SZA dominates charts, while small debut artist enters

This week’s charts include, “SZA,” “Coco & Clair Clair, “zzzahara,” & more!

SZA dominates charts, while small debut artist enters

Brighid Bandel, Bailey Liverman, Music Director

“KCSU’s Weekly Gems Countdown” is written by the KCSU Music Directors and describes the top artists that your local 90.5 FM DJs are playing this week! This article is posted weekly on Sundays and discussed on their show “KCSU Weekly Gem Countdown” which airs every Monday from 11-noon. During the show, you can learn more about each musician or band before tuning in to the top 10 countdowns on Monday from 11-noon, in which the music directors present to you the latest songs topping the charts and breaking down each song’s sound and feel.

*=brand new to the charts this week!

1. Suki Waterhouse – alt/indie – (12 spins of “Johanna” off of the 2022 EP “Milk Teeth”) Suki Waterhouse is an actress and new singer from London whose debut album was released early in 2022. According to her Spotify, Waterhouse “catalogs the most intimate, formative and significant moments of her life through songs.”

“Milk Teeth,” an EP that came out in late 2022, was a collection of her most popular singles with two new ones. “Johanna” was initially released in 2019 and follows a mysterious person who we all want to know – Johanna.

2. *SZA – r&b – (11 spins of “Kill Bill” off of the 2022 album “SOS”) SZA is on the charts twice this week! “Kill Bill” is the second track off the album. The title references the iconic Kill Bill film duology directed by Quentin Tarantino. As expected, the lyrical content details SZA’s homicidal fantasies about an ex-lover while coinciding with the plot of the movies.


3. Yeah Yeah Yeahs– alt/indie – (11 spins of “Fleez” off of the 2022 album “Cool it Down”) Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an alternative rock band from New York that consists of Karen O, Nick Zinner and Brain Chase. According to their Spotify, “Their fifth studio album is an eight-track collection, and an expert distillation of their best gifts that impels you to move, and cry, and listen closely and is bound to be a landmark in their catalog.”

“Fleez” is the fourth track on the album and was performed live for the first time at the Teragram Ballroom on May 30, 2022.

4. BROCKHAMPTON – hip hop/rap – (9 spins of “Southside” off of the 2022 album “The Family”) BROCKHAMPTON is a boy band that originated in Texas, but soon moved to South LA in the beginning of their career. With over 10 members in the group, it reminisces Odd Future – a very popular hip hop collective that was BROCKHAMPTON’s inspiration. The group has been making music since 2015, but earlier this year announced that “The Family” would be their last album as the group.

Kevin Abstract, front man, then announced their would be a follow up album released the same day as “The Family” titled “TM”. Unlike “The Family,” “TM” had songs with the whole group – not just Abstract. “Southside” is the eighth track off the first last album and has west coast mixtape vibes with Abstract talking about what it was like to live with the band in Southside LA before they found fame.

5. Ethel Cain– alt/indie – (8 spins of “American Teenager” off of the 2022 album “Preacher’s Daughter”) Ethel Cain is an alternative rock-pop singer from Florida who is most known for songs that reflect the feelings on religion. Cain’s lyrics focus on nostalgic and southern Gothic themes, such as poverty, substance abuse, domestic violence, death and transgenerational trauma. “Preacher’s Daughter” is a concept album “centered around the character Ethel Cain, who runs away from home only to meet a gruesome end at the hands of a cannibalistic psychopath,” according to Cain.

“American Teenager” was the third and final single off the debut album. “Growing up I was surrounded by visions of NASCAR, rock ’n ’roll, and being the one who would change everything,” Cain said in a statement. “They make you think it’s all achievable and that if nothing else, you should at least die trying. What they don’t tell you is that you need your neighbor more than your country needs you. I wrote this song as an expression of my frustration with all the things the ‘American Teenager’ is supposed to be but never had any real chance of becoming.”

6. *zzzahara – alt/indie – (9 spins of “julia” off of the 2022 album, “liminal spaces”) zzzahara, the solo moniker of Eyedress/Simps/U.S. Velvet guitarist Zahara Jaime, explains on their Spotify that “plenty of people come to Los Angeles looking to make their California dreams a reality.” But zzzahara has always been here, turning reality into a dream.” “liminal spaces” was zzzahara’s debut album, which is “a collection of songs about queerness, love, lust, absurdism and feeling lost that trace their stylistic and emotional evolution from childhood through to the present day,” according to Lex Records.

“julia” is the eighth track off the album, and most popular single, with zzzahara explaining to Lex Records that, “‘Julia’ is one of the first songs I ever wrote. One of those where I knew I had nailed the chord progression. I was in high school and the pressure was on because our school’s, ‘battle of the bands,’ was taking place in a few weeks. My high school was on a track system so track’s B and C were in session that semester. I was in track B and the girl I sort of liked was in track C. I say sort of because she could never make up her mind about me. It was really annoying. I knew she was performing at the battle of the bands show so I decided to get to writing!”

7. Backseat Lovers– Alt/Indie – (8 spins of “Growing/Dying” off of the 2022 album “Waiting to Spill”) The Backseat Lovers are from Heber City Sandy, and Ogden Utah. The members include Jonas Swanson, Joshua Harmon, KJ Ward and Juice Welch. The band gained attention when their song “Kilby Girl” became popular.

“Growing/Dying” was the first single off their new album “Waiting to Spill.” According to the band in an interview with Melodic Magazine, “‘When We Were Friends’ was our first attempt at making an album, and it was essentially recording one song, selling some t-shirts at a show the next month, and being able to record another song. Upon finishing it, we were quickly filled with a strong desire to make something that really flowed together, with each song intentionally placed, creating a cohesion that spans the whole record. Overall though, ‘Waiting to Spill’ really feels like a continuation, the next chapter of our lives.”

8. Mia Gladstone – hip hop/rap – (6 spins of “WHEN I THINK TOO MUCH I GET SICK TO MY STOMACH” off of the 2022 album “LOOPY”) Mia Gladstone “fearlessly challenges the norms of society, making music that is as empowering as it is relatable,” according to OutLoud Culture. Gladstone explains that, “ever since I can remember, music has been at the forefront of my daily life and it’s been my greatest joy. I’ve always loved listening to music, singing, writing, playing, and it was just like this natural evolution that my parents really empowered growing up.”

“WHEN I THINK TOO MUCH I GET STICK TO MY STOMACH,” is the ninth track off of the sophomore album, and describes remembering an old love – and how awful it was.

9. *SZA – r&b – (4 spins of “Ghost in the Machine ft. Phoebe Bridgers” off of the 2020 album “SOS”) SZA, real name being Solána Imani Rowe, is one of the most influential R&B singers right now. SZA’s Spotify explains that she “has set herself apart with a vulnerable and casually poetic songwriting style and a voice conveying a multitude of emotions with subtle twists and turns. She established herself with a trio of spaced-out EPs and collaborations with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna. She continued her ascent with Ctrl (2017), a Top Ten album that resulted in five Grammy nominations, including Best New Artist.”

“Ghost in the Machine” is the twelfth track on the album and features indie singer Phoebe Bridgers. The song explores how SZA’s growing contempt of the music industry “machine” she finds herself in. Frustrated, she is looking for her partner to offer her an escape from her situation, even if temporary.

10. Coco & Clair Clair– pop – (3 spins of “Cherub” off of the 2022 album “Sexy”) Coco & Clair Clair are a duo from Atlanta. According to Hometown Talent, they are “pioneers of ‘demon glam rock,’ their unapologetic & unmistakably hip-hop-influenced sound breathes new life into the lo-fi bedroom pop genre.”

The duo’s debut album “Sexy” is self-released and has critics going crazy. “Cherub” is the opening track off the album, with Pitchfork describing it as the “pop song whose lyrics you mutter to yourself as you prepare for a party, as opposed to the one you scream along to when you get there.”


Top Adds This Week

1. Honey by Samia (alt/indie)
2.Let’s Start Here. by Lil Yachty (hip hop)
3.LLYLM (single) by Rosalía (pop)

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