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WEGL's Weekly Picks: Nov 1-8

Empty Country - Empty Country II

Beginning his musical career as a founding member and front man of indie-emo outfit Cymbals Eat Guitars, Joseph D'Agostino has traveled a long and winding road leading to this point. Capitalizing on microfame achieved through MySpace music nerd discussion boards and a surprise review from Pitchfork of their debut record, the band had a illustrious 10 year career, slowly accumulating attention by touring with notable acts such as Wilco and the Flaming Lips. In 2017, the band decided to call it quits, but D'Agostino was far from done. Shortly afterwards, he formed his new group Empty Country with former CEG drummer Anne Dole, and the band was set to make their live debut opening for Purple Mountains, new group of alt-country legend David Berman, a personal favorite of D'Agostino and of mine as well. Sadly, upon hearing of his untimely and tragic death, D'Agostino struggled greatly with the loss and the isolation that came with the pandemic in the months following. All of these feelings culminated in many of the songs on the bands first album, Empty Country, and these heavy sentiments and emotions are furthered on this new album, albeit more nuanced and sophisticated in their delivery. Empty Country II deals with heavy topics and heavier feelings, with D'Agostino gracefully delivering his intensely relatable ideas and stories by way of obscure and surreal imagery in a fashion Isaac Brock would be quite proud of. Taking sonic influences from indie and slacker-rock guitar heroes like Doug Martsch and Stephen Malkmus, the dense fuzz of Kevin Shields and Billy Corgan, the classic rock balladry of Bruce Springsteen, the atmosphere of late Talk Talk, and paring them all with literary strategies from a dense conglomeration of various contemporary authors, D'Agostino wears these influences on his sleeve with pride. Empty Country II is a brutally honest and breathtaking display of modern indie-rock dipping its hand in every subgenre that has grown from the genre's humble beginnings, much like D'Agostino and his bandmates themselves. It is a masterfully produced and written project that I simply can't get out of my head, and it is easily up there with my favorite rock releases from this year.

Favorite Tracks: "Erkling" ; "Dustine" ; "FLA"

- Will Lewis

The Beatles - ”Now and Then”

Over 50 years after breaking up, The Beatles released their final song. ”Now and Then” is a posthumous release for John Lennon and George Harrison put together by Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. The song is based on a demo that Lennon created that stayed dormant for over three decades. The surviving Beatles tried to work on and release the song after John’s death, but we’re unable to extract his vocals. With AI and audio restoration, McCartney and Starr were able to extract Lennon’s vocals and combine it with modern production and guitar tracks by George Harrison from a 1995 session. McCartney also wrote additional lyrics for the song. “Now and Then” is not the greatest song by the Beatles, far from it. But it is a beautiful bookend to possibly the greatest band of all time. The production is great and the song gives a great sense of nostalgia. It’s a love ballad, but with the chronicled history of how the song was released, it almost feels like a love letter to the band and to John and George. It was released with The Beatles’ first single, “Love Me Do.” It’s a good song, but the significance of having it released as almost an epilogue to the most successful band of all time is a triumph for music and for technology.

- Logan Hurston

Willow - "alone"

Willow's newest single, "alone" was released on November 3rd. In an interview with the Rolling Stone, Willow discusses this new song revealing the meaning behind it. She says, “when there’s nobody there to distract us from our own thoughts, we try to run away from it.” Willow depicts this very well in this song with how breathy and flowy it is in the beginning then the guitars and drums coming out for the last few seconds of the song. She says this song is her attempt at finding her own style and straying away from the rock scene, which I believe she does very well while also keeping a bit of that rock energy at the end. When first listening to the song, I didn’t expect it to sound the way it did but I’m glad it did. The song only spans for a little over 2 minutes and I honestly wish it was longer. This song describes her perfectly (especially the outro) and gives her an opportunity to really become herself as an artist.

- Mallie Altmann

Resavoir - Resavoir

Resavoir is back with their second self-titled album. The jazz group released their sophomore album on November 3rd, four years after their first. With 11 songs over 32 minutes, the album mixes longer songs with shorter interludes. The main difference between Resavoir’s first and second album is the use of synths. They’re used on almost every song and give a completely different sound from the first. The album is an eclectic mix of bedroom beats, lofi rap, soul music, and ambient music. This is a perfect album to put on while studying, cooking, or cleaning. It evokes an almost peaceful feeling while listening to it. The style of music that Resavoir makes is not loud and bombastic, it’s subtle and slowly builds towards a beautiful crescendo. If you’re looking for a chill album for a rainy day or an album that will leave you with a feeling of bliss, then give Resavoir a try.

Favorite Tracks: “Sunday Morning” ; “First Light” ; “Future” ; “On n On”

- Logan Hurston

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