoing and overlapping effects to represent what’s to come in the album. The opening song then leads into one of the singles, “Survivor’s Guilt”. The title itself tells us what the song is about, the feelings of guilt we face when dealing with loss. The song uses vivid imagery to evoke the same feelings of grief she has. The next song, “Coolest f****** b**** in town” is one of the other singles released for this album. The song talks about her emotions following her parents divorce and her ego. The line “Coolest f****** b**** in town” is repeated over and over again at the end of the song and in her live performances she has the crowd scream this line with her. It is a powerful moment that promotes self-love and confidence. 

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WVU Baseball to Host Baylor in Three Game Series

On April 26th, The West Virginia Mountaineers will begin a three game set against the Baylor Bears at Kendrick Family Ballpark in Granville, West Virginia. The Mountaineers hold a 23-16 record overall with a 11-7 record in conference play. 

The Mountaineers are coming off of a series sweep at the hands of Texas Tech. Prior to that series the Mountaineers were 7 of their last 8 with the only loss being to Marshall in extra innings. 

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Max's Hot Take: Jack Antonoff is only good for Jack Antonoff

Fresh off the heels of the latest blockbuster release for producer Jack Antonoff, Taylor Swift's The Tortured Poets Department, I am convinced that the only creative music Antonoff is capable of producing is for his own group Bleachers. His trend, not only with Swift, but with every pop artist he's collaborated with including The 1975, Lorde, and Lana Del Ray, involves stripping away everything from music and refusing to play into the musician's strengths to create a generic, a-melodic, spoken word poetry album. This approach is guaranteed to only further jeopardize the jobs of other musicians since he has made it a hundred times easier for AI to write a pop hit now. This is not to say that Antonoff is unoriginal, uncreative, or a disservice to music: just to those he collaborates with. 

His latest release with his group Bleachers, the January Bleachers album, features more of the creativity than can be heard on the 90+ minutes of Swift's Midnights. My first listen of Midnights came on a drive home from Ohio with my sister in tow. I was vastly underwhelmed, almost asleep at times from the ambient, tonal background with little instrumentation and trackable melody. Swift's early music has power for a reason: it can be sung. 

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Louisiana's Phenomenal Pop Combo Turns 50

Despite opening with a cover of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made for Walking”, Meet the Residents" was neither the project of a Louisiana pop combo nor a release by a band in the traditional sense.  Instead, Meet the Residents is a dissonant avant-garde construction by a California-based collective of presumably rotating individuals who would protect their identities by performing in elaborate costumes, often in elaborate eyeball masks, under the tutelage of the mysterious and possibly non-existent composer N. Senada. The Dadaist mockery of the Beatles on the album cover gives some idea of what is contained inside, but if you come in expecting pure parody you’ll be disappointed. This is home-produced, featuring tape recordings cut with razor blades and spliced together, distorted horns, bizarre lyrics, and even weirder vocals. And it was ignored… mostly. The Residents were unphased and would go on to continue to produce albums and tour up to this day.  Retrospectively this album would garner critical acclaim for its challenging nature and willful deconstruction of Western music. This would be followed to an even greater extent in 1976’s Third Reich N’ Roll’s savage parodies of rock and pop music, but Meet the Residents shows pop, classical, and rock influences and then takes them to strange places.  

To give a brief sample, “Boots” is Nancy Sinatra if interpreted by a barbershop quartet of ghouls with ahooga horns added for good measure. The most pop-friendly song might be “Smelly Tongues” which features guest vocals by a high-school friend of the group and would be covered and released as B-side by Snakefinger, another friend of the group, later. “Spotted Pinto Bean” features soaring female vocals, resembling a him before devolving into percussive piano, and thunderous sounds while the lyrics focus on the coming of a bean. At nearly ten minutes, the closing track, “N-ER-GEE (Crisis Blues)” truly sounds like nothing else with snippets of the Human Beinz, the horns from before, what sounds like recorders and toy pianos, more nonsense lyrics, and vocals that sound like Mel Blanc as a neanderthal. 

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