Exclaim!'s Staff Picks for July 18, 2022: NADUH, Empress Of, Mush

Photos (clockwise from top left): Rapport by Colin Medley, NADUH courtesy of the artist, Empress Of by Rodrigo Álvarez, Mush by Sophie Jouvenaar

BY Exclaim! StaffPublished Jul 18, 2022

As promised, we — the esteemed Exclaim! staff, your favourite sundry mix of music nerds — are back with another roundup of new releases we think everybody should hear. After a groundbreaking first week of Exclaim!'s Staff Picks, we are holding ourselves accountable to this weekly format thing with more new music that we've respectively given our coveted seal of approval; from "Aha!" moments to A-ha moments.

Still hungry for more? See our latest album reviews for more recent albums worthy of your attention.

Katie Bejsiuk
The Woman on the Moon 
(Double Double Whammy)

If you've been feeling the Free Cake for Every Creature-shaped hole in your heart lately, good news: Katie Bejsiuk (neé Bennett) — leader of the now-defunct Philadelphia-based indie rock band — is back with a new solo project. And while it's a slightly less twee affair, her solo debut The Woman on the Moon is chock-full of the sentimentality, ASMR-esque vocals and adolescent DIY energy that made Free Cake so great. Don't miss "Olive, NY" and "Candy Cigarettes."
Allie Gregory

Buck 65
King of Drums

King of Drums is Buck 65 like you haven't heard him in years — decades, even. Arriving alongside an emptying of the vaults on Bandcamp, the latest from the MC-producer born Rich Terfry is built upon breaks, which he considers to be hip-hop's most foundational musical element. Whether collecting and cataloguing drums on wax, or sharing his finds with other crate-diggers via newsletter or secret Instagram alias, this love of rhythm has reinvigorated his writing and production chops; both still wicked and weird after all this time.
Calum Slingerland

Empress Of 
Save Me 
(Major Arcana / mtheory)

Sorry, Drake — Empress Of prefers her house-inflected pop with a little more disco. As soon as the frenzied string outbursts of Save Me's opening track kick in, the EP sees Lorely Rodriguez in flux from her previous three LPs, covering new ground with thumping four-on-the-floors as per the dance floor tradition. These hot-blooded songs lean formulaic compared to some of her previous experimentalism, but the smouldering urgency of their emotional complexity makes the repetition feel more and more liberating.
Megan LaPierre

Greet Death 
New Low
(Death Wish)

A more loose-limbed collection of songs than 2019's New Hell, Greet Death find new highs on their New Low EP, folding ambling country and folk into their enormous walls of sound. The Michigan-based band have never been short on ideas, but New Low feels like their "Aha!" moment, the quartet settling into what they were always meant to be. There's no better example than the gorgeous "Your Love is Alcohol," which might just stand as their greatest achievement yet.
Kaelen Bell

Down Tools
(Memphis Industries)

Despite their malleable moniker, Mush are anything but; the solid tools behind the Leeds band's off-centre indie rock are refined on their third full-length, setting them apart from the oversaturated UK post-punk crowd. A touch of satire and cartoonish charm in light of the weariness of it all undercut the entire record, crescendoing in the title track's final minute. Amid workplace stress and meltdowns, bursts of noisy art rock make the general malaise a lot more fun.
Kayla Higgins


We've all been plagued by desperation for male attention, but NADUH have the antidote. On debut EP HOMIESEXUAL, the East Vancouver girl group harness the power of friendship, sisterhood and confidence to neutralize even the suavest of fuckbois. They pad out their hook-heavy blend of hip-hop, R&B and pop with cheeky nods to down-bad mega-hits and lyrics about being borne of Venus's "bright butthole," healing the masses with "fat pussy energy" and their central mantra of "Venus over penis." 
Matt Bobkin

Floating Through the Wonderwave
(Arbutus Records)

As on 2019's In the Dark EP, Toronto synthpop project Rapport deliver a pitch-perfect '80s throwback that could easily slot into a playlist in between A-ha and Cyndi Lauper without anything seeming amiss. As well as delivering absolutely perfect retro pop, they show some signs of evolution with the twee jangle of "Trial Run," and they catch Air with the moody electronic seduction of closer "My Bed."
Alex Hudson

Ron Trent
What Do the Stars Say to You
(Night Time Stories Ltd.)

With over three decades of dance music-making under his belt, Ron Trent steps out from the club on his latest to craft a record for the spirit; an invigorating, luxuriant blend of house, jazz-funk, new age and more, with instrumentation and arrangement that sport colour and texture in spades. Members of Azymuth and Khruangbin, as well as Jean-Luc Ponty, join in this fusion, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the accompanying continuous mix helmed by François Kevorkian for even deeper exploration.
Calum Slingerland

Well Sister

Jaymie Von Riesen's music-making moniker is apt: Well Sister is a folk music exploration of wellness — the ways in which we heal and the wounds in need of healing. On her debut album, the Winnipegger uses a lush palette of instruments to capture the ebbs and flows of her relationships to mental illness and spirituality. Multiple passes are necessary to digest the lyrics ("The thoughts won't kill, they'll only stare / And I got your hand and your fearful heart" on "Annie"), arrangements (the saxophone and vocal interplay on "Do Not Fear") and overall muted splendour (heard best on closer "All Will Be Well").
Matt Bobkin

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