Weekly Staff Picks #3

Hello hello wide world web! We have congregated here again to choose on your behalf  what you should listen to. I know, how kind of us to do. No need to thank us, we do this for the sake of finding something we love and nothing more.


Staff Pick 1: Claudia Rivas

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come to Expect, Aviation

The Last Shadow Puppets have finally released their sophomore LP, Everything You’ve Come to Expect, eight years after debuting, The Age Of The Understatement, in 2008. The brilliant collaborative duo of the Arctic Monkeys’ Alex Turner and former The Rascals’ front-man Miles Kane have a new batch of songs ready to take on their scheduled upcoming tour. Turner and Kane have created a LP that not only mixes guitar-rock and classical-violins seamlessly, but also rendered a collection of songs that clearly serve as a soundtrack for dangerous summer romance. In their single “Aviation”, these themes are clearly portrayed. Backed by somber strings, the tune plays out like a dramatic vintage spy film. The opening graduation of noise and dissonance of heavy guitar riffs and fluttering string arrangements that give it a Bond-like quality. Sounding like music that would be the centerpiece for a early-00s’ spy movie similar to Mission Impossible, “Aviation” is the opening song that sets the dramatic romantic tone for the entire LP, well worth the listen.


Staff Pick 2: Emiliano Martin

Frankie Cosmo – Fit Me In, Next Thing

Frankie Cosmos’ EP “Fit Me In” shouldn’t be overlooked in light of her newest album this year, “Next Thing.” The track “Young” and the EP itself are a departure from her earlier work with its drum machine and synth combo in place of her earlier bedroom-recorded guitar and microphone. Like a lot of her songs, “Young” is simple but serves to communicate a thought Cosmos had in a particular moment. Her music is able to deliver a sense of comfort while contemplating what it means to be “young,” “fun,” and “alive.”


Staff Pick 3: Lucy Morales

Club Cheval – Discipline, Legends

When you gather different and brilliant minds together into one collective, the end result is either disastrous or exceptional.  Canblaster, Sam TibaMyd and Panteros666 are four French DJs who have conjoined their electronica expertise to form the dynamic Club Cheval. Their track “Legends” is an exceptional place to start for those new to their R&B and house blended sound. The smooth croonings of Rudy seamlessly interchanges with swaggering beats and deeply penetrating basslines. What propels forward the energy and eventually settles the the direction of the track is the premature climax of dark chorus of children boldly announcing “fight for life… live to fight… ”. Easily, “Legends” has all the necessary elements to cross into American EDM territory.


Staff Pick 4: Lucas Oliveira

Quilt – Roller, Plaza

Are you as sick of hearing new music that sounds like updated versions of the schlocky pop songs of the 80’s as I am? Well, lucky for us, Quilt draws its inspiration from an earlier time, shirking the shotgun-snare synth-pop that many indie bands are turning to in favor of tremolo-heavy psychedelia. But while their last album wore its Jefferson Airplane and Syd Barrett influences on its sleeve, their latest release is less obviously indebted to the late 60’s. The first thirty seconds or so of “Roller” would sound perfectly at home on a Spoon album, with its chugging guitar and bass and wavering vocal-like synth harmonies. Come the chorus, the noodly bassline and chiming guitars reveal that Quilt hasn’t completely abandoned its psychedelic roots. The result is a sunny, swaying mid-tempo track that merges the music of the late 60’s with 21st century indie, and I definitely recommend it.


Staff Pick 5: Andrew Garcia

Tacocat – Lost Time, Dana Katherine Scully

The three words I can find to best describe Tacocat’s sound are feminist, bubblegum, punk. They harness the power of all three of these adjectives to create my new favorite song “Dana Katherine Scully,” a musical letter of adoration for the fictional FBI Agent of the X-Files department. Tacocat groove out to the charming sonics of surf punk affability and the hilarious yet fully sincere nerd love usually reserved for the most dedicated of fan-fic writers. However, they skirt obsession, in favor of endearing respect of the way in which Agent Dana Scully sees the world through logic and rational. As Tacocatputs it, “She wants to know what’s out there/but she need to know why”. It’s a groovy good time.


Weekly Staff Picks #2

Welcome back to another installation of KSSU’s Staff Picks! We have for you 5 recent songs that are resonating with everyone at the station. Now that we are all back from the almighty spring break, we have plenty of music to grace your ears. May these songs also become your new favorites. Cheers.


Staff Pick 1: Lucy Morales

James Supercave – Better Strange, Better Strange

The trio consisting of Joaquin Pastor, Patrick Logothetti, and  Andrés Villalobos bring to us from Echo Park, CA their debut LP “Better Strange.” Having released their debut EP “the Afternoon” in 2015, and now going on tour to support Wild Belle, the synth pop group is riding on unstoppable momentum. Their featured track Better Strange is ethereal and hypnotic with its use of harmonizing synthesizers. While sonically it’s zany, the song also celebrates the intrinsic value of eccentricity. Certainly, James Supercave has revitalized the indie electronic scene when there are overwhelming amounts of oversaturation.


Staff Pick 2: Anthony Parenzin

Basement – Lose Your Grip, Promise Everything

Basement’s classic grunge sound persists on half the tracks but the other half sound like they were written for a Nicholas Sparks movie. Needless to say my favorite song, “Lose Your Grip,” in all its glorified angst sounds like it could have come straight off their sophomore album Colourmeinkindness. It is also the only song on the album were we get a little screaming, so enjoy it because it is short-lived moment. Despite their newest album being hit or miss Basement is still a band that people should turn out to see. They are currently on finishing a European tour and they kick off a month long U.S. tour with Turnstile and Defeater in April. Don’t miss out! I’ll be at their Orangevale show on April 10th.


Staff Pick 3: Jared Torrez

Wet – Deadwater, Don’t You

Wet is a fairly new band within the Alt/Indie genre coming out of New York, and were called the most promising group by The Fader in 2015.  They just recently dropped their first official studio album called “Don’t You,” as well as finished their North American album tour in February.  Wet has been a favorite band of mine for a few years now and I have gotten the chance to see them live multiple times.  At the last concert of theirs I attended, they performed my favorite song from the album, “Deadwater” .  The lyrics are genuine and really bring out the feels as you can hear the vulnerability in the lead singer’s voice.  This is definitely a band you do not want to miss out on.


Staff Pick 3: Brianna Swain

Saul Williams – Think Like They Book Say, MartyrLoserKing

If you can expect one thing from Saul Williams, it’s that he will make politically and socially conscious music that you can dance to. The song starts with energetic drums reminiscent of 90’s breakbeat and slowly builds into controlled anarchy with pulsing synths, echoed bleeps and crunchy guitars. Personally, I’ve been following his work since he released “The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!” in 2007. Williams always has something relevant to say and just as he doesn’t pigeonhole himself into one mode of expression, (actor, singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer) his music defies categorization as well.


Staff Pick 5: Emiliano Martin

DIIV – Under The Sun, Is The Is Are

DIIV’s most recent record, “Is the Is Are,” is a sunny shoegaze album that feel like it may have been better suited for a spring release. Though the gloomier backdrop of a winter release might make more sense given the context; this is DIIV’s first record since singer, guitarist and producer Zachary Cole Smith, left rehab for drug addiction. It’s overall a brighter album, perhaps signaling a change for the better. So, with the seasons soon changing and the last of the heavy winter rains coming to a close, the track “Under the Sun” is the perfect lighthearted song to help wish away those clouds quicker.





Weekly Staff Picks #1

kssu staff pick

Welcome to KSSU’s inaugural weekly staff picks! This is where our DJs pick their current favorite song and artist from recently released music. We will feature 5-6 songs that are currently on our radar. Stay tuned every week to see what we pick, maybe your favorite track will be selected.


Staff Pick 1: Lucy Morales

Boss Selection – Wouldn’t it be wild, Volume 1

Boss Selection is the moniker for the seasoned world wide producer Sunny Levine. With Quincy Jones as his grandfather, he certainly is no stranger to living up to large expectations. Under Boss Selection, he has produced a mixtape inspired album with 12 different artists successfully using crowdfunding for all the costs. My personal favorite from the album is “wouldn’t it be wild” featuring Orelia. It’s an unboastful chillwave like track that becomes infectious without even being conscious about it. It’s the best kind of song to pop into your car to relax after a long day.


Staff Pick 2: Jerel Labson

Kanye West – Ultralight Beam, The Life of Pablo

Of course this has to be somewhere on the first KSSU’s Picks Of the Week! Hearing this first track play at the Yeezy Season 3 fashion show really set the bar and got me ready to hear the rest of TLOP. The instrumental is beautiful. The occasional drums also really get me going. Having The Dream, Kelly Price, and the choir literally taking us to church was amazing to hear. Chance the Rapper’s verse was possibly the BEST verse on the album as well. Donnie Trumpet backing the second half His flow and biblical references (“Got my ex looking back like a pillar of salt”), just DOPE. I could go on, but I have no more words. Just listen to it. One more note… Can I consider this as a Christian song??


Staff Pick 3: Cole Nelson

Stone Sour – Love Gun, Meanwhile in Burbank

My song of the week comes from the album Meanwhile in Burbank… by Stone Sour. Released in April of 2015, this album features hard rock covers of classic rock and metal artists. My favorite out of the album is their rendition of KISS’ classic song, “Love Gun.” Stone Sour’s version features heavy use of a grunge sounding guitar along with a strong drum line while still retaining that classic rock/disco vibe that KISS is known for. “Love Gun” is one of the better covers of a song I’ve heard recently and recommend it to those who like the original tune with a bit of a kick to it.


Staff Pick 4: Angelina Rios

Bomba Esteré – Soy Yo, Amacer

Bomba Esteréo is a Colombian band that formed in 2005. With the recent release of their new album Amacer, the track Soy Yo is nothing short of excellent. With a catchy beat, its traditional Colombian instruments have a contagious effect and it’s hard to resist dancing in your chair. This track represents respecting and accepting one another for who they are. While the band does not wish to conform to one genre of music, they can best be described as having an electro base with Cumbia and dance elements as well.


Staff Pick 5: Anne Thorp

Daughter – New Ways, Not To Disappear

Daughter is the name of a three-person, London-based indie rock group, together since 2010. Their EP ‘Not To Disappear’ came out in 2014, and this March they start an already mostly sold-out North American tour in major cities across the U.S. and Canada. New Ways is the first track of the EP, and soundly embodies all that is good about the entire album. It’s moody, the vocals ethereal, with an edge of grit in the guitars and drums that speaks of the kind of disjointed, worn cynicism modern life frequently brings. It reminds us, as singer Elena recites, that sometimes we all feel we need new ways.  


Staff Pick 6: Claudia Rivas

Charlie Hilton – 100 Million, Palana

Charlie Hilton, lead singer for Blouse,  released her debut solo album Palana on January 22 via Captured Tracks. The album was produced by Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s Jacob Portrait. The album includes “100 Million”, which I’ve been playing on repeat for much of this week. The track was produced by, the band Woods’, Jarvis Taveniere. The song features vocals and music by Mac DeMarco. The track sounds folk-like, similar songs by Beach House and She & Him. Hilton’s vocals are much like Zooey Deschanel in this song, light and dreamy. Lots of simple guitar chords and settle drum background occur as well. Reminds me of a tune that would play at a modern Woodstock, hippie festival. It’s a song that will keep most fans of this type of music in a good mood.

The Pretty Guardians Today

Sailor MoonIn the world of manga and anime there is one genre that is essentially exclusive to it – Magical Girl. When we think of this genre it is hard to not automatically think about Sailor Moon. Many would agree for those outside of Japan, Sailor Moon is automatically associated with all things anime such as Pokemon and Dragon Ball. I doubt anyone could argue that Sailor Moon is not iconic. Sailor Moon redefined and set new standards for the Magical Girl genre in the anime world while simultaneously popularizing shoujo manga.

While Sailor Moon changed the industry, it also changed my childhood. I was born right in the middle of the 90’s while Sailor Moon was broadcasted in Japan from 1992 ’til 1997. It was finally ready for American consumption in 1995, and by that time I was old enough to understand cartoons I instantly fell in love with. In layman’s terms, this was about a moon princess kicking ass on earth, literally every little girl’s dream. We are all familiar with the idea that lots of girls were hoping to find their Prince Charming. Well, the pretty soldiers infiltrated my life so much I instead waited for a Tuxedo Mask to sweep me off my feet. I remember taking my baby sister’s baby carrier that had two long straps on it and placing it on my head so I could pretend it was Usagi’s long blond hair while spinning around on my parent’s bed yelling “MOON COSMIC POWER, MAKE UP”. It was definitely one of the reasons I started watching more anime – eventually turning me into a full blown otaku by the time I was in middle school. Before I knew there was a term to describe this kind of animation I always tried finding other cartoons that also looked like Sailor Moon. During elementary school, with the few female friends I played with, we always role-played by picking a Sailor Solider to reenact. When I got good grades and report cards, my mom rewarded me by taking a way-too-long 30-minute walk to the grocery store to buy me the movies on VHS. I would wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch Tokyo Mew Mew because it was close enough to be like Sailor Moon. I constantly drew the characters – they were all over my note books at home, on my homework, and any blank piece of paper I could get my hands on. Sometimes when people introduced me to others, they would feel the need to mention how obsessed I was.

They were quite right about my obsession, but the further I grew up, my beloved childhood role models become a distant memory. While I was soon to start my second year of college I discovered something amazing. The same old 90’s anime that was center to my childhood was getting the modern treatment. In the Summer of 2014, Toei started releasing a new version of Sailor Moon. It is called Sailor Moon Crystal, and the difference between this one and the old classic is that Crystal is truer to the manga in both plot and artwork.

Even prior to this, I started noticing in general how much more common anime has become in western culture. It was odd to me because I remember when I was younger I was teased relentlessly at family gatherings for my obsession with Sailor Moon and anime. I hated the drives to visit my cousins during that time because I was constantly put down by being labeled by them as a nerd. In middle school, the only kids who liked anime had hygiene problems. They were the schools’ lepers so I desperately tried to alienate myself from my interests so I could be normal. While other kids phone ringtones were songs such as Rihanna’s “Please Don’t Stop The Music,” mine were opening themes to animes. At first I felt slight envy that high school kids could now walk into Hot Topic to grab a shirt with Usagi Tsukino’s face plastered on it so they could pair it with their skinny jeans because it’s cute or a well received fashion statement. Not only that, there was several other anime products being offered because enough people were now buying them now that they are considered cool. Of course, I didn’t stay mad for long, instead I became happy. I am glad that the culture now is a lot less hostile towards those who enjoy Japanese super heroes. Anyone who wanted to start watching anime had so many resources available at hand and many welcoming fans in the United States. You no longer had to go to an anime convention to buy t-shits and socialize with other like-minded individuals. While to an extent there is still a stigma when it comes to anime fans, it is still far less hostile in 2015.

It’s interesting to see the way modern technology and culture is treating the new Sailor Moon Crystal. Instead of being released on television, it is instead being streamed on Niconico, which is basically Japan’s version of YouTube. And thanks to the new enormous popularity of anime in the States, it gets rebroadcasted onto Crunchyroll.com and Hulu the next day once subs are put in. If it were not for the acceptance of Anime in this new age it would not in-a-million years be found on Hulu. And thanks to the new way of watching TV series, it is now streaming only through internet connections.

As I am establishing myself as an adult, it has been incredible to relive my childhood every 2 weeks with a new episode on Crunchy Roll. I feel an incredible sense of solidarity as I watch each episode and can find fans from several walks of life through the internet. I had no idea there were so many other women like me who also found solace as young girls when Sailor Moon came on their television sets when strong powerful female protagonists were diamonds in the rough during the 90’s. It has been 20 years since its birth in 1995, and yet here we are anticipating 2 new episodes every month. Yes, a large part of the fan base for Crystal are people like me getting drunk off nostalgia. Other Sailor Moon fans hate Crystal for its portrayal of the characters and animation quality. While it has reinvigorated the love for Sailor Moon, it has also sharply divided those same fans. Regardless, this only means that this wonderful anime is now being introduced to a brand new generation who might of never heard about it in the first place if it were not for Crystal. While lots of fans continue to hate it for valid reasons, I fall into the camp who adores Crystal. Through stressful essays and tests in college, I am a kid again for a brief 20 minutes finding escape in the magical moon kingdom.

When Lucy isn’t studying for exams or watching Sailor Moon she is a DJ for KSSU Sacramento State’s student run radio station.

Merry Holidays?

Every December the snow laden ballads of love start to fill the airwaves, retail stores decorate with red and green, and Starbuck’s announces it’s peppermint flavored drinks. Indeed, it is that magical time of year again and unless you’re a hermit, the season to celebrate and spend is once again ubiquitous.

Lots of controversies and debates come up with this time but one seemingly mundane topic is worth talking about. How should we wish people these happy sentiments to each other? A very common theme I have observed are people who are angry that many companies and individuals choose to say “happy holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.” People in this case feel that in choosing to use the more inclusive version one is erasing the acknowledgment of Christmas. Fortunately that is not the case, it is simply an attempt to recognize the diversity of cultures that we live within each other. Yes, while the majority of Americans celebrate Christmas there are also many others who celebrate other holidays in this time of year such as Hanukah or Kwanzaa. There is a wonderful altruistic purpose in using the more vague phrase making sure everyone can be included in the merriment. This is also an especially useful set of words to use when wishing good cheer to strangers when you have no idea what their religious beliefs are or their holiday plans are.

Sometimes there is confusion with what to do when someone wishes you the wrong holiday. In the case of strangers, I don’t see why anyone should be angry if they wish you a merry Christmas when you don’t celebrate it. This stranger is basically saying that they hope you have a good time this month and wish the best for you. There is some frustration with said stranger assuming things about you but in this case, your interactions with them are probably limited so there is no honest chance for them to find out more about you. They had no intention of offending you, just wanting to pass on a nice expression in a brief exchange. Now if someone who knows you says it, there could be a chance there are malicious intentions. They could possibly be trying to impose their beliefs on you. There is also the possibility that they just want to include you in the festive activities they are a part of. In this case, it’s worth talking to that person first before any conclusions are made.

Now I challenge others to be more selfless, and for their loved ones to go out their way to wish them a whatever they celebrate even if you don’t. I have always gladly wished people the holiday they celebrate while I don’t because for my friends I only hope for the best in whatever their endeavors may be. In the spirit of the seasons let’s take a moment to not think about us for a terrifying moment and think about someone else. Perhaps this can also be a good opportunity to participate in different celebrations to see what other people do at this time of the year. It may even be fun, you know, eating food and partying. I know it sounds awful to do but chances are you’ll enjoy yourself while learning something new. When someone wishes you anything, just say thank you because that was nice of them to do.