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New song from local artist Nova Kicks tops this week’s chart


“The Top 10 Songs Spinning at KCSU” is written by the KCSU music directors and describes the top artists that your local 90.5 FM DJs are playing this week. The article is updated weekly on Sundays and discussed on their show, “KCSU’s Weekly Gem Countdown,” which airs every Monday from 11 a.m.-noon. Here, you can learn more about each musician or band before tuning in to the top 10 countdown on Mondays, in which the music directors present to you the latest songs topping the charts and break down each song’s sound and feeling.

*= Brand new to the charts this week!

1.*The Nova Kicks (Local) — Rock — (Eleven spins on the 2021 single, “Better Than You Could Believe.”) Based out of Denver, the Nova Kicks is made up of longtime friends Luis Prado and Enrique Sandoval in 2015, later adding Annie Kelly on bass and Brandon Fierro on drums. They spent several years playing shows around Denver and establishing themselves in the local indie-rock scene before releasing their debut EP in 2020, called “Son of a Stray.” The band describes having tons of influences from blues, country, and punk, all of which make their way into their music. They’ve released two singles in 2021: “Raton” and “Better Than You Could Believe.”

2. Joshua Dairen (Local) — R&B/Soul — (Nine spins on 2021’s single “You Are.”) As stated on his Spotify: “Dubbed by Denver’s 303 Magazine as one of ‘Colorado’s artists you should know,’ … Joshua Dairen is an R&B artist (originally from Auburn, Alabama, who) began his singer-songwriter journey in 2018. With a musical background that comes from Soul, R&B, and Pop, he incorporates elements of each in soulful arrangements of his own personal life experiences to create a unique, warm sound that flows between different genres.”  His latest single is “You Are,” from 2021.

3. Empty Hollow — Rock — (Five spins on “Light Me Up” off 2021’s “Firestorm.”) With heavy guitar riffs and buzzing vocals, Empty Hollow is the garage band you’ve been missing. Its only release, 2021’s “Firestorm,” seemed inspired by the likes of alternative rock bands like Nirvana or The Smashing Pumpkins, who brought out the genre of grunge in the early ’90s.

4. *Nervous Vulpis — Alt/Indie — (Five spins on “Empty Spaces” off of 2021’s “Still Living.”) Nervous Vulpis is a quartet from Fountain Valley, California. Members are Kristen Michael on drums, who’s been playing for over 20 years; Matt Kilgore on guitar, who also has solo electronic projects; Alex Noble, who sings as well as plays lead guitar; and Eder Villagran, who calls himself a “bassist, noisemaker and joke machine.” Their debut album, “Still Living,” came out in October.

5. Bad Bad Hats — Alt/Indie — (Five spins on “Gloria Love” off 2021’s “Walkman.”) From their website: “Bad Bad Hats is an indie rock band from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their music is rooted in classic pop songwriting with elements of nineties rock influence and an overall lightheartedness. Kerry (guitar, vocals) Chris (bass) and Con (drums) have toured the country several times in their trusty minivan, sampling the best local cuisine along the way.”

6. *Benchwarmers — Alt/Indie — (Four spins on “Hemp Cigarette” off 2021’s “Ode To Friends.”) Benchwarmers is an alt pop/punk band from Los Angeles. On their Spotify, which garners around 60 listeners a month, they’ve posted only two EPs: 2020’s “Benchwarming,” and 2021’s “Ode To Friends.”

7. ill peach — Alt/Indie — (Four spins on “NEED YOU NOW” off 2021’s “Excuse Us While We Find Our Minds.”) Jess Corazza and Pat Morrissey, who have known each other since they went to high school together, are the Los Angeles duo making up ill peach. “Excuse Us While We Find Our Minds” is their debut EP, featuring songs like “GUM” and “UP UP AND AWAY” The sound of the project is digital, gritty and alternative.

8. *Milky Chance — Alt/Indie — (Three spins off 2021’s single, “Colorado.”) From Kassel, Germany originates indie rock band Milky Chance. Its first single, 2013’s “Stolen Dance” was immediately popular and topped the charts of several different countries. This was followed by their debut album, “Sadnecessary,” later that year. The band incorporates elements of jazz, reggae and electronic into their sound and cite influences such as Bob Marley and Ray Charles. “Colorado” is a single from their upcoming album, “The Trip Tape.”

9. *Silas Short — R&B/Soul — (Three spins on “Cloudy June” off 2021’s “Drawing.”) Per his Spotify, “Silas Short is a Chicago-based singer and musician who produces his own music, synthesizing influences from soul and classic R&B.” He had a difficult time releasing music, as he shattered a bone in his hand at age 19 and was told he wouldn’t be able to play guitar anymore. Short played through the injury and ended up creating what he calls “liquid-style” playing. His only release is 2021’s “Drawing” EP.

10. Turnstile — Rock — (Two spins on “DANCE-OFF” off 2021’s “Glow On”.) Turnstile, formed in 2010, has been on Baltimore’s rock scene since 2011 with their first release, “Pressure to Succeed”. Since then, they’ve released several well-received albums, earning nods from NPRThe New Yorker and more, leading to 2021’s highly anticipated “GLOW ON”, which Pitchfork categorized as “Best new music.” The band describes its brand as “youth-minded, youth driven hardcore punk.”

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