Staff Picks: Favorite Underground Singles Sept. 28-Oct. 3
Topic: Favorite relatively unknown musical singles
Compiled by David Flanagan, Opinions Editor
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are the individual staff member’s own, and do not reflect the perspectives of the Collegian staff as a whole, nor the view of the Collegian as an institution. They are unaltered or unedited from what was submitted by the staff members.
The Pick: “Another Miracle” - Feed the Biirds
Submitted by: Kathleen Forrest, Editor-in-Chief
Staff Comment: I first heard Feed the Biirds (yes it’s spelled that way, the extra ‘i’ just for fun) as an opener at a Watsky concert several years ago. They had only just barely been minted as a band, did not have any kind of album out and only had one or two singles (self-released) out on Spotify. Both of those had been written after it occurred to them that in order to open for Watsky they kind of needed actual songs to play. They still don’t have an original album out, just scattered singles and a fantastic Nirvana cover EP called ‘Biirdvana’. ‘Another Miracle’ is the first song I ever heard from them, in a crowded venue when they barely even existed as a band yet, played through a sound system that could best be described as adequate. I keep coming back to this song. The vocals by Camila Recchio are incredible, often sacrificing just the right amount of technical perfection to make the song truly beautiful. It has an energy and beat that pulls the song forward without being overbearing or exhausting. Every time I play it people ask about it, adding it to their playlists and seeking other songs like it. But if you really want more you’ll have to suffer like the rest of us, still waiting for a full album.
The Pick: “KIDS” - PUP
Submitted by: Piper Lehr, Lifestyles Editor
Staff Comment: My favorite underground band is Pup (short for Pathetic Use of Potential). They are a punk band from Canada, consisting of four members (three guitarists and a drummer). My favorite record of theirs is their 2019 album “Morbid Stuff.” “Morbid Stuff” lives up to its title. You can expect depressing and angsty lyrics throughout, sometimes to the point of being nihilistic. The one slight exception to this is their single “Kids,” released on Jan 30, 2019. In “Kids,” lead singer/songwriter and guitarist Stefan Babcock describes how his significant other makes him feel more optimistic about the world. The verses are spoken in rhythm, providing an interesting contrast to the melodic chorus, post-chorus, and bridge. And it features a totally rad guitar solo by one Steve Sladkowski. Overall it’s just a great track, and I highly recommend checking out the full album on Spotify, too.
The Pick: “Be Sweet” - Japanese Breakfast
Submitted by: Inéz Nieves, Opinions Staff
Staff Comment: Maybe it's because I grew up on 80's synthwave music, maybe it's because I'm a lovestruck lesbian who adores sweet, mellow music about the excitement of bitter, twisted, euphoric romance. But I adore what Japanese Breakfast is doing, and their discography makes me so nostalgic for the atmospheric vibe they have going that I can vividly sense, if not feel, the neon light of a chintzy discotheque as I nod my head along to the reverberating bass. It's just that good and that deep.
The Pick: “I Wanna Be A Cowboy, Baby!” - CMAT
Submitted by: Jesse Buck, Managing Editor
Staff Comment: CMAT is a self described “global pop star from Ireland” with delicious crooning vocals and instrumental allusions to classic country ballads of the 20th century. This single is simultaneously catchy and melancholic, accompanied with sharp lyricism and a zesty western brain feel. If you want to feel like a downtrodden housewife in a saloon, this song is definitely worth a quarter in the jukebox. The first time I listened to CMAT’s music, her wry, clever heartache and sultry vibrato immediately stuck with me, somehow making me feel both the nostalgia of the genre and like it was something I’ve never heard before. I highly recommend checking out her other songs as well, especially her latest release, “2 Wrecked 2 Care”.
The Pick: “Spoiled little brat” - underscores
Submitted by: Will Bertellotti, Opinions Staff
Staff Comment: underscores is a semi-enigmatic indie/bedroom pop singer, songwriter and producer hailing from San Francisco who’s music defies conventional genre labels. Their debut album “Fishmonger” released in March 2021, with angsty rager “Spoiled little brat” standing out as one of several highlights on the project. Stuttering synths weave in and out of the song’s stomping pop-punk styled guitar leads and mix of sequenced and live drumming into a multi-phased anthem of selfishness and hedonism as well the emotional consequences they lead to. underscores, a nonbinary musician rooted in the budding “hyperpop” scene, implements tasteful autotune to create catchy, androgynous vocal hooks and verses which dip in and out of masculine and feminine vocal tones, ultimately serving as a tool for gender expression as they relatably sing of a yearning for tattoos and facial piercings. The song builds to a brilliant moment of lyrical comeuppance for its aloof “popstar” narrator, before launching into an glitchy breakdown that deconstructs the song’s chorus and flips the whole track on its head. underscores spotify bio simply reads “it’s the new wave of the future!”- a phrase reinforced by vocal samples repeating it across every song on “Fishmonger’s” tight 33 minute runtime, and after hearing this song— it’s pretty clear why underscores would proclaim such about their own music.
The Pick: "For Aisha" - MEMBA
Submitted by: Anushka Srivastav, Photographer
Staff Comment: "For Aisha" - MEMBA (written by Ishaan Chaudhary) is a song that is a mix of English and Punjabi.
The song revolves around the pain of losing a loved one. This was about the composer's sister who passed away due to pulmonary fibrosis. There was a movie released (The Sky Is Pink) about her in which this song was played throughout the rolling credits.
This song is about Aisha Chaudhary (the sister) who was an inspirational speaker and author. Motivating people to move forward instead of living in constant fear. The song represents a liberation of the mind and the importance of hope.
The Pick: “Fences” - Destroy Boys
Submitted by: Andrea Griffin, Media Content Manager
Staff Comment: Fences by Destroy Boys is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands that both my partner and I enjoy listening to. Destroy Boys are a punk group from the Bay Area, California and I have been listening to their songs for awhile now. This one stuck with me as it deals with themes of depression. I remember being stuck on a boat in Alaska with a particularly unfriendly, strict crew of older white men for about three days and I would listen to this song in my bunk on repeat waiting for any amount work I could get my hands on. The guitar solo is fantastic and I enjoyed hearing my partner figure out how to play it for themselves. Another fun fact is that one of my WU friends was actually friends with and got his guitar from a past band member.
The Pick: “Proserpina” - Martha Wainwright
Submitted by: Chrissy Ewald, News Staff
Staff Comment: “Proserpina” is an acoustic ballad by New York-based singer-songwriter Martha Wainwright, daughter of American folk icon Loudon Wainwright III and renowned French Canadian folk singer Kate McGarrigle. “Proserpina,” recorded for Wainwright’s 2012 LP “Come Home to Mama,” was the last song McGarrigle wrote before she died of cancer in 2010. The song tells the story of Pluto, god of death, abducting Proserpina, goddess of spring and daughter of Ceres, goddess of the harvest (called Hera in the song). The song is from the perspective of Ceres, wandering the earth, calling out for her daughter to come home. It’s a heart-wrenching prospect, to sing a song your mother wrote about missing her daughter, after your mother has died and you’re the one missing her. Wainwright’s vocals do that prospect justice: she croons and belts over a deep, hypnotic piano line and swells of quavering strings that leave ample room for her voice to shine. The song ends, “Come home to mama”: the title of the album, and the heart of the song. You’re now under the earth, and I miss you; won’t you come home?
The Pick: “Feel It” - Sitting on Stacy
Submitted by: Quinna Sypher, Business Manager
Staff Comment: Sitting on Stacy is the kind of Southern California boy band everyone wants in their coming of age movie -- they cover the Beach Boys on Tiktok, hold small shows in perfect outdoor venues, and sell stuffed goats on their website. They have a handful of more popular songs (Chest Hair is a fan favorite, at over 900,000 plays), but "Feel It" is a lesser-known vibe that's perfect for a nighttime drive. Mildly sad lyrics give way to a synthy-pop beat in a way that somehow feels appropriate to a breakup you've known was coming, but are totally fine with. It sounds like moving on, and with a band member looking like Hoyt Yeatman, I'm ready for a new crush.
The Pick: “Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll” - Will Wood
Submitted by: Adina Goldstein, Staff Writer
Staff Comment: "Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll" is the latest single by theatrical indie artist Will Wood. Will Woods music can best be described as an existential crisis in song form. With his long titles, constant instrumental and melody shifts, and introspective yet raw lyricism, Woods artistry stands out from the crowd. Earlier this year, one of my best friends introduced me to 2020's "The Normal Album" and I have been absolutely hooked ever since. Wood has opted for a ballad this time, "Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll" is a lamenting cry of "now what"? He is not simply dissatisfied, he is looking back on the trajectory of his career and wondering what to do next. He looks in the mirror and sees someone who is not only unfamiliar, but someone he doesn't like. "Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll" is about joy and temperance, and what those mean in both Will Woods personal life, and in the context of modern life.