The SoCC DJs’ Best Albums of 2020

Here are some of the SoCC DJs’ favorite albums of 2020 year in no particular order:

Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition- Your Old Droog

I was introduced to Your Old Droog by a close friend of mine that often shares with me notable Jewish artists. YOD excels when it comes to storytelling, lyricism (especially in freestyle), and samples. Remaining completely independent, Your Old Droog tells his own story as a Soviet Ukrainian born Jew growing up in Brooklyn, which is undoubtedly unique. The samples on this album give a real soviet feel, utilizing staticky classical Russian samples and featuring instruments like the oboe or the accordion. He even raps some whole verses in Russian which is just so exciting to hear. This album was recorded starting in isolation back in March, and serves as another monument to YOD’s storytelling of his unorthodox and marginalized upbringing. Any fans of New York classics like NAS or MF DOOM could easily get down with a record like this. My favorite tracks on the album would be “Malchishka Krutoy” and “Babushka III”. – Nic Santucci (Tucci)

Bonny Light Horseman- Bonny Light Horseman

Practically every song on the album is a cover/ reworking/ uses a motif from folk songs ( mostly Celtic, Appalachian, and Gospels ). BLH is a trio- Anaïs Mitchell, Eric Johnson(Fruit Bats), and Josh Kaufman. I really only listened to them for Anaïs though… she performs most of the vocals for the album and sounds HEAVENLY n COOL. Fave song: “The Roving”. Anaïs takes this Celtic folk song and changes the lyrics a little and then suddenly it’s my queer anthem of the year?? 2nd place: “Bonny Light Horseman” bc of Napoleon. Basically this album is some good folk music. P.S. Anaïs wrote a FOLK OPERA, “Hadestown”. 👀👀👀 -Lauren

Punisher- Phoebe Bridgers

Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher reminds me of a large, old, and most-likely haunted mansion perched on the edge of a cliff. Each room in the house is complete with its own ancient, hand-painted peeling wallpaper and skeletons in the closet to match. These rooms are the songs on Punisher— songs with hauntingly specific, but relatable, lyrics and mesmerizing, almost apocalyptic music. Bridgers blends musical and lyrical motifs alike together to paint a picture of an escapist and welcoming wasteland. The album and its journey through Bridgers’ psyche left me disoriented in a way I kind of enjoyed. It made me want to cozy up, light a fire, and stay with Phoebe in her haunted house for a little longer. – Jane Harris (DJ Harris Bueller)

Galore- Oklou

it’s just soooOo delicious -Augie Voss

Miss Anthropocene- Grimes

Miss Anthropocene – a double entendre on “misanthropy” and our ecological Anthropocene – is a self-produced concept album about a malevolent goddess who personifies climate change; each song is a different embodiment of human extinction. Picture a dark fairy with augmentations, and you have the Grimes vibe. Bubblegum princess meets Cyberpunk 2077. It’s pop, rock, and techno, in one sound; bold, brash, and reaaaaally gay. This album followed me everywhere. In March, staying up late at night swaddled in my high school sweats, 4ÆM teleported me back to rave nights in crowded queer spaces. September had me reflecting on revolutionaries. When it comes down to it, Grimes fits a handful of artists, by my criteria, who carry substantial enough weight in pop-culture by their wildly eccentric and otherworldly projects while actively rejecting conformist notions. These rebels have never asked for a space in influence; they make some for themselves. Miss Anthropocene’s concept cemented enough ideas, including pop music’s inevitable evolution into today’s “experimental,” to write an actual essay expanding on tomorrow’s role in art. Jonathan Lee, if you’re reading this, thanks for responding to eight pages on cyborgian feminist futurism. For all these reasons and more, Grimes completely captured my 2020. Her self-published Spotify biography states 2020 is the year of “her final earth album.” This might be a dramatized retirement announcement of quitting music to raise her and Elon’s child. I think the phrase is meant as a bold foreshadowing of her next level. As the reigning queen of the SpaceX – Tesla empire, Grimes very well could pioneer music in the cosmos. And I hope she does. Honorable Mention to Arca’s “KiCk i.”

-Joseph Raiti (DJ LuvIt)

Flower of Devotion- Dehd

I thought that the overall mood of the album captured my 2020 experience, where at surface level, the upbeat guitar and twang of Emily Kempf’s voice felt jovial- maybe to the point of mania. But the lyrics that are mainly centered on lonliness and disconnect is something that I definitely related to. I also appreciated the bands development towards a very unique sound that I hope we hear more of in 2021. -Emily Faulks

PLAYLIST: Plague Songs:Then & Now

by Lauren Hough

*ALERT this playlist is wholly historically inaccurate.

I just found out Bardcore is a thing. You’re welcome.

I’ve spent a lot of this Covidian time becoming wrapped up and bound and obsessed with fantastical worlds, and those which pay homage to some sort of 20-21st century interpretation of medieval imagery. I started reading fantasy books again. And listening to music with HARPS and DULCIMERS and good good acoustic guitar. I like thinking about the parallels which exist between the imaginings and sounds of the last 60 years and the late medieval era. Which brings me to this playlist- Plague Songs: Then & Now

Here’s my bundle of medieval sounding songs for y’all. It has songs that were actually written in the Medieval/Baroque periods and songs which arrive in the land of medieval psych and folksy stuff. This playlist features a lot of Hildegard Von Bingen (because she’s my life inspiration), but also music from 1960s esoteric artists like The Incredible String Band and Judee Sill, and some contemporary songs from artists Sally Anne Morgan and Richard Dawson.

Farewell! Enjoy!

Playlist ID: Man wearing cloak and mask holds up a large sword, standing near fire.

PC: Naomi Ablao, Model: Jonah Branch

Tank and the Bangas announce new album, “Friend Goals”

New Orleans-based band Tank and the Bangas have been blending together funk, gospel, spoken word, and hip hop since 2011. After winning NPR’s Tiny Desk concert in 2017, they accelerated to stardom and received universal praise for their 2019 album Green Balloon. That album, along with the reputation they’ve established for their extraordinary live performances, landed them a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist.”

Now, the world is anxiously awaiting their next project: an EP called Friend Goals, to be released on November 20th. In a virtual press conference, the band shared some details about the upcoming album.

Tank and the Bangas’ upcoming album, Friend Goals

When asked to describe the album in three words, the band agreed it’s “friendly, featureful, and fantastic.” Tariana “Tank” Ball, the lead singer, added “It’s got a sexy lil vibe to it… It’s sure to keep you moving.”

The new album features contributions from Duckwrth, CHIKA, and PJ Morton, among others. “The reason it’s called Friend Goals is because it’s a collaboration with all of our friends,” Tank said. She especially loves the “creative funness that you get when you hear somebody else’s unique, fresh voice on your project.”

Tank described one of the songs on the new album, “TSA,” as “an essential New Orleans song that everybody could bump” and recalls having “so much fun” creating that song with the band’s three other collaborators: Joshua Johnson, and Norman Spence, and Albert Allenback. The band viewed quarantine as a welcome break from touring. “It’s hard to be on the road constantly… so we needed this time at home to create,” said Tank, adding “We got our covid tests so we could create with each other!”

Photo credit: Jamelle Tate

The album’s lead single, “Self Care,” is a bouncy, trilling song; driven by a bass-heavy beat. The lyrics detail the joys of what you can get away with while spending so much time alone in quarantine. The song features Jaime Woods, a vocalist known for her work with Chance the Rapper, who sings “put a dress on, maybe less on / take a bath for no reason” and later announces “boutta make some bacon then I’ll roll one / so fun.”

In addition to writing songs for the new album, the band members have been making time for their own self care practices. “Self-care for me this quarantine, personally, has been having time to step back and take a look at the type of person I am. You know, refuel spiritually,” said Norman, “It’s important, and I was neglecting it.”

Tank and the Bangas have been hard at work on themselves and on their music this quarantine, and they can’t wait to share their new songs. Allenback said “This is some of the best recorded stuff we’ve ever made. It captures us in a really fantastic way. Our spirit’s really there.”

Watch the music video for “Self Care” below:

NEW PLAYLIST: reflections on deflections, avoidance, navigating the shitstorm

By Maeve Goodrich

Is this playlist a direct manifestation of my Covid consciousness? YES. Warmest of welcomes.

If you’re in the market for some delightful tunes with which to harmonize whilst screaming into the void, I’ve got some great news: this playlist. This playlist is the news. Woooo. A fun little compilation reflecting (and deflecting) the feelings of undistilled rage and melancholy that have so kindly accompanied this shitstorm of a year. Attempts at peace, laughter, and comfort are also documented here, mostly because they say a diverse diet is a healthy one. There’s a song all about hummus, for f–k’s sake. Existential dread is best served with snacks. Cheers. VOTE AND STUFF

Carmen DeLeon’s single “Volverás” is one you don’t want to miss

Image courtesy of Universal Music

The 19-year old Venezuelan reggaeton singer is a voice for today’s young people, advocating for self-love and authenticity with catchy melodies and silky-smooth vocals. “Volverás” is one of those songs you can’t listen to just once—before you know it, it’s on your driving, cooking, homework, and shower playlists (not that I would know).

Carmen says the track, her first to be released via Capitol Records, is about taking care of yourself and choosing to be surrounded by people who support you. 

Negative people will come along “and sometimes because you don’t want to be alone, you let them be there… But it’s better to be alone than in bad company,” she explained, during a virtual press conference with Universal Music’s °1824 creative team. “You have to love yourself before you love someone else… not only in love but in friendship.”

“Volverás” is a collaboration with Tainy, the Puerto Rican producer responsible for Cardi B’s “I Like It” as well as numerous hits from reggaeton superstars like Bad Bunny and J Balvin. In an industry dominated by men, Carmen said she’s determined to keep making bilingual bops and inspiring young, Latinx female artists to join her in taking over the scene. She’s already making waves and we can’t wait to see what’s next.

Watch the video here.

Duckwrth on New Album “SuperGood”

Duckwrth, image courtesy of Universal Music

Following the August 21 release of his album SuperGood, rapper and multimedia artist Duckwrth joined Universal Music’s °1824 team to talk creative process, musical inspiration, growing up in LA, and more.

Duckwrth has been a refreshing, unique voice in the rap scene since the 2015 release of his project Nowhere. Recent tours alongside Billie Eilish, Louis The Child, and EarthGang have put Duckwrth on the map—equipped with a tenacity and artistic toolbox rare of upcoming artists, it’s clear that he’s only going up from here. Duckwrth’s musical versatility is vast, enabling a diverse but still cohesive sound with gritty, heartfelt, story-driven lyricism atop a mixture of bass-heavy hip-hop beats and 70s inspired dance grooves. 

SuperGood is comprised mostly of the latter, full of dreamy, buoyant melodies and funky drum riffs. The 16-track span is an upbeat, playful, and honest exploration of experiencing new love—the insecurities, the eagerness to show off a little, and the excitement of the unknown. 

“It’s a rhythm project. So I want people to dance, to groove, to bop, to move,” Duckwrth said. The album was written in January, when Covid-19 was barely a blip on the radar. At the time he was excited for a new year, but as the world went on lockdown the album’s sound and story greeted a new reality—one that arguably needed it even more.

“It’s already its own affirmation, like when you press play it’s supposed to make you feel super good,” he said. “I feel like it came right on time, where people need to feel the best that they can at this moment.”

Duckwrth explained that the project is like “the yin and yang” to THE FALLING MAN, his 2019 EP, which delves into the character of a king who “falls to his demise because he doesn’t know love.” SuperGood, on the other hand, is all about love and what it feels like to meet someone special.

“A lot of it has to do with me taking this girl out on a date. Going to different venues, and like also different fantasies and ideas that I have of her before we actually go on the date… it’s like a story, as if you were watching a Netflix show,” he said. “It’s a story to take you away from your current situation.”

Beyond the love story, Duckwrth explained that SuperGood draws inspiration from the music and aesthetics of the 70s. 

“Such eclectic style… the music was so colorful and the album covers were so beautiful, you know, so I kind of wanted to tap into that,” Duckwrth said.

“I really feel like the 70s, especially for black people, was a time of celebration. We just came out of civil rights, and black people started to gain certain freedoms… you know, it was a celebration. So within that, when black people start going back to who they are, and their original essence, a bit of magic happens.”

For Duckwrth, growing up in Los Angeles during the 90s and 2000s was beautiful, but difficult. 

“It’s always sunny, the beach is always crackin’… it’s kind of like its own little weird utopia, but on the same flip side, it was a lot of trauma,” he said. 

“Diamonds come from, you know, the roughest type of situation. So I think by being raised specifically in south-central Los Angeles it gave me a backbone—so when I deal with corporate America, I don’t take no bullshit, you know, because I learned to survive duckin’ bullets… it just taught me all the methods I needed to get the things I need to get as an artist, as a man, as a businessman.”

Growing up, he always knew creativity to be part of his DNA—and central to his future, too. When he was young, a stranger approached him at church and told him he had a calling; the message has stuck with him since.

Duckwrth’s knack for blending musical styles comes from his eclectic taste. In the studio, he said, he’s most inspired by the feelings and chord progressions of soul, gospel, and jazz. On stage, however, it’s a different story.

“When I perform, it’s strictly punk. Like thrasher, hardcore. That’s my shit… they just perform with such a conviction, you know, and it riles people up and get’s the fire started.” 

As Duckwrth sets his sights on the future, and starts working on the next album, he said authenticity and self-love have become a priority—especially during the pandemic.

“It’s been a it’s been a really crazy year. So it’s like, I don’t think my artistry needed as much love as my human did.”

 “I feel like there’s a way to portray a healthy artist, and that’s through just being true to yourself, you know, and I think that’s how you make the best music,” Duckwrth said. “And that’s the music that lasts… that’s the music that becomes people’s favorite albums.”

NEW RELEASE: Still Woozy shares single “BS” and music video

by Augie Voss

Photo by Sergiy Barchuk.

We caught up with Sven Gamsky—known to fans by the moniker Still Woozy—during a virtual press conference earlier this week. After an exclusive early listen to his new track ”BS,” he joined Universal Music’s °1824 creative team for an intimate Q&A. 

Gamsky has been redefining the bedroom-pop scene without even dropping an album. His single “Goodie Bag” has been a staple on indie- and alt-pop playlists since it was released in 2017, and the 2019 Lately EP saw collaboration with Omar Apollo and Elujay, amassing over a hundred million streams on Spotify alone.

“BS” is quintessential Still Woozy, bouncy and dynamic. It features everything that makes his music so irresistible and instantly recognizable—rich and spacey vocals, playful drums, and deep, zesty bass.

The lyrics are introspective and relatable, providing listeners a window into Gamsky’s mind as he wonders if his thoughts are working for him or against him. In the end, he says, it’s about striving to be the best version of himself.

The music video for “BS” is every bit as fun and whimsical as the soundtrack. Gamsky, donned in his signature bold colors, has a heart-to-heart with a floating brain and befriends a horse in the woods. 

Still Woozy in the “BS” music video, via Still Woozy Productions/Interscope Records.

Since quarantine forced him to cancel his tour this year, Gamsky has had more time to relax, work on new music, and think about what’s next.

“I’ve been listening to the Dominic Fike album a lot… makes me excited to put out an album too because I have, like, a lot of different stuff.”

Gamsky’s knack for feel-good, beachy vibes has led to a massive fanbase across the globe. While he plans to keep creating music that makes him happy and piques his interest, he doesn’t want us to get too comfortable with any specific sound. 

“I don’t want to be limited to just one thing… I have too many ideas to be stuck in one place,” he said. “I want to have space enough to explore and express all of myself.”

Cover for “BS”  by Kahn-Tietz.

One of his greatest artistic influences, Gamsky shared, is his fiancé Ami Kahn-Tietz. She is the artist behind the vibrant, distinctive paintings and illustrations that comprise all of Still Woozy’s cover art.

“She puts art into every little thing she does,” he said. “Kind of makes her whole life into the art and I feel like that… has just inspired me.”

Despite the resources that come with fame (and a record deal with Interscope), Gamsky still produces all of his music himself—and he plans to keep it that way.

“I just love like playing with sounds and textures,” he said, leaning back into a pillow. “It’s so much fun to make beats… and just, like, create something from nothing.”

“Building from the skeleton outward and building the muscles… blows my mind a little bit.”

Gamsky doesn’t think there’s a right or wrong way to listen to his music, but he had a couple of recommendations for the ultimate Still Woozy experience.

“It kind of is a headphone experience,” he said, adding that he’s meticulous about mixing in little sounds and musical accents here and there to make each song its own little universe.

When you step into Still Woozy’s world of bright colors, flirtatious melodies, and luscious soundscapes, you just can’t help but stay a while.

Watch the “BS” music video here.

NEW PLAYLIST: hot_wild_fun

DJ Lily Roth created this playlist with the intention of spreading head-bopping happiness to students at home, on campus, or elsewhere in the world. This mix calls for some serious dancing and singing which may minimize feelings of boredom or loneliness during quarantine/online schooling. LIL MAMA is sending health, safety and love to all the hot_wild_fun people listening.

NEW PLAYLIST: Songs for reeling

by Carol Holan

Like a lot of college students, I decided to take the year off of college before actually deciding what to do with it. This is a playlist for feeling overwhelmed with plans and possibilities while simultaneously worrying that you’ll be sitting in your childhood bedroom for the next six months.

NEW PLAYLIST: Songs to Quarantine Yourself to



Songs to Quarantine Yourself to

9 months into COVID, and the quarantines keep coming. Loomis ends its lockdown as South and Mathias both start their own. It isn’t what we wanted, but it’s what we got. What else can we do but drown our sorrows in a well-curated playlist?

Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Fats Waller

This is how it all begins. We know it is not ideal, but we still carry with us the optimism that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We have nullified practically all social life—but we know the rules and so far, it’s alright…right?

Sound and Vision – David Bowie

We become wearier by the second as we stare at our same four walls and the fullest extent of our freedom from behind those pale blinds. We sit and wonder how to occupy our time in this seemingly endless expanse of consciousness amid our captivity.

Sorry You’re Sick – Ted Hawkins

For the friends who try to sustain us in any way they can. We may not be able to be with them, but their love-from-a-distance still touches our hearts. Like the song itself, these acts of kindness bring short, sweet bursts of respite to our ongoing struggle.

It Never Entered My Mind – Ella Fitzgerald

What were we thinking about at this time last year? “Once I laughed when I heard you saying / That I’d be playing solitaire / Uneasy in my easy chair / It never entered my mind.” Furthermore, we’ve gotten to point of losing all pretense. Doing your hair? Washing your face? Expecting to have any sort of social life? Instead, we just get up each day and sip on our orange juice for one.

I Want to Break Free – Queen

Cabin fever is beginning to set in. We’re wearing ourselves down with our own company. How much longer can we take this?

I Wanna Go Outside – Snoop Dogg

The hottest quarantine jam of 2020, and a voice for the people, courtesy of Snoop Dogg.

Chamber of Reflection – Mac DeMarco

After denial, anger, and bargaining, things are starting to look quite bleak. We try to content ourselves with the idea that soon things will be different—yet every day we find ourselves alone. Again.

Lemon Tree – Fool’s Garden

There is no more beauty. There are no more blue skies. We are surrounded by an endless spectacle of sourness as we sit and wallow.

Alone Again (Naturally) – Gilbert O’Sullivan

Really, what did it ever feel like to be with other people? In and out of quarantines, lockdowns, social restrictions… we are facing a crisis every day, and what faith or hope do we have anymore? “In my hour of need / I truly am indeed / alone again, naturally.”

Nobody – Johnny Cash

Our mastery of cynicism has reached its highest highs amid our lowest lows. We have decided that it is time to give up on people altogether.

Alone and Suffering (Interlude) – Lil Ugly Mane

We are basically just crying in our beds, vibing to sad beats, and ruminating on our pain.

I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

Okay, we are stronger than this. We know we will one day go on to live a life that extends beyond this room. We can make it through this little interlude and know that it does not foretell a greater pattern of misfortune. And until then, don’t you dare try and visit me!

What’s New? – Billie Holiday

It is the day we have been dreaming of. Those first, tentative conversations we’ve been obsessively playing out in our minds for weeks, or months even…yet could we ever have imagined how it would really feel?