Posts by Ann Yao Zhang

Soundcheck Apr. 12

Hope everyone is enjoying the lovely weather – in the spirit of breezy springtime, catch up on some light, fun songs on this week’s track list.

New music includes Phantoms’ single “Designs for You” and XY&O’s latest “Like a Promise,” a melancholy eletro-pop offering from the Welsh trio. Check out the MV for it here.

William Fitzsimmons has released some new mixes of tracks from his new album Mission Bell. “In the Light,” which I thought was one of the standouts of this album is made new again in its alternate version which you can find in the track list from today’s show.

Thanks as always for tuning in. Soundcheck is off next week as I will be presenting my thesis (!), so until next time,

Ann

Soundcheck Apr. 5

Thanks as always for tuning into Soundcheck today. Lots of exciting new music featured on the track list which you can catch up on here.

First off, two new much anticipated albums: Sara Bareilles with Amidst the Chaos, six years since her last (non-Broadway) studio album, The Blessed Unrest, and Billie Eilish with her debut When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Chaos is a novel, sophisticated offering from an experienced singer-songwriter, while retaining all the things that make Bareilles so likable: smart and incisive lyrics, fresh, pop-friendly production, and apposite yet timeless themes of resilience and love. Today’s show included “Orpheus,” one of the album’s standouts.

Eilish’s rise to dark teen-pop stardom has been meteoric and Asleep is an affirmation of her talents. She is best when she is doing angsty and frenetic as evidenced on “bad guy,” “you should see me in a crown,” and “all the good girls go to hell,” but the calmer, gentler moments on the album like “when the party’s over” suggest a yet untapped side. This album is going to move a huge number of units and will almost certainly go to number one. It will be exciting to see where this new voice in pop goes from here.

Other new songs this week: The B-side to Florence + the Machine’s latest single “Moderation” is “Haunted House” which I dare say might be better than the A-side, Scavenger Hunt with “Regrets,” and Lawless with “In the Name of Nothing” featuring Dream Harlowe.

Happy listening, and see you next week.

Ann

Soundcheck Mar. 22

Welcome back from spring break! Hope it was a fun and restful one for all. Here‘s the track list for this week’s show.

The Cinematic Orchestra is out with To Believe. Even if you don’t immediately recognize these guys, you have likely heard one of their tracks scoring a film or television show. Title track, “To Believe,” featuring Moses Sumney played on today’s show. “The Workers of Art” and “A Promise” with Heidi Vogel are also beautiful. No doubt you’ll be hearing them in soundtracks and trailers soon.

Singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s third studio album is Gratitude. “Box of Stones” and “Atlas Hands” from his debut Last Smoke Before the Snowstorm are favorites, and this new album manages to retain that signature indie folk sound, while integrating the alternative with the acoustic. “Sometimes” featured on today’s show. “Miracle Sister” and “The Mess We Make,” as well as the title track are other standouts.

As always, thanks for tuning into Soundcheck. Until next week,

Ann

Soundcheck Mar. 8 – Have a good spring break!

Thanks for tuning into this week’s show. Apologies for the lack of track list/write-up last week. Catch up on last week’s songs here, and today’s track list here.

Broods is out with their third studio album Don’t Feed the Pop MonsterTheir first single off of the album, “Peach,” has had airtime on previous shows. Today featured the synth-pop confection “Falling Apart,” which is another gorgeous track. Other standouts include “To Belong” and “Life After.” If you enjoyed their EP, or their albums Evergreen and Conscious, then this new one is definitely worth a full listen.

Swedish singer-songwriter Léon’s self-titled debut album was released at the top of the month. I’ve been following her work since her single “Tired of Talking” from her first EP, Treasure, gained traction back in 2015. This album has been in the works for a while, so it’s great to see it come to fruition. “Better in the Dark” closed today’s show. “Lost Time” and “Hope is a Heartache” are also excellent.

Soundcheck will be off next week for spring break. Wishing everyone has a good one, and safe travels to everyone leaving campus.

Ann

Soundcheck Feb. 22

Thanks for tuning into Soundcheck’s last show of the month. Catch up on the songs played on today’s show with the track list here.

Daughter frontwoman Elena Tonra is out with her debut solo album Ex:Re. It’s a proper break-up/heartbreak album filled with haunting production and superb vocals and lyrics. “Crushing” featured on today’s show. “Where the Time Went” and “I Can’t Keep You” are other standouts. If you loved Not to Disappear or If You Leave, then this album will hit the mark.

Richy Ahmed’s remix of London Grammar’s “Non Believer” closed the show. You might recognize him from his mixes of Lana Del Rey. His latest EP is “Can’t You See.”

Ann

Soundcheck Feb. 15

Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day yesterday. Today’s track list has some sweet celebrations of love in Glades’ “Drive” from their album To Love You, and Oh Wonder’s “Landslide,” as well as some equally lovely lamentations in London Grammar’s “Interlude” and Verite’s “Need Nothing.”

In new music news: St. Lucia has released Remixed, a compilation album of some of their best tracks remixed by different artists and producers. Joywave’s mix of “Dancing on Glass” is a fun listen, with a unique twist on an already great song.

Big Wild’s much anticipated debut album Superdream is out now. As someone who’s been following his work since his “Aftergold” days, this album really does deliver. “Pale Blue Dot,” “Heaven” and “Awaken” are all standout tracks.

As always, thanks for tuning in to Soundcheck. Until next week,

Ann

Soundcheck Feb. 8

Welcome back to another semester of Soundcheck! Here‘s the track list of songs from the show.

Singer-songwriter Ella Vos’s EP Watch & Wait is out now. Single “Cast Away” opened today’s show. “Temporary” and “Empty Hands” are also standouts. Her debut album in 2017 was Words I Never Said, and is worth a listen as she develops a newer, more sophisticated sound on this EP. Hopefully another studio album is in the works.

A few throwbacks today to some indie albums from the last few years which have flown under the radar: London Grammar’s Truth is a Beautiful Thing featuring the gorgeous “Hell to the Liars,” Laura Welsh’s Soft Control with “Call to Arms,” and Verite’s much loved Somewhere in Between with “When You’re Gone.”

As always, thanks for tuning in. Until next time,

Ann

Soundcheck Dec. 13

Thanks for tuning into the last Soundcheck of the semester and thanks for making it a great one! Check out the songs from today’s show here.

In some final music news of the year: Odesza is out with the deluxe edition of their third studio album A Moment Apart, which has been on heavy rotation here on the show. This new edition includes nine new or remixed tracks, including a gorgeous instrumental mix of “Falls.” “Loyal,” which was released earlier this year as a single, also features.

In anticipation of Lana Del Rey’s forthcoming album, today’s show included a look back at some of her bests over the course of five studio albums. The production on “The Blackest Day” is really something: check out the instrumental here. “13 Beaches,” which opened today’s show, also has an incredible satellite glitch effect. See if you can catch it here.

I hope everyone has a great winter break. See you back on the airwaves in the new year!

Ann

Soundcheck Nov. 15

Hope everyone is staying warm in this snowy weather! Catch up on the songs from today’s show here. Lots of new music this week, including the gorgeous single “Cast Away” from Ella Vos, who got her start on Soundcloud, and Sandro Cavazza & Lou Elliotte with their duet “Used To.”

St Lucia’s third studio album, Hyperionis out now.  The songs are as electric and synth-pop as ever, but also have a fresh, lyrically sophisticated optimism to them. “Walking Away,” featured on today’s show, “Last Dance,” and “Next to You,” all capture this fun yet ambitious sound.

Another recent release is Imagine Dragons’ Originstheir fourth album in six years. They’ve maintained that signature musical style – big percussion, big hooks, and big production – but there’s also a novel, introspective quality to some of the tracks. “Burn Out,” played on today’s show is one of those songs, as is “Birds,” another standout which manages to recall Coldplay’s Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head days.

Soundcheck will be off for Thanksgiving next week. I hope everyone has a good holiday, and safe travels to all.

Ann

 

Soundcheck Nov. 8

Thanks for tuning into this week’s Soundcheck. Check out the track list for the show here.

Glades’ debut studio album To Love You is finally here! Ever since this trio out of Sydney released “Drive” and “Falling Away” back in 2015, I’ve been waiting for a full length album. “Drive,” their most popular song to date, makes an appearance on this album, as do many more new songs. “Nervous Energy” and “Eyes Wide Shut” which both had airtime today are standouts.

In other new music news, Elle King, of “Ex’s & Oh’s” fame is out with her sophomore album Shake the Spirit. She works with heavyweight producer Greg Kurstin on this one, and she continues to write or co-write all her songs. Also check out London duo Ider’s latest single “Mirror.” The video for it which just premiered on Fader is beautifully shot and worth a watch.

Ann

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