By: Ethan Woods and Kitty Cheung
Indigo by Wild Nothing
Returning with his fourth LP, Indigo (2018), Wild Nothing still proves to be a driving force in the realm of dream-pop and alt-rock. Even if it’s been eight years since Wild Nothing’s first album, Gemini (2010), long-time fans can still recognize his sound with Indigo — but with the changes he made to his sound, this album brings him in a new direction as an artist.
Indigo sounds more refined than Wild Nothing’s signature dorm-recorded works; upon first listen, long-time fans may be disappointed by the lack of lo-fi sound. This change, however, isn’t necessarily bad. The album soars right away with its opener “Letting Go,” and the quality carries itself through every song, hitting peaks with “Wheel of Misfortune” and “Canyon on Fire.” However, Indigo sadly doesn’t contain the same lyrical depth as albums like Gemini and 2012’s Nocturne.
Even though the lyrics may not strike as deeply as previous works, Wild Nothing is dipping into a realm of higher musical fidelity, which makes me eager to hear upcoming releases. – EW
Room 25 by Noname
Room 25 is a beautifully affected album filled with introspection and depth. With a background in spoken word poetry, Noname continues to rap elegantly in Room 25, interweaving intelligent social observation with poetic devices with a graceful flow.
Soft-spoken yet powerfully articulate, Noname’s creative music is astoundingly intimate and vulnerable. One track of hers which is particularly memorable for its sentimental subject matter is “Don’t Forget About Me.” The song exhibits Noname’s self-awareness as an artist with lines like “You title email ‘Noname thank you for your sweet Telefone / It saves lives’ / The secret is I’m actually broken.” The bars hit especially hard as she compares her art’s impact on fans to her own flawed state.
This album delicately fuses neo-soul and jazzy inspired beats. “Blaxploitation”, a track named after the film genre from which it draws its funky soul influence, directly critiques the damaging nature of black stereotypes. The cinematic, orchestral production of “no name” draws the album to a moving close, with Noname exploring her identity as an artist.
The album also contains features from up-and-coming artists. Ravyn Lenae lends her sultry soprano to “Montego Bae,” and rappers Smino and Saba join in for a smooth collaboration on “Ace”.
If you like chill hip-hop, and want to be moved by deft and nuanced lyricism, “Room 25” is the poetic album for you. – KC
Club Sofa LP by Club Sofa
Following numerous shows over the past year and a half (-ish), local Vancouver surf-rock band Club Sofa has released their debut self-titled LP. Across its eight songs, Club Sofa LP proves itself to be a brilliantly relatable and fun album; powered by each member’s individual performance.
It’s interesting to hear the difference in sound compared to the live versions of these songs. While the live performances are generally higher octane, the studio-recorded versions carry the exact same energy and identity; each song is so individually recognizable and carries itself perfectly from start to finish. Lead singer Payton’s vocals glide powerfully across the album, especially in moments like the final chorus of “Beach Bum Baby,” and lead guitarist Dom’s skills provide unbelievably catchy riffs. Alongside them, bass player Jas creates a powerful backbone for each track, and drum player Jess powers the rhythm and atmosphere. Club Sofa’s debut LP has most definitely told us they know how to make a quality album, and I’m interested to see what lies ahead. – EW