Meet the Exec Board: Meghan Daly (’18)
by Meghan Daly on July 26, 2017
Posted in: Uncategorized
Hey y’all! I’m Meg, I use she/her pronouns, and I’ll be your resident General Manager for the 2017-18 school year. (In the picture above I am the one not wearing polka dots.) I’m originally from Long Island, New York, but I’ve been spending my summer working as a nanny and interning at a literary magazine in Minneapolis. I am so excited to meet you guys in the Fall and geek out over radio together! Expect more “Meet the Exec Board” blog posts in the coming days and weeks.
Here are just some of my favorite albums of this year so far. Be sure to check out the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the post.
Fin by Syd
“Young star in the making, swear they sleeping on me,” Syd sings on the opening track, “Shake Em Off”, of her debut studio album Fin. A former member of Odd Future and current front woman of the Internet, Syd takes center stage on Fin, offering glorious touches of late ‘90s R&B (see “Know”), tender tracks about sexual pleasure (“Drown in It”, and “Body”), and wispy, whispering vocals that are utterly gripping.
After Laughter by Paramore
One of the highlights of an otherwise shitty spring semester was sitting in my kitchen stoned with friends watching the “Hard Times” music video five times in a row. After Laughter completes the transition into unapologetic pop music started by the 2013 album “Paramore”, but don’t let the ‘80s synth and sugary hooks fool you–this is a dark album. Hayley Williams vulnerably explores depression, anxiety, and Paramore’s own internal struggles as a band, culminating in the perfect record to cry OR dance to.
Guppy by Charly Bliss
Be wary of men who criticize Eva Hendricks’ voice–rest assured, they are probably one step away from calling her sugary vocals “shrill”. Well, fuck those guys. Guppy is ten tracks worth of incredibly fun power-pop–it is also real, vulnerable, and at times macabre: “I laughed when your dog died / it is cruel, but it’s true / take me back, kiss my soft side / Does he love me now that his dog is toast?”
Silver Haze by Aye Nako
“Silver Haze” opens with a distorted sound bite from Mars Dixon’s childhood layered with synth and drums on “We’re Different Now”–it establishes the tension and dissonance that accompany the difference of blackness, queerness, and transness. Mars’ childhood reappears in “Nothing Nice”, a song about healing from abuse suffered as a child. One of my favorite tracks on this album is “Arrow Island”, written by Jade Payne, a self-described “letter of reassurance to my depressed-teenage-queer-self”. Be sure to check out Aye Nako’s track-by-track of Silver Haze guide on Gold Flake Paint.
Everybody Works by Jay Som
Melina Duterte recorded Everybody Works in her bedroom studio during a three-week period last October. This album has a little bit of everything, from catchy pop hooks (see “The Bus Song”) to funk (“One More Time Please”) to expansive synth work (“Remain”). It is personal, intimate, melancholy, and not to be missed.
Queen Elizabitch by Cupcakke
“Waiting for me to fall off, bitch keep waiting,” Cupcakke raps on the hook of “33rd”, and she’s right–Cupcakke is not going anywhere. Even as she shows us her pop sensibilities on tracks like “33rd”, she clearly hasn’t abandoned her Chicago drill music roots (see “Tarzan”). Cupcakke also shows us that songs like “Scraps” and “Cumshot” aren’t out of place on the same album at all–because for those who might’ve forgotten, women can be both politically incisive and sex positive as fuck.
Ctrl by SZA
I can already tell this is going to be my most listened to album of the summer. Former General Manager Brandi Fullwood spoke to members of the NPR Code Switch team about CTRL, and it’s a must-read. CTRL opens with a recording of a phone call with SZA’s mother: “That is my greatest fear… that if, if I lost control, or did not have control, things would just… you know, I would be… fatal.” With this album, SZA completely expands what control (especially as a 26 year old black woman) can signify–maybe there is control to be found in being vulnerable.
Soft Spots by Adult Mom
I will never forget watching Adult Mom play in the Gamut room last fall–so many thanks to Brandi for making that happen! Themes of trauma, identity, and mental health from earlier releases carry over onto this album–Steph Knipe’s lyrics are as raw and intimate as ever, paired with a fuller sound than the project has recorded with previously. Soft Spots has grown on me with every listen, especially after seeing the songs performed live last month. My current standout tracks are “Full Screen”, “Same”, “Steal the Lake from the Water”, and “Drive Me Home”.
A Place I’ll Always Go by Palehound
I don’t think I kept track of how many times I watched Palehound’s “If You Met Her” video this past spring, but rest assured, it was a lot. This album is a beautiful meditation on loss and queerness–on mourning a loved one while simultaneously falling in love for the first time. On “If You Met Her”, Ellen Kempner delivers the kind of moment one might mistake for mundane before everything falls apart and it is suddenly heavy–sitting eating Dunkin‘ Donuts with her since deceased friend–the kind of moment one can only look back on through a disembodied lens. “Feeling Fruit” is definitely one of my top tracks of the year so far, depicting a grocery store scene that is every bit as heartbreaking as Phil Elverum’s on “My Chasm”. “At Night I’m Alright With You” is truly a perfect closer. I have shed so many tears over this album, ahhh!!!
A New Kind of Normal by Cayetana
Another great moment from this spring was sprinting out to Cayetana’s tour van as they pulled away from the Gamut Room, tossing Augusta Koch a WMRC t-shirt, and blurting out how “Cayetana is like one of my favorite bands ever!!!” What an awesome night. I think A New Kind of Normal is an important album for the work it does to help chip away at the culture of silence surrounding mental health, and it also sounds fucking great. Some of my favorite lyrics include: “Will you still love me when I can’t get out of bed?” and “We can only hurt ourselves for so long / we can only hurt each other ‘til it all goes wrong.”
Big Fish Theory by Vince Staples
Vince Staple’s sophomore album feels futuristic and ahead of its time, with cutting basslines and features from the likes of Zack Sekoff, GTA, and Sophie. Staples finds obvious inspiration in Detroit techno in creating an album full of danceable music you might hear in a club. Where “Summertime ‘06” was clearly focused on the lyrics, Big Fish Theory hinges more on its excellent production. But don’t be mistaken–his lyrics are still cutting and to the point: “I’m the blood on the leaves / I’m the nose in the Sphinx / where I’m from we don’t go to police.”
Swear I’m Good At This by Diet Cig
The little girl I nanny for loves to watch videos of Diet Cig performing on my phone while we sit on the couch and I brush her hair. It’s easy to understand why–their spirit is infectious both on and off stage. Alex Luciano’s songwriting ability is razor-sharp, especially on songs like “Maid of the Mist”: “And I am bigger than the outside shell of my body / and if you touch it without asking then you’ll be sorry.”
A Crow Looked at Me by Mount Eerie
I was bracing myself to write about this album when it started to rain really hard outside, only it didn’t make it any easier or beautifully metaphoric, and then I had to pause to post a funny tweet about my ex. Anyways, the moment where I break down for the first time on this album is always about a minute into “Seaweed”: “I can’t remember, were you into Canada geese? / Is it significant / these hundreds on the beach?” and then later on “Swims”: “Today our daughter asked me if mama swims / I told her, ‘Yes, she does and that’s probably all she does now,’” and then again on “My Chasm”: “I now wield the power to transform a grocery store aisle into a canyon of pity and confusion / and mutual aching to leave,” until it turns out I’ve been crying as long as I’ve been listening and individual breakdowns cannot be distinguished from each other. This album is about Phil Elverum’s wife Geneviève Castrée, about losing her to cancer, about living with her absence–it is tender, raw, and something to emotionally prepare for if you choose to listen.
Process by Sampha
Process is another devastating (and devastatingly good) album about navigating extreme loss and grief–Sampha Sisay lost his mother to cancer in 2015. I am so thankful that Sampha has finally decided to pursue his solo career–listening to the album, it is easy to understand why he waited until now. On “(No One Knows Me) Like the Piano” Sampha searches for comfort in the wake of unimaginable loss: “An angel by her side, all of the times I knew we couldn’t cope / they said that it’s her time, no tears in sight, I kept the feelings close / and you took hold of me and never, never, never let me go / ’cause no one knows me like the piano in my mother’s home”. Sampha is an unstoppable singer, producer, and writer. Some of my favorites include “Plastic 100°C”, “Kora Sings”, “Reverse Faults”, and “What Shouldn’t I Be?”
Powerplant by Girlpool
I had been looking forward to this album for almost two years, and I was not disappointed. Probably a lot of people are rushing forward to make qualitative comparisons between this album and “Before the World Was Big” (I kind of hate this impulse)–since that album, Girlpool has gained a drummer, and their new lyrics feel more abstract to me. One of my favorites on the album pops up on “It Gets More Blue”: “I said I faked global warming just to get close to you.”
DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar
Although hampered by the faux-feminist messaging on “Humble”, (again, see Brandi’s amazing blog post about this topic), I still find a lot of value in this album. Lamar’s storytelling prowess truly shines on tracks like “DUCKWORTH.” and “FEAR.” One of my favorite songs off the album is the pure ear candy that is “LOVE.”: “You’re a homie for life, let’s get it / hit that shoulder lean / I know what comin’ over mean / backstroke oversea / I know what you need.”
Goths by the Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats are still one of my all-time favorite bands, and John Darnielle sans guitar still kicks ass. His homage to the lives of goths everywhere is beautiful, plus he shouts out Long Island on “We Do It Different on the West Coast”: “I heard some bad reports about Long Island / I don’t trust what people say about Long Island.” (Disclaimer: Even if I think what people say about Long Island is mostly true, this line still made me cry.)
Melodrama by Lorde
“I care for myself the way I used to care about you,” Lorde asserts herself on “Hard Feelings/Loveless”. On Melodrama, we see Lorde in the wake of her recent breakup (which is NOT to reduce this to a breakup album), fighting to find solid ground and to embrace herself in the process. On “Liability”, she slow dances by herself, mired in the messiness and pain of her own “hard feelings”: “The truth is I am a toy that people enjoy / ’til all of the tricks don’t work anymore / and then they are bored of me…” Lorde refuses to hide these feelings for the sake of packaging herself as a “chill girl”–instead, she owns them. If she’s a little much for someone, then maybe that’s their problem. Anyways, you should really give Melodrama a listen, particularly if you are a Scorpio.
Something to Tell You by Haim
The Haim sisters all started out as musicians behind a drum kit, something that becomes critically apparent when listening to the rhythms on Something to Tell You. This album just sounds so fucking good, and even though Haim hasn’t changed their production team since Days Are Gone, their sound feels like it has advanced. Something to Tell You is precise, elaborate, and truly a pleasure to listen to you. A few of my stand-out tracks are “Ready For You”, “You Never Knew”, and “Night So Long”.
Soft Sounds From Another Planet by Japanese Breakfast
On Japanese Breakfast’s Soft Sounds From Another Planet, Michelle Zauner turns to space for sonic inspiration even as her lyrical content is rooted firmly in the ground. This album blends together multiple sounds, from shoegaze to electronica to indie rock–there are even some saxophones on one of my favorite tracks, “Machinist”. On “Boyish”, Zauner offers an intimate portrayal of a not-quite-requited romance: “I can’t get you off my mind, I can’t get you off in general / so here we are, we’re just two losers / I want you and you want something more beautiful.” “12 Steps”, “This House”, and the aforementioned tracks have stood out to me on my first few listens, but really, give the entire thing a shot.
Capacity by Big Thief
This is a really interesting album for me to listen to because it maps itself out all over the Midwest, but especially in and around Minnesota. A huge part of my time living somewhere new this summer has been trying to imagine what it would be like to grow up here–Big Thief’s Capacity gives one answer to that question, as sprawling as the state itself. “Mythological Beauty” is an incredible and complicated picture of vocalist Adrienne Lenker’s relationship with her mother: “There is a child inside you who’s trying to raise a child in me.”